Side quest! Side quest! Mandi smells a side quest!!
A few hours after arriving in Zelos' mansion and having successfully raided the enormous kitchen for cookies, Lloyd came into what he assumed was a living room to see Colette sitting by the fireplace, watching the roaring fire with a dumb smile on her face.
"Hi, Lloyd!" She waved as her friend stepped up next to her.
"Hi, Colette!" Lloyd grinned back. He sat down beside the blonde, where they both continued to grin at each other.
"This looks like the perfect opportunity for me to say something cute and insightful, doesn't it?" Colette pointed out.
Lloyd nodded. "Hey, yeah, you're right!"
"Yeah!" the blonde smiled. "Only, I can't think of anything…"
They both sat and watched the fire in silence for a moment.
"Hey, Lloyd? What's 'one-touch'"?
"Huh?" Lloyd glanced up.
"Zelos said that his fireplace works on one-touch. But… what's one-touch?"
"Eeeh…" Lloyd scratched his head. "Well… I… guess I'll go ask him!"
Colette clapped her hands in glee. "You're so smart, Lloyd!"
Lloyd struck a victory pose before he marched through the first door he came to, landing himself in a long and narrow hallway. It was empty, save for a large vase standing aside a wall and a very busty someone standing aside it.
"Hi, Sheena-chanchan!" Lloyd called, waving as he came up beside the ninja. Sheena looked a bit annoyed.
"How many times do I have to tell you to stop calling me that??" she snapped. She then proceeded to pinch Lloyd's nose in punishment.
"Stop it! Stop it!" Lloyd squealed. He batted her hand away from his face with his hand. "If that Koochy guy can call you Sheena-chanchan, why can't I??"
"It's Kuchinawa," the ninja corrected quickly. "And he can call me that because I like him more than I like you."
Lloyd started crying. Then he stopped in order to ask Sheena what the heck she was doing in this random hallway.
"Oh, actually…" the woman blushed a bit and attempted to hide her face in the flowers. "I'm completely lost."
Lloyd laughed at her, until he realized that he wasn't entirely sure where the heck he was, either. He then patted his friend's arm comfortingly.
"Not to worry, Sheena-chanchan, for I just so happen to be on a quest to find Zelos, the man who actually knows his way around this huge-ass house!" He pulled a heroic pose. "Would you care to join me on my quest?"
Sheena rolled her eyes. "Yeah, whatever."
And so the pair marched off through the hallway.
The next door they came through opened into another spacious room that Lloyd also wanted to call a living room, but then hadn't he just left one back there…?
"Hey, look!" He cried, pointing across the room. "It's Professor Sage!"
Professor Sage glanced over her shoulder at the noisy pair that had entered the room. She gave a heavy sigh before returning to stare at a large portrait on the wall. Lloyd hurried to her side, Sheena not too far behind.
"Whuzzat?" The swordsman asked, pointing to the portrait. Raine gave him an aggravated look.
"Well," she began. "The plaque says Mylene Wilder. I wonder if this is Zelos' mother…?"
"Well, what about this one?" Sheena asked, pointing to another portrait. "This one says Laura Ingalls Wilder."
Raine didn't say anything.
"Hey, I know!" Lloyd cried, snapping his fingers as an idea came to him. "Let's go ask him!"
"Zelos! Let's ask Zelos which one is his mom!" Lloyd reached out and grabbed Sheena by the shoulder. "See, me and Sheena on a journey searching for Zelos!"
Sheena shrugged Lloyd's hand away. "Yeah, c'mon with us, Raine."
Raine rolled her eyes. "Well, I guess I've got nothing better to do…"
Lloyd gave a shrill cheer before he grabbed both ladies by the arm and dragged them through the first door he found.
Which lead to another hallway.
"How many freaking hallways can this house have??" Sheena gave an exasperated cry. Lloyd nodded knowingly.
"Here, let's try this one," Raine suggested, pulling open a door. A shriek came from inside, and the Professor snapped the door shut. "Sorry!"
Lloyd and Sheena gave her inquisitive looks.
Raine shook her head. "Zelos isn't even here, and yet there are naked women wandering his house?"
"Typical," Sheena groaned.
"Woah!" Lloyd exclaimed. "Can I see, Professor??"
"NO!" both women shouted at once. They took turns pinching his nose and poking his eye until they were satisfied that any perverted thoughts had left the idiotic teen.
They then dragged the sobbing Lloyd through another doorway.
"Hey, look!" Lloyd cried out and pointed, all tears forgotten. "It's Ze-"
"Shh!!" Zelos put a finger to his lips and hissed loudly. He was crouched by another door, peeking through the keyhole. He then whispered: "Check it out; the brat's trying to hit on robo-girl!"
