CHAPTER ELEVEN: KING AND TYRANT

 

 

 

 

 

 

            As the huge stone door slid open, Rei steeled his will and drew his sword. Each step more difficult to take than the previous one, he entered into the Goron throne room, unsure of what kind of danger that lurked inside. Meanwhile, outside of the throne room, Damodred and Talien were having a casual conversation.

            "So," Damodred began, folding her arms, "How long do you think until he needs our help?"

            "I hope you're being sarcastic," Was Talien's response.

            "Good point," She replied, and sat down.

 

***

 

            "King of the wind!" Rei shouted, holding his sword out in front of him. "I am Rei Elanis of the Sheikah, and I will destroy you!" he hoped that he sounded intimidating. It was at that point when he actually saw the King of the Wind, and if he weren't so nervous, he would have rolled over laughing.

            The King of the Wind was roughly three feet in height, and shaped like a sack of flour. Its skin was a yellowish colour, and its face seemed placed squarely on the head-shaped lump at the top of its body, in between the two small horns. The King lacked limbs, so to speak, but he did possess claw-like hands and feet that probably were useful for movement. The creature sat grinning on the Goron throne, resembling no more than a seat cushion with delusions of grandeur.

            "So... they finally sent somebody, did they?" The King remarked in a high-pitched voice as he climbed down off the throne. "Well, then... I hope you're ready to meet the gods!"

            It was at this point that Rei laughed. The King of the Wind gave him a stern look for a second, but Rei kept on laughing. When he finally got a hold of himself again, Rei held up his sword in one of the combat positions that he'd learned in the last two weeks.

            "So... you're the King of the Wind? You're a lot... smaller than I expected." The Wind King only laughed at him.

            "Fool! I control the powers of the Wind itself! Come and try to defeat me, if you wish!" As if to accentuate the point, the King clenched his fists, producing a small breeze in the room.

            Rei stopped, and began to consider the fact that the Wind King might actually be a tough opponent. He drew in a deep breath and charged, slashing his sword with all of his might. The King hopped up into the air, easily dodging it, and floated there for a second.

            "Tornado Fang!" He shouted, conjuring up a miniature cyclone. Rei leapt to the side right before it would have hit him, then rolled and stabbed at the King again. The creature landed just in time to avoid being skewered, and jumped at Rei full force, in an attempt to tackle him. Rei saw it coming and drew up his right arm to block, accidentally backhanding the King and sending him rolling into the wall. Taking immediate advantage of the situation, Rei flung himself once more at the Wind King, and this time his slash hit home.

            The creature fell back again, and landed where his posterior would be if he had had a recognizable torso. He scowled at Rei.

            "Ow!" He shouted, with a shocked look on his face, "What the heck do you think you're doing? That HURT!"

            "Huh?" Rei asked, puzzled. "I thought that we were fighting to the death."

            "Yeah, we are," The King said, getting up, "But I'M supposed to be the one killing YOU, not the other way around!"

            "What? Where'd you get that idea?"

            The King of the Wind sighed. "Look, Mr. Big Shiekah on a Mission, I'm the Mighty and Terrible King of the Wind. NOBODY is supposed to be able to beat me- EVER! And here I am, being a perfectly good villain, when you barge in and start whacking away with that pointy metal stick of yours!"

            Rei was now getting visibly annoyed. "Yes, but that's my job. And besides- shouldn't the hero be the one to slay the foul monster?"

            The King stopped to think for a second, and realized that he was cornered. Storybook logic had defeated him. However, there was still the trump card left to play.

            "Oh, is that so?" he asked Rei, grinning. "Well, let me introduce you to someone..."

            Drawing in a deep breath, the King of the Wind shouted at the top of his lungs. "Oh, BIG BRO-O-O-O-THER!!!!"

            A primeval roar was heard from the secret hallway behind the Goron throne.

 

***

 

            Damodred looked up after hearing the noise. She turned to Talien.

            "Tyrant?" She asked.

            "Tyrant." Came the response.

            "Oh, well," She commented, pulling out a cloth and wiping the blade of her longer sword until it shone again.

 

***

 

            Presently, the loud stomping ceased, and the Goron Throne began to move, as though it were being pushed. It was lifted up by whatever it was that bore the name "Big Brother," and throne into a corner of the room, missing the King by roughly three inches, and nearly ruining his day.

            "Meet my Big Brother," The King of the Wind commented, "The Tyrant of the Wind."

