Chapter 5 Clothes Make the Hero</i>
It seems weve got a new enemy on our hands, the Asian man in dark armor called Chase Young said interestedly. He watched Rika acquaint herself with her new friends, Daffy and Porky, the three of them completely oblivious to the fact they were being watched.
Do you ever just get the feeling youre being watched? Daffy promptly declared.
They appeared on an enormous screen, one of many linked to the different worlds and universes, each one showing a different scene unfolding at that very moment. Right now, it was upon Rika he focused on. An unforeseen event, but not an unfortunate one. This can be turned to our advantage
What are you talking about, Chase?! the young techno-savvy teen with red hair Jack Spicer snapped. That chick only just made it past the Soulfuls!
Bah! the tiny Irken Invader Zim sneered disdainfully. As if a filthy human pig like you can match wits with those de-evolved beasts let alone the mighty moose
I like moose! the barely functioning SIR unit robot drone GIR exclaimed idiotically.
The girl is indeed inexperienced and ill prepared, but her potential is incredible, the unknown man in the white robe said, preferring to remain hidden in the shadows; his voice calm, collected, analytical and terribly pitiless. If she would turn to our side, she could become a powerful solider among our ranks. A Keyblade alone make her a force to be reckoned with, but her true power lies in her connection to the worlds. She would make a fine ally indeed.
A strategy I am not entirely adverse to, Reaper, Chase Young replied. But can she be turned?
Any soul can be corrupted in one way or another, the demon Blackheart informed him in an unsettling voice that would send chills those without strong wills namely Jack and Zim. All that remains is to find out exactly what it is
and exploit it.
An idea Im not at all reluctant to utilize, he declared triumphantly. He, Jack, Zim, GIR, Blackheart and the man in white stepped out of the monitoring room and into a large conference hall with a monk motif going, a circular table positioned in the middle under a ring of lit candles in a chandelier shining down in such a way as to cast ominous shadows upon the rooms occupants most likely done purposely. Already my plans are moving into its final phases. Where Maleficent and the Organization have failed, we shall succeed. Our numbers are greater, our powers stronger, our plans more sharply defined. We have learned from the mistakes others have made and shall utilize them to our benefit. Each of you has joined me in this endeavor, seeing the potential for power and a chance to rule over your respective worlds for all time without opposition. Now I know we will not fail.
As High Captain of the Seven Seas, the tentacle-faced Davy Jones remarked, lighting his barnacle-encrusted pipe and smoking it calmly, my ship is at your disposal, Heylin Warrior. He extinguished the match with a puff from one of his many blowholes surrounding his slimy, slithery beard of twitching tendrils.
All right! the maliciously sadistic NegaDuck boomed, cackling wildly with a deranged glint behind his masked eyes. And lemme tell ya theres no escaping the unbelievable power of the Fearsome Five!
I have waited many years for this chance at revenge, the mighty sorcerer Mozenrath growled with his right gloved hand clenched into a fist as it glowed foreboding dark magic. I have gained unsurpassable amount of magical energy and knowledge and am ready and willing to use it for this chance. You can count on me.
My mighty Fire Nation soldiers are poised and ready for a battle at a moments notice, the powerful leader Fire Lord Ozai added with a sinister smile, sitting proudly on the seat he held. Nothing can withstand our Firebending or war weapons.
My Deadly Viper Assassination Squad can bypass any defense, the enigmatic warrior known only simply as Bill assured Chase Young. Across his lap lied a long, curved sword, one he could draw it in a flash and use it without a moments delay to bring any opponent to their knees. Name the target and considered it eliminated.
The Toon Town Patrol and my Dip are just itching to wipe away any unsavory Toons thatll get in our way, the sinister Judge Doom informed, clutching his walking stick tightly with his black leather gloves.
I believe my people have unlocked the long lost secrets of our Island after this time, the small, unassuming Benjamin Linus added, wiping off his glasses, his eyes large and bug-like, almost always open to observe those around him. Already events have occurred which could prove very
appealing for us. Not much longer and the heart of the Island shall be revealed for us to exploit.
