Tales of a Misunderstood Geist
Episode 2: Elder
LDR: Wow! Was anyone expecting this update? I know it's been a long time. Like, uh, two years long time.
Anyway, more views and follows/favorites than I expected. What with how little Slugterra seems to be known (that's a very sad thing that us fans need to start fixing), I'm surprised by though maybe I just underestimated the number of fans on this site. Or maybe I just live in an area where the show is unknown. Either way, every single one of you people is wonderful and appreciated.
Disclaimer is found in the first chapter. Only time I'm gonna say this.
Forgot to add this in chapter one, so here.
Shadow Clan Language
Geist groaned and blinked her eyes open, rolling over onto her stomach and pushing herself to her feet with the help of one hand while the other groped around her for the that blaster she knew was somewhere close by.
However, a quick look around revealed she wouldn't be needing the item. There was no one here. So what had woken her up? It couldn't have been one of her Slugs; they were too small to have made such a noise. Not to mention too squishy to actually thud. Unless they were getting into the slingshot again and shooting themselves around. A velocity form Slug could have easily made such a noise, depending on the species. But she couldn't hear the telltale cheering (most of her Slugs absolutely loved being fired) that always arose when the slingshot was being used.
Furthermore, the back of her head and shoulders hurt. And– wait, where was she? Walls and a ceiling...there was a door and window too, and some furniture. Okay, she was in a room. Probably in a house somewhere. But where? Whose?
"It looks like..." She let her murmur trail off as yesterday's events invaded her memory. The tournament. Eli Shane. Returning to the Shane hideout after so many years, this time as a guest of the son rather than the father.
She was a guest. Someone had actually invited her into their home, given her food and a place to sleep for the night, despite her protests that she could do without. The prospect of such a thing was overwhelming. She sat down on the edge of the bed, staring blankly at the wall across from her. A few minutes later, she stood and grabbed her blaster where it rested on the bedside table, silently bustling around the room to gather what little possessions she had (mostly the little containers for her Slugs) and slip her mask on.
Pausing at the door, she turned to glance around the room. She still hadn't figured out what had woken her. Her gaze landed on the bed, its sheets hanging off one side and pooling on the floor. She must have rolled over in her sleep and fell off the bed. The thudding sound had been produced when she hit the floor, which also explained her sore head and shoulders.
She quietly left the room, slinking through the halls in a search for wherever her Slugs had gone off to last night. They'd been going to share the room with her, but Burpy had offered to show them to 'the place most of the Slugs stayed' and at her insistence they'd gone. Now she was wishing she'd gone too, so she knew where 'the place' was. The Infurnus had been a little vague about that.
For now, she just cautiously wandered out to the main room, peeking in to make sure it was empty before actually entering. The moment she did, Boo came hopping up at the head of her arsenal. Maybe she needed to work on that 'make sure an area is empty' thing.
"Kowagara! You're up!"
"I am. Come on, we're leaving."
A handful of them climbed their way up her legs to settle into their containers, but the majority, including Boo, remained where they were. "Already?" the Frightgeist asked sullenly.
"No one else is even up!"
"It's really great here!"
"You haven't even eaten yet, I bet. At least eat first."
"Right, but you shouldn't do that until someone else is awake, or it could be counted as stealing."
"Okay, first off, if no one else is awake, why are all of you here? Rather convenient." Geist raised an eyebrow, the expression unfortunately hidden. In answer, her Hypnogrif waved cheerily. "Second, I am going to leave. I won't be kept here a minute longer. But I won't force anyone to go with me. If you'd rather—"
"Don't be absurd, Kowagara!" Boo glared up at her furiously. "Sure, this place may be more comfortable and fun than our normal lifestyle, but we wouldn't abandon you because of it. We've all lived a hard life with you, and if we were going to leave, we'd have done it by now." His expression softened a little. "But please. We're all constantly concerned about your health. You were offered a good meal; at least stay to eat it."
"Kowagara? You were *yawn* going to leave?"
She turned guiltily to see a tired but frowning Burpy on the shoulder of an equally tired Eli, who stood in the doorway with the other three members of the Shane Gang gathered behind him, looking sleepy and confused. Trying not to scowl, she turned away. "Did we wake you?"
