(A/N: Welcome one and all to production of The Mask of Malevolence as presented by Knightmare Frame and Fairy Tail. We hope the earlier mishap at the ticket gate will not interfere with your enjoyment of the play. As the author I ask you to please turn off all cell phones and pagers and please NO flash photography. Thank you and enjoy the show)
Disclaimer: Fairy Tail, Code Geass and Majora's Mask are all copyrighted by their respective owners
"We've got magic to do just for you. We've got miracle plays to play"
–Leading Player, Pippin
Homura's Temporary Open Box Theater
The mess with Gajeel was swiftly swept under the rug and patrons were reassured that nothing like that was ever going to happen again and that none of them were in danger of physical harm. The theater was packed and the hustle and bustle of people talking began as was usual before the start of a show.
Up in a booked hotel room that faced the stage, Milly and Anya readied the sound and lighting booth together. Erza was also in the room, ready to do her part in the final act as the Mask of Malevolence. Despite not having to be on stage, Erza was still nervous, as it was with practically everyone. So, while Lelouch said she could help with the sound and lighting if she wanted to—all she had to do was follow Milly's carefully detailed instruction notes, Erza just sat there drinking water and practicing breathing exercises to keep her jitters under control. After all, she had to wait for the entire play in order to perform her part.
Milly, seeing Erza's hands trembling and almost crush her water bottle, put a hand on the scarlet haired mage's shoulder. "You'll be fine," she reassured. Erza smiled in gratitude for the reassurance and then drank more water.
The door to the booth opened suddenly, revealing Lelouch. "Everything good to go up here?" he asked.
"Yup, we're all set," Milly smiled widely.
"Everything is ready," Anya said in monotone.
"You holding up well?" Lelouch asked with concern. Erza only nodded.
"Great, give the signal to Cornelia. It's curtain time."
Milly clicked the main stage light off the stage into a bush. That was the "get started" signal.
Before the curtains opened though, Makarov, in his mayor costume, came out onto the stage. He stood front and center to talk to the audience. "Greetings, ladies and gentleman!" He grinned, "My name is Jaques Pottingham. I am the mayor of Watchfall and I welcome you to our humble town. Before we begin our show I'd like to remind all of you that this is a theatrical production so at this time please turn off all scrying orbs, self-reading tomes and glowing objects. And most importantly," Makarov grimaced as he looked into the audience and hurled a fireball into it, destroying an orb an audience member was holding, "NO RECORDING ORBS!" Makarov returned to smiling after a few short moments. "Thank you, and enjoy the show." Makarov then sank through a trap door where he was standing on stage.
The curtains then opened up, revealing the backdrop of a massive clock tower and several buildings. A lamppost was at the forefront of the stage as was a mailbox, the entryway to the inn on stage right and the outcropping of another building next to the backdrop. Thanks to Schneizel though, what the audience saw instead made it look like everything was real instead of perfectly constructed props. Guinevere was right about one thing, with the props in place, it was much less harmful on Schneizel's upkeep. Even if he slipped on his concentration, no one in the audience would notice if the actors did their job.
The town however, remained dark as the night sky above the audience. Only a small little boy—or maybe it was a girl it was hard to tell with the mask on their face—slowly crept out onto the stage. He, or she, slipped a letter into the mailbox and then ran back off stage as fast as they could. A few giggles could be heard from the audience.
The scene faded to black momentarily only for the orchestra to start playing in an upbeat fashion. From stage left, and right, the entire ensemble—and the majority of the cast—marched onto the stage in rhythm to the music, sometimes even stepping back. Then, as soon as everyone was on stage—and after two full measures of orchestra—they started to sing.
"We say welcome! We say welcome to yoooou and welcome! We've got so much to do! So welcome, we say welcome to all! We welcome you to the humble town of Watchfall!"
A banjo then took over the majority of the music as well as a fiddle as the ensemble began square dancing about the stage. As the full orchestra returned, they continued to sing.
"From the four compass directions we named the districts of our town. Our founders thought it made sense given our town is so round." The cast switched dancing partners. "We plan our town for the carnival that happens at this time of year. We're getting things together in a bustle of cheer. So we say welcome, we say welcome to yoooou and welcome! We know you are new so welcome! We love having you hear! You couldn't have picked a better time of year!"
The music slowed its pace as everyone stood to the sides. Angela, the innkeeper's daughter, played by Levy McGarden, came center stage. She was dressed in a long green skirt and a white blouse with red, cushy slippers. "My name is Angela. I'm where your visit begins. Just have your reservation when you sign into the inn."
In the audience Jet and Droy were staring at Levy with hearts in their eyes, somewhat drooling over how elegant she looked in her costume.
Angela's mother, Rita, played by Naomi Inoue, stepped next to her daughter as they swayed back and forth together. Rita was dressed almost identically to her daughter, except with a red vest that marked her as the innkeeper. And, of course, the audience could tell the difference given how stacked Rita was compared to her daughter. "We're running this small time inn for all the people that come by. For every guest that comes they get a complimentary pie."
From stage left, as Angela and Rita moved stage right, the Gordon Brothers, played by Tamaki Shinkiro and Kent Suguyama, stood together with pitchforks in one hand and their arms behind their brother as they swayed and sang. They were dressed in white farmer's overalls and checkered shirts underneath. One brother's was green and the other's was red.
"Our ranch is a must visit if you're staying for a while. With one of our fine horses you could travel for miles."
After that the music started picking up as Angela, Rita, and the Gordon Brothers returned to the cast and they all started singing in unison. "And so we say welcome, we say welcome to you, so welcome, we've got so much to do! And so we say welcome! We say welcome! We say welcooooome to Watchfall!"
