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What Is This Now-!?

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…People were supposed to die!?

 

 

No, seriously!

 

 

 

That’s what was in the note…

 

 

 

 

"She said seven tokens in total…”

 

 

I could see the gears clicking away inside her head.

 

 

 

Soon.

 

 

 

She too, would realize it-

 

 

 

“-So that means six more people have to die? H* no!"

 

 

 

She dashed the bottle to the ground in a combo of frustration and rage-and walked off!

 

 

 

 

Without me!!

 

 

 

 

 

"Wha--Where are you going!?”

 

 

 

 

I had to practically sprint to keep up with her!!

 

 

 

 

"None of your business!”

 

 

 

 

Uh, hello?

 

It was my business.

 

 

 

 

“Ch*, when'd you get so bossy?"

 

 

 

"Bossy?"

 

 

 

And heeere we go again.

 

 

 

"BOSSY!? Who was the one who told me to figure that picture s* out? You wanted me to take initiative and so I am. Goodbye”.

 

 

 

 

…Juuuust like the treehouse fight.

 

 

 

Just.

 

 

 

Like.

 

 

 

It.

 

 

 

 

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!”

 

 

 

I reached out to grab her wrist before she could get too far away from me-

 

 

 

"We had a deal!”

 

 

 

 

She yanked it away, leaving me grasping at air!

 

 

 

"Yeah? So? 

 

The deal's post-poned. 

 

 

 

Once things settle down and I find a way to keep everyone from dying”.

 

 

 

 

It’ll be back on?

 

 

Sorry, but I couldn’t wait that long!!

 

 

 

 

"Then why are you leaving?" 

 

 

 

"So no one has to die, d*s*t”.

 

 

 

"Do you wanna marry the Cursed God!?”

 

 

 

 

Come on, anything could get you out there!

 

 

 

 

"At this point, I just want to be alone!!!!"

 

 

 

 

-I wasn’t expecting her to

 

 

 

 

OOOOWWW-!!??

 

 

 

 

What in the actual-!?

 

 

 

 

The past few seconds caught up with me, flashes of Mystic abruptly whirling around to sink her teeth into my arm-

 

 

 

 

She was gone by the time I stopped gaping at the stinging, bleeding wound.

 

 

 

 

D*, is she part vampire!?

 

 

 

 

Those teeth marks reminded me of a f*ing shark’s!

 

 

 

 

Man, I thought she’d be easier to handle than this…

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, right when she’d left was when everyone else caught up.

 

 

 

 

The agents, the kids, the non-zombified peeps…

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Where's Mystic?" some guy in a pink suit asked me.

 

 

 

My right hand was firmly clasped around my arm-

 

 

 

 

I had to take deep breaths…deeeep breaths…

 

 

 

 

Sucking air through my teeth, I tried to say it as best I could considering how the stinging had decided to conveniently upgrade itself to stabbing, knife-sharp pain.

 

 

 

 

"She.......ran......ran off”.

 

 

 

"Are you kidding me!?”

 

 

Blonde Bouffant groaned.

 

 

"We're trying to help her and she's running away?"

 

 

 

A second blonde in brown leather spoke up:

 

 

 

"On our end, however…

 

We have some good news”.

 

 

 

She nodded to the red-faced Statue behind her.

 

 

 

“We've managed to calm down Safiya”.

 

 

 

"What the h* was causing her to act like that?"

 

 

 

Was it him?

 

 

 

"We believe it was a spell from the Cursed God”, the brunette Muse confirmed.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Goth Chick ran up to the pile of ash, and ran a few grains through her fingertips.

 

 

 

"She's collected a token”.

 

 

 

"Finally!" Theatre Nerd exclaimed.

 

 

 

"Bad news, however-“, I broke in.

 

"The coven's supposed to meet tonight”.

 

 

 

“We know”, Brown Leather’s boyfriend assured me, "We're working to keep them restrained, but it will be difficult. 

 

On the full moon, magic is at its most powerful. 

 

 

And roughly two or three full moons after will be the Blood Moon, where magic can transcend convention”.

 

 

 

Wonderful.

 

 

Not like things were already dismal enough to begin with…

 

 

 

"Some more bad news. Someone has to die for us to get the tokens”.

 

 

 

 

All the Writing kids glanced at each other with a mind-bending mixture of fear, and…excitement!?

 

 

 

 

I mean, I would react that way if I were in their shoes, but…

 

 

 

 

The f*!?

 

 

 

 

"This is exactly like Escape the Night”, one of them said.

 

 

 

"Yeah, no s*”.

 

 

 

 It was the girl who’d hauled Mystic and I to the battlegrounds before I’d shot down a certain Cursed God. 

 

 

 

"So now how many of us have to die?"

 

 

 

"There are seven tokens. The witch's token was a free pass”.

 

 

The Muse sounded so sure…

 

 

"At least six more of us need to die”.

 

 

 

Something about that number didn’t sit right with me-

 

 

 

"I think the traitor should be the first one to go”.

 

 

 

What.

 

 

 

"But we don't even KNOW who the traitor IS!"

 

 

 

WHAT

 

 

 

"Um, I don't mean to be THAT person, but Mystic could be miles away from us by now”.

 

 

 

-!!??

 

 

 

Immediately.

 

 

 


They all raced off-!

 

 

 

 

"Oh sure, just abandon me, that's fine…”

 

 

 

 

 

-And while you’re at it, how about you just casually talk about murder!?

Chapter Text

I highly doubted that they would find her.

 

 

After that lovely outburst-!?

 

 

 

No way.

 

 

 

 

She’d probably run off again and grown herself another treehouse, assuming she even still had any of those tiny stones left.

 

 

 

 

Either that, or walked herself into trouble, again…

 

 

 

 

 

Neither would surprise me at this point.

 

 

 

 

 

The girl was a f*ing danger magnet!

 

 

 

 

 

Anyways, I was left on my own, so I decided to spend the time searching around for more of those handy-dandy little Wish pebbles.

 

 

I mean, come on!

 

 

They couldn’t be that hard to find, could they!?

 

 

 

 

 

Mystic had an entire bags-worth at one point!!

 

 

 

 

 

All I would have to do was turn over every single rock I came across.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not uselessly time-consuming at all.

 

 

Nope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t have a better plan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

...So, when I saw the first mod-sized boulder on my way to catch up with the rest of her friends, I went to flip it with barely a second glance-

 

 

 

 

 

At the bushes.

Chapter Text

I could’ve sworn they rustled once or twice!!

 

But no matter how hard I glared at them-

 

 

 

 

It was like they’d never moved at all.

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from that…

 

 

 

 

 

Plan B was proving to be a failure.

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t find anything!

 

 

 

 

Not a stray rock, blade of grass, or random worm burrowing through the dirt-

 

 

 

 

NOTHING!!

 

 

 

 

Hello, frustration my old friend what the h* was happening here!?

 

 

Where were all the-

 

 

 

It dawned on me.

 

 

 

 

"She must've gotten to them first”.

 

 

 

 

I was torn between laughing hysterically and screaming up at the sky!!

 

 

 

 

Are you kidding me!!??

 

 

 

 

D* it all!

 

 

I hated feeling this helpless-

 

 

 

 

“Alice, honey!”

 

 

Twinkletoes.

 

 

"Quit lagging behind. We're not planning on waiting for you”.

 

 

 

 

She’d been saying that over and over-

 

 

 

 

Oh my G*. Can you just SHUT THE H* UP? 

 

 

 

 

As much as I would’ve loved to correct her right then and there, I had to pass as f*ing Alice for even longer-

 

 

 

At least, until I found some way to get out!!

 

 

 

 

The things I do for these humans. 

 

 

 

 

 

 A droplet landed on my head with a solid splat!!-

 

 

 

I looked up in surprise.

 

 

 

I guess Mother Nature had read my mind.

 

 

 

 

It looked stormy as all heck-

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s when the downpour hit.

 

 

 

 

 

Great. This is EXACTLY what I need right now. 

 

 

 

 

 

Water straight to the eyes!

 

 

 

 

"It's a downpour!" Disco Dad called out.

 

 

 

No s* Sherlock.

 

 

 

 

In response to that, Brown Leather yoinked an umbrella out of nowhere, and opened it.

 

 

 

 

What kind of occult technology made it extend over everybody??

 

 

 

 

There was like…thirty or forty of them at least...plus me.

 

 

 

 

 

It should have been impossible!

 

 

 

 

 

"Does my makeup totally s*k now?"

 

 

 

Blonde Bouffant reassured them both:

 

 

"Honey, you're fine, water's got nothing on us”.

 

 

 

"So where do we go from here?"

 

 

 

 

Brown Leather had to think about that one.

 

 

 

 

Cinna-Ro had brought up the most competent point before anyone else.

 

 

 

 

"There should be a city nearby with shelter. If I'm right, Mystic might be there”.

 

 

 

 

"Then let's go!"

 

 

Jazz Hands jostled her way up to the front of this ludicrous parade.

 

 

"I don't wanna get soaked anymore than I already am”.

 

 

 

 

"Wait!" one of the writers called out.

 

"I think we've almost got it!”

 

 

 

“Got what?”

 

 

 

The answer to this insanity?

 

 

Really??

 

 

 

 

Could it be true!?

 

 

Had they finally done something worth believing in for a change-

 

 

 

 

"The OTP for this season of Escape the Night!”

 

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

 

My face.

 

 

 

Said loudly and clearly.

 

 

 

 

Are You STUPID, Bird Girl!!???

 

 

 

 

If I’d been with them alone…

 

 

 

 

I could have and would have strangled them all!!

 

 

 

 

 

"Can't you use your theory knowledge to figure out this f*ing plot line?"

 

 

 

 

"We're writers, not psychics”, the Water One snarked.

 

"All we can do is theorize. Until we get more info”.

 

 

 

“And then!?”

 

 

 

Oh, was my impatience showing, I do apologize.

 

 

NOT!

 

 

 

"We theorize some more. Wait”.

 

 

 

 

She paused.

 

 

 

You should know this, Alice.

 

 

 

 

 

Cue pointed stares.

 

 

 

 

"Why are you acting so clueless?"

 

 

 

 

…Well, s*.

 

 

 

This, AGAIN!?

 

 

 

 

"...What's the OTP for this season?"

 

 

 

 

Cue confused stares, this time.

 

 

 

 

Oh my Lord, we were going to be here forever.

 

 

 

 

 

"Well”, they piped up:

 

"We managed to pull together quite a few of them. There's HoracexPenelope, SafiyaxMystic, RosannaxMystic”.

 

 

 

"AndreaRxMystic", their friend recited:

 

 

ShanexTacoBell---"

 

 

 

 

(That's my OTP!!-the former cheered)

 

 

 

 

ShanexDumpster

 

 

 

 

(Never mind! THAT'S my OTP. Ooh, wait, can we do a three-way?)

