I had some fun writing this. Thank you to the people who noticed my last chapter! You guys are totes awesome. Special thanks to xing2lee for supporting me with her wonderful fanart which you guys can still check out here. For those who haven’t read the first chapter or want to read it again, you can read it here. And now, I present to you, albeit very late, the second chapter of Dirk’s Moving Castle.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Howl’s Moving Castle or Homestuck.
The Condescension-Wicked Witch of the Waste
In the storage room, you tell Roxy your story, your mind slowly coming back to Earth. Roxy only stares back at you in disbelief.
"So you met Dirk Strider," she says before her surprised look morphs into one of concern. "Janie, he’s dangerous."
You blink once pensively. “What do you mean, ‘dangerous’?”
She cocks a questioning eyebrow. “Well, you know the news about Jakey?
"It’s been a week since he was last seen," you answer, recalling the newspaper details. However, you fail to see the relevance of Dirk Strider to Jake. Gosh darn it, you know the name. Where did you hear it from though? Where?
Roxy still goes on. “Dirk was Jake’s best friend. He’s pretty shaken by Jake’s disappearance and is willing to take steps to find him again.”
Of course! Dirk was the one who Jake often talked about! Wait, that also means-
“Aaand you know how he’s the Prince of Derse and all? Since everyone knows how close he was with Jake, he’s, like, placed as the most likely suspect behind Jake’s disappearance. Think of that.. Prince of Derse assassinates Prince of Prospit.. That’ll make the headlines.”
Oh gosh, Dirk probably realized who you were! You berate yourself for your own idiocy. You fail as a dream princess if you are not able to recognize another fellow member of royalty. While you are mildly shocked that you’ve met another member of dream royalty without knowing it, you realize quickly in dread where Roxy is going with this conversation.
“Diplomatic relations are undeniably going to be strained until Jake is found,” you answer carefully. “…We’re on the path for war.”
“Exactly,” she agrees in worried concern. “Can’t help but worry for Dirk. He’s like my closest brofriend and stuff. Seeing how things are right now, it would be dangerous if someone saw the Prospit princess with the Derse prince. Nasty scandal, that would be.”
You nod silently in response.
“What’s even worse is that…” She pauses for a moment. She looks around furtively before dropping her voice to a whisper. “Don’t spread it around or anything but there’s this really big rebellion threatening to erupt in Derse.”
Your shoulders raise in surprise as Roxy frantically shushes you. “There is absolutely no way that something like that can-“
"But it is," Roxy replies, shaking her head. ”Anyway, I think those black things that were chasing you and Dirk were the Black Carapacians. Personally, I think they’re a real sweetheart if you treat ‘em right but Dirk suspected that someone was trying to take over Derse, starting with our citizens. His suspicions were confirmed when he survived an assassination and planted the man’s head on a stick. Derse is in total chaos.”
So, those people chasing after Dirk were brainwashed citizens? You stare at her silence in disbelief. “Surely, that seems a bit extreme, don’t you think? This Dirk fellow seems just as imaginative and whimsically paranoid as you are.”
Roxy looks at you as if you just slapped her. “I know you find most of my conspiracy theories silly but seriously, Janie, I think something’s wrong. Think about it. Dirk was nearly assassinated around the same time Jake disappeared, last week A city in chaos with its rival kingdom tense enough to go to war. If Derse goes to war, we won’t stand a chance. We’ll be oblitzerated….obliterated.”
You furrow your brow in frustration, trying to process her words. It all seems so ludicrous. Someone trying to conquer Derse? That’s a very challenging task, even for the most ambitious. “Hypothetically, let’s say that indeed, someone is trying to turn Derse upside down for their own nefarious plans. Who would that be?”
Roxy flashes you a serious glare. “The Batterwitch looking to expand her corrupt cake confectionary company and empire.”
Yup, this was ridiculous. You shoot her an unamused look and get up from your spot, dusting off your dress. “Goodbye, Roxy.”
She grabs your arm. “Janie, I’m being serious here!”
How many times have you heard the whole theory of the name of your company being the epitome of ultimate misery and misfortune? And for a minute, you actually thought she was serious about this whole deal. Goodness!
You shake your arm out of her grip and sigh. “Well, I have to get back to the bakery anyway. It was nice to see you doing well, crazy conspiracy or not.”
“Well, you never know-”
“Oh, but I do.”
“Fine, be like that.” Roxy pouts at you and gets up as well. She pauses for a moment and reaches in her pocket to bring out a trolley pass. Your best friend takes your hand and places the pass in it. “Just to make sure you don’t take any chances being whisked away on rocketboards. Be safe, okay?”
Shooting her a surprised look, you let out a short laugh and shrug but you accept the pass gladly. “Of course, Roxy. You take care as well now.”
