Chapter 36 = Fallen Saviour
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.
A storm was raging outside the stone walls of Foryo’s castle, throwing rain, wind, and even the occasional lightning bolt through the air in the destructive way that nature wreaks havoc on what it chooses. The dark grey clouds cast darkness down upon the land around the castle, lit only when lightning flashed across the sky, otherwise keeping up a perpetual rainfall upon the castle and surrounding forest.
Inside, protected by barred and shuttered windows, Foryo was sitting by candlelight in front of his crystal ball, trying but failing to locate his target once more. Only inky darkness swirled within the crystal, a sure sign that either Marcus was dead… or something was interfering with his scrying attempt.
Once more, he held his hands a few inches above the crystal ball, dimly illuminated by the candles, and concentrated on his target, the little brown Yoshi he had been ordered to kill by the one who had freed him from the prison of the underworld…
Just as his thoughts passed by Klashkna, the red Yoshi god himself appeared inside the crystal, stepping forward from the swirling black mist. The perspective seemed to zoom in a little more so that only his head was shown, distorted through the curvature of the crystal, much like a fisheye lens.
“My servant…” Klashkna said, addressing Foryo. His voice had a very nasal, sneering tone to it, cruel and vindictive, and he spoke in a very sharp manner, his sentences coming to an end with a sudden raise in tone.
“I believe I have been successful. I sent a dragon after the target, and I cannot find him anywhere.”
“No, no, he is alive.” Klashkna hissed. “However… do not attempt to kill him again… let him come to you, so you can take care of him… personally.”
Foryo smiled broadly, exposing two long fangs protruding from the top of his mouth, in place of the canine teeth that were normally located there. “As you wish, master. He shall suffer more pain than any man has ever felt…”
“Do not fail me again.” Klashkna warned, narrowing his gaze. “I hardly need tell you what will happen if you get sent back…”
“I am immortal.” Foryo replied calmly. “The sun does not shine here. He cannot hurt me without a magical weapon… and how is he to know that he needs one, let alone find one?”
“Those other deities may interfere… but that is my business. I have a plan that I shall start when the opportunity presents itself… but if that fails, I’m counting on you to eliminate him.”
“Gladly.” Foryo said, running his tongue over his fangs. “I have plans for his friends, too, if any of them remain alive by the time he gets here…”
Marcus and Shiala were just heading back to the stands as they bumped into Manny, who immediately waved for them to follow him back. “Where were you? No, wait, never mind… I have a good idea, and now isn’t the time. Visali had his fight and it’s gone to the quarter-finals… and once the break is over, it’s you and me against Xenly and Shiala!”
“Wait, what?” Marcus asked as they made it back to the stands. “We’re against Xenly… and Shiala…?”
Manny nodded as they sat back down. “I’ll go first, and so will Xenly… I know you don’t want to fight Shiala, but really, neither of you can get hurt… Sira and all the others are there in case you do. It’s not a big thing!”
“Okay…” Marcus sighed. “I should’ve known that this might happen…”
Shiala, however, didn’t seem the least bit worried. “I won’t hurt you very much, Marcy… just a nice submission hold for you.”
“Don’t you dare throw the match.” Manny said firmly. “I’m serious! Just give it your best shot, that’s all I’m asking, and don’t you dare throw it for her safety! She’s probably in less danger than you…”
“Oh, that does it.” Marcus snapped. “I’ll take them both down… and then you as well once we’re outside, just to prove that I can!”
“Hey, hey, hey, no need for overkill. Just bringing down the girls will be fine.”
“I’m afraid, boys…” Shiala taunted, “Your numbers are up. You’re going to suffer the full female wrath, and it’s not a pretty sight.”
Marcus reached over with one hand and scratched the underside of her nose. “Too bad; I’ve seen it all before. You don’t scare me.”
“Ha! You’ll be scared when your ankles are behind your head!” was the comeback, before leaning forward to him and whispering, “If you let me win, I’ll do anything you want later on, once we’re back at the hotel…”
“What? No!” Marcus stuttered, apparently shocked. “If anything, now I’m even more motivated to win!”
“Hey, it was a joke!” She protested, clinging to his arm. “I wasn’t serious…”
“I sincerely hope so.” Marcus muttered darkly, before turning away from her.
Oh, great, nice move, Shiala… the red feral thought to herself. Now look what you’ve done. You just couldn’t keep your mouth shut, could you?
