Christmas Saga 4: Tis the Season
By d Galloway

A few blocks from the alleyway, Galloway and Trisha entered Auntie McFrank's Pie Shop and took a seat next to the window. The snow deliverymen were already hard at work packing the patchy ice into every nook and cranny of RPGCity, with most of the populous going inside before it got too late. As the sun continued to set against the distant horizon, the she-male that constituted Auntie McFrank brought out some pies and coffee, set them on the table, and retreated into the back room.

Galloway's eyes continued to dart back in the direction of the alley. "There's nothing back there," said Trisha. "Just try to enjoy the pie."

"...Nothing this year makes sense," said Galloway. "It's like some force of the universe is trying to keep me from throwing a Christmas party."

Suddenly, as if on some mystic cue, everything around Galloway froze completely, like in that Twilight Zone episode with the stop watch. The saiyan looked around in confusion for several seconds, before climbing out of his seat and cautiously searching the pie shop, his hand never straying far from his sword.

Finally, he saw someone approach from the restroom. It was a middle-aged balding man wearing a black jacket, blue shirt and red tie. Galloway quickly recognized him for who he was: Bill O'Reilly! "Oh...crap," he said.

The commentator approached the stunned Galloway until he was almost toe-to-toe with the saiyan. Galloway fumbled for his katana's hilt, but his hands refused to cooperate. Something about the man's eyes struck fear, cold and hard, into his very soul. At long last, this seemed like the end...

"My card."

Bill O'Reilly handed Galloway a small business card, which read, "Watch the O'Reilly Factor." Confused, Galloway took the card and pocketed it. O'Reiily turned his back to the saiyan and wandered around the pie shop. "Nice place you have here. Very old-fashioned, except for the guys in back."

"Tell me about it," muttered Galloway. "Are you...somehow behind the ninjas that are attacking everyone."

"Me and a couple of other guys, yeah," said O'Reilly. "Unfortunately, you people keep surviving, not for a lack of trying, though."

Galloway desperately wanted to run the man through the back, but for some reason couldn't move his body. "Why are you doing this?"

"You'll know...soon enough," said O'Reiily. He returned to the men's room, and Galloway suddenly found himself sitting back at the table, a concerned Trisha staring at him, shaking his shoulders.

"Wh-What happened?" he muttered.

"You just fazed out for about ten minutes!" said Trisha. "Are you all right?"

"What- yeah- I'm fine!" said Galloway. "Let's just...finish our pie and get out of here."


Xero strolled into his throne room, the former grand hall littered with the bodies of his loyal guard. On the throne sat a black-clothed, silver-haired man, his face bowed, his jagged sword stained with blood. Kairi entered behind Xero, prepared for the worst.

" last the mighty Bahamut arrives," said the figure. The voice sounded familiar, and yet different...

"How dare you sit on the throne of my forefathers!" shouted Xero. He angrily approached the throne, but was stopped ten feet away by some kind of force field.

"Relax, dragon king Onaga- I mean, Xero," said the figure. "I have something that might interest you."

"Who the hell are you?" said Xero.

The man raised his face, and it was...completely covered by a white plaster mask. "Sorry if my looks displease you, your majesty, but I just survived a space station explosion. Obviously the electrical burns, sheet metal cuts and broken cheekbones will take a long time to heal."

"LEAVE AT ONCE!" shouted Xero. Kairi nodded solemnly behind him.

"Oh, I'll leave, dear prince," said the figure (Xero became incensed at his words), "but I DO have something that may interest you. You see, I know a little about your parent's deaths."

Xero's mood changed from one of absolute rage and revulsion, to one of divine anger and surprise. "All right, tell me what you know, but if you lie..."

The man approached Xero; he was about six feet in height, tall by most standards but still short compared to the figure before him. "I happened to be near the site of the ninja attack, the one that claimed the life of your informant and nearly yourself. I could not get ahold of the scroll, but I did manage to catch a single word: 'Drake.'"

