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The phoenix has always been a bird of legend, until today. A phoenix has been spotted, and now humans have even found where it's nest is. Legends tell that one drop of a phoenix's blood will make a creature live forever, so now everybody is after the phoenix. Some people have gone more mad than others trying to get it, the penguins the most crazy for it. Only one creature sees no need to live forever; Dr. Blowhole. Humans are altering their own DNA to make themselves stronger creatures to get to the phoenix, such as bears and wolves. The penguins have altered their DNA to get it, as well. Blowhole hides this phoenix, and is trying to get her to a new home. Legend tells of a place where no creatures can hurt each other, and food of all kinds sprouts from the ground. It is unknown if this place exists or not, but if it does Blowhole is determined to find it. He and the phoenix go all across the world to find this place. But many creatures are after them, the greatest danger being the penguins. Can they make it? Once the first chapter is finished, it will be posted here.
Chapter 1: Ancient Urban LegendsEdit
Long ago, in the Ancient east, a Dragon Demon, Yamata no Orochi, Demanded the annual sacrifice of a maiden from every village, but was especially found for the daughters offered from the palace. Seven years pass, and only one out of the eight heirs were left, but luckily their remaining daughter, Inada, had fallen in love with a samurai named Susanoo, who was willing to protect her if the royal parents allow them a dowry so they can wed. It was agreed.
Using magic to to hide his future-wife in his hair, Susanoo gathered eight vats of rice-wine (one for each head!) to tempt Orochi and, as soon as the dragon was drunk, the samurai sliced of all eight heads with his own sword and used an enchanted blade to stab the demon's heart. With Inada back to normal and a wedding so grand, Susanoo only thought it was over, but by the river where the victory was won, a sorcerer of dark magic spent a whole generation's time on a spell to give a new life and body to one of Orochi's heads, in attempt to enslave it.
Meanwhile, Susanoo and Inada's daughter, Empress Jingo, found that not all dragons are evil, as it was Ryujin, the Dragon Master of the Sea, who helped her win a war against another country desperate to take over hers. Jingo and Ryujin became in laws as her son, Hoori, and his daughter, Toyotama (disguised as a human), fell in love and married. Toyotama had conditions, for she refused to let Hoori see her under the light of the full moon, but it was on a full-moon night that a single-headed reincarnate of Orochi shown himself and vowed vengeance on there still unborn son!
In attempt to save her, Hoori broke his promise, and found Toyotama's true form... a dragon, fully capable of defending herself despite her condition, but had lost all trust in her husband, resulting what is now called a "divorce". Despite what happened, Hoori loved Toyohama and didn't want her to get killed in a fight against another dragon so, using his grandfather's spell-scroll, Hoori turned himself into a Fire-bird (AKA "Phoenix") and trapped the new Orochi in a puzzle-box, which, being both the cage and the lock, was sent half-way around the world (out of reach of the villains back home) attached to a passage (one of several) into what the locals on that side of the world called "Xibalba" (universally, "The Spirit World")!
Ages later, that unopened door was left as decoration in Chinatown, New York. They say that the Spirit of Hoori, trapped on the body of the Fire-Bird and slowly loosing memory of who he really is with each "revival", still guards both the lock and the door...
"...for the one thing he recalls," the old pooka-squirrel Salasi (whom Duchess Lucinda always called "Auntie Sala") concluded, "is that if he fails, and the lock is undone in attempt to open the door, the demon Orochi shall return, and shall doom us all! That's why, my apprentice, your best chance of seeing my true home cannot be given to you."
Lucinda rolled her eyes, figuring Auntie Sala finally lost her marbles to get Chinese legend and Japanese legend mixed up (and Dr. Blowhole, spying from a near-by camera, had the same conclusion). "You did promise that I will be an honorary pooka, Auntie Sala," Lucinda reminded her alchemy-teacher/guardian (who was a Celtic Earth-spirit, or "Pooka", herself), "Because of your teachings, I already am like you... I can teleport, get into the dreams of others, and all sorts of things like that." "Honorary membership isn't the same as going full fledged, for the pathway would be a one-way trip unless there's a reason to come back. If there was another doorway to Xibalba in this city, I'm sure I'd let you use it," Sala grinned (the crooked teeth ruined weren't attractive, but it was an improvement over her usual face), "but there is a reason that the one passage is both hidden by time and guarded by a Fire-Bird that is literally more familiar with his task then he is his own name. Trust me, child, many of your intelligence think that it's man-eating garbage-disposals that are more savage then animals, but if they actually shown effort to figure it out, they'd know by now that the true answer is demons!!! Oh! And Duchess..."
"Don't use you Alchemy set tonight... at all."
"Excuse me?! Why would I not do what I like to do... Besides fighting, of course. Not sure why, but tussling is always fun to me."
"Duchess Lucinda, Spirits of Earth, Waters, and Sky have there connections to each other, and I know that it is a meteor-shower night... bad things happen when your version of my powers are put to use under a falling star, and millions would be catastrophic!"
"Fine, but I don't see what this has to do with the Fire-Bird Hoori."
"Phoenixes turn to ashes on this once a millennium event, and that's how they rejuvenate, for a Fire-Bird is vulnerable in only two phases: when it's really old, and when it's really young."
