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The RPGC Xmas Story! Part 2

Back in Helsinki:

The trio ran until Chris suddenly stopped in front of a Toy Store.
-"Wait here, please!" he said, then hurried inside.

WM and Jingle waited outside for several minutes.
-"...Why are we doing this?" Jingle asked.
-"Right now, I just want to know what Chris wants. Of course, I don't want any reward."
-"Of course."
-"I must admit, I'm also curious about what you said about his magic... not that it's our business, but hey, investigating misteries is one of my hobbies."
Chris then came back out.
-"Whoof! Made it in time!!" He said, relieved. "Thanks to you two. Please come inside!"
The two followed Chris inside.

He led them to a counter.
-"I work here as a clerk" he explained. "I would like to thank by offering you a discount on anything you might want to buy! Uh, just don't tell my boss, OK?"
-"A DISCOUNT!?" Jingle protested. "I thought you were going to give us something for free!"
-"JINGLE!" WM snapped at her, then turned back to Chris. "Please don't mind my friend, she still has something to learn about manners. As for the discount, you don't HAVE to give us any. We helped you because it was the right thing to do."
-"Oh, but I must!" Chris insisted. "You see, not only did you prevent my coming in late to work, but ALL my money was in my wallet. If I had lost it, I wouldn't be able to buy my girlfriend a Xmas present! In fact, it was because I was out trying to get her a present, that I came back late to work!"
-"Trying? You couldn't FIND a gift?" JB asked, puzzled.
-"Well, yes, I found PLENTY of possible gifts... it's just that I can't seem to decide what's right for her!"
Jingle sighed. "Men. Always SO clueless about women. Look, I happen to have... experience with gift-giving. I can help you choose, if you'd like".
-"REALLY!? You would?"
-"Yeah, would you, Jingle?" WM asked, cocking an eye at her.
-"What? You think I wouldn't do it? ...I'm not as heartless as you seem to think. Humph!"
-"Never thought that, Jingle. But, it's good to see you thinking about others, for a change."
Jingle stuck out her tongue at WM. He just smiled.
-"So, anyway, when do we do this?" Jingle asked.
-"Uhh, not now, of course, I just started my shift. But if you would please come back later...?"
-"Certainly , Chris." WM said.
-"But first! Please choose a gift! I WILL give you a discount!"
-"Oh, very well. Jingle, you want anything? I'll pay for it."
-"Not really. I mean, I can get ANYTHING I want at the North Pole!"
-"...Where?" Chris asked, puzzled.
-"Err, never mind her, she likes to joke a lot!" WM said, smiling at Chris and giving Jingle a watch-what-you-say stare. "In any case, it's not the PRESENT that matters, it's the INTENTION. Right, Miss Gift-Giving Expert?"
-"Oh, Okay. What have you got?"
-" I sell plushies!" Chris said, in a Happy-Salesman voice.
-"Hmm... How about that Polar Bear Plushie? Reminds me of one I had as a little girl..."
-"Sure!" Chris said, getting it. "Would you like it gift-wrapped?"
-"Nah, I think I'll carry it like that."
As WM paid for the plushie, he couldn't resist his curiosity.
-"Well, Chris, if we're going to hang out together, then the least we can do is introduce ourselves properly. My Name is Wilfredo Martinez- but you can call me WM. The lady here is called Jingle Belle."
-"...You guys aren't from around here, are you?"
-"What gave us away?" WM said, jokingly. Then he added:
-"Hey, Chris... You thought my fire trick was cool, right?'
-"Oh, I sure did!"
-"Have you... ever seen anything like that before?"
-"No. Why?"
-"Well... I'll be honest with you. That was Magic... REAL magic."
-"WOW! So you mean, magic is REAL??"
-"Yes it is. And the reason I'm telling you is... because, well, according to Jingle, YOU have magic powers too."
-"HUH? ME? Sorry, but I don't!"
-"But you may!" Jingle explained. " The powers I felt in you are latent. Many people have them, and don't even know it."
-"REALLY?? How do I activate them?"
-"Don't look at me! I haven't even unlocked mine yet!"
-"Different people develop at different rates" WM explained. "Mine manifested when I was 7. Yours could take years to do so... or they could wake up tomorrow. I just felt you should know, so that you would be ready when it happened."
-"WOW! That is SO awesome! What luck that I met you two!!"

Meanwhile, at the other end of the City, the Thought Police's Stealth Jet had landed in a military base (after The Conspiracy cleared things with their Finnish agents.)
-"OK, this is the plan" Agent Cruise explained. "My men and I will confront Martinez and demand his surrender. If he resists, we'll try to take him down with our weaponry. If we fail, we're authorized to use deadly force. That's where you two come in" He said to Destron and Glenton.
-"Question" Glenton said. "What is this metal monstrosity for?" he asked, pointing at the Tank-like vehicle that shared the Jet with them.
-"That's a little insurance in case things get TOO out of hand" was all Cruise explained about it.
Glenton shrugged. Not his business, anyway.
-"Everyone ready? OK, let's go."

A while later, after Chris' shift was finished, he, WM and Jingle walked the streets of Helsinki in a shopping spree.
-"So, what did you plan to buy her?" Jingle asked.
-"That's just it... I wanted to buy her jewelry, but then it ocurred to me, that she didn't like material things too much. That's when I ran out of ideas..."
-"Well, in that case, why don't you buy something with a lot of symbolism? Like a heart-shaped locket, so she can keep pictures of you close to her heart?" Jingle offered.
-"HEY! That's a neat idea! And I think I know where to find something like that!" Chris agreed happily.
-"Good work, Jingle" WM congratulated her.
Jingle smiled proudly.
-"HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, MARTINEZ!" a voice shouted behind them.
-'HUH!?" all three of them said, and turned around.
A dozen men in blue military uniforms, wearing Fighter Jet Pilot-like helmets that obscured their faces, were behind them, all pointing at them with some strange-looking guns.
-"WILFREDO MARTINEZ!" The apparent leader of the group shouted, "You're Under Arrest for corruption of a minor!"
-"EH!?" Chris and Jingle said, in ashtonishment, at the same time.
-"What the devil are you taking about!? And who the hell ARE you, anyway? You're NOT Policemen!"
-"We're officially-empowered agents of the United Nations" the leader explained. "And one of our agents testified to seeing you claim that underaged girl by your side as your girlfriend!"
-"WHAT?" Jingle Belle protested. "ME, his girlfriend?? EWW! I like older men, but not THAT old!!"
-"Err, let me handle this, Jingle" Wil said, somehow a bit miffed by her comment. "If you mean what I said earlier today in Babylonia, I meant that as a JOKE!"
-"That's for the authorities to decide. Now come along! Do not try to resist! We're prepared to use any means to subdue you!"

As the drama unfolded in the street, a few stories above them, in the roof of a nearby church, Destron and Glenton watched the events.
-"OK, PC, I've enchanted your bullets. They should penetrate any defense Martinez puts up. Now it's up to your shooting skills to bring him down.
-"...I hope it doesn't get down to that."
-"Why not? I thought you were a Pro, Glenton" Destron said, smirking.
-"I AM. But... I've been having a... strange feeling all day..."
-"Bah, the only feeling I have is the need for MONEY! I HOPE our help is needed, 'cuz we would be paid a LOT if we suceed!" Ave said with glee.
Perhaps a bit TOO much glee, Glenton thought. He also had a strange feeling about Ave... at first, he thought, maybe he's on drugs. But he keeps sounding more and more obssessed with this mission.
What kind of mess had he gotten himself involved into...?

