57. The Road to Species Enlightenment Is Paved With Fangirls
I owe thanks to X-Piig, who inspired the neon sign, Dwimordene who gave me the vampire and the rescue rangers idea, and finally Bold Font for title assistance.
It took twice the normal time for Lina to get out of bed that morning. Partly because her whole body felt sore, partly because Gimli was warm and nice to be next to and it was hard to tear herself away.
But of course, there was no escaping it.
Today was Miss Cam's Interactive Learning Seminar on species of Middle-earth. What worried Lina though, was that Aragorn, Boromir and Elrond were helping out. That probably meant there was more to the seminar than just looking at pictures and determining if vampires were Middle-earth creatures.
“No Elrond, you may not put up a large neon sign saying 'Naturally Nine' in Lothlórien,” Galadriel was saying as Lina finally trotted down the stairs in the staff section. Elrond and Galadriel seemed to be in the middle of a discussion, while Meir Brin was trying to hold up a giant flashing neon sign (despite not being hooked up to any power outlet. Ah, magic) and looking rather desperate.
“It will serve as a permanent reminder to any who comes to Middle-earth that nine is the number of the Fellowship,” Elrond argued. “Aragorn agreed to put one up in Minas Tirith.”
“Aragorn married your daughter. Of course he would agree.”
Lina left the two arguing there, giving poor Meir Brin a sympathetic look as the neon sign began tilting more and more to the right.
It was a warm and sunny day, surprisingly, no ominous dark clouds or thunder about. Actually, that in itself was rather worrisome, that meant the Dark Lords were engaged in something other than upstaging each other.
Lina tried not to dwell on that as she grabbed a quick breakfast, a quicker change of clothes and tried not to slip in the pools of drool in the halls (SNAOL – the Sisterhood of Not-As-Obvious-Lusters had had their first meeting and successfully managed not to stampede Legolas. Unfortunately, while they did not stampede, they still drooled).
The crowd was beginning to gather outside, where overnight a giant mud-pit had been dug.
“I have a very, very bad feeling about this,” Leonora muttered to her twin sister.
“Oh, mud will do wonder for your skin complexion,” her evil twin sister Silaera replied, scanning the crowd for Morgoth.
“Gather around, students,” Miss Cam said loudly. “Not that close, Jason.”
Jason, Miss Cam's luster, reluctantly edged away, nearly stepping on Dragyn the Half-Dragon's tail. As everyone knows, stepping on a dragon's tail is an insult akin to 'your mother could not even light a campfire' in the dragon community.
Smaug gave a snarl, curling his own tail protectively. It was rather worrisome that Smaug, Barlog and Shelob were all there, actually.
“Mind the mud-pit now. You're not supposed to fall in that – yet,” Miss Cam said cheerfully. “Today we are learning about the species that are in Middle-earth and those who certainly aren't.”
She took a dramatic pause for effect.
“To do this we will play a little game we call 'If it isn't in Middle-earth, it will kill you'. Now, all of you will have to walk through the Garden of Species Enlightenment, and along that route you will meet several different species. If it is a creature of Middle-earth, you need only pat it and move on. If it is a creature not of Middle-earth, and you do pat it, it will charge you. Also, if you fail to pat a Middle-earth creature, it will also charge you. Fortunately for you, the mud-pit will be safe, so you can just jump into it. To complete the exercise, you must have successfully patted all Middle-earth creatures.”
“That doesn't sound too bad,” She Elf said brightly.
“However,” Miss Cam went on. “Due to certain concerns of the staff, we have included another exercise as well. Just a little something we call 'Rescue Rangers – Why A Ranger Rescues You, And Not You A Ranger'. I'm sure you'll all enjoy it.”
“Very much,” Boromir added.
“Very, very much,” Aragorn smirked.
“Hoo boy,” Lina muttered, as students in pairs slowly began making their way to the Garden of Species Enlightenment. Dot was nowhere in sight, so Lina teamed up with Dain Shadow.
It didn't take long before there was screaming, and Alison and Loreena came running past, charged by an unicorn.
“But I patted it because it was cuuuuuuute!” Alison protested as she ran past. The unicorn paid no heed.
“Not a Middle-earth creature, I take it,” Dain said as they watched the two students take a dive into the mud-pit.
They trotted on, first meeting a horse, which they patted. Next up was a Pegasus, which they didn't pat, but quite a few seemed to have, for it had mud spurted on it.
“I think the cuteness factor might be the bane of many here,” Lina remarked as they came to the pink fairy. “You want to pat the cute, non-Middle-earth creatures. You don't want to pat the spiders and the wargs and the orcs.”
“You think they planned it that way?” Dain asked, carefully walking by the fairy without patting.
“This is Miss Cam and Elrond we are talking about. What do you think?”
“They planned it this way.”
Smaug was next, where the pair of Morgan and Dragyn had halted. Morgan looked annoyed; Dragyn was patting Smaug again and again, and the old dragon looked most pleased.
Barlog the Balrog was next to be patted, getting a few extra from Lina as he looked rather miserable at having scared one student by just yawning (the student must have thought it was a prelude to being eaten, however Barlog had sworn off fangirls after suffering indigestion time and time again).
The Garden of Species Enlightenment led to the edge of the forest, where a few of the students were gathering, most trying to get off the mud on them. Elrond and Legolas were taking tally, but most of the lusters had too much mud in their eyes to notice.
“Mmmm, blood,” came a large hiss and large evil vampire Thuringwethil came walking out, edging towards Legolas.
“Legolas!” Moroko exclaimed. “Evil vampire! Watch out!”
“I will save you!” a girl exclaimed (Lina had no idea who it was, covered in mud and all), charging the vampire. Everyone looked up, and there was a sudden screaming and scrambling towards the mud-pit. The girl charging the vampire finally got a good look at what she was attacking, and screaming loudly she tried to turn around. That did not go well when there was mud everywhere. Chaos erupted. Lina nearly got crushed by Emma, and soon found herself covered in mud.
Elrond and Legolas watched the panic with barely contained amusement, as Thuringwethil laughed hysterically and morphed back into Lúthien. Beren came out of the bushes, laughing hysterically as well.
“No one patted me,” Lúthien said between laughs.
“Then I can fail them all,” Elrond said happily, searching for his red pen (he had used so many he kept Deborah the red pen saleswoman in business by himself).
“I think Miss Cam said the point was to teach them, not to flunk them,” Legolas said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “We better gather the students for part two of this seminar. 'Rescue Rangers – Why A Ranger Rescues You, And Not You A Ranger' – are we sure no one will stampede me?”
“Worry not, Legolas,” Lúthien said and morphed back into Thuringwethil. “They will be too busy running for their lives.”
Lúthien used the form of Thuringwethil to sneak into Angband.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.