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Challenge published on 16 Comments on Challenge

See if you can find a way to bring the shrews with you when you leave.


You suggest to Alex that you bring the shrews with you.

“Bring them where?”

To Murida, of course. It houses a million rodents. It can handle a few more.

“There are forty-odd shrews in this village, and you want to take them all to the capital? Who’s going to pay for their food and accommodation? You? Don’t say ‘the crown’, because you and I both know Her Majesty’s view on refugees. Now come on, this smell is disgusting.”

The Blademaster walks out the village, and you give close chase. Val and Rosaline soon follow.

Before you leave, you need to teach them how to defend themselves, even if only for one night.


You propose arming and training the shrews. You recall the story of the Tokudaia Ten, the valiant band of warriors who, through discipline and perseverance, taught a village to defend themselves against water vole raiders.

“Great idea, Lemon. Give those snot-nosed kids and whimpering invalids one afternoon of training, and I’m sure Solhill will be all set to slay a titan. Gods, you’re delusional. Also, if you actually studied your history, you would recall that the Tokudaia Ten suffered devastating losses in their battle.”

Well, yes, but…

See if you can get a bead on Rosaline’s reaction. You could really use an ally

Violet the Screeching Creature

You look over to your fellow knights for support.

Rosaline’s stony expression betrays no hint of her thoughts or feelings. She watches your argument with silent, impartial scrutiny.

Val is more interested in the contents of their flask.

If Alex proposes to abandon those in need, he will, at the very least, need to state out loud that he proposes to abandon those in need. Do not back down without a plan of rescue or a clear admission of guilt.


Feeling increasingly frustrated, you ask Alex if he actually intends to abandon those in need. Isn’t it the job of the Thimble Guard to protect the people of Rodentia?

The Blademaster turns to face you directly. “I think you’ve heard one too many songs about Artura and the knights of old. You seem to misunderstand what it is us Thimble Guard actually do. You see, Lemon, our role is to protect the Queen and her realm. Make sure things run smoothly. Maintain order. Now, maybe you’re thinking that a vulpes wiping out a village is a twisted idea of ‘order’, and I’d be inclined to agree, but it’s a less twisted concept than getting ourselves killed so you can fulfil your fetish for social justice.”

You tell Alex that you had no idea that the Thimble Guard was an order of cowards.

“Don’t test me, Lemon. You pulled that clownery last night. You slept in this morning.”

You didn’t sleep in. See, there was this enormous cockroach-

“Shut up. You then pass off your map duties to Val, neglecting your one and only job. You pull that, that… hat buffoonery. You signed a contract with a damned titan. And now you’re trying to lecture me, the Blademaster of Murida, on what it means to be a knight. When we get back to the city, I will see to it that you are slapped with the harshest punishment Her Majesty will allow.”

He pauses. “Actually, why wait? I’ll punish you right now.”

With one paw Alex reaches behind his back and, from under his fluffy tail, he produces a gold-rimmed, silver-faced buckler, a sterling shield of godly origin. With his other paw, he draws a shining falchion, an elegant weapon crafted by the degus of Alicanto Woods themselves, if rumour in the tunnels is to be believed.

“Draw your sword, rookie,” Alex growls.

Val spits out a mouthful of wine. “Oh shit! This is a formal duel. Lemon’s gonna get WRECKED.”

“What a waste of time,” says Rosaline. “They should drop the pretence and just compare tail sizes.”

You draw your sword.

Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods! This was a mistake. You’re about to be decapitated by the most reputable swordsman in the kingdom on your first day of employment because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut. Great job. Slap that achievement on your CV. Not that you’ll need another job when you’re a full-time corpse.

No. You’re alright. You’re fine. Keep calm. You’ve just got to think this through.

Make a battle plan.


State your name and title before staring straight at him. Do not show a hint of fear, for if we die we might as well establish ourselves as less a coward than this so-called Blademaster discarding those who are powerless to their fate

You are outmatched in terms of skill with a blade, so fight smart. Keep constant awareness of your surroundings and use them to your advantage. Prioritize evasive maneuvers, and use your youth and stamina. He is already angry with you, so continue to goad him by pointing out his cowardice. Make him frustrated with you. Make him reckless. Invite him to make a mistake.

Alex expects you to panic and cheat. Go with it up. to. a. point.

You will have exactly one chance to surprise the blademaster, and you’re not going to do it by kicking sand or pulling his tail in a panic.

You might be able to do it by predicting how he will react to your panicked attempts to cheat and taking advantage of his ego. You get one chance.

You get ready to take the beating but then the blademaster gets hit by a stone.
And then by two other stones.
Seems like the young kid found some friends and they don’t really like the blademaster. (pretty good aim)
Maybe this won’t go like the blademaster thinks….

Thanks to the kid in the blue cape, we have a solid guess at the vulpes’s name. And Alex, rather than leave “immediately,” decided to hold a duel right out in the open.

Words have proven not to work.
Our skill with a blade is no match for the Blademaster.

Call out Ironfang’s name, and tell the titan that Alex is reneging on the contract by stalling instead of leaving immediately.

First, calm down. To help: I don’t think you’re going to be killed/maimed in this duel. Her lack of expression is unsurprising, but her word choice seems to suggest that she either fails to notice the gravity of this situation, or that this situation is not as critical as you’re making it out to be. She opted to say “waste of time”, as if time is the most valuable thing at stake, not your life. She suggests “comparing tail sizes”, as if that would achieve the same result as the duel. Hurting your ego, perhaps? “Drop the pretence”, she probably knows little about you, and you don’t really have any idea how you could be faking, so she’s probably referring to Alex.
…knows little about you…? Is now a good time to ask about why you’ve been nicknamed Lemon?