Chapter 10: The Castle in the Sand
"Uh oh… This isn't good!" Chopper gulped, running as fast as he can while being chased by a couple of Tataras riding some skiffs. They were firing at him as he ran through Duny Desert and while trying to avoid some of the sand tornadoes in his way. He could see Stoneard's Castle up ahead, and boy, did it look like those stereotypical-colored desert houses. However, unlike those houses, this was much bigger.
He could tell that the next Planet Star Piece was not too far. After all, it was glowing brightly in that direction.
But at the moment, all he could really do was run for his life at the laser shots being fired. Of course, since he was faster than the skiffs, there was no way he was going to be shot.
"Don't let him get away!" the Tatara Grunt cried, firing at Chopper with the turret. "We can't let that…thing go to the castle!"
"Can't you guys just leave me alone?" Chopper asked. "I don't feel like dealing with you guys..."
"In your dreams, kid!" the grunt growled, firing rapidly at him. Chopper managed to inhale one of the lasers and spit it back at the skiff, causing some serious damage to it. "Wha…? What the heck's going on here?!"
"Apparently we're going to crash. This thing's been damaged badly…" another grunt trailed as the skiff began to stop and crash into the sand. Chopper turned away from them and continued to run.
…But then he got caught in a sand tornado.
"Eek!" Chopper cried as he began to flying in the air. He ended up spreading his arms out so it would make things easier for him. What was nice was when he began to spin around as well, which helped him slowly descend onward. Well, until he got stuck in the sand for the umpteenth time. It took him some time, but he managed to pull himself out. "Geez... That was close."
"Ah, Chopper... I didn't expect you to be here..."
Chopper looked at one of the hills nearby and spotted a familiar face standing on top.
"Hey... It's you again!" Chopper gasped, watching Kutora slide down the sandy hill. "You're Kuty...er, Kutora!"
"I guess Maquano is really here..." Kutora trailed. "This could be a problem for the planet..."
"Well... I'm collecting these Planet Star Pieces to find him. One of them shouldn't be too far ahead."
"Really? Well, then I shouldn't be wasting your time at this point. If you're already close, then you need to get going."
"What about you?"
"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine." Kutora assured.
After glancing back at Kutora, Chopper continued to travel toward the castle with nothing else to worry about, except for a couple of other sand tornadoes.
After a couple of minutes, Chopper finally reached the entrance of the desert castle known as the Rocky Castle. It appeared to be a tan color, but it didn't seem too interesting other than that.
"Well… I guess it's better than Trinado's Castle…" Chopper commented as he took a couple of steps to the door. "Although… I haven't been enjoying this desert trip. Kind of sandy."
He tried to push the door open, but it didn't seem to budge. Chopper sighed and decided to find another way through the castle. But before he could try anything else, he saw a dark portal appear above the sky, near the castle.
"Uh oh… This isn't good…" Chopper found a rock and hid behind it. Two Tatara Soldiers flew down to the sandy ground with their dragon-like wings. They landed on the ground and walked up to the door.
"All right, so we simply need to deliver the supplies to Stoneard, is that correct?" the first soldier asked.
"Yes, genius. That's what we planned on doing this whole time…" the second soldier groaned.
"So… What's in that bag anyway?" the first Tatara decided to check what was in the bag. "Wait… Why the heck are there rocks in this thing?! Does Stoneard just love to eat rocks?!"
"Uhhhhh… Yeah, he does. That's why he's a rock. He eats rocks. …Or in his case… 'Stoneard be made of hard stone!'"
"Wow… So these guys sure know some stuff about this Stoneard person…" Chopper thought as he took a peek above the rock.
"You know… Those Rockos eating rocks kind of remind me of those Goron creatures from this other world…" the first Tatara recalled. "Apparently they love to eat rocks as well, but they can't stand monsters - kind of like us!"
"Oh… Well who cares about them? We're cooler than them anyway." the second Tatara grabbed one of the rocks and looked at it. "Say… I wonder what these things taste like!"
The monster took a bite through one, but instead of chomping it down easily, a small tear came down its face.
"That sounded like it hurt," Chopper remarked, noticing the broken tooth on the Tartara, who now had its hand over its mouth.
