Disclaimer: Me no own. So don't sue.
The Spirit of Destruction:
"Mushrambo!" Screamed Yakumo darting forward frantically only to be stopped when a hand wrapped around her forearm squeezing it tightly. She glanced behind her to see Ryuma staring at her sternly, without even trying to shake him off she turned back to stare at the transformed Enterran floating in the air.
"It's no use, Little Rabbit." He stepped towards her and leaned over placing his lips next to her ear adding, "His mind, body, and soul now belong to me. Forever…"
The brown haired human turned to him a confused look clouding her face. The smile that had been gracing his lips faded when her usually warm blue eyes suddenly turned ice cold. "No…!" She forced out angrily. "You're lying! Mushrambo would never listen to you!"
"Oh, he wouldn't, would he?" She gasped painfully when he squeezed her arm even tighter pulling her towards him. For one brief, tense moment she thought he was going to kiss her, but he simply let go of her arm and wrapped his around her shoulders forcing her against him. He turned to the transformed Enterran grinning excitedly. "Did you hear that, Mushrambo?! She doesn't think you'll listen to me! Well, let's prove her wrong!" His smile turned malicious as he ordered, "Mushrambo! Destroy this village filled with inferior reptiles!"
Yakumo gasped out, "No!"
The King of Snakes squeezed tighter restraining the struggling human as he cooed, "Rabbit, calm down and watch the show…"
She turned to him horrified that he would qualify the destruction of a village as a 'show,' turning back as the samurai Enterran's eyes widened energy beginning to crackle around him when a voice broke the silence echoing loudly through the building.
Mushrambo froze energy still coursing around him fixing his cold gaze on something behind them, they turned the blonde Enterran growling angrily. The other younger human was standing behind them tears flowing freely down her pale face. She looked up and pleaded, "Please! If you can hear me Mushra, for god's sake stop!"
Without turning Ryuma knew his now loyal pet hadn't reacted, he smiled evilly, "My, my, my. Such a loud voice for such a small kitten. But, as you can plainly see Mushrambo only listens to me. Mushrambo!" He lifted his arm and with an elegant flick of his wrist the samurai's face contorted into a twisted grin the energy coursing around him exploding.
"No!" Yakumo screamed trying in vain to break his grip as the village was quickly engulfed by the Enterran's attack leaving nothing but flames in its wake. "Hakuba! Rei! Sen! Estee!!"
Neko's eyes widened as she heard the other human call out desperately, she then realized something. "Masha!!" She screamed remembering she had left her flying companion with the kittens. Dark purple locks waved wildly in front of her face as a gust from the explosion washed over the building and it occupants, tears dripped off her clammy, ashen face. Masha… Her faithful little flying companion… Her only link with her creators… Gone? "No…!" She whispered hoarsely a sob escaping her throat. "No!! Masha!!" Slumping to the ground her forearms lying cradled in her lap she stared at the ground distantly her tears dripping on her thighs. Patches… Her parents… Her companions… Her creators… Mushra… Sago… Kutal… The kittens… Hakuba… And, Masha… They were all gone. How could he…?
"How could you?!"
She looked up at the sound of her voice. Yakumo was struggling desperately to get out of the Enterran's grip tears streaming down her face. "How could you?!" She wailed again wrenching her arm around. "Those villagers were innocent! What did they ever do to deserve this?!" She continued to stare at him tears streaming down her face her outline glowing softly from the fires raging below.
"Your terror, your fear, Rabbit. It's mesmerizing… Almost intoxicating." Ryuma's eyes suddenly sparkled with excitement. "I know! You shall be my prize." He continued pulling her towards him leaning over bringing his lips a hairs width away from hers. "You, my dear, shall be my Queen. To rule beside me over this land." Her eyes widened as he brushed a stray strand of hair out of her face bringing his lips closer to hers but veering them away just before they could meet. "Now…" He hissed softly turning. "About you, Kitten…" His eyes fell upon nothing; the emerald eyed human was gone. He looked around hissing angrily, a smile tugged his lips upward as he turned to his prize. "Ah, no matter. She will follow us back to my castle like a little kitten following a piece of string. But, instead of a warm human greeting her at the end a hungry snake will be waiting to devour her. Grandora!" The huge, three headed dragon at his masters command rose up out of the ruined village flying gracefully over to the building. "Come, Rabbit; let us go back to my kingdom of ice. I am eager to proceed with our wedding." He commanded leading her over to the patiently waiting Grandora. She paused on the threshold looking down through the narrow gap between the scaly beast and the building. Gritting her teeth, closing her eyes, and with a tensely held breath she stepped onto the massive Enterran. Ryuma looked over. "Mushrambo! Come!"
"Trying to escape, snake?" Neko commented climbing up on the pile of rubble she had been hiding behind as the dragon nimbly flew away. "It'll do you no good." Standing up she looked down pressing the nose on her cat buckle. "I hope this works." The nose began to blink; she smiled running for the end of the building jumping off before pulling her amulet off her wrist throwing it in front of her.
Estee looked up from trying to tend a cut on Rei when Masha's eyes suddenly started to blink. "Masha…?"
"It's Neko." Answered the small flying computer turning. "She's trying to find me…"
"Come on, where are you?!" Neko commented tensely flying low over the ruined village holding back her tears; she hadn't seen one living body so far. All she's seen was dead corpses and Encards. The blinking suddenly became more rapid; she quickly slowed down until the blinking turned into rapid beeps. She jumped down smiling.
Estee looked up again after she finished wrapping her brother's cut. A large rock was hauled off of the one solitary wooden beam that was keeping the rocks above them from collapsing. She narrowed her eyes raising a paw as a shaft of light fell into the hole they were in. A figure darted into the light throwing the hole into darkness, but she could still recognize the person. "Neko!"
