The whole Rose Garden tower went completely silent. Even the humming of the machines seemed to have quieted down in shock. Everyone stared at Morphan bug-eyed and slack jawed over what he said.
Mad-Hat eyed Morphan to see if there was any sign, any little sign at all to tell if he was lying “So you say you’ll FREE us if we help you!” Mad-Hat asked looking his most serious.
Mad-Hat stood on his chair as still as a statue for a few moments before bursting out in a huge fit of laughter. He quickly started to laugh so hard that he fell off his chair and started to roll around on the floor. Neko, Harry, Dormos and Miss Hare keep shifting their gazes to each-other both wondering what to make of the situation. Morphan on the other hand stood still and silent waiting for Mad-Hats answer.
Eventually Mad-Hat calmed down and crawled back onto his chair.
“You say you’ll free the slaves hmmm... and just how do you plan on doing that.” Mad-Hat asked.
“I’m planning it out as we speak.”
“In other words you don’t know.” Mad-Hat leered at Neko and said “Hey Neko you finally found someone who thinks the same way you do.”
Neko refused to acknowledge the statement.
“So you plan on taking on one of the strongest, most ruthless bandit groups in all of Argus all by yourself.” Mad-Hat asked mockingly.
“Not by himself.” Harry Crax said as he wrapped an arm around Morphans shoulder, he then turned to Morphan and said “Now don’t give me any ‘Lone Wolf’ crap, I’m your best friend, I go where you go and your problems are my problems.”
Morphan could only smile and scoff, he faced then hardened as he stared at Mad-Hat.
“Two times zero is still zero.” Mad-Hat remarked “Besides even if you do manage to somehow defeat the bandits and free us, WHERE-WILL-WE-GO! It aint a good life here but it’s a life all the same. Which is much more than can be promised if we leave this place?”
Morphan and Harry dipped their heads in thought, till Harry snapped his fingers “I know we can send them all back to their home realms!”
“Two things wrong with that plan!” Mad-Hat pointed out “First of all in case you’ve forgotten our home realms were already conquered by Argus we’d be no safer there then we are here. Second of all only the elites of the Argus Military and their allies from across the Omniverse posses the power to travel to parallel universes. Nobody knows how they do it but everybody knows they can.”
“What’s with this guy?” Harry thought “a few minutes ago he was babbling nonsense, now he’s talking like some high profile professor.”
“Maybe you don’t have to move.” Morphan deduced “This Rose Garden or whatever they call it is basically the heart of the whole base, surly you...” Morphan pointed at Mad-Hat “... the one controls the heart can control the base itself. There has to be something you can do.”
Mad-Hat started to stroke his chin in thought before slumping down in his chair and turning around to look at the screen “Yes, yes, yesss what your suggesting is intriguing.”
Everyone widened their eyes in shock over what Mad-Hat was saying.
“Running the Rose Garden is full of tedious, boring tasks which is the whole reason they dumped it on me. And in their arrogance they can’t imagine a human ever having the will to truly turn on them, much less be able to harm them. So I should have the element of surprise. So all I got to do activate the right system and bye-bye bandits.” Mad-Hats tone appeared to get higher and more excited with each word.
Morphan and Harry stared at each other, excited at the notion that their plan was coming to form.
“EXCEPT...” Mad-Hat yelled.
“... I already found such a system and it aint going to work.” Mad-Hat turned around to stare at Morphan and Harry “There is a laser defence system powerful enough to drive even the great Wonderland Circus away, which I can activate with a push of a button. Buuuut it is located OUTSIDE of the base, in order to use it all the bandits would have to be outside. You think you can pull that off tough guy?”
“As a matter of fact...” Morphan banged his fists together and said “I do!”
“Ha, typical!” Mad-Hat chortled “You demons think you can solve all your problems with violence. But let me tell you something, your plan to beat up all the bad-guys will only work if you get EVERY-SINGLE-ONE, because all it will take is one angry straggler to come in and kill all us humans.”
Morphan and Harry sighed heavily, believing what Mad-Hat was saying, “There’s got to be something someone can do!” Harry yelled.
Dormos then spoke.
When Dormos was done everyone was utterly shocked by what he said.
“Uhhhhh that’ll do nicely I guess.” Said Harry both shocked, thrilled and slightly afraid of what he just heard.
