Story: Mutiny on the Blargg


A lightly equipped airship, damaged and smoldering, trudged through the air over the sea with jerky movements. The partially wrecked ship as well as the injured crew of bad guys spoke of the struggle which had occurred for the sake of the ship.

A rowdy crowd of Koopa troops, Shy Guys, Goombas, and various other baddies all hollered and celebrated their hard fought victory. Over the crowd, a single Magikoopa, himself also hurt, stood atop the poop deck, causing all the various villains to snicker while he addressed them.

"Friends in mayhem, we did it!" The Magikoopa clapped his hands, encouraging the rest of the motley crew to do so. "We escaped from the island prison AND we stole the guards' only airship!" Another round of applause rang out, and a Micro Goomba began bouncing on the head of a regular Goomba. "And now, we're going to take this ship, and take these cannons, and blow the Mushroom Kingdom to smithereens!"

The Magikoopa began clapping again, gaining a few allies among the crowd. A handful of the baddies looked to each other uneasily, however, and one of them shook his head. Sneegle, a red Snifit, pulled an empty soapbox to the center of the crowd and stood atop it.

"Seeing as how the prison break was my idea, I'd like to add a few words," the Snifit said, and although the Magikoopa stuttered angrily, most of the assorted villains turned to listen. "Most of us have been beaten by good guys before. Several times, in fact. We have our own airship and can go anywhere we want; maybe we should try something new instead of attacking the same good guys again and again."

The former members of the Koopa Troop murmured among themselves, a mixture of agreement and disagreement. The Magikoopa loomed over the crowd irately. "And what, pray tell, would we do other than attack the Mushroom Kingdom? We need a method of income, not your fantasies!"

"It's not a fantasy," the Snifit replied, causing everyone on the airship's deck to strain their necks looking back and forth between the two speakers. "Most of us are good at stealing things, and breaking in to places. Why don't we just start finding treasure and coins? Then we can use the coins to buy things - things that we like."

When more of the escaped villains started nodding along to Sneegle's words, the Magikoopa became visibly worried. "Sneegle loves good guys more than he loves bad guys!" the bespectacled baddie said to a round of gasps directed at both of them.

Sneegle ignored the slight and didn't take the bait. "Alright, let's put it to a vote. Who thinks we should use this airship to start a new life and avoid the Mushroom Kingdom altogether?"

"Aye!" said four of the escaped villains.

"And who says that bad guys are better than good guys?" said the Magikoopa, jumping up and down and waiving for more people to join him.

Only four raised their hands, leaving the overwhelming majority undecided: fifteen of the escapees hadn't raised their hands at all. A reticent Ninji who wrought his wrists anxiously. "I don't know I just don't know," the ninjitsu practitioner mumbled, speaking for the majority.

"A tie? That isn't a great result," Sneegle said. He hadn't noticed the Magikoopa pulling a wand out.

Multicolored runes glowed in the air around the wand until the Magikoopa pointed the instrument at Sneegle. "I can fix that…who would follow a leader who can't even move?"

Caught unaware, Sneegle turned just in time to see the blast of magic headed toward him. The bright glowing ball hit him and spread over his body, freezing him in place. He could see, he could hear, he could think, but he couldn't move. His four loyalists began to poke and prod him, thinking it a joke until their own fellows turned on them.

"Heed my words and obey my command: throw those traitors overboard!" the Magikoopa yelled while swinging his wand menacingly.

In the heat of the moment, the greater portion of the bad guys listened and turned on the comparatively small group weakened by its leaders paralysis. Even the previously neutral villains swarmed around Sneegle and his supporters, ganging up on them three-to-one without the chance to fight back. Only Zoom-Zoom, the crowd's Boom-Boom, stood back in uncertainty at the real, actual traitors.

"Friends, don't!" protested a red Koopa who'd been Sneegle's cellmate at the prison island, though his words were in vain.

One by one, the four supporters were tossed overboard, falling from the airship like helpless ragdolls and plummeting toward the sea. They screamed, for there was nothing else they could do, and they fell into a massive whirlpool which had opened up beneath the airship. Sneegle was last, and all he could do was watch as the people who he'd helped escape from prison turned on him.

"Oh, how it pains me to do this!" the Magikoopa said sarcastically while directing the rowdy crowd to lift Sneegle up in the air like the worst crowdsurf ever.

