"Strange, normally at the end of a battle I would drag the villain away, not the other way around. This hero business is proving more complicated than I thought." I said with a laugh as I followed my super powered companion as his "frienemy" dragged him along like one of those wooden ducks with the wheels on the bottom.
One would have to be an absolute imbecile if they couldn’t tell that May was quite enamored with Fluxx so I decided it best to give them a bit of space as I followed them. Not to mention I didn’t want to get caught in the cross fire if little miss Jekyl went Hyde on us again.
"Drat…" I muttered to myself as the all too familiar metallic taste of blood returned to my mouth. I had completely forgotten the fact I was still bleeding.
I reached into my pocket to retrieve my handkerchief when I pricked my hand on what felt like a thorn vine.
"What in the multiverse?.." I grumbled as I pulled out the object discovering it to be a freshly cut, blood red rose.
I sighed in exasperation as I noticed the ground around me had started glowing and caught the attention of my companions.
"Uh Jones? Is everything alright?" Fluxx asked with a concerned expression.
"Not to worry, I’m sure it’s nothing important…" I said with a nervous chuckle as the concrete under me began to crack and crumble in the shape of a six point star. "I’ll catch up with you in a bit, best of luck mates!"
Before Fluxx could reply the ground beneath me gave way and I disappeared from his sight into what likely seemed to be an endless pit from his end.
However in actuality I immediately landed on a carpet in the center of what seemed to be an early 19th century parlour room.
"Ah, Good evening Sir." A dignified yet somewhat gravelly voice stated beside me.
I stood up and brushed myself off before facing the source of the voice.
"Alright Mortis, where’s Maria?" I asked the grey skinned ghoul standing before me.
"Madam Morfran is in her chambers. I can escort you there if-"
"No need, I know where it is…" I said cutting off the butler’s words as I partially shifted dimensions and marched through the unlit fireplace bypassing the elaborate secret door mechanism. I was in no mood for Morfran’s theatrics.
As I walked down the winding corridor with its seemingly impossible architecture I began to smell the stench of boiling chemicals and herbs.
"This must be the laboratory she was installing last time." I thought to myself as I knocked on the medieval style dungeon door that lead to the lab before simply phasing through it when there was no reply."
The room was filled with bottles, beakers and vials boiling away on Bunsen burners and in the center sat a large desk covered in a mountain of books.
"Let’s see, three parts jasmine, one part cinnamon, three pinches of ground coriander seeds…" I heard a voice mutter from the other side of the literary mountain.
"Bonsoir Maria." I said as I phased my head through the tome towers causing the woman behind them to jolt up from her book in surprise.
"Dementio Darling! W-what a pleasant surprise!" Maria stammered as she quickly closed her book and pinned back some strands that had come loose from her bride of Frankenstein-ish hair.
"Cut the act Maria, why’d you bring me here?" I said with a scowl as I held up the rose.
"Ah! Of course! Rose petals!" Maria exclaimed as she took the flower from me and rushed over to her brewing area and dropped a few rose petals into a kettle of reddish liquid.
"Could you please quit with your incessant alchemy for one second and answer the blasted question? I was kinda in the middle of something." I complained as I partially shifted to a nearby world and sat down on a chair in it. Which likely made it seem as though I was floating as I sat there drumming my fingers on the arm of the seemingly invisible chair.
"Right, I’m sorry my dear. Maria said as she put the lid back on the kettle and walked over to me. "I didn’t mean to interrupt your hunt."
I suddenly realised what her statement meant and quickly pulled out my handkerchief and wiped the blood off my face.
"I’ve told you a dozen times I’m not a vampire! I was merely in a fight and they were a tougher opponent than I assumed…" I said rubbing the back of my head which still ached from the fight.
"Ah so you truly have come to the side of justice…" Maria said with a smile. "What interdimensional vandal did you face this delightfully frightful evening?"
"She wasn’t exactly a vandal, more confused young lass with seemingly magical powers."
