Battle of the Snowflakes: Part Nine

Part 9: Satantastic

About an hour after the shoe store incident, we pass by an enormous food court and decide to stop. Actually, Gamer Girl decides to go to the Speedy Weevil Express for some food and everyone else follows, claiming it was their idea to stop in the first place.

Like the rest of the mall so far, the place is eerily empty of intelligent life (unless you count the robots working the food joints). I give the Speedy Weevil Express one judgmental sniff before deciding to purchase my food elsewhere. The others, sans Gamer Girl, soon follow my lead.

What I would really love is some tea, but I bury the impulse within me and head instead to Tracker’s Cracker-Jacker Etc. Store to purchase a variety of chocolatey items. When I emerge from the store with a bag of chocolate-covered strawberries and a chocolate shake, the others have also received their food and are scattered throughout the food court. Faith Hope Charity Love and Natasha Satantastic are sitting together in the center of the court, smiling through bared teeth at each other between bites. On the outskirts of the court, The Darkness sits alone. I attempt to follow her lead, picking the table closest to the entrance of Tracker’s Cracker-Jacker Etc. Store and settling down for a nice, peaceful lunch.

Or at least it was peaceful until Gamer Girl comes over.

“Preps,” she says, jerking her head towards the others as she sits down across from me. “I can’t stand them.”

The smell from the steaming bowl she sets down immediately quenches my appetite and I have to fight to keep down the half a shake I’ve already consumed.

“Yeah, totally” I say, hiding a gag underneath a coughing sound. Or at least I hope I’m hiding it.

“Don’t act like you’re any different,” she snaps. “I saw your face light up when The Narrator announced the shopping trip.”

“Oops, I guess you caught me,” I say, coughing some more. The smell really is awful. I attempt to sip some shake to drown it out, adding, “I’m a total poser.”

“Or you just want us to think you are,” Gamer Girl says, lifting a spoonful of whatever is in the bowl to her lips.

The wriggling black noodle on her spoon is only part of the reason why I nearly choke on my shake.

Gamer Girl downs the spoonful easily and returns the utensil to her bowl with a smirk on her face.

“Come on, don’t look so surprised,” she says. “You didn’t hide it that well. And now we get a chance to be honest with one another.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” I say slowly.

“We’re not like them,” she says, gesturing widely at the other three. “We see it, the whole narrative, not just the games, and we know what’s at stake. Your round with Flixit? Genius. I would have done the same thing.”

I consider this, breathing carefully through my mouth.

“And if this were to be true, hypothetically speaking,” I say, “why would one contestant point it out to another?”

Gamer Girl smiles around another spoonful of boiled weevils. She doesn’t bother to swallow before answering, “Because, hypothetically, two such contestants would be able to help one another.”

I lean forward as far as my nose can bear, which is about three centimeters.

“Go on,” I say.

“I propose a truce between us for the duration of this mall trip,” Gamer Girl says. 
“We both know the source of evil and Faith are the only real danger left and that Faith is trying to goad the other one into attacking and thereby eliminating herself. Plus she’s roped us in to help her.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“Faith’s plan depends heavily on us. I say we both play incompetent and force Faith to do the dirty work herself. Regardless of who wins the actual fight, the other will have broken the rules and be up for vaporization.”

“What about The Darkness?” I ask.
Gamer Girl snorted. “She will hardly be a challenge. Her flaw is so painfully obvious she can’t even speak for fear of revealing it.”

I sip some more shake. “What happens afterwards?”

Gamer Girl smiles venomously. “We walk away with the title, of course. Together.”

My favorite teapot would boil coffee grounds before that happened. But I play along.

“Deal,” I say, offering her my cup.

We shake on it, just as Faith Hope Charity Love comes over.

“It’s time,” Faith says to us, smoothing the front of her skirt demurely.

Gamer Girl rolls her eyes. “Can I finish my weevils at least?” she asks.

Faith’s eyes narrow. “There’s no time. Every moment we delay gives that horrid creature another chance to strike.”

“So. . .what exactly is our plan anyway?” I ask while Gamer Girl slurps the rest of her bowl of weevils.

Gamer Girl and Faith exchange a look.

“We split up the group,” Faith finally says. “Whoever that creature follows will act as bait. The other two will circle around and follow. When it attacks, we will destroy it for the betterment of the universe.” Faith’s eyes blaze as she speaks, and the air around our little table begins to crackle with energy.

“Oh. Okay then,” I say, slowly inching away.

“Whacha talking about?” Natasha’s voice says right in my ear.
Years of battle reflexes allow me to gracefully duck to the side, all the while screaming like a four-year-old at Lego Land.

“Oh, we were merely discussing how Corralynnn here is dying to stop by Weapons “Iz” Us to pick up a new mace,” Faith says.

“Most excellent,” Natasha says, turning to me. “I find you an acceptable consort for this venture.”

And before I can wriggle my way out with a lame excuse, the red-eyed terror grabs me by the arm and heads for the escalator.

Faith looks smug. Gamer Girl blows me a kiss. The Darkness hovers over the table and I see the remainder of my shake floating towards her hood.

Then I’m on the escalator and all of them slowly disappear from my view.

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Posted on February 11, 2014, in Battle of the Snowflakes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Battle of the Snowflakes: Part Nine.

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