One of Those Shops

Prunince O’Donnell was in his least favorite position. Namely, prostrating on the ground begging for mercy. But it was all part of The Master Plan, so he had to swallow his pride.

“Please, PLEASE take me back, Principal! I swear I will never attempt such a ridiculous undertaking again!”

He soon got to experience his second least favorite position: The Boot to the Rear.


One of Those Shops

an experiment in alternate universes

started by Farsan de Arnibia

this part by Dot Warner

8B: Revenge of the Mad Scientist

(Or, In Which All Sorts of Silly Allusions are Made)


This is a nightmare.

Miro crawled desperately on all fours in a futile attempt to run. “AHH! Get the hell away from me!”

Pochi floated ominously (if that were possible), its red eyes glowing in a most disturbing fashion. “Come back, Master! All I want is to eat your brain!”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Poor, poor Miro. He really shouldn’t have watched those adult
videos.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Elsewhere, Korin sulked darkly, in the way that all good angsty villains do.

“[CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED] [CENSORED]!” He screamed, shaking a fist towards the heavens.

The camera man beat a hasty retreat, in case Korin decided to smash something.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

The next morning, the girls were sitting together in Miro’s Shop to eat breakfast.

“WHAT?!?” Rikura nearly choked on her drink (contents: 65% sugar, 30% cream, 5% hot water). “Miro had a crush on you in high school?”

“Oh, yes. He was quite smitten, the poor sap.” Suzahara sipped daintily from her mug (contents: espresso made with caffeinated water). “And given how he reacted to me earlier, I suspect he still may be.”

Kimihiko slammed her fist into the table, nearly tipping over her cup (contents: instant tea). “You can’t have him! He’s mine!”

“Really? Is that a challenge?” Suzahara’s eyes glinted.

“Good morning,” Miro yawned, staggering in.

“Ara, it’s─um, you!” Suzuhara exclaimed, putting on her best Innocent Ditz face.

“You okay, Miro?” Kimihiko asked worriedly. “You look awful!”

“Nah, I’ll be fine once I get something in my system. How are you guys?”

“I, for one, still can’t believe Ted’s father tried to take over the world, ” Rikura said, shaking her head. “Where did he get such crazy ideas, anyway?”

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Biting back a sneeze, Theodore turned to the next spell in the book. “Okay, let’s try this one.” he copied the magical circle to the best of his ability, not an easy task given what shape his hands─ er, fins─were in at the moment. Then he closed his eyes and began enchanting. “Erau qssi drlo weht!”

The circle began to glow and his body felt unbearably hot. Was it finally working? Theodore pulled himself towards the mirror lying against the wall.

“Bwee bwee bwee BWEE!”

Translation: it was time to find a counter spell, and FAST.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Meanwhile, Wu Pon was on the phone with an irate customer. “What do you mean, you didn’t intend to end the world? Then why on Earth did you buy a Human Complementation Starter Kit for?” Wu Pon’s mouth curled in disgust as he listened to the explanation. “Okay, pal, I’ve met some pretty weird people in my day, but that’s just plain sick. If you’re so interested in sex, go pay a hooker like every other man does!”

Wu Pon slammed the phone down onto the receiver and rubbed the bridge of his nose to prevent the onset of another headache. It was times like this that he wondered why he ever got into the business of selling death and destruction. Why couldn’t he just market shiny things instead?

“Ooh, shiny.”

Wu Pon blinked. Was he hearing voices? His eyes finally caught sight of the small hairy figure crouched before one of his displays.

“Shiny shiny shiny SHINY!” The thing exclaimed, hopping up and down as if performing some sort of ritual.

Now Wu Pon was furious. “Get back to the plot already!” he roared, shaking a fist at the Fourth Wall and causing it to wobble precariously.

Oh, all right, fine.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Ex-Professor O’Donnell shivered in a cardboard box at the end of a dilapidated alley. It was the only home he could afford now that the university had revoked his position, tenure, and research funds. Besides, he was rather wanted by several nations for attempting to take over the world; Japan especially would probably like to skin him on account of the whole Mt. Fuji thing.

Stupid governments and their stupid nationalist pride. It was people like then that would never exist in his new world order had he succeeded.

Where did I go wrong? The plan was perfect, wasn’t it?

Prunice shook his head. More important than dwelling on the past was to forge the glorious future he knew he could accomplish. He merely had to find new minions, reacquire some serious firepower, and come up with a new foolproof plan, all without being discovered.

Right. Piece of cake.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

“…and that’s how I ended up being the shopkeeper, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”

“I’m guessing it’s to sell stuff?” Rikura asked teasingly.

