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About Literature / Hobbyist IntrestsofthemindMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 4 Years
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I surveyed the fifth area ahead of us getting and idea of how long it would take us to get through; the sun was in the middle of the sky giving us the rest of the afternoon to travel and if we moved fast enough we might be able to make it to the sixth area by sundown. I turned behind me to see Glitch swinging his ax around, excited by idea of facing me, I had to guess, and increasing his speed with each swing. He seemed to have this unique style of fighting that increased his swing speed by using the momentum of his last swing till he was a blur of ax swings; it was really cool actually. I looked over at Alice to see she was avoiding eye contact with me and fussing with her combat skirt whenever she looked away; if she wore pants this wouldn’t happen and yet saying that would get me killed.
I gathered them up and laid out the plan I had to minimize time wasted.
“That’s hoping that nothing attacks us on the way there; we seem to have a track record for encountering creatures that want us dead.” Alice was right; with our luck we were going to run into something but the question would be what we would run into.
“Could it be another piranha plant?” Glitch questioned.
“I think we took out the main head last time which means we can’t take on anything bigger than that.” I pointed out. They nodded in agreement but that still left the question of what would be thrown at us here, “Guess that’ll be a surprise.” I stood back up as they did the same and we moved to make our way across the first part of this path. As we moved I noticed this area seemed to be covered in horsetail plants and murky water; horsetail plants are normally in murky water but something seemed wrong about this with both the plant and the water. I decided to ignore that feeling as we dashed across the bricked floor, kicking goombas to the side and hopping over the koopa troopas; the piranha plants were missing from the pipes which gave me the impression that the big one we killed was the main root to the rest of them.
“Soren! To your left!” Alice yelled back at me prompting me to look to my left to see a koopa troopa trying to deck me with his weird human like fist; I pulled to the right and swung my leg knocking him to the ground. The enemies were becoming more aggressive as we reached the end castle which I understood, we were obviously a threat to them and the closer we got to their commander the more of a hazard we became. As Alice and Glitch caught up to me we increased our pace to dodge any oncoming attacks; I was not going to kill anyone with a sentient mind, if they had a reason to live then they deserved to and I was not going to break that rule. These guys were making it harder to actually keep that with how malicious they came at us…but why? Spike told us that they wanted no casualties which means that these guys should be trying to capture us instead of kill us; I stopped for a minute and took a deep breath, “Soren, come on!” I heard Alice call to me but I couldn’t respond. I had to focus on this, let’s hope my father’s aura sensing lessons can come into play here.
There it is! I felt a powerful aura over the area, it felt malicious and as I looked around I could feel it emanating from every goomba, koopa and even the bullet bills in the area.
“Stay focused guys! These troops are more hostile, keep your defenses up!” Alice pulled out her katana getting into a guarded stance.
“What do you mean? I don’t see anything different.” Glitch said confused. He couldn’t feel it and I’m guessing Alice couldn’t either but I could. It wasn’t just any aura either; it seemed to emanate from all over, not from one point but multiple points and it was affecting the troops in a strange way. Alice was trusting my judgment on this matter but Glitch still had grounds to question it. Suddenly I saw as a para-troopa popped up behind Glitch brandishing a knife. I rushed forward and punched the creature in its shell with enough force to send it backwards.
“Those shells are WAYYYY too hard!” I said as I shook my hand from the intense pain, it was like punching two layers a cinderblocks…hell, even one layer of cinderblocks is too much. I turned to Glitch who gave me a shocked look and then nodded shakily pulling his ax out. He had reason to trust me on this matter now.
We moved slower now as things continued to come at us with a murderous intent but we eventually made it to the flag pole and took a well-deserved rest from the constant barrage we just pulled through.
“Looks…like... we made it” Alice said shakily as she bent down with her hands on her knees.
“That…was not…fun.” Glitch said falling to the floor worn from the constant blocks and retaliations, “The group…just kept getting bigger.”
“We couldn’t kill them…so they kept coming at us with more force…each time.” I explained trying to catch my breath. That defense tactic had almost worn me out; I had been on a mile run before for school but that felt like five of those and then half a lap after that. They had eaten up a lot of our time but there was still some light left in the day we could use; maybe we could get the next area but then we would be traveling into the night. Alice and I never traveled at night before and I don’t think Glitch would be up to it either. What was that aura or can I even call it that? It wasn’t anything normal I’d felt before, it had this ability to control others with its presence and I’ve never seen an aura do that ever. An aura is created by a person or thing and can only affect the feeling of an area, not the people in it, this seemed to not only exert around the area but effect the people in it as well; it didn’t even come from a person or item, rather, it bounced around the whole area from different points which seemed impossible…until now.  

“They were way more aggressive than I thought they would be.” Glitch said as he had regained his energy; Alice stood up taking a deep breath and steadying her breathing.
“Well they set us back a bit, so what now?” Well, now was a good a time as ever.
“We could keep moving?” They gave me a quizzical look.
“We’ll be traveling into the night you know.” Alice pointed out.
“I know but we can’t waste any time with the other group possibly on our tail.”
“I’m up for it.” Glitch responded surprising even me.
“The dark is my bread and butter back home; I could probably keep us safe if I lead.”
“Are you sure you’re good in the dark?” Alice asked in her usual skeptical nature.
“I’m the best in this group, have either of you ever-”
“Okay.” I replied before he could finish stopping him mid-scentence.
“R-Really? Don’t you want proof?”
“No, I trust you can lead us at night.” He gave me a weird look and then a smile, Alice put her head into her hand shaking her head in the process.
“All right then, follow me!” He started walking forward like a soldier with his arms extended and his legs straight, it was kind of funny how excited he was.
“Sometimes I feel like you’re just acting stupid to piss me off.” Alice said with a sigh.
“You know why I’m doing this though right?”
“…yeah.” She gave me a smile and started following Glitch; Alice may not like the choices I make but she was at least smart enough to follow. I could understand why she was skeptical of Glitch though; he was hard headed and a little bit selfish but if I looked down on that then it would just be me and her. Besides, a little arrogance is a good thing in a group dynamic in my opinion.

We started moving with Glitch leading us and it was a bit rocky as following him meant we moved slightly slower, I guess I never noticed because he was in the back but that ax really slowed him down and he seemed intent to dash through this place. I always stayed at a steady pace to keep guard on whatever might attack us but Glitch seemed to disregard the enemies and just plow through the front lines. About halfway through the area the sun had sunk into the mountains and the dark of night had covered the area in front of us; Glitch suddenly slowed down and started to move slower and even stopping at some points before he gets moving again. He seemed to be able to pick up sounds we couldn’t hear and whenever he heard something he stopped suddenly, it was like following a secret agent as he sneaked through a government compound. Eventually we made it to the second flag and Glitch and I went to work as we swapped out the two flags; Glitch seemed to be quieter than before as he did this, it was like when night fell Glitch turned into a silent ninja, it was awesome!
“That should take care of that.” Glitch said dusting himself off for some reason.
“I’ll admit you seem to know your way through the dark of night.” Alice complimented, “You’re not secretly a thief back in your world are you?”
“No! I just like to observe the night sky. It isn’t easy to get out of where I live so I have to be quiet and alert to actually get out and see the stars in the sky.” So he was an avid night time watcher, that’s kind of deep.
“That’s actually kind of cool.” I said actually impressed by his constant training for something he liked.
“You like the night sky?” Alice asked curious.
“Are you kidding? It’s amazing, I look to the sky and I see stars that have planets that orbit them; planets full of people and places completely new and fresh that are just waiting to be seen, I want to see everything that I can beyond my planet, there has to be more out there for me.” Glitch snapped out of his monologue and gave a small cough as he turned slightly pinker out of embarrassment, “Sorry, I rambled on there for a minute.”
“No, it’s actually cool.” Alice replied catching Glitch’s attention, “I really respect someone with aspirations and dreams.” Alice walked away from him leaving him stunned. He just stood there with a look of surprise on his face; I chuckled slightly as Alice approached me.
“I thought you didn’t like him?”
“Shut up.” Alice replied with a smile as she playfully punched me in the arm.

