by the CRAXtrips
Emily - ehnel
Kate - kateanguapotter
Shelby - lumos_p_nox
Ashton - theboygenius
Tom/orinjuse - orinjuse
Fee - _fianna_
Leah - nvr2blonde
Peta - dhaliom
Sammy – butterbeergirl
There are four planes of existence: Heaven, Hell, Earth and Limbo. Contrary to popular thought, Limbo is where everyone on Earth goes in their daydreams, dreams and nightmares, so it's really a pretty fun place, and much more entertaining than Heaven or Hell. There is only one rule in Limbo: you cannot be Nauseatingly Good (or you'd be in Heaven) or Fiendishly Evil (you'd be in Hell). Apart from that, it is a magnificent free-for-all.
In the last few years, Limbo has been taken over by the Emperor Ashton. No one is quite sure how this happened, but in order to rectify the damage three girls called Kate, Shelby and Emily followed him and took over the real business of running Limbo. He dubbed them Ashton's Angels. Of course, they weren't really angels because angels aren't allowed to be on CRAX, the CRAX, CRAXy, or anything else on the same theme. But they pretended to be angels, because it made Ashton happy, and when Ashton was happy he didn't interfere, and when he didn't interfere they could run Limbo exactly as they wished. It wasn't that Ashton was stupid: it's just that everyone knows women are much better at running things than men. Duh! Rah!
Ashton's job, anyway, was very very very important. He had to sit in front of Teh Master Computer and watch the monitor really closely. Every now and again, the screen would tell him to press Teh Big Red Button marked EJECT!!!! on the keyboard, and he would do it. That order came from Kate, Emily or Shelby, and was the only thing they themselves couldn't do. Teh Master Computer was the only thing which could eject people in Limbo who'd become Nauseatingly Good or Fiendishly Evil.
After pushing it, he would sink back in his chair with a sigh and called for one of his angels to bring him a cup of tea, since he'd been so busy.
The tea always arrived. The cup never did.
One day in early summer (well, it was early summer in Kate and Ashton's minds: Emily and Shelby insisted it was early winter, and went around with green and silver mittens on), something Bad happened.
Teh Master Computer broke.
With a hum and whine it shattered, sparkling with dying electricity. After a frozen moment of shock, Ashton let out a desolate keen, flinging his arms around it. “NO!” he sobbed. “My computer!”
A big MWAHAHA echoed around the room. “Each bit is suffering the effects of being sunk in water while not actually being sunk in water!” boomed a voice. “This is the first part of my MASTER PLAN! MWAHAHA!”
“Who art thou?” Ashton demanded, tears streaming down his noble countenance. “Reveal thyself before my sight!” (playing Emperor always made him speak funny.)
“I AM THE DARK LORD!”
“IN MY DOMAIN IS BLOOD AND – which one? Which one?”
Nervously, Ashton made a paper aeroplane, wrote “HELP!!!!” on it, and sent it through the door to where one of his angels was on duty. “Yes?” he said.
“THE DARK LORD .... oRINJUSE! AND THY KINGDOM SHALL BECOME ALL MINE, MINE, MINE!!! MWAHAHA!”
Kate marched into the room. A passionately beautiful redhead with flashing eyes, impressive despite her pyjamas, she bore a big gun like what them army people have. “I CAN GET RID OF YOU!” she shouted impressively, and pulled the trigger. A jet of apple juice shot out, and the room was quickly drenched in it, banishing the presence of the Dark Lord orinjuse.
“My Master Computer!” squeaked Ashton ungratefully. “It's covered in apple juice!”
“Well, it was already broken,” a scowling Kate said tartly. “Can you fix it?”
Ashton shook his head helplessly. “No. It's Teh Master Computer. No one can fix it. It shouldn't be able to be broken!” He sniffed miserably.
Kate scowled even harder. “Who's the Orange Lord, anyway?”
“I just recognised his voice.” Ashton sat down on the wet and sticky floor. “It is ... the Lord of Hell! Tom!”
Kate shrieked. “Him? Nevair!” she cried. “Is he invading?? We must stop him!!”
“INVADING?” Ashton roared. “But he cannot be! His domain is made up of Fiendishly Evil people – they have no place in Limbo!”
Kate pointed at Teh Master Computer. “And you can't EJECT!!!! them until that's fixed,” she said grimly. “This is an emergency!” She pulled a loudspeaker from her pocket. “SHELBYYYYYY!” she shouted into it. “EMILYYYYYYYYY! EMERGENCYYYYYYY!”
“You're being a bit wasteful on those Ys,” Ashton said critically. “Try to economise, why don't you!”
Kate ignored him, as was perfectly proper.
Snap! Crack! Two stunningly beautiful young women appeared in the middle of the room. One was in riding clothes: the other appeared to be in pirate clothing.
“It's an emergency!” announced Kate crisply. “Teh Master Computer has been broken by an orange guy, and he's invading. We must counter this attack! Prepaaaare for battle!”
There was a ripple of supa-power, and the angels were revealed a moment later, attired as they thought best.
Ashton had the best laugh he'd had in ages. “HAHAHAHA!” he snickered. “Kate, you don't go into battle in rugby clothes! And what's with the funny stick and the dead hand, Shelby? And Emily, are you carrying an oversized pen?”
Shelby poked Ashton with the funny stick: he promptly turned blue. “It's a wand, fool! And this is a Hand of Glory!”
“And this is the NaNoWriMo pen,” said Emily loftily. “The pen is mightier than the sword any day, Ashton!”
And Kate picked up her rugby ball and smashed it through the monitor of Teh Master Computer. “Battle? Rugby IS WAR! Anyway, the computer was already broken,” she said dismissively.
“But who's going to fix it?” wailed Ashton, gently patting the keyboard. “The poor thing is hurt!”
“Computers don't have feelings, Ashton,” snorted Shelby, doing business-like things with maps of Limbo.
“Yes, they do! Oh, if only we had someone who could make it better!” sobbed Ashton, cradling the broken monitor in his arms. Then he blinked. “Better!” he yelled, face abruptly beaming. “I know! Fee and Leah! You always said they make things better!”
The three angels shared disgusted looks. “Beta, Ashton, not better. Now go sit in a corner and let us - ”
Ashton stomped his foot. “I AM THE EMPEROR!” he shouted petulantly. “Fee and Leah WILL COME HERE!”
The next moment, two women were sprawled on the sticky floor. Ashton beamed. They glared. The angels hurriedly restrained Fee and Leah. After all, Ashton wasn't totally indispensable.
“What is going on?” demanded Fee dangerously. Kate rapidly explained Ashton's misconception, which struck Fee and Leah as the funniest thing they'd heard in a long, long time.
