The WhoopA Network

EBOh: The Earth Bound King
Prologue: Homecoming
Dan Sandstrom (

He had been unconscious for a half an hour now. The small stone he had always carried with him glowed as if it was alive, and lay within reach of the boy's hand as if it had fallen from his grasp.

Three children his age watched over him. The youngest, a girl one year his junior, slowly lifted her head from his chest and sighed. "He's still breathing. He has to be alive."

She turned around to her two companions. The Asian boy with the ponytail stared out over the underground expanse called the Fire Springs. Without turning his head he commented, "He is one of the Chosen. As are you."

A blond boy with glasses stood up from where he was sitting and wiped the dust off his pants. "We came all this way, after all," he remarked. "Do you think he'd give up and die so easily after all we've been through?"

The girl turned her head and looked at where the unconscious boy lay. "No, not really. But I worry, I really do." She walked to the edge of the prepice and gazed over the expanse herself, letting her feet dangle over the edge. It was an eerily beautiful sight. Waves of heat and steam dotted the landscape and the occasional lava geyser would erupt. She placed her chin in her hand and rested it on her knee as she watched the landscape. "It does... it does feel like a true sanctuary."

The Asian boy looked up. "Peace and solace can sometimes be found in the strangest of places."

The three of them fell silent and watched over the Springs as they waited for their friend to awaken. It came suddenly - the boy started to mumble and groan. "My... my sanctuary..."

The girl swiftly turned her head and looked. "Are you... are you alright?!" She hastily stood up and rushed to his side, with the two boys close behind.

"This... this is..."

"Can you hear me? Ness?!" the girl called out in a frightened voice.

"This is..."


"This is...!" The boy's eyes flew open. The ground shook, and a beam of light shot through the sky into the center of the Springs, growing whiter and larger. The stone that had skittered from his hand began to glow unnaturally. The three children looked uneasily to the sky as they felt the earth's energy coalesce into the beam of light.


A ring of light exploded from the center of the pillar, throwing out the gathered energy and unlocking the vast potential stored within. The stone, with these words, shattered.

Four years later...

"You say you're finally coming home, Dad?"

"Yup. Finally got the situation straightened out at work, and I am leaving the company for good tomorrow. I'll try and make it on my own, with my own business. I've got a building ready to go, and all I needed was for the last of the paperwork here to be filled out. I'll be home within the week."

"YES!" He could hardly believe his ears. Ness jumped into the air in triumph, fist extended to the heavens. His father had hardly set foot in the house since he took up the position, and now he was finally coming home. For good.

"Ow, Ness. Careful where you shout, I just got an earful."

"Erm, oops. Sorry, Dad."

"It's okay. I'm sorry it took me so long. Now let me speak with your sister, all right? I'm sure she wants to hear the good news too."

"Alright," he said as he lowered the phone from his ear. He cupped his hand over the earpiece and shouted to his sister, "Tracy! Dad wants to talk with you!"

She shouted down from the top of the stairs, "All right, I'm coming!" Her footsteps loudly echoed as she charged down the stairs, and if Ness hadn't caught her as she flew by he was sure she would charge headlong into the wall.

He smiled and handed her the phone. "It's for you."

"Thanks," she muttered breathlessly.

Ness ran upstairs. He knew what would happen when his dad relayed her the good news. Seconds later, he heard squeals of delight that could only be his sister's. He chuckled to himself as he climbed the stairs and continued to his room. He grabbed the jacket that lay across his bed, then just as quickly ran back down the stairs.

Tracy ran over to him and latched her arms around him, still squealing. "Dad's coming home! Dad's coming home!" she repeated over and over again.

Ness watched the phone slip from her grasp, and the phone cord pulled the handset and sent it careening into the wall leaving a good-sized dent. He tapped his sister on the shoulder and pointed at the phone. "Better pick that up before someone notices."

"Aaah!" Tracy squealed as she jumped to retrieve the phone.

Ness had a friend he wanted to see and share the good news with. He smiled and walked out the door as his sister picked up the dropped phone and apologized profusely to her dad.

