AN: This will probably be the last time I update this fic for a while, since I'll be focusing on Poprockolis. Rest assured that this fic will be completed one day!
Still, I'd like to dedicate this chapter to Suki Takayoshi, who left the VP section and fanfiction dot net recently. She was a great writer and an even better friend, and I miss her every day. Hope you're doing all right, good buddy. :')
Hope you all enjoy this chapter!
It took Eddie almost an hour, but he calmed the crowd to a reasonable level of sanity. Either that or all of them got really tired from all of the yelling. Eddie wasn't complaining; at least they didn't bum rush the stage and attack him.
Now that everyone was calm, they had begun to examine the alternate universe people as if they were exhibits at a very weird art museum. At least they seemed to be getting along…
Eddie sat down on the side of the platform, exhausted from all of the negotiations he had to do. He never thought he'd entertain this thought in a million years, but he was actually sick of hearing his own voice. He heaved a sigh and let himself drop down into the crowd.
Almost immediately, he was accosted by Edith. She was one of the few people in the crowd who wasn't dressed in pajamas and her hair was even perfectly brushed. Eddie would have been impressed if he didn't dread the sight of her so much. He felt his stomach tie into a knot when he saw that she was scowling.
He didn't get to see much of her when he was in the alternate universe, but he didn't like what he did see. The way she bossed everyone around during the festival preparations…how blunt she was…the way she forced herself on Yoto…she was everything Eddie wasn't. Eddie might not have liked Yoto, but he didn't deserve that. Anyone who didn't treat the opposite sex with respect got subtracted a whole lot of points in Eddie's book.
"You have a lot of explaining to do, mister!" Edith jabbed Eddie in the chest with a perfectly manicured purple nail. "How do I know all of this wasn't your fault? You probably swiped the interuniverse gun in a fit of passion for Little Miss Doctor and messed everything up when you fired it!" Edith threw her hands up in the air. "Men!"
Eddie was silent in sheer disbelief for a few moments. "Edith…not to be rude, but I thought you were smarter than this. You pulled that right out of thin air…!" Eddie shook his head. "No, I had nothing to do with this. I'm not going to lie, being reunited with Patrice is a great thing…but I have no idea why this happened!"
Edith huffed, obviously hoping she had found a quick solution to her problem. She stormed off into the crowd to point another finger at an unsuspecting person, Eddie imagined.
All this talk about Patrice made Eddie want to see her, though…hmm, where did she run off to?
Petula barely even contemplated what was going on because of her sleep-induced fog. All she knew was that there were twice as many people in the Village Square than usual, and they were making twice as much noise. Ugh, she'd never get back to sleep with all of this racket! Didn't they understand that she needed her beauty sleep to function?
Petula scanned her sleepy eyes around the crowd. No one interesting was from that "other reality" or whatever. They just looked like boring, normal people. No hot guys…
Ah, Petula let a sleepy smile cross her perfect lips when her eyes settled on Eddie Lizard. Now THERE'S a hot guy I know.
She moved forward in the crowd to get a better look at him. When she finally did go back to sleep, hopefully her dreams would be filled to the brim with sweet, sweet Eddie.
Eddie was at the front of the crowd, talking to some girl who looked like she could be Doc Patchingo's twin sister. He was obviously turning on the charm, flicking his bangs and giving the girl his most winning smile. The girl was blushing and whispering something to him.
Ordinarily, Petula would have raised an eyebrow at all of this, but Eddie had a reputation for always being charming towards women. He was just in his natural element, nothing to get upset abou-
Suddenly, Eddie pulled the girl close and kissed her on the lips, his face disappearing into her monkey helmet.
Petula felt every part of her body instantly snap awake.
She was seeing red at this point; the next thing she knew, she was darting forward, shoving aside everyone who got in her way. Neither Eddie nor that blonde bimbo he was so enraptured with noticed Petula barreling towards them like a very, very angry bullet.
Eddie shrieked with surprise when Patrice suddenly toppled over.
It took a moment to register what was happening, but Petula was on top of Patrice now, breathing heavily and an absolutely crazed expression on her face.
