"The Sensational Night Shadow in… Ketchup King and Mustard Queen's Deadly Antics"

Chapter 9

Created by The Spectacular SpiderDom


A few hours later…

"Sydney?"

After suffering a major car accident, Sydney Connor sat in a hospital bed with her eyes closed. She heard her name called, but all she saw was pitch black darkness. She moaned and struggled to wake herself up, wondering who called her name. It sounded familiar, but it was vague. Twitching her fingers, she attempted to open her eyes, but they sealed themselves shut.

"…Sydney?"

She heard it again.

With no identification of who spoke, Sydney gently leaned upward but felt her arm ache in the process. Her forehead felt like it was hit by a giant rock. Rubbing her head, Sydney got the urge to open her eyes, and she found her boyfriend: Mason Moonstone sitting right in front of her. His face was nearly red, and his hands were clammy. Dunnere popped out of his master's body with a bouquet of flowers in his hands. He waved at Sydney and Mason smiled with relief.

Thank you, God. Thanks for protecting her.

"Are you okay?" he inquired.

Sydney moaned and chuckled. "Well, my ass is a little singed and my forehead feels like exploding, but other than that, I'm good. You?"

"I'm fine, but forget about me," Mason shook his head. "I'm more concerned about you. What you did not only distracted Marlon and Clementine, but it was also reckless."

"I know and I'm sorry," Sydney replied. "I know I've done shit like that in the past, but that's because I don't want to see you get hurt. I know your Darkness Manipulation comes with a lot of advantages, but being me, I'm always worried about times you'll never return home. Not because you're outside for too long, but it's because you're gone. I'm afraid that I'll lose you… that's why I do stupid shit like that, and… welp, it looks like it got the best of me, ha-ha, ouch!"

Mason gasped.

"Ha, it even hurts when I laugh. This is gonna suck when I go back to work," Sydney giggled.

Mason mimicked her gesture, but he frowned afterward. Rubbing his thumbs together, he rubbed his hair and spoke, "Sydney, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry."

"For what? Are you the one who wrecked Jerry's car?"

"No?"

"Are you the one who shot ketchup and mustard around the city?"

"No?"

"Then, what are you apologizing for?"

"For being too naïve. I liked to believe that people can change their ways. Like Technolocity. Before he became who he is now, he used to be a superhero alongside the deceased Avatar Yukon before he went crazy and started World War lll. I always believe that Technolocity can change, but he doesn't because he thinks the path he's on now is the right path to be on. I always believe in second chances, but then I remember how hypocritical I can be. Remember the story about how my cousins ruined my application to Seattle University? I never gave them a second chance."

"Well, in your defense, you wanted to, but you couldn't bring yourself to do it. But Mason, you're also the same way with my parents. You accepted the fact that they're assholes. So, you shouldn't be calling yourself hypocritical. You believe in people who actually have the potential to change. That's not a bad thing."

"It is because it got you in this mess. If I had just left Marlon and Clementine alone… I could've joined you on your date with Jerry and Amber… I'm sorry, Sydney."

Once he paused, his beautiful girlfriend took the time to register his apology. She knew that Mason could be too naïve at times, but she always respected the fact that he believed in people who set off on a path they believe is good for them when really, it isn't. Sydney smiled softly and leaned forward, reaching for her boyfriend's hand.

She wrapped her fingers around his hand, and he looked into her emerald green eyes.

Smiling, Sydney asked him a question. "Mason… tell me why you wanted to rebuild Marlon and Clementine's relationship?"

Mason cleared his throat and thought about his answer. "Well, one reason is that I'm a superhero, and superheroes help people in need. Two, I was afraid that their constant civil wars would endanger the citizens of Seattle. And three… seeing them fight like that reminded me of how I yelled at my cousins for ruining my college application… it's hard seeing families fight, Sydney."

"I know… I should know this, Mason. I argued with my parents before Amber and I moved out of the house. They tried to bullshit us into staying with them, but they're awful people. Amber and I couldn't take that suffering anymore."

"Right. I just thought that if I restored Marlon and Clem's relationship, it could not only lower the number of supervillains in town… but maybe I can inspire me to forgive my cousins for what they did."

