Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Insert Cliched Halloween Clipshow Here (part 3 of 5)

The music was almost deafening, and drowned out most of the agents speaking, and even the DDR machine. Karissa and Charis, who were currently making use of the machine, were falling over themselves as the obnoxious singing threw them off the music that they were supposed to be dancing to.

"When the moon shines, on the cow shed! And we're rolin' in the hay! All the cows are out there grazing. And the milk is on its way!"

Everyone groaned loudly, as Harriet and Jess seemed to bounce higher and higher on the bouncy Jack-o-lantern. This was their second rendition of this particular song, and they had just finished treating everyone to a rousing round of "I've got a brand new combine harvester".

"I am a cider drinker! I drinks it all of the day!"

As they sung they clanked their cider bottles together and took swigs. It was amazing that they had not managed to spill any over the bouncy castle.

"I am a cider drinker! Soothes all me troubles away!"

"Here it comes..." Tash muttered, all too familiar with this song (it was one of Harriet's regular drinking songs).

"Oh arr oh arr aay! Oh arr oh arr aay!"

The sober leader palmed her face into her hand. On her shoulder, Adrian had hidden his white kitten face into her neck, and had his paws clamped firmly over his ears to try and block out the noise.

"How long can they go at this?" Valerie asked, awe in her tone. "They've been bouncing on that thing for fifteen minutes and not been sick... or spilt any cider... or bounced that jack-o-lantern right through the ceiling."

"Hmm..." Tash's gaze was fixed somewhere in the region of Jess and Harriet's chests as they flung themselves around the bouncy Jack-o-lantern. "Not the only thing that's bouncing..." She noticed no less than seven pairs of eyes on her and blinked. "Oh like I was the only one thinking it!"

"This is one of the longest music recitals we've ever had," Terrie stated. The rest of Val's team were nodding in agreement. "Worse than the time Michael got hyper on British chocolate and sang Without Yugi for two hours straight..."

Everyone turned their heads back to the Twister mats, where the epic game was still going on.

"Emotion Marcus!" Michael was groaning, trying to twist his head to one side. "Get your butt out of my face!"


"Right foot yellow!" Miri shouted, interrupting the argument. Claire gratefully moved, her foot, which was twisted at an awkward angle. However she missed the circle and accidently kicked Michael's hand out from underneath him, sending her boyfriend crashing on top of her. Both of them were flattened against the floor, with groans of pain.

"Hmm...this is an angle we've never tried before..." Michael commented, as soon as he realised just how he had landed. Claire wriggled out from underneath him and crawled between the other players and off the mat. Michael followed, with a slightly relieved expression.

"Thought Marcus, left hand blue," Miriku instructed. Shaking, Thought Marcus stretched and leaned as far over as he could for the only free blue circle within his arm length. At the movement next to him, Doug wobbled slightly and gave Thought Marcus a small nudge with his hip, and the thinking half of the Society agent landed face first onto the mat, his glasses giving a nasty crunch as they impacted with the floor.

"Thought Marcus is out," Miriku stated, wincing as Doug fell over too with a thud. "So is Doug."

Grumbling, Doug got to his feet, while Thought Marcus just scurried over to a sofa to inspect his glasses, and was immediately wrenched to his feet by a surprisingly military looking Aster. Doug straightened the bent pieces of paperwork that made up his costume (he was dressed as some kind of paper monster – apparently parodying the Society's ridiculous amount of pointless paperwork) and made his way over to what was left of the food, and began searching for any decent sandwiches that had been left by the hungry agents. It was gratifying to see that most of the plates had been completely cleared – he had been one of the agents who had volunteered to help Rhia do the cooking for the party.

Cristoph materialised, as he always did – seemingly out of nothing, and approached the table too. He did not appear to have dressed specially for the evening, preferring instead to remain in his ninja outfit.

"A word of advice Lord Doug," he said. "Don't go near Aster – she has had a great deal of sugar and is trying to start a dance."

Doug paled. "What dance?"