Coming to a unanimous decision we decided to test our luck and continued moving through the next section; as we passed by the troops we noticed that they seemed to have passed out for the night making them easier and harder to pass by. We had to make sure to move quieter and watch our step to avoid waking any of them; it’s like the saying, anger a bee and you get the hive. Even the bullet bills seemed to be sleeping…however that was possible and jumping from platform to platform made things even more hazardous. If the platform was hit to hard when we landed then we could wake something from its slumber; Glitch accounted for this by only going for upper platforms so we would land softly when we ascended then descended to the ground a few inches from our jump level and we helped each other down platforms to avoid making any noise. I was actually really surprised by Glitch’s ability to travel quietly and impressed by his thorough thought process in traveling at night; it was a unique skill that I admired the more I saw of it.  He could probably be a special ops soldier with a bit more training. We made it to the flag pole soon after and decided to set up camp for the night; I pulled out the sleeping bags as Glitch set the fire pit and Alice prepared our meal for the night.  After our meal and a some light chatter we turned in for the rest of the night to re-energize; I felt lucky that the cloaked boss hadn’t made an appearance yet but I had a feeling that as soon a dawn broke he would be back on his mission of destroying every one of Bowser’s generals, luckily we had warned one of them so far and if he was smart then he would hide from them and stay alive, we had an ace up our sleeve which meant we had the upper hand and he couldn’t take that away. With that thought in my head I drifted into slumber content with what the future would hold.
Getting an early start on the day we packed up early and shipped out eager to get through to the next castle before the other group had time to re-group and take out more of Bowser’s castle holders…that doesn’t sound like the right way to say that…whatever. I scoped out the next section of land to pass through and saw another bottomless hole meaning that we had to pass through the sewers.
“No way, uh uh, not happening.” Alice said defiantly.
“We have to; it’s the only way through.” I retorted trying to convince her.
“I’m wearing a skirt! There is no way I’m wadding through waist deep water without something that will keep me from flooding the lower end of my body.” …ew.
“This is why you should have worn sport shorts…wait are you only wearing-”
“Finish that sentence and it will be the last word you say!”
“Great last word to say.” Glitch added in chuckling.
“This isn’t funny Glitch!” Alice yelled; she was starting to get pissed, how should we do this?
“Hang on…let me think.” I sat down to try to remember some of the spells I read in the spell book from Hyrule. It was full of useful spells that had a lot of uses but I was only able to skim through parts of it and remember only a few motions… there was a fire spell, sleep spell, bubble spell…maybe that would work? I stood up and did the motion that I remembered trying to get it right; when I finished a poof of smoke erupted from my fingers.
“What did you-” When the smoke cleared Alice was passed out on the floor…wrong spell.

Deciding on who should carry Alice with a fair and civil game of rock-paper-scissors I grabbed Alice lifting her on my back and we moved down the pipe into the sewers being consumed by the darkness and the feeling of sewer ‘water’ filling our boots. Creating a makeshift torch out of a stick and some left over rags we had a decent source of light to use and looked out at the spread of area in front of us. With this light I could get a good look at the goombas in the sewer; they were a weird murky blue color…reminded me of the gloombas from paper Mario except for their feet which were just a darker blue of their body. We quickly moved around any of the enemies we came across making sure not to get their attention and jumped across to platforms a quietly as we could; it was hard to jump and move with Alice on my back but we were able to make it to the end of the sewer without arousing anything except the piranha plants which seemed on edge since we took out the big one.
“Is she awake yet?” Glitch asked as we climbed up the pipe out of the sewer; I looked at Alice on my back to see she was sleeping peacefully with a smile on her face; she gave a small cute giggle.
“Still passed out.” We entered the sunlight moving toward the flag pole in the distance; we jumped down and I placed Alice down helping Glitch raise his flag on the pole, “Why do you put these flags up?”
“Being a hero means having your mark to leave on the world and this is mine!” I had to admit that it was a good symbol, it was a red G with a yellow, green and blue circle surrounding it with two axes slung behind the G both intricately sewn with the tiniest detail being shown. Finishing up we jumped down and dusted ourselves off with a feeling of accomplishment. I took this time to look over the next sub-section and saw what looked like a spread of giant fungus flat mushrooms and girder platforms, “Hey Soren!” I looked back and Glitch was standing next to Alice waving for me to come over, “How long do you think she’ll be out for?” I approached them and looked at Alice intently to check for signs of movements or disruption. She didn’t even twitch and just kept smiling as she slept; she wasn’t waking up for a good few hours; damn it, I should have studied that book more!
“We’ve got about…six to seven hours or more of her being knocked out, I can keep carrying her but that means you’re going to have to fight any fights solo till either I can put her down or she wakes up.” I saw a spark of joy light up in Glitches eyes as I said that, it was like it was Christmas in his head.
“Leave it to me! I can take on anything that tries to attack us!” He did a few poses excited to prove himself and grow stronger, seems like he really wanted to do this; it was kind of funny to see him so excited about this. We jumped from mushroom to mushroom avoiding para-koopas and koopa-troopas making sure to grab any stray mushrooms that weren’t platform sized and stuffing them into my belt.
“Hey Glitch?” I asked as we moved through the area.
“What’s up?”
“Why do you use an ax for a weapon?”
“What’s with the weird question?”
“Just curious? Seemed like conversation worthy.”
“Right now?”
“What other time than travel time?”
“One wrong step and we die!” We looked ahead of us to see a para-troopa race at us full force forcing us to duck under it as they flew past us, “See!”
“Fair enough.” We jumped as fast as we could across the mushroom patch making sure to keep focus to avoid any unnecessary collisions with flying turtles the size of bowling balls. Landing on the solid brick ground we moved to the flagpole taking care of our usual business with it; I checked on Alice again but there didn’t seem to be any indication that she would wake up.
“You put her to sleep with a spell; can’t you wake her up with one?”
“Spells are magical; you can’t just have one spell that cancels another one out. It wouldn’t make any sense.”
“Please, they pulled that crap all the time in Harry Potter!” Sometimes I hate when these guys use reason to trump me…mostly because I can’t retort but still.
“Even so, I don’t know the correct spell to use or the motion so we’re stuck with an unconscious Alice until she wakes up.” We both gave a sigh.
“So rock-paper-scissors?”
“Yeah.”…damn it, how do I suck at this game!

We entered the castle feeling the familiar air of hostility that accompanied the stone walls as I pushed Alice up so she didn’t slide down my back; holding Alice felt foreign, if she were awake she would be beating me to a pink pulp and then into dust…please don’t wake up. Like the last few castles it was devoid of any enemies except for one piranha plant that seemed to be focused on shooting us from a distance rather than engaging us up close meaning we could move around it to the bridge. Before we approached the bridge I took a long whiff of the air…I was relieved to find the smell of death absent from the air; we jumped up to see a giant red spiny on the bridge looking out at us.
“Halt!” It yelled at us and started to approach us slowly with a skeptical look on its small face. This creature had button eyes and a small mouth which seemed out of place on its above average body, “You are in the land of the mushroom kingdom which is currently being overthrown by our ruler Bowser. If you are a member of the mushroom kingdom I must take you into custody and if you are a new traveler to these lands I must ask you either leave or join our army.” …this was the most civil person I have EVER come across and it makes me so happy to come across someone from Bowser’s side ready to talk. I noticed Glitch start to pull out his ax and stopped him before the spiny noticed anything.
“Look, we are travelers who have passed through four castles to bring you a message. Someone is killing your generals.” The spiny gave me a skeptical look and laughed.
“Our generals are too tough for someone to take out; whatever you are trying to do it will not work on me.” He wasn’t convinced, not surprising but I still needed some kind of proof.
“How would I have gotten this far if they weren’t gone and even if I joined your side then wouldn’t you have heard about it from someone?” I saw his face go into deep contemplation and then shock.
“Did you take them out!?” He was accusing me?
“If I had then why would I tell you?” He gave a sigh.
“Look, I don’t know if you’re right or not but this news should go to Bowser if you are, I will send a scout to find out if you are right and in the meantime I will let you pass to take this news to Bowser, if this is true then the Mushroom kingdom is more violent than we believed.”
“No it wasn’t them!” Glitch cut in, “Two other travelers are doing this!” That’s right!
“Hang on, can you answer a few questions for me mr.?”
“Call me spike.” The spiny replied. This was my chance to get answers on what the others were doing before we got here; I just have to ask the right questions.

