"POPO, WAKE UP!"
I immediately open my eyes as soon as someone shakes my shoulders, but that doesn't stop her from slapping me across my face. Turning the other cheek not out of forgiveness, but because of the momentum of her hand, I quickly snap back to face the aggressor.
"What?" I do my best not to raise my voice, however deserving of it she is. I start rubbing my cheek to ease the stinging, as though my mitten is a magic healing wand.
"Come on, we're going to be late!" Nana seems so giddy that not only does she not see the harm in what she did, but she also couldn't keep still, as evident by the way she rapidly jitters in place.
"Did you get any sleep at all?" I couldn't help but ask, deciding to drop any chances for an apology when it seems like one isn't coming.
"No, and honestly, I don't know how you could!" Nana is blinding me with her smile as she grins so widely that I would think she's interrogating me with those pearly whites. "Can you believe we're competiting in the Super Smash Brothers tournament!? I mean, do you remember how the last one turned out? It was utter madness!" Nana sounds so much like a child, despite being the older of us.
Truth be told, I couldn't disagree with her: after turning down the invitation to join the first ever fighting foray and having caught it on TV, I always wondered if Nana regrets her decision. If she did, she didn't show it... least, not around me. After all, I was the reason she didn't attend the original.
That's why, when we not only received an invite for the second competition, but a way for both of us to fight side-by-side, she couldn't say "yes" fast enough. I swear, she practically jumped over the table to sign on the dotted line. I recall it quite clearly: she used my face as a springboard.
"Yeah, I do remember... which is why I was taking a nap," I lean back on my chair, since the bed is claimed by my sister, and pull my hood over my face. "It was just constant, frantic fighting, so I wanna get as much rest as I can before we have to head out," I reason, and she seems pretty accepting of it, so I just close my eyes... but there was a reason she woke me up the first time.
"Well, I hope you got enough, because we're up next," she uses her hand to lightly lift up the rim of my hood and poke her nose into my view. She then teases me by pulling the hood down a bit too hard, almost as though she was giving me a wedgie for my head.
"..." I almost groan. I should be annoyed, but as I watch her walk out the door, yet keep it open for me to travel through, I couldn't help but smile. She better not slam it in my face, I think to myself as I pick myself up off the seat to accept her offer.
"..." I rub my still-stinging nose as I stand next to my sister at the entrance to the arena. She turns to smile at me as she sees the result of her prank, but she appears unapologetic. The smirk on her face suddenly become a huge grin as soon as the lights turn off and the spotlight turns on.
"Ladies... and... gentlemen!" the announcer's deep and booming voice echoes throughout the stadium in tandem of the cheering crowd. I don't know whether its the giddyness or the aftershocks of the man's tremble, but Nana's body is shaking in excitement.
"We are pleased to announce the second ever... Super... Smash... Brothers... tournament!" the man sure is taking his sweet time drawing out a simple sentence, but everyone appears to be eating it up. Still, if I knew he was going to drag this out, I could've caught some extra sleep.
"Today's match will be set in the Pokemon Stadium!" the announcer must be telling it to the broadcast audience as everyone here could plainly see the Pokeball symbol painted in the middle of the green mat. "As before, the fights will be between four combatants, with various items thrown in. The person is eliminated when they are knocked out of the arena and are not able to return."
"Now then, let's introduce our competitors!" the crowd roars loudly, prompting me to cover my ears not because their voices are deafening from here, but because Nana is joining in despite being in a tunnel that echoes. "First up is one of the fighters from the first tournament: the pink puffball that was in the start of it all, give it up for Kirby!" the announcer signals the arrival of the aforementioned.
"Ah, he's so cute!" Nana couldn't resist giving into her girlish whims when she sees Kirby take the stage, waving at the crowd with a high-pitched "hi!" after crash-landing in on a flying star.
"Next on the list is another veteran: the hero of Hyrule, please give it up for Link!" the announcer points to a young man in a green tunic walking into the stage. He has a sword and shield on his back, ready to whip out when the battle starts. Silently, he only nods the crowd's cheering.
"Not as cute as him though..." I swear I could hear Nana swooning over the Hyrulian, but before I could even think of a question does she act all flustered. "B-But neither of them are as cute as you, baby brother!" she suddenly feels the need to pinch my cheeks, prompting me to push her playfully.
"New to the fighting scene is the medicinal murderer, who could hurt you just as much as he can heal you, please welcome Dr. Mario!" the announcer alerts everyone that the man in the white coat isn't the medic in case someone gets too injured, but rather someone dishing out the damage.
"What? New, my foot, that's just Mario in a costume!" I couldn't help but exclaim loudly, baffled how no one could recognize his face when it doesn't even have a pair of glasses across them. "What's next, he's going put on a tie-dye T-shirt? Or leather straps over his head and a sock over his hand?" I joke about the various other get-ups he would pretend to be a different person in.
