“Use it on Jim.”
Victoria hesitates, but only for a second. “So be it.” She pops the lid off and sprinkles the dust along Jim’s hammer, the most noticeable and iconic part of his costume. Despite the fact that it was a clearance item from a demon weapon set, Jim took the time to modify it, resculpting the edges and adding some different color schemes until it was something completely unique. There’s also at least an eighty percent chance that it’s a functioning bong, though that’s true of pretty much anything Jim touches. You watch, unaware that you’re holding your breath as the dust shimmers into the hammer. Just like the hat before, it’s quality seems to rise a hundred fold, looking less like a prop and more like a genuine weapon of tremendous power.
Unfortunately, that’s all that happens. No sudden burst of new costume magic, no rush of power from the character springing to life. No movement from Jim, who remains a lifeless scarecrow.
“Does it need a while? Last time-”
“Last time the user was not a scarecrow,” Victoria interrupts. “The choice is made, now we must simply live with it.” She roots around in her bag and pulls out a small leather book. “I trust you remember what this does?”
You do indeed, it’s a book of you, one that can call forth moments of your life, when you can find the right page. Deciding that the water pistols aren’t going to be much help in a fight, you toss them from your holster and slip the book into one. Victoria is extending the bag now, leaning back as she nods for you to dip a hand in. Okay, nothing creepy about that. Dipping your fingers into the bag, you pull out a small glowing pearl the size of a large marble. Seeing it seems to make her even more squeamish, so you quickly tuck that into a holster as well.
“What you have drawn is a pearl of-”
The crash of a tombstone being ripped from the ground cuts her off, as one of the giant rag ghouls yanks away your hiding spot to reveal the entire family of monsters staring at you both. Guess you weren’t being as quiet as you thought. Or a clan named “Whispers” has good hearing. Either way, you react on pure instinct, grabbing the nearest thing to a weapon you can find and swinging with all your might.
Good news: Jim’s hammer, now gripped in your trembling hands, manages to actually knock the monster back a couple of feet. Bad news: it’s still standing, and now seems pissed. Fight didn’t work, so it’s time for flight as you roll to the side and dash to your feet, Victoria’s sleek running form already a few feet ahead of you.
“Use the tools!” She commands, just before leaping into the air, much higher than anyone should be able to, and landing claws first on another of the giant ghouls. The rest of them aren’t standing around like useless sacks of shit, instead they’re trying to converge on both of you, and given their size and numbers you have a feeling they’ll probably succeed.
“Easier said than done!” You scream back, pumping your legs to try and put some distance between yourself and the closest pursuing ghoul. Despite the fact that monsters are chasing you around a magic graveyard, howling for your blood or whatever, you need to try and think. Victoria gave you weapons to fight with, use the damn things.
The biggest, most obvious tool is the currently enchanted hammer that’s still in your hands. Except that it’s not doing what it’s supposed to and turning you into Godpunch Lightning-Fucker. You wrack your brain, thinking about the first time you used the dust. When you put on the hat, you were already wearing a makeshift wizard outfit. Tonight, however, you’re dressed like a cowboy. Maybe the issue is that you’re not close enough to Godpunch for the magic to work. If that sounds crazy, I agree, but these are the kinds of thoughts you have while being chased by ghouls.
There’s also the book, but based on your experiences last time it took a bit of fumbling about to make it work. You needed to hunt down a word you could read, and even if that happens quickly there are no promises it will be a useful moment. Still, at least that’s a magic you understand and can use, which puts it a leg up on both Jim’s hammer and the mystery pearl. The pearl is anyone’s guess, as Victoria is too busy murdering ghouls, and the air too filled with their odd, unnatural howls, for her to give you any tips on exactly how the damn thing works.
Actually, one sound does cut through the ghoul noises, a piercing shrill scream coming from the center of the clearing. It’s a curse word, or a mashed up collection of them, spewing from Annabeth’s mouth. With only one glance you can see that the gaunt man with the knife is drawing closer. Right, you forgot this was supposed to be a rescue mission, didn’t you? While you don’t know what he was waiting for initially, evidently you and Victoria moved up the timetable as his drawn blade all but glows with moonlight.
Taking a sharp turn, which unfortunately your pursuer ghouls are able to replicate, the fuckers, you veer back toward the center of the clearing where Annabeth is. This does catch some of the ones you pass by surprise, as they evidently aren’t used to people running toward them. Just another in your long life of stellar decisions. Sadly the ghouls chasing you remain hot on your tail, giving you no room to think or strategize.
It’s time to act, and when you do you’ll only have seconds. You can shake off the duster and hat in the hopes of becoming a blank slate and triggering Jim’s hammer, you can fumble through the book and pray you locate a good moment, or you can swing a mystery pearl around and see what happens. Between the man with the knife advancing on Annabeth and the monsters all-but breathing down your neck (though you don’t actually know if they breathe) there’s no question that if the shot you take doesn’t land, there won’t be time for a second.
Cross your fingers, hope for the best, and do something.