-"Wait. Let me see if I get this" WM said, curiously smirking. "You are DESPERATE to grab me- you know my name, you're obviosly afraid of me, and you bring some ridiculous charges against me. Let me guess... you losers are agents of The Conspiracy, right?"
The Thought Police leader seemed to take offense at that. "SHUT UP! Just give yourself up if you know what's good for you!!"
-"I just have two words for you, mister." WM said, smiling.
-"? What?"
Suddenly, a yellow, green and red glow enveloped WM, Jingle and Chris!
-"NO! DAMMIT, I LET HIM CAST A SPELL!" Cruise said, angry at having been trickid. "OPEN FIRE!!"
All the Thought Police enforcers let loose with their stun-guns, shooting beams of electricity at the trio- but the beams bounced off the glowing aura harmlessly!
-"It's OK" WM explained to Jingle and Chris, who couldn't help but recoil at the shots. "This spell should protect us from anything they have. Stay here, I'll handle these Bozos." Then he began to walk towards them.
"DAMN!" Cruise shouted. " Switch to gas grenades!!" he said, detaching some from his own shirt, and tossing them. They quickly burt open, unleashing noxious fumes. Rapidly, Cruise and his men put on Gas Masks to protect themselves.
WM merely stood there, waiting for the gasses- and still smiling. Just as they were about to touch him, he shouted, "AERO!!" and a powerful wind came out of nowhere, not only clearing the gas away, but knocking the stormtroopers off their feet like ninepins.
-"You know" WM said to his attackers, "I usually do NOT show off, but I think you jerks need a lesson so you know exactly WHO you're dealing with. Now tell me: what are you most afraid of? Perhaps... QUAKES?"
Suddenly, the ground began to shake violently, knocking down the Thought Policemen just as they had gotten up!"
-"Or perhaps you're afraid of... THUNDER?"
Lightning bolts came out of nowhere, and struck all around the enemies, yet curiously missing them all!
-"Or are you afraid of the chilling temperatures of a... BLIZZARD??"
Freezing winds suddenly blew in, chilling the uniformed men to the bone!
-"N-NO!! He-he's TOO powerful!!" Cruise cursed. "Destron! Glenton! GET HIM!!"
-"Man! They weren't kidding! He's power is unbelievable!!" Glenton gasped.
-"You heard the man, Glenton!" Ave snapped at him, "SHOOT HIM!"
Glenton's well-trained reflexes took over: In seconds, he had Martinez in his gunsight, and just one squeeze of the trigger would bring him down.
...And yet, he couldn't bring himself to do it! -*What's wrong with me? Why do I hesitate?* He wondered.
Then he noticed a couple of things.
For one thing, despite having showered the street with spells that caused thousands of dollars worth of damages, NONE of The Thought Policemen were hurt! If Martinez was as dangerous as they told him, why didn't he just KILL his enemies and be done with it?
And then the were the two kids, whom he was obviously protecting, and who, even now, were cheering him on!
Was one of them supposed to be his victim? She certainly didn't act like one!
It did not add up.
Worse, Glenton had this... PAIN in his head. A pain he'd felt all the day, but had never felt before.
A pain that... URGED him to pull the trigger.
Which was PRECISELY why he was resisting. SOMEHOW, SOMEONE was trying to MAKE him shoot- and DAMNED if he was going to be manipulated!
He looked at Ave. He saw the madness in his eyes, and realized that he, too, must be under this misterious influence.
-"NO!" he finally snapped.
-"What do you mean, NO??" Destron snapped back.
-"Ave, something's WRONG here!"
But Destron didn't let him finish. "NO! I NEED the money! If you won't shoot, I WILL!!
And he lunged over PC, trying to wrest the enchanted rifle off his hands!
-"NO!! AVE! We're UNDER the influence of- SOMETHING! RESIST IT!!"
But the man was too far gone. The two men continued to struggle in the rooftop.

WM aproached the still-dazed leader of the attackers. "OK, let's see who YOU are."
-"NO!! You Can't!!" the man tried to resist.
-"Oh, so you can know who I am, but I can't know your ID? Mister, now I want to find out even MORE!" And with a jerk, he removed the helmet off his head.
-"HUH!?" WM went. "What the Devil!?"
-"Hey!" Chris said, "Isn't that-"
-"OH MY GOD!!!" Jingle shouted, in shock. "It's ****TOM CRUISE!!!*****!!!!!"
-"What the...!" Wil said in disbelief. "I always knew you were a hack actor, but this?"

In the roof, the struggle grew more fierce.
-"GIVE ME THE GUN!!!" the still-mad Destron shouted back



Down in the street, Jingle and Chris watched in horror... WM stood before them...

...Blood spurting from the gaping hole in his chest...

-"WIL!!" Jingle shouted, in sheer horror.

...And he suddenly feell face-first into the snow...


...And the Christmas snow became tinted blood-red...

And, in a realm one step removed from reality, a dark, inhuman, frightful presence began to roar in thriumphant laughter...!

For a moment, nobody moved.

It was as if time had stopped.

PC Glenton was one of the first to react.
-" did that happen? How is possible for a misfired bullet to hit its target like that??"
-"Who cares!!" Destron gloated, "we earned our money!"
-"SHUT UP!!" Glenton snapped, pushing Destron off him, and recovering his grip on the Mana Rifle.
Destron fell on his butt, but, instead of getting up, he sat there, as if dazed. The fight seemed gone out of him.
Glenton also noticed something: the pain on his head was gone. *Whatever was using us must have released us, now that we have accomplished its goal* Glenton thought.
*I... I should go away... before his friends notice me...*
But he didn't move.
What was keeping him in place?
Was it guilt?

