Posted 15 August 2011 - 01:46 AM
"Mushroom, dear. You've been listening to the exact same song for the past week. Please, stop..."
Two days after they had come back home to the massive mansion on Mt. Jazzeh, Arkcher, who was trying to peacefully sleep in, awoke to the sound of both the Super Nintendo and the CD Player. Ugh, why did she still use CD Players? He would have to buy her an MP3 Player soon...
He looked over and saw she was not even playing the game, merely sitting and listening to the song.
"Mushroom, please. You'll ruin that thing if you do stuff like that."
"It hasn't ruined our copies of Kirby 64 or Smash Bros., nor all my CDs, has it?"
"Mushroom, just... leaving the Super Nintendo on, playing Super Mario RPG, I thought you hated that game, playing the stupid forest song, that's going to overheat it. That's my awareness of how games work."
Arkcher climbed out of bed, and before he did anything, before he even got properly dressed, he combed his hair meticulously at the vanity in the room. Have you ever seen a couple's bedroom where the husband uses the vanity more than his wife? There's something wrong here! Vanities should have makeup and cutesy photos of boyfriends, not cans of Axe and random crap Arkcher left there!
.... Anyway. Mushroom didn't really hate Mario RPG, she just pretended to. She and her sanity PMM liked EarthBound better, though, admittedly, Mushroom_king only really liked it because of the musical references; it says something that while PMM plays every video game known to man (well, the good ones), she actively only played rhythm games.
Cheesemaster was the one who liked Mario RPG. The two sometimes fought over the superior SNES RPG classic.
"Come on," Arkcher said, not even close to finishing the brushing, the bucket of hair gel waiting for him-he had not gelled it up yet, a first. His shirt was horribly wrinkled from sleeping in it, and his necktie wasn't even tied nor attached to his neck. Look, I don't know why he sleeps wearing his necktie!
"Shedra is waiting for us. He cooks breakfast for us to go down there and eat it. Everyone else is waiting, too, I assure you."
"I'm not the one who just woke up. I'm also not the one lacking pants." She groaned, and, in defeat, turned the console off. "Honestly! Why can't men wear pants to bed?"
"Shedra is waiting for us," He repeated, "As is everyone else."
'Everyone else' in this context meant the Mordreds, a large family of wizards who made their living being the household servants for the Ahrroww family and whoever the #### else was in the mansion. (Kat was occasionally found living in the armory.) Shedra was the butler and a chef, Courtney was the doorwoman, Patrick was another chef, and there were countless gardeners, maids, other butlers (it was a massive place, after all), and some other random jobs, like Lucius Mordred, who answered the telephone, and Mark Mordred, who got the mail. There were other Mordreds, too, who didn't do anything, but still lived their with their family. Shedra was by no means the oldest nor the tallest, but he was considered a leader of sorts among them. (Their parents are kinda... not there.) Most of the gang's friends were not fabulously wealthy with dozens of tiny wizards attending to their every single need, and found it awkward to come over, but hey, I just dedicated a paragraph to characters who don't even do anything relevant in this story, let's move on.
Once the ridiculously vain Arkcher finished his hair, the two raced to the dressing room, set up the screen, and dressed as usual - Mushroom slapped on a band tee and her green jacket, and some plain, ripped up jeans and tennis shoes, and Arkcher in yet another boarding school uniform. Mushroom thought it odd that he still wore it... he had never spoken very positively of his school days.
Mushroom glanced into Arkcher's closet, swearing she wasn't peeking at him.
"Silly... your suits all look the same. What's up with that?"
Arkcher scowled. "They are not the same! Each is different. Some of them have different ties to go with them. Some of them are different shades of grey, and I've got a few colored shirts in there! There's slight differences!" He stammered.
"Whatever you say. They look the same to me!"
It was sometimes hard to fathom they were friends... just a look into their closets showed how very different the two were.
Arkcher was sharp, which was one of the few things he and his best friend Cheesemaster had in common. Mushroom preferred casual, and crazy stuff, though never as crazy as Kat's taste.
Arkcher folded up the screen, still slightly bitter over the comment on his suits, but he stuck close to Mushroom as they walked to the dining room for breakfast.
"About time you showed up," Shedra said, pseudo-annoyed. "Here's your freakin'... Here's your breakfast, you two ungrateful kids!" He was trying to be serious and failing spectacularly. You could hear his giggling under his breath as he headed back to the kitchen.
Arkcher & Mushroom... oh, and PMM, ate their breakfast, and as they did a small chat started up...
"You just got back from the mainland, what do you plan to do now? Just stay here for a while?" asked Courtney Mordred, one of the chefs. She had a crush on Arkcher, and he knew it, but tried his damnedest to make it so she would stop. He honestly did not like her very much and simply answered "Yes."
Courtney sensed he didn't want to talk to her, but she pressed on.
"And what do you plan to do?"
He sighed, and replied, sounding aggravated.
"I don't know," he muttered sternly. "Play video games. Sleep. Work in my lab. Same stuff I normally do."
"Sounds fun," PMM said sarcastically.
Arkcher stretched and muttered something.
"What was that?" Mushroom asked, and Courtney, sensing once again what was to come, got up and left half-heartedly.
"I said, gee, it sure is boring around here."
Mushroom stared at him. "I think you go online too much."
"Please, I do not."
"Yes, you do!"
They argued for a bit, and Arkcher eventually got up and left to go study in the study, because that's what studies are for. It was a nice room, with a warm fireplace, a big table, a big chair, and several big shelves. He felt like he needed some alone time... he had always felt like he didn't have enough alone time, surrounded by people all his life... you know, normally, people lock their doors when they want alone time. Arkcher didn't. That way, the plot can happen.
Arkcher thumbed through the bookshelf and flipped through assorted books.
He couldn't believe he was looking for the one book he'd said he would never read.
It's gotta be here somewhere, He thought to himself. He looked around on the third shelf. It has to be. It was here along with a bunch of other things from home when we came here.
He looked and looked, and finally found it.
" 'Daily Mechanisms and how to construct them easily' ," He read aloud. "By Dr. Aloysious Ahrroww."
He squirmed at that name.
Dr. Aloysious Ahrroww...
Aloysious Ahrroww was known on Earth, notably in England and North America, as a good inventor. Maybe a great one. He was constantly finding new uses for things, and patenting them, and for making improvements on household things, especially furniture. He was also Arkcher's father.
Arkcher sighed. He trembled as he sunk into the large chair behind the desk, clearing a space in case he wanted to set the book down. He shuddered as he opened the cover, hands shaking. His spine shook as he read the very first sentence:
I dedicate this book to my wife, Lara, and my four children, especially my newborn son, Arkcher.
I dedicate this book to my wife.
Oh Dad, you were bullied into adding that, weren't you? You just wanted to dedicate it to me, didn't you? Arkcher thought bitterly. Or maybe...
Arkcher grunted, shaking his head. He turned the page again.
He didn't really want to be reading this. It was more like... an internal urge, of sorts. He tried for a few pages to pretend someone else, some other man who happened to be an innovator of household object usage, but it was impossible. There was no ignoring the distinct way his father wrote, which was so much like how he spoke; so much that he read the book in his father's voice rather than his own per usual.
He was so absorbed into it that he didn't notice Mushroom_king and her sanity standing across from the desk.
"Hey, what are you reading!" Shouted Mushroom, causing Arkcher to jump. He looked up at her and shut the book tight, though it was too late-he had already seen it.
Paper Mario Master jumped up on the desk, video game in one hand, the book in the other. He played the game without even looking, by memory, as he read the book's title.
"... Ahrroww? So this was written by some dumb relative of yours?"
"... Uh... yes. That's my father."
"That explains more than a few things."
"Why were you reading this, anyhow?" Asked Mushroom.