 

 

 

 

*face-palm*

 

 

 

 

 

"Already got ShanexDumpsterxTacoBell down", said Tegan...

 

 

 

Wait. Is it gonna get a fanfic?"

 

 

 

(Collective shrug).

 

 

 

 

"We do also have 'The Forbidden Ship’, 

 

 

CursedGodxMystic~

 

 

 

 

(Shh! We never speak the name of 'The Forbidden Ship!)

 

 

 

 

Penn-Penn: Fear of the name only increases fear for the thing itself.

 

 

 

 

 "Well, we have good reason to be afraid of that pairing-if that becomes canon, reality is done for!"

 

 

Said Aurora-

 

 

 

 

 

…Okay.

 

 

 

Enough of this.

 

 

 

 

What about EnvyxCalvin?"

 

 

 

 

 

Oh look.

 

 

They knew I existed after all!

 

 

 

 

"Who?" 

 

 

"How do you know about Envy?"

 

 

 

 

Uh…

 

 

 

Why did I say that?

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm not part of the agency, so I know he exists!” I blatantly lied through my teeth.

 

 

 

“I don’t buy it”, Angel Wings growled.

 

"I'm starting to think you're keeping secrets from us. In fact, maybe YOU'RE the traitor”.

 

 

 

 

Silence fell-

 

 

 

 

"I'm sorry. What?" 

 

 

 

Pink Suit mercifully interrupted!

 

 

 

"Oh, it was a plot point that was brought up, probably, 30 chapters ago”, Water One explained.

 

"One of us is, apparently, working for the Cursed God and was sent to sabotage us”.

 

 

 

"Can we please just go now!?"

 

 

 

Bird Girl was getting antsy.

 

 

 

"This is just becoming a filler chapter to help enrich a story based off of this one”.

 

 

 

Everybody started staring at her for a change!!

 

 

 

FINALLY!

 

 

 

 

"What drugs are you on!?” 

 

 

Penn-Penn’s sidekick looked at her oddly.

 

 

“And where can I get them?”

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

 

(…I can’t with this guy.

 

I would want to know too-)

 

 

 

 

 

"Never mind”, she huffed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s just go.

Chapter Text

I trudged along behind them all.

 

 

What was I supposed to do, pretend to be sociable at this point!?

 

 

 

They all thought I was evil-and I was, don’t get me wrong-!!

 

 

 

 

But I wasn’t their traitor.

 

 

 

 

Not for that, at least...

 

 

 

 

Now, I knew absolutely nothing about this ‘Escape the Night’, business outside of ‘Token collecting’ and the like.

 

 

 

But if this was going the way I thought it was, then I had a very unfortunate realization to deal with.

 

 

 

 

 

If all went well (for them!)…

 

 

 

 

It would be my head on the chopping block.

 

 

 

 

 

My life cut short as f*ing Alice-

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wouldn’t even be able to die as ME!!!

 

 

 

 

 

…I had to regain their trust somehow.

 

 

 

 

 

If I didn’t, my fate would be sealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

…But I wasn’t going down without a fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Look!”

 

 

Cinna-Ro pointed excitedly at something ahead of us, what seemed like hours later.

 

 

 

Brown Leather smiled grimly.

 

 

 

“And there it is…”

 

 

 

 

 

The glimmering towers of a city covered in lights up to the extreme-

 

 

 

 

I guess you could say it was pretty lit.

 

 

 

 

“This is where we’ll find Mystic.

 

I’m sure of it!”

 

 

 

 

“But how are we going to make sure that she doesn’t just run off again?” L. posited.

 

 

 

I wanted to cheer!

 

 

 

 

For once, the Writers were being useful.

 

 

 

 

IT’S A MIRACLE!!

 

 

 

 

“We’ll send all her favorite people in to corner her!” Mob Guy declared confidently.

 

“Like Matt”.

 

 

 

(Elbow)

 

 

 

His friend half-heartedly gave him one back.

 

 

 

 

“Careful, she might bite you”.

 

 

 

 

“WHAT!?”

 

 

 

 

Literally everyone stopped to look at me as if I’d suddenly upped and spontaneously grown another head!

 

 

 

 

“What, yourself?”

 

 

 

I moved to show them my arm-

 

 

 

“I’ve got the scars to prove it, you know!”

 

 

 

 

The Mystic narrowed her eyes at me.

 

 

 

 

“And how can we trust that what you’re telling us is the truth?”

 

 

 

 

“…Well…”

 

 

 

 

Matt’s Ghostly Girlfriend seemed to be thinking something over-

 

 

 

 

“She did run away from us like a crazy person when we tried to make her sing in the Talent Show…”

 

 

 

 

“Yeah”, Saloon Queen added.

 

 

“And she did slide down that garbage chute just to be free…”

 

 

 

 

“We will cross that bridge when we come to it”, Brown Leather said firmly.

 

 

 

 

“Okay, but if she tries to bite ME she’s going to get a can of whoop-a*”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blonde Bouffant tossed a hank of fake hair over her shoulder and stalked away.

Chapter Text

Not even two steps in, and there was the Eiffel Tower.

 

 

Looming over everything like a massive omen of Doom.

 

 

 

 

“Whooooaaa-!!”

 

 

 

 

…Literally just me was unnerved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*huff*

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Is this-!?”

 

 

Bird Girl fluttered around like a lunatic, inspecting everything from the neat flower boxes to the gargoyles rampant on every surface of every old building.

 

 

 

 

“I think it is!”

 

 

Water One splashed her hand into the spray of a huge fountain in disbelief.

 

 

 

 

“This is definitely Paris!!”

 

 

Tegan’s irises miraculously transformed into hearts and she had an intense fangirl moment right there in the middle of the plaza.

 

 

 

 

I had to reeeallly restrain the urge to roll my eyes.

 

 

 

 

This couldn’t be the real Paris, and besides!

 

 

 

 

All I saw was a lot of stone.

 

 

 

 

 

Not worth the hype, guys…

 

 

 

 

“The city of LOOOVEE!!”

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, joy.

 

 

 

 

“But that’s impossible!

 

How can we be in Paris!!??”

 

 

 

L.’s eyebrows were scrunched up in confusion.

 

 

 

“That’s nowhere near Everlock-“

 

 

 

 

“It is a mystery to me as well”.

 

 

 

Muse had one arm hooked with a guy much taller than her, the other gesturing through the air as if she were working invisible strands of Magic.

 

 

 

Or something.

 

 

 

 

“Mayhaps this is a domain that was created by another”.

 

 

 

 

Like Circe’s House of Horrors?

 

 

 

 

…Would make sense.

 

 

 

 

“‘Created’?” 

 

 

E.’s head swung back toward us so fast that I was sure it was going to snap off of her neck!

 

 

 

“What does that mean!?”

 

 

 

 

“It means…”

 

 

 

 

Her dark eyes filled with worry.

 

 

 

 

“That someone has accumulated enough power to mentally build an entire landmass.

 

 

And once they crumble…”

 

 

 

 

Oh s*.

 

 

So would the very cobblestoned road we were standing on-!!

 

 

 

 

 

“You think whoever built this holds a Token and is therefore bad news by default!?”

 

 

 

 

“Oh my God!! Please tell me you’re kidding-“

 

 

 

Muse’s eyes flicked from E. to me.

 

 

 

 

“…I’m afraid so.

 

 

A place such as this in the thickest neck of the woods?

 

 

 

 

It is quite suspect at the very least”.

 

 

 

 

 

“Looks harmless to me”.

 

 

 

 

She sighed.

 

 

 

“Mortimer…please don’t get too comfortable”.

 

 

 

 

“Why not?”

 

 

 

I flapped a hand toward the gaggle of distracted geese wigging out behind me.

 

 

 

“That’s what they’re all doing…”

 

 

 

 

Muse internally face-palmed.

 

 

 

 

I could swear that was what had just happened-

 

 

 

 

“…Oh, those poor children”.

 

 

 

“They’re so naive!

 

It’s unreal-“

 

 

 

“And you’re not?”

 

 

 

E.’s cheeks were swelling with blood-

 

 

 

 

“How about you think before generalizing, yeah?”

 

 

 

She stuck an accusatory finger at me!

 

 

 

“I’ve seen your comments, and I KNOW you’d be acting the same way right now-“

 

 

 

“Yeah, no”.

 

 

“B*, you want me to bring up your profile!?”

 

 

“Do you even have a phone on you!?”

 

 

 

“CHILDREN, PLEASE!!

 

 

 

Her uncharacteristic shout ripped through our ears like a chainsaw!

 

 

 

“We do not have time for this right now!”

 

 

 

Mystic is missing-

 

 

 

 

They all quit buzzing in excited circles, guilt slooowly drooping over their faces…

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And we need to find her soon, before whatever lurks here eats her alive”.

Chapter Text

Excellent life goals there, Muse.

 

 

A pity you didn’t tell us where to start…

 

 

 

 

“Sorry…”

 

 

 

The Writers seemed to collectively decide to shelve their enthusiasm.

 

 

I saw a new, determined light glow in their eyes as they mentally shifted gears to the task(s) at hand.

 

 

 

Were they now going to put their Master Theorizing skills to the test!?

 

 

 

One could only hope!!

 

 

 

 

“If I were Mystic, where would I go?” Tegan wondered, tapping a ponderous finger against her chin.

 

 

 

“She loves the theatre”, B. said.

 

“Maybe she hid out in one somewhere while waiting for the rain to stop?”

 

 

 

Penn-Penn nodded elegantly.

 

 

 

Don’t ask me how she did it.

 

 

 

 

“Yes, that would most likely be the exact type of shelter that she would pursue”.

 

 

 

 

“…Anybody know any famous ones in Paris?”

 

 

 

 

E.’s question drew a lot of blank looks.

 

 

 

 

“Don’t ask me!” Dooper finally said after a long moment of clueless silence.

 

“I don’t know anything about this city, let alone what name it’s theater’s got!”

 

 

 

 

Jas scratched their head.

 

 

 

 

“So we’re at an impasse, huh?”

 

 

 

 

I didn’t want to admit it, but…

 

 

 

 

“…That’s what I’m hearing”.

 

 

 

Water One scoffed, and Angel Wings gave me an even hairier side-eye than usual.

 

 

 

“Yeah right!

 

You’re probably just trying to throw us off the scent by pretending that you’re as lost as the rest of us!!”

 

 

 

“I am not!”

 

 

 

“Oh? 

 

Is that so”.

 

 

 

The latter refused to let up!!!

 

 

 

“Because I’m not so sure”.

