Disclaimer: All Klonoa characters belong to Namco. Yada, yada. You know the drill. OCs belong to me.


Chapter 55: Battle of the Beasts

Why did you help them?

Klonoa was almost to the balcony by now. The only reason he was going there alone was because Maleneki had wisely and unusually generously advised that the others could easily be killed. It didn't make any sense to Klonoa why Maleneki would do such a thing. It was much too merciful, especially for a disgusting monster like him.

I told you not to get me wrong. I despise that pack of fools. A battle with Silverfang will be much more entertaining without them getting in the way.

Klonoa wasn't convinced, but he said no more. He'd reached his destination. The large balcony was quiet and empty, much to his surprise. He took caution when walking onto it outside. The air had gotten even chillier. Though he could barely feel it through his thick fur, he could see his breath coming out in white puffs.

For what seemed like a long moment there was only silence. Klonoa kept his eyes alert, but nothing but the snow that was still lightly falling from the sky joined him on the wide balcony. "He's not here," he spoke quietly.

Oh, he's here all right. He could sense Maleneki growing excited for what was to come, thus causing his own heart to spontaneously quicken in pace.

"Then where—?"

Klonoa cut himself off as a pile of snow fell inexplicably in front of him from above. He reflexively jumped back from it, then looked up. He almost cried out in surprise at what sight was there to greet him. A huge, monstrous face stared down at him, beady golden eyes glowering and a wide, toothy grin on its large muzzle. The face was not unfamiliar to Klonoa. Though he knew he'd never seen it before, he still recognized it very clearly. Now the fun begins!

The enormous body that belonged to the face jumped down from the castle's roof and landed heavily on the balcony that was nearly too small for it. Klonoa could almost hear the floor cracking under its unbearable weight. He braced himself as the creature stood up straight on all fours, staring down at him. "I've been waiting for you, Maleneki," the monster spoke, its mouth not once moving to the words. Its new deep, growling voice suited its form well.

"Silverfang!" Klonoa snapped, his teeth clenched. The beast's huge grin on its long muzzle faded to a frown, though its teeth were never unseen. Silverfang's new form was not much unlike the previous. He was now a huge monster of a white wolf. Icicles jutted out sharply from his back and head, smaller boulders of ice lining his back and legs like scales. His huge clawed paws barely had enough room to maneuver on their limited space.

"I don't know what's going on with you, Maleneki, but I don't like it. Smells like treachery to me. I'll be doing the Master a big favor by getting rid of youin more ways than one," the beast growled.

Klonoa tensed as Silverfang suddenly took in a deep breath. Give me the wheel, boy! Maleneki ordered.

"Wha—" It was so quick that Klonoa barely felt the pressure in his head before Maleneki was in the front line, his golden eyes glowering.

Silverfang's bellow was so thunderous that it shook the balcony. Klonoa was so busy trying to keep on his feet that he nearly missed the fact that blades of ice had shot out of the monster's mouth, heading straight for him like flying daggers. "You might want to move now!" Maleneki growled. Klonoa subconsciously moved with Maleneki's thoughts. He didn't even realize they weren't his own.

He jumped up onto the balcony's railing and ran across as sharp shards of ice stabbed into the stone behind him, tearing them apart effortlessly. "Silverfang uses ice-based attacks. He's in his element," Maleneki warned. Klonoa resisted telling him that he already knew that. He wasn't supposed to know anything about this monster. He'd never even seen it before now.

With difficulty, Silverfang moved himself atop the balcony to face Maleneki again. "Come on, Maleneki. Show me a real fight. Don't mock me by staying in that pathetic human form," the wolf creature snarled. Maleneki gritted his teeth. Klonoa could feel his rage and frustration building up at an alarming rate.

This stupid body… I'm trapped in this moving corpse… all because of that damned ring! Change already! We've been in this fake body for too long. I know you want to! The urge in unbearable!

Klonoa winced, feeling a strange sensation he never had before—a bizarre and inapprehensible urge to change into something else; to take the form of something much bigger and dangerous than he already was.

But no matter how hard Maleneki tried, a firm barrier blocked his way with no signs of ever giving way. This yearning would forever remain unquenched so long as it stood in his way. Growing impatient, Silvefang threw a large clawed paw in Maleneki's direction. It crashed down onto the balcony as Maleneki jumped up and onto it. He dashed up the beast's arm and onto his back before it could think to stop him.

"Pop quiz, boy. Where is Silverfang's cursed shard?"

In his nose.

Maleneki chuckled softly and Klonoa cursed at himself silently for the spontaneous answer. You made me think that, Klonoa accused.

"Quit denying it. I've told you enough times already. You and I are the same. Our thoughts, our actions, our memories—though you may not remember them now. They're all there, waiting to be reawakened after a much too long slumber."

