AN: Hello, and welcome back to ROTLON! I hope you enjoyed the last chapter and are enjoying both this and GL2!
But enough of me, let's just get on with the fic!
Lucas, Jessica and I are standing in the garden watching Nick tinkering with something. I have no idea what it is but it seems to be made up of a vacuum cleaner hose, a bucket and one of our old dustbins. He had insisted on the way home from school that it was something really cool and innovative.
"Well?" he asks us as he finally finishes up what he's doing. "What do you think?"
"What is it?" Lucas asks, voicing what I am thinking as I frown at Nick's invention with confusion.
Nick looks incredibly pleased with himself as he answers proudly, "Super Vacuum! Now, Mom can get the house cleaned in a fraction of the time it used to take her!"
I allow the bubble of chewing gum I had just blown to pop before letting out a disappointed groan. "Why don't you ever make something fun like a waterslide or something?" I ask him as he switches his machine on.
He holds up the hose with a bucket attached to the end of it. "Here, check this out!" he says before holding it over a dusty carpet. We watch as the dust gets sucked off the carpet.
"Hey, it's working!" Jessica says, sounding impressed. I just continue to chew gum while frowning - I still think a water slide would have been cooler!
"See!" Nick says, turning to look at us. "What did I tell..." Apparently, his vacuum was stronger than he thought because it sucks up the carpet. He looks horrified upon seeing the carpet disappear up the hose and finishes with "...you?"
We watch as he unintentionally points the hose at a garden gnome and Nick lets out a "Uh-oh!" as it, too, gets sucked into his vacuum.
"Dude, that was Dad's favourite lawn gnome!" I remind him. "You are so busted!"
Nick looks at me briefly before letting out a scream as the vacuum suddenly starts to move around on its own, with him clinging desperately to the hose. The three of us blink at it in awe as Nick yells, "Look out!"
Coming to our senses, we scream and run in different directions. I run towards the house and turn to see Lucas leaping over the fence with a scream.
Suddenly I hear Nick yell, "I think I just sucked up Razzle!" Wait, Razzle's here? Well, that would explain why I heard Lucas scream again earlier.
Jessica and Lucas are standing in the middle of the garden looking around as Nick and his vacuum float around them. Jessica takes a couple of steps forward before letting out a scream as she manages to grab hold of the handle of the dustbin.
"Look out!" Nick yells, now that the vacuum is dragging them both around. Lucas and I watch from opposite ends of the garden as Jessica manages to lean her feet against the sides of the dustbin for balance before pressing her hand against a button, finally bringing Nick's contraption to a stop in front of Lucas. Mental note: avoid Nick's inventions from now on just in case they go crazy!
I walk over to them as Jessica jumps from the bin and lets out a sigh of relief. The lid on the dustbin pops open and Razzle pokes his head out, coughing furiously. "That sucked!" he says once he gets his breath back. "Kind of dangerous, no?" he asks, looking at Nick.
"There are safeguards to prevent any damage to objects which may be..." Nick lets out a nervous laugh before adding, "accidentally bagged!"
Razzle doesn't look too happy about this as he says indignantly, "If I didn't have such important news, I'd accidentally bag you!" shaking his tiny fist the whole time.
"Trouble in Gorm?" Jessica asks him.
Razzle leaps out of the bin, landing on the grass. "And then some!" he replies as he starts to walk towards the house. "I'll tell you all about it in the Primal Pad!"
Nick frowns at his vacuum cleaner for a moment before standing up and following the rest of us back into the house. We run straight into the pantry and close the doors behind us. Nick closes them a little too loudly, though - I think he's a little salty that his vacuum's test drive didn't go according to plan - so I hastily say "Shh!" to warn the others to keep quiet just in case Mom or Dad hear us from the living room and decide to investigate. Imagine how awkward that would be!
Once we all slide our hands across the panel, we gain access to the Primal Pad and I lead the way down the stairs as usual.
We run to stand in front of the control panel while Razzle jumps onto it to explain what's happening. "It seems the Air Gormiti, Whirl Wing, has gone on a rampage!" The image on the screen shows a tornado uprooting trees as Razzle continues, "Attacking innocent Forest Gormiti and uprooting them from their homes!" The image then shows Whirl Wing as the one responsible for the attack. His name is kind of ironic, though, as he doesn't have any wings. I wonder how he flies or floats or...whatever it is he's doing.
"Did Forest do something to Air to incite Whirl Wing's rage?" Nick asks as we stare at the screen in horror.
"No, nothing at all!" Razzle responds. "Air and Forest have always co-existed peacefully! So something's definitely amiss!" You can say that again! "It's up to you guys to figure out what's causing Whirl Wing's strange behaviour!"
The four of us run to stand around the Gorm Gate before crying out together, "Elementals!"
"Air!" Jessica begins.
"Water!" I yell.
"Forest!" Lucas shouts.
"Earth!" Nick finishes.
"Reveal to us the Keeper and give to them your chair!" we chant while the chair begins to spin around at a dizzying speed.
"And the Keeper is..." Razzle announces as the chair slows down to a stop, revealing an orange icon with the Earth symbol on the back of it, "...Nick!" He looks over at Nick and says, "Looks like your little vacuum project will have to be put on hold for the moment, kid!"
