Hold your head up high!
Raise your fist up in the air!
Play Metal louder than hell!
They can't stop us, let 'em try!
For Heavy Metal we would die!
-Manowar, Die For Metal
Raise your fist up in the air!
Play Metal louder than hell!
They can't stop us, let 'em try!
For Heavy Metal we would die!
-Manowar, Die For Metal
Ben fell onto a ratty sofa in the English Architecture room and let out an exhausted moan. Somehow he had gotten stuck with a double-shift on monitor duty and his eyes were killing him. He sighed and rubbed them. He had been busier than usual over the past several days, which was probably Michael's way of punishing him for his botched group training session. The result that was if he wasn't busy guarding the Sues, he was on cleaning duty. Or if he wasn't busy cleaning, he was on monitor duty for hours on end. He hadn't had any free time in ages.
Lily was off talking make-up and girl things with Charis and Karissa, and from the screams coming from the Archeology section, Shirley was settling some score with Dave again, so he finally had a few precious minutes all to himself.
Reaching over, Ben picked Bahamut up from where he'd leaned it against the side of the couch and slid his fingers across the strings, feeling the cool from the guitar's silver metal seep into his hands. He reached down below the volume control knobs and flipped a hidden switch, deactivating Bahamut's combat mode. Fishing a guitar pick out of his pocket, he plucked a string almost experimentally, letting a clear, high note hang in the air for several seconds before sending a second note up to join the first, then a third, slightly higher note, and a fourth, somewhat deeper.
Within seconds, the room was filled with music. Ben's fingers flickered up, down, and across the fretboard like a spider, his other hand hovering over Bahamut's body, blurring up and down as he nodded his head in time with an unheard bass and drum. Bahamut's wailing spiraled up into the air, the melody coiling around itself several times before slipping into a steady rhythmic riffing and back again.
Ben kept his eyes fixed on his left hand as it danced across Bahamut'sfingerboard, havinglong since lost himself in the music he was creating. The minute hand advanced steadily across the face of his watch as his impromptu solo continued.
Finally, Ben's hands began to tire and he ended his session with an ear-splittingly high note, ending in a blasting chord crash. Letting out a satisfied sigh, he reached over and started to tune Bahamut.
Ben looked up to see Jess walk in, applauding slowly. He chuckled, returning his attention to Bahamut's machine heads. "You heard that, huh? Thanks. What're you doing all the way down here?"
"I was chasing Leonard around when I heard your little concert," Jess said, moving some books off of a rickety old chair and sitting. "You sounded pretty good, so I thought I'd stop and listen. I must admit I'm a little surprised though."
Ben glanced up. "Surprised?"
"That was Power Metal, wasn't it? I figured you were more into Death Metal, what with Bahamut's alternate form and all."
Ben shrugged. "I'm kind of a Jack-of-all-trades. Death Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Black Metal, you name it."
"So what kind of Power Metal do you listen to?" Jess asked.
"Well, let's see." Ben said, finishing his guitar maintenance and returning his attention to Jess. "Manowar, HolyHell, 3 Inches of Blood, Alestorm, DragonForce, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Iron Fire and a little bit of Dream Evil."
"Ever listen to any Nightwish?" Jess asked hopefully.
Ben winced. "I've heard some of their stuff before, and it didn't exactly appeal to me. "
"Sonata Arctica, Epica, Tarot?" Jess pressed.
Ben shook his head. "Not my cup of tea. They're just not hard enough for me, and the only real symphonic bands I really like are HolyHell and Dimmu Borgir."
"Oh." Jess sounded only slightly disappointed. Then she got an idea. "You know," She said, "I play the keyboard. Mabye we could get together and jam sometime?"
"Sure!" Ben agreed, then frowned thoughtfully. "You know, I can't believe it's taken us this long to talk. I mean, we're the only real metalheads around the place, and we've been in the Society together how long?"
Just then their communicators beeped. "Has anyone seen Ben or Jess?" Michael asked. "I need them in the monitor room. We've got a Stu in the Metalocalypse fandom."
Jess raised an eyebrow. "Metal-what?"
Ben had gone deathly pale. Raising his communicator with one trembling hand he asked "Michael, where did you say that Stu was again?"
Michael frowned. "Metalocalypse. Why?"
