Zzyzx dragged the corpse of Aohd out back in a burlap sack. Ajana and Rika were already there, standing next to a covered fire pit with a swinging feed door, and Aohd's Hibachi grill. Zzyzx was out of breath as he finally made it to the fire pit with a couple of bags of charcoal.
“Did you bring the liquid oxygen?”
Ajana showed the penguin the large liquid canister labeled “LOX”. Zzyzx nodded as he uncovered the fire pit and loaded a an entire bag of charcoal into it. He did the same for the hibachi before pouring a generous amount of the liquid oxygen into both.
“What are you doing exactly?” Asked a curious Rika, as Zzyzx motioned to Ajana to help him lift the sack holding Aohd's body.
“Well my young fox occult mistress, we are going to bring Aohd back to life” he answered as he poured more of the liquid oxygen over the burlap before replacing the cover with with the swinging door frame.
“What's the hibachi for?” Rika added as Zzyzx tossed a lit match into the hibachi.
“Well this is going to take a bit and we have to watch the fire”, he replied as he ignited the fire pit and closed the screen door. “No point in waiting and being hungry”.
** ** ** ** **
The trio watched the fire as Zzyzx grilled corn in the husk, veggie and meat skewers, and sausages on the hibachi.
“Wait, didn't I see Aohd laying in that hibachi before?” Asked Rika as she held a skewer in her hand. Before Zzyzx could answer, he saw that the flames were dying out in the pit. He took a quick look inside and he stirred the ashes with a wide wooden stick. He quickly closed the door screen door and stepped back.
“Okay everyone, step back and get ready for a show”.
Ajana and Rika took Zzyzx's advice as they both stepped away from the fire pit. A few minutes passed as Rika ate some of her chicken skewer. A sudden burst of flames erupted only to quickly die out. Zzyzx rested the wooden stick over his shoulder as an eerie silence filled the air.
“So, what happens now?” Asked Ajana. Her question was quickly answered as the screen door swung open and Aohd popped his head out with a cough.
“Did I try to decapitate Zzyzx with a sword like in Highlander?”
All three nodded at the hell phoenix's question. Aohd looked left and right before crawling out of the pit and dusted himself off. “Sorry about that Big Z” said Aohd before picking up a sausage and placing it into a bun.
“It's cool Aohd. But why were you trying to kill me in the first place?” asked Zzyzx as everyone sat down in lawn chairs.
“Okay, so here is what happened. It was that shaggoth. It slung that slime of his at me and next thing I knew, all I could think of was 'kill Zzyzx'. Well, that and to offer people lemon bars” explained Aohd before taking a bite of his food. Zzyzx seemed to believe him as he nodded.
“You seem to be taking this rather well Zzyzx” Ajana implied as the penguin seemed to have a collected demeanor as he rested the wooden stick across his lap.
“Well this isn't the first time something like this has happened”
“This isn't the first time Aohd has tried to kill you?” Asked a confused Ajana.
“In my defense, I've never actually tried to kill Zzyzx by choice” said Aohd as he added spicy brown mustard to his sausage. Ajana's expression showed concern as she did not know how to respond to that statement.
“Well it makes sense that the shaggoth slime took control of your mind, but the real question is who was controlling the shaggoth? If it was acting alone, it would have just tried to escape. If it wanted Aohd to target Zzyzx specifically it means someone is out to kill you” said Rika as she took a bite out of her chicken skewer.
“That's a good point Rika. I remember everything I did. I mean, it felt like a hazy dream but I remember I only wanted to kill Big Z and no one else. Oh, it also seems I joined an 80's cover band.”
“That reminds me, I need to talk to you about that night club. Seriously, where are we getting the budget for all of this?”
“Don't worry Z, we are still in the black.”
“I will still have to talk to the accounting penguins to make sure. As far as who was controlling that thing, I don't think we have to worry. I mean it's not like it's something that is going to go unchecked only to bite me or the order as a whole in the butt in the future, right?”
A gust of wind blew a few leaves past as a feeling of dread washed over the group. “Yeah, that wasn't foreshadowing anything” said Rika with a sarcastic tone.
“Well I have a question. Aohd, you can sleep on a bed of burning coals. Liquid Oxygen doesn't make things burn any hotter. How on earth did regular charcoal reduce your body to ash so fast?”
