2020-10-16 - Arcade Madness 3: Fruitrassic Kart

From Battle Fantasia MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Arcade Madness 3: Fruitrassic Kart

No longer even vaguely resembling a race, the players fight to survive against the deadliest of foes, in a virtual world they're unable to just turn off.


Setsuna Higashi, Mikoto Minagi, Niramo Umokeshi, Kasagami Araki, Fuu Hououji, Steven Universe, Chitose Shiratori, Eri Shimanouchi

GM: Pink Moon Stick


Game Center Crown(?)

OOC - IC Date:

10/16/2020 - 09-29-15

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows ~ Endless Cut https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY



First Mikoto!Bowser and Chitose!Rosalina are blown straight out their carts by one too many shells, and discover unforeseen capabilities in this game: they can walk, freely. Though they're surprised not to be passed by the 'back pack' of racers, such as Eri, Takeo, Setsuna Meioh and the like, who never appear.

They promptly walk up to the nearest and only VR cow to give it a good petting. And this is great, until it vanishes in the wake of a purplish-green blur.

Now Meowser and Chitosalina pursue this mystery into the woods in the middle of the Moo Moo Meadows loop-track... No Moo's Land...


Further down the track, in the big open, rolling field shortly before the finish line, Fuu!Link, Luigi!Niramo and Tanuki Mario!Haruka enjoy the same discovery: their tracks fall apart from too much damage, but now they're miraculously free to walk around in what feels like an ever-more seamless and realistic experience. They decide to make for the end (and beginning), where there are hay bales they could sit on, and a crowd of cheering Toads to hang out with.

Flink, Nirigi and Harukario set out for their destination. It's just around the last bend...


Red Shy Guy!Setsuna Higashi and Yoshi!Kasagami are the only two racers left, though they haven't quite realized it yet.

Now Shysuna and Yoshigami zoom neck and neck towards the end of the second lap...



The morning sun was coming in at a low angle, and it stops filtering very far through the trees REAL QUICK. It is dense and dark with tree trunks, canopies, and other foliage. It doesn't even smell right... the freshness of the breeze on the track is quickly lost to something almost claustrophobically musky.

It is not easy going for Meowser and Chitosalina, who are quite large as people go within this universe, but eventually, with sufficient struggle, they break through a treeline into a small clearing.

A small, unnatural clearing.

Recently made, by something entering it from a different angle at extremely high speeds.

A vast gouge in the earth tells the story: someone's kart lost control, or something. It's a rather small kart, which might explain how they made it this far through the undergrowth without slowing down. And it's flipped over. One of its wheels spins, listlessly, under no particular power.

They can faintly hear Baby Mario!Steven Universe squirming around inside. But there is no sign of the moo-moo they came here to find.



Baby Universe had fallen significantly behind the front pack of racers, in part because he got a little distracted by something just out of the corner of his eye... a colorful blur.

Then something, perhaps that same something, slammed into him with astonishing force. Totally on another level from green or red shells, and without the guardrails of a bumpin' good time like the rest of the game. It sent his Kart careening into the forest, where he's been stuck underneath it ever since. It's kind of COOL, this realism, but it's also probably frustrating. Where's one of those cloud guys with the fishhooks when you need them?

Maybe he can get a little help from his friends.




Whether they walk or run or footrace, Flink, Nirigi and Harukario enjoy a nice quiet journey towards the Finish Line. The morning sun is warm and the breeze refreshing and it smells less like cows and more like floral pasture.

It is, in fact, too quiet.

Shouldn't there be... cheering? WAII! WAIII!

The Finish Line comes into view just as Shysuna and Yoshigami cross it, triggering an exciting sound that comes from everywhere and nowhere:

<SoundTracker> Final Lap! - Mario Kart 8 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1XC24MNwbA

But that's the only noise, outside of the suddenly-accelerating folksy strings soundtrack. It plays and plays and reels and reels as those on foot approach what used to be the hay bales and rustic wooden bleachers.

Some have been knocked over. The hay has exploded almost entirely, and some kind of action has spread it broadly into a mess across the ground. What's left of the bleachers is shredded, like someone sicced a blender on it sideways. There are more slash marks than structure at this point.

The Toads are gone.

Though there isn't only hay crunching softly underfoot. Sometimes there's something a little bit fleshier, something soft and white, just the smallest little cast-off chunks of it, nothing bigger than maybe a green bean. If someone crushes one of those bits between their fingers, or else when everyone steps on too much of it by accident, it releases an earthy, ripe smell.

The aroma would not be out of place in a nice risotto.




The Finish Line passes by at such high speeds and loud acceleration that it's just blurry streaks and engine noise. The faster pace of the final lap's music urges Shysuna and Yoshigami onwards.

This is a personal, for all the stakes, one-on-one duel of skill, now; they seem to have lost their competitors entirely, and might expect to even be lapping the most hapless racers soon, the ones they haven't seen in a while.

The first line of item boxes are coming up quickly, when--

  • SLAM*

Something crashes into Shysuna's kart from the left (she was on the inner part of the loop, next to the forest) and into Yoshigami's from behind. Yoshigami is instantly forced to decelerate.. something -- somethings?? is HANGING ONTO THEM EVEN AT HIGH SPEED, while trying to shake their kart to shreds. Shysuna will have to do everything she can to not flip over outright from having been brutally rammed by still another something.

Something colorful.

This is nothing like being struck by a shell in any case. It is sudden and painfully jarring, which on the one hand sucks but on the other hand, hey, wow, impressive realism and an effective surprise!

If a scary one...

COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Parking Grape on Kasagami Araki.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick has used Grape Smash You on Setsuna Higashi.
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki fails to dodge Pink Moon Stick's Parking Grape, taking 59 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Kasagami Araki is
unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi fails to brace Pink Moon Stick's Grape Smash You, taking 47 Fatigue damage!  Setsuna Higashi is unable to
keep fighting!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Vroom! Shysuna is accustomed to going fast, and continues to go fast on the course!! She zooms and zooms against Yoshigami, and suddenly there's noise!! The invigorating sound sends Shysuna on her bike even faster, or at least it feels faster with the accelerated soundtrack, even if it's not. She moves towards the items, and indeed kind of wonders about the ones she hasn't seen in a while but--


She shock gets a noise out of Setsuna an the something slams into her cart all right. As it stands... yeah she totally does flip over outright, sailing towards the barn and dropping in, bike popping down and falling apart beneath her. She curls in on herself and makes something of a Shy Ball as she instinctively rushes about the impact, and--


She didn't know VR was this good. She's going to need a sec though.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto, who is used to being small and lithe and really REMARKABLY good at slipping through the woods, quickly realises just how troublesome it must be to be big. "Being tall is too hard!" Mikowser yowls, as her horns get tangled in branches.

She's a bit agitated because nothing here really seems to fit. It doesn't smell right! Sure, deep forests have a mulchy smell about them, but it's not just musky! This is like delving into the winter closet after a semester of summer..!!

Which, by the way, is totally something Mikoto has had to start to do, and here's her review of moths, entirely independent of her recent sojourn to the other side: 0/10.

Luckily, Mikowser is not just tall but HEAVY, and with the power of bulling forward, she manages to snap the vines which were trying to keep her back and tromp RIGHT INTO A CLEARING. Tromp tromp tromp, and she looks up and down the gouge, scratching at that flame of red hair on her head. "What..?"

Finally her gaze falls on the end of that gouge: the kart. Baby Mario's kart! Bowser, who may be Mario's sworn enemy but who would never commit war crimes, immediately scrambles over that way. "Hey, help me get this over!" She calls to Chitosalina, as she grabs a side of the kart to hoist it up.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

When Luigi stood up from the wreckage of his loyal motorcycle, he wasn't expecting Tanuki Mario to just walk on over to her. Looks like his bike wasn't the only one that was on its' last legs. "It was a lot of fun, but I didn't think our vehicles would break down like that..." And Tanuki Mario's plan to head to the finish line seems like a good idea, just as long as they don't get hit by rampaging karts. "I'm fine, Onii-san. Besides...I still technically beat you, so i'm fine with that." Even if it's just all pretend, there's no hard feelings between brothers.