Without responding, Ben dropped his Communicator to the ground, drew his Plothole Generaor and vanished through a Plothole.
Jess could only stare in shock at the spot where Ben had vanished for several seconds before picking up the protesting Communicator from where Ben had dropped it.
"What happened? Where's Ben?" Michael demanded when Jess came on screen.
"Michael," Jess said seriously. "I think we've just found Ben's Berserk Button..."
"So Ben just ran off?" Lily asked.
Jess nodded. "I've never seen him look so angry before."
Shirley was fuming so much she very nearly scorched the floor of the monitor room.
"Give me one good reason why I can't go after that idiot right now and grind his face into a bloody pulp on on the table saw in the Library's carpentry section." She barely managed to force out around gritted fangs.
"Because," Jared said from where he and Charis were scanning the Metalocalypse fandomfor any sign of either Ben or the invading Stu. "If you leave now, there'll be nobody to explain the fandom's plot to the readers!"
Rather than try and make himself heard over the sound of the Fourth Wall breaking, Michael settled for shooting Jared a dirty look.
"Just take a deep breath, Shirley." Michael said placatingly once the rumbling had ceased. "We want to get Ben back here just as much as you do, but we need to know about the fandom he's in first. What can you tell us about Metalocalypse?"
Shirley huffed and folded her arms. "It's a cartoon." She explained. "It's about this Death Metal band called Dethklok. There's Nathan Explosion as the lead singer, Toki Wartooth as rhythm guitarist, William Murderface on bass, Skwisgaar Skwigelf on lead guitar and Pickles the drummer."
Lily raised a green eyebrow. "Pickles?"
Shirley shrugged. "Hey, it's a cartoon!"
"So what's so great about these guys anyway?"
Shirley grinned, displaying all of her fangs. "They're the most famous, brutal, powerful and richest band of all time. Their fanbase is so enormous they have the 8th largest economy in the world! Their sheer economic strength dwarfs governments worldwide! All they have to do is mention in passing that they mildly enjoy a certain product, and that product's competition is driven to bankruptcy almost immediately! Or on the flip-side if one of their albums is even slightly delayed the worlds entire economy is driven into a depression!"
Lily's eyes widened. "You're kidding me..."
Shirley shook her head. "The Governor of Florida once made a disparaging remark about Nathan Explosion and the next day he was murdered by Dethklok fans who then procceded to elect Explosion as the new Governor on a landslide! And that's only a fraction of their power!"
"If they're that powerful, why haven't they registered as Stu's yet?"
"Because they're also complete idiots. I mean, they can't even go grocery shopping for themselves without screwing it up. They make Aster look like Steven Hawking."
"So is their music actually any good?" Jess asked.
"Are they any good?" Shirley asked disbelievingly. "The Real Life creators of the show have released two-full length albums of full songs by Dethklok. The first one was the top charting Death Metal album in history until it was supplanted by the second album which is STILL is the highest-charting Death Metal ever!"
"That would explain why Ben was so angry." Michael noted.
"So angry? They're his favorite band! Of course he's angry! I already told you how fanatical the followers of Dethklokin the show are! People are required to sign waivers releasing Dethklokfrom any legal responsibility if anythinghappens to them at their concerts, which usually does. Almost every one of their concerts ends in an accidental bloodbath!"
"And Ben just ran in there?" Lily demanded, aghast.
"Why hasn't this been put on the Blacklist yet, then?" Michael demanded.
"Apparently Ben's the only member of the Society who knows anythingabout it. And of course he wouldn't say anything if it meant he couldn't visit his favorite fandom anymore!"
Michael swore and moved over to the monitor banks. "Any sign of them yet?" He asked Jared.
"There is something interestinghere though." Charis noted, her fingers blazing across the keys. "The Stu is a relatively low level, but the amount of warping the fandom has sustained is staggering."
Michael grunted. "If this fandom is as over the top as Shirley claims, it wouldn't take much to push it over the edge. Do we have a lock on the Stu yet?"
Charis shook her head. "We're getting closer but it's going to take some time. Since the Stu is such a low level, it's difficult to pinpoint his signature through the fandom's warpage."
"What about Ben?"
"Same thing. The warpage is preventingus from getting a lock on him. We can tell he's inside Metalocalypse, but we can't tell when or where."
"It would help if we had some sort of tracking system." Jared put in. "This sort of thing's been happening way too often lately."
