Fates Entwined

Murder She Swore

"My Daria, you've been improving drastically," Aunt Amy walked up to her niece who was practicing with Ted.

Daria grapped with Ted as Amy watched. Finally, she managed to get a grip around Ted's waist and throw him to the floor.

"Nice one," Ted complimented.

"You're like a woman possessed," Karen told Daria.

"Thanks," Daria replied. "Let's just say I understand now why classes like this are important for young women in college."

"That guy wasn't harassing you again, was he?" Amy Barksdale frowned.

"Actually no," Daria confessed. "I saw something a few nights ago. It was a girl being murdered on a dorm building."

"What?!" Karen was shocked.

"I didn't get a good look at the killer," Daria continued. "He was wearing a mask during the time of the murder."

"Yikes, this can't be good," Samantha stopped what she was doing as soon as she heard Daria.

"How come we haven't heard any of this being mentioned in any campus newspapers?" asked Ted. "I mean, this IS a big deal."

"The school paper is… selective about what gets printed," Karen informed him. "Last year I had a boyfriend who grew abusive towards me. I tried to alert the campus police and authorities but since he had important connections, he got off scot-free and it never became public knowledge. I'm lucky I got out of that relationship in one piece."

"Well, now that a murderer is on the loose, I encourage you ladies to be extra cautious of your surroundings, especially late at night," Amy encouraged. "And if possible, try to be in a group especially if you plan on walking around in the open at night."

As the other girls went back to their practice, Daria and Ted continued their conversation.

"Did you see anything on this guy that might give him away?" Ted asked Daria.

"He wore white robes," Daria replied, "and he had an owl mask hiding his face. Plus he wore metal claws on his hand."

"Hmm, sounds like something straight out of a comic book," Ted nodded. "You know, I just got into those recently. Man, all these years under my parents made me realize just how much I've been missing out!"

"So what else did you realize you missed out on?" asked Daria.

"How fun it is to buy beer and wine on your own," Ted replied.

"You know, you're not allowed to do that until you're twenty one," Daria reminded him.

"Well… that's our little secret," Ted said to her mischievously.

Underneath it all, Daria couldn't help but smile at Ted's offbeat sense of humor.

oooo

One week had passed since Daria had last seen the killer on the dorm's rooftop. Since then, word had spread much more quickly about how there was some sort of masked killer on the campus.

However, there was still no mention of the killer in any local news articles or Raft's official website.

As Daria walked down the halls after her Ancient Mythology class, she looked down at her cell phone to view some of the photos Jane had sent her from the tea shop she worked at.

"Ah, there you are," a man in a blue suit with a red tie came up to Daria. "Would you happen to be Miss Morgendorffer?"

Daria looked up at him. Something about the man was familiar. From his voice down to the way he dressed. However, she could not quite pinpoint what it was that was so familiar with the guy.

"It depends," Daria replied with her trademark snark. "Are you going to pay for my semester fees?"

"As a matter of fact, I just might," the older man answered.

Daria looked at him in disbelief. She certainly hadn't been expecting that.

"I'm Mr. Candy," the man shook her hand. "I'm the Dean of Arts and Sciences. If you don't mind, I'd like to have a word with you."

"Well, if you're willing to pay for my tuition, you can have two or three," Daria replied.

"Come with me to my office please," Mr. Candy gestured.

Curiously, Daria went with Mr. Candy down the hall to where his office was.

"Take a seat, miss," offered Mr. Candy.

"Just to let you know," Daria informed him. "If you are willing to waive my semester fees, I'll gladly do what's asked of me, provided it isn't illegal or compromises my principles."

"Oh, don't worry," Mr. Candy assured her. "You won't have to do any such thing. In fact…"

Mr. Candy quickly typed in a few things to his computer. Curiously, Daria looked at him as he quickly finished up his session.

"Your semester fees have been waived," Mr. Candy told her. "You should receive your refund in the form of a check three days from now."

"Gee, thanks," said Daria with a hint of suspicion to her voice. "It's not every day the Dean asks you to come to his office to waive your student fees."

The situation was absurd, noted Daria. However, there had to be something to all of this.

"Just so you know, I'd be willing to swallow my pride and maybe do a school activity or two for this favor," Daria told him. "But if you're looking for anything teacher-student related, I must inform you that I'm already eighteen and thus, unable to pull a Mary Kay-Letourneau with you."

As soon as she said that, Mr. Candy burst out laughing.

