The Crystal Star Chaotica

By Arkigul

Chapter 6: The Archive Cathedral

At Rogueport, Vex disembarked the vessel and started off for the exit of the town. However, he found himself stopped when Captain Alrec yelled out to him.

“Sir Vexxan!” Vex found himself turning around in response to Alrec’s call. “You might want to give payment…”

Vex walked over and showed the chain with the winged sword hanging from it, and then grinned. “It’s a five finger discount for people like me.” He growled, putting the chain away. Again, his status was a lifesaver, especially against pirates of this variety.

“I see,” complied Alrec, “and I’ll respect that on one condition…”

The mention of one condition made Vex’s heart sink. Every time someone asked for “one condition”, it reminded him of having to do some errand, like picking up laundry. However, it came to light that it wasn’t an errand this time.

“I’d like to accompany you, chap, on this whole journey thing,” he said. Vex laughed in response before accepting with a nod and began walking off towards the exit of Rogueport.

Back at the Cathedral, Mario continued to wonder where that voice was coming from, but it did not sound like anyone of any religion. From his days on Earth, he knew the ideals of Protestant Christianity and of Catholicism, but he had never heard of a sect of a religion devoted to killing Bowser; it was all too strange for him to find a cathedral in the middle of Plit that did not even belong to a known religion.

“Here at the Archive we tend to keep all the knowledge forbidden from the public eye to protect them from things they cannot fathom,” the voice explained.

“Eh?” Mario questioned. “Then how come some still remember that Star Rod incident?”

“Because that is not dangerous knowledge, but some other things are…”

Mario soon came upon a main Aisle between the many hundreds of rows of bookshelves, and soon came upon the same stained glass window he'd seen when he entered. He walked towards the ornate picture. However, as he approached it, he saw the silhouette of someone in robes who had a somewhat similar build to a human. The figure had black hair, and red skin- from what Mario could see anyway. The figure turned, revealing the face of a Yoshi with olive green eyes and robes of black and ornaments of silver hanging from various buckles or straps.

“You-a don’t look like anyone devoutly-a religious,” Mario protested skeptically, stepping back slightly.

“I thought otherwise,” the Yoshi hummed, “and you are indeed… correct, if you were taking the standards of those sheep you call authorities.”

Something about this Yoshi seemed suspicious- first of all, the chains had symbols nearly identical to what Mario had seen on that Aevirith person he'd fought a day ago. Also, this one seemed to have a bit of a tone for playfulness- like this entire setting was but the board to a chess game.

“Ah, so I see the meat has arrived for the picking,” a charismatic voice sounded from the shadows behind the robed Yoshi. “The famous Mario Brother, savior of all things Plitian… to Mushroomers anyway.” From the source of that voice stepped forth a man in black robes, with beady golden eyes and a pale face. He smirked, revealing rotting sharp teeth.

Mario took another step back, finding himself perpendicular to a pair of bookshelves. He did not hope to fight two enemies at once, especially if they were anywhere near powerful. However, he had a few old tricks up his sleeve that his assailants would probably not know about yet.

“Odd,” the black-robed figure grumbled, “I thought the champion of the Mushroom Kingdom would be abit more…”

“…Valiant?” the Yoshi finished the human’s sentence.

“Correct, now let’s see the petty mortal suffer for what he intends to thwart ussss from doing.”

The black-robed figure approached Mario and held out both his hands, his palms revealing a pair of golden eyes that stared at Mario. They lit up with red lightning and propelled bursts of energy at Mario, which were dodged with Swashbuckler-like acrobatics and quick-witted reflexes, albeit a tiring few dodging moves. In response, Mario launched a fireball at the black-robed figure, who countered it with a bolt of lightning.

“You’re too predictable, Mario,” the figure growled, launching another barrage of lightning that forced his hood off. His full face revealed a full head of curving horns, a set of jagged teeth, and bagged eyes that showed much stress, possibly of middle age.

“L’Nasckra,” the Yoshi called from the altar, “perhaps you should let me dispose of this overrated garbage and get on with the deal.”

L’Nasckra growled spitefully, “Your end of the bargain was to lead me here! Nothing more!”

“Perhaps, perhaps, L’Nasckra,” the Yoshi said in agreement, “but your side of it was to dispose of Mario, and you’re not doing a very good job at it…”

While the two were bickering, Mario took the opportunity to jump onto L’Nasckra’s exposed head, being careful not to land on any of the horns, as that would be a painful experience. He landed on a bald spot, knocking the demonic man down into the stone face-first. He flipped around and grabbed Mario by the leg, slamming him into a bookshelf. Sharp pain bit Mario as he hit the solid stone of the large shelves back-first. He got up and landed a punch on L’Nasckra’s face, knocking him back a bit.

