A/N: I finally got another one of these up! Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this fic, and I apologize for not having updated this in so long! It's actually my latest fic, "Web of Lies" that inspired this episode. Many of the characters in this installment of EE are the characters featured in WoL. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!
Borus emerged from his room at Budehuc castle late one morning with a sleepy yawn. Chris had given him the day off, and so he had seized the opportunity to sleep in. As he walked down the hallway, he felt completely content. He didn't have to fight today, he didn't have to attend any strategy meetings.
And he didn't have to go into any elevators.
Just as he was about to descend the stairs, he saw a young freckled boy with glasses running towards him.
"Sir Borus of the Zexen Knights?" the boy asked, huffing as he reached the top of the stairs.
"I am," replied Borus with a smile. The kid was holding a pen and paper. Perhaps he wanted his autograph?
"My name is Arthur, I write for the Budehuc Times. I'd like to ask you a few questions."
"About what?" Borus asked, slightly disappointed that the kid wasn't there for his autograph.
"Well, there have been several reports of you going ballistic in a malfunctioning elevator. I'd like to know if that is true," the boy stated, matter-of-factly.
Borus instantly got his back up at the word 'ballistic'. "I'm a trained knight of Zexen, one of the Mighty Six! We don't panic in any situation."
"That's not what I've heard," replied Arthur with an aggravatingly polite smile. "I've heard that you are quite claustrophobic, and have gone into hysterics on several occasions while in the castle's elevator."
"Who told you that?!" Borus thundered.
"I'm afraid that's confidential."
Borus grabbed the boy by the shirt, teeth bared.
"NashCaesarandPercival!" Arthur exclaimed hastily.
Borus shoved the boy roughly away from him. He should have guessed Nash and Caesar (he'd deal with them later) but Percival! He was going to kill him!
Borus stormed off towards the library, not because he wanted to reread 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elevator Emergencies', but because he wanted to get away from the prying boy.
However, as he approached the library, another boy in a gray cap emerged from the doors.
"Sir Borus! Just the man I was looking for." This boy also flipped open a notebook and whipped out a pen. "Now, tell me about your recent experiences of going mad in an elevator."
Having gone mad at the word 'mad', Borus towered over the boy and practically growled, "Who are you?!"
"Kidd the detective," Kidd replied briskly. "Now I've heard many rumors from residents in the castle, and I have found many vital clues that support the witnesses' testimonies."
"Like the fact that you've checked 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elevator Emergencies', and 'Claustrophobic Cures' out of the library multiple times. Thirty-six times in the past two months, actually," Kidd finished, consulting his notebook to verify this fact.
Borus was overcome by rage. He was about to say something very nasty to the boy when Arthur came running up behind him.
"Back off Kidd, he's my story!"
Kidd pointed his pen at Arthur. "No way, he's my suspect! You back off!"
The kids started yelling angrily at each other.
Borus, feeling trapped between the two squabbling boys, tried to back away from the situation. He really didn't want to make a statement to either of these kids. His back hit something. A door. His escape!
He turned around and nearly passed out in horror.
It was the door to the elevator.
Just then, the two boys immediately stopped arguing and were staring at Borus in front of the elevator door. An almost sadistic gleam came into their eyes, and Borus realized this could only mean very bad news for him.
"You know Arthur, we could work together on this... Together we could have a first hand experience of the suspect's actions in an elevator," Kidd said, with a slightly sadistic smile.
"You know Kidd, I reckon you're right," Arthur replied, nodding his head at Kidd.
Kidd dashed up beside Borus and punched the button to open the elevator door. As the door opened, Arthur ran full speed into Borus and pushed him into the elevator.
"Nooo!" cried Borus.
Borus shut his eyes tight for impact as he and Arthur landed with a crash inside the elevator. When he opened his eyes, a strange, white mask was staring down at him.
"Ahhh!" Borus shouted, startled, and tried desperately to get the boy off of him so he could bolt out of the elevator.
