Dorcas the Explorer


It was a sunny day in Pharae. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and a burly man in a pink shirt and red shorts (both a few sizes too small) was skipping along the road, dragging a kid in a yellow scarf after him.

"Come on, Nils!" he cried. "We're going to have lots of fun exploring today!"

Nils frowned. "I'm not your monkey friend, Dorcas. You left him back at that village three days ago, and they've probably eaten him by now."

Dorcas was not listening. He started skipping, swinging his arms, and bawling out a tune. When he got to the "Where are we going?" part, he stopped (because he had no idea where he was going, yet), and none too soon, for if he'd gone another step, he would have run over the sad-eyed teen who was sulking in the middle of the road.

"It's our friend Eliwood!" Dorcas gasped, bouncing up and down with joy.

Nils shot the young noble a look that plainly read, Save me!

"Eliwood, you look sad," said Dorcas. "What's wrong?"

Eliwood blinked back a tear. "An evil man named Nergal kidnapped my father and is holding him captive at the Dragons' Gate." He then began sobbing. "I don't know what I'm gonna do! Daaadddyyyy!"

Dorcas grinned stupidly. "Have no fear, Eliwood, Dorcas the Explorer will help you find your daddy! And my monkey friend, Nils, will help, too!"

Nils slapped himself across the face. "I'm not a monkey, and I'm not your friend anymore, either." he hissed.

"Off we go!" Dorcas yelled. He bounded a few yards down the road, then stopped. "I don't know where the Dragons' Gate is at," he whined.

"What about your stupid talking map?" came a voice.

"Oh, Erk, I forgot about you!" Dorcas giggled like a little girl, then took off his purple backpack. "Hey, Eliwood, Erk's here, too!"

Backpack-Erk rolled his eyes. "I screwed up a transportation spell and got turned into a backpack. Now this oaf is using me to keep his idiot talking map company."

"I SAY, OLD BOY, I'M THE MAP!" cried the map, jumping out of Erk the Backpack. "Eliwood! It's been ages! How smashing to see you!" Then it dropped its monocle, and Nils and Dorcas spent a few minutes digging around in the dust for it. At last, they found it, wiped the dirt off, and gave it back to the map. "As I was saying, if there's a place you need to go-"

"C-canas?" Erk stuttered. There was no mistaking that voice. Or the monocle. "How in blazes did you become a map?"

"Ah, funny story, that one," Canas said. "You see, my wife got a bit upset that I neglected to inform her of my taking part in Lord Eliwood's military campaign. So she transfigured me into a map to prevent me from turning up missing again."

"But we don't mind if he's a map!" Dorcas said, trying to be reassuring. "He shows us the way to get to almost anywhere!"

"Right, old boy." Canas grumbled, annoyed at being interrupted. "At any rate, the swiftest way to the Dragons' Gate is to locate a ship in the port of Badon, sail to Valor, otherwise known the Dread Isle, and then you're just a skip and a hop from the Dragons' Gate. Good luck now, I say!" he said, disappearing into the depths of Backpack Erk again.

"Now, remember that, okay?" Dorcas instructed Nils and Eliwood. "Badon, Valor, Dragons' Gate!"

Then he proceeded to chant it all the way to the port of Badon.

"If only we had a ship," Eliwood sighed. "Well, we might as well give up. It's hopeless anyway."

"It's not hopeless!" Dorcas said. "My friend Bartre is right over there! Maybe he can help us get a boat! Hi-ya, Bartre!"

"Y0 w455up, d0r(45!"

"Oh, I forgot. Bartre only speaks 1337." Dorcas remembered. "But I can translate for you. He just asked me what's up. Okay, here I go. 84r7r3!1one! Wu7 15 up? (4n u g37 u5 2 t3h dr34dz0r 15l3?"

"5ur3 (4n (0z im u83r-1337!11eleven!"

They didn't understand him, but the next second they were on the Dread Isle.

"He h4x0rd us." Dorcas explained. "Come on, let's go!"

A few minutes later, they stopped. "Did you hear something?" Eliwood asked. "It sounded like a cross between a maraca and a toothbrush."

While it was uncertain whether toothbrushes made sounds, they heard the noise again. And some cheap theme-music, too. It grew louder and louder, until out of the bushes popped--

"Matthew!" Dorcas spat. "That sneaky thief is always trying to steal our stuff!"

"What should we do?" Eliwood squealed. "He might steal my fancy rapier I got from my daddy!"

"Keep your stupid rapier," Matthew interjected. "I just want that talking backpack. I hear they go for a lot on the black market."

"Don't let him steal me!" Erk the Backpack howled.

"Don't worry, Erk, I'll save you!" Dorcas said, raising his hand. "Matthew, no swiping! Matthew, no swiping! Come on, you guys, help me!"

"MATTHEW NO SWIPING!" they cried, raising their hands as well. "MATTHEW, NOOOO SWIPING!"

"Aww, man, you guys are annoying," Matthew grumbled, and slunk away.

They walked on, until they reached the Dragons' Gate.

A man with a creepy mustache greeted them. "Hi there, I'm Lord Elbert. I was wondering when Eliwood would come looking for me."



Dorcas was about to sing the "We did it" song, but someone else came out of the shadows, too.

"NERGAL!" Eliwood and Elbert roared. "OUR EVIL ARCH-NEMESIS!"

"I'm going to squash you like the bugs you are," Nergal said. "Then I'm going to sell that talking backpack, because I hear from Matthew that they go for quite a lot."

"Just one problem, Nergal," Dorcas said. "This is a kids' show. No violence allowed."

Nergal looked crestfallen. "Well, that's a letdown, isn't it?" he said.