"No." Benson said firmly, a frown plastered upon his spherical face.
"Please, Benson! I promise I won't ever slack off again! You've got to let me do this!" Rigby wailed.
"No." Benson repeated, giving the poor raccoon an unblinking, disapproving stare.
"If you won't let me do it…then I'll quit!" Rigby shouted, impulsively, enraged at his boss.
"Go ahead." Benson said, rolling his eyes.
"I'm not bluffing…I'm actually going to leave…" Rigby said slowly, as he slowly worked his way towards the exit of the park. It was just his luck that Benson had to catch onto his plan as he mowed the field.
"Then do it." Benson said, affirming his position. Honestly, the raccoon was an undesirable slacker in the first place. He wouldn't be much of a loss.
"Fine then! If that's how much you care about my hard-working at this lousy place, then so be it!" Rigby screamed, before dropping to all fours and running out of the park. Benson watched the raccoon run off, and scratched his head. Another being approached, and saw the two unattended mowers.
"Oh hi, Benson. I was just in the restroom…and stuff." The figure said, picking up his mower and resuming his job, before noticing something strange. The blue jay named Mordecai turned to ask Benson where his partner had gone, but the candy machine had already left.
Rigby arrived at the doors of the "ULTRA SLAMMUH!" headquarters. Walking in, he saw a small waiting room filled with people and objects of all sorts. Taking his place on the floor, because the few chairs in the room had been taken, Rigby turned around and asked a dark brown bird about how long the wait would be. The bird stood rather tall, taller than Mordecai had ever been.
"Oh, I don't know. We'll start whenever Skull Master arrives, I guess." He said softly. The raccoon nodded, before shifting into a more comfortable position. He simply couldn't wait for the coming events.
"He WHAT?" Mordecai cried out, staring at his boss in disbelief.
"Rigby quit. Deal with it. From now on, you'll be working with Muscle Man and Fives until we can get a new worker to take that slacker's place." Benson responded, still unnaturally calm.
"No way! You could've easily convinced him to stay!"
"Deal with it, Mordecai. He's gone!" Benson said, tensing up.
"You idiot, now I'm never going to see my best friend again!"
"If it means that much to you, then you can quit too and find your little friend." Benson said, his face turning a strange shade of red, before he stood up and grinded his teeth.
"I'm going to bring him back, Benson." Mordecai said.
"It's too late! No matter what, I'm never hiring that raccoon again! He was a thorn in my side every day that he was here! Unless you want to meet the same fate, then I suggest you GET. TO. WORK!" Benson screamed, flipping the table.
Mordecai stared at his boss in shock.
"Fine." He muttered, before walking out of the office and slamming the door behind him. However, he had no intention of meeting Muscle Man and Fives. Instead, he headed towards a place where he could feel safe and process everything. The coffee shop.
Margaret came up to the saddened blue day, before handing him some steaming coffee in a Styrofoam cup.
"You look down. What's wrong?" she asked, before taking a seat next to him.
"It's Rigby. He freaking quit the job just to enter some stupid Skull Master tournament!" Mordecai cried out, angered. Margaret suddenly tensed up, before looking down at her lap.
"Eileen left too. She wanted to compete in the Skull Master for no apparent reason. It was so freaky, seeing her so obsessed about something that would tear us apart." The red, kind bird said softly. Mordecai put his hand on her shoulder to help settle her.
"Perhaps we can stop this! Maybe the competitors haven't left yet. Let's go the headquarters and get them out of there, just long enough so they miss the buses!"
"That's brilliant! I'm sure Eileen will agree friendship is more important than any stupid tournament."
And with that, the two birds left the coffee shop, hearts set on saving their friends.
At the Skull Master headquarters, Rigby and a few other waiters began a game of Mafia.
"Mafia, please choose your targets." The tall, brown bird from earlier stated.
"Good. Detectives, who would you like to know about?" the bird then said. Rigby lifted his head up and looked around. He pointed at the teenager sitting directly next to him. The brown bird nodded.
"Alright. And all the doctors are dead. So, here's what happened—" the bird started.
"I know who the mafia is!" Rigby said excitedly.
"Wait, Rigby! Overnight, while you were brushing your teeth, suddenly, you got abducted by aliens that worked for the mafia. They dissected you horrendously and killed you, before donating your organs to the headmaster of the mafia organization." The brown bird said.
"The mafia killed me?" Rigby squeaked out.
"That would be affirmative." The bird responded.
"Ah, this game blows anyways! It was the teenager all along!" Rigby yelled, before storming off. Meanwhile, a mole who had fallen asleep while waiting woke up and saw her dream walk off towards a secluded corner.
"Hi there, Rigby." Her voice rang out, startling the upset male.
"Eileen! You like Skull Master?" Rigby said, shocked.
"Rigby!" another voice said before Eileen could reply. Mordecai and Margaret rushed forwards.
"We came to tell you—" Margaret began, before the rooms lights all went out, leaving everybody in darkness.