"Oh, I get it."
"Have you ever heard that a drop of Phoenix-blood can allow any creature to live forever?"
(Dr. Blowhole overheard, and listened with both interest and concern.)
"Well, no ma'am," Lucinda said, straightening up her La Phantasma uniform, "up until now, I don't think I have." "Good!" Said Sala, "because now that you did hear, I can tell you don't believe it! Fire-Birds blood cannot really do that... maybe allow someone to be reborn in it's ashes like a phoenix at least once, but it cannot allow real immortality. Orochi written that in stone just as he was being place inside the puzzle-box... last resort, some would call it... and this world had been falling for that fib for centuries since!"
("Someone slays the guard," Blowhole analyzed, "and the prisoner has better chance to escape. A classic but logical scenario, especially since living forever is a pointless existence... the identity-crisis of Hoori is a perfect illustration to that." But in thinking things through, This Dolphin lost track of Duchess Lucinda, and the energy of the yet-to-arrive meteor-shower intervened with the camera's signal. By the time he got everything working again, Blowhole saw there was no sign of his target anywhere... the only suspicious sign was the footage of Lucinda's personal study in the halfway-house that she used to share with her human-family before moving to the zoo: Blowhole noted that the Alchemy-equipment was recently used... especially the pestle-and-mortar, as smoke was spuming from them!... also, the humans in that room, Amy and Zeke, were glowing with a strange blue aura, and appeared to be more like statues then humans. As a matter of fact... All the humans in that building appeared to be suspended in time!!! Zooming in here and there, Blowhole only saw one thing to reveal a culprit: muddy little footprints, small enough to come from a toy, suspicious on account that they appear to start on the inside going out, not the other-way around! Also, they seem to be heading for Chinatown. Being a genius, but "clueless" in social-twists, Dr. Blowhole assumed this much: "Kid-napping Savatores!")
Chapter 2: The After-Life is a StageEditBlowhole didn't care if anyone saw him as he entered Chinatown, NY, in search of the one he assumed took Duchess Lucinda (unaware that the tracks were made by that very lemur-ette, who ignored Salasi's warning to prove to her human-cousins that she can turn worthless metals into gold... but just as the first of many falling-stars began to fall, something went wrong with the tonic she whipped-up, as it over-generated, exploded, and had a shot jolts in three directions: one hit the sky itself and, apparently, gave the Sky Spirits more stars to throw out, as the meteor-shower turned into an enduring downpour! Another hit the floor of the halfway-house, freezing all the humans in time from the attic to the basement. The last, and worst, hit her!) and when he found where the tracks lead, he wanted to record this part of the city... but for some reason, his robotic-eye completely shut down, and his scooter was faulty too! His real eye, however, could see what's happening just fine, for in an ancient, untouched alleyway, on a door that was designed with the picture of a Phoenix fighting a Dragon, was a ridiculously tiny, squirrel-like creature, messing around with the Puzzle-box lock trying to open it. With it's every attempt, Blowhole noticed that this "creature" was literally falling-apart... it was made of mud!!!
(Little did he know, he was looking at Lucinda, completely transformed by her ignorance into a mud-doll... AKA "Ni-wa-wa"... and got everything that goes with it: she was smaller then usual, even Mort an inch or two extra in comparison, and she found that her voice and fingers were gone, her eyes cannot blink, and being made of mud means that she's no longer fit for battles!!! Thinking that she can find Auntie Sala and have her remove this curse, she forgotten all the warnings she was given, and went to open the portal... she considers what she's done only after the Puzzle-box was opens, but figured that the fuss was for nothing, as the container was empty... or so she thought, for as soon as she turned her back to open the door, a shadow-like substance slunk out of the box, across the ground and, as it slunk up a wall, it resembled a dragon shadow-puppet, with eight tails!)
Blowhole saw the dragon-shadow, and noticed that it was heading towards the one light source (stable compared to the falling-stars) the alley had... at first, it appeared to be an old lamp-post, but on closer analysis, it was plainly seen to be a rejuvenation-nest of sorts, and inside it was a baby phoenix, struggling with difficulty against the now-freed demon, which restored Salasi's words to him (and Lucinda):
"There are only two phases that a Fire-Bird is vulnerable: When it is really old, and when it is really young."
In a trust of wing, the young Fire-Bird flew high into the sky to shake off the demon, which worked only after injury... and when the press caught sight of the struggle, leading those who heard and believed the ancient lie (including the penguins, who thought immortality was an advantage) right to the nest's location, and giving them all reason to enhance there DNA (after all, Fire-birds aren't easy to catch... at least not at full strength!) as the legendary hunt began.
Meanwhile, the wounded fire-bird landed straight into Blowhole's flippers as his scooter gone supernatural-haywire and flung both of them, backwards, through the doorway that the Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda) had opened, and she followed there crash down a long fleet of stairs, that seemed to go on forever, until... SPLASH!!!... the three of them ended up in a place that, at first, look like a flooded-out theater but, as the fire-bird recovered enough to avoid getting wet, Blowhole complained ("Well, Hoori! I hope you're grateful that I saved you... because I'm now actually reduced to the ways of an ordinary dolphin!"), and the Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda) stopped on the "bottom" step (would've been 23rd-to-last, if not for all the water) to rest, they noticed that the seats were still filling up with "people" (or rather, shadow-y figures that look like humans), the water seemed to flow through the walls, the props were moving themselves with no sign of wires, and the scenery and back-drops were passages to actual places (obvious on account of movement... mostly strange creatures moving out of some and into others)... all things supernatural happens here!
