Vol 1: A RECKLESS RETCON

Vol 2: Here Lies Version One

Vol 3: Space Opera Rerun

Vol 4: Split the Party

Vol 5: Happy Endings

Vol 6: Killing Time

Vol 7: Intertextuality

Vol 8: Loose Ends

 

header image shows princess flibbage trapped inside an hourglass

Volume 6: Killing Time

Episode 1: Epilogue/Prologue- By Emily

“...And that, is a Trope!” Said Flibbage, slamming her hand onto a whiteboard she stood next to. She blinked rapidly several times, confused. She was standing on a patio outside the Faerie Palace, the whiteboard she’d just whacked was covered in entry level explanations of The Plot, Generics, and other basic Fey philosophical concepts. In front of her on a long bench sat Beansprout, looking bored and annoyed, Yakky, with an arm draped casually over his girlfriend’s shoulder, and an expression of blank confusion, then finally Jay trying to look studious, perched on the end in his immaculate black suit and blue pocket square, notepad in hand.

Flibbage had no idea how she got here.

“Look Flib’ it’s been a whole year, and I still don’t feel any the wiser. Maybe there’s a reason why The Queen told you not to bother teaching us this stuff?”

Folk, thought Flibbage, another time skip.

Covering her shock with a forced laugh, Flibbage thought fast, “Yes a whole year! How silly of me to think today of all days, I’d make a breakthrough!”

The Plot never left The Faerie Godmother out of the loop for long, and at that prompt, Yakky stepped up as Its mouthpiece.

“Flib’, you don’t have to make excuses about ‘lessons’ to hang out with us, it’s okay to be sad we’re going back to the Mortal Realm today, now the Fey have fixed all the damage Buffy did to it. We’ll miss you too, but you can come visit whenever you want!!”

“Yeah who’d have thought Camphor would turn out to be so good at Landscape Architecture on a global scale!” Beansprout added, reluctant to compliment the Half-Fey woman who was all that remained of her Arch Nemesis.

Flibbage filed that info away as well, and waited for the last part of the infodump to bring her up to speed.

“The other mortals still seem to think it’s somehow all Faerie’s fault though” Jay finished, bringing out his smartphone and scrolling through messages from Elle and Dee. “I guess I should have expected it. Humanity finds out Aliens, Faeries, Weres and Demons, are real, and suddenly they don’t care about border disputes anymore because they’ve got a whole new set of people to ostracise. The NGSPIB(lue) will have a lot of work to do behind the scenes. At least with every trace of the Burgundies gone, we can actually get on with it.”

Flibbage turned to wipe the whiteboard clean, hiding her face whilst she composed herself. Out loud she continued the pretence of a frustrated teacher;

“One day I’m going to have my own school of generics. And…and magical martial arts! And THEN people will stop asking me what I’m talking about!” Inside her mind was reeling. There had been a perfect Happy Ending! They’d defeated Hell itself! There was even romance! Why had she been skipped forward to this happy little recap scene, and why did she still feel this crushing retcon deja-vu? This felt like the beginning of a new Arc, and in this kind of Plot that meant things were about to get dark and weird.

Making her friends promise to meet her back there in half an hour so she could transport them personally back to Earth, Flibbage ran off in search of advice.

***

“Mum, you’re not going to believe me, but ten minutes ago it was a year ago!” Flibbage yelled, crashing through the doors of the throne room. Queen Cabbage and Red were playing Mortals and Mundanity with the rest of the Courtiers across a large board scattered with tiny figurines and structures.
“Not this again Darling, can it wait?” huffed the Queen, “We’re about to defeat Capitalism, its a very important battle.”

“Are you sure its not just an epilogue, Princess?” Red chipped in, as she rolled a dice. “Oh excellent, subtract 10% of the Stock Market’s hit points!”

“Red’s got a point.” Cabbage added as she knocked over several buildings on the map. “Oh no, the economy! HOW SAD.”

“It’s not an EPILOGUE, I KNOW WHAT AN EPILOGUE IS.” Flibbage felt her voice rising in tone and volume, a habit she’d worked hard to curb since last time she’d been in a time skip no one else remembered and suddenly all the Fey had decided to be human sized instead of tiny.

Cabbage sighed and put her figurine down. “Look Flibbage, you’re a very capable woman and a very good Godmother. I know that skipping around the multiverse and the timeline making sure The Plot stays on track is hard work, but I have my own work to do and its very important.”

“Mother you drink copiously, terrorise your subjects, and apparently play BOARD GAMES!”

“Yes and I’m very busy!” Cabbage yelled, and a wave of force pushed Flibbage backwards out of the throne room, the doors slamming shut inches from her nose. On the other side she heard Red say “I roll to bankrupt the hedge funds!”

“Genius, Red, I love it!”

Flibbage sighed.

***

Back on Earth the finishing touches were being applied to Nepal, the center of all the destruction.

“Perfect!” chirped Camphor, conjuring some small blue flowers to decorate the entrance of the restored Temple our protagonists had fallen into so many years ago. It had unfortunately been sucked halfway into a demon portal and had gotten stuck, so it jutted out from the ground at a slightly jaunty angle.

“You’ve done a great job, little Freds!” Oddball said with pride as she watched yaks grazing in the distance, “It’s almost as inhospitable as I remember!” She was back dressed in her priestess robes rather than the suit she’d been wearing in the NGSPIB, and her hair was as wild as ever.

Camphor bowed deeply. “I helped make this mess, it’s only right that I should help to fix it.”

“Well we can all hope to atone for the sausages of our past,” Oddball answered diplomatically and waved to the Faeries as they flew off to their next assignment. She wandered back inside the temple, her path seemingly random as she danced over lines and cracks on the floor, dodging traps like a leaf blown on a gust of wind, a priestess of Chaos on her home turf. Coming to a stop before the altar Oddball pulled a little book from her pocket and began to draw runes in the air.

With a flash of lightning a Portal opened and out stepped a man dressed in a sharply cut Burgundy suit, flanked by henchmen in shades.

“Agent O, good to see you escaped the apocalypse!” Said Barry with a smirk, “Turns out having a few Fey spells up your sleeve is quite the Plan B!”

“You’re welcome Fred.” said Oddball donning a pair of black shades as she led them back out into the sunshine. “Now there’s a whole fresh new sausage to invade!”

Actually Oddball,” said Mr. NGSPIB, “Regaining control of Earth isn’t my top priority, we’ve tried that before, and it’s not that amazing. Faerie however, is full of powerful magic, and has a very loose concept of size or real estate. No, I think this time I’ll capture Faerie, and then I’ll come back for Earth.”

“An excellent plan, Fred.” said Oddball

“O, we’ve talked about this, it’s Barry, not Fred.”

“Absolutely as you say, Agent Fred.”

And don’t stand right next to me until you get some burgundy robes! Those ones totally clash with my shirt!”

***

I can’t wait to get back to the real world,” sighed Beansprout wistfully, “I could go to university, or get a job and be normal because I won’t be constantly trekking around Nepal. The NGSPIB will be back to being one group run by Jay and no Buffy to worry about. Just nice, normal Earth with occasional faeries, a strange werewolf boyfriend, and a magical glowing sarcasm sword that I used to defeat the Antichrist.”

“Sounds amazing,” said Yakky “Maybe I won’t have to wear hats all the time, now werewolves are A Thing,”

“Wouldn’t bet on it,” Jay replied, still scrolling through his phone, and showed them a text from Dee:

SUM HUMAN JUST YELLED @ ME SAID I TRIED TO BITE HER BABY. THEY THINK WE’RE TRYNG TO STEAL THEIR CHILDREN FOR MORE WEREWOLVES. I DO NOT WANT HER STUPID HUMAN BABY IT IS INFERIOR AND LOUD.

“Wow.” said Beansprout. “Okay maybe our work is not done.”

“Can educating humans about other sentient life be someone else’s job please?” Yakky said and with a sigh adjusted his hat to hide his ears again.

Flibbage came running up again, looking a little dishevelled and out of breath.

“Heyyyyy, sooooo, are you all sure you want to go back?”

“Flib, will you just give us a portal please?” Beansproout said, exasperated, “I want to go to my house. I haven’t seen it since Jay blew it up!”

“That wasn’t me!”

“You were involved!”

Flibbage relented.

“Okay okay, but if you see anything weird I want you to come straight back okay? I’ve got this weird feeling that something’s not right”

Beansprout sighed, and drew out her sword “Look at this sword, Flib’.”

“I see the sword, ‘Sprout, maybe you should leave it here.”

“I will not! I destroyed an apocalyptic demon giant with this sword, and I promise you we will be fine. If I see anything weird I will let you know.”

“UGH FINE.” Flibbage knew that as usual no one was going to listen to her when it counted. She summoned two portals appeared in the air. “Jay, this portal leads to the NGSPIB HQ in London, you can use the Interdimensional Portaloo to come back here if you need to. Beansprout and Yakky, your portal leads to the duck statue near Sprout’s house, if you need to come back, you just kick it and yell THE DUCKS DAMMIT THE DUCKS.”

“That is weirdly specific.” Said Yakky, wrinkling his nose.

“I don’t make the rules!”

Flibbage watched as Jay stepped through one portal and Beansprout and Yakky stepped through the other. “Maybe it’s just an epilogue,” she said to herself, unconvinced.

***

Oddball was wondering if it was okay to ask a question, and in the end decided it must be because Mr. NGSPIB hadn’t spoken for half an hour.

“Uh… excuse me…”

“Why Oddball, why? Why do you feel you have to speak over me? Don’t I even exist? You don’t care at all do you, you mouthy cow?”

“My deepest apologies Fred, I was just wondering how we’re going to get to Faerie to take it over, I don’t think just anyone can portal in and out.”

“Just wait and see.”

***

With a pop, Yakky and Beansprout appeared back on Earth. The town Beansprout had grown up in, or at least this dimension’s equivalent, looked exactly as she remembered it, even down to the ridiculous statue of a swan they’d appeared next to.

“Right,” said Beansprout, stepping away from the statue, “all we have to do is remember where it is.”

“Not exactly difficult. Ugly modernist abstract duck it is.”

“Exactly.”

“How do we get back to Faerie?”

Beansprout glanced at Yakky. “Do you not listen with those overgrown ears? You kick the statue and shout ‘The ducks, dammit, the ducks!’”

“I know that!” replied Yakky incredulously.

“Then why did you ask?”

“I didn’t!”

They stared at each other for a second. “Whatever,” Beansprout said, waving her hand, dismissively, “let’s go, I am freezing my butt off out here.”

As they headed away the NGSPIB(urgundy) agent hidden in the bushes breathed a sigh of relief and emailed the info back to Nepal.

* * *

Beansprout drop-kicked the door of her house, out of habit more than anything else.

“Hello Mum? Dad? Oh wait you’re both too busy being ridiculous people to live here any more so I guess this is my house now??? Okay, your silence seals the deal!” She looked around. Either the Faeries had done a great job rebuilding it, or in this dimension, maybe it had never been incinerated. She flopped down in an armchair. “Ahh Yakky, I may be the child of a broken home, and we may both have supervillain parents, but at least we are young and in love and have a house of our own!”

“Smells weird.” Yakky said, smelling the air, “usually places smell like people, but this place smells like nothing. And maybe mould.”

“Nothing a few open windows won’t fix! And I can hang my sword above the fireplace!”

“Yeah, once we get rid of that NGSPIB(urgundy) classified area sign on the wall up there.”

“DAH!” Beansprout exclaimed, noticing the sign. “The NGSPIB(urgundy) are supposed to be gone!”

“Oh that’s why the sign’s there.”

Beansprout’s optimistic mood evaporated. “Flibbage was right, there is something weird going on!” She stood up. “We have to get back to Faerie.”

“What, already? Why?”

“Flibbage loves being right, it’ll make her day!”

“Oh all right then.”

***

Beansprout skidded to a halt in front of the statue and kicked it.

“The ducks Dammit, the DUCKS!”

They waited.

Nothing happened.

“Shite.” Beansprout said.

“Maybe, sweetheart, you said it wrong?” said Yakky,

Beansprout gave Yakky a withering look. “If you ever call me sweetheart again, I will make you regret it.”

“Yes S-prout, sorry Sprout.”

“Thank you. – The ducks Dammit, the –Aaaaargh!” Beansprout was cut off abruptly as a large portal appeared and sucked them in.



Chapter Two: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again…Again- By Ally

“Folk!” Beansprout yelled, as the two of them spiralled downwards through a swirling, multi-coloured vortex. A clock swooshed past her head, nearly hitting her, and she saw that its hands were spinning backwards.

Flibbage would think that was such a cliché, Beansprout thought. I wish she was here.

“What’s happening?” Yakky shouted. His arms were windmilling as he fell, his Chelsea beanie coming off and hovering just above his head. A coffee machine and a slow cooker arced past him and disappeared into the vortex.

Beansprout angled herself, trying to look down to see if there was anything they could grab onto, or any unfortunate floors rushing up to hit them. But there was nothing. Just the swirling and twirling and flying household objects, which shot past with reckless intensity.

“FCUK!” Yakky yelped, ducking to avoid some kind of large orange-juicer.

“What?”

“Flying Citrus Unidentified Kitchen-tool!”

Beansprout frowned. “How did you think of an acronym like that at a time like this?”

“I don’t know, it just seemed like the thing to say.”