The group did their rhythmic march for a little while until the mayor got himself onto the building at the back of stage left. "My name is Jacques Pottingham, I'm the mayor of this fine town. You'll never find a better leader for the nicest town around."
From stage right, the postman, played by Jeremiah Gottwald, dressed in just a white t-shirt and a red postman's hat with a delivery bag at his waist, stepped up in front of the cast. "I'm the postman and I deliver the mail. If it's on the schedule it arrives without fail."
Together the mayor and the postman sang, "Together we run a service that benefits you. We want to guarantee you won't leave our town feeling blue!"
And then the whole cast got together center stage—rather than half being on the left and half being on the right—still rhythmically marching as they sang the song's end. "And so welcome, we hope you like it here. We say welcome! Our inn's open every day of the year. We say welcome. We say welcome aaaaaall! We welcome you to the smaaaaaaaall liiiiittle toooooooooooooooooooooown," there was a brief pause before everyone sang quickly. "Of Watchfall!" The music cut out and the audience clapped and clapped as the ensemble and everyone else left the scene, except for the postman who began emptying out the mailbox. From out of the inn door, Angela stepped through and with a curtsey she greeted the Postman.
"Good morning, Mr. Postman," she said, earning a wolf whistle in the audience from Droy, who was slapped upside the head by Cana.
"Oh, Angela," the Postman said as he finished filling his delivery bag and turned around to face her, "good morning. Shouldn't you be at check in at this hour? The hotel is always booked at this time of year."
"Oh, mother gave me a fifteen minute break," Angela said with cheer.
"Well, you're in luck then. You couldn't have picked a better time for a break," the postman said as he tipped his hat. "I just so happen to have a letter for you."
"A letter? For me?"
The postman jogged right up to Angela and handed her an envelope. "Here you are, Angela." He doffed is hat again. "Have a splendid day!" He then jogged towards the back of the stage and exited back stage left.
Standing by her lonesome out on stage, Angela opened the letter and after taking the time to read it, clutched the letter to her chest and stared at the sky in longing, "Kalleem." After staring for a few moments longer, Angela went back inside to the inn. Shortly thereafter, the mayor entered from back stage left where the Postman had exited. He was walking alongside Linkette Verde, the hero of the story, played by Guinevere Antoinette.
Linkette was dressed in a green tunic, white spandex, leather traveling boots and a green, woolen, floppy nightcap on her head. Strapped to her back was a sword and shield. On her arms were leather, fingerless gloves that ran up half of her forearm.
"I'm so glad you decided to stay with us, Miss Linkette."
"It was lucky then I fended off those monsters from your wife's caravan," Linkette said with considerable pride. She then smiled and said contently as she looked around, "This place is always booked around carnival time. I thought I'd have to sleep on the streets."
"As if I would allow such a thing to happen to the woman who saved my wife," the Mayor scoffed, "Make yourself at home in our humble town, Linkette."
"Thank you," Linkette bowed graciously. She then crinkled her brow and tapped a finger to her cheek. "I…hear that strange things happen around carnival time."
"Oh it's just an old wives' tale about the Mask of Malevolence," the mayor scoffed.
"May I hear it?" Linkette asked eagerly.
"If I had that kind of time," the mayor told her. "I'm due for an important town meeting in a couple of hours."
"I see. I suppose I'll have to inquire around town then," Linkette said. "Good day, mayor."
The mayor bowed to Linkette, ruffled his lapels and then waddled off stage to his office. Linkette entered the door to the inn as the whole stage was spun about to reveal the inside of the inn.
Behind the counter by the reception desk, Angela stood fidgeting still over Kalleem's letter. However, when she heard Linkette's footsteps from the doorway, she tucked the letter under the desk as quickly as she could.
"O-oh, w-welcome to the Watchfall inn. My name is Angelia, how may I help you?"
"I'm here to check into my room," Linkette said.
"Oh well yes, you have a reservation I take it," Angela went to get the sign in book from beneath the desk only to drop it over the counter. She laughed nervously as Linkette picked it up.
"You see, distracted, is everything all right?" Linkette asked.
"Huh? I'm fine!" Angela exclaimed holding up her hands by her face in denial.
Linkette smiled. "Fear not, if it's a problem that can be solved by adventure," Linkette stuck out her chest, "I will gladly solve it for you."
"Really?" Angela gasped, hand in front of her mouth. She then took note of Linkette's attire. "…wait, green clothes and a sword, are you per chance Linkette Verde, the traveling swordmistress?"
Linkette bowed lowly. "At your service!"
"Oh what luck!" Angela exclaimed. "Yes, please help me!"
"Just tell me what you need, fair maiden. I will do all that I can."
"My fiancé disappeared on me about a month ago," Angela began.
"Why that's terrible!" Linkette took a half a step back in shock, overplaying her reaction on purpose as per the character's characterization. A few grunts were heard through the audience.
"I know," Angela buried her face in her hands. She looked up and flipped her hair back out of her eyes as she said, "I don't know what I'm going to do. We're supposed to get married on the day of the festival as per our parents' wishes, but he just sent me a letter saying her might have to call the wedding off and no matter what I shouldn't look for him. He's told me not to give up hope and that he's working on fixing the situation he's in." Angela looked like she might cry, but kept it together, "But you have no idea how much it means to me that he's alive. I haven't heard from him since he disappeared."
"Do you know anyone who might've seen him?" Linkette asked.
Angela shook her head. "I have no idea, but my mother suspects Kalleem might be having an affair with my best friend Mary Lou at the Green Rail Ranch. I think it's trubbish, Kalleem would never cheat on me!"
