Disclaimer: I do not own Earthbound/Mother 2. Nintendo does.
Diary of a Female Punk
Chapter 12: Downtime
"So... Poo, was it? Where are you from?" Paula asked the boy.
"I am from Dalaam."
"Dalaam? Where's that?" Jeff asked.
"It rests on a large cloud floating over Chommo. We have maintained our independence for centuries, so very few outside sources have affected our culture."
"Sounds lame." Ness dismissed.
Paula shot Ness a glare. "Well, your country does not seem 'lame' to me."
"Thank you. I assure you, I have many skills I can bring to the table. Where were you headed next, by the way?"
"Scaraba. We were right about to take a boat to look at the pyramid."
"From what I learned in my studies, the pyramid has been closed off for many years."
"Great. How do we get in?" Jeff asked.
"The hieroglyphics in the Scaraba Cultural Museum should have a way in. I can read them."
"Wow, you do bring a lot of skills to the table." Paula praised.
"Yeah, but this'll probably be the only time it's useful."
Paula shot Ness another glare. Luckily, it missed, and a street sign a few yards behind her and to the left exploded.
"Yeah, but we saw the museum, and there were no hieroglyphics. That means they must be in the closed exhibit, but we can't get in unless we give the guard a gemstone."
"Gemstone? Would this work?"
Poo reached into satchel and held up the small ruby.
"Whoa!" Ness exclaimed, eyes widening at the sight of the gem.
"You really came prepared, didn't you?" Paula said, smiling at him.
"Not at all. This was given to me as tribute, and I forgot I had it on me."
"Tribute?" Jeff questioned.
"I am crown prince of my country."
Ness' jaw dropped. Hm... That had possibilities. Too bad he was such an up-tight lame-ass.
After paying twelve dollars to admit the four of them, they passed by a man who was dressed like a scientist. He seemed to be talking to himself.
"Apparently, Mr. Spoon of the Fourside Natural Museum has been calling lately, acting all proud and boastful about something… But what about, I wonder? Argh, I just gotta know! Argh, this is so frustrating!" He noticed the four teenagers. "…Oh, I was just talking to myself. Don't pay it any attention." He coughed.
Curious, but realizing they had more important things to do, the chosen four made their way to the second floor, where the guard stood waiting in front of the closed exhibit.
"Like I said, I can't let you in unless I get a bit of incentive." The guard told them.
Poo walked up, handing him the small ruby.
"Good enough for ya?" Ness asked with a smirk.
"You're such a good student. I'm impressed by your passion for learning. Come in." He opened the door, ushering them in.
Poo walked up to the hieroglyphic slab, studying it carefully.
"What's it say?" Paula asked him.
"We constructed a pyramid fortress to battle an invader from the heavens. However, we were defeated. Nonetheless, our fortress was protected by the gods of Scaraba. It is said that every one thousand years, the invader from the heavens will be reborn and attack again. Hidden in the depths of time, the invader placed a hive of evil. The depths of time are far beyond Deep Darkness. Beyond the Lost Underworld. Deep Darkness is completely dark. Only the Hawk Eye can see. The Sphinx watches over all, waiting for the coming of a truly brave warrior. Star, four, three, two, five, arranged in a star pattern. Dance in front of the Sphinx."
"What does that mean?" Jeff wondered.
"It means we should go to Scaraba. The pyramid is the key."
"Well, duh." Ness sighed. "We were planning to go there anyway."
"Excellent!" the guard exclaimed. "Do you feel like you're really experiencing this great historical period? The experience is more valuable than a small gem..." He laughed. "The other day, a rich kid came to Summers by helicopter. He took a picture of the hieroglyphs. I got lots of money from him." He chortled.
"What? Porky was here?" Ness exclaimed.
"Porky?" Poo questioned.
"Ugh. You weren't here to see him. Someone explain it to Mr. late-to-the-party." Ness sighed.
"Porky is Ness's neighbor." Paula explained. "He helped kidnap me in Twoson and imprisoned me for a religious cult in Happy Happy Village. It seemed as if he was brainwashed by the cult, but then we find him as Mr. Monotoli's partner. Both cases involved the Mani Mani statue, so we thought maybe it was manipulating him, but Ness and Jeff smashed the statue, so we're not sure what Porky is after."
"Could he be working for Giygas?" Poo wondered.
