Parasite: Part 3, Chapter 2
Tedium would not beat him. The doldrums of the past few days would not overtake him. He had to do something. He had to get up and leave his bed.
Sitting up was no trouble for him anymore. He could slide his rear back far enough so that the head of the bed supported his back like a chair would. It was mandatory that he do that in order to keep himself relatively tidy while he ate. All that he needed to do from a sitting position was turn to the side and push off of the bed.
He knew in the back of his head that things could never be that easy. His legs drug back and forth limply if not painfully every time he sat up and laid back down again. The fear that his legs were paralyzed was quickly extinguished after his first day of consciousness. He could move his limbs, but they were very weak from the injuries and atrophy.
Tentatively calling for his mother first to make sure that she had left the house, he pulled himself up and swiveled his legs to the side. A dull sting ran through his left leg; it had given him more pain than the other. Aside from that, to his approval, no large pains seized his limbs. He dropped his bare feet over the edge of the mattress and settled them onto the cold hardwood floorboards. Pushing against the floor, he tested his strength. The left ached along most of its length, but the right seemed merely to be asleep. After spending a minute or two tapping it to get its circulation moving properly, he decided to go ahead and stand.
Shoving himself up with his arms, he anticipated the need to correct his balance and leaned towards his desk. However, the soreness in his left leg gave way to an agonizing pain and instantly repulsive grinding feeling. In order to prevent the limb from snapping, he forced it into limpness and resigned himself to falling onto the floor. The lads entire body crashed downward and crumpled into a heap, placing an unexpected amount of weight onto his more injured leg. Frantically, he rolled himself over and sat up, exhausted from the smarting in his limbs.
As he tried to sit up, a blunt nausea crept from his lower bowels into the rest of his torso. He swallowed and gave the queasiness time to relax before dragging himself back to bed. As he hauled himself onto the mattress, he thanked the fortune that took his mother out of the house long enough for him to attempt what he had done. At the very least he had a better handle on how extensive his injures still were.
Settling back into the groove he had carved in his mattress, he let his eyes wander across his room. The various blades he had collected through his travels either leaned against or hung in stately triumph on racks on the far wall. Having lost his strongest blade, he pondered which would be the best to take when he next found a chance to leave home again.
You look like you dont remember me, the voice at the dark end of the cave declared in a mockingly piteous tone. I suppose our meeting was far too short for us to get acquainted.
Then show yourself, Meridio ordered.
Gladly, the smug voice answered.
Almost instantaneously, a semicircle of torches lit up around the figure. Once their eyes adjusted to the light, the trio could discern a familiar, reptilian countenance. The ridge of spines running down the back of the Mystics head seemed to flex as the being smiled garishly at the fighters.
Surely you remember Bodhran, the Second Elite from Ozzies Guard, the baggily-clothed figure reminded.
Cant say that I do, the mercenary taunted, casting his torch lazily to the ground near his feet.
Bodhrans smiled threatened to twist into a scowl. Charming, he observed, But rest assured you will remember me after this.
Possibly, the man retorted with his own smirk.
Im told you are the kids who killed the magician Flea, the Mystic continued, folding his arms comfortably and ignoring Meridio.
Yeah, Lucca replied expectantly.
Lets just say that Flea was an inspiration for a lot of us Mystics, the being explained, And that we dont take very kindly to our legends dying at the hands of children.
What are you going to do about it? Meridio interrupted.
I dont know, Bodhran responded blithely, retrieving a metallic object from underneath his jacket.
Gazing at the weapon, Lucca identified the curved, flattened projectile. A boomerang? You dont have room to use that in here.
I suppose not, the Mystic agreed absently before he abruptly hurled the sharpened throwing stick to the grotto floor. Upon bouncing dully off of the rocky ground, the weapon flew upwards, twirling and ascending quickly through some unseen influence. It nearly grazed both Meridio and Lucca as all three adventurers leapt out of its path. Careening off of walls, the crescent-shaped blade continued to fly wildly around the cavern among the trio.
