“Are you sure you want to do this?” Mumbo asked, rolling up his sleeves and draping his coat over a chair.
Grian bounced on his toes, stretching his neck and grinning. “Why wouldn’t I? We all agreed that we should give them a warning.”
“We did, but the last time that we did this in the field-“
“The last time we did this was awesome.” Iskall cut in, cracking his knuckles and stepping back a little ways. “We didn’t get hurt because of the fusion, we got hurt because of the cannon.”
“Yeah. If we hadn’t been fused, odds are one of us would’ve gotten really badly hurt and instead of all of us getting a little bruised.” Grian said. “All things considered, it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Mumbo sighed, shaking his head even as the hint of a smile showed on his face. “Yeah, you’re right, you’re right. Just remember-“
“Try to stay together so we don’t get thrown around like last time, don’t try to stay yourself, be careful. We know. Why are you so worried?” Iskall asked. “Let’s just... run with it.”
“I’m worried because we’ve only done this successfully twice.” Mumbo said, stepping forward and holding out his hand to Grian. “Are we doing the dance, or...?”
“Let’s do the dance. We need practice.” Grain said, taking Mumbo’s hand, and then Iskall’s.
Iskall scoffed, and pointed his outer foot, watching as Mumbo did the same. “Maybe you two need practice. I’m the best dancer here.”
“Just keep telling yourself that,” Mumbo said. “Alright, count us off.”
“Uh, okay! I’ll give us four. One, two- no, I’ll give us,” Grian counted under his breath quickly. “I’ll give us six. Ready?”
“No, but go ahead.”
“I was born ready.”
“One, two- One, two, three, four!” Grian leaned back as Iskall and Mumbo spun inwards, grabbing each other’s hands and releasing his. They danced a figure of an edited mambo as Grian backed up, Iskall grinning as Mumbo whispered the steps to himself under his breath. Music began to float through the air, seemingly from nothingness. Grian and Mumbo found themselves smiling almost as much as Iskall- it was working.
Iskall and Mumbo parted, stepping away as Grian danced up so he was in between them. He turned to Iskall and did a variation with him, and then the same with Mumbo. The music got louder, and Iskall made eye contact with Mumbo as Grian spun away from him, reaching out his hand.
Grian once again stood between Mumbo and Iskall, and after a few steps, he closed his eyes, and jumped.
The music soared as Grian’s feet left the ground, his wings stretching towards the nothingness that was the ceiling of the infinity room. Mumbo and Iskall moved in unison, making a basket with their hands and forearms, reaching upwards to catch their friend as the world went white.
He stood up straighter as he grew taller, taller than any of his components. Another set of wings sprouted from his back, metallic joints clicking, and eyes opened where there hadn’t been eyes before.
The light began to fade, leaving him alone. Well, not quite alone. Three voices babbled in the back of his head, filled with excitement and joy. They had done it.
His eyes crinkled as he smiled, filled with happiness from all of his separate parts. It was rare that they all matched up so exactly.
He rolled back his shoulders and went to make his way to the exit but was instead stopped when his head hit the ceiling. He groaned, stumbling forward and slumping downward, rubbing his forehead. He felt a tugging sensation as the voices in the back of head, which usually would have quieted down by now, content to simply be a part of the fusion that was him, began to argue.
‘Oh no- I knew we shouldn’t have done this in here!’
‘Well why didn’t you say anything?’
‘Like I could argue with-‘
“Is this really important?” He asked, beginning to make his way towards the exit with a hand on the wall to keep his bearings.
They quieted down, and he managed to squeeze up the water elevator. Climbing out onto the main floor of Grian’s base- his base? No, Grian’s base- he shook out his wings and ran a hand through his hair and beard, shaking the water droplets off his hand. Then he went straight for the shulker boxes full of sand. He had a job to do.
It took him a few tries to get off the ground, even with his extra pair of wings, which made one of the voices in his head very annoyed and another apologetic, but he ignored them. Closing his eyes, he flew in a lazy loop around the base, feeling the way the wind blew through his hair and feathers.
