Chapter 14: Battle With the Undertoe
"Mommy, do I really have to go here?"
"It's OK, Chopper. There's nothing to worry about going to Daycare!" Tonberria assured, holding her son's hand as they were making their way to the red building ahead. It was rather small with a couple of large windows that were covered by curtains. The purple grass felt just as pure as the blue sky was.
"But you and daddy won't be there..."
"I know we won't, but you will be safe here. If you went with your dad and I to work, maybe you would not be as safe. Fighting against forces such as Nightmare is not an easy feat, especially for us Star Warriors." Tonberria looked back at Toalune and gave him an irritated look. "Toalune... Didn't I tell you not to read manga while we took Chopper to Daycare?"
"No, come on, Tonberria! I'm getting to the awesome part!" Toalune complained, almost in the way of a child. "You know how awesome Sakura Sho-jos is, right? We even watched it together!"
"Yes, I know, but that's not something we should be discussing around Chopper! And even then, the show isn't necessarily the best thing in the world..."
Toalune was left gaping. "Seriously? It's the bomb!"
"Well, making four girls gain powers from an accident isn't exactly the most original thing in the world," Tonberria sighed.
"Well Chopper was an accident, you know..."
"Mommy, what does Daddy mean by me being an accident?" Chopper asked innocently.
"Ummmmm... Well..." Toalune stammered, her eyes widened. "Errrr... Don't listen to what your father just said. He doesn't necessarily mean it." she looked back at Toalune while gritting her teeth. "Right?"
"Oh... Uhhhh... Yeah! It was all a, uh, joke!" Toalune leaned closer to his wife. "Does this mean I'm in trouble?"
Tonberria ignored him and opened the door to the Daycare. There was one single hallway leading up to a large room ahead.
"Mommy, do I really have to go here?" Chopper asked.
"Well, we have no other choice, Chopper," Tonberria explained. "You don't need to worry. You'll be just fine here. This will give you an opportunity to make friends in this place! Two year olds shouldn't just stay at home, you know."
"But what if they don't like me?"
"I'm sure you'll be just fine, Chopper! And even if some people don't like you, you don't have to talk to them! Just ask your dad! He's had an experience like..." When Tonberria turned her head to Toalune, she noticed him gawking at the manga, so she snatched it from him.
"Aw, come on, Tonberria!" whined Toalune. "I was just getting to the good part!"
"You should be paying attention to what's going on rather than this comic book! Your son is about to go to Daycare! You should say goodbye to him!"
"Oh... Right." Toalune walked over to Chopper and knelt down. "Listen here, son... We'll be back here to pick you up at three o'clock. You'll only be here for about four hours, so in the meantime, try to have fun here, OK?"
"Ummmmm... OK, Daddy..."
"Good. I love you, son." Toalune said while looking away rubbing the back of his head.
"Just remember, we'll be back at three to pick you up," Tonberria reminded before giving her son a kiss on a cheek. "Have fun!"
Chopper watched his parents leave with an expression of uncertainty. But for some reason, it almost looked like everything around him was fading away, until he suddenly felt pain in his head.
Chopper quickly sat up in the pile of coconuts surrounding him and rubbed his eyes. He noticed his parents were no longer around, and he didn't have the appearance of a two year old.
"What the... What happened? ...And why does my head hurt?"
"Yar! So I guess that woke him up!"
Looking up, Chopper discovered a pirate and also a snowman enemy called a Chilly looking down at him. "So this is the kid that's been a major pain in everyone's side as of lately? He's so small! Then again, I'm not much bigger..."
Chopper blinked for a moment before trying to pull himself together and get out of the hole he was apparently in. The pirate and Chilly stepped back and watched him slowly climb out. While he could move, the injuries left on him left him a bit weak.
"So ye managed to wake up, kid... Congratulations."
Seeing the pirate and Chilly, Chopper quickly got in a fighting stance, but the Chilly raised its yellow, circular arm while saying, "Relax, kid. We're not the enemy. You should be thanking us for waking you up anyway."
"Who are you two?" Chopper wondered.
"Aye! Me name's Scruffy, matey! An' he here is Chillio!" Scruffy introduced. "I'm guessin' yer after Captain Steelfoot, aren't ye?"