"I must say, this is rather unusual," the mask commented. Borus could see the mask was attached to the face of a man. It was Nadir, the producer of all Budehuc's cheesy plays.
"Help me!" Borus exclaimed.
But Nadir did nothing as Kidd scooted into the elevator and tackled Borus alongside Arthur.
A dog barked, and a slimy tongue licked Borus' face.
"Argh! Why is there a dog in here?" Borus cried, pushing the dog away with one arm and trying to push the two kids off of him with the other.
Nadir stared down at him, completely nonplussed by the commotion that was occurring before him. "I was just bringing this dog – Kogoro, I think his name is – to Master Thomas. He completely ruined my play. I must insist that dogs should not be permitted on stage!"
"Well that's very nice but, do you think you could help me out here!?" Borus exclaimed in exasperation.
"Sorry, sir knight, business is first you know. Come on, you mongrel," Nadir said to Kogoro, and tried to make his way around the fighting trio when another figure appeared at the entrance to the elevator.
"What in the world is going on here?" It was Salome.
"Salome, help me!" Borus pleaded as the boys continued to keep him down, the dog continued to slobber on his face, and Nadir continued to stare unhelpfully.
"Quick, shut the elevator doors!" cried Arthur. Borus, having finally thrown the boys off, was now wrestling with Kogoro.
Kidd jumped to his feet and jammed the button. The elevator door closed, but not before Salome had gotten inside.
Borus finally got to his feet, his face draining when he saw the door shut.
Salome looked sternly at the two boys. "What exactly did you think you were doing?"
"Investigating!" replied Kidd.
"Research!" replied Arthur.
Salome scowled even more. "This can be considered assault, you know! We could quite easily throw you in the dungeon for this!"
Borus, though grateful to Salome for taking his side, did not like the thought of people believing he could be assaulted by a couple of kids.
"Nevermind that, Salome... They couldn't harm me. But in the future, you kids must remember to show the Zexen knights the respect they deserve!," he spoke hastily. The elevator was now quite crowded, and all the tips he'd read in 'Claustrophobia Cure" were leaving his mind fast.
"You know," Nadir suddenly began, "that was a wonderful performance! I just know the three of you would make astounding actors! Especially you, sir Borus. Why, you have the mark of a true actor!"
"I wasn't acting!" Borus bellowed.
"The only thing he's been marked by is the dog," Kidd snickered.
Sure enough, when Borus looked down, Korogo had urinated on his iron boots.
"Better clean those up soon, you wouldn't want your armor to rust," Arthur added.
Borus glowered at them. "Hold your tongue! The both of you!"
"And you," Salome turned to Nadir. "What were you doing here?"
"I'm looking for Master Thomas," the masked man replied, with a graceful bowing of his head.
"Well you're on the wrong floor."
"Yes. Master Thomas is on the old ship."
"I'm getting out!" Borus cried, pushing the button to open the door.
The door opened, but in the next instant he was on the floor with a giant bug butt on his face.
"Hold on Ruby, looks like this will be a bit of a tight fit," it was Franz of Le Buque and his giant flying bug, Ruby.
The young man squeezed into the elevator beside his pet bug. "Oh hello! I didn't realize there were so many people in here already."
"Franz!" Salome called. "Creatures of that size are not permitted on this elevator!"
"Ruby isn't a 'creature'!" Franz protested.
Salome pointed out the elevator. "Get him out of here, he's on top of Sir Borus!"
Franz looked down to see Borus' arms flailing out from under Ruby. "Really!? Oh no!"
"Yes, he's being squashed like a bug," commented Nadir, inappropriately jovial.
"No, actually I'm being squashed BY a bug!" came Borus' muffled cry from somewhere under Ruby's rump.
"Rather ironic, wouldn't you say?" Arthur said.
"At least we know he's alive," said Kidd.
Nadir pressed a button, the door closed once again, and the elevator began to descend.
"What are you doing?!" asked Salome in exasperation.
"I need to get downstairs to see Master Thomas," he explained.