"We are leaving." Boo sighed, gesturing to those Slugs of Geist's that were still on the floor. The teen held still as he and they climbed up her legs to jump into their containers, Boo going further to get to her shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Burpy. I'm just– I mean I can't– It's–" She broke off to take a deep breath, releasing it slowly. "This is all so new and overwhelming. I'm confused and surprised and there's all these conflicting feelings of hate and gratitude swirling around inside me and I don't know how to deal with it. I've suddenly gone from being feared and shunned by every human, troll, mole, and anyone else that isn't Slug or the Shadow Clan to willingly being invited into someone's home, being fed good food until I can't eat anymore, sleeping in a real bed... And said home is even the one Mr. Shane lived in and which I haven't been in since shortly before his death, and is now inhabited by his son who doesn't consider me fearfully, who doesn't flinch away every time I look at him, who doesn't believe those silly rumors and who basically treats me like an actual, normal person." At one point during that mini-rant, she'd heard someone mumble about going back to bed, and three pairs of footsteps moving away. It was probably the fact that none of them could understand her that had driven them off. Oh well. She wouldn't cater to those who couldn't be bothered to learn to understand Slugs by speaking English, especially when she didn't want them to be part of the conversation in the first place.
"Kowagara, are you crying?" Boo frowned and reached over from his spot on her shoulder, patting her cheek just below the bottom of her half-face skull mask. "You are crying." She reached up to feel her cheek as well, and her fingers came away dampened.
"I'm fine. Go away. Back to bed or something." She slid her mask up so she could wipe her eyes, clearing up her vision only momentarily. Something bumped against her foot, and she looked down to see Burpy staring up at her, antennae drooping sadly. "I know we just met again after so long, but I can't stay here any longer."
"I understand." The Infurnus looked up towards the teen's shoulder. Boo nodded.
"Kowagara, wait. Don't leave yet. You run from so many other things. Don't start running from your emotions too."
"Boo! I don't– Wha– Run from? What do I run from? Nothing!"
"That's not true, and you know it. You run from what you are. You run from the chance of being accepted by your real kind. You run from the rumors and the fear. You run from opportunities to live comfortably. You even run from chances to help and protect Slugs. Don't start running from conflicting feelings too, or you'll never again be able to make a decision." She gaped at her Frightgeist companion, mask pushed up to her forehead and tear-stained face turned towards her shoulder. Then she smiled faintly.
"I shouldn't be surprised that you know me better than I do. We've been together as long as I can remember after all," she sighed, sliding her mask down. "I guess I always knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I do run, but I always denied it. And you're right, Boo; I do need to eat something. Eli? I'm not staying for breakfast, but I'll take something to eat on the road."
"It's alright, Boo. If Kowagara doesn't feel comfortable staying–"
"That's not the problem here, Burpy. I know her too well. She's afraid she'll get too comfortable."
"Wha–?! That's not true!"
"You're talking about me. Don't tell me to hush, Boo. And I'm not afraid of staying."
"Oh yeah?" the Frightgeist challenged.
"Then prove it!"
"Stay for breakfast," Burpy added. The two Slugs exchanged victorious grins as Geist's eyes widened in realization.
"You two baited me into that," she grouched. "Alright. I'm staying for breakfast."
"That's good," Eli responded with a yawn. "But it's not even five yet."
"I don't sleep much."
"Well...I'm going back to bed."
She shrugged and turned away as he left, looking down at her arsenal. "Well guys, we have time to spare. What do you want to do?" Little faces were upturned, pleading and hopeful grins forming on them and making Geist giggle softly. "Alright. Let's head outside." Squeaky voices let out a collective cheer, and Geist made for the door, stepping through. She halted once the hideout was just barely in view and grabbed her blaster. "Who's first?"
Instantly, most of her arsenal was clamoring for her attention, Boo included.
"Me! Me! Memememememe!"
"Can I go first? Pleeeaaase?"
"No, I wanna go first!"
"Sling me first, Kowagara!"
"I'm already loaded."
"Mags, you sneaky little thing!" Geist laughed. The Lavalynx just grinned from inside the Slug tube already loaded in the blaster. "You're first then." She lifted her blaster, aimed at random, and fired.
It was considerably brighter by the time someone came looking for her. By that time, Geist hadn't been able to remain standing on her thin legs and had taken a seat, slipping her mask off as well, to continue firing her Slugs.
