A/N: This is my own take on season 3 of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil. I absolutely adore the series and felt inspired to write a serious fanfic after finishing the show. I will do my best to stick to canon characterization of our main characters and cover some of the major events that occurred during the third and fourth seasons. However, I plan on diverging significantly from the established canon with my own original story ideas and some original characters sprinkled in here and there. I've also aged up our two protagonists a couple years to make the more mature situations they may find themselves in feel a bit more believable. This is my first fanfic, but I'm hoping it's a good one and thank you for reading!
7/15/19 Did a few passes to clean up any stupid typos. Additionally since I've been asked by a couple people. Marco does have his black belt, being about 16 and a half in this setting. In addition to his increased martial arts capability I decided I'd like it if Marco was a talented pianist. It was teased in "Sleep Over" that Marco had some skill with jazz piano so I think it would fun to flesh that concept out more and have it be a story hook.
1/13/20 This chapter was still quite rough compared to my later stuff, so I've decided to go and give it a significant rework in terms of dialogue and structure to tighten stuff up to a level that doesn't make me cringe when I read it.
In the Pale Starlight
Alea iacta est.
The still Mewni morning shimmered in the summer heat radiating off the parched brown grass. In the distance, a large onion-domed castle rose high into the sky, pink and blue banners hanging limply from flagpoles atop each colossal spire. The castle, surrounded by a large medieval looking village, looked almost abandoned in the bright sunlight, as most of the inhabitants of the Butterfly Kingdom had retreated indoors, eager to find any relief they could from the searing sun overhead.
*SHHRRRP* A tearing sound shattered the placid morning as a swirling, blue portal tore into existence. Stepping out of the portal, a teen wearing a red hoodie and black skinny jeans quickly patted the duffel bag hanging at his side, reassuring himself that it was still there. Well buddy, we're here... No turning back now, he thought to himself before setting off down the low meadow in the direction of the castle; his silvery-blue cape flowing out behind him as he quickened his pace in anticipation of the reunion to come.
Two hours later, Marco found himself walking through the streets of the nearly deserted Butterfly Castle Village. Looking around, he noticed more than a few curious looks from inside shuttered homes and a couple of the townspeople even waved. Undoubtedly remembering his assistance against Toffee only a scant two months earlier.
Walking to the front gate, Marco waved to the armored knights holding large intimidating halberds. The guards, noticing the intruder, quickly shook off their heat induced stupor to cross weapons and bar his passage up the winding path into the castle. "No Entry at this time!" one of the guards barked harshly.
"Guys its me! Marco Diaz? I was here a couple months ago. Helped with Toffee?" Marco explained.
"No Entry!" The guards repeated a bit more forcefully.
"I'm... I'm best friends with Star Butterfly! K-King River said I could be a knight!" stammered Marco.
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" bellowed both knights, bent double with mirth as they slapped their knees uproariously. "That's a good one little boy. Run along now before we throw you in the dungeon!"
What an asshole... thought Marco as he turned on his heel and walked back down the cobbled street away from the still guffawing guards. Looking around as he walked back into the village, Marco couldn't help but notice a small tower sticking out of the side of one of the main turrets of the castle. Made of golden bricks, with a teal onion dome and small balcony, Macro smiled to himself as he recognized his best friend's style immediately. I might have just the thing in here, he thought as he unzipped the large duffel bag at his side and began to root around inside.
A "Friendshipaversary" gift from Star, the ordinary looking Prussian blue duffel was much more than it appeared at first glance. She had cast a spell that made it hold more than his bedroom closet at home, and he only had to think about the item he wanted before it would appear at his fingertips, ready to be used at a moment's notice. Smiling to himself, he pulled out two small black toe crampons and a pair of shuko climbing claws that he quickly fitted to his feet and hands respectively, before stepping to the rough stone wall. Man am I glad Star loves giving me presents, he mused as he secured his toes to the wall and began slowly ascending hand over hand. The climbing gear had been another present of her's, this time to celebrate him obtaining his Cho Dan rank in Tang Soo Do. He laughed, remembering how she had gushed over him finally becoming a "Ninja," even after he had done his best to dissuade her of such silly notions.
Now, as he climbed steadily higher up the wall, Marco found his breathing was still easy and light even after more than 100 feet of vertical climbing. He remembered vaguely that Star had mentioned she found the climbing equipment at Quest Buy. It was likely the reason for the ease and speed of the climb, but he couldn't complain as he reached the base of her tower in record time. Shimmying sideways onto the golden bricks, he slowly worked his way to an open window before hooking his hands over the sill.
