The Quest for the Mirth Monster
Episode 4: Dark Sunshine

"The REPORT!" Rensolar's voice echoed throughout the hall as was rarely the
case. Now, however, he leaned slightly forward in his throne, his lips
pursed together tightly and a stern look on his face. Jestinious glanced at
Rensolar's wife in the throne beside him. Undoubtedly, some of the fire from
her had finally worn into Rensolar, as the Mage-King was normally quite
political in his dealings. Rebecca's patience with Jestinious also seemed
to be at an end, and given that the queen had been known to draw forth her
holy blade commenting "get to the point or get a point" on another man that
attempted glibness to get by on a lack of facts, Jestinious figured the time
for discretion had ended.

"My scrying as deduced that the three are approaching Everwater village.
They have moved through about one third of Draken Forest, but, other than
travelling due south, their true destination is not yet determined. I will
know more once they emerge on the south side of Draken Forest. Right now,
their only possible destinations are Calstinowitz or Tristall's Tower."

The rulers sat back in their thrones. Tristall's Tower held memories for the
two of them. For Rensolar, he almost lost his wife, claimed by the only known
Mirth Monster to exist. He blade was completely useless against the amorphous
blob, which easily worked it's way under her armor, tickling her ultra-
sensitive body. Had Tristall not been destroyed, there is no doubt Rensolar
would have lost his beloved.

Rebecca's memory was similar. She had always been amazed, when she thought on
the incident in her private moments, that Rensolar had been able to resist
turning to his wizardy to avoid her blade. It was the one time in her life
that she regretted being so uncontrollably ticklish. Had it not been for
her King, Rebecca was certain that she most definately wouldn't be a queen
with a fetish, but rather a walking fetishist bent to the whims of darkness,
and laughing the entire way.

"I was under the impression that Tristall's Tower was completely abandoned,"
said Rensolar. Jestinious nodded quickly.

"Oh, it most certainly is abandoned," he said. "My suspicion is the group is
headed to Calstinowitz, simply because David may feel the need to do more
research...since that is what he does best."

"Some one should tell David to research life," mumbled Rebecca to herself.
Her husband was the only one to hear, and he turned his head towards his wife
only slightly, as Rebecca spoke out for Jestinious to hear. "What reason
could David have to go to Tristall's Tower?"

Jestinious gave it a silent moment's thought, but knew better than to give it
more than one moment. "Perhaps he may be going there for clues, to better
prepare themselves for battle, or for ways on how to defeat such a creature."

"Assuming one exists," said Resolar. Jestinious nodded.

"And one doesn't," said Rebecca. Jestinious nodded again.

"To the best of Academy knowledge," he said. "The Mirth Monster is extinct.
The two royals sat back in their thrones again and relaxed. Jestinious sought
to increase their level of calm. "In about six months, the three of them will
return with either a significant victory for the kingdom, by defeating one of
the creatures on our wanted list, or they will return to request a new

The two royals thought simultaneously the same thing...hopefully.

* * *

David, Anne Marie, and Elizabeth had given up all hope on keeping any of their
clothing dry as they approached Everwater village. The constant deluge had
thoroughly soaked cloth capable of holding water, adding about twenty pounds
to David's clothing alone. At times, the trio's visibility was reduced to
barely being able to make out the buildings that were merely a few yards away,
cloaked by the water that must have given the village its name. The trio
splashed their way through the muddy pools along what seemed like the main
road, until they were finally capable of finding a building with a sign that
seemed like it might be a common hut.

David opened the door, allowing the ladies to enter first, then closing rank
quickly behind. It was indeed a common house, with only three people inside.
One man sat at the bar, which was tended by a second, portly man. Sitting at
one of the two tables in the commonhouse was a woman that was probably a
waitress. She used a carrying tray to block the splashback from the
overflowing bucket sitting on the table near her, which long ago must have
proven ineffective against one of the many apparent leaks in the roof.

The group decided to sit at another table, which gave Anne Marie room to
remove her helm, revealing her rain soaked hair as if she had never worn a
covering. Elizabeth tried to shake the excess water from her hair,
inadvertantly splashing her companions in the process.

"Thanks alot, Beth," said the redhead. "Like I don't have enough water. Now
you want to share yours."

"I don't wanna hear it, Ami," snapped Elizabeth. "With all that plating and
padding, I'm sure your not as soaked through as either of us are."

"Hey!" snapped Anne Marie right back. "I can assure you I am just as wet as
either of you, and I don't need to share yours." David touch each girl on
her shoulder, and began to try and calm the situation.

"I'm certain we've all seen enough water these past couple of weeks," he said
calmly. He was going to continue, but was interrupted by the bartender. He
expected the man to ask for an order from the three adventurers, but held
back his slight surprise when the man spoke.

