Medusa Ch. 09byNovusAnimus©
~~This chapter has some mild violence.~~
Chapter 9 - Fate's Child
The group of four continued down the river, laughing between themselves. Kallae had gotten comfortable on Vinn's head again, and was smiling down at her two new friends on her right and left.
"So you really nearly killed Darien?" she asked with a giggle from her perch.
"Well I wasn't used to sharing a bed," she said back with a playful frown. Behind Darien, she was slithering after him with her arms draped over his shoulders, hands on his chest as he walked. "I normally coil up and cover my blankets up completely. I forgot Darien was in the middle of it, trying to sleep."
"I suddenly found myself buried under massive snake body . Nearly suffocated." He tried to be angry, but with Medusa behind him with her arms over his shoulders was strangely comforting. He smirked as he looked back over his shoulder at her, one hand reaching up to rest on hers.
"Oh you did not nearly suffocate."
"Oh? I was blue by the time I wriggled through all your heavy layers! It was like being bound by hundreds of pounds of leather binding."
"Heavy? Are you calling me fat?" She shoved him forward, folding her arms across her chest as she continued to slither.
"Hey! Come on! You're 30 feet long from the hip. It was like being crushed in scales." He slowed down till she came up next to him, his arm reaching out to hook around her hip as they walked. "And you know I like your scales."
Medusa complied and put her arm over his shoulder, almost twice as tall as him with her natural height combined with her snake length pushing her human half higher.
"I know, and-," she said, stopping and looking to the ground in front of her. Halting, she blinked at the shadow on the rocks, its sharp sides shifting back and forth. With a raised hand over her eyes, she looked up to the sky, sparking the same reaction from her friends.
There was a horse in the sky.
Slowly, with a casual pace, the flying horse flapped its absolutely godlike wingspan to lower itself toward the river. The horse itself was almost shining white with a beautiful coat, mane combed to perfection and eyes glowing an unnatural gold.
As the horse finally came to rest in the river, it folded its massive wings to its sides, turning its head to look upon the shocked and stunned crowd. Even the nymph, for all her age and experience, was left staring at the majestic creature before her.
"Thanks Pegasus." The group was forced to look beyond the creature's mane, the voice of a stranger drawing their attention. They hadn't even noticed the presence of the armored man, his right hand reaching out to pat against the neck of his steed.
With a warm smile on his face, the glorious man steered the horse toward the group, moving toward them in a slow, zigzag pattern. He offered them a bow from his saddle as he came to a stop.
"Greetings," he said warmly, voice almost singing with its smooth and gorgeous tone. "Did you really think you could just walk away, and this wouldn't happen? You know very well we'd find you sooner or later."
The man was fairly tall, and covered in Greek armor. Medusa could not place its origin, as it did not conform with any of the states. The lightning bolts carved into its golden edges drew her eyes, and she almost stared in awe over the majesty of his breastplate. It practically glowed with energy. He lacked a helmet, but a crown of swirling green vine circled from temple to temple.
The man stepped from the winged horse, a smile on his face. "Come now, that wasn't very smart. You know they'll be coming for you, now that you've started."
Standing in the river with the water splashing against his shins, the man looked almost godlike. His hair was blonde and his eyes emerald green, strangely noticeable even at the distance. A shield was attached to his arm, almost as reflective as a mirror. The sheath at his side was silver with black curving designs of laced metal, and the leather straps connecting his armor were black with silver curving rivets. The symmetry was inspiring.
"Started?" Medusa asked, slithering ahead of the group slightly. "I haven't started anything! I just want to find some peace and quiet!" She raised herself to a great height, claws drawn and ready to fight.
The newcomer tilted his head to the side, obviously confused. "You think I'm here for you?"
"You don't... want my head?"
"Your head? Do I look like some fool on a quest to prove myself?" He laughed warmly, heavenly even, reaching back to pat the neck of his horse.
"Then what are you doing here?" she asked.
"You... you never told them, brother?" The unknown looked to Darien, a chuckle escaping him.
Everyone went silent as they turned to Darien, both minotaur and nymph jaw-dropping with shock.
"Are you seriously going to play the brother angle? You know damn well we're not brothers." Growling with annoyance, Darien motioned for the others to halt as he stepped forward, closing the distance between him and the newcomer till only 10 foot remained between them.