“Well-” Beansprout began, but before she could finish her sentence, the bottom of the vortex opened up and deposited them unceremoniously in an ornamental garden.

Standing up, Beansprout brushed herself off and looked around. “This looks familiar,” she murmured.

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you very much,” Yakky grumbled as he joined her.

“If you can come up with kitchen appliance jokes out of nowhere, I’m not going to be all that worried about you.” Beansprout frowned as she looked across the garden. “It looks a bit different, but I think this is the palace garden in Faerie…”

“Give that girl a prize,” said a familiar voice. Flibbage wriggled out of a nearby piece of topiary, looking bedraggled and more than a little pissed off.

“Flibbage! What are you doing in an ornamental bush?”

“Honestly, not 100% sure,” said Flibbage. “That’s just the way it happened last time.”

Yakky frowned. “What?”

“Never mind. Really. I’m getting pretty sick of explaining.”

“Well, whatever you were doing, it’s a good thing you’re here,” said Beansprout. “We need to tell you something-”

“Yes, about that, just wait a minute.” Flibbage folded her arms and turned to look at a spot a few feet away, just in front of an ornamental fountain that Beansprout was fairly sure hadn’t been there last time she’d visited this particular garden.

“Uh, what are we waiting for?”

“Any second now,” said Flibbage.

There was a loud flushing noise. The fountain went from a pleasant trickle to a torrent, and Jay shot out of the spout, landing in the fountain’s bowl with a splash.

“Ugh!” He sat up, spitting water, and looked around. “What the hell happened?”

“Thought so,” said Flibbage. “The plot really wants us all back here for some reason.”

“Probably because of the NGSPIB(urgundy),” said Beansprout. “You see, Yakky and I found-”

“Why am I in a fountain?” Jay wailed, trying to climb out and slipping on the wet stone. He fell back into the water with a crash. “I just wanted to use the toilet!”

“The Interdimensional Portaloo, right?” Flibbage asked.

“All the others were occupied!”

“For goodness’ sake…” Beansprout went over to the fountain and hoicked Jay out by his collar, depositing him on the grass. “Look, however Jay got here, it’s a good thing we’re all back together, because Yakky and I found out-”

“The NGSPIB(urgundy) are back, yes, I’d gathered,” said Flibbage.

Beansprout frowned. “How? Have they done something here too?”

“You could say that,” said Flibbage. “Here is not exactly where you think it is.”

“What are you on about? We’re in the Faerie Palace gardens, aren’t we?”

“Yes,” said Flibbage. “About forty years ago.”

*

“Run this by me again,” said Beansprout.

Flibbage blinked, and rubbed her eyes. It’s happened again. Another time skip. Now they were sitting on the edge of the fountain, with Jay trying to get his clothes dry, and largely failing. She was going to have to get control of those, otherwise the Plot was going to slip completely out of her hands.

“It’s simple,” she said. “The duck statue portal – and the Interdimensional Portaloo – didn’t just transport you three back to Faerie. They brought you back in time. Me too – I’m not even sure how, I just blinked and I was here. Forty years in earth terms, probably about a thousand years in Faerie.”

“How did the NGSPIB(urgundy) pull off something like that?” Jay asked, wringing some water out of his jacket.

“I’m not sure,” said Flibbage. She had some ideas, but she wasn’t going to share them at the moment, and not just because her mortal friends didn’t have a hope in hell of understanding them. If the Plot wanted this to be a time-travel story, and had worked it through the NGSPIB(ugundy) somehow…well, that was annoying, but manageable. But if it was the other way round…she didn’t even want to think about what that would mean.

“Look, I wouldn’t worry about that just yet,” she said. “Time travel plots have a way of working themselves out when you move through the various time loops.”

“Really?”

“Well, that or the universe just blows up and resets, but that’s really only in the Moffatian Continuum…”

“Flibbage.” Beansprout snapped her fingers in her face. “Focus.”

“Anyway, I can definitely get us back to our present,” said Flibbage. “I’ll need to pace myself, maybe do several smaller hops instead of one big one, but I can do it. And then we can work out what on the various earths the NGSPIB(urgundy) are up to.”

“Wait a second.” Yakky’s ears pricked up. “Someone’s coming.”

Flibbage jumped to her feet. “We’d better hide. We don’t want to end up changing the course of history.”

“So, don’t touch anything or you might kill an insect and become your own grandfather?” said Jay.

“I mean, your family history is your own business, but I guess?” Flibbage dived back into the hedge, and the others reluctantly followed her.

They’d just hidden themselves when a noticeably younger-looking Cabbage and Red turned the corner.

“You’re never going to guess!” Cabbage cackled, waving her hands in the air.

“A professional vape reviewer?”

“No.”

“An MLM salesperson?”

“No!”

“A yak-farming vicar from Nepal?”

“N-yes! How did you guess?”

Red grinned. “Booksmarts and a lot of coffee.”

“Damn you,” Cabbage grumbled. “Now I can’t steal your firstborn child.”

“You couldn’t anyway, I already gave its soul to Fliain, and I don’t want to raise kids in Faerie.”

“Faerie is a perfectly good place to raise kids.”

“Cabbage, look how your entire court turned out.”

“Fair point.” Cabbage dug around in her pocket and brought out a small pouch. “Anyway, use as much of the love spell as you want, I hope it brings you…interesting times.”

“Stop being grumpy.”

“I’m not!”

“You only wish people significant pause interesting times when you’re grumpy,” said Red, tipping some pink powder from the pouch into a little glass vial. “Right. I’m off to make Barry fall in love with me.”

“Which I still think is a terrible idea.”

“Wish me luck!” Red blew Cabbage a kiss and ran off, giggling to herself. Cabbage sat down on the edge of the fountain, exactly where Beansprout, Flibbage, Yakky and Jay had been sitting a few moments before.

“Welp, there’s a decent amount left – wonder who else I can make fall in love?” Cabbage said to herself. She chuckled, and then sneezed violently, making a puff of pink powder fly up in the air around her.

“Oh folk folk FOLK!” Cabbage yelled, frantically trying to brush the powder off her face. “Let’s see – counterspell, counterspell…

“Reverse the love spell, make it snappy,

If you don’t, I won’t be h-”

“Um, sorry to bother you, Your Majesty?” A young elf appeared around one of the topiary bushes. At least, the figure’s body looked like a young elf – the head was an adorably fluffy donkey’s head. “I had a bet with one of the imps and…well, I lost, and as you can see…” He indicated the donkey’s head. “Can you do anything to help?”

“Aw, fuck,” Cabbage said, and fell in love.

From her spot in the hedge, Flibbage sighed. “I had a feeling that was how it happened.”

“That donkey-elf’s voice sounds familiar,” Beansprout said, frowning. “Do we know him?”

“Oh, I’m sure it won’t be important,” said Flibbage.

“Isn’t saying that going to make it really important?”

“I don’t appreciate you picking up on generics outside of lessons, ‘Sprout,” Flibbage said. “We’d better get going. The quicker we get back to the present, the quicker we can stop the NGSPIB(urgundy).”

Jay raised a hand. “If we’re time-travelling surely it doesn’t matter how long we take to get there-”

“Right, we are definitely going, it freaks me out when you lot notice this sort of stuff,” Flibbage said firmly. Closing her eyes, she summoned her magic.

“Back to the future

In short little hops

Let’s hope we can get there

Without many stops.”

The Faerie garden, and their past, dissolved around them, and they catapulted into the future.



Chapter 3:The Girl with all the Gifts- by Emily



After a brief and dizzying tumble through the time vortex, this time mercifully devoid of any time travel cliches, our heroes were spat out in the grand hall of the Faerie palace, which was crowded with Fey of all types and sizes flitting through the air. Beansprout instinctively ducked behind a pillar and dragged the others with her before they could be spotted. Flibbage stumbled a little as she followed, her eyes unfocused.

“You all right, Flib’?” Yakky whispered, putting out an arm to steady her.

“Yeah.” The princess shook herself, “That was a heavy spell, and its weird, I feel like I’m… in two places at once?”

Cheering erupted as doors opened at the far end of the room, and Beansprout risked a look round the edge of the edge of the pillar.

“Um, I think you are.”

“What?” Flibbage followed her gaze to the main pathway up the centre of the hall, as a human-sized Queen Cabbage strode elegantly in, carrying a sceptre. On her left shoulder sat two tiny toddler elves, Beaker and Callum, and on her right was a miniature, childlike, Flibbage.

“Oh look you’re a tiny baby!” whispered Jay.

“Great perception skills Jay, you’re a tribute to the NGSPIB.”

“But look at your ickle wings and nose!”

“I will end you.”

Cabbage reached the throne and turned around, waving to her subjects. After a few moments she tapped the ground with her sceptre and a hush fell over the crowd.

“Subjects of the Fey Realm, rejoice!” The Queen called out, smiling benevolently ,“For today I bring great news! A new Primary Protagonist is born!”

The Fey went wild, shouting and yelling with excitement, filling the air with sparkles of magic in a rainbow of colours. Cabbage gestured towards the doors at the end of the hall and they opened to reveal, Red, holding a swaddled newborn baby up for the crowd to see, as she too approached the throne. Behind her walked Barry, looking slightly confused by the whole debacle.

“What would happen, if we just-” Beansprout started, and made a stabby motion with her sword.

“You can’t kill your own Dad, Sprout!” Yakky replied, taken aback.

“Why not, I’m already born!”

“It would probably have far reaching consequences you can’t even imagine affecting the present.” Jay answered, “What if we get back and everyone is dinosaurs?”

“I wish you’d stop understanding time travel mechanics.” grumbled Flibbage.

The applause died down as Red and Barry they approached the throne.

Cabbage’s voice rang out across the crowd, reciting the words as if from an ancient ritual. “Red and Barry, parents of the Protagonist, what name do you grant her?”

You could have heard a pin drop as every Faerie waited with bated breath.

Red looked askance at the little baby, and answered nonchalantly, “Well she’s all skinny and lanky and pale, what do you think Barry?”

Barry looked taken aback at this break from the grandiose events so far, looking back and forth from Cabbage to Red.“The, um. The Fey seem to favour flowers and plants?”

Red considered this. She clicked her fingers at the crowd and from somewhere a glass of white wine was handed out, which she took a deep swig from.

“Beansprout.”

“What? I mean I was thinking something nice, like Clematis or-”

“Nah, Beansprout. I mean, look at her.” Red raised her voice “I’m naming her BEANSPROUT!” the crowd burst into further furious applause. Barry looked a bit put out.

Cabbage clapped her hands together with glee.

“Beansprout it is! A very auspicious name of the Vegetable Elves! And as the Queen of all the Faeries, I will take the honour of bestowing her first gift upon her.” Cabbage leaned down and gently touched baby Beansprout’s face. “When your daughter comes of age, she will receive a magic sword and a prophecy, it will be extremely meaningful and definitely not something I will write whilst drunk.”

Tiny Flibbage leapt down from her shoulder and hovered in the air in front of baby Beansprout.

“Oh no, I remember this.” Adult Flibbage muttered.

Baby Beansprout held out her lanky little arm towards the floating Flibbage, who landed on her hand.

“I want to look out for her.”

“Flibbage that’s a big responsibility.” said Cabbage indulgently.

“She’s so little and she can’t even fly. I want to be her Godmother.”

“Flibbage sweetheart, you can’t just declare yourself a Godmother, you haven’t even got your L Plates yet!”

“I’ll scream if you don’t let me.”

Cabbage lowered her voice, “Listen you little- I am your mother and the Queen and I-”

Tiny Flibbage opened her mouth and started to yell. It started tinny, and small in keeping with her size, but grew in volume and pitch steadily. Fey in a circle round the throne began to clutch at their heads, the glass in the throne room windows began to vibrate dangerously. Baby Beansprout began crying, adding to the din. Our heroes having heard the kind of volume Flibbage was capable of, covered their ears.

“Flibbage what the folk,” grimaced Yakky, trying to press his hat flat against his scalp.

“I was a toddler okay?”

“Fine! FINE!” yelled the Queen and Tiny Flibbage closed her mouth, breaking into a sugary sweet grin.

​Tiny Flibbage looked up at Beansprout’s mother- “Don’t worry Aunty Red, I’ll be really good at it! If anyone tries to hurt her I will destroy them.”

​“...Okay?” Red took another swig of wine and winced. Barry looked around, wondering if he could get a glass of wine too, but none was forthcoming.

​Cabbage, eager to move on, called out, “And now, the ancient tradition of bestowing gifts upon the child may begin! Please form a line and-”

There was a sudden burst of thunder, which was strange because it was otherwise a very nice day, and the hall doors burst open to reveal-

Fliain.

I have come to take what I am owed.” he intoned in a menacing voice. Cabbage facepalmed.

“Oh sure! One soul coming up!” said Red, as if this was all totally normal.

“A what?” said Barry.

“Its only fair, I did promise.” Red replied, fishing in her pockets for a little jar, and then holding it up to the light. It was filled with little blue sprinkles.

Barry looked more and more like he was on the verge of freaking out. “Look you can’t just promise our daughter’s soul away! Why would you do that?”

“I wanted chips, he had chips.” Red took the bottle and threw it to Fliain, who caught it deftly. He opened the top, and sniffed the contents.

“Ooh spicy! Thanks!”

