So, um…*sweats nervously*
Anyone remember this story?
I'm gonna be honest, this chapter's been done for a while, but I've delayed publishing it for so long because reasons.
Like, you know that moment where you write a sort-of intimate moment between characters and you forget they're supposed to be fourteen in the process? Yyyyyeah, I admittedly felt a little awkward about it at first, but eventually I realized that fourteen-year-olds are (usually and unfortunately) already exploring their sexuality, and they don't exactly have any responsible adults around to give them "The Talk", so…
Please don't call the cops on me? ._.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Here There Be Monsters
(First Day, 2:35 pm, 63 hours, 25 minutes remain)
After stopping to finally retrieve their clothing, the Eds and Kankers, with Link still in the water in Zora form and Tatl hovering overhead, maneuvered their borrowed boat towards the small island with the tailbone of some massive fish jutting out from a stone pillar in its center as a landmark.
Watching as Link kept up with them, Edd mentioned, "You know, Link. Has the thought occurred to you that you might once more be required to play the role of the recently-deceased?"
Link sighed. "Yeah. I'm not looking forward to it. I hate lying to people. And I'm also trying to impersonate someone I hardly knew. Sure, these masks give us some memories, but I don't think they'll tell us everything about their previous lives."
"We can always tell them the truth once we've completed our objective here," Edd pointed out.
"I plan to," Link vowed.
"Hey guys, I think we're here," Lee suddenly called out, pointing ahead.
All of them looked up to see a ledge coming into view that led into a large cave, presumably the entrance for non-Zora. Standing at the far end of the ledge with their back to them was a Zora woman, with a head reminiscent of a hammerhead shark and two long, elegant fins trailing out from her forearms. Either she didn't notice their presence or chose to ignore it, looking out towards the sea.
"I think that's Lulu, the lead singer whose egg this is," Link whispered. "She looks a heck of a lot like Ruto…"
Lee handed him the egg as he pulled himself ashore. "This is your show now, fishstick."
Link paused for a moment before letting out a groan. "I'm just gonna have to get used to that, aren't I?"
Link sighed as he stood up and walked towards the melancholy Zora singer. "Lulu?"
Lulu suddenly whirled around at the familiar voice, recognizing the figure standing before her with a gasp. Link smiled as he raised the bottle that contained the egg. "We did it. We got the egg back."
Lulu's eyes widened as she stuttered, "…I…I…"
Then she gasped, her hands flying to her mouth. "M-my voice!"
Tears flowing down her face, she wrapped Link up in a hug as she cried, "Oh, thank you, Mikau! My child…our child is safe!"
Luckily Lulu didn't see the look of stunned surprise that flashed across Link's face, but he quickly hid it as they broke the embrace. "We have to tell the others!" Lulu exclaimed excitedly, taking Link by the hand.
"W-wait, I…" Link began, but Lulu was already dragging him towards the cave.
Snickering, Lee killed the motor, got off the boat, and said, "C'mon, guys. Let's go make sure our two lovebirds don't get into too much trouble."
"Oh dear," Edd murmured as he and the others joined her. "I fear how this could all transpire."
The interior of the Zoras' domain was breathtakingly beautiful. Large, colorful shells and many-hued corals decorated the area. The path lowered into the main area of the hall, which wound around a large, deep lake of crystal-clear water. In the middle of this lake was a gigantic, open clam shell which appeared to be a stage of some sort, if the assortment of band equipment, most of it looking like it had been made from the bones and other natural materials of local marine life was any indication.
"It's so beautiful," Marie breathed in wonder, looking around.
"Incredible," Edd marveled. "I've never seen natural beauty of this magnitude before in my life! Surely I'll remember it for years to come!"
"It's somethin', alright," Lee mused. "And it looks like we found our lovebirds."
The six kids and fairy approached a scene where a large group of Zoras was congregating around Link and Lulu, firing off questions a mile a minute.
"Alright, break it up!" a voice suddenly called out.
The other Zoras quieted down and parted, making way for a particular group of Zoras who definitely stood out from their more uniform, generic-looking brethren. The leader, the one who had spoken, had a broader head and smaller eyes than normal Zoras, and his skin was mottled grey instead of the usual aquamarine blue. At his side were two other unique-looking Zoras, a pudgy, baby-faced character and a lanky one with appendages falling over his eyes in a way that was reminiscent of the way a hippie rockstar's hair would fall over their face.
"Evan!" Lulu cried out jubilantly. "Look! Mikau's back, and he got the egg!"
"Lulu!" the fat Zora declared happily. "Your voice is back!"
"You had us, like, worried sick, man," the rockstar Zora drawled. "We never even got to finish our jam session!"
"You'll get time to do that later, Japas," Evan said. "Right now, I want some answers. So you brought the egg back safe and sound?"
Link nodded. "The Gerudo didn't make it easy for me, but I did, with some help."
"Help?" Evan asked, blinking.
"That'd be us," Lee called out as she and the others approached.
Evan looked surprised by this. "You got humans to help you?"
"So what was their deal, Mikau?" Japas asked next, flipping his "hair" aside. "Why did those pirates, like, want that egg so bad?"