(Lucinda's unblinking eyes had no "markings", so only she knew she was rolling them. Well, girl, she thought to herself, it will be impossible to find Auntie Sala in this dimension, but it's obvious I opened the right door, especially since you just made everything worse! Even so... welcome... to Xibalba.)
Chapter 3: Everything's Brought to Ancient RuinsEdit
"Kowalski! Analysis!" Skipper commanded, as he and the other penguins beat the humans to the location of the Phoenix "spark".
"Well Skipper," The intelligent penguin observed, "it seems that the target has just regenerated. The nest is full of ashes, and the trail is fresh... by the looks of it, it seemed to got into a fight against something, or someone!"
Rico then noticed tire-tracks on the ground... leading to an opened door and the crashed remains of the source of those tracks, recognized as a Segway PT mock-77 with waterproof-megadome attachment. The penguins know only one that drives a scooter of this particular model: Dr.Blowhole! "That maniac must've found some way to locate the fire-bird before the rest of us even saw it!" Skipper fussed, "Oh well, at least we know that this creature has every reason to side with us... maybe he can donate to us in the next blood-drive."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that, sir," Kowalski said, "by the looks of this thing, I'd say it's more dented then fried... unless of course you count the control system. There is something out of the ordinary about this place."
"Compared to the Fire-bird, how out-of-the-ordinary are we talking here?"
"On a scale of one-to-ten... I calculate 56! It seems all the technology I brought with me has either gone haywire or shut down the moment we entered this alley, and once more... this doorway wasn't even openable before."
Private interrupted the conference by using his new super-enhanced strength to lift up a near-by dumpster and retrieve a small object underneath it: "Hey! Look everyone! I found a quarter!"
"I believe that's about twenty-five days of good luck," Kowalski said, "if that superstition has any truth to it." "Kudos Private," Skipper added, before redirecting his attention to Kowalski, "what do you mean 'unopenable'?" "I mean that this door has been here since 711... B.C. When people found out it was a door instead of a rock-formation they used every wit to undo the lock and every brutest invention to bust down the door; nothing worked. Eventually, when Chinatown became part of New York, a theater was built here and this ancient 'decorative' door become what a reserved back-door known at the time as the 'legend passage', for they proclaimed the one able to open it should have a play in that theater based on his or her life story."
"Since Blowhole did that, were should make it a tragedy, men."
"And a long one. If Urban-Legend is true, this theater, The Canal Street Loews Theater, was closed and bricked up after several mishaps took place in it... mostly at night. Although someone of my knowledge level know that it was really buried and abandoned after bankruptcy, and the parts left untouched by the supernatural is now replaced by an electronics shop, which, in turn, shut-down as well, the more superstitious claim that a ghostly floodwater raised up and overshadowed the basement interior, and the only chance to see it is by opening the 'legend passage'... Ha! They are even crazy enough to think that it has become part of some kind of Spirit World... what idiots!" Kowalski's laughter didn't last when Skipper slapped him and scolded, "Kowalski! There is a Fire-bird that with immortality in it's veins being pursued by a diabolical Dolphin! 'Spirit World' or not, we cannot allow Dr. Blowhole to use that legendary creature's powers for EVIL!!! Front and center men! Were about to make a reservation at an Inn Between the Worlds!"
While Skipper was using a sarcastic pun (to calm his nerves without losing paranoia, unaware how accurate his phrase was), meanwhile, at the bottom of that stairway, Dr.Blowhole managed to meet with the fire-bird at the theater's "stage" (which, especially to Lucinda, was set up more like some kind of island. A deja vous feeling overcame the misinformed lemur-ette, as she uses and old Usher's hat as a raft and a rusty hairpin as an oar... was this world trying to trick he into thinking she returned to Madagascar...? If that's the case, it almost succeeded....almost). Once there, the confused fire-bird admitted his confusion to Blowhole calling him "Hoori" (it sounds oddly familiar, but he doesn't believe it's his own name... when it is), but the dolphin had many distractions at the moment... first, the little mud-doll that lead him here needed interrogating to find his "stolen target", only to find that she's mute, then there was the matter that the modern and Spirit worlds can't mix any further then this theater set, which means he had no choice but to leave his Segway behind (Lucinda worked around her be-mud-doll-ment long enough to make him a low-tech replacement out of the "prop" jungle branches... as she couldn't verbally ask for a truce), but the all-time worst was that, upon given a way to travel shore again, he couldn't use it... he was becoming insubstantial!
