"Quickly, Pewdie. Give me the potion." Martin belted out despite his obvious lack of a tongue.
The young Swede reached into his pack for the vile containing the bubbling green substance, but a chillingly familiar voice rang out behind him. "Don't listen to him, Pewdie."
The man spun around, causing some of his bright blonde hair to fall into his eyes. He gripped the glass vile protectively as he stared at his lifelong enemy. The Barrel master smirked at him from behind his sunglasses and slowly held out his hand to the Swede.
"Give me the potion and I will help you." His teeth flashed white as he spoke. They were pointed, almost fang-like as an animal's. "Trust me! Just for one time…trust me. You never really gave me a chance."
PewDiepie hung back a moment, his naïve little brain processing the whole situation. He never realized it, but he never had given the Barrels a chance. He never spoke to them except to untrust them as he entered a room. Maybe…maybe he could trust them after all. He could give them a chance.
But it was Martin whom he had embarked on this dangerous mission for. It was him who could, with the aid of the potion, rescue his friends and save them all from the Barrels and Untrustable Statures…but wait, unless they could be trusted…augh! The Swede put a hand to his temple, contemplating the decision that had suddenly become so hard.
Suddenly a nasally voice, raspy and out-of-breath, broke through Pewdie's tormented silence; "Pewdie! PewDiepie!"
Pewdie looked up to a sight he might have once seen in his nightmares. Mr. Chair was kneeling on the floor, his dark green vest and trousers drenched in a shade of dark crimson. In his arms he cradled the figure of a tall Arabian knight adorned in metallic golden robes…but the wealthy shine of his wardrobe was smothered by the presence of blood, and lots of it. Mr. Chair was panting and his face was shimmering with sweat, or were they tears? The slender bookworm had one arm under the unconscious Arabian's knees and the other supporting his shoulders. Had the weakling carried him all the way here? Pewdie's pupils shrank and his breath caught in his throat, but it came back up as an anguished scream; "STEPHANO!"
"The bros caught up to us as we were leaving the dungeon." Mr. Chair explained. "Stephano tried to fight them back, but there were too many of them. After he collapsed I picked him up and sprinted all around this castle looking for you, Pewdie. I-I don't know what to do!"
Suddenly Pewdie's hard decision became easier. He knew the potion he held in his hand was powerful enough to save Stephano, to seal up his wounds and make him well again. Without hesitation he ran to his best friend's side and hastily began removing the cork from the vile.
"Pewdie?" Stephano blinked open his eyes and fixed them on Pewdie.
"He's awake! Oh thank God!" Mr. Chair sighed in relief, chuckling a bit.
"Stephano?" Pewdie ignored the vile a moment. "Buddy? Can you hear me?"
"Unfortunately, yes." Stephano smirked weakly at his friends, his odd French accent adding flair to his breathy words. "Pewds, have you done it yet?"
"No, Stephano." Pewdie began removing the cork again. "I haven't and I'm not. I'm giving the potion to you."
"What?!" The Arabian snapped at the naïve young man so fiercely he practically spit. "No way! Pewdie, drop that vile!"
Pewdie paused. He cocked his head to one side, confused. Stephano's stern golden eyes locked onto Pewdie's, then looked away at the floor. He let loose a shivering sigh.
"You're not giving me that potion."
"Yes, I am!"
"Pewdie, stop being foolish!" Stephano shook his head slowly. "You know the fate of the world is at stake here. So stop worrying over me like the idiot you are and do what needs to be done! Go!"
"But, Stephano." Mr. Chair chimed in. "Without the potion you'll…"
"I know." Stephano closed his eyes, then gave Mr. Chair a cold stare. "But my life is not worth millions of other lives. Besides if Martin doesn't get that potion, we'll all die anyway. You read enough books, you should know that."
Mr. Chair gritted his teeth as a tear landed on the cracked lens of his glasses. Stephano turned back to Pewdie and nodded. Pewdie felt tears begin to tingle his eyes. He looked down at Stephano's hands, which were pressed tightly against his abdomen to try and stop the blood from gushing out of a labyrinth of deep claw marks carved into his flesh.
"I can't lose you, Stephano!" The Swede wiped his eyes with his hand. "I couldn't bare it! I don't know what I would do if you weren't here!"
"What about Mr. Chair?"
"And Piggeh, and Jennifer. Aren't they your bros, too?"
"…We are…aren't we?" Mr. Chair's dark green eyes stared at Pewdie.
"Yes, yes of course!" Pewdie sniffled. "You all are the best friends I've ever known. But Stephano…you're like a brother to me!"
"Aw." The Barrel master taunted from behind. "How cute. The King of Amnesia wants to save his best friend. But he doesn't know what he's doing." The Barrel master took a step closer and stretched out an upturned palm. "Give it to me, Pewdie. And I can make everything go away…trust me."
"Don't, Pewdie!" Martin bellowed. "He's lying! Give the potion to me, quick!"
Pewdie stood in the center of his three choices, the sheer pressure of the looming decision threatening to crush him. He looked back and forth from Martin to the Barrel master then slowly turned back to Stephano, his hand positioned readily on the cork. Pewdie gave Stephano one last pleading look.
"Please." His eyes said.
"No." His eyes said back.
Taking in a long, deep breath, Pewdie yanked the cork from the vile and ran at Martin.