"The Haruhi dance I believe."

"You mean that torture that she's been putting us through learning each anime class for the past three weeks? The reason I got whacked around the face with a metre stick and could not see straight for seven hours? That's considered dancing?"

"Apparently so," Cristoph nodded in a grave manner.

"...the author does not want us to survive with our sanity intact, does she?" Doug asked, stuffing a sandwich into his mouth.

"You have sanity?" Cristoph asked in surprise, for he had always been under the impression that he was one of the saner members of the Society.

Neither of them noticed Emily nearby, chewing her lip in worry, before sprinting out of the room at top speed.


"What are you two doing?"

Adrian and Tash seemed to shrink to half their sizes in their seats, as their stern looking teacher stood above them, metre stick in one hand, copy of Azumanga Daioh in the other.

"I look up during my class and I see the Society leader and the Librarian at the back of the classroom, not doing their work," Aster sounded incredibly fierce. "Were you two making out under the desk?"

It was hard to tell who went more red – though most people would have said Adrian by a shade. Tash attempted a suck-up smile, which just came off as incredibly nervous.

"We were doing extra curricular activities!"

Aster peered over the desk and saw a spread of cards on the floor. "You two were playing YuGiOh under the desk?"

"Its anime!" Adrian butted in. "It counts!"

"Skiving your assignments to play a children's card game is against classroom rules!" Aster declared. "You both get a penalty!"

She placed her stick in the centre of the field and swept the cards all over the place.

"Hey!" Tash wailed. "I was winning!"

Adrian snorted. "Like hell you were! I was two moves away from beating you!"

"Oh please! I had a counter already set u-"

The metre stick slammed between the two of them, and they jumped and faced their strict teacher.

"Sorry Aster-sensei," they both said in unison, hanging their heads. Aster seemed satisfied, and turned to face the front of the classroom.

"Let that be a lesson to all of you. Playing YuGiOh under the table in my class is a bad idea! Now, onto Azumanga Daioh..."

She trailed off as her eyes settled over the seats belonging to Michael and Claire, situated in the third row of desks. The couple were nowhere to be seen, but Aster's ears had just caught a small giggle coming from the floor, and she marched straight over and slammed her metre ruler on top of the abandoned desks. The couple gave startled yells and reappeared in their seats, blushing furiously.

"Lazy students," Aster muttered. "Now, as I was saying..."


"Hey, who requested that flashback?" Tash demanded, hands on her hips.

"Don't look at me," Chrys was shifting uncomfortably, already anticipating the moment she would fall over during this dance routine.

"Shh! The music is starting!" Aster said excitedly, as Ben (who was stretching his limbs after the marathon game of Twister) hit the play button on Harriet's laptop, and Hare Hare Yukai began to blast from the speakers.

Aster immediately began to sing along, while the rest of the agents who had been roped into dancing just copied the dance moves half heartedly (with the exception of Chrys and Tash, who were actually trying to do the dance right). Thought Marcus was having difficulty seeing through broken glasses and tripped over his own feet, before just giving up, walking away from the dance in disgust, and going back to watch the Twister game. Charis was doing okay, until Pete stumbled into her, and the two leaped away blushing furiously.

"Sorry!" they both squeaked in unison, before backing out of the dance. Several agents snickered at their retreating backs, including Tash, who was being shot dirty looks by Aster, for the coins on her outfit were doing a good job of drowning out the music being made by the laptop's limited speaker volume.

Finally Adrian (who had been clinging fearfully to Tash's shoulder throughout the whole dance) leaped off her shoulder and morphed back into human form in the midst of the dance. About half the dancers (those who had not seen his costume) burst into giggle fits, and Adrian seized his girlfriend and picked her up over his shoulder.

"Adrian!" Tash screeched. "Put me down!"

"Nu uh!" the Librarian declared, marching away from the dance, and over to a vacant sofa. "I was getting nauseous, sitting on your shoulder while you danced."

