CHAPTER 5 — DREAMYVERSE
CHAPTER 5 — DREAMYVERSE
Not a second after leaving Nuigerita's Castle, it vanishes into the sky of NX3 behind us.
Queen Nuigerita had given us a new destination, however.
Due east of here is a place called Polamentis Outpost, and the four of us are headed there to meet Nui, Ger, and Ita.
I'm quite curious about all of it.
Puicko: I've created a map of the Dream World so you can better understand our journey, Null and Nada.
Puicko: We're crossing through Kaleido Meadow, then we'll head through Strataprism Heights, which was the scene of Nuigerita and Kaupitero's ancient battle, according to legend.
Puicko procures a hand-drawn map.
I can make out NX1, NX2, Polamentis Outpost, and some other sites we've visited... I think I understand the lay of the land a little more clearly.
Taffy: Woo-hoo, this is a fancy map! You mind if I take a picture of this?
Puicko: Go ahead.
I'm flattered you think it's that nice... It's just a quick sketch to show key locations.
Taffy: I wish we could've asked Queen Nuigerita more questions about the ancient war!!
What if they didn't even fight at Strataprism Heights?
Taffy: It could've been at like, Glowstick or something...
Whoa... Think about it.
Puicko: I'm sure Queen Nuigerita is... um, quite busy.
Taffy: When we find his sentries and report back, I can't WAIT to throw a huge party!!
Taffy: Or like, maybe after defeating Kaupitero.
I guess making sure the Dream World doesn't like, totally blow up is important before we celebrate.
Taffy: Oh? My phone's ringing...
Maaaan, if this is Preview about to ruin my mood—
Yenna: Hiiii~ It's Yenna~
Taffy: What the— Yenna!
Why are you calling me?!
Yenna: So, did you get a good pic of Nui's castle? Ehehe...
Taffy: Oh, you just want some pictures of their castle...?
I mean, I guess Tsallake sent me a copy of their selfie they took... Lemme forward it to you.
Yenna: YES! SCORE!
Taffy: Something tells me you knew Nada and I were going to visit Nuigerita's castle today...
But that's impossible, right?
Yenna: Huhu. That would surely be impossible.
Yenna: Oh, this picture is soooo adorable!
This must be the party crew Preview was talking about!
What are their names again...?
Taffy: Tsallake's the secretary and Varnish is the explorer.
But... they're kinda—
Yenna: Ooooh, no need to tell me!
They just ooze coolness, ehehe...
Yenna: You were so lucky to meet them and Queen Nuigerita, Taffy...
I'm a little bit jealous!
Yenna: Oh, I've got to go, Taffy!
Taffy: —...they're kinda weird.
Nada: Was that Yenna?
Taffy: Yeah, she wanted to see what Nuigerita's castle was like...
Y'know what? I think Tsallake and Varnish would get along perfectly with Preview and her.
Null: Oh boy, what are Preview and Yenna like?
Taffy: DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED!
If they even hear Queen Nuigerita's name, it's the air they breathe for the next 3 hours!
Nada: Aww, I think they're all nice...
They're just... ehhh, dedicated.
Taffy: Yeah, classic Nada for ya.
A mosquito could bite ya and you'd be saying the same thing, huh?!
Like, bzzzt, bzzzt!!
Null: HAHAHAHAHA!!! You're a riot!
Nada: Pfffft. C'mon.
I don't like bugs, we all know this.
Null: Okay, okay, true.
Null: Hey, Puicko, what about you?
What's your take on bugs?
Puicko: Bugs perform a vital role in the ecosystem.
Without them, even parasitic bugs, our world would collapse.
Null: Yeah, and that's classic Puicko for ya.
Nada: Wait, we need bugs even in the Dream World?!
Puicko: ...No, actually.
But us Dreamborns are fond of the order in the Waking World, so you might one day find yourself head to head with a Dream Explorer who does nothing but creates bugs.
Puicko: And then what will you do, Nada?
Puicko: Will you cower at the sight of truly inspired invention?
