Chapter 13: The first morning
Light shone through the window of the bedroom as Mal slept silently on Chica's bed. The air was calm and peaceful until...
Mal awoke to the sound of someone hitting the base of the top bunk. She glanced concerned at the bottom bunk owner, who turned out to be Groucho, rubbing his head while Harpo and Zeppo raced out of the room.
" You okay?", Mal asked.
" Oh yeah, just a tiny headache...", Groucho said laying his head back on his pillow.
Mal snorted as she hopped off the top bunk towards the floor. She left Groucho to his own misery on the bed as she made her way to the kitchen.
Chaos couldn't even describe the state of the kitchen. Eggs, bacon and flakes of cereal were strewn about on the small kitchen table. Brenner was jumping between the stove and trying to keep Harpo away from the leftover chilli. Zeppo pulled a carton of milk and drank straight from it, causing his sister to scold him.
Groucho came up next to her and grinned at the sight.
" So what do you think of breakfast?", he asked.
" I have no words", Mal said.
" 'Course you don't. Zeppo, don't drink all the milk!", Groucho said.
" Eh, morning Mal. Help yourself to breakfast... before Harpo eats it all", Brenner said as he directed said kid towards the table.
" Big appetite", Mal questioned.
" Massive. He once ate a pencil... whole. Doctors thought he had tapeworms, turns out he's got a black hole for a stomach", Chica explained.
Mal laughed until she saw Chica's blank stare," Wait, you're serious", she said in disbelief.
Chica shrugged," Up to you to believe me or not. By the way, Harpo's stealing your bacon", she said nonchalantly.
Mal turned to her plate to find Harpo snagging her last piece," Harpo!".
A butter knife landed squarely on the bacon, causing Harpo to yelp and stumble backwards. Mal glanced in the direction the knife came from and found Zeppo glaring daggers at Harpo's retreating form.
" Harpo, kiddo, eat from your own plate", Brenner said calmly before sitting down himself.
" Brenner, do you know how horrible the Bottle's food was? I could barf", Harpo said pulling a face.
" If it makes you barf, then it must be horrible", Brenner replied while eating.
Mal ate in silence as she watched the family converse with each other in a fashion that reminded her of the time she had dinner at Ben's grandpa with the whole family. It left a wholesome feeling in front.
But that feeling ended when she felt the ground shake after an explosive went off.
" Sounds like Racer and Wile's awake", Brenner said nonchalantly.
" Who?", Mal asked.
" That man with the blue hair you couldn't understand yesterday", Groucho explained.
" You don't understand sign language?", Brenner said frowning.
" I never learned. I never met deaf people on the Isle or at school in Auradon", Mal said.
Brenner cringed," That's... gonna be problematic", he said.
" 40% of Canvas citizens use sign language to communicate", Groucho explained.
" And there are a couple of Loonies who use it too", Brenner added.
" But Racer could understand what I was saying yesterday", Mal said frowning.
" Racer's mute. Not deaf. No one is. They can't speak because they can't speak, not because they can't hear", Zeppo said after drinking a glass of juice.
" 40%... of the city is mute", Mal said in disbelief.
" Believe it or not, it's true, you'll never hear a peep out of certain people", Brenner said wiping his hands on his pants," Well, we should probably start heading out. We got a full day ahead of us".
" Are we heading to school?", Chica asked.
" Nope. We're showing Mal around the city", Brenner said grabbing his jacket," Uma and Danny are joining us as well".
" Oh goodie", Mal said cringing.
For the entirety of yesterday, Granny had kept Dizzy away from her flat for reasons the latter was never given. It was only late into the night, when Dizzy was so sleepy she only merely acknowledged the bird cage sitting in the corner of the living room between two windows. But things were different by morning.
Dizzy snuck out of her room into the living room and looked around curiously. The flat itself looked quite nice compared to the outside and rumours of termites about.
Dizzy accidentally bumped into a gramophone, a small tune beginning to play. She tried to turn it off but then she heard something that distracted her.
And that was someone singing... inside the bird cage.