The Human Super-Weapon kneeled down extending a hand into the hole. "Quick! Grab on before it collapses!" She commanded as the female kitten reached up wrapping her paws around her hand. Setting the shaking kitten down she pointed. "Get away I'll get Rei and Sen!" A familiar object whizzed past her head, she looked up. "Masha! Go with Estee! Quickly!" With a slight nod and a nudge the flying computer directed her away as the human reached into the hole extracting the two other kittens. The ground below them suddenly shook, the twins latched onto her dress wailing terrified. She looked down. "Whatever you do, don't let go!" Leaping away before the beam snapped the rocks collapsing.
Estee looked up as the young human landed and her brothers released her dress still shaking. "Neko, where's Uncle Kutal…?" The person in question didn't respond. "Neko…?"
"Estee… I don't know how to say this… but, Kutal's been… um…" Explained the human trailing off as she remembered the cold, heartless look Mushrambo had given her when she told him to stop.
"I know…" Admitted Estee sadly. "We got a good look at him before he destroyed the city. But, where'd he go?"
"Back to where ever Ryuma lives, I imagine." She stood up looking around. "Where's Hakuba?"
"I don't know we lost him in all the confusion." The kitten explained looking around.
"Don't worry." Assured Sen standing up.
"We'll find him." Rei added as the twins then scampered off calling the machines name.
"Do not worry. I am right here." Answered a familiar monotone voice as Hakuba rose up from underneath a pile of rubble.
Neko ran over to him. "Are you all right?"
"Yes. My Flexi armor is still holding."
"That's good! But, do you know where Ryuma is taking Yakumo? Is it to the castle supposedly made out of ice?"
"Yes. That is where they appear to be going."
"Just as I thought." Looking down she added, "Hakuba, Masha, can you two look after the kittens?"
Masha turned to her alarmed. "What? Why?"
She looked up. "I'm going after them. Ryuma is going to be punished for taking Yakumo. And… something's going to have to be done about Mushrambo… He can't be allowed to wander free."
"You're going to hurt Uncle Kutal…?" Estee asked her large eyes widening scared.
She looked over shaking her head. "No, not if I can help it. I'll break the spell the Black card has over them."
"But how?" Asked Masha frantically.
"I'll think of a way… Will you watch them?"
"Of course." Replied Hakuba floating over to the kittens, which were now huddled together watching her with large eyes.
"I guess so…"
"Now kittens, listen to me carefully…" She ordered gently flying over to them leaning over. "Stay here with Hakuba and Masha and you will be safe. Do not, I repeat, do not come to the castle. I will come and get you when everything is safe." She turned and added before leaving, "With your uncle and everyone else…"
"Do not look so sad, Little Rabbit…"
Yakumo shifted her gaze slightly catching the blonde Enterran's reflection in the mirror built into the beauty table in front of her. "A wedding is supposed to be a joyous time, is it not?" She didn't reply but watched him fiddle with the rose he was holding. "If you're hoping Little Kitten will rescue you, you're mistaken… She will arrive here soon but it will do you no good." Once again there was no response but he chuckled anyway. "Oh, how glorious this will be! I will have the last two humans coiled tightly in my grasp with no means of escaping…!"
"What are you going to do to her?"
The sound of the human's soft voice took him by surprise, but he quickly recovered and smirked. "More worried about her then yourself… How very noble of you Rabbit considering she is part Enterran." He sank further back into the overstuffed cushions. "I haven't decided yet. But in her case there is no rush, I have all the time in the world to decide what her role shall be." Ryuma stood suddenly causing the brown haired girl to flinch slightly, which he didn't comment on. "Now if you'll excuse me, my dear. I have some things to attend to before our royal wedding." Walking to the door he paused hand perched on top of the handle and turned adding sweetly, "Oh, and one more thing Rabbit dear. Would you mind being ready by the time I come back?" Before she could respond he turned and quietly slipped out the door, when it clicked shut behind him she turned to stare at it silently.
Damn…! Neko thought she had left before him but it became quite obvious that she hadn't when he came into view walking a little ahead of her. She quickly flew behind a large rock setting alongside of the path as the samurai turned around. Cursing mentally she peaked around the rock a few seconds later to see he was continuing towards the castle. Why did he have to be here? The only way she could go was by the path because going in by air would have been suicide. The king wasn't stupid and would most likely have some sort of air defense set up. So that meant she would have to get around him somehow. Great… Sitting back her hand bumped into something hard and sharp, she looked down. It was a nice sized rock. That's it! She gasped mentally scooping up the rock quietly before peaking her head around the other side of the rock. A little ways down the path was a large pile of snow sitting in front of an exposed part of the mountain wall. It would have to do. She threw the rock and quickly ducked down, it connected with the wall causing a sharp crack. A startled grunt sounded followed by muffled footsteps rushing past her hiding spot. He had actually fallen for it! But she didn't stop to dwell on it as she slipped out from behind the rock on her hover board quietly flying away immediately hitting the thrusters as soon as she was far enough away.
"My Lord, please stop! Do not marry this human filth!" Ryuma's thin eyebrow twitched in annoyance as he looked away from his attending female servant to the elderly witch kneeling in front of him.
"Please! I have spoken with the Ancestors about it and… and they command you to stop! Marrying the human and luring the other to the castle will surely bring the Spirit of Destruction!"
"Unga I have…"
"I have seen the destruction he will bring!"
"Enough!" Her master stood bright green eyes sparking dangerously. The witch screamed painfully as electricity surrounded her. "He will not breathe or do anything outside of my command! So, not another word of your nonsense, do you understand Unga?" He narrowed his eyes when she didn't respond giving the witch a good jolt. "Do you understand?" He asked again icily.