Nick starts to run towards the chair, saying, "When the Gorm calls, we answer!" He jumps into the chair which rises up until he is level with the control panel.
As he manipulates the crystals to open the Gorm Gate, he whistles a little tune. "Okay, guys, ready to go!" he announces.
Without hesitating, Jessica, Lucas and I run round to one side of the Gorm Gate and cheer as we jump in one by one.
"And...touchdown!" Nick says as we land somewhere in the forest - judging by all the trees.
I look around but there doesn't seem to be any sign of trouble. "Seems peaceful enough!" I say.
"No!" Jessica disagrees as she stands up. "There's something in the air!"
At first, I don't get what she means until a gust of wind starts blowing out of nowhere, causing us all to cry out as we shield our faces from the unforgiving wind.
Through the howling and whistling, we hear a loud and desperate cry. "That sounds like trouble!" Lucas guesses after letting out a gasp. He leads the way to where the cry came from and eventually we arrive in a clearing. Only we are not alone.
A family of three Forest Gormiti are being attacked by an onslaught of wind, courtesy of Whirl Wing himself. They are crying out and clutching to each other as he mercilessly attacks them. "What is he doing?" Jessica wonders aloud.
"We have to stop him!" I say. And fast - before somebody ends up getting hurt!
"Nick, we could seriously use some orbs here!" Lucas calls out as we continue to watch the Forest Gormiti being attacked, unable to help them without our powers.
"Already charging - just hang on!" Nick assures us. A moment or two later, he announces, "You're good to glow!"
"Elemental powers flow," the three of us say together as we raise our arms up in the air. "Gormiti - Lords of Nature, go, go, go!"
"Powers of the Sea!" I yell as I transform, letting out a fierce roar. We all frown at Whirl Wing who doesn't appear to have noticed us yet. "Let's teach this windbag a lesson!" I say to the others before I run forwards.
"Whirl Wing!" Jessica calls as she flies up behind the Air Gormiti. "Why are you attacking the Forest Gormiti? Have they wronged you in some way?"
Either Whirl Wing doesn't hear her or he has but is just choosing to ignore her. Instead, he increases the strength of his attack, causing the Forest Gormiti to scream as they are lifted up from the ground, still clinging tightly to one another.
"Jungle Attack!" Lucas yells as he transforms his arm into thick, brown vines before stretching them out into the funnel of wind. He manages to wrap the vines around the ankle of the father Forest Gormiti and moves into the wind funnel. As a precaution, he digs brown vines from his other arm into the ground to keep himself anchored.
I watch in horror as the wind gets stronger and stronger. Eventually, I hear a snapping sound as Lucas' vines are uprooted, leaving him also trapped inside the wind funnel. "Time to branch out of this wind storm!" he shouts, wrapping his vines around the branch of a nearby tree. Unfortunately, the wind is so strong by this point, his vines just get torn away from the branch and he, along with the Forest Gormiti, remains helplessly trapped.
"Lucas!" Jessica calls in horror before flying over to and then inside the wind funnel. It's kind of hard to hear or see what's happening from out here but I hear her say, "I'm on it!" and I can guess that she's going to try and stop Whirl Wing's merciless attack. Sure enough, she yells, "Wind Attack!" creating her own funnel of wind.
I see a bright flash as the two wind funnels collide for a brief moment before Whirl Wing actually increases the size of his, rendering Jessica's useless. Not content with being the only one with nothing to do, I prepare a water globe. "This ought to cool you down!" I call out before firing it with a roar.
It hits him directly in the back yet he doesn't seem to react. No offence but when somebody hits you with an attack, you generally notice it, right?
I decide to try again, crying out, "Aqua Blast!" as I fire a second water globe before firing another one in quick succession. However, despite both of them hitting him directly, he barely reacts once again.
Hearing Lucas scream from inside the wind funnel, I change tactics. Running forward, I stretch out the tentacles on my head, yelling, "Mighty Tentacles!" I aim to either pull Whirl Wing to the ground or get everybody out of the wind funnel but I never get the chance.
Whirl Wing moves the wind funnel directly in my direction, the force of the wind pushing my tentacles back and knocking me to the ground. I lay, stunned, for a few moments before sitting up and looking around at the sound of screams behind me.
"I can't slow this thing down!" Jessica yells as I watch the bright yellow flashes against the funnel of wind.
Lucas' response is, "Well, do something! I feel like I'm stuck in a clothes dryer!"
I see her fly out of the wind funnel and create purple energy between her hands which she fires at the base. She repeats this and, slowly but surely, the funnel begins to move forward.
Meanwhile, I return my attention to hitting Whirl Wing with more water globes, yelling, "Aqua Blast!" once more. He doesn't appear to notice being hit, though.
"The water is too much for it!" Jessica exclaims suddenly. "It's starting to wind down!"
I look around for a moment and see that she's right. The water from the nearby river is causing Whirl Wing's wind funnel to break apart. Unfortunately it also causes Lucas and the Forest Gormiti to start hurtling towards the ground.
The Forest Gormiti, still holding onto each other, let out screams as the ground gets closer and closer. "Energy Blast!" Jessica shouts, creating the same purple energy between her hands as before and firing it upwards. The Forest Gormiti land on it, looking rather confused.
