2020-10-25 - Arcade Madness 4: Fruitrassic Kup

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Arcade Madness 4: Fruitrassic Kup

The racers are forced to rescue one another from velocigrapetors and ultimately return to No Moo's Land to reclaim Baby Universe's lost kart and escort it safely over the finish line to end the game.


Kasagami Araki, Niramo Umokeshi, Steven Universe, Eri Shimanouchi, Fuu Hououji, Mikoto Minagi, Setsuna Higashi, Nori Ankou

GM: Pink Moon Stick


Game Center Crown(?)

OOC - IC Date:

10/20/2020 - 09-29-15

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Metal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4aSH9FnMds



An innocent game of Mario Kart VR has turned juicy, with the karts apparently having a hidden damage meter -- once you've taken too many hits, it breaks apart, and then you're free to explore Moo Moo Meadows on foot! This would be awesome, except...

...the players aren't alone in here. And they can't feel their visors or controllers any more in order to escape the Velocigrapetor Bunch that has been picking off moo-moos and players alike, one by one by one...

When last we left our intrepid heroes, they had bunched up -- if you'll pardon the pun -- into two groups:

  • Eriyoshi, Yoshigami, and Shysuna, who are currently fleeing down the track after fighting off some predators with the contents of their hard (and loudly) won Item Boxes. They are desperately trying to make it across the finish line, hoping that in doing so, they'll end the game and let everyone wake up from this nightmare.
  • Mikowser, Chitosalina, Flink, Nirigi and Baby Universe left the dubious safety of No Moo's Land (the woods in the center of the track's loop; dubious, because it contains a bloodless pile of moo-moo remains, and also Baby Universe's overturned kart, which careened in there out of control and flipped) just made a play for that same set of item boxes, though it took a moment for all but the one not taken by the first group to respawn. Flink, first to an item, has fled into the empty barn, pursued via smell and sound by the two visible grapetors, whose inky blooper blindness could wear off at any time.
  • The third velocigrapetor has not been seen in quite some time.




When the group of four crashes into the remaining three boxes, it sets up an enormous racket. One of the grapetors almost leaps out of its skin, hissing; it will take it a few crucial seconds to come back down from this impressive jump, but when it does, it will be in the midst of the group.

Flink has a very slight lead on the second grapetor. It isn't as easily startled as its counterpart, or maybe it's just that much more motivated to find her. Either way, it takes another step past the threshhold of the open barn door, then another, craning its neck left and right to listen and to snuffle, then reorienting -- correctly -- and repeating the process.

The black splash across its face is, second by second, beginning to fade...



At least four item boxes were just grabbed in a matter of seconds behind the group, but the wide, hilly meadow opening up before them feels a world away. The orange accelerator ramp is still there at the beginning, and not difficult to ascend -- though possibly dangerous, absent kart (and, more to the point, glider). Still, it would IMMEASURABLY speed things along, in a Human(...ish) Cannonball sort of way, if it's safe, or even if it's merely survivable.

No matter which route they take, it's a long distance to cross, but a soft and lovely one. Grassy mounds, muddy puddles, and growing sunshine -- the morning seems to be wearing on -- abound.

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

Mikowser punches an item box, and in her broad hands, she grasps..!

A Bob-omb.

It's not quite a bomb: there's a little wind-up key at the back, and also, the little fellow has eyes. And shoes! Unfortunately, the ethical quandries of whether this weapon is alive and has opinions on being used for murder is lost on Mikoto Minagi, who tragically has no time to stop and consider the nature of the Bob-omb.

This is because the velocigrapetor she was trying to distract is, in fact, distracted, and will shortly not be distracted by anything other than the fact that she is out here in broad daylight. And so she throws the Bob-omb--

-- and goes tromping down the track to flee, because whatever these things are she doesn't think one cartoon bomb is going to cut it. She needs to find more item boxes.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Bob-omb on Pink Moon Stick.
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Maybe fleeing into the barn isn't the best of ideas, Flink thinks, but it beats staying out in the open - and maybe, *just maybe*, the relative confines of the barn will offer a modest terrain advantage if this cunning plan goes pear-shaped. At least she has a weapon now, which is a 66% improvement over a little bit earlier. Maybe as much as 75%.

Once within the barn proper, Flink moves off to one side, readies her recently-acquired Piranha Plant for awakening, and begins the hardest part: waiting until *just* the right moment. She wants the grapetor as close as possible when the trap is sprung ... preferably close enough to reach out and pet its muzzle, if they weren't intent on devouring the swordsman with the archer's will ...

Seconds pass; heartbeats pass faster, and Flink wonders if her pulse is so loud that the velocigrapetors could home in on her by that.

The grapetor's form draws nearer, and nearer still - and then the Piranha Plant is unleashed, its own fanged maw gaping open for a fresh and delicious bite of unwary predator!

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Piranha Plant on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Mikoto Minagi's Bob-omb, taking 24 Fatigue damage!  
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick cleanly braces 28 Fatigue damage from Fuu Hououji's Piranha Plant, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Shysuna has already indicated that she believes in the item gatherers behind the grup. ...There are other reasons not to go back, but that's definitely among them. They could also still win!! ...Though obviously that's less important than everyone making it out of danger. Clearly. Of course.

But they could.

For now though she keeps looking up ahead to the meadow... and to the orange accelerator ramp there. "If we find item boxes that would help," she admits, running ahead, and EriYoshi has noted to her--

"It doesn't hurt anything to win!"

She stands and stares at the ramp for a full ten seconds, wanting to try it. But she has to remember that she is currently very small and not, she thinks, terribly durable. On the other hand, she has some padding in her outfit! On the other hand...

"Sigh," Shysuna sighs, and trudges around it to resume running the normal way.

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

Yoshigami hears those sounds from behind! She's not sure if Velocigraptors can acquire item boxes. That would be unfair! But given they're kartless in a game of V-Rio Kart, well, that's basically the rule now. The brave Would-Be King of the Yoshis charges forth!

"Winning should always be the top priority! What's the point if you can't at least push yourself to be the victor each and every time!? Otherwise all you have is wasted potential! Shysuna, Eriyoshi, let's touch the stars with our shining, glorious victory!" Comes the dino.

She intends to do it quite literally it seems, as she is going straight for that beckoning, beautiful, dangerous accellerator ramp!

"Let fury and the desire to not become dinner give me wings!"

She could really, really use a glider. But she's also committed, and puts her figurative pedal to the medal here!

"We'll call this a flanking maneuver!" Quips the yoshi down to her footracing (or footfleeing!) compatriots!

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

Nirigi's charge after the Mikowser has her reaching an item box moments after it repsawned, the gleaming cube being a beacon of hope with the fruity reptiles on the loose. She simply runs into the item box and...blinks as she gets a red shell held in her right hand. Glancing behind her to look at Baby Steven, she shrugs her shoulders. "Sorry Steven-san...I should have let you touched it first."

But there's not much time to spare with Flink in danger. With two of the grapetor's cornering the virtual Hero of Hyrule, there isn't long before the digital dinosaurs have a new snack. Nirigi reels her arm back and throws the homing projectile at the other grapetor. "Not my kind of shell games, but...!"

