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4 yrs ago
dissertation done. can actually post again. yay.


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wordcount: 2664 (+4) (-4)
Midna: level 6 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (11/60)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon Northeast - Rocket Inc.

It took a little while, and seemingly some cheating by jumping over the spin platforms (too which Minda’s gut response a brief pang of disappointed in them before her own cheating re-registered with herself) but eventually the team all filed out of the maze and join the royals at Midna’s improvised fortification, which she proceeded to dismantle and send back to the Twilight realm along with the un-flung potted plant.

The vending machine was added to the collection after it was examined and dismissed by those who seemed to know what it was. It might not have the snacks it was apparently supposed to have, but it certainly had a metallic heft to it that might come in handy.

Once back together they pushed forwards once more, only to be met almost instantly by an obstacle that did not seem surmountable for most, a field of energy beams. It also looked like it led to a dead end anyway, leaving it quickly dismissed by the Thieves at least. That said, if you wanted to keep people out for good then this was a much better attempt than the mere stumbling block that was the spin maze, so Minda still considered it worth checking out just in case. The fact that it looked like there would need to be two trips down in the ‘elevator’ to get to the ‘base’ only solidified her resolve to investigate.

She shook her head at Mao’s wordless offer to ride his shadow again and said, ”I can get across that trapped room no problem, so I’ll go with the second group after giving it a look. I think you’ve proven yourself to be onside at this point anyway, so you don't need me watching you” she added, referring to her status as his sudo-parole officer. He’d fought earnestly against one of the tougher threats in the previous room, and he could easily have let Laharl die in the confrontation if he was doing some kind of subtle double cross, so she had no reason to doubt him. Not that she had much in the first place, but all that was confirmation enough for her to not even consider worrying about leaving his side.

With that she drifted round too and up the stairs to the laser room, plonked down a chair, hid in its shadow and then teleported across the room to a shadow in the store room to check the place out.

When Midna reappeared she found herself in a storeroom piled high with assorted miscellany. There were loot boxes, supply barrels, and even classic chests. Popping one open would reveal not treasure but a bunch of random stuff that differed wildly in value. Various unused odds and ends with the tags still attached, a wealth of personal items, excess spin and stop pads, construction materials, food and ingredients, and more. In short, she found the sum total of this arm of the Resistance’s stolen goods. Since very little of the stuff seemed to be precious in any way, except perhaps on a personal level, it stood to reason that the rebels couldn’t even get much for selling it all, even if they found somewhere willing to pawn it off. All these things, carelessly taken and then discarded here, suggested that the ‘heroic’ Resistance had been stealing not because they needed to, but just because they could.

There were, however, some items that stood out among the rest.

The boots had a touch of magic to them and had some nice steel toe-caps to boot. A new bit of her instantly saw the advantage of that, and in short order they were her feet and being used for a practice aerial kick, dragon claws slicing through the air backed by an iron hammerblow.

They went exactly stylistic, the heavy boots worn with her light attire did not really match, that she was sure Sectonia would agree on, but if they gave her an edge she was fine with it.

The yellow slime filled jar was one of the few things that she'd found in the new world that was instantly recognizable, both for the goo itself and the style of the bottle it was held in, both of which were sourced from Hyrule. As she sorted the flammable substance Link had used as lantern fuel away for safekeeping, she noticed a few more bottles of the same style, all sitting in a strangely familiar picnic basket. When closer examination revealed them to be filled with bugs, the source of that familiarity resolved itself into one for ”Agitha?”

Finding out that the self-proclaimed princess of bugs was around (or at least that was what her basket being here in the rebel’s possession implied) was both surprising and, in a way, not at all so. She’d played a rather vital role in the time war for some inexplicable reason after all, so the princess made a note to herself to track her down after this and to return her bugs to her. Seeing a familiar face would be welcome, she thought, even if that face belonged to someone who was a touch… off kilter. Plus the princess had been loaded, so getting her help might be well worth the effort.

The familiarity didn't end there either, as the search also turned up an armor piece she remembered being worn by Impa during that same time war. Whether that meant she was here was less clear, as it could theoretically belong to someone of the same culture, whatever that was, but she would certainly endeavor to find out.

She turned the small armor plate over once more, silently wondering how on earth they’d managed to steal it had belonged to the secretive guardian if it was hers, and then gave the metal a rap with her knuckles, new instincts approving of the quality of the steelwork.

”I’m sure she won't mind,” Minda said to herself, before donning the metal plate, adding a bit more armor to her right side. If it saved her from a bullet it would be well worth it, though she was probably approaching a limit on how much metal she could clad herself in without starting to encumber herself.

The rest of the store contained little else of interest, mostly useless personal items like Agitha’s bug hamper along with various construction materials and even food, all haphazardly tucked away here with little rhyme or reason to its organization.

”Weird. What was even the point of taking most of this?” She asked herself while rummaging around. General ongoing disruption was basically the only tactical value she could see in this, but it still seemed somewhat aimless. The more obvious and worse reason was that it had all been taken for fun, for the thrill of the act, rather than because they needed whatever it was they stole, which was one massive black mark against them if it was the case. However, considering there was some kind of mind altering at play due to the number two, how much that reflected on the resistance’s recruits’ actual personalities was difficult to say. It certainly did not reflect well on the organization as a whole that was for certain.

”Well, it’ll be gone before the sun sets anyway so what does it really matter. As for all this stuff...” none of the rest of it was going to be immediately useful in and of itself, unless he wanted to try and get really clever with her own spine tiles somehow, and unlike the rebel’s office furniture she didn't really want to be throwing the belongings of their victims around if she had to.

Still, she collected it all anyway, re-sealing the chests and boxes and then sending the entire contents of the store room to her own storage space in the Twilight realm, with a vague idea that she’d be able to set up some kind of lost (or rather stolen) and found once they were done with this. Getting bystanders their stuff back was the right thing to do after all, but the good will it would generate with them and the city officials wouldn't hurt either.

With that sorted out she headed back to rejoin the others, blinking back to her chair and then retrieving it before floating down the steps to the elevator entrance, finding that, apparently, everyone had managed to get in the first time round. That left her at a bit of an impasse, because she wasn't familiar with the machinery they had used to go down.

True, there was only one button to interact with, but despite that Midna decided she’d take things into her own hands rather than rely on whatever this device was. Or hand rather. Summoning her shadow hand she reached out and stabbed two dragon claws between the elevator doors and then used the two fingers to pry them open, forming a gap big enough to slip through and then promptly doing so.

She drifted in over the elevator shaft as the doors snapped shut behind her and, taking a look down, saw the others, who seemed to have arrived at their final destination and were exiting the elevator deep, deep down at the bottom of the shaft.

Incredibly deep in-fact. Absurdly so, in Midna’s opinion. She’d probably only been that far below the ground when she and Link had challenged the Cave of Ordeals, she mused as she found a shadow up at her end of the shaft and then blinked down into one down at the bottom of it. Things got even more absurd when her ride moved into the chamber propper, and revealed its depths to go even deeper than their entryway. The vast chamber was absurdly large and contained within its center a large hanging structure that to Midna’s eyes also screamed boss arena.

Minda marveled at the scale of it like the others and even her antiquated eyes could see that this was far more advanced than the building they had just been in, inspiring the question as to who had put this here and why? Well, the answer to why was probably Galeem, because she doubted that if the rebels had the ability to build something this massive in the amount of time that the world had existed. If they could have done so then they really should not have had any trouble taking the town.

When Joker started making plans she was reminded that she hadn’t reintroduced herself, and so mentioned ”I’m back, by the way” from her transport’s shadow, and then pulling herself out of it and landing beside them.

”Beam room had all the rebel’s stolen goods in it. Which I’ve collected and sent home for storage till we get out of here,” she informed them, while dance-stepping away, charging up dragon power in preparation for the battle they were likely about to face. Unfortunately Ciella’s haste wouldn't even leave time for that to get fully pumped, as the dark paladin rushed ahead, leaving them to follow in her wake.

It was a reminder of the problems she was going to cause, her blinding by Galeem almost secondary to her (possibly deserved) arrogance and twisted personality. Planning that had been running passively in the back of her mind shoved itself to the forefront as the final act of this battle rapidly approached and she’d need to do everything she could to avoid the curtains closing on any of the lives that were at stake here, something made very difficult by her only having two other people she knew would be following her script rather than the one that ended in death.

But maybe she could pump that number up by one at this late hour.

”Braum, could you wait up for just a moment?” she said, catching the bare chested brawler just before he followed the problem members of the crew across the jump pad. Having his attention, she pulled out a friend-heart and held it out towards him ”and could you hold this for me? I think it’d be good if you can see the whole picture before we go into this.”

Although the mustached Freljordian couldn’t fathom what the little lady meant by ‘whole picture’, he accepted the friend-heart from Midna without question. The mote of power took root immediately, since while Braum had received some ambient healing from from Sectonia, the wounds sustained by bullets and sorcery in the initial fight still took a toll on him. But like the seed of Galeem’s influence his wounds disappeared once the heart made contact, and as it disappeared his eyes widened. “Whoa…” he murmured, awed by the sudden change. Big, sea-green eyes full of kindness regarded his surroundings anew. Everything seemed so clear--especially what he needed to do. “I don’t understand all that’s happened, but I am ready to fight to bring these villains to justice!” He pounded his fist against his meaty chest to show just how ready he was.

Minda had not been expecting that to work in and of itself. The man bore his wounds well it seemed, or the threshold was lower than she expected ”Justice being the key point: let's take them alive if we can, because there’s a mind control situation going on here that these hearts can cure,” she explained as she moved towards the jump platform ”Mao was one of them once, and if he can be a friend, then so can the rest” she said, and then slowed, paused, and then nodded to herself.

