In the caverns deep below the ground a goblin horde was cackling at the latest haul they got for looting another village. They carried into bags full of gold, jewels, weapons, and anything else they wanted into their treasure vault pouring it onto the already impressive mounds of treasure they had. It was one of the few areas in their tunnels that were generously lit by torches. It allowed them to marvel at their glittering treasure stash.
"Another great pillaging today," stated one of the bigger goblins. "The first round of is one me tonight." His words quickly erupted into cheers and started heading to their underground tavern. The last one among them went to close the door, but stopped a moment to look around, grunting and snorting a bit suspiciously for a moment. He scanned the area for a moment and then gave up looking and shut the door behind him.
When the coast was clear a shadow on the wall started to move. It took a humanoid shape though moved like a specter into the room. It came up to some treasure and started collecting it into its body. It took quite a lot before it came upon a black rock with markings on it. The figure took a look at it for a moment before tossing it aside and returned to stealing treasure.
Suddenly, the door burst open and the horde returned with the goblin that shut the door leading them. When they saw the shadowy figure they growled in anger. "I knew I sniffed an outside," he shouted. "It's stealing out treasure. Kill it!"
They all charged through the door two at a time at the thief who drew a dagger with a silver blade and a gold hilt. It reflected light on the blade from the fire and vanished from their sight. The goblins paused to look around in confusion. Slowly they approached where the figure vanished, but suddenly one got sliced across the chest as the figure appeared for an instant and vanished again. Then the thief appeared and cut down another goblin before vanishing and all the goblins were panicking as they tried to stop their enemy. It did very little at bodies started adding to the piles on the treasure before disappearing into purple smoke. Before long, they were all gone, leaving the thief with all the spoils. At least, it thought it was before a chest flew at it from behind and knocked it to the ground. The big goblin from before then ran up to the figure and pinned it to the ground with one arm and held a torch close to its head. Doing so caused the shadows to start burning away revealing part of its face. There was chestnut fur and brown hair and a brown eye revealed from the light as he continued to strip away more of its face. It tried to attack him with her dagger, but realized it had dropped it when the chest hit it.
"Shadow Gear, huh," he growled. "Clever, but it comes off when close to a light source. Now let's see what you look like before I burn your face off."
The thief struggled, but was not nearly strong enough to overpower a goblin. Instead, it searched for something at its side that it could use to attack it. When something big and solid found its hand it grabbed it and rammed the goblin's head with all its might dropping it in one hit. It panted as the shadows covered over the thief's face and looked at what it had grabbed. It was the rock it had discarded earlier. Seeing how it had saved its life, it decided to take it along.
With plenty of treasure taken already and its dagger reclaimed, the thief took its leave before anymore goblins found it. It left through the door, but could already hear more goblins searching frantically for it. Moving with the utmost care it made its way to the entrance and into the light. The sunlight quickly burned away its shadow gear revealing the thief to be a female ottsel, Wolfcub. She was wearing some cargo pants and a tank top that did little to hide her breast size. Her hair was down to her shoulders and gave her a more gentle appearance compared to how she was earlier.
"Easiest score ever," she laughed as she headed away from the cave grabbing a soda she had in a pocket in her pants to quench her thirst. Suddenly, a marble flew right at her, missing her and just brushing past her hair and hitting a goblin sneaking up from behind her. On contact it exploded taking the creature out before it could attack her from behind.
"You sure about that?" came a voice from a tree in the distance. Wolfcub approached it as the tiny blue kitten climbed down. He was wearing a diaper colored with different browns and greens that helped camouflage him in the tree and a bib that was quite large for him to wear and of steel as a body armor of sorts. In his diaper he had a slingshot sticking out the side and lots of ammo hidden in it as well.
"Aren't you a little young to be babysitting me, Yure?" joked Wolfcub. "I was perfectly aware of the goblin following me. I was planning on finishing my soda and crushing the can with his forehead." With that option not available to her she merely finished the can right there and crushed it in her hand.
"You never pass up a chance to make a joke about my stature," he grumbled looking away from her. "If you didn't take these unnecessary risks I wouldn't have to keep an eye on you."
"Well, I'll stop when you are able to look me in the eyes," she replied knowing how shy Yure was around women. It didn't help that he was an adult in an infant's body.
"Well," began Yure. "What did you find in there?"
