Marvin sighed and idly wandered up the stone steps to the cavern’s land entrance. He made it to the tunnel that led to the surface and grumbled in annoyance when his feet sank into the familiar feeling of mud and water. The storm was still raging and its downpour was flooding the tunnel. It never did have any proper drainage for all the water. Nearing the entrance, Marvin gazed up at the sky and noted that the downpour wouldn’t be ending any time soon. He clenched his injured arm and barred himself against the bite of the howling wind.
“Sssay,” came a voice that managed to hold itself above the howl of the storm. The head of an Arbok slid closely into view. It eyed Marvin with a pair of sinister yellow eyes and Marvin eyed it back not in the least startled by it. “Sspare me a refuge in your den, old Marvin? A cursed tree all but crushed mine.”
“Crushed yers?” scoffed Marvin. “Yer spake as though yer had wan ter begin with, Thrax.”
Thrax was known all too well in the area. Ever since his younger years, Marvin had recalled Thrax being nothing but a nuisance. He could recall several dozen occasions where teams from the guild had been called to go after him, and it didn’t seem how much time he spent in lock up, the years never served to tame his wretched behaviour. A vagrant with malice intent. A reputation that was well earned after numerous rumours told by mothers who found their children and young missing from their cribs, whenever they accommodated him.
Marvin was never one to hold true to rumours and fear mongering. Usually on days like this, he would take pity and accommodate the Arbok until the storm’s passing, but today was different. With two young children asleep and under his care, Marivin wasn’t about to permit a potential predator into his den.
Marvin stood his ground and spoke firmly, maybe a bit too harshly. Maybe it was the pain in his arm, or the grey sky, or the fact that he was an old bugger that could do nothing but sit on his arse and wait for death to take him in his sleep. “Not today, Thrax. Go bug someone else.”
Thrax recoiled at the response and hissed at Marvin viciously. Thrax was a bulky Arbok, long and powerfully built, there was no question that he could have swept past the injured Marvin with ease, but Marvin knew him better than that. Despite his size and strength, Thrax was one of the more cowardly folk that Marvin had met in his life, one that tried to hide his lack of nerve behind a sharp set of fangs and a chorus of hisses. And that’s all Marvin ever saw him as, fangs and hisses.
Thrax eyed Marvin over once more before turning to leave, he noticed Marvin’s injured arm. “Get well soon, Marvin. Injured folk your age tend not to last for much longer.”
Marvin’s eyes followed him as he slithered off into the storm. “Fool,” muttered Marvin under his own breath before heading back down into the cavern.
He sloshed his way through the flooded tunnel and made his way down the stone steps down into the cavern. He took note of the Charmander and Totodile still asleep near the fireplace. He wondered when they would awaken, it would be nice to have someone to talk to now that Narda had gone out for the evening, the social butterfree that she was.
It was then that Marvin sat down at the table, an old and makeshift thing that sat in the centre of the cavern. It was there that he placed something that he hoped would shed some light on the two boys. A journal, one bearing the same emblem as the two boy’s armbands. It remained undamaged by the rain, but to Marvin’s horror seemed to be stained with blood that oddly enough didn’t wash off in the rain.
Marvin opened the journal and cast his eyes on its text which made his head swirl with confusion. Marvin couldn’t read a word of it. Written in odd runes, it was. Yet they all looked familiar, like he had seen them before. Somewhere, deep within a cave, or was it a mountain pass…Marvin could not recall. He flicked through the pages, some of which contained beautifully drawn sketches. One that caught his interest was found towards the start of the journal, only a few pages in.
She was the most beautiful Charizard Marvin had ever laid his eyes on, her beauty only matched by the fierceness that the sketch managed to catch in her eyes. Did this journal perhaps belong to her? And were these children perhaps hers? Marvin shuddered to think of what may have happened to her if the boys truly did come from Prismatic Jungle. So engrossed was Marvin in this journal, that he failed to notice the splashing of water from the top of the stone steps, or the silent slither of purple scales across the stone floor.
He had no idea what Thrax was planning or what he really intended when his tail struck Marin and sent him flying into the wall of the cavern. The table was knocked aside and the journal with it. Marvin cried out in shock and cringed when his head struck solid rock.
Decades of combat experience kicked in, but they all meant precious little in a body aged and ravaged by time. Marvin felt muscles once stronger than iron falter, he felt bones that could once handle anything crack, he felt what was once a sharp mind spin in confusion as he struggled to come to terms with his attacker. He struggled to his feet, faltering at least twice before being able to steady himself against the cavern wall. He stared down Thrax and snarled at him. He was old, but he wasn’t about to let this lowlife finish him here.
Thrax came at him, jaws gaping wide, ready to clamp down on the seemingly defenceless old Floatzel. With his good arm, Marvin lifted the table’s chair and wedged it between Thrax’s jaws, keeping them pried open. The Arbok hissed and seethed with anger at Marvin, his yellow eyes fill with desperation and hate. He forced Marvin up against the wall, the chair being the only thing separating Marvin from the venom soaked fangs of the Arbok’s gob.