"Fear not fair maiden! I shall track down your fiancé and I will drag him back here!" Linkette declared as she faced the audience, speaking with an abundance of pride, hands on her hips. "I shall bring cheer to your face as a result of my quest or my name isn't Linkette Verde!" Linkette then drew out her sword and thrust it skyward. "Adventure!"
A small overture started to play as the scene faded to black and the ranch was set up with a multitude of cows, a sky blue backdrop and a very soothing melody as the scene faded back in. The melody came in with many violin and guitar strings as soothing as a summer's breeze combined with Miriam's expert flute playing.
She smirked to herself as she played the flute serenade. One melody at a time Miriam, she told herself, Under the guise of an orchestral member I shall slowly open the door. I couldn't have put a better audience together if I tried and there are so many mages here too. It's the perfect place for my plans.
No one knew it, not even Schneizel, but Miriam was playing upon the Flute of Time as her musical instrument. It's soothing melodies were known to be the best throughout the land, but that's not all it could do.
Back on stage, Mary Lou, played by Kaguya Sumeragi, was shooting orange balloons with black skull faces with a bow and arrow. Meanwhile, her older sister, Jenna Dean, played by Mirajane Strauss, was milking one of the cows. Both Mary Lou and Mirajane Strauss were dressed in long, white dresses from the "old country" as it was described back in Fiore's dark ages. The only difference in appearance between the two of them was their height and hair color. Originally, Lelouch wanted Tianzi to take the role of Mary Lou since she had to sing the first song after the opener—though it was a duet with Linkette—but the girl had massive stage fright even for her audition and it was ten times worse than Erza's.
Unlike Erza who could at least get her lines out, albeit with the acting ability of a lamppost, Tianzi just dissolved into a heartthrobbing mess on stage under the hot lines as she stared at Lelouch and Cornelia. No one had acted Jenna Dean better than Mirajane, who actually was an older sister so Lelouch couldn't really find anyone better suited for the role amongst his entire guild or Fairy Tail's. Also, Lelouch was an older sibling, and while not female, knew exactly what he was looking for in the role of Jenna Dean.
With neither Kaguya or Wendy willing to go through the painstaking hair spray sessions necessary to dye their hair white, Lelouch was just hoping that not having matching hair colors as siblings wouldn't seem so stand out to the audience.
Much to his relief, no one really seemed to be paying it any mind.
"Mary Lou!" Jenna Dean chastised to her younger sister. "Stop that! Those balloons are for the carnival!"
"But sis," Mary Lou complained, "There ain't gonna be a carnival if I don't practice!"
Jenna Dean stood up from her cow and pressed her fingertips to her forehead. Her expression was perfect as one having to hear their younger sibling spot nonsensical gibberish they just could not wrap their head around. "Mary Lou, there ain't no such things as ghosts. They ain't going to attack this here ranch!"
"That's cause of my expert archery skills," Mary Lou said with pride." She nocked an arrow and aimed it at the audience. "This year imma kill their leader so they can never come back."
Jenna Dean just looked off stage right and tossed her hands up, never letting her fingers come above her collar bone, as if washing her hands of her sister's flights of fancy.
The loud moo of one of the cow's alerted Jenna Dean to Linkette's presence as the traveling swordsmistress walked up onto the stage from the stairs at the forward stage left.
"Oh, a customer!" Jenna Dean exclaimed. She grabbed a nearby rag and cleaned her hands as best she could to meet Linkette at the front and center of the stage.
"Hello," Linkette waved gratuitously.
"Hello," Jenna Dean beamed, "Welcome to Green Rail Ranch, how can I help you today?"
"I'm doing a missing person's inquiry," Linkette said, folding one arm under her bosom and resting her chin just underneath the back of her other hand.
All of Jenna Dean's enthusiasm completely drained. "Oh, this is about Kalleem."
"Do you know something?" Linkette asked.
"I know he went missing, but that's all I know. Dag nabbit," Jenna Dean leaned forward hands on her hips, "That old hag Maribelle got you doin' her dirty work too?"
"Maribelle? I was asked to come here by your best friend, Angela. Who is Maribelle?"
"Angela asked ya to come? She don't believe Maribelle's hogwash lies so why would she send ya here?"
"Those hogwash lies as you call them are the only lead I had. Talking to people and seeking adventure is my job, so I'm doing the best I can."
Jenna Dean suddenly realized who she was talking to. She stood up straight and gasped. "You're Linkette Verde!"
Linkette bowed. "In the flesh!"
"Well if anyone can find Kalleem it's certainly gonna be you," Jenna Dean said, with a close-eyed, toothy smile.
"I thank you for your confidence, but now tell me, who is this Maribelle?"
"She's Kalleem's dear sweet mamma, and normally she is, but the moment Kalleem went missin' she went and goes accusing me a having an affair wit im! Now Kalleem, Angela have been friends since we was in diapers, but that don't give her the right to go accusing me like that! I ain't ever liked Kalleem in that way before and I ain't gonna start doing that now. Even things did change between us I could never do that to mah best friend in the whole wide world. Sides, Kalleem ain't like the type to go playin hide the carrot in the snare trap with every lady her comes across. He's a real gentleman. Has to be given his roots. Ol' Jacques raised a fine boy after all."
"Jacques…that's the…" Linkette gasped and exclaimed. "Kalleem is the mayor's son?!"
"Yer darn tootin!"
"Hey sis what's tha hold up, old Bessy's gettin' cranky!" Mary Lou said, rushing towards center stage. "Ah!" she noticed Linkette. "You're Linkette Verde!"
