I'm pretty much the worst author ever when it comes to updating... I am really sorry, everyone. However, I totally appreciate every review that I have ever received, because they remind me that I have a story to finish and they encourage me to keep writing. I started this in the summer actually, but I was working and kind of forgot about this again. HOWEVER! I got off my lazy bum today and finished it, so I hope that the few of you that still read this will be happy and enjoy it!
Hugs to all~
Hyrule Town was lively this morning. Produce vendors shouted their prices at passer-bys and the mysterious acolyte vendor sat near the marketplace with his multicolored jars. Bakeries left their doors open, tempting potential buyers with the wonderful smell of fresh-baked bread.
Vaati soaked in all of this information, especially the smell of the bakery. The holes the Hylians had punched in the top of their jar allowed all of the wonderful sounds (and smells!) of Hyrule Town to drift in, and Vaati eyes were sparkling with excitement. He'd never been to such a huge town before, and even Minish marketplaces weren't as lively as Hyrule Town was today.
He constantly tugged on Ezlo's big sleeves, asking what such-and-such was or if they could get some bread later too. Ezlo answered his apprentice's questions as quickly as they came, thus encouraging even more.
But Ezlo was not as relaxed or excited as Vaati was. He couldn't help but think of all the things that could go wrong and his nerves wouldn't allow him to relax. Ezlo was silently calculating their route through the town, and he'd noticed that the Hylians were drifting westward now, away from the vibrant marketplace and its surrounding businesses.
Soon the center of town was behind them, and Vaati gazed about curiously at the more residential, calm area of the city. There were still a few businesses about, such as a café, but it was nothing compared to the city market.
About ten minutes after they had passed the market, Vaati got bored. He didn't much care for the Hyrulian resident's homes, and they reminded him too much of the situation he and Ezlo were currently in. Many of the homes were smaller than the home of their captors, and better suited to life in the city.
Eventually Vaati sat down, and Ezlo joined him slightly after. Their fear of being in a glass jar, suspended above the ground, had mostly gone away. Only once had the Hylian mother carrying them jolted the jar (and this was because of an out-of-place cobblestone), and Ezlo had finally stopped worrying about what he couldn't control. If the Hylian mother dropped them, there would be nothing he could do about it; but also, her care with their jar had proven to him that she would not drop them.
It was a comforting thing to know, even though Ezlo still mistrusted the Hylian family. He didn't trust anyone with his precious apprentice, although if Vaati knew he would have rolled his eyes and grumbled about Ezlo being too protective of him.
Not that Ezlo could help it, and he smiled as he thought about this and reached out to pat Vaati on the head. His apprentice's startled red eyes met his, but after a moment…
"Master Ezlooo!" Vaati griped, running a hand through his hair. "Don't pat me on the head!"
Ezlo only chuckled softly. Vaati was definitely getting back to normal, even though they were still currently prisoners in the jar. He had liked being able to get away with patting his apprentice's soft violet hair, though it seemed Vaati was going to try to nip that behavior in the bud.
Suddenly the easy atmosphere dissipated, and Ezlo and Vaati glanced at each other for a moment before scrambling to their feet. The Hylians had stopped in the middle of the street, and they seemed to be lost. The wind carried away most of their soft conversation however, and Vaati and Ezlo were only able to eavesdrop enough to understand that they were merely trying to remember which road to take.
Ezlo sighed with relief and sat back down; he had been deathly afraid that they had reached their destination. It was inevitable that they would, but Ezlo would have liked to postpone that as long as possible.
Vaati kept on his feet, hovering as close to Ezlo as he could without outright spelling out the fact that he was starting to get scared. Vaati may have only been twelve, but he wasn't naïve enough consider this a field trip.
His fear had been dammed by the earlier excitement of the town, but the quick conversation of the Hylian family about directions had reminded him of why they were here. This wasn't one of Ezlo's ideas to encourage Vaati to become worldlier; this was wholly a different matter.
