Dawn in San Francisco

Villains

That unicorn had not been a unicorn at all! Kevin couldn’t understand how he hadn’t noticed the first time, it was so blatantly obvious the second time around. His best guess was that Aurora’s now equally obvious case of the cray-crays might be causing her magics to waver a bit.

So now they knew who were behind it all. The Ladies of Summer and Autumn he had already deduced were at the centre of it all, and the centaur butler and the ward were to be expected, as they worked for lady summer. Kevin was, however, quite surprised to see that one guy from class with them. Granted, he had always seemed like a bit of a douche, but kidnapping and conspiring to end the world seemed a bit extreme. But then again, they weren’t very close – and if you were a psycho, Kevin figured, you’d probably only reveal that to your closest friends.
And if you were friends with a psycho you might get kidnapped and turned to stone – that’s why it was so important to choose your friends with care.

But that was neither here nor there at this moment. There were more pressing matters at hand currently. Like, for instance, the world being about to end. They should probably do something about that. But after they had finished taking care of that, Kevin wanted a cheeseburger. And 12 hours of sleep. And to not meet any royalty for at least a year.

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Cabin in the Woods

Kevin sat uncomfortably, doing his best to not shake. He was in a tiny cabin deep inside great forest populated with psychotic unicorns. So far, Kevin concluded as he attempted to calm down after narrowly escaping the unicorn, it seemed that near-death situations did not become less terrifying the more of them you had – but he hoped that he would not get the opportunity to do further research on that particular subject.

The pizza party had not gone as well as expected, although there was still a chance that Hazel would come around – especially as she seemed really fond of Marco. If she didn’t, though, then whatever information they could gain from the Mothers would be crucial. Because they were running out of time. Summer solstice was approaching, and with it, the end of the world as they knew it.

Kevin recalled how calm things have been, just a week ago. His life had mostly consisted of tinkering with his bots and hanging out with Gwen. Those had been good times. Then, suddenly, everything had changed because some of the most powerful fae in existence decided that maintaining appearances was more important than averting a war or saving the world. It had been exciting at first – it still was, from time to time, whenever he managed to momentarily forget how expendable they were – but the layers upon layers of lies and schemes were taking their toll on Kevin… as was the impending doom.

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Post pizza party part 2

Wendy sat in the Mothers’ house, clutching at her knees on the low chair. Her heart was still pounding from running from the Black Unicorn. They had been doing so well, but then Elliot had stepped on a twig or something. She didn’t blame him though. I could have been any of them, and he had much bigger feet than she did.

They were here to ask questions, to find out whatever they could and try to navigate the inevitable riddles of fey kind. And her mind was blank. She hadn’t expected this, hadn’t expected the offer Leah would make so suddenly and she couldn’t think of anything to ask them. It was so stupid.

She was feeling… lost. They had hoped that the pizza party would encourage Hazel to be a bit more forthcoming, that seeing the sadness on William would make her feel guilty and she would admit the truth or at least reveal something. True, it was nice to spend time with other people, to just relax and remind herself that they were still teenagers. But she felt somehow that things hadn’t really worked out. Well, except for Marco. Apparently Hazel dug the sensitive farmboy thing.

And then this Leah had shown up, out of the blue offering them guidance and access. Why didn’t the queens give them something like this from the start. It was so hard to judge them, to tell if they really want the group to find things out or if this was just another game. She didn’t like being a pawn. These things felt too adult. Wandering the city, seeing the back alleys and the undercity and the semi-naked women that inhabited it was getting a bit much. She wanted to know, but when she found out she wished she hadn’t followed the smoke. Curiosity killed the cat and all.

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The Pizza Party Extravaganza

Marco just knew that the pizza party was a great idea and massive success. Everyone seemed to have fun, even if he did lose his cool a bit and break down in front of Hazel. But Marco was sensitive and that really couldn’t be helped. Lilly’s disappearance had started to take its toll on that poor boy and it was hard for Marco to see. ‘She better have disappeared against her will.’ He was starting to think, because if she just left on her own accord without so much as proper explanation… Well if that was the case Marco had a thing of two to talk about with her.

