“Thought you’d get away, did you, my dears?” a grating voice said, then there was an evil laugh. They looked up, and Arwin screamed. Solly and Leo both tried to hide, but they were in an open area, and there was nothing to hide behind, or under. It was the evil Kraken, the giant squid witch of the southern ocean. “I won’t hurt you, my dears, my trained Pike will take care of that!” With that, she swam away, still laughing.
“What trained Pike?” Arwin asked.
“She has an army of large pike, and they are better soldiers than any in the army I was in,” Solly said. “They are really vicious fighters. About the only thing that can put them to rout is a Coelacanth, and they aren’t usually found around here. We need to hurry. Arwin, how fast can you run?”
Arwin said “I can run quite fast, but ...” she looked ahead. “I can’t possibly run all the way to the Emerald City. It’s just too far! What can we do?”
“Let’s just go, you run as fast and as far as you can. There is a reef up ahead. If we can get there, I know of several places we can shelter in where the Pike can’t reach us. Come on!” Leo set out, swimming at full speed, with Solly behind him. Arwin ran, arms and legs pumping and building speed until she was in the lead. Her arms and legs were moving so fast they almost blurred.
They reached the reef just before the Pike closed in. With their backs to the reef, and an overhang above them, the companions started to fight back. Solly darted out and hit one in the side, sending it spinning away. Leo charged out at another, and it turned tail and swam away. Arwin wondered just how she could fight. She had no weapons.
A pike closed in on her, mouth open wide, teeth gleaming. She froze for a second, and then just before it was close enough to bite, she blurted out: “What did the bird say when it flew over a Wal-Mart? Cheap, cheap, cheap.” The pike stopped, staring, trying to figure out what that meant. It started trying to swim backwards, and finally dived down and around, going to the rear of the pack. Two others had heard, too, and were distracted enough for Solly and Leo to bash into them and send them packing.
Arwin giggled, and as soon as another Pike came close, she said “Why don’t blind men sky dive? Because it scares the dogs silly!” the pike veered off, and Solly side-bumped him away.
Every time another pike came close to Arwin, she came out with another one liner. “What kind of shoes are made from banana skins? Slippers!” She was having the time of her life, watching the pike get confused by the jokes. Solly and Leo were attacking them as soon as Arwin stunned them. Only there were just too many pike. Soon the three were tiring. Arwin started praying for help.
Suddenly there was a disturbance at the back of the Pike pack. The fish were trying to turn and fight something there. Leo darted out and up, and came back shouting in excitement.
“There are four Coelacanth out there, attacking the Pike from the rear! And boy, can they fight. They go up and nose straight down, biting chunks out of the pike, some go under and attack from below. That armour breaks the pike’s teeth when they try to bite.”
“Hello, we’ve got them on the run” a voice said from above. Arwin looked up and saw a large fish with hard scales that formed flexible armour over its whole body. It was about five and a half feet long, and weighed around one hundred and thirty two pounds. “We heard the Kraken bragging that her pets would finish off the Arwin and her friends, so we decided to come and have some fun.”
“Thanks! We are really glad to see you. We’re trying to get to the Emerald City to see the wizard.” Arwin said. She looked around to see the last of the Pike swimming away at top speed. “It looks like your friends have vanquished our foes. I’d never heard of Coelacanth until Solly mentioned you. You are formidable fish. What’s your name? I’m Arwin, that’s Solly the soldier fish, and that’s Leo the Lionfish.”
“I’m Canth; my friends are Coelly, Ela and Laca. We do pretty well, and Pike are no problem at all. If you don’t mind, we’ll go along with you to protect you. No telling what else will come along. We may even get a chance to put an end to Kraken, the Squid Witch. Everyone in Ozland would cheer about that!”