If there is anything that Aunty Buaya deserves after many years of service to the ancient order of the Knights of Strongjaw, it is the undisturbed quiet.
Having served decades as a Paladile for the ancient order called the Knights of Strongjaw, defending small critters from all walks of life from cruel and wicked beings, she can now appreciate the peace of simply being. For her, ‘simply being’ means sitting by the river-bed with her wife, tending to her garden (though she is absolutely horrendous at it), and finding cheap fresh produce at the local market with her trusty rolling bag.
Today, Aunty Buaya has decided to harvest her carrots – which took too long to grow and she simply cannot bear to wait for them to grow any longer. Unbeknownst to her though, the Pond friends continue defending the Pond against the darkness’s relentless attacks.
Kneeling by the garden bed and with a basket at the ready, Aunty Buaya puts on a pair of gardening gloves to pull them out. Finally! Her patience will finally be rewarded and she will be able to surprise her darling, who had every doubt that the carrots would grow, with a beautiful pot roast.
She is about to pull out the carrot, when –
BORK BORK BORK BORK!
When Aunty Buaya looks up, Bao is hurtling as fast as his short legs can carry him, his barks resonating in the valley. His barks are incessant and is starting to give Aunty a headache. (Indeed, she may be old, but her hearing is still excellent.)
“Bao!” yells Aunty Buaya, getting to her feet. “Sit!”
Bao, who was running circles around Aunty Buaya, stops abruptly and plants his bottom immediately on the ground. Bao may know that Aunty Buaya secretly adores the corgi, but even Bao can recognise when her tone means business.
“Bao, do you know how far it is from the Pond?” scolds Aunty Buaya. Bao awoo’s regretfully in response. “It is dangerous! Silly dog! You could have gotten hurt. Do you know what nasty beings are hiding in the forest? They could have taken you away and you would have never seen Xiaolong and Gen and Varian and Cuddle and Sprout again! And did you know–“
And on and on Aunty Buaya goes, telling off the corgi. Bao looks up pitifully up at Aunty Buaya, his eyes getting bigger and rounder and his head tilted just so for optimal cuteness.
“And I — don’t use those cute lil’ puppy eyes on me!”
Aunty Buaya huffs. She’s tired from scolding the puppy now and sits down next to the corgi. Knowing that Aunty won’t scold her anymore, Bao jumps onto her lap, and begins barking again.
“Wait, did you say — the Pond is – what?!”
I guess Aunty Buaya’s carrots will have to wait.
The sun is setting on the Pond, and with it comes the threat of night.
Xiaolong mourns how the night, which used to be her friend and the moon her companion, is now something she dreads each night.
The battle today has not gone well. Powerful as she may be, even Xiaolong has her limits. Xiaolong knows that if she casts another powerful spell, she may just collapse – and she can’t bear the thought of letting down her friends now. For now, she will just have to find a way to survive the night without using another powerful spell.
As the last light of the day blinks away past the horizon, the darkness begins to grow. The corporeal shadows, drawing their energy from the despair and fear from the arrival of night and absence of light, grow larger. Emboldened by their surge of strength, the shadows charge forward, breaking through fortifications and the Pond friends’ first lines of defence.
Xiaolong watches, with horror, as the darkness rushes forth like a battering ram. And she makes a decision. She knows that her spell may push her over the edge, but what choice does she have? But just as she is about to mutter the incantation for her spell –
A loud wham stuns the air and shakes the earth. When Xiaolong looks up, she sees –
Aunty Buaya! And she’s stopped the darkness in its track with her dragonscale warshield! And she’s wearing her… old heavy Paladile armour? But she’s retired!
“Aunty!” cries Xiaolong. “Aunty, what are you doing?!”
“Helping!” grunts Buaya. Aunty Buaya raises her sawtooth blade, which shines with brilliant light. While the darkness cowers, Xiaolong can see her friends around her glow and fight with renewed energy.
Aunty Buaya roars a war-cry, striking her sword against her shield, daring the darkness to come again. The darkness, seeing Aunty Buaya taunt them, poises to strike her again.
“Get ready, my small friends!” Aunty Buaya bellows. It comes!”
You’ve received a quest!
Aunty Buaya has come out of retirement to fight with us at the Pond! While she uses her paladin skills and defends us as our tank, it’s important now, more than ever, to work together to survive the night!
Quest expires on: 24th February 2020, 9:00PM NZT [?]
- Read 10 pages to gain 2 points – and while Aunty Buaya is drawing attention, you successfully fight by her side. [Repeatable]
- Talk or post a photo about the longest book (in page numbers) you have ever read in social media using the #Pondathon hashtag to gain 5 points – and you cast a spell that increases Aunty’s defences!
- Bonus: Get into groups of up to 10 people and work together to read a total of 500 pages to successfully receive a quest reward item: Favour of the Knights of Strongjaw!