“Ashton!” Shelby marched over to him. “You don't have any supa-powers! How did you bring them, and from Earth, too?!”
Ashton smirked in a Draco-ish way. “I'm just magnetic, baby,” he said happily.
Shelby rolled her eyes at him dismissively. “In your dreams.”
Emily glanced at her with an :evilgrin on her face. “You know, technically, this is his dream. You know, that whole Limbo thing the first paragraph was talking about…” Once she saw the glares from her fellow Angels, she stopped.
“Anyway,” Kate snapped, taking charge again. “We really do need to get that Orange Juice guy out of here somehow. If Ashton doesn’t get his computer back how are we going to keep him distrac—Um… I mean, how are we going to EJECT!!!! people anymore?
“At least Leah and Fee are here now. I’m not sure about their computer fixing skillz, but we’re going to need some sort of help if we’re going to get this place back to normal” said Shelby practically. “The sooner we get everything back to normal the sooner I can get back to—”
Another big MWAHAHAHA sounded around the large chambers and a weirdy beardy boy appeared.
“Who’s this punk?” Leah asked the Angels.
“I dunno, I’ve never seen him before” Shelby said. “Have you, Kate?”
Kate looked at him skeptically. “Something looks familiar about him all right. Like this weird kid I used to go to school with a long time ago, but I can’t quite put my finger on who I’m thinking of.”
“Oh!” Ashton said, finally making himself useful, “I stole marbles from him once!”
“You did what?!” all three Angels said in unison.
Fee started giggling madly but no one noticed because she had a habit of doing that whenever anything of the sort was mentioned.
“You people are messed up,” Leah said. “I’m going back home. C’mon Fee.” She tried to lead the giggling Fee away despite the cries coming from the Angels.
“You have to stay!” wailed Emily.
“It’s not even Nite yet!” sobbed Shelby.
“Hem-Hem,” came a voice from the corner. “Excuse me? I think you’ve all forgotten the more pressing problem right now. ME!”
“Not you again,” Kate moaned. “This guy is really starting to bother me. WHO are you?!”
“It’s the Dark Lord oRINJUSE!!!” he said while waving his arms in what he thought to be a very dramatic fashion. “I had to go get my cape and mask washed because of all the apple juice. Very sticky stuff.”
Emily looked at him unimpressed “And you’re here again because…?”
“I’m here because SOMEONE SPELLED MY NAME WRONG!!!!”
“Whoa, chill on the caps lock,” Shelby said. “We all can hear you. Now just calm down and tell us what the problem is.”
”I’m very sensitive about my name.” orinjuse began. Somehow he couldn’t help but tell this Angel what the problem was. He thought it might have to do with the fact that she had “Official Agony Aunt” written on her sleeve. “No one ever gets it right, you see. They all spell it “Orange Juice” but I keep trying to tell them it’s orinjuse. The lowercase ‘o’ is very important. It’s not my fault my parents didn’t like original names so I had to come up with one myself!”
“There, there,” Shelby said in a comforting voice. “I’m sure no one meant anything by calling you Orange Juice. Is there anything else you’d rather be called?”
“Well, I’ve always liked The Tom. Or maybe Supreme Ruler of the Universe and all that is Evil in this World. Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue?” he asked.
“Ummm… I think we’ll just stick with orinjuse,” Shelby said.
During this time Kate and Emily were trying to convince Leah to stay. They finally told her that Nacho could come to Limbo and that was just enough to make her happy. Fee wanted to bring her snakes next, but Kate and Emily downright refused. “We will not have a bunch of snakes lying around the place” they told her, which somehow got her into a fit of giggles again. Sometimes the Angles wondered how her mind worked. Other times they really didn’t want to know.
Ashton was really starting to get annoyed. “You guys write really sucky stories. Isn’t this supposed to be about me? My name is in the title, I should have a bigger part! All I get to do is cry over teh computer and say I stole this guy’s marbles? (Fee started giggling again) I don’t think I like how this is turning out. There’s no point to it! And I haven’t even got to use this ‘Quill SPEAX’ I’ve been practicing. Something tells me it will annoy the weirdy beardy boy a lot.”
“The name is orinjuse!” he burst in. “And your horrible grammar cannot destroy me! Without your Angels you’re helpless and I know exactly how to take care of them!”
With a loud “POP” a dozen puppies appeared out of nowhere. They all were adorable and one of the Angels started to feel slightly weak.
“Awwwwwww, look at the itty bittie puppy doggies! Look at their cuitsy wootsie little pawsies wawsies!” Shelby ran over to them completely brainwashed by puppy love. She looked over to Kate with dazed eyes. “They’re so cute!”
“NOOOOOOOOOmes!” screamed Kate. “Not my twinnie! What have you done to her?!”
“Here, take some of this,” orinjuse handed her a bottle full of some amber liquid. “You’ll really like it. Very good taste.”
Kate examined it with the eye of an expert. “This looks like excellent stuff,” she commented. “Only one way to find out.” She tipped the bottle up and took a good swig. It took a total of four swallows before she was completely smashed. “Oh yeash this his the good shitf,” she said. “nOWd ajal ll I nneeed cis apool. Anyoned kn ow wheawre I can finad onjae?”
Emily looked distraught. “Shelby! Kate! What’s become of you?” She gathered the rest of her nerve and started for Tom by herself. “You’ll never lead me to temptation!” She charged at him but stopped suddenly when she saw a paper lying on the ground. “What’s this?”
“Oh, just a fic I was reading on my way over here. It’s one of my favorites.”
She couldn’t help it. Her eyes skimmed the pages quickly; reading with what was first enthusiasm and then disgust. “Ahhhhhhhhh! My eyes! My eyes!” she screamed. She fell over and started twitching uncontrollably mumbling nonsense. “lskafjslfjgrammer!af ksdfka lsfjspelling!lakfjal fsjR/S/D/H/Hr/SNAPE!lafjskflsjk lsdkjfWRONG!lfkjalsfj”
“What was that?” Ashton asked, trying not to sound impressed.
“Oh, just something I found on FanFiction.net. I thought she might like it.”
Ashton looked over at Shelby and saw her cuddling one of the puppies, over at Kate where she was dancing around the broken computer looking extremely tipsy and at Emily who lie twitching on the ground. He knew there was no hope. Without his Angels he was defenseless. There were just too many things that could go wrong now. Just think if Orange Juice pulled out a big glass of milk…
“I can hear you spelling my name wrong in your thoughts!” yelled orinjuse.
“I’m sorry, but that is just weird” said Leah who had been watching the whole scene with Fee over in the corner.
That’s when it came to him. He was not alone. Ashton looked over at Leah and saw anger flash though her eyes. Even Fee had a serious look on her face.
