Word Count: 7408
Level 8 - (60/80) + 8
Location: Three-headed's EvergaolWith @Lugubrious
For a few moments after Link stepped onto the circle, nothing much seemed to happen. He stood in anticipatory silence with the little waves lapping at his shins, awash in those peaceable sounds of rolling surf, wind through palm fronds, and distant voices. Only when he bent down and sank his hand beneath the surface to run his fingers along the rune-emblazoned central disc did the strange structure seem to react. The purple emanation appeared to pulse, and to his surprise something inside Link -his heart, perhaps?- seemed to throb as if in response. Then a dark crack opened up in the dais, and the world flipped upside down.
At least, that's what it felt like. After the wave of dizziness and disorientation passed, the hero of the wild looked around to find that his surroundings weren't quite as he left them. Nothing had changed physically, as far as he could tell, but a certain lethargic twilight had overtaken both earth and sky, bathing the sea, shoreline, jungle, and distant city alike in somber hues of gray and black. A ghostly white barrier surrounded the area, ten meters or so from the edge of the stone-brick depression in every direction with no sign of any way through or around no matter how hard someone on the inside might try. Link could see no signs of life anywhere, and all the gentle coastal ambiance he'd been enjoying up until seconds ago was gone. Only the murmur of the water around him and the splashes of his footsteps through it staved off total silence. To the outside world, the boy had taken on the appearance of a specter, a translucent white outline with no substance beyond the reach of hearing or touch, but within the confines of the Evergaol Link realized what had happened. He was trapped.
Only one other thing stood out to him. An intensely purple rift in the sand on one side, the space within black as pitch. The closer he got, the more it became audible--a strange noise, slight but identifiable, discordant, but vaguely musical in structure. He pulled out his lantern to counter the gloom and gathered his thoughts. He had been anticipating a more mechanical reaction from tampering with the dais, something opening up or rising out of the surf. A secret elevator leading to who knows where. A teleportation. This wasn't like anything he had ever experienced, save perhaps the way the Great Plateau had changed to facilitate the first obstacle in obtaining his very own Divine Beast. Still, even as obviously trapped as he was, he felt excitement dancing in his chest. He could leave fear for if he found that there truly was no way out, which he didn't believe. That purple rift looked like a promising exit, or at least a way forward. As he approached he held his lantern over the rift, hoping to cast some light into the blackness at its center and see what could lay beyond.
When Link got too close, however, he quickly realized that the rift wasn't a way out, but rather a way in
. Purple energy flooded outward from the rift as an almost liquid darkness welled up within, and from that nebulous maelstrom a monstrous shape began to emerge. For a second or two it appeared to be an inhuman monstrosity, a wide and unnatural body with multiple heads and a tangle of misshapen limbs beneath, but when the shadowy haze began to dissipate after a brief moment, and the fearsome thing broke apart, undoing the deception. As the darkness cleared it revealed three women standing before Link in a tight-knit bunch, each clad in a black suit and tie over a red dress shirt, with long white hair and pointed dog ears, while barbed tails wagged behind them. The trio appeared to be totally identical, with a singular exception made all the more notable by the nature of the World of Light. When Link met their eyes one after another, expecting the sunset red of Galeem, he instead found eyes of fiery orange, cool blue, and shocking violet
"What do we have here?" the three said in eerie unison, regarding their visitor with interest. "We've been cooped up in here forever...please, won't you take us out to play?"
As the three drew apart, the sound began to intensify, forming strident, electronic beats and notes
. The eyes of the Triple Demon began to glow, and the elements danced across their bodies. The first demon conjured an iron staff from a gout of flame, the second brought forth a three-section staff in a flash of purple lightning, and with a flurry of ice the third took hold of a three-headed nunchaku. With a shared gleeful smile Cerberus
stood ready to fight for her freedom.
He had stumbled into a Trial of Strength, then? Link had jumped back as the shadow had emerged from the rift to give himself some distance from the monster that was emerging, but from its initial fearsome shape he hadn't expected the trio of girls that were arrayed before him. Still, he didn't think his initial impression of them was altogether inaccurate. They obviously weren't human, and not just because of the ears and tails. Their demeanor didn't display any fear, or the desperation he'd have if he'd been locked up in here "forever." On the contrary, they seemed positively eager to play with the toy that had stumbled into their clutches. He would have chalked that up to Galeem influence, the trio acting on orders or just following their nature unimpeded by any understanding of the greater situation, but that was impossible. Their eyes were normal like his, free of any Galeem influance.
