By Kim McFarland
The landscape sped beneath the Thunderquack. This flight seemed strange to Darkwing, but he had not been able to put his finger on just why until he began to watch the ground they flew over. The flight was too smooth! But they were traveling from St. Canard to Duckburg, not patrolling the city, so there was no reason for any of Launchpad's usual aviation antics.
He commented on this to Launchpad. Launchpad grinned, twisted the steering wheel, and spun the ship into a barrel roll. "I aim to please!"
When the ship straightened out again Darkwing looked around for his hat, which had been knocked off his head and into the back seat. "Actually, I was enjoying the relative safety!"
"Aw, nothing like a little stunt to liven up a dull flight."
"Brother." Darkwing grabbed his hat and put it back on. "So, Scrooge McDuck didn't tell you anything?"
"Nope. Mr. McDee just said he wanted me to fly the TQ to Duckburg A.S.A.P. What does that mean?"
"What else? He has a case that requires the skill of Darkwing Duck!"
"No, actually I meant what does A.S.A.P. mean."
"As Soon As Possible." Darkwing grumbled.
"Oh. Then I guess it does hafta be serious after all."
"Huh." Darkwing looked back out the window. "It's a wonder he's never called on me before. A building full of money must attract every crook and villain in the state!"
"Sure does. But he's got Gizmoduck on his payroll, and Scrooge gets his money's worth."
"In that case he must pay him minimum wage."
"That's what I got." Launchpad agreed.
"You get what you pay for. Well, I'll show him how a REAL hero works, for a change."
The Thunderquack circled the runway, closing in for a landing. Scrooge McDuck and Gyro Gearloose watched as it made its final approach.
"What a strange looking ship." Scrooge commented.
Gyro shrugged. "It's Launchpad's design."
The ship glided in at a low angle. Gyro shaded his eyes from the sun and said, "It actually looks like he's going to make a smooth landing!"
"Oh, no he isn't." Scrooge started backing away from the landing strip.
"Why not?" Gyro watched as Scrooge broke into a run.
Scrooge shouted over his shoulder, "He hasn't put the landing gear down!"
They had barely made it out of the way when the Thunderquack made contact with the runway. It skidded down the full length of the pavement, trailing a comet-tail of sparks, then burst through the fence at the end of the landing field. Finally it came to rest in the adjacent pasture.
The engines shut down and the top flipped open. Launchpad said, "Welcome to Duckburg, DW!" He looked around, then added, "Uh, watch where ya step."
"Thanks for the warning." Darkwing put his hat back on.
Scrooge and Gyro gingerly made their way over to the Thunderquack. "Launchpad, your landings haven't changed a bit."
"Thanks, Mr. McDee. Hey, guys, this's Darkwing Duck."
"Greetings, citizens." Darkwing said dramatically.
Scrooge did not look up from his inspection of the bottom of the ship. "Amazing! The hull's barely
"Yes - with Launchpad in the cockpit, this ship has taken quite a pounding. But she's still pretty, isn't she?" Gyro said proudly.
Darkwing scowled and folded his arms. Launchpad did not notice his friend's annoyance. "She sure is. What's up?"
Gyro turned back to Launchpad and said, "Mr. McDuck wanted you to fly The Thunderquack in today's airshow to demonstrate the materials I used in making the hull."
"Aye! The alloy that Gyro came up with for the body of this ship is perfect for military aircraft - lightweight and ridiculously strong. This ship will make a bang-up demonstration."
"Yep, yep, yep. " Darkwing said, "Having Darkwing Duck here is sure to make an impression on the masses. Y'know, normally I don't 'do' endorsements, but-"
"You don't have to now." Scrooge cut him off. Darkwing glowered. "Launchpad, you're the man for the demonstration. All I want you to do is what you do best."
"Sure! What kinda stunt flyin' you got in mind?"
"It doesn't matter. Just finish with a crash."
