Part 18: Wisdom of the Desert Monkey
Part 16: Wisdom of the Desert Monkey
Stepping through the door ahead, I realized Moonside had been inside a large warehouse connected to the café. As Jeff and I stepped out, a horrible warbling from inside my backpack announced that Apple Kid had something to say once again.
: "Alright, what's the story with this one?"
: "It's called the Gourmet Yogurt Machine, and it can make yogurt in any flavor imaginable."
: "...Okay, um, I guess that's...that's pretty useful."
: "The only problem is, right now, it can only make trout-flavored yogurt."
: "Yeah. So, anyway, the machine's being delivered to you via "Escargo Express". I'm about out of the money from your initial investment, so I had to send it 'Neglected Class', but I'm sure it'll get there safe."
: "Uh, thanks."
The line went dead.
: "What's up?"
: "Apple Kid made a machine that makes trout-flavored yogurt. For some reason, he's sending it to us."
: "Wow, really? That's so thoughtful. Trout yogurt is considered a delicacy in many cultures, you know."
: "I think I'm gonna be sick if people keep saying the words 'trout yogurt'."
Outside the café, a streak of brown fur was speeding towards us. I didn't have time to react, but amazingly, it missed us, and smashed into the side of the building. Approaching it, I realized it was a small monkey, apparently charred from the impact.
: "Are you all right?"
: "Keke ku iokki kokyo. (I can't remember if we've met.) Kyu ukki ukki ko (Talah Rama just finished his fast) Kyu ukyo uki (and now wants to meet you) Uko uke kauike (at the west end of Dusty Dunes Desert) kekoi kiko ukkeke. (in a cave with lots of monkeys.)
The monkey bowed and took off.
: "Why could I understand that?"
I didn't have time to ponder the monkey's message, as we were immediately approached by another figure.
: "Hey, are you Ness?"
: "Uh, yeah."
: "Yeah, I'm with Escargo Express' Neglected Class...There was this guy sunbathing in the desert...and he told me about this cave with a bunch of monkeys...or was it orangutans? I forgot. Yeah, I even forgot the thing I was supposed to deliver, too. I think it was some weird machine to make trout-flavored yogurt...Yeah, I forgot it at the desert...I'm not going back that way, so don't ask me to get the package..."
: "You're one awful delivery man, aren't you?"
: "I mean, it's your package, right? So you go get it, if it's so important to you...have a good time in the desert!"
: "Of all the lazy jerks...I can't believe my sister works for those clowns."
: "Look, here comes someone else."
A blonde, heavily-made up woman strutted up to us.
: "I'm a maid who works for Mr. Monotoli, and I'm looking for trout-flavored yogurt to serve to our special guest. You know it's a very rare delicacy in some parts of the world?"
: "Ugh. Yeah, I'd heard."
: "I overheard you guys talking about trout-flavored yogurt just now, so if you know anything about it, please let me know! I've been searching and searching..."
Then she hurried off as well.
: "This is getting ridiculous."
: "So we're actually going to go into the desert to search for a yogurt machine?"
: "Well...I'm going to see Talah Rama. I guess it won't kill us to look for the yogurt machine while we're out there. Right now, it's the only lead we've got to get in close to Monotoli."
And so, we once again embarked on the long, hot trip to the western end of the Dusty Dunes Desert. We didn't see any neglected packages, but we did meet a shady gentleman who sold Jeff a large amount of explosives.
We found the monkey hole, and were greeted by a cheerful monkey.
: "Kikikiykki (Our paradise exists beneath that hole.)"
We climbed inside down a rickety ladder, into the monkey's subterranean 'paradise'. It was mossy and cool, and the chattering of monkeys echoed through the tunnels.
We hadn't gone very far before we came to a monkey blocking the doorway.
: "Ukippkyako ukikiki? (Do you have a Skip sandwich?) Ukki ukieki... (I'll move away if you give me one.)"
: "Uh...No, we don't have a skip sandwich. I...guess I can go get you one, though."
The monkey next to him piped up at that.
: "Ukyakki kyakye! (I'd like to have a protein drink!) Kya Kya? (Can you get me one, too?)
: "Um, hold on a minute. Let me write this down."
More monkeys were emerging from the doorways behind them.
: "Uikke uiki uki! (I want a hamburger, get me a hamburger!)"
: "Kikiki kiki! (I wanna eat a picnic lunch!)"
: "Ukkkin uki uki ukkin (Ooooo...I'm Monkonna. I wanna eat a tasty pizza.)"
: "Ukiki ukkike (Oh, yeah, I'd love some pizza too!)"
Some time later, I had written down a list of the monkeys' preferred food.
: "I think I can get Mach Pizza to deliver all this...But it's gonna clean out my bank account...again."
: "Ouch. Here, I have a little bit left after those bottle rockets, I'll chip in."
An hour or so later, an extremely confused pizza delivery man holding a good half dozen bags of various pizzas and sandwiches showed up at the hole. We paid him and hauled the food down into the monkey's kingdom. Soon, all the monkeys were munching happily away, and we were able to continue down into the deeper passageways of the cavern.
In the farthest cave, we found a single monkey sitting serenely beside a small, hunched, gray-bearded man. This must be Talah Rama, I thought. He had his head wrapped in a turban and with his legs folded together, he hovered a foot or so above the ground, his eyes shut tight in meditation. I didn't want to disturb him, so I stood there patiently until his monkey attendant noticed us, and tugged gently on Talah Rama's robes. His eyes fluttered open, and he turned to us.
