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the game that gary harrison joined, and what came out of it

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When Gary Harrison joined the boys’ LARP just to see how it would go, he didn’t expect to be knocked out of battle by an arrow that hit him square between the eyes.

It had been a pretty chill affair, at first; he was well aware of the LARP the others had that involved a ‘Stick of Truth’ of some sort, seeing as that he used to watch them run around as kids slapping each other with wooden swords and other household knickknacks from his bedroom window, sighing as he did so. He had always wanted to join them, but he wasn’t really sure they wanted them there.

Besides, they had too many players already, especially with that new kid. Douchebag, was it? He wasn’t quite sure; all he knew was that this Douchebag kid soon faded into the background and became like the other kids he knew. An acquaintance, but they were never more than that.

The LARP continued well into their senior year, much to his surprise, and it was in senior year that Stan Marsh and Kenny McCormick had knocked on his door, asking if he wanted to join in.

Gary hadn’t talked to Stan properly since their ‘fight’ in their younger years over his Mormonism. Sure, he had shared a few classes with him and had been partnered with him so he had to talk to him, but otherwise? He had lost contact with Stan; it was honestly a pleasant surprise to have seen him on his doorstep, dressed in his warrior getup, next to the fair maiden of Kupa Keep, Princess Kenny McCormick, who winked and blew him a kiss when he answered the door.

He had agreed to join the LARP, eager to catch up with Stan, but fate decided otherwise; he was placed in the Kingdom of Kupa Keep, with the Grand Wizard King Cartman and the beautiful Princess Kenny. He had been welcomed with (semi) open arms by all except Cartman, though the guy seemed pleased that he wasn’t on Kyle’s side, so that was that.

Lord Harrison, Level 13 Lord.

Main weapon: the legendary rapier of Queenlasanne. Said to be forged from the finest metals in Zaron, and bathed in the blood of Jews. ‘Course, the scent was masked by the finest flowers in the garden of the kingdom of the girls.

Most of the time, Gary pretended that the Jew blood wasn’t part of his weapon’s backstory.

It was easy, pretending to be a lord in the KKK. Gary had taken up fencing sometime in sixth grade, so parrying the blows of Cleric Token, Barbarian Tweek, and Warrior Clyde had been easy. Even the legendary Feldspar – who was none other than Craig Tucker – was impressed when Gary managed to flip his daggers out of his hands and drive them into the ground with just his sword. Within days of being in the Kingdom of Kupa Keep, Gary had managed to establish himself as an elite swordsman.

“Almost on par with Marshwalker,” Scott Malkinson told him one day as he tended to the one animal in their stable – Cartman’s cat, who purred at his touch. “But we’ll thee, anyway. There’th a war coming.”

“A war?” Gary was perplexed. “I wasn’t told there would be a war.”

“Humans and drow elveth have alwayth been at war, didn’t you know?” Scott replied, rubbing the cat behind its ears. “They must’ve forgotten to mention that to you at the start.”

“Oh, no, I know that,” Gary corrected. “It’s just that – when’s this war you speak of?”

“Probably the day after tomorrow; Stan and Clyde have a game so they posthponed it to the day after,” The boy replied as the feline eventually went away. Scott straightened out before nodding at Gary. “The King will probably want you to train with the other guyth now, dude.”

Gary stiffened, and then nodded at him. “Alright. I’ll be seeing you.”

“’Til then, Lord Harrithon.”

-=-=-=-=-

When the day of the war finally came, Gary finally found out how brutal Kyle’s Drow Elves were.

Specializing in aerial attacks and their brand of elemental magic, the flurries of arrows they loved to rain down on the Humans were of varying materials, ranging from recently licked lollipops to wads of wet paper on sticks. Some were paper arrows sharp enough to cause papercuts, and yet others were simply toilet plungers used as arrows. However, they were effective, and they were brutal.

Kyle commandeered his elves like a true general, each attack orchestrated like a symphony, his golf club the makeshift baton, Kyle the maestro of this magnificent disaster. Yet despite everything, Gary noted that Stan refused to leave his side, forever the loyal knight. Guess that’s one thing we don’t have in common in this game, Stan Marshwalker.

With a deft flick of his wrist, Gary disarmed Chris Donnely, his bow clattering to the ground at the sudden close range of the famous Lord of the KKK. The blond elf scrambled away just as fire went flying past Gary’s ear, and he flinched away, rubbing at his ear just to see if it was burnt. It wasn’t.

“Gahddammit Jew, I thought I said no fireworks!” Cartman cursed, bonking another elf with his staff.

Kyle looked flustered, cheeks burning red. “I didn’t sanction any firework usage, fatass!”

“Then who could-“ Suddenly, another fireball went whizzing past Gary’s ea- no, wait, it’s a burning arrow. Of… glass? What?

“Damien, this is rather dangerous, don’t you think?” Gary whipped his head around and parried the next fireball that was hurtled at him before taking a look to see who had spoken. Pip Pirrup – through some miracle of God (and Damien) – was chastising the son of Satan, who shook his head and blew another fireball at Gary, who rolled away this time. “Honestly, Damien, you’re setting everything on fire!”