Or will you accept your multiple-legged brethren of the Waking World?
???: Hey. Heyyyyyyyyyy.
Puicko: Was that one of you?
Notlinotif: No, no no no.
My name's Notlinotif.
Notlinotif: I saw you guys walking by my pasture n' thought, well, look what the cow dragged in!
Notlinotif: Cuz I've been followin' you for a bit now, and, uh.
Well, this thing is followin' me, I mean—
Null: Whoa whoa whoa, you've been FOLLOWING us? Like, stalking us?
Notlinotif: NO! That's why I need YOU guys! There's a thing stalking ME!
Like, maybe, it's like... Agh!
I messed up all my words, I mean—
Puicko: I did hear someone a couple paces behind us for the past few minutes.
Was that you?
Notlinotif: YES! Let me explain.
I saw you four out for a stroll. Two of you are Dreamborns.
I think your magic could help me catch this critter that's been stalkin' me on my farm.
Taffy: So there's some kind of animal chasing you around on your farm?
Sounds like you should call pest control, not a couple of rando Dreamborns, buddy.
I mean, I know my animals... It's m-more like...
Nada: There's a CREATURE?
Null: Deja vu...
Notlinotif: Listen, if you don't wanna help, I get it.
I'm not great at the whole talkin' to anyone but cows ordeal, so maybe I can manage on my own—
A creature, huh?
Like, a scary creature? An abomination, even?
Notlinotif: Uh, I dunno?
It's scaring off my herd, and abominatin' my fields, perhaps?
Null: That sounds kinda fun.
I'm in. Let's help Notlinotif!
Well, if you could get rid of it with your Dreamborn magic or somethin', well just do it.
Please. My cows are terrified.
Notlinotif leads us to his pasture, it's more of an unkempt meadow with waist-high grass and roaming bovids of various shapes and sizes.
I can easily see how some kind of monster could hide in this foliage.
Puicko: Do creatures usually hide in your... field here?
Notlinotif: Nothing but cows in these pastures. Never been anything but cows.
Taffy: Exactly WHAT is hiding in your field, anyway?
Notlinotif: There was a dark figure hangin' real far out in my pasture, and then it disappeared right in front of my eyes.
I'm not pullin' your hoof or anything, it just vanished...
Notlinotif: That was about an hour ago, and I've been playin' cow and mouse with it since then, checking out anywhere my cows are avoiding.
Notlinotif: Well. Now that you guys are here...
D'you think you can catch it? Maybe your magic can do something.
Now that I look more closely, the cows do seem to be avoiding a certain radius of the pasture...
I wonder if that's where the thing is hiding.
Nada: Hey... do you think it's hiding over there?
Null: Only one way to find out!
I grit my teeth as Null runs straight towards the empty portion of the meadow, like I expect it to jump out at him immediately or something.
But nothing happens, even as he stomps around loudly and punches the air.
Notlinotif: I tried that earlier, but it seems to run off when you come barreling at it.
Maybe we should corner it first.
Taffy: You think all of us should search the field, then?
And try to follow any sounds or sights you notice... Or if a cow gets spooked.
We all spread out into the field and start searching...
Nada: H-hey, big guy... Did you see anything over this way?
Nada: Okay... Gotcha... Thanks...
I don't like the thought of running into an invisible creature, I'm kinda hoping someone else will find it.
I might just chill here with this cow.
Taffy: Hey, Nada, any luck over there?!
I guess I'll have to, ummmmmmm, maybe not hang out with the cows... Heheh.
Taffy: Notlinotif said to look where the cows are avoiding, right?
Or at least watch if they get scared suddenly.
Taffy: Well, I'm looking in the other direction.
Nada: Okay, she's gone. Just me and you now, buddy.
It looks like Null might find it first, he's really making some headway running up and down the field...
That's just like him, he definitely WANTS to find the terrifying creature hidden in the grass.
Nada: What's your vote on? Who do you think will find it?
Taffy, Puicko, Null, or Notlinotif?