: "Truth speaks through space and matter and makes itself known to human beings. I was waiting for you and you came. This was destined to happen. In truth, all is pre-determined..."
: "...Sorry to keep you waiting."
: "Not at all. Thank you for feeding my companions. During my fast, there's not very much food in these tunnels, and so the monkeys get slightly ravenous."
: "Oh, no problem."
: "Ness...Paula...Jeff...and Poo...When these four powers gather, twisted space will bring back peace to the world."
I had to stifle a giggle. Poo? Who the heck is Poo? I had a brief image of the three of us combining our power with Poo and felt my face trying to contort in a big, dumb grin. I quickly reigned myself in and continued listening to the old master's story.
: "Do you understand? Ah, it doesn't matter. Proceed as you wish. ...Did you come in search of this? Someone tossed it down this hole."
He held out a banged-up box from Escargo Express' Neglected Class.
: "The gourmet yogurt dispenser! Thank you, sir!"
: "The adventure that lies ahead won't be easy. But of course, you know this...The adventure to this point has not been easy. I'll teach you a special skill to help you move through space as you wish. Speak to the monkey over there...He'll show you."
: "Kyakyakya (Let's go outside.)"
We followed the monkey outside to the now-deserted stretch of highway that had been clogged with cars earlier.
: "(If you learn this, you can go anywhere you've been previously.)"
As we watched, the monkey got a nice running start and suddenly accelerated. He was going impossibly fast, and a few feet past us down the road, he simply vanished. A few seconds passed, and then he reappeared in a spark of light, speeding towards us. He gradually slowed down, and walked back to us.
: "(You can't use this ability indoors or in a cave where you don't have room to get started.) Ukikke uke kyaike (Even if your friend doesn't have psychic powers, you can bring them along with you if you concentrate. Now you try it.)
Jeff looked a little nervous, like he was somehow going to be left behind. I started running, focusing my mind on me and Jeff going back to Fourside. The world started to thrum and vibrate, and I felt myself speeding up. Suddenly the blinding sun and sand of the desert seemed to melt away, and the scenery of the big city surrounded me. I dug my heels in and screeched to a halt, leaving trails of scorched rubber behind. Jeff bumped roughly into my back from the abrupt stop, but it had worked. We were in Fourside, and it had only taken a matter of seconds.
: "Wow, that's amazing! Let's go back and thank that monkey!"
Using a long stretch of sidewalk as my runway, I sped up and soon found myself back in the desert highway where I had started.
: "It works! Thanks, monkey. Tell Talah Rama thanks for me, too. I'm off to rescue a friend of mine."
Outside of the department store, across the street from the Monotoli Building, we found Monotoli's maid once again.
: "We have a machine, called the gourmet yogurt machine, that dispenses trout flavored yogurt."
: "What? You do? Great! Now I can make trout-flavored yogurt for our guests at the big meeting. You guys are so kind, won't you please drop by my room with that yogurt dispenser? It's on the 48th floor, so don't forget to come by!"
She disappeared into the skyscraper. We followed, keeping a low profile, trying not to attract the attention of any black-suited security personnel.
Thanks to Electra, we were taken straight to the 48th floor, where Monotoli himself worked, bypassing Pokey's office on the 47th. We stepped off the elevator, and behind the first door, we were greeted by a strange little creature.
: "Uh....fuzzy pickles?"
I don't think the robot liked my code, because it started counting down from 10.
: "Klaatu barada nikto?"
: "Baseball bat?"
: "Baseball bat? What kind of code is-"
: "Touché, Ness."
: "C'mon, let's get going."
The 48th floor was a maze of hallways and deserted offices. We had to bust up a few more security robots, but they didn't pose much of a threat.
Finally, we found Electra's room. It was a cozy little place decorated in a toothache-inducing pink.
She held out a dish of shiny, gray yogurt with a strong odor wafting off it. I immediately handed it to Jeff, feeling more than a little nauseous. Jeff started munching at it with a faraway look in his eyes.
: "Is that actually any good?"
: "...No. But, it's a rare delicacy, and I may never have the opportunity to try it again."
We took our leave, Jeff forcing down the trout yogurt, and began our search for Mr. Monotoli.
We didn't go far when we were accosted by another robot. This one was different, though.
It shuddered and clattered, its body barely held together by rusty bolts, and it whirred noisily as it rolled towards us.
We started slowly circling behind it. If this is all it was gonna do, then I figured we might as well just pass by and continue on our way. We had almost made our way to the door on the other side of the room when a loud whirring and clatter of gears caught our attention.
: "Hang on, I'll take care of it."
Jeff quickly drew a long bottle rocket from his backpack and fired a salvo off at the now well-armed robot. The flaming orbs pinged ineffectively off its round metal head.
Not wanting to get any closer, I figured my only hope was a psychic attack. Amazingly, it seemed like the artillery weighed the robot down so much I wasn't able to lift it up and do any real damage. My beams of strobing light bashed it in the head and torso, leaving a few dents and dings, but just like Jeff's bottle rocket, it didn't do any permanent damage.
: "It's gonna fire! What are we gonna do?!"
Next time: Joyful reunions, jazz musicians, and grand theft helicopter! Don't miss it!