The reunion: part 23

"Yeah," Twitch said, his jaw hard, looking from the interloping cat to Ting Ting and back again. He slapped his fist into his palm and sneered at the back of Astrocat's head. "We're gonna have a party and you're gonna be the piñata."

Ting Ting gave  him a dark look and turned back to Astrocat. "I've never met an astronaut before. It's so exciting! What's it like in outer space?"

Astrocat put his arm around her waist and squeezed her. "Well, doll face, I'm more interested in inner space right now."

Kitten frowned. "What? What does that mean? Is that you flirting with her?" Kitten rolled his eyes and Astrocat shrugged.

"Dude, are you that French cat Felix, that went up in outer space, way back in the day?" CC asked. Derision colored his mostly-stoned tone of voice. "French cats. Like, wow."

"Where's that box of circuitry on your head, then?" Twitch asked. "I love those postage stamps thee did with that box on your forehead. That didn't look stupid at all." Twitch made as if to shove Felix from behind, but Ting Ting smoothly blocked him.

"You look very handsome," Ting Ting said. "And I don't see anything strange about your anatomy," she added in a silky tone of voice, looking him up and down while the other male cats growled. "You're an astronaut..." She paused and looked up at him with wide eyes. "Astro...naut. Does that mean you're naughty?"

Twitch, Kitten and CC's growls intensified, while the Anchorite, who was watching with Chris, groaned at the pun.

"Are you Felix Baumgartner?" Ting Ting continued. "The Austrian who parachuted from outer space?"

A couple knuckles in Twitch's fist cracked. "You better hope you're an astronaut, cause you're gonna be seeing stars in a minute," he muttered.

The three toms closed in on Astrocat. He ignored them and answered Ting Ting casually. "No, sweetie. I'm AstroCat, from the cover of the Klaxon album."

Twitch stopped in his tracks, as did the others. "The Klaxons?"

Two hours later, Ting Ting was painting her nails and sulking in the corner. The Anchorite and Chris Hugh were on their laptops, trying to catch up on answering at least a portion of their mountains of fan mail. And the male cats were over by the sound system, listening to punk rock and hanging on every word as the AstroCat told them stories about his days with the band. Pin It Now!

The reunion: part 22

"It sure is good to see the cats so amicable. I was almost expecting trouble when I came across that scene," Chris said, turning to the Anchorite.

"Indeed," the Anchorite said, raising his eyebrow and giving Chris an arch look. 

"I suppose it goes back to the reproductive behaviors that have evolved among the feline species," Chris speculated.

"Yes," the Anchorite said drily.  "I am sure it has nothing to do with the imagination of any particular author."

"Hey, I'm just trying to make this interesting to a wide range of…" Her words were cut off by the heavy electric guitar intro to an Aerosmith song. A few bars sounded through the room and faded away as a tall handsome man walked into the room wearing an orange flight suit.  

Then all eyes turned to an elegant female form that glided sensuously to the man, molded itself to his side and looked up at him with shining dark eyes. 

From there all eyes turned to three male forms disentangling themselves from the white leather couch on which they had been lounging. Slowly and menacingly they approached the interloper. Two stood before him, apart from each other and just outside of striking distance, while one circled around and planted himself behind him, disconcertingly out of his line of vision. 

The Anchorite strode up to the stranger and embraced him. "Felix! My favorite feline astronaut! You finally got here! The party can finally start!"

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The reunion: part 21


Tinting was seated between Chapterhouse Cat and the Warrior Cat in the penthouse living room looking out the nightlights of Silicon Valley. The reunion had taken over the rodizio restaurant entirely, and had built a tall and well-fortified tower above it to provide living quarters for all good or at least neutral characters of the Chris Hugh and Anchorite universes. Regular battles were fought between those forces of good and the villains created by Chris Hugh and Anchorite.

