Marshall looked up at his clock, still half-asleep. 4:30. He laid there for a moment, unwilling to get up. It was too damned early for his taste, but he really ought to get up, it was already a miracle he’d woken up before his alarm in ten minut-
Suddenly, he felt a wet, disgusting sensation spread over his chest and sheets. Aw shit, was it that goblin he gave his number to? She was always talking about… No, it was too cold for that.
He looked around his mostly-bare room in a daze, the clock on his dresser as usual, his single poster on the wall, unchanged, but… Church stood at Marshall’s bedside, a pitcher in his hand.
“Goddammit, Church, what d’ya think you’re doin’?”
“You weren’t waking up fast enough, you oaf, so I decided to make certain that you did. By the way, your tea seems to have gone off.”
“What? The sweet tea? I made that last night!”
“I assure you, it’s completely undrinkable. Like petrol, really.”
“Fuck, Church, why’d ya go wastin’ my tea?!”
“Well, I seem to recall you yanks wasting our tea. 1773 ring any bells, boy?”
“What in tarnation are you on about?”
“December sixteenth? Though really, you’re wasting perfectly good tea making this absolute tripe at all. Now come along, we have a schedule to keep.”
“You are intolerable! …Hang on, just how the hell did you even get in here?”
“I asked Chap for the keys last night, of course.”
Marshall thrust his hand into his pocket in a panic. His keys were still there, the same place they’d been all night- safe and sound underneath his wallet.
“How the hell did he get ‘em? I’ve had these on me all night!”
“Chap has his ways. Come on, quickly now, your bellyaching has cost us enough time already.”
Marshall could only shake his head, heading to the bathroom to wash the sticky tea off himself.
Prudence paced in front of Cheslav’s room nervously. Church had assigned her to ensure Cheslav got up and met outside the hinezumi dormitory. It wasn’t that she minded running errands like this for him, but Cheslav unnerved her. He was so quiet, so mysterious. She didn’t know how he got anything Church asked him to get, and she was afraid to find out.
‘What if he sells weapons on the black market? What if he takes organs from the homeless?’ She worried. Still, she wanted to please her master no matter what he asked her to do. Gathering up the courage, she reached up and knocked on his door…only for it to swing open on its own.
“O-okay…” She shuddered, but collected herself enough to walk through the door. Inside, she saw piles upon piles of newspaper, kraft dinner, and vodka bottles. On his kitchen counter were several empty cans of spam and an enormous bag of Bits & Bites. Lining the walls of his apartment were various old looking guns, kept safely inside shadowboxes.
“H-hello? Cheslav?” She called out, scanning her surroundings for any sign of slav activity. She approached a door that had ‘не впускать’ written on the front. No other doors had anything written on them so she assumed that this must be his room. Makes sense, right?
“Ches… Cheslav?” She slowly turned the doorknob and opened the door, peeking inside. Immediately, she was bombarded with an acrid, oily stench. She quickly covered her nose with both her hands and suppressed a gag.
Just then, an alarm blared throughout the room, thoroughly scaring the panties off of Prudence.
‘Shit! Shit shit shit! What do I do? Where do I go? If he catches me trespassing he’ll cut me up and sell me to a Russian butcher!’ She frantically searched for a hiding spot, but the room was filled to the brim with industrial sized drums, some stacked on top of one another. Wait, that was it! Some of them formed a natural wall she could hide behind! She dashed into the room and hid behind a row of the large barrels.
It wasn’t long before Cheslav came through the door, looking like he had just woken up. “Blyat, alarm loud as always.” He stretched his arms and flipped on the lights. “What caused door to open?”
He looked behind a stack of barrels, searching around for any signs of an intruder. He lifted the lid of one of the barrels and paused, before pulling out a few rifles sitting at the bottom.
‘I knew it, I knew he traded weapons! Why else would he have so many of them hung all over his wall?’ She thought to herself. Maybe if she told Church, he wouldn’t have anything to do with Cheslav anymore! Then again, he was very good at getting… well, anything. Would he really abandon a friend over some illegal weapons trading?
“Cyka blyat, what is this garbage doing in my precious cosmoline?” He discarded the rifles, throwing them into a nearby trashcan.