It seems like the Hero of Hyrule is also heading towards the finish line too. Best to make sure there won't be any grudges held... "And sorry about that bomb. I kinda panicked once I saw what I got out of the box, I threw it and...well, that happened. I'm just glad we don't actually have to worry about explosions hurting!" It would take full on suits to give the sensation of pain like that, and even with just headsets, this VR game is absolutely amazing. If you didn't know any better, you could smell the farm!

As they near the finish line, Nirigi starts to laugh a bit as she finally realize something. "I just realized i'm not the shortest one here for once!" Sure, it's a little silly, but when you're used to almost everyone looking down on you, an increase in height is amazing!

That familiar finish line can be just barely seen up ahead, the shrinking figuries of a Yoshi and Shy Guy going over the horizon. The music picks up its' tempo and all seems quite normal at a distance...well, if you ignore the lack of an audience now. "Huh? Those Toads were here just a few minutes ago. They were a blur, but I could have swore they were."

It's only when they get closer and Nirigi sees the damage clearly that they move into a jog to get there to see all the slashes. This certainly wasn't normal, and virtual or not, Nirigi looks around as if she was expecting the cause of this to show up. "Something's not right...I know the kart items can be a little destructive, but there's no slashing weapons..."

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Yoshigami too vrooms and zooms hard! All while displaying appropriate tongue-based yoshitaunts at her Shy opponent! There's an artform to this racing and this taunting. Kassie isn't exactly a racer, so it's mostly her just trying to force Yoshi mouths to make Setshyna to mess up.

No, she's so focused on WINNING that she doesn't at first notice the sudden extra rider. And as her kart begins to literally fall apart at the seams? Well, her kart krown flies up, wobbles, and bonks her on the head as she loses fenders and all those many kart akutremonts.

"Ahhhyo-shi!" Shouts one Yoshigami at her unseen assailant, swerving again and again until she can no longer swerve. The tenacious Kassie is little more than wireframe kart until even that shakes apart.

There's only one thing to do. She ducks and covers, sent into an equally cartoon yet painful snout-over-booted-yoshi-feet roll that is basically a blurr. She's green sonic now, her stomach is furious, and nothing about this is fun. Howls about cheating and victory can be heard until there's a very, very loud rolling impact into a barn.

Flying little k.o'd koopas swirl about her head as she lay in the ruins of her kartly konquest.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"No hard feelings," Link assures Luigi, still in Fuu's voice. It might be a little more disconcerting 'face-to-face' than it was when they were all still in their karts; certainly, Link doesn't seem to pay it any mind. "But from what I know of Mario Kart, karts shouldn't be completely eliminated except in battle mode, and I didn't think we *were*."

However, Fuu's relaxed and pleasant nature subsides into wariness as they approach the finish line. Yes, the stands SHOULD be full of cheering Toads. No, there shouldn't be anything in the game capable of wreaking this kind of damage - the level geometry should be *fixed* and unalterable.

There should be a lot fewer 'shoulds' in play. Link reaches back to try and unsling the Hylian Shield; Fuu is hesitant to try drawing Link's sword - possibly putting the lie to 'there are no slashing weapons' if the sword *does* work - but at the very least, she wants something to *block* with, whether for her own sake, Niramo's, or whomever else's should show up in harm's potential way ...

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

In the land of video games, Steven Universe is a boy of extremes. Especially in competitive games like karts. From one second he will be cackling like a gremlin through the microphone, mercilessly attacking others, and in another moment, dropping down to a snail-like pace to check out a cow or look at the landscape. This has unfortunately become his undoing, as without targets nearby, he just drifted along lazily. And ocne he realized his placing, began to floor it to try and catch up.

Besides, he could always get a star or something to catch up. Of course, perhaps not even a star could block what connects out of nowhere.

"WHAT IS TH--" is about all that is heard-- or was it? The lines of this VR game blur with each minute it felt like. A dizzying display of colors sends to baby-child flying, riccocheting off trees and through canopy gaps, before coming to a halt, upside down and pinned.

"That wasn't an item in Mario Kart! Someones cheating! I KNOW THE ITEMS." he demands aloud with bass and gaming sovreignty! ...to no one apparently. He can't tell if anyone is even around. "...Why aren't I being taken back to the track? Someone? Help!"

He hears voices outside, and the earth tremors on them reching close proximity. "My tiny baby arms can't lift the cart!"

A tiny hand flails from under the vehicle, trying to find a place to grab onto to help move it!

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

It only just now occurs to Chitose how the tables have turned: Mikoto now a giant turtle and Chitose is not. Not that she was a turtle to begin with, it's just Chitose feels extremely small.

Which may explain a little bit why she's been quiet since her vehicle exploded, to the point that when Mikoto speaks she just mutters something along the line of "Yeah..." as she floats along. Chitose can attest: Sometimes being tall ain't that great, a thought that she continues even as Bowser stomps their way through the foilage. Which admittedly leads to another: She really hope nobody else sees Bowser do that, she doesn't want anyone to think she can the next time that strange plant lady comes along with those monsters.

But Chitose continues to follow along, slowly making her way through the plant-based carnage Bowser is making, and also comes across the baby and his cart. She nods when Mikoto suggests they help. Rosaline manages to grab the other side of the cart and tries to lift, though Chitose's unsure of how much she's helping.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Okay, so destructable karts were not a new feature!...or at least a normal feature. "I only played the older games, but that seems right to me. I didn't see any balloons on our karts either." It honestly seemed like a normal race, so why was that feature in? At least there wasn't some sort of weird feature to actually make them sound like their characters. Fuu didn't seem the type to want to communicate in yells.

As Flink stands guard, Nirigi spots a few specks of something white and picks them up with a gloved hand. It's a little soft and it's squicked between the figures, but it smells...earth-y? It was something with herbs, but she couldn't remember if she had something like this before. "Weird...I don't think the Toads had any snack foods."

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


They'll need more help to flip Baby Universe's kart all the way back up, but at least he'll be able to escape out from underneath with all that Mikowser and Chitosalina lifting.

But gradually Mikowser is realizing that what she's smelling isn't INCORRECT.

That musk is animal.

And the notes of blood underneath it...

...are from a great big puddle a few steps into the trees on the other side of the gouge...

...leaking from what's left of all those poor moo-moos.



Whatever hit Shysuna and Yoshigami, they aren't coming inside quite yet, though the sounds of warping, crunching metal and plastic and rubber -- Yoshigami's kart, surely -- are very close on the far side of the barn wall.

Despite that, though, they feel... watched.

Eri!Yoshi had been hiding under some of the last intact hay bales on the level. She's got a decent cave back there, dark and quiet and filled with the overpowering smell of grass in various states of drying and decay.

There's space enough in there for three.


Perhaps the predators on the track had been saving the best for last. Eriyoshi, after all, had designed her kart with a very, very specific model in mind. It also helped that she led the second pack.

One by one, her pursuers were picked off by her other, more mysterious pursuers.

At last she took action; spinning her Kart to one side to get a decent look, she beheld the nature of her enemy.

And she knew it.

From a school trip to a watermelon farm...

...then her Kart flew off the track and into a ravine, where it broke beyond repair.

She was able to find a way out, though, and that path emerged at the back of the barn, where she found her hiding place. And by then, her enemies had moved on.



The sound of a collision down the track carries far enough for Flink, Nigiri and Harukario to look up in time to see what happened.

They see Shysuna's kart tumble into the barn, and Yoshigami, kartless, tumble after her.

And they see the ones chewing gleefully on fenders and tires.

They're green like melon rind, but also not the same green. And there's no pink in evidence at all, rather brighter reds and deeper purples, striping down their tails and rippling to the ends of their toothy snouts. Their torsos are most emblematic of their fruit, but where a melon might be rather charmingly round and bulging, these (gigantic) grapes are elongated and taut. An engine of hunger. A predator.

The worst thing about velocigrapetors...

...is that they always travel in bunches.

Nirigi suddenly realizes what she's holding, and where the Toads went.

Any moment now, surely the velocigrapetor bunch will look up from their rending, tearing, grinding meal and see, right there out in the open, Nirigi, Flink, and... Harukario's already vanished, though it's worrisomely unclear whether or not it was of her own accord.