“Least your side’s winning,” Damien grinned toothily at the blond, who only sighed and shook his head as he slammed his spear – fashioned from a meter stick and an eraser – into an approaching Human’s stomach, knocking the wind out of him and making him fall to the ground.

Gary swore quietly under his breath. Kenny, who had been aiming an arrow at Damien next to him, stared at him, hearing his words. At his look, Gary laughed. “I know; Gary Harrison curses, who would’ve known?”

“Mmmnphmph mphnph?” Kenny asked him.

The part of Gary’s brain that went to translating Kenny went to work. “You’re asking if Mormons are allowed to curse?” At the nod of Kenny’s head, Gary lifted a finger to his lips, smiling. “Shhh. Don’t tell my siblings.”

“Mmnhhnnphmphh mphhh,” Kenny chastised. Gary immediately understood that as, “You naughty boy.”

“Says the princess gone wild,” Gary shot back. Kenny snorted in laughter, pulling down the part of his hoodie that muffled his voice, replying, “Very funny, Harrison. You know, you’ve changed from the last time we talked to you.”

“We never talked at all.”

“Fair point; you were macking on Stan the whole time until you told him to suck your balls.”

Gary laughed, shaking his head. “I wanted to make friends; Stan was confused and annoyed about Mormonism. I guess we both needed to grow up, huh?”

“You’re telling me of all people this?”

“Fair point; people like you don’t grow out of ‘sex obsessed’, huh?”

“Hey, now that’s below the belt!” Kenny waggled his eyebrows just as he shot an arrow at an approaching Jason Tucker, who skedaddled as soon as he got hit. “Though, just for you, pretty boy, I’ll gladly show you what’s under the- Gary, look out!”

“Wha-“ Gary turned around, but Kenny’s cry had been far too late.

All Gary saw before he blacked out was a papier-mâché arrow wrapped in thorns heading straight for his face.

-=-=-=-

When he came to, he was being tended to by Paladin Butters in the Kingdom of Kupa Keep’s ‘medical tent’ – which was really just a part of Cartman’s kitchen sectioned off by a large floral curtain he borrowed from his mom. Gary sat up, rubbing the back of his head, as Butters scurried closer, hair – oh, no, he wasn’t Butters today, he was Marjorine. Gary wasn’t sure how he failed to notice the paladin trouncing around the battlefield healing the others with bright neon pink and blue pigtails, but there he – or she - was.

“Whoa there, fella, you can’t leave yet,” Marjorine held out a tweezer. “You may be all healed n’ happy, but you still have thorns on your face.”

Thorns on my…? “Thorns on my face?”

“Gosh, don’t you remember?” Marjorine’s eyes were wide. “You were fightin’ in the war – we won today, for once, thank goodness, Eric’s gonna be gloatin’ to Kyle about this tomorrow probably – and you got mort’lly wounded by one of the elves! Eric threw a fit and chucked his staff at Kyle, which was so unexpected that Kyle got knocked out by the sheer surprise. Stan called off the elves and they retreated after that!” She chuckled. “Boy, was that hilarious! Clyde was dancing around Token, Tweek, and Craig; he was so happy! Now hold still, I’ll be workin’ on your face thorns.”

Pulling up a tall chair behind her – since Gary, even though he was sitting down, was still leagues taller than her – Marjorine leaned close with the tweezers, pulling out thorns and placing them on a plate on a flat surface next to them. Gary winced with every thorn that she pulled out, even though she was being very gentle, until finally, she declared that they were all gone, she just needed to dress his wounds before he could go home.

“Marjorine?” Gary ventured tentatively as she pulled out cotton and some povidone-iodine. She blinked up at him questioningly as she dabbed the cotton in it before lifting it up to his face, warning him, “This is gonna sting, mister.”

“I can handle i- fuck!”

Marjorine flinched at the curse. Gary bit his lip, and with an apologetic look, Marjorine told him, “I warned ya, pal. Still, I didn’t know you could-“

“Contrary to popular belief, I’m still a teenage boy, Marjorine. I curse like the whole lot of you.”

The paladin laughed. “Guess so. Now c’mon, I still gotta dab at the rest’a your cuts.”

“Marjorine, who shot me?” Gary finally asked, wincing at the stinging pain that surged through him every time she dabbed at the cuts on his face, particularly his nose. Jenny wasn’t going to be pleased at all when he got home.

Marjorine blinked, and then shrugged. “Beats me. I was just healin’ people ‘round the battlefield. You’ll have to ask Tweek or Craig; they were all over the place during the battle, and all over each other after.”

“… Isn’t there anyone else I could ask?”

“Well, there’s always askin’ the elves themselves tomorrow. Maybe you could ask Pip?” The blonde in the wig took a look at her handiwork before nodding. “Aight, that should do it. You should probably go home now, Gary, we’re the only ones still here.”