"Yes, My Lord…" She whispered through gritted teeth.
He smiled releasing the witch from her torture and walked over placing a hand on her trembling shoulder. "Do not worry, Unga. You will see, with Mushrambo under my control everything will be fine. Nothing can touch me now, not even the Spirit of Destruction." He continued to the door and paused. "I'm going to see if my bride's ready. So, make sure the throne room and Rabbit's special wedding gift if ready by then."
When Ryuma's eyes fell on the wedding dress still spread out on the bed, he wasn't surprised. He wasn't surprised in the least. "Rabbit…" He scolded gently closing the door. "I thought I told you to be ready when I came back?"
The human sitting in front of the beauty table looked over catching his reflection in the mirror. "I'm not going to marry you…"
"Hm? You'll have to speak up my dear. I can't understand you when you're mumbling."
Seizing all her courage, she stood and rounded on him hissing angrily, "I said I won't marry you! I do not love you and never will!"
He stared at her surprised for a brief moment before laughing heartily. "Who said love had anything to do with it, Rabbit?" He asked amused striding over to the bed occupying himself with the sleeve of the gown. "Just having one of the two remaining humans as my Queen is good enough. And if Kitten just happens to wander into my hands… even better."
"You can't force someone to marry you!" Pleaded Yakumo desperately, but her voice sounded weak to her ears.
He looked up at her raising a delicate eyebrow in a 'you-want-to-bet-on-that' look. "On the contrary. I can and I will."
"My friends will rescue…"
His joyous laughter cut her off. "Don't you remember, Rabbit! You have no one left but Kitten!" He suddenly turned serious. "Besides, if you did escape where would you go? Shinzo?"
A cold dread washed over the human, she knew that tone of voice. "Why?! What are you saying?!" She asked frantically. It was the same one King Daku had used.
"There are no other humans." Revealed Ryuma bluntly with a hiss. "You and Neko are the only two left in all of Enterra."
"B-But, my doll came from upstream…" She mumbled out suddenly realizing something. Stumbling back she bumped into the edge of the beauty table. "It was you, wasn't it? You put my doll in the river!"
"Yes. I knew if you found it you would trek upstream hoping to find other humans." He smiled evilly. "But, all of that was just so you would find you're way here… to me." Reaching down he picked up the dress and held it out. "Now, come on, Little Rabbit. Our wedding awaits us." He watched amused as his bride-to-be slowly shook her head no. He sighed, "Oh, Rabbit. Why must you make this so difficult? I didn't want to have to this but you leave me no choice."
Yakumo was about to ask what when something coiled around her leg. She looked down all the color leaving her face. Snakes were appearing out of the floor and winding their way up her legs. Before she could move one sped down her upraised arm and lifted its diamond shaped head with a hiss. Flashes of when Neko got turned to stone by Gyasa's snake hair whirled through her head, she screamed. It quickly died out when one gently wrapped around her neck, she sucked in a breath between clenched teeth before consciousness rapidly left her.
"Neko said we should stay here."
"But, Masha…!" Wailed the kittens pitifully from the cockpit of Hakuba, who had raised the protective glass after the small flying computer herded them into him.
Estee pressed her small paws against the glass and pouted. "Come on, Masha! I'm worried about Neko, Yakumo, and Uncle Kutal!"
"Yeah!" Chimed in the twins.
"Worried or not, you'll be safer here."
"No, kittens. I'm sorry."
"Aren't you worried about Neko?" Asked Estee suddenly.
The computer turned and asked slowly, "What…?"
"You heard me! Aren't you worried about her!? She's you master!"
Rei and Sen turned to their sister shocked. "Estee…?"
"Don't you care?!"
Masha was silent for a few seconds before replying, "All right, all right, we'll go…" The kittens all cheered happily. "Under one condition… We don't go inside or anywhere immediately near the castle. I can't run a risk of one of you getting hurt."
A small head popped up behind a short stone wall in front of the entrance to Ryuma's ice castle, emerald green eyes observed the guards closely. It disappeared when one of the guards turned towards the wall briefly before returning to his fellow guard continuing their chat. The small, purple haired human turned and sat down leaning back against the cold, hard stone wall. She had to wait and be patient, rushing the castle at the wrong time would be disastrous if she wanted to rescue Yakumo and do something about Mushrambo… She drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. Mushra… She couldn't help it, her mind wandered back to him. Hurting his soul would break her heart… but that might not be possible depending on how deeply the Black card had affected them. Her head dropped limply on her knees warm tears running down her legs as she whimpered softly, "Mushra… what am I supposed to do…?"
Ryuma turned slightly a frighteningly happy grin gracing his lips as the double doors to his throne room slowly swung open to reveal his bride, clad in a beautiful white dress, a large bouquet clutched tightly in her shaking hands, and a small, pink rose tucked primly behind an ear. Without a guard encouraging her or a beckon from the Enterran, Yakumo slowly walked forward through the huge crowd of followers that had been invited. Ignoring their whispers and odd stares she approached the alter and stood beside her husband-to-be. She had to suppress the natural urge to run, because it would have got her nowhere. The castle was probably well guarded for their wedding and where would she go? His castle was sitting in the middle of the Ice Fields; she'd freeze before she got anywhere, especially in this silk dress. So, there she stood, as stoic as she could on the outside but shaking like a leaf in the inside. The whole ceremony went past her in a blur only slowing down when he slid a bright gold ring on her finger. Then her whole predicament hit her like a ton of bricks, she was officially married to Ryuma, the feared King of Snakes. She held back her tears and suppressed a sob as her husband turned and gently picked something up off a crystalline tray a female servant was holding. He was about to turn back when a familiar voice sounded loudly through the doors.
"I thought the priest was supposed to ask if anyone had any problems with this joining?! Because I sure do!"
