Dipper sighed. He turned up the volume on his music to drown out the ramblings of the other passengers aboard the RV. They were back on the road again just two days after returning from their previous trip, but this time the group consisted of the Pines family and Wendy. Pacifica and Gideon were left behind.
Grunkle Ford wanted to get data on the area surrounding the demon's territory right away; so only two days later of returning home, Dipper and Mabel were back on the road once again.
"It won't take too long," their grunkle had said. "Just a two or three days and you'll be back in Gravity Falls." Dipper hoped that was true; he knew his sister hoped so, too.
Fortunately for Dipper, he managed to grab one of his books before they were shoved into the RV, so at least he had some entertainment. Dipper was deeply immersed into his book, he didn't he didn't even notice that the RV stopped moving. Five minutes later, he barely felt Wendy tapping his shoulder, telling him that they've already arrived.
Dipper stepped out of the vehicle only to nearly crash into a Stan clone. Two of his grunkle's clones were setting up Ford's various equipment, while the the real Grunkle Stan was standing next to his brother, who was talking non-stop.
Stanley let out a rather obvious yawn. "Are you listening to me, Stanley?!" Ford questioned. Stan waved him off.
"Course I am. Why'd you bring the WCU?"
"I already told you, it's–"
Dipper walked passed the two brothers and stood next to his sister, who was staring off into the large expanse of trees in front of them.
"What do you think we'll find in there?" She asked.
Dipper shrugged. "Maybe something new and undiscovered... and hopefully won't kill or maim us."
Mable chuckled. "Well, it's nothing we can't get through."
She slung an arm around her brother and grinned. "After all, we're the Mystery Twins!" With her free arm, she pumped a fist into the air.
Dipper smiled. "Yeah."
They've been hiking through the wild woods for a few hours now. A day had passed since they've arrived. At first they only walked around the perimeter, collecting data and identifying nearby wildlife. So far they haven't encountered anything worse than a gremogoblin, and to be honest, it was slightly disappointing. Nothing was too out of the ordinary. Well, for them at least. Every kind of fauna and flora they've seen has already been identified.
"This is sooo boring," Mabel whined. "Wasn't this supposed to be super dangerous?"
"Patience, Mabel. We're probably just not in deep enough," said Ford.
"But we've been walking for hours!–"
"Monster incoming!" Wendy interrupted.
They immediately got into defensive positions.
"Where is it coming from?" Ford questioned. A loud screech came from above them. Wendy pointed at the sky.
A large metallic bird, colored bronze and iron, flew into view at a breathtaking speed. It swooped down into range and shot its razor-sharp feathers at them like throwing knives, forcing the group to dodge and scatter.
"What is that?!"
Wendy created an ice wall to shield herself and Mabel, while the males hid behind the metallic feathers that were lodged into the ground. The giant bird halted its attack; it landed on the ground and raised its wings in a threatening manner and its bronze beak pointed forwards. Grunkle Ford fired his plasma gun at the bird, followed by Wendy throwing ice axes, which only resulted in giant feathers getting shot in their direction.
"We need to leave! It might have a flock and call for them!"
As if on cue, the unknown bird let out a shrill, ear-piercing screech. Ford formed a plan in his head and relayed it to the rest of the team.
"Dipper will get its attention and lead it over there-" He pointed and Dipper acknowledged it with a nod. "-where Stanley and I will knock it down. Wendy will freeze it to the ground and, Mabel, you prepare a Starpath. We'll need a quick getaway."
Starpath. It's one of Mabel's personal magic spells. The rest of the team nodded and preformed their respective tasks. Dipper stepped out of hiding and called out to the metallic bird, catching its attention. The large bird sprinted towards the boy with its razor wings spread out. Stanford ran to Dipper's side and shot at the creature's eyes. Irritated, the bird halted and covered its face from the plasma blasts. Stanley took the chance to gather magic into his hands and gave one loud clap in the metal bird's direction, creating a powerful sound wave that knocked it to the ground. Wendy stepped forward to cast her magic. The white-blue magic enveloping the bird's wings and feet and freezing into ice. Distressed, the metal bird began to struggle and hack away at the ice with its sharp-pointed beak. Grunkle Stan called out Mabel's name, prompting the girl to cast her Starpath which made a glittering road of shining lights appear. They stepped onto it while the feathered creature tried to free itself and they were off.
Starpath is a unique spell of Mabel's that anchored magic from one point to another and creates a shortcut of sorts. It's not teleportation, it just... moves really quickly. But in order for the spell to work properly, the caster, which is Mabel, has to know the exact location of the two anchor points, otherwise the spell will fall apart halfway. Speaking of which...
"Mabel, where are we going?"
"Uhh, to that stream we saw a while back... I think..."
Ford was interrupted when he narrowly dodged the metal feathers that were shot from above.
The five of them looked up to see five more of those familiar metal birds in the sky and were quickly gaining on them. Stanley swore under his breath as the creatures swooped down, firing more feathers at them; the interruption caused the unstable Starpath to implode on itself, sending the five humans to tumble off in different directions.
When Dipper got his bearings, he immediately found himself being chased the three of the bronze birds. He broke into a full sprint and tried to get away; jumping over roots and ducking under branches, all the while throwing magic spells behind him. It's hard to focus directing his magic when blade-like feathers were being shot at him. He managed to knock one of them out of the sky.
Dipper ended up on the edge of a cliff, just beyond a small clearing m. He turned back around to see the two remaining birds land on the ground, blocking his path. The predators pounced, but Dipper, at a cliche turn of events, took a step backwards on some lose rocks which slipped and sent him tumbling of the edge with a scream. The two birds peered off the cliff. After confirming that the boy had disappeared beyond the thick expanse of treetops, they took off and left, a bit disappointed that their prey had vanished. As soon as the carnivorous birds were out of sight, four humans entered the small clearing, the brunette ran to the edge and leaned over. She cried out, "DIPPER!"
Stanley grabbed her arm and pulled her back away before she herself fell over. "No no no..."
"Mabel, calm down!" Stan told the girl as she tried to wretch herself out of his grasp. "You won't do your brother any good by panicking."
"I'm sure your brother's fine. We've been through worse after all," Ford reassured her.
Mabel freed herself from her Grunkle's arms. "I know he is," she said. "It just that... it always scares me whenever something like this happens."
"We better start looking around," Wendy said. "There has to be a mildly safer way down than jumping off a cliff."