No strings attached

(OOC: Reserved for Lilly and Mal, though if anyone can write a good Paddywhack, hit me up!)

Night was not a good time to be alone. This place was not a good place.

This place at night was the worst time and place to be alone.

Lilly looked up at the dilapadated buildings uneasily. Maybe this was a bad idea...

The bundle she was holding wriggled slightly, and she started in worry, moving faster. Nope. Nope nope nope this was a fine idea.

"Miss Malicia?" she called out, with the closest to banging she could muster. "Miss Malicia are you home?

    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

      It was a long while before the door opened, and when it did, the bedraggled demonness was not happy. There better be a good reason to wake her from her beauty sleep. Like the Apocalypse. Or a BOGO shoe sale. 

      ""Ugh, you." Her bill wrinkled in annoyance. There goes Darryl's payment plan. 

      "What do you want?"

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        That was completely unfair. HE didn't know she was poking around Mal's place. HE'D promised not to bring her with him. HE was upholding his end of the bargain.

        Damn it Lilly, don't you know how business deals work?

        Clearly not, because she gave Mal an apologetic smile.

        "I'm really sorry to wake you up, Miss Malicia, but it's a bit of an emergency, and you're the only one with any magic knowledge that I know of who could help. I think something's trying to kill me."

        Well that was a bit dramatic. Even she had to wince at how over the top that sounded, but it was true!

        "Um. I brought coffee? As an apology?"

        It's really good coffee? Transferring the tightly gripped bundle to one hand, she held out a thermos in the other like a peace offering, shifting nervously from one foot to the other.

        "Can I come in? Please?"

        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

          Forget the coffee. You had me at 'the only one with any magic knowledge'. Flattery gets you everywhere.

          "Well you certainly came to the right magic professional. Come in, come in!" Beckoning her inside quickly. The coffee was taken from her hands and she unscrewed the lid, inhaling the aroma. 

          Then it was guzzled in a few quick gulps. Hmm, not bad. 

          "Someone trying to kill you, you say?" Gee, couldn't imagine why. Maybe she hugged one person too many. 

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            There is no such thing as hugging too many people.

            I will fight you on this point.

            "Yes!" she flailed a little as she zipped inside, before the realisation hit her that she couldn't be helped if she didn't explain the issue. "Well. Not someone. Something."

            The bundle wriggled again, and she held it away from her at arm's length with a terrified expression.

            "This thing!"

            The cloth fell away to reveal-!

            ... a... plush hand puppet?

            It. Uh. Looks very soft.

            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

              She stared at it intently.

              It was... rather unsettling. Though she couldn't quite place a claw on why. 

              "And where in the world did you find this thing?" Her brows raising. 

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                "In the attic."

                But of course.

                "But it's not like it just showed up mysteriously. I've had it for a long time. I used to play with it," she explained, looking for a place to sit.

                She edged into a seat, still holding the puppet as far away from her as physically possible.

                "I was tidying up and then found it again yesterday. I brought it down to clean it up and..."

                The young duckette looked Malicia seriously in the eyes. Now this may be hard to belive, but work with me here.

                "It. Keeps. Moving."

                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                  "What sort of 'movement'? Are we talking the occasional wiggle, or is it up and dancing?" She prodded it with her index-claw curiously. 

                  "Did you check for any cockroaches or other creepy crawlies living inside?" That seemed like the most likely answer. After all, what were the odds of this seemingly low-key Normal owning a magical puppet? 


                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                    "It keeps showing up in random parts of the house! Nobody TOUCHES it. And this morning I found it in the garden with a kitchen knife!" she practically wailed.

                    I mean, why take a kitchen knife to the garden? There's a perfectly servicable spade in the shed! Crazy puppet.

                    "AND I'm pretty sure it talks."

                    I'm not crazy, damn it!

                    "Ooo hee hee hee." The laughter didn't sound like it came from anywhere in particular, but Lilly dropped the puppet with a squeak.


                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                      "I mean that sounds like standard thoroughfare for some of the dolls my cousin had as a young child..." She murmured thoughtfully. 

                      But that laughter even set her feathers on edge.

                      "Okay then, let us bring your doll over to the apothecary and see what we can see..." Maybe if she was lucky there would be some sort of valuable magic she could extract from it! Oh, yes yes, I do like me some ancient forbidden evil magic. 

                      • Quackerjack

                        THEN WHERE WAS DOLL. 

                        After Lilly dropped it, it had disappeared from sight. More eerie laughter followed. Then a deep, echo-y voice. 

                        Come now, it's rude to not ask for my opinion! And I for one would not like to go to the apothecary.

