I HOPE YOU HAVE A BLANK SCHEDULE TODAY! IF NOT, READ THIS CHAPTER SOME OTHER TIME! THIS IS A SERIOUSLY LONG CHAPTER!
*TURNS OFF Caps lock*
So yeah. Insanely long chapter. Lots of proofreading. Occupied with playing new games. Laziness. That's what took so long. I suck at finishing on time.
Not only will I be covering Raging Long Legs death, but EVERY boss that you fight in the Hole of Heroes. It will be like Pileated Snagret's chapter, but longer and more dramatic.
Also, I introduce a new bug in the fic. Don't worry, it's just the pikmin variant of the cricket. You'll know it when you see it.
Enough of this! Time to read!
Fate of the Raging Long Legs
Regardless of what Titan Dweevil says…
I say it is time to take action.
So many animals and bugs have died in the name of the pikmin. So many other animals are fleeing from the country in fear of the pikmin and the Land Council has lost their loyalty. And yet, even when our most powerful members wrongfully die at the hands of the pikmin, even when everything is slowly churning into a violent tornado of turmoil, why does Titan Dweevil persist to do nothing? Why does he not do what is necessary and exterminate the pikmin like the King before him did? Why does he continue to let this country fall apart, the very country that the King and generations before him worked so hard to form? Does he pity the pikmin? Does he not care for the country anymore? Is he knowingly letting the country fall apart?
Just what is he waiting for?
Already, two of my valued family members have been slain by the pikmin. Beady Long Legs of Perplexing Pool and Man-at-Legs of Valley of Repose, both of them died in the name of the pikmin. I admit I was taken aback by the news of his death as well as the slaughter of animals in their respective burrows. Man-at-Legs, in particular, was heralded as a nearly invincible fighter that not even Gatling Groinks could've held a candle to. But when news of his death spread around the country, animals who previously thought they were invincible now shudder in fear at the very name of the pikmin. The pikmin have even done the impossible by slaying Waterwraith, an animal believed to have no true weakness. The entire country is high-strung now as many animals fear for their lives. They know too well what the pikmin have done to the Land Council and the damage they can do if they were to be left alone. They go farther and farther with each step they take. When will they learn they have gone too far?
That's right. The pikmin don't learn. Otherwise, they would've stayed put when the King ordered the mass execution of the pikmin six months ago.
It was night time when I was pondering these subjects. I stared out into the beautiful yet harsh wilderness that was Wistful Wild as the moon casted its silver glow upon the autumn plagued ecosystem. It has been days since Empress Bulblax the Second died and so far, no recent pikmin activity to speak of. Come to think of it, the pikmin have been too quiet as of late. Something is bound to happen; I can feel it. I wasn't sure what it was though…
I was standing near the graveyard of the King. I didn't know much about the guy, but I know he came from a long line of Emperors who united Palunata Distantos. I stood at the entrance of the grave and stared at the ground where the King was still buried in. When he died, the animals of this planet decorated his grave with gifts and food, each one rarer then the last. By now, only one gift remains after six months and that was the giant triangular sheet of metal they had found days before. Titan Dweevil had his cronies carry it to the grave; one of his first major contributions to the Grand Emperor. The rusty brown metal was expected to remain there for at least four years.
"Grand Emperor," I said as I imagined the King standing there before me, "If there was ever a time the country needed you, it's now, more than ever."
'What would he do?' I thought.
"Raging Long Legs," I heard a voice from behind.
I turned around rather slowly and greeted an Antennae Beetle.
"Titan Dweevil is calling for a meeting. It is of Level 9 priority."
'Level 9?' I thought. My surprised expression clearly gleamed on my face, 'He only calls for those meetings if they were really important. Is Titan Dweevil finally getting serious?'
"Is it right now?" I asked.
"Yes. Each and every animal in the remaining areas are to attend this meeting. Absolutely no one can deny."
"I'll be there right away," I confirmed.
As the Antennae Beetle hopped away, I made my way to the Forest Navel, which was only a short distance from here.
'About damn time,' I thought.
The Land Council HQ was full of animals at the meeting. There were a lot more animals present than the usual amount that came in the meetings before. There were so many animals, in fact, that I couldn't take a step without crushing an animal. There weren't just normal animals either. Emperor Bulblax and his three brothers, Pileated Snagret and Burrowing Snagret of Hole of Heroes, a foreign Ranging Bloyster, a Man-at-Legs, a Beady Long Legs, various Gatling Groinks and Bulborbs were present. It was practically a zoo.
As I stared out into the assembly of animals, the first thing that came to my attention was that an important person was not here.
"Where's Segmented Crawbster?" I asked no one in particular.
I know a nearby Bulborb heard me and began asking the same thing to the nearest animal. Some repeated the question with curiosity while others replied with an intrigued 'no'.
Although I didn't really care much for Segmented Crawbster, I did understand what he was going through. The pain of losing someone close to you is a pain that leaves a hole in your heart. I experienced this pain when my brothers died. I loved my brothers dearly, and when I heard what had happened, I nearly collapsed from depression and mourn. I would never forgive the pikmin for what they did…
They were my cherished little brothers.
Sometimes, people ask me why I call them my brothers even though we were different species. Well, it was a really long time ago when we met. I guess the term 'brother' came to us when we were actually inseparable friends. Ah, those were the days. I'll always remember the day I first met them two years ago…
"Hey!" I yelled, "Just what the hell do you think you're doing?"
It was a wet morning in the Distant Spring and I was awakened by a strange sound. I got up from my nest, which was situated in a log nestled comfortably in a corner of the puddle called Distant Spring, and peered out into my yard to find a young Beady Long Legs stomping on my berries. I became very angry to see him crush away days of back-breaking harvest. It took days to gather those berries. My sudden outburst and rage grabbed his attention as the berry juices seeped away in the water.
I stared at the juvenile Long Legs as he looked back at me. He had the same look as a mischievous delinquent caught red-handed.
"Uh, I'm sorry," he said to me, "I didn't think these berries belonged to anyone."
I hopped down from the opening and shooed him away from the mess he made.
"So, did it ever occur to you that these berries, which took days to gather, happened to be clustered here for no real reason?" I asked.
