Rodney the Magical Talking Razor scooter never asked very much from life. He was created in a manufacturing plant located in Cerritos, California in 2003, during the third Great American Ghost War. This was a simpler time, long before the Chaos Witch Darkovkar awoke to her nascent power and rose out of the Stygian Pool with her demon pals. Indeed. Ghost War III was one of those good, fun, wholesome wars like they don’t make anymore.
“Shit!” Maynard Jaffles shouted, as he hocked grenades over the ramparts of the haunted castle. He was way younger in this flashback. His snow-white beard dangled only down to his waist, as opposed to all the way down to his ankles. The grenades exploded into sprays of shimmering green electricity, evaporating any ghost caught in the blast, but it was no use. No many how many they took down, more came floating out of the woods. They wailed, rattled chains, and moved to surround the castle.
“There’s too many of them!” Betrayus Murderdeath said, whose military robes had been torn to shreds revealing his chiseled physique. “Every time they kill one of our dudes, they add to their number! I think we’re next!”
The last grenade popped. “I won’t let that happen, best friend!” Maynard pushed Betrayus off the gun turret. “We got what we came for! You call in an evac, I’ll keep them busy!”
Murderdeath looked at his commanding officer, inspired by his bravery. “S-sempai…!”
“Go!” He said, as he revved up both machine guns. He spun the turret to face the oncoming hordes. “Undead?” He quipped. “More like DUMBdead.”
With wrathful scream, Maynard unloaded what remained of their anti-ghost rounds into the oncoming waves of enraged specters.
“Command?” Murderdeath tuned the squelch on the two-way radio. When that didn’t work, he called them on his cellphone. “This is Private Second Class Murderdeath with the Magical Wizard Army! We have the package, but we’re surrounded! Requesting extraction!”
“Negative M.D.,” command squawked back. “It’s too hot to land the chopper. Head to the landing pad and we’ll pull you out.”
“There’s too many of them!” Murderdeath shouted. The roar of the machine guns died down to empty clicks as the ammunition belt ran dry, and the sound of bullets flying was replaced with the moans of the dead.
“Understood. Sending supplies.”
Wind swept across the faces of Maynard and Betrayus as the helicopter appeared overhead. A crate fell from overhead, shattering against the castle battlements. Sgt. Jaffles threw aside the debris to reveal a sick ass Razor Scooter.
Rodney opened his eyes for the first time. Like every Magical Talking Razor Scooter, he was given one purpose in life: To entertain and delight children and tweens, and to complete complex military operations when necessary. To accomplish these goals, each Magical Talking Razor Scooter is imbued with the soul of a powerful ghost captured during wartime.
“Hey there new best friend!” Rodney said with a guffaw. “What sort of help can I lend?”
“Oh, this is so rad,” Maynard said, climbing aboard Rodney. “I always wanted one of these.”
“Get us out of here!” Betrayus shouted as the ghosts started shooting ghost lightning all over the place. He hopped on and held onto his commander’s waist.
Rodney sprang to life, zipping over the ledge and grinding down the buttresses, slicing through any ghosts in their way. Maynard spun the handle bars in midair, which was a cool stunt.
The extraction helicopter hovered above extraction point. Douglas P. Wilson leaned out the bay door with big cowboy hat and his tiny pistol, firing even tinier bullets that burst like grenades in the mobbing ghosts. Rodney ramped off a loading ramp, did a 1080 midair, and landed inside the helicopter bay with a loud thunk.
“We’re done!” Douglas pounded on the hull. “Let’s go!”
The pilot gave a thumbs up. The bay doors closed, and the anti-ghost forcefield went up, zapping any of the phantoms dumb enough to get close.
“This thing is so damn cool.” Maynard could just not get enough of Rodney. “Looks like I have a new best friend!”
“I thought I was your best friend,” Betrayus said, looking sad and pathetic.
Commander Douglas P. Wilson sat down with a macho grunt. “You boys get me my amulet?”
Maynard tossed a small draw-string bag over to their boss. Douglas pulled out an amulet, and the whole cabin of the helicopter grew darker just by exposing it. Bernard stared at the amulet, and felt a strange longing well up in him, something he would not find the words to describe for years to come filled with blood and strife.
“I hope that thing is worth it,” Maynard said. “We pissed off a whole lotta ghosts.”
Laughing, Douglas put the amulet away. “Don’t you worry, buckaroos. If we get anymore trouble from them there ghosts, we’ll stick them in the Orb of Screams with the rest. We’ll need this thing if we’re gonna beat Darkovkar when she gets back.”
“Are you sure you can control it?” Betrayus said.
“I know I can,” Douglas said. “I can totally control the Darkness. One-hundred percent. I guarantee it’s going to be really super easy. Nothing is going to go wrong. The plan is going to go perfect, and everything will work out. There is zero chance of any ironic twist spelling doom for all of us. Everything is smooth sailing from here on. I can totally control the darkness. Yes.”