"Ooh-ooh burrito, burrito, I'll never let you go my little burrito. Burrito, burrito buriiito. We've such a long way to go, for me to eat you," Star sang, holding the Mexican dish in front of her mouth like a microphone. *Thump!* the sound of a duffel bag smacking into the floor broke her out of her solo performance.
"Hey Star! *Oof*" Marco called, climbing over the stone windowsill before being knocked off his feet by the force of Star's thrown burrito.
"Marco! What did I tell you about..."she started, before realization set in. "Wait... Marco!"
"Hi!" he feebly waved from his place on his back.
"Oh my GOODNESS! It's so good to see you. Um... what are you doing here?" she followed up.
"I missed it here. Sooo, I decided to come back, permanently," he explained with a shrug.
"Burrito, Burrito," came a male voice as the door to Star's bathroom opened and out stepped Tom singing into his burrito.
"Tom?" Marco asked, surprised to see the demon teen here.
"Marco!" Tom grinned.
"Intruder!" a hoarse female voice called before Marco was tackled by a huge Magenta haired knight who instantly rolled him up in his own cape to keep him from moving. Armored knights with yellow star insignia on their chests quickly filed into the room through the door to provide backup as Marco limply laid pinned under the huge knight.
"Uh, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute..." Star started, attempting to defuse the situation. "Guys, guys, hey guys, it's all right. It's just Marco," she continued.
"Like I told the guard at the front gate! I'm not an intruder! King River said I could be a knight! See? I got the cape and everything!" Marco shouted from the floor.
The huge knight stared at him blankly for a few moments before she burst out in a slow deep belly laugh. Soon, the other knights in the room joined her in laughing and slapping their knees with amusement. "Look, He's got a capeee." She mocked between laughs, further amusing the knights around the room. "Come with me please Princess, and we'll see just who this boy really is," she said, motioning two knights to pick up the stricken teen and carry him through the hallway to the throne room as Star followed close behind, her face unreadable as they trekked through the echoing stone hallways.
"This might take a while Tom. I'll see you later Tom," Star called over her shoulder to the confused demon as they marched from the room.
The Magenta haired knight bowed low as she addressed the King and Queen in the throne room. "Your Highnesses, we apprehended this young man in the princess's room. He claims to know you and that you promised he could be a knight?"
"Thank you for your vigilance Lady Whosits, but Marco here is indeed a frien-" started King River before Queen Moon interrupted him with an exasperated look on her face.
"Ugh, River. I'm so confused here," she began, an unamused look on her face. "You told Marco he could be a knight?"
"Well, uh, yeah. I never actually thought we'd see him again. Haha," he laughed as he nervously played with his beard.
"I'm sorry Marco, but I'm afraid that's not how it works," Queen Moon explained sympathetically.
"But King River game me a knight's cape. M for Mewni!" Marco explained sourly.
"No, my boy, that's my meat blanket," King River clarified.
"Meat blanket?" Marco asked, shocked.
"But I wore this thing every day..." Marco muttered sadly "For weeks. Weeks..." he continued a bit of disgust edging into his voice.
"I'm sorry, Marco, but becoming a knight is no easy task," the King explained.
"Yes, it takes years of intense training, dear," Moon continued.
"Yeah, years of intense training" Lady Whosits repeated mockingly. "He hasn't even been a squire."
"A squire?" inquired Marco. "Hey! I can do that!"
"River, are any of our knights in need of a squire?" asked Moon turning to her husband.
"Hrmm, I am not certain. We will have to ask around and see who my have some vacancies."
"Star, why don't you have Marco stay with you? It will give you two a chance to catch up while we figure this out," Moon started.
Marco smiled broadly and glanced towards his best friend. Spending more time with Star is really why I came here in the first place, he thought as the feeling of some quality time with his bestie brought forth a bevy of pleasant feelings.
"Wait, wait, wait," Star began. "I know a knight he can squire for. Come with me Marco."
Instantly, the burly knights released his shoulders from their iron grip and Marco respectfully bowed to River and Moon before dutifully following Star out of the throne room. The two walked in an uncomfortable silence as Star seemed to lead him down an endless set of corridors and stone stairs. Eventually finding themselves on a vast spiral staircase lit by torches on the wall. Feeling an increasing need to say something, Marco ran his fingers through his hair as they continued their descent before opening his mouth. "Man, Star. I'm sorry. I feel like I just crash landed into your life," he continued with an apologetic gesture.