Miss Hare then roared in fury and tackled Dormos to the ground, she then grabbed him by the collar and started to shake him furiously “You could do that all along WHY didn’t you tell us, or better yet WHY didn’t you just do it. Do you not remember all the fear and abuse we’ve had to take all this time and you let those... those... DEMONS... do it to us when you could have done that!”
“He didn’t have the courage to do it before.” Neko said suddenly, though in very tell-it-as it is sort-of voice that those that knew her weren’t used to hearing “It appears Morphan here has inspired him to start a revolution.”
“YEAH VIVA LA REVOLUTION!” Yelled Harry enthusiastically.
“Revolution?” Mad-Hat asked, and then slowly smiled as widely as possible and shouted “REVOLUTION!” he then started to laugh manically, with his mouth wide, his tongue squirming and his eyes bulging “Forgot every damn thing I said till now, LETS KICK THOSE BASTARDS OUT!”
He then turned to the computer to started typing into the controls furiously.
“I’m sorry I can’t let you do that.”
Everyone turned in shock to Neko who was blocking the doorway, standing firm with her arms crossed.
“Your going to stop us, YOU!” Miss Hare yelled hysterically “But, but I thought you were our friend.”
Neko turned her head in a huff doing everything she could to prevent looking the slaves in the eyes “I’m sorry but if I allowed this so called “Revolution” I would be betraying the Wonderland Circus.”
“But you HATE those guys!” Harry yelled “and I’m pretty sure they hate you too.”
Neko refusing to look at anyone turned her back to them with her arms crossed “Listen Baldy you may not believe it but I do have a code of ethics, chief among them is an “honor amongst thieves” sort of belief.”
“Honour! Honour! HONOUR!” as Mad-Hat was yelling he grabbed his white hair and pulled so hard that it looked like he would tear a chunk off “None of the other bandits care about honour, NO-ONE in the Null lands cares about honour, why should YOU care about honour?”
“I have a habit of caring for things that no-one else does.” Neko explained, realising what she was saying Mad-Hat let go off his hair and slumped down into his chair.
Morphan marched up to Neko and said “Look Neko we’re going through this with or without your approval. So you can either help us or stand aside.”
Neko turned around sharply and glared “Oh the great hero has spoken huh? Because freeing slaves was the whoooooole reason you came down here in the first place.”
Morphan glared in response.
“I think I know you pretty well by now, Lobster-boy.” Neko stated “you’re cold, pessimistic, and overly-serious. But I know you’re not stupid.”
Morphan and everyone else remained silent waiting to see where Neko was going with it.
“You know there is a good chance that you’ll end up killed in all this?” Neko stated.
Morphan said nothing.
“You also know that the slaves almost literally have nothing to give you as a reward. At least not anything worth your life.”
Morphan said nothing.
“And worst case scenario, Argus hears about this uprising and decides to do something about before other humans get the same idea.” Neko then moved her face till it was inches away from Morphans “And for the military wiping this place out will be as easy as wiping a stain off a table.”
“You know some stains are really hard to wash off.” Said Harry in a genuine attempt to sound dark and serious, everyone glared at Harry, “Right shutting up.”
“So tell me Lobster-boy, WHY are you doing this, what EXACTLY are you trying to accomplish?”
Morphan stood for a while arms crossed in deep thought trying to come up with a proper way to express his answer, he then decided on how to say it he opened his mouth to speak.
Suddenly a loud explosion shook the place as the slaves and Harry all ran around in sheer panic while Morphan and Neko managed to keep a cooler head. Then Hedgehog came rushing into the Rose Garden in tears, in a silent panicked frenzy he grabbed Neko by her hand and tried desperately to drag her to the source of the explosion.
“All right.” Neko said in the utmost seriousness “Lobster-boy, Baldy you two stay here, I’ll go deal with whatever’s going down.”
“Do you want us here to guard your friends or do you want us “intruders” here to stay out of sight?” Morphan asked.
“Little of column A, little of column B, doesn’t fully matter right now JUST STAY PUT ALL RIGHT!” with that Neko let Hedgehog lead her out of the Rose Garden.
“(sniff) what a brave young demon facing the danger all on he own like that it really warms your heart doesn’t it.” Harry said while sniffling.
Morphan said nothing and just stared ahead.