"Dude… You really shouldn't have done that…" the first Tartara Soldier groaned.
"But I wanted to...ow...know what eating a rock was like..."
"Yeah... Well, anyway, I think we should go inside."
The first Tatara walked up to the door and knocked on it. There was a little opening where someone's eyes could be seen. A Rocko happened to be the one behind the wall.
"OK, you're in."
The door opened and the two Tataras entered the castle. Chopper, who had overheard everything, was pleasantly surprised by this outcome
"Wow… That sounds easy!" Chopper smiled, stepping away from the rock and walking up to the door. He knocked on it a few times before the same Rocko behind the door appeared in the small opening.
"OK, you're in," When the door opened, the Rocko saw Chopper simply walk into the Rocky Castle with no question. "Hey, wait a second… You're that-"
Chopper got the Rocko to be quiet by inhaling it and taking its power (a.k.a. the Stone ability). With it, he saw there were two ways to go. There was a door dead ahead and a door to his right. The door ahead seemed to be blocked, so he had no other choice but to head through the door to his right.
There wasn't much in this old, tan room, but there happened to be two Darklings guarding a stump. He shrugged and squashed them by turning into a statue of a Darkling. Once they were gone, he crushed the stump as a statue of Trinado.
"Man… Why am I seeing so many statues of other people or things?" Chopper questioned himself as he turned back into himself. "Well, I wonder what that did..."
When Chopper returned to the previous room, the blocked door was no longer blocked. Smiling, he headed through into another small room, but this one had a hole heading underground. Chopper took a look down and noticed a large cave below before jumping in. There happened to be water in the cave, but instead of landing in that, he landed on a narrow stone cylinder-like bridge. It was rather long, so it allowed him to run fast on it and over to a Dash Panel leading to another piece of the path.
"This place is...a bit cool?" Chopper remarked.
Chopper took off, his feet looking blurry as they moved quickly. He was quite happy that there weren't any enemies around here, or else he would be in some trouble.
However, he did find himself nearly falling off, but to his relief, each of those times had resulted in him stumbling back, and each time, he continued his progression.
Chopper noticed the road was starting to curve around, so he braced himself as he moved around the road like a corkscrew before hitting a Spring pointing at an angle, launching him out of the cave and into a small room with a ladder leading up to the first floor of the castle.
With that, he climbed up the ladder and headed up to the first floor.
Chopper climbed out of the hole and was in another tan room with stone walls and a stone ground. He had to admit, this place didn't look too interesting from the inside. Then again, Trinado's Castle wasn't the most interesting either.
"Hey! Who's there?!" one Rocko asked, it and another appearing to be arm wrestling over by a stone table. When they spotted Chopper, they were left gaping. "Ack! Intruder in this room! Me crush you!"
Chopper gulped and covered his face as he got squashed by one of the Rocko's body slam attacks. After getting up, he unflattened himself and turned his fist into stone so he could punch the Rocko into the wall with a Stone Uppercut.
As that Rocko crumbled, the other Rocko tried to roll over him. However, that didn't do much when Chopper brought his fist toward it and destroyed it. With that out of the way, he left the room by simply walking into the door up ahead.
Up on the top floor, a large, stone being was snoring. Nothing special was going on anyway, and he was very tired. His room, on the other hand was quite big. There was a large terminal in the room - which was probably the ONLY technological thing in this castle.
"Stoneard! Stoneard! I demand that you wake up!" the terminal turned on and Maquano appeared on the monitor. "Stoneard! STONEARD!"
"Wh-Whuh?" Stoneard yawned and rubbed his eyes before turning his head to Maquano. He was a large, brown rock creature with googly eyes and a couple of cracks on his rocky head, along with a big frown. "Stoneard was having good dream. Why do Lord Maquano ruin dream?"
"Me not mean to ruin dream," Maquano said, only to face palm for speaking like that. "Enough about that for now. You better be ready, because apparently I've received news that that boy is invading your castle at this very moment."
"Stoneard is confused," the rock monster scratched the back of his head. "You talking to Stoneard?"
"Yes, I'm talking to you. I'm telling you there's someone here who's trying to steal that Planet Star Piece you hold. He's already got the first one, and I don't want him getting any more!"
