The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Eleven)
So this is what Greg meant by things getting annoying.
As I was walking to class, a huge dark hand appeared, blocking my sight. I tried to move away from the hand, but the hand just simply followed my eyes. And because I couldn't see, I ended up bumping into a teacher.
"S-sorry!" I stammered to the disgruntled old man.
"Hmph! Pay attention next time," he said before marching off in a huff. That made the sixth person, already.
Behind me the fairy creature cackled with delight. All day, that jerk had been getting in the way. Because of him, I kept bumping into people one my way from class to class. I couldn't take any notes off the white boards thanks to him always sitting down right in front of me. And every now and then, as I tried my best to ignore him, he would whisper death threats and regale me with tales of his past "exploits".
I'm sure all of it wasn't true, all that about how he used to eat humans, or tore apart his enemies during the good old days before the Veil. But, unfortunately for me, he was a really good story teller. His tales were so detailed that I could see and smell everything clearly in my mind, and it made me literally sick to the stomach.
But that wasn't even the worst part of it all. The worst part is how Greg has been with me this whole time but wouldn't do anything about it. I know he could see the jerk monster, but he kept on as if nothing was happening. He literally walked right through the creature without batting an eye when he got into the classroom for first period. And it wasn't like I could just yell at him about that. If I did that, the whole class would have seen the scene I was making, and then my school life really would be over.
"Don't worry," I told myself as I slouched back, having given up trying to copy the math formulas the teacher wrote on the whiteboard. "As soon as it's lunch time, I'll get Simon to do something about it."
There was just one more period until lunch time. I grudgingly entered the generic, brightly lit classroom while enduring the creature's constant onslaught of taunts, insults and far from harmless pranks. Like with the previous two class periods, I expected no one to notice my plight.
But then this happened:
It was just a small utterance from a small, meek boy with messy red hair. Even though we were in the same grade, he looked years younger than me.
"Oh? Today must be my lucky day," said the creature, turning to my classmate. "You. Can you see me?"
"N-n-n-no!" the boy replied softly. He may as well have said "Oh yeah. Definitely."
The monster's lips curled up into a wicked grin. I pitied this peer of mine. It was a surprise to meet someone else like me, but that was the least of my concerns right then. So, I didn't think much of that.
"Excellent," said the invisible bully. He leaned closer until his nose was practically touching the boy's face. "Now I get to have twice the fun."
My classmate looked like he was on the verge of tears. I wanted to say something. I really did. But what point was there? It wasn't like he was going to go away. He certainly didn't the last time I tried.
I fumed at my helplessness. The only thing I could do was quietly endure and watch as the bully gleefully mused at how he would torment his latest victim.
Greg, who had already arrived, abruptly got up from his seat. He went over to the teacher to ask him for a hall pass before leaving for the restroom. As he brushed pass me, I shot him a seering glare which he only responded with a cool gaze of his own before disappearing down the hall.
"Alrighty everyone," went the teacher after kicking the door stopper back. He didn't wait to see the door close. "Let's get this class started."
The creature squeezed in between my desk and the seat in front of me to block my view. A few desks away, the boy from earlier glanced back at me with a worried expression. He quickly turned away when the creature turned his way.
"Hmm," went the creature as he stroked his chin thoughtfully. Suddenly, he walked away from me and went straight for the redheaded boy. Seeing him go to him made my insides go cold.
The creature stood in front of the boy with a twisted grin on his face. Beneath that monster's gaze, he swallowed. He broke out on cold sweat, but he didn't look away from the creature's single eye.
As if to strike, the creature slowly raised a claw over his head. His mouth opened with anticipation. He brought his claw down and -
A swarm of bats suddenly poured into the classroom through the narrow gap left by the door made ajar by something on the floor. No one reacted to the bats except for the boy and the creature. Both reeled back in surprise. I just stared, wondering why noone noticed them. The bats gathered around the creature and attacked his face.
