"I won't let him do it, Serenity," I said to my sister.
Serenity turned her pained blue eyes on me. She knew how I felt. After all, when
my sisters and I had first been given to Carlos's band of thieves, she'd been
sixteen: the age at which we would each have to become that bastard's personal
mistress. Serenity had put up with it for seven years, being forced to give him
whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. Now it was my turn. "What can you do to
stop it, Millerna?" she asked softly. "It was the agreement Papa made with
"Damn him! Don't you dare call
him Papa after what he's done to us! Giving his daughters as whores, and for
what? To bend the 'no-sons' curse that was put upon his ancestors by Carlos's
own family?! I'll kill Carlos, then I'll make our father sorry!"
"Millerna, please don't speak that way," Serenity begged.
"If Lilliana and Dana were to hear you talk of murder..."
"You would keep them ignorant of what's been done to us?"
I demanded in outrage. "Carlos has raped you every night since your sixteenth
birthday, Serenity! How can you not want him dead?"
"I don't want my little sister becoming a killer,
Millerna," Serenity said, tears welling up in her eyes. "Not for Carlos."
"I would chose to be a murderer rather than to be bedded
by that filth! I'll slit his throat before I let him have me! I'll slit
"Millerna, no," she cried. "To take any life is to go
against the gods, and to take your own life...Why would you do that to us? To
your sisters? What would we do without you? You're the strongest of us all." I
felt tears begin to stream down my own face now. I looked away from my
"I'll run away," I said. "I'll escape from here. Just as
Ayden told me to."
"I'm sorry about him, Millerna," she said, putting a hand
on my shoulder. "It shouldn't have happened. I'm sure his spirit is watching
you." I buried my face in my sister's shoulder.
"He was the one male I trusted, Serenity," I sniffed,
trying my hardest not to really cry. "He was my best friend. Why did he have to
be-?" What had happened to Ayden those years ago had only made me despise Carlos
even more. Ayden was his cousin! How do you justify 'accidentally' firing an
arrow through your cousin during a raid?
"Life's not fair," Serenity said. "Especially, it seems,
for a woman. But what can we do? Like it or not, it's a man's world." I hated
hearing her talk like this. Serenity had always been submissive, like our
mother. If she didn't like something, she usually just put up with it because
she felt that was what she was supposed to do. 'A lady's job is to do what she
is told, nothing more, nothing less,' she had once said to me. I remember
slapping her as soon as the words were out of her mouth, and cursing her
I had always been Serenity's antithesis. I'll admit, I've
had a bad attitude all my life. Ayden used to say, jokingly, that I could get
downright bitchy at times. He saw that as a good thing, he'd said, as a meek
girl would never have learned the things he taught me so well, much less have
had the guts to use them: Ayden had taught me how to fight. Not just with
daggers and swords and traditional weaponry, though. He had taught me how to
fight with whip chains, steel fans, throwing knives, staff weapons, and my own
body in martial arts. During my training sessions, we would plan our eventual
escape from the thieves.
"When we get out of here,
Millerna," he said once, "we'll live as warriors. We'll creep around in
the shadows, fighting crime, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.
We'll live in a dragon-guarded lair full of our treasures, and we'll bow
down to no man! We'll be free to do as we please, until you marry, of course.
Then it'll just be me, your poor, lonely confidante, living by myself as
you're far off, pleasing your husband." I had then told him, in no uncertain
terms, that if I ever hit my head hard enough to actually want to
marry, my husband would have the duty of pleasing
me, not the other way around. Ayden
had laughed and said,
"Just watch, Millerna. You'll
marry one day, probably to some charming, heroic outlaw. Me, I've got my
eyes on the girl who lives in there," he'd said, pointing to the castle
many miles in the distance. "A lot of money in it for me if I pull that deal off."
"You mean Zelda of Hyrule?
Forget it. She's probably some spoiled, pompous brat, and not as pretty
as they say she is. Most royals aren't, you know, at least the ones where
we come from. I'll bet you couldn't win her over if you did manage to meet her."
"You mean, my charm, finesse, and devilish good looks
might not do the trick?" he'd asked, feigning shock. True, Ayden was the
handsomest man I'd ever met. He'd had curly black hair, black eyes, skin the
color of brown sugar, and perfectly chisled features. "Well, I'd better use plan
'B', then," he'd said. His plan 'B'? "I'll climb onto her balcony and seduce
her, like the swashbuckling romantic hero I am." I wasted no time in telling him
that his plan probably wouldn't work. He'd just laughed.
