Danny looked down at frostbite's map again and sighed. It had been several weeks since he had first gotten the request for help from everyone's favorite popsicle, and he still hadn't found anything.
To be honest, when he had first heard about a portal that was popping up all over the ghost zone, he didn't exactly see it as an "A" class emergency.
That is, until he heard about how it was sucking up items and beings and sending them to the real world. That was when he came in.
Thankfully, the map showed him where the portal showed up. The problem was that whenever Danny showed up, the portal was done sucking stuff up and would disappear.
What was more frustrating was that they couldn't even trace where the ghostly stuff popped up in the real world.
He was about to turn around and head to the next location, but he was stopped by Sam's voice on his ear communicator. With a dejected sigh, he turned around and headed toward home.
Sam pulled down a slide and pointed to her hand drawn map of the ghost zone.
Danny had turned back to his human half and he and Tucker joined her in Danny's room to listen to her plan to catch the portal.
Sam cleared her throat and they both snapped to attention.
"Alright, I'm starting to think that these portals aren't random," she said.
Danny frowned, "So what you mean is that someone is making these things appear?"
Sam nodded and pointed to the east side of her map, "The first time that you tried to find the portal, it was open until you got close, then it closed and opened up on the opposite side," here she moved her finger to the opposite side of the map, "when you got to it, it disappeared and moved to the original area," she moved her finger back, "Yesterday, you spent the whole time going back and forth trying to catch it, to no avail.
Danny nodded, "I know what you mean. Usually we would have made at least a little progress while we wasted the whole day."
Sam nodded, "Right. So we have to find a way to catch whoever is doing this off guard. To do this, we need to distract their attention."
Danny nodded, "I get it. How exactly do you plan to do that?"
Sam tapped her chin, "I'm guessing that whoever is doing this is paranoid, since they close the portal whenever you get within a certain perimeter. When it is shut down, Danny isn't anywhere close enough to catch it, However, it might be close if you use the Specter Speeder, and I think they might be preparing if he tries to catch it in the Specter Speeder, therefore, me and Tucker are going to take said vehicle and head for the portal, while you hide over where the portal will appear next.
Danny frowned, "How do you know where it will appear next?"
Tuck stepped up, "By process of elimination, I have calculated the most likely destination of the next portal. There is one of several places that it could appear next, but we are lucky that they are close together, so when we distract the other portal, you can find the location of the next and head to it when the one we are chasing closes."
Danny nodded, "I get it, but how do you know that they won't just close it when they see me?"
Sam shook her head, "I noticed that it takes a while for the thing to close, so if you catch them off guard, then they won't have time to close it."
He nodded, but frowned when another idea hit him, "Won't they notice if I'm not in the vehicle?"
Sam smiled, "I have all that planned out. I have the perfect disguise."
Danny crossed his arms and gave a pointed look, "And what exactly could that be?"
Sam's smile widened and she pulled out a life sized mannequin of Danny Phantom. The jumpsuit was exactly on, the symbol was in place, but the problem was the lack of a face and one very important detail, "Let me present to you my Dannequin!" she said happily.
"Um Sam, One problem," Danny said, pointing to the doll.
"Yes?" Sam asked sweetly.
He started to sweat, "There's something off about it," he started to wring his hands, trying to think of a way to break it to her nicely.
It turned out that he didn't need to, because Tucker saved him when he burst out laughing, "The likeness is uncanny!" he said, dramatically falling backward before rolling on the ground and clutching his side.
Sam huffed indignantly, "What's wrong with it? I know it doesn't have a face, but I didn't want my parents to realize that I was making a mannequin of Danny. I didn't want them to become suspicious."
Danny sweat dropped, "That's not the problem," he said "This guy has a giant paunch."
Sam frowned and looked at the mannequin again and chuckled nervously. Its gut was indeed protruding, but she waved it off, "It will look more like you when we make the face," she said. She pulled out a magic marker and drew a curve and two dots to make a smiley face on the doll. This caused Tucker to freeze, take a look at it, and then laugh even harder.