"He does have something I need... Why do you ask?"
"Well, I used to work fer that guy, believe it or not. Back before he lost his foot to that sea monster, actually! We were great buddies until he ended up replacin' his foot with a steel one. He started to get angry at me, blamin' me fer him losin' his foot. Since he rarely spoke to me anymore, I chose to leave his crew."
"I have a hut somewhere on Aqua Island, too," Chillio mentioned. "I used to live in the snowy area of this planet, but I just got sick of it and came here instead. Good thing us Chillies can't melt from this weather! Take that, global warming!"
"Oh... OK... Well, I was just wondering if you knew where I can find Steelfoot's hideout. I was told by someone name Kumakan that he's going to his hideout."
A light bulb suddenly appeared over Chillio's head. "Ah! Then I believe I might have something just for you! Stay here, all right?"
Chopper was left confused as both Chillio and Scruffy left the scene. In the meantime, he approached the crater and inhaled the coconuts below like a vacuum. However, while eating them, there was one thing that he couldn't help but think about. That dark power that suddenly sparked in his mind gave him a feeling of uncertainty. Perhaps these powers weren't truly good?
And then there was that strange dream he had back when he was first being taken to the Daycare. Just thinking about it made him shiver. Sure, there were some people who bullied him, but there was something he remembered being worse. Much worse.
To try to clear his mind, he decided to watch the ocean waves off at the distance. The sound of the seagulls chirping and the waves also made the scenario very peaceful. He even felt in peace.
Chopper was about to close his eyes and listen peacefully, but he heard some footsteps from behind. Turning around, he saw Chillio carrying a surfboard that appeared in a mixture of pale green, green and yellow. There were two other surfboards they carried as well.
"What are those?" Chopper asked before seeing the pale green board flying in his direction. He managed to catch it before it barely hit his face. "I've never seen anything like it..."
"That is called a surfboard," Chillio explained. "You use those to move over the water. They're pretty useful when you're going through waves too."
"Speakin' of waves... I smell a storm comin'." Scruffy mentioned, pointing at the dark clouds off at the distance. "Ye better be careful out there."
"But I never used this thing before!" Chopper cried. "You expect me to use this?!"
Upon realizing this, Chillio sweat dropped and dropped his surfboard. "Oh... Well, then that's a problem. I guess this calls for some teaching."
Chopper tilted his head in confusion, making Chillio sigh and gesture him to go over to the water. When they finally reached the water, the Chilly set his snowboard on the wet sand and jumped on top of it. Using his disembodied, circular hands, he began to paddle like a dog on the sand to get the surfboard into the water. Chopper tried to follow him, but he ended up paddling too fast, leaving sand in his face and large marks where the sand once was.
Noticing this failure, Scruffy face palmed and decided to show him. Unfortunately, the same procedure happened, only this time, sand got in Scruffy's face.
"You're paddlin' way too fast!" Scruffy half shouted, making Chopper stop. "If ye continue like that, yer goin' to dig the whole beach up!"
"Oh..." Chopper soon stopped and looked up at Scruffy. "So you have any suggestions?"
"I don't know, maybe ye should slow DOWN?"
Chopper decided to listen and decided to slow down with his paddling. This time, the surfboard was moving off the sand and onto the water. There happened to be a wave approaching, so he forced himself to paddle after discovering that the surfboard would move faster.
"Keep paddlin' boy! Ye'll get over that wave if ye do so!" Scruffy shouted, now on the ocean as well. "Just make sure ye don't fall off yer board!"
After going over the wave, Chopper could see Chillio off at the distance passing by a rock in the shape of a spike. Only this time, he was standing up.
"So, when you feel comfortable, you should be able to stand and surf like a boss," Chillio informed, balancing himself with his hands spread out. "Like this!"
Chopper decided to try and copy Chillio and stood up while going down the wave. But upon spreading his arms out, he was starting to lose balance on the board. Thankfully, two hands were able to hold him from behind.
"Don't worry, I got ye," Scruffy assured.
"I don't understand..." Chopper trailed, regaining balance. "Why are you helping me?"
