Chapter 40: Gods ~Final Chapter~
The door opened. What awaited Fawful was something he had never seen: Dimentio's throne room. The walls stretched high up, the room a vast expanse of shining stone bricks, expressive tapestries, and red-hot torches. A long, purple and yellow rug went from the door all the way to the other end of the room, up a few stairs, and onto the throne. Many windows lined the walls, showing the ravaging Void surrounding the castle. The room smelled of burning wick, sleek tiles, and clear fabric. Despite the fact that this was Dimentio's throne room, it actually felt welcoming.
'Well well well. You're finally here.' The magician sat on his throne, one leg crossed over the other, his head resting on his fist. He had a smile on his face, the same one he always seemed to have. His mask was hanging from his other hand's finger; he spun it around, the blank face on the mask seeming very strange to Fawful when he was used to it smiling like Dimentio was now. The throne was odd: pure black in colour, just like Castle Bleck had been, a purple and yellow tapestry hanging from it featuring two versions of the jester's mask. One was grinning and one was frowning. A red ribbon wrapped around them both. Dimentio looked at the mask hanging on his finger. 'You know, you've destroyed a lot of these, it seems. Mutilated, melted, torn apart...I wonder if anyone has taken count. I haven't bothered, they're all fakes anyway. Imitations. Even this one. The real one that Rosabella gave me...I haven't worn that in what seems like forever.'
Fawful felt the rage boiling back up in him; he remembered Nastasia, slumped against a tree from his own blaster, Timpani, mutilated by Dimentio's awful magic, O'Chunks, taken by the Chaos Heart's dark power, Mimi, damaged horribly in the Dark Energy Bomb's explosion, Mario, completely erased at the heart of the Void itself...and everyone else who had perished in Dimentio's assault on the castle. Dimentio was a fiend of the highest calibre. Fawful needed to destroy him. 'You...you monster of disgustingness!' he spat, enraged. 'You had the destruction of everything!'
'Ahahahaha!' the magician laughed; he stood up from his throne and slowly walked down the steps. 'Yes...yes I did.' He tossed the mask up into the air and skilfully caught it on his finger. 'How does it feel, Fawful?' His red eye shone, alight with madness. 'How does it feel, to be one of the last two surviving people of everything that ever was? How does it feel, to be one of the two people in the only surviving dimension? How does it feel to know that outside this castle, nothing exists at all? Not a single world. Not Flipside or Flopside. Not the Underwhere or Overthere. Nothing. Everything is gone. Everything except my castle, me...and you.' He tossed the mask across the room and it landed at Fawful's feet, staring up at him with cold, blank eyes. 'All this destruction, all of this pain...it was all worth it to further my goal. My goal which I have held onto for over three thousand years. Always searching, waiting for the chance to seize my book, my wonderful, prophetic book. To open the Void. To destroy everything and wipe the slate clean. And now...I'm so close. How can you possibly understand that?'
'I do not have care...' the Bean hissed. 'You had the killing of everyone! Of Mario and Luigi! Of Mimi! How can you have a conscious of cleanness?!'
'Ha...ahahaha.' Dimentio leaned back, his heels the only things touching the ground. 'Yes...I killed Mimi. I killed her...hehehe.' He sighed and leaned forward, touching the ground with only his toes. 'That is why...I must continue. For...' He put all his weight back on his feet. 'What if I fail? That won't do. Those sacrifices...will be in vain, won't they? Ahahaha...'
Fawful growled. 'In vein? They had death fighting the one who is you!'
'Exactly!' Dimentio cackled, a wide smile on his face. 'If I fail now, their deaths will have been for nothing! My effort in killing them will be absolutely meaningless! Mimi's death will have happened without a reason! I can't stop now, or all those who have fallen will have fought me for nothing in the end! Ahahahahahaha!'
The Bean's heart was pounding as he realized just how far gone Dimentio was; he had fought them, murdered them, destroyed entire worlds...and now he was using their deaths as a way to justify his own acts? The thought was absolutely absurd. 'You will have stop,' Fawful told him, a snarl on his lips. 'Your acts of foolishness have no meaning everso of what! Fawful will have the avenging of everyone who no longer has life! You will have goneness! I will have victory!'
Both surges of dark power made the air in the room thick. The two adversaries stared each other down, Fawful's red eyes and Dimentio's red eye shining. 'I notice the veins are stretching across your cheeks now.' He gestured to his own; the thick, black lines had travelled up and were reaching for his ears, curling around his mouth. Fawful automatically felt his own face; he couldn't feel the veins, but he knew they mirrored the magician's. 'The Chaos Heart will soon have a complete grip on our blood, our hearts, even our very souls. When that grip is established...it will be forced to drain our life from our bodies. So you see...' His voice trailed off, but Fawful knew what he would have said: One of us will have to die.
