Marco and Kelly vs. The Universe
As always, thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, favorite/followed, or PMed me.
This story may contain spoilers up through Season 3.
If you see any glaring spelling/grammatical errors, let me know in a PM. I'll be rereading this over the next few days for proofing. I'm still finding errors in other chapters and fixing them as I go along.
Chapter 14: Calm Before the Storm
Castle Butterfly, Marco's Quarters
Marco had just finished tugging on his hoodie when a knock came at his door.
"Squire Marco, are you there?" Manfred called from the hallway, causing Marco to grimace. If Manfred was using his official title, then whatever it was was probably official business. Marco pulled out his phone and checked the time.
"Still a half hour until I'm supposed to meet, Kelly..." Marco muttered to himself before weighing his options.
On one hand, dealing with Manfred could be exhausting, given his strict adherence to formality. Not to mention if it was some sort of formal duty, it'd probably be some time consuming task that could end up making him late. It definitely wasn't Star, or she'd have kicked down his door herself...
On the other hand, he didn't exactly want to sit in the desert alone for half an hour. It was getting to be fall in the Desert Dimension that had become their favored meeting place, but that just meant that it was merely very hot, rather than unbearably so.
"Squire Marco?" Another knock from Manfred.
And perhaps more importantly, it was his duty to respond when needed in an official capacity. He wanted to be a knight in more than name. He had only sworn loyalty to Star, but he felt that, in a way, it extended to Mewni as a whole and if he did something wrong, like shirking his duty, it would reflect poorly on him, and by extension Star and Sir Lavabo.
"Come in, Manfred! I was just getting dressed." Marco called out.
Manfred opened the the door and came in, followed by two Guardsmen, clad in their typical guardsman plate mail. Marco's heart leapt to his throat, for a moment, thinking that they were here to take him away, before noticing that they were carrying a large wooden crate.
"Squire Marco. A package has arrived for you from the Johansen Kingdom." Manfred said as the guardsmen set the crate down and promptly left. Manfred peered at the shipping tag before continuing, "From Lord Slab Johansen." Manfred finished with a snooty sniff, clearly expecting it to be some sort of Johansen family garbage.
Manfred pulled a crowbar out of nowhere and presented it to Marco while Marco just stared at it in disbelief, until excitement began welling up in his chest. It was finally here!
"Shall I open the package, Squire Marco, or would you like to do the...honors."
Marco quickly snatched the crowbar out of Manfred's hand and shoved the tip between the lid and the crate. With a heave, the lid of the crate popped off and fell to the ground.
Marco and Manfred peered into the crate at the same time and both of them gasped.
"My word..." Manfred whispered. He wasn't sure what he had expected Slab to send the Princess's Squire, but it wasn't this.
"It's perfect..." Marco said, eyes shining. "Manfred...would you mind helping me put it on?"
"It would be an honor, Squire Marco." Manfred replied.
The Desert Dimension, The Meeting Spot
Kelly was beginning to regret her life choices as she sat in the sweltering heat of the Desert Dimension. She'd been so excited for her plans today, that she'd shown up to the meeting spot nearly an hour early. She put the time to practical use, of course, checking her equipment, sharpening her sword, and the other various tasks that needed to be seen to before they could get going. However, she had dressed far too warmly.
Her heavy coat and pants would be perfect for their destination, but it was too much for where she was now. She'd thought about stripping down a dozen times while she waited for Marco, but she wanted to be ready to go in case he showed up early as well.
"Maybe I should go ahead and change..." She muttered, as she sat in the shade of a large boulder. Kelly pushed herself to her feet and removed her hair tie, letting her hair flow around her as she prepared to enter her pocket dimension, when a tearing sound signaled Marco's arrival.
She turned towards the opening portal and readied to greet her boyfriend, but instead her brain shorted out when he stepped through. She'd told him to prepare for an adventure and boy did he.
