The Songbird

  By Eon

Chapter three: Flight from Death Mountain

Sora's eyes went wide at the sight. There had to be at least 20 Dodongos here! She looked behind her. Link was holding his sword up, ready to fight. Faylore had out a small dagger, but her face was pale and she looked very scared. Sora was scared herself. She didn't have anything to fight with. It had never occurred to her that her life might someday be in any kind of danger. But now it was and she was unprepared.

Link stood behind Sora and slightly to her left. He was contemplating on how to get past all the Dodongos. Or not really get past them, as to defeat them. Then Sora shifted slightly to one side, so Link could see past her. There was a pack of Lizalfos as guards.

"How do we get past all these monsters?" Faylore asked.

"We don't." Sora replied. "We have to defeat them."

"But how!?" Faylore exclaimed.

"Quiet!" Sora hissed "Do you want them to hear us?"

It was too late. One of the Lizalfos turned and spotted them. It screeched at them and it's guard pals turned around. They pulled out their short sword and charged at Sora, Link and Faylore. "Scatter!" Sora yelled. They all went in different directions, Link went right, Faylore went left, and Sora jumped down the next level. The Dodongos looked up. One opened its mouth. Sora jumped out of the way just in time.

A Lizalfos jumped down beside her. It charged at her, holding it's short sword above its head. Sora looked around for some kind of defense. There was none. The Lizalfos kept coming at her. Sora decided to try and fight it hand- to-hand and got a slash across the ribs as a reward. Sora stumbled backward, her hand on her ribs. She could feel warm, sticky blood gush over her fingers. She looked up from her wound to see the Lizalfos about to attack. It jumped at her, bringing its sword down in an arc.

Sora dropped to the ground and tumbled out of the way. She tumbled off the ledge and fell to the floor below. She landed on her back. Sora cried out as pain shot through her spine and legs. Everything felt numb for a moment. Then the feeling subsided. Nothing felt broken, just painful. Sora staggered to her feet and found herself face to face with a small pack of Lizalfos.

Link wasn't doing so well either. He was back into a corner, slashing clumsily at Lizalfos with his sword. He'd killed five already and they just seemed to keep coming. He slashed at the next one then put up his shield to block its returning blow. The Lizalfos screeched at him angrily and he stumbled backwards, tripping over a bomb flower he hadn't noticed.

Link yanked at the bomb flower, trying to pull it up. It was impossible. The Lizalfos slashed at his arm. Searing pain ran down his arm to his fingertips and he dropped his sword. All he had left was his shield. And of course, a bomb flower that wouldn't come out of the ground! Link rolled out of the way as a Lizalfos brought down his sword to slice him in two. He got a few bruises from stones on the ground.

Finally Link managed to drag himself to his feet. He lifted his shield, warding off the next blow. He was so close to the edge that he might fall off. He could see Sora down below. She was stumbling clumsily through a fight, using only her hands against the Lizalfos sword. Link glanced at the Lizalfos. He wasn't having a lot of luck up here. With a sigh, Link let himself fall off the ledge. The carcasses of Lizalfos he had killed cushioned his impact. "Link!" Sora cried. "Help!"

Link jumped up. He bashed a Lizalfos across the head with his shield. Another pack of Lizalfos rained down from the above levels. Below was the Dodongos. Above more Lizalfos. It looked like they were out of choices. If they went up, they'd eventually be killed by Lizalfos. If they went down, they'd be toasted.

Link glanced down at the Dodongos. It was suicide really. But what choice did they have? At least the Dodongos didn't carry swords. And they couldn't run very fast. Sora was wounded and she wouldn't be able to run from Lizalfos for long. And where was Faylore? Link hadn't seen her since the fight had begun. He hoped she was okay.

"Link!" A familiar voice called.

"Faylore!" Link called back. She was out on the platform in the middle of Goron City. The Lizalfos couldn't make it out there, so they had stopped bothering. Faylore couldn't stay up there forever. Link frowned, looking about for some way to get her down.

He eyed the ropes tied to the platform. If one was cut, the platform might not be too stable. But it was the only way. Link picked up his sword and aimed for the rope. Suddenly, Sora took the sword and slung it at the rope. It sliced through easily. Faylore screamed and hung on as the platform tilted to one side.

"If you missed, no more chances." Sora explained.

"Yeah. Thanks." Link said. "Who's gonna climb?"