And with that, she turns tail and runs with Mikowser down the track, both arms trying to support the miniture Steven on her back during a full sprint. "Next box is on you, Steven-san!" Being unarmed like this is not something she wants to prolong!

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used Red Shell~ on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Niramo Umokeshi's Red Shell~, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Pink Moon Stick is Quipped!  Stun
applied to Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

A race of its own has started, with Team Forest giving chase to a Velocigrapetor, who itself is chasing Flink.

Baby Universe has been put down after piggybacking Nirigi for a time, as three members of the time grab item boxes and attack. "Gettem! Yeah!" He cheers as he runs as fast as his baby legs can allow.

He is able to keep up fast enough at least. Their foes are in front of them, and not behind. He thinks?

There could be more lurking.

Niramo lands a solid hit on one with a shell! "Whoah neato! I thought you would have to be in a kart to do that." A look to Nirigi. "I'll take that offer, but sticking around for these to reappear seems like a bad idea!"

As Flink heads to the barn, Steven ponders. "Was this a kart shortcut in the map? Like, hiding in there or losing them could work! But where are the nearest item boxes? I haven't played a Moo Moo Meadows map in forever..."

If only he kept it to memory better... "Maybe there is something there we can use against them hopefully! Like pushing something heavy, or threaten them with vaguely menacing farm tools!"

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

Eriyoshi on the other hand keeps running. Her Yoshi arms pumping. Shysuna, who is actually in track makes it ahead of her. And thus Eri sees her staring at the ramp for a full ten seconds.

Eriyoshi simply keeps jogging towards her. "Nope." And does not feel guilty at all. She's trying to preempt any ideas of riding her on an accelerator ramp.

As Kasagami eggs her on though, she simply keeps on jogging, "Kasagami... I think your inspirational speeches would be more effective if winning were defined as not dying to Grapetors."

Eriyoshi though sees Yoshigami take the ramp. And gives off a forlorn...

"Yo... shi..."

Bowing her head as she keeps jogging... she offers a moment of silence, for the about to be departed as she too runs the normal way. "It is difficult to stand here and honor her with words..."

Eri eulogizes to Shysuna, as if she were at her funeral. "... she died as she lived... running at a full sprint to try to get ahead... trying to leap across the abyss... without a glider..."

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

A race of its own has started, with Team Forest giving chase to a Velocigrapetor, who itself is chasing Flink.

Baby Universe has been gripping onto Nirigi with what little strength he has, though eventually wanes, with the baby falling on his rump. "Gettem! Yeah!" He cheers as he dusts himself and picks up running as fast as he can. A little sore, beut he will live.

He is able to keep up fast enough, though drops behind over some small hills. Never too far out of shight though. Their foes are in front of them, and not behind. He thinks?

There could be more lurking.

Niramo lands a solid hit on one with a shell! "Whoah neato! I thought you would have to be in a kart to do that." A look to Nirigi. "I'll take that offer, but sticking around for these to reappear seems like a bad idea!"

As Flink heads to the barn, Steven ponders. "Was this a kart shortcut in the map? Like, hiding in there or losing them could work! But where are the nearest item boxes? I haven't played a Moo Moo Meadows map in forever..."

If only he kept it to memory better... "Maybe there is something there we can use against them hopefully! Like pushing something heavy, or threaten them with vaguely menacing farm tools!"

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


At first the crowd complained when the view suddenly changed from a birds' eye view of the racetrack, following the front pack of karts, to "first-person horror," but gradually it's become a fascinating experience, if a somewhat overwhelming one. The broadcast irregularly and constantly switches between the perspectives of Eriyoshi, Yoshigami, Shysuna, Mikowser, Flink, Nigiri and Baby Universe.

It is difficult to understand what's going on.

But the racers seem to have left their karts behind and are proceeding on foot.

And there are DEFINITELY dinosaurs involved. It's getting positively Fruitrassic up in there.




Whether or not the velocigrapetor can hear Flink's heartbeat, SHE certainly can.

  • whump-ump*

It's so close that she can see the inside of its nostrils as it inhales, seeking her scent.

  • whump-ump*

It's so close that she can see the fine, grapey gradiations of green, purple and red skin on its taut, fleshy belly.

  • whump-ump*

It's so close that *whump-ump* she can smell kart oil *whump-ump* on its breath *whump-ump* which is stirring the tip of *whump-ump* her long green cap--!

  • whump-WHAMMO!*

Activated, the pirahna plant explodes forward, all big bulbous red head and sharp pointy teeth. OM NOM NOM NOM NOM, it declares, refusing to recognize the grapetor's status as an apex predator.

The grapetor's eyes widen -- that's bad -- but it's staring at the motion of the plant instead of Flink -- that's good! And the pirahna goes straight for the throat -- that's good -- but doesn't draw more than just a little bit of blood-red liquid -- that's bad.

Lunging forward, the raptor is over its momentary startlement, and rips the pirahna plant headfirst out of its pot. Glaring at Flink, it advances that last step...


Nigiri's red shell hisses acceleration through the air until impacts the grapetor squarely from behind, sending it flying uncontrollably up into the air. There will be a couple seconds before it lands, and, very probably, lands hard. It could even be stunned, once that happens.

Flink is not going to get a better chance to flee.



Mikowser threw a bob-omb at the other grapetor, who'd never ventured inside; the one who'd been in midair at the time. Her aim is true and the little guy explodes on impact. There's a vast cloud of black smoke, and when it clears...

...nothing. No more grapetor.

This feels a little too good to be true, but Mikowser, Nigiri and Baby Universe aren't sticking around in any case, they are pelting back up the track towards the Finish Line. There they find the empty, roughed-up stands the same as before, with those ominous, pale sprinklings of masticated mushroom bits. The line itself does not react to their backwards crossing.

But there is something for them to see...



<SoundTracker> I Believe I Can Fly - Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHUitILk8SQ

Two yoshis diverged in a mellow wood, and one--

--one took the blue, untraveled sky--

--and that has made all the difference.

Ripples of velocity travel backwards along Yoshigami's big ball of a snout as the accelerator launches her into the air. The soles of her feet are still smoking from when the orange surface took over her momentum, and she might be looking at a tortoise-and-the-hare parable in terms of how much this gains and then ultimately costs her.

Also her trajectory is... different. She has no glider, but she's also MUCH LIGHTER without her kart, so the vast plateau in the middle of the parabola of the ordinary ride is more of an... upside-down V shape. She goes fast, she goes high, she goes far, and then, just as quickly, she starts going down.

She is going to be going off-road, that much is obvious; not into No-Moo's-Land in the middle of the track's loop, but rather overshooting the final bend towards the finish line, and into another clump of trees up in that corner.

  • PLIFF*

Leaves rise in a mushroom cloud on impact, but at least they create a softer landing than it might have been.



Shysuna and Eriyoshi are about halfway across the meadow when Yoshigami makes impact. She isn't immediately visible, but two other things are:

First, there are more item boxes spawned at the beginning of the broad final curve, item boxes that Yoshigami's flight path completely missed...

...and second...

The third velocigraptor has finally made its move. It EXPLODES out of No-Moo's-Land, head lowered in a sprint, to take the shortest radial path across instead of along the track towards Yoshigami's landing site. It's obviously hoping to devour her while she's still recovering--!

