If you have not played this game, you have not lived.

Okay, so it goes like this. You and your friends are playing Crystal Chronicles. The mail moogle arrives after you've kicked some boss booty. One by one you read your letters and press the A button - except, before all three of you are sat down, one of you hits B and your character stands up again. You then play in absolute silence, guessing the moves and timing of the other players so that no one is sat down at any one time. The mail moogle is trapped in this endless cycle of hilarity.

That is the wonder of the Stand-Up-Sit-Down Game.


The Stand-Up-Sit-Down Game

They'd had a little trouble with the sluice Golem.

All had been going according to plan until Kronan got his foot stuck in a particularly stubborn flan. Tactics had been thrown out of the window trying to get the Lilty loose before he was either splattered by the Golem or digested by the flan. Luckily for the Belstone caravan, a chance strike from Tag had shut the Golem down in the nick of time. It had proceeded to crumble into its component parts all over Esther, leaving Tag to dig both of his companions out once he'd stopped laughing.

Despite drawbacks, the battle was over, the artefacts selected, and the Belstone caravan were taking a well earned rest around the Veo Lu myrrh tree.

"Ahh," Esther said blissfully. She dipped blistered feet into the pool around the little island with a sigh of contentment. "This feels so good."

Tag laid out on his back and stared up at the canopy of the myrrh tree above him. "It's so peaceful," he yawned, stretching. "I could easily spend a day here."

"Ick... Anyone got any soap?" Kronan asked hopefully. He was scrubbing his foot furiously in the water. "The flan jelly got in my shoes..."

Esther giggled. The disgruntled Lilty was about to splash water at her when a squeak alerted the group to a visitor.

"Mail moogle at your service, kupo!"

Kronan almost fell right into the pool in his eagerness to receive his post. Esther shook Tag's shoulder gently before getting up herself to greet the little creature. Tag stumbled upright with a little groan just in time for the miniscule flying postman to drop a letter into his hands. "Thanks."

"All part of the service, kupo," the moogle replied cheerily. Behind him, Kronan opened a small wrapped parcel with a cry of delight. There was an expensive shimmer - a chunk of mythril.

"Look!" Kronan exclaimed. "My dad sent me some stuff for my new weapon!"

"Wonderful," Esther said distractedly, perusing her own letter. "Oh, Larkin's sick again..."

Tag unfolded his mail. He recognised the distinctly lopsided writing of his baby sister Paulie and smiled - she still wrote her 'd's backwards. "Anyone got a spare quill?"

"One second," Esther said, and began to rummage in her pack. "I might..."

"Come on," the moogle shrilled, dancing agitatedly around their ankles. "Don't keep me waiting, kupo!"

"Oh be quiet," Esther waved a hand. "You only just got here. Sit still."

The moogle subsided grumpily. Kronan's terribly slow scrawls and Tag's frequent pausing to mentally compose the next sentence soon began to annoy him once more though, and he began to fidget and grumble under his breath.

"How hard can it be, kupo? Just write 'I'm fine, I love you'!" he wailed when Esther gave him a stern look.

"Fine," Esther said irritably. She sat down and thrust out the letter. The moogle took it and hurried over to where Tag had flopped back down, collecting his proffered parchment too. This left Kronan standing with his letter. As the moogle bobbed impatiently before him, the Lilty glanced at Esther mischievously.


The Goblin King's pot bubbled ominously in the background as the Belstone caravan signed their letters and sent them off. With a cheery 'kupo!' the messenger disappeared back through the twists and turns of the Wall and back towards daylight; the caravanners would shortly be following in his steps. Kronan watched him go thoughtfully.

"Hey Esther?" Kronan said. "Have you ever noticed that mail moogles won't leave if anyone is still stood up? It's as if they don't consider the transaction over until you've all sat down."

Esther stared after the little moogle as he hurried away. "You know, you're absolutely right. I never thought of that. I wonder why?"

"Obsessive compulsion," Tag said teasingly. "Like how you always hang up the pans in size order."

"That's not obsessive!" protested Esther, shouldering her pack. "That's just... neat."


With a theatrical flourish, Kronan relinquished his letter and sat down... just as Esther got up again.

"What – what are you doing, kupo?" the moogle asked nervously around a mouthful of parchment.

"Oh nothing," the Clavat said, voice breezy. "Just stretching my legs. All done now."

She sat down, but before she hit the grassy knoll Tag jumped up impishly. "Oh, I want to change my message."

"Alright..." the mail moogle replied weakly, and set down Tag's letter. The Clavat read the five or six lines of script with apparently intense interest, and then passed it back again.

"Sorry. I already wrote what I was going to put down. Silly me."

