Keeper of the Spatula

Chapter 17: Hop to It

Soon, dusk fell in the grey emotionless sky which seemed to very much match the large dark castle that was set in a swampy-looking area. Inside the castle, SpongeBob was lying on the ground on his side, still unconscious, but the yellow seemed to return to his skin. He then began to open his blue eyes and yawned.

“I really needed that nap.” He said with a little smile until he noticed the predicament he was in.

His wrists and ankles were tied to together with chains; and his knapsack, cloak, shoes, socks, and Krusty Krab hat were missing- save for his pants.

“What’s going on? Where am I?” SpongeBob asked as he sat up to notice that he was in some type of dark scary dungeon with only one wooden door that had small bars on the window that let in only a little bit of light.

He then saw a shadow blocking the light from outside and noticed the door creeping open. He gasped quietly, and two of the same frogs that captured him stepped inside. They see SpongeBob lying back on the ground, supposedly still unconscious.

“When do you wreckin’ he’ll wake up, Kip?” the frog asked his partner.

The glass-eyed frog named ‘Kip’ answered in a cool sinister voice, “It must be pretty soon. He may have mostly useless valuables, but he should at least make a fine meal once he’s awakened.”

The other frog laughed. “I can’t wait to see the look on his face once he finds out. He’ll be so terrified!”

The frogs then went back out the door and shut it closed. On the ground, SpongeBob’s face was indeed full of terror that his eyes were practically bugging out. He’s probably never been so scared in his whole life.

Outside the castle, Patrick and Squidward were hiding behind a large boulder to avoid being seen by anyone who may be keeping guard near the castle.

“Alright, SpongeBob’s inside that place.” Squidward pointed out to Patrick. “How are we supposed to get in and get him out?”

“Oh, I know.” Patrick said with a confident smile. “We go up to the castle, knock on the door, and when they open it, we run in, grab SpongeBob, and run outside.”

Squidward frowned dully. “Is there any plan to be covert or even undercover in that strategy?”

Patrick scratched his chin in thought. “No. I don’t think it involves blankets.”

“Forget it,” Squidward said as he stood up and walked away. “Let’s just do this the old-fashioned way and pray to Neptune that we don’t get caught.”

“I like that plan.” Patrick gleefully said as he followed Squidward.

Soon afterwards, both Patrick and Squidward left their baggage outside and snuck in through the window of the castle. Squidward carefully softened his footsteps as he stepped on the ground. But when Patrick climbed through the window, he fell flat on his face with a loud thud.

“Get up, you incompetent idiot.” Squidward quietly scolded. “Are you trying to get us caught?”

But then, they heard tapping sounds coming from down the hallway. Squidward panics and pushes Patrick towards a door. “Quick, let’s hide in here.”

He pushes Patrick into the closet and quickly shuts the door. A frog walks past the door and looks around as if he heard something. But he shrugs his shoulders and assumes it’s nothing and keeps walking.

Once the frog was out of sight, Squidward and Patrick crept out of the closet. “Let’s just find SpongeBob and get out of here.” The octopus quickly said.

As the two walk down the hall to look for SpongeBob, Squidward saw that the hall divided into three which made it difficult to know which way to go. “Oh great,” Squidward shouted in annoyance. “He can be in any of these directions.”

“Hey, look at this.” Patrick pointed as he ran down the far right hall and picked up a green cloak on the floor.

Squidward walked over and stared at it curiously. “This looks like the cloaks we have that the mermaids gave us. The only other person who has one like this is SpongeBob.” Squidward stared down the hallway where Patrick found it. “And it looks like he could be down this way.”

They walked down the hall and came into a large room. Squidward quickly backed Patrick against the wall when he spotted a pair of frogs inside. One of them was holding SpongeBob’s knapsack. He reached inside and pulled out a pair of white underwear.

“Useless,” he tossed it aside and pulled out a book. “‘Wonderful World of Jellyfish’? Worthless!” he tossed it aside as well and took out a small photograph which was a picture of Sandy Cheeks. “What is this? A rodent? Nothing but junk!” he tossed it aside and it flew into a lit torch disintegrating instantly.

“This sponge doesn’t have anything valuable we can get rich off of.” The second frog said as he held SpongeBob’s Krusty Krab hat.”

He too tossed it aside and the hat landed in front of Patrick and Squidward. The frog then held SpongeBob’s socks and shoes. “But his footwear does look like it can fetch a few doubloons.”

The frog ransacking SpongeBob’s knapsack then pulled out a bottle of bubble soap. “Interesting.” He said. “Bubbles are worth millions around these parts.”

“Bubbles?!” the second frog exclaimed as he dropped his stuff and grabbed a hold of the bottle. “Gimme ‘em! I should be the one to sell them!”