            The Tyrant stood at over eight feet, and was nearly as far around as he was tall. Built entirely of muscle, the Tyrant had a definite, beach-ball-esque physique, two very huge and very muscular arms, and a face that implied a total lack of all intelligence. Its stubby legs looked as though they could barely hold up the huge bulk of the thing, but they were doing their job all right. Presently, the Tyrant opened his mouth and spoke.

            "Wimpy boy hurt my brother?" he grunted, looking down at Rei. Rei gulped.

            "Yes, he did," The King intoned, walking up toward his brother. "He hurt me real bad."

            "I'll fix him," The Tyrant growled, clenching his fists. The King hopped up on his shoulders, and grabbed one of the Tyrant's horns with each hand.

            "Here, I'll be your brain for this fight." He said. Both monsters grinned and nodded.

            "I am seriously in trouble," Rei said as he saw the Tyrant-King charging at him. He jumped to the side just in time to avoid the Tyrant's massive fist, which knocked a sizeable hole in the wall where Rei had just been standing.

            Rei scrambled to his feet immediately, and got his sword ready. The Tyrant bellowed loudly, and at the King's guidance, charged Rei again. Rei Elanis leapt in the air and attempted to slash downward, into the Tyrant's throat. His blade met hard, unmoving flesh that gave about as much as a hard rock would have in the same situation. Rei's sword vibrated, and he was sent sprawling to the ground.

            The Tyrant lifted up one foot and stomped at Rei, barely missing the man's head as he dodged out of the way. Rei grabbed his sword on the fly, and ran to the other end of the room. He charged again, trying to hit the Wind Tyrant while his back was turned. Rei slashed again and again, each time with the same basic result. he was dulling the blade on his sword, and the tyrant didn't even seem to feel it. In fact, the monster just sat there and let Rei hit him for a while, as if to make the point drive itself home.

            "Guess what," The King said, finally, after Rei stopped his useless barrage, "You're screwed. Royally."

            The Tyrant grabbed Rei by the neck and flung him into the wall. Rei managed to get a hold of himself and doge to the side again just in time to avoid the giant's fist again. This time, the Tyrant's punch hit one of the four pillars in the room, totally decimating it.

            "Darn!" The King shouted, evidentially frustrated, "Just stand still, will you?" They charged at Rei again. Once more, Rei jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding the gigantic beast's fist, and destroying another pillar. It was at this point that Rei got an idea. He ran to the other corner of the room, where there was another of the two remaining pillars. There was a light rumbling noise, and a small crack appeared in the ceiling. Rei saw this and grinned. He had just gotten an idea.

            The Tyrant charged, and again Rei dodged. Just as with the last two times, the Tyrant's fist smashed the pillar, and the crack in the ceiling lengthened. Some dust fell down onto the floor.

            "You... Stop... Dodging!" The king shouted, motioning for his brother to turn around again. Rei dashed back toward the fourth and last pillar, and hoped that his assumption was right.

            For the last time in the fight, the King of the Wind and the Tyrant of the Wind charged full force at Rei. And, for the last time in the fight, Rei dodged to the side just in time to see the Tyrant's fist turn the last remaining pillar to dust. The room shook, and the crack in the ceiling spread to what looked like the breaking point. However, it remained intact.

            The hope drained out of Rei's face as he realized what just happened, or rather, what had just failed to happen.

            This is it, he realized as the Tyrant turned around and faced him again, I'm going to die. These two monsters are actually going to kill me, and I can't fight back. Why did I agree to do this? he asked himself. The King gloated.

            "Well, well, well... I see your little plan there didn't pan out, now, did it?" He chuckled to himself. The Tyrant laughed in a brutish fashion. He drew his huge fist back. "Now," The King began, "About whether or not the hero always vanquishes the monster in the end..."

            It was at that point when the rumbling sound began anew, and an incredibly huge chunk of the ceiling came crashing down on the King and Tyrant's respective heads, stunning them. Rei, seeing his chance, leapt to his feet, dodged beneath the Tyrant's legs, and ran out the door of the throne room a mere fraction of a second before it totally collapsed.

            Rei came rolling out the door. Following him came rubble, dust, and other assorted bits of wreckage. The sounds from the room were akin to that of an earthquake, and presently, they fell silent.

            Damodred looked up casually at the mess, and shrugged. Talien jumped to his feet, the astonishment showing on his face.

            "Rei... what the heck..."

            Rei looked back and realized that he had just totally destroyed the Goron Throne room.

            "Oops..." Rei said, realizing what had just happened. "Was I supposed to do that?"

            Before Talien could answer, though, a very bruised and very dusty King of the Wind, riding on top of a very dirty and very battered Tyrant of the Wind. They did not look amused.

