Monday, September 12, 2011

WIS #3.3: An Evil Goddess, a Formerly Evil Ghost, and a Cursed One

Hooray, the WISes are back! For all you new people who don't know what a WIS is, it is a Weekly Illustrated Story (well, it's certainly not so weekly anymore, but I DON'T WANT TO CHANGE THE NAME OKAY), in other words, short stories accompanied by illustrations drawn by yours truly on Paint. The WISes were originally intended to be separate, unconnected stories, but WIS#1 inspired a sequel to be made out of WIS#2, and WIS #2 inspired a sequel out of WIS#3. I'm probably not going to make WIS#4 a sequel to this WIS, but we'll see. Maybe I will and maybe I won't. I most likely won't, though, since I have a good idea for a WIS that I want to write soon!
To catch up on the previous WISes, click the links to the right under "Weekly Illustrated Stories." They look like this:

Priya and Maddie dashed off to catch up with the others, who were headed to the boat at Datwun Lake. "OHCRAPOHCRAPOHCRAP," yelped Maddie. "I hope we don't end up being to late--" They reached Anita's boat before Maddie could finish her sentence.
"Hey, um, Science, Feathers, Zella, Amarantha. Can we talk?" asked Priya.
"In private?" added Maddie.
"Why am I not invited?" asked Scott, not sounding threatening but rather just confused.
"Um..." stammered Maddie.
"...Well, don't worry! We're not trying to keep it private from you, if that's what you're wondering. We're trying to keep this private from someone else, but we don't want that person to suspect anything, so we need you and Ellie and Hannah to stay on this boat. We'll tell you everything later!" said Priya.
"Yeah, what she said!" said Maddie.
"Oh. Okay," said Scott, "As long as you're not lying..."
"D-don't be ridiculous!" said Priya.
The original six went some ways away from the river before beginning their private conversation.
"This place seems secluded enough. So, what is this really important thing you needed to tell us about?" asked Science Nerdess.
"Yeah, what is it?" asked Feathers, worried. "Is it bad? It sure seemed like it was something bad, since you guys looked really concerned."
"I-it's pretty bad," said Priya, sadly.
"Well, spill already! It's best we know now, rather than later," said Amarantha, nodding sagely.
"It's about Annie and Anita...we can't trust them," said Maddie.
"What did they do?" gasped Feathers.
"Do? Well, they didn't do anything..." said Maddie. The phoenix's look of shock turned into one of confusion. "Well, if they didn't do anything, then how do you know we can't trust them?" asked Feathers.
Priya pulled out the book of names and flipped to the page that said "Annie" (as well as a whole lot of other names). "See? It's the Chosen Mortal Name of Anilokalmosia!" she said.
"...So?" asked Amarantha.
"'So?' What do you mean, 'So?' That's bad, that's very bad! It means the girl named Annie can--no, will become evil, and then there's no changing her back to good!" said Priya. "She'll be a seductress, just like the evil goddess, and with not an ounce of good in her soul!"
"But...there's still a chance that she is still good now," mused Zella. "I mean, she's but a child. And what little I know about Theology [Author's note: There is only one religion in this land, and it's called Theology. I'm not sure whether the land is on Earth or not.] dictates that, in order for a person Cursed with the CMN (or a derivative) of an evil goddess to become evil, something has to happen to him or her to motivate him or her to turn to the dark side. Children as young as our Annie can't have experienced something so traumatic."
"But we can't take a chance!" said Priya.
"But we also can't be mean to a poor young girl whose only crime was to be born an 'Annie!'" said Zella.
"Her parents must have done something terrible, though, to have a child named Annie! Maybe they're Anilokalmosia's slaves! Maybe this Annie is already corrupted by her evil parents and is only seeking to take advantage of our generosity! Maybe--"
Science Nerdess interrupted Priya. "Yes, yes, okay. But enough about your speculations on Annie. What about Anita? I'm sorry, I'm not very educated when it comes to religion. Dragons don't have time for that stuff. The gods just leave us to our own devices, so we don't have to know too much about religious rituals and names, since they don't name us, anyhow. As long as we're good, the gods don't intervene. And they (usually) make sure the evil ones among us are punished."
