It was a cold night and the glowing haze of TMS's piercing violet eyes chilled Racku. It had been two and a half years since the boy's eyes had been their proper blue and yet they still frightened the once mad man. He took a step back, his red hair was out of it's braid, falling in curly red locks all around his face. It made him look strangely innocent. "What're you here for?"
"A warning..." the low voice snickered. Over the last two years TMS had grown tall and he now clearly displayed the facial features of a Kasara-Chiri from the second house. His strange pale skin and narrow eyebrows made him uncomfortable to talk to. It almost made Racku feel as if he was trapped looking into a mirror about to shatter and warp. "They say you're your own worst enemy... Not true... Not true, Racku... " TMS put a hand on his older relative's shoulder "What they mean is your family is your worst enemy... You didn't listen to her..." his eyes flickered a brighter purple, "Now you're going to pay..." the boy smiled, pinched Racku's cheek, then walked off.
Racku rubbed the right side of his face where he'd been pinched. "Odera..." he whispered on the night air, and instantly as if from the mere mention of the wicked woman the night chilled.
Mask of Ka-chiri 3; the scarlet lady, by TMS
Racku sat contemplating how Odera would start this war once again through the boy who he had once believed a nephew and now knew was a cousin of his. It was strange how through his jumbled and confusing lineage, his mother had been traded off for the wicked demon who plagued him now, this one called 'Odera'. The wicked witch of the web had been weaving him lies all his years, and now he had finally broken through them. His mother had died never knowing him, and in her place a woman more vile than the stench of rotting flesh in blazing sun had raised him, and she had raised him to be an expert killer, a gifted assasin... In essence, a conqueror and dictator. It had not been enough for her, she had wanted the power, the control over him... It hadn't worked out and now the battle between them raged.
A sudden breeze caught Racku off guard and the window burst open. In the center of the huge gust a form took shape. It was a young man with pointed ears and blonde hair. He opened his green-red eyes. He was slightly short and thin and bore a full body suit of what seemed leather armor. A Crystalline shape was embedded in the right shoulder.
"Who...?" but Racku already knew the answer to his question. "Why...?"
"You're in trouble... Don't think I haven't kept a close eye over all that happens here since my unfortunate encounter with the boy who valiantly fought to save you at his own risk... I was a foolish child... Now I have returned to repay the favor of opening my eyes..."
"I did nothing... Why help me?"
"When I first met you... I brushed it off... But now I know... There is something beyond good or evil that shines within your eyes... It's called innocence..."
" It is time my faithful servant..." The evil voice of Odera whispered
TMS made an evil looking grin then allowed all his powers to run-a-muck. His hair flew lose as the room was lighted in deep red. The walls crumbled and fell in a domino effect. The first house of Staria was falling in a way seen only one other time.
"What's that sound?" Nodin Caldain, the elven boy who looked much older than the last time he was seen, turned to look at the wall to his left. There was silence to the normal ear, and then suddenly a rumbling.
"I know that sound..." Racku backed away from the wall wide-eyed. "It's the sound that I heard whenever Odera was furious... We have to get out of here... Quickly!"
They made a mad dash for the door, dragging people with them as they went. Peach was startled but she followed quicker than many of the others even though she had Alexandria Kasara-Chiri, the daughter of herself and Racku, weighting her down.
As the castle that held the hope of all Staria fell, the could see the cause of it. In the center of the ruins stood what could only be called a creature flowing with energy. It's shape was shifting rapidly, and then it took it's true form. TMS crossed his arms.
" Good work, boy... Now... The second half... " And with Odera's words, TMS fainted, drawing back into his own mind.
"Quickly! This is part of their plan... We have to stop it by entering and destroying the evil..." Nodin rushed over to the spot where the boy prince of Staria had fainted.
"And how, pray tell, do we do that?" Racku inquired.
"We need someone with strength in healing..."
"I'll go..." Peach stepped forward.