Later that day, the scene of the airshow appeared in Magica DeSpell's crystal ball. She regularly scanned the Duckburg area, looking for an opportunity to make a raid on Scrooge's money bin. The three cubic acres of money inside did not interest her so much as one specific coin did. That one coin was the first dime that Scrooge had ever earned. It was a powerful lucky charm, one she had been trying to steal for years to add to her magical amulet.
She sensed an unfamiliar presence in a small stand of trees near the airport. Its aura was smoky black, unlike that of any of Duckburg's inhabitants. She focused in on its source, and was surprised to see Negaduck. What was he doing here? If he thought he was going to raid the money bin -
Wait. She considered him. Though he was deeply evil, he was no sorcerer; therefore, he was not really competition for her. From what she had heard, he was only interested in wealth, power and destruction, not necessarily in that order. Magic did not even make the list.
A smile spread across her face. Yes, this situation could be turned to her advantage. She could re-use an old strategy of hers, and Negaduck's greed would make him the perfect patsy. She started rummaging through her magical items.
Impatiently Negaduck watched the opening act of the airshow through his binoculars. It seemed as if the silly formation displays were going to go on forever! He was waiting for the appearance of The Thunderquack. As soon it was in the air he would set off the small ground-to-air missile he had "liberated" from a military testing base.
He saw a large black bird soar overhead. As it flew closer he recognized it as a vulture. It glided in to land behind him. Without taking the binoculars from his eyes he said, "Chowtime's in a few minutes, bird. You'll get what you want."
"I hope so." a heavily accented female voice answered.
Startled, he spun around. A duck wearing a black dress was watching him. "Where'd you come
"I just flew in. This is how you greet a lady?"
Then Negaduck recognized her. "Magica DeSpell, right? Duckburg's resident wicked witch?"
"You're no lady."
"And you are no gentleman."
"So, what do you want?" He glanced back at the airport to see if The Thunderquack was in the air yet.
"You are here to destroy the plane of Darkwing Duck." She indicated the missile launcher.
"With him on it. What else would I be here for?"
She stepped forward and spoke conspiratorially. "I have a much better idea"
"Oh, really?" he asked skeptically.
"You know of Scrooge McDuck's money bin?"
"There is much more profit to be made there than in shooting down an ugly plane. Three cubic acres more. And now, during airshow, it is practically unguarded, dahling."
"So, you want to rob the Bin. What does that have to do with me?" he said, feigning indifference.
She picked a stick off the ground, muttered a few magic words, and drew one hand along its length. As her fingers passed over it it transformed into a banded snake. She draped the reptile around her shoulders.
Negaduck declined to be impressed. "Nice trick. Do you do parties too?"
"This is coral snake." She let it glide along her arm, towards Negaduck. "Very handsome in its colors - red, yellow, black - isn't it? And very deadly. A creature to be respected - and feared!"
Negaduck, in spite of himself, was flattered. He gestured for her to continue.
"I don't want to rob the Bin. It would take years to empty a whole building fall of money! Better to take it over, both the building and the money inside."
Negaduck nodded approvingly. "And it's a lot easier to defend afterwards."
"Yes." He was ready to take the bait! The snake drew back, as if about to strike him. Magica passed her hand over it again, and once more it was a stick. "You have quite a 'professional reputation', Negaduck." she said. "Ruthless. Unafraid. And I have magical powers beyond imagining. Together, we could break into the bin and take it over where all others have failed! I tell you, dahling, this is a match made in heaven!"
"You're a woman after my own heart, Magica - but heaven has nothing to do with it."
She saw that, despite his initial wariness, he was hooked. She continued, "I will help you to get inside, past the security system-"
"Wait a minute." He shook his head. "I've heard about the traps in that thing. I wouldn't need your help to get through it in one piece, I'd need a tank."
"No - not when you have this." She held up a chain with a crystal pendant. Encased in the crystal was a four- leaf clover and a shard of silvered glass.