"Please elaborate." Maria said clearly intrigued.
"Well she could control this strange gaseous substance, create solid shapes like blades and whatnot from it. Made a right mess of the street…"I said thinking how strangely similar Maria and May seemed.
"Well, looks like she did quite a number on you as well." Maria said walking back to her brewing station. "But not to worry my dear, I’ll whip up a spot of my herbal tea to help relieve the pain a bit."
"Um that’s not necessary Maria…" I replied nervously as she poured the strange reddish liquid from the kettle into a teacup and proceeded to hand it to me with a large somewhat suspicious smile on her face.
"Nonsense, one sip of this and you’ll feel much better…"
I sniffed of the steaming liquid and rolled my eyes when I smelt the coriander and cinnamon coupled with various flowers before reluctantly taking a sip of the rather bitter brew.
"Well?" Maria asked intently.
"You forgot the vanilla…" I said with a smug grin as Maria seemed simultaneously startled and annoyed.
"You Maria of all people should know love potions are a bunch of malarky."
"How did you know that’s what it was?!" Maria exclaimed.
"It isn’t the first time I’ve had the displeasure of tasting one…" I said pulling out a bottle of iced tea from my coat pocket and taking a sip to get rid of the horrid taste. "Now, if you don’t need me any longer I must get back to work…"
"Oh but that’s not why I needed you." Maria said quickly rushing to her desk and pulling out a sheet of parchment. "Something strange is going on in this realm and I was hoping you could help me get to the bottom of it… The uh, love potion was to try and smooth over any harsh feelings you may’ve had due to well, You know…"
"One does not simply smooth over losing a leg to an eldritch horror by serving perfume." I said thinking back to the elephantasm incident a year prior that lead to our not entirely friendly relationship. Seriously, undead mastodons and ghost mammoths are horrifying things to wrangle with.
"So. What exactly is the problem?" I asked walking over to Maria.
"Well as you know this realm is full of mythical beings such as us."
"Again, I’m not a-"
"You are literally transparent right now. I’d consider that mythical." Maria said cutting me off with a glare. "Anyway, recently many creatures have gone missing. Why just this morning the leader of beastburg disappeared.
"Beastburg?" I asked not recognizing the name." I thought the village was called Rocfald.
"It’s a neighboring village of shapeshifters. Werewolves werebears and the like."
"I see, are you certain it’s not just the monster hunter guild’s doing?"
"Certain. Beaumont and the other fools in his band are off chasing something called skin walkers in the mid west. This is something different."
"Well, I suppose the best course of action is to ask any possible witnesses to the most recent case."
Maria nodded and grabbed her cloak. "I should warn you the woods are quite active with faerie folk this evening due to it being samhain and all. Just try not to make eye contact with any of them and you’ll be fine.
"Please, I can handle a few elves and pixies." I said as I slipped through the castle wall into the courtyard and began an inventory check while Maria went around the long way.
"Let’s see, wooden stakes, silver bullets, am I forgetting anything?" I said to myself trying to recall the methods of warding off faerie folk. "Sigh, I better get up with the expert." I said quickly shifting back to my lair to find my henchman asleep in front of the television.
"Bracton! Wake up man!"
Jack lifted the brim of his tricorn from in over his eyes and glanced in my direction.
"Oh, hey Jones. You’re back early. What’s up?"
"You’ve dealt with monsters before correct?" I asked the swashbuckler.
"We talking sea monsters, space monsters, eldritch abominations or just standard mythical monsters?"
"The latter. Celtic faerie folk to be exact."
"Iron powder, holy water, and a good ol’ silver cross necklace for the nasty buggers and just bribe the rest with sweets."
"Right thanks mate." I said with a tip of the hat as I shifted back to Maria’s courtyard where she was just coming out the castle door.
"All set darling?" She asked.
"Quite. Let’s get this over with…"
As we walked through the woods everything seemed oddly silent.
"I thought you said this place was active on Halloween."