He dumped her onto the sofa, before sitting down next to her, and yanking her into his lap. Tash squirmed, but not that hard.

"You're mean..." she declared. Her boyfriend's response was to kiss her on the nose.

"You don't really believe that. Now pet me."

Tash was going to object to the other, but Adrian pulled the cutest face he could muster, his eyes going wide and watery, and his ears flattening to his head in the most adorable fashion. His tail swished slowly from side to side and his fur seemed to triple in fluffiness. Tash gave a moan and immediately succumbed to the kitty eyes, petting his ears softly. The Librarian purred.

"You know that face will kill me one day..." Tash muttered, but she could not be mad for long – her eyes had just been drawn to the bouncy Jack-o-lantern, where Harriet and Jess were still bouncing. Doug slid slowly down one side of the inflatable, and loomed over the two, rustling his papers in a creepy fashion.


Both girls screamed and raced away, leaving Doug to fall over himself laughing. He gave a yell however, as one of Cristoph's ninja stars seemed to materialise out of nowhere and embedded itself into the plastic. There was an almighty hiss and air slowly began to escape from the bouncy castle.

"Someone should go help him," Tash muttered absently, still stroking Adrian's ears, as a Doug-sized form flailed from within the deflated plastic.

"Uh huh..." the Librarian replied absently. "Really should..." He squirmed into a more comfortable position and began purring. Tash sighed.

"Well don't volunteer immediately or anything..."



Waking up in pain was nothing new to Adrian. He had lost track of the number of times he had got himself involved in a fight that had a bad outcome. Such was the life of a hero – you were destined for a world of pain, and a multitude of suffering. But you still didn't give up. When life flung pain in your face, you got back up and carried on until your body was on the verge of breaking apart.
What was new to the Librarian, was the Library hospital. Normally when he regained consciousness after a fight he lost, he was either still in the same place he had passed out in – his opponent having died at the same time. Or he was being held prisoner by whoever had captured him…he had to shudder as he remembered the last time that had happened, and he immediately banished the horrific memories.

He rarely woke up in the Library after a huge battle that left him almost dead. Who would have moved him here when so few people knew its existence and could actually get in? Then his brain caught up with the situation. The Society must have moved him…

And like a flood, the memories of the fight came back, along with the pain his various limbs. Runoa had unleashed the Gate of Babylon. All those swords had flown at him… there had been pain, so much pain as he fought them off… and then the Society had shown up and…

His left arm had something warm and heavy resting on it, and he opened his eyes a crack. The light of the Library seared through his retinas, and he hissed softly. A hazy golden blob was resting on his arm, and the familiar tingling pins and needles sensation had settled there. It took all of his strength, but he managed to twitch his fingers softly. The blob gave a groan, and seemed to rise slightly. As Adrian blinked more, his vision came into focus, and he could see that the blob was actually Tash's head.

"Heh… silly Tashy. She's practically in the bed with me…" he thought in a disjointed manner. The Society leader was lying by his side, with her legs dangling off the end – she had obviously started out sitting and had fallen asleep while watching him. As he watched, she twisted her head around to face him. She was pale, except for the black circles of tiredness. Her eyes themselves were puffy and red.


The Librarian nodded slowly, wincing at the stiffness in his neck, and the pain that appeared as he moved. "Hello."

Tash sat slowly upright, staring as though she could not quite believe he was really there, awake and smiling softly at her. Adrian did notice that her fist was trembling from clenching it tightly. Then he realised that she had started crying again, and all of her emotions flooded out along with her tears.
"You're an idiot!" she burst out. "A stupid, heroic idiot! You know that?"

Her raised voice brought Valerie running from her office, and she immediately began to restrain Tash, who looked torn between slapping Adrian and sobbing all over him.

"Do you have any idea how bloody terrified I was?" she continued to scream. "Do you know what it's like to be shoved back and watch someone risk their life for you, and then feel them dying in your arms? Can you imagine what its like watching someone you lo-"

She cut herself off with a horrified look, and like magic, her crying seemed to double in volume to smother out the rest of her ranting. Valerie carefully lowered her onto the next bed, whispering that she shouldn't put Adrian through any kind of stress in his condition. The leader curled up and sobbed into her knees, while Valerie loomed into Adrian's line of sight, a relieved smile on her face.