He took it. "What is it?" It looked like something that went out of fashion with disco, he thought.
"It's a luck charm. With this, you can get past any security system to the vault easily -"
"Hold it right there. You're telling me that this thing can make me so lucky I can just walk through a system nobody else can crack? Right." He tossed the pendant back to her.
"I have done it once before!" That was a slight exaggeration - Gladstone Gander, her first dupe, was naturally so lucky that he had not needed any magical assistance - but that detail was not important to Magica. "But perhaps the once-powerful leader of the Fearsome Five is not equal to this task." she continued slyly.
"NOT EQUAL? Smile when you say that, sister!"
"Then you think you can succeed where all others - but one - have failed? Good!" She handed the pendant back to him. "One warning-walk under no ladders, break no mirrors, do not let a black cat cross your path. If you do, the charm's luck will reverse, and the blessing will become a curse."
"Yeah, whatever." He had no faith in the witch's charm, but he would humor this weird dame for now.
She continued, "I have been through it before, I can guide you with this." She held up a small crystal ball.
"Portable model, eh?"
"Yes. And after we take the Bin, you keep the money, that is not what I want."
"It isn't? So, what's in all this for you?" he asked, surprised.
"All I want is one coin. A dime."
"A DIME? You only want a lousy DIME?"
"It's a very special dime, dahling, that he keeps in a case with a glass dome top. It has magical powers. I must have it for my collection. So, we have a deal?"
"Deal. Race you there."
"And now, ladies and gentlemen," Scrooge's voice rang out through the amplifiers, "courtesy of our own Gyro Gearloose, something completely different."
Launchpad heard his cue through the airship's radio. The Thunderquack roared over the field at low altitude.
The tower vibrated; the airship had neatly clipped its tip as it flew overhead. Scrooge realized too late that his finger was still holding the microphone button down and the sound had been picked up and broadcasted by the amplifiers. Composing himself, he continued, "You've probably guessed that that's Launchpad McQuack in the cockpit."
"This airship was specially designed with Launchpad in mind. The hull is composed of a new alloy developed by Gyro Gearloose, soon to be available from McDuck Industries. The metal is lightweight, yet incredibly strong - to withstand the well-known, er, 'skills' of the pilot, as has been demonstrated time and again in action-"
Launchpad listened to Scrooge's narration and flew The Thunderquack in creative patterns above the audience. He grinned at Darkwing and nudged him with an elbow. "Fun, huh?"
"I can hardly contain myself." Darkwing muttered. He was staring at the horizon, fending off an attack of motion sickness brought on by the rough flight.
"Say, I don't remember that in the program." Launchpad said.
Launchpad pointed. "That."
Darkwing stared. Something was rising out of a nearby wooded area. When it came closer Launchpad said, "Do you remember anything about a broom?"
Scrooge broke off his narration moments later, as Magica flew over the airstrip.
Darkwing leaned forward and exclaimed, "A witch? On a broomstick!?"
The Thunderquack swooped down. Magica pointed a wand, spewing a fountain of fire at the airship. The flames washed harmlessly across the windshield - leaving an opaque layer of soot, blinding them.
"Rats! And I just washed the TQ." Launchpad exclaimed.
"Never mind that. Follow that witch!"
"Just a minute." Launchpad set the ship to circle on autopilot, then flicked a switch. Soapy water sprayed onto the screen. The windshield wipers scraped at the mess.
In the tower, Scrooge set the microphone down. "Magica DeSpell is up to another of her schemes!" He took a small device out of his pocket and spoke into it. "Gizmoduck!"
"Here, Mr. McDuck!"
"Get over to the bin. Magica's about to make another go at Old Number One."
"Right away, Mr. McD-"
Scrooge shoved the device back into his pocket and headed for the tower elevator.
Magica landed beside the money bin at the same time Negaduck pulled up in his motorcycle. "Not bad. That fire sure impressed the rubes." he said as he dismounted.