"I…I'm very sorry, but I haven't eaten in days and I guess I started eating without knowing it," he claimed.
I stared at the young Beady Long Legs with only a shred of pity. However, sympathy somehow overpowered me as I pushed a single berry towards him.
"One berry," I bluntly said.
The young Beady Long Legs looked at me with appreciation. He hastily thanked me and began pounding away at the berry as fast as he could. He wasn't exaggerating, obviously, as the juices were quickly absorbed into his feet before they even spawned a trickle of juice. I stared in awe as I had never seen anything move so fast since, being a Raging Long Legs, I was a slower specie altogether. The young Long Legs was done as the berry had been pulverized into oblivion. We both stared at each other for awhile, clueless as to what the next event of the day was.
Losing interest, I began walking away in search of more berries to stock up on. Since I had lost some to a certain Arachnorb, I believed it was necessary to find more before I forgot. However, my journey was cut short as the young Beady Long Leg called out to me.
"Hey! Wait up!" he yelled.
I looked behind me to see the Beady Long Leg walk up to me. I didn't know what else he wanted with me so I decided to ask as nicely as I could a question.
"What the eff do you want now?"
"Um…I was thinking if, maybe, I could tag along with you…" he asked shyly.
I was perplexed at such an odd question he gave me. Having a friend was one of the last things I wanted to do before I die so I wasn't sure how to answer.
"Uhh…my siblings were killed by a clan of Spotty Bulbears a few days ago. I don't know where my parents are, or if I have them for that matter. I'm very lonely…" he explained.
"…and?" I replied.
"I want to stick around with you for a while. Trust me, as soon as I grow up and can fend for myself, I'll be gone," he offered.
"Gone?" I asked, "Without a word?"
"If you'd like, yeah."
I thought for a moment and decided that it wouldn't be too bad.
"Alright then, you can tag along with me," I said, "But you must make your own bed."
The Beady Long Leg nodded.
"Okay, I will."
With that settled, I ventured on into the Distant Spring with a new partner on my side. I didn't care too much for him or his presence, nor did I acknowledge it as an entirety, but I knew he would be of little hindrance whether he was there or not. It did occur to me that we would have to hunt for more food as a pair but a partner to assist in such hunts is a privilege in most cases. Regardless, he was gonna be there for a few years and I already said yes. What could possibly go wrong?
A few weeks later, me and Beady, as I decided to call him, had witnessed a rather strange event as we stood on top of a tree stump surrounded by puddle level water. We had just finished breakfast, and by breakfast I meant dead Wollywog and Blowhog, when we saw a rather peculiar scene unfold before us. A Common Long Leg, an Arachnorb specie like us except no large feet of any kind, was being chased down by a rather large Spotty Bulbear. Even though Common Long Legs were known for being the fastest of the Arachnorb species, it had no hope of outrunning the menacing Spotty Bulbear, much less a lieutenant of the Grand Emperor.
We watched in amusement as the Common Long Legs continued to run as the Bulbear pursued him. Finally, the Common Long Leg was cornered against a stump and we watched in hopes of a desperate attempt of fighting back from the poor victim. However, instead of eating the Long Leg, it looked more like the Bulbear was talking to him. Wondering why the Bulbear spent three minutes chasing down a Common Long Leg and not eat it piqued our interest. Curious, we tried to listen to the conversation the two were having.
"…and your species haven't been pulling their weight," the Bulbear said, "I don't know why the King even bothered accepting the elder's request. You're lucky your species haven't been degraded to midnight snacks yet. And to be on the same scale as a pikmin is quite a dishonor. Even the new member of the Land Council has pulled more weight than your kind. Literally. Those Dweevils are quite the laborers. "
"I swear, our people are going to pull something together. Please, I beg of you, just give us one more chance," the Long Legs begged.
"Tch, I only came here to tell you that your people only have three days left to pull something out of their feces-hole or else the deal is off." The Bulbear explained.
"Uh, um, yeah, I'll tell them that," he said.
Afterwards, the Bulbear walked away. He passed by us and stared at us for a bit before talking.
"In a few days, you guys can start adding 'Common Long Legs' to your list of edibles," he said before walking away.
We both looked at each other for a bit and knew what the other was thinking; something was up. Rallying up our curiosity, we walked through the large pool and towards the Common Long Legs in hopes of answering a few questions.
"What was that all about?" I asked.
"Oh, uh, hi," he said, "I don't think I've ever seen you guys around here."
"We're a traveling pair," Beady said, "And we've been living around here for a while."
"But that's irrelevant," I intervened, "What piqued our curiosity was the subject of you and that Bulbear's conversation."
"Oh…uh, well, it's really not that important," he said.
"That Spotty Bulbear chased you for three minutes," Beady said, "For you to be spared, it certainly sounds important."
"…" the Long Leg stood silently.
"Look," I began, "We're all Arachnorbs here. We can keep a secret, so spill. What were you and that Bulbear talking about?"
"Alright," the Long Leg began, giving in, "a while ago, the eldest Common Long Leg went up to the King and made a request. He requested that the Common Long Legs species were to be recognized as sentient citizens and must no longer be the victim of biased predation of the animals that serve the Land Council. The King decided to accept the request on the condition that the Common Long Legs fulfill a criterion no other animal can fill. Lately, that has proven to be easier said than done since being a Common Long Leg doesn't grant us a lot of special abilities. We later decided that the elder should ask the King to change the condition. However, misfortune fell on us as the elder died of a fungal infection the day before he was suppose to talk to the King. Without the elder, our conditions couldn't be changed. So for next few days, we Common Long Legs have been frantically searching for something we could do to serve the King."
"That would explain the conversation you had with him," Beady said.
"I don't know what we're going to do," he said, "If we don't do something, our entire species will be the victim of biased predation on the same scale as the pikmin."
"That certainly is something to be concerned about," I said, "So, found anything close to a talent?"
The Long Leg looked at us, confused and surprised.
"The demand for nests and homes are quite high these days," Beady said, "Maybe your species can be effective real estate agents."
"Wait, are you guys actually trying to help me?" the Common Long Legs inquired.
"We're Arachnorbs, aren't we?" I stated, "We may not be related, maybe not even indigenous to each other, but we acknowledge our similar traits and see ourselves as an indifferent race. Whether we want to help one another or not is completely up to the person in question."
