Part 21: Chapter 16I'm jealous of all these other LPs updating all over the place, so I decided to be one of the cool kids and update my own.
The moment he laid his hands on the Egg of Light, Duster's amnesia left him all at once.
I'm Duster," he repeated, as if he were trying to convince himself. He laughed once, clutching the egg, and looking to the three of his companions joyfully. "Guys! I'm Duster!" He was dancing in place, overcame with joy that he could finally remember everything after the last three years. "My father's name is Wess!" he recalled. "We all live in Tazmily! Nippolyte is a groundskeeper, and Thomas owns his own shop!
Kumatora approached him, patting him on his shoulder again. "Awesome!" she cheered with him. "We got back your memories! Yep, your name is Duster!" She repeated his name a few times as Duster kept up his happy dance. "I'll call you that as many times as you like!" She pulled him to a stop, making sure he was paying attention to her. "Just don't lose the egg again, y'hear?"
Lucas wanted to join in Duster's celebration, there in a landfill surrounded by putrid trash, when he spotted something stuck to Boney's fur on his front-left leg. It was green and dangly, and it looked like it was stuck to him well with one end almost shaped like a hand, as if it was grasping on. He didn't want his dog to get sick with anything from the garbage, so he bent down to peel it off, when the party was cut short by a Pigmask shouting down at them from over the edge of the pit.
Lucas righted himself quickly, and Duster and Kumatora quickly adopted a more militaristic stance, remembering their personas. "What, ah," Lucas stumbled, trying to raise his voice and sound as confident as a commander should. "What's the problem?"
"We got an issue at Thunder Tower, sir!" it squealed in reply, forming a bullhorn with its hands across the helmet's snout. "We need you there right away! Hurry and get out of the trash!"
From the sense of urgency the Pigmask was giving them, he figured he couldn't exactly say 'no'. They all climbed their way back out of the pit and into the Pork Bean the Pigmask had driven with it. "We're going straight there," it said as it piled itself into the driver's seat.
Boney immediately began to whine. "No time to buckle up!" it nearly shouted, its arms and legs a blur as it adjusted levers and tweaked knobs. As soon as it thrust a pedal on the floor down with its foot, the Pork Bean shot off. With as quickly as it was going, Lucas could feel himself being pressed into his seat. After only a moment, he thought he was going to get sick again.
It was just a quick run down the highway, especially at the speed the Pigmask was driving, but shortly after they had left the dump, and with one impressive swing around a tight corner, they found themselves at the front entrance to the tower they had passed around the Unknown Valley.
"Pretty sweet piloting, if I do say so myself!" the Pigmask boasted. Lucas couldn't keep his focus long enough to make a reply; he was so nauseous and dizzy from the speed and the weaving that he was practically falling over himself as he stepped out of the bean. "I'm sure you know the way from here, sir," the Pigmask saluted, "but I'm needed back at the Clayman factory right away. Please get to the generator room as quickly as you can!"
Lucas registered what the Pigmask was saying, but he didn't have the right mind to make a coherent reply, and before he even knew which way he was facing, the Pork Bean whizzed off as quickly as it had arrived.
"Commander," Duster said, reaching out and steadying the boy by the shoulders. "Focus, now." It took him another moment to calm his upset stomach, but soon enough he was able to walk once more. Just in front of them was a short walkway leading to an open elevator, with a single Pigmask watching the door to the entrance. It offered no words but a simple salute as Lucas and his Pigmask entourage simply walked past.
The door to the unusually large elevator snapped shut behind them, and they slowly began to creep their way up the tower from the inside. "I'm kinda excited," said Kumatora suddenly, over the whirring of the elevator's gears. "I'd been wonderin' about this tower for ages. Now we're about to find out."
Duster hummed in agreement; he had always wondered about the tower since his days with Club Titiboo, but he had never really had the opportunity or the incentive to take the ropeway and find out about it. "So, Lucas," he said instead, breaking the silence once more. "How are you handling being commander of the entire Pigmask army?"