Xero's eyes narrowed. "Drake? This cannot be-"

"What is this 'Drake?'" asked Kairi.

"It is something that will require research," said Xero. "As generic as his name is, Drake is not something to be taken lightly."

"If you will excuse me," said the figure, "I must be going. And remember, Galloway's going to show up in a few seconds to give you an invintation to his party. Take it or leave it." With that, he touched two fingers to his forehead and vanished.

Just as Xero and Kairi were composing themselves, Galloway teleported in. "Sorry I forgot to give this to you, but..." He handed Xero an invintation. "This is for my Christmas party at the old RPG Town hotel." He looked to Kairi. "Hey, Kairi! How have you been?"

"Pretty good, I guess," said Kairi.

"Well, I'm going now," said Galloway. "Apparantly, a Fox News anchor wants me dead for some reason." He quickly touched two fingers to his forehead and teleported away.


It was later at night when Galloway and Trisha returned to the hotel...only to find the place in shambles. An exhausted Percival was laying outstretched on the floor, still in full armor. Streamers and confetti bags were torn open, their contents dumped all over the floor and furniture. Chairs and tables were overturned, holes were slammed into the ceiling, and absolute alcohol was dumped everywhere.

Galloway couldn't contain himself any longer. "WHAT IN THE HELL HAPPENED HERE?!"

Percival looked blankly at the two. "That...demon...Could"

"What demon?" asked Trisha.

As if in response, Young Val rushed from a nearby hallway, dagger in hand. She slammed into Galloway with enough force to knock him to the ground, and struggled to lower the blade into the saiyan's throat. Percival tried to climb to his feet, but he was too weak to even lift himself in his armor. Val ran out after Young Val, but slipped on one of the beer bottles and fell hard onto an inconviently-placed box of concrete blocks. The saiyan was unable to even move the enraged child's arms; the ordeals of the day had drained his strength to the breaking point.

Suddenly, and to everyone's surprise, Trisha grabbed the child and pulled her off of Galloway. Young Val reached to stab the catgirl, but the knife was easily knocked aside. Galloway, meanwhile, recovered himself, and prepared to beat down the child...



Heaven's Soldier climbed through the ventilation shafts, ready to kick butt. As he dropped into a cold, metal, sterile hallway, however, several security guards with bulletproof vests and rifles descended upon him.

Kerr's workshop was a complete mess of a room, taking up the entirety of a small tool shed. Various computer parts were strewn about, looking very much like a system administrator's personal office. Several model cars and jets were also strewn about, a few hanging from the ceiling on strings. Kerr himself was seated at a long workbench, which was covered in screwdrivers, soldering tools, and loose wires. The broken digipad was in front of him, next to a perfectly fine one.

Weiila and Maria slowly worked their way through the mess. "What the hell?" said Weiila.

"It's just a hobby room," said Kerr. "Angela's got an even bigger one in the basement." His tone became more sardonic. "You always liked HER better, anyway..."

"How's the procedure going, hon?" asked Maria.

"Like when you cancelled my sixth birthday party so you could take HER to the damn circus," grumbled Kerr. "Or when you gave her the full sex talk and just threw a porno mag at me..."

Maria's face became flushed. "Kerr!"

The catboy was obviously in his own little reality. "Or how about Christmas five years ago? You got HER a Nintendo Dolphin, but could you bother to get ME that PlayStation 6 I wanted for over two years? NOOOO! It was always-"

Weiila followed Maria's suit. "KERR!"

Kerr was shouting now. "-HER dreams! HER desires! You and dad always approved HER boyfriends, even when they were a bunch of sex-crazed perbs, but when I wanted to date Maria? NO! You told me to stay away from that sweet angel and her insane father! You-"

Both women were unanimous now. "SHUT THE HELL UP!!!"

Kerr finally snapped out of his most-likely exagerated tales of childhood neglect and abuse. "Oh...sorry. Just the usual Christmas blues, I guess." He popped open the two digipads; inside were a jumbled mess of wires, gears, and circuitry. "This'll take a few days to fix. Why don't you guys know...look around town or something? Just stay away from mom."