She had a plan.

Stepping onto the platform, the princess soared through the air, spring and twisting another dance as she flew, landing with an explosion of power when she arrived. When she did she found barbs were being traded between their group’s bigger personalities and the tiny woman apparently responsible for the mind control afflicting the rebels.

Midna saved her words, she was going to need those later. Instead she followed her landing into a fourth dragon dance, pumping herself to 300% speed and power and, while in the midst of doing so summoned a host of office plants in their plant pots, scooped them up at the start of a twirl using her shadow hand, and then using the rotation of her dance move to pendulum the handful of porcelain projectiles around and then hurling them in an indiscriminate opening salvo at the assembled rebels.

With the final step of her dance she stabbed dragon clawed toes into the metal ground and then hurled herself into Sectonia’s shadow to avoid whatever retaliation might be coming their way.

”Focus them, free them, turn them to our side” she commanded from the dark to whoever would listen, delivering her plan of how to make saving lives into a winning strategy (by increasing their numbers) rather than a thing that held them back as quickly as she could to those she expected to be onboard, before blinking away into the delightfully shadow filled depths of the arena, ready to pop out almost anywhere in reaction to the other’s opening moves, to exploit weakness in the mind controlled rebels’ ranks or reinforce anyone who immediately got in trouble by leaping to their defense, Braum style.

It really all depended on what went down in the opening few heartbeats of battle. Either way, the main focus of her strategy was to intervene and rapidly turn a fight in their favor so she could land her own blows and then a heart their foe to add them to their ranks.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,229 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (134/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (59/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (56/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

With some difficulty, because dropping down caused an even more heavy an impact from the weighty Koopa king than jumping up had had and thus had an even higher risk of breaking platforms, Bowser managed to eventually make it back down to meet up with Kamek. The mage himself was anxiously watching as Link taunted the big fish jerk, which caused him to yell some rather pitiable things back up, which bought jr a bit of time, but then after that he resumed moving in a rather more general pattern, attacking anything that moved.

From their raised angle the older koopas could see him peeking his head over a pile of junk well out of rage of the initial stomping ground rampage to assess the situation. Link’s ploy had bailed him out of being homed in on, and also gave him a few precious moments to dart away from flow control, but now the jerk was patrolling the grounds at a semi-random basis. Still, he was big and noisy and so figuring out where not to go wasn't that much of an issue. The big issue was figuring out where he needed, or even could, go to get out of here.

With that in mind Jr started searching through the waterlogged scrap heap that was the bottom floor, his head for a way out or anything that might be useful in the junk, his stomach for anything that could be eaten, as far a stretches that might be.

Up above, that last point was very much on Bowser’s mind as well, the king asking ”Don’t suppose you found anything to eat while you were at it?” while taking the key mold off of Kamek and giving it a quick mental comparison to the one Jr had just in case.

”No not really. All I found was this scrap metal, two canisters of goo, one of which got emptied and made a weird eyeball thing that you should not look at… not look at sire” Kamek said, rapping a knuckle on the king’s shell to break his gaze from the bio-goo-eyeball thing, ”and a load of scrap metal”

”I’ll take that, the machine probably needs stuff to smelt into other stuff or something.” Bowser said, moving to pick up some of the metal junk, before asking again ”So no food?”

”No, and, like I said, eating is probably a bad idea seeing as it is a cursed hunger after all” Kamek reminded him

”Easy for you to say, mr sitting on your butt all the time. I’ve been jumping around all day and I. am. starving!” Bowser retorted grumpily.

”Sire, look at me, I am tiny and also, not exactly a jumping species. Do you see any wings on my back?” Kamek replied with frustration directed both at his weakness and that the king kept bringing up and complaining about his obvious helplessness, as if doing so would allow him to miraculously do something about it.

”You don't need to jump to drop down after Link. Go use your brain to figure out how to help Jr or something, or maybe I’ll end up finding a use for you as a survival ration” Bower replied with even greater amounts of frustration, jabbing his advisor in the chest with a claw and causing the tiny turtle to stumble back in surprise and even a little fear.

The two stood and stared at each other for a moment before Kamek responded with a ”As you command sire,” in a forced monotone before turning and leaving, leaving Bowser behind with his regrets. And his stomach, which growled loudly at him.

”Oh shut up! This is all your fault.” Bowser demanded of his ravenous gut, which showed no sign of shutting up.

The king grunted and focused on getting back to work as a way to distract himself, awkwardly trying to piling up scrap metal and the two remaining forms into his hands, only to lose his grip on the bundle when he went to pick up the last piece he wanted, causing it all to clatter to the floor.

”Stupid. Gah.” The king growled, kicking one of the boxes in frustration and tipping it over, spilling reams and reams of paper covered in recordings of private conversations all over the floor. In a place filled with corrosion, decay and corruption plain old sheets of paper were a surprisingly mundane thing to find.

Bowser's stomach growled again.


And again, painfully so.

”Grrrr…. Maybe this’ll shut you up!” He told it, before grabbing a couple of layers of of documents and biting a chunk out of them.

While Bowser tried to eat paper, Kamek was grumbling to himself as he followed Link’s route as far as he could without the ability to jump. He did at least have one advantage, and that was that no one from his world had ever had to worry about fall damage, and so like a goomba he wandered off the end of the non existent descending stairs and dropped down to the next floor without fear or even consideration. That's about as far as he got however, but he wasn't really intending to put himself in direct chase-able danger like Link was risking, because he wasn't able to dodge out of the way like the spry Hylian. Getting to the second floor was fine as far as he was concerned.

Still, he had to do something, and so he started talking.

”If you don't mind me interjecting, the reason no one loves you is because the people you're trying to get to love you are a big jerk of a boss” Kamek called down the fish monster conversationally, not at all projecting his current emotional state with regards to his own boss, ”and her menagerie of horror show minions. I can assure you that no matter how loyal or helpful you are, you are never going to win the respect you so crave in a place like this. It's not exactly what I’d call a loving environment after all. Even if you were the most charming and effective little monster, you’d still just be that, a useful monster.”

”You're clearly unhappy here, so why don't you just leave? Pack your bags and strike out into the great ocean blue? There's plenty more fish in the sea after all, ones that aren't running some rust-bucket of a submarine that exists purely to eat up cruise goers. There’s that Tyl Regor fellow who probably knows a thing or two about biology, or you could head for one of the cities around the coast. There's people from all over available, and I'm sure you’d be able to find people who know how to make you better who aren't, you know, a horrifying wraith of a lady that keeps you around as a guard dog. A guard dog that's attacking children, I should remind you out. Is this really where you want to be?” He concluded before, rather belatedly, adding ”Also, while I’m at it, hello, I’m Kamek. What’s your name?”

Kamek knew that, due to Galeem’s influence, convincing the fish to leave them be or give up was basically impossible, but maybe he could get the guy talking and buy time for them to work out how the heck they were going to get Jr up to their floor.

wordcount: 3646 (+5) (+10)
Midna: level 6 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (11/60)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon Northeast - Rocket Inc.

Level 7 Sectonia (holding 2 level up) - (10/70) - Level up!
Word Count:

Listening to Jessy speak was like listening back to what she’d said when she’d been talking to Fox back on Vah Naboris. Well, almost. Midna had been more concerned about the dangers of freeing people who wouldn’t see reason even once cleared of the light than the risks of trying to free them in the first place, but still. She hadn't understood the danger and lethality of guns at the time, whereas now she was much too familiar. Still, she could still steal quite a bit of Fox’s thinking for this, and Mao gave her an excellent run into her own arguments. There was not just one blindness but two in play here after all.

”I get where you're coming from Jessy. Trust me, I’ve argued from much the same position earlier. But as Moa can attest, we know these people have a nobility that has been smothered by the light and by this... Number two’s influence. These people are victims who have been turned into enemies, and we are blessed with the ability to save them. I know what it's like not to have that chance, so we should do the best we can to grasp it.” She said, referring to the shadow beasts Zant had warped he people into and which she and Link had had to put down to free Hyrule from the encroaching Twilight.

”and yeah, it's dangerous, and I don't want you to sacrifice yourself for them, but we managed to free everyone and not lose anyone in the first fight we had with them that we had before you and the Thieves arrived” She said rather pointedly as a result of her frustration getting a hold of her for a moment, before recognizing she was trying to shift blame and trying to be more constructive, while also simultaneously addressing Ciella's derision of their skills

”Mainly by ambushing their ambush,” she explained, ”Whee as this was walking right into a battlefield they control where they’ve clearly prepped for this exact situation based on the weapon’s hidden around the place and the emergency teleport items they had. We should try and be smarter as we go down deeper into their dungeon, force them to fight on our terms as much as we can”

How they were going to be smarter was something they’d need to think about of course, because currently she didn't have many ideas.

One thing they could do at least was get moving, and as they were Jessy approached to get some clarification as to why on earth they were doing all this in the first place.

”Officially, we need to get the Grimleal to trust us so we can take a train with massive guns on it to use as transport. Unofficially we’re here for recruitment. Both from the rebels and, if we can, the Grimleal.” Though she wasn't so sure she wanted to work with Ciella any longer than she had too (though she also expected that she’d need to be freed to save the rebels from her ‘justice’) and so when it came to the Grimleal she was mostly hoping the other team would have luck with the other two lieutenants in terms of co-opting the cult/cities resources for their cause.

There wasn't really time to get into the complexity of the politics, and Midna’s own opinions on how to handle the town after this, in a short whispered conversation. Everyone was getting their stuff together and in short order they were descending into the depths of the tower seeking the basement the Rebels had yelled about while under attack.

