Steambot Chronicles

A/N: I've been a pretty big fan of Steambot Chronicles since it came out back in 06. While the story lacks real depth, it's the fact that the player can fill in those spots and mold Vanilla as their own that help make it such a great game. Of course a story can only go one way, unless of course this were a choose-your-adventure, but something like that would take a long time to write. So I decided to present a story that, in time, will blend elements of both the good/bad paths, thus a dynamic tale. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the world of Bumpy Trot *for those of you who know the original name :P* in an all new form.

Chapter 1 ~ Boy meets Girl

It's dark... My head, feels like it's gonna split open!... Vanilla?... That's my name, I think... The sea... I can hear the waves... Wait... I hear something...

A young man with blonde hair opened his cobalt blue eyes suddenly, squinting as the light of the afternoon sun shining directly into them, eliciting a groan of discomfort. He was lying on his back on a broken wooden board. His worn jeans and blue shirt were covered with sand and strands of seaweed.

"Ugh... Too bright!" The owner of the eyes mumbled groggily, slowly coming to. His vision was beginning to settle both from the glaring light and his returning senses. Turning from side to side, he took in the sight of an enclosed beach, and the lapping waves of the sea. Seagulls chirped and flew around above, drifting leisurely on the salty breeze.

"Oh! Are you awake?." A girl's voice asked, a very soft and pretty voice. The boy groaned in pain as he looked around for the source of the voice.

"Are you ok?" The unseen girl asked once more, and the boy rolled over and looked up to see a girl standing over him. Long brown hair was tied back in a ponytail with two bangs surrounded her cherubic face, while soft brown eyes stared down with concern. She wore a frilly edge pink short top with a red skirt with fishnets and boots, a beautiful red pendent hung around her neck.

She's pretty, like an angel... The boy thought for a moment. He then pushed himself up, and finally stood. But as he took a step, he stumbled and was caught by the girl.

"Hey, don't try to exert yourself too much. You should rest a little longer before you start moving" She said, helping the boy to stand and brushing him off. He looked around, and could see the beach was quite large, though in poor shape. It looked like a storm had just passed through, with boxes and debris littering the area like forgotten relics, and pieces of a contraption lying beside in the sand. He then looked out to the ocean and spotted an unsettling sight, a crashed ship. Flames still flickered on the deck, creating a billowing cloud of black smoke that steadily raised into the sky like a serpent.

"Where.. am I?" The boy asked weakly, feeling lightheaded as he took in the sight, his mind swimming as he tried to recall what had led him to his current situation.

"This is Seagull Beach, south of the Eagle Mountains. You were lying on the sand unconscious, I've been watching over you for a while now. There must have been an accident on that ship over there." The pretty girl said, pointing at the wreckage. Suddenly the boy felt a tingling in his head and groaned. Visions of people yelling, and running every which way, a boy and a woman shouting something to him, then what looked like a rocket heading straight at him.

"Are you alright?" The girl asked, frowning slightly as the boy held his head with both hands.

"Y-yea... Just... my head hurts. Everything is foggy..." He said, then winced as a pain numbed his forehead. Pulling his hand away, a slight bruising could be seen on his right temple.

"You must have hit your head pretty hard." The girl said, smiling again. For some reason, seeing it made the pain more bearable. She then reached into a pouch hanging from her thigh and produced a harmonica.

"This is yours, right? It was lying on the ground beside you." She said, holding it out to the boy. Seeing the small silver instrument suddenly sparked something in the boy's mind. The boy from the first vision appeared again, handing him the harmonica; the word "Vanilla" was engraved on it in golden lettering.

"Vanilla..." He said, blinking as the vision ended and he stared at the harmonica.

"Is that your name?" The girl asked, and cupped her hands as the boy nodded, "That's great, at least you're remembering something." She then giggled, "Oh my, we've been talking and I haven't even introduced myself. I'm Coriander, but you can call me Connie, everyone else does." The pretty girl said, holding out her hand.

