My deepest and most sincere condolences.
I really have no excuse for that long of a hiatus. I could blame school- Had about 5 honors/AP classes, along with track and field. But I have just myself to blame. And if you have it in your hearts to forgive me, I would be very thankful if you read the chapter. I'll do my best to keep up with the weekly postings. I'm on summer break now- it should be easier.
Kid Icarus is owned by Nintendo. Enjoy the show!
Chapter 6 - Brawl
He should have known it would come to this at some point. Titan was always one to hold a grudge- a trait that has once proved the existence of a consanguinity in the face of shame. But all weapons are perceived as useful when in your favor. And now Cragalanche had been left at his brother's mercy as though he were a criminal. The ones who had received his arrival with such jubilance now scorned and mocked him from above. Titan cracked his knuckles.
"Father always said you were brave," said the elder in the native language. "But he never mentioned your limitless idiocy."
Around the ring they circled, step by prudent step. Cragalanche held up his arms. "And what your own blindness? You have been possessed and overtaken by your own grief."
"Blindness?" Titan spat on the ground. "It is you who is blinded, 'baby brother'. All this time and you continue to lie to your pathetic little self. You refuse to believe that it was you who killed my father in cold blood."
"He died to protect us."
"Silence!" Titan stomped his foot into the ground. "Admit it! You were always one for reckless stunts. But that time, you planned it, and for no reason except to cause me misery."
"Brother, I did not-"
"You are no such brother of mine!" The elder took a fighting stance. Louder and more vigorous grew they cries of the spectators. "For trespassing upon the grounds from which you, Cragalanche, have been exiled, the sentence is fifteen minutes."
The younger bent down as well. Fifteen minutes. Cragalanche inhaled quietly through his nose. He squared off his feet. Arms were in the air to block and punch, whichever was needed. Cragalanche looked to his winged companion. How Pit struggled and screamed at the guards to release him- frankly it broke the rokman's heart. But if I don't fight he won't be able to advance to his destination. Cragalanche turned back to his brother, a flame burning passionately in the eyes of each.
The gladiators charged. Titan's judgement had not been obscured by the old rage. Vengeance is a powerful weapon. The elder's blows were swift and powerful, but slow to die in intensity. Cragalanche narrowed his eyes. Left uppercut- downward block. Right cross- inward block. Left jab- dodge. The younger avoided every blow as best he could. Titan had now backed him into one of the walls. The blows came faster. Cragalanche sidestepped and circled about the room with Titan still trying to land at least a few hits. Angry shouting came from the stands. Left hook. Cragalanche somersaulted away and stood. It was not likely that he could outlast Titan, but the younger still felt a certain love for a brother that kept him from dealing true damage.
The older drew back. "Fight me, coward!"
Cragalanche was silent. Titan charged again. The younger continued his evasive maneuvers for a while longer. His arm began to tire. Pain exploded in Cragalanche's side. Then he felt his jaw crack. Titan was gaining the upper hand. The younger was taken by the arms, swung several laps, then thrown into the air. Cragalanche eventually collided into the wall and slid down. Pit screamed louder amongst the approving shouts of the audience. "Look at how the so-called 'mighty' have fallen," mocked Titan. Though weary, the other rokman forced himself back to his feet again. He wiped away the magma that dribbled from his lip.
I have no choice now. I must fight.
They stampeded and locks arms on each other's' shoulders. For that moment Cragalanche could see it: the hurt, the anger, the hate. Titan's eyes burned red with it. The elder screamed and threw his opponent aside. Cragalanche cringed as he skidded across the floor, the cracks widening again and bleeding free. The oppressor charged again. Cragalanche rolled out of the way, just in time for Titan to smash his fist into the floor, sending up dirt and gravel. This was his chance. Cragalanche took a hold of Titan and proceeded to send several uppercuts into his stomach. Only about four had landed before the older had slammed his brother back onto the ground.
