"Thank God These Puzzles Only Come By Once Every Millennium"
By Saka
Thursday, May 22, 2003
(saka[at]belvedia.net)
* * * * *
Pre-story Notes:
I'd just like to point out that I HATE THE MILLENNIUM PUZZLES!! They suck they suck they suck the prizes are rarely worth the trouble and damn it I wish I wasn't so damn dyslexic as to keep running off the foogin' platforms right when I'm about done with a 10 bazillion hour puzzle. You have my synopsis for my experience with Puzzle #1.
If you share my hatred for the Millennium Puzzles, please continue on. If you don't even know what the Millennium Puzzles are, consider yourself a blessed by God.
This is more Wild Arms Advanced 3rd humor, since I got some good reactions from the last one I did. No spoilers, just fun. And now, on with the story. Yes, that's right.

* * * * *

Imagine your world without the beautiful green trees and azure skies. Imagine your forests as barren deserts, your seas made of sand, your skies made of… well, actually they're still skies, but just not as pretty. On top of all that, imagine some evil being that never got enough attention at home trying to take away all the fun of being alive, which is being alive.

Got it? Okay, good. I have informed you of the current events of the world of Filgaia. Doesn't sound very fun, does it? What would you do if this were happening to YOUR world?

I don't know about Earth, but in Filgaia, it's basically a good idea for 4 Drifters to run around doing non-sequential side quests, that have nothing to do with ANYTHING I might add, during worldly distress and trauma.

Oh, they'll save the world all right… but not after they chase UFOs and play with blocks.

"That's the last UFO!" Virginia chirped following shooting a rocket at a flying Mother ship. UFOs are bad. They could take over the world too, you know.

Jet stretched in his seat, a satisfied smile similarly stretched across his face. "I kicked ass! Did you see how I got that one from behind?"

Gallows scoffed at him. "You accidentally released the bowel thrusters and it hit the UFO in the face," he said. "Lucky shot!"

Clive adjusted his rimless glasses, a habit he rather enjoyed because it made him look cool. "Shall we head over to the last dungeon now?" he asked.

"NO!" Clive's three companions protested simultaneously, panic in their voices. They all knew they were trying to stall for time. They had already saved enough money to buy an 1 EX File Key from the Black Market Shop (which are priced at 10 million dollars a piece, but they're half off with clip-out coupons from last week's newspaper), plus have leveled up to 100 (yes, in the wonderful world of Filgaia, when you get into fights with things, your experience is simplified into levels, and you stop leveling up at a certain point). There still has to be things to do, right? Besides, you know, the right thing and save the world.

"Let's try those Millennium Puzzles we've heard about," Jet suggested, eyeing one of the dungeons below. "I think that's one of them. What'cha think?"

Virginia pondered. It was her call, since she was the leader of the bunch. "I guess it's worth a try. Who knows, it could be fun! Let's go for it!"

Oyez, fun is the first thing I'd go for when the world is on the brink of terror and, um, bad things. Conveniently, nothing will actually happen to Filgaia until these four Drifters trigger the event of entering that last dungeon. It's like the story is stuck on pause. I wish our world worked like Filgaia's.

Which dawns on me now, how do these people know that the next dungeon is the last? I suppose they have the guide book. Anyway, I digress.

After landing Lombardia, their machine/dragon/freak of an airship, the team merrily entered the first Millennium Puzzle.

"Wait a minute," Clive said, studying a stone tablet at the entrance of the dungeon. "This isn't the first. This says this puzzle is the 8th out of 20. We should find the first one."

"Ah, forget it!" Gallows dismissed Clive and headed for the white crystal that leads to the puzzle. "Puzzles are easy! What difference would it make if we went to the first one?" At that, he touched the crystal, and he was gone.

Virginia shrugged at Clive, as if to say, He's right, and followed Gallows.

"Very interesting," Clive said, pushing up his glasses again as he headed towards the crystal. "Puzzles are good for the mind. Keeps it busy."

Jet snorted. "Gallows really needed to hear that."

Clive gave Jet a coy smile. "It wouldn't have hurt for you to hear that too."