            "...The HECK?!?" Rei exclaimed, "How did you two survive that?"

            The Tyrant growled at Rei. The king of the Wind hopped off his brother's back, and started speaking.

            "It'll take more than a simple landslide of bone-crushing rocks to finish us off!" he shouted, punctuating it with a loud cough or two. Or three. Or four. In fact, the King of the Wind coughed up a sizeable chunk of rock before he could speak again. The King cleared his throat and continued. "However... we do seem to be on the losing side in this matter." After hacking a bit more, the King attempted to strike a pose.

            "Curses!" he shouted, "Foiled again! We shall meet again soon, Mr. hero-guy! And then... everything will be different!"

            The King turned to the Tyrant and nodded. They both lifted up their arms, and shouted "TYPHOON ESCAPE!" in unison. Immediately after saying that, they were taken up in a miniature tornado, and the two strange characters flew out through the gigantic skylight in the top of the Goron City, and made their escape. Rei watched them go.

            "Well..." Talien commented, "They're gone."

            "I failed," Rei said, "Didn't I."

            Before Rei could get his answer, several Gorons came bounding in. One of them was their King. The strange yellow mountain-dwelling creatures looked over the rubble that was all that remained of their throne room, and scratched their heads in unison. Rei felt his entire life flash before his eyes.

            Suddenly, King Link began dancing up and down, and shouting strange grunting phrases in Goron-ese. Presently, all of the others began joining in. Finally, Link turned to Rei and grabbed him in a monstrous bear hug. The Goron began bellowing out Rei's praises.

            "Thank you for beating the bad king, Mr. Hero!" he enthused, still crushing Rei in his tight grip. "From now on, you are BROTHER Rei!" Link kept going. "You beat the bad guys! And look," he said, finally dropping a gasping Rei to the ground. The Goron picked up one of the rocks and began to eat it.

            "You've discovered a whole horde of new yummy, yummy rocks!" Link declared, smiling like a madman. "Creamy quartz filling! Our FAVOURITE!" Link went back to dancing.

            "So... you're not mad at me?" Rei asked when he finally caught his breath.

            Link shook his sizeable head. "Nope! Nope, nope, nope! You saved the day for us! We treat you ALL THREE to a party!"

            "Party?" Rei asked. He noticed Talien slowly backing up. Damodred had already disappeared. Rei turned back toward Link just in time to hear the Goron shouting a three-word phrase which brought chills down his spine.

            "GORON HUG TIME!"

            In the ensuing dogpile, Rei realized why his two companions had done their best to get away. Goron Issues.

 

***

 

            Later, Rei could barely limp, let alone strut around like a conquering hero. The Gorons had nearly killed him with kindness. He still had absolutely no idea where his friends had gone off to, and at this point, he really needed them. They were a way out... a way to escape the Goron Hugs. Finally, Rei found his saviour in the form of Damodred, who approached him from behind.

            "Having trouble?" She asked sarcastically. Rei nodded grimly, and then turned around to face her.

            "What do you think?"

            Damodred smirked, and then folded her arms. "Rei," She began, "Look at yourself. You completely destroyed the Goron throne room, you let both the King and his brother get away, and in spite of that, you lost your sword and were mobbed by a horde of over-grateful Gorons."

            Rei lowered his head. "I'm sorry," he said softly.

            "Sorry?" Damodred asked, looking somewhat confused. "You showed an incredibly amount of ingenuity when it counted- you couldn't have beaten those two otherwise. Why should you be sorry?"

            "What?"

            "In life, nothing ever goes as planned," She explained. "Most of the time, you have to play it by ear, and screw style, form, and technique. Come on," She said, turning around, "Talien's waiting for you. We're getting out of here before the Gorons decide to start up again."

            Rei nodded and follower her out of the Goron city, and over to a waiting Talien.

            Rei smiled at him. "I think the Gorons were tougher on me than the King and Tyrant..."

            Talien nodded, and laughed. "If they'd just hugged those two, they never would have needed us." He gave Rei a concerned look. "You look pretty run-down, Rei," Talien commented, "Are you all right?"

            "What makes you say that?" Rei asked him rather sarcastically.

            "You're leaning on Damodred's shoulder," Talien answered. "That makes you either really desperate, or really stupid."

            Rei started and jumped back from Damodred, nearly losing his balance. She laughed at him.

            "I wondered when you'd notice," She commented, and then went back over to her horse. "Come on, let's get out of here."

            Talien helped Rei up on his horse. "Here, I think I know where we need to stop over before we go back to the castle."

