Rendezvous - Chapter Two
Every story has a beginning. Just as every story must have an ending. But this particular beginning took place several months ago in a time and place not too far from our own...
* * * * *
The fat teenager waddled down the hall, in search of a vending machine. Megan Sassoon was bored with the stupid class trip to the Trojan Power Plant. And hungry. So who could think about the magical wonders of nuclear power when your stomach was rumbling as fiercely as the San Andreas fault? Then she saw it. A VENDING MACHINE!!! Heaven be praised! Candy bars, potato chips, pretzels, gum, and many other fattening foods glistened temptingly in small foil and plastic packages. So many choices... Megan didn't care, however, she was hungry. She greedily pumped ten dollars into the machine and ripped into the food, wolfing it down as fast as she could.
"Yum, yum, yum!" she said as it fell down her gullet. Then... PAIN! "Oh no, I feel sick," muttered Megan as she clutched her fat stomach. "I hope I don't throw up or else I'll lose my hard-earned food. How terrible!" She waddled desperately to catch up to her classmates.
* * * * *
"Did you stop the radiation leak in Sector 5?" asked the forerunner of the power plant, Zack Carter.
"Duh, yeah. I stopped it."
"Good job," he said, patting the poor stupid Jevon Stone on the back.
As far as Jevon was concerned, he didn't need to be intelligent, as long as he was handsome and popular. He smiled at his reflection on the shiny metal walls. ~I'm so wonderful,~ he thought. ~No mortal girl deserves me.~
"Well, anyway, make sure none of those dumb kids eat from the vending machine. It's contaminated from the radiation leak. Next time, though, don't get in a fight with Ned about who is more handsome. The answer is obvious: me. Me, me, me. And don't you forget it."
Jevon wasn't listening. He smiled suavely as he ran his fingers through his blonde hair. ~Me, me, me,~ he thought.
* * * * *
Megan waddled home as fast as she could. She couldn't possibly miss "The Frugal Gourmet," her favorite show. Although she didn't know what most of the words were or even the vaguest most basic principles of cooking, the point was that it involved food.
"Mmmmm," she said, licking her lips. "Food!" And after that, she would watch "Barney." Megan pondered what a dinosaur would taste like. Hmmm... "Ouch, ouch, ouch! Hard to think! Brain hurt!" she yelled. "Hey, I'll get some ice cream! And some pot roast, and eggs, and candy, cake, pie, cookies, and everything I can stuff! Open door," she declared out loud as she pried the refrigerator door loose. Then came the freezer. She pumped as much ice cream as she could into her gaping jaws.
Ice cream dribbled down her mouth and out her nose as she hollered in pain from the ice cream headache. "Megan hate this! Megan want aspirin." After she ate the entire bottle, she began shoving more ice cream down her throat.
Soon, her dad came in. "Hey, Megan?"
"What?" she spat as ice cream flew in her dad's eye. "Oops. Megan sorry."
"Yuck, yuck, yuck," yelled her dad as he wiped the slimy mass from his eye. "I was going to say that you need to cut down on how much you eat. It's not good for you."
"Give up food? NEVER!!" yelled the furious Megan, jumping at her dad's throat. "Me kill you!"
"Oh no!" He had to think fast. "Megan, there's a cupcake in the cupboard. Want it?"
"Of course! Megan loves cupcakes!"
"Then go get it."
Megan drooled hungrily and charged for the cupboard. "Where cupcake? Where cupcake? Want cupcake now!" She slid on the ice cream, slammed right into the cupboard, and the cupcake flew in her face. "Oh boy! Food!" she hollered as she swept her tongue across her face, licking off all of the ice cream and frosting. Then she began to lick the floor. "Yum, yum, yum. Must eat it all!"
Later that night, Megan began to grow. And grow. And grow... And grow s'more...
You get the picture.
* * * * *
The next and most fateful day in this 'beginning' took place in math class. They stared at Megan as she thought about the questions her teacher asked her. "Ow!" she bellowed. "Hurt head! Hard to think!"
"That's okay, Megan," said the math teacher, Ms. Heard. "Now we're halfway through this problem, what's two times seven?"
"Um, nine!" she said in triumph. "No, wait!" she said waving her obese fists in the air. The whole class groaned. Just then the bell rang for lunch.
"Oh boy! Lunch!" yelled Megan throwing her fat hands into the air. "Me brought enough money for twenty lunches! And twenty milkshakes! Yum, yum, yum!" She raced for the cafeteria as fast as her chubby legs could carry her. A person walked by with a tray which was quite unusual since Megan was usually first in line. She pointed to the chicken nuggets.
"Are you gonna eat those?"
"Yes," he replied.
"Not anymore!" she said, stuffing them into her mouth and drooling all over.
"Hey! Those are mine!"