"Hahaha!" Mr. Candy smiled. "That's a good one! No, Ms. Morgendorffer, all I ask you in return is a small favor which shouldn't take up any of your time."

"I'm listening," Daria sat back in her seat.

"Talk has been spreading about the murder of a student over the week," Mr. Candy informed her. "When questioned, one of the students asked by school officials named you as the one whom all this talk started with."

Daria kicked herself internally. Perhaps it had been a bad idea to mention the murder in the women's self-defense class she attended when any of the girls there could have heard her and talked to their friends about it.

"Right now we're working very hard with the authorities to get to the bottom of this," Mr. Candy's tone turned serious. "And we don't want to cause any more panic among the student body at this college."

"Wait… I'm getting paid hush money?" Daria asked.

Instinctively, she realized that the man before her was not like Ms. Angela Li, an obstructive but otherwise harmless school official who sometimes antagonized her but didn't take it any further beyond being annoying. At once she was reminded of what Karen had told her about how the college kept things hidden from public knowledge.

"We just wish to preserve the peace at this school," Mr. Candy told her. "Trust me, we are doing all that we can to solve this murder."

Despite Mr. Candy's seemingly reassuring words, Daria was not convinced. If they wanted to solve the murder, why try to silence her with a bribe? Still, she realized she needed to choose her words carefully. Something wasn't quite right here.

"Sure why not," Daria said nonchalantly. "Can't turn down a good deal when I see one."

"Excellent, Daria," Mr. Candy smiled. "I'm sure you'll find the rest of your semester at this school very rewarding."

Daria nodded politely and got up to head out. As she did, however, she noticed a sticker behind Mr. Candy's computer in the shape of the State of Texas.

"You come from Texas?" asked Daria.

"Yes, I was an educational speaker in Texas about four years ago," Mr. Candy confirmed. "In this dustbowl of a town called Highland."

"Small world," Daria replied. "That's where I was from originally."

"Good to meet a fellow former Texan," Mr. Candy smiled. "Say, did you ever attend this school called Highland High?"

"I was there for roughly a year before moving to my current town of Lawndale," Daria affirmed.

"Yes, I went to your school two times as an education speaker," Mr. Candy's voice darkened. "First time was to teach the students manners. Second time was to arrange a candy sale. Both times were very unfruitful thanks to a certain pair of delinquents."

Daria's eyes widened.

"You don't mean Beavis and Butt-head?" she asked.

"Yes those two," Mr. Candy clenched his fist. "I was injured both times in Highland thanks to them! And to think the teachers would even side with them over me!"

"Gee, it couldn't possibly have been your fault at all, could it?" Daria remarked.

"After the second fiasco, I was nearly labeled a sex offender," Mr. Candy seethed. "I lost my job as an educational speaker because of them! I was out on the street for a year thanks to those two!"

"Well, take heart," Daria reminded him. "You went from hobo with no job to Dean of Arts and Sciences in little more than three years."

Curiously, Daria looked at Mr. Candy who appeared to be hyperventilating. Slowly, however, he regained his composure and settle down, wearing his usual smile again.

"Good thing for me I finally found my calling in matter of faith," Mr. Candy revealed a strange necklace around his neck, shaped like a winged lion with horns.

Daria raised an eyebrow. Just what kind of "faith" was Mr. Candy talking about?

"Anyways, I'm sure I've bored you enough with my sob story," Mr. Candy opened the door for her. "Sorry to have taken up your time. Enjoy the rest of your semester, Miss Morgendorffer."

"Same to you," Daria replied dryly.

Daria stepped outside as Mr. Candy closed the door. As soon as she walked away, she shook her head.

"Beavis and Butt-head were no saints," Daria said to herself, "but boy, can that guy hold a grudge."

oooo

Three days later.

Slowly, Daria sipped down the green tea as she sat in the tea shop where Jane worked. Fortunately for her, Jane had just gotten off of work and was sitting.

"So let me get this straight," Jane asked. "In all this time, you witnessed a murder and the Dean of Arts and Sciences is paying you hush money to keep quiet about it?"

Daria nodded.

"What's creepier is how Mr. Candy found out about it in such a short time," said Daria. "I mean, I only told about three or four people in my afternoon women's self-defense class."

"I guess for a small college like Raft, news travels fast," Jane pointed out.

"Yeah, I suppose," Daria nodded. "But it's still kinda creepy how I was singled out so quickly."

