*front door of Shad's house 8:12PM*
Claire: *staggering a bit* Wooo. Soooo *wobbles a bit* dizzy.
*Claire takes out her key from the dress pocket and inserts it into the doorbell, which then turns into an eye scanner. Claire gets her eye close enough for it to be scanned, which it does*
Security system: Key scan confirmed. Retina scan confirmed. Identity: Claire Staydamind. You may enter. *door opens, revealing Dimitri standing just behind it*
Dimitri: That was a really clea...
Claire: *yawns, then collapses in Dimitri's arms*
Dimitri: Claire! What happened to...never mind. You did it didn't you?
Claire: *sounds a bit airheaded* Guess so sweetie shorty!
Dimitri: Geez, look at you. Did you try to pull off you-know-what?
Claire: Maybe. Didn't work.
Dimitri: Of course it didn't work. It's impossible for you. Sorry to say that but you know it's true. Let's just get you to bed.
Claire: It's out of my way, but someone else will do it.
Dimitri: What? Who else has the same power you do? Not counting Shad that is.
Claire: LOVE FIXES ALL SQUIRTY!!
Dimitri: That's it! You! Cold shower! Bed! Now!
*back at the PPG household 8:18PM*
Professor Utonium: Okay, just start from the beginning.
Buttercup: What beginning? We just tried to open our door and it wouldn't even budge.
Blossom: We tried punching it open but it bounced us back somehow.
Shad: And mommy wasn't in the bathroom.
Bubbles: But she came out of our room. Why did she do that without permission?
Blossom: It probably has something to do with her powe...
Shad: She doesn't have powers! She was just checking if I folded my clothes right. She locked the door so no one can distract her and she doesn't like it when she gets distracted.
Buttercup: Can't you just grow a brain for once and...
Professor Utonium: Calm down all of you! Now that you mention all this Claire did seemed to be in a rush to leave. That and she looked a bit dizzy. She bumped into the door and had a hard time opening it.
Shad: She did? Maybe she's sleepy.
Blossom: Now that you mention it, she did look a little swooned when she got out of our room.
Bubbles: But grown-ups can stay awake longer.
Buttercup: I say we check the room ourselves.
*10 minutes later in the PPG room (after they change into their nightgowns)*
Shad: See? Nothing went wrong. Mommy just got tired. She always goes to sleep earlier then most grown-ups because she leaves for work earlier. Most nurses do. I think.
Blossom: *looks under the bed* Hate to admit it but you're right Shad. She really didn't do anything.
Shad: Of course she didn't. *puts his "lantern" on the drawers* So what do we do now?
Buttercup: Pillow fights till sunrise! Sing till dawn!
Bubbles: But you and Blossom are grounded. And on probation.
Buttercup: Gee, thanks Bubbles.
Shad: What's probation?
Blossom: Normally it's when one is accused of a crime. Instead of going to jail we have to follow conditions set by the authorities. Normally we'd get convicted but then decided to go easy on us. So in our case, Buttercup and me can't go anywhere near the arcade, at least what's left of it.
Buttercup: It should've been just you. Your skeeball did the most damage!
Blossom: Well you were the one showing off! *bickering commences...again!*
Shad: I know. I'll finish making the plush doll.
Bubbles: What's it gonna be?
Shad: *blushes* It's a...secret. I said before that you'll like it.
Bubbles: Can I watch?
*10 minutes later*
*Blossom and Buttercup finally simmer down. Blossom simply reads a fairy tale: Little Red Riding Hood. Buttercup merely practices some moves, jabbing in the air while wearing the sweatbands Shad gave her a while back*
Shad: *carefully sewing the arms on the body* Almost done.
Bubbles: Where did you learn to do that Shady?
Shad: Mommy. When I was making the sweatbands for Buttercup the machine broke...
Bubbles: Never mind. I remember.
Blossom: *takes a little peek from behind her book* You're going a little too fast. Do you ever poke yourself by accident?
Shad: Yeah. It hurts a lot too. This is the first time I'm doing this since I made Buttercup's gift. Can yo...*looks at the fingerless hands of Blossom and Bubbles* never mind. Bubbles, can you close your eyes?
Bubbles: What for?
Shad: Please Bubbles?