"I don't think you want to play out there." He replied, calling his sword and shield into his hands as the three squared up with him. The one with the staff could attack from mid range, but all this water could put her at a disadvantage compared to the other two. At least, it would if the fire wasn't too hot. "Most everyone is brainwashed outside. Being in here might have been what protected you from Galeem, because I can tell he's not inside your heads." His trunks and flippers were replaced with his shorts and boots. He had no idea what that ice weapon was or how it could be used. A throwing weapon? Or did she intend to fight up close with it? He would have to keep an eye on her and see how she use it before formulating a plan to counter it.
Despite their provocation, Cerberus did not mindlessly go on the offensive against their prospective challenger, but kept all six eyes on him as he spoke to them. They did not relax their weapons at all, seemingly regarding a fight with Link as an immovable eventuality, but at the very least the Triple Demon seemed content to hear him out. They seemed a little out of it, maybe dazed by their first contact with another living being in who-knows-how-long. When he insinuated that confinement here might actually be preferable to the outside world, however, the hero was met with three looks of confusion. Cerberus tilted her heads. "Are you joking?" they asked him. "It sucks in here! There's nothing to eat, nobody to talk to, and it's boring as hell
! So we're hitting the bricks, whether you like it or not!"
"Where is here? Do you know?" The vest came back on instead of the armor, mostly because of the third and most dangerous one. There was no blocking the lightning crackling along that disconnected staff. One touch of that thing, one single clash, and he would be disarmed. He could only hope they weren't immune, because that would be the only thing stopping her from using it in the water they were all standing in.
Link second question question earned him another mix of bafflement and disdain. "This is a jail, dummy!" Cerberus told him. "If you're in, there's only one way out: waiting for someone else to get stuck inside, then beating the snot out of 'em!" A shared expression of pain overtook the three, leading to narrowed eyes, furrowed brows, and anguished frowns. "Jails...are where losers get stuck. Lost souls who got mixed up when everything went bananas...and shoved under the carpet." As they seemed to recall the nature of their predicament, the triplets' grip tightened on their weapons and newfound determination prompted smiles with clenched teeth. "So play nice, and maybe we'll let you out after you take our place!"
With that, the first Cerberus ignited the tip of her staff, and charged. "Fear my flames!" she growled, unleashing a barrage of rapid jabs and wheeling strikes.
"Sorry, I just found this thing on the beach." Link said, jumping backwards to avoid her first few jabs, then bringing his shield to bear to weather a swing aimed for his head. "I have no idea what the situation here is."
She was strong for her frame, the jolt that shot down his arm attested to that. He side hopped another flurry of thrusts, time slowing down as he landed. He didn't capitalize on it, though. Despite this three on one, he was calm. For the first time in a while he was the only one in danger, and he still wanted to know more. The girl spun on him with another wheel strike he got to watch in slow motion, and as time resumed he brought up his shield and thrusted it out just as she made contact to parry it and throw her off balance. "So you're in here because Galeem couldn't find a place for you in it's world? Why?"
Cerberus stumbled as she got parried, splashing backward a couple steps in the water. While her moves were flashy and stylish, so far she did not give off the impression of a particularly composed fighter, and after only a few moments spent fighting in the water her clothes were soaked up nearly to the waist. The indignity of getting rebuffed, wet, and not taken seriously might have frustrated the average combatant, but she seemed to be having fun. "Dunno!" the demon said cheerfully, twirling her staff with both hands to build up flame before spinning around for an overhead slam. Its momentum carried it through to the water below, where the elements collided with a loud hiss and erupted into a thick cloud of steam. Cerberus then planted the butt of her staff in the ground and used it to vault forward in a flying kick, her leg wreathed in flame as it tore through the mist.That
was what Link had been worried about when it came to the fire staff. As the steam billowed up he immediately moved, side hopping in anticipation of her attacking him under the cover of the steam. That's what he would have done, but it wasn't all he would have done in their shoes. The steam also broke his line of sight with the other two, giving them the opportunity to surprise him as he exited the steam cloud. So instead he pulled out the slate mid hop, using Cryonis to form a cube of ice where he landed that lifted him up out of immediate harms way.