Marco was now clad in an outfit that made him look the knight he strove to be. Gone was his old hoodie, and in its place was a short-sleeved collared tunic, dyed the same bright red he favored, that stretched below his waist and was secured to his body with a simple brown belt with a silver buckle. The sleeves of a white undershirt ran down his arms and were tucked into a pair of brown leather fingerless gauntlets that ended mid forearm. His jeans had been replaced with black, padded trousers that offset his brightly colored shirt. What was most surprising, however, was what went over that. Marco wore a breastplate, pauldrons, and greaves that were lacquered a bright white that shined in the desert sunlight. Attached to his belt was a full scabbard, though Kelly could see the familiar grip of his scissors at the top of the scabbard. To complete the look, a cape hung off his shoulders that was dyed a bright royal blue.
Kelly suddenly snapped back to focus.
"Wha...what? Marco? Marco!" Kelly said as she realized he was now standing right in front of her, concern on his face.
"You okay there, Kelly? Kinda spaced out for a minute..." Marco said as he placed a hand on her shoulder. Kelly through her arms around Marco in a hug before grabbing his shoulder and pushing him out to arms length.
"Marco! The heck, dude? You look like an actual knight!" Kelly said, wonderingly. Marco smiled sheepishly back at her.
"Yeah, well, you did say be ready for adventure." Marco said, trying to step back from Kelly.
"Where did you get this? It looks...is this Mewnium?!" Kelly said, following Marco as she grabbed and touched his new armor and clothing.
"Ah, yeah...hey...come on!" Marco said as Kelly spun him around and continued to manhandle him. Kelly finally lifted his cape and saw that his armor covered his back as well. Grinning mischievously, she patted Marco on the butt, causing him to jump.
"Janna's right. You do have a nice butt! Seriously, though, where'd this all come from?" Kelly asked as she let her boyfriend retreat to a safe distance. Marco gave her a weak glare, ruined by the blush that lit up his face.
"After the corn festival I went to see Uncle Slab. In my fight with Star, she managed to destroy the armor Sir Lavabo made for me in one blow, through a magical shield. I figured I should get some real armor to replace it." Marco said, tugging on his new shirt. He wasn't used to the unfamiliar fabric and the padding underneath that kept the armor from chaffing.
"Mewnium chestplate and greaves, high-grade corn silk tunic and cloak, padded trousers, leather gauntlets, belt, and scabbard...this must have cost a fortune! Did you get it all secondhand?" Kelly said, suddenly horrified.
"Nope. The Butterfly's didn't buy it for me either. Paid out of my own money! After materials, labor, shipping, and tariffs...I'm down to 650 kernels. I might have a few husks lying around somewhere..."
"Marco, I know the Butterflies pay you a crazy amount of money to be Star's squire, but even if you didn't spend a husk, you couldn't have afforded a custom Johansen set!"
"Well...they might have given me a significant 'Friends and Family' discount..."
Kelly looked Marco over again, before grinning.
"I guess I'm lucky to have such a handsome boyfriend then!" Kelly said with a grin, causing Marco to start sputtering nervously
"I...I just..I mean...hah...I'm..."
"How does it feel? I've never seen you fight in real armor before. No offense to Sir Lavabo, but your hoodie armor was kinda shoddy." She said, grabbing his attention.
"It's amazing! The entire outfit is only slightly heavier than my regular clothes. The gauntlets have Mewnium plates sewn inside for protection, but I can freely move my fingers for my hand signs. Slab also said a charging warnicorn couldn't pierce the chestplate! Obviously there are some gaps..." Marco said, pointing to his sides and lower half, "But any more and I'd lose the flexibility needed for my martial arts."
"Swor..." Kelly began with a laugh.
"Martial...arts..." Marco said slowly, holding up to Kelly.
"Alright, Alright. Martial Arts. How about we get going, my knight?" Kelly said, placing hand on Marco's cheek to calm him.
"Of course, my lady." Marco returned with a grin and an over exaggerated bow. Marco straightened up and gave Kelly a puzzled look. "Actually...where
are we going? You never told me..."
"Well, it's a surprise!" Kelly said, holding her hand out. "Let me have your scissors."