The closest remotely decent hiding place is the treeline of the woods at the center of the track's loop: No Moo's Land.


<SoundTracker> The Raptor Attack https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1GRTzQW8u0&t=9



COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick transforms into Velocigrapetor Bunch!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Her head is killing her. She feels quite possibly even more dino-like than when she was racing. And there's sounds of something gnashing teeth frighteningly outside of that barn door.

Yoshigami rises painfully, then kind of wobble-stumbles into dried hay. Cronch. She side-eyes the door, then side-eyes her fellow in green-itude.

"Nngh. Yosh-owww! Is this all part of the race? It isn't, right?" Questions Kassie-dino as she runs a hand through her dino-frill-things.

"...Oh god." She starts, with her voice full of high pitched dawning horror.

"I can't feel my hair!" There's a note of existential dread in her voice as she repeatedly tries to feel silken locks. Instead, there is naught but dino-frill.

"This really isn't part of the game, right?" She again questions, trying to wobble back to her feet, as she eyes her compatriots, confused, annoyed, and perhaps just a bit terri-worried here! This is not her body! And she hates it worse than her scarrs.

Would she really be subjected to losing even that most base of her self? It strikes a terror chord deeper in her heart than almost anything else she's yet encountered.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikowser growls as she hefts the kart up, which could be a Mikoto thing or it could be a Bowser thing, and really, it's more powerful from the conflux of the two coming together. "Heavy," she explains to Baby Mario, succinctly, "can you get out..?"

Luckily, with Chitosalina's help, they're able to hold the kart up long enough for Baby Steven to escape. Once he's clear, she lets her end of the kart thud back down, thomp. She looks this way, and she looks that way, and - well, Bowser's DEFAULT expression is a bit agitated, but somehow she makes it even moreso. She just doesn't like what she's smelling.

With a disgruntled noise at the back of her throat - which just reverberates out even DEEPER, because now her throat belongs to a deep-throated King Koopa, tough enough to hold flame - Mikoto tromps over to the tree-line, pushing back a branch.

Drip, drip...

All a sudden Mikowser lets that branch snap back into place, as she TROMPTROMPTROMPS back a few nervous steps.

"Moo-Moos are gone," she says. She's not disturbed because an animal died - Mikoto, who grew up a stone's throw from the woods, is not UNFAMILIAR with animals dying - but this is a video game, and it's supposed to be a NICE video game, and nothing Yumi has ever told her about video games would suggest that the circle of life was a part of Mario Kart.

Glancing around her, Mikoto decides: "Let's go right now." She doesn't think to try and log off, of course. Instead, she's going to try going back the way she and Chitosalina came, where they tromped a path through the undergrowth. They can go back to the race track, and then everything will be nice again. That's how video games work, right? Mikoto really doesn't know.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's not too hard to spot Eri. And that's because the tip of her Yoshi like tail is currently peeking out of the hay, as well as the yellow soles of her Yoshified shoes.

Her tail wiggles as she tries to burrow further down into the hay. She's trying to be quiet because of the predators on the hunt, but the faint rustling in the hay is also a deadgiveaway. It smells pleasant in here for her.

She says with a certain feel of trying to stay still, as Shysuna's kart tumbles into the barn, and she cringes as Yoshigami follows.

"...Yoshi...! I mean... take cover! Quick!" She admonishes with a whisper as they crash... then reaches out with green fingers to start trying to motion for them to take cover into the hay.

While she's not gonna say it...

... this very much feels like karma.

Tense in the hay, as she tries to quietly get her bearings again. "... they can't see us if we don't move... ... ... I hope."

Then giving her fellow Yoshi a look with her big white eyes as she whispers in disbelief. "What part of those looks like a game to you?" Pause, "Wait did you really not go on the farm trip?"

Eri says with a tone that seems to indicate that she thinks it was Kasa's student council ties that got her out of that, "You know what, doesn't matter - shhhhh."

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Those aren't great sounds on the other side of the barn wall. Shysuna is not any happier about those than she is about laying on the... ground? Ground. Dazed. She blinks a little, and starts to rise, though....

Shysuna is not exactly very tall, so rising is mostly just the mask part pointing up instead of down. It's not that big a difference.

"Aaa...." She looks around, and starts to check for her belt to feel around and finds--nope. "Um..."

That's about her statement on this, in fact. She does not say a lot more at the moment as she thinks. "I don't think so..."

She peers into the hay--

And slips inside the little cavern, turning around once there to look at Eri!Yoshi. She does as she's asked. But--

"...They?" Shysuna wonders. But quietly.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose continues lifting, but her lift slackens just a little bit as her vision drifts over towards the red mess near the edge of the trees. "Why is there blood in this game?" Chitose assumes it's some sort of virtual blood, anyway. "That's... strange." Chitose doesn't quite focus and when Bowser lets go of the kart she scrambles to pull her fingers out of the car before it falls back to the ground.

Chitose doesn't even turn when Mikoto suggests they leave. "Yeah..." She says again, floating backwards for a few moments before turning to follow Bowser back the way they came, passing a glance to confirm if Baby Mario was following them. "Is this what passes for video games nowadays?" Maybe her mother was actually right and Earth video games were terrible. "I don't get the appeal."

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

For all that Link's 'taunt' poses mid-race often involve brandishing his sword, Fuu had not tried to enact any of them - and thus, she finds that the sword slung across Link's back is just part of the character model, undrawable. The attempt to bring the shield to bear is similarly abandoned, and Link instead reaches for Luigi - hand, shoulder, ear, whatever's most convenient to take hold of. "We need to move," Fuu whispers urgently, and begins sidling off the track, towards the woods. Not running, not shouting, just a quietly urgent shuffle towards the closest semblance of a hiding place.

What in all the gods' names are THOSE doing in HERE?! she wonders - but they can try to solve that question later. Preferably when they're *safe*.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The sound of crunching teeth on metal is almost covered by the cheerful and frantic music at first, but like an itch that can't be scratched, Nirigi eventually looks up to figure out what is making that noise. Upon seeing what looks like a small pack of weird grapemelondinosaur hybrids, she instinctively freezes in place. "They didn't bring snacks..." Swallowing heavily, she lets the white specks fall back down. "...they -were- the snacks."

She starts to reach for her ankle to touch upon a silver anklet, but gloved hands find only smooth leather boots waiting there on her feet. "Uhhh...that's not good." Whispering to herself and realizing that things were not going to be fun and games anymore, Nirigi looks over to Flink with their eyebrows drawn in close. This causes her to see the woods in the center of the farm, and while it's a good distance away, it's something! And something is telling her going for the nearby barn seems like a bad idea, since she would have to get even closer to the rind reptiles.

Speaking of which, someone has been rather quiet during all of this. Blinking at this realization, the moustached plumber looks around for her costumed 'brother' but doesn't see a raccoon tail anywhere in sight! Getting a bad feeling in her gut and praying that they would be okay, Nirigi nods her head and starts to carefully follow after the fellow green-clad hero for the cover of these woods. Ravenous dinosaurs were certainly not a part of Mario Kart, but considering the fruity beasts were chewing on the wreckage of the frontrunner's karts, getting off of open ground is the best thing to do!

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Struggle as he might, Baby Universe cannot get out from under his kart! One would think a baby sized cart wouldn't weigh so much! Well... about that. It takes a king koopa and a princess to move it! "Help!" he says again, though the kart shifting lets him squirm his way free!

"Guh, someone is cheatng at the game! It hit me so hard it knocked me out here and I can't even respawn on the track and... wait." The baby squints. "You can't walk outside the karts in a normal game."

VERY suspicious.

"Should we get an adult? Maybe I should--" As Baby Steven stands up (shakily) and has his tiny stature of all tiny child, he reaches up to take the VR set off his head... but all that comes off is the small hat. "Uh."

Hands feel around in what small amount of hair is present on his head. "We have a problem." He looks between Chitosalina and Mikowser "Following your lead. Or I will try to!" he says, finding it a little difficult to walk, but he manages at a slow pace.

Something tells him that looking where the large king looked might be a bad idea. "Is everyone else still on the track?" he asks.

