Chapter 2 = The Journey Begins
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.
Marcus and Manny strolled leisurely through the forest they knew so well, since they had gone through there many times. They knew detours to take to get to patches of fruit-bearing bushes, which was important due to their lack of supplies. They stopped at a small spring to take a breather at about noon; it was going to be a long journey.
The water coming from the spring was cool and refreshing, and after quenching their thirst they grabbed handfuls and sloshed it over themselves, cooling their bodies in the intense heat of what was slowly becoming a jungle. Manny decided to look around for small animals, licking his lips at the thought of a change from the berries they had picked. He wandered off, and Marcus lay on his back beside the spring to rest. It’s so hot, he thought, maybe I’ll just take a nap…
Manny was stealthily walking around, being careful not to go too far from the spring. He was a bit bigger and slightly more muscular than his friend, but he was fairly stealthy, and so usually was stuck with the task of catching animals to eat. It didn’t take him long to spot a hare lying under the shade of a bush, and Manny crouched down a few feet away. Closing his left eye to help him aim better, he took one of his seven small knives out of his saddlebag, and threw it without making a sound. He only managed to wound the hare and it bolted. Manny gave chase and it collapsed after a few yards, and he retrieved it. He slit its throat before picking it up and bagging it, and made his way back to the spring. Just as it came into view he heard a shout, and a splash. He peered through the trees and burst out laughing.
Marcus had fallen asleep and awoke to find numerous ants crawling over his legs. He had tried to jump up but had lost his balance and fell into the pool of spring water, and he was currently thrashing around swiping at the ants on his legs. Manny fell over backwards, clutching his stomach, propped up on his tail so he could still see the crazy antics going on in front of him, while Marcus jumped out of the pool. However, he became tangled in several creepers, restricting his movement, and Manny, who was barely able to walk straight, got up and attempted to pull his friend loose from the clutches of the plants. But, he fell over again, slipping into fresh bouts of laughter.
“Get up and help me!” Marcus shouted. But all Manny could do was chortle.
Suddenly the sound of approaching footsteps reached their ears, and Manny crawled into the foliage, his laughter stifled. The footsteps lumbered closer, and Marcus was unable to free himself from the creepers.
A man in forest clothes carrying a bow walked towards the spring. He had a small moustache and beads of sweat covered his forehead. He didn’t notice Marcus until he was about a foot away from him. Marcus tried a big-eyed look.
“Can you help me out, mister?” he tried to raise his voice a little, but it sounded more like he’d just stood on something sharp.
“Can’t you move at all?” the man enquired. He was clothed mostly in green, and he strapped his bow to his back before unsheathing his sword. “Okay, let me see…” he said, as he walked closer to Marcus.
“Oh, thank you.” Marcus began. “I was afraid that-” but the man pressed the blade to his throat, and began searching through Marcus’s belongings. Marcus’s red eyes scanned the trees for some sign of his friend, but he was nowhere to be seen.
From behind him he suddenly heard the man gasp as he was pulled over backwards by Manny, and Marcus turned his head to see that the man had one of Manny’s boots over his neck, the other over the man’s sword.
“Ah…” the man said. “Um… it’s a good thing you came…” he gasped, and continued, “… I was trying to free that Yoshi…” he gasped a couple of times, desperate for breath. “Uh, do you think you could… move your shoe? I… can’t… breathe…”
“He’s my friend. I saw that.” Manny said as he folded his arms.
The bandit saw his chance and used his left arm to grab Manny’s leg and pull him over. Manny yelped as he fell but rolled over and got to his feet, drawing his sword. The bandit picked up his own sword, and jumped at Manny, who easily dodged the clumsy slash. Manny kicked him, but he got back up and made wide, sweeping slashes, which Manny parried. Manny ducked and made an upward slash, succeeding only in taking out the bandit’s shirt buttons. The bandit thrust the sword at Manny, who dodged, but he lost his footing on a tree root and the bandit’s next slash gouged a shallow wound in Manny’s chest. Manny fell to his knees and the bandit raised his sword for the final attack, raising it far behind his head. Manny would have died then if Marcus, watching from the vines, had not quickly grabbed the sword with his tongue. However, the bandit’s hold was firmer and he pulled his sword loose of Marcus’s grip, drawing blood from the brown Yoshi’s tongue. But with this moment of distraction Manny brought his own sword up, and made a deep gash in the bandit’s leg. He howled with pain, and Manny deftly plunged his sword into the man, his cry of pain stifled by his death. He collapsed to the mossy ground and Manny gasped for breath, hunched over.
“Hey!” Marcus cried, his bleeding tongue hanging out of his mouth. “Con other hewe an helm me!”
Manny staggered to his feet and used one of his knives to cut Marcus free of the tangled vegetation while Marcus gingerly returned his tongue to his mouth. Once he was free, he just stood there and stared at Manny.
“What?” Manny said.
“Manny…” Marcus said, keeping his bleeding tongue in his mouth, “You… you just killed someone.”
Manny didn’t seem perturbed in the least. “So?” he replied. “We are nothing more than homeless Yoshies. The laws of the land are beyond us. Is it such a crime to kill someone who can talk to you? Is it any more than stomping a bug or hunting?”
Marcus replied, “But… you seem so indifferent. If we go around killing people like this, then we’ll be nothing more than…”
“Outlaws?” Manny said, suddenly consciously aware of the wound on his chest, which he gripped with his free hand. “We are whether we like it or not. We have nothing on our minds but what the world has done to us. Perhaps we should pay it back. If there are people out there who will cause the senseless destruction of a small village, what is it if we kill a few people?”
“Manny, we’re as bad as them if we do that.” Marcus said. “If we can kill in the same cold blood as those who killed the residents of our village, then we are as low as them and deserve the same.”
“They did it to us first.” Manny spat irritably. “We are merely exacting our revenge.”
Marcus decided not to argue any more. Manny then sat down beside the spring, and used the soothing water to wash his own wound before he lay down. Marcus washed the cut on his tongue before tearing strips of cloth from the bandit’s shirt sleeves to use as a makeshift bandage, which he wrapped around the wound on his friend’s chest after dipping them in the clear spring water. Manny mumbled his thanks, and Marcus checked his saddlebags, and then realised at the sight of the berries how hungry he was.
“Hey Manny,” he said, “Did you find anything?” Manny just gestured towards his own saddlebags, and Marcus retrieved the hare from them. Not bad, he thought.
Manny began to stir from his resting place, but Marcus pushed him back down onto the ground. His friend needed rest if his wound was ever to heal, and as soon as he finished cooking he beckoned to his companion. It had grown late, and the sun was setting. But they had rested, and after their meal they resumed their march through the trees. The forest would swallow all trace of their passing.
To be continued…