"It turns out someone tricked them into thinking that this egg could somehow tell them what was going wrong here in the ocean," Link explained. "But what they didn't know was that this person was the one responsible for all the trouble in the first place. He basically just wanted us and the Gerudo to start fighting each other for whatever reason."
"How barbaric!" the fat Zora exclaimed.
"Calm down, Tijo," Evan spoke up. "So, will we be expecting any more trouble from those pirates?"
Link shook his head. "No; we roughed them up some, but we were able to get them to see how they'd been fooled, in the end."
Evan breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that's good. Now we can get back to rehearsing for the carnival."
Link sighed. "I'm…afraid that's going to have to wait."
All of the other band members looked surprised by this. "Why?" Evan asked.
"I have to destroy the source of the curse afflicting the ocean," Link answered gravely. "And after that, I have to confront the one responsible and stop him from destroying our entire world."
The whole crowd gasped, several of the other Zoras murmuring fearfully to themselves.
"So that moon…it really is falling?" Tijo hesitantly asked.
Link just nodded wordlessly.
"It isn't just the ocean that is suffering, gentlemen," Edd chose this moment to speak up, drawing the crowd's attention towards him. "We've been all around this land, and we've seen all sorts of horrible things happening to innocent people. The waters of the southern swamps have been poisoned, and the Gorons in the north are suffering through an enchanted, never-ending blizzard. And all of it is the work of the same individual who is at this very moment pulling the moon from its orbit and setting it on a collision course with this world."
Evan put a disbelieving hand to his forehead. "Who would even do such a thing, and why? Who in Termina even has that kind of power?!"
"It's a long story that I don't have time to explain," Link replied grimly. "I need to get going; the Gerudo are offering us a ride to the old temple, where the monster that is the source of the ocean's curse is lurking, and we only have two and a half days to bring it down."
"B-before what?" Tijo asked.
"Before that giant-ass rock drops and kills us all," Lee butted in bluntly from where she stood.
Lulu in particular looked crestfallen. "So…you're leaving again."
"Lulu, I have to," Link said. "It's the only way to save our world, and…make it one where our child can grow up happy. Isn't that what you want?"
The Eds and Kankers all silently marveled at Link's audacity at taking such a plunge, but it was more than enough to convince Lulu and the other Zoras. Lulu bowed her head, holding her hands against her chest as tears spilled from her eyes. "Y-yes…it is, but…I will not be happy, if you do not return…" She looked up at him with such anguish and love in her eyes that it utterly tore Link's heart in two. "Please, Mikau…promise me you'll come back…the Indigo-Go's won't be complete without you…and neither will I."
The kids sans Ed, who was too stupid to understand the heavy conversation taking place before him, visibly winced at this. Ouch, Lee in particular thought to herself. That's gonna make coming clean a lot harder for this poor kid.
"I…" Link uttered, not knowing what to say. "I'll come back…when I've defeated the monster in the temple, I'll come back to see you…" Then he looked at Japas. "…and we can finish our jam session too."
"Lookin' forward to it, dude!" Japas said with an eager grin and a thumb's up.
"C'mon, fishstick!" Eddy abruptly yelled in the back. "We're burnin' daylight here!"
"Eddy!" Edd hissed, horrified at his friend's insensitivity.
Link sighed. "He's right. We have to get going."
"A-alright," Lulu quietly said in resignation. "I'll wait for you…in our special spot."
Link slowly began walking back towards the back entrance of the Hall with his human friends in tow, and his Hylian-enhanced hearing allowed him to catch Lulu's final, whispered words to him; "I love you, Mikau."
Link ran the rest of the way out.
When the others made it back out, they discovered that Link was now sitting in the boat, back in his Hylian form, the Zora Mask discarded at his feet as he sat there, hugging his arms around his knees. As they got closer, they realized the young hero was crying to himself. Wordlessly, the others all got into the boat as well, with Lee starting up the motor…
…only for it to die with a pathetic splutter.
"Ah, what?!" Lee growled, punching the motor. "Are you freakin' kidding me?!"
Eddy snapped his fingers. "Monobrow, you know what to do!"
Ed leaned over the edge of the boat by the motor and pulled harshly on his ear, causing his lips to sputter. He pulled again, this time even harder, and then his lips began, against all logic, to vibrate with the speed and strength of a motor, and the dunderhead dipped his face into the water, rocketing the boat onward back towards the Pirates' Fortress.
"Jeez, talk about motormouth," Lee mused at the sight.
"There is something fundamentally wrong with this guy!" Tatl shrieked as she flew along with them.
"It's Ed," Eddy remarked. "Enough said."
"Hey, that rhymes!" May cried.
Eddy rolled his eyes.
Edd and Marie, on the other hand, had noticed that Link had, for once, totally ignored Ed's physics-defying antics, his eyes squeezed shut as he silently sobbed. With Lee, Eddy, Ed, and May otherwise occupied, Edd, Marie, and Link shuffled over to the boy hero, sitting on either side of him.
"Hey…you okay there, little man?" Marie softly asked.
Link said nothing, only sniffing and wiping his cheek.
Edd hesitantly put a comforting hand on Link's back as he said, "If there's anything you want to talk about, we're willing to hear it. What you did back there was very brave, and…"
"No, it wasn't."