“NO!” the frog refused to let go as he and his partner fought over the bubble soap.

As Squidward and Patrick watched this, Squidward looked at the far corner of the room to see a wooden door with bars on the window. He quietly signaled Patrick and they crawled on the floor to sneak past the fighting frogs.

Squidward slowly stood up and creaked the door open as he peeked inside to see SpongeBob alone in the dark room, laying on his side with his back turned. But then, Patrick barged in and shouted happily, “SpongeBob!”

Once he heard this, SpongeBob immediately sat up and turned to them with his eyes red and puffy from all the crying he had been doing. “Patrick, Squidward, is that really you?”

Patrick ran over and hugged him tightly. “Oh, SpongeBob, we thought you were gonna have to eat stew with those mean frogs!”

SpongeBob would’ve returned his hug if not for the chains restricting his wrists. “I was scared too, Patrick.” He said as he cried again. “…I thought I’d never see you again.”

Squidward knelt down to him, and after which, SpongeBob flung himself into his arms. “Those frogs said they were gonna kill me!” he cried into Squidward’s chest. “…And that they were gonna cook me into something called ‘fly stew’!”

As the sponge cried and cried in distress, Squidward, for once, decided pat SpongeBob on the head and offer him comfort. “There, there, SpongeBob.” He said in a voice that didn’t seem to enjoy doing this, but tried to be a bit sincere, “It’ll all be over soon. Let’s just get out of here before anyone sees us.”

SpongeBob sat up and calmed down a bit. “Okay…But what’ll we do now? Those frogs took the spatula. We can’t go to the Arctic anymore.”

“No, they didn’t.” Patrick stated as he reached into his pocket. “I have the spatula right here.” He held out the spatula, and then showed SpongeBob he had his cloak and uniform hat. “I also found some of your stuff.”

SpongeBob smiled at this and seemed to have his happiness back. “Oh, Patrick, you’re the best best friend anyone could ever have.” He again tried to stand up and hug Patrick, but his wrists and ankles were still chained together. “If only I could get these things off.”

“Hang on,” Squidward said as he reached behind his back. “I have some lotion in my backpocket.”

As Squidward took out a bottle of lotion, SpongeBob took this moment to ask, “You brought a bottle of lotion with you?”

“Of course I did.” Squidward snapped back. “How else do you think I’ve been keeping my body sanitized this whole time?”

Squidward squeezed drops of lotion on SpongeBob’s wrists and ankles, allowing him to slip out of the chains. Patrick then gave SpongeBob his cloak, hat, and spatula back. SpongeBob wished that they could’ve brought his shoes and socks back as well, but he wasn’t about to complain about it.

Squidward took the lead once again and peeked outside to see the coast was clear before they snuck out of the dungeon in order to find the exit. SpongeBob kept close to Patrick out of fear as they both followed Squidward.

As they rounded a corner, a voice shouted, “Where do you three think you’re going?”

SpongeBob and Patrick shriek in fright and grab onto each other. Squidward also became nervous as he tried to answer, “We’re just…uhhh…going out there?”

“Oh, you’re not leaving so soon, are you?” he grew a smirk across his slimy lips as he approached them.

The three scream and try to run down the hall, but the frog suddenly jumped in the air and landed in their path. “Going somewhere?” he asked with an evil laugh and a croak.

With no other choice, the three decided to run in the opposite direction while screaming. They ran past the two frogs who were earlier fighting over SpongeBob’s belongings. The two frogs stared when they noticed them until the one chasing shouted, “Don’t just stand there! After them!”

The two frogs immediately stopped what they were doing and chased after SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward. While they were running down a hall, they spotted another hallway up ahead through a doorway, but before they could get to it, one of the frogs shot his long tongue out and it wrapped around SpongeBob’s left ankle, causing the sponge to trip forward.

“NO!” SpongeBob cried out as he was dragged across the floor by the evil grinning frog.

Patrick quickly grabbed a hold of SpongeBob’s arms and began to pull him with all his strength. Squidward held the door open and shouted, “Come on! This way!”

The second frog also shot his tongue out and wrapped it around SpongeBob’s other ankle, which made it harder for Patrick to keep SpongeBob from being captured.

“Hurry up!” Squidward shouted as he waited by the door.

But Patrick refused to let go of SpongeBob and slowly walked backward while gripping SpongeBob’s arm while the frogs’ tongues were holding SpongeBob’s ankles. Patrick moved through the doorway with SpongeBob, and once the two were inside the room, Squidward slammed the door shut on the frogs’ tongues, and their muffled screams were heard from outside and their tongues loosened around SpongeBob’s ankles.

