Tangled Up in Blu: Part Nine
For something so powerful, so feared, and so desired, the Trident was quite repellent. Blu had thought the appearance of the Trident was atrocious, but the smell! It was a vulgar odor; one of rotting flesh and dirty sea air. Blu could hardly bear having it so close to her nose. Trudging along, she kept one paw holding her nose shut.
Mephtik spotted Blu as she returned from the castle. He could easily identify the object she held; it was the Trident. It’s worse than I thought, he thought gravely. If the Trident got into the wrong hands...
Blu made it back to the battle; she had been gone for approximately forty minutes. Hopefully Vzelle had made it through her absence. She found the Eyrie in the same place she had left her; the only difference was the fatigued shadow Gelert standing at her defense. Blu rushed over to Zwane, Trident still in hand.
“Zwane!” Blu called to him. He turned around, sword still raised. He smiled weakly, and limped over to her.
“Blu...” he panted. “The Trident... but how?” Blu put a finger to his lips.
“No time for questions. I have to use its power to restore Vzelle.” Blu held the Trident out before her, grasping it with a single paw. As she began to move her other paw to the Trident, a cry pierced the air.
“Getcher paws offa tha’ thing!” The deep, raspy voice was unmistakable. Its owner galumphed towards the two Gelerts, tail propelling his bulky form. The Maraquan Elephante’s desperate cry was not ignored. Blu let one paw drop to her side, using one to keep the Trident upright.
“Mephtik, I don’t understand...” Blu’s voice was small.
“Ta power of tha’ there Trident is no good.”
“But Vzelle said it will heal her...”
“Poppet, if ya give tha’ Trident to ta Eyrie down yonder, we’re all doomed. She’s ta one who stole it from Dehytrezn in ta beginnin’! Now acause she tasted ta power, she wants more!” Mephtik pleaded with the Gelert. Zwane’s jaw dropped. Who did this guy think he was, accusing Vzelle of such a thing?
Blu was shocked, the color draining from her face. Who was she to trust? The kind soul who had freed her from her prison or her mentor who taught her about her powers? It was an impossible decision, and yet, Blu had to choose.
Fortunately, Blu’s decision was prolonged as Vzelle’s eyes fluttered open.
“Blu... the Trident... I can feel the power restoring me... Give it to me, Blu...” The Eyrie’s voice was weak. She lifted a wavering hand to the Trident.
“Don’ ya do tha’, Blu. Jus’ gimme yer Trident an’ no one gets hurt.” Mephtik held out a blubbery flipper. Blu stood, dumbfounded. Her frame stood frozen in time as a war raged around her. The only part of her that moved was her eyes, flitting from Mephtik to Vzelle and back again.
Before she could realize what was happening, it was too late. Vzelle snatched the Trident from Blu’s grip. Raising it above her head, she chanted incantations in a foreign tongue. The Trident pulsed with power; its glow changing from green to a fierce red. Vzelle donned her trademark smirk as she let the power course through her veins. She was unstoppable now.
Mephtik’s eyes widened. He was too late. The Trident was in the hands of the corrupted water mage, and he couldn’t do anything to stop her. Blu had failed to trust him; she held Vzelle high in her trust as well. She couldn’t choose who to believe and now they would pay. If only he had gotten to her sooner...
Zwane covered his eyes. The light was blinding. And Vzelle was evil. It was incomprehensible; she had been the mother figure in Zwane’s life. It couldn’t be true; she couldn’t have been the original corrupted thief of the Trident. It was too much to bear...
Blu’s eyes were glued to the nightmare unfolding in front of her. She couldn’t look away, not even as the light became almost too intense to bear. She felt the tears in her eyes and they weren’t from the staring the light. Vzelle was evil. She had control over the Trident. And it was all Blu’s fault.
Vzelle’s fur began to darken, transforming from buttery tan to jet black. Her scarred markings began to glow with the fierce green of the Trident. Her orange bangles let off a red glow; the tuft at the end of her tail bursting into flames. Her wings turned black, speckled with several red feathers. The flowers in her mane wilted as if they were scorched. The mane itself burst into flames. Worst of all were the eyes. The warm, sparkling eyes that always held a smug glint in their cobalt depths had been replaced by red hot coals that swam with corrupted smugness, apathy for welfare of the living, and pure, mind consuming evil.
Blu was horrified at the transformation. In a matter of seconds, the kind mentor of an Eyrie had morphed into a corrupted shell of what she once was. Vzelle raised the staff above her head, screeching in some unknown tongue. Blu panicked, squeezing her eyes shut. Subconsciously, she began to unleash her powers. As the spell from the Trident spread across the battlefield, Blu’s powers created a bubble of magic around her. It spread to Mephtik and Zwane before the Trident’s power was in full force.
Several minutes later, the blast subsided. The Trident’s glow dulled, no longer at full power. Blu cautiously opened one eye, peering out at the landscape. The Trident’s blow had left everything in tact. The battlefield looked the same as it did before the Trident’s blow except for the fact that everything seemed frozen in time. The figures of soldiers stopped in mid-attack were scattered across the land. Almost nothing about them had changed. Nothing, that is, but their eyes.