Sam blushed and stomped her foot, "Alright alright! The conveyer belt was on the fritz, so they gave me a faceless Danny with a paunch! It's the best we can do!" she paused and lowered her voice, "Maybe it'll fool them from afar."
Danny waved his hand to get her attention, "As funny as that is, I'm more worried that it won't fool anyone, I mean, it doesn't exactly look like-."
Danny looked up in annoyance as the box ghost flew into the window. He was about to change into his ghost half, but he was stopped when the box ghost flew past him.
"I have finally come to get my revenge!" he shouted, "Prepare to be defeated by my weapons of mass cardboard and squareness!"
He tackled the mannequin, turned intangible, and flew through the wall. After he was all the way through, they heard the box ghost inquire, "Hey, did you gain weight?"
Sam pushed a button and another Dannequin fell down and she drew another smiley face on it, shooting Danny with a pointed look.
Danny waved it off, "That was merely a coincidence. We all know that Boxy isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. That doesn't necessarily mean that the doll looks like-"
Suddenly, he was interrupted when the roof crashed in and Skulker flew in and shouted, "I will have your pelt on my wall! Welt!"
Danny prepared to change again, but then was stopped when Skulker launched a net past him and trapped the mannequin. He pulled it up and looked at the Dannequin, "Hey, did you gain weight?" he asked. He shrugged and flew off.
Sam pushed the button again and prepared another Dannequin.
Danny stood, mouth agape, but he managed to stammer out, "T-this doesn't mean anything! It could be a-"
They were interrupted again when Valery flew in in response to Skulker's explosion. She looked around and spotted the Dannequin, "You!" she shouted, and before anyone could react, she shot a net at the mannequin and pulled it up. She looked it and sneered, but asked "Did you gain weight?" before shrugging it off and flying away.
Danny hung his head in defeat, "I would deny it again, but I fear we'll get attacked again."
Sam squealed and hugged her newest Dannequin and Danny sighed. He looked down to see Tucker still rolling around laughing.
The next day, the three made their way into their planned positions and Danny took his earphone before flying off to hide in the next area. Sam looked over to Tucker and they both nodded and buckled up and started up the Specter Speeder. Sam smiled over to the Dannequin before putting it's arm over it and she cuddled up next to it. She sighed contently before she went pale when she heard a chuckle beside her.
"Having fantasies?" Tucker asked.
Sam scowled and turned away, "You tell Danny and I'll spread the photo of you two during the gorilla incident."
Tucker smiled, "So? That just punishes Danny too? You wouldn't do that."
Sam smiled back and he started to sweat, "That would only work to convince him that you are lying. After all, what girl in love would send blackmail photos all over school?
Tucker chewed his lip, "Alright you win this round."
Sam nodded and they turned toward the portal and flew off toward it.
As they were nearing the portal, Sam expected it to close, but she was surprised when the portal stayed open and waited for them to come in before closing. She frowned. It was not good that they were alone and didn't know where they were, Danny also thought they were safe, so they couldn't find him.
She turned to the new area and she suddenly had to cover her eyes as a blinding flash came up. She looked out of the window tentively, but she gasped when she saw that they were in a giant cage.
A voice sounded from the other side of the bars, "Well, it's about time that you used that blasted Specter speeder. Plasmius told me that this was supposed to be some energy converter, and we can't necessarily harvest ghost energy properly when we don't have a converter."
She looked around, and she was surprised to see a ghostly pale man with a strange outfit and a purple rope tied around his back. His long black hair went down his back. She had never seen a living human that scared her so much. While she was terrified of the power he emanated, she still couldn't bring her gaze away from the slitted, snake-like pupils surrounded by golden irises.
The man hissed again, "You two must be those meddling brats that he told me about," he paused to examine his nails, "It's really a shame that we couldn't get the second boy as well," he stopped and looked up with a feral grin, "Oh well, That boy will be stuck anyways, after all, he can't traverse the ghost zone without your vehicle. Soon, I will have ultimate power and it won't matter what world you come from! I will rule you all!"
He cackled maniacally before turning around and snapping, "You! Vultures! Show our guests their room!"