The rest flashed before Rodney’s eyes. The return of the Chaos Witch. The fall of the dragons. Hordes of demons without end. Blood and screams and Douglas at the center, his pants around his ankles, as Darkovkar bore down on him. Now she was back again, and every moment that passed changed whether the Dragon Prophecy would come to fruition.
“Sensei?” Bernard said.
Rodney snapped from his revelry. He was parked inside the locker room. “What is it?”
“I don’t think the Milton boy is coming.”
“He will come when he reads the note,” Rodney said. “We promised to save his uncle, if he did, that’s what you wrote.”
Bernard grimaced. “I believe that child, the one from Organization Seventeen, he intercepted our message.”
Rodney shook his handlebars. This would not do. He had not come this far, acquired all the verses of the dirge, just to be stymied by some squirrel boy. They needed that amulet. Someone needed to unleash its power. Someone who had the discipline, the training, the chi, and the raw strength of will to control the darkness inside and finish the mission they’d all started together.
Uncle Horbert floated in his crystal prison. The room was completely empty and silent, as it had been for the past twenty four hours.
“Hello?” said Uncle Horbert. “Could somebody break me out of this crystal prison?”
“Oxwald Manderlie!” Bernard called out as he kicked down the double doors. The DIAMOND EMERGENCY sirens roared and paper-pushing goblins ran around screaming in a frenzied panic.
“Yes, dear! I’ll have to call you back!” Oxwald said, his shoulder clenching a telephone, his left hand filling out diamond paperwork at lightning speed, and his right hand prodding through what remained of an instant ramen bowl. “I’m sorry, it’s an emergency! Yes, I know this is my eleventh consecutive overtime shift in a row, I… Yes, honey, yes, I realize the terrible magical powers you wield, most of us wield similarly terrible magical powers! Yes, sweetums, I-”
Bernard Crowley removed the telephone from Oxwald’s shoulder and spiked it hard onto the carpet, where it promptly exploded. “For god’s sake, Mr. Manderlie, look at the state of this desk! Is it any surprise that you are the lowest ranked diamond inspector in the entire world?”
“But someday I’ll be number one!” rookie diamond-inspector Oxwald declared, shielding his paperwork from the sprinkler system that activated in response to the numerous fires that ignited amid the chaos.
“What, in the world?” Bernard smirked, opening an umbrella.
“No, that’s too hard. Just in the greater Shelbyville area.”
“Okay”, Bernard said, and slammed a folder on Oxwald’s desk. “It looks like you’ve got a chance to prove you’re worth something, though you’d never get me to believe it.”
“What is this?” Oxwald raised an eyebrow. The folder was labeled “SUPER CLASSIFIED” in blood red color. The folder itself was black like Shadow the Hedgehog and looked very evil and scary. “And what’s with all of this chaos?” Oxwald asked as well, just now noticing that the office was absolute chaos.
“It’s that damned Henrick Milton!” Bernard growled, picking up Oxwald’s favourite coffee mug and smashing it against the wall. “He’s caught wind that we’re fueling the Chaos Witch Darkovkar’s evil campaign of murder and bloodshed and now he’s trying to pull out of our deal!”
“Wait, what?” Oxwald blinked, mouth agape. “We’re doing what?”
“Uh,” Bernard said. “Don’t worry about it. Anyway, the Milton Family Diamond Mine is our BIGGEST and BEST diamond vendor and if we lose them, it’s goodbye to Good Diamonds! …Inc!”
“I heard that place was haunted,” whispered Bill from IT.
“Fuck you, Bill from IT!” Bernard said. “It’s not haunted! It’s as flawless an operation as the very stones that flow endlessly from its labyrinthian tunnels, and we desperately need it!”
“So what are we supposed to do?” Oxwald scratched his head and tapped the envelope curiously. “Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his diamond mine?”
“NO!!!” said Bernard, unplugging Oxwald’s computer monitor and hoisting it out of the twentieth story window with the help of some goblins. “Not this man! We have a contract and he has absolutely no right to grow a conscience about this whole thing now!”
Bill from IT sipped his cone of water. “But man, that dude’s loaded,” he muttered. “It’d take a really strong defense to win a case against his legal team.”
“Bill you’re really not supposed to be hearing this,” Bernard growled, rubbing his temple. “Can you just… go home or something?”
“Anyway,” Bernard sighed, hovering over Oxwald with his arms crossed. “The boss wants you to go out and convince the strongest lawyer in the world to take our case. Frankly, I think you’re going to fuck it up so hard, but I’ll be busy meditating under a cherry blossom with Rodney-sensei for the next five days. You are, sadly the only one available.”
“I can do it!” Oxwald decried, slamming his fist on the desk and accidentally spilling ramen broth all over the mission briefing. “Ah, shit!”