Midna floated above Mao and beside Braum with her own smaller shield, which she was finding far more attunement with than she had now that they’d been through a few fights together, held up to extend the defensive front line just a bit more. She did not want to walk into another hail of gunfire like they had when entering the building.

Fortunately, no such hail was forthcoming. Instead what they found was some kind of puzzle blocking their way in one direction, and a dead end forcing them through it in the other, which Midna went down into and called up to the others about.

”Nothing here, just some tables and machines,” machines which she had no idea what they were for. As a result they got left behind when Midna took a bit of time to do some cover acquisition.

After looting the room of its non-valuables, she came up and found the others already in or queuing up to get into the spinny maze. She took one look at that queue and then floated past it, over to the area that looked like it was an exit to the maze that led back to the entrance. Then she floated over the panels into the maze and found Mao being incredibly angry about being spun this way and that.

”That bad, huh? Well here’s a tip, don't go back that way because that's the way in ” She said, pointing to the 4 feet worth of maze she’d flown over to get where he was before continuing on another few feet, looking to her left and finding the exit.

”Oh and the end is over here, and the way to get here is at the very bottom of the maze” she said, after poking her head back into the maze to helpful informed him of this, while pointing down the corridor where she assumed you had to spin over two.

”I’ll make sure no one is waiting/coming to make this even harder than it needs to be. Good luck!” she told him, before moving into the exit corridor and proceeding to plonk down two tables and four chairs in order to make a barricade facing the stairs, and then getting a potted plant and holding it ready in her shadow hand. Anyone who tried to come for them was in for a world of hurt.

Sectonia was ready to handle whatever this hedgehog was going to do, seeing as he was trying to take off some ‘rings’ around his wrists. She fired a Void Globule but was frozen in time as Shadow prepared to go all out. However he begrudgingly ran away, seemingly extremely offended to be her minion. ”Well then… Minions can serve one way or the other in this world.“ Sectonia said darkly before turning to Necronomicon who was geeking about who they had just fought. "Hm. I don’t know who that is, but he was strong. His attitude could use an adjustment though." Sectonia said, checking and verifying the pokemon she had under her crown was fine, giving Necronomicon a thumbs up, and descending with the persona, healing slowly thanks to her pipe and healing the others around her thanks to the same item, Laharl being even more beat up than herself with Midna tending to them.

The others looked a bit down as the battle didn’t go nearly as well as the warehouse fight. As the others mentioned what had happened themselves, Sectonia said "Good thing that black hedgehog that manipulated time… what did Necronomicon call him… Shadow? Wasn’t there to fight you all. He was quite troublesome, but that means he will also make a great minion."

They didn’t have that much time though, so the group descended the stairs after their little chatter on what had just happened. Sectonia could only really listen ot the rest of the group as she wasn’t too aware what had gone on below her while she was fighting Shadow.

As they descended the stairs, the group came upon tiles that, apparently according to Ciella, forced those who walked to move along the direction pointed out by the arrows. Sectonia was going to test this herself, but she didn’t need to as Mao, one of their new additions, decided to be the test dummy and what Sectonia saw…. Didn’t look flattering. He was overconfident for his age, that was apparently, but that overconfidence soon turned to queeziness as he was forced to spin and move by every tile he hit. "Well that is… concerning." Sectonia said. However, her concerns were alleviated as Midna showed that those who didn’t touch the tiles, such as Sectonia due to their inherent flight, weren’t affected. Seeing this, Sectonia summoned a single fire Antillion, saying. "Help the others figure this puzzle out by testing paths on your own. If you manage to return to me, guide the others along that path." Sectonia said before following Midna to assist in the whole ‘dealing with possible enemies at the end of the maze.’ thing. Although Sectonia didn’t have as easy of a time hiding like Midna did.

Said princess got herself comfortable on one of the chairs making up part of her barricade and then, with little else to do, asked ”So how’d the fight with the black and red... Thing… Person. Go? Did he teleport away before you could free him?”

Sectonia, folding her cape wings to get the slimmest profile she could, staff in one hand, said. "it was a bit challenging. While he was fast, he also was a but tougher than I expected. However I did cause him to retreat. I did have a feeling though he wasn't going all out. " Sectonia said. She then sighed before continuing. " Bring stuck in time repeatedly was not very pleasant."

”iIt really wasn't” Midna agreed

"How did your fights go? I take it some of them also teleported away?"

”The male gun wielder and the armored shouter got away. I think you saw what happened to the gun mage. That was my fault. Should have intervened rather than trying to sneak a heart in while Ciella, because she hit her much much harder than I expected.” Midna admitted, clearly not happy about that ”She’s going to be an issue going forwards with the plan.”

”As for the female gun wielder, the blue haired one, Joker did… something to her. Enveloped her in blue fire and then she was gone. He and Fox didn’t give me a straight answer when I asked about that either, other than implying that it was a form of recruitment, but clearly not the kind that is, well, liberating like the hearts we use are. That and they have some knowledge about a metaverse, or things called altered world events, which seems like it would be useful but hasn’t been shared with us, or me anyway” Midna had started checking behind her as well as forwards, clearly not wanting the thieves to catch her unawares while she was talking about them.

”Plus when I tried to argue with them about freeing people they seemed almost... apathetic? Like the fact that it saves lives didn’t even register as a consideration. I don’t know. A lot about them really rubs me the wrong way, attitude and secrets both.” She concluded, and then glanced at Sectonia to gauge her reaction to all this.

Sectonia listened to Midna talk, her reaction as difficult to read as ever. She did raise an eyebrow however at the talk of Joker's 'recruitment'. She did notice how stand offish the thieves had been as well.

" I agree with that assessment" Sectonia said, her fire antilion having tried and failed at another path. " They seem to be in it for themselves. But they also act like kids overall so that is to be expected." Sectonia said. " Their power is useful from time to time though. The flying UFO one for example helped out with dealing with that Shadow person. " Unlike Midna Sectonia wasn't as concerned with the apathy about saving lives, after all she was in that mindset too with regards to enemies. But minions keeping secrets was dangerous.

"But yes, Joker 'recruiting' someone with blue fire sounds quite dangerous if he refuses to talk about it. Even the thief who helped me let on more than she knew, even if accidentally. For example, she was fully aware of Shadow, while I had no clue. And the way she spoke about him was as if she had run into a celebrity. Now if they both came from the same world or not I do not know. " Sectonia said.

”I guess they are just teenagers…” Midna said, mainly to herself, before asking for clarification, ”But what makes you describe that as ‘letting it slip’?”

"If she knew about him beforehand, she didn’t really make much of a fuss about him until after the combat. If he was such a big deal, her before and after fighting him attitudes were quite different. " Sectonia said as she was asked to clarify, seeing that the others were still busy with that puzzle and paying them very little attention.

”Another secret for the list then,” Midna said, before tapping the defensive table a few times thoughtfully, before glancing back at the queens hard to read face and bluntly asking ”Your going to need to help me stop them doing the blue fire thing they did if we want to save these people... You are onboard with that right?”

Sectonia thought about this for a moment before saying. "If they refuse to explain what it is, then perhaps. But if they do, it’ll depend on exactly what it does. After all, limiting a loyal minion’s fighting capacity could lead to you losing said minion.” Sectonia said.

”We’ll see if they fess up, but I’m not expecting them to do so till after this” Midna said before looking like she was weighing things up before deciding against something and instead asking ”But I also meant more generally. Saving these people from the due influence they are under. I need to know I can count you in my corner on this.”

"Perhaps." Sectonia said as Midna asked her for help on being altruistic. However when Midna didn’t flinch or be reassured on this front, Sectonia continued. "Killing or removing possible subjects doesn’t bode well for your kingdom. However, as you have no doubt seen, those under the influence of Galeem come in two types, the hostiles and the ‘friendlies’. One is willing to become your subject/minion even through the influence of that light ball, the other is up in the air and a risk." Sectonia tapped one of the office tables Midna was using as a barricade. ”Remember, Altruism only works if you are stronger than the person you are trying to ‘save’, at least in this case. As if you friend heart someone who was going even with you, or, dare I say, being a challenge or an uphill battle for you, there is a chance they can become a powerful minion. Or there is a chance you just put yourself and/or your minion put themselves in danger as the person they were just having a challenging fight with, was fully restored and could possibly just decide to finish said minion off instead of being loyal or friendly." She said, and to make her case clear. "So in that case, would you want to risk yourselves and others on a ‘maybe’? I sure wouldn’t. Especially when the rules of this world give you a strong alternative with the “striker” system, forcing even a strong person who wouldn’t serve to become your minion anyway."

”While I get that, trust me, I do, I made the exact same argument to Fox yesterday,” and she definitely did not enjoy having them come out of someone like Sectonia, who’s minionising way of thinking/speaking she wasn't challenging for the sake of diplomacy, but it did at least mean that all she really had to do was follow through and explain her own thinking as to why this was different ”But today we know that these people will be onboard if we free them. Mao’s said there's a second layer of influence affecting them for this number two without which some of them wouldn't be doing this. Plus, they’re fighting against a, well,” again she glanced back to check they weren’t going to be interrupted ”,a wear their evil on their sleeve style cult. These are the kinds of people who fight against evil, or at least against authority. Show them the bigger evil and they’ll come around, I can guarantee it.”

Midna had an interesting point, but it didn’t really shake Sectonia too much from her thoughts on the matter. But that mention of a second influence was something to ponder. After thinking, Sectonia said. "I still won't risk it if we deal with someone like that Shadow, and that rebellion against authority might be a double edged sword should they refuse to be a minion which is also a risk. But perhaps that can be avoided should this second influence be neutralized. There was that one person you freed that did a complete 180, true." she conceded.