There are only seconds before it reaches that little clump of trees she vanished into.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi transforms into Youma Form Medium Racer!
COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has loaded her saved combat state! She is now ready to take on 1 opponent!
<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

If she had waited too long, she would only be activating her Piranha Plant from inside the velocigrapetor's excessively toothy grin. If she hadn't waited long enough, the monster would be able to reel back out of range, then chow down upon her without being chowed upon instead. All things considered, therefore, her timing was just about right.

But only "just about," given that the grapetor escapes with a lesser nick than some men probably inflict on themselves while shaving. If it weren't for that immaculately-timed red shell, Flink would be the velocigrapetor's flunch, without even time to flinch at the prospect.

So when that shell DOES knock the grapetor into the air, Flink explodes into a flat-out *RUN* as if she'd just scarfed down a trio of Turbo Mushrooms, boots kicking up a spray of straw and dirt with every desperate stride until she's out of the barn - at which point it's just dirt she's kicking up behind her as she makes a hard turn towards the finish line.

The question is how long she can keep running like this, even with an avatar of Link as her 'body' for the time being.

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

This...this did not go according to the very vague plan that Kasayoshi had. Instead of a brilliant flight, it becomes the rise and fall of the dinosaur writ large in the beautiful meadowy heavens!

Right at the apex of her inverse-V, she feels that gravity tug hard. Those little yoshi-feet spinspinspinspinspin for purchase in non-existant grip.

Thus cometh the fall, and down goes the yoshi with a face of surprise, a bit of terror, but not a single regret as she flaps her head-frond-spikes as if they were bird wings. They aren't bird wings, she shan't be flying this day.

The dust-and-leafcloud disaster has her partially covered, her eyes are quite literally rolling like some kind of very green slot machine. The Dinolist rolls over onto her back, as tiny invincibility stars spin around her head in a very non-collectible fashion.

She is a stylish, dazed, and very vulnerable stack of royoshi, and that vicous velocigraptor is coming right for her!

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

Mikoto tries not to feel too satisfied by the sudden and complete lack of a grapetor as she turns and hurries off in the wake of her explosion.

... but, she is a little satisfied.

It's not quite as satisfying to come to the finish line, with something squishing underfoot. Mikoto doesn't really play video games, and doesn't understand everything she's seeing here, but... there used to be spectators, and somehow she can guess what happened, between the first lap and this.

She also doesn't know enough about video games to know just how eerie it is that she can cross the line backwards without any finger-wagging whatsoever. Maybe someone will enlighten her later. This is all new to her!

Also new: flying Yoshis.

"Weeeh..?" Mikowser asks, half-noise and all bafflement, as her chonky chin rises up to behold Yoshigami's trajectory. At the height of her arc, that noise is replaced with: "Whoa!"

Mikowser, at least, is happy to find another of her friends, and she begins ambling off towards those trees at the fastest clip her legs can manage. (Silently, she resolves that the jets are really a necessary part of Miroku's manoeuvrability. Without the jets, this entire body plan is just... it's awkward! It's so awkward!)

She at least doesn't have to worry too much about going out there to meet her friend; she blew up the grapetor on their trail, after all. It's not until she's almost to the trees that a sound catches her far-too-internal ears - the smell of carnage.

Her head snaps towards the charging grapetor, and far too late, Mikoto yelps a warning call: "Kasagami!" She's not quick enough to get in there before the grapetor does, not with these flat feet, but...

Mikowser takes a deep breath, and though she can't breathe flame, she still has vast lungs inside that spiky shell to ROAR FEROCIOUSLY. Not only does Bowser have a magnificient groar - Mikoto does, too. In perfect synthesis, she might be able to catch the grapetor's attention, and...

... and...

... she hasn't thought that far! She's just pretty sure it's better for the grapetor to chase her than poor dazed Kasagami!

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

"Hmm..." Shining, glorious victory! It does sound nice. But thn Yoshigami goes straight for the ramp she considers. "Oh."

Eriyoshi just says nope. But Shysuna looks for a few extra moments. Eriyoshi's forlorn yoshi gets a look down to the ground from Shysuna, her little mask still pointing forward.

But then she's indeed running. Her face is a mask so there's no way to see if she laughs or saddens at Eri's eulogy. "Ah..."

Shysuna runs on, in memoriam, and also looks up to the sky to see Yoshigami go. "I wonder where she'll land," she says while scurrying ahead, looking left to Eri. "...Do you think..."

Oh, item boxes! And also, impact! "Oh, she's--" ...There is a grapetor headed right for her. Shysuna's mask is a mask of D: even more than usual as she looks over and sees what's happening, knowing that she has no items and no way of helping. She can try to make noise, but--

"Aaah hold on! I don't have any--" She looks t Eriyoshi. "Do you have anything!?" She doesn't remember, she wasn't counting shells, so she looks. And then the grapetor is still going. If she took off right now, maybe she could catch up or draw its attention--

But then what??? Shysuna hesitates half a moment and remembers something from her past...

She rushes along the track for the item box, whirling once she hits it to, dismayed, try to look towards the trees. Wait, did she just hear a roar?

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

Mikowser likewise lands a solid blow on a Grapetor. "Nice! ...Wait, where did it go?" Baby Universe asks. The Bob-omb explosion left nothing but choking smoke, and not much else. Where is the splatter? Aren't they made of fruit? ...That is worrying."

If could still be out and about.

But the gang keeps moving. This was more jogging than leg day. Or it felt like it. The track is way larger than most folks can imagine.

But something most amazing can be seen! "Whoah, flying Yoshi! Coooool." The tiny head cranes upward to watch the sight, though the landing spot also catches sight of an enemy! "OH. That isn't good. Anyone else got an still?!" he exclaims.

Hearing the roar from Mikoto also gets an idea! Maybe there is a kart nearby? They got loud horns that are obnoxious to spam! Though only Toad bits are around...

This is dire...

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Wh... is this a totally different game...? I'm seeing everyone from their view, not the karts at large! Oh! It must be a secret mode!"

"Let's go to the barn since I don't think we have a choice... ah, my heart is pounding... this is so tense. How do you play this mode? Is it one of those ones where things don't come up on the screen? It can't be a super complex game, can it? Ah - ahh - KIYYAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!"

"-- OH! OH, SAVE--"

(In real life, Nori Ankou takes her headset off for a few moments here in order to have a slurp of bubble tea and wipe her forehead with the napkin. Racing is exciting... especially when it becomes DINOSAUR SURVIVAL.)

"Alright - ah! A big play from Bowser! Explosive! Dynamic! We move back here, to Link as he runs away... Do you know, well, I suppose it's a little silly, but aren't these games named for Zelda? Do you ever have the chance to - oh! Alright, we have some landings... I suppose that when the race ends, you are taken to this dinosauric - world - OH! Oh, that one's clever... a very clever girl! Yoshi and the Shy Guy are in a pinch -- kiyyyyhhh it's an attack!!"

"So we are still awaiting updates but it seems that our former racers are now in a pitched battle for sweet survival against prehistoric p... pfruity... i can't really turn this one, let me start over: We'll be tracking their efforts and cheering them on!"

After a few long, commentaryless seconds, Nori adds:

"Is the race... still ongoing?"

