Side Story: One Spooky Halloween Night
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Trick or treat!” said Illuna and Shii, in sync.
“…Treat.” said Enne.
“All three of you look real good in those costumes!” said Lyuu.
“Happy Halloween to you too,” giggled Leila, as she provided each of the three children with a number of candies. “And Enne, you’re not saying it correctly. It’s meant to be ‘trick or treat.’ If you only say treat, then you’ll just be asking for sweets.”
“Mhm… I know,” said the sword. “I don’t want to play tricks. I just want treats.”
Everyone had dressed for the occasion. Illuna was wearing a costume that featured a demon’s wings and horns, Shii had morphed her body to feature a wolf’s ears and tail, and Enne had put on a witch’s robe alongside a big, pointy hat. Likewise, Lyuu and Leila were also in their celebratory clothes. The wolf had a big scar across her face and a screw popping out of her head, while the sheep had cat ears and a long black tail sticking out of her similarly coloured one piece dress.
All the costumes present had been purchased by Yuki. He’d been mystified by their presence within the catalog, and even made an odd comment or two, not that any of the girls had caught it.
“I believe it was… ‘Trick or treat?’”
The dragon was wearing a costume that, for most part, matched Enne’s, with the biggest difference being that hers featured a large, hollowed out pumpkin in place of a hat.
“Lefi? Why’re you trick or treatin’? Ain’t you supposed to be one of the ones helpin’ us hand out all the candy?” said Lyuu, who gave the other girl a bit of a suspicious, accusatory stare.
“I-I have not the slightest clue as to what it is you mean,” stuttered the awkward pumpkin. “F-for I am not Lefi, but the Jack O’ Lantern, the spectre of death known for striking fear into the hearts of the helpless and imbuing their dreams with horrors untold. You too shall forever suffer a curse should you refuse to provide me with an offering.”
“That’s kinda terrifyin’, comin’ from you, so do a gal a favour ‘n knock it off,” said Lyuu. “And wasn’t the Jack O’ Lantern just the wisp that Master was tellin’ us about? It ain’t supposed to be anythin’ too horrible.”
“That is but a trivial detail, and one for which I care not,” said Lefi. “I demand that you pay it no more attention and provide me with chocolate.”
“You’re bein’ so awfully blunt about what you want that I’m startin’ to think I shouldn’t give it to you,” said Lyuu.
“I think it’s okay. She deserves it, with how well made her costume is,” said Leila, with a giggle. “Here you are, Lefi.”
“It pleases me to see that you understand, Leila,” said Lefi. “Halloween is a splendid holiday, one which I would be very much willing to celebrate each and every night.”
“You’d have to get Master on board,” The sweet tooth-driven comment led Lyuu to give the other girl a bit of a wry smile. “Speakin’ of master, where is he? He’s normally not one to take a long time to get ready, but he just up ‘n vanished after grabbin’ Nell.”
“I have no idea,” said Leila. “I can’t even begin to imagine what he might be up to this time. It could be any number of things.”
“I concur,” said Lefi, with a chuckle “But as one who knows him well I can surmise it is a task in which he has put plenty of effort, and one that we likely will not understand. When he returns, he is sure to dazzle us, be it with his idiocy, or something truly impressive.”
“I know, right? Master always puts loads o’ time into the weirdest things.”
“He certainly does,” said Leila. “His sensibilities are a bit different from ours. Or anyone’s, for that matter.”
The door creaked open just as the three burst into a fit of laughter. And from it, entered the man of the house, who, for some odd reason, was carrying Nell on his back. He was covered in head to toe in bandages, much like some sort of still-living mummy, whereas she was dressed as a bat; a layer of fabric extended from her arms all the way down to her waist to make it look as if she had a pair of wings.
“Alright, everyone ready?” he asked, as soon as he entered. “Let’s get this party started!”
“…I hate you, Yuki,” whimpered Nell.
“What is it that you have done to her? And why is she glaring at you so reproachfully?” asked Lefi. “Her legs are trembling with such fright I am beginning to suspect you have rendered her incapable of walking on her own.”
“Oh, you know, nothing special. Few random things happened here and there, and she ended up being a little too scared to walk. No big deal.”