Magica dusted off her clothes. The stunt had been mainly to make an impression on Negaduck; she knew of his fondness for theatrics. But she would not deny it had been fun to take out that ridiculous-looking airship. "Now, quickly, into the Bin. I'll distract the others out here. As soon as you reach the vault I'll come in after you."
"Yeah, I know." He examined the doors to the Bin. They looked as if they could withstand a small bomb. He might have to use the missile to blast his way in. Well, so be it!
Magica glanced back at him. He was wasting time fiddling around with the weapon again! "You don't need that. Just go in!"
"I have to get past these first!"
"Just walk in."
"Just walk in? Like Scrooge will leave a building full of money unlocked?!" He twisted the handle, and was startled when the door swung open.
She laughed at his dumbfounded expression. "Trust in luck, dahling."
She prepared her spells as she watched The Thunderquack approach. As it landed a plume of smoke streaked up the road from the city.
"Hold it right there, evil doer!" Darkwing Duck and Gizmoduck said simultaneously.
They looked at each other. "Oh, CRIPES!"
Just inside the Bin Negaduck came to another set of metal doors. On one side was a keypad. There must be some special code to open the doors, then. He thought about it. Scrooge would have programmed something easy to remember, and knowing him it would be something relating to money.
He almost typed in GOLD, then rejected it. Scrooge would not use a code word that obvious. Behind himself he heard Magica say "What are you waiting for?"
He turned back. A ghostly image of Magica's head was floating in a glassy sphere behind him. He said, " Give me a minute and I'll figure out the code."
"You don't need to figure, dahling. You have luck to get you through."
"So anything I press will be right?" he asked sarcastically and pressed four random keys. It so happened that those keys were M, I, N, and E. The lights on the keypad flashed several times in the pattern of a dollar sign and the doors slid open.
Magica's image laughed. "See, dahling? Nothing can keep you out." She faded away.
He looked down the hallway. It was maybe ten yards long, with a green carpet down the middle. He started down the hallway. After a few steps he tripped over a wrinkle in the carpet and fell flat on his face. As he was picking himself up he noticed a thread of light inches in front of his bill.
"Ah, ha." he muttered to himself. Breaking the beam must set off some sort of alarm or trap. It was green, the same color of the carpet, and almost impossible to see unless you were on eye level with it. Now that he knew what to look for, though, he could pick out several more crossing the corridor.
He stepped over the beams and continued on his way.
"I can handle this without your dubious assistance, Darkwing."
"Hah! You couldn't handle the so-called Fearsome Five without me back in St. Canard!"
"It may have escaped your attention, Wingey, but we are in Duckburg now!"
"Big deal. I can show you up no matter where we are, Tin Man!"
"What this job requires is a REAL hero, not an obstructive buffoon in a costume of questionable taste!"
"QUESTIONABLE TASTE? Excuse me? That's rich, coming from a scrap heap on a unicycle!"
Scrooge's limousine pulled up behind the Thunderquack. Scrooge got out of it and demanded, "What are they doing? My fortune is hanging in the balance and they're calling names!"
Launchpad said, "Better stand back, Mr. McDee. When DW and Gizmo get going they can really set off some fireworks, but don't worry, they always beat the bad guys in the end."
Scrooge looked back at the two heroes. "I'll believe it when I see it." he muttered.
"Hey, why don't'cha wait it out in the Thunderquack?"
"Fine - so long as we stay on the ground." Scrooge climbed in.
Magica leaned against the wall of the bin, in the process of being bored out of her skull. She had prepared her spells, and now the heroes she had expected to use them against were more interested in squabbling among themselves. What was the world coming to, when the heroes and the villains couldn't even choose up sides?!
Keeping one eye on them, she took out her crystal ball again.
The next set of obstacles needed no explanation. Negaduck looked down a corridor filled with red laser beams. They came from the walls and ceiling, and appeared to move in random patterns.