“How long has this invasion been going on?”
“The main attack started about four days ago and we made it to the main castle only yesterday, we’ve been working on convincing the princess to sign a treaty to hand over her land since then.” …
“Have there been any casualties taken from the Mushroom Kingdom?”
“We have not killed any citizens intentionally, we want a peaceful end to this without the need for violence and so we have only imprisoned them in order to avoid unnecessary complication.” Bowser seems to be more the diplomat then the tyrant, it would make sense; nobody follows a tyrant into a battle with the spirit I’ve seen these troops have.
“What started this whole thing?”
“From what I heard it seems like the goombas approached us complaining about how they were being treated in the Mushroom kingdom. They wanted our help in creating a better world for them and so we decided to mount an attack for their rights.” That’s why the goombas left the kingdom, to bring an army back…something big had to prompt them to retaliate like this though, I wasn’t going to find out from Spike though, I would need to talk to a goomba to get that story. Now the big question.
“How long has the traveler in your army been here?”
“The traveler? Oh, the big one in the giant body cloak. He’s been with us for about two months and from what I heard he was the driving force in the attack, before him we never had the piranha plants or any of the bullet bill technology.” He introduced piranha plants and bullet bills to this world!? Weren’t they already a part of this world? I felt Glitch tap my shoulder and turned to him.
“The massive piranha plants and more mobile versions might be because of him. He just introduced something stronger than before.” That made sense; they seemed much different from what I remember.
“After that he brought some allies with him on the day of the attack and acted as the first assault.” So he destroyed the first castle! What could they gain from bloodshed though, Bowser doesn’t want it and I doubt the Mushroom kingdom would be keen towards a war meaning that both sides are on equal ground on this matter. Whatever caused this war wasn’t just a low flame, it must have been a roaring fire and I have a feeling that something outside of this world caused this problem. I just had to get a few more pieces to finish the puzzle.
“Thank you for answering my questions.” I turned to Glitch, “We should head to Bowser as fast as we can.” He gave me a nod and we walked past Spike onto our next destination, “Don’t trust any travelers that are part of your army, avoid them at all costs.” Spike gave me a nod as we left the castle.

“What now?” Glitch asked as we walked.
“Now we have to get to Bowser, we have one of his men who we were able to convince meaning we have a piece of evidence we can use against the cloaked man’s plan to blame the Mushroom kingdom. With our warning he will stay alive and we can turn Bowser against the other group and avoid a full scale war.”
“You don’t think that they’ll go after Spike?”
“The problem was that the generals let their guards down because they saw an ally, he’ll keep his guard up with our warning.”
“You’re a sly one you know that?” He said with a cocky grin.
“All collective reasoning Glitch.” I retorted, “So you ready to tell me why you use an ax?”
“Fine.” He rolled his eyes as he said that, “Most people would prefer speed over strength like you and sheep brain on your back.” He pointed to Alice who was sound asleep on my back, “But I always found it much more interesting to fight with strength than speed because after one of my hits you won’t be getting back up. Trust me.”
“You underestimate me.”
“We tried this before didn’t we?”
“I’ll fight back this time.”
“Still won’t help.” I stopped and gave him a cocky grin.
“Try me.” He returned the grin and we shook hands.
“After this adventure is over, you’re on!” This was going to be interesting, I was interested to see what he could do in a one on one fight and I was going to get that chance. This even helped us establish a stronger bond which made it a win-win situation for both of us; this was working great.
“I’d like to see that fight go down.” I stiffened my back feeling Alice move, “Sounds like fun.” I looked on my back to see Alice had woken up and was giving us a smile, she seemed okay; then she looked at me with a wicked grin and I felt my skin crawl, “Oh and Soren, I know you were being nice and carrying me but-” She leaned in and glared at me as I felt a coldness surround me, “Get you hand off my ass before I shove my foot up yours!” In retrospect…I was lucky I got a warning.
World Similarities Ch.11 Book 2
Aren't screwed up spells fun?
Damien rushed at me swinging his short swords across my torso; I stepped backwards and swung my longsword prompting him to backflip and switch with Lissa, she dashed forward with a thrust too quick for me to block. Alice jumped in front knocking the knives out of Lissa’s hand and kicked her back; she extended her wings and flew at us as Alice and I stopped her assault forward with our blades making a combined block. I looked over at Glitch who was facing off against Damien and seemed to be holding his own decently; he swung his ax with enough strength to knock Damien’s weapons off base but not out of his hands, the good news was Damien couldn’t recover fast enough to retaliate.
“Soren, pay attention!” Alice brought me back to our current battle as Lissa extended her nails to make blade like claws and swiped at us with a blinding speed…but she seemed to be slowing down and I could see her eyes become less malicious with each second. She didn’t want to fight us, I could see that but I couldn’t see the why; the last time we saw each other I had just saved her from the collapsing dungeon and she seemed to be in question of something. I couldn’t see what was wrong with her though, “Soren!” I was pulled from my thoughts to see Lissa had grabbed me and pinned me to the floor. As I looked into her eyes I watched as she went into shock, anger, fear and then sadness; the next second I watched her begin to cry and then felt her tears touch my face; I don’t know what was eating her but it was hurting…I felt sorry for her.
“Enough.” We looked over and the cloaked man had risen his hands as they emitted a weird light blue glow; to the right I saw Glitch and Damien had been frozen in place with Glitch raising his weapon to swing it down while Damien had gone for the lower slash, “This seemed to go a little different than I intended.” Lissa got off me and stood there looking away as the cloaked man walked over, “You’re turmoil seems to be interfering young succubus.” She continued to look away as he passed her heading towards Damien and Glitch, “And your impulsiveness seems to be clouding your judgment shapeshifter.” He dropped his hand and both Glitch and Damien back stepped away from each other.
“Looks like I’ll have to finish this another time.” He gave a smirk and Glitch gave him an angry look.
“Soren, are you okay?” Alice helped me up and I looked over at Lissa to see she was wiping the tears out of her eyes; as I approached her I felt Alice grab my shoulder to stop me, “She’s a succubus Soren, you can’t trust her.” I looked back to see she was refusing to look me in the eye even as she kept making glances.
“…I’ll take that chance.” I approached her and she nervously backed up, “Lissa is everything alright?” She gave me a look of shock.
“Are…are you being serious.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t ask it otherwise.” I watched as she reached behind her back and I heard as Alice unsheathed her katana behind me. I stopped her and saw Lissa pull out a small handkerchief and wipe her eyes with it.
“…Hey can I ask you a question?”
“Go ahead.” I gave her a patient smile; she looked me in the eyes and took a deep breath.
“…You see-”
“We’re out of here Lissa.” We looked over to see the robed boss had opened some kind of portal and motioned Lissa over to him; this might be my chance, before I could even begin to move I felt my body become restrained in an instant, “Sorry but I know what you’re thinking. I’ll be back to humor you later but for now I have some work to do with these two. Consider this your chance to pull ahead.” I watched as Lissa walked through the portal as Damien and the boss followed; before it closed I saw the boss look back with a wicked smirk.

