Notes: Heh hehh heh hhheh hehhh. For the record, I love Percival. He's my, like, third favorite character. Maybe fourth. Something like that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Pardon me," Sarah said, walking up to someone.

"Do you know the way to Budehuc Castle?" the exotic-looking man asked her.

She blinked. "Um. I was just about to ask the same thing."

"Oh. Well. Thank you," he said, then wandered off in a random direction.

"We're lost, aren't we?" Yuber asked when she returned.

"No," she said defensively as she teleported again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Step one in Operation: Act Like Borus: Instigate a massacre.

Percival leaped dramatically out from behind a bush, flourishing his flashing sword, only to catch his foot on the platform and go tumbling into the waist-deep water.

"This place is a pit," he muttered once his cohorts had pulled him out.

"All the more reason to destroy it, right?" Mike responded. Percival eyed him uncertainly. "Oh, come on, Percy! I'm trying to get you into this!"

"One, don't call me that, and two, don't." He sighed. "The world is rotten."

"Uh-huh."

"I should give up now."

"Ohhh, noooo, no no," Mike said, shaking his head vehemently. "I have spent over two hours now with Billy. I am getting your firstborn child. That sacrifice shall not have been for nothing."

"I'm takin' the offensive to that!" Billy grated. Mike clenched his jaw and his elegant fists both, then visibly calmed himself.

"You see?" he asked. "Look - just go in there, stab a few of the damn birds, we'll torch the place, and then we'll be done, okay?"

"I need mah dinner, so you grab one a' the corpses as you come out, okay?" Billy called after Percival as the knight strode decisively forward.

As soon as he set foot inside the main platform of which Duck Village was composed, a frantic quacking filled the air. However, it was of entirely the wrong sort.

"Percy! Percy!" one little duck quacked.

"Ohh, it's been so long since you visited!" an old matron said. "I've found this new use for soy sauce, it's fantastic - you'll have to stay for dinner - "

"Oh, Percival gets more handsome every day!"

"Look! Everyone!" Percival called. "I'm not here to visit, all right? I'm here to kill you!"

A loud, quacking laughter filled the air, 'cause that would be reeeally funny, were he actually joking.

"Tell us the one about the frog with the teeth!"

Percival glanced back desperately. Mike, it seemed, had a headache coming on; he had dropped his forehead into his hand. Billy was grinning and giving him the double thumbs-up.

"I'm not - look, Snokki, I don't have time for jokes, okay? I really, really need you to die!"

"Look." Evidently, Mike had decided to intervene in this botched job. "Maybe we can come to some sort of agreement. We need it to appear as though Percival has massacred your village."

The Duck chief waddled to the fore. "And why do you need that?"

"It's a long story," Percival said with a shrug. "Well, that's not true. It's not even all that long. I just don't feel like telling it to you."

"Well, I suppose we could do that, but...it'll cost you."

"And what will it cost us, you damned bird?" Mike asked.

The duck quacked. "Are you avianophobic?"

"What?"

"Afraid of birds. Avianophobic."

"That's not - that's not even a word!" Mike cried.

"No, actually, I think he's right. Anyway, nameless duck chief. How about my third-born child?" Percy offered.

The duck considered. "Well, you seem pretty popular with the female side of the population...Done."

"Excellent." He pulled out a tongue of flame. It didn't much...move.

The chief of the duck clan poked it. "Rollbacks in the budget?"

Percival nodded. "We could only afford one frame. So, put that on your buildings, and when anyone comes to the village, tell them Percival was the one who massacred you."

"Who?"

"Percival."

"Who?"

"Percival, goddammit, Percival!" Oh, come on. Just because he was the Chiki Star didn't mean he couldn't get pissed off.

"Yeah, I know. I was just messing with you." Ducky laughter filled the air.

"The world is rotten!" Percival announced again before stalking out of the village.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh, my darling Mio," Tuta half-whispered. The nurse slowly turned to him.

"Yes, Tuta?" she asked breathlessly. He walked to her and cupped her face.

"My dearest, my darling...I lo - "

The door slammed open as Geddoe stomped angrily in, then took a bed and thrust his hand out to be attended to.

"Oh! Ah, Sir Geddoe!" Tuta said, blushing furiously as he pulled back from Mio. "What seems to be the problem?"

Geddoe twitched his hand impatiently. Only then did Tuta actually look at the bearer of the True Lightning rune. He bit his lip as he pulled out his bandages, but when he turned back, he couldn't control himself.