“What time is it?”

“Around six, why?”

“Oh no, I’m gonna be late!”

“For what?”

“If I’m late for dinner I won’t get any rice krispie squares!” Gary leaped off the counter. “See you tomorrow, Marjorine!”

Marjorine waved back at him, watching as he disappeared through the Cartmans’ front door, until finally, she took a look at the thorns that had hit Gary in the first place, and raised an eyebrow. Kyle never used thorns on his arrows. She pursed her lips, staring at it some more, before lifting up the plate to her nose and smelling them. Immediately, she recoiled.

They smelled like roses and blood.

-=-=-=-=-=-

“Honestly, I don’t see why you still play that barbaric game with the others.”

“We fought in it too, you British ass.”

“Still.”

“I just find it fun, that’s all,” Gary explained for the thirteenth time at his lunch table, shared with Gregory, Christophe, Pip, and Damien. Unlike Gary, who was with the humans, and Pip, who was aligned with the elves, Gregory and Christophe were mercenaries; they were aligned with no one except those who paid for their services. The girls were usually the ones paying for their services, but half the time that meant they were with the humans since it was no secret that Wendy was consorting with Eric even on days where there were no LARPs. Damien, on the other hand, was a true wildcard, aligned only with Pip and Pip alone. If Pip switched sides he’d be right there; if Pip decided ‘fuck everyone’, he’d be right there for him. It was pretty nice.

Damien chewed on a sandwich, which was dripping with something foul smelling. Nobody at the table asked what it was. “Still find it kind of funny you humans find this entertaining.”

“Yes, well, not everybody is the son of Satan, Damien,” Pip chastised, popping a cookie into his mouth. “You almost set Gary on fire.”

“I said I was sorry,” Damien groused, which Gary took to mean ‘not really sorry at all’. “Not my fault he joined the humans.”

“Oh, speaking of which,” Gary turned to Pip, lunch forgotten momentarily. “One of the elves shot me yesterday.”

“I saw.”

“Who was it?”

“Why do you want to know?” Pip suddenly looked uncomfortable, which Gary raised an eyebrow at.

“Well, you can see the cuts on my face, right?”

“I zink it makes you look less of a poster boy for goodness and more of a… good boy turned bad?” Christophe offered. “There is a certain kind of crizcrozing scar pattern that girls find attractive. Bonus points for you.”

Gregory looked miffed. “Yes, well, I don’t recall it ever being in the rules that thorns were allowed in the game. Look at him, it could’ve hit him in the eye!”

“It wouldn’t. She’s too precise.”

Everyone stared at Pip, who slapped a hand over Damien’s mouth, ears red.

She?” Gregory and Christophe looked at each other.

Gary raised an eyebrow. “I thought all the girls were under Wendy’s faction.”

“Not all of them, ya dingus,” Damien nibbled at Pip’s hand, the boy immediately withdrawing it at his sharp teeth grazing his skin, before continuing. “Craig’s sister, Ruby, is a wildcard. And did you forget Kenny’s sister Karen?”

An image flashed in Gary’s head. “Prince Karen. Right.”

“The younger ones are part of Ike’s pirate crew, if I’m right,” Gregory sniffed his chicken sandwich before flicking a part of it at Christophe, who growled, “Take it out of the sandwich, don’t fling it at me, you bastard!”

Gary turned to Pip again. “So it was a girl then? A female elf?”

“The only one,” Pip muttered, mostly to himself.

“Who is she?”

“…” Just then, the bell rang, and everyone began to put their things away. Gary gave Pip one last look before the British boy just tipped his hat at him, shaking his head and zipping his mouth.

He wouldn’t tell. Damn it.

-=-=-=-=-

Mission: form a temporary truce with the other factions.

Reason: Tweek and Craig just decided to start their own kingdom for shits and giggles and Token, Clyde, and Jimmy are all on their team. Oh, and Kevin and his group too. And for some reason, Esther, Bebe, and Nichole are all on their team too. Did I mention that they also somehow had the reformed Leslie on their side? That was a thing; having a formerly malicious ad on their side.

What a wonderful world to live in.

Gary, for once, was baffled by how much the town didn’t give a shit about their generation’s roleplay shenanigans, even at the age they were at now. He understood if they didn’t care about Ruby and Ike’s generation since they were still young, but their generation? It was strange, but comforting to know that South Park never really changed.

The neutral ground they chose was Douchebag’s house. Gary had never met Douchebag himself until today, and at the sight of him, he had to admit that he was in awe. Douchebag was an attractive young man, definitely; that explained why Annie Knitts swooned at the mention of his name. His class, Jew, meant that he was currently donning clothes similar to that of Jesus Christ, and upon a head covered in thick tresses, lay a thorny crown, exactly like that of the King of the Jews.

Appropriate.

Douchebag, being friends with all the factions, sat at the head of the table, the humans on his left, and the elves on his right, and the girls across from him. Kyle, seated smack dab in the middle of his elves, was seated across from Cartman, who was seated in the middle of his humans, while Wendy, in the middle of the remaining girls, was seated directly across from Douchebag. All in all, it was a pretty sizable group.

