Ultimate Mobius Chapter 3: Coral Cove:
She groaned a little as she opened her heavy eyes. Her head was throbbing, and she felt like someone had placed a warm, heavy blanket over her. She stood up a little shakily as she shook off her dizziness that accompanied her initial headache. "...Where...," she began in a confused tone, "Where is this?" At first, she thought she was in a normal tunnel, but then she deduced it was a cove due to the puddles of water in lower areas containing a few old seashells. A strong smell of seawater was also evident throughout the cove. There were many different shades of beautiful luminescent coral growing all over the tan sandstone and limestone rock cove walls and ceiling. Even though she could tell from feeling the slimy walls that it was rather cold, she still seemed warmer than ever- still feeling like there was a blanket on top of her. Her head pain wasn't helping, either. Those problems, however, became minor annoyances after she noticed that her hand feeling the wall was no longer the pale, ivory skin color her body and herself had always known. Instead, it was now covered in thick brown fur. She gasped as she pulled her hand away from the wall in horror. "Wha-what's going-?! Wah!" she screamed as she noticed that something was brushing her now fur-covered leg and, to her shock, turned out to be her own new squirrel tail. She ran over to a small,lowered, submerged area about the size of small pond and splashed some of the ice-cold water in her face. "Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dream. Just a-!!" she mumbled frantically before she froze in fear for there, in the reflection of the slightly clouded water, was a brown squirrel's face with large, pointed ears and a cream, furry muzzle with a cute little nose whom was wearing her clothes and her terrified expression.
She stumbled backwards in complete shock and fear, screaming as loud as her little squirrel voice-which had also changed from her normal voice-would allow. "No...," she mumbled, taking in multiple quick breaths, "N-no...This i-isn't possible...!"
"Hey!" a voice called from beyond one of the cave's paths, nearly making the already frightened squirrel jump out of her new fur, "Is someone there?!"
Normally, she would've replied, but she was still in too much of a daze to respond. A red, black, and white fox with orange hair wearing a white labcoat came running around the corner in her direction. "Were...," the fox began out of breath, "were you...the one....screaming?"
Closely behind the fox followed a green, black, and white fox and a purple tasmanian devil with ragged, tattered clothes on-both of whom were wearing unpleasant faces, though the tasmanian's seemed much more obvious.
"Need I remind you...," began the other green fox to the red, "That we're wasting valuable time here..."
"Then it will have been valuable time well spent to rescue another possible victim," the red fox concluded.
"Vi-victim...?" she began, "Y-you mean you already...know?"
"I knew it!" the red fox smiled a bit, "You got sucked through these odd wormholes, too!"
"That's why we're all here," he gestured to the green fox and tasmanian devil.
"Er...no, actually..." she trailed off.
"Hm? Then how did you end up here?"
"W-well, I mean...I don't remember anything...Everything just went black and..."
"I see...Well, then it's still very likely you did get sucked into a-"
Suddenly there was a large thud, cutting off the rest of what he had to say. It shook the entire cave, with large amounts of old dust dropping down from the ceilings.
"See how much time you've eaten up?!" snarled the green fox, "Now it's caught up to us again!"
The thuds got louder and more regular. "Quick!" cried the red fox to the squirrel as he helped her up, "This way, everyone!"
"As if you know where we're going!" snapped the tasmanian as they all followed behind the red fox who was practically dragging along the very confused squirrel in his haste. Not a moment after they had turned the corner on the room, a burst of water rushed in, halfway filling the entire section of the cave.
The four animals rounded two corners, three passageways that were almost so thin that you had to progress through in a single-file line, and climbed up a reasonably-sized cave wall just as the water hit the top of the wall with a loud 'Splooooshhh.' The sea water bubbled and foamed for a few minutes, and then it settled again as the four sat against the walls to catch their breath.
"By...the way...," panted the red fox to equally tired squirrel, "I'm Chrono..." He motioned toward the green fox, "That's Ace...and...," he pointed towards the tasmanian, "She's...well, she...never did actually tell us her name..."
"Because you don't need to know!" retorted the tasmanian.
"Don't mind her..." assured Chrono to the squirrel, "She's just a little cranky. So, what's your name?"
"...." the squirrel hesitated. 'Should I tell him?" she thought.
"What?" Chrono looked at her in a puzzled way, "Do you not remember that, either?"
"Huh?...Oh, uh...hah n-no, no...I remember..." her muzzle began to turn rosy. 'I'll just say my name and that's it...' she decided to herself. "Um, it's Dannie. Dannie Static..."
"Dannie, huh?" repeated Chrono, "Ok, then. Well, as you may have guessed, this cove is nearing high tide, and we need to find the exit before this cove becomes completely submerged. The only problem is-"
"-Since the water is most likely coming from the normal exit," interrupted Ace, "That area is already flooded, and we would run out of oxygen before we could swim back there."
"So we need to find a second way out...if there even is one...," finished the tasmanian.
