Chapter 7: The Mouse has Landed in the Matango Pit
Marshall strolled up to Church’s apartment, grumbling to himself. Fucking rich asshole had his parents pay to give him deluxe housing, available only to humans with higher income. Cheslav had one too, but he probably made the money himself, knowing him. At any rate, he had managed to find a few packs of boxer-briefs on sale for ten bucks. He knocked on his door, and after several British-sounding swears, Church peered out of the door. “Hm? Oh, it’s you. Good. You have the goods, don’t you?”
Marshall rolled his eyes before giving Church the pack of boxer briefs.
“Hmm, worse than my usual pair, but they’ll have to do. A moment, if you will.” He shut the door, and after a few minutes, he opened it up fully, wearing a velvet smoking jacket and cravat. “Come in, come in, we have things to discuss.”
Marshall cautiously stepped inside Church’s dorm. It was always so neat and orderly, and he demanded his guests not do anything to fuck it up. Taking off his work boots at the door, Marshall sidestepped the coffee table, which had a delicate looking tea set on top, before sitting on the faux-velvet couch in his living room. His apartment was cramped, with all the components to make up a large study and a bedroom, yet none of the space. His wall was packed with photos, mostly self portraits, and above the head of his bed was a corkboard filled with participation ribbons. Near the door, standing proud, was a grandfather clock with a bust of Edgar Allan Poe standing on top. Next to the bust sat a plush raven.
“Hmph, subtle.” Marshall remarked.
“I’m sorry to have to ask you to perform such a bloody ridiculous task. And believe me, I would rather not have anyone near my apartment under normal circumstances. Which is precisely the problem.” Church poured himself a cup of tea. “Would you like one as well? Or is it too British for your tastes?”
“I’m fine, thank you.” Marshall folded his arms. “So, tell me what happened this mornin,’ up until you found out all yer underwear was missing.”
“Well, I woke up with a splitting headache, so I rolled out of bed and had some morning tea. Then once my head cleared I remembered what happened last night and panicked until I remembered we got away. I had another pot of tea to settle down, then I took a shower and shaved as per usual. Nothing out of the ordinary thus far, so I had a spot more tea, and when I went to get dressed, I opened my underwear drawer and saw it completely empty. I figured ‘maybe they’re all in the laundry hamper,’ but looking there, I didn’t see any there either. I had some more tea, then started to look all over my room. They weren’t under my bed, or in my closet, nowhere. That’s when I knew something was wrong. I called you after another cup of tea and since then I’ve been drinking tea and re-ordering the classics in my library by order of how classic they are, and changing up the order of my pictures, and having tea and-.” Church explained, his leg shaking.
“Church, how many cups of tea have you had?”
“Thirty-twelve? I don’t know, it doesn’t matter!”
“Church, focus. Is that all that happened?” Marshall asked.
“W-well, I was halfway through putting all my Patrick White novels at the top, but then I changed my mind and put them all back, and that’s when you came.”
“Alright. I had a similar morning, just with less tea drinking and instead having pairs of panties in place of my boxers.”
“What, you’re not… wearing them right now, are you?”
“Of course not, I did what any normal person would do and went commando.”
“Normal!? You fucking barbarian! How can you just go without?”
“What’s wrong with goin’ commando? Every guy does it once in a while. Why didn’t you do it when you couldn’t find any pairs anywhere?”
“Because an outfit that isn’t complete is not an outfit worth wearing. And do you have no respect for the boys downstairs? It’s horrible!”
“You pretentious britbong. I bet you wear British-flag print underwear.”
“A-and what if I do? There’s nothing wrong with union jack underwear, it’s patriotic, something I figure you would understand with your sodding Texas flag print blanket!”
“That blanket was a gift from my granny, don’t you bad-mouth it.”
“I’m not bad-mouthing your gift, I’m bad-mouthing the state printed on it.”
“Ya got something to say ‘bout Texas, pardner?” Marshall leaned in, his forehead almost touching Church’s.
