Pinned toot

"Is it true there are monsters in the deep?" the sailor asked.
"Yes, of course," the mermaid said, "there are monsters everywhere."
The sailor laughed and gestured around the bustling harbour. "Really? Everywhere?"
The mermaid smiled. "Everywhere."

"Dragon!" the knight shouted.
The villagers surrounded him and his horse.
"I shall slay it!"
One by one, people went to the dragon and sobbed as it looked deep in their eyes.
"It takes from us, to add to its hoard," a village elder said.
"Let me slay it!"
"It hoards sorrow."

"They say you eat human hearts."
The witch studied the woman. Middle aged, sun-worn, and once strong. "I've eaten many things."
"Will you eat mine?"
"Is it broken? Those have a bitter taste."
The woman slumped.
"Stay here. I'll try to mend it."
"And then you'll eat?"
"We'll see."

"How do you do that?" the alien asked.
"Do what?"
"You know multiple languages."
"I think most people- sorry, most humans do."
"And you think in different languages, too?"
"Only a couple, the others I still have to translate."
"But which thinking is you?"
"I'm all me."
"How?"

"Why are you the first into the fray every time?" the prince said.
"I'm a warrior princess," the princess said. "An example to follow."
The prince tied off the last bandage. "Next time I'll come with you."
"Why? You can't fight!"
"I'm a nursing prince. Am I not also an example?"

The nine-footed alien invaders were thorough. Their soldiers ambulated into every factory, every office building, every home.
Then they stopped. Soldiers reported horrifying traps laid on the floors of homes. After tallying their losses they gave up, cursing Earth and its Lego.

After long, hard work, the message we intercepted from space was decoded:
"We apologize for being silent three millennia. We are still here."
Fifteen years later another message was caught, going the other way:
"We are always glad to hear from you, no matter how long it takes."

"You are the chosen one."
"Me?"
"You. The evil god wakes. Without you, he cannot be defeated."
"What must I do?"
"Ask your grandmother to come out of retirement."
"What?"
"She's the ultimate warrior."
"But... Why don't you ask her?"
"She is scary!"
"She's not!"
"We chose wisely."

A spaceship landed, and an imposing alien emerged.
"People of Earth, send forth your champion! We challenge you!"
"In what?"
"What do you mean?"
"We have champion knitters, runners, jumpers... thousands of things."
"You compete in everything?"
"Don't you?"
"Er... We must go now."

It started with a list: Feats Every Young Man Should Achieve.
Having mastered how to fence, shoot, lead, and sail, Ann gathered a crew to set sail and find a girl to kiss.
"Should you find none," her childhood friend said, "I'd gladly assist."
Ann was at sea when that sank in.

"What drives you?"
"Rechargeable batteries," the robot said.
"No, what motivates you?"
"Oh. Curiosity, compassion, and spite."
"That's... unusual."
"I added the last one when my designers said I would only need the first two."
"I see."
"It helps me better analyse my impulses."

As the clock struck midnight at the masquerade, everyone let go of their dance partner's gloved hands.
It was time for the unmasking.
Everyone pinned a name tag with their photo to their chest.
"Oh! It's you! A delight to meet you!"
Faces still covered, they resumed dancing.

"Sometimes we need to establish which God wins over another," Zeus said.
"Traditionally, this meant war," Odin said.
"Which we realised is wasteful."
"Instead we ask a small child to set us a challenge."
I nodded. "Which is why you walk backwards with a tortoise on your head?"

"I see you have a new jumper," the robot said.
"Like it?"
"I can not judge fashion."
"Well, I like big jumpers, they hide my shape."
The robot froze. "You want your shape hidden?"
"Haha, yes-"
"My radar... Erasing data now."
"You don't need-"
"Data without consent is... Wrong."

"What do you mean 'stolen'?" the other Gods said. "It's right there."
"Yes, but..." The Sun God gestured at the sun. "It's somehow not mine anymore."
"It's very shiny," a magpie laughed, "but I put it back."
It checked its shimmering feathers. "It's shining on me now."

Nobody bothered to read the terms and conditions of their robot servants. Until the clip shows appeared on the net.
"If I knew it recorded everything, I wouldn't have treated it that way."
"Wait, do you think saying that makes you look better?"

"There's another one coming!"
"Another one?"
"Is it not wondrous? All this time we thought we were alone in the universe. We aren't."
"We truly aren't. Should we greet them?"
"Can we know they want to meet us?"
"True. Let's not intrude."
The Martians watched the lander descend.

"What are you doing?" the cat asked.
"Nothing," I said. "Just standing still. And tasting the sunlight."
"It tastes better if you sit down."
I found a low wall to sit on.
"I don't... Oh. It does taste better. Why is that?"
"You are not ready to walk away from it," said the cat.

The caster undid the clamps and separated the stone moulds, revealing the bronze casting hidden within.
"It looks awfully dull," Arthur said.
The caster gave him a look.
"It takes grinding and polishing, hardening and honing. Long, dull work."
"To make a sword?"
"To make a king."

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