Chapter 50 - Gaining Entrance
She yelped as she sucked hard on her thumb, she had pricked herself with the needle when she was threading the weave. She couldn’t recall how long it had been since she started this project, at least a few orbits before leaving the Gerudo Fortress? Grumbling at her lack of memory, she stabbed the needle back into the fabric, trailing her path up the seam to connect the two pieces together. She took the fabric with her, hoping she would find time along the way to work on it for him.
“What are you doing?” Link asked quizzically, craning his head to look over her shoulder.
Malon shrieked as she stuffed the project into her knapsack. He clapped a hand to her mouth to prevent unfriendly ears from hearing, although it may already be too late. “Don’t scare me like that!” She huffed as he withdrew his hand.
“What were you working on?” Link smirked, pointing at the bag. He had obviously seen something but couldn’t really decipher what exactly it was.
She grinned back, “None of your business!”
“And you picked now, of all times, to start working on it?” Link asked incredulously.
Indeed, they had traveled far these past few moons. Finding Glaun’rung had been relatively easy, even with Ingo’s help. They simply traveled eastward until they hit the roving line of traveling brutes and then headed south from there. The closer they got to the capital, the sparser the groups of men became. Either they had finally reached the end of the army or there were acquiring fewer bodies to add to it.
Despite a few minor skirmishes with the horde upon being discovered as they traveled southward, the journey had been relatively smooth. Xavier was to account for most of that. Wild animals avoided them outright and preferred easier prey. The Cyn’Taak had already proven itself a worthy addition to their team as it tore into the hapless men. Link and Zelda were worried that after it got its first taste of blood from a Huma, it might begin looking at them differently. Thankfully it considered the two of them its parents and the rest of the group, its pack.
They were now within walking distance from the walls of Glaun’rung. They were hidden amongst the shrubs on the outer fringes of the tree line just west of the city. Ingo had advised them to wait in concealment as he boldly stepped forward to gain entry into the capital, that had been several hours ago. It seemed he was let in easy enough, but now as the night wore on they were getting worried. It was then that Link noticed Malon was missing and went to go find her. She was illogically working on something.
Malon gestured with her hand towards the city wall, “It’s not like I have anything better to do! He’s been gone for several hours and who knows when he’ll show up again! I felt it a good time to work on something personal of mine.” She finished with a defensive look.
“Well, if it’s that important, then I have to see it!” Link said with glee.
“Oh, no you don’t!” She jeered as she flopped over her pack as he pounced on her.
Within moments, they were a flurry of limbs as Link tried to reach around Malon and dive his hands into the bag. She utilized all the strength she had just to keep him away from it. The tussle quickly devolved into fits of laughter and mayhem. With one final roll, they laid on the grass next to each other, winded and beat.
As their merriment slowly winded down, Link turned his head to face her. Malon’s eyes were shining even in the darkness. He smiled. She would have never been able to romp like that over a week ago. Her wound had healed nicely. Perching himself up on an elbow, he leaned over her with palpable intent in his eyes. She looked up longingly and did little to resist. Ignoring their current situation entirely, they merged together for the kiss. After having been denied for so long, on this trip of being close to each other alone; their inner furnaces were lit with an unquenchable thirst. Link pressed his lips hard onto Malon’s as his tongue fought for entry. She wrapped her legs around him tightly as she positioned him over her.
“Din have mercy! You picked now, of all times, to be doing this?” Apolloni hissed, just feet away.
In a flash, Link rolled quickly off of Malon as the two of them flushed embarrassingly. Link was the first to speak up, “Sorry, I guess we got carried away. Is Ingo back yet?”
“No, he isn’t.” Apolloni grimaced. “I swear you two are like a pack of female dogs in heat!” She simply shrugged, “Not that it matters anymore. Grab your things and come back to the group. I do not need to be losing track of you now Link.” She gave him a knowing look as she turned around scornfully and stalked off towards the tree line where they had set up vigil.
Link groaned in agony at his hard member. As much as he wanted to ignore Apolloni’s commands and finish what they started, he knew she was right. They needed to be present for the current situation, not lost in their own personal fantasy world together. He glanced over to Malon and could tell she was in agony as well, her breathing coming out in ragged gasps.
“Come on Malon, grab your bag and let’s rejoin the others.” Link murmured dejectedly.
“Yeah…okay.” Malon said monotonously; her mood instantly deflated.
They filed through the undergrowth, pushing aside branches and leaves to find Apolloni sidling up next to Zelda. Although in an attempt to whisper, it was clear she was trying to be loud enough for everyone to hear. “I found them frolicking together behind a bush back there. No sense of responsibility or duty, those two.” She sneered at them as Zelda’s eyes locked onto his.
As childish as Apolloni’s comment was, the effect it had on Zelda was immediate and devastating. Merin watched with interest while Ashley simply looked bored. Xavier was dozing against a nearby tree and cared little for the petty squabble. Zelda’s eyes emptied as she beheld the two of them sheepishly walking up beside her. What had she expected? Apolloni could sense the complex relationship between the three of them and in her wicked way exploited it to the max extent possible.
