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After they were brought to the top of the Dream Lair (which had nothing but a house-sized bed surrounded by a mass of flourescent aura), Sharkboy, Lavagirl, Max G and PJ, all trapped in an iron cage, faced a holographic face that hovered over a mechanic armchair at the end of the lair.
"Welcome to the Dream Lair," it greeted. "I am the ruler of Planet Drool."
"No, you're not!" Lavagirl corrected. "Max is."
"Max may have dreamed it originally." The holographic face disappeared. Then the armchair turned around to reveal... Linus. "I have made it much cooler," he said with his own voice. "I am Minus."
Max G and PJ dropped their jaws, their eyes widened.
"How did you get here?" Max G asked.
He held out a book. Max G and PJ recognized it. Max's Dream Journal.
"I had a lot of reading. And thanks to this book, I didn't only have access into Max's dreamworld, but also got more power than he will ever have." He stood up and closed in on Max G. "Nice trick you did on the Train, Max. Funny how you could share the same name with that loser. And now, you two'll share the same fate," he said bluntly to Max G, and then moved on to Sharkboy. "Sharkboy, you've been searching for your father, right? After you two were separated when your father's laboratory got blown apart by a tornado?"
Sharkboy eyed at him with a glance of curiosity. "Where is my father?" he asked, trying not to sound desperate.
"Hm, let's see." Minus flipped through the book, then looked straight at Sharkboy. "Check the bottom of the ocean." He showed an evil grin while saying this, enjoying the anger on Sharkboy's face.
He moved on to Lavagirl. "And Lavagirl, when I freeze the planet's core, all of your powers will disappear."
"Powers?" she repeated in confusion. "What powers?"
He didn't answer; instead he looked directly at them. "You know. I never expected to see anyone else than Max in this loser world. But now that you're both here, I guess that means the other two must be here too. Good, they can watch me destroy Max's dreams. The Heartless are roaming the planet as we speak. Once everything is in my hands, that Ice Castle will lose its defenses, and then I'll have Max stand in front of me and watch me take over his world. Blah, blah, blah... threat, threat, threat... Now you must excuse me, I have some dreaming to do."
He snapped his fingers.
Before they knew it, they were falling down a deep and dark tunnel. They all screamed to the top of their lungs.
Everyone had settled down on the corners of the cage, which hung by a tree branch on a cliff of the Dream Lair's mountainside. All of them felt defeated for the first time since they entered Planet Drool.
"The journal's our only way to make everything right," Max G said, trying to retain his confidence. "Come on, guys. We have to get out of this cage."
"We tried," Lavagirl complained. "I couldn't melt the bars." She looked at the distant volcano, now even less visible with its low flames. "Once the volcano's completely dimmed, so will my fire."
Sharkboy grabbed a bar and squeezed, trying to crush it with his fingers. But not even a dent showed. In the end, he gave up with a huff.
Defeat began to touch Max G.
PJ looked on in silence.
This world's made of dreams, and Minus knows everything... A thought occured to him instantly. He intentionally blurted it out before it slipped away from his mind. "If Minus knows everything about this world..." Everyone looked at him. "That means he doesn't know us." He gazed at Max G. "Max, Minus has control over everything that's made in this world, right?"
He nodded hesitantly.
"Well, since we're not of this world, maybe he won't have control over us and our abilities," he continued. "If we can work together, maybe we'll be able to break out." He turned to Sharkboy and Lavagirl. "Sharkboy, Lavagirl, you two may not be able to destroy the bars on your own, but with all of us, we might be able to do it."
They didn't look convinced.
"PJ's right," Max G said. "This world needs us. And Max needs you two to get him the Dream Journal so that he can make things right again. I'm sure they're on their way to the Dream Lair right now, but if Minus knows him well enough, he'll be walking right into a trap. This is exactly the time to fight, guys. You can't give up. Not now."
His words seemed to show more effect on them than PJ's, because they immediately showed some amount of confidence. They stood up, and Max G and PJ joined them.
"Tell us what to do," Sharkboy said in determination.
PJ and Max gave them a short description of their idea.
"Ready?" Max G asked Sharkboy.
He responded with a nod. He leaped up and bent his legs to stand in between the iron bars, using his hands to bend them at full strength. He exerted so much power that his forehead began to sweat. It made a dent.
Max G stood in a corner facing Sharkboy, and concentrated on the supernatural strength his dad taught him to use. Feeling the power flow through his arm, he thrusted his shield with all of his power. It hit the bars in Sharkboy's hands and, with a loud banging sound, made a bigger dent. The shield bounced backwards and flew back into Max G's hand. He had learned to view the most useful ankles before learning how to use a shield like a boomerang.
"Lavagirl, your turn," PJ said.
Lavagirl pointed her hands at the bars next to Sharkboy, then fired a large amount of lava. Sharkboy made a quick leap to the side before the impacting lava could burn him.
Knowing the finishing touch was on him, PJ recalled every word he remembered from the spell: It was a very dangerous spell, and if said incorrectly, the results could be catastrophic. He had the bruises to prove it.
He pointed his Mage Staff at the melting bars and shouted, "Fire and Thunder, combine with destructive energy. Ice and Wind, send all natural courses. BLAST!" The most powerful of light flew out from his staff, followed by a powerful explosion and rumbling in the cage. Everyone staggered and fell to the cage's floor. After the shaking ceased, the first thing everyone comprehended was the black smoke resulted from the explosion. Then, as the smoke dissipated, they saw the opening. A large opening and melted metal bars.
"We have to get the journal," Max G said as they climbed up toward the Dream Lair.
The four of them climbed carefully as they reached the edge of the Dream Lair. Minus was lying on the couch, dreaming. With the journal hung over his face. No one could be sure whether he was sleeping.
"I'll get it," Max G said boldly, but kept his voice low.
He kept his footsteps quiet and slow, constantly making sure that he wasn't making any unwanted sounds that might stir Minus. As he drew nearer, everyone, including himself, grew tenser.
Once he was standing over Minus, he slowly placed his hands on the book's edges and carefully lifted it off his face.
He tensed. Minus's eyes stared right at him. "What'll he do?" The question ran in his head faster than any thought ever had. Minus had spotted him.
Except he didn't say anything. All he did was look. And then, Max G realized he wasn't looking at him. His face was completely blank.
He sighed with relief, then slowly walked back to the others.
As soon as he was with them again, they left the Dream Lair with all the speed they could exert.