"Glad to meet you, Connie." Vanilla said, shaking the girl's hand. It was soft and smooth, and like her smile, felt comforting. Connie smiled and nodded, a gentle chuckle playing on her lips.

"I came here to gather some herbs, so if you can just wait here, I'll take you back to town with me once I'm done. I might know someone who could help you with your memory." She said, smiling again before heading to a small patch of flora a short distance of where they both stood. Vanilla nodded, but felt the need to move around, his mind still clouded with thought.

At the opposite end of the beach where Vanilla stood, was a small shack at the foot of the cliff that surrounded most of the beach, a small gated aqueduct lay beside it. Behind him, he could see a narrow dirt road that disappeared behind a bend. But the second Vanilla took a step near the path, he heard a thunderous sound and just barely caught sight of a fiery orange ball heading for the cliff. It struck and exploded, raining chunks of rocks that nearly hit Vanilla, who ducked out of the way as a large boulder crashed to the ground. As the dust settled, Vanilla turned and looked in the direction where the missile had came from. Standing at the top of the cliff was a strange blue machine with a long rifle on the right arm. It half-turned, and Vanilla felt as if whoever was controlling it was staring coldly at him, then it was gone, disappearing into the dense forest.

"Vanilla? Are you ok?" Connie called out, rushing over to the boy's side.

"Yea... I'm fine. But the road..." Vanilla replied, pointing.

"Oh no, what do we do? This was the only way out. I have to catch the bus before it leaves for town!" Connie said with a panic, gently tugging at her bangs.

"Don't worry, Connie, I'll find us a way out!" Vanilla said with a curt point of his finger. The girl looked up, her eyes almost on the verge of tears.

"R-really? I'd hate to trouble you, seeing as how things are already..." She trailed off.

"Don't sweat it, I'm sure we'll find a way!" Vanilla said determinedly, hating to see the poor girl look upset.

"I just wonder what caused this to happen, I heard a loud 'bang' and before I knew it, the boulder was crashing down onto the road." Connie murmured, cupped her chin.

"There was something on the cliff over there, a blue thing, it fired a missile." Vanilla said, pointing towards the spot on the cliffs where he saw the mysterious machine. Whoever, or whatever it was must have had a good reason for doing so, but that was a mystery for later.

"A blue thing firing a missile, huh?" Connie echoed, a thoughtful expression on her face. She then shook her head and looked up to Vanilla, "Let's go, there's got to be a way out of here." She said.

"How about that shack over there, does anyone live there?" Vanilla asked, turning to face the small house.

"N-no... A fisherman used to live there some time ago, but he left." Connie said, stumbling at first when the shack was mentioned. It seemed the mention of the shack brought an uncomfortable thought to mind.

"Wouldn't hurt to try and look anyway. Come on." Vanilla said, leading the way, a pensive looking Connie jogging closely behind. As they neared a small incline that lead up to the shack, a rusted old machine surrounded by debris caught Vanilla's eye.

"Whoa, what's that?" He said, looking surprised. It was similar in shape to the blue machine, only with a faded green paint that was peeling off in areas. It had the appearance of a car, only with backward-jointed legs. It had two claw like arms, one decent looking, the other wiry and scrappy . Whatever it was, it looked like it had been abandoned some time ago, like a discarded toy left to become trash by a careless owner.

"Oh! A Trotmobile, that's just what we need!" Connie lit up, her previous look of unease fading. Vanilla looked at her with a quizzical expression.

"A... Trot..Trotmo-what now?" He said, bemused by the strange name.

"A Trotmobile, silly. It's like a car, only with legs. How could you not know that? They're very popular." Connie said, looking amused by the boy's puzzlement. At her statement, Vanilla felt a another tingle in his head. The boy from the previous vision was riding in one of those machines, while the woman barked something at him. Vanilla himself was there, watching from the open doors of some warehouse. Then the vision faded and Vanilla shook his head.

"Hmm, you ok? Is it another headache?" Connie asked, tilting her head to look closely at Vanilla.