"Oh looks like my reputation has preceded me with the little one here," Linkette said, tapping a finger to her forehead.
"Mary Lou, Linkette's got better things ta do than ta hear yer gibberish bout ghosts!"
"But I'm not making any of it up!" Mary Lou protested.
"Let the little one speak," Linkette said with a smile. "After all," taking out her sword and hoisting it high above her head, Linkette exclaimed in a deep, booming voice, "If there is adventure to be had I will do my best to accept any request!"
"Oh there's plenty of adventure ta be had in ghost slayin'!" Mary Lou said cheerfully.
Jenna Dean held up her hands. "I'm gonna head inside then. You two wanna talk about illogical things like ghosts that's fine and dandy with me just don't do it with me present. I gotta check the books anyway about that big order a milk tomorrow." She walked back stage and headed inside the shack door to hers and Mary Lou's house.
"So what's this about ghosts?" Linkette asked.
With a harsh orchestra of violins and trombones, Mary Lou begin to sing. "Every year they come to steal our cows and chickens too. From an eeries orange light they descend. I stand next to the barn with my bow and arrow ready and I fire them all down to the end." Mary Lou then fired upon the balloons letting each burst match with her counting, "One, two, three, four, one shot and they disappear. One, two, three, four and they're gone for one full year.
"They creep around the barnyard, they approach us until dawn. It's the most unnerving evening of my life. No legs and skulls for faces, glowing eyes and purple bodies. I have to take them out until they're gone." Mary Lou nocked an arrow again. "One, two, three four, one shot and they disappear. One, two, three, four and they're gone for one full year."
The orchestra looped into a rhythm while Linkette and Mary Lou conversed normally. "So what's my job. You sound like you've got things all taken care of on your own."
"Oh that's because they've got a leader. If I kill him," Mary Lou said, taking aim, "That'll be the end of them for good."
"Ohhhh? Do tell."
"When the ghosts descend together, they're ship is at the back. I've always wanted to go upon it and have a look. But I'm always so busy protecting the farm. I can't abandon the cows and chickens to their fate. That's why it's one, two, three, four, one shot and they disappear. One, two, three, four and they're gone for one full year."
Now it was Linkette's turn to sing and turn this into a duet. "While you are busy shooting, I'll sneak aboard the craft. The leader of these creeps won't see me coming. I'll strike him with my sword. I'll bash him with my shield and they'll never ever bother you again." In conjunction with sword slashes, Linkette sang, "For it's one, two, three four, my sword will one strike and he'll disappear. One, two, three four and they won't come back next year."
Twirling back and forth both girls sang. "One, two, three, four we'll battle them for one last stand. One, two, three four and they'll never both this ranch," they put their arms around each other. "Agaaaaaaaaaain!"
The music stopped and the audience clapped. Letting go of each other, Linkette backed up and bowed to Mary Lou. "Well, Mary Lou, I must be going. When do these ghosts appear?"
"At two in the morning. Be here a half an hour early just in case. They leave at the first light of dawn."
"Then until then," Linkette said and proceeded to head back to town.
The stage faded to black and faded back in once the town square set up was back on stage. Linkette looked about aimlessly as Ladron, played by Gino Weinberg, skipped up onto the stage. He had a large sack upon his back, tightly clenched close by his hands as he held the sack over his right shoulder. He was grinning from ear to ear while squinting and skipping. He unceremoniously crashed into Linkette knocking them both over and sending his belongings bursting out of his sack as he dropped it.
"AAAAAH! My valuables!" He screamed.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Linkette said as she helped Ladron gather his things together, "I was not paying attention to my surroundings."
"Oh thank you so much," Ladron said in cheery gratitude, "I thought I wasn't going to get away wi—I mean I was afraid I'd have to pick up all of this by myself."
"You're in an awful hurry," Linkette said.
"Yes, well, I'm a very busy man," Ladron said as he got to his feet and rubbing his hands together. "Busy! Busy! Busy! That's me!"
"Please don't sing about it," Natsu commented from the audience, though not nearly loud enough to be heard on stage.
Lucy slapped him across the back of the head and then put a finger to her lips. "Shush!"
"Well don't waste your time talking to me," Linkette said as both she and Ladron got to their feet and all of his belongings were back in his sack, "Get a move on!"
"Oh I shall, thank you ever so much!" Ladron then skipped away and down the stairs by front stage right.
"What a creepy guy," Linkette said in soliloquy, "He kept smiling all the time." She shrugged. "Ah well."
Linkette opened the door to the inn, changing the scene as she entered. "Hello! Angela! I'm back!"
Rather than Angela herself, her grandmother came from stage right instead. Her grandmother, played by Euphemia Heurassein, was hunched over with a cane, a gray, curly wig with all of her pink hair tucked underneath it, and a pink, bunchy, plaid gown for her costume. "Oh, Rita," she said in a crotchety voice, "Is that you. Lemme have a good look at ya."
"M-ma'am," Linkette backed up as the old woman got too close to her for her liking.
"Grandma!" Angela chastised as she entered from stage left. "What are you doing out of bed?"
"I ain't no one's grandma, you darn hayseed! Leave me be!"
"Ugh, I'm so sorry about this Linkette. Grandma's having another one of her episodes," Angela apologized as she tried to steer her grandma away from the heroine.
"Fear not, fair maiden," Linkette bowed, "I do not balk at the elderly for their shortcomings. You are very fortunate to have your grandmother still with you."
"I ain't old enough to be a grandma, now let me go!" Angela's grandma whacked the poor girl over the head with her cane.
