CHAPTER 4 — DREAMYVERSE
CHAPTER 4 — DREAMYVERSE
It was all a dream.
I thought that I had finally awoken from this intense encounter in the Dream World, but that was a dream in itself.
Back to this world where I'm being hunted down.
Wasn't I in grave danger a moment ago?
Even if Nicht didn't chase me down this way, am I any safer now that I've lost myself in some labyrinth of a cave without a Dream Guide?
...Without a Dream Guide...
I break into a sprint faster than I've ran in my life.
I'd rather face Nicht than whatever creepy-crawly shadow-lurker that thing was, EASILY.
When I was running from Taffy and Lotus earlier, it's like the world was lagging behind me, but right now, I'm going full speed ahead...
Maybe it's just the adrenaline?
Nicht: So you're back, after all!
There's no convincing Nicht now... not that I ever wanted to join sides with a literal villain.
I need to book it. But...
Nicht: Huh? What's that look on your face for?
Is this the same path I took when I entered that cave?
Is this figure before me really... Nicht?
Nicht: Kehehe, oh, I get it!
You're having a nightmare, aren't you?!
The world before me is a crawling cluster of silhouettes murky and obscure, as if they're watching me from every corner, laughing and watching.
Nicht is at the center of them— no, a kaleidoscope of vivid Nicht-like figures; none of them resembling the real one.
Nicht: Looks like you found out the consequences of flying solo, huh?
No Dream Guide, and it's a damn shame you wouldn't work with me like you were supposed to...
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
Nada: W-which one of you is talking?!
Well, the one firing attacks at you, of course!
Nicht: Welcome back to your own personal hell!!
Nada: No, not this again—!
Predicting where to run with these horrible visions is nigh impossible.
Everything is so chaotic, I barely have the coordination to dodge.
Nicht: This time I'll end you!!
Nicht's attacks blaze past me like liquid metal.
He's really not holding back.
At this rate, I don't know if I can keep up...
...Then suddenly, there was a loud beating of wings, and a screech from the sky.
Nicht: W-WHAT IN THE— What the fuck was that?!
Nicht: You lookin' at me?!
Nicht: Let's fuckin' GO then, huh!!
Nada: O-o-o-oh no...
Nada: O-OH NO, NONONONO, PUT ME DOWN, PUT ME DOWN!!!
It all happens so fast, I can't even protest.
I'm just dumbfounded as I let this giant cotton candy-coloured beast swoop me up and fly away.
The sky grows dark around the grasslands as this beast carries me away, but I'm being carried towards the lights of civilization...
Is it actually taking me to another Nexus?
It drops me off gently, then rears its head back suddenly—
Nada: W-WHAT?! DON'T HURT ME—
A huge pink bubble bursts by my head, a satisfying and quick pop like bubblegum, and suddenly those horrible visions have stopped!
Nada: Oh, thank goodness!
The world's gone back to normal, was that the end of my nightmare?!
Nada: And Taffy, there was some huge beast that had your fa— f—
AaaaaaaAAAAAAAA WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU?!
*awesome magical transformation*
Taffy: Sorry! I forgot to turn back to normal!
Nada: WHAT THE HELL?!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!
YOU CAN JUST TURN INTO A DRAGON AT WILL?!?
Taffy: HEY, I'M OBVIOUSLY A CAT!!
That's my first time going Guardian mode! I had to save you from that guy somehow!!
Nada: Oh, er... About that.
Taffy: No, no, no.
It's all on me, Nada.
Would you— Would you listen for a second?
Taffy: Nada, I fucked up big time.
I blamed you for stealing the teleprisms and I was wrong.
It's my fault you ran off, so don't blame yourself!
Taffy: That's right, I'm apologizing!
I was hotheaded and got us both in trouble!
If you never forgive me, I don't blame you, and I can tell Queen Nuigerita—
Nada: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Cool it, Taffy.
I accept your apology.
Taffy: Eh? Really?!
Nada: Of course!
I'm happy you decided to apologize, Taffy... It means a lot.
I just felt bad my friend got in trouble because I jumped to conclusions, and abandoned them...
I mean, I abandoned you.
Nada: Don't worry about it. We're definitely friends.
Nada: Now, what the hell is "guardian mode?"
You were a friggin' dragon?!
What the hell just happened?!?
Taffy: Oh, um!