If they cant take off the VR gear, how does the game end?

This just got a bit scary.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


Flink and Nirigi happen upon the Baby-sized Kart (and moo-moo remains) from the opposite direction of the woods... which is to say that they have a much easier time getting in, because they're following the gouge it originally made. This involves some amount of crouching, but isn't too bad a time.

They arrive just in time to see Mikowser, Chitosalina and Baby Universe leaving in the opposite direction. Those three, in turn, can hear something moving through the woods behind them... and if they turn to look, can easily see the other two...



The sounds of the velocigrapetors' vehicular feast have stopped.

There is a long silence.

And then... a soft snuffle.

Crunch, goes hay, beneath a great clawed grapey foot.

Crunch, goes a fender from Shysuna's kart. When they fall to pieces on their own, there isn't much of it left, but there is at least enough for a snack. They make very quick work of it.

Another silence.

Another snuffle.

Another crunch.

A third silence... longer, HOTTER somehow, as though their very nearness raises the temperature... their breath smells musky...

And then... three soft whooshes... as the predators, sensing no more prey, turn tail and rush off, in search of their next meal.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Is Yoshigami smiling at Eriyoshi!? Yes. Yes she is. Why goes uncommented, though this is briefly a more smug yoshi than aught ever exist. She is absolutely in that hay-dy hole though. Yoshigami wants to do the devouring, not be the devoured!

Then she's nodding in agreement, even as she tries to stay low and quiet. She feels for her Signet Ring...no avail. Terrifyingly unsurprisng, she openly sucks down a breath to calm herself. There's a sweatdrop on her yoshiforehead.

"This better not be one of those super hard games where you die and end up at a lantern I keep hearing about." Scowl. She likes that game's fashion, too!

"Alright. So we need to be careful and not move when they're looking. Can we beat them? I have a weird tongue."

Pause. "And I feel vaguely hungry. Can we out predator them?" A glance to Shysuna.

"Out predator and out...mystery?" She doesn't even know what a Shy Guy does!

A sucked in breath. There's that snuffling. Kassie hopes her perfume doesn't translate to Yoshis. Best to not think of what yoshis smell like. She hopes in her heart that she doesn't smell like vehicular victory in progress still!

Slowly, creeping, she tries to press one weird Yoshi-eye out to make sure those velocigrapetors are no longer in the barn! She lets her yoshi-tongue waggle 'threateningly'.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"I don't know," Mikowser replies to Chitosalina, morose. "I never played much video games before... I thought it'd be fun."

She kicks a branch out of the way, indulging, for a brief moment, in some good old teenage sullenry. To Baby Steven, she says, "I hope so..." But she sounds remarkably unsure of herself, because Steven seems like he knows the most about video games out of the three of them, and even Steven doesn't know what's going on.

So she takes a guess. Tromp tromp tromp.

Soon enough Mikowser hears something behind her, and for once her ears DON'T twitch, because her ears are very small. Heart all ahammer in her chest, she turns, reaching one spikey-bracelet hand out to speak the word which sets her apart: "Miroku!"




Her Element does not appear.

In the real world, it's still right next to her, lying on the ground beside her seat. But here...

Luckily, what she sees when she finishes turning is not some mystery predator - but three of the other racers. Still disturbed on a myriad of levels, Mikoto is at least able to lower her claws. "You!" She calls out, and the word's a little too familiar but the tone is relieved. She also stops, so they can catch up, and so she can ask: "There's something hungry... know what's going on?" ... maybe that's why she was ready to stab them.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Grapetors." Eri answers Setsuna with a whisper as if that answers the question rather than raising twelve new ones.

And that is when she hears the snuffle. And the crunch.

An anime sized bead of sweat appears right beside her Yoshi eye... it does not fall.

The longer silence as she feels the temperature increase to sweltering heights, musky.

Her entire Yoshi head and snout is now covered in constantly dripping sweat.

As she internally pleads over and over like a mantra...


And then, whooshes.

Eriyoshi tries to calm herself, allowing her breathing to just subtly calm down.

"... ... ... not a bad idea... but I don't know if you've already tried or not... but we can't transform." She notes quietly, "Last time I fought one of these... Sailor Neptune and me had a rough time."

Eri then slowly moves her Yoshi eyes to look at Setsuna and Kasagami.

"Best option I think is... arm ourselves just in case, but avoid them if we can..."

Eri looks to the other two, "But to arm ourselves... we'd need to sneak back towards the track and grab one of those spinny cube things and..."

Eri considers this for a moment then notes matter of factly.

"... and hope we don't get a banana peel. That'd probably make us more appetizing..."

Eri gives Shysuna a long and hard look... then suddenly gives her a toothy dinosaur grin.


Eriyoshi is crouched, and trying to creep out of the barn stealthily towards the track...

...her stubby dinosaur arms though are curled around shy little footsies...

... because riding upon the shellsaddle like ridge on her back...

... is Shysuna.

"I am so glad that you're not Mario..." Eri whispers to Shysuna with a light grunt of exertion as she thinks of Haruka, "... he'd never let me live this down."

They're going slow, though if she feels they're spotted she'll certainly try to bolt.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Snufle. Stop. Shysuna peers out of the hay at the grapey fot. Crunch, goes a fender, and is the kart delicious?? Shysuna would have assumed not, but...

"I can't get to my Linkrun either," she says, though again, this comes from down, because the red-clad Shysuna is tiny. Smaller even than Yoshis! Though there are two Yoshis around at least. "Ummm." What does a Shy Guy do?? Setsuna doesn't know, but baby theft probably isn't going to help in this scenario anyway. Neither is being weak to turnips.

Definiely not being weak to turnips.

"I don't think we have sharp enough teeth for that..." She certainly doesn't. But it seems that someone has an idea, and Eri!Yoshi explains what's going on more or less. Grapetors...

"What's that smile for?" she wonders, tilting her head.


Shysuna rides again!! How is she hanging on??? Very carefully. And here she is.

"Do you think so...?" Hmmm. Shysuna wonders about that and Mario. "Well, I'll let you live it in any direction," she supplies helpfully.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Velocigrapetors," Flink replies, unable to keep a note of relief out of her voice at the sight of Bowser and the voice of Mikoto. Plus, Mikoto's not alone. "We have to find a way to get out of here ..." The Hylian warrior demonstrates, by means of tugging on the hilt of his sword, that the 'weapon' is worthless. "I'm open to suggestions. Those monsters don't belong in Mario Kart, or in Mario period ..."

Fuu trails off, and looks like she'd slump against a tree if she wasn't forcing herself to stay in motion. "What are those grapetors even doing in this game? Who was enough of a fiend to edit them into a racing game ... and if it wasn't some third party like that, how did they find their way in to start with? And is there a way to force them out?"

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

There's a recent cut through the underbrush of the woods that makes traveling inside much easier to do, and the clearly visible tire marks gives a good indication as to what caused it. And there turns out there are indeed some disadvantages being taller, as Niramo finds herself start to crouch just to follow it inside. There doesn't seem to be any signs of a dinosaur nearby though, so the woods look safe enough for the time being.

As she's moving through the undergrowth, a powerful footstep can be heard stomping into the earth. Was there some sort of Melonsaurus Rex in these woods?! If there was one, wouldn't it be seeable over the treetops though? But...this was the best place for shelter! Maybe her and Fuu can find a place to hide under it's nose?

Climbing out of the brush and standing up straight, she jumps as Mikowser calls out to her and Fuu! With how deep her voice had become, it almost sounded like a threat at first before she realized that it was Mikoto! "We saw some of them at the finish line, that's why we came here. They're...some sort of fruit dinosaurs? I saw several bite through metal like it was nothing. I never seen any Mario enemies like that before..."

Monsters like that look like they belong in the realm of a space bounty hunter.

There's Mikoto and Chitose, and...Steven! Sure the baby plumber had nailed her rather well with a shell earlier, but things were certainly different now. Seeing how so low to the ground and having some trouble walking, the green-clothed mustachioed man walks over and picks him up with a quick "Hold on." and positions the tyke onto her back. To better support her passager, she wraps her arms under his legs to give him a better foothold in case he wants to stand. "I should of asked, but i'm sure you don't mind, Steven-san!"