Sneegle's stomach tingled due to both the end of the paralysis spell and the sudden fall he took. He was more scared than he'd ever been in his life, and he flapped his arms ineffectually as he followed his friends down to the whirlpool. He screamed as they had, unable to accept his unfair doom even when he plunged into the sea. The whirlpool began to glow with a strange magical light, swallowing him up and dragging him and his friends to a place they never would have suspected.
Bolts of strange magic shocked the water as a portal opened beneath the surface. Fish scattered as five bodies were pushed through as if in a current, and all of them began flailing in their disorientation. Sneegle broke to the surface first.

"You rat finks!" the Snifit yelled at an empty sky; the airship was nowhere to be seen. Fear of the open water took over, and he spun around until he saw the shore. "Swim like your lives depend on it!" he shouted to his four supporters.

The other baddies all broke through the surface and began swimming after him, for they were just as afraid after being tossed so far into the sea. Two Shy Guys and a Spike overtook Sneegle, and before he reached the shallows, he turned back to see the Koopa with a red shell struggling. "Hurry!" he yelled until he saw the shark fin protruding above the surface.

"Save yourselves!" the Koopa yelled just before falling beneath the waves. The shark took him, and Sneegle tumbled to the shallows before falling to his knees.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" he called out, but the Koopa was already dead, and his three other supporters were gagging and spitting up salt water on the shore. He dragged himself out of the sea and pulled his mask away for a second to let water seep out. He panted heavily. "That coward, that Magikoopa knew he couldn't fight fairly! I'm going to fix this, fellas. You'll see." He didn't even believe his own words, but he had to put up a front to keep them from falling apart.

Sharif, the more talkative of the two Shy Guys, pushed himself up on shaking arms. "We're with you," he said in a voice lacking confidence.

The group had little time to recuperate, however. The beach shrubbery behind them rustled, and Sneegle turned around to find a mottled Moblin the height of a wooly mammoth looming over them. "There you are," the giant porcine monster said as if it knew them.

"What the heck is that!" Sharif yelled while flailing his arms.

Long arms reached down to knock Sneegle into the beach sand. He hit the ground hard, and by the time he'd stood back up, he found the Moblin stuffing his three followers into a big burlap bag. "No, I've lost too much today!" the Snifit said defiantly. Making his last stand, he began to shoot bullets at the giant manpig monster through his mouth tube.

"Ow! Ow! Ouch! Ow!" the Moblin said as bullets hit it and even broke its skin. "Quit it, you poopy head!"

Sneegle lost his sense of reason and began shooting the Moblin with reckless abandon. The jailbreak, the betrayal, the fall overboard, the loss of his friend to the shark, and now this; it was all too much for him. He didn't even pause to wonder why the Moblin wasn't fighting back, even when his bullets drew blood.

"Not you!" the big pig monster said, and finally it gave Sneegle a swift kick which sent him back into the shallows like a punted football. "The master doesn't need you!"

Losing his sense of balance, the Snifit faltered. He thrashed in the water, tumbling over rocks and sharp shells and bruising himself sorely. His red robes tore at the bottom, revealing his stick-like right leg connecting to his thick blue shoes.

All three of Sneegle's followers were now inside the bag, unable to see and falling onto each other. As if things couldn't get any worse, the Spike farted. "Oh, you have to be kidding me, Gus!" Sharif said.

"Sorry," the embarrassed Spike replied.

Dazed and confused, Sneegle fell multiple times while crawling ashore, scrambling frantically to find his friends. The Moblin had much longer legs than him and took long strides, but its large footprints and droplets of blood left an easy trail to follow behind all the rustling palm fronds and ferns. He sped off to catch up with them.

"Your master will need an aspirin and some band-aids after I'm through! Worst day ever!"
Sneegle swept shrubbery and low-hanging branches away as he ran through the sparse oceanic flora. The giant footsteps led to an odd, spacious wooden longhouse in the middle of a sandy clearing. The Snifit's hear pounded as he tried not to imagine losing even more of his few supporters, and he just focused all of his fear and anxiety on the rattan door standing between himself and his friends. In poor form and without thinking, Sneegle leapt into the air at a running start and dragon kicked the door down, falling through and sliding across the floor in the process.