“See what I mean?” the Yoshi questioned in a mocking tone. “You have grown more arrogant of your abilities… more so than your reputation and actions speak.”

“Shut up, you vile creature! I shall cleanse you from this world, just as I’ll purge this entire planet clean of the scum preventing the creation of a perfect paradise!”

That statement made Mario’s stomach churn with suspicion. If these beings wanted to make a paradise of some kind, why didn’t they just go to Isle Delfino? That was for Mario to find out alone.

“Oh? Then why don’t I just claim your life and get on with my own? I have other things to take care of other than helping a racist human,” the Yoshi growled with annoyance.

“So that’s how you want it… very well,” L’Nasckra leapt at the Yoshi, and then landed right in front of the Yoshi, with his head at least a couple inches from the Yoshi, and tore off his robes to reveal a most twisted appearance: horns covering almost all parts of the body except the legs, and skin covered in orange glowing runes; his right arm had a large spike coming from the elbow, while his left had a hand from the elbow.

Mario only stared in a confused fashion. Seeing as how two conspirators were fighting amongst themselves, he started to remember living through something of complete irrelevance, but similarity, on Earth: Nixon’s resignation. Anyway, Mario rushed at the Yoshi, who jumped to the side and smirked at how Mario fumbled past her.

“Pain only comes more swiftly with your futile efforts, Mario,” the Yoshi mocked, cocking her left wrist and raising her arm; the sleeve fell to reveal a black gauntlet with a blue gem imbedded into the backhand. The gem soon spawned a sapphire spike that looked to be a foot long- it frosted over with dark blue ice and became evident that she was casting a spell. Thus Mario ducked to the side and rolled over his shoulder as the Yoshi speared L’Nasckra into the shadows of the cathedral with the ice bolt.

With a cry of pain, L’Nasckra leapt back out of the shadows, seemingly unharmed, as there was no wound. However, a set of numbers reading “3251” rose above his head following his sign of pain.

“How dare you fight against the one who is to help give you a grip of land unto Plit?!” L’Nasckra was now in a demonic roar rather than a yell.

“Who said you were going to fulfill your end of the bargain, human?”

The demon growled in annoyance, but did not attack but rather spread its wings and leapt backward, leaving the Yoshi and Mario at the altar. Mario stepped backward and launched a hail of fireballs, of which many were countered with ice bolts while others were dodged. With that, the Yoshi disappeared into the darkness, leaving behind an amulet with a strange crescent-like design on it. However, the daemon was still standing with an inhuman stature over him.

Author’s Note: Since this battle scene of the chapter is a tad bit hard for the author to write completely in novel format, it shall be switched to script format for the rest of the battle…

Once that little thing was cleared up, the glass of the screen shattered, and formed the unnecessarily high-resolution but blurry and low-budget stage of the battle- thus making a bit too much of a reference to Final Fantasy X, where currently the Author suffered a terrible case of the common cold, and some frustration over beating a certain boss in the latter part of the game, but enough about that.

L’Nasckra: I’ve been waiting quite a long time to see this moment, Mario, the moment I rid Plit of your existence.

Mario: Get off of my planet!

L’Nasckra: So be it.

HP: 2560/2560
MP: 150/150
Status: Ok
Overdrive Gauge: Half-full
HP: 7,000/7000
Status: Ok
Overdrive Gauge: almost full

L’Nasckra Turn 1

L’Nasckra: Cleanse… Burn… Destroy…

L’Nasckra’s eyes glow red as he apparently casts a spell to increase his speed greatly; he now seems to move a bit more nimbly.

Mario Turn 1

Mario: Huh, you don’t look so tough!

L’Nasckra: Looks can be deceiving, mortal.

Mario attacks with a jump attack, dealing 645 damage to L’Nasckra.

HP: 6,355/7,000
MP: ?????
Status: Haste
Overdrive Gauge: Full

L’Nasckra Turn 2

L’Nasckra attacks by gliding over to Mario and attacking with his talons, dealing 300 damage.

HP: 2,260/2,560
MP: 150/150
Status: Ok
Overdrive Gauge: Above half-full.

Mario Turn 2

Mario attacks with a fireball, dealing another 455 damage to L’Nasckra. His wings are singed, and appear to be in flames.

HP: 5,900/7,000
MP: ?????
Status: Haste, burn
Overdrive Gauge: Full

L’Nasckra Turn 3

L’Nasckra: perhaps I have been going a bit too easy on you, my mortal adversary.

L’Nasckra pulls out of his pants pocket a golden idol of a crying angel; his eyes glow bright blue and so do the angel’s eyes.