Lucas then falls past them, letting out a scream of his own. "Lucas!" Jessica yells.
Looking around, I see that Jessica cannot possibly keep the Forest Gormiti safe and catch Lucas at the same time. So I guess it's up to me to help out. "Catch you later, Whirly!" I call out to the defeated Air Gormiti before stretching out my tentacles and addressing Lucas. "As for you, I'm catching you now!"
He lets out a surprised gasp as my tentacles wrap around his ankle, holding him just inches from the ground. "That...was close!" he exclaims in relief before grunting as I let go of him, causing him to drop to the ground, unharmed.
Whirl Wing stops firing wind out of his hands and looks momentarily surprised before flying away. "He's getting away!" I shout before I hear an angry voice and look around for the source.
"Who do these Air Gormiti think they are?" the male Forest Gormiti asks angrily. I'm not sure if he's asking his family, us or just rambling to himself. "This is an outrage! I'm reporting this to the council!"
As he and his family walk away - without even thanking us for helping them, mind you - I ask, confused, "The...council? What council?"
Nick projects his image beside us and explains, "The Forest Nation Council. Each nation has a council which decides the policies for that nation!"
Great, we're getting into politics. Yipee!
"Like a government?" Lucas guesses.
Nick responds with, "Yes, pretty much! To call upon the council is a serious matter with serious consequences!"
"Like...banishment?" Lucas asks nervously.
Nick doesn't reply straight away but the look on his face says it all. Eventually he replies with, "Exactly, or worse!" His image disappears as I find myself thinking of things that could be a lot worse than banishment.
"Come on!" Jessica says as she flies over to us. "If we get to Whirl Wing first, we can avoid the council's intervention!"
"Which would be great!" Nick says as his image reappears. "But your orbs are low and I've got something to show you that may explain what's going on!"
We stand and wait for him to gate us back to Earth. Eventually the portal forms above our heads and we rise up into it, calling out, "By the orbs of Gorm!" before finding ourselves back in the Primal Pad.
We run over to Nick who is flicking through a book. He hands me a piece of paper while saying, "Here, take a look at this!" I take it from him and look at it as he continues, "I noticed a weird design on Whirl Wing's back so I made a sketch of it!" Well, it is weird - I've definitely never seen anything like it before! It looks like a circle surrounded by three triangles but don't ask me what it means!
Lucas takes the paper out of my hand to examine the sketch. "Well, that can't be a coincidence!" he says.
"Exactly!" Nick agrees. "According to the book, it's a magic sigil that appears on the victims of possession!" He then reads aloud from the book, "'Gormiti displaying these markings must be under the control of some other being or force!'"
"That would explain why he totally gave me the cold shoulder!" Jessica says, frowning. "He acted like he didn't even hear me!"
"Yeah!" I chime in. "I totally nailed him with two water spheres and he didn't even flinch! It was kinda freaky!"
Nick finishes with, "So Whirl Wing isn't a villain - he's a victim!"
Lucas lets out a horrified gasp. "The Forest Gormiti council!" he says. "They've got to be told before something awful happens!"
Suddenly we all hear clanging and screaming from the house. "That sounded like Mom!" I exclaim.
We run up the stairs and leave the pantry, heading into the living room to a rather strange sight. Mom is standing on the table, whimpering and pointing at something while Dad is rushing around with a sweeping brush, attempting to hit whatever it is she's pointing at.
The four of us stare at the scene in confusion as we wonder what is happening. Mom lets out a scream and points at something. "Don't worry, dear!" Dad says as we look over to see what looks like a frog hopping around the house. "I've got him!"
We watch, completely bewildered, as Dad chases it around the table, brandishing the sweeping brush above his head. Mom screams again and points it out when Dad loses sight of it. "Come back here, you miserable frog!" he says, standing near the frog's hiding place.
"Actually, Dad," Nick says suddenly, "it's a toad!" Frog? Toad? Who cares? They're both disgusting, if you want my opinion!
Mom and Dad look at us, letting out gasps of surprise. Guess they didn't realize we've been watching them freaking out over that frog - toad - whatever it is!
Dad recovers quickly, though. "Well, either way - he's got to go!" he says firmly, before glaring at the place where the disgusting creature is lurking.
"Wait!" Lucas cries out in protest as he moves in between them. "There's no need to hurt the little guy!" He picks it up - why would he do that? - and says, "Let me handle it!"
Dad looks puzzled but doesn't say anything as Lucas walks out of the living room with the frog in his hands. We follow him as he makes a beeline for the back garden.
I find myself letting out a gasp at the sight that greets us, however. We rush over to the window and I have to resist the urge to pinch myself. The scene before us is like something out of one of my nightmares!
Hundreds of frogs - sorry, I mean toads - are hopping around our garden without a care in the world. What are they doing here?
We make our way out into the garden, with everyone trying to watch where they put their feet. I gingerly step around and over them. I don't want any of these things touching me!
"What happened?" Jessica asks. That's what I want to know!
"Obviously something major!" Nick responds as I continue to try and avoid the infestation. "These toads don't belong here!"
"And this many of them is bound to upset the ecological balance of Venture Falls!" Lucas points out.
