[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
by Kate Malloy
Dedicated to Lorelai - Thanks for the awesome picture, and for being a
generally sweet and wonderful person! ^_^
"Rafa! Rafa, you'll never believe this!" Malak yelled as he ran through
the halls of the keep, searching for his sister.
Stepping out of one of the rooms, Rafa nearly collided with her excited
brother. "What is it, Malak?" she asked, more annoyed than intrigued.
"I finally got enough battle experience to be a Wizard!"
"In fact, I learned my first spell! Want me to show you?"
"NO! Um, I mean..." Catching sight of a figure passing through the
corridor farther down, she pointed. "Why don't you go show Mustadio your
new magic? I mean, I've already learned most Black Magic spells."
Rafa nodded, and Malak walked down the corridor, rather dejectedly. Rafa
let out a deep breath. Since Malak was rarely ever in an actual battle,
he had no idea what skills the others actually had. She honestly only
knew the basic Black Magic spells of fire, ice, and lightning, but he
wouldn't realize that.
"Ramza must've really been bored to put Malak in," she murmured to
herself as she walked away. "I wonder what spell it was, anyway.
"Hm..." Engrossed in the thought of a new invention, Mustadio turned
around. "Oh, hi, Malak."
"Would you like to see my new Black Magic spell?"
"Can you control this one?" Mustadio asked sarcastically. He was
referring to Malak's infamous Un-Truth attacks, which he had absolutely
no control over, thus causing them to hit any target in a range - his
allies included. Agrias was still rather miffed about the time she got
hit by a Heaven Bolt Back, which caused her to misaim and Holy Explosion
Meliadoul, who broke Beowulf's shield, and so on. The only reason they
won the battle was because the enemy knights were laughing so hard, they let
their guard down.
"Of course I can! They don't let just anybody learn Black Magic, you
Mustadio sighed. "All right. Let's see it."
Malak began concentrating and chanting. "Know, live..."
Mustadio, instantly recognizing what spell it was, began to back away.
"...Become a frog! Frog!"
The green glow of transformation enveloped Mustadio. "Malak, what are
Reis was in the storeroom, checking on the party's supplies. Malak
walked in, holding something behind his back.
"Reis, can I have a Maiden's Kiss, please?"
Reis looked up. "Why, Malak, you know I'm betrothed to Beowulf. And I
can't really speak for Agrias or Meliadoul." She smiled.
"No, Reis, I meant..."
"I knew what you meant, Malak. I was just teasing you. What's
Malak's face went pale. "Umm...nothing! Nothing at all! Now, about the
"We're fresh out. Sorry."
"Uh oh...Do we have any Remedies?"
"Ramza took all of them when he went out monster hunting. He and the
others haven't gotten back yet. Why? What is it, Malak?"
"Ahh...everything's fine, really! I was just...checking on something.
Yeah, that's it. Nice talking to you, Reis!" He backed out of the
storeroom and ran off.
Reis shook her head. "He's a strange one, all right." Suddenly she
realized what Malak must have done, having been the victim of a horrible
transformation herself. "Oh, no! Who did he get?"
Cloud was in the training room, practicing with his ungodly large Materia
Blade. "Take that, Sephiroth! And that!"
Malak peeked in. "Cloud?"
"Hm...Oh, it's you. What do you want?"
"Could you watch something for me, for a little while?"
"I guess so."
Malak walked into the training room and pulled the frog out from behind
his back. "Here."
"Well, don't tell anyone, but it's really Mustadio."
"You turned him into a frog?"
"Yeah. It was an accident."
Cloud groaned. "With you, Malak, everything's an 'accident.' Why didn't
you use an item to change him back?"
"We're all out."
"How about casting the spell on him again to reverse the process?"
Malak's eyes lit up. "Hey, I never thought of that!"
Cloud bit back a response about Malak not thinking of a lot of things.
"Here, I'll put him down right there, and you cast the spell."
