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Chapter 4 - Great and Powerful

"The Great and Powerful Strixie would like to take some time off this fanfic to thank her beloved (and fanatic) followers!"

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(Stristan, Stechie, and Sthien, with the red-to-cyan stickman named Firestarter and the giant jumping spider, which had been named Springboard by Stechie, have just begun walking from Stechie's shack. They have received word that two more of the heroes not captured by Bluzerker Corps will be at the outskirts of Orbheim.)

Stechie: (Letting Springboard carry her and her robot body) So what did you say those heroes were called again?

Firestarter: The Radon Fighters. Named after one of Berzerker's first targets: Radion City.

- Flashback time! -

(Cut to Radion City, which appears to be devoid of all life.)

Firestarter: It was only about a couple years ago. Upon warnings that Radion City was going to be nuked for resisting Bluzerker's demands, all the population was evacuated...

(A few stickmen emerge from the empty buildings of the city.)

Firestarter: ...almost all the population.

(The stickmen suddenly see the bomb in sight and run for cover.)

Firestarter: We were lucky that they decided to drop the bomb right at the edge of the city. The explosion barely grazed us...

(After the explosion, the stickmen emerge to find strange things happening to them!)

Firestarter: Obviously, it was nuclear radiation at work, but I honestly never expected it to work like in the superhero comic books.

(The stickmen then come together and place their hands together.)

Firestarter: Upon realizing our powers, we decided to form an alliance against Berzerker Corps. We were perhaps the only ones who could combat them and make them pay for all the misery they've caused on the world. We called ourselves...the Radon Fighters.

- End flashback -

Stechie: Yeah, you guys did get lucky. In real life, that nuke would've killed you one way or another.

Firestarter: Good thing we're in a fanfic with no logic then, huh?

Sthien: (Whispers to Stristan) ...what are they talking about?

(Stristan just shrugs.)

Firestarter: Alright, now that I've answered your question, you can answer two of mine: WHY DO YOU STILL HAVE THAT GIANT SPIDER?! And for that matter, how'd it get so big in the first place?!

Stechie: Well, to answer your first question, it turns out I made an enlarging ray gun to use on myself! But I guess I forgot about it in some sleep-deprived stupor, so it just stayed there left to rust in my piles of junk, and I guess something made it fire at Springboard here. As for why I'm keeping him, I'm not gonna lie, I don't know! I guess it's just so I have free transportation to conserve this robot's precious fuel. That and he's actually kinda cute. Aren't you an adorable freak of nature? Yes you are, Springboard! Yes you are!

(As Stechie pets Springboard's head, Stristan, Sthien, and Firestarter slowly distance themselves from Stechie and Springboard. Setting that aside, it doesn't take too long before the group reaches the outskirts of Orbheim - and what appears to be a magic show.)

Stechie: So this is it? These guys are just hanging out around a magic show?

Sthien: Maybe they're watching.

Firestarter: I don't think so. Ever since we founded the Radon Fighters, we focused almost completely on toppling Bluzerker Corps. We rarely had time for trivialities like magic shows.

Stristan: Well, it wouldn't hurt to check anyways, right?

Stechie: Man, I don't even like magic that much. Stupid things that are stupidly unexplainable.

Stristan: This coming from the same Stechie who writes off every strange incident as "just a writer surrounded by plot holes."

Stechie: That's different. It's true, so I can still write things off as such.

Sthien: I might as well stop questioning it, too.

(After tying Springboard to a nearby tree, Stristan, Stechie, Sthien, and Firestarter join the audience in the show. Not too long after they enter, a light blue stickwoman donning a starry purple hat and cape dynamically appears from an explosion of magic.)

Magician: GRRRRRRREETINGS, MY LOVING AUDIENCE! Prepare to be awestruck, to be mystified, and to be enchanted in the GREATEST SHOW IN THE UNIVERSE! Whois that is speaking, you may ask? She...IS THE GREAT AND POWERFUL STRRRRRRIXIE!

(The audience, with the exception of Stechie, claps and/or cheers as "The Great and Powerful Strixie" appears in giant sparkly letters above the stage and Strixie. The show goes rather standardly, at least for the group, until...)

Strixie: Now for Strixie's next trick, she'll be needing a volunteer! You there! (Points at Sthien) You'll do perfectly!

Sthien: Well, this must be my lucky day.

Stechie: Or unlucky, maybe.

(Sthien walks up to the stage right next to Strixie.)

Strixie: Now Strixie's been working on this trick for some time now. And speaking of time, that's...well, you'll see! ACCELERUS MIDAGEOUS!