"Mason, I need you to understand something. I'm not encouraging you to forgive them, nor am I discouraging you… but it's okay to have broken ties with your family members. Some families are better off staying together and some are better off apart. I know that's sad, but that's life. We, as humans, have to learn to accept the family we have and the family we don't need… like you. You're the one person who made me feel loved. You made me feel like I was wanted. My own parents, they couldn't give me the same amount of love you give to me every day…

"…yes, we both act bitchy at times, which can lead us to argue a lot, but we always find a way to get back together and talk things out. If I argued with my father, he'd force me to apologize even though he was clearly in the wrong. What moral lesson am I supposed to learn from that? Is it supposed to teach me that even if I'm right, I have to apologize to the person who wronged me? Bullshit, that's not the way I see it. So, when Amber and I finally got the courage to move out, I learned to move on, and I moved in with you. It was hard at first because I thought I was going to be a burden to you, but after you put me on your health insurance and legally stated that I live with you, you couldn't have made me any happier…

"…what more can I say, Mason? You're the best thing that's happened to me. You're the one piece of family, aside from my grandmother, who loves and appreciates anything I do. And I can tell you feel the same way about me. Do I think you made the right decision in pushing your cousins away, I can't say because that was your decision. And if that's what you felt was the right thing to do, then I'm not going to change your mind."

"But… what does this have to do with what I did to you? I mean, what Marlon and Clementine did to you?"

"Here's my point. Who knows if Marlon and Clementine will get their shit together and fix things up? If they do, awesome. If they don't, then that's something you and I need to prepare for. Not every family is going to get along, Mason. We need to learn to accept that… but… I'm just glad you and I aren't like those two bone-heads… it's not your fault that I'm here, it was my fault. You're my family… and I will do anything for you, no matter what."

Mason couldn't breathe. His heart was throbbing so much that it felt like ripping out of his ribcage and blasting out of his stomach. Tears of joy threatened to leave his eyes as he gazed at the girlfriend who keeps him going, who actually managed to teach him a valuable lesson, even if it was a sad one. He felt like laughing and crying at the same time. All of the things she said were too much for him because he felt the same way.

I love you, Sydney. Mon Dieu, I love you so much.

"Come here," Sydney held out her arms, despite them hurting so much. Mason beamed and tenderly threw himself into her embrace. Sydney squeezed him as close to her as possible, relishing the fact that she was proud of everything he did and nuzzled his hair with her nose. Euphoria streamed through both of them.

As the two of them continued their hug, Technolocity watched them from a window in another room.

He too, had a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

Keep hold of her, Night Shadow, he thought to himself, as he placed the flowers on the window sill and walked away. The last thing I'd want to do is hurt your family.


While Mason and Sydney rejoiced at the hospital…

Marlon and Clementine Grimes (still in their costumes minus their masks) sat in a tan-walled jail cell with a dirty white floor, two green bunk beds, and a bathroom that wasn't up to par with other bathrooms. Both of them sat on a grey bench, which was attached to the wall by two brown poles. They leaned against the wall and took turns releasing low sighs.

They were approached by Darla Prescott. "You're lucky my husband can easily persuade me."

The brother/sister duo shared a glance.

"Meaning?" the former asked.

"Meaning that Monsoon Gal dropped by here twelve minutes ago and informed me of the entire story. Atticus told me that Technolocity and the Void League mind-controlled you two. Is that true?"

Both of them nodded.

"Very well," Darla nodded, as she opened the bars to their cell. "You are free to go, but you are still required to pay the fine my husband gave to you. And if I ever catch you two doing anything that can harm others, I won't go easy on you, no matter how much my husband persuades me."

"Not a problem, Officer Prescott," Clementine offered her hand, but Darla refused to shake it. "Not much of a hand-shaker, huh? That's okay."

Both Clementine and Marlon exited the cell and were escorted out of the building by a friendly police officer. Once she opened the door for them, the two of them walked out of the building and strolled down the streets. In the process, they walked by multiple people who were looking to get some sleep after the chaos that happened hours ago. Cars drove by and honked their horns. Both siblings looked at the night sky and watched a squad of flying automobiles cover their angle of the stars.

