Cycle
ImagineGal

Chapters

1. A New Beginning
2. Insanity
3. That Was His Name
4. Escape
5. Not Just You
6. Page One
7. Forgotten Wonders
8. Smaaaaash!
9. Advice
10. Tricks
11. Former Friends
12. Revelations
13. Distortions
14. Mental Roller-Coaster
15. A Two-Day Journey
16. Lessons
17. Touch of Evil
18. The Ride of Your Life
19. Losing the Feather
20. Epilogue


PSI Anticipation Alpha. Costs 45 Psychic Points. Allows you to anticipate the attacks of the enemy, but renders you unable to fight. Wears off after three turns.

The list was still scrolling through Ness' head as he watched the spider stop in front of them, the pincers on its head clicking menacingly.

"The Parachnid was the last creature created by Pokey. It's incredibly strong." Paula said, not taking her eyes off the bug, "Care to do the honors, Ness?"

"Right." Ness said. He figured he'd start out with something simple.

Ness performed PSI ROCKIN' Omega!

The concentrated energy sent the spider flying. A thin strand of string shot out from it, wrapping around a nearby tree.

"Spread out!" said Paula. The four of them quickly took different places around the tree. The Parachnid, in the meantime, began swinging on its string towards Paula. As quick as lightning, she whipped out her yo-yo and swung, whapping the spider so hard that it went flying around the tree, towards Poo, who spun in the air and kicked it towards Jeff, who fired his gun and missed, hitting the tree instead.

Now it was the spider's turn to attack. It got its bearings and swung to the tree, where it sat in silence for one second.

Then, suddenly, its abdomen sack got just a little bit smaller. Small, black specks began crawling all over the tree.

"Damn." Jeff said.

"Don't let one of those things get on you, Ness." Paula said.

"How?!" Ness asked as the spider kicked off the tree and swung towards him. He swung at it with his bat but missed; the spider swung swiftly back to the tree, "They're so small!"

"Just don't let them get on you!" Paula shouted. She swung her yo-yo again, and missed, but instead hit the string that attached the spider to the tree. It fell to the ground, into the grass.

"Where'd it go?" Ness asked, looking for the spider while still watching for those little black specks- They were swarming all over the tree, and some appeared to be headed for the ground.

"I'll find it." Poo closed his eyes and concentrated. He slowly began to transform into the Parachnid. The process got faster and faster until he was down below the grass as well.

"Keep your eyes open." Paula said. Suddenly she gasped, "Ness, look out!"

Paula performed PSI Fire Alpha! The tiny black speck that had been crawling towards Ness' shoe became a tiny pile of dust.

"Thanks." Ness said. Suddenly a hideous squeal sounded. Poo appeared, reverting to his original form. There was a bite on his arm.

"I found it," he panted. Then, with a mighty kick, he sent the spider flying into a place where it would be more visible- the road.

Jeff whipped out his gun and fired. The beam connected, and the spider squealed, collapsing onto the ground. It was dead.

Poo fingered the bite on his arm, then quickly performed Healing Beta. The wound closed up, and the poison was removed from his body.

"Let's go," said Paula after a pause, "We've got to get to Pokey as soon. He must know we're here by now."

"Right." said Jeff, holstering his gun. He, Paula, and Poo turned to go, but stopped when they noticed Ness wasn't following...

"Ness?" Jeff asked, turning.

Ness stood looking at the spot behind the tree.

"Ness, we gotta get going-" Paula started for him, but stopped when she saw what he was looking at.

The statue. As twisted and as eerie as they ever saw it, standing quietly in the grass by the tree, slowly pulsating with its white light. As if it was watching them.

Paula gulped, trying to tear her gaze away. When she finally found the strength to, she turned her head towards Ness.

"Ness, stop looking at that thing."

Ness almost didn't hear her. Her voice was echoing in his mind like it was from far away. The sculpture made his fingers twitch. A voice whispered directly to his mind- touch it... Touch it...

"Ness!" Paula shouted again. She put her hand on his shoulder, shaking gently.

He had felt this every time he had seen the sculpture. Just never this... strong. Touch it... His hands trembled, clasped in front of his chest. Touch it... His stomach lurched. A roller coaster. Touch it... He didn't think he could stand it any more...

