Chapter 68 = The Reunion
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.
Darkmark and Skafria stuck to the back alleys as they went through the city, trying to avoid as many public incidents as possible; they were occasionally accosted by various humans thinking they could get the reward, but soon discovered exactly why they were described as dangerous, wanted criminals. Eventually it grew dark enough that they were able to slip back onto the main roads unnoticed, and stopped in a small bar to rest, and for Darkmark to get something to drink.
They were served by a male Birdo who clearly recognised them, but kept quiet about it and served Darkmark his drink, ‘the strongest thing you have’. Taking the glass of transparent, light brown liquid to a free table, he sat with Skafria to drink it and talked idly to him, all to aware of the many sets of eyes watching him.
“So what’re your plans, anyway?” Skafria asked, keeping his tongue to Yoshian lest the various burly humans near them listen in. “You’ve avenged Alziana’s death, and you’re going to avenge Shiala’s, and your kid’s… what next?”
“It goes beyond that now.” Darkmark replied in kind, taking a sip of the drink. It certainly was powerful, but he felt that he could handle one glass. “There’s so much more I have to achieve, it’s not just a quest for vengeance any more.”
“Do you still think you’re the saviour?”
Darkmark gave a low chuckle. “No, no, I’m more than that, too. After settling this personal score, it’ll be time to head out on the southerly roads, down to the mountains in the southwest. Something awaits me there…” Darkmark didn’t want to give away too many details just yet, but didn’t want to keep his friend completely in the dark. “An ancient temple that was once used by the psychics… I feel I could learn much there at those ruins, and it would be wise of me to head in that direction.”
“But first, we’d better find either Sira, if she’s still alive, or at the very least get into Visali’s apartment and take hold of it. I’d quite like to eat some time tonight, if that’s at all possible… I’d like it if you joined me, too. I’d enjoy having an extra pair of hands to restrain someone, and also you could help me clear away the evidence that’s left behind…”
“Bite marks?” Darkmark asked, draining his glass and slamming it down on the table.
“Exactly.” Skafria muttered. “Don’t worry, I’ll act as a meatshield to stop hits from people lucky enough to ambush us, like that guy right behind you with the bottle…”
Immediately registering what Skafria was saying, Darkmark drew Karlo-Shin’s sword in a flash and held it above his head just in time to intercept a downwards swing, smashing the bottle into fragments. Without looking back, he swung the sword backwards and felt minor resistance as the enchanted blade cut into his assailant, and he stood up calmly as there was a low groan and a dull thud behind him.
Alert now, he could sense the next person attacking him from behind and twisted his body quickly, jamming his elbow into the attacker’s chest and bringing blood from his mouth. He glared at the others who were watching him, holding either knives or broken bottles, and kept the silver sword drawn just in case.
“Anybody who wishes not to have certain things removed,” he shouted in the uneasy silence, “Such as heads or vital organs, had better get out of the way… now.”
There was a sudden kerfuffle behind him as several people pulled tables and chairs as far back as they could, but Darkmark didn’t wait to see whether all was clear before reaching out with his left hand, grabbing the nearest human with lightning pace and throwing him to the floor, putting enough force into the throw to make him bounce off the floorboards. The others rushed both him and Skafria at that moment in time, except for one who ran out the door, and Darkmark easily put paid to one with a swift, deadly slash across his throat. Kicking another away with little effort, he suddenly found himself under attack from the bartender, but merely grabbed him and threw him back over the bar, feeling a moment of mercy and deciding to spare his life despite his foolishness. The next human who attacked him was not so lucky, and took a bite of cold steel between his head and shoulders as Darkmark made a broad horizontal slash.
Skafria’s newly acquired diamond sword seemed to be working well, combined with his swordsmanship from when he was alive and the added bonus of not having to worry about being hit. Sparks were struck whenever one of them got a hit in, but no physical damage was done to the vampire as one slash after another sent them reeling, clutching at their wounds if they were lucky enough to live or still have their arms intact. The last few decided that discretion was the better part of valour and ran for the door, escaping into the street just as the sound of heavy footsteps approached them from outside.
“Come!” Darkmark called, beckoning to Skafria. “They must have called the city guard. Let’s get out of here before they arrive.”
