"Where is Eric Epic?" snapped Daniel the Dwarf.
He and his friends Sweet Corn the Unicorn, Trolley the Troll, Chocolate the Brownie and Shou Off the Dragon were together walking through a very big city. Well, Shou Off was flying above them. The city was full of very tall buildings and big enough for live-action humans to walk around, so if you were to see the puppets, they would be like dogs walking on the street.
"Eric said he and Bugs had something to do while we search for the next orb," said Choc.
"An orb that we don't know what it's for or where it is," muttered Danny.
"Well, according to the scrolls," said Shou Off, reading them, "it was buried in the Northwest Territories, Canada. And when Eric left us here, he put us the closest we can to get to it, like he did with the other orbs."
"But we've been searching String City here for days," moaned Danny. "And we ain't found nothing. No orb, no creatures and not even a breeze of a wind."
"Yeah, it does seem to be a little too quiet," said Trolley.
"A little too quiet?" said Shou Off.
"Look, we're all a little tired," said Choc. "Let's just take a breather and think where we've been and where we haven't been."
"I can help you," said a voice.
They turned around to see a seven-foot-tall green-skinned human puppet dressed in leather.
"I know what you're looking for and how to get it," said the man. "Follow me."
The puppets didn't feel like trusting this man, but they were desperate to find the orb they have been looking for quite some time that they decided to follow him anyway.
The man led Eric's friends to an alleyway and they saw many big and bright cars and plenty of puppets of all shape and sizes.
"What is this, a Jim Henson version of the Fast and Furious?" complained Danny.
"Not to mention that rock music is terribly loud and deafening!" yelled Sweet Corn.
Trolley noticed there were plenty of attractive women around.
"I think all these pretty women are quite dangerous on the inside," he said.
"You could be right, Trolley," said Choc. "Where is Eric and Bugs when you need them?"
"What have we here?" cried a dangerous voice.
Everything and everyone went silent as they faced something like a golden throne. On it sat a purple-skin bald puppet with a black moustache wearing a white suit.
"Mr. Halley, these guys know about the Orb of Courage, sir," said the man who found Eric's friends.
"Well, if you know about the Orb," said Halley, "you know what you'll have to do to get it."
"Fight for it?" asked Danny.
"Well, if that's what you'd like to call it," said Halley, "but I prefer the term… 'racing'. A race all around String City. You win and the Orb is yours. If you lose, you'll become my new free slaves."
"How can we be slaves if we're free?" asked Trolley.
"What I meant was I don't have to buy you guys for a single cent," said Halley. Then he looked ahead. "Ah, here is your car."
Eric's friends turned around to see a rusty Mercedes-Benz DTM with doors full of holes and broken windows. Even the roof was full of holes.
"Someone getting the funny feeling that no one wants us to win?" asked Danny.
"Well, I have the funny feeling that no one even wants us to survive," said Shou Off.
"If there's one thing I've learnt from being with Eric all these years," said Choc, "is that everywhere we go, there's always someone up to something."
"Well, that's something you can always count on in a Looney Tunes adventures," said Sweet Corn. "I can see what inspired Eric to turn into a rouge wizard."
"My point is we'll just join in with this race," said Choc, "find out more about this and probably get the Orb, if we are lucky at the most."
"And what if we are unlucky?" asked Danny.
"We can out find if we get in the car, can't we?" snapped Shou Off.
They got in.
Halley rose from his chair. "To the start, people!"
Six cars drove to the start position. The Mercedes was behind them.
"Start your engines!" Halley ordered.
The cars did. They were roaring very eagerly, while the Mercedes was quiet as Sniffles.
"Three…" counted Halley. "Two… one… go!"
All the thug cars were roaring off, but the Mercedes started off very badly.
The Mercedes was still miles behind the other cars in downtown String City.
"Can't you make this rusty thing go any faster?" snapped Danny.
"This is a rusty car, Danny!" snapped Choc. "What do you expect?"
"How about one of those cars trying to bash us up while they're ahead of us?" said Sweet Corn.
"Good one, Sweet Corn," said Trolley.