"Ouch!" Angela rubbed her head.
"Fie, now where's old Sam to get me the paper?"
"Grandma, grandpa's been dead for years."
"Horse pie!" Angela's grandma shouted, raising her cane towards the ceiling. The act was so abrupt that everyone in the audience burst into laughter. The actors on stage froze to take a pause and let the audience get their composure before Angela's grandma leaned back onto her cane. "Sam's as healthy as an Ox. Why I remember when he climbed his way up to the Stone Tower Temple all by his lonesome self. Stuck the fabled Blade of the Rift he did in that darn temple, Angela." Angela's grandma paused, realizing she had screwed up her fake senility. "Oh horse pie." The audience laughed again.
"Come on grandma," Angela said, taking her by the arm, "let me get you some cabbage soup."
"Wait," Angela's grandma fought back in vain against her granddaughter's grip. "Wait! No! I'm fine!" Angela's grandma coughed twice. "I'm in perfectly health condition! Please! Young lady!" she called to Linkette. "Help meeeeeeee!"
Angela took her grandma offstage leaving Linkette by her lonesome for a few short moments before coming back onstage while fanning out her skirt.
"I am so sorry about that," Angela apologized. "My grandma sometimes has episodes like that."
"That's quite all right," Linkette said, holding up a hand to infer that she didn't want Angela to apologize.
Angela cupped her hands in front of her chest in eager anticipation. Her eyes trembled with longing. "Please tell me you found information about Kalleem!"
"I'm sorry, Angela. I'm still without any clues. Jenna Dean didn't know anything."
"Oh no," Angela said, disheartened.
"But! I shant give up! I'll find your fiancé for you, Angela or my name isn't Linkette Verde!" Linkette declared with pride.
"Thank you, Linkette!" Angela hugged her, "Thank you ever so much!" She then noticed that she was hugging mostly a complete stranger, let go of Linkette and took a few steps back.
"So," Linkette said, breaking the awkward silence, "do you know anyone that knows about the Mask of Malevolence?"
"My grandma knows the entire legend," Angela answered, "but you'll be lucky if she's not having another episode. She always act even worse after having my cabbage soup."
Linkette held up her hand in protest and smiled, "I'll take my chances." She put her hand down. "After all, strange things are said to happen around carnival time because of the legend. Perhaps your fiancé's disappearance is linked to these so-called strange things."
"You think?" Angela gasped.
"Well it's worth a shot, but more than that," Linkette drew out her sword and thrust it high above her head, "legends have adventure!" A few chuckles emitted from the audience.
"Why are you so obsessed with adventure anyway?" Angela asked.
From the sound booth, Erza poked her head out the window to watch. Having read the script, she loved this song and wanted to see it performed live. Sure she had seen dress rehearsal, but that was a rehearsal. Erza, with her stage fright, could've done this song for a rehearsal. She wanted to see the epitome of what she aspired to be other than a great mage: an amazing actor without even a lick of stage fright.
The music started up with Miriam's flute playing a slow serenade. Wendy's wind chimes were also heard alongside the music with some trumpets and a very soft playing snare drum.
"When I was just a little girl, I lived in a small quiet town that needed protecting. But the guards you see they were too busy. So as I grew up I took matters into my own hands. I trained with a sword and shield. I made monsters yield to my strength. I traveled to the woods came back with the goods to help my town survive, but that was the just the start of what I could do. I soon heard of a perilous plight. In the night the castle had fallen. The guards dead, the princess gone and there was just me standing between evil and its goal."
The music became more upbeat as Linkette sang at a different tempo. "So, I traveled onward slaying monsters, I was fearless. I traveled to save my kingdom and I became a legend. I saved the world from darkness and I was lauded as a hero, I was asked to join the guards of the castle, but I chose a different path because I had enjoyed the journey so you see I became a wanderer, seeking adventure so that I could gain the thrill of doing good and being strong. So now you see," the music slowed down, "why I am so stuck on adventure."
The music's tempo slowed down. "I've been traveling for years, getting experience, spreading my name. I want to help all the people I can. I want to protect the land from anything and everything. I am proud of what I can do. That's why I'm helping you find your fiancé. I do not turn anyone away. I am hero. It's in my blood I'm sure."
The music picked up again. "So now you see. I seek victory. I am the bane of the monster kingdom! I help everyone no matter the task. You need only ask and I will do my best to serve you. I am a master of the sword, I will not grow bored no matter how the years pass. I strive to be the best and I will never rest. I only want no one to suffer."
More slow music. "It's not that big of a deal. I'm just a girl with grandeur. I taught myself how to fight because of my village's plight," the drums began striking harder, but slower and the music slowed way down, "so that no one," Linkette sang louder, "would ever suffer the fate of being hounded by monsters AGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!"
Guinevere was given a standing ovation for her performance. Trying hard to hide it by the ticket booth, Gajeel was clapping his hands off, moved to tears, even. Heck, even Elfman was so moved by her performance that manly tears were emitting from his eyes.
Everyone was so enchanted by the song that Guinevere was frozen out of character on stage. She wanted to bow so as not to appear rude, but it wasn't the finale. She looked around from her position and saw Lelouch giving her a signal of rolling his wrist towards her as if to say "all right go on"
Smiling widely, Guinevere broke character and bowed to the audience graciously for their praise. Her solo was her favorite part of the play and to hear so many people enjoy it so was nearly bringing her to tears. Her dream of being an actress was no longer a pipe dream. They loved her. They really did.
Ack, keep it together Guinevere. Make it at least to intermission. Don't fall apart just yet. Guinevere got back in character and the scene resumed as the audience got back in their seats.