Silverfang reared and smashed his back into the castle wall behind them. Maleneki gripped the icicles on his long back and leapt from one to the other, traveling upward now. I don't believe you. I never will! Klonoa rebuked loudly, though his voice sounded much less convincing than he wanted it to.

Maleneki simply sneered. "You're certainly tolerating my thoughts right now. I feel as though I'm the one actually moving this body."

Klonoa's eyes narrowed in surprise and he stopped, as did his body atop an icicle. He hadn't been thinking about his movements at all. Every action he'd made had been from Maleneki's thoughts alone. "I'm already taking over your mind. You can't even tell whose thoughts are whose. At this rate, this whole mind will be mine alone, ring or not," Maleneki chuckled.

Klonoa clenched a tense fist. Denial wasn't going to cut it any longer. Maleneki was only getting stronger and smarter with uncontrollable speed. If Klonoa kept sitting back and pretending things weren't happening the way they were, he'd lose himself to this monster entirely.

You won't take over my mind. I won't let you.

Silverfang fell back down to all fours in one swift movement, nearly knocking Klonoa off his feet. "Get off of me, Maleneki, and fight me like a real shadow monster!" the wolf beast challenged irritably.

"Well, I'm getting quite bored of this game of rodeo. Let's finish this, shall we?" Maleneki sneered. Klonoa didn't move. Maleneki let out an exasperated sigh. "Oh, come on. Just because you don't want to move to my thoughts doesn't mean you can't move at all. Besides, let's face it, my fighting skills are much more superior to yours."

Klonoa didn't know what to do. If he moved, how would he know whose mind was controlling the body—his or Maleneki's? It was becoming so alarmingly hard to tell. But Silverfang gave him no time to think as the monster reared up on his hind legs again. Distracted, Klonoa tumbled down the giant wolf's icy spine like a hill, slamming to the balcony's floor back first.

The wind was knocked out of him and he took a dizzying moment to moan and hold his head there on the ground. Silverfang was stiffly turning around to face him. "It might be a good time to move now!" Maleneki warned sharply. But before he could make another movement Silverfang's monstrous claw was upon him.

---

Guntz was hesitant for a moment, but he quickly settled that jogging leisurely wasn't going to get him caught up with the red wolf. Though Leorina was keeping pace with him, she was probably thinking the same thing. Guntz cursed silently at the nuisance his permanently damaged body beheld him. He didn't care if he regretted it later; he wasn't going to let it hold him back from doing what he needed to do.

With a quick readjustment to his posture for better momentum, Guntz suddenly bolted down the castle corridor at top speed. Surprised, Leorina took a second to watch him fly past her before also quickening her speed.

Further ahead, Lolo was also running down the hall as fast as she could, Popka close behind. She nearly fell skidding to a stop when something suddenly ran in front of them and blocked their path. It was Nero and a wide malicious grin was on his canine muzzle. "Sorry, miss. Only one was invited to see the king and I don't think it was you," he said guiltlessly.

Lolo tensed, clenching a fist as though preparing to forcefully move Nero from her path. That wasn't necessary, however, as a blur flew past Lolo and slammed full-force into the wolf. He was airborne for a moment before hitting the ground and tumbling down the hall for a few more feet. Snarling, Nero looked up to see Guntz towering over him, panting but unshaken.

Leorina ran up from behind Lolo and Popka, stopping beside them. "Are you guys all right?" she asked breathlessly.

"We're okay," Popka answered, for Lolo was barely paying attention. Nero got to his feet slowly as Guntz stared him down with narrowed eyes. The red wolf was tense, his lips curled back to a snarl. Guntz never looked away from him but turned his head ever so slightly back toward the others.

"Go on! Go find Klonoa," he commanded. Lolo didn't need to be told twice and started running ahead again before Guntz had finished speaking. Nero spun around to pursue but Guntz was on him before he could take a single step in her direction. "Your opponent is me!" He snarled, slamming a fist into the side of the red wolf's face.

Nero was on the ground again and Guntz took the time to look behind him. He gave Leorina a questioning look as she stepped up beside him confidently. "What? I have to make sure you don't get yourself needlessly injured like usual and cause us a big nuisance again," she remarked with a sneer.

Guntz looked at her for a moment, then turned away with a grin. "Suit yourself." Nero was just getting back to his feet, no longer appearing as though he were ready to run off again.

"Two against one? Have mercy," he muttered sarcastically, rubbing his bleeding lip.

"You don't deserve mercy," Guntz snarled.

"I don't need it!" And Nero then leapt toward them with bared fangs.

---

Klonoa threw out his hands as an impulsive reflex to protect himself, not that he sensibly expected it to be of much help. The hard pad of the wolf monster's paw slammed down onto his palms and pressed, but to his surprise never pushed far enough to crush him. He was actually managing to hold it back.

