I would like to thank all those who reviewed… or favorited… or whatever…. I could REALLY use some more feedback though. I know there's not a rule saying you have to leave a review, but if I can take the time to write out this stupid little thing, then surely you can waste a minute or two to review, mmmmkay? Thank you.

Yes, I am a review junkie—what are you gonna do? What are you gonna do?

I would also like to apologize for taking so long with this… we had some computer issues and such…. And we moved and now I go to a school were everyone is either in a gang, is emo, or is a bisexual goth (I don't fit in well). And I got a fish. His name is Miguel. I won him. Sorta. I won a bet and blew my cash on a Japanese fighting fish (I just bet the dude that I'd make a better grade on the test than him. PWN'D). He's blue and red and pretty. And no one cares…. Except me. And Miguel. I love him. I'm almost positive it's a him. Could be a her, in which case her name is not Miguel, but Maria.

Who else here has seen Rent? It was great! "How we gonna pay? How we gonna paaAAy?"

!—!

Iron Chef Tetha'alla

Chapter 2: Challenge!

"That's right!" announced the blond fork-wielding food expert. "It is I, the mysterious gourmet, the Wonder Chef!" He thrust his fork majestically into the air—a pose of elegance and grace. Collet gasped in awe.

"Oh!" exclaimed the waitress. "Thank goodness—I'm saved!"

"Oh shut up," hissed Dark Chef bon appetite. "You were never in any danger, you silly little girl, I'm holding a butter knife for Martel's sake!"

But no one seemed to care what kind of knife he was holding. "Drop your weapon bon appetite," demanded gourmet. "I'm the one you want!"

Dark Chef sighed, rolled his eyes, and let the lovely waitress go. "You're all a bunch of fucking retards," he muttered to himself. "I honestly don't know why I bother…."

The waitress, freed from the clutches of Dark Chef, darted behind gourmet and breathed a sigh of awe and relief. "My hero," she gasped, breathless as if she had just been through a life-threatening situation. And as far as she was concerned, she had been.

Wonder Chef blushed. "It's all in a day's work my fair lady."

For a moment the room was silent. Then Lloyd, deciding things were moving too slow, casually reminded Dark Chef of his purpose for being here. "So, you wanted Wonder Chef, now what?"

"Yes—that's right," bon appetite said, snapping back to reality. He pointed his dangerous and sharp butter knife at Wonder Chef and said, "I am tired of your games gourmet—give me the secret recipe!"

Wonder Chef gasped. "Never! That secret has been past down the Wonder Chef line for generations! We are the only ones allowed to know the secret—"

"Yeah, well, I thought you'd say something like that," droned bon appetite. "So how's this? We'll make a little wager…." An evil grin spread across his face, and lightning cracked outside.

"Wait a minute," Raine butted in, ruining the dramatic effect. "Why is there lightning? I saw no clouds; we were just outside a half an hour ago."

"That is strange," Genis agreed, slipping his kendama behind his back. What are you looking at? Nothing suspicious here! Go away! Genis would never use magic to help set up a mood. That would be dishonest.

Beside him Presea twitched and foamed lightly at the mouth. "Doesn't… add… up…." she seemed to be saying under her breath.

"FORGET ABOUT THE LIGHTNING!" roared bon appetite. "How have you people managed to stay alive this long—you're all a bunch of morons!"

Hearing his sudden outburst, the waitress began screaming… again.

She screamed, and screamed, and screamed… and screamed….

"Someone stick an apple in her mouth or something, she's driving me nuts," ordered Dark Chef.

The girl suddenly became very quiet. She was deadly allergic to apples. And pears, and pecans, and macaroni and cheese, and—

"Um… what sort of wager?" inquired gourmet, directing the conversation back to where they left off. A very smart move indeed.

Bon appetite cleared his throat. "I'll bet you your silly ultimate recipe thing that I can beat your stir fried ass at a cooking contest." He grinned confidently, convinced that this challenge would strike fear in the hearts of both Wonder Chef and those stupid losers he hung out with.

He was half right. Everyone but Wonder Chef seemed to be shocked.

"You don't have to do it," Sheena cried. "It's too dangerous!"

Lloyd nodded in agreement. "Don't feel as though you have no choice!"

"If something happens to you, can I have your little waitress friend?" inquired Zelos.

Beside the cooking extraordinaire, a certain navy-haired waitress sobbed in worry.

"Um…." said Wonder Chef slowly. "Guys, it's just a… cooking contest. I'm like, the best there is. Really, you don't have to get so upset."

"Oh…" Genis said quietly. He had been crying almost as hard as the waitress. He whipped his eyes pulled himself together, hoping no one would notice how red and puffy his eyes were….

"Are you sure you can handle it," inquired Regal. "I took him on last time, but judging by his sparkling new butter knife and perfectly spotless apron he seems to have improved quite a bit."

"True," agreed Wonder Chef, eyeing his opponent warily. "But he is not the only who's been practicing new recipes."

"Alright then," bon appetite said, clapping his hands together, feeling suddenly cheerful now that everything had fallen into place perfectly. "Things have all gone according to plan. So, I'll see you tomorrow then? You know the place."