"I can get up there, but I won't be able to get her back down." Sora replied. "You have to do it."

Link nodded. His arm didn't hurt so much. And Sora was right. She wouldn't be able to get Faylore down. She didn't have the strength. Link grabbed the rope and started up, hand over hand. It was a long climb. The Lizalfos squawked angrily and threw their swords at the rope. They missed, since they weren't very smart.

Sora dodged a few flying swords. The Lizalfos were beginning to jump down. They seemed intent on killing her, no matter what the cost. They were raring to fight. Well then, if that's what they want, Sora thought, that's what they'll get. She picked up two swords and swung them around, grinning almost insanely. A Lizalfos started to charge at her. "Come and get me, big boy!" Sora quipped.

Sora moved out of the way and the Lizalfos smacked into the wall. Sora stabbed it in the back and it fell, blood gushing from the wound. The next one ran forward, sword raised. Sora intercepted the blow with one of her own. She pushed and the Lizalfos flew back into the rest of the pack, knocking them down. Sora smiled smugly, extremely pleased with herself.

Link continued struggling up the rope. Faylore was at the top, hanging on tightly and trying hard not to scream. When she saw Link she looked very relieved. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Link reached the top. Faylore stared at him, her dark blue eyes wide in terror. She didn't want to come down and she sure made it known.

"Please Faylore. I'm not going to leave you." Link said.

"I'm scared." Faylore whimpered.

"I won't let you fall." Link said solemnly. "I promise."

Faylore shimmied down the side of the platform. She slid behind Link, wrapping her arms around him tightly. Link took a deep breath and started down the rope again. He hung on tight. Every few inches or so he would slip a bit and his hands suffered immensely. They were cut and bleeding by the time his feet touched the ground. Faylore loosened her grip a bit but she didn't let go. Link didn't mind at all. As a matter of fact, he could barely feel the pain in his hands.

Sora was smoothly fending off some Lizalfos. She didn't have much skill, but she had common sense and brains. That was something Lizalfos lacked. She dodged most of their blows easily; though she had numerous cuts and bruises. When she saw Link and Faylore, she rolled her eyes. Link managed to wiggle out of Faylore's grasp and get a sword. Sora handed Faylore a sword and turned to look at the lower level.

Down there were Dodongos. They had to get past them to free the Gorons. But all they had were short swords against big Dodongos. With a shrug and a final sigh, Sora jumped down to the next level. Link, holding Faylore's hand, followed. Sora landed neatly on her feet, though the landing jarred her bones. Faylore fell and Link quickly dragged her to her feet. A few of the lumbering Dodongos turned toward them. Without making a noise or even a gesture of recognition that people were there, they opened their mouths and prepared to breathe fire at the three kids standing in the middle of them.

Sora jumped to one side and Link and Faylore went to the other side. Fire streamed from the Dodongos mouths, charring the wall where Sora, Link and Faylore had once stood. Sora grimaced, feeling very glad she had moved and slightly more determined to get passed the Dodongos then before. She glanced at Link and Faylore. Faylore was pale and Link stared at the wall. Sora frowned, trying to make enough time to think up a plan.

The Dodongos, one by one, began to turn away from the Gorons and towards their visitors. Obviously the Lizalfos were afraid to go down to the Dodongos' level and stayed on the next floor up, screeching and howling. They just figured the Dodongos would finish the kids off and they could go back to guarding. After they call for reinforcements, Sora thought, smiling humorlessly, or at least until they get a few more guards. Most of them are dead.

Her moment of thought cost her more then she could've imagined. She turned to see a Dodongo about to fry her alive. Then she felt something slam into her, knocking her to the ground. She struggled until she was starring up at Link. Sora sighed, then felt suddenly angry, like she might punch Link. "Get off!" Sora exclaimed.

"Are you okay?" Link asked, ignoring her.

"I'm fine." Sora said through grit teeth. "Now let me up!"

Link stood and pulled Sora to her feet. Sora jerked her hand away from Link and stumbled back into the wall. It was charred and it crumbled beneath her weight. Sora jumped out of the way just in time as the wall collapsed inward.

"That was close!" Link said.

"Sure was." Sora agreed.

"Where's Faylore?" Link asked, suddenly worried.

Sora glanced around quickly. She spotted Faylore cowering in the shadow of an overhang, keeping silent as possible. The Dodongos' attention was mostly on Link and Sora anyway. Link glanced over at the bomb flowers. Maybe he and Sora could pull one up together. He glanced at Sora. But she already had something else up her sleeve.