Arkcher folded his arms and looked away stubbornly, refusing to answer.
PMM leaped over, dropping the game, ad clutched Arkcher's tie.
"Tell me, damn you, or I'll break all your psyche-locks myself!
"Look, just let go of my tie, will you? I read the book because I miss my dad!"
Mushroom sighed an "Oh..." and then added, "But why didn't you tell us this before...?
"Because I guess it felt odd. I never see anyone else pining for home or for their family they left behind. Look at Cheesemaster. He barely even does a passing mention of his folks."
PMM raised an eyebrow. "Seriously? Even if it was weird, we would still support you! ... Maybe not me, but everyone else would."
"Do you really think we don't miss our friends and family?" said MK. "Dawn and Vanilla Star Hamser make me miss my past more, but I learn to forget it and have fun here."
Arkcher sighed again. "I just wish I could see my dad just one more time...he didn't even visit me at my wedding."
"Maybe he didn't approve of your mom making you get married." thought MK.
"I'd like to see your dad," wondered Paper Mario Master. "Your mom looked nothing like you."
For once the little man was right. Arkcher was tall, thin, and blond-his mother Lara Ahrroww was shorter, fatter, and brunette. From what old family photos could attest, his three older siblings were like that, save the oldest, Derringer, who was tall... but still chubby and brown-haired.
Mushroom once again examined the book. "Your dad was an inventor, right? Hmmm... seems like this book is about how you can fix or modify common household items to make them more useful? That explains why you sometimes do weird stuff to the couches..."
"That was his third book," Explained Arkcher. "He wrote it sometime after I was born, almost directly after. It's dedicated to me."
"A sixteen-year old book. It's getting old..."
"He revised it once. I think we have that version, as well, somewhere." Arkcher sighed. "If it was possible, I'd love for him to visit me... but he doesn't even like cars, let alone a spaceship. He'd never be able to get here even if he wanted to."
The conversation was stopped short when they heard an uncommon sound - the doorbell. They knew the doorwoman would get it for them, but they had a feeling they wanted to know who this was.
Mushroom and PMM ran ahead, with Arkcher reminding them that there was no chance it could be Aloysious - it was probably just a friend.
Posted 15 August 2011 - 01:47 AM
Arkcher gulped, and with trembling hands, opened the door.
It'll be a friend. It'll be a friend. I just know it...
Before he knew it, standing in front of him was...
... a light brown wolf with white wings, folded across her back. You'd think Arkcher would be terrified, like most people, but he happened to be friends with this particular wolf. Her name was Mega Wolf, and before she walked into the house, she suddenly shape-shifted into a girl about Arkcher's age, a pretty Asian girl who always seemed to be smiling. In this form, she was Jeanette, not the wolf from another dimension that was Mega Wolf.
Arkcher breathed a sigh of relief. All that anxiousness melted away in an instant, and he felt he could get on with his life. But he did wonder what she wanted-Mega Wolf... no, Jeanette, she never came to the Mansion.
"It's just you. Do you mind if I still call you Mega Wolf? I'm... not used to you this way." She'd only recently started using this form; the first two years on Invision she'd mostly stuck to the mountains, as you'd expect a wolf to do, but she'd recently spent more time with the others, which usually required her to take on a more familiar appearance, and there was no way she was using her magic to just make herself a wolfgirl.
"Of course," She said, the snow that had stuck to her fur melting off her skin. "Who else could it possibly be?"
No one, just my father who I haven't seen for the majority of my life. That's all.
"Ammy! I mean..." Shouted Paper Mario Master, and very suddenly, his green suit was exchanged for an entirely different costume-a green jumpsuit and a mushroom-like hat. He bounced over to the girl and jumped on her back, and then frowned.
"What! Taking human form? Lame. I wanted to play with you. And you were a brown wolf today, instead of white, what's up with that?"
Jeanette shook the man off, and he fell to the floor, his mushroom hat falling off. He grunted and took off his jumpsuit, his normal clothes underneath it.
"Stop that," Jeanette scolded. "It's annoying." She laughed sarcastically and folded her arms.
Before the two could have an all-out war of sarcastic wit, Mushroom_king came down the stairs of the foyer, with Shedra the butler and Courtney the maid in tow.
"Oh," She exclaimed. "MW is here? Why?"
"I'd explain if I could stop being interrupted," She snapped. Then she shook her head. "Er... sorry."
"Why don't we move to the sitting room? We can sit down there, you can explain to us what's going on, and Shedra can get us drinks."
"I could use a couch to sit on," Jeanette responded.
The three of them, followed closely by the butler, moved to the flowery sitting room, and Shedra was fixing them some sandwiches and pouring water and soda when Jeanette began to explain. Mushroom explained that she could take her normal form if she was more comfortable that way, but she declined.
"Well, for one, I should state that everyone else seems to be fine. I checked."
Jeanette, when she was Mega Wolf, could fly very quickly, and as you may have guessed, she also had a penchant for fairly powerful magic; as a result, she found herself instinctively flying around Invision, checking on people, making sure there was activity in some of the more remote regions. She was practically an unofficial member of Horatio's team of Invision supervisors.
"That's good to know," Arkcher muttered. He didn't exactly care, he just wanted to know why she had come all the way to their mansion.
"As for why I'm here," She began, and the couple perked up their ears.
"I was flying back to Mt. Jazzeh, as you can imagine, when I saw a spaceship crash here. Not an enormous one. Actually, it was a fairly cheap one-too small and too normal (by spaceship standards) to be noticed unless you were looking for it." She saw the surprise in their eyes, and thinking they were scared, said "Oh, it can't be a threat of any kind. There weren't any weapons besides the regular defensive measures on the shuttle. I saw where it landed..."
Arkcher glanced over at Mushroom, actually quite scared. No way that can be my father. He doesn't like cars, let alone a space shuttle...
Jeanette then stood up, her eyes closed, and finished up her sandwich. "Well, I doubt it affects you too much, Arkcher. If you wanted to go find it, you could come with me to the landing site-"
"No, that won't be necessary. Besides, Jean, it's probably just some hapless traveler. Horatio will find out and take care of them."
Jeanette flipped her hair so it was over her shoulder, and as she left, she shifted back into her wolf form, with darker brown fur this time, and flew off, leaving Mushroom_king tired and Arkcher paranoid and worried.
"I need to take a nap," Mushroom said. "Or go back to bed..."
Arkcher looked at her and held her by the waist. "Are you sure? You've never been the type to take naps..."
"I know, but I'm just tired... it would do you some good to lay down, too." She put her hand on his shoulder and hugged him, her head laying on his chest. "And don't worry too much, okay?"
"Okay," Arkcher said. He usually wasn't so passive with the things Mushroom said to him, but maybe a nap would do him good, to help him get his mind off things.
He made his way to the dressing room, where he took off his coat and tie, casually throwing them on the dresser instead of putting them away like he usually did, and then washed his hair of gel. It was a shame to wash it out already when it seemed like he'd just fixed it up, but sleeping with it in his hair was uncomfortable and could even hurt if a particularly over-gelled part stabbed him in the face.
As he did all this, his thoughts were plagued with the spaceship, and the thought that it might contain his father, even though he was sure it didn't. That was impossible!
It wouldn't leave his mind all the way to his bedroom, and it wouldn't leave his dreams, either.
Ark...cher...?" said a familiar voice.
Arkcher saw his father, completely obscured by light, just a foot or two away from him. Arkcher reached out to hug him, but he disappeared, and suddenly, so suddenly, he felt horribly weak.
A book appeared. The title, faint, but Arkcher knew it was the one from the study. It came down upon Arkcher-
"Arkcher FREAKING Ahrroww!" Yelled a voice, waking him up. Paper Mario Master. Of course. Tugging at his collar and practically choking him. Why did he always forget to unbutton the collar before he went to sleep...?