Megan grabbed his tray and dumped it into her mouth. "Megan still hungry! Eat more!" Megan pushed through the line and began her daily order. "Okay, like, I want pizza, cheeseburgers, chickenburgers, tacos, nachos, fries, milk, juice, and--oh just give me everything!"
"I'm sorry, but then there wouldn't be enough for the other students."
"But then there wouldn't be enough for Megan! Megan come first! Megan always come first! Gimmee food, now!"
"Well, I'd like to, but it's against school regulations."
"Oh yeah? Megan teach you!" she said, eating through the glass and counter. Crunch, crunch, crunch. The server screamed as Megan turned around and ate everybody in line.
"Now there's enough for Megan! Gimmee!" The cafeteria worker ran away to the office to call 9-1-1. "Oh no you don't!" said Megan, reaching out. She grabbed her by the ankles and shoved her into her drooling mouth.
"Who are you?!" cried out one of the students...a young teen-ager named Ben...as she seized him in a chubby hand.
"Um...uhhhh..." she said, scratching her head. "Me Moogoon! And Moogoon hungry!" In so saying, she gulped him down. Suddenly, she grew larger, and larger, and larger! She broke through the roof and began to eat away! Students swarmed out of the building, trying to escape her deadly grasp. But it was, of course in vain. Nothing could stop Moogoon now.
* * * * *
"Do they ever play anything ELSE?" Tenchimaru snorted as he pulled his mug of frothy beer...ROOT beer...closer to him. As usual, 'Johnny C. Bad' was plunked from the nimble fingers of the pianist.
"As long as he's playing, that's all that matters," Merlin inclined his head sagely.
"So what did you call us here for?" Spoony Bard leaned on his head, raising his eyebrows at Tenchimaru. "I didn't know ponies had conventions."
Tenchimaru glared. Spoony grinned. Merlin eyed the piano, to make sure it was still there. Thankfully it was...it hadn't started sneaking up on him like it did a few nights ago. Wretched thing. "So I did a little more research into this Power Converter guy." Merlin brought his attention back to TD. "Turns out," Tenchimaru continued, "there WAS a purpose to his conversions."
Shaking his head, Spoony smiled. "His land was suffering an over-abundance of oats?"
"Not quite. And shut up. The region of Ponyland is suffering massive population depletion. Some big huge nasty creature stomped on in and ate most of them." He took another sip from his mug, wiping the foam from his upper lip.
Merlin considered this for a moment. "So...he was trying to repopulate by converting us into ponies."
"Seems like it," he nodded.
"Well wait a second, we're missing something here," Spoony Bard frowned, leaning forward with a concerned look. "What about the thing that was eating them?"
"Whatever it's called."
"Not sure...probably moved off in search of new food." Sip. "Nothing seemed able to stop her, really."
Merlin blinked. "It's a HER?"
"That's right. WENCH! More beer...ROOT beer!" Tenchimaru waved his glass.
Spoony and Merlin exchanged a wry glance. Then Spoony cleared his throat. "You don't seem overly concerned about it."
"What are the chances of Moogoon making it to Rendezvous?" Tenchimaru chuckled.
A very ominous chord erupted from the piano that fell on Merlin. Spoony blinked, then glanced upwards where a concerned citizen peered over the railing. "Drat!" he slammed his skinny fist on the balcony wall. "Aren't we ever gonna get that thing up to the second floor?"
* * * * *
The sound of his breath echoed loudly, ringing in his ears. With trembling hands he tore the face mask away from him, letting the cool air of the darkened cave flood over him. Sweat trickled freely down his forehead, forging tiny rivulets over his temples, along the lines of his cheeks and jaw.
"Something's wrong..." he breathed, and pulled his helmet from his head to toss it aside. It clanged noisily against rock, spiraling at his feet like a crazed breakdancer. He held his head in his hands, gloved fingers pushed through his dampened blue hair. A dark swelling had begun within him...it had been growing for two weeks now, ever stronger. And as hard as he tried to repress it, tried to tell it knock-knock jokes in the hopes of killing it forever, it only thrived.
Groaning, he rocked forward to lean on his knees. His entire body was trembling in some inner struggle, the oily blackness seeping through his circuits.
And he knew that he would lose.
* * * * *
Two ironwood-fashioned swords clashed into each other. Fae threw her entire body into the blow, teeth grit, the muscles in her arms straining as she struggled to match Zero's reploid strength. He pushed back, fingers clenching the hilt of his dummy sword hilt more tightly.
Tannin walked into the room, a word of greeting on her lips for Faetan until she saw that the woman was engaged in a fierce match with Tannin's newest fascination. Her cheeks suddenly reddened, and she removed the cigar immediately to put it out, spritzing her mouth with breath freshener before she sat down to watch the match. Or rather, to watch Zero. She smiled, her chin resting in the cup of her hand as she crossed her legs, memorizing every graceful movement.