Weiila looked at a dust-covered corner of the shack, and saw a small picture hanging from the wall, showing what she assumed to be her future self and the rest of the family, including a girl she had never seen before. The only thing she could say was, "What the hell happened to me?"


Xero and Kairi continued down one of the many halls of the palace. The walls were finely decorated, and yet showed considerable wear and age. Several guards were busy helping to bury the dead; those that remained bowed solemnly when their mighty king passed. "...Where are we going, anyway?" asked Kairi.

"The royal library," said Xero. "The entire city is full of such bastions of knowledge, but only this houses the documents we need."

Finally, they reached a massive set of gold-trimmed doorways. It took the might of several dragon guards to push open the ancient doors, but they were nothing compared to what waited them on the other side. There was indeed a library, but it was like nothing Kairi had ever seen before. It descended deep into the heart of the mountain, and several stories were still above the two. Several elevators had been placed within, to help those of non-dragon lineage. Each story was filled with bookshelves, scroll holders, writing desks, study tables, and torch holders.

Kairi could only manage one response. "...Whoa."

"We will take the elevator," said Xero. "I could just fly down there, but I do not want to leave you behind. You could be lost in here for decades unless guided."

The two entered a large elevator, which consisted of a platform, supported by metal chains and ropes. Xero pulled a lever on a console at one end, and the elevator descended deeper and deeper into the mountain.


Heaven's Soldier raised both swords in a defensive position, carefully taking in his situation. He was surrounded, greatly outnumbered, greatly outgunned, and otherwise screwed royally. There was no way to contact the rest of the team; he was completely on his own. Grimacing, he prepared to take on his enemies in one last hurrah...

Suddenly, Glenton dropped from another ventilation shaft, landing behind several of the guards. He quickly threw several small shuriken at the guards closed to him, piercing them through the back on the necks. At the same instant, Heaven's Soldier ducked, twisted around, and swung his swords in a wide arch, quickly disarming the remaining guards. Before Glenton could raise his silenced pistol, GG Crono dropped down from yet another ventilation shaft and smacked the guard's heads together, rendering them unconscious.

"...What are you doing here?" said Heaven's Soldier. "You were SUPPOSED to be on the twentieth floor! This is the eigth!"

"You were in those shafts," said Glenton. "They were probably laid out by a total maniac. Just ten seconds ago, I went from the thirtieth floor to the sub-basement!"

"And I was chased by robotic guards on the twelfth floor, and suddenly wound up on the fifteenth somehow!" said GG Crono.

"Have we stumbled into a chaos-controlled skyscraper?" cursed Heaven's Soldier.

(No, you idiots! Nobody's going to get that; it's too obscure!)

"...Who the hell was that?" asked Glenton.

(I mean...uh...Anyway...)


Trisha pulled Young Val away from Galloway, even as the child tried to dig a dagger into her arm. "No, you can't hurt her!"

Galloway laughed. "I wasn't going to HURT her!" He sneered and roared at the bizzare manifestation. "I'm going to KILL her!"

"She's obviously experiencing feelings of neglect and maltreatment," cooed Trisha. Young Val finally seemed to calm down, at least after tearing apart the first several layers of skin on Trisha's left arm. "Maybe we could talk this over somewhere private. Where's her room?"

Val banged on the overturned filing cabinet, and the skeletal remains of a dog in a gi popped out. "She usually sleeps in the top shelf. Once you lock her inside, and dump a few roach bombs inside, she's out like a light."

Trisha's eyes practically exploded from her sockets. "WHAT?! Why would you do that?!"

"She is a devil!" shouted Percival. "She must be destroyed!"

Trisha pulled Young Val even farther away, practically smothering her under her chest. "Not on my life! Just give me a day or two with her! I swear I can put her back on the right track, you bunch of freakish child abusers!"

Val grumbled a reply and turned away, Percival nodded, and Galloway continued to plot Young Val's bloody demise.



