I don’t have a brother , Bork told herself for the thousandth time as she lightly kicked the strange man lying unconscious on the floor. Whatever this guy was selling, she wasn’t buying it. She didn’t have a brother, just a sister. Maybe she’d had a brother once, maybe , but he’d lost that right when he abandoned her.
Except… Marco said that’s not what happened. The Mountain Witches had taught them about the other dimensions growing up, about how most of them were better than here and all at least a little different. Was it possible they all ran a little slower than here?
No, she couldn’t think about that. Not now when they’d finally found a magical creature, when she could finally get everything she wanted.
“Coming?” Grobb called from the cave mouth, the magical creature already on her back. It had a name, Bork knew, but it was easier not to think about that.
“What about this one?” She asked, nudging the unconscious man once more.
“Do you want to carry it up the mountain?” Grobb asked, rolling her eyes. “We don’t need it, drag it out of the cave and let someone else take it.”
“Yeah, okay.” Bork nodded. With how much trouble it was just to drag the man out of the cave, she was glad they didn’t need to take him to Wyscan.
“Hey, you okay?” Grobb asked, frowning slightly as they started towards the mountain. “You’re not letting what he said get to you, are you?”
“Of course not,” Bork claimed, shrugging and trying her damnest not to look back. She didn’t have a brother.
“Good. Because he was definitely lying. I bet we’ve got bounties on our heads and he was just trying to get our guard down.” Grobb said. “We’re finally becoming fearsome Bork.” She added with a grin. Bork smiled back, though her heart wasn’t in it. If either of them were becoming fearsome, it definitely wasn’t her. But it was nice Grobb always made her feel included.
She was probably right too. These two had come to lower their defences and attack. Why else bring such a powerful magical user? And claim to be family? It had to be a ruse! The man hadn’t even sounded sure about Grobb and the magical creature being cousins!
He had sounded sure that he was her brother, a small rebellious voice whispered in the back of her mind. Unlike the magical creature, he also seemed like he knew this place, but he hadn’t even bothered to check the soup for poison. That was like step number one with strangers. Unless they weren’t strangers to him.
No , Bork told herself, shaking her head and slapping her face to keep herself focused. She didn’t have a brother.
Marco woke up to a familiar wetness on his cheek. With a groan, he tried to shove Nachos aside and rollover.
“Five more minutes girl.” He grumbled. Nachos wasn’t having it, pressing into his back with a soft revving. “Okay, I’m up, I’m-” Marco cut himself off as his eyes opened and he remembered where he was.
Jolting into a sitting position, he looked around desperately for Star or Mariposa or even Meteora. No sign of any of them.
“How could I be so stupid?” Marco huffed, palm slamming into his forehead. He should have checked for sleeping draught. It was basics! God, if his seventeen-year-old self could see him now he’d be so ashamed. All that careful testing of poisons and potions wasted.
Or not completely wasted. The immunity he’d built over the years meant he probably wasn’t out for long. A couple of hours at most, assuming they’d put a decent amount in. And they probably had, it was clear his sister and Meteora were locals at this point. In those hours they’d managed to leave the cave, taking Star with them. Where were they going? Were they already there yet?
Nachos gently running into his side brought Marco from his thoughts. He smiled as he turned to face his beloved dragoncycle, scratching under her chin. Despite how long Marco had been gone in this dimension, and how much time Nachos must have spent here, the dragon hadn’t aged at all. Not that he’d expected any different, he’d been with her when she bathed under the waterfalls of immorality. She was just as spritely now as she was back then.
“Hey Nachos, you reckon you can track down my sister for me?” He asked, pulling himself to his feet. Nachos grumbled, rolling her eyes, and Marco chuckled. “Right, of course you can.” He said.
“I didn’t realize it’d be so creepy.” Bork mumbled, looking from the mouth to the magical creature. This didn’t feel like the few times they’d made deals with Wyscan before. The magical creature wasn’t some dead rampaging beast or a stone that had probably been magic once. It was just… a girl, no older than her really.
Staring at the creature, Bork couldn’t help but think ‘what if this was Grobb?’.
“Come on Bork, it’s what you’ve always wanted right? Now we can both be magic.” Grobb said, frowning in confusion. Whatever moral dilemma Bork was having, Grobb wasn’t. But that had always been the case, hadn’t it? Bork had always been the one to say they were getting too close to the line, that they should stop.
Should they stop? It’d always been so easy to know before, when stopping meant giving up a meal or new clothes, or something else she was used to giving up. But this… this was everything she’d ever wanted. Was it worth it?
“Mariposa, don’t!” The voice was accompanied by a dragon cycle streaming passed, skidding to a stop just in front of them.
“Argh, this guy.” Globb huffed, glaring at the man they’d left unconscious for the birds.
