“So, now’s the part where I kill you.” The sorceress raised her arms in preparation for a lightning spell.
The knight yelped. “Hold up! Wait, wait, wait. You’re a villain, aren’t you?”
“Duh,” the sorceress said impatiently.
“So,” the knight said, “now is actually the part where you give a long monologue talking about how villainous you are and exactly how you plan to take over the world, giving me time to find the keys to this tower and escape. At least, that’s what all the stories tell me.”
The villainess snorted and stomped her foot in outrage. “Stupid books and movies! Do they really think any self-respecting evil person would be that foolish? You know, we evildoers read and watch tv too.”
The knight brightened. “Oh, really? What’s your favorite show? Mine is Shining Armor: A Tale of Modern Knights.”
“Hmm. I’m not really a fan of Shining Armor’s plot, but I have to say, the acting is decent...” Suddenly she stamped her foot again. “Oh, I see what you’re doing. ‘Distract the evil sorceress by talking about tv shows while crafting a nefarious plan to escape.’ That’s gotta be the oldest trick in the book.” She crossed her arms.
“Excuse me? Nefarious? You’re the nefarious one!” The knight pointed an accusing finger at the sorceress.
“Ah, you’re quite right.” The villainess raised her arms again. “Enough chit chat. Now’s the part where I incinerate you and take over the world! Mwah hah ha!”
“Wait, wait!” the knight cried desperately.
The sorceress ignored him and continued casting the spell. As she muttered arcane words, the sky around the tower darkened and flickers of lightning appeared. The villainess glanced at the knight, hoping to see him trembling in terror. To her utter shock, however, the knight just started... laughing?
It started out as a giggle, but quickly turned into a whole-hearted, stomach-clutching, rolling-around-on-the-floor kind of laugh. Surprised, the sorceress faltered in her spell-casting and the lightning dissipated.
With more than a little annoyance, she looked down at the knight. “What are you laughing for?”
The knight gasped for air, choking on his own laughter. When his face started to grow red, the sorceress became concerned. “Hey, no fair! You can’t die yet; I’m the one who’s supposed to kill you! Stop laughing this instant!”
The knight just laughed harder, turning purple now. He coughed and struggled to take a breath. Frowning, the sorceress muttered a few words and the knight found himself able to breathe again. He sat there wheezing, recovering from his intense giggling fit.
“Oh, thank you. I thought I was gonna die!”
The sorceress shrugged. “Well, I couldn’t have your laughter kill you before I did. Anyways, what was so funny?”
Apparently just thinking about it was enough to make the knight start giggling again. He controlled himself this time, though, and said, “When you started casting the spell, I suddenly thought about old Mr. Mustard.” The knight chuckled. “I was imagining the look on his face if he could see us now, and I could even hear his voice— ‘Now you two young’uns stop your squabbling!’ And he would scowl, which always made him look like an angry duck, remember?”
The sorceress’s lips twitched and— against all her best efforts— she cracked a small smile, as ephemeral as the lightning. Still, the knight beamed. “See? You haven’t changed so much since you decided to become evil. You still have a sense of humor.”
She immediately rearranged her face into a frown. “Hmph. Well, even evil people can laugh, you know.”
The knight shook his head. “I think they cackle instead.”
The sorceress shrugged. “Maybe. Well, now I’m feeling kind of bad about it, but I really do have to kill you.”
“Wait a second. You could have just let me choke to death on my own laughter. Why didn’t you?”
“Because I wanted to do it myself, of course!”
“Hmm.” The knight didn’t seem convinced. “All right then. *Why* do you have to kill me? You just said you feel bad about it.”
“Well, uh, because I’m evil. And... that’s what evil people do, right? Attack knights and do-gooders?”
The knight tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Perhaps... but that’s what other people do. What do *you* want to do?”
The sorceress stared at him for a minute. “Well...” She cleared her throat. “I- I guess... it’s been a while since anyone asked me that.”
“All right then. I’m asking you now. What do you want to do?”
“Um...” Suddenly the sorceress’s stomach grumbled, and she blushed. “It seems that evil spellcasting makes me quite hungry...”
The knight smiled good-naturedly. “Then it’s perfect that there’s a restaurant not too far from this tower! And they have a cook that makes the absolute best duck stew. Like, seriously— it’s just mmm.” He closed his eyes as if imagining the stew, and the sorceress stifled a laugh. The knight peeked an eye open and said, “Go on, don’t stop yourself from laughing.” He grinned. “I already know I’m an incredibly funny person. Not to mention athletic, intelligent—”
“—and none too humble,” the sorceress finished, eyebrows raised.
The knight shrugged. “Whaddya mean? I’m just that perfect.”
The sorceress snorted and grabbed his wrist. “Sure... But anyways, come on, my knight in rusted armor. Let’s go eat!”
“Hey! Rusted?” the knight protested as the sorceress unlocked the door and dragged him away. “Ah- ah wait up! The way you’re yanking my arm, it’s like you’re gonna kill me without even meaning to!”
As they climbed down the stairs, the sorceress chuckled and replied, “Consider it payback for ruining my evil plans.”
The knight pouted. “Well, you’re not still planning on killing me, are you?”
The sorceress smirked. “Only if you get too annoying.”
“Heh... that was a joke... right?”
“...I’m starving. What was that duck stew you were talking about?”