Mabatsekker jumped down from the ventilation shaft, followed by kiro and Darkness Beckons. All three carefully snuck around the many corridors, looking for any signs of their prey, or at the very least any guards.

As if in response to some unspoken use of the forbidden words, several guards jumped out of nowhere...


The guards quickly closed in, weapons raised and aimed. The three looked around for some avenue of escape, but saw none. "...So, do we have a plan B?" asked Mabat.

"Just one," said kiro. She pointed behind the apporaching guards. "Look! A two-faced monkey disco-hawk!"

To the embarrasment of the human race, the guards quickly turned in glad surprise...and saw, sure enough, a two-faced monkey disco hawk, a creature that defies description, fluttering about. Even worse, the guards all dropped their weapons and pulled out birdwatching cameras, completely ignoring their former enemies. The Task Force members were stunned at the sheer stupidity of the coincidences.

"...I don't know what's sadder," said Beckons. "The fact that it worked, or the fact that there really IS a two-faced monkey disco-hawk." Rather than dwell on the philosophical aspects of their dilemma, however, the three quickly went to running down the halls, desperately searching for some kind of clue as to the hostages' locations. Finally, they saw a suspiciously labelled door, "NOT Highly Illegal Trans-Dimensional Prison." Once again cursing whatever architect was responsible for this universe, they threw open the door...

And were immediately horrified by what they saw.



Weiila and Maria wandered aimlessly down the streets, taking in the chilly winter air and looking at the mixture of advancement and savagery that the future provided. "Pretty shocking, isn't it?" asked Maria.

"I'm just surprised the future exists," said Weiila. "I figured the world would be completely destroyed by now."

"Oh right, the global warming and stuff," said Maria. "Well, we were doomed to die, but some Americans developed a device that restored much of the climate, at the cost of the real world."

"Just like all Americans, they pass the problem to another group," said Weiila. She looked at the slightly insulted Maria. " offense."

The two looked at the setting sun. "It's getting late," said Maria. "We should probably be getting back home, before the time zone difference kills us all."


The four at the hotel moved into the reception room, Trisha still holding Young Val. "All right, I guess we should all sleep here tonight," said Galloway. "Val, Percival, what rooms are still liveable?"

"Well, there's only two rooms that don't have giant holes in the floor," said Val. Galloway facepalmed himself. "Rooms 212 and 309, I think."

"Okay, I know Room 212 has only a Queen-sized bed, and 309 is a double," said Galloway. "So I guess Percival and I can take 212, and-"

"No way!" said Val. "I'm not staying in the same room as that...thing!" She pointed at the sleeping Young Val.

"...Okay," said Galloway. "Let's try again. Percival and Trisha can stay in 309, and Val and I can-"

"Nay, I shall not dwell with that demon neither!" said Percival.

"...You're really pushing me," said Galloway. "All right, I guess Trisha and I'll stay in room 309, and-"

"I...doubt that'll work," said Val. "You see...Percival and I are...doing...something...and-"

Galloway could feel the blood vessels getting ready to burst. "FINE!" he growled. "Trisha and I'll take 212." Trisha started to say something, but Galloway raised his hand. "NO! So far, my brother's been put into a hospital, a ninja has trapped Weiila in the future, I was kicked out by a group I once helped FOUND, and my plans for the hotel have nearly been destroyed! And so help me, I am NOT going to sleep on a FUCKING COUCH!"


Outside the skyscraper, the Task Force quickly dragged out several dog carriers, their contents unviewable in the dark night. Almost immediately, several guards came rushing up, raising their weapons in preperation to shoot. Just when it seemed like it was all over, the Santo-Mobile came racing down the road and parked right behind the Task Force-Mobile Version 3. El Santo quickly jumped from his vehicle and charged the guards, tossing them over his shoulder like they were sacks of flour. Several guards tried to pull some wrestling moves, but they were quickly shut down.

Thanking the sweet Mexican wrestling man for his timely assistance, the Task Force loaded the carriers into the Task Force-Mobile and took off. Santo jumped into his car and tore down the road after them.


