Legends of Laughter, Chapter 1.2
[Vi:] I woke up early the next morning, having decided to crash early the previous night. I fell asleep in the car, clothes and all, and Mom had the laborious task of hauling me into bed. At least today was Saturday. I didn't want to be noticed by the rest of the family, because I needed some time to mill over the events of last night.
I'd probably call Sam later today. For now, I needed to check my e-mail, so I shut the door and switched on my computer.
Waiting for the monitor to wheeze to life, I lay down on my bed and picked up my copy of Toon Vogue to peruse for the morning. Life here at the Parr home had always been so... ordinary. Well, if you could call a career as an undercover superhero as ordinary. Celebrity status? Check. Blockbuster biographical movie? Check. Millions at the box office? Check. Pinups of my parents in Toon Vogue, clad in skimpy supersuits that could've come out of a raunchy cartoon porn magazine (ugh!)?... Well, you get the idea.
With a groan of disgust, I tossed the magazine away, and rolled sideways... right off the bed and onto the floor. The usual clunk of face hitting floor was, thankfully, not enough to distract my little brother from Saturday morning cartoons, so I had no need to worry about him pestering me as I got up and headed over to the computer.
That was when I noticed the bizzare pattern on the screen. Huh, that's weird. I never remembered that screensaver before.
I clicked the mouse. The usual desktop opened up, and I opened up my e-mail to check my messages.
Normally, there would have been no new non-spam e-mails - I didn't remember getting any ever since I'd broken up with my LAST boyfriend. But today, there was one e-mail notification, from an address I'd never seen before.
It was forwarded from an address I'd never seen before. Who was "email@example.com" anyway? I felt a bit nervous as I looked up the e-mail, and the first thing I saw was a posterboard for a website I'd never seen before.
"Get 20% off all merchandise this Summer!" the message stated, advertising some kind of store. But why would anyone call "deviantART" a store? The only one I remembered splurging on was eBay.
Nevertheless, I decided to check it out. So I clicked the link on the e-mail... and let out a surprised gasp as the odd pattern started appearing again on the screen, spiraling out of the link.
The monitor had gathered quite a bit of dust since I last used it (courtesy of my laptop). I had to wipe it off to see the pattern clearly, but as soon as my fingers touched the glass, that was where it all went out of hand.
The screen seemed to give way, like a soap bubble. My fingers went right through, and the next thing I knew my hand was being sucked in, like a vertical version of quicksand!
I would have called for help, but the other members of the family were too busy to notice. So I put my bare foot on the edge of the desk and, using my body as leverage, I tugged.
But the computer's grip did not hold. And now it was enveloping my whole arm, sucking me in like a black hole!
I screamed in terror as my body gave way with a flash of brilliant light. Within seconds, there was no trace of me left, and even the odd little pattern on the screen was gone.
[Vi:] The next thing I knew, I was falling through the sky, plummeting towards some kind of strange city thousands of feet below. But then I hit some kind of invisible floor with a loud SMACK, and felt chalk on my face. The view of the city was simply a street painting.
I stood up, and gasped. I was in a new city, which reminded me a lot of the golden age of Supers. But the buildings were decked out in all kinds of shapes and colors, with posterboards of artwork everywhere. Every now and then, a wormhole appeared above the city, dumping dozens of pieces of paper down to the people below.
I stood up, wiping the chalk off of myself, and ducked aside as the startled artist brandished his fist at me, saying, "Hey! That was my Muro drawing, you moron!"
"Sorry, so sorry," I said, before rushing off into the street with a terrified scream.
"MOM! DAD! DASH!" I cried. "WHERE ARE YOU?!" I was lost in a new city, without a clue about where I was, and if I didn't get back home in time for lunch, my parents would ground me for life!
[Andy:] Is it my part yet?
[Vi:] Shut up, I'm getting there! Anyway, I turned a corner, and the next thing I knew, I skidded to a halt as I found myself confronted by a tall, buxom, and handsome, but sinister-looking guy. He was holding a book in his hands, sideways.
"You new around here, girly?" the man asked me.
"No," I said innocently. It wasn't even a lie.
"Well, then let me show you round town," said the man. "Name's Gaston, by the way."
"Thanks, but no thanks," I said, trying to sound like I was in a hurry. "I can tour this city myself."
