After about twenty minutes of running around in the dark, we finally reached our destination as Eric stormed up the driveway and onto the front porch of a chocolate-colored house. As the rest of us caught up with him, he gripped his staff tightly before banging on the front door until the porch-light came on. The man who answered the door had on a dark-green jacket, white dress-shirt on underneath and blue jeans.
Studying his face, I saw he had hair similar to Clyde's with black-framed glasses on his face. "Oh, hello boys." he greeted, making me realize he had the same voice as the person that spoke to Clyde off-camera in his video. "Can we speak to Clyde please?!" Eric demanded in a question, not really taking 'No' for an answer. "Oh, Clyde's out in the backyard playing with his little friends." Clyde's dad said as Eric and the rest of the boys stormed past him without even being invited inside.
"Pardon us, sir." I apologized, shocking the man as I politely-but hurriedly followed the rest of the boys through the house and out into the backyard: though I couldn't help but wonder what he meant when he said 'little friends'. Stepping onto the grass, I had to do a triple-take as the rest of the boys stared in shock and awe at what had become of Clyde's backyard. Across a water-filled moat: complete with inflatable alligators, was a four-story treehouse that had been decorated with spires of spikes, Tiki torches, black and red flags with white skulls painted on them, while rope ladders stretched upwards to the higher levels. Higher up the tree, chains wove around the branches and underside of the treehouse: glowing eerily in the torchlight as the middle level of the treehouse caught my eye.
It looked like any other treehouse, but it was painted purple and red like the rest of it with giant red cardboard spikes that appeared to 'grow' from the upper sides, while a pair of red flags blew in the wind from a couple miniature towers. Raising my gaze higher, I saw the same red spikes come to a stop around a balcony with a green curtain behind it. On the sides of the balcony, were two more of those black and red flags that showed up nicely with the half-dozen Tiki torches surrounding the top. The entire thing was incredible: making me wish I had been invited to go inside.
That changed however as Clyde (dressed in his evil Warlord glory) stepped out onto the balcony and leered down at us. "Come and get it losers!" he yelled with his own version of an evil laugh, making Eric glare back up at him before pointing his staff at him. "You can't do that, Clyde! You're lost in Time and Space!" Eric yelled back, making a glare of my own appear on my face as I spotted multiple pairs of eyes glinting in the torchlight from within the shadows. "No I'm not!" Clyde denied with a smug smirk, pissing off Eric even more. "Yeah you ARE asshole!" he yelled as Clyde raised both of his arms up with a maniacal sneer on his face. "Army of Darkness! Defend the Fortress!" he called, causing a gang of kids to show themselves from the shadows and crevices of the massive treehouse.
Looking at Clyde's army, I saw many of the kids looked like vampires, while others looked like they could've come from a Blackwatch family. The entire army had nearly fifty members: more than both the human and the elf armies combined: not leaving good odds in our favor. To make things even worse, suddenly standing by Clyde's side: stood Craig, shocking all of us on the ground level. "Craig…? Craig you're on MY side!" Eric yelled as he slammed his staff on the snowy ground, making a small twinge of anger come to life in me at his betrayal.
"You don't have authority anymore, The Keeper of The Stick said so." Craig said, drawing a smile from Clyde as he held The Stick close to him before glaring down at us. "This can't be happening." Kyle said in denial, making me almost feel bad: but decided to hold off on doing that until I came face-to-face with the both of them. "GOD DAMMIT I HAVE FUCKING AUTHORITAY!" Eric screamed in rage as he stomped his feet, startling Alex as I let out a heavy sigh at this whole situation. "Sorry Warriors and Wizards, I'd love to invite you IN to my Fortress of Darkness: but I'm afraid you're TOO LATE!" Clyde said, making me suddenly gulp at the realization of what he was talking about.
'Oh…shit.' I thought as the rest of the boys' faces became confused. "Too late? What'dya mean we're TOO LATE?" Stan question as the man in the white tie I saw at the PTA meeting and a woman with blonde hair angrily came storming into the backyard. "THERE you are Butters! Do you know what time it is mister?! It is WAY PAST YOUR BEDTIME!" the man yelled, causing a petrified look to appear on the paladin's face as he shrank away from the pissed-off adults. "Oh shit, its past our bedtime?!" Eric whispered to himself as the rest of the kids quickly dashed off for home as fast as their feet could carry them. Glaring up at Clyde, I swore I would retrieve The Stick and rub his face in it as his 'Army of Darkness' crumbled under his feet, along with his kingdom as I picked up Alex and sprinted off for home.
Unfortunately for Alex, as soon as I had put him down on the sidewalk: did mom and dad cross his path. Since I'm supposed to be grounded, I jumped on top of a nearby house to avoid being seen, though I did feel bad for my brother as my dad yelled at him. As I watched my dad pick Alex up, I quickly made a mad-dash for my house, climbed up the tree, and dove into my room before my parents got home. Taking off my costume and hiding it under my bed, I changed into my red plaid PJs before going to check on Mysterion. Quietly peeking in the guest room, I saw that he was STILL asleep: giving me time to collect his torn costume and sewing kit off the floor.
Sitting in the chair next to the desk, I turned the shirt inside-out and began sewing it back together. It didn't take me long to repair it, though I was tempted to have my mom wash it before I gave it back to the vigilante as I heard my dad scold Alex before locking him in our room. "Ouch." I heard from near me, making me realize Mysterion had finally decided to wake up. Glancing over at him, I watched as he took in the room he was in with a dreary look on his face before quickly sitting up: only to forget he was wounded as he flopped back down with a hiss.