“You mean the only US state tha-”
Suddenly, Marshall’s phone started ringing, causing both of them to abruptly stop arguing.
“…Lemme get that.” Marshall pulled his phone out of his pocket and stood up off the couch. “Hello?”
“Hey, where are you? I’ve been waiting for 52 minutes and 22 seconds! I was going to call in exactly an hour but I just couldn’t wait that long… I figured I’d wait until 5 minutes before, but then I thought you wouldn’t be mad at me if I called a little early…”
“Who the heck his this?”
“S-Saria of course! Don’t you remember earlier in class? I said I’d be waiting for you!”
“Saria? O-oh yeah! What the hell are you talking about? You left class and never came back. I thought you went to the nurse or something.”
“I wasn’t that sick, all I needed was a shot of penis-illin~”
“Wasn’t it just a nosebleed? And it’s penicillin, actually.”
“Uh…” Her end was silent a few seconds.
“You know what? Nevermind. Is there anythin’ else you need to tell me?”
“W-well I actually wanted to ask you if you uh…” She paused, muttering incoherently. “… that is, if it’s not too much trouble…”
“Miss, I didn’t quite catch that. You wanted to know if what?”
Church, suddenly taking an interest in this conversation, stood up to try and look at Marshall’s phone. “Marshall, who are you talking to? She’s not blackmailing you about my underwear, is she?”
“Not you, Church.”
“Who’s going to church? I-I can meet you at church if that’s uh… that’s where you’re going…” Saria said, the thought of getting fucked in such a sacred place making her knees wobbly.
“I’m not at church.”
“Yes you are, you’re right here with me!”
“No Church, I meant like the place.”
“Who’s Church, is she prettier than me!?”
“Wha? N-no, Church is a dude!”
“O-oh…” S-so he was gay? She had no idea how to feel about that. On one hand, it was just like her yaoi mangas, but on the other hand she really liked that guy… M-maybe he’d be open up to the idea of a threesome? Maybe? Wait… they could have a threesome in church! Oh, that would be so naughty, especially since two of them were gay. “I guess if you’re busy with your… special friend… I’ll leave you alone.”
“Special friend? You mean… Oh, God no, it’s not like that!”
“What is she talking about, Marshall?”
“Stop talking, Church. And Saria, I’m kinda in the middle of somethin’ here. If ya got somethin’ to say then come on and spit it out for chrissakes!” Marshall snapped, losing patience.
“Oh! I uh… w-well I just, I was wondering if, well…”
“Lord almighty woman, what’s got you so wired up?”
The date? She called him in the middle of his argument for the fucking date? “Uh… October 2nd?”
“I know it is.” He said, unamused.
“Uhh I mean I… w-where!?”
“What do you mean ‘where?’”
“Where are you going?”
“Oh me? Dunno, I guess I was going to go to the cafeteria in about half an hour, since I’m kinda hungry.”
“M-me too! Uh… b-bye!” She hesitated a second before hanging up.
“Marshall, did you just set up a date with her?” Church asked, raising his eyebrow.
“What? No I- Shit, did it sound like that’s what I was doing?”
“Afraid so, Marshall.”
“Oh dammit, that’s no good. I better call’er up and tell her it’s a misunderstanding.” He started to tap the keys on his phone.
“You can do it later, we need to fix this damn situation now. What were you saying about what happened today?”
As much as Marshall wanted to complain about being brushed off, he continued. “Right… So it looks like my drawer was raided too, but they replaced it all with women’s panties.”
“Yes, you mentioned that already. What about Chap?”
“Well, I asked him, but he said he didn’t have anythin’ happen out of the ordinary last night.”
“Yeah, he didn’t get no underwear stolen, crazy right?”
“Marshall, you know what this means, don’t you?”
Church put a hand on Marshall’s shoulder and leaned in to whisper to him.
“That means Chap’s a traitor! He’s sold us out and given some of those harlots our apartment keys! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it has to be done. We’re going to have to kill him.” Church took another shaky sip of tea, giving the other man an unhinged stare.
“You can’t be serious.”
