I could give you several excuses for my lack of updates...but that would be a sin. (Although I will try to release the next one quicker). Some may say that the sins are simple to combat to people who wish no harm to others...but riddle me this...how can you fight a drive which gains you so much? Human survival requests that a person performs acts which benifit one's self, this is why Greed is so dominating...although there is one counter method...

This time around, all characters featured in this chapter are from the same game with no original or unnamed characters.


Klep-to-ma-ni-a

Noun.

An obsessive impulse to steal regardless of economic need.


Greed

One day I went to visit my employer.

I consider myself a simple person living in a city with two faces.

I have been taught to look at the world in two different points of view. This is a skill that I find is rather important in my life.

Let's give an example shall we?

This city is a sparkling paradise which completely lacks poverty or homelessness.

This city is a corrupt charade which completely consists of the hoarders of wealth and luxury.

Once I reach the place at which my employer resides I look up at the structure.

It is a well supplied home of ideas and imagination which is put to use.

It is a building unemotionally structured by a generic blueprint which towers over us and is the location in which profit is made.

Once I enter the building I am dwelling within a familiar and hostile place. I enter an elevator which is soon filled with soothing and repetitive music.

I take a moment to think about myself.

I am a martial artist. I must train my body and my mind and my soul without a trace of mercy or forgiveness to any mistake I may make. I am devoted to my Sensei to the point in which I would lay down my life for him. I punch granite during the summer until and beyond the point in which my fists are sore and sweaty and bleeding. I scale mountains during the winter until and after the moment in which my body tires and shivers and the world goes dark. I meditate during the spring until and after the point in which I am at peace with all the problems and conflicts and worries in the world. In the autumn I am at unrest as I search for a new trial to overcome.

I am a video game designer. I am keen to express my imagination and allow my mind to wander without accepting any trace of mercy or forgiveness from my employer to any mistake I may make. I am devoted to my employer until to the point in which he refuses to pay me. I steal dumplings from a food stool in the summer until and after I am satisfied and bloated. During the winter I try to convert the actions of my training as a medium for my ideas. During the spring I attempt to persuade my employer to pay me my wages. During the autumn I laze about if I am unable to find a new task to perform.

I am a martial artist. I have taken this path in life so that I can seek to improve myself and gain an understanding of the world around me.

I am a video game designer. I have taken this path in life so that I can make a living and express myself.

Which is the more selfish side of me I wonder?

Perhaps it is the video game designer. The person who seeks profit from his actions but as a paradox is the one who provides entertainment and joy to many, many people.

Could it be the martial artist? The person seeks little more than to improve himself...but what benefit does that provide to other people? Is it as selfless as it seems?

The principle of yin and yang is famous for these little conflicts within oneself. It is as though I am split into two opposite sides of myself. But if the two sides are equal in positive and negative traits and qualities then just how can there be such thing as a good or evil person?

That I suppose is the reason I seek to achieve a philosophical understanding of the world...but ironically philosophers argue with others of their kind as to what the ultimate riddle's solution may be. It feels as though it is an unattainable goal.

Sometimes it is the journey that achieves more than the goal...

--

As I continue to be ensnared by my thoughts and internal conflicts I fail to notice when the elevator reached my destination. Once I did notice I walked down the corridor and my train of thoughts took another route.

This time I ponder on as to why I am in this location at this time. I remind myself that I am here to visit my employer but then consequently I must face the reason as to why I am doing so.

It does not make me feel any more confident.

I am still letting my mind wonder as I enter the office of my employer and sit down in the seat in front of his desk. I try to ignore the fact that he is resting his feet on the desk and attempt to communicate to him with a straight face.

"Good afternoon." I say to start the conversation. "I trust you are well?"

"*Grunt*" Is his response. "I'm guessing you have a new game concept to give me?"

"I would like to speak with you on the subject of another matter first." I inform him. "It is a matter that I personally find important."

He gave out a barely concealed groan as he asked the question he had been hoping to avoid. "You want your wages don't you?"

"Not at this precise--"

"But I can't pal."

