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A Good Kind of Troublemaking

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They were all stationed at different places for this mission. Spyro and Stealth Elf took the horse corrals. Eruptor and Terrafin were at the general store. Jet-Vac and Sunburn were covering the restaurant. And Pop Fizz and Roller Brawl took the bar. The hot spot for all the townsfolk on this tiny island, filled with hard working cowboys and frontiersmen, when they wanted to kick back and relax after a hard day’s work. Half-decent drinks, good company, pretty women. There wasn’t much more a dirt shark could ask for in Sharktown. 

But the bar was a little less crowded than usual that evening. It’s been a little less crowded than usual for a while. Mostly because most folks feared stepping foot outside during the evenings nowadays. And the reason why was tied to the reason why the Skylanders were there.

“There have been multiple reports of kidnappings around this tiny area right here,” said Spyro at the mission briefing. He had a small map of a small corner of Skylands unrolled and projected onto the screen for all to see. “And based on the kidnapping patterns, the next town which would be targeted would be this one right here.”

He pointed to Sharktown on the map with a purple claw.

“Sharktown?” Went Stealth Elf. “Why send in a variety of species if the town’s predominantly made up of dirt sharks?”

“Yeah, doesn’t Buzz have a few secret ninja commando friends who could help us out here?” Asked Terrafin. Being the only dirt shark in the room, he would have the least trouble blending into such a place. But everyone else… unless Spyro had some really good disguises up his sleeve, they were all going to stick out like sore thumbs.

“Guys, it’s alright. First off, we need you guys because you’re pretty much the only ones left.” Recently there had been a sudden spike in activity pretty much everywhere. All manner of things, all at once, and most needing outside intervention from the Skylanders. Every day, Skylanders were sent from island to island to solve a myriad of problems and protect countless Skylandians. At the moment, everyone else was either busy with a mission, resting from a mission, or too injured to do anything. “And anyways, Sharktown actually has a pretty large number of tourists coming in and out every year.”

He changed projector modes, so that it projected what was on his computer rather than the map. Immediately, a series of short video clips began playing. “As you can see, a wide variety of species come in and out of this town on the daily as tourists. And lucky for us, a ton of other species decided that they liked the place enough to come and stay. It’s kind of a problem to some in the town actually. Some say that all these different species moving in leads to a common culture being lost. Others however, have chosen to embrace the newcomers.”

“So that means we can blend in as tourists huh?” Asked Eruptor. “Sounds like something up Trig’s alley.” Truthfully, Trigger Happy would have loved to go on a mission like this. Where he got to dress up and act to his heart’s content. But at the moment, he was recovering from a blast of poison gas from his last mission, and was in no shape to go out on a mission now.

“Well, not exactly. We will be blending in with the people of this town, but we won’t be doing it as tourists.” He changed the slides again, this time showing several newspaper articles. “See, we don’t know when this kidnapper would strike. The kidnappings all have really random timings. Sometimes they’re only separated by days, but the longest period of time between them has been eight months.”

“So, what does that mean?” Asked Roller Brawl.

“It means that we’re going to have to be stationed there in disguise for a while. Last night, Hugo and Mags helped me to create a bunch of fake identities for us to live under, for as long as we need to.” He picked up a bunch of files, and began distributing them around the room. “Using these disguises, we can observe if anyone seems shady. And at night, we can rendezvous at the restaurant on main street.” 

“You mean the restaurant Jet-Vac and I will be working in, right?” Asked Sunburn. “Do the citizens know?”

“As far as most of them are concerned, we’re just newcomers who want to live here now. The only one who knows is the mayor, and that’s because he called us here.”

“What if the mayor’s involved with the kidnappings?” Asked Roller Brawl, scanning through her file. Apparently she was to be a lady playing the piano in the bar. She had revealed to Spyro once maybe years ago that she could play the piano, and she was surprised that he still remembered she had that skill. The only time she ever played was when she was alone in her room, plinking out songs from memory on an old keyboard. Hopefully, she had the skills to pull it off.