            "Hmm?' Rei asked. "Where, exactly?"

            "You'll see," Talien said with a grin, "And I think you'll be needing it, too."

 

***

 

            The Jidori Hot Springs were known all over Hyrule, and at some point in the last thirty years, they had become a sort of tourist attraction. Either way, that was where Talien had decided Rei needed to go- there was nothing like nearly-boiling hot water to soothe injuries caused by affectionate Gorons.

            Rei and Talien relaxed in one of the springs. Rei felt the strength slowly but surely coming back to him.

            "So, Talien... where's Damodred?" Rei asked.

            "She'll be here," Talien answered, leaning back. "She's probably still changing."

            Rei leaned back a bit and let himself sink somewhat further into the water. "So... I didn't fail at all back there?"

            "Not even nearly," Talien said with a grin, "You made us proud back there, Rei."

            "But I destroyed the Goron throne room, didn't I?" Rei protested in a relaxed fashion. Nearly everything said while in a hot spring was relaxed.

            "Yeah, but they'll rebuild it. And besides, thanks to the destruction, they discovered another deposit of their favourite food. But that's not why we're proud of you."

            "Oh?" Rei cocked an eyebrow. "Why?"

            "You thought on your feet, and showed a lot of ingenuity," Talien answered. "Besides, you were agile enough to avoid the Tyrant's attacks, right? That counted for a lot."

            "Ah... thanks."

            At that moment Damodred walked in, wrapped in a bathrobe.

            "To answer your question," She began, "Yes, I am wearing something underneath this." She took off the robe and hung it up nearby where the others had their towels. "I'd just as soon prefer not to have to deal with every male inhabiting the springs on the way from the dressing rooms to here." She said, walking over to the other two. She was wearing a green two-piece bathing suit, quite modest, but enough to make her point.

            The first thing that Rei noticed was the sheer number of scars on her body. There were none on her face, and with the exception of her right arm, none that could easily be seen while she was fully dressed. It wasn't anything disfiguring, and their presence really didn't seem to detract from anything about her. Her face was relaxed for once, and she looked completely different. Almost beautiful, in fact. Not that Rei would have admitted it had he noticed, though.

            Damodred lowered herself into the water with an extremely satisfied sigh.

            "One of the last few of the finer pleasures of life," She said, "Is being able to relax in water almost hot enough to sheer your skin off. Would you agree, Rei?"

            Rei nodded, completely understanding every word. The three of them relaxed for a while before the conversation went on any further.

            "So. Rei, is your back feeling any better?" Damodred asked him after a while. Rei nodded. "Much better," he remarked, "Now we just have to get to work on all of the other joints that King Link and his jolly yellow friends demolished this afternoon."

            "That'll come in time," Damodred commented, leaning back a bit. "As I said, this is one of the finer pleasures in life. When you're soaking like this, all of the world's troubles just... flutter... away..."

            "Aye, aye," Talien agreed, his eyes shut. "Sometimes I wonder: If Ganondorf had spent some time in here, how would things have been different?"

            The three of them spent some time laughing at that. Rei rubbed the side of his neck.

            "There," he commented, "I think the hot water's healing my neck a bit, now. I can turn my head from side to side again!"

            "Oh?" Damodred asked, raising an eyebrow. "Really?" An evil grin appeared on her face. She moved up next to him. "You know," She began, "They usually tell you to soak the inflamed joint in the hot water so it'll heal better."

            "Huh?" Rei asked roughly three seconds before Damodred grabbed the top of his head and dunked him under the water. She leaned on her arm, holding him down for a little bit, and laughed.

            "I highly doubt that'll help him relax," Talien commented, his eyes still shut.

            "I know," Damodred said, "But it's definitely more fun." She released her grip on Rei, and he came back to the surface, sputtering and coughing. Rei's mouth moved a few times, as though he was trying to say something, but all that came out were some minor coughing noises.

            "You know, it usually helps if you don't try to breathe the water," Damodred commented, grinning at him. Rei gave Damodred a look, and the splashed her directly in the face. She laughed and dunked him again.

            "The funny thing about this is," She commented, holding the thrashing Rei down again, "There's really nowhere for him to try to push or throw me off. This is why it's so easy to drown gentlemen." She let Rei back up again.

            "Okay, girl, this means war," a dripping Rei Elanis commented as he caught his breath.

            "Bring it on, kid," She replied, enjoying this.

            Talien shook his head. "Here we go again," he commented as the splashing war began. Before long, it erupted into total and complete chaos, and yet somehow Talien still managed to relax and enjoy his time soaking in the hot springs of Jidori.