For a few seconds the two combatants stared each other down... Then Zero thrust all of his strength forward, pushing Faetan back. She fought to keep her footing, lowering her center of gravity as she further bent her knees.
The ground trembled, and Faetan fell backwards on her rump with a grunt.
"Okay, that's it," she grumbled as Zero leveled the point of his sword at her throat. "Next project: get a separate training room so Lunaris can conduct his target practice elsewhere."
Bits of fluff rained down upon them like fresh snow...the remains of Lunaris' training dummy while he threw his hands up in victory...his shoulder-mounted rocket launcher was smoking at both ends.
Smiling, Zero stretched out his hand which Faetan clasped, and he hauled her to her feet as she plucked a bit of stuffing from her wild black hair. "You're strong, but you can't rely on that alone. Don't be afraid to practice a good solid defense. You're too aggressive."
"Right, I'll work on it," she sighed, running her fingers through her bangs to shake them away from her eyes. This was only their second week of lessons. She was beginning to see an improvement in her style, but she knew that she lacked the strength and speed of reploids to ever hope of beating Zero in armed combat. Or even unarmed combat. "I'm glad we're on the same side," she said with a wry grin, then turned her head faintly at the sight of CRIMSON moving towards them.
Tannin walked with deliberate grace in her steps, the long red hair flowing around her shoulders and past her knees. Faetan smiled faintly... Ever since the defeat of Power Converter and introduction to Zero, Tannin had begun a few changes. Rarely did she speak further on the stupidity of men. She didn't smoke the cigars she habitually clenched in the corner of her mouth, and she only sipped at her ale... At least, when Zero was around. She'd been struggling to raise a glimmer of femininity so hard, Faetan found it endearing...as well as comical. Zero didn't seem to take notice in the change whatsoever. But then again, he hadn't known Tannin beforehand, so he couldn't really be expected to pick up on the differences in her habits.
"Good match," the Scottish woman nodded towards the two.
"We gots no more dummy," Lunaris called out from the supply closet, digging beneath a mountain of assembled weaponry.
Faetan grinned, glancing from Zero to Tannin and back again. "I'm gonna take Lun shopping, be back in a few." Not waiting for any possible protests, she skirted around them and tackled Lunaris from behind... He said nothing; but he looked rather dizzy as Faetan looked rather triumphant.
"Ye like swords?" Tannin asked, tilting her head faintly as she regarded Zero.
"I guess so, my entire fighting style revolves around the blade arts, so I can't help but grow fond of how graceful yet deadly they can prove to be in capable hands," he answered her easily.
Her smile widened, and her gloved hands twitched faintly. "Care for another go?"
"Sure, what rules of engagement?"
"Anything goes." A gleam appeared in her amber eyes as she circled him slowly, reaching down to pick up Faetan's dropped weapon. "I'll show you how the people of Balsalm fight."
~Seems like someone has an ego bigger than their smile...~ He nodded his head. "Alright then, prepare thyself, I don't hold back even on the first match."
"I wouldn't expect anything less."
Lunaris had paused halfway towards the door, turning his head to see just what was going on. But Faetan latched onto his arm, murmuring that they had target dummies to find, and so they left the room.
Her back straight, Tannin stood at the ready, striking an ususual pose that was at once graceful and deadly at the same moment. "Come."
Switching his blade in reverse, blade and hilt pointing backwards, he took a small step sideways as he began his circling introductory dance before he went in for the waltz of bladedancing.
Digging his feet in the hard floor for a good hold, he leaped forward, planning to meet his blade against hers...see how she reacts, testing his opponent
The blade circled in flashy arc, meeting his, but she lunged forward so that the point of it was directed at his breastplate. The gleam in her eyes grew brighter.
Zero knew what he was doing, and had kept his blade on reverse for a reason. He pushed it downward till he could safely leap above her without getting an aerial intercept. Switching to normal blade side after gauging simple physical strength he said, "Not bad, been training I assume? I hope you don't expect it to be THAT easy though...I don't give victories like that."
"Wouldn't dream of it," she chuckled, enjoying the banter. Tannin crouched faintly before springing into the air, the locks of her ponytail unfurled like a banner of war. "I couldn't live with myself if I conquered a weakling THAT quickly," she grinned ferociously, swinging her sword at his midsection.
Zero jumped above the blade again, somersaulting high and above her, but this time landing front toward his sparring partner. "Alright then, we'll see what the weakling has to say about that," he said, as he brought his blade to bear, going in a wide horizontal sweep to drive her back
She leaped back, then crossed her blade with his, grimacing. "Impressive...most impressive...but you are not a Jedi--no, never mind."