I am a little tiny fae, my name Timmy Pie
I live inside my bird cage, a-hanging way up way
Dizzy turned towards the now open bird cage to reveal a small male fairy smiling innocently in her direction. His blond hair neatly combed but had stray black strands sticking out. His clothes looked more human than fairy, with orange jeans and a yellow jersey. His big blue eyes practically charmed her and she found him to be absolutely adorable.
I like to sit upon my perch and sing my wittle song. But there's a man who's after me.
He won't leave me alone.
A thin man appeared in the window, rubbing his hands together deviously before attempting to open the window. He quickly dashed away when Timmy looked in his direction.
Timmy looked at Dizzy and winked mischievously before leaving the cage and hiding by the window.
I tawt I saw a putty cad
A-creepin' on me
The man opened the other window to slip in but then Timmy appeared before him causing him to fall back and latch onto the window, hanging on tightly.
I did! I saw a putty cad
As plain as he could be
Timmy slammed the window down on the man's fingers, who screamed in pain at the impact, before retreating. The man crawled inside before standing above Timmy, who merely moved his head towards Dizzy who watched interested.
The man grinned sheepishly before he began singing as well.
I am that great big bad ol' cad
Sylvester is my name
I only have one aim in life and that isth very plain
I want to catch that little fae and eat right away
But justh as I get closthe to him
This is what he saysth
'I tawt I saw a putty cad
A-creepin on me!'
You bet he saw a putty cad
And that putty cad is me!
Dizzy gasped as Timmy effortlessly pushed the cabinet down on Sylvester who was too busy mocking the pixie to even notice the falling cabinet about to collapse on him. The pixie then flew off further into the kitchen, Dizzy following as she was very concerned for the pixie.
But we all know he can very well take care of himself.
That putty cad is very bad
He cweeps up from behind
I don't think I would like it if I knew what's on his mind
I have a strong suspicion that his plans for me aren't good
I am inclined to think that he would eat me if he could
Dizzy's eyes widened in disbelief at all the pain that Timmy 'innocently' inflicted on Sylvester. And the fact that Sylvester still pulled through, even after getting burned by the stove and electrocuted by the toaster was somewhat admirable.
Mal was walking outside with the Warners, Brenner, Uma and Danny calmly until Sylvester flew out of the window.
" Oh my god!" Uma exclaimed as Sylvester landed on a flag pole, causing the pole to bend down towards them.
" Sylvester", Brenner and Danny said casually, the former keeping the pole down with only his finger..
" Brenner, Danny, lovely morning for a sthroll, ain't it?", Sylvester said calmly as if he hadn't gone through hell earlier.
" Yep, you and Timmy at it again", Danny said calmly.
" Yeah, there'sth thisth little girl insthide that we're entertaining", Sylvester said nonchalantly," But I think she stopped finding thisth funny after I got electrocuted by the toaster".
" You what?!", Mal and Uma shrieked.
Brenner snorted," She's from the new kids from Auradon. Got sent here by Beasty because of misbehavior", he explained.
" Oh! Makesth sthensthe", Sylvester said thoughtfully.
" Morning fellas!", Timmy said as he flew to the window.
" Mornin' Timmy. How's the kid?", Brenner asked.
Dizzy came towards the window and waved excitedly," Hi Mal! Hi Uma!", she said.
The two teens waved, still trapped on the fact they could understand Timmy perfectly fine.
" Mind bringing Sylvester back up here. We got a song to finish", Timmy said nonchalantly.
" Sure thing! Sorry Sly...", Brenner said before removing his finger from the pole, causing the pole to flung Sylvester into a wall.
The VKs winced when they heard a crack as Sylvester hit the wall.
" Y'know what, Timmy, I don't feel like finishing the song today", Sylvester groaned before he peeled himself off the wall, falling head first into a trash can.
Timmy shook his head in disappointment," C'mon kid, let's go make sure that numbskull didn't dent the trash can", he said before flying down towards the bin, Dizzy climbing down the fire escape.
" Mal! Uma! You should've been there! Mr Sylvester got stuck in a vacuum, got his fingers crushed by the window, burnt his hand on a stove AND got electrocuted by a toaster! And he's still alive!", Dizzy said amazed.
" Doubt he is now", Uma muttered.
" Oh he is", Groucho said biting his lip.