Everyone gathered around Zelos and struggled to hear.
"U-u-u-u-uh-u-uhm…" Genis' stuttering voice said in the next room. Everyone pressed their ears closer to the door. "Uhm, P-P-P-Pr-Pr-Presea?"
"Yes." Came a voice so monotonous that it had to belong to either Presea or Zelos' vacuum cleaner.
Everyone sitting behind the door snickered except for Zelos, who was much better at this eavesdropping thing and gestured for his friends to keep quiet.
"P-p-p-p-p-pretty," Presea repeated dully. "That does not compute."
"I-I'm complimenting you!" Genis insisted.
There was a series of thuds and crashes, and the eavesdroppers could only assume that Genis was trying to chase after Presea. A moment later a door slammed shut and there was silence.
Several minutes went by in silence, and just when the eavesdroppers where ready to give up, the sound of another door opening could be heard. They all jammed their ears to the doorframe, but were disappointed when the voice they heard was not Presea's.
"Hi, Genis!" Colette called cheerfully.
"H-hi, Colette," Genis replied, obviously attempting to sound like had not just been totally rejected. "What're you doing here?"
"Oh, I just came to talk to Lloyd," the blonde replied.
"Well, Lloyd's not here."
"Sure he is!" Colette giggled. "He's right through that door. Zelos and Sheena and Professor Sage are all there too. They're not saying anything, but I can hear them breathing. Can't you?" There was a pause. "Oh, wait, you can't can you? Silly me!"
Silence reigned, but the eavesdroppers were quite certain that they could hear the rage suddenly radiating from a Genis-like area toward themselves.
"Fuck." Zelos swore. He then tried to run for it, as did his companions, but all that resulted in was the greatest tangle-up in Tethe'allan history.
The door burst open, and there stood Genis, all four feet three inches of him quivering with anger.
"Uh, hey, Genis!" Lloyd waved, forcing a smile. "We were just, uh…"
Genis didn't respond. A magic circle appeared beneath him.
"W-wait, Genis! We can explain!" Sheena cried. She would have waved her hands around, but they were tangled in Zelos' hair.
"Please don't kill me, Genis," Lloyd whimpered.
"It's pancake time." Genis announced.
"Fuck." Zelos swore again.
And then the quartet were reduced to, as Genis so aptly described it, pancakes.
"So!" Lloyd cried the next morning, re-inflated and ready to go. "Shall we get going to the Research Academy?"
Zelos, who was busy curling his hair, gave a shrug. "Yeah, that'd probably be a good idea." He turned off the curling iron before eyeing his appearance in the mirror. He gave a dramatic sigh and turned to Lloyd.
"It's not easy looking this good, you know." He informed the teen.
"Let's go," grumbled Genis, who had – until very recently – been curled up in a corner of shame and rejection. He stood up and headed for the door, followed cautiously by the rest of his posse.
"Hey, Lloyd?" Colette called from the back of the pack. Lloyd stopped.
"Look; I think I slept wrong, 'cause my shoulder feels funny." And her shoulder looked funny. It was all hunched up to her ear, and her head was stuck titled to the left.
"Hmm…" Lloyd tapped his chin thoughtfully. Then, he grabbed Colette by the ears and yanked her head upright again. There was a rather disturbing crack.
"Owie! Oh…" Colette rolled her neck around, pleased. "That's better. Thanks, Lloyd!"
"Hey, no problem!" Lloyd chuckled, patting his friend's back. Then, they scurried out the door after their posse, lest they get lost yet again.
Not too long later, our heroes arrived at the Research Academy only to find that the infamous Elemental Cargo was not to be found.
"Yeaaah…" said everyone's favorite scientist. "Kuchinawa took it to the artificial beach by the Bridge. Didn't you know that?"
"How the hell would we know that??" Sheena snapped.
"What's a fake beach?" Lloyd asked. "Is it not really there?"
He was ignored.
"Well, I figured he told you…" The scientist shrugged nervously.
Zelos rolled his eyes. "Yet more walking lies ahead for the great Zelos, I see. Can't we invest in some sort of automobile to do this traveling thing for us?"
"Aw, c'mon, Zelos!" Lloyd said encouragingly. "All this walking is good for your buns and thighs!"
Zelos crossed his arms, unwilling to be swayed. "That's what personal trainers and sex are for," he grumbled.
An hour's worth of walking later, the group managed to relocate themselves to the Grand Tethe'allan Bridge. It was quite grand. Sheena then led the way through a chain-link gate off to the side, which landed them on some docks.