Fawful walked. Dimentio walked. They both just walked, not tearing their eyes away from the other's. Fawful could feel his dark, jagged cloak billowing behind him as he moved. His foot met Dimentio's mask and crushed it underneath the sole. Dimentio took his hat off his head and tossed it behind him; it lit on fire, the scent of burning fabric filling the air. He clutched the collar of his poncho and wrenched it off, the purple and yellow clothing falling to the floor and meeting the same fate as his hat. Dimentio was garbed in just his black shirt, puffy pants, curled shoes, and gloves. The Bean put a finger on the golden chain connecting his cloak and burned through it; it fell to the ground as well. Things such as those would just be a distraction. Both of their hearts were pounding, in part due to the fear which had taken hold of both of them at the thought of their own deaths, but also because of the link they shared; the Chaos Heart was getting excited, they could tell, sending bursts of energy through their veins with every beat. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. There was no turning back. It was just Fawful and Dimentio. No holds barred. This battle would decide their fates, the fates of the worlds, and the fate of the Chaos Heart. This was the final battle.
'You know,' Dimentio sighed, 'it really is a shame. You and I could have had quite the future together if you had just kept your measly little heart in its place and not gotten too attached. Grubba was a fool and Doopliss turned traitor, but you...you had potential.'
Fawful glared menacingly. 'I am Lord Fawful,' he growled, clenching his fists. 'Lord Fawful's only partner is himself!'
'Ahaha...now I know. You could have had the makings of one of the greatest villains in history. However...' Dimentio snapped his fingers, more a staple action than anything else. 'Your existence ends here! The only thing left for me to do is to tear the Chaos Heart out of your chest, then nothing will stand in my way!'
'GRAAAAH!' the Bean screamed; he stuck out his palm and a huge beam of darkness engulfed the jester, tearing up brick, burning carpet, and exposing the black material underneath.
'Ahahahaha!' Dimentio appeared behind him. 'Yes, a duel worthy of my power!'
Fawful whipped around and struck the jester across the face, a pulse of energy knocking him through the air and making him spin. Feeling the power crackling across his fingers, he attacked him with smaller blasts. Dimentio righted himself and teleported at random, only appearing for a moment each time. 'Fink-rat!' the boy growled.
Fawful yelled as the magician appeared in front of him for a moment and punched him in the face. No dark power or anything behind it, just a weak punch, but it irritated the Bean more than anything Dimentio could do at the moment. He adjusted his glasses and blew a wave of power out, throwing the jester through the air. He teleported again and flew circles around Fawful. 'You'll have to work faster than that, Fawful!' he cackled. He snapped his fingers and a hail of dark bullets rained down from the ceiling, peppering the Bean like an army of hornets. The magician, in Fawful's confusion, suddenly slammed down on the ground, a burst of power bumping him up into the air. Dimentio brought his hand back, charged it with darkness, and brought it forward; a roar echoed throughout the room and the Bean was smashed across the hall and into the throne haphazardly, the world spinning. The jester jumped up and threw bolts of darkness at the boy; Fawful screamed as jolts of pain seared through him, the force of the blows pushing him against the surprisingly solid throne, the great seat holding strong. The Bean sagged, gasping; the Chaos Heart's power was nothing you could ever shrug off. 'Honestly,' the jester said in a mock sigh. 'I thought you would put up more of a fight.'
Anger seared again through the boy; gripping the arms of the chair tightly, he blasted through the air, head butting the magician in mid-laugh and cutting him off with nothing more than sheer velocity. They both hit the ground and Dimentio's choked wheeze intensified as Fawful forced him against the ground. 'YOU!' the boy screeched, punching the older foe. 'HAVE! STUPIDITY! You will have the destruction of utterness!'
Dimentio disappeared and Fawful flailed before he felt ground beneath him. He hopped to his feet and looked around for the jester. 'Brutality!' he heard the magician cry. 'Your attacks are vicious, like an assault by an angry bear!' His reappearance could be heard. 'Let's see how you handle my favourite trick.' He snapped his fingers and a cloud of darkness surrounded him; a black flash made Fawful cover his eyes and when it cleared there were three jesters. 'Which one is the real me? Ahahahaha!'
'This has oldness!' the Bean shot.
'Oh, I think you'll find there are several differences from my previous illusions, ahaha!' All three Dimentios cackled and teleported.
Fawful immediately drew up a shield around himself, and for good reason; all the jesters reappeared and showered him with blasts. The shield held for a few moments, then disappeared, but the blasts had stopped. 'Gggrah!' the Bean spat, shaking himself. He flew up into the air, spreading his arms apart as energy gathered at his hands. 'Your tricks of patheticness cannot have the defeating of the great Lord Fawful, fink-rat!'
Fawful put his hands in front of him as one of the Dimentios shot a dark projectile at him, blocking the attack and throwing his own blast back. It hit with a resounding boom, the jester spiralling to the ground. The Bean drew in on himself, enclosing himself in a veil of darkness, ready to rush the Dimentio he knew was the original...