“We’re keeping an eye on him too, just in case. Mags and Hugo worked together with Spy  Rise to invent these little spy cams, see?” He reached into a box by the side of the table, and pulled out the invention, presenting it to the rest of them. “We can put this in his office, and bug him. And the best part is that these bugs move and hide on their own if they’re in danger of getting found, so we don’t have to worry about him finding it.”

He demonstrated by placing the bug under a file, providing it with shade. Then, he moved the file, Exposing the bug to light. This prompted the bug to sprout out a pair of hidden mechanical legs, then move away from the table, under the desk. 

“So that’s our mission team. Any questions?”

No one had any. And so they packed their bags, suited up in their disguises (equipped with built-in microphones, just in case something needed to be recorded), and headed off to live undercover in the small town of Sharktown for as long as necessary. 

*****

Roller Brawl had many issues with living undercover in a town like Sharktown. Generally, she considered herself a fairly decent actress. She could do undercover missions, even if they weren’t her favourite thing in the world. And she could suck up any number of unpleasant experiences undercover. She was a professional, she could handle it. But Sharktown had to be one of her least favourite places to go undercover in ever.

For starters, because she needed to act as a civilian, she couldn’t wear her roller blades. Instead, she needed to wear her regular prosthetics. That was always her least favourite part of undercover missions, the fact that she always needed to blend in, and therefore she couldn’t wear her favourite set of legs. But whatever. She knew she could fight well enough in those legs. It wasn’t like she was helpless or anything, she still had a mean left hook after all. But the prosthetics were not even the worst part about staying in a town like Sharktown.

The first day they got there, as new workers for the bar, she and Pop Fizz were directed upstairs to their rooms. But the moment she entered, she would have backed out if she weren’t here on a mission. The room was filthy. Dustier than her Uncle Stephen’s crypt. It was sparsely decorated, only consisting of curtains filled with moth holes, a couple of rickety old beds, and a dust-covered old wardrobe. No doubt, the furniture was straining the rotting wooden floors underneath them, and worry shot through her heart whenever she heard creaking. The blazing hot sun leaked out from behind those curtains, which sent a chill down Roller Brawl’s spine. She had packed a ton of sunblock with her specifically for this mission, and she knew the general store sold plenty, but seeing that much sunlight always made her uncomfortable, no matter how well-protected from it she was. 

Pop Fizz seemed to like his new room though, because he immediately made himself at home. He set his portable alchemy set up. Placed his clothes into the wardrobe. (The door snapped off when Pop Fizz opened it, and was filled with cobwebs on the inside.) And then once he finished unpacking, he claimed his bed and began jumping on it. In the process awakening a dozen bedbugs, causing them all to scatter to the floor.

Everything about the room indicated a lack of care. Contrary to popular belief, some vampires very much did care about the upkeep of their houses, her parents included in that group. As a child, they instilled this habit of dusting and washing up into her. Making sure that the wooden floors did not rot and that the wallpaper did not peel. That room, with the yellowed paint chipping off the walls, the grimy windows, the mold growing in the dark corners, set off something within her which made her profoundly uncomfortable.

Eventually, Pop Fizz broke his mattress when a spring popped out of it. “You’re not sleeping on my bed now,” she told him. And then they left the room for the restaurant, because it was almost time for dinner, and they needed to discuss the game plan with everyone else.

They went to work the next day, in a bar which was significantly less dusty than the upstairs, but still quite filthy. The bartender interchangeably used the same three rags to wipe everything, and the only time he ever washed them was after closing time. When he would dump them in a bucket of bleach, and then hang them to dry overnight. The floors were sticky with spilled drinks, and the chairs were all unstable and rickety.

Pop Fizz got to fulfil the role as town drunk, so all he got to do every day was sit at the bar, order drinks, try not to actually get drunk, and spy on everyone. And she knew why he was given that role. He could hold his alcohol extremely well. But it annoyed her, because she needed to work, skin caked with sunblock, in a lacy dress which she constantly felt hot and uncomfortable in. While he got to drink and pay attention to the townsfolk, a recording device hidden away in his hat.

