Level: 3 (14 -> 17/30) | 1 (0 -> 3/10)
Location: Peach’s Castle - Gardens -> Kitchen -> Kid’s Spaceship -> Exterior -> 1-1; Eastbound to the Land of Adventure
Word Count: 4128 (+3 EXP)
Some time after the cages fell and a cleansing wave of translucent darkness washed over the castle, the last vivid memory of home returned in broad strokes to a pair of the freshly emancipated captives. They recalled it being a fairly uneventful day at first, much like most had long since been for them. The main exception to this was when they would annually receive a letter with an iconic seal either declining or inviting them, with the former every time being the case up to this point. After a while, they grew accustomed to the disappointment of being denied year after year, but it never quite stopped them from getting their hopes up. Having received such a letter this day, they kept their expectations in check as one of them broke the seal, but they wouldn’t get the chance to read its verdict before an infinitely more critical and alarming matter took precedence. Their only warning came in the form of a golden glow etching a gradient in the skyline only seconds before harshly overbright streams of destructive light began to pierce the mountainous cliff walls of their home land, instantly evaporating every bit of terrain and whatever else they passed through. They instinctively took to the skies in a blind effort to either approach and combat the light at its source or flee from it entirely, but were afforded a fair chance at neither. They managed in futility to evade the onslaught to a meager extent before being callously swept away with the rest of their world… and into the next.
Once they finished mentally repeating the last moments of their prior life, Banjo and Kazooie finally started to come to in full. The bear and bird had led themselves (and two others) away to sit out the battle with MegaDragonBowser, having been in no condition to participate on account of the injuries sustained during whatever events led up to their capture, and thus had no recollection of any of it. Even if the one healer (and a half) could be troubled to spare them the needed attention to restore them to fighting health, chances are they wouldn’t have been of much use in the fight in their regressed state. Just as well the company managed well enough to defeat the boss without their help, minus a couple of unfortunate and probably preventable casualties; not that they were at all aware of that. Either way, there would be little lamentation of their inaction from them. The best they could do now was to move forward with the promise that they would do better. Of course, what exactly it was they would be moving forward with they had yet to find out.
The duo used the period of recess to leisurely tour part of the castle for the next hour before dinner to better come to grips with their surroundings. They knew this place to be the famous Mushroom Kingdom, despite never having been there before, but aside from the obvious, they couldn’t figure out exactly how they arrived there. There remained a hazy (at best) blank spot in their memory much akin to the inscrutable onset of a dream that made it nigh impossible for them to ascertain their point of origin initial actions that led them here. They would soon get a better idea of what ‘here’ was when their aimless wandering brought them through the castle gardens where they found themselves mere yards from stepping off into the cosmos that stretched its way into the edge of princess’s backyard. That alone told them as much as they presently needed to know about the world they had been dropped in, and they quietly counted themselves somewhat lucky (their overall situation notwithstanding) to have some not inconsiderable measure of experience with finding their way around a disparately amalgamated world replete with exotic, colorful locales--having lived in such a world and all. Indeed, they were set for what would surely be another veritable sightseeing tour of an adventure, but would hold off on contemplating it further to discuss it over dinner as planned.
The two headed back inside so they wouldn’t be late, kicking over a few ammo nests on their walk back and collecting their contents to prevent anyone making the possible mistake of serving them. Banjo--being something of a decent cook himself--would have probably lent his own hands to the process if not for the kitchen becoming so quickly overstaffed with volunteers, so they instead kept clear and let the others do their work. The results, needless to say, were superb. One could practically taste every dish with their eyes alone, but little time was wasted by anyone grabbing their meals of choice and tasting them the right way.
