Mattion did have to sit around for a few minutes as Alba herself had to get changed. It took her a short time to decide what to wear and put on a small amount of make-up. She didn't put too much on as she was only going to buy food and wasn't going on a night out. By the time she was done she wore a light brown top with black shorts and the same boots that he had seen her wear on the night that they met.
One reason why Alba had put this particular top on was because it had two pockets on the chest. She thought that they would be perfect to let Mattion stay in while they went shopping. She didn't particularly want to put him in her back pocket as she was afraid that he might fall out and she wouldn't notice. At least in this pocket she could keep an eye on him at all times. In her mind it was the safest thing to do.
When Alba was ready she walked toward the sofa where Mattion was waiting. He looked up to her as she placed her hand down next to him. He knew full well what he needed to do as he stepped onto the hand. No sooner had he done this he felt himself get raised up to her level and he could see her pleasant smile.
"Ok Mattion," said Alba. "Are you ready to go?" She was tempted to rub his hair with her finger but she stopped herself as she thought that he wouldn't like it.
"Wait Tulip is still outside," replied Mattion. He felt guilty that he had forgotten about her until that moment.
"I'll bring her inside and leave her with a treat before we leave? How does that sound to you?" She continued to smile at him and he could see some of her pearly white teeth. He nodded to her which she understood well enough.
Over the course of the next couple of minutes Alba went outside to retrieve Tulip who was where Mattion had left her. Unlike their previous encounter Tulip showed no fear toward her as she picked her up and brought her into the house. She left the tiny creature on a table in the kitchen. She was sure to leave her some lettuce to eat while she was away.
Alba still couldn't get over the fact that she was interacting with a creature that seemed so much like a horse and was yet so small. If she were younger she would be in heaven but as an adult she knew that she had to be careful with such things. She realised that minor movements to her could cause harm to such small creatures.
With Tulip dealt with for the time being Alba went toward her car. It was only a relatively small car which although it wasn't the prettiest was mechanically sound. Carefully she climbed into the car and took great care with her seatbelt. The last thing she wanted was to accidentally cause Mattion discomfort.
From his point of view Mattion was confused. He thought that they were going to buy some food but instead he found himself inside of something that was large and metal. This caused him some confusion but he could also hear something. It was a thumping sound that happened at regular intervals. It took him a moment to realise that he could hear her heartbeat. He didn't know what it was but it gave him a sense of safety that he had not felt for a long time.
"Before you ask me and I know that you will, this is a car," said Alba who knew that her tiny friend had difficulty with understanding. "It gets us from point A to point B a lot quicker than walking."
"So, it moves?" replied Mattion. He popped his head out of the pocket and looked on. "I can't see any creatures pulling it."
"Just watch." With that she turned the ignition and the car seemed to come to life. The sound did startle him at first but he did quickly calm down when he knew that there was no danger.
There was also some country music that came on thanks to the car's radio. It wasn't like anything that Mattion had heard before and he found the music to be intriguing. The music was louder than he expected and had a rhythm to it that he didn't recognise. There were instruments being used that were alien to him. Music itself was not something that was unfamiliar. The Thaliads had been creating music for countless years, too long for them to even remember when they first started.
Mattion did notice Alba turn down the music a little before the car began to move. First it reversed so that she could pull it off her drive before she put it back into gear. It then began to drive forward as they had to travel a few miles to go to the store in order to buy the food that was needed.
"How is this thing moving without anything pulling it?" asked Mattion as he poked his head out from her pocket.
"It uses something called an engine," replied Alba who was trying to think of the best way to explain it to him. "Let's just say it is like an animal inside of the car that pulls it along, however rather than having something of flesh and blood instead it is metal. It is more effective then getting a horse or something like that and you can go much, much faster. Like this car can go up around a hundred miles an hour if I wanted."
"How far is a mile?" He wasn't stupid enough not to recognise that a mile was a unit of distance that a human would use.
"Let's just say if I had to walk it a mile would roughly take me twenty minutes. So yeah you can imagine how long that would be."