"Honestly, i'm not sure if we should run or fight. Luigi didn't exactly come with a hammer and these things are really fast." While she didn't see their speed in action, the raptors were able to ambush first and second place with no issues! If only they had some way to turn the tides...

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


The grapetors have gone. Yoshigami can peer in peace.

A tense peace, but... this quiet feels, at least for the moment, more real.

She discovers, though, that her tongue is no more a weapon than Flink's sword. She has no particular sense of a capacity to swallow anything of any size and poop it out as an egg. Which is, all things considered, kind of unfair. If she has to be a cute dinosaur she should at least get their signature ability, right?

Alas, wrong.

This is not Super Smash Brothers VR.

This is Mario Kart!

Eriyoshi and Shysuna leave the barn to investigate another option. Unsettlingly, though only a little bit of time has passed, the grapetors are nowhere to be seen, neither up nor down the track. All they see are the (empty, wrecked) bleachers and hay bales down by the Finish Line to their left, the (moo-moo-less) curve of the track to their right, the No Moo's Land forest straight in front of them, on the other side of the very open, very empty track...

...and, in between here and there, those spinning, floating, iridescent Item Boxes.

Those spinning, floating, iridescent, make-a-loud-musical-jingle-when-you-hit-them Item Boxes...

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose looks from Bowser to the smaller Mario. Chitose suddenly wonders as to how babies can drive carts, but she shrugs and just listens to... Steven? It sounds like him, anyway. "Mom never let me play video games either, she thought they were all terrible." That's what happens when you're from Space, anyway. That said, her eyes slightly widens when Steven tells them this Does Not Happen, at which point she falls silent again, floating behind Bowser.

Then something moves behind her, and the Rosalina turns...

And then Mikoto yells 'Miroku!'. Chitose immediately -moves- further away out of reflex, like she had dodged Miroku with just centemeters to spare.

Only Miroku doesn't appear. Chitose breathes a sigh of relief, but then looks back up to see Link and Luigi. "Oh, it's just you." Maybe? This has been very confusing for the girl that showed up here specifically not to play the games. "Shouldn't this have ended by now?" Link asks a question, and that makes Chitose blink. "Wait, those what?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There is almost zero lag time between the mention of 'arming yourself' and Yoshigami leaping up, ignoring others, and trying to parkour her way up-barn to that beautiful as well as super-shiney pitchfork. She dives into two bales of hay to get over there. This Yoshigami is determined to get that fork!

Her tongue lashes out. Once. Twice. Repeat that single animation ad-nauseam with increasing visible fury on Yoshigami's face!

By the time that she realizes it has no code for interactions, she's behind Shysuna and Eriyoshi with bits of hay stuck to her. She has also entirely turned red, vaguely sixteen bit, and sadly missing the ability to spit out fireballs. She may have eaten things, but flame is not in her purview. Nor is pitchfork-poking or eggs of destruction!

"That box better give me the red triple shell again. I deserve that much for my stolen victory!" Complains Kassieyoshi, quietly, and not for the first time in several variations.

And then she spies the floating Item Boxes. She turns to her yoshi and yoshi-adjacent compatriot. The coat is clear!

"Forward, we cannot fight these things defenseless!"

With a swish of her neck, and an overly-dramatic flick of her yoshi-spines, she's trying to charge the Item Boxes recklessly.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"What?" Eri who is unused to Setsuna utters in a complete lack of understanding of what she means by 'live it in any direction.' Fortunately, the Grapetors appear to be gone, but she still keeps up the stealth. "Let me know if you spot any movement okay? I'm gonna keep moving forward." One step at a time. One step at a time.

"Yo... shi... Yo... shi..."

Eri starts to say it like it's some exercise rhythm... because the fact of the matter is.

Despite how much she wishes she had Yoshi's strength to be a mount for a rotund plumber, that does not mean it's so, as she's quickly finding this out.

Which means this is more like piggy backing someone to the track. The advantage is simply that Shyguys are very very small. Which is why she hasn't stopped carrying her because the advantage is that Shysuna can keep an eye out for her.

Eventually though, she makes it to being in sight of the floating item boxes... and Kasayoshi rushes in.

"Hey! Don't just charge ahead. These things are smart. They almost brought down a whole Brontomelon."

Again, that comment raises more questions, but given that she announced she was representing the Brontomelons earlier...

... it certainly sounds legit!

Still she goes for the item boxes, but she still complains to her rider as she does so. "I swear to... if she saw a Bananasaurus Rex she'd probably try to challenge it for its title."

Bananasaurus Rex?

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"What's... velocigrapetor?" Mikowser asks, concerned.

(Let us remember that back in July, Mikoto had more pressing matters to attend to than 'school trips'. The only gatherings she tended to attend back then had... interesting ideas of snacks to serve, and they didn't tend to involve grapes.)

She's even more concerned to find that Flink's sword is useless. And when Niluigi explains just what velocigrapetors are, that makes things increasingly more concerning. "It's not part of the game?" She asks the two of them, looking to Baby Steven, too.

"I can't summon Miroku..." And Mikoto sounds absolutely miserable about that, even if Chitosalina seems abjectly relieved it didn't work. "So I dunno what to do. If I was me, I could find a place to hide... that works for bears," she explains, helpfully. Bears are kind of like dinosaurs, right? "But now I'm big."

She frowns, deeply, as she considers. "Maybe I can bite them..?" She does have big teeth now.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Kasagami Araki transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

No Moo-Moos...

But Shysuna sees the item boxes ahead, momentarily unaware of Eri!Yoshi's difficulty. Indeed, she's also unaware of what she's whatting about. So, Eri says What? and Setsuna answers, "What?" because she absolutely does not get it. She missed that particular turn of phrase. It doesn't happen as much anymore, but sometimes...

"Who says you were going to win?" sasses a tiny red masked individual to Kasagami about her complaint. The coast is clear...

"You keep saying words that I don't know," Setsuna says frowningly to Eri. "...But it sounds like something she would do anyway."

They do go on ahead and hit the boxes, except... Only one item per box. Shysuna frowns as she notices herself not getting one and say, "Oh! I guess I have to get my own... Thanks for the ride!"

Shysuna moves to hop off, and toddles into a box of her own.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Jingle Jingle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4eJjmAxUGA


The sound of an Item Box being grabbed down by the barn rings out through the air, followed shortly by two more. There's another line of boxes on the opposite side of the loop, shortly before hitting the big meadow.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

Toddling along as fast as Steven can, he follows behind the massive shadow of Mikowser. He makes little sound for his size, so it is sometimes hard to remember he is even there! But he has a snappy little set of shirt, pants and suspenders, so at least he looks well-dressed!

"I don't uh. I don't know. I mean, maybe it will end if everyone crosses the finish line? Well, that won't take the VR stuff off. Is it still even on us?"

"Uh, wait, aren't those familiar?" he asks Flink. "At least I think they are to me..."

Nirigi arrives as well, and offers a hand "Thanks! I wasn't sure how much more I could have done that. If I would have known I would have picked Metal Mario!" But at least he can see higher than peopels ankles now. "Nah, its fine! It will be faster too."

"Dad gave me his old games! And they are really fun," he says toward Chitosalina. "Okay, so we need to figure out where to go. Maybe if we--"

An item box sound plays. "--Listen. Uh, someones still out on the track! Maybe we should go that way?" The boy points forward from atop Nirigi! "Tally ho!" A look downward. "Please!" he says nicely afterward.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Right," Flink replies to Mikowser, "you weren't .... A few months ago, there was an incident with some kind of fruit-based monsters, dinosaurs of a sort. The monsters who've invaded this game are predators - very fast, very vicious reptiles ... or at least, they'd be reptiles if they weren't made out of giant grapes." The Hylian avatar shakes his head - then pauses mid-shake, tilting his head a bit as Fuu hears the same sound Baby Mariverse did.

The item boxes.

If those still work, then maybe they have a fighting chance after all. "I don't know if blue shells will do any good, but Super Stars or Bullet Bills could really turn the tide," Flink says wistfully, nodding to Steven. "It's the best lead we have at the moment."