The elevator finally reached a deep, cavernous level of the library. The sound of running water beneath alerted Kairi that they were beneath even the valley they had just exited from. The dragon king led the girl through the many torch-lit, earthen walled chambers, searching through the hundreds of bookshelves and scroll racks. Finally, he saw something that caught his eye. It was a scroll rack in the far back of the level, filled with yellowed and crumbling scrolls. Something was written in a plaque on top, but it was in a language unfamiliar to the girl.

Xero searched through the scrolls until he found one towards the lower-left corner of the rack. With great care, he pulled it from its holder and laid it out on a small reading table. The scroll, like the plaque, was written in an alien language, but Xero obviously had no trouble reading it. After what seemed like an eternity, Xero rolled the scroll back up and handed it to Kairi. "Take care of it. We will need it."

"What is it?" asked Kairi.

"Drake is...a family member," said Xero. "These scrolls all pertain to members of the royal family. That is why they are kept far from the rest of the texts; they are far too important to be trusted to anyone but my family and I."

"But...who is-"

Xero sighed heavily. "Drake was my father's uncle. Back then, dragons still routinely went out and terrorized humans, hoarding up whatever treasure they could grab. When my grandfather tragically perished for reasons I care not to disclose, my father was chosen as the new ruler, and he instigated countless reforms, improving the conditions of the dragons and our relations with the other races of the Internet. Drake, being a greedy bastard, ran off sulking and hoarded over his treasures."

The two walked to the elevator, which slowly began to climb upwards. "So...maybe Drake killed your parents?" asked Kairi.

"He was the first person I looked at," said Xero, "but unfortunately, he's clean. As much as he despised my father, he hated the thought of mortals stealing his treasure even more, and never left his hobble for even a minute. And he would never submit to hiring assassins; that would only cost him even more of his fortune."

Suddenly, the elevator stopped, and a man in a full-body red robe stumbled onto the elevator. Xero's eyes suddenly flew open. "Mazrim Taim? What are you doing here?"

"You...left me here a YEAR AGO!" said Mazrim.

"I...I'm sorry about that," stammered Xero. "Come, let's just get up to the main level, have a good meal, get some sleep, and tomorrow go venturing out to locate my estranged uncle."

Mazrim stared at the dragon for several minutes. "...Fine, you miserable bastard."


Wil, Arac and Omega finally reached the Task Force HQ...only to be promptly ran over by the Task Force-Mobile. The Task Force raced from their vehicle, grabbed the three wounded figures, and dragged them into the infirmary, while Santo and the young Wil helped unload carriers.



Wacky hijinks ensued!


The next morning seemingly came from nowhere. Galloway slowly awoke to the shining of the morning sun and the sound of banging coming from all around. Trisha was still asleep at the other far end of the bed, seemingly unaware of the sheer amount of noise and light coming from all directions. Quickly throwing his armor on, he wandered towards the doorway, slowly deciding not to crush Young Val's head under his foot like a ripe melon.

He was completely surprised by what greeted his eyes. There were countless workers everywhere, nailing down boards, painting the walls, and generally repairing the massive amounts of damage the child had somehow caused within a few hours. Val and Percival were nowhere to be seen; Galloway assumed they had gone out for pancakes while everyone else was working. In the meantime, he still needed to get past the ninjas, AND deliver the invitations...


Val stepped out of Billy Bo's House-o'-Pain, carrying a grocery bag containing a bag of devouring, a poisonous spike-shooting tree frog-like monstrosity, and a Yes's "greatest" hits CD. She now had the perfect gifts for Galloway, Glenton, and anyone else she hated with a deep passion.



After a restful night, the Task Force gathered in the meeting room. Wil, Arac and Omega were already waiting for them, along with the young Wil and Santo. The dog carriers were in the back of the room, still unopened. Once everyone was accounted for, Heaven's Soldier began the meeting. "Alright, folks. Last night was a major undertaking, but thankfully we were successful."