"Hmm very interesting and if you don't mind me asking. What music do you have on and where is the band playing it? I can't see them anywhere."
"This is country music and the band I believe live somewhere in Tennessee. We have something called CDs that allow us to store music onto it so that we can listen to it without having the band here. It is a little complicated so shall we leave it as that for now?"
"Ok, if you wish."
Alba did smile as she did enjoy his curiosity. She found it funny that he was experiencing a lot of things for the first time, things that she took for granted. She thought that if the roles were reversed that she would likely just be as curious as him. There was also something annoying that she noticed. This was that she didn't have as much fuel as she had originally thought, she was going to have to buy some more before returning to her home. She sighed at this annoyance before driving on.
After around fifteen minutes of driving Alba eventually pulled up outside of a supermarket that was very familiar to her. This was none other than her place of work and since it was a weekend it was very busy. She did struggle to find a parking space but when she did she carefully pulled into the space and got out of the car.
Mattion poked his head out of the pocket and he marvelled over the sheer size of the supermarket. A few days ago, Alba's home had been the largest building that he had ever seen in his life. Now he was looking at one that completely dwarfed it, he could also see many people going in and out of the supermarket and this made him a little scared. He hid inside of her pocket as he didn't want to be spotted.
This caught the attention of Alba who chuckled and gently patted her pocket. She ensured him that he would be fine before grabbing a nearby shopping trolley. She then pushed it into the store and Mattion could hear a lot of sounds that were new to him. At first the idea of this trip had been exciting for him. However now he was afraid that there were humans out there to get him. He knew that Alba would protect her but a couple of times he saw another human walk by her.
Each human he had seen was taller than Alba and he realised that she was actually quite short for a human. He doubted that she had the strength needed to truly protect him if need be. This only added to his anxiety but the sound of her heartbeat did have a soothing effect on him.
This place was very familiar with Alba as this was none other than her place of work. She would be there at least four days a week earning the money that she needed to live on. As she entered a couple of people who she worked with said hello and waved to her. She would return the gesture in kind and would carry on with her shopping in good time.
One advantage to working in the store was the fact that it allowed her to have discounts which helped toward lowering her cost of living. She would take advantage most of the time although she couldn't get discount on alcohol or tobacco. This didn't bother her all that much as she was didn't drink all that much and she didn't smoke.
As she shopped around Alba hummed to herself which could be heard clearly by Mattion. He did seem to like the tune that she was humming and he sat there and closed his eyes. He just listened to her humming and her heartbeat which made the stressful situation seem not that bad. He still found it funny that he had developed a friendship with a human. Like the majority of his people he had believed that they were all monsters. Now he was in the pocket of a human who was doing everything in her power to care for him.
"Hey Mattion," said Alba. This caused him to open his eyes and he stood up. His head poked out of the pocket and he could see her looking down at him.
"W-What is it?" replied Mattion. He seemed confused since he had just come out of a trance.
"I was just wondering if your people would like this." She held up something that looked to be large pack of something that looked to be very odd to him. It contained several orange sticks that looked like food. It wasn't like anything that he'd seen before.
"What are those?"
"They're carrots." She giggled to herself for a moment. He felt her chest move as she giggled. "Eat enough of these and you'll be able to see in the dark."
"Nah, I think it's just a myth. But still, it would be cool if it did. I'd be able to see my slippers if I wake up at night." She giggled to herself for another moment or two. "Do you think your people would eat it?"
"I think it'll be fine, we can try it."
Another few minutes went by and Alba could feel a familiar but uncomfortable feeling overtake her body. She had been feeling it for some time but had tried to ignore it, unfortunately it had gotten to the point where she couldn't ignore it anymore. The feeling that she had was that she needed to relieve herself.
For the next few moments she tried to decide the best course of action. Her need to relieve herself was too great for her to put off but she also didn't want Mattion with her when she went. In the end she pulled her trolley up close to where the restrooms were and carefully took him out of her pocket. She placed him in between some food on the trolley so that he was difficult for anyone walking by to see. He was confused by what was happening and he couldn't help but feel a little panicked.
