WHEN SUDDENLY...! Add the Next Line - A story written by Our Community 📖


“W-who, m-m-me?” he stuttered. “I, I, … um, I h-have n-n-no t-t-talent.” Gravemaker shyly turned and bowed his head.

“Everyone has something they are good at.” said Simon. “Come on, now. You can do this. Do you need a few moments?”


With that Gravemaker turned back to the microphone, cleared his throat, and started to sing.

He was joined in the chorus by Bauchan, Chochin, and Gill-Ra.

When they finished, there was not a dry tear in the place.

Gravemaker shyly addressed the judges. “How was I?”

Simon stood and said …


“Fu-- yeah!”

Heidi smacked Simon on the chest. “Language!”

“Hallelujah!” Simon stood up and hit the Golden Buzzer. “You are going straight to the Finals!”

Confetti and balloons rained from the ceiling. Gravemaker, Bauchan, Chochin, and Gill-Ra were stunned.

“I can’t agree more!” Howie grinned. “Nothing to improve.”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that.” Simon offered his trademark frown. “None of you are going to win a beauty contest. Probably need a makeover, I think.”

“Simon!” Heidi hissed. “Don’t be rude. Beauty comes in all forms.”

“But I can’t even tell if Gill-Ra is male or female. Or human … or mermaid.” Simon studied the purple hero.

“That’s a tough act to follow!” Howie gestured to the next hero. “What’s your name, and what will you do for us?”


Grimm stepped forward. “I have some friends here with me. They are just getting into costume.”

Blood sprayed the assembled audience, and the judges were not immune. But was it real?


“My white shirt!” gasped Simon. “You will pay for this!”

But Grimm and his costumed brothers kept playing. In fact, one hero blasted his Symphonic Pulverizer and nearly deafened the judges.

“I love it Tibby!” The yellow panda warrior clapped his hands. “You broke my ear drums!”

“Are you insane?” Simon scowled at Hu Tao. “And why do you have a smoothie, and I don’t?”

“That was in his contract Simon.” Heidi smiled. “All guest judges may choose any beverage while judging.”

“I brought smoothies for everyone!” Hu Tao passed out custom smoothies. “Heidi, I made you a low fat, low carb, low flavor one. It’s almost water, with a hint of fruit.”

Hu Tao turned to Howie. “Yours is avocados with berries. And eggs! The protein and biotin help promote hair growth.”

Finally Hu Tao smiled at Simon. “Yours has spinach, apples, and prunes! All that fiber will help with your constipation.”

It was total silence. But it didn’t bother Hu Tao at all. “Everyone drink up! What did you think of the music?”


This is so funny!! :rofl:

:rofl: :rofl:

I am out of likes… I would give 10 likes to each of these if I could… :grin: :grin:


Simon put on his usual constipated look. (May be it was because of Hu’s comment?)
he said, “I liked GM’s performance better”.
Heidi immediately interrupted him, “But, Simon! We need to judge each of them based on their own performance alone. You don’t compare with others!!”

“It was quite good!” she said, turning towards the participants.

Howie wasn’t listening. He was in a totally different world. He was busy enjoying his Avocado smooothie…“Ummmm… :yum:

Tiburtus was watching the judges discuss their performance. “Actually, I have prepared another performance… this time more suited to my original attire”, he said removing his costume and returning to his classic “Mournful Duke” attire.

Grimm took up the guitar. Kiril and Bauchan appeared on stage again. Kiril who was in his costume took up the drums while Bauchan as a keyboard player.

The mournful duke - with the usual sad look on his face - said, “This song is dedicated to a lady who I miss very much. I treated her bad once. I thought undead people were merely puppets. But I was wrong. And I wish she gives me the chance to apologize to her and show her how much she means to me… Here’s to my beautiful undead healer…”

Edit for reader’s reference: For some context on Tibs’ initial treatment of the lady in context… here’s the story… Sabina's Story - An Empires and Puzzles Fanfiction hi I

And the music starts…

The judges were stunned to hear such a different tone from the Duke of Rock… A tear dropped down Howie’s cheek…


“Holy fu–!”

Heidi boxed Simon’s ears. “Do I need to duct tape your mouth?”

“Phenomenal! I will take that afterglow anytime!” Simon shook his head. “After my ears stop ringing.”

“See, the smoothie helped you appreciate the beautiful melodies.” Hu Tao sighed.

“I love it!” Heidi hit the Golden Buzzer in front of her. “Congratulations!”

“Wait, wait.” Howie spit out random confetti. “Who is this Undead Beauty? Can you tell us more?”

“I will tell you.” A lovely silhouette emerged from the shadows. It was …


It was Kailani.

“Tiburtus has always been a good man at his heart. He fought for saving the good people - but that’s just the problem… his perception of people.” she said readjusting a lock of hair that fell over her forehead. “He never considered that undead people are still people at the core of their hearts.”

Tiburtus was visibly sad. He bent down his head in shame in manner of acknowledgement of his deeds.

“He raised an army of undead for his war. But his sorcerer numbed their souls. The undead couldn’t speak out their feelings. They became mere puppets in Tibs’ hands.” She said.

“Omg…” gasped Howie… Heidi was visibly upset too. Simon, on the other hand, maintained his stoic expression (read constipated look).

“Please don’t judge him yet. As I said, he has always been a good person at heart.”, she said, “he just never understood that people are people - alive or otherwise. But he has changed ever since… and it was because of Sabina… the pure-hearted, gentle soul… the undead healer of our company.”