"I got a big haul," she bragged, pulling handfuls out of her pocket. "This will keep us going for a while." As she emptied her pockets the rock she had slipped out.
"What's this?" he asked looking at the rock.
"It saved my skin back there," she explained. "So I thought I'd keep it as a lucky charm."
"Didn't think you believed in luck," Yure commented.
"Anyway," she added. "If those goblins wanted it then it has to be worth something." As she said this she noticed a drip of green come from the tree they were sitting under. It landed right on top of Yure's head followed by another. "What's that?"
Yure stepped away from the tree and brushed the stuff of his head with his fingers. As he rubbed it in his hand and gave it a sniff he was able to determine what it was. "Paint?" he stated in confusion. The two of them looked up into the tree and saw they weren't alone.
"Are we going the right way?" asked Logan peeking down at the note in Bruce's hands. "All we've been seeing so far is endless forest."
"Weird isn't it," replied Bruce. "It feels like once you get into this forest the only thing you are able to do beside get lost is find Obamon's home."
"Yeah," agreed Logan. "Like the forest doesn't want to let anyone escape. Kind of scary if you think about it."
"Yeah," began Bruce as they suddenly passed some trees and came into the open world again. The sun was so bright compared to when it was shaded by the trees they had to shield their eyes. While their eyes adjusted they heard music playing and people laughing and singing. There was also the smell of delicious food all over and it made them urge their eyes to adjust to the light faster.
When everything became clear they saw they were in the threshold of a Renaissance Fair. People were dressed for the occasion in costumes that ranged from knights to jesters, and peasants to dukes. Everything looked as wonderful as the place was bustling with excitement and the aroma in the air showed that there was plenty of delicious food being prepared.
"Looks like we've arrived at a Renaissance Festival," said Bruce excitedly. "This is awesome."
"Yes it is," agreed Logan wagging his tail in delight. "I just wish we knew ahead of time so we could have come in costume too."
"Well let's go have fun," suggested Bruce. "And Zane should catch up with us soon enough."
"Then I say let's get some eat," drooled Logan looking at the thick turkey legs just waiting to be eaten. "I feel hungry enough to eat twice my bodyweight in food."
"Me too," chuckled Bruce as they rushed at the food.
They didn't make it very far before the music stopped as a trio of figures started approaching on horseback. The people started to scream and flee leaving Logan and Bruce along to face the riders coming in.
"What just happened?" asked Logan.
"I think we just walked into trouble," Bruce answered as the riders had arrived and were circling them.
"Who are you?" asked the one who appeared to be the lead of the three. He was a big panda who was nearly as round as the two of them.
"I'm Bruce and this is Logan," Bruce told them trying to be brave. Logan hugged tight against Bruce's fatty side shaking nervously. "And who are you guys?"
"I'm Vincent," the bull answered. He was quite rotund, though he wore it well. He had long black hair down to his shoulders with his white ears poking out and a short black beard on his chin. "And these are my band."
"I'm Rhodes," the Rhino answered. He was the biggest of the trio and even outweighed Bruce and Logan by a bit. Even his horse seemed a bit discomforted carrying him. He was mainly light gray with short white hair in a crewcut.
"And I'm Donavin," the Elephant answered. He was the slimmest of the three, but that was only relative as he was still quite hefty and bulging with plenty of muscle. His skin was a darker gray than Rhodes’s was.
"What kind of a band are you?" asked Logan.
"Rock band, band of thieves, rubber band," snickered Vincent. "Take your pick. Either way, this kingdom is ours for the taking."
"But this is just a Renaissance Festival?" asked Bruce confused.
"Does the term role playing mean anything to you?" muttered Donavin.
"What?" asked Bruce still confused.
"What is a Renaissance Festival without a good old, castle siege," explained Rhodes.
"Oh, right," agreed Bruce. "I mean you fiends will never get away with this. You fiendish fiends of fiendishness."
"Uh, good enough," commented Vincent. "We will go for now, but know this. We will be back and this castle will be ours. So you had better be prepared."
"We will," answered Logan. "Uh, how do we do that?"
"Go to the castle and speak with the king," Vincent stated before gripping the reins and snapping them to cause his horse to gallop away and Rhodes and Donovan followed close behind.
"Guess we go talk with the king then," said Bruce making his way to the castle in the center of the Renaissance Festival.
