If You Give a Bird a Bicky...

((Approximately one week after the events of The Lying, the Witch and the Xenophobes))

"Ok, one last time before they get here," Briar said, adjusting her hat nervously. In preparation of her parents arrival (and subsequent lifestyle judgement), the goose had replaced her usual frilly choice of wardrobe for a slightly more traditional look. "We all know what the plan is..? And what to do..?"  The target had selected, the costumes picked out, Gladstone's protests over the short-short lederhosen had been ignored, what else was left to worry about? Oh yeah...

"Lilly, you going to be ok, hun?" she asked, directly addressing the honest elephant in the room. "You have the emergency cue cards?"

    • Mother Goose
      Mother Goose

      At the alias reveal, the microscopes of parental concern were narrowed on the hapless goose. "Mother Goose?"

      "Briar, what is he talking about-"

      "Mother Goose?!"

      "I- he's- it's-" Brair stumbled over her tongue, deeply mortified to be outed by a cosplayer. "I've sort have been- super... villaining... for months..." she mumbled to the floor. "With a... fairytale motif...."

      The wave of outrage, puzzlement, and hurt was overwelming. Much more brutal than any of the witchhunter's weapons had been.  "This isn't your first CRIME?"

      "With a- Fairytales! Fairytale? Fairytale??! I thought you stopped all that nonsense in high school, oh Briar-"

      "My baby bleh-blossom, out causing mayhem, all by h-h-herself-"

      "I can't believe you, keeping secrets from your mother like this-!"

      "What happened to the library! I thought you loved working there- even if it's no respectable job for a witch, but- were you FIRED? Didn't you think you could come to us, oh sweetheart, we love you, we would have helped with a vendetta-"

      "CAN WE TALK ABOUT IT LATER?" Briar tried loudly, but there was no breaking the swirl of criticism and concern.

      "I just knew letting you go to a Normal school was asking for trouble, I KNEW IT, but did you listen, noooo-"

      "Gladstone, Lilly, how could you keep this from us?" Gary asked, in pained disappointment. "Are you even her minions?"

      Still, no matter how strained a coven was feeling, it was a Bad Idea to openly threaten the life of a witch directly in front of her parents.

      The only thing that saved Mr. Bartimaeus Boysenberry Brattleberg from changing from a frogmouth to a frog, was Briar jostling her father's wand-arm at just the wrong moment, causing the normally synchronized Grimm team to cross the beams, sending the toadification spell to reflect harmlessly off Barty's toy sword, towards the ceiling.

      Well, "harmlessly" might be an overstatement...

      The overhead lights exploded into a cloud of thick acidic smoke. A small shower of amphibians rained from the sparking fixtures, falling into the chocolate vats below, well on their way to becoming the rare confectionery delight, Crunchy Frogs.

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        The sudden distraction from a well cultivated and perfectly executed badass dialogue (in his own opinion) Barty felt very much... well call a spade a spade... super bummed.  His valiant charge toward the wicked witch was completely ignored in the face of parental chiding and... geeze he knew what that felt like.  It didn't feel right to run her her through with righteous fury when she was being parented at. So he sort of slowed his charge into a trot, even still he was gaining too quickly so it turned into a sort of purposeful shamble. This was not going at all like he'd story boarded. 

        Gladstone grimmaced at this off script hiccup. 

        "I uh... I mean we're..." which one was Lilly? The parental disapproval was shining through even the best disguise (ie: a mask)  and he was coming up short one girlfriend. Maybe she was hyperventilating into a bag under the stress of this reveal? Don't worry cupcake, I've got this. ...probably.  After all who's better at smoothing over and not at all agitating already escalated emotions? This... uh... this guy? "Okay so maybe we're not so much 'minions' as we are 'friends' but friends who seem to get roped into all kinds of... okay so maybe not 'crimes' per se, not in the usual definition, crimes against fashion though? Yes. Are nefarious deeds done?  I mean.. yes? Kind of... look okay here's the thing, she-wait..." He blinked and stared at Briar in mild shock. "You were a librarian? You? With the... 'shh' and the stamping out of... and the collecting of late fees and-" does not compute.  And suddenly it was raining frogs. But he trudged ahead diligently. "She didn't want to disappoint you so we maybe bent the truth a little bit. it's not that big a deal... right?" He flashed a candid thumbs up to Briar.  Totally nailed it. 

        Meanwhile Barty was toadily trying not to get nailed by a reptilian rain.  The sword in his hand was growing warts and he was suddenly not feeling quite as invincible as the charm bracelet he bought on a darknet auction had promised. He couldn't back down though right? He'd come this far? It'd just be cowardly if he snuck off while they were distracted with no other reason... he tripped. The sword let out an indignant ribbit as as it hit the floor and he found himself fallen on top of a slumbering maiden.  Aha. Well.  No one could call him a coward on the forums if he rescued a beautiful woman and made a tactical retreat. He'd be a hero! He liked the sound of that.

        With some difficulty he picked up the dreaming damsel and very casually.... ran away. Very fast.  Bravely mind you.  Very heroically, he only cried a little bit.  Manly tears. Not at all fearful. 