Tinting stretched, the thin silk of her tight dress shifting intriguingly against her graceful body. She was not so much seated between the two male cats as sprawled on both of them. She nestled with her back against Warrior Vat's chest, sipping a glass of wine as he smoked a cigar. Her long legs were stretched across CC’s lap. CC had removed one of her white stiletto shoes and was languidly rubbing a delicate so with ruby red nail polish when Twitch walked into the room.

Tension immediately strummed through the penthouse; the Anchorite, Rico, Blondhilda and the other humans turned to watch, all of them poised to intervene if violence erupted.

Twitch walked straight to Ting Ting; she put out her hand.

Twitch took her hand and kissed it. "Darling," she pouted. "I haven't seen you in ages."

He smiled down at her. "I was sick for a while, but now I feel great." He fist bumped the male cats. "Hey CC, hey Warrior Cat."  

Warrior Cat leaned over and clasped Twitch's shoulder as Twitch sat down on the floor. Twitch leaned back against the sofa, stretched out his long legs and looked out at the city lights. Ting Ting shifted so that she was lying on her side, and began softly stroking his head and neck head with her long nails. "I'm so glad you're feeling better," she breathed. "You look wonderful," 

CC passed Twitch a joint. Twitch took a long pull, leaned his head back onto Ting Ting’s waist and exhaled smoke toward the ceiling.

The Anchorite and Rico looked from the cats to each other. Although his face was hidden in the dark folds of his cowl, something of his posture revealed the Anchorite's puzzlement. Rico's mouth was hanging open. 

"Ah," Blondhilda said. "The way of the cat has much to teach us."

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The reunion part 20


After another failed attack on the reunion, Evil Chris brought her minions to the Northern California mini mansion of the vampire Lily.

Lily had the face of an innocent girl on the brink of womanhood and flame red hair that flowed down her childlike figure. Her skin was the color of a marble statue, as soft as a fog that rolls across a graveyard under a new moon. Her sweetness was a beautiful dream from which the sleeper never awakes, the morning finding him cold and grey, his eyes open and staring into the middle distance, seeing what no living human can see but that we will all see some day.

Lily folded her arms and leaned against the doorway wall. "So nice of you to remember me after 10 years."

"I needed somewhere to go," Chris said. 

Lily walked to the bank of floor to ceiling windows in the living room. She had crossed of the seas of the Atlantic over a thousand years before.  She had been a slave. And then she became a vampire. She had never known love, or warmth or human kindness. Chris had brought her into existence, with her thousand years of horrible memory, and then abandoned her. Now Chris was bringing a host of new characters into her lonely world, to stay for a while, and then leave, leaving Lily behind in the void. Lily had been used cruelly when she was a slave, and when she became a vampire she lost her soul. And yet Evil Chris's callousness seared her down to the empty place where her soul used to be and filled it with an ocean of hot, bitter tears.

Lily looked out at the night lights of Silicon Valley. "So these are the characters you've been working with lately, are they?"

"Yeah," Chris huffed as she set down the last bucket. Under Lily's cathedral ceiling, 15 buckets of blood and meat stood leaking onto the parquet floor.

"Do you take your companions fishing?" Lily said coolly. "You could use them as bait."

With a squelching sound and a barely audible scream of pain, two chunks of meat fused into one. The villains were beginning to coalesce again.

Evil Chris stuck her finger into a buckets and swirled it around a  bit. "Hey, don't insult them," she said, slapping her thigh. "These are my chums." 

***

Back at the rodizio restaurant, all the characters were huddled in the underground dining area except for Chris, the Anchorite and Twitch.

Crouching low, a waiter ran to Chris's table and offered her and the Anchorite a serving of fillet mignon from a barbecue spit. When he saw Twitch come around the corner, he dropped it and ran.

"You would think people who dealt with barbecue all day long wouldn't be so afraid of a bit of fresh meat," Chris said.

"Yes, um. Maybe more than just 'a bit.'l The Anchorite shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Twitch seems very… Energetic today. I didn't expect him to deal with the attackers single-handedly and with such…"

"Decisiveness?" Chris suggested.