"Y-yea, I'm fine. Come on, maybe we can go through the shack to reach it." He replied, heading up the incline. Up close he could see the shack was quite run down, several holes could be seen in the roof, and the wood looked quite weather-worn. Connie wasn't kidding when she said 'Some time' had passed. Trying the door, Vanilla grunted with effort when it wouldn't budge in the slightest.

"It's locked!" He hissed, letting go of the handle. Connie walked up slowly, now looking uneasy again, but kept it from showing in her voice.

"Here, there should be a hole on this side." She said, walking past Vanilla and waving for him to follow. At the side there was a loose board propped against the wall, which Connie promptly moved out of the way.

"Here it is." She said with a smile, as if remembering the little secret entrance fondly.

"You been here before?" Vanilla asked, amazed by the small hole, which looked big enough to admit them both one at a time.

"I used to play here when I was a little girl, me and my friends..." Connie replied quietly, facing away and rubbing her arm. Vanilla became curious of her odd behavior, but decided now was not the time to pry into things. He then turned to the small hole and got onto his knees, crawling through.

It was far more dingy and pathetic inside than it was outside. Dust caked the floor and the windows in layers, and cobwebs littered the corners, and a strong mildewy smell conflicted strongly with the salty air outside. Vanilla brushed off his hands, coughing as a cloud of dust was kicked up. Just as he got over the fit, he noticed Connie had entered the shack and was looking at a dusty picture. She sighed softly and quickly left the shack through a door opposite of the hole.

"Odd, what's eating her?" Vanilla shrugged at the girl's strange departure. He then looked at the photo, blowing off a sheet of dust, he looked closely at the picture. There were two boys, both blondes, and a little girl who resembled Connie. They were smiling happily, likely having a great time. Setting the photo down, Vanilla quickly exited the shack and spotted Connie looking forlornly to the sea.

She seems pretty down... Vanilla thought as he walked the small path from the shack.

"Hey, are you ok?" He asked, reaching out a hand to touch Connie's shoulder. She jumped slightly at his touch, then looked away.

"It's nothing..." She mumbled, clearly lying. Vanilla didn't mean to pry, but something inside made him want to try and understand her, help her if he could.

"Bad memories, huh?" He said, hazarding a guess. Connie looked ready to say something, then stopped, the words caught in her throat.

"It-it's... complicated..."

"It's ok, I promise not to tell." Vanilla said, figuring it was something embarrassing. Perhaps that photo?

"Me and Chicory..." Connie started, trailing off, "Look. Can we just forget about it, please?" She said, looking a little flustered. Vanilla held up his hands defensively, looking apologetic.

"I'm sorry..." He said, not sure of what else to say.

"It's ok." Connie replied, then turned and pointed to the Trotmobile.

Vanilla stepped past Connie and walked along the edge of the path, which overlooked part of the shore and the water. The Trotmobile that sat in the water looked even worse up close, with numerous dents and dings all over its body. Whoever previously owned it had certainly put it through its paces before they abandoned it to the sea's cold embrace. Stepping onto a tank strapped on the back, Vanilla offered his hand to Connie. A smile slowly replaced her solemn look and she carefully stepped aboard. The seat was in fairly good condition, albeit lumpy and smelling a little funky, but now wasn't the time to complain about poor seating.

"I just hope this thing works." Connie said as she slowly lowered down onto the seat, Vanilla following her and seating himself behind the wheel on the right-hand side. Brushing off the dashboard, Vanilla turned the ignition and heard a low growl as the engine strained to start. Connie had her fingers crossed, looking hopeful. With a churn, the Trotmobile started up and lurched forward, its rusted joints creaking as they moved for the first time in ages.

"Ah, it still works! I was worried for a moment." Connie beamed, looking over the Trot's shoulder to see it slowly moving forward. Vanilla gripped the steering wheel and moved the lurching machine forward, stopping short of the debris that littered the area around it. Somehow, it felt natural piloting the rusted trot, despite not having an inkling about it.

"Wow... that was easier than it looked." Vanilla quipped, then noticed a small booklet sticking out of the glove-compartment.

"Ah, this must be the owner's manual." He thought aloud, opening the small book and skimmed through it.

