Monster in the Mirror

Chapter 31

Walking through the open gate, I noticed that the boys weren't there, making me realize they all must be at Jimmy's house. Turning to Alex, I motioned for him to wait and guard the Keep while I jogged through Eric's house after saying 'hi' to Mrs. Cartman, and over to the periwinkle house in question. Running up onto the icy porch, I saw that everything was exactly as we had left it yesterday: making me wince at the damage. Navigating the splintered wood, 'fallen' elves, and broken furniture, I was able to head up the stairs and come across the boys as they waited for me outside the room where The Bard held The Stick hostage.

Heading over to them, I saw that Kenny kept glaring so harshly at Eric that I almost had to do a double-take: he looked as if it took everything in him not to pound the fat kid into the dirt, then bury him alive. Eric however, wouldn't meet my gaze with his usual 'I'm better than you' attitude: instead, he was nursing an impressive shiner that took up most of the right side of his face. For a split second, I thought that Kenny did that to him, but that idea went out the window when I saw no evidence of bruised knuckles on my orange-clad friend. 'I wonder who did that? But you know what: I really don't care, he deserved that shit.' I thought as I came to a stop next to Butters and Kenny and glanced around for a way to get the door open.

"Hey! Let us up!" Token called, drawing my attention to a hole in the ceiling that led to the attic, where an elf was seen peeking down at us. "You're not getting up here, the ladders' up here with me and I'm sure as shit not coming down there." came the reply from the elf, making me roll my eyes before I glanced at each of my friends. "It seems we're gonna need the charms of a lady." Eric said as he munched on some Cheesypoofs, making everybody turn their eyes to me, which did not make me feel comfortable at all. 'He doesn't HONESTLY expect me to-' I thought as a devious smirk stretched across his smug face, confirming my thoughts. "Absolutely not! There is no way in HELL I'm doing that so get that idea out of your head right now because it's NOT gonna happen!" I growled with a red face, and I could've sworn I heard a 'damn it' from Kenny but I couldn't be sure.

Putting down his bow, Kenny kneeled at my feet in a similar way Butters had several times before. "Your word is my command my Lady." he said as he waited for me to tell him what to do. "I've got this Kenny." I said, making him glance up at me in confusion as I smirked at the rest of the boys before I turned my gaze up at the hidden elf. "Last chance, let us up or I'm coming to get you myself." I told him, making him laugh mockingly, as if I told the funniest joke ever. "You? Get up here?! HA! There's no way you can reach me from down there so keep dreaming New Kid." the elf laughed, making me sigh before narrowing my eyes at the wall closest to the hole, where a drawing of a railing with trees sat taped to the wall.

Adjusting my beanie, I ran over to that wall and jumped off of it, making me bounce backwards as I twisted my body mid-air and grabbed hold of the edge and pulled myself up. Glaring at the elf, I crossed my arms smugly at the cheers and impressed whistles from down below as the nervous elf pulled his sword out and took a shaking fighting stance. "You were saying?" I questioned him, charging him before he even had a chance to react and whacked him upside the head with my sword, rendering him defeated with that single hit. "Hurry up MacManus! Don't hold up the game again!" Eric called in aggravation, making me roll my eyes as I kicked down the ladder, allowing Kenny to climb up and join me.

"Any idea on how to get The Stick?" he asked as we made our way around several boxes and come to a stop in front of a barricade with a pair of elves standing behind it. "Let's get rid of these guys first." I said as he nodded before unsheathing his bow and readying an arrow. Grabbing Kenny by the shoulder, I quietly pointed above the elves' heads: where a poorly-attached light hung by a single wire. Catching on to my idea, he nodded before releasing the arrow at the wire, causing the light to fall onto the unsuspecting pair's heads, knocking them out. "I almost felt bad for that one." I said as we climbed over the barricade and past the unconscious elves and over to the far end of the attic.