"Yeah...," Chrono trailed off, looking a bit more nervous after the tasmanian's finishing words.
"So why don't we stop talking, and get moving?" the tasmanian questioned impatiently as she stood up.
"Alright, alright...," Chrono stood up, followed by Ace and Dannie, "I was just about to do that anyway..."
"Sure," the tasmanian replied sarcastically.
"Now," began Chrono as he peered down an odd hole-like pathway, "Where do we-?!"
Suddenly, Chrono leapt back, narrowly missing a bite to his skull from a shadowy, eel-like creature with 5 electric blue glowing eyes. It looked as if its purplish-black skin was melting away into the atmosphere off his body like water vapor. Upset that it had missed its prey, the eel monster reared its head back and gave a loud screech from its toothy mouth.
"RUN!" Dannie screamed as she took off down another corridor with the others quickly following behind her. The monster gave another shorter screech and took off in pursuit.
"Wh-what is that thing?!" screamed Ace.
"No idea!" responded Dannie frantically, "Just keep running!"
"Hang on a sec'!" called Chrono as he stopped and wheeled around in his direction, "I'm gonna try and stop it!"
Dannie turned back around. "Are you nuts?!"
Chrono held up his hands and began to concentrate. Rocks began floating around him. A blue aura followed, and then with a loud cry, he unleashed a large telekinetic attack right at the monster's eyes as it came barreling towards him. It paused for just a split second to smell the air, as if it felt nothing more than a breeze go by, then it resumed its attack, charging straight towards Chrono.
"N-no way...!" Chrono mumbled in disbelief, standing motionless from shock.
"Let's go, Mr. Hero!" Ace snapped as he yanked Chrono's arm out of the monster's bite's reach just in time.
"B-but I don't understand...," mumbled Chrono as he was dragged along by Ace, "That should've at least stunned him...It just went clean through him!"
"We can try to reason it out later-provided we're not already dead!" Ace snapped.
The four continued to try and loose the eel creature by taking many hare pinned and erratic turns, but the eel was easily able to keep up, slithering seemingly effortlessly with great dedication to staying right on the group's tail.
Finally, they met back at the room they had found Dannie in via a higher cave ledge, only it was now halfway filled with water, the beautiful luminescent coral still shining ever brighter underwater.
"D-did we just go in a huge circle?!" Dannie screamed in disbelief.
Before anyone could answer, the eel finally caught up to them long enough to sink its huge fangs into Chrono's side, knocking the rest of them back into the partially submerged cave room.
"AUGH!" Chrono screamed as he tried to wiggle free, furiously throwing stones at it with his telekinesis, all of which were flying straight through the eel without it so much as batting an eye. It seemed to be too focused-and rather delighted-at finally sinking its teeth into something.
"Chrono!" Ace and Dannie called.
"What do we do?!" cried Dannie, "Nothing can touch that thing!"
Suddenly, the tasmanian smirked as she locked her eyes on the eel. "Heh, I tried to be nice...," she began, "And let you have a little fun...then you just have to take it to the next level, do you?"
"What are you-?" Ace began, but before he could even finish, a see-through, smoky, claw-like hand emerges seemingly out of nowhere and lunges straight at the eel, knocking it square in the jaw. Surprisingly this time, it didn't go right through the eel. Instead, the eel squealed in pain and quickly let go of Chrono, who dropped into the water motionless. His blood still dripping mildly from his bite wounds tainted the kaleidoscope of colors created by the glowing coral mixing with the reflections and distortions of the water.
As Dannie and Ace waded through the stained water to go and help the unconscious fox, the tasmanian was still focusing on the eel, who had gone into quite the defensive position. Its body was all coiled up against the entrance to the hallway they just came from, it was now baring its fangs and making the largest hissing they had ever heard.
"Yeah, you don't like that, do you?" sneered the tasmanian, "That's what you get when you-"
Before she could finish, the eel lashed out like a snake, attempting to land another powerful bite. The tasmanian swiftly dodges, and shoots a large ball of milky white, wispy energy right into its mouth, making the eel creature writhe on the floor in agony.
"You really are a bad one, aren't you?" the tasmanian taunted, "You just never know when to quit!"
"What is she doing?" Ace gawked in disbelief, "How'd she hit that thing?!"
"Now," began the tasmanian as a long piece of milky energy reappeared in her hand, "Why don't you be a good host and show us out of here for a change?" She jumped up onto the eel's back and the piece of energy whipped around the eel's head as it reared back its head in pain, thrashing wildly. "Hey, hold still, idiot!" the tasmanian ordered impatiently, "It hurts less when you just do as I say!"
After a few more wild movements, the eel seemed to settle, although it was still very finicky and jittery, possibly hinting that the harness was, in fact, very painful even when it did stand still.
"I see you catch on fast," the tasmanian pointed out, "That's good. You'll avoid much more pain that way. Now, let's see where you can take us, huh?" The tasmanian began to direct the eel around the partially submerged room whose water level was still quickly rising.