Harry eyes then dried up as he glumly said “We’re going to help her aren’t we.”
“Whelp I did say I’d go where you go.” With nothing more to say Morphan and Harry stormed out the door with Harry yelling “CHAAAARGE!”
In the slave section...
Neko and Hedgehog came into the room to find all the slaves cowered together in the corner of the room, as smoking remains of a “building” continued to burn. At the end of the room was the Walrus and the Carpenter.
“Aw nuts I didn’t get any humans in that blast.” The Walrus griped.
“Don’t worry you’ll have your chance to kill some humans.” The Carpenter stated.
Neko growled at the two of them while Hedgehog hid behind her leg “REALLY killing slaves for fun, that’s low even for you guys. Why don’t you bozos get out and get a hobby.”
“I won’t deny there is some fun in killing slaves,” The Carpenter said smugly “But this time we have a greater purpose, to stop a revolution.”
“And while we’re at it KILL a certain yellow haired traitor!” yelled the Walrus as his aura started to glow around his tusks.
“Traitor, muh, I don’t know what you idiots are talking about.”
Suddenly Harry and Morphan jumped through the door and into the slave section, Harry then took on a battle ready pose and yelled “Don’t worry Neko were here to help you just like you helped us sneak into the base.”
There was a moment of silence as Neko glared at Harry.
“WHAT?” Harry then recognized the Walrus and the Carpenter and realised what he just said “OH, uhhhhh I mean the opposite of what I just said.”
Neko smacked her forehead.
“Don’t be mad at him.” The Carpenter said smugly “Even if he didn’t open his big fat mouth we still would have all the evidence we need.”
On cue a small tubular metal device taped to one of the Carpenters nails. In order to mock them the Carpenter had the device circle around there heads.
“A camera device!” Neko yelled “How long has that thing been following us?”
“Ever since we saw you in the mess hall.” Said the Walrus “The guy with the shell may have gotten a little more muscle on him but we could still tell it was him.”
“When we saw you guys we figured you’d be up to no good so I had one of my spy cameras follow you.” The Carpenter boasted, he then lifted up a device that looked like the map.
“Another I-thingy?” Morphan asked.
“This “I-thingy” has recorded everything my camera saw and heard, and in addition this “I-thingy” allowed us to know just the right distance to follow you from.”
“These two oafs were following us and none of us noticed?” Neko thought as she clenched her fists “I can’t believe we were so careless.”
“Anyways we finally got you half-breed! As of this moment you...” the Walrus pointed at Neko “...are done, finished, ka-put, washed-up, no longer a member.”
“No longer a member you say?” Neko then smirked and said “Then I have no reason to be loyal to you jerks.”
Then Hedgehog excited the Rose Garden and handed Neko Maneki a piece of paper.
“Yup, this Lobster-boy...” Neko held the piece of paper “... are the codes you wanted.”
“When did Hedgehog?” Harry asked.
“While these two were busy bragging I had Hedgehog run to Mad-Hat and get them.” Neko bragged “I doesn’t take a genius to know that they were planning on kicking me out.”
“But I didn’t hear you say anything? How’d he know what you were planning?” Harry asked.
Neko then started to ruffle Hedgehogs hair “Me and Hedgehog have such a tight bond that we can practically read each other thoughts, all it took was a few silent gestures.”
Hedgehog smiled in response.
“Did you make sure to tell Mad-Hat to go ahead with the plan!”
Hedgehog nodded proudly.
“Now without further ado the time has come for the great-SLAVE UPRISING!”
Then as if signalled by Neko’s yelling a loud siren roared throughout the base.
Jabberwocky was in his private quarters when he heard the sound of the siren. He did nothing more than mutter a “humph”.
Gobbling Crow was going somewhere when he heard the siren go off, as the sirens continued to blare he grabbed one of his energy pistols and held it tight.
King of Hearts was heading to his room when he heard the siren, he panicked and grabbed his kanabo.
“What’s going on? What does that siren mean?” he asked nervously. The siren continued to blare loudly.
“Come on show yourself, take your best shot!” he yelled voice full of bravado.
Suddenly the siren blared it loudest before stopping and the sprinklers turned on.