"It's the same for us phoenixes, too," said Feathers.
"Scott never taught Theology to his children around me," said Amarantha. "That is, if he taught it at all."
"Okay, then. The name 'Anita' is a derivative of the CMN--that's 'Chosen Mortal Name'--of the goddess Annie. Her parents must not have done something as bad as our Annie's parents must have, but it still must have been pretty bad. Anitas are more easily lead into the wrong path, but they can stop being evil if they have enough willpower," said Priya.
"But are they able to relapse into evil just as easily as they went into it?" asked Science Nerdess.
"No, they resist evil as well as any other person," said Priya.
"Oh. So there's still a chance that she could be good, then," said Feathers.
"Yeah, but--we shouldn't chance it. Please, guys," said Priya.
"I don't see any other way to get to Annie's lair," said Feathers. "Besides, we shouldn't just not trust Anita because of her name! Geez, you're being really paranoid! And that coming from me, probably the most paranoid person ever, really says something."
Priya sighed. "I...guess you have a point," she said. "About the getting to Annie's lair part, I mean."
"So, let's go then!" said Amarantha.
"But wait!" said Zella. "I think we should get Annie off the boat. There's a big chance that she could already be evil, and we don't exactly need her on the boat or anything. She might sabotage our mission!"
"I guess," said Feathers. "And Anita knows about the mission and she sounded very sincere when she said that she wanted to help. I suppose she could be trying to sabotage our mission, too, but we won't get anywhere without a few risks and a boat that she has!"
"Right. So first, we get rid of Annie. And next, we go to Anilokalmosia's lair! Done and done!" said Zella. "Let's go."
The group walked off, relieved that their quandary was solved. But little did they know that someone else had been listening in on their little private conversation.
Scott and Ellie were later told what was discussed, and then Science Nerdess told Annie, "I'm sorry, Annie, but we don't know how many people this boat can hold, so we'll row across and everyone will get off, and then I'll row back to get you, okay?"
Annie looked up with watery eyes. "You're gonna leave me all alone here? I thought...I thought I could go back to my mommy..." Large tears fell down her cheeks. Science couldn't bear to look, but at the same time, she couldn't look away. Annie's eyes were almost hypnotic. "" Science was at a loss for words.
", I guess we could take you..." sighed Feathers. Everyone agreed, much to Priya's alarm. "But guys!" she whispered. "We can't..." Then she looked at Annie's sobbing face and relented. "Fine. We can take her," she said.
They all rowed across the river. No one said anything, and everyone was anxious to get to the lair. Suddenly, Annie said, softly, "You wanted me to not come because you were afraid, right?" 
Everyone was silent, not wanting to answer that question (and Anita and Hannah didn't really know what was going on). "You think I'm bad, right? Because my name is Annie?" Silence. "Because all Annies are bad?" 
"N-no, it's nothing like that..." said Feathers.
Annie shook her head. "No, you all think that. But you all are...absolutely right." And she gave a demonic grin. Suddenly, dark storm clouds emerged in the sky and surrounded Annie, as she floated higher and higher. And then, she turned into none other than...ANILOKALMOSIA! "Oh...I kind of forgot about the fact that if someone named Annie is a little girl with glasses and some musical instrument, then it is very likely that she is Anilokalmosia, since that's her favorite mortal-looking form..." muttered Priya.
"Ya THINK?" said Scott.
"I know what you are trying to do," boomed the goddess Annie, "BUT YOU WILL NEVER BE SUCCESSFUL!"
(So, I finally got around to using the picture from the preview of WIS #3. YAY!)
Annie stirred up a bigger storm, and lightning struck at the ocean. "YOU'LL NEVER GET OUT OF THIS ALIVE! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!" Then she made a flute appear and played a note on it. The shores of the lake suddenly filled with people who were in zombie-like stances. "SLAVES!" boomed Annie. "YOU MUSTN'T LET THESE FOOLS REACH LAND!" Then she disappeared, leaving our heroes stranded in the middle of Datwun Lake, with a storm raging over their heads.
