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Cliff sat over the balcony wearing a small black bow tie made of velvet around his neck. Winter came in for his report.

"So then, Barnes. What have you seen that is of use to me?"

"Well sir. I have come to tell you of an update in Mumble and Chrysta's relationship."

Hearing this made Cliff twice as interested in what Barnes had to say as he was before.

"And what has happened to my sister?"

"Well, sir, I have discovered some friction has come into their friendship."

"Excellent. With my idiot sister out of the way, what's to stop me from killing the song-less freak?"

"Well, s-s-sir, I've been thinking. Do you really have to do this? Mumble seems like a nice, harmless, well-meaning person. I don't think he poses that much of a threat to to your plans."

"Winter, you are a talented young assassin. You are brave, you are smart, you are an expert tactician" Cliff began before grabbing Winter by the throat and pinning him against a wall. "But you seem to go overboard when it comes to sympathy for the weaker side. Now, is there going to be a problem?" he continued, putting one of his claws to Winter's Adam's apple, gripping his neck tighter. "Well, is there?"

"N-n-n-n-n-n-no, s-s-s-sir" Winter said, quickly running short of air. Hearing his answer allowed Cliff to release Winter from his grasp, with the latter falling to the floor, quickly recovering from his near-death experience.

"Now then, I am to make my appearance tonight at the presentation of my newest invention. My sister will be there to introduce me at the ceremony. It is without a doubt that Happy Feet will be there with his group. When I give the signal you are to kill him from behind with this" Cliff explained before giving Winter a small dagger made of ice.

Meanwhile, Mumble walked into his room to talk to Chrysta, who had her face in her pillow, with muffled crying easy to hear. Mumble tapped her on the shoulder, and she got up from her bed, her eye-liner smudged with tears.

"Hey, Chrysta."

"What do you want, Mumble? Shouldn't you be trying to win Gloria back?"

"No, I came to apologise. To you."

"Okay."

"Look, Chrysta, I'm sorry about what happened yesterday. I just wanted to help Gloria."

"Help her put her tongue down your throat."

"Help her with her injuries. She just kept saying mean things about you. I was trying to stand up for you and lost my temper. I was ranting and shouting for about 5 minutes. She was just trying to calm me down."

"You mean seduce you."

"Chrysta please! I wasn't expecting her to kiss me, and when she did, I just didn't know what to do."

"You could have tried, maybe, I don't know, rejecting her! Rebuffing her advances!"

"You know, Chrysta, I'm trying to apologise to you and you're not letting me!"

"Because you betrayed me! I thought you were my friend!"

"I am your friend! That's why I'm apologising to you! If I wasn't your friend I wouldn't give two fish and a popsicle if I had hurt your feelings!"

This made Chrysta realise how stubborn she was being. Mumble really was apologising. To her. Nobody had ever apologised to her before.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she hugged Mumble so tightly he said "can you loosen up a little, Chrysta. I can't really breathe."

"Oh, right. Sorry about that, Mumble. I'm just really happy. That reminds me, I'm going to be presenting my brother at his exposition presentation tonight, and it would mean the world to me if you came on stage with me, Mumble."

"Well, I don't know. There's gonna be a lot of people I know there and, well, I can't risk messing this up, or I'll be a laughing stock, if I'm not one already, that is."

"Come on, Mumble. I just want to show my brother what you're really like, maybe then you guys can be friends."

After a brief pause, Mumble said "oh, what the heck. I'll do it" to which Chrysta squealed in delight, hugging Mumble even tighter than before. Mumble must have counted her saying "thank you" over 40 times a minute.

When Chrysta fixed up her make-up, they set off to the show, with little to no knowledge of the events that would change their destinies forever...


Next chapter: Chrysta runs away

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