(A blast of smoke suddenly surrounds Sthien, who loses balance. After a while, Sthien begins to stand back up.)

Sthien: (In a strange voice) Uugh...what just happened? Why is my back acting up? And why do I have an urge to rant about young'ins?

(Strixie just smirks and hands Sthien a mirror as the smoke clears.)

Sthien: (Is now an overweight middle-aged man) What in Gildedguy have you done to me?!

Strixie: Oh, hush! Strixie isn't going to just leave you like that! But she's afraid we don't have much time to do that now! Assistants, bring him back!

(After snapping her fingers, a stretchy arm extends from backstage, grabs Sthien like a cane, and pulls him backstage.)

Sthien: Hey! Watch the hipbone!

Firestarter: What the? Could that be...

(The show continues, as other volunteers...are actually being returned to their seats. Sthien, however, is still missing, and more glimpses of the stretchy arm and an orange cape are seen.)

Strixie: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL STRIXIE would like to thank her wonderful audience for watching! She shall be here for the rest of the day if there are any questions or requests that you would like to see Strixie do! EXITUS STAGEOUS!

(The stage disappears from the audience's sight, who proceed to leave. Stristan, Stechie, and Firestarter stay behind and wait. Seconds after the audience leaves, the stage reappears with a purple stretchy stickman and a light green stickman with an orange scarf standing.)

Strixie: (Appears behind the three) Ah, you must be that volunteer's friends. Here to pick him up?

Firestarter: And your assistants.

Strixie: ...repeat that?

Firestarter: You heard me. Those two are part of the Radon Fighters, and they have more important business than toying around with magic.

Strixie: Ooooh, right! About that. Assistants?

Purple stickman: STRIXIE IS LOVE. SHE IS LIFE

Green stickman: WHAT HE SAID.

Firestarter: You hypnotized them?!

Strixie: It wasn't too difficult. You know what they say about hypnotism: idiots are easier to brainwash.

Green stickman: Did you just call me an idiot?

(Strixie lowers her eyebrows at the stretchy stickman.)

Green stickman: I MEAN STRIXIE IS MY WAIFU! I MEAN SENPAI. I MEAN-

Strixie: That's enough, Megadeth! You know what this means after Strixie deals with this.

Stristan: And what about Sthien? You can't just leave him like that!

Sthien: I keep getting urges to yell at people for stepping on my lawn. Is that normal?

Purple stickman: No, it means you're turning senile already. A new record in aging.

Strixie: Hm...you've got a point, as much as Strixie doesn't want to admit it. How about this: Strixie will release her assistants, plus she'll fix your little friend, after you become Strixie's assistants in her next show.

Stechie: (Turns to Stristan and uses her Telepathy Circuit) ...do we really wanna do this?

Stristan: What choice do we have? Besides, it doesn't sound that bad. Sure, we'll play along.

Strixie: Excellent. And Strixie did say after you become her assistants. Do get ready, though, cause the next show is later this day. ADIOS!

(Strixie, her stage, the purple stickman, Megadeth, and Sthien disappear in a puff of smoke.)

Stristan: I guess we just wait here, then.

Firestarter: Just perfect...anyone know how to pass the time?

Stechie: I have this.

(The robot body reveals a cassette radio. Stechie then pulls out a cassette labeled: "Sounds to Agitate People While Waiting.")

Firestarter: ...good enough.

(Stechie inserts the cassette in the radio and plays it.)

Radio: 99 bottles of bonk on the wall, 99 bottles of bonk...

- A couple hours later... -

Radio: 5 bottles of bonk on the wall, 5 bottles of bon-

(Strixie's stage suddenly reappears in front of the group, all of whom have fallen asleep. Strixie proceeds to create a giant alarm clock out of magic and rings it.)

Strixie: WAKEY WAKEY! Strixie's show isn't going to perform itself! Now get going!

(The three proceed to prepare for Strixie's next show. Mid-way through the show, which has been at similar quality to the previous one, Strixie calls Stechie up to the stage.)

Stechie: I'm assuming you're gonna change me into a middle-aged person, too.

Strixie: Oh, please. Strixie is not that lazy. Now she sees that you're in control of your robot, yes?

Stechie: Ha! I'd like to see magic get through this robot, proven to work 100% by science!

Strixie: You may not believe in magic, but now your robot will! AWAKUS CONTROLUS!

(Nothing seemingly happens, until Strixie slightly moves her wand. The robot too moves!)

Stechie: What the?! What's going on?!

(A blue error screen suddenly appears in Stechie's visor, reading: "Flagrant Control Error: I dunno what you did, moron, but this robot ain't followin' your orders anymore.")

