Fires of Fury: Part Two
Chaos. If Perry had to choose just one word to describe what was happening around him, it would be chaos.
The teal platypus was forced to duck from building to building, as townspeople were fleeing into the streets with panicked shouts, running into each other and struggling to find a place to take cover. Perry halted beside a badly-smoking building and took a moment to peek through the window. He could not see through the thick haze and activated the fan on his fedora. The air conjured by the fan blew the smoke away, revealing an ashy, but empty room.
It seemed, at least, that the residents of Gravity Falls were relatively quick to react to any given situation, even if they were rather oblivious to what was ultimately going on.
A wicked cackle sounded from above, sending chills down his spine despite the intense heat that pulsed through the dry air.
The slim teenager hovering in the air bared little resemblance to Candace. Lavernia's spirit had completely consumed her body, turning red hair into wild raven locks and blue eyes into a deadly red. Her nails were long and sharp, and whenever she smiled in delight her pointed teeth were exposed. A long, flared red dress hung from her pale body.
"Burn, baby!" she crooned, raising her palms. "Burn!"
Three small fireballs formed in front of her, orange and red flames swirling in a hypnotizing pattern. Perry's eyes widened and he dove behind a trash can for cover, paws gripping his fedora as the wind from the blast roared over him. The flames rose high, glowing embers floating in the air and landing on the roofs of nearby houses and shops. Perry straightened, thinking quickly on what he could do to quell the growing fire.
"I'm on it!"
Perry pressed against the edge of the building and watched as the burly child charged onto the scene, wielding a water gun. The device was made of metal and had a massive plastic tank to contain the water. There were a multitude of different-shaped nozzles, which were switched when Buford turned a dial on the back of the water pistol. Water streamed out in a flat spray at the base of the fire, quickly extinguishing it.
"Nice!" cheered Isabella, jogging onto the scene with Baljeet trailing behind her. They are also armed with homemade water guns, painted in their signature colours; Isabella with pink, Baljeet with dark blue and Buford with dark green.
Lavernia snarled. "Little brats!"
She attempted to roast the trio with her fire, but the blasts missed them by inches. It seemed that no matter how hard she tried, she was unable to harm them. Isabella took care of the newly formed fire, eliminating it as quickly as it had started.
"Leave this town alone!" cried Baljeet.
Lavernia sneered. "Make me."
She flew off to cause havoc somewhere else, leaving the three to take care of the burning buildings.
'Looks like things are taken care of here,' thought Perry with a slight smile. There was a bubble of concern within him, as he still did not know of the location of his boys. But he knew they were in no danger of being targets of Lavernia and he had confidence that they would find a way to bring Candace back in control of her own body.
Right now he needed to find Heinz.
He continued moving, darting across the porch of the house next door and vaulting over the wooden railing. He took the dirt path that led to the inn and nearly crashed into his nemesis, who was bolting towards town. Perry sidestepped Heinz to avoid a collision and the man stumbled to a stop, the Magic-Contain-Inator 2.0 in his arms.
"Perry the Platypus!" he exclaimed in relief. "Man, am I glad to see you! What the heck is going on?"
Perry pointed in the direction of town. Heinz followed the gesturing paw and spotted a figure flying in the sky, darting around the thick columns of smoke. "Yeah, I thought as much," he said heavily. "I figured I'd get out before she set the inn on fire. What do we do?"
The platypus thought intently for a minute. Isabella, Buford and Baljeet were hard at work combating the fires, but he knew it was too much for the three kids to handle. Phineas and Ferb were no doubt after Lavernia and he wasn't sure where the twins were. But he had the Magic-Contain-Inator, and if he could find a way to get it to the kids they could figure out how to use it in order to seal Lavernia away forever.
He extended his paws and let out a chatter. Blinking, Heinz handed over his invention and tilted his head to the side. "What are you going to do with that? You can't even talk."
Perry rolled his eyes, strapping the device to his back and sticking the remote underneath his fedora. He chattered dismissively before pointing at Heinz's lab coat, where he could see One peeking out from his pocket.
"This?" asked Heinz, fishing out the journal. "What do you want me to do with this?"
Perry gestured towards the smoky landscape in the distance and Heinz quickly caught on. "You want me to use the spells in One to fight the forest fires?"
"Yes, but keep it on the down-low," cautioned Perry, lowering his paw so it was hovering an inch above the ground to emphasize what he was saying. "Try not to let anyone see you."
Heinz nodded, and wondered once more if his ability to understand platypuses was something that should be written about. "Keep out of sight, use spells to fight the fires. Got it. If I don't make it back it means I've been roasted alive by Lavernia."