She wanted to cry but held it in check bearably. Zelda knew she shouldn’t be angry at the two of them, they were all friends but Malon and Link appeared to be more than that. Why shouldn’t they have their happiness together? What was it about those two that was making her feel so jealous when she really shouldn’t be? Did she really feel that strongly about Link? Did something awaken inside her for him during that one night she almost had him?
“That was uncalled for Apolloni.” Link scowled at her.
After a laugh, she responded maliciously, “I only call it how I see it. You were too busy wanting to fuck than to keep your head in the task at hand.”
Zelda gasped at the foul word Apolloni used; Merin stepped in pointing a finger at her, “You do not use that word around Ashley!”
Apolloni whipped around as she spat with venom, “And what would you know about protecting a young boy from the immoralities of this world? You are not his mother! So stop fucking acting like it!” Merin winced again at Apolloni’s deliberate use of the word.
It appeared that they were going to come to blows when Malon interjected, “Look! Ingo is coming back!”
With one final glare at Merin, Apolloni shifted her attention back to the city. Malon was pointing at two men who were shrouded in brown cloaks. If one was Ingo, he had been given a cloak since being inside the capital. They appeared similar in build and almost had the same walking gait. The left man carried a lantern in his hand but had it unlit. Within minutes they reached the trees and filtered into the group, arranging themselves in the center.
Lighting the lantern, both men took off their hoods. To the astonishment of all, they looked exactly alike. Upon closer inspection, there were some slight differences, but it was unmistakable they were brothers. Ingo spoke first to clear up the matter, “This is my brother, Francis Gorman.”
Francis bowed his head in greeting as he surveyed the group. His mustache twitched when he regarded the snoring Cyn’Taak up against the nearby tree, his eyes lingering slightly longer on Xavier before turning back to everyone, “My brother, Ingo, says you have need to sneak into the capital city? Why the devil would you want to do that?” He exclaimed mystified.
“I did not know your whole purpose in coming here, so I did not know what to say.” Ingo apologized to Apolloni. All eyes gradually went to her. She had been holding back on their mission here in Glaun’rung. Now was the time to reveal it.
Apolloni glowered at them all; her thoughts racing on how best to keep her appointed task clandestine. Her focus moved to Link before she haltingly explained, “We need him because of his unique genetic make-up. We believe he is the key to exploiting the unnatural power the Nevachrean possess.”
Francis scoffed, “You mean summoning weapons?” With a flurry of movement, both Ingo and Francis brandished swords, each of them drawing it on the startled Apolloni. “Every Nevachrean male has that ability. So clearly that is not the unnatural power you speak of.” Francis smugly gloated as he vaporized the weapon into mist. Ingo followed suit.
Apolloni shot him a look, “No.” She stated scathingly. “I was referring to the fact that Nevachreans can’t die. Ganondorf has confirmed that the source of this power lies somewhere in that city.” She gestured off towards the imposing wall.
“Oh?” Francis simpered. “And where did you learn that interesting piece of information?”
Merin piped up helpfully, “From Kotake and Koume, Ganondorf’s-” She was immediately silenced by a frown from Apolloni. She realized she had spoken too much.
Noting the exchange between the two, Francis continued undaunted, “That assumption is false, not all Nevachreans are immortal. If you were to kill Ingo and I, we would not regenerate. You are correct in that what gives them this unholy power resides inside the city. Only those who are volunteered,” He laughed as he spoke the word, “for the army get to have that special ‘honor’ bestowed upon them.”
Ingo clapped a hand to Link’s shoulder and nudged him towards his brother, “This is Link. All claims point to the fact of his triple blooded heritage: Hylian, Nevachrean and Sheikah.”
Francis rubbed his mustache keenly as he observed the youth, “Interesting. Young man, have you been able to summon anything you couldn’t explain?”
Link nodded, “I was able to summon three horses and then a bow.”
Francis’s eyebrows rose at the mention of the horses, those were extremely hard even for the layman to apparate. “Impressive. Can you demonstrate to me now by calling a sword?”
Link held out his hand as he tried to call upon the inner energy he knew was there, waiting deep inside. Try as he might, he could not apparate anything more than a few puffs of black vapor. The surging feeling he got when he had need of the horses or bow was lacking. He could not force it to come to the surface. At length, he dropped the arm to his side and shook his head with disappointment. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how I did it. It simply happened.” Link offered.
Francis nodded his head, “As expected, nobody masters the skill without some formal training. I can help you with that.”
Apolloni rudely interrupted, “What does this have to do with getting inside the city?”
“If Link is as important as you claim he is, then wouldn’t it be judicious to ensure that his all-important heritage is useable?” Francis rebutted her with a sneer. He turned back to Link, “My boy, if you are willing, I would be happy to teach you what I know so you can call on your power should the need ever arise.”
