Chapter 4: You Say Villain Like It’s a Bad Thing
The Nure-Onna was three hundred meter in length. Her snake-like body coiled around the edges of the dimly lit throne room. The human half of her body sat upon the grand throne, built for someone even larger than herself. The Nure-Onna’s hair was tied back and hidden behind a green bonnet, but even so, the movement and hisses of the snakes that composed it were evident. She gently stroked the golden hair atop Ramiel’s head as she half-listened to whatever jokes Thanatos was telling as the Underworld Cousel waited for its last ‘guest’ to arrive.
Thanatos presented the punch line to yet another joke. When no one laughed he pouted and finally abandoned the effort. The only sound that remained was the hissing of the Nure-Onna’s hair. This continued for several more minutes until Thanatos broke the silence. This time with a question instead of a joke.
“So who are we waiting on again?” He asked.
“Pandora…” The Nure-Onna growled as the Panther entered the throne room of the castle that once belonged to Hades. In his absence those gods and goddesses who felt they were unfairly under his rule decided they would ‘borrow’ his castle for their own purposes.
Medusa.” The black and gold Panther bowed to the Nure-Onna. “I have completed the task assigned to me.” She stood up straight again. “So can I join this thing or what?” Pandora folded her arms and waited for an answer.
“First of all, it is not a thing
. It is a Cosmic Game.” Medusa began.
“Yeah, yeah. I wanna join your chess tournament or whatever.”
“Oh, it’s not chess. It’s something far
more interesting than chess.”
“Checkers then?” Medusa growled at Pandora’s ignorance. The hissing and movement from the bonnet grew more violent. Ramiel winced as Medusa – whether intentionally or accidently, he was not sure – pinched the stub on the back of his head where a second wing had once been.
“Even though you completed the task for us – with Jovi missing it will keep you-know-who distracted – I am doubtful as to what you can offer us should we allow you to join.” Medusa stated after taking a breath to calm herself.
“What I can offer? Oh puh-lease. I was the one clever enough to figure out who took over after Hades disappeared, when no one else could. I knew right from the start you were up to something so I wanted in. If anyone can help you spread trouble, it’s me!” At this Medusa stopped stroking Ramiel’s hair and thought.
“Oh, come on! You are Medusa who can turn anyone into stone! And you are Thanatos, fearsome
God of Death!” Pandora pointed to the two of them. Thanatos beamed at being called ‘fearsome.’
“And you…” The Panther stared at the half-spider, half-woman that was hanging upside down from a thread at a corner of the throne room. “Are a freaky spider chick I have never seen before…”
“My name is Rita!” She exclaimed angrily.
“Okay… So why exactly is she here?” Pandora asked Medusa.
“Hello, I still exist.” Rita said.
“Her avatar is an Alice.” Medusa explained. Rita scowled at being ignored.
“An Alice?! …What’s that mean?”
“An Alice is someone who’s perfect.” Rita answered.
“Right… So anyway, don’t think that I, Pandora, Goddess of Calamity, would be a perfect addition to your little team?”
“Hmm…” Medusa still pondered on the decision.
“Oh, come on, I’ll even take an oath.” Pandora raised her right paw. “ ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’ ” She slipped Thanatos a wink.
“I believe her!” He said. Medusa sighed.
“She can’t make up her own oath to give. But… fine, you may join.”
“Excellent! That means my second course of action wasn’t all for naught!”
“‘Second course of action?’”
Xer flinched as the doorbell echoed throughout the large estate. It was a late time, and he wondered who could possibly be at the door at this hour. He rushed as quietly as he could through the halls, pausing at his master’s bedroom to make sure Peyton had remained asleep – he had – and went to the door.
Upon opening he saw a familiar looking dog standing there. His eyes were well adapted to the dark and could make out the features of the dog. The dog’s brown fur, dark brown ears and tail, and green collar suggested that this had to have been one of Joey’s brothers.
“I’m sorry to disturb you at such a late hour-”
“And you are?”
“I’m Bino, I just recently learned from my brother Joey that he met a new dog in town named Xer today. I like to come by and greet each new dog in the neighborhood and invite them to the next Good Ol’ Dogs Club meeting.” Xer looked Bino over. He noticed that behind Bino, across the street stood a strange bird with a red mailbag holding a package.
“Right, well, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to attend such things. My master’s blind and requires my help.” Xer talked quickly, for he did not want to awaken his master.
“Understandable, but if you have time you should drop by this Saturday for the meeting.” Bino said.
“I’ll see what I can do.” Xer shut the door before Bino could say anything else.
Xer ran back through the halls and once again checked on Peyton. He appeared peacefully asleep, but Xer knew better. His master had been troubled by nightmare’s since – …Having ruled that his master was fine Xer began to walk back towards his own room but was stopped.
“Xer.” Peyton said quietly. The Newfoundland entered Peyton’s bedroom and walked over to the side of the queen-size bed he laid on. When the dog stopped in front of him, Peyton rolled over so that he no longer faced the dog. Xer knew what the message was. He walked around the bed to the other side and crawled in. He laid next to Peyton and noticed that he was still wearing his sunglasses.
