Chapter 66 - Charlie Foxtrot
Seething wrath broiled up inside her as she looked down upon the trembling form of Ruto, the Zora princess who had violated her love and almost had her killed. Malon wanted nothing more than to dive her spear tip deep into the Zora’s heart and watch in delicious elation the life leave the wretched woman’s eyes. It was quite unlike Malon to harbor such ill will towards someone but when it came to Link, she felt very protective of her relationship to him.
“Who?” Ruto asked feebly. It was clear she had swum for countless miles and only now just stopped. She was on her hands and knees, limbs wobbling from the toil of the journey.
“You!” Malon repeated with virulence. “What are you doing here?” She raised her weapon level with Ruto’s head, demanding an answer from her.
Without even looking at Malon, Ruto answered shakily, “Do you see them after me? Did I lose them?”
Malon was taken aback by the question, confused as to what the Zora meant. She looked up and scanned the frozen waters around uncertain of what Ruto was referring to. “What are you talking about? I don’t see anyone.”
Ruto sighed deeply before chuckling a bit at her success. This irritated Malon. “Thank the Goddesses! I was finally able to escape. They wouldn’t let me leave. You have no idea how it is, being locked up as a prisoner and never being allowed to do what you want or be what you want.”
Malon curled her lip in disdain at the Zora, “I clearly don’t. Now answer me, what are you doing here?” She persisted.
Ruto finally looked up at her, “Where am I?”
“Why should I tell you?” Malon spat, still furious that Ruto was evading all her questions.
Ruto looked around taking stock of her surroundings, “I need to know how far I have left to travel.”
Malon made a sound of frustration before responding, “Urgh! You are just east of the Gerudo desert, on the western side of the Negev Marshlands. Happy now?! Now what are you doing here? I won’t ask you again!” Her voice rose to a higher pitch, but her intent was clear.
“Oh…” Ruto lamented, putting a hand to her face as she looked across the bog, “I went entirely the wrong way. Well, thank you for your assistance, I’ll be going now.” She acknowledged, before turning back to the water.
Seeing the Zora princess completely disregard her presence, treating her like some casual peon here to service her needs, something inside Malon flipped. She cried out in anger as she thrust the spear towards Ruto’s heart. Hearing the shout, the Zora spun around only to have the wooden tip tear through the membrane of her fin that trailed down her right forearm. The force of her movement enabled the weapon to tear a gaping hole straight to the edge of it, coercing brownish red blood to spray everywhere.
Ruto screeched in agony at the sudden onslaught, “What are you doing?” She demanded.
“You don’t remember me?” Malon accused, pressing forward with another attack.
Cradling her injured arm, Ruto sidestepped the maneuver and backhanded Malon across her head as she lurched past, “Should I? I’ve never met you before in my life.” She admitted.
Recovering quickly, Malon twirled around before jabbing the spear at a slightly upward angle hoping to skewer her opponent’s face, “You ambushed us here, in this very marsh. You had your assassins shoot me full of arrows!”
Ruto pitched her upper body backwards to avoid the well-aimed stroke, “Assassins? Wait…you mean Naar’s men?” A semblance of who this girl was began to form in Ruto’s mind. With effortless grace born from her combat training given to her while in the service as Naar’s Dark Mistress, she swung her leg out low tripping Malon, causing her to tumble sideways.
Hitting the ground in a roll, Malon recovered swiftly back onto her feet before stabbing the spear at one of Ruto’s legs. “You attacked us! And you violated Link, you disgusting bitch!” She raged.
Recollection slammed into Ruto at the gravity of what she was being blamed of. It had been so long and her memories so jumbled over the past few orbits that she had almost forgotten what she was accountable for. Leaping lithely over the strike, she skipped back a few paces to gain some distance between her and Malon. “It was you who discovered us that night?” Ruto asked incredulously, “I’m sorry you had to get in the way, it was something personal between Link and I. It is nothing for you to be concerned with.”
Malon laughed bitterly at her supposed rival, “Something personal? It was everything personal to me!”
Ruto cocked her head questioningly, “What do you mean?”
Malon stood up to her full height, ignoring the rising nausea that was threatening her stomach. “We are together. We’ve been joined for a long time now.” She stated flatly, enjoying the reaction it received from Ruto.
“You mean you had him before me?” Ruto inquired dangerously. Some inner demon was growing deep inside her, jealously began to rear its ugly head in her mind.
Smirking at the Zora’s envious response, Malon made sure she said her next words slowly while rubbing her belly to accentuate the point. “Yes, and I am now pregnant with his child.”
Something snapped inside Ruto, all those orbits of being retrained into forgetting about Link by Veraca and the others had been undone in one moment. Her gills flared as she puffed out her chest, within seconds she spat a virulent stream of viscous poison that sailed through the air. Malon screamed as she saw the disgusting fluid hurtling towards her face. She dove to the side as it splashed on the ground where she stood, boring a hole into the turf, killing the grass around it.