Nada: Huh. I'm gonna take that to mean Null.
That's what I think, too, buddy.
If I crouch down in the grass, no one can really see me... and see that I'm too chicken to really LOOK for the creature hiding in the field... and hanging out with a cow...
Nada: H-hey! Where are you going?
Kau: K... Kau...
Kau: A... a.
This thing... Was this one of Kaupitero's sentries?!
Nada: WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOUUUUUU DOING HERE AAAAAAAAA?!?
It's running off!
Wait, am I supposed to be chasing it?!
Queen Nuigerita said her sentries would defeat them, but it's right in front of me!!
Nada: STOP RIGHT THERE!
Nada: HOW DID I DO THAT?!
I spend too long in shock at my ability to use some kind of magic, and Kau scurries off somewhere beyond the pasture...
Nada: WHAT. WAS. THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?
Puicko: Nada! Are you alright?
Taffy: NADA! ARE MY EYES WORKING RIGHT?!
Null: I can't believe you found it first, that's not right...
Notlinotif: Oh. You scared it right off.
I would reward you or somethin', but this isn't like. An RPG. You don't get anything.
Notlinotif: In fact I want you out of here now.
Thank you and goodbye my cows are overwhelmed by the amount of people here as am I.
Null: Uh— hey, any time... You got it...
Nada: Did anyone else see that. What just happened.
Notlinotif: Thank you for scaring off the thing.
Please leave. I'm quite overwhelmed.
Taffy: R-right... Bye-bye, Notlinotif!
Thanks for— I mean, you're welcome for...
The thing is gone, bye Notlinotif!!
It seems like the four of us left Notlinotif's pasture as soon as we entered it, but personally I was glad to be out of there quickly after encountering that figure.
Taffy: NADA. What was THAT?!
Nada: I DON'T KNOOOOOOOOOW!!
You saw it too, right?!
Null: What are you guys talking about?
Nada: I... I used magic! I swear!
Null: A— huh?
I thought that creature used magic on YOU?!
Taffy: But— what— you're from the Waking World!
And this is your first time visiting here and everything like you said, right?!
This is bananas.
Nada: I dunno what happened...
That thing in the pasture was one of Kaupitero's sentries.
Nada: When I recognized it, I somehow used magic because I was determined to not let it get away.
In the end, though, it escaped...
Null: You're— you're telling me you just thought about some kind of objective and waved your hands, and magic came out?
Null: Like THIS—
Puicko: I am fairly certain other tourists cannot do that.
Even on days like today.
Taffy: Hey, do you think it has something to do with Nada and Null having extra eyes, too?
I always thought that was a weird feature.
Puicko: There's a lot of odd things going on...
Maybe we should just accept being in the dark and work with what we have.
Puicko: Nada and Null can use some kind of Dream World magic.
This could work in our favour.
Null: Don't ask me, I have NO idea how that just happened!
Taffy: Hey, is that who I think it is over there?
Ugh, that's seriously not who I wanted to run into again...
Taffy: ...Wait, what the hell is going on?
What is he doing?
Heron is sitting next to what appears to be— no, what DEFINITELY is a pile of teleprisms.
Heron: Grim Reaper girl?
This isn't what it looks like.
Heron: It's— it's much worse.
You mind your business, okay?
Taffy: What the hell, are those teleprisms?!
YOU have the teleprisms of all the people in the Dream World?!?
Nada: Wait, that can't be right— it's just Kaupitero and Nicht, right?
Nada: Wh— wh...
Whaaaaaat are you doing, Heron.
Heron: Let's just call it field work, okay? Don't interfere.
If I can just— get it right—
Heron smashes a teleprism against the ground suddenly.
Puicko: What in the name of everything dreamy are you doing?!
Heron: T-trust me, I have a motive— I mean, an explanation—
Puicko: You had best stop that right now unless you want turned into a cartoon skeleton.
Heron: Aheh, ahehehehe! So you have an attack cerberus, I see!
Heron starts smashing more teleprisms, more hastily.