"Dad... please don't go..."
"WAKE! UP! WOMAN!"
Arkcher sleepily rolled over, which created a feeling of unstoppable rage in PMM. he smacked Arkcher as hard as he could, definitely waking him up this time.
"Ow! What was that-!"
"You idiot! Our lunch is getting cold and here you are BEING A LAZY-####!!!!"
Mushroom sighed, arms folded, and picked up her sanity, scolding him on his rude behavior. There were better ways to wake people up, she said. Well, tell me about them, PMM demanded.
She sat down on the bed, by Arkcher's feet.
"Did you have a dream about your father?" She asked softly.
Arkcher coughed and looked off to the side. "... Yeah."
"Well, get out of bed and get ready, you could use something to eat."
"Mmmhmmm," Arkcher muttered, stretching and getting out of bed, and getting ready for the second time that day.
As he sat down for Lunch (Shedra was making burgers. Hooray, his favorite...) the doorbell rang, just as it had earlier.
Arkcher had half-way abandoned the idea of his father ever visiting him ever again.
If he couldn't make the effort more than once to visit me at school, then why would be make the effort to visit me suddenly on another goddamn planet?
He sighed. "I'll get that. Don't bother. It's probably either Mega Wolf or Horatio coming to tell us who came in the spaceship this morning. I'm sure they've found out who ish-who it is by now."
He walked out of the dining room, his family-well, his sort of family-watching him.
Mushroom leaned back in her seat, and sighed.
"Are you alright?" PMM asked, showing a sudden, rare show of heart.
"I'm worried about him. It isn't good when he gets this way."
"You mean depressed?"
"Yeah," She said. "Because it makes me depressed, too. To see my friend upset, you know?"
"Yeah, I guess so," Said the sanity. "But he was really happy when we started eating."
He was referring to how Arkcher had ran all the way to the dining hall, sat eagerly down, and excitedly asked Shedra what he was making for lunch today. It certainly seemed like he was actually happy, not just masking his paranoia or sadness regarding his father. Then suddenly, when the door rang, it was gone and he was as down as he'd been before their nap.
"Don't worry about him too much, Mushroom." PMM assured her. The Mordreds were in awe, but tried not to stare as they saw the sanity actually comforting someone.
Arkcher made his way towards the foyer, practically forcing his legs to move. He didn't want to answer the door all of a sudden, but did so anyway. Whoever was at the door would cement once and for all if his paranoia was justified.
Arkcher straightened himself up, but that didn't stop his body from shaking violently and sweat pouring down his face.
He reached for the door, hesitated, and then grabbed it again. He tried to turn the knob, but his sweat made his hand slip off the handle, practically giving him a heart attack.
Okay. Try again.
He wiped his hand on his jacket before going for the doorknob again, and this time actually succeeded in turning the door, though very slowly.
The knob clicked. The door opened.
"Yes, who is it?" Arkcher asked impatiently.
Standing in the doorway was a tall, thin man, his shoulders unusually broad and long, silky blond hair going down his back, styled almost the exact same way Arkcher's was. He had black pants, held up by a set of black suspenders, and a dress shirt. No tie or jacket like Arkcher.
The stranger (?) stood there, looking only slightly surprised, but Arkcher was completely speechless. And after a minute or two of not talking, Arkcher clutched his chest, whimpered, and fell to the ground with a thud.
Up in the dining room, the atmosphere had lightened up (slightly), and PMM was playing a Japanese game on his DS while Mushroom_king worried about her husband.
"Could... Could you please go check on Arkcher?" She directed this question towards PMM. "You're done eating and it'll give you something to do."
"Excuse me," He yelled, "I HAVE something to do. Do you SEE this?" He waved the game in front of her face. "THIS. Games."
"Yeah, Yeah. Go downstairs and check on him already. And since when did you know Japanese?"
"I learned it so I could be THE game master," He explained. He sighed, turned the game off, and leaped off his chair.
He made his way down to the foyer, where he saw Arkcher, on the ground but still breathing, and the look-alike in the doorway gazing down at Arkcher with a heavy-looking briefcase in his hand.
PMM gasped over-dramatically, and glared at the look-alike in the doorway, narrowing his eyes and frowning.
"YOU!" He yelled, and the stranger gasped as he was trying to close the door. "You killed him! YOU'RE A CONVICTED FELON, AREN'T YOU!"
"C-Calm down," Said the stranger, holding his hands in front of him.
"I know what you did. You took that briefcase, and CONKED him on the head, didn't you? Like this?"
PMM snatched the suitcase away and was about to demonstrate his point, when Arkcher woke up.
"Arkcher! You're alive!"
"Of course I am, you idiot. Stop waving that briefcase around."
He stood up and brushed snow that had been trampled in the house off his coat, and looked the stranger in the eye, his heart beating so fast he was actually kind of worried.
"Arkcher, this convicted felon-"
"-is my father," Arkcher finished in a murmur.
PMM was completely silent and examined both of them, when the look-alike grabbed Arkcher's shoulders, grinning.
"You're... You're... You're really him... You're Arkcher! You're my son!" He threw his arms around Arkcher and sniffed, about to cry. "I haven't seen you in... in over seven or eight years, I think..."
Arkcher was too shocked to move his arms, and too shocked to say anything but "D-dad..."
PMM coughed. "I'm so sorry to interrupt the heartfelt reunion, but we were, y'know, having lunch and stuff. Or finishing lunch. Anyway, I could go get the other important people, and..."
He suddenly paused. "Wait, what the #### are you doing here in the first place? ... Aloysious, right?"
"Yes, that's right. And I can explain after I sit down with these important people you speak of."
Arkcher and Aloysious both followed PMM up to the guest room, where Aloysious sat on the bed as the three younger people sat in chairs.
Mushroom was staring at Aloysious with rapt attention, and Aloysious explained, "I came here to see my son, why else? And also to explore a bit, once I learned of his... new residence." He looked at Mushroom_king. "And you are?"
"Mushroom_king," She said. "I'm... I'm Arkcher's wife."
"Ah, that's right. The girl my son was married to not long ago."
If by not long ago you mean two years ago, Arkcher thought.
"Arkcher," Mushroom said dreamily. "Your father is so cute!"
Arkcher gasped, while Aloysious began to laugh. "EM KAY! This is my father we're talking about! And besides, of course he's cute! He's related to me, isn't he?!"
Aloysious laughed again, and said "Ah... you're as vain as you ever were." He had a faraway look in his eyes as he looked off to the side.
Mushroom stood up.
"I'll leave you two alone. I'm sure you have a lot of catching up to do."
"Of course," Arkcher muttered.
Mushroom nodded, and followed by her sanity, they left the guest room.
Aloysious threw himself down on the bed, looking at the ceiling. Arkcher stood at the door, arms crossed and folded, not saying a word.
Aloysious looked over at him.
"I know it's strange, having me come over and stay with you completely unannounced."
"You think? And what's this about staying?"
"Come here. Don't you want to tell me everything that's happened since I last saw you? You were just a little boy at boarding school when the last time we truly spoke to each other."
Arkcher sighed, and walked over, running his fingers through his hair, and sat down next to Aloysious, who hugged him. Arkcher couldn't help it, he did feel warm inside.
"But not in here," Arkcher exclaimed. "Not in the guest room."
"Of course," Aloysious responded, standing up. The way he spoke and moved was almost exactly like Arkcher's, but more graceful.
In the sitting room, Arkcher poured a glass of ice water from the pitcher that was always on the table in there as he explained to Aloysious all the things that had happened to him-starting with some of the things that had happened to him at school, and then beginning the story of his life on Invision, which had only begun three years ago, but it seemed like an eternity. Arkcher was finding it difficult to imagine a life without Mushroom and Cheesemaster, and all the rest.