Unfortunately, like every over day that he’d been on this task, Marco had met two more people he didn’t trust. The first was Leah. The winter Queen’s second in command. She had acted pleasant enough and been quite helpful, and there was no denying that she was beautiful but he knew that she must have another side to her. One that embodied winter more. A cold, sharp side that Marco would rather not see. The other person he hadn’t trusted even when he didn’t know her. The winter lady’s reputation proceeded her. Thinking back on it he knew that she was, although honest, cool and calculating. There was no doubt that she knew how to play everyone around her and you only have to walk into her hall and look around to see what she does to people that displease her. But the thing that made Marco most uneasy about Maeve was that while in her presence all of these thoughts alluded him. All he could think about was what she wanted him to do and how he could gain her favour, this scared him more than giant plant monsters and demon horses.

And now they were in a house with THE Mothers. The all-knowing Fae. This was Marcos chance to ask them anything and suddenly it wasn’t all fun and games. The pressure of what they had been tasked to do had finally reached him. This was their chance to find out the answers to anything they could think of. So why in the name of Queen Willow could he only think about pickles!?

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Depressing Thoughts

Even the peaceful park and Inkahhhh jumping around couldn’t cheer Marco up. The last couple of days had been fun but they’d started to take their toll on him. It wasn’t even the amount of running from person to person or fighting big ol’ plant monsters or the fact that they seemed to be an ever growing number of sprites coming over for pizza that put a damper on his moods. It was some of the smaller things that just seemed to quell his joy.

The first depressing thought was about Lilly. She’s still missing and although Marco had a pretty good guess that Lady Aurora had something to do with it, they weren’t really any closer to solving that one. Her ex-boyfriend, who luckily turned out to be a wizard, cast a spell to find her but apparently it told him nothing. And the worse part of all of this? He still loves her! And she’s missing and he might never see her again. Just thinking about it brought tears back to Marcos eyes.

The second thought filled Marco with a mixture of anger and sadness. It looked like death was not going to be a rare thing in this task they had been given. It had even started with a death. But the thought that a life could be taken so mercilessly and without reason. And to make matters worse this atrocity had been committed by one of their own! Someone they had trusted! She didn’t even seem bothered about what she had done. The way Wendy had stamped that poor plant to death. It was something Marco would never forget.

The final thing that plagued Marcos mind was Hazel. She was locked away in what was less of a home and more of a prison. The only people she was allowed to socialise with were the vindictive Ladies and her brute of a guard. How she must yearn for the freedom and peace of the outdoors. Even with the current problems in the world and her inexperience, Willow was being too protective or her daughter. The Queens treatment of Hazel was almost cruel.

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Summer Garden

Wendy sat on the bench in Lady Summer’s garden and used her pencil to dig the remains of the plant out of her boot sole. She had ground it down to paste, and if she could have ground it to dust she would have. In hindsight, that had been stupid – they should have kept the plant to see if they could get any more clues from it. But at the time she had been absolutely terrified.

In the year she had been part of the fey world, she had kept to herself. She went along when she was summoned, and she made pretty regular trips to the Autumn library. Unlike in the human world, these were texts she actually wanted to study. But fey politics hadn’t been something she was interested in. After all she was only 15. She would be sixteen in the last week of June, but still. She was far too young for this sort of thing.

Watching that… thing drag Marco into the alley, and punch Kevin so hard in the chest he bruised, it had made everything real. And seeing it burst into flames, hearing it scream… looking back it surely seemed heroic, but she had been screaming inside and out the whole time.

Before she had been curious, and it had been like a game. Wendy had always loved detective shows and stories, enjoyed the thrill of the mystery (even though she was too impatient to wait and always skipped to the end to find out who did it). But this wasn’t a game. People had died, and her friends had been hurt. And Lady Autumn, the lady of her court, was a liar. She knew that the fey queens and ladies always bent the truth to suit their needs, but it hurt to hear to her face. She was glad she wasn’t a fey queen.