With pedestrians walking beside them, the two finally stopped by a nearby bench and sat down, watching people shout at each other for bad driving.

Both of them exchanged a glance before they awkwardly turned their backs towards each other.

None of them knew what to say.

After what happened with them and Technolocity, what could they say?

Marlon folded his arms and wrapped them around his knees.

Clementine leaned against her hand; her arm was rested on the bench.

A moratorium occurred between the two of them before they finally spoke up.

"Clem?"

"Marlon?"

Both of them said this in unison. "I just wanted to say I'm sorry."

Hearing each other say the same sentence, they turned away from each other.

"S-sorry," Marlon rubbed his head. "You go."

"No, no, you go. I insist."

"I'd feel better if you went first."

"Are you sure?"

Marlon nodded.

Clementine rubbed her red hair and twitched her ears. "If you insist… Marlon, I just wanted to apologize for everything I've done to antagonize you. I didn't mean to put all of those advertisements for my business on your windows and make myself look better than you. But that's not all that I've done, I want to apologize for starting all of this. If I had been a responsible big sister and found a way to work with you for the film festival, then you and I wouldn't be caught in this constant battle to prove who's better than the other."

"You keep saying it was all your fault when really, I just made things worse. Instead of telling you that your ego made me uncomfortable, I decided to ignite the fire by striking back. I've won a few competitions, which only made you strive harder in the next one. All of that leads to where we are now and… to be honest, it sickens me to know that something stupid as a film festival caused the downfall in our relationship. So, you're not the only one who messed up, Clem," he paused with a sigh and closed his eyes. "I messed things up too."

"Thank God Mom and Dad aren't here to see this. They would've smacked us senseless."

"And they've warned us that if we kept this up, we'd become bitter enemies one day."

"Right."

"That's what we get for not listening to Mom and Dad. They had creative differences when their restaurant was in business, and they warned us not to make the same mistake they did… you know what they say, like parents, like children… at least, I think that's how it goes."

"Ha-ha, yeah."

Both of them sat in silence again.

"Sorry for the topic change, but can I be honest with you?" Marlon inquired, as he whipped out his mask and tossed it around. "I don't know shit about cooking. All I do is rely on machines to do the work. Our parents taught me everything I know, but I brush it aside because I'm an arrogant prick."

"You think you're arrogant?" Clementine chuckled. "I'm such a perfectionist that I only hire flawless chefs to do all of my work, which causes me to have fewer employees running the kitchen."

"Really? How big is your staff?"

"Let's just say I have more cashiers and waiters than I do chefs."

"Damn!"

"I know right!"

"Most of my staff gets paid to turn the on switch on, at least your staff's doing something!"

"Oh, my god. How much do they get paid to do that?"

"F*cking twelve dollars an hour."

"Jesus Christ!"

"Yep!"

They shared a laugh and wrapped their arms around each other's shoulders.

"Y'know, Night Shadow said that I needed to step up my game by using fresh ingredients and taking the time to cook the food," Marlon continued. "Since you're an expert in that department, Clem… would you mind helping me?"

Clementine smiled. "Of course, Marlon… But only if you help me learn to work under pressure and not be such a control freak."

Marlon mirrored her emotion. "Deal."

He offered his hand, but Clementine threw herself into his arms instead. Holding him tight, she smiled and leaned on his shoulder. "Hey, Marlon… instead of just improving our businesses, how about we work together for the cook-off in the next few weeks? We'll come up with an idea and we'll split the profit."

Marlon hugged her back. "Yeah… we can pay the Seattle Police Department's fine and we can use the rest of the money to merge our businesses together. But what shall we call it?"

Clementine thought about the name. "How about we call it… Meats and Relaxation Junior?"

Marlon smiled. "Oh, I don't like that name… I love it."

His sister closed her eyes and enjoyed the moment while she could. Holding her brother close, she was relieved that the two of them were getting along again. Her brother felt the same way.


Three weeks later…

Jerry Vanderhoff found himself underneath his truck at The Vanderhoff Family Farm.