Down in the street, WM laid convulsing in a puddle of his own blood.
Jingle was finally able to free herself from the shock, and knelt by his side.
-"Eh? What? What are trying you say???"
-"R-r-r-r-REGEN!!" WM managed to gasp.
Green sparks began to swirl around him.
-"No!" A voice snapped. Jingle looked up- it was Cruise again. "He's casting another spell! Stop him before he fries us all!!"
Several of the Enforcers got up and ran towards him.
-"NO!! LEAVE HIM ALONE!!" Jingle Belle cried, covering his body with hers, getting her own clothes dirty with blood.
The men ignored her. They were about to reach for them-
-When Chris got in front of them!
-"STOP!" the boy shouted. "You CAN'T do this! We have laws here-"
He was forcibly interrupted by one of the Enforcers, who just knocked him aside into the ground.
The brute reached over to Jingle, and yanked her off WM.
-"NOO!!" she screamed.
-"ARRGH!" the man suddenly screamed.
Chris was biting his leg!!
-"RUN, JINGLE! Go get help!!" the boy shouted at her, trying to hold the man by the leg.
But all that he got as a reward for his bravery was a blow that knocked him several feet a way.
-"DAMN you!!" Chris shouted, "I'LL NOT let you get away with this! I'll tell the auhorities! I-I'll tell THE MEDIA!!"
That last coment got Cruise's attention.
-*Damn, I cannot let them tell the World they saw me* he thought, as he put his helmet back on. Then he said to his men, "Bring the kids too."
-"No! No! Let me go!!" Chris tried to resist, only to have two of the uniformed goons begin raining blows on him.
-"CHRIS!!" Jingle screamed. Her eyes were red from all the crying. "This- this HAS to be a nightmare! It can't be happening!!"
-"It IS real" a voice said behind her. A monotone voice she recognized. The LAST voice she wanted to hear now.
She quickly turned around. Standing behind her was- Nulani.
-"NO!" she screamed again. "You can't have him yet! H-He doesn't deserve to die yet!!"
-"He's not dead yet."
-"He casted Regen on himself" Nulani explained, with her usual monotone voice and expressionless face."It's a spell that causes a constant healing effect. He's using it to counteract the blood loss. He was quite lucky, actually- the bullet missed his heart. Still, he has a punctured lung, he's losing a lot of blood, and he's suffering from shock. If not given medical or magical help before his spell runs out, he WILL die."
-"Help him!!"
-"I cannot. It's forbidden to me."
-"Forbidden? FORBIDDEN?? He's YOUR FRIEND!!"
-"That doesn't matter. The balance between life and-"
-"DON'T GIVE ME THAT CRAP! If YOU were in his place, HE would DIE to save you, and you KNOW it!!!"
For the first time, Jingle actually saw emotion in Nulani's face. Her cold resolve seemed to waver for a second. But then she said. "...I cannot help him-"
Jingle 's heart collapsed.
-"...But you can."
-"!? ME?? What can I do??"
-"Use your magic."
-"M-My magic?" Then Jingle remembered WM's words: That Xmas magic can ONLY be used in UNSELFISH ways. This HAD to count!
Jingle began to concentrate-
...but nothing happened!
-"It's NOT working!!
-"You're using it on the wrong person" Nulani explained.
The wrong person? But, who else was here that could help?
Then she remembered:
-*CHRIS! His latent powers! THAT must be it!*
With her eyes closed, hands clasped together tightly, Jingle began to pray out loud:
-"Oh, Immortals... Dad, Mom, Grandma... GOD... ANYBODY! Please, PLEASE hear me! I know I'm unworthy, but I'm not asking for myself! Please, PLEASE give me the power to help my friends!!!"
She felt it then. The power! Surging within her like boiling water trying to escape a geyser!!
She gasped as the power flowed out of her, in the form of a brilliant white light!
-"What? The girl!" Cruise snapped. " She's trying to do something! Stop her!"
But it was too late!
The white light flowed out of her, and into Chris' body, surprising his attackers!
Suddenly, there was an explosion of ligth-
-And Chris' attackers where thrown away like toys!!
Jingle watched in astonishment, as, in place of Chris, a NEW person was standing in the street!
He must've been at least six feet tall! His hair was long, wild- and BLUE! His body was well-muscled, and he was wearing a- what do they call it?- one of those Karate suits!
-"Huh? Wha?? What happened!?" The man said. He looked at himself, and gasped in surprise. "HEY! I look- l look like I do- in my DREAMS! Is this for real?"
He slammed a fist into his left hand. The sound was thunderous!
-"It IS real!!" Then he began to laugh! "HA HA HA!! Tremble, you morons! Gone is little Chris Maxim!! In his place stands MABBATSEKKER, the Fighter/Blue Mage!!!"
-"DAMN! Not more magic! GET HIM!!" Cruise shouted. His goons tried to rush Mabbat.
They found themselves flung into the air so quickly, they didn't even know what happened!
-"Bwa ha ha!! Bunch of slowpokes! Is THAT the best you can do?" The blue-haired warrior taunted them.
-"USE stun guns! NOW!!" Cruise snapped.
Several of his men shot their electric guns at Mabbat.
To their shock -literally!- the beams BOUNCED BACK AT THEM!
-"HA! FEAR the power of Blue Magic, losers!!"
-"Destron! Glenton!" Cruise shouted into his helmet's microphone, "HELP US!"
The response he got was unexpected: "Go to HELL, Cruise!"

Back on the church's rooftop:
-"Uh, I, I, I think I'll go..." Ave said, and began to slink away.
-*That's not a bad I dea* Glenton thought. *The Thought Police WON'T be happy I refused to help them.*
And yet, he STILL couldn't leave!
It was as if, again, someone was manipulating him...
...No. This felt... different. Like... SOMEONE was- ASKING him to stay. As if he STILL had a part to play on all this...

In a realm one step removed from reality, a dark, frightful presence began to grow angry. This was NOT in its plans! It would NOT allow his hated enemy to survive!

In the Thought Police's headquarters, Ashcroft and Poindexter were watching the events thanks to their spy satellite, Skynet. And they were NOT happy either.
-"Damn!" Ashcroft snapped. "We have to get Martinez before some of his friends start showing up! Release- THE THINK TANK!!"
-"The Think Tank!? But Sir! They're in an urban area!" Poindexter tried to protest. "The destruction-"
-"DON'T ARGUE WITH ME, Poindexter! DO AS I SAY!!!"
-"Gulp! Yessir!" the wiry man said, and ran to pass on the orders.
Ashcroft contunued to rage, not even realizing that his anger was NOT natural...

In Helsinki, Mabbatsekker continued to make fools of the Thought Police who still tried to get their hands on him.
suddenly, the street began to tremble.
-"Huh?" Everyone went.
Sounds of things getting crushed- and of people running and screaming- could be heard from around the corner of the street.
-*NO! They couldn't be so crazy... they are REALLY goung to use it??* Glenton realized.
Then it came into view.
A MONSTROUS tank, its pilots visible within its transparent cockpit, wires going from their brains to the thing's control. It's exterior bristled with all kind of exotic weapons.
-"HOLY!!!" Mabbat said, in surprise.
Before he could even react, the thing's front Laser Cannon shot a deadly beam of light at him!
Fortunately, his reflection power saved him. The blast ricocheted right back to it!
...and hardly made a dent!
-"Jingle!" Mab snapped, "Call for help! I'll distract them!!"
-"Help? Who- wait! THE RPGC!" Jingle finally remembered. "Nulani! How do I contact-"
But the Avatar of Death was gone.
-*GREAT! What now?* Jingle's mind raced. Then she began looking in WM's pockets, hoping to find a phone number or something.
She did find one, in a piece of paper. Didn't say whose it was. No time to ponder! She ran to the nearest phone booth, and hastly began to dial. She could hear Mabbat continue to evade the Think Tank's attacks.

Peter Newton's house:
He picked up the phone. "Hello..?" he said.
-"Is this the RPGC??" a desperate-sounding female voice said.
-"Who wants to know?"
-"I'm Jingle Belle Wil's been shot there's a giant tank attacking us PLEASE HELP!!!"
-"WHAT!? WHERE are you??"

The RPGC Headquaters:
-"Hello, this is Flintedge..."
-"This is Peter Newton! Martinez is in deadly danger! He's at the following coordinates..."
After Peter had filled Flintedge in:
-"OH My God!! DAI!! It's a Class-A emergency! Call EVERYBODY!!"

The Think Tank attacked Mabatsekker with a variety of missiles and beams, all of which he reflected back at it (and none of which did much damage to the metal behemoth.) Finally it gave up the long-range attacks and settled for crushing him under its threads.
Mabat easily avoid the huge but slow machine with a series of acrobatic rolls. Unfortunately, the rest of the surroundings weren't so lucky. The streets of Helsinki where taking a beating, and if it weren't because most people had already fled on sight of the tank, lives would've been lost as well.
Still, Mabat knew he couldn't hurt the thing, and that he couldn't avoid it forever, either. But at least he was buying time for Jingle and WM.

As soon as Jingle finished phoning Peter Newton, she ran back to WM's side. He was still unconscious.She rolled him over, and gasped as she saw the horrible wound on his chest again. But she swallowed her fear, knelt by his side, and rested his head on her lap.
-"Hold on, Wil, help is coming!" she whispered to him.

