CHAPTER XIV: Kamella
Slowly I opened my eyelids and gazed around at my unfamiliar surroundings. I was lying down on the ground of a small, dark tent. I tried to sit up, but as soon as I did, a sharp pang ripped through my back. I screamed and thudded back down to the floor. Where in the world was I? Then it all came rushing back to me. We had been fighting against Mario...I had been fighting a member of the Kremling army. He was a giant, brown alligator... and he had been brutal. He had thrown a monstrous-sized spiky club straight into my back. I had still been weak from my previous injuries and I still wasn't eating much, so all I had been able to do was send a few fireballs at him. What a pathetic defense.
I had fallen to the ground...and so had my wand. It had smashed into a million little pieces. Without it, I was nearly powerless. That thought scared me… I was weak without my wand. I shuddered briefly. After I had fallen, the brown alligator had quickly wrapped his slimy hands tightly around my neck... in an attempt to suffocate me. My lungs had started screaming for air, and the pain in my back was unbearable. But then Kludge, a big, blue member of the Kremling army had pulled the alligator's hands from around my throat. "Let her be for now," he had said. "She may be useful to us later."
The alligator shrugged and grabbed my hands and pulled me to my feet. I swayed precariously, no strength was left in my body. The alligator looked at me doubtfully and turned to Kludge. "Are you sure? She seems very... weak."
Kludge shot the alligator a bad glance and growled, "Don't question my orders."
The alligator then handcuffed my hands together, then threw me carelessly behind a tree. "You'll be safe here until the war is over," he had told me. My body shuddered violently from the pain. I wanted to scream, but found no words would come to my lips. I had wished that someone would kill me... the pain was too great. Just when the pain became unbearable, the alligator came back. "The war's over," he told me with a sickly smile on his face. "Your army was weak... just like you." He eyed me questioningly, not sure what to do with me. Then he reached a decision and bent down to pick me up. A bloodcurdling screech found its way to my lips as he carelessly touched my wounded back. "Quiet!" he ordered me and slapped my lips with his large, clawed hand. Black circles rushed to my eyes and I saw no more…
And here I was now, a prisoner of the Kremlings. Just then, the flaps of the tent opened and Kludge stepped inside. "Ah, you are awake!" He smiled an awkward smile, a smile that revealed that he had several teeth missing. He knelt on the floor next to me. "Can you speak?"
I thought a minute before answering, then decided it was the best to me truthful. "Yes."
"Good," Kludge replied. "You are a Magikoopa, correct?"
I looked at him pathetically, of course I was a Magikoopa! Anyone in their right mind could see that! "Yes," I replied again, giving him as little information as possible.
"So you can do magic then!" Kludge's beady eyes widened in awe. "I knew you would be useful to Kritter. He's the leader of the Kremlings. So what's your name then, little one?"
I glared at him, how dare he call me “little one”? "Kamella Koopa," I spat out.
"Ah!" Kludge said. "Are you at all related to Kammy Koopa or Kamek?"
"No," I replied instantly.
He nodded slightly. "Yes, I can tell you are different than them... more powerful. Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that Kritter will be in to see you in a few minutes. He is our leader, so treat him... graciously. Remember, he determines your fate." And with that, Kludge retreated from my tent.
Hah! He though I would treat Kritter... graciously? His army had nearly killed me, than dragged me here half-dead as a prisoner, and he expected me to be gracious?
The tent flap opened again. This time a powerfully built, green alligator stood in the doorway... Kritter.
"Kamella Koopa…" he stated looking me over. I felt his gaze travel over my face. then down over my body. A feeling of embarrassment and annoyance pulsed through me. He was looking at me as if I were an... item, not a person. I glowered at him.
"You are... angry?" he asked me, taking in my expression. "You do know that if it had not been for my kindness, you would have been dead by now?"
“Obviously," I snapped. "I'd rather be dead. Kill me now if you have any mercy. I have no wish to live."