Bubbles: Shady. There's something I have to te...
Shad: I'll only be a second.
Bubbles: Maybe I'll tell him later. I hope I do.
Buttercup: *stops jabbing* Hmm? *floats over to Blossom* Is he gonna kiss her?
Blossom: I doubt it.
Buttercup: C'mon. When is he gonna kiss already?
*Shad puts the finishing touches (the clothes) on his plush doll. The result: A squishy little boy just a wee bit taller then the Bubbles plushie. It has gray-white hair identical to Shad's. Same with the silver eyes and light skin. It dons a light-blue t-shirt with a wide black stripe across the middle, blue jeans and white sneakers with blue stripes*
Shad: *puts his creation on Bubbles' lap* You can open your eyes now. I hope she likes it. I never worked on anything harder.
Bubbles: *opens her eyes and sees a plush doll version of Shad sitting on her lap, then gasps* This...it's...
Shad: I know. The head isn't really big since there wasn't enough cloth. And it was too hard to make fing...*glomped so hard he fell to the ground*
Buttercup: Is there a camera in this room?
Blossom: No. So cute! Too bad you don't have a photographic memory.
Buttercup: Neither do you.
Bubbles: Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!
*at the basement of Shad's house*
*Claire sits on the chair this time and watches the monitor, finally relieved of her woozieness. Dimitri has a look see as well*
Claire: I was wondering why he'd be interested in a plush doll kit.
Dimitri: Good. No more broken sentences. That doll doesn't look half bad.
Claire: Lantern, save screencap and set as wallpaper. *monitor flashes*
Claire: What? It's cute!
Dimitri: I know. I just like the Full Metal Alchemist wallpaper better.
Claire: Oh you and your robot in a loincloth...
Dimitri: IT'S AN APRON! And it's not a robot!
Claire: Then why does he have an apron? What is it hiding if it's just a suit of armor?
Dimitri: You know, I never thought of that. Hey, don't change the subject. Did you get caught back there?
Claire: No. I saw Bunny though.
Dimitri: Yeah. And just how will she come back exactly?
Claire: When the time comes, her sisters will know. They miss her dearly, I'll tell you that much.
Dimitri: *turns to the monitor. It shows Bubbles dragging out Buttercup's boom box from the closet* Would you look at that. Bubbles wants Shad to sing again. Which reminds me, I forgot to give them my second burn CD. Then again, what's the fun of just 2 people singing? Kinda feel sorry for Blossom and Buttercup, being on probation and all.
Claire: Fun of 2 people singing you say? Perhaps I should turn up the volume. *reaches for the knob on the speakers*
Dimitri: Okay I get it! Let's see how this turns out.
*back at the PPG room*
Bubbles: Now which one haven't we sang yet?
Blossom: Try Heart wa Wow Wow.
Buttercup: What kind of song title is...wait, it's Japanese. Never mind. Still don't get it though.
*3 minutes later*
Ohayou ooki na koe wo dashite
Machi ni deyou
Nemurenai yoru wa asa made kakete
Sawai ja ou itsu datte
Hame wo hazushite warai tobasou
Ashita ni yume nukuramasete
Tsumanai toki issho ni furikitte
Chotto dake tsuyoku narou to harikitte
HAATO ugokaseba wow wow..wow wow...
Tanoshiku nareru kara
HAATO ga karappo ni narisou na
Toki wa yonde
Gochisou tabeta dake de choppiri
Shiawase da to omoeru yo
Itsudemo eiyou manten de
Ashita ni mukawanakucha ne
Itsumo itsumo genki nande dare datte
Ari wa shinai kedo
Itsumo itsumo genki dashite ganbatte
HAATO ugokaseba wow wow..wow wow...
Tsumanai toki issho ni furikitte
Chotto dake tsuyoku narou to harikitte
Itsumo itsumo genki nande dare datte
Ari wa shinaikedo
Itsumo itsumo genki dashite ganbatte
HAATO ugokaseba wow wow...
Sekai ichi wow wow...
Tobikiri ni..tanoshiku nareru kara
Blossom: *claps* Wow! That's your song right there!
Buttercup: *head under a pillow* Is it over?
Bubbles: Now I know why that song reminds you of me Shady!