Malak nodded, smiled, and closed his eyes. He began to chant. "Know,
Mustadio the frog, remembering from his earlier experience, began to hop
"Hey!" Cloud hissed."Stand still!" He chased after the poor victim.
"Become a frog! Frog!"
Malak opened his eyes, and observed the two frogs sitting on the floor,
staring at him with the amphibious equivalent of dirty looks.
"Ohh...am I going to get it!"
Ramza, Orlandu, Agrias, Meliadoul, and Beowulf returned from a successful
hunt, bearing the hides of the monsters they had poached. Tomorrow, they
would take them to the nearest village and trade them for more useful
items. For now, they would rest.
At least, they thought they would rest. Reis met them in the foyer.
Beowulf embraced her. "My love, what is it?"
"I fear Malak has transformed one of our companions into a frog. In his
embarrassment, he asked me for an item to reverse the spell, but I had
none. Please give me a Remedy so I can save him from this predicament."
Chuckling, Orlandu pulled a Remedy from his supply pack. "That boy needs
all the help we can give him."
"Thank you," Reis turned to go find Malak, but Rafa hurried up at just
"Have you seen Malak?" she asked.
"I thought he was still here," Reis replied.
"No, I looked all over for him. Cloud and Mustadio are gone too."
"He must have gotten them to go with him to find something to reverse his
"His spell?" Rafa was confused for a second. "Oh! The spell he wanted
to show me earlier! What did he do?"
"He turned someone into a frog," Reis answered.
"Oh, no! He must have done it to Mustadio! I sent Malak to go pester
him since I was kind of busy at the moment."
"And now he's gone out somewhere to get items."
"We have to go after him!"
Ramza took charge of the situation. "All right. Rafa, Reis, Beowulf,
Orlandu, come with me. Meliadoul, Agrias, stay here in case he comes
back. Let's go!"
Malak plodded through the swamp, using his rod as a walking stick. He
had been trying to find the nearest town, so he could buy supplies, but
now it was pouring rain, he was carrying two angry frogs in his backpack,
and he was completely lost. Things just couldn't get any worse.
Suddenly, a group of ghosts and skeletons appeared in front of him. He
was wrong. They could get worse.
"Oh man...Oh man!" What was he going to do? If Mustadio were human, he
could just whip out his gun and use Seal Evil on them. Or Cloud could use
one of his Limit Breaks. But to fight these monsters by himself?
"Um...uh...nice weather we're having lately, isn't it?" Malak remarked,
trying to back away from the confrontation. He tripped on a root and fell
on his backside in the muddy water. Two rather disturbed "ribbits" came
from his backpack. The monsters advanced. Malak covered his head and
crouched in the mud. It was the end...he'd never see Rafa again...
Malak looked up. A chocobo was standing over him, guarding him as if it
were its own chick. The monsters stopped, unsure of what to make of this
new development. Malak wasted no time, getting up and jumping on the
chocobo's back. It immediately turned around and began running to
Malak looked over his shoulder. The monsters had disappeared back into
the swamp, probably angry about losing their prey. He patted the
chocobo's feathers appreciatively. "Where did you come from, anyway?"
"Well,I'm sure glad you came along. My name's Malak. What should I call
"Wark! Wark-y wark!"
"Warky? Okay, whatever you say!"
Malak and his new friend (who he was perhaps becoming on too close terms
with) rode out of the swamp, towards the nearest town.
As they entered the city, Malak and Warky were stopped by a young lady
"Would you like to buy one? They're only 1 gil."
Malak started to reach into his pouch for a coin, when he stopped and
looked at her. "Haven't I seen you before?"
At this point, Cloud the frog began to get very excited and started
jumping around in Malak's backpack.
"What's that?" the flower girl asked, noting the sudden movement.
"Um...It's just one of my pet frogs."
"You keep frogs in your backpack?" She looked at him rather strangely.
Unfazed, since most people looked at him rather strangely, Malak nodded.
"Uh huh. Here." He reached into his backpack, pulled out Cloud, and
presented him to the girl.