Bernard rolled his eyes. “Listen, Mr. Manderlie, the address is in the file, assuming it’s still legible. If you pull this off, you might actually manage to get a promotion. This could even bump you up to second-highest, maybe? I don’t know. Maybe.” He folded his arms and began to walk away, but stopped and let out a heavy sigh. “We’re all counting on you, Mr. Manderlie.”
Oxwald promptly set to work skimming through the classified documents, getting more or less a general gist of what was meant to be doing, and sliding twenty stories down the fireman’s pole into his spankin’ new minivan. “Let’s go, minivan!” He cracked his knuckles, adjusted his rear view mirror, clicked his seatbelt on, turned on the ignition, straightened up an empty coffee container that remained in the cupholder, put the car into reverse, waited for an incoming car to pass by, waved off a friendly co-commuter who decided to let him exit, backed up his vehicle, put it into drive, and rocketed at a blazing 55 miles per hour towards his destination.
The ride over there was crazy and whimsical, if you remember how wizard traffic works, but it’s not really important to the plot so suffice it to say that Oxwald experienced many dramatic brushes with death and eventually wound up at his destination.
Oxwald the little diamond inspector straightened up his necktie, took a deep breath, and entered the premises. Inside, he found a cozy lounge with a corner full of toys for children. A receptionist smiled and greeted him.
“Hello! If you’re looking to hire an attorney, I’m very sorry to say that Ms. Ripofski and Mr. Sweats are all booked up!”
“Please!” Oxwald pleaded. “It’s a diamond emergency!”
“Sorry, no can do,” the receptionist smiled. “Please go away!”
“Rats! We’re caput!” the failure of a diamond-professional cried, throwing the folder onto the ground in an act of passion, causing a photograph of Henrick Milton to slide out fully visible. “Ah, that’s classified! Do not look at that man!”
“Wait. Is this Henrick Milton?” came the most powerful and commanding voice Oxwald had ever heard in his life.
Suddenly very nervous, he saw entering the room an impossibly muscular woman in a well-pressed business suit, reading the Magna Carta with one hand and lifting an old-timey spherical barbell with the other.
“Why, yes it is,” Oxwald said. “Assuming you mean Henrick Milton the Bravest Solider, fabulously wealthy diamond mine operator, and no-good lousy diamond deal welcher, that is.”
After finishing her fiftieth rep, the lawyer dropped her barbel onto the floor, where it crashed through the floor like tissue paper. She picked up the photo to admire it.
“He’s cuter than I thought,” she said. “Maybe a little short, but I like how big his knife is.” She showed the photo to the receptionist. “Do you think he’s cute?”
“Yes, his raw, sexual magnetism is undeniable!” Oxwald said, growing impatient. “Are you the attorney of this establishment?”
“Anastasia Ripofski.” She fanned a handful of business cards. “At your service.”
Not wanting to appear rude, Oxwald took all of the offered business cards. “I need the world’s STRONGEST lawyer to destroy this man!”
“Well, I’m the world’s most muscular lawyer,” Anastasia explained, flexing a bicep. “Is that what you’re wanting? If you’re looking for the most skilled attorney on the planet, that would be my mentor: Chumford Sweats.”
If Oxwald were honest with himself, he had forgotten exactly what Bernard had asked for. He had meant to do some research on the computer before he left the office, but he couldn’t because Bernard had thrown his monitor out the window.
“No, I am certain only YOUR assistance will do, Ms. Ripofski,” Oxwald said.
Anastasia smirked. “Well, color me intrigued. Maybe I can find a way to squeeze your case into our workload. Tell me more.”
Oxwald panicked. He had not actually bothered to read the file, and it would be super awkward to start now. Terrified of seeming silly, he tried to think about why he would need the help of a crazy buff lawyer to deal with the Bravest Soldier.
“I need you to, like… beat him up.” He wracked his brain as hard as he could. “But you have to do it in as legal a way as possible.”
She furrowed her brow. “You want me to fight him in a duel?”
“Yes, exactly!” Oxwald said, relieved to know that must be it. “I want you to humiliate him. That way, his self-esteem will be lowered to the point that he’ll HAVE to sell us all of his diamonds!”
“It sounds like what you’re looking for is a mercenary, not a lawyer.”
“No, no, no!” Oxwald said. “It has to be a lawyer!” Bernard had definitely requested a lawyer, there was no mistake about that.
Anastasia looked at the photo of the villainous Milton again. “You know what? My lunch hour is coming up, and I could do with a change of pace. A fight sounds exciting right about now. I think I’ll help you.”
“Wonderful!” Oxwald said, certain that this course of events would not result in a whirlwind romance that would shape the course of current events in staggering and irrevocable ways.