Then they saw their car was being bashed by a Lexus RX350.
"They're probably on the second lap," said Shou Off. "Why are they hitting us? What are they trying to prove?"
"Who said anything about laps?" asked Sweet Corn. "Halley never did."
"Maybe it could be one of those races where you have to be the only one to survive against cars trying to crash you," thought Danny. "Just like in the video game F Zero X. Cool!"
Then the Lexus bumped them again.
"Yeah, try saying 'Cool!' when we're the ones who go over the bridge!" snapped Choc.
"Well, the water under the bridge would be kind of cold, I suppose," said Trolley.
Everyone just looked at him. Then Shou Off looked behind.
"We could say that to our mate slipping on oil behind us," said the dragon.
The puppets looked up to see in their rear-view mirror that the Lexus was behind them and was spilling on a patch of oil.
"Are we losing oil?" asked Shou Off.
"I don't think so," said Choc. "According to the dashboard, we're not losing oil. And we're running just fine."
The Lexus sprung around the oil and crashed into a wall. A blue-skinned black-bearded man got out of the smoking car and coughed.
"How much money am I gonna to get for this?" demanded the man.
His agent, a green-skinned puppet, came to him. "You'll have 15,000 Canadian dollars… to pay."
"To pay?" fumed the driver. "It's not my car and I nearly died."
"Your contract says, 'As a puppet stuntman, you must treat this car as your own'," said his agent. "And you signed it."
"I'm never gonna be the puppet version of Vic Armstrong now," said the driver.
Then a puppet that was the identical version of Vic Armstrong came next to him. "I wonder who will," he said.
The Mercedes was on the bridge heading for the other side of String City.
"That whole area of buildings is part of String City?" said Danny. "Gosh, this city must be Toronto's dad."
"That's lame, Danny," said Sweet Corn.
Everyone went silent.
"Still, looking on the bright side," said Shou Off. "One car down, only five to go and face off."
"And there's four of them all around us," said Choc.
They saw a blue Zenn car, a red Volkswagen, a silver Ford Fiesta and a white Honda car were all around their Mercedes. It was getting all bashed up.
"Do something!" cried Danny.
"Like what?" asked Choc. "If we try to bash our way out, things will get uglier."
"Well, we're not exactly the cutest puppets on the planet, are we?" said Danny.
All the puppets looked sternly at him.
"That included me, too," said Danny. "If that makes things much better."
"I think outside is improving," said Trolley. "The car behind has skidded on nails and has stopped."
The puppets looked up to see in the rear-view mirror that Trolley was right. The car behind them had its tyres burst and had completely stopped.
Then they saw the left side a large metal stick with a white glove pushed the car away. They turned to the right and it happened to the car on the right. And it was like it came from their car.
"Did you guys pressed any buttons or anything?" asked Choc.
"No," replied the puppets.
"Choc, that car ahead is coming for us!" cried Shou Off.
And they saw he was right.
"Trying to bump into me, eh?" said Choc. "Well, we'll see about that."
The Mercedes drove to the left and missed the back-charging thug car that went behind them and was slipping on oil. The red-skinned driver with sunglasses jumped out before the car went off the bridge and crashed into the sea.
"What's going on here, man?" asked the driver as he climbed out of his car and sat on the bottom of it.
The Mercedes was in the second half of the city.
"Hey, guys, we're nearly there!" cried Choc. "I smell the Finish coming up."
"I didn't know we could eat Finishes," said Trolley.
"Well, I smell the last car near us," said Danny.
Then something came down, breaking the roof completely.
"I have the best sense of smell, don't I?" said Danny.
"Where's your car?" Sweet Corn said the puppet man in front of them.
"Crashed, thanks to the nails from yours," said the man.
Eric's gang was confused. "Look, we didn't know we – " began Shou Off.
"You guys don't fool me," said the man. "Just get out and let me have this car so I can win."
The Mercedes crew laughed their heads off.
"And if we don't?" asked Danny.
The driver got out a crowbar. "You have five seconds to get out before I whack you all out. Five… four…"
"Do you realise…" said Choc.
