Boss Battle Part 1

Ruby rolled her eyes at Mick’s question.

“Come on, guys, remember where we are,” she said. “We are in a video game—a very immersive video game, but still a video game.

“The queens are boss-level characters,” she said. “The mob is an unnamed character. Sure, they’re good at taking on the unnamed guards, but against the queens, they’d be a snack, and not a very filling one at that. It’s up to us.

“Me and Ronnie will take them head-on,” she said. “Mick, take care of Shelly and Mouse—especially Mouse because he could be the key to this whole thing.”

All eyes turned to the diminutive weapons valet.

“Him?” said Shelly.

“Me?” said Mouse.

“Yes, you,” Ruby said, going to him and placing her hands on his shoulders.

His eyes immediately went to her chest.

She placed a finger under his chin and lifted his head so they were looking each other in the eye.

“I really need you to focus here, Mouse,” she said. “What you do could determine whether we win or we die.

“I’m betting the queens are good fighters,” she said. “Me and Ronnie are good too, but there could come a point where they have us on the ropes. The guards could’ve beaten down the mob and are trying to get into the throne room, and it’s all Mick could do to hold them back. That’s when it’s all on you.”

“Stop it!” Shelly said. “He can’t handle that kind of pressure, he’s just a 14-year-old boy!”

“And I’m a 12-year-old girl,” Michelle said. “Anyway Mouse, what I need you to do is pull out a boom box that plays ‘Baby I Love Your Way’ by Big Mountain on an endless loop.”

“I’ve never heard of that song,” Mouse said.

“Me neither,” said Michelle. “But Ruby has, and she loves it more than any other. If you think she’s tough now, play that song; she could probably take on Superman.”

“Who’s Superman?” Mouse asked.

Ruby just stared at him.


After staring at Mouse for a few seconds, Ruby shook her head as if to clear it.

“Forget about that, just focus on playing the song if I need you to,” she said.

“What’s a good time for me to do it?” he asked. “I don’t want to start too early.”

“Well, Ronnie and I will be badly hurt,” she said. “The queens will be standing over us, and one of them will probably say something like, ‘Any last words?’ Right then would be a good time.”

“Got it,” he said.

“Okay,” she said to the group. “Everybody ready?”

“No,” said Shelly.

“All right, let’s go,” she said and kicked open the throne room doors.


The throne room was as large and opulent as Ruby thought it would be. At the far end, sitting regally on thrones set well above the floor were the queens.

Michelle felt an overwhelming compulsion to fall to her knees and grovel before them but fought it off.

But apparently Shelly didn’t, because he fell to his knees.

“My Queens!” he said.

“At least one of you knows your place,” one of them said.

“He is the most weak-willed of them,” the other said.

“Ronnie, it is not too late for you mother and sister,” the first one said. “Lay down your weapon and kneel. Beg for our forgiveness, and we will spare their lives.”

Ronnie glared at them, clenching her ax so hard her knuckles were white.

“Never again,” she said.

“This is what happens when we’re too lenient, sister,” the second one. “The rabble thinks themselves better than us.”

“Quite right, sister,” said the first one.

They rose from their thrones in perfect unison and strode towards the others.

“Fisticuffs it is,” said the second one.

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