He walked through his hometown of Onett, a typical small town in Suburbia. The meteor crater in the north end of town was no longer the tourist draw it used to be, mainly since the meteor was discovered to be made mainly out of rusted metal and it was completely hollow. With no meteor, it could hardly be acknowledged as a meteor crater. Now it was just a hole in the ground, and a big one at that. The other draw of the town was its arcade, and even that was beginning to look like an eyesore with its old games and graffiti-encrusted walls. Kids about his age stood openly in front of the arcade and passed a concealed cigarette amongst themselves, adding to the arcade's decline. Not even Dance Dance Revolution could save it.

Ness looked longingly at the arcade. The place had hardly changed since he began his journey to save the world from the threat of Giygas years ago. It was the site of his first major confrontation, and he had some fond memories of that battle... but now, the building looked like it was more suited to be condemned. He sighed and turned around to continue his walk, but he quickly turned around as he saw signs in the glass two doors down from the arcade. He approached the windows curiously and read the writing on the signs.

"Coming Soon - The King Of Games," the sign read in plain block letters. Underneath it advertised its wares - "Comics, games, toys." At the bottom of the sign was text making it clear when the store would open - Monday.

Ness couldn't help but be intrigued. He made a mental note to come back to the store when it opened and looked at his watch. Five thirty - it was starting to get late. He poured on the speed with a bit of his latent psychic energy and broke off at a run to his friend's.

"Five miles in five minutes", Ness thought to himself as he slowed to a stop in front of his friend's house. "Not bad at all, and I didn't even break a sweat." He straightened his jacket as he walked up to the front door. Without knocking, he looked up at a window on the second floor and shouted, "Hey, Paula, you up there?"

A girl's voice called back, "Ness? That you?"

"Yeah, it's me. I want to tell you something."

"How important is it?"

"Oh, it's nothing important at all," he called with his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I wouldn't have ran all the way here if it wasn't."

"Fine then. I'll be down in a moment."

Ness whistled as he waited for her to get herself ready. The tune was one he always came back to - a lullaby from when he was a baby that turned out to be a key to unlocking his ultimate potential. He thought back to when he finally remembered the last part of the lullaby and was pulled into a world deep inside his mind, where he was forced to face and defeat his worst fear.

It was a bittersweet victory, he recalled.

The front door to the house opened and Paula walked out. She would have been faster if it wasn't for all the toddlers clinging to her legs like nettles. "Oh come on, I'll be right back," she tried to assure them as she slowly pried them off one by one. But for every child she pulled off, one would be right back to take its place. She looked at Ness and smiled. "It'll be just a moment."

She pointed her finger to the inside of her house and concentrated. Within seconds, a ball of frost was forming at the tip of her outstretched finger. The kids immediately let go of her legs to watch this amazing show. She quietly stepped outside and closed the door as they continued to watch the ice ball at her finger.

"Handmade ice. It always works," she said as she smiled and popped the ball into her mouth.

"So I take it they haven't learned to look away from the ice when you're using it?"

"Some of them do, and when the ice fails I use a little fire instead."

"The fire's dangerous though."

She looked at Ness and a sly grin crossed her face. "Only if it isn't properly controlled."

He put his hands behind his head and sheepishly smiled. The last time he used psychic fire, it was in a tournament and he nearly burned down the entire arena on accident.

"So what did you want to come all the way here to talk to me about?"

"My dad's finally coming home."

The smile on her face was replaced with astonishment. "Your dad? I thought he never came home! Wasn't he..."

"Trapped in a legal battle with his employer. He was trying to save enough to start his own business, and when he finally did he told his office he was going to leave. They said it would be a breach of contract though. He's been dividing his time between forced work and dealing with a lawyer to fight his company. Recently has only been coming home to sleep. It'll be nice to finally see my dad for once... without him being dead on the couch from overwork," he added with a chuckle.

"So when will he be back?"

"He said sometime this week. I'll call you when I get a specific time."

"All right. I guess I'll see you around then," she said as she turned around to go back into the house.

"Um, bye," he said slowly.

Paula just looked over her shoulder and smiled back.

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