A/N: Sorry if this chapter got out later than I wanted it to be. I was on a weekend retreat with my church's youth group and got back on Sunday. Of course, my English teacher gave me a butt load of homework for the weekend. I then had a Peru trip for a week and when I got back I had to make up a lot of tests and junk. But now I'm okay and updates should be back on track. Thank you for waiting it out so long!
Disclaimer: Don't own any characters from Jak2 or Jak3.
Chapter 4 Crystal Giveaway
This was one of Flash's first times seeing a Metal Head up and close. He could clearly see the evil, black eyes of the creature as it sized his meal up with salvia dripping off its open jaw. The terrified kid was like a dear in head lights at first. His mind just kind of shut down and couldn't function properly. His whole body was frozen in shock. Someone had to snap the poor boy out of his deadly trance.
"Flash!" Bo yelled up at him. "Move!" That was all it took for the kid's head to kick back into gear and for him to act.
At that same moment, the Metal Head pounced from where it was crouched with a sharp growl. Flash let out a cry of alarm while rolling under it deftly. The kid scrambled to his feet right when the Metal Head realized his snack was outsmarting it and getting away. It lashed out with one of its razor sharp claws, but by then the others had come to Flash's rescue.
Bo was on the Metal Head in only a few seconds with her Bo Staff raised above her head. It came down sharply onto the creature, and the Metal Head cried out in pain of the powerful blow she had inflicted onto its side.
As the Metal Head tried to run away because he knew he was out numbed, Jak lashed out at it with a bone crunching punch that hit the Metal Head's gem stone in its forehead and made it fall out. Once the creature's brain and energy source was knocked violently out of its head, it was instantly dead and slumped clumsily to the sandy floor.
This whole time Flash watched everything in a daze. Even when the whole thing was over, the kid was still sitting on his butt in the sand. He was kind of mad at himself for not doing anything once again and letting the older ones help him out. He could have protected himself, but he was just so used to being considered unimportant in a battle and not old enough to get himself out of trouble.
The kid sat there looking helpless and confused while on the inside he was fighting a small battle. Why couldn't he just grow up and do things himself? Was he just not brave enough? That thought stood out like a sore thumb in his head swimming with many questions. He finally got a hold onto himself when a cool breeze brushed past him and made him shiver because he was still wet in some places. How long had he been sitting there looking stupid?
"Now, Jak," Daxter said suddenly from his friend's shoulder, "That was a Metal Head." Everyone besides Jak gave short laughs at the obvious statement the fuzz butt had made to the new Elf.
"I've seen them before," Jak muttered to himself as if in thought. Then something came to the Elf, and his eyes lit up as they widened before saying, "I have to help them!"
"Help who?" Roxie asked the question going through everyone's head.
"Tubal and Nea," Jak said in a rush and having a new found flow of excitement in his voice.
"Who?" both Roxie and Daxter asked with confused expressions on their faces. This whole time Bo was looking over Flash to see if he was okay. She didn't care too much about the conversation now going on a few feet away from her. But she still listened to bits of it with some interest somewhere in her.
She cut right into Jak's very interesting explanation of his life and friends in the Fort he had been forced to stay at. "All very entertaining," Bo said loudly to the others to make them stop talking. "But Flash and I are heading back home. See you there, Roxie." She then yelled behind her shoulder, "Flash, we're leaving!"
"I know, I know!" Flash yelled back at her. "What are you? A freaking Krimson Guard?"
Bo suddenly grabbed Flash's wrist and started to drag him to the door heading back to Haven City with a cold look in her eyes. "I'll let that one slid, kid," she muttered back at him. Flash looked back to the other three with a small, yet sly smile. Roxie and Daxter returned the smile and watched him go silently.
Once the two were gone, Roxie turned to Jak and said, "They are now living with us. I think we have enough room for you to stay with us in my house. My parents won't mind as long as they don't know I'm working for the Underground. They think I'm too young."
Jak gave her a strange look. "But a lot of Elves your age are joining," he said. "Why would they have a problem with your age?"
Daxter looked away with a small sigh while Roxie scratched the back of her neck. "Yeah," she said with a nervous smile, "About that."
Jak gave a frustrated sigh while saying, "You're just full of surprises."
"I know," Roxie said with a cute smile. "But that's what makes me fun!"
