Devil's Food

By:  Mark J. Hadley

CHAPTER 4: "Do Me a Flavor"

            Mojo sat alone in his cell, carefully scrawling out his escape plan on the floor.  It was shaping up beautifully, and he knew that, even though it would take some work, he'd have an escape route soon enough.  He didn't expect quite how soon, however, as suddenly, the Powerpuff Girls burst in through the wall, leaving a sizeable hole in his cell.  As he looked up in surprise, Blossom set Bubbles down and said, "All right, Mojo, time to confess!  What'd you do to us earlier?"

            "What are you talking about?" Mojo growled.  "I did nothing to you!  That is the problem, for you see, I tried  to do something to you: destroy you…but I failed to accomplish this, which is why nothing is what I ended up doing…"

            "Not that!" Buttercup said, interrupting him.  "We're talkin' about why everyone in town's tryin' to eat us!  You had somethin' to do with it, didn't you?"

            "Everyone is trying to eat you?  How truly fascinating," Mojo lied.

            "C'monnn, we've had a long day," Bubbles said.  "I'm tired, and I wanna go home without worrying if someone's gonna eat me while we sleep…Just tell us what you did, okay?  Please?"

            "You're crazy!  How could I…" Mojo started to say, but trailed off.  He took a whiff of the air, and his expression softened as he said, "That…that magnificent aroma!  It is like ambrosia…truly the scent of something succulent and flavorful, indeed!  I must have it!"  He took a few more sniffs, then his eyes settled on the girls…

            Buttercup cringed, "Aw man, not you too…"

            "He looks so surprised," Bubbles pointed out.

            Blossom nodded, "Girls, I don't think he's behind this one…let's get out of here, before…"  Mojo didn't give them the chance…he jumped for them, but Blossom and Buttercup quickly picked up Bubbles and hovered back a safe distance…he crashed into the pile of rubble they made when they burst in, and the girls took off before he could recover.  Mojo stayed where he was on the ground and drummed his fingers irritably…

            As they gained distance from the prison, soaring over the treetops again near the edge of Townsville, Buttercup said, "Well, I'm outta ideas…"

            "Yeah," Bubbles agreed.  "If Mojo didn't do it, then who…"  Bubbles stopped talking when she and the other girls spotted something flying up from the woods below towards them…a small, round, metallic object.  It stopped and hovered in the air next to them…they were too startled by its swift appearance to know what to think about it.

            A light flashed on the side, and with a loud *pop*, a large sphere of black liquid suddenly seemed to just materialize around it…and around the girls as well, since they were close enough.  It was like they had abruptly been dunked into a pool, but only for a moment before gravity took hold of the liquid, causing it to splash down to the ground below.  The girls fell right along with it, almost as if it carried them with it.

            As they lay sputtering on the ground, in the small clearing where they landed, Blossom coughed and said, "What was that?"

            Wiping the stuff from her face, Buttercup glanced down at her arm, flexing it a few times and noticing that she didn't feel quite as strong as before.  She remarked, "Uh, Blossom…I think my powers are gone…"

            "Mine too!" Blossom exclaimed, as she tried to take flight, but failed.  "It must have been Antidote X, but…"

            "That it was," came a familiar voice.  They swiveled their heads to look at its source, and saw Professor Utonium walking towards them from the trees.  He was carrying something that looked vaguely like a grenade launcher, and was smiling triumphantly.  "A simple matter of creating a dehydrated form of Antidote X, where it can be rehydrated to instantly fill a large area.  Sort of an 'Antidote X bomb', if you will…"

            Quickly getting back to their feet, the girls started to back away from him, since they knew exactly what was on his mind.  Bubbles asked, "Professor…why?  Why are you trying to eat us?!"

            "How could I not?" the professor said, with no hesitation.  "I'd give anything to sample something that delicious!"  As the professor grew nearer, they noticed other shapes coming from the woods behind him as well…over a hundred citizens of Townsville, most of them holding knives and forks, and some of them holding spoons as well.  Their hungry glares frightened the girls even more, now that they were utterly defenseless.