“Master, you really shouldn’t wear these in bed.” Xer slowly and cautiously removed the glasses from Peyton’s face, prepared for a sort of protest at any second. None came and he successfully removed the sunglasses and placed them on an end table. Peyton opened his eyes and Xer beheld the sight he rarely saw.
The master used to have such wonderful green eyes…
Xer thought as he stared at Peyton’s crimson irises. Xer couldn’t help but think about how it was his fault. Peyton placed a hand on Xer’s head. He felt around until he found Xer’s ear and scratched him behind it. It was not something, unlike most dogs, Xer enjoyed. But then again –
“Xer…” Peyton said.
“Yes, Master?” Peyton hesitated before he answered.
“You know what you must do.”
“And you will not fail.”
“Of course not, Master.” There were several minutes of silence before Xer added,
“And I will annihilate anyone who opposes you.”
“So are you going to follow me around all night or what?” Bino had turned away from the door only to find that the stork was still
following from earlier that evening.
“Look, I’ve got a package for you, all you have to do is sign for it, take it, and I’ll be off. What you do with it afterwards is completely up to you. At this point, I don’t even care if you open it or not.” Cassiel said.
“Fine, whatever.” Bino took the clipboard from the stork and started filling out the form. “I can’t say that I’ve ever had a bird
deliver mail to me. Lucky for you that makes it a little less tempting to tackle you.” Bino smiled at the nervous look Cassiel gave him before he handed back the clipboard and accepted the package.
“I should have turned you into a carrier pigeon!
” Gaea realized. Cassiel had to resist screaming out loud in protest. Cassiel nodded to Bino before taking off, he wanted to get out of there before the dog changed his mind about tackling him.
Bino inspected the package and wondered who it was from. There was no label just ‘BINO’ written hastily atop the box with what appeared to be a sharpie marker. He carried the box home, upstairs and into his bedroom door. He scanned the hallway for any sign of Max, and when he saw none, he entered his room, set the box on the floor and went about opening. Inside was an elaborate box that was made out of something that resembled gold.
Bino thought excitedly.
The box was decorated with jewels of all colors, shapes, and sizes. Some were cut to the shapes of creatures like bats, snakes and other creatures most were consider unpleasant. There was a sticky note attached to the box. Bino picked it up and read:
Stop STOP Do not open until B-DAY STOP
My birthday? Yeah right. There’s gotta be something good in here…
Bino pulled the golden box out of the cardboard one. He tried to pull open the box but soon realized that there was a lock that needed a key. He inspected the bottom of the cardboard box, but there was no key. Bino grew frustrated and placed the golden box back inside the cardboard box.
Stupid box, wonder how much I could get for it.
He was soon lost in visions of himself being surrounded by stacks of money.
“He vomited lava! I told
you! You should have gone left!” Roo exclaimed.
“Miss, Arlice, it’s awfully late, you should be in bed.” Excalibur said, a worried look on his face.
“Oh, always such a fuss with you Excalibur.” Arlice said.
“Yes, well, if your father finds out you’re up this late – ”
“Father’s working and doesn’t have time for me.” The comment caught Excalibur off guard. Arlice noticed and changed the subject.
“Besides, I simply must
defeat King Duvroc before I go to bed! I haven’t saved in a while, so if I turn off the game now, I’ll lose all my progress.” Arlice pleaded. Excalibur sighed and walked away in defeat.
“I personally don’t care if she spends the entire
night fighting this boss!” Prowler exclaimed as he danced to the music that was King Duvroc’s battle theme. He changed his pace from slow to fast and back with the music.
“To think you’d know the dance moves to the song by heart!” Arlice said, not looking away from the TV screen.
“I’d recognize ‘Habanera’ anywhere!”
“Even in video games apparently.” Fetcher said quietly. He had not meant it as an insult, and had just spoken it to himself as an observation. Even so, Arlice turned around in her chair and glared at Fetcher, who in turn gave her a confused look.
“What’s that? You wanna dance with me?” Prowler teased and danced over to the Samoyed.
“No thanks. I don’t know how to –” Fetcher started.
“Oh, but I could teach you!” Prowler offered and stopped dancing to offer the dog a hand. Fetcher hesitated, unsure what to do. He could feel everyone’s eyes on him.
“N-no thanks…” Fetcher said and hurried out of the room. Prowler was left surprised but shrugged and resumed dancing. Harry joined him.
Twenty minutes and three deaths of Arlice’s character later, the music played signifying King Duvroc’s defeat. Arlice giggled at the cutscene but grew confused when a familiar pink vase appeared on screen.
“But the last time there was a vase…” Arlice commanded her character’s army to break open the vase – only after gathering the treasure Duvroc left behind of course. Another cutscene ensued, revealing the Princess, Scarlet Bouquet who had been trapped inside the vase.
