Naga lounged in his throne, listening to Lilim’s approaching footsteps. There was the creak of a door opening, and Naga grinned broadly as a voice sang out,
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art far more lovely and-”
Jaba’s voice was abruptly cut off by the sound of a violently slammed door. A pot skidding across the tiles merged with the sound of Lilim’s continuing footsteps.
There was a groan and a clanking sound as the Jaba righted himself and hopped after Lilim. Undaunted, the Bajarl tried again.
“Oh, my love’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in-”
“GIGAFLAME!” Lilim shouted. There was the sound of roaring flames, then a pot clattered to the ground.
Naga barely contained his laughter as the large double doors were flung open and a very harried looking Lilim stormed into the room. She tried to keep her voice under control, but Naga could hear the undercurrent of anger beneath that bored, calm tone.
“You really should do something about that Jaba, Naga,” she said. “That’s the fourth time this week that this has occurred.”
“Why, Lilim, aren’t you the one who always said I should be more lenient with my underlings?” Naga asked. “Are you suggesting that I order this Jaba to stop solely because he irritates you?”
“I am suggesting that you order him to stop for his own good,” Lilim said through gritted teeth. “Because if this continues, I will kill him.”
“And risk Master Moo’s wrath?” Moo could actually care less about his underlings, but the Jaba was powerful. A pity Lilim was far more useful than the Bajarl/Joker mix. Moo wouldn’t allow Naga to kill her if she actually did carry out her threat. But it would be a legitimate excuse to punish her… “I thought you were wiser than that, Lilim,” Naga taunted. He was in control of the situation, and Lilim knew it, too. Unless she was just too angry to care.
“Well, it’s nice to know you do use your brain for something, Naga,” Lilim replied. “Now, why did you summon me?”
“…” As he had for her last three visits, Naga made a great show of trying to think. “…I forgot.”
“Again, Naga?” Lilim asked. “You’re getting very forgetful of late. Perhaps you’re getting too old for this.” She turned to walk out of the lair.
Naga waited until she was almost at the door before exclaiming, “Ah! Now I remember!” He had used the “I forgot” excuse to get Lilim close enough to Jaba so that he could annoy her. But if he overused it, the little witch would get suspicious. Naga would have to find some reason to keep her in the lair. But for now… “Locate the traitors, and notify Captain Knight Mocchi (Mocchi/Durahan) of their position. The Knight Mocchis will take care of the rest. You are dismissed.”
Lilim left the room in even more of a rage than when she had entered, if that was at all possible. Naga heard a clanking sound out in the hallway.
“One fairer than my love?
The all-seeing sun
Has not seen her match
Naga smiled. Revenge was so sweet.
“Why is it-” Thorn began.
“Be quiet,” I said.
My name is Pixie, and we were currently plowing through snow that was knee-deep for Big Blue. Thorn had recovered enough to walk a few days ago, and she seemed to be back to normal. She was walking a few paces behind Big Blue, using the path through the snow he created.
“Ya didn’t even let me finish my question,” Thorn pouted.
I sighed. Freezing my tail off did not exactly put me in the mood to listen to her stupid questions. Unfortunately, the cold seemed to make Thorn want to ask them even more.
“I don’t care what you’re question is!” I snapped. “Just be quiet!”
“Ya never let me have any fun,” Thorn whined. “Ya know, ya should walk, or fly, or something. It might help keep ya warm.”
“Be quiet, I know. Fine, I’ll shut up. If ya want to freeze, that’s your problem.”
I sighed again. With any luck, she’d be quiet for five minutes before starting up again. But it wasn’t very likely.
Lilim smirked. She may call herself Thorn, but she was still the same old Nemesis. It would take more than centuries of sleep to change that. And it would take more than some idiot Knight Mocchis to get rid of her. Now, how to take care of that Jaba…and annoy Naga in the process? Lilim laughed mirthlessly as a thought occurred, then vanished into the shadows.
“Surrender or die, chi!”
I glared at Thorn as she burst out laughing. Unfortunately, this only made her laugh harder.
“Mocchis…” she gasped between fits of laughter. “Wearing…galoshes…”
I sighed. It looked like Thorn would be even less use than usual in this battle.
“What’s so funny, chi?!” Captain Knight Mocchi demanded. Thorn laughed still harder. I took a moment to size up the baddies. The Knight Mocchis were light enough to stand on the snow instead of falling through it. Which meant they would have an advantage over Big Blue and Thorn. Not that Thorn would be much help anyway. She was still laughing helplessly.
“Chi! Stop laughing at us, chi!”
Thorn laughed so hard that tears started to form at the corners of her eyes. “But…but ya…hahahahahahahaha!”
“Oooh…” A vein popped out on the Knight Mocchi’s head. “Knight Mocchis attack, chi!” The baddies tightened their ring around us. “ROLL ASSAULT, CHI!” They curled themselves into balls and spun madly, then launched themselves at us.
I leapt off of Big Blue’s shoulder. “LIGHTNING!”
Captain Knight Mocchi flew backwards into the snow, but three more of the baddies slammed into me. Big Blue caught me in his arms as I was knocked back and shielded me from further attack. The Knight Mocchis bounced harmlessly off of his stone body.