"That this…" said Shou Off.
"Means…" said Sweet Corn.
"War?" said Trolley.
"Well said, Trolley," said a female voice.
From the back came a cartoon grey-skinned bunny with red hair and wearing a purple dress and a green lady's hat.
The puppet man was really attracted to the bunny. He walked to her. "Babe," he said, flirting. "Can I say how pretty you look?"
"Oh, come now, really!" giggled the bunny.
Trolley gasped. "Bugs, what are – "
"Quiet!" whispered Shou Off, wrapping his wings around the troll's face.
The puppet man got onto his knees before the bunny.
"Man, I feel like I'm getting' somethin' from you," the man said.
"You're right." The bunny got out a cartoon mallet and hit the driver in the face. That sent the driver flying out of the car and landing in a trash bin.
Back in the Mercedes, the bunny took the clothes off.
"Hey, Bugs!" cried Eric's puppets, giving Bugs Bunny four.
"It was you who spilled the oil and threw the nails out to the other cars, wasn't it?" said Choc.
"Sure thing, Doc," said Bugs.
"Was it you who pushed the white gloves from both sides too?" asked Trolley.
"I even fitted dem on meself," replied Bugs.
"What have you and Eric been up to?" asked Danny.
"Why don't you ask Eric dat?" suggested Bugs.
"But where is he?" asked Sweet Corn.
"In front of you," said a voice.
They looked ahead to see Eric Epic behind the Finish line. Behind him was Halley and his fellow puppets.
The Mercedes went pass the Finish and stopped.
"Well done, guys," said Eric, as they got out of the car and started walking to Halley.
"Too bad you won't be getting the orb," said Halley as he sat down on his chair.
"What?" snapped Dany.
"Why?" asked Choc.
"Because you cheated," replied Halley.
"Well, we figured out what this race was really about," said Eric.
"A death race!" exclaimed Danny.
"So I teleported Bugs in the back of the car," went on Eric. "And he had his own bag of tricks with him as usual."
"Having a cartoon bunny with bags of tricks in the back of your car isn't the same as knocking them out yourself," said Halley. "That's why you failed the race and you won't get the orb!"
"Oh, really?" Eric put his hand out and lifted it up. The chair Halley was sitting on shot up and the bald race master was in the clouds… literally.
Eric went to where the chair was and reached into the hole. He pulled out the Orb of Courage.
The whole alley was blowing with cheer, as Eric, Bugs and the crew of the Mercedes walked out to the city of String City.
When they were on the streets and everything was quieter, Eric and his friends took a break. The puppets sat on a bench.
"Well done, guys," said Eric. "I know Bugs and I have been away for far too long, but – "
"You two were searching for the last orb, while we looking for this one," said Choc.
Eric got his right hand out of his pocket and in it were all five Orbs.
The puppets cheered.
"How did you get that orb, guys?" asked Choc.
"Well, we heard that clownfish who had won the orb from the recent Deep Sea Hunger Games was giving it to an auction," explained Eric. "So I turned myself into a butterfish and Bugs – "
"Let me guess," said Sweet Corn. "A rabbitfish."
"Obviously," an unimpressed Bugs said.
"Then we went to the auction," continued Eric. "I placed the highest bid."
"Twenty treasure chests?" guessed Trolley.
"Only two, actually," said Eric. "So we got bid and came here to save you in the nick of the time."
The puppets congratulated them.
"What are we waiting for?" asked Danny. "Let's go to this island and get rid of all the magic in the world."
"Hold on, Danny," smiled Eric. "I think the crew of the Mercedes deserve a little treat first."
The young sorcerer waved his hands and in the puppets' hands came ice cream in cones. Bugs was given…
"Carrot ice cream?" he exclaimed. "Boy, Eric, you're wonderful."
"Yeah…" said Eric, uncertain as he licked his strawberry ice cream.
"Don't worry," said Bugs. "It's not your fault your step-family made you make some difficult decisions."
"But what if our friends won't believe us?" asked Eric. "What if they will never speak to us again?"