* I don't usually give warnings like this on top of my own fics, but I've included what may be major spoilers to my fanfic "Memories and Moments" if you do plan on reading it. However, I hope you do enjoy reading this oneshot if you take the time to read it.
"It's so nice of you to invite us to a little... camping trip, Vaati."
"Well, we just thought that we'd get together every now and then... we always seem so busy with magic workshops with our own masters that we forget to do these things."
Gufuu walked alongside Vaati as they carried their own backpacks. Backpacks... whatever for? Well, they were actually walking down the rainforest during daytime, the warm sun rays against their cheeks as the cool atmosphere almost didn't let them feel the warmth. They could hear splashing waterfalls nearby... familiar sounds from their previous adventure.
"So what you mean is, we're going soul-searching in the forest?"
"Well... I guess you could put it that way."
The fathers of the two wind mages stayed behind them. The shadow, Nhaav, had asked questions about the hiking trip... just the fathers and sons alone. It had been a while since the shadows had a moment with their light counterparts, so whyever not have a little time to cool off? After all, there's nothing really wrong getting in touch with yourself.
"Alright!" Vaati said, leaving his things on the ground just in front of a tent. It seems that he had chosen the same spot they did when they had their camping trip with the Links.
"Just put your things INSIDE the tent, Vaati." his father Vaahn instructed him to do so, almost scolding him. "As for the two of you, you may do so as well." he added as he turned to the other two shadows.
The two nodded and put their things inside the tent. As soon as they were done unpacking their belongings, they went outside the tent to whiff the fresh air nature had to offer them.
"Living in the city sure is tiring." said Nhaav, stretching his body. "I have no idea how they can live like that everyday."
"Well..." Vaahn went in front of the three of them. "I guess that it's just a matter of getting used to it. We're used to the lifestyle of the forest."
"Hmph. Guess so. And why are you in front of us?"
Vaahn took his blazer off, turned away and started to do some free-flowing movements, which just puzzled Nhaav even more that he wanted to walk away.
"We're doing yoga, okay?" Vaahn said, not turning his head to look at them. "A little yoga is good for a healthy body."
Gufuu just looked at his counterpart and raised a brow while smiling. He wanted to see him do yoga, and he did, by mirroring his father's movements. The two shadows just watched them do the whole thing...
"Gufuu!" cried Vaati as he was doing a stance while laughing.
"What?" Gufuu giggled as he held a camera in his hands, recording the whole thing. It seems that Dark had given him a little something.
"Stay still, Vaati..." said Vaahn, his eyes closed and his face fixed in a serious manner. His voice was very calm, but a bit calmer than usual. "Remember, the fundamentals of yoga is to remain calm; as still as you can be."
"Yeah, whatever. No way I'm doing that. You two have no idea how silly you look." Nhaav just shrugged it off. He walked away so that he can go to the waterfall...
"Do you want to be forever taunted by Dark?" said Vaahn as he still stretched and did other positions. "We may look 'silly' now, but we won't look silly after we've toned our muscles through simple exercises."
That did it. Nhaav was convinced that he must also do yoga with the light beings, and even urged his son to do so. And so, the four spent a few minutes stretching their bodies to improve their flexibilities and their postures...
"We're all done!" said Vaahn, standing normally and looking at his "pupils".
"Glad that's over." said Nhaav crossed his arms.
"That was... unbelievably relaxing and fun! We have to do it again, Daddy!" Gufuu looked up at him, as he jumped up and down like a little child.
"..." the older shadow could do nothing but high-five his face; or simply put, give himself a facepalm. He could see nothing wrong with the practice, although it wasn't simply his type.
The breeze was just refreshing as they continued their morning. The two Vaatis dipped their feet in the water to relax them as they chatted about their own lives in different realms. It seemed that both of them are living relatively normally, compared to a lot of misadventures they had back then. Vaahn was already thinking of what to cook for their lunch, as he was a bit of a food enthusiast himself. He was left in thought when...
"Huh? Oh, Nhaav. What is it?"
"Let's go to the waterfall with our sons."
"What? What for?"
"We did your silly 'yoga', you must do my silly 'meditation'."
".... You called it silly, not me."
Vaahn proceeded to ask the two youths to come with them and meditate under a waterfall, as part of a strength training to keep themselves in condition, despite the laid-back yet stressing city life they were mostly having in-between magic practices. Nhaav went ahead, taking his top and footwear off to sit under the raging waterfall.
The other three did the same, joining Nhaav in his meditation. Although Vaahn seemed alright with meditating, the other two did not seem to like it...
"This looks... a lot easier... watched... than done." Gufuu said as he shivered, trying his best to keep his poise.
"Y-You got that right..." Vaati shivered as well, his teeth chattering. He tried his best to mimic his father's stance, but it seems that he had a difficulty doing so. "But they said that this was a test of endurance..."
Gufuu, on the other hand, looked at the beautiful spring just behind the waterfall they were staying. It was very lovely, its body sparkling in the shimmering early morning sun, although not much of an eyesore for any shadow. He looked at his shivering counterpart and thought it pathetic.
"Come on, Vaati." whispered Gufuu as he dragged him. Much to the surprise of the other youth, the said youth squeaked. The two splashed in the spring as they left their fathers to meditate. "This is much more fun than any waterfall training."
