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Kamabo

Chapter Text

Just don’t die. Just don’t die. Don’t die, Three…you’re only 16. Don’t be a fucking idiot and take a wrong step. Avoid her ink at all costs.

The fuchsia-colored ink burned and stung Three’s face. It combined with the sweat that was beading down her body as she attempted to attack the Octoling in front of her. She was…very adorable…but at the same time…she was ruthless.

Fighting her was hard and even after years of experience and training, Three was starting to think she was going to lose. Her? The Agent 3 of the New SquidBeak Splatoon? Losing?

Never.

Three watched her steps carefully and she constantly dodged from side to side, avoiding the Octolings ink and countering her attacks, whipping out her Hero Shot to try to at least hit her and knock her out. Three didn’t have the desire to kill, she only did it if she had to and she didn’t believe this was the time…for some reason. Something was telling her not to kill this Octoling, and she decided to react positively to whatever that thing was that was telling her to go easy. She couldn’t describe the feeling, but from past experiences, she learned to listen to it.

The Octoling threw her burst bomb and missed Three. However, splatter from the bomb inked portions of her face and the burning and stinging came back once again. Three shot at the Octoling and was able to create a sort of ring around her to trap her. Ha! Once you’re in enemy ink, you slow down. Time to throw a bomb at her. Three found ground on the platform in the middle of the stage and threw a couple of splat bombs at the Octoling. …Who dodged them both. Not even a scratch! What the fuck!? This Octoling is…oh Cod.

Three decided to just keep shooting at her, she’ll get better luck while just doing that if she was sure to refill her tank every once and a while. She tends to forget that at times and in the end, she’ll suffer the consequences because of it, like getting splatted. Which she was not ready for at that moment, for there were no nearby spawn points underground…at least she didn’t think so.

During her battle with this Octoling, she noticed that the ground tended to bend whenever she took a step. She only weighed like 130 pounds, there was no way she was making the damn floor cave in. It was starting to make her worry though. Maintaining eye contact with the Octoling as much as she could, she did her best to avert her gaze every once and a while to the floor beneath her and beneath the Octoling. She concluded that the Octoling was experiencing the same exact thing. Concaving floor with every step. Maybe the stage wasn’t stable or something.

The Octoling took her by surprise and blew a burst bomb from afar, most of the residue hitting Three at the back of the head with enough force to knock something loose. It sent her to the ground and her weapon sliding out of her hands and far away in front of her. She looked up the best she could, searing pain pounding through her head. If she couldn’t get to her weapon, it was over. She crawled to get to it but felt a sudden pain in her back.

The damn Octoling stepped on her. Just like in the movies.

She started speaking in some language Three couldn’t understand- oh wait, it’s Octarian. Three guessed what she was saying was that she'd won.

She can’t win. Three needed to win.

Luckily, Three remembered some hand-to-hand combat during agent training. She took her arm and hit the Octoling’s shin, HARD. It worked, as the Octoling removed her foot from Three’s back and stumbled backward. Three went quick and grabbed the Octoling by her ankle, which made her fall. Using her leg to kick her own weapon back over to her and then using her free hand to smack the Octoling’s weapon out of her hand, she assumed a pinned position over the Octoling.

That’s right. Three was gonna win. She never loses.

Although everything still hurt, so she had to make this quick. “Let’s get this over with.”

 

There had been word or rather one single rumor from Cap’n Cuttlefish that the Octolings are being brainwashed. That was the entire reason that she came down into the underground in the first place, to learn about this organization called Kamabo. An organization that had a history of suspicious activity, and when researched and put together right, was the pinpoint of all terrible punishments, therapies, experiments, and what have you where big populations of Octolings lived. As the Cap’n and Three talked, they got closer and closer to coming to the conclusion that this organization, Kamabo, was the reason behind the ‘evil Octolings’. However, Cap’n was skeptical, because he still believes that it was partially his fault. Three was confused.

“Why the hell would it be your fault?”

“Ah kiddo. The Great Turf War. Have you read the scroll. It was cool ‘cause it had me in it and I’ve never been in a scroll before, heck I’ve never been on TV…well except for this one time-“

“Cap’n. Focus.” He’s so old. “What about The Great Turf War again? I don’t remember.”

“Well… as you know, there was a Great Turf War-“

“Uh huh.” Three said in annoyance.

“And the Captain of the Octolings was a man named Octavio. You know him as DJ Octavio. We were friends. We got along pretty well. But then, he thought he knew more than I did and he thought that I thought I knew more than he did and I thought that he thought that-“

“SO BASICALLY-“ Three couldn’t handle the foolishness. They were on a time crunch. “You two had a disagreement and you both unleashed your forces upon the opposing team. That’s stupid as shit. “Why couldn’t ya’ll work out your differences and just have a ‘good ol’ time’?” Three cleared her throat “As you usually say?”

“Well, it’s because he talked bad about the SquidBeak Splatoon. He talked bad about our forces, our training, and how small and less muscular the Inklings were than the Octolings. And he wasn’t joking about it either. See, if you talk bad about SquidBeak, you gotta face my old man powers. Well, back then I wasn’t old, but…I was mature enough to think like a wise elder.”

Three rolled her eyes. All this war and hatred over-

“However, there were complications between different groups that had a mix of Octolings and Inklings. No one really got along, it’s like there was turmoil in the air. It was odd.”

Once again. All this war and hatred because of the lack of good fucking communication. No wonder everyone says Inkling brains are so small. (Despite the Inkling biology saying they’re literally small) Three told the Cap’n that it wasn’t…all…his fault and they left it at that, contemplating and planning what they should do to safely search the underground to get a clear view of what actually was happening to the Octolings.

Three already reported before that she felt like the heard screaming underneath her when she would enter battle sometimes. The screaming would replay in her mind for a while after that, sending constant chills down her spine. That was almost 2 years ago.

It wasn’t long before Cap’n Cuttlefish and Three agreed to visit the underground. Three packed her weapon, a few specials in cans, an extra pair of clothes, her hero jacket and shoes. She also packed her phone, money, and three things canned food just in case she needed it, as those were important necessities. All into a smallish bag that she could carry on her back. She dressed comfortably in her underclothes, specifically underclothes for her agent outfit. Just a simple black long sleeve shirt, her shorts, and her favorite black boots. Cap’n Cuttlefish carried money and that was it. He knew he’d be fine with just that.

The journey into the underground was a hard one. It was blockaded off by tape, grates, and metal objects… They didn’t go that way though! They went the way they knew. Through Octo Valley. Pick a grate and find your destination from that grate with the map provided. Easy. Less darkness, less metal to destroy.

Cap’n Cuttlefish trusted Three to lead the way to where they needed to be if they were going to investigate, they needed to be at a hidden place that they could report to whenever they needed to. So, this place called DeepSea Metro was their best bet. Once they got there, they were greeted by a small blue fellow named C.Q Cumber. He talked a lot about his service but Three wasn’t interested. Cap’n Cuttlefish was though, he was intrigued by how nice C.Q was. He was also intrigued by the number of species among the underground. Odd, but not too odd. Not like he ‘saw’ species though.

“Oh yeah. No, I don’t think old Inklings get arthritis.” Cap’n Cuttlefish said, talking to a random stranger. “None of us…really have…bones…?”

What really caught Three’s eye, was the Octoling in dark shades that kept staring at her from a distance in the corner of the metro. Now THAT was odd. The Octoling went back behind the corner, disappearing completely.

Three narrowed her eyebrows at the Octoling. “Cap’n, I’ll be back. I’mma check something out.” She said, as she walked towards the corner of the metro.

“Okay kid! Don’t be too long.” He said. Although he was quite distracted, as he found a few friends in the metro who he could spark conversation with.

Three walked toward the corner, into a dark hallway. “Aw shit. I’m definitely gonna turn around now. Don’t wanna tonight.” She didn’t want ‘Agent dies in a dark alley’ on the news. They would go in and talk about how fucking dumb it was to walk into a dark alley alone and stay there. Three was about to turn around and head back when she heard the burst of a burst bomb splat behind her. She turned around and looked at the ground. Purple-ish…dark pink-ish…whatever the hell that color was…ink. She backed up, her hand at her side where her weapon was.

It’s like she missed an entire moment of her life because before she knew it, she was grabbed, dragged and flung onto a stage. The stage made a clicking noise and began to rise up and before Three, stepped the Octoling who was peering at her from the corner. She was taller than Three, about 5’7, she was darkly tanned, like the color of caramel, her tentacles were short and curled at the ends and she wore a leather outfit that…had to be hot. It was almost 100 degrees and this chick was wearing leather! How did she not have a heat stroke!?