Titan sat himself on Cragalanche and secured two large hands around his neck. The younger grabbed at his brother's wrists. He struggled for air, but only noisy, futile gasps were the fruits of his efforts. The crowds became louder. His lungs burned. Pit continued to call out for mercy on his friend's part. A darkness clouded his vision. Cragalanche felt faint. He lifted one hand off Titan's grip.
Brother, forgive me.
With that one hand on the other's face, Cragalanche quickly plunged his thumb into Titan's right eye socket. The older roared as magma splurted out. He immediately jumped off, caressing his new wound, thus releasing Cragalanche. Never before had simple air been so sweet. Pit cheered somewhere off to the side. The younger scrambled back up as his world swayed to his newfound breath. Titan, hunched over, looked back to his opponent as he removed his hand from the eye. Magma freely bled from a shut eyelid and stained the gaps between his fingers. He gnashed his teeth and clenched his fists. The still functioning eye burned more vehemently, more outraged. "Infidel," he bellowed. "You shall pay!"
Vertigo had receded when the oppressor had ran to attack again. Observers shouted. Titan lifted his arm up high. Cragalanche prepared an upward block. For a fraction of a second, he could see an equally small sign of a smirk. Before he could stop it, Titan's fists had a firm hold of of his brother's arm. The bite stung beneath the meaty hands. He tightened. Cragalanche grimaced. A sickening crack sounded, eliciting an equally blood-curdling yell out of not only Cragalanche, but of Pit as well. Magma gushed out from beneath Titan's fingers. The audience applauded and howled. Some even whistled. The younger was thrown into the dirt once more.
That was the turning point of the trial. Cragalanche's fate had been sealed. Titan towered over his brother. With a single, shaking arm, the younger attempted to stand once more. His sibling scoffed and stomped the body back onto the floor. Cragalanche croaked. The yells portrayed pleasure and excitement. Powerful kicks were slammed into his ribs, even with the short, portly legs. Cragalanche could to nothing, for lack of a better phrase. All the noise and torchlight was slowly being drowned in the pain. Titan latched his arms on his body. With a battle cry, He had lifted the limp rokman over his head. An applause sounded. Pit's cries of agony were little more than a muffled echo now. Titan spun about, building the momentum to launch the youth to oblivion. Cragalanche was released from his grip. The old wounds in his back widened even more as he hit the torch ridden wall. There was not only the ache, but the burn. Cragalanche slumped to the ground.
As his world darkened and blurred into nonexistence, Cragalanche could only recall the continued smashing of his already broken arm and the fading image of the frantic struggling of a very upset friend.
I'm sorry, my dear friend. I have failed you. . .
Perhaps he had lost consciousness at the point when which the pain had begun to fade. Muddled and angry english hinted at another hypothesis.
"Leave him alone!"
The rage and helplessness to help his companion had built up so much that Pit almost didn't realize that he had shot himself off like a missile and out of the grips of his captors. Not only that, he had dragged them along some ways before they had let go, each landing on their head and losing consciousness. Without a second thought the angel plowed into Titan, sending the rokman rolling onto the ground. Both were back on their feet in no time. Pit drew the two knives from the bow and spread his wings as wide as he could to intimidate.
"I won't let you lay another hand on my friend, Titan!" The rokman glared at the newcomer. "You'll have to go through me first!"
Titan chuckled and walked towards Pit, speaking jeeringly in that foreign tongue. Pit stopped him mid-sentence.
"Yeah, I don't care about your threats." The angel shoved Titan. The rokman remained stationary while Pit moved back a step, due to their respective densities. He kept eye contact. Titan scowled, alarmed at his defiance. "You're not getting to Cragalanche. You fight's with me now, numbskull. End of conversation."
No one within the cavern dared to move, to speak, to breathe. All waited. Fear and astonishment and alarm and awe had crippled the spectators. Pit stared up at Titan and Titan down to him. Seconds passed, probably minutes. Titan slowly began to frown, then made a noiseless snarl. His brow wrinkled. His stone face appeared to be red. The rokman raised a hand, even bigger than Cragalanche's, ready to squish Pit like an insect.