"I'm not asking for--"

"I swear to you...it's simply not possible for me to give you it right now..."

"But--"

"Due to issues with the economic crisis we have been facing lately my bank is suffering a relapse which is causing us--"

I raise my hand in a gesture of requesting silence.

"--Meaning that I couldn't pay you if I wanted to..."

And he ignores the said gesture.

"But I'm not saying that I don't want to pay you! Just that--"

"Shut up boss." I tell him wearingly. "I'm not here for that purpose."

I notice that he starts to listen to me from this point on, for better or worse...

"Funny you mention an economic crisis though..."

"Why is that?" My employer asks me with a scornful face of suspiciousness.

"In order for you to understand that you must be aware of a certain location." I tell him without thinking of where this conversation will end up. "Let me tell you a story..."

--

"There was once an Island that still exists today. I do believe that you have been to this island my dear employer...and on my travels I too have been there. A group of thieves were once the rulers of this land. They stole what did not belong to them and took their treasures back to their island...they horded it. The group of thieves had quite an extensive network of allies. They had what was literally an army at their disposal...the population of this island was quite high as a result."

"Uh-huh...might equals right I guess. So how come they don't rule this island anymore?"

"An excellent observation boss...however did such a large number fall? Was it to larger numbers? That is most likely the conclusion that came to your mind shortly after you asked that question. But no...it was all but one man who was responsible for their downfall...Their numbers did not mean anything boss...not all of them fought. Not all were combatants."

"Then what the hell were they doing on this island with this group of thieves?"

"Is it not obvious? They were living there. It was their home. They did not steal nor did they fight but they notherless wished for nothing more than to live their lives in peace and without complication. The band of thieves looked out for their own. They stole for themselves but supported the population any way they could. The island run by thieves and understandably had a good flow of income and trade. Their treasures helped to fund the island and equip the population. Do you see now why the population never stole? Never fought? It was because they never needed to. They had all they required from their great leaders.

To many the thieves are lowlifes who steal for the sake of winning a prize or to gain a rush from the cruelty they perform.

To the population of the island they were generous leaders whom they depended on...the group that maintained order and peace."

"So these crooks sort of enforced this island? Kept the population safe from the big bad world outside?"

"Yes. That was another reason they enjoyed being under the government of the thieves. The thieves would repel any invading force that would have harmed the population. The thieves would extinguish any inside threat as well...a wild animal attacking a village for example...they certainly couldn't have that now could they? Not on their island."

"Aha! They don't sound all righteous when you put it like that! They did it for themselves!"

"That is debatable. Perhaps that was the case. Perhaps they simply wanted to maintain order or keep the villagers under control. But perhaps they genuinely cared for those who did them no harm. Perhaps it was because the threats were threats to them all. But does it truly matter what their motivation was in the end? The point is...they provided protection. They provided safety, food and shelter. Either way good came from their actions. Perhaps even enough to justify their stealing from others? That is once again debatable."

"And all this joy was spoiled by the work of one idiot huh?"

"Yes. A royal treasure was stolen by the thieves. It towered above all men and would take at least thirty in number to transport. It was constructed entirely of the kingdom's finest gold and modeled after the image of the current ruler by the most experienced sculptors. But surely the kingdom had enough treasures such as this? Apparently the ruler could not endure the concept of losing this single treasure even though there was plenty more riches in the vaults."

"That's one greedy monarch...never been keen on royalty myself..."

"This monarch set out a reward to all who would be able to return the treasure to royal possession. One man in particular decided that this was a fair trade and single-handedly journeyed to the island in order to seize the treasure from the thieves. He did far more than that. He destroyed the chain of command that the thieves had long established. He looted as much of their horde he could find and carry. Many of the thieves stood against this one man and all who did was individually brutalized beyond much of a chance of recovery."

"That's one scary bastard..."

"You have no idea. The population feared him. They were harmed and exploited every little bit as much as the thieves that were their protectors. This man came to claim all that he held of value for himself and destroyed all that he did not. His drive for self-gain continued until he had defeated the thieves' leader, who then fled in order to vow revenge against this man. This man did not even claim the treasure he had been sent to retrieve. Another individual beat him to it because he was so distracted by all the other treasure."