As I stood there stunned I felt relieved that we had survived the encounter with them and pissed that I couldn’t find out what was wrong with Lissa; she didn’t seem twisted, at least not as much as Damien or their boss.
“I would have won!” Glitch blurted out angrily as he tapped his foot angrily.
“What was that about?” Alice asked me as she got close to my face, she seemed pissed.
“What was what about?”
“Why did you talk with her, she’s our enemy; you had a chance to recollect and plan while she was distressed.”
“I don’t know why I just felt I had to talk to her, something was wrong. I couldn’t just leave her to grieve.” She sighed and backed up.
“I understand that but you seemed to trust her not to pull a weapon on you. She could have been faking those emotions.” She was right, faking emotions were succubae trade and craft.
“Somehow…this felt different, I just knew those emotions were real.”
“No logical reason for it?”
“…No just a feeling.” She giggled and gave me a flick on my forehead.
“I suppose that’s just like you but stop making me worry.”
“Not sure I can promise you that.
“…I know.” We looked around at what was left of the bridge. The wood had cracked and broken from the missed blows of weaponry  leaving only a few steps left to actually walk on and even those were flimsy.
“We’d better be careful.” Glitch said taking slow steps across the bridge, “One wrong step and we’re toast.” More like burnt ashes. We made it across fairly simply making sure to keep next to the ropes of the bridge to give us something to hold onto in case we fall; once we were across Glitch gave a relieved sigh and searched out at the lower area as we approached his spot, “Guys, you might want to see this.” Once we made it we looked out to see that the lower area was strewn in weaponry of different quality and variety; there was a big fight here, that much could be interpreted. Some of the most notable weaponry were hammers and knife like swords giving me the feeling that a fight between a group of toads and Bowser’s men. There were no bodies which meant that the toads were taken hostage…wait, what’s that? Out of the corner of my eye I saw something bright green and jumped down to examine it. I saw it was a bright green hat with a white circle in the center with a green ‘L’ in the center of the circle; this was Luigi’s hat!
“Luigi? This is his hat?” Alice said over my shoulder making me jump.
“So he was here?” Glitch asked observing the hat from behind me.
“I think so, they must have captured him.”
“Mario to.” Alice said catching our attention; she bent down and picked up an identical hat that was red with an ‘M’ in the center. So our plumber hero was being held captive, this gave us a better idea of where he might be; we still have five more castles to check in that case.
“Come on, let’s keep moving. We have the lead and I don’t intend to waste it!” Glitch said psyching himself up as he ran out the nearby exit. He was excited to get moving but he seemed more pumped than he was before, something was definitely different but I couldn’t put my finger on the pulse.

We moved out and looked out at the fourth area we had to pass through to get to the next castle. As I looked out I could notice the sun setting in the background, it would be night in a few hours; we could make it to the next area if we hurried and with our situation right now we could definitely make it. I looked back at the group to see Alice was deep in thought; probably still thinking about our recent scuffle with Lissa. Glitch seemed to be shadow boxing for some reason, he seemed to be practicing his skills but I couldn’t think of why. I recollected them and we started moving across the map as fast as we could; I jumped over the piranha plants avoiding their fireballs and kept dashing grabbing what mushrooms and 1ups I could collect. It seemed like the area was exclusively a piranha plant area; even as I ran I saw plant vines lining the ground as we ran…something was wrong here, I’ve seen this before! I stopped quickly making Alice and Glitch stop and turned around to see the vines begin to wiggle and squirm.
“What’s happening?” Alice asked me.
“I know this!” Glitch said becoming alert. I narrowed my eyes pulling out my sword as a giant piranha plant rose from the pit; I get the feeling that they knew about this creature, that’s why he gave us that head start! I watched as it slowly approached us snapping its monstrous jaws as it came at us.
“Get ready, here it comes!” Alice and Glitch pulled out their weapons and stood ready to fight.

I back stepped as the creature crashed into the ground trying to bite into me; I swung my longsword slicing across its head as it recoiled in pain. I watched as the wound I left refused leaving no visible damage to the creature; this thing had some serious regenerative powers on its hands, I had to go for the root. I looked at where its root was to see it was covering its self in other minor vines and even then I saw the main root was too thick to cut with my blade.
“Damn! This thing is tough!” I looked over to see Alice had been cut up by its thorns while Glitch was slicing at the sharp vines as they came at them. Cutting this thing apart only made it reform, we were going to need something that keeps hurting…like fire! I backed up and began drawing a rune of fire as fast as I could; once I finished I fired the spell outstretching my hand to push it forward. The only thing that came out was a small lighter flame; without a channel or more power my magic abilities were useless!
“What are you doing?” Alice asked as they continued to push back the vines. I quickly dodged the attack coming from the head before I answered.
“If we can do some fire damage we might be able to burn it and keep it from regenerating. Problem is my magic is too weak to channel properly.”
“Try this!” Glitch reached into his pouch and pulled out a fire flower tossing it to me the next second, “That should increase your power with fire for a few minutes!” I shoved the fire flower in my mouth cringing the next second at the spicy texture of the flower as I felt my eyes start to water up; I powered through and swallowed the jalapeno flavored plant and felt my body start to heat up quickly. The heat didn’t burn though, it felt comforting and welcoming as I stood there soaking it in; I began to draw the rune feeling my hand heat up as I started drawing, the fire magic was coursing through my body into my hand. Before I could finish I saw my hand ignite with powerful fire and stopped, the effects were so potent the fire spell was instantaneous! I outstretched my hand and channeled the fire power in my palm and watched as it shot at the vines assaulting my team; once it came in contact with the vines I saw the fire spread down the  vines turning them to ash. The flame snaked up and consumed the protective layer of vines around the main tether to life.
“Glitch, you’re up!” I motioned to the main vine and Glitch dashed forward and swung at the vine with all his might tearing through the first three layers but wasn’t able to make it through the whole thing. This thing had multiple layers to its main vine; it was much more powerful than we thought! Glitch stood there trying to pull his ax out with all his might, the piranha plant reeled its head back and I saw flames form from its mouth; it was going to shoot a fireball! I rushed forward and pushed Glitch out of the radius and felt the flames pour on me.
“Soren!” Alice yelled worried, it was to be expected considering I was currently being covered in flames but I couldn’t feel them; there seemed to be a cover that protected my body from damage. The fire flower must have given me extra fire protection. When the onslaught was over a shook of the pressing feeling on my body and motioned for Glitch to come back over. We pulled at the ax and dislodged it from the creature with all our force.
“Are you crazy!?” Glitch yelled obviously surprised.
“You sound like Alice, let me try something.” I touched the ax blade with my hand and felt the warmth leave my body as I watched the flames dance on the blade of the ax, “Go for it!” I backed up and watched as Glitch reeled back with all his strength and swung across the vine cutting through all layers with ease as the fire burned away each layer of the center vine.

The piranha plant wailed as it was consumed by the zipping flames of the fire until all that was left was the burnt ashes of the plant we just destroyed. We all let out a collective sigh of relief as we sat down exhausted from the fight we just had; this was technically the first boss fight we had in this world and I got the feeling it wouldn’t be the last, now that we reached the halfway point there were going to be more troops and even tougher troops coming at us. As I contemplated our future fights I felt a steel fist hit my head.
“Moron!” I turned around and Alice was standing over me with a balled fist in her gauntlet as Glitch giving me a glare, “How many times are you going to jump in front of burning flames!?”
“You would have been burnt to a crisp!” Glitch added in, “And I don’t think we can shove a 1-up down the throat of a pile of bones and ash!”
“I had a fire flower so I was fine.” I replied hopping to disperse their anger…in retrospect I guess that was the wrong thing to say. I felt Alice grab me by the collar of my shirt and lift me up.
“We didn’t know the fire flower did that you idiot! How many times are you going to make me worry about whether or not you’ll end up dead because of some crazy stunt!?”
“I had to save Glitch.”
“Why?” We both turned to Glitch who asked the question as he gave me an angry yet confused look, “Why did you save me, I tried to kill you yesterday! Why would you sacrifice your life for your murderer?”
“Actually it was attempted murder and why not?” He went silent for a minute at what I had just said; it was like I had said something crazy.
“Didn’t you hear me? I tried to KILL you! I doesn’t make sense to just treat me like a valued member when I’ve caused you harm.”

