War in the Park
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"A trap?" Kate said as they carefully walked out of the waterfall and onto the shore. "Something tells me that the Toontown here isn't the same one we're looking for."
"Yeah, I don't think we'll get out of here very easily," Gyro mumbled. "And those vehicles are no doubt carrying soldiers." He squinted through the distant images behind the trees. Shadowy figures were marching. "Yep, I see them."
They were interrupted by a sad-sounding squeak. Gyro's helper crawled out of the murky water and onto the soil.
Gyro's mouth opened in shock. "I thought I left you back in the ship! Did you use an invisible mask?"
"What?" Evina asked.
"It erased itself. It's not a toon. That's rather clever but foolish of it to come anyway. If Johnson got his hands on it, he could extract information about our world."
"But why does he want to kill us?" Glue Stick demanded. "Who is this guy?"
"None of that matters now," Gyro said. "All we can do is stay alive and stop him if we can."
"How?" they asked.
"Remember our food storage? I learned how our physics are different from the human world. We can use that to our advantage. Although we won't be able to break the laws of physics, like that time you removed sand dunes with a shovel, the pencil remains our most powerful tool."
"So, what are we going to do?" Evina asked.
"We have to stop Johnson, and with your strength from The Shadow you will have to do most of the work."
"What about me?" Glue Stick asked.
"Don't ruin our chances of surviving," Kate shot back coldly, but she noticed her tone of voice and changed it immediately. "Um, why don't you erase little lightbulb guy again?"
Evina tossed Glue Stick the pencil, then he turned to the others. "Ok, this is the plan. Dad and Kate will go distract that group of soldiers headed to Tomorrowland. Meanwhile, Glue Stick and the helper will distract the group in Frontierland. I can use that time to take on Johnson alone in Main Street. Got that?"
"It's the best plan we got," Gyro admitted.
"I will succeed or die trying," Kate assured him.
"I won't let anyone die," Evina insisted.
"We'll see about that..."
Everyone took off through the forest of trees in their designated directions.
Glue Stick followed the helper out of Adventureland, or at least he thought it was following him. He couldn't see it. He was sweating and looking around frantically. Never had he been so nervous.
A squeak directed his attention to Frontierland, and he followed it. It wasn't long before he saw an armored truck parked outside a funny-shaped rock formation.
"Ok, I need to distract them somehow," he whispered. "How about something like this?" He stepped forward. The helper tried to stop him, but he didn't listen.
"Hey, guys, what are you all doing?"
The soldiers turned to look at him.
"Dang, I never thought I would see a toon with my own eyes. It's true, after all!" one of them gasped.
Another one didn't look so amused. "Follow your orders. Don't let it escape alive."
The first soldier pointed his rifle at Glue Stick, and a window shattered behind him with a loud bang.
"Ok, well, um... bye!" Glue Stick turned the other way and ran as fast as he could, screaming as the bullets whizzed by him and the soldiers followed in hot pursuit. He broke the window to the Golden Horseshoe and climbed inside, thinking for a moment that he had thrown them off his track. "That was close!"
The helper squeaked in agreement. Glue Stick had almost forgotten it was with him.
"Well, do you have any bright ideas?" The helper's lightbulb head flickered on and off. "Ha-ha, that's very funny," he said sarcastically. "There has to be a backdoor we can sneak through or something." He sprinted to the stage and accidentally knocked a can of gold paint off of a nearby table, getting paint all over his foot.
"Hey, now I have the golden horseshoe. No, wait. Have you ever wondered why I have these paw things instead?"
The helper jumped on his other foot, causing pain, and convinced him to keep moving. Glue Stick ran through the curtain, followed some halls, and found an exit door where he could escape.
"Where are we going?" Kate demanded.
Gyro was nearly out of breath. "I don't know! This is all Evina's plan!"
"Because I understand how we're toons and all, but my sword can't deflect all those bullets."
"Why don't you do that white fire thing again? I saw it back on that planet—"
"And cause a blackout for the whole city? I think we're in enough trouble as it is!"
"Over here," Gyro said. He darted into a random building and Kate followed.
"What are we doing?"
"I'm not sure yet."