"Awww, but you don't LOOK like you're from around here," said Gaston. "I'd love to sweep you off your feet and bang you up at the nearest tavern. After all, you've got nice, child-bearing hips, m'lady, and I'm ready to take advantage of 'em."
"Ewww! No!" I snapped, obviously insulted by Gaston's remark. "Do you honestly BELIEVE you'll get lucky the first time we meet?!"
"I don't care," he said, grabbing my throat and lifted me off the ground. His grip was like iron as he squeezed my neck tight. "YOU, girly, are coming with me."
"*Gaaak* I already *gasp* said no!" I choked.
But Gaston shoved a huge rifle in my throat. "And I don't take no for an answer."
I would have taken out my dinosaur-bone flute and blown his eardrums out, but someone screamed. As everyone around us fled like scared rabbits, a huge shadow passed overhead, causing Gaston to look up. His face turned pale, his blue eyes bulging in his head, and he dropped me as I too looked up.
Gliding out of the sun, its long shadow sending everyone running for cover, was an enormous... flying... THING, with gigantic wings and teeth as tall as Texas. As I blinked in the sun, I saw that it looked like a pterodactyl... a huge, lavender-gray, UGLY-looking pterodactyl, with four huge leathery bright purple wings, a powerful tail tipped with an arrowhead, and a head as long as a man is tall. Its four scaly crests, banded with maroon, glimmered in the sunlight, and its long, crocodile-like jaws flashed a full compliment of razor-sharp, serrated, dagger-like teeth. With a piercing shriek, it circled in the sky once, and dived straight at us!
Everyone, including Gaston, screamed and ran like the dickens, leaving me in the dust. The monster swooped and leveled flat out at 200 mph, heading straight for me. I did the only thing I could: I threw up a force field and waited for the end to come.
WHAM! Suddenly I found myself flying sky-high, screaming in terror, before landing on the creature's furry back. My force field bounced off its shoulder hump, rolled off its tail, and landed on the road again. The beast doubled back, making a U-turn with such speed and abruptness that the wind it kicked up blew over a parked car.
Luckily, my force field was already off and away. I spotted a crystalline carriage nearby, and switched off my force field, stumbling and rolling on the ground for several seconds before diving in and locking the door. The monster whizzed past so close that the tip of one of its razor-sharp claws just barely scratched the top of the carriage.
For the moment, it was gone. I sighed in relief. But moments later, a hundred razor-spiked fangs smashed through the walls of the carriage!
I shrieked as the giant teeth pierced through the transparent crystal, cracking the carriage like an eggshell. Then I felt the sensation of being lifted into the air. I looked down, and saw that the monster was flying upwards, carrying the carriage - Super and all - with it!
"NO NO NO PLEASE!" I cried as I felt the huge jaws loosen. "PLEASE DON'T - AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" I was falling, the carriage was falling. Falling straight down, hundreds of feet towards the ground below. Even the force field wouldn't save me now...
CRASH! The carriage exploded into a million shards as it hit the earth, mere feet from the still-fleeing Gaston. I was alive, just shaken by my landing, but seconds later he'd picked me up by the neck and made a run for it.
A few minutes later, he'd dived into one of the taverns he'd mentioned and locked the door. The bartender looked at him, shocked, but Gaston shoved him and several other patrons out of the way as he laid me down on the counter. "HEY! You creep, let me go!" I cried as he started pulling off my clothes.
"Now, where was I?" he asked, taking out his book again and reading it sideways. A shocked expression lit up his face as he realized something... "Hey! Why does the script say I get eaten?"
Then the roof came off with a terrible ripping noise. Everyone in the tavern screamed as they fled for cover, all except me and Gaston. I saw a familiar flash of green as the huge jaws snapped downward, the razor-sharp teeth closed upon Gaston's body. The villain shrieked as the creature lifted him bodily up and shook him like a ragdoll. Gaston's musket was wrested out of his hand, and the beast snatched it up in its talons as its huge jaws crushed his torso.
Gaston let out a long, loud, piercing scream of absolute terror, which was followed by an enormous CRUNCH and a spattering of gore. And then, the brilliant purple wings beat once as the monster shot off like a rocket, the downward thrust making the entire tavern explode with a skeleton-pulverizing KA-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!