And you have dont worry about a thing with me around, Chase! the ultimate weapons master Syndrome added pompously, sticking his feet up on the table and throwing his hands behind his head comfortably. Once your cronies have been equipped with my super technology, nothing, not even a Keyblade, will stop them! You can bet your Shen Gong Wu on that!
Id sooner bet on Spicer realizing that Zim is experimenting on him, he sneered scornfully. Syndrome frowned and waved his hand dismissively.
Zims been experimenting on me?! Jack angrily glared at Zim, who was holding a bizarre device in his hands that was scanning him. Zim quickly hid the contraption, smiling innocently.
Soon, once everything falls into place, everything shall be ours, Chase declared, throwing his arms out gallantly as he stood at the head of the table. And Kingdom Hearts shall be ours!
But how the heck are you planning on doing that? NegaDuck asked. From what I heard back at St. Canard, Kingdom Hearts has been locked up tight by the Rat King and his key wielding flunkie?
And what about these Soulfuls? Bill added skeptically, placing his hand on his chin. They may prove a threat to our plans.
I dont know about you guys, but I dont exactly like the idea of being nonexistent! Syndrome said with a twinge of anxiety cracking in his voice.
The Soulful are indeed a powerful enemy, Chase agreed, taking his seat and rested his chin on his right fist, and then smirked. But well leave them be.
What is it that you have in mind? Doom inquired curiously.
From what I can gather, no one seems to know of our groups existence yet, he explained. And I intend on keeping it that way. Why soil our hands when we can have others take care of it for us?
Youre planning on having the Link to bring down the Purifiers and their Soulfuls, Ozai stated, catching on to what Chase was saying.
Exactly, he nodded.
There are other factors to consider, Blackheart added, seating himself at his left hand, the man in white seated at his right. King Mickey and his fellow Keyblade wielders have disappeared to parts unknown, but you can be sure theyre up to something. It would be in our best interests to discover their locations as soon as possible and stop them before things get out of hand.
Why do think you think he had I set up monitors depicting each and every currently known world? Ben said in cold monotone, unfeeling even as Blackheart fiercely glared at the little man.
I wish to be more informed of this plan of yours, Davy Jones said inquisitively to Chase. In my long existence, Ive learned that youd better understand what youve gotten yourself into before signing your name, for it might be in blood.
Or ink, in his case, Jack Spicer snickered to Zim, not noticing that Jones claw arm was reaching for him. He gagged as it fastened itself around his throat. Ack, Im sorry
he wheezed, gasping for breath as the Lord of the Seas released him.
I promise you, Jones, that you will not regret anything once you have joined this association, Chase assured him. By this time in a year, you shall each be lord of your dominion. And nothing shall stand in our way! They all nodded in agreement.
Lets go get some tacos! GIR shrieked, running around the conference hall wildly as he left behind a splattering trail of oil everywhere.
So, where exactly are we going? Daffy asked as he, Rika and Porky walked down the streets of Traverse Town, the Warners choosing to hang back at their ship Porky looked a bit uneasy.
Im not entirely sure, Rika said, holding a little business card that had a miniscule map that was nearly impossible to read without a magnifying glass which she was using. But you heard what No Limit said, weve got to get some new clothes before we head to Radiant Garden.
D-d-didnt he s-s-say w-we should hur-hur-hur, wed best be in a rush? Porky asked.
I dunno. He says a lot of things, Rika shrugged helplessly.
And like I need new threads, Daffy scoffed, pulling a full body mirror from nowhere and pausing to admire himself. Im already too sexy for a shirt!
Hey, how is it that you guys are able to do that of things, pulling stuff out of hammerspace and being able to get flung from a building and not get hurt? Rika stated, crossing her arms confusedly. You two can really pull off some really nutty stuff.
I-its simple, R-Rika, Porky smiled sensibly. We-we-were Looney Tunes.