“Why not?” He looked me in the eye with a surprised look, the anger gone from his face, “You are a valued teammate, no matter what the case I see you as someone to trust. We all make mistakes Glitch but dwelling on those mistakes is no way to establish trust. I want to trust you and gain your trust in return; if I show the tiniest hint of distrust then I’m failing myself and you. I’m not going to let the past effect my future anymore, I’m going to give it my all when it comes to our team work on and off the battle field.” I approached him and put a hand on his shoulder, “Don’t question why I want to save you, you’re worth saving because you’re a part of this team.” I gave him a smile and he just stood there stunned at what I said. I looked back at Alice and she gave me a smile as she rolled her eyes at me.

The rest of the travel to the flag pole was done in silence as Glitch shuffled behind me and Alice walked next to me.
“Do you have a thing for giving speeches?” Alice asked as she put her hands behind her head.
“Why do you ask?”
“Seems to me you like giving people a heartfelt talk that’s long winded.”
“Didn’t I give you a speech to?”
“You’re just proving my point.”
“We’re friends now right? That means it was worth doing if we’re friends now.” She giggled and looked back at Glitch contemplating something.
“That’s true; whatever you do it seems to work. Just don’t go overboard, okay?”
“Okay.” We made it to the flag pole and since Glitch was still in a stunned state I grabbed one of the extra flags and jumped onto the pole. I tore the Bowser emblem off and patched on Glitch’s flag as Glitch just looked up at me as I struggled to put it on, it was harder than it looked. After that we set up camp and lit a fire using the skills I observed Glitch using; I felt that I did a good job.
“That’s a crappy fire pit.” Alice said crushing my illusion of competence. We all sat around it and I looked over at Glitch to see him just staring at the pit poking the fire with a stick; he seemed to be depressed about something but I couldn’t pin it.
“Hey Glitch?” I pulled him from his thoughts as he looked at me, “Why were you so intent on training after that fight?”
“You see…after that fight I felt like I had to get stronger to fight Damien. I felt like a hero with a rival and I had to get stronger to beat him and stand on top.” I watched as he broke the stick in half throwing it into the roaring fire, “I felt like I had a goal to achieve beyond fighting Bowser and being the saver of the mushroom kingdom. It felt good for a little bit but then I took my chances against the piranha plant and couldn’t even cut it apart.”
“That’s just because it was thicker than we thought.” He shook his head.
“It wasn’t just that, maybe we had trouble but I was expecting that, what I didn’t expect was you jumping in to save me. When that blast was coming at me I saw my life flash before my eyes and I felt…I felt like I could have gone out there and it would have been fine. Nobody would have cared and my life would have just blinked out without anyone caring; it wasn’t a heroes death but I felt like it was how I was going to go out, with nobody caring about me and me not accomplishing anything…like everyone said I would go out.” He spoke so naturally about his own death that I could tell this was not the first time he thought about it, “Then, you saved me and as you were engulfed in flame I felt that doubt being replaced with confusion. There have been times were I was almost hit by a car and as it sped at me I watched as people just looked at me; people who knew me just looked at me as though I was getting what was coming to me.  The car stopped before it hit me and they just continued walking, as though it didn’t even happen.” He stopped and took a deep breath, “The fact that you were willing to give up your life to save me was unconceivable to me it felt odd. Then there was the feeling I got from just looking at you about to die; I don’t know why but I felt an overwhelming sense of loss looking at you, it wasn’t just me either, I saw it on Alice’s face.” I looked over at Alice and she looked away shyly, “When I asked you why, you said I was valued and that was a word that I had never heard before. I realized that when it comes to us you’re more of a hero than I am.” What?
“What do you mean?”
“You not only saved me but you gave me a reason to why I was worth it. You made me feel like I had validation in this life, you’re a hero. You selflessly gave yourself to save me and you treat me with respect even after what I’ve done; only a hero would do that.” He spoke honestly; he meant everything he said and I could tell it was hard for him to admit, “I want to be that but I’m scared, how can people look at someone who never had any value and see a hero. One look at you and I felt there was more to you than what I saw, it hurt to see what you were in that moment because it’s what I want to be and I can’t.”
“You don’t want to be.” I replied.
“Trust me when I say that what you saw in me is not something of a hero; I’m not a hero, I’m just another traveler like you and Alice. If anything, you two have more to you than me.” When I looked at Alice she gave me a worried look; she knew what I was talking about…him, “Besides, you’re my teammate, I’m not going to just disown you because of who you are; there’s always more beneath the face and if I don’t trust you than I’ll never get to know you. I want to be able to trust you and I won’t let anything change that, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a hundred more times if I have to.” Glitch went silent after that, he spent the rest of the time around that fire locked up in his head thinking. I put out the fire after an hour and we all went to sleep with the events of today still reeling in our head; barriers were breaking, things were becoming complicated and truths would eventually have to come out…from both sides.
“Dammit!” I slammed my fist into the ground angrily. This is the second time he’s corrupted a world to his own twisted goal; I had a suspicion he was behind this but to see I was right just pisses me off more than I expected.
“Who was that guy?” Glitch’s voice tore me from my anger; he was still in the dark about this situation.
“That was…were not sure.” Even after all our encounters we still couldn’t figure out who he was or what his end goal was in recruiting travelers, “But what we do know is that he’s dangerous, he will say whatever he wants to get you on his side.”
“He’s done it once.” Alice interjected.
“Me and Glitch ran into a shapeshifter type person. I have to assume he’s working with the guy, I can’t remember any instance of a shapeshifter humanoid in this world.”
“So…he’s our villain?” Glitch asked; I raised my eyebrow at his question.
“So we have to take him down?” So that’s what he’s driving at!
“Glitch no! Trust me he’s too dangerous, me and Alice barely survived a fight with him. In all honesty…he let us live.” I watched Glitch take a step back in fear, “We should avoid him if we can, for now all we need to do is find Mario and take care of Bowser.” He gave me a shaky nod and looked over to the body of the koopa.
“What about this?”
“If we get to the final castle we can at least keep the blame off the Mushroom kingdom for this.” But if we were going to do that then we’re going to need to double time it to the end, “First, let’s grab some supplies from the armory at this castle and then head out.” We jumped down and found the toad at the end. When he saw us he gave us a big smile. After thanking us for saving him he led us to the nearby hidden armory and gave us free reign to look around. I grabbed two longsword off of a nearby bench of weapons and slung one around my waist and the other under my coat; it was smart to carry a back-up just in case. I looked over and saw Glitch grabbing survival supplies such as rations and lanterns and stuffing them into his belt pouch; Alice was looking over the wide range of different blades and seemed to be contemplating what to pick up, “Why not stay with the sword you’re using?” I asked her making her jump in surprise.
“It’s balanced but I want to do more strikes instead of doing more damage.”
“How about the rapier?” It was good for quick strikes.
“It relies more on thrusts while I do more slashing than thrusting.” That’s a predicament.
“How about a katana then?” She raised her eyebrow at my suggestion and then grabbed a katana off the weapon bench. She swung it around for a minute getting her bearings and then started to experiment with her unique way of fighting; when she was done she smiled and sheathed the blade slinging it on her waist.
“Good choice.” She walked away heading to the supplies picking up different supplies. I looked over to see Glitch was waiting at the entrance.
“Hey Glitch, do you want to switch out your weapon?” I asked and he gave me a cocky smile.
“I’m good with my battle ax!” He motioned to the double edged ax slung over his back, it was still in fairly good condition; he must not have used it very much before. I felt Alice tap my shoulder and turned to her; she was wearing her basic white t-shirt with her green short sleeved jacket and now had a metal breastplate with small steel gauntlets, steel knee-high boots and wore a steel skirt… it didn’t look half bad on her. She handed me a few basic supplies and I placed them in my belt.
“Why are we getting weapons? Aren’t we going to avoid killing any of Bowser’s men?”
“We’re not only dealing with them but the guy and his shapeshifter…and possibly Lissa.”
“Did you see her?”
“No but we can’t rule her out, she could be farther in.” Alice gave me a nod.
“True…but first off…” She looked me up and down, “Why aren’t wearing some form of armor?”
“I’m wearing arm-guards.”
“That’s not enough!” She gave me an angry look; somehow I had a knack for pissing her off, “Me and Glitch are at least wearing a few pieces of metal armor.” I looked over at Glitch and she was right; even if it was patchy he still wore more armor than I ever have…and he seemed to grab a red jacket when I wasn’t looking, “Come with me!” She grabbed me by the back of my collar and dragged me over to the armor area and started looking over pieces of armor I could wear. It was like I was shopping with my mom for new clothes.