"We...were?" asked Glenton. "All I could see were a bunch of dog cages. Has wrestling joined forces with PETA all of a sudden?"

"Oh, right, you weren't in the room," said Mabatsekker. "By the way, what happened to you three?"

"Oh, we just had an argument with the narrator and got banished into non-existance for an hour or so," said GG Crono. "And we couldn't get a good look at those things that late at night, especially when we were being chased by hundreds of guards at a time."

"Their equipment seemed to be higher than normal rent-a-cops," said Darkness Beckons. "Something else is going on here."

"Before we go any farther," said Wil, "maybe we should open the carriers right now?"

HS nodded in agreement, and all eleven stood around the carriers, attaching a complex pulley system to each door latch. After several anxious seconds, Heaven's Soldier activated the pulleys, opening each carrier at once. Within seconds, blurs of movement rushed them, pinning each to the ground...



"Things are getting interesting."

"The fools are wandering to their own deaths. Why deny them such a gift at Christmas?"

"Our ninjas will soon be taking care of our problem. But for now, let's go bowling."


The battle against the chibi RPGCers was long and grueling, an absolute epic on scale with the final battle in the Lord of the Rings movies. Blood was spilled liberally, with hateful curses and massive explosions erupting every which way. Mere seconds before someone was actually killed, however, El Santo jumped into the middle of the fight, pulled off a bunch of shoulder throws, and managed to get all the chibi RPGCers into a corner due to his sheer wrestlingness.

"Okay, they're all in place now," said Heaven's Soldier. "Now can someone tell us why an evil corporation would want you kidnapped?"

"They wanted to use us in an advertising campaign," said chibi Heaven's Soldier. "They thought they could market child versions of this world's RPGCers for some reason."

"Corporate greed," sighed Glenton. "You just HAVE to admire them at some level." Chibi Glenton gave his adult counterpart a high five, while the rest in the room looked on in a mixture of disgust and confusion. "...He's one of the heroes here?" asked Young Wil.

"...No, we just blackmailed him here by showing his few acts of kindness and goodwill," said Mabatsekker. "It's amazing what a little blackmail will do in the right hands."

"ANYWAY," said Wil, "we need some help. The ninjas, from two years ago? They're back."

"We know," said Beckons.

"They've attacked Galloway twice," said GG Crono. "The first time, they stranded Weiila in the future. The second time, they nearly killed the SOB outside the hyrbid warehouse."

"All three attacked us, too," said Omega. "They kicked our asses in short order, but SOMEONE stopped them from killing us."

"If I wasn't trapped on a road trip that Christmas, I'd know what you were talking about," pouted kiro.

"In any case, we must proceed with caution," said El Santo. "If these villains should seek to strike us back, we must be prepared to take them down with extreme care and precision."


Meanwhile, in the Skyscraper of Doom...

"How...How could they-"


"Now, gentlemen, this is no time for mistakes such as this. We must keep our eyes locked on the future, and that means capturing those brats and returning them here."

"We will deal with it, sir."

"And call custodial while you're out there. Have someone remove this...garbage."



Weiila awoke to yet another day, the sun shining against the suprisingly not post-apocalyptic sky. Maria was absolutely nowhere to be found, and only Val had left a note, a Sticky-Pad reading, "Decided to take up drinking again. Will be back soon. There's some TV Breakfasts in the fridge." Weiila chuckled at the similarities between her Val and this future incarnation, stepped out into the hall, wisely decided just to have a bowl of cereal, and flew off to Kerr's place.

Thankfully, her future self was nowhere near the toolshed, and didn't seem to hear her approaching, if she was even there to begin with. Once again, it seemed, her luck was beginning to return. She pushed open the door to the shed, took a few steps in...and saw Maria and Kerr, lying on a cot in one corner...

She was barely able to stifle a scream, her mind secretly thankful that, for whatever reason, Galloway's future self wasn't around...



The Christmas Coalition convened once again, now full of sweet desserts. "Very well," said the fifth member, "let us discuss our situation."