            "There they are!" one of them shouted, and others started to call out as well.

            "Let's get 'em!"

            "Dibs on Bubbles!"

            "Wonder if Buttercup really will taste like butter?"

            "Oh boy, I can't wait!"

            Buttercup was still backing up, and said, "But…but…aw man…this bites…"

            "You couldn't be more right, Buttercup!" another voice said, echoing through the woods.  As the girls glanced around in confusion, the voice laughed with a similar echo, before the sound converged on a point in front of them, and a plume of red smoke burst into existence.  As it cleared, the shape of Him became visible, wearing a victorious grin.

            Blossom narrowed her eyes, as everything fell into place, "Him…I should have known…"

            "What are you doing here?" Buttercup demanded with a frown.

            Him settled down on the branch of the nearest tree, and waved a claw, saying, "Ohh, I've just come to chew the fat a little, before yours gets chewed…"

            "I'm not fat!" Bubbles shouted, clenching her teeth.  "And whatever you did, it's not gonna work!"

            "But it is working," Him pointed out, indicating the hungry citizens.  "They want nothing more than a Powerpuff snack, and you are completely powerless to stop them!  The spell I've put upon you to make you so appealing is far too much for them to resist.  That's a lot to digest, but at least you won't be!"

            Buttercup finally ended up backing up against a tree as the crowd grew closer.  With confidence she didn't feel, she said, "You're not gonna get away with this!"

            Him laughed and said, "I already have…there's no way out for you this time!  The smell of victory is already at hand!"

            "Smell…" Blossom said to herself, thinking furiously.  She suddenly brightened and said, "That's it!"  Grabbing Bubbles' and Buttercup's arms, she exclaimed, "Quick, follow me, I have a plan!"  She turned and ran away from the crowd as fast as she could, pulling the girls with her, although they were more than eager to follow anyway since the crowd ran after them as well.  Him was perplexed at the mention of a plan, although he figured there wasn't anything they could do, so he followed the crowd with some amusement.

            The girls charged as fast as they could through the woods.  Thanks to their small size, they were able to dart between the trees with relative ease, where the larger townspeople had to detour around the smaller gaps.  Still, it was a lot on them, and they were started to get tired.  Buttercup took another glance behind her to see how close the crowd was, and accidentally tripped over a tree root, hitting the ground face-first.

            "Buttercup!" the other girls shouted.  Bubbles was the closest, so she quickly helped her sister to her feet and pulled her along, following after Blossom.  The crowd seemed to be getting closer now, so they didn't stop again for an instant.

            Bubbles panted, and asked, "Where are we going?"

            "You'll see!" Blossom called back.  "It's right up ahead…"

            The crowd, in the meantime, had lost sight of them, but had spread their numbers out to ensure that they wouldn't be able to double back past them.  Eventually, as they emerged from the woods, they came upon the one place left for them to go: Townsville Dump.  Him smiled a little to himself and said, "A dead end…nowhere to run now, my tasty little morsels!  And you won't be able to hide for long, either!"

            What the townspeople saw as they entered the dump, though, they didn't expect…the girls stood there, not too far from the entrance, in plain sight, not running or hiding.  All three of them, though, were covered from head to toe with garbage, like they had just jumped into a pile of trash.  Rotting banana peels, greenish sludge, and other disgusting garbage literally dripped from them.  Blossom stood confidently, though Buttercup was frowning, and said, "This had better work…"

            "Gross, gross, gross, gross…" Bubbles whispered, closing her eyes and trying to ignore the tremendously foul odor they were now giving off.  The crowd came to a stop near them, keeping their distance because of the stench, some of them actually backing up.

            The professor, who was in the front, looked like he was going to be sick, and looked away from them, saying, "Ugh…y'know, I…I think I'll pass…phew!"  Other townspeople began to wave them off as well.

            Him was flabbergasted, and exclaimed, "What?  But…how can this be?!"

