Darren sighed. “The banner’s straight, Perry. I measured it out.”
“Well, from down here it looks crooked. You have to put that side up a little bit.”
“I am not moving the banner again…”
“Do it or I’ll shake the ladder.”
Darren straightened the sign and climbed down the ladder. “There. Happy now?”
“Yeah, it looks great.”
“Cool drawings on the sides.”
“Thanks. I made the bat and Ferb drew the vampire werecow. Phineas drew the pumpkin.”
“They’re talented.” Darren looked at his watch. “Well, we’ve been setting up for three hours now.”
“Yep. Time to get started on the other things. But that is one cool-looking banner.”
Perry went over to one of the decoration boxes and took out a bag of balloons. “We should have made the theme Decorate-Your-Own-Halloween-Party.”
“They’d probably figure we were just being lazy.”
“Not lazy, inventive.” Perry ripped open the package and began to blow up a black balloon. He handed Darren an orange one.
“Help me tie the end.” Darren said. “I don’t have fingers.”
“Ew, no. I’m not touching your spit. It’s like sticking my hand in your mouth.”
“I’ll wipe it off.”
“Your germs are still on there.”
“Fine, then you blow it up.”
“Ew, no! That’s even worse. I am not putting your spit in my mouth.”
“Ugh.” Darren released the air from the balloon and put it on the table. “Get someone else to do that one. You blow up the rest.”
Harry the husky wandered into the room. “I made marshmallow ghosts.” He announced, holding up a tray of marshmallows with chocolate-icing faces.
“Why are they so purple?” Perry asked.
“I used purple food coloring to make them that way.” Harry said. “It’s Halloween-y. I have orange ones, too.”
“Great. Will they last until the party?”
Harry shrugged. “Maybe we can eat these now and make fresh ones for the gathering.”
“Good call. I’m starving.” Perry picked up a marshmallow and put it in his mouth. “Howth if phumith wiffa donuf?”
Perry swallowed. “How’s it coming with the donuts? The new recruits refuse to attend any gathering that doesn’t involve donuts. We just received a petition.”
“Oh, yes.” Harry nodded. “Mr. Slushie Burger agreed to supply us with one hundred dozen donuts for the party.”
“Great. But better make it two-hundred dozen. Henrietta the hippo RSVP’d. Hey, if you don’t mind Darrenspit, can you blow up that balloon right there and tie it?”
“Sure.” Harry said.
“This is gonna be a fantastic party.” Darren said. “The best one yet. And you’re coming, right, Perry?”
“Can’t give you a straight answer on that yet.”
“Aw, come on-”
“No, no. I have an excuse. I’m lightheaded from blowing up balloons.”
Perry caught snippets of conversations as he walked down the hall to his lair.
“…I was reading this… how do you say… ‘book’ earlier.” Juan the jaguar said to Clara the chicken. “It was quite good.”
“Oh, Juan. I just LOVE the way you described the book.”
“…Dinah has to feed me outside because of Elle.” Darren said. “And every time she’s about to take my food out to me, she says, ‘hang on, I’ve got to put on my feeding shoes.’ Cracks me up every time!”
“Quacks me up!” Hamlet the hamster said.
“Watch it Mr. To-Be-Or-Not-To-Be…”
Perry pushed open the door to his lair and locked it behind himself. If he had to stay at the agency for a while, it would be nice to have the time alone.
He pulled out his phone and dialed Phineas’s number.
“Hi, Perry!” Phineas said immediately. “Where are you?”
“At the agency. I don’t think I’ll be home until late. We’re on lockdown. Charlie the chimpanzee stole a mini-muffin from the vending machine and so no one’s allowed to leave until Monogram finds him.”
“Ooh. Almost as bad as that pyramid scam our old neighbor was involved in.” Ferb said.
“Perry, do you have the game system we got you with you?” Phineas asked.
“Um, yeah. Why?”
“We’re gonna play Old Stem together.” Phineas said. “Ferb and Candace and I. And you can come with us to Pika Kingdom.”
“That game where you’re the king, right? Yeah, I’ll join. Let me turn it on.” Perry turned on speakerphone and dug his game system out of his desk drawer. “What the heck is Pika Kingdom? A kingdom dedicated to pikas?”
“It’s the scariest Old Stem player-created kingdom ever.” Phineas said. “We’re gonna check it out. You can visit other people’s kingdoms if they put them online. We figured Pika Kingdom would be good for Halloween. Since it’s known for being creepy.”
“Creepy-crawlies, okay.” Perry turned on Old Stem. His character, a human boy with pink hair, waved at him.
“BOB FROM BOBLAND IS READY!” The game said.
“I forgot I named him that.” Perry said.
“Connect with us over the internet!” Phineas said.
KING PHINEAS FROM BLUBBLESDOM IS ONLINE
KING DARTH KIKI FROM MY COW IS ONLINE
QUEEN CANDY FROM JEREMYLAND IS ONLINE
“You should have named it Jeremymart.” Perry said.
“You should have bought a pika.” Ferb said.
“Let’s just play already.” Candace said.
“Okay, so how do I go with you to Pika Kingdom?” Perry asked.
“Just go to your Dreamy Station and search Pika Kingdom. It only lets you go with friends, so we’ll be there when you go.” Phineas said. “You have the lights on, right?”
“This is a kids’ game. Why would I need lights? It can’t be that creepy.”
Perry made Bob walk into the Dreamy Station. He selected Pika Kingdom, and he instantly appeared on a very pretty paved sidewalk next to a character with red hair, a character with a cow mask, and a girl with Jeremy’s picture on her shirt.
