Part 5: Iron Pencils and the Erasers Who Erase Them
Part 4: Iron Pencils and the Erasers Who Erase Them
I awoke with a start. Was that a dream? After everything else that had happened, a girl I had never even met contacting me in a dream wouldn't be too out of the question.
I had no leads on my next Sanctuary spot and the odds of another bee from the future appearing to tell me what to do were less than great. I decided to follow my gut and see what I could find out about this Paula.
That isn't good.
Okay, so Paula was a real person, and she was apparently in some kind of trouble.
And she worked at the preschool here in Twoson.
Wandering around, I saw a long line stretching from the sidewalk to the street.
Runaway Five, huh? A jazz band, it seems. Now wasn't really the time for that, I thought. But I was more than a little surprised to find a couple of the jazzmen hanging around outside the theater.
: "But there's only two of you."
: "Of course. The rest of our band's inside."
: "You know, we're pretty famous around these parts, but that girl who lives at the house with the preschool is the talk of the town. I'd sure like to meet her sometime."
So Paula was really well known in the town. I decided my next stop should be at the preschool itself. I approached a slightly off-color woman with the intent of asking directions.
: "Excuse me, I'm looking for..."
Wait a minute-
Alright, have it your way!
: "I'm looking for the preschool! Do you know where it is?!"
Old Woman: "Gack! Yes-Two blocks to the south and then down the street! It's near the pizza parlor!"
I released the crazy old woman and headed off.
This seems to be the place. The preschool was full of little kids, all whom seemed to miss Paula quite a bit. A serene-looking woman, about as old as my own mom, was bustling to and fro looking after them.
: "I'm Paula's mother. I'm busy taking care of these kids."
: "I heard Paula was in trouble...Do you know anything about it?"
: "You shouldn't worry about Paula. She has a guardian angel, it seems."
I wanted to ask her more, but she seemed busy enough with all the kids. Besides, she seemed kinda out of it. In the next room, I met what could only have been Paula's dad.
: "Do you know where she is?"
: "Many people come here to see her miraculous powers, but they're just leeches. Are you from a magazine or something?"
: "Um, no, I'm only twelve."
: "Well, to meet you or not to meet you can only be decided by Paula. Paula has said that she would only meet with a boy named Ness."
: "W-what? That's me!"
: "So you are Ness? You are the one who was in Paula's dream! You will save the world! I'll go get Paula for you."
He dashed upstairs. A few moments passed silently, then suddenly, he came back, alone.
: "She...doesn't seem to be here. Um...Can you come back later?"
So Paula was gone after all. I had to try and figure out where she could be. I wandered out of the preschool and towards the bus station. Sitting down on a bench, I started to think. I pulled out my map and looked at Twoson. Nearby was Onett, of course, as well as the route to Threed, and the Peaceful Rest Valley. I was pretty sure she wasn't in Onett.
I decided to see what I could find out about the other two places.
No, I don't get it.
On my way out of the hotel I saw a frantic-looking man racing up and down the street.
Paula's dad...? I guess the poor guy was starting to lose it.
: "Oh boy! Now I'm really worried."
I headed towards Burglin Park, in the center of Twoson. It was like a big flea-market or garage sale. People had tables and carts and simple blankets tossed on the ground, all loaded with homemade food, scrap metal, gadgets, and various odds and ends.
Crime boss? Maybe he was behind Paula's disappearance after all!
Ahead was a small shack. I was just about to head over and knock on the door, when I noticed what seemed to be a fat, long-haired guy standing on the roof.
This is such a strange town, I thought, and took a few more steps toward the shack. Suddenly, the fat guy took a running start and leapt off the roof, nearly crushing me.
: "What in the-"
: "Wa ha ha ha ha! We can chat later, after we've locked horns!"
And he swung a meaty fist at me. I barely ducked out of the way and tripped, falling on my butt as his punch sailed overhead. Oh, crap-I hadn't bought a new bat yet! I was unarmed!
...Or a normal kid in this situation would have been unarmed. As my attacker wound up another punch, I flung him backwards with a psychic shove. He smacked into the side of his shack, cracking a window with his head, and toppled down into the dirt.
Boss Battle: Everdred
Google Video / Backup
I took a step towards him cautiously, and suddenly he popped up.
: "Look...When I jumped off the roof there, I twisted my ankle."
: "Anyway, I lost, and nothing can change that. You might have guessed, I'm Everdred, the boss of Burglin Park. I've heard you've been asking around town about Paula. Some fat kid and this creepy guy in a blue outfit have kidnapped her. I think they've got her held in a cabin in the Peaceful Rest Valley. They were going to make her some sort of human sacrifice."
: "Fat kid?! Human sacrifice?!"
: "Yeah. You'd better hurry. She might be gone already."
Well, now I knew what was going on. First things first, of course.
Peaceful Rest Valley was east of the town, past the bus station. I stomped a few more mushrooms along the way.
UFOs, huh? My mind traveled back to the Starman Buzz Buzz had trashed. I had to assume any UFOs were agents of Giygas as well. Clutching my shiny new bat, I entered the tunnel to Peaceful Rest Valley.
The low, dark tunnel was pleasantly mossy and humid. A little too mossy, as I would soon learn.
I swung my bat at it. It hopped out of the way and shot a small seed pod into the air. As soon as it hit the ground a second sprout popped up. Both of them started chasing after me, kicking me with their tiny feet. I had to get them before they sprouted more, I thought.