The creature screamed and frantically waved his arms around in an attempt to ward the bats away. That did nothing to stop the bats. They continued to viciously attack the creature, clawing at his face while assaulting his ears with their piercing screeching.
"Wait!" The creature said, suddenly pausing. His charcoal cheeks turned pink. "An illusion! Trickery! Who dares to try make a fool out of me?"
"Trying? Please, if it's making a fool out of you, I don't even need to do anything. You're already doing plenty enough to make a fool out of yourself."
Because he sounded so playful and loud, I almost didn't recognize that voice. It was Greg.
The creature twisted around, frantically searching for the voice's source. But he must be having a hard time concentrating over all the noise. Even though the bats were an illusion, they were still a bother.
"Come out!" shouted the creature. "Come out and show yourself, coward!"
"Coward? That's rich, coming from you. Who else but a coward would go after the weak? But if you insist, I suppose I can step out of the shadows just this once."
The bats all gathered at one spot and momentarily engulfed an entire space before dispersing, revealing a deathly blue-skinned Asian boy wearing a rich black cloak over a white dress shirt and red waistcoat. His style was completed with a glistening top hat with its brim pushed up from his eyes with his pointer finger. It was Greg in his vampire form.
"A vampire?" the creature lowly growled. "That's who dare to step into the world of the Veil to challenge me? What? Do you want to play at being a hero or something?"
"A hero?" said Greg. He turned his nose up at the creature while bearing a malicious grin on his face. This Greg was different from the one I had gotten to know these past couple of days. "That doesn't sound so bad. But, unfortunately, I'm the least qualified to ever be one."
"Not qualified to be a hero? Then what are you?" the creature demanded to know.
"Oh, come on now," said Greg. "Who else could I be, except a villain?"
"A villain? A little vampire boy like you playing villain?"
The creature paused. His single eye rolled up in thought. And then a light bulb flashed above his head.
"You, it can't possibly be that you are that mischief-maker, the Fancy Bat?"
"Oh, so you've heard of me," Greg said, pleased with himself. He pushed the sides of his cape back in a dramatic flourish. "That's right! I am a prince among thieves. The world is my playground, and its treasures are my prizes. A modern day gentleman thief, I am the Fancy Bat!"
"The Fancy Bat". As soon as those words reached my ears, I'm suddenly flooded with memories I never had before. No. These were memories I lost. He had shown up before years ago. During a family outing, on our way to a nice restaurant, I looked up at the night sky, and there was a boy my age, but with light blue skin, leaping across buildings while dressed like an old-fashioned stage magician. Clutched in one of his hands was a glittering necklace.
This was the infamous Fancy Bat, a boy thief who performed impossible stunts. He was a villain who enjoyed making a fool of the police. He would taunt and humiliate the adults, treating his criminal exploits like it was all a game. To the adults with power and riches, he was a scourge, a criminal with no respect for the law or common decency. But to many on the internet, he was like a dashing prince, an entertainer, and even a hero.
And while he might call himself a thief, he has never technically stolen anything. In all the cases I know of, he would take his prize no further than the doorstep of treasure's house. It was his signature move to take the treasure and then leave it somewhere it could be found, along with a note with his catchphrase that mocked his opponents: "I have taken victory." This habit of his made it pretty obvious that he was only in the game of crime for the thrills.
Many have tried to capture him. But there was one person who was always at his heels. And that was . . . Who was it again? Well, never mind that.
I couldn't believe it. Of all the people the famous thief could be, it was my step-brother all along? And why had I forgotten him all this time?
"After two or three years of hiding, what do you think you're doing, appearing here and interfering with my fun, boy?" the creature said, baring his fangs.
"You think tormenting a bunch humans with the rare natural Sight gift is fun? Well, I suppose to each his own," Greg said, shrugging his shoulders while releasing a tired sigh.
"Hmm," went Greg, tapping his chin thoughtfully. "Well, if I have to name a reason, I suppose it'd be karma."
"Huh?" the creature went, tilting his head in confusion. "Karma?"
"October 31 of five years ago," Greg said.