"It's possible, but we don't know how he could have been in contact with Giygas, unless the Mani Mani statue was related to Giygas. But considering Ness' neighbor dug it up randomly in Onett, that's unlikely. It just seemed like his dad started traveling on business and took him with him."
"But you need to keep in mind, the Mani Mani statue was telling Monotoli to prevent us from going to Summers. Which means it probably is related to Giygas."
"Hm... And this Porky is an old friend of Ness'?"
"Hell no." Ness deadpanned. "He was just my annoying next door neighbor. He desperately wanted to be my friend, but no way would I be friends with that fat lard of cowardice."
"Hm... Was he prone to wrongdoing before?" Poo asked.
"He just played some pranks around Onett, which meant no one liked him. But he was never the spiteful jerk he is now. Sure, he was a coward and annoying, but never like this."
"Hm... It may be possible he is being manipulated by Giygas. Try to appeal to the part of him that is still in control of his actions."
"Ugh. Like that'd work. This isn't some children's story. You must be some pampered prince."
Poo said nothing in response. The chosen four turned to leave, but the guard stopped them.
"Wait one second. Here's a picture of the hieroglyphs just for you. It's a reward for studying so hard." He handed them a photograph. "Use it in your Human Civilization class." He laughed at that.
As they left, they passed by the front desk, finding a phone there ringing. The receptionist was nowhere to be found. Shrugging, Ness picked it up.
"Hello! Is this Mr. Fork of the Scaraba Cultural Museum?"
Ness tried to deepen her voice. "Um... Yes."
"It doesn't sound like you..."
"Well, I'll quickly tell you my story, 'cause I'm busy, busy, busy! I found something so extraordinary that mere words could not do it justice."
"Um... Who are you?"
"What do you mean, 'who am I?' Don't you recognize my voice? It's me, Mr. Spoon from the Fourside Museum of Natural History! Look Mr. Fork, I'm not exaggerating this find! I'm telling you... It's fantastic!... It's outrageous!..."
He hung up.
"You guys hear all that?" Ness asked as she turned to her teammates.
"Yes. Why on Earth would you answer a phone call clearly meant for someone else while pretending to be that person?" Paula scolded, crossing her arms and tapping her foot.
"Whatever. I say we teleport on over Fourside and see what he's talking about. It could be an ancient weapon of some sort!"
"Oh, allow me."
"What do you mean, 'allow me,' Poo?" Jeff asked.
"I know Teleport Beta. It's much more efficient than Teleport Alpha."
"Whoa! Ness only knows Teleport Alpha!" Paula exclaimed.
Great. The new guy was even trying to upstage her. Man, she hated this guy.
They teleported over to Fourside and entered the museum, paying five dollars per person.
"Huge!..." A girl called as they entered. Ness looked down at her breasts, while Paula blushed and turned away, arms crossed over her chest. "Not you. I'm talking about the dinosaur bones."
Hm... Ness and Jeff couldn't help but wonder why Paula had reacted the way she had.
They walked up to a door blocked off by a man in a lab coat.
"We heard you discovered something 'extraordinary.'" Ness questioned him.
He paused for a while. "Hmmmm... You know, there's a new singer named Venus at the Topolla Theater. Could you bring me her autograph on an eraser? Then, I'll show you something 'extraordinary.'"
"Seriously? You want us to get Venus' autograph on an eraser before you show us your find?"
He paused. "Oh, if you can get her autograph on anything, don't worry about the eraser... I don't care if the autograph is written on toilet paper..."
"Ugh... Fine..." Ness groaned, directing her team to follow her.
They went just down the street to the Topolla theater, buying tickets for the show and stopping in to see it. Ness had to admit... Venus' singing wasn't her kind of music, either. Paula, though, seemed to love her.
They approached the dressing room after the show, finding an usher guarding it.
"Ah, you're friends of the Runaway Five..." he said upon seeing them. "Did you come to see Miss Venus? Come inside quickly. Don't let the other fans see you enter."
"Hm? Who are you four?" Venus asked upon seeing them enter the room.
"We're friends of the Runaway Five. I'm Ness."
"Oh! Lucky mentioned you. You helped him and the rest of the band out of a few problems, didn't you?"
"Yep. We were wondering if we could get your autograph."