"I can't let you..." Racku took Peach's hands in his own.
"This isn't your choice." For the first time in their marriage, Peach gave Racku a cold look as if to say she were in charge.
Racku looked a little shocked, "And Ali?"
"She's going too."
Racku sighed and held his hand out to Ali. The little girl, unlike a normal child who would grab on of the fingers held out to them and giggle, Ali looked at her father and rested her hand in his, almost as if she understood the important decision her mother had made.
"Let's go then..." Racku looked up at Nodin.
Nodin leaned over and whispered in Peach's ear so that he'd not be heard. It seemed like an eternity before he pulled away. The group waited silently, the servants knowing the Mushroom Kingdom was risking more than they.
"Life flowing from the earth, given to man causing rebirth, I call to you and say, I ask for your help on this day. Together you and I will right the wrong, but this time you must help me along, I wish to enter the most secret place, the mind that lies behind the face. Power Teleport!" Peach finished the incantation and a white light beamed, teleporting them.
Part 1: The Oracle of Kindness, The Representation of Inner Beauty, And the Embodiement of Inner Good
The four teleported in to a strange place. It was a place with soft green grass and a single tree. Around the tree children were running and playing.
Nodin looked up. "Is that...?" He backed up a bit, than ran and jumped, landing on a branch of the tree. He was startled when he landed face to face with TMS, although he had expected as much.
TMS grabbed Nodin by his collar, "Welcome to my world, Sheikah. Don't enjoy yourself. You won't be staying long. Maybe you'll be dead soon." With that he set Nodin down and leapt off into the distance.
Nodin blinked and realized he was still alive. He looked down and saw the children and grass were gone. The tree had been replaced by a gnarled leafless shape. The land was barren. Worse, Racku and Peach were gone. "Oh no..."
"Ssssh..." The shadowy figure that had pulled Racku away whispered, "I have brought you here to help you in your journey..." there was a glint of red hair in the moonlight and then they were crossing a lake so calm and black it looked like oil.
"Who are you? Why are you hiding?" Racku moved to reveal the person.
"It's better if you don't see... This new world has twisted me so much... I am an inner image... I'm not a real person... I was at one time a very handsome young man... But things have changed since the witch arrived... I can only hope she won't get you... You're still young... Such a sight too..." the shadow lowered it's head which seemed strangely deformed in the darkness.
"My god..." Racku took a step back. "You're me, aren't you?!"
"If you must know... Yes... I was once you... Then that evil woman came... She twisted TMS's views... And now I'm a twisted monster of what I was... I was so... But now..." the image sobbed, taking a step forward into the light. "Look at me!" He was a strange monster, yet he still had a heavenly sort of essence that would have suggested extreme beauty. His face was twisted and he was almost blind and he seemed to be a hunchback.
"I'm so sorry..." Racku reached out his hands to the beast that had once been a man, "This is my fault..." As his hands touched the once-man, a strange magic flowed. It covered the strange new form and Racku watched as the features untwisted.
The moonlight grew brighter and the now untwisted figure looked into the still waters and saw Racku's face reflected. He moved his left hand across his face, making sure he was seeing correctly. He went over every detail, from the strands of bang that ran across his pale forehead to the thin eye brows above his eyes to the smirking mouth. "I... I'm back... I'm back!" he turned to face the real Racku. "Thank you! You have no idea how much this means to me! You see... There are sections to TMS's mind and I'm the section of inner beauty... I can't very well fullfill that position as a twisted monster... I'm suppose to be the image of your inner self... TMS used to think you were the most divine creature within... Until Odera gained complete control over him... I will show you to the oracle of kindness... I think you might recognize her... She's across the lake... I just hope shes' alright..."
"Who are you?" Peach asked.
"I can't tell you that... If I did, you would know too much. I can't tell you yet atleast." The pale moonlight figure stood as if she were a porcelain doll from an oriental country. Her face was white as snow, her hair a bright red, as were her lips, eyes and eyelids. A black fan was sported in her left hand and brought back ot her face. "I have a problem currently... I need you to help me move my arms and legs... They seem to have gotten stuck again..."
