Van struggled with the stickies, but his efforts appeared more like he was attempting to swim through gelatin. The harder he lashed out the more energy he wasted and got no results from it. Finally, his strength came to an end and the stickies started to swarm around him as they did with Thomas who was out cold since he ate the stone. The stickies were attempted to draw the stone piece he ate and add it to their collection and they pulled and tugged at him and even attempted to sneak into his body through every entrance they could find. Soon all the stickies began turning their interest on Thomas after Van was not a threat anymore and Thomas held more interest to them.
"Thomas!" shouted Van panting for air. He called out to his friend hoping it would help if his weapons could.
The words echoed in the unconscious kitsune's ears and his eyes shot open glowing brightly. Van saw this and struggled to his feet. Tom didn't seem to be able to hear his anymore he remained silent and still. Then a blinding light burst from his body and started to expand quickly dissolving the stickies that came into contact with it. The ones that had taken the stones suffered the same fate and the stones were drawing into his body too making the light expand faster. Soon all the stickies were engulfed and vaporized, but the light didn't stop there. It surrounded Van and the entirety of the Stick It Thicket till only a beam of light remained. It vanished as quickly as it came and revealed nothing left but a big hole in the ground. The destruction was visible for miles in all directions.
"What was that?" asked Yure seeing the beam of in the forest as it went past the tops of the trees.
"A distraction from the deal we were making," answered the stranger who was now out of the tree and on the ground with Yure and Wolfcub. It was another incarnation of Thomas, his Smeargle form.
"It is difficult to say," commented Wolfcub fiddling with the stone in her hands. "It is hard to believe that this stone is as powerful as you say it is and even harder to believe you can pay us for it and another one if we help you out at, uh, what was the place called again?"
"The Dark Chocolake," answered Thomas the Smeargle. "The bottom of that lake is said to house a treasure that was lost while carrying it across the lake. You are welcome to it all whether or not another of the rocks is with it. I even have a vessel and diving equipment ready for use."
"And you also mentioned that there is little visibility in that lake," argued Yure. "And that anyone who goes in there is eaten by big hungry thingy. Then there's the fact that if there isn't any treasure down there we'd be risking our lives for nothing."
"True," acknowledged Tom. "But can you risk passing up all that treasure?" His voice was carrying a lot of temptation on it. "Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and so much more. Enough gold to make you richer than three kingdoms."
His words did little to tempt Yure, but Wolfcub looked like she was straining to tune him out to little success. "I'm in," she stated in the end.
"That's one," said Thomas. "What about you, kitty?"
"You might have gotten her attention, but I won't fall for such pretty words," he said.
"Too bad we're partners all the way," chuckled Wolfcub. "We could always split and do our own thing for a while and regroup, but good luck in town."
As much as Yure hated to admit it, his small stature made his time in town's annoying on his own. He couldn't do much on his own from buying to going into a tavern. As far as everyone was concerned he was too young to buy weapons or go into places that served drinks with alcohol in them. It was the price he paid for his eternal youth, but so long as he had a grownup he was fine. Still, it made situations like this troublesome. "Fine, I'm in too," he finally admitted.
"Then let's shake on it," Thomas said holding out his hand for the others to grab hold of. Wolfcub extended her hand next to shake his, and after a moment of thought and a sigh for defeat, Yure places his paw in between theirs and the deal was made.
"We're in the throne room," said Bruce. "Now where are the king and queen?"
"I don't know," replied Logan. "But this is one comfy chair." With nobody there to stop him, the fat mutt had taken the opportunity to sit in the king's chair; his fatty sides drooped over the sides of the chair and his rear imprinting on the cushion. The legs on the chair bent a bet and it was clear it was never going to be the same.
"Get up this instant," cried Bruce. "If the king finds out we're going to be in big trouble and he'll send us to the dungeon."
"That would be true," stated Zane. "But the dungeon is behind schedule and the bars haven't been put up yet."
"Then I guess they'd put us in the stocks then," added Bruce. "But I suppose it won't be so bad since they'll at least feed us." It took the two of them another moment to realize Zane was now with them and wearing a kingly robe. "Zane it's you, and you're the king?"
"And I'm his lovely queen," Krystal replied waddling in wearing a large dress of violent silk and jewels that sparkled as brilliantly as her eyes.
"It seems Obamon had this all planned out better than we could have hoped," Zane explained. "She pulled some strings and got us leading roles in this big event for the Renaissance Festival. "I'm the king, Krystal's my queen and you two are my noble knights."