Where glinting, radiant eyes once were, there were now only listless pupils staring blankly ahead. They bored into your soul, yet they saw nothing. In their trancelike state, they kept a fixed gaze on whatever was in front of them. Hollow and empty, the eyes gave away the fact that something was wrong.
“What did you do?” Blu demanded to know. Vzelle flashed a malicious grin.
“Why, I’ve frozen time. Couldn’t you have figured that out on your own?” Blu squirmed as the Eyrie’s red eyes met her own blue ones. Vzelle’s gaze was unnerving.
“But, why?” Blu couldn’t understand her mentor’s motives.
“Why? Did you expect me to do something excruciatingly violent? Silly child, that will come later. For now, I just plan to prepare myself. With everyone frozen, I can easily obtain whatever I want. Rods of supernova, honey potions, Swords of Skardsen, you name it. After all, who’s going to stop me?” Vzelle smirked.
“I won’t let you get away with it!” Blu wasn’t leaving without a fight.
“You, the mediocre water bender who can’t even make a whirlpool, are going to stop me? Or is your merry duo of a fat prison guard and a single teenaged warrior going to stop me?” Vzelle laughed.
Blu’s heart sank. Did she really think she could defeat Vzelle? The odds were certainly not in her favor. Slumping to the ground, she went numb.
Some mage I turned out to be. I can’t even tell the difference between a caring mentor and a deranged villain. All of Maraqua and Dehytrezn will suffer; my friends will perish. Countless lives will be lost; two great empires destroyed. A corrupted villain will do whatever she pleases, and no one will be able to stop her. All of this because you’re a foolish, naïve Gelert who can’t tell the difference between a friend and a foe. Blu’s guilt-riddled thoughts came in waves, sweeping over her like the tide of the Mystery Island beach. She wanted to cry, to curl up on the ground and drown in her sorrow, but the tears would not come. Just as she was about to lose it, to let herself dissolve into nothingness, she felt a strong paw on each shoulder.
“Blu,” Zwane’s face was inches away from Blu’s, and he spoke in a reassuring whisper, “there’s no reason for you to give up now. You’ve been through too much to just throw in the towel when things seem too tough. You can do anything, Blu. Already you’ve found a forgotten empire, escaped from the prison, discovered and almost mastered your water bending ability, and found the legendary Trident. The word ‘impossible’ does not exist. If you believe in yourself, there is no obstacle that you cannot overcome. And if your own confidence isn’t enough, you will always have the confidence of your friends.” Zwane gave Blu a warm smile. Blu felt her eyes begin to water, and she threw her arms around Zwane’s neck, pulling him into a hug.
“Thank you, Zwane,” Blu whispered back.
“Aw, how touching.” Vzelle’s voice dripped with faux sincerity. Blu leapt up, prepared to face the worst.
“You’re going to fight me, aren’t you? Let me say this now, so you can reconsider.” The Eyrie loomed menacingly over Blu. “I will show no mercy.” And with that, Vzelle’s eyes began to flicker and the ocean came to life.
“Get out of here!” Blu screeched at her friends. Zwane was reluctant, but Mephtik knew they had no choice. The prison guard grabbed the Gelert’s wrist and pulled him away.
A rapid current of water sent a boulder tumbling headlong towards Blu. By sending currents of water out from her feet, Blu was barely able to avoid being crushed by the rock. Rotating her arms in circular motions, she turned the boulder around and hurled it back at Vzelle.
“Good,” Vzelle commented as the boulder sped toward her, “but not good enough.” A small blast from the Trident shattered the heavy rock.
Blu sent a barrage of stones at the Eyrie using small currents to propel them. They were effortlessly redirected by Vzelle’s water bending. As the former mentor began to charge for an attack, Blu sent a current into the ground. The loose sand swirled up, concealing the Island Gelert in its swirling curtain. The Eyrie lowered the Trident, trying to locate her target in the cloud of sand. Knowing her foe’s guard was down, Blu struck. Leaping into the air, she dove at Vzelle, increasing her speed with currents of water. She hit her target, sending her barreling into the ground. Retaliating quickly, she leapt to her feet and poised for attack.
The Gelert is more of a challenge than I thought, the corrupted Eyrie thought, I guess I’ll have to fix that.
Chanting in a foreign tongue, Vzelle held the Trident above her head. It began to glow in an intense red hue, its power increasing exponentially. Cackling manically, the crazed water mage turned her piercing eyes on Blu.
Before Blu could react, Vzelle sent an overwhelming blast of power at the Gelert. Blu felt herself flying through the water, landing hard on the ground. Spasms of pain shot through her; the blast had been a direct hit. She tried desperately to move, but the pain was unbearable. She had no other choice than to lie on the cold sand and await her doom.
Useless! I’m useless! Why was I chosen to be the water mage? I can’t do anything right! All of Maraqua is going to be destroyed because I’m too weak to defeat Vzelle! Blu felt hot tears on her cheeks. She was going to lose this battle, no doubt about it. Lying on the ground, tears making wet trails on her cheeks, Blu lay defenseless as her enemy prepared to finish her.
“I always knew you were weak.” Vzelle flashed a trademark smirk as the Trident’s power reached its zenith. “This ends now.”
To be continued...