scanned the skies, but couldn't find any trace of Bubbles anywhere…neither
could Buttercup. They were beginning to
get worried…all they knew was that Him wanted to get into their minds for some
reason, and whatever the reason was, he must have succeeded with Bubbles. "Where could she be?" Blossom wondered.
dunno," Buttercup said. "Whatever Him
did to her, we gotta see if there's a way to stop it."
there's no telling what he might have
done…or how much she could take right now," Blossom agreed. They kept their eyes peeled as they soared
over Townsville. Please, Bubbles, she thought.
Wherever you are, please be
* * *
had no idea what was going on. Everywhere
she looked, she saw more of them walking down the streets…zombies, of every
shape and size. Each one turned their
cold stares up to her as she flew overhead, and she shuddered with fear at
their gazes. She knew what was on their
minds…what they would do to her if she went near them…the thought chilled her,
and she felt lost, and afraid…
How did this happen? she thought. They're
everywhere…it's horrible! Did Him do
this? Did he do it to the whole
town? Oh god…what if he did?! No, I can't give up hope…there's gotta be
someone left alive somewhere…please, let there be someone else alive, please…
descended down to the street in an empty block of town. It was early, and the sun hadn't come up
yet, and so there weren't any people around this area at the moment. Landing in the street, she headed over a
door to one of the apartment buildings and carefully knocked on it. She glanced nervously behind her on the
street, and thought, I hope someone's
there…it's not safe out here! I have to
get someplace safe…
heard the door swing open, and turned back to face it, saying, "Hello, I was
wond—…" A moment later, her speech was
cut off by her own scream. There was
another one at the door…another zombie.
Th-they're in the buildings, she
thought…there's nowhere safe to go! Before the zombie could attack her, she
quickly shoved it backwards and took off in the opposite direction, flying into
the sky again as fast as she could.
cast only a momentary glance back at the apartment, where the zombie was
struggling to get back to its feet. They're all zombies now, she realized
with dread…No, maybe there's still
someone left! Blossom and
Buttercup! They won't be zombies…I
gotta find them!
the ground inside of her apartment, the old woman who had answered the door
watched Bubbles disappear into the sky, and stiffly tried to pick herself up
off the ground, saying, "Oof…was…was that one of the…Powerpuff Girls…?"
* * *
spotted something in the distance, a streak of blue light flying away from a
group of apartment buildings. "There
she is!" she shouted, pointing it out to Blossom.
she up to?" Blossom said. "It looks
like she's in a hurry. Let's get over
there as fast as we can!" Buttercup
nodded, and the two of them flew off on an intercept course.
heard the sound of something rushing through the air in her direction…she spun
around nervously, and saw the pink and green streaks flying towards her from
the distance…for a moment, she was relieved, until they came into view. She suddenly felt cold, and fright filled
her…it was Blossom and Buttercup all right, but they looked different. Both of their outfits were ripped and
tattered, their skin was a pale bluish color, and their eyes were puffy, giving
that same dead stare that she had seen on the others. Oh…oh no…no…
saw Bubbles staring at them with a look of fear in her eyes, and almost without
recognition. Her tears were welling up,
and she whispered, "…n-no…"
are you okay?" Buttercup asked, drifting closer. "What's wrong?"
watched as the zombies grew closer to her.
Their mouths barely moved, and all she could hear were low moans
escaping their throats. Wh-what do I do?! she thought. They're
dead…the zombies got them! I'm…I'm all
alone!! Shrinking back from them,
she stammered, "N-no, not you t-too…"
Blossom said, confused at Bubbles' words.
"Not us what?"
flew closer, reaching out to put an arm around her in comfort, "Easy,
Bubbles…you've had a scare, but…"
Bubbles could react, the Buttercup zombie had flown closer to her,
outstretching her arms. No, no!
I can't let 'em get me!! She
shoved the zombie's arm back, and yelled, "No!