"What are you doing?" asked Mattion as he felt her gently place him down between some of the packs in the trolley.
"Sorry Mattion but nature calls," replied Alba. "I promise I'll be right back, just keep your head down and make sure that you're not seen."
Mattion wanted to say something else but he saw her quickly darting through a door that was close by. He could see the door had some kind of marker that looked like a woman. There was another door right next to it that had a similar marker but this one looked more like a man. He didn't know what was beyond the doors but he knew that it was somewhere that Alba had wanted to go alone.
Like he had been told Mattion tried to keep his head down so that he wasn't spotted. However, curiosity did seem to get the better of him as he began to look at the world around him. He could see how busy everything was and just how many people were actually there. He knew that humans were numerous but seeing so many in one place just seemed too much for his mind to properly process.
Unfortunately, one absent minded shopper knocked into the trolley as they went by. This caused Mattion to fall through one of the openings at the bottom of the trolley. In a moment he found himself falling toward the ground and he couldn't help but scream, thankfully no one really paid much attention to him.
Only a few seconds after falling Mattion hit the ground, he gave a small cry of pain but thanks to his small body the impact wasn't too great and had resulted in no broken bones. He was a little stunned and there were a couple of bruises on his body but other than that he was fine.
When he got back up to his feet he looked up at the trolley that was high above him. He wasn't sure exactly how he was going to get back up there but he thought that Alba would most likely help him when she returned. He didn't know exactly what she was doing but he knew that it must have been something important.
Mattion did lean forward out from under the trolley just so that he could try and spot the returning Alba. Unfortunately, a foot came down right above him, in his panic he darted forward to get out of the way but this only led to more trouble. He found himself right in the firing line of the humans who continued to walk with no idea that such a small person could be stepped on.
The tiny Thaliad had no option but to run for his life as he was having to dodge giant feet and the wheels of other trolleys. He saw what seemed to be an opening in front of him and with practically nothing to lose he ran for it as fast as his legs could carry him. He ran and dived through the opening which was nothing more than he bottom of a display stand for a new range of beer.
Under the display Mattion found himself in almost complete darkness and there was a lot of dirt around him. There were also a few other objects that he could just make out which included a couple of coins that had rolled under there. It was not the most pleasant place to be but he was just glad that he was safe from the humans.
What he saw next horrified him as he quickly poked his head out and saw Alba returning to the trolley. She began to walk away as she didn't seem to realise that her friend had fallen out. He wanted to run to her but the sheer number of people there was too great for him to risk walking out from his safe space. He could do nothing but watch as the woman who promised to protect him walked away.
Mattion began to think of a way for him to get back to Alba. Not only was his own survival now on the line but that of his people as well. This only added to the pressure that he was under and he tried to see what he could do now. Each time he considered walking out of his hiding spot a foot would come down near him forcing him back into the dirty space between the display and the floor. He began to think that he might very well be doomed.
Oblivious to what was taking place Alba was still walking through the store and pushing the trolley. She hadn't checked on her tiny friend as she assumed that he was fine with where he was for the time being. She did cheerfully pick up some more marshmallows off a shelf and show it in front of where she thought Mattion would be.
"I know that you enjoyed these and I was just wondering if your people would feel the same," said Alba with a smile. She waited for a few moments but much to her surprise she didn't get a response. "Can you even hear me Mattion?" She began to move some of the shopping that she had picked up. It was at the spot where she had left him to begin with and she expected to see him there. She thought that he might have dozed off and she was going to give him a gentle nudge in order to wale him up. However, she didn't see him and she began to panic. "Mattion?"
She quickly began to look all around the trolley and even moved some of items inside in the hopes of finding her lost friend. It was for naught as she soon realised that he was gone, she needed to breathe in order to calm herself down. It took around thirty seconds or so but she could feel herself becoming calmer as she breathed.