I am not a perfect person…
I never meant to do those things to you…

Tiburtus was singing again… Kiril, Grimm, Bauchan followed …


Even Gravemaker joined in, adding high harmonies that cleverly accentuated the words Tibs was singing. That GM, not just another pretty face.

He was very familiar with the sad story of Sabina and Tibs. At times he could still feel the pain from Tibs’ touch to his chest. But he had moved on from those days. He was no longer the same necromancer he had been, and had forgiven Tibs his many, many transgressions. If only Tibs could forgive himself and stop hiding behind that ridiculous make-up all the time.

There was a disturbance at the back entrance to the hall, as the double doors flew open and a troop of undead centurions marched through, followed by their undead Lord and his consort – Sabina herself.

“Duke Tiburtus”, the Deathbound Lord called out, interrupting the mournful rendition. "Your day of reckoning is here…


The Deathbound Lord grabbed Tiburtus by the throat.

Sabina smiled wickedly behind him.

Tiburtus’ eyes bulged in horror.

The Deathbound Lord laughed. “Your punishment is…”


“Wait, wait …”

Kailani rushed in from the side exit. “Duke Tiburtus is a changed man. You cannot punish him any worse than he is punishing himself every day. Look how mournful he is.” She laid her hand on Cyprian’s arm, and looked over at Sabina. “We are still friends, Lady Sabina, are we not? Look into your heart and ask yourself if this is right.”

Tiburtus gently moved Kailani aside. “I thank you for your concern, gracious lady, but I am prepared for this. Cyprian, do what you will.”

“No, no, there is good in you. Someone do something, please. Sabina, I beg you.” Kailani sobbed, falling to her knees.

With that, Cyprian smiled …


… and activated his riposte!

“I am undead, but I want you to feel the pain you once caused us!” Cyprian hissed.

Sabina drew a sword and gave it to Tiburtus.

Kailani screamed in shock and pain.

Hu Tao leaned forward in his suit. Something was not right…

… and a blinding purple ball of light covered Sabina, Cyprian, Tiburtus and Kailani!

hu Tao turned in shock. He recognized it. It was…


“Help me, Hu!” Proteus said, ear fins shaking. “Something isn’t right here. We need…”


A mana cutter." Just then, Li Xiu jumped out of the cheap seats and landed on the stage, reducing the mana of The undead squad. “You must wait for Justice to come,” she purred. “I can do this all day.”

i picked Li xiu since she is on my team. I also have Proteus, and those two together work quite well


They all settled in for the wait. Scarlett and Marjana started handing out popcorn. Simon looked down disdainfully at the proffered bag. “Ugh, what is that?”

Everyone knew Justice would take her own sweet time.


Hu Tao reached for some popcorn. But a finny hand slapped his arm. Proteus leaned over Hu. “Listen to me!”

“I always do…” said Hu calmly. “Like when we faced Judge Judy…” he paused. “Judge Judy?”

“Something isn’t right here!” Proteus said. “We’re in an alternate reality!”


Before Proteus could continue, he was interrupted by…


@sleepyhead. “Hush! Lancelot is about to serenade me.”

“That looks like …” Proteus squinted.

“Not Lancelot.” Hu Tao sighed. “Not Justice either.”

Simon hit the buzzer, startling everyone out of their popcorn haze. “Time is money! Who’s next?”

“Oh my.” @sleepyhead sat up straighter. “That is …”


Richard!!! And he’s in costume!" @sleepyhead squealed with joy and excitement. “Now there’s a man!” thought he.


Richard strode across to where Cyprian and Tiburtus stood.

“Please remove your hand from around Tiburtus’ throat” he asked Cyprian softly. Then added not quite so soft “Or IT’S HAMMER TIME!”

With that @sleepyhead fainted straight away.

Seeing this, Sabina rushed across to check that he was ok. “He is ok” she said needlessly as @sleepyhead rose to his feet again, his cheeks flushed.

“Oh, Richard, you are magnificent.”

“What? Who … say aren’t you one of those f2p guys constantly complaining about the pitiful chances of getting my costume for me? Why don’t you come and explain to me exactly what the problem is here. I never really grasped the whole ‘whale’ concept to be honest.”

Cyprian turned to Richard. “Why exactly are you here anyway?”

“What? Oh, that. Sorry, I got sidetracked. There’s some kind of danger to the realms that we need to confront or something. Elena sent me here to gather up our forces. She can explain it a lot clearer than I can. I suppose we should gather and go talk to her now.”

Marjana interrupted. “But we’re waiting for Justice. We made popcorn and smoothies.” Hu Tao nodded his head vigorously, proffering a glass to Richard.

“Hah. You will be waiting a long time for that, I’m afraid. Justice is not to be found …”


“She’s in a conference call with Judge Judy.” Sonya whispered. “It’s top secret.”

Marjana jumped. “How did you get here?”

“It’s not top secret if YOU know about it.” Proteus eyed Sonya skeptically.

“ALL Paladins know. Just ask Guardian Falcon.” Sonya sniffed. “Even Telly knows!”

But Simon was beyond irritated at this point. He hit the Drop Dead Buzzer. Everyone on stage fell into the massive hole. Even Richard.

Then reality shifted, just as Proteus warned. Everyone blinked and found themselves in a dull conference room with Justice.

And Elena.

“Oh my.” Hu Tao leaned back in his Aeron chair. “Where are we?”

A familiar voice spoke. “You are …”


In my Court room and you better not forget it!!" Yelled Judge Judy, banging her gavel. “Why do all of you look like you been sleeping this whole time? I mean, I can understand @sleepyhead, but Proteus? Sonya? you gotta be kidding.” She said with annoyance.


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