I guess that's a bad thing but right now the only thing I care about is keeping these things as far away from me as possible! I let out a noise of disgust and exclaim, "Just keep these ugly things away from me!" I shudder at the thought of actually touching one - no way!
Suddenly I feel something on my back then on my head, causing me to cry out. I tentatively feel whatever it is that's on my head. It feels kind of weird...wait a minute...
I scream and yell, "Get it off! Get it off!" as I run towards Nick's machine - never did I think I'd actually be glad to see it today - and switch it on, sucking the ugly little critter inside. Oh yeah!
Unfortunately, while I'm busy celebrating, the tube from his vacuum kind of gets attached to me. I pull it loose and run through the many frogs, screaming, "Help! It's attacking me!"
Eventually Nick apparently thinks I've suffered enough and switches the machine off. I let out a grunt as I land among the froggy... toady things. Ew...
"Don't underestimate the sheer suction power of my super vacuum! This is industrial strength!" Nick says proudly. I hear Lucas and Jessica sigh as I stand up and join them in walking over to Nick who opens the dustbin, allowing the frog inside to jump into Lucas' hands.
"Phew! Safe and sound!" he says happily, holding it close. Wait, am I hearing right here?
As I keep on trying to avoid the other frogs, I hold my hands up and say insistently, "Get rid of that thing!"
Lucas looks highly offended as he protests, "He's not a thing! He's a toad and his name is...Peter!"
Peter? Personally if I had to give it a name, it would have been 'Disgusting creature I really don't like!' "How can you possibly know his name?" I ask, even though I'm dreading the answer.
Lucas holds up Peter and replies happily, "Because he's my new pet!" A toad for a pet? Is he actually serious?
"Hey!" Jessica exclaims suddenly as she steps closer to Lucas. "Look at his back!"
I keep my distance as the others examine the back of DCIRDL - that's what I'm referring to it as from now on. "Wow, what a coincidence!" Nick says.
"Nothing's a coincidence!" Guess Razzle's here again. "Something tells me that this toad and Whirl Wing's behaviour are somehow connected in this mess!"
"It's got to be part of the rift!" I hear Jessica say. Well, if it is, we better fix it because I don't want these things near me any longer than necessary!
"Hey, bro!" Nick calls to me and I look over to see he has Razzle perched on his shoulder. "Are you planning on staying there toad-hopping all day or are we gonna get back to the Primal Pad and try to figure out what's going on here?"
I stalk over to them, muttering "Toad-hopping!" under my breath as the others allow themselves a laugh at Nick's joke. It wasn't that funny - these things make me uncomfortable!
We head back into the house and down into the Primal Pad once more. As soon as we get there, Nick slams a book down onto a flat rock and flicks through the pages, looking for information while the rest of us watch him.
"You have to hurry!" Razzle tells us urgently as he hurries over to us. "The Forest Gormiti council is convening!"
"Wait a minute!" Nick exclaims, interrupting Razzle. "I've found something! Says here these toads are indigenous to an island a hundred kilometres off the coast of Asia!"
Well, can we get them back to that island a hundred kilometres off the coast of Asia? Preferably sooner rather than later.
"Wow!" Lucas says, impressed. "There must have been some serious ecological upheaval for them to end up here!"
"Gorm legend says the markings are a spell of great power that was carved into the toad's back by ancients so it could be easily remembered in times of need!" Nick continues.
If I have to hear any more about toads or anything relating to them, I think I'll go insane! Besides we have to stop a possessed Air Gormiti, not worry about a bunch of disgusting creatures!
"That's really great, Nick," I say, trying not to let my displeasure about the problem show. "But we've gotta go!" I point towards the Gorm Gate. The sooner I'm in Gorm and away from those things, the better!
"Hey!" Jessica says, her tone making it perfectly clear she wasn't too pleased. "It could be important!"
"Yeah, and it could be a creepy frog fashion statement!" I argue.
Lucas frowns. "Toad!" he corrects me.
"Whatever!" I say as I walk off. It's about time we got back to Gorm and started worrying about the actual situation we have going on.
"Here," I hear Lucas say. "Take good care of Peter while I'm gone!" Phew! At least he isn't bringing that thing with him!
"I guess it's just you and me now!" Nick says to it just before Lucas, Jessica and I leap into the Gorm Gate along with Razzle.
We transform and land in the branches of a tree on top of the Forest Fortress. Looking below us, we keep silent as a flame bursts to life and a lone Forest Gormiti walks out of the fortress. I guess the meeting must be starting soon.
"Hurry!" Razzle exclaims. "The meeting is about to start!" He scrambles down a couple of a branches when I hear a strange noise.
"Did you hear something?" I ask the others in a hushed voice. I let out a gasp as I hear the noise again before that pet of Lucas' hops right past me and into his hands.
"It's Peter!" he says happily, holding him out. "He must have followed me into the Gorm Gate!"
Without even trying to hide the sarcasm in my tone, I mutter, "Oh, great!"
"Worry about him later! We've got to get going!" Razzle reminds us. Well, I'm not the only person who's not worried about that thing! He then lets out a cry as the branch he is holding onto breaks, causing him to fall further down into the branches below us.
Luckily he manages to wrap his tail around a branch which is a good thing because it looks like the meeting has started. "This meeting of the Forest Nation is now in session!" one of the Forest Gormiti announces.