        • Lilly Teal
          Lilly Teal

          It was a very effective tranquilizer dart if nothing else. It fell off of her arm as he picked her up and fell back onto the floor, and he didn't seem to notice. It wasn't important, anyway. She slumbered peacefully as he bravely, bravely ran away, oblivious to everything happening around her, untroubled by any worried plaguing her dreams. She in fact slept the blank, dreamless sleep of the suddenly and thoroughly knocked out.

          So when she woke up with a start, she was very confused. As far as she was concerned, no time had passed at all, she had just felt dizzy and fallen over. Ideally she should still be at the factory in the middle of a fight. Not...

          She stared. Was that a candelabra? With three candles of different colours and sizes inexpertly jammed into it?

          Where was she?

          • Mother Goose
            Mother Goose

            "Disappointed? Disappointed?! Why would I be disappointed my only child has taken up a career in sparklies-" Hagatha said, dramatically waving her fingers in a sarcastic manner. "Befriending mortals like somekind of fairy godmother-"

            "I'm a grownup, I can make my own friends-!"

            Gary was frantically torn between wife and child; both clearly in need of comfort and support, both tugging on completely opposite emotions. Yes, he agreed with his wife, this was a terrible career path but, Briar looked so hurt, but Hagatha was so equally hurt- It was like a ping-pong match with his heart. Gladstone, help???

            Well, the other gander's speech... kind of helped.

            It distracted Briar from tears, with his ridiculous tangent at least. Excuse you, she was a very good librarian, Gladstone Gander! Just because some people were allergic to work- Briar gave him an exasperated look, somewhere between old library standards of 'Please Stop Putting Peanut Butter in the Book Return Slot' and 'Really You Forgot to Pay Your Fine for Six Years? Yes You Still Need to Pay Up'. Oh, where was Lilly to actually fix things?

            Wait, where was Lilly?

            "Gladdy, where'd Lilly go?" Briar asked worriedly. The goose didn't think she'd been frogged, she didn't see any little black toad in a skirt hopping around, unless Lilly fell in a vat oh no no-

            "She's probably plotting with that witch hunter!"

            "Lilly's not like that!!!"

            "She's Normal, they're all like that," Mrs Grimm muttered darkly.

            "MOM!"

            • Gladstone Gander
              Gladstone Gander

              Gladstone recoiled from the librarian’s ire, and felt an overwhelming sense of fear and dread least she discover his tendency to... ulp... dog ear pages. Luckily for him this was distracted by Mrs. Grimm’s judgemental sarcastic tone and Gladstone’s (lingering) feathers ruffled literally and figuratively. 

               

              “Hey! She’s a great villain!” He snapped heatedly motioning to Briar for emphasis. “So what if she does it with glitter, do you KNOW how impossible it is to get glitter out of anything?! She’s downright nefarious with the stuff! And if you base your opinions on how troublesome she is to Normals? She’s the biggest menace I know. And Lilly would never associate with an overly dramatic moron like that guy, (no?) she loves Briar.  She’s the loyalest, kindest hearted, and most sincere person in this whole world.  You should be thanking the bristles of your broomstick you are lucky to have even GLIMPSED Lilly! She’d walk through fire for any of us without a second thought, regardless of her being a ‘Normal’. She is anything but Normal I assure you. How dare you. And while you seem content to make assumptions about us I’ll have you know some of my-“ his eyes flicked away from Hagatha for an instant to her daughter, a flash of panicked embarrassment evident before he blustered on. “-Best friends are magic users. So don’t you stand here and talk about us like we’re not here and treat your daughter like she’s refusing to finish her slug surprise sundae when all she’s tried to do is make you-“

               

              Wait.

               

              Where was Lilly?

               

              Completely abandoning his tirade he dashed to where he last remembered seeing someone Lilly shaped, frogs hopped out of his way irritably.  Nothing. Okay, don’t panic, she’s just gone back to the... car? Wait they didn’t drive here. The... the little minions room? Something metal rolled under his foot and he snatched it up and stared at it, feeling the color drain from his face. The sleep dart was held out to Briar as if it was a question manifested physically.

               

              “He took... my Lilly?” He said softly staring at the dart as if it was a knife he’d just pulled from his chest and was having a difficult time figuring out what all that red stuff was. 

               

              —-

               

              The stolen flower in her new surroundings would find no end to the mysterious, formidable, and thematic presentation.  The bed she’d been placed on was rather narrow, but was draped in thick red velvet curtains, the four poster bed ...no, wait now that she was standing it was clearly just a bunk bed with curtains stapled to the bottom level. And that seemed to sum up the motif. There was a static view of a dreary foggy moor on the other side of the window that was flanked by LED sconces, but it turned out to be a printed out picture taped to the glass.  A small desk was awash with Witchhunting tools and tutorials, melted wax was artfully dripped down the sides and a glass skull paperweight with googly eyes was pinning down a stack of... statistics homework? What in the world.  The brick walls on either side of her made the room barely more than the width of the bed but looking up would reward her with the sight  of curtain rods, the novelty craft fabric industry must have had call for “faux dungeon” designs at some point and it’s possible that Barty bought it in bulk.  Speaking of...

               

              The brick wall curtain swished aside as the witch hunter himself appeared.  Still in his full regalia, but holding two styrofoam cups filled with microwave noodle soup.  He stared at her, the way the candle light played off her face in his stronghold made her seem so much more lovely, more pure and scared. Barty blinked and distractedly brought one of the Cup Noodle packages up to his mouth to blow some of the steam away before offering it to her.