"That evil woman turned me into a porcelain doll! I keep getting stuck... My movements were once a graceful floating movement... Now they're halting jerking movements... Oh... What sorrow the white swan of good has!"
Peach drew close and gently moved first the strange girl's arms and then her legs. "The white swan of good?" She looked up, rather interested.
In a rather ungraceful fashion, the living doll moved about, "Yes... I'm the embodiment of inner good... Or atleast I was... Now I'm a child's plaything... What pain and suffering to be me... I'm suppose to be graceful and delicate... It could be worse though... Oh, the poor thing... The Representation of Inner Beauty had it much worse... He was such a beautiful thing before that woman... And then... It was all so sudden... One minute I was my normal graceful self and was talking to him, a very handsome young man... And then... I couldn't move and he... He was twisted and deformed... If only I could shed tears for our fates..."
Nodin Caldain leapt down and looked around. There was not a person in sight. Then he felt a tugging sensation coming from behind him. He turned and there was a child.
It's hair was back in a neat ponytail. It had large blue eyes that danced with light. The little boy's hand was what had been tugging Nodin.
"Hello...." He knelt beside the boy, "What's your name? Are you lost?"
The boy said nothing, he merely pointed behind Nodin. Nodin turned and was startled by a woman.
"He can't speak..." The woman was beautiful. Long red locks of curly hair fell down in a thick ponytail. Small strands hung off the side. Her eyes were a magnifecent purple. She was thin and slightly pale, but she shown with magnifecence. "He's my son..."
Upon the impact of those words Nodin realized the people he was standing between. It was the young prince of Staria and his mother. His glance shot up and he saw exactly what he had expected. The black cloaked figure of the true TMS was back in the tree, watching him.
The young TMS who stood there looked up into the tree. "Hoya so ma no ta.... Couyo nata toi may tich..."
Amelia looked at the boy in shock. "He spoke..."
"What'd he say?" Nodin asked.
"He said... 'There is no hope when the white dove becomes a black raven'"
With those words, the boy eyes welled up with tears and he hugged onto his mother's leg. "Osha mala ci ni! OSHA MALA CI NI! Hora can no en tou!" the boy looked back up into the tree, whimpering.
Without a word Amelia picked up the boy, "Follow me! We must go!" she started running as fast as she could.
"What'd he say?!" Nodin followed.
"He said... 'Get me away! Get me away! He scares me!' That's a sure sign of Ill-fortune when a pure-hearted child is scared of something..."
They were too late, for they were trapped when the true TMS landed before them. "Give me the child." he demanded.
"NEVER!" Amelia backed away.
That was when the boy spoke in english for once. "Get away from me..."
The image of Racku held out his hand and helped the real Racku down. "This is the palace of the Oracle of Kindness... She will tell you all you need to know to defeat Odera...."
Racku entered the palace alone. There was only one thing in the empty and silent place. A large box with a glass front. Something was inside of it. Slowly he made his way over and placed his hands on it. He almost couldn't bring himself to look in, but he did. There she was. Perfect beauty, perfect grace, a perfect replica of Peach. "No...."
"She's asleep..." a voice whispered behind him, and he turned. The young woman had bright green eyes and long blonde hair. She wore a plain white dress. She also wore a somber expression. "Though I may not look it... I am the Reincarnation of Happiness... And the inner image of your mother..."
"Why...? Why must all this happen?"
"There is a great war being fought and the only warrior who can stop it is now a child... The Osa Kala Ni Chi... He has a strong love in his heart... But that heart has been broken and his dreams have been shattered... Help him to stop this... Please Racku... You are the only one who can free him and break this spell of war... You are the savior... The hero... The chosen... And one day soon you shall face Odera alone and defeat her... You will save the world from her evil... No... You will save the universe... Look... Look into this..." She held out a glass bauble. It showed the battle that was now raging between the older TMS and the young Nodin Caldain. "This is not to be! They were friends not so long ago... He will be defeated, Racku... And if he dies in here... He shall die in the real world... Save him from that monster!"
