Category: Book 2 - Party to the Moon.Flip the order!
Chapter 38 - If I were a shooting star, love?
The first thing that Field Commander Cohen did was to get everyone to make love. Now, this isn’t the crude kind of love that they did way back when. This was the kind of lovemaking that everyone can do, and no one gets hurt.
To do proper lovemaking, you need a house, so Leonard Cohen ordered the Adventure Friends got them doing that. It’s hard to build a house on the Moon, but Leonard Cohen knew how. He had everyone gather together moondust. The only real difference, if you think about it, between piles of dust and bricks is just the vibrations that keep them together. In dust, the vibrations are all just rolling around and don’t know what’s what. In bricks, the vibrations are pure and know what life is, and what their purpose in life is too. So Leonard Cohen would go up to a pile of dust and he would play some absolutely awesome and sad songs at it and change its vibrations. By the end of the day, he had made enough bricks to make a really nice house. Burzum helped too, but it’s hard to change the perception dust has on life when you are a sludgy orange colour. Colonel Glowfist put the bricks together to make a house with magic, or something.
So everyone went into the house and started putting up their things. There was a special room for the King to lie in and for Michael to meditate in. Michael had told the others about what was up on the Astral Plane by now, so they all knew how important it was that he wasn’t disturbed. Everyone had their own room except Gappy, who had a stable out back. People fed him apples. Leonard Cohen set up a wicked sound system in each room and made sure there was plenty of food in the kitchen. When everything was ready, Leonard Cohen started everyone off with the lovemaking. He invited Sally Minefield into his room, put on some really great music and then they lay down, just listening to music and talking about stuff. They were warm and happy. Sally knew some of the lyrics to some of the songs and Leonard Cohen knew some of the lyrics to some of the other songs. When they came to songs that they both knew, they found that they both had different perspectives on the song. They ate rice cakes with blueberry jam. When it was all over and they were satisfied, Leonard Cohen sent Sally off to her room to make love with whoever she liked, and called Ba’al in to his room. In this way, everyone made love to everyone else. Everyone got to know each other really well, and they understood the dynamics of the group so much better than they had before. Old friends like Colonel Glowfist and Axe Axewound got reminded on why they liked each other and kept each other’s company and relative strangers to each other like Burzum and Roxy Tripfoot really connected and shared some emotions.
After the third day of pure lovemaking, everyone had achieved a level up in togetherness. Leonard Cohen was satisfied, so he put on a record that made the vibrations in the bricks of the house get up and fly around. He was going to pay back the King for all the favours and quests he had done in Leonard’s name in the past. He was going to find Ric and solve the mystery of the city on the Moon before the King woke up. He had four days.
Meanwhile, high above the city, a man curled up into a foetal position and mouthed the word, ‘Alone’ over and over again until his mouth was dry. He was hooked up to machines in his suit. That man was Ric. He needed saving so bad.
End Of Chapter 38
Chapter 37 - The Field Commander.
A lot happened in the seven days that the King spent hanging out on the Astral Plane. Stories happened. People died.
Okay, so the King is out for the count. Roxy Tripfoot is cleaning up his face and Michael is leading his band (along with Leonard Cohen and Burzum, who didn’t really need leading, but just rocked out according to their own hearts, which just happened to be perfectly in synch with Michael’s) in an awesome song about healing and getting better. Michael is secretly logging on to the Astral Plane while he is playing and the two really hot Jerusalem girls are rocking out so hard that it’s like they are having sex with everyone who sees or hears them. That’s the scene. Oh, and there’s this city on the Moon and there’s this mysterious woman that you don’t know anything about yet, except that she’s got a spy-bird and she’s got it in for the King – so much so that she keeps his ex on the payroll so that she can kill him extra hard on the off-chance of him actually showing up.