During the feast/meeting, Banjo alternated between eating, drinking, and talking, keeping fresh rib steaks in one hand and a stein of some of the sweeter cask contents in the other until he finished the ribs and moved on to forking out chunks of honey-glazed fish saute by the mouthful. Kazooie helped herself to the pork katsu while also pecking bites out of a paella, and next to them was a glass filled with similarly rich contents of a different variety to what Banjo was drinking, complete with an extended straw to save her having to lift it from the table with her lack of prehensile digits (even if she provably could). Hat Kid eventually made her late arrival midway through dinner service, taking a double serving of crispy skewers, proceeded to clean the bone of a sizable tenderloin shank, and finished with a helping of cake for dessert--not bothering until the latter dish to finally pick up a fork. She quietly gushed to herself in her head about how delicious she found the confection to be upon taking her first bite of it, and took her sweet time to savor the ones that followed. If Princess Peach had any hand in making it (as she likely did), the child would have been among the privileged few in all of the multiverse to have tasted what is tacitly believed to be among a caliber of delicacies just a few steps shy of legendary, whether knew it or not.
As for the dinner discussion, planning was in order for what everyone’s next move would be, by which point everyone who needed to be had been sufficiently filled in on the grand scheme and established amongst themselves a common goal of defeating Galeem. A magically enlarged map of what was unmistakably the world was presented to all at the table with the intent of collectively setting their course/s. Naturally, Banjo and Kazooie objected to the proposed suggestion to divide their forces into halves to send up the eastern and westen sides of the map, speaking mainly for themselves on the matter. They had no qualms about whatever the others might have decided to do, should their ideas differ. More than anything else, they were just clarifying that they, specifically, wouldn’t be splitting up. Similarly, they declined to take part in the excursion to the Scrapyards to salvage vehicles on the basis of their inexperience with automotive technology, engineering, repairs or maintenance. The forced transition into the New World coupled left a few blank spots in their memory that made even them unsure as to whether or not that was entirely true. With a shared sense of deja vu, the bear and bird exchanged a curious glance once eyes were off of them.
As the evening’s proceedings were beginning to draw to a close, the group gradually dispersed to take care of whatever last minute business they had before turning in for the night. Some, like Banjo and Kazooie, simply went straight to bed, taking the first vacant one-bed room they could get. There, Banjo hung his backpack from the coat rack adjoining the bed, which would make for Kazooie’s resting place, and put on the bottom half of the provided sleepwear so he could leave his shorts with the housekeeping staff to be laundered. The duo conversed in brief about what was to come shortly before Banjo slid under the still tucked blankets and nodded off in a matter of seconds. Kazooie gently receded back into the confined of the pack and made herself comfortable, and she wouldn’t be far behind.
Hat Kid, meanwhile, had other plans concerning sleeping arrangements. Rather than palleting down in one of the guest rooms, she would see if she couldn’t get back into her own room on her ship. Considering it might be some time before she can board or even see it again, it only made sense for her to spend the last night that she would have with it for what could be a while. It may not have been fully-functional and in serious need of tidying up, but for her, it was home; the closest thing to it at least. She made it outside to the front door of her ship in time to see the kart salvaging crew, having apparently finished their night’s work, pull up in front of the castle bridge in reckless fashion. Whether it was an overstimulated test of the vehicles’ functionality or lapses in the operational skills of an underage driver was a matter of question, but it did remind her--on the subject of underage drivers--that she had a vehicle of her own somewhere...
Once inside, she messed around with a few console commands to reroute the reserve power from the kitchen to her room, only to find upon approaching the first doors leading to it still shut. She tapped one lightly to see if they would budge; then she pounded on them; then tried pushing them open; then pulling one; then attempted to force them open by wedging the tip of her umbrella between them like a crowbar, which only resulted in her getting flung head first into one by an overbent parasol. She stood back up after her last failed attempt and started to knock her forehead against the stubborn hatch in frustration, surprised suddenly to find no purchase after about the fourth or fifth knock and falling flat on her face. The hall entrance finally cooperated and gave way, and she hopped back up with a relieved smile painting her features as if there was no issue to begin with.