It almost never happens, but if a tourist's in danger, a Dreamborn can go guardian mode and use attack and defense magic to protect them...
Taffy: Queen Nuigerita wrote me a letter that you were in trouble, and I saw that guy there using magical attacks on you while you were in a nightmare, and...
Taffy: Nada, I'm just so glad you're okay!!!
Nada: I'm glad you saved my ass...
I think I'd be in trouble if you didn't swoop in, literally.
Taffy: It looks like the teleprisms were stolen from this Nexus too...
As Taffy said that, I looked up around the Nexus, and my eyes were met with a familiar sight.
Nada: Wait a minute...
That was definitely him - my best friend since elementary school, accompanied by a tall Dream Guide with a large wingspan.
I ran as fast as I could before I could properly explain myself to Taffy.
I've been looking for you everywhere!!
What the fuck, buddy?!
I've been looking for YOU!
Nada: We have so much to catch up on!
Oh, um, this is my Dream Guide, Taffy, by the way.
She's pretty cool.
Nice to meet ya, Taffy.
Puicko's my Dream Guide, they're pretty dang cool, too.
Puicko: Nice to meet you all.
Taffy: It's nice to meet you too!
Null: Hey, why don't we all catch up at the restaurant here?
That feels like an appropriate place to tell our stories.
Plus, I'm dying to try dream world food.
Nada: Hell yeah, let's go!
The four of us made our way to a dome-shaped building ubiquitously named "Glowstick," and were ushered in by a pleasant Dream Guide who seemed ecstatic to serve us for our reunion.
After: Welcome to Glowstick!
May I take your order?
Null: Yeah, yeah! I'm dying to try this... "Glow Burger" thing?
The one shaped like an egg with legs.
After: Oh, that's no egg with legs, my dearest customer!
That's Glowpy, the beloved, famous, legendary mascot of Glowstick!
Null: Oh, gotcha.
Ummmm, so I'll have...
Yeah, I'll eat your mascot in a burger.
Nada: I'll have a vegetarian Glow Burger.
Taffy: I'm gonna have a Glow Burger too!
Puicko: ...I also desire the Glow Burger.
After: Right, I'll be back with your orders in a jiffy!
I'll GLOW tell the cook to make them extra good!
Puicko: Well, this place is quaint.
Null: So buddy. We have a looooooot to catch up on.
Where the heck were you this whole time?
Didja run off to play a neverending game of tag the second we got here?!
Nada: Well, the second I got here, I didn't really remember that you'd entered the Dream World with me...
Taffy: Null, would you happen to know why Nada lost their memory?
Null: "Lost their memory"?
Yeah, happens all the time.
They just forget stuff.
Nada: Wait, so... Eheh.
Do you actually remember where we were before we came to the Dream World?
Cuz I don't.
Null: We were urban exploring and dared each other to spend the night at that old abandoned house, remember?
Nada: Ohhhhhh yeeeeeaaaahhhh...
Null: Heh, your memory never ceases to amaze me sometimes.
Null: Hey Taffy, didja know, this one time back in middle school, Nada flipped out that someone stole their backpack and did their English homework for them?
Null: But I watched 'em the next day in class doing their own homework before they complained about it being stolen again!
I seriously think Nada's just constantly half-asleep, sometimes.
Nada: Jeeeeez, okay, she gets it...
Like, no offense.
Null: Hey, so back to important stuff— do you know Queen Nuigerita?
Nada: Yeah, actually...
Taffy specifically got assigned as my Dream Guide from him, from what I heard.
That's what I was gonna say about me and Puicko!
They got a royal quest from him to be my Dream Guide or somethin'!
Puicko: That's definitely no coincidence...
Nuigerita surely foresees potential in the two of you.
Taffy: Nada, you haven't told me about that guy you saw in the Null Plains yet...
Nada: Oh... right.
That's probably important.
Nada: I got separated from Taffy, and met a guy named Nicht...
He claimed to be the one who stole the teleprisms, and I believe him.
Nada: He wanted me to help him steal the rest, and I obviously refused.
So then this guy starts attacking me with magic!
I ran into a nearby cave for shelter.
Nada: I had a vivid dream there... ehhh, the details are negligible...
And when I woke up, I was in a nightmare in the Dream World.
Nada: Then, Taffy showed up.
I think she said she "went guardian mode"?
Yeah, she went beast mode or something and fired a laser beam at Nicht and took me here to the third Nexus.
