One quick note: To avoid confusion, I will list the cast of characters for the last "chapter":
The Good Witch of the North: Zero
The Wicked Witch of the West: Bass
The Scarecrow: Mega Man
And on a final note, the "Maverick" X mentions in this part is not an actual Maverick, but a robot master. X simply refers to him as a Maverick as that is the term of the time.
The Wizard of ThOz
Now Alia was in a bit of a jam. The original story wasn't very clear in her memory. She knew the Tin Man was next, but she forgot how they met him. "X. Do you remember the next part?"
X, however, remembered, and decided it was a little more complicated than needed. "Yup. Roll had been walking when she heard a whistle."
Both Alia and Axl stared at X, confused. "A whistle?" He looked at Alia for a moment, and she immediately understood. "Oh! Right, a whistle."
"Yeah, and Roll and the Straw Man go to see what it is. There they find this gray guy with red boots and a red helmet, made out of tin, an old metal. He didn't seem to be moving, except for his yellow scarf flapping in the wind. You kids know what a scarf is, right?" Some nodded; others shook their head and harmonized a no. "It's something you wear around your neck to keep it warm. Roll looked at the man, and she thought, that looks like my Uncle Blues."
Again, Bobby's hand was up. Or, at least, X was almost certain that was his name. "But Mr. X, you said he was gray and red, not blue."
"No no, not Uncle Blue. Uncle Blues. Blues is a kind of music."
The boy let out a long 'oh,' before saying, "Okay. Thank you, Mr. X."
"No problem. What was your name again?"
"Bobby." Good. X's memory was as sharp as ever. "Right. Thanks, Bobby."
"X, you said they heard a whistle. But the tin guy's not moving, right?" Alia was ready for X to threaten Axl now, being tired of doing so already.
However, she was disappointed when X didn't overreact. "Right. But in his hand is a whistle that's right near his lips. Roll listened carefully and heard that he was blowing through the whistle, but could only make one sound because his fingers couldn't move." Axl nodded his head in understanding, and Alia decided to pick it up from there.
"Right, I remember now. Roll and the Straw Man wanted to help, but they didn't know what to do. Then, the Straw Man saw an oil can on the floor. 'Roll,' he shouted. 'You think this'll help?'
"Roll looked at the can and said, 'Let's try it.' And they did. They pumped a little bit of oil here and there, and soon the man was moving again.
" 'Thanks,' he said. 'I'm the Tin Man. Who are you?'
"Roll shook his hand and said, 'I'm Roll. This is the Straw Man,' she said and pointed, 'and this is Rush.' The Tin Man looked at the dog, but he didn't say hi or anything."
"Instead, he sat on a tree trunk and played a song," answered X. He then began to whistle the tune. It wasn't long, only 12 notes. Yet once he was done, the little ones were imitating it, none actually whistling, until X got them to hush again. "Come on, guys. Let's let Alia tell more of the story."
"Thank you, X. Well, Roll told the man that the song was really pretty, but he just shrugged and said, 'I guess so.'
" 'Well, what's wrong, Mr. Tin Man,' asked Roll.
" 'Yeah,' said the Straw Man. 'You look heart broken.'
"But the Tin Man shook his head. 'It's much worse,' he said. 'Bang on my chest,' He said. And they did, and it went like this." Alia pretended to knock on her chest while vocalizing a CLUNK-CLUNK-CLUNK. "He looked at them sadly and said, 'Hear that?'
"The Straw Man looked at the Tin Man all funny and said, 'It sounds hollow!'
"The Tin Man nodded and said, 'It is. I've got no heart.'
" 'That's so sad,' said Roll. 'I wish we could help,' she said.
"Then the Straw Man tapped Roll's shoulder. 'Hey! You think the wizard will give him a heart?'
"But before she could answer, there was a puff of smoke and there appeared the witch!" And with the word witch, the children jumped. A couple had even clutched to other kids in fear. "The witch looked at the two evilly. 'So,' he said, 'You two are going to help Roll, huh? Well, don't bother! She'll never make it to ThOz, and I'll make sure of it. And if you help her, I'll make sure you suffer!'
"But the Straw Man wasn't scared. He stood where he was and said, 'I'm not afraid of you!'
X got a clever idea and decided to insert it. "And the witch laughed." Alia glanced at X. Usually, his insertions were when she needed it. He must have had an idea in mind. " 'Oh yeah?' he said. 'Well, how about you and I play a game of jump rope!' He changed his arm into an arm cannon and screamed out 'Wave Burner!' and from that arm cannon came out green fire, going straight for his feet. The Straw Man jumped away, because he was afraid of fire. But the Tin Man pulled out a Tin shield that blocked the fire until the witch stopped."
Axl looked at the hunter with confusion. "Uh… 'Wave Burner?' Where'd you come up with that?"
"I read about a very old Maverick with an attack like that. It's like Flame Mammoth's 'Flame Wave,' but it actually came out as a wave."
Axl still looked confused. "Who's Flame Mammoth?"
