Word Count: 2191 (+3 exp)Level: 7 - Total EXP: 55/70
Location: Edge of the Blue - The Maw
At first, the mini-Cadet didn't even notice that he'd been left in the dust by pretty much everyone else. He had spent a while going back and forth in his own brain, processing all of the new information and trying to decide the best way to cross the Belly. It was an uncharacteristically long while, one might add. Before, full sized and fully equipped, he would have trudged ahead confidently with the same "can-do" attitude he tackled most things with. Now, itty bitty and squishier than ever he knew that wasn't the brightest of ideas. In particular, Nadia's quip about being able to die now without her Life Gem had the Cadet going awkwardly quiet just before withdrawing into the maze-like idea factory of his mind. He didn't want her, or anyone, to die. Now that they were pint-sized it would be hard to protect themselves, let alone each other.
So, the young hunter had a hand fisted under his chin as he thought and thought, putting every little piece of information into his head like a peculiar puzzle: there were useful items buried in the junk around here somewhere, Mirage's dart gun the proof of that. There was apparently an extra person in their group now - oh, no, wait that was... Frog? His speech patterns matched even if his voice was different. Their best bet at escape the garbage collection was a vent that Princess Peach had spotted, but the Cadet couldn't see it from where he was no matter how hard he squinted. After they made it out their next course of action was finding a way to take down those hypno-monsters so they could get back to their present day bodies, a plan the Cadet wholeheartedly approved. Speaking of monsters, there were apparently a couple lurking around the area they were in as well, one above and one below. Like the vent, Ace Cadet could not see either at the moment. So then, what was the best route to get across? Try and go carefully, leaping from surface to surface...? Maybe try and make some kind of rope line...? Or just dash across really fast and hope nothing caught him?
As the Cadet stood with smoke practically billowing from his ears due to how hard the gears in his head were working, BB walked around him in a lazy circle. The size difference between master and minion was comical now. The behemoth piglet reached about halfway up the Cadet's torso now, instead of barely to his knee as before. As time passed the little monster began growing restless, it's ears flicking. It nudged the Cadet rather hard, causing the red haired boy to stumble in place and effectively knocking him out of his thought process. "Hey! Rude."
He tutted at the minion, then looked up and around him. The group had really
thinned out. He hadn't been that
long, had it? Either way, the Cadet was one of a few who were left behind. He didn't plan to let it stay that way, though."I'm going ahead,"
he said, nodding at Link and Frog - or, Glenn was it? "Frog" didn't exactly seem to apply at the moment. He gave the two boys a loose salute and then bounced across a few large pieces of floating junk, away from the starting point.
He didn't make it very far at all when a great crash
resounded throughout the Maw's belly. The Cadet halted mid-step, peeking out around the hill of trashed knickknacks and household items he currently found himself behind. Monster number one,
he thought, looking up at the massive, dark blue body dangling from the dark ceiling. It had a single particularly nasty looking eyeball right where it's head should be, and it's hands were severed at the wrists. It was these hands that had made the sound, smashing something up then retreating back to the main body.
That thing... was scary. The Cadet could feel his knees knocking together the longer he stared at it. When it's spotlight drew close the boy pulled his head back behind the junk pile and reached down to hold onto his own legs, as if the tiny noise would somehow carry to the creature. The red light glowed to either side of the trash heap and then moved on. The Cadet let out the breathe he hadn't realized he was holding. "Stop shaking!"
he whispered harshly to himself, glaring at where his hands still gripped his knees. "You've fought way bigger and badder things than this... solo!"
Of course, he'd had a bowgun nearly larger than he was at the time, but that detail wasn't needed in the little pep talk he was giving himself. He forced his body to still with sheer willpower, then peeked out again. The monster's gaze was focused elsewhere for now. Ahead, he tried to see if he could spot any of the others. With everyone spread out and taking cover themselves, he couldn't tell where exactly anyone was. The only thing he could do was focus on moving forward. A little ways away he spotted a scuffed up desk with piles of torn up paper and books in loose stacks sitting on top and against it. The space underneath would be a nice for the next hiding spot after he shoved some of garbage out.
He sent BB on ahead, with some trouble. At first the little behemoth dug it's hoof-paws into the mound, refusing to leave the shadow of safety cast by the junk pile. With much coaxing and promises of come on, it will be fine!
the minion took off and made it underneath the desk in seconds. It started kicking away some of the clutter, but the Cadet did not immediately follow. He was rummaging through the heap, looking for anything remotely useful. He pulled out a decent size dartboard, and though it had a literal bullseye printed on it would make for a decent shield... he hoped. Not wanting to spend too much time there, he tucked the board and a few other items under his arm and dashed to the desk, sliding in beside BB."This giggisux,"
he whispered to the minion, "staying up there looking for us... if only that thing would come down here, I'd really show it a thing or two."