I missed my friend so much.
A bit later that evening, I was instructed to bring
refreshments to Carlos and a guest of his. A perfect opportunity to ensure the
success of my escape plot, I thought. Being the genius I took myself to be, I
used a handy little trick my Aunt Miranda had taught me: I mixed just enough
poison into Carlos's wine goblet to render him unconcious for, oh, about
twenty-four hours after it had worked its way into his system. He would just
assume that he'd gotten incredibly drunk. God, I hoped he'd have a splitting
headache for the next week after he woke up. Oh, I suppose I could've just
kicked him in the head as soon as he got me into his tent, but poisoning his
drink was much more appealing at the time.
"Take that, you son of a bitch," I muttered under my
breath, laughing maniacally inside my head. Anyone with half a brain would've
noticed that I looked way too cocky under the circumstances, and figured that I
was up to something, but since we were talking about Carlos, I wasn't too
worried about that. He'd never been much in the way of brains.
As I made my way out of the tent, smirking and marvelling
at my brilliance, I noticed my younger sisters spying on Carlos and this guest
"What are you doing?" I demanded of them. They jumped in
surprise and stared innocently up at me.
"We were just looking at Carlos's friend," Lilliana said.
She was thirteen, and Dana was ten. Both looked like shorter versions of
Serenity. Only Aunt Miranda and I had green eyes.
"He's cute," Dana agreed.
"You shouldn't be looking
at men, either of you," I snapped. "Especially ones he associates with. Stay in
here." I heard Dana mutter something about me being "so mean all the time" as I
pushed past them and made my way to where Carlos and his new 'friend' sat. The
other man had his back to me.
"Ah, Millerna!" Carlos said
upon my arrival. Don't you dare smile at me, you vermin, I'll gut you
alive. I walked past his guest and forced an incredibly fake smile as I
handed him his goblet. I wanted to make sure the poison hit him as soon as
"Enjoy," I said, the fake smile turning into a very real
"Thank you, my little beauty,"
he said. Must be pretty damn drunk already not to notice this big evil
grin on my face, I decided. "Now turn around, girl, so our visitor
can see you. A terrible crime, not to show off such loveliness." I'm
going to kill you, you know that? I thought pleasantly as I obeyed.
rip your heart out and leave you for the scavengers.
It was then that I caught my first glance of the other
man. He looked about twenty, with long blonde hair and beautiful, dark blue
eyes. Dana and Lilliana's proclamation that he was cute was a severe
understatement: he was absolutely gorgeous! Somehow, he made me think of my old
Spirit Guide, Amara. I hadn't seen her in several years, though, so anyone with
blonde hair and an air of innocence probably would have reminded me of her. I
shook it off.
I noticed that he was looking
at me, too. No need for that. I didn't have an unattractive face, but my
favorite features, my muscular legs, were hidden under the tightly corsetted
dress I'd been instructed to wear. Worse, the dress was fuschia. I detest
fuschia. He was still looking at me, but strangely, I didn't mind much.
"A prize, this one, don't you think?" Carlos prompted,
grabbing my hips and pulling me to him.
"You will take your hands
off me, Carlos, or I will take them off you," I informed venomously.
"Oh, you would speak to me
in such a way, even tonight?" he purred, stroking my hair. The younger
man shot Carlos a look that said, quite plainly, "Are you insane?" Carlos took no notice. I
was very aware of the dagger I had hidden in the bodice of my dress. There was
such a temptation to drive it to the hilt in his chest. "Remember, tonight you
become a woman." I yanked myself out of his grasp.
"You contemptable bastard!" I spat. "You will not so much
as touch me! Not tonight, not ever! That is a promise!" That insufferable
"There's some of that
spirit!" he crowed. "I do love a fiery young lady, don't you,
Link?" Ah, so that was the insanely attractive man's name. Link opened his mouth
to say something, then thought better of it and remained silent. Carlos found
"Left you speechless, has she?" he asked, chuckling. "I
don't blame you, it takes a while to get used to a girl of her vigor."
"You stupid son of a..." I muttered a long line of
obscenities under my breath as I walked away from Carlos. I noticed an amused
smile on the handsome young man's face as I passed him. He'd heard what I said,
and nodded slightly in agreement.
