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Yoshi Heart

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Story originally submitted to Super Mario Portal on October 2nd 2003 by Doggs

 

Oiram’s house was beautifully decorated with the most delicate of glass animals. The walls were a light, crisp blue bordered with white. Sunlight filtered through the lace window curtains. His floor was made of old worn out oak, topped with a maroon and tan rug. It was only a one-roomed house, made of pine logs. Pictures that strongly resembled folk art decorated his walls. Light wooden shelves sat with many wooden and glass antiques decorations. A nest made of straw and dead leaves sat at the right side of room. In the center was a dark coffee table. A tiny table, which was only big enough for the small oil lamp that sat upon it, lay next to a large gray chair in the corner.

On the chair was Oiram him self, an old sky blue yoshi who wore small oval glasses. His eyes were also light blue. His sat, waiting as he admired one of his gorgeous antiques, smiling at it as if it were a giant lump of gold. He was proud of them, for he did make them all painstakingly by hand. It was a white stork, with black tipped wings. Its neck was made out of a spring, which caused it to have a wobbly head. It was wooden with very fine detail. Every single feather was carved with careful consideration. It would be a gift to one of is many grandchildren.

On the small table was a glass of tea. It was strong, tasting unusual to any human. It was a strange color, a dark smoky gray. Oiram routinely put down his gift and waited, in a half hour his favorite treat would come through the door. He sat...sipping...and sipping....

Three loud frantic knocks startled Oiram, who looked surprisingly towards the door. She was early. Well...how fortunate of him! He excitedly leapt off the chair, with the tea, and opened the door. There was Josie with her trademark “Uh Oh...” look. She was a young adult purple yoshi with ocean blue eyes. Her crests, triangular things that stuck out of every yoshis head, were now green. Her normal cheerful smile was long gone. He had already figured it out...there was no bread. Tea at hand, Oiram said with a concerned tone of voice,

“What’s wrong?”

Josie panted, “I found something in the forest! It’s a baby...something. Could you possibly tell me what it is?” At that, Josie held up the ugliest thing on the face of the planet...it was pale, furless, naked. Its eyes were like little twilight blue buttons. Its nose was barley anything. At the sight, Oiram dropped his glass. It broke into thousands of needle sharp pieces. He paid no notice, though. There, in front of him, was something thought to be extinct, something prehistoric. Oiram blinked, he could hardly believe it.

“Do you know?” Josie asked, eyes watering with great worry.

“Of couse I do! That’s a human,” said Oiram with a shaky voice

“What?” Said Josie in disbelief, “But that’s impossible! They’re all gone!”

“I know what we’ve said...what we’ve taught you...” Oiram said; eyes transfixed on the creature. “But there is no mistaking it. It’s so distinguishable...” he shook his head, “Where did you find it?”

Josie looked down, recolecting the events, “I found it in the forest, while I was walking with my father, It crashed though the trees, out of nowhere. And then it started crying! It was the worst sound I’ve ever heard, so, naturally, I investigated. It was in a clearing and I picked it up and started to take it home, to ask you what it is, when suddenly a shyguy comes and claims it was his. So I ran, but you know what? I dropped the baby...and the shyguy took it! So I ran after him and just as he was dropping the baby into the ocean...I caught it with my tounge. Redbean went home, I went to see you.”

Oiram frowned with a suspicious eyebrow, or a close imitation of one, “Is this some kind of joke?”

“Of course not!” Josie said with wide hurt eyes.

Oiram stepped closer to sniff the child, and hastily pulled back. “It smells exactly like a shyguy...”

“I told you,” she started to cradle the baby, “I saw a shyguy drop it!”

“But how do I know you’re not twisting the truth? How do I know for certain that this is not a shyguy? What if they’re humans?”

“No!” Josie said; shaking her head as if trying to stop him. “It can’t be...at first I though so...but it can’t be!”