Fliain turned as if to leave, then caught sight of Barry spluttering incoherently. He thought for a moment. “You know what, she can have a gift though. Your daughter will be extremely sarcastic.” He waved cheerily then turned on his heel and left. Barry sat down heavily on the floor, and wiped his brow with a burgundy handkerchief. Red patted him on the head. “Don’t worry, what even is a soul? Its just sprinkles, you don’t need it! Its like that little thing in your intestines.”

“An appendix?”

“yeah, an appendix! She won’t even notice its gone!”

“For folk’s sake, Mum.” Beansprout said to herself.

By this time, the other Fey had lined up to grant Beansprout what they thought would be useful gifts.

“May her hair always be a spiky as it is today!”

“May she always have something to say about it!”

“May she never lose only one sock!”

“May she visit Nepal often!”

“She will fall in love with a person with ears on their head!”

Red nodded wisely and thanked each faerie in between sips of wine as if this was all very normal for her. Barry looked like he had mentally left this plane of existence, but kept a rictus grin on his face so as not to offend the Queen. Tiny Flibbage stood protectively on Baby Beansprout’s arm, and directed the courtiers forwards and away, as if she was already in charge of everything.

Finally all the Fey had made their well wishes and returned to their places around the hall. Queen Cabbage tapped her sceptre again.

“Thank you all for attending, now we have drinking to do so-”

Wait.”

The doors flew open, which was becoming a bit of a non-event by virtue of repetition.

I too, have a gift for the child.” Dramatically framed in the doorway was Fled the Circus Skills Guy.

Red waved excitedly, Barry looked confused, Cabbage’s face steadily set into a murderous scowl.

“It had better be good, Fled.

From behind the pillar, Beansprout narrowed her eyes. “Hang on, when we met him, he said he had no idea who I was?”

“Oh great, an Inconsistency, just what we need when we’re travelling through time trying not to ruin anything, perfect.” sighed Flibbage. Plus there was something that was bothering her about him, something familiar.



“My wish for the child, is that she may always live in… interesting times.” Fled winked and did finger guns at Cabbage.

Red chuckled and gestured at the Queen Ah I see what you did there because she always says-”

“NO.”

The Queen had leapt to her feet, and was striding towards Fled. “How dare you say that around the new Primary Protagonist?! Are you completely ignorant?! This is the problem with you, you never even think before you just go wandering wherever you want saying whatever you want!!!”

Fled looked taken aback, Cabbage, I was only joking-”

“YOU WILL REFER TO ME AS YOUR MAJESTY JUST LIKE THE REST OF MY SUBJECTS.

Fled hesitated, then bowed, coming back up with a little smirk, “Of course Your Majesty I only meant-”

“No!” The Queen yelled, “This is the final straw! Banished! Banished to the Mortal Realm!” She slammed her staff into the ground and Fled disappeared in a flash of light.

Red patted Cabbage on the arm, “Don’t worry, I’m sure its a very good gift, after all, what could possibly go wr-”

“Please don’t.” Cabbage interrupted, and fell back onto her throne, the other two toddlers flying up in surprise, before settling back on her shoulder.

“Oh folk,” said Big Flibbage. “Oh folk folk folk.”

“What now?” said Beansprout.

“I knew I recognised that voice.”

“Oh? Oh.

The Palace Guard ushered all the remaining Fey out of the hall and Beansprout, Flibbage Yakky and Jay managed to blend in with the flow of the crowd, the palace doors swinging shut with a furious clang behind them. They returned to the fountain in the gardens where they’d first appeared.

Flibbage sighed and shook a few sparkles out of her hair. “Does anyone have anything to eat? If I’m gonna do another timehop I think I need some extra energy.”

“Do you want to talk about it? I mean if Fled’s your-”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.”

Everyone rifled through their pockets and Yakky managed to find a slightly fluffy sherbert lemon, which he gave to Flibbage. She crunched it noisily whilst pacing round the fountain, then closed her eyes and blew air out through her nostrils before gathering them all together again.

“Back to the future,

In short little hops.

Let’s hope we can get there

without many stops.”

*



Chapter 4: Mirror Mirror – By Ally

The next time their feet touched the ground, they were blown backwards by an explosion.

“Gaaah!” Beansprout picked herself up and looked around. “We’re not even in Faerie! This must have been when my house was blown up.”

“That’s nice,” Flibbage muttered. She was swaying on her feet a little. “Yakky, I don’t suppose you have any more of those sherbet lemons?”

“I’ve got…” Yakky dug around in his pockets. “Dog treats? I don’t remember putting those there.”

“Probably one of the creatrices making a mean joke.”

“What?”

“Never mind.”

Yakky looked at the packet of ‘Woof-Woof Pupper Pops’ that he’d taken out of his pocket. “I guess you don’t want them?”

“I never said that. Beggars can’t be choosers.”

“I’m guessing we’re all fine in spite of the massive explosion?” Jay asked.

“For a given value of fine.” Flibbage crunched the dog treat and cracked her knuckles. “Let’s go.”

*

They flicked through time like a slideshow, seeing betrayals and fights and more pizza than Beansprout remembered, until, suddenly, they were outside a cave in a mountain, in what had to be Nepal.

“Nepal again?” Yakky complained. “Why do we always end up in-”

“Shh!” Beansprout grabbed his shoulder and dragged him behind a nearby bush. Jay stood awkwardly in front of the cave, until Beansprout popped her head up and flapped her hands wildly at him.

What are you doing? Get over here!”

“I wasn’t sure why you were dragging Yakky into the bushes, I didn’t want to interrupt anything-”

I was dragging Yakky into the bushes because this place is crawling with NGSPIB!” Beansprout hissed, jabbing a finger towards the mountainside. Jay looked, and saw a platoon in burgundy uniforms moving down a path.

“Oh, right!” He dived headfirst into the bushes next to them. “Sorry, I thought you were-”

Yes I know what you thought.” Beansprout looked around. “Where’s Flibbage?”

She scanned the ground outside the cave, and her gaze fell on a small, crumpled figure.

“Oh no,” Yakky murmured.

Beansprout clenched her fists, her eyes darting between the prone figure of Flibbage and the NGSPIB agents coming down the mountain. “We have to go and get her!”

“But they’ll see you!”

“Not if I’m quick!”

Beansprout shot out of the bushes, sprinting towards Flibbage. She scooped her up and turned around, ready to dive back into hiding again, when a sense of wrongness stopped her in her tracks.

“She’s not breathing,” she whispered.

“Stop in the name of the NGSPIB!”

A soldier stepped onto the path, levelling a gun at Beansprout. Two more appeared behind them, also armed.

Beansprout slowly raised her free hand, tucking the tiny Flibbage closer to her chest with her other. “All right. Let’s just stay calm. Don’t shoot.”

“Are there any more of you?” the lead NGSPIB guard barked.

“Nope. Just me and my friend here.”

Leave my girlfriend alone!” Yakky screamed, barrelling out of the bushes.

Beansprout facepalmed. “Oh my god, Yakky, you absolute-”

“I’m here too,” Jay said sheepishly, standing up.

Jay! You could have stayed hidden!”

“…I probably should have, shouldn’t I?”

*

“I! HATE! NGSPIB! CELLS!” Beansprout screamed, kicking the steel door as hard as she could.

“We all do, honey,” Yakky said soothingly. They were in a cell that looked almost identical to the others that they’d been held in, the only slight difference being that this one had a small pile of scrap metal in one corner.

“I’ve been in SO MANY CELLS in my life! No-one’s meant to have been in this many cells belonging to a shadowy secret organisation by my age!” Beansprout kicked the door again. “And now we’re stuck in the past and my best friend is in some kind of magical coma and I don’t know what to DO!”

“At least Flibbage is breathing again,” Jay said hopefully. “Does anyone know how to revive a faerie?”

“Oh yeah, I’ll just check my faerie first aid handbook NO OF COURSE I DON’T KNOW HOW TO REVIVE A FAERIE!”

“Maybe we can shock her awake?” said Yakky.

“How?”

“If I can build up enough static electricity…” Yakky started rubbing the sleeve of his shirt against his head.

“Ooh, good idea!” Jay leaned forwards. “My jacket is made of polyester, it’ll probably work better…”

“I’m in hell,” Beansprout muttered, as Jay and Yakky both furiously rubbed their sleeves against Yakky’s hair. “I’m literally in hell.”

“All right, let’s try…” Jay held out a finger towards Flibbage. There was a flash and a sound like fingers snapping. “OW!”

“AARGH!” Flibbage sat bolt upright, her hair sticking out at all possible angles and some that didn’t seem to obey the laws of reality.

Beansprout stared. “I can’t believe that actually worked.”

“Oh no – my HAIR!” Flibbage pushed her hands through her hair, her eyes boggling in horror. “What did you do to my HAIR?”

“You’re welcome,” Jay muttered, flicking his hand.

“Where are we?” Flibbage looked around. “Oh no – not another NGSPIB cell!”

When are we?” Beansprout asked. “Did you manage to get us back to the present before you passed out?”

“Yes, I’m fine, thank you,” Flibbage grumbled, standing up. She licked a fingertip and held it up in the still air, frowning for a moment. “Hmm. Not our present. We’re getting closer, though.”

“Great,” said Beansprout. “So you can just leap us back to our own time-”

“Are you folking with me? I nearly died!” Flibbage settled down against the wall. “I’m having a nap. You lot can chill here for a while.”

“AARGH!” Beansprout yelled, and kicked the door again.

“It’ll be okay,” Yakky said soothingly. “We’re in the past, so at least nothing bad can be happening to the present, right?”

“Is there anything I can sleep on?” Flibbage fidgeted against the wall. “These cells really aren’t very comfy.”

Jay wandered over to the pile of rubbish in the corner. “Maybe there’s something in here…” he said, and began pulling bits and pieces out of the heap. As he threw them across the room, something caught Beansprout’s eye.

“Hang on – that’s hydrothroxymoxypoxy alloy!”

The others looked at her blankly.

“It’s a fragment of the hull from Deepwater YAK,” Beansprout explained wearily.

“Oh, of course!” Yakky exclaimed.

“Oh, shut up, like you knew.” Beansprout joined Jay over at the pile. “There’s loads of it in here. They must have found the spaceship!”

“Hang on,” Jay frowned. “Should it even be here yet?”

“I don’t think so.” Beansprout folded her arms, staring at the pile of scrap metal. “I think the NGSPIB are messing with the past.”

“Oh folk,” Flibbage groaned. “I just wanted to get some sleep. What are they doing?

*

Back in the Faerie realm, Cabbage and Red were in the garden, drunk as usual.

“What I’m saying,” Cabbage began. “What I’m saying. What I’m saying is.

“Is what?” Red asked, spilling her wine down her front for the third time that evening.

“I’m saying is, things aren’t ever this forebodey without there being something to…bode.”

Red flapped a hand at Cabbage. “You worry too much. Iss all okay.”

“I still reckon…” Cabbage trailed off, looking across the lawn. “Oh, look! Here come the kids. Hi kids!”

Beansprout, Flibbage, Yakky and Jay had entered the garden. Beansprout was carrying the Sword of Slayskull, Jay had a gun strapped to his belt, and Flibbage was glowing with magic.

Cabbage squinted at them. Even through her drunken haze, something didn’t seem quite right. The group looked…shiny, somehow. Like a brand new toy just taken out of its packaging.

Nah, she thought, and looked at her nearly-empty glass of trash sangria. I’m probably just a bit tipsy.

“Are you okay, ‘Sprout?” Red asked, frowning at her daughter. “You look a bit…different.”

“Oh, I’m fine, Mum,” Beansprout said with a smile.

Cabbage hauled herself to her feet. “Why are you all back? We weren’t expecting you quite this soon. Don’t tell me something’s wrong?”

Beansprout shook her head. “Everything’s fine,” she answered, looking around the garden with a long, slow gaze, staring as if it was the first time she’d ever seen it. “We just thought it’d be nice to pay the old place a visit.”



Episode 5: Paradoxes and Plotholes -By Emily



Agent 2 nudged Agent 26 (only the special NGSPIBurgundy agents get letters). “When do you think those teens’ll be along then?”

“I don’t.” Agent 26 said quickly.

“Oh come on, they always turn up just in time to foil the Boss’s plans,” Agent 2 continued, oblivious to his friend’s pointed saluting. “They’re a bit late come to think of it.”

“They won’t be coming because the Boss’s plan was great,” Agent 26 said, frantically winking and kicking Agent 2 in the shins.

“Ow! What was that for, you jerk? Anyway his plans always suck and- oh God he’s standing right behind me isn’t he?”

“Yup.”

Agent 2 began to turn, babbling an apology, just in time to receive a bullet to the head.

“Moose,” muttered Barry, kicking the corpse out of his way as he stepped into view followed by a grimacing Oddball wiping bits of agent off her sleeve. “And as for you…” he added, turning to Agent 26 who whimpered and shut his eyes, “…did you really like my plan?”

“Yes sir! It’s a great plan sir!”

“Yay! Hail! Hail!” Mr. NGSPIB made strange bowing motions towards the confused Henchman.

“What... is the plan?” asked Agent 26, nervously.

“Well seeing as you liked it so much, I’ll tell you,” Barry answered conspiratorially to the henchman, who squinted at the contradiction. “You see, a little while ago our Nepal base had the misfortune to capture the same people twice at once, as can happen in our line of work. What stuck in my mind was that they were… well let’s just say I had personal ties with these kids.”

