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The Training: Beth

Fighting off a rampaging troll in the woods just to rescue her milk cow wasn't the first thing on her list today.

Neither was finding a male wood nymph who needed her help.

What didn't help was his attitude of being "Nature's gift to women", but his broken leg meant he was going to perish out there when the next troll came along.

Come to think of it, maybe that troll was after him, and not her Bessie-cow?

Regardless, she just couldn't leave him out there. And in spite of his attitude, he was kind of cute, pointy ears and all.

If only she didn't have to now fend off her farm from other very real fairy-tale creatures, like goblins and witches, and of course, more trolls...


She was running toward me, just as I hoped for. Of course, I couldn't move to get out of her way, not with that busted leg the troll had just given me.

And I don't know if she could see him like I could, but that troll was right behind her - and gaining.

So I did the only thing I could - I made her trip. And she landed right next to me, in the soft ferns and leaves. Not that it helped her landing too much.

She groaned at her landing, then rolled over to get back to her feet. That's when she saw me. Laying there. Eye to eye with her. Of course I was only three foot tall and had pointed ears, so it was a bit of a shock.

I put my finger on her lips and pointed over her shoulder.

There was the troll. All nine ugly feet of him, carrying a huge stick made out of a tree stump root ball. He'd beaten most of the dirt out of it, as well as most of the roots that stuck out. But it was scary nonetheless.

He seemed to have lost where she went. But right as I thought that, he sniffed the air and turned in our direction. And saw us both. Then Mr. Troll started stalking toward us, an evil grin on his face.

My only move was a desperate one. I grabbed her hand and pointed it to the troll. Nothing happened at first, but then the troll appeared to slow down, and just as slowly, he got perplexed about why he couldn't move at his normal speed.

"Thought so." I said to this human. "You've got talents you didn't even suspect. Here - this might seem strange to you, but imagine that troll as a cloud of smoke."

But nothing happened. He was still moving toward us like a glacier, but still would be here sooner than we could get out of his way.

"OK, try not to think of a pink elephant." And poof, the troll now had big pink floppy ears and a long pink nose. But he still held that huge stick in his hand, still moving slowly toward us.

"Now - think of him as a cloud of smoke." And the troll was just a cloud. The stick also disappeared. "Next, make the wind disperse him into the clouds." And a gust of wind dissipated that cloud into nothing.

At that, she looked back at me - and fainted.

But I looked her over and saw she looked just fine. A very cute fine.

Of course, I still had a broken leg and now had a fainted-but-gorgeous human woman next to me.

Still, things could be worse. The troll was gone anyhow. But he was only the beginning, an advanced scout. This lady's life had just taken an unexpected turn. And I was probably her only hope of living through it...

- - - -

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The Training: Beth

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