Before anyone could answer Ajana's question, a thrown ninja star struck and embedded itself into the stick that Zzyzx had resting across his lap. The chief penguin went wide eyed as he bolted from his lawn chair yelling, “CRAP, SHE'S BACK!”
Shortly after Zzyzx fled, a penguin in a neon pink female ninja outfit landed next to the remaining order members. Aohd seemed un-phased as he said “Hi Kunoichi” while waving with a free wing.
“Hey Aohd” she said as she drew a short sword from a sheath that was tied parallel to the back of her waist.
“So I gave Zzyzx a decent head start. Don't suppose you are going to tell me which way he went?” she said in a flirtatious tone. Aohd responded by shaking his head.
“Oh well, it doesn't matter. I love it when that man makes me chase him” she said as she analyzed the area before heading off in the same direction that Zzyzx fled in.
“So, are you going to give us any context as to what is now happening?” asked a confused Ajana.
“In a minute, gonna finish my hot dog first” said Aohd as he reclined back into his lawn chair.
** ** ** ** **
“Weapon, I need a weapon!” exclaimed Zzyzx as he ran by various cases containing countermeasures for various situations.
“Cat invasion, no. Fire, no. Demon... Maybe...” he said as he paused to consider his options.
“Zzyzx... Come out to play...” echoed throughout the hallway. Zzyzx looked around as a bead of sweat rolled down his face.
“Wait, do penguins sweat?”
Zzyzx pondered the question for a brief second before realizing he was being stalked still. He grabbed a penguin who was passing by and threw it into the demon countermeasure case. The random cultist impacted the glass with a loud squawk. Somehow it stood up and walked off with a grumble as Zzyzx pulled out the chainsaw from the case. Kunoichi was suddenly at the end of the hallway, brandishing her sword. “I found you, you sexy specimen of a water fowl”.
Zzyzx didn't look up as he pulled the cord on the chainsaw. After the third attempt, the motor turned over as Zzyzx lifted it in front of him while reving it.
“Ooh, now that's kinky” she said as she took a ready stance with her sword. She slowly advanced, smiling all the while.
“Stay back you crazy chick! You know I'll use this!” he said he gave the saw a few quick thrust towards Kunoichi.
“I know you will. That's what makes you so damn sexy” she replied as she showed no sign of backing down. Zzyzx could only focus on her movements as the space between them shortened. Kunoichi dug her back foot in and Zzyzx knew she was ready to make her move. Before anything happened , there was a loud smack as Kunoichi let out a gasp of pain.
The female ninja turned around and pulled out a tranquilizer dart from her back. She looked behind her to see Aohd, Ajana, and Rika who was holding a the air gun. “See, I told you I could hit her from this far” said Rika as she took out a second dart just in case.
“Now that's not...” Kunoichi trailed off as she fell forward, dropping her swords as well. Aohd nudge the ninja penguin with the still that still had the throwing star stuck in it. She remained motionless as Aohd said, “I think we are good”.
“Will someone please tell me why there is a ninja penguin out to get, or get with, Zzyzx?” asked an exhausted Ajana.
“Well she is a female ninja and it would seem she is into some seriously kinky crap” answered the chief penguin as he cut the motor off on the chainsaw. “No one knows where she came from or if anyone sent her. She just showed up one day, tried to attack me, I beat her and she just keeps coming back for more”.
“So what do you do with her when you beat her?” asked the doe scientist.
“Nothing. When I beat her she just leaves and comes back in a couple of weeks to a month”.
“Technically, I'm the one who beat her this time” pointed out Rika.
“She has a point Zzyzx. Also don't you think it would be a better idea to detain her. Maybe question her about her true intentions?” asked Ajana
“It's already been a long day. I'd rather just let her go and deal with everything later” Zzyzx said as he put the chainsaw back into the demon prevention case. Ajana sighed as she put her hands in the air.
“You do what you think is best Zzyzx. I'm going to go home. I'm gonna take some veggies skewers with me” said the doe as she walked off. Rika and Zzyzx watched as Aohd put Kunoichi's sword back into its sheath.
“I know I wanted to to join this cult and everything Zzyzx, but hot pink ninja penguins is pretty weird. Even for me” said Rika. Zzyzx shrugged as Aohd popped up holding the stick with the throwing star stuck in it still.
“Anyone mind if I keep this throwing star?” asked the hell phoenix with a grin.