A.N. Hi everyone! After taking an unexpected hiatus, I'm back with the second (and last) chapter of Rotten friend; fresh start (seriously, don't procrastinate in school) ...Enjoy!


Capturing Mimic was so easy; we could've done it with our eyes closed. Humans are so vulnerable at night. Now that I think about it, it was pretty rare to see one traveling at night, since most of them feared the monsters outside of their towns. Bagging the old man was easy once we slipped past the men outside of Scuttle town. Their muscles were definitely bigger than their brains. Using the clues that Risky gave us, we found his laboratory, and picked the lock to his house.

I suppose a relic hunter's house would be pretty cluttered with junk. Looks like Mimic was one of those people, with maps, notes, books and many relics of the old world scattered about. For a moment, I worried we'd blow the mission. The only light in the house was the light coming from the basement door, and it was pretty easy to knock something over and make noise, or break one's ankle on some of the stuff on the floor. Abner knocked over a stack of books after taking the wrong step. Poe and I turned to him

"Shh!"

"What?" Abner hissed "It's not my fault that there's so-"

"Shut up, Ab." I hissed back. Abner grumbled, but stayed quiet. We carefully made our way to the basement door. Listening closely, I heard Mimic audibly talking to himself about his project. Pfft, weirdo. I tried to keep a straight face as I turned to Ab and Poe. "Alright guys, what's the plan?"

"Easy," Poe said "We lure him out, and then knock him out." Poe takes the bag he's been carrying off his shoulders, and shows me what's inside: rope, a bottle of chloroform, cloth, and vanish cream. "Abner's going to knock something over, hopefully Mimic will notice." Abner walks over to a bucket of tools and waits for us to get in place on either side of the door. Poe holds out the cloth and chloroform

"Would you like to do the honors?" Being in the moment, I forgot who I was working for, who my target was- I was just living life as a zombie should. I nod, and take the items with a devious grin on my face. We got into place, Abner and Poe on one side of the door, I stood on the other side. As I poured a bit of the chloroform on the cloth, Abner got ready to knock the bucket over when we smelt a strange odor. "Do you guys smell that?" the smell was getting stronger, as it slowly crept out of the bottom of the basement door.

POP!

Something in the basement exploded. Next thing I know, Abner knocks the bucket over in surprise, and I scream, immediately covering my mouth, but it's too late. Almost immediately did we hear the sound of coughing, and the sound of footsteps getting closer.

"Cough, cough….Shantae, is that you? Cough…. Are you alright?" I bit my lip and turned to my brothers.

"Get ready." Abner whispers. I brace myself when the door swings open, smoke immediately fills the room as Mimic coughs, his face and his clothes blackened with soot.

"Shantae…?" he calls. His hand almost turns a light-switch on before he's tackled to the ground by Abner and Poe. Mimic yelps as he squirms in vain. They look up at me as they held his head down, I know what to do. I knelt and held the cloth to Mimic's face. "Take a deep breath and go to sleep, Gramps." I think to myself. Mimic thrashed around more, until the lack of oxygen forces him to breathe in the potion. He freed his head from Abner and looks up at me, his eyes widen in recognition despite the dim lighting

"…R…Rottytops…?!" it's all he managed to say before he's out like a light. We quickly tie up Mimic in the sudden silence. Abner slings Mimic over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.

"Alright, we got the relic hunter." Abner says "Let's get going."

"Will we need the vanish cream?" I ask. Poe shakes his head

"Nope. Let's go, I can already taste that coffee." Poe heads towards the door with me, Abner, and Mimic in tow. Slipping through town was pretty easy after that, since people were either sleeping, or watching a performance at the dance parlor. We still used a back alley, although I had this uneasy feeling that we were being watched. I looked over my shoulder as we ran, but I only saw the silhouette of what seemed to be a squid as it darted away.

It's already dawn when we make it to the caverns. When we reach the dungeon, Risky and her tinkerbats are busy with preparations.