"Witness - come forth!" This time, the speaker is Cannon Trunk, a Forest Gormiti we had met before.
A Forest Gormiti from the family we had helped earlier steps forward. "It was Air!" he says angrily. "One came down from the sky and attacked me and my family!"
"But why would Air provoke Forest in such a manner?" This question comes from the first Forest Gormiti who had five leaves around his head.
Another Forest Gormiti - who seems vaguely familiar - replies while brandishing his whip-like vine, "Why not? Those who do not strike first are the first to be struck!"
The council members start murmuring and cheering, apparently supporting what he's saying. "The council is in agreement!" Cannon Trunk announces. "Air must be dealt a harsh rebuke!"
The three of us glance at each other. Now is the time for us to act.
"Wait!" Jessica yells as we jump down from the branches, landing on the ground below us.
"Who are these to meddle in our affairs?" the vaguely-familiar Forest Gormiti asks.
Cannon Trunk apparently does remember us, at least, as he responds, "The Lords of Nature!" The council members whisper among themselves as he continues, "and if thou come in peace, thou shall be permitted to speak!"
"Thank you, Cannon Trunk!" Lucas says before Jessica starts to speak.
"Please, council members," she begins, "the Air Gormiti you're talking about is under some kind of mind control!"
"Mind control?" The Forest Gormiti with a vine for an arm asks disbelievingly. Well, I'm not sure it's that difficult to believe. Then again...
"Exactly!" she says. "His name is Whirl Wing and he doesn't mean to cause you any harm!" Wait a minute. Is it just me or did it suddenly get windier here?
Jessica lets out a gasp, having spotted Whirl Wing flying around near the tree we had hidden in. "It is him!" Cannon Trunk says. "This is unthinkable!"
Whirl Wing fires a blast of wind out of the holes in the end of his arms right at the council members. Jessica reacts quickly, firing her own blast of wind which not only repels Whirl Wing's but also sends him flying.
"Air has dishonored the sanctity of the Forest council!" Cannon Trunk tells her. She turns to face him as he adds, "This is an act of war! The Air Tribe must pay!" War? Isn't that a bit extreme?
"Wait!" Jessica says desperately. "Didn't you hear what I said? It's not his fault! He's-"
Apparently not in the mood to listen to her reasoning, the vine Gormiti interrupts with, "The council has spoken! Your kind has broken the law!" His next command fills me with a fury I don't think I've ever experienced before. "Seize her - our first prisoner of the war!"
Before any of us get the chance to do anything, he stretches out his vine-like arm, wrapping it around Jessica's foot and pulling her to the ground with the help of two other Forest Gormiti. "What? Wait a minute!" she protests.
Razzle lets out a scream. Something inside me snaps. Nobody does anything to hurt Jessica! And I mean nobody! I find myself glaring at one of the Forest Gormiti, a threatening growl slipping from both of us. All of the muscles in my body are tensed as I prepare myself to attack. They won't get away with this!
"No!" Lucas says suddenly, putting his hand on my shoulder to hold me back. It snaps me out of it and I look at him, confused. "Attacking the council will only bring war against Water! You'd be no better than Whirl Wing!"
So what else are we supposed to do? Let them take Jessica prisoner when she hasn't done anything wrong?
Razzle apparently agrees with Lucas as he says, "Lucas is right! Do you want the entire Forest Nation on top of you?"
The stubborn part of me wants to say that I could handle it but I know, deep down, that they're right. The council would quickly overpower us if we chose to attack them.
We watch as two of the Forest Gormiti march Jessica inside the fortress. Once they're gone, Lucas calls, "Don't worry, Jessica! We'll get you out of this!"
"Oh?" I ask, a little snappish. "And how are we supposed to do that?"
"By bringing the real culprit to the council!" Nick tells us, evidently not wanting us to start arguing. "It's the only way to prove Whirl Wing's innocence and grant Jessica's freedom!"
"Okay," Lucas says. "First we find Whirl Wing and then we find who's controlling him. Seems simple enough. Right, Peter?"
Wow, it's nice to be consulted! And I still think he's being way too weird about that disgusting thing perched on his shoulder!
"First, frogs! Now, all-out war between the Air and Forest Nations! Who knows what will drop out of the sky next?" Nick exclaims.
Lucas turns to me and says, "Well, there's only one place we're gonna find Whirl Wing so let's get going!"
I simply nod as we start running. If I say something, it would either make him angry or I would end up embarrassing myself. I try to avoid thinking about his new pet by thinking about saving Jessica. Thinking about Jessica, however, makes me remember the conversation I had with Granny Mabel. That's another thing I kind of want to avoid, for now - at least, until I've sorted out the mess in my head following that discussion.
Soon we reach the Air Nation and find ourselves standing at the base of Eagle Peak. It's a pretty impressive sight. "Let's climb!" I say, speaking for the first time as I start to climb up the mountain.
"Hold on tight, Peter!" I hear him say and I roll my eyes. As I continue to climb, I find myself struggling to pull myself up as my arms strain. My foot slips slightly and Lucas exclaims angrily, "Hey, watch it! You almost hit Peter!"
"Oops, sorry!" I call down to him before adding under my breath, "Next time I'll try not to miss!" I manage to pull myself up and carry on climbing.