"Last, but certainly not least," the announce is obviously referring to the fact that there's two of us, signaling that it's our time to arrive. "The pair of the peak, the siblings of the summit, let's give a warm welcome to the Ice Climbers!" he tells everyone of the nickname the village gave us, and no sooner do we step out of the tunnel do the crowd cheers for us. Nana is certainly enjoying the limelight as she blows kisses to the crowd, while I myself merely take it all in.
"Now, before we begin, we must explain how the Ice Climbers will compete," the announcer feels the need to clarify our unique situation once we approach the others.
"Popo and Nana will be fighting together, side-by-side, as a tag-team, as agreed with the other fighters. However, there are certain conditions associated as to how they are eliminated: if Nana, the stronger of the two, is knocked out of the ring, Popo is allowed to fight by himself. On the other hand, if Popo is knocked out of bounds, then both competitors are considered eliminated. This rule is made in place to ensure fairness of the duo, as other fighters need only target Popo, who is the weak link that doesn't pose a threat solo."
"..." I, uh, don't know how exactly am I suppose to handle hearing that, and it doesn't help that Nana is patting me on the back as though to seemingly patronize me.
"Don't worry, I won't let anything happen to you," she assures me, and I believe her.
"Alright, if everyone is ready, then let's get smashing!" the announcer makes such a horrible pun that I wish he is in the ring with us, but I decide to direct that energy towards someone else. With a tap on my shoulder, Nana points to our first opposition being Dr. Mario, and with an exchange of nods, we await for the signal. "Go!" the announcer yells with the crowd.
We immediately rush to Dr. Mario, allowing Link to handle Kirby. As I snicker at Link's futile attempts to deflate the pink puffball as it hovers around him looking for an opening, I swing my wooden mallet at the doctor in hopes of getting a hit. He dodges to the side, and when Nana tries to mimic my attack does the doctor flip away.
"..." I stand there dumbfounded because I don't understand why Dr. Mario would pull out a two-color pill the same size of his oversized fist out of his coat, much less how one is supposed to swallow that. "What are you going to do? Hurt me with medicine?" I joke, but no sooner than that quip leaves my lips does he chuck that thing so hard at my knee that I drop to the ground.
"Ow!" I grab my leg as I tumble to the floor, rolling and writhing in pain. I should've expected an arm from someone who plays more sports than anyone else in the world. "Wh-What are you going to do with that?" I ask fearfully as I look up and see him holding another giant pill: whether he's planning to shove it down my throat, or shove it up my suppository, I really don't want to know.
"NO!" Nana makes her way towards me at full sprint, using the momentum of her speed to further aid in her assault. "He's prescription... only!" Nana spins around and whacks the mad doctor in the face with her mallet, the adrenaline in her body being fueled by the fear of malpractice. With a look of shock and awe, the doctor flies off into the distance, clearly not going to return.
"K.O.!" the announcer exclaims loudly, prompting the crowd to voice their satisfaction of the spectacle.
"Whew, are you okay?" Nana seemingly ignores everything to make sure I'm alright, because of course she has to ask, the worrywart... though I did get hit in the knee pretty damn hard.
"Yeah, just fine, thanks," she offers a hand to help me up to my feet, my knee threatening to buckle under the pressure. She appears to be thankful, as evident as a sigh of relief, but our troubles doesn't end there.
"L-Look out!" my eyes widen, but they don't reach the lengths of the pink puffball behind my sister. The moment she turns around and see Kirby opening its gaping mouth, it is already too late: Kirby starts inhaling her in, and despite her attempts to claw on the ground with her mittens, she gets sucked in in seconds flat.
"Aahh!" I could only yell out after being taken by surprise, like a deer in the headlights. Without a second thought, I immediately grip my mallet and start beating the stuffing out of the pink plushie-looking thing before he digests her and she comes out the other end. "Spit-her-out! Spit-her-out-right-now! No-one-eats-my-sister!" I inadvertantly time each impact with each word I shout.
"..." Kirby might as well be a squishy toy used for anger management, judging by the way it deflates and reinflates after every hit. After being squashed so many times in such a short period of time, Kirby finally spits out my sister like a foul-tasting piece of candy. Not expecting how fast she'll come out, Nana crashes into me on her way back, knocking me over. With no energy left to fight, Kirby spins around in a dizzy daze before becoming unconscious.
"Sis!" I give her a hug, only to quickly regret that course of action once I realize how dirty she is. "Ew..." I voice my disgust as I slowly pull my arms back not because of dramatic timing, but because she's a little slimy and my jacket is sticking to hers. "You're so wet, and lying on top of me," I inadvertently incite a blush across her face, and she quickly gets off of me in embarrassment.