Edd and Marie jolted. "What?" Edd uttered.
Link looked up, his eyes red and puffy as he hiccupped. "Mikau and Lulu…t-they were lovers. That egg was their child. I was impersonating her dead lover! And a-after everything she said…h-how could I tell her the truth now?! I should have told them the truth right then and there, b-but I couldn't because I was scared! The look in her eyes she gave me… Telling her what really happened to Mikau…it'll destroy her."
"You can't impersonate Mikau forever," Marie gently reminded him. "You know that. Sooner or later, the truth's gotta come out. It's not fair to her or yourself to try and keep up the charade any more than you have to."
"What would you do?" Link challenged accusingly, bitterness heavy in his tone. "What would you do if, one day, Double D left to do something dangerous, leaving you to worry, and finally he returns safe and sound, only for him to reveal himself as a stranger wearing Double D's face as a mask, telling you that the man you loved had died and was never coming back?"
Marie had to admit, that put things in pretty good perspective for her. "I…" she began, knowing that Edd was curious of her answer as well. "I'll be honest, I don't know what I would do if I lost my Ovenmitt." At this, Edd blushed and looked away sheepishly. "From the moment I laid eyes on him, I was head over heels. Sure I liked expressing it in our rough-and-tumble way, but that didn't change the fact that my feelings for him are real. If he died…a part of me would die with him."
Edd was floored by this. "M-Marie, I…"
Marie held up a hand to indicate that she wasn't finished as she continued, "But you know what? I'd learn to move on. For his sake and my own. That's what people do. Even if I lost Double D, I still have my family, and as much as we like to fight, I love my sisters to bits and pieces. Yeah, Lulu will be devastated at the news, but…she's got a kid to look out for now. As that kid grows up, she'll learn to move on too, because that kid'll be there to heal her broken heart and remind her that she's not alone in the world."
Link said nothing, staring up at her in wonder.
"Wow, Marie," Tatl remarked. "That was really wise for someone your age."
Marie just shrugged. "I'm just human."
Tatl flitted over and perched on Link's shoulder. "Link…I know I'm often not the nicest fairy to be around…especially in the beginning…but…you have the biggest heart out of anyone I've ever met. I've never met someone as selfless and just intrinsically good as you. I know it hurts having to do all this…but you're doing it because you care. You even care for the thoughts and feelings of total strangers. Everything you're doing now…a coward would have just turned away from. You are not a coward; you're just big-hearted. Jeez, I sound like I'm rambling but, seriously…"
There was no more she felt needed to be said, and the three of them waited for Link's response as his eyes darted between them. Finally the kid smiled and sniffed. "Thanks, you guys. I really needed that."
Edd returned his smile. "Anytime, Link. That's what friends do."
"Hate to spoil the tender mood," Lee interrupted suddenly, "but we're here."
They all looked up to see the entrance to the fortress slowly opening for them, and inside, they could see numerous pirates bustling about as they prepared their ship for launch. Several of them stopped to stare as the kids made their way to the dock through the power of Ed's literal motormouth. Once they reached the dock, Ed lifted his head out of the water as his lips returned to normal, chuckling stupidly. "My face tickles."
Aveil walked up to them, her eyes wide. "That kid…was he just…?"
"Yes," Lee bluntly replied. "Meet Ed, the Profoundly Disturbed."
"Fear me!" Ed proclaimed, growling like a monster.
Aveil quirked an eyebrow at this.
"This here's the rest of my traveling sideshow, Double D, Eddy, Link, Tatl, and my sisters Marie and May."
"Your traveling sideshow?!" Eddy indignantly scoffed.
"Pipe down, dreamboat!" Lee yelled, shaking a fist threateningly. "Ladies are conductin' business over here!"
Eddy harrumphed and folded his arms, sulking in silence.
Aveil scoffed at this. "Well, you certainly know how to handle your man. I can appreciate that."
Lee shrugged. "So, she ready to sail?"
"She will be shortly," Aveil answered, turning around and heading back up the ramp onto the ship.
Lee and the others all followed her, taking in their surroundings with wonderment. "Welcome aboard the Iron Maiden," Aveil declared grandly.
"Iron Maiden, huh?" Lee commented with a grin. "Has a nice ring to it."
The Kankers each ran their hands over the oaken railings, while Edd had to restrain Eddy from attempting to pilfer the contents of a nearby treasure chest. "This is so awesome, Lee!" May excitedly whispered. "A pirate ship! We're on a real pirate ship!"
"High-seas adventure with badass female pirates and our men along for the ride," Marie remarked wistfully. "It's like something straight out of a dream."
Lee rolled her eyes. "There ya two go, lettin' your imaginations get the better of ya."
"Admit it, Lee," Marie flatly replied. "You know it's awesome."
"I do know it's awesome! I'm just mature enough not to act like a freakin' five-year-old in a candy shop!"
Meanwhile, Ed had found his way over to the wheel, and he stared at it for a moment before he loudly declared, "On the wheel, Mister Turner!"
He then seized it and began steering, humming the Pirates of the Caribbean theme to himself as he did so. As the ship was anchored in place, it thankfully wasn't going anywhere while Ed played around. However, he was soon nudged aside as one of the pirates took over. "Leave the steering to the professionals, kid," she chastised him.
