047 Those Who Watch the Sky - 47


47 – Children thrust Into the Sky 5

“So many distractions ~♪ So many curiosities ~♪ If only we had time to satisfy all of our desires ~♪”

The once finger length mermaid version of Link had grown to nearly double her prior size and was fully distracted by her thoughts. Her size was not her only change as though she still appeared naked for all extents and purposes, she had physically changed to continue visually matching Link.

Link had not changed that much. She was still short and very thin with long shapely limbs with a pronounced bust and hips. Where she had really changed was in her face which barely looked old enough to match her body as she stared out at the world with massive, shimmering, sea gem green eyes from under the wild bangs of her long brown hair. Most notably however was that the darkness that had been replacing her skin was not visible for the chainmail she wore. From her jawline down she was completely covered in a suit of chainmail that fit her as though it were her own skin to about her hips where it became more like a very well fitted pair of footed tights. In her chainmail-skinned hands she held up her sheathed sword which she had just extracted from a storage crate.

“Hm? What do you mean we don’t have the time?”

Looking at her blue mermaid counterpart with a curious tilt of her head Link questioned it. Picking up a blue blob of light that held a very primitive humanoid appearance the mermaid Link held it up into the air.

“Two of these ones have been returned to Ambrosia ~♪ The one who did so possesses much hatred for these ones ~♪”

“Hrm~ That sucks. I was hoping–”

- Attention all members of the clergy, there is a heretic amongst our midst and they are likely in the company of the Sycamore cursed girl. They can not be allowed to leave under any circumstances. Contain them should you encounter them and then immediately send for me -

Link did not finish her sentence before the voice of the bishop crackled across the speaker system of the labyrinth beneath Foothold. Pouting irritably at the interruption she flung her sword over her right shoulder and gripped the strap comfortably in her right hand. Speaking through her pout Link conceded her lack of time.

“Fine! I guess we really do have to leave. Just make sure you tell these little guys to get back to Ambrosia safely.”

Poking the belly of the humanoid blob of light that her mermaid self carried, Link smiled despite her intentions to keep pouting. Her smile was mirrored by her double who empathically agreed.

“Of course! ~♪”

Whispering into the blob’s ear for a moment the mermaid Link let it go and watched it vanish into nothingness with a playful spin. Both Links smiled before bolting out of the storage room and past the disabled machine sentries that guarded it. Running down the twisting labyrinthine corridors below Foothold, Link had yet another question for her smaller self.

“I hadn’t thought about it, but you can hide in me if you need to, right?”

“If this one hid in the beast maybe, but that sounds most unpleasant ~♪”

“It isn’t that bad. Maybe a little slimy if I stop and think about it. Hmm… Okay, how about just in my hair for now?”

“That sounds much more agreeable ~♪”

“Then it’s decided! Hide away!”

At Link’s insistence her mermaid double hid away inside of her hair. Her timing couldn’t have been better either as not more than a heartbeat later Link turned around a corner and found herself faced with a group of deacons and nuns. Skidding to a stop Link laughed nervously and scratched her nose with her left hand.

“Eh, heh, heh… You wouldn’t mind letting me by would you. I’m kind of in a hurry and I’d rather not have to hurt anyone.”

Link’s choice of words along with her appearance startled the deacon’s and nuns. From behind her head her mermaid double whispered to her.

“Perhaps you shouldn’t have added that part ~♪”

“I think you’re right. It probably would have been better just to apologize for squeezing past.”

“Talking to this one out loud probably wasn’t a good idea either ~♪”

“Eh, heh, heh… nope.”

Agreeing with a nervous laugh, Link watched the deacons and nuns all brace themselves to cast a spell. All at once the incantation fell from their lips as Link felt their Ambrosial Gates open.

“~ O Divine Father Icarus
We plead of you, halt our enemies in your embrace–”

“That’s an awfully short incantation, but I can’t let you cast it. Sorry.”

The deacons and nuns were caught off guard by Link’s display of speed as she was amongst their ranks before they could complete their spell. Smiling brightly as she apologized Link spun into a flurry of strikes and kicks sending the members of the clergy flying into the walls and robbing them of their consciousness. She wasn’t quite quick enough however as at least one deacon completed their incantation.

“Earth Bind‼ ~”

“Eh–

At the deacon’s behest the floor tore apart and a sheath of rock and dirt slid up and devoured Link up to her bust.

“I did it! I captured the heretic!”

“I wouldn’t be so sure.”

