Day 14 – 2000 words today (that’s quite an achievement, getting EXACTLY that) and a total of 22 835 words!

Destick stood in the cave outside the entrance of his lair, two new Strobot bodyguards at his side, and Dr. Destray beside him. This was their usual positions; that wasn’t what was unusual. No, what was unusual was the mysterious group of strange stickmen standing in front of him.

There were four of them, each different, and yet the same.

The first had an ugly scar stretching across his face, a white cloak covered in peculiar-looking bubbles, and an assortment of poison-tipped weapons hung around his body.

The second one was some kind of cyborg, the entire right side of his body encased in some kind of metal plating, a long-ranged sedative gun—without its scope, Destick noticed—held in his right hand, more like a kind of metal gauntlet.

The third stickman looked a bit flimsy, Destick decided, and could have probably done with a serious workout. In his gloved hand he held a black long bow, a quiver of similarly coloured arrows hung over his back. Draped over his body was a black robe, so dark it reflected no light whatsoever.

The fourth and final stickman, obviously the leader of the group, was the most mysterious and dark of all.

He had a mop of jet-black hair atop his head, two unnerving green eyes that seemed to glow ever so slightly, and a tan that was so dark it suited him perfectly. A peculiar piece of silk was wrapped around his mouth and nose as a bandanna, something close to a dark-red colour.

In his hand he held a metal gladius—just another kind of sword, Destick knew them all, he loved weapons—with red markings along its blade in some strange language.

Turning, Destick folded his arms and was about to speak when the leader stepped forward, interrupting him.

“Well, Destick?” he said in a gruff voice, fingering the blade of his weapon with a gloved finger. “It’s great to be working with you again, but let’s get straight to business. What is it this time?”

Destick shuddered ever so slightly as he spoke. The very voice of the skilled assassin was enough to unnerve anyone—and Destick was not one to be afraid without reason.

“There are a group of stickmen,” he explained in a hard voice. “I destroyed their home a few weeks ago, but they managed to survive and set up on Tri-formed island; the one to the-”

The leader interrupted him again. “Don’t worry, we know where that is. Do you want the whole group gone, or just their leaders?”

Destick decided without hesitation. “Those who lead them are worse than the rest, so get rid of them first, but in the end I want them all gone.”

The leader nodded. “But remember, Destick!” he warned, as the group turned to walk away. “If you play us false, you’ll regret you ever even heard of the Guerdon Gang. Got it?”

As Destick nodded, the four members of the Guerdon Gang smirked at each other, turned, and made their way out of the tunnel.

 

Making their way through the dense forest of Destick’s Island, the four stickmen walked along in silence until eventually the cyborg spoke, breaking the silence.

“I can’t believe we’re out here for once!” he exclaimed, his voice distorting and undistorting as his voice rose and fell. “We ought to be back in the Great Stickman City, doing jobs for the real guys, not out in the middle of nowhere, dealing with stickmen who’re cut off from the rest of the world! This probably won’t even be a challenge, right Giabrel?”

Giabrel nodded, pulling one of his daggers from its poison-filled sheath and testing the blade on his fingers. “I suppose you’re right there, D3,” he decided, sheathing the lethal blade. “Though, it is nice, being out here all on our own, not like in the city, where there’s noise, and bustle, and you have to watch your back every single second. Or else you’re being paid to watch someone else’s.”

D3-RP shrugged. “I suppose…” he admitted. “And it is good being able to test out the submarine properly.”

At that moment they reached the shoreline, and after climbing into a small boat, rowing for twenty metres or so, climbing out into the water and swimming downwards, they came to the open hatch of their submarine.

As the four swam through the hatch, Giabrel, the last, shut it behind them. A moment later air filled the room as the water washed out through a vent in the floor.

D3-RP let his breath out slowly, the others following suit.

Wiping his face, he scanned his hand left hand on a waterproof sensor beside a large door, waited for it to slide open, and stepped through, the others quickly following.

Hanging his sedative gun on a hook on the wall—directly below the unused scope—he plonked himself down in a big comfy armchair and hammered away on a big keyboard, sending lines and lines of code streaming across the twin monitors in front of him.

A moment later he sat back, gave a big sigh, and nodded as the whole submarine lurched, then set off at a steady pace. “There!” he exclaimed. “That’s a course set for Tri-formed Island! Now, what’s the plan when we get there, Wyllum?”

Wyllum, the leader of the group, and known to everyone except his companions as ‘The Dark One’, thought over the plan in his head.

“When we land on the island, we’ll hide the submarine a little way off the southern beach,” he decided eventually, hanging his sword in its slot on the wall. “We’ll make our way through the forest part of the island, find the castle—I presume that’ll be where they’ll be—find their leaders, take them out, and start eliminating the rest of them!”

“Who’s going in first?” asked the archer, who was generally known as Drayde. “We can’t all get in completely undetected, even if they don’t have much technology.”

Wyllum shrugged. “Giabrel as usual. He can take anyone down in a split second using his poison.”