“Josie, Don’t you know a shyguy when you smell one?” Said Oiram seriously, “This is dangerous; we know their secrets! We know what they look like now, and they know that we know. They will go at great lengths to rid us of this child! You know that! How dare you come in here with that! We know now! I can’t believe it...

“But isn’t there the possibility that the shyguys are just a small group a humans? I just know there are more...out there somewhere. Not on this Island...perhaps somewhere else..

“If humans still live like they have long ago then it’s still possible that the child was being delivered by a stork and the stork somehow dropped out of the sky. Storks delivered the human’s young to the parents. Funny how they managed that.”

“I heard...” Josie paused, “Another crash; a second one.”

Oiram smiled, “Good! Excellent! Here...” He rushed back into the house to grab his stork. He then ran up to Josie as he held it up, its head bobbling back and forth. “It looks like this. They’re much bigger of course; they were called gaurdians. I’ll take care of the human for you.”

Josie smiled with a nod, being careful to examine the figurine carefully. “Thank you, Oiram, I’ll find it right away!”

“Of course. Mal will heal the stork if neccicary. Now go, it’s going to snow soon!”

She handed him Oiram gently, leaving the baby to look back at her pleadingly. At that, Josie rushed out of the house into the colder day...it was going to snow. She paid no notice as she went down Oiram’s hill, past the village and to Redbean. He was a tall maroon yoshi, with deep honey eyes and an even deeper voice. He was the chief of their village. She told him what Oiram said, and Redbean shook his head, smiling. “I’m sure this baby doesn’t belong to our little friends. I saw what I saw.”

Josie ran into the misty pine forest at full speed, hurrying to find the baby’s deliverer. It was snowing harder by the minute, so she had to find the Guardian quickly. The human’s Guardian. She was still in shock about the news as she hurried back along the trail she found the baby on once more. It wasn’t possible…a live human suddenly falling onto the small peaceful island. Josie wondered if Oiram was really sure about this, if this creature wasn’t really a baby shyguy.

Before Josie even knew it, a clearing had appeared once again. The snow was slowly turning the land white…and the temperature dropped in an alarming rate. She was shivering madly as she glanced nervously around the clearing…I heard two crashes, she thought intently. She glanced around the ground, and sniffed the air. She smelled something peculiar…it was the bird!

The ground was still a dark brown…so Josie walked forward staring at every inch of ground her eyes could find. She was looking for a white lump…one with feathers. She walked towards the now stronger smell. Then she spotted it. A feeling of great relief went through her as she trotted happily towards it. Her neck craned to get a better look. There it was, still breathing, laying on the cold dark ground. Josie was standing right above the small bird now, her long round snout was inches from the stork.

She sniffed. She raised her head and gave a curious look…this is what a stork smells like…most unexpected, she thought. Josie walked around the stork, and gasped. She was looking down at the bird once again. It had a short hooked beak, and oversized hooked claws growing from its scaly yellow toes. The feathers were all white except for a few brown feathers scattered throughout its body. Its eyes were closed, yet Josie could tell that they had to be huge.

Josie was very disappointed. She scowled at the figure, knowing time was short before the actual stork would perish in the coldness. She walked away from the hooked beak bird, feeling extremely guilty about leaving another to die, for a moment she considered raising the child so she could save the…white bullet-shaped bird. But that was foolishness itself. The stork and the child were far more important. She continued after her slight hesitation.

“Don’t go!” said a raspy, yet young voice from the white bird’s direction. The yoshi darted around, startled, she stared at the now awake bird, struggling to raise his head.

“I saw you, taking the human…that I was delivering…,”it continued as if struggling to squeeze out the words.

This startled Josie even more, and for the first time she noticed a long wooden arrow through the bird’s extended wing. Three facts suddenly smacked her in the face… one was that the strange bird delivered, instead of a stork…Another said that the shyguys, who wanted to destroy the baby for some reason, shot the eagle down to get rid of it… and the other was that this white bird could talk.

