Dashing with surprising speed for someone so small and spherical, Riki clambered up Reyn's back using his armour spikes as footholds, jumped onto the man's head and pushed off with his feet, launching himself into the air. His wings beat furiously as he struggled to keep himself aloft while he aligned himself with the Pterix's head. Baring his sharp teeth, he screeched a Nopon war cry, brandished his biter aloft and slammed it down on the skull of the enormous winged creature. The Pterix spat out several teeth and gave out a cry of pain and rage, swinging its head from side to side in an attempt to dislodge the Nopon who clung to the bony crest on its head, repeatedly smacking him with the biter and screaming things like 'BITEY BITEY!' and 'SUPER RIKI TANTRUM TIME!'. Soon the rage gave away to panic, an overwhelming need not to be here, risking its life for a master who didn't feed it enough to justify taking this much damage in his name. The battle had dragged out for a long time, despite every second being as intense as the first, and the Highmore Caviar in its system was wearing off, its berserk rage dying down.
"BURNINATE!" screamed the Nopon, waving the biter around his head. Suddenly, without any cause that it can see, the Pterix was on fire. That was the last straw; it turned sharply around and sped upwards and away from the giant tree and the Nopon village inside it. It never wanted to see a Nopon again for as long as it lived.
The rider was thrown from his basket by the sudden movement. Riki noticed this and jumped off after him, grabbing him by the wings and using his own wings to glide and slow his fall at the last minute. Immobilised by Riki's hold, the other Nopon turned around, hissed at him and bowled them both over with a powerful shove. Two hissing, biting, scratching Nopon rolled around the floor, trying their best to remove each other's eyes, or at the very least, large clumps of each other's fur. It reminded Reyn of cats fighting over territory. He sighed, reached into the brawl with two gauntleted fists and retrieved a Nopon with each hand. Despite the thickness of his armour, he had lost three spikes and one of his gauntlets had a large dent on one side of it.
"Bana confess crimes!" demanded Riki.
"No crime! Just enterprising! Why Riki ruin Bana's business?" screeched Bana.
"Of all the stupid problems I have to solve, I never thought I'd have to fight off dangerous animals to bust a Nopon drugs ring," said Reyn.
"You should never underestimate Nopon," Dunban warned him, "They're capable of anything."
"We should get these two to whoever counts as law enforcement around here," said Sharla.
"Why Riki go to jail too?" demanded the Heropon, struggling to wriggle out of Reyn's grip. During the short time he had been travelling with Riki, the big warrior had become adept at restraining Nopons in a crisis situation. He didn't even let go when they managed to bite through his armour.
"Wait, Bana cut you a deal! Heropon! Bana got special weapon for you! Look in chest!"
"Riki no be bribed! Not even with tasty fish!" suggested Riki. After five minutes of no fish, the two Nopon took to glaring balefully at each other. Reyn held his arms wider apart, just in case.
It was Sharla who thought to actually go back and check what was in the chest that had fallen out of the basket along with Bana. The lid had been knocked off its hinges by the fall and the mysterious biter was just visible underneath it.
"It says 'Monapon' on it," said Sharla, squinting to read the handwriting, which was atrocious even by the standards of Nopons, who normally wrote like six-year-olds anyway, "I think he tried to write 'Ponado' and then crossed it out."
"Give here," ordered the village chief, Dunga, before snatching it off Sharla with his ears. He held it closer to inspect it. A look of awe and wonder slowly spread across his face. He held out the shoddy-looking weapon for the perusal of every Nopon in the slowly expanding circle that had clustered around the Sacred Altar to watch the 'trial', which had resulted in Dunga, Bana and Riki all screaming at each other at the top of their voices until Dunga threw Bana permanently out of the village and ordered Reyn to keep holding Riki by the ears until he said sorry. Now everyone was quiet, responding to Dunga's sudden change in mood.
"This... is legendary Monapon!" he declared, "Weapon of Heropon! Biter of Bionis!"
"Ooh! Can Riki have it?"
"Of course Riki can have! Riki destined to wield legendary Heropon weapon!"
"Hey, stop trying to pawn off your junk onto us! That's no more a Nopon legendary weapon than I'm a Nopon Princess!" complained Reyn as Riki struggled to reach the biter.
"Reyn is Princess?" Riki gazed up at him in admiration. Reyn threw him into the pool. After shaking himself down, the Heropon immediately flew up and grabbed the weapon.
"Bionis no talk to Riki!" he complained, smacking it against the side of the rock, "Monapon broken!"
"That's because it's an old piece of wood with a dead Upa's head tied to it!" said Sharla.
"You right, this not Biter of Bionis!" he said.
"I'm glad you finally see sense..."
"This Biter of Noponis!"
"... Wait, what?"
"Noponis! Like Bionis, but Nopon! Big fat round world-Nopon!"
"Whatever made you think up that one?" asked Sharla.
"Not made up! Hom-scientist in Colony 9 say so!" Riki told them, dancing with excitement, "Hom-Scientist say that hom-homs thought world was round! She say 'how can world be round, when people on it not round?'. But Nopon round when they get fat!"
"And you think it was a Nopon world that the scientists saw?"
"Riki KNOW Noponis exists! Have feeling in Riki's soul!"
"Is this like the 'feeling' that the Chief gets about you becoming a Heropon whenever you get into debt?" asked Reyn.
