Chapter 35 = The God of Knowledge and Wisdom
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.
Xenly went first again, sending Shiala to the ringside, facing her new opponent; ‘Mixel Varvelle’ a redheaded human with a tan wielding a strange-looking sword with a complete U-shaped curve to the blade, going back on itself though a half-circle. His team-mate, ‘Alaide Letton’, a pale blonde man with a scar on his right cheek, was wielding a duplicate of the sword, but currently was on the outside of the ring, waiting for his turn.
Once the bell rang, both contenders rushed forward and met each other with a clang of steel, before pushing away and stepping back a bit. Xenly swung hard with both swords and got a solid hit on the blade, but Mixel swung up away from the pincer attack and swung down again, narrowly missing Xenly as she sidestepped it. She then tried a triple attack, swinging with her left sword, then the right, then kicking out, but both attacks were blocked and the kick missed, and Mixel took the opportunity to make a swing for her, skimming her arm as she frantically dodged.
Trying a different tack, Xenly jumped to the side before leaping forwards, but she was knocked back in midair with a well-aimed slash, and landed on her back before rolling backwards and springing to her feet to recover. Bringing up her swords to repel an attack, her adversary slipped below her guard at the last moment and brought his sword up, hooking her swords with the curve on his, and pulling them towards himself. She managed to separate the blades and jump back far enough to slap Shiala’s outstretched hand, before hurriedly switching places with her.
The red feral quickly dodged a slash by rolling to her left, then brought up her dagger to stop another one, and speedily stepped out of the way of a third attack, taking note of his pattern as she watched him. He never makes a horizontal slash with that thing… maybe I can use that to my advantage…
Jumping up and away from a stabbing attack, she rebounded off the ropes and started running around the human with great speed, keeping just beyond his reach as he turned and tried to attack her, but couldn’t keep her in his sights. Suddenly, he stopped turning to prevent himself from getting dizzy, and Shiala brought the blade of the knife up to the back of his neck, shouting, “Surrender!”
However, he ducked down and avoided a subsequent stab, before kicking out behind him and catching her leg, bringing her down to the ground. Panicking, she rolled to one side to avoid the path of another downwards swipe, before bringing the knife up just as he ran over to her, and catching him in the stomach. The blade didn’t go in very deep, but he quickly pulled away and clutched at the wound, before dropping his sword, falling to his knees, and groaning. Shiala got to her feet and the magi-medicine students quickly fired several spells at him, but he continued to clutch at his stomach for a moment before throwing up on the ring floor.
“What’s wrong with him?” came a voice from behind Shiala, but it was in the common tongue and she didn’t understand it. However, the reaction of the human made her suspicious, and she thought aloud, “Poison… there must be poison on here…”
Hearing this, Sira stepped up to the ring and cried, “Oralia Purgoria!”
Mixel immediately stopped groaning and opened his eyes, before being escorted off of the ring while Shiala wiped the blood off of the blade. A brief interlude was called while the ring was cleaned up, during which Shiala switched places with Xenly again. The white assassin took a look at her new enemy; he was big and bulky, and certainly seemed to have experienced many battles, but Xenly noticed that his hands were shaking slightly as he held his blade up and ran a finger along the inside curve.
The blue Birdo rang the bell, and again, both competitors leapt forwards and came together with the sound of steel against steel, though Xenly’s blades slipped on the smooth curve of Alaide’s sword. This left her open for a forward stab attack, and though she managed to step back far enough to avoid a large wound, the sharp blade opened a shallow cut down her chest, and she gritted her teeth as she ignored the twinge of pain.
In a counterattack move, Xenly stepped off to one side and swung one sword to keep her opponent’s weapon in place, while swinging the other for his body, but he was able to move the sword so that both swords were caught on different parts of the U-shaped curve. Hesitant to switch with Shiala again, Xenly made a stab with one sword before retreating, missing only by inches as her adversary twisted his body away from her, before striking out and missing with his own attack. Alaide surprised her by following up with another attack, leaping forwards to reach her, but with lightning reflexes she knocked his blade away and swung with her own, clipping the edge of his free arm as he quickly lowered it.
With agility much like Shiala’s, Xenly jumped back and planted her feet on the top rope, before jumping forwards and passing straight over Alaide, landing on her feet behind him and turning on the point of her shoe. She brought both swords up to his neck as he started to turn, and though a frantic swipe with his sword intercepted one, the other lightly touched the back of his neck and Xenly held it there firmly.
“Surrender?” she asked, bringing her other sword over and touching the cold steel to his throat.
He swallowed heavily, shaking slightly, before stammering, “Y-Y-Yes…” very quietly and nervously.
The bell rang one final time as Xenly took her swords down and sheathed them on her back, heading over to Shiala without getting the cut on her chest healed.