"Hoori" wasted no time to fix that, as he flew over the "sea of crowds" and used his fire-like wings to steam out a strange fish, and wasted no time placing it onto Blowhole's mouth... "entry-based spirit-starvation." the young bird explained once the dolphin was solid enough to use his transport, "all newcomers have to be nourished at least once, or risk disappearing." (hearing that, Lucinda nibbled a "prop" berry from the "background", which looked like a painting until she touched it... with mud in the mouth, she couldn't taste anything, but the juiciness running down assured that what she ate was real). Just as Blowhole was about to thank those who helped him (which isn't easy for even this "villain" to do), he noticed and recognized four black-and-white figures enter the water... "Pan-goo-ins!" (if I had my voice, Lucinda thought, covering her unblinking eyes in embarrassment, I'd be correcting him and say "It's pronounced 'pen-gwins,' only an idiot gets these things wrong...seriously!", but I can't talk! Oi-Vey!) Blowhole figured that the penguins believed that lie about fire-bird blood, while the Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda) entered the jungle "set" in an obvious search (for Auntie Sala squirrel-pooka), he took "Hoori"... of all things... with his mouth and, cranking the pedals of his new-yet-pitiful transport with his flippers, carried the youngster in there after her in an attempt to hide (and noticed a surreality that was to his advantage, this time... ghostly-sand doesn't leave tracks)...
Meanwhile, on our side of the doorway to Xibalba, King Julien noticed how unnatural the meteor-shower was and, (still thinking Phil "speaks" the language of the Sky Spirits) he went to the Chimp Habitat about it.
Phil gave a few gestures, and Mason said, "This seems more like confusion then anger, though I wouldn't blame them if it's both... word has it that a rare creature is found near a door that was locked until tonight... according to legend, it's the passageway to the... 'Spirit World', was it?"
"I'd be angry and confused too if I was invaded," King Julien said, "that's why Mort near my feet is a big no-no! Right, ...Maurice?!" But Maurice, though there, didn't respond... he had the same look of insanity he had after eating bad lychee nuts, but his eyes did more then just turn red... they were glowing, and only the usually-whitish-yellow part shown! Maurice chuckled as he grabbed King Julien and, showing a mysterious amulet (with the Chinese symbols for "dragon" "demon" and "slave" painted on it)!
Chapter 4: Of Dolphins and DemonsEdit
Moments latter in Xibalba, the penguins were searching the jungle "background" of this dimension (which looked less and less like a theater set, and more and more like a real jungle the further they went into it) only to notice that they were transparent and couldn't touch anything... all, that is, except Rico! Though not as bright as Kowalski, it didn't take Rico that long for him realize that he was the only one who actually had the nerve to pick up a "snack" on this side of the door, and so, in a way only he can, he "shared" the spectral-salmon with his fading comrades, restoring them. He did it fast enough to keep them in existence, but not fast enough to figure out where Blowhole went with the phoenix. Because of that, they noticed what was becoming of the humans behind them... at first, they were starting to disappear, but they also found that if they had at least one meal here they'd survive, but just as Skipper was about to order the rest of the flock to leave the people to their own business, he noticed that something that looked like Maurice flew across the sea (with King Julien and Marlene in a comatose state in his hands) and landed right in the middle of human fire-bird hunters, snapping some strange object on each of them, and their once serious, power-crazed expressions began to become vague, as though they lost their will. Maurice collapsed, and out of his mouth gushed out a shadowy entity... a dragon with demonic eyes, eight tails, and a monstrous yet mesmeric voice: "I am Atamasaigo Ikiru Orochi, your master! I have called you all here with the promise of eternity, and I assure there will be blood... but first, to divide for an appropriate ritual for the occasion: may the weak yet fast ones go into the trees for the fire-bird, the rest of you, prepare the set for a sacrificial alter, as you can't be given something for nothing. After the stars stop falling, but before the sun rises and time is no longer still, the power of the fire-bird will restore me so I may tear-out the pure-heart's heart and destroy it, to insure I keep my full form, then this lovely maiden will be the first of many offerings... after all, I haven't eaten in almost 3000 years. After these two sacrifices are finished, only then will what's left of the fire-bird, as well as it's blood belong to you. Now, get to work, and use the vision I shown you!" The shadow-demon repossessed Maurice's body, and laid Julien and Marlene (reduced to submissive slumber by similar artifacts) onto a "prop" boulder and muttered to himself (in his own voice, not Maurice's): "All this idolizing is a waste of time and enchanted slave-tokens, not to mention none may remember this when and if they ever come of without my say-so. I thought that was a good thing, considering the fact that fire-bird's blood doesn't really grant eternal life, but it will give me my own body back, not that any would cower in... what I need is some non-brainwashed witnesses, to make my effort for a long overdue doomsday worth gloating about." soon enough, Orochi/Maurice sensed the penguins' presence, and signaled his token slaves to capture them. At first it seemed that the penguins would win, with their super-enhanced strength and all, but it didn't take long for them to find that the humans were genetically-altered as well, and with that combined with the mind-control "focus", the penguins we quickly retrained.
"All this getting my way is almost too easy." Orochi/Maurice chuckled, just before a black demon-imp (that looked like a frog with a goat's head) ran up, recognized it's old master, and whispered the details into Maurice's ear... Orochi was unsatisfied. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN A DOLPHIN IS AWARE OF MY LIE ABOUT THE FIRE-BIRD?! DON'T JUST STAND THERE! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT'S GUARD, WHATEVER YOU SEE FIT, BUT I WANT THAT PHOENIX HERE AND I WANT HIM ALIVE... FOR NOW!"