"Couldn't you have waited until we get this bug out?"
Nadir waved his hand dismissively. "Well I suppose, but this is more interesting. In fact, it's a great premise for a play, wouldn't you say? I would call it, 'Under the Bottom of the Bug Beast'."
"He's not a beast!" Franz exclaimed.
"You're dead when I get out of here!" Borus cried frantically. "All of you are!"
"Oh, the hysterics begin!" Arthur exclaimed in excitement, flipping open his notepad and scribbling in it feverishly.
Kidd took his lead and began taking his own notes.
"As soon as the elevator gets to the basement, you're all going to help me move this wretched thing off of Sir Borus!"
"He's not a wretch-"
"Franz, for Sadie's sake, just be quiet," interrupted Salome sternly.
Suddenly the elevator came to a creaky and abrupt halt. Salome pushed the button to open the door, but nothing happened.
Borus screamed, despite his decreased ability to breathe properly under Ruby's immense weight. "We're trapped again!!! Again! What did I do to deserve this!?"
Arthur and Kidd scribbled in their notebooks faster than ever.
"He's right, we can't get out," Salome stated. "The doors won't open. Actually I don't think we've reached the basement yet. We must be somewhere in between."
"What kind of an elevator is this!?" Franz yelled angrily.
"If it wasn't for you, bug boy, we probably wouldn't be in this mess to begin with!" Kidd exclaimed, although he didn't look too concerned, as he didn't look back from his notepad when he said this.
"Oh, so this is all my fault?" Franz asked angrily. "There's no reason why Ruby shouldn't be allowed on the elevator! He goes with me everywhere!"
"What is it with you people and your giant birds, lizards and bugs!?" Borus called hysterically.
Nadir was now contemplating the details of the play he would write about Borus' misfortunes. "The play could contain a heart-wrenching narration... 'Borus, once a brave Zexen knight, had now reached the pinnacle of despair, and his spirit and courage were crushed just as his mangled body had been beneath the monster. His very life was now at the mercy of the bug's butt.' Oh, the audience will be in tears!"
"Bored to tears, you mean," Arthur said, wrinkling his nose. "You're not much of a writer, Nadir."
Before Nadir could reply, Salome broke up the conversation. "Enough of this! We need to find a way to get this elevator moving again."
"Where's Shizu, anyway?" Franz asked. "Does anyone know?"
"Does anyone ever know?" Borus spat.
Salome shook his head. "Well I don't, but if we don't find a way out, we could be stuck here for hours!"
"Just let me die already..." Borus moaned, still muffled by Ruby.
"Franz, climb to the top of the elevator through that trapdoor up there," Salome commanded, paying no heed to Borus' plea.
Suddenly, Borus became even more crushed into the elevator floor as the extra weight of Franz was added to Ruby's. Franz had climbed on top of the bug to get through the trapdoor as Salome instructed.
"Okay," called Franz from on top of the elevator. "I'm up. What am I looking for?"
"Can you see where we are?" Salome asked.
"Well," Franz answered, "A few feet up the cable I can see a door. Probably to the first floor."
"Can you climb up the cable and open it?" Salome called.
"One minute." And there was a scuffling noise as Franz climbed the elevator's cables.
There was a moment of silence.
"You know, I don't think 'maliciously insane', is quite the right term to use," Kidd said, looking over Arthur's shoulder at his notes on Borus. "I would say he's mad but not harmful. Except to himself that is."
If Borus weren't slowly having the life crushed out of him by an over-sized fly, he would have exploded with rage. As it was, it was all he could do to emit a faint growl of disproval.
"Who asked you?" Arthur said to Kidd, turning to him and jabbing a finger at him.
"Just my professional opinion as a detective," Kidd replied haughtily.
"You're not a professional! You're just some snooping kid!"
"And you're just a bratty kid who writes amateur tabloid newspapers!"
"I should have known better than to agree to working with you!"
The two boys were now nose-to-nose, full of indignation, and they continued to squabble while Salome strained to hear a report from Franz.