“Everyone knows Fred is your daughter, you don’t have to be sausages about it,” Oddball interrupted.

“O, for the love of- I am monologging!” Barry hissed. He paused dramatically to make sure she and Agent 26 were listening.“So, recently, when I formulated my excellent plan to capture Faerie, I saw how I could use the past to help me in my efforts.” the three of them continued down the refurbished shiny steel passages of the Temple. Then I came across this.” Barry held up a slightly battered but otherwise functional pale gold iPad.
“ It had been here in the Temple for years, because we could never get it working. But when my daughter and her idiot friends got their hands on it, suddenly its handing out prophecies and relevant locations like nobodies business! Buffy thought they’d lost it in a wormhole, but recently it showed up again with one of our new recruits. With a little werewolf knowhow and repair we’ve finally got it doing what we want, and let’s just say its ability to create Plotholes, -portals to wherever or whenever we want to go is proving very useful. Now Beansprout’s locked up for good, we can also use her skills to our advantage.”

“Fred. About this plan of yours?” asked everyone’s favourite priestess-turned-secret-agent.

“It’s not- *sigh* Yes Oddball?”

“So what happened to the pesky kids after you captured them twice?”

Barry paused. “I- er…”

“Let me guess,” sighed Oddball. “You were so excited when you thought of your plan, you never thought to find out what happened to them?”

Barry contemplated shooting her, but as she was no ordinary agent or henchperson, it simply wouldn’t do.

“To the records room?” Prompted Oddball.

“To the records room, Agent O!”

Agent 26 sighed with relief as the leader of the NGSPIB and his right-hand priestess scurried off up the corridor. His plans really did suck.

* * *

“Flibbage…?” Jay enquired of the wilted looking faery as Beansprout and Yakky continued to rifle through the pile of scrap metal, bickering about which wire went where.

“What?” the elf grumbled, her face hidden by the hair she was trying in vain to defrizz after her encounter with static electricity.

“Hypothetically, could you use magic to go back in time?”

“Who folk do you think you’re talking to, I can do anything the Plot will let me get away with.” She clicked her heels together, for effect. “Just- not right now,” she added glumly, as nothing happened.

“Well what if, at some point in the future, when you’ve got your magic back, you came back in time to here, and left us something to help us escape, something we wouldn’t notice the first time we looked…”

“Like this glob of volatile plastic explosive, cunningly disguised as used gum?” asked Flibbage with a grin peering under the bench.

“Exactly like that.”

Flibbage carefully peeled the plastic goo off the seat. “I’ll add it to my To-Do list.”
She shoved the lump into a crack in the door,then skipped back, as, due to fiction related reason entirely devoid from any knowledge of explosives,the door blew off its hinges.

“How in the Folk did you manage that?!” cried Beansprout, looking around in surprise.

“Being a sidekick sucks, Jay.”

“Damn right.”

* * *

“No, No, NO, NO, NO!!!” Yelled Barry, slamming his fist into a table. “I’m going to go and get a unicorn latte, that’s the only thing that’ll cheer me up after this catastrophe!”

“Or we could complete our invasion of Faerie before they show up?” said Oddball through gritted teeth.

“Oh all right, but then I’m getting a latte.”

Oddball rolled her eyes and started tapping co-ordinates into the Tablet.

* * *

“Uh, we’re still in the middle of a Burgundy base! And we just blew up a door, which makes us sort of conspicuous!” Yakky whispered; a pointless exercise because blowing up the door was very loud.

“That’s okay, because after I’ve put the explosives under the bench, I’ll get big guns, and I’ll put them in- this cupboard here!” Flibbage said straining in vain at a large door. “A little help here? I’m a small and tired person right now!”

“Nice!” said Beansprout, “Much as I’d like my sword back, large guns have always amused me.”

“Has anyone ever noticed Beansprout’s scarily violent tendencies?” said J.

“We don’t like to dwell on the matter.” Flibbage said matter-of-factly. “Beansprout, can I sit in one of your pockets? Any minute now, henchmen are going to show up and I don’t want to be trampled.”

“Yes, you can hide in my pocket, coward.”Beansprout answered, picking up her tiny pal. “I was working on my own plan anyway.” she picked up a large piece DeepwaterYAK scrap and twisted two of the wires together. “Another electric shock from you idiots please?”
Jay rubbed his sleeve on Yakky’s head then touched his finger to the wires, there was another small POP, and then the battered console Beansprout was holding sprang into life. A groan of horror emanated from a speaker.

“YAK(ky), my favourite A.I, how are you?” Beansprout fluttered her eyelashes.

“Stay away from me Beansprout Jones, this is all your fault!” the speaker coughed.

“Come on now YAK(ky), I just brought you back to life!”

“I long for oblivion, Jones. Its your fault I’m trapped in this paradox.”

“What Paradox?” Flibbage leaned out of the pocket

“As soon as I’m built, you steal my ship and burst it out of the base, I go to space to try and get some peace, you lot infiltrate my ship, we get sucked into a wormhole and end up back on Earth, the NGSPIB take me to pieces steal my DNA crew, and use me to build me the first time again. Its infinite, I can’t escape!”

Flibbage gasped, “Well you could have said something!”

“We both know that’s not how the retcon works, Elf!”

Beansprout shook the console, “Well right now you can tell us how to get out of-”

“Too late.”

There was a crack, and smoke poured out of the console. Peeking to one side, Beansprout saw a group of henchmen round the corner guns blazing. YAK(ky)’s console was the first casualty of laser fire aimed at her. Yakky, Jay and Beansprout took aim. Flibbage tried to sort her hair out.

“At last, some action!” grinned Yakky firing a round into the oncoming guards. Beansprout thought he looked cute. But no-one else did because apart from the fact he had fangs, Jay wasn’t that way inclined.

* * *

“I told you so!” hissed Cabbage to Red as they sat tied to chairs in the throne room.

“So those aren’t our kids?”

“No, they are blatantly evil Deepwater YAK clones!”

“Am I still drunk?”

“Yes.”

“Because this doesn’t seem to make any sense.”

“That has nothing to do with how drunk you are.”

The four clones stood aside as fake Beansprout gestured towards a portal that appeared in front of the throne.. “Introducing his supreme evilness the nefarious leader of the NGSPIB!”

“I thought I told you to STAY THE HELL OUT OF MY GODDAMN FAERIE REALM!!!” Yelled Cabbage.

“Yeah! And so did I… but I have no authority…” added Red ineffectually.

“It is I, Barry! You thought you had defeated the NGSPIBurgundy, but all along it was me running the show!”

“We knew that for ages, we just hoped you fell into a hell portal.” Red yelled

Yeah, folk off!” Cabbage added.

“ Don’t tell me to folk off! It’s Meeean!” said Barry indignantly, and stomped his way over to the Faerie Throne. “Someone get me a latte! With sprinkles!”

Oddball smacked herself in forehead with disbelief.

* * *



“So,” said Beansprout, shooting another round of guards, “is it this bit we’ve passed four times, or five?”

“Seven.” J answered glumly.

“Aren’t you meant to know your way around this place?”

“I’ve only been here the same number of times as you!”

“Ugh,” said Yakky grumpily, “we can avert apocalypses and defeat super villains but we can’t find out way out of a stupid base!”

“Well why don’t you just sniff out the exit, Dog-boy?” J snapped.

“Because I have a cold, …human-man.”

“Oh shut up,” said Beansprout. “We just need to-“

“Heads up! Guards!” Flibbage squeaked. Messy shooting followed.

“-ask directions,” Beansprout finished. The boys instantly turned sulky.

“…not asking stupid directions, only girls ask for directions…”

“…asking for directions, huh!…”

Beansprout rolled her eyes. There was the sound of approaching footsteps and as the figure rounded the corner she rammed her gun into the appearing face, shoved the agent up against the nearest wall and said “Could you direct us to the nearest exit please?”

“Hello Jay.” said Dee, completely ignoring Beansprout, which annoyed her just a tiny bit.

“Dee?” J answered, looking surprised and to Yakky’s intense amusement, blushing.

“Sounds like you might need some help finding your way out?” Dee easily swatted Beansprout out of her way, and continued to address only Jay. “Follow me.”

“Hey!” snarled Beansprout. “Just tell us the way out of here, and go drink coffee and share secret memes or whatever.”

Dee wrinkled her nose. “I found Jay because his phone showed up twice in the NGSPIBlue directory, and with a time signature that didn’t match, so I infiltrated this base with difficulty to investigate. Do you want your sword back? Does the Elf want her magic recharged? Do you want to get back to the right time?”

“Dammit!” Muttered Beansprout as she realised she’d be forced to say yes.

“Well then. Come with me, I’ve got something to show you.”

“hehe” murmured Yakky to J, who hit him.

* * *

“This,” Dee said, leading them into a computer room “is Nerd Central, the place where they put all the really annoying agents and let them study useless crap.”

“Guess that’s why you’re here then...” Beansprout mumbled to her pocket. Flibbage giggled..

Dee flicked an ear towards them. “No, I killed everyone. Anyway here’s your sword, they were trying to clone it.”

“Why is is here? It’s not useless crap, its my Magical Sword!!!”

“Whatever you say.”

“I hate her so much.” Beansprout whispered to Flibbage.

“Don’t say that or the Plot will make her join the team.” Flibbage whispered back.

“Ah folk, oh no.” Beansprout forced her face into a grin “Ahh Dee my esteemed friend thanks sooooo much for rescuing us, I hope you don’t die as a human shield for me like YAK(ky) just did!”
Blue sparkles crackled along the edge of the sword, charging it with power as Beansprout stored it back in her belt.

Dee shot a deadpan look at Jay, “why do you associate with these inferior people? Here.” She handed him something that looked like a bucket with an arcade joystick attached to it. “This device is the Bucket of Time, a prototype model for the Inter-dimensional Portaloo. All you have to do is hold the handle and use one of the elf’s time-hop spells, and it will increase the spell’s power tenfold.”

“Wow thanks Dee!” said Jay. Yakky elbowed him.

Dee sighed. “Get back to where you’re supposed to be and stop messing with time. I have other things to do.” she turned and walked out of the room by another exit. Distantly someone said “Hey what are you doing he-ARRRRRRGH” followed by the sounds of excruciating werewolf carnage.

“I think she likes you man,” Yakky said to Jay with a grin.

Flibbage climbed down from Beansprout’s pocket to rest on the bucket’s handle, gesturing the others to come closer. “Touch the bucket!”

“Ugh to we have to? It smells like a urinal!”

“TOUCH THE BUCKET!!!”

Once everyone was gathered Flibabge summoned up her magic, and tired looking green sparkles filled the air around her.

“Rusty Bucket,

Smells of Pee,

Takes us where we’re meant to be!”

There was an ominous slosh from the Bucket of Time and they arrived in Faerie, present day.

“Folk.” Said Beansprout.



Episode 6: The Not-So-Ultimate Showdown – By Ally

The four of them stood in the garden of the Faerie palace, in the exact spot they’d stood at the beginning of this particular story arc, although only Flibbage would have noticed or appreciated the significance. However, everyone’s attention was taken up by the rather significant changes that had taken place since that afternoon of Generics education in the palace grounds. The trees were dead, their branches stretching upwards like bony fingers. The grass beneath their feet was brown, and crunched like sand every time they took a step.

“This looks bad,” said Jay, looking into a nearby ornamental fishpond. Sad little orange shapes bobbed around on the surface, and the water itself had an oily sheen.

“Oh, does it, Jay?” Flibbage snapped. “Does it look bad? Does it really? I hadn’t noticed!”

“I’m just saying, it kind of looks like we’re too late.”

Beansprout raised her chin. “It’s never too late.”

“Uh, I appreciate that you’re being cool and heroic,” Yakky said, “but it does very much seem to be a bit too late.” He turned to Flibbage. “Can’t we go back in time a little bit? Before it gets all…this?”

“Not how time travel plots work,” Flibbage said through gritted teeth. Beyond the garden, she could see the palace itself. Its walls looked duller, somehow – maybe because of the weird light from the sky, although Flibbage couldn’t help but feel like there was more to it, like the magic that ran the place had faded away. The building seemed hollow, empty. It made a chill run down her spine.

“But if we just go back in time and stop this happening in the first place-”

“-then we risk getting written out of the plot altogether for cheating.” Flibbage hooked her hair behind her ears and rolled up her sleeves. “First things first. My mum’s clearly not in charge here any more. Let’s find her, and find out what happened.”

She held up the Bucket of Time again.

“Is that going to work?” Jay asked. “If we’re not travelling in time?”

“I mean, we’re travelling forward in time at a rate of sixty seconds per minute…” Flibbage shrugged. “I think that’s a good enough loophole.”

Reluctantly, everyone else gripped the handle. Flibbage cleared her throat.

“Rusty Bucket,

One more run,

Take me to my missing mum.”

A swirl of magic surrounded the group, and the four of them vanished, leaving nothing but a few blades of dead grass spinning in the air behind them.

*

The dungeons below the Faerie palace were…not entirely terrible. Cabbage had had them redecorated recently, with actual rooms, instead of just a series of elaborate pits and fantastical creatures that really enjoyed nibbling on people who’d fallen into pits. Cabbage was quite glad of this change as she languished in her cell, despite the iron manacles around her wrists and ankles that were dampening her magic to the point that she couldn’t call on it at all – even to scratch her nose, which had been itching for the last half-hour.