After they made their way out of the long zigzag halls, they came across the ride. It looked very cartoonish. There was an image of a man in a bizarre spacesuit pasted on the opposite wall, and the ride vehicles were all lined up on a track, not moving.
"Do you really think we can hide from them in here?" Kate asked with doubt in her voice.
"Who knows," Gyro muttered. Then they both heard the same noise at the same time. It was the voice of soldiers.
"I think they went this way," one soldier spoke. His voice was clearly audible even though it was from somewhere back in the queue hallway.
"I can't believe what I saw. I mean, I didn't see what I thought I saw, and we won't let these illusions interfere with our orders, will we?"
Gyro hopped over to a control panel and pressed every button he could see. "It won't work," he whispered.
Kate rolled her eyes. "No key? No problem." She sliced off the security key mechanism, and all the lights flickered on. The ride began to move.
"Wow, this is slower than I thought," Gyro said.
"You really should do more research before you choose random rides to hide in."
"Well, I'm sorry," Gyro said through his teeth with frustration. "I didn't have time to read up on the latest attractions when there were men with heavy weapons swarming this park trying to kill us."
He took a plastic laser gun from its holster to defend himself. The trigger caused the gun to vibrate and create an annoying sound.
"Did you hear that?" the first soldier said. "I think they're on the ride!"
"Duck!" Kate warned.
They crouched down low enough so that the soldiers could not see them just by scanning the tops of each ride vehicle.
"Get in, private."
"You heard me! We're going to follow the target like they ordered us to. What have I always told you? This isn't Disneyland, kid; this is war... Oh, wait."
"I'll try to distract them," Gyro said. He aimed at a target and fired, causing a prop to light up and create more noise.
Kate was impressed. "You're not all that bad, old man."
Both soldiers jumped in fear, but the officer glared down at the private, pretending that he hadn't been frightened. "You scared of a cardboard cutout? Don't let them distract you. Watch out for them when they come out to take another shot."
"Try the robot," Kate suggested. "Gyro took aim, but a bullet sailed past his head and caused a prop of a three-eyed, green alien to explode."
"That'll be us next," Gyro cried.
"Don't be so worried. Have you thought this through? Since when have human weapons caused toons any damage?"
Gyro didn't answer. He almost looked surprised that he hadn't considered that idea so far. "With the power of those weapons, I'd rather not find out. Even if we survive the impact, it would give any toon a world of pain."
"But only one of them is shooting, right? That rifle doesn't have rapid fire."
"We really don't know for sure."
Kate leaped up from the floor and landed in a perfect battle stance on the vehicle's edge. Her glimmering sword was in hand, and her hair was flowing in a wind that didn't exist. "I'm going to send you to infinity and beyond!"
The private took a shot, and it was easily deflected. Then he tried again, and with another spark and another clang, it ricocheted somewhere else.
"Are you using armor piercing rounds?" the officer asked.
"That thing must be made of something crazy strong!"
With a deep sigh, the older one took out his pistol and helped with the fight. Even working together, they were no match for Kate. Despite the faster rate of fire, she flinched faster than any move they could make, and it looked so effortless. Props exploded left and right, and even a few lights shattered as the bullets ricocheted off to all the surrounding room. The sound was deafening.
"This is what I've been waiting for!" Kate exclaimed, laughing in the face of death. "And what do you know, it's actually working better than planned!" the blade began to glow. It was collecting a lot of energy from those bullets.
"Please don't hurt them much," Gyro insisted. "We have to be better than that."
"Alright," Kate agreed, "but it's not going to be fun for them."
The soldiers stopped firing as Kate's sword glowed brighter, and she focused the energy in their direction, ready to fire. The officer cowered behind the private and screamed.
She grinned. "Welcome to Disneyland, boys."
Glue Stick couldn't keep up with the helper. He was running out of breath. "I've seen so many westerns, but I never wanted to be in one. You never really think about how scary it is to have guns aimed at you."
There was a squeak. Glue Stick followed in that direction.
"Why are you going to New Orleans Square? It's not like they won't eventually find us." He looked behind and saw that his foot had been leaving golden footprints behind the whole time. "Oh, great."
