Chapter Four

Mimi stared at the bowl with the inedible-looking mush in front of her. Any hunger she might have been feeling was immediatly vanished as she poked it with her spoon. Somehow, she was afraid it would come to life and eat her instead of her doing the eating. With a forced smile, the little shape-shifter turned to face the elderly woman, who was spooning out some more of inedible mush-casserole into a bowl for herself."Um...What is this...this called?", she asked as politely as she could. The woman winked and gave her a nod."Sweetie, I can assure you, its very tasty and edible. It may not look it, but this is my best recepie yet!", she said persuasively. Mimi forced a chuckle to come from her throat."Um, yeah! I knew that!", she said.

Deciding she had nothing to lose, Mimi tasted the mush...and instantly sighed dreamily. The old lady had been right; it was her best recepie ever. The casserole mush tasted of mushrooms and sweet, heavy cream, dolloped with some sort of strange herb she could not recognize. It was all topped off by grated coconut and hints of lime that tickled her tastebuds. The woman must have sensed her change in opinion, since she laughed heartily and placed the casserole pan in front of Mimi when she devoured the whole bowl."More casserole, dearest?", she asked sweetly. The little girl nodded enthusiastically."Of course! This is the best stuff I've ever had!", she replied.

The old lady smiled and patted the top of her head."Tell me when you finish, so I can wash the dishes.", she said, before leaving the dining room and heading towards the shop area. Mimi's only response was a grunt, considering the fact she had her mouth full of the delicious meal. As soon as she finished her food, the little girl hopped off her seat and placed her bowl in the rounded sink as she hummed a song to herself. This lady had been very generous, but something about her seemed very off. From personal experience, Mimi knew that kindness wasn't always free, and sooner or later, the elderly woman was going to ask for a payment of some sort from her. Deciding it was best if she left now, the shape-shifter walked to the door, only to hear a yowling noise from behind her.

Mimi immediatly froze, and she cursed silently to herself, before turning around and facing her stalker. What she saw left her in shock and confusion. Instead of seeing the elderly lady frowning upon her, she saw a strange, catlike animal sitting in front of her. Its emerald green eyes flashed dangerously and they contrasted deeply with the snow white fur that ruffled its entire body. What made the creature strange was that in the center of the forehead, a bright red gem shone brightly. The catlike thing yowled again, then licked its paw before walking up to Mimi and arching its back, a few low, throaty purrs emanating from its being.

A smile twisted the lips of the shape-shifter, and she slowly rubbed the creature's head."Aww...You look so cute...", she gushed. The catlike thing yowled again, then smiled, its pointed teeth flashing brightly. Within seconds, the creature shimmered, and a small glow enveloped its whole being. Mimi took a step back, startled by what she was seeing, then gaped in shock as the glowing ceased. A cat no longer stood there, but rather, a human-looking girl, who had thick curls of snow white hair, and slanted, emerald green eyes that probed her with their searching gaze. She wore a small, ruffled, white dress that was somehow bought together with a huge, ruby brooch at the center of her neckline. What made her stand out, however, were the feline-like ears that popped out from her hair. The girl smiled once, then curtsied slowly, the hemline of her dress barely scraping the surface, before she spoke."Hello, little one. My name is Alaela.".

O'Chunks stared at the little, quaint, cottage that stood in front of him, its sides labeled with the word 'Mario'. When he had gone off to search for the heroes of prophecy, he had expected some sort of grand house or castle, if not a mansion. But now that he was here, he couldn't stop scratching his head like an idiot. What had he been thinking? From what little he had managed to gether from the heroes, it was that they were not the type of people to live lavish lifestyles, at least, not all of them. Hesitantly, he walked up to the door, and knocked twice. For a minute, he heard nothing. Then a few seconds later, the door opened, and a somewhat sleepy Mario appeared, his nightcap still placed on his head. However, once he saw O'Chunks, he widened his eyes and gaped, his mouth hanging loosely."You again?", Mario asked. The chunky warrior just nodded. He should have known better than to think that Mario, or 'Maria', as he had mistakenly called him once, would see him and forget any past wrong he might have wreaked. With a shuffle of his feet, O'Chunks coughed once, then bowed his head in an act of repentance."Oy, mate. 'Tis me, the ex-count's former minion, O'Chunks. But don't get yer noodles mixed up; I came here on teh cou-er, i mean, Lord Blumie's orders.", he said.

Mario narrowed his eyes in suspicion, and he crossed his arms in defiance."How can I be sure you're not here to fight?", he said in a low voice. The Scot only grumbled to himself, then he covered his face with one of his hands, literally."If I'd really been wantin' teh pick a brawl, I'd already done somethin' b'now, don't yeh think, mate?", he replied in mere annoyance. The red-clad plumber hesitated, then shook his head in agreement. With nod of the head, he opened the door wider, which O'Chunks took as an invitation to come in. As he slowly enterd the house, the chunky warrior couldn't help but think he was somehow walking into a world of memories...and very upsetting ones at that. No sooner were they away from prying eyes, O'Chunks turned to face Mario, and with an uneasy feeling, spoke."Ol' mate...I've gotta tell ye somethin'...".

WHEE! I finally got me a personal copy of the game, so I can understand the characters a bit more. And believe me, I was surprised to see that Flipside actually has cobblestone streets. In any case, I'm glad I finally got another chapter finished. I was experiencing something of a writer's block, and I couldn't think of anything to add on, so I left it alone for some time. But finally, I got it done. I know the chapter is kinda odd, considering the fact that I kinda chose a crappy place at which to stop Mimi's POV. But I promise, I'll try to fix it with the next chapter. By the way, for those of you who eagerly expect updates, I have to warn you: I don't get many chances to update often, so what I'm forced to do is update as many chapters as I can. But if you don't mind waiting for more than one chapter, then I will feel glad. Okies, I've drabbled too long...R and R!