“I should have put some TVs in,” she mused, as she stared at the blank stone wall on the other side of the cell. “Maybe some nice carpet and some throw pillows. Note to self – don’t build any more prisons that I wouldn’t be happy to spend a night in myself.”

Suddenly, there was a shimmer in the air in front of her. Flibbage, Beansprout, Yakky and Jay stepped out of nowhere, into the middle of the cell.

“I’d rather watch X-Files,” Cabbage muttered.

“Mum!” Flibbage exclaimed, running forwards to hug her, and then stopping when she noticed the iron chains wrapped around her mother. “Oh, Mum, how many times have I told you? Don’t build any prisons that you wouldn’t be happy to spend a night in yourself.”

“Oh, right, I’d never have thought of that,” said Cabbage, and stretched, clinking her chains. “You four took your time. Literally, ahahahahaha.”

Beansprout scowled. “You should probably be a bit more polite to the people who’ve crossed time and space to save the world. Again. Although why it always has to be us, I don’t know…”

“Well, you see, Generics…”

“Oh, don’t start with that.”

“Also,” Cabbage said, “you should probably know that your no-good dad is actually in charge of the NGSPIB-”

Yes, I know!”

“Uh, maybe we should be trying to break the Queen out instead of chatting?” Yakky suggested. “Because I can hear footsteps-”

Before he could finish, a small group of NGSPIB henchfolk, who had run to see what all the commotion was about, burst into the cell.

“Oh, folk,” Beansprout growled.

*

Barry was lounging on the throne in the great hall of Faerie, trying to decide at which particular jaunty angle he should wear Queen Cabbage’s crown, when the doors opened and the group of henchfolk entered, dragging Beansprout, Yakky, Flibbage and Jay with them.

“Oh, not you four again,” Barry complained, pushing the crown over to the left side of his head. “It’s over. I’m the ruler of Faerie. You’re too late.”

“Dad, you are such an arse!” Beansprout snapped.

“I am not.” Barry slid off the throne and struck a dramatic pose. “I am – in fact – the leader of the NGSPIB!”

Yes Dad I know! That’s a big part of what makes you a complete and total ARSE!”

“Well. Anyway.” Barry paused, scowling. “Now this stage of my plan is complete, I’ll soon be able to take over the mortal realm, and any other realm I happen to like the look of. You see, that’s where Buffy made a mistake…”

“Did I ask?” Beansprout snapped.

“…she didn’t start with the root of the problem – the damned magical realm!”

“Again, I don’t remember where I asked.”

“But you four.” Barry shook his head and tutted. “You just won’t give up! We’ve locked you up, sent you back in time, stolen your magic-”

“And killed us!

“Yes, and killed you once or twice,” Barry said, with a wave of his hand. “And you just keep coming back!”

Beansprout gave him a chilling smile. “Didn’t anyone tell you, Dad? That’s what heroes do.”

With a shrug of her shoulders, she shook herself free of the burly henchwoman who was holding her, and started running towards her father.

Barry held up a hand. A ball of glowing white light zipped out of his palm, hitting Beansprout square in the chest and knocking her across the room. Beansprout hit the wall opposite and crashed to the ground, looking dazed.

“Did I mention I’m the new King of Faerie?” Barry said, blowing across the tips of his fingers like they were a gun. “That comes with certain privileges. Like the ability to use spectacular amounts of magic.”

He flexed his hand, and pointed it towards the other three. Another ball of light built, glowing and crackling, before speeding towards the group.

Stop.”

Beansprout, over by the wall, blinked. Flibbage had raised both her hands. The ball of magic hovered in the air just in front of her, hissing and sputtering with magic. Flibbage’s hair whipped as if a gale was raging around her, and she brought her hands together, squashing the ball of magic into nothing.

“What are you doing?” Barry shouted, a furious expression twisting his face.

“Sorry, Barry,” Flibbage said with a grin. “You clearly don’t know quite enough about Generics. See, you deposing my mum set up quite a handy trope for me to exploit. As daughter of a usurped Queen and rightful ruler of the realm, I’ve become the main protagonist – and that comes with powers that yours can’t hope to match.”

She stretched her arms out in front of her, making finger guns.

“Now step aside,” she said. “I’m taking my realm back.”



Episode 7: My Clone, my Sword and Me. By Emily

Barry stamped his foot and the jaunty angle of the crown bordered on precarious. “Ugh you’re so annoying! Blah blah Faerie nonsense, blah blah Protagonist! You never shut up! Why can’t you just let me take over the known universe? It’s so selfish of you!”

He stood up from the throne, and pointed his finger at the heroes. “Luckily for me, I know the perfect way to deal with you four, and its…” he turned sharply and sprinted out the door, letting it bang shut behind him.

“Did he just… run away from us?” Jay snorted.

“Is the answer monologging?” Flibbage called after him.

Beansprout tucked the sword back in her belt. “If he knows what’s good for him he’ll run all the way back to the mortal realm then keep running, because if I catch up with him, I’m actually going to kill him.”

“You keep saying that, and it keeps on failing to happen,” laughed a familiar voice, as a perfect copy of Beansprout stepped languidly out from behind the throne. Everything was exactly the same down to her clothes and the wickedly sharp sword she carried. The Beansprout copy smiled an evil grin that Beansprout sincerely hoped she never used, and then leapt towards her.

“What the Folk?!” Beansprout briefly wondered if it was all done with mirrors as she rolled to the side in case it wasn’t. The sword left an extremely convincing swathe carved into the floorboards, and the copy swung round for another attack.

“I expect you were wondering if all this was done with mirrors,” chuckled evil Beansprout as real Beansprout frantically blocked her feints with the sword. “But actually I’m an evil clone made from your DNA. I hear you met me and my friends aboard Deepwater YAK.”

“That’s folking obvious, do I talk like that?!” Beansprout ducked under her double’s arm and tried to throw her to the ground, only to get dragged down with her. They rolled brawling across the room, each one trying to get enough space to swing their swords.

“Eep!” yelped Beansprout as a slice passed dangerously close to her neck. She ducked just in time, but her pigtails weren’t so lucky. She reeled around ready to block the next jab, but before the evil clone could act, a blast of magic send them both flying to opposite sides of the room.

“This is the most derivative thing I’ve seen yet.” Flibbage said, crackling with annoyance (or static).

“Stop being sarcastic and kill the evil clone!” yelled both Beansprouts in tandem, each one pointing at the other.

“Oh yay it got worse.”

Yakky was looking back and forth between the two figures, with an expression of pure dread.

“For Folk’s sake Yakky! Can’t you tell us apart?” growled Beansprout, “She’s evil! Just look at her!”

“Oh come on Yakky,” said E-Sprout, “That thing doesn’t even have the right haircut.”

“Really? Really?! She just cut off my hair, you saw her do it! That’s pretty evil!”

E-Sprout inspected her knuckles nonchalantly. “Sounds like something an evil person would arrange in order to deflect suspicion from herself, that’s all I’m saying.”

“She’s got a point.” Jay whispered to Yakky, “Want me to shoot one of them?”

“No!! I mean I just need a minute to think, there must be something we can use to tell them apart.”

“Yakky you absolute plank, you fuzzy-eared waste of a werewolf! Can you not tell the difference between your girlfriend and an evil clone? What is that big nose on your face even for?!” Beansprout yelled, clenching her hands in her newly shortened hair.

E-Sprout laughed. “Me and him? A couple? Pfah! Don’t make me laugh. As if that’d ever happen. You are such an evil clone.”

There was a silence. Beansprout smiled smugly as her friends gathered around her.

“Huh?” said the confused E-Sprout.

“Guess that’s what you get for not doing your research properly,” Beansprout sneered “and with that established,” she added grabbing Yakky’s arm, “RUN AWAAAAAAY!!!”

The four heroes ran from the room, leaving an absolutely disgusted E-Sprout trying not to throw up.

* * *

“This goes against everything in my nature,” Flibbage winced as they regrouped in a quiet corridoor, “especially with evil clones on the loose. But we need to split up. I’ll take Jay, break my Mum out and round up as many of the Faerie Court and the Royal Guard as I can find. We’re going to need an army of plucky rebels led by a deposed Princess to take on this many NGSPIB(urgundy) agents. Beansprout and Yakky, you need to be the daring duo creeping through the base, sabotaging their plans and having as many showdowns with key enemies as you can muster.”

“Just pretend I understood all that.” Beansprout was trying to arrange her hair in a way that didn’t look like she’d just had a run in with an extremely sharp and indiscriminate cutting device.

“Try and kill the clones.”

“Now that I can get behind.”

“Don’t you think its a bit morally worrying, and you might accidentally kill one of the real ones?” Yakky added, tugging on his cuffs distractedly.

Beansprout shot him an angry glance “If you mean you, depends how many times you confuse me with my evil twin.”

“yeah well she’s got different hair now so that’s-”

“YAKKY SHE’S ALSO MURDEROUS!”

“In my defence you’re also quite often murderous-”

“I’m becoming more murderous by the second!”

“O-Kaaaaaay! Lets split up and look for clues! Team high five!” Jay held his hand up expectantly. No one high fived him.

* * *

“I look terrible!” complained Beansprout as she and Yakky picked their way through the palace’s labyrinth of dark and gothic secret passages via a map Flibbage had conjured for them. “My pigtails were so ironic and postmodern, a fitting juxtaposition of my youthful exuberance and my absolutely badass sword skills!”

“I think you look really lovely actually.” Yakky countered.

You are not forgiven yet. But thanks.”

Yakky ruffled the newly short hair. “Maybe I was lying to make you yell at me so that E-Sprout would reveal herself to be a fraud.”

“You weren’t though, were you?”

“No. But it’s the thought that counts…”

“It absolutely does not.”

At this point they came across a locked door. According to Flibbage’s map this would bring them out in the Cabbage’s suite of rooms, which they figured was the most likely place for Barry to be hiding.

“Stand back a second. I’m gonna trash this door, because I’m in a bad mood. That stupid clone cow.” Beansprout raised the sword. Yakky took a few steps back out of her reach. “Next time I see her I’m gonna make sure no one has any doubt who’s the original!” The sword pulsed with energy and blue lines flashed through the air reducing the door to a small pile of splinters. As the gloom faded back in Yakky stepped forwards from the shadows.

“Ooh I feel BETTER! Come on then, I’m sure we’ll end up somewhere useful in the end,” said Beansprout grabbing him by the arm again, “we usually do.” She strode forward through the doorway into a large walk in closet filled with a lot of shoes and ballgowns

Beansprout thought she heard a muffled sound back down the passageway. “Did you hear something?” she said, pushing Yakky behind her as she stared back into the darkness.

“Not a thing,” said Yakky, putting an arm around her shoulders. “Not even with my stupid fuzzy ears and my giant nose.”

Beansprout laughed. “Okay maybe I do forgive you.”

* * *

Meanwhile…

Red and Cabbage were doing impromptu kareoke to terrible songs for lack of anything better to do, when the wall of the dungeon exploded in a giant fireball.

“This rocks! I love being the avatar for a powerful trope!” Flibbage examined her glowing hands as she stepped over the rubble.

“MY WALL!!! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO MY BEAUTIFUL DUNGEON!” Cabbage shrieked.

“Your Majesty!” said Jay, “We have to gather the faeries and storm the castle!”

“NOT MY CASTLE!!!”

“Come on mum, you love a good battle!”

“Not on my carpets, I just got them done!”

“Look, we’ve broke some of your Royal Guard out, and told them to gather whoever they can and meet us on Magic Mushroom Plateau-”

“Now Cabbage, lets not be hasty” Red interrupted “this Plateau sounds great.”

“They just sing, Red.”

“Oh. Well that’s cool too.

* * *

At the Magic Mushroom Plateau what passed for the Royal Guard assembled. The Twizard- a dour elven sorceror, Heathcliffe- a human knight with more bravado than sense or morals, Flee!Bee- the leader of the Fey hunt, Jenenchilada- a pixie wearing a sign on her chest that said “Rougue” and Flelen and Fjen the Ninja imps. This may not sound particularly impressive as a crack team guarding the Fey Royal family, but Cabbage had her reasons.
They had gathered what faeries and other denziens of the realm they could find, along with other members of the court such as the recently reformed Camphor, and the two younger royal siblings, Beaker and Callum.

When Flibbage and Jay appeared in a flash of light, accompanied by the Queen and her trusted advisor Red-the-easily-distracted, a cheer went up. Flibbage climbed up onto a rock, green sparkles fizzing around her and her hair blowing dramatically in the wind.

“Fey creatures, are you gonna let some idiot human man who drinks unicorn latte and thinks burgundy is cool take over your realm?!”

“NO!”

“Are you going to let nameless henchpeople run your realm for you and deprive you of your glorious tropes!?”

“NOOO!”

“Then listen up-”

* * *

After much walking through a series of maze like wardrobes, some of which led to completely different planes of reality, Beansprout and Yakky found a door that they were pretty sure would lead out into the royal chambers.

“Prepare to meet your doom Dad!” whispered Beansprout.

“Come on, you can do better than that.” Yakky commented.

“I know, I was going for the whole wit option, but I’m tired and annoyed. Lets see- how about… DIE YOU WANKER!” Beansprout finished with a yell and kicked the door open.