L’Nasckra: Meet my guardian… the one who saved me from my blind sight in childhood, and the one who shall see to it that you lie here on holy ground without life… or a soul.

Soon the statue is soaked in electricity and bursts, revealing a hooded angel with a pair of torn raven wings. L’Nasckra backs up before light shoots out of his eyes and makes contact with the angel’s, and then his body seemingly becomes one with the celestial entity- the bright colors of its cloak turn black and gold while the raven wings gain crimson tips.

Overdrive: Archangel of Malice

HP: 11,800/14,000
MP: ?????
Status: Fearless, Merciless,
Overdrive Gauge: Empty

Mario: Mamamia! How am I going to get out of this one?

L’Nasckra: That’s the point: you can't! There is no escape!

Mario: But what do you want with this place?!

L’Nasckra: Well then, if that’s your last wish before I end your days, then I shall explain. You see, the Order of the Archive knew my brethren and I were coming to Plit, thus they took quick action to gather as many of the Crystal Stars as they could find to hide them here… in this vast cathedral before you. However, only those members of the order know where their exact hiding place is… that’s why I have other agents to seek them out and… interrogate… them.

Mario: You…

L’Nasckra: Nah, ah, ah, insults never got anyone anywhere!

Mario Turn 3

Mario uses a spare Fire flower on L’Nasckra, dealing 1,105 damage.

HP: 10,695/14,000
MP: ?????
Status: Fearless, Merciless,
Overdrive Gauge: Quarter-full

L’Nasckra Turn 4

Spell: Thundarga

L’Nasckra pulls out a large orb of electricity, which splits apart into three thunderbolts, two of which hit and deal 1,000 damage total to Mario, while the other hits an audience member, dealing 9,999 damage.

Audience Member: OhmygodI’monfire.

And thus the annoying audience was no more…

HP: 1,260/2,560
MP: 150/150
Status: Ok
Overdrive Gauge: Full

Mario suddenly remembers that he still has, if not only a shred, of the Star Spirits' powers. He thus decides to use them…

Mario:  You fail to remember I defeated Bowser, y’know.

L’Nasckra: Who on Earth or Plit doesn’t know that?

Overdrive: Star Beam

The Star Spirits reunite to attack L’Nasckra one more time with the Sar Beam; they deal 10,000 damage, and give Mario a fighting chance to defeat the daemon.

HP: 695/14,000
MP: ?????
Status: Fearless, Merciless, Armor Break, Lowered Magic-Defense, Lowered Magic, Curse, Blinded by light, Daemonic Instability
Overdrive Gauge: Three-quarters full

L’Nasckra Turn 5

L’Nasckra: Gah! How… How did he... How?! I can’t see!

L’Nasckra attacks with his talons again, but misses horribly and ends up grasping/KO’ing an audience member.

Mario Turn 5

Mario attacks with a jump which does 395 damage to L’Nasckra

HP: 100/14,000
MP: ?????
Status: Fearless, Merciless, Armor Break, Lowered Magic-Defense, Lowered Magic, Curse, Blinded by light, Daemonic Instability
Overdrive Gauge: Full

L’Nasckra Turn 6

L’Nasckra: Under no circumstance will I let myself fall to an insolent, law-abiding, pig-dog such as yourself, Mario!

Overdrive: Wrath of Oblivion

If you have seen what he did in the prologue, then you know what happens… and he deals 1,250 damage to Mario.

HP: 10/2,560
MP: 120/150
Status: Peril
Overdrive Gauge: Cursed

And for this last moment of the battle, our story returns to novel-format. Your patience through script-format was most appreciated.

Mario raised his fist over the battered form of L’Nasckra, and prepared the final blow, but before he could lay a finger on him the creature spoke with a cough hanging over his voice.

“Listen, mortal,” he spoke feebly, “you must… defeat my brothers… they have gone insane by now… I beg of you…”

With that, the final damage number of “100” marked the end of L’Nasckra’s moments on Plit. His body rose and, in a Legend of Zelda-like fashion, disintegrated in a hail of black fire; all that remained was his black/gold cloak and what looked like two Crystal Stars. Mario was quick to pick both of them up and stow them in his pockets.

The Archive Cathedral gates burst open, letting in the daemon hunter Vexxan Aurus and Captain Alrec. As they made their way inside, there was an air of unfamiliarity to Vex, as if it was his first time here- even though he lived here. He smelled something in the air, something that smelled like really expensive cologne. He suddenly drew his saber, gesturing Alrec to do the same.

“I thought you said this place was home to you, chap,” Alrec protested, keeping a hand on his gun instead of his saber.

