Log:Kip and the Infestation of the Bobs
|Kip and the Infestation of the Bobs|
The Infestation of the Bobs
30 August, 2019
November is too Fae for her own good, and some bunny-like hobs who stole a shiny rock from her won't give it back because she's scary. She enlists Kip for his stammery much more human social awkwardness and has HIM retrieve it for her. It ends with shinies and tears. Of joy. And bobs infesting Homepage.
It's the pre-Labor-Day book blowout blast sale event down at Homepage Books! Okay, it's really not. But you'd probably think /something/ was going on by the fact that Kip actually has a customer and that customer is actually involved in a transaction that gives Kip's till some money. "And the balance is fifty seven twenty eight after tax," he's saying to the mother and teenage son that he's checking out at the counter. There's a small stack of textbooks that were pre-ordered. Online classes are his bread and butter at this point because despite being online, some of them actually use physical textbooks. He's just taking their money and the teenager looks ready to pack it in and flee, likely because he's with his mother and also because the store is a damn freezer at this time of year because someone uses the air conditioning instead of investing in a dehumidifier for his precious, precious books. Which is why Kip is wearing his trademark v-neck sweater over a contrasting color undershirt that probably has some sort of nerdy logo on it even though you can't see it. The sweater's sleeves are pushed up halfway to his elbows and he's got on dark denim pants and those poor Converse he's always wearing. The good part about his hair is that it's clean and pulled back nice and neat. The bad part is that it's in that ridiculous man bun he wears because he never gets his hair cut, either out of laziness or some other reason. "And did you want the receipt in the bag?" he's asking as he files away the cash he's handed.
In his book store.
November approaches the counter with an oh so pleasant smile to wait her turn.
"If those two qualify as 'all' of your customers, you're in a sadder state than we thought," she remarks, colours resuming their brighter, more energetic flow across the spectrum, though some of them do mimic Kip's attire. Briefly. There isn't much excitement in it TO mimic.
November leans against the counter, heedless of the fact that, you know, she's pressing EMBERS AND FIRE into its surface, and extends a long and graceful arm to cup Kip's face with one icy, slender hand. "I need your stammering uncertainty and social fear. Will you join me?" An illusion, very well made, of Princess Leia bending over a droid appears. She very seriously says, "Help me, Oh-my-God Kip-no-Pee. You're my only hope."
November's is perfectly wonderfully convincing, too -- or it would be, if Kip didn't know her better than to believe it.
"I have a teensy weensy problem," she begins, regarding the courtless wonder through the frosty fringe of veiled lashes. "It involves entering the Hedge and dealing with some hobs on my behalf. None of them are trolls," she adds, forestalling THAT objection, "and none of them are truly aggressive, unless one counts obsessive pilferage of anything shiny from one's person."
"Frightened," the rainbow herself corrects, both pedantic and resigned. "I frightened some hobs. They won't accept my word that I am not one of the Fae, and they have pilfered a shiny rock which I would like returned to me."
Straightening, the admittedly believably too-Fae Fairest adds, "I'll be there to keep you safe, lovely, from the scary plants and mushrooms you shouldn't be nibbling without a trip sitter anyway. Plus, the hobs are less than a foot tall and look like bunnies."
"Kip?" she asks, only waiting for some form of acknowledgement before continuing with, "You do know that, as a Changeling, you're infinitely closer to Fate than a human is, right?"
Again, she waits for any form of acknowledgement, then concludes with a helpful, brow-raised, "You really shouldn't tempt it by saying something like that."
The faerie rainbow straightens then, glances down at herself, then at the nerdy book dude. "I'm a god, lovely. Apples practice diplomacy with Fae. We deal with them on our own terms. They -should- be afraid, but they should also be reassured, because it's highly doubtful they could even come remotely close to the two or three topics which would actually make me angry." She turns, skirts swishing, and begins to saunter toward the exit with a graceful, leggy stride. "You..? You could come closer."
The androgynous Ancient adds, "Changing your shoes might be helpful, unless you've a way to walk on mud properly. They live in a fen, and you'll be awfully soggy."
It looks like she's going to take the route through the mine, but nope. She takes a side-Gate, bypassing the Everdark -- because she's nice like that. And because she needs Kip alive.