"Come on, men!" she calls "We don't have all day! Pick up your feet and put your backs into it! You there, help carry those barrels of gunpowder." Risky turns her attention to a pair of tinkerbats cleaning out a cannon "Make sure you clean the cannons well. Who's got my cutlass?" As a tinkerbat hurried over with Risky's sword, Abner cleared his throat to get Risky's attention

"Risky. We have Mimic." Risky straightened up after taking her cutlass, and turned to Abner with a more pleasant tone

"Did you now?" Risky's eyes widened in pleasant surprise "You did! I knew I could count on you, Abby!" Abner laughed nervously, I turned to Poe with a raised eyebrow Abby? Unless I wanted to get punched in the arm, I would never call Abner "Abby". He always said it sounded "childish", and a stupid name. Poe only shrugged. I think I was missing a detail in this picture. Risky snapped her fingers, and a pair of tinkerbats appeared, ready for the next command.

"Go get these three their rewards." The tinkerbats silently went to a storage place on the Tinkertub. "You can set him down here, I'll take care of the rest." Risky cut Mimic's ropes after Abner set him down. Mimic began to stir, the effects of the potion was wearing off. The tinkerbats returned, carrying bags as big as themselves. Whatever was inside jingled with each step they took. The sacks fell with a thud as the tinkerbats set them down in front of us.

"Careful!" Risky scolded. I picked up my bag as I looked at the tinkerbats

"Thank you" I said. The tinkerbats nod, and walked off to join the others on the tinkertub.

"Where… am I?" Mimic groaned. We all turned to him as Risky put her hand on her hip

"Does it really matter? Since you asked, we're in the underwater caverns in the Mermaid cliffs. Make yourself comfortable, grandpa!" She turned to the levitating lamp in the swirling yellow vortex across the room "…your genie friend will be here soon." She sneered. I looked inside my bag, and checked Abner's and Poe's. They were full of gems, not a trace of coffee or brain in sight. My brothers looked just as confused as I felt, I felt slightly uneasy.

"You three!" Risky turns to us "What're you standing around for? You've been paid, now shove off!"

"Hey! The deal wasn't for cash! What about her brains?" I demanded
"…And our coffee?" Poe adds

"Sorry, change of plans." Risky nonchalantly replied. My legs gave out under me, and fell on my hands and knees.

…She backed out on our deal.

Guilt and regret immediately washed over me as I realized that there was no deal to begin with. Risky tricked me and my brothers, and I let it happen. I felt tears sting my eyes as Abner spoke up

"…it ain't worth fighting over. Let's go, I have a feeling things are gonna get nasty." Poe sighed in defeat. I heard them reluctantly leave. How could they? Abner gave up so easily, and Poe followed him! A tear slid down my face as my blood boiled from shame and anger. It was all my fault. Poor Shantae, I sold out my only friend- the betrayer herself was betrayed. With the last of my dignity, I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and ran off crying, anything to get put of this horrible place.

Word got around. Shantae had managed to defeat Risky Boots at the cost of her transforming powers. After exploiting the lamp, Risky used Shantae's powers against her, and she fought her magic, which manifested. The problem didn't stop there, since the rumor of the Ammo Baron getting the deed to Scuttle Town ended up to be true. I had to fix this. Even if Shantae wouldn't trust me again, I had to try.

Before I headed to Scuttle town, I went out and bought coffee related things for Poe: a coffee machine, creams, sugar, several bags of coffee beans and a mug. I didn't care if I spent all the gems I just received- I was more than happy to get rid of it. After arranging it in a gift basket, I scribbled a note for him and left the caravans. It was nowhere near a "life-time supply", but at least it would make him feel a little better. I've ignored Abner and Poe all day yesterday, and this morning. I couldn't do that forever, after all, they were family. If only I could say the same for friends…

Getting to Shantae's lighthouse wasn't difficult, actually talking to Shantae was another challenge. I saw Shantae, Sky, Bolo and Mimic talking among each other. There were tools and wooden planks stacked in various places. Looks like they were actually going to fix the bridge from her house to the town. I wiped my hands on my shorts, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

I was about to head home when Sky noticed me. We held our gaze for a moment before Sky nudged Shantae. She said something to her, and Shantae looked up at me. I swallowed. I couldn't tell if Shantae was sad or upset to see me. She got up and jumped the gap that the bridge had.

"Hi Rottytops."

"Hi…" I wiped my hands again.

"What're you doing here?" she asked. There wasn't a hint of anger or impatience in her voice. It was slightly unsettling.

"You know… I just wanted to talk to you." Shantae remained silent. "Five minutes. That's all I'm asking for." I anxiously waited for a no… or a yes. Anything was better than silence.

"Alright." She said "but not here." She quickly glanced to the others and back at me "let's go to the docks."