"Holy...holy crap..." gasped Feathers. "Oh, Priya, I'm so sorry for calling you paranoid!"
"Oh no! We can't have this at all! Annie knows everything!" sobbed Ellie.
"Well, now we know that we can't risk anything," said Priya. She looked at Anita, and Anita twitched uncomfortably. "Which means, we can't trust her, either!" she said.
"But...but...why would I break your trust?!" exclaimed Anita. "I already told you, I'd have to be an idiot to mess with you guys! Sure, I'm Cursed, but--"
"Yeah, we can't," said Science Nerdess, ignoring Anita. "So, here's what we'll do: Priya and Maddie can ride either me, Amarantha, or Feathers, and we'll all fly to the island--the storm seems to have subsided now--and Scott will stay here with Anita. Wow, that was a fast storm." The clouds had cleared up, and it was sunny again.
"What? Are you saying that you still don't trust me?!" asked Scott.
"No, but we need someone on the boat to watch this...this criminal-to-be (if she isn't a criminal already)," said Feathers. "Let's go, guys." And they flew off.
"So, uh...anything ya wanna talk about...?" asked Scott.
"This crap always happens," grumbled Anita.
"Huh?" asked Scott.
"You know, the whole deal with my name and all. Just because of some shit my parents did. Why the hell do I have to be Cursed? They're the ones who made the fucking [and now this post is officially rated PG-13!] mistake...why should I be punished?" Anita sighed. "No one trusts me. I've always been a good-for-nothing...and I always will be, in everyone's eyes."
"Seriously! I know good from bad, and even before I became evil, I--"
"'re saying that you actually are evil?" gasped Scott. "Geez, did you fail Villain 101 or something? You had a great sympathy act going for you there, but then you blew it and said you were actually evil! Take it from me, a retired bad guy--"
"No, no, no! I'm not evil anymore! I just gave up and succumbed to my 'destiny' when I was best friend had already turned evil, everyone was treating me like a criminal, and I was getting visions of the goddess Annie persuading me to turn to the dark side..."
"Yeesh, that's a lot of pressure!"
"Yeah, the friggin' Cursed punishment system just makes more people bad! The gods, though, don't realize it." Anita sighed. "It's just frustrating. At least I'm not evil anymore, and I don't have to worry about my cruddy 'destiny'...but I do have to worry about other judgemental people." She paused. "Wait, what did you mean by saying that you were a 'retired bad guy'?"
Now it was Scott's turn to sigh. "I was greedy. Really, really greedy. I killed off people when my coffin-making business slowed, and tried to stop Science Nerdess and Feathers and Zella from curing people with their little clinic. I got knighted by the king so that I could slay Science."
"But they trust you. Why?"
"Oh, believe me, they didn't at first. In fact, I came back to exact revenge, and they tried to get rid of me by making my own wife get rid of's a long story."
Anita shrugged. "We've got all day. I mean, I'm not going anywhere." She laughed bitterly.
Scott explained everything that happened in the previous WISes, and you all know what happened then, so we'll just skip that part.
Meanwhile, Science Nerdess, Feathers, Amarantha, Priya, Maddie, Ellie, and Hannah had landed on the island. The slaves had dispersed, seeing that they couldn't block people who were already on the island from going onto the island, and the group walked through a peaceful neighborhood. "Where would a key be?" asked Ellie.
"Undew the sofa?" suggested Hannah.
"No, no, sweetheart, not our keys...the key to Scadoosh's cage," said Ellie.
"Oh," said Hannah.
"Where does Annie live?" asked Science.
"At that creepy looking house-mansion thing with all the hypnotized people blocking the entrance?" suggested Amarantha.
"Ha! That's got to be it!" said Maddie. "Anilokalmosia can hypnotize people with her flute, and those people look like people who have been hypnotized by her."
"Let's go then!" said Feathers. And the group walked towards the mansion. Feathers almost rang the doorbell, but then stopped herself. "How do we get inside?" asked Feathers. "Sorry, I'm no good at the whole 'busting into stranger's houses' thing. I am a phoenix who lives in a land that hasn't progressed since the medieval times. I think if I did bust into a house, people would try to capture me just to see if they can get good luck."