"This is an artificial beach?" Lloyd asked incredulously. "It's just a metal dock! Talk about lame!"
Just then, Kuchinawa the ninja strolled up. "Oh, there you are, Sheena. What took you so long?"
"Uh, well it would'a helped if you'd told you were taking the EC yesterday!" Sheena snapped. She pulled on her friend's ear, which was a very un-ninja-ish thing to do, and he knocked her hand way with his pinky toe, which was a much more ninja-ish thing to do.
"Well, anyway," the red-clad man said, casually ignoring his recent acrobatic feat. "Here's the EC."
He handed Sheena something very small.
"What the-?" Genis exclaimed, popping up beside the ninja to look. He held up the very small something in the air. "It's… a hairclip!"
"Oooh!" Zelo exclaimed. He hurried to claim the clip for his own.
"Wait a minute!" the redhead spat a few seconds later, holding the hairclip to eye level. "This isn't a hair clip, you hobos. It's a Wing Pack!"
"Whuzzit?" the Sylvarantians chorused, except for Raine who managed to say something a bit more intelligent.
"A Wing Pack," Zelos repeated slowly. "It's what you keep crap in. Look-" he pointed to a seemingly random point in his curly red locks. "I keep all my hair-care products in this one, and my make-up and mirrors and creams go in this one, and – it was a squeeze, but – I managed to fit most of my third-floor kitchen in this one."
Lloyd, Raine, Genis and Colette all exchanged shocked, confused, and otherwise dumbfounded looks. The Tethe'allans looked back, seemingly unimpressed.
"I-Is this normal here??" Raine demanded after recovering a little bit.
"Sure," Sheena said with a shrug. "I keep extra decks of cards in this Pack."
"I keep gels and life bottles in mine," Kuchinawa added. "And an airplane."
Presea didn't say anything, but the bumpkins couldn't help but eye her innocent plastic barrette suspiciously. The adorable little flower-shaped clip glinted back cheerfully.
"… well, hot damn." Genis sighed at long last.
"So, the EC is inside the hairclip?" Raine asked, certain all the while of how that sentence would have lost her any and all credibility as a scholar back in Sylvarant. She winced.
"Yup," Zelos said. Lloyd jumped up and down, suddenly very excited.
"OH! Let me take it out, Zelos! Let me! Let me!!"
"Okay, okay," the redhead grimaced, dropping the Wing Pack into the teen's eager hand. "Don't have a cow."
Lloyd hurried down to the end of a nearby dock, where he proceeded to wave the hairclip over his head in a ridiculous fashion. For several seconds, nothing happened. And then…
Very suddenly, and with a tremendous splash, an enormous boat-like thing landed in the ocean before Lloyd. Genis and Colette joined him in releasing a squeal of glee.
"Woah! Amazing!" Colette cried, clapping her Chosen hands.
"Do it again! Do it again!" Genis chorused.
Lloyd waved the hairclip around, and the EC popped right back in.
"WA HA HA HA!" The children all laughed manically, and Lloyd once again released the vehicle. "AWESOME!"
The more "mature" members of the group rolled their eyes at one another.
"OK, OK," Zelos called, striding up to snatch the Wing Pack out of Lloyd's hands. "That's enough for now. Let's get going!"
"Alright!" Sheena cheered, rejuvenated. She pointed dramatically across the ocean. "To Sybak!"
"Chillax, Sheena," Kuchinawa admonished. He then pulled out a Wing Pack, rummaged around for a moment in what some like to call "hammer space", and at last remerged with a cute little charm in hand.
"Whazzat?" Sheena asked, poking the charm.
"It's for you, to protect you and shit," Kuchinawa informed her, the epitome of suave. Zelos rolled his eyes in the background.
"Aww! How sweet!"
"I dunno, Sheena," Lloyd muttered, suddenly appearing beside the ninjas to examine the charm. "How do you know that's not some whacked-out tracking device that your 'friend' is gonna use to hunt us down and kill us because of some long-forgotten wrong you did him in the past?"
"You're just jealous that he made an accessory that isn't ugly as shit," Genis drawled. "Unlike you."
Lloyd snarled something obscene, tossed Genis into the ocean, and climbed onboard the EC.
"Boys," Raine sighed with a shake of her scholarly head. She then fished her brother out of the water and followed her student onto the boat-ish thing, followed shortly by the rest of the posse. Kuchinawa, who was now thoroughly annoyed with the lot of them, gave only a short wave to Sheena and a similar yet oh-so-different hand motion to Lloyd before both parties went on their merry way.
Minus the merry part, because that EC was tiny.