Link pauses, looking *almost* askance at Mikowser. "As I recall, Bowser can breathe fire as well as being physically strong. - Don't try the fire-breath while we're still in the woods, though," Fuu adds hastily, then looks at Rosalina - whose player-voice is *familiar*, at least ... "Chitose-san, wasn't it?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"ME!" Yoshi-crows Yoshigami with an extra YO-SHI! for emphasis back towards Shysuna.

And so the rushing yoshi gets...a blooper!? She watches the spinning squid orbit her general vacinity curiously. And resists the urge to poke it! With her tongue. The urge is still there even if she's proven that she can't just nom and spit things to death. Somehow this feels very un-yoshi to her game layman's eye!

Okay maybe she pets the Blooper on the head just a bit.

She inwardly questions just where the velocigrapetors are, but her 'deadly' blooper payload will have to wait. Looking pretty much like she wants to stare down a Bannanasaurus indeed, she then turns back to Eriyoshi.

"How do we get out of here?" Maybe she should've asked that first. How awkard.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

It seems like Fuu has come up with a good name for these creatures, even if is a cute name for not such a cute creature. "If this is a mod, it's certainly not a good one. And doing it at an event like this...this is bad news no matter what."

Chitose and Mikoto seem to be on the 'no experience' side of the gaming spectrum. "It should have. We either somehow fight these things off or...maybe someone somehow finishes the race?" It's a silly idea, but if there is a winner, then the game should end, right?

While Niramo is glad that the Koopa King won't be wielding an obsidian blade anytime soon in any official game, it's bad news for the racer refugees. "...yeah. I don't think you can hide, Mikoto-san." She's just too big for any sort of creavice they could reasonably find. Anything that would be big enough for her body would easily let the fruit raptors in as well!

That is when a very familiar sound play out, only to be repeated again rapidly a few moments later. "That's it!" There were weapons around that could be used against these things! Sure, they were on foot, but the weapons always showed up on hand. Seems like Baby Steven and Flink have the same plan. "I say we go for the item boxes. If we heard those jingles here, i'm sure the speedy dinosaurs have as well. Maybe...we can draw attention from the other racers if we go in the other direction?" Supporting Steven with one hand, she points towards where the meadow should be from here...well, it's a little hard to see due to all the trees. "If we grab some items, we have a chance to end this!"

Honestly, if Niramo has to do this alone and without help from the others, then she's going have to give it a shot. The virtual reality game was missing the virtual part now, but hopefully the game part was still sticking. "It's up to you all, but...I want to try fighting, even if that ruins my chance to hide and be safe."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Eh?" She says again in a moment of supreme confusion at Setsuna's confusion. "I mean. You know... what a Tyrannosaurus Rex is right? Just... with bananas. I thought that'd be obvious."

Touching the item box and hearing the chime, and realizing what she got Eri reflexively cheers-! "YO!" Then realizes she's being hunted. "....shiiiiii..." She mutes the rest of the cheer down to an embarrassed whisper.

As Shysuna dismounts though, she rubs her back with her Yoshi arms in relief.

"You're welcome." A beat, "It was surprisingly fun giving you a ride."

Pause. Eri seems to be reflecting about her time around the Ohtori campus, remembering a certain someone carrying someone across campus.

"... Shame Utena isn't here, I bet she'd make the best Yoshi."

And then Kasayoshi speaks, and Eri looks at her, and then suddenly lifts her Yoshi arms in a big shrug.

"Um, I don't know finish the race maybe?"

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


A grapetor EXPLODES out of the barn -- it must have been trying to sneak up on the hay cave from behind? How smart ARE these creatures???

And the second one suddenly comes dashing up from around the broad curve to the right.

Worst of all, there is no sign of the third grapetor......

...it could be anywhere...

...but there's no time for foreboding when there is IMMINENT DANGER bearing down from two directions! There's nothing Nintendo-like about the grapetors, they don't even really look rendered in a computerized way, they're just fruit-dinosaurs, as though something has drawn them straight out of the world and into the game. They are fruity, but they are also, unquestionably, reptiles, they aren't like the equivalent of snowmen made out of three grapes or anything. They are most grapeish at their long torsos, and leasat grapeish at their sharp teeth.

And they are don't seem less hungry, for all that they've been feasting on karts -- and the other missing people maybe??? -- all this time.

Their eyes gleam with excitement, with urgency, as they bear down on the trio out on open track...



The big group standing around an overturned baby-sized kart in the middle of the mid-track forest discover, as the others have, that their avatars are just avatars. Much as Flink's sword doesn't work, neither does Mikowser suddenly feel capable of dragon's breath, nor stronger than usual, not really. Nor has Chitosalina become a star-wielding magical girl through alternative means, and so forth with the others....

They're Mario Kart drivers in a Mario Kart world.


The music is still playing at that accelerated, final-lap speed, as it has been all this time. It is getting REALLY ANNOYING.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Oh!" Setsuna answers. "It wasn't obvious," she answers helpfully. But then--cheering! And... A bob-omb! Shysuna holds it up thoughtfully, looking over the face... that's kind of like her mask...

"Oh, then I'm glad. It was a lot of fun." RE: the ride, that is. But at this point she also can't stick her tongue out through the mask at Kasagami--can she??--but she hmphs a little at the talk of who might win!!! But... Well. How do they get out?

They can answer that question in a minute. Finishing the race sounds good to her, as does Utena being around, but with grapetor rushing from one side--


She throws the friendly bob-omb, whose fuse fizzes merrily...

It does not block out the music.

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Bob-omb on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick perfectly dodges 25 Fatigue damage from Setsuna Higashi's Bob-omb, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical
Dodge!  Pink Moon Stick's Fade and Flash abilities activate!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri's impression of Setsuna? Setsuna's friends must think she's neat.

Eriyoshi is in the middle of her shrug when a Grapetor explodes out of the barn. Suddenly she freezes. And spots two of them. "Eh!? Where's the third!? Anyone see it?" Eri looks in the other direction. "Run! Run! There's no cover out here!" Eri backpeddles up and starts to dart up the track even as Setsuna throws the Bob-omb. And thus suddenly... while running backwards.

Eriyoshi lifts a shell with both hands.

And suddenly chucks one at the first Raptor rushing them. Then yet another at second at the other Raptor flanking around from the side.

"Don't wait to look if it even hit! Just go!"

Certainly she turns around and just starts running. She's holding onto the last shell though.

Given that it's red, one might wonder if it's for tactical reasons or sentimental ones.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Triple Red Shells! on Pink Moon Stick.
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

This...this is a problem! Eriyoshi advises her to finish the race. Yoshigami moves her little waggly yoshifeet to do so. This is hard without a kart...or a body meant for swift travel! Long term conveyance is the point of a yoshi. And also leaping off of to avoid death pits.

Speaking of death, here comes the velocigrapetors! She actually speeds up when the first one from behind! She grits her yoshimouth as she does so, sweating profusely!

Ahh, but around the bend! Her yoshiheart hammers as the creatures threaten to devour friend and racer alike! That's when she hauls off, and tosses that blooper straight for the right-most velocigrapetor!

It wheels around, too, for the one from behind as it so bravely tries to spray ink everywhere! "Any road travelled has it's potholes! Or ink-holes, in this case!"

She pours on more speed towards the finish line. Her yoshi-ears feel like they want to bleed thanks to that music.

"Yo-shi! I wish we could combine our speed or something. Does a yoshi on yoshi mean double yoshi power?" Kasagami does not know if that works. She really wishes she played more mario kart with Fuu right now!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Inky Blooper on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick dodges 18 Fatigue damage from Eri Shimanouchi's Triple Red Shells!, taking 12 Fatigue damage!  Pink Moon
Stick's Fade and Flash abilities activate!  Stun applied to Pink Moon Stick!
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to dodge Kasagami Araki's Inky Blooper, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Blind and Diversion applied to
Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I AM NOT CARRYING YOU!" She shouts, to Kasagami's suggestion.

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Rosalina's face droops upon hearing Fuu explain the fruit dinosaurs. "Oh... those things." Chitose was there that day on the farm, and remembered the fruit dinosaurs well.

