Tuesday, 31 October 2023 00:00

A Strange Fairytale (Part 4)

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A Whateley Academy Tale

A Strange Fairytale

by Domoviye

 

Part 4

 

Lincoln, Nebraska
MCO Headquarters
July, 5th, 2007

“I don't think I'm a good mix for Teri,” Mouser said. She was currently sprawled on the office chair in the office of Larry Meyer, head of the Nebraska MCO, drinking a beer. “She's refusing to go to therapy, won't even look at anything that might help us figure out who she is, and won't tell me when she has a flashback.”

“What does Dr. Schultz say?” Larry asked.

“We can't force Teri to go to therapy, only encourage her. The fight with Demolisher, seeing me injured because she interfered, really shook her. So we're not only back at square one, but about five squares behind that. Her avoidance problem has her firmly believing that by ignoring her past and anything related to it, bad things won't happen.” She sighed and sipped her beer. The psychologist hadn't been happy learning that Teri had been brought to a supervillain fight. But there hadn't been much she could do about that, and the kid had saved at least two lives.

Larry pulled a thick form from his desk. “I've been keeping tabs on her. Teri's had a personal setback, but she's doing well socializing with people and dealing with society. She's actually doing better than I could imagine, considering her GSD. It may be a good idea to send her to Whateley.”

“Whateley?”

The MCO director looked at her oddly. “The school for mutants.”

“That's what it's called? Huh, sounds pretentious. Where is it? Chicago? Texas? Michigan?”

“It's in New Hampshire.”

“I'd have thought it would be closer. New Hampshire seems like it would deal with mutants from New England. It's not exactly our area.”

“It's the only fully mutant school in the world.” Larry shook his head as if trying to dislodge something. “You've sent some kids there. You never learned the name or where it is?”

Mouser looked up at the ceiling. “Well, I know there's at least one school for kids with powers. You've told me about it. I just thought it was for the flyover states, or the Midwest, and we shipped them there. I never had to know the details; I always handed them over to you to deal with the boring stuff. The kids or their parents would let me know they were doing OK, and that was good enough for me.”

“And the other superheroes you've worked with and talked to, they never told you about it?”

“They'd sometimes talk about their high school years. Some mentioned things like having Lady Astarte, or Lady Champion as their principal. Or they'd go on about some heroes or supervillains they had as teachers or classmates. I always thought they were trying to impress me, not that they all went to the same school. But now that I think of it, a lot of them did tell me they learned to fight from an evil old bastard.”

Rubbing his forehead like his head hurt, Larry pulled a brochure from the same drawer he'd pulled the form from. “Sometimes you amaze me, Mouser. Let's go over the details, we're going to need to figure out the best way to convince Teri this is a great option for her.”

“Yeah, we can't exactly just put her in the back of the car and let her sulk about it on the drive there.”

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“I don't wanna go!” Teri shouted. She wasn't panicking, but the thought of leaving Mouser was making her heart race. She was happy in her huge room, and almost everyone she knew was in this city.

Mouser smiled, pushing the brochure closer to her. “Don't you want to go to school with kids your own age? They have lots of fun classes and activities. You can practice your dancing, learn to fight, make a costume, they even have a flying class.”

“I like it here.”

“I know, and you'll still live here on holidays and in the summer. But look at this, they have real superheroes teaching classes. Lady Astarte is the headmistress, how cool is that?”

She knew what Mouser was trying to do, and it wouldn't work. She wasn't going to be a superhero, she just made things worse when she tried. Crossing her arms, she said, “No. I'm not going.”

“Teri, you only talk with me, my niece and nephew, Witch Mabel, The Lincoln Freedom Squad, and some of the MCO agents. You need to meet more people, especially teenagers who are your age. You're missing out on important party years. And look they even have cool anime type things. Did you even look at the giant robot?!”

That was kind of cool. She still didn't want to go.

Taking out her phone, Mouser held it in front of Teri. “And look, they even have a sailor scout team, called Wondercute.”

Teri watched her start a video which showed six girls in sailor scout cosplay. Each uniform had a different colour and picture on the front, there was a unicorn, a cat, a floppy eared bunny, and more. There was also a winged cat as big as a tiger, and a real dragon. They were fighting a group of teen soldiers, using ribbons, glitter, and other things, while clearly having a fun time.

After it ended, Teri looked up at Mouser. “So, they have to fight people at school?”

“Only for practice, so they know how to protect themselves. Those were Wondercute and The Grunts, Wondercute is a group of friends who like fighting in a cute way. The Grunts are planning on being soldiers after they graduate. You won't have to fight much if you don't want to, but they will make sure you know how to fight or run away safely.”

Walking across the table, Teri looked at the brochure again. She really didn't want to go. Even with the fight with Demolisher, she felt safe with Mouser. If she went to Whateley she'd be all alone again. But if she knew how to fight, maybe she could have fought Demolisher properly and kept Mouser from getting hurt.

If she knew how to fight, maybe she wouldn't have gotten caught by Burgermeister.

She shook her head, forcing that thought away. The past was the past, she couldn't keep living in it.

“I thought you said I was too awesome for class.”

“I meant you were too awesome for a regular class,” Mouser said. “Not many kids can fly, have super strength, or are cute little fairies. But this school has students and teachers that have super speed, power armour, werewolves, elves, dinosaurs, witches and wizards, and lots of other things. You'll fit right in there.”

“What if I don't like it?”

Mouser's finger patted her back. “Go there for one semester and give it an honest try. If you really don't like it after that, you can come back here and be home schooled again.”

The pictures looked nice. There were some kids with GSD, so the school probably wouldn't be like the evil, nasty grocery store. It would be nice to have some friends her own age. Mouser was awesome, but she was an adult and sometimes she mentioned gross stuff about sex and things.

What if no one liked her? She didn't want to be alone again.

But there were superheroes there. Maybe they could help her find Rose Blossom.

If it helped find Rose Blossom, she could stand being alone for one term.

That decided her. “OK, I'll go for one term and see if I like it.”

“Great! You won't regret it; I've heard lots of good things about it. Now let's start filling in the forms.” Mouser dropped a thick pile of papers on the table.

Teri went and stood next to the papers. “It's almost as tall as me! How much do they need to know?”

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July 11th, 2007
Omaha, Nebraska

Abaris looked around his mystical workshop one last time. If he forgot anything it wasn't like he could come back and get it. The sound of combat was getting louder, his summoned monster wouldn't be able to hold out much longer against the damnable hero. He just wished he knew how she'd found him. He'd worked so hard to keep his activities secret. There was a sickening scream and he knew it was time to go.

Stepping into his mystical escape circle, his rat-like familiar scrambled up his robes taking it's customary seat on his shoulder. Channelling essence into the circle it began to glow around him. The sensation of falling made his stomach lurch.

Candy Knight charged into the room, a bloody sword made of purple crystal held at the ready. She ran at him, only to bounce off of his force field, falling right on her butt. He grinned and waved goodbye, loving the outraged expression on her white chocolate face. It was a shame he had to run from such a pathetic superhero, but Abaris knew his limits. Without time to prepare even a low C-list hero was too much of a risk.

Maybe next time he'd be prepared, and he could find out if she really did taste like chocolate.

The floor seemed to fall out from under him, and the room vanished.

A second later he was at a backup location. An abandoned old farmhouse outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, no one would expect to find him there. Stepping out of the circle, he allowed himself a moment to throw up his breakfast. Travelling by circle never agreed with him.

Wiping his mouth, he looked around the dusty old room. It would need some work to be a proper workshop, but he just needed to summon some help and everything would be shipshape soon enough.

His foot went through a floor board, slicing his ankle up and trapping him. Grimacing, he knelt down to free himself. “This place is a dump,” he groaned.

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July 20th, 2007
Lincoln, Nebraska

The day was too hot, even for Teri, who liked the heat. Sprawled out in a bikini, she laid on a cushion in front of a fan, wishing the A/C was working. It had been out for all day and Mouser couldn't get anyone to look at it without a three day wait.

“Couldn't you get one of your gadgeteer friends to send you an air conditioner?” she asked.

“The only person I know who is good at cooling stuff is a devisor. And the last time I asked her for a really good A/C, it broke after three weeks putting out air that made Antarctica look warm,” Mouser replied.