"Now what?" Kenny asked as I shushed him before crouching down on the dusty floorboards and placed my ear to them. For a few seconds I didn't hear anything, until the sounds of somebody walking around with crutches met my ears: confirming that The Bard was directly below us. "Nice view." he commented casually, laughing as I sent a scathing look in his direction as he discreetly tried to remove his gaze from my ass. Smacking him upside his head, I focused my gaze around the piles of stuff as I searched for something to help us. Dusting myself off, I picked up an expensive-looking vase from a nearby shelf and took aim at a set of metal shelves with a heavy trunk resting on the top shelf.

Pulling my arm back, I threw the vase at the weak frame, breaking both the vase and the frame as the black and blue trunk slid down the shelf and fell: creating a huge hole in the floor as well as allowed us passage to The Bard. "Now THAT'S how to make an entrance." I said with a grin as Kenny nodded, sharing my enthusiasm as we both jumped down into the room. With Kenny at my back, I turned around and unlocked the door: letting the rest of the boys inside as Eric stomped forward with an angry look on his face. Looking at the rest of the boys, I noticed that everyone but myself and Craig had pissed off looks on their faces as The Bard held The Stick over his head.

"You've nowhere to run Bard, give me The Stick of Truth!" Eric demanded, making The Bard laugh at the empty threat that lay hidden under the Grand Wizard's words. "Take it from me if you can W-Wizard King! Step forward now and fulfill your de-de-destiny!" The Bard challenged as he and Eric both took a step forward, making them almost nose-to-nose at this point. "You are no match for a GRAND WIZARD!" Eric said as he pointed his staff at his opponent. "The Stick belongs with us, and I shall use every bardic power in my class to keep it from you!" The Bard said as he held The Stick closer to himself and further out of Eric's reach. "Fine. You wanna through down brah? Kick his ass MacManus!" Eric ordered, bringing a look of confusion to The Bard's face.

"W-Wh-Who's MacManus?" he questioned, his stutter reminding me of how fearful some of my enemies were before I consumed them, making an unpleasant shudder run through me. "That's LADY MacManus to you! And she's about to teach you some manners Bard!" Eric shouted, making me actually do a double-take as he defended me before wincing and held a glove over his swollen, black-purple eye. 'Whoever did that must've knocked quite the bit of sense into him. Too bad I missed it…I would've brought popcorn.' I thought with a smirk before settling my gaze on the Drow Elf in front of me.

Placing The Stick under his paper hat, he took out a wooden recorder as Kenny and I took our stances. Playing a strange tune, The Bard did a small dance as three rats with jester hats crawled out from under the bed, stood in front of him, and hissed at us. "Wow, what a terrific target." The Bard said, making me narrow my eyes and share a look with Kenny. "Who're you calling target?!" I snapped, charging and taking out one of the rats with a single swing of my sword. Backing up, Kenny notched three arrows and took out the other two rodents with ease: leaving nothing between us and The Bard.

Glaring at us, The Bard pulled out his lute and began playing a rather soothing tune. "Sleep now, the whip-poor-wills are d-dancing. Gently now, put your m-mind to rest." he sang, making me feel a little light-headed as both his song and lack of sleep started to get to me as Kenny toppled over onto the floor with a 'thud'. Shaking my head furiously, I snapped myself out of it as Kenny snored away on the carpet, jolting awake quickly as I poured a water bottle on him. "Thanks." he said as he readied his bow again, narrowing his blue eyes at The Bard as I made to charge him again. It wasn't until I made my attack that something totally unexpected happened: as I made to hit him with my sword, The Bard blocked it with one of his crutches, rendering my attack useless.

"You want a p-piece of this?" he growled before he pulled his other arm back and made to counter-hit me as I quickly raised my sword to block it. Unfortunately, his metal crutch made contact with the crack I had completely forgotten about, snapping the wooden sword in two and nailed me dead in the center of my head: knocking me flat on my back. "Holy shit, dude!" Eric said from the sidelines as multiple concerned questions came from the boys, making my ears hurt as I shook my head to clear it before flipping back on my feet in a backwards roll.