Razzle, who is ahead of me, looks down and calls to us, "Come on, we're almost there!"
"Easy for you to say!" I tell him as I reach him. "There he is!" I whisper as I spot a shelter on top of the mountain with Whirl Wing inside. I roll onto the ground, relieved that I no longer had to climb. Lucas joins me and puts his little pet down on the ground.
"You stay behind me, Peter, and try not to get into any trouble!" he says.
The frog/toad/whatever it is croaks and Razzle says "Shhh!" And for good reason, too.
We watch as Whirl Wing floats out of the shelter, monologuing. "Soon Air and Forest shall take to arms and all my careful planning shall pay off handsomely indeed!" I'm not sure what's creepier - the blank zombie-like stare or the fact that he can somehow talk without moving his mouth like those...what do you call them? Oh, yeah, ventriloquists!
"I hear him talking but his lips aren't moving!" Lucas says, evidently as creeped-out as I am.
I glance at the shelter and my eyes widen as I spot another Gormiti. "That's because he's not doing the talking! Look!"
A Lava Gormiti we've never met before walks out of the same shelter and it becomes clear that he is the one monologuing. What's more, it doesn't seem like he's finished yet. "Weakened from battle, neither tribe will be able to withstand the onslaught of my Lava Gormiti army! Domination will be mine!" He finishes his speech with - yes - an evil laugh. Good grief, what is it with Lava Gormiti and their evil laughs?
"I wouldn't count on it!" I tell him, stopping him mid-laugh. Lucas and I jump out and stand in front of him.
"Get them!" he yells, pointing at us. We look around just in time to see Whirl Sing hovering behind us before he releases a massive blast of wind.
I fire a water globe, crying out, "Aqua Blast!" However it does little more than turn the wind blue. Lucas tries next, wrapping his vines around Whirl Wing's legs.
"I got him!" he exclaims triumphantly. This small victory wasn't to last, though. Whirl Wing fires off another blast of wind, not at us, but at the ground nearby, churning up rocks. We both cry out as we get hit by the rocks and knocked to the ground. "Mental note: avoid flying boulders!" Lucas says breathlessly.
"Now you're gonna get it!" I say angrily as I stand up and charge forwards. "Mighty Tentacles!" I yell as I stretch out my tentacles, wrapping them around Whirl Wing and successfully stopping his attack. "Let's see you toss some boulders now, Whirl Wimp!"
Suddenly my head starts to feel strange. "What...what's going on?" I say as I clutch my head with both hands, accidentally letting go of Whirl Wing in my distraction.
"Join me, Lord of the Sea, and you too shall stand motionless at my side! When I become Supreme Overlord of Gorm!"
Okay, what's been going on here? Why does my head hurt so much? When did I activate my claw arm? Last thing I remember is grabbing hold of Whirl Wing.
"W-what happened?" Whirl Wing asks as he floats down to us. Believe me, that's exactly what I want to know!
"That's a long story," Lucas replies. "But we'll have plenty of time to catch up on the way to the council. Right, Thoughtcatcher?" This last part is addressed to the Lava Gormiti who is crawling away from Lucas' pet who is hopping after him.
"It is an Ancient!" he wails. "Keep him away!"
Suddenly something occurs to me. "Oh no!" I groan disappointedly.
Lucas gives me a weird look. "What is it?" he asks.
"I just remembered we'll have to climb all the way back down!" I say. "I mean climbing up was bad enough!"
To my surprise, I hear chuckling from behind me. I turn around and see Whirl Wing struggling to hold in his laughter. When he sees me looking, he clears his throat and says, "Follow me, young ones. And bring the whimpering fire eater too."
Lucas and I haul Thoughtcatcher to his feet while Lucas' little frog hops onto his shoulder. Bemused, we follow Whirl Wing across the ledge to the other side of the platform. There a floating citadel hangs just in front of us.
"Is that-" Lucas begins.
"-what I think it is?" I finish for him.
We hear a whimper as we both yell exasperatedly, "Razzle!"
Razzle jumps onto my shoulder, laughing nervously as I ask, "Why didn't you tell us about this? It could have saved us so much time!"
"I - I...um...forgot?" he stutters.
"Come on, let's just go!" Lucas says.
We step onto the platform, still holding Thoughtcatcher between us. He seems remarkably still and quiet, though he does occasionally send fearful glances at the frog on Lucas' shoulder.
The platform lurches as it begins to descend, Whirl Wing floating alongside us as Lucas explains what happened.
"Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, back up there!" I interrupt him as I try not to burst out laughing.
"It's not funny!" he exclaims through gritted teeth. "I genuinely feared for my life at one point! Somehow, when you're possessed, you're a lot more intimidating!"
I think for a moment before asking, "So I'm not intimidating when I'm normal, am I?"
"Nope," Nick says, laughing, as he projects his image beside me. "Not even in the slightest!"
"I wasn't asking you..." I mutter sulkily and I hear him laugh some more before his image disappears.
Eventually the platform reaches the bottom of the mountain. We all step off it and it begins to rise back up again. I'll tell you it's a relief to be back on solid ground again!
