Chapter 40: Sunrise of a Million Souls ~Final Chapter~
The heroes descended upon the goliath, eleven small dots of light against the dark backdrop of the Void, flying towards a monster blacker than the deepest, darkest pit of the Underwhere. Despite the pure, primal terror coursing through his body, the Purity Heart's light warmed Dimentio to his soul and bound his nerves in steel.
The Chaos Heart's grotesque form rumbled and it let loose another bone-shaking roar from all of the mouths scattered across its body. 'I WILL CONSUME YOUR LIGHT AND CRUSH YOUR SOULS.'
'Not without banishing your darkness!' Blumiere bellowed, his voice magnified. 'Face the brilliance of the Purity Heart!'
They all roared and dispersed, flying around their colossal foe. Enormous, creeping tendrils of darkness peeled off of its skin and began inching their way towards them through the air. 'THERE IS NO BRILLIANCE IN YOU.' Winged monsters fell away from its body, giving chase to them.
Dimentio flew downwards with several coming after him. He flipped around. 'My dimensional powers are wasted on rabble such as you!' he snarled, summoning light to dance at his fingertips. 'As is the light I wield!' He snapped his fingers and they froze into place, then they were blown to mist by his energy shot. He ducked under a tendril, which tore through the sky like a galactic serpent, inky black and dripping fluid that floated in the air.
Smaller tendrils lashed from the large one and wrapped around his wrists and ankles. 'G...gah!' he exclaimed, struggling. They pulled him towards their host; mouths with rows of teeth went along it, shifting and spitting. The magician flicked his wrist and threw another orb of light into one of the mouths; it exploded and the tendrils let him go. He flew up over the top of the tendril.
Two more monsters swooped down to assail him. He teleported away from one and hit it in the face with a light projectile. The other one latched onto him, roaring in his face. Claws and pincers jutted out from its face, and its mouth was little more than a whirling array of teeth and tongues. 'Oh Jaydes...!' he grunted.
Two boots came down on the monster's head and Dimentio fell away from it. Mario and Luigi hopped off the giant tendril, Ultra Hammers in hand, and smashed the creature into oblivion. 'Hey Dimentio!' Mario called, sliding along the thick line. 'Watch yourself!'
Luigi sidestepped a smaller tendril and blasted a minion with electricity. 'Wouldn't want to lose a fighter!' the younger brother added. 'Wah!' he then yelled as a sub-tendril flew out and lashed at his foot.
Dimentio blasted light at the tendril, which tore a small hole into it. 'How...how can we damage this thing?!' he shouted, taking care of an enemy eyeing Luigi. 'It's so massive that our attacks are insignificant!'
'We'll think of something!' Mario said. 'This isn't the worst thing I've fought!'
'It's not?' Luigi asked.
'Enough of this chatter!' Dimentio harped. 'Keep trying!' He flew away from them, watching the two specks of light continue on their dash up the tentacle extending from the huge monster.
He flew a distance away and tried his best to determine the basic structure of the thing despite how much larger it was than he was. It seemed to be composed of an entire upper body from the torso to the head, though it was heavily deformed and moved as if made of a crowd of panicked people. Thousands of eyes darted around to the points of light, many on him. And the voices, all the voices coming from its pores, whispering, screaming, never stopping. "You will die!" they howled in insane fury. "Where am I?!" "My home!" "Where is my baby?!" "HELP ME!" The creature's every cell screamed for salvation.
I killed them, Dimentio thought with controlled horror. There is nobody inside of this that I did not destroy.
There was no obvious point of weakness. Nothing stuck out like a sore thumb. What could they do? How could they kill it?
The eyes suddenly widened, and out of their pupils came concentrated beams of darkness that whistled through the Void's air and went straight at him. He gave a cry and flew away, dodging the beams that arced towards him. 'Oh whatever,' he snarled, summoning more energy. 'Forget planning.'
He enshrouded himself in energy and shot himself at the thing's body. A hand composed of twenty clawed fingers shot out of it and snapped at him, but he flew right through it and slammed into the Chaos Heart, the Purity Heart's energy sending an impetus of explosive force against the body. The shadowy matter curled away and dissipated, leaving an enormous crater in the side of it.
'YOU FOOL,' the Chaos Heart said. 'YOUR POWERFUL ATTACK HAS LEFT BUT AN INSIGNIFICANT NICK ON MY BODY. THERE IS NAUGHT THAT YOU CAN DO AGAINST ME.'
A host of tendrils burst out of the wall of shadow before him and pulled his limbs out, stretching him. One more slowly came out, five mouths on its tip, drooling, making its hungry way towards his body.
A flash of light vaporized the tendrils. Blumiere flew down to him and grabbed his arm. The two of them ascended. 'I cannot see a way to harm this abomination,' the prince said.
'We will think of something,' Dimentio said, repeating Mario's words. They had to remain resolute.
'I fear there is nothing we can do.'
Dimentio grabbed Blumiere's shoulders and looked directly into his eyes, a scowl on his face. 'Blumiere, you and I tore the worlds asunder with our sheer power. There is something we can do!' He shook him. 'We cannot let the multiverse continue to exist at the hands of the Chaos Heart!'
Blumiere looked at him, stunned but sympathetic. The two of them were united by their omnicidal pasts, and the prince of darkness knew what it felt like to want to atone. He nodded. 'You are right. There must be something.'
Dimentio teleported and blasted a foe that flew towards them. 'Go around to its back, I will continue examining the front!'
The magician flew up. A host of flaming creatures fell past him, and Bowser smashed through wave after wave of enemies. Smaller tendrils bounced harmlessly off of his shell. 'Grah!' he roared. 'Get out of my way!' The Koopa rose up to the upper part of the torso, took a deep breath, and blasted golden fire at the monster. It lapped at its skin.
'WHAT AN IRKSOME BEING YOU ARE, KING OF THE KOOPAS.' A noise of displeasure rumbled through the Void. 'BUT YOU ARE SO SMALL.'
'I'm not small!' Bowser shot back indignantly. 'I'm huge!'
The Chaos Heart brought a hand back. 'YOU ARE A FLY.'He smashed Bowser with the back of his hand, an enormous crash sounding upon impact. A small noise of pain escaped his jaw, and Bowser went flying limply, making no more noise.
'BOWSER!' cried Peach. 'NO!'
