Chapter 16 = The sorrow of loss
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original Yoshi is copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
Meanwhile, under the storm clouds that blanketed Sansata, high in the castle nearby, the dark wizard Foryo was pacing back and forth in frustration. A day ago his possession of the baron of Lince had been exorcised, foiling his backup plans to eliminate the elves. It didn’t matter, though; the remaining troops from his raid on the Shoreside Village had apparently taken care of everything in the black forest, and he’d come back to the baron later.
More urgent, though, was the fact that he still couldn’t get the screeching voice out of his head. He had no idea what language he was being shouted at in, and he had persistent headaches from the nightmares. He’d find some way to combat it… all he needed was the right spell, but it was eluding him, and he’d gone through half of his spellbooks already.
He wondered if it was related to the exorcising of his spell. He shook his head as he dismissed the thought, since the nightmares had been occurring for about two weeks. Maybe there was the slight possibility that he hadn’t been successful in his raid on the little Yoshi village?
No, he thought, nothing could have survived that…
The reduced group trudged onwards in the rain; after finding some shelter under a large tree, they had slept overnight before resuming their travels in the daylight. It was still raining, though not as heavily as before, and the sounds of the rain beating down on them, and on the surrounding grasslands, were the only audible noises as they made their way eastwards.
Nobody had spoken much since Karin had fallen to her demise. Marcus had no idea what made her let go, but he suspected that she didn’t want to pull Manny down with her, which he could understand. She must’ve known she wouldn’t survive the fall, but still, it seemed like such a courageous move to make for her…
Xenly and Laen were in the lead, with Laen considerably worse for wear underneath her soaked clothing, and Xenly was miserably trudging along with one hand on her shoulder. It seemed to be hurting a lot less, and she could still move it around, but she was trying not to use it too much to help it heal.
As they went over the top of a small hill, Marcus slowed down to level with Manny behind him. As he walked adjacent to his friend, Marcus looked at him for a moment, and could tell Manny was keeping things inside him. He put a brown hand on Manny’s shoulder, but he didn’t respond, so Marcus tried to talk to him.
“Hey, Manny, are you okay?” he asked, but there was no response. “Please, Manny, talk to me, it’ll help you feel better.”
Manny looked over to the side, but dipped his head again as he walked and stared at his shoes. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but closed it again and remained silent, shaking his head a little to get rid of some of the rainwater. Marcus gave him a little pat on the back, but Manny brushed Marcus’s hand away and strode forward away from him.
* * *
Someone was knocking on Karin’s door…loudly. Whoever it was almost seemed to be trying to break down the door with the force of the blows, but it was still a regular rhythm interspersed with shouts of “Open up!”.
Karin sat up in her bed and rubbed her eyes. She had been asleep until a moment ago, and she slipped out of bed and went to the door, looking through a crack in the wooden planks to try and see who was there.
However, it was pitch black, and she could only make out blurry movements in the dark, slightly illuminated in the pale light of Chyrus’s smaller moon that managed to get through the cloud layer.
She opened the door a crack, but whoever it was pushed the door open firmly and almost knocked her off her feet. She heard the door slam, and a few sounds as the visitor scrabbled for a match to light one of the lamps with.
“Hey, Manny, is that you?” Karin asked, and she heard a hurried, gasping “Yeah…” as a match was struck and the lamp lit. The light it gave off partially illuminated him, but also blood seeping out from a wound that Manny had one hand clutched over. She gasped as she saw it, and quickly lit a few more lamps so that she could get a better look at him.
His eyes were half-closed and he was breathing heavily as though he had just been running, and he winced as she pulled his hand away from his chest to see the wound he had acquired.
“What happened?” She asked, “This looks like some kind of stab wound…”
“Broken bottle… I got in a little argument, but you should see the other guy.”
“Who’s the other guy?”
“Oh, Marcus… apparently he doesn’t like my advice.”
Manny was nine years old, and his friend still hadn’t talked to Alziana. Despite his good intentions, Manny didn’t seem to be having much success in convincing his friend to get it over and done with, and when he pressed him like he had done today he tended to get emotional.
“Why did he attack you, though?”
“I really ticked him off… he doesn’t take to sarcasm too well. He smashed the bottle and got a good one on me, but my sword certainly saw him off…”
Karin paused for a moment with her hand in a bandage box. “Is he hurt?”
“Nah… he’ll live.”
“No, seriously Manny… did you hurt him?”
“I didn’t cut him open… I just knocked him on the back of the head. When he regains consciousness later I’ll probably go see him…”
Karin went back to tending the wound, licking some of the bandage to make it adhesive before she put it on Manny’s skin. A few moments later she was done, and stood up to look him in the eyes.
“You’ll be fine… are you sure Marcus isn’t-”
“Yes, I’m sure… would I lie to you?”
They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, before Manny reached over and extinguished one of the four lamps, dimming the light a little. Karin placed her hands on his shoulders, and Manny took her in his arms and kissed her passionately, an act that she gratefully returned, running her hands across his back.
Manny broke off and looked her in the eyes as she put out a second lamp on her right. She was about to advance on him again, but he kept her away by holding his hands firmly on her shoulders.
“Karin…” he said, “I really like you… you’re always here for me…”
She chuckled. “I like you too, which is why I’m here for you…”
Manny kissed her again, then said, “I’d like to think that you’ll always be here for me…”
She giggled again, and replied, “I’d like to think so too… it may not necessarily be love, but close friendship is pretty good, right…?”
* * *
Manny overtook Laen and Xenly, clutching at his chest over his heart, forcing back his tears and emotions. He had never felt love for Karin until everyone else he knew had died, and then it had been taken away from him so quickly… he couldn’t bear the sudden pain he was feeling, and gritted his teeth to keep himself quiet. He didn’t want to show a weakness in front of Marcus… or any of his few remaining friends, for that matter. He had been full of enthusiasm after leaving the ruined village, and moreso after catching up with Karin, but now he wasn’t so sure… he might lose his other friends, too, and then what would he do?
She was always there for me, almost as long as I can remember… he thought, closing his eyes firmly, and forcing himself to march onwards.
To be continued…