Chapter 6: Into the Crawlspace
Dedicated to Stormgate for he has helped me through very tough times.
To the normal superhero, advanced hearing was a god send. It allowed one to listen for their villains through the wall or even hear a cry for help from afar. But Danny2 was no ordinary superhero and right now he hated his hearing.
Being trapped in a car with an old man was nothing, but having to deal with an old tone deaf man who was singing, was something else entirely. It was Danny2's personal idea of hell. Even ear plugs didn't work for him.
Danny2 wanted to reach over and possibly strangle Stan to death, but being the nice person he was, he didn't. Danny2 grumbled in the back as he admired his sword. He never truly got to use it, maybe someday he would use it.
Aren't you bored? Zorasil asked him as Danny2 nodded.
Of course, but I have to watch over Stan. Who knows what stupid plans he has? As if on cue a large black van swerved in front of Stan, forcing him to press the gas.
"What the?" Stan asked out loud as the van's doors opened up to reveal men in black suits. Danny2 was getting a very strange sense of deja-vu.
One of the guys knocked on the window as Danny2 phased out of the car. Stan would need some help to get out of this one. He quickly transformed into Phantom and silently began to take out each of the men in black.
"Are you Stanford Pines?" The man asked as Phantom stood invisibly behind him. All the suits were packed into the truck nice and neatly for them to make a clean getaway.
"Course I am! What do I look like? Chopped liver?" Stan asked as Phantom rolled his eyes.
"You're going to need to come with us." The man reached for the door, but Phantom knocked him out with the end of his blade.
"That takes care of it." Phantom said as he put the unconscious man into his van.
"Who are you?" Stan asked as Phantom looked around. He had to think of a name and fast. Then in the background he spotted a pitchfork.
"Diablo. My name is Diablo." Phantom said as Stan narrowed his eyes for a second before nodding.
"Alright, Diablo. Come on I'll give you a ride!" Phantom nodded and walked over to the car and got in. The car shot forwards before he could even put on his seat belt. Phantom sighed as he turned to Stan.
"Why did those men want you?" Phantom asked as Stan shrugged.
"Beats me. I'm wanted in almost every state in this nation. Can you believe that?" Stan laughed as if he was proud of his work.
"That is certainly interesting." Phantom said as Stan glanced at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Nice sword." Phantom looked down and nodded.
"Yes, a gift from a friend." Phantom replied as Stan nodded.
"I see. Why did you help me?" Phantom looked at Stan and hummed. "I mean, not everyone would help an old man like me."
"They reminded me of a certain group of people. They would hurt others that aren't human." Phantom explained.
"Really? That's awful." Stan said as Phantom nodded.
"Yes, they were called the GIW." Phantom explained as Stan nodded. "They would experiment on them and force their prisoners to undergo cruel and inhumane procedures. Up to the point where they would die." Stna gulped and gripped the steering wheel tighter.
"I see…" The car ride was silent as Phantom had a little conversation with Zorasil in his mind about the next whereabouts of Dan and his current goal.
"So where are you headed, Diablo?" Phantom shrugged.
"I am a wanderer. I go wherever I'm needed." Stan smiled.
"Really? That's cool. Then you and I are kind of alike. I travel, you travel. See, lots in common." Stan said as Phantom chuckled.
"You are a funny guy, Mr. Pines." Phantom said as Stan shook his head.
"Call me Stan!"
"I mean, he's smart and all, but he's just missing that manliness to him." Phantom hummed as they pulled into the parking lot
"Let him be his own person. I think he's just trying to prove to you that he can take care of himself. He doesn't want to be treated as a child. If i was in his position, I would feel the same way." Phantom explained as Stan nodded.
"So what you're saying is that I should push him a bit harder." Phantom sighed and got out of the car. "Wait one more!" Phantom looked at Stan. "My niece wants to have this bet on who can take care of my business better. Says that I should treat my employees better and try to think about the customer." Phantom nodded.
"Me on the other hand believes in discipline. If you treat your employees nicely then they'll walk all over you. And sometimes you have to think about yourself. If you can't make any money, how are you going to keep the place?" Phantom nodded once more.
"I understand what both sides are trying to say. But I think that both of you are right." Stan gave Phantom a confused face. "You could learn to treat your employees with a bit more respect, but you also need to discipline them. Not too much where they begin to hate you. Being nice to customers is always a win, but there's a catch to wanting to have money. Set prices moderately where customers would want to come back." Stan nodded.