Scarcely a second after Link elevated himself through the power of Cryonis, the fiery foot of Cerberus' Rock Back kick slammed into the pillar below him. In the steam she created it would have taken some luck on the demon's part to hit the hero on the first place, but it was hard to avoid the frosty block he'd created. "Ouch!" she yelped, though her target fared far worse than she. Her kick spread a web of blazing cracks through the ice from the point of impact, and when she followed up with a flurry of red-hot pokes aimed high, the frozen pillar quickly went from sweating to melting. Without missing a beat Cerberus then whipped her staff from side to side in a series of upward strikes, endangering Link almost as much as the promontory he stood upon, until she finally culminated in a horizontal sweep that unleashed a swath of dangerously powerful flame in a wide arc. As ice and steam alike blew away before her, Cerberus planted her staff in the water, and her other hand on her hip. "Hah! How's that?" she grinned. "Even Berial's got nothing on these flames!"
Unfortunately for her, Link had slipped off the back of the ice block as soon as he had the impact of the girls foot striking it. Surprised it hadn't shattered on impact, and that the others hadn't gotten involved yet, he had nonetheless used the opportunity and noise presented by her wailing on the block to circle around behind her in the cloud. It was a good thing, too, because he could feel the intensity of the heat from that last attack that blew away the steam.
He had gotten a pretty accurate read on where she was, ending up crouched just off to the side and behind her as the steam cleared. Standing up, his arm now covered in the Ro Cestus
, he gave a "Not bad," before sending a punch flying into her side.
Cerberus' ears twitched toward the source of the voice behind her, but it was too late. Link's sucker punch caught her with her guard down, and when his cestus collided with the demon's ribcage, all her wind left her in one mighty gust. "Gauhhhhhh
," she whined as her eyes bugged out, staggered and fighting to stay standing as her knees threatened to buckle beneath her. Involuntary tears welled in the corners of her eyes, but with one hand clutching her side and the other so tightly clamped on her staff for support that her grip left her white-knuckled, Cerberus managed to stay upright. "Cheap...shot..." she groaned, her narrowed eyes on Link for any sign of a follow-up.
Before Link could capitalize on the demon's injury, he heard the splashes of running footsteps behind him, and turned to see the second girl running his way with her electrified three-section staff in hand. One of the triplets being vulnerable, it seemed, was the trigger for another to tag in and take her place. "Feel my thunder!" Cerberus cried, and as her sister cleared the way, she thrust her weapon the hero's way. The segments split apart, string together by arc of lightning, to launch straight at Link like a giant spring from a huge distance. Worse still than her Long Barrel move was what happened with her sanjiegun struck the water; the moment it made contact, the lightning electrocuted the water -as well as anything in it- inside a two-meter radius. After her staff sprang back into her hand Cerberus sprinted into the electro-charged zone without any ill effects, eager to continue her offensive.
Link hadn't had any designs on finishing the staff wielder off, but if he had the intervention of the lighting wielding one would have put those plans on hold. He just barely jumped out of the way as the head of her weapon shot past and landed in the water. He pulled out the sailcloth, a desperation measure to avoid what he knew was coming for a few moments longer. The water under him lit up with purple arcs of electricity, staying there even after the girl pulled the weapon back into her hands. Fortunately for him the area of effect wasn't nearly as large as he anticipated. Unfortunately that didn't make any difference. He only had a few precious moments before he splashed into the drink.
In those moments, as his mind raced for something he could do, he remembered Delsin. He remembered how Delsin died, and what he had seen the man do before right before. He tensed his muscles as though her were about to take a running leap and willed himself to move forward like he had seen Delsin dive through lightning. To his surprise, he felt himself....dissolve? That wasn't the right word, but it was the rightest word that came to mind. He felt himself pull apart, his whole body becoming a mass of disparate and small pieces. He felt himself painlessly turn to ash, each tiny part of him flying through the air on some otherworldly power, before suddenly he wasn't a plume of Link anymore but a whole man again. Whole and cresting just over the edge of the electrified area!