"He probably had more than enough gold by then to buy that treasure if he wanted to..."

"Yes. He was indeed wealthy by that point. The leader of the thieves had possessed a magic lamp. The spirit inside offered the man a single wish. The man had already gained more than he had set out to obtain...he could have easily wished for the villagers of this island to no longer have to cope with all the damaged he had inflicted upon them...he could have easily saved them all."

"They needed saving?"

"Of course they did! Their only protectors who had provided all their small needs and kept them safe from all the evils of the world were torn down to their level! The island was ripe to exploit and raid and God knows what else! And they didn't know what to do! There was nothing they could do! Their lives would never know peace again!! They didn't care about the gold...only their own happiness."

"What did this man wish for?"

"More riches. More power. More gold. More loot. More treasure. More jewels. More booty. More gems. More money. Bigger funds. Bigger hoard. Bigger cache. His abundance of treasure was virtually infinite. He wished for more of what he already had too much of. And what did he do after? He kept on looting. He kept on stealing. He kept on and on and on. He wouldn't stop until his infinite hunger for riches was finally fulfilled..."

"So this story goes on?"

"Yes."

"Why are you telling me about this again?"

"I believe it is your duty to use your funds to help those on that island. They live in very poor conditions now."

"...You want me to organize a charity? This is not that kind of business..."

"It's more than that. Do it out of charity if you wish. Or perhaps you can do it out of penance. Why you ask?"

"I'm trying to figure it out...that's some nerve you have there..."

"After his conquest the man founded his own company. He acquired even more excess wealth. He kept a grudge against the one who beat him to the treasure...the true hero. Before he departed from the island he named it after himself...his final humiliation towards the population."

"Wait. This is all starting to sound familiar...you don't mean...?"

"The island was known as Kitchen Island. The band of thieves was known as the Brown Sugar Pirates. The true hero was known as Mario. The stolen treasure was a golden statue of Princess Toadstool. The thieves' leader was Captain Syrup. The company is known today as..."

"Don't you dare!!" Bellowed my employer as he smashed his fist into his desk...with enough inhuman force to crack it in half. "Don't you dare say it!!"

"WarioWare. The man renamed Kitchen Island after himself...he named it..."

--

Wario Land.

I must have been out of my mind to bring that up. Something I cannot undo.

Still. My negotiations with Wario could have gone much worse.

I tell myself this as my body smashes through the wall. The pain alone would make a normal person lapse into unconsciousness...I use my training to keep myself calm and to cut off the pain. My body skids across the floor but I manage to roll back onto my feet before I even come to a stop. It is a very fortunate thing that I am capable of such feats as it was at this precise moment Wario decides to throw whatever was left of his desk at me.

I am no longer in the area he aimed at by the time the projectile leaves his fingers. I leap onto the airborne platform and propel myself from it with another leap. This has all gone too fast for Wario...my hands are already on his shoulders and my feet are in the air. I let my weight fall forwards with the hope that I will topple this giant of a man. I succeed and release my grip so that I will hit the ground before he does. I land on my back and roll away before his massive frame lands on mine.

The impact he makes against the ground is quite loud. I climb to my feet as he hits the ground and leap into the air. I fly towards him with my foot outstretched in front of me...aiming for his neck. With my incredible movements being performed faster than the eye can see...it is easily to forget that I do not have the upper hand. Wario's abnormally large hand wraps around my ankle with intense pressure. I still manage to blot out the pain but cannot help but hear the cracking of my bone giving away...

I try not to panic. I know that panicking will allow the pain to flood back into my suppressed sensory relays. I am fortunate however...for I don't have nearly enough time to panic. Wario violently swings his arm to the side and releases his grip. I collide with the wall at intense velocity. I stagger to my feet...I take a few precious seconds to readjust my balance to allow myself to stand on my broken ankle.

