They went down the elevator of the hotel and out into the street of the city. As they methodically made their way towards Queen Brit’s castle, it wasn’t long before Dish Girl and Rosh Ashanah popped up again. But now Mitch and Phil were ready for them. Mitch started it by thinking of the saddest scene that he could from the movie Tangled. Phil imagined that he was back in Wisconsin and forced to live there for the rest of his life. And just like that, each of them was already pouring tears. Sarah couldn’t take it. They knew it was working and so they continued in their sad thoughts. Dish Girl readied herself to throw a dish their way, but couldn’t muster up the required energy to do so. Just like that, Sarah began to cry and Asha followed shortly thereafter. Mitch and Phil looked at each other in disbelief. Madeline’s plan was working perfectly, and so they marched right by Sarah and Asha.
As they neared Queen Brit’s castle, they wiped away the manufactured tears readying themselves for anything. They couldn’t imagine what would be beyond those giant doors. They had been through so much, and now the moment was finally here before them. So, Mitch and Phil entered Queen Brit’s castle. And upon doing so, they each found themselves feeling very disappointed. It was empty. They couldn’t believe their eyes. Nevertheless, there was still an air of creepiness about the entire place as they continued forward looking for Mitch’s Tiger Card. As they continued, they finally came to a door. Surely they couldn’t pass up this opportunity now, and so Mitch opened it. Sitting at a table playing with a deck of cards was Queen Brit and two other girls. In the center of the table was the very thing that they had come all this way for, Mitch’s Tiger Card.
“Queen Brit?” Mitch asked unsure of which answer he actually wanted to hear.
“Yes,” she growled, “and I’ve been waiting for you, Mitch.”
“Well, here I am,” he responded, “And if you could just hand me my LSU ID, me and Phil will be on our way.”
“I have no problem with Phil,” she said maniacally. “You’re the one who woke me up with your awful shower singing.” Mitch had forgotten all about the initial reasoning behind the theft of his card. “And I’m in a good mood, so I’m going to give you a chance to win your Tiger Card back.”
“How kind of you,” Phil said sarcastically looking right into the face of evil.
“We’re going to play a card game,” she said to Mitch as she leered at Phil. “If you can beat me, Tiff, and Steph here in a game of Mao, you get to walk out of here with your LSU ID.” Mitch thought over the ridiculousness of the proposal for a second before deciding that his only option was to accept her offer.
“Can Phil play too?” Mitch asked in a joking manner.
“Just you,” she hissed. And so Mitch sat down at the table with the face of evil and two of her closest friends to play the world’s worst card game. It was the bane of his existence in that one of its main rules was to deny him the right to speak. Handicapped by this stipulation, Mitch did his best to stay within the unspoken rules of the game so that he could win the grand prize that was mocking him by sitting at the center of the table.
“Have a very nice day,” Mitch said insultingly to Brit as he played a seven. He was getting close, and the tension continued to build. At any moment, by sheer luck of the draw, his entire quest could be all for naught. And in this realization, he found that this was the most evil plan Queen Brit could’ve devised. There was no skill to speak of between him and his Tiger Card. There was only the game of chance, coupled with the fact that he had to do everything in his power not to make a careless mistake. He could do everything right, and still find himself defeated at the end of it all. Or he could make one small mistake and know for certain that he would be defeated. It was a poorly timed epiphany considering he was now acutely aware that he couldn’t afford a single mistake. But, in the same vein, it provided him some needed focus to insure that he didn’t make that critical mistake.
“Mao!” he shouted immediately after playing his second to last card milliseconds before Brit shouted the same thing. The smile across Mitch’s face went from ear to ear. He could almost taste the delicious meals from the 5 he would be enjoying in just a moment. Shortly thereafter, Steph played a 3. Game over. In one fluid motion, Mitch played his card and picked up the Tiger Card while heading towards the exit. Queen Brit was furious, shouting obscenities as loudly as she could. She was melting, and any other time Mitch and Phil would’ve stuck around to enjoy the scene. But Mitch and Phil now had access to an elite dining facility, and hurried away from the madness that this world offered to get to it. On the way they saw many of the old friends that they had run into along the way. From Dish Girl and Rosh Ashanah both realizing that they were free from Queen Brit’s control to Jason and Kelly arguing intensely…or maybe talking joyously. They saw the Lady of the Lake, Ellen, swimming with her lucky fin, and as they passed back by the initial forest of their entry they saw Greg still hopping from tree to tree. They had clearly made their mark on this bizarre place, but they had business to attend to out of it.
As they re-entered their original universe, Mitch pulled out his phone and texted Smith. “5?” the text message read. Not a minute later, he received the response, “Danger Dungeon.” Just like that all was normal again. And even though normal wasn’t normal – involving giving names to sections of a dining hall such as Danger Dungeon – it was a whole lot better than the craziness that his journey had brought him. This quest had certainly given him and Phil that realization, however. Not a day would go by for the rest of their lives where they wouldn’t appreciate every normalcy of life. They had almost died an innumerable amount of times, and so a lazy Tuesday afternoon at the 5 sounded like a wonderful day.