“No, I mean, it’ll be so easy. We could simply sneak into his apartment and fill one of his vodka bottles with bleach, it won’t smell any different, he would take one sip and that would be the end of it. Or, that greasy stuff, the, uh… the ‘cosmoline,’ I believe he called it. All we would have to do is set fire to it and his entire apartment would burn down! If we just lock him inside, that’s it! Though I suppose if we wanted to really cover our tracks we could poison a caesar sa- NO! THAT’S IT! JULIUS CAESAR! We can just stab him and stab him and stab him and stab him and-”
Marshall slammed his hand on Church’s back. “Church, I think you’ve had enough tea. You’re spouting crazy shit now.”
“I…” Church paused, getting ahold of himself but still shaking. “You’re right, what am I doing? We just need to get to the bottom of this bloody nonsense before it happens again. I can’t miss another day of class and I’ll be damned if I have to go… commando.” He spat that last word with extra venom.
“Fine, I also agree we have to solve this. I jus’ don’t know where to begin.”
“We need to find out what everyone else knows. We’ll meet at the club and collate our information. Get Prudence and Chap together.”
“I suppose I got no choice, do I? Alright, I’ll see you back at the base after I change into some real boxers.” Marshall stretched himself, then started to head out of the apartment.
Marshall drove back to campus, stepping out and heading back to his dorm. He sent Saria a text on the way: ‘Sorry, something actually came up, so I can’t come today.’ To try and soften it a little, he added ‘we could take a raincheck and reschedule if you wanted, though.’
Not far from his dorm, Saria happened to notice him out of the crowd,
“M-maybe he’s changing out of my panties?!” She muttered, wiping a stray strand of drool from her mouth and following Marshall at a distance. “I’m not missing this!”
Marshall knocked on the door to the base, and within a few seconds, Prudence answered. “Oh, Marshall! You’re early today.” She looked to either side of her and nervously beckoned him inside.
“Err, yeah. Just had to cancel some accidental plans, now that I can’t go to the cafeteria just in case she decided to stick around, I figure I might as well eat here.”
“Oh, I see…” She shuffled over to the kitchen and opened the fridge. “We’re running a bit low on food, but we probably have some hot pockets in the freezer or something.”
Once again, Isabella’s comments about his blood echoed through his head. “Well, do we have anything… uh… more nutritious?”
“Nutritious? That’s new…” She scanned the fridge once more. “Oh! The vegetable crisper has stuff in it!
“Oh really? Lemme see.” Marshall lumbered into the kitchen and opened up the crisper, looking at what was inside. “Lessee here, we got… carrot sticks? I guess those are good for you. Ah! What’s this?” He held up a bag of green leaves, the bottom of the bag lined with green sludge. “The heck is kale? Whatever it is it sorta looks like lettuce.” He tossed it unceremoniously on the countertop.
“Uh, Marshall?” Prudence held up the bag of semi-sludge kale. “You sure this is good?”
“It’s probably good for me, dunno about how good it actually is.” He ruffled through the crisper some more, pulling out some wobbly stalks of celery. “These should do me nicely.”
“W-well I just… o-okay…” Prudence decided it was best to leave him be, and so she slinked out of the kitchen. Conveniently, she heard a knock on the door which provided her the perfect excuse to leave.
“Let’s see what else we got ‘ere, oh! Here’s some almonds, best activate ‘em!” He ran the tupperware containing the almonds under the sink for a few seconds then tossed the watery almonds into a plastic bowl. “There, now let’s see, we got any protein? I want this salad to fill me up too.” He rummaged around until he found… aha! “Leftover steak, perfect!” He opened the container and tossed a morsel into his mouth. “Mmm, this is more bland than… ass. Eh, I’ll just sprinkle pepper on it til it tastes better.” He tossed the steak into the plastic bowl, then started piling in the rest of the ingredients.
Meanwhile, Prudence had let Church in, and was brewing him some sleepytime tea to try and get him to calm down. Poor guy had so much tea he was trembling like Michael J. Fox licking a car battery.
