Chapter 54
by Warteen

---In the hall outside Milady's chambers in the future---

**Carrie and Queen Raine paused in surprise for only a moment at the sight of the five figures before them. Despite both being attractive women in their twenties, they'd both seen worse many times over.**

Carrie: Looks like it's out of the frypan, and into the fire...

QR: Fire... Fireball!

**The blast of flame shot from Raine's fingertips into the surprised-that-a-mere-woman-could-react-so-quickly Chad, and hits him square in the chest, knocking him over... and out.**

Alpha Werewolf: (snarling with glee that something finally shut Chad up) Wow. *realizes what's just happened* I mean... GRAAAARRRHHHH!!!

**Ha-Kee quickly leans down and grabs the Time Key from the The Great and Unconscious Chad.**

TGUC: Rrrmmm...

QR: We've got to get out of here.

Carrie: I couldn't agree more. But how?

**It looks like, despite the minor victory of silencing Chad, the two women are gravely outmatched. No surprise blow will be taking down Skull, Hacker, Ha-Kee, or Alpha Werewolf. The four fighters of evil, despite their mistrust for each other, are brought together by the common enemy. They prepare to strike...**

Ha-Kee: (gestures at Chad) I wasn't looking forward to this imbecile's manner of "fun", anyway.

Alpha: (pauses for a moment and looks at Ha-Kee) You're gay, aren't you?

Ha-Kee: What? Shut up.

**Despite this bit of comic relief, the situation is very serious, and potentially deadly.**

Skull: Ready?

Hacker: Ready.

**Hacker and Skull concentrate for a second, and, faster than the eye can see, are directly behind the wary women. Each of them delivers a megaton punch to their respect target's head, and Raine and Carrie go down hard.**

Alpha: HEY! That's OUR job! GRRAAAHHHH!!! It's not fair! I come all this way to hurt some people, and you FREAKS won't even let me!

Hacker: Enough.

Ha-Kee: Seriously... shut your muzzle.

Alpha: Grr... Well, can I at least finish them off?

Ha-Kee: I don't see why not. Everyone loves a little death and destruction.

**Alpha Werewolf jumps up and down like a little girl. Carrie looks up weakly from the stone floor, just in time to see Alpha's claw coming down towards her head, but she can do nothing to stop it...**

---In the main chamber---

Milady: Wake up. We've got work to do still.

**Jon Marlinspike gets up shakily.**

Jon: Where's Satin?

Milady: She left. But... she got the key. And- (gestures at Diamina) we've still got to worry about that one.

Diamina: (thinking out loud, as she's so apt to do - VERY loud) Talk about rotten timing! My half-sister shows up, and this bunch of kids is here to fight off my gesu, right when I decide to get Milady once and for all!

**Jon surveys the room. It appears as though the gesu have lost the fight. Warteen beheads another of them, Queen Laine blasts one of the remaining few with her magic, and Bartender, Palios, Future Chad, and Bob the Ninja have clearly been able to hold their own as well and are unharmed. However, Carrie, Raine, and Monkey are nowhere to be found. Jon also notices another presence missing right away.**

Jon: (panicked) Where's Grame?!

Milady: It's all right. I sent her to follow Carrie and Raine.

Jon: Oh.

Diamina: ...tough being an evil genius these days! And a beautiful one at that!

**Apparently, Diamina has been yapping all this time. Warteen kills the final gesu after it hisses annoyingly at him. He then turns to Diamina in a heroic pose, shutting her up.**

Warteen: The show's over, you psychopath! Your monsters are all dead. Surrender now!

Diamina: (amused at this display) Dead? Oh ho ho ho! No, my dear boy. That was merely my first wave.

Milady: What!

QL: No!

Bartender: You're bluffing.

Diamina: Am I?

**Sure enough, as she says this, more shadowbeasts begin to crawl through the window where she entered. The forces seem to be smaller than the first time, but they are still formidable.**

Diamina: HA HA HA HAA!!! Never underestimate the great, the beautiful, the amazing Diamina!!!

Warteen: Crap...