Evina did not hide. He walked straight down the center of the Main Street, watching intently for any movement, and listening for any sound. It was unfortunate that he didn't have that ability to smell people like Johnson could smell toons. "So, are you going to come out and fight me or what?" Evina shouted. "I don't see you trying to destroy me. Who do you think you—"
"Quiet," a silky-smooth voice spoke. Evina could not trace where it came from. He had to stop and listen. "You don't fear me, but that isn't courage like you think. It's just the foolishness of a clueless kid who thinks he's special. You don't know me, not one little bit."
Evina's heart rate went a little faster. The way Johnson spoke so calmly was unnatural, and he couldn't see him either.
"But soon, very soon, you will learn to fear me. I will knock that disrespecting gloat off your face. Then you'll know what true terror feels like."
Evina could feel the presence of his evil grin. He knew he was being watched. He followed where his instincts led him. The evil was moving, and he knew where it was headed.
Kate and Gyro each hauled a semi-burned, unconscious soldier outside.
"I'm so glad I have you," Gyro said.
"Happy you didn't jettison me into space, huh? Well, you're not half bad yourself."
"I could do with a little less sarcasm, though."
"What's that? I can't hear you. You need to keep up with me, so we can find the others and get out of here."
Gyro rolled his eyes and followed her.
"Ok, so what do we do now?" Glue Stick demanded. "Hey, where are you?"
He heard a squeak right behind him.
"Stop scaring me!"
The helper sounded angry. It jumped up and down and squeaked in a familiar pattern over and over again. "Pencil! Pencil! Pencil!"
Glue Stick's eyes opened wide with amazement. "Wait, I can understand you? I just decoded that in my mind, somehow. How did I do that?"
"What do you mean? I... AH, I STILL HAVE IT! Why didn't Evina take it back? Um, ok, I have to stay calm now. Remember your breathing exercises. Find your happy place. Um, alright, I'm ready now. What do I do with it?"
"Did I hear that correctly? Anvil?"
Glue Stick scribbled a very simple anvil, and the image popped up out of the ground. The helper scooted it to a conveniently located pulley system, and Glue Stick was instructed to hoist it up.
"I really don't know what you're doing, but because you're a robot who probably has some valuable data to keep us alive, I'll do it for you."
Glue Stick didn't have time to react. The soldiers spotted him.
"Did you hear a squeaking sound?" one of them asked.
"Who cares? The target is right there!"
Glue Stick screamed and ran away, but he heard a sudden bang and some shouting. He had to turn around to see what had happened.
The helper, using its invisibility as an advantage, had dropped the anvil off of a building. It hit a barrel of oil that burst open and caused all the soldiers to slip. They were unable to get to their feet, slipping no matter how hard they tried to stand.
"Fire, you idiots!"
The soldiers, although stuck on the ground, continued to shoot at Glue Stick as he fled down the narrow street. Plenty of props, doors, and windows were destroyed, but he managed to narrowly escape them once again. He ran straight into Evina, and it startled both of them.
"I thought you were in Main Street!" Glue Stick gasped.
"There's no time to explain. I think Johnson is coming this way!"
"And you would be correct," the sinister voice sneered. The man jumped from a roof and landed gracefully only feet away from them.
Just then, Kate and Glue Stick appeared behind Johnson and tried to attack him. He was very agile and defended himself with great skill. Everyone was distracted by them for a moment.
Glue Stick had an expression on his face that Evina had never seen before. It was a mixture of deep contemplation and fear.
"What are you doing? We have to help them!" Evina cried.
"I know what I must do," the horse spoke, with more determination than any other sentence he had ever uttered.
"Evina, this is what I was destined to do. If I don't come back, please make sure I'm remembered."
"What are you talking about?"
Glue Stick dropped the pencil and sprinted swiftly to the curved slope leading to the entrance of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. "Hey, you!" he bellowed as loud as he could.
Johnson's eyes briefly switched focus to Glue Stick on the balcony.
"Uh, yeah..." he seemed to have lost his words for a moment, "ugly... pale creepy face. Yes, you! Think you can catch me? Then come and get it!"
Johnson growled with rage. He chased Glue Stick into the building as fast as he could.
Even the soldiers were fazed. They stopped and watched with their mouths open as the two disappeared out of sight.
"Glue Stick," Evina murmured quietly, "you finally earned the title of hero, but I doubt I'll be able to give you that honor alive."
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