"Stay back demon curr!" Amelia backed away with the child in her arms. "You are not reality, you are an illusion!"
"I think you're much too wrong... Mother..." The black form of TMS crossed his arms. "That boy is the apparition... And he will die..."
"He is the Osa Kala Ni Chi and he shall defeat you, monster of the flesh... He will steal the flesh from your bones and make you nothing more than you truly are... An illusion created by some old hag!"
"Big words for such a little woman... You expect the glorious splendor of me to revert to a child? Pah!"
"He will become what you should be soon enough."
The black-hearted TMS took a step forward. "You're so sure? Fight me over it?"
"Stay back! I'm warning you!" Nodin drew his bow and magical arrows, the same that he had used on Racku a few years back.
"Child, child... I don't wish to pick a fight with you... I want the boy... Nothing more..." TMS glanced at Nodin and took another step toward Amelia.
"I warned you!" Nodin fired a light arrow at the dark form.
"Agh!" TMS fell to his knees. He pulled the arrow from his chest. "I'm not as weak as that fool, Racku... I am the Osa Kala Ni Chi... I will conquer you for this boy..." He snapped the arrow with one hand and began advancing toward Nodin, his sword out.
"Din have mercy upon me for harming the innocent within..." Nodin entered the battle with his sword. It's mint-green hilt shimmered and shined, revealing that it was newly polished metal.
As their swords clashed, someone shouted out "Enough!" and they were seperated by weak light blasts. TMS immediatly was back on his feet. Nodin, who was dazed and confused, took more time.
"Racku... How nice of you to challenge me!" TMS laughed.
"I challenge nothing." Racku looked at Nodin. "Come on... Let's go... I've got bigger fish to fry."
At that moment Amelia stepped forward. She handed the boy to Nodin and hugged Racku without a word.
"I'm still here! I will challenge one of you!" TMS shouted.
"The Seven will destroy you!" Amelia smiled.
At that moment, that exact moment, Peach and the Embodiment of Inner Good reached their destination. The Temple of the Soldier of Will Power. They found the boy sitting outside looking depressed.
"What's wrong, Nodin?" Peach asked kneeling by him.
"What's the use of trying anymore?" The boy stood up, "We're gonna lose..."
Inner Good looked shocked. "Is this Will Power speaking or some twisted minion of Odera's?!"
"I assure you, I am Will Power... I've just lost all the Will and some of the Power..."
"Oh... Poor you... Poor, poor you..." Good hugged him and suddenly she was a normal girl once again. "Oh my! The powers are being activated!" she cheered.
"Woohoo! Let's go! I'm up for the fight!" Will Power shouted. "Do you hear that evil witch?! We're on our way to stop you!"
"Is the Oracle of Kindness awake?" Good asked hesitantly.
"Oh no... We have to wake her up..."
Yuku, the inner image of Happiness, set her hands on the glass face. "Awake sleeping oracle... We need your help..."
At that moment Beauty crept in. "Mother... We must hurry... They await us with the final two.."
Kindness jolted up under the sheer power of three inner images in one room. The glass shattered. "What happened?"
"Welcome back sleeping beauty." Yuku smiled.
"I never lost Faith... Elements of the inner image, come to me!" the child TMS squirmed until he was falling from Nodin's arms.
"We hear you oh leader and master..." Amelia closed her eyes and dissipated.
The boy was engulfed in a blinding light and was no longer falling, nor was he floating. He was merely growing tall enough.
"He's calling us!" Good looked about. "I hear you child of good!" She too dissipated.