And, as such, are exclusive property and trademarks, Daffy explained as he got close to Rikas face, splattering spittle all over it, of Warner Bros. Inc! Daffy held up his bottom, revealing a flimsy paper logo of a shield with the letters WB on it and then kissing it lovingly like a child to its mother.
Rika slightly retched at the duck kissing his own lower backside. I see. So you guys are in cartoons?
Daffy balked at her in disbelief. Dont you kids watch film strips anymore? he snapped, waving his right hand irately.
I prefer watching some more serious things, like Desperate Housewives or Days of our Lives, Rika said as she laughed uncomfortably.
Daffy sighed defeatedly. Of course, teenaged girls dont give two-wits for our comedic genius, he said, puffing out his chest proudly and placing a hand over his heart.
I-I-I dont know a-a-about you
Porky muttered to himself, earning a stern glower from Daffy. Rika giggled.
Our new friends are certainly an animated bunch. Haha!
Rikas giggling ceased immediately and she replaced it with a pout.
What? Youre ignoring me now?
Im only going to use you to finish my job, Rika whispered quietly, not wanting Daffy or Porky to think shes crazy for talking to herself. And Im NOT doing this because of you; Im doing it because I care about my friends.
Is it because I was such a hard ass before about your destiny?
Rika didnt respond.
All right, FINE! Have it your way. Two can play the cold shoulder game!
She sighed sadly, feeling a twinge of guilt; she never was any good at holding a grudge. R-R-Rika? Porky called from a strange wrestling position he was in with Daffy. Are y-you all right?
Yeah, she answered distantly, but pulled on a faux smile for them. Im fine. Just feeling a little tired.
Id imagine, we just got out of a scrap with a T-Rex hungry for pork, Daffy said, hopping back on his feet and dusting away dirt on his feathers as Porky frowned disapprovingly. Lets just hurry up and get to the, oh, look, were here.
They found the building, a massive three story tall mansion surrounded by a cast iron fence. A monitor was built into the side of the gate brickwork and Rika pressed the large red button. The monitor flickered on. Excuse me, but is this the residence of-
Edna Mode, yes? A pair of huge, horn-rimmed spectacles filled the television screen, peering down on Rika and company curiously, as if they were very interesting bugs that one would find in their backyard. Who ez it, dahling? I am a very, very, very busy woman.
Hi! Um, my name is Rika. The duck is Daffy, and the pig is called Porky.
You arent joking, Edna Mode murmured to herself.
Yeah, our friend No Limit sent us to get some new clothes, Rika finished.
Something tells me were going to be introducing ourselves over and over again until it gets to the point its kind of ridiculous how many times we do it, Daffy declared.
Ah, yes, No Limit, Edna sneered contemptuously. Yes, I am acquainted with him. And I remember it all so well. Bah! I spit in his general direction! PT-WEE! She spat in a random direction, earning awkward looks exchanged between the three. But it is all ze past now, dahling. You have no need to fear any vengeance from me. She grinned at them. Please, please come into my humble abode
. The cast iron gates opened for them automatically, a long, low grinding noise sending shivers down their spines.
I h-h-have a b-bad feeling about t-this, Porky muttered.
Make that order out for two, Rika gulped.
Whats to worry about? Daffy said dismissively. Shes just a little eccentric. Im sure once get inside well be greeted with a wide and warm open fireplace with various portraits painted by the finest of artists, a comforting atmosphere with delicious homemade gingerbread men baking in a toaster oven, all done by a gentle granny-like entrepreneur. They walked through the gate towards the front door and he knocked on it confidently only for the ground to open up beneath their feet.
Of course, I might be WROOOOoooooong
Daffy yelled as they tumbled down a steep, slippery slide into the darkness below.
They landed on a bunch of mats, Porky landed first, then Rika, and finally Daffy crushing the two of them. They were trapped in a dark room, surrounded by dozens of mannequins draped in superhero costumes from across the universe. A giant screen television flickered on and Edna Modes huge head loomed over them. So! No Limit sent you, eh? Where were you the night of July 18th?
