*totally sincere, not fixed grin*
…well I’m just THURE you’ve been wondering THAT one for MONTHS now! Hoohoo! S-so just let me ex~PLAIN!
It’th CANDY, my dear, the clue’th in the NAME!
(Well THAT and the fact that I’m ROYAL~ty, hoohoo, but I try ta thtay HUMBLE and sub~DUED about that, so don’t MENTION it pleathe~)
Oh well he’th TERRIBLE! Horrible friend. Although never goeth out of his way ta IRRI~tate ya. Hahhah~!
Uglier than BUB~thy 3D, mind you, hoo! A-and giveth terrible ad~VICE~!
…at the moment?
Wonderful. Ma~JETHTIC. And MOST of all, ahoo, NOT COMPLETELY HORRI~FYING.
At the same time, there was a small chorus of clattering. Tiles were slipping away from the roof of the castle, like rats deserting a sinking ship. They tumbled to the floor, cracking and shattering upon short, sharp impact with the castle gardens beneath them, and widened the gaping hole slowly forming over the King’s garage.
The blimp was swelling like the proud breast of a veteran, its folds rippling and creasing as it puffed itself up like some pufferfish, challenging a rival. The Jumbotron on its side flashed and flickered jerkily, settling on no real image in particular - King Candy’d be damned if he was going to learn how to work THAT, probably literally.
There was a LOT else to work out, first. The little man’s eyes pored over the blimp’s dashboard. There were glinting buttons, and strong wooden levers, and gears nesting within gears. Arcane something-ometers of some description scrolled up and down, apparently of their own volition.
He’d always wanted to fly a plane, granted. It was driving, but with EXTRA DIMENSIONS. Casting a glance to the glitched-out clouds above him, he clicked a few of the buttons, yanked the nearest lever and shoved what looked tantalisingly like a throttle up into the air.
The blimp shed the last few shreds of castle wobbling on its hood, and rose and rose and rose. The rain, tainted with a sticky and rancid aroma, spattered the glass and rolled down the sides of the blimp before weeping over King Candy’s hall.
It didn’t matter. Not now.
Just as planned, the swarm of bugs across the moat was pouring away towards the horizon. Their target was a faint speck in the distance, a racecar only made visible by the occasional glitching flash as it sped out of sight.
The little man smiled, with a giggle, as he watched her go. He twisted the steering wheel to the right, and like some vast celestial body dragging itself into a different orbit the whole vessel hurled around after it. A thousand ropes and mechanisms groaned and growled their complaints, and the sugary balloon dripped some icing as the tarpaulin beneath it rippled and flapped, but it did it anyway. The canard pointed towards the looming figure of Diet Cola Mountain, visible if shrouded in gloom, and the blimp moved inexorably towards it like a slow, gigantic bullet.
As far as Vanellope knew, as far as the plan went, he’d just have to fly over it. Then he’d pop a Sweet Seeker powerup or something, use the resultant gun to blow the top off the volcano, and Sugar Rush would be saved in a blast of sizzling fructose and insect parts. Probably a double rainbow or something too, for flavour.
Lightning burned through the sky, and lit it up. The volcano was bigger, now: he could see the cracks and contours where unlucky Cy-bugs had chewed at it. Then they’d seen what was inside, and flown blissfully in to their deaths.
Of course, there was no way he’d be able to fix the damage to the game before Litwak spotted it and had them unplugged, of course. Not without a full reset. And then everyone’s memories would pop back in, and the status quo would be restored. Even if they never figured out who he was, with Vanellope restored he’d be out of excuses. She’d be a princess, and live happily ever after, and he’d graciously retire from the spotlight.
He pulled back on the appropriate joystick, and the whole blimp reared up, sending loose crates of filming equipment hurtling and bouncing backward before smacking into the back wall. He could REALLY see the volcano now - the Mentos-crusted lid rose into his vision before disappearing beneath him. Like so much else had, over the years. He grinned at the thought.
What was one more game?
And the blimp straightened out, slowly, balletically, and kept right on sailing. He could see the volcano beneath him, and it shrank away with every victorious second.
He wondered if she’d be watching him. As a smeared shape in a speeding wing-mirror, perhaps. A perverse little thrill crept up his spine, and smirked on his shoulder. He wondered if she’d cry.
And as for HIM, well, it’d hurt to lose the old place, but sometimes you just had to cut dead weight. He’d told his Twins that! They’d disagreed, sure, but that’s why THEY weren’t here now, right?
