Chapter 30: Got To Catch 'Em All

The bunnicorn sat there, twitching slightly. The grass had wilted and withered, slimy with the wet sludge oozing from the bottom of the giant pile of shit pile. I thought it might feel exposed out in the open with five strangers standing around. But then, the rabbits back in the meadow never gave a damn about us and, as it turned out, neither did this one.

It shook its head, pawed at the ground and then lowered its head, aiming the horn at me. It charged.

With all the available targets, why it should decide I deserved to have my ankles gored, I don’t know. I guess I’m just lucky.

I took a few stumbling steps backwards as it came at me, then turned and ran.

“Hey, do something!” I called out to the others. They decided to offer me the absolute worst form of help: encouragement.

“Run!”

“Dodge left.”

“Don’t let it touch you, it’s covered in shit.”

The rabbits back in the meadow had been slow and listless. This thing was hyper. I headed for the taller grass, hoping I might lose it if it couldn’t see clearly, but I could hear the bastard’s little feet right behind me. I swerved, I double-backed, I tried to lead it towards the others so it might switch targets, but it honed in on me and only me.

Without realising it, I ran into the shitty area where the ground was wet and slippery. My feet went out from under me and I ended up flat on my back. I tilted my head hoping I’d managed to get away, only to see the vicious furball charging right at me. I rolled to the left, coating myself in ogre faeces, and the bunnicorn slid past. Fortunately, it was no better at keeping its footing on the slick surface than I was.

I jumped to my feet and ran for the edge of the clearing. For the first time in days I’d had a proper wash, and only a few hours later I was more filthy than any human in history. Typical. I got to the treeline and spun around. The grass shook as the bunnicorn closed in for the kill, and then it emerged at ramming speed, leaping into the air at waist height. There was no doubt, it was aiming for my balls.

I waited for the last possible moment and then dived out of the way. The bunnicorn smacked horn-first into the tree I had been standing in front of, burying the tip deep into the wood. The bunnicorn hung there, levitating three feet off the ground, pawing wildly at the air but unable to get free.

Three quick steps, a wide swing, and I whacked the bunnicorn as hard as I could. It went flying. I’d like to say it went sailing over the horizon, but it bounced off the next tree and dropped into the undergrowth somewhere outside the clearing. Still out of bounds, so technically: home run!

Its horn was still stuck in the tree, the end of it red and sticky. I yanked it out. It was lighter than I’d expected, and warm to the touch. From my experience of RPGs, a unicorn horn had magical properties and was often a quest item, so there was a good chance this was worth something.

“Hey, guys, look at this.”

The others ignored me. They were all facing the other way, unconcerned about my near-brush with castration. I walked over to see what had their attention.

Bubbles were forming all over the dried-out bed of shit. Twinkling in the sunlight and smelling bad enough to curl your nose hairs, the bubbles inflated and then burst. Out of each one came another bunnicorn.

They landed on the grass with a flump, looked around, saw one of their own kind staring back, and charged. They would get close to stabbing each other in the face, but a flick of the head and the two horns would clash, knocking both jousters aside.

All over the meadow, the bunnicorns were having little duels.

“Why were they inside the shit?” asked Claire.

“Maybe they live in there,” said Maurice.

I had my own theory. The sight of those rabbits willingly jumping down that ogre’s throat back in the meadow reminded me of something I learned in biology class. Fruit is delicious because the plant wants them to be eaten. Once it passes through an animal’s system, the seed gets shat out in its very own package of ready-to-grow fertiliser. The circle of life, brilliant and disgusting.

The rabbits appeared to be the same. Being eaten and then encased in shit was part of their life cycle. It also seemed to evolve them, like some horrific version of pokemon. Pikadudu transformed into Jigglyturd. I could see why the people in Probet had reacted the way they did whenever we asked them about eating the rabbits.

“I think their horns might be worth collecting.” I put the horn I was holding in the sack on Dudley’s back. “We should hunt them.”

“They look a bit dangerous,” said Claire.

“Yeah, we have to be careful. But as long as they’re distracted by all this fighting amongst themselves, we should be able to pick a few off.”

I walked up behind a bunnicorn focused on of its fellows. As it prepared to charge, I brought my stick down hard, burying a nail into the top of its head, killing it instantly. Easy.

All the other bunnicorns stopped what they were doing to look at me. It was not a friendly look. They began herding together.

I took a few steps backwards.

The herd charged.

“Stampede!” I turned and ran.

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