"Cuh-can I help you?" was the best Patrice could come up with. Her helmet had fallen off and rolled a few pinometers away from her.
"Petula, what on Earth are you-?!" Eddie exclaimed. He got his answer a few seconds later, when Petula's fist connected with Patrice's jaw. Eddie shrieked and tore at his hair.
"CATFIGHT!" Percy shouted from somewhere in the crowd. Almost every male in the crowd ceased talking and ran over to where the screaming was coming from.
"You! Bitch!" Petula punctuated each word with another smack in Patrice's face. "Eddie! Is! MINE! I SAW HIM FIRST!"
Patrice barely fought back. She had attempted to shove Petula off of herself at first, but after a few punches, she was far too weak to make any other moves. Petula didn't let up at all and all Eddie could do was stand there like an idiot.
He couldn't shove Petula! She was a lady, even if she was a violent one… Eddie bit his lip so hard that he tasted blood when Petula began pulling Patrice's hair. …but Patrice is the most important lady in your life now. You HAVE to intervene!
Eddie listened to the little voice in his head and finally got his shaking legs to move. He grabbed Petula by the back of her shirt and pulled her off of Patrice.
"HEY!" Petula struggled out of Eddie's grip, whirled around, and punched him square in the eye. "Let me finish what I started, you heartbreaking bastard!"
Eddie's hand flew to his eye, which was rapidly beginning to swell. He looked at Petula in sheer disbelief. He had never even entertained the thought of dating her, why was she reacting so violently?!
As Petula turned back to the sobbing Patrice, Eddie recalled the time he followed Maxime into an illegal piñata fighting ring in Poprockolis.
Love makes people crazy. This was a shining example of that.
Eddie covered his eyes and began to cry a bit himself. He couldn't believe that he caused all of this. What kind of man was he?!
"That's enough!" a low voice rumbled over Petula's screeches of war.
Petula instantly stopped what she was doing and whipped her head to face the source of the voice.
Eddie did the same, his blubbering trailing off. He was surprised to see that the loud exclamation came from Sparcticus, who almost never shouted.
"Petula, you're acting like a baby. GO. HOME," It was Sparcticus' turn to pick Petula off of Patrice. Petula turned to glare at him, but she knew better than to punch him. She'd barely make a dent in someone of his size.
"But-" Petula tried to protest, but Sparcticus' cold glare told her that there was no room for negotiation. Sparcticus dropped her and she slunk back off towards Paper Pets.
"Way to go, loser," Percy shut his Alert System, which he had been using to record the fight. "You just ruined one of the most beautiful things in the world."
"Says you," Sparcticus narrowed his eyes at Percy before disappearing back into the crowd.
Eddie felt sad for a moment because he didn't get the chance to thank Sparcticus properly, but he had something else to worry about now. Namely, an injured girlfriend.
Eddie rushed to Patrice's side and helped her up, fussing over her. Once she was safely on her feet, Eddie picked up her monkey helmet and returned it to her.
Patrice blushed and gave Eddie a broken smile. "Duh-don't worry…I'm fine…" She sighed and ran a hand over her face before putting her mask back on. "Just a little…shaken. Oh, Eddie…your eye…" The brow of Patrice's monkey mask creased with worry. Eddie almost laughed; Patrice was in far worse condition than he was, and yet she put the needs of others above her own.
"I think we both need some medical attention…" Eddie linked his arm through hers. "Let's go find Doctor Patch. I'll explain about Petula on the way…" Eddie huffed a bit. "It's…quite a lot to explain."
"We have time," Patrice beamed at him despite her face's bruises and scratches. "All the time in the world…"
"I was hoping I'd get to meet you!"
Tanamo wasn't sure what to make of the grinning girl in front of him. She was even shorter than he was, with choppy hair and a sunlike mask. Something about her was ridiculously familiar; even if he was sure he had never been mask-to-mask with this girl before…
"I'm Sahari," the girl stuck out a tiny hand and her smile grew even wider. "I'm your counterpart!"
A memory suddenly surfaced in Tanamo's mind, of the purple haired guy from this universe showing him a photo of this girl in Arlene's Inn. He had thought she was cute, like she could be his little sister. He had always wanted a little sister…maybe this universe merge wouldn't be so bad!
