Davy looked blankly at the three remaining members of the Iron League of Reference Humor who had not previously exploded.
They stared blankly back at him.
Davy then looked to his friends who appeared just as dumbfounded as him. Steve shrugged at him.
Davy looked back at the Iron League. They looked lost. Davy felt he should say something, but wasn’t sure what was normally the appropriate thing to say when the leader of a hostile group pips like a balloon in the center of a volcano lair.
He gave it a shot. “So that was unexpected,” he said. “I didn’t know that would happen.”
Boss Squid scratched the back of his head and looked down at the line stag helmet on the ground. “No kidding,” he replied. “I mean, I like reference humor and all, but Boss Stag? He lived and breathed it. And died it, I suppose.”
Boss Lion knelt down and picked up the helmet. “He was too beautiful for this world,” she said somberly. “He was also a massive jerk, but he understood us. We just like to quote things. He got that.”
Boss Wolf began to strut around the room, chanting, “I AM ERROR. I AM ERROR.”
Boss Squid watched her for a second before turning back to Davy. “Okay, I never really got what her deal was.”
Connie took a step towards them. “So, Boss Stag said something about an artifact that gave you powers,” she began. “My friends and I need it. Do you know where it is?”
Boss Lion nodded. “Yeah, I can take you to it,” she answered. “We were going to use it as part of our big plan, but I didn’t know Boss Stag was going to get all murdery with it. It’s probably better if you take it. I don’t think we should have it.”
She beckoned the four of them to follow. “Come with me.”
Davy nodded as he and Connie, Steve, and Olivia began to follow Boss Lion. They passed Boss Squid who was standing still.
“I’m, uh, sorry for your loss,” Olivia said.
“Yeah, sure, thanks,” Boss Squid replied, still seemingly processing whether he himself was actually sorry for his loss. “Part of me thinks that now would be the opportune time to break out into singing ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ but the other part of me knows that would be in poor taste. But weirdly, I think Boss Stag would have been happy to see someone make that reference right now.”
“You guys are nuts,” Steve whispered to himself.
They followed Boss Lion to a door in the back of the volcano lair. “The artifact should be in here,” she told the group. “You’ll know it when you see it. I’ll just be happy to see it gone. Let me know when you get it and I can show you the way out of here.”
She opened the door and ushered them through. It was a small room with nothing in it save for a single marble Corinthian pedestal in its center.
Davy approached the pedestal. Sitting on it was a small wooden sled. The word Rosebud was painted on it in flowery red letters.
“Of course this is the artifact,” Steve sighed.
“So what does it do?” Davy asked. “The Ember Sack makes people feel depressed, and Mother Martyr’s veil let her shoot lightening from her hands. What is this supposed to do?”
Connie picked up the sled in one hand. As she examined it, she seemed to notice something. “Hold on,” she began as she held up her left fist. Davy saw flames start to radiate from her hand. Connie pointed at the ceiling and a small stream of flame erupted from her finger straight upwards. It left black mark on the ceiling.
“Heh, that’s pretty cool!” Connie exclaimed. “I don’t see the correlation between the sled and fire powers at all, but it’s still cool.” She looked back at the other three with a sly grin. “If you don’t mind, I might hold onto this for a while.”
“No complaints here,” Steve answered. “I’m so done with references.”
Olivia leaned against the pedestal with a smile. “Well, I think this all wrapped up pretty nicely,” she said.
Davy couldn’t shake this uncomfortable feeling that he had been harboring for the past several minutes. “I don’t know,” he replied. “We did kind of make a guy explode. Does that make us murderers?”
Steve laughed. “I don’t know, you tell me,” he answered. “You’re the law student. Wasn’t this self-defense or some junk?”
Davy perked up, remembering that he was in fact a law student. He had taken a semester in criminal law, maybe he could remember something that would alleviate his conscience.
“I guess the different forms of murder require an element of malice, and I don’t think poorly quoting stuff has ever been considered malicious by any court, especially because none of us intended to make Boss Stag inflate and explode,” he began. He continued to recall what he had learned in his class. “I don’t think we committed manslaughter either, since our conduct wasn’t realistically reckless nor did it fit any of the other possible criteria. Even if we did commit murder or manslaughter, I think Steve might be right that this could be considered self-defense. He said he was going to kill us, and I doubt that our response would be considered excessive in light of our reasonable fear of harm.”
Davy thought he could reach a solid conclusion. “So I think, based on what I remember from that one semester of criminal law, I think we should actually be okay. I think. I don’t remember the class very well.”
Davy decided to follow up with a disclaimer he had learned and sort of remembered from another class. “Uh, also, I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to practice law. Do not take anything I say as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding a particular legal matter, please see a licensed attorney, and stuff.”
Olivia clapped quietly in wonder. “I am blown away by your legal knowledge,” she whispered.
Steve patted Davy on the back. “Great to hear that,” Davy. “If the legal system says we’re not culpable, then I think that means we are off the hook in every way.”
Steve stood up straight and held his arms akimbo. He grinned and looked to the rest of the group. “I think we’re ready to put all this reference humor stuff behind us,” he said with a grin. “Now who wants ice cream?”
The other three shouted yes excitedly. The four of them jumped in the air and gave each other a high five.