"You three from the Academy, ain't ya?" David smiled calmly and nodded his

"We are," he said. "We are on our final expedition, in his majesty's

"Well," said the bartender, obviously with a slight amount of contempt. "It's
'bout time y'all got here. We've been wantin' help over a year now. 'Send a
priest, or a mage' we said. We got both now, thank the gods!" He pointed to
Anne Marie's holy necklace as he finsihed.

"You think these kids are here to help, Jim!" The waitress laughed from her
seat where she hadn't apparently moved. "Look at 'em. Young and dumb! Like
all the rest! 'Hi and bye, just passin through!'"

David raised an eyebrow, while Elizabeth was more visible sign of objection.
She was about to speak, but was cut off by Anne Marie.

"Rest assured, ma'am. We are not just passing through." David took his cue
from holy warrior.

"Perhaps you should fill us in on the latest details," he said. "Before we
get to work on solving your problem."

"Nuttin' new," said the other man at the bar. "Same's it been in nearly two
years." He rose from his chair at the bar, and began speaking in a
schoolboy's sing-song. "Rain, rain, comes today and comes again another day!"
The man chuckled to himself for his wit, although no one else joined him.
Only a hiccup from his inebriated state caused his laughter to stop, and for
him to return to his tankard.

"Does anyone remember the last time it was dry around here?" asked Elizabeth,
now genuinely concerned. The three villagers looked at each other, then to
themselves thoughtfully.

"Wait!" said the waitress. "I remember when Tommy left. Good boy he was, and
quite the catch for the local gals. That was the day Sunshine cried."

"You mean Dark Sunshine?" asked the drunken man. "I can't remember a day when
her face wasn't crumpled in a frown, and about to break out in heartache."

The three villagers went on to explain that Dark Sunshine had been involved
with Tommy for about two years. One day, Sunshine's father, who seemed a
little too fond of his attractive daughter, caught Sunshine and Tommy in his
barn, being intimate. He told Tommy that if he wanted to have Sunshine, he
would have to return with a manticore tail. Tommy set off in the middle of
the night with a dagger and a leather chest plate, leaving a note saying that
he would return when he had finished the quest. Sunshine hadn't stopped
crying since.

Elizabeth was incensed at the end of the story. While the two cooler headed
adventurers took to finding out where they could locate Sunshine, Elizabeth
silently fumed regarding Sunshine's father. The three stepped out into the
windswept, rainy streets towards Sunshine's farm.

"Try to keep a cool head if we encounter Sunshine's father," commanded David.

"Oh," replied Elizabeth, seething. "There's going to be a cool head alright."
David and Anne Marie wasn't quite sure what it meant, but they both felt they
could handle their friend should the need arise.

The need didn't arise, however. The trio arrived on the property and saw the
young, svelte blonde as she left her house and walked towards the barn. As
described, her fair features were darkened by a frown that appeared to the
three like Sunshine would begin crying any second. Elizabeth felt an even
deeper sensation. She identified with Sunshine when she thought back on the
Academy, and she secretly slid her hand over her hilt.

Anne Marie decided to knock on the barn door as she removed her helm.
Sunshine jumped with a slight scream, and Anne Marie used her softest and
smoothest voice as she spoke.

"Please, be at ease, my child," Anne Marie said. "I am a holy knight of the
Kingdom, who's only purpose is to help you." Sunshine looked at the blonde
and the dark skinned male behind her.

"What about them," she said. Her voice trembled, as if she could come to
tears at a moments notice. David immediately noticed that Sunshine didn't
seem to have the same dialect as the others they three had encountered.

"They are with me," Anne Marie said calmly as she slowly took steps towards
the girl. "The Academy asked us to come and speak with you."

"I've never seen a man with skin such as yours," she said, looking squarely
at David.

"I can assure you," said Anne Marie. "He is just as any other person you'd
encounter. Better in some ways." Sunshine had already moved past Anne Marie
and approached David. For a moment, her frown had disappeared, replaced by
an quizical curiousity about the man before her. Her hand slowly reached
forward, and David made certain not to move. David knew there would be more
of these reactions as time went forward, so he decided he'd better get used to
it now.

Sunshine was assured that the color was actually part of David after pulling
her hand away and looking at the tips of her long fingers. Elizabeth
watched the exchange and felt some nagging tingle in her head. For now,
her curiosity regarding David's features surpressed the overwhelming sadness
inside of her, but, somehow, Elizabeth felt it wouldn't last long.

"One of his specialties is making women laugh," Elizabeth chirpped, almost a
little too bluntly. Sunshine quickly glanced at Elizabeth, and the three
could see the slight hint of a frown returning to her lips.