"I'm glad you're back with us," the healer told him, glancing over her shoulder at the hysterical Tash. "So is she."

Adrian's smile widened. "I did promise I wouldn't die..."

"You still shouldn't have pushed yourself that hard," Valerie informed him, checking that none of his injuries had been disturbed. "What was the point? Runoa still got away, and you're going to be out of action for quite some time now – and you will be staying in this bed!" she added firmly, as the Librarian made to protest. "And believe me, I have plenty of ways of making you stay – and not all of them are necessarily fun for you."

Deflating, Adrian leaned back against the pillows, and allowed her to check his light reactions. "Whatever the doctor says."

Valerie gave a satisfied smile. "Good, you're learning... you look fine to me. No permanent damage except scarring, so a week in bed and another two weeks or so taking it easy – and by that I mean no missions what so ever –" she interjected before Adrian could ask her to define it. "You will be as good as new."

Adrian sighed. "Thanks Val."

"Any time," the healer assured him. "Now you rest. I'll be back in a bit."

She turned and faced Tash sternly. "Now no exciting him, alright?"

Tash muttered her response, but it seemed enough to satisfy Valerie, who hurried off, humming All I Ask Of You. The Society leader waited until she was out of earshot, and slid slowly off the adjacent bed, approaching the Librarian with her head hung. For a moment, Adrian was sure he was about to get yelled at again.

"...I thought I'd – we had lost you," she corrected herself.

Apparently the yelling was over.

"I know," Adrian nodded slowly. Tash swallowed hard and raised her head.

"Promise me... promise you'll never do something that reckless again."

Another sigh – this time heavier – broke free from the Librarian.

"I'm sorry Tash... I can't do that."

"Why?" the leader burst out. "Do you like putting yourself in this kind of danger? Does it make you feel good to know that we all worry ourselves sick when you get hurt? Does it?"

"Of course I don't like it!" Adrian retorted sharply. "But I've got no choice!"

"You always have a choice, Adrian!"

She was not screaming any more – now she had just gone back to hysterical sobbing, which somehow, Adrian found worse than being yelled at. Valerie had reappeared, and began to usher the leader from the hospital, telling her to come back when she was less upset. Adrian closed his eyes and went back to staring at the hospital ceiling.

"I wish I did have a choice Tash...but I don't."

The brutal truth of the situation was no comfort at all as he slowly drifted back to sleep.


Emily yanked open the next door and found one of the reading rooms that she was familiar with, and kept on running, not bothering to close the door behind her. She had to check on this as fast as possible. She had to find out what was wrong – because there was something wrong. She could feel it. Something was happening at this party and she was going to find out what.

She was thankful that the Library seemed to have sensed her intentions – the rooms seemed to be rearranging themselves to make her journey quicker. Some of the rooms and corridors were familiar, and some were not. Or maybe she was just nervous, allowing her frightened energy to propel her footsteps faster across the rooms. Maybe she was so anxious that she had completely failed to acknowledge that she had already walked through the rooms.

She should have guessed that something was going to happen. It seemed that the Society was one of those groups that were destined not to enjoy themselves. Fate it seemed, did not want them to have fun.
She came at last to the door she needed – Adrian's office. Normally neigh on impossible to find unless you asked the Library nicely for it and prayed that you were heading in the right direction. The door was unlocked (to her surprise) but she hurried through it, with no hesitation in her step, but rather trepidation all over her ten year old face.

She had been in the Librarian's office before – with Adrian himself present obviously – and she knew just where she was going. Her feet knew that what she was looking for was beyond this... she supposed it was a door. It was the same colour of the walls, and had no door knob, or handle, or keyhole. In fact were it not for the indent of couple of centimetres, she would never have known it was a door at all. She closed her eyes for a moment to check, and had no doubts. As a fictional character (of sorts) she could sense its presence, and knew it lay behind this door. Slowly, she reached out to push it...

