After crawling through a dark, damp cave for hours, the sunlight is wonderful, isn't it?

Just make sure you're not moving till you can see.

My eyes had adjusted to the darkness pretty well, so the sudden shift in lighting temporarily blinded me. I couldn't see properly. Now, the smart thing to do would have been to stop myself. It would have been very difficult, seeing all the forward momentum I'd put on myself, but I would just about have been able to manage it.

But see, I didn't stop myself. No, despite not being able to see anything, I stupidly kept running forward, hoping that I could find something to get the sunlight out of my eyes. I only stopped when I realised there was nothing under my feet anymore.

I looked down, saw the fall awaiting me, and did something else really stupid: I started flapping like a chicken. Surprisingly, this worked for a few seconds. But then cue stupid thing number three: in my surprise, I stopped flapping.

"Meep," was all I could say before gravity finally caught me.

I shut my eyes tight as I fell, because seeing the ground rushing up to me made me queasy. Wind buffeted me, and tore at my clothes. I pressed the Polar Star, which was in its holster on my right, close to my body, to make sure I didn't lose it. As I got closer to the ground, I heard a rather loud conversation.

"…next time the Doctor shows up someone else will be taken away. If Sue isn't turned in you could be next." A deep, gruff, no-nonsense voice, with a persuading tone.

"Bu-but…" A much lighter voice, probably a girl's. Whoever it was sounded uncertain.

"Just hand over the key!" The other voice had now lost any persuading tone, and had an edge to it.

Then I landed.

POW!

I was faintly aware of someone shrieking and taking off. When the stars in my eyes disappeared, I sat up and groaned. Now my whole body ached, and I could feel another bump on my head. Surprisingly, nothing was broken, just bruised.

I turned, and saw a large creature that looked like a rabbit on the floor with its eyes closed. The thing was bigger than I was. It had a long snout, and was wearing a ragged purple cloak, which covered its entire body. There was a long scar on its face. It wasn't moving or making a sound.

"Um… are you okay?" I asked. No response. Then, to my surprise, it talked.

"You're not an enemy…?"

I shook my head no. The rabbit got up. Now that it was standing, I could see it wasn't a rabbit. It was something else… The name was on the tip of my tongue…

Mimiga, I realised. I'm looking at a mimiga. That was what this creature was, I was sure of it.

"I thought for sure you were one of them…" the mimiga said. He was the one with the gruff voice that I'd heard. His eyes were open now, and reminded me of a cat's eyes, or maybe those of a snake.

"Where am I?" I asked. The mimiga gave me an odd look.

"What kind of question is that?" he asked, astounded. "You're in Mimiga Village, of course!"

"Ohhh." I had no idea where that was, but I decided to just shut up and not piss off the scary-looking mimiga in front of me.

"My name is King," the mimiga told me. "I'm the number one here." Then he lowered his head. "But that doesn't really mean much, since there are only six of us left in the village."

I raised an eyebrow.

"…Well, technically," King continued, "including Sue it's seven. But she's not one of us. She's just an outsider that came into our village."

Sue… Where had I heard that name before…?

Oh, right. Sue's the name of the person who that Kazuma guy kept trying to contact in those transmissions that kept interrupting my exploring, isn't it?

"Blast that Toroko…" King suddenly muttered, interrupting my train of thought. "She must have run off somewhere when you fell."

"Toroko… Is that the person you were talking to?" I asked. King nodded. "Maybe I can help you find her! After all, it was sort of my fault she ran off."

King looked surprised at my offer. "You'd do that?" he asked. I nodded. "Thanks! That would be a big help!" he exclaimed.

"So where should I start?" I asked, seeing as I'd never been to this place before; if King was the local leader, he'd probably know a good place to start looking.

King scratched his head and thought for a moment. "You should probably check in the Assembly Hall first," he decided, pointing at a large building behind me. "If she isn't there, then you can ask Jack if he saw her. He should be near the Hall, guarding the Graveyard entrance."

"Okay!" I nodded. I set off in the direction King was pointing, heading towards the Assembly Hall. I jumped across to the rock platform where the large building was built and entered it.

Inside, there was a table and chair, a chalkboard and a fireplace, but no mimiga.

"Toroko?" I yelled. No answer. I checked under the table to see if anyone was hiding, then behind the chalkboard. Nothing.

I turned my attention to the fireplace, where I could see a fire burning brightly. I could just about see something on the other side of the fireplace, but it was blocked by the flames.

Well, I can't do anything about that now, I thought. I'll come back later.

Coming out of the Assembly Hall, I saw a lone mimiga standing in front of a doorway behind the Assembly Hall. I walked up to him, hoping that maybe he had seen where Toroko went.

"Hi!" I said, catching his attention. Now that I was closer, I saw that he was wearing glasses and a green sweater, which covered his torso. On his head was perched a rectangular green hat, like a train conductor's, and for some odd reason, he was pointing at nothing in particular.

"Howdy," he replied. "Name's Jack. I'm the number two in the village. Beyond here is the Mimiga Cemetery, where our hero, Arthur, rests eternally in –"

"Yeah, yeah, that's nice," I said, cutting him off. "Listen, have you seen a Mimiga called Toroko anywhere?"