"Yeah, but if we did that we'd have to-" Charis stopped dead in mid-sentence and snapped her fingers. "Of course! Why didn't I think of this earlier?" Her fingers returned to the keys with lightning speed.
"What?" Michael demanded.
"Don't you remember that time Neb kidnapped Lily and we all thought Ben had turned traitor?" Charis asked.
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Tashhad figured out something was up even before Ben and Repiv tried to break into the Vault of Things Man Was Not Meant To Know, so she asked me to plant a tracker in Bahamut while I was fixing it. That's how Adrian and the rest even found Ben and Lily in those caves in the first place! But when they got back we forgot all about the tracker and Ben never came to me to have it removed! So unless something's happened to it, we should be able to-Got him!"
Jared and Michael both leaned over to get a better look at the monitor. What they saw made their eyes widen.
In the Metalocalypse Fandom...
The Tribunal was in session once again.
A shadowy cabal of military, economic, political and religious leaders, they had been formed in order to monitor the Death Metal band Dethklok, fearing that they were the ones from an ancient Sumerian prophecy that foretold the coming of an "apocalypse of metal". The Tribunal was headed by the mysterious Mr. Selatcia, who, despite being the leader of the Tribunal, refused to take action against Dethklok, ordering time and time again to let the band do as they pleased. The result was that Dethklok was unaware that the Tribunal even existed.
"Gentlemen, it seems that Dethklok has undergone a genre switch." Senator Stampingston, the traditional meetingleader began. He stood facingthe Tribunal, who were sitting at a long meetingtable, with his back to a gigantic screen displaying the face of a remarkably beautiful young man. With his long black hair and feminine features, he looked like any teenage girl's dream come true.
"About a week ago they recruited a new member into their ranks: Justin Cloudbreeze, and almost immediately they chose to change from DeathMetal into a boy band! And with the release of their latest album, DethLove, their popularity had reached new heights that make their previous levels pale by comparison." The screen shifted to charts displaying Dethklok's current and previous popularity levels. "Our Boy Band expert, Emily Emersingtonal can tell you more."
If not for the fact that she was dressed in a lad coat and wore no make-up, the woman who emerged from the shadows of the Tribunal's council room could have passed for a sorority queen or beauty pagent contestant.
"Now that Dethklokhas become a boy band," She began in a no-nonsense tone. "They have successfully broken down the last barrier that stands between them and world domination. Since their music no longer glorifies death, murder, mayhem and destruction, people, especially religious types and parents can no longer find any reason for complaint or cause to keep their music out of the hands of children. In fact, it's the opposite; DethLove promotes things like fidelity, honesty, loyalty, generosity, respect and compassion, not to mention the fact that their stage routines now feature some of the funkiest dancing in history."
The screen was now showing Murderface prancing across the stage in ways that would put "The Evolution Of Dance" to shame.
"How is this a threat?" General Crozier asked as Emersingtonal vanished back into the shadows. Crozier was the Tribunal's military expert and the one who most advocated active acts of terrorism and resistance against Dethklok. "Since they no longer play Death Metal wouldn't this render them ineligible for the prophecy?"
"Perhaps, but that is not our primary concern for once. Withthis change in genre and increase in popularity, their power has risen to levels that dwarfs their previous strength. Unless I'm severely mistaken, the only people in the world who are notDethklok fans are in this room right now."
There was silence for a long moment as members of the Tribunal let that sink in.
"Unless we do something to stop them here, they will become so strong it will be impossible to take them down at all. We have to act, now." Crozier growled, shootinga challenging look at Selatcia.
"And how do you suggest we do this, General Crozier?" Senator Stampingston asked.
"This Justin Cloudbreeze seems to be the key to all of this. If we take him out, Dethklok should be forced to revert back to Death Metal, or, better yet, the band might collapse entirely."
"We've sent assassins into Mordhaus before and not one of them have survived, let alone succeeded. What do you propose we try this time?"
"I believe I can help with that."
The entire Tribunal turned to see Ben emerge from the shadows.
"Who are you and how did you get in here?" General Crozier demanded.
"My name isn't importaint." Ben replied, secretly thrilled that he'd finally gotten an opportunity to say that. "As for how I got in here...well, I have my ways."
