“Hyah!” An effortful grunt echos from his training at the intense firestorm palace known as Corn Climb. Young Cricket is near the end of the obstacle course where the goal with Master Mantis cheering for him in front of his sight. His agile movements and coordination made sure he avoids the rushing lava pillars or falling into the lava except for one slip-up that caused a lava drop to fling on his left buttcheek, forcing him in a temporary state of pain felt from his bottom which quickly recovered after a quick return to a checkpoint.
“Whew. All that hopping and landing is making my legs feel sore…” Cricket moaned, feeling intense heat from his thighs to his heels. With a smooth, careful slip, he removed both of his shoes. He can feel warmth waves radiating from his soles after a tight wrap inside his shoes like a heat blanket coiling an entire body. He starts adjusting his fingers on his midfoot checking to see if there are no burn marks from the lava. That’s when his partner enters the goal point, humming a lovely melody.
Ever since they were introduced to Mantis’s class when they were 6 years old, her affection for Cricket is love at first sight. The frequent playdates and tag-along training filled her memories of him. However, since Cricket completely focused on his mastery of We-Kun, he’s been ignoring her most of the time asides the occasional training requiring two players. However, he at least still feel heartbroken, when he leaves Rhythm Heaven, the place where he used to train with his partner to seek new kinds of Smooth Moves to master. Now she’s in the same place within once again, she’s taking this advantage to give Cricket a surprise. A really sensitive surprise. She whispers to Mantis about a new idea of getting Cricket’s affection.
“Cricket, I have assigned you another portion of training and this time it’s a simple one.” The moment Cricket heard his voice, he’s willing to duke this one out despite his sore feet. Cricket hops to his master to listen to this tidbit of info. “Something simple this time? What have you had in mind, Master Mantis?” he asked. “Come here.” He said as he leads the dutiful student towards the living room. “And sit right here.” He pointed to a chair with a stool in front of it which Cricket proceeds to do so, gullible as usual. “So what’s next?” he asked again. “Close your eyes” Mantis answered, which he obeyed. “And keep quiet until I say you can open your eyes again.” After he listens to his orders, Cricket’s partner arrives with rope, and two gags, one ball and one cloth. “What’s next according to your idea?” Mantis inquired. His partner whispers closely to his ear so Cricket won’t catch even the clear slightest of the sound.
… “Now you can open your eyes now,” Mantis called to Cricket. He opens his eye and tries to stand up… only to find out he’s bounded by his ribs to the chair he’s sitting on! He also tries to question what he’s doing, except he muffles instead due to the ball gag touching his lips, covered by a small cloth. “Keep it zen and relax. We’re not going to hurt you. In fact, your partner just thought of an idea of a new form of training. We’re going to test your endurance. We’re going to test how long you can hold your laugh as you’ll feel a soft situation upon your soles.” Mantis instructed as he and Cricket’s partner whip out feathers collected from the ground that fallen from various birds that flew over the training area. Cricket nervously soothe his mind as they come closer and start rubbing the feathers over his bare, smooth soles, sending him into a snickering.
“Mpfhhahahaha!” Cricket snickered through his ball gag brushing his lips while trying to hold back his laugh. Normally, he can endure a small dose of tickling, but this time his senses are starting to break as the soft actions triggered at one of his most sensitive parts rather than his armpits. “It’s working!” His partner happily exclaimed as she gently brushes the feather over his right foot. “Choo-chi-chooci-coo! These fingers are going to get you!” She exclaimed as she foregoes the feathers this time, and uses her fingers to rub his midfoot. “Hahahahastuphthishnowphhh!” Cricket starts laughing under his muffle, but still tries to resist it. Although at this point, he’ll lose this battle. “Still trying not to burst out?” his partner smugged, “Don’t worry. You probably won’t hold it back for too long. Master, shall I take this tickling to his other sensitive body part?” Master accepted her offer, “Be my guest. Make his inner dam break with the incoming flood! She got her fingers off his right foot and picked up the feather next to his heel. She then moved near his chest and pulled up his shirt not covered by the ropes, exposing his navel. She then bristles the feathers over his stomach just below the ribs and above the navel which were covered by the ropes. "NuhmmphhmmphhmmphAnmmmmmfrmmthmmph!” Cricket tries to convince her and his master to stop this torture, but these gags prevent him from telling them. Tears starting to form as the feathers start titillating on his smooth belly. Frequent hunger aside, his stomach was always his weakest spot. Every powerful punch or kick that landed on this spot causes him to painfully wince as he fell over the ground, clutching his gut. Basically, it’s no surprise that a tickle to the stomach can also make him lose his concertation. Cricket was starting to give in his confidence to hold on as the tickling sensation is overwhelming his serious attitude, causing him to sweat and blush. “It looks like Young Cricket has succumbed from his barrel of dynamite. Now that dynamite has exploded into ashes of humor.” Mantis joked about his condition. Cricket’s partner was satisfied as well as she finally gained quality time with him since they broke up years ago.
5 minutes of his torture have passed, Cricket was about to lose his breath and start wheezing. Mantis and his partner took notices about his condition and slow down rubbing his sensitive parts with the feathers until it comes to complete halt. Cricket’s partner removing both the cloth and the ball gag from his mouth where can finally refresh his breathing. “So, how does it feel?” the partner asks with a smile. Cricket smiled back, “Surprise attack aside, I guess that felt soothing with all the bristling on my sore soles and my stomach. I do need that after a hopping, blazing journey that got my steps all sore. "Glad to hear, you’ve enjoyed it,” she said as she proceeded to massage between and below his toes. He giggled and blushed under his deep breaths a tiny bit as he curled his little digits while feeling the strokes from his partner’s fingers. “Looks like my work here is done. You two go knock yourselves out. I need a short nap after a rough day.” Mantis said as he walks back to his room to lie down on the hammock. “With all the enjoyment, I’ve gotten from that training; I’m starting to feel bad about ignoring you time to time. If only wasn’t so busy, I could refresh on everything we did during our childhood.” Cricket admitted, feeling guilty. “It’s alright,” his partner responded, “I too felt lonely back when I’ve kept up my rhythmic combat after you left.” She continued stroking his feet, moving to from his toes to his heels. Cricket suddenly stemmed an idea, “Hey, after all this sore foot cure is over, how I give you a taste of your own medicine tomorrow, Dragonfly?” Hearing that little piece of playful revenge from his words, she stopped a little bit and gulped nervously.