A pair of hands gripped him from behind and Fawful gasped hoarsely as all the darkness was sucked out of his attack. 'Oh...' came the jester's voice from behind. 'You didn't think it would be that easy did you?' The magician threw him to the ground, extending black, humming ropes which coiled around his wrists. His heart leapt to and fro as his body was flung this way and that, smashing off the hard stone walls and floor. As he was whipped across the room, he twisted himself around and planted two feet on the ground. Clenching his fists, he threw his arms up, sending a whiplash down the coil and bringing Dimentio up into the air.
'Now, you will have the tasting of your medicine of ownness!'
His attempt was interrupted when two more curling dark tendrils wrapped around his legs and yanked themselves backwards, making the Bean end up on his stomach. 'You'd best watch your back!' the jester laughed from behind him. He felt all four lines tense and suddenly he was off the ground. 'Ahahahahaha!' both Dimentio's cackled. They began to pull and Fawful felt his body straining, his arms and legs being pulled far apart, his muscles stretching beyond their limits. His bones cracked and his skin and muscles tore; the jesters were going to rip him apart!
A moment of intense panic made his heart leap up into his throat. He yelled and flailed, sending ripples down the dark coils. The magician's laughed at his fear and Fawful's teeth clenched, the Chaos Heart pounding like mad. He felt a burst of electric-like power surge out of him and down the wires; he heard the screams of the two Dimentios and the ropes slackened, his body falling and hitting the ground. He flipped up and onto his feet, flinging his arms over his head and bringing one Dimentio soaring overhead and crashing into the other one. The ropes disappeared.
He heard the firing of an attack and jumped out of the way; it exploded off to his right. He spun around and blasted the attacking jester; he screamed and disintegrated in a haze of black particles.
'So!' The Bean declared. 'They are not being illusions, but clones!'
The other two Dimentios got off of themselves and brushed themselves off. 'Indeed,' one said. 'More physical damage can be done.'
'No energy is spent keeping up the illusion either,' the other added.
They both disappeared. Soon after, a hail of bullets shot out from both sides. Fawful put up a barrier, feeling the strain of keeping it up seeping into his body. He smacked his palms together and felt the familiar rush of travelling through dimensions Dimentio's way before reappearing outside of their targeted area. He rushed to the source of one of the bullet storms and was not surprised to feel the impact of hitting another person. Both bullet hails stopped and the jesters reappeared; Fawful dragged the one he had attacked across the ground, making gashes across his back. He felt the heat of a blast coming up and immediately flew off; the real Dimentio vaporized his own lookalike. The Bean flipped behind Dimentio, grabbed his shoulders, and shot towards the ground; they both hit it hard, their bodies battered from impact.
They both warped away from each other, struggling to stand. The black substance slithered across their bodies, repairing all wounds. Both of them were breathing heavily. 'Haah...you...gah...' Dimentio panted, eyes wide with mad rage. 'I'll...RAUGH!' Fawful covered his face from a blanket of black energy. 'THREE THOUSAND YEARS!' Dimentio screamed. 'I'D SOONER DIE THAN LIVE IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD!' His eyes shot lightning, intense with ire. 'I'LL RIP THE DAMN HEART OUT THROUGH YOUR THROAT IF I HAVE TO!'
Fawful barely had time to blink before Dimentio was before him, three millennia's worth of frustration and anger exploding from his face. His fist connected hard with Fawful's chest, right over the heart, dark energy heightening the blow's strength by hundreds. The Bean flew across the room, the Chaos Heart already healing his chest, and crashed into the wall above the door. Fawful saw Dimentio flying at him again and desperately leapt in whichever direction got him out of the magician's way fastest. The shockwave from the impact rolled him across the ground, arms flailing. He got up and took to the skies, ducking and weaving away from Dimentio and his blasts. He conducted a spin in midair and threw an attack at the jester, who caught it in his hands, throwing it back and hitting Fawful with his own attack. A buzz sounded in his eardrums along with the pain over his body and he wavered; the next moment the magician slammed into him like a cannonball, smashing his body against the ground and flying right back up. Covered in darkness, he shot at the Bean again, hitting him multiple times. Fawful gasped and rolled over as Dimentio came at him again, losing contact with the ground for a few seconds after the jester's impact with the floor spewed stones around and burned a hole through the rug.
'AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!' he cackled insanely. 'That's it, DIE, DIE!'
Fawful kept narrowly getting out of the way. He stood up on one of the mage's retreats and, with a shaking frame, put his hands out and braced himself. Dimentio hit him head-on, the wind roaring as it was forced past the boy. He skidded along the ground, feet planted firmly, ignoring the burning friction. When he stopped moving backwards he threw Dimentio through the air. The jester shot back at him in a frenzy and Fawful swung a fist covered in energy; a clong! reverberated throughout the room and Dimentio was sent in the opposite direction. He hit the wall with his feet and dashed back with just as much force; Fawful blocked again and again, moving back an inch with every strike, his teeth gritted in fury. Dimentio was a senseless murderer; he was going down.
Rage boiled up in Fawful and he knew he wasn't going to defend any longer. He brought his fist forward powerfully, hitting Dimentio away and copying the move; the two mortal projectiles met in the centre of the room, a shockwave of energy shattering windows and cracking bricks. They both bounced off and met again and again, each determined to batter the other until they broke.
