Wow, long update! Sorry for not continuing this story for such a long time, and I hope you enjoy it. I've been too busy all of a sudden. Okay, please enjoy this chapter.
Chapter 11: Tunnel Of Wax
They had reached the top floor of the building. It was as rusty as they had imagined, and so torn down and distasteful looking that the players couldn't imagine how the next clue could be in the area they were brought to. A red number 7 was imprinted across the side of the bricked wall, and as their steps were brought closer to the back of the room, they could make out the circular shape of a metal object in the side of the wall.
"It's a latch," Pit said, and taped to the front of it he saw a tape recorder, new and dust-free. Pit pulled it off from the latch and pressed the play button, as everyone leaned closer to hear.
"Are you feeling lucky? Look further behind. There is a latch in front of you, player, and the next clue just lays on the other side of the tunnel. Retrieve it, and make your way back across. Be quick, because once activated, this tunnel would become its own death trap in a matter of five minutes. This is the Golden Passage. Make your choice."
There was the usual moment of silence that followed after the end of the tape. The five of them just stood there, looking at the closed latch in slight discomfort.
"Well then," said Ness, "Let's go."
"Wait first," Popo said cautiously. "It says that once activated, it becomes a death trap. Maybe this is more dangerous than we think it is."
"Then what are we going to do?" Pit asked him. "We can't just sit here. We have to take chances."
"No, we should stay safe," Popo argued. "I don't trust taking chances anymore, Wario took chances, and he got killed."
"That's because he was unlucky," Pit stated.
"I agree with Popo," said Jigglypuff. "We need to find a way to open this latch, without being near it. Does anyone have a piece of string?"
"It's perfectly safe for now," Samus said in an exasperated tone, and she pulled open the latch from the handle on its right. As the latch opened, it revealed a long, narrow tunnel that lead a distance down to the other side of the building. It was like a hidden shaft way, but coated all over on the walls of the shaft was a clear, gold-like substance that traveled its way down the entire tunnel. Samus reached out to touch the odd substance; it was as hard as glass.
"It is the Golden Passage," Pit said.
"We have to crawl through this tunnel?" Jigglypuff said out loud. "What is that stuff on the walls?"
"I think it's hard wax," Samus said, pulling her hand away and stepping back so the others could look through the hole. The passageway seemed so dark and shiny towards the other side of the building, and they couldn't imagine what danger lay ahead of them as they would crawl through, as a group.
"We all have to make it to the other side," said Ness, in a voice that was nervous and determined at the same time.
"I don't think I could fit in there," Pit admitted. "Not to mention crawl."
"We only need one person," said Samus, as everyone turned to look at her. "Retrieving the clue is all we need to do to make it. One of us could bring it here and we'll all head off to our next location."
"That's true," Ness said. "But the question is who will?" The players looked at one another, careful and clueless as they each turned to the floor simultaneously. None of them were willing to travel across a death trap.
"Does this remind anyone of that story with the cat and the mice?" Pit said.
"I do," Jigglypuff remembered. "One of the mice thought of tying a bell around the cat's neck, so whenever the cat was close to the mice, they would hear it."
"But when one of the mice brought up the question of who was willing to tie the bell around the cat's neck-"
"They were silent and dumbfounded," Ness finished. "Just like us."
"And the moral of the story is-"
"Choose the smallest people in a situation like this," Pit said conclusively. Their eyes turned to a player standing besides the open passageway: Popo.
"Wait, no," Popo argued. "I can't crawl in there."
"You're the only one who could fit," Ness pointed out. "And you're quick I'm sure." Everyone knew it wasn't easy for Popo, whose couldn't keep his eyes of the dark tunnel that lay ahead.
"Five minutes it a lot of time to go and come back," Samus reassured. "I know you can make it easily."
"What will wax do?" he asked, frightened and still not convinced. Samus went over to him and knelt down.
"We'll be here, calling to you on the way," said Samus. "I can see the other side from here. I'm sure it'll be easy. If you have any trouble at any time, just crawl back right away."
"If I feel like I need to, I'll crawl back?" Popo asked, his voice still trembling as he looked towards the length of the long shaft.
"You can come back as quickly as you could," Samus reassured again. "Now, enter and come back with the clue so we can…" As she stood up, Popo immediately dashed into the tunnel without any warning. The four players immediately pushed their way to look into the hole, and in the dark, glossy tunnel, they saw Popo, rapidly crawling to make his way to the other side.
"Popo, are you okay?" shouted Ness, along with other shouts that echoed through the shaft. "Popo?"
"Come on, you can make it!" Pit encouraged, as the others took his way and cheered him on, with the look of dread no far away from their minds. He was already more than halfway across.
Popo crawled as fast as he could, and saw the end of the tunnel not far away from him. He crawled faster and faster, his legs and hands sliding across the hard wax that resembled marble furniture. His was as perplexed as ever as he continued to make his way across, foot by foot, as he turned to look back the other way at the lighted entrance. He saw the others, cheering. The others were counting on him, and at the moment, he felt as if each of their lives relied on his performance in the Golden Passage.
