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Greatest Show Unearthed

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Nestled in a clearing off some forest roads in rural Alabama, Dixon’s Travelling Carnival brought the night to life with bright lights and loud noises. No one could remember, exactly, how the carnival had gotten there, for even people living nearby had heard no signs of cars nor the machinery necessary to set up the rides and other amusements. Nor could the sheriff remember any permits being granted, but when he checked, he found them supplied several months ago, with all the correct signatures. Many had chosen to stay away, calling it all “too spooky”, but even more decided to throw caution to the wind, visiting the mysterious carnival to see what the hubbub had been about.


Interestingly, this was not the first place Dixon’s had been. It had first popped up in Montana, then after that was seen in Texas, followed by Louisiana. Now it was here in Alabama. And coming with it was a challenge - face the Painmonger, and win a grand prize of $20 million. The Painmonger was a wrestler, one who specialized in taking down superpowered wrestlers. So far, 30 challengers had faced him, and all had failed.


Some said the challengers came away strange. It was enough that Brom Steele, a professional wrestler famous for taking all sorts punishment with nary a scratch had decided to investigate. That was two weeks ago, and now he was missing. None knew what had happened to him, and the carnival claimed ignorance.


It seemed like someone else would have to take up the torch of investigation.


But who?

Edited by Shofet

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The Ultimate Dragon Knight wasn’t really interested. Honest, he wasn’t. There was so many more interesting things to do than check on some carnival BS, man. So why was he stretched in the backseat of his best pal Niro Saki as they arrived in Nowheresville, Whocareswhatstate? Well…Brom Steele was Niro’s pal from back in his indy wrestling days. And, of course, Niro was D’s best pal. The transitive friendship property applied.


Hey, are we there yet?


Niro sighed. This was not the first time Dragoneer had asked that. The man was occasionally grating, especially when doing things he had no interest in. But many of his other attributes canceled that out.


Mercifully, yes. Dixon’s Travelling Carnival. Home to the Painmonger.


Dragoneer rolled his eyes as he sat up.


What even is monging, anyway? How do you mong pain?


Niro turned his car off, and opened the door.


I believe monger is a reference to ironmongers, who used to manufacture and sell iron products.


Dragoneer braced himself and literally kipped up through the open car window to stand next to his pal as Niro got out.


Huh. Niro’s fun fact of the day.


Niro smiled.


Indeed. Shall we?


Dragoneer shrugged.


It’s your nickel, buddy.


The two friends headed into the carnival.

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At the front gate of the carnival was a series of turnstiles, flanked to the left by a classic looking ticket booth, red and white stripes with a viewing port and everything. Sitting inside was a man who looked exactly like Charlie Day, except wearing a white dress shirt and red vest overtop, along with armbands and a boater hat.


"Step right up, step right up!" he said in a voice that also sounded like Charlie Day's. "Get your tickets here!"


Pointing a cane at the two new arrivals, he smiled at them. "You there? Are you here to buy some tickets? Or perhaps... To face the Painmonger?" He eyeballed the two wrestlers, waggling his cane at them.


"There's a prize, you know."

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There weren’t words for how little Dragoneer cared about the prize, and his face did nothing to hide it. But he did not get the chance to actually speak.


Unfortunately, no. We’re just looking for a friend.


Niro produced a photograph of Brom Steele.


Have you seen my friend? He came by to visit The…


Niro also thought the name was stupid, but he was a man of tact.


Painmonger. Call it a fact finding mission before he challenged him. However, once he passed these gates he disappeared and has not been seen since. Do you know anything?


Dragoneer was just looking around, clearly bored.

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The ticketmaster barely looked at the photo, before wildly shaking his can. "No! Brom Steele? Never heard of the guy. You sure he's real? I'm not. Could just be a spooky ghost you dreamt about, have you thought about that?" He was incredibly animated, his voice getting a bit shrill as he ranted. "Anyway, tickets are five bucks a pop! That's a pretty good deal. Might distract you from your insane delusions of men with stupid names. We have bumper cars! You look like you'd enjoy, you'd love bumper cars."


A few of the patrons stopped and stared at this bizarre scene from the other side, a few of them even pulling out phones to record it. On the other side, everyone seemed way more normal than this guy.

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Niro didn’t bat an eye, but he was clearly taken aback. Insert one (1) Dragoneer. Who’d gone from bored to a little annoyed and impatient.


