8. Strange Task
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Frodo couldn’t help but laugh. “No, Sam,” he smiled, “That’s not what I meant.”
“Well, it can’t be you, Mr. Frodo,” Sam said with that concerned, sincere look in his eyes that seemed just a little bit hurt by Frodo’s laugh, “You’re still on the mend.”
“He’s right, though,” Pippin said, looking just as resolute, “It can’t be you, Sam. If Merry needs help, I should be the one to give it to him. I’m his cousin, after all.”
Frodo couldn’t contain himself. He burst out laughing, prompting the other two to stop and look at him as if he’d gone mad.
“This is serious, Frodo,” Pippin said in an almost-scolding tone.
“Of course it is, you wonderful, foolish hobbits,” Frodo said, an affectionate smile still on his face, “But you’re both going about it the entirely wrong way.”
“Well, what other way is there?” Pippin asked, not lightening at all.
Frodo stopped smiling, “Hobbits are not the only things with blood.”
“Mr. Frodo!” Sam was shocked, “Are you suggesting we get him blood from a man?”
“Animals, Sam,” Frodo sighed, “Animals have blood, too.”
There was another moment of silence as they soaked this in. Pippin’s grave mood passed and he nodded, “Well, right then. Let’s go find an animal.”
“That looks like a good one.” Without waiting for Sam to respond, Pippin trotted off through the field, head ducked to avoid detection, a metal pail clattering in his hand.
“Wait! Pippin!” Sam half-yelled, half-whispered at him as he remained crouched in the bushes.
The younger hobbit paid no heed, being perhaps a bit reckless in his haste to help his cousin. With a huff, Sam looked around, then followed.
As they slunk across the grass, Sam wondered if he’d been overreacting by insisting Frodo stay behind with Merry. He may still be recovering, but he would have acted with more tact than Pippin when infiltrating a neighbor’s farm.
Pippin hunched next to his bovine quarry and pulled a knife from his pocket. He held up the pail and the blade and creeped closer to the cow. When he was inches away, he froze.
“What’s wrong?” Sam asked him when he finally caught up.
“This is odd,” Pippin answered.
“Of course it is,” Sam replied, “We’re stealing blood from cattle.”
“No, not that,” said Pippin, “It looks like this girl’s already been bled.”
“What?” Sam leaned closer. The cow’s jugular was torn slightly, like something had bitten it. “Well, that’ll make our cut will be less obvious, then. Hurry now.”
With the sharp blade, Pippin made a cut in the cow’s neck. It was small enough that it might pass as just a scratch, but immediately blood began flowing out.
“The pail,” Sam motioned Pippin to put the pail under the cow’s neck, which he did with an uncomfortable gulp.
After far longer than they would have liked, the pail was half-full. Suddenly, they heard a shout.
“Who’s out there!?” the voice demanded.
The hobbits spun, sloshing some of the red liquid around them.
“Time to go,” Pippin announced, and they hopped off, running out into the night.
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.