“We’re being watched,” Vex retorted, keeping a vigilant eye around the bookshelves. His saber glowed red, it was quite unusual for that to happen… unless…

“Well, I see the prize came to me…” an all-too-familiar voice to Vex mocked. “If it isn’t my feebly younger brother.”

“Marcia…” Vex growled spitefully, recalling the times she had attempted murder on him, especially some nine years ago, when she had tried to kill him with a spell she had obtained from the Necromonicum, a book both infamous amongst his own order, and on Earth.

“Family trouble, I reckon?” Alrec asked curiously.

“Stay out of this,” Vex retorted, “it’s an affair I have to deal with alone…”

There came cold feminine laughter from Marcia. “Oh, how charming, the younger sibling comes to fight the obviously superior counterpart.” More laughter.

“Marcia, you must answer for your heresies, including the count of using heretical magic to further your own agenda, and three counts of heresy of detaining or otherwise battering Crusaders!” What Vex’s accusation consisted of was very true, as he'd heard reports of “a green-eyed, red-skinned Yoshi assaulting Crusaders of the Order at Fahr Outpost.” Such things were common, as Bowser often had opposition against the Order of the Archive, but the Yoshi part of the reports was the abnormal part.

“Oh please, your false laws are only restrictions on how much power one can truly wield…”

“So be it, Marcia, believe in your false philosophy, and thus perish at your brother's hands…”

Vex climbed on top of one of the bookshelves and readied himself in battle position, where he only saw the massive tops of bookshelves, and not a sign of his sister. The sense of confusion was silenced when he felt a cold aura seep past his jacket, and then leapt backward to the top of the next bookshelf; he had just barely dodged a sickle-shaped ice bolt from behind.  He counteracted by attacking the shadows from where the ice bolt had emerged, but found he was striking at air, and then felt a searing jolt of pain hit him in the back, sending him careening off of the bookshelf and belly-first onto the cold marble floor.

Vex rolled to the left and then backflipped onto his feet, finding that he had just dodged a rock-breaking kick from his sister’s greave-covered foot and then found himself parrying attacks from claws swiping at him. It was tiring him rapidly now, blow after blow to his saber- even though it was crackling with psychic energy; he just could not concentrate hard enough to land a blow until he realized one thing: the pattern of Marcia’s attacks.

From what Vex saw, it went in order of jab, jab, slash, jab, kick, grab in that order. In retaliation, he concentrated his psychic power into his blade, what he knew as the power “hammerhead”, which increased the strength of his blows. Thus he used it, and the blade felt like a feather now; he dodged the jabs, blocked the slash, and then with the kick, he jumped onto Marcia’s foot and landed a vertical blow with his blade, sending Marcia to the floor and giving him the advantage. He let his aggression take over, as he ruthlessly attacked with blocked slash after slash.

He got to a point where he had his blade towards Marcia’s neck, and his foot was stomped on her belly- pinned, in other terms.

“Now, give me a reason why I shouldn’t execute you here now, Sister…”

“Why should I? It would be quite a shame for you to know that I welcome death,” Marcia hissed pridefully.

“You do? Well then, I’ll strike a deal with you.” Vex started for the alternative. “I’ll let you go, if you tell me where Tabias has gone.”

“I don’t know whom you are speaking of,” Marcia retorted.

“It’s your choice, I know you consorted with one of their brethren.” Vex could taste promotion from Crusader Lord to Archival Inquisitor in his ears and mouth as he said this, and he took great care to savor the flavor of interrogation. “You have to know something.”

“Well, their leader did mention that their destination was the Shadow Palace- they believe the artifact they are looking for is hidden there.”

“What artifact?”

“The Crystalis Celestia Chaotica, your Grand Master knows of it, your superiors know of it. It is a weapon that can possibly doom us all.”

“It rings a bell, Marcia,” Vex growled, still ignoring the fact his foot was implanted on Marcia, “but does it go by any other names?”

“Hmm…” Marcia grumbled. “Well, their leader did mention to me the name Arch daemon’s Crystal Star, Diablo’s Sun, or my favorite, Star Spirit of Undivided.”

That last name had rung the real bells in Vex’s memories, and allowed him to identify the artifact in question. His eyes widened.

“You did nothing to stop them?!” Vex questioned, releasing his foot and helping Marcia up with his right hand. However, he came to regret doing that, as in the blink of an eye, Marcia dislocated his right arm and left it hanging there and then walked away. Through the intolerable pain, Vex could make out Marcia’s mocking last words before she left the cathedral:

“An eye-for-an-eye leaves one side on the side of despair, dear brother, ta-ta.”

Vex limped his way to the altar, worrying about the artifact Marcia had mentioned.

To Be Continued...

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