“Alright, so Tweek and Craig have a kingdom now. What do we do?” Kyle started the discussion, glancing at everyone.

Wendy drummed her fingers on the table. “From what we’ve managed to gather, their faction is the kingdom of Twekespar. Tweek and Craig rule as kings in a similar fashion to Eric and Kyle, but their decisions are made in the same fashion as the girls: organized and in a group. They never make decisions if one of them is missing. Usually they’ll use Facetime if it’s a really important meeting.”

“I talked with Ruby; she told me they’re planning something big,” Karen piped up. “Something along the lines of what Clyde did years ago, but a little less Nazi.”

“Of-fucking-course.”

“Shut up, Cartman, nobody wants a repeat of that, even you.”

“Who the fuck asked you, Jew?”

“Okay, look, this isn’t the time to be arguing,” Stan interrupted. “We need to figure out a plan, and fast. They’ve got members from all the factions, and because of that they’ll probably know all our secrets.” Douchebag frowned at this, and for a moment, Gary thought he was going to speak. But then he just sighed and gestured for them to continue the discussion, leaning forward, a palm cradling his face.

Butters twiddled his fingers. “What’s the plan, though?”

“An all-out assault,” Cartman thumped his fist on the table. “It worked before with Clyde, we can do it again.”

Kyle shook his head. “We can’t have everyone on the front lines, Cartman.”

“Fine, then what do you suggest, Jew?”

“We have the strongest fighters in the front lines. And then, while they’re distracted with them,” Kyle had captured everyone’s attention by this point, making hand gestures to simulate actions. ”We send a smaller group to pick off Tweek and Craig’s elite, and while they’re distracted with that, send someone to take out Tweek and Craig themselves.”

Wendy looked pleased. “That’s a well thought out plan, Kyle.”

“It was actually Ike’s idea,” Kyle admitted. “He’s seen how they work and who the elite are. He told me he’d be coming back later to tell me more.”

“Who are the elite?” Gary leaned forward, interested.

Stan answered this time. “The insides of Twekespar castle are a maze. It’s inevitable that you’ll face all the elite, since they made it so that you have to go through them one by one until you don’t make it to the kings.”

“The first elites you face are Clyde and the Stoleys. From what I understand, Clyde was promoted to his Dark Lord status again and is now being assisted by the Stoleys’ technical prowess.”

“Meaning…?”

“His minions are constructs. The Stoleys make them in the background so that there’s an endless supply of ‘dark minions’ for him to control,” Kyle pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “We’ll have to find out where the Stoleys are hiding and take them out before we take out Clyde.”

Butters perked up. “Are they electricity operated?”

“… I think so. Why?”

“My hammer!” Butters grinned and tapped his hammer against his palm. Immediately, lightning crackled and hit Kenny in the butt, the princess literally leaping out of his seat at the shock. Kenny gave the smaller blond a dirty look as he sat down, fixing his skirts as Butters mumbled in embarrassment, “Sorry, Princess Kenny. Forgot that when we’re around King Douchebag that happens.”

“What happens?” Gary asked curiously.

Wendy shrugged. “For some reason, whatever made up powers we have, being around Douchebag makes it real.”

“Don’t ask,” Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman all said simultaneously.

“Well, anyway, that means that Butters can be the one to take down Clyde and the Stoleys,” Red mused. “But, who’s after that?”

Jenny Simon looked grim. “Bebe. She’s skilled in the way of the spear and I know for a fact they promoted her, but to what class and level, I don’t know.”

“I can take her!” Karen offered. “I know how to fight with spears and swords, and I have something that she doesn’t!”

Everyone looked at her, Kenny especially. He raised an eyebrow. “… What?”

“A princess of darkness!” Karen replied cheerfully.

There was only one word that left everyone’s mouths at that moment.

“What.”

“Not even going to ask,” Stan shook his head. “But I… guess that takes care of Bebe? Jimmy and Leslie are the ones after them.”

“I’ll do it,” Kyle decided. “Jimmy’s my elf. And Leslie’s-“

“-mine,” The way Stan gripped his sword as he said mine was ominous, a threat that everyone picked up on. Brow furrowing, Kyle’s fingers traced their way into Stan’s free hand, and quietly, he locked fingers with him, squeezing the hand reassuringly. The human on the elves’ side sighed at this, loosening his grip on the sword, and he squeezed Kyle’s hand right back, as if reassuring himself. “… I’ll handle Leslie. Kyle will take care of Jimmy.”

“Are you sure, Stan?” Wendy looked at him in concern. “I could take her down with you.”

“You need to be on the front lines, Wendy,” Stan shook his head. “If Kyle’s taking down Jimmy nobody will be leading the army in the front.”

“Well, alright…”

“This means that the only ones left before Tweek and Craig themselves are Token and Nichole…” Cartman looked bothered. “Both of them are healers who can attack. Fuck.”