Ed cheerfully saluted. "Aye aye, Cap'n Redneck!"
The helmswoman's eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets as she uttered, "What did you call me?"
All on board were suddenly treated to the strange sight of one of the Gerudo pirates chasing after a laughing Ed, screaming profanities as she did so. Eddy used the distraction to steal a handful of gold pieces from the chest and stuff them in Edd's zippered pocket, the sock-hatted teen unaware of the action. After the helmswoman calmed down, Aveil finally determined that the Maiden was ready for launch and cried out, "Weigh anchor, all hands! Prepare to set sail!"
May giddily jumped up and down as she watched the pirates around her work, overwhelmed with excitement. Belowdecks, huge oars emerged from the ship's sides, rowed by teams of Gerudo pirates, and steered the ship out of the cove and into the open ocean. With the wind at their backs, the masts unfurled, hauling the Iron Maiden towards its destination.
(First Day, 3:45 pm, 62 hours, 15 minutes remain)
Edd leaned over the railings, looking out towards the sea and the distant structure that served as their destination. He breathed deeply, taking in the salty scent of the ocean breeze and listening to the sounds of pirates performing their tasks behind him.
"Oh, Double Deeee~" a familiar voice crooned suddenly from behind.
Edd straightened and turned around. "Yes, Ma…rie?"
Standing there, performing a sexy pose, was the blue-haired Kanker sister, now clad in the attire of the Gerudo pirates. Her curvaceous belly was in total view, and the more he gawked, the harder he found it to contain his own primal urges. Dear God, she looked hot in that. "M-M-M-M-Marie, w-w-why are y-y-you w-w-w-wearing s-s-such r-r-r-r-r-r-revealing attire?!"
Marie grinned widely. "Since we're on a pirate ship and all that, my sisters 'n I decided we needed to dress the part, so we asked that Aveil chick for some extra sets of clothes. Jeez, Double D, you're blushing even more now than you were when I was just in my bra!"
Edd pulled his hat down all the way over his head to contain his fierce blush, but Marie just laughed as she forcefully pulled it back up, her face hovering just inches from Edd's own. "You know you want it, Double D," she purred, batting her eyelashes seductively.
A part of her was expecting Edd to immediately back out out of fear, so she was surprised when Edd's reply was instead a stammered, "M-Marie…a-a-are you r-r-really sure about t-this?"
Her answer was a slow, soft, "Are you?"
Edd's eyes darted about as he tried to think of a logical, reasonable way of answering her question. "I…for the longest time, I was deathly afraid of being touched. W-when I was young, the only tactile contact I ever received from others was through the fists of local bullies who antagonized me because of who I am, how I think, how I even talk. My parents never hugged me, or held me when I cried, a-and even after I met Ed and Eddy and became friends with them, I didn't permit them to touch me, because I had come to associate physical contact with pain. It took years and years of them virtually ignoring my protests before I even began to let up, no longer flinching whenever Eddy put a hand on my shoulder, or panicking when Ed wrapped me up in one of his bear hugs. I…I'm scared of the idea, b-but…at the same time…I do…I do want to know what it's like…t-to hold someone close. Someone you care about…someone you love…" Now it was Marie's turn to blush fiercely as Edd took her hand in his own, looking deep into her eyes with such trust and emotion. "I-I want to know what it's like…to feel the pleasure of…physical affection."
"A-are…are you asking me to have sex with you?" Marie whispered in shock, her face redder than a freshly-peeled grapefruit.
"W-we're a little young t-to be actually p-p-performing such a deed," Edd stammered, fidgeting with his free hand. "But you said it yourself…there's more than one way to express physical affection."
Marie blinked as realization dawned on her. "Pseudo-sex…all the foreplay without the heavy action." Then she smiled broadly. "Yeah…yeah, I can do that. C'mon, Ovenmitt. We got some time before we reach that old temple. Time just to ourselves…"
Taking the lead, she led a profusely-sweating Edd over to the door that led into the cargo hold, where they could have a few minutes of privacy. Unbeknownst to either of them, their conversation had not gone unnoticed. From where she stood near the helm, observing the surrounding ocean, Aveil smirked to herself. A girl doesn't really begin to live till she's bedded her first man, she thought.
Link watched as Marie closed the door behind her, and he quietly asked, "Are they going to do what I think they're doing?"
"Darn right," Lee replied, back in her Gerudo attire with her arms folded. "About time my sisters started gettin' some action of their own. They're finally growin' up…" She wiped a mock tear off her cheek.
"Those two," Tatl remarked out loud. "What they have between them…that's something really special. It's not just puppy love. You can tell it's real. It's really real…"
Lee quirked an unseen eyebrow. "Someone sounds a little jealous over there."
Tatl, instead of vehemently denying it, just sighed, her wings sagging a bit. "Maybe I am…just a little."
The moment was ruined as Eddy, having grown seasick, leaned over the side and spilled his guts out into the waiting sea with a rousing, "HRAAAAWWWK!"
Marie led Edd by the hand over to a secluded area hidden by some water barrels before turning around to face him. "Are you ready for this, Double D?" she asked seriously, holding both his hands. "If you're not…"
"I am," Edd interrupted. "I-I…I am ready."