"B-But... don't you think they'll get angry with us?" Vaati asked as he held onto his shadow, for fear he would sink.
"Nonsense. I will trim my fingernails short if they do."
They both stared at each other and floated on the water to practice swimming, but they couldn't help but just stay at the edges of the spring so that they wouldn't sink. They weren't exactly good swimmers unlike their hero friends.
"Vaati. Come back here." said Vaahn, his voice calm. His eyes were still closed, but he knew his son too well that he knew just what he had been up to.
"Gufuu. Come back here, I say." said Nhaav in a relatively calm tone, but there was a hint of annoyance. "You'll get a scolding after this. Be thankful we're meditating."
"..." Gufuu stared at the waterfall, then back to Vaati. It seems that his counterpart was longing for an answer, for whether or not they were in trouble. "H-He's not angry!"
"I MEAN IT!!!" shouted the older shadow. The two youngsters swore they saw a force under the waterfall that pushed its water a bit forward for a split second when he shouted.
"My nails... my fingernails...WHY? WHYYYYY?!"
Crying was heard from inside the tent, though it sounded muffled. The two youngsters were inside, while their fathers were outside to hunt for some wild animals to eat for their lunch. Along with the adults were their backpacks, complete with their hunting equipment as well as emergency packed snacks and first aid kits.
The two were left in the tent to keep them safe. The tent did need someone to guard it too, in case their things get taken away by mischievous monkeys or other animals lingering in the woods nearby. Gufuu buried his crying face in the pillow, as he laid down dramatically on the sleeping bag.
"Gufuu... I think you're overreacting." said Vaati calmly, holding a glass of water for his shadow.
"I am not!" sobbed Gufuu. "It took so long for me to grow them... now I have... stubby fingers...!"
Gufuu's hands were a bit small compared to the average hands of a young man his age, as well as his fingernails when they are trimmed.
'… You made that dare, not me. And please... crying over your fingernails... you sound so much like a teenage girl!' Vaati's eyes darkened a bit thinking of those thoughts. He can't believe he's facing his shadow like this. And to think he thought that his shadow was the strong side of him...
And suddenly he felt a slap across his face.
"W-What...??" Vaati put his hand on his cheek.
"I didn't like that look on your face!" the feisty sorcerer snarled.
'… This... This must be what Link feels when he's with my shadow...'
"I can't believe our sons just went off like that!" Nhaav said as he held his bow and arrow. He looked around for any wild monsters or animals.
"Well... your training was a bit too intense for the kids." Vaahn said, looking at the other side beyond the flowering trees and shrubs for any sign of food.
"They're not kids anymore, Vaahn. They've already grown up."
"Nhaav.... remember that they didn't grow alongside us. We must understand that they need a little time getting used to this."
Nhaav stopped in his tracks and prepared to aim for a wild boar, preoccupied with drinking water from a water puddle. He steadied his aim and readied a stance to hit a bull's eye...
"Nhaav, are you listening to me?" Vaahn insisted.
Fortunately for the boar, this gave a warning signal to it that it was in danger, so it scampered away as fast as it could. Unfortunately for them, that was their lunch running away from them.
"... Vaahn. That was our lunch." he then lowered his bow and arrow and looked at his counterpart straight in the eye with much annoyance. "Why won't you learn how to SHUT up?"
"... Nhaav. Why won't you learn how to LISTEN?"
"You're too demanding!"
"You're too close-minded!"
The both of them argued as they walked along the forest subconsciously. They had begun to argue how they couldn't get along; how Vaahn tried too much to be a refined perfectionist and how Nhaav was almost too immature to raise a child on his own.
"Listen, Vaahn. Admit it. It was your fault that we lost lunch."
"Admit it, Nhaav. It was your fault that we lost lunch because you weren't listening!"
"Stop it or I'll-"
Nhaav grabbed him by the collar as he raised his fist. Vaahn flinched at this and tried to back away, but he lost footing...
As a reflex action, he pulled Nhaav's collar and he fell with him... but what's this? They didn't fall on the VISIBLE ground... there was a pile of leaves where there should have been a warning sign for a pitfall just in front of them, and they just fell in it.
"Remember, when falling down, we must use our backpacks as a cushion for our backs to soften the blow."
Nhaav let go of him and did as he said.
"Nhaav, are you listening to me?!" shouted Vaahn as he turned over to look at him. "I said, you should turn your back on the ground so your backpack will absorb-"
The two landed on the dusty ground in the pit. Nhaav was safe and sound, lying down on his cushy backpack...
"You were saying?" he said, raising a brow as he turned his head to look at his counterpart, not too far away from where he lay down.
"I said... never mind..." groaned Vaahn as he was face down on the ground.
Nhaav groaned as he staggered to get up and help the hunter in green. Once he did, the both of them looked up from where they had come from in much dismay.
"I wish we could have been more careful..." said Nhaav, regretting what had happened to them.
"If you didn't collar me, this wouldn't have happened!" Vaahn exclaimed, taking his backpack off.
"Oh please, will you just SHUT UP?!" Nhaav shouted at his face.