”I mean they’re working fine under… well no, that's the number two’s influence at work isn't it. All I can say is if they want out after, then they can go. That’s fine with me.” Like Crow with Crow, she wasn't going to force anyone who didn't want to help to work with them. It was neither moral nor logical.

”As for the risk, I can appreciate that. Definitely not wanting people to die for this. But we need to fight smarter this time round anyway, to improve our odds of both winning and freeing them. It's not like we can get stronger before-” Minda was saying before she snapped her fingers ”No wait, I might have something that’ll help you out in your rematch”

Midna swiped a hand over an open palm like she was doing a slight of hand trick and made the Omen mask appear in her hand, brought in from the twilight realm, and then held it out to the queen ”Not sure if its your style, but it seems to work on projectile magic, which you use a lot of, if I remember right?”

Sectonia looked at the mask. It did look imposing, although it wasn't her style. Before she dismissed it though, she took a look at the power it granted, and much like Midna said, it did drastically increase the power of magic, but also made it a bit unstable at the same time. ”Hmm….” Sectonia audibly said, thinking it over. ”Its certainly not my style, but I can feel the immense magic emanating from it. And while not my style, it's not hideous like that helmet I have.” Sectonia took the offered mask and began to examine it, to see if there was a way she could gain its power, without covering her own face. Due to its size, it wouldn’t fit over her face anyway, so she put it in her fluff like the Pipe of Insight as she began to think of how she could incorporate it into her ensemble.

”Even if it isn’t my style, this could prove useful in a rematch. Although with some alterations, I could make use of this at all times.” She said, thanking Midna for the gift. ”I have great control over my own magic, so that should counteract some of the instability this item causes.” Sectonia said, although softer and not to anyone in particular. Still loud enough for Midna to hear though.

After thinking about it, Sectonia said. ”But thank you my loyal minion. Should you find any spirits you would like to crush for items, don’t hesitate to ask to use that ugly helmet. Even I have to admit it's very useful for what it does.”

A brief look of exasperation crossed Midna’s face, but it quickly passed, her irritation once again in the name of diplomacy. She could stomach the queen’s delusion/quirk for just a little longer if it kept her on side for her mission. Instead she forced a smile and a friendly ”Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind.” and then resumed her watch on the way forwards, occasionally tossing her potted plant projectile up and down while the queen figured out her new fashion and power.

Midna didn’t seem to like Sectonia’s offer, no doubt also agreeing on how hideous that helmet was, but accepting her offer anyway, before going back to looking out for enemies, tossing her potted plant projectiles idly. Sectonia used this idle time to also test out her new little toy, conjuring up some green Antillions to use as target practice. From what she could tell, yes, this mask did cause spell instability, causing her projectiles to become wildly unpredictable at long ranges, but the insane amount of damage they outputted when they hit something meant that if she hit something at close range where these projectiles didn’t deviate too much at all. And she tended to either send her Antillions to deal with something or engage it herself in close range, so this wasn’t too bad of a problem. All in all, that hedgehog would be in for a world of hurt should he engage the queen in fisticuffs again.

Midna, who just assumed the ants were magic constructs, didn't bat an eye at what the queen was doing, other than to take note of what the mask had done. ”Going to need to be careful those don't hit anyone” she noted

As if on cue, one of Sectonia’s Void Globules boomeranged back at the Queen, passing through without issue. ”While I can’t seem to control the stability of how the magic flies, I can still control who it does and doesn’t harm.” Sectonia said ”Friendly Fire among queen and minions just wouldn’t do otherwise.” She said.

”Now that’s some smart magic,” Minda complimented her, genuinely impressed, before resuming her watch.

Hopefully their long chat had given the ground pounders time to work out how to get round.

The idea that they could have helped by carrying people over the tiles apparently never crossed either royal's mind.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,857 (+3)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (132/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (57/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (54/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

Floor 1: Bowser Junior

”That's it! That's it!” Jr cheered Mimi on as she spun the wheel till at last a heavy thwonk rounded and the wheel would turn no more ”Yesss! You did it! You can stop now.” Jr told his pokeminion after he was done celebrating, relieving her from her growing frustration with the fact that the wheel had stopped turning. She reeled back her shadow and then wiped her brow/chest, clearly worn out by having to maintain the move for so long.

As she settled down to relax, Jr turned the vehicle round and back towards the entrance, only to find the faceless girl racing towards them again. Crying out ”Not again! Where’s the stupid robot!” Jr tried to back them up and away from her, only to get stuck in the messy contents of the draining room in the process. Mimi, tired from shadow handling the wheel, was too tired to get out another to slash her(but tried to nonetheless) and so, thinking the glass being punched in was inevitable at this point, jr took a deep breath in the vain hope that he might be able to outlast the draining and then squared up to meet her own glass shattering blow with his own aimed for her faceless face.

Fortunately the prince wouldn’t need to test his lung capacity. The faceless girl’s aversion to light became clear to Jr where before he’d kinda missed it while shouting at Mimi. She reacted like she was being hit by a wave of fire rather than light, yet despite the obvious pain she was pushed closer and closer and then, after what felt like an eternity, she gave up and bolted into a hole in the floor.

Jr let out his held breath in relief and then got Mimi to stop over exerting herself in trying to do another shadow sneak. All that was left then, was to sit back, relax, and wait to see if their actions had born fruit. It certainly sounded like it, some ancient machinery gurgling away out there but it was only when the water started draining out of the room and then finally dunked the sub to the ground that they actually knew it had worked.

”Well, that could have been worse” Jr said, as he popped open the hatch of the sub, taking a breath of slightly fresher air. Then he scooped up Mimi and the weird key he hadn’t had to use, jumped down into the foot deep water, shivered about being in foot deep water (but at least unlike everyone else he didn't have clothes or shoes to get waterlogged) then took a sloshing walk through the tunnel he’d been in and over to the Bull

”Good job up there. Didn't even have to worry about mr fish breath” he said to it’s camera, giving a thumbs up to the battered thing’s camera. There was no response.

”Maybe they’ve set off already?” he said to Mimi, getting a shrug in return. ”Well whatever, let's just get moving. Got a bunch more climbing up too do I think. Urg.”

Jr was not looking forward to that, but the faster he moved, the sooner they’d be able to get out and eat something. Hunger and horror were, he was finding, just the worst combination of feelings.

Unfortunately, as he stepped out into the pit, getting out of it was not going to be so easy as strolling along the bottom of the tank and finding a ladder or staircase up to the second floor. There were masses of junk littering the floor of the chamber for one, and for two there was at least one big bad beast roaming around the water logged scrap heap.

”Aw come on, he can breathe air?” Jr complained as he heard the big fish lamenting the loss of his water. He took a few moments to look around for a path through the junk fields, before realizing something: The big fish probably knew where the drain control was and if he did, then he also knew exactly where the person responsible for stealing his water was.

”Time to move! But uh, quietly. Got it Mimi?” Jr said to his minion, getting a nod, before he carefully moved out into the junk, taking a slightly circuitous route to avoid running into the fish if he was indeed coming for him while also looking for a way out of the pit he was in.

Floor 3: Kamek

”Or it could eat your brains” Kamek said, waited for a few moments to see if anything went hideously wrong with Link’s new head piece and then, when it didn't, shrugged ”Looks like you're safe.”

He put away the uninformative document he had been reading, which had been a recording of a private conversation that had been delightful scandalous but entirely useless to him, and watched with interest as Link tried to fill the mold with the black goopy contents of one of the containers. It was a smart move, he had to admit, but unfortunately the logic that you;d keep mold filler with mold turned out to be a false hypothesis. The goo formed into an awful looking little organic thing who’s flashing lights Kamek had to force himself to look away from despite how disgusting it was.

”Well that is deeply unpleasant.” he noted. Still, at least Link had picked the most useless (in Kamek’s opinion) mold to try out, so it wasn't the worst outcome. Anyone who knew anything could tell you that the key one could probably be important to them getting out of here, so the Koopa resolved to hold onto its smaller mold for the moment.

A bit later Link rushed outside when another awful clanging sound resounded from out there. Kamek had basically gotten used to those at this point, it would likely be more concerning if they stopped, and so only ambled out a few moments later to find the water draining away around them.

”Well I’m not sure what they did, but it looks like the way is clear” Kamek noted pleasantly, before the big fish made it known that it didn't have the common decency to drown in the air like some of the other things down there where doing. Or where hopefully doing. ”Ah, well. Almost clear.”

That was not going to be fun. He scratched his head a bit, looking around to see if there was a way they’d be able to start getting down.

”You two good down there?” came a shout from Bowser, who had been in the middle of climbing back to the command center when the water started going down and he’d stopped to watch it go.

”Quite alright sire. Yourself?” Kamek replied

”Yeah I’m good, just risking my butt up here while you sit on yours down there”

”Sire... Well I haven't been completely idle!. I’ve found. Some strange goop? And some…. Junk. and this model of a key? I mean, we don't have a way to fill it, but it's something” Kamek waved the mold Link had found up at the king, who squinted down at it.

”A key mold huh?” the king scratched his chin before shouting up to the two grate climbers ”Hey wasn't there some kind of machine for those up there?”

If/when he got some confirmation, he shouted down ”Wait right there, I’m coming to get that mold from ya”

”I’m not going anywhere sire. But couldn't Link just bring it up?” Kamek called back

”Nah. Hey, Link. nice doge earlier. Now go see if you can get downwards and help Jr out with old fish face.” Bowser said as he started coming down, taking him away from the panicked situation he was unaware was unfolding in the command center.