Teri still wasn't sure what to make of Mouser in her human form. The cat had declared the day way too hot to be wearing fur and had turned into a rather plain looking woman with short hair. The only way to tell she was still Mouser were the tattoos on her chest and the matching bracelets and anklets. It had been a bit of a shock the first time.

“How about we go to the beach?” she asked.

“Too hot. The beach will be packed,” Mouser replied, rubbing a bottle of half frozen water over her forehead.

“But it's so hot! I'm dying!”

“Die quietly please.”

Laying back down, she wondered if it would be cooler to go flying outside. If she went high enough it would cool off. At least she thought it would. But that would mean going under the sun. That was not something she wanted.

An idea struck her. Flying to the kitchen she grabbed a big Tupperware container and filled it with cold water, then dumped some ice cubes into it. Flying back to the living room, she put it in front of the fan and sank into the freezing water with a contented sigh.

“Now I'm wishing I was your size,” Mouser said. “You can get a swimming pool wherever you want.”

“It's good being special,” she replied. Dunking her head under the water, she began feeling normal again.

The doorbell rang.

“I've got it!” she shouted, flying out of her impromptu pool.

“Wait!” Mouser cried, just before she reached the door.

With her hands on the door knob, she looked over not sure what the problem was. Then she saw Mouser shift back to her cat form. The loose bikini became almost too tight, and the cat looked miserable, with drooping whiskers and tail.

“Now you can let them in.”

Opening the door, she was surprised to see a fairly tall and muscular woman in a crop top and shorts with big, candy cane striped sunglasses. That wasn't the surprising part, what really got her attention was the skin that looked like it was made of milk chocolate, and cotton candy pink hair.

“Uh, hi,” Teri said.

“Hi yourself,” the woman said. “You must be Teri, Mouser's told me about you. I'm Melinda, or Candy if you want to use my hero name.”

Her eyes went wide. “You're a hero?”

“Yes I am. Candy Knight, I usually work in Omaha.”

“Let her in, Teri. And can you get her a bottle of water?” Mouser asked, not moving from the couch.

She flew to the kitchen to get the water. A friend of Mousers was a friend of hers.

“Wow, it's hot in here,” Candy said. “How can you stand it?”

“Willpower and stoicism,” Mouser replied. “What are you doing here?”

“I'm following a super villain. A finger wiggler, who managed to slip away from me a week and a half ago. Got a good tip that he set up shop here, thought I'd drop by to say hi while I was in town and see if you wanted to help me tag and bag him.”

“What's his name?”

“Abaris, he likes summoning freaky monsters. He's not very tough, but he's tricky. I only found out about him when he drained a few minor wizards in Omaha of their essence.”

Teri came back with fresh drinks for everyone. She quickly handed them out and returned to her pool, getting an envious look from the two giants, who had to suffer the heat.

Mouser flicked her ear. “I haven't heard of anyone like that. But other than Witch Mabel, I don't know many people in the spooky arts.”

“I'm going to talk to her next,” Candy said. “She might be able to point me in the right direction, but once I know where to go, I'd like you watching my back.”

“Good plan. She's good with the magic, but once she's out of her kitchen, she's not ready to be a hero.”

The oddly skinned hero ran a hand through her hair, which was a little matted. Teri's eyes widened as the pink hair was caught in the fingers and left a bare scalp. Candy scrunched the hair up in her hands, leaving a compact bit of dark pink, that looked like crushed cotton candy which vanished a moment later. Then new hair, a light blue this time, appeared on her head. It was much shorter and while it still looked like candy it was mostly straight.

“That's better,” Candy said. “It's like an oven in here, how about we go out for slushies or ice cream? My treat.”

Mouser slowly got to her feet. “That sounds good, just let me get dressed. And Teri doesn't get anything with sugar or caffeine.”

Teri was already flying for her room. She dried off and put on a sundress in record time, flying back to the living room before Mouser had even closed her door. Candy watched her with a look that was half surprise and half amused.

“You really are fast,” the hero said.

“Yep. I'm a special speedster. What can you do?” Teri asked.

“I can manifest candy, that's why I'm called Candy Knight. And I'm pretty tough.”

Frowning, Teri tried to think how candy would let someone be a hero. “How does that work?”

Holding out her hand, the hero made a red crystal sword appear. It looked really sharp. Then the fairy realized that not only had Candy manifested a sword but a crystal gauntlet as well. Tapping the sword it felt pretty tough.

“That's cool. But it's still candy, it doesn't seem like much,” Teri said.

“My armour can stop a .50 calibre bullet. I'll be knocked on my butt and get a pretty spectacular bruise, but I'll survive. And it's hard for most people to move when they find themselves encased in a block of candy. And it's really tasty.”

“Can you only make hard candy?”

“I can make almost any type, including chocolate, and cotton candy. That's what my hair is made of. Would you like to try some?”

Frowning, Teri shook her head. “I shouldn't. I can't have sugar. I need to have special candy if I want any.”

Candy smiled and made a miniature chocolate bar. “My manifested candy is sugar free. It was tested a lot, and it's perfectly healthy for diabetics, while still tasting great.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Taking the chocolate bar which was almost her size, being as long as her forearm, Teri licked it. It tasted good, and she didn't feel excited. Taking a bite, it really was delicious. She took another bite. And another.

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“YUM!” Teri shouted.

Mouser charged out of her room, her short sundress only half on. “What did you do?!” she shouted.

Startled, Candy looked at her. “I just gave her some of my chocolate, it's safe.”

Looking at Teri, who was licking her fingers, Mouser realized that things were about to get bad. And they were in her apartment, full of breakable items. Leaping across the room, she grabbed the fairy who was just starting to shake, and jumped out the window.

They didn't hit the ground.

Teri began giggling zooming through the air, not caring that Mouser was hanging onto her for dear life. Screaming in terror, Mouser would have started praying, but she was too busy trying not to throw up or make a mess in her panties. Using all her strength and agility she managed to avoid being flung off as the fairy made a tight turn, that snapped her like a whip. But it was very, very close. As rooftops, people, walls, the ground and cars zipped past in a blur, she used her weight to steer the crazy fairy away from the worst of it.

People looked up as they flew past, a blur of purple and black, that was laughing and screaming at the same time. Mouser raised her feet just in time to avoid hitting the top of a bus, and was almost flung off as Teri made a tight right turn, heading for a restaurant.

Keeping a tight hold on the girl, Mouser gritted her teeth, twisted her lower half and bent her knees, so the back of her legs hit a lamppost like a hook. She yowled as her legs went numb, but used her knees to hold onto the metal post with all her might. Somehow she kept a hold of Teri and the post, but it felt like she was being ripped in half.

The metal started to bend a little as Teri kept flying forward. Mouser couldn't feel her lower half anymore, and her grip was slipping. Then the fairy seemed to switch off, and went limp in her hands.

With nothing holding her up anymore, Mouser found herself falling to the ground. With no feeling in her legs she hit the ground hard, and laid there for a moment, while people came out asking if she was all right.

She couldn't answer. She was trying to remember how to move, as she slowly baked on the hot sidewalk. Finally she was able to move, and accepted a hand up. “I'm fine. Just had a small problem,” she said, fixing the shoulder straps on her dress, which had somehow stayed on.

Still holding the sleeping Teri in her hand, she went into the restaurant. Asking for the phone, a nervous waitress handed it over.

Mouser dialed a number and leaned against a wall, trying not to collapse as she waited.

“Hello,” Candy said, she sounded a little worried..

“Get in your car and come pick me up,” Mouser hissed. “And when I say Teri doesn't get sugar or caffeine, I MEAN IT!”

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Teri held an ice chip against her head, hoping it would help with her headache. She was still feeling woozy from the sugar high, and was sitting her cushion. Mouser was lying on the couch, with ice packs piled up on her knees and all along her arms, drinking from a large glass full of whisky. Candy sat off to the side, looking embarrassed, ready to get anything they might need.

“OK, Candy, what will this Abaris guy probably try first?” Mouser asked.