He looked a bit hurt, but thought for a moment.

"Toroko?" he said. "Yeah, I think I saw her heading towards the Reservoir, over there." He pointed to a door in the opposite direction, with a small pool in front of it.

"Thanks," I said. "By the way, why exactly are you standing in front of a cemetery?"

"Oh, mushrooms have taken over Mimiga Cemetery, and I'm keeping watch –"

Of course, by this time he was talking to thin air. I have a selectively short attention span, and I reasoned if it was that important, I'd find out soon enough anyway.


Behind the door was a large body of water, in the middle of which was a small piece of land, sort of like a mini-island. I could see a mimiga sitting on the edge with a fishing pole. I jumped on to the small island and walked over, hoping that I'd found Toroko.

"Hey!" I yelled, and the mimiga turned and looked at me. I walked up to the mimiga and held up my hand.

"Hi," I said. "You wouldn't happen to be Toroko, by any chance, would you?"

"Nope, sorry," the mimiga responded, in a boy's voice. "Toroko's a girl. I'm a guy. Name's Kanpachi."

"Oh," I said, slumping over.

DAMMIT!

"I could probably help you find her, though," Kanpachi continued, but I wasn't really listening at this point. Slumping had shifted my gaze to the water, and I could see something shiny at the bottom. This mysterious shiny thing was what all my attention was currently on.

"…you might also find her around – Hey, are you even listening?" Kanpachi said.

"Shiiinyyy…" I said, completely ignoring him. I got on my knees and reached into the water, trying to grab the shiny thing.

Unfortunately, in my shiny obsessed state, I forgot that things in water usually look closer to the surface than they really are, meaning that instead of doing something smart like, oh, I don't know, using the friggin' fishing pole, I stretched too far and ended up falling into the water. Naturally, I sank to the bottom like a stone and hit my head on the pool floor.

When I managed to put myself up right again, I saw the shiny thing covered by dirt. I grabbed it and tried to jump out of the water – it should have been easy, given how high I could jump, but because of the water, I guess, I couldn't jump as well. This was around the time that I realised the burning sensation in my chest which told me my body was currently in need of oxygen which I could not get in my current situation due to the large H2O to atmospheric gas ratio.

Translation: I needed air.

This was not helped by the fact that after attempting to jump out about five more times, I started to panic and run around screaming underwater, which only served to fill my lungs with water. Feeling weak, I fell onto my knees and started crawling forward, trying to get out. Everything started to get darker. As I struggled to take my last breaths, I lamented the irony of my situation – I was going to die an amnesiac, by drowning at the bottom of a small pool of water because I was distracted by something shiny. It was ironic because I was probably someone who had a big goal in life, dreams, ambition, you know? And now I would never be able to fulfil my life's dream, whatever it may have been oh look I'm out of the water.

I coughed and hacked for a few minutes, getting rid of the water in my lungs, and then gasped, filling my lungs with sweet, sweet air. After a few deep breaths I sat up on the ground and looked at the shiny thing that had almost cost me my life. I dusted off the dirt clinging to it and got a good, long look at it.

It was a little fish.

I'm not even joking. It was a silvery locket shaped like a fish, attached to a loop of string, so it could be hung from the neck.

I just looked at it blankly for a second. Then I started to giggle quietly. My giggles got a little louder, then louder, then even louder, until I was laughing hard enough that tears were streaming down my face. Still laughing, I got up, walked over to the wall, and proceeded to smash my head into it repeatedly.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" I yelled, punctuating each word with another bash into the wall.

I heard a small gasp and turned to see a small mimiga wearing a green sweater staring at me. With blood trickling down my forehead, I flashed a grin and a peace sign. "Yo."

"Ah!" she yelped, and ran out through the door. I sweat-dropped.

Wait… That voice… Could that be…? I thought. I snapped up and ran after her, stuffing the silver locket in my pocket.

Heh. Locket in my pocket. I didn't even know I did that.

Anyway, after leaving the Reservoir, I saw the small mimiga in front of me, and King standing a few feet in front of her. He had a menacing look on his face.

"The key, Toroko!" he snapped. So I was right after all.

Toroko shook her head vigorously, her eyes squeezed shut. "Nooooo!"

Without opening her eyes, she rushed forward, barrelling into King and shoving him over. She ran off the ledge and fell, beyond my line of sight.

"AAAAAAAARGH!" King roared. He started raising himself up. "TOROKO! DON'T UNDERESTIMATE ME!"

I cringed a bit at the loud sound, and then hopped over King and down to the village below. I landed in front of a large house and looked to my left and my right.

Darn it! I thought. Where'd she go?

I looked behind me at the large house, and tried to open the door, but it was locked. I pressed my ear to the door and listened. Silence.

No one's in, I thought. I would at least have heard some breathing if Toroko was in there – she was running pretty fast. I pushed away from the door and looked around. Where else could she have –

Then I saw a small shack a few metres to my right. I went over to it and pressed my ear to the door. It was faint, but I could hear some breathing from inside. I gripped the door handle.

"I'm coming in, Toroko!" I yelled. I twisted the handle, slowly pushed the door open, and went in.


Chapter two. How was it? You might have to wit a bit for the next chapter, though.

Well, hope you liked it.


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