"For friends of the Runaway Five? Of course. Have anything I can sign?"
"Uh..." Ness reached into her backpack. "Banana peel?"
"That'll work." She took it and signed it. "Here you go." She handed it to her. "Oh, and this is a bonus..." She leaned in and gave Ness a kiss on the cheek. The teenaged tomboy was definitely surprised, a blush coming to her face despite herself. Paula seethed, clearly jealous, while Jeff blushed and looked away. Poo crossed his arms and furrowed his brow.
"Hey. What did you kids want?" he asked as they walked up.
"Does this name look familiar?" Ness asked, tossing him the banana peel.
"You got it!" Mr. Spoon exclaimed. "This banana peel has an authentic 'Venus' Autograph? Yep, there's no doubt about it! Now for my promise. I'll tell you about something 'extraordinary.' In the next room, there is a light shining from far, far below the manhole. There, I found a huge, monster rat!"
"I'm not trying to pull your leg... I'll let you go there and check it out for yourself."
"Why would we want to see a giant monster rat?" Ness asked, crossing her arms under her breasts.
"Because... this part of the sewers... it doesn't feel like my place. Heh, hey, maybe it's your place, right? That'd be the day!" He laughed at that, moving aside so they could enter. Ness perked at what he said. That sure sounded familiar... Time for another her Sanctuary power spot. Yes!
They climbed down the ladder to the sewers, finding... it smelled down there.
"Ugh. How deep is that water?" Ness wondered. If she feel off the narrow walkway...
"I doubt it's anything more than three feet deep." Jeff theorized.
"That's not very comforting..."
They traveled along the walkway, fighting mice, roaches, and garbage can ghosts. Ness found that Poo, despite not having a weapon, was quite a skilled martial artist, skilled in unarmed combat. His kicks and punches had a surprising amount of power behind them.
Though a few drums blocked the way along the walkway, ness was able to blow them away with a PK Rockin' Alpha. So far, it didn't seem like Poo, though psychic, had many psychic powers aside from biokinesis like Ness. He was a very skilled healer, probably more so than Ness, and that just pissed her off. This guy was upstaging her left and right!
At the end of the sewer tunnel, true to Mr. Spoon's claim, they found a giant, ugly, monster sewer rat.
"Ew! It's disgusting!" Paula cried.
The rat screeched and ran forward, turning and whipping its huge tail at them.
A wall of white light was erected in front of them by Poo, the rat's tail ramming into each one and doing nothing.
"Brainshock Alpha!" Poo cried. The rat looked about wildly, like it was confused or something, and began ramming into walls and biting its own tail.
"Now! Hit it with everything you have!" Poo instructed.
"PK Freeze Gamma!" Paula called, firing a wave of ice at the rat.
Jeff fired a big bottle rocket at it.
Ness, pissed that Poo was again upstaging her, sent a PK Rockin' Beta at the rat. The rat froze solid from the wave of ice, cracked from the psychokinetic shockwave, and finally shattered from the big bottle rocket.
Paula and Jeff gathered around Poo. "That was awesome!"
"Yeah, you're amazing, Poo!"
Poo just bowed to them. "It was nothing. Merely many years of harsh training."
Ness, seething, climbed the ladder the rat had guarded.
At the top of the manhole was a yard surrounded by buildings and brick walls, with a metallic spire in the center. Jeff claimed it was highly magnetic, judging from the way it was pulling his glasses. Ness alone heard the melody of Magnet Hill, and for just an instant, thought she saw a baby's bottle in her mind.
Nearby was a box. Ness walked over to it and found...
"What the hell are these?"
Jeff took a look at them. "They look like... black carrots."
"Hm... Weird." Paula mused. "What do you think they're for? They don't look edible. They're clearly figurines."
"Who cares? Let's just get out of here." Ness dismissed.
"Okay. Poo, is there enough room to teleport us out of here? We're outside, after all." Jeff asked.
"Of course. Where to?"
"Take us back to Summers." Ness instructed.
"Okay. Why? Are we taking the boat to Scaraba now?"
"Nope. I have a surprise for all of you."
Ness just grinned evilly. She knew exactly how to win her team back to her...
"You're giving us money to buy swimsuits?"
"Yeah! I've got plenty from my daddy."
"And what use are these swimsuits?"
"Duh. We're going to enjoy the beach for a day."