Sam looked behind him and she gasped when the vultures came through the windshield, grabbed them, turned intangible and dropped them in a cell below. When the Vultures went through the bars, they turned back to them and sighed, "Sorry about this," the leader said, "We have to serve our master, so we have no say."
Sam just huffed and blew a strand of hair out of her face. The bird sighed again before turning to the Dannequin, "No hard feelings, right?" he asked, and Sam's mouth went agape. The bird did a once over of the doll before asking, "Hey, did you gain weight?"
Sam resisted the urge to face-palm, and she could see Tucker on the side, trembling from his pent up laughter. She waited before the birds left and the two of them burst out in laughter, but they stopped when their situation hit them, and Sam had to think back to what the stranger said.
He seemed to think that Danny was not able to go through the ghost zone. If he was working with Vlad, shouldn't he know that Danny was half-ghost? Whatever the case, she was really hoping that they could handle whatever this man had planned.
Naruto looked up at the mansion, and gulped. He knew that he shouldn't be scared of a haunted house. He was a freakin' ninja for Pete's sake! Sure, he was still a genin, but he was still able to defeat Gaara and bring Tsunade to the village. Sure he wasn't able to bring Sasuke back, but after he was able to do more missions, he was going to go training with Jiraiya, and then he would come back way stronger.
Now, however, he was facing down something that even he couldn't defeat. After all, he was sure he could beat every possible villain, heck, he could even take an army, in his humble opinion, but all that brute strength and ability meant squat when faced with this.
After all, you can't out muscle a ghost.
He was about to try to sneak off, but he was stopped when Ino came up behind him and whacked him upside the head.
He sat on the side, sulking, "That was mean, Ino-chan." He said tearfully.
Ino rolled her eyes, "Yeah, whatever. What are you scared of anyways? It's just a house! The owner says that if we clean it, he'll pay us for a B-rank! Do you know how much trouble I went to to get a D-rank mission that paid a B-rank salary?"
"But Ino-chan, he whined, "It's ghosts. We can't beat ghosts."
Ino shook her head, "There are no such things," she said, she opened the door and kicked the boy into the house, "Now, get in there while Sakura and I take care of the yard. Your clones should be fine for helping you clean it up, so don't come out until you're done!"
Naruto burst into dramatic anime tears and he began to beat on the door frantically, "Please Ino-chan! There are ghosts in here!"
He was about to try to shout louder, but he stopped when he saw a flash from behind him and a few boxes fell over. He turned around slowly and came face to face with a boy who looked a little older than him. He had white hair and was dressed in a black jumpsuit with a 'D' on the front.
He seemed to be pushing boxes off of himself and Naruto's fear melted back to his desire to help, and he moved to lift some of the boxes, "Where'd you come from?" He asked with concern, "Don't you know it's dangerous in here? You could have gotten hurt worse than just having a few boxes fall on you."
The boy waved it off, "I'm fine," he said, "but could you please tell me where I am? I seem to be lost."
Naruto smiled, "You are currently in Fire Country in the elemental nations. Do you need help getting where you are headed?"
The boy waved it off, "Naw, I'm good. I don't necessarily know where it is that you are talking about, but I'm sure I could figure it out."
Naruto lifted the final box and looked down to see the wisps in place of the teen's legs. He looked up, wide eyed at the boy and started backing away, "Y-y-you're a g-g-ghost!" he stuttered
The teen looked down at his legs quickly and also went wide eyed, "Oh crap," he said, waving his arms, "Listen kid, I'm not going to hurt you-."
Naruto didn't listen to the monster's pleas, choosing instead to turn around and beat on the door, "Sakura-chan! Ino-chan! There's a real ghost in here! Please let me out before he eats my soul!"
He continued to beat on the door, but he stopped when he felt a cold hand on his shoulder. He turned around slowly and looked up at the evil spirit. The glowing green eyes seemed to be boring into his soul. He was ready to try to fight back, but as the eyes stayed on him, he found himself frozen in place. He felt his mind leave him and his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he passed out.
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