"So, group, where shall we go first?" Poo questioned.
"Well, I don't suppose that Belch would be on this island..." Mike said. "So I propose that we leave for somewhere else... but..."
"But, unfortunately," Luna began where Mike left off, "we're left without a boat. I wonder how that happened," she finished off, glaring at Poo.
"What?" Poo asked through his wide, innocent eyes. "I have a way out of this. First of all, we find a boat. Then we sail away!" Skulryk, Luna, and Mike looked at Poo as though he were crazy. And perhaps he was.
"How do you suppose we find a boat on this island?" Mike asked. Just as he said it, they spotted it... they listened to the talking in the distance.
"Honey, are you sure this is the island for our honeymoon?" a blond haired woman asked a man who appeared to be her husband.
"Of course, Dear," the man replied. "I wouldn't have sailed here on this boat if it wasn't the ideal place."
"All right, where's the hotel?" his wife asked, frowning.
"According to this map," the man said knowingly, "it should be north of here." The couple began walking towards the hotel.
"This is our chance!" Poo yelled as he ran towards the boat which the couple had left.
"Poo, you aren't thinking of stealing this boat?!" Mike said, astonished.
"This is our lucky break! We gotta take it!" Skulryk said, agreeing with Poo.
"It isn't very nice or legal," Luna said reasonably, "but we have to do this if we expect to get anywhere."
"Agreed," Poo said as he climbed aboard the boat.
"I don't know about this..." Mike said, scratching his head. But he climbed in anyway.
SimonBob sat in the corner of the hut, watching the events transpire. Groups were formed, everyone left, and he just sat there. "Now what?" he said to himself.
Clearly, it was time to take care of business, old-skool style.
He stepped outside the hut, just in time to see a large pile of bile wash up on the shore. "Excuse me," it said, "but could you please direct me to Anna the fire shaman? I'm supposed to kill her."
"Uhh... she's right behind you."
The Pile of Bile turned to look, giving SimonBob the opportunity to practice his Twin Hooks attack. A pair of harpoons burst from his sleeves, goring the PoB in the rear.
"Arghh!" gasped the PoB. "I'm... too weak... but Master Belch has been strengthening himself, and is more powerful than ever! Your friends are walking straight into a trap!" With that, it died.
"Woah, a trap. I'll have to find and warn the others about this," said SimonBob. "But first..." He headed back into the hut, took out his Mystical CD, and popped it into the player. Reusing an old attack always calls for a quick party, thought SimonBob.
And while all of this important stuff was happening, Dan wandered aimlessly around the coast of this small island.
"Man, where is everyone else?" Dan said after a particularly long meandering session. He seemed to have not noticed everyone else had gathered around Anna's hut and subsequently left. "It's like God forgot to keep me in the adventure for the last few hours..." he joked to no one in particular.
It was there he met a couple. Civilized life after hours of endless walking. Joy. The female spoke first.
"Hello, son. Have you by any chance seen a boat? It seems to have drifted off," she said calmly.
"Yes, like she said. Only... SOMEONE HAS STOLEN IT! We are hopelessly lost on this island, no phones, no lights, no moto--" the man began, but quickly stopped after receiving a small but noticeable shove from his wife.
"Don't mind him. So anyway, have you seen it?"
Dan looked around, and sure enough, there it was! He looked a bit closer, and was overjoyed at the site of Mike, Skulryk, Luna, and... Poo, who had obviously been the mastermind of this little scheme. Not wanting to get his friends in trouble, Dan denied. The woman calmly continued to look as the man went along at a frenzied run, vowing to avenge the loss of his precious boat.
Dan looked at the boat in the distance. How would he get over there?
His question was answered quickly as a breeze blew a small piece of paper with one phrase on it.
"Huh..." Dan read it aloud, "SIP Teleprot?" and with that, was whisked away to the borrowed boat. The people there were obviously surprised to see him.
"Dan..." Mike said. "I thought you got lost in the plotline!" His comment was met with general confusion. "Er... Never mind."
SimonBob grooved to his choice music. "Yeah, this is good.... I'm glad she has such a good sound system. Anyway, I'll go warn them in a couple of minutes."
Suddenly, Sulami jumped in through the door. "A-HA!" he cried in hilarity. "They all left, so now I can have a look around." He noticed SimonBob. "Ack! They left you to guard the place, didn't they?"
SimonBob turned around. "Oh, it's that goony kid again. Hey, I don't think she wants you in here, you know."
"Don't call me goony!" shot Sulami. Then, "You're guarding the place, aren't you? Who are you anyway?"