The Octoling made a bucking motion at Three and that’s when the fight happened, ending with Three and a pinned Octoling.

“Let’s get this over with.” Was the last thing she said before both she and the Octoling were met with a surprise. The floor broke beneath them, causing them both to fall. Three got ahold of the Octoling’s glasses by ripping them off her face before she was entirely separated from the Octoling as they both fell. She watched as the Octoling grabbed at the air and then was unconscious.

Then all of a sudden, a wall blocked formed between them, separating them. Three didn’t know if the Octoling was okay, and frankly…she felt like she didn’t care. All she cared about was if she was going to survive this fall herself. Granted, Inklings and Octolings didn’t have bones, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t die from a long fall, and quite frankly…not ever Inkling was a master at Squid Jumping in mid-air. That requires intense strength and courage that Three knew she didn’t have. So she braced herself for the fall. Assuming a position of impact and trying to slow herself down with the wall next to her, which she guessed it was…working?

Nevertheless, she landed safely, with a few minor bruises and a headache. And in an unknown place. Holding the Octoling’s glasses.

Chapter Text

Agent Three was surprised she was able to remember how to land correctly when falling from a high place. Agent work really paid off.

Cap’n Cuttlefish was probably worried about her, she should call him. Luckily, Three still had her small bag. She placed it aside when she was fighting the Octoling and she was lucky to have it fall with her and not with the Octoling. Damn, I forgot I had this. I hope nothing bro- aw fuck.

Unfortunately, during the fall, a few things in her bag broke, her phone screen and her agent headset. Her phone was broken, and it was malfunctioning to the point where it was useless. She would have to get a new one later. She checked her headset, cracked slightly…it probably still worked. NSS’s tools and technology was always ahead of its time and it was guaranteed that it would work better than any other brand made technology would. Three placed the headset on her head and turned a nob at the back of it.

“Cap’n? Cap’n!” she took it off and tried turning the nob again and pressing a few buttons. “Damn old man has to be able to hear me-“ she put it back on again. “Cap’n!?”

Cap’n Cuttlefish was occupied with the strangers on the Deepsea Metro, there had been commotion after a Octoling was seen lying on the ground, unconscious, not too far from the Metro. He was about to get up and check it out when he heard the slightest call from his pocket. “Cap- uttlefish!”

“Oh oh! Glad I caught that!” he picked up the small device that was supposed to be connected to every agent’s headset. It was a phone-sized device, made by Sheldon, that no matter how far the host holding the device went, the agents could still communicate. It’s just…no one could remember what it was called because Sheldon’s dumbass thought it was okay to give it a long and complicated name. No one bothered to even attempt to pronounce it.

“Cap’n Cutt-ish! An-me!”

Three? “Three? Three? Where are you?” he answered her.

The connection kept going in and out. “I don-ow. But-“

“Are you okay?”

“Yes! I’ve fall- don’t worry-me.”

“Okay, Three if you can hear me! I think I understand you! Just meet-“

-Me once-find me! I trust-ou“

Three could slightly understand, however, the connection was…unstable. Déjà vu.

She decided to put her headset away back in her bag, pick it up and think about how to get back to Cap’n Cuttlefish. But where should she start? Where were the doors? Where were the lights? She thought maybe if she felt around the long dark hallway, she would find a switch or something that could help her. She wondered though, should she just be able to walk out somewhere and arrive back in the Metro? She didn’t walk too far from the Metro when she spotted that Octoling, it was a high up platform…but it wasn’t too many steps from the Metro.

Whatever. Her head still hurt. She didn’t need to think. She didn’t need to understand the placement and mechanics of the underground. She needed to understand how to get back.

The dark hallway turned into a lit hallway. Green light illuminated the end of the hallway where she was headed. She came up to a door and opened it, leading her into a room. A darkly lit room. She walked into it cautiously, slowly closing the door behind her. She looked for a light switch and found one on the wall near the door she came from and it illuminated the entire room, which… woah…

“What the-“ How was Three supposed to describe the room she was in…how? There was so much going on that she just…

Everything was so organized. Everything looked so different from the outside, where the floors were dirty, and everything had an emo gray look to it. This room…this room was nothing like that. This room had a look of interior-decorator-just-wiped-the-entire-room-with-his-or-her-ass-all-over-it look. Damn, everything looked expensive…yet…very doctor like. There were needles, IVs, IV drip bags connected to the IVs, weighing machines, you name it. However, there weren’t any chairs or stretchers, examination tables…like you would see in a hospital.

Three was actually really…interested but…terrified. It reminded her of all those times she was in the hospital as a kid. Of course, she would get sick… but she was mainly there for injuries, terrible injuries… But ahh…Also… aside from all that… a hospital right next to a Metro? Who the hell does that? Octolings…aren’t they supposed to be smarter than Inklings?

Three…no matter how stupid it seemed, decided to get physical with the items in the room. She picked up the needles, observing them. She looked at the IV drips…which had green liquid in it… why was everything green. This odd light green color that swirled in every case and bottle in the room. It’s like it was a crucial ingredient to something.

Now Three was about to get really physical. She looked around for a pair of gloves, found some, put them on, opened an IV drip bag and looked inside it. She REALLY didn’t want to touch it but…she wanted to know what this stuff was. What if it was important and she could take it back for investigation for NSS? Cap’n Cuttlefish would be proud, Agents 1 and 2 would…well maybe 1…2 wouldn’t give a shit.

She looked for a small bottle…looking…looking…she found one. Now she can place the liquid from the bag in a protected bottle so it doesn’t explode all over her bag. She started pouring but then due to how clumsy she was, she dropped the rest of the liquid. All over her legs, shoes and the floor. “SHIT. I fucking- ughh.” Three was now agitated. Whoever was going to come in here later was probably gonna do some science shit and figure out it was her who made this mess and she would be in huge trouble. And she didn’t have a sample for investigation. “Dammit! I gotta clean this shit up somehow. I’ll use the towel over there…” Thee recoiled, whatever the liquid was…it smelled awful, she almost gagged while cleaning it. She did the best she could in the cleaning, making sure she wiped away everything. And to make it seem like nothing happened, she threw the bottle and the IV drip bag away. She then cleaned herself off the best she could with water from the nearby sink, cleaning her boots and her legs. Instead, the took a Ziplock bag and put a fingerprint of the green liquid in a bag, along with a needle, put it in her bag, and went on with her investigation.

She looked for the door to get out and found it. Anything to leave this nightmare-inducing and aggravating place. And oh! What do you know! Another room! But with the emo gray tone! She once again stepped in with caution and closed the door behind her gently. She was met with high shelves that hid her from the bright light coming from the middle-side of the room. Three went quietly because she heard footsteps and…whimpers.

“Stop moving.”

More whimpers.

“Initiate Sanitization Process. Number 420.”

There were some button noises, mechanical noises, more footsteps, more whimpers. Three had no idea what was going on, but it made her feel uncomfortable inside. She didn’t dare to pear around the shelves.

“Initiating Sanitization Process. Number 420. 1%...2%...”

“Can you have it be quiet while that’s happening. I don’t need it to keep telling me the percentage, it’s annoying.”

“I don’t know how to do that, just deal with it.”

“You know what Cecilia; you never do anything for me.”

“You know what Peter, you never shut the hell up. Why don’t you do that for me?”

Damn.

“Cecilia, I’m this close to-“

“This close to what? Do you want me to tell everyone in Hypnotization training that when you were younger, you peed in a bowl and put it in the microwave to see what would happen?... Yeah- I didn’t think so.”

“That’s not even that bad.”

“Wait till they figure out how old you were when you did it.”

“Whatever, just…leave it alone and let’s go.”

She didn’t understand a word they said at all. The footsteps started coming towards Three, she panicked and turned into a squid, squeezing herself in between the books on the shelf. Luckily, the two people who were there didn’t go the way she was located. She heard a door close and then nothing… but counting. “12%...13%...” in Octarian

Three turned out of a squid and inched herself out of the shelf. What was going on?

“20%...21%”

The counting continued…and then a whimper was heard, along with sniffling.