Their voices echoed back to them, which meant that they were in an isolated cave of some sort, down a pit. They felt a little chill about them, and a little desperation.
It was a cold, dark cave; its only source of light the pit of which they fell through. It was so lonely, as judging by the dust that lingered in it, no one had dared to go in it on a whim. They did have company, yes... rocks. Weeds. But not a living soul was in it but probably bats... but they have not seen them yet in hope of animal telepathy which all Picori were capable of doing.
The hunter mage in green took out his cellphone from his pocket, a present he received from his son the past Christmas they had. He hoped that he would be able to call his son for help...
"Oh no..." exclaimed Vaahn under his breath... but since the cave bounces off the sounds made in it, his shadow was able to hear it.
"What?" said Nhaav, peeking over his shoulder.
"... We're trapped..." said Vaahn, hiding his cellphone in his pocket. "We have no phone signal to even make a call..."
Nhaav grabbed the phone from inside his counterpart's pocket. Vaahn screamed in surprise, saying that he should have asked for it rather than just rudely snatching it like that.
"... You're right." Nhaav said, almost in a whisper. He looked up to hope that his son... or even the light being's son, would come and ask for help.
"It's already past 13:00... where could they be...?" Gufuu said, looking around for any signs of each their own fathers.
It seemed that the two had already dressed up in more comfy and loose clothes, like summer clothes. Although, Gufuu wore a jacket to warm himself a bit while he went out of the tent.
"13:00? What?" Vaati said, his head peeking out from the tent. He was apparently munching on something... it was a bag of potato chips.
The shadow sorcerer let out a disappointed face and approached him. He snatched the bag of potato chips from him, like taking candy from a baby.
"H-Hey!" cried Vaati as he reached his arms for it.
"No junk food until..." Gufuu looked at the bag he had just snatched. "... Fatty, oily potato chips...?"
The shadow sounded so frustrated... "It's no wonder our bellies have gotten so flabby! You're eating so much junk food! What has Link taught you?!"
"B-But... they're yummy... and our tummies are not flabby... they're flat..."
Vaati was right, the two still looked as lean as ever, their slender figures appropriate for teenagers their age.
"But they're... yummy..."
Vaati squirmed as the shadow glared even more. In a squeaky whisper, he still tried to defend himself. "But they're.......... yummy........"
Gufuu walked away with the bag of potato chips. Apparently, Gufuu took his bag out just in front of where the four of them should have eaten their lunch an hour ago. Not too far away from the front of the tent, there was a pot hanging from a stake over the pile of firewood. There were also logs that were meant to be seats for them when they were to eat their supposed lunch. He put the junk food in his bag and took out a little lunch box.
"You want yummy? Huh?" he said, approaching Vaati. He then opened the lunch box...
Gufuu grabbed a tomato and showed in right in front of Vaati's face, making the latter almost crossed-eyed. The angry sorcerer took a bite from the tomato.
"Buono tomato. BUONOOOO." Gufuu showed the tomato he bit in front of Vaati's face once more in the same manner. "Buono tomato! Buono tomato! Buono buono!"
"..........." Vaati took the other tomato in the lunch box and began eating it. His face lightened after he took the first bite. "Buono tomato..."
"This is a lot healthier than your potato chips." said Gufuu, nibbling on his tomato.
"I have an idea." said Vaati as he looked up at his shadow.
A little while later...
The two had turned into their original form, the Minish form, and dove inside their tomatoes as they nibbled their way inside. They both giggled as they popped their heads out of the giant tomatoes and looked at each other.
"This is the best idea you've ever had, Vaati. I... I am proud." smiled Gufuu with such pride; tears of happiness threatening to come out anytime.
Vaati just giggled at this and smiled back at him like an innocent child. He dove back inside the tomato and nibbled its tastiness.
'Daddy... Daddy Vaahn... I hope the both of you come back here soon...' thought Gufuu as he worried for the two. He simply tried to shrug it off and thought that it was just the hunt keeping them. Probably, they weren't in trouble... and probably, he'd disturb their hunting if he urged Vaati to help him look for them.
The two adults decided to make themselves the most comfortable they could possibly be. They grabbed the fallen leaves and branches of the trees and piled them up in the center of the cave.
"I wonder how we'll ever get out of here..." Nhaav thought out loud as Vaahn tried to create a fire. They both took their blazers off to increase their mobility in the lonely place.
"I'm still thinking of a way out... but I can think of none that may work for now."
Nhaav turned away and hugged his knees. He tried to study the place, but he could not make out a solution as well. Though he was very worried that their sons have not eaten lunch yet just like them, he had really hoped his son would come for rescue... or anyone at all. But that was a fat chance, considering he told his son to strictly watch over the tent while they were gone. It was horrible having to stay in an isolated cave, where no known exit exists but the wide crevice above them.
He then thought of something.
"Hey, Vaahn. Anything you can use to write with there?"
"What? Whatever for?"
Nhaav went over to him and looked at the different stones near the fireplace. He picked up one of them and tried throwing it up the pit, hoping that he could throw it high enough.
He just saw it fall down again.
"What are you trying to do?" Vaahn tried to make out his actions.
He looked at Vaahn as he picked up the stone. He just suddenly had an idea that may let the stone fly over the pit, as he tried to do.