The questioned shook his head. "Name's SimonBob. Naw, I'm not even with the others. I have my own agenda, although Belch does have to be stopped." He paused his CD. "What's your name, and what's YOUR reason for going after Belch?"
There was silence as Sulami had a seat on the floor. "SulamiTea. And I'm just curious. My twin and I are always poking around, seeing what other people are doing. Also, if Belch mutates everyone, I won't be able to come here anymore, so... it seems necessary."
SimonBob nodded. "Yeah. Well, I'm going soon, but not until I get another track in."
SulamiTea acknowledged this, and got up and headed for the door. I wonder where that other kid that I didn't recognize went? And where was Dan, besides that? And didn't those other guys look like the Anthadd and Cyan that Tsurami described? This is way too confusing. I didn't get to pump the others for information. Maybe I'll find them and....... well, maybe not... SulamiTea, thoroughly wracked with indecisiveness, walked out of the hut and wandered off in a random direction.
SimonBob unpaused the CD and moved to the music. As he enjoyed himself, he opened his coat and looked at his arsenal. "Hmmm.... wonder if I'm well-equipped enough. I could run into more henchmen of that sewage blob." He looked over all of his weapons, and then grinned. "Ah, what the heck. I think I'll be okay. If I warn everyone about his trap, he's pretty much gone." He relaxed, and started on the last track he'd listen to before he departed.
Rusty was leading the group - which was made up of Ness, Paula, Tracy, and Mika - through the swamp, trying to find some clues. Paula stepped into a deep part of the lake and pulled it out to find her left foot soaking wet.
"Oh, Deep Darkness hasn't changed one bit..." Paula moaned. "Whatever happened to those Tenda tribes?"
"I think they went underground with the other Tenda Tribes who aren't afraid to speak," Ness suggested.
Tracy, however, was left in the dark, but Mika didn't seem confused when she heard the name Tenda.
"What are Tendas?" Tracy asked.
Mika looked up and replied, "They're small green creatures with sticks for arms."
Ness and Paula stared at Mika in surprise that she knew what they were.
"You know them?" Ness asked slowly.
"Know them? I used to be one of them. You guys beat Giygas, I remembered, which broke the curse on me..." Mika sighed, "But I don't want to get into that, since we have to deal with something far more important than this."
Then a moan was heard from behind the bushes. Rusty put his arm in front of the group and said, "Stay back. I got a bad feeling about this..."
Rusty slowly approached the bush with his left fist curled up, ready to attack any threat that may come out.
Meanwhile, Mike was apologizing to Dan for not considering him among the group. Dan protested and said that it was an honest mistake. Luna was at the steering wheel, while Skulryk examined his dagger.
"Where should we go?" Luna asked Mike.
"More importantly, where's Poo?" Mike said with a bit of a concerned voice. "Last time we left him alone on a boat, he set it on fire."
Skulryk took a break from examining his dagger and said, "He said something about making food to make up for his strange antics."
"Uh... food? I don't like the sound of that..." Dan said with a small peep.
RG, who was sitting on a desolate island stopped crying and decided to take charge. He wouldn't let people push him around for things like this. If they wanted him to disappear, they had another thing coming. He would stay with them, even if it meant keeping quiet and following their lead. He would try his best to be considered one of them.
Anna sighed, trying to not to argue with Cyan on which way to go, as the four ghosts backed her up. Siris was occupied at the moment about the aura that he felt from Luna. Anthadd was examining a small rock which had an unusual colour.
"Poo..." said Luna sweetly, with some conviction in her voice, "What are you doing?"
"Cooking food! I'm starved!" He answered back happily, while something crackled, sizzled, and burned in the background. "Would you guys like so-"
But he was rapidly cut off by Mike, Skulryk, and Dan tackling him, while Luna tied him up.
"WHAT WAS THAT FOR!?" Poo shouted, while yelling at the four as he struggled with his bonds.
"To stop you from cooking. We're hoping on not burning this boat," Mike said grimly.
"Just in time, too..." Skulryk announced, holding an extinguisher, and sounding very relieved. "His attempt at what appears to be a steak was on fire."
"You can't do this to me!" Poo bellowed at the four companions.
"Too late," grinned Dan.
"C'mon, let's take him up to the top deck, we can keep a better eye on him there," Luna said, dragging poo up the steps by a rope.
"Heh, that looks painful," said Mike, trying to hide his grin.
"We need to get moving," Cyan said.
"Yes," Anthadd nodded in agreement. "We need to find out more about Belch and his Animus."
"Perhaps we ought to take a few precautions first," Siris piped up. "I have a few spells that could help us to defend ourselves..."
Anna nodded, and Anthadd spoke. "I concur," he said. "Do what you can to help."
