Kickaha already has a strange life, so what’s the worst that could happen if he starts working at Ashcroft Investigations. Well it turns out he’s about to have a very interesting first day.
The New Intern
Kickaha was dressed in his best formal wear. Which was to say the rust colored foxyote was wearing a slightly nicer green cloak over his rusty orange and white colored fur. It had fancy embroidery along the edges. Other than that he wore no clothing, and yet still wasn’t the least dressed in the room.
That honor would go to Calex, the orange werekitten who wasn’t wearing anything at all. Instead he was just perched atop a desk piled so high with papers, files and empty soda bottles that it was amazing none of it was sliding off the desk taking the kitten with them.
The other occupant of the room was Odin. The gray wolf was sitting on the opposite end of the desk from Kickaha and unlike the other two was completely dressed. He had on a nice pair of slacks, barely visible socks, leather shoes,, a white dress shirt, brown trench coat, a fedora and even a tie. It seemed like a lot, but Kickaha thought he got it. The outfit did project a certain image even if it did look uncomfortable.
“So I think this is our first actual formal meeting other than passing by when you and Calex have been up to something.” Odin leaned back in his chair. It bumped into a filing cabinet that was stuffed full. Odin was a private investigator. And the thing about detectives was their offices were always required to possess a certain amount of clutter. That doesn’t mean it needs to be a huge mess, simply that there are too many objects for the room to hold. Should you ever attempt to hire a private investigator and find their office completely tidy, it is a sign they are a novice of no skill and you’d best look for a new one.
“Well, we sort of met last Easter.” Kickaha added helpfully. “You know, during the egg hunt.”
“I don’t think it counts if we were all asleep inside eggs when it happened.” Odin shook his head. “So this is our first real meeting with discussion. So, before we go any further, I understand Calex filled you in on the job details right? He didn’t omit anything?”
“Hey!” The six-and-a-half-year-old kitten objected. “I’m responsible.”
“He did mention mass amounts of chaos, sudden changes in age, size or species and egotistical supervillain battles.” Kickaha paused. “Also we’ve known each other a few years now so I’ve already spent plenty of time around the ‘Calex Effect’.”
“Fair, then I guess you’ve been warned enough.” Odin began searching around the top of the desk for specific papers. “The job itself doesn’t pay well, mostly because we don’t get paid well. Somehow every single paycheck we get has large chunks taken out of it to pay for collateral damage.”
“What do they expect?” Calex asked in an annoyed tone. “You got a fifty-foot monster rampaging around the city and I have to knock it out and drag it out of town by the tail! How the heck am I supposed to avoid anything being damaged?! I can at least prevent any loss of life, so I’m good at that!”
“Wait… Don’t you two own an entire closet full of shrink rays?” Kickaha asked. “It seems like ‘giant monsters’ would be an extremely solvable problem.”
“You’d think so, but somehow it never works out that way.” Odin gave a weary sigh. “Because of course this monster just happened to have shiny scales that were so reflective it sent the shrink ray back at us. While I prefer a more innovative solution to problems than the brute force my partner does, the shrink rays never seem to work out with giant monsters. At least while they’re still rampaging. Have had surprisingly high success shrinking them after they’ve been knocked around a bit making it easy to turn them into the police in a shoebox.”
“Okay, fair.” Kickaha was a weirdness magnet in his own right. It came with the territory of being a magical karmic trickster. He knew from personal experience that for some reason the universe always demanded things go down in a specific way, or more accurately avoid going down in a simple and direct way. The universe itself was chaos, and the only way to get anything done was to learn to work with it rather than fight against it. “As for the pay, I wasn’t really doing it for the money. Just to help a friend, and for the experience.”
“The experience?” Odin paused. “Do you mean in something you want to experience, or work experience to put on a resume?”
“Why can’t it be both?” Kickaha asked. “Though it is primarily the former, but you never know when the latter might prove useful down the road.”
“Okay then.” Odin finally found the papers he was looking for. They were basic liability forms, things that went over the company policies (those mostly listed rules like no biting the clients, no not even if they’re being annoying, seriously do not bite the clients). It also included the agreed upon salary and then a long, long list of liabilities that Ashcroft Investigations could not be held accountable for but were dangers that came with the job.
At any point, any employee may find themselves thrusts into extraordinary circumstances, shrunk to smaller than an atom, rendered a newborn or a dragon egg, may undergo multiple species changes in the course off a day, possibly becoming feral and losing the ability to talk, tossed into alternate dimensions, become involved in convoluted time travel plots that make no sense and break their own established rules, attacked by supervillains with their sights set on world domination, come face to face with an evil doppelganger, come face to face with a doppelganger that’s a better person than you in every way making you feel inadequate, running into past or future versions of yourself, and being bitten by small kittens who are bored and want attention.
In short, nothing outside a normal Tuesday for Kickaha.