Winding up my bat, I faked them into hopping backwards again. Then, before they could sprout any seeds, I suddenly jumped forward, crushing one under each foot. Barely audible squeaks came from under my shoes, and I twisted my heels, grinding the angry plants into the rocky floor.
I exited the cave and stepped into the Peaceful Rest Valley. It was pretty enough, with soft grass, tall trees, and a softly flowing river running through the center.
Nothing is ever easy. I was quickly beginning to learn that.
Ah well...I'd find some way through. Wait...What in the world is that?
A big iron pencil was blocking the road. I tried to maneuver around it, but the pencil itself was slick steel, impossible to get a foothold on, and it was just tall enough to keep me from getting over it. I even gave myself one hell of a headache trying to crush, lift, or otherwise move it with my psychic abilities. It wasn't budging.
: "Maybe I can buy some dynamite back in town or something..."
I headed back to Twoson. Now that I thought about it, hadn't I heard something about an inventor that lived in this town?
Maybe he could come up with some kind of explosive device for me.
: "...Do you have stairs in your house?"
: "Huh? What does that have to do with anything?"
: "Oh, nothing, nothing, never mind. What can I do for you today, citizen?"
: "Yeah, there's this big, iron pencil in the Peaceful Rest Valley. Do you think you could build something to get rid of it?"
: "A preposterously trivial undertaking for someone of my inimitable skill, I daresay I could construct any number of devices to surmount such an obstacle. What type of device did you have in mind? Perhaps a jetpack to lift you over the offending pencil?"
: "Uh...Hang on a second, how much would something like that cost?"
: "Of course, such a device wouldn't be cheap, but an investment in Orange Kid's research is an investment in the future of Twoson and all of Eagleland as well."
: "Uh-huh. How much of an investment?"
: "Three thousand dollars should cover it."
: "...I'll have to get back to you on that one."
He had to be kidding! Three thousand bucks? Who did that jerk think he was, NASA? Fortunately, he had a competitor that lived next door.
Unfortunately, this guy didn't look like he could invent his way out of a paper bag.
: "I haven't taken a bath in a while, so I may be kind of stinky. By the way, I'm starving. Do you have something I could eat?"
: "Um, sure."
I dug around in my backpack and produced a slightly beat-up looking granola bar. I handed it to the Apple Kid. He unwrapped it and began gobbling it up.
: "Thanks! You're pretty nice. Uh...Do you have stairs in your house?"
: "What? Why does everyone keep asking me that?!"
: "Uh, n-never mind. Heh, heh."
: "Look, there's a giant iron pencil in the Peaceful Rest Valley, and I need to get past it. Do you think you could, I dunno, invent something that might help?"
: "Humm. Yes, I think I could do that. I uh, would need some start-up funds, though..."
: "Right. How much?"
: "T-two hundred dollars?"
: "....All right."
What did I have to lose? Besides two hundred dollars. I cleared out my bank account and handed him the money.
: "Wow, thanks! Nobody's ever invested in my work before! I uh, won't let you down!"
: "How long do you think this is gonna take?"
: "Uh, no way to tell, really."
I turned to leave, but stopped. A tiny mouse was blocking my way.
A tiny, talking mouse.
: "You took care of my master. In return, I want you to have this. It's one of my master's early inventions."
The mouse handed me a small phone. It was in rough shape, and none of the buttons seemed to be from the same set.
: "This is the receiver phone. It can receive incoming calls no matter where you are in the world. Please, take it and say nothing."
With that, the mouse scuttled off and hid in one of the piles of mechanical junk that littered the Apple Kid's house.
I left, feeling thoroughly confused and more than a little hopeless about the prospect of getting out of this town. With nothing but time to kill, and no money, I aimlessly wandered the streets of Twoson.
Twoson was a very strange town.
About two hours later, I was sitting on a bench at the bus station, listening to people panic about the ghosts in the tunnel, when a horrible warbling sound came from my backpack. The receiver phone was ringing. Wondering for a second if the mouse was calling me, I answered.
: "Hey, Ness! It's m-me, the Apple Kid! I just hit a breakthrough! I have to show you this! I'm at Burglin Park now, come quick!"
He hung up. I headed back to Burglin Park, and spotted Apple Kid snoozing against a tree.
: "Hey, Apple Kid."
: "H-hey, Ness! Alright, here it is!"
He produced a grubby-looking pink eraser like you'd see at any store.
: "This is...an eraser?"
: "Sure it is. Now. But watch!"
He pulled out a weird gadget about the size of a tin can. Held together with electrical tape, wires attached to metal clamps snaked out of the dented metal casing. He attached the clamps to the eraser and the device gave an odd beep.
: "This is the Pencil Eraser! It will immediately eradicate any pencil-shaped object in the vicinity! Just...Don't use it near a store that sells pencils."
I stared blankly at the beeping contraption he was offering me.
: "How does it work?"
: "It's the height of simplicity! You just aim it at the object and press this lever on the back, and whoosh, no more pencils!"
: "You're welcome! If I invent anything else, I'll give you a call on that phone."
I couldn't believe I was doing this.
I pressed the button and...
Well I'll be.
With a weird hum, the pencil eraser fired a beam at the statue. The pencil flashed white for a second, and then completely disappeared. I poked at the space where it had been. Yup. Completely gone. Way to go, Apple Kid!
Next time: Ness enters the garden of madness in Happy Happy Village! Don't miss it!