“You are really not convincing me you can grow up not evil Meteora.” Marco huffed, stepping off the dragoncycle. Was the Nachos? But that didn’t seem right, Nachos hated strangers. Why would she be with this weirdo?
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Globb glared. Marco ignored her, moving to stand infront of Bork.
“Mariposa, you know this isn’t right. Whatever you’re trading Star’s life for, it’s not worth it.” Marco said.
“Oh back off boy.” Wyscan the Granter huffed. “Let the girl make her own decisions.”
“I’m hungry.” The mouth in his stomach added and ew that thing might be reason enough to forget this deal. Except she wanted magic, she wanted magic so bad.
“You don’t get it.” She said, hands tightening around the magical creatures dress. “I need magic. This is the only way.” Even if… even if yeah, it kind of felt wrong. It kind of felt like they should stop.
“You don’t need magic,” Marco argued. Bork bit her lip, looking from Marco to the magical creature to Globb.
“Don’t look at me.” Globb shrugged. “You’re the one that wants magic, I think you’re badass enough without it.” Bork smiled slightly. Just a minute ago, Globb had been all about this plan. But that’s just how Globb was, endlessly supportive of Bork and whatever she wanted.
“Enough with this,” Wyscan said, clearly annoyed. “Just give me the girl already.”
“No. I’ve changed my mind Wyscan.” Bork decided, letting go of the magical creature. Of Star. “We’re not trading.” Marco smiled at her then knelt by Star, pulling something out of his pocket.
“But I came all the way out here!” Wyscan whined. “Well, I still need to eat.” He smirked, floating towards them.
“Oh no, you don’t.” Globb warned, magic blasting from her hands. Wyscan’s second mouth immediately swallowed the spell whole.
“I’ve got this!” Star, quickly awoken by whatever Marco had done, announced.
“Star no!” Marco tried to stop her but it was too late, her spell had already been eaten. “Magic isn’t going to work, we have to do this the old fashioned way.” He finished, pulling his sword out.
“Oh, the old fashioned way,” Wyscan smirked, his second mouth spitting up two swords.
“That is so gross,” Bork complained. She pulled out her staff and though she thought she showed off pretty well no one else seemed to care. Whatever.
The fight started in earnest but it was quickly clear they were outmatched. Even Nachos couldn’t get close enough to land an attack. But then Marco and Bork crashed into the same stone.
“Garlic spiders.” Marco breathed. “I’ve got a plan.”
“What is it?” Bork asked. Marco leant close, whispering in her ear of a trick he’d learnt years ago and completely forgotten. Until he’d seen the garlic spiders again, that is.
“Oh? Got something you want to share with the class?” Wyscan asked, just as Marco and Bork were nodding to each other. Steeling herself, Bork jumped up.
“Yeah, my fist!” She announced, running at Wyscan. The granter dodged fairly easily, but out of the corner of her eye, Bork could see Marco grabbing a handful of garlic spiders. Success!
“What are you looking so happy about girl?” Wyscan frowned.
“Nothing,” Bork claimed, even as her smirk grew. Nachos quickly distracted Wyscan from the other side, keeping his attention fully off of Marco until the human tapped his shoulder. When the granter turned to face him, Marco immediately shoved his hand full of spiders into the Wyscan’s second stomach.
“Hope you like garlic spiders.” He smirked, pulling his hand back as Wyscan curled in on himself.
“Diaz, I should have known it was you.” Wyscan hissed, glaring at Marco even as he moved back through his gateway. “Take your stupid magical girl and go.” He huffed, eyes turning to Bork. “I can feel them crawling.” He muttered as the door closed behind him.
“That was awesome!” Bork grinned. They’d won a lot of battles before, but never without magic. And never against someone so powerful. Wyscan the Granter was a legend! A legend they just sent running!
“You were so cool Bork,” Grobb grinned back, pulling her sister into a tight hug. “See, you don’t need magic, you’re cool on your own!”
“It was mostly Marco,” Bork said sheepishly, looking over to him. “The garlic spiders were genius.”
“Don’t sell yourself short.” Marco smiled. “It would have been a lot harder without you to distract him.” Nachos bumped into his leg and Marco chuckled, patting the dragoncycles head. “Or you Nachos.” He said.
“How come Nachos is so comfortable with you?” Bork asked rather than point out Marco wouldn’t even have this problem if not for her. She didn’t like guilt. “She’s never comfortable around strangers.”
“Nachos and Marco aren’t strangers,” Star said, clearly amused. “She’s Marco’s best dragon friend. I’m his best not-dragon friend.” She explained.
“Yeah, Nachos and I go way back,” Marco confirmed. “You know her?”
“The Mountain Witches said she started showing up a little after Grobb and I showed up. She’s just sort of… always been around.” Bork explained.