Meanwhile, the Thought Police members, still smarting from the beating Mabatsekker gave them, were getting back on their feet again.
With the blue-haired warrior gone, Cruise decided they could still pull a victory out of this.
-"Get Martinez and the girl! NOW!"
-*Oh,no, not again!* Jingle gulped. *What do I do now? Xmas magic isn't exactly combat-efficient!* Her mind raced for a plan- ANY plan!
-"HOLD ON RIGHT THERE!" She shouted to the approaching enforcers, "You saw what I did to the kid! Take one more step and I'll, uh, turn you into frogs!"
To her relief, they did stop!
-"Really" Cruise said, "So why haven't you turned us all into frogs already?"
-"Uhh..I felt sorry about you?"
-"Listen, girl, it's best if you come along peacefully!"
-"Look, I'm Santa Claus' daughter, AND the granddaughter of The Queen of the Faeries! You'll be SORRY if you do anything to us!"
This time the approaching goons didn't stop.
And she had to admit, even SHE wouldn't have believed that story!

But just as the goons were about to grab her, the air began to vibrate!
-"What NOW?" Cruise snapped.
The wind whirled on a spot a few feet away from them. Suddenly, a light appeared in it-
-and a man-sized HOLE appeared in the air itself!
Jingle recognized it.
-*A MAGIC PORTAL!* Someone's coming! But- are they friends- or foes?

Before the confused Thought Policemen could react, four figures stepped thru it.
One of them was a young blond man in silver armor, carrying a sword.
Another was also clad in silvery armor, but it was hard to tell anything else because he wore a helmet.
The third was a young man with blonde hair in a crew cut; he wore a grey trenchcoat, and carried a curious sword whose handle resembled a gun's.
The last one was also a young man, but he had brown hair, one blue and one green eye, and wore a black T-shirt and jeans. He carried a saber.
-"Percival, Silverknight, cover Martinez!" the guy in the trenchcoat barked. "Rountree! Help me teach these !@#$% minions of Ashcroft a lesson!"
-"Roger, Kaiser!" the brown-haired guy eagerly responded.
-*They must be from the RPGC! Thank God!!* Jingle thought, her hopes raising.
-"GET THEM!" Cruise ordered.
The Men who had approached Jingle and Wil turned around, and tried to shoot their stun-guns at the armored warriors. They figured they had plenty of time.
Before they could even move, their guns had been sliced in half by the silver warriors' lightning-flash sword-strokes!
Even Jingle was astonished by the speed the knights moved with, despite the bulky-seeming armors!
-"Dastardly Knaves!" Percival snapped. "How darest thou strike down so noble a warrior as Martinez! And in such a foul way, as well! Truly, thou art without honor, and deserve to taste a paladin's righteous fury!!" Then he tore into the enemy, sword swinging.
The other armored warrior didn't say a word, but his warrior's fury was, if anything, more savage than Sir Percival's!
-"Where the !@#$ Hell is your leader, eh? Doesn't bother to do his own dirty work!?" Von Almasy insulted his foes even as he laid them low with his Gunblade.
-"Yeah, what they said!" was all Rountree added, letting his sword skill do the talking.

Despite being outnumbered three to one, it didn't take more than a few minutes for the four heroes to make short work of the blue goons.

Cruise panicked when he realized only he was left. He decided to make a foul play.
Running as fast as he could, he grabbed Jingle Belle from behind!
-"DON'T MOVE!" he snapped, "OR I KILL THE GIRL!"
Jingle should've been scared, but something snapped within her. She was tired of being helpless and scared.
-"Oh no, you don't!" she shouted, and, with surprising nimbleness, kicked backwards with her left leg, and landed a solid blow... on Cruise's groin.
-"OOOOOU-* was all he could say, before collapsing in a trembling heap behind her.
-"Serves you right!" Jingle snapped. " And I'm NEVER watching one of your movies again!!"
-"Ooohhh" WM groaned.
-"WIL!" Jingle said, and quickly kneeled next to him.
The helmeted knight ran over to them as well- and pushed Jingle away from WM!
-"Oof!" Jingle said, as she fell on her butt. "HEY! WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA??"
Then, the knight took his helmet off-
-And revealed "himself" to be a young, pretty WOMAN, with short silver-white hair!
-*Whoa, Metroid Flasback* Jingle thought, surprised.
-"Stay away from him, you might hurt him more!" Silverknight snapped. "Wil! Can you hear me??"
-"MMMnnn!" he mumbled.
-"Hold on, Merlin is summoning more of us" she explained. "He sent us here first to help you, but he's trying to find some healers. They'll be here soon! And we took care of the Thought Police."
-"Umm, guys, there's still the tank-thing that's chasing Mabat" Jingle interjected.
-"We don't have the firepower to deal with that" Kaiser explained.

As if on cue, the Magic Portal roared to life again!
Valkyrie Esker, Zero X-Hunter, Frameskip4 and OmegaflareX stepped out of it.
-"WIL!!!" Val shouted, and rushed to his side. Kneeling by his side, she began to pray.
-"Oh, Odin, Lord of Valiant Warriors, please restore health to my friend, that he might engage in more Glorious Combat! HEAL!!"
White sparkles swirled around his body.
Before Jingle's relieved eyes, the wound in his chest closed. Then WM opened his eyes!
He tried to stand up- and almost fell down again! Zero caught him in time.
-"WHOA! Take it easy, Wil!" Val explained. "That was a minor healing spell. You're still hurt- but at least you're not dying anymore. You should rest."
-"Cannot... rest... Think Tank..!"
-"I think he means the giant tank" Jingle explained.
-"We'll handle it. You stay here and rest" Val told him.
He grumbled something, but then he sat down on the snowy street.
-"Rountree, stay here with Wil and Jingle, just in case these goons get up and try something" Val ordered, taking command of the situation. "the rest of you- FOLLOW ME!"
And they did, trotting off onto the darkening streets, following the path of destruction.
-"It's gonna be OK" Rountree assured Jingle. "My friends can handle anything."

Several minutes passed. A HUGE explosion was heard in the distance. Jingle became worried, but then WM spoke.
-"That was... Omega's Hadooken. Very powerful attack... shouldn't take long for... them to destroy it."
-'SHH!" Jingle lectured him, "You're supposed to be resting!"
-"Okay... MOM!" WM managed to joke. For once, Jingle was actually glad to hear him say something like that!