The flashback cut off there. Oxwald was not exactly sure why he had a flashback of that particular event in his life. It was not especially pertinent to his present situation, which was being locked in a smelly goblin dungeon by demons. But Oxwald supposed he shouldn’t complain. It was very boring in his dungeon cell. Sometimes, when it was very boring or he had a lot of work to do, he enjoyed having flashbacks to entertain himself. He decided he ought to have another flashback to take his mind off of his predicament, but discovered that he had depleted all of his Imagination Points with the last one and would have to wait a while before he could start another.
“Hello?!” Someone called from somewhere outside Oxwald’s cell. “Let me out of this damned crystal prison!!”
Curious, Oxwald leaned out the barred window of his cell which overlooked a massive crystalline structure that sealed away all of the most dangerous delinquent students of Douglas P. Wilson Memorial. The exterior of the crystal, directly below the school itself, was housed in a cavernous shaft that plunged hundreds of meters deep below the Earth’s crust. Demons on hover scooters zipped by in every direction. Squinting, Oxwald peered out and recognized the man imprisoned in the top most floor.
“Oh my heavens,” Oxwald called. “Mr. Horbert Ripofski? Is that you?”
“Of course it’s me you imbecile!” Horbert shouted back. “Get me out of here!”
“Were you captured by demons as well? …Why are you in a crystal prison?” He paused, feeling a sting of jealousy. “I didn’t get a crystal prison.”
“Probably because you are a useless, blithering idiot!” Horbert shrieked.
“No, I don’t think that’s why.” Oxwald said, contemplating. “Maybe they don’t know how dangerous I am.”
“Are you going to help me or not, you oaf?!”
Oxwald pursed his lips. “Well, I would like to, but it seems that I am also imprisoned. Perhaps if you helped me escape, I could come up with a scheme to help you!”
“No!!” Horbert said, rattling around in his shard. “l would never help you escape! Never, never, never!!”
Since it was clear they weren’t getting anywhere, Oxwald allowed his mind to wander.
“Do you suppose if I free us both, the demons will realize how dangerous I am and upgrade me to a crystal cell?”
Horbert was too busy shouting obscenities to reply, but that did not matter. Oxwald felt a rush of determination. He had to do everything in his power to prove he was worthy of a crystal prison.
For an hour, Oxwald tried things like violently shaking his bonds, attempting to cast spells without access to his tiny baby wand, and doing nothing for extended periods of time. He was beginning to realize that sheer will and determination sometimes didn’t actually amount to much, if we’re being realistic.
A goblin nervously shuffled past Oxwald, carefully balancing a styrofoam cup that was filled to the brim with piping hot coffee, prepared lovingly for one of her thousands of demon supervisors.
“You there! Goblin!” Oxwald called out, startling the goblin into spilling the slightest bit of coffee over the edge, mildly singing her hand. She winced, endured the pain, sighed with utter exasperation, and fired an angry glare at the noisy man hanging from the wall.
“Goodness, I apologize wholeheartedly!” he said, blushing. “Er, no, I mean… Listen, you! These bonds are not enough to contain me! Let me assure you, I am one rough customer. It is only a matter of time until my top-notch diamond-inspecting skills empower me to abscond from these holdings and cause quite a ruckus indeed!”
The goblin stared blankly at Oxwald.
“So, um…” Oxwald tried to think of some more tough-sounding things to say. “I will definitely stir up some amount of mischief, if allowed the chance to do so! I am a rabble rouser who deserves a crystal prison and you should probably go ahead and put me in one, if it’s not too much trouble!”
The goblin cleared some guck out of her throat for a moment, but otherwise gave no meaningful reaction.
“Please?” Oxwald said, running out of ideas. “What say you to that, you… you… nitwit!”
After another moment of blank-faced staring, the goblin’s lip subtly began to tremble. Abruptly, she broke into a series of phlegmy sniffs and streams of tears. She threw down her coffee, buried her face in her hands, and began to walk away from Oxwald with a series of pitiful creaky whimpers.
“Aw, geez,” Oxwald said, feeling horrible. “Hey, goblin! I’m sorry! Hey, come here! It’s okay!”
The goblin snorted, wiped her face, and approached Oxwald, not meeting his eyes.
“I was out of line,” he sighed. “You’re not a nitwit. Probably. I don’t actually know you, so you very well may be one, but I’ve no hard evidence on which to base that claim. I’ve been quite stressed out lately and it was wrong of me to take it out on you.”
The goblin sighed and nodded ever so slightly.
“Everything’s just kind of a mess in my life, you know?” he continued. “My daughters think I’m lame, my wife treats me like a house pet, and that fucking piece of shit Bernard is always one step ahead of me… Let’s face it, little goblin friend, I deserve this half-baked afterthought of an imprisonment.”
“GODDAMNIT!” Horbert yelled from his crystal. “Listening to you has already become the worst part of this god-forsaken crystal prison!!”
“Okay, that’s rude,” Oxwald said. “You don’t have to listen if it’s such a bother.”
“Yes I do!” Horbert yelled. “I’m completely immobile and have no means of blocking sound! I need to get my hands on that rotten, awful child so I can take out all of my anger on him!”