Stechie: AHH! The Rainbow Screen of Death! My immortal enemy...

Strixie: And that's not all, folks!

(Strixie proceeds to control Stechie to make her fly around the stage, eventually outside the stage and past the crowd, where she collides with several trees and Springboard, who gets knocked over and unearths the tree he was tied to. Eventually, Stechie returns to the stage, where control over her body is restored.)

Strixie: Thank you, Stechie. You may return backstage.

Stechie: (Dazed, her robot is covered in tree sap and twigs) Don't...mention it...

(Stechie stumbles backstage, then tumbles down the stage stairs.)

Firestarter: So how'd it go?

Stechie: She's a madwoman...you two are next, by the way.

(A while later, the show ends, Stechie regains control of her robot, and Firestarter and Stristan both come back looking dejected.)

Stechie: What happened? She knocked you guys into trees, too?

Firestarter: ...the less said, the better.

Stristan: ...too high. Way too high...

(Strixie suddenly appears backstage.)

Strixie: So what did you think?

Stechie: We did our side of the bargain. It's your turn now.

Strixie: Oh, about that. See, Strixie did something that she likes to do a lot. Something called: lying.

Stechie: What?!

Strixie: Actually, she was going to fulfill her deal, but then she found that you're all so fun to toy with that she's decided to keep all of you!

Stechie: Okay, that's where I draw the line! Come 'ere so I can knock some sense into your miniscule and puny brain!

(Strixie snaps her fingers as Stechie gets closer to her. The purple stickman and Megadeth appear and charge towards Stechie.)

Stechie: Is that really it?

(Stechie grabs the purple stickman's overstretched limb and proceeds to wave his arm around, constantly slamming him into the ground, then tosses him away. She then extends an arm and leans on Megadeth's head while he swings only inches from Stechie and to no avail.)

Megadeth: Come! Here! So! I! Can! Hurt! You!

Stechie: (Pulls out her smartphone while still having her arm stop Megadeth) ...you say something?

Strixie: ...fine, some intervention is necessary.

(Strixie casts Awakus Controlus on Stechie, causing her robot to lock up and allowing Megadeth to punch her down. Firestarter then steps in, knocking Megadeth back and tossing the purple stickman with him once he gets up.)

Firestarter: I'm sorry guys, but this is for your own good! Take this!

(As Megadeth and the purple stickman lay back in fear, Firestarter starts charging something in his hands and unleashes...a giant soap bubble. Megadeth and the purple stickman get up and proceed to laugh uncontrollably at the bubble.)

Stechie: ...that's it? Your power...just makes bubbles?!

(Firestarter just puts on some sunglasses while the bubble approaches Megadeth and the purple stickman. He takes another pair out and places it on Stechie's visor.)

Megadeth: (Still laughing) Look at this, Pitchshifter! (Mocking tone) Oh no, it's a bubble! What'll happen to me if it pops on my face?!

Pitchshifter: I know, man! Jus-just look at it! It's just a-

(Pitchshifter accidentally swings his arm at the bubble, popping it - and creating a massive fiery explosion!)

Megadeth and Pitchshifter: AHHHHHHHHH!

(After the dust settles from the explosion, Megadeth and Pitchshifter are both knocked out on the ground.)

Firestarter: (Smirking) Fiery bubbles!

(Firestarter takes off his sunglasses, then takes the pair on Stechie, revealing her awestruck face.)

Strixie: Ah, but what good is fire if there's water to douse it out?!

(Firestarter gets binded by magic. A giant bucket of water appears over his head.)

Firestarter: ...hm. This doesn't seem too bad.

(A giant flow of ice water pours from the bucket onto Firestarter, freezing him solid.)

Firestarter: ...I was horribly wrong.

Strixie: There, there. No need to be spooked solid. In fact, you still have one more friend Strixie has to take care of.

Stristan: And that would be me.

Strixie: Well, well. The number freak finally decides to step in. Tell Strixie, Stristan: how long did it take for you to outgrow your tricycle?

Stristan: The same time it took for you to learn to speak in third person. Actually, I should try that someday.

Strixie: Well, your friends were not kidding when they said you were terrible at humor and zingers.

Stristan: And it's not gonna matter if I lose! (Charges towards Strixie)

Strixie: Perhaps...but what does the rest of yourself think? FREUDIUS SEPERATUS!

(Stristan is hit with the spell, creating a blinding light that soon fades out to reveal that Stristan has now become 3 of himself!)

Stristan: Whoa...there's three of me!