 

 

 

 

“I am NOT”, I insisted.

 

“The only reason you think that is because-“

 

 

 

I stopped.

 

 

 

“Because what?”

 

 

 

 

Because I kept slipping up…

 

 

 

 

“-Because I’ve been off my game ever since the Horace Incident!!”

 

 

 

 

 

Penn-Penn blanched a paler shade of white at that, but I ignored her.

 

 

 

 

“That creep came this close to keeping me trapped with him forever!”

 

 

 

 

“He did that to most of us”, Space Cadet argued.

 

 

 

 

“Yeah well, you weren’t exactly kidnapped and then brainwashed beforehand, were you!?”

 

 

 

 

“That’s what you say…”, Aurora corrected, “But is that what truly happened?”

 

 

 

Her expression was one of pure pain, and she mouthed ‘I’m sorry’ to me not even a second after the words were out of her mouth.

 

 

 

 

“After all…you did know about Envy x Calvin…and you’re a lot snappier than usual…Alice was always more soft-spoken, too…”

 

 

 

 

She winced even harder.

 

 

 

 

“…Are you Alice?”

 

 

 

 

 

If I said the truth, they would kill me on principle.

 

 

If I lied, they would still kill me.

 

 

 

 

For, you know, lying…

 

 

 

 

“Wh-what are you trying to do?

 

Catch me out!?

 

 

 

We have more important things to worry about now!”

 

 

 

 

“Unfortunately, Alice is right”.

 

 

 

 

Muse nodded to Brown Leather, effectively cutting off whatever Cinna-Ro was about to say.

 

 

 

 

“We need to abandon this line of discussion now”.

 

 

 

“-But, Aurora…we will keep all of what you’ve just told us in mind”.

 

 

 

 

 

No, you-!

 

 

Don’t buy into this-!!

 

 

 

 

 

“Okay…thanks”.

 

 

 

 

“In the meantime, our next order of operations will be to procure a map of the area”.

 

 

 

“That looks like a gift shop across the way”, Saf the Statue helpfully pointed out.

 

 

 

“Excellent”.

 

 

 

 

 

And they all headed off without me, as per usual.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I followed along behind them with sweaty palms.

Chapter Text

“The P.G. appears to be the only entertainment center in town”.

 

 

“Where is it?”

 

 

“In relation to where we are-?”

 

 

 

 

I tuned out the rest of their conversation.

 

 

 

 

We were lucky ‘Les Fleurs’ even carried such convenient stuff…along with tiny wood carvings of squirrels and rabbits, to boot!

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t bother to go in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just watched them debate through the half-opened doorway-

 

 

 

 

“Hey, you’re not going inside?”

 

 

 

A gentle hand touched my shoulder, and I swallowed down the sarcastic reply just waiting to be unleashed.

 

 

 

“No”.

 

 

 

 

“…Well I guess I’ll just wait out here with you, then”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you didn’t know who this was by now, then you were beyond help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She leaned back and fixed me with those honest eyes of hers…

 

 

 

 

 

“Would you mind if I talked to you about something?”

 

 

 

“‘Am I the resident traitor of the group?’, you mean?

 

I don’t think it matters what I say anymore”.

 

 

 

 

“Now how did you know that?”

 

 

 

 

She looked pleasantly surprised?

 

 

 

 

“What else is there?”

 

 

 

 

“Well…”

 

 

 

 

…She seemed to pause for a second.

 

 

Almost like she was trying to figure out the best way to say it-

 

 

 

 

 

“You just…seem very upset.

 

-And I don’t think it’s only because of this ‘turncoat’ stuff!”

 

 

 

 

“Oh really?”

 

 

 

It came out a lot more bitter than I’d intended.

 

 

 

 

“What gave it away, the constant falling behind?”

 

 

 

“No, it was…”

 

 

 

She started gesturing at the air.

 

 

 

 

Looking for more words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When we caught up to the two of you again…you looked like you wanted to punch something.

 

Either that, or…”

 

 

 

Don’t you dare-!!

 

 

 

“Cry”.

 

 

 

 

S*.

 

 

She said it.

 

 

 

 

“…Please, why would I cry?

 

I’m totally not at the end of my rope or anything!”

 

 

 

 

That slipped out too!!

 

 

 

 

What, could I just not control my filter or something!?

 

 

 

 

 

“End of your rope with what?”

 

 

 

 

 

-She backpedaled faster than I could blink.

 

 

 

 

“I mean, it’s alright if you don’t want to tell me or anything, but I just hate to see anyone so sad…”

 

 

 

“Well aren’t you a Goody-Two-Shoes?”

 

 

 

“Why, thank you!” Cinna-Ro said happily.

 

 

 

And then, without missing a beat:

 

 

 

“So if there’s anything I can do to help-“

 

 

 

I scoffed.

 

 

 

“That’s a mistake”.

 

 

 

 

“…I’m willing to take that chance”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All you have to do is ask me, okay?

 

 

 

 

 

…You’re the only ally I’ve got.

 

 

 

Do I have a choice?

Chapter Text

I was still standing there trying to understand why that woman was so d* nice, when the Self-Proclaimed Cavalry slid through the doorway, eager Writers in tow.

 

 

“Ro! There you are…” Theater Nerd’s face lit up in a smile.

 

“We found it!

 

We know where Mystic is, now!!”

 

 

 

“Wow, really?”

 

 

 

“Yeah, and it’s not that far away either-“

 

 

 

 

 

It was like…

 

 

'Cross the street and you would be there!'

 

 

 

Palais Garnier hung off the top of the marquis in neon-gold letters.

 

 

 

 

Only too appropriate considering who was hiding there…

 

 

 

 

“YEET!!”

 

 

 

Dooper bull-dozed into the ornate double-doors at top speed.

 

 

 

 

The SMACK!! Of his face hitting the frosted glass echoed throughout the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This guy was a f*ing LEGEND.

 

 

 

 

 

“D-don’t do that!?”

 

 

Cinna-Ro hurried to drag his woozy butt away from there before he could accidentally peel his face off.

 

 

 

“I think it worked…”

 

 

 

 

“’Allo? 'Ooh is it?”

 

 

Not even a second later, the little peephole thing was being utilized by some woman with the heaviest French accent I had ever the pleasure of hearing.

 

 

 

"Yeah, we're definitely in Paris”, Water One said.

 

 

 

 

“Oui! You are indeed in Paris, France!” ?? chirped.

 

 

Ozerwise know as ze City of Love!

And what a lovely city it is, is it not? I must tell you all zis; you are very lucky ze storm 'as now stopped.

Ze scenery 'ere is magnifique.

We 'ave a ton of cute little shoppes zat you can explore, wis little trinkets for sale.

Oh, and I must insist you go to one of our many cafes, pâtisseries, and boulangeries.

As a matter of fact, I strongly suggest you go to one of my favorite places, Aki Boulanger at 16 Rue Sainte-Anne; it is not too far from zis beloved Palais Garnier.

 Zey 'ave some of ze best japanese sweets---"

 

 

 

If she talked any slower she was going to get stuck.

 

 

 

That's all well and good, but we need to come in”, Saf the Statue insisted.

 

 

 

“Mademoiselle”, she said, sounding ridiculously offended, “We do not allow early arrivals for ze opera. Ze next show is not until tonight during ze full moon. If you wish, I can see if we 'ave available seats”.

 

 

"No, I think you misunderstood me. We're looking for someone and we think she may be here”.

 

 

"Someone? A lady someone, you say? What is 'er name?"

 

 

“Mystic!”

 

 

 

If she didn’t answer Cinna-Ro, she had no soul.

 

 

 

 

 

…As it was, she took forever considering it.

 

 

 

"Mystique.....Mystique.......hmmm. Non, I do not believe I know 'o you are talking about”.

 

 

 

We all digested that-

 

 

 

"Something tells me you're lying to us”.

 

 

Penn-Penn took a step closer to the doors.

 

 

"Lying?" she gasped.

 

"Mademoiselle, I would never-!”

 

 

 

Uh-huh.

 

And I’m Marie-Antoinette.

 

 

 

"Where's Mystic?" Blonde Bouffant’s eyes seemed to flash with fire-

 

 

 

"I 'ave told you already. I don't know 'o you mean!"

 

 

 

"Look”, Brown Leather cut in.

 

"All we want to do is simply to look around. We're figuring that maybe there's a chance we'll run into her”.

 

 

 

Another half-hour spent fake-thinking about this.

 

 

 

"Well, if it is a tour you are requesting, zen I can see if I can find a time in ze near future---"

 

 

 

"We don't have that kind of time!" Twinkletoes snapped.

 

"We need to get in there now!!”

 

 

"I cannot get you in 'ere now. We are re'earsing”.

 

 

 

 

"Look, just stop with your petty-a* lies”, Blonde Bouffant spat,

 

"And f*ing let us in!"

 

 

 

"NON!”

 

 

 

Anyone who claimed that they hadn’t jumped after that was a liar.

 

 

 

Even I did, for f*s sake!

 

 

 

"If you insist on being so disrespectful, zen you cannot enter ze opera 'ouse at all! Au revoir!"

 

 

 

The sound of her slamming shut the peephole, and triple-locking it blasted through the air like a gunshot!

 

 

 

Everyone was cowed!!

 

 

 

 

 

…I’d kinda seen this coming, though.

 

 

 

 

 

“What do we do now!?” Bird Girl cried worriedly, “She kicked us out!!

 

 

Now we’ll never get inside…”

 

 

 

“Hmm…”

 

 

 

Brown Leather turned to look at the nearby side-alley…

 

 

 

"We might be able to. There's a ventilation shaft that can take us inside. 

 

Follow me!" 

 

 

 

 

 

I never wanted to see another vent in the rest of my existence.

 

 

 

 

 

But, there it was…

 

 

 

High up on the back wall of the place, hidden amongst the general trash and rubbish.

 

 

 

 

My elbows were going to die a painful death, and I was not looking forward to it.

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you sure we’re all going to be able to fit in that!?”

 

 

 

 

Brown Leather shrugged.

 

 

 

 

“There isn’t anything else we can do”.

 

 

 

“Well, has anybody tried to bash down the doors down, yet with those steel-toed boots?”

 

 

 

 

The Agent 3 and Big 3 climbed in first.

 

 

 

 

“No?

 

We’re not gonna discuss this?”

 

 

 

E. rolled her eyes at me as each of the other Writers poured in and up.

 

 

 

*sigh*

 

 

 

 

CRASH!!

 

 

 

…Knew that was coming, too.

 

 

 

 

Grabbing the edge of the sill with both hands, I hoisted myself up and in-

 

 

 

 

I swallowed down the pain, as once again-

 

 

 

 

My hips and elbows were severely scraped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t hard to track down where they’d ended up.