That was the point where Roxy stood up and used her gypsy intuition to make a completely correct analysis of the situation. “It’s the King’s fight now. We must do all we can to protect his body while his mind…” she stopped talking because doubt had made her intuition stop. Roxy knew about the Astral Plane and Inner Demons and stuff. She had learned a lot about all that kind of thing in Hell, where people don’t often talk about ordinary subjects, but she had heard it all hundreds of years ago and she thought that maybe the Astral Plane had changed in all that time. Maybe it was more modern and the rules had changed, she thought. She didn’t know that time works differently there.
So now the problem was: who’s going to be the leader? The King was out of it and now Michael had stopped faking it and was just sitting there, meditating heavily. David was still too young to be wise and strong and Colonel Glowfist was too fat to be taken seriously any more. Axe Axewound was a prince, but he was more of a comic relief kind of guy. He was Scottish and liked to eat. Roxy herself was a queen in her former life, but she had been queen of gypsies, not of Europeans. She wouldn’t know where to start. Ba’al had been leader over no one but his daughter, Ashleighroth, for the past few thousand years. He was still technically a desert god, but he was only good for telling people to mess other people up and he knew it. Sally knew that she couldn’t be the leader. Gappy would have made a superb stand-in for the King, but he couldn’t speak or add up. Carolyn was consumed by her love and longing for Ric and couldn’t make good decisions. She would freak out at things that weren’t very important, or just make things up. That meant that it was down to the guest stars, Leonard Cohen and Burzum. They looked at each other. They knew where this was going.
Quick as anything, Burzum played his guitar. He turned a bright red, and so did the landscape. Leonard Cohen was unimpressed. He played his guitar and turned a beautiful blue with just a little bit of green in it. So did the landscape. Burzum sniffed and played his guitar. Now everything was green-yellow. Leonard Cohen played his guitar and everything became the purest, sunniest yellow imaginable. They went on like this, back and forth, for ten minutes, each taking their turn to come up with a better colour than the last. Eventually, all Burzum could think of was a kind of sludgy orange and Leonard Cohen played the colour of pure emotion. Defeated, Burzum stayed sludgy orange for the rest of the adventure. His clothes, his skin, his hair, his guitar: sludgy orange. The landscape went back to normal. Leonard Cohen spun around. He spun so fast that he was a blur. He kicked up moon-dust so that you couldn’t even see the blur. Now he was a little tornado. He was a little bit off the ground. There was a clash of lightning and then the wail of an electric guitar and Leonard Cohen was wearing a completely different costume. It was white, which is the colour of all colours.
“I am the Field Commander,” said Leonard Cohen. “Let’s go, gang!”
Everyone knew that he was the leader at that point.
End Of Chapter 37
Chapter 36 - The King’s nine hearts.
Everyone gathered around the unconscious King. His face was a bloody mess. There was a heavy amount of sadness in the air. Roxy Tripfoot cleaned up his face the best she could with her rabbits, but though she could heal his outer wounds, she could do nothing about the hurt he felt on the inside. But Michael had a plan. It was to do with the King’s mind.
We haven’t talked much about the King’s mind. You all know how great the King is in the world of the body, but that is nothing compared to how strong he is on the Astral Plane. It’s actually quite frustrating for the King to have a body at all. It isn’t nearly as tough and heroic as his mind is, which gets to him sometimes.
Once, when he was fighting Mystic Boy (who was from the past, which is quite a mystical place, if you think about it) on top of Mount Fighting, the King realised that even he could not keep up with the constant stream of hadokens and fly kicks that Mystic Boy was shooting out at him, so he decided to trick Mystic Boy into fighting him on the Astral Plane. Mystic Boy thought this was pretty funny, as he’d picked up all his best skills from the senseis and item shops that are on the Astral Plane and reckoned that he’d beat the King there even more easily than he would in real life. So they both sat down and meditated and then the King’s mind kicked Mystic Boy’s mind so hard that he was in a coma for a year and his girlfriend left him because she just couldn’t deal with it.
