After the initial shock wore off, Matticus was immediately confused by Goldfish’s presence before him. “You’re a mermaid,” he stated. “How are you floating?”
“You aren’t the only people who have travelled through the portals. I went through one and found a group of other mermaids. They were able to float as if they were underwater, even though there were times when it seemed like they weren’t underwater. They called themselves ‘Bubble Guppies’.”
From out of nowhere, Steph appeared. “You’ve been to the Bubble Guppy world?”
Unsure of how to react to this sudden appearance, Goldfish hesitantly answered, “Yeah.”
“Where’s the portal?”
Goldfish pointed to a doorway off to the side of the room. Without a word, Steph walked over to the door and stepped through. Goldfish looked at Revis. Her expression showed that she wanted an explanation, but all he could do was shrug.
Suddenly, from the doorway, they heard a loud crashing sound. It was soon followed by the sounds of screaming. The screams were horrible, lasting for several minutes. All the three of them could do was try to cover their ears from the noise. When it was finally over, they all sighed in relief.
A minute later, Steph emerged from the portal, carrying a pole with a giant orange fish head speared through it. “They deserved that,” she explained, disappearing again as quickly as she came.
Matticus looked at the other two people and asked, “What the hell was that about?”
“Well…” Revis stalled.
Matticus raised his eyebrows demanding further explanation. He flicked his eyes briefly to make sure Goldfish wasn’t going to attack them but she seemed just as interested in the knight’s answer.
After a minute of thought, Revis shrugged his shoulders again, “It’s Steph’s story to tell, not mine. You’ll have to ask her.”
The Jester scowled and Goldfish rolled her eyes. The tension in the room seemed to lift for a moment as the three of them eyed each other and considered laughing at what had just happened.
Before any of them ventured a chuckle, Matticus turned back to the sorceress, “Wait, if that was a mermaid that Steph just killed, well, more than one based on all that screaming, aren’t they somehow related to you? Even if they are from a different world, they are still kin to you somehow, right?”
“What’s your point?” She responded dryly.
“Aren’t you upset about it?”
Revis shot Matticus a look that was full of daggers, wondering why the Jester would be trying to get the sorceress riled up again, and Matticus ignored him. He had a plan and getting her angry was the first step.
“Not really. Sure we are, were, sort of related, but their graphic design was terrible.”
Off to the side, Jaded began to stir. “Ow,” she groaned as she started to rise. Setting her glare at Revis, she complained, “How many times do I have to kill you?”
With a mock bow, Revis replied, “My dear Jaded, you’ve been begging to get shanked for a while now. I’m just happy I was able to help you accomplish that goal.”
Jaded’s eyes narrowed in anger. Shrugging, Revis disappeared again. Turning, Jaded looked to Goldfish for help. Before she could actually ask, an invisible fist slammed into her temple. Once again, she was unconscious. His work done, Revis dropped his invisibility.
“You do know that she’s only did all this because I told her to, right,” Goldfish queried.
“People’s motives don’t concern me,” Revis answered. “If you threaten my family, I’m not going to stop and ask why. I’m going to do what I have to do to neutralize the threat.”
“So,” Matticus interrupted, “why didn’t you stay invisible and attack Goldfish?”
“Because she can see me while I’m invisible,” the Knight explained, giving the sorceress a slight nod.
“Well, that’s a convenient plot twist and highly annoying,” Matticus mumbled. The Jester was going to say a few other things under his breath, but then latched on to what Goldfish had just said. “Why were you using Jaded to overtake the Kingdom with sparkly vampires? Why are you attacking me?”
“You aren’t a vampire,” Matticus continued before Goldfish could respond. “Were you just using them as a tool to gain more power and eventually take over the kingdom for yourself? Was this all just some diversion? A game because you decided you were bored and wanted to spice things up? What were you hoping to achieve? What could possibly be worth the loss of life you set into motion?”
“Well,” Goldfish started to respond, shifting uncomfortably from her spot by the throne before being cut off by Matticus.
“You think it is easy ruling a kingdom? Did you have a problem with some of my decisions? Did you think you could do a better job?”
“Well,” Goldfish started again, and Matticus cut her off again.
“What reason could you possibly have that makes all this worthwhile? There isn’t one. There is nothing you can say to absolve you of everything that has lead to here. There is nothing that can wipe this stain from your hands… um, fins? Wait, I’m confused again.”
Goldfish’s eyes narrowed as she glared at the Jester. Matticus turned expectantly to Revis and raised his arms in the universal “well, aren’t you going to do something gesture.” When Revis shrugged his shoulders, Matticus rolled his eyes, “I was distracting her so you could attack her…”
This time, it was Revis who rolled his eyes. “That was your plan?”
“That was the stupidest plan I’ve ever heard.”
“Stupid?! It was working until you botched the timing of it.”
“Working? Really? You think it was working,” the Knight asked him. Turning to Goldfish, he questioned, “Did that distract you at all? Was his ‘plan’ working?”
Goldfish, not wanting to feel left out, rolled her eyes, as well. “This is the stupidest good guy/bad guy showdown ever. Seriously. Nothing is being accomplished right now.”
Both men just stared at her, waiting for her to actually answer the question. When she didn’t, Revis continued, “See? It didn’t distract her.”
“She didn’t say that,” Matticus argued. “She said…”
Before he could finish his sentence, Revis shoved him. It knocked him a number of step backwards, but the Jester was able to keep his feet. A look of rage crossed his face. “Shove me again and I’ll stick my sword up your…”
Quickly closing the gap, Matticus shoved Revis back. The Knight fell back, but rolled with the push and came up on his feet. He drew his other dagger and took a step towards the Jester. A smile started playing across Goldfish’s face. It lasted only long enough for her to see Revis throw his dagger at her, with Matticus leaping after it.
The sorceress, trusting in her magic to deflect the thrown weapon, concentrated solely on the sword brandishing Jester. As the dagger hit her barrier spell and spun around her to clank noisily against the throne, she began to mouth the words of the spell that would put an end to Matticus. The magic flowed through her and she unleashed it from the tips of her outstretched arms.
Goldfish watched as the curse danced along the air, buzzing with power and death. She felt as elated watching the proof of another successful spell as she had after her first spell. The joy of getting to see, hear, and feel the magic working through her had never dimmed over the years.
Her eyes grew wide in expectation as the curse neared her attacker. But, the Jester brought his flaming sword down just as the spell was about to reach him. The flames on his sword burned a brilliant blue as they struck her curse and she was forced to look away. A sizzling sound ripped at her ears and she screamed in pain.
Matticus, unaware that Goldfish had thrown a deadly curse at him, clung desperately to his sword as it vibrated in his hands. His forward momentum had been halted mid-leap, and he hung suspended in air. With a loud clap he was thrown backwards across the room and then everything went dark.