"Ok best thing to do is not to panic," thought Alba. "Panicking isn't going to get you anyway, now just think. When and where did I last see Mattion, it was outside of the restrooms before I went in. He must still be there somewhere, I've got to find him before something happens to him."
With that Alba quickly pushed the trolley so that she could make her way back to the restrooms. She was in some discomfort as she could feel the burning sensation through her knees. It was the same that she had recently felt in her fingers and some of her other joints. She wasn't sure exactly what was causing the pain and she knew that she was going to have to see a doctor at some point in the near future. For now, finding Mattion was her main concern and she just hoped that he hadn't gotten hurt or worse.
Mattion was still hiding in the space between the floor and the display just across from the restrooms. He wanted to look out toward it and he became too terrified to do so as he thought that he might get spotted or worse that someone would step on him. He felt scared about the situation and the thought of his wife and children did enter his mind.
He was afraid that he would never see them again. He feared that he would either be killed very soon or live the rest of his life in the store. Either outcome wasn't very appealing to him and he knew that if he was to return to his people that he needed to leave his hiding spot. It was still too busy out on the floor for him to attempt to run anywhere. Instead he would have to wait for the opportunity.
Mattion saw many different types of feet and shoes approach the display as they picked up some of the beer that was present. None of them even knew that he was there as they just picked up what they wanted and went about their business. None of them had Alba's boots although he did keep a lookout for them. He knew that she wouldn't just leave him there unless she didn't realise that he was gone.
Just then he noticed something that made him feel happier and that was the sight of Alba who was a short distance away and she seemed to be looking on the ground around the restroom. Much to her relief she couldn't see anything red on the ground so she knew that at least he hadn't been stepped on.
Mattion wanted to run out to his saviour but each time he tried a giant foot would come down near him and force him back into the safety of the space. It seemed like he would have to wait for her to find him. He could see her crouching on the ground and looking around, unfortunately she was looking in the wrong direction. This made him fear that she wasn't going to find him and simply move on.
Alba's efforts to find him had attracted some attention as a few shoppers did look at her as she was crouching down and looking around. This even caught the attention of an employee who went up to her and asked her if everything was alright. She responded that she had lost some valuable jewellery, she was also asked if she needed any assistance which she politely declined.
She knew that she would have to find him fast or she would bring too much attention to herself and it was likely that others would discover Mattion. Unfortunately, her search was taking her further and further away from his hiding place. This could clearly be seen by Mattion himself who took a chance and ran toward her. He was constantly having to dodge giant feet again. One came down too close for him to ignore, if it had been a fraction of a second slower he would have been crushed to death.
Mattion wanted to call out to his seemingly giant protector but he knew that it would draw attention to himself and that was something that he just couldn't risk. Being stepped on was at least a quick death. Being captured by a human with ill intentions would likely lead to months, maybe years of torment before finally succumbing. It was the worst fate that he could think of.
Unfortunately for Mattion he was accidentally struck by a foot that swung close to him. He was unable to get out of the way in time and the impact sent him flying low on the ground. It sent him under another display and he could feel severe pain throughout his body. He wasn't sure if any of his bones were broken but he was still in pain. For a moment he thought that this was going to be the end of his life.
Thoughts of his family flashed through his mind at lightning speed, he thought about how they and the rest of his people would starve now that he was gone. He also thought that they would never trust a human again as they would likely blame Alba for what happened. At no point did he blame her for the situation that he was in but darkness was overtaking him as he fell into unconsciousness.
Alba was still some distance away looking for him. She was getting frustrated with herself for not properly protecting him. She had promised to keep him safe in the human world but it seemed like she had broken her promise. She was the first person to come into direct contact with a Thaliad and it looked like she had made the worst of it. She also knew the stakes of Mattion's visit and she didn't want the knowledge that she was responsible for the deaths of so many people.
All this did was make her determined to find Mattion. Even if she had to stay in the store until they closed she would stay there until he was found. She didn't know whether she would succeed or not but with what was at stake she couldn't just leave him to his unwarranted fate.