Tanamo grabbed her hand and shook it enthusiastically. "My name's Tanamo!" he introduced, resting his free hand on his poncho'd chest. "It's awesome to meet you!"
Suddenly, an enormous shadow loomed over Sahari. Tanamo slowly looked up and felt his blood run cold when he got a load of the hulking behemoth of a man standing over his counterpart.
Sahari, on the other hand, seemed more than happy to see this guy. "Hey, Sparty!" she turned around to smile up at him. Much to Tanamo's surprise, the giant guy smiled back. Dang, Tanamo didn't take him for the smiling type.
"You feeling overwhelmed?" the tall guy asked, his voice deep and resonating with the slightest Greek accent. He nervously looked around at the crowd and added: "I know I am…I figured Yoto made all of this up and all of those…photos…were fake…"
"It'll be fine, Sparty," Sahari gave the tall man's hand an affectionate squeeze. Tanamo raised an eyebrow at that. He figured he shouldn't be caring about his lady self's love life, but this guy…who was he even supposed to be? Tanamo had a hunch…
"Hey, man," Tanamo gathered up all of his courage before speaking to this "Sparty" guy. Sparty cast a critical eye over him, but his expression softened after a moment when he saw that Tanamo was the spitting image of Sahari. "Where are you from?" Tanamo asked, cocking his head to the side a bit.
"The Piñarctic," He offered his hand to Tanamo. "I'm Sparcticus, nice to meet you. You're Sahari's…?"
Tanamo's brain blew a fuse. This guy was from the Piñarctic?! Why didn't he notice sooner? This guy was the counterpart of ISIS!
Tanamo's heart twisted into a gigantic knot. Ugh, Isis.
Isis was the one that got away for poor Tanamo. He could never muster up the bravery to ask her on a date, so he danced around the subject of his love for her for years.
Tanamo had never even entertained the thought that Isis would fall in love with someone else, but she did.
Both he and Isis were friends with Edith, the girl who ran the P-Factor. One day, much to Tanamo's surprise and heartbreak, Isis and Edith had arrived at the P-Factor hand-in-hand and had shared a quick kiss before the round began.
Tanamo wanted to be happy for his friends, but he just…couldn't. Ugh, this guy was bringing up all kinds of awful memories…
"Hey, are you okay…?" Sparcticus withdrew his hand, his brow furrowing. "Your mask is pale…"
"I…" Tanamo choked a bit. "I need to go!" With that, he took off at top speed, kicking up dust in his wake.
"Huh, he seemed normal when I met him…" Sahari shrugged at Sparcticus.
"Must not like people from the Piñarctic…" Sparcticus sighed and shoved his hands into his pockets. "I know his type…"
"Haven't gotten a call in hours," Dastardos said with a yawn, splaying himself across his couch, Magnar snoozing on his stomach. "Guess that's one good thing about the universe merging…"
He had been spending the past hour or so in the company of Vilos. She had burst into his tree, bragging about what she had done to Eddie and how she had terrified the crowd. Dastardos had given her a standing ovation. Now, they were just sitting around and chatting, Dastardos on the couch and Vilos floating a few inches from the floor.
"That's almost a shame," Vilos smirked. "I really wanted to take Margaret out for a spin."
Dastardos gave Vilos a weird look. "Who the fuck is Margaret?"
Vilos floated into a standing position and held out her hands. After a quick twitch, a scythe appeared in her hands. Its handle was patterned like Dastardos' Whacking Stick, but it was much longer and had a huge, curved blade on the top of it.
"WOW!" Dastardos exclaimed, quickly moving Magnar aside and flying off of the couch to examine Vilos' weapon. "Where'd you get this?!" he ran an invulnerable finger along the blade. "This is much more badass than my stupid stick! No wonder you named it…"
"Mistress Mayhem upgraded it for me!" Vilos nodded, straightening the scythe and leaning against it. "She's good for some things, I guess…" Vilos admitted, her expression flickering annoyance at the mention of her boss.