"W-What are you doing?! Put me down!!!" cried Vaahn. He felt himself sitting on Nhaav's shoulders, but due to his unbalance, he grabbed onto Nhaav's high samurai ponytail.
"WATCH THE PONYTAIL!" Nhaav grabbed his legs tight, it hurt the light being a bit, but it was nothing he couldn't handle.
"What do you want me to do?"
The shadow just gave him the stone and pointed toward the sky. Vaahn figured out what he wanted to pull, so he gave it a try. He failed the first try, but he succeeded in the second. At his success, Nhaav dropped him harshly on the ground and seemed to be frantic looking for something.
"I got it!"
It seemed that Nhaav got two rocks; one sharp, and one fairly blunt. He scraped the sharp edge of the first rock against the second one.
"What?" said Vaahn, rubbing his hindquarters which were obviously hurt.
Nhaav showed the blunt rock with an inscription "HELP" on it. It appears that he used the sharp rock to inscribe the words onto it... that explains a lot. He stared at his counterpart blankly and quickly grabbed him to put him on his shoulders. Vaahn was undoubtedly surprised and he disapproved of his shadow creeping up to him like that, but they were desperate...
He tried to throw it as high as he could, and he succeeded. Thankfully, he let the rock over the pit and onto the nearby ground on his first try.
"ANYBODY OUT THERE?!" screamed Nhaav as he almost let go of Vaahn. Of course, the latter held tight onto his shadow's ears.
"PLEASE HELP US, ANYBODY!!!! PLEASE!!!" he helped his shadow cry out for help.
"I'm getting hopeless... what if we never get out of here...?" Nhaav said, almost in a whisper, as he bowed his head down.
"Nhaav..." Vaahn raised his head as he tried warming himself by the fire. "We will get out of here... we can't let our sons down, now can we?"
"But... it's been hours... and we haven't even seen any signs of help. No birds or bats to talk with or ask favors from... nothing."
"It's almost getting dark..."
Nhaav looked at his counterpart and remembered that their kind wasn't exactly adapted to darkness, unlike his kind. He was a shadow, and so living in the dark wasn't exactly a problem to him... but Vaahn...
"Think of your wife... think of my wife... Vaati... Gufuu..." Vaahn shook his head. "You can't give up hope! Not when there are people who need us and depend on us!"
The samurai mage can see in Vaahn's eyes that he was also scared, desperate, and nervous... but he didn't let those emotions get the better of him. He still regained his composure and thought of the loved ones he can't afford to leave.
"... I understand." Nhaav replied and let out a small smile.
"Now let's eat some snacks." said Vaahn, grabbing some packed snacks from his bag. He threw one over to Nhaav, who was just across him from the flame.
"........ Fatty, oily potato chips...?" Nhaav examined the bag.
"Yes, what of it?" Vaahn was already nibbling on some pieces.
"What of it?! It's unhealthy, that's what!"
"That's the only thing we have, you know... it's better this than to die of hunger."
Nhaav pouted at him and opened his pack as he reluctantly ate them. He loved leading a healthy, natural lifestyle, as he had grown to as a Minish... but he felt the need to adapt to the modern lifestyle of the Hylians, which he showed much apprehension to.
Nothing else can be heard but their munching on the crunchy, salted potato chips. They both fell silent as they were preoccupied with eating.
"Are you thirsty?" asked Vaahn.
Nhaav took out his own water bottle and drank it all, as Vaahn did the same. It seemed though, that they both drained their bottles and they needed more water to satisfy their thirst.
"..." Nhaav stared at his own water bottle.
"Oh, dear." Vaahn said, staring at his own as well. He then kept it in his bag.
"I still hate you, you know?" Nhaav said as he glared at his counterpart. "If you weren't such a nagger, we wouldn't have been here in the first place!"
"... Nhaav, please. Now... let's just focus on what will get us out..."
"Why would I take orders from you? I'm not a shadow slave!"
The two started bickering again as the flames seemed to intensify with their argument. Nhaav was insistent that it was still Vaahn's fault, and Vaahn was very defensive since he knew it wasn't entirely his fault.
"Okay... how's about this." Vaahn suggested, almost losing his cool. "You work out on your own idea to get us-"
"NO." Nhaav pointed his finger at him, to his shock and vexation. "You work on your own way to get yourself out of this mess, while I work on mine."
They both turned their backs against each other and tried to find a solution on their own. They unraveled their backpacks and saw that they had their own survival kit, though nothing seems to prove useful in their condition.
Vaahn looked at his bow and arrow, then looked up in the sky. He just had a marvelous idea that might work... but he needed a rope long enough to reach him from down the shaft. He looked at Nhaav with a glare and tried to peek at what he was up to... but he wasn't exactly successful because Nhaav intentionally obscured his vision with his back though he tried to shift his angle.
Although, what Nhaav was really preoccupied with was looking at his rope long enough to reach them down from the pit... if he knew his light self better, he would know what the plan was, but pride got the better of him. He looked around for his own bow and arrow, but to his dismay, he didn't find it. It seems that he accidentally left it on the surface when he collared Vaahn.
"Well, find any solutions to save yourself yet?" asked Vaahn.