"Sneegle!" Sharif said, though the Shy Guy was outside the Snifit's field of view.

When Sneegle looked up, he saw a weird longhouse with a high ceiling, the walls full of fetishes and magical artifacts all the way up. A purple Wizzrobe floated in the corner and pointed at him with alarm, and the same Moblin who'd kidnapped his friends rushed toward him. The big pig was covered in bandaids and looked positively irate.

"Gimme back my friends!" Sneegle yelled while scrambling to his feet. He grabbed wooden cups and magic wands from a nearby shelf and threw them at the Moblin, but the objects were less effective than bullets, and he couldn't spit bullets while yelling.

"Grow up!" the Moblin said while covering its long snout from the barrage.

The Moblin kicked Sneegle hard in the shoulder, sending him into the wall in a world of pain. He tried to stand up, but his shoulder was hurt badly, and the Moblin prepared to hit him hard when Sharif protested.

"Wait, he's with us! He just wants to save us!"

Until then, Sneegle hadn't noticed that all three of his friends were free of their bonds, seated at a table and drinking tea. The Wizzrobe looked upset but held out a hand to stop the Moblin.

"Wait, Mohodu; this may be a misunderstanding," the Wizzrobe said. The Moblin with golden hide grumbled but backed off, leaving Sneegle to lean against the wall and rise to his feet. "Come here, dearie. Your friends were just telling me about being tossed overboard from a boat which flies. I've heard stranger tales."

Hesitant, Sneegle walked over to the table, and Gus helped him into a chair. He rubbed his shoulder while glaring at the Wizzrobe, who floated over to the table and offered him green tea. He didn't accept it.

"Your mook kidnapped my friends and kicked me into the water!" Sneegle said, and the Moblin twitched and looked worried.

"You shot me a buncha times!" the Moblin retorted.

"Mohodu, let them talk. Your steak is getting cold anyway." The Moblin grumbled again but heeded the Wizzrobe's words and sat at the other end of the longhouse where a meal had been set on an empty cable spool. The purple magic creature looked back to Sneegle. "Yes, I had him bring you all here because I needed to check on the results of my experiment. I saw you all fall from your flying boat through my crystal ball, and so I tested a spell to open a portal to your dimension. Tell me, are you always this disagreeable? I need to know if the portal affected you or not."

"Disagreeable? Disagreeable!" Sneegle stood up from his chair, but his shoulder hurt him again, so he sat back down. "You took us through a portal in a whirlpool, and…" The Snifit's voice trailed off, and he calmed down to think about what had happened. "…and, well, thank you for saving our lives. But your goon there really should have told us what was happening."

"Fair enough, but you should probably ask questions before shooting whatever moves in your field of vision next time. You're welcome, by the way." The Wizzrobe sipped her tea while continuing. "Your friends tell me that you all have nowhere to go since you were thrown off of your ship. You know, I could possible open a portal for you again, right on the deck of that ship. Then you might have a good chance at revenge."

The entire group's eyes lit up. Gus clapped his hands, but Sneegle remained skeptical.

"What's the catch?" he asked.

"Ah, I'm glad you asked! My other assistant has been captured by the Hylians and imprisoned in a tower to the east. There are at least twenty guards there, and Mohodu is too big to run a stealthy job like this. I've been told by your friends that you're an expert in jailbreaks."

"I'm the expert in jailbreaks!"

"Good! That's…good to know," the purple Wizzrobe said. She bobbed up and down in the air. "Whenever you return here with my other assistant, I'll open a portal for you to take back your flying boat. Everybody wins!"

Although his friends all looked relieved, Sneegle played the role of a tough negotiator as well as he could. He chugged his entire cup of tea even though it burned his gullet, and he kept everybody waiting for a moment.

"Fair deal. But your guy over there screwed my shoulder up, so I'm going to need medical attention if you want anything done."

"Yes, no need to worry about that," the Wizzrobe said while floating high toward the ceiling and retrieved a red potion which she tossed down to Sneegle. He drank it and felt the pain mostly disappear, but she pulled a piece of leather armor with straps from the shelf too. "Wear this pauldron. The straps will provide support for heavy lifting and get your shoulder back into place."

Sharif helped Sneegle wear the pauldron, and the rest of his friends finished their tea and moved toward the door. The Wizzrobe floated back down with them and walked them to the door.