Puicko: Guardian mode, hm?
You know, it takes a skilled Dreamborn to control those powers.
I can see why Queen Nuigerita tasked you with Nada's care, Taffy.
Taffy: Aww, shucks, you flatter me...
Null: That's so neat!
I wish I was there for that, I would've beat the SNOT out of that guy!!!
Nada: No dude, trust me, this guy was on another level entirely.
He had MAGIC.
It was totally unfair.
Siam: Welcome to order, may I break your glowst— fuck wait.
Siam: Hello, can I your order— ack.
Siam: Sorry, I meant to say...
...Ah jeez, um...
Siam: What— what would you like?
Puicko: A kind young man already took our orders.
Siam: But... I...?
Siam: ...Wait a sec.
Siam: What did he look like?
With a Glowpy hairpin?
Puicko: Yes, as a matter of fact...
Siam: Oh come on!
*mumbling* I swear we changed the locks... how could he possibly break in...
Nada: W-who are you talking to?
Siam: ...My friends.
This conversation probably isn't suitable for the ears of customers.
Siam: But, uh... Ahem.
'Scuse me. I'll be right back...
After: Hellooooo my beloved patrons of Glowstick!
I've come to serve your delicious food!
Four Glow Burgers™, hot off the grill!
Taffy: Um, that other employee was looking for you.
After: Ah? Nani?
Taffy: Something about you "breaking in"...?
After: Hah... My dearest customers... My beloved patrons of Glowstick.
After: I think you do not understand the bond between a waiter and his fast food company place of employment.
Taffy: H-huh? Oh my God. Please spare me—
After: When I was first hired at Glowstick... I was the best waiter they had.
Best employee of the month, every month.
After: My skill and penchant for the company rivaled even the CEO's.
If it was a battle of Glowstick fervor that crowned the owner of its franchise, I would be its king...
After: My love for Glowstick and its mascot Glowpy spans further than the Red Mountains.
I own every piece of Glowstick merch in print, in circulation, in existence.
After: One day, as my coworkers grew jealous of my intimate communal understanding of Glowpy I'm sure, I was fired.
"Won't ever go home" and "scaring the customers" or some nonsense.
After: But here I stand... STRONG. TWO-LEGGED. :3-MOUTHED.
JUST AS OUR OWN DEMIGOD, GLOWPY, KING OF FAST FOOD, NAY, ALL THE FOOD IN THE DREAM WORLD!
After: I shall never abandon my post...
For it would be a most treasonous act to leave my home of Glowstick.
After: Enjoy your meals.
Null: ...Suddenly I'm not hungry anymore.
Puicko: Null and Nada.
Puicko: I believe we should meet with Nuigerita, considering both Taffy and I's royal quests.
Puicko: Nuigerita clearly sees you two as an integral part in keeping the Dream World safe from Nicht.
We need to understand her plan for ourselves.
Taffy: Eh?! That's bold, isn't it?
You don't exactly go up to Queen Nuigerita and request an audience with her just like that...
Puicko: Have you ever spoken with Queen Nuigerita before, Taffy?
Taffy: Have YOU?!?!!
What kind of Dreamborn are you?!
You're givin' me serious vibes right now!
Puicko: Ah, the castle is just over there.
Let's head to the throne room and meet with Nuigerita.
Taffy: ARE YOU MAKING FUN OF—
Taffy: N-N-N-N-N-NUIGERITA'S CASTLE?!?!?
Taffy: THAT WASN'T THERE FIVE SECONDS AGO!
WHO PUT THIS FLOATING CASTLE HERE?!?!
Taffy: WAIT! OH MY GOD!
Taffy: NO WAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!
We headed into the ominously floating castle that was all but waiting for us to enter it.
I'd heard a lot of things about Queen Nuigerita, and now it was time for me to see what they were like for myself...
The thought was daunting for sure.
Maybe there's some kind of royal etiquette I need to know beforehand?
I didn't even think of that, since they're technically a queen...
But we're already here at the throne room.
Tsallake: Hey, Varnish, they're here already!
What do we do, what do we do?!
Just entertain our guests!
Both of us! Come on!
Tsallake & Varnish: Welcooooome to Nuigerita's Castleeeeeeeee!
Varnish: You guys don't look at all like I imagined!
But I hope you've got some parrr-tayyy in you!