At that moment, the blue Birdo’s voice rang out from the centre of the hall. “Ladies and gentlemen, the quarter-finals are now beginning… bets are closed until the next break. We shall proceed with the first match, which, as we stated earlier, is between two non-university teams. We have Marcus ‘Yoshi’ and Manny Sennet up against Shiala Filassa and ‘Xenly’. If the competitors would like to come down from the stands, we can start…”
The four of them stood up and shuffled past Visali and Dave, as well as a few other people, to the end of the row and down the stairs, heading for the ring in the middle of the hall. Manny and Xenly took opposite corners while Marcus and Shiala stayed on the outside of the ring, and Shiala sadly noticed that Marcus was trying to avoid looking at her.
“We’ve been here before.” Manny called out to his opponent. “And you know what happened last time, don’t you?”
“I’d underestimated you that time.” Xenly called back. “I’ve seen you fight several times since then… so be prepared to be scraped off the floors for the next few days!”
Manny was about to retort when the bell rang, and he jumped to one side to avoid Xenly’s predictable leap forwards, making a counterattack as his feet touched the ground. She easily blocked it with one sword and stabbed forward with the other, missing Manny by a considerable margin as he bent back out of the way.
If I can get rid of one sword like I did last time… that might even the odds…
Manny made a quick slice for her wrist, failed to hit his target, and as a result he had to quickly spring away to keep out of the path of the sharpened edges of Xenly’s blades. With one hand, he swung his sword downwards, and she caught it on her swords in an X-like formation that she frequently used. With his free hand, the blue Yoshi made a grab for her right sword, but she backed off as soon as she noticed and stood still for a moment, her swords held defensively. He faked an attack, and she made a counterattack that missed considerably as he ran to one side and made a swipe for her, which she blocked with her left sword. Deftly, Manny kicked it out of her hands and into the air, catching it by the handle with his left hand, and smirking as she held her remaining sword two-handed.
Unaccustomed to fighting with two swords, Manny found it hard to control the extra sword, though he made several attempts to attack with both of them. Giving up in despair, he took Xenly’s sword and jumped back, before dropping it over the edge of the ring, where she wouldn’t be able to retrieve it.
Xenly, however, had different plans, and tagged Shiala while Manny was throwing away the sword. Shiala promptly caught a swing from Manny on the blade of her knife, and held it there while Xenly edged around the ringside, snatching up her discarded sword and sheathing it along with her other one. At this, Shiala dipped her knife before pushing upwards, forcing Manny’s blade away, and when he made a counterattack, she nimbly stepped out of the way of his stab.
Starting once more on her dextrous evasion routine, Shiala sidestepped a horizontal slash from Manny before jumping back from a vertical swipe. He ran right for her, but she lashed out with her left hand and planted a solid punch to his nose, taking her hand away before his sword swing could remove it. He furiously made a stab and a step forward, cutting as far forward as his arms could reach while she spun away from him, before lunging forward and missing by inches as she ducked his attack.
“Hold still and let me hit you!” He cried, making another attack and failing to hit her. Stay calm… you can beat her…
With a grin, Manny faked a stab, then feinted another stab to the other side of her, and leapt forwards while she tried to dodge the attacks that never came. He grinned as drove his sword into her thigh, and she gave a loud shriek of pain that intensified when he pulled the blade out again, falling to all fours as blood poured out of the wound. The moment her hands touched the floor, Sira and the others immediately healed her parallel to the bell being rung, and a saddened Shiala stepped off of the ring, going over the ropes next to Marcus.
He ran up to her as the fight continued behind him, jumping down from the ring as she passed. “Are you hurt? Are you okay? He didn’t seriously hurt you, did he?”
“No, no…” she replied, stopping to talk to him. “I’m okay now that they healed me…”
“Get back on the ring!” The blue Birdo shouted to him, and Marcus gave a quick wave. “See you later, Shiala…” he said quietly, turning and jumping back up to the ringside before he got disqualified.
He immediately noticed that he might have a turn in the near future; an enraged Xenly was pummelling Manny’s guard with her swords, striking so fast that her arms became blurs, giving a cry every time she struck. He was stumbling back, holding up his sword to deflect the blows, before she suddenly shifted her aim and struck his hand, producing a sickening sound and enough blood to make Marcus close his eyes in disgust.
“My hand!” he head Manny cry. “You’ve cut off my hand…!”
The next thing Marcus heard was Sira’s voice, shouting, “Oralia Amputorata!” followed by the sound of Manny panting as he tried to recover from what had just been done to him.
