"Skrowtz, if you were not my son, you would have been skinned alive and thrown to Lasko Catta! The very one who defeated you..."

Skrowtz bore Crazar's berating, knowing it was well deserved. Two losses in a day, and six casualties. Even more unnerving for Skrowtz was his potential fall from favor on this island. He needed a success to his name, or he would be shamed out of his prestigious position.

"My lord, lend me the Acromortis. I will slay Lasko Catta."

"A mere daydream, fool! It would be great if Lasko died by anyone's hand, but you, of all people, killing him? Ha!" taunted the emperor.

"The Acromortis is as deadly and agile as Lasko. If I shoot Lasko with my bow and have the Acromortis battle him too, Lasko will die," explained Skrowtz.

The Acromortis was a lemur, just like Lasko Catta. If he had a real name, seasons of captivity wore it off as wind sweeps away dead leaves. Crazar had captured the once noble creature and poisoned him with a special fungus. It made him forget identity, morals, family, and other ties. It turned him into a ruthless killing machine, with no regard for its own safety. Feared by all cats on the island, only Skrowtz and Crazar could tame him.

                                      * * *

Lasko Catta was peacefully sitting on his tree, when an arrow flew out of nowhere. He was instantly galvanized into action, and dodged the arrow. More came for him to dodge, but then the Acromortis leapt into sight. Lasko had to think; He saw Skrowtz with only a ranged weapon, and The Acromortis dual-wielded sabers. Lasko did the most reasonable thing; he shot Skrowtz in the arm. The Acromortis was far enough for an arrow assault, fully focused on him. The acromortis dropped out of the trees, arrows all over his body. Skrowtz wasted no time in running away, ears burning from shame. Lasko was crazy, but also intelligent. Skrowtz would have to try harder to checkmate him.

                                     * * * 

After Lasko was out of sight, Skrowtz slowed his pace. As he trudged through the forest, something caught his eye. A mouse? He was unarmed, and he was obviously an escaped slave.

"I've got you now, filthy mouse!" Skrowtz yelled as Tweelo the mouse shrieked in fear. Skrowtz roughly dragged him to Crazar's palace. At least now he could balance out the bad news with a bit of success.

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