The Koopa disappeared in a flash of light; his soul flew out of his mouth and immediately got torn to shreds by the black hole that surrounded them. The Purity Heart's energy flew back to them, splitting into ten and flying into their chests.
Dimentio floated in stunned silence. A single blow from the Chaos Heart had killed Bowser. How...how could they win this?
'GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!' O'Chunks flew at the Chaos Heart with rage in his eyes. 'YEH HELLSPAWNED DEMON! I'LL MAKE YEH PAY FER HIM!'
'YOU SHALL MEET HIS SAME FATE.'
Two more colossal tendrils burst from the Chaos Heart's body, teeth gnashing along its length. The liquefied remains of bodies struggled to escape their dark prison to no avail. They spread to either side of O'Chunks' flying body and smashed together; the Scotsman soared up and touched down on one, running along its top. 'Yeh can't outchunk O'Chunks! I'll rip yeh apart!' Smaller subtendrils came out of the larger one, but O'Chunks slammed right through them, mist made of light spiraling off of his arms and fists. He leaped in the air and punched through the stomach of a flying foe, then spun his fists and took a head off of another. Two more came in front of him, and two behind him. He hit the ground and then jumped up again, bringing his fists above him. The two behind him flew at him, claws bared.
Nastasia flew down onto his shoulders, turned around, and lowered her glasses. Spirals of light appeared around the monsters and they exploded into a powder. O'Chunks brought his fists down and smashed both front ones, then continued his run up the tendril. 'Oy Nassy!' he called.
'Keep running,' she told him. 'I'll watch out for you.' The man nodded.
Dimentio continued his defense of himself, but couldn't tear his eyes away from the point of light that was making its way up the snaky tendril. It was a futile effort, but it was something, and it was inspiring.
Nastasia's eyes glowed and coils of Purity Heart energy circled around the tendril; veins of light began to stretch along it and it started to stiffen. 'O'Chunks,' she said. 'Punch it.'
'Aye aye, cap'n!' he responded. He leapt up into the air and brought his fists down on the tendril. The cracks of light exploded and the end of the tentacle ripped apart in a flash of luminescence. The Chaos Heart gave what to it was a mumble of discontent, but to them was a roar.
'Now, fly up!' the secretary demanded, and O'Chunks obliged.
'YOU SHALL GO NO FURTHER,' the Chaos Heart boomed. Hundreds of tendrils burst out of its body and went straight up after them, maws and eyeballs on them all.
'O'Chunks, watch—aah!' A tendril flew up and lashed her in the face; her glasses flew off and into the body of the Chaos Heart. Nastasia's mouth turned into a snarl. '...keep flying.' She held onto the man with both hands, burning up the tendrils with their eyes.
'They're not holdin' up!' the warrior said as the tendrils kept coming and advanced closer and closer to them. 'Yeh need teh—'
Nastasia flipped around underneath him and hit him with a blast of magic, making him soar up. 'I know what I need to do,' she said. She flew up the length of the Chaos Heart's right shoulder, spreading the veins of light all across it.
'ENOUGH,' the Heart said angrily, its words making them quake. 'STOP THIS AT ONCE.'
Nastasia flew above the shoulder, but a tendril grabbed her. Then another, then another. She found herself face-to-face with hundreds upon hundreds of slithering whips. Her eyes stopped glowing. She gritted her teeth. 'Do what you have to do, O'Chunks...' she whispered, then shut her eyes. The legion of tendrils wrapped around her, then pulled in every direction, ripping her to shreds.
O'Chunks' eyes widened. 'N...NASTASIA!' he yelled, and his aura of light flared up in his rage, growing all the larger as Nastasia's light was added to his own. His eyes glowed brightly, and he clenched his fists so hard the metal gauntlets he wore on them popped into pieces. He aimed himself down at the Chaos Heart's shoulder, which was shining with the Purity Heart's light. 'YEH'VE CROSSED THE WRONG MAN! CHUNKS AWAY!'
The man dropped, his fist forward, a streak of yellow in everyone's sight. His body collided with the ligament, and an enormous blare of light and sound sent a shockwave of pure force at them all. Dimentio grunted and felt himself fly back, his hat flying off and whipping away.
'GGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!' the Chaos Heart screamed, and its entire arm tore away from its body. A rush of souls, blackened and rotted, flew from the hole, howling as they dissipated into the Void's form. The limb and the tendril both floated away from their body, vaporizing into light and shadow.
The other giant tendril came up at O'Chunks. He brought his fist back and punched the tip with a light-powered strike, making it recoil from the blow. 'Yer not killin' me yet!'
Dimentio had seen enough. He flew towards, the Chaos Heart, light streaming between his fingers. Nastasia had done it. She had figured out a way to hurt it. Now all they had to do was repeat it.
'I WILL MAKE YOUR SOULS WRITHE IN AGONY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!' the monster howled, making the magician slam his hands over his ears. It tensed, then a huge, wormlike creature came out of its chest, screeching with murderous hunger.
Fawful flew by him, making quick work of smaller foes. 'Dimentio, that...!' the Bean shouted, his eyes wide saucers of shimmering yellow. 'That is being...!'
'Not even an inkling as horrifying as the Chaos Heart,' he finished for the boy. 'Take it down.'
The Bean blinked, then nodded. 'Okayo.' He shot off towards the worm.
Dimentio teleported away from another host of flying creatures, then began his flight towards the other shoulder of the Chaos Heart. They had to saturate the limb with light... 'Nastasia, you truly are a genius! Ahahahaha!' He clapped his hands and swiped them to the sides, a wave of energy throwing his foes aside and burning them with the Purity Heart's energy. 'Were...a genius,' he corrected.
He could see the gigantic worm floating through space far away from him, doing battle with a number of his allies. It shrieked, and globules of black slime were spat out of its mouth and flew around it, giving chase to the light aggressors. He would have to help them once this was done.
The Chaos Heart turned directly towards him, all of its billions of eyes scrutinizing his body. 'I'LL NOT LET YOU TOUCH ME,' it rumbled, its three serpentine heads hissing and snarling. The colossus extended its arm and opened up its palm. 'YOU WILL NOT DAMAGE ME AGAIN.' A gash appeared in its hand and a plume of smoke blasted out of it and right towards him. He grunted and put up a shield around himself; the smoke blew past him.