"Are you okay?" Kenny asked, concern written all over his face as I nodded before glaring back at The Bard. "This'll be my g-greatest performance." he said, pulling part of his costume over his nose and mouth as he started playing his lute in a rapid and moving tune. "The hell it will!" I yelled as I charged him again, nailing him in the side with a brutal roundhouse kick, knocking the lute from his grasp and out of reach. Ignoring the cheers from the sidelines, I returned to my spot as Kenny shot three more arrows: all of them hitting home as The Bard staggered to his feet, leaning heavily on his crutches in order to keep himself upright. Deciding to try something new, I grabbed a football helmet from under the bed and put it on.

'Why would this kid even have this?' I wondered as I ran at him and crouched on the floor, smirking as The Bard gulped and made to try to defend himself as I kicked the carpet a couple times before bolting forward, ramming my protected head directly into his stomach, sending him on his ass with a pained whine: making me feel horrible for beating up a crippled kid. When The Bard didn't get back up, I realized that what I just did was all that was needed to finish him off as I stood back up and took the helmet off. "D-Dirty w-wench." The Bard snarled as he tried to reach for The Stick as it fell out from under his hat, only to have Eric stomp unnecessarily hard on his hand: giving him free reign to recollect the stolen branch that 'controlled the universe'.

"THE STICK IS OURS!" Eric cheered in victory as he held The Stick as high as he could, causing all of us to cheer and dance as we made our way out of the destroyed house and back in the direction of Kupa Keep, aware that it was rapidly getting dark as the streetlights flashed to life: meaning Alex and I had to go home soon to avoid being grounded. The walk back was actually as enjoyable as it could be with someone like Eric around, but he was more preoccupied with his shiner then the rest of the group's fun.

Walking through the open gate of Eric's backyard, I was playfully shoved to the side by Kenny: who I shoved back. This continued until he shoved me and knocked me into Butters, who fell on Craig, who tripped over Tweek and made him have a heavy-duty panic attack and run into Token, who stumbled into Scott: resulting in one big tangle of limbs, bodies and costumes. From my position, I couldn't tell whose foot belonged to who or which arm went where, all I knew was we all ended up in one big dog-pile and Eric and Kenny were laughing their asses off at us. 'Bastards.' I thought as I tried to untangle myself, only to be shoved deeper into the pile of bodies when Kenny decided it was a good time for him to join in, resulting in angry shouts and cries of pain.

Shoving Scott aside, I spotted Craig fixing his blue chullo hat with the yellow poofball on it over the top of Butters' head as Kenny flipped himself over and decided to try to get 'cuddly' with me, only to freeze as both his and Craig's faces paled. "What?" I asked, getting no reply from either of them as they stared behind me with wide eyes. Glancing behind me, I whined nervously as Eric stood not five feet away: the streetlight behind him covering his front in deep dark shadows, adding to the eerie look on his face. Feeling the group under and around me look in his direction in some way or other, I couldn't stop the nervous gulp as a wicked toothy grin spread across his chubby face.

"Oh…fuck." I whimpered as everyone put extra effort in getting unstuck as quickly as we could, only making it worse as Eric waddled over as fast as his legs could carry him. "I-I love you guys!" Butters yelled as Eric suddenly jumped up and spread all his limbs out, laughing obnoxiously as we all let out terrified screams before 'Free Willy' crash-landed painfully on top of us, burying the ones on the bottom deep into the snowdrift in the yard. "Cartman…you have three seconds to get off before I send you to the moon." I growled, feeling painfully satisfied at how quickly he got off: I guess being round helps. Once he was out of the way, it was actually easy to get everybody unstuck and I face-palmed when this somehow didn't happen BEFORE we were practically squished.

Walking over to Eric, I snatched his hat as he yelled for me to give it back, stuffed it full of snow, and slammed it back on his head: making everybody laugh as we continued to celebrate the return of The Stick, and the defeat of the Drow elves that would've most definitely given us problems later. We were so busy having fun and being kids, that we were completely unaware that the shit was about to hit the fan: far sooner than anyone could've anticipated or prepared for.

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