Someone is still here. Three peered around the corner. She really wanted to turn away once her eyes encountered what was before her. An Octoling, in a lose white jumpsuit, in a chair. She was…a lot like the Octoling that Three fought but she knew that wasn’t her. This Octoling’s hair was longer, which less suctions and it rather took on a blue color. This chair the Octoling was sitting in was a large metal chair, her arms and legs were bonded with metal to the chair. And in the Octoling’s arms…the IV drips…with the green liquid in it. There were other chairs as well with the same look. Behind her was a big screen…she couldn’t read it because it was in Octarian. But the percentage numbers looked similar to the Inkling language, so she did her best to read it.

“34%...35%... I think…it’s going up.”

The Octoling’s head shot up and she got a quick glimpse of Three before Three hid back behind the shelf. “Fuck. I went out too far.” Three was too interested. Now the Octoling knew she was there and maybe even got her face.

“Hey!...Ah…” the Octoling said, but it wasn’t in Octarian. It was in Inkling. “Are you an Inkling?”

Three couldn’t just give herself up like that, but now that the Octoling saw her and now knew she was an Inkling. She had too. And there wasn’t a possibility that the Octoling would hurt her, she was tied to a chair. “Yes.” Three called out before she displayed her entire being in front of the Octoling.

Three observed the Octoling and the Octoling observed Three. Three could take one look at the Octoling and tell that she was deteriorating but she looked very young, maybe about Three’s age or younger. The Octoling looked scared and stressed as well. One thing that definitely stood out was the fact that the Octoling was changing color. Huh? She was becoming green, starting from the areas in her arms where the IVs were. That does look good at all.

 

The IVs in her arm weren’t placed in properly, some of the green liquid oozed out of the needle and didn’t even go into her arm but Three was sure that some were.

She walked up to the Octoling.

“Please help me. I won’t hurt you, I swear.” The Octoling said. She had been crying, the tear marks were obvious on her face and her purple eyes were bloodshot and she was shaking. She looked as if she was struggling to stay awake. She looked as if she was struggling period. “I swear.

Three was, as she had been this entire time, cautious. In fact, it looked like the Octoling was a tiny bit afraid of Three.

“48%...49%...”

“Please! I promise I won’t hurt you. Once it gets to 70%...it’s over for me.”

To Three, about 90% of the Octoling population was bad. Terrible. They hated Inklings and always deployed their enemies upon the Inkling society whenever they had a chance. DJ Octavio was their leader, he was an ass. But in all seriousness, he was the reason for all of the hurt, heartache, and despair of the Inklings for a long time. The Great Zapfish was a power source. If the power source was gone, people could die. No way to cook food, no way to navigate, no way to drive places since cars ran on energy, no power in hospitals, no heat, no air condition, nothing. DJ Octavio did it for that reason and he did it just because he was selfish. If the Octolings learned from him, they were probably just as selfish and ruthless as he was.

But something inside of Three said that it would be wrong for her to leave this Octoling here while she suffered since the Octoling was young and seemed to have hope in her. Three…would not be able to live with herself, despite what Octolings have done to the Inkling race.

But on the other hand, the Inklings have done a lot of dreadful harm too.

“Okay! Alright…uh…shit.” Three said looking around. “How do I unhook the thingies from your arms and legs?”

“There’s a lever on the back of the chair, just pull it.” She said. Three bent down to look for the lever. She found it and pulled it. It was a tough lever but Three was strong. After that, the obvious thing to do was to stop whatever process was happening. So, Three ripped the IVs out of the Octoling’s arms and apparently, the countdown stopped.

“Sanitization Interrupted.”

The Octoling gazed up at Three with such glee in her face. Three thought her smile was going to pop off her face. Without warning, the Octoling jumped up and hugged Three.

Physical…contact…ahhhhhhhhhh

Three hesitantly hugged the Octoling back. Once Three got a good look at her, she didn’t seem so bad. She was extra smiley and high-strung. Her bright purple eyes were wide with happiness. And boy…was she tall… she got a good 4 inches on Three and Three was about 5’6. “Thank you so much. I dunno what would have happened if- well…I DO know I just… ah thank you!” she kept her hands clamped on Three’s arms, which also made Three uncomfortable.

Physicallll contaaaaact…

“Am I scaring you?”

“Naw Naw.” Three cleared her throat and shook the Octoling off gently. “You’re fine just…don't be so touchy.”

“Sorry. Hugs are awesome. Hugs are the best kind of…I guess…gifts of sentiment and care.” She put her hands down. “I’m Umiko by the way. It means ‘Child of the Sea’.”

Three honestly didn’t care but whatever. “I’m Three. It’s a number. Nice to meet you.”

Umiko nodded and continued to smile at Three. There was a brief moment of silence that dreaded upon them before Three began to shift off. “Well, I better get going. I gotta find my…someone. I’m kinda lost.”

“Oh! You are lost? You could contact the Metro personnel! They know their way around this entire area, and they navigate regularly. It’s quite confided but it’s easy to navigate once you get the hang of the map.”

Uhh… “You speak really good Inkish for an Octoling.” Three mentioned.

“Oh uh…” Umiko chuckled. “Thanks. I had time to study it while in Hypnotization Training. That bookshelf over there has a bunch of material about the Inkling culture and language. It’s intriguing if you’re into that stuff. Hehe.”

This Octoling was just too cute.

“Huh.” Three, after looking at the bookshelf, turned back to Umiko. “How old are you? Might I ask…”

“I’m…they told me I was 15 but I really don’t know. They determined my age and then gave me a birthday. They call me 420 because they gave me the birthday of April 20th. It makes things easier.”

“Who are ‘they’?”

“Oh, I apologize for not being clear. ‘They’ are the masters who work under TarTar. TarTar is a highly intelligent AI that was created for the sole purpose of creating a new world for the Octolings to live in. He was created by a scientist more than 12,000 years ago. A human. Humans are cooolll.”

“So, uh… what was that. Like, all this? Like, um…what you just went through?”

“That was…sanitization. The worst form of punishment here. However, the more Octolings that are sanitized, the more progress the Octarian Army makes.”

“And what is it?”

“It’s when…” Umiko swallowed harshly. “It’s when an Octoling…or in some cases…an Inkling…is completely wiped clean of all emotion, feeling, and memory, and become completely under the control of whoever the host is. ‘Host’ as in whoever teaches said sanitized Octoling who their ‘leader’ is. That’s why I thank you for saving meee!”

That sounded…better than what Three was thinking of. But it still sounded bad. She…how was this Octoling so happy? How was she even alive? “Wait, I think I’ve heard of this…” Three said, she walked and sat down in the metal chair, legs crossed.

“You have?” Umiko sat on the arm of the chair next to her.

“Mm hm. Sanitization…hmm…uh… what my people told us is that Sanitization was irreversible. You know, you can’t come back from it…and once it’s in effect…it’s permanent and doesn’t stop.”

“No, ma’am. Since Octoling and Inkling’s bodies are made of up 70% ink, the natural ink in our bodies cease the continuation of in-process sanitization. That’s why I mention the…70%...? Remember?”

“Yeah. Yeah. I do. I think I get it now. Well, I’m glad you’re alive.”

“Because you saved meee!” she reached over for another hug but Three stopped her gently. “What did I say about the touchy-ness…?”

“Sorry.” Umiko jumped up out of her seat and faced Three. “So, where off to next?”

“I gotta find my people. And what I want you to do, is to find a place to hide, away from where you came, okay? I don’t want whoever those people were to find you.”

“Well then um…can I come with ya? If it’s not any trouble. I don’t know where to go.”

“I thought you said you knew this place inside out.”

“No, the personnel do. Weren’t you listening, silly? I mean- I do too but…so does the rest of my people. They’ll probably find me in an instant. Please…can I come with you? Just for the time being until I find out where to go.”

“Fineeeeee. You can come with.”

Umiko went for another hug…once again Three stopped her. “If you fucking try to hug me one more fucking time-“

“Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.”

Chapter Text

As if traveling alone was hard enough when you didn’t know where to go, traveling with a buddy was even harder. Especially when she said that she was sure she knew the place pretty well.

“I’m sure we passed that by now…it used to be over there…”

Three rolled her eyes. This Octoling had no idea where she was going. How the fuck was she supposed to get out of this place.

Luckily, they left that lab, which had apparently been named, the Sanitization Centre, home of Sanitized Octolings…which in Three’s defense, sounded dark, but Umiko didn’t necessarily want to explain the entire concept of Sanitizing and Inkling and why it happens…and for what. Three decided to stop dwelling on it and let Umiko figure out where to go to get back to the Metro. However, once again…Three was starting to doubt Umiko’s intelligence when she realized that she was lost as well.

