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Evina didn't know where to begin. There were so many questions to ask. "Ok, why do you want to destroy Toontown?"
Johnson hesitated before answering; his pale face stared unmoving like a statue. "It's not just your world."
"Yes, your entire universe, and all creative life imaginable. And the reason is simple. Do you know what would happen if all source of creativity stopped?"
Evina didn't know what to say. He took a step back from the man out of disgust and thought about it.
"You can't figure it out? I'm disappointed. You see, without creativity, there is no innovation. Without innovation, there is no progress. Without progress, there is no hope. Without hope, there is no way to survive. This planet and its people will fall without any support, and it doesn't require a complicated scheme or a backup plan to work. It's foolproof."
"So, let me get this straight. You want to destroy the tooniverse and Earth?"
Johnson was a statue once more. The pause was so long that Evina was tempted to ask him again. "Wow, do you really think I'm the one who could answer that question?"
Evina was confused, and while he was figuring out what to say next, he didn't notice the man in black pulling the staples out from his clothes with ease.
"If you think about it, one has to wonder, what meaningless idea do you represent? If you can't answer that question, then what are you worth?" Now he was free. He didn't look that strong, but clearly, he was.
Nobody moved, neither toon nor cog. All of them watched with confusion as the man strolled over to one of the military trucks and opened the back door. It was empty inside.
"Looking for something?" Evina asked.
"They confiscated it," Johnson said through clenched teeth.
The man turned around, and the sickening grin stretched across his face once again. "Tell me, have you ever heard of dip before?"
Evina was about to scream, but he couldn't react in time. Johnson threw something at him. It was a small, glass tube of dip that shattered when it hit his body.
The man's grin vanished. "Why doesn't it work!?"
"I'm immune to dip! And you listen to me! I won't let anyone get hurt by you!" Evina's fear turned to anger, and the other toons stood up to stand by his side.
"Oh, is that so?" Johnson took a deep breath and sighed loudly. "I'm really sorry about this. Truly, I am. This wasn't part of the plan, but now you have forced my hand."
There was a bang in the distance. The soldiers broke out of the storage room, and dozens of them came running straight to Johnson. They didn't even seem to care about the toons anymore.
One officer looked fatigued and annoyed. "Sir, this operation is a failure! We must retreat immediately!"
The pale man didn't budge. "No. You're not getting out of here that easy." Then something started to happen. He was changing.
Evina's mouth dropped open in horror. Glue Stick shut his eyes and squealed. Even Kate was petrified in utter disbelieve. Now they realized what was going on. Johnson was growing, and soon he was bigger than the truck, twice as big, and still growing. He became even paler and no longer looked human. His clothes morphed into something like a black liquid that coated his deformed body. Soon a terrible monster stood before them with bulging, wild-looking eyes and hatred etched into every line on his twisted face.
"What are you!?" Gyro screamed.
"My name is not Johnson!" the monster bellowed with a voice so deep and thunderous that it shook the ground. "I am the successor of that great judge who changed the city, who drove out you scum from this world, and I come back now to finish that work! I am the next generation! I am DOOM!"
Johnson's arms retracted, and hundreds of black tentacles came out of him. They looked like living worms of death, reaching out in all directions, and stretching continuously.
The soldiers fled in terror, shooting every weapon they had at the monster, but there was no effect. Each one of them was eventually picked up by a tentacle and tossed hundreds of feet out of its way.
"RUN!" Evina ordered them. Gyro led the others away to find someplace safe. The cogs were no match, and the remaining few of them disappeared as well. Evina was alone. There was no match for this monster. And yet, he knew of at least one thing that could defeat it. He didn't want to use it, but it was their only hope.
"RUN AWAY YOU COWARD! I KNOW YOU'RE CHICKEN!"
Evina didn't run; he stood right where he was. "Actually, just half chicken, on my father's side."
This was the moment Evina had been waiting for. A cold chill filled his body, The Shadow seized him. He shut his eyes while time slowed down, the noise of the chaos drowned out, and all fears and doubts were washed away. This was full control, more than Evina had ever felt before. He was immortal, unstoppable, the chosen hero to save the world. The eyes opened and were nothing but dark holes.
He leaned back then jumped forward with all his strength. There was a sonic boom. His body was lightning in the air, knocking the monster back over the water and smashing it into the wall of the castle.
Doom was surprised. He couldn't imagine the power contained within this toon. "WHY DON'T YOU GIVE UP?"
"Never," The Shadow said. It picked up Doom's monstrous body like it was just a baseball and threw it back into the castle, causing the entire structure to collapse in a cloud of stone, wood, and dust.
"Ok, have it your way!" Doom was livid. His tentacles grabbed anything it could reach, the stone bricks, chairs, trash cans, even the huge carousel ride, throwing it all at Evina.