“Sorry for being late Prudence, I had… a stressful morning. Thankfully, my good friend Marshall came over to relieve me.” He suddenly stood up, his knees locking together. “Speaking of relief, I will be right back!” He zoomed off to the lavatory.
Prudence sat on a chair, kicking her legs. She heard a weird tapping sound come from the window and upon investigating, she saw her new friend, Saria, staring at her through the window.
‘What the hell are you doing!?’ She thought, wishing desperately to convey it to her. ‘You’ll get yourself caught!’ Prudence started frantically gesturing at Saria to get out of sight, but all Saria did in response was give her two thumbs up. Prudence facepalmed, redoubling her efforts.
“WAAAHHH CHESLAV!?” Prudence nearly jumped out of her skin, spinning around to see the slav himself standing next to her. “W-when did you get in here?”
“Not of worryings, comrade. What is Prudence doing? She looks like she is trying to signal Spetznaz attack order.”
Cheslav leaned in really close, his mouth brushing against her furry ear. “Is Prudence secret member of Spetznaz too?”
Prudence twitched in panic, a floppy ear nearly swatting Cheslav in the face. He knew. He had to know. He’d seen that… that idiot Saria and now he was going to… Would he catch Saria and interrogate her? What if Master found out? She’d really done it this time. If he found out she’d helped them, he could never trust her again! She hadn’t meant to, really! It wasn’t her fault, they just came up to her and… oooooh… She thought back to the (modest!) pile of underwear in her room. Maybe if she put them back he’d just think he misplaced them? No, that was right out… If they caught Saria, it’d be all over… What if she just sold her out? Wait, what if Cheslav just… broke her neck or something?! Then Master would find all that underwear and she couldn’t defend herself and he’d hate her forever and wouldn’t visit her grave and then call someone to get rid of her ghost and- WHAT IF HE ALREADY DID IT?! It could be that… that chicken could just be wearing Saria’s skin just to trick her! She’d already acknowledged her, so now they had to know for sure! She looked around the room. Maybe Marshall was making that disgusting salad to feed to her before they just tortured her to death?!?! ‘I’msosorryIdidn’tmeantopleaseforgivemeMasterI’mtooyoungtodiepleasedon’ttorturemetodeathorImeanatleasthavesexwithmeoncemaybe?!’
Cheslav stared at the kikimora, paralyzed where she stood, subtly shaking.
“Eeeeh, Prudence? Is joke.”
Back to the kitchen, Marshall had assembled his horrible monstrosity of a salad and was now spicing it up with various things he found in the spice cabinet. Not according to any culinary instinct, he just threw in what sounded fancy.
“Ah, what’s this? Parsley flakes? Don’t mind if I do. Fennel seeds? That sounds tasty. Ooooh and nutmeg is a good spice, if it’s used in pumpkin pie it’s gotta be good.” He didn’t skimp out on anything, going for the gusto on any spice he decided to use. Finally, it was complete. But wait, there was something in the back that looked very salad-y, he reached into the back of the pantry and pulled it out. “Bay leaves… Well, leaves have gotta go with more leaves.” He took a small handful and laid them neatly on top of his salad. Grabbing a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette dressing, he dumped it on until the bottom of his salad was visibly swimming in dressing. Finally, it was complete.
“Hey Prudence, come look at what I managed t’make!” He called, heading over to the table where Prudence and Cheslav were.
“Comrade Marshall! Prudence is probably of breakings.” Cheslav said, concern in his voice. He waved his hand in front of her face, demonstrating her lack of responsiveness.
“What? Aw dagnabit, not again. I’ll get Church.” Marshall sighed, setting his salad down on the table. “CHURCH!”
“One moment.” A toilet flushed, and after the faucet ran for a few seconds, Church came out of the lavatory. “What do you need?”
Marshall just pointed at the unresponsive kikimora.
“Oh, hmmm, looks like the roomba is broken again.” He clears his throat. “Oh me, oh my, I do have ever so much laundry to do. I’ll have to do it all by myself, too.” He looked over expectantly at Prudence, who didn’t budge.