Leave me alone! Stay back!! Stay
was surprised at Bubbles' reaction, shoving her back like that…she could see
that she was afraid of them for some reason, very afraid. Blossom quickly ordered, "Hold her! We've got to get her to listen to us!" Both of them flew up to opposite sides of
Bubbles, each grabbing hold of an arm, and Blossom continued, "Now,
Bubbles…take a deep breath, and try to explain what's…"
Oh no oh no oh no, Bubbles thought, as
the zombies grabbed her. She couldn't
move…their grip was too strong. The
Blossom zombie bared its teeth and made a strange hiss-like noise, and she knew
she was preparing to bite her. She
panicked, and shrieked at the top of her voice, thrashing around in a frenzy to
try and break free. "NOOO!!!"
down!" Buttercup said as Bubbles struggled, "We're not going to hurt…" Before she could finish, though, Bubbles
blasted her point-blank with her eyebeams, forcing Buttercup to let go. She swung her now-free arm at Blossom as
hard as she could, slamming into her jaw and sending her flying backwards into
the side of a building. Without wasting
a moment, Bubbles spun around and flew away.
time Buttercup recovered from the eybeam blast, Bubbles was out of sight. Blossom pulled herself out of the imprint
that her impact had made on the side of the building, and said, "What was
that? Something's not right with
she was completely freaked out!" Buttercup said.
moment, Him materialized in front of them.
They spun to face him as he lay on his back in the air, holding the
Phantasmal Orb up in front of him. "So,
I see you've found Bubbles," he remarked melodiously. "Is she doing well?"
gritted her teeth, "What did you do
the true power of the Phantasmal Orb,
girls," he replied. "You see, the orb can alter what you see, what you hear, all your perceptions…but only for a
little while. I have to sit and
concentrate to keep it going, you know."
He grinned, staring at the orb again., "But the orb does have the power to make the illusions more…lasting. The mind has to be willing, though…and
believe me, Bubbles was more than
willing to open her mind to me!"
"So that's what you were up to!" Buttercup
exclaimed. Oh man, he almost tricked me before! she thought…I woulda ended up just like Bubbles!
right!" he said. "I merely made it so
that eeeeveryone she looked at was
part of her 'nightmare'…and even better…"
He held the orb up to one eye, peering at the girls through it, making
his eyeball look larger. "…I've magnified her fear. Don't expect to reason with her…"
definitely gone too far this time, Him!" Blossom shouted. "As soon as Bubbles shakes off whatever
illusion you're giving her, we'll…"
afraid it's not that easy, girls," Him interrupted, taunting them. "You see…Bubbles is going to be like
that…" His voice darkened, "…forever!"
were stunned. Blossom was completely
thunderstruck by this piece of information.
She's stuck like that? No, it can't be! Oh no…Bubbles! She
gritted her teeth as it all sank in. It's all Him's fault! He's going to pay for this!!
waved a claw in the air and said, "Don't worry too much about Bubbles, you two…for you see, you'll be joining her
soon enough! I'll just wear you down
with more nightmares and illusions…day after day, week after week, if
necessary, until eventually, you'll be pleading
for me to release you. Your will shall
be broken, and your minds will become open books, upon which I will write the new pages…"
started laughing, Buttercup could take his ranting no longer, and with a fierce
battle cry, she charged forward, swinging a punch at Him. It connected with his chin, knocking him
back through the air…but as he recovered from the hit, he rubbed his jaw and
smiled, continuing to laugh. Shaking
her fists, Buttercup yelled, "Stop laughing!"
so concerned with fighting me," Him
said cheerfully, "that you don't realize what else is going on…" He
looked back over his shoulder, towards some of the buildings in Townsville far
off in the distance, and a moment later, one of them was suddenly rocked with
an explosion. "Shouldn't you be keeping
an eye on Bubbles?"
gasp, the girls turned their attentions towards the buildings in the
distance. As soon as their backs were
turned, Him said, "Surprise!" and
plumes of thick, red smoke started encircling both of them. They looked around, startled, as their
surroundings vanished from sight…
* * *
Nowhere to hide, Bubbles thought…they're everywhere! They're gonna get me…just like in my
dream! How could we let this happen? How?!
We turn our backs for a second, and Him does this to the whole
town…maybe even the whole world!
She flew out from the building through the hole she blasted with her
eyebeams, leaving the dozens of zombies behind that were still inside.
I'm alone…I'm all alone… She shut her eyes as she soared back into
the air, tears streaming down the sides of her face. Oh, why? Why did it have to be this way? Everyone, gone…even my sisters… She
shuddered as she imagined what they probably went through…the zombies biting
them, like in her dream…their screams of horror…
What can I do? she thought sadly. It's
all over…we lost. Maybe I can keep
going on for a little while, but eventually the zombies are gonna get me too…no, I don't wanna be like that…I'll die
* * *
the smoke cleared, the girls found themselves inside the lair of Him. They couldn't move…some strange, red
vine-like substance was wrapped around their arms and legs, holding them each
suspended over two different pits. Both
of the pits were filled wit a bubbling green liquid, and they could feel the
heat rising from them. They both
struggled to get free, but whatever it was that was holding them, it was too
strong to break.
looked up at the vines and tried to fire her eyebeams, but they wouldn't fire
for some reason. She felt something in
the air…it was nullifying their powers.