“They get plus twenty whenever they attack for being a couple,” Heidi Turner read from a notebook.

The two kings looked at her, outraged. Douchebag muffled a snicker. “What?!”

“That’s how it is with the girls, you guys,” Wendy shrugged. “We agreed on this rule as girls: if you’re fighting with your datefriend as an ally, then you get plus twenty.”

“Plus twenty what?”

“Plus twenty everything.”

“Now that’s cheating!” Cartman hollered, standing up.

Heidi closed her book. “No, it’s our rules as girls.”

“And since Nichole is a girl, this applies to her and Token, too,” Sally Turner finished. “You’re lucky Tweek and Craig are gay, this doesn’t apply to them.”

“Eric, sit the fuck down,” Wendy told him. Grumbling, he conceded, as she continued, “Kenny, you think you can get through to Token? Or at least knock him out?”

Kenny nodded, smirking. “Once I’m through with him, he’ll be seeing the moon and the stars in the sky for eons.”

“Kenny!”

“I’m kidding, Leo.”

“Eric, go with Kenny so he doesn’t do anything untoward.”

“If it’s for the beautiful Princess Kinny… why the fuck not.”

“Pip, you’re friends with Nichole,” The British boy blinked and looked up. “Maybe you can appeal to her and then strike her down.”

Pip frowned. “Oh dear, that’s not really in my nature...”

“Which is why you have me,” As if on cue, Damien rose from Pip’s shadow, scaring the shit out of most of the girls and Cartman, who clung to Butters like a lifeline. “I’ll be in charge of turning Nichole into roasted turkey.”

“NO FIRE,” Pip stressed. “We just need to knock her out.”

Damien rolled his eyes. “Ugh, fine, but only because it’s you who told me not to.”

“Alright, with that over with, we need to pick who will take down Tweek and Craig themselves. Cartman, who’s your pick?” Kyle glanced over the remaining humans.

Cartman did so as well, ‘hmm’ing, until finally, his gaze landed on Gary. “Gary.”

“Gary?” Stan looked surprised. “You sure?”

“Fuck you, Stan, Gary’s kewl,” Cartman defended. “He’s pretty strong too. He’s a level thirteen Lord.”

Kyle looked mollified. “Alright, that’s actually not a bad choice, Cartman. Well done. I’ll be sending out Estella then. The two of you,” He turned to Gary. “Will be in charge of taking out Tweek and Craig.”

“Estella?” Gary echoed, looking at the elves. There were no female elves at the meeting.

Kyle noticed this, and laughed. “No, I didn’t bring her. She had stuff to do, apparently. But are you okay with this? I know she was the one who shot at you in our last war; I can always tell her that she’ll have to handle it alone-“

“No, no, it’s… fine. I’m glad to help. I’m sure we’ll get along,” Gary trained his gaze on Pip, who stared right back with electric blue eyes. His mouth was pressed into a thin line as he stared at Gary, who only stared right back. There was a strange sort of emotion reflected in his eyes.

Protectiveness? Of this Estella? Gary recognized that look. He had seen it on Mark’s face when it came to him and his other siblings, seen it on Charlotte’s big brother Quigley’s face when he asked if they could stay at the Harrisons’ place when their parents died. Pip was overprotective of this Estella person. But… why?

-=-=-=-=-

He didn’t meet Estella until the actual final battle.

Because it was the final battle, most of them, elf and human alike, were suited up with different gear, but with the same weapons. Most of the best gear came from the girls and went to the ones taking down the elite. Kenny looked pleased to be outfitted in the fanciest battle gear – “The Bride outfit,” Jenny explained to the baffled boys. “It is one of our most powerful outfits. It empowers whoever’s wearing it by giving them a sense of style and grace.”

“Okay, but, why?” Stan stressed.

Wendy laughed. “I don’t know, but Douchebag sure seems to like it.”

They turned their gazes to Kenny and Douchebag, both wearing Bride outfits. They were dancing in a circle around poor, confused Butters, flouncing around in their fluffy white battle ready skirts.

“… Right. Well, we can’t just stand around here. We need to get ready for the takedown,” Kyle turned to Wendy, taking her hand in his. “You sure you’ll be fine out there, leading our armies?”

Her smile turned into a knowing smirk. “Scared, Broflovski?”

“You wish,” Kyle retorted, but he was smiling. “I know you’ll be strong. Stan knows too. Just be careful.”

Wendy nodded. She glanced sideways at Cartman, who was discussing something heatedly with Scott Malkinson. “I have something to come back to, anyway.”

“You and I both,” Kyle told her seriously.

A hand placed itself on Gary’s shoulder, and he flinched, whipping around and pointing Queenlasanne – or at least, a much better and much fancier looking version of Queenlasanne - at whoever it was.

Pip held up his hands in surrender. “It’s just me, Gary.”

“Oh. Sorry, Pip. I was just…” Gary trailed off, sheathing his sword.

Pip laughed. “I know. Rattling, isn’t it?”