**Warteen, Bartender, Bob, Palios, Future Chad, and Laine square off for battle once again, but tired and weakened, they know this will not be easy. The monsters await Diamina's command to overrun the travelers. For some reason, though, Milady and Jon both visibly relax.**

Laine: Um, guys...

Milady: It is all right. There's no need to worry.

BtN: What?

Diamina: Skull! Hacker!

---back in da hall---

**Alpha's claw plunges to kill Carrie by impaling her head... not a fun fate. Luckily for all lovers of Her Slightly Scottish Babeliness, the claw never connects. Instead, Alpha is perplexed to hear a "clang" noise when his claw hits... YES! Monkey to the rescue!**

Monkey: Ook ook!!!

**Monkey's cymbal blocks Alpha's thrust. Then, he quickly knocks Alpha out with a blow to the head.**

Alpha: Yipe-!

Ha-Kee: What the...!

**Monkey "ooks" angrily and leaps at Ha-Kee. Before he can react, he is on the ground, unconscious, next to Chad and Alpha.**

Skull: Hmm.

Hacker: That chimpanzee seems to be rather powerful.

Skull: Indeed.

Hacker: What say you?

**Monkey turns, realizes that these two are not friends, and glares at them.**

Diamina: (from the chamber) Skull! Hacker!

Skull: Looks like it's time to go. (looks quickly at Chad, on the floor) Good riddance.

Chad: (drearily) Smeeguldy-wum?

Hacker: Let's go.

**Skull and Hacker exit, stage right.**

QR: Thank you, Monkey!

Carrie: Yes, we owe you our lives.

Monkey: (bashfully) Ook...

QR: Let's get back to the others.

Carrie: Wait, what should we do about these three?

QR: I would say, stay as far away from them as possible.

---in the chamber once again---

Bartender: What do you mean, it's all right?!

Diamina: Yeah! As they can see, you're clearly outmatched!

Milady: Diamina, you fool... of course I'd be able to see through your illusion!

Diamina: (still trying to put on a brave face) Nonsense!

Warteen: Illusion, huh?

**Warteen struts over to one of the new shadowbeasts and puts his sword through it. It doesn't react.**

Warteen: Neat!

**He rushes directly through the beast and knocks Diamina over.**

Warteen: You know... hitting a woman is a pretty liberating experience!

QL: (chuckling) Dork.

**Skull and Hacker rush into the room.**

Hacker: You rang, mistress?

Diamina: Fools, get over here!

**They run past Warteen and over to Diamina. Nobody tries to stop them.**

Warteen: Huh? Who are you guys?

Diamina: Time to get out of here, my loyal subjects!

Warteen: Hey! You're not going anywhere!

Hacker: Yeah, yeah...

**The shadow-griffin that Diamina rode in on reappears at the window. She hops onto it along with Skull and Hacker.**

Diamina: Until next time, suckers!

**Diamina and her two cronies ride off into the sunset.**

Warteen: Dang it...

**Grame, the Microlanthe (a.k.a., naked fairy) flies over and wordlessly resumes her resting place in the crystal around Jon's neck. Carrie, Monkey, and Raine walk in not too far behind her. Carrie rushes over and embraces Jon and then Milady, and finally Chad.**

Jon: Looks like everything's all right, now.

Carrie: Not quite. Chad from the past and two warriors are out in the hall.

Bartender: These warriors... a big ugly dog and an effeminate elf-guy?

Carrie: That's them.

Raine: Yeah, Alpha and Ha-Kee.

The Old Chad: Ah, those two... I remember them well.

Warteen: Hey, what was the deal with that hand-slicing thing earlier? Is that really what you want to be doing to yourself?

Chad: I'm sorry... I lost control of myself.

Warteen: Well, it happens. So what do you suggest we do about them?

Chad: No idea.

Milady: They're from your time. I'm sure you'll figure out what to do with them.

Warteen: *grins* I'm glad on it. It's about time that Chad got what was coming to him.

Milady: Before you go... Bartender, why'd you bring everyone here?