“I must be prepared for the scary.” Ferb said. “I’m going to rent an ax from the rental guy.”
Darth Kiki walked over to a lamppost with eyes. A few moments later, he had an ax in his hands.
“Ferb’s probably the scariest thing we’re gonna see tonight.” Perry said. “By the way, can people see what we do to their kingdoms?”
“No.” Phineas said. “You could chop down trees and it wouldn’t affect their game.”
Perry made Bob run around in the freshly planted flowers. The flowers smashed into the ground.
Darth Kiki chopped down a pomegranate tree and began to eat the fallen fruits.
“You guys are so weird.” Candace said.
“Let’s go in here.” Phineas’s character opened up a door to one of the houses. Perry, Ferb and Candace followed him.
They were in a kitchen. Creepy music played from the corner. A teddy bear was seated at the kitchen counter.
“Why is there a random girl character in here?” Perry asked.
“Ohmigosh, that’s Pika!” Phineas said. “I didn’t know the Dreamy Station characters could go in the houses!”
“Isn’t that a real person?” Perry asked.
“No, they’re computerized versions of the characters that made the kingdom.” Phineas said. “Pika isn’t actually online, it’s just a computer.”
Perry made Bob talk to Pika.
“It’s a Fishy-Fish World!” Pika said.
“I found the scary part, guys.” Perry said.
“You think she means fish-eat-fish world?” Phineas asked.
Darth Kiki hit Pika with his ax. She seemed to be unaffected.
“This room is boring.” Perry said.
“Ooh, cake.” Ferb said.
Darth Kiki picked cake up from the kitchen floor and ate it.
“EW.” Candace said.
They left the house and started to make their way to the next one.
“Ooh, a bush maze!” Phineas said as his character ran into a bush. “We have to solve it to get to the next house!”
“I got this.” Ferb said. Darth Kiki pulled out a shovel and dug the bushes up, leaving a space for them to pass through.
“I think Buford has had an influence on Ferb.” Phineas said.
“Next house.” Perry walked Bob over to the next house. Pika was standing outside of it.
“A different Pika.” Phineas said.
Perry talked to her.
“Fffishshy fisshh worlldd.” Pika said.
“She needs to work on her diction.” Perry said. Bob opened the door to the second house.
It appeared to be a maze made out of books. The same teddy bear from the kitchen sat in front of an ax. A theremin played in the distance. Creaking noises sounded from the back of the room.
“Oh. My. Gosh. That theremin is SO annoying.” Perry said. “Turn it off.”
Darth Kiki wandered through the book maze, stepping on the teddy bear to get by. He vanished from view. Soon the theremin noise stopped.
“Thank you.” Perry said.
“This is creepy.” Candace said. “I’m gonna wait outside.”
Candy walked out of the house. Phineas and Bob followed Darth Kiki’s path through the maze and headed into the back room.
In the back room, the teddy bear was seated in front of a television, an ax by its side. The screen of the television appeared to be malfunctioning.
Darth Kiki switched the television off.
“Thank you.” Perry said. “That noise was annoying too.”
“What’s with all the teddy bears?” Phineas asked.
“Iuh’uh.” Perry said.
Darth Kiki hit the teddy bear with his ax. It did nothing.
“Let’s go to the next house.” Perry said.
They headed back through the book maze. As they approached the ramshackle last house, many of the trees started to look dead. The grass was dying as well. A single peach lay on the ground, next to a dead tree.
Darth Kiki ate it.
Perry talked to the Pika near the last house.
“Fudheiianicneo.” Pika said.
“Now she really needs to work on her diction.” Perry said.
Phineas opened the door to the last house.
The room was completely dark. The teddy bear was the sole object in the room. Creepy music played. Pictures of the teddy bear lined the walls with its face scribbled out.
Darth Kiki danced to the music.
“Um, let’s get out of here.” Perry said.
“That wasn’t too scary.” Phineas said as they left the house. “Now we just have to go to the Dreamy Station Carriage to get back home. When it zooms in on your face, that means you’ve gotten in successfully. Candace is already waiting at the carriage.”
They approached the carriage.
“Um, guys?” Perry asked. “Are all three Pikas supposed to be following us?”
“Um… no.” Phineas said. “I think the game is glitching.”
The Pikas began to run toward them.
“OH MY GOSH.” Perry yelled. Bob ran toward the carriage. “RUN THEY’RE ACTUALLY AFTER US!”
Darth Kiki jumped into the carriage. Phineas and Candace did as well.
“RUN PERRY!” Phineas yelled.
Bob jumped into the carriage- and froze in midair. Pika had gotten into the carriage first.
“OH MY COW.” Ferb said. “SHE’S GLITCHED INTO COMING BACK WITH US!!”
The camera began to zoom in on Pika’s face while Bob floated helplessly in the air.
“TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF!” Phineas yelled.
“IT WON’T GO OFF!” Perry pressed the power button madly.
Finally, the power switched off. Perry’s heart was still beating fast.
“We’re alive.” Phineas said. “She’s gone.”
“I am NEVER touching that game again.” Perry said. “EVER. Oh my gosh… why didn’t I turn the light on?”
Perry’s closet door opened. Perry gave a yell.
“Hey.” Charlie the chimpanzee said, switching on his game system. “I was hiding in here from Monogram when I heard you playing Old Stem. Do you have grapevines in your kingdom? Can we connect on the internet?”
“…Sure.” Perry said shakily.