On the next strike, both foes lashed out with their fists, freezing in the centre as they struck and blocked with a vicious ferocity. The Chaos Heart had heightened their senses, sharpened their minds, and increased their strength; they attacked with more force and blocked with more skill than either had possessed before this moment. They flew away and back again and again, deadly tremors shaking the castle along with the Void's. Fawful, empowered by his bloodthirsty desire for revenge, struck hard; Dimentio grasped the Bean's fists in his hands, the two snarling ferally. The jester's grip tightened and a pulse of energy made the air around them waver. They called raw power up and screamed, the blast throwing them both away. They skidded along the floor, coming to a halt on their feet and surrounding themselves with magic. Dimentio put his arms out to the side; they flared up, black fire engulfing them. His life-filled eye shone with evil influence, a lust for power and destruction radiating from the angry orb. Floating up into the air he threw a hand forward, black fire spewing across the room. Fawful leapt backwards and saw the spot where the rug had been hit disintegrate, the edges of the hole instantly catching fire. The Bean jumped around, dodging the gouts of black flame as the fire began to spread. He jumped up off the ground, the rug engulfed in a furious blaze, smoke reeling from the thick fabric.
Fawful soared through the air, making his way around the attacks being hurled his way. He looked around, making sure not to crash into anything that might cause him undue pain. He had no idea how to shoot fire from his hands (something that would be nice to learn, admittedly), but he had a better idea. He flipped out, appearing some ways behind Dimentio, who spun around and shot more fire at him. Fawful dropped and flew at a wall, nearly smashing into it. He curled his fingers around a torch on the wall, the metal warm to the touch, and whipped it at the jester. The torch connected with a resounding bang and Dimentio howled in pain, hands pawing at his own face as the flames scorched it. The Chaos Heart had already begun to heal the wound, but the scientist wouldn't stop; he ripped the torches off the walls, throwing them at his opponent and not caring whether or not he actually hit him. The magician yelled and knocked the next burning projectile out of the way, flying at Fawful. The Bean cried out in surprise and put his hand out in front of him, preparing to shoot a blast, but he wasn't fast enough and Dimentio sent them both crashing through a window. The glass shattered to pieces and they left the room to burn.
The Void wailed all around them, an all-encompassing gale of noise. Their bodies suddenly shimmered as their respective Chaos Heart halves protected them from the world destroyer's wrath, the Void's dark tendrils reeling off them harmlessly. The Heart also healed their glass cut wounds, sealing up their gashes and pushing out the glass shards.
Fawful yelped as a block of black magic struck him in the side, sending him spinning. He steadied himself and threw his own projectile; his and Dimentio's new attack collided, rendering each other useless. The Bean slammed into the magician with all the force he could muster, smashing him against a wall. Dimentio teleported and threw a wave of small black shots at him, which Fawful simply flew through and countered with two orbs of magic, then grabbed Dimentio and threw him through another window of the castle. The window's remains and much of the space around it were destroyed as a large beam exploded out of the castle. The inventor flew dodged the blast, only to be attacked by another not too far away from the first. Fawful took off, barely avoiding the blasts that tore holes in the stone walls. He flew up and landed on the castle's roof, but Dimentio's magic ripped holes in that too, dotting the top of the castle with blotchy fissures and spitting out energy beams like supernatural geysers. The Pleaser of Crowds himself flew through the roof, sending bricks flying, and landed to face Fawful.
The two of them were tiring, and they both knew it. Fatigue and dizziness assaulted their bodies and minds like a disease and they gasped for breath, sweat running down their faces. 'I...I can't...lose to you...' Dimentio huffed.
'I...I must...have victory...' Fawful panted. 'For...for Mimi...'
Anger was welling up in their chests again, but their bodies lacked the energy to express it. A tremor shook the castle and shook them, their protected bodies struggling to keep their footing. It was just them at the end of the worlds, and their battle was running its course.
They mustered all the power and determination they had and ran at each other, dark energy oozing from their forms. Fawful jumped up before the contact, bridging the height gap between them, and they slammed their fists together, energy crackling. Fawful hit the ground and ducked from one of Dimentio's fists, bringing his whole body into a powerful head butt to the stomach. The jester gave a strangled gasp and fell back, catching himself in midair before he hit the ground and spinning his entire body around, cuffing Fawful across the face with a balled fist. The Bean fell over and pulled himself up quickly to his feet, launching himself back into their fray. They threw punches and Dimentio, the taller of the two, kicked. Despite their best efforts, their lack of any physical strength or melee fighting prowess showed; their strikes lacked any form. Fawful clenched his fists after another fist hit the side of his head and staggered back. He took a deep breath and willed energy to come up to the surface. Thoughts of everything Dimentio had destroyed came to his mind: his home, his future, his allies, his chance of reuniting with Cackletta, and Mimi, the first girl he had ever given his heart to.