The hero perked up, clearly happy to have something to talk about that didn't involve the disastrous flight. “He'll most likely lie low for a while. He's mostly interested in studying magic, and usually just works for other supervillains to make money or get resources. Sometimes he'll go after a magical book or artifact on his own, but he prefers to steal them rather than use a brute force approach. Around here, you'll probably notice him when he attacks a magic user for essence.”

“We need to warn Witch Mabel!” Teri said, sitting up rather abruptly. She groaned and laid back down wishing she hadn't moved. It felt like her brain was rattling around in her skull.

“I'll give her a call in a bit,” Mouser said. “How soon do you think he'll go after essence.?”

“I don't know. He drained a fortune teller dry a week before I found his hideout, so he should be good for a few weeks. It depends on what he's doing right now and how much essence he needs to do it. But from what I know about him, we should have a month or two before he causes problems,” Candy answered.

“Good, that gives us time to hunt him down.”

Teri felt her heart race at the words. Mouser could get hurt. She could die. What would she do if Mouser wasn't there to look after her?

“Teri,” Mouser said, “I need you to do something for me.”

“What do you need?” she squeaked.

“Candy and I are going to be busy looking for this guy, and Witch Mabel might need help. So, I'm going to call her, and see if she'll let you stay with her for a few days until we capture Abaris. If anything happens, your only job is to get Mabel out of there, you're not to get into a fight, just grab her and run. Do you understand?”

She didn't want to fight a supervillain again. It always went wrong and something bad always happened. But Teri realized she couldn't let anything bad happen to her friend. Witch Mabel wasn't like Mouser, she was a nice old lady, not a fighter. And Mouser had told her not to fight, all she had to do was grab Mabel and run away if something happened. She could do that. She was fast and tough. If the nasty wizard showed up, he'd barely have time to see her or Mabel, they'd be moving so quickly.

“I'll do it!” she shouted. And she instantly regretted it as her headache flared back into life.

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That night, after Teri was in bed, Candy and Mouser were sitting up, drinking and talking. They'd spent the evening making plans, calling contacts, and trying to figure out where Abaris might have set up shop. One of the calls had been to Mabel, to let her know what was going on and set up things for Teri to visit.

“Are you sure sending Teri to watch Witch Mabel is a good idea?” Candy asked Mouser.

Sighing, Mouser scratched her ear. “Nope. But there's no way I'm letting Teri stick around me while I go hunting a supervillain. Not after last time. This way she'll feel useful, while being with someone who can look after her. And IF something does happen, well, Teri is a fighter. Best case scenario she'll get Mabel out of there. Worst case, she'll cause so much chaos that I actually feel sorry for anyone stupid enough to set her off.”

Candy chuckled. “I wouldn't have believed you if I hadn't seen you jump out a window with her and go flying. I don't think I've ever seen you that scared.”

“That was mild for her. Whatever your candy is made of, it just gave her a little bit of a boost. If it had been the real stuff, something other than my dress would have been trashed, and I'd have lost fur. And if she thinks you're an enemy, or worse, you hurt someone she cares about, she won't stop until you're down for the count. She's got a nasty mind when it comes to mayhem, and the muscle and speed to back it up.”

“She's that bad?”

“Did you hear about the fight I had last month?”

“A bit. Sounds like it was a tough one.”

“Yeah, Demolisher wasn't pretty, but he really was tough. Teri got upset and joined in when she saw me get hurt. At first she wasn't doing much, just distracting him. Then I had to use my body as a shield after she got hit. She's not that strong compared to most bricks, but she's fast. She went ballistic on him. What you saw today was a calm walk in the park compared to that. Just with her fists, she was leaving dents in his armour. And when that didn't work, she turned a washing machine into a deadly weapon. If Demolisher hadn't been in power armour, she'd have killed him without even realizing it. Even after he ditched the burning power armour, she kept going, until she was too worn out to keep pummelling it with a stop sign she'd turned into an impromptu spear.”

“Damn.”

She nodded. “So this way, she's out of the line of fire. She feels like she's doing something useful, so she won't do anything foolish like follow me trying to be a hero. And if the absolute worst happens, Witch Mabel has some real protection. It's the best I can do, and it's one of the reasons I want to get her to Whateley, where she can just be a kid.”

Taking a sip of her drink, Candy shook her head. “She doesn't really seem that bad. Just a hyperactive kid who happens to look like a fairy.”

“She's got problems, but she hides them pretty well. Her psychiatrist says a lot of it is because she's avoiding them. Out of sight, out of mind, kind of thing. The brainwashing she had when she was changed, definitely helps with that. But when something makes her see or remember some of the things she's hiding from, it's like a bomb going off. For her and everyone around her.”

“Poor kid.”

“Yep.”

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July 24th, 2007
Witch Mabel's House
Afternoon

Teri hovered over Witch Mabel's shoulder watching the old woman place a small jar of something that smelled disgusting in a hole at the corner of the yard. They'd spent all day yesterday making a noxious concoction of herbs, spices, and expired meat and veges, and canning them. Now they were burying the jars all around the house.

“This will really keep bad people away?” Teri asked.

“It will keep bad magic away. At least it always has before,” Witch Mabel told her. “You can bury it now.”

Grabbing the shovel, Teri began throwing the pile of dirt into the hole, not even thinking about how it looked having a tiny fairy using a shovel that was so much bigger than she was. “So why don't you use it all the time?”

“It doesn't last long, only a month or so, and it takes a lot of essence. So I don't like using it unless I really need to. My potpourris and candles are usually enough for me.”

Taking the cut up turf, Teri placed it over the dirt and began tapping it down with the shovel. “Is that the last one?”

“It is. Now we can relax with some diet ice tea and cookies.”

“YAY! Can we watch Yume Tsukai too? The first episode was really good.”

Witch Mabel nodded. “You can. I can never follow the subtitles and the cartoon at the same time, so I'll just do some knitting while you watch.”

“It's not a cartoon, it's anime.”

“What's the difference?”

“Anime sounds more sophisticated,” Teri explained, standing up straighter and taking on what she thought was an intellectual tone.

“Right. Let's go get those cookies.”

Neither of them noticed the ugly black bird watching them from a tree several houses away. It croaked a little like a crow. The twisting eye stalk that peeked out from it's beak revealed that while it had the shape of a bird, it was nothing like one in reality.

Taking to the air, it ignored the smoking ichor it left on branch. Several hours later the leaves of the tree began wilting as rot spread though the wood.

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Farmhouse Outside Lincoln, Nebraska

Abaris walked through his new home. What had been a small, decrepit farmhouse was now a proper place for a mage of his stature. Insect-like clicks and skittering came from the shadows cast by the ethereal lanterns. Eyes, most of which were inhuman, peered at him from cracks in the wall, ceiling, floor and air. Stepping through a door which according to the small window beside it, should have taken him to the backyard, led to another room made of obsidian.

Doors lined the walls, several more were built into the floor. Opening the door in the middle of the room, Abaris stepped through, seeming to fall for a moment. Then space altered itself and he was walking normally through an ornate dining room. Shadows moved at will dusting the furniture, polishing the table, and sweeping the floor.

Another door, and he was in a study. The walls were bookshelves, each one covered in a wide assortment of literature of papyrus scrolls, clay tablets, old grimoires with stained parchment, taped together notepads full of hastily scribbled notes, childish looking diaries, silk scrolls, computer discs, leather clad tomes, computer printouts, amateur magazines, painted leather, and more. It had taken his master centuries to collect most of them, and he'd spent years expanding it.

Now it was time to add another book to his collection and get some essence at the same time.

Taking a knotted and dyed rope from its place, he whispered a spell that would allow him to read the quipu. This wasn't the simple inventory list of most quipu, that had survived when the Spaniards sacked the Incan Empire. The quipu he held was one of the last surviving spells used by Incan priests, it would cut through the witch's protection spells as if they were simple string, and she would never know he had done it.

It would just take a few hours to prepare.

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That Evening

Teri laid on her cushion, quietly reading her manga, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It wasn't her usual type of story, but Mouser had said it was really good, and that she should expand her horizons from just funny stories and magical girls. She had to admit, it was pretty good, not as good as Fruits Basket or One Piece, but definitely worth reading.

“Flip,” she said.

The book holder flipped the page for her. She could set it to automatic, but sometimes she liked taking her time looking over the pictures, and other times she zipped along. So having it voice activated worked best for her.

