Challenge #03080-H172: Defeating Monsters

There was a sign on the door. It read "Warning! Deathworlder story time! Humans inside!" Faintly, through the budget soundproofing, a cogniscent with good hearing could make out the wailing cry of an alarmed human larva. One with even better hearing would be able to make out the voices of other young humans, saying "It's OK, it's OK, it's not real, it's just a story. Right, Miss? It's not real, right???" -- Anon Guest

Fairy tales do not exist to tell children that monsters are real, they say. Fairy tales exist to tell children that monsters can be defeated. That acknowledged, there are some who are unprepared for the finer details. Precautions are always taken, by necessity. Warnings for the literate. Pictograms for the less literate. Hazard stripes[1] for those who fail to pay attention to words or pictures.

Those who feel brave enough, prepared enough, or simply curious enough are welcomed, warned, and permitted to sit with the others. Most of them are under five. A few are a little too enthusiastic for their own good. The storyteller is on an elevated seat, gesturing as the words flow from mouth to listening ears. Offensensitivity shields stand between the room and an observer just outside the door. Unfortunately for Dyw, that shielding was the budget variety that was not as effective as it should have been.

"Strength was most important for the leader of the peoples, even though it had taken him many years to reach the seat of power and strength was fading from his limbs," said the storyteller. "So it came to be that the appearance of strength was as important as actually being strong. They used chemicals to put colour in his hair, and more chemicals to add colour to his face. They used clever speakers to interpret his ramblings, and always, he had to maintain a show of moral strength. That meant beating down on those judged as immoral, and enacting harsh punishments for the unlucky--" they stopped as one of the children burst into tears.

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