"Well we figured it out," Star said, dangerously close to cutting him off.
"Yeah... um, cool" he responded, noticing the distinctly chilly tone of the princess as they continued walking. "Wow, heh. Check out all these stairs. Sure are a lot," he mused awkwardly as they rounded yet another turn on the helical stairs.
"So, what does Jackie think about all this?" Star asked, doing her best to keep her tone light.
"Oh, well, she wasn't really into it, but you know me. Ain't nobody telling me what to do," he said with a nervous chuckle and a shrug. "Th-That was a joke. Eh, actually, yeah, she," he stammered, feeling his chest tense up at the raw memory of that day on the pier. "She broke up with me," he finished rather flatly.
"Well, I'm very sorry about that," she replied an in equally flat tone.
She doesn't sound very sorry at all, Marco thought as they continued to spiral ever lower into the bowls of the castle. You'd think after all the effort she put into getting the two of us together she'd be a little more upset... His train of through trailed off as another more shocking thought broke through. "So, are you and Tom-?" he asked rather more tentatively than he wanted
"Yep!" Star said, cutting him off before he could finish the sentence.
Their uneasy silence returned as they continued down the stairs, with Marco lost in thought. He found the idea of Star and Tom back together bothered him a lot more than he felt like it should. Maybe he's changed? He was trying to work on his anger issues... He shouldn't have been bothered by the thought of Star and Tom getting back together. After all, couples made up all the time... But for some reason, the thought of those two together made Marco feel a flash of something ugly in his chest. She's my best friend in the entire damn universe! I should be happy she's found someone. But for some reason, I'm pissed... Marco's thoughts swirled and stormed during the final leg of their long journey down the stairs.
"Here we are!" Star said, stopping so suddenly that Marco almost bumped into her. Clearing his head with a quick shake, he followed her through the small wooden door which was labeled "Knight of the Wash" on a neat plaque.
Knight of the wash? he thought, frowning as he looked around the giant laundry room. Everywhere he looked there were socks and shirts hanging off clothes lines along with tables of neatly folded garments.
"HAHAHA," came an exotic sounding laugh from a giant pile of laundry.
"Ah, here's our guy, Sir Lavabo. Hi!" Star said as the head of an elderly knight popped out of a mound of socks and shirts. He appeared to be wearing a sea green tunic with the crest of the laundry room upon his breast. Yellow rubber gloves covered both of his hands, running halfway up his forearms and a large grey beard and mustache completed the man's appearance. Marco immediately noticed his piercing blue gaze as if the knight was appraising him.
"Ah Princess," Sir Lavabo began in a heavy Spanish accent, "I will be with your shortly." He placed a lone sock with its mate on nearest table, smiling at the newly completed set, "How may I be of service?" he asked as he returned to give a short bow to the Princess and her companion.
"Well, I..." Star began before letting her words fade. "I got you a squire," she finished, hitching a smile on as she placed her arm around Marco's shoulders.
*GASP* "My own squire!" Lavabo's voice quavered with the excitement. "What do you call him?" he asked, practically bursting with interest.
"Marco Diaz," said Star with pride.
"What?" asked Marco, his voice rising sharply with indignation. "I'm squiring for the laundry guy?" This unbelievable, I come all the way here and they make me the laundry guy? he thought bitterly. "Buttt, I'd be way down here in the basement," he continued, disappointment evident in his question.
"Actually, sub-basement," she replied with a sweep of her arm. "So moody. You're gonna love it."
"Yeahhh, it does seem pretty moody. But just the same, how about you princess me up something maybe a little closer? Like, say, something actually in the castle?" he continued.
"Marco, just cause I'm a princess doesn't mean I can do anything I want," she replied, anger tinting her words.
"Yeah, but if I'm all the way down here, we're never even going to see each other!" His smile slid off his face at her words. She can't be serious, thought Marco in a half panic.
*GRR* "You don't appreciate anything I do!" Star spat back through a half growl as she stomped away from Marco towards the exit.
"Star, wait. I didn't mean..." he reached for her just as the heavy oak door slammed shut behind her.