She dug the last of the plant out of her boot and cleaned her pencil off on her trousers. Lady Summer’s garden was beautiful, and her work was technically impeccable. But there was something about her statues that seemed a little off to Wendy. She couldn’t help but be suspicious of the woman. Maybe the others had found something out. She stood up to leave just as Lady Summer came out the back door.

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In the park

Sitting in the park, Kevin poked the bruise on his chest for the umpteenth time. Ouch. It was pretty sore, but it was nothing compared to how it had hurt last night. Who would have thought that giant plant monsters were so strong? he thought wryly. Although to be fair, it could also have been much worse – one of the perks of being fae was that you were less easily bludgeoned to death – although the dark lining of that particular silver cloud was that you were also significantly more likely to be attacked by giant plant mosters that wanted to bludgeon you to death.

Far more interesting than the plant leviathan, however, were its makers. The library, and Wendy’s highly sensitive bullshit-detector, both strongly implied that Lady Autumn was one of the creators – although she didn’t really strike Kevin as the villain type.
Far more likely was that she was an acomplice – she’d had to have help to create the Veggietron anyway – and at the top of Kevin’s list of suspect fairy ladies was Lady Summer.
She acted nice enough, but she was definitely up to no good. She seemed to be at the centre of all manner of fishy stuff, including the missing girl, and the wizard ward, and for someone who claimed to be a sculptor it was very strange indeed that she was better at gardening…

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Preparations

While sitting on the bus, which was taking her to her night job, Jay had time to reminisce about the bygone events. She was thrilled with the fast developing plot line in front of her and the number of mysteries which still remained unsolved, but promised even more juicy stories. When she thought about her fellow investigators she couldn’t help but grin inwardly: what a peculiar lot they formed. Of course, three high school kids weren’t particularly odd, yet every one of them, including her much loved little brother, had their own features which marked them as different, even within the queer microcosm of adolescence. Still, she was intrigued with them, as different was in her world view only another term for interesting. Normal people only made for boring life stories.

Jay wondered for a second what the kids thought of her and had to smirk. She could only imagine what rumours surrounded her character within the human realm. Well, she had nothing to hide, she only hoped they wouldn’t take out any prejudicial notions on Marco. High school kids could be so cruel sometimes.

Well, and then there was Chris, the Sidhe with the addiction problem. Jay was a bit disappointed that he had been so dismissive when she had asked him about his background, but of course her curiosity had only been fuelled by his secrecy. As she walked up to the bar “The Sticky Floor” in which she worked as a topless barkeeper, and rummaged through her purse to unearth her key card, she came upon the summer knight’s dairy. She couldn’t wait until she got home to have a closer look at the romantic story of Isabel and her formerly human lover.

Now, however, duty was calling. Jay looked at herself in the mirror in the dressing room right behind the taproom, as she applied her make-up. She had always been amazed at how easily humans attributed her changeling eyes to her make-up skills, a trick of the show lights or their own overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. But in the realm of glitter and forbidden fruits in the night clubs, it was always easy to blend in. Well, there were definitely more interesting mysteries to focus on than the readiness with which humans sought for their own deception.

Although she hadn’t thought twice about following Mab’s quest, as all of her Eshu essence had squealed with delight at the promise of an adventure, she wasn’t entirely sure of the Winter Queen’s motivations. Of course, clearing her name was a valid excuse, but Jay sensed a deeper plot behind Mab’s scheming. Well, whatever motivations had lead Mab to seek the help of this mismatched gang, Jay would have to wait to figure it out until after her performance. After a last appreciative glance at herself in the oversized mirror, Jay set her corsage straight, winked at her own reflection and followed the expectant cries of tonight’s crowd into the bar room.

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The Missing Mantle: The First Two Days.

During the bus journey home, Marco decided that he should run over the last couple of days in his head to get things straight. The last two days had been, in his opinion, so so so AWESOME! Not only had it rained frogs, but the summer and winter Queens, The Queens, had asked for his help directly. Okay they also asked for help from four other fey, and they said we are expendable, but still!