               

              “I...” he cleared his throat and tried to fall back into character.  “Eat, my dear, after being held captive so long you must be famished.  You’re safe now child, the spell that was upon you has been broken.  That foul coven shall vex you no more!” He flipped his cape dramatically. “You are under my protection now, no need to thank me, rescuing fair maidens is all in a days work I assure you.  Might I offer you a change of clothes? As those are just a reminder of your servitude?” 

               

              Yes? Maybe? Am I doing this right? Are you madly in love with your brave rescuer yet?

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                Lilly would have been quite hurt by the Grimm's suspicions, if she had been there. And all loving gratitude at the defense on her behalf. But as it was, she had much more pressing things to worry about than baseless and hurtful accusations.

                Child?

                There was a lot to process, certainly. She had only just managed to take in the dramatic Gothic interior, when the heavy handed hints that it was just a facade started to creep in. And when she'd registered that, the 'wall' abruptly opened. Gaping at him, she accepted the cup, almost running on automatic.

                "Thank you?"

                Child?

                Clothes?

                My... servitude?

                "I... I'm alright, really," she said politely, carefully, as she tried to peek around his cape to the room beyond. "I'm quite comfortable in these clothes. Where... am I?"

                And how soon can I leave because we were in the middle of some- eyes widening, she hurriedly got to her feet. "Did anyone get hurt?!"

                 

                • Mother Goose
                  Mother Goose

                  "Gladdy..." Briar said, voice thick with emotion. They were... best... friends? First chance she got, she was making them all matching friendship bracelets. The fancy kind, with multiple colors! And wish beads!

                  No, wait, Gladstone wasn't supposed to criticize their parenting. "How dare you speak to my wife like that-" Mr Grimm started, mustache bristling with rage. Then the little gander crumpled, not under the righteous weight of fatherly lecture, but the heartbreaking realization that Lilly was truly missing. 

                  Gary exchanged a look with his wife, who squeezed his shoulder in equal concern at the deflated goose. Despite completely valid suspicions about the quality of Briar's 'friends' (which from the impassioned defense thankfully seemed unwarranted), the gruesome two-some couldn't help but be moved by Gladstone's pain.

                  The idea of any lovers being forcibly separated was just- just unthinkable!

                  "Oh, Bogey-boo, don't cry, we'll find her," Hagatha promised, sweeping the (remaining) children into her arms. "A simple tracking spell, that's all it takes..." she soothed. "And once we find that foul, kidnapping black-hart, he'll wish he never laid eyes on a Grimm!"

                  "Track? We'll do more than merely track!" Gary snatched the dart dramatically from his daughter's hand. "We'll scour the seas, we'll frisk the forests, why we'll shake the very foundations of the EARTH WE STAND ON- we will not REST until Lilly is returned! No magic is too dire, too dark, too twisted to get what's ours-!"

                  Or they could use the address Barty carefully printed on the 'if lost please return to' label stuck on the edge of the dart.

                  "And ...I believe I found a lead," Gary said.

                  • Gladstone Gander
                    Gladstone Gander

                    Gladstone had not expected the hug... or the show of support... or... well... anything really.  So somewhere in the maternal embrace and Gary's heated declarations of Lilly retrieval he did... get something in his eye.  Yes.  Yes that it was it.  Probably a speck of sugar or something.  That must have been it.  Yes. sniff that was absolutely it.  The lead would be inspected with recently dried eyes (they were WATERING WITH RAGE okay? Something like that anyway) and the goose would punch the address into his phone. Tracking spells were all well and good but... did they give you alternate routes and where to find the best pad thai for after the daring rescue? ...probably? BUT WITH PICTURES AND THE OPTION TO THUMBS UP OR THUMBS DOWN??? Anyway.

                    "S.C.U.?" Gladstone frowned at the map. "Our Witch Hunter's an undergrad? It's... St. Canard University is like... three blocks from here.  What do you say we give HIM an education... in PAINokay-that-was-terrible-just-let-it-go-okay-don't-look-at-me-like-that-Briar-i-know-it-was-bad-can-we-just-GO?"

                    He was about to pry himself away from the group hug when he glanced back at the office door then Briar.

                    "Should we... grab the recipe? I mean... you okay with giving up on the plan?"

                     

                    ----

                    Bartimaeus Boysenberry Brattleberg had just been about to divulge his well crafted character bio and grimdark past to her, as it seemed to be the unspoken question on her lips? Was he imagining things or was she admiring his Adonis like shoulders?  These shoulder pads were worth every penny! But.. then she was suddenly on her feet and he retreated behind the desk crouching behind it slightly. It had been too sudden. WHAT WAS HE DOING!? HE WASN'T A COWARD! He stood back up quickly and tried to swirl his cape again but got caught up in the curtain, the sheet of fabric separating to show the rest of the completely normal looking dorm room. 