“It’s nice to sign a contract that doesn’t have some fine print about souls or eternal servitude.” Kickaha signed his name. “The people who make those get so upset when you write in additional terms under the fine print, and rather than accept the contract tend to just walk away in a grumble. Really rude if you ask me.”
“Well, welcome aboard.” Odin held out a hand and him and Kickaha shook paws. “Oh right… If you’re going to be working here… You should probably have the thing. Calex! Find the thing!”
“I’m on it!” Calex leaped from his spot on the desk into a filing cabinet and somehow squeezed his way inside of it despite it overfilling. The sound of rustling papers could be heard as he moved around and then banging noises as he somehow moved to a lower level of the filing cabinet. For a moment everything became silent, and then there was what sounded like a jackhammer. “Got the thing!” Calex at this point popped out of a completely different filing cabinet holding a leather journal. He quickly brought it over and offered it to Kickaha.
“What is this?” The foxyote asked as he studied the cover. The word ‘Rogue’s Gallery’ was written and crossed out, then beneath that was ‘Hall of Enemies,’ which was also crossed out, and beneath that was ‘Big Meanie Heads,’ also crossed out, and finally just ‘Bad Guys’ which was not crossed out.
“This is a collection of reports on every villain or adversary we have fought, come across, been within 100 meters of, or attended a game night with.” Odin explained. “Calex wrote them. He’s actually surprisingly observant when it comes to doing his job. He’s got a pretty good breakdown of every villains’ strengths and weaknesses, information about their goals and past and…” Odin paused here and looked at the kitten. “Some unnecessary commentary about them.”
“Hey do you know how dry this thing would read without those comments?” Calex asked. “They’re the only thing making all these reports readable.
“I see.” Kickaha opened the book up to a random page.
Lady Briar and the Rat Burglars
Threat Level: Low
Species: 1 Mouse and 5 Rats
None of them are bigger than normal rodents, but don’t assume that won’t change. Lady Briar has shown herself to be a talented alchemist capable of brewing potions to bring adversaries down to her size, or usually even smaller. And on one occasion the rats got bigger. Her potions aren’t limited to altering size but that’s certainly her favored tactic. However with her ability to craft one can never be sure what new potion she might bring out and what effects it may have. Lady Briar favors cleverness and indirect plans making it obvious why she’s the leader of the Rat Burglars. Without her they wouldn’t have any ability to plan.
The Rat Burglars themselves are a low grade threat, but should be treated with caution. On our first encounter thanks to the rules of karmic fate I was unable to fight them and could do nothing but flee while they had free reign to attack me. One of them knocked me unconscious with a cast iron frying pan. I don’t get it. I’ve been punched through a building by a kaiju and been fine except for some dust in my fur. That frying pan just took me down in one hit and hurt more than any other injury I’ve ever had. Luckily, thanks to them being older than me and said hitting, plus Briar using some artifact to make them bigger, karmic fate shifted in my favor and I was allowed to fight back. As they’ve been established as villains now karma should let me fight them freely without the need for adjustments. Though, I’m better at fighting enemies bigger than me. They don’t have anything going beyond ‘hit people with things’ but when I encounter them the gloves are off so to speak. I still don’t understand how they took me out in one hit but from now on I’ll show no mercy upon encountering them.
On the threat level they rank pretty low. They’re capable enough to be a higher threat if they wanted to, well Briar is, but they don’t have any interest in ruling the world. They’re just thieves, and thus while they should be stopped a failed battle is not literally world ending.
Honestly though I don’t even think it’s about thieving anymore. Every time we encounter her somehow me and Odin wind up separated where I’m alone with the Rat Burglars and he’s alone with Briar. And I’ve heard some of the comments after dealing with the rats when coming to Odin’s aid and I’m pretty sure they’re flirt-fighting. Like everything they say seems to be a double entendre and I think Odin likes letting himself be captured by Briar and being her little pet. It’s all really gross and I wish they’d just go out on dates like normal people.
“I see what you mean about the commentary.” Kickaha snickered.
“Of course, you’d open to that entry first.” Odin face palmed. “But anyway, should any of our recurring villains show up, the book should give you information on them to give you an idea of what to do.”
“Okay, so I’ve actually been wondering about that for quite some time now.” Kickaha closed the book. “So… Are you two actual superheroes?”
“We’re a detective agency.” Odin replied.
“I get that but…” Kickaha thumped the book. “This is a pretty long list of bad guys, and seems like you spend more time saving the day than solving mysteries, like another famous detective superhero. Pretty sure you two are superheroes.”
“I… Am not going to make a call on that one.” Odin shifted his gaze. “We’re a detective agency, what people decide to call us is their business.”
“Ok, great.” Kickaha grinned. “So… Now that I’m hired as your new intern, what exactly do I do?”
“Well… I would say filing…” Odin glanced at the various overflowing filing cabinets. “But I think that’s a lost cause. So probably things like sending out customer invoices, helping us keep track of how many cases we currently have, answering the phones when we’re out or incapable…”
“Oh, why would you be incapable?” Kickaha asked, already knowing the reason. It just got him a look from Odin.