Titan checked the new crater beneath his hand. There was a grin, then alarmed dismay when he found no blood. He searched frantically.
Titan whipped around to see Pit standing just behind him. Not for very long, though. The angel pushed off one foot, blades readied. He slashed at the rokman. Sparks flew. Titan swatted. Pit jumped back. The rokman jabbed it's fists at Pit, missing and sending rocks up every time. The crowd roared, some mocking and some cheering. More strikes, more sparks. Not a single mark was made. I gotta lure him away first. Pit thrust his tongue out at Titan, held up his hand in front of his nose and wiggled his fingers. The rokman charged and threw his fists at the angel. Pit hopped backwards, dodging every blow. It was an effective method until the angel backed himself into a wall. He looked up to Titan. The rokman charged, ready to pound his fist into the winged pest.
Then Pit saw it. In the time that Cragalanche had gotten a hold of Titan, the uppercuts had left a few cracks in the abdomen. Pit gripped his knives. Just as the rokman had begun to slam his fist down, the angel thrust the blades into the cracks. Another roar. Titan staggered back. Pit had the space and the opportunity. He charged, jumped, and spun, delivering three powerful kicks, all aimed at the head. Titan stumbled. The crowd gasped.
Pit landed softly. "Super Smash Bros. academy, punk!"
The audience egged Titan to stand back up. His recovery was a short one and he was at Pit again, despite the magma bleeding around the knives. I have to get those back, thought the angel. Pit ran again and jumped. Titan swatted, but the boy nimbly pivoted on a large finger, using the momentum to attack the already wounded eye. The giant crumpled to the ground. Now's my chance. Pit ran to the front of Titan and put a firm grip on hilts and pulled.
Pit gave another hearty pull. The blades still did not budge. He gulped and looked up. Titan straightened, one hand above his eye. The anger in his face was overwhelming. Pit was staring into the face of a blood thirsty demon. The aura seemed to surround the angel on all sides. There was no help- everyone in the room was against him, Cragalanche was unconscious and wounded, and Palutena and Viridi were too far away to call. It was just him and what would appear to be his impending death.
"Umm. . . You're not really a numbskull or a punk. You know that, right?"
Titan clasped the angel in his hand and him to eye level. Pit squirmed. With one eye bloodied, he could still see the contemplation behind the other. Titan must have been wondering what to to with him. Throw him? Smash him? Squish him? It would have been painful- that was for sure.
Titan held Pit by his feet. The rokman arched his arm, twisted his body.
"Oh goodie," muttered the angel sarcastically.
Pain exploded in every part of Pit's body, one burst after the other. Cracks and snaps were heard, but it was not known if they came from the rock below or from the angel's own bones. It was too fast and the pain too powerful for Pit to stop it. There was a brief pause, then another explosion of the pain. Pit opened his eyes and beheld the hazy image of his opponent. Titan plucked the knives out of his abdomen like toothpicks, tossed them aside, and marched forward. The angel groaned and stood up. Hurt pulsed all over. He had to get the bow back. Maybe attack long distance. Pit's vision flipped a one-eighty. Blood slipped into his right eye. He staggered and gripped the wall. Booming footsteps came closer. A figure cast a shadow over Pit. Gritting his teeth, Pit looked up.
Titan had gotten pretty close. But why was Pit staring at his back? And did Titan shrink? Another wave of dizziness flooded over the angel. He slumped against the wall.
Wait, he realized. That's not. . .
Pit reached and opened his mouth to yell. His action was not fast enough to stop what happened next.
First he had to take down his traitorous craven of a brother. No sweat- he deserved it. Then that feathered insect jumped in. It had to be the most annoying thing he had ever encountered. It felt good to see the blood and and pain of that fly.
But then he stands up again.
"Your tag-team stunt did not amuse me," chided the elder brother. "You two have made a mockery of me in front of my people!"
And there he stands, trying so hard to be strong, pretending he's calm and cool. "You won't hurt him again."
"Fine by me. You were my original target anyways, you shameful craven."