And Clive disappeared into the crystal before Jet had the time to kill him.

Such good friends they are! Oyez!

* * * * *

Jet had entered the puzzle last. He was greeted by his 3 partners, sitting on colorful blocks, looking deep in thought. Jet looked around, wondering what exactly they were supposed to be doing with these blocks in the first place.

"We have to set the same color blocks together to make them disappear," Clive said, as if reading Jet's mind. Virginia commented on how smart Clive sounded, even though he was just reciting what he had read on the stone tablet from before, but nobody has to know about that, now do they? Anyway, following Clive's advice, the three got to work.

Notice I said three. Clive was manager, and the other three were labor. Clive's the smartest one, after all.

"Clive, dammit, help out!" Gallows yelled at him as he pushed a red block into a random square. "I'm getting tired!"

Clive looked away from the adult magazine he had found in a laboratory they had recently visited and sighed. "Fine, fine." He put the magazine down and pushed the red block Gallows had just moved to another random spot, as Gallows sat down where Clive had just sat and resumed Clive's rousing round of educational reading.

"Men!" Virginia sighed in disgust, and sat down herself, tired from pushing and pulling. Little does she know the urges of a man's desire when he's away from his woman. Well, Gallows has no excuse, but wait till Clive's wife Catherine hears that her charming, loving husband was digging his hands hungrily into a dirty magazine.

"And you're not going to tell her, right?" Clive threatened Virginia suddenly, again as if he had read her mind. He must've been reading her dialogue boxes. That's one of the downsides of being in a role-playing game; every little dirty thought you have is recorded in a brown box below where everyone can awe at.

Virginia stared into his eyes, as if challenging him. "Maybe," she said. Good comeback, Virginia.

Where the hell is this story leading to? Who knows, probably nowhere, but you're going to read the rest of it anyway, because everyone needs closure.

…You still here? Good. Keep reading.

* * * * *

"Dammit!!" Jet cursed loudly, kicking a blue puzzle block in frustration. "This isn't working!"

"If you followed my advice in the first place, we would all be done by now," Clive called out from the level below Jet. The team had been working on Puzzle #8 for 5 hours now. They had restarted the puzzle 9 times. Attempt #10: Clive was sitting on a green block sighing impatiently, Jet was throwing tantrums, Virginia was drawing a picture of a cat on a yellow block and humming to herself, and Gallows was half-asleep on the floor.

Tired of drawing, Virginia replaced her black marker into her item bag and chirped up. "C'mon guys, let's try just one more time! I'm sure we'll get it this time; we almost got it on that 5th try, remember?"

Virginia's pep talk did some help, and the team went off to work again. Jet was still feeling sore from the frustration, so he did his work grumbling to himself.

Poor Jet. I agree; they should just give it up.

But this story would be even more ridiculous if they quit now, so let's continue on.

"Hey!" Gallows perked up, a small light bulb clicking on in his head. "Why don't we get Clive to use his gloves and make this go faster?"

Three other light bulbs clicked on. Sounds like a good idea. Why haven't they thought of that before? Clive had just started to put his special shiny block-picker-upper gloves on when a penguin wearing a top hat dropped onto the playing field. Cute little thing, this was. Virginia and company stopped in their tracks as the penguin waddled over to Clive and…

Mauled the gloves off his hand.

"AUGH!!!" Clive flailed in panic as the penguin's jaws of death clenched onto his hand. Jet and Gallows had a hold on the penguin's legs and pulled, Clive pulling the other way. Virginia was frozen in horror.

The Penguin Tug-of-War worked, and the penguin released his hold on Clive. The gloves, unfortunately, were now with the penguin. After saying a short good-bye, it floated away from the field, and that was that. A stone tablet thudded onto the field after the penguin was gone, and luckily no one was in the way or the tablet would've seriously killed someone.

"Ow," uttered Jet from underneath the heavy slab of doom.

Spoke too soon, I say. Oh well, Jet's a strong kid.

"I hate this!!" Jet cried as Virginia, Clive, and Gallows lifted the stone off his back. "I hate this!! I WANT OUT!!!"