Thank you for choosing the Tea Leaf model, Earl Grey II! A sleek, dependable model for the everyday Trot-rider. ~~~

Vanilla scanned through the book, it seemed pretty straightforward. The mechanics were basically the same as a car, and despite his memory loss, he still understood cars and basic machines. Pocketing the book, he guided the trot up and over the debris and towards the blocked path.

"Do you think you can move it all?" Connie asked, hopeful.

"It's worth a shot." Vanilla replied, putting on a confident smirk. The Trot's rusted arms creaked and whined, but obeyed as he controlled them pick up the large boulder, the metal claws digging into the rock. Carefully stepping back, Vanilla tossed the rock towards the water, where it splashed heavily, sending droplets that sparkled in the sunlight.

"Amazing! You're really good at this." Connie praised, thankful that the way out was clear again. Vanilla awkwardly scratched his head, a little bashful from the compliment. With a quick glance back to the now smoking ship, Vanilla pressed on down the road, passing a sign that read: Egret Brook.

"Over there, that's the bus stop." Connie leaned and pointed towards an ordinary looking farm, a small white sign stuck on one of the fence posts that ran from one end of the road all the up to a steep hill ahead of them. But there wasn't a bus to be seen.

"Oh no, did I already miss it?" Connie frowned, looking crestfallen. Then a thought crossed her mind and turned to Vanilla, "Do you think you could take me to the Hayabusa carpet mill? It's just up that hill." She asked, pointing a little ways up the road, which continued over a small bridge and into a tunnel. Vanilla nodded, happy to oblige.

"Sure, looks like that's the only way to go anyway." He said with a smile, which made Connie giggle and nod in agreement. So up the hill they went, and over the bridge, where a river fed downstream and back towards Seagull beach. The tunnel was actually quite small, not even more than maybe 15 feet long, like an oversized doorway. Emerging at the other end, Connie and Vanilla found themselves at another steep hill, but that was the least of their concerns.

"Hey there, you two on a hot date or something?" A scratchy voice called out to the two. A bearded man wearing thick goggles and a blue jacket descended the hills in what could only be described as a giant chickened legged contraption. Two large violet shields were affixed to the grill, with slitted orange headlights for 'eyes'. A black cannon sat between the top part of the two shields, aimed squarely at Vanilla and Connie.

"Anyway, this area belongs to the Killer Elephants, so if you don't want no trouble, you'd be wise to hand over all your cash. And with that shitty lookin' Trot you're in, I think you better listen. Unless... of course you feel like handing that cute honey you're riding with." The thug said as he leaned forward from his cockpit, a leer could be seen plastered on his face as he grinned. Connie gagged and covered her chest with both arms, ducking down in the seat with a fearful look. Vanilla growled, unable to believe such a disgusting person could exist.

"HEY! You better leave Connie alone, you big jerk!" The blonde boy bellowed, then picked up a small rock with the Earl's right hand and chucked it at the portly bandit. The rock dented one of the shields, but otherwise did little damage, however, it was enough to set off the thug.

"That tears it, I was gonna be nice, but you've just made a big mistake, bucko!" The bandit called, then sat back down in his trot. A small canon appeared between the two shield plates, unleashing three fiery shots that rained over Vanilla.

"Watch out!" Connie cried, ducking down in her seat with her hands over her head. Vanilla backed out of the way as the fireballs hit the ground, pelting the empty earth and sending dust and debris all over. Spotting a boulder, Vanilla dashed for it and hoisted it above the Earl. With a creaking heave, the worn trot hurtled the large stone at the bandit, who was too late in moving out of the way. A resounding 'crunch' could be heard as the shields were crushed under the boulder and the bandit jumped out of his seat, hitting the ground running as his ride collapsed in a heap.

"I'll remember this! When the boss hears about this, you're dead meat!" The bandit hollered over his shoulder, ducking into a thick bush that led into the surrounding forest around the hill. Vanilla breathed a sigh of relief and gently nudged Connie on the shoulder.