Never taking her eyes off him, she slowly let go of his hands, her fingers trailing up to his chest and wrapping around the fabric of his shirt. At his questioning look, she giggled. "What, you didn't think you were gonna do this fully dressed, did you?"
Blushing, Edd replied, "No, I s-suppose not."
"Then make it easier on yourself and help me out," she ordered with a sultry grin.
Slowly, gently, Edd's orange shirt began to slide up, revealing more and more of his bare torso. It slipped past his belly button, then his nipples, and finally finished his ascent over his head as Marie tossed the article of clothing aside. Though his body was lanky and without significant muscle, there was no less hunger in her eyes as she looked his bare chest up and down from nipple to navel. "Now," she purred in his ear, setting his blood on fire, "do me. Help me get these leggings off."
His blush deepening, Edd nevertheless complied, slowly kneeling down as he gently put his hands around the fabric hugging her waist, sliding it down her legs, revealing her black panties and smooth, white legs. As she quietly slipped her bare feet out of her discarded Gerudo leggings, Edd could not contain his desire any longer. Her skin was so smooth, so pale, so perfect. He slowly put his hands around her right leg and lowered his face down to kiss her bare skin. His breath sent shivers up her spine, setting her hair on end and her heart racing. She drew her head back, closing her eyes as she began to lose herself in their growing act of passion. Finally she opened her eyes and looked down. "Your turn, Ovenmitt," she said with a groan of mild ecstacy. "On your back."
Edd complied, mesmerized by the heat of the moment they were sharing as Marie straddled him, pulling off his shoes and socks before undoing the zipper of his shorts and gently sliding them off. This was it; this was the moment she had waited for, dreamed of, for four long years. Positioning herself over his waist, Marie flicked her hair out from under her eyes as she asked, "So, you a dom or a sub?"
Edd blinked in total confusion. "Uh…what?"
Marie rolled her eyes. "You like bein' on top or on the bottom?"
"I-I have no idea," Edd replied uncertainly. "This is my first experience, after all."
Marie's grin widened. "I guess we'll just have to experiment then, won't we?"
Marie leaned down, pinning Edd's arms to the floor as they engaged in a slow, passionate kiss. Their tongues coiled around one another like snakes enjoying their own moment of ecstacy. Eventually they broke apart, and Marie began kissing and sucking at Edd's neck, both of them unable to suppress the grunts of pleasure that escaped their throats. Her hot breath made his skin prickle as goosebumps rose, and he felt certain parts of his body react to the hormones raging through him. Marie felt it and grinned mid-kiss. "Someone's gettin' excited, huh?"
"Oh m-my," Edd stuttered weakly.
"Shh," Marie replied, putting a finger on Edd's lips. "Don't be ashamed, Double D."
Marie continued to kiss Edd's neck until she slowly began to venture further down his chest, and Edd let out an undignified yelp of surprise as she licked at his left nipple. Hearing this, she drew back, a look of concern on her face. "Too fast?"
Edd recovered and shook his head. "No…this is all j-just…new to me. B-but I think I'm starting to enjoy it."
Marie grinned. "Glad to know I'm doin' something right."
And then, to her great surprise, Edd suddenly rolled over, and before she knew it, they had switched places, with Edd now on top and Marie on the bottom. Marie blinked in surprise as she grinned. "Holy shit, I didn't think you'd be this adventurous."
"You said we should experiment, did you not?" Edd pointed out. "I've tried one position, now I must investigate the other."
"Don't overthink it, Ovenmitt," Marie quipped.
Edd responded by kissing her once more, their hands groping each other's backs and torsos as their hormones went wild. Then, the sock-hatted boy decided to take a page out of Marie's book and began leaving a trail of kisses as he ventured down her chest and belly, Marie shivering with excitement. He then stopped when he saw that he had reached her belly button, a part of her body he was well-accustomed to, considering she always made sure that, no matter what she wore, it could always be seen. He hesitated; he had an idea, but he was conflicted. Belly buttons were notorious for being particularly filthy, since most people just didn't bother to clean them right, but he also knew they were a major erogenous zone, particularly for women. And he wanted to please Marie any way he could, since he was so far out of his element he didn't know what else to do. Making his decision, he gently planted his lips on Marie's round innie, his tongue slipping into the scar for a brief moment. It was enough to make Marie squirm as she let out a high-pitched giggle. "A-ha! D-Double D! When did you figure that out?!"
Edd lifted his head up, and actually managed a sultry grin of his own. "That you have a navel fetish? Besides the fact that I am quite aware that the umbilical scar is one of the most erogenous zones on a woman's body? You take great pains to ensure that people can always see it no matter what you wear, which someone would only do if they wanted people to look."
Marie frowned, but it only half-hid the smile tugging at the corner of her lips. "Double D, nobody calls it the umbilical scar."
"It doesn't change the fact that I am correct, does it?" Edd smirked. "To imagine that an Ed would finally discover a Kanker's weakness…"
Marie's cheeks were as red as a rose as she murmured, "Damn you, Double D."
Edd responded by abruptly sticking his finger in her navel and twirling it around, causing Marie to collapse into a fit of hysterical giggles. "What was that, Marie?" Edd asked mischievously.
