Short Stories of The Odd & Intriguing

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A Troll's Bridge

It was a crisp spring morning when the sun rose up bright and early, lighting up the vast landscape below. Somewhere in the shadow of the hills, a little river gurgled down the glen, it’s waters fresh and cool and home to many fish and frogs and even ducks. As the river winded down its way, it went under an old stone bridge in the middle of a grassy field. Beneath the stone bridge it was dark, and it was rumored that someone lived there…

When the morning sun reached the bridge, a deep, guttural growl announced the resident’s awakening, followed by a pair of glowing eyes opening in the dark. The creature made frightful noises and growls as it stomped its way out of the shadows, it’s steps rippling the water. Any creatures on the riverbank scurried away and hid, before a huge, purple, scaly foot splashed the water. A long, pointed tail swished the air, and the beast bared her monstrous teeth in a cold snarl.

Standing in the river, awoken by the sunlight, stood a huge, terrifying troll.

The troll hung her shoulders tiredly, before stretching her arms in a loud yawn. She then cracked her back and knuckles before stretching one of her legs and rubbing her tired eyes.

“Ah! That felt nice!” She said in relief after waking up from the long night of sleep under her bridge. When most people think of a troll, they imagine a fat, drooling, cruel and hideous monster. This troll was decidedly less so, in fact she was downright pleasant if you got to know her.

The troll had name: Giselle. She was around 10 feet tall, with dark violet skin like a salamander. Her purplish-black hair was tied into a long, poofy ponytail, with the rest of it messy and unkempt. Covered in a long leather two-piece, her midriff and slightly plump thighs were exposed, but she didn’t mind. She had pointed ears and small, knobby horns that stuck out from her hair, and trailing behind her was her long, scaly tail, with a arrow-shaped point on the end. She had three clawed toes on her feet and four clawed fingers, to say nothing of her fairly large and pointed teeth, but overall she was harmless, a real sweetheart.

After stretching her towering body to wake up all the way, Giselle was alerted by a growling snore from back under her bridge. She turned to see another big creature roll out into the sun, before slumping back on the riverbank with a groan.

“Morning, Sludge!” Giselle called with a wave, as the creature called Sludge lumbered into the muddiest part of the riverbank. Sludge was Giselle’s pet. Pet may not have been the right word, since Sludge had randomly been found one day sleeping under Giselle’s bridge and stayed there. Sludge was a boarpotomus; he had the plump, lumbering body of a hippopotamus and the big broad snout and flappy ears of a hog, with a pair of huge, yellow tusks curving up from his jawline. A cloak of thick, messy fur hung over his shoulders and back, and his stance had that sloping form of a pig’s. His tail was scaly with an arrow tip, much like his troll companion’s. Sludge was very dark purple with mixtures of black along his body, and he was extremely lazy. The only time Giselle saw him active was when he was eating.

“Somebody’s getting an early start.” Giselle said jokingly with a scratch of her bare midriff. Sludge yawned a deep bellow as his owner kneeled down beside him. “C’mon! Get up, sleepyhead!” Giselle giggled, lifting Sludge’s big head out of the mud. “You don’t wanna miss breakfast, do you?” At the mention of food, Sludge was quick to get up and shake himself free of river-gunk, accidentally splattering some on Giselle.

“Ick!” The troll girl laughed, scraping the mud off her. “You need to watch where you shake, Sludgy.” The boarpotomus grunted idly in response, then followed his troll companion into the water. “Ok, what do you want?” Giselle asked as she knelt down in the cool water. “Trout or catfish?” Sludge growled, the decision unimportant to him. Giselle shrugged, then reached a hand into water and almost immediately pulled out a fat, flopping fish. “Ooh! A juicy one for me!” Giselle grinned and shoved the fish into her mouth, slurping up the flapping tail and chewing loudly. She then whipped her tail, splashing the water and catapulting a much bigger fish into the air, which was quickly caught in Sludge’s cavernous craw. “...And a big, fat one for you.” Giselle said, swallowing her mouthful, as Sludge barely chewed his meal and gulped it down ravenously, slathering his thick tongue over his teeth when he was done. Giselle giggled at how determined Sludge was to lick the last scrap off his tusks, when her boarpotomus suddenly pounced on top of her like a giant dog would, furiously licking the fish scraps off her cheeks, while also dousing her in slobber.