What’s worse was that the piano obviously had not been tuned in years. So she needed to work around it all just to play and make it not sound off-key. She thought that she usually did a good job, since sometimes someone did come in and throw some coins into her tip jar every now and again. But a few coins were meager compared to what she was used to earning. And it was hard work too. Trying to play with a broken piano, and make it sound pleasing to the ear? “I deserve an award once this is done,” she complained one evening to Pop Fizz, right before they went to bed. “What do you even do anyways? Why do they pay you to be town drunk?”

“Come on, every town needs a town drunk,” he answered. “It’s how people feel better about themselves. They look at me and they think ‘wow! At least I’m not that guy.’ And then they allow themselves to buy a couple more drinks because at least they wouldn’t get as drunk as me. It’s a business strategy, see?”

“Whatever,” she said, burying her face into her gross, smelly pillow. It needed to have the cover changed, and it was itchy as hell, but at that point in time, she was too tired to care, and she fell asleep like that.

During the evenings, when they rendezvoused in the restaurant with the others, she would try not to complain. Everyone looked tired too. She wasn’t the only one with problems there. They would report if anyone had seemed suspicious that day, and discuss if there were any general trends.

“Okay, so let’s see what we know so far,” said Spyro. “One, no one has been abducted yet. Two, since the people of this town are usually too busy to do anything like plan a kidnapping, it has to be someone who has large amounts of free time.”

“So someone powerful enough to spend a significant amount of their time relaxing…” Stealth Elf rubbed her chin.

“Unless whoever is planning this out is doing it while they work. You can’t forget that possibility too, Spyro,” said Jet-Vac.

“Unlikely. You’ve all been working and spying on the townsfolk for weeks now, so you guys should know how hard it is to juggle between two tasks. In a town like this, you need to focus fully on your job if you want to get anything done.”

Roller Brawl wanted to say something sarcastic about how some jobs were easier than others. But she kept her comments to herself. She was far too tired to start any arguments then.

They kept this up for weeks. Eventually, Roller Brawl grew used to the smell of alcohol and mildew. She grew accustomed to the feel of itchy sheets. She accepted that at the end of the day, she was usually too tired to attempt cleaning their room. And at night, all she could feel was sorry for the townsfolk. When she was doing regular Skylander duties, sure, she was usually tired after a day of training, patrol, and maybe a mission. But she was never too tired to clean her room. She attributed that to the fact that the quality of life back at the Academy was quite frankly, better than the quality of life in Sharktown.

The food at the Academy was decent, unlike the slop the townsfolk had to eat there. According to the bartender, a lot of prejudices among various species existed in the town, which was obviously not as big an issue among the Skylanders. They didn’t even have access to hot showers. (Not that they needed them; they were surrounded by desert after all. But it would have been nice to be able to have one.)

Clearly, life in Sharktown wasn’t as great as the brochures promised. After some digging around, she learned that apparently tourism made up a good chunk of their economy. And since Skylands was just so big, there were always suckers who they could bait into visiting the town. Especially since this was a small town, not famous at all, it didn’t have the bad reputation many other infamous tourist hotspots had. Any reviews on the internet could just as easily be deleted, and the people who wrote tourism books and brochures could be paid to spin the town into something worth visiting in their writings. (She suspected that that must be where most of the town budget went.) There were plenty of tourists who came to visit once, and then leave with the promise of never returning. Skylands was simply big enough that there was always someone who never heard of how bad this place was. 

So she knew how tourism could be a viable source of income if the quality of life here was just that bad. But there was one question which still permeated her mind. And that was why so many different people, all of different species, still came to stay and find work in that town. There was barely anything to offer anyone. And the more she thought about it, how bad the town was, and how so many people still moved in anyways, the darker her thoughts got. So she tried to not think about it too much.

Key word being try.

*****

After several weeks of being undercover, Pop Fizz had a rough idea about what everyone in town was like. Which he never would have expected. Being the town drunk, he would have thought that people would have treated him like an outcast. A weirdo. A man who couldn’t control himself. He had experiences of people treating him badly for his fixation on soda in the past. Pop Fizz therefore thought that folks there would view drunks similarly to other parts of Skylands. 