"Luck, my caudal pinions." he muttered to himself. This was going to take time. He took out a pistol and began shooting the laser beams' bases out one by one.
Magica's image appeared in the corridor beside him. "What are you doing?" she demanded.
"Blazing a trail." He fired another shot; another laser beam disappeared.
"You don't need to waste time doing that, dahling! Your luck will not let them touch you." she insisted.
"I'd be duck flambe if I went in there! I'll just have to shoot 'em all out." In fact, he was enjoying himself doing just that. Then something occurred to him. The lasers weren't burning holes in the walls and floor - and the wallpaper and carpeting were red, the same color as the lasers! He took off his red hat and held it out into the corridor. A laser beam flashed across it harmlessly. He touched the brim. It was barely warm. He grinned, detached his cape at the shoulders, and turned it inside out so the red lining was on the outside.
Magica's image asked, "What are you doing?"
"A laser won't burn something its own color, it'll just reflect off." Negaduck said, bending the brim of his hat down to protect his head.
"You're lucky the lasers were red!" she shouted after him as he pulled his cape closed in front and dashed down the corridor.
When she put the crystal ball away they were STILL arguing! Unable to contain her annoyance, she took out her wand. She pointed it, sending a fireball to explode between Gizmoduck and Darkwing.
When the flames cleared she definitely had their attention. Darkwing fired his gas gun at Magica. She deflected the cartridge towards Gizmoduck. It exploded, encasing both heroes in a cloud of gas.
Magica took advantage of their temporary incapacity to throw a handful of small wires at Darkwing. They metamorphosized in midair into metal bars, which pinned Darkwing to a tree some distance away. Then, under her control, the ground heaved below Gizmoduck. A rift opened, and then closed again with him inside.
For a few moments she did not have to deal with them. If things continued the way they were now going, this was not going to be much of a battle at all!
Darkwing struggled futilely against the metal bars. He stopped when he saw Gizmoduck emerge, drill first, from the ground in front of himself. The drill retracted back into his suit. Gizmoduck pulled the bars out of the wood, freeing Darkwing.
Darkwing dropped to the ground. "Staple ME, will she?!"
"She didn't do much for your cape, either." Gizmoduck observed.
Darkwing glanced at his cape. It was torn where the metal bars had pierced the fabric.
He glared at Magica. "All right, this means WAR!"
Meanwhile, Magica was watching Negaduck. He was about to start down a corridor, the floor of which was covered with black and white tiles. When he stepped on the first one a panel sprang open on the wall. He jumped back just before a huge hammer came down on the tile he had just stepped on. It caught the comer of his cape, jerking him down.
Behind him, as usual, stood the image of Magica. "Well, did you know about THAT one?" he asked sarcastically as he struggled to pull his cape free.
" You can only step on certain ones. If you touch the wrong ones, wham!-"
"Oh, really? So which ones are safe?"
"Last time it was the black ones, I think - but you stepped on a black one." she mused. "Scrooge changes things every so often. So it must be the white ones now."
"Huh." The hammer was still on the floor where it had fallen. The tile underneath had cracked from the impact. Negaduck tapped the hammer. Nothing happened. The fallen hammers were safe, then.
"What are you waiting for? Go on!"
"Look, 'darling', I don't plan on getting pounded into the ground if I can avoid it!"
"Your luck will protect you! That first hammer didn't strike you, did it?!"
He held up the torn edge of his cape. "It came bloody close! Look, I'll get through this MY way." He took a lawn dart out of his pocket and tossed it onto a tile in front of him. A hammer came down and smashed it. He took another dart and tossed it at the tile beyond. Nothing happened.
He made his way down the corridor, using the fallen hammers and the safe tiles as stepping stones. When he got to the end he picked up the dart on the last tile. "I never leave home without these."
"It would have been much faster if you had just run across!" Magica insisted.