                    "H-hurt? Dear lady? No we were able to flee without a scratch on us!" he proclaimed triumphantly as he attempted to detangle himself from the scenery.  "The creatures were too busy bickering to launch an effective counter attack.  The foul Mother Goose seemed to have neglected to tell her sires about her villainy it was rather embarrassing truth be told.  Then the nearly naked German boy piped in. He was a perfect distraction.  They've probably devoured him by now for such boldness..." he blinked and sent her an apologetic look. "I-I'm sorry, he was your brother I should have been more delicate.  But it's to be expected with witches you know.  Baby biters the lot of them.  You're lucky that I was able to save you... are you interested in hearing my origin story?" He asked hopefully as he finally freed himself from entanglement. "It's full of intrigue and trauma." Bart promised her as if those were delicious morsels that no woman could refuse.

                    "It's pretty good."

                    "See even Randy likes it!" Bart motioned passionately to the curtain. "And he doesn't like anything."

                    "I'm trying to study though so... could you and your girlfriend keep the roleplaying down?"

                    "Sh-she's not my girlfriend yet and-" the curtain was pushed aside heatedly to show off the dour faced skinny canine sitting turned halfway around in his deskchair watching them. "-this is real Randy! I just fought three whole witches! And you SAW me carry her in here! She was under their spell.  Tell him! Tell him how you were under their spell!" 

                    "...did he roofie you? Do you need help?"


                    "RAN. DEE." 

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      Lilly gave a little wave as she looked around her 'rescuer' to his roommate, and then hesitated at the question. Roofie? Not... in the traditional way, no.

                      "He did hit me with a sleeping dart?" she said, as if not entirely sure if that counted. "But, ah... I don't want to be here. I'd rather get back to my friends if that's alright? They must be worried."

                      It wasn't that they weren't witches, she really should have backed him up on that one, but she hadn't been under a spell of any sort! Unless you count that special magic that allows your friends to convince you to do stupid things with them.

                      "I'm sure you thought you were helping but this is all a big misunderstanding, they're really very nice" witches "people."

                      • Mother Goose
                        Mother Goose

                        Putting Briar's needs first was the proper minion response, Hagatha nodded in approval at the gander's tentative question. Briar was more shocked at the idea.

                        The Plan?

                        Gladstone still wanted to do the Plan?

                        But the Plan was awful. The Plan had been compromised almost immediately. They barely Planned for the first guard encounter (Briar knew they shouldn't have focused so much on random meteor strikes), let alone consider the possibility that students might be doing their Crime 101 kidnapper coursework at the factory!

                        "Welllllllllll... I mean... she is super-duper close," Briar said slowly. Guiltily. "And it's- right there." She stared at the door. Would it be morally wrong to leave Lilly in danger for a just few teeny tiny extra minutes? Contrariwise, wasn't it better for Lilly's delicate sensibilities they were committing the crime without her..?

                        Gary, who was playing with Gladstone's mapping program, looked up. "I'm sure Lilly's safe, pumpkin," he said soothingly. "Witch-hunters are naturally useless." Unless they had a large institution like a church backing them up. But the witch doubted this was the case; once he got over the initial shock of witchhunter!!!, Barty's shiny leather-coat had a certain basement-dwelling, first-time-worn look to it. 

                        "Why, I bet she's escaped his vile clutches without our help!" That might be stretching it. "And no doubt there's plenty of handsome, strapping young college men to protect such an innocent flower... Possibly with their freshly oiled muscles," Mr Grimm added, considering his life experiences.

                        "Oooh, like that group in Athens, do you remember dear? With the little short-shorts? Tried to sacrifice you?"

                        "Oh yes, the Cult of Crisco!" Mrs Grimm recalled, laughing. "So sleek-"

                        "So handsome," Mr Grimm agreed.

                        "So flammable," they chorused, glazing lovingly at each other. Clearly the secret to martial bliss was romantic fireside cuddles and smouldering occultists.

                        "I think I have a box of matches," Hagatha purred.

                        • Gladstone Gander
                          Gladstone Gander

                          "THERE'S NO TIME FOR THE PLAN!" Hanselstone announced suddenly, looking far more concerned than he had previously. "WE'VE ALREADY WASTED TOO MUCH MUSCLES-ER-TIME!" 

                          Retreeeeeeeeeeeat! To the exits! GO! GO! GO! Let's move people! Lilly must be saved from these over ambitious jocks! AH. Witch hunter! Yes! That's what...  that's what he meant. Just ONE box of matches? Maybe they ought to stock up. ...in case there's an entire team of... witch hunters... disguised as football players.

                          Nefarious.

                          Gladstone lead the charge.  Or at least tried to.  As the shortest member of the gaggle of geese he had to work harder to not be overtaken, and that was not at all in his wheelhouse.  Neither was extended running. It was actually pretty pathetic the way he wheezed and hunched over after short bursts of sprinting. Plucked chest heaving as he hunched over just past the fabrication of the ginger bread cabin they'd made a far too convincing tableau of themselves at earlier.  

                          Hang on Lilly, someone would probably reach you... in the next semester or so.

                           

                          ---

                          Randy blinked once, twice, thrice then got up from his desk, sliding his headphones down around his neck as he pushed past Barty who was trying to close the curtain between them.  He took Lilly's hand and started towards the door, giving the witch hunter a very disappointed look.

                          "What did I tell you about sleeping darts? That's messed up bro."

                          "B-but!"