All the guards standing by the doors turned raising their spears as the brown haired human called out happily, "Neko!"
The doors to the room suddenly exploded inward impaling a few guards and before they could blink the small human was standing in the middle of them. "Get her!" Screamed the captain.
Neko grinned slightly leaping straight up seconds before all the spears converged with a clatter where she had been standing. Flipping upside-down she pointed her crossbow straight down into the middle of the group and fired. The crowd screamed as the aftershock washed over them and when she landed all that remained of the guards were their cards, which she scooped up and put away. She then stood staring coolly at Ryuma, who looked mildly annoyed.
"How, may I ask Kitten, did you get past my guards?"
"Oh, you mean these guards?" She asked innocently showing their cards. "You should really employ stronger guards. They didn't stand a chance." Striding forward the whole crowd backing up slightly as she passed she added, "Now, if you don't mind, I'll take Yakumo and get out of her. I still have Mushrambo to deal with. Thanks to you…"
The king's eyes darted over to the witch hiding in the shadows unnoticed, who slid into the crowd quickly disappearing. "Oh, really? Why don't you just wait here? He should be here soon."
"You want your precious castle destroyed…?" She asked surprised. "'Cause that's what'll happen if I meet him here."
The crowd shifted suddenly a little bit in front of the approaching human, which caught Yakumo's attention. She looked over to see Unga slip into the front line. Blue eyes widened as the pieces came together. "Neko! Watch out!" She warned franticly.
But, it was to late, by the time the other human looked over the witch had already muttered something under her breath and her body froze in place. "W-What?!"
Ryuma grinned and stole a glance at his bride, who just stood there, bright eyes wide in fright. "You know, Kitten, now that I think about it. Rabbit here doesn't need this special gift." He said referring to the crown he was holding. It was masterfully crafted out of the finest silver with a large sparkling ruby set in the middle. Yakumo glanced over at the piece and bit back a scream stumbling back, she could have sworn she seen the strange looking 'teeth' that were hanging down wiggle almost hungerly. "She's too afraid, too fearful to try anything against me. Rabbit may not poise a threat but she's to scared to run. But you on the other hand would kill me the first chance you got." He explained walking calmly towards Neko, who was trying desperately to break out of the witch's spell. "Don't bother, Kitten. You can't escape, and you won't escape because this will make sure. Once I place this on your head its power will pierce you mind and, just like the Black card, you will only listen to me." A gasp sounded behind him but he ignored it, the sight of the Human Super-Weapon struggling in vain was too good. When he stopped in front of her, she froze terrified emerald green eyes widening. A malicious grin slowly spread across his face and he ordered icily, "Kneel."
Green eyes challenged green.
No emotions crossed his calm face as he narrowed his eyes. Electricity surrounded her sending a painful jolt up her spine; she clenched her teeth together and managed to suppress her scream to a mild whimper.
"I will not tolerate your mouth or your attitude, Kitten." He warned with a hiss watching her stumble forward the witch releasing her from the spell. "I gave you an order. Now kneel."
The girl's bangs obscured her pained expression from him and she replied determinedly, "Never."
Her head flew back a tormented scream tore its way out of her throat as electricity coursed through her again. It ended suddenly and she slumped to the ground catching her upper body with her arms wheezing sharply. Tears gathered in the corner of her eyes, she was so tired. All she wanted to do was curl up in front of a window bathed in a sunbeam and fall asleep, most preferably if her head was cradled in a certain fire Enterran's lap. The last time she had slept was the night when Darba had Mushra doing that stupid rock stacking test. Is this how he felt when he tried to save her from the acid lake? So desperate? So tired? But yet so willing to do anything to see her smile again? Even if it meant sacrificing himself…?
Mushra, please help! I love you so much, but I don't know what to do! How can I destroy him and still save you!?
Ryuma gazed happily at the human in front of him. Her thin shoulders were quivering slightly and he could tell she was crying silently. She was probably crying over her precious Enterran. This was good; he could get the crown on her without a struggle. He leaned forward holding out the silver piece of jewelry.
"Neko! What are you doing?!" Exclaimed Yakumo darting forward only to be stopped when a pair of guards grabbed her arms. "Neko! Get up!" She pleaded struggling desperately in their hands, but the young human didn't speak or move. "Don't let him do this to you! Get up! Move!"
If she would have been listening she would have been proud of the other human's bravery. But she wasn't. All she could feel was the icy, empty darkness being emitted from the crown as it approached her head.
The king grinned the crown merely a hairs width away from the human's head when a chilling wind blew through the throne room. It was full of darkness and could chill someone to their core. He stopped looking up as a mutter made its way through the large group of guests.
"The Spirit of Destruction…"
"I couldn't be…!"
"What is he doing here…?"
Ryuma didn't try to suppress his smile. This was too good!
Standing in the doorway framed by a blinding light was Mushrambo staring blankly into the room.
"Ah, Mushrambo! So good of you to make it!" Exclaimed the king in a friendly tone. This was a perfect opportunity for the Black Card to destroy the last shreds of the three Enterrans' souls forever. "I thought you'd want to see this! Instead of taking away just one of your precious humans, I'm taking away both!" There was no response. Not even an unconscious twitch of a muscle. "Did you hear me, Mushrambo!?" He asked starting to sound annoyed. "Both of your humans will be mine!"
His plan was crumbling before him. He would not lose! He would have Mushrambo as his slave forever. He hissed angrily reaching forward grabbing the humans face and turned it forcefully eliciting a squeak out of her toward the samurai. The crown made a sharp ting as it hit the ground. No emotions flashed in his cold blue eyes. "Damn it, Mushra! Somewhere in there I know you can hear me! This is your precious human I'm speaking of!" He hissed enraged tears welling up in the human's eyes at the mention of the fire Enterrans name. He squeezed her face and her cheeks puffed out giving her a cute, cubby cheeked baby look as he continued, "You see this face, Mushra!? If you feel anything for her! If you love her! Show yourself or you'll never see her again! And I'll make sure of that! I'll put you on permeate patrol in the most remote region of my kingdom!" Emerald green eyes widened at the mention of love. "You hear me!"