He just couldn’t stop thinking how amazingly awesome and exiting this is. And the best part about it to him was that his sister Jay had also been asked to help, and so no one will make him go to school. The only downfall to it is that if we succeed it’ll stop raining frogs. But then again if we don’t war will break out and pretty much everyone will die. Or so the Queens made it out to be. Marco himself wasn’t really sure what would happen if war broke out but it probably wouldn’t be good.

The others didn’t really seem to take Marco seriously though. He thought that they probably think he’s just some weird kid that’s dumb and just coming along for the ride. And he had to admit, they’re mostly right. To them he was a bit odd and he WAS just coming along because of a mixture of curiosity and boredom, but he is not stupid. No matter what they think. Marco wasn’t even sure that Jay even knew this but he was sure of it. Forgetful? Yes. Excitable? Yes. Odd? Yes. Childish? Probably. Short attention span? Definitely. Stupid? No.

As the bus bustled along the road Inka, the talking frog Marco had found during the frog rain, rolled over in his lap. What was he thinking about again? Oh yes the others that had been chosen to join in the detective work. Well there was Wendy and Kevin from school. Both of them are younger than Marco and both are Nockers. This was good because Nockers are easy to prank, obviously because it’s not that hard to stop a machine from working. But so far Marco had decided not to prank these guys because they’re… well… a bit up tight. They don’t really seem to like him and they only really seem to care about their ‘Art’ and how they are going to make something great. To Marco they just seemed to have a bit of a god complex going on. They think that they’re going to be the ones who create works of art that will the world will wonder to behold.

The other fey chosen to help was Chris. A Sidhe. And surprisingly cool. Mostly Marco didn’t like Sidhe, they’re high and mighty and full of an annoying sense of purpose, a bit like a couple of Nockers Marco had met. But Chris seemed a lot more laid back then the average Sidhe. He was actually quite fun to be around and he seemed to like to slum it which is cool, a bit like camping Marco thought. The only thing that put Marco off about Chris though, was that he seemed to be quite famous in the fey community. Possibly a glory seeker? He wasn’t sure yet.
With Toot Toot taking them to see Maeve tomorrow there didn’t seem to be much else to do. Now Toot Toot was someone Marco wasn’t too sure about. He seemed to give up the information on Maeve’s whereabouts pretty quickly. It was possibly a trap. Unfortunately they had no over leads and so not much of an option. Although, Marco looked between Jay and Chris who were sat ahead on the bus, they could always do something to get a little more prepared tonight. And if there was one place they could get any more information about Albert from, it was the morgue. Say what you want about human but they aren’t completely dumb and Albert’s death certificate would have his time of death on it and possibly some more important information they had missed.

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Expendable Heroes

Having parted ways with Toot Toot and his friends for the evening, Kevin found himself alone, and like a tidal wave his thoughts came crashing down on him.

Expendable. Hero. Neither were words which Kevin would like to describe himself with – or be described with. But apparently he was both:
To powerful queens of a realm most people didn’t even know existed, he was an expendable pawn; and to a group of his classmates, who apparently were familiar with his world but had never mentioned it, he was a hero-looking type of guy.
The former didn’t seem to bad, since the queens hadn’t given their task to him alone, but rather chosen an entire Scooby Gang for it, so they were in it together.
The latter bothered him a great deal more.
Firstly, as they knew about the world of fae, and that Kevin was a part of it as well, why had they never approached him before? Their kind was rare, and having friends that see the world the same way you really is invaluable. Second, Why would they not want to be fae? Why would they want to reject that world, in favour of the numbing mundanity of this one? And thirdly, why had they asked him for help, him alone? Kevin had been quick to share the plea with the Scoobies, but in the end the guy and girl had come to him for help. It felt like he was the one they would hold responsible for Lilly’s fate.

It all terrified him. He tried his best not to show it – after all, Wendy and the others seemed unfazed – but the truth was that he was panicking. His soul might be ancient, but in this life he was only 16 – too young to run around saving lives… far too young to die.

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