The battle was like a dance...a glorious, hair-filled dance. He with the golden gleaming hair, she with locks of red-orange fire. On and on they battled until...
"Awww...figures," Tannin looked at their shattered blades with disappointment. "Yer not too bad at this."
Zero looked at his hilt, frowning at what remained of the training blades. "Well, I guess that's a pretty pathetic ending to a climax in a duel. I guess we'll have to finish this some other time...and you're not bad yourself, you hold your ground well and don't let yourself get pushed around easily."
She glowed with the compliment, brushing back some of her sweat-dampened bangs. "Coming from you, that means a lot. Wanna go grab a pint?"
Zero pushed his hair back, no sweat...literally. "I guess it'd be the best thing to do after a match, it's not like I am required elsewhere anyway. I just need to get out of combat armor first and put something more bearable..."
Tannin couldn't have been more pleased.
* * * * *
Jiharn felt sick. He swallowed uneasily, and browsed over the note again.
'To my so-called FATHER,' it began, FATHER written in large, red, scrawly letters that was probably supposed to look like blood...but it looked more like Jiharn's left-handed writing with a big fat red crayon. 'I'm taking off. All you care about is 'clean your room, go kill this guy, go kill that guy, go kidnap Faetan...you don't care about me at all! You just want another Jiharn to do all your dirty work!'
"Hey..." Jiharn frowned, but read on.
'I'm leaving for good. Find some other lemon-lovin' reploid slave boy. I have more important things to do. Like, I don't know, GET A LIFE! -- Love, Charlemagne'
Gently, Jiharn folded the paper back up and ignored the crimson lipstick kiss. Frankly, he didn't want to know about why Charlemagne felt the need to seal the letter like that, and his mind was too occupied with fear of Hiryuu's wrath to really give it further consideration.
This punt was going to HURT.
* * * * *
Kicking the dusty road with the toe of his shoe, Charlemagne mumbled sulkily into his jacket lapels. "Tell ME what to do, will he!" His brow furrowed in consternation... The bundled sack on a stick bounced on his shoulder with each step. It didn't have anything in it...he wasn't born with possessions after all...but it was customary to have one of those when running away. He trudged down the road with seemingly little purpose...sniffing at all the trouble home life had brought. him. "He's the WORST father EVER!"
"Indeed he is..." whispered a voice on the wind, rustling through the leaves of the lemon trees.
"Yes! He IS!" He sniffed...dragging one coat sleeve over his nose...then he paused. "Whuzzah?!?" He peered about. "Okay....Who's there?" He put his hands on his hips and scanned the trees.
"A friend, sympathetic to your cause," the voice murmured again. "I heard the reasons for your creation. And quite frankly, it sucks."
"I don't have time for foolishness! I've a world to discover, don'tcha know!" He scanned the shaded trees...trying to avoid getting caught up in lemon idolatry... No need to get distracted *quite* so soon.
"It's not foolishness. Not at all." Something seemed to move in the trees...yet no matter where Charlemagne glanced, he could find nothing solid. Only lemons. Ohhhh... Lemons... Abulzahhhhh... Then he remembered the shadowy voice and turned his attention back to discovering the source of it. "He can't treat you like an object. You deserve more...so much more..."
Charlemagne nodded emphatically. "Durn straight!"
"You deserve revenge..."
"And what better way to extract revenge...then to take away what he desires most?"
Charlemagne paused. "Lemons?"
"NO YOU FOOL! Think!"
The voice sighed. "What was your main objective when he built you?"
He thought some more. "Oh yeah...that woman with the spiky hair...is that a feminine version of a fro or something?"
The voice sighed again. "The hair is not important. If you want Hiryuu crying for mercy, take the girl. She is the key to his undoing."
Charlemagne scratched his head. "Well...if you say so... But what's in it for you?" He squinted his eyes. "Why are you so interested in helping me?"
"I, too, have an objective in mind. A legend to fulfill. But never you mind, it doesn't concern you. All will be revealed in due time."
"Well, all right," he said, setting his bag down. ~Freak.~
"I heard that!"
* * * * *
Merlin sulked in the hospital bed, a bandage wound tightly around his throbbing cranium. He'd insisted over and over that he was fine, but tripping repeatedly hadn't helped his case much. So here he sat...alone...unsatisfied...and hating pianos with every inch of his being.
Spoony Bard and Tenchimaru had both left him with potted violets...and they smelled great...but they weren't very good company. Bored, he decided to flick on the TV.
"Aye yay yay! Go Power Rangers!" yelled an annoying robot.
With a shudder, he quickly changed the channel to something more normal, like the news. But he wasn't met with normality as he suddenly saw some huge drooling fat creature stuffing people into her mouth.