Buttercup: *head out of the pillow* Good, so it is over. I'm going to sleep.
Blossom: You?! Going to sleep?
Buttercup: We're grounded remember? I'd play my GBA:SP but the professor took that away. Good night.
Shad: *yawns* I'm sleepy too. Nighty night.
Blossom: Good! Now's my chance to get to the bottom of this.
Yeah, let's go to sleep now.
Bubbles: But we just started!
*too late. Shad climbs into Bubbles' side of the bed with his Bubbles plushie in one hand and his blanket in another*
Shad: Maybe if you sleep with that plushie I gave you, you won't...have any...nightmares. *falls fast asleep*
Bubbles: *stares at the Shad plushie* If it works for you...*floats above the bed and lands next to Shad*...maybe it'll work for me. *crawls under the sheets and sees a sleeping Shad* Good night Shady.
*30 minutes later*
*all the kids are fast asleep as their dream bubbles appear above them. However, something pops put of Blossom's bubble. Blossom herself. Or a teeny tiny dream version of her at least, holding a big trophy followed by applause in the background*
Blossom: Okay, I get it. I'm the best speller in the world! Thank you! *shoves the trophy back in her dream bubble*
*Blossom phases inside Shad's dream bubble. She flies through what seems to be endless mist, but it clears up, revealing the same maze that Blossom is high up above...again*
Blossom: Again?! This doesn't make any se...AHHHHHH!! *sharply tugged down towards the center of the maze by an influx of gravity, then crashes*
???: So the leader comes a snooping, does she?
Blossom: *gets up, only to see the Shad look-a-like (i.e. his "other half" not that Blossom knows that)* You!
???: Why did you come back?
Blossom: Look, I happen to know that in dreams time passes quickly so I'll just say it right here. This place I'm in isn't a dream is it?
???: Did you come here to question me?! It's merely a security measure to keep the nightmares out! Honest!
Blossom: Look, the last time I came here I got this weird feeling that this maze is here for something else. And whatever I did the last time I was here was an accident!
???: *giggles* Funny. All the other times the door got blasted open one way or another. Those were accidents too. First it was because you lost control of your attack. Second, Bubbles got a little out of hand with a game of tag.
Blossom: Bubbles came back alone? She never said anything.
???: And then the third. Buttercup beat my security measure and broke the door simply out of carelessness. Now you wish to unearth those memories on purpose!
Blossom: Unearth what?
???: If you're really a friend of Shad, you will leave this place RIGHT NOW!
Blossom: Look, I don't know exactly what you meant by memories or whatever, but Shad's parents are lying to him! There's no exact proof but I'm sure of it! I get this strange feeling that they, particularly Claire,
are hiding something! Shad just doesn't believe us! If you just let me see those memories or whatever I might get some answers!
???: *a dark aura swirls around his body* So you can damage his mental state? I don't think so.
Blossom: *shivers* Why do I feel so cold? And I feel...scared? How'd that happen?! I was just fine a minute ago!
???: If you want to go into the maze so badly you'll have to get through me!
Blossom: I-I-I-if you say so? What's wrong with me?
???: Fine. Just remember...you had your chance to leave. Now it'll prove impossible. EBONY BLAZE!!!
*a tower of black fire rises up in front of Blossom. Surprised, she fell back down*
Blossom: You think that scares m-m-m-m-me?! I don't get it! I feel like all the...focus and joy got sapped out of me when that aura appeared around him. And these shivers...why would Shad have HIM as a dream guardian!?
???: Got the shivers, Powerpuff Blossom? I thought you'd fight BACK!! *on that last word, he jumps forward and kicks Blossom into the wall*
Blossom: Ugh! Is...is that it? I should of dodged that easy! What's happening?!
???: I really don't want to do this. *walks toward a collapsed Blossom* Shad cares a great deal for you superheroes. Yet you keep coming in here to find answers. *grabs hold of Blossom's hair and pulls her up to his face, then speaks in a cold whisper* Answers that shouldn't be etched in your head. No one deserves to see what happened all those years ago! Keep opening that door and the memories will leak out. If Shad remembers everything he will never be the same again!