"I was going to go with 'unimaginably bloody savagery' but yeah. Okay. Is there anything going on with him today?"

After dispatching the attackers, Twitch had spent the next six hours intermittently running around the restaurant screaming invectives, and cuddling with Chris.

Upon hearing the Anchorite's  question, Twitch thundered across the room and curled his 6 foot six frame into Chris's lap. He threw his arms around her and started licking her neck. Chris laughed and pushed him away. "Oh, sweetie. You're getting blood on me." She scratched behind his ears and he drooled with happiness. Then he shook his head and, as always, flung his saliva into Chris's eye.

"Okay, here's what happened. There is a pill I'm supposed to give Twitch that I am supposed to cut into eighths. I'm just supposed to give him one eighth. And there's this other pill, where I'm supposed to give the whole pill. So—"

Twitch bounced on Chris's lap and shouted, "just the headlines, human! Get to the point! You overdosed me, you stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid stupid stupid —"

"So I called the vet, and he said to give Twitch a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to induce him to vomit —"

"And then you looked at the Internet! And oh by the way, do you think I enjoy having hydrogen peroxide shot down my throat? This was the worst day of my life! The worst! Worst, worst, worst, worst worst worst —"

"And several reliable sources had instructions to make the cat walk in order to mix the contents of the stomach —"

Twitch turns to the Anchorite. "And then she put a leash on me and triedto make me walk! Make me. Walk. Am I a dog?" He turned to Chris. "Am I a dog? Ha? A dog? —"

"Well, after a while, he just refused to walk —"

"It's called civil disobedience, stupid human. You made this the worst day of my life. The worst, worst, oh, let me skip ahead. We ended up having to go to the vet. I hate the vet! This was the worst, worst, worst —"

"Well, of course, I was going nuts by  this time. I knew that the stomach contents needed to be agitated, so I put Twitch on the bed, let him support himself with his front legs, and jiggled his back end to try to mix the contents of the stomach—"

"— Worst, worst, worst —"

"Then he peed on me."

"Okay, maybe the day wasn't all bad."

The Anchorite coughed. "He's rather...biological, isn't he?"
"Well," Chris continued. "I took him to the vet and the vet talked with his oncologist and did other research and decided that no further action was necessary."

Chris sighed and patted Twitch's  head. "The vet just warned me that Twitch might—"

Twitch jumped off Chris's lap and ran away screaming. He jumped into a pool of blood and skidded for 15 feet, whooped, then walked on his hands over to the railing of the mezzanine. From there he jumped to his feet, unzipped his Saville Row pants and urinated onto the buffet on the floor below.

"— act strange for a while."
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The reunion: part 19

Written by the Anchorite


Pope Holt Su Van Hian kicked open the door into the restaurant’s ball room just as he did the last time he came. This time, however, he arrived for a different purpose. Upon making his grand entrance, Pope Hian looked directly into the amber-tinged green eyes of the leader of this gathering: the silver-haired man named Anton. He carries himself like a leader, thought the Pope, of this Baser scum.

“Not you again!” Anton exclaimed with a roll of his eyes. Pope Hian remained determined to teach this Baser a lesson in his proper place, best served on a knee bent in deference to his authority.

“Fool! Heed my words or ignore them at your peril. The villains that you previously repelled are on their way back with reinforcements, and they intend to go all out to destroy you.”

“Not that I’m complaining, big man, but did you come here just to tell us this?”

“Fool! Of course not. These villains are under new leadership that had the audacity to expel me from their group. No one does this to me, no one. I arrived in advance of their invasion and I have firsthand knowledge of their tactics, with the most brilliant of the lot of course devised by me. I shall lead you into victory while I take great satisfaction in showing these villains what it means to cross me.”

“Wait a second, you can’t just walk in here and take charge.”

“Fool! That is exactly what I shall do, unless you care to challenge my supremacy.”