“Oh,” she said, walking in. The room was deserted. “I was sure he’d be in here cowering or looking at himself in the mirror and practicing monologues.” Putting the sword down on a sideboard she began throwing open the doors to cupboards and ransacking the room for hiding places.

The tell tale click of a gun having its safety catch taken off cause her to freeze in her tracks.

“Sorry- honey,” Evil Yakky said pleasantly, and shot.

* * *

Everyone stared at Flibbage expectantly as she adopted a rallying-the-troops pose and took on the passionate-speech voice. Even the mushrooms were silent.

“This’ll be good,” Camphor whispered to Callum (who wasn’t paying attention and was instead, colouring a piece of stick).

“-because that’s exactly what you’re going to do.”

The faeries stared at her in confusion, then hysteria broke out as NGSPIBurgundy agents swarmed down from the forest of mushrooms and surrounded them. Two more grabbed Red and Cabbage aimed guns to their heads.

“I cannot believe I fell for the clone stunt twice!” Cabbage groaned, dropping her face into her palms. Evil Flibbage and Evil Jay slapped each other a high five as Barry appeared dramatically out of the trees.

“Yay! Yay!” he cried, jumping up and down as his crown wobbled about. “Now I have all the faeries!!!”



Episode 8: Dungeons and Diversions – By Ally

“How many times have I been locked up in some variety of dungeon?” Yakky said, staring into the gloom. There wasn’t much else to look at. Dungeon Twenty-Five, or, as Queen Cabbage had named it, “The Chasm of DOOOOOOOM!”, was very dark indeed. The Queen had designed it so that no-one was quite sure where it began or ended, or what lurked inside, something that would have made Yakky feel even more disturbed had he known about it.

“Urghhhh…”

Of course, not knowing the exact details of Dungeon Twenty-Five didn’t stop Yakky’s imagination running wild. As the low groan came out of the dark, the hairs on the back of Yakky’s neck rose, and he felt his teeth sharpen slightly.

“If you’re a monster,” he said in a quavery voice, “then you should probably know that I’m technically one too. A werewolf, as a matter of fact. So you probably shouldn’t, um, mess with me. If you know what’s good for you.”

“Urgh…” the groan came again, but this time it ended with a familiar voice. “My head…”

Yakky frowned. “Jay?”

“Yakky? Is that you?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“What?” Yakky exclaimed. “Yes, of course I’m sure!”

“Well, you know how it is, there are clones of us running around!”

“That wouldn’t mean I don’t know I’m me!”

“Fair point.” There was a shuffling sound. Through the dark, Yakky saw a shape moving towards him. As it got closer, he could see it was Jay, his hands and feet tied.

“Why are you tied up?” Yakky asked.

“Why aren’t you tied up?” Jay retorted.

“I don’t know!”

“Maybe the clones think I’m more of a threat than you.”

Yakky scoffed. “I’m a werewolf.

“And I’m a highly-trained super-spy.”

Yakky rolled his eyes. “Oh yes, you’re very dangerous, as long as you’ve got all your secret gadgets on you.”

“You’re right, that’s why you managed to get out of this dungeon with just your werewolf powers oh wait.

“Listen, you-” Yakky stopped, pressing his lips together, and sighed. “Look, this isn’t helping. We need to get out of here. Beansprout’s stuck with my evil clone and Flibbage is…actually, I have no idea where Flibbage is, do you?”

Jay shrugged and shook his head. “No idea.”

“Well, it’s Flibbage, I’m sure she has something up her sleeve.”

“Unless someone’s put her in a jar.”

“Unless that.” Yakky flexed his claws, only slightly to show off, and started to slice through the ropes that held Jay’s wrists. “Let’s get out of here so we can save my girlfriend, and possibly rescue our scarily powerful faerie friend, if she needs it.”

“Snappy.”

“Oh, shut up.”

*

Flibbage was not stuck in a jar. Instead, she had found a comfortable mushroom to sit on, and muttered a quick spell under her breath.

“High atop this mushroom dreamy,

I’ll see all but none will see me.”

She watched, scowling, as Barry and the clones sprang their trap. Her fingers twitched. One bolt of magic…well, it wouldn’t be enough to take them out, but it’d be really satisfying.

There was a rustling and slightly organic noise, the sound of someone running through the field of mushrooms. Camphor the faerie appeared, running from the ambush.

“Yoink!” Flibbage said, and grabbed the faerie’s collar.

“Yarrgh!” Camphor blinked as she was pulled inside the spell’s area of effect. “Princess Flibbage?”

“Yes. The real one.”

“Do you have a plan to stop them?”

“I…actually do.” A slow grin spread over Flibbage’s face. “If I want to outwit an evil villain with control of the narrative, I’m going to need someone who can think evil.”

Camphor frowned. “But…I’m ex-evil.”

“Then you’re just going to have to try a bit harder, aren’t you?”

“Oh no…”

*

Pretend to be dead. Pretend to be dead.

The words kept running through Beansprout’s mind as she lay on the floor. She thought the bullet had gone through her shoulder – at least, her shoulder was aching, and she couldn’t feel much else at all. So it had missed her organs, but that wasn’t much comfort, looking at the blood that was spreading on the floor around her.

“Hah! Little hero thinks she’s so tough.” Beansprout groaned as the Yakky clone kicked her in the ribs.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the Sword of Slayskull, lying on the edge of the pool of her blood. Beansprout tried to focus on reaching out to grab it, but she couldn’t make herself move.

Evil Yakky’s boot swung again, this time hitting the sword. It spun across the floor, far out of her reach, even if she had been able to move her arm.

“You can keep this. I’ll stick with my gun.”

Beansprout heard the sound of footsteps fading away.

Don’t die. Don’t die. Don’t die.

What were you supposed to do when you’d been shot? Beansprout hadn’t been taught much in the way of first aid. Red’s usual approach to injury was “There’s nothing a gin and tonic can’t cure!” Weren’t you supposed to keep the wound higher than your heart? Beansprout supposed that was already taken care of, since she had a massive hole through her shoulder. The thought suddenly seemed very funny. Beansprout started giggling.

The edges of her vision were going fuzzy. That wasn’t a good sign, was it? And she was hearing voices that weren’t there. At least, she thought they weren’t there. It sounded like Yakky again, but the clone had already gone.

“Sprout? SPROUT! Shout if you can hear me!”

“Nuh?” Beansprout murmured.

Yakky and Jay skidded into the room, nearly tripping over Beansprout.

“Oh folk! Beansprout, are you okay?”

Beansprout giggled. “Yeah, ‘m the best ‘ve ever been, thass why there’s all the blood…”

Yakky dropped to his knees next to her. “You’ve been shot!”

“Sure have, didja work that out with those werewolf senses?”

“Why is she laughing? Oh my god, is she dying?”

“ ‘s not like it hassn happened before, hahaha…”

“Right,” Jay said firmly. “It’s a good thing NGSPIB training involves a very in-depth first aid course. I’ll do something about this wound. You make sure she doesn’t lose consciousness.”

“How?”

“I don’t know, talk to her or something! God, you are so useless in a crisis!” Jay tore a strip off the bottom of his jacket, while Yakky held Beansprout’s hand.

“Sprout? It’s me, Yakky.”

“Ahaha, but which one?”

“How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Those aren’t fingers, they’re claws, haha.”

“Okay, fine, how many claws am I holding up?”

“I’unno, ‘m too sleepy, jus’ gonna rest my eyes…”

“No!” Yakky pinched her cheek.

“Ow!”

“Well, don’t fall asleep, then!”

“Okay, okay…” Beansprout gave him a weak smile. “Y’re really cute, y’know that? Did I tell you?”

“Apparently, only when you’re about to die…”

*

Camphor looked into a mirror and pulled a face that was probably supposed to be menacing. “Am I evil yet?”

“Nope,” Flibbage said irritably.

“How about now?”

“Not really.”

“Now?”

“Now you just look constipated.” Flibbage sighed and pushed a hand through her hair. “This isn’t working.”

“Well, I’m sorry, I don’t really remember being evil!”

“Then try harder!”

*

“Are all the faeries rounded up?” Barry asked, as he lounged on the throne.

“Nearly, Fred,” said Agent O, looking down at a list. “All except the princess-”

“Ugh, I’m going to shut her in a jam jar FOREVER!”

“-and an architect called Camphor.”

Barry scoffed. “Well, the architect can’t be that important.”

“That name rings a bell.” O tapped her chin with her pen. “Did she rebuild my temple?”

“Maybe I’ll get her to redesign this throne room,” Barry said. “This décor is diabolical.”

“Camphor?” piped up one of the faeries in the throne room. “She’s Buffy’s alter ego!”

Barry leapt up from the throne as if he’d been electrocuted. “She’s WHAT?”



Episode 9: The Snark Tower -By Emily

Jay tied the bandage tightly. “Just try not to get into any fights for a while… which is about the most redundant advice I ever gave…”

Beansprout gritted her teeth and pushed herself to her feet. Hanging onto Yakky for dear life, she limped to the corner of the room when her sword lay abandoned. She gingerly bent to pick it up and the blue sheen of the blade sent glittery sparkles across her hand. The pain seemed to take a backseat as she felt its comforting presence.

“If anyone mentions how embarrassing I acted, there won’t be enough of you left to bury.”

Yakky looked warily at the amount blood on the floor and her clothes. “Maybe we should find some kind of Faerie medic before we try and do anything else.

“Or we can find the clones and end their stupid lives.”

“What did I literally just say to you? Jay grumbled.



* * *

“Now do you feel evil?” Flibbage paced the clearing they were hidden in, her exasperation with the fey landscape architect showing.

Camphor tugged at the hem of the elegant but very short black dress combined with black gloves, fishnet tights and thigh-length boots “More like an anime villain or a teen in a goth club”.

“Watch it! These are my clothes you know!”

“You’re not evil.”

“Oh give me time…” growled Flibbage to herself, and pondered what else Buffy had surrounded herself with to make her more evil. A spaceship was probably overkill, but-

“Gods of evil,

Shift your buns!

Bring me Lackeys, Yaks and Guns!”

There was a thunderclap and Campphor was suddenly surrounded by Yak-riding vampires who bristled with heavy artillery.

“What about now?”

She put a hand to her forehead, wearing a strange half-scowl. “I’m… kind of nasty?” she admitted haltingly.

Flibbage clapped her hands. “Yay! What else do you need?”

“I think… maybe… a lair?”

“Evil spirits,

Flaunt your power.

Build me here a looming tower!”

Black stone shot up from the ground. Camphor and Flibbage had to spring to the edges of the clearing as a shining tower of obsidian bricks wound its way skywards, sprouting balconies, doors, and side turrets as it grew.

“I’m actually so talented, sidekickdom is wasted on me.” mused Flibbage smugly as she stuck her head through the doorway to admire the winding stairs within. “Evil yet Camphor?... Camphor?” She ducked back outside to see the black-clad fey lying prone in the bushes.

Camphor clutched her head. “Folking hell…” she muttered.

“Okay that’s about as evil as we’re gonna get I guess,” said Flibbage, “Now let’s go and find Barry and kick his ass, because there’s only room for one evil overlord around here and you’ll blatantly win because I orchestrated it, and I’m a genius. Then we’ll make you normal again and everyone’s happy.”

Camphor stared at her, then began to chuckle.

“See, I knew you could do it, you’ve even got the laugh…uh…at me…” Flibbage tailed off.

Camphor clicked her fingers and was buoyed to her feet by a shower of black sparks. Thunder rolled ominously as her outfit began to morph around her, becoming black leather trousers, stylish ankle boots, and a halterneck top. Her wings took on a hue of very dark purple, adding to the over all effect. To her credit she really did look a lot more like Buffy.

“So tell me Flibbage, did you do any forward thinking when you formulated this particular plan?” Camphor purred.

“I was considering a best-case scenario…” Flibbage tried to keep her voice even as she surveyed the area for an escape route, wondering how many of the circling henchmen she could take out with one spell.

“Which was?” Camphor’s voice was sugary-sweet.

“Not the way it’s turned out. Sodding plot twists.”

“What I’m thinking,” said Camphor crisply, clapping her hands for her henchmen, “is that I’m going to form a temporary alliance with Barry, destroy you four idiot teens forever, then dispose of him in vicious spree of backstabbing.
“Probably over dinner, I could wear my red dress…” she mused.

“Meanwhile I’ll just be going,” Flibbage squeaked, reverting to tiny form for a quick getaway.

“I’m afraid I can’t let you do that,” Camphor said and clicked her fingers, as a henchman stepped forward and snapped closed an elegant jewellery box closed around the princess.



Camphor held her hand out for the box and then sashayed elegantly through the door of her new lair, which continued to morph itself, taking on a distinctly Buffy-ish theme.

“Follow me boys, we’ve got work to do.”

* * *



“What the Folk...” Beansprout whispered as a tower shot up out of the forest a mile or so from the palace. The three heroes had camped out on the roof in order to figure out the movements of Barry’s agents in and out of the palace. Dark clouds gathered around the top of the tower, as it came to a halt a really structurally unlikely distance from the ground.

“Is that Barry’s doing?” Yakky squinted at the tower, “The décor seems kind of familiar.”

“I guess we’ll find out when we go over there and kill him horribly.” said Jay.

“You really should leave dramatic one-liners to me Jay.” Beansprout muttered. “Besides, we have to find Flibbage first, we can’t go face the bad guys with just the three of us, its one of her ‘Plot’ things.”

