Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Into The Void ❯ Carbunkle ( Chapter 28 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Into the Void
By: Melissa Norvell
Episode 28: Carbunkle
Rubio glanced around in the pitch black of the forest, trying his best to gaze through the dense, white fog. All around him, the dark silhouettes of ominous looking trees and greenery seemed to peer back at him. The ground was cold, hard and the color of sand with a few leaves and clumps of grass, where the few rays of sunlight managed through and reach the ground.
"Here I am, Carbunkle's Forest," Rubio uttered to himself as his eyes continued to scan the creepy-looking forest floor. "Now, all I have to do is find Carbunkle himself, and Valentino. I'd better be careful, it will be growing dark soon and who knows what I'll be up against then." The man stated as he walked through the dense fog.
'So, you wish to free your friend from becoming a sacrifice to this forest? Then you shall be put through a test of strength.' Rubio's eyes went wide as he heard, what he thought was a light, yet raspy voice speak to him in a slow, drawn out tone.
Before he could question it, bodies that resembled spirits jumped up from the ground and even though they were obviously transparent, they somehow managed to burst the soil around them, sending flying everywhere. They had various weapons and were of both genders.
Rubio had no choice. He was going to have to defeat them one way or another and time was running short.
"Hey, are you alright?" Sari bent over her red-headed friend with her hands behind her back.
Yaritza slowly lifted her head and glanced at the other girl, hurt still reflected deep within her green eyes, as well as other mixed emotions that she couldn't place. "I've just been thinking about things."
"I've been thinking about things ever since I've come here," the aqua-haired girl replied. The thought process for her never truly stopped at one point in time and until now, she'd been so engrossed and entertained with her team mates that she hadn't had the time to stop thinking.
The ninja glanced at Udo, who had been sitting with his back against the wall and his knees up with his head down in his arms for hours on end, unmoving.
"Udo hasn't said a word," Yaritza told the other girl. Even though she was sad, she was still worried about the spiky-haired man's well being. He had suffered through a lot, just as she had.
"I feel bad for you guys…" Sari told her with sympathy as she looked to the white-haired ninja with saddened, round eyes. "I mean, Hokuto is your brother and Udo's friend…or…" The girl's voice began to get a playful air about it as she shifted her eyes. "Is it something else?"
"I didn't like him that way," Udo finally spoke in a weary voice. Depression had clung to him like a nine ton weight. "All of you have the wrong idea."
"It's spoke!" The spunky girl pretended to be overly shocked at the matter. "Oh, and if that's not the case then why do you look so perplexed by it all?" He had to be feeling something for the other man, and it wasn't just close friendship judging by how much he grieved over the matter.
"You act like you think it's easy for me to take in or something," Udo told her darkly as he glared from his position against the wall.
"Jeez, someone has anger issues!" Even though it was supposed to be partially truthful, the girl mostly had tried to joke with him before she got gripped at.
"What about your anger issues, Sari?" Ionna questioned as she entered the room and placed an arm on the door frame, leaning against it.
"Mine aren't engaged now," the girl replied. It was not the current topic. The current topic was how Udo was acting and had nothing to do with her.
"I've been quiet so that I don't start an argument and it's probably why Rubio left too," Udo told the girls. Everyone's emotions were at high and it would be best if they didn't interact much because they may end up in a fight. Udo knew that he was unstable, so staying away from everyone for a while was his best bet.
"You're probably right. Everyone is so tense," Sari thought about how inappropriate her jokes could very well be.
"I think we all should get some rest," Ionna suggested.
"Yeah, my head hurts from crying," Yaritza agreed.
"It's dark anyway, let's just go to sleep," the spunky girl recommended. Perhaps sleep would cure their weary and shaken bodies. At least it would be some sort of peace of mind.
Rubio continued to walk through the darkened forest after beating those spirit-like beings. He held his sword in his hand in a defensive manner as he occasionally glanced around. The forest was dead silent, not even the wind dared to blow through it. The air was thick and cold and small orbs could be seen floating around. Their presence was thick as they littered the air so much that they looked like an invasion of white fireflies.