"No." Geist looked up from where she was sitting, eyes narrowing at Trixie. She put her mask back on and stood, swinging her blaster, conveniently loaded with Zap the Tazerling, around to point it at the camera in her hand. "Have you pointed that...that..." Damn, what was it called? "That thing at me? I don't want...don't want to be... I hate this language!"
"It's called a camera," Trixie supplied, hiding the object of conversation behind her back. "And I haven't filmed you. If you weren't training, what were you doing?"
"Fun." Geist lowered her blaster, holding a hand beneath the opening at the end of the barrel to catch Zap as he slid out. She hung her blaster by her hip and held Zap up to her shoulder. He rubbed affectionately against her cheek. "Slugs love being shot. Mine do, anyway. We were having fun." She knelt down as her arsenal of little critters came hopping back, settling themselves into the tubes at her waist. Zap leapt down into his, leaving Geist's shoulder open for Boo.
"Okay. Well, breakfast is ready."
"Did the molenoid cook?"
"Nah, you're safe from Pronto's cooking this morning. Come on." With a laugh, Trixie motioned for Geist to follow and began to walk back towards the hideout.
Geist frowned, but trudged after. "I wasn't complaining. I don't complain about food. I take what I get. And it was nice to eat home-cooked food. Even molenoid food." Hearing an intake of breath from the other girl, and guessing she was about to say something, Geist quickly looked at Boo. "I don't want to keep talking. English is hard and she's a human. Talk with me."
"You're human too, Kowagara." The Frightgeist rolled his eyes at her.
"We've been over this. Not in my heart, Boo. Just keep talking to me so I don't have to talk to her."
"You complain about people not liking you, but when someone tries to be nice, you push them away," he chided.
"I only complain because all the fear makes it hard to get food. I'm not looking for friends beyond Slugs and the Shadow Clan."
"This is ridiculous, Kowagara, and we've been over it a hundred times! No matter how much you want things to be different, you're not Shadow Clan. You're human, and you should find friends with other humans and similar species."
Geist scowled, barely realizing that she'd entered the hideout and that people were watching. She halted, lifting a hand to her shoulder. When Boo hopped onto her palm, glaring up at her, she held him up in front of her face and glared back. "But they're all rotten! You've seen the mistreated Slugs same as me!" she squeaked angrily.
"Are they arguing?"
"Heck if I know," Trixie grumbled, brushing past the concerned-looking Eli as she headed for the kitchen.
"Hey, uh, Geist... Everything okay?"
She turned, her free hand flying out to slap at Eli's arm as he reached for her shoulder. "I don't like touching. Human." Boo sighed and let his head drop into his little arms.
"Woah! Alright, I get it. No touching." Eli stepped back.
Geist returned Boo to her shoulder, harsh gaze softening only slightly. "Sorry, Eli. I don't like when people touch me."
"You're being nice to him. What was wrong with Trixie? I like her. Make friends, Kowagara!" Boo huffed.
"He's Mr. Shane's son. He's okay. The others aren't. Besides, the Shadow Clan work with the Shane, not with the Shane's friends. Remember Chief said Mr. Shane only ever came to them alone. So I don't need to be friendly with Eli's friends. Just Eli."
"Kowagara." Burpy took a flying leap off of Eli's shoulder. Geist reached out to catch him, lifting the Infernus up beside Boo. "You were so friendly and happy when you were little. What happened?" He looked up at her, antennae drooping sadly.
She stroked his head with one finger, shrugging carefully. "I saw how people treated Slugs, that's what. The suffering that can happen. From Slingers trading Slugs for items like they're just money to people going so far as to hurt Slugs that don't perform to their satisfaction. Then there's the poor tortured Slugs that have been popping up lately. Twisted and warped. Crying out for help on the inside but acting even more savage and cruel than the people who use them."
"Ghouls," Burpy chittered softly.
"Ghouls. That's what Eli named them."
She gently scooped Burpy up, holding him back out to Eli. "Ghouls? That's what you call them?"
"Huh?" He let Burpy hop along his arm, back to his shoulder.
"Burpy told me. You call the suffering, mean Slugs 'Ghouls'? You saw them?"
"We fight them all the time. We're trying to stop them, and the man who's making them!"
"Dr. Blakk... I know he is the man doing it. The Shadow Clan told me." Ignoring the look of faint unease that passed across Eli's face, Geist moved past him, towards the kitchen. "Come. I will eat breakfast and you will tell me what you know about Ghouls."