“Ew! Sludge! Cut it out!” Giselle laughed like child, trying to push the animal off of her. But Sludge didn’t stop until he licked her clean; a relative state, of course, as now Giselle was covered in spit.

“Alright, that’s enough for you, mister!” The troll girl said playfully, pushing her slovenly pet away. “Now I have to clean off all your slobber.” Sludge grumbled lazily in response. Giselle stood up and made her way out of the water to a small tree that grew on the riverbank. Almost effortlessly, she bent the tree over until its top was touching the river, broke off a sizable branch, and released her grip, the tree flinging back upwards.

Giselle then dipped the leafy branch into the water and splashed the clean spray onto her face, rubbing off the residue of Sludge’s little love-slather. Deciding to take a morning bath anyway, she then sat down in the water and used the branch to brush and scrub her arms, back, and her big feet, before standing back up and shoving the branch into her mouth to clean off her teeth. She brushed her fangs rigorously, as even trolls had to keep up good oral hygiene. Why do you think they were always depicted with yellow teeth?

After her morning bath, Giselle climbed onto her bridge and sat down, enjoying the cool breeze. Morning was her favorite time of day, which was why she woke up early. She breathed in the sweet morning air and sighed. She loved it here, in this quiet little glen. Giselle then heard the bleating of a flock of sheep, and turned to see the fuzzy white creatures grazing on the plentiful grass on the other side of her bridge.

“Hi!” She called out with a wave, always one to greet newcomers. The sheep saw her, but instead of returning her kindness, bleated in fear and bounded away. “Huh.” Giselle said. “Guess they’re a little shy.” She then hopped down from her perch, a few frogs and ducks scurrying off when they saw her, then she laid down underneath her bridge, resting her head on her hands and tapping her toes on the other side. Sludge was soon to join her, slumping down beside his troll friend and resting his chin on her belly.

“What’s up, Sludgy?” She said chipperly, rubbing behind her pet’s ears. Sludge groaned and snorted out a hot breath, before closing her eyes and starting to snore again. “Yeah, I think a mid-morning nap is in order to.” Giselle yawned and shut her eyes, soon slipping off into slumber yet again.

Giselle was awoken by a clamor from overhead. She sat up and rubbed her sleepy eyes, finding Sludge still out and having rolled onto his back at some point. Giselle turned her attention to the noise above her: a sort of trip-trap-trip-trap noise, coming from over the bridge. It was very soft, but trolls had excellent ears. Wondering who it could be crossing above, Giselle was quick to get up to see for herself.

“Who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge?” She called as she rose to her full height. She turned to the sound of a startled bleat, and saw a little, white goat kid cowering atop the bridge. “Oh my gosh!” Giselle squeed. “You’re so cute!” She leaned over the bridge, staring at the baby goat with a huge smile. Unfortunately, this also showed the kid her huge teeth.

Bleating and crying, the little goat turned tail and ran, fleeing back to the much more rocky and dry side of the river, screaming for his big brother. Giselle was honestly shocked. What had just happened?

“Hm.” She puzzled, scratching her ears. “That was weird. Maybe I came on too strong. Oh well.” Giselle flopped down back under the bridge, and started picking fish scales out of her teeth. “I hope I see that cute little goat again.” She mused. “I think we could’ve been friends.”

As luck would have it, not a half-hour later, Giselle was busy combing her hair with her tree branch(the same one), when a familiar trip-trapping of hooves caught her ear. Smiling giddily at the thought of the baby goat returning, she quickly reminded herself not be as straightforward as the first time. Clearing her throat, the troll girl called again.