”Wait, the young master is down there?!”

”Yeah he got the water down like a champ!”

Kamek squinted down at the pit of trash, then over at the map to work out where flow control was, then down at that before finally spotting Jr. ”There he is!” he called out cheerily, pointing and then waving till he got a wave back from the speck that was Jr. Followed a few moments later by an arm crossing wave signaling no before the prince raced out of sight at a faster pace than he had been taking when Kamek had spotted him.

Floor 1: Bowser junior

”Stupid stupid stupid old koopa” Jr whisper shouted as he hurriedly moved to reposition away from the spot he had been at when Kamek pointed him out for anyone who was paying attention to see. ”If we don’t die I’m gonna kill him when we get up there up ”

Floor 4: Rika

Despite being assisted by her anti-gravity gauntlets in the lifting, throwing might have been a bit too generous to describe what Rika had done with the tv. A lob or toss or heave might have been more accurate, so she only really hit because the thing started stomping its way right towards her as soon as she made a noise. Which was incredibly frightening and prompted her to run the heck away as soon as she’d hucked the tv at it.

It stomped after her, a hulking disgusting mass that caused her to forget she was basically the only person in here who was armed. Instead she booked it, only for Geralt to save her butt with a shattering glass jar that distracted it away from her. It was only after it rammed Peach and Bella did the same trick to save her that Rika got control of her brain and worked out how it was going on.

It responded to sound and almost nothing else.

Rika, having run in basically a straight line found herself hiding behind the controls to the submarine crane and, as a result, basically as far from escape as she could possibly be. She briefly considered trying to ride down on the now lowering water, but was that water really any safer? Plus, she couldn’t abandon her friends like that.

What she could do to help came to her when Mirage, who was as deceptive a child as he was an adult apparently, tried to use his pop gun to rattle the fence in the center of the room around the submarine pit to get its attention there again (but sans a Peach to ram this time).

Awkwardly twisting her arm to get her hand out of her gauntlet, something she’d always had to do to hold stuff now that they were bottled back in place, but which was now dangerous rather than an inconvenience she scraped the gauntlet against the metal console as she grabbed the controls of the crane. As soon as she had a grip started to wiggle them, intending to add a bunch of ongoing mechanical noise inside the cage to distract the thing. Or at least hopefully smother other sounds they made.

Maybe if it got inside she could even grab it or knock it into the hole? But that was a longshot.

wordcount: 1,187(+2) (-3)
Midna: level 5 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////// (46/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon Northeast - Rocket Inc.

Midna bit back her building anger/frustration with the Thieves for now and, as the battle rolled on in front of them, tried to give them an equally calm rebuttal ”Except it does change people. Not directly, yes, but given time, time that they’ve all had, the required legality will influence people’s personalities”

She’d been thinking this over since their previous battle, and now she tried to wrangle the ideas that had been rattling around in her head and deliver them as an argument ”I don't know what kind of world you come from, but from what I know, most people aren't killers by nature. Even those that do kill they have limits on what warrants death and what kind of lives they are willing to take. But here, touched by Galeem’s influence? Any fight you take, it ends in the death of you or your foe, no matter who or what they are. If you don't fight, then sure, you're probably the same. But if you step up and fight for what you believe in, take a stand against tyranny and evil, then you end up with blood on your hands where before you might have just left bruises. That changes a person and, because they are blind to Galeem’s influence, they have to rationalize that killer nature as part of themselves. That changes them from who they were, and who they are when they are free again.” she said, before taking her hypothesis and adding some actual evidence to back it up.

”Case and point, there was a little girl as part of the previous group. When she was free, she was horrified by the very idea of using her magic to attack people instead of monsters, let alone killing them. Because that wasn't part of her nature before, it was something Galeem forced her to do for daring to fight for what she thought was right.” she concluded, hoping that she might be able to foster an understanding as to why these people deserved to be given a second chance.

As she wrapped up, so too was the battle between the two woman coming to a close ”and don’t think I don't see you dancing around telling exactly me what you actually did with that lady” she added, but she didn't have time to go into that, instead tapping her chest to draw out a heart and moving herself closer to get into a better position to dart in at the last moment and free the loser, before, if she was contested, turning her massively amped up dragon power on the winner and then freeing them too.

Unfortunately, like Amara, Midna herself also fell for Ciella’s deception, focusing on the sneaking woman and missing the spell forming at the siren’s feet. Behind her, Fox wasn't fooled. Had he informed her instead of/as well as Joker, or moved to act himself, Amara might have lived, but it was not to be.

There was no life on the line as far as the Thieves were concerned after all.

So the trap was sprung, and in a torrent of arrow fire the mislead hero fell. Minda was blindsided by this conclusion, left holding the friend-heart as Amara’s spirit fell to the ground. After understanding struck Minda hurled the heart away in anger, and then felt like an arrow had pierced her own heart when she recognized that, had she intervened or been more observant, this could have been avoided.

Amara was dead because of her.

She’d had people die because of her failings before of course, and she had no need of Galeem to make her a killer, so the moment wasn't soul shattering by any means. The siren was just one more stranger’s corpse laid atop the pile of lessons learned (which consisted mostly of mountain of dead Hylians resting on a mound of her own subjects). But it still killed her just a little every time it happened. To add insult, or rather horror, to injury, Ciella grasped the fallen hero’s spirit and pressed it to her chest, absorbing her power like the Seekers did.

”Who the fuck taught her to do that” She whispered under her breath. Because that was bad. Really bad. Long-term it had the possibility of some dreadful consequences, but short term it was also bad. She was already incredibly strong after all, and now she had even more power. How many might die if they had to fight her to stop her from killing someone they freed.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, as they returned to the conference chamber (Midna noting with quet disdain that the Thieves had shown no reaction other than quiet indifference to Amara’s death as they regrouped), it appeared that wouldn’t be an issue just yet.

Back in the room they immediately linked up with Mao, who gave them a report on how things had turned back in the room.

”So we absolutely failed to take anyone alive. Brilliant. Just brilliant” She replied with a sigh as her dragon energy, mostly unused, slowly dissipated. And they’d done so well the first time round, Minda cursed to herself. A brief mental rundown of who was with her gave her a rationale as to why. Indifferent thieves (who poisoned her current opinion of Jessy by association), evil overlords and the still Galeeming Bruam (who seemed like a good person to her and, she mentally noted, she should definitely actively try to find a way to free him as soon as possible).

Maybe the still absent Sectonia was the only one she could rely on to follow through, which she had mixed feelings about. When it came down to it there were not a lot of people in this crew who’s moral character she could truly trust, here or in the larger extended group. She’d need to mend some bridges and do some internal faction building if she wanted to try and keep them on the right path.

For the moment however, informed by this assessment and by the encounter in the previous room, Minda resolved to take things into her own hands far more heavily when they assailed the basement.

Still, while they couldn't be trusted to take people alive, at least they could be relied upon not to get themselves killed. Though considering the state of Laharl he’d had quite the close call. ”Can your priests help Laharl now that the coast is-” she began to ask Ciella before stopping, sighing and remembering that the runt was still Galeeming.

She clapped her hands twice to get some attention and then announced ”Demonstration time then. Mao, Jessy, this is how you clear the light” before tapping her chest and drawing out another friend-heart. Then she drifted down to kneel beside the wounded Laharl and administered the restorative fragment.

”Welcome into the shade Laharl, if you have any questions, just ask” she said, getting up herself as he went through his flashback and then offering the overlord a hand to help get up once he put things together, uselessly hoping that being free would somehow do something about his attitude problem.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 630/455/127 (+1)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (129/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (54/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (51/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

”I’m a bad-guy, I don’t have to be nice!” Was Bowser’s parting call back to Sakura. Rika didn’t really get what that meant at all, nor was she any help with the bottles of stuff which she couldn't read either, Eastern European languages were not exactly high on the list of information mass produced foot soldiers needed to know after all.

While they were at it Bowser’s plan came to fruition in a way that was nowhere near what he’d planned, but that still got results, so he was going to claim victory if anyone asked nonetheless. He’d misjudged what Moreau would consider bait, the disgusting morals certainly wasn’t it, and just quite how high the monster could jump.

Which meant that his leap away from the fish’s mighty leap was less a suave and cunning per-prepared dodge like Link’s had been and more a panicked flight accompanied by FUNGA! FUNGA! FUNGA! HUP! before the King soared with gravity defying grace through the air and up to the ladder, which he grabbed with one claw. And then hung from it by said one claw as the big jerk crashed through his platform and then smashed into the wall with a might smack

”Gahaha-arg!” Bowser laughed at his foolishness and then was forced to cling on to his ladder as the shock-waved reverberated through everything, and threatened to shake him off and drop him into the water. While it didn't make him lose, it did dunk part of the sky maze into the water and, while fortunately no one was on it to take the plunge with it, all this intentional and unintentional platform dropping was probably going to make navigating up and down a fair bit trickier. And they were going to need to get back down somehow once Jr and the Mirages pulled through.

”Urg, well you were useless” Bowser informed the gross thing on the end of his fishing rod. He proceeded to violently shake it around till it slipped the knot and fell down into the water, where maybe it would act as a little distraction down there where it had failed at the end of the line. Then he gripped the rod in between his teeth and used both hands to clamber his way up the ladder. Once up he headed back to the control room to see if there was anything else that would work as a distraction. That wasn't himself that was. As a result of his shenanigans he was still on his way back, when the ladies, and Mirage, received their guest.