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

There's no time to look at cool explosions while on the run from the grapetors! With the thundering footsteps of Mikoswer and with Baby Steven now on the ground, she can really put her all into running. "We're doing good as a distraction, at least!"

It's only as she's nearing the finish line does she twists her head around to look out to see if they're pursured, and waves a hand towards Flink as she runs up the race trail at a full sprint. "Glad you got out of there, Fuu-san!"

The empty and clawed-up stands are a stark reminder that the current situation is not the happy and cheerful race that the background music was still trying to protray. Smalling a little and turning her head away from the grisly sight of flecks of mushroom flesh by the stands. This was just in time to see a Yoshi go flying through the air like they were shot out of a cannon and over the picturesque fence. It was too far to see who it actually was, but since there wasn't any Yoshis among the stands... "Uh...that was a player, wasn't it?"

The dust cloud that raises up a moment later seems to be an answer. What it translates to, who can say?

While a part of her wants to continue heading towards the closest item boxes, she doesn't want to leave another person behind if she can help it. And with how big of a poof cloud that was...wait, she was getting left behind! "Wait, i'm coming!"

There's a Yoshi sticking out of a minor crator and...another grapetor?! There's no weapons around but that's not stopping Mikoto at all. Best of she can help distracting it and keep it busy. "Hey big, green and ugly! You're the slow one of the bunch and it shows!"

Maybe this can be a good distraction and make it confused?

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

"Hm?" Eriyoshi's big dinosaur eyes look in that direction as Yoshigami makes her landing. "Oh. She lived."

A wild grapetor appears!

Eri brakes suddenly in startlement. "... Is this... natural selection in action?"

Setsuna asks if she has anything, and Eri doesn't initially respond, as if slightly dazed. Then she starts to jog forward, as if she has not a care in the world.

"Yo-shi! Yo-shi! Yo-shi!"

The grapetor looms closer and closer towards its prey. Eri keeps on jogging.

Then abruptly she turns in that direction, raises her final red shell. And drop kicks it towards the final Grapetor with vicious precision.

"That which is red can challenge even top predators. I guess art really does imitate life."

She calls ahead cheerily towards Shysuna.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Triple Red Shells! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Eri Shimanouchi's Triple Red Shells!, taking 48 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Stun
applied to Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.


Flink, like the others who came this way, runs backwards across the Finish Line without incident but also without result. She's close enough now to experience what everyone else does:

How the grapetor charging into the treeline jogs a little to the side at Mikowser's sudden roar and Nirigi's defiant shouting, but is not dissuaded from its original target!

How it plunges into the trees and vanishes--

--appearing, instead, in Yoshigami's face--

--only to, at the very last second, even as it's about to become a dinosaur-eat-dinosaur virtual world, suffer the same fate as the one who came for Flink.

Eriyoshi's red shell vanished into the treeline a split second after the grapetor did.

And everyone can hear the familiar sound of Shell Impact.

Yoshigami can SEE the grapetor's fate: brutally knocked up into the canopy.

It does not come down, and is lost to her sight amid the thick foilage a moment later. But it's still up there.



Back on the track, three red shells are suddenly orbiting Shysuna, with three -- pop!, four -- UNCLAIMED ITEM BOXES not far behind her.

She and Eriyoshi are only a little ways from the finish line now...

...and in clear view of everyone else, and vice versa.

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

Yes, she lived!! Shysuna notices Eri's daze, but the haze of action requires that she not stop and think about it, or even comment on natural selection! (Though, is it?) Shysuna hits the item block as she hears Eriyoshi calling...

As the three red shells pop into being around her, slowly rotating, the Shy girl sees Eriyoshi just... jogging. Mikowser having roared. And then--that call--

"...That's true." Red! Shysuna looks around to the others, in clear view, small and masked with little shoes and red shells. She looks to the landing site, the fallen Yoshi, sees no more grapetors...

Shysuna feels relief. It seems that at least for the moment, there's safety for all! ...But for how long...? She does have the shells. But she thinks... Perhaps sooner is better than later, for... going.

"I'm going on ahead! o/~"

Shysuna takes off, shells and all, for the finish line.

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

Kasayoshi, wallowing in the leaves of her despair (and concussion), is slowly awoken by a ~Grand Reptilian Roar~ from the mouth of one Mikowser. It's the call of the wild. The call of the...


Her not-ears ringing from the fierceness of the King of the Koopas, her big eyes go even wider, her polygons stretching as there's a velocigraptor coming right for her. And there's no items to defend her this time!

And it's gone!? Yoshigami starts to take in a breath in order to let it out, to sigh in relief.

Instead, there's this purple munchy fruit-face right in her face! What's meant to be a sigh turns into a howling screaming of terror! Is this how she's to die!? Devoured for her carnivorous ways!? For crimes against grape-kind!?

But there's instead the saving grace of oncoming red death aimed at the velocigraptor! Her scream is cut off, and finally that sense of safety overwhelms her for a moment. Letting out a cry of joy, she hops to her feet. Stumbling back and forth from adrenaline-fueled happiness at not being fruit food. It might not be defeated, but she's safe for now!

She's a bit far from the track now to race, but Yoshigami does manage to cheer her compatriots! "Gooooo! Win the race for all of our sakes! MAY RED TRIUMPH!"

Then, Yoshigami leans over, and hugs the brave Mikowser! "Let's foot-kart our way to war! Victory. Victorwar, oh King of the Not-Me-Dinosaurs! Or at least get ourselves some item boxes so we don't die. ...You have to teach me how to roar like that." Urges the yoshi, even as she tries to get her brave dinoheart from wanting to explode in her chest!

<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY - 1.25x Playback Speed

The merry, and -- ever since Yoshigami and Shysuna motored across the finish line what now feels like a LIFETIME ago -- accelerated Final Lap-speed strains of the Moo Moo Meadows soundtrack continues to fiddle on, and on, and on...

...Shysuna's little blue Shy Guy shoes skitter over the finish line...

...and on, and on, and on...

...it's still the Final Lap.

Her pedestrian crossing failed to register.

o` endless. annoying. violin. o`

The looping track stretches in front of her, surrounded by empty, shattered bleachers and mashed-up hay bales. The barn is in the distance, at the end of the straightaway, up ahead.

To her right and behind her is where Yoshigami landed and the others have gathered.

To her left is No-Moo's-Land... with a kart-gauged path into the underbrush, amongst the dense trees. The same slender path that Nirigi and Flink once traveled down, only to find its creator, Baby Universe's overturned kart, at its end. And Mikowser and Chitosalina, the latter of whom, ominously, no one has seen in quite some time.

The velocigrapetors are also nowhere to be seen, but there's a hair-raising awareness of their proximity.

They can definitely see HER.

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

On the one hand: Mikowser does not get eaten by a grapetor.

On the other hand: that's still Kasagami's problem.

On the tail... hand: Eri is here to save them!

Because a shell follows the grapetor into the trees, and the impact is unmistakable. "Come on!" Mikoto calls out, waving a claw at the trees, and thankfully, Yoshigami emerges.

Mikowser is big and spiky and not very good for hugs, but she gives it a try anyway. "Kasagami's okay!" She exclaims, in relief. And as she leads the way back towards the others - oh good, there's Flink, too! - she assures Kasagami: "I'll show you later!"

How to roar, presumably.