So the King was on the Astral Plane now, doing one of his favourite things – fighting Inner Demons. Inner Demons were like real demons, only a hundred times more. You couldn’t really ever kill them, just make them less powerful for a little while. If you stopped fighting them, they would just grow and grow and grow and then it would be a real headache to fight them again. The King was throwing flykick after flykick at some Inner Demons, and they were shrinking with every one. But there was one Inner Demon that he couldn’t shrink down small enough to just laugh off, and that Inner Demon was BETRAYAL. He kept uppercutting it and sweep kicking it, but it just didn’t care. It was becoming a real problem, and that hurt the King – knowing that there was a problem that he could not easily solve. He was about to get really depressed, because BETRAYAL just wasn’t shrinking small enough when Michael appeared and smashed BETRAYAL to bits with a flykick that, had it been in the real world where things are generally pretty wussy, would have caused the Moon to explode.
The King smiled. BETRAYAL was tinier than a mouse now, and could not do any harm to anything on the Astral Plane for a while. He turned to Michael, who wasn’t even out of breath. Michael and the King had a special connection, because they were basically the same guy. He and Michael could hook up on the Astral Plane whenever they liked and Michael could give valuable insight and strength on just about everything because he had a different perspective and wasn’t like other people. The King and Michael high-fived, then had a hug that would have snapped a man in two, had it happened in real life.
“Thanks for helping a brother out, Michael.” Said the King, and he meant it.
“We’re all real worried about you, Your Highness. Your ex got away, and you’re hurt pretty bad.” Said Michael. The King paused and sniffed the air.
“One of my hearts has stopped.” He said.
“I came here to take you to them.” Said Michael. “You need to see for yourself.”
Now, all this might look like Michael is better than the King on the Astral Plane, because Michael can shrink Inner Demons and is powerful enough to take the King to see his hearts, but that isn’t true. When Michael is near the King on the Astral Plane, their special connection allows them both to power-up by sharing the power they both have. So it wasn’t just Michael who flykicked BETRAYAL, but it was the King AND Michael, in a way. The Astral Plane works like that. It is one of the many reasons why sharing is so important.
So the King took Michael’s hand and, combining their power, flew up high, higher than the King had ever dared to fly before on the Astral Plane. It took a long time. Michael and the King talked on the way. They talked about Oranje, what she was like in the old days, and how bad David must feel. There were monsters and towns along the way, and they dealt with them in the appropriate manner. After a few levels, they arrived at the King’s hearts. On the Astral Plane, the King’s hearts were red castles, bigger than any castle in the real world, that bustled with life and people and their own economical and political structure. They visited each one, talking to some of the thousands of people who lived in each of the castles, getting the feel of how they were doing, giving out presents and treasures from all the stuff they had done along the way and so on. Everyone in the King’s hearts was glad to see the pair, and knew all about their travels and their hardships and their quest to kill Winter. They wished them luck as they left, and waved until they had flown out of sight, then wondered when they would visit again.
The eighth castle was different, of course. The King had donated one of his hearts to Terrorthaw when he had been mauled by animals this one time and would have died. Despite everything that had happened between the King and Terrorthaw, the King had remembered what it had been like when they had been friends, and had saved Terrorthaw’s life. On the Astral Plane, the castle was still there, because the spirit of the heart was still with the King but it was now the domain of Terrorthaw. The castle was just as big as the seven others they had seen, but it was dark blue, and evil. The walls were twisted, ugly and full of spikes. There were no people in the towns, just hyenas and skeletons. Birds guarded everything that was cool or useful. The King and Michael flew up to the highest tower of the castle and found Terrorthaw on the roof.
“So, you finally decided to visit your old heart,” said Terrorthaw. “Do you like what I’ve done with the place?” then Terrorthaw laughed and laughed. It was a relaxed laugh. He wasn’t about to start a fight – he knew better than to start anything with the King on the Astral Plane – so he was just laughing because he thought he was funny. “But seriously, man. I’m sorry about Oranje. It had nothing to do with me. She was a real keeper, back in the day.”