He darted off and Perry hoped that the man would be able to stay out of the fire demon's wrath. He stood in the middle of the path, debating on what his next move should be, when he heard a rustle coming from the bushes adjacent to the path. Whirling on his heel, Perry watched in surprise as Waddles tumbled out of the bushes, covered in ash.
"Are you okay?" the platypus chattered in concern.
"For the most part," the pig snorted, shaking himself off. "Lavernia almost blew the Shack apart, but we got out in time. The twins are searching for your friends." Waddles noticed the odd contraption strapped to Perry and cocked his head to the side. "What is that?"
"It's an invention made by a frenemy of mine," replied Perry. "It contains magic and it should be enough power to put Lavernia back in her prison."
"Geez, you're really on top of things, aren't you?" asked Waddles in amusement.
"Not entirely," returned Perry. "I'm not sure how I can get this to the kids without being seen. I don't want to just leave it somewhere and vulnerable to Lavernia's attacks."
"I'll take it to them."
Perry hesitated. "I don't know…"
Waddles smiled. "Listen, I don't know what your line of work is and I'm not going to ask. But it's obvious that you're pretty secretive about what you do. It doesn't matter if I get caught. Weird things are always happening in this town. I'm always bringing things I find to Mabel, anyway. They're not going to think much of it."
Admitting to himself that the pig had a point, Perry nodded. "Thanks, Waddles."
"No problem. Come on, they were heading into town last I saw them."
The two animals hurried off, intent on delivering a very important package that would change the course of the battle.
The air clogged with smoke and excruciating heat, Baljeet felt the sweat drip down his face as he made his way through a blackened living room. Desperate whimpers spurred him on and he came upon a hallway filled with black smoke. He could dimly make out orange flames flickering at the end of the hall and he raised his water gun, extinguishing the last of the fire.
"Hello?" he called. "Is anyone in here?"
The door at the right end of the hall slowly opened and two girls poked their heads out. "Who are you?" the heavy-set girl asked, and Baljeet was momentarily startled by how deep her voice was.
"Baljeet," he introduced. "I am here to help you out."
Awed, the two girls filed out into the hall, the carpet scorched black, and the three hurried out of the house. "Thank you very much. I am Candy," the Asian girl introduced.
"Grenda," her friend spoke, reaching out and shaking Baljeet's free hand wildly. "We thought we were goners."
Baljeet quelled a grimace and retracted his hand. "It is no problem. I-"
They all screamed in fright as car across the way was struck by an intense fireball and burst into flames. Baljeet gripped the handle of his water pistol and pulled on the trigger, coating the flaming vehicle with streams of cold water.
He winced harshly as another fireball exploded just to his right, an orange and red inferno rising above him and washing him in heat. He focussed his attention on the vehicle, for he knew it would be bad news if the flames reached the gas tank.
"Candy, help me with this hose!"
Baljeet snuck a glance over his shoulder, a smile crossing his face as he spotted the two girls taking hold of a nearby hose and using it to control the roaring flames next to him. Soon both fires were out and Baljeet said gratefully, "Thank you."
"It is the least we can do," said Candy. "Do you need any help?"
Before Baljeet could answer, his name was called, drawing his attention elsewhere. He smiled in relief at the sight of Isabella and Buford hurrying towards him with the twins, their uncle and two other unfamiliar people.
"Mabel!" Candy and Grenda exclaimed and rushed to embrace the brunette.
"We need to find Phineas and Ferb," said Isabella firmly.
"But what about the fires?" asked Baljeet in worry.
"We'll take care of it," promised the redhead.
"Baljeet, this is Wendy and Soos," introduced Dipper quickly. "They're all caught up on why fire is raining down from the sky."
"My mind was blown," said Soos.
Noticing that Wendy and Soos already held the water guns of his friends, Baljeet held his out to Grenda. "Yes, you can help. Thank you."
"Sweet!" exclaimed Grenda, taking the water gun.
"Okay, while they take care of that, we need to find Phineas and Ferb and-" Dipper suddenly cut himself off and his eyes widened. "Scatter!"
Baljeet barely had a moment to register the fireball careening towards them before Buford grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and hauled him to the ground. The fire rushed above them, causing the hair on the backs of their necks to stand up, and exploded into the trees on the other side of the street.
"Dang it!" snapped Wendy and quickly got to her feet. She, Soos and Grenda immediately went to work with their water guns and Candy assisted with the hose. But the fire was growing rapidly and the group was finding it hard to keep up with it.
"Oh, this is not good!" cried Dipper.
Mabel looked around and spotted some people cowering in smouldering buildings, in alleys and between houses. "Hey! Grab all the water you can and help us out!"