As she read about Nausicaä travelling through the toxic jungle, she heard something scuttling in the kitchen. Looking around, Witch Mabel and her husband didn't seem to hear anything, they were just sitting on the couch reading books. The noise came again, it sounded like claws on the linoleum floor.

It was probably a mouse or something. Witch Mabel kept her kitchen spotless, but you never knew what might let them in. Flying close to the floor, she silently made her way to the kitchen. The scratching got louder. Her eyes adjusted to the darkness, letting her see perfectly.

Staying low, she zipped around the kitchen, looking for what had made the noise. Movement by the stove caught her eye. Something black and glistening was squeezing out from the gap beside the counter and the stove. It was a nightmare version of a centipede, with huge jagged pincers around it's mouth, squishy red eyes, and sharp clawed feet.

There was only one thing for Teri to do. “ATTACK!” she shouted at the top of her lungs as she charged straight at it.

The monster reared up like a snake, which did it absolutely no good as Teri slammed her fist through the thin armour that covered it's body. It hissed and recoiled, the razor sharp claws scraped against her force field, unable to pierce her or get a solid grip.

Grabbing its innards, Teri dragged it out from under the stove. Over ten feet of worm-like body wrapped itself around her, trying to crush her. Its mass was a bit too much for her, and she lost her grip. Slime erupted from the armour, making it impossible for her to hold onto it as it kept moving around. The best she could do was punch and kick at it, cracking the armour.

She heard Witch Mabel gasp in shock.

There was no way the monster was getting her friend. Flying upwards, dragging the thing with her, she slammed into the ceiling, making the eldritch centipede squeal in pain.

“Hold still Teri!” Witch Mabel shouted.

A cupboard slammed open, and jars crashed to the ground. “Got it!” the witch said.

A moment later the centipede shrieked, hurting her ears. For moment it squeezed her so tightly it actually hurt. Then reality flipped and spun.

The centipede vanished in a puff of smoke, and Teri found herself in a room made of black, glassy rock. Blue, smokeless flames lined the walls, their eerie light reflected off of the stone, lighting the room with a weird, eye watering colour. A young man with a scraggly black beard stood close by, holding a book. And he was naked.

“What the fu-” the naked man started to say.

“EEEWWWW!!!!! COVER UP!!!!! EYE BLEACH!!!! WHERE IS THE EYE BLEACH!!!!!!” Teri shrieked. Covering her eyes as best she could, she flew away from the pervert, and promptly hit an invisible wall with her face.

“OW!” she shouted, holding her neck which felt a millimetre shorter than it should be.

“Where's Witch Mabel? What are you?” the pervert demanded.

Keeping her eyes closed, Teri shouted, “Freak! Pervert! Pedo! Put on some pants! I'm only fourteen, you sicko!”

“Will you shut up already!”

“Pervert Man! You've made a big mistake kidnapping me! If you lay a finger on me, I'll break it off and shove it up your nose so far you'll be scratching your brain!”

“There I put on a robe. Now will you shut up?” Pervert Man asked.

Peeking through her fingers, Teri saw that he did have a robe on. “OK, Pervert Man, you'd better let me go or you're going to regret it.”

“I'm not a pervert. I was casting magic.”

“Yeah sure, I bet that's what all perverts say. Come with me, and I'll show you a magic trick. I have candy and puppies too.” Teri flew up to get a better look at the pervert, only to hit an invisible roof. Looking down she saw that she was in some intricate circle. It looked like a magical one from some manga's she'd read.

"What's this, Pervert Man? Did you summon me, wanting a magical fairy to do nasty and immoral things with? Well, I'm not that type of fairy, even if you weren't a disgusting, giant pervert.”

“Where's Witch Mabel? My demon was supposed to get her,” Pervert Man said.

Her face turned red, and she flew to the very edge of the circle. “HOW DARE YOU! She's a married woman! And far too good for a pervert like you. You can't even grow a proper porn stache.”

She didn't actually know what a porn stache was supposed to look like, but Mouser had mentioned it a few times. Seeing Pervert Man rub his facial hair, she thought she'd scored a hit.

“I'm not a pervert.”

“You summon creepy, slimy, demons that abduct pretty women out of their kitchens, bringing them to your dungeon. Where you greet them all naked and creepy. You might as well have it tattooed on your forehead.”

“I don't care about sex! I just wanted to take her essence!”

Gasping, Teri glared at the pervert. “Do you know how gross that sounds! Watch out! Pervert Man is coming for your essence! Hide the women and children! Pervert Man is coming with his slimy, little worm! And he likes granny's! So hide the elderly too!”

Pervert Man said somethings she couldn't understand and motioned with his hand. Suddenly her voice vanished. She could still open her mouth and feel the air leaving her mouth, but she was utterly silent.

“It seems,” Pervert Man said, “that you interfered with my demon enough that it had to flee without finishing the job. That's disappointing. Still if you were with the Witch, you may be a good- What are you doing?”

Teri had landed and was punching the floor at the edge of the circle. A few cracks had already appeared, but none of them went past the white line.

“You can't break out of the circle like that. You can only be let out by me or if someone breaks the line from the outside.”

Sticking out her tongue, she went back to punching. When a particularly large crack appeared, she shoved her fingers into it, and pulled it up. It was easier than she thought it would be and she ended up falling back onto her butt. Looking at the chip of rock, it was a little thicker than a hair. Looking at the ground, she saw that the crack didn't go down any further.

She started punching the patch again. Nothing happened. It didn't crack, dent, or even smudge. Disappointed, she went to another spot and started punching the floor again.

“Are you going to do that all night? You can't get out.”

Looking up at him, she just nodded and kept punching.

“You are the strangest person I've ever met,” Pervert Man said, rubbing his temples. “I'm Abaris, a magician and scholar, not a pervert. Come on, I have a room prepared for you. I might as well try to get something useful out of this.”

Hearing this, Teri darted to the furthest edge of the circle, covering her chest and pelvis with her arms, glaring at him.

“No! I didn't mean that. I don't care about sex.”

Teri raised her hand, her thumb and index finger almost touching, and shook her head while giggling.

“What are you ten,” Pervert Man demanded.

Since she couldn't answer, Teri simply went back to punching the floor.

Then the circle began to shrink, forcing her to the very centre. She had to crouch as the force field closed around. It stopped before she was crushed, and she could still move around a little, but it was hardly comfortable. She found herself rising up into the air, the circle still surrounding her.

Pervert Man left the room, and she was forced to follow along behind him. They walked through corridors that made no sense, going through a door only to turn around and go through it again entering a totally different room. They finally stopped in a room with stone walls that were covered in weird drawings.

She and her magical circle flew into the room, where the circle expanded to several feet. There was a blanket and a pad on the ground where she could reach it, and something that looked like a portable toilet. Then the door slammed shut, and some LED lights lit up.

“...” she said, kicking the ground.

Kneeling down on the pad, she crawled under the blanket and made herself a nice little den in the middle of it. She wasn't going to cry. She was going to take a nap and plan her revenge. Pervert Man was going to suffer.

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July 25th, 2007
Lincoln MCO Headquarters,
Just After Midnight

Mouser loomed over Witch Mabel. “What happened?” she hissed.

“We were reading in the living room before bed. I heard fighting in the kitchen and ran in, Teri was fighting some kind of monstrous worm that was wrapped around her. I took some enchanted salt and poured it on the thing. It burned and hissed, then vanished with Teri,” the Witch said.

“You were supposed to keep her safe!” Mouser shouted, her claws cutting through the wooden table.

“Then maybe you shouldn't have told her she was supposed to keep me safe,” Witch Mabel retorted.

Candy grabbed Mouser's shoulder and pulled her back. “Hey, you both want to get her back. So instead of fighting, how about we all work together.”

Throwing her arms up, Mouser turned away from them both, her tail lashing through the air. She had wanted to keep Teri safely out of the way and it had all gone wrong. This was one of the reasons she was happily child-free.

MCO director Larry Meyer, threw in his two cents. “I've made finding Abaris top priority. Everyone available is looking for him and Teri right now. The rest will be looking for her tomorrow.”

“Witch Mabel, can you scry her or make a tracking spell?” Candy asked.