"GOD DAMN IT, NESS!" Paula shouted. She turned his head towards her with one hand and slapped him with the other.

He was still shaking from the shock of the whole thing. He tried to calm down, putting a hand to his forehead. "I'm okay. I'm okay." he said breathily, trying to convince himself more than the rest of them.

"Good. Let's go." Paula put her hand back on his shoulder and they all began to walk down the road.

Ness glanced back over his shoulder. The sculpture was gone.

You missed your chance, the voice said.

My chance for what? he asked. But of course, no answer came.

Underneath the dull pain left from the slap, Ness hardly noticed the small stinging in his leg.

A black speck buried itself beneath his skin.

*

"All right. Everyone ready?"

"Ready." said Ness. After walking a safe distance from the site of their battle, they had gotten their life energy and Psychic Power restored by the equipment in Paula's backpack.

Ness performed Teleport Omega! They soon found themselves standing in the forest near Onett.

"Cool." said Ness, "So that's Teleport Omega, huh?"

"The very same." said Paula. "Pokey should be somewhere around here."

Ness didn't have to ask why. He felt a strong surge of power coming from the area around his house. The four of them began to walk in silence down the dirt path. When they reached the library, they saw an astonishing sight.

People lined the sides of the path, as if waiting for a parade. But they were not in a crowd- rather, they were lined up in single file, facing into the street. They didn't even glance at the four friends.

Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo entered into the area where the people, like zombies, stood watching. Everything was deathly silent.

Ness began to recognize some of the faces in the line... Frank, the gang leader, who had tipped him off about Giant Step... Orange Kid and Apple Kid, whose inventions he had invested in... Liar X. Aggerate, the old friend of his who had discovered the Mani-Mani statue... Captain Strong, who had challenged him... Even Dr. Ermino, who had taken care of him all those years... And countless others... Finally ending with Picky, and Mr. And Mrs. Minch...

He's enslaved his own family, Ness thought, looking into the glazed-over eyes of Pokey's little brother. Like the rest of the people in line, Picky's bodily functions had nearly completely shut down since Pokey's capture. He hardly looked older than the day he had delivered the fateful message to Ness. A letter from Pokey... Well, maybe a year older... That's what he was, anyway...

Ness looked up. His house loomed in front of them. His own home. It seemed so empty now. Lonely, and desolate.

Suddenly, a sound came from behind them. The familiar sound of softly pulsating light.

Don't look, Ness told himself. He felt Paula take his hand. Don't look...

Something was flying over his head. Involuntarily, he looked up.

It was flying through the air like a black snake, slithering towards the roof of Ness' house. Ness turned. The statue was rapidly unraveling, flying over their heads. Forcing back the now nearly unbearable urges to touch the statue, Ness tore his eyes away from it, watching as it reached the roof of the house and began wrapping up again. It seemed to be wrapping around nothing, and yet... It seemed to be taking a sort of logical form. It wrapped in circles like it was forming a crude robe of itself. Nothing but the slowly pulsating light was heard.

Suddenly, it reached the end, and a gigantic blast of white light was given off. The four friends cowered, shielding their eyes. Ness almost automatically threw his arms around Paula, trying to protect her. She huddled close to him until the light died down.

Then, finally, they all looked again. A booming laugh rang out into the silence of Pokey's Earth.

Pokey Minch sat on the roof of Ness' house. But it could easily said he was no longer Pokey Minch, a cowardly, annoying, little fat boy. He was huge, obese, and the unraveled statue wrapped around his body, exposing only his hands and head.

Ness' jaw dropped. He hadn't expected for Pokey to look so... powerful. All he had been able to see in his mind since he had regained his memory was that neighborhood boy who had been led astray by thoughts of power and greed, sitting grinning in his spider mech, convinced he was on the path to happiness and glory. Sitting there with seemingly no protection, no giant machine surrounding his person, he seemed nearly as menacing as Giygas himself.

Ness felt suddenly very queasy. He wasn't ready for this. But there was no turning back now.

His arms were still wrapped around Paula, and as he stood in horror, he could only think of one thing to say.

"Please tell me he's wearing something under that."

"It's best not to think about it." said Paula, shaking her head slowly.