"Does this mean you're going to help us? It'd be awesome to have such a great Slinger on our side."
She glanced over her shoulder to see Eli following, frowning at him. "I am not on your side. I am on Slugs' side. For now, that means I fight Ghouls and Dr. Blakk. Stay good for the Slugs and I won't fight you." She stopped, turning to face him and holding up a finger. "One more thing. I talk to you. I will be fair to you. I don't want to be around your friends. I don't like people." Boo facepalmed. Facearmed? Slugs didn't exactly have hands. Either way, she could see Burpy doing the same thing. "I will eat, and we will talk, away from them."
"No. I don't know what you have against my friends, I'm staying with them."
"You're careful. Smart," she observed. She glanced at Boo. He shrugged. "I don't care about what you can tell me. Talking to you is only easier than finding out by myself. We talk away from your friends, or I fight Dr. Blakk by myself, not with you."
"I thought you said you weren't on our side," Eli challenged.
"I'm not. I can still fight with you if we share goals. Or I can fight by myself and you fight without my help. You said you wanted my help. You help me with information, I help you with Slinging. Deal?"
"What happened to not liking people?" Boo tilted his head at her.
"Stop smirking, Boo. I'll end up fighting with him eventually since he's a Shane. He'll find his way to Shadow Clan allies at some point. I might as well point the way. We can pay back Mr. Shane for everything he did for us by helping his son."
"What kind of information?" Eli asked warily.
"Ghouls. And when and where tournaments are. I will still need to fight in tournaments for money."
"Deal." He held out a hand. She stared at it until he withdrew it, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. "Right. No touching. If we're working together, why don't you let us help you with money? Obviously you don't get enough for a lot of food. Stay with us. Food comes free."
"No charity." Geist hesitated. "I will duel or work for money and food."
"Your work would be helping us. Isn't that enough of a job for you?"
"I would have to stay here. I won't stay here."
"No, Boo. I don't want to. You can't change my mind this time."
"Well then how about this? My healer Slug, Doc, can cure Ghouls. Bring us Ghouls to fix and you can have food or gold for each Ghoul."
"Cure Ghouls? I have to go."
"I have many Ghouls. I took them from Slingers I beat. I will bring them to be healed. I will be long. The trip is days. Give me one week."
"What about breakfast? Don't you need food? Especially for the road?"
"I like him, Kowagara. He will make you eat. Listen to Eli!" Boo urged.
"Yes, listen to Eli. Stay for breakfast and take food with you for your trip," Burpy added.
"Ghouls are suffering Slugs. If they can be healed, I won't wait. I will hurry!"
"Then take something to eat with you. Consider it an advance payment for the Ghouls."
"I don't know what that means."
"He's paying you in advance for some of the Ghouls you're going to bring," Burpy translated.
"That...that is okay. I will get ready to go. I will not stay for breakfast. We will talk later, Eli. Bring me food for the trip while I get ready. I want to be fast!" Without waiting for a reply, she turned and hurried off, making for the garage where she'd been allowed to park her Mechabeast last night.
"Kowagara, you're going to make him get your supplies? That's rude!" Splat scolded.
She looked down at the Jellyish, who stared back up at her from his tube. "No, it's efficient. I want to get back to Elder, pick up the Ghouls, and get them back here to be healed as quickly as possible." Reaching the garage, she stopped by her Mechabeast. The seat was flipped up, revealing a storage compartment beneath. "I'll need room for the supplies on the way there and any left over supplies plus the Ghouls on the way back. I think the Ghouls will take up the most space, so I can probably clear out most of my stuff in the village. I don't think I need to do any maintenance on the Mecha before we leave, but I should take the emergency tools with us in case of problems on the road. Spare tubes can stay behind..." She continued chittering aloud to herself as she shifted things around in the storage compartment or took them out completely.
"Here you go." Several things were set down beside her. A small case of bottles of water, two boxes of what seemed to be granola bars, and a bag of cave apples, each one individually encased in ice. "The fruit's frozen so it won't go bad," Eli explained.
"How many Ghouls do you think I bring?"
"Hey, I'm the one doing the paying, so I decide how much paying to do."