Then he felt himself get speared like a fish, the tip of the girl's weapon digging right into his back and pumping volts into him. His shield went flyinging off his and splashed into the water just as he did, falling face down and letting out a stream of pained and gurgling gibberish as the electricity wrecked his body.
After a few moment the shock died down and he pushed himself up out of the water, hacking up some of the sea water he had inadvertently drunk before turning to look back at his opponent.
As he got up Link found that Cerberus had been busy while he was suffering from paralysis in the briny shallows. She'd filled her staff with electricity and windmilled it in a circle in front of her, creating a trio of miniature storm orbs of bright lightning in purple clouds, which proceeded to float in Link's direction. While her Thunderclap homed in on its target, the demon herself -excited by her success so far- ran up behind them. She leaped out of the water, twisted sideways, and began to spin vertically at a breakneck pace. Her Long Revolver took her in a parabola though the air, a dizzying blurred whirlwind alight with lightning, as she careened toward Link for the climactic blow.
A brief look of panic flashed across Link's face as he saw her coming at him, a quick inventory of is options flying through his head before landing on one that could work. Sliding his thumb over the Bomb Rune on his slate and chucking the resulting bomb her way, he dove away and detonated all at once. The bomb exploded in mid air, not giving the girl a chance to knock it away with her attack. They weren't powerful as weapons, but the force was enough to disrupt her. The very edge of the explosive force also caught Link and almost bowled him over again, but he managed to get his feet under him and keep moving to hopefully avoid the balls of electricity that were floating after him.
With a surprised yelp Cerberus found her Long Revolver interrupted by Link's bomb blast, and the ensuing explosion hurled her backward in a trail of smoke to hit the water with a big splash. A second later she popped up with a gasp, her eyes wide from the unexpected dunk and her hair as utterly soaked as her fancy suit. She saw Link on the run from her Thunderclap, but the combined forces of the water bogging down his movements, the narrowly avoided tumble from his own bomb, and the barriers that enclosed the Evergoal made the demon's projectiles hard to shake off. The first storm orb fell short and hit the surface a short distance from him, only to rupture and zap the water around it, which ended up hitting Link after all. As the last two orbs homed in Cerberus rose from the water, waited a moment to see if Link pulled off that ash dash again, then jumped up to send an aerial Long Barrel to bop him on the noggin. As the hero was engulfed in a tumult of lightning, Cerberus landed, wiped her wet hair off her face, and let her sanjiegun dangle over her shoulder. "That's right, soak it all in!" she taunted. "My lightning's what has-beens like Nevan dream about!"
Link slammed up against the white edge of the battlefield, using it to hold himself aloft after his second dose of shock therapy. He turned back, the other orbs closing in on him. Grimacing, he turned toward them and waited until they were right on top of him before willing himself to dissolve again and rush past the orbs as a plume of smoke. The orbs were left to crash and discharge against the barrier.
That had been what the girl had been waiting for. As soon as he was whole again he felt a sharp jolt of pain as something cracked against his skull and sent another blast of lightning through his body. The blow itself didn't hurt as much, but the layer of protection he had gotten from the Tidehunter didn't seem nearly as effective against the lightning to him. He shorted out and fell down to his knees in the water as the electricity left him, listening to the girl gloat while a trickle of blood fell over his right eye. Isabella had been right, he wasn't really in any shape to be doing this right now. He needed to take the pressure off.
"Fish woman!" He called as he struggled back to his feet, the Siren Striker emerging out of the surf beside him to try and even the odds, though not in the way that the three of them might think. A song drifted over the battlefield from the Sirens lips, her form flickering from a horrid and disgusting fish monster to a lonely sailors fantasy made flesh. The song layered into the discordant music that had been playing since the battle began, somehow managing through some feat of natural musical genius to harmonize with and complement it as it tried to draw one of the three to Link's side.
While the Triple Demon looked on in confusion, Link's striker sang her abyssal tune without interference, and as the wondrous yet uncanny melody washed over the perked-up ears of his opponents, the effect was immediate. The Siren's Song of Desire totally charmed the only soul present to hear it: Cerberus.
Link was surprised at the results. It would have been terrible if the Siren had managed to take control of their entire team during Master Hand's trial. Unbeknownst to him, the song had really had weaved its way into only one of them, but while there were three enemies they shared one soul between them and so the song had managed to find a loophole to beguile the lot.
