After contemplating for 2+ days, I decided to throw my pride out and kinda tell out to the community that I'm trash and I'm writing a reader insert story... with the cog bosses. How does one suddenly come to this idea? Blame a very good story by the name of 'Awakenings and ReAwakenings' on FF.net. It kinda gave me the strange thought of how the cog bosses would do in a slow burn kind of story... and just to clarify, you, the reader, are not a toon. It's explained in the story anyway. If things seem unoriginal, sorry, but anyway I present to you the first three chapters of this story! Aahhhhhicantbelieveimwritingthisanyway ifyou'restillinterestedinreadingthisthenihavepostedthestoryonFF,AO3andquotevlol;w; ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~- (F/N) = First name - (L/N) = Last name - (E/C) = Eye colour - (H/L) = Hair length - (H/C) = Hair colour ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Chapter 1: Trip to Toontown Well, here you are. You were finally in Toontown, after hours of travelling by bus from your home in the big cities to Duckberg, then taking another bus to your intended destination which just so happened to be the last stop for the bus you were just on. Tired was one way to describe your state at the moment, but the bright colours in your surroundings made you look around in wonder. Everything here was so vibrant and cheery, just as your pen pal had described who lived in this town. It was kind of getting to you, so you stopped staring. This was very much unlike the grey yet vivid city you were used to – where in your hometown there was a balance in how much you saw dull colours with the bright, in Toontown it was just… really multicoloured. You could almost feel a small joy growing in your chest at the fact that you've finally arrived here. Taking a few steps forward from the bus stop, you were almost scared to death by a shrill meow coming from down the street ahead of you. Slightly jumping from where you stood in surprise, your (E/C) eyes caught sight of a blue cat running down the brick lane towards you in a panic. It wasn't just a blue cat, oh no, it was a humanoid cat with blue fur and clothes on it. It could even speak, judging by the way it screamed your name when it saw you too. "(F/N)!" Stifling a laugh, you smiled as the blue cat skidded to a stop in front of you and took a good moment to get some air. "Haaah… huhh… yeek, I-I'm sorry I'm late, (F/N)…" "No worries, Midnight. I just got here." "S-still… eerrgh…" Ah yes, Midnight Razzlepaws. A cat who lived in Toontown with his younger sister and has been your pen pal for two years, telling you of his adventures in town which was not short of anything fun. It's surprising that there even existed a place where one can live as carefree as they wished, with no worries over the problems that came with the city life you lived. How you two ended up as pen pals was a rather funny incident, yet you had grown to appreciate the cat's little endeavours through the words written on the many letters that now sit neatly in your drawers back at home. Admittedly, it's not common for humans to be acquainted with toons since their lives are very different, but it's a small world, after all. It was bound to happen. Midnight eventually straightened himself and dusted his clothes with a sheepish grin, his whiskers twitching a little at the idea of finally meeting his pen pal face to face. "…Y'know, I still can't believe you accepted my offer! I thought it would be a miracle to take you out of your hometown and bring you here," he confessed. His attire was very 'toony' as they would say it, with a white fedora on his head and a pair of white shutter shades over his eyes. He also wore an unbuttoned blue Hawaiian shirt over a white shirt with a logo that bore a face with a 'cancel' sign on it, plus jeans shorts and some fancy looking shoes, and the signature white gloved hands of a toon. Probably a mix-and-match kind of outfit, which was so Midnight Razzlepaws. "I needed some time away from the city, and since you kept asking… why not?" You shrugged, laughing a little as you did. "It was a long journey here, but I think it's all worth it." "Your stay here will be toontastic! I'll make sure of it." Midnight did a determined fist pump, still highly energetic despite having ran all the way here. "Say, mind telling me why you needed time away? You've always told me that you were too busy with your… job, was it? Too busy to come here." He seemed uncomfortable at saying that, though you knew the reason why. 'Jobs' here usually were fun, even if the most professional ones were as shopkeepers… but in the world of humans, jobs were strictly professional and fun was only allowed for certain ones. You did hear about a trouble plaguing Toontown years back, and it was only confirmed when you asked Midnight over a letter. However, he wouldn't say much about it… thus, you wouldn't push it. You'll find out for yourself later. For now, you had a question to answer. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ V.P. (Senior Vice President of Sales) Letting a hand run through your (H/L) (H/C) hair, you sigh and let your shoulders slump at what you've been through in the past few weeks. "Do you remember me telling you that I'm a saleswoman?" you asked Midnight, who nodded wordlessly with an expression that told you to continue. "I just… got tired. People aren't always happy to see a saleswoman up at your front door, and sometimes their actions can be a bit… disheartening. I asked for a vacation, and since you asked me before, I decided to finally come here." A weary smile appeared on your lips, one that showed both your physical and mental exhaustion. "Oof… sorry you had to go through that." Midnight winced at the thought of you having a door slammed in your face, or even worse, getting verbally abused at. It almost would've made him lose some laff if he didn't cheer himself up at the fact that you were here to recover from it. This reminded him of a particular type of cogs and their two-faced boss… "Well, at least you're here to recover from that, and I'll make sure you'll be smiling from ear to ear by the time you have to leave!" "Thanks, Midnight." You definitely needed it. "For now, I think I need some shut-eye." "Oh yeah, you really need it." The blue cat was able see that your body could've fallen over if you weren't supporting yourself with your suitcase. "My sister's out of town for the duration of your stay, so you can stay at her house in my neighbourhood. No worries, I got her permission." "Gee, thanks… again." Midnight flashed you a cheeky smile. "No problem." ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.F.O. (Chief Financial Officer) Lifting a hand to scratch the back of your head, you shifted slightly on your feet while recalling the reasons for your trip here. "The economy's not doing good these days, so people are saving their money a lot more lately. So that means more work for me, and at one point, it got too much." "You're a banker, right?" Midnight asked, trying to remember the time you had told him of your occupation back in your hometown in one of your letters. It reminded him a lot of a kind of cogs and their boss who's got a cash register for a head… it was strange how humans had jobs that was uncannily similar to what exactly the cogs were trying to force onto Toontown. Holding back a shudder, he caught you slightly nodding your head in response to his question. "Yeah… it got tiring to answer so many inquiries from people about plans, insurance, stuff. I eventually chose to take a vacation just a few days ago for a small break, and you kept asking me to visit you in your letters… thus, here we are." "I think I can understand that feeling." Midnight wasn't fond of answering the same questions over and over either. "But anyway, I'm not here to ask you so many questions! Come on, you look like you're about to fall over." "Nearly." You flashed him a tired smile, holding onto your suitcase for support. "Where will I stay…?" "Oh, right." The blue cat remembered something about that detail. "My sister's out of town a few weeks, so her house is free to be your home while you're here. Don't worry about her – I asked for her permission." He then winked at you, making you chuckle a bit. "How thoughtful of you." ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.J. (Chief Justice) You crossed your arms as you sighed heavily, remembering exactly why you decided to haul yourself over to Toontown of all places. "You wouldn't believe how some of my friends act, Midnight. I've got two people who will not stop having their debates even during their free time, and that's because they're a lawyer and a prosecutor! They make me become the judge for their bickering, and I'm getting sick of it. My trip here is to escape them, if to get some peace and quiet for once." Midnight let out a small whistle, shaking his head at your predicament. "Gee, that could get annoying." Now that's reminding him of a certain type of cog and their boss who's pretty much a judge… "You bet. Because of them, I end up learning a lot more about law than I should for my job. I gotta get them out of my head." "I'll make sure you forget them, even if I'll have to drag you to many parties for that." The blue cat gave you a cheeky grin, already forming a plan to help you be free of those wretched laws. "We got a lot of activities in town, even if we're kind of in a pickle at the moment." "That's nice…" You were too exhausted to bother asking what exactly that 'pickle' was, which the toon didn't miss. "I think it's time you get some rest. I'll bring you over to my sister's house – she's out of town for a while, and she already gave me permission to let you stay." A nod was the only response Midnight got from you. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.E.O. (Chief Executive Officer) Memories from a week ago slowly creeped into your mind, like an edging coldness in your body. You knew exactly why you were here, which didn't make the heaviness in your chest any lighter. Averting your eyes away from the blue cat in front of you, you began to tell him what happened in these last few days. "I… got fired." "Ouch." Midnight wouldn't have wanted to wish that feeling on anyone, even though he knew that his idea of being 'fired' definitely did not involve people suddenly being thrown into a cannon and blown off into who knows where. He was reminded of a type of cog and their golf-loving boss who he has yet to fight in his time in Toontown… but he's not going to tell you that for your own safety. "What happened, if you don't mind telling…?" "Just some trouble in the office… I messed up badly, and my termination was the cost of it." You let a wi****l smile appear on your lips. "Though, I guess it's time I left that manager post for good. I wanted to do something better with my time, but I needed time away to clear my head. I'm just here for a break before I start to search for a job again." "If it's a break you want, then it's a break you'll get." The toon smiled reassuringly at you. "I'm gonna make you forget those bad times, and I'll make that smile be as bright as daylight, mark my words!" "Thank you, Midnight." Those words were helpful, undeniably. "Also, we probably should get you to rest. You look like you're about to fall…" "That's because I am…" "Oh. We can go to my sister's house since she's out of town for a long time, and she gave me permission to let you stay in there." "Cool…" ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ Midnight then approached you and held your upper arm gently, taking out what looked like a black hole out of his pocket. Literally a black hole. "Hold on to your luggage tight!" You did so with the last of your strength, and felt Midnight jump into the hole he had thrown onto the ground while dragging you into a realm of darkness. Within a moment, you were soon pulled out of it and landed in a neighbourhood with cosy homes that were placed away from one another at a certain distance each. So, this is where your pen pal lived. Quite a sight compared to the apartments in cities. Letting go of your upper arm, Midnight turned to face you and smiled welcomingly. "I haven't said it yet, so I'll say it now: Welcome to Toontown, (F/N) (L/N)!" …You're going to have a nice time here. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Chapter 2: A Bigger Mystery You spent your first day in Toontown sleeping in, letting your tired mind and body get the rest it so desperately needed. When you woke up, it took you a few more moments to get ready before you finally got out of the house… and was promptly greeted by an exotic looking creature at the door. Midnight ran over to you after he noticed that you were up and introduced you to the creature and vice versa - apparently it was called a 'Doodle' and were technically the pets in Toontown. He named his pet 'Samurai', based on an old show he used to watch on the television. Teasing your pen pal about the name aside - it was darn obvious what the show was, much to Midnight's embarrassment - you were quite occupied with Samurai until you ended up playing with him for the whole day in Midnight's neighbourhood. It wasn't until the sun went down did you realise what time it was. "Aw, drats." You haven't even explored the town yet. As if sensing your disappointment, Midnight approached you with an idea in mind. "Hey, how about I bring you to the places around Toontown with me? We can do it one day at a time, so you can get a good look at everything. What'dya say, (F/N)?" "Mm, I guess that'll be fine." "Toontastic! Meet me at my house tomorrow when you're ready." "Alright, I will." Thus, your vacation can finally begin tomorrow. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ V.P. The next day, as promised, Midnight brought you to a place in Toontown. The first thing that hit you when you came out of the hole with him was the sweet floral scent of flowers. As your eyes adjusted to your bright surroundings from the sunlight, you eventually noticed that the place was a plaza of sorts surrounding a hedge maze. In the middle of that maze was a giant spinning daisy which made you stare at it in awe. "…Wow." The blue cat by your side giggled at your reaction. "Wow indeed. This area is known as Daisy's Garden, and this is the playground. I recommend that you don't go out into the streets, though." "Why not? Is this related to the problem you told me about some months before?" "Uh… more or less. Just don't go out, please. For my sake." "Okay then… if you insist." While you would never understand why your pen pal would refuse to reveal what exactly the trouble was, you chose not to bother out of habit from being rejected so much by people. You decided to get your mind off of the topic by trying out some of the activities in town while Midnight went out to do some 'tasks', or so he said. You tried fishing and playing on the trolley, checked out some of the stores including the gag shop, and even went to see the giant flower up close. You were a bit too awkward to talk to anyone despite your current job as a saleswoman, which only made your curiosity grow stronger as you stared at the entrances to the streets connected to the playground. Ignoring the stares you got from other toons in the place - they have probably never seen a human in their lifetime - you slowly edged closer towards one of the entrances that had a sign saying 'Oak Street' above it. It was so easy - just one step into the tunnel and you'll be running out the other end in no time. It was so close… "(F/N)!" …yet so far. With a mental sigh, you turned around to see Midnight running towards you with a concerned look on his face. "You… you weren't about to enter that tunnel, were you?" he asked in a quiet voice. At that expression, you could simply shake your head to deny it. You were tempted, but you didn't. "Oh, good. Say, do you mind helping me out a bit? It's just for an hour - I'll make up for it!" Help? "What kind of help?" "Um, standing in as a shopkeeper. The toon running the store needs to do a delivery and she can't leave her store unattended. I'll be helping her out so she can deliver it faster." Well then. Letting out a small sigh, you nodded with a faint smile on your lips. "Okay… I'll help." At least you'll have some semblance of normality with the temporary job. "Great! Thank you, (F/N)! Hop in, I'll bring you over to the shop and you can listen to the shopkeeper's instructions." "Anything for a friend like you, Midnight." ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.F.O. The first place Midnight brought you to was a place draped in a soft darkness, mixed with gentle puffs of clouds that bathed the clothed ground in a fog-like manner. Your eyes quickly adjusted to the environment around you and you soon realised that the place looked a lot like a bed, which acted as a plaza of sorts. The twinkling stars adorned the night sky above your head which baffled you since just moments ago, Midnight's neighbourhood was well after the sunrise. "If you're still wondering, this is Donald's Dreamland, one of the many areas in Toontown. This is the playground for the area, and it's always night time here." Midnight gave you a small wink to which you only rolled your eyes at in a joking manner. He continued his explanation, nonetheless. "Lots of things happen here, like beanfests… and look, there's one right now!" He pointed at a crowd that stood in the middle of the playground, all expectantly waiting for a generous soul to give some free currency. "Beanfests… those are like events where you give out money, right?" You asked, trying to recall what that word meant. The blue cat nodded. "Yep, except we give out jellybeans instead of money. We use them instead of… well, you know." "Oh, then I don't exactly have the proper currency…" "You can just get some from the trolley. Play some games, loosen up!" "I'd probably fail them… is there a store where I can exchange my money for the jellybeans?" For a