"It's no use," Franz finally shouted down into the elevator after several minutes. "I can't open the door. I'll need to pry it open with something."
"Pry it open?" Salome repeated.
"Yeah. With something that's kind of thin and curved."
Everyone turned to Nadir.
"What?" he asked nervously.
"Mask, off," Franz said.
"What?!" Nadir exclaimed.
"You're mask is thin enough and curved just right to pry the door up here open. I'll be needing it if you ever want to get out of here," Franz replied.
"No, I mustn't!" There was evident panic in Nadir's voice now.
"Come now, we just need it for a few moments," Salome coaxed.
"Borus is going to suffocate if we don't get out of here soon!" the tactician exclaimed.
"I don't care!"
With the last of his strength, Borus freed his arm from beneath Ruby and shook his fist at Nadir.
Kidd and Arthur stopped squabbling long enough to get the gist of the current situation, and the two jumped on Nadir and started to pry the mask off his face.
"Come on, just give him the stupid mask," Kidd said, fighting against Nadir.
"Yeah, I can't stand being here another minute with this nosey, idiot kid anymore!" Arthur replied.
"Nooo!" Nadir screamed, and the three of them fell to the floor.
Nadir turned towards the wall just as the mask was knocked off his face and flew into Salome's hand.
"Here Franz, hurry!" Salome said, and tossed the mask up to Franz. Franz scurried back up the elevator cable out of sight.
"I wonder what he's been hiding under that mask," Kidd commented, looking at Nadir, who was hiding his face in his hands, facing the corner.
"What's really behind the mask – what a story this would make!" Arthur exclaimed.
"No," said Salome firmly. "Leave him be."
"But-" started Kidd and Arthur together.
"No! Leave him, or you'll have to answer to lady Chris, Geddoe, and Hugo."
The two boys fell into an insolent silence. Kogoro poked his head under Nadir's arm and tried to peek under his hands.
"Hurry Franz!" Salome called again up the elevator. "Borus has stopped squirming under Ruby, I'm beginning to fear the worst!"
"Got it!" Franz called finally.
Suddenly, the elevator began to move again, and then the elevator door opened to find Franz standing triumphantly on the other side, still holding Nadir's mask.
"I have no clue why the elevator stopped like that," Franz said to the others. "When I pushed the button from out here, it started working as though there was nothing wrong with it."
"Well at least we're out. Help me free Borus. You two help as well," said Salome, looking at Kidd and Arthur.
Ruby made a loud buzzing noise, but did not seem to want to leave his new comfortable chair that was Borus, so it was with great difficulty that, Salome, Franz, Kidd, and Arthur managed to push Ruby off of Borus and out of the elevator.
Salome rushed to Borus and checked his arm for a pulse. He then began lightly slapping Borus' face in an attempt to rouse him.
"Please..." whimpered Nadir from the corner. "My mask..."
Franz hesitated for a moment and then slid the mask across the floor to the man huddled in the corner of the elevator. "Here you go... Um... thanks."
Nadir felt around behind him until he found the mask, and then immediately fixed it back over his face. Once the mask was in place, he straightened, called Kogoro to follow him, and marched off without saying another word.
Borus then awoke, and upon remember his situation, scrambled out of the elevator, breathing heavily.
"Thank heavens, I'm out... I just can't take this anymore!"
"Take deep breaths, Borus," Salome said.
"What happened with Nadir's mask? I must've passed out after I shook my fist at him."
"We got it and used it to open the door on the first floor. Kidd and Arthur tried to look at Nadir while he was unmasked, but I stopped them, and Franz returned the mask as soon as he was finished with it.
"You didn't see his face?"
"Of course not!" Salome said incredulously. "We had to leave the man his dignity!"
"I don't see why," Borus grumbled. "No one ever bothers to leave me mine."
A/N: I hope you liked it! Forgive me for any typos, I probably didn't proofread this as well as I should have, I always write these things late at night. Friendly reviews are welcome and appreciated!