But folks in that town were strangely comfortable with drunks. Especially once he made it clear that he was a harmless drunk. A part of him suspected that it was because ‘town drunk’ had been acknowledged as a social role that needed to be filled, so people were more than happy to include him. Except for the ones who weren’t completely opposed to all new citizens of different species, everyone was cool with the new town drunk being a gremlin too. He heard news about how the old town drunk had died of alcohol poisoning, and went to visit his grave after work one day. Tons of flowers, homemade cards, and other small gifts surrounded his grave. It was clear that the people of Sharktown held relatively high opinions on drunks. 

And so that was how he managed to learn about the secrets some of the townsfolk had. How he was able to gather so much intel. Because while people respected him, they also thought that he was actually fully drunk, as opposed to semi-drunk and acting for an undercover mission. Hence, many decided that he would be the one they should trust with their secrets.

Some of it was mundane, like the guy who confessed that last weekend he accidentally broke his mother’s prize china and blamed it on her cat. Some were really wrong, like the woman who confessed that she was cheating on her husband with an elf who moved into town several months ago. But what he found most interesting out of all of them was everyone’s opinions of the increase in new citizens who recently moved in.

Some of the native townsfolk were very welcoming of the newcomers. Even those of different species. “Like that new restaurant that opened up, for example. That was started by a fox, and it was honestly a great idea. The place looks great, it created jobs, and the chicken fried steak is to die for,” said a dirt shark. If his memory served, it was one of the kids who did the morning radio show. Bright young lad, very kind and compassionate. He liked talking to him a lot.

Some were okay with some species, but they weren’t so great with others. “So, vampire huh?” said the mayor's assistant to him, while he looked over at Roller Brawl playing the piano. She was doing great as usual, in his opinion. 

“Uh… yup! She sure plays some nice music,” he slurred.

The mayor's assistant snorted, then raised his glass to his lips to take a sip. “I dunno. Generally, I don’t mind there being more species in this town. But some of them… well… I don’t trust them to behave in this town. Like that vampire for example,” he pointed at her from across the room. “What’s to say that one day she won’t cave into her primal instincts? She could tear through this town like my dog tears through a steak if we catch her out on a bad night. I keep trying to tell Mayor Mako about them, but he would never listen to me.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes at the mention of the mayor’s name, as if he was an embarrassing parent rather than a political leader of a town.

“Well, that’s-” he stopped himself before he could blow his cover. He had to remember that he was playing a character. And at the moment, his character was a specific type of town drunk - the good listener drunk. And while the good listener drunk could say some things, such as giving bad advice or asking simple questions, good listener drunks didn’t talk about their opinions on things much. So Pop Fizz kept it to himself and acted dumb as the mayor's assistant went on a tangent about how the Undead could not be trusted. But at that moment of time, he really wished he could break character and stand up for his friend. 

To distract himself, he began thinking up some new potion ideas. New things he could possibly try. All manner of flavours he had yet to taste. Side effects he had yet to experience. And thinking about that managed to drown out the mayor's assistant’s bigoted rant, so he would always think about that whenever the mayor's assistant talked about his disdain for the Undead. It always made him feel a little better, or at least a little bit better than if he were to listen to him talk. 

And some others hated all who weren’t dirt sharks born and raised in Sharktown. But those people never came to talk to him, for obvious reasons. Some sent him and Roller Brawl notes and letters, telling them to get out of town. The others got them too. Even Terrafin got one, surprisingly. “I think this guy just doesn’t like newcomers period,” he commented, before they all ripped up their notes and tossed them into the trash.

Sometimes, he even got a chance to talk to non-dirt sharks. Through them, he found out their reasons for moving in. And just like the natives of the town, they were quite a diverse batch.

A few wanted to move to Shark Town because they went on vacation there once, and they liked the aesthetic of the place. Those tended to be rich weirdos, who lived in premium houses built using their immense wealth. For the most part, they never really interacted with the townsfolk much, outside of the occasional trip to the bar or the restaurant. These were people who sat back and played cowboys in their houses. They were also what a lot of the less welcoming folks first thought of when they thought of newcomers coming into town. 