All three triplets relaxed, lowered their weapons, and with dull eyes and slowly wagging tails approached Link in something akin to a trance. None of them seemed hostile anymore, with the first and second more focused on wringing out the salt water from their clothes and hair as best they could, while the third just stood with her head in her hands. "What's this weird feeling?" she asked in a slightly slurred voice, rubbing at her eyes. "We can't...think straight." She withdrew her hand, blinked a few times at her upheld palms, and looked blearily at Link. "What's...going on? Why were we fighting...again?"
"You were...." he started, wondering how he should play this. They were more in charge of themselves than Bowser, Blazer, and Peach had been if they were still questioning the situation. He might have to tread carefully. "We were fighting because you wanted to keep me here." Not even really a lie, and as he spoke another devious not-lie crept into his head. "And you were showing off those impressive weapons of yours, remember. Hotter than Berial, more electrifying than Nevan? You were right." Shooting his shot, he extended a hand to them palm up. "I would love if I could take a look at them up close. Please?"
The Triple Demon responded with looks of suspicion, each holding her weapon close. "No way, pal! Cerberus is who we are, and you can't take that away from us!" In close proximity, the elemental traces that lingered around the bo staff, three-section staff, and nunchaku shone with the same light and energy within each triplet's eyes, marking them as someone highly personal. As it turned out, switching allegiance did not necessarily entail control, or even increased suggestibility, for the three. Their stupor existed only because no other enemies existed in the Evergaol for Cerberus to fight on Link's behalf, and the seconds until that even that expired continued to tick away.
Well, it had been worth a shot. At least he had been given a chance to catch his breath, but he had no idea how long that would last. "Sorry. I had no idea they were so important to you." He took a few more precious moments to gather himself, make sure his head was on straight. Then he drew his fist back and re-equipped the cestus. Charging up power, the cestus being wrapped in a cloak of smoke as though the arm inside was on fire, Link unleased a spin attack with the cestus while the three of them were bunched up.
All three triplets watched uneasily as Link gathered power within his weapon, sharing increasingly worried glances between another. Though neither so dense or dazed they the possibility of what their temporary ally might be doing escaped them, none seemed to want to believe him capable of such a cruelly traitorous act. Instead they huddled together, shrinking down like dogs who knew their master was about to beat them, right up until Link let loose his wild haymaker and sent all three flying in a chorus of yelps.
Cerberus splashed down on the other side of the Evergaol's central dias, but only a couple seconds later erupted from the water, sopping wet and barking mad. The fog that the siren's song settled over them seemed to have lifted, so despite being bruised and disheveled the Triple Demon leveled their weapons at Link once more. Having taken the brunt of their challenger's attack, the nunchaku-wielder seemed to be in the worst shape, but it was she who stepped forward first. "Freeze..." she growled, holding up her arm with her palm extended. The central ring hung around her wrist, while the three heads of her weapon dangled from chains of frigid mist. "To the bone!"
With a flick of her wrist she started the nunchaku spinning, whirling them like a propeller. The turbine technique sent a torrential funnel of wintry wind Link's way, which both flash-froze the water between him and pushed him back toward the Evergaol's barrier. Though already hard to resist, the tempest's ice threatened to harry Link's movement even further, making it that much easier to pin him to the wall. Despite her injuries, Cerberus grinned. "Feeling it yet? When it comes to ice, a petty demon like Bael simply...pales in comparison." Her blizzard continued for a few moments longer, then ended when she pulled her nunchaku back, grabbed hold, and thrust all three heads into the water. Instantly an outbreak of ice spikes surged forward toward Link, ripping up through the water like a frozen tidal wave as they bore down on him. The first and second girls climbed up onto the ice and followed along after the wave with weapons in hand, moving in low stances like beasts toward their prey. Of the two the staff-wielder arrived first, ready to deliver a fiery smack wherever she could.
Link pushed himself back off the wall, ice cracking and falling off him as he shivered and faced the combined assault coming his way. The first problem was the spikes, which he stepped into and became a plume again. As smoke he filtered around the sharp points of the spikes, reforming on the other side only to be immediately met with fire staff again. She thrusted up at him, the tip of her weapon engulfed in flames, and he was forced to block it with the cestus. On the ice the force of it caused him to slide back as she advanced, but he knew the more dangerous of the two attackers would be on him soon. They were finally using their numbers advantage on him, probably because they hadn't appreciated him knocking all three of their heads at once.