“No one, no one, messes with our MODS! Or our Honorary Malfoys!” Leah yelled.
“And using FanFiction.net? That’s just low,” Fee said, standing next to Leah.
Ashton didn’t know how he knew it, but something told him he was saved.
“First, we’ve got to snap these Angels back to normal,” Leah said, setting Nachee out of danger.
“First things first” Fee said, “We need to get them back to reality…”
“Well, Kate’s easy,” Leah said, “A simple sobering charm, here, use Shelby’s wand.”
Fee waved the wand over the tipsy young woman, who was giggling and dancing wildly, and intoned “Sobrietas!” Kate slumped quickly and groaned.
“Oh help, what on earth was in that? It wasn’t vodka and Chardonnay was it? That always… nevermind. Does anyone have a glass of water?” Fee quickly conjured up a glass of water and handed it to Kate, who quickly recovered.
“Where is that conniving ORANGE juice?! I’ll get him! Nobody makes me drink without telling me what’s in it!” But as they looked around, they realised the nefarious villain had sidled out, no doubt to set into action his evil plans.
“Right, we need to act quickly. We’ll be getting Ashton’s new computer. So it’ll have to be you that stops him turning people good and evil.” Leah said, “Now, Shelby is in a bad state. Those puppies? That’s just cruel and unusual. I think we’ll need all four of us to get her out of that. Right, how to get Emily out of this?” Kate looked down at Emily, who was rocking in the fetal position on the floor unable to draw her eyes, widened with shock, away from the fic.
“FANFICTION.NET?!” Kate exclaimed with horror, “Oh! The inhumanity!” Fee and Leah nodded in agreement. “What should we do?”
“Well,” Leah sighed, “There may be nothing we can do.”
“Wait!” Fee gasped, “I think I’ve got it! Leah! Do you still have that book on the Emperor Justinian? We’ll tie it to a string and place it next the fic. It we jiggle the string just right, it’ll catch her eye and as we pull it away, she’ll follow!”
“Genius!” chorused Leah and Kate. And of course it was.
“Pay attention to me!” interjected Ashton, who of course couldn’t let many lines go past before he got some text time. All three merrily ignored him, as did Emily as she came out of her spasms.
“Oh! SWEET, SWEET RELIEF! Justinian! So much better than that terrible,” she twitched, “fanfiction! Oh, thank you so much!” She breathed deeply and flicked her hair back. “Right, what can we do about poor, poor Shelby?” They stood and looked at the young woman in question.
“Awwwwwww, look at the itty bittie puppy doggies! Look at their cuitsy wootsie little pawsies wawsies! Dere so adowable! SO cute!” Shelby was playing with the little puppies, tying little bows around their necks and giving them handmade doggie biscuits.
“This is bad.” Kate said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen my poor twinnie this bad before.” The others shook their heads in agreement. And despite all the odds, Ashton came up with an idea…
“We have to remind her that the widdle puppies,’ he smirked, “need to be reunited with their mother. She’s uber!puppy loving right? She’ll be so concerned about doing the right thing, she’ll snap out it.”
Fee, Leah, Emily and Kate stared at Ashton in shock.
“So simple…” Emily said, stunned, “who would have thought Ashton could come up with it?”
He shrugged and kneeled down next to Shelby, who quickly came to. Ashton picked up the puppies and departed with them, no doubt to find their mother. Fee and Leah checked over the Ashton’s Angels one last time.
“Right.” Fee said, “You three have a mission. We’ll be in touch soon.”
“Good luck, girls.” Leah added as she bent down to pick up the wonderful Nachee. “We’ll see you soon.” With that they disappeared and the three Angels were left alone.
It was at this point that Kate and Shelby looked at each other and appeared to have a silent conversation. They nodded to each other solemnly and turned towards Emily.
“Emily, there’s something we couldn't ignore for much longer.” Shelby said.
“No, it has to be done.” Kate agreed.
"You need to understand though that once you've made TEH CHOICE it’s final. Once you start, you can never go back," Shelby explained.
"Fo shizzle," Kate agreed, knowing the burdens of their duty.
“Guys? What’s going on?” Emily asked, starting to sound nervous.
“Do you want to be one of us?” they asked in unison. “We’ve thought long and hard about this, and we want you to be our triplet.”
Emily looked at the twins, only shock showed on her face. She closed her eyes and the twins could see her making up her mind. "I'm ready to make my decision,” she told them.
They looked at her together; knowing this would change CRAX forever…
Emily burst into tears and shrieked "YES!!!!!" She flung her arms around her new triplets and HUGZed them tight.
There was lots of sniffling, HUGZing, and girly shrieks of happiness. Eventually, those faded away, and they remembered Leah's parting words.
"Right," said Kate. "We have a mission. We gotta mend Teh Master Computer. Otherwise, Ashton is going to annoy us all from here until death." She turned and considered Teh Master Computer, sitting all broken and disconsolate on the desk. "So, er. Who knows anything about computers?"
"And we have to do something about the weirdy beardy boy," Shelby reminded her. "Hey - where did he go?" She looked around in alarm.
"Vanished back to Hell," Emily said. "Just where he belongs. And Ashton's doing something about the puppies, so he's not under our feet."
Two of the Trips sat down and began to hopefully poke screwdrivers at the computer, while Shelby thoughtfully looked at her maps again. "I still reckon he's going to invade," she said, but Kate and Emily ignored her. "Where would he invade first?"
Ashton wandered into the room. "I want Fee and Leah," he said pettishly. "Where are they?"
"Go away," said Kate. "Here, Em, do you think if we sellotaped these wires together they might work?"
"Kate, you're a genius!" Emily said admiringly, and went looking for some sellotape.
Ashton made a grumbling noise and went out of the room, carefully slamming the door, just so they got the point.
"Somewhere in Italy," muttered Shelby, staring at her maps. "They grow lots of citrus fruit there."
The trips did serious things for a while. Teh Master Computer became decorated in a mass of sellotape, string, and paper strips. Kate and Emily were nearly electrocuted a few times, too.
"I know!" Kate suddenly exclaimed. "It's dusty, I bet it is, boys never dust. Emily, get some dusters, I reckon that'll make all the difference!"
Emily headed over to the door. Dusters were kept in another room. As she opened the door to the outside, though, a terrible sight met her eyes.
Ashton was standing, a piece of paper in hand, in a circle of which appeared to be made of dribbles of soya milk and ketchup. "Beelzebub!" he read off the paper. "Jehoshaphat, come aid me! Er - Great goat of the seven horns, take this gift of ass's milk and give help - "
"WHAT BY THE SEVEN WALLABIES OF MARS ARE YOU DOING?" shrieked Emily.
