Merlin followed his nose to the smell of fresh cooked pizza and found the dining area, where an animatronic anthropomorphic version of a yellow bird, wearing a bib that read 'Let's Eat' was dutifully preparing pizza behind a 'sneeze barrier' so the customers could watch their food being prepared.
He glanced up at the prices as he approached the register and pulled a ten out of nowhere. "One large pizza and a pitcher of Coke please."
The animatronic froze for a moment, its eyes scanning up and down his frame before replying in an overly cutesy female voice, "Right away, sir! What would you like on your pie?"
"Anything already available that doesn't have anchovies," Merlin replied cheerfully, wondering how complex its AI was.
"How about Hawaiian?" she asked, collecting his money and entering it in the register, placing a dollar and seventy-three cents on the counter in front of him.
"That would be great, thanks," Merlin replied, pocketing his change.
"You're welcome," she replied. "I'll deliver it to your seat in just a moment."
Merlin chose a booth against the wall and slid in. He'd actually planned on cooking his own pizza, but this was more entertaining.
The yellow bird animatronic walked over to the table, making surprisingly little sound for its size, and placed a large Hawaiian pizza, a pitcher of Coke, a cup full of ice, and a knife and fork wrapped in napkins down. "Enjoy your meal and if you need anything, just call for Chika!"
"I will, thanks," Merlin replied, pouring himself a glass. He relaxed and enjoyed the atmosphere. "I wonder if they have Killer Instinct?"
He picked up a slice of pizza, but before he could take a bite there was a flash of silver and half the slice fell to the table.
"Girl, ask questions before attacking," a young man in a green wetsuit including a mask with yellow piping ordered with a frustrated groan.
A young girl dressed in the strangest combination of school girl and soldier outfit, in purple to match her hair, snorted. "I was just getting his attention, if it was an attack, I'd have sunk it in his fuckin' temple!"
"It's still rude," Merlin pointed out, after scanning them and discovering they had no powers.
"So's fucking with someone else's lair!" the girl growled out, pulling a bladed staff off her back.
"How did you do all this?" the man in green asked curiously.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Merlin replied honestly.
"Why don't you try anyway," the purple haired girl ordered.
"I shifted shadow," Merlin answered. He held up the remains of his slice of pizza and pushed it into shadow, making sure they saw it.
"And that means?" Purple Girl asked, looking unimpressed while Green stared wide eyed.
Merlin picked up another slice. "Magic," he replied, leaning back and taking a bite so the knife she threw would miss.
The second one she'd palmed sliced the pizza right in front of his lips.
"Hit-Girl!" the man in green yelled wide eyed.
"What?!" she yelled right back, annoyance clear in her tone. "He's exactly the type of asshole who would expect the first knife and lean back just enough to make it miss him."
Merlin swallowed and opened his mouth to reply before frowning. "I can't even deny that one, can I?" He was surprised at how skilled she was.
"So back to the question," Hit-Girl growled. "How and why did you fuck with our lair?"
"Magic is still as good an answer as any and it looked like a good, out of the way place to kick back," Merlin answered honestly.
"Fine, prove it," she challenged. "Show some magic."
"Name a hand sized object," Merlin replied, before taking a drink of Coke. "Something I would have no way of knowing you'd ask for in advance."
"BLT," the Green Guy snapped out. "What? I'm hungry," he said in reply to her glare.
Merlin shifted shadow and pulled out a BLT on a plate and set it down.
"Could be subliminal suggestion," Hit-Girl pointed out, sounding unsure herself.
"A pouch full of jewels," Green said.
Merlin rolled his wrist before reaching out and dropping a small velvet bag on the table. He picked up another slice of pizza while they stared.
"You goin' open it?" Hit-Girl asked.
"No," Green replied after a moment. "I want to enjoy the dream for a minute."
She rolled her eyes, but it was clear she was trying not to grin.
"Satisfied?" Merlin asked.
"Not remotely," she replied. "I mean, the tricks are as impressive as your makeup, but magic doesn't exist."
Merlin whistled so they'd both look at him and he shifted back to normal. "You sure about that?" he asked with a grin.
"Not as much as I was a second ago," she admitted. "I thought you were a midget," she added after a moment.
"No, just a bit... young," he said.
"I'm ready to believe," Green offered, slipping into the other side of the booth and grabbing the BLT and small velvet bag. He opened the bag and poured its contents on the table. "I just realized I have no way of telling if these are real or not," he said as he stared at the pile of glittering gems.
"They exist," Merlin offered, grabbing yet another slice, but waiting to see if Hit-Girl was going to object to him eating it.
She smirked and flicked her fingers to go ahead, before retrieving her knives from the wall, climbing over the green guy to do so.
"I actually meant if they were valuable and not just colored glass," he explained, scooping them back into the bag.
"Can't guarantee they're types the locals will recognize but they are gems," Merlin assured him. "So... why stick a lair in piles of garbage? It had to have been small since I didn't notice it."