                          "What sorority you from? I don't remember there being an Oktoberfest thing going on yet..." Randy asked her as he put his hand on the doorknob. "Just the usual Taco Tuesday Toga night kegger going on toni-" The canine's eyes slid out of focus as the dart hit him in the neck, eyes rolling back as he let out a weak 'duuude', and crumpled to the ground.

                          Barty clutched the blowgun to his chest wincing. 

                          "I had no choice." He said weakly, mostly to himself.  Then the manic glint came back into those wide-set eyes. "He must have been enchanted as well. Are YOU one of them?" He pointed at Lilly accusingly. "I should have known! You tried to use your love magic on me.  Seduce me from my cause, well!" He flipped his cape dramatically before jerking forward to grab her arm. "-you won't get away that easy witch!" 

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            W-witch?!

                            Not that there was anything wrong with being a witch, but she wasn't one, especially not around a panicky witch-hunter who had just shot his roommate with a sleeping dart.

                            Lilly let out a noise of alarm as she tried to avoid him, bumping into the door behind her and trying to open the handle without turning around.

                            "I'm not a witch! I haven't tried to... enchant you, you knocked me out and took me away from my friends!"

                            So who's the real villain over here?!

                            "Just you stay back," she added warningly. "I don't want to kick you, but I WILL."

                            • Mother Goose
                              Mother Goose

                              Gladstone running with the Grimms was like corgi among greyhounds. Game, but so clearly out of his depth. And possibly on the brink of death, judging by the way his tongue lolled out after the short jog. You'd really think after all his misadventures, Gladstone would be better at cardio.

                              "Gladdy," Briar said, taking him gently by the shoulder. "Witches, remember?" Short of carrying the tiny gander under her arm and running, a portal spell was about the only way he'd make it to S.C.U.

                              With a flick of her wand, Briar opened the painted-on cottage door, onto a swirling vortex of nothingness that led to-

                              A scene of togas, laurels, and decorative marble pillars.

                              "oh NO- Did we overshoot?" Briar asked anxiously. Was her parents honeymoon reminiscing enough to throw the spell all the way to Greece?! A passing toga-wearer, clearly drunk off his face belched loudly and bounced off the inflatable pillar amid cheers of his fraternal brothers.

                              "...Nevermind, it's the right place." She grabbed a solo cup and passed it to Gladstone, partly to build up his courage, partly just to re-hydrate. "Lilly's got to be here somewhere!"

                              • Gladstone Gander
                                Gladstone Gander

                                Gasp. Only witches kicked people! 

                                Right? Oh dear it seemed the pressure was getting to Barty. Too much cramming, too much cosplaying, too much crafting an arsenal of questionable integrity to combat a group of individuals that very easily could jinx him into a ferret that squeaked like a fog horn. 

                                “If you kick me I will only grow stronger!” He announced dynamically, as he went to grab her once more. But it seemed in all the dramatic cape swirling that he’d gotten the hem of the garment tangled on thise Very specialized curtains of his and instead of lunging at Gretel he was yanked backwards by the throat. Plus side? She’d have time to open the door.  Downside? There were drunk people  in togas everywhere out there.

                                Amid the bedsheet with a belt sea of fashion a shirtless German boy took the glass blindly (why don’t you learn Gladstone) and drained the contents before wiping his mouth off on his forearm. There was a cheer around him and with some small amount of horror he found they’d materialized at the front of the line for kegstands. He turned to Briar  and the Grimms.

                                 

                                ”Okay one of us has to do this, trust me we don’t want to piss off frat hospitality. I nominate not me. And,” he craned his head out of the huddle to look around. “Anyone have any idea on where to start looking for Lilly? Any ‘cutie patootie’ tracking spells up your sleeves?”

                                there was a low, ominous chant that started around them. Just a warning for now but soon it would be a cry for blood.

                                CHUG CHUG CHUG

                                • Lilly Teal
                                  Lilly Teal

                                  All downsides were ignored as Gretel took the opportunity to twist the handle and run out into... a crowd of Greeks? She was confused, but not enough to slow down, stopping only until she was entirely surrounded by togas and couldn't see the door to the 'witch hunter's' room anywhere.

                                  Which of course, created another problem. Where was she supposed to GO? Where WAS she?

                                  "Excuse me-" She tried, unsuccessfully, to not be jostled by the crowd, but was having trouble keeping her footing. A very drunk woman nearly fell on her.

                                  "-can anyone-" A very drunk woman did fall on her, and she caught her in a panic, feeling herself being borne down to the ground by the weight.

                                  "-help!"

                                  • Mother Goose
                                    Mother Goose

                                    The only thing worse than being surrounded by a horde of drunken frat boys was how Gary's eyes lit up at the challenge. "Kegstand?"

                                    "Oh no, Popsicle, you wouldn't want to do that, it's such a- a Normal custom," Briar said, tugging at her father's sleeve. She glared at Gladstone. This was clearly his fault. Never mind who teleported who where. All Gladstone's fault.

                                    "Yeah, old man, it's a drinking game, you might break a hip!" The frats laughed uproariously at this display of wit.

                                    "Please, we Grimms practically invented Oktoberfest!" Gary shouted into the crowd. "Ich besorge das Bier!"

                                    This was the right thing to say, judging by the calls of "Whooooo!" and "German Proff knows how to PAR-TY!"

                                    Gary flashed the kids a thumbs up as he was pulled away by the frat boys.