After some trekking through treacherous territory, at last, they reach their destination: the stinky, rotting fens...and the trees which tend to grow within them. "Don't breathe too deeply, lovely," she instructs, "and you should be fine." She, not having any trouble with either the watery bits or the mucky knee-deep mud, blithely continues onward, appearing to know precisely where she's going.
"It smells better when we get closer," the Ancient dutifully repeats, albeit without any great conviction.
Soon enough, they're approaching a particular tree, which suddenly pops out miniature rabbit-like creatures like .. a tree popping out a swarm of miniature rabbits. They're absolutely adorable. They have squeaky voices, tiny tooth-pick like swords, and big quivery fearful whiskered noses.
They're also all shrilly cat-calling November and complaining that they'll never submit to the whims of the Fae, those stinkers, all they want is to eat their babies, and turn their mates into slave chowder, and...
On her part, November lifts a single frosty brow and gestures Kip forward. His turn.
The first creature popping out makes him stumble slightly, but he recovers quickly. Then the others are out and he's drawing back a little as if uncertain of what to do. He looks at November and then just gives her an expression that clearly reads 'SERIOUSLY? You weren't kidding about bunnies?!' and then looks resigned before looking back at them and taking a few hesitant steps forward. "Now now, stop that. November isn't one of Them. She's... November. And she's not here to do any of that. Your babies and friends are fine. You're all fine. Alright? She won't come any closer, I promise." A glance is shot over his shoulder back to her and he decides to go for broke and kneels down on one knee so he's not so tall. A slight squishy sound accompanies the motion and he tries his best to not make a face and instead forces a smile. "Hi there. I'm Kip. I just wanted to talk. Promise. That alright?"
November, upon hearing Kip's assurance, obligingly remains as still as a statue. A very tall, very alien, very colourful-despite-swamp-awfulness statue which is glittering and shimmering and...yeah. She totally looks like she could be one of Them.
The squeaky bunnies, staring up at said Could Totally Be Fae deity over Kip's shoulder, squeakily demand in a chaotic chorus just how he knows she isn't Fae, and why they should trust him. He could be hers! He could belong to her! He could just be lying to them to try to make them her slaaaaves.
A few of the bunnies get big wibbly eyes, horror twitching in whiskery faces, and faint dead away at the drama of it all, while others poke at Kip's knee with their pointy swords. They don't actually touch it. Yet. One of them does sniff him, however, interested in the fabric.
The bobs with the swords do back away, but only a few steps.
Eventually, the huddle breaks apart, and the bobs demand, "No! You must be put to The Trial!!!"
Whereupon both Kip and November are forced to wait for a good five minutes while the bobs get some sort of high priest and priestess dressed up and smeared in smelly goop which looks (and smells) like fermented berries, but rotten fermented, not good fermented.
"Kip, Custodian to his freehold!" the miniature priests proclaim in squeaky unison, held up on the shoulders of some trembling believers to make them taller. Their little bunny ears are erect and proud, whiskers stiff, noses twitchy. "Do you swear before the great and mighty aaallll-" they pass rattly sticks with leaves dangling from them over the assemblage, then up and around to encompass the world, "-that you speak the truth, and are deserving of the shiny which the Colourful One seeks?"
Kip may note the familiar tug of the Wyrd's presence, the invoking of a one-sided pledge by way of ensuring honesty.
The sense of presence disappears, and the bobs, upon seeing nothing awful happening to Kip, cheer loudly and applaud, stomping little bunny feet on the squishy ground. The priestly sorts pass their leafy sticks about in blessing, and proclaim, "Then let it be as Kip has spoken! Let the Colourful One's shiny be returned to the god's hand!"
Unfortunately for Kip, what this translates to is a ceremonial honour guard of bobs who request safe passage in his pockets or his arms, because no way in Faerie Hell are they actually going to touch November near their home. The other gods wouldn't like that.
Safe passage. All the way home. To Homepage, since that's neutral territory and acceptable to November. And...So Many Shinies!!!
...And this is how Kip came back from the Hedge and developed an infestation of blissfully squeaking bobs.