“A surprisingly large number of cases we deal with just happen to deal with villains, technology or magical artifacts that often leaves us too small to answer the phone, whether that means small in size or age…” Odin explained.
“Oh and sometimes both!” Calex chimed in happily.
“Yes, on some occasions both.” Odin nodded. “Oh and I guess… In the event we’re stuck out in the field and shrunken or regressed it’d be great if you could come pick us up. Oh that reminds me of one more duty you have. With both of us being mammals, you wouldn’t think it’d matter, but in the event we wind up transformed into eggs please make sure we’re set in a nice warm spot until we hatch.”
“Wow. I just have one last question.” Kickaha grinned. “Why didn’t I think to apply for this job years ago?”
“You are usually pretty busy with your own antics.” Calex replied.
“Anyway… With everything in order, I guess we can all get to work!” As soon as Odin said it he sunk back into his chair, kicked his feet up onto the desk and let his hat go down over his eyes.
“Mrowl!” Calex meanwhile leaped into a cardboard box set next to a window and curled up in it.
“Uhhhhhh…” Kickaha looked at the two. “I assumed we’d actually be doing something.”
“We’re between cases at the moment.” Odin explained. “Gotta get rest when you can, because you never know how long a case is going to last once it starts.”
“So about how long does it take before-“ Kickaha started to ask when suddenly one of the windows shattered as a small spherical device with several prongs sticking out of it flew into the office and landed atop the desk.
Everyone acted at once. Kickaha kicked back in his chair so that it fell over backwards and he could hide behind it as cover. Sometimes human-sized furniture had its advantages when you were three feet tall. Calex, of course, leaped from the desk with feline reflexes diving behind one of the filing cabinets. Odin was the only one who wasn’t quite fast enough. With his feet propped up he wasn’t in the best position to try and dodge anything. As a result when blasts of energy erupted from all the prongs of the strange device he was just then getting his feet off the floor before being caught in a blast of blue energy. The wolf suddenly sank into his own clothing, which was soon mostly just a pile on the floor. After a few seconds, the hat lifted up revealing a small wolf pup no older than two years old.
“About that long.” Odin squeaked in the resigned tone of one who had been through this way too many times. “Calex if you would?”
“On it!” Calex stood up on his hind legs, shifted to his bipedal form, gave a salute, then dove out the broken window.
“So… Should I go too or…?” Kickaha didn’t actually wait for an answer. However, being slightly less nigh invulnerable than the magical beast that was a werekitten, and thus wanting to avoid broken glass, he chose to go out the front door and walk around the side of the office to the alleyway the window faced. The sight he saw before him was, if nothing else, a spectacle to behold.
On one side of the alleyway, blocking off access behind it, was what might have either been a tank or giant toaster. It was hard to tell which, but it was big, it was shiny and it had two slits across the top that might have been for putting in giant slices of bread, or could have been for launching some kind of weapon. Standing atop the toaster tank was a panda, one who was mostly human sized and shaped like Odin. He wore a fancy suit that was black with white stripes, or possibly white with black stripes. Kickaha wasn’t sure. Either way, he held another of the same spheres that had regressed Odin to a toddler, and was currently in the process of trying to throw it at Calex. But the kitten was being very uncooperative, weaving around the alleyway, jumping up onto fire escapes, running straight beneath the tank. It was making it hard for the panda to figure out where to throw the item.
“So this is what it’s like at Calex’s place huh?” Kickaha watched the panda as he continued to fret trying to figure out which way to throw his device. He hadn’t noticed the foxyote yet, and it occurred to Kickaha this was a good time to look up information on who this villain was. He quickly opened the book that had been given to him and flipped through the pages till he found an entry with the panda’s picture.
Threat Level: Abysmally Low
So basically Dr. Pandamonium is sort of like a reverse evil clone of Odin. His equal but opposite. They’re both mad scientists, but Odin is on team good guy while Pandamonium is a villain. And Odin is competent while Pandamonium is well… Pandamonium.
Dr. Pandamonium may be able to develop technology that in capable hands might prove threatening, but the problem is he himself is not. To put it bluntly all of his evil plans are either petty spiteful plans with no major consequences, or plans that lack long term sustainability. Note: successfully regressing or shrinking myself or Odin does not count as a long-term consequence for the purpose of this entry. I mean, between finding ancient artifacts, Odin’s tinkering with his own inventions, and sometimes just being bored and wanting something to do, that happens to us all the time.
The point is if left to his own devices Dr. Pandamonium’s evil plan will eventually fall apart on its own with no one left to foil it. He’s really, really bad at this villain thing. Which is why we always make time to foil him. If we didn’t and just left his plan to fall apart on its own I think he’d be emotionally devastated. Like seriously, we’ve beaten this guy while stuck as infants, while smaller than fleas, and one time even transformed into eggs. I don’t really remember how we beat him that time, you know, being asleep inside an egg. But somehow we won.