"What spells...?" Siris asked himself. He turned to the group. "How about Nondetection? It makes it so that your aura cannot be sensed, except by specific people that you choose."
"Aura?" Cyan inquired.
"Uh... yes," Siris confirmed. "Some beings are able to sense the life energies, or auras, of others. I am one of them."
"Ah." An understanding dawned on Anthadd. "That's why you seemed so quiet when you met the other group. You were studying their auras."
Siris smiled. "Yes," he acknowledged. "Every aura is unique, and I can recognize them just as any other person can recognize faces." He took a breath. "Anyway, allow me to cast this spell. Nondetection will prevent others from sensing your auras. I, however, as the caster, will still be able to sense you; one of the spell's benefits."
Siris walked up to Anthadd and put his hands on his friend's shoulders. He closed his eyes and concentrated, and magical energy flowed through his arms into Anthadd's body, masking his aura. He did the same to Cyan, then nervously approached Anna to cast it again. As he touched her shoulders, he gradually felt a burning sensation in his hands. When he finished the spell, he blew on his hands to cool them down.
"Is there any way we can be sure that the spell worked?" Cyan asked.
"Not really," Siris frowned. "I can still sense your auras, as I am the one who cast the spell. You'll just have to trust me."
Fortunately for Siris, he was very trustworthy. He would never lie to a friend or ally, and he most always kept his word.
Anthadd spoke up. "Yes, I trust you." Cyan and Anna nodded. Siris smiled.
Anthadd, Siris, Cyan and Anna continued on their way, hoping to find some way to break Belch's Animus.
"I know it's a feeling," Anthadd mused, "but I can't help but feel there's more to it than that..."
"What do you mean?" Siris inquired.
"Well," Anthadd began, "wasn't he dead after Ness killed him in Deep Darkness?"
The other three pondered this for a second, and then nodded their heads.
"You mean.... this Animus isn't simply a feeling?" Anna cried, small sparks flying out of her arms. "It could be an actual power?"
"I thought we debunked that," Siris said.
"Maybe it's because we didn't know much about it," Cyan offered, "or we were more interested in something else."
The four thought back to RG. They rued having ever been so... despicable to him. Why had they behaved like that? They weren't even better than Belch in that respect. In fact, they were probably worse than Belch...
"However," Anthadd commented, "there is the fact we've got a duty to do: Defeat Belch, and squelch the Animus."
He waited for a reaction from the others.
"And to do that," he added, "we have to find him. And before that, we need to find his weakness."
Anna's sparking subsided, and she raised her hands.
"What does a weakness have to do with beating him?" she asked impatiently.
"If we find his weakness," Siris concluded, "that means we've got an advantage on him!"
"It's prolly a mut'nt!" reasoned Rusty. "Ness, you can do th' honors."
Ness cracked his knuckles, picked up his bat, and swung a few pratice swings. Ness jumped in the air.
"BANZAI!" yelled Ness, but was soon interrupted by his little sister.
"What if it's not a mutant?" questioned Tracy.
Ness fell to the ground.
"Did you REALLY have to ask me while I was in the air?" Ness frustratedly asked as he dusted himself off.
"Tracy's got a point," explained Paula.
"Let's throw something at it," suggested Mika.
Rusty picked up a rock and threw it at the bushes.
The group looked at each other. Tracy looked at Ness and nodded. Ness leapt into the air and brought his bat crashing down on the bush. To his surprise, Ness was slowly being pulled into the bushes. Mika ran up next to the bush, but didn't attack. Instead, she went on her hands and knees.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" screamed Ness, who couldn't get out of the bush.
Paula, who looked like she was on fire, ran up to Mika as if she were to punt her. As she approached Mika, she stepped on her and shot herself off into the sky. As soon as she was parallel to whatever was behind the bush, she started firing.
"PSI FIRE! PSI FIRE! PSI FIIIIIIIRE!"
Still in the air, Paula passed the bush and landed on the ground by doing a roll. She turned around to see the bush and the mutant, who was behind the bush after all, ablaze.
"HOT!" screamed Ness. In reaction, he pulled his hand out of the bush and ran over to the group. Paula and Mika followed behind.
"Ok!" said Tracy breathing heavily. "Let's get out of here."
"Gud idea!" Rusty agreed. "An' one more thing. Ness, why dintcha jes pull yer hand out in th' first place?"
"Well, it had my bat, and I didn't want to lose it...."
Mika patted Ness on the back. He turned around to see his bat in her hands.
"While Paula was firing at it, i was able to get it!"
Ness grabbed the bat and fell to his knees.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you..." he said as he kissed her feet.
Mika grinned. Paula glared at Mika.
