Chapter 25 = Thunder and storm
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original idea of Yoshies, Birdos, etcetera, are copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
The mountain trail they were walking on took them through various hills and valleys, sometimes with no space on either side of the path, other times with rocky and grassless expanses of land on one or both sides of the well-used trail they were going across. Confidently walking past the various “Caution: Koopas” signs posted along the roads, and the sudden end of the trail of signs accompanied by a bloodstained Yoshi skeleton, the group of six trudged onwards along the winding mountain trail.
By about midday the clouds had completely blotted out the sun, and before long the rain began to come down in a light drizzle that was more annoying than anything else. Though the Yoshies periodically brushed the collecting moisture off of their skin, Dave, keeping at the front of the group, wrapped his cloak around him and muttered to himself about the weather. Visali, just behind him, could hear him grumbling, “Stupid weather… it’s almost the end of Lazrin and it’s bloody freezing… 39th of the month shouldn’t be this damn cold, or wet…”
Visali rolled his eyes as he shook his head, moving onwards to keep up with his human friend’s pace. Just behind him was the recently formed couple of Marcus and Shiala, walking side-by-side and holding each other’s hands, not speaking much but occasionally looking over at each other as they walked onwards though the fine, misty rain. Manny and Xenly were bringing up the rear, with the former enlisting the help of the latter to keep up, hobbling along on his cast with one arm around the white assassin.
And so on it went, until the rain began to pick up as darkness covered them, and Visali decided to call it a day. After running up to Dave and asking him to stop, he turned his head back, and shouted, “I don’t suppose any of you had the foresight to bring a tent along, did you?”
He was met with a various mutterings of negative responses, but once they came to a stop around him Shiala put down her soaking backpack and began to rummage around inside of it. Her hand got further and further down inside of it, before she shook her head with a resigned sigh and said, “No, I thought they might’ve given me one, but they didn’t…”
She suddenly stopped talking and began to withdraw her hand from the bag, pulling something back up from the bottom. Eventually her hand came out and everyone saw what it was that she had; it was a fairly large dagger with an ornate handle, but the blade was made out of what looked suspiciously like a tooth. Cautiously running a finger along the edge, Shiala absent-mindedly said, “It looks like it’s made from one of the dragon’s fangs… I think they might be poisonous, but I’m not sure… it’s pretty smooth… and sharp…”
She dropped it back into the backpack with a shrug, before picking it up and putting it back on her shoulders. Marcus took her hand again, and asked, “Since we don’t have any tents, what are we going to do? Unless we can find a cave, this mountain trail doesn’t have any trees or-”
A flash of lightning and a loud thunderclap suddenly cut him off, making Shiala jump. The rain picked up almost instantly and Dave began cursing again as Xenly thought to herself for a moment, eventually sighing and saying, “I guess we’ll just have to keep going and hope that we find somewhere to take shelter…”
Somewhat grudgingly, the group began to move again, but it was only five minutes later when a bright flash illuminated a nearby cave in the rock face and Dave happily pointed it out to the others. He was just about to run towards it when Xenly shouted, “Wait!”, and he stopped in his tracks, looking back over towards her.
“There could be Koopas in there,” she reasoned, “So if there is anything there we should lure it out with a distraction of some sort… do any of you have anything that we could use to light the place up?”
There was silence for a moment, before Shiala gently prodded Marcus’s arm and whispered, “What about that red watermelon?”
“Good point…” he replied, undoing the catches on the saddlebag holding the watermelon and taking it out. Holding it up, he stepped towards Xenly, who closed her eyes in thought for a moment before nodding and leading him towards the cave. Visali quickly threw his quadra spear to Manny, who was having trouble standing upright, and the blue Yoshi caught it before planting it in the ground and putting his weight on it as he, Visali, Shiala and Dave watched the two Yoshies walk towards the cave opening.
As they got close, Marcus and Xenly could hear faint sounds emanating from the cave, which became louder the closer they got. He identified it as the hissing, snarling and growling sounds the Koopa he had fought outside the feral village also made, and guessed it was the Koopa language or at least some form of communication that they used.