But there were also those who came not because they were too wealthy with too much time on their hands, but because it was legitimately one of the only places that would accept them. A lot of the people who came to Shark Town were driven out of their old tribes and towns for one reason or another. They were falsely accused of a crime. Or their parents were the chiefs and they disappointed them. Some were runaways trying to escape cults. And others sought refuge, running because someone out there wanted their kind dead. Many came upon Shark Town while they were running, and started doing whatever they could to contribute to the town. They integrated, and tried to find work. And if there was no work for them to do they made work by starting their own businesses. All these people wanted was to be accepted and shown some compassion.

And the most concerning thing of all to Pop Fizz was how some folks apparently believed that the kidnappings had to be the fault of those who moved there recently. “They don’t trust us already, and since those kidnappings happened just when a lot of us began finding refuge here, well…”

He didn’t consider himself a deep thinker for a lot of things. Most days, his head was always filled with thoughts of alchemy and potions and what new ones he could make. He did like helping people, and he loved his job as a Skylander. But since he always thought that he did a good job at helping others, he never really worried over the ‘others’ he was helping that much. They were just a group which needed safety, and all he ever saw them as was a group. He did his job, gave himself a pat on the back for a job well done protecting a group, and that was that. However, talking to those individuals, hearing about how people in power tried to spread rumours about them, how each and every one of them was affected in ways intensely personal…

Well, it made him legitimately lose sleep at night. He would stay up, replaying conversations he had recorded during the day, thinking about each and every one of them.

He was a cuddly gremlin, so generally people did not mind him unless they had a problem with new people moving to town in general. But he only had to turn around to see Roller Brawl sleeping next to him to be reminded of how some had it worse than he did. He wanted to wake her up some nights. Maybe talk it out with her, ask her if she was okay after work. But she was usually so tired at night, so he kept his thoughts to himself. Letting her have her well-earned sleep.

*****

He was talking to the mayor's assistant again. Pop Fizz ordered a few extra drinks, which made him just a little bit more tipsy than usual. Though he still was not drunk. He could hold his alcohol scarily well. One time, some of his friends and him tried to see just how much alcohol he could hold without getting drunk. They quit after the fifth barrel of beer, and all anyone could do after that was marvel at the sheer power of his liver.

But the mayor's assistant did not know that. So he tried his best to act a little extra drunk that day, just to sell the act. “You know, I wonder what goes on in that little vampire head of hers,” he commented, once again giving Roller Brawl an icy look. She was plinking out some jovial melody from the piano. Most people were enjoying themselves, dancing to her playing. The only one in the room who seemed to have a problem with that was the mayor's assistant. 

“Uh… well, who knows? Could really be anything.” He took another sip from his drink. And it was quite a strong one. It smelled like chemicals, and tasted far worse. But fortunately, Pop Fizz was used to drinking strange concoctions, so keeping his liquor down was no problem for him. Though admittedly, it would not be his first choice of drink if he had other options.

“Nah, you know what I think it is? I bet that vampire lady’s got a plan to gather together all the new Undead folk in the town, and they’re all gonna come up with a scheme to hurt all us regular folk for blood and brains or whatever they want.” The mayor's assistant gulped down his drink, then waved at the bartender to top up his glass. His teeth, white as a death cap, flashing in the form of a grin. 

“Ah…”

They sat in silence for a bit, drinking their drinks. Sweet, sweet silence. Pop Fizz appreciated it while it lasted. The only sounds he wanted to hear were Roller Brawl’s piano playing, and the cheerful chatter of the townsfolk enjoying themselves. Joy, laughter, those were so much better than negative sentiments about the Undead. Whenever he heard the mayor's assistant talk about them, all he could feel was guilt. A lot of the Undead he knew were fun, interesting guys to hang out with. And it was painful how he couldn’t really stand up for them, otherwise he’d risk blowing their cover. 

The last time he went on an undercover mission, it had been with Sprocket and Smolderdash, and he had nearly blown all their covers then. Since that day, he swore to himself that he would not repeat his mistakes made on that mission. And that meant playing it as safe as he could. 

He wasn’t usually one for playing it safe. Even though he usually never meant to cause chaos, chaos still followed him anyways. Still, he knew he had to try. Especially with how hard everyone else had been working. He told himself that every day. So far, so good.