“I'm not really good with that type of magic, still I can try,” Mabel said. “I think my cookbook has a good carrot soup that's supposed to be good for seeing things. Just don't expect much, Abaris almost certainly has protection against scrying.”

There was a knock on the door. “What is it?” Larry asked.

The door opened and an agent poked his head in. “Sir, the Analyzer is here, he says he knows where Abaris is.”

Mouser, Larry and Witch Mabel looked at each other in shock and surprise, momentarily unable to say anything.

“Are you going to let him in?” Candy asked, not understanding why they were so shocked.

“Right, yes. Send him in,” Larry said.

The Analyzer came in with a map. He had his blue superhero mask on for a change, which would have had Mouser laughing in less stressful times. In her experience he couldn't find his ass with a map and a guide.

“Good evening everyone,” he said. “I've been looking for Abaris since I heard he was in town. It would have been nice to be informed sooner, I am a hero after all.”

“You're head of a citizen group who does citizen arrests and puts on anti-bullying and crime campaigns,” Mouser said.

The Analyzer ignored her. “Anyways, I looked over all the available records for Abaris, and combined it with what I know of magic. He'll want somewhere close to or in the city, but not in a high traffic area. So it's obvious he'd be in the farmland close by, Lincoln isn't the type of place for him to set up shop. Most of the farms are in use, but there are a number of farm houses that have been abandoned, when the land they were on was bought up. They just haven't been torn down yet, since it's not worth the cost. Now, if he has access to a ley line, he'll take it every time. He's not stuck on just one type of magic, and the lines of magic can be useful, that's why so many civilizations built places of worship on them. The Aztecs, Egyptians, ancient Celts, all-”

“Please stay on topic Analyzer,” Witch Mabel said.

“Right, sorry. So looking over the real estate history of Lincoln and the surrounding area, combined with a map of ley lines in the area, I spotted four potential sites where our supervillain might be.”

Spreading out the map of the region he'd circled the sites, three of them were crossed out. “Before coming here, I had Stop And Go scout out each site. Three of them were abandoned with absolutely nothing to see. The fourth one, he couldn't find.”

“What do you mean he couldn't find it?” Mouser asked.

“He followed the GPS coordinates, but went too three miles too far. Then he went back, and ended up half a mile away. Whenever he tried to get there specifically, he ended up overshooting it. It wasn't a teleport spell, the GPS tracker on him showed him going past it along the highway. He just couldn't seem to focus on it and stop when he should have. Even when I told him to stop over the phone, he didn't. His brain just couldn't seem to understand where to stop.”

Larry nodded. “You've done a good job, Analyzer. I'm honestly impressed.”

The wannabe superhero beamed with pride at the compliment.

Mouser headed for the door, taking the map with her.

“Wait,” Analyzer said. “You won't be able to find it, you'll have the same problem Stop And Go did.”

“He's right,” Larry said. “We'll need to find a way to break through it. And that means magic.”

All eyes fell on Witch Mabel.

“I- I think my chicken soup recipe that clears the head should help. I'll make a few drinks for dealing with hangovers as well. It'll take me a few hours to get it all ready,” the Witch said.

“Good. We have a small kitchen here, write down what you need, my people will get it for you,” Larry said. He turned to Mouser and Candy. “You two get some sleep, as soon as Witch Mabel is done, you're going in.”

“What about the Lincoln Freedom Squad. Our member was attacked, we should be there as well,” Analyzer said.

Larry held his hand up stopping Mouser before she could say anything. “Have your people ready to go as well. You'll be on standby with my people, if Mouser and Candy Knight have problems. They've worked together before and have experience breaking into supervillain bases, they take point.”

“But we deserve to be there too.”

“And you will be. I'll also make sure to put your name in the press release and the reports, as the person who found the location. But this is a delicate situation with a hostage. The people with the most experience go in first.”

It looked like the Analyzer was chewing a lemon, but he backed down. “All right. I'll make sure my team is ready to go, but you're in charge. We won't go in without your say so.”

“Thank you. And don't worry, this is a feather in your cap. Keep it up and I'll make sure you get the respect you deserve,” Larry said, patting him on the back. He turned to Mouser and Candy. “You can bunk down here, in a spare office, or go home and we'll call you when we're ready.”

“I've got everything in my truck, I'll sleep here,” Mouser said.

Candy held up a small bag. “I don't need anything, I've got a spare change of clothes. So lead the way.”

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Abaris’s Lair
Morning

Teri crawled out of the blanket, hungry, angry and a little scared. As she made her way through the confining fabric, she stoked the anger. A pervert had kidnapped her and tried to kidnap Witch Mabel. He was no better than Burger Face. She was going to find a way to escape just like she had broken out of the airship and make Pervert Man suffer.

A plate of food was waiting for her when she finally got out. So was a squat, scaly giant. She'd never seen anyone like him, he had to be at least three or four feet tall, and the dark greenish-blue scales meant he was either a mutant or a demon.

Hunger overrode her desire to insult the Pervert's minion. She hungrily devoured most of the toast, and some of the scrambled egg, before drinking the orange juice. Satisfied she walked over as close to the demon as she could and glared up at him.

“Didn't think I'd see your kind on Earth,” the demon said, revealing very sharp teeth.

“What does that mean?” she demanded.

“Pixies don't usually come here, it ain't exactly friendly to your kind. But you're so ugly, ya must have been thrown out.”

“UGLY! I'll have you know I'm very pretty! And I'm not a pixie I'm a fairy!”

“Sure ya are, ugly.”

“At least I'm not working with a pervert. I bet you're just like him, wanting to strut around naked, taking essence from innocent girls and old ladies, you sicko.”

He grinned. “Ya wish. You're not my type. I prefer attractive women.”

“As if any woman would let a sicko like you even touch her.”

“Whatever ya say, ugly.”

“So, Sicko, what are you doing here? Hanging out hoping to catch a look when I go to the bathroom?”

“I'm just here to make sure ya don't run away or do anything stupid. The boss man likes having me around and keeping busy, so you're my current project until he gets something better for me to do,” Sicko said.

“And just what are you?”

“An Imp. What about you? Ya definitely ain't a fairy, or a pixie.”

“I'm a mutant.”

He snorted. “Damn! You guys are getting freakier by the year.”

“At least I'm not a ugly scaly giant who works for Pervert Man!” she shouted.

Laughing, Sicko leaned against a wall and pulled a book out of his pocket. Ignoring her, he began reading.

Sitting down on her blanket, Teri began to think. She had to figure out how to get out of there. Then she'd shove Pervert Man's head in a toilet. He'd probably like it at first, but she was sure he'd stop enjoying it after she kept him in there for ten or twenty minutes.

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Mouser drank her chicken soup straight from the thermos, it didn't taste bad, if she was being honest it was one of the best soups she'd ever had. But she wasn't about to act like she enjoyed it, she was still upset with Witch Mabel. And riding in the back of an MCO van at seven in the morning to go fight a supervillain wasn't improving her mood.

Finishing the soup, she opened up another thermos which had lemon water and green tea in it. It was part of the one-two anti-magic punch the witch had prepared that night. She swore it would help clear their minds of any magical affects for at least an hour after drinking it. The other people in the truck, including the driver, were drinking the exact same thing. They'd all need their wits about them, if they were going to get into the farmhouse and kick a wizard's ass.

Candy patted her arm. “You ready for this?” she asked.

“I'd better be,” Mouser replied. “What should we expect in there?” They'd talked about how Abaris made his base before, but it was something useful to talk about. And at the moment, Mouser needed to feel like she was doing something.

“He uses some weird dimensional magic. Rooms are bigger than they should be, doors don't go where they should, it's a maze, and full of weak demons and magical creatures. That's how he got away last time, it took so long to find him, he was able to set up a teleportation spell.”

“Maybe my ears and nose will help get through it.”

“Hopefully.”

The van stopped and everyone hopped out, in the distance was an old farmhouse. It looked like it had been deserted for at least a decade.

“Since we can see it, it seems like Witch Mabel came through,” Candy Knight said.

Mouser just nodded.