And they didn’t have a map. And what’s worse, is they came to a dead-end with four tunnels, each most likely, leading to some unknown place.

“Umiko, where the fuck are we headed? I thought you knew this place!”

“I never said I knew this place… I said it was easy to navigate based on the map. Everything has moved over the past month and I was too stressed to indicate where each building was. I’m sorry.” She said while shaking Three. Three shoved Umiko off and stood in the middle of the grey plane. So, as established before, the area of this plane held 4 different directions, each of them carved into a tunnel. So, they had four choices…choose one tunnel and take it. Three turned to Umiko.

“Umiko.”

“Hmm?”

“Which tunnel do you think is best to take?” Since she’s the smartypants.

Umiko stepped forward and examined the tunnels. While doing so, she tried her best to remember where each of them lead. “So um. I know-I’m confident that the tunnel all the way on the right leads back to Hypnotization Camp, which I don’t wanna go back to and it leads you further away from your destination which is unethical. The tunnel…this one, the one second to the left…leads to the Octarian Army Base…which…you probably don’t want to go through eitherrrrr…hmmmmmm ahhhhh…I can’t remember anythinnggg…”

Three let out a huge sigh. “I’M NEVER GONNA GET OUTTA HERE.”

“Wait…enclose your exasperation for a moment…”

“Enclose my fuckin…what?”

“And refrain from any foul jargon.”

“What the hell are you-“

“Please remain tranquil and formulate imperturbability, Three!”

“WHAT THE FU-“

“Haha. Ah! I remember! Oo! The one all the way on the left leads you closer to the Metro, however…it’s the long way around. Heheh.” She gave Three an awkward smile. Three responded visually with a fake smile but deep down, she was grateful for the fact that she had someone who could lead her out and towards her goal.

“Mmkay.” Three said, she started to walk into the tunnel. “Let’s take this way then.”

Umiko nodded and hopped along behind Three.

 

It was dark, no doubt, and Three’s phone was broken so she couldn’t use the built-in flashlight. She should’ve brought a flashlight just in case…but she wasn’t correctly prepared. The only light that was illuminating the darkness was her luminescent tentacle pads and tips, which glowed an extra bright light green, the main color of her tentacles, just a tad lighter. Umiko found this intriguing and went to touch the tips of Three’s tentacles but Three’s body language let Umiko know to refrain from that action. Dammit. At least she got to see it. It was so pretty.

Things started to get a bit brighter in the tunnel, as built-in lights at the top of the tunnel finally made an appearance. They could see! Nonetheless, they couldn’t see the end of the tunnel. “How long are these tunnels?” Three asked.

“About a mile.”

So now I gotta walk a whole Coddamn mile? Well, I have been gaining a bit of weight in my thighs so…whatever. I just hope I don’t pass out.

“Sooooo…” Umiko broke the sudden silence between them. “What’s Inkopolis like? I’ve heard a lot about it but they don’t like to talk too much about it in the books.”

“Hm. Where do I start?” Three loved Inkopolis…anything to leave her fa… just…anything to get away. “Well. It’s always sunny there. Rainbows, puppies, unicorns that fart more unicorns and candy that rains from the sky.”

“That’s… improbable. But I would love that!!!”

“Haha. You’re right. It’s usually sunny, it rains every once in a while and-“

“Don’t you guys melt in rain?”

“Naw Naw. We just can’t swim. When it rains, everyone goes berserk though because of possible floods and stuff but that barely happens. Everyone there is so nice though, there are a bunch of cool people that’ll do anything for you. Then you’ve got the store clerks like…Sheldon. Well, Sheldons an annoying dipshit but…we still love him. He just talks too much…like Four…” Three chuckled to herself.

Umiko tilted her head. “Who’s Four?”

“A friend of mine. She’s…also an annoying dipshit but…she’s done so much for me. She’s really nice, you’d love her if you met her.”

“I bet I would. I’ll never make it to the surface though. That’s just a dream of mine…”

“You don’t think you would? Why not?”

“I’m not strong enough to get up there.”

“Bullshit. You’ve got what it takes. You can leave this shithole whenever you want to.”

Umiko looked at Three with a half-smile, eyebrows furrowed. All she did was shrug. “Ah…”

“Tell you what. I’ll help you get the surface once I find my Captain. We’ll be happy to help you.”

Umiko’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Yeah, dude.”

Umiko started jumping up and down, bouncing rapidly, fumbling with words that didn’t even make their way out of her mouth. “I- I can’t- you- yes- holy-“ then some squeaking noises came out, which crept Three the hell out.

“Aight, calm down. Let’s keep going.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Don’t call me ma’am.”

“Yes Three.”

Three chuckled. Three wasn’t usually one to take a liking to people so quickly, but she enjoyed the company of Umiko. She reminded her of Four…subtracting the name-calling and mischievous activity and possible lawbreaking. Three listened to whatever Umiko had to say as they walked the tunnel because apparently, she was full of stories and hypothetical questions, which Three minded asking but she just decided to let Umiko do her thing, she was excited and hopeful and the last thing Three wanted to do was deprecate someone’s dreams. Unless it was a joke…then it was funny… Ugh, Three was an asshole sometimes.

After a few minutes, Three noticed that Umiko had stopped talking and was walking a bit behind Three. She didn’t think much of it, maybe that Umiko was tired? She was bouncing and talking a lot. She left it alone…only until Umiko came to her and began talking again.

“Three is it hot in here? Do you think the heat is very asphyxiating? Wait no, that’s a harsh way to put it- it’s just…it’s hot! Wooo…”

What? It was cold in the tunnels to Three and Umiko didn’t say anything about any heat earlier, she looked just peachy!

“I don’t think it’s hot. But… Uh… do you have anything on underneath your jumpsuit?”

Umiko giggled nervously. “Hahaaaa. No… they don’t let us put anything on underneath it.”

“…Ew. That’s fucking stupid.” Three stopped walking. “Maybe we can stop for a bit so you can cool down.”

“Okay.” Umiko leaned up against the wall, fanning herself. “I wish I could take this jumpsuit off.” She tugged at her white jumpsuit, eventually using the collar for a fan. Three stayed standing in the middle of the tunnel, alert, just to make sure no one will get near them or attempt to harm them. Overtime, Umiko didn’t stop fanning herself…in fact, she did it even more and started sweating. That’s when Three started to get worried.

“Are-Are you okay?”

“I-I guess. It’s just really hot…”

“I have water in my bag if you need it.”

“No thank you. I don’t think I can-“ she started breathing heavily. And Three was hella worried. What was happening? Three was positive it was at least only 50 degrees or less in that tunnel.

“Why can’t you? You probably haven’t drunk anything in a while, have you?” Three asked, abut to dig in her bag.

 “No, I haven’t but…Three… I’m starting to feel nauseous.”

Fuckkkkkkkkk. Why? Why now? What am I supposed to do?

“Okay. UH. HM. Just sit down or something, okay?”

Umiko nodded and then slid down the wall and sat there, still as a statue. Three watched her closely and she was actually thoroughly worried. She couldn’t quite pinpoint what she was worried about either, because she knew that possibly nothing could happen to this young Octoling now, she just knew she was because her eye started twitching, which usually happened whenever she was subconsciously or even consciously worried.

“Three…” Umiko said after a while.

Three jumped. “Hm? Huh? What’s wrong?”

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

Aw gross. “Oh…okay. Just, do your thing? Don’t choke, don’t die. It’s definitely not a good way to go.” Three didn’t know what to say in this situation but at least she said something... She watched as Umiko positioned herself in a sidesaddle position and before either of them knew it, she threw up. And geez, it was not good for Umiko but it was worse for Three. Three reached out a hesitant hand and placed it on the back of the sick Octoling and rubbed in circles to comfort her. What boggled Three’s mind was that all Umiko threw up was identical to the same green liquid that Three saw in the labs. Odd.

Umiko finished after a couple of minutes and looked up at Three with bloodshot eyes. “I um…I think… I’m all good now.” She tried her best to chuckle it off and attempt to stand up but it didn’t work.

“Are you sure? You don’t look ‘all good’.”

“I think. I…I think that was just a relapsed side effect of the sanitization or something…”

Relapse? “What do you mean?”

“They uh, made me consume the sanitization ink before they inserted some of it into my body.” She coughed a bit.