- Merlander -
With a small groan, Merlander awakened a second time from being rudely knocked out. Things were not going his way in the past few hours. He forced his eyes open and looked around with confusion. He was in a dun buggy with the Human driving next to him, but he had no idea where they were heading. He thought that they would stay at that fire because someone wanted him from Spargus. Where else was there someone who wanted to kidnap him?
Merlander looked down and saw that his hands were tied up once again with a cord that was attached to the railing of the dun buggy at his side. He then looked over to the Human and had to squint through all the sand and wind blowing into his face. Usually when you were driving this fast you wore goggles or a mask to protect your eyes and face.
The kidnapper saw that he was awake and reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of goggles and held them up to Merlander as if knowing what he was thinking. The teen muttered a small thanks while taking them gratefully and putting them on. He kept silent for a while because he was trying to think of a plan of escape and other things going through his head. Sometimes he would glance over to the Human and realized that the man was doing the same thing a few times.
They rode on like this for around an hour in the mid afternoon. The sun bore down on the both of them relentlessly because at this time it was right overhead and very unkind to anyone stupid enough to come into the desert with no water or shade. But then the kidnapper suddenly stopped on top of a tall mount of sand that looked over down onto a small, muddy river.
Merlander looked over to him with confusion and asked, "Why did we stop?"
The Human said nothing as he pulled out some binoculars. He started to search the landscape with the same confusion on his face. "There is always at least one of them at this river," he muttered his thoughts out loud to himself. He stood up on his seat and looked around another time. Merlander watched him with much interest. He was looking to see if any danger was there.
Suddenly the ground under them started to shake as a loud booming sound started to come towards them. Merlander's eyes went wide as he got to his own two feet and stood on his seat. He looked behind them and saw it. He heard the Human curse as he saw it too. Both knew they were too late to prevent anything from happening.
The huge, mammoth sized Metal Head charged at full speed toward their dun buggy with a heart stopping roar piercing their ears and making the two cringe. Both sat back down on their seats and Merlander quickly buckled himself in with his hands shaking a little in panic. The Human strapped himself in with a sigh and didn't bother trying to drive away. The thing was going to hit them anyways. The best thing was to brace themselves.
The monster collided head first into the back of the dun buggy. The force sent the vehicle flying into the air. Merlander let out a small yell of fear while gripping the side bars. He watched hopelessly as the vehicle did a few flips in the air and headed toward the ground. Then they landed on the sandy floor and the force made both in the dun buggy to hit their heads on the dashboard. The thing rolled a few times till it finally came to a stop on all four wheels.
Both Human and Elf had to sit there to recoup from their fall for only a few seconds. They had a lot more danger in their near future, so both of their heads were quickly put back together and they were back in the game in no time. Metal Head one. Them zero. Round one wasn't their best, but they knew they were going to pull through at the end.
"Move!" Merlander yelled at his kidnapper while seeing the Metal Head coming up from behind them once again. The Human gave him a sharp glare, but didn't protest. He knew what he was doing. Merlander didn't have to tell him anything. They took off toward the river at full speed with the Metal Head on their tail.
At the very edge of the river, the Human sharply turned his steering wheel with his eyes flashing with determination. They started to spin in the direction he had turned and Merlander was roughly shoved into the side bars with a wince. The Metal Head flew past them and right into the water with a giant splash. When their dun buggy stopped, they were now facing the back of the animal and able to shoot at it.
The Human quickly realized that he had picked a vehicle that could only be worked in a hunt with two people, one to drive and the other to shoot because most Elves weren't skilled in both very well. Merlander caught onto this and didn't wait for permission to shoot the monster splashing in the water ungracefully. He gripped the joystick and narrowed his eyes before pressing down on the button on the top. His aim was perfect, and they quickly started to see the bullets rip into the leather skin of the Metal Head.
The river was muddy on the bottom, and the Metal Head quickly figured out that he was getting stuck in it and couldn't move away from the bullets sinking into him. It started to roar loudly in pain and anger while thrashing around wildly.
"Just die already!" Merlander yelled at the Metal Head and a few seconds afterwards, the thing finally fell over after a defeated bellow and died slowly in the river that was now his grave. Merlander stopped shooting and sat back in his seat with a relieved sigh. He looked over to the kidnapper who was watching him with some interest in his eyes. "You can thank me later," Merlander said cockily to him. "Let's move out of here before more come."