"Eh, I'll make my decision later. Want to come in with me to the Cash Wheel?" Stan asked as he pointed over to the line. Phantom shook his head.
"Nah, I'll just walk around." Phantom said as he turned around and began to explore the city. It wasn't much, compiled mostly of outlets and weird shops, until one caught his eye. It was in an alleyway and a creepy door, but something about it was pulling Phantom towards it. He opened the door and found himself in a strange place.
"Where am I?" He asked himself out loud, not knowing he was already drawing attention to himself.
"This is the crawlspace!" A little guy answered as Phantom stared down at him.
"And you are?" Phantom asked as the little guy gave a little smile.
"I am the Hide Behind. I wallow away in the shadows, but there is something about you that brings me out." Phantom blinked. The Hide Behind? What kind of name was that? No matter, names or creatures didn't matter right now. He had to get out of this place.
"Okay, how can I get out of here?" The Hide behind shrugged.
"There are multiple entrances and exits and any of them can land you anywhere." The Hide Behind (I'm going to start calling him HB. Makes everything easier.) explained as Phantom sighed. He looked behind him only to see that the door was gone. He had to do something, he couldn't be locked in here forever.
"Is this a separate dimension?" Phantom asked as HB shook his head.
"All I know is that we are beneath the ground. Away from many prying eyes." HB said which captured Phantom's attention.
"Prying eyes? Who's eyes?" The HB shook his head quickly.
"No one! None whatsoever!" Phantom noted that the HB was shaking in downright fear.
"Okay… But what is this crawlspace?" Phantom asked, hoping to derail the conversation to something that made his new companion comfortable.
"The crawlspace is a market. You find everything you need here." Phantom took a step forward and was thrown into something like a farmer's market.
"GET YOUR HANDS FROM HAND ME DOWN HANDS!" Phantom stepped back before he was squashed underneath a huge crawling hand with a witch on top. He blinked and shook his head.
"So this place can give me anything?" Phantom asked and HB nodded enthusiastically.
"Yes! Though very illegal trades also happen down here." HB said as Phantom looked at different vendors. He looked at these weird capsules that had names on them.
"Would you like a repressed memory, young man?" Phantom looked up to see a guy wearing a red robe with a crossed out eye on the top of his hood.
"No, thank you." Phantom walked away with HB trailing behind him. "This place is weird."
"Unicorn hair! Come get your unicorn hair!" A vendor yelled out catching Phantom's attention.
"Unicorn hair?" Phantom asked as HB shied away from a skull with a candle.
"Yes, very useful for barriers and potions." HB explained as Phantom stared at the hair.
"What's the form of currency in here?" Phantom asked HB who hissed from a nearby candle seller.
"Trade. A fair trade, though some cheat people out." HB explained once more as Phantom smirked.
"Trade huh...What about stealing?" HB hummed.
"People steal, though many face the wrath of some vendors." HB said as Phantom smirked. He sent an invisible clone to grab one of the unicorn hairs and brought it back to Phantom, who expertly walked away as it went missing. "Ooohhh, you are good." Phantom chuckled as he looked around. There was a little store that had a worn out sign on top.
"The mask shop?" Phantom thought it looked interesting as HB began to shake once more.
"No, this shop is no good. The owner is very, very malicious." HB said with a fear slightly edged into his voice. Phantom smiled and patted the small creature on the head.
"Don't worry. I can take care of myself." Phantom walked into the store, hearing a small chime.
"Hmm…I've never seen someone like you before, young man." Phantom stared at the person, creature, thingy. It wore a trench coat and a small little fedora, but what caught his attention were the huge teeth. "But that's what you find down here in the crawlspace." Phantom narrowed his eyes as he looked around.
"You have quite the collection of masks." Phantom said as he turned his head, but the creature never left his sight. There was something to be cautious of in this shop.
"Yes, I take pride in my little collection of masks." The way he said masks sent a bad vibe down Phantom's back. Maybe HB was right, he shouldn't mess with this creature. "Ah! Where are my manners?" He held out his hand to Phantom. "The name's Mr. What's-His-Face." Such an odd name. Phantom shook his hand cautiously before quickly taking it away.
"Phantom." Mr. What's-His-Face seemed to grin even further.