Although I was a nervous wreck inside, I was glad that Shantae suggested we'd talk in private. Sky tolerates me, but I'm sure she would've tried to burn a hole in the back of my head if we stayed there. If the way her eyes narrowed when she saw me wasn't unfriendly enough, I don't want to imagine what unfriendly could be. We made it to Mimic's dock. It was a nice and quiet place, nobody was around, just other trading ships tied to the pier, and the sound of waves.

"Rottytops?" Shantae speaks up. She sits at the edge of the dock, her legs dangling over the water. I sit down next to her.

"How's everything? what were you guys doing earlier?" I already knew what they were doing, but I suppose it was something to start the conversation. Shantae swings her legs as she stares at the horizon

"We were preparing to fix the bridge. I figured it was time to fix it after putting it off for so long." I slowly nod "what about you? How have you been?"

"Terrible." I say "is it true that… your powers are missing?" Shantae turns to me curiously. She nods.

"Yeah…"

"It's my fault" I quickly say "I know it is. I could've done something about it, but I didn't. Risky Boots got my brothers involved in her plan. I couldn't say no to them, and I was stupid to believe that I'd actually get your brain. I understand if you don't like me anymore, but I had to tell you that I'm really sorry and that I feel really bad about it." Warm tears slide down my face again. I don't know when they started, but they won't stop, and I don't even try.

"Persuaded by your family, huh?" Shantae asks to herself. More than anything, it sounds really distant and lonely.

"Shantae?"

"In a way, I'm kind of envious of you." Shantae admits. She looks back at me again, seeing confusion on my face. "…I don't have a family myself."

"What about Mimic?" I whisper

"I don't think he really counts." Shantae says "We aren't really related." A sad smile forms on her face. She sighs and looks ahead again "I don't think he trusts me that much. He didn't even trust me enough to tell me about the secret of the lamp. Now I feel farther apart from my mother, more than ever." I bit my lip. The waves crashed against the shore.

"…it wasn't all that bad though." I turn to Shantae "yeah, because of this whole lamp business, I learned that my friends are on my side, whether I realize it or not. I realized that I don't have to be so distant and carry the burden of protecting Sequin land by myself."

"I guess so. I've learned my lesson too." I say as I wipe my eyes "Don't side with the enemy, no matter how tempting their deals are." Shantae smiles and pats my shoulder

"Are you feeling better, Rottytops?" I nod, this time a tear that slides down my cheek is a happy one

"Yeah, thank you. I'm sorry I helped Risky Boots. That was really stupid of me." Shantae shakes her head

"It's okay. Everyone does things they aren't proud of. Did you know…Sky gave me an egg to watch, but I accidentally kept it out in the sun for too long?"

"What? YOU did?" I couldn't help but smile "nah… you're kidding!"

"Nope!" Shantae laughs "it was in the latté that I gave your brothers!" I couldn't help but chuckle "Oh! and a few years back, Sky was trying to give me instructions to find the zombie caravans." Shantae suddenly remembers "She didn't know the difference between East and West!" Shantae threw her head back in laughter, I couldn't help but laugh as well "We teased her about it for a while, until she socked Bolo in the stomach!" Shantae and I howled with laughter for a moment, until we calmed down.

"Are we cool now?" Shantae nods and stands up

"Yup. It's all water under the bridge now." She holds her hand out to me "How about we start fresh?" I nod, and take her hand as Shantae helps me up.

"Thanks, I know you'll do a good job in protecting Sequin land, powers or not." I reassured her "You've kicked Risky in the boots twice, who's to say you can't do it again?" Shantae grins at me as we head back to the lighthouse.

"Thanks, Rotty. You're right. I guess I shouldn't feel so bad about it."

"That's the spirit! Besides, I bet Risky won't be able to use your powers correctly anyway." I place my hand on Shantae's shoulder "They'll probably come back to you in no time." Shantae looks at me and smiles

"You know, you're probably right." We laugh and arrive at Shantae's lighthouse, greeting everyone, with a stronger friendship then ever before.

The End.


A.N.: Little do Rottytops and Shantae know~Well, there's the end of Rotten friend; fresh start. Writing this was pretty fun. I wonder how correct my story would be? The world may never know! (unless of course, it's mentioned in Pirate's curse) I took a bit of an artistic license and added a few little somethings in my story, that's not in the games. Thanks again to friends both on the internet and in real life- without your help I doubt I could go as far!

-EmTeeDub-Yew