'Look at all of those lights. They must be the souls that reside in this forest…but, if Carbunkle is a soul himself, then how can I tell which one is him? It's dark here, even with all of the souls around and the fog makes it even harder to see. I'll have to be on my guard.' The silver-haired man thought, just as something shot past him in a blur. He could not see it to confirm what it was, but he could feel the dead air take life and move around him. "Huh?"
Quickly turning around, he held his sword in a defensive and glared in that direction. He was soon met by another one of the spirit-like beings that held a scythe. It had practically materialized a foot in front of him as it held the scythe over its head to strike. Thinking quickly, Rubio managed to easily cut it in half. It soon dematerialized as quickly as it came.
"Well, that was strange," Rubio said as his mind slipped off into thought again. 'Why did he attack me? Did Carbunkle send him?'
"I wonder if there are anymore…and more importantly, where Carbunkle is," the long-haired man took off running through the forest as quickly as he could. More of the spirit-like beings jumped out from all areas of the forest and attempted to attack him. He managed to skillfully destroy them all with his blade. 'I wonder what happens if they touch me with those weapons. I don't want to end up like Valentino, after all. I couldn't forgive myself for not coming through when he needed me. I won't let him down.'
Rubio then savagely slew another spirit being before it could even pull its weapon out, splitting it down the middle. 'I have a feeling that if I let them touch me, then I'll be in a worse predicament.' His top priority would be not to let himself be touched by one of those things, at all costs. One of the spirit being appeared, trying to slice him with a scythe but Rubio ducked down and chopped it's leg's off. Another, who was slightly behind him brought it's blade down, nearly getting the man who barely made it out of the way. After the weapon clashed with the ground, it formed a gash of several feet. Widened eyes stared at the laceration before him. 'What in the hell are they? That sword would have easily split my body in half…'
"The paranormal are mysterious, aren't they? It's amazing what one can do when they are not bound by mere physical limitations," a deep and booming voice filled his senses.
Quickly glancing around in an attempt to find the source of the voice, Rubio's vision darted from one place to the next but only found a large mass of spirits. "Who is that? Which one of you spoke to me?" He held his sword in a defensive position. None of the spirit beings ever spoke to him since he had encountered them. Upon their destruction, they produced a howling noise but that was the only noise they had made. Why were they deciding to communicate with him now?
"It is I, Carbunkle," the one in which he had searched for replied.
"Carbunkle?" Rubio glanced up and his eyed widened on what he had found. It was a large hawk-like bird that was a minty green with a bright red jewel that was a deeper color then any ruby or garnet in the middle of his forehead. It appeared that he was made of a mist-like substance and he was 100 times bigger than any of the surrounding spirits. He was even larger then Rubio by several times. It was as if he were staring at a prehistoric cousin of the hawk rather than a spirit.
"If you can pass my test in time, then I will grant you permission to fight me. If you prove yourself worthy, then I shall grant you one request," Carbunkle told him.
"Where's Valentino?" It was the only thing that Rubio cared about. Above all, he wanted to know that Valentino was not already doomed to stay in the spirit forest. If that were the case, then he'd be too late and everything was in vain.
"He is safe. His soul has not been removed yet," the mint-green spirit informed. This was good news! He still had time!
"How do I defeat them if they have no physical body?" Rubio asked. Defeating the dead was no easy task and it would be the same with Carbunkle. It was a seemingly unfair advantage that hung above his head like a bad omen, spelling in destruction.
"You must find the blue light. Once you've found it then your task will be easier," he was educated on the matter.
"Where is the blue light?" The ex-terrorist questioned.
"That is something you must figure out."
"What?" What did Carbunkle mean? Was that truly all of the help that he was going to get on the matter? Distracted by an oncoming figure of a woman, drawing a huge fan, Rubio quickly assessed the situation. The woman brought down her fan, sending winds at the silver-haired man. Rubio swiftly dodged out of the way and charged at her. She sent out her wind attack once more. The man dodged out of the way again, letting the winds hit a tree behind him.