"Yeah, but why would I share it with you?" Nhaav growled as he looked over his shoulder.
"Well, if I die, you'll die too." Vaahn snapped. "Our lives are connected, remember?"
"Don't worry, your rescue will just be delayed. Once I get out, I'll ask the Hyrule guards to rescue you. But my own rescue is mine, and MINE alone."
"... Whatever you say."
Nhaav did regret his words, because he knew that if he let his pride down, he'd save himself and his counterpart too... but feelings came over him and just shrugged the matter off. He can't believe that he let his emotions get the better of him, though.
"Where are they...?!"
Gufuu was frantic, looking at the sunset hiding behind the trees. He knew that something wasn't right... the both of them were hungry, but he cared little about that. He was worried for their parents that may have gotten themselves in trouble.
Vaati still tried calling his father on the cellphone but to no avail.
"The subscriber cannot be reached. Please try your call again later."
Vaati almost cried as he heard the words, fearing what would have happened to his father. He looked up at his shadow and let out a sad, desperate face that meant no good news.
"Well... whatever." Gufuu said, packing their mini backpacks. "I'm disobeying Daddy for once this time. We will leave this camp, and try to find them. Vaati, make sure that all our things are secured in the tent. Lock the zippers. We're going in the woods."
Vaati nodded and proceeded to do as his shadow said. He was really scared for what might have happened as his imagination was going wild. What if their fathers were kidnapped? What if they were killed by robbers? Or maybe even sadistically left half-dead by bandits? What if they drowned in a river? It was too much for him to bear...
"We'll find them." Gufuu patted his shoulder. "Just pray that they be safe, and hope for the best. Let's do our best to find them!"
Vaati looked up at him with much determination. "... Y-Yes...!"
And so, the boys trekked on their own in search of their fathers...
Both of the Vaahns were resting in each of their own spots across the flames. Both of them took their boots off to cool their feet, and wore sandals instead. Nhaav had bandages covering his legs down to his feet, which he had probably grown accustomed to, but Vaahn's lower legs were exposed. Luckily for him though, he was wearing socks and he had applied his anti-mosquito lotion.
Nhaav lay down on his belly as he stared at the long rope in front of him. He was so desperate as he couldn't think of an alternative but to talk with his counterpart... but it seemed like his counterpart was too busy thinking up of a solution on his own that he wouldn't even give a passing glance to his shadow.
He began to regret his words and his high pride... maybe Vaahn was right...
'Maybe I am too close-minded...' he thought to himself in remorse. 'If I didn't attempt to clobber him, this wouldn't have happened...'
It was then that Vaahn stood up with his water bottle. His shadow followed him with a gaze, though he did not care. He was just concerned with finding even a clear water puddle, or a little spring inside the cave to relieve his thirst. He may just be lucky enough, if the said cave was in any way linked to a river or spring of some sort in the upper surface.
He looked around in the darkness with a flashlight in his other hand. As he tried looking for a little spring, he felt himself lost in thought.
'Maybe if I wasn't too "demanding", he wouldn't have gotten angry... if only I considered how shadows inherited their inferiority complexes... if only... I understood myself more...'
He did find a small spring to his delight and filled his bottle with it. He went back to his usual spot in the cave and found that it was already dark...
'Judging by the sky... I'd say it's six in the evening...' thought Nhaav as he looked up. He began to worry for Vaahn, as he can see that he was already tired.
He then heard a thud. He turned to look around...
He rushed over to Vaahn and asked him if anything was wrong. He could see that he was sweating and weary all of a sudden that it puzzled him... then it occurred to him...
He then checked Vaahn's body to see if he had wounded himself. His arms seemed fine and had minimal mosquito bites, thanks to the lotion. His torso had no wounds either... but upon seeing his lower legs, Nhaav was drifted to a panic.
He looked around and there it was in the darkness... a little scorpion, although Vaahn didn't mean to disturb it. It gave in to its instincts and attacked him. In its fear of Nhaav's stare, it ran away. Nhaav, having Minish blood, had power to communicate with animals.
"I... I'm sorry... I was careless..." panted Vaahn as his sweaty face was contorted in pain.
"Shhh..." Nhaav went over to his stung ankle and immediately sucked the poison out. With each turn he took on his ankle, he took caution not to ingest the blood so that he won't be affected as well.
He was fully aware that he wasn't able to feel the pain at all, as he materialized in the Light Realm... but if his light self dies, he will instantaneously die regardless of which realm he is in at the moment. For him, living as a shadow was a curse.
Though he knew that, for some other reason he was just plain concerned... perhaps it was the paternal instinct in him.
"Hah... hah... Nhaav..." Vaahn tried to look up at him. He felt so helpless and hated it.
The shadow immediately rose and left him for a while, getting water in a container he had and getting the first aid kit to clean and treat his wound. He remembered how much he had worried for Dusk in his care back then when he got stung by a scorpion in one of their friendly strolls in the beach, and applied the same medication. Though he did ask for the help of professionals as soon as he applied first aid...
Fortunately by now, he knows a medication good enough to last a lot longer than his previous process.
To finish the medication, he wrapped the bandages on Vaahn's inflicted ankle. "...There. You should be okay now."