The people were startled, but Stan's sharp glower sent them hastily into action. Soon people were approaching with their own water pistols, extensive hoses and buckets of water being handed down an assembly line.
"Alright!" cheered Soos when the fire died away. "Teamwork!"
Mabel pumped her fist in the air. "That's right! Don't let your town be destroyed by a fire freak! Stand up and fight! Let's save our town!"
Isabella watched in bemusement as the townspeople cheered and raced to get more water. The ranks of the ragtag fire brigade had swelled considerably, allowing the group to move forwards in their search for Phineas and Ferb.
"Grunkle Stan, you don't have to come with us," said Dipper, looking over his shoulder at his uncle, who jogged steadily behind him.
Stan snorted. "Are you kidding? There's no way I'm leaving you alone to fight a fire demon."
"Yay, family activity!" cheered Mabel.
The group skidded around the corner, where they spotted Phineas and Ferb standing in the middle of the road, directly below Lavernia.
"Come on, Candace!" Phineas was shouting. "I know you're still in there! You're stronger than she is!"
Lavernia sneered. "Candace is gone now. I suggest you accept that and leave me be, before you end up burning like the rest of this wretched place!"
She snapped her fingers and Isabella screamed in horror as a fierce fiery vortex surrounded the two boys, roaring high into the sky. Lavernia laughed manically and soared off to create more damage and destruction.
"Phineas! Ferb!" cried Isabella, dashing forwards.
"Hold on, kid," said Stan sharply, taking the girl by the elbow and pulling her back. "You can't just dash towards an inferno empty handed and expect to do something. We need water."
"Right! Water, where's-?"
Her frantic speech halted and she stared with wide eyes at the thick grey rainclouds that formed above them. A steady downpour started, drenching them all and quelling the swirling red and orange flames. It was soon extinguished and Phineas and Ferb darted towards their friends, shaken but otherwise okay.
"That didn't work," said Phineas dejectedly.
"Come on, we should hide somewhere and come up with a plan," said Dipper.
Stan glanced around and spotted the post office. Besides a burnt exterior, it seemed to be stable. "In there!"
The group dashed inside and Stan, with Buford's help, barricaded the door and window. Dipper pulled out Three and flipped to the page that held Lavernia's information. "Okay, I have the spell to trap her. Before we do that, we need to find a way to keep Lavernia in one place so you guys have the opportunity to get Candace back into her body."
Isabella rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "But how can we do that? Lavernia is flying around like a hyperactive bird. She's certainly not going to pay us much attention, not when she knows she's not able to hurt us."
Mabel grinned widely. "I think I have the solution."
Phineas, Ferb, Buford, Baljeet and Isabella regarded her with intrigue. Stan and Dipper had a good idea of what was coming, and only shook their heads when Mabel hollered, "Grappling hook!" and whipped it out from underneath her pajama shirt.
Dipper crossed his arms. "You sleep with that?"
Mabel gave him a pointed look. "Like you're one to talk, Mr. My-Journal-Is-My-Baby."
"No comment," her twin grumbled.
Phineas studied the grappling hook and he smiled hopefully. "Hey, that's a great idea! We can use that to bring Lavernia to the ground."
"Yeah, but Miss Pyromaniac can burn through those in a snap," said Stan bluntly. "What do we do about that?"
"Well, Candace got really sick the day it was cold and cloudy," said Phineas slowly.
"Then maybe all we have to do is lower Candace's body temperature," exclaimed Isabella. "Lavernia doesn't have her immortal body anymore. She has to deal with the mortal limitations of her human host. If Candace is freezing, there's nothing Lavernia can do about it."
"Genius!" declared Mabel.
"Then we'll take care of that," said Stan, gesturing between himself, Dipper, Buford and Baljeet. "The rest of you can wrangle the fire demon."
"There's still one crucial thing we have to work out," pointed out Dipper.
"Of course," grumbled Stan. "It's never easy."
"Could be worse," said Mabel in a soft voice to her brother. "Bill could show up."
Dipper managed to mask his horror in order not to frighten their younger friends. "Don't even joke," he hissed.
"Oh yeah," spoke Phineas, brow furrowed. "We need the magic in order to put Lavernia away."
Buford blinked and looked around. "What the heck is that?"
"Waddles!" shrieked Mabel, racing over to the door and hastily pushing the desk away so that she could open it. Her beloved pig hurried inside and Mabel cuddled him tightly. "I'm so sorry I left you! I got distracted!"
Buford snorted slightly and glanced at Phineas and Ferb. "Guess you're not the only ones with an odd pet."
