Disclaimer: I do not own Malcho, or any of the original Aladdin characters or settings included in this story.
Special Thanks: Credit to my wonderful beta reader, Eternal Sidekick, formally known as Brisco County Jr., who helped me with this chapter.
If one were to wander into one of the mountainous regions that rested in the Seven Deserts of Agrabah, they might be drawn to the strange noises coming from inside a large volcano right in the heart of the surrounding mountains. If they then listened carefully, the noise could be identified as that of some large creature obviously straining against something, and the sounds of small rocks and pebbles clattering about.
Inside said volcano, Malcho, the winged serpent, had just collapsed onto the floor of his rocky prison, completely exhausted from another one of his seemingly futile escape attempts. At almost 50 feet from purple nose to tail and weighing 950lb the Quetzalcoatl was no weakling, but even his massive strength was no match against the several tons of hardened larva that held him fast.
"Mother nature wins again..." Malcho grimaced weakly, twisting slightly to straighten out his wing. He cursed in Spanish as a sharp rock dug into his side, the same stupid rock that had been constantly prodding him for the 2 months of his imprisonment.
He rumbled lowly in annoyance, the deep baritone note causing the rocks around him to tremble, and his mind replayed for the thousandth time the sequence of events that had led to his present situation.
Malcho's earliest memories were of trying to compete and survive in the world by himself. With no one else in his life, he learnt early on that he could only rely on himself, and that the key to survival was to have power. As he grew in size and strength, his travels brought him to the rainforest, and he immediately set out to conquer his new environment. Malcho soon discovered he was different from any other creature in that jungle. Not only was he vastly superior in that he was strong, he flew, and had the natural stealth and speed of any snake, his fangs also held potent venom and his senses were second to none. However, Malcho soon discovered that it was his mind that gave him true power over other creatures. He could think, plan, imagine and communicate, something few others could do. He soon used this intelligence to overthrow the most powerful creature in the rainforest, Thundra the Rainbird.
Thundra used a magical amulet to control the world's weather and protect the forest. She could summon a thunderstorm or a refreshing breeze on a whim. Once he had the medallion from her, he ruled the forest with an iron wing, almost drunk on the power he possessed. Unfortunately, Thundra eventually managed to rally what little resistance was left in the forest against him and seized the medallion back, using its' power to banish him from the land.
He bade his time and returned later, to find that the idiotic bird had fallen in love and trusted her powers to a parrot named Iago. It was short work to reclaim his powers and retake control, but it lasted less then a day. The thrice-damned parrot tricked him into using a powerful ice spell, and banished him to the frozen north, encasing him in an icy prison.
After months of struggling, he had finally managed to free himself, revenge the one and only thought on his mind. He flew south, back to Agrabah, the city he knew Iago called home, carrying half of his prison with him until the sun melted it completely.
He went after the parrot, discovering to his fury that he was living in the palace of all places! He'd spent the months in an icy tomb while the bird lived in luxury! He had attacked the palace in order to get to the bird, and ended up in a conflict with the acting Sultan, Aladdin.
Aladdin eventually lured him to this dormant volcano, using Iago as bait, and cracked it's flimsy surface, allowing the lava to flow forth, setting around him and trapping his lower half beneath the now-hardened surface.
Since then he'd spent two months trying to pull himself free, all the while cursing Aladdin and the bird, and concocting numerous nasty revenges and tortures for them both.
Which led him back to the present, and put him in trouble. As a snake, he tended to have one large meal and survive of that for weeks, but after two months with no food or water his strength was failing by the hour. He'd been forced to go into deep hibernation-like sleeps in order to conserve his energy, but he knew that if he didn't get out soon he wasn't going to be able to get out at all.
The problem was leverage; he just couldn't get enough grip and friction to pull himself out.
His strength now returned from his rest, and fuelled by his memories of humiliation from bird and man, he attempted once again to free himself. Twisting and straining with all his might, he once again found himself going nowhere fast.
Becoming worried for his life, he searched again for anything useful, but there were only rocks. He moved as much as he could as he searched again anyway, wincing as that damn rock jabbed into his side again.