Well I could have handled that better, he thought resignedly before turning to face Sir Lavabo. "I'm sorry Sir Lavabo, I don't mean to sound ungrateful. What would you like me to help you with first?"
"Marco Diaz, Squire of the Wash, are you ready for your first quest?" began Sir Lavabo, his face serious and his gaze steady upon his young charge.
"Yeah... sure," replied Marco dejectedly.
"It will test your daring, your resourcefulness, nay your very skills to survive!" finished Sir Lavabo with a flourish of his arm.
"Oh?" he said, feeling his interest rising despite himself.
"Oh, yes. The quest I have for you now has been the downfall of many a young squire before you. Succeed and you will have proven yourself to me as my squire and I will accept you into my service to teach you all I know!" answered the knight.
Sir Lavabo put his arm around Marco's shoulders and lead him deeper into the stone chamber. Hrmm, maybe this won't be as bad as I thought. I could still end up as a knight. It might be a little more unorthodox than I thought a squire's duties might be, but it seems like it may still be dangerous and a chance to prove myself, he thought excitedly as they came to a stop before a vast metal cylinder with a hatch on the front.
"You must enter the chamber beyond that hatch and empty the lint catcher," said Lavabo, a solemn look upon his face and holding up one yellow gloved finger for emphasis. Oh for the love of... thought Marco bitterly. I was wrong, this is going to suck big time.
"Oh, hey Star!" mocked Star as she walked up the castle steps from sub-basement. "I just showed up out of nowhere!" she continued in her mocking tone. "Why don't you give me a job to do..." she finished before noticing she had accidentally walked to the castle's rose garden. "Okay Marco, here's a job to do," she continued feeling anger course through her, "no, not that job! Another job." Ugh, he can be so INFURIATING! she groaned internally before promptly tripping on a massive chain laying across the garden path. What the fuc- she thought through the haze and pain of falling flat on her face with no time to brace herself.
Looking up, Star followed the chain with her eyes until she spotted it clamped securely around her Great Great Great Great Grandmother Eclipsa's ankle as she sat on the garden bench feeding the birds and humming quietly to herself. "Hello," said Eclipsa with a friendly wave.
"They're giving you some outdoor time. That's great," said Star, as she walked over to the elder Butterfly seated on the bench.
"I know. And real dragon chains, too" said Eclipsa with a small blush around her spade cheek marks. *Sigh* "They make a lady feel so free."
"Oh, yeah, that's uh, that's really awesome. Can I sit? Sit, like, right there?" she pointed to the end of the bench currently occupied by Eclipsa.
Grunting, Eclipsa slid down the bench, her leg dragging the heavy chain through the grass with serious effort. Eventually she managed to move the two feet or so and Star promptly sat with an unhappy frown on her face. "Thanks," she said with a sigh, folding her arms and leaning back against the bench.
"Here, take a load off. Feed the birds. Always makes me feel better," Eclipsa said, holding out the brown paper bag.
Snatching the bag angrily from Eclipsa's hand, Star hesitated briefly before opening her mouth to vent. "I don't get how some people think it's okay to just drop into your life without," she threw a handful of the bag's contents into her mouth crunching loudly, "so much as a head's up." Man this popcorn is terrible, she thought as she continued to toss handfuls of it into her mouth. "You know what I'm saying?" she finished, glaring straight ahead. "And then you try to help him out... No APPRECIATION!" she shouted, letting a handful of the feed fly out to the strange horned pigeons that were excitedly hopping around her feet, eagerly waiting to be fed.
"So, what's his name?" asked Eclipsa with a knowing smile.
"Huh? What?" asked a startled Star, the various birds taking off with annoyed looks. "No, no, no, no, no it's not like that," she nearly choked out. "Well... Well, not anymore... It's just Marco."
"Well, Marco," Eclipsa said, smiling to herself. "So, that's it is it?" she continued with a chuckle.
"Marco thinks that just because I'm a princess, I can get him whatever job he wants," Star said through a mouthful of feed. I really have to stop eating this popcorn, its barely popped, thought Star.
"Well... Can't you?" asked Eclipsa, an eyebrow arched.
"No... yes," Star replied, her eyes shifting guiltily to the side, "but that's not the point!"
"Well now that he's here, do you want him to stay?"
"Yeah... No..." said Star without any certainty. "Ugh, I don't know. Doesn't matter anyway. I already made him a laundry squire."