"Ah, that's better. You know, the human body is just a tad bit stronger than you think. You just don't push it hard enough," Maleneki smirked.

I feel like my arms are going to break!

Klonoa rolled his legs forward and squeezed them under the paw by his hands. His back hurt the most pressing against the hard balcony floor as he kicked up with all the strength he could muster.

Silverfang's paw flew up and the beast lost its balance. Falling forward, his huge head hit the wall of the castle and he struggled to regain his balance in the limited space. Klonoa jumped to his feet, barely feeling the bite wound on his leg which had begun to bleed again. Without thinking, he jumped on Silverfang's paw and ran up his leg again. By the time the monster had managed to stand up again, he was on its thick neck.

"This ends now, Silverfang," Maleneki sneered.

Klonoa's mind was in a haze. He'd received a sudden rush of dizziness ever since kicking Silverfang's paw off him and now wasn't sure where he was. Looking down, he suddenly realized he was high in the air on his opponent's back. How did I get up here?!

Maleneki's dark chuckled resonated eerily within his mind. Klonoa felt a familiar fear tickle his stomach. Was Maleneki gaining control over him so fast that he no longer needed Klonoa to move his body for him? He tried to fight it—to reclaim control of his own body.

"Cut it out, boy! We're almost finished here. Be a pest later," Maleneki warned irritably, stiffening as Klonoa fought back.

It was like slamming his shoulder into a brick wall. Maleneki's willpower wasn't going to budge. It was suddenly so much stronger than him that he was beginning to fear that with his body, Maleneki would take over his half of their mind as well until there was nothing of him left.

Maleneki was now steadily making his way up to Silverfang's head. At first the wolf beast didn't know where he'd gone, but when he felt something moving in his fur he began to shake his head wildly. "Got off of me! Stop squirming around like a pathetic rat and give me a real fight!" He roared.

Maleneki dug his long claws into the monster's fur until specks of green blood oozed out. He continued to crawl forward, his ears flapping wildly as Silverfang swung his head to and fro.

Klonoa just watched helplessly within his own mind as Maleneki progressed toward the wolf's nose. He felt terribly hopeless and lost. This battle was hardly a bother in his thoughts any longer. For some reason he felt confident that Maleneki would be able to take Silverfang down. After all, Maleneki was much stronger than Silverfang. He was made that way; to be the strongest shadow monster. His purpose was the most significant above them all. Not to mention he was the first shadow monster ever—No!

Klonoa gasped spontaneously. Why was it that whenever he didn't try to remember, he did remember? But these weren't his memories—they were Maleneki's. Than why did they come so clearly to him? Klonoa felt like he was hovering in a cloud of mist made up of his own doubt. He suddenly felt very confused. What part of his mind was his and what was Maleneki's? Why was it so hard to tell all of a sudden?

"Klonoa!"

Klonoa's mind was suddenly focused at that call. It was Lolo. She'd just made it to the balcony and was looking up at the huge beast. She looked very alarmed to see Klonoa on its face.

"Shhhhit... Fuck... Move!"

Klonoa then realized that they were no longer moving. He was suddenly very alert of his surroundings and reality. It was only when Silverfang slammed his face against the castle wall, nearly crushing him, that he realized that he'd regained control of his body. He struggled to maintain his position, digging his claws into the beast's snout.

"The nose—dammit. The nose!" Maleneki hissed.

Klonoa looked over his shoulder, remembering that Silverfang's nose—his weak point—was right ahead of him. But he wouldn't dare to try and move. He was barely managing to keep still as Silverfang thrashed.

There was then a dull cracking and vibration detached from Silverfang's own movements. Klonoa didn't even have to look to see what it was. The balcony was finally giving way under the giant wolf's great weight and cracking apart. It had to be about a 20 meter drop to the ground from way up where they were.

This whole time Klonoa had had an advantage over the wolf due to the limited space and restricted movements. But down there Silverfang would have all the freedom within the kingdom's walls to attack. He also might wind up putting innocent lives in jeopardy. That was saying they'd even survive the fall.

I have to defeat him before the balcony breaks!


Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my...

...Beep, beep, beep... This is a drill--I repeat, this is only a drill... Anyway, yeah... wow. So I decided to see if I'd give this thing a go again... despite having two other stories I still need to work on. It's really just a test. I'm wondering who will even read this anymore. I'd actually written the first half of this chapter a while ago--probably soon after chapter 54, which was uploaded... a whole year ago. Dang. It feels longer. You might notice a sudden change in writting style halfway through the chapter since I couldn't be bothered to rewrite it. X3

Not sure if I'll ever write the next chapter. Like I said, this is a test.