Meridio ducked away from the boomerang long enough to get a look at Bodhran. The Mystic proceeded to wave his arms in front of himself, tracing the same path that the weapon flew. He grinned and suppressed a laugh as he watched the two young ladies dodging his assault. Smiling his own smile, the mercenary drew a fist back and prepared a ball of ethereal ice. Just as Bodhran leaned to his left to send the blade towards Marle, the man attacked, pitching the ball into the Mystics ample jaw.
Bodhran flinched, nearly falling over, and the boomerang dropped lifelessly to the ground. Before the enemy could fully recover, Meridio was on his feet, launching a fist into the same spot that the ice chunk had contacted. Collapsing, Bodhran slid across a few feet of dirt as the fighters regrouped.
Meridio rubbed a painfully chilled hand; it had absorbed some of the magic that still possessed the Mystics injured jaw. Stay back, he ordered the princess and inventor, Ill handle this. As he started to turn back to his fallen opponent, every torch in the cave suddenly extinguished itself. When the cursed light returned a second later, all three jumped at the sight of a clearly annoyed Bodhran standing right in front of the man. The Mystic sent the back of his hand across Meridios face, felling the mercenary before anybody could react.
Lucca and Marle stepped back, drawing their weapons and training them on the snickering Bodhran. He twisted a smug glare towards them, and seemed to wait for them to attack. The scientist fired a shot, but within the split second that she was stunned by the recoil of the Wondershot, her target disappeared. A tap on her shoulder alerted the young markswoman that Bodhran was behind her. Lucca spun and leapt out of his way and faced the Mystic.
Reacting swiftly, Marle yelled: Look out! and charged Bodhran, swiping the butt of her crossbow at his head. The weapon passed harmlessly through was clearly a spectral image of the crafty Mystic, and the two frantically darted searching glances around the grotto.
Appearing across the alcove, Bodhran snapped his fingers haughtily and nodded once quickly to the pair. Both of them were seized by a blinding light, and their eyes glazed over as they grunted in pain. Marle dropped her crossbow and rubbed her pained eyes, stumbling backwards.
What was that? she called.
Sorry, girls, the Mystic sneered, I appreciate the attention, but Ive got to take care of your man first.
Lucca holstered her gun and reached clumsily for the Guardians arm as she removed her glasses and pressed her free sleeve against her face. Finding Marle, she pulled the young lady closer to her side and commanded: Stay close. Extending a hand in front of herself, she channeled an energy-based barrier outward and around the pair.
Snorting and rolling his eyes in amusement, Bodhran regarded the mercenary as Merido pulled himself to his feet. Ready to go, joker? he jeered.
Placing his fists in front of his chin, the man assumed a boxing stance and spit a trickle of blood from the side of his mouth. Bodhran stood not three feet from Meridio, but kept his stance plain, merely extending his right hand towards his fallen weapon. Drawing the boomerang through the air and into his grasp, the Mystic allowed a slight pause prior to his next attack. The curved blade flew directly towards the mercenary, but quickly diverted its path before making contact. Merido ducked in response and promptly unclipped his mace. As the weapon banked back towards him, the man deflected it with a swing of his studded black ball.
The Mystic continued his onslaught, sometimes curving the boomerang out of Meridios way while pitching it directly towards his adversary at other times. Keeping an eye on the object soon forced Meridio to put his back to the Mystic, and he cast a hasty backwards glance to Bodhran just as the being mentally threw the blade towards the mans head.
Spinning the mace at his side one time, Meridio threw himself forward and swung his arm diagonally, glancing his weapon off of the projectile and deflecting it to the ground. While he appeared to stumble forward, he shifted his weight to his forward foot and spun backwards, pitching the other into Bodhrans stomach. In the same instant, he drew his weapon behind him and upwards over his shoulder. Following through, Meridio punched the orb into the Mystics side.
Bodhran crumpled under the force of the attack and fell to the soil once more. The instant his face hit the ground, the painful luminescence haunting the young ladies dissipated. Quickly noticing that they were out of danger, Lucca relinquished her barrier.
