Part 23: Enter the Dungeon (Man)
Part 21: Enter the Dungeon (Man)
The walls of the Pyramid were covered in hieroglyphics, runes, and etchings of people and snakes. Our footsteps gave off small clouds of dust as we walked.
As we climbed a large staircase a few chambers in, another dusty mummy rose from the ground, moaning, and shuffled towards us. I whacked it across the torso with my bat, causing it to snap nearly in half. Held together by a yellowed bandage, the top half dragged itself along the ground at us, its legs trailing behind it. Jeff helped me and together, we tossed the decrepit old corpse down the stairs.
: "They're persistent, but they're fragile, huh?"
: "They're a test for any who would plunder the pyramid's riches. It would be nice, if they could tell the difference between grave robbers and innocent explorers, though."
Ancient mummies, we would soon discover, were not the only line of defense the pyramid had. As we passed through the next chamber, one of the hieroglyphs on the wall started moving, and jumped right off the wall to chase us down.
I swung my bat at the threatening outline, but it was amazingly quick, and dodged expertly. Then before I knew it, it had smacked me over the head with the staff it was holding. For something that was logically just ink come to life, it was surprisingly solid, and for the second time in as many days, I toppled to the ground, dizzy from a blow to the head.
Jeff was shooting at it, but his blasts passed harmlessly through the space in the middle of the outline. Paula succeeded in freezing it solid in a block of ice.
: "Ow...geez, that thing hits hard."
: "We can't leave it like this, though, it's so hot the ice is already melting."
He was right. A puddle was already forming under the apparition. Soon, it would be loose, and after us again.
Paula thought for a moment and then launched a blast of fire at it. Held in place by the ice, the hieroglyph couldn't dodge out of the way, and the flame obliterated the ice in seconds, quickly reaching the pesky shape underneath. It burned away into a small pile of ash, and we were able to continue on.
The Pyramid was large and well-guarded. We fought many mummies, and a few more hieroglyphs leapt off the walls after us. Finally we came to a room with an ornate casket sitting on a raised platform in the center of the room. Tracks in the ancient dust indicated that the casket could move, somehow, but even with the four of us together, we couldn't make it budge.
: "There must be a switch here somewhere that moves this. Let's keep exploring.
We found ourselves in an impossibly long staircase that led us deep into the recesses of the earth. At the end of the staircase, we found a dead-end room, where more angry hieroglyphs lay in wait.
We also found a brick in the floor that stood a smidge higher than the rest. During the fight, I tripped over it, and felt it sink into the floor. Suddenly a loud rumbling echoed throughout the pyramid from somewhere overhead.
Just as I thought, when we made our way back up the staircase, the casket had slid out of the way, revealing a dark hole leading below.
: "Should we drop down...?"
: "We don't have much choice...I'll go first, if it's too far, I'll try to cushion the fall with a psychic shield."
I hope I sounded confident, because I was scared out of my wits. Nevertheless, I hopped into the hole, preparing a cushion inside a psychic bubble underneath me, but it wasn't necessary. I quickly hit a slanted ramp and slid the rest of the way down. Paula's voice echoed down the chute.
: "Ness? Are you alright?"
: "I'm okay! Come on down, it's safe!"
As my friends came sliding down the ramp, I looked around the room we had discovered. Sitting in the center was a pedestal which housed a beautiful, teardrop-shaped silver artifact. Carved into the center was a piercing eye.
: "Hey, guys, look at this."
: "Do you think that's the 'Hawk eye'?"
: "I think so. Poo, what do you think?"
: "Most likely. Take it."
Feeling a little bit nervous, I reached for the Hawk eye on its pedestal. I had seen enough movies to know this was quite possibly going to cause some horrible trap to spring, but mercifully, nothing happened. I stowed the surprisingly light artifact in my backpack. A door was the only way out of the room, as we certainly weren't going to climb back up the passageway down.
