World Negative One, part 25World Negative One, part 25 by ~Magocracy
The brothers rented a room over a cobblers along with the ex-lieutenant and T’ao. It was cramped, but what could they do? They were living off of Glowse’s savings. He and T’ao had not received pay in months. Money was short in the capitol, and they were lucky to bring in a few coins here and there. Mario was working construction again, swinging a sledgehammer down in the refugee camps alongside T’ao and a few other riders that had shown up. Glowse went to the palace every day, trying to get a meeting with someone who mattered. They sold Baby. Mario had taken off work today to make the market trip. The only one who would be home at this hour was Luigi. Mario hesitated at the door, hating himself for his reluctance. He couldn’t stay on the urine-smelling landing forever. He turned the key and crept inside.
Luigi was in the corner, curled up on his side. Maybe he was asleep. I
World Negative One, part 24World Negative One, part 24 by ~Magocracy
“So, did you hear about the King?”
Mario was in the market. He was in the process of haggling over some sort of flatbread when the baker leaned over and whispered conspiratorially into his ear.
“No. What’s the word?”
“Threefer the bread and the rumor, hmm?”
Mario sighed. Of course it cost something. He slid three slivers of a heavy gold coin towards the merchant. The salesman bit the gold, testing it's softness. He nodded in satisfaction.
“Thanks. So he’s left for the front, you know?”
“Well, we all think he’s made for Rodan’s domain. That’s what they said anyways, to join up with the armies on the front. I have it in good authority that he went north.”
North. That was odd. Mario knew a little of the geography of the kingdoms now, and he knew the northlands were a glaciered tundra. That was the domain
World Negative One, part 23World Negative One, part 23 by ~Magocracy
Mario rubbed his newly straightened nose and mumbled a not entirely sincere thank you. The gnarled mid-wife shrugged.
“Best I can do for you.”
She started to shuffle away, but Mario arrested her progress.
“Are you sure…”
“Boy, listen to me. Your brother is beyond my help.”
She left him to fret.
“Hold on Lu… hold on…”
The wound his brother carried on his side was flushed, a network of spidery red lines beginning to venture out in all directions. Mario hated to admit it, but even if the doctor had lived he couldn’t have done anything for his brother. Luigi would have to keep it together until they reached the capitol. Mario felt a pang of guilt. If only it had been him who’d been bitten… he was the freak. He could take it. He was supposed to be the older one, the responsible one. He ha