"And just what exactly is it that you want?" Senator Stampingston asked.
"Oh it's not what I want from you, it's what I can do for you."
"And what would that be?"
"Get me inside Mordhaus," Said Ben. "And I'll see to it that you never hear from Justin Cloudbreeze ever again."
"Oh, please, you're just a kid." Crozier scoffed. "What makes you think you can succeed where trained professionals have failed?"
"Let's just say I have experence dealing with people like him." Ben replied. "I'm member of an organization that hunts his kind, so I know what I'm dealing with."
"But why Justin Cloudbreeze specifically?" Senator Stampingston asked. "If you can take him out, why not the rest of Dethklok as well?"
"I have my reasons." Ben replied. The Tribunal didn't look convinced.
"Oh, c'mon," Ben cajoled. "You done this before and Dethklok still has no clue. If I succeed, the greatest threat you've ever known wil be eliminated. If I fail, then Dethklok will still be none the wiser that you even exist."
Selatciastared down at Ben from his throne-like chair for a long moment before finally nodding. "You have my permission to carry out this venture.: He said in a raspy voice. "General Crozier?"
"Yes, Sir!" Crozier stood and adjusted his uniform, delighted that he finally had clearance to take action. "If you'll follow me, Sir?"
Ben started to follow Crozier out, but paused in the doorway and turned. Selatcia was glaring at him suspiciously.
"Don't worry." Ben said. "By the time I've dealt with Cloudbreeze and left, you'll have forgotten either of us even existed."
Charles Foster Offdensenscowled down at his paper-covered desk. There was something...off about the bands newest member, but he just couldn't quite place his finger on it.
As the manager, legal council and general voice of reason for the richest and most popular band in history, he had entertained requests from the band that went beyond the realm of strangeness, but when they came to him with Justin Cloudbreezeand announced that they were becominga boy band he knew he'd heard it all. He had tried to reason with them (a nasty habit he had yet to kick), but gave in in the end, expecting them to forget all about it in a few days. To his surprise however, the idea had not only caught on, but it had taken off like a horde of fans after a free Dethklok concert ticket. Anyone else would have been concerned about the direction the band was headed in, but so long as the money was rolling in like never before, Offdensen was satisfied.
He had just picked up the phone to finalize some last-minute details about the upcoming Dethlove tour when an explosion of cheering almost made him drop the receiver. It seemed the costumes for the tour had come in a day early, the outfits boys had been waiting on impatiently. Offdensen briefly considered going down and joining them, but decided against it. There were calls to be made and things to be done. A manager's job was never done...
Justin Clearbreeze leaned back in the hot tub in Mordhaus' rec room, watching Dethklok cavortingaround the room like children, having the time of their lives tryingtheir color-coordinated outfits on. Justin never needed to try anything on though. Everything fit him.
It had been a simple enough matter to insert himself into the band, and now that he was in a position of power, he could begin to fix this screwed-up fandomin earnest. The first thing he did was get rid of Skwisgaar's and Toki's annoying Swedishaccents and had improved their English to the point where they no longer felt the need to add "s" to the end of every word.
Under Justin's influence, Murderfacehad lost his heavy lisp and after one notable incident involvinga set of dominoes and a kerosene lamp, he had been able to convince the bassist to stop urinatingon everything that didn't move (and a few things that did). He let Nathan keep his growling mode of speech (mostly because the fans loved it), but removed Pickle's nasally accent because it gave him a headache.
"Swkisgaaaar," Toki whined, struggling with the zipper on a powder-pink costume. "I can't get into my jumpsuit, can you help me?"
"Sure thing, Toki." Skwisgaar said, putting a tin of make-up he was applying down and walkingover to the naive rhythm guitarist and wrapping his arms around the shorter man. "But wouldn't you rather take it off?" He purred seductively into Toki's ear. Toki blushed and swallowed.
Justin raised an eyebrow. That certainly wasn't his doing. While he was debating whether or not to break them up, Nathan came over holding two shirts. "Hey, Justin, which do you think would look better on me? The ruffles or the lace?"
"I'd go with the lace, it really brings out the color in your eyes."
Nathan nodded and threw the ruffled garment back into a box before moved over to help Murderface pick out tutu for his costume.
Justin glanced at the clock. It was almost time for dance lessons. He sighed and leaned back in the hot tub, he didn't want to move just yet, but there was more work to be done if this twisted mess of a fandom was to be perfected.