                                    "I can't watch..." Briar moaned, burying her face in Gladstone's shoulder. This was a tricky maneuver, due the difference in height, so in practice the goose mostly buried her face in the gander's quaffed hair.

                                    Mrs Grimm, in general distaste for the filthy normalness of the party, with heartily ignoring her surroundings and her husband's antics. "Cutie-patootie spells, no, but I do have a mortal marker spell..." The witch snatched an empty beer bottle off the table and whispered into it, before handing the now glowing bottle to Gladstone.

                                    "Well, go on," she said.

                                    "You spin it," Hagatha added helpfully when Gladstone just stared blankly. "It will point to her." 

                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                      Gladstone Gander
                                      "Oohh hullo oktoberfest ish... nesh weeken'." The tall toga'd woman currently pinning Lilly to the ground smiled at her pigtailed cushion.  "But ish a cute costum'. Ha-have yoo seen Brand-ben-Brenda? She's a'posta be gettin' me pizza. Frank broke up wif me, yoo believe that? He never got me pizza." She fixed her laurels and then snuggled into rest them on this very comfortable pledge. Because this must have clearly been a hazing ritual right? Tell the frosh to dress up for the wrong theme?  "Mmm yo schmell like cookies." 
                                       
                                      Oh Brenda of the mythic deep dish slice wherefore art thou?  Whereforever she art it was perhaps uncomfortable to be beneath the fallen empire of imbibing on a school night but it shielded Lilly from the now very unsettled Barty as he burst out of his dorm room like an inquisitor hot on some heretical heels. And because he did so dramatically in front of a group of easily impressed drunk people they cheered.  Ah finally the respect he deserved!
                                       
                                      "Don't worry fellow classmates! I will vanquish these foes! Where is that witch?" 
                                       
                                      "Ohhh man a witch dude! Like I totally saw one with the German Prof.  Pointy hat an' like... everything man."  Offered a helpful fellow with an assortment of lettuce leaves and croutons glued to a black tee shirt. 
                                       
                                      Barty saluted him with his usual flair.

                                      "Hail Ceasar... s-salad? Is that right? Is it a pun? NEVER MIND!" He dashed to the window, easily picking Briar's hat out of the crowd. "Witches! I won't lose this time!" And with more cheers he ran down the hall toward the courtyard.
                                      ----
                                       
                                      Gladstone blinked at the glowing bottle, lifted an eyebrow, then looked at Hagatha, then swatted his hand in his coif reigon to dislodge a burrowing goose face. 
                                       
                                      "Spin the bottle. Points to Lilly. Well... I can get on board with that sure." Aaaaand spin.  The bottle didn't even do a full rotation before it stopped, pointing to the doorway to the dorms.  The DORMS where STUDENTS LIVED where STUDENTS WHO COULD BE HANDSOME ATHLETES AND ALSO KNEW ABOUT SPIN THE BOTTLE LIVED.  "Gary! he shouted in the general area of where the warlock had wandered off to a royal welcome. "You're my hero! Let's go ladies we have a Lilly to save."
                                       
                                      As far as inspirational speeches went it needed a little work but Leiderhosestone was not deterred as he grabbed the bottle and started pushing his way through fashionable bedsheets. He was too short to see through the crowd that the witch hunter had burst out of the very doorway they were en route to.  Barty clapped eyes on Briar and Hagatha and lifted his blow gun to his mouth again shooting a dart at the youngest Grimm.
                                      • Lilly Teal
                                        Lilly Teal

                                        "Oh. Um. I'm very sorry for you?" Lilly said weakly as she looked around for someone who might be Brenda. "I can't believe Frank. You. Uh. Are too good for him. And. Are better off? Without him?"

                                        Uhhhhhhhhhhh.

                                        "You deserve someone who will get you pizza and cookies," she ended finally. Which, isn't that what everyone deserved? Squirming her arm out from under her, she gave the lady's back a pat, before trying to push her off with more force. Dear God, how could such a skinny woman be so heavy?

                                        "Could you... please get... off me? I'm trying to get away from someone." And aren't we ALL trying to get away from something? "And I'd really rather get back to my friends."

                                        Pause.

                                        "I can look for Brenda for you? I'm sure she won't be able to see you with us lying down like this?"

                                        Whether the dart reached Briar or not, it was hard to tell immediately. But the second one went wide as Barty was jolted by merry revelers. "Wooooaaaah look at this guy!"

                                        "Nice hat dude!"

                                        And THAT woman had a nice hat too? Was this supposed to be a nice hat party?! Why weren't they told?!

                                        • Mother Goose
                                          Mother Goose

                                          Maybe a little luck rubbed off when you were standing so close to Gladstone Gander. The first sleeping dart, which should have hit Briar square in her neck, was suddenly blown off course when a beer-pong volley went wide, the ball spinning the dart upwards.

                                          Instead, that classic witch head was violently sleep-darted. It toppled off Briar's head, perhaps to dream of rakish fedoras or foreign chapeaus whisking it away on whirlwinds of passion... Briar gasped, a hand patting the empty air were her hat should be,

                                          The second sleeping dart barely missing her toes.

                                          Actual hit or not, the mere attempt on her daughter's life pushed Hagatha over the edge.