He stands before me in the time it takes for me to regain my balance. I lean to the side and perform at cartwheel as his fist rushes towards my formerly occupied space and impales the air with a furious aggression. I allow my injured foot to clout his jaw in hope that I will knock some of the fight out of him. By the time I am standing upright it is apparent that my attempt was unsuccessful. I am forced to backflip out of reach when his arm swishes in an arc towards me.

I am fast. Faster than any normal human. But Wario is not normal in any sense of the word. Sure enough he is already running towards me...not far to run. I run backwards to try and keep a minute distance between us as he sends blow after blow after me. My reactions are immaculate. I will manage to dodge his fists as long as my concentration lasts. He lunges towards me and I sidestep out the way as he veers downwards...I use this opportunity to have my hand snake forwards as quick and deadly as a viper...

But Wario is clearly still retaining some of his focus. His balance was not disturbed at all. His hand reverses direction and I too am forced to change the momentum of my attack. My thrust soon becomes a parry as his backhand harmlessly is deflected by my wrist.

'That was a feint Wario...you clearly are not fully consumed by rage as to not be hindered...'

'So what if I'm not!?'

I grapple his arm with my own and pull. My intention is to once again topple him using his own force. But Wario has already fallen once...he will not willingly do so again without some intense persuasion on my part. He raises his arm and in turn he raises me from the floor. There are still many ways for me to counter this situation...but I had foolishly forgotten that there was nothing preventing his other arm from moving. His fist is already as big as the moon when I see it...

'That means that you are faking some of the aggression. You want to cloud your feelings...'

'You think I'm not pissed off at you!?'

'You're pissed off at something...but it's not me.'

The crunch of my facial bone almost snaps me from my concentration that is allowing me to ignore the existence of pain. But nothing is there to stop me feeling the fabric of his glove and the blood that is coming from my split lip. I feel my skin briefly stick to his fist as he retracts it. This is his first successful blow.

'You could have penetrated my skull like a knife through smoke if you had tried...'

'Yeah!? Is that what you want!?'

'It's not what you want.'

Wario may be powerful but he still feels pain. I swing my body forwards as I still hang from his grip and allow both of my feet to connect with his jaw. He lets go and I drop to the floor while intentionally landing on my hands. I thrust my feet in a couple of successive blows that take Wario off guard. I then allow my body to drop and I am on all my fours like a monkey. I crouch down as far as I can go and scurry between his legs. I scale his back and embrace his neck in a headlock.

'Did it ever occur to you the damage you may have caused when you usurped Captain Syrup?'

'Captain Syrup is a bitch! She took that bottomless coin sack from me!!'

'An eye for an eye perhaps?'

'She could use that thing to help that island if it's so precious to her!'

'That's impossible I'm afraid. It's impossible for her to do such a thing as long as that island is yours.'

I know that my time in this position is limited. I reach forwards with one of my hands and grasp Wario's custom biker goggles. I stretch the elastic and let go. It snaps into the area around his eyes and I hear him scream. I know that I have caused enough pain to buy me some extra seconds. I scale his back further and stand on his shoulders...I swiftly clap my hands over his ears to further discomfort my opponent.

'Why do you even want that place?'

'...Bowser maintains a sense of order y'know...even if a sick tyrannical one. But has Mario ever disrupted order by defeating him?'

'You can't always blame your problems on Mario...'

'Who says I am!?'

'In answer to your question...the emotional condition of Bowser's kingdom and Kitchen Island's population are completely different.'

'Is it so different? Would they know what to do if Bowser suddenly vanished?'

'Bowser is sick. You know that. What are you trying to justify?'

'Nothing. Forget it.'

I leapfrog over Wario and land in front of him. I sent my elbow backwards and it smacks straight into a nerve cluster. I twist around to face him and strike two more in a series of quick alternating strikes. Performing such an act disables a human instantly. It makes them either wither in pain or lay in a coma.

'It's not the order that I am trying to highlight...rather the population's happiness.'

'So if the world was mental that would be alright with you as long as everyone was all jolly? Is that it?'

'...There are some psycho's in the world that gain pleasure from cruel acts...so...no. Happiness is not everything.'

'Don't bother finishing that thought. I know that you're going to tell me that happiness must only go to those who deserve it.'