Icy blue met wide, frightened green and the human whispered, "Mushra please…"
The King of Snakes grinned pulling her face over to his. "You know, maybe your Enterran lover boy needs some encouragement to show himself. And I can thing of a perfect way to coax him out." He told her quietly before pressing his lips against hers. A muffled squeak escaped her as she tried frantically to pull out of his grasp. He growled angrily wrapping his arms around her waist forcing her against him deepening his kiss. Tears streamed down her pale face.
I'm sorry, Mushra… I wanted my first kiss to be with you…
Both people froze the human looking over. "Mushra…?"
The samurai seemed confused, a conflicted look dominating his face. A flicker of warmth flashed through his eyes the black markings on his face disappearing for a second. His mind was divided. Half was the darkness belonging to the Black card and the other half was a blazing fire that held the human in the highest respect. And both were fighting for control.
The markings faded again his mind snapping under the strain. Energy formed around him. A frustrated scream tore its way out of his throat the energy exploding throwing the young human back. She passed out somewhere in the air.
The castle disintegrated under the force of his attack leaving nothing but the floor, the attending guests disappearing their Encards being torn apart. Yakumo gasped terrified when the other human hit the ground with a sharp crack, taking a glance at Ryuma, who looked oddly pleased with the recent events, she ran over to her prone body. "Neko! Neko!? Are you all right?!" She dropped to her knees besides her. "Hey, Neko! Wake up…! What…?" She added trailing off about to shake her when she noticed something. Her dark purple locks had fallen forward over her shoulders revealing the back of her neck, which had a mountain symbol on it in black. It was exactly what was on Kutal's card. She leaned forward studying it carefully. Was it a tattoo?
"I didn't expect it to turn out this way, Mushrambo, but this is acceptable too!" Ryuma announced causing the brown haired human to look up a sudden breeze playing with the ends of her hair. "If I need to beat out the remaining fragments of that fire Enterran…! Then I will!" He revealed his sword. "I challenge you to a duel!"
The human was so intent on watching the two Enterrans she didn't notice when Neko rolled over cracking an emerald green eye open. "Y-Yakumo…? W-What happened?"
She looked down with a soft gasp. "You're okay! Is anything broken?" The other human ignored her and tried to sit up. Hands immediately restrained her. "No, don't try to sit up! Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Yakumo." She replied pushing her hands away and sitting up pulling her legs in Indian style. "What happened?" The slight breeze tousled the ends of her hair, she looked around. "And what happened to the castle?!"
"It was Mushrambo…" Yakumo replied quietly shoulders trembling under her silk dress. "He went… crazy and destroyed the castle. Now Ryuma's challenged him to a duel!"
"What?!" She exclaimed shocked turning her head towards the two men, their capes fluttering majestically in the biting cold breeze. "Is Ryuma crazy? Mushrambo's ten times stronger then he is on a bad day!"
"What…?" Gasped the other softly a cold sensation seeping through her. "Are we in…?"
"Danger?" Finished Neko giving the other human a pointed stare. "Yup! Serious trouble. If he's gone crazy he'll finish Ryuma in record time and then come after us."
"Can Ryuma defeat him…?"
"Well Mushrambo, where's you terrible Enterran power?" Ryuma asked loudly his sword held loosely at his side. "Because so far you've been a major disappointment! Can all you do is stand there?!"
And standing there he was weaponless for the last how many minutes just staring at the king blankly. But upon hearing his mocking words an almost unseen smirk passed across his lips. In a blur he pulled out his sword darting forward. A startled gasp escaped the king's lips when a sword came out of nowhere slicing his arm open. The two human's gasped quietly watching Ryuma stumble backwards a hand clamped over the wound blood pouring out between his fingers.
He grinned. "Ah, it seems you are taking this seriously. Well, so will I. Hyper-Form!" His wound closed and he turned big, green, and ugly.
But, sadly, that didn't even help. The samurai shot forward again surprising the king landing a solid punch in his stomach. All the air left him at once and he doubled over the Enterran quickly separated his head from his body. Yakumo screamed loudly clinging to the other human as Ryuma's Encard fluttered to the ground in front of them. A loud metallic shriek then sounded along with the violent flapping of large wings.
Mushrambo didn't even look up when Grandora appeared still screeching angrily. A ghost of a smile passed across his lips as he flung his hand out a wall of energy hitting the dragon head on, its body and Encard instantly disintegrating under it.
"N-Now what…?" Asked the brown haired human quietly both immediately freezing when the samurai turned to look at them.
The Enterran began to walk towards them slowly as Neko replied frightened, "I don't know… But, we are so screwed…"
He disappeared. "Huh…? Where did he go…?" Asked the other human frightened glancing around. He suddenly reappeared in front of them sword poised offensively over his head.
Both women screamed.
He brought the sword down.
Something shot in front of them taking the hit without a sound.
"Unga!" Yakumo screamed watching the elderly witch stumble back holding a wrinkled hand out in front of her. She mumbled something under her breath a cyclone of air exploded out of her palm sending the unsuspecting samurai flying back and into a crumbling pillar, which immediately collapsed on top of him. "Unga!" She screamed again catching the witch as she crumbled to the ground.