"CIA!" He called, a battle cry and command all at once. The sorceress appeared beside him, gate of souls aloft in her hands and already turning. Dark Link jumped out of the gate and charged forward two at the fire Cerberus and two at the lightning Cerberus. Their blades lashed out at their targets as they approached, but they were more meant to tie up the pair than anything. While she was busy with the incoming threat Link pulled out another bomb, his cube one, and chucked it into the melee he'd entangled lightning in to blow her up again.
The sudden appearance of another arcane ally at Link's side made Cerberus hesitate for just a moment, but that was all the time Cia needed to open wide her dark portal and pollute the battlefield with Dark Links. Without a word the quartet of shadowbound swordsmen swarmed across the ice to rush their astonished opponents down. Their onslaught instantly put both triplets on the defensive, nearly knocking the staff-wielder flat on her butt as she struggled to backpedal across the ice from her attackers while blocking their wild slashes. She crouched down, reached behind her, and dug her nails into the ice to anchor herself before launching into a wheeling strike to gain some distance. The blazing arc of her staff melted a crescent in the ice as she did, slowing the Dark Links' assault just enough for Cerberus to regain her footing.
No sooner had she disengaged, however, did some of the light leave her eyes, while those of the sanjiegun-wielder flared up. She'd been blocking desperately, unable to mount any offensive of her own and suffering greatly for it, but as her three-section staff sparked to life a grin came over her face once more. "Revolution!" she cried, and around her erupted a maelstrom of lightning-infused punishment as her weapon wreaked havoc. Though at first it looked like the flailing of a lunatic, she was handling her staff's sections with skill and precision, so focused on denying the Dark Links' approach that she didn't notice the bomb that sailed her way.
At the last moment, however, her sparks died down, and as the third triplet jumped in for the save a veil of frost danced around her. "Ice Age!" she called, whirling her nunchaku overhead. Around her and the second demon a cocoon of ice sprang into being, forming a defensive shell able to withstand the blast. Even as the burst of magic and smoke cleared and the Dark Links resumed their attack, the cracked barrier held firm.
Meanwhile, the first triplet had come under fire again, treated to a half-dozen painful cuts by the Dark Links that assailed her. Smelling blood, they closed in for the kill. The first executed a spin attack that forced Cerberus off the ice and into the water, and as she floundered the second springboarded off the first for a lethal plunge attack. For a moment Cerberus waved, her fear plain to see in her eyes, but in a flash they gave way to burning determination. She bet the farm on a single heavy thrust and managed to catch the Dark Link in the chest, blasting him back toward his comrade. Cerberus then leaped from the water, pierced the ice with her staff, then whirled around it with her hands on the pole and her steaming feet wreathed in fire. "Hahahaha!" Her revolving red-hot kicks broke open her enemies' guard, then blew them away, and as Cerberus finally slid to a stop on the ice she closed out her performance with a cheeky bow.
The two Dark Links attacking Firestaff were blasted into shadow by her assault, while the two going after the others faded away. They only really had a few good attacks in them anyway before they faded out, but their assault combined with the bomb had succeeded in pushing two of the triplets into a corner and reveled to an observant eye exactly how those weapons of theirs worked. They had only come at him one at a time because only one of them could have the power at once. Why you would ever design a weapon to work like that he didn't know, but it had to have something to do with the triplet's themselves.
Storing that info for later, though, he instead took advantage of that corner they found themselves in. Before they could undue their cocoon he brought up the Sheikah Slate and used the Stasis Rune on it. Bright gold chains wrapped the cocoon, infusing it with golden light and freezing it in place. Ignoring the third for now Link set off on a slippery run across the ice toward them, landing one clumsy blow and one stronger one on the cocoon with his Cestus clad fist to send the whole thing flying once the clock ran out. Not at mach speed by his judgement, but enough to maybe incapacitate the two.