“It’s just a scratch.” She casually replied when Shiala asked her about it, as they headed back to the competitor’s stands…
“Okay, Visali,” Manny said as Xenly and Shiala rejoined them, “I can’t hold this back any longer. I know you probably get this a lot, but how on Chyrus did you do that to your skin?”
“My red colouring? It wasn’t an accident… part of a project for the class that Darcen is in… it’s how I got to know him. A Yoshi’s skin colour, or a Birdo’s for that matter, is the result of a mixture of skin pigments produced by the body… it’s kind of like mixing paint.”
“Red, blue, yellow?” Marcus asked, stopping his translation for Shiala temporarily, and Visali nodded in confirmation.
“It’s random… it’s nothing to do with parentage.”
“I’d always wondered about that.” Xenly interjected. “My parents were both black Yoshies, yet I was white…”
Visali continued, “There’s a concentration of those made by the body, and the way they’re mixed up determines your colour. If you ever take an extremely shallow cut on a coloured part of your body, you may only see these pigments leaking out, rather than blood. Your body will replace the lost pigment if you ever take an injury. However, -and here’s the clever part,- your body won’t make any more of it if none of the pigment has been lost, so the level remains stable. Anyway, Darcen and some friends of his found a way to make artificial pigment… we’ve got a whole store of it in lab five. He wanted someone to test it on, and, well… I volunteered. He somehow managed to inject it in perfectly here on my nose, but there wasn’t enough to completely change my skin colour… leaving me like this. He said I could have another one on my tail to fix it, but I think this looks cool, so I opted to keep it like it is. Of course, if I ever take a cut on a coloured bit of my body, the orange colour will return in that spot… oh well.”
Dave cut in, “They’re planning to market it once they finish the project… they’re still trying to find a way to make lots of it really cheaply. I think it’s a great idea, though…”
Aside from Marcus and Shiala, they all turned their attention at that point to another fight starting below them. Shiala nudged Marcus and whispered to him, “Want to go get some fresh air… and privacy?”
“Sure.” He whispered back, turning to Manny. “Hey, Manny, we’re just going for a walk… we won’t go far, maybe the courtyard. If by chance it goes to the next round, come find us.”
“Gotcha.” Manny replied, turning and nodding once before looking back to the ring and watching the fight continue.
As soon as they got outside and Marcus caught a breath of fresh air, Shiala grabbed his arm and hauled him over to the statue of Tivaro. Nobody was around; either everyone was watching the tournament or in their normal lessons, and Marcus couldn’t see anybody looking out from the windows.
“Marcus,” she said as they reached the front of the statue, “I want to test something… take out your octagram for a moment.”
Marcus hesitated before complying, reaching into his saddlebags and removing the shiny golden octagram, holding it in the light, watching carefully as the light danced across the three gems. “Shiala, what…” he started, but she cut him off.
“Just try this… I want to see if we can invoke one of these encounters, rather than waiting it for it to occur… hold it up so the hole just after Vizorvy’s is facing upwards, and say, ‘meet with me, lord of knowledge, god of wisdom’.”
“Where did you learn that?”
“It’s mythology from the previous bearer of an octagram… just try it.”
Marcus shrugged to himself, before adjusting the octagram and holding it up with both hands. “Meet with me,” he called out to the statue, “Lord of knowledge, God of wisdom!”
Nothing happened for a moment, and Marcus was about to give up, before a bright, stabbing, orange light shot out from the whole, and Marcus’s vision went white as he fell unconscious. Shiala ran to his side and caught him as he fell, holding him in her arms and over her lap.
“Now I just have to wait…” she murmured to herself. “Please be okay, Marcy…”
As Marcus’s vision returned, he found himself standing in front of a shocked orange Yoshi with reddish fins, hovering above the ground with his feet back, and a large, leather-bound tome under his left arm. He simply stared at Marcus as the brown Yoshi shook his head to clear it from the sudden loss of consciousness, before staring back at the orange Yoshi.
“How did you… why did you… you’re not supposed to be here yet!” Tivaro blurted out, sputtering with what seemed to be a mix of confusion and rage. “Miyala said that Laryshka would see you next, not me!”
“I invoked this meeting.” Marcus replied casually, as though it were of little importance.
“But… this isn’t… you…” Tivaro started, before taking a deep breath and slowly calming down. “Okay… then, tell me what you want to know, or why you started this meeting…”
Marcus was about to say, ‘I didn’t think it would really work’, but thought better of it and instead asked, “I want to know everything. I want to know why I’m involved in your plans, what I’m doing, and why you keep telling me how the fate of the world is in my hands, because the world can just go mate with itself for all I care.”