Blossom: Never be the same? But the last time we were here we didn't even SEE Shad! Buttercup saw the same guy he mentioned though. Bubbles didn't come here on her own yet this guy says she did. Why didn't she say anything? Don't tell me she's on Shad's side on all this! Can't he see we're trying to help him?
???: Look. I'll give you another chance to leave. Just promise to never come here again.
Blossom: I just want some answers.
???: Now that...is a wrong answer.
*seemingly out of nowhere, 2 small spinning blue spheres
strike ???, causing him to let go of Blossom and end up crashing at a nearby wall, his dark aura vanishing*
Blossom: *sees a hand stretched at her* Huh? *looks up to see Bubbles and Buttercup in their nightgowns*
Buttercup: Well? Need any help?
Blossom: Do I! *takes Buttercup's hand as she pulls her up from the ground, allowing her to stand* How did...
Bubbles: We decided to stop by your dream bubble but you weren't there!
Buttercup: And you were in a hurry to get to sleep more then usual so...
Blossom: *giggles* I see you're starting to use that brain of yours.
Buttercup: Hey! Never mind about that, why was that Shad look-a-like grabbing hold of you?
*the girls feel a sharp shiver down their spines as they hear what sounds like a geyser erupting coming from the wall where ??? crashed into. Only he was standing, his dark aura back in place and flaring up ferociously*
???: Why must you all come here?! LEAVE!!
Bubbles: But we're not nightmares! We just want to see Shady!
Blossom: Don't bother Bubbles. I don't think he's what he says he is.
???: So you know. No matter. Shad won't believe you. Besides, if you're all really his friends then you'll agree with me.
Bubbles: But we are his friends.
???: I know. *aura starts to simmer down* He seems to have finally adapted to being with other people. And it's all thanks to you Bubbles. *aura vanishes*
Bubbles: You're welcome. I know that Shady likes me likes me though.
???: That I'm aware of. I know his thoughts. His feelings. The question is...do you like him the same way?
Buttercup: Psst. Blossom, weren't we about to fight this guy? What's the deal?
Blossom: I don't know. He seems to have a soft spot for Bubbles. Just like Shad. Maybe if he talks with her long enough we may be able to slip past him.
Buttercup: Yeah. I was thinking that too.
*Blossom and Buttercup tip-toe behind ??? as he continues talking with Bubbles. They sneak to the second corridor and make a break for it*
???: You don't remember?
Bubbles: No. I don't remember coming back here by myself. I played tag with you?
???: She doesn't recall. Wait. That white sphere that kept coming here. It followed Bubbles and got her out of here somehow. Did that wipe her memory? If it can do that...maybe it can erase Shad's old memories so they can never resurface. But if I do that, then...
It doesn't matter if you don't remember coming here a second time. What matters is that because of you Shad is finally starting to get over his inferiority complex.
???: He thinks he's useless with everything and everyone. Used to have a habit of keeping to himself due to thinking he won't be a good friend with anyone. It got a bit worse when he became your friend, but in time, he noticed how normal you all can be.
Bubbles: Of course! We don't use our powers all the time.
???: That I know. Bubbles...if you really do like Shad the same way he likes you, do you think it's right for a superhero to...love a normal person?
Bubbles: Huh? That's what Shad thought. But I...
*before Bubbles can give her answer, the "specter" appears between her and ???*
???: You again!
Bubbles: Isn't that the white ball from the first time we got here? Blossom! Buttercup! It...*tilts her head to the right to take a peek behind ??? only to notice that her sisters aren't there*
???: *to the "specter"* Where do you keep coming from?!
Bubbles: They're gone!
???: *turns around* What?! Those...*the "specter" zooms to the second corridor* Follow it! *grabs Bubbles' hand and follows it*
Bubbles: Why are we following it?
???: I don't know how but it always knows where you girls are in this maze. It's as if that sphere knows it just as well as I do.
Bubbles: It's going too fast!
???: Not for long! Grab on. *glomped by Bubbles* Not that kind. Just don't get scared and keep your eyes off the floor. In fact, just close your eyes.
Bubbles: Weird. His skin feels so cold.
Scared of what? *shuts her eyes*
*black tentacles phase out of the floor and entangle Bubbles and ???. They pull the 2 down through the pitch-black ground. Bubbles and ??? then sink into the floor like quicksand*
*in another part of the maze...54 minutes later*
Blossom: *pant pant* We...found it.