Larry came over. “OK, the other team and the Lincoln Freedom Squad have pulled up on the other side of the building. Drones are keeping an eye on it from the sky. And we should be far enough back to not set off any magical alarms. It's your show now. Keep in radio contact, if you need us give a shout. If you're not out in an hour, we go in shooting.”

“Sounds good,” Mouser said. She put her helmet on and put her plasma gun, that looked like a heavily modified sawed off shotgun, on her back. She was already in her padded armour, with a few grenades and some magical goodies Witch Mabel had cooked up, in her pouches for good measure.

Candy Knight nodded, and armoured up. In her case it involved manifesting purple, red and pink candy over top of her skin tight Kevra suit, and padded helmet. She looked like a candy version of an old fashion knight, right down to the one-handed sword and shield.

Jogging to the house, they went over their plan. “Top priority is finding Tink,” Mouser said. It was her town so she was in charge. “You go in the front door, making noise and taking names. I'll go in through the window. We see Abaris we take him down, alive if possible.”

“Will anyone cry if he has an accident?” Candy asked.

“Nope, just make sure it's an accident.”

“Good to know. Good luck.”

Parting ways, Mouser watched as her exemplar friend put her enhanced body to good use and charged the front door. She crossed the last hundred yards in about five seconds and smashed through the door like she was the Kool-Aid Man.

Mouser took a few seconds longer to circle the house and jumped through a closed window. Her suit and helmet kept the glass from slicing her up. Landing on her feet, she saw that she was in the kitchen, and from the smell of things it had recently been used.

A frying pan flew off of the stove straight for Mouser's head. She ducked out of the way, then rolled to the side as a knife almost impaled her. A ghostly figure in a chef hat appeared out of thin air, dishes rose around him.

“You've gotta be kidding me,” Mouser said.

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Teri was tired of waiting, it was time to take action. The imp was just standing there reading a book, maybe she could make him angry. Picking up her breakfast plate, she spun in a circle and released it like a Frisbee, aiming for his head.

It shattered on the force field that surrounded her.

Sighing, Sicko shook his head, much like a teacher dealing with a slow student. “You're in a magic circle, ya can't send anything out of it without permission.”

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because if someone in a circle could toss whatever they wanted out of it, it would kinda ruin the point of having a magic circle. Now sit down, relax, and nothing bad will happen to ya,” Sicko said.

Grimacing, Teri started punching the force field At first Sicko didn't react, except for a smirk. Then she started hitting it harder and faster.

“Ugly, you're just gonna hurt your hand like that. A magic circle ain't like a regular cell. There ain't no weak points. And ya can't dig your way out.”

She rose into the air and started slamming her shoulder into the force field Sicko shook his head, chuckling as he did, and muttered something about stupid Earthlings.

Speeding up, she began circling the circle, ramming her body into it every few laps. Sicko began to look worried. The world became a blur to her as she went faster and faster, hitting the circle with a fist, foot or shoulder, and bouncing off. Pushing herself to her limits, she punched the force field as hard as she could.

The impact didn't do a thing to the force field, but it sent her flying. She bounced off the far side of the circle and fell onto the blanket like a tiny meteor, hidden from view.

“Hey Ugly, you alive?” The imp asked. “I told ya it wouldn't do no good, and you'd only hurt yourself.”

He was quiet for a minute. “Yo Ugly! Did you break something? Come on, talk ta me. We aren't gonna hurt ya. We just wanna use ya to get some stuff. A bit a money, essence, something useful, then ya can go home. But if you're dead, well that's a problem. Come on, you can't be dead. You're heads too tough for that to take ya out.”

Scratching his scales, Sicko looked around the room for help. Unfortunately he was the only one there. Holding his hand up, he made some strange motions with his other hand. A picture of Pervert Man appeared. “Hey boss. Got a little problem here.”

“Is she still in the circle?” Pervert asked.

“Ya. But ya-”

“Then there's no problem. I'm a little busy right now, I'll call you when I need you. Just make sure she stays there and stays safe.”

The picture vanished.

“Ah nuts,” Sicko said. “Ugly, come on, say something. If ya let me know you're OK, I'll give ya something nice for lunch.”

Nothing.

“I really don't like this. Maybe if I can see ya, that'll be a enough to know you're OK. I'll be following orders, the boss will be happy. And you can have a nice little nap,” he said, mostly to himself. Reaching past the circle, careful to not touch the drawing, he grabbed the blanket and gave it a shake.

Teri moved so fast it was almost impossible to see. One moment she was hidden in the blanket, then a split second later she was grappling Sicko's finger, biting and squeezing it as hard as she could.

“GAH!” Sicko shrieked in pain, wrenching his hand back and out of the circle. Teri went with it.

“VENGEANCE SHALL BE MINE!” she shouted, leaping off of the imp's finger. Grabbing him by the back of his pants she flew up bashing him into the ceiling, dropped him onto the floor, grabbed him again, and threw him into the circle.

Satisfied that the sicko was properly punished, she flew through the door.

Sicko watched her go. Actually he watched three of her go, his brain didn't seem to be working properly at the moment. Lying on the ground, holding his aching head, he said, “I'm gonna be in so much trouble over this.”

linebreak shadow

Mouser slammed the door to the kitchen, leaving the ghost on the other side, and braced it with her body. A knife came through the wood right beside her ear. Jumping away, she wished she had something that would hurt a ghost, regular weapons had just gone through it.

She breathed a sigh of relief when the ghost decided to stay in the kitchen.

“OK, one problem down. Just need to remember to burn this place down before I leave.” Looking around, she realized she was in the living room. Considering the window she'd jumped into, she shouldn't be so close to the front door. But there it was broken down, and it looked like Candy had some fun. Furniture was overturned, sliced up, and covered in something black and foul smelling that Mouser really hoped was blood.

Taking her plasma gun from her back, she looked at the five doors that could lead anywhere. One of the doors was actually on the outside wall, something that shouldn't work, because there was only one door on the outside of the house.

Curiosity got the better of her. Going to the big black door that shouldn't exist, she opened it up. A black void greeted her. A hot, moist breeze that smelled of rotten meat came through the doorway. Something seemed to be moving in the darkness. It was coming closer.

“Nope!” Mouser shouted, slamming the door shut.

Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a black marker and wrote 'BAD!' beside the door, with a big arrow pointing at it.

Walking to another door, she pointedly ignored the polite tapping behind her. She knew better than to open the door for strangers.

Opening another door, it looked like a castle tower with a spiral staircase, going upwards. That shouldn't work, because the farm only had one floor and maybe a basement. But compared to the last door, this was fine. Perfectly fine.

She started climbing.

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Teri flew through the old brick hallway. It looked like an ancient tunnel from thousands of years ago, but there were light bulbs every few yards. She didn't go as fast as she could, because she didn't want to run into something unexpectedly, and she didn't want to miss something important. She wished she remembered the route Pervert Man had taken when he threw her in the cell, but everything looked totally different.

She came to the end of the hallway, and was faced with two doors, that didn't have handles. They looked identical, and they were side by side.

“Which one should I take?” she asked herself.

“Hello,” a squeaky voice said.

“Hi,” a deep voice said.

Looking around she saw two large black beetle-like bugs sitting in two little alcoves one beside each door.

“Hello,” she said back.

“I suppose you're trying to decide which door to take,” the one on the right said.

“Of course you are,” the left one said. “

“You have to guess. One leads onwards, the other one leads to certain, painful death!” they said together.

Teri wasn't impressed. “And let me guess, you can tell me, but one of you always lies, and one of you tells the truth, but I can only ask one of you one question about the door, right?”

“Oh you've heard of this game before?” Righty asked.

Rubbing her head, Teri swore to herself that Pervert Man was going to suffer before she killed him. “The right one leads onwards,” she said.

The two beetles looked at each other, their inhuman faces looking very surprised. “How do you know that?” Lefty asked.

“I'm smart,” she said. “Now open the door.”

Righty waved a leg and the right door opened. It looked safe, but she wasn't sure if she should trust it. Flying straight at Righty, she grabbed him by his antennas and tossed him through the door. It immediately slammed shut.

“What did you do that for?!” Lefty asked.

“Just wait,” she replied, listening at the door.