“What is?”

“That these guys take this thing so seriously,” The Brit glanced at the battlefield – which was actually just the Tucker backyard, where Wendy was preparing to lead the armies into the front. “You know Damien finds this amusing.”

“Well, he’s the son of Satan.”

“Fair point. Still, it’s heartwarming to see that they never change.”

Gary’s brow furrowed. “… You never changed either, Pip. You’re still the sweet British boy we all know and love.” Pause. “Even if you did die years ago. How did that happen again? You living?”

“Damien,” was Pip’s only reply.

“Ah.”

“Well, anyway, I came to inform you that Estella won’t be meeting you here-“

The Mormon blinked. “She won’t? What about the plan?”

“She’ll be meeting you during the infiltration itself,” Pip corrected. “She’s not ready yet, apparently. Chris Donnely’s still teaching her some more archery tricks. Did you know that she’s Kyle’s best archer?”

“Is she, now?”

Pip nodded, proud. “Only female elf, and a bloody good one at that. Each shot she makes is precise enough to hit her target square in the middle.” Pause. “Oh, and she’s good at fencing too, I guess.”

“You guess?” Gary’s fingers brushed over the handle of Queenlasanne.

Pip noticed this. “She could probably give you a run for your money. She’s been learning fencing ever since she left for South Park.”

“How do you know her, Pip?”

“Oh. Um… she’s my ex-girlfriend.”

Somehow, that felt like an arrow to the heart. “Oh. That… that explains a lot, actually. You got back together?”

“Hell no.” The way Pip said it made Gary crack up in laughter. “I love her dearly, but no. She’s expressed no interest in dating me again, but she did want to be friends again. She’s my best friend.”

“I see.”

Pip glanced behind Gary, and shooed him away. “They’re going now, come on, we have to go too!”

“But what about Estella?”

“She’s coming in a moment! Now come on!

-=-=-=-=-

The moment Wendy cried bloody murder everyone knew the battle had begun.

Surging through the waves of Tweek and Craig’s army, Wendy and her battalion cut through them like knives, the Turner sisters diving left and right to force their enemies into unwanted swordfights. Milly Larsen was manning a catapult near the back, hollering as she launched stinkbomb after stinkbomb at the enemies, making them cough and scatter, clearing the way for their army.

“This way!” Kyle gestured for the team that would take down the elite to follow him down a side path around the castle, and they did so, sneaking their way past the fighting until finally, they found themselves in a spacious area, similar to that of a court, but smaller. Suddenly, the lights went out, and the door slammed shut behind them. Someone immediately clung to Gary, but he didn’t know who it was.

Did you hear what they just said?

Everyone froze at the echoing voice. It was low and booming, and strangely robotic.

I heard that someone wants to take down our kings.

The voice that replied was higher in pitch, giggly, but also robotic.

I heard they want to banish them through space and time.

Gary heard Butters squeak as two screens flashed white above their heads. One screen flashed red, then black, and then finally, the face of Kevin Stoley showed up.

I heard they want them to return to the kingdoms,” Kevin said, grinning.

The other screen flashed red, then, black, and then finally, Esther’s face showed up.

I heard they want us to stop this insubordination,” Esther added, smirking cattily.

Kevin mocked, “Oh, dear sister, whatever shall we do?”

“Why, let’s ask the Dark Lord, dear brother! He’ll know what to do!” Esther cackled.

Their screens shut off, trapping the others in inky blackness again. Suddenly, the lights came back on, and Gary blinked.

Clyde, in his Dark Lord outfit, lay stretched across a flat surface, grinning. “Draw me like one of your French girls.”

“Clyde, what the fuck.” Cartman pressed his lips together in a thin line.

“Oh, no takers? Alright,” Clyde sat up. He closed his eyes, and then smirked, opening them again and raising his hands up. “Let’s just play a little game, shall we?”

Two doors raised up on either side of them, and the party looked around. Robots. Robots everywhere.

“I call this game, ‘LET’S SEE WHOSE ASS I KICK FIRST’!”

And then everything went to shit.

It was easy, at first. The minions – robots – themselves weren’t too durable, but they were endless, and soon Gary and the others grew tired of stabbing through them and wrecking them all.

“We need to find out where Kevin and Esther are hiding!” Kenny exclaimed as he shot a row of robots with an arrow.

Butters frantically smashed a robot’s face in with his hammer as he looked around, batting away the robots that tried to climb him, until his gaze landed on a discolored wood panel to the right. It looked strangely like a door. “There! Eric!”

The Grand Wizard King whirled around, aimed his butt at the door, and set it on fire, burning away the wood until it revealed Kevin Stoley, who yelped and pulled out his lightsaber, immediately adopting a defensive stance. Stan surged forward on the skates he had received on Christmas, sword aimed straight and true for Kevin, when suddenly something shocked him and he dropped to the floor.

“STAN!” Kyle looked around furiously for the source which was no doubt Esther. Upon finding no trace of her, he smashed in a part of the wall with his fist in sheer anger, only to find Esther staring straight back at him from the hole in the wall, eyes wide.