Rika however was right there and was in the middle of picking up and trying to gauge if Sakura’ idea of hucking the tv at their fishy foe was something she could pull off (the doll had been removed and carefully set aside from its seat on top of said tv while she was at this and, it seemed, was safe from any threat of being used as a distraction by anyone present) when something started banging around nearby.

“Huh? What was that noise?” she asked upon hearing it and then, when Bella asked what they were supposed to do when something came she more or less automatically suggested “well we fight it I guess?”

It was just when the fact that, as kids, this probably wasn't a good plan, that the eyeless armless thing burst out of the vent. Though it did first fall over rather pathetically, when it started picking itself it looked like it was going to be absolutely massive, not to mention utterly disgusting and horrifying.

Rika’s response to this was to shriek in surprise and panic and then to chuck the Tv at its head as it was trying to get up.

While those above dealt with their own troubles, Jr continued to slip through the depths towards his destination of flood control. While at it he managed to miss said control’s signpost due to being very, very, very worried about their spooky lady friend. Fortunately, she didn't seem to want to make a move, perhaps because of Jr’s cunning circling of the (two) wagons, or perhaps just because she wasn't ready to come in again for some reason, but whichever was the case, in the end they made it too flood control uncontested.

”Finally!” the prince cheered as he found the room and slipped right in without a moment's thought or hesitation. There were a whole lot of mechanical gubbins in there, but even an idiot couldn't miss the giant wheel under the flashing light that would allow them to drain all the water. No complicated water level puzzles here, just a nice simple singular level transformation. There was a slight problem however, Jr raised, as he floated up in front of the controls.

”Wait. Uh. how do I...” he rather uselessly tapped at the glass in front of him that kept him safe, but also stopped him from reaching the wheel. There were also no manipulators on the sub but, as he swiftly realized, that didn't matter, because while he couldn't reach through the glass, his ghostly minion certainly could!

”Mimi! Use your sneaky shadow to turn that wheel!” he commanded while pointing dramatically at the wheel

“Mimi?” the mon replied, seemingly confused

”That shadow thing. Use it on the wheel!” Jr instructed again, jabbing his finger at the wheel again a little impatiently.

“Kyu?” she looked at it, looked at him, and then shrugged and got to it and, in doing so, demonstrated that while pokemon where hardly animals, there was a reason they were not equal citizens of their world when she proceeded to sneak her shadow out and then used it to ineffectually attack the wheel with spectral claw swipes.

”What no! Don't attack the wheel! Turn it! Turn the wheel.” Jr shouted at her.

“Kyu?” she replied, having little understanding of machinery. That was trainer stuff.

”Look. Grab it like this” jr said, mimicking grasping the wheel with his claws

“Mi” the mon replied, and after a few tries and corrections from her trainer, grasped the wheel with her shadow’s tendrils

”and now turn it. Like this” jr said, again, demonstrating the action

“Kyu!” the mon replied, turning the wheel a half turn as instructed

”Good, now do that again. Good. and again and again! Goood. You got it! Good minion!” jr instructed and then cheered as the mon started to turn the wheel a quarter turn at a time until the task was done.

”Quite the collection of junk you've got there” Kamek said to Link after they’d dug through the boxes, his own attempt at helping having not turned up much of use either, just the same cables and text logs and other scrap.

”Molds we can't fill, weird goo that I do not want to touch… I suppose if you want a suspicious looking hat you have it and… what even is all this text about?” Kamek said, misinformed and dismissive, while picking up a random document from among the hundreds stuffed into the boxes and giving it a read. It wasn't like he was much use anyway he thought morosely as he skim read the sensitive information mainly because it was there and it was something to do.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 807/355 (+2/+1)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (128/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (53/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (50/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

”I mean we don’t though. I mean I kinda know other... Versions of the guy? Or his relatives? You know I'm not sure how the whole Link thing works but lie every time we do this smash thing there's a different one while most other people stay the same and-.” Bowser started rambling in response to Sakura’s telling off. While he was at it there was a ripping sound as Rika tore a bit of fabric off the dress she’d found in the toy dump and had been wearing ever since then.

“Does this help?” she asked as she handed it to Sakura to be used as a tissue, before making some adjustments to her outfit to try and compensate for the missing piece. Apparently she hadn't even considered using the monster’s doll’s own lovely outfit for this purpose.

While they were talking, the other gang’s plan came to fruition. The nimble Link darted back as the fish came careening though he water and more or less slamming into everything and anything in his path and just barely failed to slam the boy into paste. Instead the hero ducked into the other room (followed by a veritable flood of junked metal that Kamek just barely managed to scramble out of the way of) and put himself right in the jaws of the trap. Or right below it rather.

With a snip and a snap the cat and the hunter severed the last chain of the platform hanging above the fish, causing it to plummet and then, like a sword of Damocles it came crashing down upon the lord, dealing him a mighty blow. This metaphorical sword was followed by an improvised literal one, as Geralt lobbed his nail like a spear and impaled the beast in the head with it.

Yet despite their efforts, the big brute wasn't out for the count and instead sloughed off of the ruins of the scaffolding and back down into the water, though not before receiving a parting pair of shells from Rika’s underdeveloped arm cannons. She’d been too transfixed by the carnage to react as quickly as Geralt had, but she still managed to sneak in a parting gift right before he got away.

A few moments after he was gone, a small fireball also plinked into the now fish-less carnage spot, Bowser’s own addition arriving far too late to do anything useful.

”Bah! Jerk ran away rather than sit there and take his medicine!” he complained

“Maybe you’ll just need to be closer next time?” Rika suggested

”Or have him come to me!” Bowser replied, before shouting out at the bridge droppers ”Hey! I've got some stuff that might get his attention. By which I mean his stuff” he jerked a thumb at the guy’s meager collection of belongings ”Why don't we see if he’s interested in trying to get it back!”

With that, he picked up the fishing rod and the jar containing the thing labeled ‘cadou’ and made his way back to what remained of the maze. Once he’d found a nice spot he uncorked the jar, wretched at the smell and then looped the end of the rod’s string around the ugly thing inside and fished it out without touching it.

Not that that helped much.

Even reeling it out of the fluid containing it made the king feel sick to the stomach from the sight and smell of the thing, so the gross thing went over the side as soon as possible, dangling down below his platform and towards the water. The king, possibly fueled by his own hunger, thought that the disgusting fish guy would want to eat something equally as disgusting, and so intended to use the thing like fish bait.

”Hey, look at me, fish jerk, I’ve got your weird gross jar thing. Come and get it!” Bowser yelled down, taunting the lord with the rather awful thing and using it like a rather heavy fly lure on the end of the fishing rod, trying to bait him to come under the platforms again where the bolt cutting duo could try and land a strike on top of him, though the fish likely being being a moving target this time might make that a fair bit trickier.

That left Rika back at the control room with Sakura, who she asked “you think any of this will help?” while vaguely indicating to the TV, doll and assorted bottles of stuff she’d lugged over to their vantage point.

”I’m not sure what you're expecting to find in there, little hero, but let me lend you a hand” Kamek said as Link started tearing into the boxes that had briefly blocked their way before. He carefully climbed over, taking a few cautious glances at the hylian’s new friend as he did so, quite sure that it was the same kind of thing that had been stalking him in the toy dump, and then took a look inside some of the boxes that had already been torn into.

”If you are looking for a weapon you might have more luck with all the scrap your stunt tipped everywhere however” he mentioned, pointing towards the jagged and dangerous scaffolding shrapnel that would make leaving their hiding spot a possible literal pain.

”Ha ha yeah eat it! Bet you didn't expect that, you jerk!” Jr cheered as Mimi’s shadow sneak worked like a charm, catching the spooky faceless lady off guard, turning the friendly dark into a nightmare of needles. Rather than try and charge though the darkness Mimi was projecting, she instead opted to flee, getting a cheer from both Jr and Mimi before the prince realized that she’d gotten out of sight of them, and her running that didn’t mean she wouldn't be coming right on back when the opportunity struck.

”Wait where did you go?” Jr asked the black water, rapidly scanning the lamp light of the sub around to try and find her, and instead only finding a mess of pipes and other junk, all of which provided excellent cover for the light averse water dwelling lady.

”Stop hiding! Come out and fight like a koopa!” he demanded, to no response.

Instead of finding her, Jr instead found Mirage, or rather the stocky robot he was piloting, when it flashed its light at him and then gestured crudely with its limbs in what might be a come here motion. Jr wasn't actually sure, but he did know two lights searching for the lady would be better than one and so moved the sub over to link up with the robot. He unfortunately definitely didn't get the idea that Mirage had straight up found their goal from his stiff gestures, and so instead moved just behind him and engaged in what was effectively a back to back shuffle forwards. As they moved jr kept scanning around with his searchlight looking both for the way to flow control, which he was unknowingly already taking, and also scanning around for the lady in case she tried to loop round in front of them or come in from the sides, which slowed him down even more.

”You know, this’d be much easier if that suit hadn’t wandered off as well” Jr complained to Mimi, who was primed and ready to try and harass the lady again if they spotted her, as he kept erratically swinging the lamp light around in a hope of catching the faceless lady out in the open ”like jeez, did it go take a nap or something? Where is it?”

wordcount: 506 (+1)
Midna: level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (47/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon Northeast - Rocket Inc.

Midna did more than just raised an eyebrow when she spotted whatever the heck Joker did with Jink, in fact she practically balked at it, but events prevented her from doing any questioning him about it immediately even though she met up with him and his right before the entrance to the room where Ciella and Amara where fighting. After she was almost splashed to pieces when she tried to peek into the room despite Fox’s warning about water blasts the thieves rushed inside, with Midna hot on their heels, and found the room a sodden and splintered mess thanks to the combating duo’s opposed water and ice magics.