"Remember, my other assistant is trapped in a tower to the east. There aren't any proper towns between here and there, so just travel straight east for today and you'll find it. You can forage for food on your journey. No assistant, no deal."

"We'll get your assistant back, and then we'll get our revenge," Sneegle said to the delight of his companions. "If this is what we have to do, then it will be done; we need to take back what's ours!"
Night was falling over a quiet glade in a dense wood in eastern Hyrule. Halfway up a tree, Sneegle squinted at the dark image of a guard tower over the dark horizon. Even the starlight didn't quite reveal the exact details of the structure.

Sharif walked over to the trunk of the tree at the glade's edge. "Sneegle, we're having a lot of trouble with the campfire. Could you give it a try?"

"Let me take a look; there's no way to travel further," he sighed.

Once down on the grass, he found Gus and the blue Shy Guy banging rocks together over a pile of sticks. He stared at the pile for a long time before Sharif spoke again.

"What was his name?" Sharif asked.


"The koopa. The one who the shark got. What was his name?"

Everyone fell silent for a long moment, and Gus even stopped hitting the rocks together.

"I shared a jail cell with him on that island," Sharif lamented. "I shared a cell with him, but I never even learned his name."

"He used to bargain for ketchup in the prison canteen; he said he couldn't stand that slop they fed us without it," Sneegle said.

"He twiddled his thumbs when he was stressed," the blue Shy Guy said.

"He liked french fries," Gus said.

Sharif still let his shoulders droop sadly. "We only remember bits and pieces of him; that Magikoopa condemned him to an ignoble death."

"Then it sounds like you have some payback to deliver," came the voice of a stranger who'd been watching them.

All four baddies spun around to find who'd been spying on their conversation. Behind them, a natural embankment at the opposite side of the glade had opened into a dark tunnel; standing in front of it was a strange man. As short as Sharif yet broader than either Sneegle or Gus, the strong little creature had a beard which reached to his toes. His overalls were covered in embers and stained with blood, giving him a menacing demeanor despite being alone.

"Who - who are you?" Gus stuttered while moving in the middle of the four friends.

The short stranger didn't move from his spot, appearing perfectly calm in a way which made him seem even creepier. The stranger removed his pointy hood.

"My name is Darbakh…Darbakh Smokestack. I'm one of this land's dwarven swordsmiths."

"Why are you spying on us?" Sharif asked.

"Spying? You're all yapping in front of my secret door. I heard your entire plan to infiltrate the tower to spring a jailbreak tomorrow. I was too interested to just ignore it."

Three of the baddies looked at each other nervously, but the only Snifit in the group saw an opportunity.

"We just sprung out of jail ourselves," Sneegle said proudly.

"I figured," Darbakh said.

"And if you're so interested that you're staying awake to listen, then you must have a bone to pick against the guards in that tower too."

Darbakh smiled; it was an evil smile, but he smiled all the same. Twirling his crooked mustache, the dark dwarf began to speak more quickly.

"Perceptive. I have a grudge against the former captain of that tower. He died early as Hylians tend to do, and so the debt I'm owed passes on to the current tower leadership. I've been sapping the ground beneath their tower to sunder its foundations for a year now, but you…well, your plan to set free the blue Bokoblin in that tower might be the distraction I need."

"Blue Bokoblin…one of those small pig things, right?" Gus asked.

Darbakh nodded. "Right. She's the only prisoner in there. The younger guards kick her and yell at her during their breaks. It means nothing to me, but I imagine that you must be upset to hear that since you're here to save her."

"Her boss told us, this purple wizard," Sharif said. "Said that she'd be in a cage while there."

"Aye. For now. They're holding her for trespassing outside monster lands. If you can get her out of that cage, I'm sure she'd love to help you fight your way out of those guards. There are a baker's dozen sharing the bunks there, so your work will be cut out for you."

"So you're a swordsmith…you ought to help us fight them!" Sneegle said, stepping forward.

Darbakh shook his head. Turning and reaching into the darkness behind him, he took a metallic object and tossed it to the Snifit. Sneegle caught what he found to be a sword in a scabbard, after which the dwarf began walking back toward the tunnel.

"Where are you going? You have a better chance at getting your revenge if you help us!" Sneegle said, this time more forcefully, but the dwarf wouldn't turn around.