Giabrel rolled his eyes. “Why is it almost me?” he complained, received a menacing glare from Wyllum, and looked at the ground in apology.

“That question doesn’t need to be answered…” Wyllum replied gruffly, and a moment later the monitor beeped. D3-RP put out a hand to turn it off.

“Wow, this submarine sure is fast!” he exclaimed, pulling his gun off the wall and slinging it into his belt. “We’re here already!”

Grabbing their weapons, the Guerdon Gang hurried out into the exit chamber, locked the door firmly behind them, waited as the room began to fill with water, and held their breaths as the hatch opened.

As they burst out of the water into the fresh open air, Wyllum chuckled evilly as he shook the water from his mop of black hair. Another mission had begun!

 

Up in the observatory, Stikky was hard at work, halfway through building a new sword from a set of blueprints he’d found stored away in a shelf.

Taking a look once again at the instructions once again, he grabbed a knife and began to carve the hilt, changing it from a solid block into something quite extravagant in less than a few minutes.

Holding up the finished product, he flinched as he accidentally reflected the blinding rays of the sun into his face.

At that moment Leddy entered the lab. “Is it done?” he asked excitedly, his eyes shining as Stikky held it up for him to see.

“Awesome!” he exclaimed, taking the sword as Stikky held it out to him, hilt first. Examining the keenly-sharpened blade with curiosity.

“I almost want to make one of these!” he said, pulling out his Strobot sword and placing it alongside Stikky’s new one on the table to see the difference. “True, mine’s better, but that’s only because it was made by Destick! And you got this first try; I bet it took him ages to perfect his.”

A commotion came from the stairs behind them, and they turned just in time to see Stif and Stib hurry up out of the pillar, look around wildly, and dart behind a table.

“What’ve you two done now?” Stikky asked, half-impatiently. “Gone and angered someone else?”

Stif looked around wildly back down the staircase, waited until he was sure no one was coming, and began to life.

“McRhoddy was letting us help in the kitchens-” Stib chuckled, holding his sides to stop himself from laughing.

“And he kept talking about ‘the key to being a chef not just being about making food, but creating new food’-” Stif continued, leaning on a benchtop.

“So we got some rocks, covered them in cream-”

“And asked McRhoddy if he wanted to try one of our ‘new inventions’, officially called rock-creams!”

Leddy groaned as realisation dawned. “Oh no…” he chuckled.

“But where’d you get the cream?” Stikky asked, confused.

Stif shrugged, finally managing to get a hold of his laughter. “McRhoddy found some wild cows at the base of the mountain, and… well…”

Suddenly McRhoddy came charging up the staircase, a furious expression on his wrinkled face and a plate of rock-creams in his hand.

“Where are they!?” he roared, his face beginning to go red. “I’ll teach those harum-scarums how to cook! Rock-creams… I shoulda known!”

Spotting the twins as they darted behind Stikky and Leddy, he grabbed a rock-cream off the plate he held and threw it with all his might, yelling, “Come ‘ere, I’ll teach ya something!”

Stikky ducked, and Stif—who was standing right behind him—ducked too.

The rock flew out of the window—cream flying in all directions—directly into the face of Giabrel, who, after a three-hour climb up the face of the mountain, had finally gotten to the observatory window and had chosen that moment to leap upward, daggers at the ready.

With a howling scream, the poisoner flew out of the window, down the several hundred metres to the ground below, where he landed with a Boooiiinngggg!! in a safety net the three remaining members of the Guerdon Gang had rigged up below.

Bouncing halfway back up to the window, his face still as white as a sheet, Giabrel rebounded back up and down on the net, until he finally came to a stop, his body quivering like a lump of jelly.

The three standing beside the net looked at him in surprise, saw his white, cream-covered face, and began to laugh.

Wyllum was the first to stop. “Well, did you find them?” he demanded, his face returning to its usual grimness as his smile disappeared. “Because, if you didn’t…”

Giabrel shivered, climbing jerkily off the net and hopping back onto firm ground as he tried to clear the cream from his face. “I found them,” he stated simply. “There was four or five of them, right near the window. I’d just drawn my dagger when one of them—he looked like an old man, or something like that—saw me, picked a rock of the plate he was carrying, and hit me full on in the face with it!”

The Drayde and D3-RP stopped laughing as Wyllum glared at them. “Well,” the ruthless leader decided, sighing deeply as his eyes dimmed slightly. “We’re back to square one. I just hope you’re wrong, and that ol’ guy didn’t actually see you! C’mon, there must be some kind of entrance around here… we’ll just have to use stealth this time.”

Giabrel finished wiping the cream from his face and spat on the ground, anger showing on his face after his humiliation. “Don’t worry, I’m in, so long as I don’t have to climb another hundred metres of cliff!”

Drayde looked puzzled. “Why are you so keen all of a sudden?”

D3-RP nudged him, giving the flimsy archer a warning glare as Giabrel stormed off, his face beginning to go red. “It’s because he wants revenge, mate. So be careful; it can be very dangerous, especially towards the person who wants it.”