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That's Not My Ocean!

The sudden change was almost jarring. Within what felt like an instant, she was standing in the middle of a bustling city, blue skies and sunshine galore! She had to look back just to make sure she didn’t just hallucinate the last two hours or something.

She felt something a mixture of curiosity and unease when she scanned her surroundings. Instead of the familiar steam punk technology and middle eastern architecture, the locals carried with them high tech gizmos and zipped around in little vehicles. The buildings… they were just out of this world!

But the most shocking thing was the people. She had met many species in her travels, but she’s never seen a village this diverse! She had a double take when she saw a mermaid bouncing around, chatting it up with some sort of rabbit person and a harpy. Many species she couldn’t even recognize, they were just so alien in appearance!

As she started to make her way through the crowd, her unease slowly transformed into immense joy. Seeing so many different races here, living in peace, she felt kind of silly thinking her old village wouldn’t accept her as a half-genie. She had no idea there were places like this in the world!

She watched the people go by as she walked. Each one her eyes met with only broadened her smile. A human girl, hand in hand with what looked like an ape woman. A cat person, scratching the back of a dog person… No wait, they appear to be living together!

“Mass hysteria!” Cried a street preacher in white robes, briefly interrupting Shantae’s thought.

It took her a second to get back on track. However, that second was long enough for her to pick up something. A voice in the nearby alley, a cry for help!

“Please, somebody!” Cried a man, his voice strained.

“Oh no!” She cried out in alarm.

Her legs moved fast enough to not allow her brain time to think. She darted into the alleyway and towards the source.

An old man, dressed in business attire, was tugging at the end of a flowery pink purse. Another man was wearing a mask and a black and white striped outfit. He looked kind of like the Hamburglar; not that Shantae would get that reference.

“Please, help!” Cried the old man, gesturing to Shantae with his neck.

She didn’t need to be asked a third time. She ran forward and flung her hair like a whip. It hit the Hamburglar square in the face. It flung him across the alleyway, a length that such a hit would not possibly make.

The old man, clutching the pink purse close to his chest, turned to Shantae with a big smile on his face.

“Thank you, thank you! I don’t know how I could repay you!”

“It was nothing!” She said, earnestly. “I mean, he went down pretty easy.”

“Someone with your skills should be on the Avengers!” He proclaimed.

Shantae cocked her head to one side. “The what now?”

“The Avengers!” Repeated the old man. “They are a team that do good in the Omniverse!”

“I don’t know, I mean, I’m not huge on vengeance. It tends to get ugly. I mean, that’s more a Risky Boots kind of thing to do!”

“Vengeance?” He puzzled. “They are a group of heroes! They protect the innocent! They care about justice!”

“Then why are they called ‘The Avengers?’ The name literally says they avenge stuff! If they fight for justice, wouldn’t they be called… the Justice Friends, maybe? I don’t know.”

“You’re a strange girl!” Exclaimed the man, his grin wide, an eyebrow cocked.

That somehow set her off. With a huff, she threw her arms down in frustration and tossed a lung full of air in the man’s direction.

“I’m strange? You’re the one that just randomly brings up the Avengers seconds after you were saved! What are you, their talent scout?”

Her voice echoed down the alley. The man, just stared at her, not responding. Silence fell around them. The old man’s face had sunk into a neutral stance. After a few awkward seconds, he finally spoke.

“No.” He said. “No I am not.”

Then he ran, he ran down the alley and didn’t look back. He exited the alleyway and disappeared into a crowd of people. Shantae was left there, confused and alone.

At first she thought she needed to do something with the unconscious bad guy, but he was gone too. She was left there, questioning her life choices.

“WHAT EVEN WAS THAT?” Screamed Shantae.
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She didn't spend too long in that alleyway after her encounter with that man. She's not hurt from the debacle, and honestly she's been through way worse, so best not to dwell on it.

She stepped back into the busy street. Surveying the city again, she could tell she was a long ways from home. She should really prepare for a long time consuming trip after she learns what direction she is supposed to go. Does she still have her food supply on her?

Summoning her inventory is a trick. It was thought based magic, so she had to think about certain symbols in order for it to appear. There was a number of symbols she could have used, but lately she preferred to think of a tiny little plus.

Just like that, a small box appeared in front of her face, obstructing her view entirely.

Suddenly a person walked into her, causing her to barely catch herself on her toes. The box disappeared in the process. She regained her balance as the person that hit her merely grunted back while going his merry way.

Shantae, a little shocked, took refuge at a nearby outdoor bar, planting her butt on one of the stools.

Something was amiss. Usually when the box appeared, the world around it stopped. She's only ever heard it called a "pause screen" though she prefers to refer to it as her purse. The countless times where she'd be fighting one of her enemies and she'd whip out that box to sneak a snack. It's the only way to travel!

Did something break it? Is something nullifying part of the magic within? She summoned the box once more and then twisted her head so she could see passed it. Sure enough, the world was still moving! So very weird. At least she thought it was.

"Yu goin' to order somethin, toots?" Spoke a gravelly voice from behind her.