When the dust settled, all that remained was the counter, with me still on it. The monster was gone... and so was Gaston.
[Andy:] Heh, I've always been proud of that -
[Vi:] Andy! *gives him a dirty look*
[Andy:] O///A///O... Heh, sorry. Carry on.
[Vi:] Anyway, I was the only person left in the mist of the rubble. For some reason, I rembered seeing that flash of green before. A flash of green I thought I'd never see again.
I rolled over onto my stomach upon the counter, and started to cry as, drop by drop, it started to rain.
[Vi:] This was way too confusing. I mean, I'd known about dA as a community, but I'd never imagined it as a... city.
It looked a lot like Metroville, of course, but there were a lot of major differences. The people were the first; they were dressed in all kinds of unusual garments in all sorts of colors.
[Stash:] Can I come in now?
[Vi:] Yeah, your part is due soon...
[Stash:] *comes in with Terror Dragon feather* Now then, how can Stash be of service to you, lass? *awaits her next move*
[Vi:] Well, let me build this up first...
[Vi:] Then a thought occured to me, and I looked down... and gasped.
[Stash:] Why yes. A city of its own with many cultures and backgrounds. And whats that?
[Vi:] Well, my own clothing had changed dramatically. My sleeves were checkerboard purple, and my pants were black with red pockets. I had a bright red vest on with yellow trim, and a checkerboard purple strap on my shoulder.
The scariest thing was, these new clothes felt... comfy.
Still in wonder, I started walking, without any goal or purpose.
The scenery seemed... oddly beautiful. Even more beautiful than any of the stuff back home. Which is saying something, because it was still raining.
Eventually, I found myself in an odd little neighborhood. I wasn't exactly sure where I was, but I could've sworn I'd heard... laughter.
Now it was even more confusing. I needed someone to explain my problems to. And then, as if that thought was some kind of command, my eyes fell upon a sign on the farthest building: "Stash's Laughter Therapy."
I was quick to enter, and as soon as I arrived at the help desk, I rang the bell.
[Sami:] "Welcome to Stash's Laughter Therapy. How can I be of assistance?"
[Vi:] "Erm... Well, I just want to talk to someone..." The only problem was that I didn't know who...
[Sami:] "Well, I think you might wanna see my ov- erh, I mean...my manager." I blushed heavily at this, but regained my composure as I walked over to my office door and knocked the door. "Excuse me, sir, you have a potential customer in the lobby wanting to see you!"
[Stash:] "I'll be right over, Sami. Thank you so much. Oh and also, be sure to print out plenty of copies, ok?"
[Sami] "Yes sir!" I said as I walked back over to the new girl. "My manager will be with you shortly. Thank you for your time. Please have a seat int eh lobby and he'll be with you I no time at all."
[Stash:] Once I made the copies, I walked back to the girl... on the ceiling, that is. "Welcome, lass. Pardon my introduction, but I was in a bit of a pickle with a certain pet of mine." I leapt down and landed on my feet, my shades shining in the light. "I'm Stash, the manager of this most popular establishment."
[Vi:] "Er..." I took a seat, feeling a bit nervous...
[Stash:] "You seem to not be from around here. Just passing through?" I smiled. "Why so nervous?"
[Vi:] "Well... I just have a lot of questions to ask... Yeah, I'm new around here. But I had a boyfriend... once... who knew dA like the back of his hand."
"So anyway... Can I talk to you in your office?"
[Stash:] "Is that so?" I asked as I sat across from her. "If it's personal, then you dont have to say anything that I will kindly respect. But if you need help with anything, you know you can come here for advice. And as for boys, I think you could get along with them here in dA." I touched my head, the gift of foresight in my family line, then smiled at her.
"Oh my goddness, I think you'll fit in just fine here in this city. You'll make friends here in no time," I said as I handed her a brochure and a tickle menu just in case she was interested, as well as a business card.
"Glad you made this your first stop. I'm pretty sure your curious about the laughter you heard from a distance, correct?"
[Vi:] "Not really... Okay, maybe a LITTLE curious..."