"I haven't laughed since Tommy went away," she said, her voice starting to
tremble. "Daddy sent him off because he doesn't like other boys around me."
Sunshine tried to compose herself, but her voice still trembled. "I wish
Tommy would come home." Elizabeth felt something tingling in her head again.
She could hear the voices of the Bartender and waitress somewhere in her mind.

"Rain's lettin' up," he said.

"For now," she said.

We have to keep trying, Elizabeth thought to herself. Come on David, just
cast the spell already. David quickly turned to glance at Elizabeth, but
realized she didn't say anything, and looked back to Sunshine. Anne Marie
had been explaining The effect Tasha's Ticklers would have on Sunshine.

"I don't think so," Sunshine said, on the edge of bawling again. "My daddy
should be home in an hour, and I'm not real sure about magic, anyway."

"You should be more sure about it," said David, softly. "It pervades your
essence. You can easily master the magic that I have and more."

"Daddy doesn't like when I read," Sunshine replied. Then, her voice fell as
she continued. "But, sometimes, I sneak out here at night and read anyway."

"Tell you what," said Elizabeth. "How about Anne Marie and I show you that
there really isn't anything to be afraid of?" Elizabeth was already removing
her breast protector. Sunshine tenatively agreed, and David positioned her
behind him, so the effect wouldn't catch hold of her. The two girls had
quickly removed their armor, and layed back on the haystacks. They could each
feel straw clinging to their equally wet bodies, causing Elizabeth to
apologize to Anne Marie in her mind.

"No problem," whispered Anne Marie when she could. Elizabeth knew she hadn't
said anything, but the growing curiosity from Sunshine was more important than
correcting the redhead at the moment...she'd do it later on.

David picked up a thread of straw, stated a few, short incantantions, and a
small flame appeared on the thread. David quickly blew it out, and began
the incantations for the main event. Anne Marie and Elizabeth both felt a
new wetness between their thighs knowing exactly what was going to happen.
The smoky hands approached their beautiful faces, and began the caresses, as
expected. The ladies breathed deeply, hoping to bring themselves to laughter
quickly so Sunshine could see the spell was totally harmless.

The efforts paid off, and the two girls were giggling helplessly on the
haystacks in short time. Sunshine watched from behind David, yearning for the
urge to even understand laughter anymore. The two women obviously were
enjoying themselves. Sunshine watched as more smoky hands seemed to appear
and tickle the girls on the tummy, and around the sides. Sunshine's thoughts
turned to when Tommy tickled her, and how she loved that feeling. Helpless
laughter, controlled by the man she loved. By the heavens, she wanted that

The images of Sunshine's mind had completely overtaken Elizabeth. She could
feel Tommy's delicate fingers, slowly and deftly moving across her body.
Elizabeth sighed as Tommey began tickling her breasts. He kissed her nipples,
while his fingers etched their way across her stomach.

Sunshine couldn't hold herself back anymore. The girls were being tickled
silly, and Sunshine wanted to be tickled for real again. The way it was
supposed to be. She walked from behind David and approached the wiggling,
laughing girls, while they slapped helplessly at the haystacks and the ghostly
fingers tickled across their bodies. Anne Marie and Elizabeth had been so
caught up in their silliness, that when Sunshine entered the mist, they
gently pulled her on top of their bountiful bosom, and began tickling her from
both sides. Sunshine's high pitched peals echoed from the rafters before she
was possessed by the guffaws of her two beautiful tormentors. Sunshine could
barely see the ghostly fingers as they moved towards her, caressing her face

Like Daddy does, thought Sunshine.

Then, Elizabeth's image suddenly changed. A man. A much older man. The
brightness that was tickling her with Tommy had turned dark, and cold. The
fingers tickled too hard, although she was still forced to laugh, it wasn't
the same type of laugh. She couldn't move, or wiggle. The man kissed her
lips harshly.

"You need to laugh," he snarled. "The whole damn town needs you laughin'."
His breath smelled badly, and the fingers were too rough, to harsh.

David recognized that something was dreadfully wrong with Elizabeth. All the
girls seemed to be laughing and enjoying themselves quite thoroughly, but
Elizabeth had a problem.

"Enough," David whispered. The mists slowly lifted, leaving the ladies to
laugh off the remainder of the effects, laying in the haystack.