Cursing loudly, Ruto flexed her fins causing them to grow taut and firm, their ends like a razor’s edge. Dashing quickly at the recovering Malon, Ruto spun her arms slicing downward in an arc; it nicked a cut across Malon’s cheek. She shrilled in pain before diving out of the way of the second arm as it cut through the air just inches from her head. Blindly wiping and smearing the blood away from her face, Malon resumed her battle stance and prepared for another attack.
Within moments, Ruto was upon her with claws scratching the air in front of Malon’s nose. Malon had to focus keenly on deflecting each blow with the shaft of her spear, stepping back with each swing. She presently bumped up against a nearby tree. Thinking fast, Malon grinned smugly as she circumvented a lethal jab of sharp fins as Ruto cursed her luck. Her razor appendages had drawn a wide swath across the trunk and it did not give. Clutching the wilted membrane in her hands, she glared at Malon hideously for having marred both of her arms.
“This is for Link!” Malon cried as she dove forward with her spear.
Swiftly evading the attack, Ruto stepped to the side. She smoothly gripped the passing wooden shaft and pulled Malon closer to her. The sudden heave staggered Malon, causing her to lose her footing. Taking the initiative, Ruto bashed a fist into Malon’s nose, drawing blood. Wasting no time, Ruto knocked her to the ground. Malon gasped as her back slammed to the ground, knocking the air out of her.
Ruto was upon her, her legs straddling Malon’s waist while her arms gripped Malon’s wrists tightly above her head. She leaned in closer before whispering rancorously into her ear. “He was my beloved first, before he was ever yours!”
Malon struggled against the Zora’s muscle, but her will and strength was no match for Ruto’s uncanny surge of power. Leering at her, Ruto flared out her gills and sucked in a breath in preparation of pouring acidic juices all over Malon’s face. A whistle of air stopped the torrid process as Ruto quickly rolled off Malon and rose to a knee to face the new threat. Standing beside a shaking Giana, Ashley was calmly nocking another arrow to his bow before aiming it directly at Ruto’s heart.
Assuring that the archer had no time to react, Ruto leaped over the stunned form of Malon in an attempt to dash at Ashley as soon as her feet touched the ground. Countering her intended action, Malon reached a hand up and gripped an ankle sending the Zora face first into the turf. Realizing her precarious position, Ruto bowled quickly to the side as a second arrow thunked into the ground by her head, a small grunt issued from the boy as he began to knock another arrow.
“Who is she Malon? Why is she trying to hurt you?” Giana asked quivering.
“Not now Giana! Stay behind Ashley! Find some cover!” She warned harshly, waving a hand frantically at her to stay back.
Ruto slewed a stream of mordant bile across their campsite; destroying their bedrolls, their meager provisions and narrowly missing Giana. Enraged at the attempt on her little sister’s life, Malon flipped back onto her feet picking up her spear as she did so and ran at the despicable Zora princess. Sensing the attack from both sides, Ruto leapt into the air watching as the third arrow hissed by her lower thigh while knocking Malon’s spearhead down into the dirt with her descending leg.
Landing gracefully onto her two feet, Ruto cuffed Malon crudely causing the girl to stumble into Ashley, knocking the two to the ground. Giana shrieked as Ruto advanced upon the three of them, flaring her gills for a final spew. A sudden blow to her head brought Ruto to her knees. Behind her was another Zora along with two others clad in strange coral-like armor, each one was holding a trident and was looking quite dangerous.
“Ruto!” The lead Zora intoned harshly, “You should not have run away! You are my beloved and you must come back to me!”
Scrambling away on all fours, a look of panic washed over Ruto’s face, “Leave me alone Veraca! I’ve done what you wanted! I gave you your royal eggs! You now have heirs that can take over for me! I want no part of it!” She practically screamed.
Veraca calmly paced after her, a set of coral handcuffs dangling in his hands. He sighed deeply that he would have to once again capture his queen. She had been waiting for this. When the majority of their soldiers were tasked to assist Glaun’rung with the reconstruction, their domain was practically a ghost town. Rules were lax and the stringent order they had brought into Ruto’s life was abolished as if overnight. She took advantage of this new freedom and escaped, much to the dismay of Veraca.
“Ruto, I have grown to love you this past orbit. It pains me to bring you back like this, but it is because I love you that I must do this.” Veraca said with finality.
Ashley assisted Malon to her feet as Giana rammed her tiny form into her older sister’s embrace. The three of them looked on the unfolding scene with curiosity. Ruto, hurt and bleeding from her freshly inflicted wounds, stumbled backwards onto her rear looking up in fear at a life she did not wish to return to.
“Please, just let me be! I am not your queen anymore! I am not fit to rule!” She shrieked.