Evina's body became rigid. It wasn't scratched by anything that hit him. Metal shattered in fragments and stone was reduced to dust. Rubble flew through the air and accumulated in piles all around him.
"How is this possible?" the monster screamed.
The Shadow was equally frustrated. Doom was extremely resilient as well. There was a chance that neither of them might win even if they turned the entire park into dust.
Evina sprinted forward again, but Doom was smarter this time. It caught the duck with a tentacle and removed the legendary pencil from his pocket. It was tiny but still emitted magical energy.
"Wow, would you look at this?" the monster gloated. This discovery had changed his mood. "I know of someone who will be thrilled to have it back." He began to swing Evina around and around. Then he slammed him into the ground, and a crater was formed.
It didn't hurt, but it was disorienting, and it was hard to see with all the dust in the air. He jumped to his feet and ran to find anything else that could help. He couldn't understand why Doom wanted that pencil so badly, but there was no way he could be allowed to escape with it.
In Tomorrowland, there was nothing to be found. No soldiers, toons, or cogs. Doom caught up to him within seconds. He tore the spire off of Space Mountain and hurled it at Evina like a giant spear.
The Shadow slowed down time even further. It grabbed the giant metal spike in midair and swung it around to go the other way. It blasted into splinters as it hit Doom straight in the chest. The monster wasn't injured, but he was stunned for a brief moment. The Shadow didn't wait for him to recover. Evina ran forward and took as many tentacles as he could find, tying them together in a knot. Then he took the pencil back. Doom screamed in rage.
Now Evina ran someplace else. He had a feeling there was something missing that he needed to find. Also, he needed to hide the pencil somewhere safe. He went back to Fantasyland, then he headed north and arrived at Toontown, the fake Toontown they had been looking for when they fell into this trap. There was a larger-than-normal military truck parked there. Evina opened the doors and saw what was inside. There were dozens of dip barrels within.
A scream was heard, louder than any other before. Doom had torn himself free and was coming to find Evina. There was madness in his eyes. "You can't stop me, you abominable freak! Give me that pencil NOW!"
Evina didn't know what else to do. "Oh, you mean this?" He snapped the pencil in half, not knowing what would happen. There was a flash. The pieces disintegrated into wooden shards that fell to the ground. There was a glimmer of magical light that lingered for a moment, then it was over.
"NO! Do you have any idea what you've done? I'll make you wish you were never born!"
"This is your last warning," Evina announced. He had just enough power over The Shadow to give the monster a second chance. He didn't want it to end this way. "Surrender now and leave the toons and humans alone."
Doom looked even more infuriated than before. "I WOULD RATHER DIE FIRST!"
"Then so be it." Evina was disappointed, even though he knew this had to happen. He picked up the truck and launched it at the monster. Upon impact, there was a fiery explosion of diesel and dip. A loud sizzling noise was heard.
Doom writhed and screamed in pain. He was melting. Within seconds, his body began collapsing. The pale face turned to liquid. The maniacal eyes sunk inwards. The last scream was heard just before he flattened into a pool of black slime.
The Shadow instantly withdrew its power, and Evina fell. He was overcome with sudden terror. This was much worse than before. He felt paralyzed. He couldn't see. He heard the quiet sound of feet running on the ground.
The others had obviously seen everything that happened and were coming to find him. They saw him on the ground with the shreds of his clothes barely hanging from his body.
"Son, are you alright?" Gyro cried out.
Evina couldn't answer. He struggled to gasp for air.
"Oh no. Oh, please no. This isn't good."
There were flashes in Evina's vision. Bits and pieces of his history were popping in and out of his mind. It was already starting to happen. The Shadow had twisted his story, and it was tearing him apart.
He saw the library at that weird planet where he found the book. He was on the beach at Harry's island. He was battling the chairman on the roof of the Cogs Incorporated tower. He was stapling papers in the office. He was bored and lying down in Toontown Central. It was rewinding astonishingly fast, but with all his remaining strength, he managed to hold onto the present. He was still alive.
"I can hear him breathing," Kate said. She sounded so worn out from the excitement of the battle. "I've never seen anything like that before! He was moving faster than the eye could see. Even I couldn't do that."
"Is it true that Johnson was a toon all this time?" Glue Stick asked.
"Yes," Gyro said gravely, "and the book makes reference to it. This isn't the first time the name of Doom was heard around here."
"Wow," he muttered. "And is The Shadow doing all of this to Evina?"
"I think so. I was afraid it would happen." The old chicken looked like he was going to say more but decided against it.
"I'm fine," Evina mumbled weakly. He didn't know if they heard him, because it sounded so weak and insincere, but he could now make out a blurry picture of the toons standing above him.
"Hellooooo!" Kate waved. "Earth to Evina. Are you there?"
"Hi," Evina said with a quiet, raspy voice.