"Why not? Such a glorious tale! A group of brothers and sisters struggling against each other, fame and fortune and history riding on their shoulders! Sword to sword and army to army, poems will be written about us!" He raised his arms to the sky and turned around slowly, an obvious grin on his beautiful face. "The gods will bow to us! How can you not want to bathe in the glory of it all?"
"Because I'm not obsessed with drama? Go home and read some poetry if that's what you want, I have no interest in this game." Darien was not amused, and he placed a palm on his sword in mild threat. Medusa tilted her head to the side, snake hair twisting upon itself as the woman sank into confusion.
"No interest? You have a minotaur, a nymph, and the infamous Medusa behind you... tell me, how did you come to meet the gorgon?" the warrior grinned, putting a palm on the hilt of his sword as well.
"I was on a boat! It's not my fault a... giant sea creature attacked it." The smaller warrior tightened his grip, preparing to draw the blade with flexed muscles.
The newcomer laughed warmly. "Really? And... you just happened to land on the same island as the gorgon. Let me guess, you met each other under rather heroic circumstances?"
"... I killed a few soldiers to save her."
"Ha! Of course of course. And now, you have freed the gorgon from her cage of an island, and have apparently recruited a powerful minotaur, and a mystical nymph, and... no, wait, that seems to be everything."
"What's your point?"
"Point? You're already playing the game, brother! You know very well you can't not play the game, and I find it deliciously hilarious you haven't told you army that you're in the game."
"I'm not in the game, and that's why I never told them!" Darien growled with frustration, scrunching his face into an annoyed sneer. "And they're not my army!"
"Darien, I-" Medusa said, only to be cut off as Darien raised a hand, motioning for her to stay back. She didn't understand; it was just one man? What threat did he pose?
"Come now... Darien, was it? Oh my, I seem to have forgotten myself. I am Perseus." Offering a warm smile to Medusa and the nymph, the warrior bowed with grace, even lowering his guard as he looked down to the water beneath him.
Darien did not forgive him the mistake. Like lightning, the small warrior drew his sword and leapt at the tall warrior, covering the 10 feet in a single jump and drawing his sword in the motion. With white eyes, he swung his sword down fast enough to ring the air.
He fell backward into the water, his underhanded assault coming to a full stop as his sword smashed into Perseus's. Medusa blinked, unable to remember when the enemy drew his blade.
"As I was saying, you are playing the game. " A blur of speed, Perseus stepped forward and slammed his foot down, aiming to crush Darien underneath. The small warrior rolled out of the way, grunting with anger over his failed attack. So much for finishing this quickly.
Medusa gasped, raising her hands to her mouth in shock as she looked at the enemy. Perseus's eyes of swirling green changed to solid white, a perfect mirror of Darien's.
"I'm not playing the game!" Darien lashed out with rage, using both hands in a pure brutal attack, hoping to cleave his target in half.
Perseus had righted his shield at this point and knocked off the attack easily, stepping forward again with his advantage and stabbing his sword straight forward. The small warrior only managed to dodge by falling backward, soaking himself in the river water again as he rolled away.
"Do not be an infant, Darien. Embrace the glory! Come, let Fate's children battle." As if weightless, Perseus stepped forward again and brought his sword down in a vertical arc, only to smash his shield against Darien's back as he intercepted the smaller man's sidestep. Darien was knocked around like a boy's ball, falling forward again into the water and only barely managing to dodge yet another execution attempt.
"What a magnificent day! If only this were an arena. Can you imagine the thrill of thousands of Greeks watching this epic battle, to see which of Fate's children would survive this encounter?" Perseus sang, his voice a gorgeous hymn of divine quality.
"You really eat up this drama filth, don't you? You're nothing but a butcher." Swinging a foot forward, Darien drove his sandals through the riverbed and under some pebbles, hooking dirt and water. The sludge crash over his enemy's body, rocks ricocheting off his shield. Perseus winced as the water got into his eyes, making him stagger backward. Seeing yet another opportunity, Darien bull rushed him, swinging sideways for a harsh horizontal slash aimed for his legs.
Laughing, Perseus brought his shield down and blocked the blade, grinning to Darien with unblinking eyes, now ignoring the water that seeped into them from dripping, golden hair. "How could I not? Even more, how can you not want to? Does the reward not appeal to you? The fame? The brilliance of being immortalized in history and time?"