"Hey, it's alright now. He's gone." The boy said. Connie slowly peeked her head up and looked around, seeing the smashed trot, which fizzled and smoked under the crushing rock, then looked to Vanilla with an astounded look.

"Oh, thank you, Vanilla! I was worried for a moment. That man was from the Killer Elephant gang. They used to be small time, but lately rumors have been spreading about them getting more and more aggressive in their attacks." Connie said, still looking a little jittery from the close call. Vanilla placed a hand on hers and gave it a reassuring squeeze. The two then continued up the steep hill and through a small gate at the summit.

The area inside was like a fort, with another gate to the left of the first. Two small houses were joined by an elevated hall, while a windmill sat behind them, connected via a small bridge. A large garage stood behind the left house, its gaping entrance accessible by a long ramp . A bus was parked next to the house, but it was yellow Trotmobile that caught Connie's eye.

"I think that's Marjoram's Trotmobile. Can we stop here, Vanilla? Please?" The girl asked pleadingly, and Vanilla found himself unable to say no. Parking the Trotmobile near the bus, the two dismounted it and walked past the fence in front of the house.

"Hey, Marjoram. Are you here?" Connie called out, looking around the empty yard in front of the house. Vanilla meanwhile looked at the other trotmobile. While not much taller than the scrapheap he and Connie had acquired, it was easily much bulkier and designed for heavy duty activity. Both arms were equipped with folded 'fins', possibly shields, while a square shaped metal plate was attached on the back. Just then the door of the house opened and a heavy man wearing a yellow flannel shirt and brown slacks emerged. His hair was cut in an odd style, a buzz-cut with thicker hair in the middle.

"Connie? I thought I heard your voice. Were you out picking herbs again?" The man greeted Connie.

"Yea, and I met someone there." Connie replied, gesturing to Vanilla who moved back over to her side.

"Hi, I'm Vanilla." The blonde greeted the stocky man with a shake of the hand.

"I found him on the beach unconscious. It seems like he lost his memory." Connie explained.

"I see, I'm sorry to hear that." Marjoram said, placing a hand on Vanilla's shoulder.

"So did you get your drums fixed?" Connie turned to Marjoram.

"Yeah, but Mr. Peregrine said he isn't if they'll last long. So I might have to get Dandelion to have a look at them when we hit Happy Garland." Marjoram said.

"Is Basil with you?" Connie asked.

"He should be, but he vanished after I brought my drums inside. I wonder where he could have gone." Marjoram said, scratching his chin and looking around.

"I can go look for him." Vanilla opted.

"You sure? I'd hate to bother you like that." Marjoram began.

"It's ok, besides, I kinda felt like having a look around this place anyway. So, what does this Basil look like?" Vanilla asked.

"He shouldn't be hard to miss, he's a short guy with glasses and a green coat." Marjoram explained, "Try checking out by the garage, now that I think about it he did mention something he had to do around there." Vanilla nodded and headed for a set of steps across from where he and Connie stood.

The stairs led up to the base of the windmill which sat across from the large Garage. And right next to the garage, near a short wall, Vanilla saw a crouched figure. He was a short guy, probably just 5 feet even, his green jacket seemed almost two sizes too big. A brown beret capped his reddish hair.

"Hey, are you Basil? I-" Vanilla began to say as he approached the crouched boy, who turned around and pulled Vanilla towards the wall of the garage forcefully. A hand cupped over his mouth and the bespectacled youth motioned for silence, then nodded his head towards the corner.

"There's a guard over there, but I don't' think he saw us." The short boy said, letting go of Vanilla, who peered around the corner to see a man in a similar attire to the bandit from earlier. He was standing next to a ladder which lead down to a series of scaffolding built into the side of the mountain. It seemed like he had not noticed the brief scuffle between the two boys.

"What's he guarding?..." The little man thought aloud, seemingly ignoring Vanilla.

"You're Basil, right?" Vanilla asked again, causing the youth to turn and look at him with surprise.

"Yes. But who are you and how do you know my name?" He asked, eyeing Vanilla with a suspicious look.