A cacophony of shrieks and moans exploded around him, and agonized faces pressed up against his shield like battering rams. He saw faces he knew; his father, his brothers, his mother. Rosabella, both kings, and countless numbers of faces he knew but names he could not place. 'DIMENTIO!' they hollered, their voices high and shrill.
The magician's arms were in front of him, the Purity Heart's barrier was fading. 'Gngh...I can't...save you yet...!' He put all his effort into strengthening the barrier, then hurled himself to the side, flying out of the column of smoke. The Chaos Heart put its palm out again and released another burst of souls at him. He dodged it narrowly and moved near the arm. 'Now...' he said to himself, calling forth light. 'We must get to work.'
Tendrils came out of the arm and snaked towards him. He dodged a number of them, but couldn't avoid one; it tore through his chest to the other side. He choked, and numbing pain spread from the impaling wound. More still burst out of the monster and came towards him.
Golden jewels flew through the tendrils and cut them to confetti. Mimi grabbed Dimentio by the arm and dodged more tendrils, her Rubees making quick work of them. 'Hey Dimmy!' she beamed, grinning. 'I'm here to save your butt now!' Dimentio's only response was a strangled gasp as he clutched at the hole in his chest. 'Oh crap right that's pretty serious.' She took out several Mushrooms and popped them in his mouth. 'Eat 'em all up!'
Dimentio managed to chew and swallow all of them in one mouthful, and his huge wound began to heal with the help of the Purity Heart to speed up the process. He panted for breath, the gooey innards of the Mushrooms still sliding down his throat. 'Thank you, Mimi...' he coughed. Then his eyes widened. Mimi spun around.
The Chaos Heart had brought back its fist. 'Oh Grambi!' the shapeshifter shouted. She brought her arms in, and a massive, thick wall of Rubees appeared between them and the fist. The colossus' hand smashed right through them, and Dimentio brought up a barrier around himself while Mimi flipped out. The decreased strength plus the shield was enough to not kill him despite the damage done. He flew back, but was otherwise unharmed.
Mimi reappeared behind the Chaos Heart's wrist. 'All right dummyhead!' she shouted, snapping her fingers and making more of the gemstones appear. 'You're going down!' She flew around the arm in a spiral, travelling up it and puncturing it with large Rubees laced with the Purity Heart's energy. She reached the shoulder, then spread her arms wide and stabbed it from every angle with hundreds of Rubees. 'Dimentio!' she called to him. 'Add your own power to this!'
'NO,' the Chaos Heart protested. 'DO NOT.'
'Oh, I think I'll listen to the Chaos Heart this time.' The jester sighed dramatically. 'Don't you think he deserves the benefit of the doubt?'
'No!' the girl shouted back.
Dimentio immediately teleported at her side, a condensed block of light in his hand. 'Oh Mimikins, you're so convincing!' He threw the block down at the cracked shoulder.
The Rubees exploded in time with the projectile, and the second shoulder was ripped off of its socket. 'RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!' the beast screeched at the removal of his second appendage. A howling flurry of spirits flew light blood from its hole. 'THIS. IS. ENOUGH!'
'I think we should go to that worm before this guy kills us,' Mimi suggested.
Dimentio grabbed her hand. 'I concur.' The two of them raced off and away from a furious attack from the Chaos Heart, towards the minion it had unleashed upon them.
Fawful flew by them in an aura of light. 'Ah!' he exclaimed. 'It has goodness that you are being here!'
'How's the fight going?' the girl asked.
A bloodcurdling shriek from the worm cut off the Bean's answer. 'DODGE!' he yelled, and the three of them dispersed as a glob of shadow went right past them. 'It is going as well as it is looking!'
Dozens of smaller worms made their wriggling way out of the larger one's body, spitting acidic darkness at them. 'Why the heck does everything have to summon a bunch of minions?' Mimi asked as she cut down three of them.
'Obviously to make our job just that much more arduous,' Dimentio replied.
Peach and Timpani hit the worm with a wave of light, which it barged right through; its skin steamed and it squealed in pain, and holes burned into its body. 'Our power's not working...' Peach said to her.
'It heals faster than we can hurt it with this,' Timpani agreed. 'Woah!' They both dodged a steam of darkness and disintegrated some worms.
Blumiere smashed the worm with his sceptre and it flailed about, hissing at him. 'This disgusting creature can take a lot of punishment,' he said, then put his sceptre up as sharp spines burst out of its back, attempting to stab him. 'And it has new tricks, it seems.'
Mario and Luigi flew onto the scene. Mario grabbed Luigi by the hand and spun him around. 'Go get it bro!' He threw him at the worm.
The younger brother hit the worm and grabbed onto its back. It thrashed about, writhing and screeching as more and more spines jutted out from it. 'Waah!' Luigi cried. 'This is crazy!' He jumped up and hammered one of the spines right back into its body. It flew right back out and sliced open his arm; the blood leaked out and floated into the open Voidspace.
The worm flailed again and Luigi flew off of its back. The spines on the worm extended and curved, closing in on Luigi like dozens of swords. 'Not on me watch!' O'Chunks shouted, and smashed into Luigi, knocking him out of the way and managing to avoid the spines himself. He clenched his bare fists and flew right at the worm's face. 'I'll punch yeh a new mouth hole!' He brought his fist against its teeth and it recoiled back, growling. 'Hah! 'Ow's that fer a chunkin?'
Then the worm opened its mouth and ate O'Chunks.
A beat passed them all. 'OH GOD!' Luigi finally screamed.
Then the worm jerked suddenly, a pulse of light shining from between its teeth. Slowly, its mouth was forced open. 'Hnnngghh...' grunted the Scotsman in its maw. His armoured feet were pushing against the buttom teeth, and his hands were bringing the top up. 'Yeh think...yeh can jus'...'ave O'Chunks fer dinner?! HAH!'
His body pulsed and the worm flew forwards. 'What...what's he doing?' Timpani asked.
Then the worm and the Scotsman shot off towards the Chaos Heart. 'O'Chunks!' Blumiere and Mimi yelled.