Sylvester rolled out of the trash, looking amazingly uninjured but still in a daze. Brenner and Danny pulled him up and Timmy tossed the old apple on his head aside.
" How is he-? What?!", Uma said flabbergasted.
" I know, so cool right?!", Dizzy said excitedly.
" Only you find it cool, kid. This is a daily thing for everyone else", Timmy said flying towards her.
" How the hell do we understand you? I thought pixies talk like bells", Mal said inquisitively.
Timmy batted his eyelashes innocently," I'm special", he said adorably," We all are. But I'm just a little bit more", he added winking.
" Did he just compliment himself, then compliment us before insulting us?", Mal said brows furrowed.
" That's Timmy for ya. He's a pleasure and a pain to have", Brenner said grinning," You boys up for a walk? We're showing the girls around Canvas".
" Ooh, can I come with you guys?", Dizzy asked.
" Sure", Brenner said patting her head gently.
" I guess I could go", Timmy said shrugging," Sly?".
" I'll go asth long asth I'm not sthanding next to Timmy", Sylvester said tiredly.
" Then it's settled! C'mon docs, we're burning daylight over here"
Section D was a cramped up place compared to the city and its previous sections. Several families would live in one single or double story house and share all their possessions with each other.
George and his sons lived on the second floor of a house originally belonging (as in they actually own the house) to two male friends of his. Chip and Dale were kind enough to set up another bed in George's room for Gil.
Which was where he was now.
Gil woke up to two small faces staring at him curiously while their father was nowhere to be seen.
" Hey there", Gil said smiling.
Max and Georgie were like two separate versions of their father. While Max was more clumsy, Georgie was more goofy like his father, but Gil assumed it was because Georgie was still a mere toddler compared to his older brother.
" Where are your gloves?", Max asked.
" Right on hand", Gil said showing off his favourite fingerless gloves off to the boys.
" No no no. Your gloves. You must always wear your gloves is what Dad says. So where are yours?", Max asked.
Georgie fingered with his white gloves to make a subtle point.
" I don't have gloves like those", Gil said.
Max looked at him weirdly," You're not staying here long, are you?", he said tilting his head.
Gil shook his head," No, why are you asking?", he asked.
Max opened his mouth to speak but then George entered the room with breakfast, causing the former to forget what he wanted to say.
" Daddy", Georgie said happily running towards his father.
" Hey kiddo. Maxie, there's no school today. You know what that means", George said in a serious tone.
Max groaned," But I don't want to go to the club today", he said.
" Sorry son, but Pete's workin' today and PJ is off with his mom to work. There's no one I can hand ya over to", George said frowning.
" Not even Chip and Dale?", Max asked.
" They left at 3AM kiddos, an emergency down in Section B. Apparently, someone got trapped in the pipes again", George said shaking his head," And people think I'm stupid".
" What about Gil?", Max asked.
" He's headin' over to a friend", George said.
" Can I go with him?", Max pleaded.
" Nope", George said as he packed Max and Georgie's bag," Gil, got any friends you wanna head over to?".
Gil thought for a moment before answering," Harry", he said.
" Jessica. Okay, she's workin' night shift. Alright then, I'll call Jess and I'll drop you off at the entrance of Section C", George said as he picked up Georgie.
" Won't I get robbed while waiting over there?", Gil asked.
George shook his head," The Looney Tunes practically rule Section C. Brenner won't let any kinda crook just crawl into his side of Canvas", he explained," You'll be safe as long as you stay at the bus stop".
" Okay", Gil said smiling brightly.
" Alright then, let's hop to it folks"
It was the first morning without the VKs and things were noticeably different.
The atmosphere was much quieter and less rowdy, no sounds of Uma cackling or Jay and Harry fighting over the smallest of things. There was no Mal laughing at the ridiculous things he would say or the rattling of a new invention from Carlos.
Even the cafeteria lost its old zest as the students just ate quietly, gossiping amongst themselves over the absence of the VKs. No loud over-the-top burps that had girls gagging and many males impressed. No arguing over how much you eat.
Math class was even quieter! Jay and Uma's quips were a well-missed thing in their class, even the teacher looked a little out of place after getting used to Jay and later Uma's sense of humour.