"And then what happened?" Dan asked.
"And then I basically just saved Poo," Mike said, finishing his story of how he met Poo.
"Aw, come on, let me go!" Poo said as he struggled to get free.
"Promise not to cook anything?" Luna asked, giving in.
"Yes!" Poo exclaimed happily, knowing he had won. Luna untied him.
The group took a moment to take in the freshness of the sea air. Suddenly, Poo's eyes widened. He turned around and grabbed the life jackets. "Put these on quick," Poo said, urgently.
"What's wrong, Poo?" Mike asked with a puzzled look on his face, as he put his life jacket on. The others put on theirs on as well.
"Now, jump!" Poo yelled.
"Poo, are you cra--" Dan started to say, but before he could finish, Poo shoved Luna, Mike, Skulryk, and Dan into the water; he jumped in as well. Right before their very eyes, their boat shattered into a million pieces. In front of them was a Kraken. But this was no ordinary Kraken. It had a dark red mark on it at the exact same place where Poo had once thrown a steering wheel at it.
It roared to show its anger. Everyone tried to swim away, but was blinded by the Kraken's pale green light. It then started to spin in a rapid motion, causing a gigantic whirlpool. Everyone screamed simultaneously, but even the combined volume of their screams were drowned out by the rushing waters.
"Perhaps this could help," Anna said slowly, taking something from her cloak. In her hand was the piece of the glyph she had blown off in the pyramid.
Anthadd blinked, and stared down at it for a closer look.
"Well, lesse here... here's everything i already know, about the animus... but wait," he said, pulling his face closer to the drawing. "Look at this picture."
Siris and Cyan craned over to see a picture of a small insect flying along the bottom of the scroll.
"Could it mean Buzz Buzz?" Siris guessed.
Anna snickered. "How? From what Iíve heard, the bug Buzz Buzz is from the future. Hieroglyphs are ancient wonders, from the farthest reaches of time. What are the odds? They couldn't have predicted this."
Anthadd nodded, but then he stopped. "Anna... why would you have taken the hieroglyph in the first place? It doesn't make any sense."
Anna looked thoughtful for a moment, and then looked back at him. "The Animus. None of you realize its true power..."
"Animosity is born inside of every human at one time or another. It is a burning hate which can control even the simplest of emotions, taking the very breath from you, only to feed its will. Usually, it is targeted toward a person the first person knows, but it is sometimes random. The important thing is that it never stays that way for long. An Animus will generally expand, and create a burning hate for a large group of things. It is no longer specific. When it reaches that stage, the animus takes over. A person is merely a shell, and the Animus is the controller."
"You can see why I didn't want you to have the hieroglyph at first. If people knew of the Animus, they might believe it's possible to defeat. But it isn't."
"I find it hard to believe," Anthadd said, "that the Animus is undefeatable. This picture," he pointed to the small fly, "might be our best clue."
"Well, thanks for saving us, Poo..." Mike said, exasperated. He pulled Poo up
from under the water, allowing him to breathe. "Of course, this is all your
"I'm sorry! I didn't even mean to do anything! YOU shouldn't have wasted the food, so it's all YOUR fault!!!" Poo started to bawl. "You just HAD to waste all that food!!!"
"Hey, quit cryin', ya baby. We need to figure out how to get out of this situation." Luna was treading water. The kraken reared its head and shot a flame into the air.
Dan was treading water as well. "You know, we may be screwed. This is great, just great." He pulled out his zapper, ready to shoot the kraken.
"Don't!!!" Mike stopped him. "We're in no position to fight. If it wanted to kill us, it would have already done so."
Skulryk was swimming around slowly. He pulled out his dagger. "You know, what's even the point? Why don't we just take it out, eh?" He stopped to think for a moment and grinned. He put his dagger away. Mike started to grin as well. Poo was already grinning.
"What are you guys grinning about?" Poo asked. He continued to grin. Skul and Mike looked at him, watching his every move. "What?!"
Luna and Dan started to grin at him as well. Poo, starting to grow suspicious, started to paddle away, very slowly since he couldn't swim. "No! Get away! Anything but that!!!" It was too late. Everybody swam towards him and grabbed ahold of his arms and legs.
Mike reached into Poo's shirt pocket and pulled a piece of a burger from it. The burger was only slightly damp.
"Nooo!!!! I don't know how long we'll be out here!!! That's all that I have to live on!" He started to struggle out of the hold that Dan, Skul, and Luna had of him. They kept a firm grip on his extremities, though. Mike chucked the burger to the kraken.
The kraken caught the burger in its mouth and ate it. It started to wave its head around, and then lowered it. It scooped Mike up onto the top of its head.