The Anchorite sighed at this plot development. He originally wrote an action-packed fight scene between Pope Hian and the Chaircat, but his computer crashed in the process and the brilliant set piece was lost for all time. He did not have the time or wherewithal to rewrite the lost scene, so he left the story for his writing partner Chris Hugh to continue. She took it in a different direction than his plan, yet brilliant nonetheless although the world would now never witness a one-on-one fight between Su van Hian and Anton Fitzgibbon. 

“How about you save that energy to vent your frustrations on those who betrayed you? We’re in common cause right now as I have a party to salvage and you have your wounded pride to recover. I paid to rent this place out until sunrise and I’ll be damned if I lose my deposit!”

“Very well, Anton, I accept your terms. Wait, what is this?” 

Pope Hian eyed his daughter Regia in the crowd, standing alongside another Arch Regian he did not recognize.

“My willful daughter, I should have known you would cast your lot with this rabble.”

“Hello Father.” Regia’s voice did not hide her contempt, as she spoke in measured syllables that left a palatable chill in the air. She managed to make the word “father” sound like a grave insult.

“Like it or not, my child, we have a common interest for the moment. We shall have words when we return home, but that must wait for now.”

“Any time, Father, it will be a pleasure.” Regia’s tone clearly conveyed that she considered the thought anything but a pleasure.

“Who is your companion? I know her not.”

“I am just one of your many anonymous victims, Your Holiness, spared your wrath by caring friends.”

Pope Hian furrowed his brow as he could not identify this woman, although she appeared to be a good friend of Regia’s. That girl has become too skilled at hiding her secrets, he thought as he resolved to address that issue upon their return home. His search of his memory turned up empty. This unknown woman spoke truly as between his long list of personal prosecutions and the tireless activities of his clergy and inquisitors; Pope Hian did not recall every sinner that suffered divine retribution either by his own hand or by his command. It matters not, he thought, since he knew every member of the elite noble houses and despite her admittedly graceful elegant beauty; she was likely a mere peasant. Perhaps she was the daughter of a merchant or rural farmer, but she was no one of consequence.

“Watch your tongue, or I shall make sure to complete the task left undone.”

Regia stood in front of her friend and faced her father.

“You’ll have to go through me before I let you hurt her again, Father.” Again? thought the Pope.

“Whoa! Whoa! Wait a minute.” Anton Fitzgibbon stood in front of the Pope, tipping his head slightly upwards to look into the bigger man’s eyes. 

“There are some family therapy issues over here, but we don’t have time for that. We have a group of villains on their way. We need to prepare and get on with our party. Warrior Cat. CC. Kitten. Twitch. All of my cats gather around. I don’t like working with this overgrown thug any more than the rest of you, but if he’s right about knowing their plans then we’ll all need to work together to win this one.”

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The reunion: part 18

Back at the Tai Pan Restaurant, the evil characters were regrouping. Grease was  emerging from the void, coalescing and recovering from whatever horrible death he had most recently suffered. Dr. Jekyll and Dr. Moriarty were tending to their bloody wounds and trying to keep Dracula from "helping " them. Frankenstein was tightening his neck bolts. 

A tall, gangly young man entered the restaurant. He had a shock of black hair and  pasty skin from spending almost all in an underground laboratory. Without a word he slipped into the evil characters' booth, slouched down and stared at his hands. On the outside he looked gentle, weak and submissive. On the inside, he was something else entirely.

His name was Chapman. He was Faber's twin, but unlike Faber, he had been raised in the lab.  Like Faber, he had an extraordinary metabolism and the physical prowess of a superman, or, more exactly, like the second-generation chimpanzee-human hybrid that he was.

Athletic ability, however, had not been the goal of the project, and a cocktail of hormones and drugs administered since birth had kept Chapman from developing the almost unbelievable, apelike strength his brother had. This is been done as a safety measure, but it had not entirely succeeded. Still, with merely normal strength, and with the personnel of the laboratory on guard, he had at least not yet killed any of them.