Link's smackdown on the frozen shell came to an abrupt end when Cerberus slid his way over the ice. She dug in her nails to stop herself in a low stance, then held the ignited end of her staff in front of her head like a torch. With puffed cheeks the triplet blew a torrent of flame at her enemy. As the fire raged, the other two waited patiently inside their defensive bastion for the stasis effect to end, since that meant that the walls erected by Ice Age would disappear on their own. Not for a moment did Cerberus think that the increasingly rapid blinking would end in a veritable shotgun-blast of ice shards. The explosive blast hurtled them into the drink once more, accompanied by a duet of screams right up until they got abruptly caught off by the water. Dazed and battered but still fighting-fit, the sanjiegun-wielder staggered upright, but the groaning nunchaku-wielder remained on her knees, her ears drooping as she hung her head.
Becoming quite adept at his new dodge, Link turned to smoke again as the flames came his way. This time he went straight up, reforming over the fire and pulling out his sailcloth. The rising air, heated by Cerberus's attack, was a welcome comfort after the freezing wind he had been subject to and carried him up along with it. He got a birds eye view of the prison shattering and sending the other two sprawling. One seemed content to stay down, but it wasn't the one he would have liked.
He dropped toward the lightning wielder, pulling out his bow and knocking an arrow as time slowed down around him. He let fly at her, aiming for the arm she held her weapon in before switching to the Trident and beginning his true attack. He spun the deadly weapon around as time resumed, pointing the blunt end right at her as he fell for a diving attack.
Cerberus tried to compose herself as Link cruised in using his sailcloth, grasping in the water at the other end of her tri-section staff. When her opponent produced a bow and took aim from on high, the triplet tried to dodge, but the hero's arrow flew true. It sank into her shoulder, nearly toppling her backward in the process, but alongside the pain something else welled up from inside her. She planted her foot beneath her to stop her fall, and with lightning in her eyes, took one end of her sanjiegun in either hand. A scream of anger tore loose from her lips, but it was backed by another voice, far louder, deeper, and more monstrous than hers. "PerCUSSIOOOOON!" As the roar resounded through the Evergaol and Link's plunge attack fell toward her, she rammed both ends of her weapon through the water into the ground. A whole thunderstorm's worth of lightning bolts immediately burst forth around her, filling water and air alike with rippling purple voltage.
Link tried one last-millisecond thrust as the girl raised her weapon, driving the shaft of the trident towards her, but he wasn't fast enough. Lightning filled him again as the world in front of his eyes went white. The next thing he knew was the blisteringly cold water and the taste of salt. He pushed himself up again, having belly flopped not far from the lightning wielder. The trident had flown out of his hand when the lightning struck him, embedding itself in one of the still floating chunks of ice. He stared up at her for a moment, breathing heavily, then sighed and rose gingerly back to his feet. "Were you three serious before, about letting me back out? Because for the life of me I can't think of a way to beat you that doesn't involve killing you.
For a few seconds Cerberus didn't respond. She still stood on the spot where she'd unleashed her cannonade of thunderbolts, stooped and panting as her sudden fury subsided. The mood of the fight had changed, and not because Link had been sizzled senseless a second time. The hero seemed reluctant to continue fighting, at least in the same manner as before, and in the brief lull everyone took a few seconds for a much-needed break. After a deep breath the third triplet pulled herself together and rose, dripping, from the water. She drew up alongside the second as she yanked the arrow from her shoulder, prompting a high-pitched yelp, while the first pushed through the water past Link, her eyes wary and her staff clutched tight in her hand. When she joined the others the Triple Demon was reunited at last, and all three seemed to consider their opponent's question.
"Sure!" they said after a moment, smiling despite their various wounds. The notion of Link actually trying to kill them apparently didn't concern them too much. "Might as well since we couldn't get out in the first place if you didn't drop by. Besides, it was fun playing with you! You're a tricky one, huh?" The triplets flourished their weapons, ready for one last hurrah. "'Course, we gotta beat you first! Don't just roll over on us now, unless you wanna play dead!"
He couldn't help smiling back. They were a group of weirdos, but despite the shocks they had turned out to be some endearing weirdos. After yesterday the last thing he wanted to do was cast a dark pall over his time off. Cutting them down when they just wanted to feel the real sun would leave too foul a taste in his mouth to relax. Could he trust them? Maybe not, but his friends were all out there anyway if they were lying. "All right, but fair warning. That dark lady I summoned? That's all my friends left of the last woman that wouldn't give me back! Hyaaaaa!" He came around with the cestus, holding it in both hands and rotating over and over like a hammer thrower into the center of them. After a few rotations to build power he brought it over his head and slammed down to release a small shockwave that threw up a wall of icy water.