"Then next time you can put the charm on and risk your own neck!" he snarled. But she did not reply; she suddenly looked away, then the image faded. Darkwing and Gizmoduck must have attacked her again. He threw the lawn dart at the space where the image of her face had been a moment ago. It embedded itself in the wall beyond.
Magica's skills were equal to their assault at first. She threw energy bolts back at her opponents, channeling her frustration with Negaduck. Darkwing tried to grapple with her, to stop her from casting spells. Every time he tried, however, he was flung away by electrical shocks even if he managed to dodge her other assaults. Gizmoduck's missiles, bullets, and other weapons ricocheted in various directions. A good number of them found their way to Darkwing or back to Gizmoduck. However, one of Gizmoduck's weapons found its target - and splattered her face with banana cream. She sputtered and tried to wipe the mess off her face.
Darkwing gaped. The missiles couldn't make it through, but a PIE could? On impulse he tossed a pebble. It tapped her on the back. Darkwing grinned. He loaded a different charge into the gas gun and fired upward. The canister exploded high in the air. Magica wiped the last of the pie from her eyes in time to see the net drift down on her, fastening her to the ground.
Darkwing spun his gun on one finger, then put it back inside his coat. "Yep, yep, yep. Magic spells always have a weak point somewhere. Hers were only built to stop the heavy ammo. Darkwing: one, Gizmoduck: zero." he gloated.
Negaduck reached Scrooge's office. One wall was dominated by the vault door. Putting the charm's luck to the test, he closed his eyes and spun the combination lock several times, then pulled on the handle. It swung open heavily.
The sight he saw inside startled him far more than the opening of the door had. A lake of coins gleamed back at him. They filled the place from wall to wall. The storage space had to go all the way down to the ground floor; no ceiling would be able to bear the weight of all the money. And he was nearly at the top floor of the building! "Oh, man!" he breathed.
After a few minutes he shook his head and closed his mouth. No time to gawk now. Somewhere in here was the case that Magica had described earlier. He climbed down the ladder and walked gingerly over the coins. The cool metal, sliding under his feet, felt strange. But, he decided, it was something that he could get used to.
"I don't think we'll have any more trouble out of her She knows when she's beaten by a REAL hero." Darkwing continued.
"Will you stop calling me that?!"
"You came here in The Thunderquack, didn't you."
"I did. So?"
"How did your motorcycle get here?" Gizmoduck pointed at the vehicle parked next to the Bin.
"That's not The Ratcatcher. Mine's pink and purple, like my costume, not red, yellow, and black - CRIPES! That's Negaduck's! You stay here and keep an eye on her. I'll go in after him!"
"Wingey!-" Darkwing raced into the bin. Gizmoduck had been about to tell him about the Bin's internal security system. He considered going in after Darkwing, then shrugged. If Darkwing insisted on rushing in where angels feared to tread and got his feathers fried it would take him down a few well-deserved notches.
The metal doors leading to the green-carpeted hallway were still open. Darkwing ran partway through, then was scooped up by a net that appeared out of a panel in the wall. He struggled against it, then set about cutting the ropes with his buzz-saw cufflinks.
An identical snare caught him when he had reached the middle of the hallway. He cut through the ropes and dropped to the ground again. He tried to dodge the third one, and almost succeeded.
Meanwhile, Magica was huddled under the net, looking into her portable crystal ball, watching Negaduck. She saw him look about the bin as soon as his initial bewilderment wore off. He saw the dime's case -
Negaduck recognized the case immediately. Inside was what looked like an ordinary dime. Maybe it might be worth something to a coin collector, he thought; it was old enough. But that couldn't be why Magica wanted it instead of the rest of the cash.
He opened the case and examined it. "Magic powers, eh?" He took the dime out, put it in his pocket, and replaced it with one of the coins underfoot.
Magica screamed in rage. She transformed into a hawk, slipped through the net, and flew through the bin entrance.