“You’re next.” Marcus heard Xenly say to him, in a low and malicious tone, as Marcus opened his eyes and saw Manny stumbling off the stage, rubbing his wrist, a little shaken from what had just happened. Someone ran onto the ring and cleaned up a small pool of blood as Marcus climbed over the ropes, before the bell rang once more for the final part of the match to begin.
Almost immediately, Marcus was under a barrage of attacks from Xenly, all of which he had to dodge by ducking, sidestepping, rolling, or jumping away from. In almost no time at all he felt that he had no chance of winning, armed only with his flail and his wits… jumping away once more, he tried the trick he had failed to do so many times; to spin the balls of the flail around the end of the handle.
They spun in a half-circle underneath, swinging back and forth like pendulums, and he was forced to jump to one side as his adversary jumped forwards again. However, once he landed, he tried again… and finally succeeded, getting the balls swinging in a full circle around the flail handle cap.
“I did it!” He muttered to himself, watching in awe. “I finall-”
He was cut short as Xenly attacked him, slashing diagonally in one direction, then the other, cutting an X into his chest. He didn’t have time to cry out before she stabbed him four times, making the X into a copy of the symbols on her sword sheaths, before dealing a final blow by delivering a powerful kick with the point of her right shoe that cracked his ribs from the force. Marcus was flung into the air and landed hard on the ring, bouncing once, and didn’t stir from his resting place.
After a second or two, Sira and the others healed him, removing the cuts from his chest and repairing his broken ribs as the bell rang to hail Xenly as the victor, and Manny and Shiala jumped up to the platform to check on Marcus, who still hadn’t gotten up.
“Marcus… are you okay?” She asked, pulling him up into a sitting position. He didn’t respond, and she shook him gently. “Marcus?”
“Shiala…” Manny murmured, “I think… he might be…”
“No!” She cried, dropping Marcus’s body. “He isn’t! He’s not dead!”
Manny put a hand on her shoulder and said, “Look… this may be hard for you, but…”
“He’s not dead!” Shiala repeated. “This has happened before… let’s take him outside…”
Up in the stands, Visali was watching very quietly. After a few moments, Dave gave him a prod and inquired, “Are you okay?”
Dave sensed something was up. “Yes?”
“Did you see that?”
“See what, Visali?”
“Xenly. Did you see what she did?”
“Marcus will live…”
“No, I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about what she did to him. Did you see the cut she gave him?”
“Yeah, it was a little ornate, but so what?”
“That symbol… that symbol was painted on my mother’s body in her own blood. In the same place. And the person who killed my parents was a white female Yoshi with two swords. I can’t believe I didn’t realise this sooner… David.”
“Yes?” Dave replied again.
“I have a vow to carry out. Don’t follow me.”
“If I die…” Visali said calmly, “…I just want you to know… I couldn’t have done this without you. You helped me all the way. Take care of Sira if I lose. But I’ll tell you this… I have no intentions of losing. I’m going to avenge my parents.”
“You can’t stop me.”
“I know that… just… good luck. Don’t lose your temper or patience…”
“I won’t. I’m going to go do this. Now.”
Manny finally let go of Marcus’s legs as they reached the locker room. “Okay, we’re here… but I’m telling you, he’s dead…”
“And I’m telling you that he’s not dead! This has happened before… I want to show you something…”
She ran over to Marcus’s locker and opened it, removing his saddlebags and searching through them until she found the octagram. She held it up, and they could both see that in the empty hole next to the black gem, a bright white light was shining forth, surrounded by some kind of mist that distorted the rays of light..
“He’s meeting with one of the octotheist deities… Laryshka, from the looks of it…”
Manny was staring, wide-eyed, open-mouthed, and totally speechless as he watched the octagram. “Marcus is a saviour?” He finally forced out. “Of all the people in the whole world, Marcus is the next saviour?”
“Yes… it would seem so… but he’s not dead, just suspended…”
“Marcus… my friend… a saviour…”
“He’ll be back with us eventually. But, uhm… when he comes to… don’t tell him I showed you the octagram, okay?”
“I have no idea what the deities have said to him… he lets out little things, like they told him his surname, ‘Charris’, but aside from that, he flatly refuses to tell me anything…”
“Okay…” Manny repeated. “I won’t tell him… but it makes me wonder, now, whether or not our home being destroyed was random or not…”
To be continued…