“Hey, you know what?” the diamond-inspector snapped, now losing his patience. “Since you can’t help but listen, how about we talk about you for a moment? What’s your deal? Why are you such an asshole to that poor child?”
“Mind your own business!” Horbert spat. “Do you realize how many diamonds have been left rotting in the ground when they could’ve been dug up by that worthless little magic boy!? A great deal, I assure you!”
“A fair point,” Oxwald admitted. “It’s just that you’re so unnecessarily cruel to him. Are diamonds truly the only thing you care about?”
“YES!!!” Horbert grinned, though Oxwald couldn’t tell from his current perspective. “Diamonds and the profits they rake in are literally the only happiness I have in this world! You’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head!”
“What about your family?” Oxwald Manderlie asked, now with a genuine curiosity. “You live with those siblings of yours, wouldn’t you do anything for either of them?”
“Who?” Horbert asked. “Oh, Plart and Crickery, yeah. They’re fine, I guess. I guess I think of them as coworkers more than anything. I don’t really know that much about them.”
“You… you grew up with them. You’ve been living in that solid gold mansion with them for eleven years,” Oxwald said with a bewildered blink. “Nobody in this town has ever seen the three of you apart.”
“Yeah, I mean, we do see each other a lot,” Horbert shrugged. “That doesn’t mean we’re close or anything, I don’t know if I’d even consider them friends. They’re just… people who are there, most of the time.”
“What?” Oxwald was extremely confused.
The goblin, meanwhile, quickly became surrounded by her co-minions, goblin and demon alike, who were all completely invested in this exchange and listened in on bated breath.
“What about before the Milton Estate landed in your lap?” he continued to pry. “What did you care about before everything that happened with Henrick and your sister? Er, the dead one, that is.”
A pulse of energy emanated from the crystal prison and rattled every corner of the musty dungeon. Tiny amounts of stones and debris fell from the ceiling and some among the small audience were knocked off balance.
“Don’t. Say. His. Name.” Horbert growled, suddenly very serious. “That miserable welp is thousands of spiders now, and he deserves to be every last one of them.”
“Well, I’m saying it anyhow!” Oxwald said, defiant. “When did you become such a nasty slimeball? Why do you hate Henrick and his child so much?”
Another pulse, stronger this time. With a slow creak, a fault line disrupted the perfect surface of the crystal prison.
“I’m… Warning you…” Horbert growled like a cornered blood hound.
“Tell me, damn you!” Oxwald demanded. “What did Henrick Milton do to you!?”
Oxwald Manderlie’s eyes went wide as he witnessed the flash of blinding light that accompanied the incredible explosion of black chi (the evil version of regular chi) that sent an eruption of crystal shards showering every surface of the cell. The goblins and demons scrambled to their feet and fled in terror as the school around them quaked violently from the aftershock.
At last, the chaos died down, and through his coughing fit, Oxwald could make out a figure standing before him as the smoke cleared. It was Uncle Horbert Ripofski, bulging with muscles and eyes glowing red. A being of pure rage.
Slowly approaching the cowering man hanging before him, Horbert grinned sinisterly and uttered two terrible words:
A commercial bumper plays wherein Montgomery Murderdeath stands atop a gargoyle brooding over the school. He notices the camera, smirks knowingly, and flings his cloak over it, which becomes a screen wipe to the text “The Little Magic Boy and the Big Cup will be right back!”
Because you are listening to this amazing true story hundreds of thousands of years after it was originally broadcast within the whimsical but EXTREMELY REAL parallel universe of Little Magic Boy, all commercials have been removed. Instead, you are taken directly to an eye-catch of Joshua and Bothersnatch standing back-to-back wearing cool sunglasses and hoodies with katana swords strapped to their backs, while a totally sick three second punk metal musical riff plays, just like it does in the DVD release.
Plart Ripofski stood on the veranda of the Milton mansion as the wind swept across his smooth, bare head. He shrugged his dowdy mustard-colored shawl tighter to keep warm against the chill. Staring out across the vast acreage of the estate, he could not help but feel as if something was wrong. It was as if his dear brother Horbert were in danger, and he were once again powerless to do anything.
“Plart?!” Crickery called, creeping out the diamond-studded side door her brother had left ajar. “What on Earth are you doing?! Come inside before you catch your death! From cold!” She wore a kitschy cocktail dress made from the skins of exactly 99 dalmatian puppies.
“It’s Horbert,” Plart said, arching his thick caterpillar eyebrows. “He’s been gone for almost two days now. I’m scared something might’ve happened. Like maybe he unleashed his Chaos Blood form.”
“Don’t be an imbecile!” She snapped. “Our brother would NEVER unleash his dark chi. That would require for him to be at least a tiny bit angry, and you know as well as I do that he has the sweetest temper of any of us!”