BB just snorted in reply. Together they searched for the next safe haven they could make their way too while the Cadet fiddled with his makeshift shield. His eyes went from the project to the Belly to the ceiling, sweeping the area. In his hands were the handle ripped from a suitcase and some nails he'd managed to loosen from the desk they were under. When he was finished the dartboard had a rudimentary grip, but it was good enough. Even in his adult state he was no smith, so this was about as much as he could accomplish as a kid. "Okay, all done."
The boy showed off his work to his companion who was less than impressed. "Where's the next spot?"
Their next goal, the Cadet decided, was a huge area of various big items. Machinery pieces that were totally foreign to him, and stuffed between them more familiar things like the canvas of tents, poles, and what might have been a chunk from a tin chimney. The piles strewn about were big enough to hide behind, but there were also hollow space and tarps strewn about that might make a decent cover. There was a dip in the landscape just before the target area, but it shouldn't prove too much of a problem. "Same plan, you go first BB."
This time the baby behemoth didn't hesitate. It drew one leg back a few times in preparation to charge, then it ran out and down the slope, easily making it up the other side where it skidded to a stop tucked into the shadow of a large piece of metal. The Cadet gave it a thumbs up and began crawling out from under the desk when another big smash
came from the other side of the room. He paused, worried for the others, but he didn't hear anything else. If someone'd been grabbed or crushed someone would cry out... at the very least, the victim would. He reasoned that since he heard no such thing, everyone was still safe - and, since the sound was a distance away it was the best time to cross to his next hiding spot. The Cadet scrambled to his feet and ran down the slope.
When he got to the bottom his feet sank into the ground layer of garbage a little. He blinked, confused, but continued on. It was a little slow going, but the other side was right there——Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaalll!!
The future monster hunter's head snapped up, his locking onto BB. He expected to find the minion stuck or hurt, but it was jumping in place and focused on a spot somewhere off to the Cadet's side. He followed it's gaze and saw something
traveling under the junk, random items flying from the piles as it moved right towards him.Monster number two?!
How could he forget! With as much strength as his little legs could muster he sprinted through there rest of the way, dragging himself up the other slope. He continued pushing himself until he dove under the cover where BB was waiting, knowing that the red spotlight would be making it's way over to him if it wasn't there already. As soon as he cleared the the overhang the evil gaze swept over it, finding nothing. Another noise drew it's attention from somewhere (somewhere closer by, the Cadet noted) and it moved on."What in the wulg,"
he breathed, flopping onto his back beneath the metal canopy. Yeah, this giggisucked big time.
The boy closed his eyes and sighed, deep and drawn out. After a few moments he caught his breathe and got to his feet, rattled but not despairing yet. He would feel so much better with a weapon to along with his shield though. Sharp or blunt, anything would be fine. Cautiously the Cadet left the safety of the overhang and made his way around one of the mounds of stuff. He threw a glance back at where he'd last seen "monster number two," but there was no trace of it now.
After a short investigation the Cadet determined that he was on an "island" of sorts. It was a big pile up of metals, cogs, fabrics, and random other things - and all around it was the bottom layer of junk where the mystery monster was lurking. Gargwawesome,
he thought to himself sarcastically. How was he going to get off? Maybe he could do something like Sakura had been doing, when he'd caught a brief glimpse of her after first setting off. Man, he really wish he could spot any of the others now. Maybe he should climb up and get a better view? He looked up. I can definitely climb that.
The only problem was not getting seen by that bruise-colored jerk.
The Cadet collected a bundle of tarps, planning to hide himself under it if the red eyed gaze came his way. He also yanked a thin pole out from the pile. The pole was longer than he was tall, thin and lightweight - in fact it seemed hollow. There were even thinner branches sticking out of it near the top, some snapped off, with little swirls at the end. From one of the branches a broken bird feeder hung (and was promptly discarded). This thing was a bit unwieldy, but it had a sharp point. If his tarp plan failed the Cadet's brilliant back up plan was to just start stabbing. He looked ridiculous with his dartboard "shield" and garden accessory "lance," but just having a crude facsimile of a weapon made him all the more confident.
BB waited in safety while the Cadet strung up his tarp on the pole and climbed his way up the metal pile. When he got to the top and stopped moving, he resembled a strange, skinny, grease stained tipi. He wasn't very high up, but he could see a few of the others! His heart instantly felt lighter just seeing them in one piece, even if they were all still technically in danger. Of particular interest was the sight of a boat rowing through the junk on the ground layer. The person manning it was draped in a cloth so he couldn't tell exactly who it was, but it was going the wrong way. Or... maybe on purpose?
He made his way back down, letting out a low whistle to summon BB to him. The baby behemoth ran over to him and slipped beneath the tarps, looking a little spooked. The Cadet looked suspiciously at their hiding spot, but there was nothing there save for a stationary little triangle hat. They moved carefully to edge of their "island," and the hunter waved a hand at the ferryman to get their attention. "Permission to board?"
the boy asked, peeking his face out from his disguise.