"In short, do you want our help or not?" Beady said.
The spider-like creature stared at us for a while. He knew he needed help and such help from anyone like us was grateful by a high degree.
"…yes. I need help. If you guys can help out I would forever be in your debt," he said.
"Well, for starters, aren't you guys very good at finding homes for yourselves?" Beady asked. "Winter is coming around and animals are frantic for what little space is left."
"…well, it is true. Common Long Legs are good at finding any place to live," the Long Leg said. "But I always thought we needed to find some way to help out the government instead of working for the government's people."
"If the animals find such an ability useful, the Land Council prohibits the death and hunting of the animals due to their utility," I explained. "That's why bugs like Dweevils and Antennae Beetles are protected by the Land Council."
"Try presenting it to the King. If you're lucky and the King acknowledges the demand for houses and nests, you might get that protections warrant," Beady said.
"Okay, I'll try. Thanks a lot you guys."
Days later, our new friend from before managed to earn the protection warrant his elder worked for. The King found the Common Long Legs ability very useful. He even used one to relocate the King's old nest to a sandy arena and immediately fell in love with it, naming it 'The Final Trail', which some have managed to misspell on accident. Many animals adored the new nests the Common Long Legs found, even praising them with nectar eggs, something Common Long Legs loved very much. Through the real estate system of the Common Long Legs established by the King, nearly every animal managed to find a place to stay for the winter. Animals like Arachnorbs and Snagrets didn't need places to stay for the winter mainly because Snagrets nest underground and Arachnorbs eat better in the winter due to the high amount of moisture in the snow. Among other animals, they made up the percentage of animals that didn't need nests. It did sound like everything was fine, but little did we know that the King never intended to keep the Common Long Legs safe forever. Come Spring, the protection warrant would melt away.
"I'm in a lot of trouble you guys," the Common Long Legs from before said to us.
Over the winter, we became quite good friends with the Common Long Legs we saved. He was a very gentle Arachnorb and didn't like feeding on the carcasses of dead animals. He disliked violence and he was always shy. He wasn't well educated in the tactics of survival so more often than not I would find myself teaching him something. He was like a little brother to me…a disturbing thought.
"The other day, the King, realizing that Common Long Legs were only useful for finding shelter for other animals in the winter, declared that for all of Winter, Common Long Legs were off limits to predators. But for the rest of the year, Common Long Legs are considered fair game. This was nothing the elder wanted to happen," the Long Leg whined.
"This is certainly a problem," I said, "Some of the animals around here love Common Long Legs for their crunchy texture. They're one of the most loved preys right next to pikmin."
"We don't know how to help you this time," Beady said. "I guess we shouldn't get used to hanging around you anymore."
"What?" the Common Long Legs asked, "Why? I've never had great friends like you."
"That's the thing. Many animals develop close friendship with other animals around here, but over time, many of them tried to preach to the King to prevent the hunting of certain animals. The King got very mad at so many requests and therefore made a statement that animals were never meant to have friends. It only causes pain when they would be eventually killed. After friendship was abolished from the country, the animals disregarded having friends completely, relying on instinct rather than friendship. This is another reason why the King dislikes the pikmin greatly."
"So, you're saying we shouldn't be friends because the King said so?" he asked.
"No, it's only because it is the most logical thing to do," I spoke up, "Having friends will only make it more painful when a friend dies."
"But what about you two?" the Common Long Leg asked, "Why are you friends?"
Beady and I took a glance at each other.
"It makes sense that the ones involved in a friendship had the least natural predators," Beady explained, "An animal that isn't expected to die any sooner than its predicted life span is ideal to be friends with, due to the low chance of the friends dying."
"However, we can't say the same for you," I said.
"Then…what am I supposed to do?" he asked.
We stood silently for awhile; unaware that night was quickly approaching. The sound of a bird cawing caught our attention as we saw the sun slowly drift towards the horizon.
"It's getting late. We'd better retreat for the night," I said as I turned to walk to our log.
"Come to think of it, the log is getting pretty small for us," Beady commented. "We were pretty small ourselves back then, but the log is getting cramped. We need to either make space or move on to a new location."
While Beady was talking, I noticed that the common Long Legs had yet to move from his spot. He stood there staring off into nothing as night was quickly approaching. If he stood out here any longer he would be picked up by a Bulbax or something. Concerned, I spoke out to him.
"Hey," I said. Sure enough, I had grabbed his enough, "Why don't you come on over to our place? We recently overstocked on some food and I was hoping maybe we could pig out together?"
The Long Leg stood there for awhile, obviously astounded at such an offer. Beady, hearing my offer, said to me.
"What are you doing? Sure, we overstocked, but it took days to get all that food."
"Don't worry, we'll just restock. It wasn't that hard gathering it all anyway. Besides, it might be the last meal he'll ever have so I want to make tonight count," I said.
"You rarely are this generous," Beady said, "First time a Wollywog asked you for some food, you stepped on one of his children."
"So how about it?" I asked, ignoring Beady, "One more night with your friends."
The Long Leg stood there, amazed at my offer. His legs began quivering, clearly shocked at the act of kindness. He stuttered slightly before talking.
"Th…Thank you. I…I will go," he said quietly, "I just need to inform my people where I will be for the night though."
"That's fine. Just don't get picked off on your way here," I said.
He seemed to shudder at my joke, making me realize I had a bad taste of humor. However, he shook his head and focused on getting home, turning around and heading off into the woods. As he walked out of sight, Beady walked up to me.
"Does he know where we live?" he asked.
"He's been there before," I answered, "He found it before the day the prohibition was enforced. That was three months ago though…"
Later that night, me and Beady had gotten through nearly half of our food supply. We knew we had to save some for our friend, but he was taking his time somewhere out there. I started to believe he was lost or forgot where the log was, but I waited patiently and hoped he would make it. In the meantime, me and Beady were talking to each other; reminiscing of the old days when we were small and making jokes as well.
"I never could touch those mushrooms," Beady said.
I looked up and remembered the mushrooms that were growing on the ceiling of the log we inhabited. I remember when Beady would spend days trying to reach them. He would hop back and forth on the logs walls trying to touch those small mushrooms, but he never could. He gave up after three days of fruitless jumping. It has been months since then and he already took up half of the log now.