'YAHAHAHAHAHA!' the man laughed. The worm bit down hard on him, but he forced his hands up; the sharp teeth went right through them to the other side. He groaned in pain as blood dripped from the new holes and turned to mist, but he strained his muscles and blocked out the pain to keep the mouth open. They climbed up above the Heart, and the worm's body began glowing. 'YEH BLOOMIN' MONSTER!' he roared, aiming himself straight towards. 'I'VE COOKED YEH UP A LITTLE SOMETHIN' TASTY!'
'Oh no...' Mario said, his eyes wide.
The Chaos Heart opened one of its snakelike mouths and blasted a plume of darkness at him. It hit the giant, glowing projectile and parted around it, burning through the man's armour. 'Heh...heh heh...' he chuckled. 'Bottoms up!'
The man and the worm plunged into the open mouth and down its throat. Dimentio's heart was pounding. 'He...he didn't honestly...!'
A column of light blew out of the serpent head's mouth, nose and eyes, and a powerful searing sound travelled out to meet their ears. The head disappeared, leaving nothing but more souls rushing out of a stump of a neck. The two remaining heads wailed, the beings which made them up crying in misery.
'He...he...!' Mimi stuttered, clenching her fists.
'First Bowser,' Peach whispered. 'Then Nastasia, then O'Chunks...'
'We'll bring them back!' Timpani shouted at them all. 'Just like everyone else who died, we can bring them back! Right?'
Mario nodded. 'Right. Even if we ourselves die, those left can still destroy it.'
'YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE PRIVILAGE OF DESTROYING ME, HERO OF THE LIGHT PROGNOSTICUS!' the Chaos Heart screamed at the plumber. 'YOUR NUMBERS HAVE DROPPED FROM ELEVEN TO EIGHT, AND IT WILL CONTINUE TO ZERO!'
'Not as long as we're still here!' Luigi shot back. The Purity Heart energy O'Chunks had possessed flew into their chests as Bowser's and Nastasia's had. 'C'mon guys, let's-a go! Two heads left!'
They blasted off towards the heart as a single group of eight. As the Purity Heart's light streaked from his body, Dimentio was beginning to feel the burning sensation on his body again, and he grimaced. 'C...curses...' he whispered, gritting his teeth.
The magician's former partner flew up to him, his Headgear blazing with golden fire. 'Dimentio, are you having wellness?'
'Ahaha...worried for me, Fawful?'
'Fah!' the Bean snorted. 'It would have badness if our numbers had the dropping to seven!'
Dimentio chuckled. 'I am fine. We have a much larger problem right now.'
The winged enemies were still out in full force, and they converged on the eight of them. Dimentio and Fawful parted, cutting a path through the smaller foes on their flight to the larger one. The Chaos Heart's two heads roared at them, and out of their mouths came two black beams. 'Out of the way!' Mario and Blumiere both yelled, and they dodged, flipped, or teleported away from the blasts. The screeches of minions were cut short as the blasts completely destroyed them.
At the very least, he is destroying his own army for us, Dimentio thought.
All the eyes around the Chaos Heart's massive body suddenly widened, their pupils dilating. 'Uh oh,' Timpani said, verbalizing what they all felt.
Millions of magical waves hummed through the air towards them, and the magician could see the Void ripple as they converged with them. The waves passed over his body and he was hit with a high-frequency whine. He lurched in the air, clutching the sides of his head, and one Chaos Heart monster became two, then three, then six.
The waves were laced with darkness, and he could feel the familiar energy that had always been with him creeping back into his brain. All of his memories, all of his ambitions, came back up to the surface at full force. Suddenly, rage had taken hold of him. Kill them... snarled a voice in the forefront of his mind. They took everything from you! Destroy them all! He could see himself in front of him, one eye shining bright red, face filled with ire. His body was shaking, and the Purity Heart's glow had begun to fade as the darkness kept seeping in.
Then, beams of shadow shot out of the eyes and arced towards them, cutting space as they flew. Dimentio's heart skipped a beat as the curtain came towards the eight fading points of light. He incapacitated us... he realized.
Fighting through the haze, he spread his arms out and put every ounce of energy he possibly could into bending the dimensions. Each beam suddenly stopped, travelling eternally forward through dimensions that continuously expanded in length. 'Ah...hahaha...!' he giggled. All of his muscles were strained in effort. He reached into himself and managed to pull energy from the Purity Heart. He threw his spread arms forward and all of the beams shone white and evaporated.
The clarity and light hit him like a bullet train, and his aura immediately flared back to life as the waves finished passing him. His heart was warm in his chest, and thumping hard. He was panting, and sweat dripped off of him and floated in space. His seven allies had already continued their fight, but he remained behind, his body aching. He took out another Mushroom and ate it, feeling himself grow well again. 'How...how much longer is this possible to take...?' he moaned. 'I have so few left...'
That didn't matter. He had to keep fighting, even if the Purity Heart completely destroyed him in the process. The Chaos Heart would be destroyed. He would undo what he had done. The image of Mimi, screaming at him and throwing down the Rubee containing the rose he had given her, flashed through his mind, followed by the sight of his mother verbally ripping him apart, then shutting the doors and leaving herself to the destruction of his world.
He had been clouded by darkness and pain for so long he had lost sense of everything. He would do so no longer. He summoned up more energy, then shot off toward his fellows.
'YOUR TRICKS WILL ONLY SAVE YOU ONCE, DESTROYER OF WORLDS!' the Chaos Heart raged at him. 'THE VOID IS MY DIMENSION!'
'You know, I somewhat resent that title!' Dimentio scoffed.
More tendrils came off of its body at them, greater in number and faster; the Chaos Heart was getting desperate. The magician found it comforting to know that even an unholy monster made up of souls caked in the Void's body could feel fear. He grinned widely, then dodged a tendril, blocked another with a barrier, and waved his arms, reducing ten to vapours of light and darkness. It was getting almost too easy at this point, despite the pain that accompanied every single attack he made.
The eight of them climbed up over the two growling heads. Each of them had two large eyes that swirled like smaller, scarlet Voids. 'Time to die, Chaos Heart!' Blumiere declared, pointing his sceptre at it.
'YOUR WORDS ARE HOLLOW, PRINCE OF DARKNESS,' was the response. 'YOU SHALL BE CHOKED BY MY SHADOW.'