“Yeah,” he said, trying to believe that were true but still feeling as if something were very wrong. “I suppose you are right.”
“Don’t you worry about good ol’ Horby!” Crickery clenched a reassuring handful of bony fingers into Plart’s corpulent shoulder. “He’ll wring that little magic boy’s throat for tricking us! Then he’ll come back and find a way to sell all of our diamonds!”
“I hope so,” Plart said. He was terrified that, at some point, he might be expected to do something proactive about their increasingly perilous financial situation.
Crickery ushered her brother back inside the Northwestern foyer, where stacks and stacks of pizza delivery boxes and Chinese takeout containers filling every corner. Without the infusion of fresh cash from a diamond sale, the Ripofski’s could no longer afford to hire celebrity personal chefs to cook their every meal. Now they lived like savages.
Plart let out a crooning sigh. “I just don’t know what to do with myself without a little magic boy to bully.”
“Why don’t you go and distract yourself with a nice flashback?” Crickery said, stroking his head. “That will get your mind off things.”
There was nothing Plart hated more than using his imagination, but he was too despondent to argue. Heaving himself into a luxury recliner, he sat back and began to pretend it was the past until it was.
“What the hell did you just say to me?!” Horbert shouted, only it was young Horbert, with his cool sunglasses and a katana sword strapped to his back. “If you have a problem with this family being evil, you tell me that to my face!”
“I don’t have a problem with evil people!” Henrick Milton said. He was short, but with muscles, a strong chin, a rakish pompadour, and a big knife he carried with him wherever he went. “I don’t see moral alignment! I just see people! All I’m saying is that what Darkovkar is doing goes beyond regular evil. We should do something.”
“Oh, so one evil lady blows up a continent and now she’s a threat to society?!” Horbert said. “What if *I* want to blow up a continent? Would you try to stop me too?!”
Henrick hesitated. “…Well, yes.”
Horbert gasped, stammered, puffed, and stuttered with indignation.
“Everyone stop shouting!” Crickery shouted. “You’re making Plart cry!”
“I’m crying all over the place!” Plart said, distressed by how much trouble he was having wiping away all the tears pouring out of his face. All four of them were standing inside the Milton family diamond vault.
“See what you’ve done?!” Horbert said, shouting even louder. “First you get Anastasia killed, and now you’ve made Plart cry! You are tearing this family apart! I wished my sister had never married you!”
The bravest soldier went very quiet for a moment. “I loved Anastasia.” There was a tremor in his voice. “If I could bring her back, I would, but I can’t. Ghosts are against the law. All I can do is put a stop to the war that killed her. If you just let me use your family’s Chaos Blood Egg, I can use it to stop Darkovkar and avenge your sister!”
Horbert sneered. “I’d rather DIE than let that priceless heirloom be used by the man that let her die!!”
Heinrick made a move for the egg pedestal, but Horbert leapt to it first and snatched it up.
“Please!!” Heinrick said, trying to reach up and wrestle Horbert for it. “It’s our only hope!”
Horbert tossed the egg to Crickery, and then Crickery tossed to Horbert. They played keep away, and it was very easy and very funny because the bravest soldier was so little.
“Guys! Come on!” He said. Jumping he leapt onto Horbert’s chest and fought him for the egg. Horbert, being the incredible genius that Plart knew he was, swallowed the egg.
“Hahaha!” Horbert laughed in Heinrick’s face. “Hurk!” He grapsed at his chest. Painful veins popped under his skins, and dark chi began to pour off him in every direction.
“Oh no,” Milton said, looking at Crickery and Plart with fear in his eyes. “It’s not supposed to be taken orally!”
Horbert staggered, muscles bulging, screaming waves of purple energy that shook the walls. He hurled a mine-cart with diamonds with a swing of his arms. He was looking pretty unleashed. His sunglasses fell to the floor and shattered into a million pieces, which symbolized that things would never be the same.
“What do we do?!” Crickery said.
“Close the vault!” Heinrick said.
The three fled as Horbert tore through shelves and forklifts, tearing a swathe of havok. Plart, Crickery and Heinrick pushed the vault door shut and sealed Horbert inside before he could escape. They slumped against the door, exhausted, while on the other side they could hear their brother rage.
“What now??” Plart said, still scared.
Heinrick stared at Plart, his mind racing. Upstairs, baby Joshua was crying. The Chaos Blood Egg was unusable, and Darkovkar’s demons marched through the streets. “I think we’re doomed.”
Darkovkar drew out an exaggerated sigh as May Manderlie and Ricard Prisselworth clashed lightsabers in a brilliant light show that delighted and captivated all who were present to see it. The Fun Buncher and Puzzle Pal players sat on the losers’ bench, Wilfrit Pippers with his face firmly palmed.
“This is so dumb,” the Chaos Witch complained. “I don’t know who these kids are and I’m totally not invested in the outcome of these events.”
