Shantae hears her name echo through the tunnel as she falls, and then there’s only the rush of the wind past her ears. Eventually she lands with a thud, wincing at the impact.
She takes a few deep breaths, checks herself over. Nothing’s broken, as far as she can tell, but this fall’s definitely going to bruise her.
Groaning, she pushes herself onto her feet, and stares up at the tunnel above her. She cups her hands around her mouth. “UNCLE? UNCLE, CAN YOU HEAR ME UP THERE?”
All she gets in return is a lonely echo…
“… no use.” She lets out a little frustrated growl. “If I could use the Harpy - or even the Monkey - I could get out of here -
I̸'̸m̴ ̷s̵o̸r̴r̷y̶,̵ ̶o̸k̴a̸y̶?̴!”
Shantae’s left eye starts to sting, and then she feels a sudden chill. Nega’s torn herself away, and she faces her double, her fists shaking and tears streaming down her cheeks.
“I̶ ̶d̴i̴d̶n̶'̸t̵ ̴t̴h̶i̶n̷k̷ ̵e̶v̵e̴r̶y̵t̵h̸i̷n̷g̶ ̶w̸o̶u̷l̵d̴ ̷g̴e̵t̶ ̸s̵h̸u̶t̷ ̶o̷f̷f̸!̴ ̵I̶ ̴j̵u̴s̶t̶ ̸w̷a̸n̷t̵e̵d̴ ̸t̴o̶ ̴h̵e̸l̷p̸!̶ I̵ ̴w̵a̷n̵t̶e̴d̶ ̵t̴h̴i̸s̵ ̷t̵o̵ ̵b̸e̵ ̸a̷ ̷r̷e̴a̴l̴ ̵v̵a̵c̴a̸t̸i̷o̸n̴ ̸a̷s̷ ̶m̸u̵c̶h̷ ̷a̸s̸ ̵y̶o̵u̸ ̵d̷i̴d̷!” Her ears droop as she hiccups and whimpers through her words “I̵ ̷w̸a̶n̸n̷a̸ ̴s̵a̷v̷e̴ ̷R̸o̷t̶t̸y̴ ̵a̷s̶ ̸m̵u̷c̵h̵ ̸a̵s̸ ̷y̴o̵u̶ ̷d̴o̴ ̸b̷u̴t̷ ̴I̵ ̷m̶e̴s̶s̷e̵d̶ ̷i̶t̸ ̸u̸p̷ ̶w̶i̵t̸h̷ ̶t̸h̴a̸t̶ ̵s̸t̴u̸p̷i̶d̸ ̶w̵i̵s̵h̶ ̴a̴n̶d̶ ̸I̶ ̴g̶e̵t̵ ̵i̴t̵!̷!̴!̶ ̸I̸'̴m̸ ̷s̴o̸r̴r̶y̵!̷!̵!̸!Y̸o̶u̶ ̷d̴o̴n̷'̷t̴ ̶h̸a̸v̷e̷ ̸t̸o̴ ̵k̵e̶e̶p̶ ̵r̷u̷b̷b̸i̵n̶g̵ ̸i̴t̶ ̵i̷n̶,̶ ̷a̴l̸r̴i̶g̸h̷t̶?̵!̴?̵!̸” She shoves her face into her clawed hands. Somehow, her crying still echoes through the tunnel.
Shantae pulls Nega into a hug, and only squeezes her tighter when she feels her flinch in her arms.
“… I’m sorry, too. I shouldn’t have yelled at you earlier. This whole thing is… it’s really frustrating. But I shouldn’t be taking it out on you.”
“Y̵-̴y̷-̸y̵o̸u̷'̴r̷e̷ ̷n̵o̵t̸ ̷m̷a̴d̸ ̴a̵t̵ ̴m̴e̶ ̴a̴n̴y̵m̵-̸m̵-̷m̴o̶r̸e̴?” Nega lets out a goopy sniffle.
“I’m… still a little mad. But that isn’t gonna help us. So we’re gonna work through it, and we’ll find another way out of here… wherever ‘here’ is, anyway. Okay?”