"Hey there." I said softly, making him jump as he finally noticed I was there. "Where am I?" he questioned in a groggy voice, making me snicker half-heartedly at him. "You are in my house: I couldn't take you to the hospital because you would've died before I got you there." I told him as he managed to sit up without hurting himself. "So? I die all the time and come back the next day, why bother saving me?" he asked, making me swallow in shame before glancing out the window. "Even if you DID come back the next day: I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if my best friend died because of me. And that's another thing: why didn't you listen to me when I told you to run?! You wouldn't be ripped to shreds right now if you did." I said, anger leaking out of my voice as Mysterion glanced down at the blanket he was wrapped in.
"Same reason you saved me I suppose, even though I feel like shit and got my ass handed to me." he said as I turned back to him and handed him pain meds and a cup of water. "No offense, but you look like shit: though I guess you could look a lot worse, considering it was a Hunter that did that to you." I said as he narrowed his eyes at me in a scowl before checking out his bandages. "You did this?" he asked as he poked the bandages, only to flinch as he touched one of the healing wounds.
"I did. I was pretty much the only one that knew how to put you back together…though you're going to have a wicked scar from that little act of heroism. You can leave the bandages off in a week, but leave the stitches alone." I warned as he unwrapped the bandages and frowned at the sight of his gruesome injuries. "How long was I out?" he questioned as he took a drink of water. "Two days. Glad you woke up when you did: I was starting to think you went into a coma." I told him as his eyes widened as he threw away the empty cup and made to get out of bed.
"Karen!" he yelled suddenly, making me jump into his path and prevent him from moving. "What is it Mysterion?" I asked as he frantically tried to get past me, not caring how much his wounds hurt him. "Karen! I have to make sure she's alright!" he growled with a barely-concealed desperate look on his face as he tried to get past me again. "You stay put and I'LL go check on your friend. Just tell me where to go and I'll make sure she's okay." I said as he glared at me before trying to shove his way past me. "She doesn't KNOW you! I'm her Guardian Angel: it's MY job to watch out for her! Now let me past: or you and I are no longer partners!" he snarled, making my eyes widen in shock before narrowing into their own glare.
"Let me AT LEAST give you a once-over and help you down the stairs, I don't want to have to sew you back up just because you decided to be a stubborn jackass." I snapped as we stared at each other, before Mysterion gave in: allowing me to check and see if any of his wounds were getting infected or losing stitches. Satisfied that I could find neither, I gave him a warning look before putting more alcohol and ointment on: smirking mischievously as he kept flinching when I touched certain places. When I was done with that, I made sure he was paying attention as I showed him how to change his own bandages as I re-wrapped his torso in clean gauze.
"Why Mysterion: I never knew you were ticklish." I teased, laughing at his irritated scowl before I handed him his shirt back: only to hiss in pain, catching his attention. "Are you alright?" he questioned, concern clear in his blue eyes as I winced: finally feeling the after-effects of my encounter with Blackwatch. "Normally I would do this myself but, could you…help me with something?" I asked, embarrassed for asking him to help me: ESPECIALLY with what I needed him to.
"What?" he asked suspiciously as I pulled out a heavy-duty magnet out from the desk drawer, as well as a deathly-sharp pocket knife that was the 'head' of a Xenomorph from Alien. Flipping open the claw-shaped blade with a loud 'snap', I flipped it in the air and handed it to him as he stared at it cautiously. "Blackwatch found me today while I was playing with my friends. I told them to hide while I dealt with them, that particular squad won't bother anyone again…but I forgot what a bitch it was to be shot." I said as his eyes widened before he rushed over and literally checked countless times for bullet holes.
"You won't find them if that's what you're looking for. The virus helps, but makes it hard to remove them: that's why I need your help with the ones I can't reach." I said as I willed my hidden body suit to retreat before I took the blade to my skin and opened myself up: ignoring how Mysterion cringed as I used the magnet to collect at least sixty rounds from my torso, arms and legs. "Holy shit." Mysterion gasped as he took in the brass bullets that littered the floor before I handed the blade to him. 'This is gonna be fun.' I thought sarcastically as Mysterion eyed the Xenomorph blade like it was the plague.
"I don't like it either, trust me when I tell you that: but this is the only way to get rid of them. Don't worry: you won't hurt me, the virus will repair whatever you do: which is how I became full of lead in the first place." I said as he reluctantly took it from me and did as I requested, though I could tell he hated every second of it. By the time he was done, a total of nearly one-hundred hollow-point bullets covered the floor. "I can't imagine being shot this many times at once." he muttered as I swept them up and tossed them in a plastic bag before helping Mysterion back into his shirt.
"I didn't even really feel it until now, I'll take it as a blessing though: especially considering the one who did this to me wants me back." I said as I draped his arm over my shoulders and helped him walk down the stairs. Before he could reply, I shushed him as I wasn't finished with what I was saying to him. "But that's okay, let him come get me: that way I can put an end to his pitiful existence for doing this to me and who knows how many others." I said as I opened the front door and helped him onto the front porch.
"Revenge won't solve anything: if anything it will make things worse, it won't make you feel any better or fix what has been done." he warned with a wince as he accidentally stretched his stitches as he fixed his hood. "Maybe not, but it will prevent him from continuing his sick, twisted ways. Thank you for your help Mysterion, I appreciate it. And in case you're wondering: no, I didn't look under your mask: I have too much respect for you to do that." I said, shocking the vigilante into almost falling over, had I not grabbed hold of his arm to steady him.
"Thank you for all you have done, I won't forget your kindness when it wasn't needed: as well as you leaving my identity a secret." he said as I grinned at him, pleased that he was opening up more and trusting me like a friend instead of seeing me as a danger to the town like he did when we met. "You sure you're up to leave?" I asked as he winced before nodding once, turned around and disappeared into the darkness, leaving me to wonder how the hell he does that as I shut and locked the front door again before heading upstairs: hoping to catch some very much-needed sleep for once in my unnatural life.