                        Several objects around the warehouse started to rattle and levitate slightly. 

                        Let's have some fun instead! Will you play with meeeee? 

                        • Lilly Teal
                          Lilly Teal


                          At the speed of light, or more accurately fear, Lilly had ducked behind Malicia and was holding onto her arm. Well... behind was a relative term when the voice seemed to be coming from everywhere.

                          "I told you it talks!"

                          And you never talked back all this time. Where are your manners?

                          • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                            Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                            "HEY!" She shouted at the floating objects. "You put those down, those are not toys!" 

                            How rude!

                            "You want to play, do you? How about a little hide and seek?" She cracked her knuckles and wiggled her fingers. Stalking around the warehouse with Lilly in tow, she began searching for the doll, ready to hurl magic in its direction. 

                            • Quackerjack

                              As you wish~

                              The objects that were floating around were then brought down with a crash. 

                              Ooh, I do love me some hide and seek, the voice continued, sounding amused. You both don't look very well hidden, though. 

                              The couch came alive and started to chase after Lilly and Malicia like a rabid dog. The laughter was getting louder. It was hard to track the voice down as it seemed to be everywhere. 

                              Especially when said plush hand puppet was riding on the top of the very couch going after them, grinning all over his... cute button face? 

                              • Lilly Teal
                                Lilly Teal

                                A puppet riding a couch like a rodeo bull was somewhere in the top ten most ridiculous things to witness. And also in the top ten most terrifying. Now very aware that of the three people in this game, she was the most squishable, Lilly went rather wide eyed, and tightened her grip on Malicia as she sped up significantly.

                                "Will-" dodge.

                                "You-" stumble.

                                "Kindly-" scramble.


                                Because asking politely has been historically very effective in times of sinister supernatural activity, surely?

                                Watch out for the cushio-

                                "OOF!" That... that hurt a lot more than a cushion to the face should have.

                                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                  Mal was at a loss. Her natural instinct was to destroy everything that dared stand in her path, couch be damned! But... these were her belongings. Not to mention there were some very expensive, irreplaceable items stowed away in some of those crates! Setting everything aflame was not on the menu. 

                                  "We need to get to the apothecary." She instructed Lilly. "Maybe I can whip up a magic circle to contain this... this thing." 

                                  Grabbing the young lady who was already latched on to her, she made a dash for the door that lead into the residential section which, in turn, brought them to the apothecary. 

                                  • Quackerjack

                                    Aaaaaand that plan was dashed when the door rolled up like window blinds and disappeared, probably leaving Malicia and Lilly to comically crash into the wall if they weren't careful. 

                                    The couch was now growling as it advanced on the duo threateningly. The hand puppet rose up and hovered in the air, holding his hands wide, embracing the delicious, savoury misery that he was feeding off of them. 

                                    Where are you going so fast? We haven't even finished playing yet. 

                                    The floor started to wriggle and wobble like jelly. 

                                    Do you like to play on the trampoline? 

                                    Then the floor turned soft and if they weren't careful, they might sink knee-deep into the concrete. And... was it starting to get hot in there? 

                                    Or do you prefer THE FLOOR IS LAVA? 

                                    • Lilly Teal
                                      Lilly Teal

                                      "Neither! Thank you but no!" Look, you're not going to hurt his feelings if you're not polite about it. This really isn't the time.

                                      This can't be happening. The floor cannot be lava, this isn't happening. Or at least, that's what she kept trying to tell herself as she hugged Malicia's arm closer and tried to squeeze up against the wall. Maybe they would stick to the wall and everything would be fine.

                                      And maybe I should just grip this shelf with my other hand just to be on the safe side. Not that she really thought she'd be able to hold them both with just one hand and a wooden shelf, but it was the thought that counted. Fingers scrabbling for purchase, they closed around something heavy and hard-edged. She didn't pay much attention to what it was. For all she knew it could be a souvenir paperweight from Transylvania, or an eldritch snow-globe showing a tiny Cthulu under a snowy sea, or half a brick.

                                      Whatever it was, she lobbed it at the puppet and really, really hoped it would hurt if it hit.

                                      • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                        Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                        Lava? Well it did do wonders for her complexion... 

                                        A quick glance at the smaller more-flammable duck currently hurling things at the puppet. Something told her that most non-demonic ducks were more prone to the soothing effects of molten heat.

                                        Rolling her eyes in exasperation she hoisted Lilly up and onto her shoulders, like a parent giving their young child a shoulder-ride. 

                                        "Perhaps rather than attacking it head on we should distract it. Maybe play along with its little game." She suggested. 