'Hmm.'

It's unbelievable. It's impossible. Yet I see it with my own eyes as clear as day. Wario stands. I have already said that there is nothing ordinary about him. But this is downright impossible. His clenched fist hammers down on my skull and forces me to my knees. But I am not yet out of the fight...I press my hands against the floor and revolve the lower half of my body to perform a reverse roundhouse sweep that trips my opponent. But to my horror he is going to land on me...

'What is greed, Wario?'

'You tell me.'

'Any desire or willingness to perform acts or inaction for the sake of personal gain.'

'You saying I'm greedy? Or are you saying that I won't find happiness from what I do? I'm willing to object.'

'Wouldn't you rather share that happiness?'

'...Why?'

'Why not?'

I'm not exactly sure what happened. But before we know it the floor beneath us has caved in from the damage our combat was causing. I trade positions with Wario in mid-air and use his heavy bulk to cushion my fall. Despite his flabby appearance his body was solid...not as solid as the floor but I realize that I did not come out unscathed as I climb to my feet and stumble some distance away from my opponent. I notice a pair of WarioWare employees that are staring at us dumbfound. One male and a female. The male had just exclaimed 'sweet mother of--'

'It won't kill you know...'

'Why are you even trying to convince me?'

'Good question.'

'Well!?'

Wario takes advantage of my distraction to rugby tackle me from behind. It is at this moment my concentration is finally broken and my pain sensors flare like an inferno. My body is on fire! But I still summon that ounce of willpower that allows my bruised and battered body to steadily climb to its feet using the wall for support. If only Wario would give me enough time to do so...

My head is pounding...gotta hang on. Just a little longer...please...

Wario uppercuts me in the gut and spots form in my eyes. Everything goes all fuzzy. My head feels as though a firecracker has been surgically inserted into my skull. His palm presses my torso to the wall and he raises his fist. I raise my own. Gotta make this count. Focus. Fix my vision just a little...just enough...don't try to go too far...don't need to be fancy...only need to be enough. Gotta aim for a soft spot...somewhere I can disable him...

I swing my fist.

It hits.

Universes are created and destroyed in the time I wait for the effects of my blow to become apparent.

Then I realize the full extent of my attack.

It was horrific.

Nothing happened.

Wario rears back his fist...and lets it fly.

--

"Stop it right now!!!"

What? Wario's fist is frozen in mid punch. Have I been rescued? My vision groggily comes back into focus. It's clearly a feminine figure of some kind...an angel? No...Far from it. It's about as far as you could get from one. Not only was it on of those employees whom I had mentioned mere seconds ago but she was also a person who idolized Wario and worshipped the ground he walked on. She was a person who would turn bias to whatever the situation was depending on his views...she was even the sort of person who...liked Wario (I can't really vouch for her taste). Yet despite my disbelief she happens to be the one who stands between us.

And to make things even stranger it happens to be me she pays attention to first.

"Mona...?" I manage to utter through my swollen lips.

"Are you okay Cricket?" She asks me sympathetically, but before I can answer Wario becomes the priority again. "Jimmy! Don't just stand there! Get the hell over here and--"

She seems to have gotten the other employee over here...who had previously been trying to shrink away from the fury she was giving off. Both of which are those I consider to be my friends. I don't really pay much attention to what Mona says to both Jimmy and Wario but I instead focus my attention on Wario himself and the effects the words have on him. Despite our disagreement I cannot help but pity his expression of helplessness in the face of these people.

Wario has become much smaller it appears...he attempts to answer their venomous accusations but with little avail as he is unable to find the words. I continue to watch his face as he flusters for his mind to produce a sentence which would provide his salvation. He looks at me in the midst of his panic and it is clear what his worries are based around. Mona and Jimmy are his friends as well as employees...and so am I, Wario may be greedy and a hoarder, he may be able to stand criticism from those close to him for his actions yet he is unable to deal with genuine maliciousness from them.

"Look...Mona...Jimmy..." I speak out. "It was my fault guys...I wandered onto a subject which was extremely personal and of which I had no right to have brought up. Please forgive me, all of you, for disturbing your peace."