At last, his hand reached something hard at the end of the tunnel. It was another latch door, and with his strength he pushed it open to release a swoosh of air over his tired body. His hands touched a cold, dusty concrete floor, and as he smiled in success, he went to lift his left leg out of the tunnel. His smile disappeared when he felt a slight stickiness that seemed to glue his leg every so slightly of the floor of the tunnel. He pulled his leg away, and instead of focusing his attention back to the tunnel, he focused it on his way of getting the next clue.
Above him was a flight of stairs, which he ran up nimbly to open a metal door at the top. It had the words, "ROOF FLOOR" printed at the top in large letters, and he pushed it open.
Indeed, he found himself on the roof of the building. The chilly air made him wish he was back in the humidity of the awkward tunnel, but he continued on to a side of the roof. There, on the roof, was a large platform that Popo had remembered seeing from the ground of the city. It was the helicopter landing base.
Square in the middle of the helicopter landing base was a small, metal machine in the shape of a rectangle. He climbed the ladder onto the helicopter landing base and went up to the machine and looked at it. There was a red button, and below it, a dispenser. Without thinking, he went to push the red button, only to receive a large shock that made him pull his hand away in alarm. Mistaken for a static shock, Popo attempted to push the button again, only to receive another electric shock even stronger than before. In annoyance, he saw something on the side of the helicopter base. It was a wooden stick.
He grabbed a hold of the wooden stick and used it to push the button, and this time, successfully. The dispenser opened, and a small, orb-like object came out and rolled to Popo's knees as he grabbed it into his hands. He had obtained the clue.
Back in the seventh floor of the building, the four players waited anxiously for Popo's return. All was silence as they stood as close as they could to the entrance of the wax tunnel. They suddenly all noticed something peculiar, as they looked around them in confusion, then all looked at the entrance of the wax tunnel. The temperature was rising.
"We need to help Popo," Jigglypuff whispered, as they all stepped back away from the shaft with panic. Wax was dripping out of the entrance
"Popo!" yelled Ness into the shaft, as the walls started to glow a lighted yellow. "Popo!"
Before Popo could make his way off of the platform, a distant whir was heard above him. As he looked up, a blinding light in the night sky made him duck and cover his eyes, as the whirring increased more and more.
He jumped off of the helicopter base in an alarmed hurry, as the object above him, no other than a helicopter, cautiously yet quickly made its way to land onto the base. The propeller of the helicopter made a rotational force of wind on the roof of the building, as Popo stepped away from the base of the platform.
Popo kept his eye on the small machine of orb-like clues besides the back of the helicopter, as the tail rotor of the vehicle whipped it harshly, tearing it open as the machine and numerous orbs sailed over the edge of the building. The helicopter engine started to lessen, and Popo was able to look more clearly at the vehicle until the engine was entirely off. A figure stepped out from the cockpit door.
"Dr…Mario?" Popo shouted out loud in surprise. Popo was correct, as Dr. Mario stumbled across the platform and tripped over the metal edge of the helicopter landing platform, falling six feet into the dusty floor of the roof. Popo immediately ran towards him.
"Dr. Mario!" he exclaimed, helping the doctor to his feet. He had made it to the next location was well.
Dr. Mario suddenly got up from his silence and grasped Popo into his clutched hands, as Popo struggled to break away.
"I want the money!" Dr. Mario shouted in a rough voice into the poor Ice Climber's face. "Where am I? Where's the money!"
"Doctor Mario, there is no money!" Popo told him in terror. As he looked into the doctor's face, he saw that his eyes were bloodshot, his breath smelled like vodka and bitter, and that his nose was dripping so much that Popo looked away in disgust and fear. Dr. Mario grinned sharply.
Suddenly, Popo broke away as he was let go. Dr. Mario turned around, took something out of his pocket and stuffed it into his mouth in a quick manner. Then as if the two pills he had just swallowed activated his sickness, he vomited all over the floor in front of him, as Popo let out a cry of fright and ran towards the open door where he had come from.
"Help me!" he cried out to no one, as he closed the door behind him in fear.
With terror inside him, he started to run down the flight of stairs, but then stopped suddenly. There was a warm, toasty feeling around him that he hadn't felt before. With dread, he looked down at the open latch hole that led into the tunnel, the passageway that would bring him back to the other side.
It was letting out a glowing shine, and fumes were visible and being emitted from the small entrance. As he took more steps to the bottom of the stairs, the heat got more overwhelming as he looked into the full length of the shaft and saw the wax, all coated around every part of the tunnel. But this time, it wasn't hard anymore. It resembled honey, already leaving a pool of wax which had dripped out of the entrance. The trap had fully resembled a deadly Golden Passage.
What will happen in the next chapter? Will there be a death, and will Popo make it?
Thanks you everyone for reading, I hope you're enjoying the story!