The King nodded, and knew that it was true. Terrorthaw had been the King’s best man at his wedding, even though they had tried to kill each other dozens of times before that point. Terrorthaw was just happy that the King had found a good wife. He wore his best suit at the wedding, and it wasn’t even one that boosted his strength a hundred-fold or was atomic powered or anything. At the reception, he had summoned some demons and stuff to try and kill the guests, but that was more out of habit than trying to be a dick. The King had understood.
“What you need to do, Kingy, is find out who she is working for. The only people who are supposed to be on the Moon are NASA, better start with them. Maybe they’ve got her brainwashed or have put a chip in her head.” This is Terrorthaw speaking. “That’s what I’d do if I wanted to get to you like that.”
They left Terrorthaw’s heart and flew on to the ninth and final heart. It was the one that had imploded. The castle had fallen on the town, crushing it completely. There was no one alive in the ruins. Not one thing that was cool or useful had survived. The King knelt there in the ruins of his heart and wept. He wept so hard that everyone in the other hearts could feel it in their teeth, and all the hyenas in Terrorthaw’s heart hid under tables and whined. When at last he had stopped weeping, the King saw, floating high, high, high up in the sky above the ruins of his heart, a little speck. It was an astronaut, floating away in the loneliest, emptiest part of the Astral Plane. The King knew what was going on.
“Ric.” He said. “We need to find Ric. He is the key to all of this.”
Michael nodded. He had come to the Astral Plane to make sure that the King knew this. Of course, the King had known it all along. He had known it as soon as he had laid eyes on Carolyn for the first time. He put his hand on the King’s shoulder and they were back on the Moon. The King had awoken.
He was in a bedroom in a house inside the city on the Moon. He had been unconscious for seven days.
Time works differently on the Astral Plane.
End Of Chapter 36
Chapter 35 - Heartbreak on the Moon.
Oranje was beaten. The King had waited until she was out of breath, crouched to avoid the energy blasts, then thrown David at her, full power. He had done this three times. He was talking on the phone to the troll the whole time. He wasn't the King for nothing - as if you didn't know that already.
Oranje was panting hard. He was out of breath and out of health. The King was ready to throw David for a killing blow, but first he wanted an explanation. His traveling companions backed away. This was private. This was the honoured territory between a man and his ex. The King lowered David and put him on the ground. He walked slowly towards Oranje. He was unarmed. He meant no harm.
And then Oranje ruined everything, possibly forever.
"David!" she said, "My son! Come to your mother." David looked at the King, saw the sadness on his suddenly tired, old face, and knew that it was all true. He'd known it all the while, somehow, but now no part of him could deny it – he'd just beat up his own mother. This was such a mess of new emotions for little David. His brain was so scattered when Oranje had left that he hadn't even been able to keep a solid memory of her together, so he didn't really know what mothers were all about. He had been mothered a little bit by the King's girlfriends, but they treated him more like a puppy. If he had died of pneumonia, or been hit by a bread truck, that would have been a real bummer, but the King's girlfriends would have gotten over it. He had mostly been raised by the maid, who had breastfed him for a while and then put him in the living room to watch soap operas while she tidied up and cooked dinner. David always knew exactly what was happening in every soap opera that was on, because he had been following them for his entire life. He liked the mothers on the soap operas, because they were so full of emotion. He loved their breasts and the way they were always making sacrifices or breaking the law for their children. And now, here he was, hurting his own mother, who now only wanted to hug him. He was confused, so he just did what she said. He waddled over to her beaten frame. Then there came the hug to end all hugs. It was not a friendly tackle, nor the embrace of lovers about to do the nasty with each other, but it was the hug of a mother, full of regrets, who misses her son. Oranje's sadness and regret flowed into David and his childish happiness and having a good time flowed into her, so they both came out about average – somehow lessened, somehow strengthened.
