> Laney: Check it out

Previously, on GoldStruck!

This remains a collaboration with Dither.

> Laney: Check it out.

The glowing eyes don’t appear to be an immediately threatening colour, such as RED or YELLOW. Instead, they are a soft, bluish shade of white, like the night light that you certainly never needed. They blink in and out.

Still following the wall, you approach the eyes warily. They continue to blink, at a sedate frequency. Just watching you.

Then a second whiteness spreads gleaming through the dark. Sharp, elongated triangles.

You know exactly what those are.

> Laney: Dodge teeth.

The teeth are not attacking you. Yet. They seem to float disembodied in the DARK, grinning like a well-known feline in a very old book.

> Laney: Retreat into STUDY.

As you scoot back in the direction of the STUDY door, the teeth disappear, presumably covered by atramentous lips. The eyes narrow.

You stand up to open the door, careful to keep your back against the wall and your eyes fixed on the light in the DARK.

The teeth reappear as their owner pounces. You duck into the STUDY and slam the door, ears ringing with the sound of the creature’s hissing cry.

It slams against the door, rattling it so hard that you leap away from it.

> Finn: Ride the DRAGON.

You do that. Although you would have preferred to be sitting up while riding, you have to admit that this position affords you the best grip. Libertina is not a graceful creature. She is an awkward galumphing beast.

By the time she leaps over the fence of her enclosure and skids to a stop, your teeth are vibrating and you’re pretty sure that your kidneys rattled their way up to nestle in your armpits.

> Finn: Climb down.

While Libertina pants like a dog tired of a game of fetch, you climb up, carefully angling yourself so that you remain in between her eyes, safe in her blind spot. She lolls her head about, making this far more difficult than it needs to be.

You contemplate giving her a kick, but COMMON SENSE prevents you doing so.

Once you climb up on top of her head, it is a simple matter of descending along the ridged scales on her back. Halfway down, she curls up on the snow and you hop off her back.

> Finn: Retreat.

Not yet. You have to take care of the broken fence.

> Finn: Mend enclosure.

Some of the wood is gone, sitting in Libertina’s fat belly along with her cow. Fortunately, there is a SUPPLY SHED nearby for just such eventualities.

You repair the fence, all the while waiting for her to turn round and ruin the entire operation. But she appears to have fallen fast asleep.

You do not believe your luck. And so you prepare for something really awful to happen.

>

It does not keep you waiting long. No sooner have you completed the necessary repairs, than you hear a keening cry.

You glare at Libertina and draw your GUN. Never mind its effectiveness, it’s all you have and you’re beginning to feel a bit DISINCLINED towards the DRAGON.

But Libertina is still fast asleep. You take aim anyway, just for practise. Then you realise that the sound came from overhead.

> Finn: Look up, then despair.

Heroes never despair. Nevertheless, you look up.

Heroes never despair. But sometimes they get a little anxious.

Overhead, you can see a GRIFFIN wheeling through the air. Its wing is bright with blood, obviously affecting its ability to steer.

You recall your blind panicked shots while faced with Libertina’s wrath and snow in your eyes.

> Oops.

Oops indeed.

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