"A gift to you, fair lady, before I leave..." Nodin kissed Peach on her cheek and she made a miraculous tranformation. "I give you the will to fight!" and then he too was gone.
'I feel... Power... And strength...' Peach looked at her new regal battle outfit, 'I feel courage...' She drew the sword from the sheath on her back "And I am a warrior." She then recalled her daughter.
"Mama... I'm right here..." Ali had been transformed too. From a girl of one to a girl of five in a matter of seconds.
"Alright, Ali... We have to go..."
"He's awakened..." Yuku looked up. "Happiness hears you, oh enlightened one..." She vanished.
"Beauty belongs to you, angelic one..." Beauty disappeared.
"Kindness is yours, knowledgable one..." Kindness was whisked away.
He was indeed what Amelia had promised. The boy had become the King of the Kasara-Chiri, not a dark prince, or an innocent, but the King of Kasara-Chiri, a man filled with pain and knowledge beyond mortal comprehension.
Racku opened his mouth to speak as he stepped forward, but with one gesture he was silenced. "But I..." he was again silenced.
The dark form trembled and backed away. "Don't touch me... I will destroy you if you so much as touch me!"
Still silent, the kingly form moved forward. He was regal and graceful in all his movements, and yet there was still the boy that Racku knew. The clumsy child who had been full of sorrow and had ached for revenge, only to be compensated with what he trully had wanted. A family.
"Don't move closer!" The dark warrior shouted, "I AM THE ULTIMATE! I CAN KILL YOU ALL!"
' TMS! Return to me NOW' Odera's voice shouted.
"He has me trapped!" the dark TMS continued backing away.
' Listen to me boy! Get here now! He CAN and WILL kill you!'
"No... No one can kill me! This is my realm!" the dark TMS began to run, turning quickly. He was a blur of black and then suddenly he was a raven flying away.
Racku looked up and cringed as he watched the bird escape. Suddenly it burst into flames. "What?" Racku backed away from the king that stood before him with his hand outstretched. "How could you?!"
"He was no longer needed... He chose it for himself..." TMS turned his head away from Racku and walked away. "It had to come down to this..."
That was when she appeared. In all her dark glory, Odera appeared and caught what remained of her once minion. She almost cried it seemed, and then she looked up. Her deep red eyes fixed upon TMS.. "Come to me... You know your purpose... The Family is the only thing that matters."
TMS looked up and suddenly his pupils got smaller. "Hearing is obeying..."
"NO!" Racku charged at Odera. "You won't get him again!"
"I should have killed you when I had a chance, but I have a foolish heart!" Odera pushed Racku away. "I couldn't do it when your were a child, and I can't do it now... But soon young lord, you will die by one hand or another!"
'She couldn't do it when I was a child...? What is she talking about?" Racku backed away bewildered.
"That's right little Racku... When you were five I had the chance to kill you... I could have drowned you... I was the only one around for miles... It was a deserted beach... Ara would have thought you drowned by yourself... I couldn't do it then... And I won't drown that little boy who's bright eyes bore into my soul and reminded me of someone before his time now... Those dreaded brown eyes that remind of Falar!" she clutched the burnt corpse in her hands, "This boy you protect is my only family... That's right Racku... this 'TMS' of yours is descended from my own blood... He is my Great Great Great Grandson, and he will always obey me... No matter how hard you try to stop him." Racku looked in horror as TMS obeyed her and stood beside her. "You see now? He is my child now... I have become what you can never replace... I have taken back what you owe to me, Racku Kasara-Chiri, son of Aratelen... My son. You took Nathan from me... Now you shall lose one close to you to repay me..."
"No! TMS! Don't go with her!" Racku grabbed at TMS.
"He's mine Racku..." Odera put a hand on TMS's cheek, reached on her tip toes and kissed his forehead. It was a powerful magic. There was no hope but to destroy Odera now. No hope that Racku could think of now. Then the two disappeared.
"It was too late Racku..." Nodin put a gentle hand on the older man's shoulder.
