Last time: A medieval castle appeared in place of the Convergence City Fun Zone and the Tesla Girls stood around outside of it talking. Little did they know they were being observed by their nemeses, the Boys of Summer, who were also just talking.
Part Two (of Nine)
In the end, it was Kate who went in first, but that was because she and Marina decided to go in together and then Marina stopped short one step before the looming castle arch.
“First in!” she crowed at Kate.
“I hate you,” Kate said.
“Oh my god stop standing directly under the portcullis!” Emilie screeched.
The white-maned Tesla Girl raced forward and shoved Kate hard. The two rolled onto the stone floor past the arch. Behind them, as if on cue, the metal portcullis with sharp pointy ends clattered down, closing off the castle.
“Have you never played with a Fisher-Price castle?” Emilie demanded.
“I liked Legos,” Kate apologized.
“Um…” Marina chimed in, trying to get their attention. “Kinda stuck out here now…”
Emilie climbed off of Kate and dusted off her steampunk lolita armor. Kate pulled out her Universal Remote and frowned.
“It’s manual,” she said. “What kind of castle doesn’t automate its entrances? Even the drawbridge isn’t networked!”
“Fine, make me work,” Marina whined. “You know it’s harder to get the Electric Heart to do things I totally don’t want to do.” With a pout, Marina reached out her elegantly gloved hands and focused the electromagnetic power of her desire towards raising the metal gate. It didn’t work. She concentrated harder, trying to compel the portcullis to rise. Still no luck. Sweat was about to bead on her brow, and Marina couldn’t let that happen, so she did what any beautiful science diva would and gave up.
The portcullis slowly raised with a clanking noise.
“Hey! How am I doing that?” Marina asked.
“You’re not,” Kate said, pointing off at something Marina couldn’t see. “Emilie found the winch.”
“It’s called elbow grease!” Emilie yelled.
“Eww. No grease is good grease.” With that pronouncement, Marina stepped slowly into the castle, careful not to wobble in her heels on the irregular stonework. Just to be safe, she removed her elbow-length gloves and put them in the tiny purse she carried on her right shoulder.
“I don’t think the gate was ferrous metal,” Kate said. “No iron, that’s why you couldn’t raise it magnetically.”
“No iron means Fair Folk,” Emilie said. “But I thought they were gone… their realm destroyed. Besides, you said that this was a goblin castle.”
“I said it was full of goblins. Maybe they picked it up at auction.”
“Well, with all the noise you guys made with that portabello, they’re going to–” Marina started, but like a television turning on to the relevant news story, her warning only served as a literary device to summon just what she was warning about.
From inside the keep’s courtyard, two armed groups of goblins rushed into each other on the inner side of the gatehouse.
“We are under attack!” Emilie said gleefully and aimed her wood and brass arm cannons in the direction of the goblins. Kate pulled out two thin metal cylinders which at the press of her index fingers to their hidden catch, extended into flickering Eskrima sticks. Marina took a step back, because goblins were yucky.
Kate took the lead in battle, her nimble cheerleader gymnastics and voluminous skirt making her appear like a kick-ass flowery spirit moving amongst the little green creatures, whacking them left and right with her stunsticks.
Emilie moved forward more slowly, her arm cannons firing weaponized poetry of the most painful and aberrant and bipolar sort. The message was clear in the hearts of the goblins as it struck them: you are a terribly false thing in a terribly real world and that, I believe, is why you are in such pain. Every goblin struck by Emilie’s verse turned their dogslicers on themselves.
Marina watched. On one or two occasions, she considered raising her hands to join the battle, but each time her nail polish was so perfect she just couldn’t bring herself to risk it.
Of course, that strategy stopped working as soon as a third coterie of goblins started dropping from the wall above and surrounded her.
“Not fair!” Marina yelled, holding up fists with her thumbs inside. “I’m in an immunity zone!”
The goblins didn’t believe her.
Emilie looked over her shoulder at Marina. “If you’re going to die, then die! If you’re going to live, then fight!”
“Witch,” muttered Marina, but with enough genuine annoyance to kickstart the Electric Heart. Lightning flew from her fingers and arced among the rampaging goblins causing smoke to erupt from their giant ears.
Within minutes, three score of goblins were dead or unconscious. The three Tesla Girls stepped carefully over the bodies on their way to the keep.
“Did you have to make them kill themselves?” Kate asked.
“What’s the big deal?” Emilie asked. “Lots of amazing people have committed suicide and they turned out all right.”
“Um… what’s that?” Marina interrupted. After risking her nail polish with fighting, she had decided to put her gloves back on, and her silk-enveloped index finger was now pointed at the artifact jutting up from the earth directly in front of them.
In the center of the courtyard was a great black stone streaked with gold. Thrust into it were three crystal spears, each glowing one of the primary colors of light. Leather thongs wrapped the protruding tips of the luminescent quartz like a protective handle. As the girls approached, several other holes in the stone became visible, like a giant pencil holder, almost empty after several weeks of third grade.
An inscription along the base of the stone read, “Wishes and Dreams to You with the Courage and Skill to Draw Them Forth.”
“Wishes?” Kate asked. “They don’t mean…”
“Wishes!” Marina squeed.
“Oh is this going to end badly,” Emilie said. “I’ve played enough D&D to know that much.”
“So where did you get the Wishing Castle, anyway?” Donnie asked as he chewed on a lukewarm French Fry. They couldn’t see the Tesla Girls inside the castle from the McDonalds, but it did offer free drink refills.
“After the Seelie diaspora, there were all sorts of chunks of real estate floating around. I grabbed a few and tucked them away in the trunk of my Cadillac.” Cassidy seemed immensely satisfied with himself. Donnie desperately wanted him to stop name dropping the Cadillac every third sentence.
“So what’s part two of the plan?” Frankie asked.
Cassidy’s grin got even prouder. “We make all their wishes come true.”
© 2013 by Douglass Barre, All Rights Reserved.