"Oh, hello, Em!" he said cheerfully. "Summoning help. At least I'm doing something useful. I found this spell thing on Kate's desk. Don't interrupt! Great horned monkey of the eighteen navels, bring the gift of blood to - "
"THAT'S HER MEDIAEVAL MAGIC!" Emily yelled, horrified. "You're summong a DEMON! KATE!!!!"
Kate and Shelby, already alerted by Emily's robust roaring, erupted into the room. Ashton continued merrily, pleased to be getting attention at last. " - bring the gift of blood to thy devoted followed Ashton. O Raziel, master of darkness, bring lightning unto - "
"NOOOOOOOOOOmes!" Kate waved her arms in panic. "You can't do it with SOYA MILK! It'll bugger up the balance of the ... " She went into a detailed magical explanation full of complicated words. Shelby and Emily surfaced a moment later to hear, "... which affects the translocationised magiosity of the bi-figurational ... " They sank again.
Anyway, whatever she was saying was irrelevant, because the circle of soya milk and ketchup imploded with a dramatic bang, and when the smoke cleared Ashton was nowhere to be seen.
"Where is he?" yelped Shelby.
"In Hell, that's what I just told you," Kate said despairingly. "He's been sucked into orinjuse's domain!"
Shelby's eyes lit up. "This means war!" she said, :evilgrinning. "w00t!"
"Damn straight," agreed Emily.
"Because even though he's only an Ashton, he's OUR Ashton!" Kate said. "No one takes him away! QUEEE! We get to invade Hell. How kewl?"
"Uber-kewl!" yelled her triplets happily.
"Get in a circle!" Kate ordered.
"Supa-power one, standing by!" Shelby informed her, making a fist.
"Supa-power two, green to go," Emily said, crossing all her fingers.
"Supa-power three, on the line!" Kate shouted, patting her head and rubbing her stomach. "GO!!!"
Supa-power rippled and cleared. There was no one in the room. The triplets had gone to Hell!
The Angels found themselves in what seemed to be a deserted wasteland. A fiery orange sun hung in the sky which was more red than blue. The ground was dry and cracked and a layer of smoke swirled around their ankles.
“Urgh!” Shelby whined, “It’s HOT!”
Emily nodded in agreement, obviously too burdened by the heat to form words. Kate, on the other hand, looked as if she was ready for anything. “What’s wrong with you guys? It’s not that bad. I bit warm, I’d say, but nothing compared to some of our weather.”
“Remind me never to go to Australia during their summer,” Shelby said thickly, trying to stand up.
“How are we going to fight in this? I can barely think!” Emily had obviously discovered a true flaw in their plan. With only one Angel in full form, they were a sad army indeed.
“We just have to find Ashton quickly and get him out of here. Then we’ll have to try and get orinjuse on our own terms,” Kate told them. “He must have known the heat was going to be too much for you two so he—”
All the sudden a sexily dressed young woman appeared. She was wearing a tight fitting leather outfit that suited her perfectly and she seemed rather proud of the fact that she was there. She smirked at the two Angels on the ground and looked happily towards Kate. “He will be easy to find. Follow the sound of your master.” She vanished.
“What the hell was that?” The sudden appearance was enough to get Shelby and Emily up to their feet. It may be hot, but they had a job to do. It wasn’t going to stop them from being Angels.
“What did she mean by sou—” Kate started and was soon interrupted by a loud voice coming from below.
“You worthless Angels! Stop gibbering up there and help me out! Is this the thanks I get for being your master? I feed you! I cloth you! I let you sleep in my bed!”
Stop being disgusting, Ashton, we’re coming,” Emily yelled down to him. There was a small hole in the earth and Emily could see Ashton’s outline below. “Well get you out.”
“Well it’s about time, woman! It’s not like I have all the time in the world to sit and rot down here. I could be dying and I don’t think you lot would care.”
Shelby, who hadn’t really been paying much attention to Ashton, looked up. “You’re dying? Again?! We leave you alone for a few seconds and you can’t even manage to stay alive.” She continued ranting until the Angels managed to find a tunnel down to where Ashton was being kept.
“Ummm… You go first,” Emily whispered, pushing Shelby forward.
“Me?!” Shelby cringed. “Why do I have to go first?”
“Pah! I’ll go!” Kate volunteered, but the other two Angels noticed she wasn’t as confident when they started down the hole.
“I’ve got an idea,” Shelby said grinning as she pulled her wand out. “Lumos!”
“BRILLIAnT!” Kate said, and all three Angels headed down the tunnel together, unsure of what they were going to find at the end of the darkness.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, orinjuse appeared. He was wearing a long black cape with orange lining and an orange mask. He grinned at the Angels and started towards them. “You don’t waste time, I’ll give you that. You could be very useful to me, you know. Being Good is overrated anyway. Join me Angels, you can help me on my quest to take over the world. With you three on my side, we’ll be unstoppable.”
“Being GOOD?!” Kate said slowly, her blue eyes flashing. “We aren’t good, we’re free.”
“Free?! The way Ashton treats you is not freedom. I can give you so much more. Everything you’ve ever dreamed of.” Tom held his hand out to them expectantly.
“No thanks,” Shelby said quietly, “we’ve chosen our side. It’s with Ashton. Nice cape by the way. Is it new?”
“Oh! Do you like it?” He twirled around to give them the full effect. “I just had it custom made, much better than my last one. And it’s waterproof too. I’d like to see you try that cheep apple juice trick again.”
”Yes, I like this one much better, it suits you. The color’s perfect too.” Emily admired the stitching. “Wow, they did a really nice job on this.”
Suddenly an echoing voice came from within the cavern. “EXCUSE ME! DO YOU THINK I COULD GET A LITTLE HELP IN HERE?!”
“Ashton! I forgot about him!” Shelby said, looking embarrassed.
“Ashton? Oh! Ashton!” Kate said. “Sorry orinjuse, we’ve got to run.”
“Wait! I’ll get you cool outfits too!”
His words were wasted though. The Angels already had dashed farther down the tunnel in search of their man.
They turned several corners before they reached a though looking door. There was a slot about halfway up and it was apparent that this was what Ashton was yelling through. He had ceased for the moment though, and the angels could see the top of his head from where he was sitting, back up against the door.
‘Clear the way!’ Kate yelled through the slot and Ashton jumped a good three centimetres in surprise.
‘IT WAS ABOUT TIME YOU THREE TURNED UP! WHAT IF THEY TORTURED ME?! WHERE ON EARTH WOULD YOU LOT BE THEN?!’