I didn't know what he was talking about. As far as I remembered, Halloween then had been uneventful. But then, the redheaded boy went "Ah!" as if he remembered something.
"Is something the matter, Mr. Reginald?" asked the teacher.
"Ah, no, nothing," "Mr. Reginald" stammered.
The ignorant teacher gave the boy a funny look before he turned away and resumed his lecture.
"Five years ago, a goblin was attacked by monster hunters," Greg said. "He didn't do anything wrong. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. But being a vile goblin, he wasn't shown any mercy. Not by anyone, except one human boy who had eyes that could see through the Veil."
Greg gave the redhead a warm smile.
"Thanks for that," he said. "That goblin was a friend of mine. If you hadn't done that healing ritual like he asked you to, I'd have gone to his funeral."
"Oh, boohoo!" the one-eyed monster said mockingly. "That's such a nice story that it almost warms my heart! Almost. You've decided to come here in the Veil in order to help one insignificant child for being nice to a stranger? That's a real nice, hero thing to do. Fool! See where your heroism leads you! To your doom!"
The monster lunged towards Greg. He was right over the vampire before any of us realized he moved, aiming to tear Greg to shreds with his claws. His claws reached Greg, but then Greg disappeared, and the monster was grasping at air.
Greg's disembodied laughter filled the room and bounced off the walls.
"You call what I'm doing heroism? Man, you couldn't be more wrong," he said. "Did you forget? I'm a villain! Villains don't do heroism. I'm just repaying a favor for a friend."
He appeared behind the monster holding up a card with some kind of glowing symbol. As if the card were a dart, he threw it, and it burst into flames. The fireball struck its target, causing the monster to crash face-first into the whiteboard.
Greg laughed as the creature rubbed his snout. That just made the creature angry. He growled at Greg and lunged for him again, only to strike another illusion. Behind him, Greg blew a raspberry and disappeared again as the creature turned around. They continued this dance throughout the classroom, appearing here and there as if teleporting. No matter where he went, or what he did, the creature could not touch Greg. Every Greg he struck down was an illusion. But the fireballs each Greg illusion conjured with that weird jagged symbol were real. And boy, they must have stung. The creature yelped really high every time he was hit by one.
"Hmm," went the teacher as the incredible battle happened around him. "Mr. Lin. Mr. Lin? Mr. Lin!"
"Y-yeah?" I stammered.
The teacher scowled at my inattention.
"Would you happen to know if Gregory Fa is doing okay?" he asked. "It's been a while since I've excused him to the restroom, and I'm starting to get worried."
"Uh . . . " I went staring over his shoulder as "Gregory" jumped back away from another of the creature's attack. He laughed mockingly at the creature before ducking away again. The monster's claws swiped across the teacher, but phased right through him.
"Grrr," the creature growled. "Hold still and fight me!"
"No way," Greg said. "I may be a villain, but I'm not a barbarian. Besides, I don't have to fight you."
Greg flashed a huge, half-moon shaped grin.
"I just need to distract you long enough for the cavalry to come."
As if waiting for him to say that, a gust of wind struck the door and slammed it against the wall. The teacher yelped and hopped onto his chair, clutching it as it wheeled to the flag standing at the corner of the room. Mrs. Pembrooke marched in carrying a stick about as long as she was tall.
"What in the world was that?" one student exclaimed. Everyone muttered among themselves, pointing toward the door that flew open.
The teacher was the first to compose himself.
"Alright!" he shouted at the top of his lungs. "Settle down everyone! Settle down! As you can all see, it's just the wind!"
That did nothing, and probably only served to make the class rowdier. No one seemed to notice the principal was among them carrying a staff with a gnarled top that balled into itself.
"Hmph!" sniffed the principal. "I'm going to need to have a talk with everyone about discipline. But first, I'm going to need to ask you to leave."
She said this as she turned to the creature.
"Trespassing on school property is a crime, you know."
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Ten)
Upon returning to school, Jay sees the world a little differently.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Twelve)
The principal confronts an invisible bully.