The real mystery is where he keeps getting the money to build all these new toys. He’s definitely not successfully robbing any banks for it, and even if he was with most transactions being electronic a bank robbery would not be nearly enough to pay for his stuff. Maybe he’s a trust fund baby? Or maybe he won the lottery and decided to use the money to become a supervillain? Maybe he sells some of his inventions to other villains? I don’t get it. But, you gotta admit it’s kind of impressive. We’ve blown up his secret lab at least fifteen times now and he’s always managed to rebuild a new one somewhere else and get back on his feet. His perseverance is to be respected. Shame nothing else is.
“Well okay then.” Kickaha shut the book. “I guess I don’t really need to do anything here.” This left the foxyote with missed feelings. On the one hand the situation was under control. On the other, this panda really seemed like the kind of person Kickaha would enjoy playing with.
“Enough of these games!” Dr. Panndamonium shouted. “I’ll simply level this entire city with time reversing missiles!” As he spoke several large cylinders with the same prongs as the sphere slowly rose out of the slits on top. So it was some kind of tank! Well, there was no reason it couldn’t make toast. “With the entire city hit there’s no way you’ll be able to avoid being reduced to a mewling infant and be helpless before me!”
“Um… Excuse me?” Kickaha held up a paw.
“What?” Dr. Pandamonium turned his head. “Who dares intrude on the vengeance of the almighty Dr. Pandamonium?!”
“I just had a quick question if that’s alright.” Kickaha interjected. “Just trying to figure out the range of these missiles and how ‘terrified’ I should be. After all, I can only experience so much terror, and I want to spend it wisely. When you say ‘the entire city’, are we talking about everyone in the entire city, or only people outdoors, or what?”
“Everyone!” Dr. Pandamonium screamed. “Not a single person will be spared!”
“So if you launch that, won’t you also be turned into a baby?” Kickaha grinned.
“No of course not! I’m here where it’s safe and-“ Dr. Pandamonium started.
“Then I wouldn’t get hit either since we’re in the same place right?” Calex asked.
“Of course you’d get hit! The entire city will be affected!” Dr. Pandamonium shouted.
“But you’re in the city.” Kickaha was of two minds right now. On one hand, he could sit back, do nothing, and watch the surprised look on the panda’s face when this backfired. On the other, while he didn’t have any aversions to occasionally being made younger, being taken all the way down to an infant unable to walk or talk might make his new job harder.
“Of course I’m in the city I’m here to attack and-“ Dr. Pandamonium paused as realization seemed to finally set in. “Wait a second. I need to figure something out.” The panda paused as he was deep in thought. Leaving him in a prime position to take out immediately with no resistance.
But both the foxyote and the kitten were far too respectful to even dream of doing that. A dramatic monologue was sacrosanct.
However, it did not stop Kickaha from humming the theme to a very popular TV game show while the panda tried to figure out his answer, just to annoy him.
“Will you cease that!” Dr. Pandamonium shouted. “Okay, I… Am not going to use the tank! Because I am so powerful I can take you on without it.”
“Oh then does that mean you’re going to come fight me with good ol’ fashioned fisticuffs?” The werekitten sounded hopeful.
“NO!” There was very clear dread in the panda’s shout. He had after all been on the rough end of one of the kitten’s beatings on a couple of occasions. “I’m going to… Do something though! Any minute!”
Despite being outside, everyone was able to clearly hear the doorbell as it rang, thanks to the broken window.
“Kickaha could you get that? I’m a little preoccupied, and I don’t think Odin can reach the door handle.” Calex asked while not taking his eyes off the panda.
“Absolutely. Just talk among yourselves for a moment until I get back. I wouldn’t want to miss any fisticuffs.” Kickaha walked back around from the alleyway to the front of the building. Standing at the front door was a massive spider monkey, at least eight feet tall. Though, how much of that height was natural and how much was due to his outfit was up for debate. The monkey was completely covered head to toe in heavy futurist metal armor. Even his tail was armored and appeared to have a laser on the end of it. The only part of his body that wasn’t armored was his face
“I demand you open up at once!” The monkey began to ring the doorbell again faster and faster. “Lord Entropy is not one to be kept waiting!”
“Hello!” Kickaha waved as he came around the corner. “I’m sorry, but we’re currently involved in a little situation so if you could wait-“
“Who in the blazes are you?” Lord Entropy turned to face the foxyote.
“Name’s Kickaha, and I’m their new intern.” The foxyote explained and gave a slight bow. “If you’re looking for Odin and Calex they are a bit predisposed at the moment dealing with a minor crisis. But from the looks of things it shouldn’t take long before they can-“
“They have more than a minor crisis! For the day of reckoning has come! While I, the great Lord Entropy, have not yet rebuilt my battle dimension, I have completed my newest set of armor and shall now lay waste to my accursed foes!”
“I see… Another one.” Kickaha opened up the book. “Hang on just a moment.”