"Hey!" called Dannie, "D-don't leave without us!" Ace and Dannie helped carry Chrono onto a secure part of the eel monster.
"Tch," snorted the tasmanian, "It would help if you weren't so slow..."
The eel suddenly gave a hard jerk away from one of the passageways that had a bit of water leaking from it. "Aha!" cried the tasmanian, "There it is!" She dug her heels into the eel and sent it speeding toward the cave. Fork after fork, the same thing repeated, the eel looked, stepped back, and then the tasmanian forced it forward. The amount of water was rising as they went, though they did not have to worry about being swept away by the sudden rushes of water since the eel was still high enough to avoid it. However, space was running out fast, and, just as the water reached halfway up the huge eel, the four came up to a huge opening at the top of another rocky ledge. Water was leaking into the cove from this second, bright entrance, but it was low enough that they could still get to it if they hurried as it all seemed there was one final large burst of water left before the entire cove becomes submerged.
"The exit!" cried Dannie with relief, "Let's-WAH!"
Seemingly at the sight of the cove's entrance, the eel could no longer take it and bucked the four rides right off its tail, continuing to thrash wildly.
"Wh-what's it doing?!" screamed Ace as he helped Dannie pick up the still unconscious Chrono.
"Forget about that!" the tasmanian shouted back, "The exit!" As the four began to climb up the ledge, the eel spotted them out of the corner of its many eyes and, with one final wild thrash, it whipped them all off the ledge, causing the heavy coral encrusted ceiling to cave in where the ledge leading up to where the exit was.
"NO!" the three conscious members of the group cried out. The eel, still frightened and disoriented from its own wild movements, rammed against the walls and ceiling as it slithered back into the cove.
"No! No! No! Noooo!" Dannie screamed in disbelief as she leaned against the rock wall, weakly banging on it in a futile attempt to make an opening, "First I wake up lost in a deadly, freakish cove with a weird new body...and now this!!"
"Wait," Ace paused, "What did you just say?!"
"Wh-what are we going to do?" Dannie began to sob a little, seemingly ignoring Ace's question.
The tasmanian instead scanned the ceiling, and she found an opening just big enough for them to squeeze through. "Over here!" she called, "I normally would be able to fly out that hole but..." She tried to at least hover, but could not lift herself off the ground. "I'm too tired from controlling that eel!" Dannie didn't notice it before but, the tasmanian did look particularly tired and out of breath. She also seemed a little more beat up than the rest of them, though she was the one to take the least if no amount of damage.
"If we stand on each other's shoulders," Ace began as the water level began to leak up from where it was up to their waists before, "Do you think your hand thingy could reach?"
"Hmm, worth a shot..." she trailed off.
Gently propping Chrono up so that he doesn't drown, the three stood up and, rather akwardly, stacked themselves up on top of one another with Ace on the bottom, Dannie in the middle, and the tasmanian on top.
"Why am I always on the bottom of everything?" Ace grumbled.
"Can you reach it?" Dannie called up as their tower wobbled a bit to and fro.
"Yeah, if you keep still down there!" the tasmanian snapped as she stretched her 'hand thingy' towards the ceiling.
In the distance, the three began to hear a loud series of timed thuds, followed by a low rumbling slowly increasing in intensity. Ace also caught a glimpse of some water leaking in from a cracked wall.
"Guys...," he called nervously, "Hurry it up there...!"
"Almooost..." the tasmanian grunted as she stretched her hand to its most possible length. Then, with one final thud, the three lost their balance and began to fall over just as she managed to grab onto the edge of the hole.
"Yes!" Dannie cried happily as the tasmanian hoisted herself up and out of the cove hole. "Great job! Now send that hand back down so you can grab us."
Instead of complying, the tasmanian simply smirked.
"Hey! Quit messing around and pull us up already!" Ace barked.
"No...I don't think I will..." she sneered at them from the hole above.
"WHAT?!" cried Dannie in disbelief.
"You little..." Ace began.
"Yeah, see," the tasmanian began in a proud yet taunting tone, "I got places to be, things to do, people to 'collect.' And you guys...well, you just got here. You have no idea what you're doing or what's going and, apparently, who to trust. So, see, to me, it doesn't sound like you have much to do anyway."
"You..." Ace growled as Dannie, who was too shocked and enraged for words, simply glared up the pleased tasmanian.
"Well, I'd say, 'See you later,' but I don't think I will," chuckled the tasmanian as she began to walk away. "Oh," she added as she poked her head back, "thanks for the lift by the way." With that, she began to casually stroll away as her gloating echoed slightly throughout the cove.
"Hey!" Dannie called angrily, having finally found her voice, "You get back here and-"
Before they could react or even gasp, the low rumbling, which had already gotten much louder, gave way to a deafening roar of waves as a rush of water came rolling straight at them, blasting the remaining three so hard they were knocked off their feet, completely submerged and in the wild and churning waters, fading out of view...