The Showbizz Rival Survival Island

The island that Rodeo had directed Rose to join her at was so beautiful and picturesque that it looked like more of a place for a beach vacation than a survival exercise. Well... it didn't quite look like an unspoiled beach either, considering that, standing out in the center of the island, a four-story building with glass walls and a dome on top, with two star-shaped radio dishes, was positioned. It was like Showbizz's round, star-topped head and smirking face were surveying the entire island... and they probably were.

The island's sandy beaches were dotted lightly with jungle trees; where the beach gave way to grass, the area became dense, jungle forest. There was no sign of a crashed boat or plane or anything, so apparently, the simulation only went so far... not that navis very often became ship-wrecked or plane-wrecked very often regardless. With an island like this, it looked like food and hunting ought to be abundant... but then... navis didn't need to eat either. Just how was this survival challenge supposed to work, anyway, with beings who didn't need to eat, drink, or sleep? Some of them could even walk on water or fly in the air, meaning they could theoretically leave the island at any time...

Rose would have to get her answers straight from her employer, which, in a rare turn of events, was not Showbizz, but rather, one of the game-show participants. As it so happened, Rodeo was easy to find, both because of her actions- she was currently brushing the mane of a small horse, which looked almost as out of place as her on the beach- and because of her wardrobe. She was dressed in a tassled, brown, cow-hide skirt and vest over a darker brown skinsuit. Her hands and feet were clad with similar gloves and boots, while her head was topped with a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, connected under the chin with a flapping string tie. Her hair was a rusty red-orange color, done in two braided pigtails. She was already sweating heavily, due to the heat... the hat might be helping a bit, but the whole ensemble was made for the old west, not a tropical island, which was a step hotter still than the climate she was prepared for.

The others that had been mentioned- Kama and Wasteland- were nowhere to be found. One more thing that was a little odd; a big batch of virus pieces were lying around further down the beach from where she'd jack in. It looked like a bunch of hardhats, thorny vines, sticky Metagel goo, wax from candles, feathers from FirePhoenix, scales from some reptilian virus... perhaps it was all building tools? It looked like someone had some heavy duty arts and crafts in mind.
And just like that, Rose beamed into Beach Net. No having to walk all the way from ACDC. Who knew being an operated Navi had those kinds of perks? But that wasn't the only nice thing she got to notice...she could feel her boots hitting the sand as she landed. No strange flower that weirded people out this time. It'd been a while since she really needed to hoof it...at least she still knew how.

Now, to get a grasp on where she was. ...Really, there wasn't much to grasp, as it was your garden variety tropical paradise island. Except for the building off in the distance, which words could not describe how unfitting it looked. Overall, a nice place to survive in, with plenty of green.

But Rose's focus soon became fixed on the Navi in the distance. How long had it even been since she saw a fellow customized Navi? Probably not since the garden attack...but now she could talk and look her in the face and not see the exact same thing all the time and, oh, it'd be so nice. She raced over to her employer as quickly as she could (which wasn't very fast; she knew how to walk and run, but she wasn't exactly proficient at it), stopping just a foot or so away from her. "Hello there! Are you Rodeo? I'm Rose! It's very nice to meet you!" Maybe they could even be friends and such, like she was with Leilani? Having a Navi friend sounded awesome...although, weren't there others that would be participating? Why, then she could have multiple Navi friends, and they could all chat and tell each other how their days went and other stuff. Already, this was shaping up to be the best day ever.
Rodeo turned her head to look down the beach, then dropped her brush in the sand (this would prove to be an obvious mistake later on) and ran to meet her new companion. Because they were both excitedly hopping across the sand, they reached each other in no time flat, and Rodeo had to stop herself from running into Rose. "Yer darn tootin'! The one and only Rodeo, at yer service," she introduced herself, tipping up her hat with two fingers and giving a wink. "And you must be Roseo- er, Rose! And cause we're here on this swanky-dank desert island together, that makes you a desert flower! Haw!" It wasn't much of a joke, but she was easily entertained.

"Oh, and this lil' gal here is Genevieve, my stal-wurt companion!" she paused, introducing her mule-sized horse. It gave a snort, then subtly stepped on the brush that had been dropped a few times, burying it deeper in the sand. "Yeeeah, she don't know what to make'a this island. We're used to the ol' dusty trail, not the ol' sandy beach! Ya'd think there'd be a lil' crossover there, but naw, t'aint worth a fistful'a dust... ner sand," she sighed, staring at the unfamiliar jungle. "I don't know nothin' bout scavengin' for no food, ner puttin' up no shelter! I hope yer a better sur-vive-ee-list than me!" It seemed like she really hadn't caught on yet that there was really no danger posed to navis by lack of such things.

She pinched her hat with two fingers and tilted it up again, wiping the sweat from her brow. She had a concerned look on her face, as though she'd forgotten where she was going next. "Oh, right, right. Kama's out in the ocean, said she was gonna wait in hidin' there in case we could get an advantage out of it. See that biiig ol' hollow-out-inside tree trunk over yonder, stickin up out the water? That's her breathin' tube! It's a ninja thing! Ain't that just the gosh-dawginest thing ya ever seen?!" Rodeo announced excitedly. "Neo-Shogun Empire's full'a them ninjas! Kinda makes me wanna try to be the first ol' west ninja on the net!"