"Hey guys, everything'll be okay, I think. We'll be able to hitch a ride on this here kraken to Scaraba." Luna and Dan let out a cheer. Skulryk started to laugh. Poo sulked. They all climbed on.
"Stupid kraken, you ate my foo-" Poo started, but was promptly hushed by Luna. The kraken swam on towards Scaraba.
Perched upon the Kraken's head, the sunset looked beautiful as it dropped past the coast of Scaraba. Nighttime was nearing, but thankfully the group didn't have to worry about freezing. The day had dried off their clothes, and it was quite comfortabe atop the kraken.
Poo kept griping about the loss of his hamburger, but was constantly reminded (sometimes by a punch from Luna) that they were pretty lucky for getting a ride to Scaraba.
"Aah, quit punching me!" Poo said. "What are we going to do once we get to Scaraba anyways?"
Skulryk sighed. "There's a whole lot to do in Scaraba... I think we'll find a lot in there. I know a lot about it, remember? I work for the museum."
"How'd you get a job there, anyways?" Luna said. "You only look about 16! Usually the museum hires people a bit... older, and usually with college degrees and stuff."
"Heh... it's kind of a funny story," Skulryk said. "When I was a kid, my parents worked for lots of expeditions in Scaraba. I spent my entire childhood learning about the history of it and all kinds of other stuff... After their last expedition, they retired and moved to Toto. Now, a whole big discovery happened in Scaraba, and they got all these artifacts. They were really short on hands, and my dad is friends with the owner of the museum, so they hired me."
"Hey, that's pretty interesting," Mike said. "Must have been weird, though... travelling all over Scaraba as a kid... Problem is, you don't get to keep many friends..."
"Yeah, that's true..." Skulryk sighed. "I guess that's unavoidable. But anyways, once I got my job at the museum, it all paid off... It's a pretty high paying job, especially for someone my age. I also make a ton of discoveries this way... Don't tell anyone, of course, but it's how I got my knife." The others gasped. "I know, it's not the right thing to do... but there's some kind of power in it. I'm not sure how, but I know there is, and it's already done me a whole lot more than it would have done in a display case."
"Well, that's up to you..." Luna said. "But Poo asked a good question. What will we do once we get to Scaraba?"
"The pyramids, of course," Skulryk said. "There's currently 4 that are known of; that's including the pyramid that was recently discovered which we're recieving all the artifacts from. However, the desert is large and vast. I think there's another one, with a whole lot more power. We just have to find it."
"I dunno," said Mike. "We could die wandering out into the desert that long... what makes you think we'll find a pyramid that no one's found before? I don't think we should risk our lives on just a hunch..."
"We'll decide once we get there," Skulryk said. The sun had set, and a cold desert night had set in. They were approaching Scaraba.
SimonBob stopped his CD and stepped outside the cabin. "Now, if I were a giant hideous blob of who-knows-what, I'd go to... Scaraba!"
"That's a pretty wild leap of logic," observed SulamiTea. "What makes you think that?"
"I dunno, my intuition tells me I'd have better success going that way." Checking his arsenal one final time, SimonBob leapt into the air and began flying to Scaraba, SulamiTea following close behind.
Before long, they noticed something green and scaly in the water. "Looks like a Kraken," said SulamiTea.
"Or an envious Lapras," quipped SimonBob. They floated in for a better look, and found Skulryk, Dan, Luna, and Poo perched atop the Kraken's head.
SimonBob greeted them. "Hey guys, how's it goin'? Can you hook us up with a ride? Flying's really tiring."
"Only if you have food!" shouted Poo.
Reaching into his trenchcoat, SimonBob pulled out a packet of cookies and tossed it to Poo. The Kraken growled - "Rawr!" - so SimonBob tossed it a cookie as well. He and SulamiTea landed on the Kraken's head, and they continued sailing to Scaraba.
"What's in Scaraba, anyhow?" asked SimonBob.
The Kraken docked in Scaraba, much to the amazement of the people. "Good Kraken," Poo said as he petted the Kraken. The Kraken proceeded to throw Poo off and let the rest of the group off gently; it then swam away. "That was nice..." Poo muttered.
All around them, people were buying, selling, and bargaining with each other. "This is a great place," Mike stated. Poo, Skulryk, Luna, and Dan agreed.
"Oh my gosh!" Poo yelled. "A Piggy Nose!" Poo ran over to the Piggy Nose displays and tried them on.
"Hey, why don't we split up and check out Scaraba," Mike suggested. "We can meet up at the hotel."
"Good idea, Mike," Luna agreed. Dan and Skulryk nodded and walked off separately.