“Hmmm, that didn’t work this time? Oh well. Marshall, you still have the number of that Shoggoth, don’t you?”
“Uh, I’ll check.” Marshall pulled out his phone and scrolled through his contacts. “I think this is her, I’ll send her a-”
“RRRRRRRRGH!” Prudence snapped back to reality, grabbing Marshall’s arm and biting it.
“Ow, the fuck Prudence?” Marshall dropped his phone, and rubbed his arm.
“NO!” She barked. “NO, NO, NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO NO!”
“Ah, you’re back. Good to have you again, Prudence.” He reached out and patted her on the head, which slowly calmed her down as she repeated herself over and over, until she finally stopped.
“M-Master… pleasepleaseplease, don’t replace me please!” She whined, burying her teary-eyed face into his smoking jacket.
“Not as long as you stay loyal to me, and get your head out of there, you’ll get your bloody tears on my jacket.” He gently shoved her head away.
“Aaanyway, I am famished. I’m jus’ gonna enjoy this here salad that I made.” Marshall beamed, proud of his horrible creation.
“Good god, Marshall. The hell is that?”
“It’s my healthy lunch.”
“That ‘lunch’ is not fit for human consumption. I wouldn’t even feed it to Prudence.”
“I’ll show you what’s not fit for human consumption.” Marshall grabbed his fork and impaled the salad, pulling up a wad of soggy spiced kale and heavily peppered steak. He shoveled it into his mouth, and struggled to keep a straight face as he realized that maybe, maybe he should leave the cooking to the culinary arts student next time. He couldn’t back down now though, he had to commit.
“Sheeee? Ish not tha’ bad.” He lied, grimacing as he swallowed it. He took another bite and found himself biting into one of the brittle bay leaves.
“Oh god, wha’ is wrong wif theshe bay leavsh?”
“You’re not supposed to eat bay leaves you dolt! They’re for flavoring soups and sauces. You take them out later.”
“…Ooooh.” Marshall turned his head to face Prudence. “Could you perhabs ged me a trash can?”
Prudence nodded and fetched him one from the kitchen.
“PTOOEGH!” Marshall spat out the mouthful of toxic salad, gagging a few times to get every fleck of bay leaf out of his mouth. He got up and poured himself a glass of water, chugging it to try and wash away the taste.
Just then, a creak was heard overhead. They all looked up to the ceiling, but no further noise was heard.
“Alright, we need to talk about the incident this morning. That is, Marshall and I losing our underwear.”
Church briefly glanced at the ceiling before continuing. “Chap, I understand you didn’t have any of your underwear stolen. I don’t want to point fingers just yet, so do you have any idea why that is?”
“Cheslav is not of knowings, was just regular night. Fed Comrade Cluckers and went to bed, woke up as usual. Though, Cheslav did notice something strange…”
“Strange? Like what?”
They all looked up to the ceiling again, and Marshall scratched his head. “Ya think we might be gettin’ a varmint problem?”
“We’ll look into it later. Let’s keep on track. Chap, what did you find was unusual?”
“Cheslav saw the clothes on his floor were of being moved, one of his vodka bottles was also knocked over.”
“Those are some awfully petty things to notice.” Church said, suspicion in his voice.
“Is all Cheslav noticed. Could have been Comrade Cluckers for all Cheslav knows.”
“Wait, something just occurred to me.”
“Whoever stole our underwear needed to have known where we live. Assuming it wasn’t Chap, it would be someone that either can get our addresses, or already has them…”
‘This is it. It’s over. It couldn’t be anyone but me. They’re going to find out. Don’t cry. Just don’t cry… Maybe I could just get one last sniff of Master’s jacket… J-just as a goodbye…’
Just then, the ceiling above them collapsed and a petite elf crashed on top of the table, cracking it in half and laying in a bed of debris. For a moment, nobody moved, everyone just took in the situation for a minute. Eventually, Saria broke the silence.
“Sub… subdue me!” She grabbed her glasses and tossed them across the room. “I’m helpless!”