Okay, 'well' is a very strong word for how she remembered them. "Well," Chitose places her hands together gently. "I'm sure this has all been very fun, but unfortunately I have to go to work now, so I will see you all later." And so Rosalina's hands come up to her face...

And slide upwards with no purchase. The goggles are gone, but Rosalina still remains. It's about now that Chitose remembers that Steven said much the same thing. "Oh..." Uh oh.

Chitose sighs again, with only a nod to confirm Fuu's inquiry as to her identity.

It's at this point Chitose floats to reorient herself behind Bowser, Luigi, small Mario, and Link. It might look like cowardice, and maybe there is a tiny bit of it, but Chitose's also more used to firing lasers at range, so being at the back of the pack is more instinct than anything else.

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


The first grapetor bears down on the trio.

Setsuna's bob-omb toddles up to it and explodes--!

--there's a momentary black cloud of smoke--

--and then the grapetor DESCENDS, it LEAPT above the explosion, and it's plunging downwards at the group, just as the other one closes in from the opposite side--


Those red shells still have their homing properties, it seems, because the best the grapetors can hope for is to outrun them. The one who's in midair cannot even hope for that, and gets nailed, and falls heavily instead of landing neatly. The other one accelerates past the group and manages, narrowly, to outpace it.

The first one made a terrible screech when it got nailed, but it's getting up again, too. Maybe, maybe, it's a little slower now. But it's still way faster than the group, these things were competing with KARTS a few minutes ago--


The humble Inky Blooper is rarely a game-changer, but today is a big day for it. It instantly blinds both grapetors, who cast their heads about, disoriented and unable to immediately pursue...

...maybe it even got all three...?

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Flink provides ADDITIONAL VELOCIGRAPETOR EXPOSITION, and it in no way makes Mikowser feel better about the situation they've found themselves in. Fast, vicious predators...

She is all the more aware of how slow and trompy she is.

"Fire..?" Mikoto considers, but luckily, Fuu thinks to clarify before she can try breathing fire in the middle of No-Moo's Land. Instead, her and Niluigi's enthusiasm over the item boxes brings a realisation to Mikowser, too: "Bananas!"

Luckily, she thinks to clarify, after a moment. "If they're grape predators, and we smell like bananas, maybe they'll think we're tough too and won't eat us!"

Mikoto can't know just what associations the velocigrapetors have with banana, but she certainly looks pleased with her deduction. Everyone's attempts to take their hats off has baffled her for some time, but as Chitose engages her own attempt, Mikoto says: "Is that supposed to get us out of the game..? So we're stuck. Let's get bananas."

While tromping off to the race track, she does try spitting fire, but much like rhymes, it is a skill beyond Mikoto Minagi. She, at least, is perfectly comfortable leading the pack towards the item boxes which are their salvation. She's big, mean, spiky, in charge, and...

... honestly just a huge target.

But is that any different to her normal life, really?

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Setsuna's friends do think she's neat. Also she sparkles during gym class. That always helps.

But Shysuna does not see the third herself, busy with the first as it goes past her explosion outright. "Aaa!" But shells and then the bloope happen. Eri suggests they not wait--

This is a good idea. Shysuna takes off on her little feet, running down the track after the others, though she is the smallest and may thus be the slowest on account of not herself being a dinosaur at the moment. Nevertheless she runs!

"I'm not carrying you either!!" she calls up to Yoshigami.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Yeah!" he comments toward Flink. "But uh, can we even grab or use the items outside of a kart? We can try touching them, maybe they can work?" he muses. "Someone is definitely fighting already. Or still racing?" He comments toward Nirigi. "One of the two. We should help!"

A good thing Baby Universe doesnt weigh much! At least not as much as Steven does outside the game. "Let's try! If we can just follow the sound of the item box sounds, we can find them. Over the music, anyway... Don't suppose anyone can open the options menu to tur nit down, huh?"

Was worth a shot.

"Oh yeah!" Baby Universe pipes up toward Mikowser. "The Bananasaurus Rex! ...Who made these fruit dinosaurs anyway? Also how did they get in a video game?"

A pause. "Maybe they are i na nearby room i nthe game center with VR headsets on too?"

Kid logic.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Yoshigami winces from explosions, and the obscene speed and agility of these velocigrapetors! And yet, it's the inky bloop that seems to buy them time.

She vaguely considers that perhaps sometimes the weak and subtle can even defeat the strong. This is not a thought that hasn't gone through her head after her own defeats, nor of nobility or strength, a swirl of all the negative emotions she continues to hammer herself with.

No, right now, she's helpless in body and soul aside from one squid not-kid!

"Go! Goooo little Squid Knight!" Encourages Yoshigami, before vaguely drooping even as she tries to run faster amidst her now acheing yoshishoes.

"I absolutely DO NOT want to be carried around campus by ANYONE!" Comes the Yoshuellist with a rather specific denial. Is she...pouting? Sad yoshi sounds.

<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

As Chitose reaches up to her face, Niramo is a little confused by her actions but her words make sense...wait, the goggles! They just have to take them off and--...well, there goes that idea. She feels a little silly not trying to do that earlier, even if it didn't do anything.

Mikoto's train of logic apparently jumped some tracks, because it was hurting Niramo's head to think just how exactly she came to that conclusion. "Bananas are really mushy though...?" Maybe the banana peel could eat the melon raptors?...no, that's silly.

The music was fine at first, but the cheerful, if fast, music was the complete opposite of their current situation. "If you find a menu, could you let me know? It's a little hard to hear." Carrying Steven like this on her back is a little tiring but it's working out quite well for him. It'll be rude to drop him back down while he's so small. He wouldn't be able to keep up!

Since Steven is all for the plan, Nirigi follows the Koopa King back out of the woods and towards the race track once more, the baby version of her 'brother' carried on her back. "As soon as we touch those item boxes, those dinosaurs are going to be right here. Just...uh, get ready to fight and hope you get something useful!" It really was all down to luck on if they could defend themselves or not.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eriyoshi true to her word keeps running around the broad curve. She doesn't stop even at the impact of her shells, or the squirt of ink, or the call of her companions at the success.

She's not a campus athlete, but over the years as a magical girl she's definitely built up enough stamina that she's at least not yet winded running at this pace.

"Are you POUTING?!" Eri calls out in disbelief at Kasagami's denial.

Perhaps she's off the mark, but Eri now has this surreal thought that Kasagami desires nothing more than to be carried like a Princess by...

...Setsuna Meioh.

"After we get out of this. I am so telling Secchan."

She says, completely forgetting she's running alongside another Setsuna.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Would a member of the Yoshudent Counci pout!?"

Long, exertive, running silence.

"Please no." There's terror in Yoshigami's voice! Moreso than just velocigrape-induced!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


Mikowser, then the others, emerge from the treeline.

And they see... a lot of things!

There's only one item box out of the four, which implies that three others were taken recently. This tracks with the sounds they heard earlier.

There are two grapetors stumbling and snuffling around; black gunk in their eyes tells the story of their blooping. What ISN'T clear is how much longer they'll be blooped. It does wear off, as everyone has learned by now from when they were in karts.

Shysuna, Eriyoshi, and Yoshigami can be seen rounding the big curve further down the track.

There isn't much time to make some big choices.

Try to sneak back into the woods? Dare to take the single box and alert the grapetors to their presence? Dare to call out to the fleeing group and alert them AND the grapetors to their presence? Dare to WAIT for more boxes to respawn? It's been a little bit, they could pop back up at any time now, full of juicy, rainbow-contained prizes...

And where is the third grapetor? Flink and Nirigi, at least, had the opportunity to see three.


What, you were expecting the third grapetor?

Too bad, it's just empty track-chan!

Shysuna, Eriyoshi and Yoshigami continue to run in peace for the moment. There's a long empty stretch ahead of them, nothing but grass on the right, and the forest, as ever, on their left.

It is quiet as the grave.

Theoretically if they run long enough they'll find more boxes, but it hasn't happened yet. This is not a totally trivial journey, since it happens like ten times faster while driving a kart, maybe even more.

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Shysuna is not thinking complicated philosopy. She is thinking running, mostly. Run run run, thanks to the little squid...

