The Story of Tata Chapter 6
Mourning of Thy Lovely Lass
By The Man
Seven weeks later
Tata slowly trudged towards the entrance of Guardia Forest. He lazily looked up at the massive castle that lay after the wide forest range. Why not? He asked himself silently. I have nowhere else to go. Maybe the knights will put me into battle where I can die unnoticed.
These and many other thoughts of self-destruction made him smile cynically. But first, he had to find place to rest. He was in no condition to present himself as fighting material to the honorable Knights of the Square Table.
Tata reached into his money pouch, but found nothing but a few moth balls that floated lazily into the sky when Tata withdrew his hand. Sighing, he trudged toward the Guardia woods, dreary thoughts blackening his mind.
Entering the vast forest, he saw flashing memories of his fifth birthday, and the horrible events that had followed. He remembered Alison, screaming, flailing, pleading for him to let her go. He had tried his damn well best to save Cyrus' maiden, yet, it was a vain attempt. He had watched her plummet, screaming like a banshee, all the way to the green ground. It had been one of the worst days of his childhood. Yet as he grew older, his life just got worse. His dad's, Jacob's, and Minka's deaths had all proven that point very well. Oh, yes. Tata thought grimly. Very well indeed!
Upon those thoughts, he kicked a tree as hard as his working body would allow. It left a huge dent in the large oak trunk. Sighing again, continued walking, lost in his bleak, hard thoughts. How long he walked, or how many times he looped back to the path, he didn't know or acknowledge. He was completely at the mercy of his sad, sorry mind.
When he finally did look up, he was a few yards away from the passage that led to the moat that surrounded Guardia castle. The castle was incredibly large in his view now. But Tata felt absolutely no admiration for the splendid fortress. Only hate and sorrow, and sadness assailed his mind.
Tata drooped his head, preparing to call out to the sentry that marched back and forth across a ledge just above the closed drawbridge. But then, Tata saw a small black hole open up underneath him. He instantly dropped into the void, and before he knew it, he was hanging, suspended by his tunic that had conveniently hooked onto a branch. Tata grabbed the branch and attempted to unhook himself, but to no avail. He looked around, and was surprised to see the town of Truce sitting peacefully in the distance, only it looked larger and more elegant than the Truce he remembered. Also, the sky was exceptionally clear, with a few fluffy clouds floating lazily in the wind. Strange. It was mostly cloudy a few minutes ago. He looked back at the now larger and more beautiful castle. He was actually quite impressed by the new architecture that had been done on the castle. But then he looked down, and realized that he was hanging at an insanely high level. Obviously the tree was huge, much higher than Tata was comfortable with. He couldn't help himself, therefore, he screamed.
"HAAAALP!" he screamed, unable to keep his eyes off of the ground. "H, heeelp, please."
At first there was no response. Tata was about to call again, but then the main doors of the castle were flung open, and two humanoid figures rushed out. Tata was able to see quite clearly that they saw him. The duo was made up of a tall, white-skinned man, and a shorter woman that had an exceptionally long braid of dark red hair. The woman and the man looked at each other, then the woman pointed to herself and ran over to the trunk of the tree and began to climb.
All the while, Tata was getting over his shock, and was quickly calming his mind and spirit. He had no clue on how he got up there, but he didn't care. He didn't like it, that was all he knew. As the woman got closer, Tata could tell, for one, that the woman was much younger than he had perceived a few minutes earlier, and two, that the girl bore a striking resemblance to Minka. After a few minutes of thought, he concluded that the girl was none other than Minka's infamous sister, Flea. As she got closer, Tata found that the branch he was suspended by was much to thin to hold someone of his weight and size, and threatened to break at any minute. Finally, the girl was close enough to grab his foot.
"P, please, get me down. Please." He said in a much calmer tone than his previous outburst.
"Shh." She whispered, as she tried to get into a position to be able to unhook him easily, and without making him fall. "Hang tight, Tata."
This was Tata's second shock. He had never met Flea in person, nor had she him. How on Earth could she know his name? Then an idea popped into the youth's head. This was his chance. He could end it all here and now. He reached up, searching for the branch. He finally got a good grip on it. It was indeed thin. All the better. Tata thought bitterly. And I will see you soon, Minka. On that thought, he snapped the branch. He fell right into Flea, startling her. Unprepared for the new weight that had landed on her, she toppled backward. Together, they fell, Flea screaming, Tata smiling. He looked to the fast-approaching ground, then up to the top of the tree he had fallen from. This was it. It was all about to end for him, and as they neared the ground ever so quickly, Tata awaited the onslaught of oblivion that would consume him in seconds. He closed his eyes, and waited, and waited and waited even more.