"I'm Vanilla, a friend of Connie's. She and Marjoram are looking for you." Vanilla said, and Basil slapped his face realization.

"Oh man, I almost forgot we've got rehearsal at Six!" The shorter boy said with a frustrated groan, then cupped his mouth and peeked over the short wall to see if the guard had noticed him. Thankfully he had not risen any suspicion.

"What are you doing anyway?" Vanilla was pressed to ask.

"I'm on a secret mission to find out what that guy is guarding... Crap that was supposed to be a secret as well!" Basil hissed. Vanilla got the feeling that Basil wasn't the best when it came to being tight lipped. A voice then caught both of them by surprise.

"Hey! What are you two doing?" The guard had finally noticed the two youths at the corner, pointing at them.

"I don't see no logo on either you, so you best scat before I come over there and toss yer hides over the edge!" He thundered, taking a menacing step towards Vanilla and Basil. Both gulped and immediately took off for the steps to the house, not even looking back to see if the guard was giving chase. Thankfully he didn't, but neither thought to check until they were nearly running headfirst into Marjoram.

"Are you two ok? You look like you saw a ghost." Connie asked, looking worried.

"Nothing, just a little race. Yea... that's it." Basil said with a forced laughed, nudging Vanilla in the side to play along. Connie laughed as well, though she didn't know what for. Marjoram then intervened.

"In any case, we should get moving soon, Fennel and Savory are probably already waiting for us." He said, then turned to look at the Trotmobile Vanilla and Connie had used to get here.

"That's a pretty beat up looking model you have there." He said with a thoughtful look, though it sounded critical (though likely unintentional). Vanilla nervously scratched his head and muttered, "It's not really mine..."

"What?" Marjoram and Basil said, shocked.

"We found it near the shores at Seagull Beach. Somebody must have abandoned it a few weeks ago." Connie explained.

"More like a few months, no wonder it looks like it crawled out of the scrap yard." Basil said. Vanilla's lower lip cringed slightly, did they have to be so critical about it?

"Maybe you could see if the mechanics at the garage will fix it up, should probably only take a few minutes to give it a tune up." Marjoram said, pointing to the ramp near the house.

"Aw, I was wondering if that Trotmobile was yours." A voice said, and everyone turned to see an middle-aged man with a green overshirt and brown slacks emerge from the left house. His balding, graying hair and glasses gave him a fatherly look, while his portly figure added to the jovial appearance of a humble old man.

"Oh, Mr. Peregrine. Is something wrong?" Connie asked, waving politely to the man, who smiled warmly to the girl.

"No, just wanted to see the young lad who helped you out. I couldn't help but overhear most of your conversation about that beaten ol' Trot." The man said, stepping past Vanilla to look over the Trotmobile that was parked near the fence.

"An Earl Grey II. Don't see many models like this one anymore. Such a shame to think somebody chucked him into the ocean like that. Here, how about I give you a spare Sword frame to replace that scrappy one?" Peregrine turned to face Vanilla, who cocked his head as he heard the offer.

"Frame?"

"It's the technical term for parts. So what do you say, interested?" The man asked again with a kind grin.

"I don't know... I'd hate to just take something like that without being able to pay." Vanilla said, shaking his head. He was right to be concerned, he was quite aware of the fact he had no money on his person whatsoever.

"Oh it's no problem at all. But if you're really set on repaying me, maybe you could do a favor for a friend of mine." Peregrine said, adjusting his glasses slightly to focus them better. Vanilla thought for a second, then nodded.

"Hey! Kain!" Peregrine turned and called out toward the right house. The door opened and a burly looking man in a wife-beater came out.

"Yea, Mr. Peregrine?"

"This lad here said he'd be willing to help out with that order you had." Peregrine gestured to Vanilla. The man walked over and heartily shook Vanilla's hand, who felt like a bear was grabbing his arm.

"That's fantastic! I'm Kain, pleased to meet you. Now, cutting to the chase; I've got an order of carpets that need to be shipped to the Siberian Musk Hotel in Nefroburg, think you could do that for me?" Kain asked.