Marco gave her a suspicious look, but drew his scissors out of their scabbard and handed them over.
"If I end up with wet socks..." Marco warned, but Kelly brushed him off.
"Just trust me. Don't be a wet blanket, Diaz!" Kelly said. She then reached out with the scissors and cut open a square shaped portal that glowed a bright aqua color.
"Ha ha, Kelly. Where...where does that go? Why couldn't I open the portal? Kelly? Kelly?" Marco said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him through.
Marco and Kelly stepped through the portal and arrived at a large wooden door on some kind of porch. The moment they were through, the portal snapped closed behind them, startling Marco. They didn't usually close on their own.
"What the...heck..." Marco said as he looked where the portal had been. Instead of some kind of landscape there was...just infinite darkness. No ground that he could see, no stars. Darkness. Marco took a step towards the edge of the porch before Kelly grabbed him.
"Yeah. I wouldn't do that. We aren't exactly sure what's out there, but I will tell you this, it does not like the skeletons. Some poor newbie gets drunk every few months and tries to wander out there and is strong enough to keep us from stopping them. They get deskelenated every time."
Marco took a long step back before responding.
"Yeah. Pulls some or all of their skeleton out. Last month, Jimmy wandered out there. Whatever it is pulled Jimmy's skull out right out of his head and beat him to death with it." Kelly said sadly.
"Wait a second. How do you beat someone to death with their own skull? That doesn't seem physically possible!"
One Month ago
"Y'all are a bu...*hic*...buncha pansies. There's nothing..." Jimmy said before his skull appeared outside of his head and started hitting him. "This doesn't seem physically possible! Hurck...!"
"That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming!" Kelly said as she moved towards the door. "Anyway, your safe as long as you don't step off the porch. Stay with me here until we get things settled." Kelly twisted the door's handle and led Marco inside.
"Welcome to the Guild, Marco Diaz."
Marco wasn't sure what to expect from the mysterious building, but a bustling tavern hall was not it.
The room was huge and packed with an amazing variety of individuals. People were eating and drinking, playing games, laughing, and fighting as servers moved carefully through the chaos. Marco and Kelly stood on an upper tier that ran around the the edges of the room, in front of a small staircase that led to the main floor. Marco could also see that there was another floor above that over looked the main floor. The place was easily as big as, if not bigger than the dining hall of Castle Butterfly.
Kelly took Marco's hand and led him around the edge of the room as Marco looked on in awe. He hadn't even been to a place like this when he was in Hekapoo's dimension.
Several people greeted Kelly as they passed and she would wave at them or speak a kind word. When they passed the bar, the bartender, a large gangly man with a shaved head, nodded at her.
"Kelly. Drink?" The man grunted.
"Not right now, Mac. Thanks!" She responded. He grunted again and went back to filling orders.
"Happy Birthday, Miss Kelly!" Another man called out, this one was a large man with short, curly black and a huge beard, both streaked with gray. He gestured to some sort of checker board with strange game pieces in front of him, "Got time for a few games of Tak?"
"Not today, Pat! Next time though!" She said cheerfully. The man waved and turned back to his red-headed companion who appeared offended that Pat would abandon their game. She tried to continue forward, but Marco stopped dead in his tracks.
It's your birthday?!" He said on the verge of panic. "I...I didn't know! I didn't...oh man. I'm such a bad boyfriend!"
"It's fine, Marco. I didn't tell you on purpose. I kinda wanted it to be a surprise!" Kelly said apologetically.
"But I should have asked!" He insisted. Kelly grabbed the sides of his face and gave him a firm kiss.
"It's fine. You know now, don't forget or you'll regret it! Now come on!" Kelly said as she tugged on his arm. As they walked, more people greeted her. She seemed to be pretty popular. They eventually made their way to a large desk at the back of the room...and it was manned by...
"UNCLE SLAB?" Marco called out as they approached. The man turned and looked that them in confusion.
"I ain't Slab and I ain't yer uncle, boy. Miss Kelly, who be this dandy on yer arm?" The man said gruffly. As they approached the desk, Marco could see that it wasn't actually Slab, but they could pass for twins. The only difference was Slate was missing one of his eyes.