As luck would have it, the next set of doors were trying and failing to close around an obstructing object, which just happened to be her scooter. Dislodging the contraption was as simple as hopping on and pulling forward, after which she had the opposite problem from earlier with one of the doors not shutting all the way. Thankfully, it required less headache (in more than one sense) to fix; putting her back bumper and boot heel into it sufficed. Kid parked the moped next to her desk and headed straight for her hidden fort, swimming down into it through the pool of pillows that concealed it. She normally would have jumped from the diving board, if not for the pool being a little more shallow from having been scattered by turbulence, but she neither fussed nor thought anything of it. Of all the cleanup she had waiting for her, this would be much more easily corrected when she got around to it.
Once she was within the cozy, warmly lit, tent-like confines of her hideout, she sat down cross-legged on her pillow seat, opened her diary, dipped the quill, and penned in her daily entry...
So… I got chased by this scary light, and the next thing I know my ship gets shot down by some big, mean, stupid dragon ‘king’. Now I’m stranded (again) on a planet even weirder than the last. Me and my new friends kicked his butt, but all my timepieces are lost… AGAIN! And after all that work I had to do to get them back! Here we go again, I guess…
With the last item on her day’s agenda taken care of, she ascended back into the bedroom proper, set her hat on the nightstand, climbed into bed, pulled the covers over herself, and settled in. The lights gradually dimmed themselves off as they were set to, and Kid shut her eyes and drifted off into blissful dreamsleep.
Hat Kid practically ejected from her bed at the sight and sound of her morning alarm system, her landing knocked her hat from where it sat to float down perfectly onto her head. She stood up stretching and yawning the sleep from her body and brain, the sleepiness still visibly apparent in her eyes. She was hit with an odd sense of deja vu by starting her day like this, but then she remembered in her semi-groggy state that this was just part of her daily routine. She promptly restored the pep in her step, packed the saddle bag on her scooter with whatever she couldn’t fit on her, and wheeled it out the door.
In similar, but calmer fashion, the sunshine woke Kazooie, and Kazooie woke Banjo. It took her about a minute to get her partner’s attention, him being a heavy sleeper, but she was able to get him up and out of bed with little trouble. He slipped on and buckled his freshly washed shorts, slung his backpack on, and headed to the dining hall where a few were already gathered. Breakfast consisted of surprisingly standard fair for a royal house, in contrast to the exquisite and varied meal from last night--not that it was by any means an issue. No one was too good for a warm, fluffy, steaming stack of pancakes and a hearty measure of bacon, which Banjo had a reasonable helping of (sometimes in the same bite), supplanting syrup with honey to better suit his tastes. Kazooie went lighter, pecking away at an assortment of fruits and berries, and chasing them with the lightly stuffed crepes they sat on top of.
Everyone was soon called out front for Peach’s address, which started off with notice of a team reduction on account of those who chose to stay, for whatever reasons they decided to, while also welcoming the new additions to the party. When called upon by name, Banjo gave a bow while Kazooie simply waved to her new teammates. Hat Kid, however, offered no gesture beyond maintaining her default smile and continuing to watch and listen intently. The Princess then introduced a young man who lectured them with a demonstrative explanation of what ‘Pokemon’ are, at which the child’s mouth and eyes went wide with gleeful excitement. While she didn’t know why, she came down with the overwhelming sense that this was just the sort of thing children like her dreamed of, and she didn’t know she needed it in her life until now. Without demanding a specific number past one--not wishing to be greedy with her request--she happily held a hand out to Mr. Stone to receive a sampling of however many of the ‘pokeballs’ he could afford her.
Before anyone could get too excited and run off to dabble in this amazing new practice, Peach kept the group’s attention for a little longer. The brief talk of ‘Spirits’ dipped a tad into existentially morbid territory, but it was good that they all know about it in case those who have yet to deal with it ever have to. She segued into a demonstration ‘loot boxes’ that involved her feeding it some form of unrecognizable foreign currency to produce a gear drop. Banjo and Kazooie, being from an earlier era, had an expected share of misgivings regarding what struck them as a ‘pay-to-win’ system that they’d heard so much about over the years.