‘Wait, what?’ Now she was confused, he didn’t sell weapons? And what is this cosmoline stuff he’s talking about? Some kind of drug?
What was that?
“Bwok bwk bwok.”
It sounded like it was right next to her. With beads of sweat running down her forehead, she slowly turned her head to the right and saw…a chicken? It squatted beside her, wearing a red star-emblazoned eyepatch and a beret.
“AAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” She shrieked, scrambling from behind the drums of cosmoline and curling up into a ball in the corner. She knew that Cheslav was going to find her and no doubt kill her in some horrible, brutal way.
“Hm? What was noise…” He slowly walked over to where the chicken was, and squatted down. “Ah! Comrade Cluckers! It was you who opened door? Naughty chicken.” He turned his head to the side and saw Prudence curled up in the corner, using her floppy ears to cover her eyes.
“Oi, privyet Prudence. You want Bits & Bites?” He squatted down over her and gave her a few soothing pats on the shoulder.
Prudence didn’t respond, but slowly uncovered one of her eyes. “Y-you’re not going to kill me?”
“Prudence is friend, not kebab.”
Prudence stopped shaking, and slowly got up off the floor. “O-oh, okay. Whew. That’s actually… I’m glad to hear that.”
“Cheslav will leave for meet-up after he feeds Comrade Cluckers.” He headed to the kitchen and tossed a handful of Bits & Bites on the floor.
It was just before five, and all four raiders were hiding in some bushes just outside the hinezumi dojo with their respective water weapons.
“Alright, here’s the plan.” Church pulls out a sheet of paper, then lays it on the ground. “We enter through this backdoor, here. It’s the opposite end as the dojo so we shouldn’t run into any of those hotheads. Marshall and Cheslav, I’m going to set you on either side of the hall as watch duty. If a boxer spots you, you are to fire away and then report to me. Is that understood?”
Cheslav and Marshall nodded.
“Excellent. Prudence and I will steal the panties, then once we have a sufficient haul we are to leave the same way we came in. Piece of cake, really. I don’t expect any hitches in this operation.”
“You said the same thing about the barometz raid, then Cheslav got a whiff of their pheromones.”
“That goddamned… Welshman just forgot to tighten his gasmask. This operation won’t require any kind of sensory deprivation or special equipment, just efficiency and a watchful eye.”
“I guess you’re right, but at the same time, famous last words…”
Church and the gang made their way to the dojo/dorm, opening up the double doors and stepping inside. It was a long dark hallway, with a sliding door at the end.
“Alright, the dorm rooms should be just through those doors. Let’s make haste.” Church hobbles down the hallway, his team following suit.
Once they reached the door, Church braces himself, his cane behind him as he brings his leg up into a kick.
“HA HA-AAAAAAAAH SHIT!” He shouted as he fell flat on his ass.
Marshall stifled a laugh, then placed his hand on the handle to the sliding door.
“Get your hand off of that, I’m going to be the one to open the door.” He insisted, grabbing the handle from Marshall and sliding it open forcefully. “Charge!”
All four of them ran into the dojo where the… wait, the dojo?
“Bollocks! This isn’t where we were supposed to be. How is this right? I couldn’t have possibly-”
Suddenly, it occurred to Church that he had been reading the map upside down the entire time. Not only were they in the wrong place, the hinezumi had stopped lounging around and stood up, staring at the group. What looked to be the head of the dojo began to advance towards Church, wrists and ankles ignited, her hands on her voluptuous hips. “Hey buddy, I think you got the wrong door. The physiotherapist is two buildings down.” She said, tapping his cane with her foot.
“Oh fuck off, you chinky cunt.”
“No, fuck you crippleman.”
“Oh, you want to start this do you?” He took a step towards her.
“Why not? This is after all the perfect place to.” She took a step towards him, the fire around her wrists and ankles burning brightly.
“You’re going to regret those words.” He took the super soaker shotgun from behind his back and pointed it at the hinezumi’s breast.
The hinezumi looked at him, then the gun, rolling her eyes. “Are you serious? Why don’t you put down that jabroni toy and settle this in the ring? I’ll show you who’s boss of this do-”
Church pulled the trigger.