"He's squiring? For the Knight of the Wash?" asked Eclipsa, her eyes widening dangerously. "Well, then your problem will take care of itself Dear."
"What's that supposed to mean?" replied Star her expression becoming increasingly worried. Oh corn, what have I starred up this time, she thought as a wave of fear raced up her spine.
"No Squire has ever survived more than a day in the laundry room," replied Eclipsa, the look on her face deadly serious. "It's the most dangerous place in the castle."
*GASP* "MARCO! I gotta go!" shouted Star before jumping up and racing for the basement. "Thanks for the popcorn," she added on the run.
"That... Wasn't popcorn..." sighed Eclipsa.
"Here my Squire, take this and begin your quest!" said Sir Lavabo as he handed Marco a large wooden broom with some stiff bristles on the end. Gee, great, can't wait to get started sweeping up lint, he thought as he took the broom with no words before climbing the iron rung ladder and stepping through the hatch. Walking into the cavernous chamber and looking around, he noticed an immense amount of pink lint clinging to the walls, floor, around a few thick iron pipes and in the far distance, a giant mound piled at the end by a large fan.
"Well, no time like the present I guess," he muttered to himself before beginning to scrape the pink fluff from the walls in his immediate area.
Pulling it off the walls into a small pile before pushing it out the large hatch, he made steady progress. At least it smells like nice fresh laundry, noted Marco as he busied himself with his work. If this is going to be my life now, I definitely need to invest in some good earbuds for my phone. Music is the only thing that's going to make drudgery like this tolerable, he thought making a mental note to pop home to buy some new earbuds and a solar charger for his phone.
As Marco continued to work, he couldn't seem to shake the feeling that he was being watched. Frequently he'd look up and scan the cavernous, shady interior trying to spot something that his body was telling him he was sharing this space with. Repeatedly looking around and finding nothing, he lowered his head to continue pushing the vast amounts of pink fluff out of the room. *Shhhhhh* His head snapped up at the sudden whispering noise. It sounded like rustling clothes, or maybe something being dragged along the floor slowly and it made the hair on the back of his neck stand up in warning.
Gripping the broom tightly, he stepped back a little ways towards the exit and thoroughly observed the room. Long shadows cast by the light behind the massive fan at the end of the chamber mixed crazily with shadows cast from the open hatch behind him, giving him an uneasy feeling. Knowing the human eye spots movement best on the periphery, Marco let his gaze unfocus as he slowly stepped deeper into the cavern in an attempt to find the source of the mysterious noise. His head swept side to side as he held the boom as makeshift staff to defend himself. Relax, Marco. It was probably just some lint shifting in one of these huge piles. There's nobody in here with you. It's just the light and the noise playing tricks on you, he thought in an atttempt to calm his rapidly fraying nerves. Mewni is weird as hell though, so maybe you aren't alone, a smaller, but more cautious voice in his head replied.
*OOOMPH* Marco gasped as a heavy blow pounded into his back. The force of the blow was hard, yet soft, like being hit with a twenty-pound pillow. Stumbling, but managing to catch himself before he fell, he spun away from the direction of the blow just in time to see a huge fluffy pink tentacle the size of small wrecking ball swinging back in for another hit. Instinctively he fell back on his martial arts training, pivoting on one foot to deftly sweep out of the path of the blow before a bellowing roar from deeper in the chamber almost brought him to his knees.
Pushing the head of the broom hard into the floor, he stomped the spot where it met the broom handle, freeing the sturdy wood handle for him to use as a staff with a sharp *Crack*. Whirling it in a figure eight pattern in front of him, he dropped into a fighting stance and continuously turned, trying to anticipate the direction of his next attack. He didn't have to wait long as a large tentacle made of compressed lint swept at him from the left attempting to take him in the back as he rotated. Whipping the staff around, he brought the end down just as the tentacle hurtled past him, severing it in an explosion of pink lint and heard whatever was attacking him cry out in pain. This is crazy! Am I fighting a lint monster for Christ's sake?! thought Marco, his mind focused but incredulous at the nature of the enemy he was facing.
Two more tentacles shot at him from the front this time. Marco sprang forward, his makeshift staff a blur as he smashed both aside with a quick series of sweeps and downward strikes. More howling rang out before he finally saw the beast. Forming up at the far end of the chamber, right in front of the frozen fan, a small mountain of the pink lint was coalescing into a huge pile. Bizarrely, a crack formed down the front of the pile and a gaping maw lined with what looked very much like razor sharp teeth open widely to let out another bellowing roar. That thing is really big, I really wish I had Star here to back me up, he thought in a half panic as he reset his footing and increased the speed of his staff, hearing it sing as it split the air on front of him.