"Exactly! See, Reyn understand!" said Riki, holding the Monapon aloft and dancing from one foot to the other, "Legendary Monapon proof that Riki is true Heropon!"
The entire crowd began cheering, jumping up and down, throwing each other into the air and dropping themselves and others into the fountain. It was evidently still full of Jollyade, as most of the Nopon that fell in the fountain started drinking it and swaying around with glazed expressions on their faces while roaring even louder.
"Let's get out of here," whispered Reyn, making a grab for Riki to try and pull him away from his adoring fans before someone tried to steal a patch of his fur as a souvenir, or worse. He dodged out of the way and dove down into the fountain before running up the stairs and towards the front gates, still soaking wet.
"Riki have vision!" he announced, pointing the Monapon towards the entrance to the village, "Monapon tell Riki that big loud smelly thing attack village soon!"
"You really had a vision?" asked Reyn, regarding him suspicion.
"No talk! It getting closer! Riki can hear and smell it very close now!" he cried out. Reyn could hear it now; the rhythmic thuds of giant footsteps, shaking the ground as their owner approached. It sounded like it was at least the size of Frontier Village. He couldn't smell it, but then, Riki always did have an exceptionally good sense of smell.
The first shadow appeared in the distance, still too small to make out the exact shape, although it clearly walked on its hind legs, was as large as they feared, and was heading straight towards the Village. Sharla peered through the scope of her rifle and screamed, "DIGALUS! IT'S DIGALUS!"
"Get back!" roared Reyn, darting in front of Sharla and Riki, his driver snapping into place in front of him.
"Heropon protect village!" declared Riki, climbing back into his usual position on Reyn's head and dancing up and down in the sheer thrill of the battle to come, "Heropon protect Noponis and Bionis!"
"FOR THE NOPONIS!" yelled the Nopon as they ran to the upper floors to board their Pterix riding baskets, man the catapults or fling ether techniques from the balconies. It wasn't the first time one of the larger Deinos had wandered too close to the village, and Nopon knew how to defend themselves if they were forced to.
With a single sweep of its tail, the enormous Deinos known as Magnificent Digalus shattered the front gate into splinters, knocking the watchtower off the balcony into the canopy below, guards and all, then advanced towards the main entrance. Boulders, logs and assorted destructive magic rained down onto the Deinos but it barely even noticed. Then Reyn came thundering out of the Main Plaza and smashed his driver straight into its kneecap. It roared in pain and snapped at Reyn with jaws big enough to swallow him whole. Riki took this opportunity to hop off Reyn's head and onto Digalus'.
"RIKI ANGRY!" he declared, before ramming the Monapon into its eye. The creature blinked at the wrong moment and the biter snapped in half on its eyebrow. Riki regarded it with a look of absolute horror.
"You... you break Monapon!" he screeched, "Destiny broken now! End of world coming! You... you stupid... smelly... ugly..."
Riki flew into a rage, biting it and flailing at it with his head-wings, summoning ether and breathing fire in its face. Something whined past Riki's head at high speed and hit the Deinos in the eye; the pain from Sharla's bullet made Digalus's head rear up, flinging away Riki as he tried to hop away from the line of fire. He rolled as he fell, ending up underneath Reyn and tripping him up.
"Stand up!" ordered Sharla. She threw something at Riki, "I kept your other weapon! Go!"
Reyn and Riki managed to stand up just as a huge foot stamped on the space just where they had been lying. They ran back into the fray. If the world was going to end, Riki would see to it that the harbinger of Armageddon would die along with everything else.
"World no end," noted Riki as Sharla tried to hold him in place for long enough to dress his wounds. Fortunately for her, he moved a little slower when he was in a low mood.
"You sound disappointed," said Reyn.
"Well, Riki no want world to end, dummy Reyn, but Riki no understand why world no end. Monapon break, when Riki only hit Deinos with it two or three times. Now Monapon gone and nothing bad happen."
"Are you finally ready to admit that maybe there's no such thing as a Monapon?"
"Maybe this not real Monapon," he said, kicking the broken weapon off the side of the platform, then looking defiantly up at Reyn, "But Riki know the real Monapon out there somewhere! You know why?"
"Because the... Noponis told you?" asked Reyn.
Riki shook his head, "Because Riki know he still Heropon, and everyone know Heropon has legendary weapon! Riki know he is Heropon because he save village!"
"You can say that again," said Reyn, examining the many dents in his driver, "You know, I don't think you need a legendary weapon."
"What Reyn talking about now?"
"Having a legendary weapon is kind of a Shulk-only thing. Dunban was a hero and he wasn't really supposed to wield the Monado. Everyone still said he was a hero when he didn't wield the Monado any more, because he still acted like a hero. You don't even have to be the one with the sword killing all the monsters, to be a hero. You can be the one at the back, keeping everyone alive, or standing in the front like a lunatic, taking all the damage!"
"That sound clever, for Reyn," said Riki.
"If you've got time to mouth off, you've got time for volleyball practice!" said Reyn. Riki had already darted back through the door and was halfway across the plaza when he heard the word 'volleyball'. Sharla sighed and stood up to gaze down at the trees below. A party of Nopon scouts were flying off to check that Digalus had retreated all the way back into the jungle and wasn't hiding somewhere. Reyn had left before she had fully healed him. She wished he would stop doing that.
Somewhere beneath the leafy canopy, a blue glow flared.