It takes a moment for my words to sink into them in the midst of their argument but when it does the three of them immediately stop and I receive mixed expressions from all of them. Jimmy had said barely a word in fear that he would get hit himself and looked at me with tension and hope that Mona would accept this truce. Mona had given a look of confusion as though I had spoken words worthy of committing me to an asylum; she then bit her lip and shook her head. Wario's expression simply froze.

A silence hung over us all before Mona and Jimmy begun to take their leave.

"Thanks man." Jimmy whispered as he hurriedly walked past me...taking care not to seem too eager. "That was getting too hot..."

"I hope you know what you're doing..." Mona told me without looking at any of us.

The silence returned as me and Wario were the only ones who remained in the room. Wario seems torn as to what he should be feeling as his facial expression is a strange collage of fury, angst, shame and worry. He eventually points his oversized finger at me and I patiently wait for his words to squeeze from his throat.

"My office." He says. "Tomorrow."

--

Today I once again went to visit my employer.

Today I was invited.

I was told to meet him in his office yet he quickly suggested we have our discussion in the Gelateria, a restaurant in Diamond City which serves gelato and a variety of other desserts. I myself had settled for a simple Mella Yella Sundae while Wario has decided to find out just how much of a variety there was with him currently being on his ninth dish (Primordial Fruit with Jammin' Jelly if I recall correctly). We hadn't said a word since we left the WarioWare building and we simply sat on the outside table watching the cars drive past. It felt strangely relaxing as I sat beside him, even though he was responsible for the cast I now wore on my foot.

"Cricket?" Wario finally vocalized as he licked his spoon.

"Yes boss?" I responded quietly.

"You knew didn't you?"

"Boss?"

"You knew that Mona and Jimmy were in the room before I did."

"Yes...that is true."

"Is that why you let me beat you? Was it to get me to give up?"

"It wasn't the plan." I confessed. "I'm sorry to let the situation go that direction."

"Hmm..." He mumbled. "But you knew."

"I knew why you stopped. Yes I do." I admitted. "It's nothing to be ashamed of."

"Hmm..." He paused again. "Cricket?"

"Yes boss?"

"Am I a bad person?" He dropped it there. He dropped the million dollar question.

"Master Mantis taught me to see the world in two different ways. That includes people." I taste a spoonful of my sundae to give myself an excuse to think the answer over. "You plunder. You hoard. You do these things for nobody but yourself. You are greedy. You let your desires get the better of you and incorrectly connect material wealth with happiness. It's a form of idolatry in which you may let these riches take a higher value than other people's life."

It's Wario's turn to hesitate now. He uncomfortably shuffles and slides his empty bowl across the table and reunites it with the others. "But that's the thing Cricket...it does make me happy. I can't change that."

"You are a friend." I smile faintly. "You may wonder why I chose you as a friend and I sometimes wonder about that myself. But you do have good qualities Wario...your greed is a bad habit. You could possess it for any number of reasons...I don't know too much about your early life or what could cause you to have such an inability to resist your vice but I'd be lying if I claimed to be aware of a person who does not have to fight this battle everyday..."

"All good and bad in every person..." Wario snorted. "C'mon Cricket...I've heard stuff like that from fortune cookies for Pete's sake! There has to be more to it than that!"

"Nope. That's pretty much it." I assured him simply. "But sometimes one can outweigh the other. Don't you remember your feelings when Mona stopped you? When she scolded you? You feared rejection. You receive criticism all the time...especially in matters involving money...but genuine hatred is something you simply cannot deal with. Deep down...you just want to be loved...to have friends."

Wario coughed and turned red.

"Oh come on!" I laugh. "There's nothing wrong with that!"

"Humph..." Wario grumbled. "What made you think I'd even consider going back to that island...?"

"The same reason you ceased attacking me at the sight of your friends. The same reason you lashed out in the first place. I ironically assumed you would participate because of the same emotion that prevents you from participating." I inform him regrettably. "It's guilt. Guilt for what you did. Guilt allows a person to heal themselves from their own sins...it's the good attempting to balance out the evil. I know it's a bitter medicine to swallow...but it's always better than the alternative."