“B-b-but…” Arlice was confused. “He saved and married Princess Apricot! If he married Bouquet… That’s polyg-”
“Miss Arlice!” Excalibur exclaimed. “How do you know such a word?!” Arlice giggled and wasn’t quite sure how to answer. Luckily, Roo interrupted and distracted Excalibur.
“Hey!” Everyone turned to Roo who sat in her cage. “Anyone else notice we’re missing an amount of blue in here?”
“Hey, yeah. Where’s Pochi?”
Pochi sat upon the front steps of his new home. He gazed up at the sky. Jovi gazed with him, for she had asked him to come out here. The sky was still filled with clouds and the light of the moon could barely be seen. The lightning and rain had stopped, but rolls of thunder could still be heard.
He’s looking for me…
Jovi thought. She and her sisters were lightning that ran across the sky, to the ground and back again. The thunder that followed were the angry shouts of their father. Though he was a busy man, he always wanted to make sure his children remained safe.
He must be so worried…
Jovi wished she could cry out and let him know where she was. She had tried, but Pochi could only manage to shout his name, bark, or howl. Even if she could call out to him, he would not be able to do anything, for gods could not interfere with the work of other gods or goddesses.
Jovi heard another boom of thunder. Pochi howled. Then there was silence. From deep within Pochi’s mind, Jovi cried and Pochi noticed that tears streamed down his own face.
Rita watched the large Samoyed enter the room and curl up in his bed.
“What, does the doggy miss his master?” She said, cruelly. If Fetcher heard her he made no action suggesting so. She wondered if he could
hear her. She wondered if he could even see
her. She wondered if perhaps she really was just the hallucination Alice had thought her to be.
She looked over at the man. He had fallen asleep working at his desk on yet another doll. Rita approached him and lightly placed a hand on his shoulder. He shuddered in his sleep and she quickly pulled back her hand.
Even my touch is no longer familiar to you…
She had began to walk back to her corner of the room when she heard Alice lash out in his sleep. She turned only to see the doll he had been working on before he fell asleep crash to the floor. It’s face, and several other parts of its body she was sure, had cracked. She gently lifted up the doll from the cold, wooden floor. While she felt sad for the incomplete doll’s fate, she could not help but wonder what Alice had lashed out at in his dreams. She carried the doll back over to her web and began working spells onto the doll.
Perhaps there is still a chance that he will love you again, Little Doll.
She flew through the streets of Paris on her moped. Sebastian clung to her for his life. There was no way they were open at this hour, but they would make an exception. She drove by the Eiffel Tower and said goodbye to the structure; so long as she could help it she would not be returning to this city. Sebastian gave a low bark as they neared their destination. She parked the moped and stepped off.
She approached the door and knocked. There was no answer. She knocked again.
“We’re closed!” Someone shouted from inside.
“But I want to adopt the little one I’ve been coming by to see every day!”
“We’re not open!”
“Surely you can make an exception for me Mr. Stroner.” The door opened slightly and an eye looked her over.
“Ah, Miss Beverly, come right in. You say you want to adopt that one? Are you sure?” Mr. Stroner said worried for her decision.
“Yes, quite sure.”
“And you’re aware that he’s got a history of violence?”
“Alright then, I’ll go get the paperwork.” The chubby man disappeared into his office to get the paperwork. Beverly meanwhile, walked down the poorly lit hallway until she found the cage her new friend sat in. The dog sat there, taupe fur ragged, slouched over and altogether looking angry. He straightened when he saw Beverly.
“Hello.” He said.
“Hello Leo. Guess what?” Beverly reached into her back pocket and pulled out a fat roll of euro notes.
“Whoa now, who did you rob?” Leo asked with a smirk.
“This is hard earned and it’s finally enough to get us all out of this place.”
“Look, I know what you’re set against, I guess you’ve found out where he’s gotten too and are heading after him. But I don’t want to be dragged along. I’ve got my own problems to deal with.”
“That’s just it though, if you come with me, both of our wants will be achieved.” Leo gave the girl a confused look.
“I did some research. He’s
there too.” Beverly said. Leo’s eyes widened. He smiled.
“You don’t say. I suppose it is time I paid him another visit. After all, I need to thank him for getting me into a place like this…”
Mr. Stroner called out from the lobby. Beverly left to go sign the paperwork. While she did so, she looked up at the clock. Their flight out of France left in two hours.
Yes, Chapter 4 is finally here! We're introduced to the antagonists here, but perhaps not all who appear in this chapter are antagonists. Hades, Angelica, Sasha, Ramiel and a new character were supposed to appear in this chapter, but then they didn't so...maybe next time. I hope I got Bino's personality somewhat alright....
By the way, the game Arlice is obsessively playing is Little King's Story (one of the best games for the Wii in my opinion), if you have a Wii I highly recommend it (I must increase the fanbase if it is the last thing I do! However don't rent it, it's way too addicting for that). Despite the title and the cover it's rated T. But anywho, here is the song that Prowler is dancing to: It's 'Habanera' from Bizet's opera 'Carmen'
R&R, Let me know if there are mistakes, etc.
I gotta go make some pancakes.