Darien reversed his swing, spinning around and bringing his sword toward Perseus's back, a swirl of water splashing outward with the speed of his turnaround. Perseus rolled forward, soaking himself in an explosion of water as his shield slammed down into the river, Darien's blade just barely missing his body and sailing overhead. Getting back up with a growl of adrenaline, Perseus brought his shield forward and drove its massive size against Darien, leaving him no room to dodge and forcing him back into the water.
"You call me a butcher, brother, but how many have you killed to get here? You're drawn to death just as much as I am." With swift precision hidden in the chaos of the crashing water, Perseus stabbed forward, feinting for Darien's stomach. He followed the man's sidestep with a horizontal slash, forcing the edge of the blade against his opponent's armor.
Darien ignored the pain, squinting with effort as the sword managed to sink through his protection and into his side. Only enough to cut skin, blood seeped from the wound in more of an annoyance than anything, and Darien took the attack as an opening. He stepped into Perseus, unable to swing his sword as the man's shield prevented him. His other hand was free though, and with only a foot between them, Darien leapt at his chest and drove his fist straight down into Perseus's nose.
The taller warrior took a few steps back, putting some distance between him and Darien as he tried to recover. Blood squirted from his nostrils, dripping down over his lips and from his chin. It only accented his smile.
"You fight dirty, Darien. I like that. Survival at all costs, am I right?" Putting his shield in front of him, Perseus unleashed a massive charge of pure force, throwing his weight into the sprint. The huge shield collided directly with Darien's body, sending his smaller form flying through the air only to twist and crash in the shallow water. Only a few inches deep, it wasn't enough to stop the stones beneath from cutting and tearing his skin. Worse still, his desperate attempts to hold onto his sword countered his rolling, and his sword arm snapped at the elbow.
"Aaaar!" As the wave of pain rushed over him, his right arm dangling uselessly from its elbow, his white eyes returned to their brown color, body convulsing in pain.
"Darien!" Medusa screamed, slithering forward in a powerful rush. Her massive body joined her quickly, surprising Perseus with the unexpected speed of her huge form.
Without hesitation, she let the beast out. Human skin vanished as it was replaced with more scales, the snake within overwhelming her face and arms until nothing was left of her human form. Her massive snake eyes glared down at Perseus as she raised herself to a great height, a deep breath filling her as she prepared her attack.
With the wail of an enraged banshee, she unleashed her gaze upon Perseus. Searing waves of golden energy burst from her eyes , the sun's rage in her yellow gaze before erupting over the man's body. Only his shield managed to get between him and the blast. The metal itself sang with Olympian heaven as the energy bounced harmlessly from reflective surface, searing off as vines of sparks and chaos.
As Medusa's attack came to an end, her jaw dropped with shock, the serpent within hiding and letting her human face remerge.
"Interfering, gorgon?" Perseus stepped forward and slammed his shield into the side of her surprised face, casting her to the ground with a large splash. Blood gushed from her lip, coloring the water as she struggled to get her bearings, palms pressing into the pebbles of the river. She coughed and hacked blood and water, hanging over the surface of the stream.
" You're not the first gorgon I've dealt with, Medusa." Stepping closer, he drove his foot into her gut, making her lift from the ground a few feet before rolling away, attempts at screaming ruined as air refused to enter her lungs. "In fact, this scene looks very familiar." Perseus raised his blade, devilish smile on his lips as he tightened his grip.
The loud crashing of rock and water forced Perseus to turn, the river suddenly transformed into a chaos of splashes. Muscle and brown fur reached out for him in a fist, colliding into his chest and sending him flying, much the same way he had done to Darien. Not defeated so easily, Perseus rolled to his feet, ignoring the water that dripped down his face as he looked to the minotaur.
"Well, perhaps I bit off more than I could chew? And here I was hoping for a simple duel between brothers, with no interference?" The beautiful man offered the gigantic beast a warm grin as he prepared himself, bringing his sword back and pointing it forward over his head with shield in front. "I am impressed though. You managed to disappear during the fight and get the drop on me when I left myself open. I am intrigued."
"Did more than that," Vinn grunted, minotaur face revealing what could only be a wicked smile of his own.