And there he clams up again. Cragalanche just looks at Titan with those eyes. That "brotherly sympathy" and "pity". It made Titan want to puke. And why was he just standing there? Why didn't he to something- move, speak, anything? Why wasn't he fighting him?!
"Do something, you oaf!"
Nothing but silence.
"Fine!" Titan stomped his foot. "Do nothing! I don't care! The easier for me to slaughter you like the dog you are!"
Titan charged with a mighty roar. Cragalanche did so silently and with reluctance. This was it. That worm would finally pay, after all these years, these decades! Justice would finally be dealt. And who better to deal it that the leader of these rokmen, the mighty Titan! The elder rasied a large fist, ready to slam it down. "DIE, PIG!"
And suddenly Titan had been captured. Cragalanche had firm arms around his brother's middle in a tenacious full nelson. In other words. . . a hug. Titan was about to protest, but something else took him. Everything around him had warped into something else. The spectators disappeared. A grey, cloudy sky replaced the ceiling and torches. Rain pounded down. A river of lava flowed behind him, steam rolling off its surface. If front a deep trench was carved, endless and dark. There was crying. Titan looked down to an incredibly young Cragalanche, bawling his eyes out. The elder himself had also regressed in age. Before he could figure out what had happened, he shoved his brother away and spoke, actions that had not been consciously performed. Titan gave Cragalanche a hard smack in the face. "Idiot! You should have known better. Jumping on one of the jatayu like that was stupid. You could have died!"
Cragalanche rubbed his cheek and looked at his brother with worn red eyes. "But you could have died, too. I was just trying to help."
"Well it wasn't needed. Especially if you hurt yourself. Be reasonable. Was your life really worth mine?"
Though caught in the flashback, Titan could still feel the shock. Did his brother really have those morals at such a verdant age? The elder could only stare as Cragalanche wiped his tears away.
"You're the only brother I'm ever going to get. And even if I lose you I won't want another. I'll never get a big brother as big and strong and great as you." Cragalanche grabbed a hold of his brother's arm. "I won't let you go ever, Titan! And you can't leave me either, you hear?"
His words were demanding, but Cragalanche still cried as though Titan had indeed lost his life to the abyss not too far away. Jatayu squawked and circled amongst themselves. The rain lightened, though not noticeable. Titan looked down and turned away from his brother. "That's just it," he muttered solemnly. "I'm not the best brother. You know that. I get mad and hold grudges really easily. Father says to fix it, but I can't. That's why I hit you just now. It's how I am. Face it. You would be better off with a new brother."
"But I don't wanna new brother!" Cragalanche had locked Titan in another rock crushing hug.
"I don't care if you're mean to me and if you hit me sometimes. You save me a lot too, like from those guys who pick on me because I'm a runt. I love you. That's what family does. You're the idiot if you don't know that."
The only sound now was the tapping rain. Cragalanche looked up with firm honesty- he meant what he had said just now. Nothing was going to change his opinion anytime soon. It was amazing, really. So much compassion and forgiveness in such a small package. Titan was reminded, as Cragalanche had reminded him many times before, that he couldn't have asked for a better brother either. Titan smiled.
"You're right." The elder gave the younger a pat on the head. "Come. Let's go home now. Father will be worried if we don't return soon."
Everything was alright now. Cragalanche grinned and nodded. He skipped forward. "Race you there, Bro!"
"Hey, no fair! You have a head start!"
"But I'm little. I need it."
"Quit talking, you'll run out of air."
The pair ran down the safe soil back to the mountain's base. Laughter followed and the rain stopped.
. . .Thoom!
Titan blinked. He was back on the Judgement Grounds. Hazy eyes gave him a lopsided vision of Cragalanche, standing next to his friend. There was the compassion again. It had never left, even when Titan had banished him and turned everyone against him. That was why he was so reluctant to fight.
Cragalanche was truly the stronger of them.
Thank you, my brother. And the world faded into a numb, inky blackness.