"One thing first," Logan replied running and grabbing a couple of turkey legs. "No sense going to see the king on an empty stomach." He handed one of them to Bruce.
"Good idea," Bruce stated taking a big bite out of his.
"What are we doing here?" asked Koopa Kill following Yoshi Kill into a cave.
"I can see that you took very little of our patience when you were incarnated," Yoshi Killajor commented. "But we're here in my hideout so we can talk without worrying about wandering eyes. First, I bet you are wondering why there is another version of you here when only five were originally created."
"It crossed my mind."
"Well I arrived a little later and I'm sure more could pop in too. If you recall we were normally different forms of one Kill, but in this world we are all individuals, but all the same too."
"In this world?" asked Koopa Kill. "You mean this adventure book world?"
"Yes, but we aren't really in a book world. That was merely a portal to another point in the world Obamon lives in."
"That isn't really clearing anything up for me."
"Well, when you entered into the woods to visit Obamon did you think it was merely a forest? No. It was really an entrance to another world. That is why it is so hard to get out. In a sense, the forest is like an endless loop with only Obamon's home as a destination. There are ways to get out, but I don't know for certain if Obamon can control the way out or if she simply knows how to get out. The point is that anyone sent into the book is sent to a part of the world and are bound by the laws of the world. It is those rules that split us into multiple forms and divided our power."
"That explains why we've been defeated," groaned Koopa Kill. "We've all been using only a little bit of our full strength. But why do you seem so much more powerful?"
"Simple," replied Yoshi Kill as he revealed a bottle on a shelf in the cave. "If you recall, two of us were already defeated. While it is true that they were sent back to Obamon to be eaten their power was left behind. When Rat Kill was defeated I absorbed his power to increase my own. You can do the same with Skunk Kill's power as well."
"Then why not use it and make yourself even stronger?"
"I could if you don't want to get stronger, but while raising our strength is important so is having allies and right now don't have very many. Even with the power of three I could still be beaten by superior numbers. So do you want it or not?"
"Give it to me," answered Koopa Kill. Yoshi Kill obliged opening the bottle and letting the power seep out and surround him like a thick mist. It seemed to absorb into him through the skin as well as through his breathing and before long was all inside him. Quickly, it started to work filling him with great power and making his size grow quickly matching Tagmer's before gaining a little more height. His muscles bulged and hardened like diamonds and his spiked accessories strained to not break off. Even his teeth, horns, and spikes seemed to get sharper. "So are we going to enlist Dragon Kill and Roo Kill to help us?"
"No. After that last encounter they probably assume that both you and Skunk Kill were defeated. They will probably work together and devise a new plan and maybe even try and recruit new allies. I say let them try. Defeated Tagmer and Morris are no longer our top priority. Either they do and that is good for us or they are defeated and that makes us stronger. Of course, I won't tell you where they are in case you plan on beefing up more."
"You think I would try and stab myself in the back?"
"Knowing me would you if you didn't have a choice?"
"Point taken. So what can you trust me with?"
"Our new priority. You see, the goal is no longer to simply defeat those two, but to escape back to our world before Obamon decides we're no longer amusing."
"What does that mean?"
"We're just rats in a maze to her. She is watching our every move since we entered the book. True, she can't track people who stumbled into this world somehow from some way other than the book, but if they are with someone who has they will be watched all the same. She won't interfere, but if she loses interest in the plot then she might as well devour us for good this time."
"Being eaten once is more than enough for me. How are we going to escape?"
"I don't know the secret of how to escape Obamon's forest, but we are no longer there so that's not an option and getting in here is easier than getting out. Our best chance is to force our way out, but even us at full power is not enough. There is something in this world that might." He then showed Koopa Kill a black rock he also had on the shelf. "If we can get all the pieces then we can gain the power to escape. The only problem is that it isn't likely that we are the only ones who are searching for them. I wouldn't even be surprised if half were already found."
"So do we search for the ones still in play or take the ones that are found?"
"So long as we have one the others will have to come to us, but we hardly want to lead the fighting to us. But imagine if the others fight one another. After they tire out then we can make our move in the confusion."
"But how do we know that will happen? They could end up joining forces and that would only hinder us."
"Remember what I said about this world having special rules?" chuckled Yoshi Kill. "Let's just say that it will be a guarantee."