"All right, boys!" He said, standing. "Time for dance practice."
"Hey, this needs to be done!" Justin said, plantinghis hands on his hips, water drippingfrom his stylish speedo. "You don't want to let your loyal fans down, now do you? Now the moves we're practicing today are the 'One O'clock Jump', the 'Fancy Turtle' and the 'Panting Llama'."
"How about you add 'Dead Man Walking' to that list?"
Justin and the band turned to as Ben emerged from the shadows, his face a mask of cold anger.
"How'd you get in here?" Nathan growled.
Ben ignored him, keeping his eyes on Justin. "Do you know who I am?" He asked quietly.
Justin furrowed his eyebrows as he thought. "Aren't you one of those Society guys? I've heard of you before, but I don't know why you're here. I'm no Stu, I'm just trying to fix this place up a little." Then he noticed the guitar on Ben's back and a smile broke across his face. "Oh, you're here to join the band, aren't you? If you'd like, I'm pretty sure I can find a spot for you if you don't mind-"
Justin raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
"I'm not here to join the band," Ben said, shooting the members of Dethklok an admiring glance. "I've got a long way to go before I reach their level." He turned back to a confused Justin. "And while I am a member of the Mary-Sue Elimination Society, I'm not here as a representative of them."
"No." Ben said quietly. "I'm here as a Deadly Sinner." His voice rose. "I'm here as an Immortal. As one who is Bound by Blood." His eyes narrowed to slits. "I'm here as a Metalhead. In other words, I'm here to kill you."
Justin's eyes widened in horror as Ben's hand snapped up. "Don't mess with nukes!" He snarled.
With a yelp, Justin leapt out of the hot tub a split second before the nuke collided. The explosion blasted a crater in the floor and smashed the hot tub, water spraying from broken pipes. The blast sent Justin flying across the room and even the members of Dethklok were knocked down.
Justin got to his feet slowly, pressing one hand to where his damp skin was bruised and bleeding from landing on the hard stone floor. Ben stalked towards him menacingly, his face a mask of rage.
Justin whimpered, unsure if he had wet his pants or not, since his speedo still wet from the hot tub.
"Klokateers! Protect your masters!" Justin yelped, his voice going up an octave.
Instantly, the doors leadinginto the room burst open and the room was flooded with black-hooded guards, brandishing swords, maces and all manner of medieval weaponry. Several of the Klokateers were wrestling the members of Dethklokout of the room, ignoring their protests that they couldn't leave Justin behind.
"I don't have time for you peons," Ben sneered, holding up a palm. "My coffeemakers are not controlled by Hoover Dam computers!" He turned back to where he had left Justin as the floodgate discharged it's load into the horde of Klokateers, only to find Justin gone, the door he had ran through hanging open.
"He's not going to get away that easily." Ben muttered to himself, heading after his prey, kicking the door closed on the disorgainized and half-drowned Klokateers as he did so.
Ben stalked through Mordhaus' halls, hunting Justin. If not for the fact that he left a wet trail behind him on the stone floor, Ben might've had a hard time followinghim, but as it was he continued relentlessly after the terrified Stu, stopping only every few seconds to blast any Klokateer unlucky enough to get in his path with Bahamut.
"I'm going to find you eventually, Stu!" He shouted, his voice echoing through Mordhaus' maze-like hallways. "You can't hide forever!" He called as he turned a corner and saw that the trail of water led through a closed doorway.
Ben's upper lip curled into a sneer as he flicked a string on Bahamut, the lime green bolt exploding against the door and blowing it clean off it's hinges. He walked through to doorway to find himself in Dethkok's practice space. The band's instruments were resting on the stage and dozens of gigantic speakers lined the wall, stretchingfrom floor to ceiling.
"I wasn't trying to hide." Justin said from behind a control panel and punched a button on one of the keyboards. Immediately, the legion of oversized speakers began blasting at full volume, hammeringBen with waves of almost tangible sound.
I'm the conjurer of demons,
I'm the father of your deth.
I bring forth the ancient evil,
I control his every breath.
I instigate your misfortune,
Withthe birth of killing trolls.
I awaken Armageddon,
Feeding on a thousand souls.