The King of Hearts stood dumbfounded as the water poured onto him, “Grrr I knew it was nothing to worry about.” He then clenched his fist in front of his face and snarled “When I find the demon responsible for this little prank I’m gonna... huh?”
He then noticed that small bits of steam were coming of his fist where the water hit, soon he noticed that it was not just his fist but everywhere the water hit. Then the water started to sting him slightly, then it stung more, and then it started to burn. In a matter of seconds it went from feeling like a warm shower to having acid poured onto him.
Confused, scared and in pain the King of Hearts could do nothing but run around in panic.
“WHAT IN THE NAME OF THE DOOM AND THE ABYESS IS GOING ON!” he screamed.
In the Rose Garden Mad-Hat sat at the computer all the screens switched to camera videos showing the Wonderland Circus running around screaming as the acidic water poured all over them.
While watching the cameras Mad-Hat smiled and giggled and clapped his hands like a toddler watching a puppet show “Never in a thousand years did I imagine that it would be this easy!”
As he watched the uprising Dormos had his left hand on a large water pipe while his right hand was in front of his face in praying position. He was chanting a long holy verse with all his might causing his body to glow with faint white spirit energy.
Miss Hare desiring to help but unsure what to do acted as a cheerleader to Dormos using some spare rags as makeshift pom-poms.
“Hard to imagine that snivelling little Dormos is a holy man, even more so a holy man powerful enough to convert the bases entire water supply in to holy water.” Mad-Hat then laughed manically as he watched the demons getting holy water sprinkled onto them.
While the rest of the cowering slaves wondered what was going on, Morphan, Harry and Neko had a stare down with the Walrus and the Carpenter as the sound of the sprinklers going off upstairs echoed into the room.
“SOO it seems you decided to go along with your so called Revolution plan” after all.” Said the Carpenter mockingly.
“(GASP) they know about the revolution plan?” Harry asked shocked.
“Weren’t you paying attention?” Neko scolded “They were spying on us, they heard the entire conversation we had with Mad-Hat, Mon you’re slow.”
“Well we can’t all be as fast as you.” Harry said indignantly. Harry’s friends could only sigh in annoyance, even Hedgehog slapped his head in annoyance.
“Look you guys might as well give up.” Morphan said “With the sprinklers pouring holy water you guys are trapped in here where it’s dry.”
“That holy water may be enough for you and those pansies upstairs.” said the Walrus “Put I doubt that slave has enough holy crap to damage REAL demons like me and Carpenter. It sure as hell won’t be able to stop Jabberwocky.”
“SO that means I’ll eventually have to go up against the boss himself, huh.” Said Neko “Why does that not surprise me.” She then held the piece of paper with the codes on it to her face “Doesn’t really matter I suppose as long as we still got these codes we’ll come out on top.”
Suddenly Neko noticed the codes were snatched out of her hands, she frantically looked around to notice that the Carpenter had his back facing her while floating in the air “That’s the second time I’ve stolen from you today!” said the Carpenter as he waved the codes mockingly “Perhaps your not as good of a bandit as you claim to be.”
“He can fly?” yelled Morphan, Harry, and Neko in surprise “Since when can you fly?” Neko asked.
The Carpenter gestured to his shoes which were currently glowing green with his aura “I cobbled my new shoes with my own nails. Now without further ado.” the Carpenter then put the codes in his pocket to keep them safe “With all the bandits heading for the exit, now’s the perfect time for me and my accomplice...” The Walrus banged his fists together for emphasis “... to make off like BANDITS!” he then flew off into the base laughing at his pun.
“He going for the treasure vault!” yelled Neko.
“(GASP) GALE!” yelled Harry.
“After him!” yelled Morphan, with that the three of them started charging.
“You’re not going anywhere!” yelled the Walrus as he blasted them with his aura.
Seeing it coming Morphan rushed forward and deflected the aura with his right forearm, where it blew up away from everyone.
Morphan then charged towards the Walrus, after making contact they then started to grapple with each other.
“You two go on ahead I’ll take care of this guy.” Yelled Morphan.
With no time to argue, Neko and Harry left Morphan to pursue the Carpenter.
While they were grappling the Walrus blasted Morphan with his aura at point-blank, the blast sent Morphan soaring back a good distance before he managed to back-flip and recover.
“You obviously didn’t learn anything from that smacking I gave you earlier today.” The Walrus bragged “You honestly think that just because you have a little more armour that all the sudden you take me on?”