"Eeek!" She screamed as the frog desperately attempted to leap to her shoulder,
ribbitting frantically all the way.
(Cloud's ribbits, if one could speak Frog, could be translated as,
"Aerith! It's me, Cloud! We thought you were dead! How did you get
here? Come back with me and help us defeat Sephiroth!" Luckily, the
flower girl in question wasnt really Aerith, just another one of her
trans-dimensional twins, so the lack of a Frog translator wasn't much of a
"I'm sorry," Malak said, snatching Cloud back and stuffing him back in
his backpack. "I've never seen him get so excited before." Which was
true for both the frog and the human. "I didn't mean to startle you."
"That's okay," she smiled. "He's actually kind of cute." She looked at
Warky. "Is the chocobo yours too?"
"I think so. He kind of found me. His name's Warky. You can pet him if
The girl scratched Warky on the chin. He gave a contented chirp.
"You've got a regular menagerie going here. By the way, my name's Sirea.
"That's a pretty name. I'm Malak Galthana."
"It's nice to meet you."
The conversation lapsed into awkward silence for a few moments. Finally,
Sirea spoke up.
"I have to go back to work now."
"Wait...don't go yet!" Malak thought Sirea was rather nice-looking, and
she didn't seem to be totally repulsed by him.
"But I have to sell these flowers."
"Here!" Malak held out enough gold to buy the entire bouquet, which was
almost all the money he had. Thus there wasn't enough left to buy
Maiden's Kisses for poor Cloud and Mustadio, stuck in the backpack and
completely forgotten about.
Sirea handed him the bouquet, which he promptly handed back to her. "A
She blushed. "That's very sweet of you, but..."
"It's not a problem. Let me find a place to stable Warky, and then how
about we take a walk through town?"
"But there's something you should know!"
Malak didn't listen. This was going to be a great afternoon!
Beowulf looked up from the tracks he had found. "Well, he definitely
went into the swamp."
"But did he come out again?" Rafa asked worriedly.
"Well, I don't see his tracks coming out, but there are chocobo
"Where would Malak get a chocobo?" Reis asked.
"There are lots of wild ones around here," Orlandu stated. "It's quite
possible that the lad found one and rode off."
"But we can't be completely certain of that," Ramza insisted. "Let's
search the swamp, quickly. If there isn't any sign of him, then let's
follow the chocobo tracks."
They trekked deeper into the morass. Suddenly the very same group of
monsters which had confronted Malak earlier came out of the mist and
advanced toward the party. Reis, the resident Mediator, called out to
"Excuse me, but have you seen a friend of ours? Dark complexion, brown
hair, white outfit? He's the brother of this young lady here, so there'd
be a very strong resemblance."
The monsters looked at each other. "Yesss..." one answered. "He wasss
herrre. He fled on a chocobo. Ssso we did not get ourrr sssnack...But
now we will have you!"
Ramza, Orlandu, and Beowulf readied their swords. Reis checked her magic
bracelets that let her use the elemental attacks of the dragons. Rafa
moved to the rear, ready to dispense healing potions and recovery items to
any party members who would be in need.
Thanks to the mighty Thunder God Cid and his Holy Explosions, the battle
ended quickly. Ramza regarded the group. "I think we can assume that
Malak headed for the nearest town. Let's follow those chocobo tracks
Malak groaned. How could life possibly go so wrong? How was he to know
that Sirea already had a boyfriend - a very large boyfriend - who didnāt
take kindly to seeing her in the company of other guys? As he limped
along the city streets, he took stock of his situation. One black eye.
One badly bruised shin (from when he tripped over his own rod while
attempting to run away). Two extremely mad frogs in his backpack.
Practically no money. Yep, this day was getting worse and worse.
He walked into the local bar, hoping that maybe he could find a
proposition and make a little money. Stepping up to the bartender, he
ordered a cider, handed over his remaining coins, and went over to a table
near the wall where the proposition list was posted. He scanned it as he
sipped his drink.