"'Cause during the time when Steelfoot joined that demon, I ended up hearin' him say that this planet was goin' to be gone if the Power Star was not in the way. It was actually before I left, an' it was another reason why I left him as well. Considerin' that yer after Steelfoot, ye must be tryin' to take somethin' he has, right?"
"Yeah, I'm trying to get that Power Star Piece..."
"So helpin' ye out would be fer the better then! I don't want Clara to go, 'cause without it, there'd be no ocean!"
"Oh... I guess that makes sense."
Chopper paused when he heard Chillio yelling about some obstacles in the way. Apparently up ahead there were a couple of floating crates in the way, and one was rather close to Chopper's surfboard.
Hearing Chillio shout forced Chopper to jump over the crate while his feet were still on the board. Scruffy did the same thing before surfing on ahead.
"Wait, where are you going?!" Chopper cried.
"Well, I believe ye've learned enough fer now," Scruffy answered. "Let's see how ye do on yer own!"
Chopper had a look of uncertainty at first, but he tried to force himself to try. The next wave was coming just ahead, and there was no backing away from it. He put on a determined face and went up the wave.
"I kind of wish I still had that ice power and that parasol..." Chopper thought, reaching the top of the wave and surfing down it afterward. Now there were more crates around, as well as a few bottles slightly floating. He could see both Scruffy and Chilly ahead, as well as the darker clouds.
He could also get a glimpse of some kind of hideout ahead. Seeing it made him smile, but the lightning ahead did make him worry.
Looking around him, Chopper watched a few fish jump out of the water, as well as a few mermaids that were soaring in the air before diving back into the water. He almost wanted to know a bit about them. Almost.
However, just as he thought this ride would be safe, a tentacle rose from the waters and tried to smack him. Chopper ducked like a pancake to dodge the swiping tentacle just in time.
"Huh?! Oh, no! Don't tell me this thing's still after me!" Chopper cried, seeing a shadow in front of him. Looking behind, the Undertoe was holding a giant club and was ready to swing it down at him. Chopper started paddling as fast as he could to avoid the giant club that swung into the water. Still, the giant splash sent Chopper and his board closer to the storm.
Both Scruffy and Chillio noticed Chopper land in between them. They were about to ask what happened, but they looked behind them and found the answer.
"Thar she blows!" Scruffy exclaimed. "So the Undertoe still lingers here..."
"Why is this thing after me?!" Chopper cried.
"Yar... The Undertoe is known fer comin' back when its opponents usually get away. I take it ye had a rough encounter with this monster."
Chopper slowly gave him a nod. "Is there a way to stop it, though?"
"Try beating it! I bet it won't bother you if you teach it a little lesson!" suggested Chillio.
"But... I don't know how to stop it!"
"Ye'll find out," Scruffy assured. "Fer now, it's best to just ignore it and get movin'! We're gettin' closer to the storm."
Indeed they were. The seas were starting to get heavier, and the clear blue sky that lingered above them was slowly being covered by clouds. Because of how wavy the water was at this point, surfing was starting to get difficult. Not only was Chopper having issues, but so were Scruffy and Chillio.
A lightning bolt happened to strike near them, leaving Chopper nearly startled like the other two. The waves were getting heavier, and now it was starting to rain.
"Well... I've faced worse." Scruffy declared. "The harsh seas are no match fer me!"
"We're getting much closer to the hideout," Chillio stated, noticing the hideout getting much bigger. "At this rate, I think we should-"
The sound of a cannonball being fired made the three look at a smaller pirate ship to their right. Rather than being a cannonball, a large missile was coming their way. Chillio was unfortunate to be caught in the attack and thrown off his surfboard.
"No!" Chopper cried, seeing Chillio drift away in the water.
"Leave me be! Save yourself and don't turn back!" Chillio shouted, his voice soon fading as the waves carried him away.
"He's right," Scruffy agreed. "We can't turn back now. We're in the storm, and it ain't easy gettin' out of it. Besides, if ye need that Power Star Piece, then we're willin' to do whatever it takes to 'elp ye!"
"O-OK... Thanks..." Chopper trailed before noticing another missile coming their way. This time, it was being aimed at him. But Scruffy immediately took action and pushed Chopper and his surfboard out of the way, taking the hit instead. "Not you too!"