Neither seemed particularly pleased about them intruding on their battle. Amara’s concern was entirely understandable, she was on the back foot while Ciella looked little worse for ware (Midna was somewhat amazed that she seemed to have shrugged of dozens of the lethal projectiles fired by the siren’s guns, possibly even more than Jessy had taken to put her in dire straits. She was one tough lady, that was for sure)

The rabbit woman herself seemed to have some kind of honor or single mindedness that made her refuse to allow interference in her battle, an attitude which Midna simultaneously understood and thought incredibly foolish.

It was Amara however, who diverted some of her energy to trying to ward them off from intervening, creating a fist below them with a burst of her power with which she tried to punch them into the ceiling. The thieves dashed to the side at once, with Minda following/being pulled out of the way in equal measure.

”I had that,” she insisted, a debatable statement that would probably need a slow motion replay to actually verify one way or the other.

Ciella expressed her disdain for their potential involvement with words rather than actions, but her refutation of their wordless offer of help was no less swift and harsh. It was an instruction that Joker seemed more than happy to nonchalantly follow, which kind of ticked Minda off even if it was a sensible course of action.

”Reminder: this doesn't end without one of them dying, which is something we’re here to stop” she whispered to them bluntly. Despite that, she wasn't going to get involved either, at least not immediately. Instead she fell back with the pair inorder to watch for the right moment and use it to free Amara. But as that was an action she was quite sure would not be taken well by the dangerously powerful Ciella, she needed to be prepared. So while she kept speaking with the Thieves, or rather mainly Joker, she started to string Dragon Dances together from their fallback position, pumping up her power and speed higher and higher with each rapid thumping step.

”Also what in the goddess’s name was that thing you did too the blue haired maniac?” she asked while in the middle of dancing, which probably took a bit of an edge off how deadly serious she was.

wordcount: 1,025
Midna: level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (46/50)
Location: Sandswept Sky - Al Mamoon Northeast - Rocket Inc.

Click went one gun, then the other, as Midna emptied the remaining ammo from both her stolen firearms in Fuse’s general direction. She was fairly sure she didn't even scratch him with her erratic fire, the guns kicking like mules in her grip and vibrating her bones with every shell expended in such a way that left them almost numb, but it did seem to give him enough pause that Jesse got her headspace together. Quickly too. Minda approved.

Fuse never got to find another heavier gun to replace his pistol, Jessy dumped one to the ground by making its resting spot intangible with some kind of even weird than normal gun, then Shadow blinked in and out to steal the other and finally , if he had any final tricks the rocket’s from Jessy’s rather freaky looking launcher put an end to those plans when it flash froze everything around him and hurt him something fierce. Midna, spying this, moved out from cover to get close enough to pin him down with her shadow hand and, maybe, free him. But before she could do either he crushed some kind of magical bone and, in a flash, vanished without a trace. Jessy later hypothesized/hoped he might, if they were lucky, have just vaporized himself but the princess would bet good gold on it being an emergency teleport of some kind (and t be fair that was Jessy's main guess too).

They probably hadn’t seen the last of him.

Still, their fight was over, which gave Midna and Jessy a few brief moments to recover and exchange words.

”Can’t help you there, I don't even know how you ‘reload’ these things” Midna commented when Jessy said she didn't know how to reload her big devastating frost blasting weapon, the princess gesturing to her stolen smgs as she spoke, now functionally useless to her due to lack of bullets, before dumping them back to the twilight realm for storage purposes, thinking she could maybe pawn them or give them back as sight of good faith to their owner if/when he was freed.

After that she met the head of the Bureau halfway and shook her hand right back with a royal handshake when her’s was taken. ”Yeah don’t worry about it, though you doooo owe me twice over for those” she replied to being thanked, the latter part cheekily said to let her know she wasn't actually serious about being Jessy indebted to her.

After that she was bombarded with a bunch of lingo which she did not get, but at least the deliver realized this a few moments into whatever it was she was on about and stopped herself from going on with her musings on the situation.

”Yeah, your going to have to run all that past me at some point” she replied, and then glanced over at the Thieves, who were presently finishing dealing with the wild blue-haired lady, who’s teen lingo she assumed she was meaning. She was a little peeved to not being in on whatever that new sounding aspect of the situation they might be privy to, despite not having spent any time with them where she could have pick it up, ”and I’ll do the same for anything more you want to know.”

It was a quick exchange all in all. They had places to go, people to beat up. Jessy said she was heading for the battle where the overlords were duking it out with the heavy hitting armored fighter, leaving Midna with the question of what she was going to do next.

”I’ll make a quick check or our loudmouthed friend’s location just in-case he’s pulling something sneaky and then...” She did not want to deal with the lightning- flinging warrior who Jessy would be helping handle anyway and didn't know where Sectonia was fighting the appearing and disappearing shadow, so that left ”I’ll chase after the thieves' target. I mean she’s got her hands full already, but she’s also got arms to spare so…” a little backup might be appreciated. Both with her and, possibly, with Ciella if her blood-lust got in the way of their recruitment drive/casualty reduction plan.

As Jessy ran off to danger, Minda moved towards Fuse’s last location on foot, dragon clawing toes spiking the carpet as she first sprinted and then, recognizing she had a moment to power up, tossing in a Dragon Dance as she traveled. An investment that slowed her now but would speed her up till the fight was done.

A quick glance around and sweep of a shadow hand around the area didn't find an invisible Fuse or any other kind of trickery, while her magical knowledge/senses did pick up the residue of some kind of teleportation spell, though that could be a result of the black and red beast man, and she also wasn't able to track either to their destination with just a mage’s glance. What she did find was the last of Fuse’s guns, the prowler, which she hadn't seen him use, awkwardly clipping under the desk it had been on.

”Can't leave that lying around now can we, someone could get hurt” or Shadow could come steal it too. Best take the initiative on that, she thought.

Midna’s shadow hand snatched up the gun like a prize grabber and then dropped the weapon in her hands from which she banished it to the twilight realm for storage. The princess was becoming quite the thieving little loot gremlin now that she knew she could sell things for money. Or was she gaining dragon-like hoarding tendencies? She still had to deal with those cursed artifacts some way or another after all. Whatever the case, she hadn’t gotten so bad that she went looking for the man’s other two guns and instead tossed in another Dragon Dance as she raced after the thieves to the battle between Amara and Ciella

If the bunny lady was hurt enough, she’d give her a healing and freeing friend-heart. If not, well, she’d lend her (bigger and beefier) energy arm to the task of wrestling with the Siren’s many inferior energy limbs. If the thieves and Fox hadn’t handled her already by the time she caught up that was.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,049 (+2)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (126/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (52/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (48/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

“He’s really doing it, huh” Rika commented as Link started stirring up one heck of a ruckus to try and bait the big fish jerk into a trap “he must really care about Jr to risk himself like that huh?”

”Eeeh, we barely know that guy.” Bowser waved his hand dismissively at the idea. He wasn't even sure if the hylian and his son had ever spoken ”Putting their lives on the line for strangers is just kinda what heroes do, and while it's mostly a pain, you won't see me complaining about it this time round.”

“I see” Rika said, before asking “You worried about him?”

”I mean yeah, but he’s a tough kid. I’m sure he’ll be fine.” Bowser replied, ”We just have to be ready and on-point up here to do what we can. Like roasting this big fish if getting a platform dropped on him doesn't finish the job.”

As Link made a nuisance of himself to attract the giant fish’s attention, Jr descended into the depths along with the two machines piloted by Mirage. Or the machines with copies of mirage in them. Jr did not know what their deal was, and frankly he did not care either. What he did care about was the fact that once they started getting deeper they ended up spitting up and away from him.

”Hey, you're supposed to be protecting me, not running off like that” Jr wanted to yell at them, but the oppressive atmosphere of the depths caused him to whisper-shout it instead. Not that they would have been able to hear him anyway. Probably. That was what he was assuming anyway, that the metal hull and dense water would smother his words as much as the water would smother him if the thin glass separating him from it got busted.

As the others drifted away, not even that far really, but far enough that they were beyond Jr’s biological sight, the prince was left feeling alone in the dark abyss, staring down a narrow beam of light surrounded by blackness.


No. not alone. Mimi was there, Jr was reminded as the fay specter bopped its cottenball of a ‘head’ against the side of his own, the little interaction letting the boy release a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding.

”Yeah, you're right. Just gotta keep moving.” He said after a few more breaths and then did just that, continuing to sink down into the depths, following his memory of Peach’s map towards their destination.

As they sank the prince carefully scanned the surroundings with the lamplight of the sub, doing his best to spot anything he might bump into, while also trying to avoid shining it over to where the big fish was rampaging around. He hadn't actually seen what the fish had looked like himself, but boy oh boy could he hear it making an awful ruckus even from down here, though even that was fading away as the sub continued to descend, which was good. If it was still making a nuisance up there then they were alone and safe down here.

That turned out to be a very incorrect assumption.

Jr flinched as he came across a body drifting in the water, and then shivered as he saw it had no face. That was never a good sign, he reflected. Still, it wasn't moving, so after getting over his shock the boy endeavored to keep moving rather than sit lingering on the drowned body for any longer than he had too. Staring at an example of how you might die was not a good way to maintain your sanity after all.

It wasn't clear if Jr caught sight of movement out of the corner of his eye, unconsciously picked up on the slight vibrations through the water, that he was in tune with Mimi’s animal/ghostly instincts or if part of his brain remembered that there were no dead bodies in this world of light but something made him swing the light back to the body to give it another look mere moments after swinging it away. And then scream as he found the faceless thing now swimming right at him at shark-like speed with a hand outstretched towards the sub’s front window, which Jr’s brain registered as an intent to punch said glass out.

