The Perilous Princess Predicament is the fourth chapter of Lissa's Game High fanfic Pixels and Polygons. It can be read below.
The Perilous Princess Predicament Edit
It took the passing of a full week for a new interesting thing to happen. And even then, it took until fifth hour.
Science was one of those classes that would have been mind-numbing if not for the particularly unconventional teacher. Mr. Walker was from a Japan-favored game that never got anywhere in the west, in a neat labcoat and what appeared to be the planet Saturn for a head. Simon found himself taking a shine to Mr. Walker, if only because, again, he had the planet Saturn for a head. Even though science wasn’t his strongest subject, he took more notes when Mr. Walker was talking, and generally tried to be more of a suck-up then he already was.
Mr. Walker always began the year with astronomy, not only for the obvious reason, but because the cosmos were such a consistent part of many games that there was a lot to cover. He was going over a PowerPoint which briefly touched upon every galaxy in the Mushroom Kingdom cosmos (there were a lot) when the loudspeaker crackled to life and a voice came over the PA.
“Please excuse the interruption,” The headmaster’s voice said, “But we have just had a kidnapping.” Everyone in the room visibly tensed, chittering amongst themselves, almost too loud for them to hear who was kidnapped. “Marie Toadstool cannot be found within the building. All teachers and students are advised to search for her--”
“Of all oafish--Irresponsible--How could you let this happen!?” Crazy Hand’s voice was quieter in the background, but his shouts could be clearly heard. “You lousy--L.O.G. will have our heads!”
“We don’t have heads, Cra--Subordinate.”
“Oh, you know what I mean! We’ll be absolutely gutted and it’s all--” The PA system clicked off.
With no hesitation Mr. Walker dismissed class, and clearly all the other teachers followed suit, since when Simon got into the hall the corridors were filled with students in search. Before he could blink someone was on his arm, and he looked flatly at Sofia. “A real kidnapping!” She said brightly, more cheerfully than one would expect. “Isn’t this real emocionante? We could solve it and become heroes! Then the hombres will fall at my heels, oh, sí! Ellos me van a adorar!” She sighed in content, already dreaming of swarms of boys loving her just because she rescued the princess. Her roses were back, just as oversized as before, and the dark pink bloom rested once more in Simon’s breast pocket, though perhaps slightly worse for wear.
Simon rolled his eyes, shaking his head. “You don’t get suitors by solving kidnappings.” Groups were being formed in the hallways, makeshift search parties for the missing princess to be. Slowly, both Simon and Sofia migrated to one group, possessing a boy who was missing arms, legs, and neck but still functioned fine, the skeletal squire, and…
“For L.O.G.’s sake!” Sofia said sharply, marching up and poking the girl in the chest. “Why d’you have to be here!?”
“Some of us enjoy helping to find princesses for ze sake of varm, fuzzy feelings inside.” Magnilde replied, though with a few snickers under her breath.
“Mentiroso. You just wanna get fame, like when you beat me in combat!”
“Ze doctors carry ze team. Fact. Besides, Hohlkopf, you aren’t helping out of goodvill either.”
“Yeah, so? Your accent is stupid!”
“Ze R.E.D. team does not hafe any Spaniards. Now I knov vhy.”
“Oooo--” Sofia made a motion as though she were rolling up her sleeves, but she had no sleeves to roll up. “Get over here, I never showed you papa’s Rose Flurry!”
The two girls were practically nose to nose at this point (with Sofia having to slightly stand on her tip-toes), but the limbless boy quickly intervened, weaving himself between the two and waving his hands frantically. “Umway, uysgay? Ancay ouyay arrycay outway ightsfay aterlay? Eway avehay otay indfay Ariemay,” He said, smiling awkwardly, as though he just realized his position was an excellent one if he wanted to get socked from both directions. This did distract from their argument, though, since both of them were slightly surprised at this boy’s dialect. This pause was enough time for Simon to come back in and drag Sofia away from Magnilde, and the boy quickly scurried away from her, as though scared of the German.
“So,” Simon said sharply, letting go of Sofia but positioning himself between her and Magnilde, “Do we have any leads on this crime? Maybe you guys heard more of the P.A. message then I--”
There was suddenly a very loud clanging sound from above. Everyone’s heads twitched upward, where a ceiling tile was suddenly kicked down with a loud clatter (causing the squire, the limbless boy, and Sofia to jump back). A slight pause followed, then someone jumped through the hole in the ceiling, landing gracefully on the fallen tile. “A lead?” The person said, a smirk crossing their face, “Well, of course, we should be looking to the headmasters themselves. How would they know this is a kidnapping, and not just a simple game of hooky? Seems a little too handy to me.”