The hybrid Chapman had been created as a super intelligent human, a tactician, a synthesizer of information, the ultimate military and political strategist. In that sense, the project has been a success. 

But, predictably, given his superhuman acuity, Chapman had managed to escape from the laboratory with some regularity. And with some regularity, security personnel from the laboratory had to dispose of the tortured and mutilated bodies that Chapman always left behind when he went on one of his unauthorized furloughs.

Chapman was always careful, of course. He chose women who wouldn't be missed, vagrants, runaways and prostitutes who would fall through the cracks. But despite his much appreciated discretion, he was not without a sense of humor. As years went by, he left more and more elaborate tableaux for his minders to find and make disappear. The minders were not the most beautiful souls humanity had to offer, but the things Chapman had done to those  women had driven more than one to the brink of suicide.

His escape attempts had ended abruptly three years previous. All but one of the laboratories employees were happy and relieved at this. And one laboratory employee was annoyed at having to procure victims and deliver them to Chapman.

Chapman sat at the table staring at his hands. His eyes were soft and his face was slack. 

He was very angry that his author had forgotten about him when she was choosing the first round of bad guys.

***

Heads turned as a woman swept into the restaurant and walked directly to the back where the bad guys were seated. She was dressed all in black, with a black mini skirt, black tights, and high-heeled black boots. Her wavy dark hair hung to her waist and she had straight black bangs. She was a younger and thinner and completely evil Chris Hugh. 

She walked up to the bad guys' table and remained standing as she addressed them. 

"Hi, assholes." She reached over and grabbed the back of Chapman's head. She slammed his head into the table hard. And then she did it again. "Whatever you're thinking, Chapman," she said, "forget it." She slammed his head again. "You didn't get picked the first time. Get over it. Got it?" He nodded.

Evil Chris surveyed her motley crew of bad guys and rolled her eyes. "Jekyll," she said. "I read your story, the original. Boooring! I don't even remember it. Go away." She snapped her fingers and the begging, pleading man disappeared, screaming, into the void.

"Monster," she said. Frankenstein's oeuvre looked up."I read your book too. Boring, boring, BORING! You and Frankenstein basically spent the whole book bitching about how lousy your lives were and arguing about who's life sucked more." 

It was true. Most of the original book showed the student Frankenstein's folly in playing God and trying to create life. The creature he created was an abomination, unendurably hideous, murderous, ashamed, rejected by all of humanity and utterly alone. The rest of the book dealt with Frankenstein's monster's self-esteem problems. The scolding Evil Chris was giving him was not helping.

"Plus," Chris was saying, "you don't even have a name. Like, what? I'm supposed to call you 'Frankenstein's Monster' all the time? Fuck that. Go." She turned to the others. "Seriously, if his author thinks he's o unimportant he doesn't even rate a name, what do I want with him?"

"But my namelessness was a symbol of my isolation! It was result of my rejection by my maker. It underscores that the true Creator of all things loves all his creatures, even the least swallow--"

He was cut off when a gaping abyss opened beneath him. A blast of air like an arctic wind through a slaughterhouse blew back Evil Chris' long hair. "Just call me 'Monster'!" the undead being screamed in a shuddering, trailing voice that died away to an infinite distance as the depths of hell reclaimed the unholy flesh. Then the abyss closed and quiet returned. The restaurant's speakers were playing smooth jazz.

Pope Hian smiled. A masterful man, he knew how to wield power and saw a kindred spirit in Evil Chris. "You are clearly a woman to be reckoned with." He bowed his head in a courtly manner. "An invaluable ally, and a formidable enemy."

"Thanks, Popey," Chris said. Pope Hian's smile froze a little. "I like you too, but here's the deal. Chris Hugh  is trying to write this story using text to voice on her new iPhone, and every time she gets to you, she has to stop and spell out your name. So you're out of here." 

The Pope sat speechless.

