A Human Among Animal Thieves @jumbochamploon
Lumberyard Tasks and Canadian Games

Chapter 26

"Jean Bison has unknowingly thrown down the gauntlet. With the Clockwerk Talons posted as a trophy, we'd be fools not to compete in his Lumberjack games!" Bentley said, Henriette smiling at that.

"Yeah, about that, I've been in a fair bit o' competitions in the past similar to these games. An' if there's one thing I know when competin' in those things, it's that cheating is almost a necessity. Of course, getting caught will net disqualification, but if Jean's competin', he's sure to cheat at his own game without getting penalized. So we'll need a plan of attack," Henriette said, her lying just as well as me right now. She knew of the outcome of the games, but didn't want to give anything away.

"Okay, do you know your way around an axe, Henriette?" Bentley asked, Henriette smiling at that.

"Are ye kidding, mate? I used axes to fell trees long before Bison was born! Used the lumber to patch holes in me ship if she got hurt in cannon fights," Henriette smiled.

"Then we'll have a way of doing that task quite easily. For now, we'll need to focus on finding out where the Northern Light Battery is being kept, as we have no idea where it could possibly be... luckily, there's an RC combat club in a local cabin nearby. All the guards that go there work in the Lighthouse. If we want to find out where the battery is, we go there. Sly and Henriette will go there in disguise to compete in the tournament. In the meantime, Ella and Ruby will need to acquire an eagle's egg for the heist. There should be a nest far across the ice. But with Ruby's levitation and Ella's supreme jumping abilities, you should be able to get it without a sweat," Bentley smiled.

And indeed, we did manage to get the eagle egg without a sweat, allowing Ruby and me to steal some cash from the local guards as well as soMe valuable loot like gold bars, silver necklaces, and even some rubies and sapphires! We then returned to the hideout when everyone was back and we then went over the next set of tasks.

"Thanks to Henriette and Sly's work in the combat club, we now know that the battery is located in a silo by the water's edge, looking out to the southeast of our current location. It'll require serious modification if we're going to shut ourselves in it to stow away onto Arpeggio's blimp. Ella, Meg, and Murray will proceed to the Lighthouse to destroy the collection chamber for the Northern Light Battery so it can't recharge and so that the Northern Lights can shine brightly once again. In the meantime, Sly, Ruby, and I will go out to drain the battery of power using the grapple lines off the local computer-driven boats. If my calculations are right, this plan has a 97 percent chance of success," Bentley smiled.

I then proceeded to the lighthouse through the top hatch while Meg and Murray waited at the base by the entrance. I then went down the spiral staircase and came across a few guards, me taking them out without issue until I finally got to the bottom, me smashing the chair apart for the other two to get inside.

"Thanks, Elle. Just let me at that Northern Light Attractor! It'll be slag in minutes!" Murray said with enthusiasm.

"Not as easy as that, Murray. I'll redirect the energy flow of the charger while you lift up the circuit breaker. That should give Ella enough time to get back to the top of the lighthouse to override the machine from the main generator," Meg said, me smiling at that. I then went up the stairs slightly until they began to work their magic, me then seeing the energy be less powerful, me then climbing up the cables while continuing to look down for the whole way, switching between cables to prevent from getting zapped... but that also meant that my brain was angered as, again, it was bright lights. I then made it to the top and flipped the switch, me sighing a breath of relief when the lights were finally done for.

"We did it! The collection mechanism is overloading!... Wait... Shit! Murray, we need to leave NOW!" Meg exclaimed, me jumping up the ladder and getting out of the lighthouse and me seeing that Meg and Murray were using the footings of the ice flows to escape the lighthouse. And just in time, too, as I saw a huge blast of heat escape from it, melting the ice around the island instantly while also making the lighthouse lose all power.

"Damn... that was close... time to check up on them," I said as I jumped down and followed the duo back to the Safehouse, seeing that Meg got a couple singe marks on her dress and that Murray was completely unhurt, me smiling at that.

"Okay, that was not according to plan... but at least the collection mechanism is gone and the Northern Lights can return to their full beauty again," Meg said, me smiling at her as the other team came in soon after.

"Okay, now to go over the plan. Operation Canada Games is going to be quite difficult. We have 3 different events that we'll be facing Jean Bison in. The Power Chopping contest, the Ice Climbing contest, and the Spinning Log contest. But none of us will be able to match Bison, so in order to win, we'll need to cheat. I've signed up Henriette to be the representative in the Power Chopping contest. Get us a good score and then Bison will take his turn. Ella will then turn invisible and plant the eagle egg in Bison's trousers. The overprotective parents should come by and throw off his axe swing. Next, I've got Sly to go for the Ice Climb contest, as he's the best of the climbers on our team. After we get a good score there, Ruby will use her mojo powers to make it so that Bison loses his grip during the climb, making him fall flat. And finally, Neyla will represent the team in the log spinning contest, but she, Ella, and Meg will all need disguises when they go to compete. Once you finish with the log spinning contest, Ella will then proceed to grease up Bison's legs so he has no chance of winning," Bentley said, me smiling at that... but I knew what'd happen and I didn't like it one bit.

Our group proceeded to the Lumber Jack games by the water's edge, me needing to give Neyla a spare disguise for her to put on so Bison wouldn't recognize her. Me and Meg then disguised ourselves as more rugged animals. I dressed like a lioness (me looking quite sweet in the process) and Meg dressed as a panda, her color scheme looking adorable, even if her body type wasn't the same as a regular panda's.