[Stash:] "Well then...just read the material I handed to you, and if you interested, i'll give you a FREE session if you choose to be a first time customer." I read through the profiles and nodded. "And yes, this is just one of many professions of mine. Hope you dont think of it as weird or anything. See, my goal is to provide women with much laughter in their lives while enjoying it ever so much for more. But that's me personally. I have employees here who treat all customers. The blue-haired beauty you just met is my assistant Sami. She's in charge when I'm away from my office. And believe it or not, my store has become very popular within 2 days."
[Vi:] This was becoming very irritating... "Free session? What do you mean, free session? I only wanted to ask a few questions or something!"
[Stash:] "Well then, ask away, my dear," I said, grabbing my journal for new entries.
[Vi:] "Okay, so..." I cleared my throat, hoping he'd listen. "My name is Violet Parr, and I'm a new user on deviantART. Just yesterday, the freakiest thing happened to me..."
[Stash:] "And that was?" I asked as I started jotting the notes down.
[Vi:] "Well... I spend the summer babysitting these three little girls over at Gru's place, but tonight their toys came to life. But this isn't like Toy Story or Night At the Museum, no... They attacked me! They tied me town and tickled my feet to insanity! There, I said it."
[Stash:] "Oh, I see now. I can certainly understand how torturous tickling can become to someone such as yourself. Well, I can promise you that I'm not that way. I use my abilities to bring enjoyment, at least the way I do it. I've also trained my employees that way.
[Stash:] "We are to not frighten or force anyone into submission. It goes against my policies, and I will not tolerate insubmordination. Which is why... I post manythings up in front of my windows or on paper inside my store for the curious.
I prefer a more straight forward approach here," I continued as I jotted more things down.
"Not once have I had a customer complaint, which is why I hired only the most potential people for my shop to help spread laughter in dA. And I will admit, Vi... You've got some lovely arches that could use some enjoyment. But given the situation you've endured with possessed play things, I will kindly step away."
I sharpened my pencil as I saw Sami coming back with the rest of the papers. "As I've said before... we are a store of free will."
[Sami:] "As requested, sir."
[Stash:] "Ah yes, than you, Sami. Oh by the way, if you see Dave, tell him to clock out next time, cuz he didnt do it yesterday.
[Sami:] "Got it!" I said as I walked back to my desk, blushing again.
[Stash:] "Now then, would you like me to help you with any other questions?"
[Vi:] "Well... Can we take this to your office? I just want to know what you do around here."
[Stash:] Not a problem," I said, making my way to my office, offering her a seat and sitting in my own chair. "Alrighty then, you have my full attention, Vi. What's on your mind?"
"Well... Okay, I'm SUPER curious. Where did that laughter come from?" I settled down on my own chair, keeping my eye on the stocks in the corner.
[Stash:] "Well, that laughter came from one of my best paying customers, Riley Montgomery. A wrestler and streetfighter she is, but once you get to know her, she's a very good friend. I just used those stocks on her, and she really enjoys herself bein tickled by the ery featherbender you're talkign to now. I think this makes it her 15th trip this past week and a half. She was also very curious, and after the first free session, she wanted more, much to my surprise. Since then, she's been a regular customer in her time of need to just relax after a long day." As I finished, I reached out for my notepad and pencil, thinking of more materials I'd need to run certain errands.
[Vi:] "Oh," I said. "Well, maybe I could try it out myself, just to see what it's like..."
[Stash:] I had a surprised, questionable look on my face, my eyebrow raised as I looked at her. "Curious? Are you really sure? I ask because after telling you what I do, and you're telling me about your ordeal with the toys and all, do you really wanna try it out with me? Think about what you say, 'cuz the last thing I wanna do is scare or offend you in anyway."
[Vi:] "No, not really, I'm not that scared... It was just weird, that's all." I still felt nervous when looking at the stocks though...
[Stash:] "Well, if your absolutely sure, then feel free to walk over to the stocks. you really dont havta do this, you know, Vi."
[Vi:] I walked over to them anyway.
"I guess if it suits you, I'll probably have my free session..."
[Stash:] With that in mind, I gently levitated and secured her in said stocks, keeping her hands bound. "Remember, Vi, you have the right to stop it from goign farther from here. But I must also ask- anything in particular ud like as far as a setting or tools?
[Vi:] "Er, not really... I'll just take the generic brand..."
