"Haley! Haley, where are you? Haley!" Belkars shouts became more frantic as he dashed through the underground catacombs of the now-occupied Azure City. He had a feeling that these subterranean tunnels were always nearly impossible to navigate, and now things were even worst with the regular hobgoblin patrols. Belkar cursed loudly. Who designed these tunnels; an entire gang of dwarves? Stupid Durkon, stupid Elan and V for not waiting for them, stupid Roy for failing his reflex save against the pavement, stupid Hinjo for that stupid Mark of Justice, stupid thing in—

Belkar ran headlong into a solid wall of blackness, tumbling backwards over himself. "Yeesh? What was that?! Hey, get out of my way if you know what's good for you, you…" Belkar trailed off, his words stuck in his throat.

Staring at him was that deceptively powerful creature, hidden beneath a Hello Kitty umbrella and magical darkness, that creature in the shadows.

The creature looked down at him. Belkar remembered the earthquake it generated and couldn't help but shudder.

"Well, hiya!" the creature said jovially. Belkar gave the creature a blank stare. "Ooh, I remember you," it continued, "Aren't you one of Mr. Flopsy and Mr. Stiffly's friends? The one who can cook?"

"…I guess," Belkar finally managed to stammer. "Don't eat me! I'll feed you your own organs if you don't tell me the way out of here!"

"Actually, Mr. Cooky, I was looking for something to eat myself. Can you make me something yummy like last time? I think I know the way out of here, but it's hard to remember things on an empty stomach! Really! Redcloak doesn't believe me when I say that, he just thinks I want more food, but it's really hard to remember things when I'm hungry. You believe me, right?"

"Uh…Yeah, I guess. But why aren't they feeding you? I mean, if you're so strong, then shouldn't Xkyon and that stupid goblin be keeping you in top condition. Gods know Roy never did that," Belkar muttered to himself.

The creature nodded. "Yep, they are giving me all the food I want! But I've been sharing my stew with Mr. Stiffly, because they've stopped feeding him for some reason. And I don't want to see my friends get hungry. So can you make something for me to eat?"

"Uh…" Belkar began searching his pockets for something to start a fire with.

"Oh! I forgot the magic word! Never forget the magic word! Please?"

"…" At this point the halfling was confused. The creature was like a super-Thog or something. But at least now he had some info to bring back to Haley; she'd been really pissed since he snuck into the girls' sleeping area. Heh, totally worth it though. "Okay, I'll make you something." He searched his pockets again. Some lettuce, a hunk of cheese, a vial of vinegar, a small jar of oil, and a bit of bread. Well, at least he could make a salad out of this. Belkar began to arrange the ingredients before him. He was about to take the bread when the creature stopped him.

"No! You can't do that!"

"Can't do what?"

"You can't put bread in that!"

"…Why not? You were okay with that before."

"Yeah, but now I'm celebrating a holiday where I can't eat bread!"

"Celebrating a…Wait. That makes no sense."

"Yeah it does!" the creature protested. "A long time ago we couldn't eat bread because we didn't have time, and now we can, so for a week we don't eat bread to remember what it was like! Or something. I forget; I never paid attention to when my parents were talking about it…"

Belkar had actually fallen silent. At this point he was strongly considering just turning around and running for his life, when the creature continued.

"Anyways, you gotta use this instead of bread!" The creature handed Belkar a flat square that looked like a cracker. Belkar took a tentative nibble and promptly spat it out. Ugh! This tasted dry and stuck in his teeth!

"Yeah, it doesn't taste too good. And it messes with your digi…Dages…Insides."

Belkar shuddered at the visual. "Then screw tradition! Just have bread!"

"What? No! I've got to celebrate the holiday, and that means NO BREAD!!!"

Belkar clapped his ears, which were now ringing in pain. The creature's shouts were still echoing through the tunnels. "Okay! Okay! Here's your salad!" Belkar quickly took the cracker-like excuse for food and crumbled it over the salad. He groaned to himself and closed his eyes; this was probably a -4 to his Profession check, and knowing his luck he probably rolled a 1…

When Belkar opened his eyes again, he saw the creature licking the stone slab that he had used for a plate clean. "That's yummy, Mr. Cooky! You're a really good cook! Thanks!"

Belkar laughed, weak with relief. "Uh…The exit?"

"Oh! Oh right, it's that way! Thanks Mr. Cooky!"

Belkar was halfway down the corridor before the creature could finish his sentence. Man, that creature is freaky, he thought. Not half-bad, though.

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