"Stop him!" The Barrel master shrieked. The suits of armor that had been standing at all corners of the room suddenly sprang to life and charged at Pewdie, swords at the ready. Pewdie leaped desperately into the air just as one suit thrust his sword towards him, tossing the vile's contents onto Martin's face. A blinding white light suddenly began to emanate from Martin's body. Pewdie landed on the floor with a thud, and watched as the suits' swords sliced through the air, ready to cleave his skull open. Pewdie screamed and covered his face for protection. All at once a loud roar filled the room as the pure white light exploded out in all directions, seeming to encase the entire world. The blades froze just as they touched Pewdie's body, then disintegrated into dust that blew away on some mysterious wind.
The Barrel master screamed in agony as his body evaporated into a cloud of dust that blew away with the others. After the echoes of his cry of defeat faded, so did the light. The room was still and silent. Nothing moved. Nothing breathed. Pewdie opened his eyes and realized he was still alive. They had done it! They had won! The army of Barrels and all Untrustable Statues were gone, vanished clean off the face of the Earth. They had saved the world from their evil. Pewdie's joy was cut short as he heard someone sobbing nearby.
A knot formed in his chest as he turned his head and saw Mr. Chair clutching Stephano tighter in his arms, sobbing uncontrollably. Stephano reached up and wiped away his friend's tears with his thumb, painting a red streak down the man's face. Pewdie knelt down next to Stephano, tears escaping his bright blue eyes.
"I'm sorry, Stephano!" Pewdie whispered in the dimly lit room. "I'm so, so sorry!"
"For what?" The Arabian knight asked his brave young friend. "There's nothing to be sorry for. I'm very proud of you, Pewdie. Prouder than I've ever been before."
The Swede chuckled painfully. "Really?"
"Definitely." Stephano smiled, letting blood escape the corner of his mouth. "Who would've guessed that an idiot like you could save the world?"
"I never could've done it without you, Stephano, or any of you for that matter." Pewdie forced a smile.
"You got that right." Stephano murmured as he rested his head on Mr. Chair's chest and closed his eyes again.
"Stephano?" Mr. Chair whispered.
"What is it?"
"Can…can you try and stay awake?"
"I…I just…let's just talk some more, ok?"
Mr. Chair bit his lip. "I've just…never really told you…how much you mean to me." His words choked him. "Even after I met Pewdie, I still wasn't happy. I'm just a chair. There's others just like me in every room of this castle. I'm practically a clone, an image repeated over and over again on every level. But when I met you, and became your friend, you made me feel like I truly belonged in the bro army. You would always encourage me and tell me that I'm worth more than what I seem. I needed that, Stephano. You'll never know how much. Your friendship made me feel…unique. It made me feel like more than a repeated image, more than a chair. It made me feel…like a person! Thank you, Stephano. Thank you!"
Mr. Chair's body shook with sobs. Stephano opened his eyes and gazed up at him with golden irises, their glistening brilliance beginning to fade. He looked into the loving faces of his two friends, memories of their past adventures running through his mind. He chuckled, another smile crossing his usually stern face.
"My bros…my bros…" He said, almost to himself.
Pewdie, who had been keeping it together fairly well through all of this, finally broke down and began sobbing. Wanting to hold onto his friend for just an instant longer, Pewdie placed his hand on top of Stephano's and held it tightly. Mr. Chair pulled himself together enough to know what was going on and followed Pewdie's lead, placing his hand on top of Pewdie's.
"We won't forget you, buddy." PewDiepie promised through his tears. "Not ever."
"Of course not." Stephano smirked. His voice had lowered to a muted whisper. "After all…I am Stephano."
The Arabian's eyes slowly closed and his head fell back against Mr. Chair.
The castle was eerily quiet as Pewdie carried Stephano's body down the corridors in search of the exit. Mr. Chair trailed close behind him, shaking and clearly traumatized, holding one of his beloved books to his chest for comfort. One by one the two men retrieved each remaining member of their party as they wandered about; first Piggeh, and then Jennifer. Piggeh was still down in the dungeon, flirting with the caged Ao Oni, and they found Jennifer hiding among her boulder brethren at the end of a hallway. The two other friends didn't break the solemn silence Pewdie and Mr. Chair walked in, they simply joined it.
Without a word the bruised and bloodied group walked up and down the winding staircases of the castle. On occasion Jennifer would let a tiny sniffle escape her and Pewdie could've sworn he saw tears rolling down Piggeh's pale cheeks, but still not a word was uttered. Even without words, the four friends knew that this was their last adventure together. The Barrels were defeated, and there was no longer any reason for them to stay together. What would become of them once they walked through those castle doors? Who knew.
All too soon the towering doors of the exit stood before them. They all stopped, recognizing their final moments together. Awkward glances were exchanged by everyone, no one wanting to make eye contact. They were stalling it, holding back time for as long as possible. But nothing meant to be can be held back for long. Piggeh took hold of Mr. Chair's hand and stroked it with his thumb in his creepy Piggeh way of showing affection. Mr. Chair in turn took hold of Jennifer's hand, actually setting down his book to do so. Gulping back her tears, Jennifer placed her hand on Pewdie's shoulder firmly; her final "I love you, Pewdie" was left unsaid. Pewdie looked down at Stephano's body in his arms, letting a tear fall from his nose onto the Arabian knight's headdress.
Pewdie looked at his bros, who looked right back at him. The same sadness Pewdie felt tearing at his heart was manifested in all their eyes. Pewdie gave them all a big reassuring smile, and they nodded in unison. Taking in a collective breath, the group stepped out the exit doors the same way they had stepped in…as the one thing they would always be no matter what happened…