"He even knew who you were!" screamed the King, and his voice shook the Moon. The King was angry and hurt. His eyes were all hardness and feelings and he wanted Oranje to know those things and feel bad. But Oranje was still hugging David, tears streaming down her cheeks. She looked up at the King, with David's head buried in her shoulder, and smiled. She showed teeth. The King knew what that smile was. There was nothing he could do. He scrambled for the throwing-hammer he kept in his shoe, but David was already flying through the air towards him, hurled with every ounce of strength that Oranje had, which had been magnified and powered up by the maternal energies she had just absorbed from David's hug. David smashed head-first into the King's nose. David was unharmed, of course, because of his magical belt, but the King lost dozens of hit points - both from the force of the collision, and the penalties inflicted by the sadness and betrayal that was going on. One of the King's hearts imploded from the sadness he felt right then. That heart would never beat again.
Roxy Tripfoot bounded over to apply some surgical rabbits to the King's headwound, and Leonard Cohen instantly composed and sang the greatest song about cheating women that has ever been thought of, even by him. Axe Axewound and Colonel Glowfist flung waves of aggression and magic at the place where Oranje had been, but she was gone.
David was silent.
End Of Chapter 35
Chapter 34 - Then there was this troll.
"Okay dude, I just need you to relax. I don't want to fight you. I just want you to get out of the way," this was General Majesty speaking, "So we can get across."
In order to cross into the Kingdom Of Sharing, where they would be able to go on to the Chillinous Plains, General Majesty and his company had to pass the icy Bridge Of Everyone, which was guarded by a troll. The troll said that he wanted to fight everyone who came across the bridge. General Majesty had five hundred and ten thousand men marching with him, which would mean a lot of fighting, and he frankly didn't have the time to spare. To be on schedule, he would have to get his men in the Chillinous Plains within two months and then Mechanicus and his detachment would only have six months to build the most hardcore castle ever. General Majesty didn't have time to waste with trolls.
"I am relaxed. I just talk like this because I am a troll," said the troll. His voice was angry and terrifying. He was eating a goat with one hand. "I have to fight anyone who comes across the bridge. If they can get me in an armlock, I let them go. If they can't, I snap them in two." The troll paused, thoughtfully. "It's something to do with immigration and trade unions. It's all very political."
"I have half a million soldiers here, dude. We'll rush you." Said General Majesty.
"I'll push you over, man. It's a thin bridge. I'm a troll."
"Damn! He's right!" said General Majesty to Mechanicus, who was sympathetic. "We'd get him eventually, but we can't spare so many men. The King needs us! How are we going to get out of this one?" Just then, the phone rang.
"Hello?" said General Majesty.
"It's the King." Said the King.
Majesty: "Your Highness! How are you?"
KING: "Bad. I'm fighting my ex-wife."
Majesty: "Oranje's back? No way! Did she finally explain why she left you?"
KING: "No! She's trying to kill me and my buds. She's learned gypsy fighting magic and we just can't kill her."
Majesty: "Oh man."
Majesty: "She's still got my CDs."
KING: "She's still got half of all my stuff. She's still got my dog."
Majesty: "Is Scruff with her now?"
KING: "No, Scruff's not here. It's just her and seventy Moonmen. I don't know where Scruff is."
Majesty: "Don't cry, your Highness. You'll see Scruff again."
KING: "I NEED TO KILL HER."
Majesty: "Okay. What kind of gypsy fighting magic is she using?"
KING: "Alright. Sorry. First, she just stands there and hits you right away if you get close and the Moonmen keep throwing knives at you. After a little while, she laughs and then she spins around all over the place, jumping around. You can't even jump over her when she does this, and fighting her – you can forget about it. Just as she's about to stop, she fires three energy blasts from her scythe and then kind of crouches down, out of breath for a few seconds before doing the whole thing again."
Majesty: "Okay. I've seen this magic before. One of the hot birdgirl warlords in the Bird Wars did the same thing. When she stops spinning, you need to avoid the energy blasts and fly-kick her while she's out of breath. Just keep out of her for the rest of the time."
KING: "Yeah, I think that will work. It makes sense."
Majesty: "Just make it through safely, Your Highness. Don't lose your head, man."
Majesty: "Oh, hey, do you think you could talk to this troll for me?"
Majesty: "It's for you."
Oh, you can bet that the King talked some sense into that troll.
End Of Chapter 34