Yeah, but Painmonger’s somehow better? Gimme a break, man. Also, could you be any more weird about it? I mean hello, red flag. You coulda just said no, man. Instead you go and call my best pal crazy and delusional. So over the top, you gotta know something. So, way I see it, you got a choice. You can tell us what you know. You can tell us who would know. Or you can say some other over the top nonsense. Spoiler alert: That last one doesn’t get you my ten bucks for our tickets.

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The man stared at the Dragoneer for a moment, and began to rant again, waving his cane wildly. "Fine! I don't need your money! Why don't you go back to your lame sport land where it's okay to just accuse people of stuff! We've got the Painmonger, all you've got is an ugly face! An ugly face even a mother could punch! You're not even a heel! You're a butt! A BIG. UGLY. BUTT!!!"


During his rant, the ticket master had begun to sweat green. The sweating continued, growing ever more severe, until at the final word "butt", he suddenly erupted, absolutely and utterly coating the Ultimate Dragon Knight in foul smelling green slime as scraps of clothing and hair went flying up into the air. There was a stunned silence for a moment, before out of nowhere, another man, looking exactly like Charlie Day, stepped into the ticket booth.


"Hello boys, looking to buy some tickets?"


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Dragoneer’s shirt? Ruined. Jeans. Finished. Shoes? Write ‘em off. The man had literally exploded. A lesser man would have been completely flabbergasted. The Ultimate Dragon Knight was merely nonplussed. Utterly so, with a side of bemusement. He said nothing. He said it a lot, and with great enthusiasm for the fine art of saying nothing. Because honestly, what could one say? Niro, for his (clean, for he had stepped back at the right moment) part, said just as much nothing. UDK at last sighed, and spoke.


…two tickets, please. Just gimme a sec. It’s dragon time.


Green scale armor covered him from head to toe, and fire came out of the helmet. He sprayed gentle flames over himself, incinerating the slime. This did not improve the smell. Not at all. But at last he wasn’t slimed anymore. The armor vanished, and he was clean. Ish. The highly amused Niro handed him a towel for his head. As he wiped with one hand, he pulled his money clip from  his pocket with the other.


Laugh it up, buddy.


Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it.


Dragoneer handed over the money.

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The new Ticketmaster (who looked exactly like the old one) smiled cheerily at them, and took the money, before handing over two shiny, gold-coloured tickets. "There you go, boys! That'll get you in anywhere in the carnival. Just show'em the tickets if they ask! We have bumper cars! You look like you'd enjoy bumper cars, yes you do!" Even as they passed him, he waved chummily at them.


The interior of the carnival was busy, to say the least. All sorts of attractions had been set up, and despite the remote location, all of them seemed to have plenty of customers. There was a roller-coaster, the previous mentioned bumper cars, some dancing, a few contortionists and plenty of snack stalls. The loudest, however, was the dunk tank.


Standing off to the side, the dunk tank looked especially formidable with a caged top that seemed almost impenetrable. Sitting inside was a furious looking woman with clown-makeup on and a yellow one-piece swim-suit covered with red polkadots and adorned with ridiculous frills, shouting at a child who was giggling to himself as he tried to hit the target.


"ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO ME, KID?!" the clown bellowed. "I'm not supposed to be in here! I'm trapped! GET ME H-- Oh, jeez, that one was real close to the-- AAA!" her rant was cut short as a ball hit the target dead on, dunking the clown into the slime below. The clown gurgled and gasped, before scrambling back up onto the once-again raised platform.


"Augh! Someone get me out of this stupid thing!"

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D rolled his eyes, but before he could transform again, Niro put his hand on his shoulder.


Allow me.


D shrugged and watched. Niro sauntered (a word that one wouldn’t expect to be associated with him, but that suited nonetheless) right up to the drunk tank. More accurately, a few strides away. He examined it and nodded, satisfied. He took those last few strides at a run and put his entire body weight behind a side kick directly to the glass of the tank.

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The Meta-Naut


Raya Wells had not been having a good few couple of days. It all started when she had found out an ex of hers, Kevin McKay, better known as the wrestler Brom Steele, had gone missing. After some light investigation, she found out he had last been known to visit a stupid little place called Dixon’s Travelling Carnival. Wanting to be diligent, she decided to check it out. And that’s where all her problems had started. 