Fawful screamed and threw a powerful punch, throwing Dimentio back from the Chaos Heart's force. Instantly energy drained from his body and his vision blurred, his heart pounding heavily.
'Your time is almost up,' the Chaos Heart stated with anxiety; once Fawful and Dimentio rotted away, the Chaos Heart would disappear. Then there really would be nothing left at all.
The magician pulled himself up to his feet and swayed blearily. 'Unnngh...' he groaned, holding his head. Their brains were pounding and as they looked at each other they could see that they were going to fade soon; the veins had made their way up their entire heads and stopped up at the top, pulsating with a new kind of energy: theirs. They were sick to their stomachs and their skin had turned pale.
They held themselves still and fought once more, holding onto their goals, their hopes, and their dreams. Dreams of their own perfect world; one without sin or one with everything that had been before. Fawful lashed out and scratched with his nails, making a cut across his face that for once didn't heal. Black blood trickled out of it, an evil, inhuman substance that pumped through both of their bodies. Dimentio leapt forward and they both went down, rolling across the stone ground. The Bean flailed all of his limbs, battering the magician with a flurry of fists and feet; Dimentio's response was to bring a fist down on Fawful's face, breaking his nose with an audible snap! The boy yelled and threw Dimentio off of him with the Chaos Heart's strength, feeling the effects of the Heart on his body again. His thick blood ran down his cheeks and chin and got into his mouth; it tasted completely different than normal blood. Whereas blood normally gave a metallic taste, this substance that the Chaos Heart had given them tasted bitter and strong.
Dimentio grabbed Fawful by the collar and lifted him up, throwing an open palm against his face and letting out a wave of energy. He wobbled, barely able to stand. Fawful felt weaker than he ever had in his life; even moving, blinking, and breathing were chores and his very soul felt weighed down by thousands of tonnes. Even still, they both got up and kept going. Dimentio's ultimate dream of a perfect world, Fawful's desire for revenge and the revival of all he had lost; their goals were the only things in their minds, the only things that kept them going. They attacked with a desperation they thought they never knew they had, neither willing to give in to the other. They knew they had to win, no matter what.
They crumpled, lying on the ground; it was too much. It was too hard to move, to even exist. They could feel their life slipping away and their heartbeats slowing. Even the Chaos Heart, normally a source of snide remarks and condescending comments, could be heard by both of them. It wasn't so much gasping as the Heart had no lungs, but they could somehow hear its exhaustion without it making a sound. Cuts, scrapes, and other wounds covered their bodies, the Heart unable to do a thing to heal them anymore.
'H-how...?' Dimentio had spoken. 'I c-can't...m-move...I need help...somebody h-help me...wh-what do I...my perfect...'
Fawful couldn't even speak. His entire life was flashing before his eyes, from birth right up to this very moment. In the end he just couldn't do it. He couldn't make it in time. Everybody who had perished fighting against Dimentio and his insane goal had fought for nothing. Everything would be gone, everyone would be gone, and the Void would be the only thing that existed at all. Not even the Chaos Heart would exist. Nothing but a massless black hole reaching out for something to consume yet consuming nothing.
Utter sorrow devoured Fawful's heart as he saw Mimi in his mind clear as day, broken in body and spirit, damaged to the point of no return.
Dimentio had done so much evil.
'Is it wrong...that I...still love him...?'
All in the name of his perfect world, he had done so much evil.
Ignoring the paradise he could have had. Ignoring all the good and overstating all the bad. He had done too much. He was a demon. A demon who needed to be stopped.
Fawful tensed, his muscles screaming out in pain from even the slightest movement.
I have s-something...
He planted his palms on the ground, yelling through his teeth as he pushed his body up and brought his knees to rest on the ground.
Something which Dimentio does not...
He slowly got up to his feet and fought against their weakness. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his Spacial Matter Scrambling Device, the metal cube like ice against his sensitive, now pale white skin.
People to have care for.
He pressed a few buttons and a flash of light shone; he put it away. The Purity Heart floated there in all its golden glory.
Instantly they both felt the Chaos Heart cry out in horror and Fawful moved away from the Purity Heart on shaky legs, Dimentio moaning in pain. The Bean felt excitement in his chest and his heart flipped; Dimentio was done for. He could still stand. He had the Purity Heart. He had won.
It was over.
'I have...victory...' Fawful said weakly. 'I have...win...' He fixed his eyes on the glowing, heart-shaped artefact before him. 'Purity Heart...' he huffed. 'Go!' A wicked pleasure was taking form in Fawful as he imagined the pain Dimentio would go through. 'Have go! Defeat Dimentio!' He willed it with all his might to overtake the magician, to purge him of the Chaos Heart and render him utterly defenceless.
Nothing happened. The Purity Heart just floated there, not moving.
'GO!' Fawful screamed, his chest aching from his lung work. 'ATTACK! DESTROY DIMENTIO!' What was going on?! They had created a Purity Heart! They had! Why wasn't it working?! Had all of their work been for nothing?!