"How did you get her to agree to this?" Dastardos flew around the scythe so he can examine it from all angles. He was honestly jealous; sticks might have been made for smashing piñatas, but like Pester always said, there's no kill like overkill! "If I had asked Pester for a scythe, he'd instantly think I was trying to kill him."
"I told her some male gardeners were getting fresh with me," Vilos snickered. "That's partly true; there was one incident with this gardener, I think his name is Max or something, catcalling at me. Now he runs and hides whenever I come into the garden…and he's not the only one…!" Vilos hugged her scythe, a sentimental look on her face. "Ah, I love being intimidating. It's hard when you're a woman." Vilos looked around for a brief moment and leaned in. "Wanna hear a secret?"
"Sure do," Dastardos cupped a hand around his mask's ear.
"Back when I first started reaping…" Vilos snickered a bit at the memory. "…I wore this giant robe. Covered absolutely everything. I didn't want anyone to know that I was a girl." Vilos flipped her hair over her right shoulder.
"Oh man, that sounds like a story!" Dastardos sat tailor style in the air, looking at Vilos with expectant excitement.
"It sure is," Vilos nodded and got a faraway look on her face as she recalled the incident.
"I wore that robe for about four years. I absolutely loved the air of mystery it gave me; how it made everyone I reaped from fear me. The fabric was black, completely black, not a single pattern on it. Mistress Mayhem spoiled me in my early days…she wanted to make sure I would stick around. When I asked for a disguise, she actually imported the fabric for me and sewed the robe herself." Vilos snorted. "She was a different woman back then. Anyway…"
"I became kind of a big deal. 'Who's the Reaper?' every single paper would ask. I wouldn't talk, I wouldn't sing, I wouldn't even flinch when the doctors came around. I think everyone thought I was a ghost or something." Vilos smirked and turned transparent for a brief moment. "To be honest, they weren't too far off the mark."
"Then, that's when I ran into him."
"'Him?'" Dastardos Parrybo'd, one of his eyebrows arched.
"You know him. He was a fairly new gardener back then, just moved into this Village. It was my first time reaping in his garden, so, secretly, I was a bit excited to see how he'd react to me…ah, I see that smirk on your mask! You must know that feeling well!"
"He had that annoying, bright-eyed look. Like he thought everything was going to be okay. Feh. That look didn't falter even when I came into the garden. He actually greeted me cheerfully, can you believe it?"
Vilos lowered her voice in a mockery of a male's baritone. "Oh, you must be that Reaper everyone's always talking about! Great to finally meet you! Ugh…and here's the worst part…he actually came up to me like he was going to shake my hand. I didn't know what to do, I just stopped. At this point, the doctor –not Patrice, her predecessor, this guy called Goron- was in the garden, so I just wanted to euthanize that stupid Pretztail and get it over with."
"Did you?" Dastardos asked, tilting his head the slightest bit.
Vilos huffed. "I'm getting to that part, just shut up and listen…"
"He was on his way over to me with his hand out, despite the fact that I shoved my hands in the opposite sleeves to make it very clear that I had no intention of shaking his hand. Once he finally got close, I tried to swerve around him…" Vilos' expression fell and she folded her arms. "…but I didn't know that he was stepping on my robe. I came right out of it."
"I hope you had clothes on underneath!" Dastardos snickered mischievously, earning himself a giant smack in the skull from Vilos' fist. "OW!"
"I was, thank you very much! But I felt stark naked…the way the gardener and the doctor were staring at me…" Vilos put a thumbnail into her mouth. Dastardos could tell this wasn't a good memory for her; Vilos' confidence was almost never so low. "I knew I was ruined. The gardener made it even worse for me, you know. Do you know what he said?"
"I wasn't there," Dastardos replied, eyelids lowered.
Vilos ignored that little comment. "His eyes got all big and he smiled like a dope. He told me I was beautiful. A skeletal girl who looked scared out of her wits, beautiful!" Vilos snorted. "Eh, it was a sign of things to come. Arthur still says shit like that to this day."
"That was Arthur?!" Dastardos' jaw dropped. "I never would have forgiven him after revealing my identity to everyone!"