Maybe it's this stuff that's
holding us, she decided. How did he manage to capture both of us so
Buttercup continued tugging at the restraints, Him materialized in front of
them, grinning in triumph and rubbing his claws together. "Now, at last, I have the two of you…and
we're going to play a little game…"
not playing any of your games, Him!"
Blossom shouted. "Let us go!"
afraid you don't have a choice," he told them.
Waving one of his claws, a pillar of black rock rose up from the ground
in front of Buttercup, stopping right in front of her. There was a large lever on top, like a
switch. As this happened, the substance
that was holding them receded from one of her arms, freeing it. Buttercup wasted no time in trying to pound
herself free from the other restraints, but it was still no good.
better listen, Buttercup, because I'm only going to explain this game once," he
said. Buttercup settled down and
listened, and Him continued, "That lever in front of you will help you decide
your fate, little one."
do you mean?" Buttercup demanded.
explained, "Those pits beneath you…they can destroy anyone, even ones as
powerful as you. Oh, it'll take longer for you, to be sure…about
three days, actually…but eventually, it will. And it will be quite unpleasant for those
three days, also, I can promise you…"
bit her lip, and asked, "So what's your game?"
simple," he said, drifting up next to the lever. "Buttercup has the honor of making the choice. Push the lever forward, and Blossom will be
dropped into her pit. Once she
is…finished…you will be free to go, no questions asked. Pull the lever towards you, and you will
be the one dropped into the pit instead, and it is Blossom that will be released…"
stared at the lever and paled, "You aren't serious! I'm not gonna make a choice like that!" She looked over at
Blossom, who looked equally pale.
but you must…it's one or the other,
Buttercup," Him said, barely containing the delight in his voice. "If you choose not to decide, well…I'll just have to drop you both into the pits. So if
you want one of you to come out
alive, you had better choose who that will be.
And whoever it is will have quite
a good show, watching the other for
your liking?" he asked. "Well, I have
another choice, one which will allow you both
to leave here alive…" He withdrew the
Phantasmal Orb, holding it up in front of him, "Open your mind to the orb's
powers…then, and only then will you both be allowed to leave…"
"No! Buttercup, you ca—…" Blossom began, but she
was cut off as more of the vine-like restraints snaked out and wrapped around
her mouth, silencing her like a gag.
waved his claw, "Ah ah ah, Blossom…this is Buttercup's
decision, not yours." Him drifted back
and waited eagerly, "You'd better make a decision quickly…as I said, if you
take too long, you both will
perish. So, which will it be,
sweated, her eyes locked on the lever.
She looked over at Blossom again, who was staring back at her. Looking into those fear-filled eyes just
made it harder to decide. Oh man, oh man, she thought…what am I going to do? I can't make this kind of decision! Either way, this is awful…I'm either gonna
die slowly, or I gotta watch it happen to Blossom…I can't do it! I just can't!
looked down at the green liquid in the pit beneath her, and shuddered. I
don't want either of us to go through this…not the pit, not watching
it…nothing. Maybe…maybe I should just
open my mind like he said…at least that way, we're both still alive…
waiting…" Him said, impatiently.
if I j-just open my mind," Buttercup asked, "y-you'll let us g-go?"
wicked smile crossed Him's face, and he nodded. Blossom was frantically shaking her head, and when Buttercup saw
this, she thought, No, maybe this is a
bad idea…I'll end up just like Bubbles!
And I'll be stuck like that forever!
Blossom's right…that's worse.
Worse for us, worse for Townsville.
But still…I can't decide! Oh
god, why did it have to be me? Why?!
Blossom watched in horror. She couldn't say anything, couldn't do
anything but watch. In a moment,
Buttercup was going to make a decision, and she had to be prepared for it. To die, or to watch Buttercup die…it was
madding for her just not knowing which one Buttercup was going to choose.
I hope she pushes that lever forward, she
thought…or do I? I don't know if I could stand the thought of
Buttercup having to watch me for three days, and then having to live, knowing
that she was the one who dropped me in.
But I don't want to see anything happen to her, either… She continued to watch helplessly…
* * *
soared high over the town, Bubbles knew it was all over. She didn't want to live in a world infested
with zombies, and the thought of what they would do to her if they caught her
was too much to think about. She thought
about ending it all now, instead of giving them the chance. Everyone
else is gone anyway, she told herself.