For the first (and hopefully, only) time in their lives, all four penguins were actually hoping Dr.Blowhole would actually help them.
Chapter 5: Haunted By the PastEdit
After a long trek that seemed like they were going in circles (or so Dr. Blowhole claimed after several complaints of how his low-tech Segway-substitute is hurting his flippers), Blowhole, "Hoori", and the Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda) found a clearing in the jungle, and in that clearing was a temple... the temple-grounds were being used for target practice by what appeared to be a small human. Of course, this "human" boy could breath FIRE!!! The Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda), was too scared to go near this boy... but Blowhole wouldn't blame her because, after all, she was made of mud, and fire bakes mud into plaster! "Hoori" the Fire-Bird, however, was froze with something other then fear, as he (obviously) pondered aloud "why does he seem oddly familiar?"
It was obvious that Blowhole was the only one able to get the youngster's attention "Hope this boy speaks animal talk..." he told himself, quietly, "... and doesn't find my presence on land awkward." He cleared his throat, peddled himself closer to the boy and said, "Excuse me, little boy. I hope you don't mind my asking, but is that temple accessible to a weary traveler... or two... or three? I believe my... allies and I had gotten lost in the jungle, and could use a bed, breakfast, and, in my case... moisturizer!"
"Available... to strangers?!" the boy, who obviously understood, turned around and looked at Blowhole, with eyes extremely demon-like... not in a possessed way, but more natural, as though this youth was part snake from birth (despite knowing that real snakes can't really use there eyes hypnotize anything, he found his one real eye unable to pull away from this stranger's gaze), "Have you no knowledge of what is before you? Don't you know that this is a sacred Alter? None may enter this place unpermitted, and the Mistress of this Island isn't even home, so forget it... then again, I am capable of giving you a head start to enter, and allow you the deepest sleep their is!" Blowhole felt his eyelid droop, but Blowhole managed to break free and shake it off before saying, "Listen kid, I've been brought to the edge with being forced to jump through hoops so I, Dr. Blowhole, know how not to be controlled, so I don't know who you think you are to think a simple little eye trick could restrain me...!" "Furukimochi, son of Toyotama, grandson of Ryujin. You know, I prefer you name over my own, especially since it means 'broken-heart', but the divorce I was born into wasn't even my fault!"
"No my son..." said the fire-bird (who finally got his memory back and regretted it), "...I...believe it... that it was mine!"
After straightening out that the phoenix was, indeed, Furukimochi's father, Hoori, the two have a long talk over the matters that happened almost 3000 years ago (at least to Hoori, Blowhole, and Lucinda... time doesn't matter in Xibalba, as Furukimochi explains that, to some, like the ones visiting, not a day would pass by... though it's hinted that they've been gone for ages due to strange "dust" and "debris" that seemed to appear on whatever they left behind. Others like himself, however, had lived here their whole lives when they shouldn't, and when they enter the other side of the portal, it be whatever year fits... "If I ever get to see the Mortal world anytime soon, it'll be twelve years since the moment I was born!") only to be interrupted by the arrival of a large female dragon, Toyohama! "My son!" She growled, "how many times have I told you not to use the Daze-Gaze around strangers?! Switch to your normal eyes before you make yourself dizzy!" Furukimochi growled but he did as he was told... with a quick blink and the typical "Oh Mother!", the boy's eyes widened in the pupils to a near-human shape (but still red in color). Also, Toyohama changed into a beautiful woman in a kimono ("I liked her dragon form better!" Blowhole sneered, as he has issues with humans) before apologizing for her son's behavior... but held back that gentleness when she recognized her ex-husband: "Do you not realize how ashamed I was to be seen in my true form by you...when you loved me for something I am not?!" "I overreacted, Toyohama," said Hoori, "but I know now that whatever form you take, you will always be my beautiful jewel of the sea.Will I ever have your forgiveness?"
Toyohama thought it over, and smiled, "If anyone asks, the divorce was never lifted. As a new vow, you must never allow us to be seen together upon return to Japan... but you can still be seen with our son, as you introduce him to you village as the next heir."
"I get to be an Emperor after all?" Said Furukimochi, "Sweet! I might have to change my name, but it'll be worth it!"
"Don't be so sure, son," Hoori said, "I was only able to find you because I failed to protect you... Orochi had escaped the puzzle-lock." Blowhole cornered the Ni-wa-wa (Lucinda) and steered her toward the odd family-reunion, and it didn't take long for the dragon-lady to get it. Suddenly, the old pooka-squirrel, Salasi (Lucinda almost didn't recognize her because she looked much younger... probably by 100 years!) had barged in and, recognizing her apprentice (but knowing that Blowhole was naive to who she really is), she whispered "You are in big trouble, princess." (She knows I hate it when she calls me that! Lucinda thought, only to learn that telepathy is possible when Auntie Sala thought back, Why else do you suppose I said it?)
...They were all welcomed into the temple, which turns out to be a mix between an antique-shop and a retirement-home... Literally (for once an object turns 100 years old, it takes up a spirit-form)! After Hoori explained what happened and a messenger (the object-spirit of a bicycle!) told them about the two sacrifices Orochi was planning for Doomsday, Blowhole, attaching his low-tech "Segway" to the inspirited-bike, volunteered to help stop it... "How can I take over a world that a demon has destroyed?"