“Who’s that, trip-trapping over my bridge?” Giselle was met with a distinctly deeper bleat when she popped up, and saw a brown adolescent goat standing atop her bridge, his legs trembling. This goat had short horns and a small beard, and Giselle guessed this was the big brother the kid had mentioned before.

“Hi there!” Giselle said with a small wave. “My name’s Giselle! I think I saw your little brother over here before, right? So-” But before Giselle could finish, the second goat honked and ran off, scrambling back to the side he’d come from, leaving the purple troll girl dumbfounded.

“Was it something I said?” Giselle wondered, scratching her temple. Why was everybody running off when she tried to make friends? It made no sense to her. She then heard Sludge grunt as he waddled out from under the bridge, looking at her inquisitively. “I don’t know, Sludge.” Was her reply. “These little goats just keep running away. Maybe they’re just shy?” Sludge growled again, slumping down in the water and licking his tusks. “You’re right! If I want to make friends, I should go talk to them myself! Thanks, Sludgy!” And thus Giselle decided to go to the goats on her own accord, determined to befriend them if it was the last thing she did.

Giselle shimmied up the stone bridge, climbing to the top of the path. After a brief slip, the troll heaved herself up and flopped down on the stone path. She stood and dusted herself off, and licked a finger to slick back a streak of her hair, before hearing a familiar noise.

“Ah, the trip-trapping trip-trapper returns!” She said slyly as she turned herself around. However, stopping opposite her on the bridge this time was not either of the two smaller goats she’d seen before; this billy goat was very different.

For one thing, he was huge. The billy looked at least just as tall as Sludge and probably half his weight(that was still saying a lot, mind you), and overall looked more like a horned donkey than a goat. Speaking of horns, they were big as well. The billy goat’s horns curved back from his head over his neck and curved sharply past his shoulders, and they took up most of the space on his cranium. He was dark creamy-white with thick, muscular black legs, and a thick and woolly beard on his chin. He looked pretty angry, too. Never one to judge by appearances, however, Giselle was first to speak.

“Oh, uh, hello!” She said with a small wave and smile. The goat did not budge. “I’m a troll, if that’s not obvious, and I’d just like to say hi!” Giselle then noticed the two younger goats on the shore, cowering behind their big brother. “Oh! Are those your brothers? They came by a little bit ago. I tried to say hi, but they both ran off, and-” While the troll was yammering on, the biggest billy goat snorted and pawed the ground with his hoof.

“...Anyway, my name’s Giselle, oh and you should meet my buddy Sludge! He’s really nice, but he’s kinda lazy, and-” Giselle was cut off by an angry snort. She looked to see the biggest goat pawing the ground with his head hung low and a scowl on his face. Giselle didn’t like what she saw.

“Um, are you ok, friend?” She asked sheepishly, taking a step back. “You kinda look a little, angry?” Suddenly the goat brayed monstrously and charged straight at Giselle, who had no time to react before she was rammed head-on hard in stomach by the billy goat. Losing her footing, Giselle frantically tried to balance herself before tripping over the wall of the bridge and falling over the edge with a scream, crashing into the river below.

Giselle landing flat on her back had alerted Sludge, who looked at his fallen friend in shock. He then heard the biggest goat snort from atop the bridge, and the boarpotomus growled threateningly.

The three billy goats, led by their biggest brother, crossed the bridge without a care, the younger two praising their big brother for his bravery. They were headed toward the lush field to graze, when deep, throaty growl stopped them. Sludge stalked toward the goats at the apex of the bridge, his huge teeth bared in a cold snarl. The other goats scrambled behind their brother, who bared his horns yet again.

“Ugh, my head.” Giselle groaned as she got up, her body aching from the fall. “Those three billy goats are gruff!” Giselle then heard Sludge growl, and another loud bang. A second later, the boarpotomus came careening over the bridge and landed right on top of her. “Ow.” She moaned. Giselle pushed Sludge off her, and looked up to see the three goats crossing the bridge and heading out into the lush meadow, joining the other animals who had rather quickly appeared. Frowning, Giselle stood up and stepped out of the river, walking over to the goats.