In an instant, the hinezumi was soaked from head to toe, the fire around her wrists and ankles were extinguished.
“Whoa, hey, hey… n-not cool, dude.” She said, much calmer than before.
“Hey! Those assholes came into our dojo and extinguished Headmaster Wai-Fu! I say that counts as a challenge, let’s kick their fucking asses!” One of the hinezumi shouted, the rest rallied in agreement.
Church yelped. “FORM SQUARE, FORM SQUARE!!!” He commanded, his voice two octaves higher than normal.
“Form square? What the hell does that mean?” Marshall asked, though he didn’t get an answer. Within seconds there were two hinezumi approaching him. He drew his pistols and squeezed the triggers as fast as he could.
The tiny streams of water did nothing to extinguish the bonfires surrounding their extremities, and eventually he ran out of water.
“Whelp, it was worth a shot.” He sighed, as one of the hinezumi grabbed his collar and brought him down to eye level.
“Looks like your clip has run dry.” The hinezumi laughed as she brought a fist back.
‘…clip has run dry.’
‘…clip has run dry.’
‘…clip has run dry.’
The words echoed in Cheslav’s head, something primal had clicked inside him. Clip? CLIP!? Is not a clip! Fucking kebab mice didn’t know anything about guns! He dipped his long-barreled water rifle into the bucket that prudence dropped and pulls the pump to fill it.
“Is not clip, is magazine!” Cheslav shouted, holding the rifle up like a nugget and firing a concentrated beam at the Hinezumi.
“Ow! My eye!” She let go of Marshall to cover her eye with both hands.
“Thanks, Cheslav. I dunno how to thank-”
Looking at his friend Cheslav, Marshall saw his eyes were different than normal, they seemed to have a red star instead of pupils, and he was singing ‘Калинка, калинка, калинка моя!
В саду ягода малинка, малинка моя!’ Under his breath. Marshall didn’t know what the hell he was singing, but Cheslav was firing at one target after the other.
“Ow! My eye!”
“Ow! My eye!”
“Ow! My eye!”
“Fuck, my eye!”
In the span of two seconds, Cheslav had five mice down and out, running to the bathroom to take care of their eyes.
“Haha! This is what happens when you bring karate to a gunfight, fools!” Church taunted, blasting away one hinezumi after the other. They kept coming and he kept shooting, but soon enough his gun had run dry.
It was about then that Church realized he should have made Prudence carry a lot more water.
“Blast it all, there’s too many of them. We need to stop wasting time and get to the bedrooms. Chap, come with me! You’re the fastest out of all of us.” He hobbled back over to where his colleagues were and dragged Cheslav away, snapping him out of his soviet induced rage.
“What is of happenings, comrade?” Cheslav asked, having now noticed that he was being taken away.
“You and I are going to steal the panties. Marshall and Prudence are staying back to keep the hinezumi occupied.” He explained.
“Oh… da, I come.” He ran next to Church, who let go of his arm, and they exited the dojo, Church following the map correctly this time.
“Hey, wait a minute! How do you expect us to hold off all these mice?” Marshall called, but it was too late, they were already gone. “Shit. Prudence!”
“Ah! He’s gone! Master is gone! What are we going to do, Marshall?” She grabbed her head, holding the pitiful glass of water up to her chest. One of the hinezumi charged at her.
“Uuuah!” She panicked, throwing the water at the hinezumi long before she was in range.
Marshall handed one of his water guns to her. “Ya might need one of these. I recommend getting the hell outta dodge, though.”
“W-what about you!?”
“Don’t worry ‘bout me, don’t look back. Just go!” He placed his hands on her shoulders and turned her around, giving her a gentle shove to send her off. Prudence, convinced that she was never going to see Marshall again, cried the entire way out.
“Ah, looks like we got ourselves a bold jabroni, taking the rest of us by himself.” One of the hinezumi said.
In truth, Marshall knew this was going to end with a trip to the infirmary. It was just another day for him. “Heh, go easy on me, I’m only a beginner.” He held his arms up in a crude fighting stance.
“Not a chance, jabroni.” One of the hinezumi took a running start, jumping up and kicking him square in the chest.
“F-fuck!” Marshall fell to the ground, the hinezumi surrounding him and kicking him on the floor.