Sora motioned to Link to follow her. She moved into the shadows of an overhang. Link wondered if Goron City had been smaller and different when his Grandfather had been helping to defeat Ganondorf. Most likely it had. Now he watched from behind Sora. He followed her intent gaze, to see it was resting on the stairs near them. That only led up to the Lizalfos. Was she planning to escape? Link refused to leave without Faylore.

Sora turned and nodded to Link. Then she waited a moment before bolting for the stairs. Link followed uncertainly. Sora bounded up the stairs with Link close on her heels. Now Link heard Faylore scream. He stopped to go help her, but Sora grabbed his wrist and dragged him up the stairs with her. "Sora! We have to help her!" Link yelled over din. The Lizalfos were making so much noise, Link could barely hear himself thinking.

"We will!" Sora hissed. "Just trust me!"

"But-but we have to save her!" Link stammered. Sora stopped in her tracks. She turned, hands on hips and glared at Link.

"Either you listen to me, or you go down there and get the both of you killed!" Sora shouted. "I know what I'm doing!"

With that, Sora turned and stomped up the stairs. Link followed reluctantly, unsure if he could trust her. He wanted to go back to save Faylore. He had no idea what Sora was planning and going back for Faylore sounded like a much better plan to him.

The Lizalfos screeching grew louder when the saw the two running up the stairs. Sora charged at the nearest Lizalfos, throwing her whole body weight up against it. It flew over the ledge. Sora stumbled and nearly fell herself, but managed to keep her balance. Then she started for the next Lizalfos. She slammed into it hard, and it went flying over the edge. Link suddenly picked up on part of the plan, though he still didn't see how this would help.

Link pushed up against a charging Lizalfos. It stumbled, but regained it's footing and didn't go over the edge. Sora was having trouble too, as the Lizalfos began to figure out what they were up to. Link pushed again, putting his full weight into it. The Lizalfos went over, but Link felt himself falling as well. Then Sora grabbed his hand and pulled him back up. The remaining Lizalfos had fled to the next floor. But instead of dragging him up there, Sora jumped back down to the level of the Dodongos, pulling him with her. "Link!" Faylore shrieked. A few Lizalfos backed her against a wall. He skirt was torn, her face smudged with ashes from the charred walls. Link could smell burnt flesh.

Sora turned to the nearest Dodongo. She jumped up and landed on its head. Then she bounced over to the next one, landing on its head as well. Link stared at her a moment. She bounced from Dodongo to Dodongo, laughing gleefully. It seemed to be working. All but three Lizalfos had been eaten, and with the Dodongos distracted, Link could easily take care of them.

Sora spied Link fighting the Lizalfos out of the corner of her eye. He's missing all the fun, Sora thought. Indeed, using the Dodongos as trampolines was fun. And it kept them from breathing fire at Link, so he could rescue Faylore. Sora didn't really care much, but she had nothing in life. If she rolled dice with death and lost, no one would care or even noticed her absence. At least if she did died, she would know she was trying to help at the time.

Finally, the Lizalfos were dead. The Dodongos were dazed and Sora was tired from hopping back and forth. Her plan had worked almost perfectly. She had figured if the Dodongos ate something, it would slow them down, maybe even make them sleepy. She hadn't counted on some Lizalfos surviving, but it had worked out. Still, she had to get rid of these Dodongos, as well as the 20 something Lizalfos left.

"Sora!" Faylore cried. "That was brilliant!"

"Thanks." Sora said, smiling a bit.

"You looked silly." Link grumbled.

"We're gonna look dead, if we don't get moving." Sora pointed out. The Dodongos were beginning to recover from most of the shock.

"What should we do?" Faylore asked, looking at Sora.

"I don't know." Sora admitted, shrugging. "Maybe if we could free some of the Gorons, they could use the bomb flowers to finish off the Dodongos."

"There's still the Lizalfos." Link reminded her.

"I'm sure they can handle it. The Lizalfos are fairly out numbered." Sora said.

"Well then, let's rescue some Gorons!" Link exclaimed.

Sora sighed wearily. She was getting tired. Her side throbbed with pain where she had gotten slashed. Every bone in her body ached. Even her teeth ached! But she bit her lip and headed for the Gorons. They were huddled in to middle, most of them in cages. The Goron King, Link, was also in a cage. He was gagged and tied up as well so he couldn't escape and couldn't give his people orders. Link smiled a bit. The Goron King had been named for his Grandfather. This would get confusing very soon.