Kritter stared at me in puzzlement. "You should want to live. Besides, your magic will be helpful to the Kremling army. I have no wish to harm you." I stared hard at Kritter's beady, black eyes; could I trust him?
"I know you need some time to get used to it here and recover from your injury," Kritter said understandingly. "I'll be back soon."
And with that, he left me lying on the
floor of the tent bewildered
CHAPTER XV: Kamek
I sat up in bed while Wendy examined my back. She rubbed some ointment on the wound. It hurt, but not nearly as much as my broken heart. I couldn't get over the fact that I had let Kamella die. I remembered the scene on the battlefield of Kamella's spilled blood and smashed wand. The worst part was that I hadn't even told her that I loved her.
I glanced around the room I was in. It was set up like a hospital. Dozens of beds were lined up against the wall, where injured minions were recovering. Wendy was acting as the nurse; she was a healer. I scanned the room for Kammy. I hadn't had a chance to get back to her after the battle. I had been too consumed by misery for Kamella.
"Where's Kammy?" I asked Wendy in a flat voice.
Wendy finished bandaging up my back, than walked to the front of my bed to glare at me. "At the other end of the room. I'm glad you're so concerned about Kammy, but I'm really sorry that you could care less about Kamella."
Wendy's words seemed to split my heart into a million pieces. She was right; I hadn't cared for Kamella like I should have. I was the cause of her death. Instead of retaliating at Wendy, I simply nodded solemnly and answered, "You're right, Wendy."
Wendy, who had been walking towards the bed adjacent to mine, turned back towards me, shocked. "What?" Wendy asked.
"I said you were right," I repeated, tears filling my eyes. Slowly they dripped down my cheek and fell onto my pale hands.
"Wait... Did you really love Kamella?" Wendy asked, bending over my bend. Unable to speak, I simply nodded. "Why did you ditch her for Kammy, then?" Wendy inquired suspiciously.
I swallowed my tears, then answered in a slightly shaky voice, "Kammy gave me a picture of Kamella kissing Iggy. And Kammy told me that Kamella loved Hammer Bro."
I reached into the pocket of my robe and pulled out the slightly wrinkled picture of Kamella and Iggy. Wendy snatched the picture from me and stared at it. "Did you ever think that Kammy might have set them up?" she finally asked. "After all, Kamella looks rather shocked at the kiss." Suddenly I knew Wendy was right. Of course Kammy had set Kamella up! Kammy had wanted to capture my heart for years; I had been so stupid and had fallen straight into her trap.
"No... but you're right," I replied to Wendy. "Kammy's always been in love with me."
Wendy handed me back the crumpled photo. "I'm sorry it took you so long to realize that. Too bad you figured it out after it was too late." I took the photo back and felt my face flush. Oh, I had been such a fool! Kamella would never ever know why I had dumped her. All of a sudden, fury flooded through my body. How dare Kammy do this to me? I squinted towards the beds lined up at the other end of the room.
I completely forgot about my injury and jumped out of bed. Then I screeched with pain; a knife seemed to have cut open my back. Wendy flew around to see me fall onto the floor with a loud crash. She shook her head at me condescendingly and helped me back onto the bed. "What are you trying to do? Get yourself killed?" Wendy scowled at me. "Now I've got to re-bandage your back again."
Shaking her head, she stripped off the old bandages and replaced them with new ones. I clenched my teeth as hard as I could to keep from crying out in pain. Through my clenched teeth, I said, "Can I talk to Kammy?"
Wendy paused and asked, "Why?"
"She tricked me. She needs to know that she cannot do that to me!" I answered back angrily.
"Hmm. Well, she's sleeping right now. She needs to recover. You can talk to her as soon as she wakes up," Wendy replied. I frowned, but knew I had no choice but to obey Wendy.