"Oh… Stoneard understand now. Stoneard SMASH intruder!" Stoneard growled, slamming his fists into the ground, making the room shake a bit.
"Yes, I want you to smash that boy," Maquano demanded. "However, you must be careful with him. Apparently he's a fast one. You may have all of that strength in you, but you're slow as molasses. You better have a plan ready."
"...Stoneard suddenly forgot what you said," Stoneard said upon blinking.
Maquano smacked his forehead as he shut off his monitor.
"All right, this room is a bit…"
Right before Chopper could finish his sentence, he tripped and fell over on the ground. Two Darklings happened to notice him tripping and quickly flew toward him.
"Ha! What a trick that was!" the first Darkling laughed.
"I've gotta give that a ten! ...On stupid!" the second Darkling agreed.
"Ow... I hate it when this stuff happens..." Chopper groaned as he slowly got up before getting hit in the face by some energy balls thrown by the Darklings. "Hey, stop that!"
"Make us," the first Darkling replied before getting knocked into the wall by Chopper's Stone Punch. The other Darkling simply looked at him in surprise and tried to quickly attack, but Chopper ended up jumping on it instead.
"That takes care of them," Chopper said before he opened the door into a large outside area of the castle. In the center, there happened to be quicksand. Some kind of weird, monstrous sand worm was settling down there, ready to attack anything in its sight.
When he looked at the sand worm, it was revealed to be a Tatara Worm. It had a large jaw capable of swallowing a whole Rocko! It could also spit some kind of poison as well. But what was nice was that its weak spot was actually its mouth.
"That thing looks freaky," Chopper commented, watching the Tatara Worm burrow into the quicksand. "This area doesn't look like it'll be fun to go through..."
Not only that, but a couple of Rockos were patrolling the outer part of the area too. There didn't appear to be quicksand on the stone platforms they were on, but that didn't mean the whole outer frame of the area had no quicksand… Some sections did require some jumping.
"Which way to go…?" Chopper pondered, seeing the Tatara Worm rise from the sand in front of him. It tried spitting poison at him, but he turned into a statue of Maquano to prevent himself from being poisoned. "I don't know how I can hurt this thing… Maybe I should spit its attack back at it?"
Chopper removed his Stone ability and inhaled that poison spat at him next. He spat it back at the Tatara Worm when its mouth opened and caused it to scream in pain. With that, he jumped toward it and kicked it in the eye, making it fall over on the ground in defeat.
"I...guess it's defeated?"
He ignored it for now, since there was no way of it getting up at the moment. Chopper took the way to the left and found a Rocko standing there, giving off that same, stupid expression. He simply jumped over the Rocko without getting hit and jumped over to the door ahead. Unfortunately, there appeared to be something blocking the way. A stone block, to be exact.
"Wait a second… I can't break this?" Chopper frowned as he tried to kick and punch it. He was only hurting his fists from this. "OW! This isn't working!"
As he winced and let a small tear come down his face, the Tatara Worm was able to get up and let out a huge roar as it burrowed deep in the quicksand. Meanwhile, Chopper decided to inhale the Rocko near him with all his strength and spat it at the stone block. Even then, it didn't do a thing. At this point, he needed to think.
"What could smash a block like that?"
As he pondered, he noticed that in the center of the quicksand, there happened to be some sort of weapon. It looked like a wooden hammer with a yellow star on the face of the hammer. It didn't look very useful, but it was better than nothing.
"How am I supposed to get that when it's in the quicksand?" Chopper wondered. Suddenly, an idea struck him. He opened his mouth and used his inhaling ability to get the hammer out of the quicksand instead.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't come out
"I can't do it…" Chopper panted. "It's too much for me…"
He noticed the Tatara Worm pop out of the sand and attempt to bite him. Luckily, he managed to move out of the way just in time and give it a good kick to the side of its face to leave it stunned.
"Hey! That gives me an idea!" Chopper jumped on top of the worm and used it as some sort of small road to reach over to the hammer. Since it was close to the center, he managed to pull it out and jump back onto the ground. "I hope this works..."