Vaati knew that they could be in danger, and as he snuck a glance at his master's face, he understood suddenly that Ezlo had been worrying their entire trip. Vaati, as mature as he was for his age, still wasn't old enough to understand that most of Ezlo's worry was for him.
Vaati sighed softly, glancing out of the jar a moment and watching the houses pass by before looking at Ezlo again, but this time Ezlo's eyes met his. Instead of looking away quickly, Vaati kept his master's gaze, snorted softly, and then plopped down next to Ezlo, pretending to be impatient. But Ezlo smiled and abruptly threw an arm around Vaati (who squawked in shock and embarrassment – after all, Ezlo was such an uncool old fart!).
But even so, Vaati didn't throw off Ezlo's arm; he never dared admit to himself that Ezlo's presence was comforting or that he was scared. He pretended instead that he was humoring Ezlo's oldness – old people needed hugs sometimes, and he leaned his head on Ezlo's shoulder while glaring at his master, reminding him not to get used to this, even while he wrapped his small arms around his master.
Ezlo squeezed Vaati gently, which earned him another round of spluttering and complaints about "old people". Ezlo amusedly asked Vaati what old people he meant, and the brat rolled his eyes.
They watched the scenery go by and heard from a distance the sound of rushing water. The sound grew louder as the Hylians walked, and Vaati had lifted up his head to peer about for the source of the sound.
The source was actually quite close by, and after a minute or two Ezlo and Vaati realized that a bridge was coming up. They could now see the river gushing by merrily, and the Hylians' daughter, Meggie, rushed up ahead, shouting excitedly.
Her father ran after her and caught her before she could go too close to the water; though actually, the piece of the river that ran through Hyrule Town was not very dangerous. Meggie was just so small that even the relatively shallow river was a danger, as it was so wide.
Vaati secretly wished the girl had fallen in.
Meggie was quickly steered back to the road by her dad, and the family continued walking, this time over the bridge. Vaati couldn't help but feel excited again; this was his first time crossing a Hylian bridge! He loved watching the water go by from up high in the jar, but he wished he could have been outside with Ezlo. Ezlo would know what types of fish lived in the river and whether or not certain types of plants grew nearby, and plus, Ezlo would have let him go exploring.
Usually, Vaati thought guiltily. The reason he and Ezlo were in this mess in the first place was because he had wandered off without permission. Vaati sighed unhappily, leaning again on Ezlo.
Both Minish were suddenly startled out of their temporary calm when the Hylian father shouted excitedly, waving his arm in the direction of a house. Meggie and her mother hurried after him, and Vaati clutched Ezlo tighter, feeling slightly sick because of the increase in pace.
The family went up a couple steps to a house and waited while the father knocked at the door. He beamed, expecting an answer right off the bat, but nobody came to the door. Ezlo tried desperately to calm his frantically beating heart – he'd been dreading their arrival all day. He could only hope that no one was home.
The father knocked again, his smile lessened, and finally they heard a scuffling and a man with coke bottle glasses and puffy green hair appeared when the door finally opened. He was bent very slightly with age, and he adjusted his glassed and peered at the family and examined the father carefully.
"Dr. Left?" the father asked, "Don't you remember me?" He smiled hopefully, and finally the man smiled back.
"Why if it isn't John's little tyke! And his family too! Come in, come in!" Dr. Left opened the door all the way and gestured for everyone to enter the house. They went in quickly, their eyes squinting as they adjusted from the bright afternoon sun to the dimness of the indoors.
Dr. Left bustled about, apologizing profusely for the mess of books all over the house, but the father dismissed his apologies. He'd spent enough time here with his own father, back when he had been small and his father and Dr. Left had been research partners, to be used to all the books.
Ezlo clutched Vaati to him and remained quiet, having to clamp a hand over Vaati's mouth to keep him from asking questions. Their jar was placed on a clear spot on an otherwise book-covered desk, and the Hylian family went off with Dr. Left to another room, probably to chat over some tea.