Tata suddenly realized that he and Flea were no longer falling. The wild suicide had ended, and now, as Tata opened his eyes, they were being held by a muscular woman who's golden hair perfectly framed her silky face. She gently set both Flea and Tata on their feet, but Tata, still shocked from the failure of his suicide, lost his footing and fell to the ground.
He was able to hear the blonde-haired woman say: "We hear screams. Ayla see people fall. Game of catch! Much fun!"
Then, a new voice spoke one word: "Thanks."
Tata realized that the three that now was his company was Flea, Ayla, and Magus. Tata sighed as he sat up, realizing that the world just wouldn't let him die. Well, He thought as the trio looked questioningly at him. I probably shouldn't take my troubles out on them. He (with a sheer effort of will) plastered a warm smile on his face.
"Wow! What a rush!" he said, trying to sound like his usual, cheerful self. "But, where am I?"
Magus answered. "You're in Guardia Forest." He said, then smiled. "1000 AD."
"Ouch!" responded Tata, trying to sound impressed. "That was some trip."
Tata had little to no trouble giving the rest a full fake explanation, later that morning. Tata still secretly planned his own death, if that was at all possible. So far, two of his attempts had failed, both of which involving falling from great heights. This strategy was not working, obviously. For some reason, Fate kept him alive. Perhaps for a reason?
It wasn't long before the conversation died, yielding to a much more important topic.
"Weren't we going to test that force field today?" asked Crono, rising from his seat.
Tata didn't know what he was talking about. "F-force field?"
Robo was about to answer, but Atropos intervened. "An invisible wall that deflects attacks."
"Oh." He said quietly. "What for?"
Crono pointed out one of the windows. Tata slowly followed his gaze. To his great surprise, he saw five balls of fire, almost floating in the sky, but in reality, traveling a million miles a minute.
"That's why." Crono said simply.
The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for the upcoming catastrophe, Tata walked about his new company, watching them, complimenting them, and just generally wandering. About five hours into this, he came across Crono and Magus, whom were testing the force field. Tata watched, duly impressed with both the amazing machines efficiency and Magus' impressive magic skills.
"Dark Matter!" shouted Magus, even as his hands made the needed gestures. Following that, a dark, forbidding triangle appeared, and inside that there was a small white one that spun and twirled.
Tata was a couple hundred yards behind Magus, but neither he nor Crono noticed him. Suddenly, the triangles exploded in a blinding white flash. Tata shielded his eyes just before he would have been near blinded. When he looked again, he saw Magus slightly slouching his shoulders, and Crono grinning like a raccoon.
"I just hope this means something to those comets." Magus said wearily, turning to look up at the death-balls that floated in the sunset-lit sky.
Magus held his gaze, which nearly revealed Tata standing behind them. But despite Magus' cryptic persona, Tata felt no need to run. What would he do? Kill him? No.
"Its getting dark!" Called a voice from atop a small hill. Tata and the other two turned to see Lucca waving their attention over to them. "Let's head in!"
"Alright!" responded Crono. He turned to Magus, who had his index finger curled around his pallid face and with his chin resting on the rest of his fist.
"Magus?" Crono asked.
Magus looked up at him, but kept his hand in its fixed position.
"You coming?" he said, grabbing the small device that was the force field activator.
"Yes." He said unsteadily, dropping his hand letting it fall to his side. "Yes, of course."
Tata watch the two walk away, silent and unnoticed by the others. He looked up at the now-darkening skies. He sighed as the orange-red sun's glow got dimmer and finally, went down. He sat himself down on the soft grass. His mind started to wander, then come back with old memories to show him. The memories were of Minka. He saw the first time.. they met
"Hello, Tata!" called the chef as the young child wandered into the small café.
"Hi!" answered Tata.
Everyone else said the same in unison. Everyone in Porre loved to see the young boy around. It was a special warmth that made you forget your worries just to give with a smile.
"What brings you around here, m'lad?" asked a burly man on one of the stools.
"Ah, I'm just dropping by to say 'hi.'" He said. Then he turned to look at the chef. "Any luck with your resume for cook at Guardia Castle?"
The chef placed his hands on the counter and shook his head. "Nope, but I'm going to keep trying. My brother just keeps putting in insults on my abilities. Being the knight captain, he usually persuades the king into turning me down."
Tata shrugged. "I wish I could help, but I'm only six, y'know." Tata looked out a window. It was almost sundown. "Jeez, where does the time go? I got to run. See y'all later!"
The room chorused their farewells as Tata walked outside. Suddenly, a small form plowed into him. Tata was completely unprepared for such an impact, and fell backward flat on his back, the figure falling on top of him. Tata lifted his head, shook it a little, and looked at his attacker. The figure lifted its head. Tata now looked into the face of an exceptionally cute girl. She had fallen on top of him, and held herself up. Tata was slightly angry at this attack, even if it was from a girl.