Taffy: STOP THAT!
What the FUCK are you doing to the teleprisms!!!
Don't come any closer, I've got to get this to work!!
Heron smashes more teleprisms, and finally, one starts glowing a deep purple.
Where— where did he go?!
Taffy: He had to have teleported somewhere...
Nada: Uh, he's still right here, what do you mean?
Heron: G... gh...
Heron: This place... This place...
Heron: I followed the instructions.
If you attune a teleprism with the rocks at Strataprism Heights, you can create a duskprism, and teleport to Kaupitero's nightmare realm...
Heron: It... really... is...
Null: You did WHAT?!
Taffy: You mean you guys can see him still?
Most, most interesting...
I won't turn you into a cartoon skeleton if you tell us everything you know.
And return the teleprisms.
Heron: Of course...
But I'm telling you, this place...
Heron: ...It's Hell on Earth...
Nada: How do you leave?
Do you use the same duskprism?
Heron: Yes, but... I can't leave yet.
I need to take in these horrific sights for my research.
Heron: You want to hear what I know?
And then I'll spare you from turning into a pile of bones.
Heron: Turning into a pile of bones would be less horrifying than this realm I've entered...
Heron: You should know that I traded information with the entity Kaupitero, who was Nuigerita's ancient enemy.
Taffy: You know about Kaupitero?
Heron: Ah, I see you've been educated as well.
Then I can cut to the chase— she told me how to create duskprisms and supplied me with the teleprisms I requested for my research.
Heron: I don't ally myself with Kaupitero, in fact, I wanted to use this information against him.
My plan was to spy on him in the nightmare realm.
Heron: But I'm aware I've done something... criminal.
And in admitting this... I'm as good as a pile of bones now anyway, aren't I?
Puicko: You received all this?
What did you give in return?
Puicko: This is definitely a grave crime.
But perhaps we should leave the judgment to Queen Nuigerita. You should turn yourself in.
Heron: It's just my two good friends, Nada and Null, that can see me, right?
Null: Hey, we've never met, bud...
Heron: I'm sorry.
I'll right my wrongs, I promise.
Heron throws a teleprism my way, and hops down the cliffside before either of us can react.
Null: Hey, get your ass back here!!
Puicko: Null— there's no use...
What are you going to do if you catch him?
SHOW HIM A PIECE OF MY MIND, THAT'S WHAT!!
Nada: Hey, he's not a bad guy!
You can't do that!
Null: Seems otherwise to me.
Taffy: Oooooh, I should've totally spilled his pushpins... That asshole...
Nada: He gave me this teleprism.
Is this so I can teleport back home?
Taffy: Probably. Kind of a lame gift right now, if you ask me.
But if you wanna teleport home... that thing SHOULD do the trick.
Nada: Well... I'm not so sure anymore.
We're going to recruit Nui, Ger, and Ita, and I wanna make sure the Dream World, um...
Nada: I wanna make sure the Dream World doesn't fuckin' blow up, y'know.
Null: Glad you agree!
Cuz if you woke up right now, you'd be on your own, pal.
Null: Yeah, I'm gonna stick around a bit longer, too.
We don't need that teleprism yet.
Taffy: Awwwww, hangout time~! Does that mean we're all friends?
Taffy: Wait, you REALLY think the Dream World is gonna BLOW UP?!
Puicko: I'm glad you two wanna help us with our quest from Nuigerita, that's very kind.
This is definitely certified hangout time.
We continue through Strataprism Heights until the rocks become brittle and dusty, leading out into an open expanse of desert.
There's nothing but broken sculptures for miles, haphazardly placed by dream explorers.
It makes you wonder how frequently this place is visited, or if the sculptures were purposely broken.
Then, a little smattering of fabric scraps, clay, and carved wood juts out of the otherwise empty landscape. This must be the place: Polamentis Outpost.
Taffy: We get to meet Nuigerita's sentries!
This is so exciting! What should we say?!
Puicko: Hey, are Nui, Ger, and Ita here?
