Making Frenemies II
You ponder your choice for a long few breaths, since you aren’t in a rush exactly to somehow drop back down to the ground to see Maggie. She may well be on the search for you or Erin for food, or for her own amusement, and the last thing you want is to make the mistake of thinking she’s going to be open to helping you out.
Still, after a moment of thinking it over, you decide to give her the benefit of the doubt for the time being.
You seemed to part on relatively decent terms (decent being the operative word, you know, but beggars can’t be choosers in this case), and perhaps she’s down here for a different reason. Maybe you can help her in exchange for her helping you rescue Erin? It’s certainly worth a shot, you figure.
‘Please don’t let this be my downfall…’ you think, groaning to yourself.
You turn your gaze down to the cascading waterfall. Now comes the fun part, figuring out how to get down… and then having to get back up again.
You wrack your brain for how to get down without hurting yourself; you’re not about to jump, and, you don’t trust trying to ride the waterfall, either, since the waters might just swallow you whole, and then what would you do? You decide after a bit of musing that maybe sliding down the surface might work out…
‘I mean, it might not,’ you muse. ‘But with these claws… maybe…’
You extend your claws out as much as they’ll go, suck in a slow and steady breath, and, then you carefully sit down on the ground, right at the ledge. Once you’re down, you turn your body and begin to lower yourself over the ledge, as slowly and cautiously as you can manage. The surface of the stone is a little slippery thanks to the waterfall, but nothing too difficult to keep a grip on.
Of course, when you begin to angle yourself down enough, gravity takes over, and you start to feel yourself sliding down. You let yourself go lower, then try to climb downwards with your claws as the only things keeping you from falling.
It isn’t an easy process, not at all.
It takes a good moment for you to awkwardly trek down, and you end up slipping midway through - fortunately, your claws are able to remain dug into the rocky surface just enough that they keep you from hurtling down too fast.
You swallow the lump in your throat as you shimmy down to the ground level, and by then, your grip is too weak; you fortunately manage to catch yourself, your big feet hitting the ground fairly hard, but, because of their size, they absorb the impact without too much trouble. Your feet vibrate from the stinging pain this gives you. You wince, and lean your back against the damp rock.
You take a moment to let your feet stop throbbing from the impact.
‘Oof, that smarts,’ you think, grumbling inwardly.
Still, whether it’s the costume or the natural kangaroo feet, the throbbing doesn’t last for super long. When it wears off, you push yourself off the stone and started to hop toward Maggie, who is still further away, doing whatever the heck she’s doing.
She notices you fairly quickly by this point, though.
Whether it’s your scent or the noise you’re making, she pauses and whips her head around as you approach. You slow your approach, halting a few feet from the dingo woman. Maggie seems surprised to see you, but, not for long.
“Well, ain’t this a fun reunion,” she mutters. “The hell are you still doing here?”
“I was about to ask you the same question,” you reply with a shrug.
She frowns, but, gives a sigh. “Well, after I found myself some sustenance,” she pats her belly with one hand to emphasize this point, and you try not to think about WHAT she ate, “I got bored. So bored that I decided I’d, I dunno, venture back into this stinky cave to see if there was anything of interest.”
You blink. “Anything of… interest?”
There’s a beat of silence.
Maggie scowls. “Look, I’ve heard that there’s ‘goodies’ spread about these weird rooms we get thrown into. Dunno what it means exactly, ‘cause I’ve only heard it mentioned from a few folks I’ve run into during my past visits here, but, they made it sound like there was some kind of, I guess, treasure about.”
You blink again, confused. “Treasure? Wait, wait, hold on.” You hold your hands up. “I thought the door we go through when we get the costume on is, like, the actual place. Like, this is genuinely somewhere in Australia.”
Maggie’s scowl turns into more of a general frown. “I… don’t know.”
“Is… is it not?”
She gives an earnest shrug. “To be completely honest, roo, I’ve got no fucking clue if this is actually Australia or some weird Narnia-esque alternate universe. I ain’t the kinda gal that wastes time thinking about that sorta shite, either. Tried to a lot of times already, and it always ends up hurting my damn head.”
She rubs the back of her neck.
“From what I understand, and don’t quote me on it, right,” she gives you a pointed look, “is that this isn’t actually Australia, but, some sort of dimension or such. It’s big as balls, filled with the typical flora and fauna you’d be seeing if you lived in or near the Outback, but, a lot of this shite is fabricated.”
Maggie sweeps a hand around. “You think there’s an actual cave like this, with all these random bends and turns? Fuck me, if there is, I’ve sure as hell never heard of one. It’s like a video game or something, and we’re all the players, scattered about to do as we please. Except we’re actually IN the video game.”
“Like a simulation?” you ask.
This is making YOUR head hurt, too, to think about. It’s so much to take in, and you realize the more you try to rely on logic, the harder it becomes to understand. There doesn’t seem to be any full fleshed out logic for you to work with. It’s too surreal, too bizarre, and yet, it’s real. Real world, real sensations, real everything, from what you’ve seen and experienced already.
You decide not to dwell on it, for your own sanity’s sake. “Well, whatever the case is…”
“What do you want?” Maggie asks. She gives a knowing, if slightly disgruntled, look. “I don’t get why you’re still here. Figured you and Erin would’ve hopped your arses outta this nasty hole ages ago.”
“Well, about that…”
Maggie’s expression shifts. Her frown returns.
“What’s happened?” she asks, as if she knows something is wrong.
You explain what happened, quickly, and rundown how you trekked lower and lower to this point, before finding Erin over the waterfall. You then explain that she’s hurt, and, you’re trying to get a slab across to help her get over it so the two of you can leave together, rather than just leaving her there to heal.
Maggie, by the time you finish, looks irritated. “That daft, stupid bimbo…”
She grits her teeth and growls.
“I suppose you want me to help you, eh?” Maggie asks. “That’s why you came over here, to come beg me for assistance? Even though I made it clear that I was planning on eating your dumb ass before?”
You shrug. “Yeah, basically.”
She stares at you with a relatively blank expression. You don’t know if she’ll agree or not, but, you think if you ask her in full that perhaps she’ll be open to it? Or you can offer to help her first, and then see if she’d be willing in exchange for giving her your help. Erin should be okay for a brief bit of time, you imagine, depending on if Maggie even desires your help. Or, you can even just decide against it and go back without asking her… You’ve got a few options to pick from, regardless.
Written by Hollowpage on 23 September 2020
Making Frenemies III