Chapter 33 - Farewell to a Cortex
Only around half an hour later, Crunch and Crystal on the jet ski had arrived at X.Treme Island shores. Both brother and sister hopped off the jet ski, Crystal was amazed with the scenery and looked around as they walked along the shores "Wow these islands are so beautiful, especially this one!" said Crystal "Yes they are aren't they? This is where me and Tani were moved after you disappeared from Cortex Castle..." "Oh I see, I'm still angry to hear Cortex didn't tell you where I went... and I'm angry he never let me see you ever again after that..." "Same here. Well you won't have to worry about that anymore, it's just good to know you're still around" as the two walked on, they noticed something familiar in the distance... "Huh? It's Madame Amberly?" Crystal gasped, Crunch too noticed her in the distance with her ship and another human standing next to her... "Looks like she wants a talk with us..." replied Crunch.
Both him and his sister ran towards Amberly, Crystal was thrilled
to see that Nina standing next to the oversized teacher "Nina!" Crystal shouted, Nina looked up at her and her eyes widened
"..Cryst...Crystal!!!" She screamed, Nina and Crystal ran together and Nina gave Crystal a hug with her steel trap
arms, Crystal struggled to breathe "YAY YOU'RE ALIVE!!! I THOUGHT THE DARK SPIRIT TOOK YOU OVER FOREVER!!!" cried Nina, "Ahh
please not too tight!!!" Crystal gasped, Nina stopped hugging Crystal
"Whoops sorry, I sometimes get a bit too excited and forget about my deadly hug! He he! But I'm so happy to see you! And CRUNCH IS HERE TOO!" Nina gasped, and couldn't resist to hug him as well "Hey good to see you here Nina, but take it easy with those hugs!" he said, "He he sorry, I like love to hug fluffy animals!" Nina soon settled down and Crunch looked angrily over at Madame Amberly, she sighed "I just wanted to come and say thank you for... destroying the dark Crimzon spirit... I didn't think it would be possible" "Hmm. Well you better be sorry! And you better not do such a dumb mistake again neither!" Crunch hissed at the witch, "I wont! I didn't realize the spirit was that evil! And besides, I can't now that the machinery is destroyed" "Well good, or else I'll destroy that stupid school of yours!" Crunch turned away from the teacher, and looked at both Nina and Crystal. Crystal stood there staring at Nina, she sighed "Nina... as you can see, I've now finally seen my brother..." Crystal told her... Nina looked up at her friend and tears started to show from her eyes "Yeah... yeah I know... so this is goodbye...?" she asked, "...For now anyway. I've been waiting to see Crunch, Tani and Tawna for years. But I'll never forget you, you've been my greatest friend all my life! I'll try and visit now and then, ok Nina? Please don't cry..." Crystal said, Nina was crying, but smiled too "Sorry I can't help it... but I understand...." Nina then stretched out her bionic arms and 'gently' hugged both Crunch and Crystal together "You two need to spend time together anyways! But... I'll miss you Crystal..." "I'll miss you too Nina, but it's not goodbye forever..." Nina soon released both bandicoots from her grasp, she walked over to the ship behind her, where Amberly had already gotten back into. Nina turned to take one last look at Crystal and Crunch "Good bye Nina Cortex... good luck with life!" said Crystal, "Bye Nina. I hope next time we meet you'll still have a good heart" Crunch told her "See.... See you latter, Crunch and Crystal...!" said Nina, while crying but smiling. The ship soon hovered high and shot off into the skies.
Crunch was now leading Crystal through the depths of the forest, snow become more visible in the forests surroundings as they walked on more, she still looked around with interest "I really can't wait to see Tani again... she must have changed a lot, just like you!" "Yeah she certainly has... it has been ten years after all. But I'm sure she'll be happy to see you again" the two walked on until Crunch had approached the large tree, with stairs besides it. Crystal looked up to see the large tree house "Wow this home looks very nice!" she said, "Yeah, it's even better inside... Come on up" Crunch lead the way up the stairs, he couldn't wait to see his partner again whilst Crystal was curious of Tani's reaction. They were both now upstairs, Crunch approached the sliding door and opened it, he walked inside and so did Crystal. Crunch noticed Tani resting down on the couch he yelled "Tani I'm home!" Tani slowly opened her eyes, to see Crunch standing there looking at her "Cr... Crunch!" she quickly got up and ran to huge him, "Oh it's so good to see you... I was worried sick!" she said and she nuzzled him "I'm happy to see you too... I finally defeated Crimzon too, and I got rid of Cortex as well!" "Oh my god really!? Man this makes me feel much better!" Tani said, as they both carried on embracing each other, Crystal was surprised with the sight and soon Tani noticed her standing near the sliding door "WHO THE HELL IS THAT!?" she screamed, Crunch got frightened and released Tani from his hug, but Crystal was even more frightened and took a few steps back "No wait Tani! I can explain!" Crunch gasped, Tani looked at Crystal viciously "So you're another one of 'em hoes that like to try and go after Crunch EHH?! I'll bloody knock you into next week!" Crystal was frightened and covered her face "No Tani it's me! Crystal!!!" she cried, Tani changed her expression from angry to surprised "Huh... she knows me?" she then looked closely at Crystal, and saw the small power crystal around her neck on a necklace "Tani... she's Crystal, my sister... remember...?" Crunch told her, Tani was stunned and stared "Wow no way.... it's.... CRYSTAL!" Tani screamed, she ran and hugged Crystal tightly, Crystal was still shocked but started to calm "...it's nice to meet you again Tani Tiger... please don't scare me like that again though...!" "Heh I'm sorry about that mate! But wow... It's hard to believe you're back!" Tani told her, Crunch walked up to the girls "Tani, you always told me she was still alive out there somewhere... after you said, 'Don't believe someone is dead until you see it with your own eyes'" "I'm glad I was right... it just seemed too unusual for Crystal to disappear just like that! Man, I guess you two have a lot of stories to tell me so I understand what the hell has happened since I've been away!".