"Ugh. We need to relax once in a while. This entire trip has been nothing but fighting and getting injured or frustrated."
"Or covered in puke."
"Good point, nerd."
"Covered in puke?"
"Um... It's a long story, Poo."
"So... Just pick whichever one we want and you'll buy it for us?"
"Hm... I guess we could use a little downtime."
"Great! Let's get started!"
Ness had been waiting outside the changing room for a long time. She knocked on the door for what felt like the tenth time.
"Paula? What's taking so long?"
"Um... I can't come out."
"This is... indecent."
"It's a frilly one piece. I don't see how it could be indecent. I'm coming in whether you like it or not.
Ness opened the changing room to find Paula indeed wearing a frilly one piece swimsuit. It was pink, with red polka dots and a pink flowery skirt. But...
"Paula? What the fuck are those?" Ness asked, pointing.
"Um... M-My... breasts..." Paula stammered.
"Holy shit. Where were you hiding those?"
"Uh... A bra does wonders, Ness."
The swimsuit was clearly too small around Paula's chest, which struggled to contain her breasts.
"How big are they?"
"I-It's a bra size."
"So... Why do you hide those monsters?"
"Shit, Paula. If you showed off a little, I'd bet guys would be all over you."
"I don't want guys all over me... I want to find a boy who will like me for who I am, not my body..."
"Ugh. Whatever. Sure I can't convince you to try a two piece?"
"Fine... Take that thing off and come to the front. The nerd and Mr. Late-to-the-party already selected their swimsuits."
"They have names, you know. Jeff and Poo." Paula scolded.
"Yeah, whatever. Fact is, I don't like any of you people. You're a prissy little prude, Jeff is a timid nerd, and Poo is some pampered prince."
"Then why agree to invite us to the beach?"
"Just thought I'd try being nice for a change." Ness lied.
"Uh-huh. What's the real reason, Ness?"
"Hey, I'm telling the truth! You guys have saved my ass plenty of times. About time I returned the favor." Ness defended.
Paula sighed. "Fine... Let's go buy these things. What did you select, Ness?"
"Oh, you'll find out." Ness grinned evilly.
They arrived at the Summers beach. Jeff was dressed in some simple green swim trunks, but his eyes bugged out at seeing Paula's chest revealed for the first time. Paula crossed her arms over her breasts protectively, uncomfortable. But then her jaw dropped when she saw the revealing white bikini Ness was wearing. Ness, on the other hand, did a double-take at the black speedo Poo was wearing. Shit... He was built. Toned abs, defined muscles. How could a pampered prince be so fit?
Shaking her head to clear the blush from her face, Ness walked down to the wet sand by the waves and began making a sand castle.
"You're not swimming, Ness?" Paula asked her.
"Nah. Don't feel like swimming just yet. Thought I'd make a sand castle first."
"Oh... Um... Okay..."
Paula walked over to Jeff, hiding behind him when a boy nearby whistled at her.
"Paula? What's wrong?" Jeff whispered to her.
"I was hoping you'd never see me like this... These... ugly things in plain sight, guys staring at me like I'm a freak of nature... I'd understand if you lose interest in me after thi-"
Jeff grabbed Paula's hand, squeezing it tightly. "Paula... Guys are staring at you because you're beautiful. But it doesn't matter what they think. Let them look. You'll always be mine, and mine alone."
Paula blushed, going red all the way down to her neck. "Um... Jeff... D-Do you want to go play ball in the water?"
"I'd love to." He replied.
The two love birds ran off to the water, while Poo went to stand over Ness.
"What is it you are making again with that wet sand?" he asked her.
"Ugh. Look, Mr. Late-to-the-party, I'm making a sand castle. Now leave me alone and go bother someone else. I don't want anything to do with you."
"Perhaps I could help you? Maybe gather seashells to decorate it with?"
"Hell no. I don't need your help. Just leave me alone."
"Are you sure you wouldn't like to go swimming with Paula and Jeff? The water looks refreshing."
Ness looked up and shot a glare at Poo. "I said. Leave. Me. Alone."
Poo said nothing, turning and walked over to a stand where a man was selling gelato. Evidently, he had never heard of the food before, and the man gave him a free sample. Soon, he was approached by a group of girls who began asking him questions. Ugh. This guy was popular with the girls, it seemed.