"Yaaaaaah!!!" Excited for the climactic showdown, Cerberus charged straight toward her challenger, only for the electric triplet in the middle to get smacked head over heels as she ran right into Link's wallop. "Aw, damn it, I--blblblblblbl!" She flipped backward into the water, blowing bubbles as she sank, and right on cue the third demon's eyes sparkled with icy blue light. Both she and the first triplet wisely backed off as Link's cyclone whirled between them. His typhoon ended in a mighty splash, and as if a lightbulb went off over her head, the 'chucker saw her chance.
Just as her clobbered counterpart did earlier with her three-section staff, Cerberus grabbed hold of her weapon's three heads, and with all her freezing power focused into a single point hammered the nunchaku into the giant splash. "It's cool!" In an instant the wall of water flash-frozen, becoming a bowl that enclosed Link on all sides.
Without delay the staff-wielder pole-vaulted over the lip, her fiery foot extended to make sure Link didn't ultimately miss out on the flying kick he eluded earlier. "Rock Back!" The blow splatted him against the bowl, and after planting her staff in the very center, Cerberus repeated her stylish move from earlier. She whirled around in a flaming revolution, smushing Link's head against the ice with her shoe the whole way, until his momentum slung him over the edge.
"Here, boy!" As he flew, the hero got a brief glimpse at the second triplet in his way, her three-section staff held like a baseball bat as Cerberus wiggled her hips in anticipation. "Now..." Lightning flashed in her eyes, and with an ear-to-ear smile she let loose. "Lay down!"
When Link next awoke, the sun was shining overhead, the seabirds were squawking, and he could hear party music on the shore. He was back in the real world, and around him stood Cerberus, all smiles and wagging tails as if they hadn't just beaten the snot out of the poor guy--or maybe because they had. All three were a mess, their fancy clothes sodden and torn and their hair in utter disarray, but they seemed happy, and each extended a hand to help him up. "Wakey, wakey!" they teased.
"Wha?" He started, very confused as he just chilled for a second in the refreshingly warm water and let it sooth all the new aches. They cold just get him out? That was how this worked? He took their hands and let them help him to his feet. "You've got to tell me more about this thing." He said, fascination tinting his voice. He glanced down to make sure they were in the same place, check if the circle was still glowing. "I thought you had swap to get people out. Well, in any case, welcome to The World of Light."
"Well, yeah, but you can also just open it once it's been tampered with!" Cerberus watched him examine the Evergaol's dias curiously. With its contents vacated the magical prison no longer served its purpose and had gone inert, with no trace of the nebulous glow that shone from it before. "Lots of people came by while we were inside, but none of them ever came in!" the Triple Demon continued. "It was SO frustrating!"
Their gaze quickly wandered, taking in the incredible natural beauty of the western shoreline for the first time. "But now we're free," they breathed, as if they still couldn't quite comprehend the fact. "Free to corrupt the mortal realm! Think we'll start with..." Their ears perked up as they caught a scent on the breeze. "Ooh, whatever that is! Let's go!"
Having locked onto Karin's barbecue buffet over on the beach, all three took off at a sprint across the Evergaol. They took one step off the sand at its edge and promptly sank down into a hidden trench with a collective yelp. When they surfaced they'd broken formation, flailing and splashing in comical fashion as they tried to push one another out of the way and get at the food.
"Gah, what maniac put this hole here!? I'll rip 'em limb from limb!"
"Come on, doggy paddle don't fail me now! Ow ow, hey, no pulling!"
"Aaaaagh, it's all falling apart! I just wanna eat food, damn it! Hey!"
Link couldn't imagine what kind of person would come across a glowing dais in the middle of nowhere and not mess with it, and frankly he didn't want to consider what went on in such a mind. He did get a little worried when they started talking about corrupting the mortal realm, but those worries were alleviated when the trio fell into the deep end and started squabbling like children. Even if they were evil, they seemed like the Bowser brand of evil. He swapped back into his swimwear and flippers and dove in after them, ready to explain to miss Karin where he had brought three ravenous hellbeasts to her property.