/And never, EVER tell anyone about me!/ Pochi added with a whine, beating at the bars that held it. This was rather difficult for Pochi, as the first thing Miro did after he woke up that morning was to curse him into the form of a slime.

(Despite being competition, Wu Pon was nice enough to lend Miro a book of magic even more powerful than the one Ted bought. Miro found such wonderful spells in it.)

Miro glowered. “Shut the hell up. I still haven’t forgiven you for what you did.”

/I said I’m sorry already!/

One could almost see the gears turning in Kimihiko’s head. “So, let me get this straight. You can sort of create stuff by imagining it, and then people buy it from you and they become real?”

“Yeah, I think so, but right now I’m limited to really simple stuff.”

Kimihiko seemed to look rather disappointed. “Oh.”

“Ara!”

“Is something the matter, Suzahara?” Miro asked, trying desperately not to blush.

The Object of Miro’s Desire pointed to the imprisoned Pochi. “That’s so cute! May I have it?”

“Well, I…”

Pochi panicked. /Master! You can’t sell me!/

Miro narrowed his eyes. “Oh, can’t I?”

Suzahara blinked. “Who are you talking to?”

Miro put a hand behind his head. “Haha, nothing! Just wondering what you would think is a fair price for it.”

Suzahara put a finger to her chin and pouted in a way that made Miro feel faint. “Well─”

Now Pochi was really going crazy. /No, I’m serious! Ownership cannot change hands unless the Shopkeeper dies!/

“Oh, fine.” Miro muttered, walking to the counter. He faced Suzahara, but didn’t look directly at her for fear of making the blood rush to his head. “I’m sorry, that’s not for sale.” he quickly chanted the sliming curse on a small paperweight he found, then held it towards Suzahara for her approval. “How about this instead?”

Suzahara gasped. “Ara! That is just so very─” she snatched the object from Miro’s hands and began cooing at it. “Oh, you’re just so adorable!”

Miro scratched his nose. “I’m glad you like it.”

Kimihiko looked like she was ready to burst. “Miro, doesn’t she have to pay you first?”

“Oh, yes, haha! That would be─um─” Miro felt the world spin as Suzahara shot him a surreptitious glance.

(Meanwhile, the Authoress bashed her head into the keyboard repeatedly as she tried to remember the exchange rate between dollars and yen. Then she decided that it was the sale that mattered, not the actual money.)

Stuttering, he named an amount he hoped would be small enough that Suzahara could afford with a cash payment, yet large enough to count as a valid transaction.

“Oh, how wonderful! I can pay you right now!” Reaching into her purse daintily, Suzahara counted out the exact amount and pressed it into Miro’s palm. “Thank you so much, Mr. Strange Person!”

Miro nearly fell over.

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Later that afternoon, Miro received a rather thick package in the mail.

“What in the world…?” he turned the package this way and that, attempting to decipher the strange glyphs.

/The Guildmasters must have detected the change in ownership, and sent you an application for a license and registration./

“You mean there’s actually people out there that regulate Shops?” Miro asked incredulously.

/Beings far superior to anything you can imagine, actually. And of course, they expect everyone to understand their language./

“This mess? I can’t even begin to make heads or tails of it! There doesn’t seem to be any sort of pattern to the symbols at all!”

/That’s because you haven’t been trained to understand how they think yet. I, on the other hand, have been immersed in the Holy Tongue for millennia and can translate for you./

“You’d do that?”

/Well, it would be a bit difficult in my current form./

Miro sighed. “All right, fine, I’ll uncurse you.”

~ Thank You, Please Come Again ~

Sometime even later, Pochi (now in the form of a small glowing faerie) and Miro pored over the various forms together.

“And─done!” With a flourish, Miro put the finishing touches on the one he was currently working on and added it to the growing pile. “Now it’s finally starting to look like we’re putting a dent in this thing!”

/I’m afraid the next question won’t be so easy to handle, Master. You are required to write an essay expounding on the happiness of fish./

Miro nearly dropped his pen. “You’re kidding.”

/I’m quite serious. The Guild tests every Shopkeeper stringently in all areas of knowledge./

“Great.” Miro massaged his temples. “Got any ideas?”

/As my former master often said, when in doubt, Make It Up./

“Sounds as good a suggestion as any.”

/Don’t worry, Master, I’m sure you can do it./

Miro smiled weakly. “Thanks, I think.”

/Perhaps this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship?/

“Don’t count on it,” Miro answered, chuckling nonetheless.

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