Part 12: Road Trippin'
Part 11: Road Trippin'
When I woke up, my head was throbbing. A nearby Mr. Saturn was snoozing on the grass, wearing my hat. I nabbed it back and put it back on. Jeff and Paula were nowhere to be seen. As the morning sun assaulted my eyes, I spied the empty coffee cup from the night before.
: "Ugh...What the heck was in that coffee?"
My head pounding with every step, I stumbled back towards the center of town. Jeff and Paula emerged from one of the bow-topped buildings.
: "What happened to me? My head's killing me..."
: "Well, after you kinda freaked out from drinking the Mr. Saturn's coffee, we decided we better not drink any."
: "I freaked out?"
: "Well, technically speaking, I'd say you freaked out, yeah."
: "Then you passed out in the grass...The Mr. Saturns gave us hotel rooms. Glad to see you're alright."
: "I think they drugged me."
: "Mr. Saturn told us about an oddly peaceful place nearby that some of them used to hide from Belch...They called it "Milky Well". It might be a sanctuary spot."
: "One of them took my hat."
: "Here, they gave us these for breakfast. It's called a 'peanut cheese bar'. Have one, they're good."
Jeff handed me a wrapped bar. Still slightly disoriented, I opened and ate it. It was pretty tasty, and soon we were headed back up towards the hot springs. A sign pointed the way into a cave that led to Milky Way.
The cave was just a narrow pathway that led out into a clearing. Overall it was maybe twenty feet long. But packed into that short distance was all manner of vines and plants, choking the ground and coating the walls.
A shadowy figure moved in the darkness, and suddenly a creepy little plant-creature leapt
out at us.
Two smaller sprouts, like the ones I had faced before, trailed behind it as if it were some kind of plant general. It wielded a long sprout with a leaf at the end like a spear or something.
: "Watch out for those little sprouts-they'll grow more of themselves if you aren't careful!"
Jeff was keeping the two sprouts occupied with bursts from his pistol, but so far they had managed to dodge his shots. Suddenly the plant-man lunged with his spear. I blocked it with my bat, and noticed the leaf on his spear was apparently razor-sharp. It dug into the wood of my bat and I wrestled to keep him at bay.
Paula came from behind and hit the plant-man over the head with her frying pan. It stumbled around, dazed, and I struck. It fell under a double beating of bat and frying pan, as Paula and I pounded it into mulch.
Meanwhile Jeff had managed to nail one of the plants with his weapon, and it was sizzling and twitching as he tried to hit the other dancing sprout.
: "My battery's going to run dry at this rate!"
We boxed the elusive plant in and stomped it flat. Keeping a careful eye on the vegetation around us, we made our way out of the cave.
The scene in the lush green valley outside wasn't terribly different. All over, vines and weeds were overgrown and tangled, and a few mobile sprouts and even some walking mushrooms milled here and there.
: "This is so unnerving. I can't tell which plants are going to come at us and which are...just plants, you know?"
: "Just be glad there's no walking oak trees here."
The smaller plants weren't too much threat on their own. We smacked a few around on our way through. One of the mushrooms, however, got the drop on us, and spread some weird spore in the air before we could squash it. We quickly brushed it off.
: "What a strange spore. I've never seen anything like it. Is everyone alright? This could truly cause some strange effects if it were inhaled..."
: "...Think I'm okay...Although, feeling I am kind of strange."
: "Gaah! P-Paula...There's a mushroom growing out of your head!"
: "What? Speak sense you not are!"
: "No, he's right. You have a fungal growth on top of your head. Let me see it."
Paula stooped down and Jeff gave her new headgear an appraising examination.
: "It is what? Tell me!"
: "Well...there's a mushroom growing out of your head. It...seems to be going down into your skull."
: "Good sounds that not, something do! Help! You!"
: "It's clearly affecting her brain. This isn't good."
: "Can you get it off?"
: "If it's really going down into her brain, just pulling it out could be disastrous. It might take part of her cerebrum out with it, or it might break off below the skin, and we wouldn't be able to reach it. She needs a doctor."
: "Fine I'm. Lets' just going keeping...keeping go."
We looked at Paula. She looked normal, except of course for the mushroom.
: "If you say so, we'll keep going."
Around a corner was another cave. Paula walked right into the rock wall to the left of the entrance a couple of times before we were able to get her spun around and into the cave.
: "Oh, man, this is a bad idea. Jeff, this is the first time you've been to one of these places, but some kind of horrible monster is going to attack us."
: "I'm very interested to see what kind of effect cerebro-fungal interference will have on psychic abilities. I say we go ahead."
: "Yes, turn back no do it now. We take can problem. Any."
: "Take it from me, if you dare..."
The cave, like the one before it, was overgrown with sprouts, vines, and little mushrooms. A low rumbling signified the approach of the guardian. I raised my bat, and Jeff readied his weapon. Paula was gripping her frying pan by the round pan instead of the handle and looking determinedly at the ceiling. This did not bode well.
The vines were moving and one of the little sprouts was growing up out of the ground now. A pile of earth slowly grew beneath it. I was shocked when two beady little eyes popped open and a wheezing, dusty mouth split the ancient dirt. The sprout on top of its' head was bobbing as the mound of dirt raised its ancient roots through the ground like tentacles to swipe at us. I dodged its onslaught and struck back with a hefty swing of my trusty bat. The root cracked and the plant roared in anger.