The volcano was behind him now. The whole GAME was behind him now. He’d head out quietly through the Wi-Fi Gate (as far as Surge knew, it was broken, and the King’d kept it that way for this exact situation) and by the time the bugs found it and flooded through, he’d be LONG gone. In the next game, in the next arcade, where his fans could joyously flood back to him.
He drummed his fingers on the steering-wheel, tapping a foot, and whistled a little tune. Funny, really, he hadn’t expected this to be so EASY. There weren’t even any bugs; a fat, floating dinner like the one he was piloting should have at least attracted a couple.
Thunder rolled, and lit up the sky again.
There was a WHOMP.
The raggedy armies bordering the King’s front gate whirled around, any flabbiness in their reflexes already gnawed off and swallowed whole, at whatever fresh hell had just landed behind them. The Cy-bugs slamming against them like waves against a cliff paused too, as one and just for a moment, like a hand cautiously hovering over a naked flame.
The castle’s drawbridge had just slammed down. The ground underneath it flickered, scraps of texture dancing over it, before the bridge fell through it entirely, plummeting nto an endless void (collision physics weren’t quite as reliable as they’d been an apocalypse ago). Even as it did so, the Royal Racer streaked along it like a cream-coated bullet, engine roaring triumph as it leapt across the glitchy ground in a heartbeat.
Vanellope von Schweetz grinned, eyes lit up behind her racing goggles. The driver’s seat felt like home.
She’d had a crash-course around the Throne Room before she set out, perhaps with too much emphasis on crashing, but she knew where the go-pedal was and which one was the stopper and she had it going FORWARD now, and everything else - well, it all seemed to be coming back to her! It had been there all along and was coming back to life, like a long-atrophied limb that had started to twitch.
The flags on the back of the kart and the girl’s candy-coated hair were buffeted by the wind. It was warm, somehow, and getting warmer - if Vanellope knew about such things as hardware failure due to overclocking, she’d probably have started to worry.
As she crossed the moat, her wheels started to kick up dirt, and she’d made it through King Candy’s forces and the first few layers of Cy-bugs before they’d even managed to move. But there were a LOT of layers, and the element of surprise died in a flash as they started peeling inward, rising walls of maws filled with whirring teeth and the stench of rotted meat.
Vanellope kept going forward, and forward, because she didn’t dare to stop, not for a second. Then she screamed, as the ground beneath her rose up and the kart tipped back as the Cy-bug underneath her scrabbled for sustenance, with a terrible roar-
-and sh̀e ͘ ͘g̢ ĺ i̢ ̷t̢ ̕c͞ h e ͢d̴ .
She blinked out of reality, with a sizzling crack and a few warping flecks of azure, and the Royal Racer stuttered before faithfully spawning into existence around her. The bugs were behind her, a seething mound pouring endlessly into the space she’d occupied just moments ago. She grinned, like any particularly brave 10 year old pumped full of virtual adrenaline, and pumped a fist. Her heart hammered almost as fast as her kart.
"That was SO COOL!"
She glįt c̀h̢ ̶e͞d ͟fo͢r̛war̛d ҉a̢g͜ain, this time popping into existence a little further away. The drone of a million wings slapping the air roared behind her, rising steadily above the air rushing through her ears.
She wasn’t afraid. Not anymore.
She was FINALLY going to cross that finish line.
Send my muse a scent and see how they’ll react to it.
CHECK OUT TODAY’S rRACER Of̸̶̨͘ ͘͟t̵͏͘h̨͏e͏͝ ̶̛͢͝D̷̵̡͞A͜͏̧͜͜Y, .̵̻͉͇̥͕▓̠͖͓̠̘͢͞▓̠͖͓̠̘͢͞▓̠͖͓̠̘͢͞▓̠͖͓̠̘͢͞▓▓???????.̵̻͉͇̥͕.̵̻͉͇̥͕.̵̻͉͇̥͕.̵̻͉͇̥͕?I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟I̹͓̯͟ !!!
Í̛͡T̶̶̀͝H̷̀ ̶̷̛́A̵̕ ̴̷̶͞R҉̨E̶͘͜͡͝C̷̨͞ ̢̀͢͟C͘͏ ̨̀c̴̡̡̨ ̴̡̢Ć͘Ǫ̨́͘͟Ŕ̡͠͡ LCAPas thTIME D̷̴̷̀͝ ̷̵̨́ OF 08:00 as the seas part and the mountains stalk across the earth
STAY .̵̻͉͇̥͕▓▓▓?!! !!