"Maybe you can touch them now?" I asked.
Sure enough, as Beady lifted up one leg, he was able to nudge the now large mushrooms. Beady scoffed to himself as he lowered his leg.
"It only took a few months. I could've done faster," Beady said.
"If you had hopped a little higher, you could've wedged them off," I said.
"You make it sound easy. Believe me, it was not."
"Why don't you try grabbing those mushrooms on the trees outside?" I said, "I bet you can even reach those."
"You're on, brother."
I stared at Beady for awhile, realizing what he had just called me. Beady noticed my stare and looked back. For a while, we stood silent, having changed the jolly atmosphere into a one of awkwardness. I remained perplexed at the odd feelings in me. Being called 'brother' would have stirred a fit of confusion and detest, but since it was Beady, those feelings felt more heartwarming than confusing. I had known Beady for a long time, and only now has it crossed my mind that he really did feel like a brother.
"Sorry," he said, "Beady Long Legs are commonly known to grow up with their siblings. But without any, I sought refuge in another. When I was growing up, I saw you more as a sibling than…"
Before he finished, we heard a loud scream outside. Our hearing sensors perked up as the cry sounded familiar. That Common Long Leg was late and the familiar cry was two and two in my head. I began to wonder if he…
"Was that the Common Long Leg from before?" Beady asked.
"It sure sounded like it," I replied, "We should probably check."
"Maybe a wandering Bulborb got him. In that case, we shouldn't interfere," Beady said.
"You never know," I said hastily as I made my way out of the log and towards the sound, "He might still be alive."
"You're concerned about him, aren't you?" Beady asked before I walked out of earshot.
I searched the surrounding area for a while, hesitant to ask nearby Bulborbs and inadvertently tell them about a nearby source of food. During my search, I noticed a conspicuous pillar of steam rising from behind a tree stump. The only time I had ever seen steam, I recalled, was when a Fiery Bulblax had tripped and fell into a puddle. Arousing my curiosity, I made my way around the stump. What I saw then had horrified me beyond belief.
"It burns…" he said weakly, "so…hot…"
"…Common…Long Leg?" I asked hesitantly.
As I walked toward him, my foot made a crunching sound. I looked under my foot to see a leg, a leg that belonged to Common Long Leg. It was still pooling blood into the water.
Horrified, I called out Beady.
"BEADY!!" I yelled.
Soon enough, Beady came rushing to me and the Long Leg in danger.
"What? Did you find…dear GOD!!" he responded frantically.
We had no idea what had happened to him, or maybe, what was happening to him. The pillar of steam was coming from what looked like a mechanical ball engulfing the Common Long Leg. Pipes and metal was painfully embedded in the spiderlike creature as it made a creaking sound along with the sound of scorched flesh. In place of his leg was a sort of mechanical stilt with hinges and a three toed foot. We knew he was still alive, but the machine part seemed like it was…moving…
'Say goodbye to your old life…' we heard.
We looked around and saw that no one but Common Long Leg could've made that voice. After a while we heard it speak again.
'I need to borrow this body…' it said.
"Who…who are you?" Common Long Legs said.
'That's not important. What's important is that you stay alive for a predetermined amount of time,' the voice said, 'until then, have fun with your new toy…'
"What should we do?" Beady asked me in fear.
"I…I have no idea…"I replied.
I was truly scared for him. Before us was a friend enduring one of the most painful rituals we had ever seen. His leg was burned off and his entire body was blanketed by an extremely hot meld of metal and flesh. Just by looking at it happening was painful to see.
'Oh, I'm sure you don't need all of those organs, do you?' the voice asked.
Suddenly, there was a painful singeing sound as the Common Long Leg began writhing in pain, all the while screaming his lungs out. As we watched horrifically, we noticed the machine leg was moving in tandem with the other legs.
"His leg…" I murmured.
For the rest of the night, we stood by the side of our friend, not leaving his side. He was in a coma, a deep one, from the result of the pain he felt from the mysterious animal that attacked him that night.
It has been two days since the mysterious attack and since then, Common Long Legs had been awake. He was now half machine and the extra weight from the machine was supported by his new mechanical leg. His body still remains a mystery to us, but what we do know is that he is noticeably smarter now. However, whenever he tries to remember what happened that night, he begins to suffer a singeing sensation similar to those of the night it happened. We probably would never know what really happened that night, and Common Long Leg, who now wanted to be called Man-at-Legs, made us promise to never speak of that night again.
Man-at-Legs made his nest on the sandy island on the edge of the Distant Spring. He would slump and stay quiet in his little nest for hours, not moving at all. Even when he was hungry, he would barely budge. So, being the concerned caretaker I never knew I was, I took the liberty of gathering food for him. I would try to cheer him up every now and then but no matter what I say, he slumps in that nest of his. I really want to help him with his problem, I really do, but how do I fix something if I have no idea how it got broken?
However, something horrible happened one day…
"Whaddya mean he can't move?" an angry Spotty Bulbear asked.
Of all the luck, Man-at-Legs had the misfortune of nesting in a preoccupied area belonging to a family of Spotty Bulbears. Apparently, the Spotty Bulbear went away for mating season and left the nest for a week. He had some Dwarf Bulbears with him that validates his vacation. Any normal animal, a sane animal no less, would have bolted upon learning this. But Man-at-Legs didn't look like he would be moving anytime soon.
"Believe me," I said, trying to quell the anger of the Grub-Dog, "I did everything I could to move him, but he just wouldn't budge."
"Have you tried force?" he asked, "Being a Raging Long Leg, though a juvenile one, force should have been your first choice and it usually works."
"Err…I'm a…different kind of Raging Long Legs," I answered.
"Feh, you youngin's are too gentle nowadays," the Bulbear said as he walked towards the resting, if not sulking, Man-at-Legs.
"Wait, what are you doing?!" I asked with great concern, "Don't go near him!"
His children, however, were saying the exact opposite.
"Dinner! Dinner! Dinner! Dinner!" they chanted.
I watched in horror as the Spotty Bulbear attempted to pry Man-at-Legs off the ground with his mouth. He tugged violently on his mechanic leg, jerking side to side in an attempt to dismember it. As hard as the Bulbear was biting, the leg did not dent, much less did Man-at-Legs move.