This was heaven. The cool air, the wind... the only thing missing was the familiar, comforting smell of activated redstone and the clicking of the contraptions in Mumbo and Iskall’s bases. Grian really needed to get a redstone automated sorting system. Maybe he could build him one, if he stayed after the warning was given.
His left eye clicked, automatically plotting a route towards the Convex’s land via a glowing blue line. He circled the base a few more times for height, and then he set off, wind whistling around him as he soared towards the mainland.
He landed in front of the Con Corp gates, and he crouched down to read the sign. His prosthetic whirred as it zoomed in on the words. “If you can dye this sheep blue, you are deemed worthy of entering Con Corp. If not, no entry allowed.”
He hummed to himself as he opened the chest next to the gate. It was filled with blue dye.
The sheep bleated nervously as he pulled out some dye. He patted its head gently. “Don’t worry. This won’t take long.”
He pressed the dye against the sheep’s wool, and the sheep was dyed blue. He hummed again, satisfied, and made to stand up when there was a strange sort of chanting and the sheep turned red again.
He blinked. “What on Earth-“ pulling out some more dye, he tried again. The chanting came again, and the sheep reverted to red.
The voices in the back of his head chattered away furiously, the tugging sensation getting worse. He groaned. It wasn’t pleasant, you know? Would you like feeling like you were coming apart at the seams?
Really, if they let him be him for longer, it would be easier on all of them. They’d be less likely to... defuse... over little things.
‘There’s an evoker over there. He’s turning the sheep back again. It’s a mechanic I’d completely forgotten about...’
‘That’s not fair! That’s totally cheating.’
‘That’s super cool! We should do something like that!’
He sighed, and stood up, patting the sheep one more time and then hopping over the fence. Really, he should be glad that they were being so quiet. The last couple of times they just wouldn’t shut up. They were so... individual that he wasn’t able to stay formed for more than a moment.
Admittedly, the first time, they were so in sync it didn’t matter that they were talking. They were all saying the same thing, and what they were saying was-
“Go, go!” He was soaring through the air - no, he was on the ground what was happening? He stumbled forward- something exploded next to him. That ghast cannon- he had to get rid of it. Garbled voices filled his ears, Cleo was shouting, Joe was shouting, everyone was shouting- too loud, too loud! - he fell to his knees, covering his ears. Where were the voices when he needed them? Why couldn’t they speak up, tell him to get up, to get going? Why did they have to sync now?- He was flying fast, faster, too fast. The world seemed to glitch around him. One moment he was leaping ahead, the next he was losing ground. He had to get to the top of their base, he had to get to the cannon... the air was filled with smoke and he couldn’t help but cough. It was too hard to breathe, too hard to breathe -
He gasped, eyes watering and hands curled into fists in his hair. He forced himself to sit up, to look around. Where was he?
Focus on breathing.
There was no smoke. No fire. No shouting. Just the bleating of the sheep and the grumbling of the evoker. He rubbed his eyes, and stood up.
The voices were still silent.
What had happened? That had never happened before...
Best not to linger on it.
He got out his shulker boxes, and opened one up, smiling at the sand he found inside. Honestly, they were probably just going to turn around and sell the sand that he put down, but it was one hell of a way to send a message.
He emptied out as much of the box as he could, and got to work.
He shook his head, and grains of sand flew out of his hair. He resisted the urge to rub his eyes as he looked around at what he had accomplished.
Con Corp was covered in sand. The ground, the walls, even the fountain. Huge quartz letters in the middle of everything read ‘SAHARA IS COMING’.
He grinned, picking up his coat from where he had set it down when the sun was higher in the sky. It was almost sunset now... but all things considered, it was a good way to spend the day.
He was glad he had taken off- no, not him, Mumbo. He was glad Mumbo had taken off his coat before this, or else he’d have two coats to carry around.
He brushed his hands off on his pants, and stretched. Time to go back to Grian’s base.
He knew what would happen when he got there.