Not too long ago, he invited Amber to attend the first annual cooking competition happening in Green Lake. Lucky for him, she happily accepted and was told to meet wait at her apartment for him to pick her up. Unfortunately, due to the damages, the car endured three weeks ago, Jerry may be unable to pick her up.

"Come on, you son of a bitch," he snarled, as he loosened a few bolts and had a drop of oil splash on his face. "Verdammt! I'm never gonna get this done!"

It didn't take long for the man to be approached by his older brother, Mark Vanderhoff.

"Hey, dude."

Jerry rolled himself out of the car and looked at his brother. With a slight grunt, he went back to work. "What do you want, Mark?"

"What are you doing?"

"What does it look like? I'm fixing my damn car."

"Didn't Sydney offer to pay for the damages?"

"She did, but I refused thinking I could fix it myself. Boy, did I second guess myself or what?"

"How about I help you pick up Amber? I'll take you two to the cook-off in Green Lake."

Jerry froze, looking up at his older brother. "Are you serious?"

"Ja." ("Yes")

"Why?"

"Well, your car's busted and it's gonna take a while to fix, so I figured-"

"Not that. Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?"

Mark rubbed his head when asked that question. He sat down near his younger brother. "Well, hearing you tell Amber about our memories together made me realize I've been such a douche for all of these years. I went more into detail about this when Double K and MQ attacked, but I want you to know I want to atone for everything I've done in the past. Even at the age of thirty, I feel I need to learn a thing or two about humility… but only if you want me to help you of course. If not, I understand."

Jerry thought about his response and noticed the saddened expression on his brother's face. But it changed once Mark shot him a smile. Not a cocky grin, not an evil smirk, a genuine smile. The middle child stroked his chin and cleaned the oil from his face. Wiping his hands, he asked, "How are we going to get Amber? You have a motorcycle that fits two people, so where's Amber gonna sit?"

"You dare underestimate my power, little brother?" Mark chuckled. "Stay here. I want to show you something."

Mark jumped up and ran up the driveway and entered the garage.

Jerry was left to sit and wonder where he was going.

Then, he heard a loud vroom sound.

Mark pulled out of the driveway with his motorcycle, which had two additional sidecars.

Jerry's eyes widened and he stood up, amazed by their black and red color.

"Whaddya think?" Mark inquired, as he tossed his brother a helmet. "Wanna go get Amber or do you want to keep getting oil your face?"

His younger brother placed the helmet on and jumped in the left sidecar. "Lead the way, Mark!"

The Vanderhoff brothers shouted into the air and took off down the sandy road.


Named after the centerpiece that was the crystal-clear lake, Green Lake was a neighborhood that was located in north-central Seattle, Washington. When people weren't staying in their houses and weren't in the mood to travel to a beach, they'd sit on top of luscious green grass and soak up the blazing sun, hoping to get a tan. The water was beautiful and clean, and ducklings followed their mothers across the pathway.

This marked the perfect location for the first annual Seattle Food Cook-Off.

Attached to two large poles, a banner read "Welcome to the 1st Ever Seattle Food Cook-off! Contestants Must Register On The Left and Guests Must Give Their Tickets to the Ticket Booth On The Right. Enjoy!"

As participants signed in with their IDs, guests walked around a wide-open forest and admired all of the foods that were being put on display. Judges from around the world flew down to America and tasted some of the dishes. Some were impressed, others had the urge to vomit.

Two contestants included the rekindled partnership of Ketchup King and Mustard Queen, who wearing their costumes and working together on their dish. A bald-headed judge approached them.

"Excuse me, you two. But what are you cooking?"

"My creative sister and I are making an old favorite from our parents," Ketchup King replied. "We're making a Triple Bacon Burger with a side of sweet potato fries and freshly made ketchup and mustard."

"We're also making cheesecake as a desert," Mustard Queen added, flipping the burgers on the grill. "And for another entrée, we're making our tomato soup with red peppers, mozzarella cheese, and-"

"I don't want to hear anymore," the judge said.

Both siblings were confused.