Fawful's attention was drawn by a sound: laughter. A barely noticeable, weak, dead laugh that sounded nothing like anything the Bean had heard before. 'Ah...ha...ha...haaa...' Dimentio was on the ground, wheezing and laughing as if at a both cruel, ironic joke and straight at Death's face at once. 'Useless...' he croaked. 'Everything...useless...' He tilted his head to look at Fawful. 'It's not meant...to be used...like that...' He laughed that same dead laugh again. 'Love...you need...love...'
The boy's mouth ran dry; no matter what happened, he was fuelled by hatred for Dimentio. The Purity Heart would never work.
Suddenly, a pair of hands gripped his throat from behind and lifted him up off the ground. Fawful let out a strangled gasp and hung limp. '...Valex,' the jester said faintly.
The Bean's mind was reeling. He had killed Valex! The Inverse had died in the Mushroom World! He had been sent hurtling towards a cliff and...
'Master Dimentio,' Valex said grimly. The Void shook the world again; chunks of stone and glass were peeling off of the castle, revealing the black walls of the former Castle Bleck beneath. The entire castle was breaking off into particles, the last remaining structure in the world being eaten away by the thing it had been housed in for so long. The Void had grown too large and too strong for the castle to be unaffected. 'The Chaos Heart is yours.' A smile began to slowly creep across Dimentio's face, his eyes widening. 'Farewell. I give my life for you.'
Valex closed his eyes and melted away into pure energy, pushing himself into Fawful's back. The Bean hung in the air and gasped as what felt like a ice cold gust of wind pour into his body from behind, pushing against the Chaos Heart in his body and finally forcing it right out of his chest. Half of the Chaos Heart hung in the air, shimmering and twitching, fighting to keep itself stable and material.
Fawful fell to the ground and his barrier against the Void disappeared. He twitched and spasmed as lightning shot through his veins. He rolled over on his front and vomited, a thick black sludge mixed in with the bile. He coughed and sputtered, the blood in his veins thinning and losing its black colour. The lines that snaked their way across his body began to fade. He vomited again, this time with less sludge. Hacking, tears fell from his eyes at the agony. One more issue of bodily fluid came up his throat and out his mouth. The veins had faded completely, but the thick liquid that had prevented him from losing enough to die was gone. His wounds leaked red once more, his broken nose giving him a chance to experience the metallic taste of blood. The weak, soulless feeling had left him and the weak feeling of body damage had taken its place. He screamed into the air, knowing that the last moments of his life were using themselves up.
Dimentio, still weak, slowly extended an arm up, reaching for the half of the Chaos Heart he didn't possess. The Heart-half floated towards him, the only thing with dark energy in the vicinity. 'Yes...' the magician breathed. He closed his fist around the Heart, the energy pouring down his arm into his chest and making his black veins glow. 'YES!' He was lifted up into the air, the spidery marks all over his form disappearing and the dark blue colour of his skin flowing back into his cheeks. The heart-shaped marks over Fawful's and Dimentio's chests vanished.
The Chaos Heart was whole once more.
The Charming Magician Dimentio breathed in deeply and he fell back down to the ground, revelling in his ability to stand. It felt so good to finally see his efforts come to fruition. The Chaos Heart's full power hummed in his body. He looked down at the pitiful body of the Beanish boy Fawful, who gasped and bled, lying in his own vomit, blood and tears. 'Such a pitiful sight,' Dimentio sighed with a smile. 'Truly befitting a defeated, confused little wretch like you, Fawful.' The Purity Heart bobbed in the air and fell to the ground, the Void draining its supply of power and not enough love being felt to make more. Castle Dimentio was being destroyed, the towers falling and the walls crumbling. 'Now that the Chaos Heart is mine and my opposition has been crushed, I see no reason to remain here.' A wicked grin was spread across his face. 'My perfect world will be created. Don't worry though; I shall tell tales of the foolish little boy who dared oppose the great god Dimentio...and who met a fate worse than death in the process.' He waved with his fingers, snide conceit directed at Fawful. 'Farewell, Fawful, my partner-turned-foe. It was nice working with you.' He floated up into the air. 'Ciao~!'
Dimentio took off towards the centre of the Void, not bothering to look back as the castle completely disappeared, sending Fawful and the Purity Heart falling to their dooms.
Fawful fell, the wisps curling around his body burning at the touch, eating away at his skin, and he suddenly knew exactly what was going through Mario's head as he dropped like a stone to his demise. Like everything was hopeless. Like everything you had done in life had been for nothing. Like you were worthless in the end. When you were literally falling towards nonexistence along with the rest of absolutely everything, that claim didn't seem like too much of a stretch.
As Fawful fell, the various liquids covering his body spraying off of him as he hurtled downwards, he really thought about his life. As his body melted away, he really reflected on the things he had done and not done. As he did this, he realized something incredibly important:
He had grown.