And suddenly she was no longer in Adrian's office. Surprised (and a little fearful of what she might find) Emily peered at her new surroundings, after confirming that the door was still behind her for when she wanted to leave.

The room was dark. She could not tell where the faint amount of light was coming from, but it cast a haze over the high, stone arched ceiling. It was cold, and the stone floor was freezing her bare feet. Her senses urged her on, and she walked slowly, and nervously forward, trying to keep her eyes dead ahead to where she knew her goal lay, afraid that if she took her eyes of it for a second, it would vanish.

And yet, she found it so hard to focus – out of the corner of her eyes, half hidden by shadows, she thought she saw things... moving things in the darkness, too far away in the various nooks of the corridor for her to identify. Shadows seemed to creep along the walls, reaching out to ensnare trespassers and drag them into the darkness. She shivered, and her steady footsteps were interrupted by a shudder of nervousness, which seemed to echo forever.

She had never been in a crypt before, and she wondered if this was what they were like – they were certainly how she had always imagined them. Tall ceilings, stone everywhere like some kind of prison for the dead bodies. And the bodies themselves, lying on flat, open stone beds, covered in old flimsy white shrouds, shielding the decaying flesh and brittle bones from anyone foolish enough to disturb them. She remembered that tonight was Halloween, and suppressed a whimper as she wondered if this place was haunted.

It seemed like forever before she reached the end of the corridor, but when she did, she knew she had come to the right place. Piles of fresh books, manuscripts and half complete pages, which Emily knew were waiting to be sorted onto the correct shelves, lay still where they had been placed – which Emily knew was wrong. The books should be floating off to the correct section of the Library, to be catalogued and shelved by the Librarian, not just laying there doing nothing.

She took another step forwards and immediately fell back, cursing and rubbing her forehead.

Someone had erected a barrier, blocking her from reaching her destination. It was like a clear piece of plastic, and as Emily placed a hand gently on it, it felt as smooth as glass, before forcing her hand away like two positive sides of a magnet, placed end to end.

Beyond the barrier, lay the wall, cast in shadow, but the various sections of brick, wood, concrete, stone and paper were all visible, extending all the way up to the high arched ceiling. All forms of building material were mishmashed together and tied together with a chaotic collection of string, glue, cement and copious amounts of duct tape. Between the cracks in the wall, words oozed through, glimmering and shimmering in the low corridor light, before they dissipated like dust particles in the air. Wedges of paper were folded up and jammed between cracks in the wall, and as Emily watched, a small plothole slid open, and a new manuscript slipped slowly through, before the gap to Real Life slid slowly shut.

Emily pressed hard against the barrier, struggling to get through, but once again, she was forced backwards, landing on the floor painfully, the wall looming above her like an impossible challenge.

Something moved in the corner of her vision again, sweeping behind one of the archway pillars, and with a small scream of terror, Emily scrambled to her feet and bolted back the way she had come, trying to fill her mind with the one piece of information she had learned in this room in order to distract herself from her fear.

The way was shut, the Fourth Wall sealed off.



"What on Earth is that?" Valerie demanded, heading into the reading room. Adrian was leaning back on a sofa, occasionally looking up when there was a particularly loud echoing crash from the hallway, obviously anxious about the state of his Library. Marcus was buried behind a book titled "The 1000 most Memorable Quotes of all Time". Harriet was reading a copy of All Out Cricket, her laptop in front of her, drafting a letter that was no doubt intended to insult the bowling, batting, fielding capabilities and general appearance of certain English cricketers.

"Tash chasing Blake with a frying pan."

The leader's voice was casual, as though she were doing nothing more than reciting a shopping list. Valerie's eyes opened wide and she turned to face the source of the disturbance.

"Shouldn't we go help him?" she demanded. Harriet shrugged.