X sighed. "Never mind."
Alia herself knew very little about Sigma's first team of Mavericks, and knew the children surrounding them would know less than Axl. So, to distract them from this confusion, she continued on with the story. "Uh… right. Well, the witch looked at the three of them one more time, then disappeared in a poof of smoke!" The children gasped, and some even chuckled from their own shock. "But even when he was gone, they could hear him laughing." Alia then imitated the cackle the witch was suppose to have made, and watched as once again the children were enthralled into the story. "Once the laugh was gone, the boys looked at Roll. 'Don't worry, Roll,' said the Straw Man. 'I'll make sure you get to the wizard now, whether I get a brain or not.' " Alia nodded as she felt the Straw Man would have, with determination. It seemed to be more effective than trying to explain it to the little ones.
"The Tin Man nodded and said, 'I'll help you get to the wizard whether I get a heart or not. Make us suffer. Ha! I'd like to see him try!' " Again, Alia nodded, and watched as a few kids did as well. The looks on their faces showed that they were just as determined as either Straw Man or Tin Man, which made them all the cuter in Alia's eyes.
"Well, the three of them kept walking until they came across a forest." The children seemed excited at this new change in scenery.
The most excited child being Axl. "Oh! Oh! I know this part! Can I tell this part?"
X just stared at Axl with a raised eyebrow, as if he were nuts, while Alia rolled her eyes. "Okay, Axl. You can tell this part." Truth be told, while telling this story as they were, it wasn't the easiest story to tell, not to mention a long tale. On top of that, all Axl had been doing up until that point was interrupting. It was good to see him participate for a bit, and let Alia's mind rest, if only for a moment.
"I can?" Alia nodded, and Axl excitedly called out, "Yes!" He turned to the little ones, who were staring back at him eagerly. If he liked this part that much, it must have been a great part, right? "Okay, so they're in the forest, walking along. Now, if you've ever been in a forest, then you know they can get dark and spooky." By now he was leaning into the crowd, letting his facial expressions do some of the talking. "Roll was shaking in her ruby boots, and Straw Man was just as scared. Even Rush was shaking a bit. The Straw Man turned to the Tin Man, who didn't really look scared, and said, 'Hey. You think there's anything scary in these woods?'
" 'Probably,' said the Tin Man.
"The Straw Man looked even more scared. 'You mean, like stuff that eats straw?'
"Still not scared, the Tin Man said, 'Maybe. But mostly Mavericks, and Devils, and Beasts.' "
"Mavericks?" asked Alia, remembering the story a bit differently.
"And Devils?" asked X.
"And Beasts," finished Axl.
Alia blinked for a moment as she processed this. "Okay."
Axl smiled to himself. He liked how he made up a new chant. "Okay, so they kept on walking, and as they walked they kept saying, 'Mavericks and Devils and Beasts, oh my!' " Axl made sure to drop the 'e' in 'Maverick' to keep the rhythm of the chant. "They went deeper into the woods, chanting, 'Mavericks and Devils and Beasts, oh my! Mavericks and Devils and Beasts, oh my! Mavericks and Devils and Beasts, oh my!' " And as Axl repeated the line, his voice grew softer, until is was just a whisper. "And then, from behind the trees…" he looked to the little tykes and shouted, "there was a lion!" All the little children jumped back, scared. Indeed, some were trembling as bad as Roll, the Straw Man, and the Tin Man would most likely have been. "The lion was huge, with green fur, and a belt with a really big 'M' on the front. His head was a little small, but his hair was long like a lions, and he looked really strong." X and Alia struggled to keep from bursting out laughing from the moment they heard of the belt. Of course, who better to be the cowardly lion than their very own Steel Massimo?
"The lion scared Roll and her friends, then started chasing poor Rush. Now, Roll was scared, but she knew that the big lion was being a meanie, so she walked right up to the lion and smacked him in the nose!" The children were shocked. A little girl, smacking the nose of a lion? "She told him to stop being mean to her little doggy when something happened." The children looked curiously at Axl. "The lion started crying! Roll was confused, and told the lion, 'There there, no need to cry. Why, you're just a scaredy lion, that's all.' "
" The lion nodded. 'You're right. I'm a coward. I don't have any courage at all.' "
Another child, a girl this time, raised her hand. "Mr. Axl? What's courage?"
Axl answered matter-of-factly, "Well, it's the stuff that makes you brave! It's what makes you not scared!"
Again, the girl spoke up. "How do you get courage?"
This time Alia answered. "Well, that's what the lion wants to know. So, Roll asked him if he thought the wizard might give him courage."
Axl added, "But he was too scared to ask."
Alia nodded with him. "Mh-hm. But Roll told him that she would be there with him when he asked, to help him so he won't be so scared."
Axl finished with, "So, the cowardly lion said, 'Okay, I'll go with you.' "
Alia picked it up from there. "And so, Roll, the Straw Man, the Tin Man, and the Lion went to look for the Wizard of ThOz, together."