Darkwing continued, looking out for more hidden traps but finding none. When he came to the laser corridor he stopped short. Some of the lasers had been shot out, but it still looked impossible to get through. But if Negaduck could dodge the laser beams, so could he! He started down the corridor, and immediately felt a searing heat behind himself. A laser had chopped his tail feathers short, leaving smoldering stubs. He yelped and ran, dodging the beams as best as he could. When he reached the end of the hallway he ripped off his hat and coat and stamped out the flames. He did not notice that while he was grumbling and putting his charred clothing back on a hawk darted through the corridor, dodging the lasers that Negaduck had not wrecked, and past him.
The hawk shot into the bin, alighted behind Negaduck, and transformed back into Magica. He turned around at the sound. She was standing, arms folded, tapping her foot. "Where is the dime?" she demanded.
He handed her the case. She glanced at the coin within, then shook some powder out of a small pouch into her hand and blew it into the air. A small whirlwind appeared. Negaduck watched curiously as it gathered strength. As it did it picked up some of the coins. Negaduck began, "What-"
Wordlessly she flung the whirlwind at Negaduck. It picked him up and slammed him against the Bin's cement wall with a deafening clatter. He fell to the ground amidst a hall of currency. Spitting out a few coins, he glared at Magica. "Honeymoon's over, witch!"
When Darkwing arrived at the open vault a few minutes later, still dazed from his trip through the hammer corridor, he saw that the battle had begun without him. Negaduck was standing behind a bunker made of money bags, firing a machine gun loaded with coins at Magica. She made a sweeping movement with one hand, and the whirlwind followed her gesture and blew into a mound of money, toppling it onto Negaduck. He dug his way out, shook a few coins out of his hat, and reloaded his gun.
Amused, Darkwing leaned on the balcony railing and watched as Negaduck's ammunition failed to meet its mark just as Gizmoduck's had. Negaduck took out a flame thrower and aimed it at Magica. She held up one hand, and the flames parted in front of her. He lowered the gun so that the flames flowed around her feet. Magica smirked, "Do you think you can hurt me with that, dahling?"
Negaduck smiled back and held the flame steady. The coins below her began to melt. She screamed and jumped backwards, out of her shoes, which were now stuck in the molten metal. She started to create another whirlwind.
A cloud of blue smoke appeared on the balcony's diving board. It dissipated, revealing a familiar purple-clad, caped figure. "I AM THE TERROR THAT FLAPS IN THE NIGHT!" He bounced on the board several times, then leaped, did several flips in midair, and landed on top of a hill of coins. "I AM THE TELLER MACHINE THAT SHREDS YOUR CARD! I AM DARKWING DUCK!"
He paused, listening to the echo of his voice bouncing off the cement walls. "Hey, nice acoustics!"
"Aw, crud! As if I didn't have enough hassles already!" Negaduck growled. He exchanged his flame thrower for the machine gun and shot a volley of coins at Darkwing. Darkwing launched himself at Negaduck to deliver a devastating web-kick. His target was snatched away by another whirlwind and raised, a spinning blur, toward the ceiling. Darkwing, unable to stop, ended up with his foot buried up to the hip in another hill of money. While he was pulling himself free Magica dissolved the whirlwind, and Negaduck crashed to the floor in a shower of coins.
Gizmoduck arrived at the balcony. He had had little problem getting through; Negaduck and Darkwing had already tripped all of the traps, and his metal exterior could withstand the lasers. He had decided that he could not let Darkwing fight Magica and Negaduck alone; the duck was barely competent even in his home city! It looked as if Negaduck was out of the picture for the moment, now they would have to capture Magica. "Pity I don't have another pie." he muttered to himself.
Darkwing spotted Gizmoduck, then began scooping handfuls of coins and tossing them at Magica. She could deflect only so many; the rest passed through her spells unhindered and harried her. While she was distracted Gizmoduck flew down, caught her wrists, and cuffed them behind her back before she could throw a spell at him.