Link (the Hylian one, not the Goron) started for the cage. King Link stared at him. He looked like his Grandfather had, most likely. Link looked around for a key or something. He spied one hanging on the wall not far from the cage. Good thing Lizalfos weren't too bright. Link grabbed the key and unlocked the cage. He untied the King and took the gag out of his mouth. "It can't be!" The Goron King exclaimed.

"It's not." Link said. "You met my Grandfather."

"Well then. I'm Link." The Goron pounded Link on the shoulder.

"Me too." Link wheezed, the wind knocked out of him by the strong Goron.

"Thank you for freeing us, Brother Link." The King said. Link nodded.

Sora meanwhile, was unlocking cages at an amazing rate and Faylore was hurrying Gorons up the stairs. The Lizalfos at the top were retreating, but the Dodongos were almost fully recovered. The Gorons began chucking bomb flowers into the Dodongo's open mouths. The King pushed Link, Sora and Faylore into his thrown room to keep clear of the exploding Dodongos.

"Is everyone okay?" Link gasped.

"A few cuts and bruises, a little charred, but none the worse for wear." Sora said.

"That's an understatement." Faylore mumbled weakly. For once, Sora agreed.

"You must escape here." King Goron said.

"Why?" Link asked. "Aren't we safe here?"

"Oh no! The Gerudo King, Kyrissam is the one who did this!" The King exclaimed.

"Gerudo King?" Link questioned dazedly.

"There is no time to explain." King Goron said. "You must leave. You can go out the back way. The bridge in Death Mountain Crater has been fixed and there is an opening you can get to easily that will bring you out onto the Death Mountain summit. You must move quickly though."

They didn't have the strength to argue. They waited until King Goron had pulled a huge statue out of the way, then headed into Death Mountain Crater. It was so hot Link could barely breathe. He stumbled blindly along behind Sora. Faylore was clutching the back of his tunic so she wouldn't get lost. They half-ran, half-staggered over the bridge, trying not to look down and more importantly, fall.

Finally Link saw light up ahead. His lungs ached for fresh air. His mind was clouded and his vision blurred. In front of him, Sora was practically losing consciousness on her feet. Faylore was right on Link's heels, tripping him up a bit. Finally, the three burst out into the light, gasping for fresh air. Sora tumbled to the ground and curled up in a ball. Link leaned against the wall, holding onto Faylore and waiting for his mind and vision to clear. When he could see again, he shook Faylore gently. She leaned up against the wall, unable to stand on her own and Link kneeled next to Sora. Sora rolled over and opened her eyes, blinking at the bright light.

"Are you okay?" Link asked.

"N-nah-n." Sora rasped. She shook her head then, when she realized she was unable to talk.

"Can you stand?" Link said, glancing around worriedly. Sora shrugged then began struggling to get up.

It took her a few minutes but she managed to get up to some extent and leaned on her elbows, panting. Link grasped her wrist and stood. Sora didn't protest. She couldn't; she'd opened her mouth in Death Mountain Crater and the air had scorched her throat. Instead she let Link help her to her feet and leaned on him wearily. She didn't have the strength left to stand on her own and at that moment, she couldn't care less if she looked weak. She was weak, at least for the moment.

"Why can't you talk?" Faylore asked. Sora opened her mouth and pointed down, then she pointed to Death Mountain Crater. When Faylore and Link just stared at her, she sighed.

"I don't see how Death Mountain Crater could cause someone lack of speech." Link said.

"Oh!" Faylore exclaimed, suddenly figuring it out. "She must've opened her mouth and inhaled some of the air in Death Mountain Crater! I just breathed through my nose."

Sora reached up and pinched her nose. She had never been able to breathe properly through her nose. Faylore nodded; she understood.

"So, let's get out of here." Link suggested. Sora nodded her agreement.

Suddenly there was the sound of hooves pounding. Link glanced over the edge of the summit. A group of horses was galloping towards the summit. He couldn't see the riders though because a cloud of dust surrounded them. When they stopped and the dust cleared, Link recognized them as Gerudos. One, he noticed, was male.

"You there!" The male Gerudo shouted. "What are you doing there?"

"We, um, ran into a little trouble." Link said, as close to the truth as he could.

"How many are with you?" The Gerudo asked.