"Why?" Mustard Queen continued. "Did we do something wrong?"

"No, it's because it's not Italian. If it's not Italian or fancy, I hate it."

The judge walked away.

The Grimes siblings shared a glance and laughed.

"Holy Joe Bastianich," Ketchup King snickered.

"I know right. What a dick."

As the two siblings kept cooking, they were approached by a group of people. They were Mason, Sydney, Amber, Jerry, Mark, Alyssa, Lyra, Steven, Alvin, and Sarah.

"Hey, everyone," they both greeted. "How can we help you?"

"Mind if we have some of those burgers?" Mason asked.

"Say no more, dude," Mustard Queen smiled, fist-bumping her brother. "Marlon, ready?"

"Ready!"

The two of them took their time to plate every meal as nicely as possible. Flipping the burgers, cleaning some of the fatty greases of them, cooking the bacon, and toasting the buns, the duo and their employees moved swiftly and tenderly. They wanted to serve their customers fast and give them the best food they've ever had.

In a few minutes, all of their dishes were done, and the siblings happily served them.

"Enjoy, guys," both of them smiled. "Jinx!"

"Thank you," everyone said, as they walked away with their meals.

Mason was the first one to take a bite. Three weeks ago, he complained about Marlon's lack of flavor and Clementine's lack of getting food out at a reasonable time. He hoped that since the two were working together, the burger would be worth it. He tried it and chewed for a few seconds.

His brain exploded with joy and his tongue screamed with excitement.

"Perfect!" he said, taking another bite. He secretly gave a piece to Dunnere when no one looked. "Absolutely perfect!"

"I couldn't agree more," Lyra nodded. "This is amazing!"

"Do they have a vegetarian option?" Sarah inquired.

"Eww, Sarah likes to eat and kill plants!" Alvin giggled.

"Shut up, Alvin. At least I don't eat like a pig!"

"What do you mean?" Alvin asked, stuffing his face full of food. Lyra wiped out a napkin and wiped his face. As everyone else explored the area, Alyssa took this moment to talk to Lyra.

"So… remember that superhero team I was telling you about weeks ago?"

"Yeah, Alyssa. I do."

"Have you heard back from any of them?"

"Poncho Mom confirmed she was coming, but she wants to know if she can bring her friends. I think their names are Sagittarius and Valentine."

"Never heard of them, but if they're willing to help out, they can come. What about Silver Lightning?"

"He's coming."

"Sweet. Bloodhound?"

"Haven't heard from her. She says she's thinking about it."

"Damn. I'm hoping she confirms her invite soon. We could use her help."

"Do Mason and Steven know about this team you're putting together?"

"No. I haven't gotten the chance to tell them, but I have a feeling they'll be on board."

"Let's hope so."

Suddenly, a judge in the form of Marlon and Clementine's father, Kenny Grimes walked onto a podium and poked the microphone. He cleared his throat, as everyone looked over at him. For attire, he wore a black sweater, a white shirt, and brown cargo pants with black shoes. "Hello, everyone! My name is Kenny Grimes and welcome to the first annual Seattle food cook-off! It's such a pleasure to be here today. As a former restaurant owner myself, I am happy to be here today with my wife, Sarita. Come up and say hi, honey."

Everyone clapped, as a Latin-American woman wearing a white blouse and a black jacket stepped on stage. Tapping her black shoes, she smiled and waved. "Thank you, Kenny. It's now time for us to announce the winner. We've counted your votes as well the other judges' opinions and we're proud to announce the winner."

"Hey," Ketchup King whispered to his sister. "Thank you… for everything."

She smiled. "Likewise."

"The winner of this year's competition is," Kenny and Sarita said, as the two of them opened a golden letter that contained the winner's name. They paused as they took out the piece of white paper.

Their silence increased the anxiety in both of their children. They gripped each other's hands and prayed that they'd win.

The other chefs felt the same way.

Kenny and Sarita exchanged an excited glance.

Mason, Sydney, and their friends waited as well…

…but Steven wasn't in the mood. "JUST F*CKING SAY IT ALREADY!"

"The winner is… MOJO THE PINK GORILLA!"