What is there left for you?
thought she saw someone nearby, hovering in the air…no, three people. One was hard to make out from the back, but
it looked like…Him. The sight of him
made her feel angry, but also filled her with fear. Now, more than ever, she knew she was helpless to stop him. The other two she saw where her sisters,
still zombies, floating there in front of him as though they were waiting for
felt like turning around and fleeing as fast as she could. Getting to safety, someplace where they
couldn't find her. No, she told herself, he has
to pay! He can't get away with
this! You've got to face him! You've got to! Gathering what was left of her courage, she launched herself in
* * *
spoke up, "You're almost out of time, Buttercup. A decision now, if you please…"
right, all right!" Buttercup exclaimed.
"I've…I've made up my mind…"
Blossom held her breath as she watched Buttercup reach out slowly with a
shaking hand, grasping the lever.
Buttercup hesitated, her hand still trembling, then closed her eyes,
mentally preparing herself…she whispered to herself aloud, "One….two…"
didn't get the chance to make it to three, because at that moment, Bubbles
seemed to appear out of nowhere, striking Him in the back with a kick. Her presence startled him, since his
attention was on Blossom and Buttercup, and he certainly didn't expect an
attack from someone he thought was harmless.
He staggered forward from the hit, and the Phantasmal Orb slipped from
his hands, falling out into the air…
instant it left his hands, the scene around them vanished…they were back in the
skies above Townsville again.
Everything was gone…the restraints, the pit, everything. It was
an illusion! Blossom thought. He tricked us again! I should have known…
watched the orb plummet down towards the streets below, and yelled, "No!" He immediately started descending towards
the street, leaving a trail of flame behind him. Buttercup was still shocked by the sudden change in scenery, but
Blossom had recovered, and thought, Oh no
you don't! She started flying down
after the orb also.
in the meantime, fixed her gaze on Buttercup.
Her expression made it clear that she still was under the orb's
influence. She powered up her eyebeams
and yelled, "No more zombies! No more zombies!!" Gasping, Buttercup raised her arms to shield
Him had almost reached the orb, and he was definitely going to get to it before
Blossom did. "Yes, yesss!" he
hissed. "I have you now! Your efforts are futile, and soon, I will
have the power once again!"
Blossom clenched her teeth, and
knew she had to do something. She made
a decision…but then, her mind still flashed some doubt. What
if this backfires? What if it makes the
situation worse, like in my dream? You
don't know what effect this will have!
No, don't hesitate, this is your chance! Besides, that was just a dream before…this is real! If you don't do something now, we could all
She nodded to herself, and quickly fired a blast
from her eyebeams. The beams shot past
Him, and just before he could grab the orb, they struck into it. With a brilliant flash of purple and white
energy, the orb shattered, and its energy spread outwards in a purplish mist,
which quickly started dissipated into the air.
Him shouted, is voice dark with anger, "NO! You meddlesome fool!!"
Up above, Bubbles' eyebeams powered down before she
fired. She shook he head and rubbed her
eyes, clenching them shut. Buttercup
was confused by this sudden change in behavior, and said, "Uh…Bubbles?"
Bubbles looked up, and was overjoyed to see
Buttercup in front of her…perfectly normal.
exclaimed, flying over and nearly tackling her in a hug. "You're alive!"
Buttercup smiled happily. She's all right! she
thought. "Great to have you back,
Bubbles! C'mon!" She started flying down towards where Him
and Blossom went, and Bubbles followed close behind. Her expression was equally joyful to see Blossom down below, also
back to normal.
Him was furious…the Phantasmal Orb, which had taken
so much time and energy to create, had been destroyed…and he had been so close
to winning! He turned to face Blossom
and growled, "This isn't over!"
"Not by a long shot," Blossom said, frowning
back. "You'll pay for what you did to
us, mark my words!" As she spoke,
Bubbles and Buttercup flew down, hovering at her side.
"Perhaps, but not today," Him said, his voice
returning to its usual melodic tone.
"I'll be back…and next time, it is I
who will be victorious…" He was just
about to leave, when what was left of the purple mist from the orb drifted over
to him, surrounding him. He looked
momentarily perplexed at this, but then his eyes widened, almost fearfully…he
shouted, "No…NO!!" A moment later, he vanished, returning to
Buttercup asked, "What happened?"
"I don't know," Blossom replied, "but if I'm right, I
imagine he's going to have some
problems of his own pretty soon."
Bubbles laughed, and said, "Oh, I'm so happy that
you're all okay! I thought…I thought it
was the end of the world…" As she
looked down towards the street below, she spotted citizens walking by—normal
citizens, not zombies—and knew that everything was back to normal once again.