A smile broke across Link’s face as he nodded, “Thank you Francis. Thanks to both of you.”
Ingo scoffed, “Don’t thank us yet! We haven’t even infiltrated Glaun’rung yet!”
“That reminds me.” Francis walked up to the sleeping behemoth. “We will not be able to take this creature in with us. He will have to be left out here.”
“That’s a she.” Malon corrected under her breath.
Zelda gasped with a start, “You mean all alone? Xavier has never been all alone before! Should someone stay out here to watch over her?”
“I hardly think that is necessary.” Apolloni derided.
Francis considered the interesting creature, “As much as this Cyn’Taak fascinates me, it would completely blow our cover. It has to stay outside the city. Besides, these things usually live in the wild, don’t they?”
“Xavier has been with us the past few weeks, we are not sure if she would be able to handle herself alone.” Malon explained.
“Well, isn’t that a pickle.” Francis concurred.
Merin looked down as she felt Ashley tugging on her robe, she regarded his movements as he pointing to them and then to Xavier. Understanding his idea, she revealed it to the others, “Ashley and I can stay out here and take care of her.”
Francis looked over at the young boy, his eyes glazing over with the beginnings of tears. He had completely missed the fact there was a young boy with them. Such innocence was to be protected. “Yes, as much as I’d love to bring Ashley into my home and warm him up with some good food and a warm bed, I feel he would be safer outside Glaun’rung. We never see children anymore. If one simply showed up out of the blue, I dare say it would raise suspicions.”
Seeing the look on Zelda’s face, Ingo moved to placate her fears, “My brother and I know the city like the back of our hands; we can move in and out as we please. We will supply fresh food and drink to them here in the woods nightly.”
Francis bowed his head in satisfaction, “Well, that is settled. Let us get the rest of you beyond the walls.” As the group dropped their packs to leave in the care of Merin and Ashley, Francis turned to Merin and handed her a pouch. “Look inside, it isn’t much, but it’ll get you two through the night.” He beamed warmly at her reaction of gratitude.
Taking those who were coming into the city with him, Francis traveled further into the forest. They came across a game path that meandered out to a hidden grove. Situated in the middle of the clearing was a covered wagon which was in remarkably good shape. He blew a low whistle into the woods. Within minutes, two spotted horses emerged from the path. Francis directed the lot of them to insert themselves into the empty barrels towards the front of the carriage as he drafted the two steeds to the front of the wagon.
“Why must we hide in these?” Zelda asked scrunching up her nose, the barrels smelled like decayed beer.
Ingo filled in the details for Francis, who was busily fastening the reins to the bits in the horses’ mouths. “My brother is an owner of a bar, one of the few left in the city. He sometimes makes trips to resupply his dwindling stock. They usually only check the back few barrels, so try to keep to the front ones just behind the seats.”
Once preparations were complete, Francis hopped onto the back of the carriage and inspected each of the barrels. The first few towards the back were filled with colored water to pass for beer, the smell of the wood did the rest. He checked on each of his passengers before closing the lids and sitting up front alone, Ingo had hid within a barrel as well. With a quick snap of the reins, Francis maneuvered the horses out of the woods and onto the nearby road, making it plainly obvious he was there.
The clopping of the horses and the gravely sound of wheels churning the dirt alerted the sentries to the incoming intruder. They flashed their torches to neighboring guards as they directed their attention to the wagon. Several men rolled on out through the opening gates as they leisurely made their way over to Francis, raising a hand to signal a halt in his advance.
Casually inquiring about his business, they inspected the first few barrels at the back of the carriage. After a sniff, they seemed satisfied and waved him on through. Francis guided the wagon through the dirt-caked streets, along various roads towards his pub and inn. Finally stopping the horses at the side entrance to his wine cellar, he quietly signaled for them to remove the lids and step out into the shadows of the building.
“So do you do this often?” Zelda asked; thankful to finally be free of that horrid smelling container.
Malon agreed as she straightened out her green dress, one that had been given to her by Ingo. It was one his wife once wore. She was very flattered and grateful to receive it. “It seems you are well prepared in the unlikely event someone wants to get into the city.” She spoke accusingly.
Francis chuckled, “Actually, this method was used to ferry people out of Glaun’rung. You are the first people who actually wanted to get inside!” That knowledge quickly put an end to their inquiries.
As Francis helped them file inside the inn, Link asked, “This seems a bit much. I thought you said you knew this place inside and out. Why did we have to go through all this just to get inside?”
Francis pointed to a nearby corner of the wall several dozen meters away from his pub, “See that guard tower? There is a lack of guard patrol every night around that tower. I can use a ladder to get to and from the city from there. I felt since I didn’t know what all your talents and skills were. I figured the safest bet was to go with the big group option.”
Link grinned, “I think you might have underestimated who you were dealing with.”
“Clearly.” Apolloni chimed as she brushed past the two of them and headed into the building.