Everyone stopped applauding and stood as if they were deer in headlights.

Ketchup King and Mustard Queen widened their eyes.

"What?" both of them said.

"WHOOOOOO HOOOOO!" the pink gorilla shouted from the back corner. "I won! I won, I won, I won! My father always told me I was a piece of shit, well who's the piece of shit now, Dad!? I think it's you! Whooooo hoooooo!"

She climbed on top of the stage, shook Kenny and Sarita's hands, and jumped into a pile of money that sat beside her. She tossed it around and created a money angel.

Mason and Sydney couldn't help but snicker.

Their other friends cringed.

But they weren't aggravated, unlike a certain duo.

"What the f*ck!" Ketchup King snapped. "Are you kidding me!? You're telling us a fat gorilla won instead of your own children! Bullshit!"

He whipped out his ketchup blaster and shot a glob of tomato paste at the gorilla, splashing her chest.

Both Kenny and Sarita gasped.

"Marlon!" Mustard Queen grunted. "If you're going to do that, at least aim for the head!"

She whipped out her own blaster and shot Mojo in her forehead, making the crowd gasp again.

Both attackers looked at one another.

"Clem, are you thinking what I'm thinking."

"Yes, I am, Marlon… yes, I am."

Both of them shouted at the same time, "Minions, attack!"

Without hesitation, the army of ketchup and mustard employees hopped over the table with assault vehicles driving across the grass and tanks shooting red and yellow-colored condiments at their competitors. Ketchup King and Mustard Queen fist-bumped before they engaged in a donnybrook.

"I told you we should have put them up for adoption!" Sarita cried as she and Kenny leaped off of the stage.

Mason, Sydney, and the rest of their friends ran around the area and hid behind the stage itself, watching the battle escalate.

Food was flying everywhere, and condiments were being splattered.

"Well, so much for restoring their relationship," Steven rolled his eyes.

"That's okay," Mason grinned. "I figured this would happen."

"Cover your eyes, people, this might get ugly!"

Jerry covered Mark's eyes and Amber did the same to Alvin and Sarah.

"Hey, I can't see," Mark said.

Using their powers to wrap force fields around their bodies, all four heroes transformed into their alter egos and ran into the battlefield.

Pyro Lad launched a chunk of fire from his mouth.

Frosty Beetle tackled an army of minions and blasted them down with a snow pile.

Monsoon Gal soared through the skies.

And Night Shadow right in front of Ketchup King and Mustard Queen.

"Hey!" the former smiled. "Look who it is."

"Listen, Night Shadow," Mustard Queen grinned. "Marlon and I would like to thank you for restoring our friendship."

"Yeah, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't have realized attacking our competition is so much fun."

"We know you're here to stop us, but we can't let you do that. No hard feelings, right?"

Night Shadow clenched his fists in anger and stared deeply into the souls of his enemies. He gritted his teeth…

…and began to smile.

With a sinister smile came a sudden laugh. An evil laugh to be exact. Night Shadow slapped his knees and continued to laugh.

"You're laughing?" Ketchup King asked.

"That's new," said his sister.

It was at that moment a swarm of darkness wrapped itself around Night Shadow's body, which transformed him back into his Ultimate State. The demonic vigilante showcased his fangs and ghostly red eyes.

Both siblings gasped and widened their eyes.

"So… you start a rivalry over something so stupid, I try to help you, you get controlled by Technolocity, and then you get my girlfriend sent to the hospital," Night Shadow spoke with his dark voice, as tentacles popped out of his back and he stretched his neck. "I have a new idea… let's play a game of tag. I'm it… to make it fair, I'll give you two a HEAD START!"

With his final words, the battle between Night Shadow and the Grimes siblings began.

END OF STORY


Alexa Ivanov/Bloodhound, Yapp, Viktor Ivaov, and Katharina Ivanov are owned/created by ApiphobicDalmatianLass

Adam Starshine/Silver Lightning, Arashii, and Gabriel Starshine are owned/created by StarShine89

Hidden Bravery is a Xover story containing characters from the Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog franchises. It is written by TheGameNguyener on FanFiction.