moment, you got no answer from your pen pal who stared at you worriedly. Midnight finally sighed when he saw that you were serious with it. "Fine… the shop's up on the upper floor there. I'm gonna go send some stuff in, so wait for me near the stairs if you're done before me. Alright?" You nodded wordlessly and went up to the levitated ground using the stairs, looking for said shop. However, your pen pal's instructions weren't very clear… and you ended up entering the tunnel leading to one of the streets branching out from the playground. Coming out of the other end, you were met with a long winding road that was clouded by the shade from the buildings surround it. As a result, you were unaware of the moving figures as you walked down the sideroad to the nearest building. One that eerily looked like a regular building back in your hometown. "This place's probably it…" you muttered to yourself, getting into the elevator and waiting for the doors to close so you could finally get some jellybeans in exchange for your money. It never felt right to earn your money from playing, especially with how frequent you would help customers change money into other currencies. Too bad you didn't realise how that kind of thinking was going to trouble you now. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.J. A freezing coldness hit you hard in the face when you finally jumped out of the 'teleport hole' with Midnight, landing on your shivering feet. "M-Mi-Midnight! Y-you didn't say that… t-th-this place is going to be literally covered in snow!" you nearly yelled with chattering teeth, rubbing your arms to keep what warmth you had left on your body. The blue cat sheepishly smiled, apologetic for having forgotten. "Sorry…! Us toons usually don't need any extra clothes since we got some fur or thick scales for the crocs." You could only groan in response. "Still, welcome to the Brrgh! This is one of the many areas of Toontown, and one of the more unique ones as this place is always covered in snow all-year round. This is the playground, the plaza of sorts. I think we can get some thicker clothes for you before you start off…" He took in your outfit, which consisted of a simple t-shirt of your favourite colour, blue jeans and a pair of black sneakers that was no way appropriate for a winter atmosphere. "P-please do…" With this much snow, you had no idea how long you would last in the chill before you succumbed to something… maybe hypothermia, or even frostbite. "I'll go buy some right away. If you need to warm up, take a quick run around the playground, but don't go out through the tunnels!" "I-if I run, I'll just end up freezing f-f-faster if I sweat!" "But—" "Just g-go, I'm freezing here!" Without a moment to waste, the toon ran off hurriedly in the direction of a clothes store in the playground to buy some warm clothes for you. Now you were left shivering where you stood, losing body warmth rapidly from the falling snow above you. The cold was slowly getting to you, your skin turning reddish from the cold. "W-what's t-ta-taking him so long…?" you whispered, glancing at the clothes store where you last saw your pen pal enter. He couldn't have forgot? Somehow, that idea made you lose your patience even faster. …Still, you waited. And waited. Until you couldn't wait anymore. "Arrgh! I'll j-just go and buy some myself!" You ran off into one of the tunnels with a huff, not wanting to know just what made Midnight take so long to buy a jacket, a scarf and a pair of mittens for you. Those wouldn't take ten minutes to buy, even if you had to imagine yourself by experience. In your haste, you weren't aware that after you went out of the other end of the tunnel, someone else was walking towards you… and soon, you bumped into the person, making you stumble back. "Woah!" Losing your balance, you fell to the icy ground on your bottom, wincing as it left a stinging feeling. You struggled to get up due to the slipperiness of the ice, wanting to apologise to whoever it was you bumped into. "H-hey… sorry for bumping into… you…" Your voice fell as you saw exactly who it was you bumped into. It was a… robot. One that now stared down emotionlessly at you. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.E.O. You and Midnight emerged in a place that looked like a dock, with a large body of water that held a small island in the middle. A boat would round the island as it docked at certain spots, letting out a deep sound from its horn each time. The humidity in the air made you huff slightly, somewhat uncomfortable in the new atmosphere. The blue cat then stood in front of you with a grin. "Welcome to Donald's Dock! It's one of the many areas of Toontown, and this one's a lot like a dock at sea. This is the playground, so you'll see a lot of toons running here and there." He gestured towards the many toons in the place who were of many types of species, such as cats, dogs, monkeys, ducks… and your eyes could see the various colours on their fur, like blue, yellow, pink, brown, and purple. There's too many for you to describe. "What's there to do here?" You asked, wanting explore every nook and cranny in this playground. There were tunnels that could lead to other places, and many other buildings you could check out. The ones that peaked your curiosity were the ones that led to the streets – what other spots lie on the other end of that tunnel? Before you could say a word, Midnight had already noticed the look in your eyes. "(F/N), I know what you're thinking. Please, don't go out to the streets. Things are still a little rocky, and I don't want you to get into trouble. Just… stay around, okay?" Guess that's one idea down. Sighing, you nodded. Only time will tell if you'll learn what this 'trouble' was. "Okay, Midnight. I will." With a few more exchange of words, Midnight left you to do your own things as he dealt with some tasks he had to finish. You did try out whatever activities were available in the area, but it all quickly became dull to you since they were all quite repetitive, including the trolley games. After doing all you can, you wandered around for a few moments and was met with the sight of a tunnel that was made out of wood, with the words 'Chip n' Dale's Acorn Acres'. This doesn't seem like it'll lead you to a street. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to go to another place… besides, you could easily return back to the playground through the same tunnel, right? With that, you went into the tunnel with a gleeful smile, excited to see what was on the other end. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Chapter 3: Trouble V.P. "This is not how I intended to spend my day…" Currently, you were now sitting behind the counter of a shop after agreeing to help Midnight with watching the place for a while. There was nothing much to do other than stare at the walls and decorations in the store, trying to pass the time. Heck, you couldn't go outside for a moment. Midnight had used his teleport hole to bring you here so you wouldn't see the state the streets were in. It was nearing half an hour since you were left alone with instructions from the shop's owner running through your mind, telling you how to deal with customers or visiting toons if they came in. Not that it was a problem – being a saleswoman meant you needed good manners, after all. You just went with it. Though, what you weren't told was that there could be… unwanted customers. One in the form of a robot that barged in through the doors all of a sudden. "E-excuse me, sir…? " You got up in shock, watching as the robot approached the counter, having a certain edge to its movements. Noting how the robot had the appearance of a fat grinning man in a dark brown suit with a green tie alongside grey skin, you cautiously moved out of the counter to put as much distance between you and the visitor. You did not trust it one bit. "Look, I don't know what you're going to do, but I must ask you to leave." Always try the diplomatic approach first. Who knows if this robot had manners? The robot merely turned in your direction and slowly walked towards you, hands held up in an ominous way. "This is going to be fun." It spoke, its voice deep and mechanical-like that made you press your lips into a thin line in nervousness. Well, if the diplomatic approach fails… Gritting your teeth, you suddenly rushed towards the robot with your shoulder forward, having the intent to knock it down while you let out a determined cry. "Raaaagh!" …force will have to do. To your surprise, the robot was sturdier than you had expected. The moment you were in reach, the robot grabbed you roughly and seemed to take a large brown sack out of nowhere before forcing it onto you, practically stuffing you inside it. Yelping, you soon found yourself captured in that same brown sack. "You'll notice I have a very firm grip." The robot spoke again, and you could almost see the grin on its face from its voice. Unwilling to go down without a fight, you struggled in the sack as you tried to rip it open. "Let me go, you bot! Who is your master, huh?!" you yelled out, trying your utmost best to use your fingernails to rip the sack open. When you got no response other than a moving motion, you struggled even harder. "I'm not going down that easily, argh!" A deep chuckle came from the robot. "I'm going to enjoy this." That was the only thing you heard before you abruptly felt like you were in the air, the familiar sound of a helicopter echoing in your ears. Were you being kidnapped? …Darn, how deep in trouble were you? ~*~*~*~*~*~ As all that commotion happened, a pair of toons were walking down the sidewalk to the store. "Thanks for helping me out, Midnight. I couldn't have done it this fast without you!" One of them spoke happily, a green duck who wore a white t-shirt and a red and green plaid skirt. She walked beside Midnight who was carrying empty crates that a while ago were full of squirting flowers. The blue cat smiled at her, always happy to help a toon out. "No problem, Sofie. At least my friend was willing to help out… I wonder how she's doing?" "If you don't mind me asking, who is she, anyway? I noticed that she's not a toon." "Oh, her name's (F/N) (L/N). We became pen pals two years ago after my letters accidentally got sent to her address due to a misspelling on my part, and I've kind of been asking her to come here for a visit. She's from the big cities and had a job like the cogs, but just not as sinister as those bots are doing. She's a saleswoman back in the city, and after some incidents, she decided to take up on my offer and go on a trip to Toontown while on vacation." "Ooh, interesting. I hope those cogs haven't done anything to my store while we're… gone…" Sofie's words trailed off as the sight of a cog building stood where her store would've been, with you nowhere in sight. It took a few seconds for it to register in their minds that the worst might have happened – a cog has captured the building while you were still inside. Midnight almost went into a panic. "No! No no no no no! (F/N)!" He was meowing and screeching in such a high tone that Sofie had to reach up to his height and grab his shoulders, shaking them to snap him out of it. She stared into his eyes sharply so he'll have no choice but to focus on her. "Midnight! Calm down, she might still be in there!" "B-but… if she isn't…?" "We'll think about the other possibility later, for now, I'll help you get the building down. Do you have your gags ready?" "Y…yeah. I have them at the ready all the time." "That's good enough. It's a three-storey Sellbot building… we can get her out quickly if we work together." "R-right…! Thanks for snapping me out of it, Sofie. Let's get (F/N) out of there and your store back!" With a nod at each other, the two toons rushed into the elevator that served as the only entrance into the building with the intent to take it down and rescue you. ~*~*~*~*~*~ You weren't inside. "She's not here…" Midnight murmured, barely a scratch on him after