But the one he felt the most was Mal. No quips hidden behind a playful smile to brighten his day. No sound of spray paint leaving the can or a brush elegantly touching a canvas. No munching sounds made whenever she'd eat the chocolate strawberries he'd bring her at lunch time (the sad thing was now he had to eat all those strawberries alone). There was no queen to his king, for she was far from his reach.
It was quiet. It was boring. It was just like how it was years ago.
" Ben, you need to eat", Lonnie said concerned.
" How can I eat when the love of my life is miles away from me?", Ben said sighing sadly," Audrey tried to get back together with me this morning and I snapped. Lonnie, I can't- we need them back!".
" Hey, you're not alone okay. Majority of the school wants them back too. Now that Mal's gone, Audrey can get her title of queen bee back. And that is scary!", Lonnie hissed.
" There's gotta be a way to get them back", Ben murmured," I never even heard of Canvas until recently. How do I know if they're all safe?".
" But you texted Mal last night, right?", Lonnie said helpfully.
" But how do I know that Mal's not lying to me? That Brenner guy could be abusing her and she's just putting up a front to make me worry less", Ben said panicked.
" Mal wouldn't lie to you"
" But she lied about her spell book"
" Okay, now that's really unfair and you know that", Lonnie said folding her arms," The two of you moved on from that. You can't doubt her now".
" I know, I know", Ben said guilty.
" Look, I get you're concerned about the conditions there but you have to remain strong. You're the king, can't you just bring up the logs and see Canvas' condition. You did that with the Isle", Lonnie said quietly.
" And it turns out the Isle is worse than what the log says. And Canvas isn't even on the castle's logs. According to my dad, Queen Leah handles everything Canvas-related, so she'd have the information and everything else", Ben explained.
" Hmm... that's suspicious. Usually everything goes to the castle logs, right? What is she hiding?", Lonnie murmured," Maybe... we should investigate".
" Investigate Queen Leah? Are you crazy? What if we get caught?", Ben hissed.
" But what if we don't get caught", Lonnie said excitedly," We expose the corruption going on and get the Isle kids back, dethrone Queen Leah and Audrey will be out of your hair forever".
" Sounds like dream. A beautiful, blissful dream", Ben sighed," Alright, what do we need to do?".
" First: get the perfect squad", Lonnie said grinning before dragging Ben away to further formulate the rest of their rescue plan.
Early morning was a good time for slimey thieves to steal from sleepy, unsuspecting citizens.
But Sly and his gang were MASTER thieves, so they slept in.
Jay stirred the tea quietly as he thought about his situation. Sly Cooper had been a big part of his childhood and he was the reason Jay even took his thievery seriously. When entering Auradon, Jay had to give it up but it made him feel like he was disappointing his idol. But now here he was, in his idol's apartment as he looked at some of the various trinkets the man had managed to steal afer all his years in the profession.
Carmelita appeared in the stories as well, as an unnamed Latina cop with blue hair, and Jay hadn't expected to find her here, sharing a room with Sly even if the stories hinted at a blooming romance between thief and cop. He thought she'd be in Auradon, as maybe a chief in security, maybe even becoming Ben's bodyguard (not that he needed one before they came along); but here she was, sleeping with his idol, as if she hadn't been chasing him down yesterday.
" Morning", Carmelita said tiredly," Couldn't you sleep?", she asked.
" Nah, I had a morning routine back in Auradon I can't get rid of. Thought I'd stay up until I knew what I'm going to be doing today", Jay said before sipping his tea.
" Ah morning routines. I miss those. Now I need my alarm clock to wake me up", Carmelita drawled as she prepared a cup of coffee," Sly and I were hoping to take you around the city today since there isn't school today".
" Canvas is unpredictable at best, chaotic at worst. If we get back today and you don't have a scratch, you are seriously lucky", Carmelita said casually.
" Lucky is a loose term. A miracle is a better one", Sly said walking into the room and yawning," Morning".
" Morning", Carmelita and Jay replied.
" So... I'm guessing we're heading to Clarabelle's for breakfast", Sly said tiredly.
" Uh huh", Carmelita hummed.
" Alright then, just let me go put a shirt on, wake up Bentley and Murray and we can head out", Sly said tiredly before returning back into the hallway.