Later, Tani had set up breakfast for everyone as the sun had now come out to shine on the snow covered forest and tree house. All three marsupials sat at the table talking about the events that happened while being away from each other, "So that's how you got this home, it's a really nice place!" said Crystal "Why thank you! So you were the top musician at that school?" "Yeah I guess. I like to play the guitar!" replied Crystal, Crunch let the girls talk for a while, and he looked outside "Hey girls, mind if I go outside for a bit? I just need to discuss things with the elements..." "Yeah sure love, don't take too long...!" replied Tani, then she realized Crystal was there "Oops..." Crystal looked at Tani with a suspicious facial expression, Crunch didn't notice and he walked outside onto the balcony.
he stood outside looking out in the distance, he knew Aku aku was around waiting to discuss more on the elementals, he appeared right in front of Crunch "I am pleased to see you again Crunch, I have some important things to discuss with you for the future..." "Yeah sure, what is it that you wanted to talk about then?" "Well as you know... you now hold the power of all four elemental masks. I am asking, if you would like to become their... guardian" Aku asked Crunch, he looked surprised with the offer "I... I don't know about that Aku aku, I mean... are you serious?" "It is up to you. We could take them back to the temple and lock them away again, but there is always the risk of Uka uka or some other powerful being releasing them, and possibly using their power to aid the ways of evil..." Crunch looked down and thought about it "But I don't want to live a life of having powers and all. I only used the elements to stop Crimzon, not for anything else... I just want to live a natural life. Not to live as some overpowered guy!" "I understand your wishes. You don't need to use them, you can just keep a watchful eye on the crystals, that's all. And if anyone does try to steal them, the elementals will always be there to help you. But it is up to you" Aku told him. Crunch began to think about the offer, "Hey elementals... did you hear that?" he asked in his mind "Yeah of course! Isn't that great!? We can be on your side!" said Rok-ko "Heh I'd much prefer that, than to be put into hibernation state!" Py-ro said, Crunch thought about it "I don't want to be rude or anything... but I don't want to be stuck with your powers forever. I do want to live as naturally as I can..." "Hey that's no problem! We're glad you're not greedy with our power, if you were... we wouldn't even have let you use us at all!" said Py-ro "Yes he is CORRECT! I am proud you have one this war too... SIR" Wa-wa shouted "Me... Sir?" and the other elementals laughed. Crunch turned back face to face with Aku aku "Alright, I'll do this. So no bad guys get their paws on them, like Uka uka..." "I am glad you made a wise choice. You can also take off the necklace, and the elementals will be frozen in time. But please make sure it wont get in the wrong hands, even though very few can handle their power anyway. You're lucky to be able to handle them so well" "Thank you. I'm just glad I could help 'save the world' including... mankind. Even though most humans aren't so 'kind' to me" Crunch said "It is alright. Just try to avoid conflict with them from now on, and thank you for taking the responsibility of the elementals too. I am sure they are pleased to have you as their guardian" Aku aku had soon disappeared from the scene right before Crunch's eyes.
Crunch walked back inside to sit down near both Tani and Crystal. his sister looked at him with a cheeky smile, Crunch stared back "...What?" then he noticed Tani was smiling nervously and blushing as well. He gasped "You... you told her?!" Crunch said and blushed deeply, Crystal just giggled "Aww it's so cute! I didn't even think you two would be a couple, while I was at the academy but when I walked in... it seemed rather obvious! So I got Tani to spill it" said Crystal. Crunch was still embarrassed, "Don't worry Crunch... we're going to have to tell everyone sooner or later anyway...!" "But... but everyone might go crazy and... annoy us..!" Crunch said nervously, "Why do you think that? I think it's so sweet! I don't see why you two should hide it, I think everyone would be happy for you!" "Yeah me and Crunch are just... shy to tell. That's all. But I'm happy you don't mind it, Crystal..." Tani told her, "not at all... Tani" Crunch then approached Tani, "So... why do we need to tell everyone now Tani? It seems like a bit of a rush... if you ask me." Tani looked up at Crunch, she was extremely nervous and Crunch noticed her nervousness. He stared at her and worried "Is there something wrong... Tani?" "Well.... I... I need to tell you... something" she stuttered, Crunch's nervousness rose as well, "Yeah... yeah sure, what is it?" Tani got up, and grabbed Crunch by the hand and pulled him away into her room. She shut the door, leaving Crystal sitting at the table "what the...?".