"We need to stomp these non-Christmas fools out NOW!" said Jack T. Chick. "Otherwise, their acceptance of the made-up word 'holidays' will continue to spread!"

"Just what I was thinking," said Bill O' Reilly. "But I have a few-"

"NO ARGUMENTS, O' REIILY!" shouted the lead figure. "We AGREE with you. You do not need to launch a debate against us!"

"...Sorry, my lord," said O' Reiily.

"They are still correct," said the third figure. "We must be able to destroy this Wal-Mart worker and his cohorts before it is too late, before our control over the popoulus is revealed and unraveled."

"Then let us make haste," said the lead figure. "Order Rain and Chameleon to strike him now, at his most vulnerable. He must not escape our attention THIS TIME!"


Galloway found himself back at the evil corporation known as Wal-Mart, forced to continue his endless toils and tasks as an official greeter, forced to smile to even the cruelest of old ladies, screaming infants, and anti-corporation protestors. Trisha, meanwhile, hung out at the McDonalds, trying to have a civil conversation with the hellspawn known as Young Val, who was more interested in avoiding the crappy food and finding ways to kill the nearby eight-year-old with her Happy Meal toy.

Once again, Galloway didn't pay any attention to the grey ninja sneaking, who was now getting some photo developed of his visit to the Generic Land o' Ninjas. Meanwhile, the white ninja was keeping tabs on Galloway, somehow managing not to set off the smoke alarms with the constant black mist rising off his body. The saiyan still paid no attention to the ninjas, who quickly returned to their base once their task was completed.

Almost five minutes later, Galloway's shift finally ended. The saiyan, the catgirl, and the superego left the store of evil behind, stopping only to appologize to the protestors for Gemini not being there.


Xero, Kairi and Mazrim set out with the upmost haste, determined to make it to Drake's hold before dark. Fortunately, it was only about five miles, making it a ridiculously easy feat with the assistance of a dragon. Drake actually had quite a luxorious place; an ancient keep with walls rising high into the air, with enough room to fit the entire US Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. "...THIS IS A HOVEL?" asked Kairi.

"You should see some of the palaces other dragons had," said Xero. "Even my home seems like a spit in the pan compared to those ancient beings. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go in alone. I promise I will not be gone long."


*Insert rapid scene of Percival and Val being captured by ninjas. Really, there was nothing here worth seeing.*


The keep's interior courtyard was filled with an ancient, massive dragon-like beast, its body permenantly crouched against the earth thanks to its enormous weight. Through every opening in the keep's towers and buildings, Xero could see mountains of gold, jewels, chests, crowns, and other precious treasures. A mere handful of some of the things Drake had stashed away would be enough to solve his city's financial woes for decades. The dragon merely stared at Xero as he approached. "Ah, if it isn't my dear great-nephew? Has ruling your beloved kingdom become-"

"Silence!" shouted Xero. "You know why I'm here. What do you know about my father's death?"

The dragon's eyes became cross, his body preparing to lunge at the comparatively smaller figure before him. "You are an impudent brat, you know that? Your father was not much better, but at least he showed me a little respect."

"I have no time for respect," said Xero. "Just tell me what I want, and I will leave you to guard your pathetic hoard for the rest of your life."

Drake cleared his throat and began to speak. "Very well...I will tell you everything I know, if only to get your ass out of my home!"


The workers at the hotel had finished the repairs hours ago, and had left the old place looking even better than before. Galloway, Trisha and Young Val sat in the lounge, eating Millano cookies and waiting for Val and Percival to return. After nearly an hour of waiting, Galloway pulled himself out of the sofa and reached for a dimensional device. "Where are you going?" asked Trisha.

"To send some more invites," said Galloway. "We really have a lot more ground to cover, and frankly we're running out of time."

"But...what about the big meanie me?" asked Young Val.

"I'm sure she's fine," said Galloway. "She's probably off somewhere, drinking herself into sweet, unending oblivion."



Val and Percival were thrown before the robed Christmas Coalition, all of whom were more than eager to begin their assault...