Cursed Yoshi


Chapter 60 = The calm before the 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.


It was quite late by the time Darkmark and Manny had set off again. Neither of them felt terribly at ease in the forest, despite the total lack of any wildlife whatsoever, and took turns sleeping throughout the night and into the morning. Still following the path and their compass, which had proven useful after they had found a few forks, they were unsure how far they were from the castle and didn’t even know if they were still heading in the right direction, despite what their compass said. The layer of branches overhead had become quite thick, and they could no longer see the castle they were heading for…

Eventually Manny volunteered to climb a tree, but the rotted wood broke under his weight and sent him tumbling back down to the ground. When Darkmark tried next at a different tree, the same thing happened; it was as though the entire forest was made of trees that looked like they were alive, but upon closer inspection were quite clearly dead, and had been for some time.

“It’s like this whole damned forest is undead.” Darkmark muttered, brushing dead twigs and mud off of his skin.

“I concur… this just doesn’t feel right, I feel out of place here…”

Darkmark nodded, looking back up to the knotted masses of barren, nearly leafless branches intertwining above them and blotting out most of the light. Growling with anger, Darkmark threw a fireball up at them and burnt a sizeable hole as the fire continued along the branches for a bit before it burnt itself out. He could see that it was still dark and dreary in the sky above them, but still wanted to get up to have a look around…

He snapped his fingers suddenly, and beckoned to Manny to come to him, charging a small amount of psionic energy in his right hand, keeping it aimed at his blue comrade. Manny looked at Darkmark questioningly, and the brown one explained to him, “I want to try a little psionic transfiguration; perhaps I can give you wings…”

“No way.” Manny replied immediately, stepping back. “You’re not using those powers on me, not a chance. You do it! It won’t hurt you, will it?”

Darkmark paused, nodding slowly in agreement at what Manny had said, handing his blue accomplice the compass and charging a little more energy as he thought how to go about his task. Perhaps just like creating the ball of light, he needed to manifest the psionic energy into another form, only this time, it would be a solid form rather than another form of energy…

It took him quite a few tries; the energy discharged harmlessly the first four or five times, before Darkmark took a different tack and stopped trying to aim his hand at himself. He let the energy flow from his arm all through his body, then up to his back where he had once sported large Yoshi wings as a result of a blue Koopa shell, and attempted to use the energy there. It dissipated again, but he felt sure that he was on the right track, and gathered the energy once more, forcing it into a tighter space, then tried to meld it into a set of wings upon his back.

Manny watched in awe as two small bulges formed on Darkmark’s back and burst out suddenly, but all that came of it was a sudden spurt of blood from each bulge before they went down and disappeared. Darkmark gritted his teeth in pain for a few moments before trying again, and this time the bulges started to morph into wings, but a sudden stab of pain made him lose his concentration and the psionic energy dissipated once more, causing the bulges to bleed and recede again. Taking deep, calm breaths, Darkmark made a final attempt, and the bulges spread up, fanning out into large, brown, majestic wings with a spike at the ‘elbow’ and vibrant red membranes. Manny gasped as they fanned out and Darkmark flexed them gently, getting used to them, before Manny shouted, “Hey, dragon wings! Awesome!”

Darkmark smirked to himself before attempting to beat them a few times, then running back and forth along the path for practice as he figured out how to use his newfound acquisition. They weren’t permanent; he could feel slight mental strain as he kept charging psionic energy to keep them where they were, and figured that he could dispel them when he didn’t need them any more. Eventually, he jumped once, then a second time, then on the third jump he pushed himself up off the ground and up through the burned hole in the tree cover, barely clearing the tops of the trees and beating his wings furiously to try and gain altitude.

He found it very hard to pick it up as he went along, and kept bobbing up and down in the air as he lost altitude, then furiously beat his wings to fly back up again. He was circling over where he had emerged from the forest, trying desperately not to get blown away or lose sight of the hole he had burned in the trees, and took his chances by looking upwards.

Off in the distance, he saw the gloomy grey dreariness of Sansata city, and kept circling until he was facing in the opposite direction, scanning the horizon all the time. Soon he found himself looking at a large, foreboding castle, not too far away, with many square towers along the battlements, and a large keep inside. The tops of the towers and battlements were partly obscured by fog, and there was a sizeable, sturdy-looking portcullis at the front of the stone walls. Darkmark was so fascinated at this that he didn’t notice he was dropping fast, and by the time he looked down he found himself breaking through the masses of dead branches – the hard way.