"The hideous abomination is known as 'Moogoon,'" the reporter informed the public as Moogoon fell on top of a McDonald's and squashed it flat. Once she realized she'd crushed a potential source of food, she began to look extremely pissed off. "Nothing seems able to stop her...and soon, Rendezvous will join the ranks as another mark of her chaos. All citizens are warned to evacuate. Right now. Beat it, scruffy! Yeah, get off your couch potato butt and vamoose!"
Merlin blinked. Glancing out the window, he didn't see anyone in much of a panic. "Am I the *only* one who watches the news?" he grumbled.
The door burst open, and a crazy-eyed doctor walked in with an evil little smile. "Time for your ipecac."
"GAH! But I have a head injury, not food poisoning or...or something like that!" Merlin declared, scooting back against the headboard. "Go away!"
Four nurses suddenly barged into the room, leaping onto Merlin and holding him down as he struggled.
"Eat it!" In went the spoon.
The doctor laughed maniacally.
* * * * *
Lunaris hefted a stuffed manequin in his arms, giving it a few tosses to determine how it felt to him. It was important to know just how satisfying the aftermath of the explosion would be. "What gonig on with Zero and Tannin?" he glanced at Faetan who was studying a row of swords.
"Oh, noooooothing," she drawled out in one of those mock-innocent tones of voices.
He frowned. "I not dumb, something happens wit them."
Running her finger over the flat of a blade, she gave a little shrug. "Honestly, nothing." She set the sword down. "Not yet anyway," she added as a small mutter under her breath.
"Er...can I help you ma'am?" the shopkeeper asked.
"I want a knife!" she declared. "A big, sharp pointy one! I like POINTY ones! They're my FAVORITE!"
Eyes wide, he managed a small nod, then vanished into the backroom with a sort of 'eep' like squeak.
"Must you does that every time you go here?" Lunaris shook his head.
Faetan just grinned. "Can't help myself. You think he'd be used to it by now."
"Yeps." He picked up another dummy, examining the stitching. "It says he explosion-proof. What fun in that?" he sniffed, tossing it in the air a few times. It sure didn't FEEL explosion-proof.
Just as he turned around, it suddenly exploded from red laser fire. Hot stuffing flew into his eyes as he stumbled backwards with a sharp cry of pain. Falling hard, he heard the familiar click of his mini-pistols. ~Oh craps.~
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!!! More stuffing and bits of explosion rained down on him. Gritting his teeth, he threw his arms over his head to block the burning wreckage. "FAE!" he yelled out, opening one eye halfway to look for her. But she was nowhere to be seen. ~Oh no...I blowed her up!!!~
* * * * *
Jiharn's arms flailed wildly as he soared through the air. He smiled...because he'd been completely right about Hiryuu's response to Charlemagne's letter. Somehow that made everything right.
* * * * *
Lunaris looked mournfully at his mini-pistols, doing the unthinkable. Committing the *ultimate* sacrifice.
He put on the safety lock.
Eyes watering, he placed them back in his pockets. "It only for you, Fae..." It was with heavy heart that he entered the tavern. So heavy that he barely noticed Tannin dragging Zero into the tap room. Sighing, Lunaris slumped into a chair next to Spoony and ordered a beer...a ROOT beer.
"Guys..." he began, trying to think of how to tell them that Faetan was dead. "Fae is..."
"What the chicken? Is that Zero?" Tenchimaru sat straight up in his chair, blinking.
Spoony turned his head. "Gotta be, no one else has that much hair...except that girl next to him, who's she?"
"No, not Fae, she's got black hair, Lun. Hey, I remember now...Hades had her tied to a chair or something, didn't he?"
"I think so, TD! What, with the scarcity of women in the area, seems like she's the hot item of the month."
"Yeah, heh heh heh..."
"We need more girls around here, no doubt."
"And Hades in a fuku does NOT count."
Both shuddered violently.
Zero turned at the familiar murmuring of voices, and grinned heartily at his comrades. "Hey there! I didn't see you guys!"
Tannin's grin promptly faded as she fumed. ~Blast them all! I wanted some ALONE time, but noooooo!~
Sliding into a seat, Zero immediately got into the swing of things. "I haven't heard from that old bean lately...you think he's gone for good?"
"Let's hope so," Spoony inclined his head.
"HEY! I talking here!"
Tannin frowned, moving towards the table somewhat reluctantly. "Er...hi."
"Hello," Tenchimaru nodded. "How goes it?"
"Oh, not bad," she sniffed, raising her flagon to sip from it. "How about those lemons?"
"Er...yes, Lunaris?" Tenchimaru began to sweat, seeing the mini-pistols aimed at EVERYONE. "You've got our attention now..."
Spoony's brow flickered. "Hey, wait a second...since when did you use a safety lock on your pistols?" He looked up at Lunaris, seeing the sadness reflected in his crazy brown eyes. "Lun?"