The old Enterran looked up at her tears streaming down her aged face and whispered weakly, "I guess… this is my punishment… for the misdeeds… I have done…"
"I… tried to stop… him…"
"Please don't speak. You'll only die faster…"
"Tried to persuade… him… to destroy… that monster… he created…"
"Wait!" Interrupted Neko leaning over the old women. "There's a way to stop Mushrambo?"
"Without hurting our friends…?"
The young human trailed of as the witch reached up taking her face in her cold hands. "There is only… one way… You must use… Ryuma's sword… It belonged to a famous… human general… five hundred years ago… Only that sword… can cut… the Black Card out… of Mushrambo's soul… But, if you miss… the card… you will destroy… the three that… make him up… forever…"
The human's face went pale. "I have to… stab him with Ryuma's sword…?" The fire Enterran's face flashed in her mind. Tears came to her eyes. "What if I miss and hit…?"
"Only you… have enough skill… to do it… It must be you… You who were… created five hundred years ago… Your project… was brought about… to wipe Enterrans… from the face… of this planet… Only you… Please…" She drew in a gasping breath. "Please destroy… the monstrosity… he has created…" Her hands dropped to the cold ground and the witch gave her last breath.
"Unga!" Yakumo screamed tears flooding down her pale face.
The purple haired human looked down a trembling fist pressed against her chest. Mushra… Please forgive me…
The other human looked up as she stood walking over to the late king's sword stuck in the ground. "Neko! What are you doing?"
"I'm going to end this…" She replied determinedly turning to Yakumo the ends of her short hair fluttering in the icy wind. "And save our friends."
"Can you fight him knowing Mushra's in there?"
The pile of rubble behind them suddenly exploded sending chunks of pillar everywhere. Mushrambo rose slowly from the middle. "Yes." She replied pulling the sword from the ground. "He is no longer any Enterran I care for."
She turned to face the samurai, who had an odd pleased look on his pale face. Finally, someone who would offer him a challenge. He raised his sword to his side offensively. Neko dropped into a defensive stance. "Come on, you monster! Let's end this here and now!"
The two fighters leaped at each other.
Mushra… I love you so much… Please forgive me… I-I just want to see you smile again…
Their swords came together with a tremendous clang; the force threw the young human back a few steps. She growled darting forward. The next few moments were a flurry of bodies and swords, their violent clangs filling the air. Yakumo watched apprehensively from the side as the battle intensified until a familiar scream filled the air and Neko went flying to the ground arm sliced open. Clamping a hand over the cut blood oozing out between her fingers she looked up with a gasp as Mushrambo suddenly appeared towering menacingly before her. He raised his sword over his head.
"Neko! Watch out!"
She leaped through his legs the sword hitting the ground a second later. Pulling a gun out she twisted around shooting him in the back of the knee. He collapsed to the ground with a pained grunt. In a flash she was in front of him aiming Ryuma's sword where the Black Card felt the strongest. The moment the sword touched his chest armor Mushra's face flashed in her mind and she froze staring down at him.
Icy blue met tear filled green.
She couldn't get the fire Enterran's face out of her mind. What if she missed? She'd never get to see him again. Their petty arguing from earlier that day seemed so foolish now, but she couldn't even apologize.
"I can't do it!" She screamed the king's sword clanging softly to the ground.
Mushrambo took this opportunity and brought his sword up. She managed to dodge it but tripped over her own feet in the process.
The human didn't even bother looking up; she just closed her eyes waiting for the samurai to strike her down, to end her misery.
I wonder if I'll see Mushra in heaven…
But, the blow never came, the only thing that did was a startled grunt from the Enterran. Neko cracked an eye open to see Yakumo clinging for dear life to his sword arm. "Yakumo! What are you doing?! Get away from him! He'll kill you!"
"No!" She responded defiantly looking up at his cold eyes and pale face. "Mushra, listen to me! I know you're still in there along with Sago and Kutal! I know you can hear me! I know you can see what this is doing to Neko! I know you can see her tears!" She released his arm planting herself between him and the other human. "I know you love her just as much as she loves you!" The samurai glanced at the younger human, who was staring at him tears running down her ashen face. Yakumo took his shoulders gently. "Please, Mushra! Beat that card and come back to her! She's waiting for you! She loves you dearly!"
"Please Mushra…" Neko whispered before letting out a soft sob.
A warm feeling rose up from deep within Mushrambo's soul. A conflicted look settled on his face the black markings disappearing for a second. He dropped to his knees. Yakumo backed off unsure of what was happening.
Her head shot up with a gasp. That voice…? She got to her feet her small form trembling with suppressed sobs and immediately flew into his arms wrapping her arms around his neck. "Mushra, I love you so much! Please come back to me!"
The samurai looked shocked for a second before something within in shattered, a violent fire engulfing his soul causing every nerve in his body to cry out in pain. Energy crackled around him as that inner cry tore its way out of his throat cutting through the bitter air.
Neko leaned back startled. "Wha…?"
The energy then exploded. She heard Yakumo scream before everything went black.
'Mushra, please wake up…!'
The small fire Enterran stirred slightly before cracking an eye open. Bright sunlight flooded his vision, he grunted holding a trembling hand up in front of his face. Blinking a few times he gazed up between his fingers at a young woman leaning over him, her emerald green eyes wide with concern. She had on a strapless sundress her long braided purple hair falling over her shoulder. "Mushra…" She asked in a concerned voice. "Are you all right?"
Who…? He thought weakly gazing at the woman. She… looks like…
"Mushra!" Exclaimed a familiar voice jolting him out of his thoughts. He sat up his mind coming out of its temporary fog; his vision cleared revealing a large flowered meadow and a trembling, dirty dress. Looking up at the tears flooding down her dirty face and the dried blood on her torn sleeve he was about to respond when she flung her arms around his neck squeezing tightly. "Mushra! Thank god! I-I thought I was never going to see you again! I was so scared! I d-didn't know what to do…! I-I'm so sorry…!" She tried to say something else but finally broke down sobbing loudly while trying in vain to draw in a full breath.