three floors of cog battles since he was far more skilled than the cogs in this area. He looked around the inside of the store, finding no trace of you at all. Sighing, he covered his face as guilt began to creep up on him. "I shouldn't have left her alone… now (F/N)'s gone…" Sofie could only lend a gloved hand on his shoulder as support. "Hey, you'll find her. Think about it – how can your friend disappear into thin air like this? There has to be another factor to her absence." She then went to grab a notepad and a pencil to start writing down details that could help them in figuring out your whereabouts. "Usually when stores get captured, the cogs keep us shopkeepers in a hidden cage in the building. When it gets taken back by you guys, we're freed alongside the building." At those words, Midnight seemed to perk up, albeit just slightly. He recalled another detail that he was always curious about. "…What about when…?" "When the cogs bring us and the cage out of the building?" The green duck had a knowing look in her eyes. Like a lightbulb going off over his head, Midnight's eyes widened in realisation. "…They bring you to the Senior Vice President… in Sellbot Headquarters." Of course…! Even the store was replaced by a Sellbot building… there's no doubt that a Sellbot had kidnapped you to keep you as a hostage for ransom. However, were they aware that you're not a toon? If they did, what will they do to you? It made him become more worried. Considering that humans probably had a better toleration to the attacks cogs would use since some of them are a part of their daily life, you might not be in too much trouble… but he can't be fully sure about it. The only way to check was to get his Sellbot suit ready for a promotion. …Seems like he'll be busy today. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.F.O. The moment the elevators opened, you were met with the sight of a tall and lanky person dressed in a dark green suit with dollar sign patterns in a continuous print as well as a tie of the same colour, but what shocked you was that the person had the head of a shark. When your eyes finally adjusted to the dim lighting, you noticed a slight shine to the person's outward appearance. It made you realise that this was no person – it was a robot. Midnight never said about there being robots. Now aware of your dire mistake, you turned around to leave the same way you entered only to see that the elevator doors were shut tight. There's no turning back once inside… and that sealed your fate as the robot noticed you standing there. A deep mechanical voice shouted at you. "Halt, toon!" Without turning around, you shivered a little in fear upon hearing the loud thumping footsteps that approached you slowly. "I haven't had a bite all day… good thing you're here, I'm in a frenzy…" You immediately froze when a cold and hard hand grabbed your upper arm. Then you were forced to turn around, facing the robot who stared at you with its blank eyes. For an instant, neither you or the robot said a word. A fleeting thought came into your mind – would the robot attack you, or do something horrible to you? To your surprise, it did neither. Instead, the robot dragged you roughly by the arm towards the open elevator at the other end of the room, entering it with you in tow. The upbeat tune of the elevator music managed to calm you down to some extent, only for you to grow cold at the sight of more robots at the second floor. This time there were two robots, one that had the same appearance as the one that held you hostage, while the other had the same suit but with a different head and body shape. It kind of looked like a robber... The shark robot dragged you along with it towards the pair, nodding its head once you both were in front of the two other robots. "Sir, 27-71 reporting. We have a toon who has not brought any form of defence and has no ability to teleport out of the area." Its grip on your arm was too strong for you to struggle out of, so you could only helplessly watch on as the robots spoke openly about what they will do with you. "Affirmative, 27-71. Might I suggest what do you plan to do with the toon?" "If I may cut in, the toon can be held for… ransom. These toons will do anything to get one of themselves back." "Excellent idea, 44-98. Bring the toon back to headquarters – tell the boss that it is from 112-144." "Yes, sir." Oh dear. Ransom? This is not how you wanted your trip to end up. With barely any strength to fight against the shark robot that now dragged you further into the building, you could only wonder what new problems awaited you in the near future. You could only hope that Midnight realised that something was wrong… because you had no clue how these robots are going to act if their conversation was any hint. ~*~*~*~*~*~ "What's taking her so long?" Midnight waited at the stairs for you, just like he had told you to do if you had finished earlier than him. Tapping his foot, his glanced at the shop where one could easily exchange money for jellybeans as if expecting you to come out any moment now. When you didn't emerge out of the building in the next few minutes, he started getting a little anxious. Did something happen to you while he was busy joining the beanfest? He decided to go up and enter the shop to see if you were inside. As he suspected, you weren't inside. "Oh no… (F/N)…!" The blue cat rushed back out of the store in a panic. Where were you? What happened? Did you leave and go somewhere else? He started asking around if anyone had seen 'a human' go anywhere when the beanfests were taking place. He mostly got weird looks, but a brown deer toon gave him the answer he both needed and dreaded to hear. "You mean that woman with (H/C) hair? She went into the tunnel leading to Pajama Place." "What?!" Midnight could hardly believe his ears. With a quick mutter of thanks, he rushed towards the stairs that led up to the higher ground with the tunnel you had entered, running into it all while hoping that nothing