She trundle-tromps back to the track, but that music is still playing. With a dismayed little groan-grunt, Mikoto asks the obvious question: "How do we get out?"

Looking left, looking right, Mikowser kicks at the ground and exclaims: "I don't like video games!" And the reason might be entirely obvious; surely Mikoto's skin isn't the only one crawling with the sensation of being hunted, after all.

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

With the finish line passing underneath her feet, Flink finally lets herself stop running; her legs keep going for a bit longer, slowing from her sprint to a jog to a walk to a stop. It may be more the habits of Fuu's analog mind than the needs of her digital body which lead her to try to catch her breath ... but as she straightens back up, she realizes she's still in the game.

And then she realizes, or at least guesses, why - because she went the wrong way. "Don't tell me we need to take out the velocigrapetors before we can exit?" Flink groans.

Maybe she ought to arm up before trying to cross the finish line again - although she dearly hopes going the *right* way will help more. For the time being, though, she heads for those item boxes, taking note of who else she can see. There's a Shy Guy nearby, at least, and by this point she recognizes Mikowser; she can hear enough, barely, to deduce that the Yoshi is Kasagami.

"Let's see if crossing the finish line in the *right* direction does any better," Flink proposes to the latter as she jogs past them in search of renewed armaments. Better not to need new items, but better still to have them and not need them - and beyond that, far better still to have *something* in the event that those lurking velocigrapetors decide to make their presence known in full terrifying splendor once again.

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

Despite her attempt to make the dinosaur angry at her and Mikoto's impressive roaring, it's not enough to dissuade the reptile from its' easy meal! The raptor vanishes in the trees and Nirigi's heart gets caught in her throat-

-only for a Red Shell to vanish in the brush and shatter!

"Kasa-chan, you okay?" She calls out into the overgrowth hesitately, not wanting to get too close to the fruity beast. There's no sounds of ripping and tearing, so that's a promising sign...right?

But Kasagami breaks through the brush and hugs Mikoto fiercely, and seeing the firey Yoshi safe and sound is enough to have her swipe away some imaginary sweat from her brow. "Okay, whew...let's get out of here before it recovers!"

Shysuna seems to have the right idea and Nirigi cheers as the Shy Guy moves for the finish line. While they can stun the Velocigrapetors with the item box weapons, they kept coming! If Shysuna can just win the race...!

But stubby little legs cross over the line and there's no change in the hectic tempo, no victory fanfare to signal the end of the race. "Uh...well, there goes plan A."

But Nirigi notices the nearby item boxes have respawned by now and starts to run for those boxes. Her skin was prickling from the primal fear of hunters on the loose, so the sooner she can defend everyone from the raptors, the better. "Time for Plan B: keep running and be safe. Anyone with me?"

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

Eriyoshi's hand suddenly is framed over her eyes as she tries to spy the fate of the Grapetor. While she cannot confirm it's demise due to the dense woodlands... she still thinks it.

Vengeance for the gentle Brontomelon...

And then she's jogging after Shysuna, turning mid-jog to wave at Mikowser and Yoshigami...

When Setsuna crosses.

Record scratch.

"It didn't work!?"

Eri seems flabbergasted. Though then she sees the Grapetors. And notes she's unarmed.

Looking at her options, in a panic.

Her eyes move to Mikowser.

Then upon... Yoshigami. She then suddenly runs forward- and grabs Yoshigami, depositing her on her back, "YOINK-SHE!"

And then tries to run her across the finish line before the Grapetors can get to Shysuna. It is of course... gonna be real slow going. As Yoshigami is likely WAY heavier than Shysuna.

"Don't... you dare... read... into this! You just look much lighter than some other options!"

Slow pan over to Mikowser.

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

It takes a few struggling seconds, but...

...Two Yoshis cross the finish line on top of each other without effect.

o` the world's saddest song on the world's fastest violin. o`

<Pose Tracker> Nori Ankou [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Hmmm... from the way that Yoshi is positioning themselves, they maybe talking trash. Is that really in the spirit of Mario Kart? Isn't this a place where sports can - huh? - Walu-- who?"


"Ah, never mind... It seems that the group is clustering together. We have a successful strike back against that purple peril, thrown into the air -- ah! AH! Shy Guy! Shy Guy is fully reloaded! THREE red shells! The red shell is peril and power and promise all at once! In the face of this immortal blow, three-times more shellonic than the traditional single shell, even a near miss can translate to victory. And a truly skilled pilot can prove themselves to be a new type of racer, clearing out an entire field, rocketing from death to number one in a single blow--!"

"But it may not even be necessary. Do you ever feel disappointed when things resolve in an ordinary manner? But I suppose it's like they say - 'cat bites man' isn't a headline, but 'man bites cat' is very different... But behind the masked red sheller's ride to victory, I see there is reptilian synergy... but... ah!"

"Is this... is this heroism? Link... Link seems to be moving in the wrong direction, but I think that LInk is searching for the foe! Even if the conditions of the game haven't changed, a heroic spirit must follow its dictates! The perilous beasts must be quested against, even if it should cost the lead, or a hope of it! Ah!"

"Ah! Something even stranger is happening!"

"A Yoshi... atop another Yoshi!! Unprecedented! Is there a limitation here? Will their powers combine - or - um- the thing - multiply!? Yoshi-2! A new power, and perhaps... yes, that's right! Yoshi is often ridden by Mario, right? Or by Luigi! This is --"



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

A quite winded Eriyoshi promptly collapses under Yoshigami.

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

The final lap..! Shysuna goes for the finish line and--


"...Aw," she remarks in disappointment, looking down and shuffling, a blue shoe skating acrss the ground a little. She does not notice at first Flink behind, s focused as she is on the music and on the track, and on, suddenly...

Ah. She feels it. Shy Guy nrrows her eyes a little, looking around thoughtfully as she feels... awareness. She still has her shells, at least--but maybe she shouldn't go back to the group...

With that feeling of being watched, Shysuna toddles off from her position just a little, slightly towards the trees. She tries to look out carefully...

"So riding Yoshis desn't work either..."

"If my bike hadn't fallen apart, maybe..."

KART: Fuu Hououji hits an item box and scores the Bob-omb!

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

Steven looks toward Niramo at the sight of the aerial Yoshi. "I... think so? I remember Yoshis in the races." A Shy Guy with a fimiliar voice has quite a few shells on them, ready to use as well! And she crosses the finish line! ...But the game is still going. "Well. There goes that plan. A kart must have to cross! But where can we find one?"

The nearest one may be his. But there are box spots nearby Shysuna. "We're gonna have to duke it out here! We dont have a choice!"

A look toward Mikowser and taller folks in general. "Some of us should fight, and others needa get a kart across that finish line somehow!"

Perhaps a strategy is in order! He cant fight as a baby, but he can think!

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

"I'm fine! A minor setback in my aerial plans...and a murderous fruit predator won't keep me down for long!" Calls back Yoshigami to the concerned Niramo!

But before she can ponder Shysuna's victory or Flink's suggestions, in comes one Eriyoshi! Blink. She turns to Mikowser as there's a sudden kidnapping of her pseudo-royal personage! YOINK!