The moogle took the letter back hastily, eyeing both Clavats, and then turned to dash away. He bumped into Kronan's shins.

"I think I made a spelling mistake!" the Lilty cried dramatically. He threw a hand across his brow. "You don't got nothing if you don't got good grammar!"

Esther popped up again. "I need to add something else!"

The moogle looked from one to the other suspiciously and spat both letters out. "Well, hurry up, kupo!"

"Oh, I forgot what I wanted to say," Esther said sadly, and passed hers back; Kronan made a laborious show of scribbling something out. The moogle took both letters and, slowly, backed away from the group. He was going cross-eyed with the effort of keeping them all in his field of vision. Both Esther and Kronan began to sit down innocently.

The moogle relaxed.

"I need to send my sister a present!" Tag exclaimed suddenly, just before Kronan hit the dirt. He sprang upright.

"What do you need to send her, kupo?" the moogle demanded.

Tag floundered, and fumbled for his pack. "This?"

"Some chilly gel, kupo?" the moogle said scathingly.

"I meant this," Tag retorted, and handed over a flower seed. The moogle snatched it and stowed it in his delivery pouch. When Tag didn't sit down, he quivered indignantly. "S-sit down!"

"Am I standing up?" Tag inquired absent-mindedly. "So I am. Pins and needles, you know how it is."

Ever so slowly, Tag sank back to the ground.

Kronan leapt up, eager to keep the game going but with no reason whatsoever. "I want to – er – it's very important that I – "

Seeing the moogle backing away desperately, Esther came wildly to the rescue: "It's his mother's birthday! He needs some more paper to write a card!"

"No!" cried the moogle, and whirled to face the exit. "No, no! Stay away, kupo! Argh!"

The caravanners all scrambled up and gave chase, shouting after the little creature's rapidly retreating form.

"I need to add a footnote!"

"Got an order form to send to Marr's Pass!

"I forgot to put my sister's medicine money in! If she gets sick you'll have to take that karma to your tiny furry grave!"

"We haven't paid you! Come back!"

"I don't care!" wailed the moogle hysterically, scampering away as fast as his little feet could take him. "No more changes! Never again, kupooooo!"


Some weeks later, the Belstone caravan had successfully sneaked into Moschet Manor and collected their final drop of myrrh. They'd squeezed through the crack in the courtyard wall and, having crept into the little myrrh tree alcove and filled their chalice, they'd escaped out through the moogle's nest under the disconcertingly oversized dining room table of the Moschets. When they were back on the main track to Alfitaria they finally stopped for a celebratory meal. The group were buzzing with nerves, adrenaline and success, swigging water to calm down.

"Hey look, here comes the mail moogle," Tag said, pointing.

Kronan frowned. "Isn't it a little bit weird that they always manage to show up just after you've got a bit of myrrh?"

"Who cares?" Esther said brightly. "We can just write home and say we're on our way back! Coo-ee, over here!"

The moogle, hearing her voice, appeared to slow down considerably and then stop.

"What's wrong with him?" Esther asked, puzzled. "Do you think he's hurt?"

"No, he's fine," Kronan reassured her. Shading his eyes with his gauntleted hands, he watched the moogle pick up speed again. "Look, here he comes."

The moogle in question was very subdued and practically threw their letters at them before huddling a short distance away while they wrote replies. Concerned, Esther stared at him.

"Do you think something's wrong with him?" she whispered to Tag.

"Dunno," the Clavat replied absently, signing his response. "Ask him."

Esther pocketed her quill and approached the shivering little bundle of fur. "Excuse me, mister moogle?"

The moogle jumped about a foot in the air and backed away rapidly. "No no no! Not you again, kupo! Don't come any closer!"

It was then that Esther recognised the familiar fur markings daubed on the moogle - it was the same one as last time. She attempted a smile. "Yes, it's us. Er. Sorry about Veo Lu. We were just playing a game, it was quite funny actually..." She trailed off. The moogle was staring at her through anxious red-rimmed eyes.

The unblinking terrified gaze was a little bit frightening, if she was completely honest. Maybe mail moogles really did have nervous disorders. And this one certainly didn't look too good. In that case, she thought, probably best to not make any... sudden... movements...

"Here's my letter!" Tag announced loudly, appearing out of nowhere at Esther's shoulder. Without warning, oblivious to the situation, he thrust the parchment right at the moogle. It was too much for the little fellow, who, with a terrible scream of "kupooooo!" turned and fled the scene.

"What just happened?" Tag asked blankly.

Esther rubbed her temples. "I'll explain later." She shuddered. "I think his eyes are going to give me nightmares..."


End.

I forgot to mention. If you are not super-hardcore-pro at this game the mail moogle will run away without taking at least one of your letters. Vengeance is small and furry. True story.