The fluid shot from Ash’s mouth, striking the target rock and coating it in a viscous, bubbling sludge. Ash admired his work, chest puffed out in pride.
“And that, Celeste, is my newfound power!’ he enthused. “My contribution to our life-or-death struggles grows by the day!”
“It’s certainly a useful trick,” Celeste said studying the rock, which was still bubbling and hissing. She walked over and kneeled beside it, carefully examining the acid as it etched the stone.
“Clearly my special heritage has begun to manifest itself more strongly,” Ash proudly exclaimed, more to himself than Celeste. “No doubt, this is just the beginning! My power will grow to heights of which we can barely conceive. I will be a demi-god among men! A fearsome champion of good!”
“Mm-hm,” Celeste mumbled absent-mindedly, while prodding the acid with a twig.
“A name!” Ash suddenly exclaimed. “This new power must have a name. It must represent the awesome power I command, while also highlighting my role as a noble and selfless hero of the people.”
“Mm-hm.” Celeste was now carefully observing the acidic residue as it slowly coated the twig.
“A name, a name, a name … I have it! ‘Lord Ashenglow the Enlightened Saviour’s Splendidly Splashy Spider Spittle’! Perfect! It’s succinct, understated and urbane, but also implies a degree of righteous power.”
“Mm-hm.” Celeste was now prodding a patch of grass with the twig and watching as adhesive tendrils formed between the two.
“When you’re once again in need of rescue, you’ll cry out, ‘Ash! Please save me with Lord Ashenglow the Enlightened Saviour’s Splendidly Splashy Spider Spittle!’”
“Caustic spit,” said Celeste abruptly.
“What?” said Ash as if noticing her for the first time.
“We’re not using a nineteen syllable tongue-twister in the heat of battle,” said Celeste. “It’s impractical. ‘Caustic spit’ is better.”
“What?” Ash said again, his face now twisted in theatrical outrage. “But surely the naming rights are my prerogative?! I concede that Lord Ashenglow the Enlightened Saviour’s Splendidly Splashy Spider Spittle might be a little unwieldy, but surely we can always make time for appropriate nomenclature. Besides, my glorious contributions to our martial struggles ensure they are always a one-sided rout.”
“Mm-hm,” said Celeste, testing the strength of the residue’s tendrils with a second twig.
“So, it’s decided then? We use the name I chose, as is my right?”
“Mm-hm,” Celeste said again, as she stood up and brushed herself off.
“Are you even listening to me, Celeste? Celeste?! Ah, I am surrounded by blinkered ingrates! Truly it is the burden of the great to be lumbered with the care of the ungrateful lesser folk. Bards will sing of my never-ending forbearance of the slights of those who didn’t recognise my station!”