"..." Vaahn looked up at his shadow in pain, though he tried to smile at him. "... Thank you..."
Nhaav just nodded at him and turned to the flames. He had been so angry with him, and yet he could not stand seeing him in pain. That's usually what he feels with harmless people he meets. For some reason, he could not stand seeing them in real pain, especially if he knew that he could've done something to help them.
"Nhaav... I'm sorry..." said Vaahn in a whispery voice. "I guess... I guess you were right... I shouldn't have been too demanding... I should've considered your feelings..."
Nhaav turned to him and let out a concerned face. He was surprised to hear him say such things.
"Nhaav... if I die... please take care of Vaati for me..."
Nhaav frowned at this. "Vaahn, if you die, I'll die! You said it yourself! You just told me a while ago never to give up for their sake and you..." he tried to maintain his composure.
Vaahn could not believe that he was hallucinating due to what had happened to him... but he could not help but say such things.
"Vaahn..." Nhaav said as he faced his light self. "Vaahn. I'm... I'm sorry too. I apologize."
Vaahn looked at him straight in the eye with his gentle emerald eyes.
"It was my fault. I shouldn't have been too hot-headed. And you're right... I should've learned how to listen."
Silence fell upon them as they could both feel the air getting colder by the minute. Vaahn shivered, most likely caused by the poison earlier for he was used to the cold like his shadow...
"Here." Nhaav covered Vaahn with the light being's blazer to keep him warm. "I'll try thinking of a plan to get us out of here."
"... Nhaav... I..."
They both stopped as they heard something that could have been the sweetest sound at the moment.
"..." Nhaav immediately stood strong on his feet and shouted for help. "ANYBODY HELP US!!! HELP!!!"
Vaahn wished he had the strength to shout, but alas, his strength is slowly deteriorating each minute.
"Is that your ringtone?" said Gufuu as he pointed the flashlight at Vaati's face.
"Gah!" Vaati covered his eyes with both of his hands as his pupils got smaller thanks to the sudden light. "No! I have a different ringtone!"
"Then... what was that...?" Gufuu pointed the flashlight to different directions and tried to listen more closely.
For a moment, they heard nothing but the wind passing by the huge trees that loomed above them, and the night birds' wings, as well as the bat. But then...
"It sounded like it came from there!" cried Vaati as he rushed to the sound.
"Vaati, be careful!!!" Gufuu said as he chased after the young mage.
They soon arrived in front of a pit, which Vaati almost fell trap to. He grabbed onto Gufuu tight and feared the black hole. The shadow, on the other hand, tried to squint his eyes to try and see what was down there. He could make out what seems to be a little source of light...
Vaati grabbed the other flashlight and tried to shine it down the shadowy depths...
The two adults heard a voice call out. Nhaav's expression was significantly lightened up. He shouted back to the voice.
"THERE ARE TWO OF US HERE! I AM NHAAV, AND I HAVE A FRIEND NAMED VAAHN!!! WE'RE TRAPPED DOWN HERE!!!"
He heard his voice echo throughout the cave, and so he hoped that the sound reached to the people above. He was trying to make out the voice, but he was far too excited that he introduced himself to the people.
"... Daddy...?!" he heard a lighter voice call out.
".... Vaati..." groaned Vaahn silently as he heard the voice.
"YOU BOYS CALL FOR HELP!!!" shouted Nhaav with all his might. "GO BACK TO HYRULE CITY! GET HELP!"
"Yes, Daddy!!!" cried out Gufuu.
With that, they heard the footsteps quickly fading away...
"Nhaav..." called out Vaahn weakly. "I guess we... we learned something from all this... huh...?"
"... I'll say."
He looked down at him and smiled without holding back. For the first time, he felt light talking to his light self. It felt as if he trusted himself a bit more, being a person with fluctuating self-esteem.
"I guess... with every mishap, there is something to be learned..." Vaahn said pushing his effort.
"With every argument, there is something to be learned..." Nhaav added.
"... Accepting yourself... accepting others... definitely... helps..."
Nhaav looked at him and gave him some clear water. He felt so worried for him, somehow feeling that he's also a little kid like his son. Although, it was silly... that was himself right in front of him. Sometimes he felt that he was a different person, thanks to their contrasting personalities.
It was a matter of shadows and light, the principle of Yin and Yang. Each person must maintain the balance. Each person has a shadow that would be his exact opposite, yet exactly the same. Full of paradoxes a human's life is, yet he must learn to live it to the fullest.
"Nhaav..." said Vaahn as he grabbed his bow and arrow. "I know... you have a plan..."
"..." he gave a surprised look at Vaahn as their minds did connect. Their minds were one, no matter how farfetched they may seem at times.
He immediately got the rope and tied it around the arrow that Vaahn had just set. He also embraced him from behind to help him get his posture good enough for archery. With little strength of what Vaahn had left, he aimed for the pit's opening. He didn't succeed...
"Let me do that..." Nhaav said.
Vaahn shook Nhaav's hands off and tried to aim again. He was far too stubborn that he wanted to at least help, what with the mess he had done with himself. He had many attempts that his shadow was already getting worried, but at last he had succeeded.
"Yes..." smiled Vaahn as he got the arrow in above them.