"I'm glad you finally hit the brakes," panted Morris tired from their crazy ride.
"Brakes?" repeated Tagmer. "We ran off a cliff and but the greatest of luck fell into a deep lake. If I wasn't so fat I'd have sunk from how heavy my armor is. The only good news is that it cooled down my overheated feet."
"Yeah all four of them," laughed Morris. "Still a little hard to get used to your new form, but I guess that same goes for me as well. But on the plus side we are stronger than ever and Kill doesn't seem to be able to compete. That Yoshi Kill seemed a bit stronger than the others, but if he didn't stick around to fight then we should still have the advantage. All that is left now is to figure out our next move and I'm thinking this rock is the best place to start."
"Well if this was a video game then a random find like that would probably be the case," commented Tagmer. "So that has got to be the right thing to do. We just need to get more or throw it into a volcano or eat it or something."
"Not a long list, but I think finding more would be the best thing to start with" agreed Morris. "So let's just wander aimlessly until something happens."
"How long will that be?" asked Tagmer before his foot made contact with a small rock and they tumbled forward into a crash landing.
"Ow," groaned Morris having ended up underneath Tagmer's upper belly. "Did you just trip over a little rock?"
"It felt a lot bigger and sturdier than it looked," he explained. He paused a moment before continuing. "Not to mention fuzzy and plump."
"The day rocks are plump and fuzzy is the day you go on a diet," he told Tagmer.
"Why does it have to be me?" complained Tagmer almost in a whining tone.
"Because no matter how sure I am that it will never happen I won't take the risk."
"Whatever," Tagmer grunted as he got back to his feet and went to investigate the rock. "Looks like an ordinary rock." Curiously, he gave it a poke and could feel a big, soft, fuzzy thing that was right on top of the rock, but invisible. Now that the two of them were focusing their attention on it they were able to see the slight distortion in the ground caused by an invisibility spell. Tagmer gave it a few more pokes that that seemed to stir the creature into revealing itself, a considerably blobby tanuki who appeared even more obese because he wasn't very tall. It didn't take the two of them long to realize just who this tanuki was.
"Just what we need," groaned Morris almost tempted to kick the sleeping raccoon-like creature. "Looks like we're dealing with another of Kill's weird incarnations. What is this one going to do to us?"
"Nothing if I have anything to say about it," snickered Tagmer in a devious tone as he lifted his foot over the sleeping adversary. "I'll just crush him now and get rid of him. We're already dealing with plenty of them and one is already too much. So time to say goodbye soon to be scrapped off my foot guy.
With that, Tagmer stomped down hard on the Kill Tanuki with enough force to smash the rock he was sleeping on and leave an imprint of his foot in the ground. However, he noticed his foot was wasn't feeling anything beneath it but the usual ground.
"Where'd he go?" questioned Tagmer as he picked his foot up. There wasn't a trace of Tanuki Kill on the ground or his foot.
"I think he warped," replied Morris pointing to Tagmer's back. "He's on you now."
"Well get him off," growled Tagmer getting annoyed. "This wasn't amusing from the start."
"Don't get your undies in a bunch," said Morris hopping onto the enormous dragotaur and trying to shove the sleeping tanuki off. His best efforts seemed futile as he pushed so hard his paws sunk deep into his flabby side, but didn't make him budge. The challenge only made him struggle more and as he finally began to move Tanuki Kill he vanished from sight in a poof of smoke before Morris's eyes. "Now where'd he go?" It didn't take any time at all for him to wonder as he felt a big blobby lump land on top of him, smooshing him on Tagmer's back and pinning him down.
"Having trouble?" asked Tagmer grinning a little at Morris's failings.
"I had to say it, but I think that he's winning," groaned Morris trying to slip out from underneath him. "But maybe he just wants to join us on our journey."
"But all the Killajors are trying to kill us," replied Tagmer. "He could just be lulling us into a false sense of security."
"I don't think so," replied Morris. "I think he's just sleeping and teleporting when he's being disturbed."
"So just carry him on my back?" complained Tagmer. "I am not going to carry a lazy of annoying blubber on my back a second longer." As if trying to counter Tagmer's complaints, the tanuki poofed and turned into a simple lightweight green maple leaf. Morris picked it up and stuck it behind Tagmer's ear. "What are you doing?"