“I can’t tell you everything… but… well, it is my duty to explain, which is why you’re not meant to be here yet. However, as you are here and you have discovered how to invoke a meeting, I suppose I should tell you… sit down, this is going to be long.”
Marcus sat on the cold floor, shivering as his underside made contact with it, looking up at the god as he opened the tome, which somehow gave an eerie light from its pages.
“Marcus Charris, you-”
“That’s your name… your full name. Marcus Charris.”
“Seriously? That… that’s my name? My actual, real, surname?”
“Yes!” Tivaro snapped, irritably.
“I see… Karshina said something about… right… okay, carry on…”
Tivaro cleared his throat before starting again, seemingly reading from the pages of the book. “You are an important piece in a large plan that has been proceeding uninterrupted for centuries… everything has been going according to this plan, until recently. You were meant to simply grow up in your hometown, marry Alziana and have a few children… but something changed all that.”
“Yes… her death.”
“No, that’s an effect, not a cause… you see, for centuries, we seven deities have held Klashkna back, keeping him sealed with our powers. But, gods get their powers from their believers… and the belief of our followers is being outweighed by the power of the demons and creatures of the underworld. Klashkna now has enough power to break away from time to time… but he cannot do much damage. He used Foryo as a pawn to carry out his dirty work for him, as Foryo is neither human nor demon, but a creature of darkness in disguise… Klashkna intended to kill you, but equally, removing Alziana destroyed our plans just as effectively. But as you grow closer to Shiala, we are still in with a chance… and as soon as he sees that, he will make another move, so be wary…”
“Shiala… is she in danger?”
“Not right now, but very soon… however, Klashkna would sooner turn you to his side than destroy you, and he is bound to try and do so, which is why we had Vizorvy tell you the message he gave. We need you to eliminate Foryo before taking on Klashkna, for the new future that is panning out requires certain events that take place in his castle…”
“But why me?”
“Your bloodline was nothing to do with this until feral genes were added to it… yes, your great-grandfather, as I’m sure you have guessed, was a feral… that’s all you need to know. Feral heritage is important for something we won’t inform you of for your own safety, and this would be even more powerful if you were to mate with Shiala rather than Alziana. Have you heard of the great legend of the octotheist religion?”
“I think so… about Sévar?”
“Yes… Sévar would have been one of your descendants if Alziana and you had lived, but that’s been changed. We still hold hope of salvaging you and the future, but the chances of that happening are reduced. However, you are the only hope we have, which is why we’re resorting to the drastic measures of making you a ‘saviour’ with that octagram, and revealing ourselves to you as we have been doing.”
“It makes sense…”
“The task at hand remains for you to find and destroy Foryo, for he cannot be killed, as he is not living…”
“Wait, a zombie?”
“Worse… a vampire. Escaped from the underworld thanks to Klashkna’s magic, he walks the land of Chyrus once more… I had intended to tell you this before you met him, but not this long before, as I also need to tell you that you cannot kill him with any normal weapon… you need something made from pure silver, blessed by Laryshka, and only that will deliver a mortal wound to drive him back to the underworld, powerless and reduced to nothing.”
“I see… so that’s how I can achieve vengeance…”
“However, you must get there first. It’s coming down to something big soon between him and us… we need you still on our side at the end of it. Expect to see the other three deities in the near future, and we will prepare you should you meet Klashkna. It’s time for you to return…”
“Wait!” Marcus called out, getting to his feet. “Before I go… one last question…”
Marcus took a deep breath, and slowly asked, “I’ve already lost Alziana, Karin, and Laen… who else will I lose?”
Tivaro bit his lip nervously, and lowly murmured, “…I cannot tell you that… too much knowledge is a bad thing…”
Before Marcus could protest, he blacked out once more and came back to the world, clutched tightly in Shiala’s loving arms. He gave a low groan and she hugged him tighter from behind, resting her head on his shoulder and rubbing it against his.
“Did it work?” She asked after a moment, and Marcus held up the octagram, noting a bright orange gem in the next hole along from Vizorvy’s.
“Yes… it worked…” he murmured sadly, recalling most of the things Tivaro had said. “But I wish it hadn’t… I learned a few things I’d rather not have done…”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be here for you.” She said.
“Oh, however…” Marcus remembered, “He said that my surname is Charris… sounds a lot better than ‘Yoshi’, a dead giveaway that there’s illegitimacy in my family…”
She giggled and whispered, “Marcy Charry…”
With a laugh, he replied, “Hey, if you call me that in front of anyone else, I’ll…”
“You’ll what?” She asked teasingly, and he smirked, replying, “I’ll… I’ll… I don’t know, actually…”
She chuckled and hugged him again, and he smiled. “Thanks, Shiala… you always make my problems go away…”
To be continued…