"There," Wendy announced as she replaced the last bandage. "Now STAY IN BED!" I nodded. Wendy narrowed her eyes at me and shot me a suspicious glance before moving to the bed next to mine. I turned to see who Wendy would treat next. Hammer Bro was lying in the bed adjacent to mine. I noticed the sheets were stained a dark red. His face was covered with wounds. A large purple bump the size of a golf ball had formed on his forehead. I stared at it disgustedly.
"Are you awake?" Wendy asked Hammer Bro gently. No reply. Wendy walked over to a shelf filled with bottles of medicine, selected a dark brown flask, then returned to Hammer Bro's side. She uncorked the bottle and waved it in front of Hammer Bro's nose. As if by magic, Hammer Bro's eyelids slowly fluttered open and he groaned in pain.
"Where am I?" he croaked through swollen lips.
Wendy recapped the bottle. "You're in my daddy's castle. There was the war against Mario and you were injured... badly." Hammer Bro's puzzled expression slowly faded and he suddenly sat straight up in bed. "Careful!" Wendy ordered. "You're going to hurt yourself! Lie back down."
Hammer Bro gazed around the room as if he were looking for something. Then his eyes rested on me. "Kamek!" he cried passionately. "I've got to tell you something!"
What Hammer Bro could want with me, I did not know. "What?" I asked. I was still angry with him for replacing me as Kamella's lover.
"You care for Kamella, don't you? Somewhere deep in your heart, you still love her, right?" Hammer Bro searched my eyes anxiously. His question caught me off-guard and I stared at him in shock.
"Well... yes. I do. I love Kamella Koopa."
Now it was Wendy's turn to stare at me. "What? If you truly loved her, you wouldn't have ditched her for Kammy!"
I glared at her. "Does it really matter at this point?"
Wendy glared back. "Yes, it does!"
"ANYWAY!" Hammer Bro nearly shouted. He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted from a voice from across the room.
"Excuse me, but WHO just said they loved Kamella Koopa?"
I looked across the room to see Kammy struggling to sit up in bed. She squinted at us from across the room, her glasses off. Without them, she was almost blind.
While I was thinking about what to say to Kammy, Wendy shot me an evil smile and simpered, "Why, Kamek said that, Kammy. Don't you recognize his voice?"
"You'll be sorry for that!" I whispered menacingly at Wendy.
She merely shrugged and replied, "I'd like to see what you'll do to me in the condition you're in right now." As if to agree with Wendy, my back suddenly sent sharp pangs through my spine.
"Kamek! Y-you r-really l-love Kamella?" Kammy asked weakly from across the room, trying to hold back tears.
"Look what you've done!" I shot at Wendy angrily. I decided to be truthful. "Well... yes, Kammy, I do. But I love you too. Just in a different way... as a friend."
"So you were just pretending... using me…" Kammy no longer tried to keep back the tears. They gushed from her eyelids and started to form a puddle on the oak floor.
"I'm very sorry, Kammy," I replied. It was best to get this over with. "I was wrong to feign affection towards you. I'm sorry and I won't ever do it again." I stared at Kammy's tear-stricken face, hoping to find understanding. Instead I saw nothing but hatred and hurt. Kammy didn't answer me; she only sobbed louder.
"Um... Can I finish what I was saying now?" Hammer Bro asked, irritated.
"Oh yes, go ahead," I said, welcoming an excuse to stop staring at Kammy.
"Well, Kamella Koopa isn't dead," Hammer Bro stated matter-of-factly.
"What?!" I asked and leaned in close to him. "Are you sure? Where is she then?"
Hammer Bro leaned back from me. "I need a little distance here, Kamek!"
"Oh, sorry," I replied, finally noticing that my face was less than an inch away from his.
