Chapter 73 = Blood Feud
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.
“I do what I must in the name of the guild.” Yasei-Yeiko said simply, raising one of her chi-blades up in front of her face for a moment before beginning her initial attack.
Her first move was to leap through the air with both swords swinging, striking two hard blows against the flat of Darkmark’s sword as he struggled to keep it up against the onslaught. Before he could make a counterattack she was upon him again and he barely managed to dip his sword to block one swipe and sidestep another, finding a need to raise his sword yet again to deflect a rapid strike before an upward slice barely missed as he leant out of the way. He was sure the next one would get him when she suddenly leapt up into the air and over him to dodge Skafria’s stab, landing gracefully behind Darkmark and making a swing for his back. He spun around and blocked the swipe before jumping up and over the low swing she made, then ducked down and rolled off to one side as she made another attack.
Skafria took over and came forwards with an attack of his own, parried upon the shining blades of Yasei-Yeiko, and he swung again to intercept a strike of hers. The curved blade struck the diamond and put added force into the swing as the curve became straight, forcing Skafria’s sword back towards himself, though even the finely cut diamond edge couldn’t hurt him.
The chi-blade could. The very edge touched his skin as it bent around the end of his sword, and it sent a shock of pain into him along with a bright flash of green light. He stumbled backwards clutching at the spot, though there was no wound to indicate any injury, and while he recovered Darkmark stepped back in to the aid of his friend, blocking a strike with his sword but again finding himself under the wrath of a flurry of attacks. Both blades struck ringing blows against his sword, and he was forced a step back as she pummelled his defences with her blades, never getting through, but never losing ground or letting him counterattack.
Finally he saw his chance and made a counterattacking block; as she swung forwards he thrust forwards, but kept his sword in the path of her blade. She was forced to dodge as her attack was blocked, and Darkmark brought his sword up in a similar motion to block her other blade before stabbing downwards, almost hitting her but striking nothing as she backflipped away nimbly.
Both Skafria and Darkmark rushed her at once, and parried her intercepting strikes with their swords, though she made a stab for Darkmark and her subsequent upwards slash missed his head by inches. Darkmark made a broad swing in retaliation and missed as she stepped aside, but almost hit Skafria who was making a stab at the same time and had to duck to the side suddenly.
“Watch where you’re swinging that thing!” he shouted angrily as he blocked Yasei-Yeiko’s attempt to slice through him while he was down. Darkmark didn’t need to worry about it though, as he overshot on his next stab forwards and after leaning back away from him, she swiftly brought her black-leather boot up and kicked his sword free from his hands.
The blade went flying through the air and embedded itself in the far wall all the way up to the handle, slicing through the bricks and stone as though they were naught but paper. Darkmark found himself in a desperate situation as she tried to hack at him with her blade, and put as little attention towards Skafria as safety would permit while she tried to finish off Darkmark. Thinking quickly, he dodged one of her vertical slashes before putting up a purple, translucent web of energy to block the next attack. The sword cut into the web, but there was a backlash of energy and Yasei-Yeiko was sent flying backwards, the blades of her weapons flickering out momentarily as her concentration was disrupted.
Seizing his opportunity, Darkmark threw a psionic cable towards her in an attempt to bind her, but she raised one of her swords to block it as the white blade came back, brighter than before. The cable latched onto the hilt of the chi-blade, and Darkmark wrenched it free from her grip and brought it back to himself, catching it easily as she got up and defended herself from Skafria with her remaining blade.
No sooner had the blade entered Darkmark’s hand than the white blade vanished, but the residual psionic charge from the cable passed from his hand into the sword hilt and brought a purple blade up from the hilt, similar to Yasei-Yeiko’s except that the energy seemed to crackle and pulse slightly, rather than shine calmly like the chi-blade did.
Hardly even thinking, Darkmark rushed in to Skafria’s aid as the vampire deflected a two-handed strike from the head assassin, but was nearly caught off guard when she passed the blade around behind her back and struck again in a similar fashion, grazing the surface of his chest and causing a sustained green flash to go off, accompanying Skafria’s shout of pain. Turning and holding her chi-blade defensively as the blade curved and twisted, she blocked the attack Darkmark made with the psi-blade without paying full attention to him, and paid the price when the two blades interacted…
The wave of chaotic psi energy passed down through her chi-blade and shocked her, but she was saved from serious injury when the hilt blew apart from the sudden surge and crumbled from her hand. This had a similar recoil effect upon Darkmark’s weapon, and he felt the hilt grow very hot in his hands before he was forced to drop it, whereupon it shattered upon hitting the floor and the purple blade vanished.
So shocked was she that she failed to avoid Skafria’s swing in time and his sideways slash cut her deeply, the diamond edge slicing easily through her leather garment about halfway across her body, biting into her flesh. She cried out but didn’t clutch the wound, and made a straight-arm punch for Darkmark but missed as he twisted his body to the side, grabbing her hand as it whipped by his face. He twisted her wrist sharply through two-thirds of a circle and she shouted in agony parallel to the sound of her wrist bones snapping. Skafria’s sword cut another gash into her body and sliced the rest of the way through her leotard, and she fell to her front the floor in defeat, whimpering and begging for them to stop.