"Piggy nose! Heheh!" Poo laughed as he tried on different Piggy Noses.
Amid the noisy bustle of the marketplace, everyone went their separate ways. Sulami was about to as well, when he thought of something. That kid... er... SulamiTea tried to remember which one he was supposed to be. Oh yeah, Skulryk. He said something about the pyramids, so he might be interested in what I found out. He dashed forward and called, "Hey, Skulryk!"
Skulryk, without turning around, recognized SulamiTea's voice. Even though he seemed to have relaxed a little, he still didn't know if he should talk to anyone that Ness didn't fully trust.
Then the fact that his name had just been called by someone who had never heard it registered.
Skulryk whirled around. "How'd you know my name?" he shot once SulamiTea was close enough.
The boy quickly realized that he hadn't heard their names, and that he had some explaining to do. However...... it could wait. "Ah.... well, it's a bit complicated. I'll explain later, but I wanted to tell you something about the pyramid." Skulryk just raised an eyebrow. "The great Scarabian pyramid.... it collapsed."
Coming from a kid who had spazzed out the first time he saw him, Skulryk wasn't sure whether or not to take this information seriously. "Really..... how do you know this?"
Sulami took a breath and explained, "Well, when your group was on the boat, I headed for Scaraba. I went out into the desert to see the Sphinx - only when I got to the pyramid, it was in ruins. The Sphinx spoke long enough to tell me that part of the wall was knocked out, which caused the thing to collapse. And then, while trying to figure out what to do next, I used magic to see how the rest of you were doing. I saw you being attacked and traced your location as quickly as I could." SulamiTea, by now, was feeling inexplicably hot and uneasy, but stood waiting for Skulryk's reply.
Why is this kid trying to help us? thought Skulryk. Was that whole threatening rant just because he was angry? But maybe he loses his temper too often, and that's why Ness tried to get rid of him. Skulryk also considered that Sulami knew his name, and figured that he knew the others' names as well. The obvious question was how. If anything, we need answers from him, and maybe I can ask him his point of view on why Ness snuck away from him.
After this decision, Skulryk looked up at SulamiTea. "Well, since you and SimonBob took all this trouble to follow us, maybe you'll want to come with us."
SulamiTea shrugged. "I didn't think you'd want me to come after I had that fit, but if you're willing to have me, I'll come along. As for SimonBob, you'll have to ask him, I don't know his plans."
Skulryk waved his hand. "Fine. I'm going about my business now, but we're probably going to meet again soon, and when we do, maybe you can explain how it is you know us."
"Okay," agreed SulamiTea, and marched off to check on Stingale, still lying unreleased in the sands near the gate. Skulryk went back to his own business, but with a new thought on his mind. How could the great pyramid, standing for thousands of years, have collapsed?
Siris hung his head; Anna's words rung in his mind. He sighed, and spoke toward the ground. Halfway through his first sentence, the others realized that he was talking to them.
"Yes... Animosity exists within most of us," Siris muttered. "I know; I have vivid memories of what happens when I feel hatred."
"What's that?" Anthadd asked.
Siris looked up. "It's not so bad anymore," he rambled, "but it used to be horrifying. If I were to feel enough hatred... I would go through a noticeable change."
The others simply looked at him expectantly.
"My physical appearance would be altered slightly," Siris continued. "My hair would grow, and turn bright green, as would my eyes. But my mental state would change much more: My aura would flare and expand violently, and all of my power would increase. I would then..." Siris was on the verge of tears, but controlled himself.
"I would then take it out on the person who had pushed me to this state... I would hurt him immensely. The rage would eventually die down, though, thank holy magic for that..."
The others still stared.
"Oh, and by the way, Anna," Siris concluded. "I disagree with you on the fact that animosity is born inside of every human..."
Siris stopped talking, but thought back to that pure, light aura he had sensed before.
"Anyway," Cyan said. "Let's keep moving."
Skulryk watched SulamiTea walk away. Hmm... I wonder what he's up to... I'll have to ask the others. However, what he said about the great pyramid collapsing... that's just strange. However, I still believe there is one more pyramid to be discovered... I need to find that last pyramid!
Going back to his own matters, he made his way towards a man with a camel.
"Hello young man!" the person said. "How are you this wonderful afternoon? You look like you have adventure in your eyes! But, for adventure out here, you need transportation, and out here, that comes by camel!"
Skulryk thought about it, and looked at the man. He was obviously trying to con him; Skulryk could tell that simply by the camel. It was sick, and wouldn't even last him a mile. However, he might as well play along with this game.
"Well," Skulryk said. "You're pretty perceptive. I am out for an adventure. A few of my friends and I need camels."
