Starfy looked out at the Pufftop scenery. Starly and her friends, all running around and obviously having a wild time. He sighed. Sometimes when Moe went on his 'family trips' every couple months, it felt very lonely. He was absently watching Starly spin herself dizzy when a pale, teal glow slowly settled overhead. A low whir could also be heard. Starfy rubbed his eyes.
Nope, it was definitely teal outside. And he was definitely hearing the buzzing, he decided. Suddenly, a light clicked on in his mind:
That teal color..
"Bunston?!" Starfy called out. He smiled and raced for the door.
"Watch your step, Prince Starfy!" a nearby guard chuckled. Starfy ignored him. He grinned. The haze was indeed the sun reflecting off Bunston's ship. He could also faintly make out where they had pieced together the ship.
The door atop the ship creaked open. Starfy waited impatiently as Bunston crawled out of the door.
"Bunston!" Starfy cried. Starly and her friends had stopped playing and were watching, too.
"Starfy!" Bunston waved back energetically. The two hugged each other tigthly. Starly just waved. Bunston smiled. "I honestly never thought I'd see you again!"
"Mmm-hm," Starfy hummed. He was just too happy Bunston was here! Bunston's smile vanished in a second.
"Oh," Starfy murmured. Of course Bunston would want to see Moe as well. "he's out with his family..I can't remember exactly where he said, but it's somewhere in the Lagoon."
Bunston sighed. "It's bad, Starf, really bad."
"What?" Starfy asked. Starly had abandoned her friends and stood beside her brother.
"Bunston, what's wrong? Is something happening?"
"Happened," Bunston said. "Junior was test-driving the Cosmos Express, and he thought to pop by and visit Ronk, Papes, and Snips, 'cause they're working patrols now, and they weren't there."
"Maybe they got hungry," Starly suggested. Bunston shook his head.
"No, they would've left a note, or something, but it was like they just disappeared!"
"They're gone?" Starfy asked, his voice rising. "But..was there anyone else there?"
"Nope, there was a couple of new potholes, and someone rammed into a street lamp..but the point is that they're gone!"
Starfy frowned. This wasn't exactly what he wanted to hear. As much difficulty they'd put him, Bunston, and Moe through, they turned out to have an okay side of them, a side wanting to do better good. And even Moe admitted it, their success wouldn't have been a success if they hadn't slowed down Mashtooth..
"Starly," Bunston finally said. "you still have that teleport thing?"
"This?" Starly asked, holding out a round gem. Bunston nodded.
"We're gonna need it."
"Moe," Bunston said, taking the gem from Starly. Starfy and Bunston touched the gem.
With a small poof, they vanished.
Moe looked at the light shining through the water. With Big Squiddy gone, Gluglug Lagoon was a calmful place. Fish swimmed by like he and his siblings didn't even exist. His smallest sister poked a piece of coral timidly. His other brothers kicked an empty crab's shell back and forth.
Yes, Gluglug Lagoon was certainly much more calm.
Moe turned around to face the source. He grinned when he saw Bunston.
"Bunston! I wasn't expe.." Moe stopped short when he noticed that the Bunneran Prince wasn't smiling. "Er...you all right?"
Starfy pulled Moe aside and explained the Trio's disappearance. Moe frowned.
"Maybe Mashtooth's ghost came and got 'em," he said. Bunston frowned.
"Moe, be serious! It could've been anything, but Mashtooth's dead! People can't come back to life!"
Moe nodded. "I can be serious. Sorry."
Bunston held out the gem. "We're going back."
"I'm gettin' MAJOR deja vu," Moe murmured as he looked at the rocky surroundings. The Bunnera Castle, formerly so looming and dark, now looked more welcoming, more friendly. Bunnerans walked along the stone roads, waving, squealing, and pointing at Starfy and Moe. Of course, Starfy thought. EVERYONE knows. Bunston lead them down a sidestreet.
"How come these weren't there last time?" Moe wondered. Starfy agreed, these homes and buisnesses weren't there before.
"We're in the Downtown right now," he explained. "Before we were just in the outskirts."
"Ah," Moe nodded. The street had a one-way exit through an alley. The alley led into a smoothly paved walkway.
"Starwalk," he said. "they actually named it after you," he added. Starfy blushed. He thought that it was a bit much.