“You dare tell Lord Entropy to-“
“I said hang on a moment!” Kickaha said more firmly, stunning Lord Entropy into silence. It didn’t take long to find this guy’s entry.
Species: Interdimensional Spider Monkey
Threat Level: High
So basically this guy travels the multiverse and conquers each universe one by one adding them to his empire. Eventually he set his sights on ours to be the next on the list. Odin managed to track him back to the guy’s secret headquarters, a pocket dimension which only Entropy is supposed to be able to access. But it turned out to be a trap. In his own dimension Lord Entropy is completely omnipotent and had planned to dispose of Odin right then and there and…
Well I’m not sure what happened. I just remember I felt like this tiny tug in my heart telling me I had to be somewhere. I didn’t understand it, but I followed it, and somehow got into Entropy’s dimension without him knowing. Then not only that, I was able to hit Entropy so hard I knocked him right out of his own pocket universe preventing him from using any of his power against me. I’ve tried to repeat this knocking people into different universes thing, but never succeeded. It’s strange. I was able to do these things then when it was needed but can’t seem to do it again when I want.
Anyway, even with the loss of his pocket dimension Entropy is a powerful opponent. The number of different styles of martial arts he knows is literally impossible to number because he has mastered multiple styles from every universe he’s conquered. The guy is like eons old and so has all kinds of knowledge from past timelines to call on and use or strategy. Then there’s his armor. It augments his physical power and speed making him hit like a truck. Even I feel it if I take a punch from him.
But he has one glaring weakness. Get this. The guy has absolutely no pain tolerance. Like zero. My guess is being completely invulnerable for countless eons he completely forgot what pain felt like. Then once Odin guided me through collapsing his pocket dimension and he was no longer all powerful he’s had trouble adjusting to being ‘normal.’ Because of his skills, technology, and the possibility he might attempt to construct another battle universe he’s a large threat, but he goes down pretty easy if you can hit him. And for a warlord of countless ages you would think he’d be smart enough to include a helmet or armor that protects his face from now. Huge glaring weak spot there.
“Okay, look, Mr. Entropy.” Kickaha started.
“LORD Entropy!” The monkey corrected with a shout.
“Lord Entropy.” Kickaha rolled his eyes. “As I mentioned, they are currently occupied with another crisis and can not attend to you right now. If you’d like I can take a message and arrange for them to get back to you, or you are free to wait until they are free.”
“Lord Entropy does not wait! For time was created to serve Lord Entr-“ He didn’t manage to finish his boast before Kickaha stretched to the tip of his toes, reached up an arm, and gave the monkey a sharp flick on the nose. “ARRRGH!” The multidimensional warlord fell backwards onto his bottom. “Why are the creatures of this universe so powerful?”
“As I was saying.” Kickaha spoke firmly. “You can wait, or I can take a message.”
“I have a message for you.” Lord Entropy grumbled.
He didn’t get the chance to deliver it before a third visitor showed up. Falling from the sky, a second armored figure appeared. This one though was completely armored, looking almost like a robot except for the very top of its head where there was a large dome filled with liquid and an enormous throbbing brain the size of a small car.
“Valued consumer!” A speaker on the robotic creature spouted. “The Big Brains of business have come together and formed a Think Tank to decide on the best way to deal with dwindling the marketplace.”
“Don’t you mean with a dwindling marketplace?” Kickaha asked.
“I DID NOT MISSPEAK!” The brain bellowed.
“Okay, hang on.” Kickaha opened the book again. It took him slightly longer to find the entry for this person, largely because the image on file did not show a robotic body but only a huge brain in a jar.
Threat Level: Medium
So all this guy cares about is increasing his net worth and rather than you know, just make a product people want, he’s always doing things like trying to create products that mind control the population into buying more, or use fear to trick people into believing they literally cannot live without his product. They’re all pretty low quality too. That TV we bought from him only got one channel even with a cable package.
Big Business himself is harmless and defenseless normally. The problem is he possesses the most powerful ability of all. Money. As a result he’s capable of buying or hiring whatever he needs to be threatening at the moment. As a result it makes it somewhat difficult to predict what abilities or accomplices he’ll appear with.
It also makes it difficult to predict his weaknesses as well. You would think as soon as a venture is proven to be unprofitable that would cause him to abandon that plan, but instead he always doubles down insisting he’ll pay out even when all the evidence points the contrary. You’d think a giant brain would be smarter.
The inability to predict how he’ll show up this time and what the weakness will be makes him a moderate threat simply because it turns out money can buy quite a bit of power. Honestly, usually the best course of action is just to start smashing till he goes away. Unless he has Dolly with him. She’s his clone army of sheep. If Dolly is there no smash. Attacks bounce right off of her super soft fleece.
“Smashing isn’t really how I do things…” Kickaha muttered. But he had his own idea. “The two are currently preoccupied, but if you can wait out here I’ll let you know when it’s your turn. In the meantime, if you’re interested in some market research I can tell you about the untapped magical woodland critters market. I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to get a contractor out there to install a swimming pool, or fix the mailbox after some giant cad steps on it, or really just about anything? There’s an entire market out there just waiting to be milked.”