The ceiling-dropper was a female, petite in stature, with orange hair and an outfit that was entirely monochrome. High socks, little sneakers, shirt and skirt--All either black or white. From her head were two orange fox-like ears, and from her back, a fox’s tail swayed. When nobody immediately replied, she took the moment to add, “The name’s Foxglove--Vanessa Foxglove. Daughter of SPY Fox, game of the same name, spy in training, nice to meetcha’. So back on my theory, I wanna say--”
“Vait a moment.” The German tilted her head, advancing a step or two closer to Vanessa. “Did you say spy?”
Without warning, Magnilde rushed closer to Vanessa. The spy advanced back multiple steps, but it was no use; the German had her pinned to the wall in seconds flat. “I hate spies.” Magnilde hissed, immediately prodding at her sleeves, yanking out a variety of items (lipstick, eyeglasses, bubblegum, toothpaste) and throwing them on the floor. At one point she found Vanessa had a wristwatch on her wrist, but after careful observation she deemed it safe from ‘cloak and dagger’ techniques, whatever that was. Magnilde’s eyes went to Vanessa’s tall socks, and she dropped to her knees and prodded at them, too, coming up with a pack of post-its and a glue stick. Dropping these on the floor as well, the German girl stood up, giving a nod to everyone else. “She’s clean. No knifes.”
Vanessa shook her head, frowning as she yanked her socks back up and began shoving the objects back into her sleeves and socks. “Anyone could have told you that.” She grumbled, pulling on her sleeves so she looked neat and presentable again. “Now, moving on from that...Foolishness...Obviously our first course of action is to locate the princess, assuming she’s in the building--Which, reasonably, she could not be, but regardless. Now, protagonists have a better knack for such…” The end of her statement trailed off as she looked around the group, first at Simon (“Frequently, white-haired pretty boys are protagonists,” to which he quickly said otherwise), then Sofia (“You look more like a damsel,” Simon had to hold her back), Magnilde (“Certainly not,”), and finally coming upon the limbless boy and the skeletal squire. “...Rayman.” She slowly deduced, then coughed and asked, “Um--Utbay ou'dyay ebay oremay ersedvay inway ixiespay andway estroyingday evilway oppelgangersday enthay indingfay away incesspray, ightray?”
His eyes lit up brightly, and with no hesitation, he made a slightly non-committing hand gesture in reply. “Iway ouldcay ivegay itway away ogay. Iway eanmay, Iway on'tday inkthay ehay oesday incessespray eitherway…” He looked over to the skeleton, who shrugged a bit, either because he didn’t quite understand or because he’d never had experience with princesses. But regardless of what it meant, the limbless boy smiled and gave a nod.
“Antasticfay.” Vanessa smiled back, “Ouyay otgay away amenay?”
“Ankthay ouyay.” She turned back to the rest of them, who looked slightly confused. “First rule of spy work: know your video games. That’s Sonny, he’s from Rayman, pig latin is the natural dialect of the Glade of Dreams.”
“Asway ofway Aymanray Originsway.” Sonny piped in.
She nodded. “Right. He’s agreed to put his natural protagonist abilities to use and help us find Toadstool. No challenge.” Vanessa stood up straight, seemingly proud of this wonderful leading she was doing, and then made a dismissive gesture towards Sonny. “Lead the way.”
Sonny took a slight pause, looking to his comrades, then fellow searching students. Quite obviously he wasn’t quite sure how to do this protagonist thing, but he’d give it a go. He began walking with newfound purpose, and everyone else followed behind. They twisted through the corridors, squeezing past other students and looking high and low for any sign of the lost princess. It appeared to be a clean kidnapping, for Sonny didn’t spot any sort of sign...Unless…
“Ai yi yi.” Sofia muttered flatly, crossing her arms and glaring daggers at the back of Sonny’s head. “You have no idea where you’re going, do you!?”
He paused his stride, hesitant to answer.
Vanessa, not one to be proven wrong when she was leading, replied with slight indignance, “I’d say he does. He’s the only one here sticking his neck out.” A moment’s pause, and then she covered her mouth with a hand, hiding a snicker.
“Vonderful.” Magnilde’s eyelids lowered slightly. “Ve’re being led by an empty-headed vreck of a spy and her sham of a ‘hero’.”