"So what are you waiting for?" Evil Chris asked. "Scoot, scoot, scoot!" She made dismissive "hurry up" motions with her hands and watched him as he slid along the bench. Dracula rose magnificently and let the Pope get out. As a megalomaniacal all-powerful infallible dictator, he burned with envy for the monster's grand exit.  As he began to slink away from the table, Evil Chris blocked him and held out her open palm. She didn't tell him why. She just snapped her fingers until he figured it out on his own. He finally dug into the silken folds of his imperial robes and gave her gold to pay for his part of lunch.

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The reunion: part 17

"So Pope Hian just takes away their magic, or whatever, is that how it works?" Chris casually asked the Anchorite as they took shelter under a table. Her eyes flickered over to Stanley, who was on his knees, holding the three comic books in limp hands, his head thrown back, with tears on his cheeks. 

The Anchorite turned away from Stanley. "Um, yeah. Those three characters were magic because they were created from Stanley's comic book series."

"So it's like deus ex machina in reverse," Chris said. Deus ex machina is an ancient and outdated literary device where the results of the plot by having the gods come in and fix everything.

"Yes, I guess so," the anchorite said, looking around and ducking flying bodies. "Here we have somebody coming in and taking away mystical powers and messing up everything."

Chris flinched as a bright splatter of blood splashed across her face. 

"That Pope is vicious. I think you're going to need to so the Warrior Cat new jacket." The Anchorite reached above his head and felt around on the table top for a napkin. He handed it to Chris.

"Thanks," she said absently. "Poor WC. Anyway, it seems like what we need to defeat the evil Pope is a dose of extra reality. Like, extra extra reality to defeat his power of imposing mundane reality on our characters.— Okay, I know what he needs: cold iron."

The Anchorite shook his cowled head. "I think you are thinking of the creatures of Faerie. Elves, brownies, pixies, and the lords and ladies of Faerie live half in the real world and half in the Shadow Realm. Iron is so rooted in our reality that when it touches them it makes them mortal like us, causes great pain and takes away their power. However, Pope Hian is not of Faerie so cold iron will have no effect…"

"What are you talking about?" Chris asked as she reached into her jacket pocket. She pulled out a snubnose revolver, checked to make sure no innocent characters were in her line of fire, and shot Pope Hian as he had so very much been asking for. 

The Anchorite flinched from the gunshot. When he recovered, he shrugged. "Oh, I see."
The two writers stood up cautiously and looked around at the restaurant mezzanine. Furniture was broken. Food and blood mixed on the floor. Many characters were hurt. Some were stoic, others  screaming. The less injured were giving first aid to the more injured. Starched white table linens, streaked with red, were being used as bandages.

It was a scene of devastation, but the danger was over.

Chris holstered her weapon and made dusting motions with her hands. "I think it's time for dessert," Chris said. The Anchorite nodded.

Faber looked up from where he was desperately giving Brian CPR. "Is this really the time to spout cowboy clichés?" he panted.

Chris and the Anchorite looked at each other. "What's his problem?" Chris asked. "I want to see a dessert menu."

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The reunion: Part 16

Written by the Anchorite

Meanwhile...



Blondhilda swung her sword of Republik Domin, decapitating Frankenstein’s monster. Foul-scented ichor fountained from the wound as the head rolled like a bowling ball upon impact. Hello Sailor had her katana drawn. She fluidly shifted stances from the Chrysanthemum Form to the Crescent  Moon Form as she struck Dr. Jekyll, transformed into his brutish Mr. Hyde alter-ego. Unlike Blondhilda’s dramatic attack, Hello Sailor focused on quiet efficiency so her sword cauterized as it struck and Mr. Hyde fell sliced cleanly in half. Grimgudrun raised her polished black sword over her head. Smoky tendrils like a kraken’s tentacles emerged from the blade, snaking over to wrap around Moriarty. When the tendrils had a firm grip on the villain they ripped his soul from his body with an audible tear and dragged the screaming incorporeal spirit into Grimgudrun’s sword Bloodsoul, leaving behind an empty, smoking husk.