But then, Rountree felt a chill go thru his body. Like the sensation you get when someone stares at your back-
-someone who HATES you!
He turned around- and then gasped!
Standing behind him, was a man IDENTICAL to him!
Same hair. Same mismatched eyes. Same black clothes.
The only difference... was the look in his eyes.. a look of pure EVIL... and the absolutely most sinister smile he'd ever seen!
-"W-WHO ARE YOU??" Rountree gasped. His shout attracted Wil's and Jingle's attention. They too, where shocked to see the "Evil Rountree"- especially Jingle.
-"MY GOD!!" Jingle gasped. "T-That guy! I-I feel nothing but- EVIL in him!!"
-"E-Evil?" WM said, still a little dazed.
-"Who am I?" the stranger said, using Rountree's own voice. 'Why, Little Rountree, I'm you."
-'Don't be ridiculous!" Rountree snapped angrily, and raised his saber. "And don't call me little!!"
-"Oh, but I AM telling the truth... and you know it. Deep inside you, you know who I am. You can feel it, can't you? And it scares you."
-"Can you, Rountree? Can you destroy your own fears?"
-"DAMMIT, SHUT UP!!! and he took a stab at his doppleganger.
But he only hit empty air.
He quickly looked around. Now the evil twin was behind him!
-"Tsk, tsk" it lectured him. "You cannot deny me so easily. I'm your anger... your pains... your fears... your frustrations. I'm all the things that you hate, that you put away inside your soul... not that you've done such a good job of keeping them bottled, have you?"
-"S-SHUT UP!!!"
-"What was it the last time...? Oh yes, the girl. You cared so much for her, and she betrayed you, didn't her?"
-"True or not, you still hated her for it, no? Why don't we revisit that moment...?"
-"NO! NOOO!!" Rountree screamed, dropping his saber to the ground., grabbing his head, as if he had a splitting headache."
Realization began to dawn on WM.
Was what it that Mudcap had warned him about?
That "One half of Everyone" was coming after him.
What are the two halves of Man?
Good... and EVIL!
And Poke's dream-
-*NO! GOD, NO!! It can't be- HIM!!*
-"Oh, but it is, Martinez" 'Rountree' said, having read WM's thoughts. Then he turned around. Except- NOW HE LOOKED LIKE WILFREDO!!
-"Did you think I was truly gone forever? As long as mankind exists, I will exist. You know it."
With sheer force of Will, WM got back on his feet, albeit unfirmly.
-"WIL!" Jingle said, freaked out. "WHO is this guy!?"
-"Who am I?" Evil-Wil said. Why, I'm the evil in ALL of you- including YOU, Miss Perfect" he said- and in the blink of an eye turned into Jingle!
-"Oh, you're not going to deny me too, are you? YOU of all people here, should know how- NAUGHTY you've been. How you hate your father, for making you be what you don't WANT to be. For ruining your love life. For not letting you be- you!"
-"NO!! T-THAT'S NOT TRUE!!" Jingle said, crying, for she knew that, deep in her soul, there was some truth to it.
-"ENOUGH!" Martinez finally gathered enough strenght to shout. "No more of your games! What is it you want now??"
-"Why do I want?" 'Jingle' said, snapping back to being WM's lookalike. "What else? REVENGE!!"
-"Revenge? Against me? But why? I didn't defeat you last time- it was the Persona-users!"
-"You know perfectly well that Philemon's Children would NEVER have figured out my plans if YOU hadn't helped them! They were CLUELESS! I had them dancing in circles, puppets at my mercy! But you, and your accursed understanding of reality... YOU put them on the right track! YOU ruined my plans to reshape the World at my will! Your infernal wisdom makes you the most dangerous person on Earth, to me!"
-"This... this was ALL your doing, wasn't it? The Tree Monster... The Thought Police... This was all your plan for revenge!!"
'Evil Wil' laughed. "You're stalling, Martinez. You're hoping that your friends will finish off the Think Tank in time to come to help. But, I will answer your question, anyway... yes, it was me. Oh, I could've attacked you on my own- but what fun would that be? It's so *MUCH* more fun to use human pawns to the my dirty work! But, since they all failed me, I decided to just finish you off myself! As you would say: ADIOS!"

And then he raised his hand, which began to glow with dark power...!

-"HYAAAHH!!" someone shouted!
A silver human cannonball fell from the sky, and struck Evil Wil with a glowing sword, knocking him back!
It was X-Hunter!!
-"Wil! What's going on here?" he shouted.
-"No time... to explain! The others...?"
-"Are on their way back! They sent me ahead to check things out!"
-"NO!" the Doppelganger screamed, "You won't cheat me of my victory! Not when I'm so close! X-HUNTER! Relive- relive what happened between you and your father!!"
-"NOOO! AAARGHHH!!" Zero screamed, just as Rountree had.
-"Zero! Rountree! It isn't real! FIGHT it!!!" Wil screamed.
-"HAHAHA!! They CANNOT! They're just- HUMAN!" the thing laughed.
And then it screamed!
-"You BASTARD! You thought you could use my own angst against me?"
-"And you THINK you can kill ME with a common sword?" the being said, striking Rountree with the back of one hand- and sending him flying!!
-"ULTIMA!!!" someone screamed. IT WAS WM!!
-"Huh?" was all his lookalike could say, before the green waves of magical destruction hit him, slamming him all across the street
-"YOU GOT HIM, WIL!!" Jingle shouted in joy! But then, Wil fell to his knees!
-"Wil! What-NO!! You're bleeding again!!"
-"S-Strain... of casting... Ultima... too strong..."
-"Stop talking! You can rest now. It's over!"
-"NO! It's not! He's... too strong! RUN, Jingle, he doesn't...want you!"
-"No! I Won't leave you!!"
-"DAMMIT, girl, DO WHAT I SAY!!!"

But before Jingle could respond, the Magic Portal whooshed into existence once again!
A brown haired-man, tall, thin man -rather elvish, actually- in a priestly robe stepped thru it."
-"Um, hello. I'm Shalcar... anyone sent for a healer?"
-"YES!!" Jingle screamed, and grabbed the cleric, yanking him over to WM. "SAVE HIM!!!" she commanded.
-"Alright, alright, I will, no need to be pushy" he complained. Then, he laid his hands on WM and said, "FULLCURE!!"

Green-White light enveloped WM. In the blink of an eye, his pain was gone- and so where his wounds, his weakness, his dazedness- EVERYTHING!!
-'WHOA! That's some potent Mojo you got there, Shalcar!!" Wil said, impressed.
-"WIL!! Are you REALLY OK this time!?" Jingle asked, nervously.
-"Yeah" he assured her.
-'NOT FOR LONG!!" a horrible voice, coming from his lookalike, who had returned to their side, shouted. "HEALED OR NOT, YOU'RE NO MATCH FOR ME, HUMAN!"
-"Maybe" another voice said. "Too bad for you, he's NOT alone!!"

It was Zero! He, too, had snapped off of the evil spell. Brandishing his mighty sword, Atma, he stood, ready for battle. Behind him, stood Rountree, Valkyrie, and the rest- all looking as determined as he!
-"You committed a BIG mistake, mister!" Val roared. "When you attack a member of RPGC, you have to deal with us ALL!!"

Suddenly, the being wasn't human anymore. It was now a HUGE, horned, Dark-Red, spiked demon with tentacles! Surrounded by an dark light, and a miasma of pure evil!


Almost no one present recognized the name.

And yet, ALL of them felt shivers down their spines as they heard it!

All...except one.

-"The HELL you are!" WM shouted. "You're no more Nyarlathotep than you are Satan, or The Adversary, or the Beast of the Apocalypse, or any of the other aliases you've used to terrorize humanity since our creation. You're just USING that name, since, because of our racial memories, we remember and fear the Old Ones, even if our conscious minds don't. But the real Nyarlathotep is still sealed away in the bowels of the Earth. What you really are- is EVIL!"
-*...Evil!?* all the others wondered, at the same time.
Knowing that the others would wonder -and knowing that it was important to weaken Nyarlathotep's hold of fear on the others- WM continued to explain, while the monster, curiously, seemed to wait for his explanation. "Yes, Evil! There exists in this world a realm called the Collective Unconsciousness. It connects all of our minds- our souls. Everything we believe in, is real there. Unfortunately, that includes such moral concepts as Good... and Evil. "Nyarlathotep" here is the collection of ALL of the hates and fears of Mankind, taken physical form."
-"Well... that IS true" the monster finally said. "And, I'm aware you revealed that to deny me an edge in battle... but I really don't care. I still can destroy you all. After all, I know ALL your secrets- and I can call upon the power of the darkness in the hearts on Six Billion human beings!"
-*Six Billion people... Including-me!* all the heroes thought, at the same time.