"Haven't you watched any movies? We bust in through the window!" said Priya.
"Um, what part of 'I live in a land that hasn't progressed since the Medieval Times' don't you understand?" asked Feathers.
"Oh...I, uh, forgot about that part," said Priya.
"Besides, aren't we supposed to be secretive? A window breaking is pretty loud," said Amarantha.
"But...I want a cool entrance!" whined Priya.
"Sorry, Priya, but we're going to have to sneak in," said Science Nerdess. Amarantha nudged the window pane with her horn. "Whoa, it's loose!" she exclaimed.
"SHHHH!" said everyone else.
"Oops...sorry," said Amarantha. "But, the window's loose. Should I open it?"
"Of course," said Feathers.
Amarantha wiggled the window with her horn, and Zella pulled it off. Everyone crawled into the window and walked into a living room with threadbare furniture and cobwebs everywhere. "Huh. Looks like no one's home..." said Amarantha.
"...Or has been for a long time," said Zella, anxiously. "Where is Annie?"
"A portal! Where's a portal? Or an elevator, at least?" asked Priya. "There's got to be a portal in this home to her lair." Everyone looked around, and as Science Nerdess turned, her unwieldy tail knocked into a bookcase, which slid open to reveal an elevator.
"That must be the elevator that leads to Annie's lair!" gasped Priya. Hannah giggled. "I wanna push the button!" she shrieked, and she...pushed the button, obviously, before anyone could stop her. (Not that anyone wanted to.) The elevator opened, and the group walked inside. The elevator was surprisingly roomy enough that the whole group could fit comfortably in their natural sizes. There were only two buttons: One that said "Ground Floor" and another that said "Lair." Amarantha pushed the button that said "Lair," and the elevator whooshed up.
"I think that cloud looks like...a dinosaur with a hammer," said a bored Anita.
"That cloud looks like a coffin!" said Scott.
"And that cloud looks like a car."
"Ooh, that cloud looks like another coffin!"
"And that cloud is a flying elephant."
"And that cloud is also a coffin!"
"...Scott. Those clouds don't look anything like coffins!"
"They do to me!"
Anita laughed. "Gosh, you see coffins everywhere, don't you?"
Scott shrugged. "Hey, I'm--er, was--a coffin maker. What more do you expect?"
"You've got a point," said Anita, as she turned to look out at the lake. Then, she saw a figure sail closer and closer until she could see that the figure was a rather chubby, dark-skinned, curly-haired girl who was fishing.

(Ack, she actually looks like another, curlier and longer haired version of Anita with square-ish glasses! Ugh...I'm not good at varying facial structures, especially on Paint.)
"So, why are you fishing then?" asked Anita. The girl turned and looked surprised. "Oh! I didn't notice you there," she said. "I'm fishing because it seemed like fun, and my dad forced me, too. Of course, he didn't come with me...and now I'm stuck doing this stupid sport that's so primitive! Why fish when you can get perfectly good fish at the market?!" She suddenly interrupted herself. "Ack, where are my manners? Lost with my patience, I bet. Heh. Anyway, my name's Jessica. What's yours?"
Scott said, "I'm Scott! The coffin maker!"
"Ex-coffin maker," reminded Anita.
"Don't be ludicrous, dear Anita!" said Scott. "I'm still a coffin maker in spirit!"
"You're a coffin maker? Cool!" said Jessica. "How about you?" she asked Anita. Anita stared at her, suspiciously. "Is your name really Jessica?"
"Well, you have the CMN of a good goddess, and people with CMNs of good goddesses aren't usually so snarky about their parents...and people like that. And they don't complain. They're practically angels."
"'re good!" said Jessica. 
"Heh, thanks," said Anita. "So, what's your name, really?"
"I never said I was lying about my name," said Jessica. Anita and Scott looked at Jessica, perplexed. Jessica leaned forward and whispered, "I'm the Goddess of Wisdom. Don't believe me? Here's my business card."