Finally Ezlo released his tight hold over Vaati and gave him a quick glance that clearly said, "Keep quiet". Vaati bit his lower lip and gave him a bratty look, but complied. He was as antsy as Ezlo was, because he'd finally realized that Ezlo was scared too.
Vaati wanted to ask question after question after question, but he didn't dare disobey Ezlo now. He wasn't terrified of being gassed and pinned to a board like Ezlo was (he didn't know about such things, after all), but he knew that something bad could happen to them. He felt suddenly very small and useless, and he knew that if something were to happen, only Ezlo could help.
But Ezlo didn't even have his staff anymore; he wouldn't be able to amplify his magic well without it. Vaati knew this too, and he glanced worriedly at Ezlo, who was now pacing back and forth, his long robes dragging on the ground behind him.
Finally Ezlo stopped his pacing and sat back down next to Vaati, who looked at him eagerly; maybe his master had found a solution? But Ezlo just shook his head and sighed.
"Vaati, listen to me," he whispered, his expression serious as he placed his hands on either side of Vaati's face, forcing him to look at him, "You have to let me handle everything; do not speak to them, do not attack them; do nothing unless I tell you to. I am going to do whatever I can to get us out of here, but you have to listen to me." He shook Vaati gently for emphasis, and Vaati gulped and nodded.
"Yes master," Vaati said. And he must have realized the seriousness of Ezlo's request, because he suddenly lunged forward and buried his face in Ezlo's robes, clinging to him tightly. He wasn't crying, but his little shoulders shook with fear.
Ezlo felt awful; it wasn't his fault they were in this situation, but his heart hurt whenever his young apprentice was frightened or hurting. Vaati was… the closest thing he had to a son, and the little violet-haired child inspired him to have paternal feelings.
Ezlo hugged Vaati back tightly, and finally Vaati wormed his way out of the hug and stood up, his hands on his hips. He gave Ezlo what could have been a fierce glare if he hadn't known how scared the boy was.
"But we'll be okay, right Master Ezlo?" Vaati asked, his eyes shining with determination.
Ezlo never got a chance to answer him, because suddenly Dr. Left and the Hylian family bustled into the room and switched on the light, startling both Minish. Vaati squeaked in fear and clutched Ezlo again, and Ezlo did his best to remain as calm as he could while the Hylians approached.
"… and here they are…" The mother was saying as the people grouped around their jar. "We're not sure what they are, but we thought that you might know…"
Dr. Left adjusted his glasses to peer inside the jar at them, and Ezlo felt like snarling (but he didn't do it). The funny little man stared at them for a few moments and then reached out and lifted the jar to examine them closer.
Ezlo held his gaze, maybe trying to will the man into letting them go, but Dr. Left didn't seem to get the message and instead he placed the jar back down again. It seemed Ezlo's warning earlier wasn't going to be needed; Ezlo had expected the biologist to take them out of the jar.
"I need to check a book quickly… I just got it from the library the other day actually," Dr. Left said as he rummaged through the piles of books on the desk. The father nodded, and beside him his daughter Meggie bounced up and down excitedly.
Finally Dr. Left found the book he was looking for and flipped through it quickly, adjusting his glasses every now and again when he had to peer at smaller print. The family stood back respectfully and allowed the biologist to work.
Suddenly he tossed the book aside and continued tearing through the piles of books lying around. He searched feverishly, eventually flipping through three or four other books before sighing and reaching almost tentatively for a book bound in green and decorated with gold.
After a few minutes of flipping through this book, the green-haired man looked up at them, grinning triumphantly.
"I think I know what your little creatures are… it was my first thought, actually, but… I had to check all those books to make sure. You may think I'm a little batty, but this is what I have concluded."
He showed the family the title of the book: Legend of the Picori.
Meggie made her mother read it aloud to her, and she squealed happily, accepting the idea without question. But her mother and father both wore the same dumbfounded expression.