The four-year-old dropped the hammer into his mouth and ate it whole. When he opened his eyes, he noticed that there was bow a twisted cord of blue and white fabric tied around the top of his head.
Copy Ability: Hammer
This weapon is so powerful, that it would be considered cheap by many. Flatten your foes and smash through even stronger blocks! Enemies should beware of the Hammer Flip...
"This is it? Well this kind of stinks..."
He heard another sound and happened to notice the Tatara Worm getting back up. It was about to attack, but Chopper decided to put his hammer to use and performed a vertical smash, defeating it for good this time. With that, he walked over to the stone block and smashed it.
"Wow! I can't believe this thing is so powerful!" Chopper gaped. "I wonder what else this thing can do..."
He entered through the door and happened to find some stairs going up. He smashed the Rocko and Darkling in his way and climbed up the stairs due to them being a bit too tall for him to walk up, leading him to complain about them.
After climbing to the top, he kicked the stone door open to another room. Unlike that one room with the worm, this was inside. There happened to be a couple of poles that were sticking out of the quicksand down below, and he could even see a pole stretching across the walls near a small path near the quicksand.
Chopper took a deep breath and used his speed to jump from pole to pole. To be a little stylish, he tried spinning on them to the small stone pathway.
Unfortunately, this didn't turn out good for him when he felt a little dizzy, which nearly made him fall into the quicksand, but he managed to grab the pole just in time. After quickly shaking his head, he swung himself over to a stone block blocking the door. With his hammer, he smashed it with no problem.
Upon entering the next room, Chopper saw that it was a simple hallway with two Rockos patrolling. What was also interesting was when he saw the two Tataras from before heading over to the door ahead.
"All right, man. When we deliver these rocks, we'll go find a stupid dentist and get your teeth fixed." the first Tatara assured as the other was still covering its mouth in pain. "You think you can hang in there?"
"I hope so…" the second Tatara moaned. "Why did I have to eat that dumb rock? In fact, why do they like rocks?"
"Well Stoneard's…not the smartest bulb out there. Although, despite lacking much of a brain, he does seem to have some great strength. …But he's slow. Rocks help him get stronger."
"Oh… Well, can we just deliver these already?"
"Yeah, we should. We're not too far anyway."
After heading through the door, Chopper readied his hammer as one of the Rockos spotted him and began to roll toward him like a bowling ball.
"Take this!" Chopper cried out as he spun himself around, along with his hammer and hit the Rocko dead-on. He managed to send it flying across the room and right into the other Rocko, making them both crumble right in front of him. Smiling, he ran to the door ahead and headed into another room with a staircase. This one, however, seemed to be more of a spiral staircase than a normal one.
Shrugging, he began to run up the spiral staircase with ease until he reached the third floor. There was no door leading into another hallway. There was just one long little road with a couple of gray Rockos with more of a build. Their faces looked more grim than the normal, brown Rockos, however.
"I don't like the looks of these guys…" Chopper trailed while he watched them patrol the area.
"What? Me smell something!" the Grim Rocko looked over at Chopper. "Me find intruder! Crush intruder!"
It curled up in a ball and began to roll its way toward Chopper. However, he was ready to fight back, whipping his hammer out and smashing it. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough when the Grim Rocko managed to crush Chopper as flat as a pancake with its fists.
"Ack! Not this again!"
"Ho ho ho ho! Now you feel pain!"
Chopper managed to unflatten himself…somehow…and stomped on the Grim Rocko's head. With one little kick, he was able to leave it stunned for a couple of seconds. He quickly finished it off with one vertical hammer swing.
"Phew... That was close."
Although there were a lot of Darklings and Grim Rockos up ahead, Chopper struck a block and made a Star pop out. When he grabbed a hold of it, he began to sparkle once more.
"Hey, it's just like that thing I found in the other castle!" Chopper gaped. "I think I can easily get through here!"
He began to run at incredible speeds through the hallway, destroying everything in his sight. Not even the powerful Grim Rockos were able to withstand this.
After reaching the end of the hallway, his invincibility wore out, to his dismay. However, it wasn't going to stop him from moving on. Upon entering the next room, he saw two moving platforms popping out of the wall in the hallway and a quicksand pit down below.