Buttercup: Yeah. Think there'll be another giant hand or something?
Blossom: *looks at the newly-fashioned locks on the big door* Doubt it. I mean, look at it!
Buttercup: Yeah. So why are we doing this again?
Blossom: You know how I keep thinking that this place is hiding something?
Blossom: And you know that Shad's parents are hiding something?
Buttercup: From what you said last time, more like they're lying to him. About what?
Blossom: It's not that I know entirely. I might even be wrong. But...*clasps her hands together*...let's just say we'll never know unless we try.
Buttercup: I see. *fist starts to glow a bright green* Let's just hope you're right. You've been wrong a couple times.
???: *voice seems to be coming from everywhere* STOP!!
Blossom: Where did that come from?
Buttercup: Uh, leader girl? *points to the ground* The floor!
*the pitch-black ground around the girls started to ripple. In front of them, a black piller phased out of the ground. It then disintegrated, revealing ??? and Bubbles*
Blossom: How did you...how...
Bubbles: Wow! How'd we get here so fast?
???: Hehe. I have full control of this maze. Oh wait, the girls. Bubbles can you stand to the right of them?
Bubbles: Okay. *walks to Blossom's side. Blossom being in the middle, Buttercup at the left side and Bubbles at the right* Ready!
???: You girls look cool in that formation. *giggles* Thank you. Now...all of you get out NOW!
Blossom: Did you have to play along Bubbles?
Bubbles: Sorry. He looks just like Shady. Except for the red eyes.
???: Fine. *dark aura appears around him* Have it your way!
Bubbles: *gasps, then shivers* Wh-wh-why do I feel so scared?
Buttercup: None of this makes any sense. It can't be the maze causing this...is it?
Blossom: But the last time we felt like this was when we all got behi...WAIT A MINUTE! I know who you are!
Bubbles: And so do I!
All 3 girls: You're HIM!
???: Him? You mean the evi...NO! I'm not that guy! He's a weirdo.
Blossom: Well whoever you are, you're definitely not a dream guardian. You'd know we're not nightmares!
???: If you're so desperate as to access Shad's memories, then you are a nightmare!
Blossom: There's no talking to you, is there? *sigh* I really don't want to do this but...*a pink energy sphere appears between her palms*...you don't leave me with much options. *the sphere starts to expand*
Bubbles: Not again!
???: Not this time Blossom! EBONY BLA...*sees something behind her* YOU!
Blossom: Almost got it right this ti...*the something hits her behind her head* OW!!
Buttercup: *turns around* It's that round thing again!
Blossom: *sees the sphere growing out of control, then has a smug expression on her face* Not again.
*scene zooms out to a bird's eye view of the maze. A huge pink blast shoots up into the black sky, followed by an explosion from where it came from*
Blossom: YES! I DID IT!
Buttercup: Yeah, but it blew up on you...again!
???: Yeah. You did it alr...*hears loud crashing noises, a creaking noise, then turns around to see all the locks on the ground and the door slowly opening* The door! *runs up to it and tries to push it shut* ALL OF YOU GET AWAY FROM HERE!!
Buttercup: Just what I was thinking. C'mon! *runs back to another corridor*
Bubbles: Let's go Blossom! *sees that Blossom is still standing with the "specter" floating next to her* Blossom!
Blossom: You girls don't have to come if you don't want to. As for me, I want some answers!
Buttercup: Forget it, we're a team!
Bubbles: I'm in too!
???: *still struggling to keep the door shut, close to shutting it completely* Why are you still here?!
Blossom: *grabs hold of the "specter"* Something tells me you're our ticket out if things get a little out of hand. Ready girls?
Bubbles and Buttercup: Ready!
*the PPG jumps through the small opening in the door, before it's closed completely*
???: NO! *collapses due to exhaustion, then pants heavily* Why...do they...seek...the truth? I don't get it. *eyes start to close* Should those memories ever be restored...*falls unconscious*
*in a completely wrecked hallway (the same as before) the girls stand, slightly transparent with the place in black and white...as always*
Bubbles: Is this...