“What were you expecting?” Sixowls shook her head. “Once the nostalgia wears off it’s just a bunch of kids having a good time.”
“THE THING I HATE MOST OF ALL!” Darkovkar pounded her fist. “I want some real action! I want these dumb children to fear for their young and precious lives!”
A nervous demon tugged at the hem of Darkovkar’s spider robes (woven with thread made of 80% spider and 20% cotton).
“WHAT!!!!!” she screamed and waved her hands in the air.
“Hey, so, FYI, we’re missing at least like, two children,” the demon explained awkwardly. “Evidently our guards are extraordinarily incompetent.”
“OH, SWEET!” the Chaos Witch Darkovkar said, turning her balled fist into hot lava with magic. “I’LL GO KILL THEM MYSELF, THAT’LL BE A LOT OF FUN!” All among the present demons, children, and teaching staff awkwardly pretended not to notice her conversation, which was spoken at a volume that assaulted the ear like nails on a chalkboard.
“Hoo boy, this ain’t good,” Bothersnatch said very quietly to himself, quickly whipping up a warning text message for Joshua. “Hope she doesn’t think to check the Big Cup.”
“DID SOMEBODY OUT IN THE AUDIENCE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT CHECKING ON THE BIG CUP!?” Darkovkar asked. “THAT’S A GOOD IDEA AND I THINK I WILL DO THAT.”
“Oop!” said Bothersnatch.
“DID SOMEBODY OUT IN THE AUDIENCE SAY OOP?” she asked as well. “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO MAKE OF THAT, BUT ANYWAY HERE I GO TO CHECK ON THE BIG CUP!” She turned to Ricard and May, whose sabers were locked in an exhausted stalemate. “YOU TWO KEEP FIGHTING UNTIL ONE OF YOU IS DEAD! I’LL BRB!!”
“Dear, oh dear,” Jaffles said as she floated off to kill some kids for real this time. “Seems events are now moving forward in quite a dramatic way. The time to dwell on past events has passed and we appear to be definitively progressing towards an exciting climax. No more stalling for time now. We are about to find out what happens next.”
“This isn’t the first time you’ve said that,” Sixowls sighed and closed her eyes and began to remember.
“Dear, oh dear,” Jaffles said as Douglas P. Wilson rode off on his horse to kill the Chaos Witch for real this time. “Seems events are now moving forward in quite a dramatic way. The time to dwell on past events has passed and we appear to be definitively progressing towards an exciting climax. No more stalling for time now. We are about to find out what happens next.”
“Are you sure he can control the darkness?” Bridget said with incredible skepticism and vibrant, curly red hair. “Eliza is better at Darkness than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. If Doug can’t control that amulet, he hasn’t got a chance!”
“Dougie P. will win the day, that wicked witch he’ll surely slay,” Rodney assured her, although secretly he knew that Douglas wouldn’t be returning from this mission because he was the traitor. “You can trust me because I am a magical talking razor scooter.”
“Yes, obviously,” Jaffles nodded while doing an ollie. “We trust you 100% all the time and that was pointless thing to say.”
“Hmph…” said Betrayus Murderdeath, arms folded in the corner of the room, inky black hair draped so as to obscure half of his face. “You used to trust me 100% all the time… Do you still, Maynard? Doubt it…” He sighed and zipped up all thirty zippers spread throughout his black leather hoodie and went to calm himself down.
The Vacant Tomb was Betrayus Murderdeath’s favorite place in the school and also in the whole world. It was essentially a fountain crowning an enormous slab of marble placed in the dungeon in case any major players like Jaffles or Douglas P. Wilson kicked the bucket and needed to be commemorated, though probably it would never have to be used for that. It was here that they held a number of forbidden secrets, kept secure by Douglas’s very favorite song. Betrayus aka Montgomery Murderdeath knelt before his favorite relic of them all, a glowing emerald orb that emitted a soothing cacophony of terror-stricken wails mixed in with an undertone of unanswered pleas for mercy. It was so ASMR to him and was the only thing that could calm him down anymore.
“Betrayus, are you down here?” Bridget Sixowls called. “Are you sulking again?”
“Yes, I’m very sad today!” Murderdeath scoffed. “Nothing will calm me down!”
“Oh, come now,” Sixowls glided down standing atop four magnificent spectral owls. “You’ve been moping all the time ever since that stupid razor scooter joined our ranks. Methinks somebody is jealous.”
“I AM NOT JEALOUS!!!” Murderdeath screamed and punched a hole in the stone wall. “I am sad for no reason! Now begone!”
“I know what’ll cheer you up,” Sixowls sneered. “You need a mission. We can even give you a fun disguise!”
Betrayus rolled his eyes super hard. “Only if I get to be an elderly dwarf of a man with a hook for a hand.”
Bridget bit her lip. “Hmm… Would you settle for a hooked beak-like nose instead?”
Betrayus rolled his eyes EVEN HARDER than the first time. “Fine. What’s the mission?”
