It was the greatest treasure the four had seen in their lives - an ordinarily small piece of rock candy that was rumored to be special - one who ate it would be granted power and skill beyond their wildest dreams. And they had two.
It was Ness who broke the silence. "I think I heard a rumor," he said, "that if you use some kind of condiment with a rock candy that the candy will pop right back out, good as new. Wanna try it?"
Jeff shook his head no. "I don't think that's possible. A candy is just a candy, and this doesn't look like anything special. No tampering or modification of any kind."
"Come on, cheer up!" Paula chided. "You don't have to be so formal about it. If you don't want to try it don't try it."
"Well, I wasn't saying that it couldn't be possible. I just want to see it in action first."
"Hmph," she responded, turning away with her nose upturned. "Anyway, I don't want to do this. I never liked rock candy."
"Then let me throw caution to the wind and be the one willing to put this rumor to the test," Prince Poo boldly claimed. "At the very least we will have lost nothing."
Ness slammed his fist into his open palm and smiled. "That's the spirit! We'll get some sugar and try this out!"
A quick run to the convenience store netted the group several packets of sugar (the cheapest they could find) and they set out to find a random creature to test their theory. Apparently it only worked if you were in a battle of some kind. They let the first runaway dog they ran across attack first so Poo could test it out, and he popped the candy into his mouth followed by a full packet of sugar. It tasted pretty good. As soon as the candy went in, Ness knocked the dog out cold with his bat. The mutt never knew what hit it.
Skeptical, Jeff inquired, "Well? Did it work?"
"I think so. At least, I feel a bit more agile."
Ness pumped his fist in victory. "Great! ...so where's the rock candy?"
"I... I think I swallowed it."
The group stood there dumbfounded. Was it all a wash? Had they bought so much sugar for nothing?
Jeff took the somewhat empty sugar packet from Poo's hand. "All that sugar must have pushed the candy down into your throat. And I don't think you used the whole packet - there's still some in here. Probably enough for another serving at least."
Paula crossed her arms and furred her eyebrows. "So we have a packet of sugar, but no more rock candy. What now?"
A gleam crossed Jeff's eyes as he adjusted his glasses. "Maybe we just need to adjust our strategy. Sugar first, then candy."
"You think it'll work?" she asked, lifting her gaze.
"Well, I have the other one right here," Ness announced as he pulled the second candy out of his bag. "I say, let's try it again."
This time, the trick worked. Poo tore open the packet of sugar and swallowed it almost whole, then popped the candy in right after. He sucked on the candy for a bit as the sugar made its way down his throat, and popped it out into its wrapper s his mouth emptied of the sweet cane sugar.
A dull metal clang announced a rowdy mouse falling victim to the flat base of Paula's thick fry pan. She sighed and looked at Poo. "Was that it? Did it work?"
He cracked a small smile. "I think so," he said, holding up the unwrapped candy in the palm of his hand.
A small chorus of cheers arose from the group as they reveled in a newfound weapon against the armies of Giygas. One more question remained: how to best abuse this advantage? More battles were waged as Poo used the rock candy with reckless abandon. Where his fists once bruised, they now incapacitated; where he would once be struck dead where he stood, he could now dance around blows with incredible finesse. With Poo strengthened to a point where he could scarcely be touched, attention focused to Paula.
"NO. I absolutely refuse."
"C'mon! Just think of the possibilities! You wouldn't need to rely on your PSI so often! You'd never have to worry about being kidnapped because you could trounce them with your pinky!"
"NO! It's sick and disgusting! I won't have that thing in my mouth after it's been in Poo's God knows how many times!"
Ness threw up his hands and turned around, giving up. "I just don't get it. What's so wrong with...?"
"AAAAHHHH! Whatareyou... gettoffyoucrazy... aaaahhh.. heywhatdoyou"
A small crack and a low groan echoed from behind Paula. Jeff lay on the ground clutching his two best friends, writhing in pain. Paula looked unfazed for the most part as her hatred burned through her eyes at Jeff, but both Ness and Poo noticed that before his excruciating encounter with Paula's foot, he had bound her arms about her torso.