The winds savagely dug into the wood, creating lacerations that were large and very deep. As he gazed at the tree in awe, he thought about how close he had been to death. "Damn…She almost got me."
From above, the woman jumped down out of a tree and tried to strike him with her fan but it only clashed with his sword blade as the two struggled to keep one another at bay. The two broke off as the spirit woman continued to try and hit him with her fan, only to have it meet with his blade every time in a vicious fight to the death. When she took a few steps back, she turned to spin and strike him with her fan, but she was soon met with his cruel blade as he mercilessly chopped her in half. The figure of a beautiful woman faded into the wind that blew through his shoulder length silver hair and blew through the forest as he continued to run to his destination and continue to search for the mysterious blue light that Carbunkle told him of.
'I've got to find Carbunkle before it's too late.' Rubio knew that his time was running out and Valentino would not be able to last forever in the forest before his soul was removed. Above everything, he wanted to make sure that Valentino came out alive.
"Oh hell no! You can't be serious!" Sari had not truly expected Rubio to take that route. Surely he wasn't that retarded!
"Afraid so, he's gone and he took his weapons with him," Zidane informed as the girl came to one conclusion. He was that retarded.
"Why would he go and fight Carbunkle alone?" Agata wondered aloud at the seemingly foolish decision that her team mate had just made. Carbunkle was strong enough to extract a soul from a human body and it was more than foolish to try and approach the subject by oneself.
"Because he's stupid," Sari crossed her arms over her chest.
"Maybe he was worried about Valentino," Ionna brought up the subject. To her, it seemed that the two had been a little closer for whatever reason.
"Well, you know how crazy he is. He's always doing stuff like this." To Vincent, it was the usual for the silver-haired man. Rubio always made rash decisions so he didn't see why everyone was so surprised that he'd do something like this.
"What do we do about it though? I mean, do we go after him?" The aqua-haired girl looked to her team mates. They couldn't just leave him there, after all, even if he did place himself right in harm's way.
"Will things be better if we do?" Udo asked.
"What do you mean?" Yaritza was a little confused at the man's point of view on the subject.
"We might get killed if we interfere."
"Yeah, but if we don't, the same thing might happen," to the ninja, it seemed like a double-edged sword in the making, since Udo brought up the subject, she was also thinking about what could happen from that perspective.
"We're screwed," Sari decided that she wanted to shed some light on the true matter of the situation.
"Let's wait until tomorrow and if he's not back by then, we'll go after him," Ionna suggested. Even though it would be a long wait, she knew that they'd been through some bad situations and that Rubio would more than likely last until then. Carbunkle was a difficult object to overcome and to be honest; none of them knew how to approach him if matters did get worse. At least with the time provided, they would be able to come up with a suitable plan if Rubio did manage to get into serious trouble.
Rubio chopped through another spirit being as his search for the blue light continued. 'Where do I find this blue light?' He continued to slice through many more spirits. The man was slowly wearing down and began to pant with the slight exhaustion that crept into his body. 'I'm wearing down. There are just too many of them.' As soon as the thought of giving up strolled into his mind, the look on his face hardened into one of dogged determination. 'But I can't give up! Everything rides on me!' With those powerful thoughts, he hurled himself forward, decapitating a spirit-like being and forcing himself to go on as a thin sweat overcame his body as he cut down a narrow path, panting.
'I have no idea where I'm going but surely this leads somewhere.' He continued to run. After a while, there seemed to be a complete lack of spirits in the area and the foggy forest was no longer lit up with paranormal activity. In fact, the area was completely dark.
'That's strange; there aren't any spirits around this area. I wonder why.' Rubio continued down the path until he came into a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a large memorial stone that was oddly placed.
"What's this?" He asked as a phantom image of a feudal aged warrior appeared before him. As soon as the warrior appeared, the memorial stone turned an odd cornflower blue in color and glowed with a slight haze. "Not another one." The man looked a little peeved that there had been yet another spiritual being a in a place that he had not wanted one to be.