In a glint of clarity Flibbage would have been very proud of if she hadn’t been at that moment strenously kicking the inside of a jewellery box, Yakky added; “Unless she’s off somewhere holding back the guards or dying in noble self sacrifice-“

“She’d better not be! That’s my job!” Jay protested.

Beansprout looked over the garden again.“Plus there’s still those folking clones sneaking about the place, so it’d be an anti-climatic if we didn’t get them first.”

“When you’re all quite finished?” said an icy voice. Our three waffling heroes turned to see E-Yakky and E-Sprout standing in the roof access doorway, holding guns the likes of which only Jay had seen before.

“Wow! You have a Compensator Mark 6! And a Technojunkie 22!”

“You are SO sad.” Yakky told him.

“Compensator?” remarked Beansprout, raising an eyebrow.

“Well, you know what they say about men with big guns…” Jay shrugged

“I’m not compensating for anything!” Shouted E-Yakky angrily.

“Yeah, yeah…” said both Sprouts.

“Hey!” said both the Yakkys.

“Oh God, kill me,” said Jay (in mono).

“Gladly,” said E-Sprout, and fired.

“Real subtle!” Beansprout stepped in front of her friends and swung The Sword like a baseball bat, crackling with electric blue flame. There was an explosion, and a cloud of smoke engulfed the rooftop.

“Sprout! Jay told you not to do that!!!” Yakky shouted, running through the smoke towards where he’d last seen her.

“Stop fussing I’m fine.” Beansprout hissed, appearing out of the haze, massaging her shoulder, then tackled him to the floor and rolled, as a bullet zipped by their heads. Clapping her hand over his mouth, she breathed “Stop advertising our exact location to the people with guns!”

“Mmph?” said Yakky, and gestured at her hand.

Beansprout looked down at the Sword of Slayskull. Most of it was in pieces on the floor, she was only holding the hilt.

“FOLKING SHODDY PIECE OF LEGENDARY MANUFACTURING!!!” she yelled.

“Die now,” said E-Sprout stepping out of the smoke with the Technojunkie 22 aimed squarely at her head.

There was another loud rapport and suddenly bits of E-Sprout were splattered over the walls. There was a small pause.

“Thank you secret agent man with your sad guns and gadgets.” said Jay.

“Thank you Jay,” squeaked Beansprout.

“Evil-Sprout! NOOO!!!” Yelled E-Yakky, who had just realized he was madly in love with her.

“I’ll take care of him,” J said smugly, and pulled the trigger. He tried again. And again.

“Oh shit,” he said.

* * *

Meanwhile in another part of the dungeons.

“Well this sucks royally your majesty!” grumbled Red, “We escape the dungeons, we go back in the dungeons. Out-in-out-in-out-in-“

“Piss off, or I’ll never let you be a faery.” sulked Cabbage.

“- don’t wanna be a skanky faery anyway, speaking Welsh and pretending you know how to write in runes.”

“No, It’s Elvish. Our extremely ancient and mystical language!”

“Welsh!”

“Elvish!”

“WELSH!”

“ELVISH!” Screamed Cabbage and kicked her shoe in Red’s general direction.

“Now look whose getting mardy…” sniped Red as it completely missed her.

* * *

This is a very small box, thought Flibbage worriedly. Not that I’m claustrophobic or anything, it just is rather small. It’s bigger than the time with the bottle and the river, or that time with NGSPIB and the Jam jar. But they were glass! Is it me, or is it getting cramped in here?

She took a deep breath, panicking wasn’t going to help. Okay so maybe she couldn’t escape the box, but did that mean she couldn’t do something else?

“Keepers of the Faerie Nation,

I require defenestration!”

Suddenly Camphor tripped over a step of her spiral staircase, and fumbled the box, which bounced out the nearest window, and plummeted to the ground below, where it shattered to smithereens. Camphor leaned out the window frame just in time to see a streak of green glitter disappear into the treeline.

“How does she always do that!??” raged Camphor.

“Alas Dark Mistress, her skill in finding obtuse words that rhyme is unsurpassed by any in the land,” said a henchman reproachfully.

“Rats!” yelled Campfy, and stabbed him, just to make herself feel better.

* * *



“RUN AWAY!” yelled Jay, grabbing Yakky and Sprout as he headed for a slanted part of the roof. The three of them slid down the tiles and into a handy bush in the gardens below, E-Yakky firing wildly after them. The clone knelt by the gooey remains of E-Sprout, momentarily crushed by grief.
“I’ll get you for this, original me!” he swore.



Beansprout, Yakky and Jay ran through the gardens and didn’t pause till they reached the relative safety of the woods.

“Folking sword,” muttered Beansprout darkly, looking at the shattered hilt “and wait- yes my shoulder does still hurt like hell, how pleasant.”

“I told you so,” said Jay, staring up at the dark tower looming into the sky above the woods. “You know, that castle really reminds me of someone… there’s something very familiar about its haute-couture-yet-undeniably-diabolical architecture…” Beansprout and Yakky stared at the elegant spires, the gracefully crafted gothic arches, a carelessly thrown aside fancy coffee-based-beverage cup…

“If I didn’t know better…”

“It looks just like the work of-”

“Aaaaaaaaargh! HELLO!” Flibbage zoomed in a cloud of green glitter and morphed back into full-size, landing heavily on the floor, and trying to smooth down her extremely frazzled looking hair.

“Where have you been you colossal skiver, whilst we’ve been fighting our evil clones?” Beansprout asked giving her a sharp poke.

“Well I’ve been mumble mumble mumble…”

“What?”

“…making matters worse,” the faery answered sheepishly.

“Oh I know!” said Jay suddenly, “It looks just like something Buffy would build!”

Everyone turned to stare at Flibbage, who winced.

“Oh no.” Said Jay.

“You didn’t…” said Yakky.

“I swear you will be going right back in a jar once we’ve done with all the evil,” Beansprout growled.

* * * *

Despite having realised Camphor’s identity Barry was extremely surprised to see a Buffy-esque faery tower spring up practically on his front lawn. As the self-styled Queen of Faerie he felt it was his right to be indignant about this. Putting on what he thought of as his ‘I am your ruler’ face, and with Oddball for backup, he strode out into the forest and knocked on the front door. The door was answered by a faery almost exactly resembling Buffy, clad in a low-cut black floor length gown.

“Barry?” smiled Camphor, “What a fantastic coincidence! I was just about to call you. It seems you’ve done a great job on our takeover plans since that whole ‘heaven’ debacle! I want to know alllll thedetails. Oddball, you’re here too? Oh how efficient.”

“Buffy?” Barry paused, very distracted by her cleavage. “I thought they turned you into a faery?”

“Well it didn’t stick, did it darling? Come on in, I’ve got a glass of wine with your name on it” Camphor smiled as she led him, technically she’d vowed to kill the kids first then betray Barry, but sometimes you have to change your priorities.



* * *

“In the interests of furthering the narrative, I suppose we ought to go in there…” said Flibbage as they peered at the Dark Tower through a dishevelled hedge.

“I don’t see why we always have to wreck Buffy’s plans! Why don’t we destroy your family’s evil empire Sprout?” Yakky whined.

“That’s what we’re doing Yakky.” Beansprout replied, staring at him with distaste.

“Fine. What about Flibbage?”

“My mother is a tyrant, but she’s not usually evil. Much”

“Aren’t any of Jay’s family evil?”

“Dude, I don’t appear to have a family…”

“What about if I kill you all then murder Camphor on behalf of my comedy villain overlord?”

“Uh, who said that?”

The quartet turned around to see the rather crazed looking E-Yakky standing behind them, flanked by E-Flib and E-Jay.





Episode 10: Curiouser and Curiouser -By Ally

Camphor swirled the wine in her glass, smiling seductively at a flustered Barry as he sat in the chair opposite her.

“So lovely to see you again, my dear,” she purred. “You’re looking very well.”

“And you’re looking great,” Barry mumbled, his cheeks pink. “I mean, great as in healthy. Not healthy in a backhanded compliment way! It’s just that that dress looks amazing on you, it makes your figure look fantastic – not that I was looking!” Oh god, what an idiot, he thought, and downed his glass of wine in one gulp.

“Haha! Success!” Camphor cackled, slamming her glass down and slopping wine over the table. “Good grief, how much further was I going to have to go?”

“What do you – hurk!” Barry said, and slid off his chair.

“Did you kill him, Fred?” Oddball asked, with an expression of interest. She hadn’t touched her wine, and was doodling stick figures on her coaster instead.

“No, I’ve just slipped him a sleeping draught to render him unconscious while I throw him in an oubliette,” said Camphor. “This tower is bound to have oubliettes. I wouldn’t be caught dead living in an evil lair without at least one.”

“-mean?” Barry asked, sitting up.

Camphor blinked. “Excuse me? You’re meant to be asleep.”

“Oh, no, I’m feeling great!” Barry got up. “Better than I have for ages, in faAARRK!”

He promptly turned into a flamingo.

Camphor slapped her glass of wine off the table in irritation. “A flamingo? That wasn’t my plan!”

“Quite a good bit of transmogrification, though, Fred.”

“Oh, shut up, Oddball. Get me a towel to wrap him up in. At least I can still put him in the oubliette.”

“Waark!” Flamingo-Barry screeched, and ran away, leaving the two bewildered women behind him.



*



“I’m getting really sick of clones,” Beansprout sighed, putting her hands up.

“Don’t just stand there!” Flibbage squeaked.

“What else am I supposed to do? My magic sword got broken!”

“Hide!” Flibbage said, and dived behind a nearby bush.

“Oh, you are going back in that box dead,” Beansprout muttered.

“You first,” E-Yakky snarled, and pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

Yakky blinked. “Um. Jay. You know guns. Why didn’t that work?”

Jay shrugged. “No idea. Like you said, that’s sort of how guns usually work.”

“It’s nothing to do with the stupid guns!” Flibbage’s voice rang out from behind the bush. “It’s the plot! Nothing’s working for the clones because Buffy’s back and she must have the plot!”

E-Yakky’s face twisted with anger. He threw the gun to the side.

“Maybe bullets can’t kill you…” he hissed.

“Bullets can definitely kill us,” Jay pointed out, “but only if you actually manage to fire them.”

Shut up! As I was saying, maybe bullets can’t kill you – but my claws can!”

E-Yakky tensed, about to leap forwards.

There was an unpleasant crunching, squelching sound, and a blade appeared through his chest.

“Oh,” said E-Yakky, and crumpled to the ground.

E-Flibbage pulled the blade back, and spun around, cutting down E-Jay, who didn’t have time to do anything more than look mildly annoyed before he joined his fellow clone on the floor.

“What the folk?” Beansprout exclaimed.

“Buffy has the plot? Seriously? You’re going to believe that little faker while she feeds you that nonsense?” The Flibbage clone pointed her blade at the bush. “No fictional construct can control the narrative, because that would mean existing outside the narrative. Which you would know if you were really me, E-Flibbage!”

“Huh?” Yakky looked from the Flibbage standing over the dead clones to the Flibbage hiding in the bush. “Hang on – are you Flibbage? I thought you were the clone!”

“She is the clone!” Flibbage squeaked from the bush. “She’s a liar! A sneaky clone liar!”

“It seems Evil-Flibbage, having the advantage of supernatural faery common-sense over her cloned companions, decided to instigate her own plans for Faerie takeover by taking my place whilst I was busy elsewhere,” said the Flibbage who was standing by the clones. “I expect that her plan was to keep undermining the plot through acts of a foolish, cowardly and uncharacteristic nature, therefore making matters gradually worse. Luckily, I returned just in time to stop her.” She looked at her friends, and sighed. “Don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming?”

Beansprout, Yakky and Jay shook their heads.

“Honestly, mortals…

AND I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT TOO IF IT HADN’T BEEN FOR YOU MEDDLING – oh, folk,” said E-Flibbage, from her spot behind the bush.

“Hah!” the real Flibbage said smugly. “Couldn’t resist an evil gloat, could you?”

E-Flibbage stepped out from behind the bush, magic crackling around her hands. “You know what else I can’t resist, Princess? A really good spell-”

Beansprout brought her foot up and stamped on the tiny faerie clone as hard as she could.

“I told her she was going back in that box dead,” she said, wiping the bottom of her shoe on the grass.

“Nice work,” said Flibbage. “Although I’m a little bit disturbed by how easily you managed to stamp on someone who looks just like me.”

“Says the person who just stabbed mine and Yakky’s clones through the chest,” Jay muttered.

“Fair point.”

Yakky sighed. “So I guess we’re going to go and have a big showdown with my mum. Again.”

“Well, if she just stayed dead, we wouldn’t have to,” Beansprout pointed out.

“That’s not a massive comfort, actually.”

“At least we won’t be alone.” Flibbage motioned to them. “Look at this.”

The other three looked. And looked further. Moving towards Buffy’s Dark Tower, from all sides, was an army of faerie folk, led by Queen Cabbage, astride her trusty steed Tequila the Alcohorse. The Queen raised her hand, letting off a shower of green sparks in the air. Red strode beside her, wielding an empty wine bottle and a murderous expression.

“Looks like a season finale,” said Flibbage. “And, as usual, the four of us are right in the middle of it.”

“Yaaay,” Yakky said glumly.