"Well," Angela said, "That explains a lot."
"Angela!" Rita called from off screen. "I need your help making dinner for all our guests! Butt in the kitchen dear!"
Lelouch did his best not to chuckle at the irony of that line. Inoue couldn't cook at all and in the play she was the cook and it was Angela's cooking that was terrible as would be evidenced by the next scene.
With Angela heading offscreen, Linkette followed, but she was heading to a different part of the inn: the library.
With another scene change, a roaring fireplace, red carpet, rows upon rows of bookshelves and Angela's Grandma in her rocking chair, knitting were shown upon stage. Linkette entered from stage left towards the old woman.
"Excuse me," Linkette said, "Miss Angela's grandma?"
"Hmmmm," Angela's grandma said, looking at Linkette, "Oh, you're the fetching young lady from earlier."
"I do not mean to be rude," Linkette said, holding her hands close to her chest, "but are you…normal?"
Angela's grandmother chortled and then coughed, eliciting some grunting laughter from the audience. "Oh that's just an act. See, I can't stand Angela's cooking. Rita feeds me when I pretend to act senile. Promise me you won't tell Angela, it would break the poor girl's heart knowing she can't care for her dear old nana."
Linkette chuckled, "I promise."
"Well, what can an old woman do to help such a fine young lady as yourself?"
"Angela tells me you know the legend of the Mask of Malevolence," Linkette said.
"Ahhhhhhh," Angela's grandma sighed in content, "how long has it been since anyone's been interested in that old story? Well," Angela's grandma got up from her rocking chair and walked towards the front of the stage, "Better take a seat dearie. This might be a while." She pointed her cane towards the audience. "And that goes double for you good people out there! No fallin' asleep on me, ya hear? This is mighty important."
Linkette walked towards Angela's grandma and stared out into the audience, trying to see what Angela's grandma was looking at, but decidedly unable to see anything but the 4th wall in front of her. She looked at Angela's grandma, confused. "Who are you talking to?"
Some members of the audience laughed.
Angela's grandma turned around. "Our story starts a long, long time ago, on a continent far, far away," she began as Linkette threw her hands up in the air in defeat, realizing she wasn't going to get her question answered. People laughed. The lights dimmed except a single spotlight upon Angela's grandma as she spoke to the audience, and to Linkette who was behind her. The low hum of a trombone, tuba and oboe accompanied the monologue.
"There used to be a fearsome masked dragon that guarded a horde of treasure. Many tried to take the treasure from this dragon, but all were slain. Then, one day, a lone travelling swordsman with one arm covered in armor came upon the dragon's haven. The dragon threatened to eat the human whole, but the human said he had no interest in the dragon or his treasure. The dragon was disbelieving at first, but when the human removed his sword and set it aside, the dragon let his guard down. The swordsman asked the dragon if he could just rest his head at the entrance to the dragon's lair. The human was incredibly tired and just needed a fortnight's rest before he was right as rain again. As a peace offering to show his good intentions, the human gave the dragon a dead squirrel for a snack. Between this, and disarming himself, the dragon let the human stay.
"The human stayed until the day he felt well enough to walk again. He thanked the dragon for his hospitality, grabbed his sword and prepared to leave. 'Thank you,' he told the dragon, 'I appreciate all you have done for me. In return, I would like to do something to show my gratitude.'" Deepening her voice to imitate the dragon, Angela's grandma said, "'What will you do?' the dragon asked. 'Allow me to play you, the song of my people.' The swordsman said."
The trombone, the oboe and the tuba stopped playing as now it was Miriam's moment to shine as well as another orchestral member on harp. They played a wordless symphony for several minutes. Despite her intentions for later, Miriam actually liked this particular melody. It was soothing, like a lullaby. In the other songs she had kept her eyes open. Here, her eyes remained closed as she played her flute as if she had known the song all her life, but also to let her ears capture the beautiful melody her instrument was producing.
On stage, Angela's grandma swayed back and forth to the sound of the music.
After a few minutes, the music continued while Angela's grandma finished the story. "The melody was so soothing that for once in his life since he had begun hoarding all that treasure, the dragon felt sleepy and upon falling asleep, it turned into a mask. The swordsman took the mask into his robe and then took the dragon's treasure. He shared the treasure with the town he had come from and that town later became Watchfall. The incident happened on the eve before the carnival and the mask was buried underneath the clock tower where it lay for millennia. When strange things happen around carnival time, some say it is because the dragon is vengeful towards the one-armed swordsman, having been betrayed by a person it called a friend. Other say it's like a child wanting attention for not being recognized. However, no matter what you believe though, the acts can only be described as malevolent." Angela's grandma paused to let the music finish up and then said as the stage lights resumed their full brightness, "But that's just an old folk tale," she said in a manner that made it sound like she didn't believe any of it and just like telling the story, "Who knows if it's real or not." She walked back to her chair and sat in it.
Linkette bowed. "Well, I sincerely thank you for your storytelling."
"Oh you're quite welcome young lady," Angela's grandma said, "Would you like some tea? I was just about to put the pot on?"
"Oh I wish I could stay," Linkette said, "But I have a job to do. Kalleem's gone missing and it's up to me to find him."
"Oh crabapples!" Angela's grandma scrunched her nose. "Kalleem's gone and pulled a vanishing act? Dagnabbit! Go and bang on his secret hideout he and Angela used to keep. I'd do it, but my poor back, plus I'm old."
"Where is this so-called secret hideout?" Linkette asked.