Again, fear crept into the assembled heroes. But again, Martinez challenged it:
-"Another lie" WM said, pointing at the thing. "But that shouldn't surprise us. After all, lies are within your realm, as well. As is fear. You feed on it, that's why you're trying to scare us!"
-"Now, who's lying, Martinez?" the thing gloated. "You yourself just admitted that I'm Mankind's Evil!"
-"True" Wil said with a smirk, "But what you're NOT telling us, is that you can ONLY tap on a fraction of that power, while you're on Earth!"
Suddenly, the thing lunged with one of its arms at Wil!
But WM was not caught unaware; he managed to dodge the blow. "And now you're trying to silence me! YOU don't want the others to know! But I figured out the truth after the Persona-users defeated you!"
-"GRRARR!!" the thing roared, and once again lunged, but once again, WM dodged it. "How could mere humans, even if empowered by Personas, beat you not once, but twice? Then I realized- twisting around the fabric of reality is INCREDIBLY difficult- I know, for I'm a Time Traveler! The fabric pushes BACK! It takes a TREMENDOUS amount of power to manifest such a powerful form on Earth- that's why you can't bring to bear the full psychic power of Humanity in battle! Albeit strong, YOU'RE NOT INVINCIBLE!!"
-"ROOOOARRR!!" the thing went, and its anger was palpable. Again it lunged, but again, its nimble adversary dodged. "THAT is the real reason you hate me, no? BECAUSE I KNOW YOUR SECRETS! BECAUSE I CAN GET OTHERS TO DEFEAT YOU, TOO!!"
-"WHY the HELL are we standing here??" Kaiser suddenly snapped, "Let's aid Wil!!"

Nyarlathotep turned, snorting like an angry bull! It then realized the reason Martinez hadn't used any magic yet- he wanted to APPEAR in trouble, to make his friends react and snap out of his spell!
-"ACCURSED TRICKSTER!!" it roared, in an inhuman voice.
-"That's me, alright!" WM laughed, and jumped into the air. "FLOAT!" he shouted, and stayed there. "RPGC- HIT AND RUN!" he shouted.

The heroes then began running around, in a haphazard pattern, making it harder for the Abomination to target them. Silverknight, Kaiser and Rountree struck at it with their swords. Most did no significant damage, but they kept the horror from thinking straight.
-"Shalcar! Protect Jingle Belle!" Wil shouted at the cleric.
-"Certainly!" he answered, and dragged the stunned elf-girl with him.

They ran into a nearby (currently abandoned) store, and watched everything from inside.
She was truly amazed- some of those guys, she'd met earlier today, and considered them dorks. But now, they were fighting a thing out of her worst nightmares with no thought about their own safety!
Perhaps for the first time, Jingle understood the true depths of heroism.

-"You wanted, a piece of ME?" Wil snapped in anger. "Good, CUZ YOU'RE GONNA GET IT! CHANGE!"
In a flash of light, Wil's clothes changed into his battle uniform- a blue suit with a cape. A green, metallic staff appeared in his hands. "VAL! ZERO! To my side!"
-"Gotcha!" the two warriors said, and in an eyeblink, where next to him. The strategy was clear: the three of them would carry the bulk of the battle, while the others strifed Nyarl. "MIGHTY GUARD!" Wil said, and the same protective spell as before wrapped itself around the three of them.
-"I'LL SHOW YOU MY TRUE POWER!!" Nyarlathotep roared. "UNPERISHABLE BLACK!!" it shouted, casting its own evil spell.
Darkness suddenly rained on the heroes- at least those closest to it. It was cold as the grave, hurting just by its inimical nature- evil in its purest form. *SSSSSS!!!*
But thanks to WM's spell, the three heroes resisted.
-"SHADOW KILL!!" the thing roared next, its hand glowing with black power; it struck Zero (who was in mid-leap, so he couldn't dodge.)
Zero felt as if Death Herself had clutched his heart. It was an instant-kill spell!

But Nyarl hadn't counted on Zero's cyborganic nature. It resisted the Death Magic- at least this time. And now he was close enough to strike.
-"CROSS SLASH!" Zero shouted, jumping at the monster and striking with BOTH Atma and his Laser Sword. *SLLASHHH!!*
The Demon howled in pain!
-"MORTALITY BREAKER!" Val screamed, using her signature move, bouncing of walls and impaling and smashing the monster against a building, using her spear, Gungnir, the Spear of Odin, whose very touch burned the evil entity: SLLAAAMM!!!

Still, to her amazement, the thing got up again!

-"METEOR!" WM screamed. The sky grew black, and a hole apeared over him- a hole thru which the stars could be seen. Out of it came several HUGE, burning boulders, and they rained on Nyarlathotep, crushing him against the ground. DOOM DOOM DOOM!!!
-"HADOKEN!!!" Omegaflare, who had been gathering mana for his spell, shouted and a huge magical blast came out of his hands. It struck the thing like a small nucler explosion. KAAABOOOOM!!!

For a moment, the only thing visible was a fiery, smoking crater.

"...Is it dead...?" Val asked Wil.
-"I dunno" was his answer. "Stay on guard."

Their hopes were dashed as an even BIGGER form surged out of the crater! It was now a shadowy being, resembling a cross between a man and an octopus. A glowing mist, of a sick purple color, enveloped it.

-"Yikes! How many forms does this thing have??" Zero gasped.
-"As many as it wants!" WM answered. "Don't let it psych you out! We HURT it! Let's keep at it!"
A wave of light struck the three heroes. They felt a chill, but no pain.
And then they realized- their protective spell was GONE!
-"MIGHT-" WM tried to say, but for once the horror was faster. "CRAWLING CHAOS!!!" it shouted.
Suddenly, thousands of tiny- THINGS- flowed out of it, swarming over the heroes. They screamed in pain and disgust- but, surprisingly, they weren't as hurt as much as they expected.
WM got up, opened his mouth-
-*DAMN! I've been Silenced!!* WM thought, in horror. He loked at the others. He could tell they, too, were muted.
Nyarl laughed, and streched several huge tentacles.
WM, Zero and Val used their weapons to fight them, but Omega, his voice silenced as well, had to retreat.
Seeing their friends in trouble, the other Righteous Protectors charged back in. Frameskip struck with two masamunes, while Sir Percival used his Holy Avenger sword. Both magical weapons proved effective, as the thing roared in pain again. But it also easily swoop them away with its tentacles.
-"SHADOW KILL!" It shouted again, this time aiming at Percival. But before it could strike, a blue form interposed itself!

It was Mabatsekker!
-"HUMMPH!" the young hero groaned, as he strained to reflect the blow- and succeeded!
-"AAAARRRGH!!" the thing screamed. While it was immune to its own death-magic, it could still be hurt by its own attack!
Nyarl was FURIOUS now! He was going to finish these insects once and for all!


YIEEE!!! it screamed again!
Someone had SHOT it!
-"WHAT!?! GLENTON!" it screamed!

From the roof of the church, he had watched everything. He now realized that this... THING... had been the one that had USED him. Even without the silent voice urging him to help, he would've still shot the thing. Good to see his enchanted bullets also worked against it!


And then, the air began to whoosh again.

The Portal Opened again!
And this time it was HUGE!
A Red Robot, several stories high, stepped thru it! "Having a party without me, guys??" someone said from inside.
-'Red Comet!" Frameskip gasped.

He wasn't the only one to come thru Merlin's latest portal. A flying form came out, soaring into the sky. It was a large, grey dragon!
-"BAHAMUT XERO!!" the false Old One gasped.
-"Hey Val!' the dragon laughed, "You didn't think we would let you have all the fun, did you?"

A small figure was almost ignored as he walked out of the Portal. "Humph! Just because I'm a Chibi Wizard, doesn't mean I can't help!" he said.
-"Booken!" Kaiser said. "Boy, am I glad to see you!!"
-"HOLY Sh*T!" Red Comet swore. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT??"
-"Never mind what!" Kaiser snapped. "KILL IT!!!"
-"No prob!" the young Mecha Pilot answered. Lifting his Robot's giant Machine Gun, it rained huge bullets into it, slamming it into a building.
Bahamut Xero flew high into the sky, took in a big breath, then dove right back down. "MEGA FLARE!!!" he shouted, and a beam of magical fire blasted forth, striking Nyarl and actually pushed it back along the streets even as it burned it. FRRROOAARRR!!!
-"My turn" Booken said, and shouted, SALAMANDO!!
Flames rained from the sky, adding even more to the blaze. Nyarlathotep disappeared in the flames, along with a big chunk of Finnish street.

