The excitement was almost too intense to bear. Evina ran through the Goofy Speedway tunnel to find his kart. But he wasn't the only one; there were hundreds of others rushing to get their vehicles, preparing to go out and explore.
One of the old grease monkeys from the shop was leaning up against the outside of the kart shop watching the other toons with a kind smile. If anyone here could remember a time when the highway was open it would be him.
Evina walked up to the elderly toon. "Hi, um, would you happen to know how to get to Duckburg?"
The monkey turned to look at him. He was still smiling. His eyes were focusing on the medal around the duck's neck. "I see you're one of the toons that helped clean up the cog mess."
"Then I must thank you again for your service to Toontown. If anyone deserves to get to Duckburg it would be you. Now let me think… Alright, you should get on highway blue going south. Take this for a few miles until you get to Pluto Park. There you should get on highway green going westbound to Calisota."
"Thank you so much." Evina grinned. He ran to the highway, dropped the kart, and it expand on the pavement. It was finally time to be free.
This was unbelievable. The world that he thought he had known well was in reality so huge and beautiful. He was flying through the desert on the highway with the warm wind blowing through his feathers. Every minute he had to check that this wasn't just a wild dream. He had judged everything so wrong and didn't want to think badly of the toons ever again.
Signs on the side of the road told him that he was getting very close to Duckburg and the first indications of population were visible. The road winded back and forth up a series of hills, the anticipation rose, and when he made it to the top to look at the other side he was completely amazed.
In a valley between the hills, on the coast of a huge sparkling ocean there was a gorgeous city. Evina instantly felt like he belonged there, even though he was still on the highway going down the hill.
He rolled into the city with awe. Some of the ducks were on the streets waving to new visitors. He wondered if any of them could be related to him, even in a distant way. Deep inside he wanted to have toons who would love and accept him. And where did dad go to anyway? If I remember correctly he just disappeared unexpectedly.
As he went further he saw some teams of other ducks cleaning up piles of scrap metal, large gears, and other debris. There must have been some really strong cogs here. Now he realized why the Toon Council didn't want just anybody to come in and get hurt.
Now he was feeling properly responsible. He was living in his own house, a small one in an old neighborhood, not very far from where his father resided. They would now have plenty of time to meet and talk together whenever they wanted to.
He was happy, and his life was unusually peaceful. He had explored the town and met some nice toons, although he didn't expect he would make any close friends anytime soon. Money was something he had never really had much of, but that didn't feel like such a big problem.
Yet today was very odd. There was one thing that he couldn't explain. Why did Scrooge want to see him so badly? Evina was wearing his best clothes as he walked up the path to a very large mansion. It was so large and rich-looking that it almost appeared intimidating.
He nervously rang the doorbell and after a few moments the butler opened the large door. He let Evina step inside to behold the magnificence. This was even larger and more luxurious that The Golden Gear Hotel in Cogtropolis. Every detail from the paint to the floor to the furniture shouted a message of extreme wealth.
"Ah there you are." Scrooge beamed, slowly coming down the staircase. "I've wanted to properly meet with you for a while now."
Evina stepped forward to shake the billionaire's hand, but he didn't expect to receive a tight hug. "Uh… thanks."
Scrooge released him. "You saved us, and more importantly, brought me back home to all of my possessions."
"Really, it's not such a big deal. I didn't do it for fame."
"Follow me." The old man ordered politely. Evina followed him reluctantly to another long hall with a high ceiling. Each of the walls was lined with dozens of extremely large paintings in solid gold frames. "You live in Duckburg now, so you should learn about the history, a history that you have diligently preserved and now became a part of."
Evina was going to protest, but he kept his mouth shut and continued following Scrooge. He decided to enjoy his time here as much as he could.
"For example, Michael Mallard the Maverick, he reminds me a lot of you. Strong, courageous, handsome, and continuously fighting for freedom, wouldn't you agree?"
Evina was nervous. He looked up at the impressive painting and just shrugged. Scrooge continued talking about famous leaders and heroes of duck history until they reached the end of the hall where there stood an empty frame.
"And this… this is for you." He smiled. He turned to look at Evina who really looked confused now. "Well, aren't you excited to be in the hall of history? Don't you want to be one of the greats?"
"Well, to be honest. I'm not sure. Do I really deserve all of this?"
"Why of course you do! You defeated Cog Nation!"