Quirking a brow, Perseus tilted his head to the side before looking down. The water level was lower, now beneath his ankles, and soon gone all together. He turned around with a gasp, eyes wide with realization.
The nymph was 100 feet away, too far for him to reach, but the damage was done. She was standing in the middle of a swirling chaos of water tornadoes, her arms raised and a fingers pointed up with open palms. The sky darkened as it sparked with lightning, rain washing over them and burying the area in streaming blur. The river itself raged around her, spinning in fury as it bent to her will, raising into more pillars of twisting water.
She stepped forward slowly as she drained yet more water from the river, increasing the count of pillars of death that surrounded her with each passing moment. Her tiny body struggled with the force of her magic, trembling with the pressure of the storm she created around her, but she did not fall. Glaring at Perseus as the power of the storm reflected in her eyes, she pointed one of her palms at him.
"How dare you," she roared, voice echoing over the river like an ocean. Her very words boomed with force, causing the pebbles beneath Perseus to vibrate, no longer encased in water. "How... dare... you...."
What was once an innocent looking little water nymph had changed, leaving both Darien and Medusa awe struck. They watched on as she continued to grow closer, more and more of her vortex of destruction growing in her wake. Dirt and rock were tossed aside as the water raised to join her, edges of spraying beads turning upon themselves to keep the chaos within her grasp.
She lowered her outstretched hand, palm pointed at the river as she unleashed the fury. Half a dozen tornadoes of blue struck forth toward Perseus, some skimming along the riverbed while others rose high into the sky. Joined by a crack of lightning from above and a torrent of gale winds, the snakes of water snapped outward.
Perseus rolled backward with a heavy groan, rocks cutting into him as he pushed himself away and back onto his feet. Earth and pebble cracked like dry twigs, shattering and spraying dirt everywhere, an explosion of water and kinetic mayhem washing over him and sending him backward even further, skidding along the riverbed and toward his panicking winged horse.
"Well, it really seems I did bite off more than I could chew. I was hoping to end this as quickly as others, but I was in error," the armored hero chuckled, dragging himself back to his feet. Offering the nymph a tiny bow, he turned and ran to his Pegasus, pulling himself onto the animal's back with one swift motion. The horse required little encouragement and gladly took to the air, backing away as yet more strikes of water smashed to the riverbed, leaving craters in their wake.
"My apologies for underestimating your companions," Perseus yelled as he flew overhead, keeping out of range of the raging nymph. "Next time I'll bring mine. It will be glorious; a day to remember!" Laughing warmly and offering a wave, he left the group behind, taking the sky and over the horizon.
The four of them were left staring into the sky, silence growing as Kallae ceased her magics. Too stunned for words, they watched after this retreating form, waiting until he became nothing more than a spec in the distance.
"Gone quick. Smart man. Dangerous," Vinn nodded as he walked over to Medusa and Darien. Both were sitting on the river bed, trapped between the pain of their injuries and the surprise of Kallae's display. Snorting with a mild chuckle, Vinn reached down with both hands for Darien, grabbing onto the hand of his dislocated arm while his other held against Darien's side.
"Hey, wait a seco - SWEET MOTHER OF ZEUS!" Darien screamed, clutching at his elbow as Vinn yanked without hesitation, a loud pop resounding in the small man's ear.
Slowly but surely, water started to refill the river, reaching up to a foot in depth as it calmed under Kallae's guidance. Shaking her head with exhaustion, she walked over to Medusa, reaching out to place her hands on her face.
"What are you-"
"Hush. This takes some concentration." With glowing hands, she placed her fingers on Medusa's nose, the mangled and bent cartilage slowly shifting back into place under her guidance. The bleeding soon came to a stop, and swelling vanished, leaving the gorgon speechless.
"I had no idea," Medusa whispered with surprise, reaching up with clawed fingers to stroke her nose. Using some water, she washed the blood away, tickling her lip to admire how it was no longer split.
"No one ever does. Vinn and I aren't exactly newborns. I told you." Rolling her eyes playfully, the tiny nymph gave the gorgon a pat on the shoulder and moved over to Darien, frowning down at him. "And you! You have some serious explaining to do." Reaching down to the kneeling, soaked warrior, she did the same for him as Medusa, her glowing hands roaming over his face to repair the damage.