"Hey! Get off!" he shouted even as the girl got off.
"With pleasure!" she responded, standing up. At her full height, she was slightly taller than Tata, but he found that she couldn't be any older than him. He didn't know why he thought this; it was merely a combination of observation and intuition. He stood up and dusted himself off.
"What did you do that for?" he asked, eyeing the girl angrily.
"I didn't see you, okay?!" she snapped.
"Here I am walking home, peaceful and happy, an some dumb girl comes plowing into me like a battering ram!" he quipped.
"I am not dumb, you little creep." She said matter-of-factly. "Besides, it's not like a cretin like you didn't' deserve it!"
"Oh, go choke on some poison, or something!" he said menacingly.
"Go to Hell!" she screamed, her face now as red as her hair. She turned on her heels and stormed off, leaving Tata sulking alone.
Then, a form leapt out from behind the café, tackling the girl. The figure leapt up, standing over the coughing girl.
"You Mystics obviously aren't all tough!" a familiar voice sounded. "Now you'll feel human strength beat you down!"
"Len!" shrieked Tata, flinging himself at the figure.
"Whu !" started Len, turning in time to have Tata plow into him. The two went down, struggling with each other, cursing and shouting. Tata beat on his enemy as hard as he could, but Len was older and more developed than his small opponent, and eventually, Tata was flung off of him. He crashed into a nearby tree, out of breath and hurt. But Len wasn't going to let his attack go unpunished. He walked nonchalantly over to his fallen foe.
"You never had a chance." Len said menacingly. He swung his boot into Tata's chest, slamming the boy back into the tree. He kicked again, this time in the side of the head, and Tata fell on his side. Len struck one more time, this one in his ribs. Tata began to cry, small whimpers, then light sobs.
"If I didn't enjoy this so much, you'd be dead long ago." Len said gleefully, his shadow looming over the fallen shape of Tata. "Next time, that might be my ultimate joy."
With that, Len walked away, slowly and quietly. Tata grabbed his chest gently, the sobs slowly dying down. The pain was not subsiding, however, and grew in him like a plant, spreading around every nerve in his body. Then, he felt a trickling drop of blood run down his forehead, and thereafter, falling and splashing on the grass.
"Are you okay?"
Tata cocked his head slightly, only to see the girl he had saved standing over him.
"Yep. Just fine and dandy." He said sarcastically.
The girl knelt down to examine him, but, despite himself, slapped her hand away as it drew near to his head wound. "Get away!" he shouted, touching his wound and inducing a stinging pain that flew across his skull.
"You are a Mystic, aren't you?!" he shouted belligerently. "The pointy ears reveal it all!"
"And why the heck do you hate Mystics?" she asked in a loud voice.
"Two of the best men I- no- anyone ever knew were slaughtered by a Mystic!" Tata spat. "Mystics are the bane of the free world!"
"Why you little !" she slapped him across the face. She promptly stood up and began to walk away.
"Wha- you're just going to leave me here?!" he shouted incredulously.
She turned and crossed her arms in one quick motion. "What do you expect? Do you want me to carry you, or something?!"
"Well, you could at least call for help!" he said, exasperated.
The girl said nothing. She walked over and knelt down where Tata lay. She pulled out a small bottle and began to open it.
"Whu- what are you doing?" he asked with a hint of fear in his voice.
"I'm healing you so you'll stop whining." She said as the top of the bottle came off. She began to pour a little of the water-like liquid on his head wound. The second the cool liquid touched the wound, Tata felt relaxed, soothed, and calm. He breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank you, thank you." He said as the soothing feeling consumed his head.
But then: "Pull up your shirt."
Tata coughed hard, staring wide eyed at the girl. "What!?" he breathed as soon as he had regained his breath.
"Pull you shirt up. I need to put some of the healing potion on your chest to heal your wound." She said again.
"No way!" Tata said, even as he began to realize the head wound had spontaneously sealed and disappeared. "Uh-uh. Not happening."
The girl sat back on her feet. "Fine. Suffer a few broken ribs for a while. See if I care."
"Fine, fine." He said, pulling back his shirt up, revealing a bruised chest. He leaned over on his back. The girl poured some more of the liquid on the large bruise, but it ran off the side of his chest. The girl poured a little more into her hand, then she began to rub it in, using long, controlled rubs. Again, the soothing feel of the potion flowed through Tata's chest.
"What are you? Some kind of healer?" he said softly as she continued to rub.
"Kind of." She admitted. "My sister knows some healing techniques, and taught them to me."
"You're nicer than I'd imagine." Tata said, looking into her face that was still concentrated on her work.
"Not all of the Mystic race is for the war." She said in a strict tone. Then she looked at him, into his eyes. "By the way, thanks for saving me from that Len person."