Pit could only gape at what he had just saw. First a hug, then that uppercut sandwiched between those two punches. And how far Titan flew after the third. . . Pit needed to remember that strategy for next time.
The pain was a dull throb. Pit stood up and walked next to Cragalanche just as Titan lost consciousness. The young walked closer. Pit reached out to warn him. but didn't. Titan did not budge- he wouldn't be hurting anybody soon. Cragalanche knelt down, poking at his brother. Pit realized he was checking for vitals. The angel scrambled to his knapsack, jumping over the knives and running past the unconscious guards. There has to be one in here. There has to! Pit dug deeper and deeper into the bag. He smiled as he pulled out a large pink bottle. Pit ran back to the pair.
He didn't take a drink himself. Cragalanche and Titan probably needed it more. Pit offered the bottle to Cragalanche first. "It's like medicine," Pit explained. "It'll heal wounds really fast when you drink it."
The rokman looked at the bottle for a moment. Pit popped off the cork and handed the container to his friend. Cragalanche frowned. He pushed it back to Pit.
"C'mon, big guy. You need it more than I do if you have your arm messed up like that."
Pit handed him the bottle again. Cragalanche pushed it back. Again.
"I'm not taking a drink until you take one."
The rokman turned his head away with a grunt, pouting.
Pit sighed, pressing his palm to his forehead. "You're making this so much more difficult than it needs to be."
It didn't take much for Cragalanche to convince his friend to take the first sip, though. All it took was a poke to the angel's ribs. The wounds were obviously still there, so no wonder the angel crumpled to the ground, biting his lower lip with a hiss. Cragalanche just glared. Pit huffed. "Fine!" The angel took a mouthful. Though warm and foul, the drink wasn't unwelcome. Many bruises had vanished from his body from just the small amount. "Now you gotta take some."
The other didn't fight it this time (thankfully) and pinched the container in two of his fingers. A rokman-sized sip later and Cragalanche's condition had greatly improved, especially his arm. Though not completely healed, he could still move it. Cragalanche kept the bottle in one hand. He looked up. Since Titan had fallen, no one had spoken or moved. The younger called out to them. A short, commanding phrase, but respectful nonetheless. A handful of rokmen shuffled down from the rest. Two busied themselves to carry Titan. Another few aroused the fallen guards. When everyone had been picked up or stood on their own, the battle ground was slowly emptied. The crowds filed away, bit by bit. Cragalanche and Pit stood, watching. The angel looked up to his friend. He knew that look. Pit had seen it several times in the faces of his centurions whenever he left on some solo mission. The angel poked Cragalanche. The rokman looked down.
Pit grinned. "You can go with if you want. He's your brother. Go ahead, big guy. Make sure he's ok."
Cragalanche seemed startled for a moment. He looked back between Pit and the other rokmen. The angel nudged him on. Cragalanche smiled gratefully. He took the angel in his arms in another hug. Pit returned it. Whatever pain had been elicited by the remaining wounds didn't really matter at that moment. Hopefully Cragalanche would have his home back.
The rokman squeezed tighter. "Thank you, friend."
Before Pit could ask if Cragalanche had actually spoken english, the rokman was off.
The angel was left alone now. He turned to the opening behind him. Pit clenched a fist. That was the way to his goal. Forward he marched, but he stopped himself and ran the other direction. Can't believe I almost forgot that! Pit ran by the wall and scooped up his knives, slipping them into one another. The edges had been eroded some by the magma. Pit drew an arrow and sighed. "Phew!" Letting the string go back to its place, the angel marched back to the opening. He stared into its gaping mouth. The fiery breath, the death stare- "I'm ready for it!"
Pit took up his knapsack and marched into the tunnel, passing up scattered jewels and burnt skeletons as he went.
Was Titan a little unreasonable? Too angry? I dunno. . . Oh well. Good luck to you, Pit.
Thank you for reading the entire chapter, even though it was a short one. The regular postings should resume- Saturday nights. I thank you all again for your patience. And if you have more, to tune in for chapter 7- the battle with the dragon and acquiring of the first piece. Have a good day, everyone!