‘Um, in Hell?’ Shelby pointed out. Ashton deflated quickly and as he backed away from the door and Kate threw her rugby at it, the force of the throw pushing the door open. Emily pulled out her pen and quickly wrote up an escape. A hole appeared in the wall opposite to the now useless door and the Angels and Ashton climbed through.
The hole continued in somewhat blankness for a little before stairs materialised underneath. The four picked up the pace and rapidly came to the bottom of the stairs. A point of light was visible just to the side and as they approached it, it became clear that the point of light was actually all that was visible of a television studio. They slipped into the back row and quickly sat down.
‘What is this?’ Shelby hissed as they peered down to the floor. There were two seats facing each other with a computer panel on a stand in between.
‘Oh no…’ Emily shuddered.
‘What?’ Shelby asked ‘Kate? Ashton? What’s going on?’
‘I’m not sure,’ Kate replied, ‘but by the way Em is shuddering, I’m guessing it’s not good.’
‘ASHTON!’ Emily suddenly hissed and Kate and Shelby fell silent, ‘Tell me you didn’t sign that contract!’
‘Um, I didn’t sign that contract?’ Ashton answered sheepishly; Emily looked fit to kill.
‘GAH!’ she hissed pointedly, quite a linguistic feat, ‘I have to tell you that the reason we are about to be subjected to this torture is because Ashton wanted an easy solution.’ She couldn’t continue, however because at this moment bright cheerful music, the kind that makes you want to murder people, was broadcast over the speakers situated around the room and a snazzily dressed male, with an overbright grin strode into the room.
‘Welcome everyone!’ he announced to the audience at large, most of whom wore despairing yet terrified expressions, ‘to Hell Quiz! Where you get to see the world’s most mediocre struggle their way through menial trivia questions a five-year-old child knows the answers to! I’m your host, Eddie McGuire!’ Emily and Ashton twitched but Shelby and Kate remained fixated with horror as the magnitude of this horror became evident.
‘Ashton…’ Kate muttered suddenly, ‘What was this about a contract?’
‘Well,’ Ashton replied, ‘You know how in Limbo we get those really boring types, too ambivalent to be good, too dull to be evil and doomed to be unendingly boring? Well, they were filling up our vacancies extremely quickly and I had no idea what to do and when orinjuse came to me with this idea it just seemed too neat to pass over…’
‘So you send then to Hell to watch quiz shows?’ Kate interrupted.
‘No, no! We send them to Hell to be the contestants on quiz shows! Then the people in Hell have to watch them, it really is very devious and the poor dull buggers get to have what they think is a bit of fun.’ All four simultaneously shuddered.
‘Nasty…’ Shelby muttered to herself.
‘I told you it would come back and bite you on the bum!’ Emily snapped, ‘Now look at the situation we’re in, we have to watch the damn thing! With that fucking awful host!’
‘Eddie McGuire?’ Kate said, ‘Did they get him from Hell?’
‘No,’ Ashton sighed, ‘He one of ours. He was the main reason I signed the damn thing. He’s far too stupid to belong to Hell and he’s tortured too many people to go to Heaven and he drives everyone in Limbo nuts. I tried to keep him away from you girls because I knew you’d all hate him, but Emily came across him one day and I knew something had to be done. They agreed to take him off our hands in exchange for us lending them the exceedingly dull people.’ Shelby had focussed on something else, though, the computer panel in the centre of the studio floor.
‘Look!’ she interjected hurriedly, ‘The console! It has a part of the Masta Computer! Fee and Leah are going to need it to fix it up! We need to work out some way of getting it back to them before we can continue on to stop orinjuse!’ The Angels looked at each other and nodded.
Ashton looked confused.
‘Can one of you tell me what’s g…’
‘Shut up!’ Kate retorted, ‘We need to plan…’
"Plan, yeah," muttered Emily, staring at the console. "Who reckons we just run in, grab it, and get the hell outta here?"
Kate shook her head. "Nah. Look. Security guards. They'd be on us before we could get out supa-powers into action."
"Aaand - break for the adverts!" someone wearing a headset and microphone yelled, down in the studio. "On air in three minutes and counting!"
There was instant hubbub in the room as people rushed to refresh make-up, drink water, and confer with publicists. No one was paying attention to the console ...
The Angels snuck down the stairs, intent on their quarry. The part of the console that they wanted was stuck between the keyboard and the monitor of a computer. There was someone at the desk. Kate thoughtfully knocked him over the head with the rugby ball: Shelby shot a severing charm at the piece of the Masta Computer they wanted, and it fell into her hands: while Emily grabbed Ashton and began to wield her supa-power. "Where to?" she shouted as the security guards began to run towards them.
"Wherever Tom is!" Kate and Shelby ordered her. Emily nodded and WHOOOM the supa-power kicked in ...
A moment later they were whirling through the air to be deposited, rather breathless, on a soft and sunny hillside.
"Hey, it's really nice here!" said Kate, surprised. "I didn't think Hell would be like this."
Emily looked around with an knowledgeable eye. "Fake," she announced. "Sustained by orinjuse's super-power. It's not really like this."
It appeared to be a pretty hillside, covered in lush green grass. Further up was a grove of - "Orange trees!" said Shelby. "Naturally."
"Is that part of my Masta Computer?" Ashton said. The penny had finally dropped. "Is it, Shelby?"
Shelby glanced down at the obscure bit of computer in her hands. "Yep," she said. "Em, Kate - we need to send this back to Limbo. Fee and Leah had said they were going to come back to try and fix the computer ... "
Three supa-powers briefly combined and the obscure bit of the Masta Computer launched through the pan-dimensional motorway into Limbo.
"Well, that's THAT dealt with," Kate said, pleased. "Now, to deal with Tom! Rah!" There was an expectant silence from her triplets. "Um. How?" she asked.
They looked around. "This is meant to be where he is," Emily said a little doubtfully. They looked around again. They looked around a third time, just in case.
"Maybe his fortress is near here," Shelby suggested, because she was getting sick of looking around. "Uphill. Past the orange trees." Her eyes brightened. "We'll have to get past his wards, his protections - "
"It'll call for real subtlety, talent, skill - " Emily nodded.
"Better send Ashton home, then!" Kate grinned.
Emily blinked. "But we can't!"
Kate frowned. "Why not?"
Emily grimaced. "Because technically this is a conflict between the Emperor of Limbo and the Emperor of Hell, so for form's sake we have to have Ashton with us. Just to, uh, legalise anything we do."
"You need me, anyway!" Ashton said indignantly.
Emily patted his hand soothingly. "Of course we do, dear."
"Oh, well, come on then, up we go!" Kate said. "Farther in and farther up!" The angels and Ashton began to hurry uphill.