Church couldn’t help but cringe. “Er… Yes. Marshall, do… that.”
‘Good thing I brought my rope today.’ Marshall thought to himself as he tied up the blindfolded elf, who did nothing to resist anything he did to her. For a while, the trio were discussing what to do with her in the other room. Once they came to a unanimous conclusion, they walked back into the room where Saria was tied up.
“I suppose you’re wondering why we tied you up.” Church said, sitting across from her.
“A-are you guys gonna gangbang me? Can Marshall go first?” She asked, looking blindly around the room.
Marshall shook his head and placed something on the floor in front of her. “Ya might wanna hold onto these more carefully, you almost broke ‘em.”
“Mmmm, if I were to break those, I would have to be carried around by someone, there would be no way I could navigate on my own~”
“I ain’t carrying you nowhere. Now get yer head out of the clouds before I cancel the rain check on our date.”
“A-are you going to keep me in your room, then? Like a pet? I-I can lick your feet and fetch you the paper every morning! And then you could take me out for walks on a leash n-naked! And people would laugh but it wouldn’t matter becau-”
“Good fucking god, woman, do shut up. I already regret keeping you here this long. If you were spying on us, you obviously know something. So you’re going to be telling us what happened to our underwear last night.” Church spat, disgusted.
“Hmmm… No, I don’t think so… You’re going to have to have Marshall interrogate me very hard. Even then, I’ll never talk.” Saria leaned her head back, drool running down her chin.
“I hope you’re aware of how unpleasant this can be for you. I’m going to ask a different question to you.” Church began to pace back and forth in front of the bound elf. “A group of our enemies wouldn’t have such easy access to locked dorm rooms, even less so to off-campus housing. You’re obviously not working alone. So tell me, who it is. A traitor? A slime? Kunoichi?”
“Eheh… You expect me to talk, Englishman?”
Church raised a hand, poised to slap her, when he stopped, snapping his fingers.
“No, miss elf, I expect you to cry.” Still speaking directly to the elf, he leaned forward to judge her reaction. “You know, Marshall, I think I’ve had a change of heart about your love life. You really ought to call that dhampir back, I think she fancied you.”
“Uh, Church? She said she didn’t-” Marshall was ignored, Church putting his mouth inches from Saria’s ear.
“I, for one, think she’d be a lovely girlfriend for you.” The elf began to sweat, pulling against her restraints for the first time since they’d begun. “Her eyes are such a lovely red, too. You know, maybe that’s the colour of tie I’ll wear when I’m best man at your wedding.”
“NO! PLEASE! NO CUCKING! DON’T DO IT, MARSHALL!” Saria screamed out, struggling desperately.
“THEN TELL US WHO YOUR DAMNED ACCOMPLICES ARE, YOU BLOODY-”
Prudence, who had been standing silently in the corner, suddenly dropped to her hands and knees, sobbing.
“I-I’m sorry Master! I didn’t mean to! It just… O-oh god!” Prudence couldn’t continue, laying down to whimper on the floor for a minute before she regained enough composure to pull herself up to a kneel, head down.
“What? Prudence, what are you talking about?” Church stared at the silent kikimora, whose entire body was drooping.
“Prudence, you’re sayin’… You helped ‘em?” Marshall asked. Prudence nodded sadly in response, her eyes never rising from the floor.
“I- er, that is… well. Okay, er… Dammit.” Church began to pace again in agitation. “What are we… Right. First things first. Marshall, tie up Prudence as well, so she can’t escape.”
“W-wait! I promise I won’t try to escape… M-Master, could it at least be you?” Prudence looked up at Church with watery eyes, holding her wrists together in front of her.
“O-of course not! Marshall, why aren’t you- AGH!” He was cut off by several coils of rope hitting him square in the chest.
“Look, partner, I’ll stop her if she tries to run for it, but you oughta take this one.”
“Damned insubordinate, mutinous snakes.” Church muttered to himself, laying his cane down and kneeling in front of Prudence.
Saria piped up from the corner. “Ah! Take the blindfold off, I wanna watch!”