And so, she stared into the bird’s large, yellow eyes, saying absentmindedly, “What are you?”

The bird was baffled at why that was relevant. Then he grasped that every one he met thought that the fact that he wasn’t a stork made him untrustworthy.

“I am a falcon, and I need your help,” he said. “My name is Palo, where is the human?”

The purple yoshi glared at him, “I’ve heard of these falcons, meat eaters, can’t trust them,” She thought.

Josie folded her arms, “I’m not falling for that, easily, falcon.” She said harshly, “You’ll have to convince me that this isn’t a trap.” There was a pause as the falcon’s eyes started to worry.

“Please…” Palo pleaded desperately. Josie stood stubbornly,

“You’ll need to do better than that,” she repeated as the heavier snow wisped across her stubborn face.

“I was delivering to the Jumpman family.” The falcon said. Josie remained silent. “I was shot down by the flying shyguys, they wanted the baby killed, but I don’t know why. I fell along with the baby. They thought he was doomed. Apparently, they know nothing about delivery…a baby is born when he touches ground. Even from thousands of feet high it survives the first fall. The stork escaped.”

Josie raised a suspicious eyebrow, “A stork was carrying his brother,” continued Palo. “He escaped, for the shyguys were after him too…I wasn’t so lucky.” He finished, staring up into Josie’s bright blue eyes. They softened. She seemed to believe him.

“What are their names, Palo?” said Josie in a calmer voice.

“I can’t tell you,” said Palo, “The humans aren’t named until the parents receive them. They don’t have names yet.” As Josie stood there, she lowered her head down to the falcon again, and helped him on her back. “I’m taking you back to our village,” she sighed, “our doctor will treat you.”

She traveled along the snowy path with the falcon nestled safely in her arms. The snowflakes were falling heavily now, turning the land into a white gem, sparkling in the now dim daylight. After the temperature was starting to get unbearably cold, Josie finally reached her village. It was the most welcoming sight, indeed. The log homes’ roofs were now accumulating snow. They were scattered throughout the area turning slowly white. And so was the ground, already a foot deep. The white pine trees swayed in the breeze, and the log homes’ fat stone chimneys smoked. The waterfall was now frozen solid. The homes made a circle, the center being Redbean’s home. It changed so quickly. It wasn’t easy living on this otherwise harsh moon. Still, Josie felt annoyed with the sprites for stopping now.

The purple yoshi hurried towards one of the houses, where the yoshi doctor, Mal, lived and worked. It was made out of red bricks, very different from the other houses. Josie went in. Shelves chalk full of many strange human creations was inside. They had strange symbols printed on very thin white rectangular things Mal called thinwood. A hard “cover” wrapped around the thinwood that had bigger symbols printed on them. Somehow, for reasons not even known by him, Mal could understand what the symbols meant. And he enjoyed “reading” these human creations, too. The doctor had told Josie that these creations were passed down by countless generations of yoshis.

Josie continued to survey the dimly lit room. The only light came from the crackling fire and the cloudy light filtering through the lacy white curtains. Three large, blue, ceramic vases stood over the fireplace. They were almost two feet high; the middle one was a taller three feet. The wallpaper was a light brown color; the floor had a red and tan carpet stretched on it. Pictures of yoshis, and a landscape hung on the wall. Two red chairs sat opposite each other, a soft brown couch sat in between them. Redbean sat in one of the chairs looking up at Josie with a disappointed stare.

“That is...,” he started.

“A falcon.” Josie interrupted with a small nod. Her voice was hardly above a whisper. She looked determined. “He is the Guardian.

“Really?” Whispered Redbean as he raised a suspicous eyebrow. “A falcon? How do you know?” The purple yoshi’s eyes darted around the living room as if afraid that anyone could hear what she was about to say. In a deadly low whisper, Josie squeezed out

“It told me.” Redbean’s eyes widened angrily,

“What?”

Josie stuttered, “I-I said...”