"Mister Slate, this is Marco Diaz and he's no dandy, I can promise you. He's my boyfriend and he does know your brother though!" Kelly said confidently.
"That so. Well I'll be the judge. Brave boy to come into the lions den after making off with the prize." Slate said, addressing Marco. Fortunately, Marco was used to dealing with the Johansens. Marco put a cocky grin on before speaking.
"First of all, it's Marco, not boy. Second, Kelly is no one's prize. Forget it, and I'll take your beard as a prize." Marco said as menacingly as he could.
"Don't write any checks your face can't cash, boy. There are a lot of hunters here who had their eye on Kelly. And if you threaten me, you best be ready to back it up." Slate growled back, leaning towards Marco.
"I'm ready, old man!" Marco said. Kelly coughed loudly to get the pairs attention.
"If you two would stop pretending to be big badasses. We're on a time frame and you're both teddy bears." Kelly said, annoyed.
Marco and Slate looked at Kelly and then at each other, before bursting out laughing.
"Kelly, your boyfriend has got quite a brass pair on 'em! Most newbies piss their pants the first time we meet."
"And I'd have let you try your schtick, but we really need every minute today. Right, Marco?" Kelly said. Marco pulled out his mirror and checked the time.
"I've gotta be back in Mewni in 7 hours." Marco said.
"Right. Marco this is Slate Johansen, the Master of Missions here at the Guildhall. He gets to decide who can go on what missions here."
"What is actually is the guild?" Marco asked as he looked around.
"We're an adventurin' guild!" Slate replied, "We get mission requests from various dimensions and our hunters can volunteer to complete them. If the successfully complete a mission, they get to claim the reward offered by the client. This hall here is an exclusive meeting place for hunters! We got a deal with Lady Hekapoo, ye see! Can't open a portal to here unless you are an official member."
"That's so cool!" Marco cheered and turned to Kelly. "Can I join?"
Kelly hesitated, but Slate answered before she could.
"You can apply! If ya meet the qualifications or have a sponsor, yer in." Slate said approvingly. Marco would certainly do well in the Guild. He pulled out a clipboard and handed it to Marco.
"I'll assume Kelly here vouches for you, or she wouldn't have brought you here."
"But..." Kelly said, but Slate continued.
"Just fill out this form and we'll get you started." Kelly through her arms up in exasperation and went to stand against a wall. Marco looked at her nervously, but took the clipboard. He'd somehow just messed up, but he wasn't sure how. He filled out the form which asked various questions about him, name, age, home address, medical conditions, and so on. Marco handed it back to Slate when he was done, and then Slate grilled him. Slate asked him questions about his experiences, training, and hypothetical scenarios. It was extensive, but only took about a quarter hour.
"Final question, boy. Are you currently employed by any corporation, government, military, or paramilitary groups?"
"I...what?" Marco asked dumbly.
"He wants to know if you're working for anyone right now." Kelly said, walking over. "I was trying to warn you earlier. He's the Squire for the Princess of Mewni, Star Butterfly."
"Ahhh. A shame, lad. We'd have loved to have you." Slate said with regret. "Makes sense though. You did call my brother 'Uncle'.
"What do you mean? I can't join?" Marco asked, desperation in his voice.
"Not at this time. Conflict of interest. We take contracts for and against many governments and other organizations. Certain contracts are considered Priority Missions and members can't refuse them. Sometimes we can work something out, but you are considered Mewni nobility. At this time, you are not able to petition for entry to the guild."
"Then...why did you take us here, Kelly?" Marco asked, confused.
"You can still accompany me as a guest on my missions, provided they aren't against Mewni. Not that I've ever taken a mission against Mewni." Kelly said apologetically.
"This is true, also you won't get guild rates." Slate replied.
"What does that mean?"
"We have to pay administrative fees when we take on a mission and a portion of our reward is taken as a tax. I pay a 10% fee on all missions I take. You'll have to pay about 30% I think. You also can't access most mission related services without me." Kelly replied.