“You know what I want to do to all these new guys?” Said the mayor's assistant after he swallowed his drink. 

“I uh… I dunno. I don;t think you ever told me,” Pop Fizz slurred.

“Well, if I had the choice, I’d go on a roundup. Just pick out all the Undead, send them all packing out of town. Then I hope that I’d get branded a hero by the townsfolk, maybe get some sort of reward of some kind. Like, I dunno, a party hosted in my name,” he chuckled. “Of course, all that’s just a fantasy, so I guess I’m just gonna have to settle with my current plan for getting rid of the Undead.”

Pop Fizz did a double take. Just as he was about to zone out, he caught that one line from him, and that snapped him back to reality. “I-uh. Wait. What plan? You have a plan to get rid of them?”

The mayor's assistant leaned back against his chair, folding his arms behind his head. “Well, yeah. It’s all supposed to be a secret, but I suppose there’s no harm in telling the town drunk about these things. That is what y’all are meant for after all.” Drunks don’t remember things. Hence they were the best people to confess your secrets to. You got rid of guilt you would have to carry by yourself otherwise, and the best part was that they would never spread any of your secrets around, because they would forget them.

“Now, you’ve heard about how all the towns around us had a kidnapping or two happen recently?” He asked. “Well, my little secret for you today is that those kidnappings weren't coincidences. A bunch of other mayor's assistants and mayors, we all came together because we were concerned about what all these different species living together could mean for us. So what we all do is that we’d discuss who’s most likely to be a danger to us all, and then we’d make plans to abduct them and send them far away from our little cluster of towns, all to keep us safe.”

The more he talked, the warmer Pop Fizz felt. His heart pounded faster, and his ears rose up straight in alarm. This was bad. Well, the good news was that he finally found out who was behind those kidnappings. And he knew he needed to report that to Spyro, with the evidence he had recorded away in his hat. 

And maybe he could help make their investigation later a little easier. “So, when’s this gonna happen? What do you do with the people who you kidnap?”

And the mayor's assistant was about to open his mouth and tell him, but stopped just before the words came out. “You know, you seem to be awfully sharp-looking now for someone who’s drunk."

Pop Fizz gulped. Drats, did he blow their cover? What was he supposed to do now? The mayor's assistant had a scarred face but an expressive voice. So though Pop Fizz found it difficult to read his expressions, he could usually tell what he was feeling through the tone of his voice. But now the mayor's assistant was silent, looking at him with narrow eyes. His mind raced, considering any and all options he had at the moment. And immediately, he chose the route he figured he could manage the best.

He pulled out a bottle from his backpack, and tossed it at his head. 

It was really just a neutral potion. No adverse side effects other than him getting wet and smelling of rotten eggs. But it attracted the attention of the whole bar, the sound of glass breaking was louder than the piano and the chatter. Everyone’s attention turned to the two of them, and Pop Fizz could only imagine the mortification that the mayor's assistant was feeling right about now. Cautiously, he reached behind his back again, prepared to grab another potion just in case.

The mayor's assistant noticed, and right before he could reach behind him, he grabbed Pop Fizz’s arm with a swift move and snarled. “What do you think you’re doing?” He growled and picked him up so that they met eye to eye. 

“Hey, put him down,” called a voice from behind him. So the mayor's assistant turned around. And right behind him was Roller Brawl, making her way across the bar from the piano. She marched forward, a stormy expression on her face. Her hands were curled tightly into fists. Compared to the dirt shark, she was tiny. Without her weapons or blades, she looked comically harmless. But Pop Fizz recognised that spark in her eyes. And he knew that there was no way to avoid it. This was going to escalate into a brawl.

He snorted, but Pop Fizz caught that little flicker of fear in his eyes. Whether it was because he knew a threat when he saw one, or if it was because she was a vampire, he had no idea. “Or what? What are you going to do to me?” He snorted. But there was a quiver of worry in his voice. 

She walked up to him, standing straight and sturdy, looking him in the eye. A classic intimidation tactic, yet he still did not put Pop Fizz down. “Put him down,” she said again, strict and dangerously quiet.

“A-and why should I listen to a brat like you?” He asked.