“Falcons don’t speak!” Redbean said in a raised voice. He stood up, his eyes on fire. “What were you thinking!?”

“Please! Enhance your calm,” whispered Josie nervously, glancing towards the closed yellow door. Her eyes met Redbean’s once again. “He did speak, I’m not crazy.”

“He?” Redbean said with a voice and his face full of dislike.

“He explained about what happened! He needs our help...look.” Josie said frantically, extending Palo’s wing as she reveled the arrow, “He’s injured!”

“You left the stork to die!” Yelled Redbean, fuming. “You left the Guardian!”

“This is the Guardian! He was traveling with a stork, who was carrying the human’s brother, the stork escaped! He was delivering to the Jumpman family when he was shot down by flying shy guys!” Josie yelled, totally forgetting her former consideration. Redbean’s fierce glare softened slightly. “You need rest, Josie. You’re delirious.”

Josie shuddered angrily. Her fists would have clenched if her arms were free, so instead she glared at her father incredulously. Suddenly, a door banged open. Josie and Redbean’s heads jerked towards the yellow door. A yoshi, who was three feet tall at the shoulder with bright red skin, scowled sleepily at the two yoshis, his mustard yellow eyes blinking at what Josie carried. He closed his eyes for a moment and opened them again as if it was a great effort.

“Josie?” Mal said with a sleepy and annoyed voice. He blinked again, turning his head towards Redbean. His eyes narrowed as if he was having trouble seeing. “Redbean...? What brings you here?”

Redbean’s deep voice echoed across the room, “That bird in Josie’s arms,” He paused to look at Palo in disgust, “Is sick.” Mal lurched slowly across his living room to get a better look at Palo. His eyes showed confusion as he twisted his head askew. He looked up towards Josie.

“Where did you find that?” Mal grunted.

“I’ll explain everything as you treat him Mal.” Josie said as she rushed over to the yellow door, she paused and looked back, “It’s urgent.”

“Wha...? Oh...I see that...yes.” Mal shook his head in an effort to wake up. He gazed towards the sundial sitting in front of the window. He was ashamed of himself. He overslept. It was already late morning, around nine. He followed Josie into the brighter room. He called it the “yellow room” for obvious reasons. The walls were a bright banana yellow. A rectangular oaken table sat in the center. Shelves with various instruments of torture surrounded the table; above them were cabinets. On top of the wooden counters were bottles of herbs and other various wooden tools. In addition to the light coming from outside, lanterns were lit all around the small room. A strong scent of lemons came from the lemons that hung in baskets from the ceiling. The smell made Redbean cringe uncomfortably. A door that led to Mal’s nest-room was on the room’s right side.

Gently, Josie laid Palo onto the oaken table. Mal started to examine Palo thoroughly, even though the damage was quite obvious. Mal took the arrow out gently, straining an ear to Josie’s explanation. She told him of everything that happened in detail. Redbean listened carefully, making sure to add his opinion about the falcon. When Josie finally finished, all Mal could do was laugh.

“What’s so funny?” Redbean snapped, irritated. Mal looked up, a wide grin across his face. He shook his head. “I knew humans were still around!” He paused, looking towards Palo once again. “Your dilemma, it reminds me of Tarzan...,” said Mal thoughtfully. Redbean glared at Mal.

“That’s all you have to say about it, that it reminds you of a human story?” Redbean asked coldly.

“Of course it does, it’s very similar. It’s almost cliché, to be honest.” He smiled even wider, not able to hide a chuckle.

“For your information,” seethed Redbean through clenched teeth. “We did NOT kill his parents!”

“Well, if you don’t believe that this falcon is the Guardian, you have ruined any chances of the human returning to his parents.” Mal said as he continued to examine Palo calmly. Redbean was fuming, but he didn’t say anything. Mal and Redbean never got along well. They always disagreed on everything. Mal’s unusual calmness and lack of words were enough to drive Redbean insane.