Four huge tentacles from two sides shot out in the blink of an eye as Marco committed himself to the defense. Quickly dispatching two tentacles, he dodged left and rolled out of the way of the other two screaming in from his right. This thing is fast, I need to get that fan moving if I want to have any chance, he realized as he used the thick pipe to protect his vulnerable right side. "Come on you son of a bitch! Come and get me!" he screamed as he ran up the side of the chamber trying to close the distance to the stopped fan. Jumping a tentacle that went for his legs, he batted two more out of his way before he felt a strong grip around his midsection. "Oof" Marco felt the wind get knocked out of him as tentacle squeezed heavily, threatening to break ribs and choke the breath from his lungs.
Raising the staff in both hands, he brought it down with all his remaining strength on the thick tentacle holding him around the midsection, only for the staff to bury itself in the middle before becoming stuck fast. The monster howled in pain again, and this time Marco felt himself being lifted off the ground and hurled back towards exit of the chamber.
*Crack* Marco bounced off one of the three-foot thick iron supports in the room like a rag doll tossed by an angry child. As soon he hit, he felt his right forearm snap like a dry tree branch and instantly, his arm blazed into a white hot ball of agony. Careening off the pipe and skidding for several more feet on the iron floor; he tumbled roughly before rolling to his knees and looking around wildly. "Fuck," he hissed through clenched teeth, rising back to his feet shakily and dashing back behind a pipe to get some cover.
Looking down, he felt his stomach churn upon seeing his red hoodie sleeve stained crimson with his blood, the angle of the limb inside all wrong. Compound fracture. This is bad, he thought as his mind raced through the very limited and all bad options he had left to him. He was too deep in the chamber to make escape a certainty and from the feeling above his left eye he knew that he had at least a moderate sized gash above his eyebrow staining half his vision red, forcing him to try and wipe the blood his vision with his undamaged arm. Who knew doing the laundry was such a risky job, he thought darkly to himself letting out a half laugh, half grunt of pain.
"Sparkle Slushie Juice Blast!" he heard a familiar female voice say from outside the chamber.
Pressing his back firmly against the pipe, Marco tried to moderate his breathing by calling on his martial arts training to center himself despite the raging pain in his forearm. In... Out... In... Out... In... Out... He breathed deeply and steadily, mastering himself before forcing his eyes and ears to open and scan for any sound or movement that could be the monster making another attack.
"Marco?" a soft voice called from somewhere near the entrance. "Marco!" again but louder this time. I need to warn Star before that thing attacks her, he thought desperately. Seeing his bestie come around the nearest small hill of fuzzy pink lint with her wand at the ready, he tried to get her attention by waving his good arm at her. Their eyes made contact and Star blanched at the sight of her best friend's battered form pressed up against the iron pipe. The left side of his face was a mask of crimson and his right arm hung loosely in his bloody and torn hoodie sleeve at an angle that could only be a break. Blood fell like slow rain off his limply hanging fingertips at his side, making a soft *pat pat* on the iron grated floor in the utter silence of the chamber.
"MARCO!" Star cried out before rushing to his side. Oh my God what have I done?! she thought to herself, seeing the wretched form of her best friend leaning heavily on the pipe.
"Star! Shhhh, you'll give us away!" hissed Marco as Star skidded to a stop in front of her injured bestie. "We need to get that fan running and kill this monster," he whispered through clenched teeth.
"I am SO sorry Marco," she sniffed, her eyes swimming with unshed tears, "I had no idea this place was even dangerous."
"We can talk later if survive. Now let's move!" he implored, putting his good hand on Star's shoulder. With a shared nod, they split from behind the pipe, Star going left and Marco rolling right while trying to ignore the sharp stabs of pain every time his now useless right arm was jostled.
"Watch out Marco!" Star cried while blasting two lint tentacles that were aiming to crash into him as he sprinted up the right-hand side of the chamber directly towards the large fan at the back. "Rolling Thunder Lightning Blast!" a thick beam of blue energy firing from her outstretched wand and hitting the lint monster directly in the mouth. *POOF* the mountain exploded into multiple small piles of pink lint before slowly starting to reform as individual mounds began slowly creeping toward the center of the room.