“N-no! In fact, Marshall, Chap, t-turn around. I won’t have you backseat tying and uh… stealing my techniques!”
For about fifteen minutes afterwards, the sounds of shuffling, stretching rope and muffled squeaks from Prudence filled the room, the kikimora whispering ‘Um, Master, I think it’s supposed to go…’ several times.
“Er… Alright, that’s about as done as it’s going to get.”
The two men turned around to find a proud looking Church standing over the kikimora lying on the ground, rope messily wound around her body, her hands tied haphazardly in front of her.
“Uh, Church, this might be splittin’ hairs, since she’s not gonna try to run, but…”
“M-magnificent, I know. Must have been an expert on this in a previous life or some such.”
“Prudence looks like caterpillar with feathers.” Cheslav said.
“Precisely, my dear boy! Immobile as an inchworm! Now then, let’s move along, shall we?”
Marshall rolled his eyes, then sat across from the pair of tied-up troublemakers. “Let’s start with a basic question. Why exactly didja try and steal our underwear?”
Both of them looked at each other, then shrugged. “Your group was gaining notoriety very quickly, somebody wanted to see you taken down a notch, though I don’t know who. All the orders I got were indirectly made through somebody else.” Saria admitted.
“And I suppose you agreed to it because you wanted an excuse to break into Marshall’s room, is that right?” Church stood over the elf menacingly.
“Hold on now, no need to pry for information that we don’t need, partner.”
“I’ll pry where I please, you oaf. I’m still miffed about my stolen underpantaloons.”
“I am too, but let’s focus on the important questions. Now, Prudence…” Marshall shifted his attention to the feathered caterpillar on the floor.
“Who gave you orders? And what’s their end goal?”
“Uhhh…” Prudence fidgeted a bit in her binds. “Like Saria said, we don’t know exactly who’s behind it, but Natasha was the one that gave us the orders from her… higher ups.”
“Higher ups?” Marshall and Church said simultaneously.
‘Hey, they aren’t paying attention to me anymore, how am I going to get gangbanged at this rate?’ Saria thought to herself, clearing her throat. “Y-yeah, she has a network of girls who all want the same thing; to take you guys down.”
Marshall raised an eyebrow. “Hold on a sec, you mean to tell us that with the relatively small number of dormitories we’ve raided, there’s a network of students who have banded together with the intent of stopping us?”
“Do you hear that, Marshall? We’re fucking famous!” Church said while shaking his shoulders. “This is the best news I’ve heard all semester!”
“I’m not too sure I believe it, though.”
“Why not?” Church folded his arms.
“For starters, I think we ain’t hit that many high-profile targets to garner a following bent on our destruction. Also, I think we woulda heard ’bout this sooner with how relatively small this campus is.”
Saria began to sweat. “W-well I uhh… I have information on one of the higher ups!”
Church knelt down next to Saria and shook her vigorously. “Well what are you waiting for you retarded hippie?!? Spit it out!!”
“S-she’s a shoggoth, a-and her name starts with an ‘A’ I think…?”
Prudence’s eye twitched, hearing the name of her mortal enemy, but she was too preoccupied with thoughts of being punished by Master to really register what Saria just said.
Church stopped shaking her and sighed. “Well, I guess I shouldn’t have expected too much from an elf.”
“B-but wait! Waiiitt!” She wiggled again. “I-if you guys want to talk to her, m-maybe you could raid her dorm? That would surely draw her out of hiding. H-here, I’ll even help!”
“N-no, I’ll help! I’ll be the most helpful helper that’s ever helped!” Prudence insisted, shaking her head side to side.
“Uhh… Church?” Marshall looked to him for help.
“Absolutely not, how do we know we can trust you?” Church responded, tapping the elf with his cane.
“Of course we can. Elves help Santa Claus. Elves are trustworthy, elves are nice.”
Church stared at Cheslav with waning hope, not wanting to believe that he was this retarded. “You know what? I’m not even going to comment. I’m going to let Marshall decide if we bring her along or not.”