Taffy: Hey, where's Queen Nuigerita?
Isn't that the whole reason we're here?
Who even are you people?!
Tsallake: I'm Tsallake!
Varnish: And I'm Varnish!
Like... uh. Shoe-shine.
Tsallake: Nui's getting snacks right now so he's gonna BRB!
Isn't this a rather serious occasion?
That's why the party favours are black and pink instead of yellow and pink!
Puicko: I don't remember seeing you two around the castle the last time I met with Queen Nuigerita.
Who exactly are you?
Tsallake & Varnish: We're the PARTY CREW!
Tsallake & Varnish: We liven things up!
Three's a crowd, maybe even a party...? That's the motto we live by!
There's not a boring day at Nuigerita's Castle with us around!
Tsallake: And we do paperwork...
Varnish: And post-party cleanup...
Null: A-are we sure we're in the right castle?
This place is just full of clowns.
Puicko: No, this is definitely the Nuigerita I remember...
Taffy: Everything Queen Nuigerita does is amazing to me, there's no way I can be disappointed...
I'm so excited!
Nuigerita: HELLO EVERYOOOOOONE!
I got snacks!
Now let's get down to PARTY BUSINESS!
Taffy: IT'S... QUEEN NUIGERITA... IN THE FLESH...
Taffy: This is the best day of my life! Except for all the really awful bad and terrible stuff that happened earlier and is still happening!
Nuigerita: Now, Natanupu, I'm omniscient so I already know what you've been up to in the Dream World today.
So no need to catch me up.
I am the Dream God, after all.
Nuigerita: But NADA— my vision gets a little foggy after you ran away from Taffy and ran into this so-called "Nicht" figure.
Can you tell me what happened then?
Nuigerita: Around the time you had that nightmare...
I think it has to do with that.
I didn't expect to be singled out so quickly and I can't quite keep up with what she's saying...
I guess this is what talking to an omniscient being is like.
Nada: I had a dream that I was back in my normal life and thought I'd woken up, but it wasn't real.
I saw my family at home and visited Null at his house... nothing really stuck out to me until I was woken by this... dachsund?
Nada: Then, I awoke in the cave where I'd taken shelter from Nicht in a nightmare.
I saw a figure move in the darkness and ran back outside.
It looked... horrifying, I'm not sure...
Nuigerita: This figure... could you describe it?
Nada: Uhh, it had this grey cloaked body, and a white diamond fa—
I KNEW it!
Nuigerita: Let's have us a toast!!
Nada: W-wait, I don't get it!
What does that mean?!
Nuigerita: Why don't you treat yourself to some food?
I have a tale that needs told to the four of you.
Varnish: Oh, wow!
This is the best party EVER!
We should finish it off with ghost stories!
Nuigerita: YES! LET'S!!
But right now... Things are serious.
Nuigerita: Let's get down to party business.
Nuigerita: Once upon a time...
Once upon a time that Taffy told Nada about earlier, according to my awesomesauce omniscience, I met my rival.
Their name was Kaupitero.
Nuigerita: As Taffy told it, and as many have retold this tale before her, Kaupitero was my ancient foe whose power rivaled my own.
She threatened to destroy the Dream World and, though I won, the damage was catastrophic.
Nuigerita: This isn't the whole story, though.
Just as I created the Dream World and later Dreamborns, Kaupitero was my creation.
I brought them into existence to control the one thing I couldn't control— nightmares.
Nuigerita: Things went well at first.
With myself overseeing dreams and Kaupitero minimizing the chaotic and sometimes harmful effects of nightmares, we were making a safer world than I could have on my own.
Nuigerita: Though there was balance with the two of us, there was a growing lonesomeness as well.
I created the Dreamborns to console this, as well as to help manage the order of the Dream World.
Nuigerita: I can't help but think Kaupitero was jealous.
But even moreso, I think that loneliness we both felt gave them too much time to fill, too much time to mess with the chaotic magic of nightmares with a growing curiosity.
Nuigerita: Before I knew it... he turned on me.
Said the Dream World was hers for the taking.
Nuigerita: The rest is covered in the folklore...
I won the war, and Kaupitero was punished with an extra eye for every sin of theirs.
Nuigerita: But... it didn't work out so simply.
To avoid this guilt, Kaupitero created his own 3 beings and split his power between them.
Nuigerita: Kau, Pit, and Ero.
I call them the sentries.