The Human gave a sigh while doing what Merlander had suggested. But the man didn't show any other emotion as they started to go down the bank of the river in search for a bridge. That was Merlander's best guess. He didn't say much. The only time Merlander had heard him speak was when he was fighting him the night before. All those questions vanished when he saw the small green patch with trees up ahead. They stopped beside the place and turned off the engine. All was quiet.
"Um…what are we doing here?" Merlander asked while watching the kidnapper jump out of his side and come over to Merlander's side. The Human untied the cord around the bar and tugged it a few times to get Merlander to see that he wanted him to follow him. Merlander gave a frustrated sigh while gracefully jumping out and landing on the odd patch of grass.
He then tied Merlander up to a tree and started to walk away. "Hey!" Merlander yelled at him with his aggravated emotion clearly being shown through his voice. He didn't have to say anymore when seeing the man walk back to him with two leaper lizards with saddles on their backs trudging behind him.
"Your friends are bound to catch up to us," the Human finally said quietly while randomly handing the teen a canteen filled with water. "For a disguise we will dress up as nomads. They will pass us that way."
Merlander pulled his dirty goggles off his head when spotting the canteen, and grabbed it out of his hand. "Sounds like a good plan," Merlander muttered before gulping down the liquid. He hadn't noticed how thirsty he had been till now. "I'm just glad you decided not to be mute for this whole trip. You can drive a lot of people insane by doing that, you know?"
The teen was a bit surprised to see the man give him a faint hint of a smile before saying, "Drink all of that. We aren't going to have any water till we get to the Marauder camp a few hours away." He watched the boy closely as the kid shrugged his shoulders and gulped down the last bit with no hesitation. Merlander was putting on the front that he didn't care much and was mellow with everything, but he was really freaking out on the inside. The wasteland was still hot; if they weren't careful they could get killed by it or from another Metal Head.
"Well, Humans are known to be crazy yet smart," Merlander said with a sigh. "I guess I'm going to have to trust my kidnapper…for now. You better not kill us."
"Good," the man said emotionlessly, "Because you're doing things my way till I deliver you to the person who wants you. And I don't care if you like it or not."
"You're just so charming," Merlander said sarcastically to him.
"I try," the Human responded expressionlessly.
- Vox -
"Long time, no see, Torn," Vox said almost cheerfully as he slowly walked down the steps of the Underground hideout. He gave his friend as small smile as Torn looked up from his work with a dazed look on his face. "Don't look so confused," Vox said while throwing a Human's soda to the leader. "We were planning on just sitting down and relaxing for a long time. Fridays are always good for me."
Torn caught the soda can with one hand gracefully. He looked at it distastefully and asked, "What happened to beer? What's with this soda crap that Humans like to drink?"
Vox gave Torn a small smile before answering weakly, "Meg made me stop once we had Roxie. She's been really strict about it lately because of our new one."
The sincere answer seemed to make Torn relax for once in his life as he leaned back in his seat. "I heard about that," he said with a carefree smile. "I bet you hope it's a boy."
"Hey, I love Roxie," Vox said with a small chuckle. "It's just that she's not at the house much anymore. She always had that crazy adventurous spirit in her."
"She's like, ten," Torn said with a sharp laugh. "She can't be gone that often."
Vox gave a small sigh before saying, "She's one of those eco people. She now has some pretty strong powers. I've only seen her use them a few times." He ran a hand through his jet-black hair with a long sigh. "I don't even want to know what she does with her powers."
"That's why I don't have kids," Torn said with a faint of a smile on his lips.
"What about Tuya, that new Human girl who suddenly appeared from nowhere?" Vox asked.
Torn looked at him sharply before saying, "She's just staying here because she has no where else to go."
"Yeah, sure," Vox said with a smug smile. "Where is she, by the way?"
"She's with the Shadow," Torn said. "Everyone is on a mission that will last them all night. You would have hade one, but I gave that simple mission to some newbies just fifteen minutes ago. They are good, so they will get that mission done sometime tonight. It might take them a while, though," he added slyly.
"You love to be evil, don't you," Vox asked him with a laugh. There was some hint of Torn's humorous side being shown here and it was rare to ever see it.