The Starwalk led right to a short bridge, on the other end sat the castle. Moe and Starfy gulped. Even if the danger level was low, the awful experiences from the building still lingered like spirits. Bunston looked at ease, however.
"Welcome, I guess?" he said, smiling.
"Your Highness, and Prince Starfy and Moe, too!" a guard smiled. "Pleasure to see you again!"
"Yep," Starfy replied. Bunston still had a cross look on his face. The guard looked at his expression warily.
"Your Highness, Prince Bunston..I don't trust that look!"
The three heroes turned around. A guard was running to them, breathless.
"I'm so sorry, your highness, I'm sorry! I couldn't have known it was them, and I'm sorry for falling asleep on the clock! Oh, oh, please forgive me!"
Bunston looked bewildered. "Wha..what happened?"
"They were kidnapped, taken, by the one thing we all feared may have happened..since they all left, without-"
"Without whom?" Bunston demanded. The guard sniffed.
"..The trio was taken by pirates."
"MOVE!" Mashtooth growled at Ronk, who winced. Papes clung onto Snips's arm, dizzy. Snips, making away with nothing more than minor bruises and scrapes, looked worriedly at Papes, who turned green every once in a while, and at Ronk, who limped along on a bad leg.
"Can't you hear me? MOVE IT!"
Ronk groaned. Brute force was always a known trait. Mashtooth laughed at his poor scowl.
"Funny," he commented. Two Sky Swabbies hovered overhead, ready for any sign of escape.
"You're blocking out the light," he snapped at one of them. The Swabbie grimaced and moved forward. Mashtooth grinned.
Ronk murmured, "Monkey," under his breath. Snips and Papes snorted.
"What's funny? Am I missin' something there," Mashtooth grumbled. Snips shook her head.
"No, but Papes just puked, so you might wanna-"
"EEW! Seriously?! What the freaking hell?! Can't you wait?! I mean, jeez, come on! Do you.."
"Lord Mashtooth, sir, she was joking," one of the floating pirates said. Mashtooth frowned.
"Oh. Well, please don't puke on the floor," he mumbled.
Papes groaned. Snips wondered if she should've waited a few more moments.
Mashtooth lead the trio to a small, confined room, the only light coming from two wide glass windows, and the light outside was dim as it was. The Swabbies lead them to three stools. They hesitantly sat, only to find themselves immobile. Mashtooth cackled at their confused faces.
"Ah, you guys look so funny."
Mashtooth sat in a chair directly across from them, waving the Swabbies away. They promptly left, bowing as they exited. Mashtooth smiled at them.
"How's life?" he smirked. He called out the door:
Luplis hurried in, apparently waiting outside the whole time. "Yes, sir?"
"Watch these...things," he sneered. "I have to go talk to Olivar, and, do NOT screw this up."
"N-no, sir!" Luplis stammered, cringing at Mashtooth's wicked smile. He hurried into the chair his master had sat in. Mashtooth's heavy footsteps thudded down the hall, and Luplis sighed.
"You guys, what were you thinking?!"
"Luplis?" Ronk said. "Well, it was gonna happen eventually..."
"Don't you remember what became of Stella?" he hissed. "You're lucky I made those chairs," he added. Snips frowned.
"So why aren't you helping us?"
"I'm in hot water enough as it is!"
Papes sighed. "Sure, but why.."
"HEY! STOP THAT!" Luplis suddenly screamed. "DON'T TRY ANY FUNNY BUSINESS! HEY-WAIT, DON'T TRY THAT! IF YOU JUMP OUT THAT WINDOW, YOU'RE DEAD MEAT!"
He pointed towards the window. Ronk glared at him.
"We're stuck!" he whispered.
"HEY! HOW'D YOU GETUNSTUCK?!" Luplis wailed, and they could feel their senses returning to them.
"HEY! HEY! DON'T JUMP OUT THERE!" he bellowed. The trio jumped off their chairs, and darted towards the window. From down the hall, Mashtooth roared.
"LOOPY! Get 'em!"
Ronk slammed against the glass pane, causing it to shatter to pieces. Ronk and Papes jumped out, screaming as they fell. Snips turned around and grinned at Luplis.
"Thanks, 'Loopy', I owe you one," she whispered, before leaping out the window herself.