Jeff's gun was leaving smoking burns on the roots and the plant was whipping them about in pain. Paula, meanwhile, was whaling on a small plant a few feet away. It was crushed quickly, and wasn't putting up much of a fight. In fact, it wasn't a part of the ancient sprout at all.
: "Paula! Over here!"
Paula turned to the left and promptly charged into battle. Unfortunately, the battle was with a wall, and she lost.
: "Ow! Wall is there, why say to that way going?"
Jeff pulled out a bottle rocket, sparked the fuse with his gun, and let the fireworks rip toward the angry plant. They burst in a brilliant shower of white-hot sparks right in the sprout's face. It shrieked as little fires started on its sprout and some of the dry, ancient roots it was whipping around the room. Enraged, it whipped a thick root at Jeff, and knocked him against a wall.
I was going to see if Jeff was ok, but a thick root wrapped itself around my ankle. The angry plant was dragging me toward its leering mouth.
: "Paula! Could use a hand here!"
: "Ness! Sorry I'm! Brain not work...opposite it does from telling it what!"
: "Then...walk away from me!"
It was working! Paula took a few shaky steps, then started walking towards me. I started pounding the root with my bat, trying to break it loose, but it was pretty thick. Suddenly I felt a ice-cold breeze blast past me. Paula had used her psychic freeze attack, but it was a little misguided. My foot and the root gripping it were quickly encased in a freezing block of ice.
: "Happened what? Can't see plant! Hit it I did?"
: "N-not ex-ex-actly!"
The plant was thrashing its root around trying to let go of me, but as we were now joined under a chunk of ice, it only succeeded in whipping me back and forth. I dropped my bat and it rolled out of reach. This was quickly turning nasty.
Jeff was still out of commission on the floor. Paula was swatting at the air with her frying pan. I had an idea. It was incredibly risky, but I was running out of options.
: "Paula! Target me! Use the strongest fire you can!"
: "What?! You...burn don't want to you!"
: "Trust me! Just do it!"
Just as I had figured, she unleashed a massive wave of flame that soared towards me...and of course, missed me entirely. The flames burned through the roots and torched the plant down to the dirt.
Dragging my still-frozen (melting rapidly, but not quite fast enough) foot along, I made my way up to the still-growling mound of dirt, where its beady eyes glared out at me angrily. Several well-aimed swings with my bat, and it groaned and sank back under the earth, its eyes staring lifelessly ahead.
Boss Battle: Trillonage Sprout
Google Video / Backup
: "Good work, Paula. We'll get that thing off your head, just sit tight. I need to check on Jeff."
Jeff was lying on the floor where he had slammed into the wall earlier. I shook him gently and he groaned and dragged himself to his knees.
: "Jeff? You alright?"
: "Oh, man...Sustained unconsciousness isn't very much fun. What happened with that plant?"
: "It's alright, me and Paula managed to take it out."
: "Oh, so then the mushroom's gone?"
: "Well, not exactly, but you know, we got by."
Paula was kind of rotating in place back by where the plant had been.
: "Here, help me and we'll kind of lead her through the door here."
Together, we stepped through the doorway and out into the Milky Well, the third Sanctuary location.
I had secretly been wondering if all of the sanctuary spots were going to involve footprints of some kind, considering the first two. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see a very peaceful fountain gushing milky-white water into a small pond.
: "...Be a thoughtful, strong boy..."
I was expecting another flash of memory this time, but I was still taken aback to hear my mom's voice so strongly. I missed my home. But to be seeing the world with a couple of good friends...It wasn't so bad.
I looked over at the two of them. They were both standing serenely looking at the fountain. Something was looking a little off. I couldn't quite place what it was, and then I realized-Paula's mushroom was gone.
: "Paula! Your mushroom's gone!"
: "What? Really?"
She felt about on the top of her head and looked overjoyed.
: "All right! I was really getting tired of walking into walls..."
: "I guess the power of the sanctuary healed you."
: "Yeah, my headache's gone now, too."
Revitalized from the fountain, we made our way back to Saturn Valley and said our goodbyes to the helpful Mr. Saturns.
Heading through the now-deserted graveyard tunnel, we walked for a few hours before emerging in Threed.
An amazing change had come over the place. Instead of the pervasive gloom, a peaceful, cheery air now hung over the town. The perpetual twilight was broken by the sun beaming happily down. The zombie committee from the tent earlier was waiting by the path to the graveyard, and they burst into applause when we emerged.
: "You're welcome!"
: "Sure we will."
: "Where are we heading next?"
: "We need to get to Fourside now that the buses are running again."
: "Here we go. The bus will be here pretty soon."
And so, we paid our fare and hopped on the bus, leaving Threed much more peaceful than when we found it.
Before long, the bus had entered the long stretch of desert that separated Threed and Fourside, and we were idly watching the cacti zoom past us.
: "Oh, man...That must stretch for miles."
: "There's a drugstore there. Let's hop out and grab something cold to drink."
When we came out, the bus was gone.
: "Hey, what the-"
She pointed, and we just had time to glimpse the bus before it disappeared back into the tunnel towards Threed.
: "Guess he got tired of waiting..."
: "Well good for him. What are we supposed to do? We're trapped in the middle of the desert now!"
Next time: Ness gets lost in the desert! Don't miss it!