One of its heads breathed deeply and let loose an enormous torrent of blackness at them. They drew up barriers and prepared to move, but didn't need to; Peach and Timpani flew forwards and waved their arms, summoning an equally-large flood of light. The two forces met with a crash, merging in on each other. They heaved and churned, and tendrils of light and darkness curled around each other, attempting to overpower the other.
The two women held out their hands, forcing their energy onward. The power heated up the air, and Dimentio felt his hair stand on end. 'How can they be so powerful...?!' he exclaimed.
A strong boom cracked through the Voidspace. 'It is being their hearts!' Fawful answered over the din. 'They are being the purest of pure!'
They pushed themselves forward, forcing the light to force the shadow back. Peach groaned under the intense physical strain. 'We...we can't move it...!'
'Everyone help!' Mario demanded. The six inactive fighters flew to them and pushed against the magic with all their might, while the Chaos Heart maintained the continuous stream of darkness out of its mouth. It was like pushing against the colossus itself; it was a force of unparalleled proportions, and Dimentio could do nothing to move it.
A streak of power mixed with the Purity and Chaos Hearts' energies blasted out of the two opposing forces. Peach and Timpani forced themselves forward with all of their might, and as their bodies moved ahead, their energy overtook the shadow a tiny bit more. 'We...we need to move forward...' Timpani groaned. Then she set her jaw and her face turned determined. Still pushing, she turned her head around. 'Blumiere!' she yelled. 'I need you to blast us at it!'
'What? No!' the man protested. 'If you get too close, you'll be in danger!'
'I don't care!' she shot back. 'We need to keep hurting this thing!' She clenched her eyes shut and gave another hard push. 'Even if it kills me, we have to do something!'
'She's right!' Peach gave her agreement. 'We can get in there and damage it that way!'
'I can't do that,' Mario said, shaking his head. 'I'm not going to let you die.'
Both girls turned their heads around, their eyes shining gold. Timpani looked straight into Blumiere's face. 'Blumiere, if you love me...do it for me. If you win, I'll come back just like the worlds did last time.' Peach looked at Mario, and her eyes said the same thing.
The two men hesitated, then clenched their fists. 'All right,' Blumiere said gravely. 'But you're coming back after.' Timpani nodded and smiled.
'Everyone!' Mario said to them. 'Get them down there!' He opened his palms and light shone from them. Dimentio called energy up as well. He supposed he would have to kill two more heroes before his strife was over.
They sent a wave of force against the two women and they shot forwards, plunging into the mixture of power. The light they wielded surged on through the darkness and, princess and lady in tow, into the throat of the second head.
Blumiere and Mario both averted their eyes as another column of Purity Heart magic erupted out of the Chaos Heart, making the head fade into its intensity. The Heart screamed again, the third head thrashing about in anguish. 'AAAAAAAUUUGGHH! STOP! CEASE THE PAIN!'
Dimentio extended a hand and caught the two collections of energy from Peach and Timpani's sacrifices. He felt heavy. Death was affecting him in a way that it never had before. He snapped his fingers and made his aura of light strengthen, feeling just the power surrounding him hurting his body. His teeth were bared behind his half-mask. 'I swear on the lives lost by my hand...' he whispered furiously. 'I will delete you from existence, Chaos Heart!'
'YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS!' the monster screamed. For the first time, true terror was evident in its voice. All around its body, the souls were howling along with it, be it in fear, in pain, or in joy. More and more were still rushing out of the four holes in its body, disappearing into the fabric of the Void. 'I WON'T LET YOU DESTROY ME! I WON'T LET YOU USE ME! I AM THE SOURCE OF CHAOS IN THIS UNIVERSE! I AM THE DEITY THAT INVITES DESTRUCTION!'
'Yeah!' Mimi yelled, golden Rubees encircling her. 'Your own destruction!'
The last remaining head roared and souls flew off of its body towards them, screaming like banshees. The mass of spirits overtook them, and passed through Dimentio as if made of frozen air.
Tendrils of shadow shot out of the Chaos Heart's body again, and the magician dodged upwards. Mario and Luigi spun around, flinging the souls out of their way, and Blumiere summoned a cyclone of light that sucked them into its eye. 'We've got to destroy the last head!' Blumiere told them. 'We must do something!'
'DIMENTIO!' The Heart's voice was filled with more rage than Dimentio had ever heard. 'I WILL DESTROY YOU! EVEN IF I AM ERASED HERE, I WILL TAKE YOU WITH ME!'
A splitting pain pounded against his head and his senses blurred and shifted. 'Nnugh...' he groaned, his body growing limp. 'Wh..at...?'
The Chaos Heart opened its mouth and tendrils rolled out of its mouth towards him. 'Dimentio!' Mimi cried. 'Watch out!' She slammed into him and pushed him out of the way. The tendrils wrapped around her and yanked her down into the gullet of the beast.
His heart slammed against his chest. 'MIMI!' he cried; he heard Fawful's voice shout in time with his own. The two of them flew down after her.
'Fawful, Dimentio, don't!' their three remaining allies shouted. It was no use; they were already gone.
The two villains dove past the head's teeth and into the shadowy lake that was its body. Darkness was all around them like a thick liquid, and the murmurs and screams of the Chaos Heart's souls travelled to them, the ravings of all the worlds' madmen.
'HELLO DIMENTIO!' the Heart laughed, and for an instant the image of the small, long-limbed Chaos Heart body appeared before him and grabbed his cheeks; he banished it with a blast of magic that was soon swallowed by the sea. 'AND YOU TOO FAWFUL, MY LITTLE DARK PRODIGY! COME TO RESCUE A DAMSEL?'
The two of them struggled to push themselves down into the monsters insides. The jester looked sideways at the Bean, straining himself as equally hard as he was. 'We...must have the saving...of her!' he yelled. His voice was muffled by the water.
Mimi came into view, surrounding in a fading aura of light. Dimentio and Fawful pushed themselves on, but the fluid only got thicker. Their powers were fading, and the jester could see his body burning again. Mimi stretched out her hand, looking straight at him.
They stopped; the water was too thick. They could go no further, no matter how hard they pushed. 'HAAAA HAAAA HAAAA HAAAA!' the Chaos Heart laughed, in unison with thousands of other voices. 'YOU WILL DROWN HERE AND DIE, AND YOUR REMAINING ALLIES WILL MEET THE SAME FATE!'