Carmelita looked at Jay," So... how's Auradon for you?", she asked.
" S'pretty great. Lots of food. Plenty of things to do. I was captain of the R.O.A.R team before handing it over to my friend", Jay said," I'm also the best tourney player my coach has ever seen".
" Hmm... I think Sly mentioned that Murray played Tourney when they were younger", Carmelita said thoughtfully," I never really got into it. I was mainly just focused on getting my dream job".
" Being a cop", Jay inquired.
" Yep", Carmelita said, popping the 'p'.
" How'd that work out for you?", Jay asked.
" Well... you can see where I am and work it out yourself", Carmelita said sipping her coffee.
" Why are you all here anyway?", Jay asked.
Carmelita frowned, not liking the way this conversation was heading.
" We don't know", Carmelita said quickly.
" Mal said there's no barrier like the Isle... so why don't you just leave then?", Jay asked.
Carmelita looked away, scratching the back of her neck nervously, being careful to avoid a chip-like device that was embedded into her skin years ago.
" It's complicated", Carmelita said looking away.
Jay frowned but before he could question her further, Sly stepped back into the room, looking fresh as ever and smiled charmingly.
" Well... Murray and Bentley will meet us later so we can head out on our own for now", Sly said as he grabbed his cane off the coat rack.
" Sounds good", Carmelita said hurriedly," Ready to go?".
" Yes", Jay said as he got off the stool.
" Well then, let's head out", Sly said as he opened the door.
He waited until Carmelita went through then Jay afterwards. Sly eyed the back of the latter's neck almost... jealously. Sly touched the back of his neck...
... And that same chip-like device that was Carmelita's neck was on his neck.
Harry woke up to the sound of someone screaming.
He startled awake and grabbed his hook, ready to gut the perpetrator like a lamb but was instead greeted by an empty apartment.
" Roger? Jessica?", he called out.
The apartment door was thrown open and Roger hurried in, slamming the door behind him and huffing heavily, totally out of breath. This sight made Harry a little wary.
" Mr Roger?", Harry said worried.
Roger looked up in surprise to see Harry standing beforr him. He let a goofy smile slip onto his face.
" Mornin' Harry! How'd ya sleep?", Roger asked cheerfully.
" Is everything alright out there?", Harry asked, ignoring Roger's question.
" Oh everything's fine! No need to worry!", Roger said reassuringly.
Harry frowned," It didn't sound fine ta me", he said.
" Well it is. There's nothing to worry about kid", Roger said before another scream was heard.
By this time, Harry sent Roger a pointed look, that clearly said he was not buying Roger's excuses.
" What's goin' on?", Harry asked seriously.
Roger sighed," Someone... um.. died- or will be in the process of dying... they've been like that early this morning, everyone thinks... they're going to have to make her let go", he said.
Harry blinked in shock," My first official day here and someone's already dead. Oh great Poseidon, god of the sea this is what happens when I leave to the good side", he groaned.
" It's not that bad really. It was her time", Roger said, although sadly.
" How did she die?", Harry asked curiously.
Roger bit his bottom lip. Should he be telling the teen this? The moment Roger saw him, the first thing that rang in his head was 'angsty teenage bad boy' and Roger already had enough of that. Eddie wasn't as humorous as the time Roger got framed for murder, and he needed some light in this dump to go with his wife's.
Speaking of his wife.
Jessica trampled inside, frazzled and wary, and immediately went for her and Roger's room. She paused for a second when she saw Harry but rushed away again anyway.
" What was that all about?", Harry asked.
Roger cringed," I think... the girl's officially gone now", he said devastatingly.
Harry looked at the room sympathetically. This was not a good way to start his morning. He needed some fun.
Then the phone rang and Roger leapt up to answer it.
There were hushed whispers of which Harry couldn't make out. Roger was probably telling whoever was on the phone about the dead girl. He couldn't help but wonder how she died.
" Good news, Harry! Your friend Gil's coming over for a visit!", Roger said cheerfully," Why don't you get yourself ready and we can go and p-p-p-pick him up?! I can take you two into town if you want", he said.
Harry nodded, but he couldn't really grasp Roger's rambling. All he knew was that Gil was coming over. Which was good. Because Harry needed a good distraction.