That's all wrong! That's—
Ger: Like, heyyy! What's up!
Ger and Ita are here!
Taffy: W-whoa... Nuigerita's sentries... That's so cool...
Ger: Omigosh heyyyyyy! Visitors!
We NEVER get any of those around here!
Like, make yourself at home!
Puicko: Is Nui here?
Ger: Like, I dunno. Why don't you ask Ita?
Puicko: Okay... And where is Ita?
Ger: Um, inside, I think?
We poke our heads inside the outpost, but no one is there.
There is, however, a chain of white papercraft dolls hanging from the ceiling, which catches my eye.
Nada: Oh, these paper dolls are cute... I wonder who made them?
A clawed hand places itself on my shoulder immediately.
???: Me, bitch.
Nada: Oh. Hi.
Ita: Whaaaaat? That didn't scare you?
Nada: Haha-HA! That's right!
Guess who's already been scared about 5 times today!
Ger: OH, THERE YOU ARE, ITA!!!
Ger: Whoops, inside voices, I forgot.
Ger: I fouuuund Ita~
Wait, what did you guys want, anyway?
Ger: *gasp* Did you guys come all the way here cuz you heard about my great cooking?
Teehee! Like, say no more!
Taffy: No, DO say more!
What's for dinner?
Puicko: Unfortunately, we don't have time for a banquet party right now...
Taffy: Uwwwuhhh... I know.
Taffy: Yeah, Queen Nuigerita brought us here.
Y'know Kaupitero and their sentries?
You guys need to talk some sense into them or something, that's why we're here in Polamentis.
Ita: TALK some sense into them?
I think you mean something more like THIS.
Ita makes a snipping motion with a pair of scissors.
Ita: FUHEHEHE! So the battle's back on!!
Let's go get 'em, Ger!
Ger: Aren't we, like, missing someone, thooouuugh?
Ger: Hey, did you guys see Nui on your way in...?
They're about yeigh tall, pinkish-red skin, six arms, big purple wings, couldn't possibly miss 'em!
Puicko: We didn't see anyone else on our way in, no.
Ger: Uh oh...
Ita: Uh oh...
Puicko: ...And what does that mean, exactly?
Null: You guys DO know where Nui is, right?
We kinda need them for this whole defeatin' Kaupitero schtick.
Pretty damn essential, in fact.
Ita picks up a paper doll chain, and cuts it down to 3 dolls.
Ita: Nui used to live here with us. We were all very happy.
Ger: We lit this desert on FIIII~IRE!
Ita knows how to sew some stunner clothes so we can party in style, I do the cooking, and Nui built this whole place we live in!
Then, Ita snips one of the dolls apart, so they're separated into 2 and 1.
Ita: Nui thought that being Nui wasn't enough.
In his own words, he couldn't cope with being "less than Nuigerita."
He went into the desert on a journey to find himself.
Ger: Of course, Ger and Ita have no problem with it!
So we stay here and party!
Ita: That's right!
No matter who we are, we can do whatever we want, all day long!
That's a perfect existence, isn't it, Ger?
Ger: WOO-HOO! And now we have visitors!!
Puicko: ...Maybe Nui will be interested in rejoining you if we explain our quest to him?
Ita: Maybe Nui has found her meaning in the desert and now understands his urge to ATTACK and HARM Kaupitero's sentries like MOTHER HAS TAUGHT US.
Ita cuts the paper dolls into shreds.
Ger: Geez, you really like playing up the creep factor, Ita.
Puicko: Do you know where Nui might be?
Ger: Ger doesn't know!
We might have to party to draw them out! Or bunker down and have a fun time together for a whole month before we find her!
Ita: Nui set off into the Wheel Desert.
She said she was making a new home and to not disturb him.
Ita: We will likely see it somewhere in the landscape there.
Unfortunately for him, we are about to intrude.
The six of us head off directionlessly into the Wheel Desert.
True to its name, this place is littered with wheels of various shapes and sizes, each one catching our eye and giving us a false hope that we'd found Nui's home.