Marco jumped the hill of reforming pink fluff and let out a triumphant cry as he reached up with his good hand and hung from one of the massive fan blades. "Star! I need you here! It's not moving!" he yelled out in a panic.
"I'm coming, Marco!" she yelled before pointing her wand down and behind her. "Rabbit Rocket Blast," a shower of rabbits later, and Star was airborne, flying over the top of the still reforming lint beast to land with a hard thud next to his struggling body. Jumping up, she wrapped herself around his torso and felt a wave of relief wash over her as the fan blade finally broke through its resistance with a scream of rusty metal and began to turn, depositing them both roughly on the floor as it gained speed.
As the fan quickly revved up to speed, a strong pull of air rushed over their prone forms. Small bundles of pink lint began whipping past their faces as they gripped the floor the best they could and let the suction of the fan pull piece after piece of the roaring lint monster into the fan. In only a few seconds, the monster was pulled entirely through the fan and only the sound of the rushing blades filled the chamber.
"ha, haha, HAHAHAHA," beginning as a small chuckle, both Star and Marco rolled onto their backs and began laughing. Instantly, he felt the unspoken tension between them break, and just like that it was if he'd never been away for two months after their battle with Toffee. Just two besties facing danger and coming out victorious once again.
Getting to her feet, Star brushed some pink lint off her dress and extended her hand down to help Marco get up. He took it shakily before struggling to his feet. "Thanks Star, for the assist. I thought I was a goner back there," he gave her a weak smile, though the pain on his face was evident. She gave him a teary smile before crashing into him and wrapping her arms tightly around his battered form, letting a quiet sob escape into the fabric of his hoodie. "I'll be okay Star, It looks worse than it really is..." He tried to reassure her as she continued to quietly cry into his shoulder, but soon decided it was best to let her continue, and so they remained entwined for several minutes before Star finally hiccuped her sobs into silence.
"F-Fantastic Exit Beam" she stammered, and Marco felt himself being gently pushed out of the lint catcher and back into the laundry room.
"Bravo my squire! Fantastique! You have completed your first quest!" said Sir Lavabo, clapping enthusiastically. "Only one other squire has survived the lint catcher, Me! Marco Diaz, you will make a fine squire for the Knights of the Wash," he followed up, a broad smile on his face.
Star's mouth hung half-agape as she glanced from the smiling laundry knight to her best friend. He was wobbling noticeably on his feet, his face ashen as blood still dripped steadily from the ruin of his arm and sleeve. Oh man, I really fucked up this time, Star thought, I should have never put Marco down here. If I hadn't run into Eclipsa he might be dead right now! Quietly, Star held her wand out and muttered "Summoning, Cloudy Charm."
"Hey Sta-" Cloudy began before noticing the dark blood stains on the front of Star's rainbow dress and around her shoulders. It's eyes quickly shifted to her friend silently standing with his torn sleeve dripping crimson on the floor.
"Sir Lavabo, consider this Marco's resignation!" Star said loudly before slipping her shoulder under Marco's arm and helping him gently onto Cloudy. Climbing gingerly onto the fluffy pink cloud, she leaned over and spoke clearly, "Take us to the castle infirmary Cloudy."
Laying in bed, Marco felt dizzy and extremely tired. The sheets were warm and when looking down at his arm, he felt a strange apathy to the storm of pain centered right under the remnants of his sleeve, now caked and stiff with dried blood.
"Hold still Marco," Queen Moon said as she slit up what was left of Marco's tattered hoodie sleeve and cut it away from his shattered forearm.
"Oh my corn..." Star gasped aloud when she saw what had been done to her bestie's arm. In no less than three places, jagged, pink-streaked bone was erupting from his light tan flesh like obscene saplings sprouting from the soil of Marco's arm. She had to physically restrain herself from hugging her best friend as he lay on the bed, a strange look of contentment across his face as he uncaringly gazed at the horror show Queen Moon had just revealed.
"You've lost a lot of blood Marco. I need to treat your injuries. Unfortunately, this next part is going to hurt..."
Marco weakly nodded before his unfocused gaze fell on Star. Silent tears were coursing down her pale cheeks and leaving tear tracks over the pink hearts there. She had her arms wrapped tightly around her slender form, the blood dry and dark on her bare shoulders and rainbow dress. "You did an amazing job Star, thank you for helping me so much today. I couldn't have done it without you," he spoke, a slight slur in his tired voice undoubtedly from the blood loss.