Bartender: There are some things that I can't understand, that need explaining. Oh, and we were in big trouble. That key was supposed to take us somewhere safe... Hey, it didn't do a very good job with that! I guess we're safe now...

Milady: Well, I suppose I'll tell you what I can. Please, leave us for now, and go take care of Chad.

Warteen: You got it, ma'am.

**Laine, Raine, Warteen, Bob, Monkey, Bartender, and Palios head out into the hall. Bartender's the only one who really knows where they are at this point, and he lacks the comprehension to fully understand the situation. Future Chad, Jon Marlinspike, Carrie, and Milady are left behind.**

Carrie: Who's going to clean up this mess...

Milady: We'll worry about that later. Right now, we have to concern ourselves with those travelers.

Jon: What do you mean?

Milady: I see now what kinds of problems this time traveling can cause. In a way, it's good that Satin took that key.

Carrie: I don't understand any of this...

Milady: I know, and I'm sorry I haven't been fully honest with you. But there will be plenty of time for that later...

Chad: So, if the key's gone, how are we going to set things straight?

Carrie: Wait... Uncle Chad, your past self and his goons couldn't have come here with Bartender and his gang.

**They all realize something and rush into the hall.**

---in the hall---

**The adventurers come upon The Great Chad and his cronies, who are now waking up, slowly...**

Warteen: Chad! You've done your last bad deed! We're going to put you away for a long time!

TGC: Uh oh.

BtN: Can't I just kill him in one on one combat?

All: No!

BtN: *sigh* Fine.

Warteen: C'mon. Let's take him back to Milady. Then we can figure out how to get back to our time. I really think everything's going to be all right, now.

TGC: Noooooo!!!

**Ha-Kee whips out the time key that he's been holding.**

Ha-Kee: Take us all to the Master, back in our own proper time!

**The adventurers, Alpha Werewolf, Ha-Kee, and The Great Chad disappear... just as the four from the future rush in.**

Chad: Hmm. Well... I guess that problem kind of took care of itself.

Milady: Strangely enough... it did.

Jon: Shouldn't we be worried about them?

Milady: I don't think so. They've proven many times before that they can handle themselves. Besides... we've got more pressing matters to deal with right now.

Carrie: But, Milady. I'd really like to hear more about your past, and your relationship to that child, and that awful woman...

Milady: Fine. I'll tell you all while we clean up.

---in the Master's main chamber, in the present---

Master: All right, child of Erronius... you have no idea what kind of pain you're in for.

Michelle (yep, that's her name): .....

Master: As soon as my lackeys get back...

Michelle: .....

Master: (spewing flames) SHUT UP!!!

**Yes. She IS unconscious in Milady's magical cage. Suddenly the portal in the chamber opens. A weakened Ha-Kee, Alpha Werewolf, and TGC fall through, followed by Bob, Bartender, Warteen, Queens Laine and Raine, Palios, and Monkey.**

Master: What in the...?!

**It only takes the Master a moment to realize what has just happened.**

Master: Well... well done, Chad! It looks like I underestimated you!

Bartender: Crap, crap-

Warteen: ...crap! We know!

**Warteen doesn't even bother pulling out his sword. He knows it'll be no use against the Master. There is one thing that has worked in the past, though...**

Warteen: RUN!!! RUN RUN RUN!!!

**The adventurers scatter out of the room. The Master can't react quickly enough to get to all of them, but he successfully grabs Bob.**

BtN: Haaaa!

**Bob punches him in the stomach. Of course, this wouldn't affect the Master normally... but, if you'll recall, Bob is one of the ringbearers now, and he just punched the Master with the ring. The blow literally floors the Master.**

Bartender: Nice hit, Bob! Now run for it!

**Bob complies. TGC, Alpha, and Ha-Kee can only watch helplessly from the floor as all of the adventurers successfully flee. The Master gets up a few moments later.**

Master: Don't worry... They won't get far. There's no easy way out of here. And Milady will be back soon - her magic will trap them easily. Now, you three fools need to do something about this ringbearer... and capture the rest of them!!! MWA HA HA HA HA!!!

Alpha: Ah heh, you're so brilliant, Master... *passes out*

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