Without speaking, we rush to the Forest Nation and eventually we make it to the top of the imposing tree that is the Forest Fortress. Lucas clears his throat and says, "Hello, anybody here? We really need to speak with you! It's important!"
At first, nothing happens. Then the fire lights up as the council members begin filing out. Razzle whimpers and I feel him clinging tightly to my shoulder.
"What is the meaning of this?" the Forest Gormiti with a whip asks before his gaze falls upon Whirl Wing. "Seize him!"
"Wait!" Lucas and I both yell at the same time, stopping the Forest Gormiti in their tracks.
One of them frowns as he notices Thoughtcatcher. "Why is there a Fire Gormiti in our midst?"
Lucas glances momentarily at Thoughtcatcher before replying, "We'll explain everything if you'll let us."
The Forest Gormiti talk amongst themselves and eventually Cannon Trunk clears his throat, announcing, "Thy will be permitted to explain thyselves."
Lucas thanks him before beginning to explain, "This is Thoughtcatcher, a Fire Gormiti with the ability to possess other Gormiti with mind control."
"Mind control?" the Forest Gormiti with a whip-like arm asks, still sounding disbelieving.
"Yes," Lucas continues. "Whirl Wing wasn't attacking any of you by choice. He only attacked you because Thoughtcatcher told him to!"
"But why would he do this?" the Forest Gormiti who had first noticed Thoughtcatcher asks.
Lucas looks at me so I respond, "By getting all the tribes distracted by fighting each other, he'd have nobody to stop him from taking over Gorm!"
The Forest Gormiti mutter among themselves before Cannon Trunk says, "Air Gormiti, do these young witnesses speak thy truth?"
Whirl Wing nods. "They do. I would never attack your people of my own volition unless I had a good reason to do so." he says.
Lucas then adds, "And we have proof too. Show 'em, Peter!" His little pet hops down from his shoulder onto the ground, back facing the Forest Gormiti who all let out similar gasps of surprise.
"It is an Ancient One!"
"So the young Air Lord was telling the truth!"
We watch as Cannon Trunk walks over to two Forest Gormiti standing by the entrance to the fortress. He speaks to them and they nod before disappearing inside.
After a few moments, they return with Jessica whose face brightens when she sees us.
"O, Ancient One." Cannon Trunk addresses Lucas' pet. "Once again thy light reveals truth in times of trouble. A croak is his response.
"I hate to admit it but I think I'm starting to like this frog!" I say. Yeah, I never I thought I'd say that either!
Lucas rolls his eyes at me. "He's a toad," he says exasperatedly, "and his name is Peter - Peter the Ancient. You really should call him by his proper name!"
"On behalf of the council, we owe you and your friend an apology." Cannon Trunk speaks again. He turns to the Forest Gormiti and calls out, "Release the prisoner!"
The two Forest Gormiti on either side of Jessica stand aside and we watch as she soars joyfully into the air. We both give her a thumbs up and I let out a cheer, feeling happier than ever now that I - I mean we - have her back.
"Good job, guys! You did it!" she praises us as she comes to float in front of us.
"No - you did it!" Whirl Wing tells her as he comes to hover alongside her. "You championed me and were punished on my behalf. Please accept my appreciation!"
She takes what looks to be from here a golden swirly thing and exclaims, "Wow! It's pretty!"
"It is a Travel Tornado spell," Whirl Wing explains. "When invoked, it can carry anything to the destination of your choice!"
"Pretty cool!" Lucas says. "But we've gotta get back home! Peter looks tired - I think he needs a rest!" Sure enough, the little frog - sorry, toad - is snoozing away.
"And don't forget we've got a ton of Peter's to deal with when you get back!" Nick reminds us. Meanwhile Jessica flies down to us as Whirl Wing leaves, balancing the spell on her hand.
"That's right," I say as I remember the hundreds of toads in the garden. "How are those toads gonna get back home?"
We all think for a moment before Jessica starts lightly tossing the spell up and down on her hand. "I think I have an idea!" she tells us.
"You do?" we say together, though I shouldn't be all that surprised. Jessica always comes with the best ideas, even if they don't always sound great!
"Well, let's get you guys back home so we can try it!" Nick says. After a few moments, we rise out of the Gorm Gate and find ourselves in human form back in the Primal Pad.
"So what is this brilliant idea of yours then?" I ask Jessica as the three of us run over to join Nick.
"Nick's vacuum." she responds. Upon seeing what must have been a puzzled look on all our faces, she elaborates. "If we atttach the spell to the vacuum, we can suck up the toads and the spell will transport them back to whichever island it is they came from!"
"Sounds good to me!" Lucas says.
"I'll definitely be able to modify it for just such a purpose!" Nick adds.
I grin as I nudge him. "And, at least this way that little invention of yours will have actually been useful!"
He frowns at me before sighing. "You're right. Mom wouldn't have been able to use it. She'd have ended vacuuming the entire contents of the house, not just the dirt and dust!"
Jessica hands the spell over to Nick as we leave the Primal Pad. Before we reach the back door, Nick turns to me and asks me to get the laptop from my room.
To my surprise, as Nick and Lucas head into the garden, Jessica follows me upstairs. The fact that we are alone hits me hard and I find myself recalling the conversation I had had with Granny Mabel.