Blossom: *still has the "specter" in hand* The Global Defenders place. But...where is everyone? Are they...*hears the ear-piercing screech as last time* AIEEE!
Bubbles: Not again.
Buttercup: C'mon girls. Let's just get going. We go through stuff in this place.
Blossom: Hey that's my line!
*the PPG walk through the numerous debris. Several sparks fly loose from the broken lights and cameras. One hallway after another, they see the same path of destruction, caused by the black shadow figure no doubt. In some corridors, they see several solders, lying still in puddles of blood. Some with gaping slashes on their chests while others seemed burned from head to toe*
Blossom: *shakes* Why would that thing do this?
Buttercup: H-H-H-Heck if I know.
Bubbles: Girls. When you heard that screech, didn't it sound like it was trying to say something?
Blossom: That screech was completely incoherent! How can we understand it?
Bubbles: I don't know how, but it said something. Something like...well I don't know but...
*just then, the girls stop walking as they hear footsteps...fast footsteps. As if someone's running from something*
Bubbles: Who is it?
???: SHAD! WHERE ARE YOU SHAD?!
Blossom: That voice.
Bubbles: Is that...
*they see another figure at the end of a corridor, where all the dead people lay. It's not the black shadow, but it appears to be someone wearing a light gray jacket and has short black hair*
All 3 girls: DIMITRI!?
Dimitri: *looks at the line of bloodied corpses, devastated* My God! What did this!? I know I got a distress call but...
???: Dimitri! Did you find him?!
*a lady wearing a coat over her nightgown runs up to Dimitri. She has a long ponytail*
Blossom: What are they doing here? *notices that the "specter" is shaking in her hands* Hey, what's with you?
Claire: What happened here?! Where's our boy?!
Dimitri: Your guess is as good as mind. Shad's nowhere to be found in this section either.
???: Dimitri! Claire!
*the Powerpuffs see a third man. Only this one seems to be wearing a labcoat with an X at the lower left side
and carrying a wounded man in a suit*
What happened to Brisbane?!
Buttercup: It's that guy! I saw him the last time I came here!
Bubbles: And he's in that photo Shady has!
Blossom: *tries to keep the "specter" from shaking so much* What is all this? If Shad's parents are here then where's Shad?
*a loud screeching scream echoes through the halls. However, it sounds louder then usual, as if it's close*
Claire: *turns to her right and sees a shadowed figure*MY GOD WHAT'S THAT?!
Cranston: Get to the lab now!
*Dimitri, Claire, and Cranston (with an unconscious Brisbane in tow) run through the corridor, narrowly evading a charge attack from the figure. The 3 run through (literally of course) the PPG themselves and turn to the next hall*
Buttercup: B-B-B-Blossom? We have a problem here!
*the PPG are at one side of the hallway, the black shadow at the other end, his red eyes showing no signs of restraint*
Blossom: Wait a minute.
Buttercup: Yeah, can we go now?
Blossom: Doesn't that so-called "monster" seem a bit...short? And shaped like a person?
Bubbles: Yeah, I was thinking that too.
*the black shadow screeches again, then charges through the PPG and continues his pursuit of Dimitri and the others, leaving behind trails of fire as they combust into multiple explosions!*
Blossom: Don't worry! N-n-n-nothing can hurt us here!
Buttercup: That thing is after Shad's parents for some reason! Why is that?!
Bubbles: *tears about to fall from her eyes* And where's Shady?
Blossom: *the "specter" breaks free from Blossom's hand* AHH! Hold on you! We're not ready to leave yet!
Bubbles: But I'm scared!
*the "specter" expands and sucks in the PPG, then shrinks again. The surrounding area distorts and swirls until it's all pitch black. Then it shoots up until it phases out of Shad's dream bubble and deposits the girls back into their own dream bubbles and goes back into its "lantern." That's when Blossom wakes up*
Blossom: WHOA! *cold sweat drips from her forehead as she shivers* Wh-wh-why do I feel so scared? *tears roll from her eyes* Those things we keep seeing...I wanted to get to the bottom of this...but something about it all gets me...it gets...what do all these things have to do with Shad? *looks at Shad, sleeping peacefully* How does he not see any of it?
End of Chapter 35!