"Hey, maybe most of these Raft students are Satan worshippers in a secret society closed off to the rest of the world!" suggested Jane playfully.

"Hmm, that would explain a few things," Daria mused.

At once, Daria's cell phone began to buzz. Picking it up, Daria saw that it was from her dad.

"Hey," Daria answered in her usual monotone.

"Daria, great news!" Jake told her on the other line.

"Cleveland Browns finally make it to the Superbowl?" Daria joked.

"I got a check in the mail!" Jake exclaimed. "Your tuition for this semester has been refunded!"

"Oh," Daria was surprised.

It appeared that the Dean had been serious about his word.

"This is great!" Jake sounded elated. "How'd you do it, kiddo?"

"All I can guarantee is that I did not have inappropriate relations with the Dean of Arts and Sciences," Daria answered dryly. "Although if Quinn ever wants to do it, I'd recommend a college without the Skull N' Bones atmosphere…"

"Well, whatever you did to get this tuition refund, great work!" Jake encouraged his daughter. "Keep it up, Daria! I'll see you at the end of the semester."

"See ya," Daria told him and hung up.

"And to think all you had to do is play hush-hush on a murder," Jane sipped her chamomile tea.

"I would've liked to tell Mr. Candy to stick it," Daria admitted. "But something was off about him. I'd have no problem telling off Ms. Li but this felt like a whole different ballgame."

"So Ms. Li is the harmless sitcom archnemesis but this guy is Darth Vader?" asked Jane.

"Who knows," Daria replied. "Maybe even the Galactic Emperor."

"All the stuff going on at Raft sounds a little fishy," Jane told her friend. "You consider transferring out of there at some point?"

"I have but it's not going to be easy," Daria sighed. "For now, I plan on toughing it out for the rest of the semester."

"Boy, this makes you miss Principal Li, doesn't it?" Jane teased.

"Yep, Ms. Li is the Newman to my Seinfeld," Daria smiled.

The door opened up as Jane and Daria looked up. It was Eric Ravencroft, walking in with his red suit and impeccable dress.

Eric turned to his right, noticing Daria.

"Daria!" he exclaimed. "A pleasure to see you here."

"Hey Eric," Daria replied in surprise.

Jane ogled Eric up and down.

"Daria, you know this guy?" she asked.

"He's an acquaintance of mine from Raft," Daria confirmed.

"Daria and I have chatted once," Eric nodded. "Who knows, maybe we can even be friends once we get to know each other better. Mind if I sit down with you guys for a while?"

"Oh ho ho, be my guest," Jane smiled.

Daria merely tipped her head to give Eric the affirmative.

"So where have you been all my life?" Jane eyed Eric with more than a hint of lust.

"Oh you know, raised in a cult family where we sacrifice chickens every Friday night," Eric said in a joking manner. "I still go back every now and then for banjo nights on Tuesday."

Both Daria and Jane chuckled.

"So how have you been, Eric?" Daria asked.

"I can't complain," Eric put both hands on the table. "Running a fraternity and having to juggle a religious organization having meetings at your frathouse can get a little wild."

"Because as we all know, piety and fraternal hazing really go great together," Daria remarked cleverly.

"I agree with you there actually," Eric said to Daria. "A frathouse and a religious organization on campus really do make an odd couple. However, a lot of spots were taken up this year and our building happened to be the only one available for the Universal Brotherhood."

"Hey, at least if anybody from that organization gets out of hand, you can always make them chug a gallon of Jack Daniels," Jane suggested. "It's still your frathouse."

"That is a tempting suggestion," Eric rubbed his chin. "But so far, the members of this Universal Brotherhood have been most well-behaved. Well… most of them."

Eric looked at Daria.

"Graham hasn't been giving you anymore trouble recently, has he?" he asked.

"Nope, but I did have an interesting conversation with the Dean of Arts and Sciences," Daria replied.

"Mr. Candy?" Eric raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah him," Daria acknowledged. "Turns out he wanted me to keep hush-hush on a crime I saw on-campus."

"That's awfully strange," Eric rubbed his chin. "I've known the Dean for a while and he never struck me as that kind of obstructive bureaucrat."

"I knew him from back in early high school," Daria added, "and I never took him for that either."

"Early high school?" Eric looked surprised.

"He was some kind of educational speaker at my high school back in Texas," Daria explained. "Let's just say that he didn't mesh well with some of the students in my grade."