"Correct. Now, you've got about six and a half hours left, yes? Not much work you can do in that time." Slate said carefully. Hunters could be defensive about mission completion times.
"I was thinking about going to a dimension with some time dilation. Specifically, Dimension 1-C3." Kelly said.
"Aye, that'd do it. If you hurry, you'll have about 3 days." Slate looked at Marco as he pulled out a book. "Bit under-dressed for that Dimension..." Slate flipped through the book until he found the page he was looking for.
"How about this one?" Slate asked Kelly. Marco tried to take a look, but Slate kept the book away from his field of vision.
"That'll work. We'll need access to The Armory, The Pantry, and Briefing Room 3, please." Kelly requested.
"Understood. You know the way. I'll mark it down." Slate said with a wave. "Oh, and Happy Birthday, Miss Kelly." Kelly thanked the man and walked over to her boyfriend.
"Alright Marco, Let's go." Kelly said as she took his hand and led him past the desk and down a dark hallway. They reached the end of the hallway and found themselves in front of a large pair of double doors. Kelly placed both hands on one of the doors and began pushing, light pouring into the hallway as she did so.
"Marco Diaz," Kelly said grandly, "Welcome to the Armory."
"Whoa." Marco said as they stepped inside.
Marco's Book of Spells:
Lumin- Creates a small ball of light. Duration, color, and area of effect vary based on caster skill. Marco altered this skill to be more combat effective. By shortening the duration to an instant, Marco was able to up the intensity, allowing him to blind his enemies temporarily.
Dis- Creates a wave of kinetic energy that pushes foe away from the caster. Damage and area of effect vary based on skill of caster.
Igni- (Mentioned) Creates a blast of fire. Power and area of effect vary based on skill of caster and their creativity.
Obic- Creates a magical shield that can block physical and magical attacks. Defensive ability varies based on skill of caster. Enough force will overwhelm and collapse shield.
Umbra- A Dark Spell. Umbra is a dark magic spell that draws on a different, unknown source of power. The spell corrodes the target of the spell, crumbling stone, rotting flesh, and rusting metal. As a dark spell, it exacts a price for its potent power and as such Umbra burns the caster's hand while its being cast.
Code Duello- A spell that binds two Knights preparing to duel. It allows them to feel each others feelings to create a sense of understanding between them. This, preferably, would end the duel with the Knights coming to an understanding, but otherwise enforces the terms of the duel. It creates a physical mark on the participants.
Sphaedis- A spell Marco dreamed about. A more powerful variation of Dis that requires two hand signs. Kinetic energy flows out from the user's body in every direction in a sphere blasting those it comes into contact with away. Useful for giving the user space to breathe when under attack from multiple foes. It is unknown if this is a real spell, or just a part of Marco's dream world.
Grandis- A spell Marco dreamed about. A more powerful version of Dis that Marco was able to cast without making a hand sign. Marco cast the spell in combination with powerful punches that were able to take out foes that were many times larger than him. It condenses and amplifies the power of Dis in to a smaller area and unleashed it in a short, but devastating blast. It is unknown if this is a real spell, or just a part of Marco's dream world.
Ultima- A spell Marco dreamed about. The name implied ultimate power, but Marco can't remember what it did. He woke from the dream he was casting it in and, as with most dreams, it rapidly faded from memory. It's unknown if this is a real spell, or just a part of Marco's dream world.
Baloo Balee, Baloo Balow- A spell accidentally cast by Marco. It's unknown if this was an actual spell Moon knew, or just a misunderstanding by Star, but when Marco recited the words and filled them with magic, something happened to the Blood Moon connection between him and Star. Marco's crush on Star diminished greatly after the casting, but after seeing the crack the spell caused begin to repair itself, he could feel his crush returning.
Author's Notes: Not much here! I did get a tattoo of the Fairy Tail Guild symbol yesterday though!
Happy Veteran's day to all those who served!
Hope you guys enjoyed the Chapter!
Until next time!