(Lucinda wanted to join the upcoming battle, in spite of her condition, because the whole mess was her fault and her brother's life was on the line! Alas, she wasn't allowed to go... "You've done enough damage!!!", said Salasi, as she pushed the unstable mud-doll to an object-spirit named Grinder... which was the very same pestle-and-mortar that she used before she got stuck this way! "I only became this way recently," Grinder said when Blowhole left, using the pestle as an arm as he pointed, "but despite my age, you used me roughly... you bemuddled me, so I be-mud-dolled you! It serves you right! I should mash you up!" "Oh no you don't!" said Sala, "She came a long way to repent! She's here for community service.")
Chapter 6: Sur-RealisticEdit
Blowhole couldn't believe what he was doing when he managed to sneak back to the "center-stage" beach, but he (much to the annoyance of the bike-spirit powering his "segway") stayed hidden in the "background", waiting for the right moment to make his move, as the demon, Orochi, still bound in Maurice, bragged about all the destructive things he will do once his body was restored, Julien was a heartless corpse, and Marlene (first of 3000 maidens!) was eaten.
In a dramatic "comic-relief" moment (at least compared to the soon-finished ritual "scene") Marlene, despite still being in her slave-token's control, managed to wake up... obviously confused as to whether she's outside or inside, the penguins tried not to let their grins give away something they know that Orochi didn't...
Because Marlene was born in captivity, the outside world (especially parts that she considers un-civil, like the park) causes her to loose her marbles in her own version of what humans call "Multiple Personality Syndrome". Orochi only managed to imprison the "domestic" Marlene, unaware that he might've needed two slave-tokens to bind her instead of the necessary one, for the "wild" Marlene was not only free to destroy her own slave-token, but also, right before giving a worth-noting kiss (that made Skipper jealous, which amused Dr. Blowhole), she also removed and destroyed Julien's! "Can't I be given a spell-breaking-kiss from something a bit more charming?" Julien said, blinking himself awake and shaking off the lingering slave-token mojo, "By 'charming', I mean less slobbery and disgusting, not romantically tempting like she is right now... where am I, anyway?"
"I don't usually take up things like this," Kowalski said, "but I am now sure that we were sent, alive, to the spirit world, or as it's put in the local terms... Xibalba!" No sooner did that penguin (one least likely to accept the unscientific and supernatural) attested the place as it really is, the area looked less like a stage and became a ghostly island altogether, and the only one that wasn't sidetracked by the sudden changes was Blowhole, who got Skipper's attention by trying to undo his shackles (thick enough to pin-down a grizzly-bear, and made even harder to brake by dark magic), which alerted the other penguins.
"I can't believe I'm saying this, Blowhole," Skipper whispered, "but I'm actually glad to see you."
"well, pen-goo-ins," Blowhole whispered back, "as the old saying goes, the enemy of ones enemy is a friend, and we have a common-enemy now. If that dragon gets the strength to destroy our world, how could I be able to attempt to concur it? Besides, I missed driving you crazy."
"Are you saying that you didn't open that lock?" asked Private.
"No, though it would've been child's play to me." Blowhole sighed, "The real culprit was practically the messiest stranger I ever witnessed..." he told the whole story (from his own point-of-view) with excruciating details, and by the time he managed to free all four of his feathered foes, he got to the important part at the end "... and once Hoori got his identity back, and the mud-doll responsible for all this nonsense was sent to a suitable punishment, I volunteered to put Orochi in his place, but as intelligent as I am, one can say I'm... inexperienced with this 'good-guy' business, temporary as I intend it. So what do you say, pen-goo-ins... truce?"
With the sight of two dragons and a fire-bird tussling against the possessed Maurice, and later (as he had gotten drops Hoori's blood in that fight) the fully-restored Orochi demon, Skipper swallowed his pride and said, "Desperate times call for desperate measures... alright, Blowhole, truce, but only until we've won."