PSHOWWWW! It was the sound of Evail Powahz activating. "DUCK!" shrieked Shelby, quickest on the uptake, and the angels hurled themselves to the ground as the trees began to rain oranges on them. The fruits thudded and battered the poor gals, and the acididuous juices burned their skin. Somewhere in the distance, a pre-recorded recording played an ominous MWAHAHA.
When the trees had nothing more to hurl at them, the three cautiously stood up and dried themselves off. "Damn, that was sore," muttered Kate. "That was the first barrier, I guess ... "
"Where's Ashton gone?" said Shelby. For he had vanished.
A search was immediately initiated. "Ashton!!!!" hollered the angels. "Where are you?" They poked behind bushes, shook the trees' branches, even checked the sky.
"Drat," Emily said glumly. "He's just always getting himself lost!"
"Can't leave him alone for a second," agreed Kate disgustedly.
Suddenly, Shelby's eye was caught by a glittering something far, far downhill. "Is - LOOK!" she gasped. "It's a gate, I think!"
Ashton forgotten, they hurried downhill, and at length arrived at a silver gate. Around its curve was written THIS BE oRINJUSE's DOMAIN - BEWARE!
"So cheesy," muttered Emily.
"So obvious!" Kate said, astonished. "It's like saying, This is where I live, come attack me please!"
"Well, maybe it isn't actually his domain but a torture pit," suggested Shelby. "He's just bluffing, to make any attackers fall unsuspecting into a trap."
"Or maybe he's double-bluffing," said Kate, "and he wants us to think that."
"Or maybe he wants us to think he's double-bluffing," Emily suggested.
"Or maybe he wants us to think that he thinks we think he thinks we think he's bluffing ... "
The triplets had to sit down for a minute to cool their heads off.
"Right," said Shelby at last. "I daresay we're equipped to deal with anything in there! Might as well just go in. Might even find Ashton in there if we're lucky, hahaha."
And so it came to pass that the angels passeth through the gate of silver, and their fair eyes were besmoten by a most immodest vision ...
"ROFL," said Emily, collapsing onto the floor.
"OMG like WTF?" said Kate, jaw dropped.
"Is that Ashton in there?" added Shelby, almost hypnotised.
One of the many scantily clad ladies sashayed up to them. "Welcome to the Garden of Pleasure!" she cooed, vapidly twirling her pink scarf around. "Where anything you desire can be provided!"
Ignoring said scantily clad lady, Kate sent her rugby sailing through the air to smack Ashton's head. "Get over here!" she yelled, eyes akindle. "You're succumbing to orinjuse's trap, fool!"
On a bed of silk, Ashton twitched, suddenly seemed to realise that three gauze-clad girls were caressing him in front of his angels, and jumped away nervously. Shelby waved her wand: a rope snaked out and wrapped around Ashton's waist. She kept firm hold of the other end. "Won't lose you now!" she said smugly. Ashton was about to protest, but spotted the glint in her eye in time.
"So chauvinistic of orinjuse," Emily was muttering. "Thinking only men are going to invade! Or lesbians. Honestly. Such a cliched sort of trap, too. No originality at all."
"Shh, don't say that!" hissed Shelby. "Or a Tom Felton lookalike is going to turn up!"
For a moment - but only a moment - the three angels hung in a blissful daydream. It was broken by Ashton pointedly clearing his throat. They hurriedly grabbed him and made for the golden gate they saw on the other side of the Garden of Pleasure. This one had BEYOND LIES DANGER! written over it.
"Danger?" said Ashton nervously. "Are - is - protect meee!"
"orinjuse's palace," Kate said, ignoring Ashton. "We need to be fully prepared. Shelby, put a Boomerang Spell on my rugby ball, would you?"
Shelby obliged. "Wand is working, Hand is working," she said. "Em, you ready?"
Emily nodded. "Just refilled my pen with ink," she said, "and I sharpened the nib, too ... "
And so it came to pass that the angels and Ashton passeth through the gate of gold, and came at last unto the fortress of orinjuse ...
“Can you at least untie me?” Ashton asked Shelby as they passed though the gate. “It’s a bit hard to walk.”
“I’m sure you’ll manage, dear,” she told him with a grin. “I’ve got to keep an eye on you and unfortuantly this is the easiest way.”
Ashton looked angry at first, but after remembering the crime he commited against his Angels, at least right in front of them, he thought it best to keep his mouth shut. Yes, this was quite shocking.
“Don’t worry, Ashton. I’m sure orinjuse won’t even notice,” Emily told him as they followed the winding path. She grinned secretly at the other Angels as they stepped onto the path.
The path that they were following seemed completely empty of any kind of threat at all. In fact, it was an almost peaceful walk that the four took together on the way to TEH Palace. The heat found in the other spots of Hell weren’t as potent here and a warm breeze blew thought trees. Even Emily and Shelby didn’t have trouble adjusting to it. The only disruptions were from a group of rabbits that crossed them on the path and odd shuffling noises coming from Ashton’s feet as he followed them.
None of the Angels said it out loud, but they all secretly feared Tom was trying to lull them into a false sense of security. There was something to remote and unusual about this place that frightened them. Every step they took was taking them further and further into the center of Hell.
“Does anyone else—“ Kate started
“—Think it’s a bit quiet?” Emily finished. “Yeah, I noticed that too.”
“I keep waiting for something to jump out at us. I don’t like all this waiting. I’d rather we just got it over with,” Shelby said.
“Do you guys just want to skip to the part where we fight orinjuse?” Kate asked.
“Can we do that?” Shelby said, shocked.
“Hey,” Emily said, “we’re writing this story. We can do whatever we want!”
“True,” Shelby said with a grin. “What do you say, guys?”
“Look!” Ashton interrupted. “It’s TEH Palace!” He tried to point towards it, but couldn’t quite manage because he was still bound tightly.
“Never mind that then, it looks as if we don’t need to speed this up after all,” Kate said cheerfully. “Angels ready?” She stepped forward ready to show Hell who they’d been messing with. The Angels of Limbo weren’t made for harps and halos. They were made to command, conquer and wear ROXing outfits.
Emily and Shelby looked at each other, grinning. “We’re always ready.”
All three turned to face TEH Palace and were slightly shocked by what they saw.
“It’s… it’s… orange,” Emily said in a surprised voice.
It wasn’t just the color that took the Angles by surprise, but instead the very style of it. It wasn’t just orange, it actually was an orange.
“Who else feels like they’ve walked into a bad fairytale?” Kate asked.
“Cinderella gone citrus?” Shelby giggled.
It was at that moment that a speaker, conveniently positioned near the Angels, boomed out a message from the Emperor of Hell himself.
“Nice of you to drop by! I see you’ve made it past my seemingly unbeatable tasks. I know Ashton enjoyed one of them at least… But don’t go thinking I’ve underestimated you. This battle has just begun! Mwahahahahahahahah!!!!”