Veraca began to riposte when a rustling of branches was heard in the distance. Only Malon’s eyes widened with fear and dread at the incoming danger. Ashley’s face grew grim at the approaching menace. His only thought was how many there was going to be. The rest were looking around curiously for the source of the sound, unsure of what could be causing tree branches to creak and moan up a dreadful racket.
The swinging crash of tree limbs stopped just above their heads. They all gazed up expectantly. Giana screamed in terror as two Cyn’Taak crashed to the ground, nearly crushing Veraca. With a quick shout to his men, he dove to the side to protect his queen while facing the horrible behemoths that stood glaring at them down their long snouts.
“Wha’ ‘ave we ‘ere? ‘Orsels to ‘ine on?” One of the creatures belched disgustingly.
“Dear Goddesses,” Malon breathed heavily, “these are males. We have to run. We have to run now!” All thoughts of sanity left her mind. Picking up the weeping Giana swiftly into her arms, she turned and sprinted through the brush, hoping she was heading further west towards the desert.
Acknowledging the hopeless cause, Ashley turned to follow Malon. Sensing their prey was on the move the Cyn’Taak roared and began charging after them. One of Veraca’s men hurled his spear into the soft underbelly of the nearest Cyn’Taak, causing it to bellow in agony at the sudden burning. Shockingly swift, it curled its barbed tail around and jabbed the unfortunate Zora through the eyes. Within moments, Veraca got to experience firsthand how lethal these creatures were.
The Zora barely got a scream in when the horrific beast dove its snout into the biggest blood boil and began sucking up the intoxicating blood. Ignoring the revolting slurping of Zora intestine, Veraca perceived Ruto’s fleeing form vanishing into the gloom of the night. Cursing their luck, he swiftly signaled his remaining man to follow him as they pursued her.
The rampaging Cyn’Taak was on their heels, Giana couldn’t help but look back and screech louder at the terrible sight of the creature breaking down trees and blasting through bushes as if they were nothing. Malon noticed a pathway leading off into an open clearing that looked vaguely familiar. Ashley quickly pushed her to the side before veering back to the right as the poisoned barb stabbed the air between them. Yelping at the sudden aid, Malon nodded at him as thanks for saving her life. Gritting her teeth, she swerved towards the open grove with behemoth in tow.
Bursting out of the foliage, two things struck Malon at once: first, they were just minutes away from the mountain pass that would lead them over the ridge and into the desert where the colossus resided, and second, they were not alone. Spread out before them was a small encampment of Nevachrean soldiers blocking the pass, there could not have been more than seventy or eighty men. Looking up at the unexpected intrusions, all eyes riveted on Malon.
“You’ve got to be kidding me…” She whined helplessly.
Sensing the crashing of the Cyn’Taak coming nearer, she threw caution to the wind and ran directly at the gaggle of brutes. All of them were eager for some fresh meat to pound after subduing her, they all rose up from their evening meals and began leering at her. All of them were glad she was not putting up a fight and instead coming straight for them. Their mirth died instantly as the Cyn’Taak erupted from the trees, its bellow echoing across the rocks beyond them.
One man cried out in shock as he began bubbling up in bloody ulcers, an arrow shaft lodged in his throat. Several men turned to see Ashley running parallel to the beast, bow in hand with another arrow nocked. Realizing their imminent deaths approaching, all men rose up in a battle cry, each taking their weapons and standing their ground against the new danger.
Giana and Malon shrieked in unison as they broke the ranks of the wicked men, their grubby hands pawing and grasping at them both, intending to separate the two of them. In her desperation, Malon surged onward with an inner strength that boosted her agility and grip on Giana. She bobbed and weaved through many of their advances but was stopped by one exceptionally large man who picked her up easily as if she was a rag doll.
As if to add to the confusion of the past minute, another soldier called out at the three advancing Zora, one of which seemed wounded with two in hot pursuit. Unsure of which threat to ultimately react to, they were unprepared as the Cyn’Taak rammed through their ranks, tossing men high into the air while piercing others with its tail. Screams were rampant throughout the camp. Ashley smoothly leaped over a terrible aimed swipe of a sword before impaling the man through the stomach with a poisoned arrow.
Unwilling to go back to a life of confinement and responsibility, Ruto ran towards the men and yelled out in agitation, “Please help me! I am Naar’s Dark Mistress! These men have been my captors! They are trying to take me back!”
The men glanced around at each other befuddled, they had heard of the Dark Mistress and knew that she was not Hylian or Nevachrean. Did they dare take a chance that she was lying and Naar kill them all for running her through? Lacking any better judgment, they folded her into their ranks while turning towards the two Zoras with weapons raised. The Zoras were slowing their sprint until they came to a complete stop.
Veraca swore bitterly, “This will make things complicated!”