Dry, sharp branches whipped at him as he plummeted down, before he was caught on a larger branch that broke his fall before snapping and sending him the rest of the way down to the ground. He stood up, dazed, and found that he was fortunate to have landed only a short distance from the path, though Manny was nowhere to be seen. He dispelled his wings, feeling them fold into themselves before disappearing, and set back off along the path in what he thought was the right direction…


Manny was still looking up through the hole in the branches. Darkmark had suddenly disappeared from view a few moments before, and hadn’t come back yet…


The blue Yoshi heard his voice being called from somewhere up ahead, and ran along the path as quickly as he could to see if he could find Darkmark, calling back every so often to get a reply from his companion. His feet pounded on the rough dirt track as he ran onwards, but it almost seemed as if Darkmark’s voice wasn’t getting any closer…

Suddenly, something leapt out from the woods beside him and rammed into his body, sending him sprawling on his side on the ground. He grabbed his sword and looked up, slightly dazed, but found himself transfixed with fear as his eyes fixed themselves upon what had attacked him…

Stooped in front of him looked like it had once been human. It was roughly the same size and proportions as a human, but its skin was a pale, ghostly grey, and its eyes were a piercing red. It wore ragged, torn clothes and had messy grey hair, and it was baring two rows of sharp, yellowed fangs at the blue Yoshi, hissing as it drew closer. Manny remembered from old stories that it was a wight, an undead creature whose touch would drain the soul of its victim…

“Darkmark!” Manny shouted, scrabbling to his feet. “Help me!”

His voice echoed among the trees, and he stepped back as the wight advanced on him, its arms reaching out as it tried to touch its prey, before he suddenly struck out at it with his sword. The steel edge connected with the wight’s arm, but it merely made a deep dent in the leathery skin and bounced off again as the wight made another grab for Manny. The tips of its fingers passed only but a few inches from Manny’s nose, and he leapt backwards in fright, holding up his sword defensively despite the fact that it would do him no good…

“Darkmark!” He called out again. “I seriously need some help here!”

Perhaps if I could slip by it…

Manny struck out again with a solid hit, but it bounced off the tough grey skin of his enemy to no avail, and he desperately tried to run past it. It thrust a leg out to block his path and successfully tripped the blue Yoshi, sending him sprawling to the ground, and he was unable to scrabble to his feet before he felt its foot come down hard upon his saddle, keeping him pinned to the ground. Manny knew he was trapped and started to whisper a prayer very fast, closing his eyes as tears started to flow from them, praying for something, anything, to save him from the creature…

His salvation came, but not in the form of Darkmark or any divine intervention. Something, or someone, hit the wight just as it was about to touch Manny, and sent it onto the ground beside him, allowing him to get up and run from the creature as fast as his legs would take him without a backwards glance. He encountered Darkmark as he turned a corner, still shocked from his near-death experience, hardly able to form a coherent sentence through his fear and lack of breath.

Darkmark grabbed Manny and shook him repeatedly until he finally stopped babbling and calmed down enough to point behind him and gasp the name of the creature that had attacked him. Upon hearing of this, Darkmark’s hand instinctively went to his flail, but he thought better of it and drew Karlo-Shin’s sword instead, holding it steady as the blade shone with a bright white light. Heading back with Manny tailing him uncertainly, Darkmark arrived back at the spot where Manny had been soon afterwards, the sword still shining brightly.

However, the wight no longer appeared to be the greatest threat to them any more. The silver assassin was standing in front of it, with her hands held level to her body, and a silvery-white substance was flowing from them to an ethereal cage around the wight, keeping it imprisoned and unable to move. The cage suddenly contracted and passed through the wight, burning it away with a bright white flame until there was nothing left to show that it had ever been, leaving only a freezing cold wind blowing through the trees once more.

Tsi-Lau then turned to the two Yoshies, and drew her swords slowly, narrowing her eyes at Darkmark as he strode forwards to meet her, his own sword held firmly in his hand.

“Why are you following me?” He demanded. “Haven’t I suffered enough at your hands, and the hands of that anthro assassin? Is it not enough for you to slaughter my friends? Was it not enough for you to rip apart my heart by eviscerating the one I loved? Why, why must you keep hurting me?”

She stared unblinkingly as he walked up to her, close enough to hit her if he wanted, and kept eye contact with him. “I have a job to do, that is all.”

Darkmark snorted. “You know what they say…” He growled, edging closer, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

With lightning reflexes Darkmark brought up his sword and thrust it into the body of the silver assassin, but the false image disappeared in a puff of smoke and left Darkmark swearing colourfully as his eyes scanned the trees around him. All was still and silent, and he slowly walked off again, taking the proffered compass from Manny and checking it to see that they were still headed in the same direction.

“We’re not far. We should be there by tonight, tomorrow morning at the latest. If that assassin shows up again… she can feel the full wrath of my psionics, even if I don’t yet know how much I can use them… yet. I shall show her if she makes another appearance.”


To be continued…

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