“Wait…” Shelby said. “Why are we fighting him again?” She had to scroll up a few pages to check. “Oh, riiiiiiiight. He’s trying to take over limbo and we’ve got to stop him!”
Kate shook her head. “Let’s just get this over with. I’ve wasted too much of my day on this sook and it’s about time we just got it over with.” She spoke right into the speaker with not a quiver in her voice, “Come out and show yourself. Or are you just not brave enough to face us in person?”
It was at that moment when the orange lake began to ripple.
“Who else thinks this is a bit too GoF?” Emily asked.
The ripples increased and the entire lake began to bubble. Something was rising up from within the lake itself. A giant orange ball large enough for a man to stand inside it surfaced. It rose out of the lake and landed near the water’s edge. A large hatch opened near the top and Tom stepped out swirling his cape around for good measure.
“Come and get me Angels,” he taunted. “Wait... Ashton, what are you wearing?”
There was a moment of silence. Then, realising that having their Emperor in bondage wasn't a very good impression to make on enemies, Shelby hastily loosed the rope around Ashton. She missed the disappointed look in his eye.
“I'm the Emperor,” said Ashton loftily. “I can wear whatever I choose, so there.”
“But rope?” Tom said disdainfully. “So last season, darling.” He swirled his cape, and it fell open to reveal ... a pink wetsuit.
“Is he gay?” whispered Emily, trying not to giggle.
“I'm just a PROUD AUSTRALIAN!” shouted Tom.
“Yeah, yeah,” Kate muttered. “Can we fight now?”
“NO!” Tom shouted. “You've got three minions, Ashton, I've only got two!” He snapped his fingers: the mysterious and sexy young woman they'd seen once before, on their entrance to Hell, appeared. Just next to her was a beautiful girl with dark hair and brown skin. She, just like Shelby, brandished a wand ...
But the Angels weren't really bothered about Tom's lackeys. “Did you just call us minions?” Emily said evenly.
“Minions,” echoed Kate. Her hands grasped her rugby ball tight.
“MINIONS?” shrieked Shelby. “We're ANGELS! STUPEFY!”
“Protego!” It was the dark girl, countering the Angel's spell with one of her own. “No one hurts my Master!”
“At least someone loves me,” muttered Tom, sitting back to watch. “Peta, Sammy, go get 'em, two can beat three anyday!”
“Two can't beat FOUR!” shouted Ashton, tripping over his shoelaces.
“Snicker,” snickered Tom.
Meanwhile Peta (the sexy mystery woman) and Sammy (the beautiful girl) had jumped lightly from orange ship to ground, and began to charge the Angels. Shelby charged downhill, intent on getting even with the other wand-wielder. But she failed to see Peta! Peta, who was holding a knife tipped with poisoned citrus juice!
“NOOOOOOOOmes!” screamed Kate, running in slow motion downhill. “SHELBYYYY!”
The knife was flung from Peta's hand – a sliver of silver streaking through the air – Shelby stared at it – Peta gloated – Emily had the hysterics – Kate hurled herself in front of Shelby!
The knife embedded itself deep into Kate's sternum. She crumpled, silent, to the ground.
And the Angels were two.
Driven to battlerage, Shelby and Emily flung themselves at their enemies. Shelby and Sammy waved wands and shouted spells. Vengefully, Emily wrote Peta into chains. Shelby soon conquered Sammy, and Tom's two minions were chained together and tossed into the orange boat. “Can we sink it?” sobbed Shelby.
The Angels' heads span around to see where the scream came from. “He – oh, no!” gasped Shelby.
On a dramatic hilltop (illumined by the setting sun, naturally) Ashton and Tom were facing each other.
“They're fighting?” gasped Emily. As one the two ran forward, so they could see better.
“You killed my Angel!” Ashton yelled, keeping a safe distance.
“Didn't!” Tom protested indignantly. “Peta did!”
“SAME THING!” howled Ashton, backing up a little more.
“Too scared to fight me?” Tom sneered. “YOU ARE A KNAVE AND A COWARD, SIR!” he suddenly roared.
If there's one thing Ashton just cannot bear, it's being called a coward. “VARLET!” he screamed. “YOU WILL TAKE THAT BACK, SIR! I DEMAND YOU APOLOGISE AT ONCE! Sir!”
“I WILL NOT, SIR! IN FACT I WILL EMBELLISH, SIR! YOU SHOULD BE THROWN TO DAVEY JONES ORANGE LOCKER, SIR!” Tom was hopping up and down with glee.
“IS THAT A CHALLENGE, SIR?! YOU HAVE BESMIRCHED MY NAME AND MY HONOUR, SIR! YOU WILL MAKE AMENDS WITH YOUR LIFE, SIR! I CHALLENGE THEE TO A DUEL ON THE MORROW, SIR!”
Emily and Shelby clutched at each other in mutual despair. “Ashton? Fighting? He ain't a chance!” wailed Emily.
Ignoring the spectators, Tom thundered, “I MEET YOUR CHALLENGE, SIR, AND I WILL SEND A FRIEND TO WAIT UPON YOU, SIR!”
“TO AFRAID TO COME YOURSELF, SIR? WILL YOU BE RUNNING OFF WHILE USING YOUR FRIEND AS COVER? I THINK NOT, SIR! I SHALL SEND A FRIEND TO WAIT UPON YOU!” came the inflammatory reply. The Angels were starting to feel well impressed by Ashton's bravery. Impressed, and scared.
“MY ONLY REGRET IN KILLING YOU WILL BE YOUR STAINING OF THIS WORLD ONE LAST TIME WITH YOUR BLOOD, SIR! PUT UP YOUR PISTOL, MAN!!” Tom was dancing with rage.
“STOP PRANCING AROUND AND DUEL, SIR!” Ashton pulled out ...
“A broomstick?” Shelby said. “wtf?”
“Tom has an umbrella?” was Emily's bemused contribution.
“HAVE AT THEE, SIR!” bellowed Tom. There were ching-ching noises, and then Ashton staggered back, gasping from a blow to the armpit by the umbrella. “HAHA! TOMORROW WE SHALL FIND YOU A GRAVE MAN, SIR!”
Emily stood up straight with indignation. “That's Shakespeare, you – you plagiariser!” she yelled. “GO GET HIM, ASHTON!”
The duellers ignored her, too intent on fighting.
“RRRR!” Ashton was snarling with rage. He deftly parried the umbrella, and launched a lightning fast counterattack, whapping Tom on the torso. “AHA! TAKE THAT, SIR! AND THAT! FIEND!” He launched a flurry of blows on the Dark Lord, who seemed hard-pressed.