I was watching our film companys latest blockbuster movie, The Dark Knight, Daffy moaned, shielding his eyes from the spotlight that flared down on them.
I swear, Im just here for new clothes! Rika yelled. Can you help us out or not?
New clothes, new clothes, she repeated to herself, tapping her fingers together mysteriously. Very well. Let us assume for ze moment you are telling ze truth. What will you give me in exchange for ze new clothes, dahling?
Uh, well, I dunno, Rika coughed. I dont have any munny.
And a-a-all I have are a f-f-few dollars that I l-l-left in my other pants! Porky groaned.
You dont wear pants, butterball! Daffy pointed out.
N-n-neither do you.
Touché, my strong-minded teammate, he said.
WHAT! Edna snapped. She vanished from the gigantic monitor and, a moment later, appeared in a doorway that slid open. She trotted up to them, surprising them at her diminutive stature, quite a shock after seeing her larger than life up until now. An insult! I am shocked! Appalled! You expect to come barging in here, demanding a brand new, stunning, one-of-a-kind Edna Mode masterpiece and you have the audacity to say you have no money! I am
I am actually intrigued by this startling turn of events. You have some guts, dahling! She reached up and pinched Rikas cheek, making her smile and wince helplessly and painfully.
So s-she is the granny-t-type, Porky mused, shrugging. Who knew?
Come, come, dahling, no need to be shy, Edna crooned, her tiny little legs propelling her with surprising rapidness out of the basement and up the stairs to a hallway. So, youve just come for clothes?
Er, yeah, NL told me-
PFT! Edna scoffed loudly, prompting Rika to stop mid-sentence. You can just stop right there. I do not make clothes. I create art! With my bare hands I have designed works worn by ze greatest of heroes, all of whom became heroes known throughout all ze known universe in style! Rika, Daffy and Porky could only gape in awe from Ednas statement. All for a reasonable price, of course, she smiled subtly.
Hows about you make me something, too? Daffy suggested excitedly.
All in good time, my boy, she assured him. She trotted up to a doorway that had no doorknob and no way in. Edna punched in a long string of digits rapidly into a keypad. It then slid down to reveal a palm scanner and she placed her hand on it. Then it turned into a retina scan, zapping her eyes and leading to a microphone popping out of the wall. Edna Mode, she said in a clear voice. Immediately, red lights flashed and klaxons blared as thirty laser guns came out of the walls, floor and ceiling, pointing right at the trio who jumped together in fright. Oh, yes, and guests. The guns withdrew back into their sockets and the alarms shut off. The three sighed in relief.
The door slid upward a la USS Enterprise to reveal into a mammoth workshop. They goggled at the enormous sewing machine and the diagrams detailing how to create unique superhero costumes ranging from flamers to icers and beyond. Now, let us take a look at what youre currently wearing. Edna started circling Rika, eying her from head-to-toe, taking in all her features and measurements. She clicked her tongue critically. Oh, this is a garbage outfit, dahling. You cant be seen in this. I wont allow it! Fifteen years ago, maybe, but now? Pft! You need a new outfit, that much is certain.
I thought it looked nice
Rika muttered objectively, but soon regretted it as Edna squeezed both sides of her face with her own left hand.
Trust me, dahling, she said. After you see your new one you wont be even able to stand to look at this poor excuse for clothing you have drabbed over you at the moment. Rika nodded quickly and she released her. Edna pulled from under a desk a clear sketchpad swiftly and clicked a pen, getting to work immediately. It will be bold. Dramatic!
Rika smiled, starting to picture of her idea of her new clothes.
Yeah! she nodded. Maybe something really cool with a cape
No capes! Edna snapped severely, slapping Rikas head with the sketchpad and returning to work.
Aw, why not? Rika pouted. I mean, isnt it my decision?
Ednas horn-rimmed glasses slowly peaked over the top of the pad with glowering eyes. Have you ever heard of Thunderhead? Nice man, good with kids. November 15th of 58! All was well, stopped the villain, saved the day when his cape got snagged on a missile fin!