The question was fairly out-of-the-blue, but Lucas wasted little time deliberating an answer. "It's...it's actually kind of fun," he replied, breaking into a smile. "My brother and I...we sometimes played these games, you know, where we pretended to be all sorts of cool heroes and stuff. We could tell our armies to fight this massive, evil Drago or something and we'd get into this big fight. I...wouldn't try something like that, but it's still fun to..." Lucas trailed off, not knowing how to finish that sentence. "Well, you know."
Kumatora laughed to herself a little. "Man, you're th' most important person in the army, an' you haven't so much as commanded for a Nut Cookie or something. I'da have these people bend over backwards for me if I were you."
The elevator came to a stop just as she finished, and the door behind them slid open once again. On the other side was yet another Pigmask, dutifully waiting for them to emerge, yet it said nothing, simply expecting them to know where to go and what the emergency was.
"Um," Lucas hesitated. For all his talk, the fact that he wasn't who they thought he was rang clearly to him. "You," he pointed, getting the Pigmask's attention.
"Sir?" it asked, giving a salute.
Lucas didn't have much spine without his brother's constant energy and imagination, so he had to take a moment to compose himself for what he was about to say. "I want," he began, thinking for a moment. The Pigmask hadn't moved a muscle. "Food," he finished. "I'm hungry."
He could hear Kumatora stifle a laugh behind him. "Um," the Pigmask replied, its arm slowly lowering from its position.
I'm sure they'll have something you might like, sir."
"No, I," Lucas replied, getting a little flustered but trying to keep his cool. "I want you to get it."
The Pigmask wasn't entirely sure what he was supposed to say or what to do, but he was given a direct order from the highest ranking. "Okay," it replied slowly and cautiously. It wasn't really trained for something like this. "What do you want from there?"
Lucas nearly answered that he wanted a Nut Bread, to one-up Kumatora's suggestion and they were delicious anyway. But, just like how ordering water in Club Titiboo was the wrong answer, he didn't know what else to get. "I don't...care," he finally said. "Surprise me."
The Pigmask gave one more salute and then jogged off, farther into the tower towards the cafeteria. "That was great, Lucas," Kumatora said quietly, still trying to hold back her laughter. "Boss that next guy around and ask where the generator room is."
There was another Pigmask in the lobby, loitering around an Instant Revitalization Device tucked next to the wall, along with another vending machine shaped like a pig. "You," Lucas said loudly, pointing his finger again, getting the other one's attention. It too immediately went into a salute. "We need to get...to the, um, generator room," he stuttered again. He knew that, as the commander, he probably should have known where the room was and was piecing his act together as he went. "Where is it?"
The Pigmask took a moment to answer. "Sir, not to be rude, but I'm certain you've been there before."
"I know. Just, um, explain it to..." Lucas turned around, looking at his companions. "...this guy," he finished, pointing to Boney. "He's a...new recruit, and I'm too busy to explain it to him myself."
Like the first Pigmask, this one was taken aback by Lucas's command, but eventually had to follow through with it. "See this map, grunt?" it asked, pulling out a large map from one of the pouches along its belt and bending down to show it to Boney, apparently not realizing, or simply not questioning, that he was a dog.
"We are currently at the bottom here, where it says 'EV'," it explained. Lucas followed along closely. "The generator room isn't far; it's just the second room with the lightning bolt symbol. You have to go around it to the north side to get to its door, though."
Just as it finished explaining the map to Boney, the first Pigmask came back, carrying a tray with a single bowl of noodles in it. "I'm sorry, sir," it said as it handed Lucas the tray, "but they weren't ready for lunch yet, so this was all they had..."
It looked freshly prepared, but even if it wasn't, Lucas wasn't going to push them around in case it might break his cover. "Thank you," he said politely, taking the cup and handing back the tray. "Good, err, work, you two," he complimented, quickly showing himself up the stairs. "Me and my friends have to get going, though." Awkwardly, he and the others left the two Pigmasks in the lobby, wondering why their commander was acting so peculiarly.
The next room over contained a few robots...