"Yeah, and it's nice. But will I ever be able to have a normal life? Will this ever fade away? I want the toons to remember working together to fight the cogs. I want them to remember what they were supposed to have learned, not just a single toon who became a war hero. That was never the point!"
Scrooge stood there silently with his mouth slightly open. He leaned more heavily on his cane.
"Anyway, thank you for the tour. It was… nice." Evina excused himself to leave.
What is this all about? Evina was watching some kind of rally in a park. A duck stood in front and he was obviously covered in some sort of paint to make him look red.
"Cogs… they're so stupid, am I right?" the actor asked.
The crowds cheered. The real Evina looked on at this horrible demonstration. He couldn't believe his eyes.
"Yeah, well I'm normally modest" the actor continued, "but I did DESTROY THEM ALL!"
The fans cheered. Now Evina noticed that many of them were holding signs with crossed out pictures of cogs, and wearing shirts with Evina's face on them.
"But now I have nobody else to save." The duck said. "So if anyone has their doodle stuck in a tree, you know who to call. Me!"
As the crowd went wild Evina stormed away from the scene. He didn't want to watch any more of it. He didn't want to be angry or cause any trouble. He only wanted everyone to just keep their mouths shut and forget about him.
He closed his mind for a minute and stood in the darkness to rest. The memories speeding through his head were getting more and more unpleasant, so he decided to try and reflect on something more interesting. He sent his mind to another time and place.
A large group had gathered in the Toontown Central playground. Evina walked over to this scene to find out what was going on. They appeared to be shopkeepers from all over Toontown. It was quite a peculiar sight to see until he noticed who was standing in the front, and everything suddenly made sense.
A brown duck was standing there with oddly shaped feathers on his head and a smug look on his face. Evina recognized him as Jared Sparx, the former Vice President of the cogs who was later converted into a toon after he became sick of his old life.
"Now I know a lot of you have been trying to do your best," Jared began, sounding very professional. "But come on, people. We need to do better." His eyes bore into Sticky Lou who gulped and looked back with fear. "What do you sell, son?"
"Uh… blue glue."
The duck found this a little strange but dismissed the feeling after remembering the way toons were. "Alright, but how do you convince people to buy your product?"
"I… sit on it to prove how strong it is."
Jared's eyes grew large. He backed away, looking disappointed.
"But I speak in rhymes when toons come in. I get extra points for that, right?"
The duck ignored him. "And what about you?" he pointed to another toon.
"I sell ice cubes on a stick."
"Well, first I take ice, freeze it into cubes, and then I put them on sticks. It's not really all that popular I must admit."
Jared's face tightened more in frustration. "How are we supposed to be supporting the growing economy? Hmm?" He pointed to a graph behind him. "Toons are looking for products that suit their needs and you need to provide them. Why? It's because, as I used to say, marketing is the spark of life!"
Evina turned away from this scene smiling. He was glad to see that the V.P. had found his rightful place in a new life.
"What are you doing?" the blue horse shouted above the noise of the machinery. A pig looked like he was about to doze off. "All these coins must be in perfect condition!"
Evina had just entered the busy Toontown mint where Mike Grease, the former C.F.O. of the cogs, had taken control of since he became a toon.
The horse spotted him. "Ah, Evina. How good it is to see you. I take it everything is going well for you?"
"Yes, thank you." Evina answered. "You look like you're doing a good job here yourself."
"I am. Still, we have a lot of work to do if we're going to replace the old jellybean system with a more modern one. I mean, currency shouldn't rot or decay, and it should never be… edible."
"Well, it's nice to hear you have a plan. So far you guys have been doing pretty well, you know, adjusting to toon life."
"Well it has its perks. Most importantly, there's not a single train around for miles! Ah… I still have such a phobia of those things."
Evina didn't want to evoke any more awkward thoughts so smiled and turned to leave. "See you later."
The red rabbit sat in his tidy office with his papers sitting in unusually orderly piles on his desk, his hands folded gently together. "Come in."
Evina entered and took a look around. "Nice place you got here."
"It will do." George Sprocket answered. He was formerly the Chief Justice of the cogs, and now performed that duty for the toons.
"I'm just visiting everyone who… changed. I want to make sure that everyone is adjusting their new life."
"Yes, I'm doing just fine." The rabbit answered. He tried to grin, but it was difficult.
"Um, is something wrong?"
"This world seems to have more issues than I anticipated. Have you seen some of the things going on in Toontown?"