 

 

 

 

All I had to do was take a left past the wreckage of split and broken metal.

 

 

Charging into the Dressing Room, I caught a fleeting glimpse of gold ducking behind a privacy sheet-

 

 

 

 

I was this close to whisking it open when a pair of arms materialized out of nowhere, and latched around my chest!

 

 

 

"What are you doing!?” A familiar-sounding woman screeched into my ear.

 

"Ze lady is trying to dress 'erself!"

 

 

 

 

Like h* she was-!!

 

 

 

"We just think----"

 

 

 

My heels dug into the rough flooring as she pulled me back-

 

 

 

"Non!"

 

 

 

"But if we look---!" L. attempted.

 

 

 

"Non!"

 

 

"But that could be---!" E. flamed.

 

 

 

"NON, NON, et NON!!!”

 

 

 

Oh my G-!!

 

 

 

"Not only 'ave you compromised ze privacy and safety of our performers, you 'ave attempted to break into ze opera 'ouse, even zough I 'ad told you zat you were not allowed in.

And now sanks to your attempt at breaking and entering, you 'ave broken our air vent!

Ze managers will be expecting you to pay full compensation for your destruction of property, but until you do, get out!"

 

 

 

"But---"

 

 

 

"MAINTENANT!"

 

 

 

Pink Suit’s mouth clamped closed.

 

 

 

Forcefully dragging me to the exit, she shooed everybody else out ahead of her, muttering a string of words in Français that I was 100% certain were derogatory slang for ‘American idiots’.

 

 

 

I couldn’t pry her fingers out of my ribs, OW-!

 

 

 

She suddenly let go, and shoved me out into the street.

 

 

 

 

 

My right knee hit the cobblestoned pavement, and split like a bad egg.

 

 

 

 

SLAM

 

 

 

 

 

I stood up.

 

 

 

No way.

 

 

No.

 

 

 

 

That vent was still open, and I was not going to let this chance slip away from me again.

Chapter Text

I trekked back to that hole in the wall.

 

 

I hoisted myself up and over the sill-

 

 

 

 

I landed smack on my bad knee.

 

 

 

 

Whatever.

 

 

 

If Mystic wanted to be independent that was fine.

 

 

 

 

But I wasn’t gonna stop coming back until I got at least one of those stones.

 

 

 

 

 

A flurry of panicked voices floated down the empty hallway leading from the Dressing Room to the stage…and at least one of them sounded like Glasses Girl.

 

 

There seemed to be an awful lot of people crammed around some screamer covered in a drop-

 

 

 

 

"Zis is an outrage!

 

"I, not an ingenue? I am ze only one fit to play ze ingenue! 

 

 

Right, Jean-Claude?"

 

 

 

 

Of course, ma cherie!

 

You shall be on tonight”.

 

 

 

“-My legs!"

 

 

 

"I'm afraid she cannot perform in 'er condition.

 

Ze base weight 'as shattered both of 'er ankles."

 

 

"I'll perform in a wheelchair!"

 

 

 

"Ze stage is not made to 'ave wheelchairs on it, I'm afraid”.

 

 

 

 

"Everyone!

 

We 'ave a bigger problem zen zat! We do not know a Mystique!"

 

 

 

 

‘Mystique’, huh?

 

 

 

I wondered how they would react when they realized that she was literally standing right there.

 

 

 

"Zis opera ghost is delusional.

 

'Ow can we fill a role wis someone we do not even know?"

 

 

 

"Well, we 'ave to fill ze position some'ow.

 

We 'ave important people attending zis performance. 

 

Wealsy patrons, dukes, duchesses, even ze King of France 'imself! 

 

 

 

If we cancel opening, we shall become bankrupt and 'ave to disband entirely!"

 

 

 

"Maman, no! If we put 'er in ze role, it may put 'er in danger!

 

She is too sweet to become 'is obsession!"

 

 

 

 

Welp, someone f*d up.

 

 

 

 

"If.....of course.....we find 'er”.

 

 

 

 

Who knew it could be so cathartic to watch somebody else pull a Me for a change?

 

 

 

"'Ow do you know what she is like?" 

 

 

 

"Because she met me.

 

I am Mystic”.

 

 

 

 

Jaws had never plummeted this low until right stinking now.

 

 

 

I swear.

 

 

 

 

 

“You…you are Mystique!?”

 

 

 

“Yup. I am”.

 

 

 

 

…A tense silence fell.

 

 

 

 

All of the other reindeer just sat there and stared.

 

 

Then they all just…formed a second circle around her?

 

 

 

 

It was hard to see from here.

 

 

 

"Uhhh, can I help you?"

 

 

 

Now they were spinning!?

 

 

 

What was this, some sort of weirdly occult human merry-go-round?

 

 

 

 

"You're a bit different zan I pictured you”.

 

 

"How did you picture me?"

 

 

“I sought zat you would be........a little bit sinner?

 

 

I didn't sink you would 'ave glasses,

 

 

I sought your 'air would be lighter,

 

 

I sought you would be taller,

 

 

I sought you'd look older, more mature-

 

I figured 'e was exaggerating 'ow cute and innocent you looked, mais non. 'E was right…”

 

 

 

 

…Make way for the Trolls, X and X.

 

 

 

 

Only 5 euros to see them in action.

 

 

 

 

 

A real matinee deal-

 

 

 

 

"Well zen, if you are Mystique, zen what a relief!

 

 

(Cue obnoxious laughter)

 

 

I was afraid you were going to be prettier, mais non! You are as ugly as a toad”.

 

 

 

“Sure, whatever. But, unlike you, at least I don't have an ugly heart”.

 

 

 

 

Whispering from the Peanut Gallery…

 

 

 

 

"You 'ave got some nerve to talk back to me!

 

Do you know 'Oo I am!?”

 

 

 

"Not until now, and thank the Lord for that. I would never want to be acquainted with someone who had such a terrible personality”.

 

 

 

"Jean-Claude!

 

Put zis toad in 'er place!"

 

 

 

"Listen 'ere, you idiotic girl--!" 

 

 

 

"Um, you know, I WAS considering agreeing to take Manon's place as this tenant suggested. 

 

I mean, if it really determines whether or not this company is going to stay alive or not, then I am more than happy to help. 

 

But it seems that I'm not wanted here. 

 

After all, what Manon wants Manon gets, right?

 

 

 She IS the prima donna, right?"

 

 

 

"Oui!" 

 

 

 

(Clapping from the resident Griefer)

 

 

 

"Release ze toad into ze swamp”.

 

 

 

 

"Indeed, release me into the swamp. 

 

I'm sure I'll be nice and safe there with all of my sweet and lovely toady brethren when this theatre meets its end, just as this tenant threatened. 

 

And what a shame that would be.

 

 Because the rest of you are all perfectly lovely and beautiful people, so to have two people who demonstrate such disrespect drag you down would be such a tragedy, I dare say.

 

 

And even if you were to hold me captive and force me to go on-stage, yet still allow those two to be absolutely disrespectful to me, then suppose I don't perform well? 

 

Suppose I meow during the quiet moments? 

 

Suppose I squawk the lyrics in Moonfall instead of singing them? 

 

Or perhaps I say the name of the Scottish play aloud on stage?

 

 It would make you look terrible and I'm sure you don't want that, especially when....didn't you say that the King of France himself was going to be coming to Opening Night? 

 

I'm sure he would be absolutely infuriated that you would even CONSIDER putting an actress who demonstrated absolutely no discipline in such a prominent role. 

 

 

 

But perhaps if Manon and Jean-Claude were to, oh I don't know, show me even just the bare minimum amount of respect for a human being, then I just might be persuaded to take on the role”.

 

 

 

"Why you........you…!!”

 

 

 

"As much as you don't want to admit it, of you want to keep being the star here, you NEED me right now. 

 

And besides, even if you insist so heavily that you take on the role, you heard what the doctor said. 

 

 

Your ankles are completely shattered. 

 

 

 

 

How on earth are you going to perform?”

 

 

 

 

As if to emphasize what she’d just said, some guy in black with an extra-a*f cape waltzed out of nowhere up near the ceiling-

 

 

 

(Horrified shouts, cries, etc.)

 

 

 

So this was the new creep who had his eyes set on Mystic, eh?

 

 

 

 

"Leave her alone!" I shouted out into the universe.

 

 

 

Nobody noticed.

 

 

 

 

"We 'ave no ozer choice”, the head lady sighed.

 

"It 'as been decided. Mystique shall be playing Rosa Bud. Someone give 'er ze script and re'earse ze music wis 'er”.

 

 

 

 

As Adeline reluctantly led Glasses Girl off to the MR, I plotted my own course there.

 

 

 

 

 

I had to get her attention before this new freak called it curtains.

Chapter Text

How did I get there ten seconds before they did?

 

 

 

 

That’s my little secret.

 

 

 

 

 

Anyhow, I’d just vanished into a storage closet when the two entered the room.

 

 

I couldn’t hear what they were saying through the thick, wooden door, but then things got crowded and I had to let it go-

 

 

 

 

 

For now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately for me, I was irritatingly persistent, and I rushed back to the Dressing Room, post-haste!

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Those ballerinas sure had a Personality Switch.

 

 

 

They were so busy showering Mystic with love and affection that I was easily able to slip by them.

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t help but label them all as Two-Faced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sliding behind a privacy curtain, I heard everybody file out, and then…the mirror started to talk?

 

 

 

Mystic.......

 

 

"H-hello?" 

 

 

Mystic.......look into the mirror.

 

 

No.....look to your right....

 

 

Nervous, my dear?

 

 

You have no need to be. Your voice is a gift from the Angels of God.

 

 

Come now.....you and I both know it's true. 

 

 

"But my friend......."

 

 

She too was gifted a voice from the Angels of God. But you are not her. And she is not you. 

 

 

 

You both are angelic singers, but tonight YOU are the star. 

 

 

 

 

 

And after this, we shall finally meet...

 

 

 

 

 

This guy was gonna have to wait in line-

 

 

 

 

"Mystique?

 

Fifteen to places”.

 

 

 

 

Perfect timing, Adeline…

 

 

 

 

 

KNOCK-KNOCK!!

 

 

“!!??”

 

 

 

Giving a startled cry, Mystic turned to see me peeking out from behind the-

 

 

 

 

“YOU-!?”

 

 

 

“Wait-!!”

 

 

 

“ADELI-!!”

 

 

 

I very quickly laced my fingers over her mouth!

 

 

Wait.

 

Just hear me out, okay?

 

 

 

I’m not planning on sticking around where I know I’m not wanted, but I couldn’t find any of those handy Wish stones of yours anywhere on the Path to Paris, which means that either you’ve got ‘em all, or they’re a lot more scarce than I was led to believe-“

 

 

 

I was rapid-firing what I had to say.

