Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 22

Following after the group, we took cover behind some snow-covered hedges as Eric cautiously peeked his head out. "There it is…the inn of The Giggling Donkey." he said, causing the rest of us to peek too. The 'inn' wasn't an inn at all: but a periwinkle-colored house, not that I should've been surprised in the least. From my space between Kenny and Butters, I was able to clearly hear the music and other kids from inside the house with my advanced senses. Unfortunately, my spot was also the perfect place for Kenny to irritate me with his insistent poking and sly glances.

"Kenny…if you want to keep that hand: I suggest you quit poking me." I warned, only to receive a giggle from him as he poked me in the chest, crossing the line as I grabbed hold of his head and shoved him into the hedge. As he thrashed wildly trying to escape the offending bush: I raised my head high and crossed my arms with a triumphant smirk on my face, which only turned into a grin as Eric rolled his eyes and the others snickered before turning their attention back to the house. "After you, New Kid." Eric said as he quite literally shoved me through the bush and onto the doorstep of the house.

Creeping up behind me, Eric turned to Butters as I prepared to ring the doorbell. "Paladin, are you sure The Bard is hiding out in here?" he questioned as Butters pulled out his phone. "T-That's what Twitter says." he replied as he held his phone up for us all to see the message that proved it. "CARRIER RAVEN, Butters!" Eric shouted, stomping his feet: scaring the poor kid into hiding behind his cape. "You didn't have to yell at him." I said as Butters sent me a nervous smile as Eric whirled around on me.

"Shut the hell up and get ready to open the fucking door! Craig, Token: guard the back door. Butters, Kenny, Lady MacManus…let's do this." he ordered as I rang the bell, while Craig and Token sprinted around to the back of the house. As soon as we were allowed inside, I couldn't help but give a low whistle at the sight of the so-called inn. Three round tables were spread throughout the living room with one candle each as well as groups of mean-looking kids. On the couch were coolers filled with different kinds of soda, where a kid with a fake mustache and nicely-combed hair stood cleaning a paper cup.

As I followed Eric into the house, I noticed Kenny was walking as close to me as possible out of the corner of my eye. Glancing to my left, I also noticed Butters anxiously looking at the other kids: who were staring at us as if we were pieces of meat. Baring my teeth, I strode confidently next to Eric, showing the rest of these kids I'm not intimidated by them in the least. "Stay close Lady MacManus, the inn of The Giggling Donkey harbors the scum of all Zaron." Eric warned as we approached the 'bartender', who eyed us warily as Eric leaned against the 'bar' like he owned it.

'Seriously? You could at least have enough decency to respect someone else's house.' I thought with a raised eyebrow as Eric tapped the 'bar' to get the kid's attention focused on him. "A glass of Meedlewine, please." Eric asked as the 'bartender' stopped cleaning his glass to look at him. "No Meedlewine today. Only Fairy Ale." he replied as he picked up another cup to clean. "A pint of Fairy Ale, then." Eric said, causing the 'bartender' to nod and prepare his drink with the jugs of soda on the couch behind him. Turning around to receive his drink, Eric tried to (what I guessed to be) casual: only to fail in a way I thought didn't exist.

"So…anyone see The Bard lately?" he asked, causing absolute silence to fill the once chatty and music-filled room. "Aw shit." I muttered as every single kid turned to us with murderous looks on their faces. "N-Nice going Grand Wizard." Butters gulped as he moved to draw his hammer. Even though this was a bad situation, I couldn't help but smirk at the slightly-worried look on Eric's face as he realized what he just did. "What? A cup of Fairy Ale isn't complete without some Bardic poems and songs." he said, trying to cover his not-so-subtle call-out. "Yeah we've seen 'im alright. He's got a room down in the cellar." the 'bartender' said tightly as he gestured over to a door in the corner of the room.

"And I shall pay handsomely for his services." Eric said, tossing a few coins on the table as he started pushing me over to the door. "Lady MacManus: you and Butters go down there and flush him out. Princess Kenny and I will be waiting up here to murder him, remember: The Bard can use songs to enchant, don't let him get to you." he warned as he opened the basement door and delivered a swift kick to my ass: sending me tumbling down the stairs, to his greatest amusement: Kenny and Butters didn't share his humor though. "Sie setzen Ihre fatass Ich werde Sie wieder für diesen Cartman zu bekommen." I growled at his laughing face as Butters timidly walked over and helped me up.

"EY! I'M NOT FAT I'M BIG-BONED!" Eric yelled as I flipped him off before gesturing for Butters to help me find The Bard. "Dude, she's pissed at you." I heard Kenny say before the door shut, blocking us from what was going on upstairs. I won't lie: the basement was pretty creepy with the lights off as well as the many boxes of stuff you'd typically find in a basement or attic. "Gee whiz Saphira, I can't see nothin'." Butters whimpered as he gripped the sleeve of my hoodie so he wouldn't somehow get lost. Focusing on my vision, I was able to enhance my sight well enough so I could guide Butters around without either of us tripping over ourselves.

"L-Lady MacManus? A-Are you sure this is the right way?" he stuttered as he tried to feel his way around the heavily-cluttered room. "We're in a basement Butters, we can't really get lost in here." I said as I helped him step over a tipped-over broom. "Oh yeah." he said quietly, only to freeze as I suddenly held my hand out in front of him. Getting the message, he stayed where he was as I glared at a shadowy form standing in the darkest corner of the basement. "I can see you, come out and nobody gets hurt." I called to the figure, only to get several surrounding laughs in response as Butters jumped and cowered behind me.

As I watched the figure's arms move, I let my body suit shift: making my hoodie appear to move on its own as the figure played a loot harshly: making both Butters and I cover our ears at the ear-splitting noise. As soon as the obnoxious sound stopped, Butters fearfully stared at the approaching figure. "Oh Jesus! It's The Bard!" he yelped as the figure finally showed himself clearly. He had crutches on his arms, a newspaper hat with a single white feather in it, and a yellow and green elf costume. As soon as he stopped walking he held up his loot before narrowing his eyes at us.

"Prepare for battle w-w-w-weaklings! Elves, fall in!" The Bard ordered, causing several elves to leap from the tops of boxes and form a circle around us. "You will pay for this, don't you elves know you are threatening the Savior of Zaron?!" I snapped: causing the elves to laugh as The Bard spoke up again. "I r-r-really don't care w-w-who you are: w-w-w-we don't follow the K-K-King of elves." he stuttered back as the rest of the rouge Drow Elves laughed and brandished their weapons. "Oh Hamburgers! W-We're surrounded!" Butters cried as he tried to keep track of all the elves at once while I stared The Bard down as his face split into a braces-covered grin.

"MACMAAANUS! IT'S A TRAAP!" Eric screamed from the top of the stairs as he and Kenny were snatched by the disguised elves upstairs, causing me to glare harder at The Bard and his followers as Butters and I prepared ourselves for either Kupa Keep's greatest victory yet, or its greatest ass-kicking of all time.

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