A sudden thought occurred to her, though, "The
professor! We have to go see if he's
okay!" The other girls nodded, and the
three of them started flying off towards the hospital, hoping that he made it
As they flew, Blossom asked, "So, Buttercup…what did
"What?" Buttercup said, confused.
"You know," she clarified. "The lever…"
"Oh…" Buttercup replied. "I…uh…" She hesitated.
Blossom smiled and shook her head, "It's all right if
you don't want to tell me. I'm sure
whatever choice you made would have been for the best in such a dismal
situation like that…"
Buttercup cracked a grin, "Thanks…"
* * *
The three of them arrived at the hospital. They found out at the desk that Professor
Utonium had been admitted, and the
doctors informed them that he was currently in stable condition. Besides a few minor cracked ribs, he was
okay. They were incredibly relieved,
and asked if they could see him…the doctors agreed; though it was definitely
not visiting hours, they decided to make an exception in this case.
They flew into the professor's room…he was lying on
one of the beds, bandaged up, and with a few bruises on his face, but other
than that, he looked fine. His
expression brightened up when he saw them enter, "Girls!"
"Professor!" they cried out.
They flew over and hugging him from all sides. The professor cringed a little, "Ow! Watch the ribs…" They nodded and backed up a little to give him some breathing
room. "Before you say anything, I know
it wasn't your fault. I forgive you
"Thanks, professor," Blossom said. "How are you feeling?"
"Oh, better now…" he replied. "How about you three? You look a lot better than when I left you
The three of them quickly explained the entire
situation to him and everything that had happened. About Him, the Phantasmal Orb, and what he was trying to do. The professor was shocked, but he was glad
to see that they made it through all right.
He was thankful that it was an outside influence, and that they weren't,
in fact, losing their minds.
"Still," Blossom said, "some of the dreams were
really creepy. I mean, I know they were
false, but they still had some truth to them…like one I had where we were
blamed for 'creating' all the major villains in the city…"
"And some of the bad ones, I don't think I'll ever forget," Bubbles said, still
sounding disturbed. "I still feel kinda
scared that I might have a nightmare…but now that I know what was making them,
and that it's gone, I'm not so scared anymore…"
The professor nodded, "You've been through a lot,
girls…but you've shown a much
stronger will that most children your age…in fact, you've made it through
situations in the past that even us adults
would have a hard time coping with. I'm
proud of your courage."
"Yeah…" Buttercup said, but then hesitated, as she
remembered something she was going to ask him.
"Professor…will I grow up?" The
other girls gave her a confusing look.
"Of course you will," the professor said. "Why do you ask?"
"No good reason, I guess," she replied. "I was told by Him that one of my powers
kept me from getting any older…"
The professor smiled, and said, "Sweetie, you've already grown a little since you were
created. If that's not sign enough,
than I don't know what is. You'll be fine, all of you…"
Blossom smiled, and then asked, "So, are you going to
come home soon?"
"They're going to keep me here until morning to make
sure I'm all right," the professor told them.
"Why don't you three go home and get some rest? It's the weekend, so you can sleep until
noon to catch up on what you missed if you'd like, okay?"
"Okay!" Bubbles agreed. She flew over and kissed him on the top of the head, "Goodnight,
"Goodnight, girls," he said, as they started to leave
the room, "and pleasant dreams."
Blossom smiled as they left. Tonight
we will, she thought…Tonight we will…
* * *
Him appeared in his lair, waving his arms to try and
get rid of the purple mist that had tagged along. It finally dissipated completely, and he sighed. "Well…at least I'm back, now. Home sweet home…"
As he started heading for his throne, he became aware
of another mist that seemed to be closing in on him from all sides. Raising an eyebrow, he said, "Eh…?" It surrounded him like a bright white cloud
of vapor. He shielded his eyes against
it, and growled, "What's going on?!"
It finally cleared, and Him glanced around in
shock. He was standing on the surface
of a white, fluffy cloud…a brightly-colored rainbow was overhead, intersecting
the clear blue sky, bright and sunny. A
group of butterflies passed by, and some small rabbits were hopping around on
the cloud. Beautiful music filled the
air, permeating every corner of this place…
It was almost paradise…
Him grabbed the sides of his head and fell to his
knees, shouting, "No! It's not
fair! Let me out of this illusion…let
me out!!" As he did this, several of
the butterflies landed on him, and a dove set down on the cloud in front of
him, looking up and cooing happily. Him
threw back his head and bellowed, "NOOOOOOOO!!!…"