“Remember when you actually had to earn your upgrades... and couldn’t just BUY them?” Kazooie snidely remarked, seemingly unaware that--even back in her day--her assertion wasn’t entirely true for everyone.
“I don’t know about that,” added Banjo, “but paying for something before knowing what it is doesn’t seem like such a good idea. It’s kind of like gambling,” he commented none too subtly on a particular element of controversy that has surrounded the idea since its inception. He said this much despite the fact that him and Kazooie started their game gambling at cards (in which Kazooie, of course, cheated). Hat Kid had no such complaints. She simply picked up the hat from the loot drop, vanished it into her inventory, and proceeded towards the easternmost yard of the castle alongside Peach, who had just declared her participation in the upcoming adventure.
Terry’s Cap - Grants a vestige of its owner's energy powers to hat users (those who can utilize hat-based abilities). While worn, the user will be able to draw ergokinetic power from the earth and release it in small waves, geysers, and enhanced attacks.
Poké Ball (x3) - A standard device for capturing and housing Pokemon. Thrown at the target to activate.
Poké Ball (x3) - A standard device for capturing and housing Pokemon. Thrown at the target to activate.
The eager rookie Pokemon trainers of the group broke off to get their first taste of catching them as soon as they could; Kid even spotted a few of them herself in the waters and lusher patches of greenery on her way to the parked vehicles on the far side of the castle. However, none of the present specimen really stood out to her, so she decided to hold out for when she might later happen upon some that really catch her interest. For now, all that was left for her to do was wait patiently next to her scooter for everyone else to finish their last minute affairs.
“These all look… interesting.” Banjo observed during his walkaround of the various automobiles, unsure of what to make of most of them, or who had claim on which ones. “This is what they were working on last night?”
“They could’ve worked a little harder on some of them,” Kazooie critiqued while glancing at the Koopa Troop’s rides, sensing favoritism in their workmanship and inherent quality compared to the rest, [e60000]“but they’re not bad, I guess.”[/color] She took the initiative to halfway correct herself before Banjo could remind her of her manners and to express a little more gratitude.
“I’m sure they worked with what they could.” Banjo added, entertaining the honest possibility that the disparity couldn’t be helped.
“Which of these do you think is ours anyway?” They would have their answer shortly, and neither of them would be too chuffed about it. They rounded the back corner of one of the larger karts to find… it, closer to the very back of the fleet. The duo looked on in awe and disbelief at what they would previously write off as the product of false memories and recurring nightmares, now sitting right before them as real as everything else. It had an inflatable placeholder dummy in their likenesses saving their seat for them, so the intention as far as ownership was clear. Was it perhaps--however implausibly--ripped from an alternate timeline to implement in a divine jape at their expense, or did they by some chance have actual history with this contraption? Whatever the case may be, they had precious little else in the way of already dwindling options.
“Please tell me we have something better than this dinkey trolley to get around with.” Kazooie proposed desperately while shielding her eyes. Banjo removed his hand from his forehead to look around at the remaining karts being quickly assumed by other drivers.
“Erm… unless you can still fly…” he replied rhetorically, knowing full well the regressive effects of their forced reincarnation that made it go without saying.
“Alright,” conceded the breegull with a disappointed sigh, “but you’re driving.” She ended on that condition as if the alternative was possible before receding into her bagspace to settle in for the ride. Soon the call for departure went out, and everyone present mounted up on the Centurion’s order, to which Hat Kid gestured a valiant salute. (Poor Koopa King just wasn’t getting the respect he so rightfully deserved.) Without further delay, they were off.