The two friends then started to share little things about their lives and quoted funny times over the past few months. They had only known each other for a year, but they were already good buds because their personalities were kind of the same. The only difference between them was that Vox was a husband and father of one and soon to be two kids. Vox had a family, Torn didn't want one.
After around an hour of talking, the door on top of the stairs swooshed open and in came the three new recruits to the Underground looking worn out and sweaty. The orange animal, Daxter, on the boy's shoulder looked a bit panicky while the one he was riding only looked confident. Vox was stunned beyond words when seeing the girl with them who was smiling big for their victory. It was Roxie!
"We have returned!" Daxter announced to Torn loudly. His nervous side had quickly vanished. "I think we did that in pretty good time." Torn only glared at the animal. He then noticed that Roxie and Vox were staring at each other. Vox looked mad while Roxie looked petrified. Everyone else in the room grew quiet while staring at the two, waiting for them to say something. The air was tense between the father and daughter.
Finally the dad spoke first. "What the hell are you doing here?" he shouted at Roxie with anger flowing in his voice and clearly being shown in his narrowed eyes boring down on her.
"I can explain!" Roxie piped up weakly.
"I don't want one!" Vox snapped back. "You know what, no more of this!"
"No more of what?" Roxie asked him. Her voice was rising a little and taking on the same angry tone of her father's.
"These friends," Vox said sharply. "I don't want you hanging out with people like this."
"What is the matter with them?" Roxie yelled in defense. "They are perfectly fine."
"Yeah," Daxter piped up with his eyes narrowing. Jak gave him a glare to shut up. Daxter getting into the fight wouldn't be too healthy. Jak just wondered why Roxie hadn't told him that she wasn't allowed to join the Underground or hang out with him. Now she was getting in trouble and her dad thought it was all because of her friends. She had wanted to do this. He hadn't heard any protest from her.
Vox gave a frustrated sigh while rubbing his forehead. He desperately wanted to go at this matter calmly, but he was having trouble with this. The only way to get his point across to his strong headed girl was to yell and do something drastic. He believed he had to punish her so she wouldn't do this kind of thing again.
"You're grounded!" he finally yelled after some silence. Roxie gasped over dramatically like the little kid she was underneath. A look of pure horror was on her face. She had never been grounded before and for most people it was not big deal, but for someone who spent all their life outside and around friends and people, it was pretty big. For a girl like Roxie it was like sitting in a cave for a month with no explosives or someone to talk to.
"And I want the rock back for the time being," Vox added. He then braced himself for the protest that was sure to come.
"WHAT?" Roxie yelled so loud that it made everyone in the room wince. "My crystal is what keeps me in my teenage form all day long! You can't just take it away!"
The others in the room who weren't brave enough to step into the argument looked back over to Vox to see how he would react and handle the situation. Vox lifted his hand up and said quietly yet very sternly, "Give it to me, Roxie. Now."
Roxie's lower lip quivered when she knew she had to hand the green eco crystal over to her dad. As a Mind Speaker she could feel all his vibes wash over her body intensely. He was very upset with her, and deep down inside she really did want to keep him happy.
The teen Elf's slender fingers slowly reached into her pocket and pulled out the glowing stone that had been increasing her green eco powers for a few months. She paused before finally dropping it into her father's hand. In a flash of white light with green sparkles she was back to her mute kid self again.
"We're leaving," Vox said while grabbing her little hand and guiding the kid to the door of the Underground. "Keep the soda, Torn," he added over his shoulder. Roxie waved goodbye to her two, stunned friends before she was dragged out of the door.
There was a long, silent pause in the room as none of the Elves knew what to say next. When it got to be a little too uncomfortable, Torn broke it by saying as cheerfully as he could muster, "I'm guessing you two will be sleeping here tonight. Take a bunk."
"Um…thanks?" Jak answered dazedly
A/N: Sorry for boring chapter. Well, the part with the giant Metal Head was sort of fun to write. And I'm also sorry for not updating on the day I said I would! I made you wait two weeks after the due date! I deserve the worst for that act. Since its Valentine's Day, pelt me with candy hearts till I'm unconscious. Do whatever you wish to me in a review. I'm already working on the next chapter and I think I'll have it out maybe on the 17th or less time than that. It depends on the homework each week. So please give a review if you want. Thanks!