"How am I gonna sleep at night, huh?" Wario seemed to look somewhat uncertain and perhaps even more miserable. "If the only shred of good in my body only shows up by doing something bad?"

"Do you honestly believe that the only good that comes from you is out of redemption?" I ask. "Have you forgotten those spritelings you could have just left to the fate of the Black Jewel? Or should I ask for the opinion of those who inhabit the Music Box World who if I recall correctly were willingly saved from obliteration by a certain fat bastard from the fury of Rudy the Clown? Need I go on?"

Wario looks at me with surprise. It seems as if he had never had to confront the morality of his actions before. This was a Wario I was not familiar with but a Wario that I had long suspected existed somewhere within his psyche. It never occurred to him that he might be a good person because he was too afraid of what he might have found.

Neither of us spoke for awhile and we once again continue watching the cars drive past. Eventually a waitress comes and serves Wario his latest dish (Heart Fruit Cake) which lay on the table for quite some time after. I naturally assume that Wario is thinking about our conversation but eventually notice that his eyes continually dart towards the cake.

For once in his life he doesn't want me to feel offended...heh.

I fail to let a snigger escape, which is all he needs to assume that he is safe to grab the cake and begin consuming it, which he rather eagerly does. I am forced to remind myself that the conversation is not yet over and that I need to ensure that this settles in his mind...Wario has a tendency to forget important life lessons after the day is out. As soon as he slows down and I am sure he can hear me I open my mouth to speak.

"Listen, Wario...about the--"

"How am I going to do this Cricket?" He asks me. "How am I going to go back and help them?"

This took me off guard. Was he actually thinking about them without me reminding him to? The shock takes a while to get over and which means that despite having an answer prepared it took me awhile to say respond.

"You...what do you mean exactly?" I need to be sure.

"Because you're right...I can't stand the sight of them staring at me...and hating me." He explained. "How the hell am I going to go to an island which I pillaged and explain that I want to help? And I can't exactly just chuck money in their faces...they wouldn't know what to do with it! They'll probably be at my throat for what I did! I wouldn't know where to begin!"

"Just listen." It took me a moment of his ranting to realize that he was not making up excuses but his concerns where spawned from genuine fear. "Just listen to what they have to say. As I said...it's a bitter medicine...I know it's painful. But it's the only way. Just stay there for awhile and listen to their problems. If they do say hurtful things towards you...well...just remember that's the whole reason you are there."

"S'okay." He whispered. "I'll go. I'll go later this week and...And I'll help. I don't care if people think I'm a greedy bastard...I just...don't want their problems to be mine because of it. Okay?"

"Okay." I rest my hand on his shoulder sympathetically. Sometimes guilt is the only way to bring out the good in peopleā€¦if only healing wounds wasn't such a painful process. "Anything I can do to help you?"

"Nah."

"Are you sure?"

"I'll handle it." Wario is reinserting his mask of confidence...I wonder if I'll ever see the gentle version of him again. "Just don't tell the others about this...please?"

"I Promise."

And that was the end of that. Today I went to visit my employer. He has two faces. One is a confident flabby mask of greed and complete disregard for other people's opinions on him...but somewhere underneath is a part of him that realizes the effect he has on people...part of him feels afraid of what people think of him. Wario is a celebrity here in Diamond City...I'm not sure what sort of person he would be without the attention of the public to mask his inner demons yet I'm not entirely certain it would be a bad thing. But once again I must look at this in two different ways...I cannot help but entertain the possibility that I am wrong and Wario is already thinking of a way to turn the situation to his personal gain...

But I suppose that if I knew the answer to that question then my faith in him would not exist. Maybe there never even was a kindhearted Wario until today...or maybe these things where always on his mind. The truth is that I'll never truly know what is going on in that head of his...but as a friend I believe with all my soul that I have made a positive difference today regardless of his true nature. I've helped a friend confront his inner demons. That is all that really matters.

"Can I have my wages now?"

"Sod off."