“Wha–

Cutting the deacon’s celebration short, Link, winked at him playfully. As he began to query aloud why Link was so certain he had failed a sheet of shadowy flames flowed forth from Link’s shoulder blades and settled into the form of a sheer black cape. As it fell Link reached back with her left hand and grabbed the edge of the cape. Pulling it around her in a sweeping motion she obscured the front of the column of earth that had trapped her. With a flourish she threw her cape back and revealed that the column of earth was gone. She then let out a tiny burp and covered her mouth embarrassed. Fortunately for her the deacon seemed unconcerned by her burp in comparison to her feat.

“Impossible‼”

“Sorry, but that’s a simple trick for me. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

Flipping up and over the deacon, Link smiled at them as they watched her before proceeding to score two quick kicks to their back. The blows knocked them clear over and Link completed a second somersault before landing and sprinting off. The blows did not knock out the deacon however and they struggled to their feet with wild-eyed horror. Stumbling along to a pipe on the wall the deacon lifted a flap revealing a built-in two-way radio. Depressing one of the call buttons, they stammered into the device.

“T-the heretic… I’ve seen them. T-they’ve the strength of a Sa·B·er… a-and are garbed in a suit of chainmail most immodest… They are m-making their way to the west gate most likely…”

The deacon’s strength gave out and they collapsed barely a heartbeat after finishing their report for the whole labyrinth to hear. The person most interested in this news was none other than the bishop and he stopped in the corridor he passed through to access a similar radio as the one that the deacon had used.

“All priests proceed to the west gate and prepare a barrier spell. We cannot allow the heretic to escape. All other members of the clergy spread out throughout the city and those who can prepare a barrier for the other gates and along the river. It is likely if we corner them that they will attempt to defile the element of Lady Ocia to escape. We can not allow that. Any Sa·B·ers present are to also divide between the city gates and river as well to provide aid to the clergy in dealing with this heretic. All militia personnel awaiting departure at the train depot are to defend that location until you depart as part of your priority mission. However, they are not to be killed under any circumstances without my direct order. Now go forth with the blessing of Her Eminence and let us bring this heretic to justice!”

The bishop’s orders had a pronounced affect across the entire city and members of the clergy could be seen rushing to the city gates from Melody’s vantage point above the city. Elliot’s vantage point in comparison only allowed him to see the chaos that erupted in the train depot, but as he was comfortably seated in the pilot’s seat of his Dolmen he simply leaned back and smiled. Feast found Elliot’s amusement curious and his face appeared in a cutout in the panoramic view of the Dolmen’s surroundings within the cockpit.

“How unusual to see you smiling at chaos. I feel hurt with the way you always chide me for doing the same.”

“This is a rare exception Feast. I don’t really know what’s going on, but even with the word heretic being thrown around I can’t help but feel like this is Link’s doing. And when Link is the one causing the chaos, I just can’t help but smile. She has a way of livening up even dour days like this. But I can’t worry about that now. I have to go meet with Mr. Sycamore and hope things don’t go as bad as I fear.”

“Well, since you are allowing a bit of relishing this chaos, I guess I ‘ll enjoy myself as much as I can before the long boring day ahead of us.”

Elliot didn’t bother responding as he had little interest in the chaos beyond hoping he was right that Link was the cause. Knowing that she really was as well as the supposed heretic that the clergy was freaking out over probably would have made him anxious however and he was gratefully ignorant. As such he was able to focus on going over the mission parameters in his head as he waited and Link in turn focused on her escape.

Link’s escape was not anything at all like what was suspected and instead of continuing her way towards the city’s west gate she instead detoured to circle back to the main cathedral. As she ran, she dodged the attention of passing members of the clergy and desperately prayed that she wouldn’t encounter any Sa·B·ers. She didn’t devote too much energy to prayer as she put her memory to work recalling the directions that Balgun had provided her for how to reach the upper parapets of the cathedral from where she had been isolated in an operating room. Her memory did not fail her and as the cathedral was left nearly abandoned she reached the highest point and looked out over the city of Foothold without contest.

“W~O~W~‼”

Her eyes widening in amazement at the view of the city Link took a moment to soak in the rain drenched city. Naturally in the light of the sun the colorful city would have been far more impressive than in the rain but for Link that didn’t matter. It was her first time really seeing the city and she was amazed and could not hide the fact, though she didn’t even try. Her amazement did not last for long however as it soon gave way to a jealous pout.

“I can’t believe that Elliot and Melody have been living here all this time while I’ve been holed up down in the dark being tortured and lectured.”

“But we enjoyed learning magic spells from Balgun ~♪”

“They were still lectures though. I didn’t get to even really practice them either because we needed to use up the Nectar we could to summon enough water spirits for this storm.”