"What about those three guys?" asked Logan getting up so that Zane could sit down in his chair. Krystal took her seat next to them and they did just as much if not more damage to the seats than Logan had already.
"I think they are more of Obamon's guests," commented Krystal. "When I arrived she said they had decided to meet up with everyone here. Were they big as, uh well, us?"
"More or less," stated Bruce. "I think they were named, Herrett, Rhodes, and Donavin. They seemed alright, but hard to get a feel on them with the situation being sort of awkward."
"Well let's get into character," suggested Zane. "People are starting to gather for the next scene to take place and it won't do good to be talking about this."
"In a moment," Krystal interrupted. "There is something that I should clear up first."
"What is it?" asked Logan.
Krystal didn't get the chance to say anything as the wall at the side of the castle was blasted away, revealing it to be a blow away wall with Styrofoam stones. Vincent and his band proceeded in through the artificial smoke.
"Quick before they come to," stated Vincent. He turned to Zane's group looking a bit annoyed that they were just standing there obviously awake and disillusioning the audience. "I said before they come to."
Realizing they missed their cue, Zane and the others faked being out cold as Vincent led his team to Krystal and proceeded to lift her up with Vincent at her head, Rhodes grabbing her legs, and Donavin holding up her gut. Despite it being three, lifting up Krystal and moving her through the hole in the wall was a great feet.
"We got the cow, er, queen," stated Rhodes. "Now what?"
"Ransom her back in exchange for all the gold and jewels in the kingdom," replied Vincent. "What else? With the kingdom broke it will be all the easier to conquer."
"In that case," joked Donavin. "Shall we do a pound for a pound?" His joke didn't amuse Krystal so much particularly because he took the chance to grope at her breasts, something she reserved for Zane alone. With the flick of her tail she bopped him in the back of the head. "It was just a joke."
"You'd better raise taxes," taunted Vincent to Zane signaling him to begin to wake up. "Because I don't think the change in your piggy bank is going to cover this." With that they slipped out through the hole in the wall and vanished.
"Was all that in the script?" asked Logan finding their dialogue a little out of place for medieval times.
"Guess they like playing the villains," suggested Zane. "They did a good job."
"Well what are your orders, your majesty?" asked Bruce bowing and nudging Logan to do the same.
"What else?" answered Zane creating an aura sphere in his hand and sliding it to the side, leaving a trail of energy behind it. He gripped the sphere in his hand and it took the shape of a mighty sword. "We go to rescue her."
"Since when can you do that?" asked Logan staring at it with tons of astonishment.
"Since I became king," Zane told them, finding words that could answer his friends without breaking his character. "Now ready our arms and your steeds. We are going after them before the sun falls from the sky."
"What do you think happened here?" asked Tagmer as they reached the location that had once been the Stick It Thicket. There was nothing left of it now but a crater, though they could still faintly smell pancakes and maple syrup.
"It was that blinding light," stated Morris. "But whatever caused it I'm glad we weren't around."
"No kidding," chuckled Tagmer. "And I doubt the Kills were behind it. I don't think pointless destruction is there style and they are only after us after all." As Tagmer looked around a bit more he found a trail of torn up earth leading away from the crater and to a town in the distance. It wasn't hard to guess that was where the mysterious cause of this destruction went. "But I think we're going to find out."
"Why did I have a feeling this was going to turn out this way?" commented Morris. "Why don't we do the intelligent thing instead and ignore it. Besides we have no reason to investigate it anyway." As he tried to plead his case to Tagmer he felt a strange tug at his pack until something slipped out of it. It was the strange rock they found and they watched with intrigue as it began rolling by itself towards the town. It made Tagmer grin and Morris drag his hand down his face. "Is trouble attracted to us or are we attracted to trouble?"
"I don't know about trouble but if there's anything I'm attracted to its food, fun, and throwing my weight around and if I'm not mistaking the closest place is that town," explained Tagmer. He used a couple of his hands to rub his stomachs as they rumbled with hunger. It had been the first time he had hunger pangs with two stomachs and just the thought of food made drool flood his mouth and drip down his face and chins. "Get on now." There was a growl of commanding in his voice.
Morris could feel his own hunger acting up too. Seeing no other choice but to ride to the town or walk. It was an easy decision as he climbed onto his titanic friend and they stormed off to the town at the speed of hunger. Tagmer's feet left impressions in the dirt and his saliva flew off his cheeks as he ran at full speed like a stampeding herd of cattle off to graze.
"How'd we get here?" asked Van looking around surprised they were now in a town.