"I blowed her up! I not mean to do it, but she gone now!" Lunaris cried. "She dead!"
"Who is?" Zero frowned. "Lunaris, calm down! What happened?"
The gun quivered in his shaking hands. Sitting down, he replaced the weapons in his pockets and ran his fingers through his hair...and began relating the story.
After Zero was kind enough to translate Lunarish, everyone sat in shocked silence.
"This can't be..." Tannin breathed. "It just doesn't make sense!"
"No..." Zero stared at the table.
"IT ABOMINATION!!!" Lunaris yelled loudly. Tenchimaru clapped his hands over his ears.
"Geez, Lun, calm down..."
Lunaris quickly shook his head. "NO! LOOKS!" he pointed to the window.
A giant eye was peering at them, which was attached to a huge face. Moogoon began drooling. "Oh boy, food!"
* * * * *
Merlin sat in bed, dazed and dizzy, and sick to his stomach. "Urp..." He suffered another dry heave, trying to forget the foul taste of ipecac in his mouth. He had to get out of here...he could hear the booming thuds of Moogoon, and saw her from his window approaching the center of town. He saw her prying off the roof of the tavern, laughing about how drunk people were easy targets.
~I hope she eats the piano,~ he frowned. He grinned as she did so. But then he frowned again. That was the gathering spot for a lot of his friends...if any of them were frequenting that place...
~Looks like Lunaris is there,~ he sighed as a rocket blasted against Moogoon. It bounced off of her lard and went spiraling through the air, blowing up a patch of trees.
"How can I *stop* something like that?!" Merlin growled in frustration, forcing his weary limbs to begin moving.
"You don't know? C'mon, you lazy butt, I thought you could do better than THAT."
"Mazrim..." Merlin lifted his head at the familiar voice, and turned to see his friend lounged in a chair, playing his Virtual Boy. "When did you get here?"
"I left you a potted violet," he lifted a finger to point at the extra plant, his eyes still fixed on the screen of his game.
"So, ah..." Merlin shifted faintly, "why are you here again?"
Mazrim sighed, lifting his eyes to look at Merlin with his piercing, knowledge-filled gaze o' wisdom. "To give you the solution to your problems. And give you a special dose of healing." With a flick of the hand, Merlin felt refreshed and rejuvenated. He flexed his fingers, smiled, and ripped the bandages from his head.
"ALL RIGHT!" he cheered as he vaulted out of bed...and felt a draft. Mazrim slapped a hand to his forehead and waved his hand again...and Merlin was restored to his original clothing. "Now, what about Moogoon? Do you know how to stop her?"
A long period of silence.
"Well...er...how do you stop her?"
"Okay, how do *I* stop her?"
"Give her a taste of your own medicine." PUZZAH!!!! Mazrim disappeared in a puff of smoke. And so did his Virtual Boy.
"My own medicine...? What does that mean?"
PUZZAH!!!! Mazrim reappeared briefly. "Oh. And the doctor is coming to give you another shot." PUZZAH!!!! He was gone again.
* * * * *
"Ungh..." Everything was blurry. Blinking again did nothing much to focus her vision. A cool hand pressed down on her forehead, and Faetan winced faintly. Every inch of her hurt. "Donuts..."
"Is she okay, Weiila?"
"She's coming around, Charl. It might take some stronger magic though, I need more time."
"WhattheheckwhereamI?" Faetan sat up sharply, peering suspiciously around her. "Who are you guys?! Where's Lunaris?" Her hand rested on soft fur. A bright, warm, and soothing light fell over her, directed from the female. Her eyes began to focus more clearly, and she saw that she was in a comfortable room. Closest to her was a female with soft brown hair falling down her back, wearing a white dress with a light red cape. Thin, pretty...and obviously versed in healing magic. Faetan frowned faintly, and eyed the male who stood by the door, gnawing on his knuckle anxiously. White hair, red eyes...and something 'familiar' about him, though Faetan couldn't quite place it.
"There..." The woman...Weiila, the man had called her...looked drained an exhausted. "Your wounds are healed, but it will take a few days to recover your energy."
"Er...thanks..." Faetan blinked, running her hand through her hair. "Where's Lunaris?"
"Um...not here. But he's okay!" the white haired man quickly assured her. "My name's Charlemagne...I'm a friend. Because Hiryuu is NOT my friend. He's my father and I hate him."
"Okay, Charl, calm down..." Weiila said soothingly. "You're safe here, hon," she patted Faetan's hand. "Hiryuu won't get to you here."
Faetan blinked. "Hiryuu? What? He's not a threat, really... And where's here anyhow?"
"Well, he won't be okay for long..." Charlemagne continued, rubbing the back of his head.
