Of Pouncings, Brothers and Friends...

By Mary Alice AKA. Elizara

Anyone who saw Elizara at the moment would wonder what was up with her. Normally, she was a dignified White Mage and would not be hiding in the bushes (even though she usually stood back)...

But right now, she was in the bushes, her tail held low.

That red mage should be by here sooner or later...

She smiled to herself. She'd been trapped in the lands of Waiting and Real Life way too long, but it was good to be back.

Just then, she saw Karlinn and Cydori come up from between a couple branches. She pounced..right on Karlinn's backside, mussing his hair and almost knocking his pimp hat off. “EEEYOOOW! Oh..hey there white mage.”

Cydori was quite startled, and said, “Eli? Um, you got a branch in your hair..”

Elizara looked away, a bit embarrassed. “Oops.” She worked the branch out.

Cydori looked at Elizara like she was being weird. “What the heck were you doing in the bushes?!”

“Um, stalking?”

Karlinn winked. “Doesn't she always? Jump out of the shadows I mean. It does get old after a while tho.”

Elizara blushed. Cydori then asked, “Why the heck do you do that anyway? I've heard Karlinn yelp about it on the shell so many times...you'd think most people would of gotten tired of that by now.”

“Um..that sorta has to do with a past, a past I sorta left behind when I went adventurer.."

“Mind talking about it?”

Elizara thought a second. “Okay. But not here. Follow me ok? I know just the spot.”

“Why not in your mog house?”

“Erm, those doors are a little thin. Don't want everyone and his mother knowing about this. Not to mention I really don't wanna find out what will happen if Sivara gets ticked off.”

Both Cydori and Karlinn nodded, and they followed Elizara into the mithra quarter together..to a vacant lot. In the very center, there was a very huge old tree that had four trunks. It also was rather bushy, with a lot of leaves.

Elizara turned to the others.

“This used to be one of my childhood hangouts – I don't think anyone but a few know about this. Me and Toralynn and a mithra boy called Jasson built a treehouse in this tree my second year in mage school. Sometimes things just got too nuts at home and I needed a quiet place to study.”

Karlinn eyed Elizara curiously. “I don't see any ladder..”

Elizara laughed. “What? It was built for cats like me, not for humes, sorry. We tend to be pretty good at climbing trees, after all. Shouldn't be too hard to get up there anyway – I used to help Linmayu get up there all the time.”

Cydori laughed. “Really? Where is it? I don't see any treehouse in that...”

For a answer, Elizara drew her light staff (which might raised some eyebrows if someone other than her friends saw; the law said adventurers were not allowed to draw weapons in town unless it was a emergency) and used it to part the leaves. There it was – a wooden platform hidden in the bushy leaves of the tree.

“Don't worry, it's safe. Toralynn got six teenagers to swear to secrecy and jump up there; if it can hold six nearly grown mithra, we should be fine.” Elizara winked and shrugged. “No one wanted it to break when I dragged my really heavy bookbag up there, hence why she tested it like that.”

Cydori eyed the platform. “Don't worry about helping me get up there..I'll just Jump up there.”

Elizara turned to Cydori. “Are ya sure you can do that without missing?”

For a answer, Cydori nodded emphatically.

“Okay then.” Elizara bent over and cupped her hands..to give Karlinn a leg up of course. She knew full well Humes as a rule didn't climb trees as well as a Mithra like her could. Karlinn took the hint and stepped into her hand; she gave his leg a push up so he could make it into the treehouse. Once he was up there, she grabbed one trunk and started shinnying up the tree like a squirrel, like she'd done a thousand times before as a child. She saw Cydori bend her legs a little; then suddenly she went flying. She landed easily into the tree. Well, that's a dragoon for you. Nice way of using her training tho I guess; this time it isn't death from above, it's just getting where she wants to be.

Once Elizara made it into the treehouse, she sat down in a corner.

Cydori pointed at a set of marks in one tree trunk. “Is that...”

Elizara looked and smiled. It said, 'Linmayu wuz heer!' “Yes, Linny did that when we were kids. With a nail.” Nodding to her friends, she began.

“To put it bluntly, Karlinn; you remind me a little bit of Shadowneko when he was younger, before he ran away from Windhurst. Maybe you two are related somewhere. Hard to say for sure; Mom never could find out the names of his real mom and dad, who died by the way. She's been trying tho with a mock up sketch that a artist did of 'Neko's real parents; but it's slow going when all you got is faces.”

Karlinn started. “What? He came from here? I thought he was Bastok..”

Thought that'd come up, and that's not a subject..that's talked about where it's sure it'd be overheard. Elizara thought. “Well, let's just say he sorta got chased out. I'm ashamed to be related to her, but my Grandma Devviln is a horrible witch. She didn't like it that my mom adopted 'Neko, and when he turned eighteen, she really let him have it.” She went on with the story, lost in memory:

“Granny came over that horrible day, and I heard her start tearing into Mom and 'Neko. She was really calling 'neko every bad name in the book that time, in a very loud voice..I had a test the next day, so I ran over here just to get some quiet so I could study. About a hour later, 'Neko shouted from the ground. Poked my head out of the tree...it turned out he wanted to say...goodbye, he was leaving for Bastok...all because Grandma had insulted him way beyond the allowable...”

Karlinn shook his head. “That must of hurt..”