"Jeff, I didn't think you had the guts." Ness smirked as he crossed his arms. Suddenly an idea crossed his head - most likely the same one that crossed Jeff's. He looked at Poo and shot a look in his eyes that said everything. Poo nooded back, knowing exactly what Ness wanted to do.
"Serves him right." Paula wriggled a little bit to try and loosen the bonds but not before Ness and Poo both jumped on her and started finishing the job that Jeff had started.
"HEY! WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA! WHAT'S GOTTEN INTO ALL OF YOU?!"
Poo bowed slowly as he secured Paula's wrists behind her back. "Please forgive us."
Ness looked up from his spot on the ground as he finished fastening her ankles together. "It's for your own good. You okay, Jeff?"
"Uhh... yeah," he groaned. "Give me a minute or two. That hurt."
"No prob," Ness responded as he grabbed Paula's legs and with Poo's help hoisted her into the air. "When you're up to it, see if you can find something to fight, all right?"
Jeff grimaced a smile through the pain. "Right."
Paula tried to scream out at her friends' treachery, but Poo quickly clamped his hand over her mouth. The two young "heroes" carried her over to a nearby lamp post and Ness used the last of their rope to fasten her to it while Poo kept her from foolishly shouting her head off. Finally the task was done - Ness rose to his feet while Poo gingerly took his hand from Paula's mouth. She gave him the dirtiest look she could muster, and he backed off. With Poo out of the picture, she glared at Ness and spat out the words, "I hate you guys so much right now."
"It'll all work out in the end. You'll see."
The sound of Jeff's magnum ringing out in the dusk caught the attention of all three of them. They looked up as he retreated from what seemed like a black mass of soldiers slowly advancing on him. More emerged from the streets surrounding them as it swiftly became clear that the four of them were completely and wholly surrounded.
Poo dropped back into a defensive stance as Jeff fired a shot at another black form. The bullet ricoched off the side of its helm, and the red visor of his adversary gleamed as it registered the damage.
"You-will-now-be-taken-as-prisoners-of-the-mighty-Giygas," the being proclaimed as it stepped forward unfazed by Jeff's shot. "Further-resistance-is-futile."
Ness' jaw dropped. "Starmen... An army."
Paula's eyes went wild. "WHAT?!"
Ness dropped to the ground and started wildly looking through his pack for the loose sugar, looking up every few seconds to ensure he wouldn't be unknowingly clobbered. The fear was running through his veins. What had he done, picking up where Jeff left off? How were they going to get out of this now?
Escape was the first priority on Paula's mind. With her hands quite literally tied she couldn't effectively use the PSI that she had become so reliant on - she was useless until she got free. As she wrested with her bonds, she screamed out, "NESS, I WILL GET YOU BACK FOR THIS IF IT'S THE LAST THING IT DO!!"
Another shot rang out as the Starmen Army closed on the heroes. They would have a long fight ahead of them... all over a piece of candy.
The long A little story written to accompany the image. I did the IMAGE FIRST AND FOREMOST and wrote the story around it rather than the other way around.
Yes, this story is true... in a way. My good bud VGJustice has been playing Earthbound and got the two pieces of rock candy. Hearing about the trick he tried it and failed as he had the rock candy in his inventory first, THEN the packets of sugar - thus using the candy instead of the sugar. Apparently you ned the candy after your condiments (and this actually works for any food item in Earthbound).
I've been sitting on this image for a good, long while. I haven't had the motivation to work on it until I got back to Taco Bell, and at that point it finally flooded open and I was able to give this image its due. I tried so many times - erasing and unerasing, pencils and inks - trying to get Paula looking perfect. I can't say I gave the same attention to detail to the other three, but I still think they look excellent. In the end, it all flowed together nearly flawlessly and I'm proud to have this in my gallery.
Now if I could just get a high res printout... maybe printed on good quality glossy paper? It's 18x12...
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