The shadow checked if it could support their weight, and to his surprise, it did. It seemed that it was deeply embedded to the ground...
"Alright. Hang on tight." Nhaav almost commanded as he put his companion on his shoulder with a safety rope wrapped around him for support. He climbed the rope with all his might as he still worried for their own safety. He saw no signs of the boys yet, but he was a bit delighted that they are finally going out of the hole.
After some minutes, they finally are out in the open, breathing fresh air from the trees; finally away from the stagnant, stale smell of the dark, lonely cave. The moon was brightly shining, and much to their advantage, it hadn't rained at all.
He put his companion down on the ground to keep the safety rope. He carried him over his shoulder again so that they may find their way to the camping place, but then he remembered that their sons were out to seek help. They may worry a great deal to find out that their fathers are not there anymore.
Nhaav had an idea of checking Vaahn's phone to call the boys, but to his dismay, there was no phone signal... even when they have gotten out of the lonely cave.
"We have to wait a little longer, Vaahn..." he said as he laid him down on the grass and kept the phone in his care.
The wind blew gently around them, feeling nature's aid to help them feel calm. Nhaav was still a bit apprehensive... he worried about Vaahn, he worried about his boys going out in the open all by themselves just like that... he worried about what would be lurking in the woods, with their weapons down there in the pit, waiting to be retrieved by the rescuers.
"We... we were a great team, huh...?" Vaahn blurted out in a whisper, Nhaav almost didn't catch what he said.
"... We ARE a great team." smiled Nhaav, keeping their moods up. "Why don't you rest for a while? I feel that the backup is coming soon. Real soon."
"... I guess they are..." smiled Vaahn, though pain was still apparent in his face. He heeded Nhaav's advice and slowly closed his weary eyes.
Now Nhaav was getting apprehensive and impatient. He was waiting for help to arrive so that they may treat Vaahn with professional care already. He didn't care if it was an expensive hospital, the castle's clinic, or any cheap hospital... just as long as it could completely cure him with care!
"DAMMIT!" he cursed as a result. He just couldn't take it anymore.
"Nhaav..." Vaahn looked up at him. "Why don't you rest for a while...? I feel... that backup is coming soon... real soon..."
This made the shadow smile even just a bit and just patted his head. For some reason, that made him chuckle under his breath as he watched out for... himself.
"It's so funny..." chuckled Vaahn with much difficulty. "Why do my hiking trips end up in unexpected turns of events...?"
"..." the samurai mage just groaned under his breath, not knowing what to say.
The wind blew the leaves to make them rustle, as if soothing their tense bodies through sound therapy. The clouds hid the shy moon, although it gave no signs of rainfall. Stars twinkled and danced, as if asking the moon to come out of its hiding place to play with them... to entertain the weary adults watching them from below.
"Ili ili... tulog anay..." Vaahn started singing with a weak voice.
"..." Nhaav looked down at him and fixed his hair a bit. "... Wala diri... i mong nanay..."
They both looked up in the heavens as they calmly sang the rest of the song.
"Kadto tienda... bakal papay...
Ili ili... tulog anay..."
Vaahn looked up at him happily, his eyes twinkling like the stars above, though his health deteriorating like Nhaav's patience. "Thanks for singing with me."
"Of course." Nhaav said in a serious tone, though with a fatherly smile.
That was when Vaahn rested for real, his weary body resting on the lush green grass under the supervision of the heavenly stars and moon. For once, Nhaav's tension had gone a bit milder, seeing his other self in peace, and feeling that he was still alive.
It was a good sign.
The sweetest voice he could ever hope to hear at the moment...
Not long after, there was a group of rescuers and soldiers to help them retrieve their items and aid the two casualties. Gufuu and Vaati were worried sick that they almost got angry with them.
"Have you eaten your lunch?" asked Nhaav as he looked down at Gufuu. He had been sitting on the ground, like how he had sat when he was watching over Vaahn.
"Who cares about that, Daddy?!" he cried like a spoiled brat. "I hate you, Daddy! How could you make us worry like that?!"
"Daddy...!" cried Vaati over his dad. He was so worried that he wasn't able to talk with him... and just looking at him reminded him of a terrible fate he thought had befallen on his father, if it weren't for Dark's great foresight. "Daddy... wake up... please...!"
"It's all right, Vaati." Nhaav smiled at him so tenderly and reached out an arm for him, as his other arm was already hugging Gufuu.
Vaati rushed to him and hugged him tight, as like his shadow, he cried onto the adult so hard in worry and relief. The shadow of the father whispered such gentle words to calm the poor crying youths down. To add to the concerned fatherly gesture, he kissed their foreheads one after the other and hugged them closer. Surely enough, the two managed to calm down a bit; their trembling lessening in his firm but gentle grip.
In the rescue operation, who could ever forget the two heroes? Link and his shadow, Dark, joined in the operation as soon as they heard who the casualties were... although they were mostly involved in things like these, being the sons of the captain of the Royal Hyrule Knights.
"It just touches me to see that they're finally safe and sound." Link said, his eyes fixed on the three.
"Yeah, bring him to the nearest hospital. You know what hospital I'm talking about."