“Yar. It was all because of Grandma. I left to become adventurer after a couple more years, after I graduated from mage school. Hardly anyone will talk to Grandma now, especially since she's gotten very sour on adventurers. Mom's proud of both of us though. Anyway Karlinn...”


“I've just always considered ya like a second little brother; as I said, you remind me a little of 'Neko.” She squoze Karlinn's hand. He squoze back, understanding in his eyes. Yeah, Sivara should just relax... I've had my crushes.. She remembered the cute bard who turned out to be just a friend, and that cute monk that eventually ended up dating another girl...I'd never date anyone who I consider to be a brother. That's just...wrong.

Cydori reached out and patted Elizara on the shoulder. “Must of been really hard for you back then, losing your adopted brother like that.”

“Yes it was. Anyway, shall we head back to the main part of town?” Everyone nodded, so they all got down. Unfortunately, Cydori turned a way that Elizara hadn't gone before and started on that way.

Elizara groaned inwardly and called out, “Cydori! Watch out! That's very much the wrong way!”

“But this looks shorter..” She kept going that way.

Elizara muttered, “Bah, she is gonna get it now..”

“Wha?” Karlinn said.

“Let's just say she's walking right into a hornet's nest, guess she's in a hurry. Hurry nuthin' here. Walking right by my granny's house; that's not gonna be pretty.” Elizara groaned and hissed a little. “We'd better catch her. I'll deal with Granny; ya just back me up ok? And don't try anything rash, you know why...”

Karlinn's eyes widened and he nodded. They quickly chased after Cydori, but, as Elizara feared, they didn't catch that dragoon in time. She heard it before she saw it.

“You dirrty, no good @#^&(* @@%$& adventurrrerrr!! What are you doing on my lawn?”

“I didn't do anything! I didn't even step on your lawn!”

Elizara heard her grandma call Cydori the usual very nasty string of names as she ran over to defend her friend. She knew Cydori was pretty ill-equipped to deal with this, thanks to the laws governing adventurers. Adventurers were not allowed to draw weapons to hit anyone in a town with...not even the butt end of said weapon. Monks and puppetmasters were not allowed to punch or kick anyone in a town since their bodies were a weapon to begin with. And no one was allowed to call any pets, like Cydori's Hein, in town. Only in the direst of emergencies, like a war going on, were those laws relaxed.

However, Elizara knew, she did have a ace up her sleeve to deal with her granny that was technically against the law, but since she'd had to do it before, she knew the authorities tended to look the other way about since they were aware her grandma really needed to go into a house for crazy people, but her mother had promised her dad before he died that she'd never do it. Complicated matters, but..well, had to deal with this now.

She stopped right in front of her grandma's house, where Granny was doing the usual tirade at Cydori that she'd do at any adventurer; that Cy was worthless, feckless..the usual. She could see the tears in Cydori's eyes; Grandma Devviln was a expert in making someone upset and feel worthless. Elizara cleared her throat.

“GrandMA, leave my friend alone! She only went the wrong way, she has a horrible sense of direction...”

“YOU! Disappointing yourrr motherrr! She is prolly crrrying rrrright now...”

Elizara stood up a little straighter. “You are dead wrong, Grandma. She's proud of me, I've spoken to her. And the reason I decided to become a adventurer—is my own business, how many times have I told you that?”

“Yourrr ancestorrrs would be angrrry! You'rrre just as feckless as yourrr friend!”

Elizara shook her head, knowing where this was going to go. “I'm warning you, Grandma, stop this now and go in the house or I'll have to get ugly. And I know my ancestors guarded the Star Sibyl for a long time, but that doesn't mean some of them weren't adventurers in some form or fashion...”

As usual, Grandma then started in on a loud and very foul stream of cussing, calling Elizara some rotten names. Elizara sighed; she always hoped it wouldn't come to this. But it always did.

“Sorry Grandma, but I don't have time to deal with this. Take a catnap!”

With that she reached inside, calling on a spell she'd only learned several months ago. She felt faintly because of the concentration Karlinn casting the Refresh spell on her; he prolly guessed what she was about to do...

REPOSE, take a nap Grandma!

The characteristic sound of the spell sounded, and Grandma fell down..asleep.

Elizara shook her head. “Sorry about that Cydori – tried to warn you. I'll prolly have to answer to the authorities about that later; last two times I was forced to cast a Sleep type spell on Grandma to shut her up, I had to go before the Adventurer's Board. Luckily that was no more than a formality since they agreed; it was always provoked and that Grandma needs to go to the crazy people's house really.”

“Why don't you just Silence her instead?” Karlinn asked.

Elizara smiled. “Strangely from what I understand, that'd get me in more hot water than Sleep or Repose. Don't ask me why; law's a funny thing. Anyway, let's get her on the porch, and then get out of here before the spell wears. You ok Cydori? Gran's a expert in taking people apart mentally..”

Cydori nodded. “Sheesh, I should of listened to you. It looked like a good shortcut though..”

Elizara nodded. “Yeah, it would be one..if it wasn't for Grandma. Anyway, let's fix this and get out of here.”

“I'll back you up later if it does go before the board. I'm glad they're lenient with this sort of thing tho.”

“Me too or I would of lost my license long ago.”

They quietly picked up Grandma and put her on the porch, sleeping like a baby. Then they got out of there since no one wanted to be there when she woke.

Sheesh, what a way to show my friends why Neko left Windy...Wish Mom hadn't made that promise, but if wishes were fishes, every Mithra in the world would have a good dinner.

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