SpongeBob made a sickened expression as he sat on the ground and removed the tongues off his ankles. “Eww, thanks guys.” He said to Patrick and Squidward.

“Let’s keep moving.” Squidward immediately said as he marched forward.

Patrick helped SpongeBob back on his feet and they both followed him. Squidward peeked from behind a corner and glanced at both the left and right path to see no frogs in sight. “Which way do we go now?” Patrick asked.

“I’m not sure.” Squidward answered. “Any of these ways can lead us to those slimy frogs.”

SpongeBob pulled out the spatula from his pocket and noticed it glow for a second. “Wait a second, guys.” He told the two. “I think Hoagie knows which way to go.”

“Put that thing away, SpongeBob!” Squidward demanded. “In case you’ve forgotten, that spatula is the reason we’re in this mess.”

But SpongeBob ignored Squidward’s rambling and ran down the right hall. “He knows it’s this way!” he insisted while disappearing from sight.

“SpongeBob, get back here, you idiot!” Squidward shouted as he and Patrick ran after him.

Eventually, SpongeBob led his friends into another small room with a stone oven and stove, a table with a bunch of knives and utensils on it and a large kettle pot on top of the stove. It was obviously a kitchen, a very gloomy one at that as it didn’t look like it was cleaned on a regular basis.

“Oh, nice…this is very nice.” Squidward sarcastically said with a glare as he looked around. “I was getting hungry anyway. I guess you figured we might as well eat before we’re killed, right?”

"Oh, thank goodness." Patrick said as he walked over to a counter and picked up a large ladle and took a spoonful of liquid from the kettle and slurped it up.

He made a disgusted face. "Blah! It needs a little bit of dead beetle." Then, to the disgust of Squidward, he picked up a dead beetle from the counter and threw it into the pot before taking another slurp from the stew.

“It’s gotta be here somewhere.” SpongeBob thought out loud as he ran around the kitchen. “Hoagie’s right. We’re gonna be saved!”

“Saved?!” Squidward questioned in anger. “How in Neptune’s name are we saved? You followed the advice of a spatula that’s been dooming our lives since the day you found it! For all we know, it could be trying to kill us right now!”

“Nah ah ah, Squidward.” SpongeBob teased as he walked over to the right side of the wall. “You’re forgetting. That where there are fancy kitchens, there’s bound to be a lot of garbage, and where there’s a lot of garbage,” he pulls down a small metal door with a sliding duct inside, “There’s a garbage chute!”

At this, Squidward smiled and ran over to the chute to see SpongeBob was right about it being their ticket out of here. “I never thought I’d say this,” Squidward said to the smiling sponge, “but nice job, SpongeBob!”

SpongeBob grinned and flushed at these compliments until it was all disrupted by an icy voice, “Yeah, SpongeBob…nice job.”

The three turn to the doorway to see the lead frog, Kip, standing there with a malevolent smile on his face. “You saved us the trouble of dragging you in here ourselves. Just in time for supper.”

The frogs behind him all laughed as one of them said, “Let’s start cooking, Kip!”

SpongeBob quickly blurted, “Wait a minute, Kip!” he stood in ahead of them and put on a weak smile, trying to remain as calm as possible. “You don’t really wanna eat me, right? I mean, you already took my shoes, socks, and other personal belongings. So why not just let us go and we can all be even?”

But Kip’s response to this was to shoot his tongue out like a whip at SpongeBob as the sponge shrieked and quickly stepped to the side to avoid it.

“I’m afraid it doesn’t work that way, kid.” Kip explained in a cold sinister tone as he stared down at SpongeBob, “I always get what I want. And what I want is to be having you for eats tonight, and maybe your two friends can join us tomorrow for breakfast and lunch.”

“All right!” Patrick cheered in complete obliviousness until he looked skeptical all of a sudden. “Wait. We’re not having stew, are we? Cuz that would be a real bummer.”

“Oh please, Mr. Kip.” SpongeBob begged as held his frightened face. “Can’t we work something out? You see, I’ve been through a lot these past five days and I really don’t want to have to fight my way through anything else that wants to kill me.”

“No fighting, just surrendering.” Kip responded as he walked toward SpongeBob. “If I don’t kill you all, how else am I supposed to silence you twits about what we do?”

As Kip slowly advanced towards him, SpongeBob whimpered in fright as he backed away toward the stove. Squidward seemed quickly frightened as he tried to shrink against the wall.

“Wait!” Patrick called out. “I know just what we can give you if you let us go. A kiss!”

To this, everybody gave him strange looks. But Patrick just continued on, “My mom read me a story once that when a frog got kissed by somebody, he turned into a prince and got everything he wanted!”