"I wonder where that goes down..." Chopper wondered as he jumped across the platforms. "But I don't think I want to jump down there..."
There wasn't much else in this room, unfortunately, so he moved on to a room that was pretty dark. He couldn't find his way around, but he did see a stone block near him. After smashing it, he didn't find anything inside except for a lantern. It had a little light, but probably not enough for the whole castle. So, he simply picked it up and decided to see what was around him. There was quicksand on the stone floor, so he had to be extra cautious around here.
"Hmmmm…. Nothing special around here." Chopper sped through the quicksand and reached the end of the room. It wasn't a big room, but the door was sealed. But what he didn't see before were two unlit torches. So, using the lantern, he lit up the two torches and opened the door. "I hope this leads to somewhere interesting..."
This next room was apparently more of a place where people played board games or games like chess. However, these Rockos that were sitting at the stone tables were playing something a little different. It had to do something with rocks and…more rocks. Just about everything involved rocks. And do you wanna know what the name of the game was?
"Me will give you two rocks for big rock," a Rocko said, holding two small rocks in its large hand. "Rocks are combined into big rock like yours. Will you give rocks or no?"
"Rock good. Rock good." the second Rocko responded. "You give rocks, I give big rock. Me have rocks that are edible."
The two Rockos handed over their rocks, but the one who received the smaller rocks noticed they were fake. Soon enough, the one who received the fake ones punched the other in the face, and a brawl commenced.
"You give fake rocks! Now me crush you!"
Not only did the two Rockos fight, but all of the other Rockos in the room began to join in. Some were punching, some were ramming into each other with their heads, but probably the dumbest one was the slap fights. Only two of them were getting into a slap fight, though.
"Me get cheated in game!" the second Rocko growled, pinning the first Rocko to the ground and punching it as many times as it can. "Now me crush you with fists! You be crushed into tiny pieces!"
"Over me dead body!" the first Rocko responded, punching the other in the face and getting up. It grabbed a rock and tried to bash it at the second Rocko, but it simply ate it with no problem and attacked the first Rocko with an uppercut punch.
However, they all paused when a certain pale green boy walked into the room with an innocent look on his face, as if he didn't know what was going on.
"Ummmmmm… Why are you guys fighting?" Chopper asked.
The Rockos looked at each other as they got up, but they didn't seem to give him any threatening looks. Chopper thought things would be all right for him…
…Until he heard something echoing through the room.
"Stoneard must speak to Rockos at the moment," All of the Rockos listened carefully, as well as Chopper. "Lord Maquano tell Stoneard that some boy is roaming Rocky Castle. He be pale green with two antennae. If you find boy, Stoneard reward you greatly with rocks."
However, due to the Rockos being rather…dumb, they appeared bewildered as they looked at Chopper. It was as if they suddenly forgot what Stoneard just said a minute ago. To Chopper, this was good.
"Don't you idiots know ANYTHING?!" Two yellow Darklings flew over to Chopper and grabbed a hold of his arms. "THIS is the boy that Stoneard was taking about! Don't just stand there! GET HIM!"
"W-Wait! Why are you guys teaming up on me?" Chopper cried, giving them all a sad look. "I've gone through enough already! Can't you give me a break?"
"Oh, great… Enough with the innocence already! Ever since you defeated Trinado, we know you're an issue. You already have one of the Planet Star Pieces."
"Yeah, now finish this kid off, Rockos!"
Chopper blinked for a moment, and he gained a serious look as he swung himself around while his arms were still being held by the Darklings and launched himself across the room. He landed on one of the Rockos, but he was able to bounce off each of their heads to a platform that was up on the wall. He looked at where he stood and then down at the Darklings.
"Wait... That thing happened again?" Chopper gawked, feeling disappointed. "I wish I could do that all on my own..."
"Boy too high for us," one Rocko said, trying to jump for Chopper. "We don't have strength to jump. Me too heavy."
"Ugh… Looks like we have to do the work." the first Darkling face palmed as it flew toward Chopper. However, the young boy was prepared. He whipped his hammer out and bashed the Darkling head on. The other Darkling hurled a yellow energy ball, but Chopper jumped and defeated it with one single hammer attack.