"Oya kouy ni sa! (The glory shall return! (( This is a famous Starian war cry)))" a voice called out in Starian. Then the owner of the voice landed.
Racku turned, suprised. "Peach?" he blinked.
"Mm-hm... Who were you expecting? TMS? He's gone, no?"
"Yes but... How do you know?"
"Now is not a time fore questions... I'll tell you later, darling..."
Racku wondered if his eyes deceived him. He knew this woman was his wife, Peach, yet she looked so like a Kasara-Chiri by nature. Her long blonde hair was up in a starian style and she was outfitted in battle garb. Fastened on her back was a sword. "Where's Ali?"
"Papa.. I'm right here..." Ali tugged at Racku's sleeve.
Racku blinked and backed away from the child, surprised. "What? How?"
"I said questions later, Sweetheart..." Peach responded
Having caught his breath finally, he ran in. He didn't know how he would make it through this battle, he only knew he must go on for Peach, Ali, Nodin and even TMS.
'Welcome, Racku...' Odera's voice rang through out the hall. Then a teleport spell was cast.
Part 2: A Final Battle, Prince Racku and the Shattering of Dreams
Racku was left in darkness. He held out his hand and cast a minor light spell. The room was illuminated and there she was in her dark glory. It was time for one last fight with the Dark Witch Odera. "I'm not afraid anymore."
"You should be! Shadow!" Odera held her hand out at Racku with the palm facing him. Darkness eminated from it.
Racku flinched backwards, then initiated his own attack. " Light Essence 15!"
Odera's eyes widened at the attack level. Still darkness flowed from her palm.
Racku was losing and he knew it. 'Do not give up Racku! You can do this!' Suddenly the light shined brighter. "I am not letting you win this one, you witch! My friends are counting on me!"
Images of those lost flashed threw his mind and suddenly he was in his true prince form. He didn't notice the three ghostly forms behind him.
'Hey Racku! I'll help you on this mission if you want...' Nodin's voice rang in his head.
'You are so stubborn Racku! Let us help!' Peach's voice shouted.
'Yeah! Let us help you put her away... Still too many things to do! Beside that... We haven't know each other long enough for it to end yet...' Ali's voice told him.
"I do need all of you! Please! Help me!" Racku continued his struggle against Odera.
The ghostly forms became solid. They were Nodin, Peach and Ali. Nodin stepped up next to Racku. He added his powers to the attack.
Ali stepped forward. She uttered some words in starian, and then added her powers.
Peach stepped forward. She planted a gentle kiss on Racku's cheek, then added her powers.
"No... This can't be..." Odera screamed before disappearing.
They were left in a room of darkness, then a flame flickered to life. TMS was standing there. "She's not defeated yet... I'm not free either... " He turned to leave, but Nodin stopped him.
"Three years ago... You gave me a song that could shatter things... I only pray it can shatter spells." Nodin took out the old and worn piccolo he had been given years ago. and played the song he spoke of.
The room seemed to twist and warp as the notes came into being. The dark sign of Odera appeared on TMS's forehead, then shattered to pieces. There was a piercing sound that seemed as if the very walls and ground of this world were screaming.
Racku returned to the center of the crowd in the real world with his hair unbraided and flying loose. Peach and Ali came forth, both as their normal selves. TMS awoke groggily. His body took on a strange glow and he was transformed into what Racku had first seen in the other world and recognized only now as what it was.
Several starians staggered backwards. The guards instantly fell to their knees.
TMS turned to look at them with cold sharp eyes. He seemed too serious for who he was.
"King Zyphon has returned..." On of the guards whispered.
'So it's true... The Osa Kala Ni Chi is the ressurection of the Great One... He shan't be free for long... I'll defeat you 'Savior of Plit''
Nodin appeared in a flash of light. His sensitive ears had detected the voice, and he didn't like it. "Keep your gaurd Racku... I must leave..." With that, he was gone.