"A bit metallic…the meat is…" the Bulbear grunted through his teeth.
"Please…stop. Please…desist!" Man-at-Legs begged.
"I gave you a chance to move," the Bulbear said through his teeth, "Now we just have to settle for some Arachnorb for dinner."
After much prying, the Bulbear managed to pull the mechanical spider out of the nest, exposing his remaining three legs. However, this did not stop the Bulbear from trying to rip his leg off.
"Please stop…" Man-at-legs hummed silently, "You'll regret it!"
"Prove me wrong!" the Bulbear exclaimed, "Prove me…what the…?"
Suddenly, a billow of steam exerted from Man-at-Legs as a cylindrical object peeked out under his body. From the tip of this object was a thin red line glazing the air as the object rotated and aimed at the Spotty Bulbear. The Dwarf Bulbears and Spotty Bulbear, still clamped on his leg, stared in confusion.
Nobody could explain what happened next, scientifically or mentally.
The rattle of a thousand explosions roared. The Bulbear was mercilessly bombarded in a rain of fire as he reclined, kneeled over, and collapsed in a pile of burned and bloody flesh. The Bulbear's face was barely distinguishable from its own back, missing both of its eyes and its face charred. The children watched in horror as they witnessed their parent cease movement. The horror didn't stop there. The red laser had targeted the children and began firing. One was killed instantly as others laid there on the ground, crying in pain as the writhed in their own pool of blood. Before the laser targeted another Dwarf, the cylindrical object retreated into the Man-at-Leg.
I stared at Man-at-Legs from a fair distance and looked at the animals he murdered. Not only did he, of all the Arachnorbs I knew, kill a Bulbear with unmatchable power, but he used some unknown power to do it. Man-at-Legs bobbed down quickly but regained footing, as if he was sleepy, and looked around questioningly.
"What…What happened?" he asked innocently.
I was taken back. Did he have any idea of what he was doing or who he was killing? Does he even know how he did it?
"Man-at-Legs…"I mumbled nervously, "…do you have any idea of what you've done?"
Man-at-Legs looked at me questionably. Reacting to the smell of burnt flesh, he turned around nonchalantly, only to be bewildered at the blood soaked scene. A violently mauled Spotty Bulbear and bloody Dwarf Bulbears met his eyes as he tapped lightly backwards. His legs began to quiver as the metal clattered with itself.
"I only blanked out for a few seconds…" Man-at-Legs murmured, "I heard a loud explosion repeat itself over and over…the last thing I remember was being attacked by a Spotty Bulbear…but…why the children? ...why did I attack the children…?"
I stared at Man-at-Legs as he asked himself these questions. I hated the feeling I had inside me. The feeling you get when you want to help someone but you have no idea where to start. It was a terrible feeling. After that day, Man-at-Legs, my little brother, would never be the same again.
The day after that, Man-at-Legs was to report to Grand Emperor Bulblax to explain what had happened to the dead Spotty Bulbear and his children. It took a while for us to convince the King that Man-at-Legs had no idea of what had happened that day and was not in control of himself when it happened, but even then, the king wanted to see the power that killed off a Spotty Bulbear. Man-at-Legs was forced to fight some of the King's forces on the spot, much to Man-at-Legs disapproval. Despite the power of the King's forces, Man-at-Legs was unharmed. A lot less could've been said about the King's men. The King was so pleased to have such a powerful creature that he would completely disregard the death of the Spotty Bulbear and his own men so long as Man-at-Legs became a member of the King's forces. I didn't know what Man-at-Legs was thinking when he said yes. He did hesitate though.
The sound of erupting earth got my attention as I focused my optical senses towards the seat of the Titan Dweevil. Lifting one leg up, followed by the other, the remaining legs stand up, and altogether lifting him up from under the ground to over the grass. He stared at the entire assembly of animals, slowly rotating back and forth to take it all in. Finally, after what felt like a minute or two, Titan Dweevil began speaking.
"Excellent," he said, "You have all assembled here."
He stared out into the crowd, confirming his analysis.
"…I think. …where's Segmented Crawbster?" he asked.
As the animals inquired one another, an Antennae Beetle walked up to the Dweevil.
"Um, I was the one who informed Segmented Crawbster about the meeting," he said nervously.
"And? Why isn't he here?" Titan Dweevil asked.
"Well, I told him he had to go, but he denied. I stressed the importance of the meeting as well but even then he denied."
"Well I never," Titan Dweevil said, insulted, "He's going to face an infraction for this then."
"Um, he also said, and I quote, 'go sodomize yourself with a twig'…"
If it weren't for the distance, I could've sworn I saw his eye twitch.
"…unquote." The Antennae Beetle finished.
Titan Dweevil stood there for a while, unmoving and unflinching.
"Thank you…Antennae Beetle…you may be seated now…"he said slowly, as if he was trying to repress something.
I had known Titan Dweevil rather well for a long time, and I had low expectations of him when it came to speeches, but what he said next would totally blow my expectations out of the water.
"It has been 28 days since the pikmin began their attack on Palunata Distantos and the Land Council, and as expected from comparing their previous efforts, they are proving to be most troublesome pests, if not inextinguishable vermin. For the last few weeks, every animal who has ever gotten with five inches of the pikmin found themselves lifeless and flopped over on the floor, dead. For the last few weeks, members of the Land Council, once proud and powerful animals of the country, have fallen in the name of the pikmin. For the last few weeks, the entire country has been thrown into a cyclone of fear and confusion as the once humble animals of our country now quiver, tremble, and flee at the very name of the appetizers we called 'pikmin'. And, despite our best efforts to retain the forces of the pikmin, despite our true motive to protect the name of the country from the vermin saplings, despite our musical lust for the discord of broken bones that belong to the very pikmin, they only grow stronger and grow in numbers while our forces diminish, subtract, minimize, and shrink. You could even say we're fighting a one-sided war, the hopeless kind.
"Even so, why is it that, despite being obviously superior, we have yet to discover the true purpose of the pikmin? Why is it so hard for us to comprehend their motive? Why can't we discover their true intentions? Why haven't we figured it out? Like how the pikmin go underground knowing that their onions do not follow them, or how the pikmin were smart enough to defeat such titans like Waterwraith or Man-at-Legs. All of it is still a mystery to us! We have no hope of figuring out the pikmin! We haven't even answered who, what, where, when, how and even why?!"