Growling, he glanced down at the thing and wrenched it from the earth in savage fury
"There! Dare to challenge the great Malcho will you-you pointed menace!"
He glanced at the sharp rock in his wing and felt like head-butting a wall at his own incompetence. His freedom had been jabbing him in the side for months now.
Armed with his primitive tool, he began to jam it into the rocks secured tightly around his mid-section, wiggling and prying until they began to loosen. He worked in this manner, moving 360 degrees around his entire frame, stopping for a break when the strain started to get too much. Finishing his work, he dropped his improvised tool and got ready for one last push.
"Here goes nothing," he said dryly, and began to heave. Despair rose in his heart, as he didn't feel the rocks give even the slightest, but then, just a tiny bit, he felt movement. Encouraged, he pushed harder, beginning to feel the rocks give around him, finally releasing him from his 2 month prison. He thought for a second he'd got stuck again, and panicked at the thought of being trapped. He let out a mighty cry and gave one last gargantuan push. The rocks snapped and buckled around him and he shot up into the air. His wings were cramped from lack of use but he forced himself to flap and get out of the volcano, fear of being re-imprisoned forcing the tired muscles into action. The lip of the volcano came into view and he soared over it, hastily crashing onto the first ledge he saw big enough to hold his weight.
He allowed himself to fall in a semi-controlled heap, and he lay there for several minutes, enjoying the fresh air and the feeling of freedom. Eventually, when he'd got his breath back, he began to cautiously stretch, wincing as he pulled on sore muscles, eventually stretching his full length.
"Caramba it is good to be out of there..." The giant snake paused and he looked out across his surroundings "What to do next."
As tempting as it was to simply charge back to Agrabah and sink his fangs and a good deal of venom into his two enemies, the logical part of his brain told him to do so would be suicidal. If nothing else his brief encounters had proven that those two were not enemies that could be beaten by sheer brute force, they were tricky and conniving. He was going to need a plan, and to be able to think clearly enough to do that, he first needed to tend to his bodily needs. Right now he needed food, water, and somewhere safe to take a long siesta and recover from his traumatizing experience.
Scenting the air, he could tell none of those things could be found here, the air was dry and barren. He would have to fly in the rough direction of his homeland and hope he found an oasis or village along the way.
His decision made, Malcho noted the position of the sun, chose his direction and headed off. He was glad see the back of the mountain range, but his heart sank as the endless desert confronted him. It would be all too easy to lose his sense of direction in this place, and his chances were slim of running into food or water. Still, he had little other choice, and so, continuously scenting the air, he flew on.
What seemed like hours of flying later, he knew something was wrong. His mind was starting to swim in lazy circles, coming in and out of coherence. His tongue felt like sandpaper and his vision was blurring. He was in desperate need of water. Scenting the air again, it was as dry as the last time he'd tried a few minutes ago. He still hadn't found any creature to ask directions. He flew on, growing more and more desperate. He began to question his plan, maybe he should have tried to sneak into Agrabah. It was closer and would have guaranteed him food and water, if not shelter. But what if he had been captured? In his current state, he doubted how much resistance he could offer...no! This was the only way...wasn't it?
Just as he began to question himself all over again, he caught a scent on the wind. His head whip-lashed around as he tried to pinpoint and confirm it.
There! He could smell plants and water, maybe an oasis? He spurred himself on, desperately tracking the scent through the dry air and heat.
His wings were getting more and more tired, and his will was fading as he desperately tried to gain ground before he passed out. A green blur in the distance encouraged him on somewhat, and he focused all his energy to flapping his wings. But his eyes kept shutting by themselves and it was becoming more and more of an effort to open them again, he shook his head, focused, but his vision was blurring badly, his wings ached more and more and the green blur seemed no closer despite all his efforts.
Malcho's wing beats slowed and he lost altitude as his battle with unconsciousness was lost and he toppled, exhausted, onto the desert floor.
At the same small Oasis that Malcho had been attempting to reach, a slumbering traveller was jolted awake suddenly by a loud crashing noise as the earth beneath them shook manically for a few seconds.
The traveller stood up quickly, glancing around just in time to see a massive cloud of sand a mile or so away in the distance.
"What on earth is that?"