"I just did; there are few more weapons under that hedge over there." Darbakh stopped just inside the tunnel and reached for a level on the side of the secret tunnel's wall. "Prove that you're worthy of those weapons, and you'll have mine tomorrow at noon. Fall, and I'll leave you to your fate. I can always go back to sapping the tower foundation again."

Sneegle angrily stepped forward to stop the dwarf from leaving, but before he could, a heavy stone slid into place at the opening of the tunnel. The secret door now looked like a normal boulder half-buried in the earthen embankment, closing the four baddies from the Mushroom Kingdom locked out and in a chilly glade without fire. They all stood in a second bout of silence for a while; the Spike and the two Shy Guys fidgeted nervously at the thought of facing thirteen guard, but Sneegle instead inspected the sword in his hands.
The sun had barely risen around the lonely guard tower in remote Hyrule. A human soldier stumbled out the front door, smelling of coffee with only half his armor strapped on. A layer of mist still whirled at least ankle-high as the young man fumbled with his greaves. Shadows rose from the bushes behind him, obscured by the morning mist as he bent down to strap on his leg armor. He didn't even have time to react when several pairs of hands grabbed him, gagged him, and pulled him into the un trimmed hedges forming a semi-circle around the tower.

A second guard stepped out of the front door next, holding a mug of green tea and looking slightly more alert. He walked down the stone steps leading onto the grass, holding a hand up to his head to shield his eyes from the sun. The miles of rolling hills in Hyrule laid out before him, and without any backdrop for shadows to form on, he was similarly unprepared when the gang of baddies jumped him from behind.

After many long minutes of silence, the bushes rustled, and the quartet of bad guys from the Mushroom Kingdom stepped out to the guard tower's front door. They all crept slowly despite the bright sunny weather, feeling out of their element in the Hyrule Kingdom.

"Oh, I don't know if we should be doing this," Gus said while wringing his wrists.

"We have one way out of here, so stick to the plan," Sneegle replied while knocking on the double wooden doors.

A moment later, the door swung open to reveal a very surprised guard along with three others playing cards at a table. The guard manning the door immediately laid a hand on a sword at his built and squinted at the snifit, spike, and shy guys standing at the door.

"State your business here," the guard captain said through crooked teeth. "You look a little lost. What did you come for, and from where?"

"Ahem. Greetings, o defender of the kingdom, and salutations from our merchant caravan," Sneegle said with a forced upper-class accent.

The captain's eyebrows arched suspiciously, and the man rubbed his stubbly chin. "I don't see any caravan," he said while leaning out the front door to peer behind the group.

Before anyone inside could even react, Sneegle shoved the captain's head into the open door, knocking the human unconscious. The other three guards at the table inside the tower all jumped to their feet, shocked, angry, and ready for conflict. Racks full of weapons lined the walls behind them.

"We're under attack!" one of the guards yelled with his head tilted up toward a winding stone staircase.

Gus began hyperventilating and, unintentionally, gulped and gagged on one of his spiked balls. More panicked than purposeful, the spike stumbled forward and tossed the spiked ball at the guards simply to avoid dropping it. The projectile slammed into all three guards like a bowling ball against flexible pins, and the guards crumbled under the impact and knocked most of the weapons out of the racks.

"I didn't mean to!" Gus stammered.

There was no time to argue about intent because hurried footsteps were already echoing from the stairs ringing the circular walls of the tower. As soon as the first few guards descended from the second floor, Sneegle began spitting more snifit bullets, pelting them before they were prepared. Two of the guards shrieked and fell down the rest of the stairwell, where Sharif dragged them away to tie them up. The third guard wisened up and lifted a shield, blocking Sneegle's shots and leading a considerable number of the guards downstairs.

Sneegle grabbed the guard captain and held his new sword to the man's neck. "Don't make this harder than it has to be!" he said menacingly, though he also began backing out of the tower.

A standoff ensued, with the foreign baddies dragging away whatever guards they could as hostages, and the remaining guards arming themselves and blocking the tower's door. They shouted and traded insults back and forth until Sneegle knocked the guard captain's helmet off with the edge of his sword. The metal helm clattered on the floor, interrupting the junior guards and causing one of them to wave in the air as if calling for a time out.

"Hold on, put the captain down!"