Wonder Chef nodded. "When do you want me there?"

"Eight' o'clock work for you?"

"Perfect!"

The Dark Chef waved goodbye happily, and elegantly swooped out the window, landing perfectly at the bottom of the two-foot drop.

What? What? It's only on the first story, are you insane? No one with an IQ even approximating three digits would have a kitchen on a second story. That would be retarded. If any of you—any of you—know anyone who has a kitchen on the second or even third story of their house, slap them. No, seriously, give them a good bitch slapping. Or better yet, shoot them. Anybody who's that stupid doesn't deserve to live.

"Well," said Wonder Chef loudly after bon appetite's dramatic exit. "I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow then." He waved goodbye casually and left out the front door.

The room was silent for a while. After witnessing such an… interesting event they were a bit flabbergasted.

"Well," said Zelos suddenly, breaking the silence in two like a hot knife cutting through soft cream cheese. Not butter, that's different. Cream cheese. "I'll see you guys tomorrow. I'm going to bed."

"That's a good idea," agreed Raine. "Especially you Genis."

Genis groaned. He'd rather get shot in the ear by an ugly gangster than spend another day of his young life on that stupid bridge.

At Raine's words the party of eight dispersed into their rooms, leaving alone the lovely young waitress, who was too busy fantasizing about a certain Wonder Chef to notice their absence.

o.0

Lloyd Irving woke the next morning to the wonderful smell of pancakes and frying bacon. He followed this heavenly scent down the stairs of the inn and into the small dining room where he met up with the rest of the gang. Judging by the way they all ate with such vigor, the food must have improved since last night.

"Hurry up and eat," urged Sheena. "We have to get to the coliseum in an hour!"

Lloyd didn't need to be told a second time. He dug in, thrilled that the food was so good, and looking forward to a fight shortly after.

"So who's fighting today?" inquired Zelos.

"Well obviously Lloyd," answered Raine. "He hasn't shut up about this all week…. Who here needs the most work?"

"ME!" exclaimed Genis suddenly, thrusting his hand into the air and jumping up and down rapidly, hoping that maybe if he volunteered to fight he wouldn't have to play a certain game….

But it was all for naught—his older sister simply popped him firmly on the head with her staff. "Not until I see you with that kendama!"

"I'll join Lloyd," offered Sheena. "I've been feeling a bit hot-blooded today—"

"And I'll go too," interrupted Zelos. "Because it wouldn't be very gentlemanly of me to let poor Sheena fend for herself—"

"Lloyd will be there," snapped Sheena. "You know what; I don't want to fight anymore."

Zelos opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by the sound of the inn's front door opening. Because everyone knows how easy it is to hear that from two rooms away, and especially hear it so well that it could ever cut someone off. It makes perfect sense. Just don't think too hard about it.

Shortly after the opening of that exceptionally loud door a party of two entered the dining area. One of them, a woman, was short, fat, and wore a nice suit, while the other one, a man, was slim, tall, and also wore a suit. They were talking hurriedly, as if they were worried about something.

"Where are we ever going to find another judge?" asked the plump woman, pacing back and forth. "And why in the name Martel did we come to an inn to discuss this?"

"Hmm," said the man, nodding. "That's very interesting."

"We need someone simple-minded," continued the woman.

"Hmm," agreed the man. "That's very interesting."

"And someone who knows their food!"

"Hmm. That's very interesting."

She breathed deeply, frustrated at her partner's low vocabulary skills. Then, suddenly, she saw a boy across the room. He was shoveling food down his throat at impossible speeds with a spoon. He was perfect! Anyone who could eat like that had to have a low enough IQ to be judge!

She waddled over to him and fast as her short, stubby legs could carry her. His friends glanced up at her and gave her questioning looks.

"Young man," she said. "You eat like a horse! I simply must ask you something!"

"Um… what?" Lloyd asked between bites.

"Well, you see, at the coliseum a culinary battle is being held between the world's greatest chefs. We need three judges, but we have only got two—be a dear and help us out with this?"

"No battles?" asked Lloyd, thoroughly disappointed.

"No darling, this is much more important, don't you agree?"

Lloyd wasn't sure. Food and fighting were on a pretty even scale….

"I'll do it!"

"Oh wonderful!" Then turning to the second judge, and she yelled, "Harvey! I've found us another one!"

"Hmm," he responded, nodding. "That's very interesting."

"Wait a minute!" shouted Raine suddenly. "One of these wouldn't happen to be named gourmet, the Wonder Chef, would he?"

"But of course, darling," said the woman in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone. "Who else would it be?"

The group gasped, because when something is this obvious it still sort of surprises you in a way. "We have to hurry and get down there to help Wonder Chef out!" exclaimed Regal, because if they didn't somehow end up at the cooking competition there wouldn't be a story.

!—!

I'm cutting it off here. Because that last line appeals to me almost. It's factual and catchy.

Hopefully I'll update a bit sooner next time. If I don't… um… I dunno. Cut yourself. Just don't complain to me. Because then I'll cry.