Toa Lidel walked through the garden of the asylum. She could already hear the voices of her patients. Near the middle of the grounds was a long table with many chairs, laid out for some sort of party. Seated at the table were a variety of figures. One was a tall, beautiful Vortixx. She was dressed in the jewelry that typically adorned royalty, as well as an ornate crown. The ornaments were tarnished and weathered, as though they had been neglected for years. Not too far away was a tall, green Makuta who had bits of straw tied to his head by the means of an old gauze cloth. Next him was a demented-looking Le-Matoran, who was fast asleep. The next guest was a bizarre Skakdi. He had no head-spine, and instead wore a large top-hat on his cranium. It had been handcrafted by the Skakdi himself during the arts-and-crafts hour at the asylum. A Ga-Matoran was seated next to him. Every now and then she’d throw something into the grass. The only thing she did not throw was a peppermill she held tightly in her fist. The last being was one of the strangest creatures Lidel had ever seen. He had once been an Onu-Matoran named Murkel who had been working deep in the Archives. But a freak accident had turned him into a creature that resembled a Dermis Turtle crossed with a Kane-Ra bull. Unlike his fellow party-goers, this being was much more muddled than he was insane. The transformation had apparently destroyed his previous identity, and he often spent hours conversing with a gryphon statue in the middle of the garden. He looked at Toa Lidel with tearful eyes. He was always crying.
“Why aren’t you bowing?” snapped Roodaka. Lidel caught herself and got down on one knee. Once the Vortixx was appeased, she stood up again and looked at Roodaka. She had once ruled Xia, but had been rebelled against when the universe was rescued. The shock had pushed her over edge, and she was stuck in the delusion that she was still a Queen. Due to her deceptive reputation, many had believed that she had been faking it. But a thorough investigation by a Toa of Psionics had discovered that she was quite mad. Lidel took a seat next to Vican. The Le-Matoran’s eyes fluttered open and looked at her for a moment, and closed once more. The little Matoran had undergone such experimentation by his master that it had shattered his sanity and put him in an apparently permanent narcoleptic state. Lidel looked over at Mutran, who was gazing at a spoon with intrigue. The mad Makuta had been captured by the Order of Mata-Nui before he could depart to Karda-Nui. His madness had seemingly mellowed out to become more of an extreme eccentricity. Vhisola threw a fork into a flower bed. She had been suffering from some sort of neurotic disorder as well as delusion, but was referred by the staff as “utterly bonkers.” The last being who was seated was well known by the workers of the asylum. His name was Vezon, and he was the first person to be committed there. He too was detached from reality, although this did not impair his ability to function. He was fond of crafting hats, for his room was full of them.
“How goes it in the land of the sane?” he asked as he tipped a teapot over his cup. Nothing came out of course, for there was nothing in it. Lidel smiled.
“It’s very well,” she responded, “How are you doing?”
“We’re carrying on,” replied Mutran, “How long has it been since the last time you joined us?”
“I was here yesterday morning,” said Lidel. Vezon looked surprised.
“Really? Oh well, I must be losing track of time,” he said.
“You certainly did,” Roodaka said icily, “He hasn’t returned in weeks!”
“I didn’t mean to offend him, you know,” answered Vezon. Lidel smiled. The small group shared the delusion that time was in fact a sentient being, and that he had frozen the time stream at exactly six o’clock, which they thought was teatime. Lidel had been trying for over a month to convince them to come inside. But they refused to listen.
“Is Nokama coming?” asked Vhisola. Lidel shook her head.
“I’m sorry,” she answered, “But no.” Vhisola looked disappointed.
“Drat, and I went through all this trouble making this cake.” The Ga-Matoran held up an empty cake pan.
“It’s such a waste,” Murkel said in a deep, hollow tone. Vhisola suddenly pitched the pan out into the flower garden.
“Don’t be so glum Murky,” said Vezon, “Cheer up a little. It’ll do your hooves good.”
“I have an idea,” Mutran proclaimed, “Let’s change the subject.”
“I second the notion,” Roodaka agreed, “Let’s get back to business. What is to be done about the white flowers in the garden?” Lidel met the Vortixx’s gaze with an odd look.
“What’s wrong with them?” she inquired. Roodaka’s face donned a look of anger.
“What’s wrong with them?” echoed the indignant Vortixx, “They’re white! I clearly stated that all flowers in my kingdom are to be red! You’re a very stupid Toa, do you know that?” Lidel shrugged.
“I’m sorry for my mistake.”
“You should be,” continued Roodaka, “I’d have you beheaded for such language.”
“Don’t be so mean to her, Queen Roodaka,” said Vezon, “She is sane after all.” Roodaka leered at Lidel.
“I suppose that would account for it,” she muttered under her breath.
“Murky, why don’t you teach us another one of your lessons?” said Mutran. Murkel looked reluctant.