...but they were otherwise alone, allowing Kumatora to finally burst out her laughter. "That was gold!" she managed to say between heavy guffaws. "That was...I can't...oh man!" She was having difficulty breathing through her laughter and tried to rub her aching forehead through her helmet. "I think I'm going to be sick! That was too good!"
Lucas blushed, trying to contain himself after that. He hadn't expected it to go on for as long as it had, or to be pulled off so well, and he couldn't help but feel exhilarated from the experience. He got directions, and even some food out of it. "It was pretty good," Duster agreed, chuckling, "but we should hurry up. They might catch on."
Kumatora let out a couple more laughs, easing herself down. She knew the seriousness of the scenario, but it was just too brilliant to keep bottled up. "Yeah," she agreed, bobbing her helmet as she nodded. "Yeah, we should. We know where to go because of that." She ran her fingers through Lucas's hair appreciatively. "That was great, Lucas. I haven't had that much fun in three years." Lucas's blush deepened a little from the praise. His heart was still pounding in his chest from it. "Back down to business, though."
He agreed, and the continued on, heading towards the generator room the Pigmask had pointed out.
The loop around the base of the tower was very straightforward. It was naturally very busy with Pigmasks stationed at their computers, watching graphs and charts that meant nothing to him, and when Lucas entered the room, they just went about their business, trying not to get in their commander's way.
The robots weren't nearly as accommodating. They simply attacked him and his friends whenever they got close enough, and the other Pigmasks did nothing to restrain their robots. Was this a common thing their commander had to put up with?
The point of the ring that had the door going into the generator room was only a short walk over. It had a good deal more Pigmasks than the others, all watching their individual monitors. Some of them spoke to themselves as they worked, allowing Lucas to clue in on what their jobs were.
This tower was what made lightning strike his house so many times. It was what ruined Lighter's new house, Nippolyte's shack, Reggie's tent, and what struck his grandfather's house one million times over three years. This tower was what caused everybody to buy into the Happy Box fad.
He felt several emotions rise up from making the connections, and none of them were pleasant. He clenched his hands into fists, eyeing the monitors and their readouts, feeling compulsive enough to smash them to bits with his magic. And with how the Pigmasks were acting around him, they might let him do it. But he knew it was suicide, at least for now - if the tower wasn't destroyed by the time he left, he promised himself he would be back.
The next room was, as promised, the generator room. In it was a myriad of wires leading from an enormous tank in the centre of the room out into the surrounding walls. The tank, weirdly, was a fish tank, containing three exhausted and sick electric catfish.
They used at least three electric catfish to power entire lightning bolts. To spur the catfish into action, a pair of Pigmasks stood at the glass, constantly taunting and berating the fish with a manner of poses and dances to get them to generate more electricity.
"So, um," Lucas started, getting the blue Pigmask's attention. "I...was rushed here because there was some emergency, or something?"
The Pigmask looked back to its clipboard, turning the page over. "Aside from our power crisis, which you've known about for a while, Commander, there isn't really any emergency," it explained. "We've been working to either find an alternative way of finding power, or just catching more catfish. However, the general upstairs has recently called for your audience, and Fassad's." Lucas and Kumatora subconsciously held their breath at the name. "Dunno why the general would call it an 'emergency', though."
"I see," Lucas said, his voice breaking. Fassad was coming? Not that he was afraid of Fassad physically, but it was really intimidating when it wanted to be, and it would see straight through Lucas's disguise and they'd have an entire tower of Pigmasks to fight.
Kumatora knew the danger of Fassad being there, but it flew right over Duster's head. Now that they were there, the only thing they had to do before getting out as quick as they could was see what the general wanted. The safer option would have been to leave - Lucas didn't have to speak to the general if he didn't want to, but he was worried that they would run into Fassad on the way out. There was only one elevator, after all.
The upper floor of the generator room was decorated with more DCMC merchandise than Lucas remembered seeing in Club Titiboo. Flags, figurines, posters, hats and shirts were carefully and meticulously strung about the area. The figurines looked recently washed and the posters and flags were kept in absolutely mint condition. Off to one side was a helmet, hung on a hook in such a way that Lucky's signature was practically highlighted on its side. They each had an idea who their general was.