Once again…what the fuck? “What’s the deal with this anyway? Why do they force you guys to do this stuff? Why can’t they just let you live in peace!?”

“It’s…complicated. I don’t even know myself.”

Three groaned and rubbed her face in frustration. She tried to regain her composure and not dwell too much on the negative, she didn’t have time to think about everything wrong with the underground now. “Well…” she turned back around to face Umiko who was still on the ground. “Are you going to be okay?” she asked firmly.

“Yeah I will… my stomach hurts now though.”

“Can you walk?”

There was a brief pause. “…Maybe…”

Three could see the strain and pain on her face. She shook her head. “Bullshit. I’m carrying you.”

“Aww… you’re so sweet, Three. Thanks. You little sweetie sweetie you.”

“Whatever. Come on. I’ll carry you on my back. So, can you put my bag on yours?”

“Sure.” Umiko grabbed Three’s bag and placed it on her back and then slowly, but surely, hopped onto Three’s back.

“Let’s keep going.” Three said.

They continued to venture down the tunnel, still unsure of their current destination but Three was at least a little hopeful.

She started to picture Cap’n Cuttlefish, Four, Callie and Marie…an most of Inkopolis. She didn’t really have anything else to think about. As she dozed off thinking, however, she noticed that the tunnel was starting to get darker again, with a light appearing on the ceiling of the tunnel less often. It was giving Three the chills and she surely felt unprepared because her hero shot was in her bag and not on her hip.

Umiko was starting to get heavy too. Three felt weak, physically weak. She felt that she should have been able to carry an Octoling that probably weighed about the same she did for a long period. She had to keep going though, there was no point in stopping when they were already marching towards their goal.

“Three…” Umiko said, her voice muffled in Three’s neck.

“Yeah?”

“…Hurts…”

“What? What hurts?”

“Everything.”

Well that’s very descriptive. “Can you…I don’t know…elaborate?”

“Everything hurts.”

“I need you to like, explain?”

“Just…everything…hurts.”

Three sighed and stopped dead in her tracks.

“Why’d we stop?” Umiko asked.

“I think we both need to rest, well…mainly you.” Three placed Umiko down gently on the ground and she sat up against the wall and stared at Three. “Hand me my bag.”

Umiko did as she was told. “What are you doing, Three?”

“I’m getting prepared for any surprise attacks. Fuckers down here are ruthless apparently.”

“I want to keep going,” Umiko whined.

“I thought you said, ‘everything hurts’.”

“It does but…I don’t want to stop, It gives me chills and would most likely cause anxiety for both of us. Short term anxiety.”

Three, still rummaging in her bag, pulled out her weapon and used the hero clip provided to place it on her hip. She then shoved her bag over to the side near Umiko, leaned up against the wall in front of her, and crossed her arms…just to look badass. In Three’s mind, it was working. In Umiko’s mind, it was the most adorable thing. She chuckled a bit which leads Three to avert her eyes to the Octoling. “What?”

“You are trying to look contentious, why?” Umiko said, still smiling.

“Contentious?”

“Aggressive.”

Three shrugged. “People are intimidated by this back at home. People don’t mess with me when I put a mean mug on my face and cross my arms. I also got a nose piercing, but I did that because I like it. But in the end, it makes me look even more intimidating.”

“Where is the nose piercing?”

“Back at home. I don’t wanna rip my nose apart down here. What if I get into a fight or somethin’…what am I supposed to do? Hook em’ with the ring? I don’t think so.”

Umiko laughed. “You’re so cool, Three.”

“Thanks. You too.” Umiko smiled at Three. Such a large smile. Umiko smile turned into an expression of sickness and she started to gag. “You okay?” Three asked.

“My stomach still hurts… and I’m trying not to throw up again. It’s discomforting.”

“I know. That’s why we stopped. To rest. But also, don’t…fucking…hold in your vomit. That’s gross. If you need to let it out, let it out.” Three shivered a bit and then crossed her arms, looking at everything but Umiko.

Umiko hummed to let Three know she understood. Umiko shimmied up the wall and laid backward more, trying to get comfortable.

Three looked at her and sighed. “Well…like I said. I stopped here so that we could rest. I’ll be on the lookout, you nap…or something.”

“Aren’t you going to sleep?”

“No, it’s fine. I can sleep later. If anything happens, I’m here. I’ll protect both of us.”

Umiko nodded. She believed Three, she didn’t have a reason not to.

So for the rest of the night, Umiko napped against the tunnel wall while Three just stood up against it with her weapon at her hip. She watched Umiko and she watched the perimeter. Hoping nothing will surprise them.

Chapter Text

She’s too strong.

I don’t want to kill her. I have no reason to.

Why is she doing this?

I mean- she is wearing the…glasses. She has to be hypnotized. She’s probably harmless without those on.

The glasses.

What do I do?

I guess I must kill her.

Three woke up. Dammit, she had dozed off. She promised to stay awake in case anyone attacked her or Umiko, which luckily, Umiko was still there…but what if she wasn’t? She’d be in deep shit.

Three stretched and got up off the ground, her weapon at her hip banging against the cartilage. She could regard that Umiko was still asleep, catching as many ‘Zs’ as possible. Three felt bad for the Octoling, and she had never felt bad for an Octoling before, most likely because of their efforts to kill Inkling kind and take away their most prized possession that basically powers the entire city. Three sat back down on the ground and decided to rummage around in her bag out of boredom. She pulled out her cape that had the number ‘3’ on it. The Captain had made it for her a few months before and Three never let it out of her sight, she didn’t even wash it.

The cap was already ripped at the bottom. A few missions ago, she had been burned, whipped, attacked with different colors of ink contradicting hers and has fallen from pretty high heights. She was clearly as tough as nails, but she didn’t want to always be busting her ass on a daily basis.

But hey, that’s what Agent Work is all about. That’s what SquidBeak is all about. That and protecting Inkopolis.

Three put her cape down next to Umiko and then pulled out the glasses, the glasses she pulled off the Octoling that attacked her. Observing them, she realized that they weren’t the same color as when they were on the Octoling’s face. They were a dark-ish shade of red on one side when they were on the Octoling and now they were just black with a slide fade of red dispersing across the glass. They were cracked as well…probably from Three’s fall. The entire reason that Three was in the underground was because of these glasses. Cap’n Cuttlefish had told her that Kamabo, a ‘harmless’ organization, has been doing some shady shit and it was up to him and Three, apparently SquidBeak’s top agent, to investigate and figure out what’s going on. Cuttlefish mentioned glasses…mainly because after Three and Four had met, Marie had talked to Cuttlefish about the glasses and how they were different from when Three had the battle with Octavio 2 years ago. And…on top of that…Callie was brainwashed with said glasses. The glasses on Callie just looked hella cooler because they had, as Callie described, ‘damn pretty rainbows’ on it. Three was listening in the entire time, she wasn’t really interested in what Four had to talk about…which Cap’n Cuttlefish chastised her about later.

She couldn’t help that she just didn’t like talking to people.

Three placed the glasses back in the bag and zipped it up. She sat back and sighed. She felt that she wasn’t going to get back home to Cap’n…

I should wake up Umiko. “Aye. Umiko?” she said as she gently shook Umiko. Umiko opened her eyes and blinked a few times. She tilted her head and looked at Three with a smile. “You have bags under your eyes,” Umiko said.

“So?”

“They make you look older.”

“Wha-“

“How old are you anyway?”

“I’m 16, almost 17.”

“You look like you’re in your twenties-“

“Shut up. I didn’t get that much sleep.” Three pushed herself off the ground and picked up her bag. “I basically just napped because I was looking out for your ass.”

Umiko giggled.

Three turned around, crossed her arms, and rolled her eyes. “Do you need help getting up? Are you still feeling sick?”

Umiko shook her head. “I’m fine.” She pushed herself off the ground and hopped up to face Three. “I appreciate your kindness. You’re really cordial.”

Three raised an eyebrow.

Umiko scoffed playfully. “‘Nice’ silly.”

Three nodded. “Hmm. Don’t get used to it. I’m just here to get back to my Captain and then do my job.” She began walking towards the end of the tunnel and Umiko followed.

“You’re definitely here for more than that. I can tell.”

“What the hell else do you think I’m here for?”

“…Us.” Her big grin was an indication of pure innocence and belief in a person of a different species she had just met that day.