"It normally is…" Maria said nervously looking around.
(Play this here for full effect: m.youtube.com/watch? v=KsZAnfR4ON4)
Suddenly an echoing laugh came at us from all directions as a bizarre looking mist rolled in.
Then I saw it on the path ahead of us. A frightening stallion charging towards us seemingly made of shadows with spiked tentacles protruding from its sides, glowing red eyes and its rider laughing like a mad man whilst swinging around one of the tentacles like a whip.
"Dullahan!" Maria shouted in terror. "Get off the path! Now!"
"That’s no headless horseman…" I said as I moved to the center of the path, drew my cutlass and glared straight into the rider’s eyes as he continued towards us rapidly gaining speed until suddenly halting mere inches from the tip of my blade.
"DIMENSIO…" the rider said as he looked down at me from his haunted steed.
"Huxley…" I said with scowl to my old Nemesis. "Or should I call you Planemo?"
Huxley cringed in disgust at the mention of the name the inter dimensional police had given him after his turn from the law. "I HAVE NO TIME FOR THIS YOU FOOL! STAND ASIDE!"
I noticed his eyes were glowing like May’s had earlier and an idea popped into my head.
"You always were a hot head…" I said with a grin as I reached into my pocket and grabbed the nozzle of a fire hose. "Perhaps a drink will ease your temper…"
I pulled out the hose and sprayed Huxley in the face with the high pressure water knocking him from his horse as it disappeared back to the void from whence it came.
"FOOLS… I AM UNSTOPPABLE…" Huxley muttered as he stood to his feet clenching his staff to simply stand.
"The word you’re looking for mate is unstable." I replied as I sliced at the old villain’s stick causing it to splinter and sending him falling back into the mud.
I quickly retrieved a set of handcuffs, shackles and a length of rope from my pockets and bound Huxley with them before pulling out a small radio.
"Interdimensional Task Force, this is Jana how may I help you?"
"Jana? It’s Dimensio, I hate to bother y’all this late but I’ve got a situation I need assistance with in sector fourteen…" I replied as I passed the radio to Maria so I could tie Huxley to a nearby tree.
"Monster realm eh? Don’t tell, Morfran opened another portal to the void didn’t she?!"
"I did nothing of the sort!" Maria exclaimed.
"For once Maria was helpful. She alerted me of disappearing inhabitants and when we investigated we discovered Huxley was involved.
"Not surprising. Huxley always went looney this time of year even before the accident." The dispatcher replied with a slightly amused tone. "Where is planemo now?"
"Right here. I’d let you talk to him but he’s a bit tied up at the moment… To a tree… Also he’s unconscious…"
"Okay then. I’ll send a squad to your location for pick up."
"Thank you ma’am. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going on to get to the bottom of this. Have a blessed day." I replied to Jana hanging up before she could object to my plan.
"So now what?"
"Well my dear it looks like we have an interdimensional mystery to solve." I said holding out my hand."You up for a little more action?"
Maria smiled and happily grabbed my hand. "Maybe that potion worked after all."
"Don’t push your luck Missy…" I replied with a laugh as we phased back to Advant city to find Fluxx and May.
"Dimensio said he left planemo around here somewhere…" the squad leader said as he and the group of officers marched through the woods.
Suddenly the sound of merry singing rang through the trees.
Soon they found the source to be a group of faeries dancing around a bonfire and behind them sat Huxley still tied up but now covered in brightly colored paint and glitter.
"Thank God! Saved at last!" Huxley shouted upon seeing the squad with tears streaming down his face. "Get these wretched bugs away from me!!!"
"Hold on!" One of the faeries shouted as they flew up in front of the squad leader’s face. "We ain’t givin’ him up without somethin’ in return!"
The group of officers parted as Jack walked through with several boxes of doughnuts, cookies and candy.
"Gotcha covered sir." Jack said with a wink. "Alright you sugar crazed gnomes, let’s get this party started!"
P.s. Thanks again to pip for editing the photo.