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Marco Polo

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     An old man dressed in an undershirt and boxers stared at the calendar. He crossed off another day with a red marker, the same color of the fez cap that sat still on his head.

     It’s been a month.

     A long and painful month.

     Stan Pines sighed as he placed the marker on the counter before heading back to his chair. As he entered the living room his eyes caught sight of his grandniece Mabel. She was curled up next to the chair, with her favorite pink sweater wrapped around her waist. On her head was one of the many hats from the Mystery Shack gift shop, the one with a pine tree. On her lap was an open journal, the one that her brother brought with his everywhere. The brother that she missed. She looked up at him with messy hair and bloodshot eyes, caused by another night of crying instead of sleep. Stan himself looked no better. Underneath his red eyes were bags dark crescents from restless nights and research. Stan sat down on his chair sighing heavily as he leaned back. He looked up at the ceiling just wishing for something, anything to happen.


 

     Pine Tree floated about lazily as he headed over to a certain part of the woods. This part of the woods was the weakest area in all of Gravity Falls. It was where his master, Lord Cipher, was summoned by that obnoxious child Gideon. That kid really didn't know that much about summoning did he? Everyone knows that once a demon is summoned the demon has free access to the world for a certain period of time. Sadly, his master’s time has ended in this world, but that’s why he was here. To make a more permanent solution for his master. Pine Tree grinned at the thought of being praised by his lord. With a laugh he started to move a bit faster to his destination.

     ...snap...

     Pine Tree froze and landed gently on the ground. His right hand lit up with a brilliant turquoise flame, ready to fire at any given time. His eyes darted around the forest, looking for anything that seemed out of place. His eyes stopped at a fairly large bush. Could it be the source of the noise? Walking quietly towards it, Pine Tree raised his hand, and with one swift swing of an arm the bush was obliterated. Small remnant wisps of flame danced around the grove. He stared at the steaming ash before turning around to continue to his destination.

     Thunk

     Pine Tree stumbled a bit forward before quickly turning around. The last thing he saw was a brilliant flash of blue before he fell into darkness.


     “Grunkle Stan! Wake up! Wake up!”

     Stan groaned as he woke up from Mabel shouting at him. He opened his eyes only to squint at the bright light coming from the lamp that sat innocently.

     “I’m up I’m up. Calm down already kid.”

     “But Grunkle Stan…there’s a group of people outside!” Stan raised a brow at this and sat up properly. “Tourists?”

     Mabel huffed. “No, just all of Gravity Falls,” she said with a hand on her hip. Stan stared at her before her words finally sank in.

     “WHAT?!”

      He jumped off his chair and rushed towards the curtained window. Stan stood there unblinkingly, barely noticing his niece standing next to him as he moved the curtains out of the way. Eyes widen as he stared at the vast mass of people, all shouting and talking to one another. Once the curtains opened the shouting got louder demanding the old man to come out of his house. Stan quickly closed the curtain and looked over at his niece with a questioning glance.

     “Why are they here?” he asked in a growl.

      Mabel shrugged. “I don't really know the details, but they said something about Gideon.”

     Stan frowned and began to walk to the door not bothering to change into a more decent clothing, everyone in town had seen him like this whether they want to or not. As soon as he opened the door shouts filled his ears making him take a step back.

     “What is going on here?” Stan shouted silencing most of the townsfolk with loudness of his voice.

     They all stared at him for a bit before looking at one another, trying to see who was willing to talk to the angry scam man. Finally Wendy took a step forward towards her employer.

     “We were all told to meet here. Gideon said he had something the whole town needed to see.”

     “So why not do it somewhere else instead of my property?” Stan complained as he crossed his arms, clearly annoyed.

     Wendy looked over at him and Mabel “Because you two wouldn't leave the Shack.”

     It was true, the Pines family haven't left the Shack after what happened at the park. Stan would only leave to get food and other essentials and then refuse to leave until he had to. He even had the Shack closed for a while until they really needed the money. The townsfolk stared at the Pines family in shock as they took in their appearances. They looked at their red rimmed eyes that held dark bags underneath. Mabel’s beloved magenta sweater was tied around her waist revealing her light pink t-shirt which resembled her brother’s in all but color. Stan’s undershirt was stained and wrinkled and his face was sagged with exhaustion.

     Stan rubbed the back of his neck realizing the truth behind her words before looking back at them with a slight glare.

     “That does not mean he has any right to do this!”

     “Why Stanford you should be thanking me!”

     All eyes fell on the short psychic who happily smiled at the crowd while he sat on top of one of the many cars his father sold. Just as Stan was about to retaliate, the sound of tires against gravel and dirt filled the air. Soon, a large pickup truck stopped near the crowd.

     “Good! You lot are finally here, now go get everything ready.” Gideon commanded with a wave of his hand as small group of strong men exited from the truck and started their work. Stan and Mabel stood there flabbergasted with the crowd as they watched Gideon’s lackeys set up some large circle with some blue powder. Gideon stepped up toward the circle. One of the large men started to unload a large white sack from the truck as Mabel shook her head and stomped towards Gideon.

     “What do you think you are doing?” Mabel asked at the young boy, anger evident in her voice.

     “Why Mabel Pines! Don’t you worry my sweet Marshmella! I am about to do something so amazing you will be begging to marry me!” he said in his signature country drawl.

     As the two exchanged words, well, one of them shouting at the other with venom-laced words, the man carried the sack to the middle of the circle and dropped it. As the sack landed on the hard ground, a weak groan erupted from it. Mabel who was in mid-sentence stopped and stared at the bag.

     “Gideon,” Mabel started eyes widening as she put together the pieces. “did you kidnap someone?!” She all but shouted at the psychic who smiled at her with a slightly dazed expression.

     “Why Mabel my sweet don't you worry your pretty little head! Once you see who it is you will be jumping for joy!”

     Mabel stared at him with an unreadable expression before glaring at him with tired brown eyes.

     “Gideon you went too far! I’m letting that person out now!” Mabel shouted angrily as she stomped her way to the bag.

     Mabel ignored the shouts from Gideon as she reached for the bag. Just as she pulled the rope to open the bag, a sudden blast of blue light burst out, throwing Mabel back. She screamed as she landed outside the circle. Stan rushed over to her and helped her sit up as she groaned slightly in pain.

     “UUURRRRAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!”  All eyes fell onto the trembling form that lay in the middle of the blue circle. A small figure was curled up in pain with blue crackling lights swirling around it. It pushed against the ground until it was sitting upright in the middle of the blue circle that surrounded it, causing the swirling light to fade away.

      “You people are dumber than I thought” it snarled at them with pointed white teeth. Gasps resonated all around as they stared at the young boy in the middle of the circle. Staring back at them with white irises was Dipper Pines.