"Well, sir, you've come to the right place! I have these fantastic camels! I'll give this one to you," the man pointed out the sick camel, "for the low price of $1000!"
His prices were outrageous, Skulryk could tell. Now is when he would close in.
"Well, that's quite a deal. However, you shouldn't be selling a sick camel for an overcharged price. I know I could get 4 healthy camels for that price. Now, would you like me to inform the Scaraban police about your little operation?"
The man began to sweat, and it wasn't the sweltering sun which was causing it. "Ok, ok! You got me! Here, you can see that these four are some healthy camels! Use them, just don't call the police!"
Skulryk grinned, and lead the camels off. "Four should be enough," he said. "Some of us might have to double up, but it will be ok. Now, I have to find the others. I just hope Poo hasn't gotten into any trouble..."
Pokey looked to the past through one of his monitors. He saw Belch arise from his death, fell Apple Kid, fell Deep Darkness. Continue onto Scaraba... and then Summers.
"Perfect," he hissed. "All is going according to plan. Ness won't know what hit him."
He paused a second, gazing intently at one window. He jumped back, realising what had just happened.
"No!" he exclaimed. "How could that fat inventor have survived?"
He began to tell Belch to turn back and get him, but then he realised: He was watching replays of things that had happened.
"Belch, you fool!" he shrieked. He rued having ever chosen Belch to gain his revenge on Ness. Although they both held a grand Animus towards Ness, he had had concerns about choosing such a dimwitted creature of living barf, belch, whatever.
He even chose to re-rename Belch Belch again, hoping that would re-ignite an Animus for human life... re-ignite a preference towards zombies.
Towards the end of his original life, Belch had abandoned reliance on zombies. Pokey had gambled on this, and hoped that he would gain this reliance once more.
But now he knew that had been a mistake. It was wrong to send someone like that to do this.
He viewed what else had happened up to the division of the groups, and a short while after.
"Hmm...." Pokey mused, considering his choices. "They're around Scaraba and Deep Darkness now, it seems. And Ness is with the group in Scaraba! That's perfect!"
He turned to another screen. It showed the wreckage of the pyramid. But one sarcophagus remained.
"Guardian General, arise, and use your love of the Hawk eye to destroy the one who you have Animus towards for stealing it! Destroy Ness!"
He turned to yet another screen. This one showed a cave pulsating with glowing lichen. A stickman-like body that once flowed with electricity was shown, thrown to one side.
Pokey's eyes glimmered. He opened his mouth to re-infuse the Electro Spectre with Animus towards the group in Deep Darkness... but would it work? No one there had fought him. Indeed, it wouldn't work at all.
He had one last chance: Deep Darkness itself.
He faced a third screen.
"People of Deep Darkness!" he screamed, his voice reaching through time to echo throughout the bodies of the people of Deep Darkness. "Take your revenge on those who cared not for you at all! Attack those on which you have a rightful Animus! Wilderness Trader! Arms Dealer! Jungle Monkeys!"
Mike was wandering around Scaraba, looking at everybody's wares. Heh, this is cool. Of course, I'll have to stay well away from the snakes... He saw Poo hanging out at a shop that sold piggy noses. He was obviously getting a kick out of them. Mike chuckled to himself.
He continued to walk around, remembering to stay away from the snakes. He started to think to himself. Hey, didn't we find a message of some sort saying that there was something in a pyramid? I don't remember the information that that new discovery Skul made had, but... ahdunno. He blinked a few times. He saw Skul walking around, as if he were looking for somebody.
Mike waved to Skulryk and hailed him. "Hey Skul, what's up?" He walked over to him expeditiously.
"Well, I got us a ride."
"Yeah. Camels. Let's go find the others. We can go explore out in the desert."
"Cool. I'll go pick up some supplies, just in case we get sunstroke or get hungry or something. I'll meet ya at the gate." Mike walked off, leaving Skul to continue looking for the others.
SimonBob had disappeared outside the main city to visit the Sphinx. He stood before it, waiting for it to speak.
"You have to decide what you are. Therefore, what will you do?"
That was the big signal. SimonBob threw off his trenchcoat and got funky. A few breakdancing steps were all it took to convince the Sphinx of SimonBob's identity.
"Stop the dancing already," said the Sphinx, "I know it's you. How've you been?"
"Just fine, thanks. And how's my favourite rock-based catperson?"
"Quit with the flattery. What do you want?"
"You didn't happen to see Belch around here, did you?"
"Belch, eh?" The Sphinx paused to think. "I'm pretty sure he went through here just a little while ago, why?"
"He's got something of mine, and I kinda want it back."
"What, your flannel?"