Aloysious thought it over as he drank the water, wishing he could have a hot cup of tea instead.
"Sounds like you're living the best life a young man could live," Aloysious thought. He choked on these words-he hadn't seen Arkcher since he was a pre-teen boy. Seeing him as a 16-year-old was almost too jarring for him.
"If you say so. You talk as though nothing bad happens." Arkcher said, shrugging. "But I guess it is fun..."
Aloysious sighed, smiled, and then began to ruffle Arkcher's hair, but he jumped away and began to yell at him.
"Stop it!!! That's mah hair!!"
Aloysious only laughed at him. "You haven't changed all that much, have you?"
Aloysious looked Arkcher up & down, still dumbfounded that the little boy from years ago had grown up into this person, who was so similar and yet so very different. Even so, he felt-he knew-it was his duty to spend time with his son, to make up for that lost time.
Aloysious sighed again. "I'm glad you've grown up to be a healthy boy."
Arkcher groaned, but listened to his father anyway, trying his best not to be angry or disrespectful.
Posted 15 August 2011 - 01:47 AM
Arkcher tried to convince himself he was dreaming as he listened to his father gush about how his little boy had grown up into such a fine young man, but it was nigh impossible. But wouldn't you do the same if your father suddenly traveled from a completely different part of the universe just to see you?
Arkcher wasn't too happy later in the day when his wife was practically flirting his father. Luckily, unlike Arkcher, Aloysious was the sort of man who didn't get very angry at people, and was very forgiving of people. These traits only got passed on to one of his children, and it hadn't been Arkcher.
Mushroom was examining him much later in the day, as they ate dinner, when she suddenly laughed.
"Ha... Arkcher, you really are his spitting image. I didn't think genetics could be so kind to someone."
Yeah... so kind to someone.
Arkcher didn't feel like talking anymore. He'd had a overly long day already. He didn't think he'd have so much to tell his father assuming he ever saw him again, but there he was.
PMM stared at Aloysious, the only one without a look of wonder on his face. He looked the man up and down over and over again, before finally saying
"I... really, really do not want to imagine having to wash that much hair."
He stared Aloysious in the face. "When was the last time you got a haircut, dude?"
Aloysious thought for a minute, and after a while the sanity gave up.
"Okay. I see. The answer is, the last time you cut your hair was never ago. I can see it in your eyes, they're, uh, real expressive..."
Arkcher suddenly perked up, and faced Aloysious.
"Dad? I had an idea just now. Starting tomorrow, did you... uh.. want to visit all our friends?"
Aloysious clapped, smiling wide, and exclaimed "Ah! That would be most wonderful!"
"Alright," Arkcher said. Mushroom squealed and said "Yay! Starting tomorrow, we'll go to Hamsterdam first, and then decide where to next."
Noting the clueless look on his father's face, Arkcher stuttered, "Oh, Hamsterdam is the capital city. Or the biggest city. Honestly, it could be either, no one is really sure."
Arkcher hesitated. "But... don't you want to stay here for a day or two to, you know, rest up? You must be tired from your trip here..."
"That'd be nice, but I'd rather see all your friends first."
"Besides, I'm not tired at all."
"Yes, really. Tomorrow, wake me up early and I'll get ready to meet all your little friends."
Aloysious seemed really happy to do so, as if traveling across the universe for one person had been as easy as anything for him.
Arkcher kept his promise, even though he would have preferred to leave after lunch then before breakfast, but no matter. Arkcher, Mushroom_king, their sanities, and now Aloysious Ahrroww, packed a few things for the trip. While they did, Aloysious was full of questions.
"So, Arkcher. You're married now, do you and your wife have any grandchildren for me yet?"
Arkcher stopped and blushed, his hand to his face. "Dad, of course not yet. Em Kay is only fourteen."
"Yes, but you're only sixteen. I wouldn't think age is too much of an issue..."
"Dad! Just stop!" Arkcher yelled, and Aloysious did stop, but not without looking slightly hurt.
"I'm sorry. But nothing like that is... is going to happen until she's older."
Mushroom_king had been listening in on this whole fiasco, her face completely red.
They made it down the mountain, and Aloysious didn't seemed surprised at all by the seasonal bubble, a little feat of magical engineering (magicneering) genius; while the mountain was cold all year long, the bubble gave the Ahrroww and Mordred families a taste of Summer, Spring, and Fall, and then in the Winter the Mordreds who created the bubble got a break.
"Sooo, Aloysious. Not gonna say anything about the magical bubble? You... come from a planet where magic is not acknowledged, and..." PMM began, and Aloysious' musical laugh (which annoyed PMM to a great end) interrupted him.
"I already saw it," He explained. "I did have to walk here from the landing site, after all. I didn't expect it to be so cold!"
"A Canadian doesn't let go of that weather too easily," Arkcher said. "By the way, dad, this place is called Mt. Jazzeh, and not too far from the mansion is a city full of native Invionists. They're like eskimos, you know? You can visit them anytime, though."
Aloysious took all this new information in pretty well for someone who had lived a normal existence on earth his whole life. Then again, he was an elf. He might not be too surprised by this stuff anymore.
"The planes here are really fast, which is good considering Invision is small."
"Small enough to have a capital that governs the entire planet."
"Wait, Arkcher, Hamsterdam can't be the capital. The castle is on an entirely separate island."
"That's true, but everyone just thinks of it as the capital."
"That's complicated. But, I get it." Aloysious said.
The plane eventually arrived, and within an hour, they were in Hamsterdam. Aloysious stared out the window at the buildings, and said "It reminds me of London, a little."
"Seems like everybody who sees it is reminded of a place they know," PMM said. "It reminds me of Tokyo or San Francisco."
After they landed, Mushrom clutched the Ahrroww's wrists and dragged them over to the most popular restaurant on the planet (no lie), Planet Horatio.
"I had the idea for this a few years ago, but I don't own it anymore," She explained, and they went inside.
Planet Horatio was a single story, and a single room, but it was a large room, and what a room it was. In one corner of the room was the bar, which was long and neatly kept, in another corner was a jukebox, a television on a small shelf in another corner. There were double doors leading to a private patio, and there were booths on two sides of the room, with tables in the center, including billiards tables that were currently abandoned.
The employees at the restaurant included Roger, who was the owner as well as one of the dishwashers and a cook; Kat, who really only worked there for the free drinks as a waitress; Glowurm, a tall and large glowing worm with an eyepatch and several limbs missing, who worked at the bar and sometimes did waiter duty. There were also four performers, but we'll get to them later.
Glowurm was working that day, sitting at the bar mixing up Kat's favorite drink, called the Jig. Jigging was one of Kat's pastimes, and thus a drink was named after it. It was one of the strongest mixes in the restaurant, which fit Kat just fine.
A few people glared at Aloysious, having never seen him before, but no one wanted trouble with him or anything like that. The Ahrrowws sat at the bar, and Glowurm stared at them out of a single eye.
"Oh? A glowing pirate. Hello." Aloysious said.
The worm's eyes became big, and he backed away. "And... who the heck are you?!"
Aloysious laughed again, possibly as a way to get out of awkward conversation.
"Glow, this is my father."
"HOLY ####, ARE YOU SERIOUS?"
"Keep it down. And language."
Even though nobody in the establishment cared. After all, they were used to Kat.
Arkcher looked awfully steamed, though. "Ugh..."
"I'm sorry, dude!" Apologized Glowurm.
Not a moment later, the other Invisionists in the restaurant began to crowd Aloysious. Anyone who knew Arkcher knew his father was a famous scientist, and were eager to see him. Kat, as you've seen, isn't good around people when she's drunk, and as such Glowurm escorted her away from the mob.