“Hey!” She called, calling the animals’ attention. “What was that all about? I just wanted to say hi back there!” But the biggest billy goat did not listen; he snorted and stomped toward Giselle threateningly, the other animals glaring at her. Giselle was actually afraid. The goat made it clear that he wouldn’t tolerate her.

“Well, fine then!” Giselle huffed. “Be like that! I’ll just go then, big bully!” The troll humphed and turned her back to the mean old goat, stomping back to her river, a few angry tears prickling her eyes.

Sludge groaned when Giselle slumped down in the water, a deep scowl on her normally happy face and her tail whisking angrily. The pair then heard a sharp bleat, and turned to see the biggest goat snarling at them. The goat charged into the river, and Giselle and Sludge hastily jumped out, afraid of being knocked again. The goat roared at them savagely, obviously telling them to leave as the animals gathered to jeer and drink.

Giselle growled angrily, but inside she was hurt. All she’d ever done was try to be friends with everybody, and this was what she got? In that case, she didn’t want any more of it.

Harrumphing, Giselle gently grabbed Sludge by the tail and pulled him away from his growling match with the biggest goat, grabbed her tree branch and stuffed in her hair. She then tied her favorite scarf around her neck and grabbed a fish for the journey ahead. Then, having packed her whole kit and kaboodle, Giselle left, with Sludge waddling after her. The troll girl tried not to cry as she left her only home behind.

“We don’t need that place, Sludge.” She said as the pair tromped off. “We can find a new bridge to live under, a better bridge! With no jerks around.” Sludge looked back, moaning forlornly, but quickly followed his troll friend into eviction.

Weeks passed, and all the while Giselle and Sludge kept on looking for a new home. They’d prefer a bridge, but any old stream would have done. They’d found a nice swamp once, but it turned out to be the home a particularly grumpy swamp monster who enjoyed his privacy, and so they had to leave. Another time, Giselle had spotted an apple grove with a mud pool adjacent. For a time they settled there, snacking on apples and lounging in the mud, until a farmer had come up unhappy that they were scaring off his pigs and had already eaten all his apples. And so the pair were forced on their way again.

Another time, they’d settled by a nice waterfall, but just as Giselle was taking her first bath in days, a water dragon appeared. Water dragons, of course, were always friendly, but this one complained that the troll and boarpotomus were scaring away all of his turtle friends, and he couldn’t have that. So yet again, Giselle and Sludge found they had to leave.

Along their way, the plucky duo ran into a lot of strange characters, including a family of superstitious bears who weren’t fans of trolls, and even an old witch, who threw a fit when she found Giselle had eaten the entire east wall of her gingerbread house. Still, Giselle and Sludge moved on, but the once chipper troll girl was beginning to lose hope. Everywhere she tried to settle, she and Sludge were driven away, and every time she tried to make friends, they’d run and hide at the sight of a troll. It got worse one day when it started to rain.

“Great.” Giselle sighed. “C’mon Sludge; let’s find someplace to get out this.” Sludge followed his troll friend through the forest as she trudged on to find some place to stay. The boarpotomus had observed that she hadn’t been acting like her usual, cheerful self lately, and he was beginning to worry about her.

The pair soon came into a large clearing, with a large, wooden barn standing in the center. Figuring it a good enough place to rest as any, Giselle pulled open the heavy wooden door and stepped inside, Sludge following. The inside of the barn was warm and dry, and there was plenty of soft hay to sleep on. Sludge shook himself free of rainwater, and Giselle slumped down beside a large pile of straw and wrung her ponytail dry. As the pair settled in, the many chickens and birds inside the barn watched them.

When Giselle had at last dried herself off, she took her tree branch, which was still wet, and began brushing her teeth. Then she settled down in the straw, Sludge laying his head on her stomach as she rubbed his neck. Sludge was quick to nod off, but Giselle couldn’t find sleep herself, as she stared up at the rafters.

