Final Fantasy VII
Notes: The characters are not mine, and this nonsense is! It was totally inspired by that news story about the gnome in Argentina. Thanks to Kaze for showing that article!
It should have been an average, slightly cloudy night in the village. Instead, all doors were locked and barred, despite the early hour, and the residents were hiding inside. Their superstitions always sent them flying into a panic, for which Sephiroth was highly irritated. But what was far more annoying was that now he and Zack had been sent to investigate one of them.
"Of course we don't believe in their mythological creatures," Lazard had told them when they had expressed disbelief at the assignment. "At first, I thought it was just a childish prank. But now I've started to wonder whether it could be a trick of the rebels. None of the residents will go out after dark anymore. Who's to say that someone isn't taking the opportunity to cause trouble?"
And so now they were waiting in the brush for some strange creature to appear. They had already been there an hour without luck. Since the apparition had been sighted all over the village, Sephiroth and Zack had patrolled everywhere before returning to their original vantage point. Both of them were tired and bored, but while Zack was willing to show his frustration, Sephiroth remained stoic. No matter how pointless it all seemed, the last thing he wanted to do was to reveal his thoughts. That would not be dignified for SOLDIER's General. And there was always the (slight) chance that there was something to Lazard's suspicions.
A poke on his arm brought him to attention.
"Isn't it time to call it quits?" Zack begged. "We've been here for ages! Nothing's gonna show up."
"Who knows." Sephiroth crossed his arms. The prospect of going inside was tempting. "Let's run a last check of the grounds," he said. "If we still can't find anything, we'll end the investigation for tonight."
Zack did not respond for a moment. ". . . Seph?!" he cried then.
Sephiroth made a grunting sound in his throat as he turned to look. The manor where they had been granted room and board for the time being loomed behind them, the lights from the windows shining on the grass and to the edge of the trees. Off in the distance, the long blades were rustling. As he watched, a strange silhouette began to make itself visible. His eyes narrowed.
"It's just like that report, and the crazy picture!" Zack gasped. "Look how tiny that thing is! And it's wearing a pointed hat and . . . and it's walking sideways, Seph!" He gripped his sword. They were too far away to see any details, but it also looked as though it was wearing the traditional clothes of the fabled gnomes, right down to the curled shoes. It was ridiculous!
"It doesn't seem to have noticed us," Sephiroth observed. "Let's try to approach it." He drew the Masamune, his steps silent as he began to move through the grass.
Zack was quick to follow. "Man, the villagers'd really think we're crazy if they could see us now," he quipped, never taking his gaze from the creature. Continuing its bizarre walk, it strolled across the garden as it headed for the decorative fountain. If it knew it was being followed, it did not seem to care.
Sephiroth did not respond. Keeping his sword in front of him, he stepped ever closer.
"What do you think it is, Seph?!" Zack hissed. "It looks too small to even be a kid!"
Sephiroth shook his head. He did not have any idea. Maybe it actually was a midget. That seemed the most logical possibility. If not that, then . . .
Without warning it whirled, a dagger clutched in its small, green hand. Its expression seemed to be permanently blasé.
Zack slammed into Seph in horror. "Oh wow!" he gasped, gawking at the thing. "It got a costume change or something!"
Sephiroth's eyes narrowed further. "Above all, stay calm," he instructed. He would not say that he was afraid of the creature, per se, but it was a definite cause for apprehension. One wrong move could prove disastrous.
"Easy for you to say!" Zack cried, continuing to stare at the harbinger of doom. It turned again, confident that its reputation had struck fear into the SOLDIERs, and continued its sideways walk to the fountain. It climbed onto the edge, taking out a small cup and sweeping it through the water. Then it raised the container and began to drink.
Sephiroth regarded it with a deadpan expression. "It's been causing all this commotion just because it likes the water here?" he said, his tone flat and unimpressed. He and Zack had been sent on a completely pointless mission. And he would be sure to let Lazard know just what he thought when they returned.
Zack shook his head. "I think these people have a good reason to stay locked up inside!" he said, pointing at the Tonberry. "This thing's scarier than any gnome!"