"It's fine," Hammer Bro answered. "Well I had been keeping my eye on Kamella during the fighting. Just in case she needed help. I saw this brown reptile-like creature grab her and throw her behind a tree. He had handcuffed her so I figured he was taking her as a prisoner. He appeared to be part of the Kremling army. I was watching Kamella when a Toad threw these magical stone things at me. They hit me in the face and now... I have this weird lump on my head. I wonder what it is... Anyway, we've got to save Kamella! I'd save her myself, but I'd be useless in a battle right now. Kamek, will you save her?"
Already I was out of bed and rushing towards the door, ignoring the pain in my back. Kamella WAS alive! "Oh course!" I replied to Hammer Bro. "I'm going right now!"
"No, you're not," Wendy said. "You're much too weak. Come back here. I'll give you a strengthening potion."
Hesitantly I walked back to where Wendy stood and tapped my foot impatiently while she sorted through her medicine cupboard. I took the bottle that she handed me and quickly gulped down the liquid. Instantly I felt a surge of power run through my veins. I was powerful, I was strong, I could do anything! "Wow, this stuff works great, Wendy!" I smiled at her thankfully as I rushed towards the door.
Wendy nodded. "Yeah, just be careful though, okay? It's not a lifesaver."
Just as I reached the door, it swung open and Bowser stepped in. I halted to avoided slamming into him. Bowser stared at me. "Woah Kamek! Where are you going in such a hurry?"
"Kamella's still alive!" I told him.
Bowser nodded knowingly. "And you're off to save her?"
"Of course! I'm not just going to sit around her and wait for her to die!" I tried to edge around Bowser to get out of the door. Every second I delayed, was another second of pain for Kamella.
"Wait a minute, Kamek," Bowser ordered. "You can't save Kamella from the whole Kremling army by yourself. You know that, right?" Oh. He did have a point...
"Well I could take some Magikoopas with me," I agreed.
"You could bring Kammy along," Wendy suggested, unable to resist. I glared at her.
"NO!" Bowser shouted loudly. "Kammy's already injured badly. I didn't mean for her to fight against Mario."
"Whatever." Wendy shrugged and went back to treating Hammer Bro's wounds.
I waved my wand in wide, circular motion to summon a few of the more experienced Magikoopas. Pop! Less than a second later, four Magikoopas were standing around me, looking at me curiously. "What's up, Kamek?" the Magikoopa in the red robe asked interestedly.
"Kamella was taken captive by the Kremling army," I stated as quickly as possibly. "We're going to save her. Just follow me. We've got no time to waste!" With that said, I flew out the door and ran down the stairs as quickly as possibly. Several thuds behind me told me that the Magikoopas were following.
I exited the courtroom and stepped out into the fresh air. I mounted my broom and the Magikoopas followed suit. I pushed off from the ground and rose into the air. The wind whipped around my face and the familiar exhilarating feeling of flying pulsed through my veins. I turned to look behind me at the following Magikoopas. "The Kremlings camp in the Black Forest. It's about ten minutes from here." I willed my broom to fly faster, but it seemed as if it were traveling at a snail's pace.
Finally, we came to a clearing in a dark forest. Trees fifty feet tall towered above us and cast gloomy shadows around the clearing. About seven dingy-looking tents were set up in a circle. I dismounted silently and motioned for the Magikoopas to follow me. "So what do we do now?" one of them whispered to me.
"Get their attention," I replied. "How though, I'm not really sure..." Before I could say another word, the red Magikoopa sent a fireball crashing into one of the tents. It was ablaze instantly. Quickly I sent water gushing over the tent to try to put out the fire. "I don't want them to think we're here to fight!" I hissed at the Magikoopa angrily. "I just want to take Kamella and leave without war." The Magikoopa looked at his feet shamefully.
Unfortunately, the fire had caught the attention of the Kremlings. Slowly but surely, Kremlings started to exit the tents and gather in a straight line. They stared at us curiously. I bit my lip, trying to think of the best way to phrase my request. But then, a large alligator stepped in front of the line. I knew he was the leader at once.
"Now who do we have here?" he asked in a low voice. "Ah! If it isn't the great Kamek Koopa himself! What do you wish of us?"