"Mabel, now is not the time-wait." Dipper's eyes widened. "What the heck is he carrying?"
His sister wrestled the contraption off of her pig's back. She studied the glowing blue swirling around the container. "Ooh, pretty!"
"Where does your pig find these things?" asked Stan in bemusement.
"He's a scavenger. He's good at finding stuff," said Mabel seriously.
Dipper flipped quickly through Three, coming upon a page he remembered reading before. It was about a specific kind of rocks found in the caves of Gravity Falls, the ones across the lake. "That blue stuff is magic!" he exclaimed excitedly. "It comes from the caves, taken out of the rocks. If you can find a way to utilize it and know the proper spells, the possibilities are almost endless!"
"Is anyone else bothered by this coincidence?" asked Buford, crossing his arms.
Isabella glance sideways at him. "Were you bothered when Perry somehow made it all the way to Africa?"
Buford blinked, thought and then conceded, "Fair point."
Stan took the contraption from his niece and examined it. "Nope. I don't have a clue."
Rolling his eyes, Dipper snatched it and strapped it to his back. "It's like a backpack made to hold magic," he mused, adjusting into a comfortable stance. "But how does it come out?"
Mabel idly scratched Waddles' head as she picked up a purple remote, which was lying on the floor next to her feet. Curious, she pressed the green button and they all watched in amazement as slots opened up on the top and bottom of the device, letting the magic waft into the air.
"Close it!" instructed Dipper, and Mabel quickly pressed the red button. The slots sealed shut again and the blue magic swirled gently into the air before eventually dissipating.
Stan glanced down at Mabel. "What's the other button do?"
Mabel pressed the third button but nothing happened. "Huh. Weird."
"So by some grand stroke of luck, we have the magic we need in order to put Lavernia away," spoke Baljeet. "But we are not witches."
"We have to try," said Phineas firmly. "I believe this will work. We just have to decide how we're going to use it."
But Dipper did not get to finish his thought, for the wall beside the door blew apart, sending debris and bright embers flying in all directions. They all screamed as they crashed in various spots around the post office lobby. Stan groaned and slowly climbed up, balancing himself on the edge of a half-mangled counter. His eyes zeroed in on Mabel, who was now cowering against the floor as Lavernia loomed over her.
"You people are very stubborn," said Lavernia softly, red eyes roaming around the room. "Here I am trying to have some fun and prolong this destruction for my amusement, but you seem to be intent on coercing anyone you can in standing up to me."
She glanced over her shoulder for a brief moment, eyes narrowing as she pictured the dozens of townspeople putting out the fires she so lovingly created for destruction. But she would deal with them later. There were some bigger threats to contend with.
"I cannot touch you," she said suddenly, startling Phineas, Ferb and their friends as she swivelled around to look at them. "As infuriating as that it, I realize it is something outside of my control. But perhaps there is something I can do to…coerce you into cooperation."
She reached down and grabbed Mabel by the collar of her sweater, hauling her into the air. The brunette thrashed madly but stopped when a sharp nail dug into her neck.
"Mabel!" cried Dipper, starting forwards but faltering when Lavernia turned flashing eyes onto him.
Stan straightened sharply, eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. "You better put her down right now or we're going to have a problem."
Lavernia smiled tauntingly. "Then I guess we're going to have a problem."
"Come on Candace," pleaded Phineas, stepping forwards. "This isn't you. You're the only one who can truly stop her. You can't give her control!"
Lavernia stiffened as she felt a stirring within her. She cursed this weakness, wishing she had chosen a host that was not so attached to anyone. But she could not stop, not now, and could only work quickly.
"It's too late to save your sister," she said softly. "And unless you try to cross me again, you'll still be able to save his."
Dipper felt the world go dark as Lavernia plunged a hand through Mabel's chest. His sister's eyes widened in shock, lips parted slightly in surprise, before her face froze in that stunned expression. Her body went stiff and lifeless and Lavernia carelessly dropped the girl, a light pink glowing orb in her grasp.
Stan dashed forwards, catching Mabel before she struck the ground. Dipper did not hear Waddles' furious oinking, Buford's shouts, Stan's threats or the screams of the others. He only heard a loud rushing sound in his ears as Lavernia tucked Mabel's life force into the pocket of her dress.
"Leave me to my destruction, and you'll get her life force back," said Lavernia coldly. "Try to stop me and she'll end up with the rest of them-in my own body."
"It's not your body!" snapped Phineas, ice-cold fire blazing in his dark blue eyes. "It's Candace's!"
Lavernia cocked her head to the side, a curious smile on her lips.
And then she was gone, but not before setting the building aflame with the others trapped inside.