too bad has happened to you yet. As he arrived at the street, he could see a small group of toons murmuring among each other on the sidewalk. Getting closer, he could hear their chat about 'a lady who got dragged off by a Loan Shark'. Disregarding manners, he barged into the group while bearing tense look. "What do you mean by you saw a lady get dragged off by a Loan Shark? What did you see?" "Dude, chill out! Why do you care?" One of the toons questioned him, a little annoyed that the blue cat suddenly got into their conversation without asking. Midnight glared at the toon. "Because that lady's my friend who's not from here! She's in danger if she's with the cogs!" Within a few seconds, a heavy air fell amid the group. "S…seriously?" "Yes, seriously. Now tell me what you saw!" "O-okay…! We only saw a Loan Shark go out of that building over there, holding your friend by the arm. He flew off with her, and she was really struggling to escape. By the time we tried to help, the cog had already flown off…" Okay, so he managed to learn of your situation. But now where were you? …He had a guess. Midnight just hoped that he can get his Cashbot suit ready for a promotion before you got hurt. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.J. The robot that stared down at you had the appearance of a blue-skinned man wearing a blue suit with a red bowtie, although its head was somewhat cone-shaped and it had a deep frown on his face. Your breath hitched, feeling threatened at seeing a robot of all things. Glancing to your side, you were stunned to see many more of the exact same robot that now stared down at you roaming the streets, as well as dull grey office buildings in place of colourful stores midst the pristine white snow. Was this why Midnight asked you to not enter the tunnels? Your train of thought was interrupted by a mechanical voice speaking, which you noticed had come from the robot itself. "Look, a toon without gags. And it is looking back at me." In a swift motion, the robot had grabbed your arm roughly and held it in a tight grip, ignoring the wince on your face. It definitely didn't care if you were in pain for it only tightened the grip on your arm. You writhed against its hold, trying to free yourself from the robot but it hardly budged from your actions. Instead, the robot leaned towards you threateningly. "I'll have you brought to the Chief Justice for this, toon." "W-what…?" You blinked in shock. "Just for bumping into you? That's ridiculous!" You scowled at the robot, attempting to fight back with words this time. "Whoever your Chief Justice is, he won't accept your petty reason!" "I'm the best and I can back that up." "Truly? What's your proof?" "You." "Still a ridiculous reason." …Somehow it ended up being a small banter between you both. "Take that back or else!" "Oh? What's your threat? The same deal with the Chief Justice?" "I can make your punishment much worse." "Try me, robot." "You're going to have a stabbing headache soon." "Is that another threat? You'll be the one at fault if you attack me." "There is no such law." "Oh yes there is." "Is not." "Is so." "Is not." "Is so!" The robot abruptly ended the banter by letting out a frustrated growl, which was a first. Losing its calm patience, the robot slapped a hand on your mouth as something popped out of the top of its head, revealing a small propeller which started to spin rapidly. Before you knew it, you found yourself in the air with the robot bringing you further away from the street towards an ominous structure through the dense winter fog. So much for bickering. ~*~*~*~*~*~ Midnight ran out of the clothes store holding a bag full of clothes, looking much exhausted for what was supposed to be a simple shopping trip for winter attires. "(F/N), I'm so sorry!" He apologised as he ran over to the spot you had last been, only to see with wide eyes that you weren't there. In a haste, he ran over to the toon that handled the fish from the fishing pond since he knew that she would be observing the playground whenever she wasn't busy, so he asked her first. "Fisherman Frizzy! Have you seen the lady from a while ago go anywhere?" "Is that a friend of yours? I hope you told her about what's happening out there, because she went into the tunnel leading to Polar Place!" "Oh stars, (F/N)!" The blue cat immediately rushed to said tunnel, hoping to see that you somewhere on that particular street. His hopes were promptly dashed when he arrived, overhearing two Lawbots talking amongst each other as they patrolled near the tunnel exit. "Has 30-41-15 found some poor toon to drag off to a trial again?" "Yes, it would appear so. Though, the toon looks particularly strange." "Your visual receptors must be having problems if you think that one was strange." "Possibly. That aside, let us continue." "Agreed." If that was anything to go by, that strange toon might be you. Groaning, Midnight covered his face with his gloved hands in guilt and worry. He took a long while to buy the clothes because the shopkeeper wouldn't stop chatting and offering other clothes, and now look where that has gotten you. If you were really dragged off to Lawbot Headquarters, then he might as well get his Lawbot suit ready for a promotion. He just hoped that he'll save you in time. The time to ruin a trial is approaching. ~*~*~*~*~*~…~*~*~*~*~*~ C.E.O. The area you emerged into after going through the tunnel was a large meadow with a number of wooden tables and benches, as well as a whole water geyser in one corner. You wandered around for a while, enjoying the fresh scent of nature which was scarce when one lived in the city. Yet you hardly ever saw another toon in the area, and that only contributed to your growing boredom as it was impossible to play the table games without at least a partner. You didn’t miss the grand tunnel that had the sign 'Chip 'n Dale's MiniGolf'. It was styled like a house, with two chipmunks dressed in casual wear fit for golfing that were holding up a large golf ball on