Ash has been visiting less these days. He seems to be wearing something new everytime I see him, something flashy and out of character. We've also been doing a lot more together, though, so that's okay.
"Hey, wanna go pixie hunting again?"
"Mm, I've had my fill of shrill-screams for a while. How about we go kick some wildlife around?"
"Oh yeah! That sounds bad!"
When you don't have much to do. Bad things don't seem so bad. Stupid things seem fun, even. Anything to take your mind off other things. Things like those humans in the forest. Or my dad lurking under my feet. Or PB shut in in that lab of hers. Or Simon.
I deal a lash to the bears' buns, sending it running for cover. It roars in pain, sending birds flying from the trees. Ash has a pile of glittery stuff in his hand. He gives me a mischievous look.
He throws the stuff up and it flies at the birds. All of a sudden, they drop down. Plant growth is sticking out of them, and they're all twitchy and broken. It's kinda … nasty. I quickly step on them to end their writhing.
"Aw, why!" Ash throws up his hands, annoyed, "You ruined the best part! Do you know how hard it is to craft this Growth Dust?"
"Wh... Where'd you learn that?"
"My classes, why? See, it's the point to see them be overtaken by the plants. What's the point after that? Look," He points to the dead birds, "Nothin'! That's it! Zip!"
"Yeesh, I'm sorry, ok?" I rub my arm, a little unnerved, "When did you get into this stuff?"
"Huh? What are you talking about? Weren't you always into 'this stuff' too?" He gives me a funny look, "I'm just findin' new ways to up the level, yo!"
Ash lost his appetite for fun after. He flies me home and leaves after a brief kiss. It was like a peck, automatic and emotionless. I'm beginning to hate that cold clamminess of his skin. Shwabls rubs at my leg like a cat. He's so silly. I look out to the dark horizon. The night and water practically look the same now. I'm standing between the dark night and the dark forest, on a white beach. I pick Shwabls up and hold him close.
"...I wish he'd come back and say something else..."
"Do you love him, dearie?"
The voice startles me. I look to my side and I almost thought a banana was talking to me. I retreat a bit and notice it's just a hat, with a green man wearing yellow clothes underneath. He looks at me. I feel my stomach drop a little. Those eyes are blank white. Like Ice King's. Like Simon's. He smiles. I feel a little freaked out.
"Why the fright, vampy?" Vampy? "I'm just ol' Magic Man, your little boyfriend Ash's teacher."
What's with this guy? He's got a weird scent on him, and his voice is oily. Magic Man? I remember Ash mentioning he had a teacher, but …
"You are Ash's girlfriend, right?"
"Y-yeah!" I feel strangely protective of that title, "Are you really … Ash's mentor?"
"Ohh yeah! I teach him all the bazings and bloobloos there are to magic! See, I'm a real whiz!" He sends a bright flare of fireworks up into the sky, jazzing it up, "See?!"
"..." I also remember that trick Ash pulled on those birds. It wasn't just this time either. Last week he cast an awake spell on a severed head or something. Then he just kicked it around like a ball. There's a limit to the bad stuff you do. I find there is a balance. Was this the freak teaching Ash all those gunked up tricks?
"Ooh, I see!"
"See … what?" I don't really like the way he looks all smiley, or the fact his clothes are so flamboyant. At least now I can understand where Ash's been getting his recent fashion picks.
"Good GOB!" He suddenly leans in really close, so I can smell mint on his breath, "You've lost a hat too! And a boot as well!"
"I … don't wear hats... And these are the only boots I've got." This guy is really weirding me out.
"Doesn't matter!" He does a 180 and spins on his heel like some dancer, "I happen to be great at finding lost things! After I lost my Margles and my pullover, I got real skilled!"
What's a 'Margle?' I don't really get this guy at all. Wait, if he's here, then …
"Aren't you supposed to be having a class with Ash?"
"Hmm? Phooey, no! Boy's still got to work on those skills on his own! After all, the raven didn't become a desk in a day, right?" He floats a bit and reclines midair, "In the meantime, I've got a sudden interest in bears. Teddy bears."
"Go on. I smell it all over you!" He opens one eye to look at me, "MMS! You've got some scent on your Hambo! Any magician'd be crazy to not notice!"
MM … wha? I don't smell anything. What the junk is he getting at? I start to feel uncomfortable. I want to leave.
"... Um, cool beans, yeah? I … gotta go..."
"... I thought you wanted to help your little crab?"
"Gosh, I don't have any crab!" I'm getting a little annoyed at this guy's nonsense junk, "Will you please stop saying weird junk?!"
"The crab over in Betty's pool backyard... Simon, was it?"
He smiles knowingly under his hat's rim. I don't know if he's messing with me. He said 'Simon' and 'Betty,' like he knows. Who is this guy?!
"How do you know about that?" I feel my fangs dig out. I'm getting irritated.
"Why your little Ashie told me. He blabbed all about how you were friends with the Ice King, was it? You should really learn better than to trust strangers..."
"Ash isn't a stranger!"