“Fix it, Mal,” said Redbean harshly as he stormed off.

“I keep telling you, Dad. Don’t let him get to you!” Josie said as she walked with Redbean into the living room.

“Cliché my ass! I’ll show him cliché!” Redbean said as he stormed out of the house as fast as he could. Josie had to struggle to keep up. “The Guardian’s already doomed, Josie! We’ll raise that little brat; he’ll be ‘of the yoshis!’”

“You remember that story, don’t you? Oiram told it to us. Who could forget that story?” Redbean said as he approached the stone house. Surprisingly, the light inside was very dim.

“It’s only a story!” said Josie calmly.

“Humph, well he doesn’t think so, now does he?” Redbean griped. “It’s the first thing that comes to that little brain of his!” Josie shook her head, she wasn’t about to argue with her father, and she wasn’t going to feed his bad temper. They were at Oiram’s dark red door before she knew it. Josie knocked. Instead of the sound of the door creaking open, Josie heard a crash from inside the home. Josie opened the door suddenly, panicking.

She gasped. Oiram, the kindly old yoshi, was fighting with a two-foot shyguy that Josie recognized immediately. He was the flying shy guy that took the baby from her, and had tried to kill him. Redbean and Josie gasped as Oiram threw a wooden chair as hard as he could at the shyguy. It narrowly missed. Oiram was trying hard to ward of the shyguy, whom was obviosly trying to get to the baby once again. The tiny human now lay peacefully on its back in Oiram’s nest, now fully clothed in red.

Suddenly enraged, Josie charged towards the shyguy at full speed. Her foot slammed onto the shyguy’s jacket as he was about to go for the baby once again. She grabbed the shyguy with her teeth. He dangled from the ground, struggling with all his might. It started to scream, forming yoshi words that could hardly be understood.

“Let go of me, you vile lizard!” He said. Josie was full of pure protective anger now, she ran out of Oiram’s house, into the falling snow. With every ounce of strength she could muster, she threw the shyguy down the hill. After he tumbled three times, he ran off into the forest unharmed. Josie stood there, panting, oblivious to the snow whipping across her portly form. Her eyes finally relaxed with relief. The baby was safe, for now. She went into the house, trying to catch her breath.

The sight of Oiram picking up the fallen candles welcomed her. There were many antiques on the floor. The wooden stork was among them, head bobbling back and forth after moving so suddenly from its usual spot on the dark wood shelf.

“That shy guy...” said Oiram firmly as he put the antiques back in place and lighted his candles. “...is the leader, the general of Kamek’s shy guy forces.”

Josie’s eyes widened at Oiram’s statement. “Kamek? How do know that?”

“That shy guy said so.” Oiram explained.

“But...why would Kamek want to do that? Why would he want to harm the baby?” Josie asked worriedly.

“I can not say,” said Oiram tiredly. “All I know is that he is determined. Take a seat, you two.” Oiram’s paw reached out towards two white chairs with a table in-between them.

“That was very brave of you Josie,” Oiram added, pouring hot tea into two white ceramic cups. He sounded proud and almost content. He looked towards her, a proud smile across his old sky-blue face. “I should have done that,” said Oiram. Josie shook her head, returning Oiram’s smile

“No,” she said, “I had the element of surprise.” Oiram looked up slightly, eyes still locked on Josie. He continued to smile.

“He won’t try that again in a hurry.” Oiram said, sitting down rather heavily in a chair across from Josie. A deep booming voice came from beside Josie,

“You really like that human, don’t you?” Josie thought for a moment. She had just thrown the general guy; she did it to save the baby. She wasn’t trying to impress anyone so she became surprised at herself. Was there some kind of “bond” already established between Josie and the baby? Did she, inwardly, identify the child as “her own,” Just as the baby identified her as “mother?” She blinked.

“Yes, I suppose so.” Josie admitted. She looked up at Oiram “We came here to tell you that we have found the Guardian...” Oiram grinned widely.