After all the questioning, which Arkcher was happy to answer for his father, they all sat down with a few Invisionists Arkcher was more familiar with: Kat sat down with them, as well as her best friend, a girl named Kris, and Lexxscrapham, who was visiting from the floating city near Hamsterdam.
Aloysious felt awkward being in such close quarters with two young women and an adult man, but he stuck with it and examined them instead.
Kat, who he had not met before now but knew was one of Arkcher and Mushroom's closest friends, was dressed wildly, though not in her regular outfit. Kris was dressed the polar opposite (even though, he was told, they were best friends), with a green sweater, a green skirt, and long, chesnut brown hair, which matched her dog ears and fluffy dog tail. She appeared to be some kind of half-human, half-Collie dog. Lexxscrapham was a nine-tailed fox with a monk's robe on, and Aloysious felt surprised by him for the first time on the new planet. He didn't talk quite as much as the girls though.
Kat had been walking around the bar area for a while before sitting down, and looking Aloysious up and down with her cat eyes, one of which was covered by a monocle.
He decided not to question her decision to wear a gold suit of armor and an ascot, with an enormous claymore strapped to her back and...
Suddenly, Kat exploded on him.
"YOUR SUSPENDERS AREN'T RAINBOW OR RED! YOU FAIL BY DEFAULT!"
Aloysious ruffled his own hair and giggled nervously. He still had a feeling that no one who was friends with Arkcher could be too deadly. Even Kat, who smiled at him, and after drinking the rest of her Jig, got up and started dancing.
"Excuse me, but..."
"Dad, just, just don't ask."
"Well... okay then..."
Kris squeezed a notebook to her chest, and looked over at Aloysious.
"So... you're... you're really Arkcher's dad?"
Kris scooted her chair over closer to him, looking at the ground as she did. Her voice was very quiet, and she had the slightest hint of a country accent in her voice, even though she was not from earth. However, the accent made her seem like a sweet southern belle, and not like a hick. Aloysious liked listening to her talk.
Kris held her hand to her face and looked off into the distance as if in a daze. "Well, I hope I get to know you better during your time here. You seem like a nice enough person. And you're very handsome."
Aloysious blushed, and Arkcher was taken aback, but Mushroom giggled like a schoolgirl.
"Arkcher, can I get something to eat now?" Aloysious asked.
"Of course, dad," Arkcher said, in much better spirits now than he'd been at the mansion. "Besides, we're so hungry we could eat an octorok."
PMM glared at him from behind his huge glasses. "What did I tell you about referencing that?"
Arkcher ignored him and called Kat the waitress over, throwing menus at their heads. Aloysious got conked by one, but recovered quickly.
The others ate at Planet Horatio all the time, and since it happens when you eat somewhere a lot, they knew exactly what they wanted, but Aloysious still had to peruse what the place had to offer.
"They have some... interesting names." He looked over the specialties, and muttered "You can eat bat here...?"
"Hey, Arkcher's dad. I bet you could use a drink!"
"Please, Kat. My dad is bad with alcohol."
"So I am. Do you have any kinds of tea?"
"Wait, I didn't say what kind-"
Not long after, Kat had a tray, with a ridiculously fancy teapot and teacup with green tea inside. Not Aloysious' favorite, but it would do.
Aloysious eventually ordered a steak under the guidance of his son, who had tried out everything Planet Horatio had to offer, and after the meal chatted with Kat and Kris some more.
"I'm sorry. I don't believe I introduced myself," Said the dog-girl. "I'm Kris. My last name is Luvsdogs, but no one ever uses it. And this is Kat Dacatis."
She motioned towards Kat, unable to point because her hands were still clutching the notebook to her heart.
"But we usually just call her Kat, obviously."
Kat looked over at Aloysious. She looked very regal in the armor, as out of place as it was.
"I like soup," Kat stated bluntly. "And I also like my claymore, monocles, Oscar Wilde, and zombie movies. Among other stuff. But mostly soup."
"Pleased to meet you," Aloysious said, bowing as well as he could in his chair. "If you don't mind my asking, why a suit or armor and a monocle? Were you at a convention of some sort?"
"Were you playing some kind of game?"
"Middle Ages re-enactment?"
"It's not the weekend yet so no."
"Couldn't be... roleplaying..."
"Sometimes, but not today. I just wore it because I had this suit of armor and was like "sure, why not?". I felt like it."
"I see," Aloysious said, though he didn't. "And the dressy accessories?"
"BECAUSE, DAMMIT! MONOCLES AND ASCOTS ARE AWESOME!"
"I see..." Lied Aloysious.
Kat downed yet another Jig, and banged her head on the table. Aloysious gasped, and wondered why no one else had.
"BOOMSTICK!" She shouted. "AND RED IS THE BEST COLOR! WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING RED?!"
Aloysious felt genuinely threatened. Kris smiled throughout the whole ordeal.
Am I really the only one shocked by her?
"I..." Aloysious started.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Kris said. "We're all so used to it that nothing she does can surprise us anymore."
"Don't say that, Kris," Arkcher warned. "Because next thing you know, she'll do something really crazy."
Kris tried to smooth out her Kelly Green sweater, and adjusted the pale pink ribbon in her hair. The notebook, which had a hairpin in it, laid on her lap.
"Er... you've been clutching that notebook all day. What's inside it, if I may ask?"
"Oh, I'm sorry-I should have told you when I introduced myself. I'm a poet and a romance novelist, and I keep my ideas and drafts in there."
"Most of the writers of Invision live on Adstar," Mushroom said, butting in. "That's a group of star-shaped islands off to the west of Hamsterdam. It's a pretty neat place, and Kris is visiting here to get things published."
Aloysious was silent. So far, he knew of three places on the planet: Mt. Jazzeh, Hamsterdam, the floating city he did not know the name of, and now Adstar.
He glanced back over at Kat, who was very drunk and changing the channels on th TV, much to the annoyance of people trying to watch.
"Uh... how old is that girl?" He asked, pointing to Kat.
"15 or 16," Arkcher answered. "The same age as me."
"But isn't the drinking age here 18 or 21? Like on earth?"
"I think so."
"Then why does the sign say "Drinking age 12"?"
Mushroom jumped up. "It does?! Kat... she switched the sign again..." And she ran off to fix it.
Kat jumped back over to Aloysious after switching to a station showing anime, and threw her arm around him.
"Aloysiousssss! Did you know electric stones taste like gold?"
"Try it!" She demanded, reaching into her red hair and somehow retrieving a yellow rock. "Electric stone, tastes like gold!"
"AH'M SORRY!" She shouted. "YOU'RE MAH BESHT FRIEND..."
"Ugh, Kat..." Arkcher muttered, getting up, and with the help of Mushroom_king, grabbed Kat by the collar on her suit of armor, and wound up taking a taxi back to her house. That left Aloysious alone with Kris, and as young as she was, Aloysious could never resist a beautiful girl.
Aloysious swallowed, and said flirtatiously, "Could I see some of your poems?"
Kris looked surprised, and tried to hide behind her notebook. "W-well... Aloysious... I haven't published any of the poems in this notebook yet. It wouldn't be fair if you saw them first."
"I see," he sighed. "And where can I read your published work?"
"Well, if you're going out and about in Hamsterdam, you can visit the Stories Forum... other people have written things there, too. And there's other places like it."
Aloysious smiled at the prospect of both. "I love the fine arts. And everything is made by the residents of this planet?"
"Yes, all of it."
"Does it get published on other planets? Will I recognize any of it?"
"We do sometimes publish it elsewhere. Not often, though."
The two were silent for a bit, when Kris yelled, "Aloysious! Please! You're sitting too close to me!"
"Oh! I'm so sorry," he said, and he meant it, unlike most grown people who flirt with the youngins.