Link looked at Dark who was all serious about the matter. He had just ordered the paramedics to take care of Vaahn.
"Pack those things nicely, ya hear?" he said to the knights who had gone down to retrieve Nhaav and Vaahn's belongings. "And don't miss out anything. Be sure to put a noticeable sign here next time. And a border."
They saluted and agreed to his plans.
'Good Dark.' smiled Link. He then approached the three, safe and sound from the mishaps that had occurred this day.
"Link..." said Vaati as he turned his head to see him, though he still remained in the adult's protective grip.
"You're safe now." smiled Link reassuringly as he crouched down. "And your dad is gonna be, too."
"... Link, thank you." Nhaav smiled gently at him, similar to the one he gave to his sons.
"You're welcome, Sir. Just doing our job." he saluted and smiled back radiantly, like the smile he gave to Vaati during their first meeting for a new life.
"Are you all right? You three!" Dark rushed to them and crouched to take a closer look at them. "Mr. Nhaav, Vaati... Gufuu!"
The three of them just chuckled at Dark and nodded. Gufuu in particular, smiled most heartily, hearing his best friend call him by his "real name" this time.
"Alright..." Nhaav held the two closer to give room... for the other two youths before him. "Well? Come on. Hugs are free."
"..." Link and Dark looked at each other and could not believe their ears. But how could they say no?
Nhaav hugged all of them tightly, Link beside Vaati and Dark beside Gufuu, as he had the urge to show his paternal love which he had been hiding under his cold demeanor. The two heroes were so touched that it felt as if they tried to feel their own fathers, who were both abroad for the sake of livelihood, in the shadow father's embrace.
"Are you feeling fine now, Daddy?"
Vaati, along with Gufuu and Nhaav, visited his father. He had a little bouquet of flowers that he and his shadow hand-picked from Gufuu's favorite garden.
"Vaati." smiled Vaahn as he was already sitting in an upright position, even before they came. "Gufuu. Nhaav."
"Roll call? Yep, we're all present." Nhaav tried to humor them, to which the two youths giggled at.
The recovering man chuckled. "Yes, I can see that. I'm fine now, Vaati... I'm just waiting to be discharged, then I'll be as good as new. Oh. Thank you for the wonderful flowers."
"I'm so glad..." Vaati felt so relieved. "Just don't worry me like that ever again!"
Vaahn chuckled at his son and smiled, assuring that he will be more careful next time. 'Tishah... I think I know where my son got that attitude of his.'
"Be strong, okay?" Nhaav grabbed his hand firmly with both his hands. "Because we'll have more intense waterfall training."
Vaahn smiled. "Yes, and yoga."
"Yes. In winter."
Nhaav fixed his bangs a bit in front of the mirror and looked at the rest of his hair, being a bit vain himself. He stared at his own eyes, which were of different colors. To his left was his red eye, while to his right was "his" blue one. Still, he couldn't help but notice his eyes every now and then, for it still felt strange to this very day.
"I'll be off then." he said. "I'll wait for the both of you in the lobby."
The youths nodded at him and turned back to the recovering man.
"... I guess that I owe you two something..."
"W-What would that be, Daddy?" Vaati said, quite surprised.
He then urged the both of them to come to him. And as they did, he hugged them tightly, as if never letting them go. The two, of course, hugged back as they felt his warmth and paternal love. He was practically oozing with it.
It felt as if he was compensating for the years he lost, thanks to that tragedy.
Vaahn looked down at the shadow sorcerer. "Yes? … My son?"
He handed a plastic lunchbox to him, a bit shy about it as he didn't give eye contact. He was obviously blushing.
"I had better go to Daddy!" said Gufuu as he bowed down and rushed out the door. But before he completely went away... "And don't let your son control your dietary habits!"
Just when they were about to open the lunchbox...
"Oh, and just so you know, Daddy was serious about that winter training." Gufuu peeked in the door one last time and scurried off.
Vaahn was puzzled by his shadow son's gesture and just looked at Vaati. The youngster had a hunch of what Gufuu meant and giggled at it. Out of curiosity, the man opened the lunchbox...
"W-What??" he exclaimed upon seeing what was inside his lunchbox. They were... tomatoes.
"Buono tomato! Buono buono!" Vaati got one and munched on it. He looked at his dad with smiling eyes, urging him to do the same.
"W-Well..." Vaahn ate his own tomato. "... Buono, indeed. I'd love them on pizza or pasta, though! These Hylians come up with the most innovative things!"
Vaati put his own tomato in the lunchbox for a while and looked up at his dad.
"Hm?" Vaahn questioned him with his eyes as to why the sudden gesture.
"I'm... I'm just glad to have you back, Daddy." he smiled, happy tears forming at the corners of his eyes.
"... I would never leave you, my son. Never again." he said as he hugged him in an assuring embrace and gave a gentle kiss on the forehead.
The hospital apparently allowed visitors to stay overnight in a room with the patient (which was not under intensive care), so that they may take care of the patient themselves and entertain them with chats. It was a good thing for Vaahn too, he didn't get too lonely with his son around. Plus, he didn't need the nurse too much because his son assisted him when he needed something simple and not medically-related.
"I love you, my son..."
"I love you, Daddy..."