            "It's easy," Blossom claimed.  "I noticed that the one thing common between all of them as they came after us was that picked up the scent we gave off…which means that it had to be what was enticing them.  So I figured, if we do away with the smell, we're safe!  And the dump seemed like the best way."

            "Yeah," Bubbles said.  "I just wish it didn't hafta be so yucky…"

            Buttercup just shrugged, "This beats bein' a side dish, anyway, right?"

            Clenching his teeth and claws angrily, Him seethed for a few moments, then growled, "You think you've beaten me?  Think again, you little brats!"  He calmed down and started to swirls of energy around his claws, forming them into a black, inky cloud, and said, "I'll just put the spell back on you again…only this time, it'll be too strong to cover up with mere garbage!"

            "Uh oh…" Bubbles said, watching as Him finished making the cloud and started sending it in their direction.  "Blossom?"

            "Operation Backdraft!" Blossom quickly ordered.  The three of them took in deep breaths, and just before the cloud reached them, they blew at it…even without their super-breath, they managed to blow it safely away from them and back in the direction it came from.  Him had time to blink once in surprise before the cloud surrounded him, and he coughed a few times…

            All of the townies, who had been in the midst of heading for the dump's exit, stopped and sniffed the air, then turned to face Him.  As he glanced around, they all started to converge on his position, and he protested, "Now wait just a minute here…"

            Buttercup took a whiff of the air as well, "Mmmm…smell that?"

            "Do I!" Bubbles said, licking her lips, "I'm feeling kinda hungry right about now, aren't you?"

            Nodding, Blossom smiled and said, "I don't know about you, but I could go for some devil's food right about now…"

            The three of them started walking towards Him, as he waved his claws and said, "No, wait!  Y-you don't want to eat me!  I'll burn the roof of your mouth!"  As he realized that all the townies were also closing around him as well, he finally gave up and just said, "Ah well…it looks like this meal's to go…" and vanished in a puff of smoke before they could reach him, returning to his lair in defeat.

            Now that he was gone, and the spell was broken, everyone snapped back to their senses.  Most of them turned their gazes over at the Powerpuff Girls sheepishly, looking apologetic, while the professor scooped them up and hugged them tightly, "Oh, girls, I'm so sorry for what I almost did…"

            "It's okay, Professor, it wasn't your fault," Buttercup said.

            "Yeah," Blossom agreed.  "We know you'd never do anything like that.  It was all just part of Him's evil plans."

            As everyone started to leave the dumps and head for home, the professor joined them, carrying the girls with him, "Well, let's get you back home.  I'll need to give you each a shot of Chemical X to give your powers back…"  He wrinkled his nose and held them out at arm's length, "…and a bath, too."

            "Bah," Buttercup said, folding her arms, "I knew there was something that stunk about this plan…"  The rest of them laughed as they passed through the gates leading out of the dumps.

*          *            *

            It took a while to get rid of the smell of garbage, but eventually they succeeded and were clean again.  Having given each of the girls a small injection of Chemical X, the professor was about to send them off to bed, until he realized that they hadn't really eaten much, other than the little bit of soup they had at dinner.  He decided to let them have a late snack before it was time to go to sleep.

            Bubbles watched as Buttercup scooped out some strawberry ice cream into dishes for the three of them, and said, "You know…I wonder if there really is anything in the world that tastes so good, people wouldn't care what it looked like…"

            "Maybe," Blossom guessed, "but I'll bet ice cream can't be too far off, right?"

            Buttercup just finished a few last touches to Blossom's dish with some chocolate sauce, and slid it over to her, saying, "Yeah, you bet…"  As Blossom picked up her spoon and was about to start eating, she noticed that Buttercup had drawn a face on it…with the big eyes, hairline with bangs, and the pink color of the strawberry ice cream, it didn't look too far off from herself.

            Blossom looked up at the smugly-grinning Buttercup, then back down at the ice cream, then shrugged, "Oh well…you are what you eat, I guess…"  She dipped her spoon into the dish and started eating as the other girls giggled.

            And so, once again, the day is saved, thanks to the Powerpuff Girls!  Sorry, no leftovers!