"Personally I think he deserves it..."

"Harriet!" Valerie's voice was heavily reproachful. "Whatever he's done it doesn't warrant being chased!"

"It does when Tash is PMSing," Harriet corrected.

"You women use PMS to excuse anything," Marcus muttered, looking up from his book in time to see Harriet's head swing round sharply, and her most evil glare (which was usually reserved for cricketers by the names of Matt Prior and Steve Waugh) affix itself to him.

"What did you just say?" she snapped, and Marcus thought better of repeating himself – he was rather keen to leave the reading room with all pieces of his anatomy attached where they were supposed to be.

Bang! Bang!... CRACK! Thump...

"...Tash knocking herself out with the frying pan." Harriet filled in for the confused people.
"Hooray!" Adrian cheered, his kitty ears twitching. "I can eat my oreos now without fear!" And he shot off to his office. Valerie sighed, and turned her head in the direction that the rampage had been coming from.

"I suppose I'd better go patch them up. Can you help me move Tash please Harriet?..." She blinked several times, having turned her head back to the sofa, to find that the leader had mysteriously vanished. "Umm... Harriet?"

"Oooh Adrian!" the leader's voice echoed the way the Librarian had vanished. "Did I hear you say something about oreos?"


"These flashbacks are getting really annoying!" Rhia complained.

"Yeah, they interrupt me every time I try to eat..." Tyler whined, replacing the cupcake on his paper plate. Rhia blinked at him in surprise.

"You're eating after what happened earlier?"

Tyler looked confused. "Of course. I just choked on a stick. It's not like I'm dying..."

Rhia was sorely tempted to point out that he could have died, but decided that it was not worth the effort. Clearly it would take some sort of miracle to stop Tyler from eating, though she was still mystified as to where the small agent put the weight – mystified and a little annoyed.

"Hey guys!"

Rhia was not particularly pleased to hear Jess's voice – especially not when it was that giggly. The buxom brunette had spent most of the last quarter of an hour headbanging along with the music (no one had wanted to tell her that it was not really the kind of music you headbanged to). Rhia and Tyler approached Jess, to find her leaning over another of the sofas, carrying a sleeping Charis in her arms. On the sofa was Pete, snoring softly as he dozed.

Before either of them could stop her, Jess placed Charis on the sofa, and began rearranging the two bodes so that they were cuddling in their sleep.

"Awws!" Harriet giggled, sitting on the end of another sofa. There was a surprised squeak, and Harriet realised too late that she had sat on Tash's feet. The leader broke away from kissing her boyfriend (who mewled in annoyance) to rub her sore toes.

"Harriet, you sat on my feet!" Tash complained.

"Oh noes!" Harriet wailed. "What will we do?"

Adrian lifted one pale eyebrow as he regarded the tipsy leader. "Should we take her to bed?"

"Oooh please!" Harriet sounded entirely too enthusiastic about that, and too late, Adrian realised what his sentence had implied, causing him to blush a furious shade of red, and morph back into kitty form, in order to better hide under the sofa.

"Awws!" Harriet pouted. "No kitteh..." She flopped lethargically onto Tash, burying her face somewhere in her chest. "Mmm... Hello Tashy's boobies."

Sighing heavily, Tash slipped an arm around her friend, and hauled her unsteadily to her feet. "Come on Hati. Let's get you some carbs."

As the duo made their way unsteadily to the tables of food, Emily bolted into the room, her face pale, and her eyes searching the masses hastily as though any second something would happen to prevent her finding the one person she really needed...

"Emily?" Valerie's voice was tight with concern, particularly when she saw the young girl's face. "Are you okay?"

"I need to find Adrian," Emily said urgently. "Right now!"

"He's under the sofa," Valerie informed her, pointing at the sofa across the room, where she could see a distinctive white furry tail poking out from underneath. Emily muttered a brief thanks, before pushing through the crowd and forcing her way to the Librarian. Valerie's forehead was still pinched in worry.