But she knows that kind of suspiciously specific denial anywhere, and if she had time to laugh she might a little. She does not, however. Eri's disbelief is the soundtrack to her running...

So is the actual soundtrack, which Shysuna is aware is still going.

But when Eri!Yoshi comments about telling, Shysuna blinks as she runs. "Telling me what?" she wonders.

Running for long distances in her usual body is one thing, but Shy Guys are delicate creatres meant to walk slowly or perhaps shuffle along, perhaps sometimes be thrown like turnips! Not run!

But she rushes down the track...!

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"I mean the other Secchan." Eri explains to Setsuna. "But if you really want to know..."

Eri of course knows that she ought to be less cruel. It is something she has actively tried to work on. Which is why when Kasagami pleads, she seems to relent.

"Alright. I won't tell her."

She agrees, and it might be a source of relief for Kasagami...

"I'll tell Haruka-kun."

... but sometimes cruelty is so much fun that she finds herself amplifying it a touch.

Looking over her shoulder, she's somewhat puzzled, then looks to the others and...

"You know it's kind of weird we haven't seen the others."

Eri comments, but doesn't slow down her run down this empty stretch. "Maybe they already finished the race?"

She doesn't want to consider the alternate grim possibility.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There is this beautiful moment for Yoshigami of utter relief, and she speeds up by half a step! Her inner feelings and 'hidden' crush is safe from being revealed!

...Eriyoshis are cruel and merciless. Cue Yoshigami somehow going even-more-super-red than before!!! All she has is a glare, and that burning desire to run from this social situation.

You win this round Eriyoshi!

Eventually she ends up in a more even pace though. There's lots of track to deal with! Missing her royal conveyance, she eventually peers back at the other two.

"Maybe we just have bad luck. Someone pull the plug on this console..."

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I'm pretty sure the Mario Kart game was the only one with VR headsets," Flink replies to Baby Universe. "But ..."

She trails off as she emerges from the woods, seeing exactly one item box floating their, prismatic cube rotating serenely about the stationary question mark. She sees the velocigrapetors, their eyes still be-gunked, still dependent on hearing and scent, for however long that'll last.

One item box. THe others should respawn before long, if that much of the usual Mario Kart still applies - and three boxes missing; the five of them aren't on their own, but hearing the other item boxes collected as much as confirmed that. The *number* of missing boxes just says it's eight players in this fight, not just five - three able-bodied players, at least.

Flink glances about one last time, then sprints for the item box, trying to make her footfalls quiet rather than stomping along grass or pavement on her way. And she reaches for the box, its iridescent surface 'popping' as the reel spins ...

( Please let it be something that'll actually stop those grapetors, ) she thinks, hurrying onwards - *not* looping back towards the forest; if th egrapetors start homing in on her, she doesn't want to lead them *towards* her allies!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


Flink essentially charges through the blind grapetors, tags her box, and sprints as quietly as possible into the barn.




The two grapetors immediately lunge in the direction of the sound. They almost hit each other, and lurch somewhat drunkenly, afterwards.

But even blinded... they have VERY keen senses, and Flink may be moving QUIETLY but she is moving.

First one of them... then the other... slowly, cautiously follows her footsteps, into the barn.

...and surely they won't be blind for much longer...


...with whisper-soft pops, four more item boxes just appeared on the track!

<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

"Oh." Setsuna can accept this, though it's a weird feeling. But apparently this secret will be kept...

Ah, nevermind. Haruka then.

"Maybe," Shysuna considers when Eri suggests the others may have finished, "But we were pretty far ahead..."

But Yoshigami is at least a god color, all red. Bad luck, is it? "I think we have good luck. You got that ink squid!"

She keeps running, but Shysuna hears the sound of item boxes ringing once again, and brightens. "They must be behind us!" Shysuna comments.

"That must mean they made it past the Grapetors..." She looks cheerfully to the other two. "We can still beat them to the finish line!"


<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto figures that the jingly item boxes will be in the location of the jingles. Mikoto is correct. Unfortunately, Mikoto is too correct, and there are the Velocigrapetors. ... those don't look like lizards.

"Eh? Rex..?" Mikoto blinks, as Steven informs her how right she is. "What's wrecking got to do with it?"

Luckily, her kart and its transmitter were long since wrecked, so Eri can't possibly have heard her say that.

The thought of predators having access to technology, though, is sufficiently scary that Mikoto is going to hope Flink's reassurances hold true. She looks at herself, at the lumbering floaty Chitosalina, Niluigi and her passenger... and then to Fuu, pointedly.

Luckily, Flink's speed serves to get her to the item boxes and then to a hiding place - but the grapetors heard. "Oh no," Mikoto says, quietly, as they start stalking the barn.

There's only one solution.

Mikowser goes TROMP TROMP TROMP TROMP TROMP out there to the item boxes, to punch her VERY OWN ITEM BOX.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi transforms into Youma Form Heavy Racer!
<Pose Tracker> Niramo Umokeshi [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The trek back to the track is intense, with Nirigi looking around constantly to try to spot one of the grape-raptors before it's too late. There were three of the stripe-hide beasts roaming around, and while she didn't say it out loud to the others...they ate an innocent group of Toads.

One floating box, two blinded raptors and an elf-boy half-dashing and half sneaking for the box! Nirigi almost called out to Flink as they went for the item, but that would have given the group's position away.

Flink manages to grab the box and makes a break for the open barn, and while it's difficult to tell what she got, Nirigi can only hope that she got a good item. And the raptors were going in towards the barn as well...but, as if by clockwork, the four boxes respawn as if sensing the need of the earthbound racers.

"Steven-san, hold on!" Sucking in a breath, the overalls-wearing hero rushes after the Koopa King and kicks out at an item box as soon as she nears!

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Yoshigami will grab that particular optimism of Shysuna's by the horns! One can hear her trying to put on a burst of speed...before finally just settling back into that even pace.

"You're right, Shysuna! I am sure they're fun. So let's make sure that we are fine! Forward, my yosh-shy-friends! Let us gloriously and beautifully claim victory at the finish line...and every single item box that gets in our way!" She says that last part hopefully. Kassie hasn't memorized the track just yet!

Her little yoshi-tail flick-flick-flick-flicks with effort! Nrrrrgh, forward! Kassie finds this kind of fun and thrilling! Such good exercise too!

Her jock heart laughs happily.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasayoshi's extra-red complexion gives her life.

"You're not wrong..." Eri notes to Setsuna as they run. It's a thought that gives her pause, but she knows MOST of the Magical Girls here are resourceful enough to handle this situation.

And then, the chime.

"Oh that's a relief. They must be o-..." Setsuna's comment, "That's your priority right now?!"

Eriyoshi just jogjogjogs for a while, and then she says with a note of awe.

"... Cure Shy is so competitive."

<Pose Tracker> Chitose Shiratori [Infinity Institute (U)] has posed.

Chitose looks over at Mario for a moment. "Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me." At this point she feels almost anything is possible, even grape raptors using VR. But she follows along anyway, mostly safe at the back of the group. When they get back to the track, she notices both the graptors and the lone item box, and slows to a stop when she sees the ink in their eyes.

Link goes for the item box, and when Link gets it, the noise startles the raptors, which makes Chitose burst for one of the item boxes, floating as fast as she can. It's not as fast as she'd like, but hopefully she'd get there before she's attacked by the raptors.

<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

"Oh... Yeah, true. Though who would put fruit dinosaurs i na video game?" Baby Universe gets real excited suddenly though. "OH! Maybe Brontomelon is here somewhere! Let's go say hi!" Sadly, there has been no sign of them.

Ahead, one item box looms amongst a group of blinded Velocigrapetors. "They are right there..." he says, hushed. There is no way Steven can run over there with his baby legs. But he doesn't have to make that choice! As Flink takes the chance. Fingers crossed, Baby Universe watches with wide eyes.

Success! But they are hot on their heels! "We gotta help!" he says quickly. Items have reappeared however, giving the group a fighting chance! "Let's get em!" he says. When Nirigi goes for a box, Steven reaches to hang on to them instead of the other way around. "I can hang on! Go get em!"

"Having baby arms stinks!" he says as the party gives chase!