“No.” Darkmark said coldly, putting the weight of his body onto her back. “I’m not stopping until you have felt all the pain that you gave to Shiala…”
“Please, I give up.” She cried. “Don’t kill me, I’ll do anything…”
“I’m not falling for your assassin’s tricks.” He said, grabbing the remains of her leotard and ripping it from her body, before taking Skafria’s sword from him. “You would rather die than let your life be spared… although, you did it before, for Foryo, didn’t you?”
“D-Don’t kill me.” She said again. “I-I have so much left to do, I have… I have a family…”
“You’re a human.” Darkmark spat, bringing her upper body off the floor and holding the sword to her neck. “A filthy human disgracing the body of a Yoshi. I cannot and will not let you live.”
“Why?” She asked, “Doesn’t… doesn’t Octotheism tell you not to take a life needlessly? Don’t kill me… not yet…”
Darkmark bit his lip, but soon countered, “How many lives have you taken away? You’re an assassin! How many orphans and widows and saddened faces have you created? And how many more there be if I do not kill you now?”
She did not reply at first, then said softly, “Why… did we have to fight?”
“You know why…”
“No, no… it’s… not meant to be like this… Yoshi against Yoshi… I never wanted this to happen… I came here to get my revenge… my people have suffered… at the hands of the humans… so I came here… I became an assassin… I killed humans, but… I killed Yoshies too… and Birdos… I have… I have done wrong, but… I wanted it to be for a good cause…”
She paused to take a breath, ever mindful of the sword at her throat. “I sent some of the money I made back to my home… to help my family, my friends, what remains of my race… I soared through the ranks, but… my life never seemed to have meaning… and no matter how many humans I killed, there were always more… always… not a day would go by when I did not despise them for all they did, and not a week passed when I did not hear of some atrocity against our people…”
She turned her head slowly to look him in the eyes. “I have… seen flashes of the future… of what it could be… you… you have to stop this… you have to unite our people… divided by our races, the humans are destroying us… the anthros, the ferals, the winged ones … given time, they will attack the rest… your people… the city Yoshies… we cannot let that happen… you… you have the power… you can change the future… o saviour… Dark God…”
Unnerved, Darkmark stood up, but kept the sword pointed in her direction all the time. She rolled over onto her back, uncaring that it exposed her body, or that the blood smeared across her purple-and-white features was copious enough to be fatal. “We could have been friends… we could have changed the future together… but I took advantage of you… I had a master and I served him… but I was wrong… I caused you so much hurt… so much pain… I cannot atone for what I have done, I cannot bring back Shiala… but you are a saviour, perhaps you can…”
“How?” he asked, unmoving. “How can anyone return life to the dead? Not even the saviours, not even the Dark Gods can give life to the dead…”
“The saviours and Dark Gods cannot because they are not actual gods… but the Light Gods are… even with their diminished power… they can still do wondrous things… the marble altar… if you find it, perhaps… they will…”
She coughed twice, swallowed heavily, and then her gaze went blank, her eyes staring unfocused. “No matter… you have killed me already… I am merely waiting for my spirit to be freed from my body… the Gods will judge me for what I have done… though merciful… they cannot overlook what I did… perhaps… if you become a Dark God… I may see you again… in the underworld…”
Her eyes closed, and her head rolled to one side. “Valina…” she whispered, “I…”
Whatever she had been about to say was cut short, and her last breath escaped her body silently. Darkmark prodded her once with his foot to make sure she was dead, then handed Skafria’s sword back to him, meeting a gaze from the vampire that told him all was not well.
“You’re a Dark God now, are you?”
“What is it to you?” Darkmark muttered, folding his arms. “I am not yet, but soon… soon I will be. Why do you care?”
“I don’t.” Skafria said, shaking his head. “Not any more… maybe if I was still alive, but now… if that’s the path you want to take, I won’t get in your way. I’ll follow you wherever you go. Nobody else would let me…”
Darkmark nodded slowly, then went to fetch Karlo-Shin’s sword, sheathing it without a shred of remorse for what he had done to the assassin. Sira’s body lay still and motionless, the flow of blood ceased, and he picked her up and carried her back over to Skafria, who was looking at the body of Yasei-Yeiko with an unclear expression upon his face.
“Pity she had to die…” he murmured. “Nice looking, and an anthro too, but those days are probably behind me anyway…”
He ran his tongue across his fangs as he continued to stare. “I feel so hungry… so weak… those chi-blades must have sapped my Volzia protection somewhat… and all that blood… it’s fresh…”
“Do it if you want.” Darkmark said, sighing to himself. “Lick her body clean if you’re so damned desperate. I’m not going to watch, but I won’t stop you. Then we’re taking Sira back… it’ll hurt Tammy, I’m sure, but the sooner he knows, the sooner he can get over it…”
After about a minute, Skafria stood back up and followed Darkmark out of the room. As they left, Darkmark caught something out of the corner of his eye… a little fleck of white energy, hovering in the air. He put it out of his mind, walking out the open doors, comforted that his vengeance was at last complete…
To be continued…