Episode 11: Reality Hits -By Emily

“Look if you can’t tell which scenes were Evil Flibbage, and which were me, I don’t know what to tell you. It was pretty obvious.” Flibbage grumbled as they fell in alongside the marching army. “I had to throw some double bluffs in there to make sure I could get all the faeries together and set up the demise of the evil clones. Didn’t you see me winking conspiratorially at you?”

“Those could have been fiendish winks.” Yakky contested.



I think-“ Flibbage began, but was cut off as a distressed looking flamingo waddled up to them.

Sprout, help me!” squawked the dishevelled bird.

What the Folk?!Beansprout reflexively kicked it. “Wait, are flamingoes supposed to talk? Is this some new and horrible aspect of Faerie I’d not heard about?”

Owww! Talk about meeean!”

Everyone stared at the flamingo.

Dad?” Beansprout’s lip curled as she stared at the bird.

“…no.” said the flamingo, looking shifty.

DIE!” Beansprout yelled and for want of anything more effective, tried to sit on him.

Aaa!” said Barry, dodging out of the way. “Stop being so horrible! Even Oddball double crossed me!”

Yeah, people tend to get a bit that way when you try and take over the world.”

Flibbage pointed at him.
“Take a form that moves less fast,
Reminding us of Christmas past.”


There was a puff of green sprinkles and where the flamingo had been, there was now a small brussel sprout. Against all odds it was still bouncing up and down and
squeaking.

Why on earth would you do that?” Jay asked

Flibbage stared at the sprout, “Jay, its been a long day. I’ll polymorph who I want into what I want. It’s thematically appropriate and also humourous, wanna join him?” She pointed her spellcasting finger and Jay mumbled something about needing to check his messages and sidled away.

Okay, but you’re gonna turn me back though? This is just a funny little bit of payback, right?” said Barry, bouncing up and down.

I think it’s an improvement, you’re a lot easier to keep track of this way.” said Beansprout.

Barry and bounced over to the head of the procession where Cabbage and Red were.

Kiss me!” he said, bouncing up to eye level “Kiiiss Meee!”

No Barry” said Red, “honestly this serves you right for trying to take over the world.”

Please! Go on! What about you Cabbage?” squeaked Barry, who had convinced himself that if he could get someone to kiss him he’d turn back into a human.

Barry” sighed the Queen, “You’re a sprout.”

Well you’re a Cabbage!”

The FAERY of Cabbage! Not A cabbage!”

Oh pleeease!”

No.”

Why Not?”

I never kiss anyone…” The Queen sneered.

Drat and Double Drat!” said Barry, and bounced away. By this time they had reached the front lawn of the Tower.

Come out here and face us, you convention twisting, plot usurping, kingdom stealing, piece of POOP!” Cabbage yelled, shaking her fist at the tower angrily.

YEAH!” chorused the crowd.

Yeah, and your shoes clash with your eyeshadow!” added Barry.

There was an almighty crash of thunder and black clouds rolled in ominously.

Why do you always have to go one step too far Barry?” A silky smooth voice floated down from the heights of the tower, “You know, I was content to rule you all, but NOW I’LL HAVE TO DESTROY YOU!”

The doors at the base swung open, and armed vampire guards poured out. The fey leapt forward to meet them and a bloody battle began.

Got a plan?” Yakky asked Flibbage, as the gang fought their way to the base of the tower.

I’m relying on sheer overwhelming force. She can’t fight all of Faerie.

But what are we going to do about her?”

Climb up there and kill her Yakky,” Beansprout snapped, kicking a vampire guard in the chest. “If its going to be a problem for you again, you can just stay down here.”

I’ve got a plan.” Jay said, looking up from his phone as the group dodged a minion from the other side.

“Listen I’m coming round to it, but mainly because she never
stays dead!”

How about you come up with a plan for once!” Beansprout said as she punched the teeth out from a vampire diving towards Yakky.

I’ve got a plan-” said Jay

PLANNING ISN’T MY FORTE, MY FORTE IS WEREWOLF POWERS!”

Oh of course werewolf powers…”

Speaking of werewolf powers, Dee-

Stop it right now, you two,” said Flibbage irritably, pausing from turning vampire guards into novelty pasta shapes.

Jay gave up and wandered away, phone pressed to his ear.

HE STARTED IT!”
“SHE STARTED IT!” Beansprout and Yakky answered simultaneously.

Well actually I did, but you are so useless sometimes,” Sprout admitted.

“’s not my fault I’m not good at making plans to kill my unkillable mother.” Yakky grumbled.

Flibbage rolled her eyes. “Look this was just as trite last time around, but we really need to…

to…

oh no...”

When you’ve all finished bickering,” Jay said walking back towards them, “Dee and the NGSPI(Blue) have set a Realism Bomb at the base of the tower. It’ll detonate any second.”

Flibbage’s face turned ashen “No you don’t understand, that’ll-”

Dee appeared out of the smoke. She was wearing a smart black suit with the same blue handkerchief as Jay. Seamlessley she stepped in to explain the plan:

Barry,- by which I mean the smart people he bossed around- was working on this Realism Bomb as a backup plan. It eradicates all sci-fi and fantasy based plotlines within a three--mile radius adding a gritty believable edge to anything beyond that. When this goes off, Campfy’s just a woman with trained lackeys. True, you’ll just be normal people for a while, but I’m perfectly capable of defending you all long enough to arm you with some really big guns.”

Dee- you realise werewolves aren’t REAL right?” Flibbage looked around in panic.

Anyway,” said Jay, “afterwards the Surrealism Squad will help restore the faery realm to normal.” He grinned smugly at the others. There was a brief silence.

JAY THIS PLACE IS MADE OF MAGIC WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!” Flibbage shrieked

Dee looked offended, “What do you mean werewolves aren’t-”

* * *

What’s that noise?” asked Red.

Probably the Pink Elephant Legion,” Cabbage replied, scowling as she ran a vampire through with her royal staff.

Nah… sounds more like a gritty real-life drama that deals with extreme situations, yet is entirely believable.”

WHAT?!”

The ground began to shake as a grey shockwave billowed up from the bottom of the tower and spread out through the battling armies, knocking faeries and vampires alike to the ground.

REALITY?! NO, GOD NO!!!” Cabbage wailed, “MY REALM! MY BEAUTIFUL REALM!!!”

Folk!” cried Red as the cloud engulfed them.

* * *

Red opened one eye gingerly. She didn’t feel too awful all things considered, but she felt like she might be on the verge of alcohol poisoning. She was also wearing a floppy hat and a frayed cardigan. She’d reverted to her most realistic persona, that of a freelance writer- which explained how hungry she was.

Woah man…” said Cabbage sitting up.

Dear God, you’re a hippy!” Red exclaimed, “All the faeries seem to be.”

Oh no!” Cabbage started pulling at the flowers her crown had turned into, “Buffy has made my army into pacifists dressed in tie dye-!” she clenched her teeth, but couldn’t help adding, “Maaan.”

Well what else would faeries revert to in reality?”

BAD-ASS KILLING MACHINES DAMMIT! Faeries don’t prance around with flowers and cheerful music, dude! DAMMIT I said dude, dude!”

Faeries do prance around with-“

SHUT UP MAN!”

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, the vampires (now scary looking guys with big sticks) were cheerfully beating up the faeries even worse than before, because the faeries were now waving banners and singing ‘If I had a hammer… OWOWOW!”

* * * *

Inside the tower, it was dark, (the electricity had been cut off because Buffy didn’t pay her bills) and cold (ditto the central heating). Our intrepid heroes climbed up the seemingly endless stairs which were completely and realistically booby-trap free.

Stop laughing, dude.” Flibbage said to Beansprout. “This is a catastrophe on a realm wide scale.”

But it’s funny...” Beansprout laughed. Being realistic meant her sense of humour had reverted to that of the average teenager. A real blow. They had at least followed through on the promise of big guns.

Yeah,” said Jay, proving that you can be in a realistic narrative and still have nothing useful to say for yourself.

It’ll serve you right if he tries to shag your leg,” Flibbage added.

Yakky made about as contemptuous face as he could considering he had turned into a golden retriever, and ran huffily ahead. Dee, who had at least turned into a husky, growled at Beansprout and followed him up the steps.

Dude! DAMMIT! I was standing up for you!”

Yeah,” said Jay.

Articulate Jay, Ar-tic-u-late,”

Bad vibes, Sprout! Be cool to your fellow dude.”

Flib’ I don’t think even the most stoned hippies ever said anything like that.

I can’t help it. I hate myself.”

After more walking and bickering, they found themselves outside a door. Not a particularly interesting one, because that’s life.

Remember,” Jay said, being slightly more interesting, “we don’t know what the R-bomb has turned Campfy into. Anything could be waiting behind that door.”

Anything?” said Beansprout, and shot the door to pieces.

My door!” someone shrieked from inside.

Ooh, scary.” Said Beansprout to J and walked in. Campfy was standing in the middle of a tastefully decorated room, looking horrified and furious.

You broke my door! My last movie paid for that door! My followers will hear about this!”

Oh no!” said J, “She’s become a talentless internet celebrity with an acting career!

Who are you calling talentless?” Campfy snapped and then caught sight of Yakky. “Eee! What a cute little dog!”

Woof,” said Yakky in alarm as his mother bent down and began to kiss his nose.

HANDS OFF MY DOG- I MEAN BOYFRIEND!” Beansprout yelled, and shot her with no effort at all. There was a brief moment of silence.

Bark!” said Yakky.

Yeah yeah, I’ve heard it all before.”

“…don’t say groovy don’t say groovy wild, *GODDAMIT!*”

Good job Beansprout, let’s go sort out the realm and get unrealised.” Jay said, giving Campfy a little nudge with his foot.

I dunno,” said Beansprout, “that seemed a little too easy…“

Listen man, violence is the tool of the opressor” said Flibbage before being so overcome with self hatred that she ran head first into a wall.



The gang turned towards the door. It slammed shut.

Oh here we go. What now, more clones?” said Beansprout.

Fools!” a voice called out from a stylish antique wardrobe to one side of the room. There was a cracking of wood and laquer and the sides burst away to reveal a very familiar looking portable toilet. The plastic door creacked open, and two figures stepped out.

Agent O?” Jay exclaimed

Oddball?” Beansprout echoed

BARK?” Said Dee and Yakky in unison as out from behind her appeared Lance. He was dressed in a burgundy suit to match Oddball’s, and holding a handheld computer. It looked like it had been through a wormhole or two, and been repaired by someone who’d never seen the original, but it was umistakably… a really normal looking iPad.

Oh groovy, two Plot Devices in one place, what could possibly go wrong.” Flibbage mumbled into the brickwork. “Go on then, outline your evil plot, do your speech, whatever.”

That’s what I’m doing.” Lance strolled towards them and tapped something on The Tablet screen. Beansporut reached for her gun, and suddenly realised it was ...gone?

I’m guessing you’ve all heard that popular anime proverb ‘Behind every powerful idiot is a hardcore group of intelligent, manipulative evil bastards’?”

Which idiot are you then?” said Flibbage.

Well it’s true of the NGSPIB.” Lance carried on “Did you really think Barry and Buffy were capable of running an evil empire? We’ve let them run their little plots, taking over heaven, taking over Faerie, growing little clones, building spaceships that exist in a time -paradox, whilst we came up with the real plan.
They call us THE BIG PRICKS.”

That’s not a very flattering supervillain name.”

Lance carried on. “See werewolves know that technology is the future, and the more we understand about what you call ‘Plot Devices’ the-”

Only idiots, monologue, Fred.” Oddball cut him off, “Don’t let her keep you talking.” She stepped to one side of the Portaloo door then pressed flush handle. Air streamed towards the cubicle and a whirling vortex appeared and began to pull our heroes towards it.

Flibbage had one of her moments of Deja Vu. She couldn’t remember exactly what was coming next, but she knew things would go bad if the group got separated. Grabbing Yakky the golden retriever under one arm she reached out towards Beansprout with the other.

Grab my hand!”

The carpet Beansprout was standing on started to slide into the portal and she struggled to keep her footing. She grabbed onto the door of the portaloo, and caught hold of Jay before he could stumble in. “What?”

Take my folking hand Beansprout!” Flibbage yelled, “If we fall in we have to stick together!”

Dee the husky chose this moment to throw herself across the room towards Lance, teeth bared and claws extended aiming for his face. He She knocked the tablet from his hands but Oddball deftly grabbed it from the air before it could be sucked in. Dee snapped her jaws towards Lance’s face as he transformed and they rolled in a ball of claws and fur across the room. The Tablet fell towards the portal but Oddball deftly caught it. Dee fought well, but in the form the R-bomb had left her in she was no match for a werewolf. With a strong kick Lance launched her toawards the portaloo, where the whirling wind caught her. She flew heavily into Beansprout and Jay, knocking them loose, and all three of the disappeared into the vortex.

Flibbage gritted her teeth and looked around the room. She had no magic and was holding the dead weight of a large dog. There was no chance of wrestling the Tablet away from Oddball and Lance was circling round her, blood dripping from his muzzle where Dee had clawed him. “Okay whatever, beats being a hippy I guess.” Flibbage hung tightly onto Yakky as she jumped in after her friends.



Good boy, Fred.” Oddball said as she kicked the door shut, and locked it.

Lets go,” she said and turned towards the stairs, Lance padding after her.



END OF VOLUME 6