Kyle glanced at Butters. The paladin looked to Douchebag, who nodded, and Butters smiled. He raised his hammer.

“Feel my righteous fury!”

-=-=-=-=-

During the battle with the Stoleys, Clyde had somehow run away to the next room, where Bebe was. This they found out when they saw him and her standing on similar thrones – which were actually just repurposed fancy chairs. Bebe was dressed in a similar fashion to Clyde, except more fashionably, and with a smirk, she stared down upon the party.

“Took you guys long enough,” Bebe leaped down from her throne and took her spear. “Who’s going to fight us among all of you? It’s only fair: two of you against two of us.”

“I will!”

Karen pushed forward, waving her hand. At the sight of her, Bebe’s gaze softened, but she shook her head. “Alright, that’s one. Where’s the other?”

“I-“ Kenny was about to offer when Karen interrupted firmly, “He’ll be coming soon.”

“What, you’re going to take on both of us alone?”

“I can take it! He’s coming soon, he just told me so on Twitter!” Pause. “I mean, on the carrier raven.”

Clyde leaped down from his own throne, grabbing the tall shield and spear that was leaning against the wall as Bebe laughed. “Alright, little man, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

“Karen, no!” Kenny cried out.

“Trust me on this, Kenny!” Karen turned to the princess and smiled before raising her sword against Bebe. “En garde, Bebe Stevens!”

“I can’t look,” Kenny mumbled, burying his face into Butters’s hair. The sounds of plastic sword and plastic spear clashing against each other resounded in the air as he told his smaller boyfriend in a muffled voice, “Tell me when she’s dead so I can bury her myself. She deserves a heroic burial.”

Suddenly, a plastic battleaxe went flying straight at Clyde and Bebe. Clyde screamed and ducked away as Bebe got hit in the head, the blonde immediately going down at the sheer force of impact. The party goggled as the Goth kids emerged from a nearby window, dropping off Firkle as Henrietta grumbled, “You owe us for this, conformists,” before slinking back down, presumably to join the rest of the fight, and to make sure Kevin and Esther didn’t follow them.

“Firkle!” Karen cheered, only to cough and say in a much more dignified manner, “I mean, my beautiful princess of darkness.”

“Shut up, Karen,” Firkle grumbled, and it was only then that they noticed that Firkle was wearing a dress. A spray painted black dress with a clumsily cut skirt that reached up to his thighs and black boots that could only belong to Henrietta, but a dress nonetheless. “I’m only doing this because I owe you a favor.”

“You look ridiculous,” Stan told him.

Firkle flushed red. “Shut up, Raven. Nobody asked you.” Huffily, he stomped over to the plastic battleaxe he had thrown at Bebe, gripping the handle as he turned to Clyde, who was cowering behind his shield. The youngest Goth sighed, rolling his eyes, before tapping his axe gently on the shield.

“I’LL SURRENDER, JUST DON’T HURT ME!” Clyde wailed.

Kyle shook his head in disbelief. “Cartman, I swear to God.”

“What’d I do, Jew?!”

“The Stick of Truth incident in fourth grade must have traumatized him to losing,” Stan mused. “You traumatized him by knocking him off his treehouse.”

“He was evil!” Cartman protested.

“Still didn’t give you the right to knock him off the treehouse.”

“Ughhhhhh, just- whateva! Clyde surrenders, can we go now?!”

-=-=-=-=-=-

It was in the fight against Jimmy and Leslie that Gary finally got to talk to Estella.

While Kyle and Stan fought against the musical prowess of the Bard and the digital landscape that Leslie had managed to conjure, the others were trapped in bubbles of data and code, struggling. Gary had been trapped in the same bubble of code as Estella, coincidentally, and so, he took this chance to strike up a conversation.

“So, you’re Estella?” He tried.

“Estella Havesham,” was her curt reply, and for a moment, Gary heard his heart pounding, though for what reason, he wasn’t sure yet. Maybe it was the close proximity, or maybe it was the lack of air. Maybe both. “Sorry I shot at you with an arrow of thorns months ago. That was Damien’s idea.”

Arrow of- ah, right. Gary’s fingers traced the scars the thorns had left behind. “It’s no big deal.”

“You have scars,” Estella mused.

“That I do.”

“Do they hurt?”

“Only when I press too hard on them.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be.” Gary was surprised at how the conversation was turning out. “You know, technically, we just met now.”

“I suppose so,” Estella told him, fixing herself so that she took up less space and both of them were more comfortable. Like the other elves, Estella’s outfit was flowy and light, but worked great enough as armor, with dark green shorts and black leggings under a fluffy skirt fashioned to look like an upside down green rose bloom. The fake elf ears that peeked out of her wavy blonde hair were held there by the circlet of branches that most elves seemed to wear, except hers had flowers in between the weaves. Strapped to her was the quiver for her arrows, and her bow was on her lap. “You’re Gary Harrison, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s me. Gary Harrison.”