I heard that the DCMC broke up," he said very plainly. He didn't sound sad or upset, but that just made Lucas even more nervous.
Duster pushed his way forward from his companions, approaching the trooper directly. He went for the clasps around his helmet and lifted it off his head once again to address his fan. "I'm sorry we had to meet the way we did, FPT," he apologized sincerely. "I meant everything I said. We really did want to bring you backstage and everything."
The trooper made no movement, looking Duster down. In his new colours and his enormous new helmet, he appeared much more imposing than on the highway. "But look on the bright side," Duster began again, trying to sound more upbeat. "Everything DCMC thing you have is officially priceless. I noticed you had a poster of us hanging on that wall over there," he pointed over his shoulder with his thumb. "That's not even supposed to be out yet, and now it probably never will. You are, by far, the biggest fan we ever had."
"I appreciate you trying to cheer me up," the mountain of muscle said, "but do I even know for certain that you're Lucky the bassist?"
"Well, if you have a bass guitar handy, I could prove it to you, if you'd like."
At that moment, Kumatora's fever that had been bothering her since Lucas's prank suddenly vanished, and, reflexively, she cast a bit of her PSI from her palms behind her back. She felt a fierce chill cover her hands down to her wrists, not unlike her already known PK Freeze, but much more potent, given that she had to really hold back on it for now.
The trooper let out a soft chuckle. "Yesterday that would have meant the world to me. In fact, it still does. But I've been cut deep from the band's disbanding." He looked over all his figurines and merchandise. "I always knew it wouldn't last forever, but...I guess it just feels too soon for me."
"I know," said Duster, sharing his pain. "Life came at us fast. Yesterday I didn't know I'd be here, in Thunder Tower, wearing a Pigmask uniform. Me and the guys were actually planning to do a gig in the big city." He lifted his head, trying to see into the trooper's eyes through his helmet. "But here we are."
There was a bit of a silence between them. "Put your helmet back on, Lucky," the trooper instructed. "As much as I don't want to hurt my favourite bassist in the world, I have my orders." He extended a massive, open palm for Duster to shake. "Tonda Gossa."
Duster did as he was told, fastening the helmet back on his head, and accepted the handshake when he was ready. "Tonda Gossa."
The trooper collapsed onto his knees from the battle, his body smoking from the burns. He gave one last look to his merchandise before looking back to Duster. "An awesome finale," he said, before falling forward without another sound.
They stood over his fallen body for a moment, none of them offering any words of condolences. They had no idea what Duster was thinking at the moment, having defeated the DCMC's biggest fan in a spectacular fashion. He said nothing and his helmet skewed his expression, but Lucas and Kumatora knew better than to try and assume anything.
The silence was unceremoniously broken by a wicked cackle.
You may think you're a good impersonator, Lucas, but you can't fool my eyes!"
He felt a chill as he was forced to look towards the ladder, seeing Fassad arduously climb his way up, followed by two more of the blue Pigmasks. They gave their salute as they approached, even knowing that Lucas wasn't their commander - maybe it was supposed to be intimidating?
The pain and woe I went through after that Drago sent me flying," it began dramatically, bringing a hand to its forehead, mocking a sad, hurtful tone as it spoke. "The days I've lost! The wounds I've had! I really must return the favour in full." It laughed that same unsettling laugh once more.
They were all jittery on the spot from being faced down by Fassad. Even though it wasn't as large as the Pigmask they had just defeated - not by a long shot - there was still just something about it that made it seem more intimidating than the rest. Lucas didn't have the protection of the Drago this time, and although he had PSI to fight with this time, he was too flustered to think to use it.
Thankfully, Kumatora wasn't as restrained. She flung her arm forward and let a PK Freeze go into the ground right in front of them, causing Fassad and its cronies to recoil. "Up the ladder!" she commanded, and without a question, they bolted up the way as quickly as they could.