I think Jet needs a hug.

"Suck it up," Gallows said as he gave Jet a slap on the back. Jet winced in pain. Such good friends they are! Oyez!

"What's the tablet say?" Virginia asked Clive, because she was too lazy to read.

Clive adjusted his glasses yet again and read the tablet aloud, "SPECIAL TOOLS NOT ALLOWED. BEWARE THE EVIL CANNIBAL PENGUIN".

No duh.

So much for those light bulbs.

"This is beautiful!" Jet laughed out loud, sounding a little too forcefully sarcastic. "We've successfully wasted 7 hours of precious time!" Ironically, the main point of entering the Millennium Puzzle in the first place was to waste time. "Let's just get the hell outta here!!"

Virginia placed a sympathetic hand on Jet's shoulder. "Don't give up, Jet… we just have to stick together." After her comforting and phony-sounding words, she reached for something in her bag and pulled out a water canteen, and offered it to her frustrated friend. Jet stared at it in curiosity and distrust.

"What's this? What are you giving me?" Jet asked, as he took the canteen into his hand. He opened the lid and peered into, as if that would help identify the contents. He noticed it's strong aroma and immediately identified it as something that should be approached with caution and an industrial size bottle of Listerine.

Virginia smiled and gestured him to take a sip. "It's a liniment drink, special recipe straight from the family! That stuff perks me up whenever I get down and frustrated. Cures you just like that!" She gave a snap of her fingers, emphasizing the final sentence.

Clive and Gallows nodded their heads, having a mutual discovery of Virginia's endless and sickening cheerfulness. Jet, on the other hand, was too mentally dead to notice anything, so he took a sip of the special Maxwell "What's-Up-Your-Ass?" liquid miracle in a canteen, and prepared for the worst.

"Gack!" Jet coughed, still tasting the strong drink in his mouth. "This stuff needs an octane reading!"

Virginia giggled. "Sure does!" She took the bottle from his hands and took a swig herself. "Stuff should work right away. Feeling any better?"

Jet concentrated. He didn't feel any different… actually, he felt kind of numb… he certainly didn't feel frustrated like he did five minutes ago, but in argument he wasn't sure if this was any better. So he lied.

"Sure, I feel great."

"Great!" Virginia clapped her hands in joyful celebration. You need to get out more, Virginia. "Let's get started again!"

Virginia gaily skipped to a block in the corner of the field, and Clive and Gallows comforted the now indifferent Jet in her dust.

"How do you feel?" Clive asked.

"Ungh."

"Did her drink really work?" Gallows asked.

"Ungh."

Clive and Gallows huffed in unison. Jet ungh-ed on.

* * * * *

"I DON'T WANNA DO THIS ANYMORE!!"

Jet's back to his old antics again. Only lasted 2 minutes.

"We're never gonna figure this puzzle out! We're gonna rot here and die before we solve this thing!" He continued his rant as his fellow partners watched on.

Virginia timidly offered her drink again. "Want some more…?"

Uh-oh! I heard a snap!

Jet snatched the canteen out of his cheery friend's hand and angrily flung it off the playing field. He turned back to Virginia and hissed, "Don't. Ever. Drug. Me. Up. Again."

Virginia looked sincerely hurt by his actions and words. Her shoulders dropped a bit and she looked like she was about to cry. Clive soothed her with a soft "hey," and Gallows defended her with a roaring "HEY!! She was just trying to help your sorry ass!".

Jet started to feel a little intimidated from the offensiveness of all of his friends, so he tried to hold back. "I don't need your help! I just wanna get out of here!! It's bad enough that we're standing here being ridiculous about this stupid puzzle, but must we also be constantly exposed to this infuriating girl's cheerful disposition? Not to mention be exposed to her toxic remedies of death!!" He pointed a finger at Virginia, who was looking sulky before but now was awake and ready to attack.

"You know how many of those stinkin' toxic remedies of death I have to take in order to keep a happy face around you?!" Virginia started to go after Jet but Clive had a hold of her arms. "Let me go! Let me at 'im!!"

