"Ugh... what was that?"
Mike was definitely awakened from that horrid nightmare... dream... whatever it was. It felt surreal, but.. the sight of it was etched into his very heart and soul... as well as his pounding head, and full bladder, and his nostrils that screamed with the smell of burning... "Oh... crap..."
Mike knew too well that whenever he had any exciting
dreams, his body would respond to it. Sometimes in more ways than one: namely the fire on his tail could've sparked something. "Where is it?! Augh... my head..."
Having the terrible burning smell coupling with head splitting pain was not enjoyable, but at least with quick glances the smell did not emanate from his room, which could mean it might've come from...! Mike dashed through his bedroom door to see his mother cooking something incredibly black in a pan.
"Mornin' Mikey-boy! I... well, I tried to do something fer yah but yannow... I ain't too good at this sort of stuff still..." Upon another glance, it was obvious with the eggshells littering the floor, the black remains in the pan were burning eggs.
"It's okay... I-- Bathroom, no time aahhh...!" Mike felt his bladder wanting to explode from pressure, as he dashed outside to go relieve himself in the outhouse.
After Mike did his natural duty, he returned back to the kitchen table to have whatever his mother prepared for him.
"Well Mikey-boy! How ya doin'?" Syrup laid plates down and poured water in a cup for the both of them with a humming note.
"I... head... hurts..." Mike's head started to pound even harder as his first hangover greeted his first experience with alcohol intoxication.
"Huh? Oh~! I fergot that ya don't have the same kinda liver me an' Maple, have..." Syrup began to rummage through a cupboard and pulled a small, hand sized glass flask, half filled with a pale golden liquid. "Here... drink this, it'll fix what's troublin' ya! But ya might wanna drink it all without stoppin', as it's pretty powerful stuff!
Syrup handed over the liquid to Mike, and he took his mother's advice to drink it without hesitation. It was good thing he did so, as he almost gagged from the incredibly bitter and dry taste the liquid had, and amazingly, his hangover melted away. "Wh-- what is this thing?"
"Ganlon Tonic, it's mighty helpful for people who can't handle the ol' art of consumin' firewater like we did last night... Khahaw!"
"Wait, so it's of no use to you or Maple, right? So then... why'd you have this in the first place?"
"Well, Mikey-boy, that Ganlon Tonic is as old as Maple!"
"Wait... huh? I don't get it..." Mike was puzzled by what Syrup mentioned.
"Well, Mikey-boy, d'ya remember that time we had a visitor with an old friend of mine? Yannow... Mac?"
"Oh... yeah, but I couldn't remember, really... he was that Krookodile right? What'd you mean by... wait.." Mike couldn't have understood what Syrup meant back then, but now that he was aged, he definitely did.
"Yup, Mac was the man's man of a Krookodile who blessed mah bosom with Maple... khahaw~! Just when I thought I was only gonna have you, he came an' surprised me!" Syrup laughed, then sighed wistfully at the past. "Awwh~ I miss him... Well, let's eat! I know I brutally destroyed the eggs, so I thought you might like a nice thick cut of raw beef to go with it!" Syrup laid down the plate containing more-than-well-done eggs coupled with not-so-well-done steak at Mike's side of the table. "Better eat up! Today's gonna be a long day!" Syrup began to tear into her breakfast with enthusiasm.
With a clearer head, Mike joined his mother as he began to devour the raw, dripping red steak that were beside the eggs that would never be touched. "This taste... it's definitely that Tauros mom hunted down a week ago. It's really good!"
The savoriness of meat was something Mike missed dearly ever since his departure for Tao Village.
After a couple of minutes, breakfast was done and over with. "Urp... Well, that was all good n' such. Feels nice to have a belly fulla meat, eh? Okay! Let's git warmed up an' start trainin' today!" Syrup got up from her chair and got ready to go outside."Oh, this is what she meant by a long day, huh? Well, no complaints from me. I feel good enough to pound something..."
Mike got up from his chair to follow his mother outside, but stopped for a bit to notice a picture he had never seen before: A Stunky with a hat like his riding a Ponyta. It was oddly adorable looking. "Huh? Is this... mom?"
"Mikey-boy!! Ya comin' or not?!" Syrup yelled just outside the house door, waiting for Mike to come with her.
"Uh, yeah okay, I'm coming!" Mike couldn't afford to investigate the picture any longer and abandoned it to go run off to his mother, after which they locked the door to the house and went off to their usual location for training.
After their arrival, they wasted no time in beginning their routine training. Clawing the rocky walls was one exercise that aided in practicing various cutting techniques they possessed, such as Mike's Metal Claw and Dragon Claw, or Syrup's Night Slash. While they cut away, Mike felt that he had to tell his mother everything that happened at Tao Village, for fear that he might have not been entirely truthful or mistaken many details during their drunken state last night. Syrup mostly kept a straight face during Mike's explanations, but she clearly disliked what her son had been through. Being caught by Merlot and wearing a maid dress... whoever this 'Merlot' was, Syrup felt that Mike was greatly exaggerating her size and Mike could've done much better than being caught and forced to wear a shameful dress...
Then there were moments that Syrup couldn't keep a straight face any longer. The words 'Maple had a few moments of trouble' coupled with 'no, I wasn't really there with her' just put anger in Syrup's expression as she began to pound away at the rock with increased vigor. Kheh..!! I raised the two of 'em to be brother an' sis, but he oughta have been with her then!! At lleast Maple's still doin' alright and it prolly gave her some experience under her gut but tarnation!
Syrup decided she was going to at least have Mike repay for his lack of brotherly obligations, at least, in her own way. "Mikey-boy... let's try somethin' else... like practicin' yer observational skills..."
"Huh?" Mike couldn't really pay attention to what Syrup said as he was busy cutting into the rocky wall. Mike stopped to turn around but he could not find any trace of his mother anywhere. "Mom...? Where are you?" Mike kept looking, but locating his mother was of no avail, and that was when a chill ran down his spine. "Oh... crap, when mom does this is when she's about to...
"TOO SLOW!" Syrup pounced at Mike with all her weight and caught Mike off guard. The crash was eventful enough to create an explosion of dust surrounding them, and as it slowly settled, it was clear that Syrup was the victor in the scuffle, with Mike hanging from her jaws as the prize.
"Ah--ow! Okay mom, you got me... can you let me go now?" Mike was helpless as he was bitten at the side of his torso and was still hanging from her fangs. "This kinda hurts!""Mmmph?!"
Syrup could only grunt in response to Mike as she bit down even harder. Mike began to wriggle as much as he could to free himself from her jaws and the excruciating pain, but before he could free himself, Syrup let go of him... only to hold him up from his tail.
"Yeah?! Imagine this but a heckuva lot worser and that could've been Maple, yannow?! I raised ya both to be real close to one another through thick 'n thin but that didn't sound like you necessarily did so?! C'mon, we're done here, I need'ta cool off, 'else I'll end up killin' you." Syrup turned around and walked back home while carrying Mike by the tail, much to his discomfort.
Part 10 of "Reprieve" by