"Psh, it bugged me bonkers, sure, but he didn't know I used to be Stellos," Vilos huffed. "That would have been more problematic. The papers were BALLISTIC for weeks. Every freaking headline said THE MYSTERIOUS REAPER IS A GIRL!" Vilos threw up her hands. "It got to the point where I didn't even hide from the cameras; I just sort of glared at them whenever reporters would pop out of the bushes…people still knew not to mess with me, though, the first few guys who made lewd comments got visits from Mistress Mayhem in the middle of the night!" Vilos snickered behind her thin hand. "I don't know what she did, nor do I want to know, but I'm sure glad she did it. Those guys never bugged me again."
"I'm so glad I'm a man right now, you have no idea," Dastardos puffed out his chest. "Never had to deal with shit like that! Everyone finds me scary, no effort on my part!"
"Even though you're a floating midget bastard?" Vilos gave Dastardos a gremlin like grin.
Dastardos stared at her like a Doenut in headlights for a few seconds before grabbing a handful of her hair and yanking it.
Vilos yelped and pulled her hair out of Dastardos' grasp. "Don't ever pull my hair again!" she reprimanded Dastardos with another smack, this time on the shoulder.
"There's sooooo much of it, though!" Dastardos wiggled his fingers, snickering like a madman. "It's hard to resist!"
Vilos made a point of floating farther away from him. She looked like she was about to say something else when her Alert System went off.
"Your boyfriend?" Dastardos mocked as Vilos fished her Alert System out of her pocket.
"Ugh, nope," Vilos sighed heavily when she saw who was calling her. "It's a message from Mistress Mayhem." Vilos held up the Alert System screen so Dastardos could see the text.
Heeeeyyyy, sweetie pie! Mommy's been worried about you and she reallllly wants to see you! We have lots to discuss about a recent…incident! Please come here ASAP~! xoxoxoxoxo MM
"Aww man…" Dastardos stuck out his tongue. "I really don't want to see that lady again…but if you need me to come along for moral support, I will."
"I'd appreciate that," Vilos said, putting her Alert System back into her pocket and making her scythe disappear.
Dastardos deflated and looked at Vilos incredulously. "You weren't supposed to say that."
Vilos said nothing, but she grabbed hold of Dastardos' scarf and led him out of the house.
"Oh my God…" Vilos breathed as she looked up at the volcanic lair.
There was still only one volcano, but it had doubled in size. Instead of just one statue at the very top, there were now two. A stone Mistress Mayhem and Professor Pester stood facing one another and they appeared to be in a gigantic argument.
"The volcanoes…merged?!" Dastardos exclaimed, shock in his voice. "Why there and nowhere else?"
"They deserve it," Vilos snarled. "Come on, let's make this quick." With that, she swooped over to the ramp and began to float up. Dastardos followed suit.
As soon as they entered the lair, they found two Ruffians looking absolutely horrified. One was obviously Pester's, with bulging arms and swirling tattoos, and the other was Mistress Mayhem's, with a fluffy green ponytail tied with an enormous pink bow.
"What's going on?" Dastardos asked, making brief eye contact with Pester's Ruffian. Ugh, he had been around these things for ten years and he still hasn't been able to get over their hideousness.
"Lots of yelling…" Mistress Mayhem's Ruffian piped up. Dastardos barely resisted the urge to cover his ears. Her voice sounded like steel wool scrubbing a pot. "You go see?"
"We better go see…" Vilos folded her arms. "I bet my Mistress and Professor Pester haven't taken too kindly to having to share this volcano…"
The two of them flew down the dark corridor towards the main control room. Once they were halfway there, they could already hear muffled yelling in the distance.
"We should just turn around and leave," Dastardos suggested with a shrug. "They'd be none the wiser for a few hours."
"Are you kidding? I wouldn't miss a chance to see them tear each other to shreds!" Vilos sped up her pace and Dastardos had to push himself off the floor with a foot to keep up with her.
They arrived at the huge metal doors that led to the control room after a few more seconds. Vilos pressed a big red button and the doors creaked open.
Dastardos' eyes widened once he saw the state of chaos the room was in.