Rubio had thought that he would at least get a break but it seemed that there would be not break for him now. The silver-haired man didn't know how much energy he would have left if he had to keep constantly fighting like he was. Swiftly, he pulled out his sword and glared down the phantom. "Let's go if we're go-"
His phrase was cut off as the phantom warrior rushed past him and slashed across, taking a good gash out of his side. Rubio gasped as horror filled his face and blood rushed out of his side and sprayed through the air in a ghostly macabre sight. Wincing, he struggled to concentrate. 'He was quick…Almost too quick for me. If I let my guard down again, he'll cut me in half next time and I can't afford to take a loss like that.' Blue eyes looked around for the ghostly man, who had now concealed himself somewhere in the forest. 'Alright, where are you?' He wondered as the warrior came from behind him. Rubio dropped to his hands, releasing his sword and using all of his might to try and hose kick to spiritual being, that simply disappeared behind him.
Popping back up, he glanced around again. 'Alright, where did it go now?' He wondered and no sooner did he wonder then he was cut off by it reappearing behind him.
"Huh!?" Shock went through him as his form went ridged. The spirit brought down its weapon and tried to decapitate him Rubio rolled to the side and popped up in the kneeling position. The pain shot through his side and caused him to wince again as he closed one eye and tried to remain as calm as possible for such a weary state.
His body grew chilled from the blood loss and his mind was succumbing to exhaustion but he had to remain focused on his goals. 'Damn…I left my sword over there. I have to get it back somehow.' Rubio thought to himself as the spirit ran towards him.
Thinking quickly, Rubio ran over and grabbed his sword, turning around just in time as their blades clashed and the two struggled to overpower one another. The silver-haired man grunted as he tried to fight him off, but due to his weakened state, his form was only sliding backwards in defeat. 'He's strong…'
Using any reserve power that he had left, he shoved forward to try and shake the warrior but only managed to fall forward and go through the spirit, nearly colliding with the ground.
"Damn…" Rubio muttered as he stumbled forward a couple of steps and groaned in pain. The man then spun around with his knees bent. 'Why is that spirit so strong? It also glows a blue color that almost looks like a visible aura…That's really strange…Wait a minute!' Rubio's face lit up in realization as he put the facts together in his mind and came up with a conclusion.
"Is that the light that Carbunkle was talking about? If it is, then how do I get it for myself? Do I defeat this spirit to obtain it?" Rubio wondered aloud as the spirit came barreling down through the trees. He met Rubio's form as they continued to clash swords over and over again. Finally with the last clash of their weapons, Rubio was knocked backwards again. 'That little blue light must be what's making it so strong. I've got to find out his weakness.'
The determined man then charged ahead and tried to cut the warrior in half but it managed to disappear. "Damn it!" Rubio cursed. "How can I hit him if he keeps disappearing?"
The warrior then reappeared and tried to get a hit in on him. Rubio jumped onto the blade and jumped quickly again before it had the chance to turn transparent and flipped in mid-air, coming down with his sword pointed down, only to ultimately stab the harsh ground. "Shit!"
Rubio blindly ran towards the spirit, anger and frustration filled his form was he was grasping for anything that would work to defeat it. He tried to cut it in half, only to have it phase out once more. "Crap!" He shouted in anger.
The spirit appeared again and tried to stab him but he managed to slide under it and tumbled by, tucking his arms around his feet with his sword blade pointing out so that he did not hurt himself or put a stop to his fluid movement. He then popped up and charged at the spirit as the two entered a series of strikes again and again as they continued their battle on.
'At a time like this, I wished that I knew magic.' Rubio thought before the realization hit him. 'Wait! I think I may have one ace up my sleeve.' As they continued to fight on, the ex-terrorist pulled out a small dagger and threw it in close range of the spirit.
On contact, the spirit howled in pain as it grasped at the dagger, only to be cut in half by the victorious man. "I did it." Rubio smiled wearily to himself as the warrior slowly faded away and a blue light resonated from it. He stared into the glowing, star-like object as streams shot out from it, wrapping themselves around him.