"What the-?" Mordecai blurted out. A small green light illuminated the center of the room. Any contestants waiting there were suddenly tossed aside by some invisible force. Then, rock music started playing, with emphasis on electric guitars. The green light suddenly flashed, filling the whole room, causing everyone to close their eyes to shield them from the sudden bright intensity. When everyone once more opened their eyes, they saw a new figure in the middle of the room.
"Greetings, chaps! I am your Skull Master!" The figure called out, with a grin. It had a pure white face, with one eye closed and a red line running over the eyelid, and the other eye a pitch black abyss. It was wearing a leather jacket, with no shirt, so its muscular pure white chest was exposed. Its hands were covered in pure black gloves, studded with rubies on every knuckle. The Skull Master's hair was long and black, stretching to the base of its neck. Instantly, everyone in the room except for Mordecai and Margaret started chanting: "SKULL MASTER! SKULL MASTER!"
The being then grinned, and snapped its fingers. Mordecai looked out the glass doors that led in and out of the building, and saw ten buses appear out of nowhere, lining the road next to the headquarters. Each bus was black, with two green flames painted over the top and bottom.
Instantly, everyone rushed towards the door, while the Skull Master levitated in the center of the room, above the crowd performing a mad rush. Mordecai and Margaret held their friends back.
"Come oooon!" Rigby whined.
"No, dude. You're not getting on one of those buses." Mordecai said. The Skull Master turned and noticed Mordecai and Margaret holding their friends back. He floated over towards them, before flashing the four a smile.
"'Ey, mate, why are you holding these competitors back?" he asked, and Mordecai just noticed that he had a strong British accent.
"Well, mister Skull Master sir, these guys have jobs that they can't lose." He said.
"And they're our best friends. Having them leave for six months would tear us apart. We don't want to lose them." Margaret said, while tightening her grip on Eileen.
"Oh, please. After you compete, I can hook you up with some mates that would love to hire them for a job." The Skull Master said simply, tossing his head upwards and back down, to let his hair flip.
"I know you mean well, but we're not letting them leave." Mordecai said.
"Why don't you chaps jus' leave with 'em?" the Skull Master asked, before snapping his fingers. In an instant, Rigby and Eileen had disappeared.
"What did you do to them?" Mordecai cried out.
"Why don't you see for yourself, mate?" the Skull Master said merrily, before pointing out the door. Mordecai and Margaret rushed outside, before noticing Rigby and Eileen on a bus.
"Wait! I don't want to go anymore!" Rigby cried out, pounding on the bus wall.
"Me neither!" Eileen whimpered.
Their voices were muffled, but Mordecai and Margaret could understand what they were saying.
"See? Now, let them go!" Mordecai yelled at the Skull Master.
"Well, well, well…" said a voice as four figures approached. Muscle Man, Hi-5, Benson, and Skips.
"Mordecai, you're joining the tournament too? Then I guess…YOU'RE FIRED!" Benson cried out, his face turning red hot.
"No, Benson. I'm not joining! It's a misunderstanding!" Mordecai said, trying to save himself.
"Well, he'll be joinin'. He can get a much better job than you've given 'im." The Skull Master said, before snapping his fingers. Mordecai vanished and in an instant, he was in the bus, in the seat behind Rigby and Eileen.
"NO!" Mordecai cried out.
The Skull Master grinned, before peering at Margaret.
"Now, young lady, would you like to join your friends?" he asked, coldly.
"You…monster." Margaret said, glaring at him.
"Monster? Somebody needs to teach you some manners, young lady." The Skull Master said, before picking up Margaret. His arms were like steel bars.
"Hey! Not cool, bro." Muscle Man said angrily.
"Actually, it's pretty cool." Hi-5's said, shyly. Everyone stared at him, and the scene went silent.
"Well, it's a pretty evil thing that the dude's doing, but his powers are indeed very cool." The ghost said, feeling awkward and misplaced.
"I like this ghost." The Skull Master said, before shifting himself so that his left arm pinned Margaret to his chest and his right arm was free. He snapped using his free arm, and Muscle Man vanished.
"Where'd he go?" Hi-5's demanded, but the Skull Master was silent. With one more snap, each bus vanished in a poof of green light and headed back towards where they came from.
The Skull Master snapped one final time, and he vanished, still holding Margaret captive.
Half an hour had passed, Benson, Hi-5's, and Skips back at the park.
"Skips, how do we save them?" Benson asked.
"I don't know. From the short time that I saw him, I can tell the Skull Master has great power." He said.
"Well, he needs to be stopped." Hi-5's added.
"It's nearly impossible! Perhaps we should just wait six months, when all the competitors will return." Skips said.
"No way!" Hi-5's cried out, clearly against the idea.
"Look, Hi-5's. It's our smartest option. When they come back—"
"For all we know, they'll be brainwashed by the time that they come back! Or possibly in another dimension, where the Skull Master offered them jobs!" the ghost cried out.
"Listen. We'll sort this out later, let's just take a few minutes—"
"NO! If the Skull Master is as powerful as they say, then we don't have any time to lose!"
"SHUT UP! I ORDER YOU TO TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO CALM DOWN AND PROCESS ALL THAT'S HAPPENED!" Benson screamed, losing his cool. Hi-5's shut up, and the trio parted…