“It’ll be over soon too ~♪ This one hopes that before then our winged friend who partakes in the song of the wind will find us and ferry us away ~♪”

“Well, let’s go give her a chance.”

Dashing from the parapets Link leapt out onto the rooftops of the cathedral. Scampering along and practically dancing in the rain she hurried across the rooftops and made her way to the main steeple of the cathedral. Why Balgun had not given her instructions on getting to the top of the steeple itself was a reasonable question and might have annoyed her if she had thought about, she was having too much fun just running free under the open sky to care. She should have though as the Mouser brothers had not yet left their patrols of the Cathedral and spotted her movement. They were not the only ones though as Melody had been watching them from above and as a result spotted the chainmail skinned Link. She wasn’t entirely for certain though if she was really looking at Link due to how much she had changed and she questioned her vision.

“Is that really you Link? You look so much younger somehow… I’m not just imagining it am I? Wait…!”

Noticing the sword slung comfortably over Link’s shoulder, Melody recognized it instantly as Link’s and her eyes widened.

“It really is you Link! ~ L~I~N~K‼”

Crying out in unfettered joy Melody descended from the skies straight for the main steeple of the cathedral. Her cries rang down for all on the cathedral grounds to hear and served as a momentary distraction for the Mouser brothers who had been waiting for her arrival. Link took advantage of their momentary lapse of focus on her unknowingly and scrambled up the spire of the steeple where she stood up tall and held out a hand for Melody. Melody’s diving speed was incredible and there was literally nothing that the Mouse brothers could do to stop the harpy from scooping up Link, grasping her dear friend’s outstretched hand with a talon.

“Hi Melody! Miss me Heh, heh!”

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~ It’s you Link! ~ It’s you! ~ It’s you! ~ It’s you! ~ Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha! ~

Giddy with joy, Melody laughed and cried all at once completely overwhelmed to have Link clinging on to her foot. Her laughter, tears, and joy were almost enough to wash away Link’s anger with her dear friend but as the storm clouds began to part the city below became bathed in light and shimmered like a jewel. Link’s eyes widened in awe at the sight and she was speechless for a moment until she realized that Melody had no reaction to it and she finally pouted.

“It is me Melody, and I’m mad at you and Elliot for getting to experience this city while I was locked up!”

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha ~ Sorry Link ~ But you know~ pretty as this city is, it’s been nothing but mean to you, so I say we just get Elliot and go find a new adventure ~

“That sound’s great Melody, but we have to meet up with Balgun first.”

“Huh– But Elliot’s going to be sent off to some city in the south to go after your father if we don’t do anything.”

“That’s the plan. We’re going to join him there after we meet up with Balgun to rescue my father.”

“We aren’t going to fly all the way there are we? ~♪ This one feels like a raindrop waiting to fall up here ~♪”

“Huh Who’s there and how can you be here

“It’s just me Melody.”

“How can it just be you Link You don’t talk like tha–…”

Looking down at Link in her talon Melody trailed off and she scrunched her face up trying to comprehend what she was looking at. Poking up out of Link’s hair and resting atop her head was her mermaid double who seemed less impressed with the view then her larger counterpart. She did not need to look up to address Melody due to Link already leaning her head back to do exactly that. Confusing Melody even more though was that it was the mermaid who answered her question.

“Sorry to confuse you Melody, but this one is us as much as this one is ~♪”

“Li~nk…”

“Sorry Melody, I’m still a little scrambled so I can’t really explain it well. I get it, but it’s like the knowledge is on a library shelf and I can’t quite get the book. Balgun can explain it better than I can right now so we’ll have to go catch up with him, okay.”

“Um… if you say so Link… you are Link still, right…? …and maybe okay…?”

Unable to cope with what she was seeing Melody sought confirmation that Link was indeed who she should have been. Link didn’t seem bothered at all and simply offered Melody a bright smile with her answer.

“Yup! And while I’m still a little scrambled and kind of in pieces, my memory is still working perfectly so I can guide you to where Balgun is waiting, no problem.”

“Ah! ~♪ Then we are going to fly all the way ~♪”

“Eh, heh, heh. Come on, it’ll be fun to travel like a cloud does!”

“Ah, ha, ha, ha, ha…”

With a nervous laugh at Link trying to convince herself that something she always enjoyed was enjoyable, Melody put her wings to use leaving the city of Foothold far behind. She couldn’t help but worry if everything would be alright and would had pouted like Link if she knew that Elliot was completely at ease as the military train he waited in his Dolmen upon departed Foothold as well.



Copyright © 2019 Joshua Tarwater

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