"Two others. One of ours is badly hurt, and the rest of us in need of some patching up." Link replied.

"I'll send someone up to get you." The Gerudo said.

Link eyed the crowed suspiciously. What was going on here? Instead of an all- female army, led by a female, there were men mixed with the females. And they were allowing a man to lead them. Was this their king? Link wondered.

Six Gerudos started up the summit wall. Three were male and three were female. Link walked back over to Sora and Faylore and explained the situation as best he could. Then the Gerudos appeared over the wall and walked over to them. Apparently a female was in charge of this small group. She halted the rest and walked over to Link and the others. They stared at each other for a minute, then the Gerudo spoke.

"I am Mylintha." The Gerudo said.

"I'm Link." Link replied. "This is Faylore and Sora."

"These are just kids!" One of the other Gerudos exclaimed.

"Quiet, Syvera!" Mylintha snapped. "I am no idiot! I can see they are just children!"

"Might I remind you, we are children in need of assistance." Sora quipped, voice rasping. Link sighed. She'd gotten her voice back at the worst possible time.

"Do not speak to me in such a manner, child!" Mylintha hissed.

"I speak to anyone in any manner I like." Sora answered.

Link resisted temptation to kick her. He gave Mylintha an apologetic look and made a gesture as if to say Sora was delirious and on the crazy side from blood loss. Mylintha nodded understandingly and signaled to the others. One of the male Gerudo offered to carry Sora, but she refused stubbornly. So she struggled bravely down the wall, wincing in pain but hiding it so well Link almost didn't noticed. The Gerudo watched Sora thoughtfully.

"She's a tough girl." Mylintha said. "She would make a fabulous Gerudo."

"Isn't she a little, um, young?" Link asked, for lack of better word.

"You mean short." It was a statement, not a question. Indeed Sora was short. At first Link had thought she was almost as tall as he was. But now he could see she was a good 6 inches shorter than he was.

"Well, I guess." Link admitted.

"Size does not matter." Mylintha said. "Talent and strength is what matters. Your friend is not weak."

"No she's not." Link agreed. "And she's clever, too."

"I suppose so." Mylintha demurred.

Mylintha, though, looked very uncertain. Sora was scrambling down the summit wall, refusing all help, and looking none too clever. Her grip was failing and she looked like she might fall. Mylintha watched; her face was as expressionless as marble. Sora slipped, sliding down the wall a ways. Mylintha shook her head disapprovingly. Sora noticed this and stared up at her a minute. Then she jumped back ward off the wall, flipping in mid air and landing smartly on her feet. She bit back agony as her bones creaked in protest, threatening to give out. A small round of applause rose from the surrounding Gerudos and Sora took a wobbly bow.

"She is an idiot." Syvera muttered.

"Silence, Syvera!" Mylintha shouted. She was studying the grinning Sora, obviously deep in thought, though not deep enough that she didn't hear Syvera's comment.

Link started down, followed by Faylore. He was below her, just in case she fell. If she fell he would catch her. After all he had gone through to keep her safe, it would be idiocy for her to die now. Fortunately, they both made it safely to the ground, without slipping and without having to put on a little show like Sora. Sora staggered over to them when they got down and she waited with them for the Gerudos to climb down.

Finally, all the Gerudos were down from the summit and they were ready to start out. Goldmoon and Stalker were tied in with the Gerudo's spare horse. When Sora saw this, she kicked up a fuss, or as much of one as she could. After a bit of arguing, Link convinced the Gerudos that these horses belonged to them.

Sora vaulted into Stalker's saddle with the last of her strength. Link sighed and shook his head. She would never learn, would she? Link helped Faylore into Goldmoon's saddle and jumped up behind her. The group started off down the mountain. When they had gone a ways, Sora eased Stalker up alongside Goldmoon. "Have you ever heard of anything like this?" Sora asked.

"You mean male Gerudos? No." Link replied. "Well, one is born every one hundred years but, this is a lot of males. And they are diffenately Gerudo. Not people who joined up. I wonder how this happened."

"I don't think I want to know." Sora muttered.

"Well, we will just have to be wary." Faylore concluded. Link and Sora nodded agreement.

Sora sat as steadily in the saddle as she could. Her hands were shaking, her cuts and bruise hurt, and her bones ached painfully. She was in agony, but refused to admit it. She had gotten this far by being tough and refusing to give in. That's the way it would be.

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