“Interesting.” Big Business seemed to forget his vengeance and the robot body sat down. “So tell me more, what kind of population are we looking at here?”
“That depends on how many you want to try to sell to.” Kickaha grinned cheekily as he started to think of the future fun this would lead to. “I mean of course there are plenty of mammals like me, but if we include birds, reptiles, amphibians, even insects, there could be hundreds of thousands of potential customers in one forest alone.”
“I see. Dolly, take notes!” Big Business was silent for a moment. “Oh right, she’s back at the lab having extra copies cloned of her.” He looked around. “You, monkey, are you good at taking notes?”
“I am an interdimensional warlord.” Lord Entropy replied with a growl.
“Wonderful, that means you’re familiar with paperwork. Please note down everything this Mr. Um…” Big Business paused.
“Kickaha of the Art at your service.” The foxyote gave a bow.
“Yes, monkey.” Big Business continued.
“Lord Entropy.” The warlord corrected with a growl.
“Make sure to take detailed notes of these market surveys so I can review them and rewrite them with my own opinions later.” Big Business practically glowed with pride. It seemed the situation was completely under control.
Right up until the front door to the office opened. There, sitting on his knees on the other side of the front door, was the two year old Odin. He was currently hanging onto a length of shoelace; the other end appeared to be attached to a coat hanger he had thrown up onto the door handle to get it opened.
“Okay, finally got the door open. So what’s all the shouting about out here?” Odin asked.
“ASHCROFT!” Lord Entropy stood up and began to walk towards the pup with the look of one who was about to literally kick a puppy.
“No!” Kickaha flicked Entropy’s nose again. “Bad Interdimensional Warlord. I told you I will tell you when it’s your turn.”
“GAAAH!” Entropy fell backwards.
“VALUED CONSUMER!” Big Business’ robotic body rose up to its full height. “We meet again! Our newest product comes out tomorrow and all market research indicates your interference must be minimized to ensure its successful launch. ENGAGING MINIATURIZATION RAY!”
With that a hole opened up in the robot’s chest as a cannon came out. It fired a massive beam of green energy. Kickaha had time to dive out of the way, but Odin who had all the reflexes of a toddler was not exactly capable of dodging in time.
“Of course.” Was all the wolf said with an annoyed sigh as he dwindled down to the ground becoming even smaller. At least he didn’t get any younger, but he got a lot smaller and soon was no bigger than a mouse.
“And now you stand no chance of stopping our new product launch! It’ll take the world by storm, bleed consumers dry and there’s nothing you can do to stop us!” The brain made a chortling noise that Kickaha assumed was laughter.
“I’ve been in worse spots and stopped worse.” Odin said truthfully as he struggled to stand on two legs and look up at the giants on his front door. “What even are you selling this time?”
“A multiplayer competitive cell phone RPG where you must draw heroes randomly from a lot! You can get one draw freely, but if you want to be the best you’ll have to pay for premium draws to get the best heroes and rise in the rankings!” The brain continued to chortle.
“I mean that’s unethical, but not actually illegal.” Odin shrugged. “It’s morally wrong but I couldn’t actually do anything about it anyway since you’re not breaking any laws.”
“But… You always try to foil my product launches.” Big Business seemed confused.
“Mind control chips in TVs are super illegal! That had to be foiled!” The tiny wolf pup threw up his arms. “I don’t understand why this is so hard for you to understand.”
“So… You have no intention of interfering with our cell phone game launch?” Big Business suddenly seemed nervous.
“I mean, other than making sure the child safety settings on Calex’s cell phone are set to prevent premium charges, no.” Odin shrugged.
“Wait. Calex has a cell phone?” Kickaha was surprised by that.
“The idea was so I could get in touch with him when he runs off on one of his adventures but because he doesn’t wear clothes…. And thus no no pockets. It just kind of sits in his room.” Odin explained. “It does see some use. Sometimes we have movie nights and use it as a big screen TV.”
“From everything I am hearing this means that my trip out here was completely wasted! And wasted time is wasted money! Someone will be held responsible for this.” Lord Business looked around. “You! Entropy was it? You’re fired! How dare you waste my time.” With that, jets erupted from the Lord Business’ robotic feet as he took off flying into the sky.
“It is not your time that has been wasted! But the time of Entropy!” Lord Entropy shook his fist as the giant robot fled into the sky. “You shall pay for this transgression.”
“Well at least that’s one dealt with.” Kickaha looked to Lord Entropy. “You’re next in line as soon as Calex finishes dealing with the current problem.” He then glanced down at the tiny wolf. “You know, if you have this many villains you should really consider putting in a waiting room so they don’t have to wait outside.”
“Gee, how careless of me not to consider the needs of my various enemies who want to kill me.” The sarcasm practically oozed off of Odin.