"What is this?" The silver-haired man looked around himself to see that he was now surrounded by a blinding blue light. Overcome by a warm sensation, Rubio couldn't help but close his eyes for a few seconds, only to open them and find himself transported to a lighter area of the woods where it seemed like daytime compared to what he had seen.
Rubio knew that dawn was probably approaching and could tell by the sky, which was still clinging to its darkness but an orange and pink light had been airbrushed across it. There was a large cleared path that he was standing in the middle of. The man watched as a few stray spirits and forest animals all scattered and darted off into shaded parts of the forest to conceal themselves from him.
"What is this place?" He glanced around at his surroundings. "Well, guess I'll go ahead and see." Rubio settled as he ran ahead. The path soon lead to a clearing and in that clearing was the glass coffin that Valentino had been sealed in.
"Valentino!" Rubio stopped upon seeing the encased man who was lying in the coffin as if he had actually died.
"It's nice of you to show up, Mr. McDougall," Carbunkle faded in and made his presence be known.
"How do you know my name?" Rubio asked, a little freaked out that something like that would know him.
"I am Carbunkle and I have been waiting for you," the hawk-like spirit confirmed.
"So, you're Carbunkle. I didn't imagine you looking like a giant bird with a red stone in its forehead," the silver-haired man knew that this was truly Carbunkle now. He had remembered seeing him before as well.
"You have received your toll and now the time has come. You have indeed passed the test and proven yourself worthy of battling me." The bird spoke in that familiar booming voice that he had heard earlier.
"Then let's go!" Rubio got into a defensive position. "I have no time to waste." The sooner he got this over with, the better. After all, this was the single thing that he had been waiting for a long time. The time was now and the end would be either his victory or his defeat.
"You will need time to adjust to your new powers. If you can figure out how to unlock them then you can properly defeat me with them. If that happens, then I shall let you keep those powers." What Carbunkle was saying was strange. It was as if he was not only advising him with a way to defeat him but advising him on how to use these so called powers obtained from the blue light.
"What is this power?" Rubio asked.
"You can beat paranormal entitles. You will be able to strike them without passing through them,” the spirit advised.
"That's how I was hit by the ghost."
"Yes, any other way, it would have passed through you. All of them had the ability," Carbunkle explained. "The one that you fought was a special case. You can also cast barriers and conjure spirits to help you in battle. You can summon me as well as being equipped with three magic attacks- Crescent Slash, Giga Buster and Kaleidoscope. This power will be yours if you can defeat me."
"I'll figure it out," this was a promise.
The massive hawk spread its large wings that covered the length of two busses to either side as the jewel on his forehead began to glow with a piercing red light. "Sandstorm," the green bird summoned as the entire area was consumed in sand that flung itself upwards from the ground in a burst. Rubio screamed as the grains stung his injuries and rubbed against his flesh.
'I can't even see him, much less hit him.' Rubio began to concentrate on the blade as hard as he could. Surely something would happen. 'Come on…work…I heard somewhere that will powers magic and if you have a strong will then you can call fourth magic. It should work this way.'
Rubio struggled to see in the blur of the sand as his sword began to glow a blue hue. 'I've almost got it.'
"Burst Winds!" Carbunkle called out as he summed a huge blast of wind that knocked the man off of his feet, sending him flying into the air. Rubio refused to break his concentration on the sword as he yelled, being tossed around in the air.
"Damn! I almost had it!" The man cursed as his blade simply reverted back to the cold steel that it once was.
"I will not allow you to access your power so easily. This is a battle. Wind Scythe!" Carbunkle told him as he ruthlessly began to assault him once more as another burst of wind blew him around. Rubio landed hard on the ground, refusing to let go of his sword as he rolled across the ground.
Looking up, the man saw that a huge rock was headed towards him. "Shit!" He cursed as he held up the sword once more. 'Magic, please don't fail me now!' The sword soon flowed a golden color and produced a shield around him, smashing the rock into pieces. The debris fell all around him, like a rain of earth to the ground.
'So, he figured out how to unlock the shield. I wonder if he can unlock his three primary attacks.' Carbunkle thought to himself with amusement. The hawk then spread its wings once again and the jewel glowed as he summoned another attack. "Firestorm!"