Squidward, of course, didn’t look convince by it, “That has got to be the stupid-”

“That’s brilliant!” Kip shouted, now with a look of shock and amazement. “I never knew. Did you, boys?” he turned to his cohorts, and they all shake their heads in response, also surprised by this statement.

Then Kip turned around with emotion and hurt in his voice, which surprised the three, “But the truth is I’ve never been kissed by anyone. Not even by my own mum.”

SpongeBob then tried to offer some sympathy for the frog leader. “I’m sure when the time comes when you are kissed, you’ll have a lot of good and beauty in you and you’ll get everything your heart desires.”

“Uh- yeah.” Squidward hesitantly agreed. “Sure.” Then he muttered under his breath, “But I’m not doing the kissing.”

“Thanks mate,” Kip said sincerely. “That means a lot.” He wiped a tear from his real eye. “I’ll always remember that after I kill you.”

After this comment, SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward’s eyes bulge out, and the frog gang laughs evilly again as Kip shoots his long tongue out and wraps it around SpongeBob, lifting him up in the air.

“No!” SpongeBob cries out as he tries to shake loose. “No! No! No!”

Kip then dangles SpongeBob over the large kettle pot. “Any lasth worths bethore we tharth cooking?” he coldly asks.

Thinking quickly, Squidward looks on the counter and spots a red bottle sitting there. He rushes over, grabs it, and squirts red liquid on Kip’s outstretched tongue. The frog leader’s eye starts to water and the sauce burns his tongue as he cries out in pain while his gang surrounds him in concern.

His tongue drops SpongeBob on the ground, and the sponge quickly gets up and runs over to his friends. “Let’s go.” Squidward said as he and the two go to the garbage chute.

Patrick climbs in and attempts to go through, but his weight made it difficult.

SpongeBob and Squidward try to push him through, but the frogs notice them. “Hey, they’re getting away!” one of the frogs shouted.

As Squidward tried to push Patrick through, SpongeBob momentarily stops and notices a bag of flour on the table. He takes out his spatula and it glows green before firing a beam of light and making the bag explode into blinding white powder.

With the frogs blind and coughing, Patrick finally succeeds in getting through the chute, and Squidward climbs in next, followed by SpongeBob who slides through the chute after Kip’s glass eye bounces across the floor.

After making their escape, they take a large drop from the castle that resided off a cliff and land in a small pond of murky green water and scattered trash.

“Ugh…” Squidward groaned as he sat up. “We made it.”

SpongeBob lifted his face out of the dirty water and looked equally exhausted, “Yeah.”

Patrick stood up and walked looked around, “Where are we now?”

“Outside the miserable frog castle, you idiot!” Squidward bitterly responded. “Where else would we-” but then a gust of wind blew, causing him to shiver. “Brrrr…it’s so cold.”

SpongeBob held his arms as well from the cold, “It is. And it was so warm before-” then his eyes widen in realization. “It is cold. This could only mean one thing: We’re near the Arctic!”

“What?” Squidward asked in surprise.

“Yay!” Patrick cheered and clapped. “We’re finally there!”

SpongeBob and Patrick high-five and body slam in joy. Squidward just stood there and frowned dully. “Alright, alright,” he said, interrupted. “We’re almost there, happy, happy. Now let’s just get there before those frogs catch up to us.”

The two agreed and Patrick excitedly asked, “Can I scout ahead again?”

“I don’t see why not.” SpongeBob cheerfully agreed. “Want me come with you?”

“No thanks. I know exactly where I’m going.”

Patrick then ran off over the stone hills and Squidward began to get out of the dirty pond. But before he could take one step out, SpongeBob suddenly ran up and hugged him. “SpongeBob!” he shouted in annoyance. “What are you doing?”

SpongeBob looked up at him with glowing eyes and a genuine warm smile. “I just wanna thank you for saving my life back there.” He hugged him even tighter. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Squidward’s frown suddenly disappeared into a stunned look as he stared down at the grateful sponge who he despised so much. “Uh…sure.” He struggled to say. “Don’t mention it.” When SpongeBob finally let go, Squidward quickly attempted to change the subject, “We better get going if we wanna reach the Arctic.”

“You’re sure right, Squidward.” SpongeBob replied with a giggle. “Let’s go! Maybe when we get there, we can play in the nice calm pretty snow.”

He ran off to catch up to his best friend, Patrick, while Squidward stood there in the pond with a blank look on his face. But then, a small smile suddenly grew as he let out a relaxed sigh.

“Another job well done, Squiddy.” He said to himself proudly. “You are a born hero.”

From above the garbage chute, a large bag of trash suddenly plummeted down and landed right on top of Squidward, piling the hero into the murky green pond.

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