Barely conscious, the captain's eyes were closed and he had a lump on his head, but he spoke with grit in his voice. "Don't negotiate with these outlanders," the captain spat, but he fell quiet when the sword scraped some stubble off his chin.

"Your captain is a hostage, so he's no longer involved in decision making," Sneegle said.

"How do you know that?" Gus whispered, but Sharif stepped on his foot to quiet him.

"Just state your business, you criminals!" said the junior guard.

"You have a blue pig creature in the basement, and we need her back, so hand her over and we'll be on our way," Sneegle said.

"Don't let them walk away from this - is-is-is!" the captain said. He stuttered at the end when Sneegle pushed him to the ground and pointed the sword sharply above his ear.

"Whoa, whoa, calm down!" the junior guard said.

"Give us the sow!" Sneegle snapped, playing up the role as good as he'd done during the group's own prison break. "And give her right now, or your captain is gonna take a bow!" The guards paused for a moment and looked at each other in confusion. "From life. A bow from the stage of life, it's a poetic way of…look, just give us the pig creature!"

The junior guard who'd led his comrades downstairs squared his shoulders and started speaking with a forced bass in his voice. "Nay, we shall not be giving up-"

A loud creak came from the basement.

"We shall not be giving up-"

Another loud creak emerged, and the basement door shook on its hinges.

"We shan't give-"

The entire tower shook loudly, and half of the floor collapsed beneath the feet of the guards. Individual stones fell separately from one another, and only a few of the guards jumped over to the walls quickly enough to hang on. The guard captain slid into the hole, dragging Sneegle along with him. They both fell hard on the rubble left by the collapsing first floor, and the humans all choked on dust. Everyone laid on the rocks for a moment, dazed and confused, except for the guard captain.

The grizzled human leapt to his feet and grabbed a sword, swinging at Sneegle. The snifit parried the shot, but the captain was the more experienced fencer, and soon enough he had the snifit pressed against the wall. Just before the coup de grace, a voice called them from deeper in the broken basement.

"Time to pay for the sins of the father, cap."

The guards in the basement all jumped at the sound of Darbakh. The evil-looking dwarf from the previous night walked out of an arched doorway leading into a dark tunnel. The guards seemed quite afraid of him, scrambling to escape into other tunnels or climb out of the basement, and even the guard captain left Sneegle to focus on the dwarf with a hundred-year grudge.

"You're a traitor to our kingdom!" the captain cried, actually giving his back to Sneegle and rushing to fight the dwarf, who stood and waited with patient amusement.

Sharif leaned over the edge of the tower's first floor. "Sneegle, there's the cage! Across the basement!"

Sure enough, the Bokoblin the group had been sent to rescue cowered inside a cage. She was roughly the size of the humans but underfed and visible injured from beatings. Sneegle cut open her cage and tried to pull her out, being greeted with frantic scratches and punches when he took her.

"Ouch! Hey, we're here to help!" he said while dragging the Bokoblin.

"Innocent! I'm innocent!" his fellow villain said as she looked upon everyone around her fearfully.

"I know you're innocent, lady, now stop hitting me," Sneegle replied roughly. "Sharif!"

"Up here!" Sharif replied. Gus and the other shy guy were holding him by the legs like a living rope, and he pulled up Sneegle, who pulled up the Bokoblin. "We need to leave; this place is unstable."

Just as all five of the baddies stepped back from the tower, the entire stone structure - three stories tall - collapsed. They all scattered, alongside the few guards who hadn't fallen into the basement, and ran for cover as huge slabs of stone fell around them. The last glimpse they caught of the structure was the guard captain defeated on the ground while Darbakh stood over the human, triumphant with a warhammer and unafraid of the tower as the entire building was no more.
That night, the group camped in rural Hyrule, beneath a large growth of hedges nestled in a small wood. They burned no campfire and laid in the dirt, in the dark, lest their location be discovered. Gus and the blue shy guy (whose name nobody knew) slept under a cover of low-hanging leaves, having gorged on berries and nuts they'd found in the wilderness. Sharif sat up, his back against a rock, motionless and silent.

Only Sneegle and the Bokoblin whom they'd rescued were awake. Her mottled hide was silver with purple streaks, like the Moblin they'd first encountered, but she had many bruises and scratches. She hugged a spear they'd taken from the human guard tower clutching the weapon like a sort of security blanket, as she and the Snifit sat across from each other.