Arkcher and Mushroom returned from their little adventure of bringing Kat home, and Aloysious knew it when he heard Arkcher yell "Dad!" from across the room.
"Dad! Where do you want to go next?"
"Kris was telling me about some kind of stories forum? Can we go there?"
"Sounds good enough to me," Arkcher said after a short silence. He flipped his long hair over his shoulder.
"And you can come with us, so you can get all that stuff published, am I correct?" Aloysious asked Kris.
Kris nodded, turning pink. Arkcher sighed at this, but PMM thought it was pretty funny, and a little creepy.
The Story Forum, along with the Music and Art Forums, were in the downtown area of Hamsterdam, and they stopped first by the Story Forum, which was the largest building.
Aloysious read through all of Kris' poems, and read at least the first chapter of all her romance novels, and heavily complimented them. She blushed as he did, not used to that kind of treatment.
He flipped through some of the other poems. "Who is Topazia? And Lauren?"
"Two other poets," Mushroom explained. Arkcher wasn't quite as familiar with the writers, because he didn't like being around most of them.
"Well, they're quite good, but Lauren is perhaps too depressing for my tastes,"
"And mine." Arkcher added.
The Music Forum was the smallest building, because most of the Invisionists simply went there to talk about music instead of make it.
There was one exception, and that was Mushroom_king.
"I don't know if Arkcher told you, but I'm an aspiring musician," She explained. "I've written a lot of songs, though most of them are about life back on my home planet, and not so much Invision."
"No, Arkcher didn't tell me that," Aloysious said, staring at his son.
Mushroom almost always had a heart-shaped guitar with her, strapped to her back, much like how her sanity always had a bag with video games inside it.
"Could I see you sing one of them?"
"That's the problem. I'm still trying to figure out melodies for them. Maybe some other time, though."
Aloysious reluctantly agreed, and they headed for the third and final one, the art forum. There they saw Mega Wolf again, hosting an art contest, and a number of paintings and drawings or varying quality were hung up on the walls. Many of the pictures were rather old.
There was one gallery that Aloysious particularly liked, and it belonged to someone called Cheetaspot.
"Son! Do you know who this person is? These pictures are incredible!" he shouted. "I'd love to buy one, but I didn't bring any money!"
Mushroom was examining a portrait that had been drawn of her by a girl named Vixen, and Arkcher had been as well when he heard his father call him.
"It's alright. We can always come back. Though I doubt Cheeta is going to sell us any of her work."
Aloysious continued to stare. "Cheetaspot. Where does she live?"
"She lives and works out in the Mushroom jungle, which is just outside the city. She almost never leaves-other people come and pick up the paintings from her to hang in the Forum."
Without taking his eyes of a painting of the African Savannah, Aloysious exclaimed "Then I must meet her! As soon as possible! I want to let her know how talented she is. But... I also want to see the rest of the city-"
"I say town first," Mushroom interrupted, coming over to them. "There's a lot of cool stuff."
PMM began to drool. "Like Hamster Chic, you mean?"
Arkcher looked at his with disgust. "Don't drool at that! Are you some kind of furry?"
PMM tried kicking Arkcher, but he could only hit his ankles. "Ugh, no!"
Aloysious looked confused. "I may know what a furry is, but how is he one?"
"I can show you," Mushroom offered.
Arkcher groaned. "Ugh, do we have to..."
No one listened to Arkcher complain as they dragged him to a much busier, much flashier section of the city. They walked up to the front entrance of a large, sleek building, with sliding glass doors, and enormous pink lights. It was very pink for a corporate building.
"Hamster Chic? That's a silly name. It's fashion for hamsters?" Aloysious asked. "I can't believe it."
"No, for everyone," PMM answered. "The owner is a hamster, though."
"Hamsterdam. Hamster Chic. I don't get it." He shook his head, assuming it would one day be explained to him (spoilers: it doesn't). "And we're allowed inside?"
"Let's just say we're friends of the models," Mushroom stated.
Mushroom, PMM, and Aloysious went inside, but Arkcher stood firm outside.
"Arkcher? What's with you?"
"I'm not going to go in there. I hate that kind of stuff. Like that skank Miss B-"
"Arkcher," Mushroom stopped. "Well, we're both going in."
Arkcher glanced off into space, and shouted "Well fine! I'll just go somewhere else and you can have fun with that-!" He breathed, and looked at Kris, who had still been tagging along with them. Arkcher didn't know her that well, but offered to take her somewhere, not sure where, really.
He tried not to think of what his father was getting himself into.
"I'm really only friends with two of the models," Mushroom admitted. "But they're nice enough."
Aloysious listened to what she said, and couldn't help but feel out of place inside the glitzy place.
Mushroom somehow got past the front desk, and went up several floors, until they were in front of a pink door.
"These two are also some of the more famous models," She explained. "They're roommates-Miss Kitty Girl, from Texas, and Miss Bunny, from Japan. Best friends."
"So, they're like the girls from Planet Horatio-anthropomorphic?"
"... I guess so. Would you like to meet them?"
Aloysious thought before answering, his son referring to Miss Bunny as a 'skank' echoing in his mind. Arkcher had been reluctant to come in, and he wondered why.
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Mushroom shrugged. She wasn't exactly close to the models, just on friendly terms... but they were friends, she supposed...
"They're roommates," Mushroom explained as she knocked on the door. Aloysious nodded. PMM looked awfully excited.
The door creaked open, and standing there was a tall, dark-skinned girl with similarly dark cat's ears and tail, and a hot pink tank top, skinny jeans, and shiny, curly hair that went to her shoulders. She was pretty, Aloysious admitted.
"Who is it?" Called a distant voice.
"It's the Mushroom girl! And some other guy... not her husband..."
"Is that Miss B?" Mushroom asked. The catgirl nodded, laughing. "Come on in. I don't get to see you often enough!"
MK grabbed Aloysious by the arm and PMM helped push him in. He was interested, of course, but also a bit shocked.
"So who's this guy with you, Em Kay?"
"Aloysious Ahrroww," Mushroom said, "The-"
"Ohhhhhh, I know youuuuuu!" She exclaimed, her hands on her hips, and then leaned down and told him "I know who you are, 'cuz I've seen you before!"
Aloysious smiled weakly. He'd never had a woman lean so suggestively towards him. "Yes, I would think you have."
Miss Kitty Girl plopped down on a pink pillow, while Mushroom, Aloysious, and PMM sat on pillows of dark pink, purple, and green respectively. Aloysious took a look around the room and saw it was painted in an almost blinding shade of pink, and everything-nearly everything-was pink. Did they ever get enough of it? They were models, not little girls.
He was actually surprised how messy the room was, with makeup strewn on multiple dressers, the TV blaring, CDs opened and all over the place, and the catgirl couldn't decide if she wanted to watch music videos, fashion shows, or crime dramas. The radio was on, too, blaring some odd combination of pop-country that neither Aloysious nor Mushroom could stand.
The only thing that really broke the pink was the occasional green, or the occasional red, white, and blue Texas-shaped thing. Aloysious suddenly wondered why Texans liked Texas things so much.
"If you don't mind me asking-"
"Would you stop saying that?! No one minds your asking!!" Shouted PMM, irritated.
"If you don't mind me asking, who was the woman I heard earlier?"
"Miss Bunny," Miss Kitty Girl answered.
"I told you she would be the only one here," Mushroom muttered.
"I see... where is she? And what is she doing? It's taking her some time."
"I don't know!" Miss Kitty Girl shouted, getting flustered and sounding impatient. "Probably bathin' or makin' tea-"
"Yeah! And hot tea! I only like iced tea..."
"Maybe because you're from a rather hot part of the world," Aloysious said, grinning.
"And you like tea?"
"I... I do like tea."
"Well, I think the two of you will get along then," She said, smiling.