Mushra just sat there listlessly listening to the human cry, flashes of everything that had happened whirling through his head. His mental control finally shattered. He couldn't do this anymore. He couldn't go on pretending to be 'just friends' with her. To her unpleasant surprise he pulled out of her grasp leaning back, she was about to ask when he took the sides of her face in his hands. They had risked their lives trying to save one another. Death could've taken them at any moment. He couldn't leave this unsaid. "Neko… I love you… I love you more then anything in the world." The human's eyes widened suddenly dry as he pulled her closer the full weight of what had occurred settling on him. "I would lay down my life for you…"
"Mushra…" She whispered fresh tears streaming down her rapidly reddening face.
"Shh… Please, don't cry." He ordered softly pressing his lips against her trembling ones. Without warning he suddenly deepened the kiss, hands roaming over her petite, developing body. Electricity shot up her spine, her brain shut down, a pleasant warmth rose in her belly. She unconsciously wrapped her arms around his neck as he gently laid her back among the flowers.
His mind faded out…
He was standing in a richly furnished bedroom. Looking around confused on what he was doing there a soft, drawn-out moan caught his attention. Blue eyes settled on the large bed in front of him, he gasped shocked face turning bright red. The young women wearing the sundress from before was lying on the bed pressed beneath his own hyper-formed self! His doppelganger was wearing a slightly modified version of his current outfit. He backed up shocked and slightly turned on.
The young lady, who looked very familiar, suddenly pressed her head back another drawn-out moan escaping her as his older self dipped his head into the crook of her neck a hand disappearing beneath her dress.
This is impossible! I wouldn't be doing this! This is a trick! I only love… He shrieked mentally suddenly falling silent. Comprehension dawned in his mind watching the scene before him quickly heat up, sky blue eyes widened.
Now what the small Enterran didn't realize, or perhaps it would be better to say he couldn't, not with the way his mind was going anyway, was that whatever his mental doppelganger was doing to the young women he was actually doing to the form pinned beneath him. Not that she minded, proved by the contented purr that escaped her throat as his hand slipped beneath her dress. Her form seized up, a strangled gasp barely escaped, and his name slipped from her, long and low.
The sound of his name pierced his mind. That magic shattered, the mental scene fading from his mind with an agitated hiss. The first thing his eyes took in was her flushed face gazing up at him confused, his insides turned ice cold as he slowly withdrew his hand from her dress. He leaned back horrified.
I wasn't just… was I…?
"Mushra, what's wrong?" She asked worried at the sight of his pale face propping herself up on her elbows. Why did you stop?! Is what she wanted to ask but she bit that particular question back. She reached for his trembling face. "Mushra…?"
Coming out of his temporary shock he jerked back out of her reach. Before she could say anything he shot to his feet, face red stuttering, "I-I'm sorry, Neko! I didn't mean to try to take… I didn't mean to try to force… I didn't mean to…"
The human blinked confused as the Enterran backed off head down. "Mushra, it's all right…" She soothed reaching out.
Even though she was nowhere near close he stepped back. "No it's not! That was uncalled for!"
"Did I try and stop you…?"
He looked up confused at her sly smiling face. Comprehension came slow, he suddenly flushed again. "B-But, when we get to Shinzo you'll have to…!"
Neko sighed angrily. There was that word again. She knew he had begun to use it as a talisman, that when he said it he thought it made everything right, at least in his mind it did. But she refused to live by it; she loved him and besides Shinzo was gone… She realized he was slowly moving away from her, and after a long time she finally snapped darting forward grabbing his clammy arm. "Mushra, stop!"
"Neko, please! This is wrong!"
No, this is right… Thought the human tears beginning to stream down her face. We do belong… together…
"No, Mushra, please listen to me…" She spoke calmly. "There's something you must know…"
"Let me go!"
"They won't have me!!"
Mushra froze the words cutting through his mind, he was instantly confused. "What?"
"They won't have me!" She exclaimed again tears pouring down her face. She couldn't really tell him why they won't have her that everybody was dead, destroyed in an instant. She lied. "I'm not a pure human! They only want pure humans like Yakumo! They'll turn me away at the gate!"
"You're just saying that…" He began weakly gazing limply at her. "You're just saying that to make me feel better!" He yelled suddenly eyes flaring. "You know that…!" He fell silent head snapping to the side. She had slapped him with everything she had left.
"No." Said Neko sternly releasing him, she leaned back now calm as he turned back to her shocked fingers gingerly touching his cheek. "I love you, you love me. That is it. There is nothing else, and there will be nothing else. Nothing will come between us. Not even humans…"
Mushra's shock was ebbing quickly along with his anger leaving him empty and tired. He had always believed that they'd always be together. It was the secret guiding light he had buried within him; it had been what was guiding him through everything. But to hear her say it.
She had been waiting patiently, inwardly shaking of course, she didn't know what she was thinking when she slapped him, maybe she hoped to knock his inner sense right. Then he answered in the way she hoped.
"Are you sure…?" But it sounded weak to both their ears.
She wouldn't have that, he was strong. "Yes, I am yours. No human can change that."
Light dawned in those blue eyes, he suddenly brightened. "Promise?"
Neko smiled sweetly, he looked like a happy child. "Yes, I promise on my warrior's spirit…"
Lips silenced hers; she was gathered into his arms as he kissed her hungrily. Promising on your warrior's spirit was a solemn vow that warriors used, and warriors never broke that promise. They would hold that promise true till their dieing breath, if that's where the situation led. Their lips parted and he just took a second to look at her. Her face was dirty and tear streaked, her large emerald eyes were puffy from crying, her usually silky purple hair was mussed and greasy, and her dress was dirty, torn, and bloody. In simpler words and to a normal person, she looked like a mess. But to him, she still looked beautiful.