[Stash:] "Mhm, got that," I noted. "One last thing - the time limit is very important. So, what's your time frame on your session?
[Vi:] "Maybe five to ten minutes..." I still couldn't help but feel nervous though...
[Stash:] "10 minutes it is, " I smiled, giving Vi a foot rub before the session even started just to relax her abit, possibly even giving her time to clear her mind and to make her smile.
[Vi:] "Er... Okay..." I giggled. In all honesty, I hoped he knew what he was doing.
[Stash:] I rubbed her soles deeper. "Last time I'll ask of you, Vi. What is your final answer?"
[Vi:] "W-whahahahat do you mehehehehean?"
[Stash:] Finally, I smirked playfully but reassuringly as I got in character. "Basically....how's THIS feel?" The first 2 minutes were spent strumming my fingers up and down her soft, pinked soles, keeping them as still as possible.
[Vi:] I exploded. Stash's nails were worse than a hundred feathers, and that was saying something. "AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OHMIGOSHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
[Stash:] One minute left before moving on to the next tool, I strummed them even faster. "Be honest, Vi, are you starting to enjoy yourself?"
[Vi:] "I CAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAN'T SAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAY!"
[Stash:] "Well then..." I said, stopping the finger torment. "Let's dedicate the next 3 minutes with these babies..." With her toes tied back to prevent any scrunching, I attacked Vi's cute soles with two electric toothbrushes, going up and down in circles, especially underneather her toes*
[Stash:] I hope im not making her suffer, I thought to myself.
[Vi:] "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA THIHIHIHIHIHIHIS IHIHIHIHIHIS TOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHORTUREHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!"
[Stash:] Okay, NOW I felt pretty bad. I awaited for her to tell me to stop.
[Vi:] I swore to myself, I would definitely never look at electric toothbrushes the same way again. But as the deadly bristles started running across my soles, I realized something... This felt... good. I was actually enjoying it.
[Stash:] C'mon, Vi. You're feeling tortured. You can tell me to end this right now, I thought. But then I got a request from her that totally shocked me.
[Vi:] "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Just a fehehehehehehehew mihihihihinutheehehehes mohohohohohohore, it cahahahahahahan't hehehehehehehehurt..."
[Stash:] Wow, I cant believe it, I thought. Plus, she only has abut 5 more minutes left, so now its time to make her session worthwhile. So I slowly stopped the brushes so she could collect her breath for her final 5.
[Vi:] I giggled, trying not to break down as I braced myself.
[Stash:] "Now, ive got some very very special feathers. no, not from birds, but enough chitchat from me, time to treat your ticklish feet to more tickles, my dear!" Using the legendary male Terror Dragon feathers, the solid black ones, I stroked them up and down her soles, one feather each, causing her to adopt a new enjoyable feeling. "Coochie coochie cochieeeeeee... "
[Vi:] Whatever he was up to, it worked. I erupted into laughter so loud and hard, I actually had to hold my sides to keep them from aching too much.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! OHMIGAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAWD! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA STOPPIT STOPPITSTOPPITSTOPPITSTOPPITSTAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAPPIT!!!"
[Stash:] 2 minutes up, but 3 more to go. still, I stopped upon her request.
[Vi:] Gasping and twitching, I couldn't help but smile. "Thank you," I panted, trying not to burst out into giggles again. "So... Is there anywhere I should go from here? You know, to find the answers or something?"
[Stash:] "Yes it is, my dear lass. This young man, Andy, will help you out with anything you may have. He is a parttime worker here, believe it or not, but he's one of the best damn employees ever."
[Vi:] I stiffened at his name. "You know him?" I asked, shocked.
[Stash:] "Yes I do. He was one of my greatest Featherbending desciples. And I can see by the look on your face that you are curious about Featherbending. Fear not, Vi, Andy will teach you the ways. Anyway, thanks for stopping by my shop. Feel free to stop by anytime."
[Vi:] "Do you know his address?" I asked, wondering if this was the man I'd missed throughout the years.
[Stash:] I handed out his business card to her. "The address is written here." I also pointed her to my female Terror Dragon. "Take this dragon to your destination. Oh, and don't worry about returning her, she knows the way back home."
[Vi:] I looked at the card... and my eyes widened in total shock.
True to form, the URL on the card belonged... to my ex-boyfriend.