Fassad pulled itself together, opening its eyes to catch the last of them make it up and out of the hatch going up the tower. It made no command to follow and it made no movement to pursue: instead, it simply stepped at the base of the ladder, and pulled out another banana to eat.
"You have nowhere to go," it chortled.
They had a bit of a head-start on Fassad and its legion. Now that they had been unmasked, they didn't bother to keep the Pigmask uniforms they had been wearing since the warehouse out in the valley. They were hot, cumbersome and bulky, and they were more than happy to toss them off the tower.
Lucas wasn't as happy to get rid of his awesome jacket, but it would have just weighed him down.
"Oh, but it looked pretty good on you," Kumatora said snidely. Duster gave her a sarcastic look, and she just laughed. "No place left to go but up, boys."
Lucas looked up the massive tower, its red girdles framing the entire structure all the way up. There were no handrails or walls or anything in the way of safety. "But then what?" he asked.
"We'll have to worry about that when we get there."
The only other alternative was to go back to Fassad, so, they began to climb.
Even though it was hardly the best option for a habitat, weird not-quite-robot not-quite-chimera creatures made their homes on the tower. The Nowhere Islands were a lot more dangerous than Lucas remembered them being.
They kept up their pace, staying ahead of the Pigmasks below. They were nearly to the large yellow sphere atop the tower, and the Pigmasks had only just begun to emerge from the base. Looking down at them from so high up, Lucas felt his belly twist into knots from the sheer height. On top of the mountain with Club Titiboo was one thing - it was a mountain, after all. But the tower with no safety features felt like it could fall over at any minute.
It was a difficult idea to stomach. Thankfully, he didn't have to bear the height for much longer.
At the top of the tower as another ladder going into the bottom of the large, yellow sphere. The wind was picking up in huge gusts as they climbed, making his footing all the more unsteady. He was glad to be up and away from having to look at the ground from so far away.
The inside of the sphere was considerably less...'business' than they had expected.
An artificial hot-spring tub in the shape of a star in the centre of a room absolutely covered in children's toys and colours. It had a pink, star-spotted carpet matched by a wavy-patterned wallpaper going around the circumference of the room, and every side of the circular room was covered in every toy imaginable.
Remote-controlled cars, soccer balls, bicycles and heaps and loads of unopened presents abound everywhere. A pet frog was tied to a helium balloon and left to float about the room at its leisure, occasionally kicking and croaking, trying to turn in a direction it wanted to go. There was a jukebox in one corner, and pink teddy bears lined everywhere else. It was the most surreal playpen any of them had seen, given the location. Lucas was surprised; Duster was confused; and Kumatora, unusually, was completely speechless.
One present in particular...
...was probably left unopened for a reason.
"OH, HELLO!" they heard a scratchy, unusual voice say, causing them all to leap. Being chased by the Pigmasks into such an unusual room, they were all a bit on edge.
Lucas and Kumatora turned to Duster. "King P?" asked Lucas. "Aren't...didn't you guys...?"
"We never met him in person," Duster answered. "We made the song on commission by some Pigmasks that wanted it done. I...just assumed it was a nickname and the guy was well-liked or something." Duster looked around the room, noting the colourful teddy bears and the model airplanes suspended from the ceiling. "I didn't even imagine he would be into this sort of thing."
"Hey, L'il Miss Marshmallow," Kumatora asked. The robotic maid turned to face her, its movements very stiff and pronounced. "Where is King P now?"
"AWAY," it answered. "KING P DOESN'T VISIT OFTEN. HE LEAVES ME ALL ALONE IN HIS ROOM. I MISS HIM."
The room also contained a vending machine off in the corner, and next to it was clearly a very special toy. A simple red yo-yo with a perfectly taught string resting on a neat cushion inside a glass container. It looked like it hadn't been touched in ages, although the glass was recently washed. "I," Lucas began, trying to get on the robot's good side. "I like this yo-yo. It looks really nice."
L'il Miss Marshmallow took Lucas's meaning for very different.