"No, that's in for cleaning."
"Well, whatever it was, I'm sure you'll get it back from him sooner or later."
They continued to talk about old times and pyramid scams, when SimonBob heard a loud explosion from behind the Sphinx. "What was that?"
"Oh, probably just the Guardian General going into the city to get revenge on the one who stole the Hawk Eye. Hey, remember when we scammed those tourists from Twoson with... hey, Simon?"
SimonBob ran around the Sphinx and saw the GG there. It looked at him, then came out swinging. SimonBob jumped over it, spun, and kicked it in the head. He then fell over, holding his broken foot, having forgotten that the GG was made of stone. Pulling out his BobZooka, he took a shot, but only managed to knock some dust off its shoulders.
"Hey, Sphinxy! A little help? I mean, I don't wanna sound whiny, but that thing's kinda gonna kill Ness... hello?"
SimonBob looked up and noticed that the Sphinx's head had been knocked off by the GG. He realized as the GG kicked him that Ness wasn't the only person to worry about.
RG decided that this all wasn't worth it if he had no friends, so he decided to just stay home.
Dan was walking through the streets of Scaraba, taking in the sights of the foreign land. Some vacation this turned out to be! Attacked by mutants, and now I'm in Scaraba... oh well, it's better than watching *NSaturn, anway. He was getting a bit bored, and hoped to run into one of the others soon.
Over by the gate into the desert, SulamiTea hunched over, brushing some sand away. He uncovered the ball of paper. "Ah, there you are," he sighed. He held the ball up to his face. Sulami had calmed down a lot by now, and wanted to concentrate on Belch. Besides, Ness wasn't even passing through this way. Maybe I should just call Stingale off. Sulami bit his lip. But since I wasted the drawing, now I have to make another one of Stingale.... rrrg! I already spend too much time making these drawings!
To calm himself, SulamiTea looked out over the desert. In the distance, he thought he could see something. "What's that?" he mumbled to himself. Levitating himself on top of the wall that composed part of the gate, he stared over the horizon.
A large stone figure was tramping sluggishly towards the city. Um.... that can't be right, thought the boy. He rushed back into the streets of the city.
"Where are they?! Where are they?!" Sulami repeated to himself over and over. The only person he had seen stick in one location was Poo. Right!
"Oink oink," said Poo, and chuckled, as he wore another Piggy Nose.
"Are you planning to make a purchase?" grumbled the merchant, sounding agitated.
"I need to inspect all of the merchandise first," stated Poo, slipping off the nose he was wearing and reaching for another one.
Suddenly, he heard a vaguely familiar voice cry, "Poo! Poo! Terrible! Need help! Hurry!" He turned to see SulamiTea bouncing over to him. He was panting somewhat. "Poo, trouble! We need to find the others!"
"Er.... right," said Poo, carefully edging away from the psycho. "And... how do you know my name again?"
SulamiTea shook his head furiously. "No time! B.. bi.. giant statue - stone statue coming towards the city! It's called Guardian General. We need to stop it! It's probably working for Belch to destroy the city!" SulamiTea shifted back and forth, and gestured frantically around him to indicate that they needed to move.
"Er, no thank you," said Poo, not even bothering to make a fitting reply. He began to walk away, but SulamiTea grabbed his arm. "AH! Let go of me!!!" shouted Poo. He tried to wrest himself free, but SulamiTea tugged on his arm. The two began a confusing struggle, yelling undistinguishable comments at each other the whole time.
The Piggy Nose merchant was just about to call for guards, when Luna happened to pass by. She saw the scene, and assumed that the weirdo was attacking Poo. She rushed forward and tried to break his grip. "Hey, what are you doing to Poo!"
"He's trying to abduct me!" shouted Poo.
Sulami let go of Poo, still panicked. Poo, still jerking in another direction, fell to the ground softly. "No! I'm trying to tell him that a stone statue called Guardian General is coming, probably to attack the town!"
Luna rolled her eyes. "Okay... and why do you expect us to believe this?"
SulamiTea threw his arms into the air with an exaggerated motion. "If you don't believe me, I'll SHOW you! Come on." He bounced towards the gate. Luna shrugged, and followed after him. Poo followed at a distance.
When they got there, the General had already moved forward enough for his head to be seen over the horizon. Luna squinted. "That's it?" SulamiTea affirmed it. She just groaned a little. "If it's not just one thing after another..." Luna drooped her head, but then picked it up and turned around. "Hurry! Let's find Mike, and Skulryk, and Dan, and SimonBob!"
"Yeah," mumbled Sulami. Poo just walked after them, still in shock from the sudden excitement. The three headed off to find the others so that they could figure the situation out.