"Listen, kid..." Scruffy began, now in the water. "Just keep movin'. Ye can go on without Chillio and I. Just believe in yerself an' ye just might make it! Fer now, I must bid ye adieu. Give me regards to Steelfoot when ye meet him! Tell him er about to kick his skeletal butt!"
Chopper slowly gave him a nod before he began to drift away like Chillio. Now only he was remaining in the stormy weather with a bunch of pirate ships belonging to Steelfoot's crew. More missiles were coming his way – only these ones were smaller.
Thankfully, none of the missiles managed to hit him and only went into the water to explode. But that only kept Chopper off balance and nearly made him fall off his surfboard.
His antennas started to twitch when he heard some pirates laughing as more missiles were being fired his way. Unlike last time, they were coming directly at Chopper and were homing in on him. Some pirates were starting to laugh, realizing that they were going to sink him.
But Chopper was not going to go down without a fight. At least, he didn't think so. He opened his mouth and started to inhale some of the missiles. Swallowing them earned him the Bomb ability.
"Errr... Did the cap'n ever say something about this kid bein' able to eat missiles?" one pirate gaped.
"I don't think so..." another pirate answered, rubbing the side of his skull. "But we're not goin' to let that stop us! Mateys! Blow him off that surfboard!"
Pirates starting lighting fuses and watched as more missiles were being fired down at Chopper. Now with a useful ability, Chopper took out some bombs and threw them in the air, letting the missiles hit it instead. He also threw a bomb into one of the cannons pirates were using to fire missiles, destroying it and leaving a pirate close to the weapon covered in soot.
More bombs were being thrown at ships, and many pirates were trying their best to throw them back. Of course, they only blew up in their hands covered them in soot. Seeing this made Chopper feel a little better.
"That's it! This kid's messin' with us!" one pirate sneered. "It's time to bring out the big guns!"
Two pirates came running to the ship's side with a larger cannon and proceeded to fire much larger missiles at Chopper. "See how ye'll like this, kid! Yer bound to be flyin' off yer board within seconds!"
To their disappointment, someone had already beat them to the punch. The Undertoe suddenly rose in front of Chopper and smacked him upward, smashing his surfboard in half as well. Not only that, but Chopper's Bomb ability was knocked away and transformed into a yellow star, which fell into the stormy waters and shattered.
"Oh, no! Why did this have to happen?!" Chopper cried.
"Aye! It be the Undertoe!" one pirate cried. "Run fer yer lives!"
Many pirates tried to move their ships away, but it was too difficult for them to escape with the heavy waters. Chopper, on the other hand, was forced to dodge the Undertoe's tentacles while still in the air. There were also the missiles he had to worry about as well.
When the missiles were getting closer, Chopper noticed they were around his size, or even a bit bigger than him. "I think I might have an idea!"
Once a missile got close to him, he jumped on top of it and managed to gain control of its movement. To him, it felt like moving on a surfboard – except this time, it was in the air with enemies trying to kill him.
The Undertoe tried grabbing him, but instead, it was hit by a couple of missiles that were meant to attack Chopper. Turning to the pirate ship to its left, it dove into the water and rose in front of the ship, leaving pirates scared of the monster and screaming like little girls.
"Mateys! We cannot let this sea monster get in our way!" the pirate in charge exclaimed. "We're not cowards! This thing can easily be taken down! Load the missiles and open fire on the Undertoe!"
Some pirates chose to hide behind barrels, while some brave ones chose to be brave and load the cannons. However, the Undertoe was much faster and managed to knock the cannons off the ships. It even managed to grab a hold of the ship and dive underwater, attempting to pull the ship down with it.
All Chopper and the other ships could do was watch as the pirate ship was dragged into the water to never be seen again. The only thing that did come up, however, were broken pieces from the ship.
"Aye... Those pirates may never be seen again..." another pirate on a different ship trailed. "Those who get dragged under the sea and trapped ferever by the Undertoe. An' as long as we fear this monster, it'll come back..."
"But while we're at it... Blow that boy outta the skies!" a different pirate shouted, turning his attention to Chopper, who was actually flying down toward them. "Uhhh... Scratch that! Retreat!"