Not physically. Not as a villain or a fighter, but as a mortal being. For his entire life he had been raised to be a villain, to do the whim of Cackletta and to be moulded into the model villain that would make her proud. A cold-hearted, ruthless individual who knew his goals and would stop at nothing to obtain them, whatever they were. That was the impression he had got from her. Looking back on things, he wondered if he had gotten it right. She had been a very strict person and teacher, but she was just as much a mother to him as a teacher, giving him tender care when necessary and loving him with all her heart. Everyone he had ever met had been judged by Fawful instantly by their initial actions. Mario and Luigi had been mortal enemies of his from the get-go because they opposed Cackletta, but after spending time with them doing what they did he realized that it really wasn't as black-and-white as he had thought it was.
A warmth in his heart. He could feel it, deep down. Amidst all the grief and despair he felt there was that small, glowing light in his heart. A light that contained the good memories of all the things that had happened to him, all the people he had met. He wrapped himself around it, hugging at it and holding it as tightly as he could.
Cackletta. His mentor and mother and a constant source of love and affection during a confusing and dangerous part of his life.
Princess Peach. An amazingly kind monarch with a powerful heart and mind, even if he didn't like her as a person.
Even Mario and Luigi. The two brothers who had made his life a living Underwhere had shown him that they were just fighting for what they wanted to protect, something he knew he could relate to now.
And Mimi. The girl who occupied a special place in his heart...and who he could never have because she would always love another. The person he could never hate.
He loved them all. He hated them before but now he knew the truth. He knew that even the Mario Brothers, his worst enemies, were also his greatest friends. People he trusted and people who trusted him despite past battles. These people all deserved spots in his heart. The spark grew into a flame, surrounding him with warmth and love. He knew he was going to die, to disappear, to spend the rest of time in an eternal non-existence. But he would perish with his favourite people in mind. He would die thinking of the people who had touched his heart. Tears fell from his eyes and up into the air, but not tears of grief; these were tears of an entirely different kind.
He closed his eyes and accepted his fate, not noticing the growing light of the Purity Heart falling very close to him.
Dimentio flew as fast as he could, the sound of the massive Void falling on deaf ears. He had done it. He had finally done it. The Chaos Heart was his. Everyone was gone except him. The Purity Heart had been completely useless. All the worlds had been erased. This was the moment he had been fighting for for his whole, long life, and now that it was here his heart was practically leaping in his chest, filling him with excitement. All the people he had killed, all the worlds that had met their ends...it was worth it. It was all worth it.
'And so all has ended!' the Chaos Heart laughed in his head, its voice powerful and whole in his head.
'And so all shall begin anew...' Dimentio breathed, his lips trembling with exhilaration.
'You know Dimentio, I truly am astounded.' What sounded like a sigh of relief sounded in the jester's head. 'I was honestly certain I would die. If it wasn't for that abomination you created...'
Dimentio's ever-present grin widened even more. 'Valex was the greatest tool I had.'
He spotted something in the distance. A small white dot, contrasting the infinite darkness that swirled endlessly. 'So there it is.' The Chaos Heart, despite being the being directly related to the Void, sounded incredibly excited. 'The centre of the Void.'
As the magician neared it what he saw made him do a double-take in his mind: it was a gigantic, pure white heart, significantly larger than his body. He stopped in front of it and stared. 'This is the centre of the Void?'
'Yes. The "heart," you could say.'
'The heart of the Void. Ahahahaha.' He extended a hand and touched it, then quickly withdrew it, shocked. 'What...?!' Quizzical, he did it again and snapped his hand back again. 'This thing...' It was completely alien. He felt no energy from it at all, even though the rest of the Void gave off an empty kind of dark power. When he touched it...it was an indescribable sensation. It was complete nothingness. No, it was more than that. A world destroyed by the Void was complete nothingness. This...it was the complete absence of everything. Even nothingness didn't exist inside the gigantic heart.
'Existence is null at the heart of the Void,' the Chaos Heart told him. 'Anything that joins it will cease to be in a way which even the Void's destruction of worlds cannot replicate. Anything, with only one exception.'
'The Chaos Heart...ahaha...!' Dimentio was shaking. The Chaos Heart rested in his body, and to use it and the Void all he had to do was step into this heart.
That was exactly what he did.
His body entered the Void's core and instantly disappeared, becoming nothing. His mind reeled for a split second before the Chaos Heart's energy shielded him, infusing both consciousnesses. Dimentio and the Chaos Heart became one, the joined soul dissolving, spreading throughout the core. Excitement and euphoria pulsed through the consciousness, sending ripples throughout the entire Void.
I am the Void, the consciousness thought.
The Void flexed its being, shifting and waving. The empty darkness moved and swayed as a sentient being.
I am existence.
The heart began to beat rhythmically, the powerful thumping making the Void pick up speed.
I am non-existence.
The Void churned and began to be, becoming a mix between something and nothing.
I am everything.
The Void suddenly remembered its mission: a world of complete perfection. It filled its mind with a vivid clarity; it could feel the wind against its skin and the smell of grass and trees filling its nostrils.
My perfect world, the consciousness thought, becoming separate from the swirling darkness again. My greatest desire.