“I’m not here for- I’m- I do- It’s… whatever. Let’s just go.” Three walked a bit faster in front of Umiko. Umiko walked happily behind her. “Get in front of me just in case someone comes from behind or above. Then I have time to get to you.” She said to Umiko, grabbing her arm and placing her in front.

After a couple of minutes, they came across another similar area of the tunnel where it splits into more tunnels. Three was really starting to get agitated about that, it was all too confusing! “Oh my fucking Cod.” She rubbed her face in frustration.

“I uh…I’m not sure about where to goooo…I’m trying to think and calculate our amount of miles…the turns…the possible variation and placement of the tunnels from the metro and the Sanitization Center…………..I apologize Three…I don’t know where we may be or where we should head.”

“Cod. DAMMIT. I’m never going to get out of here!” she groaned loudly.

“It’s- it’s okay, Three…” she said reaching out to touch Three’s shoulder but Three shrugged her off.

“Hey! Who are you!?” A voice said from out of nowhere. It echoed across the acoustics of the tunnels and reached Umiko and Three. It sent a shiver down both of their spines and Three didn’t even understand what the voice said. Umiko grabbed Three quickly and Three grabbed her weapon on her hip and looked around for where the voice came from. Umiko’s grip on Three tightened but Three wasn’t even thinking about that. All she wanted to know was where this voice was coming from and how she was going to kick their ass.

“Hey! You!” it echoed again. This time it sounded, more like a bunch of people.

“Three…where-?”

“Shh!” Three took her weapon off her hip and backed up slowly with Umiko still corral on Three’s arm tightly. She turned to her. “Can you turn into an octopus? Maybe you can fit in my bag.” She whispered.

“I’ll suffocate! There is no way that I can inhale in such a converged area!”

“I’ll keep it slightly open. I just need you to-“ Three finally saw who was speaking to them not too far from the tunnel. She could see silhouettes, three of them exactly. She was slightly terror-stricken. “Get the fuck in the bag, Umiko.”

Umiko turned into an octopus and slid into Three’s bag. As Three mentioned earlier, she kept it slightly open for Umiko to slide her head in and out as she please, and for breathing of course. Three began to run. She didn’t care where…she just needed to run. She didn’t think that facing the group head-on was a good idea.

“I think facing them head-on is a good idea!”

Three rolled her eyes as she ran, slightly turning her head to talk to Umiko in her bag. “What makes you think that? I can lose them by running, I’m pretty fast.”

“That doesn’t matter, you’re leaving prints on the ground. Octolings have advanced technology to track you down. Not just from liberated tracks, but from your thoughts of action and your sense. And Three…you have a really strong smell.”

“Are you saying I stink?”

“…Yeah.”

Cod Fucking Damn. Is it wrong for an Inkling to skip a day of washing or two?

“Fine. I’ll stop.” She skidded in her tracks. In a matter of 10 seconds, she put down her bag with Umiko in it, who hid deeply inside, readied her weapon and commenced in her known hero stance for ready battle. “Come at me you bastards.”

The three silhouettes approached her more slowly this time, arising from the darkness and revealing their faces and pallets. One of them, tall-ish light-skinned with dark green eyes, another one, shorter than the first one brown-ish skin, pink eyes with green irises…odd but cool, the other one, the only girl, brown-ish skin, one black eye, one pink one, the same height as the second boy. All of them wearing Octoling gear, which seemed to be made up of…metal? How uncomfortable. But…it worked.

The girl Octoling laughed…and what a deranged laugh it was, like a stereotypical villain in the movies or overexaggerated cartoons. Her laughs turned into rapid exhales. Her eyes widening as her head turned to the side.

“Ew. What the fuck is wrong with that chick? Ya’ll feed her crack?” Three said. “And what’s wrong with this one? Expressionless much? Hellooo? Earth to creepy-ass looking Octoling who’s probably seen some dark shit? You see your best friends having sex or something? Is this why you looking like that?”

The second Octoling stared, blinking every once in a while.

All of them collectively growled and continued to get closer and closer to Three. “Get any closer and I’ll blow your brains out.”

And so suddenly, the tall Octoling lunged at her. Three dodged and crossed him from around, kicking him in the back, bringing him down. The girl lunged at her next, her arms outreached and laughing that same…deranged…laugh. Three took her hands and swung her around, however, her reflexes were lightning fast and she was able to kick Three’s legs out from behind, which gave the taller Octoling time to tackle her. Three grabbed her weapon and shot low tide ink at the Octoling’s chest which sent him tumbling over Three, unconscious.

Three was able to get up and observe her options, and wonder why the other Octoling wasn’t fighting…but she kept a close eye on him. There wasn’t much time to think at all…just fight the standing Octoling(s).

Umiko was watching the entire time. Not sure what to do.

The girl Octoling punched Three square in the face and kneed her in the gut which made Umiko jump and Three fall backward, but she was okay. She came back with a punch in return straight to the Octoling’s gut which was very successful. However, Three noticed the Octoling’s fast reflexes and was sure to dodge to whichever direction she could to get out of the view of the Octoling, so she rolled to the side and sidestepped further away from her.

The Octoling laughed again.

“What?” Three wiped the blood from her mouth. “Is that it?”

The Octoling disregarded her question, or at least to Three’s thought. She instead reached behind her and pulled out a knife. A pocketknife. A sharp…pocketknife. The Octoling that was standing by threw a small chip at the girl Octoling, who caught it. There was a menacing look on the girls face as she stepped closer and closer to Three.

“What the fuck is that?”

Three was terrified. She never, never in her life, was approached with a knife. She quickly took her weapon and shot low tide ink at the Octoling’s hand but she dodges it, leaving Three’s with not the best vision because of the clash of colors against the dark gray of the tunnel…but she also just happened to get ink in her eye somehow. The Octoling lunged for Three with the knife, grazing her temporarily exposed torso in the process, leaving a long cut. Her shirt had come up while she was dodging, leaving the skin open for anything.

Three sucked in air through her teeth, cringing at the pain, but not focusing on it. All she wanted to know…was what was that chip? And…was Three gonna make it out of here alive…?

She can’t think like that. She had years of training. She was Agent Three!

Three continued to shoot at the Octoling. Every shot lead to the Octoling dodging to the side, to the left, to the right, downward…everywhere!

Then…the weapon was knocked out of Three’s hand and the next thing she felt…was her head, her back, her legs against the cold tunnel ground. Above her, on top of her, the Octoling, forcing the knife down upon her. Three struggled to keep the knife away from her face and from her body in general.

Umiko…still on the side…watching.

“Ah…Umiko...!” Three said with a grunt, trying her best to keep the knife away from her. “I need you…to run.”

“What?”

“Run! Fucking run!”

Umiko shook her head. “NO! Why would I do that?”

“B-because… even… though they are trying t-to…kill…me…” Three tried forcing the Octoling off of her. “They could…g-get y-you… if I die-“

“No! You won’t die! No. No. N-No… Three- Three- Thr-“

A shrill scream was heard echoing across the tunnels…perhaps past the tunnels.

That shrill scream came from Three. The knife in her arm, blood spilling out slowly. Tears forming at the corner of her eyes. She didn’t have the power to let out another scream once the knife was taken out by force.

A chill went down Umiko’s spine. She just witnessed her friend get stabbed…by her own kind… and she did nothing. No one thing was done. She felt like she let her down. The first friend she had ever had…the one who she felt close too. How could she fail at her first partnership? How could she learn to live again…to love again…if the one she had cared for the first time in her life was bleeding out at the hands of her own.

Something…something was pulling her…her feet were moving but her brain didn’t tell them too. Her blood was boiling…everything felt hot. Everything around her was…collapsing? There were black circles enclosing the world around her and the only thing she could see was the hurt look on Three’s face and the satisfied look on the Octoling’s face…fiddling with the chip in her hand as she moved it towards Three’s wound.

She wasn’t going to let her touch Three again.

A shrill scream was heard echoing the tunnels…perhaps past the tunnels.

That shrill scream came from the Octoling girl who had hurt Three…and all Umiko could see was two unconscious Octoling’s, one Octoling…short-circuiting?…and Three…

“Oh my Cod! Three.” Umiko ran to Three’s side, bending down to her as she observed the wound.

Three was breathing slowly…but heavily. One stray tear falling from her face but Three knew damn well she was trying to hide her true feelings. She forced a crooked smirk at Umiko. “No…no…it’s okay. I’m fine.”

“Are you stupid? You’re losing a lot of blood and you say you’re fine? Preposterous.”