"I...I wasn't going to-"
Lucas's earlier upset stomach disappeared at that very instant, and not a moment too soon.
"We've wasted enough time!" Duster said loudly. "I can hear those Pigmasks coming and we've been caught up fighting some kind of demon robot maid! We gotta get going!"
Still smarting from that fight - L'il Miss Marshmallow really put up a good one - they climbed the only other ladder in the room, farther into the tower.
Just as they left the playpen, they got into the actual 'business' part of the sphere.
Lucas didn't have the map the Pigmask showed Boney, but from what he remembered, there were maybe two or three layers of the generator left before they got to the very top of the sphere. The centre of the room contained a massive, impressive machine with purple, lively wires all bound and wound through it, feeding themselves straight up towards whatever they were trying to power at the top.
To think that it was powered by a few electric catfish. Just like the rest of the tower, the machine wasn't very safe or secured; just as they passed the machine, a trio of electric arcs sprang out from its wires, soaring through the room to the metal walls on the outside.
They seemed to have minds of their own, moving quickly and bouncing from space to space inside the tower. They were fairly difficult to avoid.
Apparently it was a known issue with the machinery, and it occurred again as they climbed higher up the tower along the generator.
From down below, they could hear the Pigmasks approaching. They had just gotten through King P's playpen, and they could hear the heavy tromping of their boots as they made their way up the ladders. "We gotta run!" Kumatora called, urging them forward, breaking them into a sprint. They picked up the pace and were just a few steps away from the next ladder-
Lucas stood still, as if he hadn't realized he was struck by a bolt of lightning. It took him a moment to feel anything, but, slowly, he felt something again. It wasn't something physical - it would take him a moment yet to regain the feeling in his fingers and toes. What he felt was something a bit deeper, something a bit more...
...magical. It was as if he somehow learned to harness the power of lightning by being struck by it. "I feel fine," he answered. "I feel...better than before."
"This is no time for jokes!"
"He's not joking!" defended Kumatora. "I can feel it, too. He's learned some new PSI from that lightning strike." She looked up the generator, seeing its electricity fizzle and crackle between its unkempt wires. "That's kinda remarkable, actually. Like he just absorbed it somehow, or somethin'." She stepped forward again, pushing them onward. "But we can talk about how awesome he is later. Run now!"
Lucas had some trouble regaining his senses, but he pulled himself together as quickly as he could. They made their way up the next ladder, trying to keep their lead on the quickly approaching Pigmasks.
The next room contained a massive metal coil, glowing red with heat and with more electricity arcing in between its spaces. More importantly, there was another door going just outside and into the open air. Lucas was afraid of what they might have to do as they left, but still, they had no other alternative.
As they made for the door, however, the computers in the room must have registered that someone was in there when they weren't supposed to be. Red lights, loud sirens, and more robotic voices filled the room almost immediately.
ACTIVATING DEFENCE SYSTEM!" it shouted monotonously, and then repeated the same phrase. They began to huddle closer together, putting their backs to each other, getting ready to defend themselves against whatever 'defence' the system had in mind.
With a rusty creak, the large coil behind them opened up, revealing their defence system for the tower's generator.
The Pigmasks sure had a thing for robots.
They found themselves teetering off the edge of the very top of the yellow sphere atop Thunder Tower. It wasn't quite as high as the mountain, but there was no sense of stability, making the tower quite a bit scarier than the mountain.
With no place left to run, they climbed the ladder just to the side of the door. Everybody was thinking the same thing, and it all showed on their expressions (as far as they knew, Boney was simply following loyally), and they all knew the answer everybody else had to give. Standing right next to the giant gun sticking out of the top of the tower, there was no place left to run as Fassad calmly strode up the side of the sphere, approaching them, a smug grin plastered on its face.