(While Skipper and Dr.Blowhole shook flippers, and King Julien was wishing the "wild" Marlene was in love with someone else, Duchess Lucinda, meanwhile, was still trapped in her Ni-wa-wa form, and was gathering every herb in this dimension that Grinder commanded her to fetch. She doesn't know what's worse, the orders appearing to be endless, or that three out of every four plants grow in parts of Xibalba... not just "Theater Island", as she desired to call it... that were hazardous, especially to someone made of mud... mostly swamps, acid-pools, hot springs, and, worst of all, she had to go into a volcano... TWICE! Finally, after finding herself unable to hold herself together much further then a dented, chipped, cracked, and worse-off version of the mud-doll she was when she started out with, Lucinda had enough! I cannot put up with this nutso treatment any longer! She thought "aloud", so all who can read minds could hear her, I should've followed the instructions... played by the rules! I should've taken better care of my things, for now they are mistreating me! Now I'm doomed to be a misused plaything forever, my people family will remain unwakeable, and even if we both survived this night of fate... I may never see my brother again! Those thoughts stuck to her all the way back to the temple and as she returned to Grinder, her own century-old pestle-and-mortar, with the samples he sent her to get, she collapsed onto the floor, crying... though from muddy, unblinking, they were the same tears she had when she was herself, her real self. "What is this?" Grinder said in that moment. Kindling-Weed blossoms, Lucinda responded, from Futs-Lung Peek. "Don't think I can't recognize a plant when I see one, little alchemist. I was talking about the fact that you are giving up while I sent you to get these things for your antidote!" Say what?! "Well, what did you suppose I was making, a bomb?! I am a pharmacy symbol, medicine is my specialty, and I believe you've suffered enough to deserve it, although the version I'm making has some positive side-effects." Really? Like what? "Use some of those tears as a final ingredient, and you shall see for yourself." Her touch make the tears muddy, but Lucinda did as she's told as Grinder mixed the dry ingredients into a powder... the moment it got wet, the powder turned into an incense that surrounded Lucinda, separating her from the mud-doll... the freed soul, at first, was nothing but a pulsing, white-lighted orb the size of a pebble but, with more room to grow now, and with the fumes influencing it, it grew to the size of a young-adult female ring-tailed lemur, then it took on the shape of such, details and all, and finally, as it lowered to the ground, it had dimmed into the right coloration. Duchess Lucinda blinked for the first time since this whole mess began, and the feeling was such a relief, she laughed, vocally! "I got my voice back!" Lucinda giggled, "I'm me again...!" she touched herself, as she missed the feel of her own fur, but then noticed she was see-through, "... and I assume I'm starving." Grinder laughed and explained: "Even though food from our world will keep you from disappearing, and allow physical contact, you might still be transparent. In fact, aside from me and Salasi, only your brother and your parents, who are crossing to the 'backstage' right now, are able to see you at all. That's part of my charm to restore you... wouldn't want that dolphin recognizing the familiar who's helping him with this battle, do we now?")
Chapter 7: A Night to Not-RememberEdit
Blowhole and the penguins actually worked well together, as while the new hero (if not just a temporary one) distracted Orochi with insults that usually get on his own nerves, the penguins attacked that demon in all sorts of places in ways only they can (they left a few marks, being super-enhanced, but nothing seemed to actually insure victory), while "wild" Marlene, who was driving Julien crazy until she got knocked out by nothing... or what seemed to be nothing, for the king of the lemurs noticed the invisible attacker, and recognized her.
"Hush-and-shush my brother! Aside from you, none meant for our side of the door can see or her me, and I will remain as such until it's safe to return, so don't be exposing my cover, okay?"
"You're a mess, sis."
"Julien, trust me of this... I've been much messier earlier tonight. Listen, the Sky Spirits are gathering the stars that weren't supposed to fall, and a cavalry is on the way to end this nonsense, but until then, I know how Orochi might loose, for a friend of mine had told me that, regardless of strength, size, or form, a blinded demon is a powerless one."
Just then, the stars that fell from the sky materialized into living forms (They look like I did when I was a Ni-wa-wa, Lucinda thought, gently, just in case these new spirits could hear her thoughts, only life size, and they are made of lights instead of mud.) most of them are human-like, but a few here and there look like animals,and two of them, though just as disorienting as the others, had a shape more familiar to Julien and Lucinda... The souls of their own parents! Such a reunion was joyous, but it was short for a reason... after all the Sky Spirits get their strength from the sky, and can only help with the fight for a short while.
The inspirited Queen Sasha offered her son a sword that seemed to be made of fire, and she seemed to laugh as she done so... the last time the royal family even touched fire was when that airplane wreck blew an engine, and the twins had to lock themselves up in the cargo hold (using their tails as a lock-pick) to avoid getting burned. Up until after her death, she thought this generation's King Julien was the cause of that boom. As they quietly shared memories, the daughter was given a shield that seemed to be made out of unmeltable-ice from the previous lemur king, and Lucinda knew that her father used to call it nonsense when she heard about winter weather and longed to see it.
Armed with these things and aided by their ghostly army (which everyone else, especially Kowalski, excused as a set of fireworks let loose), Julien and Lucinda both helped fight against Orochi. Lucinda, though unseen, was a diversion as she nudged the demon in several areas, and used the shield to protect herself whenever Orochi's guesses were accurate, while Julien, once high enough, used the sword to blind that demon... alas, he only managed to get one eye before ending up caught in shadowy claws.
"Leave the rest to me, pen-goo-ins," Dr. Blowhole said, "I'm the only one he's even with on this playing field!"
"It's pronounced PEN-GWINS!" Lucinda shouted, "Oi vey! I hate being unheard!"
Blowhole had an easy time holding his own against Orochi, until that Demon used his powers to drain the penguins (and all others who changed their DNA) of their artificial strength, giving himself an unfair advantage over the deranged dolphin.
Noticing a bunch of vines, Lucinda had an idea and said, "Julien, you know how my Dart of Shame caused you to confess how the death of our mother and father was your fault?!"
"You have no power over me this time sis," Julien responded, "and just because I dared you to use your slingshot on the fussa so they'd be too busy to notice us while we were sneaking into the secret Stink-fruit patch in their territory doesn't mean I was more responsible for the outcome then I was. Besides, it was the mistake of a prince; a really stupidy plan that just..."