"Ow, what was that for?" Nana hits me on the arm once she recovers from the awkwardness. Was it because of something I said? I don't see the harm in that innocent comment.
"For hitting me!" Nana clarifies the cause of the contempt, but she needs to explain herself as I don't recall doing so. "What makes you think smashing Kirby with a mallet when I'm inside him a good idea!?" Nana wonders what was going through my mind when it happened.
"It... seemed like the smart thing to do at the time," I could only shrug my shoulder. In hindsight, perhaps it was stupid to think that, but luckily, the conversation quickly shifts to something else.
"Aahh!" a girl-ish scream echoes pass us as we follow the source of the sound: apparently, that pink shooting star is Kirby flying off the stage. In tandem, me and my sister turn to see Link's sword shine in the spotlight as the crowd cheers the Hyrulian for his knock out. Not content with being in second, Link immediately jumps in the air and tries to bonk us on the back with his blade.
"Nana, move!" I push my sister out of the way upon realizing she's in the way, taking the full brunt of the hit. Stunned by impact, I couldn't do anything as Link slashes me off the stage, knowing that only I would need eliminated for him to win. And it looks like he just might, considering how far I'm flying away, the audience gasping in anticipation.
"Popo!" she calls out to me, but instead of attacking Link from behind, she brushes past him and runs to the edge. Then, in a move no one expects, she immediately jumps off the arena and skydives towards me, hoping she'll catch up.
"Nana, what are you doing?" I couldn't help but wonder, but she doesn't say a word. Instead, she opts to have her actions explain her thoughts: as soon as she grabs my matching jacket, she rummages around her waist to find a rope, then attaches it to my body. As soon as it securely latches, she then uses her arm to throw me back into the edge of the arena, her body lagging slightly. I manage to make it back, but Link is relentless.
Still as silent as ever, Link only raises his foot, ready to stomp on my fingers instead of hoping that my hand will slip due to the mittens, or Nana drags me down below. In a moment of quick-thinking, I immediately move the hand off the edge before his foot lands, then aim the palm of it at the Hyrulian. Within seconds, a cold, freezing gust filled with ice shards emits from my fingers, forcing Link to use his hand, then his shield, to protect himself.
"Smart move, Popo!" Nana shouts a praise as she zips up the rope and jumps in position. Seeing that Link can't see past his shield, not wanting to rish having a shard of ice in his eyes, Nana quickly turns around and offers a hand to help. "Tag me in!" she tells me, and as soon as my hand touches her does she lift me up and turns towards the tunic.
With Link's shield made of metal, it is clear that our abilities to freeze things would be as useless as it was when we were living in a snowy mountain village. Our mallets aren't going to make a dent either... and that's if they didn't just break upon impact. However, Nana eventually comes up with a plan of attack, and quickly dashes towards Link.
"Follow my lead!" Nana doesn't tell me what her idea is, but apparently I'm a part of it. As she hops up, Link raises the shield, bracing for impact... but the twist to her assault is that she grabs his shield, then raises it, and the person holding it, up into the air. With his eyes widen in surprise, Link could only watch as Nana then proceed to slam him back into the ground, landing on his back.
Once I understand what she wants me to do, I immediately run towards them and mimic her moves exactly: I jump into the air, grab his shield, then slam them both down into the ground, ensuring that he lands on his back. Once isn't enough, and two is too few, so we repeat the process a couple of times until Link finally lets go of his shield, the wind knocked out of him.
"Ready to finish this, Popo?" she brandish her mallet.
"Ready when you are, Nana," I whip out my own.
With a nod, we both swing the mallet round and round like two tornados in sync with each other, building momentum with each spin. Link, still in a breathless daze, couldn't do much except watch as we creep closer... and smile, as though okay with being outplayed. As we both hit Link with the end of our attack, the Hyrulian flies off the stage, and we are the only ones left.
"GAME!" the announcer signals the end of the match, and the crowd cheers our names as we stand there in awe of what happened. "The winners of this match are the Ice Climbers!" the announcer makes it official, and once we realize that it's over, we couldn't help but celebrate!
In joy, we jump up and down, but inadvertantly at different times: everytime I'm up in the air, she's already on the ground, and everything she's going up, I'm already heading back down. Still, we are too excited to care, and at the very end of the routine, we give each other a very high, very hard high-five, smiling at the crowd as they cheer us on.
"We won!" Nana excitedly exclaims, giving me a bear of a hug. "I knew we could do it if we did it together!" I hope she doesn't expect me to answer, as she buries my face so deep into her chest that I could probably pass out from the lack of air. "This is the happiest moment of my life!" she squeals happily and, as much as I want to breathe, I decide to let her have her moment in the sun.