There's nowhere to run now!" It cackled again, taking a few steps towards them, causing them to take a few steps back. They had no idea what Fassad was capable of, and no real reason to be threatened by it...but just the way it looked and the way it talked gave them a sense of inferiority. "You've been a real thorn in our side, you know that?" it smiled, bringing its hands behind its back, leaning forward mockingly.
had you simply stayed in Tazmily and lived quietly, without a care in the world." It produced another banana, peeling it back and taking a single bite off its top, discarding the rest to the surface of the sphere. A loud ring sounded from Fassad's pocket, and without turning to face them, somehow knowing that they wouldn't have the guts to try and tackle it, it simply withdrew his device and brought it to its ear. "Alright, it's all set, then?
It flipped the device closed, and then addressed the four directly once again. "Thunder Tower is no longer useable. Thanks for that."
"It was our pleasure," Kumatora spat defiantly. Fassad simply smiled back.
"But the tower may still have one final function for us. This is the perfect opportunity to wipe you all out at once. I think it's a little excessive for three rats and their smaller rat, but our king just loves being flashy and over-the-top.
As if on cue, a loud tune began to play from nowhere. They each looked around the sky, out over the horizon in all directions, trying to find where it was coming from. "I've heard that somewhere before," Duster said, scratching his head in thought. "I...hmm. Where did I hear it?"
"North!" yelled Lucas, and they each turned. High above them was a massive flying machine with a metal carriage on its underbelly. They couldn't make out a lot of the details from where they were on it, but one Pigmask, standing in the frame of its door, quickly kicked down a rope ladder, rolling it down to its full length.
"Looks like my ride is here," Fassad lamented. "Later days, pals!" The four turned back to Fassad, watching it withdraw the same device and flipping it open. "Okay! We're all set! Destroy Thunder Tower!"
Immediately as he said that, the tower began to rumble and shake under their feet. Lucas tripped back, grabbing onto Kumatora for stability as he pulled himself back to his feet, trying to steady himself in the vibration.
"Well, Lucas," Fassad said, looking straight at the boy. Fassad smiled that condescending smile it had; Lucas did his best to glare back. "It's been a real blast.
It laughed again - this time, it sounded a bit more deranged, and energetic than its usual quick, mocking chuckles. It was loud, long, and drawn out over the shaking of the tower.
Halfway through its laugh, a particularly powerful explosion rocked the girders, shaking the tower all the way to its top. They were all knocked off their feet in surprise, forcing them onto their knees, but Fassad-
-Fassad wasn't quite as lucky. Kumatora ran to the edge of the sphere, looking over the side, watching it plummet down dozens of stories towards the ground. She turned away before the impact. "Sucks to be Fassad," she commented.
The flying machine approached the tower regardless, unaware of Fassad's sudden departure. The ladder was only a few feet from the sphere when one of the Pigmasks came back out to assist their superior, but when he noticed that it wasn't there, it dashed back in to pull away from the tower.
"Quick!" Kumatora called, running towards the ladder as it began to float away. "Grab on!"
Duster already had an idea; the ladder was too close to the edge to risk jumping to, so instead, he reached under his shirt and gripped the rope snake wrapped across his torso gently by the tail. "You're up!" he yelled over the explosions and the rushing winds, and the snake complied, releasing itself from him and tensing. With a quick flick of his arm, the snake managed to grab onto the ladder by its lowest rung just as it took off.
The flying machine lifted off, with Duster still gripping on for dear life as his feet left the tower. Kumatora and Lucas joined, grabbing onto Duster's feet, and Boney carefully bit onto Lucas's foot. And then the machine took off, soaring through the blue sky, going much higher than any mountain on the Nowhere Islands.
They had only just left the tower when a new person emerged in the machine's doorway, looking down of the stragglers. He wore a thick mask with heavy goggles, and he looked fairly short, but from the way he carried himself and from the way he dressed, he was obviously someone of high repute within the Pigmask army.
Lucas saw him too. From the clothes he wore, that was probably the commander he was impersonating for the past few hours. But there was something else that wasn't quite right about the guy. He was pretty short, only about as tall as young Lucas was, for one. He couldn't make out a lot of details on the commander from the constant flapping in the winds, but what he did catch gave him a chill whenever he tried to focus on it.