"Hello, good sir. We humble lumberjacks would like to participate in yer Lumber Jack games," Henriette smiled in her own voice, since Bison hadn't heard her before.

"Think you got whut it takes to win the Clockwerk Talons, eh? Well, I'm sure enough gonna let ya play, so long as ya pay the entry fee," Bison said.

"Would this suffice?" Neyla said with a fake accent as she produced a very pretty jeweled scepter, me smiling as I recognized that it was one of the Contessa's rare treasures.

"Sure enough. Let's begin!" Bison smirked widely as Henriette then took her position at the power chopping place, a thick log in front of her and her holding in axe. "This year's first event is a power chopping contest!... Not like anyone's gonna beat my record, but, go ahead an' try," Bison smiled, Henriette smirking widely at him.

"Oh really, mate? Watch this," Henriette smiled as she took her hand and formed it like a karate hand. I knew what was coming. "CRACKAAAAH CHOP!" Henriette yelled as she slammed her karate chop directly down the log, her hand actually slicing directly through the log in just one fell swing! And Bison was gobsmacked, his mouth open in disbelief.

"Oh mah gawd... That was the most impressive chop I've ever seen! And from a hand, no less!" Bison gawked, the judges then giving her perfect tens across the board. "Now it's my turn," Bison said, me smiling as I then went invisible and got the eagle egg, proceeding over to Bison without a sound and placing the egg in his back pant pocket. And just as he was about to make his first swing, the eagle parent swooped in from above, Bison gasping and getting so surprised, he lost his grip on the axe and it actually landed in the icy cold waters! The judges immediately gave him zeros and Bison growled angrily. "Whut? I think you better rethink them scores, boys. What ya'll intended to give me was perfect tens, RIGHT?!" Bison growled, the judges gulping and giving him tens after that.

"Well, if yer lady friend with the eyepatch can chop through a log without an axe, let's see how you handle a vertical wall of ice!" Bison smirked, Sly then smirking and me smiling at what he did. He used slow time and proceeded to climb up the thing, Jean and me impressed at how quick he looked when he did it, Sly managing to reach the top in only 10 seconds because of the slow time skill! "Impressive! Another brand new record! Now time for me to take a swing," Bison smirked, him then proceeding to the wall and Ruby looking on from our points with her voodoo doll in hand. She then started to hum a bit as Bison began his climb. Just as he was about to jump up a bit higher, he gasped as he suddenly felt his strength fail him, me smirking as he then landed on the ground face-first, him just as confused as the guards. He then tried to climb again, but the damage was done. He didn't make it to the top in the time allotted so the judges gave him an 8, 9, and 6.

"It seems you boys have pulled the wrong cards again. Did I ever tell you the story of last year's judge who mistakenly gave me a score OTHER than ten?" Bison frowned, the judges then giving him tens, though this time, it was reluctantly. "Seems we're tied with only one event to go. Unfortunately for you all, I've saved my toughest event for last. The spinning log contest!" Bison smirked, Neyla proceeding to jump on the logs and beginning to move her legs quickly and efficiently, getting them from log to log easily. She did this for upwards of three minutes before the judges gave her perfect tens.

"You're one lucky kitty, I'll give ya that. But now, watch how a pro does it," Bison said, Murray frowning.

"This is getting nowhere. Jean Bison's got those judges so intimidated, there's no way he can lose!" Murray said, me nodding at that.

"No way we're gonna win if those guys are still there. Now, I'm just making this up on the fly, but how about Ruby uses her powers to lure the guards into that cave right there? And once inside, Bentley, Murray and I tie them up and take their clothes to pose as them?" Sly asked, me smiling at him.

"That sounds like a good plan. But we'll need to move fast," I said, Jean then jumping on the logs and Ruby then using her powers on the guards, them gasping and falling under her trance in an instant. Ruby then led them over to the cave like she were the pied piper and the trio then took their clothes and took their places at the judge's table, Bison not looking in their direction one bit. Once he finished the log rolling, the trio then gave him all 0s, Bison gasping at that.

"WHUT!? I thought I warned you boys about the consequences for incorrect scores!" Bison said, him then sniffing the air and frowning. "Wait a second... YOU AIN'T THE JUDGES I HIRED! It's the scrawny raccoon and his annoying friends! Well if you all want these talons so bad, why don't you just take 'em?!" Bison growled as he then threw the hardened talons directly at the trio, the result being much different than in the game. It actually made Murray's hand get cut up, it punctured Sly's left ear and shoulder, and one of them actually managed to make a slash mark right through the left of Bentley's shell! All of them fell to the ground with blood escaping their bodies and the snow underneath them turning red!

"You BASTARD! You could've killed them!" Henriette yelled angrily from our standpoint, Bison then frowning at our group as he then blew on the bullhorn on his neck, a whole mess of guards appearing from the lumber camp and completely overwhelming our group! "Get these thieves to a little interrogation room in the sawmill. I'm mighty sure they've got a whole mess of parts in that hideout of theirs," Bison said, Henriette gasping and growling angrily.

"You better not think of giving them to Arpeggio, Bison! If he resurrects Clockwerk, the entire world will be destroyed! You and everyone along with it! ALL OF YOU!" Henriette yelled angrily as the guards grabbed all of us by the arms and led us to the sawmill with sacks on our heads.

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