"How dareyou defile the sanctity of Musta Krakish?" Ben somehow managed to shout over the deafening roar. "My coffeemakers are not controlled by Hoover Dam computers!"
The roaring speakers were silenced as coffee flooded into the room and short-circuited them. The rush of coffee knocked them down from where they had been stacked on top of one another and they crashed around the room like giant pinballs as the flood swirled about for several seconds before finally coming to rest.
Justin had been swept up in the dark liquid and dashed against the stone walls several times. He was now lying half-drowned and stunned in the corner, coffee dripping from his hair.
Ben sloshed his way through the standing coffee and stood over him, gripping Bahamut so tightly in his rage that his knuckles when white.
"First you had the gall to think you were brutal enough to join the greatest Death Metal band in history." He gritted through clenched teeth. "Then you turned them into a boy band and turned Toki and Skwisgar GAY! For that alone," He pressed a finger in between his eyes "You... die. Don't mess with-"
He was cut short as a shadow fell over the two. Ben barely had enough time to throw himself to one side before a rapier glanced the wall where he'd been standing moments before, barely missing Justin.
"That's my bread and butter you're f(guitar riff)ing with." Offdensen said, his suit pants drenched with coffee.
Ben groaned. "See, I was really hoping to hear you say that under any circumstances other than these."
The band manager didn't reply, lunging at Ben again, sword outstretched. Ben yanked Bahamut up at the last second to block and the tip of the sword left a deep scratch across the guitar's surface, drawing a wince from Ben.
Offdensen's forward motion carried him crashing into Ben, knocking the both of them over an upset speaker. Ben scrambled to his feet a split-second before Offdensen and stumbled backwards, trying to put some distance between himself and the manager.
Offdensen splashed to his feet, coffee staining his suit even further. He raised his sword again, as Beb plucked a second string on Bahamut. Offdensen was blasted off his feet and back across the coffee filled room where he landed with a splash and lay still.
Ben rounded on Justin who was just starting to recover. "Look what you made me do!" He snarled, Justin winced and tried to scoot father back, terrified of the look in Ben's eyes.
"You made me attack one of the coolest characters on this show!" Ben continued. "I guess we can add that to your list! Now hold still! Don't mess with-"
Ben barely had time for an exasperated "Oh, what now?" before the floor collapsed beneath them and they were dumped into the next level down.
Instantly Jared and Michael pounced on Ben, pinning him down before he could move while Lily pulled Bahamut from around his neck and Jess slapped a Prohibitor on a stunned and dazed Justin.
"Let me at him!" Ben raged, thrashing about wildly. "I'm going to kill him!"
Justin let out a terrified squeak and nearly leapt into Jess's arms.
"Grab his leg!" Michael ordered as Ben tried to free himself.
"Ben! Ben, listen to me!" Lily shouted, grabbing his head to hold it still and staring into his half-crazed eyes. "You can't kill him!"
"Why not?" Ben demanded, trying to yank his arm free of Michael's grasp. Michael didn't let go.
"Because, death is too good for him! Think about it, if you kill him, you'll be giving him the very end your music glorifies and worships, and he doesn't deserve that, right?"
"...No." Ben growled reluctantly, ceasing his struggling. Michael and Jared both tentatively loosed their grips, ready to tighten them again if Ben lost it.
"Good." Lily smiled. "Now think about this: What's the cruelest, most brutal and most inhumane punishment you can think of?"
Ben looked at her blankly for a moment, then looked at Justing and grinned evilly. "Good idea..."
Justin grew even paler and gulped.
Jared and Michael released their grasp on Ben and stood.
"Let's get out of here." Michael said, he and Jared releasing their grasp on Ben and standing. He looked up at the hole Jared's Boomhammer had made in the ceiling, coffee still pouring through. "I've got a feeling they won't want us around anymore."
"Agreed." Ben said, watching Jess bundle the still-terrified Justin through a Plothole. He had pulled out his own Plothole Generator and was about to fire when he heard a voice from behind him.
"Hey, kid. Got a minute?" He turned to to see Nathan and the rest of the band standing in the doorway.
"You guys go on ahead," Ben said to his friends. "I'll catch up in a minute."
"No more funny business." Michael said seriously, fixing Ben with a warning glare.
"I promise..." Ben said, holding up his hands in surrender.