And a walk around town didn't sound too bad either.
The day started quite early for the Miller Household. After all, if the neighbors are causing a ruckus, there's not much to do about sleep.
Carlos rubbed his eyes as he got from the single bed, still quite tired from yesterday's events. He froze. This was his first full day in Canvas. He was in Auradon just a few hours ago not knowing whether his life was in peril or not.
" G'morning Carlos!", Mickey said cheerfully.
At the moment, he felt safe.
" Morning Mr Mouse", Carlos said yawning.
" Ready for your first official day in Canvas?", Mickey asked as Carlos followed him out of the room.
" I guess", Carlos said hesitantly.
" Great! Minnie's got breakfast covered for ya inside. Help yourself", Mickey said as he grabbed a coat off the rack," I'll be back in a jiffy".
Carlos opened his mouth to ask the man where he was going but closed his mouth. It was not like he knew the city well enough to know what the place would be. So Carlos headed on towards the kitchen where Minnie hummed, scraping the eggs off the plate.
" Good Morning", Minnie said smiling.
" Morning", Carlos said nervously.
" Hope you like eggs. I didn't get the time for grocery shopping lately. I hope this will do", Minnie said as she handed him his plate.
" Don't worry. It's okay. Thank you", Carlos said thankfully, returning a smile.
" Your welcome", Minnie said sweetly as she returned to the stove.
The Miller couple was as sweet as could be. An optimistic duo, a loving couple that would've fit the Auradonian mould of a 'perfect couple' well... perfectly.
It made Carlos wonder why they were in Canvas in the first place.
" So, what do you all do for fun around here?", Carlos asked.
" We blow stuff up. Play pranks on each other. Save damsels. Go on chases", Minnie said as she placed a glass of juice next to Carlos," But mainly blow stuff up".
" Was yesterday an introduction then?", Carlos asked.
" More or less, dear"
" Huh", Carlos said quietly.
" Well, what do you in Auradon for fun?", Minnie asked.
" Oh um... plenty of things. We have parties, gaming, tourney, concerts. All the range, minus what Canvas and the Isle does", Carlos said.
" Sounds boring", Minnie said sitting down," Auradon wasn't like that last time I was there".
" Yeah, well, a lot of things can change in 15 years", Carlos said," What... what was Auradon like back then?".
" It was always an adventure everyday back then", Minnie said smiling," You see, dear, when multitudes of different kinds of people come together, it equals a beautiful kind of chaos. One that I'm sure Auradon lacked before you lot went there. There was spice, but now it's kinda bland. And now that when spice is added, suddenly their tongues are burned and they're crying to their mothers about the 'mean spice'. That's why you all are here. They don't know how to handle you".
Carlos nodded, understanding her words.
" Y'know, we never minded the villains. They were quite the characters, very relatable", Minnie said, much to Carlos' surprise," I never did like the idea of the Isle".
" Why?", Carlos asked.
" Seemed like a bad idea since the beginning. They nearly were going to ship Pete there but Mickey took him back", Minnie said quietly," Pete changed greatly from our first moments, we could even confidently say he was a good man. Auradon didn't like that. It was all black and white to them. They didn't see the gray like we did...".
" But... villains are evil?", Carlos said confused.
" I'm guessing you're using your mother as an example", Minnie said chuckling," You know, I never took Cruella de Vil seriously. Never got what was scary about her, no offense. So she was gonna kill a bunch of puppies, so what? Cruella was a fashionista that specialized in fur fashion. I still own one of her earlier coats. She changed her direction a few months after that incident, but still got sent to the Isle for a crime she was trying to make up for".
Carlos frowned, his mother never told him that.
" So if she wants revenge, that's Auradon's problem now! We're done with those high-tailed snoots. They locked us up here, so they get what's comin' to them", Minnie huffed.
Carlos was quiet until her last statement," What do you mean locked up here?", he asked.
Minnie's eyes widened, not intending to say that," Just finish your breakfast before it gets cold sweetie", she said quickly before getting up to leave the room.
Carlos scratched the back of his neck confused. Her behaviour was very odd. And he was determined to figure out...
What exactly was going on here?
End of Chapter 13