* * *

A small group of villagers had gathered outside of Johnson's Barn. The sound
of women laughing was quite distinct through the water warped doors. No one
dared to enter, knowning Old Man Johnson's temper. Still, the villagers knew
that three strangers had come from The Academy, as word spreads in a village
as small and miserable as this...especially anything in the form of hope.
Hope had finally paid off, because the cause for the gathering was to
celebrate the success of the Academy, to praise his Majesty and his Lords and

The rain had stopped. Quite some time ago. At the top of a hillcrest, one
villager saw Old Man Johnson and alerted the assembly. Slowly each turned to
face him as he charged towards the barn. His ears were assaulted by the
laughter of the women as well, especially the one he recognized as his

"Now, don't ye go messin' it up," said the Bartender, when Johnson reached
the assembly. "The Academy's in there and got control of it now." Johnson
ignored the Bartender, gruffly pushing him aside. One of the women had
stopped laughing, and he could hear the other girl giggling, leaving only
his daughter in uncontrolled hysterics. He pushed his way through the crowd
and threw open the doors.

His eyes first fell on David. A dark-skinned male was not possibly of this
earth. It had duped the town into believe it was Holy, when it couldn't have
been. Johnson grabbed up a nearby pitchfork.

"DEMON!" he screamed. David was slightly stunned in surprise by the sudden
opening of the door, but the distinct sound of metal on metal, followed by
the tines of the pitchfork falling to the ground brought some ease to his
mind. Johnson's eyeline followed the edge of the sword up to its hilt.
Before him now was a beautiful redhead, wearing only a necklace with the
Academy's Holy Symbol on it.

"I think I will be the one who determines who or what is a demon, thank you,"
Anne Marie said sharply. "Back away from my man!" Johnson took note of the
rest of the room. A blonde woman, just are voluptuous and just as nude was
holding Sunshine in her arms as Sunshine laughed wide-eyed and hysterically.
The pleasure on Sunshine's face was similar to something he remembered from
just the night before. The nude blonde glared at him with narrow eyes.

"Best do as Ami says," said Elizabeth. "We'll all be through here shortly."

* * *

David enclosed the parchment paper around Sunshine's hand, and she immediately
placed it down her blouse. Her perk nipples were still obvious through the
folds of the clothing, although she had already passed through several
laughter-filled orgasms.

"I'm not sure if it will work, but I suspect it will," said David quietly.
Sunshine nodded, with a giddy smile on her face. David noted that Elizabeth
had just finished closing off one of Anne Marie's ties. She was still
steaming, though to what exactly, he was uncertain. Elizabeth had already
been suited up with Anne Marie's help, so it wasn't the part about who
suited up who's armor first, as it had been on occassion previously. David
shrugged it off and followed behind the two blade-wielding women. David
closed the door behind them, leaving Sunshine in the barn alone.

Cheers went up from the assembled crowd, with the Bartender's voice the
loudest of them all.

"All hail the Heroes from Arden Academy!" The cheers went up louder, but it
wasn't enough to distract Elizabeth from seeing Johnson trying to slip behind
them, and into the barn. She intercepted him, standing between him and David.

"You're daughter has asked for a moment's privacy," she said sharply. The
voices of the crowd had died down quickly enough to hear Elizabeth's comment.
"I suggest you leave her to it." The Bartender came up from behind and
gripped Johnson's shoulder.

"This town has seen its fields and foodstuffs washed away by rain for two
years," he said to Elizabeth. "We'll see that Johnson here waits for his
daughter to come out."

And I'll see to it he doesn't see his daughter ever again, thought Elizabeth.
Elizabeth sensed movement behind her, and looked over her shoulder at David's
puzzled face.

"What?" she said, as she moved away. David's answer was interrupted by
another high-pitched peal that decended into squeals of laughter from inside
the barn.

"Oh good," said David. "It worked!"

"What worked," snapped Johnson.

"You know," said David. "You really ought to let your daughter study more.
She could possibly do this town some good if Arnden City has difficulty
responding in time. She is truly gifted." Johnson's eyes narrowed on the

"What did you do to my daughter?" he snapped. "Given her demon magic."

"The magic is already in her," replied David calmly. "I just showed it the
way out."

* * *

They were certain Everwater village would need to be renamed as they left
the cheerful villagers behind shortly before dusk. Why Elizabeth had insisted
on leaving at such a late hour when they were welcomed until the morning was
mystifying. Nevertheless, she had insisted, and it would give David the
opportunity to question Elizabeth on what possible untapped magics she may
have in her system. David knew he had heard her thoughts, he was certain of
it. There was only the time needed alone to explore the concept.

They were forced to immediately setup camp, almost an hour outside of
Everwater. Elizabeth volunteered to take the third watch, which she felt
should be divided into three hour shifts. Anne Marie was so impressed with
Elizabeth's take charge attitude that she readily agreed, and David followed

* * *

"How was your watch?" asked Anne Marie when she awoke for her shift.

"All's pretty quiet, my friend," she said, with a slight smile.

"Why are you smiling?"

"Just the thought of knowing that justice has been served," replied the blonde
as she disappeared into the tent.

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