"Looks like he turned himself into a leaf so you wouldn't have any more complaints about taking him," he explained.
"Well why can't you take him?" asked Tag.
"Because I already have mine and he chose you in the first place."
"Let's just get going," grumbled. "But the next time I trip I'm just getting up and going to keep going."
"What kind of place is this?" asked Van as they walked through the weirdest maple forest he had ever seen. Not a single tree was around them, but instead they were surrounded by incredibly tall stacks of pancakes held together by the stickiest maple syrup they had ever seen. If either of them stepped on a glob of the syrup on the ground they had to stop and take a few minutes to get unstuck. As a result, they were hesitant to snack on them and risk getting into a stickier situation.
"We're in the Stick It Thicket," explained Tom. "It is considered one of the 13 stickiest wonders in the world."
"Well why did you bring us here?" added Van.
"Well there are 13 stones and this place is associated with the number 13 as well so it can't be a coincidence."
"Alright, but I'm going to need to get washed up when we get to the next town."
"I'll get rid of the maple syrup," answered Tom licking the syrup that got on Van when he brushed against some of the pancake stacks.
"Thanks, but I was referring to the slobber I was getting from you," he explained.
"Everything alright?" asked Thomas, though his attention was more focused on the pancake that managed to get stuck on Van's thigh.
"I was just hoping for a little more excitement is all," he admitted licking his fingers, finding this place just as delicious as Tom did. "We haven't run into any adversaries since we met and I've been itching to get into a real fight."
"It will probably come when we least expect it," stated Tom. "Besides we should relish the peace we have right now." His words ended abruptly as a thick strand of syrup came in between them and pieced through several pancake stacks. It didn't seem like a great feat, but they could tell it could have cut a hole in either of them. "See what I mean."
With danger now surrounding them the two grabbed their weapons and readied for a brawl. All around them, clumps of syrup started to accumulate into puddles and take humanoid appearances that varied with tall and short and skinny and fat. Their numbers were hard to count with their translucent bodies able to blend in well with one another and the environment. The best they could say was that it was two against an army.
"And what are these things supposed to be?" asked Van.
"Stickies," explained Thomas. "Like your basic slimes or jellies, but they are stickier. Not much else to really talk about. Is this enough action for you?"
"Well see," commented Van flexing his fingers and running through the different elements he could lash out with. "It should at least let me get a chance to flex my claws a little." Unable to keep his excitement for a battle he lunged at the group nearest to him and Tom followed his lead. Their quick strike let them catch their adversaries off guard and allowed Van to shred through several stickies at a time. He found that while his initial strike was always the element he was aiming to use he was still getting used to using it properly in a fight. Still, his attacks were just as effective as he expected. Thomas swung his scythe beheading all the stickies in his range and swinging the chain readying it for any distance attackers.
Once the stickies began their attack they used their stretchable bodies to attack with mid-ranged attacks which considered mainly of piecing strikes and binding attacks to seal the movement of their arms and legs. Against a few enemies these attacks would have been easy to manage, but against so many attacking almost simultaneously, they had no time to rest. They had to attack and keep moving to avoid getting overwhelmed. They both received a few close calls, but fought on with all the energy they could muster, but things were hardly getting better as things progressed. If anything it was turning into a one-sided fight as the stickies they defeated reformed like nothing had happened. It didn't matter how much they were cut up or it they were, burnt, electrocuted, or frozen.
"Nothing's working," panted Van. "What's the backup plan?"
"This is our first fight, remember," replied Tom. "We haven't had time to come up with one." Suddenly, one of the stickies managed to tear a hole in the pouch that Tom kept his Celestial Stones in and all three spilled out. Seemingly drawn to them, two of the stickies grabbed up one stone each and absorbed them into their bodies. "You did not just do that!" With an angry growl, Tom grabbed the last one remaining and the stickies clustered around him in hopes of taking that one too. In his anger to keep it out of their hands he stuffed it in his mouth and swallowed it down. This act seemed to discourage them about retrieving it, but he coughed violently from nearly choking on it, but even after it passed through his throat he fell to his knees and couldn't get up.
"Are you alright?" shouted Van fighting with all his might through the sticky mess around him to get to Tom, but when he finally reached him he was on the ground unconscious and around him the stickies were planning on finishing the two of them once and for all.