"How the hay should I know?" Angela's grandma asked rhetorically. "I just know that Angela and Kalleem used to hideaway from Rita and Rosemary and I. It was a pain the pah-tootey! But they always came out for the scent of fresh apple and cranberry pie."
"Fresh pie, huh?" Linkette's brain was hatching an idea.
The scene faded to black and the scene returned to the inn lobby as Linkette waited by the reception desk for Angela to walk by. "Say, Angela, it says in the broucher that I'm owed a complimentary pie during the course of my visit. I've yet to go to my room, but has mine been made yet?"
"Oh heavens I knew I forgot something! I'm sorry, what would you like?"
"Apple and cranberry would be lovely."
"Oh my, you have good taste. That's my favorite," Angela said with sparkling eyes.
Linkette gave an aside glance to the audience. "I know." Members of the audience chuckled.
"I'll have it ready for you as soon as I can," Angela said.
"You do that," Linkette said.
With yet another scene change, Angela was walking around all of Watchfall as though peddling the pie that had been made for her. While she would've loved to eat it, she knew that this was the only way she knew at the moment to draw out Kalleem."
Linkette grumbled as she circled around on stage, "The great Linkette reduced to bartering a pie. What is this world coming to? Never refuse a request sure, but," she sighed. "No, chin up Linkette. You can do this! You're a woman that doesn't give up."
Linkette continued pacing in a circle for a little while longer before the postman came out onto the stage as he was passing through the background. "Excuse me," he said, jogging up to Linkette, "that's a mighty fine pie you have there," he sniffed, "Ah and apple cranberry too! My favorite!"
"I'm not selling it," Linkette said, pulling it away.
"Well you're not eating it."
"I'm trying to find someone with it."
"Well you found me," the postman said, spreading out his arms. The audience laughed.
Linkette curled the pie under her bosom. "I'm looking for a man named Kalleem, know him?"
"Oh everyone knows Kalleem Pottingham, cept he's been missing for a month now."
"Mr. Postman you deliver the mail, where did you get that letter you gave to Angela this morning?"
"Why from that postbox over there," the Postman said.
"Is that the only postbox in this town?"
"Course it's not. There are four postboxes, one for each district of Watchfall. Right now we're in southern Watchfall."
"I see," Linkette said and then noticed a pathway off towards forward stage left, "Where does that pathway lead to?"
"Oh that way's towards the laundry pool."
Linkette looked all around the town. "If someone wanted to not be seen by the town, is there anywhere by the laundry pool they could hide, say…for over a month?"
"Dunno," the Postman said. "Hardly anyone uses the laundry pool at all anymore. Nowadays everyone uses those new finagled machines to wash clothes."
"Thank you Mr. Postman," Linkette said, walking towards the pathway and then handed him the pie. "Here, I don't think I'll be needing this."
"Oh wait, Miss! Miss!" The postman called to her. Linkette turned her head. "I…surely I should give you something in return. I deliver mail, I sell stamps. I…nobody ever gave me anything just out of the goodness of their heart before."
"Maybe you just haven't met the right people," Linkette said with a smile and headed offstage.
The postman dropped to his knees and held the pie up to the heavens. "Truly that woman is an angel. This pie! This pie was delivered to me from unto the heavens themselves!" The postman began devouring the pie as everyone in the audience laughed while the scene faded to black.
To let the audience get their composure, and so as not to cause mood whiplash, setting up the next scene took its time. When things resumed, the scene was set for some sort of secret hideout beyond some really tall grass. In the middle of the stage, surrounded by a tent and other items used for camping was the same child from the opening of the play before the first song. Regardless of gender, now everyone could see that they had orange hair.
Linkette stumbled out onto the stage, actually falling on her face, as she got up. The child dove into his tent to hide. "Jeez that was some tall grass," Linkette said, fanning out the end of her tunic. "But it was far too conspicuous for a trained adventurer like me." She looked around. "Yup, this is the place. It has secret hideout written all over it." Linkette then noticed the tent. "I wonder if anyone's here." She then noticed the fire. "Oh yes, someone's definitely here. It's a safety hazard to leave a flame burning." Linkette doused the flames with some dirt. "Nobody's that stupid." She got on her hands and knees and peered inside the tent. "Aha!" she exclaimed.
"No! Stop! Let go!" the child said, their voice now confirmed to be male.
"Quit squirming!" Linkette called as she reached for her shield. A clang was heard. "Ha! Thought you could kick me, little brat? Come here!"
She dragged out the little boy, still struggling, out of the tent and then knocked the tent over and kept blocking him any time he tried to escape from her.
"It's no use," Linkette told him, "You're not getting away from me. Now, tell me where Kalleem is!"
"Kalleem! You want to know about Kalleem?" the boy asked.
"That's right! His fiancée's worried sick about him. So out with it, brat. Where is he?"
The boy reached up towards the mask he was wearing and removed it, revealing his face. "I am Kalleem."
Loke, currently playing the role, was altered into the size of a small child by Schneizel's magic. The audience recognized Loke of course and they were baffled by how tiny he had been made. Still, others were gasping at the revelation that Kalleem had been turned into a child.
"You can't be Kalleem, you're just a brat."
"I am Kalleem!" the little boy exclaimed. "I was turned into a child by the Mask of Malevolence! I know that probably sounds stupid, but it's—"
"I believe you."
Kalleem stared up at Linkette who looked down at him. "So, what happened? Maybe I can help."
"I-I don't know," Kalleem said.
"Heh, what's the matter boy, don't you recognize me, tis I, Linkette Verde," Linkette pulled out her sword and thrust it high, "Adventurer extraordinaire!"