'Di...mentio...!' the shapeshifting girl said, her voice choked. All of her effort was being spent into keeping herself alive in the middle of the Chaos Heart's energy. She pushed forward and reached even further, but the distance between them was too great.
'Mimi!' Fawful yelled, trying to grasp her hand. 'Mimi! Mi...' He looked at the girl, then at Dimentio; the two of them had locked gazes, and were struggling in vain to reach each other. The boy looked back at Mimi for a moment, then sighed. Something had fallen into place. He looked at Dimentio again. 'Have the saving of her!' he demanded, then put his hand back and forced the magician forward with a blast of light. The Bean turned around and shot back up out of the Chaos Heart.
The distance between the two of them was closed and, just barely, the two of them closed their hands around the other's. Dimentio looked deeply into Mimi's red eyes and the anxiety in his chest melted away. They smiled.
'WHAT IS HAPPENING?' the Chaos Heart demanded. 'STOP THIS.'
Blazing light shone around them and power flooded their veins. The water around them evaporated and floated up and out of its throat. 'Let's take this thing down,' Mimi said.
Dimentio nodded. 'Yes. Let's.'
The two of them flew up, their light spreading. As they flew, gigantic Rubees appeared around them. 'This'll teach you to eat me!' Mimi shouted, and the gems flew out to the sides. They soared out of the serpentine mouth, and the huge Rubees burst out of the Chaos Heart's throat. As they rose, Mimi looked down at her handiwork. 'That's it,' she said.
The Rubees exploded, tearing apart the Chaos Heart's neck and decapitating it, the head disintegrating into light. A final wave of souls came pouring out of the wound. 'Guys, you're all right!' Luigi beamed.
'Look at that,' Mario said, and pointed down the creature's throat. The liquid had dispersed, and the body was hollow; in its core, beating irregularly, was the Chaos Heart in its original form. 'Time for the final blow!'
'NO!' The Chaos Heart was in hysterics. 'I CANNOT DIE! I CANNOT DIE! MY ETERNAL DESTRUCTION AND CREATION! MY CHAOS! YOU CAN'T TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME!'
'It is time to end this conflict once and for all!' Blumiere bellowed. They shot down, six points of light in the blackness. Light shone from their pores, and the energy built up to a maximum as they approached the core.
Dimentio's body was bubbling, but it didn't matter. This was his one true victory. Three thousand years of darkness had pressed in on him, and now it was time to banish it forever. 'Relic of destruction!' he roared, and his energy rippled and sent cracks through the white half-mask. 'Our nightmarish work is at an end! Take your final bow!'
They bellowed as one, their voices magnified and pulsing with the power of the Purity Heart. Power pumping through them, the strength of entire dimensions shaking their atoms, they collided with the true Chaos Heart, and all of the energy that they had pent up inside of them shot out of them and into the Heart. It glowed a powerful white, and the entire, huge body trembled. 'NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!' their enemy howled.
A massive flare of light, followed by a deafening boom, ripped the body apart. Every soul that had been trapped in its form flashed white, then flew off into the distance, dispersing into the Void's confines, their voices fading as they disappeared. The Chaos Heart exploded, a sun's worth of light blowing apart the darkness that it was.
The blast faded. The six of them floated there in the Void, the Purity Heart bathing them all in its shining light. Fawful looked at all of his allies. Mario was looking up at the light with a small smile on his face and his knuckles against a hip, Luigi stared wide-eyed in wonder at the spectacle, and Blumiere had his sceptre hanging from his hand and was reaching up to the glow.
He looked at Mimi, the girl who had made him melt at the sight of her so long ago in Peach's Castle. . She was smiling brightly, her eyes taking in the light and the disintegrating remnants of the Chaos Heart that floated around them. She looked not at him; her eyes were on Dimentio's, who was breathing heavily and had a look of pure joy on his face. It looked strange to the Bean.
'We did it,' Mimi sighed to the jester, giggling quietly. 'We finally won.'
Dimentio smiled back, his bright yellow eye sparkling in the pure radiance. 'I suppose so. Now the worlds can rest in peace at last.' The spectacle made the Bean's chest hurt, but at the same time he felt happy for them both.
Fawful noticed a movement and started; the Chaos Heart's remnants suddenly flew together into an orb of dark matter below them, and flew up at Dimentio. The globule of darkness slammed into his chest and he and the Chaos Heart's remains shot up, high above the others. 'Dimentio!' the boy shouted, and flew up after him. They hadn't completely destroyed the Chaos Heart...what had they been thinking?!
All six of the heroes, the boy included, flashed. Their light energy came out of their bodies, collecting into the Purity Heart which soared after the Bean, eager to take down its kin.
'FOOL!' Dimentio screamed at him, the Chaos Heart's voice coming out of his mouth. 'YOU CANNOT DESTROY ME WITHOUT DESTROYING HIM!' Fawful snarled and flew faster.
Then, they came to a stop. Where once they had been a party, it was now just the two of them, former partners, floating alone in the middle of nothingness. The Purity Heart floated above them, warming them from their skin to their bones.
Dark crackles of energy shot around Dimentio, wrapping around his limbs, torso, and head. His face was contorted in suffering, and he was clenching his teeth. A small sound of pain escaped his lips, then transformed into something else. Laughter.
'Aha...ahahahahaha...of c-course...' he gasped, giggling. 'I should have known it would be just...you and me. Aha...'
'You can't kill me now!' the Chaos Heart cackled. 'You will not kill your new friend too!'
'What...what is—' the Bean started.
'I am so s...saturated with the energy of the Dark Prognosticus that...' The magician grimaced and wretched. '...that the Purity Heart burns me. If you destroy the Chaos Heart...'
'You will have destruction as well...' Sadness suddenly descended upon him, and he swallowed hard, looking away from Dimentio's face, half covered by the white, cracked mask he knew all too well.
The Chaos Heart continued to gloat. 'Haha, now you see! Now you see that you cannot destroy me!' The Purity Heart gave rhythmic pulses that stretched throughout the Void, and the jester winced at each one.
'I suppose in the end...you are the one to emerge victorious in our battle. Ha ha ha...' The sadness was spreading across the Bean's chest. The steady rumble of his Headgear's thrusters meshed with the ambient rumble of the Void and the single, pure note the Purity Heart gave off.