She desummoned her "purse" and swiveled around in her seat. Behind the bar was a large grizzly man, looked like he belonged more in a barbarian outfit rather than a bartenders apron.

"Uh, yeah! What do you got?" She asked as she reached into a pocket for some change.

However, as she pulled out some coins, she noticed it was an entirely different currency. Gone were the Sequin Land standard doubloons, and in it's place was some strange rainbow colored coin, a round eye-less face adorning it's surface.

"'ell, you don look of age. 'ow about a nice glass of Omnicola?" Stated the man. His accent was sounding more fake by the minute.

"Uh, yes! I'll have that!" She said, placing the coins on the counter, having no idea how much she should be paying.

While the man collected the amount and rushed off to fill a drink, Shantae opened up the box again. Too much weird stuff was going on, and she needed to get to the bottom of it!

All her food was still there. She still had a large number of crocodile steaks from earlier, something she had to indulge in at some point. Her transformations... all but three were missing! Was she really down to monkey, elephant, and harpy? What a gip! What if she needed to grow more fruit?

But worst of all was her beauty products. ALL OF THEM WERE GONE! Maybe the monk was right, maybe she had been mugged!

However, a new option caught her eye. A big, white button with letters engraved into it.

"The Dataverse?" She said under her breath.

With a thought, she clicked the button.
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Quote:OmniHow: Magic Purse Not Functioning Fully
She spent hours at the bar, scrolling through the Dataverse. It's definitely fun! Though, sadly her old bikini photo is out there now. That one swimsuit competition she participated in was a mistake she was never going to live down! She quietly hoped Rotty would never get her hands on it. She would have a field day with that.
It took her a while to get used to it, but the pause screen had a lot of helpful tutorials! Eventually, she got a proper screenname set up and even got to look up a few things!
The Avengers were starting to sound more exciting with every little thing she learned about them! Breaking up prison riots, saving villages! It's so incredible the stuff they do! The news sites were ignited with enthusiasm for the group! She still didn't really care for the name, though. Maybe she would get in deeper contact with them down the line!
Weirdly enough, Scuttle town wasn't coming up in any of her location searches. At first, she wondered if it was too small to come up, but even the capitol wasn't listed! There wasn't any information on the two locations, not even a mention!
"Strange." She stated. "Very strange."
"Wot's strange, lass?"
The sudden gruff sound of the bartender's voice startled Shantae for a moment. That's the downside of having a Dataverse device that obstructs vision. She dismissed the pause screen to look up at the bartender.
"You been silent for 'ours, miss! You been through five steaks with 'ot a single word!"
Shantae's voracious appetite continued to live up to it's reputation. She hadn't even noticed the plates building up in front of her. How much money did she spend just sitting here?
"Sorry, I've been on the Dataverse!" She explained. 'Uh, it's on a screen only I could see. It's my first time on there!"
"Ah, the 'ataverse!" Exclaimed the main. "Many strange things be there!"
"Well, yeah." she said. She had seen plenty strange stuff already. She's still trying to figure out the point of memes. "I mean like, I can't find my hometown on this thing. It's seriously not coming up!"

The bartender cocked an eyebrow.
"'ow did 'ou get so 'ar from home?" He asked, his voice sounding way more serious than before.
"Oh, well, I'm not sure, woke up next to a fountain. I don't even remember how I got-"
Upon hearing the words "the fountain," the bartender leaned forward and looked Shantae straight into her eyes.
"Woah, what brought this about?" Cried Shantae at the sudden gesture.
"Miss, you have to listen carefully to what I have to say." He said.
"I knew that accent was a fake!" She cheered, not even processing the man's words.
"Listen, you are not in your world anymore!" He yelled.
That got her attention.
"Wait, what?"
"Let me explain..."
They would spend the next hour conversing about the nature of the Omniverse. It wasn't quite as fun.
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It was a busy day at the beach. Must have been hundreds, maybe thousands out there. It was probably the worst possible place to choose to brood, but Shantae wasn't that experienced in angsting techniques. Sure she had her sad days, but this was a situation in which even an optimist like her couldn't resist indulging in a nice long brood.

She sat atop a flag pole, looking out into the ocean. It was such unfamiliar sea. Somehow, she should have known it wasn't her world. Everything was just a little off. Even she picked up on that, but she didn't want to consider that possibility.

She thought about her friends that were left behind, she considered possibly never seeing them again. Uncle Mimic, Sky, Bolo, Rotty, they are all probably so worried about her. After how hard everyone fought to keep her around, it feels like she wound up disappearing from their lives anyways. She felt the sting in her heart as she thought about the fear they must be experiencing. She forced herself not to cry. A protagonist never cries, they only brood.

But the thing that dwelled the most on her heart, was why. Why was she taken here? Why did this Omni character think she was important enough to bring her here?

No, she knew why, or at least she convinced herself the reason. She's here as a punishment. She failed to save the genies and she was forced to destroy them. Now she was taken away from everyone she had ever cared about. That's the only explanation. This Omni must have been acting out for the genies. He seemed to have the power over magic and wishes, he must have felt them disappear.