 

 

I knew I wouldn’t have much time-!

 

 

 

 

She planted her hands at the center of my chest, and pushed.

 

 

 

The sheer force-

 

 

 

 

I fell heavily to the ground!

 

 

 

 

“I told you to leave me alone!!”

 

“I know-“

 

 

“THEN WHY ARE YOU HERE!!??”

 

“BECAUSE I’M DESPERATE!!”

 

 

And I was!

 

 

"And why should I care…?” I huffed.

 

 

“…Do you think I’m the traitor?”

 

“Hm. I don’t know!" she answered sarcastically.

"Do you think the fact that you’re a f*ing Demon is proof enough!?”

 

 

I brushed dust off of my tights, and gingerly stood up.

 

 

“You all just accept that without question.

But I’m telling you it’s not me!”

 

 

“Yeah, I highly doubt that".

 

 

She folded her arms, all business-like.

 

 

I sighed.

 

 

“You want me gone then, right?” 

 

“That would be stating the obvious, yeah…” 

 

 

 

I swallowed my pride, and held out a hand.

 

 

A Peace Offering.

 

 

 

“If you just let me have one wish, I’ll leave this place entirely, and you will never, ever have to deal with me ever again! Ever."

 

 

“Really?"

 

“Yes, really".

 

 

...

 

...

 

...

 

 

“-And why can’t you find somebody else to help you again?”

 

 

 

“I just said-!!”

 

 

 

 

 

And then the door opened, cutting me off mid-sentence.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Mystique?”

 

 

 

 

Nooo, not YOU-!!

 

 

 

 

The smile froze on her face.

 

 

 

“What is all of zis!? And who are you!?”

 

 

 

"Well?" 

 

 

Glasses Girl looked at me with expectation.

 

 

"Are you going to tell her?"

 

 

 

 

…I genuinely tried.

 

 

 

But all the words were stuck in my throat

 

 

 

 

"No? Then I suppose I shall:

 

 

 

"She was a friend of mine, but she doesn't seem to understand the meaning of 'personal space.' But we had a little chat, and she was just about to leave”.

 

 

 

That glare-

 

 

 

Ballerina Girl leaned in, and gasped with recognition!

 

 

 

 

Oh, this was NOT going to go over well-

 

 

 

"I recognize you! You were ze pervert trying to look at ze changing lady earlier today!"

 

 

 

 

Exactly.

 

 

 

"That wasn't what I was---"

 

 

 

 

But Adeline would have none of it.

 

 

 

"Don't try to weasel your way out of zis! Get out of ze opera 'ouse, or I'll 'ave to force you out!"

 

 

 

 

Her bony fingers dug into my shoulders.

 

 

Shoving me ahead of her, I struggled around to nail Glasses Girl with a glare of my own.

 

 

 

 

"This isn't over, Mystic!

 

I WILL get what I came for”.

 

 

 

 

All she did was roll her eyes at me.

 

 

 

 

And then go back to poring over her script.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“-And stay out!!”

 

 

 

 

Tossed into the street-

 

 

 

Act 2.

 

 

 

Great...

 

Wouldn't I be just lucky enough to split the other knee, too-

 

 

 

 

The h*!?

 

 

 

 

 

I was alone out here…

 

 

 

 

 

Where’d everybody else go!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do NOT tell me they’re in there right now.

 

 

Talk about playing into the enemy’s hands…

 

 

 

 

Then again, I was one to talk, wasn’t I?

 

 

 

 

 

Ah, well.

 

 

At least nobody’d thought to cover up that vent, yet.

 

 

 

 

Wait-

 

 

 

 

A horrifying thought occurred to me.

 

 

 

 

 

Hadn’t she said some time ago that only she could use those stones!?

 

 

 

S*…

 

 

How on earth had I forgotten about that!?

 

 

 

 

 

This was going to make things even more difficult than they already were…

 

 

 

 

 

So the next time I caught up to her, I would have to ask for permission?

 

 

She’d never let me-

 

 

 

 

 

She would NEVER let me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d hit a wall?

 

 

 

Now!?

 

 

 

 

Come on, there had to be something-

 

 

 

 

 

I could do-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I HAD to come up with something-!!

 

 

 

 

 

But popping in during Mystic’s performance would only drive her further away from me-

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Ow

 

 

 

 

My hands stung.

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t realized that my fists were clenched so hard-

 

 

 

My nails had bitten into my palms.

 

 

 

 

Dark stains flickered in the dim lamplight.

 

 

 

 

 

Then I sparked, and accidentally set the marquee on fire.

 

 

Stronger than ever-

 

 

 

 

What did this say about my mental state?

 

 

 

 

 

That I was this close to losing it!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wouldn’t surprise me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-I couldn’t  just stand around here, d*t!!

 

 

I

 

...

 

 

 

I would go back.

Chapter Text

Adeline was a slacker.

 

 

 

Why did I make that bold claim, you ask?

 

 

 

 

Because the vent was still uncovered.

 

 

 

 

 

I slipped through it easy!

 

 

 

 

…Alright, fine, I managed to ding up the usual suspects like the last couple times.

 

 

 

Anyhow, the important thing was, I got through without a hitch-

 

 

 

 

 

And abruptly got scooped up from behind by some walking granite slab in black rainwear!

 

 

 

 

 

“Wh-HEY!!”

 

 

 

 

He began to march off into a line of other granite slabs despite my protests.

 

 

 

“Let go-!!”

 

 

 

He did.

 

 

 

THUD

 

 

 

Ow, my knees-

 

 

 

My ears instantly exploded in a cacophony of people screaming, banging on the doors with all of their strength, and just, in general panicking like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off.

 

 

 

 

 

For an unsettling few minutes, I felt like I was mentally flailing to hold onto the world.

 

 

 

 

Okay…breathing would be great right about now-

 

 

 

 

 

So what are you waiting for-

 

 

 

 

 

“This isn’t good!

 

What now?”

 

 

 

Was that-

 

 

 

Matt’s Ghostly Girlfriend.

 

 

 

And entourage, of course…

 

 

 

"We need to find Mystic”, Penn-Penn declared.

 

 

 

"She's just gonna hiss at us again”.

 

 

The enraged words of our last ‘encounter’ had seared themselves into my brain, and left me bitter.

 

 

 

 

 

...They all jumped six feet when I ‘magically’ popped out of nowhere.

 

 

 

 

 

"The girl's got the stubbornness and will of a tiger”.

 

 

 

 

To her credit, the Maid recovered first.

 

 

 

“-Not this time. The second I see her, I'm going to hypnotize her into coming back with us”.

 

 

 

"It's not going to work”.

 

 

"You clearly underestimate my skill”.

 

 

 

"People, please!” huffed Water One.

 

"We only have until sunrise to find this 'treasure’”.

 

 

 

Treasure?

 

 

What the h* was she talking about?

 

 

 

"Why are you so set on finding this ‘treasure’, dumba*? 

 

We need to find Mystic!!”

 

 

"Mystic IS the treasure, dumba*!” she fired back at me.

 

 

 

…Say WHAT now!?

 

 

 

 

What in the H* was going on here!!??

 

 

 

Naturally, they neglected to tell me anything more than that, and proceeded to take off without me.

 

 

 

 

-As per usual, but STILL!

 

 

 

 

When were they going to stop that!?

 

 

 

 

One of these days, I was gonna get hopelessly lost-

 

 

 

"Adeline!" Penn-Penn called out.

 

“We need your help”.

 

 

 

"Why should I 'elp you?" the Ballerina sniffed.

 

 

 

"Because Mystic's been taken, DUH!”

 

 

 

Honestly…this woman...!

 

 

 

 

"Um, should we REALLY be trusting her?"

 

 

 

Featherhead was shivering for some strange reason or another…

 

 

 

"You guys heard what that crazy dude said about the Coven, right?"

 

 

 

No…

 

 

 

 

I looked on in confusion as they all shot each other nervous glances.

 

 

 

 

"It's our best bet right now”, the Ghostly Girl sighed.

 

 

 

"Listen”, Penn-Penn tried to explain.

 

"I know you don't like us---"

 

 

 

"Zat is an understatement”.

 

 

 

“-But I know you like Mystic and want her to be safe. Right now, she's not safe”.

 

 

 

"Do you sink I don't know zat?" she snapped.

 

"I was on my way to rescue 'er myself”.

 

 

Blonde Bouffant scoffed.

 

 

"You? Going up against that crazy b*d by yourself!?

 

Honey, be realistic”.

 

 

Saf the Statue nodded in agreement.

 

 

"It's better if we come with you”.

 

 

 

BOOM-

 

 

 

The grand doors suddenly swung open with enough force to leave dents in the wall!

 

 

 

At first…

 

 

(Don't laugh).

 

 

 

I thought he was Envy.

 

 

 

 

-I mean, come on, he was all in black, and freakishly tall-

 

 

 

 

"Where is she?"

 

 

 

 

And then I saw the clowns, and the harpies, and the smiling people with vampiric teeth-

 

 

 

 

Suffice to say, I dropped that assumption reeeaaal fast.

 

 

 

"'Ooh is zat!?" 

 

 

"The Cursed God, dumba*!” 

 

 

 

 

…I think I found Water One’s favorite word.

 

 

 

 

"Do you really not know who he is?"

 

 

"I do, but I 'ad never seen 'im in person."

 

 

 

"I mean, that's fair”, Bird Girl twittered.

 

"I'd probably have done the same thing”.

 

 

 

"So where do we go to find her before either the Cursed God or the Coven do?" Aurora asked fearfully.

 

 

 

 

Insert Annoying Ballerina Lady’s perpetual thinking face as a loading screen, and try not to tear your hair out.

 

 

I dare you.

 

 

 

"I mean”, Angel Wings started, “Do we really have to go save her? Can't she save herself?"

 

 

 

She shoulda added this time.

 

 

 

"Not in this scenario”, Saloon Queen argued.

 

"This is some dangerous sh*”.

 

 

"But what if he starts following us?"

 

 

 

Nancy Drew thought for moment about this, and (thankfully!) didn’t take as long to figure out a reply.

 

 

 

"Maybe we could split up and, like, hope he doesn't pick the---" 

 

 

 

"I mean, that could work”, Mob Guy conceded.

 

 

"Yeah, I think we should split up,” Legally Blonde supported.

 

 

"Oh my God!”

 

 

Ghostly Girl blanched a shade paler than she already was.

 

 

"Splitting up is never a good idea, okay!?"

 

 

 

"I'm in the same boat as she is”, the Baby of the Bunch said.

 

"Splitting up can only lead to death”.