”oh nononononononono! Go away! Go away!” Jr yelled at the thing in panic while ramming the sub into a full speed reverse, which was probably a stupid idea because he had no idea but there was a freaky fish lady swimming at him and he had no way to- No wait, he did!

”Mimi! Do the shadow claw thing!” Jr commanded his pokemon, who responded by squeaking “kyu? MiMiMiMi!” back at him in response, the Pokemon trying to explain to him that she didn't know shadow claw yet, as that was a level 42 move.

Jr, still backing up, practically screeched over her explanation in a rapid fire panic ”What? You did it before! the thing where you snuck your shadow out and-”

“Mi!” Mimi broke him off (or rather just ignored the rest of his yelling) now getting it. Well it still wasn’t the actual name of the move but it was close enough for her. She shoved her hands into her shadow, which grew longer behind her and then twisted, swinging around her like a pendulum across the inside of the sub and then, impossibly, stretched out the window, past the lamp light that had been creating it and onward towards the faceless woman. Or was it a girl? Whatever it/she was, despite not having eyes, it/she was clearly not enjoying the bright light from the lamp and had, while Jr and Mimi had been yelling at each other, actually stopped charging after them. Instead it/she was in the process of swimming up and out of where jr had left the light beaming pointing after spotting her when a shadow suddenly dimmed the light.

Whether it/she felt glee, relief or nothing at this or not was unknown, but if it/she did feel anything then that feeling would go away just as swiftly when the Mimikyu shaped shadow started trying to scratch it’s/her blank face to ribbons with her spectral tendrils.

The Koopa Troop

wordcount: 1,654 (+3)
Bowser: Level 9 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (124/90)
Bowser Jr: Level 8 EXP: ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (50/80)
Kamek: Level 8 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// (48/80)
Location: Bottomless Sea – the Maw - the Depths
Feat: Rika

Despite having initially insisted that he was an expert in these things Bowser rapidly lost track of the situation involving the diving suit claiming it was mirage, and his initially threatening posture became one of befuddlement, the King leaning on the hammer head and scratching his head with a finger as he tried to process this all

“There's lots of me too,” Rika offered when Blazaermate suggested that mirages might be mass produced, but that didn't really sync up with what was going on when she thought about it some more “Though, uh they all look like be but defiantly don't act like me, least not the me who is me now, which is kinda the opposites with your situation. You seem as nice as the other Mirage, just a bit confused. So. maybe not the same?”

Fortunately for both of them, and for the mockingbird, Sakura recovered from her stupor thanks to Geralt, and then moved in to help clear up the solution, showing the diving suit himself in his reflection, which his delusion did not extend to for some convenient reason. Whatever the case, the matter was resolved and the suit, now aware of its new existence, named himself Duerage.

“Well I think it's a great name, Duerage!” Rika, having been in that situation and knowing exactly how hard it was, said encouragingly to him. Bowser just shook his head, still confused but kind of instinctively recognizing that Durage had gotten a bad deal in life.

”Ouch. You know maybe Junior had the right idea sitting this one out. Speaking of which,” Bowser turned and then shouted over at the round sub ”How you doing in there son?”

”Good! I think I’ve got it.” Jr called back while giving the controls a final little test shoogle to make sure he did and then shouting ”Yeah, I've got it. We're ready to roll out! Who’s coming?”

The first, and possibly only, person to come over was Missfortune, not to hitch a ride but to give him her fan to use in-case of emergencies.

”Gee, thanks. Guess I’ll if I get crunched I’ll just hold my breath then huh. I mean I’m good at that compared to most people, I think? Koopa fizzy-ol-oggy. How is this thing powered anyway?” Jr said, giving it a once over, mostly to distract himself from the mental image his brain was helpfully creating of the nature of the situation that would lead him to need to use the fan, but not figuring anything out while doing so. Least if he was lucky it's inscrutability meant it would maybe be waterproof. It would, he thought, be very ironic to survive the death of the sub only to be electrocuted to death by Nadia’s well meaning gifted/lent item.

”So just me then huh? No one else? Fine! You’d have just slowed me down anyway” Jr asked after waiting for a few moments for anyone else, and then huffed when it looked like no one else was coming down.

“I mean I could...” Rika approached and offered but was shooed off ”No no you're fine, help Papa distract it and maybe give that thing a shot of two for me. Besides, if we do need to swim, that battery is definitely not gonna be safe to have with us.”

“It isn't?” Rika cocked her head in confusion

”Uh, yeah… seriously, don't go into the water with that on, it’ll shock you super bad.” Jr told her

“Ok I won’t.” Rika said, taking this in stride “So... Good luck? That’s what people say right?”

She got an appreciative nod.

”Go gettem son, Papa’s gonna make sure that stupid fish doesn't get anywhere near you. Speaking of that: Rika! Grab some of his stuff so we can taunt him with it!” Bowser called over from where he was in the process affixing the weird gross whatever it was that had been in the jar to the end of the shoddy fishing rod without touching it with his claws. This was not going well as his only tool for doing this was a hammer head, and, well the mess that would result of treating the thing like a nail was not something anyone wanted.

“That seems kinda mean?” Rika said, glancing over at the guy’s sad pile of things.

”He’s gonna be trying to eat me. He gets what he deserves. ” Jr asserted, before moving to close the hatch.

”Jr, one last thing! Here, Rika, give him this!” Bowser called out, before tossing Rika a black winged key he’d already taken from the fish guy’s things. He missed/she failed to catch it and it got way too close to falling in the water, but after that heart attack of a near miss, she picked it up and completed the relay by handing it to Jr with a “here”

”Huh. Thanks. Man it would have been bad to get down there and realize we needed to come back for the key wouldnt it” he joked.

“Yup” Rika said back as she headed over to the fish’s junk pile.

”Welp. Here we go for real” Jr said to anyone that might have joined him last second during the series of delays, or maybe just to Mimi who was definitely coming with him, and then battened down the hatch, made doubly sure it was secure, strapped himself into the pilot’s seat and then steered the sub to followed the two Mirage piloted robots down into the water.

As he started to set off Rika headed over to the fish man’s cruddy cubby hole, haphazardly scooped up the other jars, the doll, the cards and, failing to get much else out of all this, the whole tv which she then she lugged over to the King.

”Wow, didn't mean that too. Are you alright there? Gotta save your strength. Don’t wanna go mad from the hunger ha ha ha... urg.” Bowser tried to joke but the hunger gnawing at his belly was not really something that he could make light of. Rika shrugged in response as she set down the tv and then, on a whim, sat the porcelain doll on top to watch the water while she explained that “I thought maybe it’d make a nice splash?” right before Nadia made a far larger one by dropping a platform into the water.

”Goomba Shoes! What in the world are they doing!” Kamek cried out in alarm down below where he was with Frog, Link and the Moogle (apparently pretty useless as far as Kamek was concerned) where standing when the drop happened, and then their fishy host gave him something to really be alarmed about when he crashed out of the water in all his disgustingly horrifying glory.

The members of the troop who could see this all watched in horror as he launched himself out of the water at Nadia, but fortunately the big bad salmon fell well short of the clambering cat. Kamek was so relieved that it was only when she mocked it with the fact that she was too high up for him to catch that Kamek realized ”Oh. We aren't are we… Oh bother!” and then turned and waddled after Link who’d realized this much much sooner.

Rather than retreat all the way to the door, however, Link had stopped, and then started yelling out a plan to act as bait. ”Are you mad?! Wait you're a hero of course you are. You can stay here and risk your socks then. I am going back into the other room, thank you very much, and the rest of you should come with me if you're wise.” He said to the others, before doing exactly that. What was he going to do, after all, hope his shell gave the beast indigestion?

”Oh wow. Yup. Definitely the worst thing that could have happened happened. Ugly thing isn't he? Belch” Bowser commented on the big fish with revulsion to Rika who nodded while grimacing. The abyssal fleet had normalized her to some pretty gross stuff but this thing took the cake.

“I can try shooting him, but I’m not sure how well that’d work?” She offered. He was big, her shells small and limited in number.

”Guy’s covered in weak spots so go for it if you can hit em” Bowser replied

“Oh? Where?” She asked, not knowing the king was good at appraising things like this.

”Big googly eyes. Always weak spots on boss monsters. Remember that cyclops guy in the ocean? And the other cyclops guy downstairs? Massive eye weak spot. Good guys always go for em, so if we’re playing the good guys we should too.” Bowser said, tapping his forehead knowingly despite being wrong.

“But they had one, and this guy has like, tones?” Rika pointed out the flaw in his thinking

”Eeeeh, same difference” Bowser said, setting aside his own fishing rod based distraction for the moment and rolling his jaw in preparation for some fireballing ”Now let's line up our shots and when Link’s plan works out, we blast him good if he's still moving!” Bowser announced. He’d probably regret it in the long run, fire burned fuel keeping him running and he was running on empty right now, but if it’d keep his son safe? He’d tough through the pain, no question.

Rika wasn't worried about wasting fuel by shooting, not realising the battery wasn’t an infinite supply of power, and so instead she checked her remaining shell count before nodding and making the same kind of assessment. Better to spend shots now, even if they might need them laterer, than lose one of her friends to the slimy fish jerk.

Down below both other Koopas in the water, Jr flinched at the impacting splashes of metal and fish on water and then, after steeling himself, leaned to the front of his sub to hand signal through the window to the Mirages that he was ready to go down into the depths with them.

All they could do was hope the mayhem the others where stirring up kept them safe for long enough to get down and then back up.
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