You two bid your goodbyes and you leave Cesari’s Bar to head back to the bakery with the help of a trolley.
“A conspiracy to bring down Derse…” you muse to yourself as your body shakes with the moving trolley. You shake your head at Roxy’s imaginative silliness. “Ridiculous.”
You get off at your stop and walk back to your bakery. As you climb up the steps and unlock the door, you absentmindedly look towards the sky if maybe…just maybe…
You shake your head. There was no reason for Dirk to associate himself with you. With a sigh, you enter the bakery and take off your hat, replacing the taped notice with the normal “Open” sign. You set down your hat on a nearby hanger and grab your apron. Cracking your knuckles to prepare for another working day, you glance at the clock.
Forty minutes since you last left.
Who knew that rocket travel could be so expedient?
It isn’t long before customers begin to appear. You quickly jump into what you do best and get into the task of ringing up each of the customers’ purchases quickly and attending to those who need help deciding the best cake suited for whatever occasion they need it.
Being the supposed heir to a great culinary empire requires some very demanding and responsibilities. Your father has taught you well.
Eventually, a couple hours later, your father comes back from his errands and takes over, allowing you a very much needed break and greatly lessening your workload.
As another busy day in the bakery comes to an end, you flip the hanging sign at the entrance to “Closed” and put all of the unsold pastries and bread on the “Day Old Half Price” rack while your father sweeps the floor to prepare for another busy day tomorrow.
“I’m going to prepare dinner,” your dad says, taking off his apron. He walks over to you and pulls you into a firm half hug. “Good work today. When you’re done with that, doublecheck to make sure the doors are locked, okay?”
“Of course,” you reply with a nod.
With that, he leaves the bakery through the backdoor into the main house and disappears out of sight. You quickly finish wiping down the counter and walk to the door to check the lock.
You nod to yourself when you find out that it is indeed locked and walk to the hanger to take off your apron, thinking about what grand pastry your father has prepared for tonight.
Hopefully, it’s not chocolate again. Something with vanilla would be nice. It’s been weeks since you had-
Your train of thought is brought to a screeching halt as you hear the door open behind. You absentmindedly place your apron on the hanger and turn around to see…a rather odd looking woman at the entrance…in a skinsuit with horns and a trident?
What an odd-looking woman.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but we’re closed. I could have sworn that the door was locked,” you say most cordially. You could have sworn that you locked the door. No matter, though, you suppose that you were just careless.
Instead, the strange woman ignores you and looks around the bakery. "…What a tacky lil bakery. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Pimpin dizzle oldschool phats biatch? I thought dis bakery promises freshly baked phats everyday. Is dis straight-up a Betty Crocker licensed establishment?"
You frown when you hear her arrogantly disgusted tone. In response to her haughty remark, you stiffly walk past her to the door and hold it open. “I’m afraid you have to leave now. We’ll have much fresher goods tomorrow.”
The strange woman only turns to your direction and looks at you for a moment. "I always bother when some muthafucka tries ta set themselves up against Her Imperial Condescension," she says before continuing on. "I’ve heard of you, Miss Crocker, n’ mah sources tell mah crazy ass you done been peeped wit a rogue trip prince. I came ta put a quit such interactions."
“What are you talking about?” You ask, astonished.
"I believe some also have called me, tha Batterwitch?" the woman coolly replies. She spreads out her hand in a flinging motion in your direction. "There ya go. Be glad dat yo ass is way too valuable ta mah company ta be skewered dead as fuckin fried chicken."
“You’re the…the Batterwitch?” You croak out. So…Roxy’s conspiracy speculations were true?…And why is your voice suddenly trembling? It seems to have gone strange with fear and astonishment.
“I am,” she smoothly answers as she strides past you. "Da dopest part bout dis is dat you can’t tell anyone you’re under a spell. Doubt you’ll be up in any shape ta help Pimp Strider wit any sort of rocket rebellion anytime soon anyway."
“W-what-” But she’s already gone when you turn to her.
You breathe heavily at the strange encounter and sigh. It is when you shut the doors when you notice something is wrong.
Your hands….They were wrinkled and skinny, with large veins in the back and knuckles like knobs.
You stare at the moment in shocked silence before you frantically touch your face and silently gasp in horror when you feel similar wrinkles on your face. You rush to the bakery’s employee bathroom and wince as you feel some of your bones cry out in protest at your sudden movements.
An image of a shocked old woman greets you in the mirror.
It is then when you realize that the Batterwitch has robbed you the years of your life and cursed you to become an old woman.
[EDIT 2/03/13: Fixed the Condescension’s personality. Gizoogle may or may not have been used.]