In the distance, a loud, crashing sound. Boom, boom, boom. It was at a consistent rate and coming closer.
That’s what eventually brought Serena to her senses. She was in her tunic, the armour she’d been wearing over it was gone. Her tonfa were gone. She had been tied to a large wooden pole with thin, but strong, steel chains. She could, barely move her arms. She was in a flat area surrounded on all sides by mountains with one, disturbingly large path leading in.
“Quit that racket,” Sylvie muttered. Serena looked to her left and noticed an identical pole.
“Sylvie, wake up!” Serena cried.
“What is… Goddess!” Sylvie struggled with her own chains for a moment. “No use,” she gasped.
“Do you know any magic?” Serena asked.
“I have lightning magic,” Sylvie stated. “If I tried to use it while wrapped in metal chains I’d electrocute myself.”
Boom! Boom, boom.
“What about Inés?” Serena asked.
“The Mermaid’s got water magic, of course,” Sylvie answered. “But she’s only good with attack spells.” Sylvie sighed. “Still, it may be our best chance.”
Serena turned to her right. Inés was there. Head slumped with a light smile on her face. She was still fast asleep.
“Inés, wake up!” Serena entreated. “We need you, please.” Inés showed no sign of movement.
“Wake up!” Sylvie cried. “You lecherous, brutish Mermaid!”
“Please wake up!” Serena cried. “I… I’m scared. I need you.”
Inés’ eyes opened and she raised her head.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Inés looked over at Serena, giving her a reassuring smile, and down to her chains. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll get us out of this.” She strained, pitting her muscle against the chains.
“Just hit it with a water spell,” Sylvie said. “You can’t break those.”
“Look!” Serena cried.
It was a giant, carrying a great club and nearly a thousand centimetres tall. It lumbered towards them, its mossy beard swaying as it moved.
“We’re going to die,” Serena muttered.
“No… we… aren’t…” Inés gasped. Her face was turning red from straining against the chains. Serena heard a loud snap as the chains shattered, freeing her.
“Get us free!” Sylvie ordered. “Hurry!”
“No time,” Inés stated. She ran towards the giant.
“That idiot,” Sylvie whispered. “There’s no way.”
“She’ll do it,” Serena said. “I… I believe in her.”
Inés positioned herself between the giant and her companions. “Stop right there!” she cried. “Turn back and you won’t get hurt, this time.”
The giant looked down at her and laughed. “Is the Small thing going to stop me? You should run, Small thing. Before I eat you and my meal ahead.”
Inés reacted by punching the giant in the shin. The large creature dropped to its knee and gingerly rubbed the bruised spot.
“Strong for a Small thing,” he muttered. He reared up to his full height and slammed his club down at her. She leapt to the side, avoiding the club but getting splattered with dirt.
He lifted the club and struck again. This time, Inés jumped to grab onto it, twisting herself up so that she landed on top of it. She hurriedly dashed up the club, up the giant’s arm. She jumped over to his beard and used the strands of hair to swing herself up toward his forehead. At the apex of the hair’s ascent, she jumped off and executed a flying kick.
His massive form toppled backwards, landing heavily against the landscape. She fell after him, slamming both feet into his neck. He began flailing, trying to keep her away from him.
She moved back, realising that she was going to need a weapon of some kind.
She ran back to the stakes and scooped up the broken chain, quickly checking to make certain it was long enough.
When she returned, the giant was back on his feet. He tried to hit her with his club, but she grabbed onto it again and began her ascent up his arm. This time, he was ready. He grabbed her with his other arm and swatted her up and over his head, towards the mountain.
She twisted in mid-air, kicking her legs against the rock and hurtling down at him. She landed on the back of his head and hurriedly dashed to his neck, tossing the chain around. She pulled. He reached for the chain, trying to wrest it from her. He dropped his club, trying to use both hands against her, but she wouldn’t relent. After nearly ten minutes of struggling, his arms finally dropped. His head hung limply and his eyes rolled back. His body slumped to the ground with a great crash.
Inés kicked his head as hard as she could, as though to be certain he was dead. Then, she limped her way back to her companions.
“Amazing,” Sylvie whispered.
“Are you okay?” Serena asked.
“I might have overdone it just a little,” Inés said. “Hold on, I’ll free you in a minute.”
With her arms free, she was able to get Serena loose with relative ease.
“Let me lean on you for a moment,” Inés said, hugging Serena from behind, her head resting on Serena’s shoulder.
“Hey, aren’t you forgetting someone?” Sylvie asked.
“You’ll be fine,” Inés muttered. The chains aren’t all that tight and there’s no more giant.”
“Hurry up and free me!” Sylvie demanded.
“Totally not how you ask for a favour,” Inés teased.
“Can you please free her?” Serena asked. “I… I’d really like to get out of here.” She eyed the fallen giant.
“All right. I’ll do it for your sake,” Inés said. She moved over and freed Sylvie.
“There we are,” Sylvie stated. “Our next step is to go back to Ghiana, get our gear back, and punish those responsible for this.”
“Mmmhmm,”Inés muttered. She’d returned to leaning on Serena and had her eyes closed.