“As a matter of fact...” Morphan then struck a battle ready pose “... I DO!”
The Carpenter flew out of the stairway and into the hallway leading to the entrance; he then floated in place for a moment to allow the holy water to shower onto him.
He then smiled maliciously “Just as I thought, to create water powerful enough to hurt a demon of my level would take a holy guy of significantly greater power.”
As he spoke the sound of multiple demons stampeding could be heard, realising they were coming he went to the exit and opened the big metal doors via the controls next to them.
Soon he saw the sight of the entire Wonderland Circus running towards the recently opened door screaming in pain, with their skin burnt red and raw and even steaming in some areas.
“Quick everyone outside where it’s safe!” The Carpenter yelled in faux-concern.
Driven by sheer panic they exited the base in droves, when Carpenter was sure everyone was out, he shut the door then he stabbed the controls with one of nails, causing them to fizzle and sizzle till they let out a small explosion.
“There we go, with the controls destroyed all those idiots are trapped outside.” The Carpenter chuckled to himself; he then started to float deeper into the base “Now once I get the treasure, I’ll hijack that airship and then me and the Walrus will fly out of here laughing.”
“Not so Fast!”
The Carpenter looked to the source of the voice to find Neko charging out into the hallway she then started to move forward while yelling “In the name of myself, NEKO MANEKI the golden bandit of Labirinth Canyon you...shall...not...”
SLIP “WOOOOOW!” CRASH
Before Neko could finish her speech Harry came out and slipped on the now wet floor of the base causing to land face first onto the ground and slide till he hit the adjacent wall head first.
Neko scowled at having her moment ruined before continuing “As I was saying, in the name of...”
Suddenly Harry started to scream and convulse on the floor, splashing the small amount of water that managed to accumulate on the floor “AHHHHH IT BURNS IT BURNS IT BURNS IT wait a minute?” Harry then stopped thrashing and sat up he held his hand out to feel the water “...humph this doesn’t hurt at all, in fact it feels kind of nice, like a warm summer shower.”
“This is unexpected that hairy one must have aura as strong as my own if he can survive the holy water.” The Carpenter then shifted his gaze to Neko who after staring at Harry in confusion over his reaction went back to glaring at the Carpenter when she sensed his gaze upon her “And since she’s only half demon the holy water is only half as effective on her, plus her powerful aura helps her a good deal.”
“Take this!” the Carpenter yelled as he telepathically threw some nails at Neko, Neko managed to deflect the nails with her claws, the nails bent from her blows fell to the ground and stopped glowing.
“I know your weakness Carpenter.” Neko boosted “You can’t use your nails if their bent or broken.” She then showed off her claws while Harry struck a battle-ready pose behind her “So how do you plan on taking both of us?” she asked mockingly.
“I don’t.” The Carpenter then flew off deeper into the base.
Neko growled in annoyance before pursuing him using her claws to gain traction on the slippery floor.
“Wait for me Neko!” yelled Harry as he ran too but thanks to the slippery floor Harry could only run in place, he then put more effort into his running believing it might help but in addition to gaining no extra distance he only managed to tire himself out. Eventually he slipped and landed on his butt.
Harry just sat on the cold wet floor with his fur continued to get wetter and wetter, though strangely still managing to keep its signature shagginess, he looked down in depression, then he looked down the staircase leading to the slaves section, although it was too dark to see Harry knew what was going on.
“Right now Morphan is fighting to save the slaves and Gale, and so are those slaves in the Rose Garden. Even Neko who just this morning didn’t seem to care about anyone but herself is fighting to save Gale and the slaves though I doubt she’ll admit it. And yet once again I ’am unable to do anything because I’m such a stupid, clumsy, goofball. Story of my life.” Harry continued to sit in despair.
He then clenched his fists.
“No, I swore a long time ago that I would never again let those I care about down.” Harry slowly got up one part to prevent slipping and another for dramatic effect “Morphans counting on me to do my part to help and so are the slaves and I’m sure some small part of Neko is counting on me... at least a small part... but most of all GALE IS COUNTING ON ME TO RESCUE HER!” Harry Crax stood tall and ready. He then noticed the door leading to the broken stairway and said
“And I now know just how to do it!”
To be continued...