"Doctor Tuta!" Mio gasped, shocked at his uproarious laughter. "Oh, you poor thing," she said, ministering to Geddoe's hand and giving him a pat on the head which was far, far worse than laughter. "I know that sometimes you just want to be accepted for who you are, regardless of how you dress - "

"Shut up, wench!" Geddoe roared. "Don't talk to me as though I'm some child!"

"Oh, of course not, Sir Geddoe. Wouldn't dream of it. Would you like a lollipop?"

"..."

"Well? Would you?"

"..."

"Ohh, I understand," she smiled. "Well. It'll just be between you and me - please, Doctor Tuta!" she said, getting a sucker from the drawer as Tuta's hilarity was redoubled.

"I'm one hundred and twelve, you know," Geddoe grumbled.

"Oh, that's wonderful! I'm one hundred and twenty seven," she said patronizingly as she slipped the lollipop into his bandaged hand. "Now, you run along, and don't let the bigger kids bite you anymore, okay?"

"..."

"Good!" she said, and pushed him outside, where he was the object of quite a few stares.

"The world is rotten," he muttered to himself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Um, we can't stop here," Yuber said as he realized where they had materialized.

Sarah blinked about her. "Oh, come on. They're all NPCs. Even if we did attempt to destroy their village and everything dear to them, they couldn't attack us."

"That's not it," the demon replied. "That's not it at all. See, I - I sort of asked Yuiri out..."

"You're joking," Sarah said, jaw slack.

"Of course I'm joking, you skank," he said, smirking again. "Asked her out! Really. No, I tried to stab her. Her blood seemed particularly sweet, you see..."

"She turned you down, huh?"

Yuber shrugged. "Do you think it was because I tried to destroy all meaning in her friend's sacrifice?"

"That might possibly have had something to do with it, yes."

"Anyway. Can we possibly - you know - go somewhere else?"

Sarah sighed and cast the teleport spell again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chris was having her bunions rubbed by one of her minions, Imin Luv Whichoo. She called him, just as she called all the other minions of the exact same name, I.

Speaking of which... "I, could you send I in with the schedule, please?"

The minion left her bunions to attend to her request.

"Yuh huh huh."

Chris didn't even have to open her eyes to identify the snicker. "Landis, how do you keep getting in here?"

"The Grim Reaper shows me the path...Huh huh huh..."

"Okay, then, why do you keep coming in here?"

"Huh huh huh...'Cause you're real pretty...Huh huh."

"Oh. Well...thank you, Landis, for that...very, very creepy statement. Now, if you don't mind..."

"You know, you will be free of the burdens of schedules and bunions when - "

"No, no, please; let me guess. When the Grim Reaper lays his cold and bony hand upon my stylishly coifed hair."

"Actually, huh huh, I was gonna say when the Revolution came."

She sighed. "I thought that Sasarai had burned all the copies of the Communist Manifesto..."

"Huh huh. The world will not truly be free until we establish a free and equitable society for the proletariat utterly devoid of any lingering socio- economic biases which taint our relations among ourselves." He paused. "Or when we're all dead. Yuh huh huh."

Just then, I walked in with a stack of papers. "Thank the Goddess," she muttered, then raised her voice. "Well, that's nice, Landis, but I have things to attend to."

"The Grim Reaper cares nothing for schedules."

"Yes, well, the army does, so if you'll be so kind as to shoo...?"

I sat down next to her and handed her a copy of the schedule. She was able to read the first item before the paper incinerated in her hand. She sighed and held her hand out for another.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Excuse me, but do you know - "

"This village was massacred by Percival."

Sarah blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"This village was massacred by Percival."

"Oh. Okay. Well, could you direct me to - "

"This village was massacred by Percival."

"No! You stupid duck! That's not what I want to know!"

"What's the matter now, Sarah?" Yuber asked.

"This stupid bird can't say anything besides - "

"This village was massacred by Percival."

"Exactly!"

"And how is this different from any NPC you've met so far?"

"Goddammit! All I need to know is - "

"This village was massacred by Percival."

"See?"

"You know, duck," Yuber said, leaning in with a cruel grin, "this village could be massacred by someone else entirely..."

"Yuber, shut up. We don't have time for that."

He looked disappointed. "But Saaarahhhh..."

"But Sarah, nothing. Look, if you're a good boy, I'll find you a puppy to eat, okay?"

"Yaay!" Yuber said and ran ahead to the teleport. "Come oooon, or I'll start teleporting myself!"

Sarah did return to the teleport, but not before she let off one parting blow: "And those special effects are the worst I've seen since popular gaming left the 16-bit system!"

As a clever retort, the duck shot back: "This village was massacred by Percival!"