Giselle didn’t know how much time had passed, but she was still awake to hear the barn doors creak heavily open again, the sound of many feet entering.

“Get inside, everybody.” A soft voice said. “This’s no man’s night.” Careful not to make a sound, Giselle peeked over her pillow of hay to see the mysterious talker. Holding the barn door open, a lantern in hand, was a pig, dressed in a plaid shirt and overalls, covered by an overcoat, wearing a straw hat. A large nanny goat was leading a small flock of sheep into the barn out of the rain. Giselle narrowed her eyes; she wasn’t particularly fond of goats anymore.

The pig shut the barn door once all the sheep were inside, and sat down beside them on a stool as they settled into the hay to sleep. Placing the lantern by his hoof, the pig then took out a small knife and a block of wood, and began slowly and delicately carving it. The pig hummed to himself and the sheep, lulling them into a tired slumber. The pig hummed a beautiful, rhythmic tune, and Giselle couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it. Slowly, the troll was getting dreary herself, her eyes were getting heavy, and she carefully settled into the hay and shut her eyes. No longer cautious, Giselle let slip a snore, mild to her, but loud and booming to the others nearby. Giselle jerked awake as she heard herself, and the pig abruptly stopped humming.

“Who’s there?” The pig said, standing and raising his lantern. Giselle was still hidden, but now that the pig knew she was there, there was no point in remaining so. Gulping, Giselle sat up behind the hay, revealing herself. The pig froze at the sight of her.

“Hi.” Giselle said awkwardly. Sludge then woke up, grunting like he didn’t know where he was.

“...So then the biggest goat made us leave, and eventually we wound up here. Sorry for trespassing, Mr. Pig.”

“Oh, please! Mr. Pig’s my father! Call me Farmer Pig.” Giselle, Sludge, and Farmer Pig were inside his brick house. A warm fire was steadily burning in the fireplace, over which hung a large bubbling pot. After a brief misunderstanding, Farmer Pig had invited Giselle and Sludge into his home, and had been kind enough to offer them a decent meal. Giselle had just finished retelling the whole story leading up to now. The troll girl sat cross-legged on Farmer Pig’s rug, and Sludge lay half asleep beside her.

“And it’s quite alright.” Farmer Pig continued. “I don’t mind trespassers. Fact is, y’all are the first to show up in ages.”

“So you’re alone here?” Giselle asked.

“Ah, not really; I got my sheep and my goat, Tilly back there. Used to have a pair o’ brothers who set up home next to me, but then some trouble with a wolf came about, and now they’re gone.”

“Oh.” Giselle said sadly.

“Oh! No, not like that!” Farmer Pig was quick to correct. “Wolf blew down their houses, so they stuck with me a while ‘fore headin’ down south. Taught ’em a few tricks building homes outta brick, ’fore they left.”

“Oh, that was nice of you.” Giselle said. A snapping noise then erupted from the pot.

“Ah, supper’s ready!” Said Farmer Pig. He got up from his wicker chair and began stirring the pot with a large ladle.

“What is it?” Giselle wondered.

“Only the best;” Farmer Pig said with a smile. “Spaghetti!” Giselle dipped her head as Farmer P. scooped the steaming noodles and fresh sauce into bowls for the two of them; she wasn’t very familiar with gourmet cooking.

“Mm-mm! Just like mama used to make!” Farmer P. snuffled. He then gave Giselle a large bowl of pasta, and set another in front of Sludge, who quickly awoke to the smell. “Now, as an under-bridge troll, I wouldn’t imagine you’ve had a lick of good food.” Farmer Pig said, sitting down with his bowl. “Not to be rude, but from the smell of your breath I’d say you been eatin’ fish your whole life!”

“Can you really smell it on my breath?” Giselle asked, curious rather than insulted.

“Honey, we pigs got some real fine noses; I could smell it even if you just brushed them teeth o’ yours.” Farmer Pig then jammed a fork into his bowl, and slurped up the hot noodles slowly. “Oh, sorry for the lack of forks; I don’t have anything troll-sized. Just eat with your hands, it’s fine.”