Another crash drew their attention as the second Cyn’Taak emerged from the woods, its muzzle dripping with fresh gore. Its eyes rested on the magnificent feast displayed out before it. The entire encampment was in disarray with men bumping into each other and completely muddled as to what they should be doing and who they should be fighting. Several groups were fending off the rioting Cyn’Taak within their ranks, others were trying to ensnare the upstart boy who seemed to maddeningly evade their best efforts at killing him and yet still others were torn between protecting someone claiming they were the Dark Mistress or just killing her on the spot.
The colossal brute flouted the present chaos in the camp and simply ripped Giana screaming away from Malon. Giving the little girl over to two men, who swiftly carried her off deeper into the maze of tents, he regarded Malon with a lustful eye. With a sudden jab that made Malon jerk involuntarily, the man shoved two meaty fingers up between her legs. His snigger at her discomfort made her skin crawl.
Completely oblivious to the cacophony around them, the giant man walked back towards his tent completely confident that his men would quell the current situation. Casually ripping Malon’s dress completely off her body, he looked upon her bare form with primal yearning. As if to accentuate his desire he wriggled his fingers deeper into her womanhood, pleased at her ineffectual squirming.
Ashley fumed as he saw the fate of Malon, being carried off like a piece of meat to the slaughter. He leaped up on top of the head of one man, before soaring through the air firing an arrow downwards at another, ignoring the scream behind him as he sprinted onwards. Seeing the second Cyn’Taak nearby running past him, he slid across the ground just under the flickering tail. Ashley watched it balloon hapless men left and right. The Cyn’Taak were having a banquet tonight.
Veraca spotted the boy charging after the red-haired woman and noticed his distance between him and Ruto. He yelled out for him to assist in recapturing the queen. A swift scowl was all it took to realize that he would not get any support from him. Growling in frustration, he ran forward and stabbed the nearest man through. Spinning around ripping the trident out from the man’s chest, he skewered another on his left in one single motion. Knowing full well these injuries were temporary, he slugged onward towards the retreating form of Ruto.
Veraca had almost given up hope when a small, black, spherical object sailed through the air and landed at the feet of a group of men. An explosive puff of black mist burst from the bomb and vaporized the nearby soldiers. The glut of ash caught the wind and carried over across the camp, whatever person it touched vaporized instantly. Sensing the immediate danger, Veraca flung himself to the ground. His companion was not so fortunate, a clump of ash touched his shoulder and he exploded in a cloud of black mist.
Rolling across the grass to distance himself from his unfortunate companion’s remains, Veraca looked up to see several Gerudo land in the middle of the bedlam, their scimitars gleaming in the light of the moon. The magickal bombs being made up of a base of Cyn’Taak poison, the two behemoths were looking around unfazed and flummoxed at what was occurring to their delicious meal. They roared at the injustice of it all and proceeded to charge at the armed women.
“You two.” The lead Gerudo ordered, “Go after that hulking beef of a man. No male humiliates a sister like that and lives.” Two women split off and sprinted through the tents towards Malon’s location. The Gerudo grinned as she faced the remaining Cyn’Taak, “We will handle these two abominations. Any remaining men you see…kill them. Spare no one!”
The small group of women star-bursted and threw themselves upon the fell beasts, their supple bodies dancing around the bulky creatures. Not wanting to waste his unexpected luck, Veraca pushed himself off the ground and dashed after Ruto. He was unsure of where exactly she went to, but knew she had withdrawn further into the mess of bivouacs.
A scream from that red-headed woman from earlier resounded through the camp. Lacking any better idea of where Ruto could be, Veraca stormed down the row of tents before stopping in his tracks. Ashley stepped out from behind a canvas covering and was seemingly aiming his final arrow at him. Ducking to avoid his almost assured death, he could hear the arrow sizzle past his head. Looking behind, he noticed the boy had been aiming at a Gerudo who intended to decapitate him. Turning back, he saluted the boy; simply nodding in response, Ashley ran off into the encampment.
Multitudes of men were scrambling to and fro, their screams and yells adding to the pandemonium. Veraca dismissed it all and honed in on the second strident scream diffusing through the chill night air. Narrowing it down to one single abode larger than the rest, he threw back the fur coverings at the entrance and swooped inside.
It took several seconds for Veraca to take stock of the scene unfolding before him: Malon lay draped nude over a cot of furs with the burly brute half naked over her, his oversized manhood barely penetrating her slender frame. Blood was spurting out from his chest where two scimitars protruded, each held by a Gerudo standing on the man’s back. The man was breathing in and coughing on his own blood. Ashley stood just paces away at the entrance with a make-shift arrow nocked firm on his bow and aimed directly at the Gerudo woman. Malon’s eyes locked onto Veraca with a look of petrified mania.
Veraca made a move to remove the man from her when a savage blow hit him upside his head. He crumpled to the floor and blackness obscured his vision.