A long, featureless hallway led us to a doorway at the end. Blocking the doorway was another large, decorated casket.
: "Do you think there's another switch we missed somewhere?"
: "Oh, no...you think we're trapped?"
Before we could panic, the casket began to shake. The lid burst open, and amid clouds of dust, a dull purple figure lurched toward us.
Unlike the frail and dusty mummies we'd faced up to this point, this guy was huge. It swung a meaty fist at us, and we had to leap backwards out of the way. It roared in rage.
Poo was the first to attack the giant. He darted up and planted several kicks in the creature's torso, causing clouds of dust to billow forth. His feet merely bounced off the giant, as if it were made of living bricks or something. It raised its fist overhead and brought it down, and Poo narrowly dodged out of the way as its fist crashed into the ground, splintering the tiles on the floor.
: "I think psychic attacks are the best course of action. It's very thick, and it doesn't seem bothered by physical pain."
I had been thinking about this technique since the fights in the department store, where I had dazed the bass guitar with a flash of light. My powers had steadily grown since then, and I decided to try the psychic flash again. A brilliant strobe effect erupted in the dim catacombs of the pyramid. My friends covered their eyes, but the guardian, locked in a tomb for who knows how long, was simply not prepared for light like that, and staggered backwards, dazed.
Paula and Poo were quick to act and encased the guardian's deadly arms in twin blocks of ice. Blinded and unable to punch, the giant was nearly helpless. Of course, the ice was already starting to melt. We had to finish it fast. Suddenly, Jeff did something that surprised us all. He ran right up to the staggering behemoth, and digging around in his pack, produced a rough, obviously home-made bomb. The behemoth roared in anger and Jeff jammed the bomb in its open mouth, lit the fuse, and darted back at us.
: "Everyone run! Get away from it!"
We followed Jeff just as a massive explosion went off, blowing the guardian, its casket, and a good portion of the wall into smithereens. When the dust had settled, the way ahead was clear.
Boss Battle: Guardian General
Google Video / Backup
: "Jeff...That was really gutsy right there!"
: "Ha ha...um, thanks. You know, I don't have psychic powers, so I have to do what I can in situations like this."
I clapped Jeff around the shoulder and the four of us went through the now-slightly larger doorway. We found a staircase that led us up and into the sunlight of the world outside.
Despite the desert heat, we were all quite glad to be out of the pyramid. Suddenly, a whirling tornado swooped out of the sky and approached us. As it slowed, a man appeared, a tall, serene-looking man that I had seen before, somehow.
: "We finally meet, Prince Poo. The stars foretold that I would meet you here. Now, it's time to show you the way of the Starstorm...For a while, you must live far away from your friends and live with me...Only through isolation and deep meditation can I show you what I have to teach you..."
Poo looked the old man in the eyes for a second or two, and then turned to us.
: "Ness...It is important that I study and learn the "Starstorm"...It will be most helpful to us. Once I learn it, I'll find you again."
: "...Alright. I understand, Poo. I look forward to your return."
Poo bowed deeply, and I did my awkward best to return it. The old man whisked the both of them away in a swirling tornado, and then, they were gone.
: "Hmm...I hope we'll see him again."
: "I'm sure we will. He'll learn whatever this Starstorm is, and he'll be back in no time."
: "So what now?"
: "We've got the Hawk eye, so what we have to do next is pierce the darkness, right? We need to find this deep darkness place the hieroglyphs were talking about."
We walked through the desert, and were stopped by a darkly tanned warrior.
: "You children came out of the pyramid? That's unbelievable."
: "Well, it was difficult...Um, if I can ask, do you know of any deep darkness around here?"
: "The Deep Darkness...It is a most terrible swamp. It's located across the treacherous sea to the south of here, which no crafts can cross safely."
: "Is there another Kraken, because we beat up one of those already..."
