Of Toasters, Alnel, and Insane Fluff

A/N- Oooo… my first ever challenge-fic! Yeah, I should be working on my other fics instead of starting another new one, but I couldn't help it. Sorceress Myst's Alnel challenge was just too irresistible (if you want some spoilers, check it out on her profile. I think you'll know which one this is.). Be warned: this will be insane. Well, without further babbling…

Chapter One: The Dangers of Burnt Toast

"MY creation!" Peppita cackled in typical mad genius fashion, "IT'S… ALIIIIIIVE!"

"What is it?" Fayt said, suspiciously eyeing the small silver box that had just popped into existence.

"My creation."

"It looks pretty useless to me. What does it do?" Cliff said, prodding one of the two slats on its top with the nearest thing in reach, a fork left over from lunch.

The thing immediately went into self-defense mode and let out a shock of electricity that made Cliff's hair stand on end and his body have little intermittent seizures.

"Wh-what the hell was that?" Cliff whimpered piteously, still twitching.

"And I shall call you the Toaster!" Peppita cried, maniacal glint in her eyes.

"Surprisingly handy device…" Mirage snickered, prodding the still-spasming Cliff.

"But wait!" Peppita grinned, "There's more! Observe the additional uses of the Toaster."

With a flourish, she fished two pieces of bread from a half-empty bag that was lying by what was left of the fork. With utmost care, she stroked the side of the Toaster and stuck the two pieces of bread into the slots, quickly withdrawing her hand.

"That has got to be the dumbest thing ever created." Roger snorted.

"Oh yeah?" Peppita cried, picking her creation up by the cord and circling it around her head like a lasso, subsequently knocking Roger out.

The other party members backed away. It was all well and good to allow Peppita to vent some of her insanity by letting her spend as much money as she wanted Crafting, but this was really going to far. Nel got out her daggers, prepared to smite the latest creation into oblivion and send it to the junk heap, like all the other vicious ones.

The shiny, apparently violent creation snarled and somehow made a hissing noise, even though it didn't really have a face, let alone mouth to speak of. It then made a funny popping noise and ejected two burnt pieces of bread, which collided with Albel's head. Albel reached up to ensure the byproduct hadn't set on fire/ruined his hair and found a large, slightly bloody bruise.

"What the hell kind of invention can make normal toast into a weapon?" Albel twitched, clearly trying to control his anger.

"An INGENIOUS one!" Peppita grinned.

He threw the two charred shurikens at a giggling Peppita in disgust and stormed off to berate the others, who had already run away and left him to duel with that foul monstrosity. They'd nearly condemned him to a death sentence and they would pay dearly for it… once he got far enough away from this Toaster of Doom. Oh, it and its creator would pay too. He fished out his Vengeance List and added several more names in tiny print at the bottom beneath all the crossed-off names. Had anyone thought to look, they would have found that it was almost identical to the missing persons list of the last few months. Yes, he would get revenge, he always did. All in good time…

Back in the insane girl's laboratory, the toaster purred a pining hiss and wrapped its cord around its body like a tail.

"What is it, Toaster, girl?" Peppita said, noticing the dreamy noise, "Did Roger fall down the well?"

Had it possessed eyes, it would have given her a dirty look. Instead, it scuttled over to the two burnt pieces of toast, carved a likeness of Albel's face, and cuddled with them.

And then she realized.

"You like Albel, don't you? I mean, I guess it makes sense. You both have homicidal tendencies… and his hair does kind of look like your tail…"

The heat coils inside of the toaster turned red, which Peppita interpreted as a blush.

"Ooooo! Someone's finally letting me play matchmaker! I know you two will be sooooo happy together!" Peppita squealed, beginning to formulate an evil plan of much evilness.

Several realities away, a young goddess with fiery red hair and a perpetually agitated expression frowned down at the Toaster.

"I don't like the looks of that Thing. It isn't on any of the crafting charts. Apris? APRIS! LISTEN TO ME, DAMMIT!"

A bronze, buff Herculean figure popped out of thin air robed completely in blindingly gaudy gold. Three scantily-clad blonde triplets followed him, rubbing his muscles and fawning on him in general any chance they got.

"Sorry, Dima, baby. I was 'paying attention' to my wives." Apris leered, causing Dima to gag a little.

"You are such a pervert. You know that, don't you? I refuse to believe I was spawned by you. Or that people actually worship you."

"Ah, come on. No need to be like that, baby. It was beautiful. See, I got really wasted one night with these really hot nymphs and woke up the next morning with this horrible splitting headache, and then you popped out of my head. The triplets were pretty pissed. Now hug your daddy."

Beside him, the three sisters giggled vacantly.

"GAH! That's Earth Grecian mythology, you idiot!" Dima raged, repressing the urge to strangle the useless main deity.

"Whatever, same basic story. Drunkenness with hot girls equals baby you don't remember conceiving."

Beside him, the three sisters giggled even more vacantly. Once again, Dima resisted the temptation of going into her Fury mode on them all.

"OK. I'm willing to let that go if you just tell me what you're going to do about that monstrosity on Elicoor!"

"Huh? The thing that makes toast into weapons? It looks harmless--"

"IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO EXIST! IT COULD THROW THE UNIVERSE INTO CHAOS!"

"Or it could just make burnt toast, darling." Irisa piped up.

"Who's your daddy?" Apris smirked, wrapping his arms around the three women's waists and winking lewdly at Dima. She reddened, pulled out a bow, and shot a runological arrow at him, which struck the ivory wall behind the group with an angry twang just as they disappeared.

"AUGH! I'm going to find someone who knows what the hell they're talking about!"

With that she turned on her heel, shot a few more arrows out of frustration, and stomped away, not noticing the figure lingering in the darkness between two pillars who watched her with a smirk.

Several bolts of lightning illuminated the sky directly above one of the minor temples of Apris in Aquios. Twix, a middle-aged priest with a bulging middle-aged physique had been sitting in front of his fireplace with the latest copy of 'Hot Aquarian Spies' until he'd heard the disruption. It was clear to him that the lightning had nothing to do with an actual storm. It was just one of those dramatic hints Apris dropped when he wanted another tribute. With a groan, Twix hoisted himself from his seat, said a quick incantation and let the symbols form a gateway to the Realm of the Gods. Sighing, he relinquished the normal tribute: whatever girly magazine was handy. Still, he supposed that this was why Apris needed a few male priests.

Slightly depressed over the loss of his magazine just as it was getting good, he took his cloak and decided to venture into the night to either get hammered at the nearest pub and hit on girls or get another magazine. Needless to say, he usually ended up drunk, dejected and with a shopping bag full of magazines from the more unscrupulous authors on these occasions. It was unfair. He'd thought being a priest of Apris would get him in with the ladies, especially the triplets out there. No one had said anything about celibacy until afterwards…

Little did Twix know that on this occasion, he had made two crucial mistakes. The first was that he had made a general tribute to whatever god was raging, since he was too 'preoccupied' to figure out which one. This minor slip on his part had made a naughty magazine land on Dima's head and subsequently caused her to burn down his temple a few minutes later.

The second mistake was that most of the lightning hadn't been from Dima's misplaced arrows. No, they had been called into existence for the very specific purpose of dramatic effect. For lurking in the shadows, awaiting Twix to leave his house was a sneaky, pink-clad ninja with lots of rope and evil intents to fulfill her evil plan of much evilness.

Post-Chapter A/N- Well, I promise that there will be a plot… someday. While you're waiting, though, click on the spiffy periwinkle button and support your crazy neighborhood fanfiction writer or she shall smite you all with the wrath of Dima! Mwahahaha!