Well, that was just one time
Stratogale! Edna continued, unabated. April 23rd, 57. Cape caught in a jet turbine!
But you cant really blame
Meta-Man, lifting an express elevator and his cape got caught on a loose nail! You can only IMAGINE what happened when ze elevator came back down. Dyna-Guy, snagged his cape on a fire hydrant! Neck snapped in three places. Splashdown, sucked into a vortex! His body was never found. And No Limit! His cape got onto ze downtown express and got dragged all around! He survived, but refuses to take any modes of public transportation since then.
W-w-wait a minute, YOU de-de-designed No Limits c-costume? Porky asked.
Yes, Edna frowned irritably. Even after that life-threatening moment, he absolutely insisted on wearing that jacket of his even though its essentially another cape. Bah! I refuse to speak of him any more! My point? NO CAPES! she shrieked, waving her finger in Rikas face.
Okay, Edna, Rika said, nodding her head pathetically.
Oh, buck up, dahling, she said dismissively and then grinned widely. Aha! It is done! Simple, elegant, yet resolute.
Think I could have a look
? Rika tried to peep on the drawing, but Edna snatched it away and trotted toward a large machine that had various bobs and bits for sewing, such as bobbins and yarn. She feed the paper into it. The machine came to life, lights blinking, steam billowing and revolving gears. The trio ogled at it in wonder as the machine continued doing its job of whatever it was doing. Finally, the sounds of the machine slowly died down with a groan as the lights, steam and gears ceased. They all gaped at the unmoving machine.
Er, Daffy coughed.
With the lighting of a tiny bulb, out popped an outfit on a mannequin similar to Rikas current one, but it just seemed to glow of light. A simple white t-shirt with blue short sleeves and a hood, a pair of black fingerless-gloves with straps to tighten or loosen, and a black belt pack worn backwards. And a little blue ribbon for her hair completed the ensemble. Wow, Rika whispered. This is mine?
Youll be traveling in style, dahling, Edna assured her. Care for a demonstration?
Er, what do you mean? she asked.
Come. Sit with me. Edna waved for them to follow as she sat down a little seat of four next to a table on a platform in front a large glass pane to an empty room. Rika looked to Daffy and Porky and shrugged along with them, each wedging themselves into the uncomfortably miniature chairs. Suddenly, the platform began sliding slowly to the right along the glass window and Rikas new outfit tracked along on the opposite on a moving clothesline. I started with comfort, she began.
Started? Daffy asked.
Shh! she shushed him. I cut it a little roomy for the free movement. The fabric is comfortable for sensitive skin
C-c-couldnt have d-d-done that for th-th-these chairs, huh? Porky deadpanned. Then humongous flames exploded from underneath Rikas new clothes, catching the porky pig off guard. Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, my
Porkys eyes rolled to back the back of his head from the shock.
Can withstand temperatures up to one-thousand degrees, Edna continued offhandedly. Completely bulletproof. Rika, Daffy and Porky threw their hands over their ears to protect them from the deafening bullets shot from four machine guns extended from the ground at the clothes. And machine washable, dahling. Thats a new feature.
Oh, if only I had one of those when it was duck season, Daffy mused memorably.
Virtually indestructible, Edna added as two large missiles lowered from the ceiling fired up and launched themselves at the outfit, shaking the very foundation of the building as Rika, Daffy and Porky hugged each other tightly, yet breathes likes Egyptian cotton
What the hell do you think Ill be doing?! Rika yelled.
Well, I couldnt possibly know, dahling, she responded, holding up a teacup as she stirred sugar into some coffee. It wouldnt hurt to be prepared, would it? I covered ze basics. Cappuccino? she offered, holding the cup toward Rika.
No thanks, Rika mumbled, pursuing her lips and blowing through them derisively.
Ah, but I havent even reached ze best feature, Edna said, sipping from the cup. I believe youre familiar with ze Drive Forms?