"A visit from royalty, my shop humbles itself in your presence." Mr. What's-His-Face said as he did a slight bow. Phantom couldn't tell if it was in mockery or something else. "What does his majesty need of me?" Phantom decided to get done with this quickly.
"I need a mask. Something people won't recognize me in." Phantom said as Mr. What's-His-Face hummed.
"I have just the thing." He disappeared behind the counter then reappeared with a little wooden mask. "A gift from a wandering voodoo man." Phantom narrowed his eyes. "No need to be so frightened, it's not cursed or anything. But it will hide your face for as long as you want to." Mr. What's-His-Face handed Phantom the mask who took it gently.
"Can someone else take it off?" Mr. What's-His-Face's smile got bigger.
"No, only the wearer can take it off. In order to hide their identity in case something were to happen." Mr. What's-His-Face explained as Phantom looked at the mask from the other side and put it on. He could see perfectly fine and Mr. What's-His-Face held up a mirror.
His hair was the same, but the mask changed color. It was half blakc and half white. The little peepholes meant for the eyeswer glowing a bright green although the blac side had a little streak of stunning silver running through it.
"What do you want for it?" Phantom asked as he took off the mask. Mr. What's-His-Face chuckled as the room turned dark.
"A favor." Phantom looked at him.
"A favor? Of what kind?" Mr. What's-His-Face chuckled darkly.
"These are dark times, your majesty. A being from a different dimension has set his eyes upon our humble little town of miscreants. I'm sure that you are very well aware of it." Mr. What's-His-Face walked behind Phantom who gave a small imperceivable nod. "I want protection during those days when he rises from the askes and looks at us as prey without a leash to hold him back." His voice was right next to Phantom's ear.
"You want me to keep you safe? What about this place, it should be as safe as it gets." Phantom countered as Mr. What's-His-Face nodded.
"Very true, but you are one of few who holds the key to his ultimate demise. I am not the only one who senses it. Many creatures have already begun their preparations." Phantom looked down at the mask and sighed.
"Fine." Mr. What's-His-Face seemed to beam. "But on one condition." Phantom unsheathed his sword and held it to Mr. What's-His-Face's face. "If you dare hurt anyone who I deem a friend, you will meet your end. Understand?" The creature faltered a bit and nodded.
"Crystal." Phantom grinned and sheathed the sword before walking out.
"Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. What's-His-Face." And with that Phantom walked out of the store and saw HB standing nervously to the side. HB seemed to light up once he saw Phantom.
"Oh good, he did not steal face." HB said confusing Phantom.
"Steal face?" Phantom asked as HB nodded.
"He steals faces and sells them at high price." HB explained as Phantom nodded.
"Alright, now one more thing. Do you know anyone who sells martial arts?" HB nodded and started leading the way.
The Crawlspace was interesting and Phantom was glad to be out of it. HB was a nice little creature for being a black blob and everything. But Phantom got all that he needed. HB helped him find a little vendor that sold ancient martial arts that had to do with hand-to-hand combat as well as sword play. Though he did have to pay the vendor in little bits of hair.
Now Phantom had left a little note on Stan's car telling him that he was going to wander once more only when Phantom was floating invisibly in the air. He watched as Stan walked out of the recording studio and towards his car, dejectedly.
"I can't believe I lost everything!" Stan complained rather loudly as Phantom wondered what happened. Eh, he'll find out when he merges back together with the rest. And with that Phantom flew towards the direction of the Mystery Shack.
I hope that everyone is doing well in their little isolation. I know I am since I have to do schoolwork every week since they're piling on us to finish everything they give us. UGH! School is hell especially when they're online. I'm suffering, but I hope you guys aren't.
I'm sorry that I haven't published in a while, I was trying to figure out how to make this a good chapter for you all to enjoy, so yeah I hope you enjoyed this nice little chapter.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take care of yourselves. You don't want to get sick since so many people in the world have it. And I think that some celestial force is playing a game is Plague inc. If you guys know that game. But truly, please keep safe from the virus. There are people that are family friends who have died from the virus in my family and I don't want the same to happen to you guys. So please stay safe, use hand sanitizer, wash your hands, wear a mask if you go outside (since this virus is airborne for at least 30 min in the air). I really worry about every single one of you guys, so once more please be safe.
A special thanks to Stormgate for helping me through this little writing block.