Many pirates dove out of the way as soon as Chopper crashed into one of the cannons. Thankfully, he jumped off the missile as soon as it exploded and landed safely on the ship. But because of the rain and cold wind blowing, Chopper ended up letting out a sneeze, which caught many of the pirate's attention.
"Aye! He's on the ship!"
"What do we do?"
"We stop 'im! That's what!"
After agreeing, the pirates drew their cutlasses and proceeded to charge at the pale green boy. Seeing the sharp objects, Chopper jumped out of the way and began to land on the pirate's heads until he was at least near one of the ship's mast.
The pirates charged at him once again, but this time Chopper began to run up the mast as fast as he could until he reached the top. Some pirates growled and started to climb up, only at a slower pace.
"So, are ye gonna stay up there like a coward? Or are ye goin' to actually put up a fight against us?" the pirate nearing the top growled, pointing his cutlass at Chopper. "Ye can't run ferever!"
Chopper was unsure how to respond to that question. It turns out he didn't need to answer when they saw the Undertoe rise out of the water again. Seeing Chopper, it swung one of its tentacles at the ship's mast, break it and causing Chopper to plummet onto the deck.
"Yar har har! I guess the Undertoe is doin' us a favor! Let's make 'im walk the plank fer messin' with us! He'll-"
The pirate stopped when he felt his legs get grabbed by the Undertoe, which proceeded to hang him over so it could get a better look at the pirate. Having no interest, it threw the pirate far from the area and began to knock other pirates off the ship with the exception of Chopper.
With all the pirates off the ship, the Undertoe finally brought its attention to Chopper and gave him a glare.
"I don't understand... What did I ever do to you?!" Chopper cried, dodging a tentacle that was about to smash him.
The Undertoe gave him an explanation through gestures, such as one where it was showing it losing one of its tentacles. Another gesture seemed to explain something about territory.
"I still don't understand you... Honestly, I just want to get out of this mess already. Is there anything we can do to settle this without hurting me?"
The Undertoe merely shook its head before trying to squish him again. Chopper had jumped out of the way instead, but instead of giving the Undertoe a look of uncertainty, he took a deep breath and tried to put on a brave face.
"Fine then! If you don't want to go away, I'll make you go away!"
Turning to a cutlass lying on the ground, he inhaled the blade and swallowed it. A captain's hat with a skull of Chopper with crossbones appeared on his head, and he also wore an eyepatch on his left eye. He was also carrying a cutlass that was a perfect length for someone like himself.
The Undertoe: ?
"Undertoe, it'll be you who's going under!" Chopper shouted, raising his cutlass at the Undertoe. "Hey... I don't know why, but saying something like that was kinda fun! It-"
Chopper was interrupted when he felt the Undertoe slam a tentacle right behind him, causing him to jump off the ground in shock. Regardless, he swung his cutlass at the tentacle and forced it to stop attacking for a moment. It let out a small cry, but that only angered the sea monster.
Opening its mouth, it began to spew ink at Chopper and the ship's deck, making things a little slippery for Chopper. He stabbed the wooden floor with his blade to prevent himself from slipping. The Undertoe took this time to try to smack him around the boat. It threw him at the broken mast afterward and watched him land on the slippery, inky deck.
"Bleeauugh! This deck tastes gross!" Chopper gagged, unfortunate enough to taste the ink that got on his tongue. He stuck his tongue out in disgust and began to spit. "It's almost as gross as cooties!"
He quickly stood up and kept a safe distance from the Undertoe. The rain was fortunate to wash away the ink after a couple of seconds, allowing Chopper to jab at one of the Undertoe's tentacles. It screeched for a moment before grabbing Chopper and hanging him upside down over the ship. Since Chopper's hands were free, he was able to attack the tentacle and force the Undertoe to release him. He managed to land on the deck safely, to his relief.
"Is this all this ability has?" Chopper thought while swinging at another one of the Undertoe's tentacles. "It's just like my Sword ability, only this one is not as good!"
Having enough, the Undertoe grabbed the whole ship and used all of its strength in order to tilt it. Many crates and barrels began to tumble down Chopper's direction, but he managed to at least slice through one in his way before grabbing the ship's mast. The Undertoe tried shaking the ship, but that didn't make Chopper let go.