"Let's all calm ourselves down now," Clive said in that cool manner he liked to do so much. "No point in getting ourselves worked up over this! Let's just talk this through…"

"I'll talk it through! Right in the mouth!!" Jet yelled, who was also ready to kill but was being held back by Gallows.

"They have a momentum going! Let's just let 'em go!" Gallows said to Clive, who was looking quite defeated.

"ALL RIGHT! I give up!!" Clive shoved Virginia out of the way and stomped over to Jet, who was now looking timid and childish. Jet has never seen this blunt side of Clive, and neither has anybody else, so Virginia and Gallows both shared in Jet's amazement. Clive grabbed the boy by the ear and stared sternly into his eyes. "Virginia's not the only one sick of your pessimistic disposition! Someone's earned himself a time-out!!"

Clive's a scary dad! Someone call Social Services!

Clive motioned to Virginia to help him, and in less than a minute they both formed Jet into a human hammock and were near the edge of the playing field and it looked Jet was going to be…

"You're gonna throw him off?!" Gallows cried out, not believing what was happening. So surreal!

"Wait wait wait!" Jet sputtered out in panic and distress. "Can't we talk this through?!"

"Too late!!" Clive said, and started to swing Jet in rhythm with Virginia. "Ready?!," he called to his partner in crime.

"Ready!"

And in unison they cried: one, two, HEAVE!

A vulgar curse heard all the way down, and that was the end of their friend Jet.

* * * * *

"Ask me how long it took!"

Jet turned the other way. "NO."

"Ask me how long it took!"

Jet gave up and sighed. "How long did it take?" he asked, regretting his defeat.

Virginia held up an open palm to his face. "FIVE minutes! It took FIVE minutes!"

Yup, five minutes was how long it took Virginia, Clive, and Gallows to finish Millennium Puzzle #8 sans Jet. The three were back, and Virginia was enjoying rubbing her victory in Jet's face, Jet was sulking in his defeat and bruises, Clive was tapping his foot impatiently at Jet as if waiting for an apology, and Gallows was waiting for the prize to be rewarded to them.

A treasure chest fell from the ceiling (don't ask) and landed onto the floor with a 'whoomp', and Gallows called over those people he called his friends to check out the prize.

"This is it!" Jet exclaimed, rubbing his hands together. "After all that aggravation, this prize has gotta be GREAT!"

Virginia made a 'tsk' at him. "Who says you're going to use the prize anyway? WE'RE the ones who solved the puzzle!"

"Perhaps it's an item that he can use to calm that temper of his," Clive pointed out. Clive, you damn hypocrite.

Gallows waved his hand at them, motioning to them to shut up. "I'm gonna open it!"

In one quick flick of the latch, the lid of the chest opened up, and all four Drifters hungrily peered into its contents, each with a dream of what could be inside.

It was an apple.

Each gave an uncertain look at the other, and peered into the chest again. Maybe they were all hallucinating.

It was an apple.

"What the HELL?!" Jet fell, back to the floor, rubbing his hands exasperatingly into his already ruffed hair. "This SUCKS!"

Virginia's eyes were wide with disbelief. "This can't be! All of our work…!!"

Gallows picked up the apple and brought it to Clive, making absolutely sure that there could be no mistake in identifying the object. "Clive, you're the smart one… tell me this isn't what we all think this is!!"

Clive pushed up his glasses again. He sighed with such defeat and shook his head. "This is a Level Up Apple."

Clive's three friends all came together and cried out in unison

"WE'RE ALL AT LEVEL 100!!!"

Faintly, you could hear a penguin chuckle in delight.

* * * * *

This story goes to show you… nothing. But it was an offbeat story anyway, wasn't it?

"You know, there are still about 20 more of these…" Clive said haltingly, leaving the dungeon of their first puzzle. He looked at his friends, waiting for an answer.

Gallows shrugged. Virginia gave a "why not?". Jet ungh-ed on.

So kids, stay in school, always put off the last dungeon, and thank God these puzzles only come by once every millennium.

END