It was muffled, but she heard Righty speaking. “Oh dear. I've never heard of someone doing that before. Um, hello. I'm not supposed to be here. Can you open the door so I can get out? Please. Oh hello there. I'm quite embarrassed to say that I was thrown in here by a nasty little pixie, and- OH GODS! THE PAIN! AAAHHHHHH! WHY???!!!! PLEASE STOP!!! MERCY! HOW AM I STILL ALIVE! BY ALL THAT'S HOLY PLEASE JUST PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!”

Teri flew to the left door and smiled sweetly at Lefty. “I'm going through the left door. Can you open it for me please.”

“Yes! Certainly! Please don't hurt me!” Lefty said, desperately waving for the door to open.

“Thank you!”

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“Well this is interesting,” Mouser said.

The room at the top of the stairs had a floor covered in letters and a door on the opposite side. On the wall written in very fancy script was a riddle.

'You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I’m quick when I’m thin and slow when I’m fat. The wind is my enemy.'

“Someone has played too much D&D,” Mouser said.

She wondered if there was cell reception in the area, that would solve the riddle. But she realized there was a much easier way. Kneeling down into a runners starting position, she eyed the far door. Her main problem would be to avoid hitting the ceiling.

Her legs seemed to explode, sending her flying across the room and the trapped tiles. Grabbing the door knob, she dug her feet into the tiny platform that was solid stone, and gently hit the door with her body. Opening the door, she left the stupid trap room.

And immediately found herself in a dungeon-like room staring up at three large werewolves. They weren't cool looking werewolves, these were dirty, with matted red fur and flies buzzing around them. They had long, black claws and huge sharp teeth.

“Kitty!” one said.

“Pretty kitty!” the second one said.

“Play long time with kitty!” the third said.

Drawing her gun, she pointed it at the nearest one, pulling the trigger. A ball of blinding plasma erupted from it, engulfing one of the werewolves, which quickly turned to charcoal.

“Bad dogs! No play with kitty!” she said, while aiming at the second one.

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Eight doors lined the hallway, four on each side. The hallway didn't look like a dungeon or an old ruin, but a run down mansion. There were creepy pictures on the wall that seemed to be looking at her, Antique lights came out of the walls, and oddly identical tiny tables with vases stood beside the doors.

“Do I keep going straight, or should I try one of the doors?” Teri asked herself.

The whole place was so weird, she wasn't sure she wanted to trust going through the doors. There might be a monster or trap behind them. And if she just kept going down the hallway, she could backtrack to the doors if she needed to.

Deciding on her course of action, Teri flew down the hall. Another eight doors were waiting for her, with identical pictures and tables. She kept going. Another eight doors, identical pictures and tables were there. She flew some more, another eight doors, tables, and creepy pictures greeted her.

“OK, something is wrong here,” she said. Flying up to a picture, she scratched, 'I was here' on it.

Flying onwards, she was saw eight doors, eight weird little tables, and the creepy pictures. And on one of the pictures was scratched, 'I was here'.

Stomping her foot in midair, she said, “Well this is annoying.”

Opening a door, she went through it. And came out on the opposite side of the hallways.

Facepalming, she looked up at the ceiling. “HEY PERVERT MAN! This joke was overused back in the seventies! Can you try something original!”

Going through most of the other doors they all had the same result, she ended up in the hallway coming out from some random door. However when she opened the last door, something original did happen.

A ghostly woman with long grey hair that moved in a non-existent wind glared at her. Her eyes were black hollows, surrounded by dry, yellowish skin that was stretched taut over it's skull. Screeching, revealed it's sharp, jagged teeth, that looked like they'd been shattered and shoved back into the gums by a sadistic dentist. It raised it's yellow talons and swung at Teri, shrieking in anger.

Teri dodged the blow by flying into the monster woman's chest. She expected to hit something, but flew straight through her. The only thing she felt was a bitter cold wind.

And she ended up in the hallway again.

“Well if I can't hurt you, you probably can't hurt me,” she said.

Claws racked her back. They didn't cut through her force field, but they did send her flying to the ground. And while the impact didn't hurt too much, the sudden stop had. She didn't have time to whine about it, she saw the claws coming back for a second round.

Taking to the air again, she flew as fast as she could trying to get away from the ghost. Only to find herself flying straight at the ghost again as the hallway twisted around her. Ducking another blow, she flew through a door. Somehow the ghost was right in front of her as she came through the door.

Twisting, she managed to avoid the ghost once more. She tried to stay in the hallway without going through a door or resetting the hallway. The ghostly woman chased after her, somehow almost as fast as her. Diving through a door, the ghost followed her this time.

They dashed through doorways going in and out at random, in a Lovecraftian version of tag. Teri picked up speed pushing herself to go faster, even as she started to tire herself out.

She came out of a door at an angle, the ghost right on her tail. Rather than going through yet another door, she raised her fists and hit the wall, bashing her way through it.

Instead of ending up in the hallway again, she was in a new room.

Teri floated in the air, hands on her hips looking around. “Well that worked better than I expected.”

Claws racked her back, smacking her to the ground.

“AW NUTS!” Teri shouted as the ghost came through the wall.

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“Well, this is a problem,” Mouser said, looking at the blank wall.

She couldn't back track because the room behind her was kind of on fire. A lot of fire. And the werewolves were still howling in pain, which was kind of hard on her ears.

Walking around the room, she saw that there were a bunch of statues of different animals and similar markings on the walls. Another puzzle. “I've had some annoying supervillains before,” Mouser said, “but at least they weren't glorified DM's.”

She could spend time trying to figure out how to do the puzzle, which was undoubtedly the point. It would give Abaris time to escape or set up more of his defences That would be bad, she needed to teach him a lesson about kidnapping her fairy. Circling the room again, she spotted a faint, nearly invisible seam in the wall.

Reaching into her pouch, she took out two grenades. Pulling the pins, she dropped them right on the floor, then jumped across the room and ducked down behind the largest statue, covering her ears and screaming. The high explosive grenades went off, with enough force to make her ears ring.

Shaking her head, Mouser went to the next room.

A fiery demon with glowing eyes, wings of flames, and a whip stepped out of the darkness.

“Oh fu-”

Mouser didn't get to finish her curse. The whip cracked where she'd been standing a second before. Rolling across the floor she raised her arms and shouted “Smoke!”

Pellets erupted from her sleeves, filling the room with dark, almost impenetrable smoke. Only the glowing eyes and wings of the demon could be seen.

It slowly turned around looking for her.

The hero came jumping out of the smoke, landing on the demons shoulders. “DIE!” she shouted, firing the plasma gun right into it's head. “DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!”

It slowly toppled over, it's head melted.

Mouser put a few more plasma blasts into it just to be safe. Only when she was certain it wouldn't move, did she get close to it. Looking closely at the pool of molten metal, she said, “Huh. It wasn't a demon after all, just a golem. That's probably a good thing.”

She was about to take a break, when she heard screaming in the distance. Her ears perked up in her helmet. “I know that screaming!”

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Teri raced down a bewildering number of corridors, trying to get away from the ghost lady, several demon dogs, a swarm of giant beetles, and a suit of armour with a really big sword. If it wasn't for the ghost lady she could deal with each of the threats, at least she could have if they were alone, but with all of them together, and not being able to hurt the ghost, she could only run away.

She came up to yet another room with a bunch of doors. She was getting tired and desperate, she needed to find a place to hide and some food.

Then a door opened.

“Tink go high!” Mouser shouted.

She hit the roof, as her friend fired into the mob with her plasma gun. The demons and monsters hit by the plasma vanished into ash. The nearer ones yelped and whined from the the heat.

“Watch out for the ghost!” Teri yelled.

“Ghost? Ah cr-” Mouser jumped back just in time to avoid getting eviscerated by the claws. Her gun wasn't so lucky. The claws sliced it into little pieces that hit the floor with a sad tinkling sound.

Seeing her friend in danger, Teri flew down into the beetles, crushing shells, ripping off heads, and generally doing whatever it took to make them no longer a threat.

“Got anything that will hurt a ghost?” Mouser asked, ducking and dodging not only the ghost, but the surviving monsters as well.

“No.”

“I was afraid of that!”

A door slammed open, and Candy Knight came running in. Her armour and sword were immaculate, it didn't look like she'd had any trouble at all. Her sword pierced the suit of armour, she proceeded to pick it up still on the sword and bash it into the wall a few times until it was a battered lump of metal.