Titan Dweevil paused for a moment, allowing the audience to absorb his dramatic speech.
"Until now," Titan Dweevil said calmly as he held what looked like a pink star attached to a silver ring.
All of the animals stared in awe at the curious trinket Titan Dweevil was holding in his hand.
I wasn't as intrigued, though.
"What is it?" I asked out loud, breaking the moment long silence.
"I have no idea," Titan Dweevil responded quickly, "but this sort of item is certainly something the pikmin would like. I believe it is a treasure to them."
"Is that what the pikmin have been killing animals for?" Emperor Bulblax asked.
"As ugly as the truth is, yes."
"The pikmin must be rather stupid to go after pointless trinkets," some animal in the crowd said out loud.
At this, many of the animals began to laugh. I personally thought the humor was crude and unneeded. It was almost as if we are still underestimating the pikmin like we did several months before. Of course, Titan Dweevil didn't like the joke but waited patiently for the crowd to silence.
"I hope you are done laughing, because it is time to get serious," Titan Dweevil said. "If you haven't realized it yet, give yourself a moment to think. Think of every animal you knew who had an interest-piquing object that could very well have been a treasure. Think about exactly where those animals lived. Seriously, I'll wait."
I decided to think about the animals I knew who had such trinkets like Titan Dweevil proposed. The first one who came to mind was Beady Long Legs. I remember he told me about a mysterious golden item he found near a large castle-like building. He always kept that thing with him…
Wait, was that why the pikmin killed him? Was it because he had that golden item that they killed Beady Long Legs to get it? Why would the pikmin kill an innocent animal in the name of a stupid little treasure?!
I looked around and noticed that many of the other animals had similar expressions. They just realized why the pikmin have been mindlessly killing off the animals of our country. Of course, there aren't a lot of interesting objects like that aboveground, but most of them had already been claimed by other animals, and most of them live undergrou…
"Titan Dweevil," I spoke out loud, "Are you trying to tell us that the sole reason that the pikmin venture into caves is because of…"
"Yes," Titan Dweevil answered, "The reason why so many animals have died in those caves…"
The Snagret Massacre of Snagret Hole came to mind.
"…why so many fierce beasts fall to the pikmin, despite their power…"
Waterwraith, Prince Bulblax, Empress Bulblax…
"…why so many innocent-hearted animals would die because of the pikmin…"
Giant Breadbug, Raging Bloyster, …Man-at-Legs…
"…every last life claimed by the pikmin were all in the name of treasures. Stupid. Worthless. Trinkets."
He wasn't kidding. It was an ugly truth.
To think that so many animals had to die for something as trivial as trinkets, it only makes one hate the pikmin more. And yet, it motivated the pikmin to try so hard to meaninglessly claim the lives of our country's citizens. It's barbaric for the pikmin to even do such things, but for the past two weeks, it's all they've been doing. What horrible creatures they are. I can't even acknowledge them as a species anymore.
Words cannot even begin to describe their heartless deeds.
"And to think we couldn't despise them any more than we do now," Dweevil said.
He looked at the treasure in his hand, grunted in disgust and tossed it away. Seeing the trinket, a Fiery Bulblax leaped up and caught it in his mouth, followed by a faint swallowing sound.
"Why did you swallow it?" a Hairy Bulborb asked, followed by a faint shrug courtesy of the Bulblax.
"Well, Titan Dweevil," I spoke up, "Now that we know the pikmins true motives and what they are after, what do you think we should do?"
I waited anxiously to hear how Titan Dweevil would answer my question. But at that moment, I temporarily forgot what I knew Titan Dweevil for.
"Beats me," he said with a shrug.
In unison, the entire audience roared in annoyance.
"What the hell do you mean!?", "You actually sounded cool for a second there!!", "Where were you even going with that?!", "Are you freaking kidding me!?", and other kinds of comments were made. Despite their volume, Titan Dweevil seemed to concentrate in drowning it out.
"It seems you are all still too naïve to realize the answer yourselves," Titan Dweevil commented.
Even though everyone was venting their anger verbally, his comment seemed to cause a hush among the area, slowly emptying the cave of the harsh clamor of protest.
"You all suddenly get mad at me for one little joke," Titan Dweevil said, "This just shows just how hopeless you people can be without a voice louder than your own. If it weren't for the loud voice of the Land council, where do you think you guys would be?"
"Titan Dweevil!" I said out loud, "what do you hope to prove by insulting the country folk like this?"
"Why, I'm not trying to prove anything," Titan Dweevil said to me, "But it seems I gave you all more credit than you deserve."
"Are you calling us stupid?!" one Wollywog near the front yelled.
"No, I already called you naïve, so no need to say 'stupid'," he said, "what do you guys think we should do?"
Many animals stood silently, wondering exactly that. Even I found myself lost as to what we should do.
"Geez," Titan said frustratingly, "so naïve. You've all forgotten how to fight!"
"Will you quit blabbering and give us an answer?!" I said, frustrated.
"Fine, fine," he said, giving in, "Think about this real hard, everyone. If the pikmin are looking for treasure, were should we put that treasure?"
I suddenly had an idea.
"We put as much treasure we can find and store them in the caves underground," I said out loud, "and in those caves we horde as many animals as possible to counter the massive numbers of the pikmin."
Everyone began staring at me at my sudden epiphany.
"...that must be the most ingenious idea anyone has have ever had!" a Careening Dirigibug commented.
"Of course! It makes perfect sense!" more animals began to comment.
"Thank you for that idea Raging Long Legs," Titan Dweevil said, "it just goes to show what wondrous ideas you guys can come up with on your own."
Many animals began to chat with each other, making their own speculations and ideas on how to stop the pikmin. As they continued to talk, Titan Dweevil patiently waited for everyone to hush down, as he had his arms crossed, staring at the audience with a testing patience. Most animals would hush themselves upon seeing this signature expression, and hush they did. After the noise finally died again, Titan Dweevil began to speak.
"So, if everyone agrees with Raging Long Legs idea, gather up anything that may look like treasure and hold it with you."