“I don’t like her.” Grobb huffed, hands crossed over her chest.
“Only because she doesn’t like you,” Bork said, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah?” Marco asked, turning to Nachos. “Have you been looking after my sister for me Nachos?” He asked, smiling when the dragoncycle purred. “That’s my girl. Whose a good dragoncycle? You’re a good dragoncycle.” He praised, scratching her happily.
“See, they’re best friends.” Star grinned.
“A dragoncycle could be tricked, this doesn’t mean your Bork’s brother,” Grobb claimed.
“Wyscan called him Diaz.” Bork pointed out. Right there on the other side of Nacho’s collar was the name ‘Diaz’. And they’d heard about the legendary Diaz. Everyone had.
“It’s our last name.” Marco explained. “Marco and Mariposa Diaz.”
“I’m a Diaz?” Bork asked, frowning.
“That’s a big deal?” Star asked, fake whispering to Marco who just rolled his eyes.
“Star, I spent 16 years tracking down a thousand Hekapoos, you think I didn’t make a name for myself?” He huffed. Star just shrugged.
“Well, I guess that’s kinda cool, and Nachos does seem to like you...” Bork mumbled. “I guess you can be my brother.” She decided, then tried not to smile as Marco’s face light up.
“Argh, lame.” Grobb huffed.
“But you’re still only my second favourite sibling.” Bork said, bumping her shoulder with her sisters. Grobb managed a small smile, hearing the works Bork wasn’t saying. This wasn’t Bork replacing her sister, just getting a new brother.
“That’s great.” Marco smiled. “Now you guys can come home.”
“Home?” Grobb frowned.
“Yeah! Back to Earth!” Star smiled.
“Thanks, but this is our home,” Bork said, shaking her head. “Why would we want to leave?”
“But, but don’t you want to go back home? To our parents?” Marco asked. “You’ll have a roof over your head, and you won’t have to worry about trying to fight monsters just to survive.”
“That’s a bit unbelievable.” Grobb scoffed. “We’re good here.”
“You can come visit though, whenever you want.” Bork offered.
“Yeah, sure, whatever. We should head back home Bork, before the birds trying to take our cave again.” Grobb suggested.
“Bye guys! Sorry for trying to kill you!” Bork waved as they turned away.
“Don’t worry about it!” Star called back. “Well, this is bad.”
“Elicipsa is going to kill me,” Marco said, running a hand through his hair. “She’s going to be mad enough Hekapoo was in the same room as Meteora, but this? And what am I going to tell Mum and Dad?”
“It’s okay,” Star assured. “We have time to convince them.” Marco wasn’t so sure. When he left X-103, it was because he had friends and family he missed back on Earth. Mariposa and Meteora are babies, they don’t have that kind of connection. Think Marco, what else would make them leave this place? Bumping into his hand to offer some support, Nachos solved all his problems.
“Food!” He announced, drawing the teenagers attention once more.
“Food?” Grobb repeated.
“On Earth, you can have all the food you want,” Marco explained. “And there’s heaps of it.”
“Really?” Bork asked. “Do you have different flavours of spiders?”
“Girl, you don’t even need to eat spiders on Earth,” Star assured, catching on to what Marco was saying.
“There’s eggs just in the fridge, ready to grab. And pancakes, they’re like the Iron Chef’s legendary cakes only you can have them whenever! No trials necessary! You can even have nachos!” Marco explained.
“Nachos are a food?!” Bork asked. “Why didn’t you tell me?” She asked the dragoncycle, semi-accusatory. The dragoncycle just huffed, rolling her eyes.
“Will we turn back into babies?” Grobb asked, a little more hesitant than Bork.
“Yeah,” Marco confirmed. “It’s only been like, five or ten minutes back home.” Grobb bit her lip, looking to Bork. She was nervous, though Marco and Star probably couldn’t see it. If it was just up to her, it’d still be a no. But Grobb trusted Bork, she’d agree if Bork did. A place full of food sounded nice, Bork thought, but only if she still had her sister.
“Will we grow up together again?” She asked, grabbing Grobb’s hand in her own.
“We’ll make sure of it,” Star promised.
“Alright then.” Grobb nodded. “Let’s go home.” Pulling out the scissors that had made him a legend, Marco cut them a portal and the girls walked hand in hand to Earth.
“Sleep well.” A younger Marco told his baby sister. Sisters, he corrected as he looked across to the second crib. Meteora might have sucked his soul out that one time and super hated him in her last life, but maybe she’d turn out alright this time. She hadn’t seemed all that bad in X-103, at least not for someone that had been raised in X-103. And that was just with one Diaz sibling to look after her, with two she’d definitely turn out not evil. Hopefully.