It feels hopeless, like searching for a needle in a haystack... we aren't even sure which direction Nui set off in, or if they're still here.
But we have no choice, we have to find her.
Taffy: So, I'm DYING to know... Can you tell us about the ancient war?!
Ger: Liiiike, what do you wanna know about it?
Ita: We kinda missed most of it...
Taffy: *gasp* That's right!
Weren't you only created after Nuigerita won the battle?
Taffy: Well, just tell me anything you DO know!
Ita: I can tell you what I've done for the past few millennia.
Toiling away, ever hunting the sentry Ero, always just a snippet short.
Ita: What a pitiful existence, like ouroboros eating its own tail, like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the cliff...
Ger: Hey! That's not what Ita's been doing for the past few millennia!
She's been partying it up with Ger!!!
Ger: ...After we like, gave up on Kaupitero's sentries, that is.
YAHAHAHAHA!!! Those guys are tricky!
Nada: You gave up? Are they really that powerful?
Nada: I saw Kau earlier and accidentally used a magic attack on it, then she ran away...
Can you tell me anything about Kau?
Ger: Nope! That's the sentry Nui's supposed to catch!
I go after Pit, and Ita goes after Ero!
And like, when we catch 'em, KABOOM!
Taffy: Can you tell us about Pit and Ero then?
Ger: Ugh, Pit's like, a total buzzkill.
I'll show off my coolest moves, and he just uses the same move over and over in response!!
Ita: I've told you this, Ger, that's because it's trying to BEAT you.
Ger: WELL IT SUCKS AND IT'S STUPID!!! IT'S NO FAIR!!!
At least throw a little fun in the mix!
Ger: This guy will just use the same stupid magic beam 10 times in a row like she's got nothing better to do!
At least explode me or something!
Ita: Ero infuriates me.
Ger: Huh? That's not what you told Ger last time.
Ita: ERO INFURIATES ITA!
They lurk in the darkness, always waiting to ambush Ita, and their hiding spots are disgustingly good!
Ita: Sometimes they...
Ita can't even— I mean, I can't even say it.
Sometimes Ero scares me.
Ita: It's sick... To think that someone is scarier than me...
No. They definitely are... my archnemesis...
Ger: Yeah, Ero's like, pretty dang scary.
Nada: I think Ero is the sentry I saw when I was hiding from Nicht in that cave...
Ita: You SAW Ero?
Ita seems to materialize a chain of paper dolls out of thin air.
Ita: Was he hiding in a good spot? Was he... scary?
He was hidden in the walls of the cave, and it scared me pretty good.
Nada: I'm... sorry.
Ita starts snipping the paper dolls up recklessly.
Ita: CURSE YOU! CURSE YOU! CURSE YOU!
DIE! DIE! DIE!
Ger: Aww, he's like, totally motivated to catch Ero now, isn't he?
Ger: Yaaay! I wanna catch Pit, too!
Maybe you guys can help me come up with a strategy for his boring moveset?
Null: Is there a spider's nest around here somewhere?
Nada: GUHHH, A WHAT NOW?!
Null: Mmmm, yep. This is definitely spidersilk.
Ita: Nui has to be close by.
Taffy: Uhhhhhhh, would that giant tower with the enormous cocoon happen to be his?
Ger: That's gotta be her!
It's time to crash this party!
Puicko: What a remarkable specimen, I've never seen so much webbing in one place!
This is a cocoon, the real thing...
Nada: YOU WERE THE BUG-LOVING DREAMBORN THIS WHOLE TIME, WEREN'T YOU, PUICKO?!
Puicko: ...Hehehe. Mwehehe. Buhehehe. Bwaha. Hehe.
Nada: WHAT'S WITH ALL THE BUGS!!!
Upon trying to enter the tower, a chime sounds and a placard drops down from a chute.
SOLVE MY PUZZLES THREE
TO REACH THE ONE KNOWN AS "NUI"
THOUGH SHE'LL BE IN HIS COCOON
ENTERING METAMORPHOSIS SOON