Sixowls looked through the briefing as her four diligent owls swiftly dressed the young beautiful man in a creepy old disguise and gave him fun props like a creepy cane and a bunch of dice. “There’s one more relic we’d like to add to our little collection. The most devious one of all,” she explained in sinister tones.
The old crone snapped back to reality. Realizing how long it had been since all of those things happened, she suddenly felt very old.
“Mr. Ripofski!!” Oxwald yelled as loud as he could over the sound of Horbert unleashing a devastating 46 hit ultra combo on the closest demon jailer. “PLEASE be careful! You mustn’t do anything that could damage the crystal prison!”
“ARRRGHAGH!” Horbert responded. Black chi poured out of his every orifice as he punched the demon through a crystal wall, severely damaging its structural integrity.
“No!” Oxwald said, mopping his brow with his silk handkerchief. “That is actually the opposite of what I requested that you do!”
“HORBERT UNLEASHED!!” Horbert screamed, sending shockwaves of evil energy rippling through the school’s foundations.
“Stop saying that!” Oxwald said, but it appeared that Horbert Ripofski was beyond listening. Another team of brave demons barged into the crystalline stockade, doing everything they could to delay the diamond tycoon’s advance. It made no difference. Horbert launched into an expertly choreographed onslaught of punches, kicks, haymakers, and German suplexes that laid waste to every living creature that came within arm’s reach.
Running out of ideas, one of the goblins zoomed up riding on a hover scooter, and spritzed Horbert in the face with a water bottle to discourage all this bad behavior. Horbert sneezed and hissed, and then he snatched the scooter right out of the air. Spinning, he built up speed and then hurled the goblin and scooter through the air at a total velocity that Oxwald observed to be thirty-two point eighty-two kilometers per second. The scooter and Goblin shot across the dungeon chasm and sliced through the wall of Oxwald’s cell, creating a massive hole and coming within a meter of killing Oxwald.
“Oh my,” Oxwald said, wiping even more sweat off of his forehead. “This really has got out of hand. If I’m to have any hope of being transferred to a crystal prison, I must take action!”
Dragging the battered hover scooter off of the goblin’s mangled body, Oxwald checked to make sure the imagination engine was still intact. Finding the machine operable, he climbed on, fastened the safety belt, and used it to putter through the air across the cavernous pit.
“You’re being ridiculous,” Oxwald told Mr. Ripofski. “I’m going to alert the school administration of your careless behavior! I’m sure they will have our cells swapped to reward me and punish you, and then maybe you’ll learn to appreciate the things you have!”
Oxwald went to do a mid-air u-turn. Before he could leave, Horbert leapt into ten point six meters into the air and clung to the rear vent of the scooter. The miniature airship whined to stay airborne under their combined weight.
“Hey now! Let go!” Oxwald said.
“HORBERT UNLEASHED!” Horbert snarled, reaching to crush Oxwald’s bones.
“I really do regret asking you about that whole Heinrick Milton business.” Oxwald sighed. “If I had known you would react this poorly, I wouldn’t have bothered.”
Before a Horbert could get a good grip on any of Oxwald’s bones, Oxwald slammed his foot on the accelerator. The whole scooter launched forward much faster than Oxwald had anticipated. The two of them slammed through the roof of the dungeon, and exploded through floor of the gymnasium, spinning out of control in a spray of plaster and plumbing, until they crashed head-on into a giant replica puppet of Olmec, beloved television iconic and respected figure of authority.
Under most circumstances, such a speculator and traumatic crash should have killed Oxwald Manderlie. However, because he had remembered to put on his safety belt he was completely fine and there was no problem at all.
The ground beneath the Aggro Crag shook, nearly knocking Joshua Milton and Courtney Manderlie off their feet.
“What the hell was that?!” Courtney said, clutching the Big Cup tighter.
“I don’t care!” Joshua said, throwing the decoy cup into the ground. “Listen! I need you to let me have that cup or else!”
“Oh yeah?” Courtney smirked. “Or else what?”
“Or else me and my BDFF,” which stood for bestest demon friend forever, “Are both going to get killed my hell magic!!”
Courtney looked at him, seeming to weigh whether Joshua was making stuff up or not. She looked at the cup, then at the little boy at her feet, going through some sort of internal conflict. Just when you thought it couldn’t get anymore suspenseful, something else happened!
The Chaos Witch Darkovkar drop kicked the door to the sound stage open with a thunderous bang. She marched inside, and a colorful platoon of demon henchmen fanned out around her.
“AH NAW!!” She said, pointing. “THEY GOT AHOLD A MY BIG CUP! NOW I’M GOING TO DEFINITELY KILL THEM FOR SURE!!”
Joshua was in a pickle. He was in danger, and things were getting really exciting and dramatic, which was too bad because the chapter was over because too much time was spent on all those flashbacks earlier.