"Are you two talking about me?" Came a voice.
Aloysious turned to see where the voice was coming from, and saw, standing in the entry to the bathroom, a curvy and quite tall Asian woman with rabbit's ears, decorated with ribbons. She was still dressed in her clothes from the modeling day-and, fortunately or not, Miss Bunny was a lingerie model, and as a result, she was still outfitted in some kind of lime-green, ribbony & flowery corset, though she did have a silk robe over it.
"I-I..." Stuttered Aloysious as she came over to them, Miss Bunny tying the robe up, her face awfully shy. He seemed more surprised at her clothes than at her beauty, though upon examination, he thought, they definitely accentuated her looks. He swallowed his words and smiled politely at her.
"I did make tea, actually," She said. "Do I need to brew more? Because I only made a cup for me..."
"Yes please," Came the instant reply from Aloysious.
"I'll take care of it," Miss Kitty Girl said.
"No, no, I will," Miss Bunny argued.
"We both will," Kitty said.
"Okay, okay," Bunny said, in defeat.
Aloysious was barely able to handle it. Two beautiful, scantily-clad girls fighting, and serving him tea, and he was in their room. Who cared if they had cat ears and bunny ears?! They were otherwise human... They weren't like Kat, who was covered with fur and had paws and whiskers and cat eyes.
Eventually, Miss Bunny finished the tea, and she leaned down so he could take his tea off the tray, giving him a wonderful view. Mushroom grabbed the tea as well, even though she wasn't too fond of it.
"H-Hi," Aloysious said, sweating, as Miss Bunny sat gracefully across from him and sipped her tea.
"Hi," She smiled back at him. Aloysious had no idea how to react. You're a gentleman, Aloysious, remember that...
PMM's DS and PSP laid abandoned (at first) as Miss Bunny began to tell Aloysious stories, but they were eventually picked up when he decided they were boring. Aloysious was too enthralled by the two girls to care.
"... Of course, Miss Kitty here had to have a lot of lessons to avoid knocking things over. She can be so hyperactive sometimes."
Miss Kitty Girl gasped at the accusation, and Aloysious began wondering if all cat-people were like this.
"Hyperactive! Just 'cuz I'm not shy like you doesn't mean I'm hyperactive."
"Then you're clumsy," PMM stated.
"I'm not clumsy, either, shorty!"
"Aloysious," Mushroom started, "I think we need to get going."
"It's getting late and I think we ought to go find Arkcher and Kris. Even here it's not that safe in the city at night." There could be sanity-stealers from Outside the Wall, she thought.
Aloysious sighed. He hadn't even gotten to finish his tea. Oh well.
"Thank you very much," He said to the two models. "It was fun talking with you. I'll be sure to visit again... real soon."
As they traveled through the city, looking for Arkcher & Kris, PMM was unable to shut up.
"Mushroom... we're in an area of the city where there's, like, no people. This is kinda dangerous, don't you think. We might as well go back to wherever it was we're staying at, cuz I bet Kris & Arkcher are there, or Kris went back home, or to Kat's house, or something... I kind of don't want to get sanitynapped, if you know what I HOLY ####-"
Two bright lights flashed before them, and a purple Cadillac zoomed past them, nearly running the three of them over, the car grazing a lamppost before zooming off down the street.
"YOU! ALMOST! GAVE ME! A HEART ATTACK!" Screamed Paper Mario Master between breaths. "God!!"
"Was it just me, or was there a person in that car... holding a sock?"
"I saw them! I'd never seen that person, that car, nor that sock in my whole life on this planet!"
Aloysious looked around, heart pounding from the experience and yet horribly confused. "Er... that must be a call for concern, then."
Suddenly they heard a crash down the street, and instinctively began to run down the street to see what had happened.
"Someone screamed," Aloysious said, slowly becoming unable to keep his cool. "And now I think someone's crying..."
"Hurry up! That person might need out help-"
"We can always bandage up their wounds with that sock," Paper suggested.
Up ahead, the Cadillac had rammed itself into another lamppost, and something-someone-was sobbing hysterically in pain.
Sitting in the seat of the car was a androgynous.... person, with monkey ears and a tail, wearing a striped shirt and beret. On their lap was a sock.
"What's going on?" Mushroom asked, spotting Horatio.
"I don't know. I don't even know this girl here."
If he didn't know who they were... then...
"They're not an Invisionist? How is that possible?" Then something struck her. "Wait a minute. Who's crying?! It's not her!!"
"Yeah, about that," Said the girl, looking at the night sky innocently. "It's my car..."
"Your... your car is crying."
"My car is crying."
"If you didn't drive me so recklessly..." Came a soft, masculine voice.
"The car is alive? How does stuff like that even happen?" Aloysious asked.
"Mushroom! Dad! There you are!"
Mushroom_king looked, and saw Arkcher running towards her. Kris wasn't with him.
"Oh!! There you are!! We were looking for you when the accident happened-" She embraced Arkcher, and then they looked at the car again. The monkey-girl had that same, sorta-blank expression on her face.
"That car, living or not, will have to be brought to the shop," Horatio explained. "And... your name?"
"Breakfast," Said Breakfast.
"Breakfast, right." PMM said, unconvinced. "That's the dumbest name, ever."
"Because Paper is any better," Arkcher said under his breath.
"Okay, Breakfast," Horatio said, ignoring them. "Come with me and we'll take you back to the Best Friends of Horatio club, so you can get your citizenship taken care of-"
"WAIT UP, HAMSTERMAN! They-Uh, she-She could be a sanity stealer!"
"A what now?" Asked Breakfast.
"A-HA! PRETENDING! TYPICAL!" Yelled PMM, leaping up onto the edge of the car. "YOU'RE PRETENDING TO NOT KNOW! I AM A SANITY AND I HAVE RIGHTS AND YOU CAN'T KIDNAP MEEEEE!!!!!"
"So dramatic," Arkcher muttered, facepalming.
"No! I swear! I have no idea! I plead the fifth! Is that what I'm supposed to say? But anyway, from what I know about sanities, you don't look like one. Aren't they, like... an abstract concept?"
PMM calmed down. Sort of. "I'm not?"
PMM and Mushroom whispered to each other as if discussing a secret plan.
"Okay, okay. Horatio, proceed."
Horatio, unfazed and not angry at all (somehow), opened the door for Breakfast and let her out. She still clung to the sock for some reason.
"The Club isn't too far from here. This way."
"Hey, wait! I can still..." Cadillac tried saying, but its pleas to be driven were ignored.
Breakfast stepped gingerly out of the car, and nodded towards Horatio.
"This way," He said happily, and everyone followed him, despite the car's protests.
Paper Mario Master was watching her. She looked genuinely mystified.
"Hey, uh... what's with the sock? Why are you carrying it? It's just an ordinary sock."
Suddenly, another voice came out of seemingly nowhere: "Yeah. You're real mean."
"WHAT THE HECKKKKK-"
"Oh God, that sock just..."
"You really aren't used to socks talking to you?" (this was from Aloysious.)
"OF COURSE I'M TALKING TO YOU! My name is Sockysock. I'm not just a sock, morons."
"Breakfast and Sockysock? What the #### is happening on this planet?" Muttered Arkcher.
"And the car's name is Cadillac because it's a Cadillac."
They finally made it to the Best Friends of Horatio club, which was where Horatio the Hamster, as well as his secretary Patricia, lived. She was ordering people around when the group arrived there.
"Horatio! Horatio! HOOOOOR-AAAAAYYYYYY-SHIIII-OHHHHH!!!!" She shouted.
"Yes, it's me. Listen, these two... this girl, and her talking sock, crashed their sentient car on Dixon Avenue. They don't have sanities, and we don't know where they came from. The girl is Breakfast, and her friend is Sockysock. The car's name is Cadillac."