But suddenly Tom pressed back Ashton's assault with such force that his umbrella snaps! He pulled out a flintlock and popped a cap in Ashton's tights. “HAH! DISRESPECT ME, WILL YOU? SCABROUS DOG!”
Ashton crumpled to the ground. “TREACHERY! FOUL TREACHERY!” he gasped. “My life's blood ... come closer, sir, so you might hear my last words.” Uncertain whether it's a trick or not, Tom approached ... “Closer,” rasped Ashton, his face full of a deathly pallor. “Closer ... BWAHAHA! I PISS ON THEE! A fitting end. Costly, honour is ... ” He died.
The tableau was frozen for a moment. Tom, urine on his face. Shelby and Emily, jaws dropped.
“Oh, bugger it,” said Shelby at last. “Let's kill Tom ourselves!”
And they did. Tom was ded. Ded, ded, ded. Mwahaha.
The triplets, now diminished to two, staggered downhill and hurled themselves onto Kate's body, howling their ickle hearts out. “NOOOOOOOmes,” wept Shelby. Emily hiccoughed and sobbed. They rent their hair and clothes, smeared ashes on their skin. Emily even wrote in black draperies, just to add to the atmosphere. And they wept, they wept, for their precious was dead.
- “Wait! Psst! I didn't get the girl! I mean, bloody hell, I'm the hero and all! I need a chick!”
The two Angels looked up suspiciously. Who had said that? It had sounded like Ashton, but he was as dead as ever ... They looked around, frowning. After a while they shrugged, and went back to mourning.
But lo! What noise was this? A faint sound from the eastern horizon! Two tear-streaked faces turned towards it.
“Climb every mountain,” sang a faint drifting voice from the sunrise. The colour drained from Emily's face.
Violins began to thrum. A cello did a few notes. A trumpet honked. The violins kicked the other intruments out of the orchestra and turned up the angst.
“ ... ford every stream,” the voice warbled.
“Save me,” whimpered Emily. “It's ... it's ... The Sound of Music!”
“I thought Austria didn't have – them!?” said Shelby, staring in astonishment at a cavorting troupe of morris dancers by the lakeside. “I mean, OK, they're wearing lederhosen, but - !?”
“... FOLLOW EVERY BYWAY,” the unknown singer roared happily.
“This is freaxing weird,” Shelby said awedly. - “- HEY! KATE!”
Kate's body had vanished, leaving only her clothes.
“In Star Wars, we are!!” gasped Emily, momentarily distracted from the singer.
“Ehehehe,” chortled Shelby.
”TILL YOU FIND YOUR DREEEEEEEEEEEEAM!!!!!” concluded the singer, appearing over the horizon.
“Fee?” Shelby spluttered.
“Come back to Limbo!” the distant figure called. “Computer's fixed! Everything OK! Buck up!”
The violins shut up. The morris dancers fell into the lake and drowned. Fee vanished.
“Everything OK? Everything OK?" sobbed Emily. "Who does she think she is!!"
“She is a Redeemer,,” said Shelby slowly. “I think we should go back to Limbo ... ”
They grasped hands and transported themselves back to Limbo. There was a great press of people, the air smelled of wine, and there were streamers all over the walls, not to mention the confetti on the ground.
"They're throwing a party?" gasped Shelby. "When Kate's dead?"
“YAY SHELBYYYYYY! EMILYYYYYY! PARTYYYYYY!” whooped Kate, walzting over to them.
“OMBWTF?" whispered Emily.
“We're in Limbo, we're already dead, you didn't think I could really DIE do you?” Kate shouted merrily. “Tom and Ashton are here too! PartAY!”
“TRIP!” screamed Emily and Shelby and hurled themselves onto Kate. There was a massive CRAXTRIPHUG (TM).
“Ahem!” Ashton snapped. “I still haven't got the girl and I want one, thankyouverymuch! I mean, for the gods' sake, you can't end a story without a wedding!”
“Weddings?” came a sexAY voice and through the crowd of people, a man sauntered forth, carrying a keg of rum. He twirled one end of his moustache around. “I love weddings!”
Like iron to a magnet, Emily gravitated toward him, breathlessly patting her hair into place. “You're, you're, aren't you?” she whispered articulately, nearly swooning. But she was recovered to full livelihood by his kiss.
“Huh,” Ashton said sulkily. “Well, there's one less for me to choose from!”
“Two less,” said Shelby. “Uh, Kate, where did Sean Biggerstaff come from?”
Kate knew sign language, which was lucky as her mouth was currently engaged. Her fingers conveyed the message Who bloody cares? to her Trips.
“No one loves me,” wailed Ashton.
Shelby was scowling. “Great,” she said. “I want someone famous, too!”
Ashton paused. An idea came to him, and his brown eyes lit up excitedly. “Shelby, will you marry me?” he asked excitedly, bounding over to here. “Then I'd have got a girl!”
Shelby narrowed her eyes suspiciously, looking up into his face and searching it for deception. “What's in it for me?”
“Shiny things! A crown! You can be Empress! Pleeeease?” Ashton said hopefully.
“Aw, go on, then,” Shelby grinned happily. Brilliant, she thought, I control Limbo *officially* now!
“Yay!” squee'd Ashton happily.
Kate emerged from Sean Biggerstaff's arms looking rumpled and ecstatic. “Can we have a Trip Wedding?” she exclaimed. “Ooh, fun!”
Sean looked slightly alarmed. “Marriage?” he gasped.
Kate kissed him again. “Marry me or no more kisses!” she said fiercely.
Emily had employed similar tactics on Johnny.
“Can I marry y'all?” Tom said excitedly (apparently his "death" at the Angels' hands had reformed him enough to allow him legitimate entry to Limbo, and he was a new man. Funny old world, innit?). “I always fancied wearing a priest's outfit! No hard feelings, eh, Ashton?” he added.
“Course not!” The two shook hands, beaming.
“Men,” snorted Emily.
And so there was a Trip Wedding, with pretty dresses of course, and much rejoicing.
“I want a honeymoon, now I'm Empress,” Shelby said thoughtfully. “Ah! I know!” She jumped onto her horse. “I'm going around the world!”
“But!” spluttered Ashton. “I'm allergic to horses! And it's our honeymoon!”
“Oh, sorry dear, I'll see you when I get back,” said Shelby. She blew a kiss and galloped away.
Kate snorted. “Better get used to that, Ashton, she'll be doing that for the rest of your lives.”
Ashton sobbed. Kate and Emily snerked. Ashton and Tom went off to get drunk. Kate and Emily grabbed two bikes and headed off after Shelby.
Because really, no matter how fun kisses are, who actually needs a man? All they do is cause trouble.