Oh, yeah! she nodded excitedly. Thats when my old man and his partners combined abilities to form incredible powers!
Precisely, Edna said. But, alas, this only has one as of now. Im afraid youll have to find others on your own. Well, dahling, what do you think? She smiled conceitedly, knowing full-well what the answer will be.
I love it, Rika stated, her first true smile in a while.
Okay, shes done! Daffy shoved her out of his way, hopping around eagerly like a six-year-old boy finding his little red bicycle at the bottom of the Christmas tree. What about me, huh? Huh? Huh?
Oh, yes, ze farm animals, Edna pondered, tapping her chin thoughtfully. You two do present a challenge, but youre in need of a drastic makeover. Especially the duck. He ez
just naked! Ill gladly take that challenge! She pressed a button on the wall and two mechanical hands lowered out of the ceiling, grabbing Daffy and Porky forcefully that they gagged, and began swinging around so rapidly they were blurred.
Whoa! Hey! W-w-watch the happy h-hands! Porky yelped as they jumped out of the whirlwind of hands. Daffy now wore a cute little blue sailor suit while Porky wore a pair of baggy pants, a black vest, a yellow turtleneck sweater, floppy shoes and an odd hat atop his head. Uh, no-no-no offense, ma-ma-madam, but I th-th-think we need some-some-some other c-clothes.
Yeah, well be sued in a minute! Daffy added, ripping off his new clothes. Porky also stripped his suit to reveal his old clothes still underneath.
. Edna smirked. All right. Ive got it. With another push of a button on the wall, the two mechanical hands set their grips around Daffy and Porky again.
Mother, here we go again! Daffy wheezed. After some quick handiwork (pun most DEFINETLY intended), the hands retracted and left the two spinning until a quick stop. Daffy now wore a red vest with an open zipper on front, a white belt around his waist with two holsters each carrying his glowing green nunchaku and a blue beret atop his head. And Porky wore a green jacket with also an open zipper. The jacket had a buckle at the bottom strapped around the waist with a white emblem of a rabbits head on the back. And a small black fez rested on top of his head.
Oh, not bad, not bad
Daffy stated, moving his waist around to examine his new outfit.
Porky adjusted the buckle a bit and smiled. I-i-it is pretty nic-nic-nic, quite fashionable indeed.
Edna blew a kiss. Do you expect anything less, dahlings? By the way, as an extra feature, each of these incredibly smart ensembles comes equipped with a homing device, she explained, handing each of them a little white device with a screen and a button with heart insignia crested on the back, giving you the precise location of the wearer at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, its range ez only restricted to within a world, not universal.
Rika took the device and held it tightly. Edna, I dont know how we could ever repay you
Nonsense, dahling! She waved it frivolously. I give you these out of the kindness of my heart. She coughed, And twenty-five percent of your earnings as you go. So! Shall I show you the door?
Shortly, the trio emerged from Ednas home, albeit this time through her front door. G-g-golly, Rika, you lo-lo-look li-li-like a true her-her-hero, Porky declared proudly.
I sort of almost feel heroic, too, Rika admitted, holding her arms up and admiring her new threads. Like Im a brave adventurer or something like that. She sighed. But I have got to tell you guys something, Im still a little nervous about doing this. I mean, there are so many people counting on me and there are so many worlds. And Im just
You su-su-sure like that w-w-ord, huh? Porky said. Youre n-n-not useless, R-Rika. Be-be-believe me, I-I-Im j-j-just an ordinary pi-pi-pi, an everyman. I-I dont k-know that much and Im not to-to-too sure I can do-do-do anything. B-but, I sti-sti-still do whatever I-I-I can d-do. And thats what e-e-everyone do-do-does: Whatever th-th-they can do. H-h-heck, and you ev-ev-even have u-u-us to help y-y-you out every st-st-step of the way.
So, relax! Daffy chuckled, slapping her back. Me and Porky, we gotcha covered! One for all and all for one and all that. After all, what are friends for? Rika smiled as they marched down the street for the Gummi ship hanger together.