The first several minutes of the drive passed without any setbacks whatsoever--the biggest obstacles thus far being a growing stretch of rough terrain and a mildly demanding gap jump. Thankfully, the Trolley was outfitted with a more powerful engine and off-road tires, and Kid was agile enough even on her scooter to compensate for its light build. Both vehicles carefully tailed the rest of the convoy so as to not inhale the clouds of dust being kicked up by the rest of it. The partial benefit Kid’s scooter not being bound to her Sprint Hat (the drawback being that she couldn’t pocket it) afforded her the luxury of being able to wear and utilize any of her hats while drove, which was exactly what she would do with her top hat, checking it periodically for anything of (specific) interest along the way.
The safer, more leisurely portion of their drive came swiftly to an end when the party was beset by an apparent pack of marauders, their approach given away by the cacophonous blaring of poorly produced music that preceded the galvanizing report of gatling guns. Kid slid under the Bowser Mobile for cover where she more than fit comfortably on her scooter, while Banjo--who couldn’t say the same--yanked on the brakes to come to a hard stop some single-digit yards behind them. The momentum of the kart’s halt threw the duo prone into the cargo bed (i.e. most of the vehicle) where they remained momentarily ducked down in what was effectively half cover while gunfire whizzed by closely over their heads, puncturing and deflating the decoy that popped up in their place. They were saved having to keep their heads down for too long, as their allies better equipped/suited for a mobile skirmish made good on reducing the opposition to a pair of bare buggies forced into retreat. Though, this was merely a prelude to what would undoubtedly be a bigger firefight.
The second round opening with a literal BANG as a laughing, red-hot, clown-headed balloon detonated in frightening, if not devastating proximity to the Bowser Mobile. The bear and bird peaked up from half cover just long enough to see the enemy reinforcements start rolling in. Reflexively, they ducked back down to shoot a flaming egg at the patchy stretch of black oil with intentions of setting it afire before simultaneously bailing out of their kart, tipping it over lengthwise, and hunkering behind its practically non-existent undercarriage for full cover. What they didn't realize was that they actually tried to light was in fact ink, not oil, so it was unlikely to ignite.
With the amount of ridiculous manpower dedicated solely to stopping the monster truck--unmoved from its collision course with the Bowser Mobile--Kamek and crew wisely drove out of the way, forcing Hat Kid to do the same. She made haste in pulling out from underneath the Koopa muscle car to avoid being flattened by either of the titanic machines, and as the duo notice their automotive fortifications driving away, Banjo hurried to sling the Trolley back onto its wheels to hop on and follow suit. By this time, most of the enemy vehicles were occupied with targeting others, but they would continue to stick close to their larger allies while on the move lest they hang temptingly defenseless out in the open.
After conducting a brief, cursory assessment of the battlefield, Kid decided that there was somewhere she could possibly help out, and took a considerably riskier approach. While her nor any of her weapons were strong enough on their own to even make the assailing cars budge, she wondered what would happen if she were to combine them. With this in mind, she equipped her new cap and made a long roundabout to intercept the ice cream truck head-on. Although she had yet to use her new hat’s ability, let alone be proficient with it, she innately understood its function well enough to formulate an idea for how she might use it.
Once she got a manageable distance (a few hundred yards or so) in front of the ice cream truck, accounting for its speed and trajectory to make her estimate, she would veer her scooter to the left and jump from it to place herself where Sweet Tooth’s right tires would be, dropping to ground-level for aim stability. She then drew her umbrella back in more exaggerated motion than before, charged its beam up to second or third level (whichever time and distance would allow), imbuing it with a different kind of power, and stabbed the tip toward the ground at a forty-five degree angle to fire off a rolling wave of heavy energy at the killer clown’s right wheels. At most, the wave would probably only come up to her hip in height, but maybe it could generate just enough power to force him onto two wheels to where the truck might lose control and crash helplessly onto its side. Should that fail, Kid would have to act especially fast to dodge out of the way to avoid being run over. In either case, she would rush to dive after her scooter, mount up, and get moving again.