Faetan's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean by THAT?"
"Erk...well...there's this big huge nasty THING eating people and..."
"NO!" Faetan jumped out of bed. And fell flat on her face.
Charlemagne put his arm around her shoulders, hoisting her back into the bed. "Er, there there now...you still need to rest."
"Forget it!" she snapped, then grew flustered as her face fell into a mound o' pillow. "MMPH!"
Awkwardly, he patted his back. "I'm only trying to protect you! Can't you see that?"
"If you want to help me, help my friends," she growled at him...rather unconvincingly, since she was overcome with a yawn. Her limbs felt weak, her mind growing increasingly foggy.
"I don't think he can..." Weiila said quietly. "No one can stop Moogoon."
"Please..." Faetan croaked, reaching out with her hand. It chanced to fall on Charlemagne's, and his ears got red.
Faetan snored, out for the count.
Weiila fixed Charlemagne with a hard look. "You can't go, Charl, that thing would chew you up in a heartbeat. Literally!"
He bit his lip in indecision. Then he shook his head and stood up. "Look after her. Make sure Hiryuu doesn't try anything!" And before she could protest again, he fled the room.
"Men," Weiila sighed, planting her chin on her hand.
* * * * *
Things were not going well for the rest of the Rendezvous gang. People were scrambling over one another in their haste to escape the clutches of the vile Moogoon, but to no avail. Despite her largeness, she was surprisingly quick at snatching people up and stuffing them down her throat.
"Eat dis!" Lunaris yelled, firing a multitude of rockets at her. Each one bounced off of her enormous stomach, flying randomly in different directions and blowing up everything BUT Moogoon.
"Aim for her mouth!" yelled Zero, grabbing Tannin and shoving her roughly into a cubby hole.
"HEY YOU JERK!"
"Shhh. Fighting," he waved his hand at her, withdrawing his beam sword. With a mighty yell, he leaped into the air and brandished the weapon, slicing downward...
SPROING! It bounced right back up. "HEY! What doing?" Moogoon demanded, making a swipe for him. Zero dodged the fat palm with a yelp, barely escaping.
"Im...impossible! This is idiotic! My beam sword can cut through ANYTHING!"
"Nots her!" Lunaris shook his head, fuming. First he'd blown up Faetan, and now his weapons of mass destruction weren't causing ANY destruction at all! ~Well,~ he reconsidered as he looked at the burning buildings around him, ~not to Moogoon anyhow.~
"Ah ha ha ha! GOT YOU!" Moogoon bellowed triumphantly as she seized Zero's hair. "Yummy snack!"
"NOOOOOOOOOO!" Tannin shrieked as the hideous creature popped the reploid into her mouth and swallowed him whole. "You piece of crap!!!! He was the only mortal man worthy to drink with ME!" Rushing out from her cubby hole, she charged to stab her sword at Moogoon's foot. Again she stabbed, again and again...nothing could channel her anger away.
Tenchimaru grabbed her arm, dragging her backwards. "You fool, stop! Just RUN!!!"
Suddenly they were both clutched in Moogoon's fat hands and lifted up into the air. "Oh boy! Stuff!"
Spoony felt sick as she stuffed them both into her gaping maw, laughing and slobbering as she devoured them. "We...are in serious trouble," he swallowed hard.
* * * * *
The doctor was walking down the hall with his nurse, equipped with what looked like a bundle of needles.
"Why can't we give him a pill?" the nurse asked the doctor.
"The only reason I wanted to be a doctor is so I could hurt people," said the doctor.
Merlin gathered his palms close to him, forcing his will through his arms, balling it up in his palms. "Oh no you don't..." he muttered beneath his breath as he heard the approaching footsteps.
The door slammed open.
"You're busted you lit--WAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" The doctor was blasted with a white energy beam from Merlin's outstretched hands. Stunned and covered with ashes, Merlin dashed past him and out into the hallways.
"Sucker..." Merlin smiled, then skidded to a halt as he stared... An entire army of doctors armed with needles stood before him. "Aw CRAP!"
Mazrim's voice floated in his head. "Merlin! Have I taught you nothing?"
"Well, come to think of it..."
"SHUT UP! I'll be right there..."
In a flash of light, Mazrim stood at Merlin's side, pulling his arm back with Virtual Boy ready to be let loose. "Okay...get ready for this..."
"You realize what a sacrifice I'm making by doing this, don't you?"
"Right right, just throw it!"
The Virtual Boy skidded along the white-tiled floors, bumping into a doctor's shoe. The doctor blinked at it...then smiled wickedly. "Gonna take more than a dumb hand-held video game console to stop WAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Doctors flew everywhere as the Virtual Boy exploded, and left a hole in the wall.