Judging from the tones they seemed excited about something, and the brown Yoshi guessed that there were about three or four of them hiding in there, but was unsure whether they were watching the entrance or not. Hoping against hope that the lightning wouldn’t illuminate him in the mouth of the cave, he stepped away from Xenly with the now water-covered red watermelon in his hands, stood right in the cave opening, and took the watermelon into his mouth with a single slurp of his tongue.
Instantly, he felt his mouth become hotter as his saliva broke the watermelon down, before a sudden burst of heat almost made him spit it back out. Inhaling through his nose first, he opened his mouth to form an ‘o’, exhaling air in a stream from his lips.
Except it wasn’t just air; a column of flame exuded from his mouth and illuminated the inside of the cave, showing five Koopas sitting on the floor, although the one nearest the cave entrance was soon caught up in the flames. The heat inside his mouth began to hurt Marcus and he coughed, spewing a fireball which hit another Koopa as they began to get up, before he finally couldn’t bear it any longer and opened his mouth wide, spitting out a great fireball which enveloped the already injured second Koopa before smashing into the wall of the cave.
The three survivors were suddenly charging for them, and the two Yoshies quickly stepped back out of the cave and out to where visibility was slightly better. Another flash of lightning lit them all up for a moment, and Marcus noticed that two Koopas had gone for him while Xenly was fighting just one. Employing defensive tactics in the hope of gaining time and keeping his life, Marcus jumped and rolled away from the two Koopas, looking for an opening to attack one of them, but was unable to find one…
Suddenly, one of the Koopas turned in another direction before being impaled by two quadra spear blades; Visali had taken back his quadra spear from Manny and Dave had jumped onto his back, it seemed, as the two of them had just made a successful charge for the Koopa with both rider and steed holding a spear now embedded in the chest of a Koopa. During the few seconds he was distracted by this, the remaining Koopa made a swipe for Marcus and slashing open a small wound on his left arm, making the brown Yoshi cry out in surprise more than pain. He also heard Shiala give a cry as he leapt away, breaking into a run with the Koopa following him. Sparing a glance to his side while he ran, he noticed that Xenly appeared to be holding in remarkably well, but he also saw Shiala taking aim with her bow, aiming in his general direction. Spotting her release her arrow, he ducked instinctively, but by the time the arrow reached the position he had been in it was occupied by the Koopa, who fell to the ground as the arrow pierced its skull.
With three different enemies attacking it, the remaining Koopa didn’t last long before being felled by a slash from Xenly, who cut its throat open with her left sword, cheered on by Dave and Visali. Remembering to grab the Koopa’s shell, Marcus headed over to them as Shiala aided Manny’s attempts to walk over to where they were.
“I think I can do without this, don’t you?” Marcus heard Xenly say, as she used her unbloodied sword to remove the cast on her wrist. After throwing the split cast to one side, the six of them made their way into the shelter of the cave, with Dave and Visali carrying the other two Koopa shells, though in the darkness they couldn’t quite determine their colour.
“You two make a good team.” Manny said as they sat down inside the cave while Marcus quickly cleared out the two charred and burnt Koopas. With a grin, Visali replied, “Yeah, well, we’ve had a bit of practice… Yoshi riders used to be great fighters, long ago, and since me and Dave are friends, we figured we’d give it a shot and see how we did.”
Chuckling, Dave added, “It took me a long time just to learn how to ride him without the spear. I think I fell off so many times I had grass stains on every inch of my clothing… it takes practice to stay on you guys when you really get going.”
He shook his head like a dog, spraying water from his hair onto Visali, who quickly got out of the way while everyone else laughed. Marcus was just about to sit down next to Shiala when another flash of lightning lit up something small and shiny that Marcus saw out of the corner of his eye. It was near the back of the cave, and he walked over to investigate, his curiosity getting the better of him as he tried to peer through the darkness.
It was right here… I saw it a moment ago…
Bending down at his knees as he reached the spot where he had seen it, he put out his hands and began to search the floor for the shiny object, hoping another lightning flash would make it easier for him to see. Behind him, he heard another round of laughter as Dave shook the water off of his leather mantle, apparently further soaking Xenly, given the tone of the curses muttered back.
Another lightning strike lit the cave just long enough for Marcus to spot the thing he had been looking for, but not long enough for him to work out what it was. Taking his chance, he grabbed it, but it gave off a bright flash and he suddenly lapsed into unconsciousness…
To be continued…