“You’re… different than what I pictured you to be,” Estella admitted.

“You too.”

“How did you picture me?”

“How did you picture me?”

“Well,” Estella thought about this for a moment. “I pictured you to be an angel.”

Gary was absolutely certain that he hadn’t felt a blush so strong color his cheeks until this moment. “W-what?”

“Perhaps it was because you were Mormon.” Estella shrugged. “Now, your turn. How did you picture me?”

Gary swallowed. “Beautiful, based on what I know from Pip.”

“So you’ve talked to Pip?”

“You two are exes?”

“Of a sort,” Estella told him, and said no more for the next few minutes until she added, “It’s amusing.”

“What is?”

“We’re having these sorts of conversations like there isn’t a battle going on outside.”

“Did you join this game of your own free will?”

“I had nothing else to do. You?”

“I wanted to see how they played.”

“They’re strange, these boys,” Estella mused. “I’m glad I don’t have to break their hearts for Mother anymore. They’ve honestly grown on me the way Pip has; they’ve been nothing but kind to me, if not crass in mannerisms, being boorish boys.”

“In every boy, there’s a gentleman,” Gary recited a line from his mother’s book.

Estella met his gaze. Gary was struck dumb by how intense her grayish blue eyes were. “In every gentleman, there is a barbarian.”

“In every girl, there is a lady.”

“In every lady, there is a witch.”

“In every garden, there is a rose.”

“With every rose, there are thorns.”

“But thorns don’t stop the rose from being beautiful, no?”

Estella fell silent.

“…. I’m sorry, did I overstep my boundaries?” Gary felt his ears grow hot. “I know we just met-”

“You’re strange, Gary Harrison.” Estella looked up at him again. “Very strange indeed.”

Okay, uh, are you guys done flirting in there, or should I cut you out now?”

Both Gary and Estella flushed red as Cartman bashed a hole into the bubble of code they were in, revealing that Leslie and Jimmy had been knocked out. The code soon dissipated, and both of them fell to the ground, as Pip stared at Gary pointedly, the Mormon trying his hardest not to let his gaze travel to the girl he had been talking to prior.

 “Okay, so Ike told me that Token and Nichole don’t like fighting; they’ll surrender as long as you don’t touch either of them,” Kyle told the group. “If any of you so much as lay a weapon on the other, they’ll probably knock you out of the treehouse and give you the ultimate wedgie.”

“So we can just… walk right past them?” Kenny asked in disbelief.

“As long as nobody touches them. At all.”

“That was a letdown…”

“It’s a blessing. That’s one less battle. Which means…”

Eyes turned to Gary and Estella.

The two looked at each other, and suddenly, Gary noticed how much smaller Estella was compared to him.

“I am ready,” Estella declared. “You?”

Gary’s grip on Queenlasanne tightened.

“I’m ready.”

-=-=-=-=-=-

When all was said and done, the kingdom of Twekespar was dissolved, the elite and their kings returning to their respective kingdoms, and everyone involved in the final battle walked out of it with wounds, scars, and broken legs. Tweek had been ‘assassinated’ by an arrow to the neck, and Craig had lost in his fury filled swordfight against Gary. At the mercy of Queenlasanne, and his beloved barbarian ‘dead’, Craig had to surrender, head bowed down in resigned defeat.

Gary came home that night battered and bruised, but bubbly. At the sight of him, the Harrisons immediately panicked, tending to him, while he himself was in a floaty, almost dreamlike state, which nobody except Charlotte – his newly adopted sister – noticed.

“You look happy, guy,” The Canadian girl noted as she tucked in her adoptive brother.

Gary sighed. “I am.”

“Why?”

“You don’t need to know.”

The brunette clicked her tongue. “You’re grinning like an idiot, buddy. No way; spill.”

“All you need to know, Char, is that I just met the girl of my dreams.”

“In the middle of your ‘battle’ game?” At her incredulous tone, Gary flipped over, groaning into his pillow. Charlotte laughed. “You’re such a dork, Gary, but I guess you’re our dork, guy.”

“Ughhhh.”

“Are you going to ask her out?”

“No.”

“What the fuck.”

“She’s out of my league, Char,” Gary mumbled into his pillow. “She’s literally perfect, and I’m… I’m…”

“You’re Gary Harrison. You’re one of the hottest guys at school, guy!” Charlotte stretched out on Gary’s back, laughing. “Even I know that, Garebear! You two are both perfect. You should go for it!”

“Mmmmnghhh.”

“Dammit, Gary,” Charlotte shook her head in mock disbelief before sitting up and leaning over to kiss the back of his head. “I’m going to bed now guy, but think about what I just said, okay? Nothing’s impossible if you put your heart into it. That’s what you told me when you guys adopted me and my siblings, guy. Remember that now.” She stood up, and left the room, only turning a little to glance at Gary one last time.

“Goodnight, bro.”

“… Goodnight, Char.”

She closed the door.

Gary didn’t get any sleep that night.