"Well, as a college senior I have enough connections with Raft College's management," Eric told Daria. "Want me to talk to Mr. Candy and try to get him to back off on you?"

"Don't worry about it," Daria reassured him. "He and I came to a good enough understanding."

"I see," Eric got up. "Anyways, I've got to head out for an important meeting. Say Daria, would you like to meet up again sometime?"

"I, uh, okay," Daria answered, being caught off-guard.

"Go for it," Jane whispered to her.

Deciding that there was no harm in meeting a guy for a date or two, Daria took out her cell phone.

"What's your number?" asked Daria.

oooo

Highland, Texas.

Years had gone by and not much had changed. Highland was still the same old economically stagnant medium-sized town it had always been.

In all this time, Highland High School had still been plagued by the actions of two delinquents who were anything but physically juvenile at this point.

Principal McVicker sat back in his chair, downing some pills and drinking it down with water as he waited impatiently.

Finally, the door opened up to reveal two familiar figures.

"Uhhh… step inside, you two!" McVicker told them.

Beavis and Butt-head stepped inside and took their seats. They were a bit older and slightly taller but were otherwise unchanged physically.

"What do you want, McVicker?" demanded Butt-head.

"Yeah, we got better things to do!" Beavis added.

"Damn it, even after all this time you still have no respect!" McVicker complained openly. "What did I do to deserve this?"

"Uh, 'cause you're a butthole?" Butt-head suggested with a smile.

"Look, I have something important to tell you," McVicker focused his glare back on the two. "Last school year was supposed to be your graduation year along with the rest of your classmates like Stewart, Cassandra, and the others. But because your grades were so low, you had to repeat senior year for this school year. What I want you to know is that I will be personally ensuring that your teachers make sure you pass this year."

"Um, does this mean we become straight A students?" asked Beavis in his obliviousness.

"No, you idiot!" McVicker shouted. "It means your teachers will curve your grades to make sure you pass!"

"McVicker, you dumbass!" Butt-head said accusingly. "We don't have any teachers in this school who have curves!"

"Yeah, there are no hot teachers!" added Beavis.

"Uhhh… you idiots are taking what I'm saying out of context!" McVicker complained. "What I mean is that if you make an F, your teachers will bump your grade up to a D minus at the very best so you pass."

"Oh, uh… that sucks!" Butt-head frowned.

"Yeah, I was hoping we'd get a teacher with some nice hooters this year," Beavis groaned.

"Look, I don't want you to repeat another year in this school," McVicker told them. "I'm doing this so I can get you two out of my hair as fast as possible! Now get the hell out of my office!"

"Alright McDicker!" Beavis got up and left.

"Don't quit your day job, McVicker!" Butt-head taunted as he left the room with Beavis.

"Uhhhh… one of these days," McVicker buried his head into the desk in frustration.

As soon as Beavis and Butt-head left the office, they bumped into a relatively skinny student with red hair and a devious smile on his face. He wore a white shirt topped with a black leather jacket with various metal band battle patches sewed on.

"Beavis and Butt-head," he grinned.

"Uh, do we know you?" asked Butt-head.

"The name is Len… Len Greenberg," the student introduced himself. "I heard everything that went on in there with Principal McVicker."

"McVicker's a dumbass!" Butt-head laughed. "Uh, huh huh huh!"

"Not a big fan, huh?" Len leaned against the wall. "Well, I can relate. Dude's a total dickhead."

"So, like, what're you doing out here?" asked Beavis.

"I'm just chilling," Len told the two. "You see, I don't really give a crap about Highland. All I want to do is smoke weed and do whatever the hell I want."

"Uh, cool," Butt-head responded. "Huh huh huh!"

"Say, you two want to hang out sometime?" Len asked them. "I've got a group going right now and we could use some more members."

"Whoa, you're asking us to join a band?" Beavis looked widely.

"Uh, yeah! Yeah totally!" Len told them. "We are a band. And we could use two guys like you. But you'll have to prove yourself worthy first through a few trials."

"What do you say, Beavis?" Butt-head consulted with his friend.

"I dunno, maybe we could give it a try," suggested Beavis. "I mean, Todd still won't let us join his gang after all these years."

"Uh… we're in, dude!" Butt-head told Len Greenberg. "Are we gonna get chicks soon?"

"Don't worry, there will be plenty of chicks!" promised Len.

"This kicks ass, Butt-head!" Beavis said excitedly.

"Gentlemen," Len extended his hand to the duo. "Welcome to the Death Apostles."