"Well, I guess I should just get away from these…" Chopper stopped when he felt the platform he was on shake. Apparently the Rockos were trying to knock him down, not looking too happy.
"If you don't come down, then me make you!" a Rocko growled, trying to ram into the wall.
Chopper looked for another platform in sight, but he did see something else on the ceiling. It was a made a large jump to a pole on the wall. He swung himself up to the chandelier afterward and tried to make it fall. But, his hands couldn't pull it down. Instead, he decided to smash it with his hammer, which was apparently made of stone. With that, it started to fall.
"Me see something coming down," one Rocko said as the chandelier crushed all of the Rockos in the room, and only one person remained in the room. Chopper himself was covered in dirt and some small bruises. Despite the small injury, he was all right, although he felt himself get somewhat teary from the pain.
To his surprise, he also saw a hole in the ceiling, causing the tears to suddenly go away. A pole was sticking out from there, but with the chandelier gone, it might be a little difficult to reach it. Thankfully, there was still that pole to get up there. Chopper grabbed a hold of the pole on the wall and swung himself up to the other one to grab a hold of it.
"Wow… So that rainbow heart really is helping me with stuff like this…" Chopper remarked. "But I wish I could fly…"
He climbed up the pole and went through the ceiling. What surprised him was when it took him into a small room on the fourth floor.
"Wait… Is this the top floor?" Chopper wondered, smashing a block near him to reveal another hallway. The windows happened to show the vast desert. He could even see the pyramid off in the distance. "I've gone pretty far… But I'm not turning back now."
Chopper saw two Grim Rockos blocking the way to the door ahead. He simply made a dash toward them, not even holding back. This caused him to ram into the Grim Rockos with his hammer and make them fall over, turning into smithereens. Chopper stopped in front of the door and pulled it to find another hallway. This time it had platforms sticking on the wall and a pit with quicksand down below.
And what was also surprising was the two Tataras from before were heading over to the door ahead. The door that led over to Stoneard's room.
"All right, Larry! Soon we'll be at Stoneard's room, and then we'll be able to deliver these rocks once and for all!" the Tatara Soldier smiled. "You ready to get the heck out of here after this?"
"I sure want to," Larry responded, still holding its mouth in pain. "Stupid rock... It just had to ruin my teeth. It's never been this bad like that time I bit a jawbreaker!"
"Ummmmm… Yeah. Cool story, bro. Let's just go already."
They thought things would get better for them. That was… Until Chopper crossed the quicksand pit and got right behind them.
"Stop right there!" Chopper cried, pulling his hammer out.
"Wait… What?" the soldier turned around to see Chopper facing them. "Wait a second… You're the one Lord Maquano's been talking about? But... You're just a little kid!"
"Well, I'm here to get that Planet Star Piece from the big bad guy here!" Chopper declared.
"Well we need to deliver rocks! And we're not letting you get the Planet Star Piece!" Larry growled, drawing its blaster and firing. Chopper got knocked away by the blast, but he slowly got himself up and dodged the next blast fired at him.
"Whoa… This kid's fast…" the Tatara gaped as it got rammed by Chopper, followed by being bashed in the head by his hammer. "What the heck are you?"
"Well... My name is Chopper..." Chopper trailed. "I won't hurt you guys anymore if you let me through. It would be a lot-"
A shot went right above his head, which happened to come from Larry.
"You should know your…ow!…place better, kid!" Larry snarled. "Like we'd listen to you!"
"Well fine then! Be that way!"
Chopper jumped toward Larry and bashed it in the head as well. He sent the Tartara flying out the window (unintentionally) with one last horizontal swing.
"Hey! Larry could get a bigger injury from that!" the other Tatara barked, firing rapidly at Chopper. He got hit by one, but he swung himself around vertically and send the enemy flying out the window.
"Whew! That takes care of that!" Chopper sighed, looking over at the door in front of him. "All right… Time to go in!"
Taking a deep breath, he pushed the door open into the next room, hoping to get the Planet Star Piece once and for all.
Now that we reached this chapter, do you know what's coming up next? That's right! We're having a boss chapter next time! Hopefully that should be interesting to some of you guys. It should be pretty interesting! ...Hopefully!