"There's your escape route!" Mazrim pointed, then gave Merlin a push. "Out you go!"
"But I can't levitate or flyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!" Out Merlin went. He hit the ground with a thud and a groan, and quickly ran his hands over the bundle slung around his shoulder... Still in tact. Good. And not a moment too soon, he grimaced as he saw a very angry Spoony get eaten by Moogoon.
"DANG YOUR EYES!" he shouted at Moogoon.
"Merl!" Lunaris sighed with relief as he saw his friend join the scene. "I blowed up Faetan. Sorries!"
"You what?! No, never mind, that's beside the point," Merlin unshouldered his pack. "I know how to defeat her. You have to--"
"STUFF!" Moogoon snatched up the tall, green-haired man. And Merlin was eaten.
Lunaris stared in horror, Merlin's pack clutched in his hands. "No! NOOOOOOOO!!!!! YOU @#$&@#$&@#$!!!!!!!"
"Huh? POTTY MOUTH!" Moogoon frowned deeply. "Ska-wish!" She slammed her fist down on
Lunaris, flattening him into a bite-sized pancake which she flung into her mouth. "Oh yummy, crazy-haired psycho DELICIOUS!"
Merlin's pack sailed through the air...
It landed in the hands of Charlemagne who had arrived on the scene, too late it would seem. Opening the latch, he pulled out a small jar. "What's this... Ipecac?" he said with some small amount of wonder in his voice. What good would THAT do?
Moogoon was climbing an office building, and stood proudly on top, beating her chest with chubby fists. "I'm Bulk Hogan, ah ha ha ha ha!"
Charlemagne saw it clearly. She'd eaten so much...if she threw it all up at once, then the force of it just MIGHT be enough... But it was so risky! He remembered Faetan's hand falling on his...the depth and beauty of her face as she snored in slumber...these were her friends. He couldn't live with himself, returning to the safety of his hidden palace to break the news to her. And supposing Moogoon came after her there? What then?
"My time is now. Ashes to ashes, all fall down...something like that," he muttered. Clutching the bottle of ipecac close to him, he ran straight for Moogoon. ~Please don't make it hurt!~ he prayed silently. "Hey you ugly piece of lard! Come get some!"
"SWAN DIVE!" Moogoon leaped off the building, plummeting towards Charlemagne. His eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as he sprinted, barely getting out of the way. He had to get eaten, not squashed!!!
"OUCH! That hurt, stupid sidewalk!" Moogoon stuffed a street lamp into her mouth to appease her irritation. Seeing his chance, Charlemagne howled a loud victory cry. "FOR THE PUPPIES!!!" And into the gapin maw he went.
Moogoon swallowed happily. "Yummy! Moogoon want ALL food to run into mouth, yum yum y--" Her face suddenly contorted. "Oh great! What happening now?!" Her stomach rumbled and grumbled, churning wildly. She began to sway back and forth, and in a sudden violent motion, vomited so hard that she was blasted out of the earth's atmosphere into orbit.
Small groans could be heard from pile of hurl. All of Moogoon's victims...even the ones she'd squashed or chewed...lay there in weak misery.
Charlemagne was the first to speak. "That...was...sick..."
Meanwhile, safe in the sidelines, Hiryuu winced as a battered and decayed body was spewed out at his feet. Jiharn lost his lunch just looking at it. Still alive, the victim croaked a feeble cry for help.
The state of the poor victim was so terrible that the author couldn't even bear to describe it. So you get nothing, jerks.
"I'll help you..." Hiryuu promised. "I'll have to remake some of your parts...but you will be made whole again. I swear it."
"Ick..." Jiharn stared at something he'd barfed. "Hey boss...why are there always carrots in vomit? I didn't eat any carrots at all!"
Hiryuu sighed, picking up the battered and burned body of the young man, scurrying off to his laboratory.
* * * * *
"Charlemagne!" Weiila ran towards the sticky man, absolutely appalled as she realized it was vomit. "Oh ick!"
"Need...bath..." he murmured, stumbling into the bathroom. "Is she awake...?"
Weiila shook her head. "No, but she'll come around by morning, I'm sure. What happened?"
Charlemagne shuddered. "Bath first. I'll tell you more later." The door shut behind him.
* * * * *
Macc lay unconscious on the cave floor. His body had been drained of all its energy...his skin pale and sickly white.
"You should thank me..." murmured a cold voice, red eyes glinting in the darkness. "A few moments longer and you would have died." Reaching down, a gloved hand patted the unconscious reploid's cheek. "Or maybe I should be thanking you...dear brother. For without the power of your emotions, and the weakness of dear Charlemagne's mind, I could never have been reborn. AH HA HA HA HA HA!!!!! Suckers!"
And with that...Dark Macc left the cave.
*insert ominous evil theme music here.