They weren't cursed with the eyes I sicced on their creator, and they quickly went into hiding to avoid that same fate.
Nuigerita: At that same time, I created a trio of sentries myself: Nui, Ger, and Ita.
Their only goal was to track down Kaupitero's sentries while I oversee the rest of the Dream World.
Nuigerita: So... that's a lotta talk, and hopefully it's not too much to take in, but Nada, you witnessed the sentry Ero.
The one my dear Ita has been hunting for centuries.
Nuigerita: IS MY LITTLE ITA A SLACKER?!?!?
Puicko: This sounds rather serious.
What are your plans, since Nada encountered Ero?
Nuigerita: There's only one thing to do, that's why I assembled the Natanupu Squad in the first place!
Taffy: Hey, what the heck is "Natanupu"...?
Nuigerita: You need to seek out my Nui, Ger, and Ita sentries and summon them to defeat Kaupitero's sentries.
Nuigerita: I don't know Kaupitero's plans right now, but if we defeat their sentries, they'll be forced to come out of hiding where we can SQUASH 'em like a penny!
Nuigerita: There's a place called Polamentis Outpost east of here where the 3 of my sentries should be rendezvoused.
Taffy: That sounds soooooo cool!
Some off the grid place called "Polamentis Outpost..."
Is that where Nui, Ger, and Ita keep watch of Kaupitero's sentries?!
That's their home base where they slack off when they're not working.
That's why I know they'll be there.
I got a question for ya I'm just dyin' to ask...
Nuigerita: I did say I'm OMNISICIENT as in I can tell the future and what you're about to say, right?
But go ahead, ask away.
Null: Why are you making us do YOUR chores?
Couldn't you get your sentries yourself?
Nada and I didn't exactly sign up for this, and we're not magical beings, either!
Nuigerita: UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH don't even get me started!!
Do you know how many civic duties being the Dream God entails?!?
Nuigerita: Usually it's already so bad, every time a couple of Dream Explorers have conflicting opinions on remodeling an area, it takes FOREVER to settle it!
Nuigerita: Now that the teleprisms are missing, do you even KNOW what I'm going through?
Have some sympathy for Queen Nuigerita...
Taffy: Null... Don't turn down a royal quest from the Dream God herself!
What are you doing?!
We'd LOVE to find your sentries!
Nuigerita: Ooh, you'll just LOVE them!
Those three are a bunch of party animals!!
Nuigerita: But you have to set them to work.
Don't let them trick you into partying the days away.
Nuigerita: Oh, I miss my horrible little irresponsible sentries so much...
I NEED A PIÑA COLADA STAT!
Varnish: Ooh, this is so cool!
It's like a real life fairytale!
Tsallake: We're living through history right now, Varnish!!
Let's take a selfie!!!
Nuigerita: Awww, you GUYSSSSS!
You're gonna make me slack off even more~!
That's what I hired you for.
Taffy: QUEEN NUIGERITA SH-SH-SH-SHOOK MY HAND?!?!?!
THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVERRRRRRRRR!
Nada: Um, w-what are we going to do about Nicht, though?
Isn't he a bad guy too?
I can't see through Kaupitero's nightmare magic, so I'm sure that Nicht guy is working with Kaupitero himself...
Nuigerita: Let's focus on attacking Kaupitero's sentries first!
Then we can deal with Nicht!
He will be "nicht" more!
Nuigerita: And that settles it for chapter 4!
Thank you for coming to my castle, everybody!!
Taffy: That's it?
You mean we can't stay here... forever?
Nuigerita: Tragically, no.
Our party ends here.
Nuigerita: I have assigned you a new royal quest: go to Polamentis Outpost, find Nui, Ger, and Ita, and tell them to defeat Kaupitero's sentries.
Nuigerita: After that, we battle Kaupitero herself.
We can deal with Nicht along the way.
Tsallake: I e-mailed you guys a copy of our selfie!
Thanks for stoppin' by the castle, asshole!!!
Varnish: TSALLAKE! What the hell!
I told you to use our NEW motto!
That one's sooooo offensive!!!
Varnish: Just cuz it rhymes does NOT mean it's cool!
Tsallake: Oh my Dream God!
I'm so sorry!!!
Tsallake: Let's try that again.
I got it this time...
Tsallake & Varnish: Bye-bye! Nuiger-seeya!
END OF CHAPTER 4
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