Stristan 2: Yeah! It's exactly what I'v-err, we've been wishing for all this time!

Stristan 3: Three, three, three. That's all you maniacs ever think of! Can you guys stop acting like children over that number?! It's getting nothing done!

Stristan 2: What...was...that?!

Stristan: ...uhh, guys?

Stristan 3: Fine, I'll say it again! Three is just a number! Quit getting riled up over it!

Stristan 2: WHY YOU LITTLE-

Stristan: Guys, what are you-

(Stristan 2 and 3 get into a brawl with the original Stristan caught in the crossfire.)

Strixie: The perfect opportunity opens itself! And now for the coup de grace!

(While the Stristans fight, Strixie magically summons a giant cannon filled with giant man-eating worms. As the fuse begins to burn, something approaches her...something big with eight legs, a tree attached to its top, and a middle-aged man on top of the tree!)

Sthien: (Struggling to breathe) Faster, Springboard! This body of mine isn't getting younger!

(Once in position, Springboard launches Sthien towards Strixie, who proceeds to prepare a kick.)

Sthien: Take this! FALLING TYPHOON STRIKE!

(Sthien spins around and lands an accurate kick on Strixie and falls not-too-far from her...and stays down on the ground.)

Sthien: HELP! I've fallen and I can't get up!

Strixie: (Getting up) Ha! You think a puny attack like that will stop The Great and Powerful Strixie?! You're merely delaying the inevitable! Now witness as your friend-

(Strixie looks only to find the Stristans missing!)

Stristan: (From behind Strixie) So yeah, we kinda figured that survival was more important than the number 3 at some point.

(He sidesteps as Stristan 3 kicks Strixie away.)

Stristan 3: Admittedly, it was kinda idiotic of me to not consider that before.

(Stristan 2 suddenly appears by Strixie and kicks her into the air.)

Stristan 2: But then we compromised! We could survive and fulfill our three satisfaction!

(The original Stristan then jumps over and kicks Strixie back to Stristan 3, who continues the cycle of kicking Strixie. As the cycle slowly grows faster, each kick makes a pinball bumper sound.)

Stristan: Guys, can we finish this? I'm getting tired.

Stristan 3: Sure, this has been going on for a bit too long, anyways.

Stristan 2: And I had my fun.

(After Stristan 2 kicks Strixie over to the original Stristan, all 3 jump over to give Strixie one last kick to the ground. She lands head-first, with enough force to drive her body up to her legs to the ground. After that, Firestarter unfreezes, Stechie regains control of her robot, Sthien reverts to his original age, and Stristan reverts to just one body.)

Stristan: ...so that's what my id and superego are like. I guess that's the first thing ever that I'll never want to be made into 3.

Sthien: And let me tell ya, it doesn't feel good to be old. My back's still aching...

Firestarter: But at least we saved Pitchshifter and Megadeth. We got what we came here for, so let's go.

Stechie: Like I said, never liked magic shows. (Calls Springboard to her side)

(As Firestarter, Stechie and Sthien go over to wake up Pitchshifter and Megadeth, Stristan stops before Strixie and decides to pull her back up. After some time pulling, Strixie is finally pulled out of the ground - and on top of Stristan who fell over to the ground. They both stare at each other for a while...)

Strixie: (Suddenly getting up) G-get away from Strixie, you barbarian!

Stristan: Whoa, whoa, whoa. If I was a barbarian, I would've just left you there on the ground.

(Stristan gets up and holds his hand out to Strixie.)

Stristan: Sure, you hurt us, more physically than mentally, fortunately, but I'm still willing to forgive you for that. After all, it seems like you just have no idea that you were hurting others. What do you say?

(Strixie hesistates, but she eventually decides to accept.)

Strixie: Strixie supposes she has been a foolishly selfish fool. And since you have shown forgiveness, Strixie will promise never to hurt your friends. But she does have another show later, so she must be going now! STRIXIE AWAY!

(In a puff of smoke, Strixie disappears, but everyone else sees that she's just running. She then trips, but quickly gets back up and runs.)

Strixie: Strixie meant to do that!

Sthien: Do you really think she'll stop hurting others?

Stechie: Somehow, I doubt it.

Megadeth: AAAAAAH! Walking tree! Walking tree!

(Megadeth and Pitchshifter panic at Springboard.)

Stechie: Relax, fellas. It's just a giant jumping spider with a tree tied to it.

Megadeth: ...AAAAAAH! Giant jumping spider with a tree!

(Megadeth and Pitchshifter continue to panic.)

Stechie: ...why am I not surprised they still panicked?

                                                                                                                                                                         

- End -

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