Wanting to be sneaky, she had visited the carnival in disguise, just to help her snoop around. Turns out her disguise wasn’t worth jack, since the people here were ten shades of suspicious and caught onto her pretty quick. When she tried to fight her way out as the Meta-Naut, they doused her in slime to incapacitate her, and then stole her badge right off of her.


And now she had been stuck for days in ridiculous clown makeup facing a barrage of humiliating ordeals. The dunk tank had to be the worst, though. They used the same slime that they used for everything else, and god did It smell bad. Worse yet, her protests only seemed to make the people more eager to dunk her. She had been thoroughly convinced, if nothing else, that the south seemed to be raising a generation of little sadists.


But now, she was free!


She watched as the glass was broken, and happily slid on out through the slime. She looked up to her saviour, hugging him in gratitude and sliming him in the process. “Thank you! I'd been in that thing since noon! Man, we got to move or they are going to notice I am missing and they will get real testy about that. They have not taken my escape attempts well.”

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Dragoneer laughed.


Oooh-ah, Niro’s got a girlfriend. Oooh-ah. I’m gonna tell.


Niro gave him an amused glare.


Are you twelve?


He gently but firmly pried Raya off of him, and caught the towel UDK had thrown without even looking. They’d been friends a looooong time.


While I appreciate the public display of affection, young miss, believe me when I tell you my friend appreciates such things much more than I do. Also, you were covered in slime. So thanks for that.


Dragoneer was now next to them, having walked up while Niro was speaking.


Lady, if they want a fight I’ll give it to them. I’m a pretty cool guy and I don’t afraid of anything.


He flashed his famous goofy/confident/boyish grin.


I’mma find out what’s up about this place with my bud here, and they can just try and stop me.


The merest hint of dragon fire glinted in his eyes.

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The Meta-Naut


Raya couldn't help but groan internally at the tired meme reference, but right now she really needed these guys right now so she was going to be on her best behaviour, even if they weren't. They did just save her from being dunked by nasty little brats, after all.


"Look," she said. "There's something shifty about this place. I'm here looking for my ex, since he went missing. His name's Kevin McKay. Anyway, the people here, they're not... Human. They're slime monsters or something. Pod people from another dimension."


She looked down at the slimey bathing suit she was wearing. "And they're kind of huge jerks. They confiscated my badge I use for my powers and put this..." She said, rubbing at the greasepaint that refused to so much as smear. "Stupid makeup that doesn't come off."


"If you can help me find my badge and Kevin, I can help you in your investigation."

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Niro blinked in surprise as he finished wiping the slime off his clothes as best he could. The towel was now in need of being burned. There was no saving it.


My, that is his real name isn’t it? I’m so used to calling him Brom. Allow us to introduce ourselves. I am Niro Saki, here looking for Brom Steele. Also known as Kevin McKay. He is an old friend.


Dragoneer cut in, as that was his cue.


Just a bit older than me, friendo. You probably already know this, but I am the invincible, unstoppable, and irrepressible Ultimate Dragon Knight. Name’s Dragoneer. I don’t know Brom, but he’s Niro’s buddy so here I am.


He had that grin plastered all over his face for a moment, before glancing at his best pal.


Niro, think we can make a run to the car? The lady could use a towel to wipe of the slime and something to wear that isn’t a swimsuit.


I don’t see why not. Even if they want to charge us for tickets again, you have the money.


Right you are.


UDK turned to Raya.


Shall we? Or did you want to stay slimed and swimsuited? Because you can. No judgement from me.

Edited by EternalPhoenix

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The Meta-Naut


Raya stared at the two for a moment as realization dawned on her. Oh, of course! She thought to herself. She should have recognized them from the start. In her defence, though, she was fairly distracted by her present circumstances.


“Ah! He’s actually talked a lot about you, Niro. And… He’s… Mentioned the Dragoneer,” she said, omitting the nature of the mention. Kevin was opinionated about the modern state of wrestling. “Thanks, yeah, I could definitely use the chance to get out of this stupid get-up. God, it’s almost as bad as the full outfit.”


She didn’t wait long to start heading toward the exit, eager to get the disgusting smelling slime off of her before it made her sick or something else. She just hoped that the Ticketmaster was as dumb as she remembered, and wouldn’t try and hold them there. Not that it would matter, she knew the UDK was a fairly powerful individual.


If only she still had her badge, she could be a threat too.

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