Three’s pupils were slowly becoming more and more dilated. “Why are you now speaking…like a…like a…what the fwuak? What the fwuak and I’m tryin’ to say? Yoouuu-“

“Okay you’re delirious now. I’m picking you up. But first. I’m gonna see what’s up with this ‘Octoling’ over here.” Umiko walked up to the Octoling, blank face and all. The closer she looked, the more she realized… “This is an AI. We’ve been working on these for a while… I can’t believe they actually made one. Welp! Good for them! I don’t care!” she turned back around to Three. “I’m gonna pick you up, okay?”

“Suureeee…pick me up!” she said sarcastically. “I’m nob weakbbb-Fwuakinnn…Owwww…”

Umiko giggled as she picked up Three’s bag and then picked her up bridal style, she knew Three was gonna bounce back.

Three whimpered out of pain once she was picked up, so Umiko tried her best not to fiddle with the wound, or even touch it.

In all honesty, Three was trying to make Umiko laugh a little bit to put her at ease but at the same time, she was losing a lot of blood… Three looked up at Umiko the best that she could…everything was blurry.

Umiko, with Three in her arms, carried her as quickly as she could.

Walking for what seemed like forever…Suddenly…she saw…light. Light! “This must be the end of the tunnel! Three’s we’re at the end of the tunnel!!!” she said, jumping up and down.

“Ow. Ow. Ow.”

“Oh sorry.”

“Isss fineeee. Get us…outta here.”

Umiko walked towards the light of the tunnel, both of them feeling the air brush against their skin, the light bouncing off them.

Three opened her eyes as big as possible, looking at the sky above, which was all she could see based on the position she was in. It was cloudy…and humid. Three thought the underground was just one big building… if she was being honest. However, she thought that she was hallucinating and the pain in her arm just increased with every step Umiko took. She just closed her eyes, feeling another tear run down her face.

Three…you’re showing weakness. A damn Octoling is carrying you around and you’re…crying? Buck the fuck up you punk. You’re scaring yourself shitless.

When Three opened her eyes again, the sky wasn’t as cloudy as it was before…it was slightly sunny but it wasn’t a pretty sunny. The sun didn’t even look real. She was laying on crusty and dry grass, mostly colored brown to indicate the lack of care and moisture. Her arm was…holy shit her arm was on fire!

“Ah!” she attempted to sit up but an unknown force placed her back down on her back.

“Okay! Okay! I apologize! I’m just trying to fix you!”

“U-Umiko?”

“Yeah! It’s me!”

“S-Stop.”

“Stop what?”

“Touching my arm.”

“No.”

“What the fuck do you mean ‘no’?”

Umiko applied more pressure to Three’s arm, which made Three flinched and yell once again, making her more annoyed than ever. It really. Fucking. Hurt. “Stop!”

“I have to apply pressure to the wound or else you will lose hemoglobin and become anemic or it will get infected! Just bear with me! Bite on something.”

“Like what? The crusty ass grass? And where’d you get all that stuff from?”

“You had a first aid kit…or something of it, in your bag. It had nothing but band-aids and gauge, but I was able to use the oils from the trees as medicine. I didn’t put it on you yet.”

Three tilted her head to the side. “And are you sure that the…oil from the trees are okay for Inklings?”

“Yeah, yeah! Inkling and Octoling skin are very analogous!”

Three raised an eyebrow.

“Similar.”

Three nodded. She sucked in air aggressively through her teeth as Umiko put more pressure on her wound.

“In all honesty, it’s not all that bad and most likely, you’ll avoid infection. If not, you’ll still be okay. And at least it’s your left! I can tell you’re right-handed.”

Three was actually astonished by everything Umiko was saying and doing for Three. She could say…she trusted her…but…she wouldn’t go that far. Three doesn’t trust anyone. She watched as Umiko put the oil on her wound and then dressed it in gauge carefully and gently but firmly. It still hurt, but now, it didn’t feel as bad.

“Tight or-?”

“No,” Three moved her arm slightly, stopping when it began to sting. “It’s fine. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome!!”

Three was honestly very grateful…but she told herself over and over again…don't let it happen again. Ever.

Chapter Text

Three’s arm was beginning to feel so much better. Both her and Umiko hoped that with the materials and ‘medicine’ they had, that Three wouldn’t develop a terrible infection.

“Even if you did get an infection, it would be easily fixable,” Umiko said. Three didn’t believe her. That was just something to say to make someone who just got stabbed and didn’t even have proper medicine and care to take care of the wound feel better.

Three and Umiko sat there for a while, observing the sun and the trees. They looked odd to Three. She compared them to the trees, sun, and flowers that she was looking at, to the ones that she visualized from Inkopolis. Everything in the underground looked entirely different.

“What’s up with this place?” Three asked.

“What do you mean?”

“It just looks…weird… I don’t know how to describe it.”

“That’s because it’s all fake.”

Three gazed at Umiko and waited for her to explain.

“It’s all fake. Well…the sun is fake. It’s just a luminescent ball of artificial light form a holographic projector. You can just tell. But also…I know that this place is a simulation. You can change it up to look like this odd weather subject called ‘snow’. You can change it up to look like…anything! I think it’s cool but at the same time…Uh. I don’t know. Everything else is…real…but deteriorating. Like the trees. They are deteriorating, so they also secrete oil. That’s what I used for your wound. It’s universal medicine.”

“It stings.”

“Well…”

“I better not get a fucking infection or I’m coming for your ass and this tree’s ass.”

Umiko laughed. But Three wasn’t laughing…on the outside.

It wasn’t long before they left that artificial place. Once they left and stepped outside of a sliding metal door. They closed it behind them, leaving them back into the gray and dark atmosphere they knew. Luckily, there were no more tunnels, just a singular hallway. Three didn’t know where to go and if it was even safe to move.

“Um… I know where I am now… we’re not too far from the city. We just have to get out of here without being seen. There are some…doors…that you can… go through to get out of the facility.”

“Oh okay.” “Actually Umiko, do you know what this facility is called? I never asked and I feel stupid as shit for not asking before.”

“Oh! It’s the Octoling Training and Sanitize Service. OTSS! You’ve basically seen almost everything but I’m positive you don’t want to see everything else. The only thing you haven’t seen is the Hypnotization Training Area that I’m from. Basically…they just test your ability to stay underneath the command of King DJ Octavio! Whenever he comes back…”

Three observed the expression on Umiko’s face. She looked…hurt? Hurt about what? Octavio? That couldn’t be. The Octolings opposed DJ Octavio…at least that’s what she heard. “Do you uh… miss DJ Octavio?”

“Part of me doesn’t but… also… a part of me does.”

Three couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Why? He’s awful! Haha, two years ago, I was so glad I whipped his ass!”

… Three wasn’t supposed to tell anyone that. She was too in the moment. Too comfortable.

Fuck.

Umiko whipped her head around so fast to look at Three she almost cracked something. “You were the one who did that? You’re…THAT Agent Three?”

Three just stood there with a blank expression.

“You never told me you were an agent! And you look nothing like how they draw you!” she said, a tint of playfulness…with a confusing tint of anger. “You’re taller…darker tentacles… mercenary…”

“Wait. Wat.”

“But…you’re Agent Three. I…I didn’t know that. You. You were the one that was sent to kill as many of us as you could, weren’t you? I heard it over the speaker this morning…you were…how could I miss this?”

…“N-No. No. That’s not it at all! I didn’t come here to kill Octolings! I TOLD you I was here to investigate and then get back to my Captain!”

“And is this Captain…Captain Cuttlefish. THAT Mr. Craig Cuttlefish of the New SquidBeak Splatoon?”

“Y-yeah? But what does that- and how do you know?-” All those books Umiko read… of course, she knew about the history of the Great Turf War…actually every Octoling most likely did.

“Your Splatoon caused a whole world of problems for us! That’s the entire reason we are underground.” Umiko started to back away from Three slowly until she stopped in her tracks. “The Great Turf War…uh…Craig Cuttlefish and Octavio caused all of this…Cuttlefish drove Octavio into the ground while Inkling lived life up in the open where there is happiness, freedom, the sun, and the sky… breathable oxygen. While we are STUCK down here with artificial light, artificial oxygen and now no ruler, yet still underneath the power of a dictatorship… The New SquidBeak Splatoon just couldn’t leave us alone.”

