Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!
I should have posted this chapter like, three months ago. At least. So, so sorry!
The travelers left for the Wicked Wizard's castle the next day. Fai and Syaoran had acquired swords, and Sakura had found a small handgun that she hoped she would be able to use if she needed to. The guard, Watanuki, was escorting them to the gates.
"This is a bad idea!" he suddenly burst out, "You could get killed or enslaved if you go! I should never have let you in to see the witch if this was what she wanted from you!"
Sakura smiled. "I'm glad you did," she said, "I need to get home, even if it means doing this." The guard angrily mumbled something incoherent as they reached the gates.
The two girls opened the huge green doors and the travelers stepped out. Mokona looked around. "There isn't a yellow featherbrick road to follow this time, is there?" he squeaked dejectedly.
The guard shook his head, "There isn't any road at all to the land of the Winkies."
"Winkies?" Fai asked.
"What are Winkies?" Syaoran finished the question.
"They are the slaves of the wicked wizard. He also has giant bats that you need to look out for. Well, I can only take you as far as the Jade Gate. Good luck! I hope you come back!"
The doors slammed closed and the travelers set off on the new leg of their journey. They were silent for some time, until Fai spoke up, trying to lighten the mood. "Well, I guess that it's a good thing that I don't have a brain, I don't have the wit to be scared."
There was more silence.
"I guess that means that Kuro-tin doesn't have the heart to fail"
"I wouldn't fail anyway, you lump of hay" The steel man growled.
Meanwhile in a dark and spooky castle deep in the heart of the haunted forest, the wicked wizard watched the unwitting travelers through his magic mirror as they made their way over the difficult terrain. He laughed.
"Well, these people are stupider than I thou - I-I mean," he stammered as a servant walked into the room with more wine, "It is all going as I planned. Bats! Bats!"
There was a faint fluttering sound that got louder and louder and a slight breeze that turned into a gale as a huge number of giant black bats filled the room.
"All right my massive, monestrous, menacing minions! Go out into the haunted forest and bring me back the little girl with the feather on her bracelet. And bring me the dumb little dog too, it could be usefu - I-I mean, it is also part of my big plan. Now fly! Fly!"
Fei Wong Reed narrowed his eyes and looked around at the flying terrors. "Well?"
The leader bat made a bunch of high-pitched, squeaky noises that the evil warlock was somehow able to understand.
"You're tired!? What do you mean you're tired!? I created you to do my bidding, not to sleep all day!"
The leader bat made more noises.
"Okay, okay! I'll cast a spell that will get them really tired. They won't put up a fight. Now go!"
"Don't be a wimp! You can carry a little girl and a talking dog! Besides, you know what will happen if you don't."
The bats flew off.
Fei Wong Reed sighed, made sure that nobody was around, then slumped into his chair. This was going to be a long night.
"I swear," Kurogane groaned, "That this is the fifteenth time we've seen this tree!"
"But Kuro-tin, we've haven't made any turns!" the scarecrow protested.
The travelers were in a bright, sunny forest that had a clear path that traveled straight as far as the eye could see. Birds were singing their beautiful harmonies as chipmunks danced, and flowers stretched their silken petals up to drink in the light of the sun. Kurogane was suffering. He had expected fear and darkness, not over-bright happiness and sugary sunshine. The others had loved it, dancing along until they were worn out.
Syaoran bent down to examine the tree that the steel man had pointed out. "No, Kurogane-san is right." he said gravely. "I put these clawmarks here."
"Oh, very good Syaoran-kun!" Fai exclaimed as he put his hand on the trunk of the aforementioned tree. Mokona chimed in with a "Well done, Syaoran!" and Sakura looked over at the straw man. "What are you doing, Fai-san?"
"It's just as I thought." the scarecrow said thoughtfully. "This tree is the source of a magic that makes us think we're in a bright sunny forest. I'll bet we've been in the real haunted forest for the last six hours, and I'll bet we've been going nowhere." The steel ninja exhaled a stream of muttered curses. "But," Fai continued cheerfully, "If Kuro-tin will just chop this tree down with that shiny ax of his, the spell will break and we will be able to make some real progress."
"Why the hell does he always pick me?" Kurogane muttered to himself before releasing all of his pent up frustration at all things happy and bright on the object that had forced him to go through those six hours of torture. In a matter of seconds, the tree was on it's side. Then, the bright light and happy music of the pseudo-forest seemed to be getting sucked into the stump, leaving a dark, creepy forest with weird animal calls and skeletons of trees. Kurogane breathed a sigh of relief.
"Oh, wow!" The princess of Clow exclaimed. "How did you know Fai-san?"
The scarecrow looked thoughtful. "I know that I don't have a brain, so I know that I can say that I don't know how I know how to detect something that I know takes someone who knows how to detect to detect. Who knows, maybe I'm growing a brain?"
"I wouldn't know." Syaoran said, looking around at the drastically different scenery.
"Mokona knows that knowing how to know things is one of Mokona's 108 secret technics."
"Secret technics, huh?" Fai asked "Do you know what the others are?"
"I know that Mokona knows," Sakura complained, "But he says that no other people are supposed to know them. He won't even tell me!"
"Now I know how secret they are." Fai said, impressed.
Kurogane was losing the meaning of the word "know" in his mind. "Quit fooling around!" he shouted, "Something dangerous is coming this way, I kno-" he stopped short, not wanting to say that word. "Just be on your guard." he growled.
"Fai, what are those?" Mokona, sitting on top of Sakura's head, pointed up toward the sky. There were a bunch of murky black shapes circling above. Fai looked thoughtful once more. "They look almost like the crows that used to steal corn from me. But these are too big to be crows and the wrong shape."
"They're bats, I think" Syaoran said squinting at the shapes. Kurogane unsheathed his sword. "Be ready to fight." he growled, "Remember what that guard said, that the wizard has giant bats!"
No sooner had he said this than the monestrous things were on them. Kurogane was the only one who was able to fight though, the others were all worn out. The bats took Fai to pieces, Sakura lost her handgun, and Syaoran got knocked out almost immediately. Kurogane's oil can fell out of Fai's arm as the bats tore him apart, and the steel warrior was sure to grab it. Unfortunately, while he was doing this, the bats grabbed Sakura and Mokona and flew away into the darkness.
Gah! I typed the word "know" so many times, I think it lost meaning for me too.
I finally finished though, sorry about the long wait. Reviews keep me inspired, thanks Syaoran4eva who found my story a few days ago, I became motivated to finish this chapter!