A deafening explosion rang out behind them, and the room filled with smoke and cement dust. Gizmoduck used his helicopter blades as a fan to blow the dust... out the hole in the wall of the Bin. "What was that?!"
"Negaduck." Darkwing replied. He looked out through the hole. There, far below them, Negaduck was starting up his motorcycle.
"No you don't!" Magica yelled. She metamorphosized into a hawk, slipped her wings out of the handcuffs, and darted out the hole.
Negaduck gunned the motorcycle and roared off. He hated to abandon the Bin. He was not defeated, though; it was a strategic withdrawal. Now that he knew how to break into the Bin he would make the next try succeed! But he would get back at Magica first. How DARE that witch double-cross him!!
A hawk swooped past him. It landed well in front of him and changed into a black cat. The cat darted across the path of his motorcycle. He swerved violently, and was rewarded by a howl from the cat. He looked back. It was still alive. "Drat! I missed!"
His motorcycle hit a rock while he was looking behind himself, and swerved into some bushes. He struggled to regain his balance, but the motorcycle, out of control, slammed into a tree.
The tree shuddered with the impact, then toppled over onto the motorcycle.
Then the Thunderquack landed on him.
Gizmoduck landed beside the Thunderquack and set Darkwing down. Launchpad opened the ship's dome. "Hey, DW - where'd he go?"
"About a foot, straight down."
Launchpad looked puzzled. "Huh?"
"You LANDED on him, airhead!" Scrooge said as he leapt out of the ship.
Darkwing glanced at Scrooge, who was already running to the Money Bin, then turned back to Launchpad. "How could you stand working for that old coot?"
Launchpad shrugged. "I'll move the ship."
Darkwing and Gizmoduck readied their weapons. The Thunderquack lifted, then set down a few yards away. Gizmoduck moved the tree. When they saw the damage they put their weapons away.
At length Gizmoduck said, "He certainly looks peaceful, doesn't he."
"Yes." Darkwing agreed. "There's a piece... and there's another piece..."
While Darkwing tried to find a practical way to extricate an emphatically unconscious Negaduck from the wreckage of the motorcycle a black cat with a flattened tail ran up and began clawing at Negaduck's coat pocket. Darkwing pushed it away. "Scat!"
Scrooge ran out of the Bin again. "Number One! Gizmoduck! Number One's gone!" he called, distraught.
"'Number one'?" Darkwing repeated.
"The first dime I ever earned! It's what Magica was after all along! It's gone!"
"He's yelling about a DIME? Boy, you weren't kidding when you told me about him." Darkwing said to Launchpad. The cat was getting in the way again. "Hey! Shoo!" The cat scratched him.
Gizmoduck pushed a button on the front of his suit. A plastic gun on a metal arm came out of one of his panels and squirted the cat, which yowled and ran off. Darkwing finished handcuffing Negaduck. "We'll take this criminal scum back to St. Canard." On cue, Launchpad picked Negaduck up to put him in the back seat of the Thunderquack. As he did something dropped out of his pocket.
Darkwing picked it up. It was a dime. He tossed it to Scrooge. "Here's a replacement."
Scrooge started to reply angrily, then looked closely at the dime. "Well, spit on me spats! It's Number One!"
"It is? I mean, of course it is." Darkwing said. Dusting his hands together, he narrated, "Another city cleansed of criminality by that dashing derring-doer, Darkwing Duck." He struck a pose. "No need to reward me, citizen; it's all in a day's work."
"That's good." Scrooge said and walked back to his limousine.
Annoyed, Darkwing folded his arms and muttered, "I don't have to come HERE for this kind of treatment."
"No, you don't, Darkwing." Gizmoduck said. "And that reminds me of a few 'words of wisdom' you've said to me many a time back in St. Canard, which I now feel the time has come for me to say to you."
"GET OUT OF MY CITY!"
All characters copyright © Disney. Story copyright © Kim McFarland. Permission is given by the author to copy this story for personal use only, provided no changes are made to the story or the credits.
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