"You were magnificent Marco," she softly whispered back, her eyes becoming more and more blurry as the full weight of today's events caught up with her.
Moon gently laid Marco's arm straight on the bed and placed both of her gloved hands on either side. A slight golden glow encircled her fingers before the sound of Marco's screams shattered the stillness of the Infirmary Wing. Star shuddered and closed her eyes tight upon hearing her friend scream like that. It was pure agony given voice and it chilled her to the bone hearing her bestie make a noise that barely sounded human.
"Marco, I've set the bone and sealed your wounds, but it is not completely healed. I daren't push any harder with magic at this time with you so weak from blood loss," she explained.
His face was white as a sheet and beads of sweat were beginning to run down his brow as his chest heaved from the residual pain. "Please rest here for at least today before we move you to your quarters. I've put you in a guest bedroom near Star's as I know you two are close. She will undoubtedly want to keep your company while you convalesce," Moon continued as she stood up, peeling off and dropping her blood stained gloves into the nearest trash.
"Thank you. Queen Moon," Marco replied weakly before laying his head back on the fluffy pillow.
"Please Marco, call me Moon. You've more than earned that with the help you've given my daughter and helping to free Mewni from Toffee," Moon smiled and gave one last glance over her shoulder before quietly leaving the two friends to themselves.
Star gave a final hearty sniffle and sat down in the now vacated chair next to Marco. She took his good hand in hers while he continued to stare at the ceiling. "Again, Marco I am so sorry you were hurt squiring for Sir Lavabo. If I had known..." she stopped to wipe a tear away from her puffy eyes.
"It's alright Star, neither of us knew that the laundry room was a death trap," he chuckled weakly. "I know you wouldn't have put me down there on purpose if you knew it was so dangerous, and besides, we kicked butt... even if I did come off a little a little worse for wear than usual," he finished darkly.
"Look, Marco," she began, before taking a deep breath. "Here's the thing. A lot has changed in my life since you left. It's complicated, but I finally figured out that I just need to be the best princess I can now. And with you here it's really hard to-"
"Yeah, Yeah. I totally get it. It was a crazy bad idea for me to do this without giving you a heads up. When I heal up I'll go back to Earth..." he answered, his eyes downcast.
"That's not what I meant..." Star said flatly, giving him an exasperated look that soon gave way to a small smile. Reaching out she put her fingers softly onto Marco's chin and gently tilted his head up to face her, so his brown eyes met her steady crystalline blue gaze. "I'd ask you to kneel, but in your condition I think I'll make an exception this one time. Hold up your hand please and listen."
Marco shakily raised his bloodstained right hand and put on a solemn and serious face as his bestie faced him in his hospital bed. Star raised her own glowing wand level with her chest and they both found themselves bathed in a soft white light as she began to speak.
"I hereby declare, that you, Marco Ubaldo Diaz, shall henceforth be my royal squire. To stay by my side in times of peace or danger, as my most trusted confidant and advisor. To go clubbing with me even when he's too tired," she continued, a small smile tugging at her lips as she tried to maintain her 'Royal Face'. "To share his late-night nachos, but most importantly to be my very best friend so long as we both shall live. Amen." she finished with a huge grin on her face. "Do you accept?" she asked seriously.
"I do," he answered immediately. Wow, those sounded almost like marriage vows, he thought, gazing at the wide smile his bestie was giving him. I don't know where Star got half that stuff but just wow... his thoughts trailed off. He was surprised to hear her utter those very serious words considering the cold reception he got and Star's usually flighty nature. But perhaps even more so, he was surprised at his eagerness to accept a lifelong position at her side. If he was honest with himself, it excited him and for a moment, he felt the fatigue and pain of his injuries drain away at the thought of being by his besties side for the rest of his life.
Star bent down and gave him the hardest hug she dared without making the boy cry out before straightening up. "Marco, I have a couple surprises for you when you get out of the Infirmary later this week, but I want you to just rest now okay?" she said seriously. I'll leave you to sleep but I'll bring you some dinner in a few hours and we'll play some card games until bedtime afterwards I promise."
"Okay Star," he returned her smile as he closed his eyes, I have the best friend in the whole universe, he thought to himself happily before drifting off to a dreamless sleep.