For a few seconds, the assembled heroes waited for any signal of movement.

Finally, it came. But it was nowhere as fearsome as they expected.

A charred, unrecognizable humanoid form, tried to crawl out of the molten pit.

-"No you don't" a voice said. It looked up- it was Martinez, the effect of the silence spell having passed.
-"You're out of power, aren't you? Can't regenerate any more? Pity. That means we won."
-"Only...for now!" it managed to gasp. "I am...eternal! As long as... evil exists... so will I!"
-"Yeah, yeah, leave already" Wil snapped, and kicked the thing in the face.
It collapsed in ashes, and then even the ashes were gone.

Jingle Belle ran out of the store, up to where WM stood.
-"OK, is he dead THIS time?" she asked.
-"He can't really be killed" WM explained. "but his physical form's been destroyed. I have no idea how long it'll be before he can reform again..."
-"Not for a while, do not worry" a voice behind the heroes said.

They all quickly turned around, ready for anything.

Behind them was standing a man in neat white suit. His face, however, was hidden by a white mask- one that had a butterfly painted on it.
-"Philemon" WM said, almost annoyed. "About time you showed up."
-"And this is...?" Kaiser asked.
-"Nyarlathotep's opposite- the Embodiment of All that is Good in Humanity." WM explained.
-"So, like, he's the "Light Side of the Force?" Frameskip asked.
-"You could put it that way" Philemon said.
-"If so, where the Devil where you when we needed help?" Zero-X asked.
-"I do not engage in violence myself" Philemon explained. "Violence is a negative emotion, therefore it is Nyarlathotep's province, not mine. However, I DO help in indirect ways."
-"Mudcap's visions" WM said. "YOU gave them to him, to warn me."
-"Correct. I had to be subtle, or my enemy would've noticed. I also helped in other ways."
-"Which ones?" Wil asked.
-"I gave UF the Prophecy about Jingle, in the hopes she would understand her importance in the coming battle" the entity explained. "I wasn't expecting him to get so fanatical about it, it kept you two from taking him seriously. I also asked ONE more person to help..."
-"Me, correct?" a voice said behind Philemon.

A tall man with dark hair and a black suit, a rifle in his hand, was standing behind him.
-"And WHO is THIS guy?" Omegaflare asked.
-"My name is PC Glenton. I'm a mercenary. I was hired to help the thought Police capture Wilfredo."

WM stared at the newcomer. He walked up to him, and looked at him. He seemed to size him up.

-"You're the one who shot me, correct?"
-"WHAT!?" the group said, in shock.
-"YOU! YOU ALMOST KILLED HIM!!" Jingle roared in anger.
-"It wasn't like that" Philemon explained. "That was indeed the role My Adversary had planned for him. However, he resisted his evil influence. He realized in time that WM wasn't evil; the actual shot was fired during a struggle with another hired mercenary, and guided to WM by Nyarlathotep's magic. I asked him to stay, indirectly, and he did- his shot during the battle saved the live of several of you."
-"Do you believe him, Wil?" Val asked.
-"Philemon never lies- it's against his nature" he responded. "Besides, I CAN see it his eyes."
-"Why did you come down here?" Rountree asked. "You could've escaped by now. Did Philemon make you stay?"
-"No. He... ASKED me to, in his silent way. As to WHY I did it... I don't know. Maybe... I'm afraid of hiding my whole life from you people. Maybe I just wanted to face the music now."
-"Or" WM added, "Perhaps you feel guilt, and hope to wash it away."
Glenton said nothing, perhaps out of pride.
-"If we let you go, what will you do?" WM asked.
-"I... don't know. I'm not even sure if I would continue my life as a Merc... the things I've seen today... I have much to think about."
-"Then go" the Puerto Rican Hero said.
The others were stunned.
PC and WM locked gazes again. They seemed to have an unspoken conversation.
Then the mercenary turned, and walked away.

-"Man, Wil!" Jingle said in awe, "You're a regular saint!"
-"You wouldn't say that if you saw his Hentai Collection" Val said, laughing.
-"Hentai? What's that?" Jingle asked.
-"NEVER MIND!" Wil quickly snapped. "And I do NOT have one! Val's just kidding you!! Besides, I'm mad at you, young lady!"
-"ME!? What did I do??"
-"I TOLD You to get away from the battle! You could've been killed!!"
-"Well, EXCUSE me!!" she snapped back. "Some of us CANNOT help caring about others, even if we get SCREWED!"

The two of them were stunned for a moment, as the meaning of Jingle's words sank in.

-"...That's it, isn't it?" Jingle gasped. "The TRUE meaning of Xmas... CARING about others!"
WM smiled warmly. "Yes, Jingle. You got it. No wonder you could FINALLY use Xmas magic! Congratulations, by the way."
-"Indeed" Philemon explained. "You went thru a horrible trial today, Jingle Belle. But when things were darkest, you refused to abandon those you cared about. You are indeed, a worthy succesor to your father."
Despite herself, Jingle began to cry. But this time, it was out of joy!
-"I ... I am worthy?"
-"Never doubted it, JB." Wil said, warmly. "Never doubted it."
She hugged him them, still crying.
The others couldn't help but go, AWW!!

-"Err, not to ruin this happy moment" Mabat interjected, "but, what about the city? There must be MILLIONS of Euros in damage!!"
-"Oh, don't worry about that" Wil said with a wicked smile." I KNOW where to get the money to pay for the repairs."
-"What about these losers?" Kaiser asked, pointing to the still-unconscious Thought Policemen.
-"Sadly, there's not much we can do. We can deliver them to the authorities, but the Conspiracy will just spring them loose... however, I don't think THESE particular goons will EVER want to mess with us again."
-"Man, I STILL can't believe Cruise joined them. I used to love his movies..." Jingle said sadly.
-"Another thing" the blue-haired warrior continued. "Uh, how do I change back? I can't go back home looking like this... "
-"You can change back at will" Philemon explained. "Jingle merely awoke your latent powers. Try it."
Mabat concentrated for a second- and suddenly, he shrunk and shift shape. He was Chris Maxim again!
-"Alright! This is cool!" he said.
-"I recommend you join the RPGC" the Entity of Good proposed. "They will teach how to use your powers, and what to use them for."
-"Oh, I'm sure we can convince the Leaders to let him in." Wil said, smiling.
-"That would be great!" Chris said.
-"Now, I must go" Philemon mentioned. "But fear not; Nyarlathotep understimated all of you, badly. He WILL want revenge some day, but will probably be subtle about it. I will, of course, warn you, and provide any help I can. Farewell, Righteous Protectors; today, in this Time of Humanity's Goodwill, you faced your darkest sides manifested, and won. You should be proud of yourselves."
-"We are, Philemon" Wil said, and all the others nodded. "We are."

And he softly faded away.

"I would love to hang out with you guys, but, I REALLY have to go buy my girlfriend a present right now!" Chris said.
-"We will go with you, as promised!" Jingle said, happy to be doing something nice after watching all the carnage.
-"Wait!" Wil said, smiling. "Before we do that, and before you guys go home..."

And he pulled out a notepad and a pen.