“He is not a sham.” Vanessa said, wrapping an arm around Sonny’s shoulders (who seemed very uncomfortable with this development), “He’s a real hero. Glade of Dreams needs ‘im to take dear old dad’s place. Isn’t that right?” Her eyes gleaming, she squeezed him slightly, in a gesture that might have been reassuring if Sonny didn’t look like a deer in the headlights.
Magnilde went on to remark something, and then Vanessa replied again, their banter going on for a bit. In the meantime, the skeletal squire’s eyes wandered around the hall, eventually landing on the corridor’s corner. Something glinted in the hallway lights. Slowly the skeleton approached it, looking up and something embedded in the wall. It turned, attempting to convey this news to the others, but was hindered by his awful lack of a lower jaw. Always forgot about that. Grunting some sort of sigh, it trotted over to Simon, tapping him on the shoulder.
The pirate lad had been watching the petty argument and was pretty deeply into it, so he didn’t take that kindly to being interrupted. “Oh, what do you…” His question was cut off as his eyes followed the skeleton’s pointing finger up to the thing embedded in the wall. Fascinating. “Oh, stop the banter!” He snapped his fingers a few times, to get everyone else’s attention, then moved their focus over to the thing embedded in the wall.
Of course, Vanessa was the first to get interested, getting her bubblegum her sleeve. “Now, watch this, real spy work.” She said proudly, then thumbed at the side of the bubblegum wrapper. A small wad of chewed gum shot out, clinging to the thing embedded in the wall, attached back to the wrapper with a shiny silver bubblegum wrapper chain. She flicked her wrist back, and the thing came whipping towards her, and she caught it with her free hand. “Genius, eh?” She snickered, then tugged the gum off the thing and retracted the chain.
Now that everyone could see the thing, it showed itself to be some sort of pinkish shard, outlined in yellow, flecks in a sort of space-y hue glittering within. Everyone looked at it for a while, not sure what to make of it, then Vanessa made her deduction: “Anna.”
Immediately, there was an uproar.
“Es una broma.”
“Oh, you can’t mean her…”
“Eshay ouldn'tway urthay away Umlay.”
“The fery moment Mr. Bonaparte mentions a fighting game, she gets anxious.”
“Alright!” Vanessa snapped, “It was a guess! What do you want me to think this is?” She frowned at the thing, throwing it at a wall. “Useless…”
The thing re-embedded itself into the wall. The wall then proceeded to sink backwards, then slide to the left, revealing a secret door. Everyone stared at this oddity, then looked at each other, as though one of them knew what was going on. Nobody had a clue. Simon beckoned, and everyone slowly walked into the room.
“Oh, thank Grambi,” Remarked an irritated voice.
In the center of the room, lit dramatically by a nice lamp, was Marie. She was tied up and laying on her side, looking very annoyed with her current circumstances. “C’mon, I’m missing math. Untie me.”
“How long have you been in here…?” Sofia asked as Vanessa took out her glue stick, uncapping it to show it was actually a small pocketknife. Magnilde immediately hissed through her teeth as she saw the blade, but Vanessa didn’t mind as she cut the ropes.
“Long enough,” Marie grumbled, stretching her arms as the ropes were cut. “Master Hand tied me up and shoved me in here, Grambi knows why. Some kinda vendetta against me.” She stood up, brushing herself off, muttering, “Yeah, yeah, I know mama’s final smash wasn’t all that great, but c’mon…”
“...But that doesn’t make any sense.” Simon remarked, frowning. “Didn’t he explain anything to you?”
“I was waiting for you to ask.”
Everyone turned towards the door. All the students were gathered there, watching, muttering amongst themselves. At the front was Master Hand, and next to him, Crazy Hand. “Congratulations!” Master Hand said, a smiley quality to his voice, “You’ve won!”
“Won what!?” Was the next thing said by everyone.
“The initial kidnapping test! Throughout the year, Subordinate and I hold these little tests, to prepare both our damsels and our heroes! You have figured out the location of Marie, and as such, we will supply extra credit points in all of your lowest classes.” A stunned silence followed, but Master Hand paid it little heed. “Be prepared for more challenging tests in the future. For now, return to your classes. Good work!” Cheerfully the hand floated away, though not without Crazy hand making small baffled noises. “What!?” The left hand shrieked, going after the right hand. “Why didn’t you tell me!? You had me panicked! Get back here you--You useless--!”
Everyone paused. Everyone gave glances to one another. And then, the contest over, everyone trickled off to class.
First Chapter: We Begin by Entering
Previous Chapter: Prince and Slime
Next Chapter: Black Coffee and Determination