Ness looked up to see a muscled man in a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses.
"What the fuck do you want?"
"Ow, such a sharp tongue. I like it when the ladies talk dirty to me."
"Dude, how old are you, twenty-two? I'm only fifteen."
"Nah, I'm just big for my age. How about you and me head over to the cabana stand for some drinks?"
"I'm not old enough to drink, wise guy."
"I meant some fruity island drinks, or something."
"Not thirsty. Now leave."
"Aw, c'mon, baby. Don't leave me hangin' here. How about you and me go for a nice swim over by the rocks?"
"That's a definite no. Now get the fuck away from me, or I'll kick your ass."
The man furrowed his brow, kicking the teenaged tomboy's half-made sand castle.
"Hey! That was gonna be King Crab's palace, you prick!"
"I don't like taking no for an answer, babe." he growled.
"Well, then get used to it." Ness hissed. "You're gonna get a lot of no's wearing a shirt like that."
"What about my shirt, you bi-"
"Sorry, I can't hear you, your shirt is too loud." Ness mocked.
The guy reached forward, grabbing Ness by the arm. "I don't like your attitude. How about I make you loud from screaming?"
"Get your fucking hand off me, you giant asshole."
The guy turned around to see Poo had tapped him on the shoulder. Bringing his hand back, the crown prince of Dalaam slugged him right in the stomach, making him double over in pain.
"Hey! I had that covered, Mr. Late-to-the-party!" Ness yelled to Poo.
"My apologies. I just thought I could remove him from your personal space before he made you any angrier."
"Ugh... That hurt! What are you, her boyfriend, or something?" the beach bully groaned as he stood.
"No way would this weirdo by my boyfriend!" Ness defended.
"I think you deserve a good soaking." He growled, grabbing Ness and picking her up.
He carried her out into the waves, the teenaged tomboy flailing and yelling obscenities. When he was deep enough out, he threw her a surprising distance into the water. Ness brought her head above the water and attempted to stand, but was pulled out by the riptide.
Crap! No, no, no! She couldn't swim. She couldn't swim! If she didn't drown, everyone would find out, and she'd lose her reputation!
Funny how that was on her mind despite the water entering her lungs. First thought should be survival, after all. Ness wasn't sure what happened, but she lost consciousness.
When her mind stirred awake, she felt something... warm and soft against her lips. Then it would move and she would feel warm pressure against her breasts. Then back to her lips. Then back to her breasts. She struggled to open her eyes, seeing what looked like a knight in shining armor with his hands pressing down on her chest. Then he leaned in and kissed her, and Ness felt a blush come to her face.
But... Then her vision cleared, and she saw it was... Poo.
Burping up a bit of water, Ness punched the prince of Dalaam square in the jaw. He stumbled back as Ness rolled onto her stomach, coughing up more water.
"You bastard! Did I say I needed saving?" she cursed between coughs.
"You were clearly in trouble." Poo explained. "I felt it was my duty to save my team leader when she was drowning."
"I wasn't drowning! I just had a cramp!" Ness growled, sitting up. "And you didn't have to rape me!"
"I wasn't raping you, Ness. I was giving you CPR."
"Your hands were on my breasts, and you were stealing my first kiss! I'd say that qualifies as raping, you dick!"
"Your first kiss? I don't think CPR really counts as a kiss..."
"Well, it does!"
"Ness! Are you okay?"
The teenaged tomboy looked to see Jeff and Paula run up, carring some towels and bottles of water.
"Ugh. Where were you two? This guy was just getting to second base with me."
"Ness, you were drowning! Poo saved you! What happened?"
"I, uh... I got a cramp. Too soon after eating."
"Well, you should thank Poo. He just saved your life."
"But I didn't ask to be saved! Let's just get back to our hotel room so I can wash this dirty feeling off me!"
Ness shakily stood, walking back to the hotel.
Despite what she said... she didn't feel dirty... Actually, her heart was beating really fast. That was her first kiss... And the first time a boy had touched her breasts. Fuck... What a way to get to first and second base... She hated Mr. Late-to-the-party with a passion now...
At least, that's what she told herself...
Fact was, he really had saved her life. She just couldn't let anyone know about it. But she repaid her debts, so... Ness wasn't sure what to do. She owed Poo... But couldn't let anyone know it.