the cricket was fast. leaping, dancing, singing his infuriating song - at times it seamed as if there were ten crickets, all striking blows on their enemy only to evade his retaliatory strikes. before her, the scorpion crouched, fighting defensively, claws held to protect his vulnerable unarmored eyes. and then, suddenly, it was over. the cricket, seeking to land a crippling blow, danced too close, waited to long to pull back, and a claw closed down on one of her rear legs. she struggled, but its grip was too strong to break, and then the other claw closed down on her thorax. pinned, trapped, there was nothing the cricket could do as the scorpion raised its menacingly stinger over its head, a single drop of poison glistening at its tip.
then, it was over. the stinger plunged down in a motion too fast for the eye to see, piercing the tough exoskeleton behind the cricket's head. she twitched as corrosive enzymes were pumped into her body, then went limp. the scorpion held the lifeless body a minute longer, then flung it aside.
"yes!" it roared in a dry, rasping voice. "i am victorious! fear my name! i am cuddles, and i shall-"
a bolt of lightning struck the scorpion struck the scorpion directly in the face and tossing it into the air. it landed on its back where it lay unmoving, steam rising from the gaps in its armor.
"cuddles, was it?" asked a sardonic voice. a small dragon entered the battle area, the sun shining on his polished red and orange hide. "yes, i do believe i'll remember that one. hard to forget an opponent so easily dispatched. are there any others?"
there was silence for a moment. then the slow, unmistakeable thuds of heavy armored feet could be heard approaching. then there was the whine of a gauss pulse rifle powering up. into the arena lumbered round, squat, bowlegged figure, clad in blue space armor with the moniker "pvt hudson" stenciled on one side. bulbous, unblinking eyes glared at the dragon behind a translucent face shield.
"mrlgrlgrlgrlgrlgrl," the newcomer challenged.
the dragon's eyes narrowed. he reached out with his clawed hands, and bolts of lightning crackled through the air toward the marine. the space armor's electronics were well-shielded though, and the lightning had little effect beyond scorching and blistering the blue paint. the electro-magnetic pulses from the marine's rifle were a different matter. they hammered the dragon mercilessly, punching effortlessly through his thick hide, until at last he lay dying in the dirt.
"i hate murlocs..." he whispered as his eyes dimmed and his last breath left his body. but the battle was not over. unnoticed, an otter had been stealthily swimming up the creek adjacent to the battle area. now, with the marine's attention focused on his now-vanquished opponent, the otter leapt from the water, sharp teeth slashing toward exposed hydraulics.
but the marine was too fast. with a cry of "mglrrglrgl!" he fired his rockets and shot up into the air, avoiding the ambush. he landed a few yards away, facing his new opponent, rifle at the ready. the otter had seen what happened to the dragon, however, and was too clever to try going toe-to-toe with the high-tech murloc. instead he circled, pounced, dodged, and pounced again, teeth and claws always searching for gaps in the armor. private hudson managed to land a few shots, but in the end he stood still in the middle of the field, unable to move, batteries discharged, hydraulic fluid leaking into a pool on the ground.
"that's all right, dearie," said a new, soft voice. "you've done your part. let grannie mudderclucker take it from here."
"mlrggl," said the marine in a relieved voice to the chicken now standing next to him. and then he exploded in a cloud of mechanical pieces and green goo.
"oh dear," said the chicken. she fixed a steely gaze upon the otter. "somebody is going to have to clean this mess up." and then the fight was on.
it was not a fair fight. weakened by the battle with the marine, pelted with eggs, blinded by flying feathers, pecked mercilessly, the otter never stood a chance. in only a few minutes it was all over, and grannie mudderclucker stood triumphant upon the field, with none left to challenge her.
aki the chosen, grand master pet tamer of pandaria, bowed to me. "it appears i have underestimated you, foreigner. yours is the superior."