– (14/20) EXPLocation:
Scrapyard – LeftWord Count:
To crest the hill where the Ancient Gardens ended and the Scrapyard began was no easy feat, for it demanded one come face-to-face with a raging warzone. The rattle of firearms, the heat rolling off flaming wreckage, the mechanical robot shrieks and frenzied rabbid cries blending into one terrible cacophony...it was war on a scale Tora had never seen. Though he'd seen the destruction wrecked by a Judicium Titan Weapon on the Urayan fleet, he'd never stumbled straight onto an active battlefield, and for a moment the Nopon stood flabbergasted.
Thankfully, the more influential figures among his party were made of sterner stuff. Without delay, a few of the group surveyed the scene with intent to formulate a plan, but some, appearing disinclined toward deliberation, jumped in headfirst. Leaving Agoston and Michael's scheming behind, the impulsive gunslinger barreled off in Kirby's direction, and Ratchet and Zer0 followed suit. To Tora's surprise, the masked giant from a couple minutes ago showed up and immediately lumbered off after them. Along for the ride as ever, Blazermate followed to heal the hotheads' wounds. For a moment it looked as though everyone would be gunning for Kirby's kidnappers.
However, those who remained turned out to be anything but united in their aim. The tired-looking girl who came about at the same time as the Master of Masters said she'd 'scout ahead' and hooked about toward the left, skirting around the furious firefight in the battlefield's middle. After a few words of her own, Linkle left to join her. For his part, the Master of Masters seemed content to hang around for the moment. “Um, sure!” he called after the fleeing girl. “Can't say I'm one for a flat-out brawl or melee of any kind, so I'll just, uh, stick around here for a bit.” Alongside him, Din, Michael, Agoston, Bowser, and Tora remained. The Master gave an exaggerated shrug. “So then, oh-so-mighty and wise lord Bowser, what are we to do?”
Neither the question or the answer concerned Tora. He had watched Minako and Linkle go, and run over his options in his mind. “Right group have fierce fighters, plus sturdypon big man for defending. Staying group have Bowser. But left...? Meh meh! Nice girl Linky-Linky and new girl need defender-type!” He made up his mind, and hurried after them, saying, “Tora will repay kindness from earlier and make new girl friend too!”
Some jogging later, he caught up to Minako and Linkle, albeit out of breath. Their path brought them through a thick part of the junkyard, where the blocks and various bits of scrap seemed almost purposefully arranged into strange structures. Though it conveyed a certain sense of unease, like wandering through ancient ruins, there seemed to be no enemies. “Ah! Hah!” Tora panted. “Hello, friends! Tora thought could use little company, plus tough shield if things go wrong.” Still moving at a decent pace, he parked himself in front of Minako and told her, “Should make proper introduction, meh. Am Tora, Nopon from Torigoth. For you, am brainy, very tough, and very helpful ally. If claim seem bold, allow Tora to submit as evidence: this unflinching eye contact.” Falling silent, he turned an unblinking stare upon the teenager and maintained it as long as she allowed.
Whatever the outcome of that exchange, the trio needed to keep moving, and in sort order emerged from the array of junk pillars into a relatively open area. Here, the racetrack made a hairpin turn before heading back toward the starting line. While the Scrapyard's metallic mounds surrounded the place, making a crude sort of wall, various elements of the mundane Mushroom Kingdom could be seen beyond. More visible, however, was a potential threat, and more than likely the reason for the left side of the battlefield's silence.
Standing atop the wooden cylinder that occupied the center of the hairpin turn, an unusual robot
scanned its surroundings. Sparking metal carcasses suggested that it cared not for its fellow machines, and around the area a couple rabbids hunkered down by cover, too afraid to poke their heads out for the rifle-wielding automaton to see. One such rabbit lay close by, this one distinctive from its kin thanks to his
green sweater and hat. Despite possessing red eyes, he seemed non-hostile, and hurriedly motioned for the newcomers to get down.