: "No, no, not the Kraken. The water itself is the enemy there. Nothing can cross it, not even children as powerful as you seem to be, unless you had a submarine, or something. However, there is something else strange that has happened recently. There is a large tower to the northeast that wasn't there before. A stranger passing through dropped this key in the desert...maybe it will open the tower. Kids like you should check it out."
He handed us a large black iron key with the initials "D.M." on it.
: "A tower that wasn't there before...?"
: "That seems unlikely."
: "Well, if nothing else, we can plan our next move and get out of the sun for a little bit...Let's go check it out."
A ways up to the northeast, we saw something strange indeed. I wouldn't really describe it as a tower. It looked more like a huge, stone doll, twenty or thirty feet high, complete with a face carved into it. At the top moss and plants had started to grow. One huge, round foot was out as if the tower was about to take a step. On the other foot was a small door with a keyhole, which our key fit. The lock turned, the door opened, and we stepped inside.
: "Wait, what?"
: "Brick Road?"
: "You know this guy?"
: "On my way out of Winters, I passed through a small dungeon made by a dungeon enthusiast named Brick Road. He said he was working with Dr. Andonuts to become a hybrid of man and Dungeon. From the looks of things, I'd say he succeeded."
: "So this place...This is his body, turned into a dungeon?"
: "Why would anybody want to turn themselves into a thirty-foot-tall dungeon?"
: "Anyway, let's look around. His last dungeon had a bunch of little packages scattered around, with food in them. We could use the supplies."
Jeff described Brick Road's first dungeon as basically a maze made of little rocks. Clearly, he had done some upgrading. His body was a labyrinth of jagged cliffs, dead-end passageways, and signs, everywhere the eye could see.
: "It's like he doesn't want people to get lonely in the dungeon or something."
Eventually we did find the four ropes, but first...
: "Hey! Up there on that cliff! There's a submarine!"
: "So there is. Maybe we can use it to get to the Deep Darkness."
: "So...How do we ask him? I mean...can he hear us? Hey! Brick Road! Can we borrow this submarine?"
My words echoed throughout the dungeon. No answer was forthcoming.
: "I guess not."
: "Maybe we have to get closer to the top, you know, where his head is?"
: "Alright, let's see where these ropes lead us."
For a dungeon, it wasn't terribly dangerous. A few mad animals had taken refuge inside Brick Road's body, but the only real danger was getting lost. With a little trial and error, we found the right ropes to climb and hallways to take, and soon found ourselves in Brick Road's 'zoo'.
Here he had somehow corralled some of the beasts that lived inside him into little canyons, with signs about each one.
: "How'd he do that with no arms?"
On the next level of the dungeon, we were taken aback by a round, friendly face sticking out of the wall ahead of us.
: "Long time no see. Mr. Jeff, we met in Winters a long time ago."
: "Yes, I remember. I see you've realized your dream and become a dungeon man."
: "Yep, Dr. Andonuts finally made me 'Dungeon Man'.
: "Hey, Brick Road, we saw a submarine a few levels below. Any chance we could borrow that for a bit? We need to get to Deep Darkness."
: "Hmm, I do have a submarine in my old vehicle collection. But, it might not work. If you want to check it out, go down that far hole over there. Make sure it's not the closer hole!"
We dropped into the farthest hole and slid down a chute, eventually dropping onto the ground in front of the collection of old vehicles we had seen before. Besides the submarine, he had a taxi, a bicycle, and some odd pod-looking thing.
: "It's old, but it should still work. We need to get this to the river to the south."
We traveled back up to Brick Road's face and explained the situation to him.
: "Alright, I'll follow you to the edge of the river, and you can get on the submarine there. This time, go down the closer hole...It'll take you out of the dungeon."
We slid down a few more holes, and soon found ourselves in the desert heat once more. We headed towards the south, Dungeon Man's massive footsteps shaking the earth behind us.
Next time: Ness gets lost in the swamp! Don't miss it!