However, a lit-up light bulb suddenly formed over the Undertoe's head, and soon it was backing away from the ship.
"Huh? What is it doing?" Chopper wondered until he saw ink coming his way. "Eep! Not good!"
However, the ink didn't appear to actually hit Chopper. He noticed he was completely unscathed by the slippery substance. However, he did feel his hands slipping off the mast, so he looked up to see what the issue was.
His hands were unfortunate to slip off the inked mast, making him plummet to his doom. Chopper quickly shut his eyes until he noticed he wasn't moving, so he opened his eyes and noticed his cutlass was jabbed into the wooden ship. Apparently he was not hanging for his life with nothing else to help him.
While the Undertoe was pleased to see him fall, it was irritated when it found Chopper still hanging onto the ship. Nevertheless, it decided to go for round two and ink up the ship again.
"How am I supposed to beat this thing now?" Chopper thought. "I can't even hurt this thing!"
When he opened his mouth slightly, he almost felt something was stuck in his mouth. Confused, he opened wider and noticed something was now sticking out of his mouth. The Undertoe was even left confused when he saw what was now appearing in front of him.
A cannon had just stuck out from Chopper's mouth.
Chopper quickly shut his eyes when he felt a cannonball fire out from his mouth and straight at the Undertoe. Its eyes widened as it got hit in the face, forcing it over on its back. A few of its tentacles hit the ship from underneath, forcing it right-side up once again.
"Phew... That was close..." Chopper sighed, sitting on the ship's deck and taking a few deep breaths. "Did I suddenly shoot something out of my mouth? That was so weird..."
Despite his confusing look, the Undertoe was angrier than ever. The octopus-like sea monster was now steaming with rage, and now its eyes changed from blue to a fiery orange. Its orange body changed to an angry red as well.
"Uh oh... I don't think I made this thing happy..." the boy trailed, noticing the bruise left on the Undertoe. "I only made it madder!"
The Undertoe raised all eight of its tentacles and proceeded to throw them onto the boat. Chopper got hit by at least three of them, leaving him dazed for a small moment. Once he shook off the daze, Chopper noticed the Undertoe getting ready to turn the entire ship over. To make sure the Undertoe wouldn't let go, its suction cups stuck to the ship and refused to let go.
Chopper tried swing his cutlass at its tentacles, but they hardly did much to stop the Undertoe. "Oh, man... This thing won't even let go!"
That's when he suddenly remembered something back on Aqua Island. Back when he encountered this sea monster, he had remembered something that helped him escape its clutches.
"Maybe I can try that again, but this time by hurting it..." Chopper thought, jumping onto one of the tentacles and using it to run up to the Undertoe. The octopus-like creature took notice and lifted its tentacle to get him off, but Chopper simply slid down while opening his mouth. Seeing the cannon stick out from his mouth made the Undertoe tremble in fear.
With one large boom, the Undertoe was hit in the face by another cannonball and forced onto its back. Chopper had managed to land on a crate that was floating in the water and faced the sea creature when it finally got up.
"Are you OK?" Chopper asked, despite this thing trying to hurt him. When the Undertoe took a look at him, it was starting to shake in fear of him and quickly escaped by diving into the water. "Wait! Where are you going?!"
As it began to swim away from him, the rain and thunder had finally stopped, and now the sun was shining down on the water. Looking up at the sky near the hideout, Chopper could also see a rainbow.
For the first time in a while, he was smiling.
"What is that thing in the sky?" Chopper wondered, gazing at the beauty of the rainbow. "It looks so pretty! It reminds me of that trail that person with that cool weapon made!"
He looked up at the hideout far ahead. "OK... So I'm not too far now. I guess I'm going to have to swim my way over there... But first off..."
Chopper removed his Pirate ability and let the star containing it fall into the water and shatter. "That thing on my eye was definitely not making me feel comfortable... I'd rather go like this!"
He jumped back into the water and got a full glimpse of the beauty around him. This time, it felt more open around him, making things much easier to see. The fish were swimming peacefully, and there were even some mermaids sitting on open clams. The sun was even shining through the water as well.
It felt like things in the ocean were looking great.
"Wow! I wonder if Mondrao ever had a place like this! But right now, I think I should be making my way to the hideout..."
And that is what he did.