“Knight Mocchis retreat, chi!” shouted the captain. The baddies bounced away over the snow.
“Ow…” Thorn groaned from behind me. I got up and flew over to where she was lying facedown in the snow. She groaned again and pushed herself upright. “Why do ya think they ran off?” she asked. “Do ya think they needed new galoshes?”
“Be quiet,” I said.
“But they were winning,” Thorn said. “Why’d they retreat when they were winning?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “And I don’t think I want to find out.”
Far beneath the frozen ground, a shadowy figure watched the three on a computer monitor. Recognition filled her ocean blue eyes, and she zoomed in on the one trailing slightly behind the other two.
“Well,” she muttered. “It’s about time you got here.”
She stood up slowly and stretched her wings, then proceeded to walk down one of the corridors that honeycombed the bleak and desolate place that she now called home. Her footsteps rang on the cold metal floor, echoing loudly in the silence. It was almost as if the place itself was mocking her with its emptiness.
Lilim walked quietly down the hallway. Finally she found him, looking through a book of poems.
“No, no, this’ll never do,” he said as he frantically leafed through the pages. “I’ve got to hurry and find the very best. She deserves the very best! No, even the very best isn’t good enough for her!” He sighed romantically.
“Oh, Jaba,” Lilim said innocently.
Jaba spun around, dropping the book. “Oh, Lilim!” He hurriedly picked up the book and began leafing through it as though his life depended on it. “Um…uh…”
“There’s no need for that, Jaba,” Lilim said, placing a hand on his arm. He shuddered in pleasure at her touch. “Jaba, I was wondering…” Lilim continued, “…would you do a small favor for me?”
Jaba’s face lit up. “Oh, yes, yes! Anything for you!” he shouted eagerly.
It took all Lilim’s control to keep from snickering. The simpering fool. He would do anything she asked if he thought he had a chance at pleasing her.
“Could you give this to Naga for me?” Lilim pressed a small package into his hands. “And, Jaba, don’t tell him who sent it.”
Lilim headed back toward her cave, a devil’s smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
“Get ready, chi,” Captain Knight Mocchi commanded. “As soon as they come, chi, we combine our Mocchi Cannon attacks to take out the Golem. Once he’s down, the other two will be easy, chi. Understand, chi?”
The other Knight Mocchis saluted him. “Chi!”
Back at Naga’s lair…
“Don’t move, Jaba,” Naga hissed as the Bajarl tried to hop away in his pot. He carefully unwrapped the package Jaba had given him, then blinked as he saw its contents. “A potato?”
The potato abruptly blew up in Naga’s face.
“What is the meaning of this?!” Naga demanded, coughing soot out of his mouth.
“M-M-M-Master Naga!” Jaba stammered, clearly as shocked as Naga himself.
“Who gave you this package, Jaba?” Naga hissed softly, his pupiless yellow eyes boring into the unfortunate baddie.
Jaba remained silent.
Naga nearly exploded with rage and tore him limb from limb, but then something dawned on him, and he snickered in triumph. There was only one monster that Jaba would remain silent for, would in fact do anything for. The little witch.
Lilim was hoping to get Naga mad enough to dispose of the Jaba for her. But Naga would never do that, for the same reason he wouldn’t get rid of Kyoko and her Vanities, despite their failures. It was worth tolerating anyone if it would annoy that little witch.
“You may leave now, Jaba,” Naga said. The Bajarl hastily left the room, and would doubtless be preparing some romantic nonsense as soon as he reached the privacy of his room. Now, to find some way to keep Lilim in the lair…
“Yikes!” Thorn shouted, throwing herself to the ground.
Big Blue turned, only to be hit square in the chest by a huge beam of pink light. I quickly flew off his shoulder as he toppled to the ground.
“Big Blue!” I gasped.
Thorn slowly got to her feet, glanced at the unconscious Big Blue, then stared at the horizon.
“Oh, shoot,” she said. “The Mocchis wearing galoshes are back. Huh? Weren’t their galoshes yellow before? Why are they blue now? Do ya think they really did have to get new ones?”
“Stop asking useless questions and do something!” I shouted.
There was a flash of pale green light. An umbrella fell into the snow.
I sighed. “I guess there isn’t any chance of you doing something useful in this battle?!”
Thorn shook her head. “Probably not.”
I cursed under my breath as the Knight Mocchis came to a halt a few feet in front of us.
“Now we’ve got you for sure, chi!” shouted Captain Knight Mocchi. “ROLL ASSAULT, CHI!” Once more they curled into balls, rolling madly, then flew out of the snow at us.
“LIGHTNING!” I shouted, but as I zapped one Knight Mocchi another crashed into me. Before I could recover enough for another attack, three more of the baddies were on top of me. The last thing I saw before losing consciousness was Thorn, vanishing beneath a mound of pink bodies as she futilely swung her umbrella.
She tossed her light pink braid back over her shoulder, watching the battle with interest shining in her ocean blue eyes. “Not yet,” she muttered. Her eyes flicked to the elevator that would take her to the outside. “Soon,” she whispered. “Not yet, but soon.”