"But wait," an Emperor Bulblax began to talk, "Where would we put it?"
"I suppose we can keep them in the Hole of Heroes, as it is the most spacious."
"Uh, pardon me," I spoke up, "but why my cave? I know it has the most floors and everything, but do they have to put every treasure in there?"
"Only so that everything is organized," Titan Dweevil answered, "there are lots of trinkets out there and it would take quite a while hauling all of them in. And besides, as soon as we assign who guards what, they'll be taken out of the cave the next day."
"Well, I guess that makes sense," I admitted, "just remember though, my floor is off-limits."
"Yes, yes, of course," Titan Dweevil said, seeming to brush off my comment without so much as a flick, "But to all of you who are already in possession of what might be considered a treasure, head to Hole of Heroes and sleep there tonight."
"Titan Dweevil," an Emperor Bulblax, no wait, the PRINCE Bulblax spoke up, "Will the meeting end soon?"
"Why?" Titan Dweevil questioned, "Do you have somewhere to go?"
"Why, yes, actually. I need to talk about something with my brother."
"Oh. Well, I suppose it is about time to call it a day. I have to talk to Raging Long Legs myself."
"Huh?" I said.
I was quite surprised with this. Me and Titan rarely ever talk, and we usually talked about things concerning the Land Council. A bit hard to believe since we are both the highest ranks in the Land Council and one would think we'd talk more often. It's just that, when we do, things tend to get a bit out of hand depending on the subject. Last time me and Titan Dweevil had a debate, I remembered too late why he was a rank above me. In such a dire time, what could he possibly want to talk about?
"Remember, move all treasures to Hole of Heroes. Anyone already in possession of a treasure is to sleep over in that hole. And with that, meeting adjourned."
After Titan Dweevil ended the meeting, many animals left while some stayed to discuss about the whereabouts of some treasures. Titan Dweevil was busy talking to a Burrowing Snagret and a Pileated Snagret while I made small talk with the Beady Long Legs and Man-at-Legs who were present at the meeting. When I was done, I made my way towards Titan Dweevil, who was still engaged in conversation. However, as Prince Bulblax passed by me, I decided to ask him a question.
"So," I began, "what were you and your brother talking about?"
"Oh, that. I simply asked him if I could bunk with him for the night. The missus at home is venting really bad, so I decided to keep my distance for a while."
"Ah," I replied, understandingly, "I guess that's reasonable. At least Empress Bulblax can't move. I'm still single, and trust me, you don't want to see a female Raging Longs Legs on her bad days."
"I can only imagine," he replied, "Well, I must be off. Morning is approaching quickly and my eyes need to be shut. Later Raging."
"Later," I replied, before commenting behind his back about how much I hate my nickname, 'Raging'. Oh wow, how original. Call me after a subspecies name, why don't you? Emperor or Giant, or even Beady sound better. God, I hate that nickname.
After my mental vent, I walked straight towards Titan to see what he wanted with me.
"So what is it?" I asked Titan impatiently.
"Raging," he started, oh how I hated that nickname, "some things have come up and I won't be able to call a meeting if one becomes opportune."
"So, what? You want me to call the next meeting because you can't?" I asked.
"Yes, to put it bluntly."
I was quite surprised at his request. Titan Dweevil usually called all of the meetings himself. In fact, the only other person to have called a meeting besides him was me, when Titan Dweevil became too busy with his newfound 'toys' and I had to fill in for him to resolve the rising complaints of cramped caves and bad neighbors. A lot of animals chose to leave Glutton's Kitchen thanks to my resolutions. I also called one when…Man-at-Legs died…
"Well, okay then. I guess I can do that," I said, "but if a meeting doesn't happen for a while, I'll check in on you to see if your 'problem' is resolved."
"Understood." Titan answered.
"Well, that certainly was a long meeting," I said, hoping to shush an awkward silence before it began, "I'd better return to Hole of Heroes for some shut-eye."
"Don't start with me," I threatened, "I know I don't have eyes, but at least-"
"No, not that," he interrupted, "there's something else."
"Oh, well, what is it?" I said slightly aggravated, my tiredness slowly catching up to me.
"I've been thinking," he started, "If we win this war against the pikmin, emphasis on 'if', I think I'll disband the Land Council."
"WHAT ARE YOU-" I quickly hushed myself, knowing that other animals were still present in the Land Council HQ, "I mean, what are you saying?" I said as low a whisper as I could.
"Well, let's just say that this has to do with my 'problem', as you put it," Titan Dweevil said.
He was lying.
I couldn't put my finger on it, but something told me he was lying. I don't know if it was the look in his eye or the tone of his voice, but somehow, I knew he was lying. I couldn't tell if he was lying about disbanding the Land Council, but I was almost certain he was lying about his 'problem'. Maybe he didn't even have a problem. Whatever my gut feeling was telling me, I decided against validating his statement.
"But the Land Council is the amalgamation of generations of dictatorship and power. The mere thought of disbanding it is an atrocity to everything our ancestors have worked so hard for. What godforsaken excuse could you possibly have to disband the Land Council?" I heaved silently, trying to keep my plea as much as a whisper as I could.
"…" Titan Dweevil made no motion after my upset exclamation. I was right and he knew it and there was no excuse in the world great enough to allow the Land Council to be disbanded. I had him cornered. He had nowhere to run. He had to fess up and tell me the truth.
"…the truth is…" he started, "…that we need to make our country bigger."
"Say what." I uttered.
"You see…I had plans on expanding our country into the further reaches of the land out there. As you know, there are two other countries out there and we remain anonymous to them. If we were to reveal ourselves now in our current state, the other countries may attack us and claim possession of the land."
"………what does this have to do with disbanding the Land Council?" I asked, still shocked from his answer.
"After this pikmin war is over with, we will only pretend to be 'disbanded' in order to make us look weak and unorganized to the other countries. You see, with some proper representatives, one of the two countries will take us in and add us to their map. After some time, we will defeat their opposing countries, unite the three countries , and then, when they least expect it, betray them and take all three countries for ourselves."
"…Ohhh, it makes sense now. I have to say, that is an ingenious plot," I said, and I rarely say such things to Titan Dweevil, "You had me scared there for a second, but why keep it a secret until now?"