"It's not so 'Stupidy' any more!" She turned Julien around and pointed at the vines. "Stupid" as he usually is, the lord of the lemurs had the wits enough to figure out what his sister had in mind as he helped put a giant slingshot together using the vines and the ice shield... of course, Lucinda was raised by a sailor, so she was more familiar with tying knots then her brother was:
"over the canopy... under the branches... into the hollow!"
Once that was taken care of, Julien attached the fire sword to the slingshot, and tried to have the patience to aim... after all, he and Lucinda have only one shot at this, and when they left the rest to fate...
...They got Orochi in the other eye, and Blowhole was able to pin that weakened demon down for good!
It was over. With a bottle of moisturizer to sustain him until he returned to his lab in the real world, Dr. Blowhole said his goodbye to his "temporary allies", the penguins.
"You do recall that our alliance was only temporary." Skipper said, both to the dolphin and his own team-makes (Private, especially).
"True enough, Pen-goo-ins," Dr. Blowhole responded (paying no heed to Julien's movements, which could've revealed that he was covering Lucinda's mouth... as screaming is pointless when few hear you anyway), "and I also recollect that, next we meet, we're enemies again."
Shaking flippers again to end the alliance, Skipper let Blowhole return to his own high-tech Segway, which gone haywire, yet again, as it auto-piloted him back to his lair (when he was sure that he didn't even install an autopilot) and, the moment he got back to this surveillance-station, something put him under a trance!
As the humans were returned to their side of the door, the slave-tokens lost their power, and everyone assumed that the Fire-Bird fiasco was all an allusion (or rather, everyone that got involved... all the rest, human and animal, had been victimized to Lucinda's time-freezing aura... which was beginning to thaw out!) and nobody recalls the ancient lie about phoenix blood bringing immortality.
All four penguins high-fived each other, and manage to carry Marlene and Maurice (both of them knocked unconscious) back to the zoo, but after their friends were returned safely, Skipper, Rico, Private, and Kowalski had no recall about even leaving the zoo that night... Kowalski didn't even recall that his new device (now permanently deactivated) was to alter DNA to a super-strength status! Labeling it "useless", the penguins decided to throw that thing away... and the Rico upchucked a quarter dated 1933 (a year they never seen before) for some reason.
Soon enough, King Julien and Duchess Lucinda were the only ones left to return, and (had been promised by Hoori, in his regained human form, that they can keep recall of the matter) they agreed to keep it a royal family secret. Their deceased parents told them telepathically that the Sky Spirits are lowly servants themselves to the Sky King, otherwise called the Master-Creator, that is in charge of all things, spirits and all, in the sky, waters, and earth.
Julien didn't know this before, and though somewhat accepting to the idea that there is a king much higher then himself (in more ways then one) he decided to keep it as part of the secret... until "commanded" otherwise.
Lucinda, however, had a people family of that religion, so she already knew... she just didn't think she was worthy. (Neither of them were allowed to see this Ruler in person, at least not yet, as they still have lives to live on there side of the door!) As a treat "from one royal family to another" the Fire-bird, the Dragon-lady, and their son escorted Julien back to his throne, as the previous generation and the other Sky-Spirits returned to being stars, as to prepare for a "proper meteor-shower", but Lucinda learned there is a reason the prince dropped a tide jewel into the sea-of-crowds, as Salasi told her that, unless walked back to her lab blindfolded, her return to the soon-awakening humans at the halfway house will leave her sightless... after all, she seen the next world without blinking once.
The next morning, Blowhole woke up and somehow was sure that Skipper had a love-life, but doesn't remember where that knowledge came from. His robotic eye reactivated, but nothing was recorded for reference. The only clue was hearing the squirrel-pooka Auntie Sala (literally her old self again) whisper to Lucinda as she laid on the floor of her lab (as a blindfold was removed) "You befriended a new hero... But don't make a saint out of a sinner just yet."
Was She talking about Blowhole... or was this all part of some crazy dream? Blowhole couldn't decide. He thought it over while applying moisturizing cream, which for some reason, felt long overdue. "Next time I'll build a robot to spy on that girl," He told himself, at last, "That female lemur is way to complex for my cameras, and I need a break!"
As Dr. Blowhole took the day off before building the robot, Lucinda, reunited with her human cousins, Amy and Zeke, and she walked them to the doorway to Xibalba, but as Auntie Sala told her in a dream, the Spirit World no longer had a reason to connect with our own... all they found was the ruins typical of an abandoned theater. Figuring it's for the best, the three of them begin to head back to the halfway house... of course, Duchess Lucinda had seen too much of the next world to risk the door being open a moment longer. As the portal officially shut, Lucinda noticed that the image of the dragon and the fire-bird had changed:
Instead of a nine-tailed demon, the dragon was a beautiful creature with gentle eyes, and the expression of the phoenix's face was no longer enraged but, instead, playful. Only Lucinda knew the change, and it's reason. From the moment Furukimuchi (who has, indeed, changed his name to "Hiko") was born, for thousands of years, this door was the only way his parents, Hoori and Toyotama, can be seen together, and despite the time difference, Honorary-Pooka Lucinda and the most unlikely "good-guy" she knew (Dr.Blowhole) where part of such legendary results.
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