“It’s not like any of them are any good at it.” Kickaha pointed out.
“Lord Entropy will not stand here and be insulted!” The monkey was in a roar. “I shall have you know I-“ And then Kickaha flicked his nose. “GRAAAAAAAAAAH! What is the source of such power?” He fell over yet again.
“Anyway, Calex will probably stop pretending that Pandamonium has him on the ropes and send him packing soon, so I should probably figure out how to deal with Entropy.” Odin mused.
“I can keep flicking his nose till he leaves.” Kickaha suggested helpfully.
“That might actually work.” Odin grinned.
“KA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAA! A shrill voice range out.
“Oh no, not this guy.” Odin face palmed.
“While you have all argued amongst yourselves, I, the true ruler of this world, have set about my plan! Behold the glorious form of Emperor Slitherscale!” With that a kobold leaped out of the window of Odin’s office, shattering yet another new window.
“The door was open!” Odin complained. “And what were you even doing inside my office?”
“Looking for this!” The kobold held up a silver scepter with a golden egg on the end of it. “I saw the window in the back was open so used all of my skills of stealth to climb in and search for it.”
“Hang on just a minute.” Kickaha opened the book. “I need to get caught up before you go on about whatever you’re about to go on about.” He quickly looked up the kobold’s entry.
Slitherscale is a kobold who believes that dragons rule the world and that if he can control the majority of dragons in the world he will therefore control the world itself. Rather than seek out actual dragons his plan for this was to convert as much of the world’s population as possible into dragons under his control. Yet, no matter how many times we tell him why this won’t work it doesn’t click with him that just transforming people into dragons will not actually give them control over them and will likely eventually get himself killed.
Slitherscale has no extraordinary abilities of his own. He has no spellcasting ability nor is he particularly skilled in combat. He’s just a normal kobold, and not a very bright one. Really the only reason he ever managed to be a threat at all was he somehow got a magic scepter that turned people into dragon eggs. Thankfully we took that away from him so now there should be no problems taking care of him should he show up again.
“Huh.” Kickaha looked down at the book entry, then up at the kobold holding the scepter, then down at the book entry, then at the kobold. “This could be a problem.”
It was at this point a loud crash could be heard from the alleyway. A moment later the werekitten emerged from around the corner of the alleyway. He paused as he saw the various assembled people in the yard.
“Uhhhh, what’s going on here?” Calex asked.
“You have a number of visitors who would like vengeance.” Kickaha explained. “I’ve been making them wait their turn. Entropy is up next.”
“Okay…” Calex looked around. “Not that it’s out of the usual but why is Odin tiny?”
“Ah yes, that was because we also had business from Big Business. It would seem they had a disagreement about microtransactions.” Kickaha flashed a glance at Odin’s diminutive form. “But they seem to have worked things out. What happened with Pandamonium and his… toaster tank?”
“Not sure really.” Calex shrugged. “I threw the tank away, and not sure where Pandamonium got to after that happened.”
“Wait!” Odin squeaked from down on the floor. “What do you mean ‘away’?”
“Away.” Calex responded. “Like, chucked it hard as I could.”
“Well that’s a concerning development and likely a problem I’ll have to deal with later. But right now…” Odin pointed at the two villains.
“Right!” Calex looked to Entropy and took up a fighting stance. “I believe you said he was next in line.”
“Indeed.” Kickaha nodded. “And though he has been quite impatient it is rightfully his turn.”
“And now Lord Entropy shall have vengeance for there is nothing you can-“ He didn’t finish his sentence before there was a zap noise and a gold light shot out from behind him, struck the werekitten, and a moment later there was a small orange egg where the kitten should have been. “What?”
“Ka ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!” Slitherscale laughed. “With your strongest fighter taken out, now there’s nothing that can stand in my way. And as soon as that egg hatches I’ll have a powerful minion no one can stand up to!”
“That’s not how it works!” Odin threw up his hands. “Dragons don’t just imprint on whoever they see when they hatch! They’re sapient! And even if they did it’d still be Calex and he’d still have his memories and wouldn’t work with you.”
“No, no, trust me, when he hatches he will serve me as all dragons are destined to.” Slitherscale was confident of this.
“You vile little creature!” Lord Entropy rose to his full height to tower over the kobold. “How dare you interfere with my own plans for vengeance!”
“I must agree that was very rude.” Kickaha gave Slitherscale a disapproving stare. “Mr. Entropy was in line before you.”
“It’s Lord Entropy!” Entropy roared. “And I have half a mind to end all of you right here!” Entropy would have gotten a flick to the nose were it not for the appearance of yet another visitor.
Suddenly, a mound popped up in the middle of the street. There was muffled screaming underneath it by someone who sounded like they had just hurt themselves before a pounding noise began beneath the road. A few moments later a hole broke open and a star-nosed moleman rose from the hole. He wore a crown and a pair of goggles and glanced around the area.