“I don’t know,” he said, “It has been a long time since I attended the school beneath the sea.” This was another one of Murkel’s delusions. He was convinced that he and his Gryphon friend had attended an imaginary school under the sea.
“Please teach us,” agreed Vezon, “Perhaps it will make you feel better.”
“Alright,” sighed Murkel, “We had the best education. We went to school every day-”
“What’s so special about that?” interjected Roodaka, “I was taught on Destral!”
“With extras?” Murkel asked anxiously.
“Yes,” said Roodaka, “We learned physiology and biology!”
“And washing?” asked Murkel.
“Certainly not!” Roodaka cried indignantly.
“Ah! Then your school wasn’t a very good school,” Murkel said in a tone of great relief, “Now at our school, they had, at the end of the bill, physiology, biology, and washing-extra.”
“Bravo,” cried Vhisola as she clapped her hands, “Bravo!” Murkel bowed and continued.
“Now, being at the bottom of the sea, we learned many things pertaining to all things aquatic, such as reeling, writhing, and fainting in coils.”
“What was that like?” Lidel asked.
“Very difficult to master. I doubt even a Turaga could successfully complete it.”
“Could you teach it to us?” asked Vhisola. Murkel sighed and shook his head.
“I’m afraid I’m much too stiff. I was a spry lad when I went to school.”
“Forgive my intrusion,” said Mutran, “But I must say that these lessons sound quite boring.”
“They are,” replied Murkel, “That’s why I shall ask you to speak in my place.”
“Thank you,” Mutran said, “Now who wants to hear a tale of epic proportions?” Everyone raised their hands, including Mutran.
“Who’s going to tell it?” asked the Makuta. Everyone looked at Lidel. The Toa blushed.
“I’m afraid I don’t know any stories,” she said meekly.
“Then Vican will,” Mutran said as he and Vezon shook the Matoran.
“Wake up, Vican!” called Vezon. Vican, who had been asleep all this time, awoke with a start.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Tell us a story,” said Vhisola as she threw a spoon into the branches of a tree.
“And do it quick before you fall asleep again,” added Vezon.
“Alright,” sighed Vican, “Once upon a time there were three Matoran named Radiak, Gavla, and Kirop and they lived at the bottom of a well.”
“What did they live on?” asked Vhisola.
“Treacle,” replied Vican.
“Wouldn’t that have made them ill?” asked Lidel.
“It did. It made them very ill,” answered Vican, as his eyes began to close. Everyone watched as he drifted back to sleep. Vezon cleared his throat.
“Well then,” he said, “Who wants to listen to a little song I composed just for the occasion?”
“I would,” answered Lidel.
“Same goes for me,” said Mutran. Everyone grew quiet as Vezon began.
“Twinkle, twinkle little bat,
How I wonder what you’re at,
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.” His audience clapped as he did a little bow.
“Fascinating,” Roodaka said, “That was even worse that the last one.”
“I’ve been practicing,” Vezon beamed. Vhisola threw a teacup at a patch of clover.
“Does anyone want to hear about the time I lost my mind?” Mutran asked. Vezon raised his hand. Murkel raised his flipper.
“Well then, I shall tell you. It was about ninety-eight thousand years ago-in the month of March, I believe-When I was sent to an island in the southern seas. I happened to visit the Island of Tren Krom. He pulled me into his cave to see into my mind. I have no idea why he was so impolite, I would have shown him had he asked. Anyway, I saw into his mind, which was just as horrifying as his appearance that it shattered my mind.”
“What did he look like?” asked Vhisola. Mutran thought for a moment.
“He resembled a giant spot of jelly,” replied the Makuta.
“Who did?” asked Roodaka, who had until this point been admiring herself in her hand mirror.
“Tren Krom,” answered Mutran, “Pay attention next time, your majesty.”
“Why did he look like jelly?” asked Vhisola, “Wasn’t he worried that someone might come along and spread him on their toast?”
“I’m not sure,” said Mutran, “Come to think of it, a great spot of jelly isn’t really all that terrifying.”
“It can be, if it’s the very last little bit in the jar,” said Vezon. Everyone nodded in agreement. Vican suddenly stirred in his sleep.
“Twinkle, twinkle, winkle, twinkle,” he murmured. He went on for some time before Vhisola reached over and pinched him. She then grabbed the Matoran’s cup and threw it into a nearby hedge. Toa Lidel spoke.
“Well, I hate to eat and run, but I must be off now,” she said as she stood up.
“Well that’s a shame,” said Mutran, “But if you must, you must.”
“Please come back tomorrow if you can,” called out Vezon, “We’ll be counting the Chilton Hundreds.” Lidel smiled and nodded. As she turned away, she heard the lunatics continued their chatter, laughing and bantering.
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