"Ah!" Rubio yelled in frustration as he summoned his shield once again. "That's it! I'm tired of this!" He shouted as he slashed his sword twice across his view and large, crescent-shaped beams were released from it and barreled towards Carbunkle, who managed to safely dodge them.
"The Crescent Slash!" Rubio had learned to unlock the attacks very quickly. Perhaps he had managed to find out the trick of opening powers from the magic.
"I unlocked an attack?" Rubio said with slight confusion on his face. He wasn't sure how exactly he had done it, but he was thankful that he could do something other than defend. Blue eyes watched as the wall of rock was soon hit by his attack, which shook the wall and ground as well as the coffin containing the man that he loved. "Valentino!"
"Water Spout!" Carbunkle summoned a massive amount of water that filled the forest floor. Water shot up suddenly with a blast one time, then twice and a third with violent power, threatening the man before blasting beneath him and sending his yelling form into the air.
'Shit!' Rubio's thoughts berated as his body was hurled into the air. He looked down at the ground below and his eyes widened. 'Wait a minute! I'll land on Valentino from this distance. If I can open that casket, then I'll win.' A smile crept to his face at the thought of his own brilliance. "Crescent Slash!" Rubio called out as he struck the air twice with his blades, sending the two large, crescent beams down towards the coffin. As soon as the beams collided with the top of the coffin, they managed to shatter the top like glass.
The pieces of the coffin flew into the air and glimmered in the sunlight as Carbunkle looked over his shoulder.
"He got past me."
Valentino slowly opened his eyes as he saw Rubio land on the coffin with his feet on either rim. A cold, steel blade stabbed into the velvet interior beside of his head. The assassin slowly closed his eyes, not really wanting to hear anything he had to say. The long-haired, red-eyed man simply wanted to be left alone to rot, like the monster he was.
"What are you doing?" The silver-haired man asked with a look of anger. "Get out of the casket before Carbunkle seals you back up."
"I want to stay," those words sent confusion through Rubio's body. What the hell? He had come all of that way only to find out that the man he loved wanted to stay seal inside of a casket. It was as if everything he had just done was completely in vain.
In a way, this was worse than failure.
"What are you talking about? I come all this way to save you and you're too chicken shit to face the music? You jerk. I can't believe that you'd make everyone worry about you like this. What are you thinking?" The man scolded.
"Please…Just leave me here," Valentino told him lowly in defeat. He didn't deserve to be around anyone. He was just a danger to them all. Before he could say a word more, Rubio grabbed his hand and wrapped an arm around his neck, pulling him to his knees as he delivered a passionate kiss to the man. Valentino closed his eyes as they shared the tender moment. Another kiss was planted on his cheek before Rubio pulled away and stared into those blood red eyes. "Rubio…"
"I love you…no matter what you are," those words sent many mixed emotions through the man. Ultimately, the assassin shook them off and turned away with a frown and saddened expression.
"I am a monster," his chin was quickly grabbed and his face was turned back to face him.
"Ibuki made you into a monster but that doesn't mean that the people here like you any less," the silver-haired man wanted to get that point across the best he could. No one would judge him for what had done, considering many of them had done things similar.
"I'd rather die than face them…I suppose that makes me a coward," Valentino admitted.
"Well, you're not going to. My hero isn't a coward. You'd never let me run so I'll be damned if you get off that easy," Rubio grabbed his hand and noticed the long fingernails protruding from it. "You are still transformed."
"I'll be back to normal by tomorrow," the black-haired male informed.
"I didn't expect this and no one has ever pulled off a feat like this," Carbunkle spoke, interrupting their tender moment to announce his first in battle experience with Rubio. Truly, this man had set himself apart from anyone else by his quick ability to learn and outsmart even someone as ancient as he.
"So, what now?" Rubio turned to the spirit.
"Now, there is only one thing left to do," Carbunkle informed. This last task was the most important one and he wanted to be sure that Rubio was ready for what was about to hit him next.
…To Be Continued…