“We most certainly did not.” Redbean said in an unusually calm voice. Josie and Oiram gave Redbean sharp looks. Oiram’s face held a trace of confusion.

“I beg your pardon?” Oiram said. Redbean narrowed his honey eyes irritatingly.

“Josie claims that a falcon is the Guardian. I for one do not believe her.” Redbean said stubbornly.

“The falcon told me everything, his name is Palo.” Josie said, glancing towards Redbean.

“This falcon can talk?” Asked Oiram,

“I’m not joking, Oiram.” Josie told the old yoshi of the entire morning, and everything the falcon told her. He listened carefully. When she finished, thoroughly convinced of what Palo said was true, Oiram shook his head in deep disappointment.

“It’s Kamek,” Oiram said, “He’s a magikoopa, Josie. He can do magic, he probably caused you to hear things. Either that or he made it so that the falcon can talk. If that is the case, than ‘Palo’ is lying. You were convinced that he was telling the truth. However, you were using your emotions to decide that, which was exactly was the falcon was hoping for. He was messing with your heart. Next time, use your intelligence. The only Guardians that ever deliver are storks. My sincere apologies for saying this but, you left the stork to die.”

Incredulously, Josie gazed wide-eyed at Oiram, “How do you know he wasn’t telling the truth?”

“It’s already clear that Kamek is determined to destroy this human.” Oiram explained sadly, “He would do anything to do so.” Oiram stood up rather suddenly. He went into the brighter nest-room to retrieve the baby. He came out with something else, glass cylinders with rubber “nipples” at their ends. Inside them was a white liquid the sloshed around as Oiram carried them over to Josie.

He smiled warmly, his eyes gleaming. “A gift from the Star Spirits. The human drinks the milk from inside.”

Josie nodded, still disappointed about Oiram’s judgment. “What will you do with Palo?” Josie said as she took the cylinders thankfully.

“Let Mal care for him.” Redbean said unexpectedly, standing up. “Send it on its way when it is healed.” Oiram came in from his nest-room, handing Josie the human gently. Josie held the baby suspended in front of her. For the first time, she noticed something she thought was very peculiar. She stroked the human’s head curiously.

“What’s this?” Josie asked. Oiram chuckled,

“Oh,” Oiram chuckled, covering his mouth with his paws. “That’s hair.”

The chief and his daughter hurried home. Josie over protected the baby from the cold weather, he was wrapped in a soft gray blanket which made him double in size. Josie was disappointed to be the only yoshi that believed Palo at all. She thought it made perfect sense. She wouldn’t let herself think that she made a mistake. Yet, somehow, it was probably true. Josie and Redbean went off into different houses. She walked along the cobblestone path, the snow died down a little.

Thankfully, Josie rushed inside her warm home, welcomed by a roaring fireplace. The interior was very pink. The window curtains were a lacy pink. All of the cabinets that lined the right side of her house were pink. The carpet was a dark red, and her walls were white. Josie’s nest sat in the upper left hand corner.

After putting the bottles on the counter top, she settled in a sky-blue chair peacefully, the baby still in her armchair. She took the baby from the blanket gently. Somehow, he was already fast asleep. The yoshi looked around, her eyes catching sight of a wooden blue cage. She gazed at it curiously. Slowly, she stood up and walked over to it. Plushy soft material Josie had never seen before was at the bottom of the elevated cage. There was nothing covering the open top.

Another gift from the Stars, she thought with a half smile creeping across her large cheeked face. She placed the human down into the cage, onto the soft blue material. Josie looked up at a spinning contraption, little plush sheep were dangling on it from strings. She smiled and shook her head. Humans had t he most strange and complex ways of caring for their young.

With a dancing heart, Josie looked down at the baby lovingly. She then gazed at the sundial. It sat out side by the window, covered in glistening snow. It was only late morning, yet it was the longest day in her life.