"We still have to finish resolving the pikmin, remember? We can't let the other countries know about us, especially in this time of desperation."
"I see. Well, let's hope we do get this pikmin war resolved. I honestly can't wait to enact this genious plan of yours."
"In due time, Raging," He said as he began to walk away, "Oh, and another thing," he started again, turning to my direction, "whatever you do, don't do anything drastic should a desperate situation arise. I don't want us losing the remaining members of the Land Council because of a bad decision."
I felt a bit peeved that he would expect something like that out of me. I was smarter than that, surely. But instead of questioning his concern, I decided just to agree so that I could go home quickly and get some sleep.
"Yes, yes, will do," I carelessly answered.
"Good," Titan Dweevil replied, failing to catch my tone, "you may return home now."
As Titan Dweevil walked away, I trudged my way out of the Land Council HQ and headed straight to my cave in the Wistful Wild. It was a lengthy walk, despite being the only area closest to the Land Council HQ. When I entered the cave, I felt so tired that I paid no attention to the group of animals who were already assembled within the floors of the cave, ready to sleep as well. I just wanted to get to my nest as quickly as possible before I pass out and sleep on the spot on my way there. Finally reaching my home floor, floor 14, I snuggled into my nest and immediately fell asleep.
I woke up to a rather rude awakening.
"…have…ful Wi…" was what I could make of the mindless garble above the surface.
Among the nearly inaudible voices were the harsh roars and yells of panic belonging to the residents of Wistful Wild. I sat there in my nest, shifting from side to side, trying to drown out the noise above. But to no avail, I got up with a frustrated grunt and made my way out of the tunnels. I wasn't really a morning person, or in the case of nocturnal creatures, an early-nighter, so I was rather oblivious to the question of what was causing every animal of Wistful Wild to go berserk. All I wanted to do was to shut everyone up so that I could get some more sleep.
I crawled out of the cave's entrance and stared at Bulborbs and Shearwigs frantically running around in a panic. As well as manic Swooping Snitchbugs and bawling Creeping Chrysanthemums, every animal was screaming to the top of their lungs. I took a moment to take it all in and process what was going on, but I did that better when it was quiet.
"QUIET!!" I yelled as I stomped a powerful stomp onto the ground.
The force literally shook the entire area. Little saplings rattled their leaves while pebbles tilted listlessly. Each and every earthbound animal stopped in their tracks while airborne animals took a while to notice the sudden drop in volume. After several seconds of silence, aside from the Krikots comical chirping, I spoke up.
"Can someone tell me what is all the yelling about?!" I asked demandingly.
A Snitchbug buzzed his way over to me as soon as I asked.
"Oh, Raging Long Legs, thank goodness you are here," he said.
"What is going on?" I asked again, "Why was everyone screaming and panicking?"
"Raging," he said, man, do I hate that name, "did you not hear the siren the Antennae Beetles gave off a while ago?"
"I was asleep, what of it?"
"Raging Long Legs..." he paused to catch his breath, "They've found it…"
"Huh? Who found it?"
"The pikmin!! They've found Wistful Wild!!!" he yelled.
I looked over in the distance as far as I could and I was able to see their handiwork. A carcass of Cannon Beetle Larvae and Hermit Crawmad, a drained puddle, a bridge built across the lake that allowed access to Dream Den…
They found it alright.
"And worst of all," the Snitchbug continued, "Segmented Crawbster is dead!!"
"What?!" I asked in utter shock.
"They found rubble all over his floor, but he wasn't anywhere in the cave," he continued to weep, "And it doesn't stop there. Prince Bulblax and his brother were in the same cave too…"
"You mean they…" I asked, fearing the worst.
"They found blood and slobber all over their floor!! The Prince is dead!! Just like that!!" he continued to yell.
Now I know why these guys were panicking.
Not only have the pikmin found Wistful Wild, home to the remaining forces of Palunata Distantos, but they also killed off two members of the Land Council in one night. These animals were now at a complete loss with two of the most powerful Land Council members now dead. It certainly was a reason to panic.
But it was an opportunity to call for another meeting. And fast.
"Alright, calm down!" I yelled to hush the returning clamor of panic, "You there!" I pointed to a Withering Blowhog, "Go find the nearest Antennae Beetle and alert them that I'm calling another meeting!"
"Ah, right." The Withering Blowhog said before turning around.
"And it is a Level 9 meeting!" I yelled.
"But Raging," he said, "Only Titan Dweevil can call for Level 9 meetings. You can only call for Level 8 ones."
"Level 9, Level 10, it doesn't matter. What matters is that each and every animal is to report to Land Council HQ as quickly as possible! It is of utmost urgency!"
"Uh, right! Whatever you say!" he said before floating away.
I hopped down the ledge with a loud thump as the Bulborbs and Shearwigs scattered quickly towards the Land Council headquarters. I remembered that Titan Dweevil told me he will be unable to attend the next meeting, but I had no idea that we needed to have one this quickly, and urgently. It was almost as if Titan Dweevil expected this to happen and he wanted to be left out of it. It may have been a gut feeling or an odd premonition, but Titan Dweevil will not be at this meeting either way. And worst of all, I had to do the talking. With Segmented Crawbster dead and the Prince Bulblax killed, Titan Dweevil and I are all that is left of the Land Council. Titan Dweevil sure has a lot of nerve to end up absent from this meeting.
Because of the pikmin, once again the Land Council has its back against the wall.
Well, it was inevitable. This chapter had to be cut short. I'm sitting on 24 pages of secreted epicness, with 3 more on another document. Anyway, cue dramatic cliffhanger.
What is Raging Long Legs to do now? Only he and Titan Dweevil are all that are left of the Land Council, not to mention a lot of power is lost through the death of the Prince Bulblax. The Land Council is facing serious pressure and with their most powerful forces killed or severely injured, how can they hope to fight back? Raging Long Legs is in control of the meeting, so will he order an all out attack with what they have left, or will he fall flat and endanger the country closer to its grave?
Meh, I could have done a better cliffhanger than that.
The next chapter ought to come around in a few weeks. I gave up on due dates a long time ago as nothing is ever guaranteed with me.
I've nothing else to say but R&R. I hope you haven't given up on me yet.