“No big deal? No big deal!? What do you mean, no big deal!? You ordered them to scare me! How is that not a big deal!?” Nell screamed, backed by the fury of all her pent up rage.
“Ordered who?” asked Lefi, with a brow raised.
“The wraith girls!” she shouted. “I thought he needed me for something, but it turns out that all he wanted to do was have the wraith girls scare me! They popped out of nowhere the moment I turned the corner! Can you believe how terrible he is!?”
“Oh man, the way you reacted was just perfect. I laughed my ass off,” said Yuki. “I wasn’t actually sure if you or Lyuu would make the better victim, but now I know I made the right choice.”
“H-huh!? Why me!?” squealed Lyuu.
“You might be happy about this, but I’m not!” shouted Nell. “You’re terrible!”
The only response the demon lord offered was a hearty cackle.
After a bit more squabbling, Yuki escorted the girls to the castle’s courtyard, which had been decorated as one would expect given the holiday being celebrated. Skeletons with pumpkins for heads and gravestones were strewn all over. Adorning them were thick cobwebs, bats, and all sorts of other spooky, scary props.
The sky had been altered such that it displayed a permanently overcast sky. Moonlight aside, the only source of illumination that pierced through the thick, dark clouds came from the occasional faint star. Also present was a thick, smokey fog. While there wasn’t so much of it that it was impossible to see in front of oneself, it was still dense enough to disallow one to be aware of much more than was in their immediate surroundings.
While the individual set pieces were eerie and off putting, the manner in which they’d been placed and assembled took the emphasis away from their spooky designs and instead made them out to be more eye catchy such that they would appeal more to children than they would have in their original forms.
All five of the dungeon’s combat-oriented monsters were present as well. And like the rest of its residents, they’d been geared up with pointy hats, bat wings, and all sorts of other festive equipment. The costumes didn’t exactly work given the inhuman nature of their wearers, but they’d ended up keeping them on regardless at their master’s insistence.
“Wow! This is super awesome!” said Illuna, as she walked into the courtyard.
“Super awesome!” echoed Shii.
“…So extravagant,” said Enne.
“These decorations are quite appealing,” said Lefi. “I had anticipated a set more solemn given that you had described the occasion as a banquet for the most sinister of spirits.”
Lefi was impressed by the show, but her sense of wonder dulled in comparison to that of the children. All three were looking around with their eyes wide.
Unsurprisingly, the dragon had already discarded the pumpkin she had been using as a head, for the sole reason that it irritated her too much for her to want to wear it.
“Right?” said Yuki, with a conceited smirk. “It’s totally awesome. I figured the wraith girls would know all about horror, so I had them work through it with me.”
The three sisters that he’d mentioned merrily began spinning around him in response to the praise. Unlike usual, they weren’t possessing any sort of dolls, but rather, flew about in their natural, half-translucent, spiritual states.
“They really do,” said a defeated Nell. “And they’re especially good at it when they’re up to no good.”
“Oh yeah, that reminds me of what happened when you first showed up. They scared you so bad your legs gave out,” said Yuki, with a chuckle. “Man, I sure do miss the good old days…”
“I’d rather you forget them.”
The hero, who had only just recovered enough to walk, gave the demon lord a reproachful glare.
“Anyway, that’s enough reminiscing. Let’s get started on dinner,” said Yuki. “Since we’re in the courtyard, we might as well kick the party off with a barbecue.”
“That is a suggestion of which I approve,” said Lefi.
“Yay, meat!” said Illuna.
“And veggies!” said Shii.
“…I like the sauce,” said Enne.
“The… sauce?” said Lyuu, in an awkward, questioning tone. “Are you sure y’don’t mean somethin’ else? ‘Cause I’m real sure that the sauce ain’t what most people start cheerin’ ‘bout when it comes to a barbecue.”
“I meant the sauce,” said Enne. “The most important part.”
“She certainly has a point,” said Leila, with a giggle. “The sauce plays a big part in making everything else taste as good as it does.”
And so, amidst all the noise, the dungeon’s residents came together and got to work on a holiday dinner they were all sure to enjoy.