He hesitated, turning back towards the quartz words. Bending down, he took out a pickaxe and carved into one of the blocks.
- Architect :)
He smiled at his signature, a little bit sadly, and then put the pick away, looking up towards the sky.
This time, he had no problem taking off, and he ignored the path charted by his eye- Iskall’s eye. It was originally Iskall’s eye. He had to remember that.
But it hurt to remember that. That he wasn’t just him, that he was a combination of three other thinking, breathing people that had lives that weren’t him.
That he couldn’t stay himself forever.
Maybe this was why they weren’t him for so long. They didn’t like thinking like this. It made sense that they wouldn’t. He didn’t like thinking like this either.
He shook his head, circling over the shopping district. Someone in diamond armor waved at him. He was too far away to see who it was, but he waved back.
He turned, flying towards the old battleground. He felt a twinge of pain as he saw the paintings covering the Star Team base’s walls, even as he smiled. That must be Joe.
That seemed like a very Joe thing to do.
He landed on the G-Team roof. A ginger cat walked up to him and wound around his legs, purring.
“Hello there.” He said, crouching down to pet it. “Why haven’t you gone home?”
The cat didn’t respond, of course, pushing its head against his hand and purring louder. He petted it for a moment, running his fingers through its fur thoughtfully.
The sun sank lower in the sky, painting the world with reds and oranges as it began its closing act. He gazed at the sunset, and sighed. He scratched the cat behind its ears and stood up. “You should go back to Cleo. I’m sure she misses you.”
He didn’t take off from the roof. Instead, he just sort of... tipped himself off the edge, watching as the world whistled by him for an instant, and then snapping his wings open and pulling up. This time he didn’t ignore the path charted for him.
He tucked his wings in tight against his body, spiraling downward through Grian’s base. As soon as his feet touched the ground, the tugging sensation began again. He debated fighting against it, taking off again and flying away.
A part of them didn’t want to stop. He was that part, brought to the forefront. He didn’t want to go, didn’t want to stop existing. That scared him. That scared them. That’s why every time Grian hit the ground too hard, every time Mumbo exploded himself, every time Iskall was caught off guard by a mob, their hearts raced.
What if this time was the time they didn’t respawn?
What if this time was the last time they ever fused?
What if this was the last thing he ever saw?
He squeezed his eyes shut, and the darkness behind his eyelids turned to light.
Mumbo and Iskall let out simultaneous breaths as Grian hit them, knees giving out and landing all three of them on the floor of Grian’s base.
They just lay there for a moment, silently, until Iskall spoke.
“Back at Con Corp,” He said slowly. “Did you guys... was that just me?”
There was a long pause before Mumbo spoke quietly. “So you saw it too. Felt it too.”
“The war.” Grain agreed. “That was... strange.”
Iskall sat up. “I mean, I’ve had some dreams like that, but nothing while I’m awake.”
Grain groaned as he got up, his wings aching. “No, yeah. Nothing while I’m awake.”
Mumbo stayed on the floor, and shrugged. “I mean, sometimes when I see people... I get flashes. Just little memories of emotions.”
“Do you think it meant anything?”
No one responded for a while.
“Admittedly, his first memories were... fighting. He was created in the middle of a very stressful situation. He might not have gotten that it was all in good fun. It might have had a... negative impact on him.” Mumbo said, slowly sitting up and smoothing his mustache.
“Maybe we should fuse again in a couple of days,” Grian said. “Try to figure things out, smooth things over?”
“I’ll check my schedule.” Iskall said, standing up and pulling Grian to his feet. He offered his hand to Mumbo. “What do you think?”
“Well, by then they’ll have gotten our message, so it’ll be our move.” Mumbo said, taking Iskall’s hand and being helped to his feet. “We might need him.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Grian said.
Iskall left almost immediately. He had things to do. Mumbo lingered for a little bit, grabbing his coat from the infinity room and chatting with Grian a moment before taking off.
Grian was left alone, puttering away in his base, mind racing.
Maybe there was more to this fusion thing than they originally thought.