"What…?" She suddenly asked with a slight laugh. He was staring so intently at her. "Is there something on my face?"
His trance broke and he kissed her again. "No, I was just thinking how pretty you are."
"What?!" She exclaimed softly leaning back. "But, I'm a mess and I probably need a shower!"
"That doesn't matter to me."
A slightly shocked look passed briefly on her face. "Thank you." She added tears ready to break and run down her face, she leaned in and they shared another short, tender kiss. "Come on. We have to find Yakumo and the others. They can't be far away." She said standing dragging him to his feet. Mushra took the lead and they quickly darted away in search of their friends hands laced together.
Warm blue eyes opened slightly. The world came together into a bright blur with something dark tinting the edges; it was almost like she had tunnel vision. But wait, the darkness was moving? Ever so slightly it was wavering, back and forth. What? She blinked her vision clearing. The darkness wasn't actually round it was made of uneven bumps. What is this? She blinked again and her vision finally cleared the world around her came into focus.
The darkness tainting her vision wasn't actually darkness or tunnel vision, it was her friends! They were leaning over her with worried looks stamped on their faces.
"Guys…!" Exclaimed Yakumo weakly sitting up. "You're all right!" Everybody was there safe and sound! Sago, Kutal, Hakuba, Masha, the three kittens, along with Neko and Mushra, who, she observed, had an arm wrapped around the young human's waist. She also observed the slightly miffed look on the fire Enterran's face and the sly grin Sago had on his accompanied by the sideways glances at the pair. The teasing by the water Enterran must have already occurred, which she thought for the first time Kutal hadn't been a part of; his look of concern was too deep and genuine. He must have teased Mushra before they found her for fear of upsetting her or so that she wouldn't scold them. Part of her wanted to scold them anyway but she was just so excited that he had finally admitted his feelings to her. Yakumo couldn't think of a better couple.
"Yakumo, are you okay?" Neko asked concerned.
It took a few seconds for the human's question to register. "Oh, yes! Now I am!" She really wanted to congratulate them on their joined state but before she could help it tears starting streaming down her face and she sobbed, "Thank goodness you're all okay! I was so worried I'd never see my friends again!"
"Yakumo, its okay…" Soothed the other human leaning forward out of her boyfriend's grip wrapping her arms around Yakumo, who hugged back fiercely sobbing even harder. "Shh… Don't cry… Everything's all right now. We're here. You're safe now."
The rest of the group joined in trying to calm her and after a moment or two of good crying she leaned back dry eyed and slightly embarrassed. "Sorry, I didn't mean to start crying. I don't know what came over me. But, when I think of what's happened… I get scared…" She explained tears welling up in her eyes.
"I know, Yakumo." Agreed Neko taking her hands. "I was scared too. To think that I might never see my friends again was…" She broke off when her voice cracked and a tear slipped down her face. A hand came down on her shoulder and squeezed reassuringly, she didn't have to look to know she just reached up and put her hand over Mushra's.
Masha, who had been fluttering over their heads patiently, knew that this would continue on and on if someone didn't step in. "So, know what do we do?"
Her master jumped slightly surprised and looked up, "Masha! You frightened me!"
"I've been up here the whole time. But, I apologize for scaring you."
"Masha's got a point, though. Now what?" Kutal asked soothing the kittens, which were plastered to his leg in silence.
"We should continue on." Yakumo replied briskly. "Get away from this place as quickly as possible."
"Well, on foot that's going to be impossible." Neko announced.
"This field lies in a pocket between the Ice Fields and the Wasteland. I don't think any of us want to go back to the Ice Fields and crossing the Wasteland without proper supplies is suicide. And the only village close by has been destroyed. We'll have to do a lot of backtracking to get any further."
The moral of the group noticeably dropped. Estee looked up from her uncle's leg and asked with a sniff, "Now what?"
"Was Ryuma's Encard destroyed?" Asked Hakuba for the first time since the group came together.
"Eh?" Neko asked looking over. "No, I'm pretty sure it was left intact. Actually it should be somewhere in this field with… Ah, I get! Nice thinking Hakuba!"
"I don't understand…" Yakumo asked watching the young human get up.
"If we can find his card we can travel using the Space Time Continuum. We can get much farther using that and it beats traveling by land."
"Yeah! I never thought of that!" Exclaimed Mushra jumping to his feet.
"Come on then, everyone! Get up and search for that card!" Exclaimed the young human happily as the rest of the group agreed and got up to search.
With all of them looking, especially with Masha's aerial view, they found it about ten minutes later jammed partway under a rock. And, after the group moved in close to one another ready and rearing to go Hakuba brought up the protective glass around her and the kittens as the human stuck the card in the proper slot. An energy bar filled up to max and the world around them went black with colors twisting around them meeting far out on the horizon. It was like they were in a kaleidoscope. They started out moving at a speed faster then what any vehicle or Enterran could do but they could not notice it.
"So, where will we come out at?" Neko asked flying up next to the dragon-like vehicle.
"Somewhere far, far west." Was Hakuba's only reply.
Neko shivered suddenly frightened. It had been nothing the machine said; it was just an intense sense of something bad, something wrong. She couldn't explain it but she inwardly knew…
I fear the place we're going has the mark of death stamped on it for one of us…
For your reading pleasure, or maybe not, I give you the continuing journey of our brave wanderers. After a year or more, I'm very sorry for that, I finally finished this one, and I have high hopes for the next couple. Oh, and just a question, did Clip and Bolt's dog in the next one have a name? I can't remember. It's been a long while since I've seen Shinzo. Thank you!