 

 

"How much time do we have?" Sauce N’ Beads asked.

 

 

"Until the sun comes up”, was Witch Incognito’s reply.

 

 

"I mean, it doesn't really matter if we split up or not”, Glasses Guy pointed out-

 

"If one of the tokens is here, which it likely is, someone's gonna die regardless”.

 

 

 

...Please don’t let it be me.

 

 

 

 

 

"Yeah, but shouldn't we at least try to minimize the amount of casualties?"

 

 

 

Matt 1.0 also pointed out.

 

 

 

"Okay, maybe we could send one group to find the token”, Walking Sunshine suggested, “And the other goes to find Mystic, so we're getting both tasks out of the way”.

 

 

"But then what if someone in the group dies?" 

 

 

Her boyfriend snaked an arm around her waist as he spoke, she promptly pulled away.

 

 

 

Seriously, how many people were hitched around here!?

 

 

 

"How's the other group gonna know?'

 

 

"Guys, we don't have time to argue!" Featherhead exclaimed.

 

"Let's just stick together and find Mystic. Then we'll deal with the tokens. Where the h* is she?"

 

 

 

"Ze dressing room”.

 

 

Adeline sighed.

 

 

"I did not want to do zis, but we 'ave to go srough ze mirror to get to 'er”.

 

 

 

 

Mirror?

 

 

 

…I vaguely remembered one from our little spat before showtime.

 

 

She’d almost pushed me right into it!

 

 

 

 

In any event, we raced into that sucker like the Demons of H* were after us!

 

Muses’ S.O. shut and barricaded the door with a chair.

 

 

"Is everyone inside?" 

 

 

 

…You’re gonna ask that now!?

 

 

 

"Yeah, I think so”, Pink Suit answered.

 

 

 

"Wait, guys!”

 

 

Angel Wings had just had an ‘AHA’ moment, I could see it written all over her face-

 

 

"Remember what that dude said earlier about the Coven?"

 

 

 

No.

 

 

 

"You mean, the thing I brought up like five f*ing minutes ago?"

 

 

 

Featherhead shot her an annoyed glare.

 

 

 

She nodded.

 

 

 

 

"What if.......what if one of us is a Coven member in disguise?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Or maybe it was an ‘OH CRAP!!’

Chapter Text

Silence fell for a good thirty minutes.

 

 

When it finally lifted, it was due to-

 

 

Bird Girl.

 

 

 

"One of us? A coven member!?”

 

 

She chuckled nervously.

 

 

"You're joking, right?"

 

 

 

Angel Wings shook her head ‘NO’.

 

 

"It may not even be just one of us-there could be multiple people-!”

 

 

 

"Then let's just kill them”, said Mob Guy.

 

 

 

-Okay then!

 

 

 

Twinkletoes looked skeptical.

 

 

"But how do we know who IS in disguise, if that's the case?"

 

 

 

"I think they'd probably be acting Very F*ing Differently than how they usually act”.

 

 

 

 

They all sloooowly turned to look at me.

 

 

 

Aaaagh…!

 

 

Not again-

 

 

 

 

 

"Oh sure”, I said sarcastically, “Go for the black sheep of the group…

 

That...that's real f*ing nice of you!"

 

 

 

"But Alice was acting strangely BEFORE this all happened!”

 

 

 

Yeah, listen to L. guys-

 

 

 

"If she'd been taken over by a coven member, then wouldn't she be acting even stranger?"

 

 

 

 

…I hate you.

 

 

 

 

 

"That's a good point”, said Bird Girl.

 

 

 

"Fine…”

 

 

 

Angel Wings frowned as her pet theory collapsed into dust!

 

 

 

"She may not be a coven member in disguise, but she could still be the traitor sent by the Cursed God”. 

 

 

 

...Well, f* you too.

 

 

 

 

“-So then who among us is in disguise?"

 

 

 

"Okay, I don't know about the rest of you”, Carmen San Diego interrupted, “But I just want to find Mystic and get the h* out of here”.

 

 

 

The Trash shipper mulled something over for a sec.

 

 

 

“…But then we'll need to find the token as well”.

 

 

 

"Sc* the token! I just want my friends safe”.

 

 

"Mystic's not gonna BE safe if we don't find the token, though”, Retro Man said reluctantly.

 

 

 

"But she's not gonna be safe if she's with some crazy dude, either!!”

 

 

 

“Guys?”

 

 

 

Ch* where was the ghost-!?

 

 

 

We all turned in unison to see him waving at us through the glass!

 

 

 

"What the h* are you doing!?” Mink spluttered.

 

 

 

"That French lady said we had to go through the mirror to find Mystic, so let’s just go”. 

 

 

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

 

He shrugged.

Chapter Text

Stuck at the back of the pack as I was, I had to wait for-ever before I could slip through the quicksilver…

 

 

I flailed an arm through the wet, silvery substance, and felt the ghost of a shiver fly up my spine.

 

 

 

…Welp.

 

 

 

 

Here went nothing-

 

 

 

 

I skidded through, and just about bowled over poor Tristen.

 

 

"Yee-!"

 

"Whoops".

 

 

 

“-Mystic! You're safe!"

 

 

 

 

While tied to a bed with some white-haired crazy leaning over her?

 

 

 

Sure, L.

 

 

Sure…

 

 

 

 

-Her eyes met mine, and:

 

 

 

"Oh, for f*’s sake!

 

I told you all to leave me the f* alone!!”

 

 

 

She held out a hand to White Hair.

 

 

 

"Give me the token, then give me the match”.

 

 

 

 

L. looked like she’d swallowed a pigeon.

 

 

 

"What the h* is Nagito doing here!?

 

He's supposed to be dead”.

 

 

 

"Yes”, I added.

 

"Because THAT's the reason it shouldn't be possible for him to be here”.

 

 

 

It’s not like the real Alice knew he was from another fandom or anything…

 

 

 

 

H* he may as well be like me…minus the whole body-issues thing, anyway.

 

 

 

 

"Give me the fucking token and then the match”.

 

 

 

“What do you need a match for?” Other Mystic asked.

 

 

 

She gestured to the mile-high pile of gun powder dumped next to the mattress.

 

 

 

"Listen, once I get this token, Saf's gotta take it and y'all gotta run”.

 

 

 

"With you, right?"

 

 

 

Walking Sunshine’s eyes were dangerously wet.

 

 

 

"It's the only way to end this cycle of me being a stupid f*ing Mary Sue character who everyone wants, but no one tries to kill--!"

 

 

 

"Well, sc* you too!" one of the witches abruptly shouted.

 

 

"Oh, by the way, whichever one of you Jadis transformed into can come out now”.

 

 

 

Transform, huh?

 

 

 

A few minutes went by, but nobody showed.

 

 

 

"Fine!” She snapped.

 

”Be that way”.

 

 

 

 

 

You stubborn b*.

 

 

 

 

Legally Blonde clenched his fists in determination.

 

 

 

"We are NOT leaving without you, Mystic!”

 

 

"Well, you're gonna have to”.

 

 

 

Penn-Penn surged forward.

 

 

 

"I think I can change that in a snap”.

 

 

 

That Stubborn-I mean, Glasses Girl’s eyes widened in terror!

 

 

"Oh h* no!" she cried out.

 

"You are NOT hypnotizing me!"

 

 

 

Komaeda jumped between her and ‘certain death’.

 

 

 

"Kirumi?

 

What are you doing here!?”

 

 

 

"How dare you compare me to such a lowly and irrelevant maid!"

 

 

 

 

…Yeah, Alice would take offense to that.

 

 

 

 

"I will NOT let you take my precious Nadine away from me!"

 

 

 

"Why are you so obsessed with me being named Nadine!?”

 

 

 

 

Another thing I missed.

 

 

 

 

"Probably because the name is French and it means 'hope’”.

 

 

Ghostly Girl ventured…

 

 

 

She froze as all the pieces (I guess) clicked into place?

 

 

 

"Oh, you clever son-of-a-b*!”

 

 

 

"That's child's play”, Blonde Bouffant bragged.

 

"Wait until you hear what name I used to get inside of this opera house”.

 

 

 

“-Why use a name when you have magic to get you in?" 

 

 

 

Tall, dark, and Not-My-Guy swaggered in as well.

 

 

 

Faithfully trailed by his loyal subjects, of course…

 

 

 

"Took us long enough”, the Clown Lady snarked.

 

"But we're here to get who we came for”.

 

 

 

Once again, Envy was missing!

 

 

-Where the heck was he!?

 

 

 

"Over my dead body!

 

 

 

-And then Tegan’s lovely friend ran out of the throng at fifty miles an hour, thereby snatching the token out of his hand at light-speed.

 

 

"Alright, Jas!!”

 

 

 Dooper fist-pumped the air in victory!

 

 

"Now no one has to die for that!!" Bronwyn said excitedly.

 

 

 

Then they smirked.

 

 

"Oh no, someone still has to die for this…”

 

 

 

They convulsed where they stood, and melted into….

 

 

 

 

 

 

A witch.

Chapter Text

"Took you long enough, Jadis!

 

You sure do like to give this coven h*, don't you?"

 

 

"I wasn't sure if you meant it or not”.

 

 

 

A likely story…

 

 

 

"Liar”.

 

 

Exactly!

 

 

 

Twinkletoes gulped.

 

 

"Okay, why did she just sound EXACTLY like me!?" 

 

 

 

Collective gasp-

 

 

From the witches!?

 

 

 

"You three?

 

You're workin' for him!?

 

 

 

Cinna-Ro crept over to the bed where Mystic was currently imprisoned.

 

 

 

"Duh!”

 

 

The blonde one rolled her eyes.

 

 

"Why would we want to be a part of that old-fashioned s* show?"

 

 

 

"You broke your family's legacy!”

 

 

 

The one who had harassed Alice also rolled her eyes.

 

 

"Sc* that stupid legacy,

 

We're making our OWN”.

 

 

 

"By working for HIM?" 

 

 

"It's a better gig than having to do some stupid ritual every full moon”.

 

 

 

The final one tossed her long hair.

 

 

 

"And yet your missions rarely succeed”, she roasted.

 

 

And then turned to-

 

 

 

"Oh by the way, how are you enjoying your new body, Candy Pop?"

 

 

 

-*

 

 

Wh-

 

 

Wh-

 

 

 

HUH!?

 

 

 

 

“…Who?"

 

 

 

 

It came out as the tiniest squeak ever.

 

 

 

"Don't play innocent”, she said coyly.

 

"We all know who you are...

 

 

After all, we were the ones who put you there in the first place.

 

 

 

"I knew you were a traitor!” Angel Wings hissed.

 

 

“N-no-

 

Wait-!!“ 

 

 

That…that couldn’t be right!