    After half an hour I was now equipped with shoulder guards and a breastplate as well as steel boots and knee guards; she let me keep the arm guards but they were now steel and the inside of my black jacket now had a light layer of chain-mail. Luckily with my new mushroom strength it didn’t weigh me down and I added a layer of cotton so the metal wouldn’t cause any noise as I moved.
“Happy?” I asked giving Alice a glare.
“Very.” She replied proudly making me laugh.
“Can we get moving?” Glitch asked tapping an imaginary watch. We wasted a lot of time on this so we better get moving.

We moved out quickly into the third area and looked out to see it was covered in storm clouds and littered with enemies all over the area. We kept to the high areas and sped through the area grabbing any of the mushrooms we could find whether they were 1-ups or power mushrooms. With our united work we made it to the end quickly enough and tore the flag off of its pole as Glitch attached his own symbol. We didn’t waste any time and kept up with our pace into the next area; when I looked out I saw as it was filled with Koppas and Goombas with no upper platforms for us to run across.
“Why are there so many troops this early in?” Alice asked annoyed.
“We’re getting closer to the leader. The troops are becoming more frequent.” Glitch pointed out.
“But were not even half way there. This seems extreme for this early in.” She was right, this was too early for this many troops…or maybe there are tougher troops farther in.
“These troops can be counted as scouts. When we get farther in I’m guessing we’ll run into more experienced troops.”
“Yeah, like hammer bros, bullet bills, buzzy beetles, lakitus and spinies.” Glitch said almost naturally.
“Kind of an expert at this game huh?” I said nudging him.
“This game is my bread and butter. It’s the only game I play.” He replied with a smile…only game?
“You don’t play any other game?” I watched his smile fade slowly and he looked down.
“…Yeah…let’s just keep moving.” He started moving ahead of us and Alice and I looked at each other; we both know what that meant. That fact was connected to his main problem; we caught up with him and we jumped over the enemies dodging them as they rammed at us and swooped down to get to us. Once we made it through we looked up to get an idea of what time in the day it was. The sky was too covered in storm clouds for us to get an idea of what time in the day it was; without the sun we couldn’t even tell if it was midday or near dusk, “If we’re going to get an idea of what time to stop we’re going to need to get to the next area. The skies will be clear enough for us to tell the suns position.” If that was what we needed to do then we had better keep moving.

We moved into the next area and as we looked out I felt something wet hit my face, it was starting to rain; we bundled up our collective coats and took a better look at the area. It was a multi-platform area with only a few koopas in the area; they didn’t seem much for battle as they withdrew into their shells to avoid the rain, this was going to be easy. As we approached the first platform we watched as a fog began to pool into the area from out in the distance; maybe this wasn’t going to be so easy. We moved as fast as we could to avoid being consumed by the fog, it wouldn’t be ideal to try jumping from platform to platform without being able to see the next platform. As we jumped onto the next platform we moved over a koopa and as I moved over it I felt something pull at my leg and I fell to the ground as Alice and Glitch kept moving. When I looked down I saw the koopa deform into a black mass and reform into the slick haired boy I met before.
“You!” I stood up and pulled out my sword as he looked at me calmly.
“That wouldn’t be smart here.” He waved his finger at me and I looked around at my surroundings; moving from side to side was definitely out of the question, “At least, not for you.” He suddenly re-formed into a gryphon and then back laughing.
“What do you want?”
“I figure it would have been easy to figure out by now, I want you dead and the boy on our side. Basic stuff really.” He spoke so calmly it almost pissed me off.
“You won’t have any luck with that here you know. I mean, it’s just you and me here.”
“You think I didn’t plan this?” His eyes narrowed as he looked at me, “Convincing the dolt would be simple but with you around I can’t count on him not betraying us. In case you haven’t noticed our main enemy in our plans is trust. When there is trust between people then they become harder to control, we don’t need partners we need dogs.” He spoke so meticulously, as though he had everything in place. There was no hint of hesitation or uncontrollable emotion in his voice like with Lissa, “As long as he even has the smallest hint of trust for you then you stand as a roadblock to our plans.”
“Why do you need Glitch?” He just laughed at me when I said that.
“We don’t need him, he’s just a smaller piece of a larger puzzle and like any piece to a puzzle there are hundreds more to be found to take its place.” He looked at me and gave me an intense glare that made my body hair stand on end, “But you set us back by stopping our recruiting and we don’t want to see that again.” He pulled a short sword out of his arm and rushed at me. I blocked his attack and pushed him back as he slid back smoothly as though the push did nothing, “The boss will probably reprimand me for killing you but I think it’ll serve us well in the long run.” He rushed at me again swinging wildly as I blocked his hits, he kept striking at my sword causing me to slid back slightly; I couldn’t retaliate with his quick blows continuing to barrage me. I felt my back foot slide off and felt myself tumble backwards off of the platform, I quickly grabbed the ledge and tried lifting myself up with all my strength. Pull-ups were never my strong suit but I had a chance! I pulled myself up and swung at his feet causing him to back step giving me enough room to stand, “He said you wouldn’t be easy to kill.”
“Why did you impersonate Mario? It doesn’t make any sense to impersonate the hero and keep heading to your end goal.”
“You miss the big part Soren. Tell me, what could you gain from impersonating someone? And to clarify, money and power are off the table.” Reasons to impersonate someone beyond power and money…
“You have the trust of everyone who trusts that person and you can control their credibility.”
“Same thing in this case but you are correct. I impersonated the plumber to gain the trust of those around him and crush it into a pulp.” But if the rumors I’ve heard are true then…
“You’ve been impersonating Mario since before this all started!?”
“That’s right. I brought the plumbers world crumbling around him by being him, I raised the rumors you’ve heard and harassed the goombas to bring this war.” He caused all this?
“Why would you do that!? What could you gain from creating a war?”
“This isn’t a war yet, we still have a bit before it becomes a war but I’ve said too much already.” He pulled out a second short sword in his other hand and rushed at me swinging both weapons causing me to work double time as I dodged and blocked in a rapid succession. When I dodged another move I swiftly kicked him in the side sending him to the ground, he laughed again as he stood, “They weren’t wrong, you’re skilled but I have yet to see your strength.” As he came at me again I sent my brain into overdrive and looked for an opening to disarm him of one of his swords. As he thrusted I moved out of the way of the blow by twirling to the side on one foot and grabbed his wrist digging into it with my nails making him drop the sword. I kicked the blade off the platform watching it disappear into the fog; when I looked back over I saw him look at me in disbelief, “Not what I was expecting here, but that’s what back up is for.” He snapped his fingers and I watched as a figure flew in on wings towards our destination, when it approached I saw a red headed woman flying with bat wings on her back, it was Lissa!

When she landed she looked at me and gave a surprised gasp and looked at the boy.
“Damien you’re fighting him!?” So his name is Damien.
“You should have known that Lissa.”
“I expected a different traveler…not Soren.” She looked at me sadly, “I…I can’t fight him.”
“You’re going to let this deal end then. We all have a reason for being here, if you don’t fight then that deal is void.” I saw her eyes widen in fear and she shed a single tear.
“…okay…” I watched as she widened her hands and out of thin air she summoned two large knives and gripped them, “I’m sorry Soren, but this is where you will die!” She rushed at me to quickly to dodge and sliced me along the chest being stopped by the breastplate, going to have to thank Alice for that. I kicked her backwards causing her to skid and then extend her wings and fly at me slicing at me; luckily I was expecting that and moved to avoid most of her hits getting sliced along the face and any other exposed areas. When she finally stopped I stood back panting and felt someone on my left prompting me to block finding Damien striking at me with his short sword; it was two on one and the odds were against me with Lissa’s two knives and Damien’s quick short sword. Time to take some risks!