                                        • Quackerjack

                                          Bingo! Right in the smiley puppet face. 

                                          He fell into the floor 'lava' with a plop, then rose up again. With the body blackened and burnt from the heat and the buttons melting off its face and places where stuffing burst from the seams still smouldering, perhaps it was safe to assume whatever entity was inhibiting the doll was NOT happy. 

                                          No no no! You're not playing this game right! he growled, levitating Lilly right off Malicia to glare straight at her. At least the negativity she was giving off was strengthening him and his powers. Would you like me to make you intentionally fall into the lava too? I didn't think so. 

                                          He tossed her back at the Malicia. 

                                          Let's up this game a little. Who wants to play 'Pin the Tail on the Demoness' while the floor is still lava? 

                                          That... that was Malicia's tail he was suddenly holding. 

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            "Play along. Ri-IIIIAAAAHHHEEEEEEETTTT." She was abruptly levitated midway between the world, and just as suddenly thrown back. That was very rude, to be completely honest. How would YOU like it if people just picked you up and tossed you around, Mr. Puppet?

                                            ... wait, that is exactly what has been happening with you. Never mind, forget I said anything.

                                            Let's focus, instead, on the fact that you have somehow, somehow managed to suddenly and painlessly detatch a tail that was growing alive on a living person.

                                            "... are we supposed to be playing along with this one too?" she whispered to Malicia, getting a distinct sense that things were not proceeding as logically as they should. What was your first clue, the fact that the floor was LAVA?

                                            Well, presumably playing along was the only way to get the tail back, so it was worth a try. Still sitting on Malicia's shoulders, she raised her hand.

                                            "Oh! I do!" You have to give it to me so I can... er.... pin it back onto her, right? Maybe it was something about the words 'oooh ohh I do!' that were inherently enthusiastic, but she sounded pretty positive about it all. More than she felt, anyway.

                                            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                              Mal's left eye twitched.

                                              "Sure... let's play the game of giving back my tail." Through clenched teeth. 

                                              "But before we begin, let's all introduce ourselves, yes? I am Malicia Macawber, sorceress extraordinaire and St. Canard's top model. This." A gesture to the woman atop her shoulders. "Is, uh... Lilo?" 

                                              Something to that extent. 

                                              "And you." A gesture to the melty-faced puppet. "Are....?" 

                                              • Quackerjack

                                                Lilly's enthusiasm made him a little disappointed, but he quickly hid it. 

                                                Excellent, excellent! he clapped his hands as he levitated the tail over to Lilly's hands. Oh, and one more thing... 

                                                A cloth wrapped itself around her eyes. 

                                                Did I mention you have to do it blindfolded too? 

                                                He chuckled and rolled around in the air until the sorceress called him to attention and introduced them both, asking for his own name. 

                                                I am Paddywhack, and I shall have my meal! he announced and grinned with unnatural sharp teeth. 


                                                • Lilly Teal
                                                  Lilly Teal

                                                  "It's... Lilly, actual-" She squeaked as the world went black. On the bright side, she couldn't see the puppet's sharp teeth or the lava floor anymore. It was rather relaxing. At least, compared to how things had been five seconds ago.

                                                  "Oh yes. Blindfold. Can't play the game without one of those. It's actually an improvement, thank you," she said. Where was this chipper attitude coming from? You're holding a TAIL.

                                                  Rope. It's just a rope. Imagine you're holding a warm rope.

                                                  But hey, at least it was with them, right? And Malicia didn't seem very bothered by the lava, and she was ON Malicia, so things were currently as good as they were going to get.

                                                  A pause, and then she put an arm around her neck and leaned over as far as she could.

                                                  "I'm... not sure I can reach your. Er, tail area from here." Not that I'd be able to tell unless I felt around and I'm not about to do THAT.

                                                  • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                    Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                    "Paddywhack." A pause. "What kind of name is that?" 

                                                    You'd think ghastly poltergeist demons could come up with something a little more creative for themselves!

                                                    She rolled her eyes visibly at Lilly, despite her shoulder-friend's inability to witness her open derision. "Just play along for now. If we can at least distract him it'll give me time to figure a way out of this."

                                                    Back to Paddywhack.

                                                    "This game needs... something more to it don't you think? She's already on my shoulders, she'll win in no time! Don't you think this is too easy?" 

                                                    • Quackerjack

                                                      Hmm, you're right. 

                                                      Lilly and her IRRITATING OPTIMISM SHE WAS RUINING HIS MEAL HOW DARE SHE - was levitated in mid-air again. 

                                                      Should I put her in the lava then? 

                                                      Child. Show some negativity or I'll burn it out of you. 

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