 

That couldn’t be right-

 

 

 

"It's not what you think-!" 

 

 

 

"Save it”, Tristen yelled.

 

No one wants to hear it.

 

 

 

"Where's Alice?" Muse demanded.

 

 

 

I could answer that…if I weren’t currently choking on my own Death Knell.

 

 

 

"We took her out of this world for a time”, the Head Witch explained (LIES!!), “But now that we've sufficiently kept her blinded from most of the truth, we'd be willing to give her back, in exchange for our vessel”.

 

 

 

"Excuse me!" the Hopeless Suitors both exclaimed at once:

 

 

"That 'vessel' is my bride”.

 

 

 

Cue twin glares.

 

 

 

 

"I think we should at least give them a fair chance at getting this token”, Jadis said.

 

 

"It'd only be fair…”

 

 

 

My heart about stopped.

 

 

 

 

I was-I was-!!

 

 

 

"Very well”.

 

 

 

She clapped with delight, and I

 

 

 

 

broke

 

 

 

 

 

I've always wanted to host one of these!

 

‘In order to get this token, you must vote two people—‘

 

 

 

-Into the challenge.

 

 

Um, yes. And then those two---

 

 

Must pick a partner to aid them.

 

 

Right. But remember, two will go in, but——

 

 

Only one will survive*-*

 

 

 

 

WILL YOU MORTALS LET ME FINISH!!??

 

 

 

*Cowed into silence*

 

 

 

...Anyway, two will go in, but only one will survive. We'll go set up the challenge. You wait here and deliberate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*They all left*

Chapter Text

“Well!”

 

 

The Power Guy raised an eyebrow.

 

 

 

"Tell us, writers. Who are we gonna vote in?"

 

 

 

 

Nobody said anything.

 

 

Yes, me too.

 

 

 

"That includes you, Mystic”.

 

 

 

Then Jas gasped from where they’d landed in a puddle on the floor.

 

 

 

Cinna-Ro and Mystic rushed over to help them up-

 

 

 

"Are you okay?"

 

 

“Y-yeah…”

 

 

 

They sounded like they’d been woken up from a super-long nap.

 

 

 

"What happened?"

 

 

"You were possessed by a member of the Coven”.

 

 

 

The ‘HUH!?’ was written all over their face.

 

 

 

"Coven? What Coven?"

 

 

 

Then their gaze floated from one to the other of us, not comprehending-

 

 

 

"Why am I looking at myself!?”

 

 

 

-Wait, what?

 

 

 

Mystic did a double-take.

 

 

She wasn’t the only one.

 

 

 

"Alice?

 

Is that you!?”

 

 

 

"Who else would I be…but whY AM I LOOKING AT MYSELF!!??”

 

 

 

"Oh thank God!"

 

 

I rushed over to her and grasped those skinny arms!!

 

 

 

"You gotta get me out of your weak little body, kid. I could take down the Cursed God in a second”.

 

 

 

…She gave me the ‘HUH’ look again.

 

 

 

"Are we still in Horace's house? Where is he?"

 

 

 

Ooh.

 

 

 

Pick the hard ones, why don’tcha…

 

 

 

 

Penn-Penn squeaked.

 

 

Everybody stared at each other like a herd of deer in headlights.

 

 

 

 

“Should we tell her?” I heard someone whisper…

 

 

 

“Um-“

 

 

Mystic cleared her throat.

 

 

“We got out of there…we’re in the catacombs of an opera house right now and we have to vote two of us into a challenge to get the second token of Everlock”.

 

 

"Oh finally! We're actually getting around to that? About time!"

 

 

 

 

…She was gonna ask me a thousand questions later about what happened to the first one, wasn’t she?

 

 

 

 

"Yeah, there's only one problem”, L. said wryly.

 

 

 

Someone’s gotta die for it.

 

 

 

 

I could just see the momentary Blue Screen of Death-

 

 

 

"So we are---" 

 

 

 

“Pretty much”, Bird Girl confirmed.

 

 

"Oh”.

 

 

Blinked.

 

 

 

 

"We're really in trouble huh...?

 

 

 

"-So who do we vote in?"

 

 

Jazz Hands barged into our circle, frowning in agitation.

 

 

"Why are you asking us!?” B. panicked.

 

 

 

"You write and make edits about this s* all the time”, said Blonde Bouffant, “So you should know about this s*”.

 

 

 

"We just fangirl/boy/person over the s*”, Conspiracy cried.

 

"We know it in theory but not in practice!"

 

 

 

"Why aren't you confronting Joey about this?" Tegan deflected, with the accusatorially pointing finger to go with it!

 

"It's his show."

 

 

"It's not a show if it's real life!”

 

 

"But you're still the one who started it”.

 

 

"If anyone should be guiding us, it's Mystic”, he blamed.

 

"She let the Cursed God into the franchise-“

 

 

"Accidentally!

 

-It was an accident!!"

 

 

"What about Not Alice?" Angel Wings put out there.

 

"They seem to know more than they're letting on”.

 

 

 

Girl would you please give it a rest!

 

Yes, we KNOW!

 

 

 

You hate my guts!!

 

 

 

Now SHUT UP already!!!

 

 

 

“I-I’m not even part of this fandom, I just-I just got placed in this body…”

 

 

 

Alice tilted her head in that annoyingly distinct way of hers.

 

 

‘Huh?’

 

 

 

"Everyone, quiet please!" Cinna-Ro cried, “This isn't the time or place to argue. Lives are at stake”.

 

 

 

 

…Can’t say I’m too surprised she stepped up.

 

 

Always beware the Nice Ones.

 

 

 

 

Penn-Penn sighed.

 

 

"She's right.

 

I think we should all vote”.

 

 

 

Alice turned pale.

 

 

If she fainted-

 

 

 

"Alright”.

 

 

Muse took a deep, calming breath before she spoke.

 

 

"How many of us are there?"

 

 

 

She did an incredibly complicated headcount that I immediately lost track of within two seconds.

 

 

 

"Sixty-four”.

 

 

 

My eyes nearly bugged out of my head!!

 

 

 

 

There were THAT many of us-!!??

 

 

 

 

“Where’s Envy…?”

 

 

Alice began to shift around in my arms a bit, searching for him.

 

 

“Where’d he go…”

 

 

 

"So how do we decide?" A Wolfy-looking kid asked.

 

 

 

 

 

"I think we just.....do it”, Hot Summer gulped.

 

 

 

 

Muse yoinked a deck of 62 from her invisible pockets.

 

 

 

Penn-Penn shot Mystic a death glare.

 

 

 

"Maybe we should make it sixty-one”.

 

 

 

(“Why?” Alice said so softly, I barely even heard her).

 

 

 

"I should have as much of a chance as anyone else”, she rebutted.

 

 

 

 

 

When the shuffling was finally completed, I went up to bat.

 

 

 

 

 

Ohhh…this was going to be eaaa-sy!

 

 

I handed her a card with Angel Wings smug face splashed across the front.

 

 

 

 

Alice went up and…OH MY GOD IF YOU PUT IN YOURSELF-

 

 

 

 

 

"I will now shuffle, and draw two to compete”.

 

 

 

 

As we watched…

 

 

She pulled…

 

 

 

"Authoress”.

 

 

 

"What? Who voted me in?"

 

 

 

Was not me.

 

 

Was NOT me.

 

 

 

She then drew the next card, not even bothering to reply.

 

 

 

"Mystic”.

 

 

 

My legs very nearly collapsed into jelly!

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m not gonna die, I’m not gonna die…”

 

 

 

 

Alice smiled, but it was a slightly broken one.

 

 

 

"You may pick your partners”.

 

 

 

 

Because apparently, that was a thing for this.

 

 

 

"Authoress, you're first”.

 

 

 

"I'll pick Eva!” she said quickly.

 

 

 

"I'll pick Justine”.

 

 

 

 

The explosion was instantaneous-

 

 

 

"WHAT? NO! I'm an idiot!”

 

 

She shook in her high heels.

 

 

"You don't want me-!!”

 

 

 

Penn-Penn stood up.

 

 

 

"Justine, I need to see you for a moment”.

 

 

 

Faking a nonchalant shrug, she got up and followed her.

 

 

 

…That f*ing meddler……

 

 

 

"Wait, we have to—“

 

 

 

Mystic tried to stop her from going…

 

 

 

"This will only take a few minutes…”

 

 

 

When they returned, I could immediately see it:

 

 

She’d put the girl in a cheating trance-

 

 

 

"You're sadistic”, I heard Mystic whisper.

 

"Authoress is gonna die because of you”.

 

 

 

She didn’t answer…

 

 

 

 

 

The two pairs of combatants each hustled to the center of the room.

 

 

 

“So what now?”

 

 

 

-Right then Jadis reappeared.

 

 

 

"Well, I expected better…But okay”.

 

 

 

SNAP

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they were off.

Chapter Text

And then they were back.

 

 

 

Authoress.

 

 

Wasn’t.

 

 

 There.

 

 

 

 

“Oh my God!” Sauce N’ Beads kept opening and closing her mouth in disbelief.

 

 

“No!” Explorer-Chan gasped.

 

 

Ghostly Girl had tears in her eyes.

 

 

“What happened?”

 

 

 

"Where's Authoress?" Bird Girl shrieked.

 

"What happened to her?"

 

 

 

 

I knew d* well what had happened to her.

 

 

 

 

Mink groaned, and rolled her neck.

 

 

 

“What the h* happened?"

 

 

 

Mystic stood there, shaking.

 

 

 

She then stomped right up to the Grand Witch herself, and slugged her a good one right across the face!!

 

 

 

SMACK-

 

 

 

It echoed.

 

 

 

Stumbling back a bit, Penelope shook her head, attempting to re-orient herself as best she could.

 

 

 

"What was that for!?” 

 

 

 

"You're a sadistic manipulative b*! This is your fault!"

 

 

 

 

Alice leaped about ten feet off the ground, but I just froze.

 

 

 

 

I had NEVER.

 

 

EVER.

 

 

 

 

 Seen her this angry.

 

 

 

 

Not even with me-

 

 

 

Never.

 

 

 

 

"You hypnotized Justine to make sure I'd win, and now because of that, Authoress is f*ing dead!!”

 

 

 

 

A gasp from Alice-

 

 

 

 

She'd simply shrugged!?

 

 

 

Was this the same woman who’d cried over Horace’s death!!??

 

 

 

 

No…

 

 

 

NO F*ING WAY!

 

 

 

 

"Someone had to die…”

 

 

It's not a big deal.

 

 

 

 

"I saw her burn. I heard her shriek. You didn’t!!” She screamed.

 

"You think that's not a big f*ing deal? You're playing with life and death! I swear to God, I'm gonna murder you!!”