"Why in heck do gods have business cards?" asked Scott.
Jessica shrugged. "It comes with the job. Oh, and it's legit, too. Just ask it a question and it will say the answer."
"Um, okay," said Anita. "What's my name?"
"Anita," said the card. "Derivative of the Chosen Mortal Name of--"
"Yes, yes, I know that!" said Anita. "I don't need to hear it!"
"Heh. The card does tend to give too much info a lot of the time," said Jessica.
"So you really are Jesiackazysofiarti!" said Scott.
"SHHH! Not so loud!" said Jessica. "I don't want other gods knowing I'm here."
"What, you can't interact with lowly ghosts who have sinned and Cursed people?" asked Scott.
"No, it's just that the gods have this stupid rule in their rulebook that says that gods can't interact with mortals for casual conversation," said Jessica. "It's really stupid. Sometimes, I want to escape my godly responsibilities and just act like a mortal!"
"Wait...gods have rules?" asked Scott.
"Yup," sighed Jessica. "I didn't make 'em. They were made eons before I was born! And I'm pretty old."
"Do gods get...punished?" asked Anita.
"Naw, just shunned for a bit, excluded from Godly Meetings, stuff like that," said Jessica. "Though I suppose it wouldn't make much of a difference if I was excluded from the one listens to me, anyhow."
"But you're the Goddess of Wisdom!" said Anita. "Why wouldn't they listen to you?"
"They're a lot of old farts, the lot of them," shrugged Jessica. "I'm too young, apparently--why are you guys looking at me as if I've said something blasphemous?"
"It's weird that you talk about your...colleagues?...that way," said Scott.
"Meh. This mortal incarnation is so different from my godly form that no one would pay attention to me talking, anyhow," shrugged Jessica. "That's why I'm using this incarnation, by the way." She sighed. "I'm sorry. I'm just bitter. I suggested for the ten millionth time for the gods to trash the whole Blessed-Cursed reward-punishment system--because, seriously, parents who are good only have their children rewarded and bad parents only have their children punished through the system--but they're all like, 'It's tradition! We can't get rid of it! You're young, Jessica. You don't understand.' But I'm, like, fifteen million years old--no, that's not an exaggeration--and I think I know unfairness when I see it!"
"I, for one, completely agree with you," said Anita. "Wow, I thought no gods thought to get rid of the system! My faith in you guys is restored!"
"But...they're good gods! They're supposed to be good and fair!" said Scott.
"Oh, they try their hardest," said Jessica. "But they aren't perfect. They screw up. And they're real pigheaded. I swear, sometimes it seems like the only difference between them and the bad gods is that bad gods treat each other and mortals way worse!" She cleared her throat. "But that's enough about me. What about you guys?"
"Oh, nothing but the usual," sighed Anita. 
"Science Nerdess, Feathers, Amarantha, Zella, and the others decided not to trust her after they found out that Priya was right about suspecting Annie. They figured she was right about Anita, too," said Scott.
"Ack, why are we gods only allowed to help people by giving cryptic hints?!" sighed Jessica. 
"Oh, speaking of cryptic hints, what did you mean when you said we'd get help from an unexpected place?" asked Scott.
"Oh! Well, that's easy enough to explain. I meant--" Jessica was interrupted by a rustle in the bushes. A brown haired woman darted away. Jessica became uneasy. She whispered, "Um...I can't say. Ya know, rulebook and all. I'm already risking a lot just by talking to you guys. I think that girl that just rushed out was a certain goddess...Hopefully, she and the rest of the gods will be none the wiser."
"Who made those rules, anyway?" asked Anita.
"I wonder what the others are up to..." thought Scott, aloud.
"I have a feeling they'll be just fine," said Jessica. Then she added, ominously, "For now."
The elevator halted. "We'" asked Amarantha. "That was fast."
Priya shuddered. "I'm not looking forward to seeing her lair," she said. "I've heard it's absolutely creepy!"
"Well, Annie is evil," said Science Nerdess.