"Picori?" the mother finally asked, "But… but they aren't real, are they?"
Dr. Left smiled patiently, obviously prepared for this reaction.
"They can't be anything else. This book is the only one I have found that is completely devoted to the study of the legendary Picori! It is comprehensive and the author has obviously seen them before. She explains that the Picori usually appear only to children; and you said earlier that it was your daughter that captured the first one. This is consistent with the theory of the Picori – the author's own child captured one as well, you see. And when her child captured the creature, she could see it, too, which is probably why all of us adults can see these two."
Dr. Left laid down all of these facts and more to the family, and he finally saw that he had them convinced, except for…
"Well… this seems okay so far but… how did the author of that book describe their appearance?" The father still needed more proof; his father had been Dr. Left's research partner after all, and he also had the mind of a scientist.
Dr. Left silently flipped through Legend of the Picori and turned the book around to show them an illustration.
It filled up two whole pages, and the drawings were small, detailed sketches of a tiny creature with big ears, shiny black eyes and bare, four-toed feet. Except for differences in hair and eye color, and clothing, the little creature in the drawings perfectly resembled the two critters they had imprisoned in the jar on the table.
The father was immediately convinced, and he whispered to himself in a tone of reverence, "… Picori, eh?"
The mother, upon glancing at the illustration, was just as quickly convinced as her husband, and she went over to the table to peer at Ezlo and Vaati again just to make sure her eyes were not deceiving her. They weren't; Ezlo and Vaati peered at her frightfully, but she could easily see the obvious resemblance between them and the creature in the drawing.
Dr. Left suddenly shut his book with a quick snap and gestured for everyone to follow him again, and the Hylians disappeared, leaving Ezlo and Vaati alone again.
Vaati was the first to break the silence.
"M-master… how could they know what we are? And believe it? I thought Hylians didn't believe that Minish existed!" He was frantic.
Ezlo sighed, "This Dr. Left is a scientist, Vaati… and that book definitely helped him. We… we just have to wait and see what happens." He patted Vaati's hair softly, hoping to calm his apprentice down a little.
Both waited silently for the Hylians to return, but it was hours before they finally did. Vaati had fallen asleep (the afternoon had already turned to evening), and Ezlo remained awake with his thoughts.
He couldn't do anything to save them if Dr. Left decided he wanted them for specimens to study; his earth-based magic was next to useless inside of a house, and it was already weak without his staff. He had no plan; he just had to hope that nothing would happen to them.
Dr. Left and the Hylian father came back first, and they examined Ezlo and Vaati but did not remove them from the jar. Both men made sketches from different angles and drew for a good half hour, and then they disappeared again for a short while.
Finally, the whole group came back. This was what Ezlo had been dreading; he put an arm protectively around his snoozing apprentice and waited. If they were going to be turned into pinned specimens, it would be now.
Dr. Left approached the jar, smiling and pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. He reached out and lifted the jar, walking with it back to the group, and instead of killing them, he wordlessly handed the jar back to the mother.
Ezlo was confused, and he remained that way until the Hylians said their goodbyes and thank-yous to Dr. Left. They made their way back through Hyrule Town, passing all the same homes and businesses as they had on their way in. Evening shadows made the town look different, and the family passed through the gate before it shut, making their way back home.
It was nearly dark when they got back to the house, and Vaati had slept the whole way. The fact that they were still alive had finally settled into Ezlo's head, and when the Hylians had all gone to bed and left them on the table, he hugged Vaati gently and felt like weeping with relief.
Today could have been a complete disaster; it could have even been their last day ever. But it turned out fine, and for that, Ezlo was eternally grateful. They had one last problem to solve – they needed to escape and get back to the Minish village – but Ezlo now felt confident that they could do it. He just needed to wait for tomorrow…
Again, I love reviews, so if you still read this, please leave me one! I would really appreciate it... but even if you don't leave a review: THANK YOU FOR READING! 3