"Hmm...guard caravan...salvage sunken ship...search unexplored
land...seek fabled treasure...excavate mines...win fighting tournament..."
No, there wasn't anything he could really do by himself. He sighed. Life
was conspiring against him. What had he done to deserve this?
At that moment, the bar doors opened, and Sirea's boyfriend, with two
equally strong-looking companions, stepped in. Hoping that they hadn't
spotted him, Malak ducked under the table. How was the going to get out
of this one?
Tired of being stuck in a cramped, stuffy backpack, Mustadio chose that
moment to take matters into his own hands - err, flippers. He hopped out
of the pack and into the middle of the barroom floor, nearly being stepped
on by a passing maid.
"Get back here!" Malak whispered, motioning to the frog. Mustadio paid
him no need, merrily hopping along until he reached one of Sirea's
boyfriend's companions. With a mighty leap, he landed in the man's open
"What was that?" The man looked down at his pouch. He reached one hand
in, fished around, and immediately produced the frog. "All right!" All
conversation in the bar died out with his shout. "Who put this here?" he
demanded, holding Mustadio up for everyone to see. No one answered.
Malak remained under his table, silently praying.
"No one's going to take responsibility? Then I guess I'm just going to
have to squish it!"
"Wait!" Malak jumped up from under the table, hitting his head on the
way up and knocking the whole thing over.
"It's you!" Sirea's boyfriend realized. "So, frog boy, what do you have
to say for yourself?"
"Don't hurt him! He's my friend." Malak exclaimed, rubbing his head.
The entire patronage of the bar burst out into laughter.
"Friend, eh? Mighty strange friends you got. I believe you need another
lesson in how to behave." The large man advanced towards Malak. Over his
shoulder, he called to his friend, "Squish Īem."
"Nooo!" Malak dashed for the man holding Mustadio, colliding with Sireaās
boyfriend along the way. Mustadio jumped out of the manās hands and made
a huge hop onto the head of the fallen Malak. Cloud squirmed his way out
of Malakās backpack and joined his amphibian ally. The two ribbited fiercely
at Malakās opponent. Everyone in the bar started laughing again. They
hadnāt seen anything this funny in years!
Sireaās boyfriend picked himself up and glared at Malak and his "friends."
"Now youāve made me angry!"
Mustadio hopped onto the floor and started to glow. In the manās pouch
he had hopped into, there had been a Remedy. He had only been in contact
with it for a short while, so the effect was delayed, but now the
transformation was starting to reverse. The three men could only watch
in awe as the frog grew and shifted form, until a blond-haired young man
wielding a very nasty-looking gun faced them.
"What the Lucavi just happened?" one of the men asked.
Mustadio pointed to Malak. "You see, gentlemen, my friend there is a
wizard. And if he turns his friends into frogs, what do you think he
does to his enemies?"
Not wanting to find out, the three turned tail and ran. There was a loud
round of applause from the other bar patrons as Mustadio helped Malak
"Thanks, Mustadio; you really saved me back there."
"Youāre welcome." Transferring Cloud to his shoulder, he looked around
and said, "Now how about we go find something to fix Cloud?"
As Ramza and the others entered the town, they were met by three very
"D-donāt go into the bar!" one cried.
"Thereās a wizard in there! Heās turning people into frogs! And those
are people he likes!" yelled another.
The three ran off, and Orlandu turned to his companions. "I believe
weāve just found Malak."
They entered to find Malak, Mustadio, and Cloud seated at a table,
drinking and laughing.
"Malak! What do you think youāre doing?" Rafa said as she approached the
Malakās eyes went wide. "Rafa! I...um...that is, we..."
"We decided to have a guysā night out," Cloud finished. "Sorry Ramza,
Orlandu, Beowulf; we didnāt know when youād be getting back, otherwise we
wouldāve invited you too."
"You havenāt been turning people into frogs?" Ramza inquired.
"Frogs? Why, whatever would give you that idea..." Malak began, then
looked over to his left. "Mustadio! Put that cricket down, now!"