"You got me," replied Thomas struggling to his feat. He felt incredibly drained after the battle though at the same time better than he ever did. "We were fighting the stickies and now we're here. Did we get a game over and return to our last save point?"
"If that was the case I would want to respawn in the middle of a donut factory," joked Van. "And speaking of food, I could use something to eat. We didn't to even nibble those pancakes."
"I hear that," replied Thomas. "I am so hungry I could eat a horse."
"Well I spy a tavern so let's go eat!" declared Van as he rushed to it. Thomas followed after only after realizing he was moving, but he didn't feel his legs working like they should. He looked down and saw that his legs weren't there, just a phantom-like wisp. It was like he was a ghost, but he didn't feel very dead.
"Uh, Van," called Thomas. "I think we've got a problem."
"We aren't out of money, are we?" asked Van fearfully.
"No. But don't you notice something different about me?"
"Well you are missing the lower half of your body," answered Van bluntly.
"And you didn't notice this earlier?" he asked.
"Well I didn't know if that was normal for you or not." He read the expression of annoyance on Thomas's face. "I take it, this isn't normal for you."
"No," answered Tom. "And look at this." He stuck pushed his hand at Van's stomach and instead of pressing into his flab he went straight through it. "I am intangible like a ghost too."
Van chuckled seeing the hand slip in touching his insides in a sense. "Gives me a tingly sensation to see you do that." Thomas was far less amused at this most in part to his hunger, but as Van laughed he was strangely feeling less and less full. At the same time he also felt a pair of feet form on him. He even felt solider and in a haste to keep his hand from getting stuck. When he went to press his hand against Van's stomach again he found it was now solid just as his hunger vanished. Even more surprising, his belly seemed to be swelling out a bit.
"This is a bit unusual," Thomas said. "But now I don't feel hungry. In fact it feels like I'm eating something sweet. What in the world has happened to me?"
"Well do you think those rocks you are could have been sweet?"
"I did eat that one special rock didn't I? Guess it could have caused a drastic change in my being and transformed me into something more than a regular kitsune. If I had to guess I also evolved the normal need to eat and instead eat emotions. With you feeling all giddy and so close to me, I must've eaten your sweet emotions and filled up."
"You concluded all that just from the little evidence we have?" asked Van.
"For lack of a better explanation, yes."
"We'll if we're done deducing, can I get my fill now?"
"Eat away my friend," Thomas said sounding much more enthusiastic now that he felt brimming with new power and couldn't wait to put them to use.
"I still can't believe we're doing this," groaned Yure looking over the side of the boat. Though his fur was blue he looked a bit green. He had never had so much trouble on the water, but the sloshing caused by the dark chocolate syrup didn't seem to agree with him. It didn't help him knowing he'd have to dive into the place no matter how tempted he was to give it a taste.
"Just hang in there a bit longer," Wolfcub said. "Once we get our hands on that treasure it will be smooth sailing from here."
"Bad puns make me feel worse," groaned Yure lying down before he would end up falling to the ground from being disoriented.
"Well just don't forget that I need to get what I want too," Thomas the Smeargle told them. "Now here's the plan. We put on our diving suits and swim to the bottom. From there we find the treasure and swim back up with it. It's foolproof." Wolfcub and Yure didn't look nearly as convinced as Thomas hoped they'd be.
"What about all the dangers you mentioned?" asked Yure. "And what if it turns out we find out there is not treasure down there at all?"
"He does have a point," agreed Wolfcub. "Seems like a lot not to consider for the plan."
"Well nobody has survived going in there so what kind of plan could I come up with?" asked Thomas. "This is supposed to be an adventure and naturally there has to be enough risk to require going in to face mortal danger for potentially no payoff whatsoever. And besides I'm not bringing the boat back to shore until we do this anyway."
"Touche," applauded Yure seeing there was no way they could have second thoughts about helping at this point. "So where's my diving suit?"
"Right over here," Thomas explained leading them to the changing room. There was one for each of them to wear, blue for Yure, green for Wolfcub, and red for Thomas. All of them looked to be a perfect fit and each even came with a tank of oxygen for them.
After a quick change, the three were all ready to go diving. Thomas dropped the ladder and one-by-one they climbed down and jumped into the Dark Chocolake. It was a lot more like diving into normal water than they expected it to be, though it did smell like delicious mouth-watering chocolate so much so that they couldn't help but remove the air hose to get a little taste. It was all they could do to keep from drinking and anchor themselves straight to the bottom of the lake. It seemed like a good idea to help them go down, but then it would have made going up more difficult.