I moved back and jumped off the platform into open air hoping that there was another platform for me to land on; luckily I landed on another one and kept running forward towards whatever was next. I could hear as Damien and Lissa chased after me with Damien’s footsteps being heard in the distance as well as Lissa’s wing beats. As I landed on the next platform I didn’t hear the crunch of grass but the thud of brick and found myself standing in front of the third castle even if I couldn’t see it, I ran up the stairs and jumped down to see Alice and Glitch looking at me with surprise and then relief.
“What happened to you!? We were worried sick!”
“Yeah, we made it over the pole and I saw my flag next to the Bowser flag meaning you hadn’t torn it off. By that point we had lost track of you.” I looked up to see Glitch’s and Bowser’s flag waving side by side.
“Wait, you’re covered in cuts.” Alice grabbed my face and looked at the cut lines caused by Lissa, “These are weapon cuts!”
“Did you run into the cloaked guy?” Glitch asked with worry in his voice.
“No, I ran into the black haired guy Damien and Lissa.”
“She’s here!?” Alice asked shocked and angry.
“Yeah, I was fighting them when I decided to run and catch up to you guys.” She gave a sigh and let go of my face.
“That was smart at least.”
“We don’t have time to waste!” They looked at me confused, “If they’re behind us then that means that the cloaked man is just ahead.” They gave a surprised look coming to the realization and we moved into the castle rushing past any obstacles to get to the bridge.

When we made it to the end we saw as the cloaked man was raising a yellow fist over the giant buzzy beetle. As we rushed to stop him the giant fist crushed the shell of the creature and flattened it causing the blood of it to spray out in a gruesome fashion. He slid his hand across the remains pushing it into the lava and turned to us washing the blood of the creatures off his face.
“I’m afraid you’re too late again.” Dammit! We were to late again! Why can’t we stop him! I rushed forward to take a slice at him and he extended his gigantic hand swatting me backwards, “Gutsman really had a lot of strength, how he lost to Megaman is beyond me.” Megaman; another power he has, it was insane to see the plethora of power he attained from so many games. Alice and Glitch helped me up and pulled out their respective weapons, “Three on one won’t help you anymore than you think it will.” He gave us a deadly look and I felt the aura he exuded. It was over powering and almost made me fall to my knees. I looked behind us to see Lissa and Damien had caught up and they were blocking the other end of the bridge. We weren’t outnumbered but we were out powered with the boss here and I don’t think he was going to sit this fight out.
My head was spinning when I woke up; it felt like I had been punched across the face by a gorilla and bear at the same time. The sun was low in the sky to the east meaning dawn had just broken about an hour ago; when I looked around I saw a small burned out fire pit and two sleeping bags with people inside. In one of them was a girl with black hair and a soft face and in the other was… SOREN!
I looked around for my battle ax to see it was behind the girl’s sleeping bag. I quietly stepped over her sleeping bag and grabbed my weapon ready to kill the obstacle in my way. I approached Soren’s bag and looked to see he was tossing and turning in his sleep; looks like this was nightmare that would last forever.
“I wouldn’t if I were you.” I looked over to see the girl standing up and pointing a sword at me.
“No, he’s not. Not if I can help it.” She gave me a piercing glare that gave me the feeling that if I even scratched him she would attack.
“Are you kidding me? If anything he’s going to help you save this world.”
“He’s not some heartless person; he’s here to help this world.”
“There’s more to saving the world than taking the glory.”
“You really think he would do that to you? Look up at the flag pole.” I looked up at the pole to see that my G emblem was up there.
“We crossed that bridge of fish to make it to the next pole and he tore off the old flag that was there. In the middle of the night, when he thought I was asleep, he climbed up there and stuck that on there in its place.”
“Yep, he spent an hour climbing that thing, look at his palms.” I looked to see Soren’s palms were a light red; must have been pole burn, “He doesn’t want to beat you, steal from you or even offend you. He just wants your trust.” …
“Why should I trust him?”
“Has he given you reason not to?”
“He’s been trying to convince me to give the hero role back to Mario. He’s been working against me!”
“He hasn’t been working against you, he’s been trying to convince you but he’s stood by your side up till now. If it were up to me I would have killed you after you attacked. But he said to give you a chance, so I’m going to give you a chance.” He let me live? I looked down at Soren to see him still turning in his sleep, “We all have our own problems, I don’t know why you want to be a hero so bad and I don’t care. All I want is for us to get back home, you’re lucky that Soren is sticking his neck out for you; after everything he’s been through I sometimes find myself baffled by how nice he is.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s not my story to tell, but understand this.” She approached me sticking a finger in my face and gave me a deadly glare, “All he wants to do is gain your trust and give in return and if you abuse that trust then I will PERSONALY see that you pay for it!” She stepped back leaving me stunned. It was like I was being threatened by a lion protecting their cub.
“Why do you care about him so much?” She turned around and gave me a small smile.
“He’s the one friend I can trust completely. I’m going to protect him no matter what because I know he would do the same for me. Maybe in his own weird way but I know he would.” After saying that she started packing up her gear up; I looked back down to see he was still tossing and turning and when I looked at his face closely I saw a look of fear plastered across it.
“Why does he toss and turn in his sleep?”
“Like I said earlier, everyone has their own problems, his haunt him in his sleep.” …Maybe I should give him a chance…but I can’t trust anyone but myself…there’s no one to trust. I looked back up at the flag pole; slowly putting my ax down I grabbed my gear packing everything up.

I woke up with the sun in my eyes, it was still fairly close to the east hills; must be only about two hours in the morning…maybe three hours. I stood up to see Alice had her supplies packed and was looking over the large castle structure. I looked over at Glitch to see him sitting there with everything packed up and his weapon sitting in front of him. He seemed to be contemplating something deeply from the look on his face; he was a million miles away from the look in his eyes.
“Hey Glitch, you okay?” When I said that he jumped slightly in surprise, he looked up at me and stared with confusion, “Something wrong?”
“Why do you still look at me like that?
“Like what?”
“You look at me like I’m still worth trusting, I tried to KILL you! Doesn’t that faze you!?” That’s what has him so twisted in a knot?
“You aren’t the first person to try to do me bodily harm that I’ve learned to trust. I once ended up with a concussion and burned hand; if it weren’t for her I would have been dead.” I replied pointing at Alice.
“She didn’t go crazy though. Not like I did.”
“No, maybe not the exact same way but she’s the reason I got said concussion. A hilt blow right to the head.” He gave me a baffled look.
“After that you still trusted her? Why?”
“I’m not perfect Glitch; I’ve made plenty of mistakes and been the enemy of plenty of others. I don’t deny that I’ve done wrong…but I don’t want to give up on people because of my own mistakes. My friendships have shown me that the defining piece to every friendship or partnership is trust. Maybe you can’t trust me know but give me a chance.” I outstretched my hand to him hoping he would take in this step to becoming closer.
“…” He took my wrist and I pulled him up; he gave me a large toothy grin and laughed. This was a good first start. I looked over at Alice to see her looking at me, she gave me a smile and small nod; I was going to have to thank her later. I’m not sure how but I know she helped out in this.