"YAHAHAHAHAHA! DOUBLE DEE-HEE-HEE, YOU JER-HER-HERK! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Edd laughed along with her, realizing that he had really, really enjoyed this experience.
And then, without warning, there was a muffled boom, and the whole ship lurched. It was enough to cause Edd to lose his balance and fall on his side next to Marie. "Ow!" Edd cried. "What in Sam Hill…?"
Marie was on her feet in an instant. "C'mon! Let's get our clothes back on 'n see what's up!"
Marie and Edd returned to the deck to find their friends and the pirates clamoring about, trying to figure out what had hit the ship. Beyond that, they couldn't see much; while they had been inside the cargo hold, a thick fog had enveloped the ship.
"What's going on?" Edd called out.
"Don't know!" Link answered as he looked over the side railing. "First this thick fog came up out of nowhere, and then something hit the ship! And now we're not moving!"
"Have we struck a reef?" Edd asked.
"Possibly," Aveil answered from behind the wheel. "It's almost impossible to see where we're going because of this damned fog."
And then the ship lurched yet again, harder this time. "What the hell's going on?!" Eddy cried.
Aveil's eyes widened. A reef wouldn't strike a ship twice. Only one thing out here could possibly do something like that. "Everyone! Arm yourselves! Ready on the guns!"
Immediately the other Gerudo clamored for their weapons and took positions around the cannons and harpoon launchers, while Link and the others looked on in mounting concern.
"Aveil! What's this all about?!" Link demanded, drawing his own sword just in case.
As if in answer, the water exploded next to them, the ship lurching yet again and knocking several pirates off their feet. They all looked up, their faces collectively draining of color at the glowing green eyes glaring back at them. A massive, black serpent with green, coral-like markings leered over the ship, regarding the crew hungrily.
"Oh my God," Marie breathed in horror.
"SEA SNAAAAAKE!" Aveil screamed.
This spurred the sea monster into action as it struck, its beaked mouth seizing hold of an unfortunate pirate. Her screams were cut short as the serpent swallowed her whole.
"YAAAAAAAH!" Eddy screamed, looking for cover. "EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!"
This, however, attracted the sea snake's attention, and it lunged at him. Seeing this, Marie quickly fired an arrow from her bow, striking it in the side of its neck. The monster roared as it drew back, shaking its head side to side as it rounded on Marie. Suddenly Tatl flitted in front of the sea serpent's eyes, blocking its vision. "Hey! Hey!" she cried. "Look at me!"
The sea serpent hissed as it snapped at her, but Tatl was too quick. It was like trying to swat a fly. She flew downward towards the deck, while Marie watched, thinking, What the hell is that fairy doing?
The serpent lunged at her, its head now flat on the deck as it missed yet again. Suddenly, with a yell, Link leapt into the air from where he had been waiting and slashed his sword deep into the snake's neck. The monster screeched in agony, but was quickly silenced when Link struck again, fully beheading it. The head tumbled into the ocean, while the body slunk off the ship and to join it in Davy Jones's Locker.
Relieved, everyone let out a rousing cheer.
And then, to everyone's shock and dread, two more sea snakes appeared on either side of the ship, enraged by the demise of their comrade.
"Oh, you gotta be kidding me!" Lee cried, looking between each looming monster.
One of the sea serpents turned towards the eldest Kanker and lunged at her before she could even think to move. But the snake's head was intercepted by a mighty blow from a freshly-transformed Goron Ed's fist, snapping that giant fanged maw sideways before it slithered back into the water, dazed. Ed beat on his chest and howled like King Kong for dramatic effect. However, the second serpent immediately took the opportunity to seize Ed in its jaws, thrashing about as it tried to crack his rock-hard Goron hide. Ed screamed in pain even as he tried to swat at its face and pry open its mouth.
"ED!" Edd cried in horror, unleashing flames from his Poe's Lantern at the sea serpent.
The cursed violet flames engulfed the serpent, causing it to release Ed as it sank back under the water to recover, while Ed crashed hard onto the deck in a daze.
"Ed, are you alright?!" Edd cried, rushing to his friend's side.
"Oowww, I hurt all over, Double D…" Ed moaned.
"Just hang on there, Ed, you'll be al…"
He was interrupted by the sudden return of the second serpent, its body still hissing steam from the doused flames. Its glowing eyes were full of rage as it roared down at Ed and Edd.
"GET AWAY FROM MY BOYFRIEND!" Marie screeched, loosing a Fire Arrow at the snake.
However, the ship lurched yet again just as she released, and her shot went wide. Meanwhile, the other sea snake had just wiped out the last harpoon gun, leaving the ship virtually defenseless. Harpoons and arrows protruded from its body, but the monster had persevered. The surviving pirates were exhausted from the fight, and Aveil knew they were probably finished.
May and Marie rushed over to Edd, who had forcibly removed the Goron Mask from Ed's unconscious face. "We gotta get him belowdecks!" Marie cried.
Marie's heart dropped when she saw the look of despair in Edd's eyes. "It's no use, Marie… We're…we're not going to survive this."
Link raised his shield, watching the first snake rear up for another strike. But it was easy to tell that he didn't know what else to do. "At this rate, they'll destroy the ship!" Tatl cried. "Link! The Zora Mask! Use the Zora Mask!"