"You don't understand, even someone like you Linkette wouldn't be able to—"
"Ha! If I had a hundred jewels for every time I heard that one," Linkette scoffed. "Danger and me go a long way, Kalleem. Just point me in the right direction and I'll get right on it."
Kalleem sighed. "Well, there are two things. First," he turned away and rubbed the back of his head, "I lost my mask."
"Mask? You were just wearing a mask."
"No," Kalleem shook his head, "A different mask, one I made for Angela. As per town tradition, we're supposed to exchange masks we made for each other as a symbol of our love and mine was stolen. If I face Angela not only in this body, but also without that mask. I…"
"Don't worry, Kalleem, I'll get that mask back for you, what else?"
"When I was attacked by the mask it spoke something about doing something at Midnight, the day of the carnival on top of the clock tower."
"You make it sound as though the mask is a sentient entity. I thought it was the spirit of the dragon from the folklore."
"The mask is alive," Kalleem stressed, "And it's evil! Pure evil! I'm a swordsman too you know, but my blade couldn't even scratch it. You'd have to go and get the Blade of the Rift inside Stone Tower Temple."
"Heh, is that all? Just point me in the direction I need to go and I'll retrieve this Blade easily and I'll get your mask back for you and I'll destroy the ghost aliens."
"The what now?"
"Long story," Linkette said. The audience laughed at her delivery of the line. "Anyway, what time is it now?"
"It's close to dinner time, why?"
"I should probably get some sleep then, I'll be needed at the ranch early in the morning."
"Before you go, please don't tell Angela about this. If she asks, just tell her you're still looking. I don't want her to worry."
"Please!" Kalleem pleaded, grabbing hold of Linkette's spandex, "Please don't tell her! I can't face her like this! I just can't!"
Linkette smiled and rubbed Kalleem's head. "All right, Kalleem. I won't tell her. Anyway, I'm going now."
Linkette exited the stage and everything faded to black. The sound of a rooster cawed and Linkette roused. She then gasped. "The sun's up. The sun's UP?! Oh I am error." Linkette rushed to the ranch as the scene changed around her and when she arrived at the ranch she found Jenna Dean sobbing. The ranch was desolate with no grass, no cows, no chickens and most heartrendingly, no Mary Lou.
"No…" Linkette gasped. "I…how could I have…I meant to…" she shook her head. "Kalleem's mask! I'll search for his mask! I can at least bring him and Angela together!" Linkette then began searching high and low as the scenery around her consistently changed. She looked everywhere she could, talking to people in town and the such, panicking. It was a full day before she said another line.
"Okay! Okay! I can't waste any more time like this!" She looked at the sun. "It's ten in the morning! I have fourteen hours before midnight! To that temple!"
The scene changed to a gigantic temple of magnificent proportions, or at the very least just the top of the long climb up towards the temple entrance. "There," Linkette said, "I…made it." She was out of breath.
"Now just to…"
The howl of a wolf as the sun went down sent a chill down Linkette's spine. "N-no. It can't be night already! I-I still have to. I…I…" Linkette dropped to her hands and knees and screamed. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"
"Do not despair, Linkette."
"Who's there?" Linkette asked, rising to her feet.
Descending from above came the Goddess of Time, played by Marianne Lamperouge. Dressed in all white, she had a very pure presence about her. Thanks to Schneizel's magic she also appeared ethereal and ghostly.
"I am the Goddess of Time," the spirit answered. "And I have seen all that you do and have done, Linkette Verde. You deserve better than what a trick of fate has brought upon you."
"A trick of fate."
"You did not oversleep of your own accord. The Mask of Malevolence put you into a deeper slumber than you had intended. I will not allow that. My power is limited to my interference, but I know, Linkette that all you need is another try. With my power I will turn back time and you can have another chance."
"But how will I—"
"Your knowledge of the past will aid you when you revisit it. Go, Linkette and save the world, yet again."
A violin melody played alongside Miriam's flute. "It is time for you to go! Go back in time! You will find what you seek. All you have to do is try. Do not despair do not cry for you will succeed this time. Should you fall or should you die, you will get another try. It is time for you to go! Go back in time! Give things another try. Look to a different path! It is time! It is time! Go back in time! You will find. You will find. You will find."
In the time it had taken that brief melody to be sung, the stage had been affixed with a white backdrop and clock faces everywhere.
Miriam played on her flute for a small solo as Linkette tumbled back towards the back of the stage as the clocks upon the stage ticked backwards. The stage faded to black and the curtain closed.
From the sound booth, Milly called, "Even though Linkette is going back in time, for us time still ticks forward. We'll be taking a thirty minute break while you all engorge yourself at our snack station. Please remember that all money will go to helping the fine wizards putting on this production as we spent all of the last few weeks putting this play together for you all and will be performing from now through the festival. Thank you for your cooperation."
As the orchestra got up to stretch their legs, Miriam smirked. Everything's going according to plan. She looked at the side of her flute. A small meter along the edge was shown to almost have reached the entire length of the flute. Perfect, Miriam said, One more song should do it and I know just the moment to sing it.
"For an amateur script, the performers really brought the production together"
–Sorcerer weekly's headline for the review of "Mask of Malevolence"
To be continued...
(A/N: The other shoe hasn't dropped yet, but it's about to. I think all of you, if you hadn't figured it out already, know that this play is an affectionate parody of Majora's Mask. I really hope you're all liking it. I'm trying my best to purport a visual production in a non-visual medium. I know that the play itself is mostly filler, but understand that this is all for Guinevere's character growth. But don't worry, that's going to change WAHAHAHAHAHA! Anyway nothing else to say other than: Welcome to intermission).