"No one should have to suffer that jackass but me." Said Tata "I was actually kidding when I said that Mystics were the bane of the world. In the long run, him and his gang are far worse."
"You mean, he has friends as mean as him?" she asked, still rubbing his chest.
"Uh huh." Answered Tata, before laughing out loud and recoiling a little from the girl's hand. "I'm sensitive around the ribs." He said, sitting up. He looked down at his chest, where he saw that the pain and the bruise were completely gone. He tucked his shirt back in and stood up, as did the girl.
"Uh, thanks." He said, meeting her gaze.
"No problem." She said, shrugging. "By the way, what's your name?"
"My name's Tata." He said, holding out his hand.
"Pleased to meet you." She said, grabbing his hand and shaking it. "I'm Minka."
Tata sat up with a jolt, and instantly realized he had fallen asleep. He looked around, and saw that it was already deep into the night. Tata didn't know what kind of monsters came out at night in this era, but he wasn't in the mood to find out. He looked to his right and saw the town of Truce. All the lights were off in all the houses and shops, and as Tata's eyes traced over to Guardia Castle, he found that his new companions had done the same. How could they forget about me? He silently asked himself. Grumbling to himself, he crawled to his feet, his shadow perfectly traced by the evil orange glow of the comets that drew ever closer by the minute.
Not wasting any time, he jogged toward the enormous castle, wondering why they had simply left him to freeze out on the ridge he had fallen asleep on. Upon arriving at the moat, he was surprised to find the drawbridge down. Shrugging, he ran across it and quietly opening the large wooden doors to the inside. It squeaked on its hinges, but didn't alarm the door guards, who had fallen asleep at their posts. Tata walked as quietly as he could to his quarters, which the others had chosen for him. Approaching the door, which was already open, her heard someone already shuffling around in his bed. He silently drew his sword and crouched down, waiting for the sound of his bed. It came, and Tata burst through the door, his sword arcing down on the now startled form in his bed. Tata gasped and practically dropped his sword, as he laid his eyes upon the figure that now stared back at him.
It was Minka. She stared calmly stared back at him, almost oblivious to the sword that hung precariously above her head. Tata was shocked beyond reason, practically paralyzed. He found the strength to back away as Minka calmly climbed out of bed and stood up, still staring cryptically at him. He dropped his sword, the hard metal clanging loudly on the floor. He stood, a statue of a man, totally enchanted and stupefied. Minka took a step towards him, still so calm, it made Tata want to run away, screaming like a freaked out little child. But he was frozen in his place, completely fused to his standing position. Minka took two more steps, and still Tata didn't move. His mouth hung open slightly and his eyes stared blankly, yet intently at the advancing girl. Finally, her face was no more than six inches from his. She reached out and roughly shoved him against the wall, but Tata could do little more than stay on his feet. She quickly closed the gap between them, then reached out and pulled him close. She kissed him, long and deeply, and Tata found himself accepting it, allowing his conscious to be drowned be the intimacy of Minka's kiss.
Then, Tata felt a liquid enter his mouth. A warm, rotting liquid that made him pull away, or at least try, as Minka grabbed his throat and forced him onto the floor. Now Tata knew what the warm liquid that now spilt out of his gagging mouth and flooded on his tunic. It was blood. Minka, or the monster that posed as Tata's best friend held him on the floor by his neck, and try as he might, his legs refused to work. Tata tried to pull the being's hand away, but the monster's strength far surpassed his, and its grip tightened. Tata began to choke, his own breath cut off from him by his tightening windpipe.
Then he saw Minka open her mouth, and following was a river of blood. It poured out of her mouth like some obscure fountain pouring out its liquid. But as soon as the blood hit his chest, it began to burn. Burn like acid on Tata's chest, causing the youth the shriek in agony. He writhed in like an impaled worm as he felt his skin dissolve, then his muscles and sinews, then his ribs. And all the time, screaming endlessly.
Then the being that held the exact features of his friend released its hold on his neck, but Tata made no move to get away. The pain was excruciating, beyond description, and forced Tata to keep still. Then, Minka's features melted away, revealing the grinning face of the man Tata hated the most.
"Surprise!" said Len, still grinning.
That's when Tata woke up with a jolt that practically snapped his neck. He frantically looked about the room, but found nothing unusual. He realized that he was in bed, and in a fierce sweat. He shakily ran a hand down his face, coming away with a fair amount of sweat. He sighed heavily, shoving away the notion to scream like a maniac. He let his head back down on his pillow, realizing it had all been a dream. He rolled over onto his left side, wondering how he had gotten back to his room in the castle. But he was only able to think about it briefly before sleep consumed him, but not before uttering one word:
End of Chapter 6
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