"Try the whole top floor," she retorted, before stealing a piece of pizza.
"I didn't mess with that," Merlin assured her. "I only changed the bottom floor."
"Yeah, but all the trash and crap kept people from coming around and finding our place," she snapped out angrily.
"What are you?" Green asked.
"Traveler, just passing through," Merlin assured them. "I keep exhausting myself, so I keep having to stop and catch my breath. And since I'm also a busybody I keep helping people, slowing me down even more."
"That... isn't really helpful," Green said.
"Hero or Villain?" Hit-Girl demanded, stealing his coke and taking a swig.
Merlin nodded. "Hero, would be the closest of the two, though I don't look for trouble or get into fights. I do help people, as I've mentioned."
"Could be helping villains," she pointed out.
"True," Merlin agreed, thinking of the last world. "Depends on the person. Some of the villains I ran into weren't bad people, just pushed into bad situations or did stupid shit, but about eighty percent of the people I help are obvious heroes by anyone's standards."
"Could you use your 'magic' to make people ignore the entire building unless we brought them here?" Green asked. "Because you kinda screwed us here."
"I could throw something up that would hide it from everything but crazy people and children," Merlin offered after a moment's thought.
"Why wouldn't it work against them?" Hit-Girl asked.
"If you have to tell someone not to break into the zoo to try and eat the hippos, chances are they are so crazy that adding another voice in their head telling them not to do something wouldn't really have that big an effect," Merlin explained.
"And the reason it won't work on children?" Green asked.
"Same as above," Merlin said. "Children are completely nuts. When your brain is continually flooded by ungodly amounts of hormones and an architecture that is always being rewritten... Telepaths avoid children for a reason."
The two heroes exchanged glances, with the young man in green shrugging. "We dress up and fight crime, I'm not going to make any strong claims of sanity here."
"Kick-Ass," the young man in green said offering his hand.
"Merlin of Amber," he introduced himself.
"So, you're a mage and werewolf?" Hit-girl asked. "That sounds like some serious munchkin kinda bullshit."
"I'm an Amberite, munchkin bullshit is in my blood," Merlin assured her.
"So, how do you do the magic thing?" Hit-Girl asked. "Wave your wand, sacrifice a chicken, piss in the corners?"
Merlin laughed and grabbed another slice of pizza.
"No, seriously," Hit-girl said, "how does it work?"
"Depends on the world," Merlin replied. "Here, a combination of words and physical motions should be enough."
"I thought you'd need rare herbs and the blood of a virgin or something," Kick-Ass admitted.
"Useful," Merlin agreed, "And if you guys were doing magic, you would probably need it, but as I said, munchkin is in my blood, I have more than enough power not to need anything."
"Virgin blood?" Hit-Girl said, shaking her head. "I don't see how having a cock in you or sticking yours in someone would really change your blood all that much."
"And you'd be right," Merlin told her, "most of the time it refers to how innocent someone is, not if they've had sex."
"That changes which of us could use our blood," Kick-Ass said thoughtfully.
"Did you just assume I was a virgin?" Hit-girl asked with a glare.
"Yes," Kick-ass said, not in the least intimidated. "I figure you've got some high standards for whoever you hook up with and I haven't seen anyone who really fits the bill."
Hit-Girl smirked. "You are definitely the more innocent of the two of us."
"What does that mean?" he asked, not having expected that response.
"Means reality hasn't popped your cherry yet, you're... idealistic," she explained. "Don't change," she ordered.
"Wasn't planning on it," he replied. "Of course now I have to worry about being used as a virgin sacrifice and even my long and sordid sexual history doesn't help keep me safe."
"Long and sordid?" she snickered.
"Left hand and right," Merlin offered, making her burst out laughing and Kick-Ass snicker.
"But seriously, I just need a day or two to catch my breath and take a look around and I should be able to set up some protections for you."
"Works for me," Kick-Ass said.
"I suppose you can crash here," Hit-Girl agreed, "long as you aren't going to fuck with anything else."
"We don't have any beds here, do we?" Kick-Ass asked.
Hit-girl just stared at him. "You never poked around?"
"No, you set the place up so I thought it would be rude. I figured if I needed to see something you'd let me know."
"You are way too polite sometimes," she said, shaking her head.
"On the plus side I can definitely show you how to use his blood in magical rituals," Merlin offered.
"Great, I know about magic being real for five minutes and someone's already trying to convince my partner to use me as a human sacrifice," Kick-Ass complained.
"A couple of drops of blood does not a human sacrifice make," Merlin said, as Hit-Girl laughed.
"That's it, for my own protection, I'm browsing 4-Chan," Kick-Ass said.
"That's probably the first time those words have ever been spoken before," Hit-Girl said with a snicker.
Typing by: Abyssal Angel & pixelherodev
TN-AA: Dang it you went and made me hungry for pizza! I could do with a good slice of Hawaiian right now...
TN-P: Also, that's probably the first time those words have even been thought.