'I...I am not wanting to do this,' he said. 'I—'
Dimentio grabbed his face and turned it to look at him. A melancholic smile was on his face and tears were flowing down his cheeks. 'I have lived for th...three thousand years,' he said quietly. 'I want to live...but it is my time to die. I will pay for what I have done.'
Fawful stared into the man's yellow eye; it was glistening with tears, and inside was not even a hint of malice. Only sadness, shame, and regret that rooted itself millennia ago. 'But...' he whispered.
Wonder flashed across the jester's face and suddenly he was looking past Fawful. 'Fawful...look...' he said, and pointed behind him. The Bean turned around, and what he saw took his breath away.
On the horizon, shimmering, he could see several points of light. Slowly, more appeared, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands and still appearing. Their light grew in intensity, the rays climbing up. 'They are...' he said, his voice cracking. 'Souls...'
The darkness of the Void was disappearing underneath a veil of light that came off of every single spirit. They kept appearing; their numbers were uncountable, their light overwhelming. The glow rose to the heavens like a sunrise, each soul a single star. In them, Fawful knew, rested the joy and relief of everyone whose lives they had been fighting for. Their hearts and emotions touched the Bean's and he felt his eyes go wet.
The faintest whisper came from behind him, and he turned around. Dimentio's eyes were wide with awe, and his cheeks had grown wetter with tears. 'They're...' he breathed. Before him, in the sunrise of a million souls, every world, every person, every sky he had ever seen was flashing through his mind. The worlds, the very imperfect ones that he had fought so desperately to destroy, sent a warmth through his heart. 'They're all so...beautiful...'
Fawful blinked, taking in every detail of the magician. 'I...' he said softly. 'I am thinking so too...' The Purity Heart glowed, its desire powerful. '...goodbye, Dimentio.'
Then, he fell.
The Void's darkness rushed past him, his cape billowed, and he looked up to Dimentio, whose body was disappearing inside the light of the Purity Heart. Memories flashed through his head. Memories of their resurrection, their partnership, their combined efforts. Memories of Dimentio's past, and his betrayal. Memories of Fawful's tireless battles, his losses, his victories. Memories of both of their pain and their suffering, of darkness whispering into their ears and of light setting them free.
The magician's final expression, the breathless and human wonder, the tears of anguish and beauty, stayed fixed in his mind as he fell. Despite the pain that Dimentio had caused, despite all of the suffering, Fawful felt sad that he had to go.
'DIMENTIO!' cried a female voice. Mimi flew past him, soaring upwards towards the shining ball of energy that had engulfed the jester.
'Mimi!' the boy yelled, extending a hand. 'Stop!'
It was no use. The shapeshifting girl climbed higher and higher, calling his name, and her body pierced the light and vanished from his view.
Her feet touched solid ground. All around her was a bright haze. She moved her hands in front of her face and moved them; her movements were slow, her mind tired.
She saw him, lying on the ground. With soft footsteps, she walked over to him and sat down. 'Dimentio...' she said, and placed a hand on his chest.
Darkness was peeling off of his skin and disappearing into the haze. The dark blue of his body was disappearing, revealing the white, human skin underneath. The boy looked up at her with his one eye. 'Mimi...' he whispered back. 'Hello.'
She moved her hand softly around his chest, her fingers brushing the fabric of his clothes. Pain and sorrow contorted her face and she started to cry. 'How...how are you?'
'I...' He breathed slowly, as if taking his first real breaths of sweet air. 'I feel...clean...' He was smiling slightly. 'I feel like I have been covered in grime for so many, many years...and now...' A tear rolled down his cheek. 'I am clean.'
Mimi sobbed and slammed her hand down on his chest. 'You said you would live!' she yelled at him. 'You promised me! You swore on the lives of all who ever existed!'
'I lied,' he laughed. The words hit Mimi like a stone and she smacked him in the face. He didn't flinch. His body was shimmering.
'What's going to happen to you...?' she asked through her tears.
'My being is full of the Dark Prognosticus' energy. The Purity Heart will destroy my body, and the power will rend my spirit apart. All who have died here will return to their rightful places, in life or death, but I...I will cease to be in all respects.'
'Why...?' she whispered, fighting back sobs. She clenched her fingers around his poncho. 'Why does it have to be like this...?'
'Oh Mimi...it is the same reason all of this happened. Because of my horrible folly.'
The man's body was glowing now, and she was having a harder time seeing him in the light. She reached down and took the mask-half off of his face, placing it on the ground beside her. His grey eye stared into hers along with his yellow one. The girl cupped her hands on his cheeks and lowered her face down over his. 'Souls...can't be destroyed,' she said. 'We've seen that.'
Surprise, then contentment, went over his face. 'You are correct. Then perhaps...we will meet again after all.'
She moved a thumb along his cheek, her tears dripping down onto them. 'I...' she whispered so quietly she could barely hear it. 'I love you...'
His eyes half closed, and he looked up, sighing peacefully. 'I love you too. Even as my soul is spread to the furthest reaches of existence...that will always be true.'
She closed her eyes, parting her mouth slightly. Lowering her head, she closed the distance between their lips, her heart crying out for a final goodbye.
They met the open air. Her hands groped at nothing. She opened her eyes to see one last glimpse of Dimentio's fading form, her chest aching for the kiss she couldn't have, before the light that was all around her overtook her vision and made her fade into unconsciousness.
Fawful woke up. The strange, tan sky filled with odd shapes told him that he was in Flipside. He sat up and brushed off his clothes, moving his body just in case it wasn't working properly. It was fine.
'The dimensions...they have returned!' he shouted, a wide grin on his face. He jumped up and down, cheering. 'Oh, happies! Hooray!'
'Ugh, wow...' The Bean looked around to see other people with him. Luigi, the one who had spoken, rose too, grabbing his head. 'I feel like I was hit by a truck...'
'Luigi!' he cried, and hugged the man tightly. 'We have victory! Victory I am saying!'
'Woah, haha! Yeah, hey!' He let go and the green man looked around. 'We're in Flipside! We won!'
'Bro!' Mario walked up to them with Peach in tow. 'Look who's back!' He pulled her close, a hand around her waist.
'Hey Princess!' he beamed. 'You were really awesome!'
'Teehee,' she giggled. 'You too, Luigi! A true hero.' Luigi pumped his fist.