the top of the tunnel entrance. Mini golf, huh? Could be fun. So, you entered into said tunnel, wandering further away from the original playground you had arrived at. Once you arrived at the subarea, the first thing you saw was a big golden statue of someone golfing, and in the back existed a row of six golf carts facing entrances which upon closer inspection told you that they led to the mini golf courses. However, what took most of your attention was the gloomy entrance to a tunnel that had a jarring appearance to the surrounding nature. For starters, it was in total monochrome. Another thing was that it was built in a sophisticated manner unlike the tunnels you've seen in Donald's Dock, with the grey bricks stacked onto one another like a proper wall. Growing curious over the strange tunnel, you got closer and saw the words 'Bossbot HQ' above the tunnel. While one would be creeped out by the whole thing already, this hardly fazed you. Every day in the city means risking many kinds of crimes happening to you, so seeing something like this is practically nothing. Going against better judgement, you chose to enter the tunnel and discover what was on the other end of the tunnel. Once you arrived, your eyes fell onto the view of a devastated land, void of the colours you had seen just moments before. The ground was grey and barren, the trees devoid of leaves and its barks a charcoal black. You could feel raindrops falling onto your face, its cool and gentle touch eliciting a shiver from you. This is… foreign. Stepping out onto the stone pathway, you carefully walked towards the giant rectangular hedge entrance as you braced yourself for what you might see in this area. Only, you hadn't expected to feel so cold the moment you saw the huge courtyard stretch out before you. The only things on such a bleak land were the same bare trees, a strange fountain set in the centre of it, and a continuous brick fence of the same greyscale hue that surrounded the courtyard. It somewhat awed you. How can something so dreary exist in a cheerful place like Toontown? Walking the few steps towards the fountain, you eventually realised that it wasn't water that was pouring out of the structure. It was too dark, too murky to be water. Daring yourself to touch the surface of the liquid, the smooth and greasy feeling on your fingers made you learn that it was actually oil pouring out of the fountain. Who would use oil instead of water…? The idea of there being someone intentionally doing was enough to make you understand that this was no place for anyone like you. Fear began to gnaw at your mind as you let that little thought sink in, making you take a step away from the fountain while you shook your fingers of the oil. You had to get out of this place, and fast. …Then another voice spoke from behind you, deep and somewhat garbled like it came out of a machine. "Looks like you've got a head for trouble." That plan instantly went out of the window as soon as you were forcefully turned around by a hand on the shoulder, a quiet gasp leaving your lips. In front of you stood a tall and broad chested man, dressed in a dark brown suit with lines running down the fabric. As you lifted your eyes to see the mystery man's face, your breath hitched at seeing a deep frown on such a small head. A flash of lightning shone the courtyard in a bright light. The light rain became a downpour. You saw the man's skin shine in an abnormal way. This… is not a man. As if on impulse, you tried to escape the manlike person and the courtyard, but a cold hand had wrapped around your wrist tightly and stopped you from running any further. It was so cold, akin to metal touching your skin. Soon you were pulled back towards the person who promptly took hold of both of your hands, keeping you from escaping even as you resisted its hold. You glared at the suited person while they observed you, their face barely changing other than a raised lip. "You're not a toon." The person spoke again. You didn't dare say a word. Wasn't it obvious that you weren't one? "I must report this to the Chief Executive Officer. You're headed for big trouble." What? You looked up at the person in shock. They have a CEO, of all things? A cruel smirk was the only response you got before you were dragged off, drenched heavily in water from the rain. God, how will Midnight react to your disappearance…? More importantly, how will you escape this? ~*~*~*~*~*~ Midnight was panicking. He couldn't see you anywhere in the playground. "(F/N)! Where are you?" He kept on calling for you, hoping to see your face pop out from some building or the trolley. When it became clear that you weren't anywhere in the area, he resorted to asking the toon handling the fishing pond nearby. Once hearing that you had left the playground and went to Acorn Acres, he quickly rushed to the meadow and looked for any trace of you. By luck, he could see a trail of flattened grass leading towards the tunnel that led to where toons could play some golf. Dread began to fill his chest. You hadn't gone there, have you? Midnight followed the trail to the tunnel, emerging at the golfing grounds. To his dismay, a similar trail had led to the monochrome tunnel entrance to Bossbot Headquarters, home to the Bossbots and the hardest cog boss that they were able to fight against in Toontown. Seeing how you hadn't come back, something must've happened. If you were saddened, you would've been transported back to the playground. Were you kidnapped…? He didn't like to admit that such a terrible thing could've happened, but it was the most likely one. You were the odd one out of many toons, for humans hardly ever visited Toontown. Ever since the war between toons and cogs happened, transport to the area only happened a few times a week. Cogs could be interested by you, curious by how you worked. It's the worst-case scenario. He didn't even have his Bossbot suit finished. "Don't worry, (F/N)… I'll get you out of there soon." That's a promise he planned to keep.