"Eriyoshi! How brave of you! Were you worried I'd get jealous not crossing the finish line with you!? You are, as always, a powerful competitor and a wonderful friend! I would NEVER conflate this with anything at all! Now MUSH, my Yoshi-mount! Chaaaaarge!" Encourages Kasayoshi, striking a most vigorous and very...balance impedeing stance atop Eriyoshi!

She is way heavier, and this position isn't helping matters.

THUNK. Down goes poor Eriyoshi, and that music is very sad. Hopping off, she'll offer Eri first a pat on the head then a hand up for all of her efforts.

"It was a good idea. We all know you, and by extension I, won Eriyoshi. People! ...I think we can conclude this is no longer a race. Maybe we should all just gather boxes, lure these dinojerks into a choke point, and unleash pixel-heck upon all of them!" Suggests the dino.

Hmmm. Baby Mario has a point though.

"...I don't know enough about video games." She then readily admits aloud.

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

As Shystuna and Flink demonstrate, finishing the race does not free them from dinosaur hell. Mikowser's head tiiilts to the side, as Eriyoshi comes to focus on them, with a curious grunt.

Suddenly, yoink--!!

Mikowser, now standing alone, looks down at herself. "I'm not that heavy..." As she makes this protest, she takes a step forward.

The screen shakes a little, because endbosses are trompy.

Tromp tromp tromp, Mikowser catches up to the Yoshis, and reaches over to help Eriyoshi up. She might be too sturdy to carry, but at least that makes her steady! "We can't lie around, Eri," Mikowser reminds her, in a voice which is even MORE growly than usual because Now, She's The Big Spiky Boss. "There's still monsters!"

wait hang on has mikoto never seen jurassic park

"Let's get boxes, Eri!" Mikoto encourages her, with a tug. Unfortunately, she is too spiky to carry anyone, so her encouragement is a lot more peripheral, tugging at Eriyoshi's arm. Apparently, Mikoto thinks the idea of fighting the grapetors to victory is a sound plan. Well, Steven is generally pretty sensible, and Kasagami seems to agree, so...

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

Mikowser tells her she can't lie around, and Eri gives her a look of utter despair, "... how... villainous..."

Wait is she teasing Mikoto even now?

Eri is still breathless, panting on the ground, as her dino arm reaches up, and takes her hand up. "No... I was worried... you'd be... smug... since I... wouldn't carry you... earlier..."

Eriyoshi huffs in place, doubled over... "Just... need... a minute..."

Steven though puts forth a good idea. "Nnnghhh... my Kart is back near the barn..." She complains.

"That's way too far to get toOOOOOOOo-"

And that's Mikoto grabbing her arm and yanking her along. For a short time she's trying to keep up with her...

... it's not long though before her Dinosaur butt smacks the ground and her eyes grow wide as Mikoto drags her along, her dinosaur tail kicking up a plume of dust as she's pulled along towards the item boxes.

Anyone who witnesses this might mistake this as a form of Koopa Troopa bullying of poor innocent Mushroom Kingdom residents.

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

Shysuna frowns when she hears Yoshigami speak of winning the race. This mostly looks like giant eyes staring over for a moment. "I went across first..."

She does not tromp. But she does look out carefully still in an effort to be able to use her shells if the Grapetors return. ...And she talks with the group about it.

"I don't know about fighting," she admits. "But I think finding a kart is the right idea! But where would we find one...?"

Woop. Woop. Woop. The shells orbit Shysuna.

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

Flink tags an item box, it pops, the reel spins with its merry little jingle, and a Bob-omb is now in Link's proud possession. Fuu can't help but do a quick little victory fist-pump - and then Flink turns to head towards the finish line again ... ?

Correction: she's moving to link up (no pun intended, for once) with the other players, taking a headcount as best she can (again). "So if crossing the finish line on foot doesn't help, and given that we don't really stand an adequate chance against the grapetors," Flink thinks out loud ...

"Wasn't there an overturned but generally-intact kart over in the woods?"

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

Kasayoshi grins at the staring Shysuna, and also turns it on Eriyoshi! Oh yes, she's invoking her Smug Card. Her gaze sparkles, teasing, even as she's heading for item boxes! She does a little ~hop~ to hit that box unnecessarily.

"I won in my heart!" There's the sound of a yoshi laughing. It is full of Yo-SHI-SHI-SHI!

And then she's ready to play the part of powerful kart-based turret with her fellow weapon wielders!

COMBAT: Steven Universe transforms into Youma Form Light Racer!
KART: Steven Universe hits an item box and scores the Triple Green Shells!!
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"What? It's just how it is!" Mikowser protests Eriyoshi's teasing, with a huff. "I'm not the one eating Moo-Moos!" THIS IS UNFAIR PROFILING, ERI SHIMANOUCHI!

She's at least less offended by Eri's worries, waving a broad hand. "Nah. But I can't carry Eri. I'm pointy! And I'm not big enough for Eri to sit between spikes..." This is, of course, an eminently logical thing for Mikoto to think about big spiky bosses.

So instead, she just grabs Eri and starts walking!

And her eyes, of course, are on the prize: which is to say, looking around to make sure they're not about to get pounced by grapetors on the way to the boxes. This means she misses the eventual thud of a very tired Yoshi. Until they get to the boxes, and...

"Eh?" Mikoto blinks, as she sees poor Eri eating dirt. "Oh!"

With alarm, Mikoto picks her up and plonks her onto one of the boxes so she can arm herself. Then she tromps over to punch a box of her own.

"Right!" She chirps, to Flink and Shytsuna, as Flink remembers the kart. "But, we'll need lots of people to go get it... that kart's heavy. Me and Chitose couldn't tip it over..."

Mikoto pauses, at the box, and looks back.

"... hey... where's Chitose?"

The words kind of sink down a bit, by degrees, every syllable she says.

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


Armed to the teeth with bananas (Mikowser x3, Nirigi, Yoshigami), red shells (Shysuna x3), green shells (Steven x3, Eriyoyshi), and a bob-omb (Flink)--

--the brave racers venture into No-Moo's-Land to retrieve Baby Universe's overturned Kart!

But it will take ALL BUT TWO RACERS to haul the unexpectedly heavy automobile back upright and into a useful position.



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


Mikowser and Chitosalina manage, between them, to leverage the kart up enough for Baby Steven to crawl out.


Mikowser, who knows just how deceptively heavy that little kart is, positions herself at one of the wheels of the kart to begin HOISTING it up. "Rrrrgh," is the approximate sound of her growl, because even with so much help, it's STILL heavy.

But Mikowser is also heavy, and she's not about to let it get the better of her! Her growling keys up a notch as she manages to start pushing upwards - and that point, when she has to straighten her turtlely knees and push out with her arms, is both when she is at her most vulnerable and when she realises she is MOST VULNERABLE --

-- because there are grapetors on their trail.

"Come on!" Mikoto yelps, as she keeps trying to hoist the kart back up onto its wheels. There's no way she can get out from this thing to defend them, so she'd better help right it quickly..!

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

An orbiting box is smashed and a weapon is called forth in our heroes' time of need!...no, wait, it's just a banana peel. "Well...maybe we can use their speed against them?" Still, Nirigi was hoping for the return of the Bullet Bill. But how would that work without a kart, anyways?

But then Flink has a bright idea as she brings up the Kart left behind in No Moo's Land! "Right. If walking doesn't work, Steven-san's kart might do the trick!"