“Come along, Chap. The bedrooms are this way.” Church gimped ahead as fast as he could alongside Cheslav, who ran with his arms behind his back.
“Cheslav wanted to fight more kebab mice.”
“We’ve already got Marshall for that. That loutish hick will be able to take on all of those boxers by himself.”
Cheslav didn’t say anything, knowing that was not how it was going to go down.
“Ah-ha! Here we are.” Church found an open bedroom, right next to an exit as well. Most likely the door they were supposed to enter through. He approached the dresser and opened up the backpack. “There. Now to grab the goods and get-”
“There you jabronies are!”
“Shit. One of them followed us.”
“Fucking pussies, GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE!” A lone hinezumi started to run towards them, the fire around her wrists seeming to propel her forward like rockets.
“Shoot her, Chap! She’s right in your line of fire!”
Cheslav pumped his water gun, but only a light mist spurted out. “Uh… comrade? Is empty.”
“What? Oh shit. Here, take mine then.” He tossed Cheslav his gun, then started to shove handfuls of underwear into the backpack.
“Is empty too!”
“Goddammit, where’s Prudence when you need her!?
“With comrade Marshall.”
“Oh, right. I guess it can’t be helped, then. Let’s make haste!” Church and Cheslav hurried to the door, but just before the hinezumi could reach them, Church picked up his empty gun and threw it at her.
“Whoa hey what!?” The hinezumi threw herself to the side to dodge it, and that gave the two the window of time they needed to make their escape.
“Oh no you don’t!” She prepares to chase after them, but one of her roommates pokes her head from the dojo.
“Hey, that cowboy we kicked the shit out of is actually kinda nice. You want his number? He’s basically giving it away.”
She thought about it for a second. “Eeeeh, sure. I guess he was easy on the eyes.” She followed her friend into the dojo.
Cheslav and Church stumbled back into the base, exhausted, to find Prudence sitting at the table, her head in her hands.
“Ah, there you are, Prudence. Where were you when I needed you? We were nearly killed!”
The kikimora looks up with sad eyes, tears running down her face.
“Oh, never mind, you blubbering wench. Chap, the bag.”
Church turns his back to her, beginning to rifle through their spoils.
“M-master? It’s about… o-oh god, Marshall was so brave and now he’s… he’s…”
“Oh, do shut up. That oaf can handle himself perfectly well. He’s never had trouble pulling victory from the jaws of the monsters and their ilk.”
“You don’t understand, master! He was… A-and then… They just circled around him, then…”
Prudence burst into tears again, unable to continue. Before Church could respond, Marshall stumbled into the room, the door breaking under his weight as he fell onto his face.
“Damn it, boy, what have I said about breaking the door?”
“M-Marshall?! You’re alive?!”
“Are you thick? Of course he’s alive.”
“But, he was outnumbered and they were just going at him!”
“Did you really think they’d kill him? On a college campus? Besides, Marshall probably bent those swords on the walls into a cage to trap those rats in. Isn’t that right, Marshall?”
Marshall dropped himself into a chair that creaked under the strain, not responding.
“Prudence, would’ya be a darlin’ and get me some iced tea?”
“O-of course!” She exclaimed, skittering off to the kitchen.
“Damned traitor.” Church pouted.
After she left for the kitchen, Marshall spoke up. “Our next run is NOT going to be a fighting monster. Capisce?”
“Oh. Fine, then. We can do… A… No, that’s out. B? No, no… C… Ah! Cheshires! No fight in them at all, it should be easy for you then, you petulant cowboy.”
“Uh, ain’t that kinda-”
“Oh, second thoughts, then? We could do the jinkos if you’d prefer…”
“NO! Uh, no, no, cheshires are fine.”
“Cheshire is fine, too.”
“Good. AHA! What do we have here?”
Church pulls a pair of delicate, cheese-print panties from the pile of sweaty sports-wear.
“Oh, good god. What were they thinking? Were they thinking? Damned children, the lot of them.”
Giving another look through the pile, Church sighed.
“Still, I suppose this is the best we’ve gotten out of this lot. Prudence, do dispose of the rest in the usual spot, they’re making the entire room stink of limburger.”