After gathering everything together we entered the second castle and found ourselves greeted by a pit of lava a few feet from the entryway. The fact that there was lava in this castle was questionable and something to be taken up with the architect; deciding to ignore that thought we moved across the pit and under the spinning flamethrower making sure to avoid fire damage.
“Hey Soren?” Alice tapped my shoulder catching my attention.
“What’s up?”
“Your coat is atrocious.” I looked down at my coat to see it was in pretty bad shape from the last time I looked at it; it was torn in the back and the shoulder from the ax attacks and the bottoms had burn marks. Must have caught on fire at some point and not noticed it.
“Oh yeah, didn’t really notice. Last time it repaired itself when we completed a dungeon remember?”
“Yeah but we’re not in Hyrule anymore so you need a new coat.”
“No way, it’s awesome!”
“The coat is torn; you can’t walk around looking like a hobo.”
“I can just sew it back together.”
“Can you even sew?” Crap, she caught me in my lie.
“…Kind of…”
“Hand over the coat!”
“No! You’re going to destroy it!”
“Good job figuring it out, now hand it over!” She started grabbing at my coat ripping it further until Glitch stopped her.
“Stop! You’re just making it worse!” He suddenly pulled out a black thread and needle and grabbed my coat smoothly before I even know I had it off. Alice and I watched in amazement as his fingers moved so naturally as he sewed the holes back together; I don’t know where he learned that but I was impressed by how much he knew. He knew how to make a fire pit and how to sew together tapestry and clothing; seems like he knew survival skills, “Done!” He tossed the coat back at me and I examined it closely; I couldn’t even find the area that he worked on, it was like the holes were never there to begin with.
“Wow, this is amazing work! Where did you learn to do this?”
“I was in boy scouts for a few years and picked up a few skills.”
“Don’t Girl scouts teach sewing?” Alice asked skeptical.
“Well let’s just say for the first few weeks I…wasn’t…exactly in the right place.”
“And they let you stay?”
“Well when I was younger I didn’t exactly look…as manly as I do know.”
“They mistook you for a girl?” He nodded and Alice and I just looked at each other baffled. He was at least a foot taller than us and was very physically fit; It was funny to think about…we started to chuckle…and then laugh.
“Sorry, sorry…it’s just…hard to think about, I mean look at you know! It’s funny to think about.”
“About what?” He gave me a glare.
“About you being a tiny dainty girl.” Alice finished and we laughed again. After a few seconds I heard Glitch start to laugh.
“You know I wore a skirt without questioning it for a month.” We started laughing again and everyone seemed to be having fun, it made the tension between us lessen.

Once we were done laughing we continued on and found a conveyer platform area with a figure in the distance beyond it walking farther in; it was tall lumbering figure and it walked slowly onto the bridge. We jumped over the conveyer system and caught up to the figure as the shadow dissipated to reveal a tall cloaked figure…I knew it! It was the cloaked guy who was in charge of Lissa from Hyrule; he was the scourge of our last adventure and he was now here. I stopped everyone as he kept walking and we followed behind him quietly; I was curious in what he was doing at this area, I got the impression that he should have been at the end of the world in the eighth castle or at least the seventh castle. As he came to the end of the bridge I saw him approach a giant koopa at least three times our size…maybe two times Glitch’s size; I moved up to listen in on their conversation but stepped back as he pulled out a strangely made blade and swung it at the large creatures throat as the koopas eyes widened in horror at the obvious act of betrayal.
“W…why?” The koopa choked out with its dying breath as it collapsed with a thud as its shell hit the bridge causing it to wobble and sending me on my back. He turned around and looked down at me with a smirk on his face.
“I knew I would see you again.” I rolled backwards getting back on my feet and reached for my sword only to find nothing on my back; crap that’s right it broke in the fight with Glitch! Alice and Glitch caught up with me and the cloaked man snickered, “Even the girl is here, and looks like you have another compatriot. Too bad he’s coming with me eventually.”
“Not if I can help it!” He laughed uproariously.
“You think you can save him? I saw what went down, he almost killed you! That’s exactly what I want, that intent makes them all the stronger!” He turned to Glitch and outstretched his hand, “You want power, strength, and the chance to be a hero? Come with me boy, I can show you true strength.” He was trying to recruit Glitch right in front of me? I looked to see Glitch thinking it over in his head; he was seriously considering it!?
“Glitch.” Alice caught his attention, “You don’t want to trust him, he doesn’t hold up in his promises.” He looked down and back stepped.
“You can’t recruit him!” I yelled at the giant man.
“No, I can but I think I’ll save the ace up my sleeve for later. For now, how about showing me what you’ve got two face?” Two face? What did he mean, “I would love to get a look at the person under the skin again. He was so…passionate.” Him!?
“What do you want with him?”
“I’m very interested in your unique circumstance. Not many others are so…split up like you.”
“Shut up!” Don’t talk about him; it…hurts to think about him. Alice rushed forward and swung at him with her blade; he just blocked it and pushed her back as he pulled at the hole in his blade creating two knives.
“Trick weapons sure are interesting aren’t they, almost unfair when you can use them properly.” Trick weapons, they’re from Bloodborne. How many worlds has he visited?
“What are you doing anyway?” I asked catching his attention, “As far as I can tell you are working with Bowser; why are you killing his top men?”
“Clever as always, what causes wars my dear boy?”
“War…it’s caused by disputes in ethics and how someone perceives a situation and whether or not they want to do something about it.”
“Close but so far; it’s hate and fear that causes wars. You hate others because of how they treat you or you fear their culture or power and that’s why wars spark.” So killing Bowser’s men creates fear? No…it doesn’t cause fear.
“You’re causing hate.” Alice cut in, “You’re killing Bowser’s men to blame it as the Mushroom kingdoms retaliation, you’re turning it into a war between these two forces.”
“Wait, it’s not already a war?” Glitch added in.
“No, it’s an invasion; but if Bowser finds out his men are being killed by mushroom forces from this guy-” she pointed at the cloaked man, “Then it will turn into a full scale war.”
“Precisely little miss. I was hoping that Glitch and my subordinate would be able to do this but a hitch in my plan popped up.” He looked at me with a smile; why was he smiling?
“So you had to rethink your plan.” I interjected.
“No matter, I must be on my way; there are still five others to take care of.” He pulled out a small green glowing gem…was that a chaos emerald, “When you can harness these things they really become useful. Sadly they only have jumper capabilities; it will get me at least a few yards ahead of you.” As I reached for him he suddenly disappeared leaving us on the bridge with the koopa body and a sense of dread of what the future might be if he succeeds.
I hope that everyone I know is filled with holiday joy.
But if your not, that's fair it's not for every girl and boy.

The seasons are for family, friends and close acquaintances.
Enjoy the food that every religion has us stuff our face in.

But no matter what, don't forget to give thanks to those you love.
No matter how far away they are, across the sea, another planet or even up above.

Because in the end we all have those who mean the world to us.
If we forget then those we love might as well be strangers on the bus.

The world is round and full of those with different beliefs and views.
But for those we love we set aside our silly life time feuds.

And on the new year we rejoice for another year has gone.
The next one up is full of hope for those who have felt wronged.

Because every year, nay every day is another chance at hope.
Not just another day to feel you have to cope.

The world keeps spinning and that just means there's more than just today.
There's tomorrow, the day after and many more they say.

So enjoy the new years toast, the Christmas exchange, the eight days of Hanukkah, the week long Kwanzaa and any other festivities I may not know.
Because every day we live is an opportunity to change, to live and to grow.




Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
no idea what bio is

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remanth Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! *throws confetti* :party::cake::dance:
Kidaelo Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist
happy birthday HAppy Birthday Jarad! I've heard having a birthday right next to Christmas is kinda hard. What's your opinion on the matter? Oh yeah ! Merry early Christmas too!!  Merry christmas everybody
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Sorry I'm late in answering. It's hard of course but it just means I get to spend even more time with those I care about, So I'm glad to have it near Christmas.
Kidaelo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist
That's awesome. Well, good luck to ya in the new year to come. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the best years ever invented! ^3^
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
and even if it isn't we will make it great! XD
(1 Reply)
remanth Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday! *throws confetti* :party: :cake: :dance:
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks a lot!
N-ugatory--Vibrato Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Student Writer
Happy Birthday to you~
Happy Birthday to you~
Happy Birthday dear Jarad~
Happy Birthday to you! :D

I hope you had an amazing day!
Intrestsofthemind Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks :)
N-ugatory--Vibrato Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013  Student Writer
No problem!
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