"Fair," she grunted after a moment's hesitation, reaching for the supplies to load them quickly into the storage compartment. Then she swung the seat back down into place and mounted her Mechabeast. "One week. Be here." The garage door opened and she sped away.
As expected, the journey had taken her several days. It could have been cut much shorter, she was sure, if she had been willing to use the main roads. But that would mean passing through settlements. So the long way around it had been. But now she was finally here. She made no effort to hide her presence as her Mechabeast bolted through the Shadow Clan's territory, straight towards the heart. Neither did any of the patrolling Shadow Clan acknowledge her in anything but a friendly greeting.
She halted her ride outside the village, jumping down and hitting the ground running. "Elder!" she chirped loudly. "Elder! I need the corrupted Slugs!"
"Quiet down, child of Slugs." Geist dug her heels in to skid to a halt as a Shadow Clanner appeared in front of her with the usual burst of wispy shadows. He straightened up, standing on his feet rather than all fours, towering over her. Undaunted by his height or the severe look on his face, Geist threw her arms around him for a hug. He patted her shoulder. "I have never seen you so excited before. And why do you need the corrupted Slugs?"
"I met someone with a healer Slug who can cure them. Help me load them on my Mechabeast! Please?"
He nodded. "I will fetch them. Wait here."
Geist nodded and flopped to the ground, breathing heavily. Her short run had taken more than expected out of. Not that she was going to get a chance to rest now. Curious Slugs and Shadow Clanners who had overheard her words clustered around, asking questions.
"Can the corrupted Slugs really be healed?"
"We have tried healer Slugs before. What is different about this one, that it can purge the corruption?"
"Who has this Slug?"
"You sure it's true? What if the person was lying?"
Geist waved her hands, squeaking for quiet so she could answer as many question as she'd been able to hear. "I don't know what kind of Slug it is. I didn't see it. But I trust that I was told the truth. It was Mr. Shane's son."
The name Shane rippled through the gathered Shadow Clan in their echoing whispers. Elder chose that moment to return, a holding container for Slug tubes in one hand. Each tube was sealed tight by Arachnet webbing, preventing the growling, shrieking Ghouls in each from escaping. "The son of Will Shane has come forth?" Elder asked as he held out the container of tubes.
Geist stood up, took it, and turned to head back to her Mechabeast. "Yeah. His name's Eli. He doesn't seem to know about Mr. Shane's involvement with the Shadow Clan though. He still seems wary of you guys. He got a nervous look when I mentioned you."
Elder followed her, dropping to all fours to prowl along. The small crowd dispersed, knowing they would hear later from Elder what Geist said. "I will tell the chieftain of this. We will have to make the partnership known to the son of Shane in time. And we will need to carry word to the other villages."
"I pass close by a couple on my way back. I can stop by to let their chieftains know."
"You are departing immediately?"
"Of course. I won't wait around while I know that suffering Slugs can be saved."
"It was good to see you again, child of Slugs. You should visit more often."
Geist set down the container, flipping up the seat of her Mechabeast to shift things around in the storage compartment. "I missed you all. Especially you, Elder. I promise I'll try to visit more often. It might be difficult. I've made an agreement with Mr. Shane's son, and I'm going to be helping him. I won't stay with him, but I'll be staying close. Just in case he gets himself into something he can't handle." She lifted the container of Slug tubes, setting it on its side in the storage compartment. Just enough room. Perfect.
"He is the son of Shane. You doubt his capabilities?"
"Yeah. I do. He has potential but he's not there yet. So I'm going to make everything up to Mr. Shane by keeping his son safe until Eli can do it for himself. I'm sure he can handle common thugs just fine, but there's plenty more dangerous enemies."
"Be careful. Return to the village safely for another visit soon. Until then, child of Slugs, hold us in your heart as we shall hold you in ours." His fingers brushed affectionately over her hair. She wrapped her arms around the Shadow Clanner for a few seconds.
Upon being released from the hug, Elder turned away, slowly making his way back to the village. Geist watched for a moment before mounting her Mechabeast and starting it up, the mechanical raven running off at full throttle. Time to make the return journey and get these poor Ghouls fixed.
LDR: Soooo yep. Geist is deeply involved with the Shadow Clan. *makes spoopy noises*
Next episode: A Distant Shore. This one's a canon episode so if you haven't seen it or you forget, you might want to watch it sometime between now and whenever the heck the next chapter's going up.