The Stone Prince removed a handful of pebbles from his pocket and dropped them on the floor. The tiny rocks shook and grew into hulking Stone Golems imbued with Earth Elemental magic by his kingdom’s most powerful sorcerers. The Stone Prince and Apricot Princess took turns commanding the obedient golems to fight off the gathered enemies. 

Solar Wind and Pale Cadaver fired away on their instruments with their amps cranked into the redlines. Every distorted power chord, blistering solo, and thunderous drum beat powered the bands’ respective mascots. Cad Cadsworth wielded his two signature weapons, a meat cleaver in one hand and flensing knife in the other, with deadly efficiency. CC reached full alertness where his skillful agility rivaled the Warrior Cat. CC was a furious buzzsaw of teeth and claws, effortlessly shifting between his human and feline forms to take down enemies in rapid succession. The two band mascots stopped their assault for a moment to greet their close friend, the LOLshark. He appeared through the dining room floor in a splash, heading straight for Grease who he tore apart before smiling to his friends who eagerly waved goodbye. 

Holt Su Van Hian, Pope of the Church of Saint Redia, shook his head at the incompetence of his subordinates. He had to step in to take care of this situation himself, which should not be difficult. He drew his powers directly from the heavens, so no lesser pagan magics could stand in his way. He stretched out a palm towards the Heroines Three. Blondhilda, Hello Sailor, and Grimgudrun disappeared in a cloud of smoke with only a trio of mint-condition graphic novels remaining in their place. Pope Hian clenched his fist and the Stone Prince’s Golems collapsed into piles of rocks as their Earth Elemental cores faded like candles snuffed out. He unclenched the fist and the amplifier stacks of both Solar Wind and Pale Cadaver short-circuited. Cad Cadworth dissolved into a pile of dust and CC’s energy left him, leaving him yawning and looking desperate to take a nap. With a single glare, the LOLshark whimpered like a scolded puppy and retreated into the waters beneath the dining room floor.

The gathered partygoers spoke in hushed whispers as they looked upon Pope Hian with trepidation. They immediately thought of every Asian movie that they had seen: Chinese martial arts films, Hong Kong action movies, Japanese samurai movies, and Japanese yakuza dramas, among others. They collectively thought that the massive, powerfully built Pope Hian looked like every villain from those movies combined into one man who epitomized evil. The Anchorite was pleased because this was exactly the aesthetic that he aimed for when he created the character. Chris Hugh thought that he looked like her husband Rupert gone bad. Pope Hian wore a wicked, self-satisfied smile as he single-handedly defeated the gathered heroes without effort as none of his expendable henchman could accomplish. 

A silver-haired man in a tailored suit walked through the gathered crowd that parted to let him through. He looked directly at Pope Hian.
“So you’re the chump who’s crashing my party.”

“I know not what a chump is, but it clearly sounds like an insult. You are yet another piece of Baser trash who does not know his place. It’s time to learn your lesson.”

“I have no idea what a Baser is, but it sounds like an insult to me. I’m not about to take an insult from a man in a dress.”

“Fool! These are the clerical vestments signifying that I have God’s own authority on Earth. You saw how no mortal magic stood a chance against mine.”

“You claim to be a man of the cloth, but you’re just like every cheap thug and two-bit bully that I grew up with back in my old neighborhood. You claim that no magic will work against you, but I’m thinking a more conventional method will. Come on big man, you and me – one on one, last man standing.”

“Very well, I accept your challenge.”

The partygoers formed a circle around Pope Hian and Anton Fitzgibbon, providing them with a proper ring for their fight. Anton removed his suit coat and tie, handing both to his human who took them. He kissed her on the cheek. The Warrior Cat spoke to him.

“Allow me to take your stead, Boss Cat. It will be an honor.”

“I appreciate it, but this is my battle. This clown tried to ruin my party and it’s up to me to put this bully in his place
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