 

 

 

Oh no…

 

 

 

 

I knew that look.

 

 

 

 

We were headed riiiiight back to Shutdown Junction.

 

 

 

 

...Mystic lunged at her like an enraged tigress, prompting Cinna-Ro and Saf the Statue to manhandle her onto the bed!

 

 

 

"Okay, I take back what I said about Nikita”, Disco Dad commented.

 

"This b* looks like she's from the motherf*g Exorcist”.

 

 

 

"Shut up!!” 

 

 

 

 

Alice was now silently sobbing into my shoulder.

 

 

 

Just like I knew she would-

 

 

 

 

"It was supposed to be me!!”

 

 

They swapped from trying to hold her down to comforting her in the span of seconds-

 

 

 

"I voted myself in”.

 

 

 

 

Gasps-

 

 

 

Again with the shrugging from Penelope!

 

 

 

 

"I told Calliope we should've made it sixty-one decks, not sixty-two. But did you get the token?"

 

 

 

 

She lobbed it at her cheek in f*ing answer.

 

 

 

 

"Take your stupid f*ing token!"

 

 

 

 

Saloon Queen looked mildly concerned.

 

 

 

“…Why did you vote for yourself?”

 

 

 

"I wanted to stop this cycle. If I was dead, the Cursed God wouldn't have any reason to go after you all. So you can thank Penelope for keeping you all in danger”.

 

 

 

“-I was trying to keep you safe!" she lashed out.

 

 

"Not at the risk of someone else's life...”

 

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

...

 

 

 

 

...A crackling sounded through the air, along with a blazing thunderbolt.

 

 

 

The Coven was back…

 

 

 

"What the h* do you want?" Mystic snapped through her tears.

 

 

 

The Head Freak gazed upon each of us in turn.

 

 

 

"Well, because you're much more useful alive, you're no longer our vessel, but we still need one, so…”

 

 

 

 

The lights cut out.

 

 

 

Everyone began to scream-

 

 

 

"What the h* is going on!?” I yelled out, even though I had a horrible, horrible feeling that I knew where this was going-

 

 

 

 

 

"Where are those b*?” Blonde Bouffant snarled.

 

 

 

"Who's touching me!?” Bird Girl half-whimpered.

 

 

 

"That's my hand, sorry..”

 

 

 

 

D*t, Water One…!

 

 

 

 

"Does anyone else feel like someone's behind them!?”

 

 

 

I think that was Aurora…

 

 

 

But I couldn't quite tell.

 

 

 

 

"Yeah”, Hot Summer affirmed in the squeakiest voice alive.

 

 

 

Then, we all went dead silent.

 

 

 

 

"Hey! What the h*? Let go of me! Don't f*ing touch me-!!”

 

 

 

The ends tapered off into a ragged screech-

 

 

 

 

THUD

 

 

 

 

The lights returned.

 

 

 

A thousand too-long, too-wide grins stretched the faces of those of the Coven.

 

 

 

 

"It's too bad about those stab marks…”

 

 

Jadis let out a weary breath.

 

 

 

"We can always heal her up, but we have what we came for”.

 

 

 

The Head Witch’s tone reeked of smug satisfaction-

 

 

 

 

Holy H*.

 

 

Oh my God”.

 

 

 

Bird Girl and I…

 

 

 

 

We saw it first.

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Summer’s face-down dead body.

Chapter Text

As her corspe disappeared, I could just make them out-

 

 

 

A thousand stab wounds littering her chest, abdomen, arms and throat…

 

 

 

 

“Oh no…oh no…nonononono-“

 

 

 

Oh crap.

 

 

 

Alice was shivering and shaking like a leaf, tear tracks only too apparent upon her cheeks-

 

 

 

“Nononononono!”

 

 

 

 

 

I could even catch some upon her back, too-

 

 

 

 

"Hey...it's ugly yeah, but-"

 

 

 

 

My awkward attempt at comfort was quickly drowned out-!

 

 

 

 

 

“-And now that that's out of the way…”

 

 

 

 

Oh s*, I’d forgotten about him-

 

 

 

 

Komaeda latched an arm around Mystic’s neck, and pulled her into his chest!

 

 

 

 

"I do hope you'll be a sweet girl to me, as I've heard you are.

 

Because if not, I would have to use........reinforcements; and that is something I certainly don't want to do, especially to such a pretty and innocent face like yours”.

 

 

"Get away from her!"

 

 

The Cursed God was back too!?

 

 

 

What was this the f*ing Bachelorette’s!?

 

 

 

"She's my bride!”

 

 

 

"Oh really?" the ‘Phantom’ retorted,

 

"I didn't know. But then again, it doesn't seem like she wants to be your bride”.

 

 

 

"I claimed her long before you were even born!

 

Hand her over”.

 

 

 

"No. I don't want to do that. I don't think I'd like to lose my precious Nadine, not now, not ever”.

 

 

 

He snuck a match out of his pants somewhere, and lit it-

 

 

 

My eyes nervously flicked towards the dynamite.

 

 

 

"But you want her all to yourself too, don't you? Well then, if I can't have her, then no one can!”

 

 

 

Mystic fought like a tigress!

 

 

 

"What the h* are you doing!?”

 

 

 

"What does it look like?" he laughed.

 

"Two forbidden lovers, dying in each others arms”.

 

 

 

Oh, you had got to be-

 

 

 

The match was burning IN the powder-!!

 

 

 

 

And then he KISSED the girl!

 

 

 

 

Locked lips with her for an obscenely long time-

 

 

 

 

"No one taints our cute little flower and gets away with it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Harley Quinn reject made a beeline for the freak, and bashed him over the head!!

 

 

She pulled the unlucky Writer into the biggest hug ever known to Earth.

 

 

 

Mystic promptly kicked her in the shins.

 

 

 

“-!!”

 

 

 

Upon escaping, she rushed into the waiting arms of Cinna-Ro and Saf the Statue-

 

 

 

"Let's go!!"

 

 

 

Several people made a circle around her as we raced out of there like our lives depended on it!!

 

 

 

There was screaming.

 

 

There was crying!

 

 

 

And then there were a few random ‘let me go’s...

 

 

 

 

 

But in the end, we made it up to the main floor, where all of the Ballerinas were waiting.

 

 

"Vite! Vite!!” Adeline screamed-

 

 

 

BOOOMMM!!!

 

 

 

 

No sooner were we as clear of the place as possible then it exploded.

 

 

 

"Alright, who's not dead? Sound off!”

 

 

 

“I’m here”, I said as we went down the (very long) line.

 

 

“Here…” Alice sniffled.

 

 

 

"They almost snapped my neck!” Moony shivered.

 

 

"Who did?" A. asked, voice shaking.

 

 

 

"I couldn't see who it was”.

 

 

 

"I didn't sign up for this s*!” Charbroiled wailed.

 

"I just wanted to write stories and whatnot, not actually be a part of this killing game!"

 

 

 

"Okay”, the Fruit announced.

 

"I get that we're all REALLY shaken up about this, but right now the best thing we can do is move forward. 

 

And yet, before we do that, I think we deserve to relax a bit, if we can. 

 

 

I say we do a bit of sight-seeing and letting things just cool down for a bit before trying to find the next token”.

 

 

 

"Relax? How are we supposed to do that!?”

 

 

The Potterhead had a point, I hated to admit.

 

 

 

 

"The Cursed God'll be on our trail”.

 

 

 

Mystic gave a world-weary sigh that seemed to last years of our lives.

 

 

 

Ruffling in that magic bag of hers, she withdrew one of her helpful stones-

 

 

 

"I wish that, for the time being, we could be undetected by the Cursed God or any of his lackeys”.

 

 

 

A golden glow, and then it was done.

 

 

 

The Fruit smiled.

 

 

"See? Hakuna Matata”.

 

 

 

"Careful”, Moony cracked.

 

"Disney might be watching”.

 

 

 

…With all that had happened so far, I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually were.

 

 

 

 

 

Scooping out stone numero dos:

 

 

"I wish Authoress and Summer would come back to life”.

 

 

 

Oh.

 

 

 

...Natch, there was nothing-

 

 

 

"I wish Authoress and Summer would come back to life!”

 

 

 

Nothing again…

 

 

 

"What the h*!?”

 

 

 

Penelope sighed.

 

 

 

"Mystic....It won't work”.

 

 

 

"No-“

 

She pushed her away.

 

 

"No, it's gotta work-!”

 

 

 

I wish Authoress and Summer would come back to life!!

 

 

 

"Mystic!"

 

 

 

"No, it's gotta work, d* it!

 

D* it, bring them back-!!”

 

 

 

She started to cry.

 

 

 

"Bring them back!”

 

 

 

"The stones can't bring the dead back…”

 

 

The Maid knelt down, trying to comfort her as best she could.

 

 

 

 

I'm sorry, Mystic.

 

 

 

 

A few moments of painful silence passed.

 

 

 

 

...She gave up on maintaining any semblance of calm, and collapsed into the other’s arms.

 

 

 

"Shh…

 

I know it hurts”.

 

 

 

Eventually, Cinna-Ro and Saf the Statue sat down too.

 

 

 

"Um, I'm afraid zat sitting in ze streets is not ze best place to comfort a friend”.

 

 

 

 

For once, Adeline wasn’t being annoying about something.

 

 

 

They all stood up, and embraced each other, sighing…

 

 

 

 

"I'm sorry, Penelope”.

 

 

 

"Okay, so where do we relax?" A. cut in, dashing the cute, little moment to dust.

 

 

"I could really use somewhere awesome”.

 

 

 

 

Wiping away her tears she pulled out a new Wish stone.

 

 

 

"I wish......"

 

 

 

 

A golden bubble suddenly ensconced all of us, and gently floated us away.

 

 

 

 

I felt as if I were standing in a lake of pure warmth-

 

 

 

 

 

A shudder worked its way down my spine.

 

 

 

Alice stared at it, wide-eyed.

 

 

 

 

Too soon, it was sluicing off of us, and gradually absorbing into the ground…

 

 

 

 

Garden hedges, and a massive fountain.

 

 

 

 

 

Not too shabby.

 

 

 

 

Ooh.

 

 

 

 

And a grand, fancy-like hotel-!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well done.

Chapter Text

I shut the double doors, and actually allowed myself a chance to breathe.

 

 

I honestly didn’t think that it would work-

 

 

 

From down the hall, I heard another door close.

 

 

 

 

A girl in bright-gold stood there, eyes red from crying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Could it be?

 

 

 

 

 

At that moment, she shivered.

 

 

Her head snapped up-

 

 

 

 

Our eyes met, and she went pale.

 

 

 

 

-But it was only for a second.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“YOU-!!”