They lost no time in running out the door and away from the thirty or so armed soldiers coming for them from the right. They headed for the nearest alley and followed its twisting paths, as Darkmark kept up a light ball to guide himself and Skafria flew above him as a bat, using ultrasonic waves rather than sight to follow Darkmark and steer clear of obstacles. Before long, they couldn’t hear anyone and they stopped to take a breather, with Skafria back as a Yoshi and scanning the darkness for any signs of life.
All seemed still, but there was a sudden sound from Darkmark’s left, and he held the light ball out in that direction. A light blue Yoshi was cowering behind a couple of crates, and as soon as it saw that it was being watched, it tried to make a run for it. Darkmark was prepared to let it go, but Skafria pushed past him and caught up easily, making a successful grab for the Yoshi, who confirmed its gender to be female with a high-pitched cry of surprise.
Darkmark could only stand and watch as Skafria fought to get a good hold of her, using one arm to pin hers to her body while he held her head still with the other. He gave a loud hiss and sank his fangs into her neck, prompting her to scream loudly before her pants and pleadings faded away, and she went limp in his arms as he continued to drink, making a faint slurping sound as he did so. This continued for another minute or two before he let her go, and her body fell to the ground silently, unmoving from where it lay.
“She’s not dead.” Skafria said, answering Darkmark’s unasked question. “She’ll wake up before too long, so just see if you can heal the bite marks and we can leave…”
Darkmark approached her body cautiously. She looked to be barely as old as he was. “Did you inject her?”
“No, no… I don’t have to inject anyone. The only thing that goes into her is the sleeping toxin on my fangs, and that’ll make her forget this happened, too… but it won’t be any good if she’s still sporting two large holes in her neck.”
Darkmark took the hint and stopped talking, dispelling the light ball so he could try to heal her. He felt along her soft, smooth skin until he ran his fingers over two swollen puncture wounds; up to that point, he had been enjoying himself, but it was a rather cold and unpleasant feeling to touch the bite. He could feel her warm blood pumping from the bitten artery, and sensing that time was of the essence, he thought back as to how he might heal her…
Marcus was so upset at first that he did not even notice the low buzzing sound that had started, nor the fact that the palms of his hands were glowing purple. When he finally did see it, it took him by surprise and he lifted his hands away from her, causing a great shock of purple energy to pass from his hands to her body, jolting it suddenly and making her cry out. Before his very eyes, the colour in her cheeks returned, and she slowly began to rise, sitting up slowly as she tried to clear her head…
Darkmark took a deep breath. “Here goes nothing…” he whispered in the darkness.
He put a palm on her chest, and attempted to pass the charge of psionic energy from his hand to her body, unsuccessfully at first. The second time, he managed it, but he could feel with his other hand that the wound hadn’t healed, and he put his palm over her neck this time. When he gently sent the psionic charge to her, he concentrated on peaceful thoughts rather than destructive ones, and he could feel the swelling go down as he did so…
Conjuring up the light ball again, he could see that her smooth skin had been restored, showing no signs of what had happened to it. Her breaths were low but becoming more even, and as Skafria turned to leave, Darkmark put his hand first on his chest, then on hers.
“I’m sorry, but you will live…” he whispered, before standing up to follow Skafria.
Luckily for him, the spot where his head had only just been was suddenly sliced through by something, and he heard a clang of steel against the wall behind him. Whipping around and holding up the light ball, he saw a steel-plated fan embedded in the bricks, and he pulled it out with little effort, turning around again to see who had thrown it.
“You dropped something…” he said gruffly, holding up the fan to the Yoshi-shaped shadow. “I can see you there. Come out and I won’t have to kill you. Don’t think that I won’t just because you’re a Yoshi…”
After a moment’s hesitation, the shadow made a distinct nodding motion, and Darkmark folded up the fan. “Tell me, assassin, what’s your name?”
“Shisaí-khár.” She answered.
“Invisible Shadow? You’re clearly not invisible, at least not to me. Your real name, please. And don’t dawdle, I don’t have time for games.”
She sighed. “Sira Stialla. What difference-”
“My, you have gone downhill, haven’t you? It’s been a while, Sira…”
To be continued…