"What's not ugly at all!" gasped Maddie, seeing the lair after the elevator doors opened. "It''s beautiful!" Everyone turned and gaped at the soft, pink cloud floor and the rainbow sky and the chocolate water fountains and the pretty pink bunnies that leapt about. "A-are we in the right place?" asked Feathers.
"It's possible that the button labeled 'Lair' lead us to the wrong lair..." suggested Science. "This place looks too much heaven!" 
"I wouldn't put that past a goddess of deception..." Zella started, but then interrupted herself. "Goddess of Deception! Of course!"
"What are you talking about, Zella?" asked Feathers.
"Oh! I think I know!" said Ellie. "Annie is the Goddess of maybe the heavenly look of her lair is a deception?"
"Exactly!" said Zella. 
"Do you know any spells that dispel illusions, Zella?" asked Priya.
"Do I?" said Zella. "I know plenty!" She then took out her wand and chanted, "Let what is false be gone and let what is true be revealed, while letting no acid rain fall and no apples be peeled!"
"' apples be peeled'? The hell?" said Amarantha.
"It's not the strangest spell in existence, believe it or not," said Zella.
"Now that's what I thought Annie's lair would look like!" said Feathers.
"Oh, no! The bunnies awe aww big, mean monstews!" cried Hannah.
"Ew! A river of blood!" said Maddie.
Suddenly, the group heard an angry, booming voice. "FOOLS! What do you think you're doing in my lair?"
Everyone looked up to see Anilokalmosia sauntering up towards them. She snapped her fingers and the flames died down, and then she beckoned her rabbit-monster...thing over while she sat down away from the blood river.
"S-so what if we are?" stuttered Amarantha.
"All I'm saying is that it's totally fruitless," said Annie. "You have all the right intentions, I'm sure, but it'll never work." Her voice became slower and sweeter, and the group found themselves relaxing. "You should--all go--back--since--it's--useless--try-ing to--res-cue--"
"WAIT! SHE'S TRYING TO HYPNOTIZE US!" yelled Priya, snapping everyone out of their daze.
"Holy smokes, batman! You're right!" gasped Feathers. 
"Who's Batman?" asked Amarantha.
"I...don't know, I just heard the phrase 'Holy smokes, Batman' used before, so I decided to use it," said Feathers.
"You guys don't know who Batman is?" gasped Priya. "How do you not know--"
"SILENCE!" boomed Annie. "Why you're all talking about a fictional man who goes around at night dressed as a bat is beyond me. BUT ANYWAY. Yes, I was trying to hypnotize you...damn your theology classes. If only we didn't have mandatory schooling...then I can rule the world! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!"
"Heyyy...the deal was that we would rule the world together!" said a voice.
Everyone turned to see a scowling muscular woman in blood-spattered armor with arrows and guns.
"Of course we'll rule the world together, Jen...that's what I meant!" said Annie.
"Oh? Then why did you say I rather than we?" asked the very angry Jennifer.
"Slip of the tongue," said Annie. "I apologize. But we won't get to rule anything if these insolent mortals get the key to Scadoosh's cave!"
"Pfft. Why didn't you ask for me before? I'll show these little twerps who's boss around here." Jennifer cracked her knuckles, a vile, atrocious sound to Science's dragon ears. "ZOMBIE SLAVES! GATHER AROUND!"
"Why didn't I think of calling my slaves?" muttered Annie, as zombies surrounded our unfortunate heroes.
"But we're immortal!" said Amarantha. "You can't kill us!"
"Maybe I can't," said Jennifer. "But I can hurt you. ZOMBIE SLAVES! TRY TO KILL THEM!"
"Braiiiins..." said the zombie slaves.

Goodness, at this rate, I'll be finished with college and not have this WIS finished! (I hope that's not the and graduate school are a loooong eight years.) Anyway, I figured you all would want to see the progress of this WIS, so here it is!
Another note: I'm probably not going to be blogging again until December or January. It's not that I don't love you all, it's that I'm going through the arduous process of COLLEGE APPS and I will not have time at ALL. I've heard that the first semester of senior year is hell (even more so than junior year!) so there's no way I'm going to be able to blog! :(
See you in December! :)