"I hope everything is okay..." she muttered, before turning back to her group of friends. Her eyes widened.

"What happened to my Reese Cups?" she demanded, pointing at the empty plate. In unison, all her friends pointed to Chrys, who had chocolate smeared in the corners of her mouth, and was blinking innocently.

"...what? Aster was going to eat them..."


"Damn it, this one is tough!" Michael growled.

Its a level seven Stu you fool, the Darkness replied sarcastically. Did you expect this would be a walk in the park?

"If you don't have something helpful to say-"


There was just enough time for two snake-like tentacles to block the blade, an inch in front of Michael's nose, before a third one exploded through the middle of the Duel Spirit and caused it to vaporise on the spot. Michael staggered to his feet, sword in hand, sweat plastering his hair to his scalp.

In the middle of the park stood the Stu, surrounded by numerous Duel Spirits, most of whom Michael was not familiar with (the author of this particular fanfiction had made a deck full of original and insanely overpowered cards for their character, before said character had decided to break free and go on a Stuish rampage). Two more of them charged for the Society agent, but before they could do anything there was a cry of "Juari-Ken – Tairenso!" and both spirits went flying through the air, their bodies wreathed with flames, before they exploded into nothingness. Tash landed a little way off, and gave Michael a wide grin.

"So Victorious Reginald... whatever your name was," Tash shrugged her staff over her shoulder and waved a Prohibitor in her hand. "You ready to come quietly?"

"Like hell I am!" Victorious removed the cards from his active Duel Disk and shuffled them back into his deck. "If I can't outfight you, I can still outduel you! I challenge you both!"

Michael and Tash exchanged a look, before smirking at each other and activating their own duel disks. This one had enough arrogance to fill a duelling stadium – defeating him would be no problem, even if his deck was overly powered.

"Game on!"


"Michael?" Claire poked her boyfriend hard, and he ceased his spacing out.

"Huh? Sorry baby," Michael blushed. "I was having a flashback."

"Another one?" Claire sounded worried. "That's the fourth tonight. This isn't normal at all."

She swiftly got off her boyfriend and to her feet, hurrying over to the food table, where Harriet was eating her way through a very nice looking pile of sandwiches. Tash was drinking a small shot glass filled with chocolate from the fountain that Rhia and Doug had finally managed to get working. Various agents were now gathered around, sticking bits of fruit or marshmallows in to coat them in warm sticky chocolate.

"Hey!" Ben whined. "That's not fair! The author of this story said in her note for this chapter that there would be cake, not chocolate fountain!"

"Only when she completes the story," Drake corrected, chewing a piece of chocolate covered apple slowly.

Ben blinked. "So...the cake is a lie?"

"The cake is not a lie!" Miriku hissed at them, throwing her head back to finish her chocolate shot. Claire blinked slowly, and wondered why the fourth wall was not breaking, before turning to the person she needed.

"Tashy?" Claire approached the leader. "Michael says he keeps having flashbacks..."

Tash frowned and placed her half full shot glass on the table, wiping the chocolate off her lips as she did. "That's strange... there have been so many going around tonight. Maybe I should talk to Adrian about it."

She was distracted as Harriet knocked one of her sandwiches to the floor. The leader's face fell.

"Oh noes!" she cried. "What will we do?"

Tash sighed and scooped the sandwich up, throwing it into the rubbish bag tied to the end of the table. "Not eat it, for a star-"

She was cut off, as for the second time that night, a platter crashed to the floor – this time knocked over as a body slumped onto the table in what seemed to be a dead faint, and knocked the food flying.

Panicked descended and frantic voices instantly filled the room.


"Drake? Say something!"


Adrian barely registered Emily, clinging tightly to his coat, and casting fearful looks at the shadowed niches along the corridor. His concentration was focused entirely on the wall before them, that for reasons beyond his comprehension had been blocked off from him and everyone else.

"This is impossible!" he whispered, shaking his head. "This is just impossible!"

And for the first time ever, Emily heard fear in the Librarian's voice.

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