A finger tapped Fawful on the shoulder and he turned around to see a green woman in a purple cloak. 'Cackletta!' He hugged her tightly too. 'You are being back!'
'That,' she huffed, 'was insane. Never put me through it again.' Then she grinned. 'I heard what you did from the red loser over there. You've done so much more than I ever could have imagined. Even if it involved siding with the aforementioned loser.' She chuckled, and Fawful laughed too, perhaps harder than he would have had he not just saved the entirety of existence. She put a hand on his head. 'I think you've at least officially outdone me! Eeyah ha ha ha!'
'Hey kid.' They turned to see Kamek and Bowser trudging around. Fawful and Cackletta approached them. The Magikoopa shuffled, rubbing his hand on the tip of his magic wand. 'We came pretty close. I thought for sure it was curtains for us.'
'Nah, we kicked butt!' Bowser bragged. 'Especially me, I was awesome! Right, Fawful?' The Koopa gave him a desperate look.
'You had the defeat in one hit!' the Bean scoffed. Kamek hooted and Bowser grumbled.
'Oh, by the way...' the Bean witch said quietly, tapping his shoulder. 'There's someone you probably want to go see.'
They found Timpani and Count Bleck's former minions gathered around someone else. Fawful walked into the group. 'What is happening?' he whispered.
'The poor lass is blue,' O'Chunks sighed, and gave the Bean a congratulatory pat on the back.
Mimi was sitting on the ground, leaning on Blumiere's shoulder. 'I'm sorry he couldn't have survived, Mimi,' the former count said sadly, brushing her hair with his hand and holding her tightly with the other arm. 'I truly, truly am.'
Mimi shuddered, then swallowed, stifling a whimper. 'It's...it's all right...' Her words were devoid of feeling. 'I just need time, I guess...' She looked up at him, and her face looked as old and tired as the centuries she had lived. 'You know, Count...' she said quietly. 'I used to think you were really good-looking.'
The prince's eyes widened. 'And now?'
The girl blinked, then seemed to realize what she had implied. 'Uh, not to say you aren't good-looking or anything! But...' She sighed. 'Now, I just kind of...don't. Um...' She made confused motions.
'I understand what you mean, Mimi,' Blumiere responded, and gave her a hug. 'I am so sorry.'
'I told you, it's all right,' the girl insisted. 'I just have to wait.'
'Wait for what?' Nastasia asked. 'I thought you said he was...gone.'
Mimi nodded. 'Yeah, but...souls can't be destroyed, remember? Even if it takes forever, he can still come back.'
'Heck, my soul was destroyed,' Cackletta chimed in, 'and look at me now! Young and fit as ever!'
Mimi giggled. Blumiere stood up and pulled her to her feet. She looked around. 'Thanks, guys...I'm glad I have you here.' She smiled.
Mimi caught Fawful's eyes and the Bean started. After a moment's hesitation, he gave his typical, toothy grin and waved at her. She waved back, showing her teeth as well in an exaggerated grin that made them both laugh. For the first time, Fawful couldn't feel the butterflies in his stomach that she had given him for as long as he'd known her. A bittersweet feeling took hold in him when he realized the change his adventure had brought in the end.
'Mimi,' he said. 'I am thanking you for your friendship. I will never have the forgetting of you.'
Mimi ran over to him and gave him a tight hug. 'Thank you too, Fawful,' she said. 'You've been a great friend to me too, despite all the things that happened.' They broke the hug and Mimi looked at him for a moment. Then, she flicked his nose. 'Now be good!'
'Oof! Okayo, hahaha!' he laughed.
He waved goodbye to everyone, and got farewells from them all. Together, he and Cackletta parted from the heroes and took an elevator to the top of Flipside's tower to be alone together. The two of them stood silently, looking out over the small town, and into the tan-coloured sky before them.
'So,' the Bean witch said. 'Any plans, Lord Fawful?'
The boy looked sideways at her, giving a lopsided grin. 'Are you certain that you are wanting to address me by the title of mine, O Mistress Cackletta?'
'Hah! I think my final boss days are over. I'm way too old for that.' She stretched. 'However...perhaps I could be of service?'
'Hmmmmm...' he muttered, feigning consideration. 'Well...I am supposing that there might be room in the lair of Fawful for a toady. But only if they are have obedience and loyalty!'
'Don't push your luck, baldy,' the woman sneered, and smacked him in the back of the head with the back of her hand. They both couldn't help but chortle.
For a moment, they said nothing.
Then, Fawful broke the silence. 'Fah, enough of this quiet!' He spun around, swiping an arm out and making his red cape billow in the wind. 'We are being Fawful and Cackletta! The worlds are being ours to scour!'
'That's what I like to hear!' the witch beamed.
Fawful drew up a two-dimensional box around them both. 'But first, we must be returning home.' Excitement and sentimentality in his heart, he flipped them both out, homeward-bound for the Beanbean Kingdom at last.
Fawful didn't know what he wanted. He didn't know what his future held, what door of the many he would eventually end up opening and stepping through. But he was going home, and he had a loyal toady and his beloved mother by his side.
And that was all he really needed.
The room was dark, and shadows obscured the blue walls of the room. His magical potions and tombs scattered throughout his house glowed mysteriously in the shade, and the contents of the vials of liquid bubbled and hissed, adding a mystical ambience to the room.
Merlon of Flipside and Nolrem of Flopside stood before a table lit by candlelight. The small, orange flames flickered and cast a faint glow on the two objects placed before them. Two books, one white, one black, both emitting powerful magic.
'It is time,' Nolrem said gravely. 'Time to truly banish these books' madness from the multiverse.'
'Yes,' Merlon agreed. 'This must never repeat itself.'
The two wizards looked at each other and nodded, the seriousness of the situation transferred between that gesture. Merlon turned to the Light Prognosticus while Nolrem looked at the Dark one. The denizen of the Tribe of Ancients put his hand on the white book's cover, feeling the familiar surface. He had delved into its pages many a time, but no longer.
He forced magic through his fingertips and onto the tomb. A flash of light illuminated the room, and the book burst into flame. Nolrem had given the Dark Prognosticus the same treatment.
They stared into the fires as the books turned to ash under their heat and magical power. Merlon gave a satisfied nod, watching the last remnants of the Tribes' legacy vanish from the face of existence.
At long last, they could rest in peace.