"Greetings..." I paused, unable to think of the leader's name.
"Kritter," he filled in, frowning slightly.
"Ah yes, Kritter," I added. "I come for only one small request. I have reason to believe that you have taken a Magikoopa captive from the war with Mario the other day. I only ask that you let her go. Then there will be no bloodshed."
Kritter laughed at me. "You're talking about Kamella Koopa, right?"
I felt my heart start beating a thousand beats per minute. "Yes!" I answered.
"I'm not just going to let her go, you know," Kritter told me solemnly. "She is to be my wife after all." I gaped at Kritter in shock. He wanted Kamella as his wife? How dare he?
"May I at least see her?" I questioned. Maybe if I could get her out in the clearing, I could knock Kritter out and then take her away...
Kritter shrugged. "Fine." He turned his back to me and strode into one of the dirty-looking tents that appeared as if it might collapse at any moment. My heart hammered impatiently against my chest as I waited to see Kamella again. A few seconds later, Kritter emerged with a slumped figure in his arms. I squinted at the lump in his arms... Was it.... could it be... Kamella?? I scrutinized the figure, indeed it was Kamella. Her left leg was colored crimson with dried blood and her arm was twisted at an awkward angle. The top part of her robe had been ripped away and she had a large gash across her chest. But the worst part of it all, was her face. It was ghostly pale, and her eyes... they stared at me unblinkingly and uncomprehendingly. All I saw in her eyes was pain and a sort of depression. She had given up hope. And they had drugged her.
I started trembling angrily and growled at Kritter. "What have you done to her?"
Kritter glared at me. "It's none of your business, Kamek. Besides, she's mine now."
I lunged towards Kritter in blind anger, not even thinking that I may be endangering Kamella's life. Before I could blink, Kritter was holding a short knife at Kamella's throat and a large dagger at her back. The blades glistened eerily in the darkness of the clearing. "You'd better be careful," Kritter threatened, pressing the knife closer to Kamella's throat. A bead-sized drop of blood feel from her throat. "Make one move, and she's dead."
I stopped short. I couldn't make any rash decisions here; Kamella's life was at stake. I wasn't sure what I could do to save her. Finally, I whipped my wand out faster than the speed of lightning and shot a fireball at Kritter's right hand. He dropped the knife in his right hand and it clattered to the ground. Screaming in pain, he turned to his fellow Kremlings. "Water! Someone, get me water! NOW!"
But then an earsplitting, bloodcurdling shriek echoed around the clearing. My gaze flashed back to Kamella. The tip of the dagger was visible from her chest. Kritter must have stabbed her with it when he dropped the knife! I rushed to her and pulled the dagger out of her chest. She screamed even louder. Carefully I picked up her limp body. Blood gushed from her chest and pooled onto the ground at an alarming rate.
"Kamella? Kamella? Can you hear me?" I asked anxiously. The sightless eyes stared at me and then seemed to light up with recognition.
"Kamek?" Kamella asked in a barely audible voice.
"Kamella! I'm here for you!" I told her. Her body started trembling violently... and then it went still and her eyes glazed over... either in unconsciousness or death.
"NO!" I screamed at her, "You cannot leave me here now! I never even got a chance to say that I loved you..." Tears clouded my vision and I clutched the limp, broken body leaking blood closer to me.
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. I gazed through my tears to see the red Magikoopa. "You'd better get out of here with her... fast!" I looked around the clearing. The Kremlings were arming themselves with daggers, spears, clubs, and every kind of weapon you could imagine. They were prepared for a battle. An arrow whizzed through the air, missing my head by a mere inch. I hesitated, not wanting to leave my minions here alone.
"GO!" the red Magikoopa ordered me. "Kamella's life depends on it!" So I turned tail and mounted my broom as fast as I could. Could I make it back to the castle with Kamella or would she die here in my arms?