Location: Scrapyard - Right
Through the right wing of the pit stop lay a scene of chaos, though one that a steady stream of heroes threw themselves into willingly. The Courier wasted no time in getting to work, not only going on the offensive but also turning a few of the omnics' own offenses inward, wrecking havoc on a subgroup of them soon to converge on the entrenched rabbids' collective flank. Using the alloy cadaver of his victim as a shield, he edged closer to the rabbids, and with his shotgun turned to slag a pair of the little raptor-bots scrambling into the furry cretins' stronghold. His ultimatum rang out soon afterward, and the rabbids that heard it gave a hint of understanding. They looked between one another in confusion, clearly and perhaps mistakenly taking 6's lack of immediate hostility for granted. They seemed amenable to the prospect, but for the moment the fight for their lives continued, so they couldn't do anything just yet. Plus, none of them seemed eager to try and take something from the Smasher.
When Ratchet arrived, intent on blasting bots and not bunnies, the rabbids as a group grew a touch bolder. The extra explosive support allowed them to re-establish control over their immediate area, with the Buckler moving from cover into the open and deploying his shield for the Ziggies to take refuge behind as they advanced. Roadhog's sudden and miraculous appearance, throwing the Courier a bone and furthering the rabbids' impression of the newcomers, emboldened them even further. The Hoppers began to prepare a team jump, scattering around in order to cover the greatest area. However, one of the Hoppers flung himself too close to Roadhog and received a scrap slug to the belly for his efforts. Hurt but not killed, the thing dropped to the earth like a sack of bricks to roll around on the ground in pain. A demobot's grenade launcher just about finished it off, but Roadhog's indiscriminate shooting downed it as well.
Enemy reinforcements arrived a moment later. Consisting mostly of the gray machines, there were heavybots with perilous-looking miniguns flanked by thin scoutbots wielding bats to pummel with. Not noticing the fallen Hopper, the other rabbids went to work. With a bizarre, guttural noise, the Buckler clanged his shotgun against his shield, and a star-shaped yellow wave radiated out from him. His weapon, and those of his allies, took on a similar glow. After spinning his shotgun like a cowboy's revolver, the Buckler fired into the oncoming horde. A great yellow blast exploded outward as it auto-crit, doing extra damage and covering the robots in sticky honey, stopping them in their tracks. Laughing wildly, his accompanying Ziggies unleashed a volley, their blasters auto-critting as well and lathering the robots with ink that gummed up their armaments. With the enemy wave all but crippled, all that remained was to annihilate it.
Then came a tremendous boom
, and the rabbid Supporter, keeping its allies healed, vaporized in a puff of ash. Around the impact site, the Ziggies, Hoppers, and Smasher went into a panic. The smaller rabbids fired in every direction, but the hat-wearing Smasher let out a bellow and charged at the closest target it could see: Roadhog. It barreled at him heedless of incoming fire, hurled its block up, and leaped to catch it, poised to bring it down with bone-cracking force.
Location: Peach's Castle, Dungeon
Geno's chunk of stone hurtled Mario's way. It caught his flails midway, causing one to break completely but also damaging the makeshift projectile itself. Regardless, what remained could still cave in the average skull, and undeterred it continued toward for the scarlet-eyed man in red. In the end, though, it posed little in the way of a challenge. On the rock's final bounce, Mario -jarred from his revolution by the earlier impact to his flail- positioned himself under it and executed a jump punch, a technique as simple as it was iconic. The stone shattered as his fist struck it from beneath, and with a classic ba-ba-bing
three gold coins popped out and disappeared, leaving only dust behind.
More accurately, they left dust and a focused, wrathful Mario. Though Geno's strategy inflicted no lasting damage on his foe, he made a change of tactics necessary, and his opponent was already in motion. The plumber reeled in his remaining flail and took hold of the rock in both hands, then started to move. He sprinted at Geno, closing the distance in a second, and made to smash the doll into kindling with an overhead slam of his new bludgeon. Yet, that composed only layer one of his cunning attack; when Geno inevitably dodged, Mario planned to read his evasion and swing the chain on his other wrist like a whip, either horizontally or vertically, to catch him.