“Narda…” wheezed Marvin, trying to call for his friend. He could barely speak, Thrax had forced the wind from his lungs. He summoned what little strength he had and shot a Water Gun into Thrax’s belly. The sudden blast of water sent the Arbok recoiling back onto the floor where he landed with a slap. Thrax continued to violently thrash his head about until the chair came loose from his mouth, sending it flying against the wall where it exploded into pieces.
Marvin seethed with anger. Dat wus Her favourite chair, yer blasted kont!
He was old, weak, and careless. How could he allow himself to turn his back on this thug? Thrax came at him again, jaws snapping wildly. Marvin ducked rolled and moved as quickly as his aged and damaged body could carry him, which was surprisingly fast enough, Thrax’s size did little to make him nimble.
Marvin knew that if he could keep this up, he could – SMACK – Thrax’s tail soon came to bare and sent Marvin skidding across the cavern floor until he neared the pool. Marvin felt the jagged rocks of the pool side tear at his flesh, gashing him across his forehead. His arm was screaming with pain, come to think of it most of his body seemed to have join the choir of screams from the rest of his body.
Anger was no longer enough to fuel his diminishing supplies of strength. He began to rise, but was swiftly smacked back down by the very tail that had sent him skidding across his home, the home he was trying to protect. He simply panted and gasped for air. He had failed, yet again. Save now he would endure the fate he deserved, where he should have died along those he once held dear.
Miles,…Caleb…I’m sorry. Daddy’s coming…
He managed to roll onto his back and gazed up at the cavern ceiling, just before his vision was mired by a pair of menacing yellow eyes that bared down on him. A set of fangs slowly followed, coated in dripping streams of venom. Marvin was about to clamp his eyes shut, but thankfully was able to refrain from doing so for a moment longer.
Fire flashed before his eyes, so fast was it that he barely noticed a young Charmander engulfed in flame, charging into Thrax’s side. The hiss that followed was so high pitched that it nearly resembled a scream. So off guard was Thrax taken that he was thrown to the ground in a near instant.
Marvin soon felt a pair of hands under his arms and soon the floor was sliding underneath him as he was dragged further away from his attacker by a pair of shockingly powerful arms. The Totodile was soon at his side, looking down at him. The menace and confusion that was mired his eyes before was gone, they now seemed as calm as pools of still water. “Keep back,” he whispered to him, before charging in after the Charmander.
Thrax swiped his tail around in an attempt to sweep the Charmander aside, but the nimble boy simply jumped it like it were no more than a skipping rope. He vaulted himself at Thrax’s head, his hands finding purchase around the Arbok’s neck. A burst of flame came from the Charmander’s mouth, searing Thrax’s head in a blaze of fire. The Arbok screamed as the smell of burnt flesh filled the cavern. He fell back once more and flailed about on the ground. Still the Charmander clung on. Marvin’s relief soon turned to horror. The Charmander’s face was writhe with uncontained fury the likes of which he had seen in only the most heinous of madmen.
The Totodile soon joined and with his own strength pinned the huge Arbok down, his arms seemed like iron restraints keeping Thrax from rising once more. Marvin simply gaped at the sight. Two youngsters not even past their first state of evolution were overpowering the largest Arbok he had ever seen in his long-lived life.
Thrax was panicking, desperation fueled his efforts. He was snapping up at the Charmander with his vicious fangs but like lightning the Charmander simply swung left and right to avoid the snaps of the lethal fangs. He moved so fast Marvin’s eyes could barely keep in pace with him, but he was sure to keep pace of what followed next. With just as much speed, the Charmander’s arms soon found purchase around the top and bottom of Thrax’s jaws, forcing them open. Thrax forced his jaws to close as hard as he could, but try as he may, he could not close them, the Charmander had more strength in his arms than the Arbok had in most of his damn body.
With a roar, the Charmander began to force the jaws open, wider and wider until they could go no further, but to Marvin’s horror, the boy made them go further. Marvin’s gut wrenched as he heard Thrax’s screams begin to fade out to the sound of bones crackling, crackling that soon became snapping, and snapping that soon gave way to the unmistakable gurgling of blood in the back of one’s throat. Thrax tried to wriggle free, but try as he may the Totodile was there to hold him still and bite large chunks out of whatever part of Thrax’s body moved too much, severing muscles and tendons.
Marvin simply watched on, his eyes wide with shock and horror and what the two boys, who just hours ago were weakened and battered by the storm, were capable of. With the Arbok’s jaws taken care of, the Charmander set his attention back on its throat and, with the help the Totodile, began to strangle what life remained out of Thrax. The Arbok’s tail still thrashed slightly and continued to whisk about, hoping in vain to strike at something…then it fell still forever.
Panting, both the Charmander and the Totodile rose from their kill, their eyes turned to Marvin. Gone was the anger and hatred from the Charmander’s eyes, replaced now by a smug sense of satisfaction.
“Righto then, Mr. Know-It-All,” he addressed the Totodile with a pair of crossed arms. He then turned his attention to Marvin. “Who the fuck might this old bugger be?”