Knowing he had no other options, Link slapped the mask over his face and turned back into a Zora, leaping into the water just in time to avoid the serpent's attack.
Meanwhile, the second serpent reared back, its jaws opening wide. "Marie, May, get back!" Edd cried.
"Oh, no fucking way, Double D!" Marie shouted back, hugging him defiantly. "Look at me, Double D. Look at me."
With tears in his eyes, he met Marie's gaze, knowing that she wanted their last moments to be spent looking in each other's eyes, not knowing when precisely the end would hit them. May wept openly as she grasped Ed's hand, staring up at the looming snake. Lee's eyes went wide with horror, but she was too far away to reach them in time, and she had nothing to hurt the monster with. "NO! NO!"
And then…something else happened.
Something huge exploded out of the water behind the second serpent, and the monster had no time to react before an even bigger set of jaws clamped around it with enough force to slice it gruesomely in half. The upper half slammed back into the water as the lower half sunk below the crashing waves, revealing their savior.
"Is that a giant turtle?!" Eddy marveled from his hiding spot.
By this time, the remaining serpent had rounded on the newest intruder, hissing as it drew itself up to its full height, its head level with the top of the masts. Everyone watched in awe as the massive sea turtle placed itself almost protectively between the ship and the snake, a pair of palm trees swaying on the top of its shell.
There was one among their number who, even through his pain, could not contain his excitement.
"GIANT MONSTER FIGHT!" Ed howled with utter delight even as he lay prone on the deck with May trying to see to his injuries.
"Oh my," Edd uttered in dismay. "Giant monster confrontations were always portrayed as causing such wanton destruction. I hope we don't suffer the same fate…"
With a snarling hiss, the sea serpent lunged at the sea turtle's vulnerable head, but missed as the opposing reptile rammed into it, waves crashing against the helpless ship at the giant sea monsters' movement. The sea snake slithered away from the turtle's snapping jaws and then retaliated by wrapping its body around the turtle's massive shell, trapping it within its coils.
The giant turtle thrashed and bucked, but the sea serpent held tight, its head rising up before trying to strike at the turtle's head. The turtle, however, seemed to know it was coming, and ducked its head into the safety of its shell. From where the serpent's head was positioned, it could not maneuver its own head to get inside the shell, and snapped at it several more times in futility before it abruptly changed strategy.
The serpent suddenly switched targets and instead bit down on the turtle's fin, eliciting a rumbling groan of pain from the creature. Even as the turtle continued to thrash, the serpent thrashed its head in turn, trying to rip its enemy's fin off.
"We have to help Mr. Turtle!" Ed cried, slapping the Goron Mask back on as he sluggishly hoisted himself to his feet.
"How?!" Edd cried. "The sea serpents destroyed all the harpoon guns and cannons, and we…!"
A huge wave of water splashed across the deck at that moment as the giant ocean reptiles continued to fight for survival, rudely interrupting Edd as we was promptly soaked.
"AGH! GOOD GOD, I'M SO WET!" Edd wailed in misery.
"Hey! Where's Link?!" Lee suddenly shouted, whipping her head around. "I don't see 'im anywhere!"
At that, the same horrifying thought occurred to all of them, their hearts collectively dropping to the pit of their stomachs as they all looked around and saw no sign of the boy hero.
May's eyes went wide with brimming tears as she gasped, "D-did one of the snakes get him?!"
Edd's panic-stricken gaze darted between his friends and the fighting monsters, where he could clearly tell that the turtle was in trouble. How could this have all gone so wrong…?
Suddenly all attention was drawn to a bright blue light and the crackling of magical electricity that bloomed beneath the mighty bulks of the giant reptiles. Then, the unmistakable form of Zora Link sprang out of the water like a flying fish, his body wreathed in an aura of blue lightning as he leaped at the back of the unsuspecting serpent's neck.
The serpent shrieked and recoiled as it was struck with thousands of volts of electricity as Link made contact with it, magnified by the water around them. As a result, it let go of the turtle's fin, and its constricting grip slackened.
The turtle, seemingly sensing that the tide had turned, suddenly submerged, taking Link and the sea snake with it.
"LINK!" the Eds and Kankers collectively cried.
Unbeknownst to them, Link was following the two monsters deeper beneath the surface into darker waters, Tatl tailing him, her fairy body rendering her immune to the effects of water.
"We'll hit the bottom any second now!" Tatl cried.
And indeed they promptly did, and a muffled boom echoed in their ears as the turtle slammed the dazed snake against the sea floor. The serpent released its hold and swam into the darkness, but Link knew it wasn't done yet.
The turtle seemed to know too, as it braced itself for attack. Momentarily it looked down at Link, and in that one, brief gaze, the young hero could see a keen intelligence and wisdom that far surpassed that of any normal animal. It was the gaze of the truly ancient and wise. He found himself abruptly reminded of the Great Deku Tree.
Then the turtle's gaze returned to the murk of the lower depths all around them, waiting for the serpent to show itself.
Finally, the glowing green eyes revealed the beast's presence as it burst out of the dark, its maw open wide as it struck not at the turtle, but at Link. The transformed hero yelped as he instinctively swam to the right towards the turtle, the serpent's jaws barely missing him.