Three didn’t expect Umiko to say stuff like this... She didn’t expect Umiko to start an argument at all. Now she could tell…Umiko was truly upset…at her… at the situation. But…Three was still confused…and…

“Inkling kind is not the only kind to blame! Your ruler sent out troops of different species to hunt us down, steal our power source, and kill us! Kill our best agents!” Three walked toward Umiko, backing her into the wall. “I almost fucking DIED. I almost died from getting cut and shot at, swallowing enemy ink, falling off cliffs, and I got word after the whole NEW fiasco with the Great Zapfish, not too long ago before I came down here and I met you, that my friend Four was close to death because you guys thought it was funny to kidnap one of our idols! Possibly…brainwashing her, but who knows, you could’ve done worse!”

“We’ve been brainwashed. Didn’t you just hear me? All of our Octoling troops are brainwashed when we send them to Octo Valley and Octo Canyon!”

Three didn’t know that. That’s probably…the glasses…she ripped off that Octoling’s face…

“You think-“ Umiko was starting to form tears at the corners of her eyes. Her voice cracking. “You think that this is a choice for us? You think…you…you actually think… you actually think that we want to h-hurt the Inklings? We don’t. But you come and a-attack and… hurt us. So, we defend ourselves and get revenge. What are we supposed to do when the ‘Great Agent Three’ is spotted near the area? We actually have a code for you. ‘Code Three.’ A.k.a. the most dangerous and foul-smelling Inkling known to Octoling kind is nearby. Either take shelter or prepare to fight. Although some of us took you as a joke… most of us… we lived in FEAR of you. You were labeled a KILLER. I don’t know if I want to believe that label or not…”

Three didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t even comprehend…she couldn’t even bare too… She couldn’t counter that, and she couldn’t defend herself. She felt that…she was a killer. She could feel it and it felt bad. She’d killed so many Octolings. So many Octarians. So many…too many…too many to count…so many to feel bad about. But at the same time…

Umiko wrapped her arms around herself, feeling chills rise up and down her body from anger and fear. She continued. “I’ve lost so many friends that I can never see again. So many friends that didn’t have to leave so soon. They didn’t deserve it at all.”

“I didn’t mean to kill… I had to for protection. I’m-I’m sorry that I- I didn’t know… But…Umiko…after what we’ve just been through…you don’t trust me anymore?” she said, sadness in her voice. “What if I told you that I wasn’t like that anymore? That I don’t like killing anymore. Would you believe me?” Three got closer to Umiko, attempting to touch her on the shoulder but she moved away. “I thought you said you believed I was here for you guys. Remember? I want to be here for you. I want to. I swear.”

Umiko interrupted her. “I’m starting…to realize…that you’re using me…to get out of here. Were you going to kill me too Three?” Umiko looked as if she was going to cry right then and there.

“What the fu-” Three rubbed her face in frustration and walked back and forth across the hallway and then back to meet Umiko face to face. She tried her best to stay calm. What Three got from this…was that Umiko must have been alone. She took a deep breath and exhaled, feeling most of the anger leave her system. “Umiko, That’s so untrue. I wholeheartedly promised I would get you to the surface! Remember?”

“Tell you what. I’ll help you get the surface once I find my Captain. We’ll be happy to help you.”

Umiko’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Yeah, dude.” (Kamabo Chapter 3)

Umiko shook her head and glared at Three. “Would you have kept that promise? You are under the influence of Craig Cuttlefish. The one who promised to stay best friends with Octavio, be there for him, you know…be a friend. But that didn’t happen did it? History repeats itself and it has plenty of times, especially in my case and plenty of others as well. Inklings making promises to their friends and family and even enemies they can’t seem to keep. I wanna trust you Three but…I don’t know…”

Three grunted loudly in frustration. Loud enough to rumble the halls. She couldn’t keep in her anger anymore. It was impossible for someone like Three. “Umiko are you fucking serious!? Are you really gonna believe the bullshit that is coming out of your mouth!? Everything that I’ve done for you! I’ve stuck with you…LOYALY! I rescued you! Stopped you from sanitization! Protected you from your own kind! PROMISED you I would take you to Inkopolis! And now you don’t trust me!? BULLSHIT. ABSOLUTE FUCKING BULLSHIT. This is exactly why I don’t deal with Octolings anyway! They’re greedy! They’re ungrateful! And they can’t be decent friends!” now Three’s voice was wavering with chocked but held in sobs.

Umiko felt something inside of her just break. It was so realistic inside of her…she actually thought that her insides broke in two. Tears were now streaming down her face.

Three shook her head. “This is exactly what I get for trusting people. I should have learned from all of those other experiences in my life. Yet I don’t. fucking. Learn. So…whatever Umiko. Go get sanitized for all I care. Because I guess we were never friends in the first place.” She walked in the opposite direction of Umiko, turning and not looking back. She couldn’t believe what just happened. She felt extremely close to Umiko. Not as close as she does to Cap’n or Callie or Marie…but she was close to their level…and couldn’t have been much closer.

She thought she could change her thought process when it came to Octolings…but in the end, they were all the same. Ungrateful bastards who fool you with happy-go-lucky friendly personalities and then stab you in the back when they get the chance once they don’t need you anymore.

Three found a corner nearby and sat down in it, being as close to the wall as possible. She looked at her wound on her left arm. She was still bleeding through her bandages and she felt as if the gauze was sticking to her skin. Gross. She looked at it for a long time and felt a choked sob come up her throat and burst out.

She was crying.

A lot.

Why?

Well…She knew it was because of Umiko.

She knew that deep down inside she felt something with her.

Umiko was different.

Well not anymore.

She’s just like everyone else. Octolings AND Inklings alike.

Three wet her entire shirt and her tentacles. She wiped her eyes with her wrists and tried to take deep breaths. But they were so shaky and uneven, inconsistent. It was so hard to breathe. She had never cried so much. And for what!? Over an Octoling who wasn’t her friend in the first place? Three shouldn’t be crying over that. Three shouldn’t be crying at all. Three doesn’t cry. At least not anymore. Crying was weakness. And if Three showed weakness, then she was feeble. And that was not a label that attained to Three in any color, shape, or form. It was far from her touch and it was from her conscious and subconscious mind. And SHOULD be far from anyone’s thoughts as well.

Three was tough. She never cried. She never showed any weak emotion such as fear. Three gets scared but she doesn’t show it. Three should only be afraid of her own demise. Nothing else. If she was afraid of anything else, then she was weak. And that was not a label that attained to Three in any color, shape, or form. It was far from her touch and it was…it was the base of all her problems.

Three was afraid of losing. She was afraid of losing because if she lost, everyone else who put their trust in her lost as well.

Agent Three. Get up.

She couldn’t help but think about that time two years ago. She was just 14. New to Inkopolis. Curious. Now the Third Agent of SquidBeak. The Great Zapfish was stolen. Three was on a roll, until she got hurt. Badly. Cuts and bruises and aches all along her body. She felt incredibly heavy and nauseous. She wasn’t ready for this.

“Three. Come one kiddo! Get up.”

“I can’t!”

“Yes you can! What’s wrong?”

“I…I’m hurt.”

“I know you are.”

“Then why did you ask-“

“Listen to me Three.”

“Yes sir.”

“You’re gonna get hurt. I know. I’ve been there. But I see it in you. You’re tough. You’re strong. And you care about people.”

“That last statement…was so fucking false.”

“But Three. You’re in the Splatoon.”

“Because you forced me too, Cap’n!”

“But you’re still here. Why didn’t you leave?”

“Because I… I have nowhere else to go.”

“Of course you do! It’s Inkopolis!”

… “Ow. Fuck… Cap’n I can’t do it.”

“Take your time. And as you do, tell me. Why didn’t you leave kid?”

…….

……..

… “Because I love you Cap’n. No one. No one cared about me. And I didn’t care about them. Even those who were close to me.”

“…”

“I was a mistake. I was an accident of two crazy young adults who fell in love and went too fast. I was a burden from the start.”

As Three looked back on it. She really didn’t have to tell her entire cliché life story. Edgy Bitch.

But…it was true.

“I feel closer to you than I do my parents. You’re like the father I never had. And never thought I needed.”

“Oh… Well I love you too Three. You’re like the daughter I… well…I had a daughter but…I guess your like an um…you’re like aaaa….aaaaaaaaaa…Ah! I dunno. I love ya too kid! No get up. Get up Agent Three.”

“I’ll try…Gramps.”

Get up Agent Three.

Get the fuck up.

And she did.

Time to find Cap’n Cuttlefish. On her own.