"Oh, Evina, are you alright?" Gyro still wasn't satisfied.
"Yes," he answered.
"Because I promised I would never abandon you again."
"It's fine," the son insisted.
"And I was afraid I had lost you again." Gyro's eyes began to tear up. Evina thought he could see the gray in them. Clearly, Gyro had felt the strength of The Shadow as well.
Even though it had defeated Doom, there was no denying that The Shadow was a monster too, and it couldn't be controlled. Their struggles weren't over yet.
"Hey, is he doing alright?" a metallic voice asked with worry. Evina could see something triangular and yellow. It was a Big Cheese.
"We think so," Glue Stick answered, "but it looks pretty bad."
"Really guys, I'm fine," Evina wheezed, and he tried to sit up, but failed.
"Don't overexert yourself!" the father cautioned.
Evina didn't listen. "Please, I want to get up." He finally succeeded in sitting up, and the others lifted his arms to help him stand. The ground looked like it was moving. He was so dizzy. "I'll be better in no time."
"I'm sorry we couldn't help you, master," the cog apologized as the other toons helped Evina to walk.
"It's not your fault," Evina assured him. "There was nothing you could do. There was nothing anyone could do. The Shadow did all the work in the end."
Another cog walked beside the group. The Telemarketer carried a few wooden fragments in its hands. "I'm afraid to say that the pencil is gone forever."
"I know," Gyro replied somberly. "It's probably better this way. Sure, we'll never find out what it was all about, but now it won't fall into evil hands."
"But what if we need it again?" the Big Cheese wondered.
"Explain," Kate said.
"I mean, we managed to find just one last portal to this world. What if we need to draw another?"
"Oh, so that's how you did it," Evina mumbled. "Yeah, I never thought about that."
Gyro was growing more nervous with each moment. "It's still open, right?"
"Last time I checked it was," the cog said.
"Well we need to get out of here as soon as possible," the worried father insisted. "I'll take Evina somewhere safe and get him what he needs. As for the rest of you, we need to figure out a plan to clean up this mess."
"The boss is already working on it," the cog said.
"That's correct." The chairman walked up to them with perfect timing. "Don't worry, master, we'll make it look like none of this ever happened?"
"But the destruction!" Gyro protested.
"Didn't I tell you before? Our Buildbots work extremely fast. By tomorrow, the humans will never know that any of this happened."
"And what about the soldiers?"
"We'll take care of that too," the chairman said with a grin. He turned around and yelled at another cog. "Bring out the drive wiper!"
A Yesman arrived with a mysterious energy gun that it handed to its leader.
The chairman walked up to the soldiers all tied up with rope around a tree. "Gentlemen, what happened today was only a bad dream."
"You must be kidding," one man said before there was a flash; they all fell asleep.
Gyro cleared some rubble away from a shaded area and set his son down. "I want you to know how proud of you I am."
"But, The Shadow—"
"I'm not talking about The Shadow," the father told him. "I'm talking about your courage and your integrity. You never gave up doing what was right, even in the middle of madness like this. You are still the hero, and a great inspiration to all of us."
Evina smiled. "Thanks, dad."
An hour had passed, and Kate was becoming impatient. "So, are we going, or aren't we?"
"Hold your horses!" Glue Stick said heatedly. "Can't you see they're busy? There's a big mess to clean up, and you're not helping!"
"Well, when you ran away from the battle, that didn't help too much either," she said.
"Admit it. You needed Doom out of the way, so you could take on the soldiers," Glue Stick continued. "There's no way you could've fought them all at once."
"I think both of you should shut up," Evina interrupted. He could stand on his own now, even though he remained very tired.
Gyro let out a sigh and returned to the group. "Ok, I think we can leave now."
"Is it safe?" Evina inquired, staring down at the portal. The paper was wrinkled and torn in places. The hole in it was small and disfigured.
"Yes, and it's the best we can do," the older one admitted. "The cogs won't be long, then they'll leave as well. After that, the portal will be too unstable, and it'll have to be closed."
"Wait!" Glue Stick cried. "Isn't this the last portal left? What happens if it's closed?"
"It means no toon will ever come to Earth again," Gyro finished with a sad tone. "But at least the tooniverse will be safer from threats that way." He took the tiny ship statue off his keychain and dropped it in the hole. They heard a pop. "After you."
Kate leaped inside, followed by Glue Stick, the helper, and Evina. Gyro went in last.
They were on the ship once more, and there was nothing but darkness out the windows. The helper hopped from one computer to another, turning on lots of switches. Multicolored lights appeared on the panels, and the engine came to life with its familiar, low, humming sound.
Gyro dropped into the pilot seat, and Evina took the copilot seat.
The inventor turned to his son and smiled. "You know what this means?"
Evina beamed. "We're finally going home."
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