                                          "How DARE he-" Hagatha's head whipped around angrily to glare at the direction the dart had come from, her fiery-red hair bursting into flames.

                                          Very real, very hot flames.

                                          There was quite a bit of applause at this.

                                          Mr Grimm, still celebrating his kegstand with his new 'brothers', snapped from drunken revelry to serious soberness at the sparking. "Hagatha!" he shouted. They were about two seconds away from fireballs raining down on thee entire campus. "To me, boys, we've got to save the ladies! ...And Gladstone!"

                                          • Gladstone Gander
                                            Gladstone Gander

                                            The eruption of Mt. Momsuvius did get quite a bit of attention. The people inside the dorms suddenly wanted to be outside not wanting to miss the bonfire, but once it turned out to be a hot headed mother they all felt the urge to go back inside and study, or make sure their laundry was done. No one wanted to face a wrathful mom during a party. That was one way to harsh a buzz.  So the smattering of applause stayed mostly in the cluster of people who were both already outside and already too drunk to care that there was suddenly a burning woman not associated with a festival amidst them. Well them and the growing army around Gary, his call to arms was rewarded by such beefy boys in bed sheets it was like a strange novelty stud calendar. (It could be called Drunken Hunks to you entrepreneurial types. ) But they did leap to action.  There were babes to save. And one of them was on fire! Hoisting a keg onto his shoulder the ringleader of the studs started galloping toward Hagatha readying to spray out the fiery hair with the amber hoppy gift of the gods. Then Kegstands would continue as planned.

                                            In the chaos of people trying to get out and then back into the dorms one particular person was able to muscle through to Lilly and wrench the drunken woman off her. 

                                            "Honey-" whined another toga'd girl as she tried to rouse her wobbly friend with a slice of pizza. "-we gotta get some food in you. Oh cripes,"

                                            "Didju bring me crepes??!" 

                                            "No honey, I said cripes... eat your pizza."  She helped Lilly to her feet and pulled them both aside so that they wouldn't get trampled by the rampaging reaction to a mom on campus. "You okay? She falls on me all the time when she's like this. Heavy as anything. I would head back to your room if I were you, I think there's a mom out there freaking out because someone hired a stripper." She blinked at the leiderhosen. "...was it you? Only he's kinda in a matching outfit. Minus the..." she blinked going a little red. "-most of it. Is it your birthday maybe? Can-can we come watch? Libby will behave I promise she's just going through a break up and I've got-" She reached into her toga into the pocket of the pants she was wearing beneath it and produced a fist full of "-singles! Do you think he'll let me snap his suspenders??" 

                                            The stripper had been pushing through a crowd when he felt the hot wave of flames crash over him from behind. Gladstone turned, mid run, clutching the bottle to his chest to stare at the pillar of flames that was emanating from Hagatha's head. He blinked at the space where Briar's hat used to be then slammed right into someone. He found himself in a headlock but thankfully not a very forceful one, he seemed to have run right into the nerdiest kid on campus. Also, soon, the deadest.

                                            "Come no closer you salacious Satan spawn or your thrall will be sundered by my holy relic of Abbajean Klasinski-" an online auction seller who claimed to be descended from a disciple of Christ.  And that was true. She was directly related to her wacky aunt CHRISTina Applegarth who once had a cult that worshiped the oddly shaped boulder in her backyard. The internet is full of half truths. But this half truth was a nickle plated hunting knife that Abbajean had glued gems to in her CraftCave. You can bedazzle a blade but it's still a blade. And this one was weaving nervously through the air near the captive gander who did not seem concerned but rather, very annoyed. "-I will free him from your control by spilling his blood and exposing your true forms to all these fools who tormented and teased me for believing in witches! DO YOU BELIEVE ME NOW CHESTER!" He screamed at a retreating form who just waved noncommittally in reply. 

                                            • Lilly Teal
                                              Lilly Teal

                                              Strip- what? Lilly stared at the hopeful woman, at her handful of singles, her face rapidly growing the reddest shade in all the world. Not wanting to think about anyone snapping his suspenders. Oh Lord.

                                              "No he's- we're just. It isn't... we've just had a bad day, um, I don't suppose anyone has a coat for hi-"

                                              But before she could fluster herself any further, or confused her surely very disappointed audience any more, she heard the witch hunter shouting. Something about Chester?

                                              More importantly, something about spilling blood! Hurriedly pushing past a few hangers on, her mouth fell open in horror at the sight of the impending carnage. Libby's plastic cup was snatched from her with a quick "Sorry!", and was flung directly at Barty's head. It would do absolutely no damage, though it might soak his fancy hat a little.

                                              "Leave him alone!" she shouted from across the way. "Don't you dare hurt him!"

                                              Guys I think we found who we were looking for.

                                              • Mother Goose
                                                Mother Goose

                                                Briar, upon noticing her father's new friends, fluffed her hair. "Ooooh~ hello boys~" she cooed as the drunken army stumbled to the rescue. What big strong college men they were... it was easy to lose track of the important things when they flexed their muscle...   until she heard a familiar voice in the distance.

                                                "Lilly!!!" Briar's hand shot up to eagerly wave at her friend. "Are you ok? We were so worried!" she shouted cheerfully, as if they were just separated by the crowd, not by a maniac pulling a knife on innocent ganders. "Gladdy, look, it's Lilly!"