Many more items are claimed and preperations made, yet it seems that the Velocigraptors still have yet to assault the group once more. Was it due to everyone grouping up again or something else entirely? Whatever the case, now was the time to move and go for Plan C!

Perhaps due to her temporary taller frame, Nirigi is one of the kart-lifting crew, straining virtual muscles in an effort to overturn it. But for such a small vehicle, it was incredibly heavy. "We need to lift at the same time, I think! Heave...!"

But before she can give the word to rally the others, two of the grapey reptiles burst from the woods! "A-ah! A little help here!"

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


Hearing of the overturned kart, Shysuna is ready to go. And then...

She mightily tries to overturn the kart! Shysuna doesn't remember how heavy the kart was because she didn't move it in the first place, but she's doing her mightiest. Perhaps the big eyes on her mask are even bigger though as the grapetors come!!

But while the shells continue to orbit around her, Shysuna is too busy to use them--and has a plan. If... if she gets a chance.

She will just have to trust the others!! "Aaah!"


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

Eri gets plonked onto a box. "This... is... bullying." She teases Mikoto again, knowing she didn't intentionally do it.

A green shell is now hers.

She doesn't mind that green is subordinate to red. It just galls her that blue is best of all.

At the Karts, Eriyoshi sorta... puts her back and tail into it. Gripping it backwards, straining to try and flip it.

"Nnnghhh... how is this in any way a Kart for a baby!? This feels like it'd be too heavy for Bowser."

She complains, even as the grapetors jump out... and she starts, "Aaaaa! Shell them shell them!"

Then suddenly redoubles her effort to try and flip it back over.

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

As one of the two players who aren't currently engaged in lifting the kart and trying to turn it right-side-up again, Flink focuses on safeguarding the others - and well that somebody should, as a pair of velocigrapetors leap out of the foliage.

"As if I'd let you!!" Flink shouts defiantly, activating her Bob-omb and flinging it down. The little wind-up explosive promptly begins waddling forward, fuse hissing; it may not look like tasty prey, but it's *moving* and it's closer to the grapetors than any of the players are. Maybe the grapetor will scarf it down instead of going for one of the more meaty characters, or maybe it'll just blunder on forwards - and be on top of the Bob-omb when it stops hissing and goes boom.

Because it WILL go boom. Bob-ombs are reliable for at least that much.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Bob-omb on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Fuu Hououji's Bob-omb, taking 41 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

With everyone trying to flip the kart, Yoshigami grips her banana payload while standing watch! She can feel the evil dinograpes are still there! She knows they hunger for her beautiful shining pixels!

They all have to work together, or no one is cracking this vr-world's skybox!

"Don't fear! Push! I believe in you all! A good racer shall defend the honor of her beloved competition! ...At least I think that's how kart racing works! Anyway, this is vengeance!" She was almost grapenom'd! Kasayoshi sets her dinojaw, leaps into the air, and makes her legs go spinspinspinspin! She briefly floats in the air.

Waiting until she can see the stems of their grapes,she valiantly tosses the banana in an arc'ing jump-huck! Right for her targeted velocigraptor!

"Tonight you dine on ~BA~NA~NOPE~!" Griiiin eagerly!

COMBAT: Kasagami Araki has used Banana on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick accepts Kasagami Araki's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

The velocigrapetors know what bob-ombs are, having endured them several times, now. They cannot be fooled into eating one, but nevertheless fail to escape its blast radius entirely, when it does go off.

But this is the first time anyone's used a banana.


BGM Start: Psycho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Me-VhC9ieh0

Brontomelon's shakes turn into titanic quakes as the source of its terror becomes evident. Whereas the magical girls didn't arrive in time to see Brontomelon arrive, and the velocigrapetors were too small and quick to quite catch it, now, at last, they get to see the source of that strange, unearthly feeling, the prickles that lanced the backs of their necks.

There's a mysterious sparkle in the air, spinning, spinning, creating a ring of immense circumference...

...from which is emerging...

'Apex' predator does it a disservice because it implies that there is a maximum involved, and the raw, unbridled threat that this creature represents is so deadly, in part, because it feels unleashable. It CANNOT BE CONTAINED.

The first footprint -- clawprint -- that it leaves in the field sinks two feet from not only weight but force. Every one of its steps is deliberate.

Its eyes burn with a terrible hunger.

And its immense yellow jaws -- mottled, along the sides, with a bit of browning -- split, straight in half, impossibly strange, impossibly wide --

-- wide enough to fit everyone in at once, and a huge chunk of Brontomelon besides --

-- that is a LOT of teeth.


Preceded in its charge by the smell of its breath, a combination of the faintly floral aroma of banana, plus other rotting fruits... plus blood... it blurs forward, impossibly fast for its enormous size.



With wild, rolling eyes, the velocigrapetors rear back, altering course violently away from the ground and vanishing back into the dense thicket of trees.

And the group successfully gets Baby Universe's little Kart back on its wheels. It seems no worse the wear, really, for its off-road adventure, but everyone knows all too well that if it takes too much damage, it WILL fall apart. Surely by now it has taken a LOT.

So it needs to get out the same way it came in--

--make a hard left--

--and get over the finish line--

--without taking so much as a scratch.

And the velocigrapetors will return for it, at each of these points, hungrier than they are frightened!

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

The explosive force of the Bob-omb is not one to be triffled with, yet the velocigrapetors don't even bat an eye as they grow nearer. But they flee in terror from...Yoshigami's banana? Nirigi takes a few moments to try to process what exactly is going on here before she realizes there's still a heavy kart that needs to be flipped over. "Let's question that later..."

The Kart is flipped over and ready to drive onwards to victory, but now it's going have to be a perfect run. With just the items they have, the Kart is going have to make it to its' final destination. Feeling a lot more confident in her own banana due to Yoshigami's valliant throw, Nirigi heads off into the brush to get ready for her own part of the plan.

All seems quiet at first in this part of the woods, if you ignore the ever-present music and the revving of a single engine. With a growing intensity, the kart is getting closer and will only be moments before it appears in view. A velocigrapetor perks up a little, nostrals flaring as it prepares to leap out to tear the kart to scrap metal.

It's a shame that a banana peel goes flying out from across the trampled path, aimed directly for the bridge of the nose. "Solo Bros. attack, Splitting Time!"

COMBAT: Niramo Umokeshi has used Banana on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick accepts Niramo Umokeshi's Banana, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Trap applied to Pink Moon Stick!  
<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikowser had thought that bananas were a language the grapetors would speak, but she couldn't have guessed just how loud they would speak to them. Mikoto, of course, has never seen the might of Bananasaurus Rex... so she doesn't know just how justified that fear is.

She doesn't have to know that part, though.

Mikowser isn't much help as they're moving through the forest; while Mikoto is eminently qualified to move in woodlands, Mikowser is much bigger and much trompier. But by the grace of her friends, she and the kart emerge..!

And once they're in open air - that's when Mikowser can take action against a grapetor testing their boundaries, testing for weak points so it can feast.

It's time! For psychological! WARRRFARRREEEE!