Meridio stood over the fallen body of the being, smirking again. Bodhran pushed himself up, coughing up a mouthful of blood, and turned a malicious glare to his opponent.
Like to play with your life, eh, human? he sneered. A ball of fire flew in front of his face, nearly striking him. Dodging backwards, the Mystic regarded Lucca, who had begun charging towards him. A quick jab of his finger in their general direction once again put both of his female opponents under the blinding spell that he had previously relinquished.
Magic? From a human? he observed casually. Ill have to keep an eye on you.
The young scientist staggered backwards, clenching her eyes against the sting of the Mystics curse. Bodhran ignored her and regarded the waiting mercenary.
Sorry about the delay, he joked as he extended a palm to retrieve his weapon by mental command. The sharpened metal boomerang floated up from its resting place on the cave floor and darted towards the Mystic, nearly cleaving Meridios ear off as it passed him. The man stood firmly, never redirecting his face from its fixed position towards his enemy.
Youre not unskilled, the reptilian being congratulated, Im impressed. Its too bad youre not one of us.
Of course, we have ways of creating Mystics, if youd prefer to join us.
I know; Ive seen your work, and Im not impressed, Meridio answered with a grin, referring to the amphibian knight Frog.
Well, its hard to improve on Natures finest product, the Mystic admitted.
Your kind is an abomination, the man retorted sharply, his demeanor quickly dissolving into acidity. The world will be better off when youre all dead.
Youre welcome to try and wipe us out, the being replied, gripping his weapon angrily until it gouged into the skin of his palm. With a biter leer, Bodhran charged his adversary, slashing the boomerang like a sickle through the air at Meridios head.
The mercenary deftly avoided the strike, and the volley of slices that followed. Quickly ducking a left hook, the man lurched forward and shot his palm upwards and into Bodhrans chin. His face twisted into a satisfied smirk as his opponent stumbled backwards. Thats more like it, he announced concerning the Mystics clumsy fit of anger. Tossing his weapon to the floor, Meridio confidently postured himself for a fistfight against his armed opponent.
Lousy the reptilian muttered, trailing off with a string of ancient curses. Having regained his balance, Bodhran once again dashed towards Merdio and lashed several times at the mans head, missing with each lumbering swing.
Did I say something rude? the mercenary observed as he dodged and weaved out of the path of each attack. Deftly identifying an opening, the man threw a jab straight into Bodhrans face, following with a fierce hook to the Mystics temple. Shifting his weight forward, he heaved an uppercut into the beings jaw, hurling Bodhran to the soil.
The Mystic dragged across the dirt and dropped his weapon. Jumping to his feet, he hastily scanned the surrounding for it, but was overtaken as Meridio rushed him and grabbed his arm. Yanking the limb behind the enemys trunk, the mercenary braced the arm with both hands and threw himself forward, pitching Bodhran over his shoulder and once more into the ground. The reptilian jerked awkwardly as his arm shifted out of its joint in mid-air.
Stepping back to review his work, the man watched as the Mystic pulled himself wearily off of the grotto floor. In the time that it took for Bodhran to stand and inspect his newly dislocated arm, and awkward silence persisted. Lucca and Marle stood defensively where they had been when Bodhran struck them with his spell. Meridio paid them no attention, focusing only on his opponent.
Bodhran slowly cast an indignant glare to the mercenary. Damned human, he swore as he rubbed an injured jawbone, Ill kill you yet. Saying no more, the Mystic vanished with a flourish through a white after-image.
The two young ladies blinked painfully as the blinding curse gradually wore off. Examining the environs, Lucca silently pieced together what may have happened. Marle sent a questioning glance to the bloody boomerang that lay in the middle of the alcove in a pile of dust.
Gazing first at the spot that his enemy once occupied, the Meridio quickly clipped his weapon at his side and approached Marle. Are you alright? he inquired.
Im fine, she answered, still shocked a little from the spell cast on her and unaware of what had happened to the being.
Good, he replied. Then lets go after him.