                                                Wayne, a weekend volunteer firefighter and eager to use his skills, had already attached a hose to the keg. "Don't worry, Burning Lady, I'll save you!"

                                                "Wait, DON'T-"

                                                Gary winced at the torrential amber waves of grain crashing over the love of his life. While he didn't mind- and at any other time would be quite admiring- the cling of his wife's newly soaked clothing, the splutter of rage did not bode well for him. "Hellybean-" he started.

                                                "Not. Now." The witch's hair was plastered to her face, in the exact opposite way that mermaid's buoyant hair avoided obeying physics. A smokey, hoppy, brunt match smell hung heavily over her. Hagatha glared daggers at Wayne (who sheepishly hid the hose behind his back), before sliding her gaze to Barry, clearly the true cause of night's misfortune. And speaking of misfortune... she stalked (well squelched) forward. "Do that, and I'll take that trinket and cut your fool head off with it," the witch snarled, reaching for her wand.

                                                "...Did that nerd just say they were witches?" a puzzled frat brother asked. "Is he, like... the good guy here?"

                                                "Why Tommy, that kind of outdated thinking belongs in Salem!" Gary interjected, throwing an arm around the doubting Thomas. "This crazed loner is perpetrating the unfounded persecution of a minority!"

                                                "Dude, major party fowl," the frat muttered.

                                                "Major party fowl indeed," Gary repeated gravely.

                                                • Gladstone Gander
                                                  Gladstone Gander

                                                  Party fouls abound. 

                                                  Things were not looking grand for Barty. Not only because Libby's liberated libations soaked the brim of his hat and it had sunk down to cover his eyes... but also because there seemed to be a witch scolding him although he was the one that was obviously in control. Right? He had one of their own hostage didn't he? He looked at Gladstone for confirmation who just lifted his eyebrows impatiently. 

                                                  "Can't do much without a head." The gander supplied helpfully and clearly still possessed by this awful woman's spell turned his attention to the dark haired maiden who was... well uh.. also clearly still possessed by this awful woman's spell and had thrown a drink at him. A drink! How unawesome was that? If it was some kind of blood, or bile of a wyvern or something like that  it wouldn't be so bad but... sheesh. So despite the fact that he was still half heartedly holding a knife to his captive Barty found said captive waving at the so called Lilly as well. 

                                                  This would never do. First thing was first, he had to defend his reputation in the eyes of his peers.

                                                  "I am not persecuting minorities! Nor am I engaging in some sort of religious culling these people are dangerous, devious, black hearted demons and I'm going to destroy them." Said with conviction and only a small amount of foot stomping. "To protect you! Even now he's-" The knife was pointed in Gary's direction, wait, tip up the edge of the hat for visual confirmation, yes yes it was pointing at Gary. "-like... hypnotizing you! W-with Magic! And probably hexes! You should be cheering MY name not his! I'm the hero here! They were robbing... well they were going to rob... I mean... LOOK they're evil okay? So are you going to help me kill them or not! We can set up the stake  and  burning station right there?" Another bladed point, right next to the Cornhole game. "I have all the supplies in my room. If we band together we can- GET BACK HERE."

                                                  It is important to remember that when you  have a hostage that you should hold onto them. Otherwise they're likely to just walk away, which was what Gladstone had just done. To his credit the gander did pause at being reprimanded but just shrugged at the distressed witch hunter before sidling over to Lilly.

                                                  "Well, what's a nice Gretel like you doing at a frat party like this?" 

                                                   

                                                  Yes. Yes Barty you are absolutely in control of this situation. Full marks. Feeling rather unsure of the current standing of this battle Barty gulped and lifted the knife in both hands and aimed it at the approaching Hagatha trembling only moderately.

                                                  "S-stand back woman! Or my blade will taste your blood."

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    Lilly didn't seem in the mood for exchanging witty banter, opting instead for "Gladstone, are you alright?" He certainly acted as if he was, but you never could tell. Pat pat the sides of his face, his shoulders, his arms, well he looked and felt complete, she hugged him, and then turned to hold out her arms for Briar as well, but frowning in concern as she shifted forward. Not too forward but enough that her tentative voice would hopefully be heard.

                                                    "Mr... Barty? Can we not make blades taste any blood?" she asked hopefully. "Any blood, Mrs. Grimm? No chopping of heads? Please?" Oh she looked so angry.

                                                    Shuffle shuffle. She wasn't going to get between them, obviously, that was a stupid idea, but- "Surely we don't have to hurt eachother? Mrs. Grimm maybe we can get you somewhere dry and comfortable?"

                                                    Briar your friend is trying to talk down an angry witch-mother and a panicky witch-hunter with hope and optimism in her eyes, do you think this is a good idea?

                                                    • Mother Goose
                                                      Mother Goose

                                                       It was a very Lilly thing to do, which is why Briar both dearly loved her friend and wanted to murder her a little bit. This was absolutely! Not! Safe! Could she please get out of the stabbing range? Why are you LIKE THIS??!

                                                      Maybe it was for the best that Hagatha taken off guard by the sheer innocence. The witch matriarch took her eyes off the target- probably safe, Barty was more likely to stab himself with that grip- in order to give Lilly a flat, puzzled "....What."

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