The turtle immediately seized its chance. As the sea snake swam around to refocus its attention on its larger enemy, the turtle rammed it again, smashing the snake against the floor. But the snake retaliated by clamping its jaws around the turtle's head, preventing it from pulling its head back into its shell.
Link didn't hesitate; coating his outer body in magical electricity just like Mikau's spirit had shown him, Link swam up to the struggling beasts and sliced a long, deep gash in the sea snake's side with his electrified fin blade. The sea snake shrieked as it seized violently, letting go of the turtle's head.
The turtle then delivered the coup de grace in the form of a final snap that sliced the snake in two, slaying it once and for all.
Meanwhile, everyone else on the ship held their breath as the ocean waters stilled. No one said anything; none knew what they could possibly say. Aveil gripped the wheel so tight her knuckles were white. Gerudo pirates warily scanned the fog around them, armed with spears and bows. The Eds and Kankers all leaned over the railings, calling out Link's name. Even Eddy was doing it, despite almost always referring to Link by one of the many nicknames he had come up with for him.
"Link!" Edd called out.
"Link?!" Marie hollered, cupping her hands to make herself louder.
"Link, c'mon, where are ya, man?!" Eddy yelled, unable to keep the worry out of his voice.
Finally they all started as a vast shape broke the water's surface, but not enough to where the ship rocked violently or capsized. After managing to maintain their footing, the Iron Maiden's crew and her guests all looked up to see the giant turtle from before looming over the ship with a majestic air of authority and wisdom. And standing on its back, his arm gripping one of the palm trees, was Zora Link, grinning as he waved his free hand at them.
"LINK!" they all chorused.
"Thank God, he's alive!" Edd proclaimed with a relieved laugh.
And I might not be had it not been for him.
They all gasped with shock as the turtle actually spoke, in a voice much like a wizened old man who had seen far more of the world than anyone could in a single lifetime.
Hyeh, hyeh, hyeh…after your encounters with the talking owl, you are surprised at a talking turtle?
Edd, not wanting to seem rude, cleared his throat, sensing that this being was very ancient and deserved great respect. "We apologize, sir. We're, uh…not exactly from around here…"
The turtle chuckled as it bobbed its head up and down. Yes…I have already gathered that much, young ones. None of you are of this world, and yet all the same, you have the strength of heart and purity of character to defy the will of great evil and save this land from a terrible fate.
"Why does everyone keep assuming I joined this damn quest willingly?!" Eddy complained, and was promptly smacked upside the head by Lee for his trouble.
Instead of ignoring him, however, the turtle sagely replied, You continue to claim that, and yet despite all the hardships you face, you still stand by your friends. You complain as little more than formality, but were it your choice, you would not leave them behind to return to your world, would you?
Eddy looked like he wanted to protest for a moment, but instead sighed as his shoulders sagged. "Yeah, I guess…"
The turtle chortled again. By the command of the gods, I must only watch the world pass by from my deep slumber. But the plight of this land awakened me and called me to your aid.
Edd bowed his head in reverence. "And we are eternally grateful to you, sir."
You seek the ancient temple beyond this unnatural fog, where the source of the evil spell plaguing the ocean resides, correct?
"Yes, sir," Edd replied with a nod.
"But we can't see anywhere in this damn fog!" Marie piped up.
"And the Maiden's taken a real beating from those things," Aveil uttered, not knowing what to think of the giant talking turtle.
The giant turtle shook his head. You will not be able to find your way to the temple on your own. This fog is enchanted to turn away all but the most determined beings. However, I can take you there.
"You'll really do that for us?" May asked in wonder.
The turtle sank down into the water enough that his back was level with the deck.
Quickly, climb onto my back. The seas of Great Bay have need of your might.
As the teenagers began to awkwardly clamber up onto the shell and joined Link, Edd turned back towards the pirates and asked, "What about them?"
At this, the turtle passed a brief glance over the ship. I have faith in these brave travelers. Anchor your ship here and wait, for when the curse is broken, this eldritch fog will lift, and you can find your way back home.
"D-drop anchor?! Here?!" Aveil exclaimed. "But what if more of those sea snakes show up?!"
The turtle bobbed his head again. No more will trouble you here. Those three were the only ones to take up residence in this stretch of ocean.
"Everyone grab onto a tree," Link advised as they all climbed atop the island-like back of the shell.
As they all grabbed on, Edd managed a chuckle as his adrenaline fizzled out completely. "You know, this reminds me of a Disney movie I once saw as a child," he mused out loud. "Aladdin and the Forty Thieves, I believe it was."
"Oh, oh! I remember that movie!" Ed cried, having returned to his human form. "With the Hand of Midas that turns everything it touches into pure gold!"
"Quite right, Ed," Edd nodded. "But of special note was the fact that, if I recall correctly, the Hand of Midas was inside a lost city that resided on the back of a giant turtle."
The turtle chuckled below them as it began to swim. How interesting.
So there you go. This chapter has everything; romance, angst, humor, action, and of course, an obligatory giant monster fight.
I admit, it's gonna be a while before I update this again, but it is NOT DEAD.