“Surface dwellers! Do you think hardening the ground would prevent our invasion!”
“Who are you, and how dare you interfere in the vengeance of Lord Entropy?” The monkey demanded.
“Man he has a one track mind.” Odin crossed his arms. “And… Actually, wait, I have no idea who this is.”
“Oh this is one of mine.” Kickaha explained. “Allow me to introduce King Ozymandias, the Fifty-Second of his name. He rules the mole people that live beneath the Earth.”
“Wait, molepeople are real and…” Odin looked flabberghasted. “But what, is there a series of tunnels? Cause the Hollow Earth theory can’t be true. Our understanding of gravity wouldn’t work… So how could they have cities….”
“Yeah I was pretty surprised by this one too.” Kickaha turned to the moleman. “Ozymandias, why are you here? I thought you had given up on conquering the surface world.”
“We ran out of potato chips and lack the technology to create them.” Ozymandias replied.
“That’s all?” Kickaha knew he could probably ignore this problem and it’d go away on its own. But as a lot of problems were starting to build up right now he figured he would just go the simple route for once. There’d be more time for the fun kind of chaos later. “If I arrange for a trade agreement where we send you down bags of chips will that cease the invasion?”
“Hmmmmm.” Ozymandias considered. “It is a tempting offer, and my people do grow tired of war. But what would you demand in return?”
“I don’t know. Something shiny? Most humans like shiny things.” Kickaha suggested.
“Fine! We’ll give you these useless diamonds we have laying around for them! They’re just everywhere down there! Constantly having to sweep the living room of them.” Ozymandias sounded annoyed. “Heh, sucker.” With that the mole vanished back into his hole.
“Alright, just two to deal with.” Kickaha took a deep breath. While he was used to dealing with chaos, it usually didn’t involve powerful supervillains. “Alright now… We have a problem. Because people can’t wait their turn, neither Odin or Calex or available to properly deal with you right now. I’m afraid I must ask you to leave and come back another day.”
“I shall do no such thing!” Lord Entropy shouted. “If they are stuck in those states all the more easier to crush them!”
“And the rise of my dragon army will not wait! The stupid monkey will make a find addition.” Slitherscale chuckled.
“I could obliterate you with a thought.” Entropy took a step towards Slitherscale.
“Back off! Or you’re in for an egg nap!” Slitherscale pointed his scepter at Entropy.
“I feel I should say something but…” Kickaha watched the two. The two problems might take each other out and that’d make a lot of things easier.
Everyone froze as a slight cracking noise was heard. The egg that was Calex began to wobble. It was hatching. It wobbled back and forth for a few moments and then shattered. Inside was a baby kitten dragon hybrid. He retained his feline body shape and fur, but now had spines running down his back, a set of horns, wings and sharper claws.
“Ha! My first minion rises! Now go! Destroy these fools who would oppose me!”
“ROOOAWR!” Calex let out a tiny roar before lifting into the air and charging straight into Slitherscale.
“Oh no! Not the face!” Slitherscale dropped his scepter and started grabbing at Calex to try to get him off. “Why is he not obeying? Why is he clawing up my face?!”
“I told you so many times your plan doesn’t work.” Odin sighed.
“Entropy’s plan has no such flaws! For Lord Entropy shall-“ Entropy was interrupted as a large metal object that might have been a toaster or a tank fell from the sky and landed right in front of the office.
“I was kind of hoping he had gotten that into orbit.” Odin muttered. Everyone stared at the thing for a moment. Then suddenly, a figure climbed out from one of the slots. It was Dr. Pandamonium! His suit looked pretty roughed up but he was alive.
“Alright, you thought you had me, but you see, no one can stand before…” Dr. Pandamonium swayed back and forth. “Whatever… This thing does…” It was clear he was dazed from his trip through the sky. “I’m just gonna… Sit down a minute.” He sat back on the street and there was a clicking noise. “Wait, was that the remote?”
The toaster tank lit up and began to glow, and released a bright flash of light. It was not enough to cover the entire city, but it certainly hit everyone who was physically present. For Calex, there was no physical change. For everyone else, they found themselves reduced to six months of age, and those that had clothes or armor found themselves shrunken out of them and bare on the ground. Everyone looked around at each other in confusion. With all of them reduced to infants no one was sure what to do now.
“Yap?” Kickaha suggested as he crawled out from beneath his cloak.
He was met with a response of squeaks and growls from the three baby supervillains as they each began to crawl off in separate directions. He could only assume they were promises of vengeance once they got back to their normal age. Kickaha then looked to the tiny Odin and the dragonfied Calex. It was weird to see someone who’s life was as chaotic as his.”
“Awoo?” Odin suggested and crawled back inside. The door was open so the three could easily get in. Calex landed on the ground next to Odin and let the baby wolf climb up onto his back and flew him inside. Kickaha crawled in after them. It seemed they might be stuck like this for a bit. At least there was a TV in the office so they could kill time watching cartoons on till someone figured out how to reverse all this.