Patricia's eyes glimmered. "That's... that sounds important. Where is Cadillac?"
"Getting repaired. It did crash, after all."
Patricia got Horatio's laptop for him, and he began to ask Breakfast some important questions.
"Listen-we need you to tell us some information about yourself and your two friends."
After a short question-and-answer period, Horatio gathered a short bio on them:
Name, Breakfast Monkey; Species, Human/Anthromorph (Monkey); Planet of Origin, Civolv, Gender Female.
Name, Sockysock, Species, Sock [Sentient being], Planet of origin, LR, gender, has a masculine voice & personality.
Name, Cadillac, species, Car [Sentient being], Planet of origin, Earth, Gender, Has none.
Horatio looked at all this, and then at Breakfast, tugging at Sockysock on her lap.
"You have no idea where you are and you have no sanities. That's correct?"
Breakfast nodded. She seemed frightened.
"Do you know how you got here?"
She looked at the ceiling, and, looking and sounding less scared, said "We crashed in a rocket in a really cold place, and we somehow took a boat across the ocean to this place. Cadillac crash-landed in a different pod out in a jungle somewhere and made his way here."
"Excuse me? You said you crashed in a rocket in a cold place?" Arkcher exclaimed.
"I was about to ask you if you knew anything about this, Arkcher," Horatio commented.
"When?! What time?!"
"Yesterday, maybe? The day before?"
He looked at his father.
"That's the day before you showed up! That wasn't you in that rocket Jeanette told us about?!"
"Son, don't raise your..."
"How did you get here, then?!"
Aloysious' face, usually so mellow, suddenly grew harder around the edges, and began to exert his own authority.
"Arkcher. I will explain everything to you when I can." Then back to mellow. "I am afraid I do not have much to say, though."
"And what does that mean?!"
"Arkcher, calm down. What's important is dealing with Breakfast and her friends."
"I don't think we'll be leaving anytime soon," Breakfast said.
Breakfast looked like she was going to cry. "We can't stay..."
"No! No, nothing like that! You can stay, it's just you'll need sanities, and I don't have the power to issue those out, only Stewart does, and-"
Horatio suddenly paused.
Oh no, Thought nearly everyone. He always gets like this when they mention Stewart.
"What about Stewart?!"
"He's gone. He isn't coming back."
Mushroom exchanged a surprised glance with her husband, but he was too angry to pay enough attention, so she switched to Paper Mario Master.
Horatio was the most optimistic person they knew. He had never-never-said something like that before. Forever the optimist.
"I'll see what I can do. All of you, you can leave now. Breakfast, you stay here for as long as you need."
Arkcher didn't mention that his father would eventually need a sanity as well, because he didn't think Aloysious would be staying much longer.
After the very quick flight home, Arkcher called his father to the dining room long after the others had gone to bed.
"Dad. You have a few things to explain to me, don't you?"
The way he spoke, it was like he was the father and Aloysious his son.
"I want to tell you, son, believe me. But I doubt you would believe me."
Arkcher smiled at Aloysious. "Trust me! I'll believe you, okay? I just want to know how you got here. If it wasn't in that rocket."
He seems so happy now. He was livid back in Hamsterdam.
"Well, I.... Arkcher... to be perfectly honest.... I have no idea how I got here."
Arkcher's smile melted away, and the emotion in his eyes melted away for a second. Then he slammed his fists on the table.
"WHAT? He yelled-no, bellowed-his face practically murderous by this point, his shout and his fists shaking the table and probably waking someone up.
Aloysious fell back in his chair. Livid again.
"Don't you yell at me!!" Aloysious said, but his voice was too timid to command any kind of authority.
"HOW CAN YOU... HOW CAN YOU TELL ME..." He continued to slam the table, probably waking up more people in the process."HOW CAN YOU TELL ME YOU DON'T KNOW?!"
"I just told you! What kind of question is that?"
Arkcher gripped the table, staring Aloysious dead in the face, eyes white with anger. Aloysious really thought he was going to flip the table over.
His voice then got very low, very dangerous.
"Tell me everything you know about what happened when you got transported here."
"The only thing I remember was a... there was this man-"
"This man with a suit and long hair-"
Oh my god Stewart no it couldn't be
"-He had hair as red as blood-"
Hair as red as blood? Arkcher thought. Stewart had... he had orange hair. No. It wasn't him. Who was I trying to kid?
"He said something, but I felt like I was in a dream. I went with him, I blacked out, thought I was going to die, and here I was, on your front step. I remember he said to me-"
Wait, blood red hair?
" 'This is your son's house.' "
Arkcher sat back in his chair, staring blankly into space. Then he shook his head, after a few seconds of deep thoughts and planning, and then stared at his father.
"Is that so..."
Aloysious nodded. He was actually sweating.
Arkcher smiled again, but it only made Aloysious' skin crawl even more.
"I understand. Actually, dad, it makes sense. Do you know how all of us got here?"
Aloysious shook his head.
"Do you remember Stewart, the guy Horatio mentioned?"
"I was going to ask who he is."
"He's the guy who 'founded' the planet. He went around the universe and picked up random people to take back here-"
Aloysious' blood went cold.
Arkcher waited. "Is something wrong?"
Aloysious looked up at Arkcher, his eyes glistening as if he was going to start sobbing uncontrollably.
"Arkcher... three years ago... your mother and I got a letter from the boarding school that said you vanished in the middle of the night."
"I was about to tell you-"
Aloysious interrupted him, and actually did start crying. "The entire-everyone was looking for you! And after all that time, they all thought you were dead!"
Aloysious's head fell to the table, sobbing. Arkcher leaned over to try and comfort him. "And, last month, I finally gave up hope you were gone..."
Arkcher froze as his hand was reaching for his father to comfort him.
In all the three years he had lived on Invision, he had never considered the implications of his disappearance. He had never considered how his father would have felt, or his two friends at Snow Log Boarding House. He had never tried to contact his friends, even though they were probably online.
And how had his mother treated Aloyious in the intervening years? He didn't want to think about it.
"Dad... It's fine now."
"It almost seems... it almost seems like I wished it," Aloysious said, sitting back up, his eyes red. "I gave up a month ago. Then all of a sudden I'm transported to where you were spirited away too. If I had known you'd been taken to another planet-"
"Stewart is the one who took all of us here," Arkcher said. "He was the one who brought me, and everyone else, here."
"That makes me wonder if Stewart has any children of his own. If he did, he would have thought about the effect it had on someone like me."
"He's a good man, dad. Trust me on this. At least-what little I know of Stewart. He wouldn't have intended to hurt you like that." Arkcher smiled. "And, the both of us are away from Mom now, aren't we?"
Aloysious didn't want to say he was happy about that, but he was.
Arkcher stood up.
"It's best we went to bed and put this behind us. I need to do something important online before I go to bed."
The two hugged once again, but without Arkcher pushing his father away this time, and Aloysious retreated to the guest room.
Arkcher sent out an e-mail to his two best friends on Earth, with the simple message "It's me, remember? I'm not dead. I can't tell you where I am right now, though. I wasn't kidnapped, either. I think. But I do hope I can see you guys again someday."
At least they would know he was alive.
"PS don't tell anyone."
Arkcher's hand shook as he moved the mouse and clicked 'send'. He hoped they saw it.
One more thing.
He pulled up Instant Messenger. No one was online except Kat, of course, but he sent a short message to the email-less Cheesemaster anyway.
"Can you come to Hamsterdam? I'm on a trip with my father right now, but there's something we need to discuss.
Arkcher got up, the two missions done, and he, too, retreated to bed.
Posted 12 September 2011 - 03:29 PM
I know that I repeat myself, but this story is getting better and better and your writing is really developing! Fantastic! Truly enjoyable reading!
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