Saria looked at him with puppy dog eyes.
“Nnnn, sorry, gonna have to agree with Church on this one. We dunno if we can trust you just yet, Maybe you could do something for Church or something, though.”
Saria whimpered, dejected. “W-what do I need to do to prove my devotion to you?”
“You have Marshall’s phone number, don’t you? Get in contact with this ‘Natasha’ woman and be ready to lead her into a trap. Now get out, we have a raid to plan and members to discipline.” Church churched, churchly.
As soon as Saria had been cut free and safely left the portable, Church sat down, scratching his chin over the remains of the table.
“U-um, Master? Did you say, uh, d-discipline?”
“I did. Get us some tea, we need to have a serious discussion.”
“Um, but… yes, Master.”
Awkwardly wiggling in her bonds, Prudence managed to get to her feet, the coils of rope falling around her ankles as soon as she straightened herself out. Church looked over, his face turning a bright red at seeing the kikimora, a loose loop of rope around her wrists all that remained of the multitude of knots and lengths of rope on the floor.
Prudence looked down, then, without missing a beat, scurried toward to the kitchen, holding what remained of the rope onto her wrists as best she could.
“S-stop. Prudence, take that off.”
“Master? But… you worked so hard on it…”
“Don’t be ridiculous! I was just, er, testing you! Y-you’ve passed. Ahaha… I’ll allow you the chance to prove yourself this time…” Church trailed off, laughing awkwardly to cover up his embarrassment.
Looking over, Marshall was biting his fist in a desperate attempt not to laugh as Cheslav scratched his stubbly beard, looking up at the ceiling. “Eheh… Eeeeh, comrade, you say we do squishy purple ladies next?”
“Er, yes. That’s right, the shoggoths. They’re all underground, so an alternate entrance is out. We’ll have to get them tied up with- BUSY! Er, they need to be busy with something. We need a distraction. And I think…ah, Prudence. Lovely timing. You’ll be keeping the lovely ladies in the shoggoth dorm busy.”
Prudence’s eyes narrowed a bit. “Master. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but those… things aren’t ladies. And in fact, I wouldn’t use lovely to describe them either. They’re just… filth. Master-stealing filth.” She spat, grinding her teeth.
“…Quite. Regardless, I need you to keep them off us while we work.”
“Of course, Master! There’s no one like a kikimora to get real work done. I-I’ll be your table, Master! I can do it too! And I won’t ruin the carpet!” She presented Church his teacup, balanced on her outstretched hands.
“I dunno, she sheds a lot of feathers…” Marshall whispered to Cheslav.
Prudence looked at Marshall with a look of both horror and anger.
“So the shoggoths are going to be distracted by Prudence while we sneak in and make off with their underwear?”
“That’s the general idea, I mean come on, is it really that different from our usual raids?”
“My main question is, how we gonna know which shoggoth is our gal?”
“Hmmm, that remains to be figured out. How are we going to find our shoggoth?”
“Her name starts with an A don’t it? We could probably jus’ find a record with all their names on it.”
“Chap, bring me a copy of the shoggoth dormitory residence list.”
“Will have by tomorrow, tovarisch.”
“Also, get me a large plastic bin, a bottle of chloroform, and some Trojan Fire and Ice condoms.”
Marshall raised an eyebrow. “You ain’t planning another ‘necessary sacrifice,’ are you?”
“Oh no, quite the opposite. Though I’ll only need one of them. You’re free to use the rest, Marshall.”
Marshall shot him a death glare. “You’re lucky Saria wasn’t around when you said that.”
“No, you’re lucky she wasn’t around when I said that.” Church replied smugly.
“Whatever. Let’s prepare to set up a wight trap tomorrow. I think we have a good plan of action.” Marshall stood up and dusted some debris off his jeans.
“Indeed. I’m feeling a bit peckish as well. Would you like to go to the cafe, Marshall?”
Marshall grimaced, the taste of his awful salad still lingering in his mouth. “Actually, I lost my appetite.”
“…Master, can I go with you?”