Next, she pointed out toward the forest. "Wasteland's a screwball, alright, but since she's assigned here, I'm makin' the best of her unique talent for uh, wantin' to kill and eat things. She's a-huntin'! I mean, I'm a pretty good hunter too- I think, I got this lasso n'all- but I'll bet she's got a knack for it! Only thing is, she hasn't really come back from the jungle yet since she disappeared oooooh, I guess it twere roundabouts half an hour ago. Meat takes time, haw haw!" Rodeo chortled good-naturedly and absent-mindedly.

Finally, she addressed the eye-catching pile of virus pieces all sitting around. "Yer probably wonderin' if we committed some kinda mass virus extermina'shun earlier and piled all that up, right? Well, it tweren't us! Stuff was all thar when we got here!" she explained. "Kinda eerie, y'know? Like somebody gutted the whole island already! What kinder survival challenge ain't got no viruses to survive against?!" she asked, spreading out her arms. "Well, just makes it easier fer us, don't it? Haw haw!"

Further discussions were broken up by a voice emanating from the Showbizz complex in the center of the island. "Ahoy, my shipwrecked gals! Welcome to the Showbizz Rival Survival Island! Seeing as everybody's here, I think we oughta get started! The rules here are simple! We're gonna have a series of three themed island challenges. Each is elimination style between four teams! Bottom is out! Got it? Simple, right? If you lose right out the gate, you can expect crap all for rewards! If you make it all the way to the end, fabulous prizes await! Ooo! Aaah!"

"Aaaaw, shoot! I lost my brush!" Rodeo suddenly complained, looking this way and that. Once she spotted it under Genevieve's hoof, she slapped her hands on her cheeks comically and stomped her feet up and down. "Dagnabbit, that's the only brush I brought! Bad girl!" she complained, getting down onto her knees with her butt in the air as she tried to yank it out. "Bwargh! Can ya go and shake Kama, Rose? She needs to hear all this Showbizz is tellin' us! Sounds like it's gonna be a little more complicated than I figgered!"

If Rose wanted to do that, it'd mean a little swim; there was no way to reach Kama's breathing spout without swimming out, and the rest of her was somewhere beneath the water. Heedless of the problem, Showbizz continued her briefing. "Our teams today are the Neo-Shogun team, the pirate team, the NetPolice team, and the Global Admin team. Pick your favorites, viewers at home, and cheer them on! Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty and discuss our first contest!"

Rose might be left to wonder, first off, if she'd be receiving any cut of those rewards, and secondly, if she'd still receive her promised payment if they didn't place high. Either way, the first step was to rally the group, which would mean getting Kama out of the water.
And there were greetings, and it was good. Actual Navi to Navi conversation! Rose, however, was not an expert at locating things like jokes...which Rodeo would probably appreciate if she joked like that a lot. "Why thank you! I think you're cute, too! And I like your, uh, what's it called, horse!" She didn't seem too thrilled about meeting a new Navi, though, which made the plant Navi slightly confused. "Um, did I upset her? I'm sorry, I promise I'll never forget what a horse is called again!"

As the cowgirl looked over at the jungle, so too did Rose. "I can't say it was quite like this, but I did have to survive on my own for a while. Don't worry, I know a thing or two about plants and flowers, so I can pitch in for sure!" Nothing in sight looked like it'd be good to eat, though. Maybe that stuff was deeper in?

And incidentally, weren't there supposed to be more potential friends? As it turned out, yes, and Rodeo had no problem explaining where they were. "Using a tree trunk to breathe? That's kinda cleverrrrrrr wait a second. Tree TRUNK?" Sure enough, she could see one sticking out of the water, hollowed out. "There are Navis that big?! Wow, I guess I still have some things to learn." So, who else was there? "Hunting, huh? I guess between me and her, food won't be a concern!" She'd been for 30 minutes? Hmm, that didn't seem too weird to her. Though it wasn't like she knew much about the subject. "Maybe she's just having bad luck? Although if she's the one that already got all this stuff-" As it turned out, nope. "Really? That's kinda weird. It's like leaving someone's entrails out on the beach!" Nice, juicy entrails. Especially the heart. Mmm...

Before Rose could start drooling, a nice loud voice snapped her back to cyberworld. Three contests, last place would be eliminated? That seemed nice and simple to her. Wonder what the challenges would be? She returned her focus to Rodeo, only to notice that she was now looking at a butt. It didn't seem to bother her much as she heard the request. "Shake...? I'm not sure I could shake a Navi big enough to use a tree for a breathing tube...but if you want me to go get her, sure thing!" She merrily skipped over in that direction, but noticed that her heart was starting to beat faster. And faster. Why? She wasn't built for physical tasks, exactly, but it wasn't exactly exhausting. And the reason became slightly more clear as she suddenly stopped in her tracks, just shy of where the surf was hitting land. "Eep!" Well, she knew she couldn't swim, but what was it about this water that was terrifying her so much? Just the idea of a foot getting wet made her legs shake a little. Yeah, there was no way she was going to get out there.

But, she still had to get Kama's attention somehow...maybe if she could throw something at her? ...No, she'd probably somehow pull something. Although...what if she wasn't the one throwing it? Okay, now she knew what to do. The flower Navi lived up to her namesake, and summoned her flower right behind her. She had it extend a vine, but frowned upon seeing the razor sharp thorn at the end, and withdrew it. Let's try that again...and this time, the thorn was extremely rounded at the end. She had it tilt upward, and the projectile was fired. If her aim was true, it'd land right in the tree trunk, and let the other Navi know she needed to get up. And if one wasn't enough, well...there were more where that came from. Lots more.