The consciousness spread its influence over the whole Void and began to make it move. It whirled and passed through itself, weaving into something new. It slowly bridged the gap between something and nothing, becoming gaseous and heavy with the weight of matter and antimatter. The consciousness struggled with the sudden effort involved in moving what used to be the Void, but pressed on. My perfect world... It could see the entire dimension; it was beautiful. A world without suffering...
Suddenly, the consciousness was thrown around itself. A blast of light engulfed it and it screamed, pain coursing through it as a voice sounded in the heart of nothing.
DIMENTIO! The voice was high pitched and horribly familiar. Memories of a green boy flashed through his mind and the consciousness desperately tried to figure out what they meant, who they belonged to.
The new consciousness, filled with energy radiating light and love of the highest calibre, spread itself out through the heart as well, mixing with the old one powered by darkness and negativity. They both shifted, the consciousnesses repelling and attracting each other at the same time, combining and separating, becoming one and becoming two. Confusion and chaos went through their minds and they panicked; they needed to know what they were!
At the same time, the Void was still changing. Thoughts of a perfect world still occupied the consciousness but they changed and altered themselves in the chaos. It couldn't keep a clear vision.
Who am I? it thought desperately.
N-no! The Void shuddered and groaned with the tension as its core warred with itself. The Purity Heart, the Chaos Heart, Fawful, and Dimentio all waged a brutal battle of the mind and spirit and the Void kept on changing at will.
I am Dimentio! Dimentio Dimentio Dimentio! one consciousness thought angrily. A perfect world is mine to rule! I am a god! A god! I...I need to... The warring forces of light and darkness were battering his mind and he couldn't think straight.
Dimentio! another one thought. You will have lose! Lose! LOSE!
The Chaos Heart screamed and hollered in agony, the sentient heart feeling everything that its opposite radiated.
Pain stabbed at the two former mortals again and again, the battle of the Chaos and Purity Hearts attacking their very souls. It was too much, too much to handle...
A splitting agony tore and ripped them and they spun out of control. They lost all feeling and were thrown, their souls spiralling wildly as they flew out into the unforgiving depths of the changing Void.
His mind was a haze. His head felt like it was split open, throbbing and sending pain through his whole body.
Dimentio rolled over and groaned, suddenly aware that he could move. His body was twitching and he let out small, coughing rasps of breath. He couldn't stand it. Even the ground and wind was giving him pain.
His eyes snapped open and he shut them quickly as the bright light of the sun flashed through his retinas. He moaned, rolling over onto his stomach and feeling the grass touch his cheek. He opened his eyes again, away from the sun, to see that what he was lying on was indeed grass. He stood up and squinted, his knees weak and shaky. His vision was blurred and he was seeing double.
He gripped his head, struggling to make sense of all this. Where was he? He had to remember. The last thing that had happened was...
His heart skipped a beat. The Void. He had controlled it. He had used it and shaped it and...
Did I...? No...it's not possible...
A sound; someone was approaching. He turned and wobbled on his feet; someone who looked remarkably human looked at him nervously. A man. 'Excuse me...' he said, uncertain as to what he should say.
'...who are you?' Dimentio asked. He couldn't even see the man clearly, his body was so out of it.
'I don't...' The man looked down at his feet, then looked back up. 'Who are you?'
'I'm...' The magician tried to focus, but it was impossible. 'Dimentio.'
A gasp came from the man and he knelt on the ground. 'I...I'm sorry, forgive me!' he cried.
'Wha...huh?!' Out of everything he remembered, he had never witnessed anything like this. 'What are you doing?'
'My king, I had no idea, I...'
'King? I'm not...'
He stopped. Things began to piece themselves together. The Void, the heart of nothingness, that shifting, swirling mass of matter that had been connected to him. All of that meant...it meant...
Dimentio stopped breathing and stared wide-eyed at the man. His heart was pounding, excitement welling up in him as he finally realized what he had done.
'I...I've done it...' he whispered shakily. 'I created...I created...it's...'
The man looked up at him, crawling backwards as a huge smile spread across the jester's face. 'My lord...?' he asked, his voice small.
'Aha...ahahaha...ahahahahahaha...' He couldn't believe it. Three thousand years. 'HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!' He let all of his emotions out in gale of laughter; everything he had fought for was realized. 'I'VE DONE IT!' he screamed. 'A PERFECT WORLD! A PERFECT WORLD IS MINE! I AM A GOD! A GOD! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!'
He let his head tilt down and giggled, then looked at the man on the ground. 'Yes,' he said to him. 'I am Dimentio, your creator. Now stand up.'
The man stood up on command, shaking. Dimentio didn't know if that was because he was afraid of him or if the man didn't have full control of his body yet. Either way, the world had begun abruptly, as if in the middle of its life. That suited him. 'Yes, your Highness,' he said devotedly.
'Ahahaha.' Dimentio's excitement still went on and he giggled again. 'This is my world.' He looked off into the distance. 'My castle.'
'...yes, your Highness?'
He turned to look at the man, his eyes shining with victorious pride. 'Take me there.'
Next: Pure Chaos