Chapter 38
by writerdee

*the heroes freeze and stare up at the blazing green eyes of The Master. BtN automatically shifts into an attack stance, and the Bartender shifts to the balls of his feet, assuming the stance of a pro-wrestler ready to take down his opponent. Warteen and Laine look at one another, then back at the two crystals that are still standing behind them*
Warteen: We can't do anything for them now. *glances up at the Master* Not yet anyhow.
QL: Maybe not, but there's no way that I'm letting another one of my friends be destroyed.
The Master: *laughs evilly and focuses his gaze on QL* Do you honestly think that you can stop me, little girl? I have already destroyed the last threat to me. There's nothing that you or any of your pitiful friends can do.


*Raine stalks angrily back into the little house, upset that Warteen has invaded her little paradise, upset that Laine left with him, and upset, most of all, that she knows that she was wrong.*

Mom: Raine, darling, how about you go and get changed? Your father and I are taking our only daughter out to dinner.
QR: Only daughter?
Dad: *walking over to QR's mother, wrapping his arms around her lovingly* Of course, darling. Just the three of us, like it's always been.
QR: No. No, it hasn't. You're wrong. *turns to the mantle where, an hour before, pictures of the two girls had graced the polished wood there are only pictures of Raine*
Mom: It's what you've always wanted, isn't it, Raine?
QR: No! No, it's not! It's never been what I wanted! *turns against them angrily, raising her hands to the sky in threat* This is all Warteen's fault!


The Master: You're only real protection is gone.

*BtN looks down at his feet, knowing that the one The Master is speaking of is Erronius, the one he has failed to protect. He sees on the ground the shattered peices of Erronius' crystal, and a rage erupts inside of him, clouding his vision with a red haze.*

BtN: He was the greatest man I've ever known. Kind and forgiving...

*The Master turns to Bob and sneers.*

The Master: Shut up you insolent pest! You know nothing about the man who I have destroyed.
BtN: *crouches down and picks up a peice of the crystal* He was like a father to me...

The Master: WHAT did you say?

*the peice of crystal in BtN's hand begins to glow, and shift. After a moment, BtN is holding in his hands a small gold ring, with a gaggle of lions engraved on it*

BtN: Erronius' ring...

*suddenly the crystal holding QR begins to shake, and QL turns to it quickly, a terrified look on her face. Storm clouds are gathering within the crystal around QR's sleeping form.*

QL: *turning to The Master* Leave her alone! She's trapped in your little false paradise, just let her be!

*The Master turns to QL, missing the appearance of the ring in BtN's hand. He glances at the crystal, genuinely confused at the storm clouds brewing within the crystal*

QL: Leave her alone!

*The Master grins evilly, a flash of white teeth in the shadows. *

The Master: I haven't done a thing to her. She seems to be destroying herself.
QL: Nooo! *She turns to the crystal, wrapping her arms around it in protection, and her form slowly shimmers and disappears back into the crystal*
Warteen: Laine!! *He starts forward, but suddenly realizing that if he touches the crystal he will be trapped inside as well and unable to protect his friends, he turns to face The Master* Oh, it's on now.


QL: Raine! Raine, stop it! Please! *QL is running towards where the little house once stood, but now stands only a pile of ashes.*

*QR emerges from the smoke, walking slowly, as if dazed. When she sees QL, anger flits across her face, and her eyes glow a dangerous shade of red*

QR: Trying to deceive me again, are you? Bringing her back? Well I know, now. I understand now. *QR holds up her hands, and a ball of fire begins to grow between her palms*
QL: Raine! Raine, wait! It's me, it's really me!
QR: That's what they said too...


*The Master sighs wearily and shakes his head*

The Master: Haven't we been through this already? *waves his hand and has Warteen flying across the room...and into TGC's crystal, which instead of crashing into, he quickly disappears into*
The Master: Oops. Didn't mean to do that. Oh well. *Turns back to BtN and the Bartender.* Guess it's just us three...

*Monkey jumps up onto BtN's shoulder, as if insulted at being left out, and shakes his fist at The Master*


*Warteen sails across the polished floor, until he crashes into a huge stack of comic books, which tumbles down atop him.*

Warteen: Oof!
TGC: Who DARES to disturb my comics? I will have his head!
Warteen: *picking himself carefully out of the now scattering of comic books* Chad? Is that you?
BtN: Sire, it is only your loyal stableboy, Warteen.
Warteen: *coughs as he carefully replaces a mint copy of Spiderman #15* Stableboy??
TGC: *bored* I thought he was supposed to be sleeping in the barn by now...
Warteen: Oh, that's it... *turning, and upon seeing BtN first, doubles over in laughter* Oh, he'd be ticked if he saw that...
BtN: Excuse me?
Warteen: *knowing that BtN is not real, and not truly his problem, he shakes his head and turns to look at TGC, surrounded by beautiful women* You know, out of all the paradises, this is the most obvious...
TGC: What is the stableboy babbling about?
Warteen: Oh please. When was the last time you saw a stableboy appear out of thin air and slide across your floor? *stalks toward the throne, and finds himself faced with two enormous white tigers. He stops in his tracks* Nice bodyguards...
TGC: I thought so.
Warteen: Listen...Chad...this isn't real.
TGC: *laughs* That's all you got?
Warteen: I mean it! This...all of's just a product of your imagination. Bob would never wear a have never been able to obtain this many collector comic books...and come on, like all of these women would be fawning over YOU once I walked into the room?? *TGC raises a brow on the last one, and Warteen shakes his head* You get my gist, right?
TGC: *considers for a moment, then glances at BtN* Throw him in the dungeon for mutiny.
BtN: As you wish, Sire.
Warteen: What? Oh come ON!


The Master: Oh, isn't that cute. The monkey wants in on the battle. *Opens his palm and blows, and Monkey flies off of BtN's shoulder and crashes into the wall*

*BtN looks up from the ring, which he has now slid onto his finger, to The Master*

BtN: Why don't you concern yourself with someone who actually poses a threat to you, Master?

*The Master laughs evilly, before seeing the golden ring glowing on BtN's finger*

The Master: Where did you get that? Well, it doesn't really matter...there must have all six to defeat me...and you only have the one.
Bartender: Six, eh?
The Master: *turning to the Bartender* Ah, he speaks. Yes. Six. *sighs* Erronius had six children, and into their rings he bestowed all of his power and blah blah blah... Only those six rings, together, hold enough power to defeat me, and you'll never get I commence with killing you now?


Erronius's Voice: Onto the six who love me as mentor and father, I do bestow my power. Together their power is greater than all others. This trust and love must be held in their hearts for all time...


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