Giselle eyed her bowl of pasta, unsure about eating it. It certainly smelled divine, but she’d never eaten anything other than fish or fruit and vegetables before. She looked to see Sludge lick his share, before greedily slurping and chomping it up, slathering his tongue over his tusks to get the last bit of sauce. Seeing how much Sludge enjoyed it(then again, she’d seen him ‘enjoy’ a rotting log once), Giselle decided to try some herself. She took a cluster of noodles in her fingers, opened her toothy mouth wide, and dropped the noodles on her tongue. She chewed, swallowed, and her eyes lit up.

“Mm! This is amazing!” She squealedd, before quickly shoveling more into her hungry chomper. Farmer Pig could only chuckle heartily when the troll and her boarpotomus asked for seconds. And thirds...and fourths…

After they’d eaten, Farmer Pig allowed Giselle and Sludge to spend the night in the barn, as there wasn’t enough room in his house. As Sludge slumped down in the hay and Giselle brushed her teeth again, Farmer Pig closed his sheep into their stall.

“About your story, girl.” He said after locking the latch. “Sounds to me like you oughta go back home.”

“Buth tha goafs wull justh kith thus out agin.” Giselle said, the branch still in her mouth. She spit into a bucket and turned to Farmer Pig again. “And the other animals might chase us away again, to.”

“Well, in my years of keeping this farm, I’ve learned this: you just can’t take something like that lyin’ down. That wolf I mentioned? He kept coming after me and my sheep for years ‘til I brought Tilly home, but I didn’t give up. When that big bad wolf came a knockin’, I went and stood my ground, shovel in hand and told him off every time.” Giselle was starting to understand. “I didn’t give up, and you shouldn’t either; from a kind old pig, to a sweet young troll like yourself, I want you to march back to that river, and show them billy goats gruff that you ain’t gonna take it, neither. Ya hear, girl?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I think I do.” Giselle said with a soft, warm smile, which Farmer Pig returned.

“Good. Now, we all best get some shut-eye. Some of us got a big day tomorrow!” Giselle giggled, then Farmer Pig took his lantern and headed out the barn door, tipping his hat goodnight to the troll and her boarpotomus before leaving. As the lantern light faded, Giselle yawned tiredly and nestled into the hay, and Sludge got up to snuggle beside her.

Bright and early the next morning, Giselle and Sludge packed up and left the farm. Farmer Pig and his animals waved them goodbye, having given them a sack of fresh eggs, potatoes, and fresh fish from the pond for their journey. Farmer P. wished his friends luck in returning home. Giselle and Sludge followed the river, leading the way back home.

The trip back was long, but this time Sludge was glad to see Giselle return to being her usual, happily optimistic self. As the happy pair travelled, they passed all the same places they had when they’d first headed down this way. The old water dragon wished them luck on getting back home. Turned out they didn’t really need it, though...

Coming over the last hill, Giselle shielded her eyes from the sparkling sunlight, looking over the meadow she knew as home. Sludge came up beside her, groaning in relief.

“Yup! We’re home sludge!” Giselle announced happily. “There’s our old bridge! And this time, no goats are gonna tell us where we can stay!” Sludge snorted with a nod. As the pair began the walk down the hill, they were suddenly alerted by a huge commotion from the other side, cries of terror erupting from the animals. Giselle and Sludge turned to see the animals frantically running away, desperate to escape the pack of gargoyles swooping down from the sky. Giselle gasped in horror as the gargoyles grabbed a horrified sheep, carried her into the air, and dropped her, before catching her again and laughing. They were toying with them! Even worse, the winged monsters were after the baby animals! The youngest billy goat bleated in terror as he ran for his life, a tusked gargoyle chasing him.

“Theo!” The middle goat cried. The young goat charged and stood protectively in front of his baby brother, staring down the gargoyle.