Evina's mind briefly glimpsed back to the demonstrations, the rallies, and the imposters. "Yeah, I think I know what you mean."
"It's my responsibility to maintain social order." George spoke. "But that will only continue to work if the toons keep respect and responsibility. They must never forget the lessons we have taught them."
"I don't think things will be as bad as before. The cogs helped them get along very well. And you are a great lawmaker."
"Well, the best solution, if needed, would be to bring back the cogs."
"No!" Evina shot back sternly. The suggestion frightened him, especially now that both sides were his family. "A war worked once, but we cannot let history repeat itself, maybe with much worse consequences than before."
The rabbit sighed. "Well, I'll do my best."
"Please do. You're doing a great job." Evina turned and exited the room.
A pink bear raised a golf club to swing.
"Stop! You can't use your driver for that!" The light green dog, former C.E.O. of the cogs, bent over and picked up a different club. He handed it to the bear. "This is your putter, much more suitable for this type of hit."
Evina was striding towards the dog and he was quickly noticed. "Evina! That is the real you, isn't it? I haven't seen you around for a while."
"Well as you can imagine, becoming an instant celebrity overnight can make one very busy… and stressed. So, how are things going for you?"
"Oh, excellent." He grinned. "Golfing full time is something I've always dreamed of doing."
The bear waited patiently, watching as the two of them talked.
"I have a personal question to ask, if you don't mind." The duck started. "Do you ever… miss your father much?"
The dog sighed, looking back at his memories in the old days. "Sometimes I do, but other times… I don't. It's not quite as sad as I thought it would be. I mean, after I found out he was a crazy toon hunter who wanted to destroy me, I lost my trust in him."
"So… you wouldn't want to see him again?"
"No. I think we're just content with how we are. Even though I heard of your story of talking to him in a dream, I think those days are over."
"Well, I wish you the best of luck." Evina said. "And I hope a life of golfing is all you wanted it to be."
The green dog watched the duck walk away, but then he had a sudden thought. "Wait! So what are you going to do next Evina? You know, after all that has happened, are you ever going to be… normal?"
Evina stopped in his tracks and his smile disappeared. "I don't know… Maybe I-" he walked away without finishing, feeling confused.
Evina had had enough rewinding through the memories of his past, and he was ready to return to the present, but a final vision came into view without his consent. He wasn't sure when or where it had happened. No, this actually wasn't his memory at all. In fact, he realized it wasn't a memory at all. This was actually happened in the present, live through the eyes of his father. A sudden connection had been made, and now Evina had a clear view of the interior of Flippy's office. The cyan dog sat behind his desk, and didn't look very happy at all.
"So, that's basically the plan. Wish us luck." Gyro finished.
At first Flippy didn't answer. He stared back into the face of the Chicken with his mouth open slightly, looking rather menacing. "Is this some sort of joke to you?"
Gyro was surprised and paused for a moment. "Uh… excuse me?"
"You probably think this is funny, don't you?"
"I… I don't think I understand-"
"Let me put it to you this way." He answered. "For the last sixteen years or so, you've been a rebel, running away from home, doing crazy things, disregarding the law, and changing the fate of our world."
Gyro didn't answer. He looked back at the leader of the Toon council with fear.
"I don't like this at all." Flippy continued.
"But we helped Toontown!" the chicken protested.
"That was luck! You best be happy that your little war didn't destroy everything. And no matter what you may think, you're not the leader here. How can I trust you? How can I know that when you take these situations into your own hands that everything won't turn out disastrous? You have no idea how serious this situation is? Do you? How can you expect me to believe anything you say?"
Gyro's mouth was sealed shut.
"Because if you've been hiding this information from us, that concerns me. The security of Toontown is of utmost importance to the Toon Council. You aren't holding back any details, right? If so, then I would like to hear about it this instant."
Flippy sighed loudly and leaned back into his chair, closing his eyes, and raising a paw to rub them. "Sadly, you leave me with no choice but to let you go, hoping that you can fix this mess."
"I will fix it."
"And you can't come back until this problem is resolved."
"Then go." Flippy finished. "And uh… good luck."
Gyro stood up to leave the terrible tension of the office.
Evina's mind quickly zoomed away back to his own body in the present. He still wasn't sure what was so bad on Earth that was putting Toontown's safety in jeopardy. He especially didn't want to tell his father what he had accidentally seen. It was best to just forget about this and enjoy their adventure as best as they could.