The Melting Pot
Place hoarded all sorts of fineries from beyond the Boundless Sea.
In better days the Melting Pot was sealed tighter than the skin on a Squirt. People used to walk the streets of the marketplace. Lots of opportunities for thieves and the like. Vendors liked to keep their stock, in stock. Took a while for the City to legalize the amount of Security they got around this place. Kid’s lucky he don’t find any of them active. Lucky to not have to face them all. And down the road he goes.
Of all the plants to survive the Calamity, it had to be Stabweeds. Kid’s been acquainted with them before. Blasted things hurt like a broken heart. He cuts down every Stabweed like there’s gonna be a prize for it. Not like they’re in danger of disappearing, unlike a few of the other species still alive around here. Kid carves his way through the mass of them to find a set of stairs. If there’s a Core he figures it ought to be deeper down. That’s where the heart of the market is, at least.
Kid comes to the center plaza. Empty as it never was. Kid hasn’t seen this place so empty before. Core’s stuck inside one of those fancy cages. No breaking a cage like that, but the Kid tries anyway. A few hard smacks is all it takes to convince the Kid. Got to find a way to spring it open. Kid knocks over a crate, and its contents spill out onto the floor. Some of the stuff lying around is downright dangerous. Kid picks up a Trip Mine. Wonders what kind of market this place used to be.
He throws a switch. Now what could possibly go wrong? Quite a bit, as it turns out. Giant boulders and the like fall from up above. Kid barely has the chance to roll out of the way before it crushes him. The cage starts lifting from the Core ever so slow. All Kid can do…is wait.
Shipments start falling in. Gasfellas break free of their container, only to attack the first person they see. Kid has no trouble taking them out, but more and more boxes keep falling. Some Squirts come out to play as well. However, not every Squirt’s born bad. Some spring to the Kid’s defense. Always had problems with the bullies ganging up on lone guy.
Judging by the movement of the cage, it’s gonna take a little while. All the while the Kid has to deal with the nasty Windbags that don’t like him. Some Scumbags make a showing. They [Scumbags] don’t take kindly to interlopers. Not to worry, though. Even some Gasfellas take his corner. Heard he popped that mean old Foreman. Kid’s starting to get a different opinion about them Windbags. Maybe he had them pegged all wrong all along.
At this rate maybe five more minutes? Maybe thirty? Hard to tell. Time goes by slow when you’re trying to survive. Some more Squirts show up, but they’re not friendly this time. Squirts get real territorial around a Core. They want to keep it here in the cage. Then a shipment of free samples shows up. Some food, some Stabweeds, some potions or other. It ain’t all bad as the Kid finds some spices from the Motherland, tax-free.
One thing’s for sure. That cage is awful heavy. Kid’s all alone now, facing more Squirts, Fellas, and Scumbags than he could imagine. It’s a troublesome scene to be sure. Kid does his best to hold them off, but he’s getting tired and bruised. A few moments left, and the Core goes free. Ten, nine, eight, seven…Give or take a few seconds.
Finally, the Core is within reach. And, done…! He’s got it! Just got to get to the nearest barge. Kid makes a run for it, and…
I still remember the look on his face after that one. Kid puts the Core in without hesitation. The old world’s finished. But the new world’s just getting started. A lot of things need fixing up in this world. And we can start right here. Before he gets to work though, he pulls out the Ancient Spices and hands them to me. Folks voyaged across the Boundless Sea to found Caelondia. It was good living here for a while. Kid takes a small break before he leaves to find another Core.