The deeper they dove the harder it got to see and they quickly lost track of where the others were. In a sense, it felt like they were lost in an empty void and sinking deeper in the darkness. The sensation was almost suffocation to feel so lost.
They quickly exited that eerie sensation when they entered an even eerier one as they felt something fast rush by them without so much as a sound. Then it passed by them again and again until it was swimming circles around them and they did what they could to get away from it. In their haste they all collided with something, but to their relief it was each other.
"What's down here?" cried Yure feeling his kitten instincts take control and make him cling to Wolfcub for comfort.
"Nobody knows," explained Thomas sounding just on edge. "I was hoping we could avoid running into it altogether. This makes a real mess of my plan."
"And we don't even know how far we are from the bottom of the lake," added Wolfcub. "So do we try and hold it off until we make it to the treasure?"
"It might not know entirely if we're here," commented Thomas. "If we attack it now then there's no way we'd survive. We can only hope it loses interest in us. For now, we have to remain silent." And so they did sinking and waiting without moving a muscle, though they were prepared to grab their weapons at a moment's notice if the need came even if they didn't know what good it would do them.
"That hit the spot," belched Tagmer after polishing off yet another plate of food. He patted his bloated stomach feeling his strength fully return to him. This was at least the fourth tavern he went to and the fourth one he practically ate out of business, though it was also in part to Morris's comparable appetite.
"I'll say," yawned Morris. "Still, we might have overdone it with the concept of 'All You Can Eat.'"
"The way I see it," chuckled Tagmer as he picked his teeth clean with a claw. "If you advertise 'All You Can Eat' you don't deserve to be in business if you can't give someone all they can eat."
"I suppose, but I don't think they had someone like you in mind for this," observed Morris.
"Well let's see if this place has at least one more buffet," said Tagmer patting his lower belly.
"I thought you were full," commented Morris.
"It wouldn't be right to eat a big meal and not have dessert," stated Tagmer.
"Good point," agreed Morris feeling his sweet tooth itch. "Just make sure you don't hog all the pie."
Tagmer simply grinned and dashed off, through the tavern to the door, creating a path or destruction in his wake knocking over tables, chairs, and pedestrians. Morris followed close behind, but wasn't prepared for Tagmer to do a split second stop and run into his cushiony rump.
"Not like you to stop on your way to dessert," said Morris peeling himself off.
"Not like me to go to a buffet and find that it is already done either," replied Tagmer. "Let's just see what other gluttons are in this town."
Tagmer burst inside and scanned the room to see who the biggest, fattest one in there was. He heard some munching by a table full of plates and knew he found his mark. He stomped his way over with Morris following behind him. The plates chattered from the shock of Tagmer's footsteps but the eater seemed to busy eating to notice. All the other patrons began to evacuate as they smelled a battle brewing. Once they were all gone Tagmer and Morris finally got a look at the eater. It was a werewolf of a size comparable to theirs and an appetite just as big. They saw he had some weird gadgets on his arms and though they didn't know it, this was Van, another of Obamon's guests. Then Tagmer turned his focus to the kitsune that was sitting beside him. Despite a change in his appearance, he recognized him.
"Thomas, is that you?" asked Tagmer curiously.
"Tagmer?" replied Thomas really surprised. "What are you doing in a place like this? Well not the buffet since that is obvious, but you know what I mean."
"Well you know me," chuckled Tagmer. "Just doing my own thing with my new taur body. You don't seem too surprised to see me like this."
"Not the weirdest thing to happen recently so not really. But why not pull up a chair and join us before there is no more food left."
"Sounds good to me," said Tagmer taking another step forward, but as he did, Thomas fell to his knees in pain.
"Oh, my stomach!" he cried.
"Are you alright?" asked Tagmer moving closer, but that seemed to only increase his pain. When he went to try and help him up, special rock he and Morris had slipped out of the fat fold he had stashed it in to where Thomas could see it.
"Where did you get that?" asked Thomas as cosmic energy surged out of his body.
"We found it," explained Morris. "But what's that got to do with what's happening to you?"
"The pieces are screaming," he shouted. "They want to be reunited. Ah!"
The room was filled with a blinding light that soon burst through the roof. As it faded, it left and giant bubble dome in the sky above the town with all four of them inside. They were all staring at Thomas who was still glowing with cosmic energy.
"I will obtain all the stones," growled Thomas in a voice that made him sound possessed. "And I will obtain them by any means necessary."