Some of the things in the room were Pester's, and some were Mistress Mayhem's, but there was no rhyme or reason to where everything was. There was only one gigantic computer and the big silver statue in the corner had become some sort of mutated Pester/Mayhem hybrid.
"Mistress?" Vilos put on her sickeningly sweet fake voice and pressed her index finger against her chin, her lower lip in a quivering pout. "Why are you fighting with that scary man?"
Dastardos had no idea how Vilos could be so prideful when she had to put on a persona like that in front of her boss.
Mistress Mayhem and Professor Pester instantly ceased their arguing at Vilos' intervention.
"Sweetie!" Mistress Mayhem gushed, opening her arms. "There you are! I missed you so much!" Mistress Mayhem galloped over to Vilos and pulled her into a hug that would have crushed the bones of a normal person, spinning her around twice.
"MAYHEM-" Pester boomed, obviously still ticked. Mistress Mayhem held up a finger to silence him.
"Shush! I need to talk to my underling!"
Pester grumbled, folding his meaty arms and narrowing his acid-colored eyes into a glare.
Dastardos floated to his side. "Thanks for not greeting me with a hug."
"I'm not in the mood for your ludicrous jokes!" Pester turned his glare onto Dastardos, who barely flinched. "I absolutely abhor sharing my lair with this woman! It's only been a few hours and she's already insisting that she redecorate with a 'woman's touch!'" Pester threw his hands in the air.
"That's what you were arguing about?" Dastardos snickered. "That's petty as hell. Figured you two would be conspiring!" Dastardos crossed two of his fingers and held them up in front of Pester's nose. "I always thought you two were meant to be, in some weird disgusting way."
"Nonsense, Dastardos!" Pester swatted Dastardos' hand away. "I know very well that I'm meant to be with your gem of a sister!"
Dastardos felt a sudden urge to conjure up the Whacking Stick and smack Pester in the head with it. Even though he had severed most of his family ties, he couldn't help feeling protective over his siblings. As much as he hated to admit it, none of them had ever wronged him.
"Professor~!" Mistress Mayhem sang, whirling around. "My darling little Vilos just had a splendid idea!"
"WHAT," Professor Pester snapped, his expression still angry.
"How about we bury the hatchet?" Mistress Mayhem leaned forward, as if her oversized breasts threatening to burst out of her too-tight corset would help convince Pester to stop being angry. In reality, Pester just felt his stomach tighten into a sickened knot. "You and I can team up and lay waste to a few gardens! Let everyone know that we're a force to be reckoned with when we work together!"
Professor Pester's harsh visage faded and he pursed his lips as he thought. "Very well!" he said after a few moments, his usual sharp toothed grin crossing his mask. "I suggest we start with that pest Avalon's!"
"Hey, wait a second-" Dastardos tried to protest, but he slumped when he realized it was futile. Letting Pester know about his friendship wouldn't be too wise…
"Glad you agree-wait, who's Avalon?" Mistress Mayhem asked as she made her way to Pester's side.
"An insufferable bitch," Pester huffed. "Believe me; once you meet her you'll be glad to be laying waste to her hard work!"
"Byeeee, Vilos~!" Mistress Mayhem giggled her horrible giggle before heading out the door with Pester.
"Well, that'll keep them out of our copious amounts of hair," Vilos brushed her hands together and rested them on her hips victoriously.
"You're a genius, Vee," One corner of Dastardos' mouth lifted up into a half-smile, but his admiration clearly shined in his tone of voice. "But…uh…if you don't mind I kind of want to follow them."
"Why?!" Vilos demanded, leaning forward to squint at Dastardos. "After all that trouble I went through?"
"No reason, I, uh…" Dastardos' cheeks colored dark black despite his best efforts to stop them. "Avalon's tough. I think it would be funny to see those two get their asses handed to them!"
Vilos brightened instantly and Dastardos let out a mental sigh of relief.
"That does sound hilarious…come on, let's go!" Vilos grabbed Dastardos by the scarf and dragged him out of the lair.
That was a close one… Dastardos thought as he was unceremoniously dragged through the dark, dank hallways. If Vilos knew about me and Avalon's friendship I'd NEVER hear the end of it!