To answer, she struck his nose. Knocking him to the floor. He let go of Pop Fizz, and the crowd moved in closer to get a better look. People snickered, talked among themselves, and gawked at the mayor's assistant as his nose began bleeding from the punch. 

The mayor's assistant got up, wiping his bleeding snout and snarling. That vampire had just humiliated him in front of the townspeople. A tiny, baby-faced vampire , dressed in a lacy skirt punched him in the nose and it hurt . That knowledge, combined with the townspeople staring and snickering, only made his blood boil. And so he curled his fingers up into a fist and aimed it right at her face.

But she was too quick. So she ducked just before his fist collided with her. So he ended up hitting the next nearest thing. And it just so happened to be the floor. His hand met the floor with a loud crunch , as a piece of the rotting wooden floor broke apart. And when he got up, hissing and rubbing his sore knuckles, he shot the two Skylanders a look which could have burned them alive right then and there, if looks could kill.

*****

They got thrown in jail for ‘starting a bar fight’. It was really only a small scuffle, but anything can be taken as fact if you have enough power. And the mayor's assistant definitely had power in that town. So they stayed together in a jail cell until the evening came and everyone else came to bail the two of them out. Then they headed over to the restaurant, where Pop Fizz checked his hat for the recording device. “I think I caught him saying some pretty damning evidence we could use against him. Listen.”

Luckily for him, his confession was recorded down. “Good job, you guys,” praised Spyro. “We now have a lead to carry out our investigations.”

“So, what do we do about the mayor's assistant?” Asked Roller Brawl. She had heard all of the things he said about her via Pop Fizz and his recordings, and she did not like the man one bit.

“We show this to the townsfolk tomorrow. Pop Fizz?” The gremlin looked up. “Any friends who have a job in anything like the newspaper or the radio?”

He smirked. “I think I can try to arrange something with someone.” This was going to be sweet.

“Excellent. Now, I want you all to get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, we expose the mayors and mayor's assistants of these towns. Hopefully, we can also get some information about what they’ve done with their victims. If we can, that’ll be the next step in finding them and returning them home safely.” He rose up, flapping his wings so that he hovered above the ground. “Good job everyone. Keep this up, all of you, because we’ve still got more work to do.”

And so they returned back to their living quarters that night. Happy that they had taken the first step to getting the kidnapped back home, safe and sound.

Roller Brawl and Pop Fizz walked back to the bar in silence. There, they found the bartender waiting for them. “Are you guys alright?” He asked. “Did your friends help to pay your bail?”

“Yup. I hope you don’t mind, but I do feel a little tired now, so I’m going up to bed,” said Roller Brawl. “Goodnight.”

“Yeah, I’ll be joining her too,” said Pop Fizz, following her. They walked up the stairs back into their room. And there, Pop Fizz decided to finally ask her a question on his mind. “Roller Brawl?”

“Hmm?” 

He sighed. “What do you think’s gonna happen to the townsfolk once this is all over?” He took off his hat and threw it onto his bed, as he usually did in the evenings. “After we get back all the kidnapped kids, it still wouldn’t change how bad things are in these towns for folks like them. What can we even do to help them out?”

Roller Brawl bit her lip and looked away. “Well…” she paused. “I don’t have an answer honestly.” Saying that their only job was to bring them home sounded too callous. But they weren’t miracle workers. The Skylanders were a talented band of heroes, but there were some things even they didn’t have under control. 

A moment of silence, and she spoke up again. “I guess what we do is, we put some good into this town, and we hope that whatever good we managed to put in multiplies. It won’t erase the bad that’s been done, and it may only be a little bit of good, but at least there’s gonna be a little more good introduced here.”

“And will that work?” Asked Pop Fizz, as he tucked himself in.

“We can only hope,” answered Roller Brawl. “Now I’m off to change, be back soon.”

Once she got herself into her nightgown, Pop Fizz had fallen fast asleep. Out cold, and drooling on his pillow, exhausted from the day’s events. So she turned off the lights, whispered a soft goodnight at him, and fell asleep. Thinking and hoping that the good that they placed in the town, if they even placed any good in at all, would multiply.