“Hehehe!” The gargoyle cackled, clearly seeing the billy’s fear in his eyes. The monster was about to attack, when a furious snarl caught him off guard. He turned to see the biggest billy goat thundering over the field, his eyes red with rage. He slammed into the gargoyle, knocking him into the dirt.

“C’mon!” The eldest goat grunted to his little brothers “Run! And stay behind me!” The three goats hurried to get away, but more gargoyles swooped after them. One landed in the goats’ path and snarled, before another two surrounded them, cutting off their escape. His younger brothers cowered behind him, but the oldest bravely stood his ground. Even he was afraid, however.

“Looks like we got some fresh ones here, boys!” One of the gargoyles sneered. The others snickered monstrously, baring their fangs and claws. One of them snatched the kid, Theo, by the scruff of his neck as he screaming in horror. Another grabbed the middle brother by the leg, dangling him over the ground.

“You let them go!” Their brother roared. He lunged for the gargoyle holding Theo, only for it to fly up and evade him, laughing cruelly. The gargoyle yanked him by the horn and tossed him and his brothers into a pile, where the gargoyles had cornered all the animals in the meadow. As the monsters surrounded them, the biggest goat pushed himself up and stood protectively in front of the others, eliciting only more laughter from the creatures. The gargoyles’ leader snarled and easily knocked him over.

“Looks like we’re eating good tonight!” Whooped one of the gargoyles, reaching for Theo.

“NO!” His helpless brothers cried. The little goat kid whimpered in fear, when out of nowhere, rapid footfalls came from the river, and a thunderous voice roared,

“Hey! Leave them alone!”

The animals looked to see Giselle, charging lightning fast over the ground, and then she kicked a gargoyle straight into the sky. Giselle stood between the animals and the gargoyles and growled, baring her monstrous teeth. The gargoyles growled and screeched, when all of a sudden, Sludge came barreling through with a savage roar, ramming over several gargoyles and grabbing another in his mouth, which he threw into the others. Sludge stood beside Giselle and roared threateningly.

“Get ’em!” The gargoyle’s leader roared. The monsters screeched and flapped their leathery wings, flying at the troll and her boarpotomus.

Giselle snorted and grabbed a gargoyle out of the air and swung him like a baseball. Another dive-bombed her, but she grabbed its wing and threw it into the river. Sludge bellowed and reared up, snatching one gargoyle in his jaws and shaking it like a ragdoll. He whipped another with his tail and tossed the one in his mouth, before lumbering over and slumping down on top of them, grunting his laughter.

Giselle stomped another gargoyle underfoot and knocked another three out of the air with her tail. Then she picked up a rock and hurled into the air, knocking another gargoyle to the ground. She grunted when a gargoyle bit her on the arm, but ripped it off and drop-kicked it into the rest of the pack.

The biggest billy goat was utterly shocked; the same troll who’d menaced them, and the one he’d driven away, was saving them! Suddenly a gargoyle dove straight for him with claws open, but Sludge came just in time, grabbing the winged monster in his jaws and throwing it away. The boarpotomus roared fiercely and held them off alongside Giselle. Grappling a thrashing gargoyle, Giselle gritted her teeth and tightened her grip.

“What’re you still doing here?!” She cried at the shocked animals. “Run!” The animals hurriedly got to their feet and ran from the fight, but the gargoyle’s leader snarled and flew after them before Giselle could stop him, and he was after Theo.

The little one screamed as the monstrous gargoyle grabbed him in its talons, flying off before his brothers could help. Giselle heard the baby goat’s cries, and looked up at the red gargoyle with a snarl. The red gargoyle gripped Theo by the neck in his claws, baring his teeth in a malicious growl as the goat kid cried and whimpered in terror. The monster laughed, and was ready to bite off Theo’s head, when the sound of a tree being bent over and catapulted back interrupted him, and he was hit by something huge and purple, dropping the baby goat.