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ****

Ashcroft's Office, in Washington, DC:

He was mad. Even thought the incident with Martinez was days ago, he still hated the result. In a way, he was puzzled by his behavior. Sure, he hated Martinez's guts, but why did he get carried away like that? Then he noticed a tiny envelope in his desk. A postcard! But, it didn't say whom it came from. He opened it gingerly, and read it:

Dear Mr. Ashcroft.

Just a short note to let you know- yes, I know it was you who was behind the Thought Police's attack on my person. Wasn't too hard to figure out, actually. I should hate you, but honestly, you're just too pathetic. You don't even realize that you were a puppet, used by SOMETHING far more terrible than your precious "Conspiracy."

I assume you know what happened to your troops, not to mention your overgrown toy tank? I HOPE that by now, you have an idea WHO you're dealing with- not just me, but the ENTIRE RPGC. Mess with me again, or anyone close to me, and you WILL find out, personally, the measure of our full power.

Your goal, and that of your shadowy allies, is to deny the people of the world their inalienable rights, for your own benefit. I'm letting you know right now, that WE will never let it happen.

Oh, by the way, there's two things you should know, before I sign off:

One, there's a few MILLION dollars missing from your secret accounts. Don't worry, they're being put to good use- donated to the Finnish Government to repair the damage your goons did. And the only reason we didn't completely bleed you dry, was because it might've upset the American Economy, you leech.

Two: Big Brother is broken again...

Merry Chistmas!

Wilfredo Martinez

Ashcroft's angry screams could be heard all thru the federal building...

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** ***************

The RPGC Headquarters, on Xmas Eve:

The party was in full swing, and it was a hit!

d Galloway's presentation of "A Christmas Carol" was a hit; so where Gila's band's performance, as well as Trillian's.

Ackbar hung out with Charlemagne, trying to cheer him up; Aliena Rose and Celes were having a conversation by the punch bowl; Cala and Eden99 were having a discussion on the nature of gender; Cless Alvin asked Cloth Hat were he got his hat; Domadragoon and Sir Percival compared notes on knighthhood; Gizamaluke, Ramza and Aero played video games; Igatona and Infonick passed time by arm-wrestling; Kero Hazel and Kraken attacked the snack bar; Leimrey and Wertigon were arguing about Windows vs Lynux; The Leaders basically hung out together, with Merlin and Sin arguing about-something; and many, many others -the full roster indeed- were also present, having a good time.

WM hung out in a corner... getting stuffed- with cookies!
-"Cookies, WIL?'" Dragonessa asked. Made them myself!"
-"Why, thank you, Nessa!" *Chomp*
A few minutes later, SilverKnight also came to him with a platter.
-"Wil! Try my Chocolate Chip cookies, please!"
-"Sure!" *Chomp!*
And a few minutes later, Walhalla also asked:
-"You MUST try my cookies, Wil!"
-"Oookay!" *Chomp!*

Why is it that all the girls are giving me cookies? Wil wondered. Bah, must be my paternal image.

Then he noticed a girl who stood alone from the rest.
Smiling, he came next to her.
-"Glad to see you made it, Nulani."
-"Hmm. I don't even know why I came... no one to pick here, tonight.
-"Listen, I wanted to thank you, for helping save my life."
-"What do you mean? I did nothing."
-"No? You told Jingle what she had to do. That may not count as intervention in your book, but it does in mine."
The Death-Avatar shrugged.
-"Anyway, I wanted to give you a present."
-"A present? What can you give someone who is above mortal concern?'
WM smiled before responding, "Understanding".
And he produced a book from behind his back.
It was a graphic Novel, titled: "DEATH- THE HIGH COST OF LIVING"

Nulani actually seemed taken aback by the gift.
-"Huh. I guess you ARE wise, Martinez."
-"So they tell me" he said, smiling, and walked away.

-"WIL!" a voice said behind him.
It was- JINGLE! And Alwyn was with her.
-"JB!" he said, surprised. "Didn't expect to see you here!"
-"Oh, I just came to pick up Alwyn- we have a date tonight!'
-"YOU DO!?" Wil said in shock. "Don't you have to accompany your father on his trip around the World?"
-"No! He said it was OK!" she said with joy. "After what happened, we had a long talk, and we came to an understanding. He won't push me so much anymore, and I WILL be training to succeed him, one day!"
-"I'm SO very happy to hear that, JB!"
-" Wil, Mon Ami, I thank you for introducing us! I promeese I will behave!"
-"You'd better!" he said, laughing.
-"Oh, yeah, I also wanted to give you this!" Jingle said, with a wicked smile, and handed WM a small, gift-wrapped package.
-"Huh? YOU bought ME a gift? Gee, you HAVE changed!" he joked, then opened the present.

It was a gold pocketwatch.

Wil turned it around.

There, in small letters, was written the name: EBENEZER SCROOGE.
-"MY POCKETWATCH!!" Wil gasped. "How-?"
-"Oh, Mr. Saturn gave it back to me" Jingle said, smiling proudly, "after his lot became filled with Xmas trees overnight... as if by- MAGIC!"
Wil looked at the Elf-girl, but didn't know what to say- he was chocked up. And he was proud. So was her.
They hugged .
-"Thanks, Wil"
-"What for?"
-"...For being my friend."
-"Eh, I hate to interrupt, but, Mon Amour, Zee night await us.." Alwyn said.
-"Ok, don't get into any trouble now, you hear?"
-"Of course! See you next Xmas Wil!"
-"Count on it!" he responded.
He watched the two elves exit.
It was turning out to be a merry Xmas, after all!

Wil walked next to Weiila. She was watching the party unfold.
-"Ahem" he said.
She smiled. "Oh, alright, I admit it, you did a great job, Wil."
-"Thank you, Weiila. I did my best."
Suddenly, the quiet of the party was shattered by an argument.
-" Gimmee a kisshh beuuutiful!" an obviously drunked Urkani said to Valkyrie.
-"Whaat? How daresh you!!" she answered, obviously equally smashed. She picked him up, and threw him thru the air like a rag doll.
-"HEY! VAL! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?" Wil said, in shock.
Too late. Urkani landed- on Sorcerer!
-"Why you !@#$%^! I'll KILLSH you!!" he snapped, and picked up Urkani again, and threw him-
-"SORCERER! STOP!" Weiila snapped-
-and sent him flying into Swordmaster42, KILLING HIM!! (OOC: JOKE! He was only knocked unconscious!)
They stumbled into the Punch Bowl table, splashing several people- including Shalcar the Cleric.
-"WHY YOU LITTLE!" Shalcar roared, uncharacteristically."POLYMORPH SELF!!" he shouted, and transformed into an odd monster.
He then proceeded to charge Sorcerer!
Both Weiila and Wil were stunned!
-"What's wrong with them!?" Wil gasped.
-"They're all drunk" Zero X-Hunter explained.
-"Wait a minute" Wil said, his face wide with shock- "You and Val didn't pass around the Absolute Alcohol, DID YOU??"
-"Of course we did *hick!* You said we could bring it."
-"NO! I said YOU AND VAL could drink it!! That stuff is WAY too strong for normal people."
-"Oopsh. Too late now..."
By now, the room had turned into a war zone, with punches, bottles, and energy blasts flying around!
-"Mar-ti-nez!" Weiila, turning red with anger, began to say.
-"Well, look at the time!" Martinez said sheepishly. "I gotta go, I promised my family I'd spend Christmas Eve with them, see you later!"
-"Don't you dare disappear now-"
-"WARP!" ***FLAASHH!!***



I dedicate this story, with all my heart, to ALL the People of RPGC. Thanks for making this such a wonderful place to be in.

Wilfredo Martinez
Xmas Eve, 2002

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