"Paula, you should hear this too." Ness said. He then turned to Poo, "Do you know why I started laughing after I beat that skull thing?"
Poo smiled, as if he knew the answer he was about to give would be the wrong one, "You were in shock." he said.
"But that's just it." Ness said, grinning, "I wasn't. When I used PSI CAT... I don't know, I felt some sort of release. It felt so weird, I guess I didn't know how to react to it, so I just... started laughing."
"How strange." Poo lifted an eyebrow knowingly.
"But now I wanna go back." Ness pounded a fist in a palm, "Let's go kick some big, fat Pokey ass!"
"You were right, Poo." Paula smiled, "He really hasn't changed a bit." she sat down next to Ness, "Now stop acting like the teenager you used to be, Ness. It's time to be an adult about this. You've been out of touch so long you've lost a lot of your strength."
"Whadda you mean? I remember every spell I knew!" Ness began counting on his fingers, "Lifeup, Healing, PSI ROCKIN', PSI Flash..."
"But Poo and I have been training for all these ten years." Paula said, "I mean, the only one weaker than you right now is Jeff, and he doesn't know any."
"How nice this is to know." Ness sighed.
"But it's the truth." said Paula, shrugging, "We'll go back to Pokey's world today so you can train. You need it."
"Fine then. If training it has to be, then train I shall." Ness said as the door to the room opened, "I just feel like I gotta battle something."
"Hey, Jeff!" Paula said to the one who had just entered, "Look who's back!"
Jeff smiled. There went his chances with Paula, he thought. Kerplunk. Right down the drain.
"I suppose we'll be going to Pokey's Earth, then." he said, walking over to them.
"Correct," said Poo, "But I fear our female friend and former leader may be requiring sustenance."
"Oh. Right." Ness said, suddenly realizing how hungry he was. Jeez, remembering 16 years of your life can really work up an appetite, he thought.
The key-in-the-lock trick took just a little less time, now that Ness knew what to do. He felt so suddenly in tune with all his mental powers- it was so weird to just be back on track of everything within a blink of an eye like that. But Ness loved it. He kept going over every memory he had recovered that morning, as if they were dreams he had had the night before, and he'd better go over them or he could lose them in a half-second.
It came as no surprise to Ness that Jeff had offered Paula his hand. He had always suspected that Jeff had his eye on her, even if he was too embarrassed to admit it with Ness around all the time. Ness grinned as they shot through the tunnel. Now at least he could torment Jeff about it for a while-
Nah. Time to start acting like an adult... Paula was right.
They stopped at the same place. Ness looked down at the road he and Paula had once ridden on with the Runaway Five in their tour bus.
Or maybe it was no longer the same road.
"So where to now?" he asked.
"Nowhere in particular." said Paula, "We just gotta find a monster."
"Right," said Ness. He started walking. The rest followed, "So what kinda monsters are we talkin' about, here?"
"Well, there's the Skullspirit..." Paula said, "Pokey created it real early on, so it's not very strong..."
"Mini-Minis," said Jeff, "Small versions of the Mani-Mani statue. They have about half the power of the original."
"There's also Ribboknots," Paula started, "They-" she stopped.
"What?" Ness asked. Then he saw what. Something was floating down the road towards them.
"That's a Mirra." Paula whispered, "Stronger than a Skullspirit, but you'll be able to take it. Go for it, Ness."
Ness felt a sudden wave of panic sweep over him, "Alone?" he asked.
"Yeah. You'll get more experience that way. And we'll help if things start getting desperate."
Ness gulped. Maybe Paula was right. He was inexperienced...
Well, that's why you have to fight that thing, he told himself. He set his jaw and walked towards the Mirra.
It was a round, shining Mirror with a gold frame and two eyes on top, with what looked like small laser guns pointing towards the center of the mirror. Its eyes shifted to Ness as he confronted it.
"Wait a second!" Ness shouted suddenly, turning to his friends, "What sort of weapon am I supposed to-" he was cut off and fell to the ground as a beam hit him at the base of his neck. "Shit!" he exclaimed, massaging the spot that had been hit. His eyes flicked to the edge of the forest on the side of the road. A rather large stick lay abandoned by its tree. Ness' eyes lit up. He scrambled to his feet and scooped it up off the ground.
A sort of mad grin spread across his face as he stood and felt the wood clasped in his fists. His mind blanked, but it wasn't a lapse this time. He didn't need to think. He was back on the battlefield.
The Mirra sped through the air towards its head, and Ness reared back with the stick, swinging with all his might.
The Mirra went spinning out of control a bit, then swerved in mid-air and began spinning around. Light glinted off the double-sided mirror.
Mirra performed PSI Flash Alpha!
Ness felt tears welling up in his eyes. He quickly performed Healing Beta, and the tears evaporated just in time for him to see the Mirra coming for him again. It hit him in the side of the head, knocking him to the ground again.
Ness stood and swung, and just barely missed. The Mirra was flying around his head.
Ness performed Shield Beta! The shield covered Ness just as the Mirra fired another beam. The beam hit Ness in the shoulder but bounced back to the Mirra as well, hitting it right between the eyes. Ness stumbled a bit from the beam, but kept his balance.
The Mirra sped for him again. Ness swung the stick, and the mirror shattered, leaving an empty frame. The frame, too, fell to the ground after a moment. The Mirra was defeated.
Ness smiled again. "Yeah!" he said breathlessly, running a hand through his hair.
"Quite excellent, my friend!" Poo shouted from behind him. Ness turned as the shield around him evaporated; it was no longer useful.
"Guess we better get you a real weapon, huh?" Paula asked as she, Jeff, and Poo walked towards Ness.
"Yeah, I guess." Ness said, still grinning the heck out of himself, "But right now I wanna fight summore. Let's go!"
He hasn't changed a bit.