"OK..." Michael said, not sounding completely convinced. "We'll go on ahead and get the 'arrangements' for our friend ready."
Ben smirked cruelly as Michael vanished through a Plothole before turning back to the band. "Yes, my lords?"
"We just wanted to say thanks for getting rid of that guy and for making us come to our senses... such as they are." Nathan said. "That guy was so not metal."
"Yeah, tell me about it," Pickles put in. "Douchebag even talked me into wearing pink eyeliner. I'm not quite sure how, but he did it."
"No thanks necessary, Lord Explosion." Ben said bowing at the waist. "It was an honor just to have met you!"
"Can I still be wearings my costumes on stage?" Toki asked plaintively, still half-dressed in his pink jumpsuit.
"Oh, pleases," Skwisgaar sniffed contemptuously, trying to reassure everyone, including himself, that he really did hate Toki despite what had just (almost) happened up in the rec room. "Likes you needs any helps lookings more like vagina than you already are."
Toki looked like he was going to cry.
"By the way, where's Murderface?" Pickles asked.
Skwisgaar laughed. "Oh, hes flipped out once he realized whats he was wearings and runs offs screamings abouts hows he isn'ts the gays and abouts hows he needs to goes do not-gays things."
"Was he still wearing the tutu?"
"Yeah, he's gay." Pickles snickered.
"Anyway," Nathan growled. "We just wanted to do something to to show our appreciation."
Ben chuckled. "If you're planning to write a song, my Lords, you should know that as soon as I leave here-"
"Oh, we weren't going to do a song." Nathan assured him. "We were actually thinking of something a bit more... permanent..."
Back at the Library...
"OH, DEAR GOD! PLEASE, NO, PLEASE!"
Ben sighed with satisfaction as he listened to Shirley vent her frustration on the unlucky Stu who had been locked in the room with her.
"Sounds like someones having fun."
Michael shrugged. "This was the only way we could convince her to stay behind while we went to go get you. After all, the last thing we needed was Shirley going berserk on you while we were trying to pin you down."
Ben chuckled uncomfortably. "Yeah, sorry about that."
Michael shrugged "We all have our berserk buttons, but make sure it doesn't happen again."
"Don't worry," Lily smiled deviously. "After news of this gets out, I doubt any Stu will dare set foot in Metalocalypse ever again."
"SHE'S BEATING ME WITH MY OWN LEG! SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!"
Michael grunted. "Oh, by the way, Ben, you're on cleaning duty for the next month."
"Oh, and Metalocalypse is now Blacklisted, effective immediately."
"Just be glad I'm not punishing you mroe than I already am." Michael growled.
Ben sighed. "Yes, sir..."
Michael nodded and walked off, he had paperwork to do.
Suddenly, the screaming stopped and a disgruntled looking Shirley opened the door, covered in blood, still holding Justin's leg which she had ripped off in one bloody claw.
"The wimp passed out from blood loss," she growled, throwing the severed limb back in the blood stained room and slamming the door irritatedly.
She glanced up at Ben. "So you're finally back. What took you so long?"
"Oh," Ben grinned. "Dethklok wanted to show their appreciation for getting rid of Justin for them and freeing them from his influence."
Shirley raised an eyebrow. "Do I even want to know how they thanked you?"
In response, Ben half-pulled off his hoodie and turned around.
Lily sucked in a horrified gasp. "What is that? A brand?" She demanded. "Are those supposed to be gears?
"That's right," Ben replied smugly. "I'm an honorary Klokateer."
Shirley just rolled her eyes and muttered something about getting more Stu-ish every day when Jess walked up.
"Hey," she said in greeting. "We still up to jam?"
Ben snapped his fingers. "Oh, yeah, I almost forgot!"
"Jam?" Lily asked.
"Yeah, Jess plays the keyboard, so we're going to get together to rock out for a while." Ben explained.
"Hey," Shirley protested. "What about me?"
Ben blinked at his muse. "I didn't even know you played an instrument..."
Shirley folded her arms and glared at Ben. "What instrument do you think I play?"
"...Drums?" Ben supplied.
"Of course, idiot!"
"Geez," Lily said. "You've already got a guitarist, a keyboardist and a drummer, why don't you just start a band already?"
She was joking, but Ben and Jess looked at each other.
"Yeah..." Ben said slowly. "Why not?"