The more I've tried not to think about it, the more I've ended up doing just that. The possibility that I might actually have feelings for her is terrifying. Exciting, yes, but terrifying all the same. I mean I've never felt this way about anyone. How can I be sure I'm not just throwing things way out of proportion?
Attempting to distract myself while I play Hunt the Laptop in my chaotic mess of a bedroom, I ask, "Are you okay?" as I crawl underneath my bed to have a look for it there.
"I'm fine," she replies. "I just wanted to say..."
"Found it!" I exclaim as I see the laptop buried under a pile of comics just underneath the bed. Luckily it is fully charged so I unplug it before pulling myself back out. "Um, what were you saying?"
"I-It wasn't important!" she exclaims. "I guess I just want to ask..." She looks directly at me and says bluntly, "Why did you almost attack the Forest Gormiti when they took me prisoner?"
She noticed. Of course she noticed! She's Jessica - she notices everything! I sigh as I put the laptop down on my bed. "I, uh, I'm not sure," I say. "Guess I...kind of...overreacted a bit." The truth is, I'm not sure why I reacted so strongly. Would I have reacted the same way if it had been Nick or Lucas in that position?
"You seemed like you were worried about me."
I look up at her. "I'm always worried about you!" Before I can stop myself, I blurt out, "I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you!"
For a moment, we are both silent. Then I feel her wrap her arms around me. I hold her tightly, ignoring the tingling that will undoubtedly last for hours and, instead, observe that she seems to fit perfectly in my arms - though I don't know why I'm noticing it at all. "Me neither," she whispers.
We continue to stand, holding each other. I feel her rest her head against me. "Sometimes..." she begins. "Sometimes I wish you'd never let me go. When you hold me, it's as if - I don't know - I don't think anyone or anything could hurt me as long as I have you."
I gently tilt her head up so I can look her in the eyes. "You'll always have me."
The moment is broken when we both seem to realize just how close we are. We quickly step away from each other, clearing our throats and mumbling apologies as we head back downstairs, not forgetting the laptop, of course!
Outside it seems that Nick is just finishing modifying his invention. Jessica opens up the laptop and goes onto the internet, clicking on the Venture Falls News Network website.
When he's finished, he gives a thumbs up to Lucas who is holding the hose. Lucas slams his hand against the button on the side and we watch as wisps of wind swirl out from the machine to form a tornado.
With a sad look on his face, he places Peter on the ground and gives it a small wave. The toad lets out a croak as it is sucked into the hose and out into the tornado along with its buddies.
"It's working!" Lucas exclaims happily. Well, that's a relief! I might have gotten used to Peter but I doubt I'd ever have been comfortable with hundreds of toads living in our back garden!
Jessica opens up a live-feed of a newscaster reporting from some place called Spellback Island. A man with black hair and glasses announces, "I am standing here on Spellback Island where residents are stupified by the sudden disappearance of the island's entire population of toads!"
Suddenly a toad falls down onto the ground, letting out a croak. "Yes!" we all exclaim. The reporter starts to look more and more bemused as toads start to fall all around him.
He lets out a chuckle as one of them lands on his microphone. "Well, it appears that earlier reports may have been inconclusive." He picks up the toad by one of its back legs. As more toads fall, he corrects himself by yelling, "Very inconclusive! Run!" He runs out of frame, holding his arms above his head while the camera remains focused on the toads falling from the sky.
"Mission...accomplished." Jessica says as she closes the laptop.
For some reason, I find myself once again thinking about her problem. I know I shouldn't be getting so involved with it but I seem to be the only one who's noticed that there's anything wrong. And I can't help feeling that it definitely has something to do with her mom.
Maybe I'm reading into it too much but all the same, I think I'm going to keep a close eye on her. After all, I seem to be the only one who's noticed that there is a problem. And, as her best friend, I promised myself that I would never let her down and I'm not about to start now.
I guess after what she said to me, I feel even more determined to find the source of her pain so I can stop it from ever hurting her again. She shouldn't feel sorrow, not like that. Do I care too much? Maybe. But it's worth it. And I won't ever give up.
No matter what I've promised.
Lucas looks a little down. "Cheer up, dude!" I tell him. "At least Peter's back home where he belongs!"
"Yeah, I know," he sighs. "I guess I got a little too attached to him. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep him but it was nice to have met him."
Suddenly Jessica starts laughing for no reason at all. "President of the Terrified Toad Hop!" she exclaims, pointing at me.
Lucas and Nick, who had just returned from the shed, burst out laughing while I frown, knowing exactly why they find it so funny.
"I'll remember this, guys!" I warn them as they continue to laugh. Although thinking it over, I guess I can admit I looked rather funny. There's no way I'm telling them that!
AN: Well, thank you for your patience, guys! I know I should have had this up ages ago but life just seems to get in the way. I am pretty busy most of the time and when I do have free time, it's usually at night when I should be sleeping.
I have been considering taking a brief hiatus from ROTLON, about two weeks maximum. This is just to give myself time to recharge as writing a lot of chapters takes a lot out of you and I have almost written twenty chapters of ROTLON.
I will, however, continue with Gormiti Love version 2 and will aim to get the next two oneshots written.
Once again, I thank you all again for bearing with me and I hope you enjoyed this chapter and continue to enjoy the rest of the series.
See you next time!