"Sure, no problem." Vanilla replied rubbing his arm to check it for fractures.

"Wonderful, I'll go run up to the garage and tell 'em to add my flatbed on your Trotmobile. When you're ready, come see me and I'll load up the carpets. After you get to town, head to the hotel and ask for Jacques, ok?" Kain explained, his grin widening as Vanilla nodded at the instructions.

"Now that it's been settled, me and Basil will wait by the gate while you get fitted out. Then we can head to town together." Marjoram said, heading over to the hulking yellow Trotmobile, Basil following closely behind. Connie and Vanilla climbed back onto the Earl II and headed up the ramp and into the garage. The air was thick with the scent of oil, and all kinds of parts could be seen. Some laid on tables, others hung from hooks.

"Welcome!" Said a lanky looking mechanic in a blue jumpsuit, one hand resting casually on his hip while the other brushed under his nose for a second before going to lay at his side. "Kain already gave me the details. And don't worry about paying, this one's on the house." He said, and with a whistle, two similarly dressed men appeared and immediately went to work.

Buffing and priming, unscrewing and lubing, Vanilla swore the work of 10 people was being done in the span of only a few minutes. The scrap arm was carefully removed, and replaced with one that resembled the good arm, only this featured a large knife-like blade strapped on. The peeling paint was chipped away, and a new, sleek amber color was applied, making the worn machine look new. A crane pulled off the tank, leaving an empty 'socket' that was quickly plugged with a small steel flatbed.

"And... Done!" The first mechanic said with a snap of his fingers. Vanilla and Connie were in awe as they looked at the now refurbished Trotmobile, which gleamed like a pristine new car fresh out of the factory.

"So cool!" Connie beamed, amazed by the job that the mechanics had performed in less than fifteen minutes.

"Take care now!" The mechanics waved as Vanilla turned around and exited the garage. Kain was at the foot of the ramp, several long wraps lying on the ground beside him.

"Wow, those guys sure did a fantastic job. Well here's the shipment of carpets." The man said, then began to place the rolled up carpets onto the flatbed, securing them with a bungee cords.

"There we go, all set. Once you're done delivering the goods, bring the receipt back and I'll give you a cut, ok?" Kain gave a thumbs up and then returned to the house. Vanilla then headed over to Marjoram and Basil, who were waiting near the gate opposite of the house.

"You two ready to go now?" Marjoram asked, to which Vanilla and Connie both nodded. Turning Marjoram pushed open the large wooden gate, opening the way to a narrow path that turned right. Following behind the yellow Trotmobile, Vanilla took in the sprawling sight of the river that ran below the tall mountain. The path turned right again to a sharp incline that terminated near a bridge that led to the river bank. But it was just as the group reached the midpoint of the hill that a tremor shook the ground beneath them.

"What was that?" Vanilla shouted, rocking forward in the seat of the trotmobile as the ground continued to shake.

"It is an earthquake?" Connie looked around, fretful.

"No. Look!" Basil yelled, leaning slightly out of Marjoram's trotmobile to point towards the river below. Walking closer to the edge, Vanilla and Connie shared a gasp of surprise as a monstrous robotic elephant emerged from a gateway on the side of the mountain. The river was fairly deep, yet the water was but a mere puddle in the footfalls of the massive contraption. An insignia could be seen displayed all over; that of a masked, purple elephant.

TO BE CONTINUED.

A/N: Well I hoped you enjoyed the first chapter. Originally I was going to end at the attack in Nefroburg, kinda like the game's demo, but felt that the chapter had already stretched on long enough. Plus, I felt this would be a good point so I could get insight and opinions on any changes I should consider for this. Any ideas about the title would be nice as well, as I was having trouble settling on a name that would be fitting without sounding hokey or corny ("The Vanilla Chronicles" and "Vanilla days" sound pretty lame -_-).

New note: Fixed a few spelling errors. And Realized I had forgotten all about Vanilla's pendent! (Face-palms). But I figured I'll tweak chapter 3, so go and check it to catch up on that detail.