“Little help, Candy!” Mouser shouted.

“I'm on it,” the candy superhero said, dropping her sword. She manifested a candy cross and held it up to the ghost. “Begone evil spirit!” she shouted, advancing on the ghost.

While she took care of the ghost, Mouser and Teri dealt with the remaining monsters. Without their trump card, they were easy to deal with. And in the minute or two it took to destroy them, Candy had pushed the ghost out of the room.

“Teri! Are you OK?” Mouser asked, grabbing her and holding her tight to her chest.

“Yeah. But we need to get Pervert Man!” Teri said.

“Pervert Man?” Candy asked.

“Yeah the bad guy, Pervert Man. He was totally naked when he teleported me here, and he kept talking about essence and getting it from women, which sounds really gross and icky!”

Candy and Mouser looked at each other, then shrugged their shoulders in unison. “Yeah, that's bad. He must have used up all of his stored essence to make his lair and summon all of these things. It makes sense he was going for more essence so soon.”

“So how do we find him? I've just been wandering through this maze blowing things up as needed,” Mouser said.

“We're close to his main workshop. He likes keeping his minions close to him.” Candy went to look at the doors. She stopped in front of one that was really dark and seemed to glitter in the light. “OK, if this is like his last lair I think this is the right door. He likes obsidian, and this door has splinters of it embedded in the wood.”

Mouser turned to look at Teri. “OK, I don't want to, but you stick close to us Teri. I don't want you getting lost in this maze, and staying here when the ghost might come back is not a good plan. When we fight something, stay back and just make sure nothing comes up behind us. Got it?”

She nodded in complete agreement.

“All right, lets go,” Candy said.

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Abaris watched in disbelief as two heroes and the annoying fairy made their way to his workshop. They shouldn't have been able to move through his maze so easily. And the fairy was an unexpected and unwelcome surprise. He hadn't expected her to be so powerful, and he was still trying to figure out how she made it out of the circle.

He didn't have the essence to escape, he would have to make a final stand and hope he won. If he could capture one of them, he could use them as a sacrifice to get somewhere else. Then he'd have a chance to rebuild once more.

Taking the last of his essence, he went to his summoning circle and called forth one last monstrosity.

linebreak shadow

Teri stood back, watching Candy break through a massive black door. The heroes armour cracked and even shattered as she rammed into it with her shoulder. But every bit of damage was fixed a second later as the broken parts faded away, replaced by new, clean armour.

She heard Mouser mutter something about cheating. But Teri thought it was pretty cool.

The door finally broke apart and thin, slimy tentacles came pouring out.

Candy slashed and cut the ones that attacked her. Teri flew higher so they wouldn't notice her. And Mouser was hit in the chest and knocked down.

Flying down to help, she grabbed a tentacle and tried to pull. The slimy thing slid through her fingers. More tentacles arrived, covering Mouser like a spaghetti monster.

“Go help, Candy. I've got this,” Mouser shouted.

Looking into the room, she saw that Mouser was right. Candy had her cross again and was holding back several ghosts. But Pervert Man was coming up behind her with a large glowing staff.

She took off flying, catching the unsuspecting pervert at the knee. There was a nasty crack, and he went head over heels to the floor. Teri got ready to hit him again, when she realized he wasn't going to do much of anything. His leg was bent at the wrong angle, and he was too busy holding it and screaming at the top of his lungs to do anything else.

The ghosts faded away, leaving the room empty.

“Mouser!” Teri shouted, going back to help her friend with Candy right on her heels.

“Did we win?” Mouser asked from under the pile of tentacles. She sounded like she was out of breath.

“Yeah.”

“OK. Leave me and Squidworth alone for a little while, I think we're coming to an agreement,” the feline superhero said.

“Are you sure? It looks like your getting smothered.”

“Very sure. Oh, yeah, right there. Give me a half hour. No make that an hour. Then I'll be right up.”

Teri was about to fly closer, but was stopped by Candy. “We should leave them alone. You really don't want to see this.”

Confused, but trusting her new friend, Teri turned around and went back in to deal with Pervert Man.

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Lincoln, Nebraska
Mouser's Residence
August 25th, 2007

“Sit Squidward! Sit!” Teri said to Mouser's pet.

The pile of tentacles was currently the size of a golden retriever. When it spread out it could get really big, but it seemed to like staying fairly compact. Teri still had no idea where it's mouth was, but it would eat almost anything she or Mouser put in it's bowl. And it was pretty easy to handle. It liked to soak in the tub for an hour or two each day, it was easy to take on walks, and as long as it spent the night sleeping with Mouser, it seemed really happy.

Mouser was also a lot more relaxed now. She said it was nice having something to sleep with at night, and she usually had a really goofy smile in the morning.

“Maybe I should get a mouse or something. That would be nice to sleep with. Like my own big pillow and bed warmer,” she said to herself. Turning to Mouser she asked, “Hey Mouser, does Whateley allow pets?”

“You're not getting Squidward! He's mine!” Mouser said.

“I don't want Squidward, he's way too big for me. I was thinking a mouse or gerbil.”

“Oh right. You can check in the handbook tonight. But I don't think they do.”

“Aw, I want a pet too.”

“When you're older. Maybe. Have you packed everything for Whateley?” Mouser asked.

Teri sighed. “We're going in two days. And yes I'm all packed up, except for my good dress. I'm wearing that tonight for the goodbye dinner with everyone. But I don't see what the big deal is. All my things fit right in my bag with plenty of room to spare.”

“Airports aren't fun, so having everything ready is important to get in and out as quickly as possible. Double check things tonight before we go to dinner.”

“All right. All right.”

The phone rang, Mouser picked it up. “Hello, Mouser speaking.”

Teri didn't hear what was being said, but noticed her friend suddenly getting very interested in the call.

“One minute, please,” Mouser said. “Teri, go grab some money from my purse, then go to the store and pick up some snacks for us.”

“We have snacks.”

“Just go do it. Get whatever you want that's allowed,” Mouser said a little more sternly.

“OK,” Teri agreed, not wanting to pass up the chance to get junk food.

She had the money and was out of the apartment a minute later.

When she got back twenty minutes later, with a big back of sugar-free candy, Mouser was all smiles.

“Teri, we're not taking the plane to Boston,” Mouser said.

“We're not?”

“No! There were problems with the tickets, they said they couldn't be sure you could ride on the plane safely without a carrier. So instead we're going on a road trip. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, just you, me, and the open road!”

She started to grin. “That sounds fun!”

“I know. We'll have so much fun and we can stop to see some of the sights on the way there.”

“Yay!”

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An hour Outside of Lincoln, Nebraska
August 26th, 2007

Teri sat in the passenger seat of Mouser's truck, singing along to some J-Pop, eating some chips, and enjoying life. She'd wanted to fly on a plane just to see what it was like, but a road trip with just her and Mouser was even more fun. On the plane she wouldn't be allowed to sing as loud as she wanted.

Mouser was singing with her, and seemed to be really relaxed after being tense most of the night before. She wasn't sure why her friend had been so tense, and when she'd asked, Mouser had told her it was nothing. But it was nice to see that everything was better now.

The sky suddenly got dark.

“What the heck?” Mouser asked, craning her neck to look up.

The truck stalled and began slowing down. Cars all along the road screeched to a halt, swerved off the road, or sped up to get away from whatever was happening.

Flying onto the dashboard, Teri looked up. Her body froze, and the blood drained from her face.

An airship was directly above them.

Robots rocketed down, surrounding the truck. A shimmering field covered the windows. Mouser tried to open the door and failed. The robots grabbed the sides of the truck and began flying them upwards. Teri began crying at the sight of a mail box just outside her window. Mouser was cursing and swearing, banging on the door trying to get out.

The Burgermeister had found her, and there was nothing she could do.

 

To Be Continued

Read 3871 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 October 2023 00:56
Dan Formerly Domoviye

Check out some of my original stories on Royal Road.

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Darkmuse
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Darkmuse
3 months ago
Great stuff!!!
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Dan Formerly Domoviye
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Dan Formerly Domoviye
3 months ago
Thank you very much!
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