With that, I lit out of there, Shwabls in my arms. But I didn't get far. My flying powers just suddenly go poof and I land with a face full of sod. What a surprise when the creepy banana man just sneaks up behind me, peeking over my shoulder. Glob his smile is creeping me out. I swat him away and sit upright.
"I thought you'd be more happy to meet great, awful ol' me."
"Why should I, you freak!" I spit out, "Stay away from me!"
"Well, I can't just let that slide, can I? I mean," He twiddles with his long fingers, "You're as much a freak as me!"
At a snap of his fingers, Shwabls suddenly vibrates in my hand. Wait, where's Shwabls? All I'm holding is a phone... What just happened?!
"Wh- Where's my … What did you do?!"
He grins like a crazy clown. "That's your socks next!"
"What … Make sense, will you! What in Ooo-"
"I was going to give you some sugar for your tea, now look what you made me do! Our lovely cake is ruined!" More nonsense! "Sugar for your dear Simon."
That does it! I lunge at him, fangs bared and all. He looks a little surprised but easily dances out of my way. I keep jumping at him, but I can't get ahold of this slippery guy.
"For Grod's sake!" I cuss, "KEEP STILL!"
He aims his fingers at me. A poof of pink smoke puffs in my face. My eyelids suddenly fall. I don't even feel the ground rushing up to meet me.
Unh … What … Huh?! My arms and legs are entangled in something … I look up and see that ugly, creepy face. He's holding the phone Shwabls turned into. I can't move! What the jizz!?
"You never let me finish, rude vampire queen!" He poofs Shwabls back to normal, "I have some valuable advice for you."
"What?" I growl softly. He's glued me into the dirt or something. My arms and legs are embedded in the ground. I can't even wiggle my toes.
"About your Simon. And his magic crown. I know. Ohh yes, I know."
He's lying. He has to be. Who does he … Then again. He's a magic-user. But does he actually know any way to undo the whole thing?
"... How do I save him?" I sound way weaker than I thought. Simon is still a sore subject.
"Saving him, of course. Saving the wayward crab from that pool and putting it back on the beach... But what if the city, the humans are just for him?"
"Simon's not a crab … if that's what you're saying..."
"Ah, well, he only goes sideways so much, right? He even forgot you. All in madness, all in sadness, all in magic."
Madness, Magic, Sadness … MMS. He said that earlier. Is that what he meant? MMS is the problem Simon's having?
"Magic, magic, and more magic. Isn't that the bane of your existence? It took your dear Simon right?"
"..." I'm not exactly non-magic myself, like PB said. But it wasn't magic that took mom away. That's the stuff PB kept on egging on about. But how I feel about magic itself... I've seen the magic erode at Simon's sanity. I lost him to magic. And then, I realize my dad is some all-powerful demon who turns me into a vampire. Now there's Ash. If he learns under this guy, how kooky will he end up? Like Simon? Or worse.
"Sounds like you've got an answer. What is it, vampy?"
"I'm not just some little girl..." I feel my body stretch into a behemoth shape as I shapeshift, "I'M A QUEEN!"
He seems taken aback by my sudden transformation. My arms and legs are free, having burst from the ground. Yes! Now I call the shots...
"I'm sick of your junk! And I'm not gonna have you teaching Ash anymore and jizzing up his brain!"
"Oh. But don't you see the beauty in all the jizz? It's the strongest magic!"
"Stuff your magic!"
I smash the ground behind him as he dodges. Dammit, this guy's as flimsy as a noodle! Shwabls yips before running up my arm and hiding in my fur for safety.
"I'm not going to lose anyone else! Not to madness, not magic!"
"Hm, good luck with that."
He jumps on my incoming fist and springs right up in my face. Oh no, he's gonna try that smoke trick again... So I try to punch at him. But he moves out of the way, and I just look stupid punching myself.
"Oww..." I shrink for the sake of it. That was not fun. What would it take to land a hit on this guy?!
"Nice! Good, good effort! That's just the way I was! But you'll learn eventually. When your happy face is down, turn it upside-down and go a little crazy! Maybe that'll help you forget what you lost!"
What a freak... With loud laughter, he walks away jauntily. He totally made a fool out of me. Shwabls licks my face, but I'm not in the mood. I hear him singing to himself a weird little song. The lyrics turn my stomach upside-down, if anything.
Poor little lass
was eaten by the lion.
Poor little lass lost her doll in the deep wood,
lost it to the owl.
Little lass closed her eyes
and her cat was eaten.
Her hat was blown by the wind,
and her shoes yanked by the brook.
A pickler came and took her socks
and she tore her dress to shreds.
Thus there slept a dead, naked lass on the rocks,
I won't lose. Not to this new world and it's new rules. Not to magic … or science. I'm immortal, I'll get up as many times as it takes. As long as there's no wooden stakes involved.
Aaand, that's the end. Sorry for the abrupt and drawn-out ending. I just realized this should have ended once Shouko died. Simon kinda lost Marcy a long way back.