Five years later.....
Esmaraldo took Zalgo in as the son he never had. He taught him many things about the world, including history. Mostly about the Great War which Esmaraldo was a part of as a warrior of the sand. Around the age of five Esmaraldo began to teach the young monster how to fight and defend himself. Training was often brutal and left Zalgo exhausted every time. Despite this Zalgo looked forward to training with the older monster. Eventually Esmaraldo taught Zalgo how to fly, called him a “natural.” Zalgo enjoyed flying. He loved the wind in his face and the coolness of the air up there. He would soar above the trees and over Pastatown. However he couldn’t fly too far or high yet. Zalgo looked up to Esmaraldo, thinking of him very highly. But there were times when he thought he saw something sinister in his eyes. This look lasted no more than a second so Zalgo was never sure if he really saw it. Overall Zalgo was happy in his new home. No more living on the streets, and scrounging for food because he can’t hunt yet. He was happy he had someone to turn to. Zalgo is now eight years old going on nine. But, after his eighth birthday things started to change.
* * * *
Zalgo was jarred awake by someone shaking him.
“Get up Zalgo.”
The young monster stirred, opening his eyes to slits. The cave’s ceiling stretched out above him. It was still dark in the room which puzzled Zalgo.
It took a moment for Zalgo to realize someone was speaking to him. He turned his tired gaze toward the voice and came face to face with Esmaraldo. He did not appear to be in the best of moods. Slowly Zaglo sat up and glanced at the hole in the cave wall he made for a window. Outside was dark and told him it was still night. “Esmaraldo,” the child murmured sleepily, “It’s the middle of the night.”
“I’m sorry little Zalgo but I need you to go into Lavender Village and run some errands.” Esmaraldo rumbled, lightly putting a hand on the young monster’s head.
Zalgo gaped a yawn, flashing his blood red teeth. “Why now? Why can’t I do it in the morning?”
“Because,” He replied, “I’m going to be meeting someone while you’re gone. I can’t have you around while they’re here.”
“It’s a private matter and it doesn’t concern you.”
Zalgo yawned again, “Alright.” He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes while Esmaraldo grabbed the fur cape he gave Zalgo for his seventh birthday. For a moment the young monster sat there so he could wake up, growing impatient Esmaraldo shoved the cape into his arms along with a piece of parchment.
“Here, be back by noon.” with that Esmaraldo walked away not saying another word. Zalgo slipped out of bed and stood there, half asleep. Finally he pulled on his cape and stumbled out of his room. He moved to the cave entrance where he took one more look at Esmaraldo. The monster was bustling around busy cleaning up along with sharpening weapons. Zalgo heaved a sigh before moving out of the cave and into the night. Zalgo’s eyelids felt heavy as he walked the dirt trail toward Lavender Village. He was tempted to lie down and take a small nap before continuing. But he knew Esmaraldo would be disappointed in him for not doing exactly as told. So, he pressed on.
Esmaraldo sure has been sending him on a lot of errands lately. Zalgo found it strange that so many errands needed to be run in such a short amount of time, but so far he didn’t press Esmaraldo on the subject. It’s probably a simple explanation and Zaglo’s failing to see it. He doesn’t want to waste Esmaraldo’s time with stupid questions that have obvious answers.
Zalgo’s senses soon sharpened as he woke up more. Up ahead he saw the main road that leads to his destination. He turned, heading toward Lavender Village which was barely visible beyond the trees. The trees were quiet. They didn’t whisper to Zalgo anymore, they stopped after Zalgo began his training. They must know he has surpassed their power and can take them down. The eight year old started to hum a tune, an eerie yet beautiful song. His walk gained more of a bounce, his feet moving to the beat of the hymn.
He entered Lavender Village which was crawling with nocturnal monsters. Slenderpeople, Gargoyles and others, all went about their business. Not giving Zalgo more than a glance as he jogged through the main market place. Once he got to the village square he finally looked down at the parchment in his claws. Written on the parchment was a list of items he was supposed to get. He skimmed the list. They were all rather strange items. They’ve never needed liquified shadows before. Wonder why Esmaraldo needs it. Zalgo dismissed it as just something new. He scanned the list one more time before starting toward his first stop.