The man went back into the flying machine, and after just a moment, the ship began to bob and sway in the sky erratically. It turned from side to side, and it rose up and down, and it shook and moved in an attempt to force the stowaways off their ladder.
Kumatora! Boney! Don't let go!"
They all held on as tightly as they could, soaring high above the Nowhere Islands, desperately wanting not to fall as high as they were. While their grip was sturdy enough to hold...
...the rope snake's was not. All four of them dropped out of the sky thousands of feet in the air, aiming for the solid land of the island below.
Some more post-update stuff, but first, I just want to say that the whole thing where Lucas gets some characterization and starts ordering the Pigmasks obviously doesn't happen in-game. I have to be really careful with the characterization in this LP, since the characters in my party rarely speak, especially Lucas, and just sticking with that the whole way would make for a really boring story. Hopefully nobody minds the...liberties I've made with the character.
To that point, take a look at this screenshot:
The text is fake. It wasn't a hack, it was just some image editing. The original text is the guy immediately fingers you for a fake and that you're impersonating their real commander...and then says that that's what he would say if he actually believed it. This seems like a minor thing to harp on but I'd just like to be clear for the sake of the game-half of the LP. I only made the screenshot to break up the massive wall of text.
First, in the lobby of Thunder Tower when you first enter, our favourite item dude, Item Guy, is in the lower corner.
Shortly after we enter Thunder Tower, we have two paths to the generator room, going either counter-clockwise or clockwise. I went counter-, because it had less resistance and not much to offer for the story, but here's what you see if you decide to go that way, or if you just go both directions for the sake of completion.
This was a Saltwater Gun, I believe.
A room full of Whatever's. The thing about Whatever's is that they are actually non-violent: if you approach one directly, you won't engage in battle with it. It would much rather just cuddle up with you instead.
But if your thirst for blood is greater than your mercy, either sneak up behind it, or just press A like you're trying to speak with it. Either will cause you to enter battle.
The two Pigmasks on either side here will give you flavour text about Fassad being on its way, and asking why you weren't with it. The present in the corner contains...
It's probably supposed to be "Cowboy Hat", but whatever. It offers some decent defense for either Lucas or Boney.
[There's a security system in the generator on top of Thunder Tower.]
A bit later, at King P's room:
On my first playthrough of this game, this frog - this frog - got me caught in the corner, between the present and the sarcophagus. I played the game legitimately that time, only using save points, and I was dumb enough to save just as it trapped me there. I could not walk through it; I don't think there's a "walk through walls" gameshark cheat anywhere on the net for Mother 3; and it would not move. My first playthrough of the game was done in prematurely by a stupid frog tied to a balloon
Luckily, at the time, I was racing a friend to beat the game, and he had only just got to Thunder Tower when I got stuck. I had to start again with his stats and items and completed sidequests (and his player name), but that's all a hell of a lot better than starting again from the beginning, especially since we passed the halfway point of this game a little while ago. I've been taking and keeping save states the whole time through this LP, so I was making damn sure it wasn't going to happen again.
I mentioned a jukebox in King P's room, right? It's in this screenshot:
Like the one in the truck stop, it's fully functional. And highly nostalgic, much like the rest of the room for the other Earthbound players.
- This is the song that plays in the drugstore in Earthbound and Earthbound Zero.
- This is the song that plays in the hotel in Earthbound.
At two points in Thunder Tower, you'll come across pig-shaped vending machines. They both sell rubber-somethings (boots, capes, and the like). They'll most likely be weaker than anything else you might have on at the time, but they offer a huge bonus versus lightning, so if you're having trouble with Mr. Genetor, you might want to consider equipping them.
Finally, I hope nobody minds me posting the recap in screenshots like that. This was the first time it wasn't recorded on video, so it might look a little awkward.
And that's that for this chapter! It wasn't so bad to write through. Coming up next is everybody's absolute favourite and most funnest chapter in the game! High spirits and fun times for all and it's going to be so much fun and there's gonna be jokes and laughs and games and