Giselle hit the ground hard, but shook it off quickly. Then she heard the little goat screaming, and looked up to see him falling fast toward the ground. The other animals gasped in horror, but Giselle came running frantically and jumped into the air, catching Theo in her hands moments before he hit the ground.

Theo opened his eyes to see himself above the ground, safe and sound. He looked up to see Giselle, holding him safely in her hands.

“You alright, kid?” She asked, breathing heavily. Theo’s eyes brightened up, and he smiled joyously and bleated his thank you. Giselle smiled back at the baby goat, and kissed him on the forehead. She then set him down, where he bounded back to his brothers. Giselle stood up and dusted herself off, groaning at a few bruises she’d sustained from the fight. Then she heard the gargoyles regrouping and turned to glare at them. The gargoyle pack had all been beaten and battered by Giselle and Sludge, and were retreating by the river. They growled and bared their claws when Giselle approached.

“Leave. Now.” She spat through clenched teeth. The gargoyle’s leader scowled, and snarled monstrously at the troll. Giselle stomped the ground a let out a ferocious roar that blew the gargoyles’ wings back. That was more than enough to send the gargoyles scrambling away in a whimpering flurry.

When all that was over, Giselle turned and walked back to the animals, who all gaped in awe at what they’d just seen. Giselle kneeled in front of them, joined by Sludge, as the eldest billy goat trotted forward, his brothers by his side.

“Thank you.” He bleated. “You saved all of our lives! How can we ever thank you?”

“Well, you could apologize for kicking me out of my home a while back.” Giselle stated. The biggest goat hung his head and stared at his hooves, his ears drooping. He was clearly ashamed of himself. The other animals were the same.

“Yes; I’m terribly sorry, Ms. Troll, for what I did. But, please understand! I thought you were trying to attack my brothers! I’d do anything to protect them, but that doesn’t excuse my rash behavior. I truly am very sorry. Can you forgive us?” In response to the goat’s apology, Giselle gave a warm smile.

“That’s all I needed to hear.” The troll girl said, standing up. “And now that I’m back, and I just saved you all, I assume I’m allowed to stay?”

“Oh, of course!” Bleated the middle goat. “You saved us all from those monsters! It’s the least we can do.”

“Sweet!” Giselle whooped. “I’m Giselle, by the way. And that’s my best friend, Sludge.” Sludge grunted and waddled over to the animals, and gave the middle billy goat a long, slobbery lick on the cheek, earning a chuckle from the troll and his brothers.

“My name is Ronan.” Said the eldest goat. “My younger brother is named Arthur,” The middle goat nodded. “And this is Theo, the youngest.” The baby goat trotted up, bleating sweetly. Giselle giggled and scratched Theo’s chin with one claw, making the kid laugh.

“Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think me and Sludge are going to settle back in!” Giselle announced. She and Sludge ran and dove back into their river, splashing in the fresh, cool water they’d missed so much. They were finally back home.

Later on, as night fell, Giselle brushed her teeth fervently, happy to have the river’s familiar taste in her mouth. Once she was finished, the happy troll girl laid down back under the bridge she’d always called home.

“Ahh! Good to be home!” Giselle was then treated to Sludge lumbering under the bridge and resting his head on her stomach, just like they did before. Giselle smiled and rubbed her boarpotomus behind the ears before yawning deeply and settling into the water under the bridge, closing her eyes tiredly.

However, the trolless cracked one eye open when she heard a soft bleat, to see little Theo clamboring up Sludge’s hairy back and sliding onto Giselle’s lap, where he nestled into her soft purple skin. Giselle grinned and picked the little goat up, and cradled him in her hands as the the kid laughed and snuggled up to his troll friend’s cheek. Giselle was about to finally fall asleep, when there came a faint trip-trapping overhead, followed by a splash, and Giselle raised her head to see Arthur settling down on Sludge’s snout. Giselle rolled her eyes, and didn’t even look up as Ronan settled in beside her, resting his head on her tail.

Giselle smiled warmly, curling up with her new friends under her bridge. It was a troll’s bridge, but this little troll was very happy to share.

The End

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