When all had laid still and quiet for a good long while, she looked up at Sneegle. "When the sun rises, we can go soon. Go fast. Right?" she asked.

"Right," Sneegle answered, twiddling his thumbs and wondering why he couldn't sleep.

"No delays, we will go right away?"

"No delays," he replied tersely.

"Okay, good; I want to go home. I want to be back where I belong," she said, oinking a bit and staring at him expectantly.

Sneegle ignored her for a few more minutes, drowsy but not sleepy, and increasingly irritated at himself for not simply falling asleep. The Bokoblin seemed aware of this and scooted closer to him.


He let out a long sigh from his nozzle, but she didn't understand the rebuff and continued.

"Humans are awful. They are so mean. They put me in a cage and hit me. I did not do anything to them!" She scraped the spear shaft with her fingernails and muttered under her breath. "Stupid humans. Monsters are better. Are you a monster?"

"Yeah, sure," Sneegle replied.

She smiled and bobbed her head up and down. "I knew it. You all look like monsters. Where did you come from?"

"Another world," he replied.

"Yes, but you said that already. Where is this world? Is it in the sky?"

"What? No, it's the Mushroom Kingdom. It's like Hyrule, but different."

"Same-same but different?" the Bokoblin asked.

"I guess."

"What will you do when you go back?" she asked insistently.

"Be free."

"What do you do when you are free?"

"Whatever I want, whenever I want. That's what being out of jail means."

"Thanks mister, for getting me out of jail." For a few minutes more, Sneegle didn't answer, hoping that she was finished. She wasn't. "What do you want to do, then?"

He rolled over with his back to her. "Stuff. The things I've always wanted to do."

"But what you want to do?"

Although he was laying down, he was wide awake. He stared at the tall grass next to his head. His body felt tired, but for sure, his mind was wide awake. There was a measure of tension in his shoulders as she watched him.

"What you want-"

"I heard you," he answered tersely. Rolling onto his back again, he gave up on sleeping soon. "I don't know."

The Bokoblin oinked lightly at him. "You don't know? But you want to be free!"


"You must have important things to do."

"Yeah, well, what will you do now that you're free, huh?"

Her small eyes lit up like a young piglet at the insincere question. "Oh, I have many plans!" She scooted closer until he actually leaned away to get more personal space. "I go back to Mohodu tomorrow. Do you know Mohodu?"

"Unfortunately," Sneegle replied, though she didn't grasp the connotation.

"He is my super friends, like family. We all work for Darnaka, the Wizzrobe. We help each other! We do all kinds of jobs, like collecting things, gathering things, finding…things, and we hunt for food."


"And we forage for food, and we find water, and sometimes she even lets us watch her magic experiments. We stay up late when she has experiments, and those are the best days because we also talk about the experiments-"


"-and we wash the equipment, and we catch birds, and, and, and! Do you want to stay?"

"Not in a million years," he replied.

For the first time she was given pause, though not for his veiled insult. "Million is big number, same like billion. You must have many plans. Why you don't know what to do? Your friends know, Gus, and Sharif, and Somnu?"

"Who the heck is Somnu?"

She laughed and pushed his arm as if they were friends. "The other shy guy, silly!"

Sneegle turned his head to watch the blue shy guy, who was sleeping soundly next to Gus. "I was in jail with him for a year and never knew his name…"

"Every day, you can learn new things!" the Bokoblin replied, ever cheerful. Then, all of a sudden, her head lulled back and forth. "Well, good night."

She hit the soft grass like a rock and immediately started snoring. He sat up, wondering if it was all an act, but her breathing signaled that she was in a deep sleep. Sharif, who'd been sitting up the entire time, finally spoke.

"What will we do when we get back to the airship?" the red shy guy asked.

Wearied by the questions, Sneegle scratched his head and stared at his own lap. "Get revenge on that Magikoopa who threw us off."

Sharif slid downward to get some rest of his own. He didn't face Sneegle. "I hope we don't just end up getting arrested by the Toad patrol again. This would all be a little pointless if we just go back to jail."

For a long time, Sneegle sat awake without answering. He envied how peaceful the Bokoblin slept despite having been imprisoned until that morning.