The thought made the pit in her stomach increase, turning into a black hole sucking in all remaining positive emotion. Shantae had convinced herself that the genies could have made it out somehow. She thought they could have had a chance to survive. But, if a god was punishing her...

'Heroes don't cry.' She thought. 'They brood, they don't...'

She burst out sobbing, burying her face into the palms of her hands. A small crowd below had gathered to watch her. They were probably convinced it was some sort of monk prayer, so the sudden crying took them all aback. The people in the crowd started looking at each other awkwardly, not certain if reassuring a woman sitting on top of a flagpole was a wise thing to do.

After a few seconds, she pried her hands away from her face as she was quickly trying to regain her composure with deep heavy breaths. She tried to listen for the ocean to find some sort of stability, but this was virtually impossible with the sheer noise of the crowd.

So instead, she focused on the crowd. Maybe there was a stray conversation she could eavesdrop into. Just anything to get her mind off this. She needed to hurry, she could already hear herself sobbing!

...except, that wasn't her crying.

Someone, a child, was crying their lungs out. She could barely hear it in the noise, it's a shame she lacked any sort of magic senses at that moment.

Shantae could feel her spirit returning to her as she stood up on the pole and started to belly dance her heart out. The confused crowd only cheered at the sudden performance, and then gawked in amusement as she transformed into a bird and took to the skies.

She scanned the beach, looking for the source of the tears. Again, it was so hard to pick up, but if only she could get a visual.

'There!' She thought, her eyes locking, she swooped down.

It was a small little girl in a pink one piece swimsuit with a flower design on it. She was sitting in a small hole in the crowd, the snooty teenagers around her only scooted further and further away as if the distressed child was just an obstacle to be avoided.

She swooped down and landed besides the girl, the teens barely took notice. She transformed into a human and quickly huddled over the girl.

"Are you okay?" She said, but the sheer noise of it all was drowning her out, and the child didn't seem much in a mood to talk. She spoke louder. "DID YOU LOSE YOUR MOMMY?"

Talking was clearly not the answer.

Shantae began to swing her hips, which got some hoots and hollers from the nearby teens. She ignored them and proceeded to focus. Then, with a flash of light, a purple monkey was standing in front of the child.

The child immediately stopped crying to look at the strange primate that suddenly appeared in front of her. Shantae began doing cartwheel, flips and jumps. She did the "see no evil hear no evil speak no evil" thing. The girl watched in amazement, a smile spread across her face, one that slowly turned into laughs.

Then in another flash of light, the half-genie was human again, doing a "tada" pose. The child was beaming, bouncing in her seat with joy.

With the child sated, she scanned the area. She needed to think quickly and find a way to get this kid to her parents. Flying would be too scary for her, and the monkey could only do so much.

Honestly the choice was obvious.

Shake of the hips and she was an elephant. The child squealed with delight as she was lifted up with a nose and placed on the beast's back. The half-genie started to stomp forward as the crowd quickly parted from the path of the 8-foot elephant.

She paraded across the beach as the child felt like a little queen riding an exotic steed. The kid surveyed her new kingdom as every single person was looking up at her.

It's kind of hard not to notice the 8-foot elephant. Shantae was counting on that.

"Liza!" Cried a woman's voice. A stout lady in a red bikini was running through the crowd straight for the elephant.

"Momma!" Yelled the child at the sight of the woman.

The purple elephant knelt down to lower her height, and the woman ran and immediately pulled the child into her warm embrace. A number of people cheered at the sight of the loving reunion.

The mother left with her kid without saying "Thank you." Shantae didn't care. She was too caught up on the moment, wiping a tear away with her long noes as she watched the mother daughter couple walk away and out of the crowd. She had a long sigh of relief.

"I want to ride the elephant next!" Yelled another kid.

"Me too! I want to ride, too!" Yelled another.

Without thinking, she scooped up the first kid that spoke and started parading around the beach.

She spent the rest of the afternoon giving children elephant rides.

The sun was beginning to set, and a lot of the kids had gone home. The departure of the families had halved the beach's population, and even some of the adults began to leave for the night.

With all the children gone, Shantae was once again alone with her thoughts, but they were far less brooding this time. No, this was closer in the vein of... introspection.

Today, was a good day. She made so many kids happy, and that just, gave her so much joy. She knew she was supposed to be brooding, but she couldn't help feel a bit validated. It's just natural for her to help people.

"If Omni is punishing me, why am I feeling so good right now?" She said, with a smile on her face.

She pulled out a coin and felt along it's surface, looking over ever inch of it. She felt the bumps and groves under her thumb.

After a moment, she looked up at the ocean again, and smiled.

"I'll see you again, guys! I promise!" She said, giving the ocean a little bow. "I just got a debt to repay!"

She turned 180 degrees on the spot and sprinted further inland. When she came across a long stretch where she could run safely in a straight line, she pulled up the pause screen, and searched "How to get to Croissant from Vasty Deep?"

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