With a roar, Mikowser proceeds to grab two of her bananas... and slam them into her horns, before she takes the third and smooshes it into her hand, streaking banana over her cheeks. Mikowser, now with Banana Horns, proceeds to charge the snappish velocigrapetor, bellowing bloody murder and - at a crucial moment - FLINGING that third banana's peel right at the grapetor's face.

It is UP CLOSE and PERSONAL and LOUD and SMELLS A LOT LIKE BANANA SPLIT. If anyone can convey complete willingness to close the gap and feast on grapes, it's the berserker called Mikoto, wearing the avatar of King Koopa.

It is, of course, all an illusion. Mikowser's jaws don't have nearly the tensile strength of a velocigrapetor's, and she can't even breathe fire. But all she has to do is distract the grapetor while the kart manages that sharp turn--!!

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Triple Bananas! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick accepts Mikoto Minagi's Triple Bananas!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Tangle and Trap applied to Pink Moon
<Pose Tracker> Steven Universe [Juuban Public School (6)] has posed.

As the kart crew begins to come together, baby Universe makes for one of the item boxes near Shysuna. THe loud noise plays, which normally brings giddiness to anyone who plays as the roulette spins, now is the thread of life being spun.

It lands on a good pick. Triple Greens.

"Ohhh I am a wicked shot too! Quick, let's get to the kart!" The tiny child does his best to assist in moving it, but his tiny body does little to affect. If anything wedging himself under may give a bit of leverage. "They are back!" Not that it mattered, Flink lets loose with a bomb. It doesn't work well, but oddly enough, a humble banana peel slung by a Kassiyoshi does the trick. "Oh! Why don't they like--- WAIT."

Steven recalls the fight quite well. "The Rex! Okay, now is our chance!" They scatter, and Steven begins to run outward. The Shells are summoned, and orbit the baby. He saw them scatter that way, but he wasn't about to let them get away, even as the kart gets ready to be driven.

And Steven decides to play the cool gamer move as Mikowser moves in. The boy rapid-fires the green shells in a fanning pattern ahead, giving the Grapetor less area to maneuver through!

His aim is sharper than it should be, and a bit of that gremlin-like gleam comes back to his eye as he fires.

COMBAT: Steven Universe has used Triple Green Shells! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Steven Universe's Triple Green Shells!, taking 36 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  
<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Eri witnessed the advent of BANANASAURUS REX.

She even mentioned it earlier. When a Bob-omb goes off though...

... she still thinks that is responsible more than the banana. She doesn't quite make the connection. "Bob-ombs..." She marvels at instead.


It's near the finish line. And one can hear the thrum of the Kart engines as it hits the final stretch.

And there's a single green shell sitting on the track. Entirely inert.

Not a Yoshi in sight.

And then as the Grapetor screeches and charges in its ambush...

The shell suddenly rises up from the pot hole hazard in the road it was covering.

Holding onto the shell, she shouts a singular powerful war cry, "YO-SHI!"

And charges on an intercept course at the Grapetor. Not even trusting her aim here with the Green shell.

It can certainly miss. So instead she holds it like a shield... and keeps it between herself and the Grapetor.


It is a gamble, but... simple contact with one of these things can be super effective.

COMBAT: Eri Shimanouchi has used Green Shell~ on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Eri Shimanouchi's Green Shell~, taking 35 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Pink Moon Stick
is Quipped!  Stagger applied to Pink Moon Stick!
<Pose Tracker> Setsuna Higashi [Juuban Public School (10)] has posed.

Shysuna watches the grapetors flee in relief as she helps get the Kart back up. It is difficult work!! ...And she eyes it carefully, as she wonders just how much damage it has taken so far. It is a mystery to her, though. She looks to the others.

"...I can get it there. With all of your help!"


And this is what she will try to do. Her kart inches out of the woods, slower in the grass than on the nice, flat track. But once she can get going, she'll start, careful of her friends. The forest tunnel is ahead!!

Zoom. She eases on the accelerator to shift her route for the hard left turn, and floors it once she can. Towards... the finish line!!

The red shells keep orbiting around her, woobing silently as the sound of the engine roars. She looks aside only briefly towards the green shells flying and--and--and the Mikowser with bananas. But mostly she has to keep her eyes on the road!!

Shysuna doesn't see Eriyoshi at first. Has she perhaps already been gotten??? No!! It can't be! Worrying, Shysuna keeps on riving, as she sees a Grapetor charging... and suddenly--


And there, at the end... It rushes out from the side, having hidden from all Yoshis. A velocigrapetor's tail lashes furiously as it waits, preparing to charge her kart outright. Shysuna remembers what happened before--tackled right off the edge. That can't happen this time!! Safeguarded up to this point, the little red-masked driver stares forward, and...


She picks up her shells and starts throwing them towards the Grapetor ahead. It starts charging at the same time, snapping its powerful jaws and running one step, two step, a grapey missile moving straight for Shysuna!!

She throws her next homing shell and banks to the side, saving her last for when she gets close enough that she has to use it and--

Shells versus jaws!! Grapes versus... Shells!! Terrible violence happens!

COMBAT: Setsuna Higashi has used Triple Red Shells! on Pink Moon Stick.
COMBAT: Pink Moon Stick fails to brace Setsuna Higashi's Triple Red Shells!, taking 29 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Pink Moon
<Pose Tracker> Pink Moon Stick [Admin] has posed.

It deserves to be

<SoundTracker> Fast And The Furious Theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2u_v8P2CWc

But in fact it is still


<SoundTracker> Moo Moo Meadows - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzJV36Rd7eY - 1.25x Playback Speed

It is, nevertheless, badass. The music is elevated by the content.

First Nirigi and Mikowser wage psychological warfare against their grapey foes with the unexpectedly OP superweapon, the banana. The grapetors have no defense against this except for small attention spans and large appetites; they're scared off with satisfying ease, but the bunch always comes back.

Then Baby Universe corrals their next move with brilliantly aimed green shells, requiring skill rather than just bravado; his hours and hours of video gaming have paid off at last. He was born to do this.

Eriyoshi is waiting for them as they skid out after their turn, disbalanced and bewildered; one wipes out entirely and goes sprawling. Another one of the grapetors bounces spectacularly off of her own green shell, right at point blank.

And the third has to contend with Shysuna's absolute determination to play -- and win -- a game of high-speed and ultimately full-contact kart chicken.

It's an open question if even all of that would have killed a velocigrapetor; they're incredibly tough, and Mario Kart weapons incredibly nonlethal by design.

But it doesn't matter.

Because the kart --

-- rolls across --

-- the finish line --!!!

<SoundTracker> Winning Results - Mario Kart 8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txyAdvicRIM

The visors are visors again, projecting a spinning MARIOKART VR logo. The wheels are wheels... and the peripheral sounds of a roaring Game Center Crown crowd is pouring in.

Those who disappeared mid-race decline to speak of their experiences, but they seem to be just fine.

But the main thing the racers notice, as they detach themselves from the equipment at last...

...is the gigantic oblong ovoid, purplish-green, wobbling atop the center cluster of power cables and connectors.

It shakes.

Then again.

And then it SPLITS -- but before anything can emerge, it... fades from view, with the slightest sparkle.

Try as they might, no one else at the arcade is able to activate what will only live on in legend as 'survival mode'.

But they do play a lot of great races... and raise a lot of money for the local humane society!