And despite everything, the fact that he didn't like
Carlos either made me smile.
I crept out of Carlos's tent at around midnight. Oh,
there'd been no fun for him. The poison had kicked in just as he was preparing
himself. I love me.
Unfortunately, though, I had to borrow some of his
clothes for my escape, as one couldn't very well ride and climb and fight in a
dress, could one? His clothes didn't fit me well: my hips were wider than the
pants would comfortably allow, and the shirt was much too big, although, an
oversized shirt made it much easier to conceal weapons.
It had taken me a good twenty minutes to get all my
weapons together. I'd strapped my daggers to my thighs, tied my whip chain
around my waist, and managed to hide everything else as well. Ayden had always
told me never to let on that you're armed, and to keep weapons concealed where
no one would think of looking. Hence, hiding a knife in a shoe, or the bodice of
a dress, as my case had been.
"Now, for a ride outta here," I muttered, once I'd gotten
to the horses. "Choices, choices." There was a nice red mare I hadn't seen
before. Probably a recent acquisition of Carlos's. Too bad.
"Hey, honey," I said softly,
cutting her free. "You'll let me ride you, won't you? That's a good girl."
I patted her on the nose and proceeded to climb onto her back. Apparently
she did not want to let me ride her. In a matter of seconds I
went flying through the air and landed hard right on my far-too-confident
"Damn wretched beast!" I spat. "Ow!"
"You know, Miss, stealing
a man's horse doesn't qualify as a proper introduction," an amused voice
said from behind me. I whirled around to give the jerk a piece of my mind
- or rather, my fist -, and found that it was not one of Carlos's cronies,
but the young man from earlier who was watching me with a cocky sort of
amusement. Oh, shit, she's his horse? Millerna, you idiot! I scolded
"I'm Link," he said, his smirk
turning into a heart-melting smile as he offered his hand to help me up.
He was adorable, but I was not about to let on that I'd screwed up. I gave
him my best 'don't-you-dare-try-to-help-me' glare and got to my
"I'm Millerna," I replied, "and if you don't mind, Pretty
Boy, I've gotta get out of here, fast."
"So you decided to steal my
"Dammit, I didn't know she was yours, alright!? I need to
get far away before his guys catch me, and yours was the first horse I saw, get
"So, you apologize for being a little thief?"
"I will not waste time with you! I have to get away
before that bastard regains consciousness and gets a chance at me!" Link looked
"Get's a chance at you?" he asked. Oh, God, I knew I
sensed innocence in this guy. I decided to explain this very clearly.
"If I do not get out of this place, I will become
asshole's"- I jerked my head toward Carlos's tent - "little sex toy. Do you
understand my motivation, here, cutie?" He looked embarrassed.
"Uh, yeah, now I do..." he mumbled, looking at the
"Hey," he said, looking back
at me, "I could help you get away, if you, you know, want me to. I know
some women who'd let you live with them. Have you heard of the Gerudos?"
Had I heard of them? They were legendary! And they hated men! Oh, it
would be an honor just to be around them!
"Y-you know them? Really?" I asked, my eyes widening with
a new respect for the Pretty Boy. If the Gerudos liked him...he must really be
"Yeah, no big deal," he said, shrugging. No big deal? The
Gerudo women were like deities! "But I can't take you directly to them. I need
to report back to the Princess about Carlos and his band first."
"You know her, too?" I asked, amazed.
"I'm technically her advisor-slash-bodyguard," he
answered nonchalantly. My jaw dropped. Damn, this guy had friends in high
places! How did he manage that?
"You must be a pretty important guy," I remarked, trying
to sound less impressed than I was.
"Oh, legendary," he
said, grinning. "Literally. I'll tell you about it later. Now kindly select
a different horse, and we'll be on our way," he teased.
Was it bad of me to notice the way his muscles rippled as he climbed onto the
red mare's back? Was it bad of me to wish my outfit were a bit more form fitting
in the legs and chest, for reasons other than comfort?
I stopped admiring his body and cut loose Carlos's black
mare, appropriately named Ebony. She liked me more than she liked him,
"And she steals another horse," Link commented.
"Oh shut up, Pretty Boy," I replied as I hoisted myself
onto the horse. "Carlos can find a new horse, because Ebony's my baby, aren't
you?" She snorted softly and shook her head up and down. "I taught her to do
that," I informed, smiling.
Okay, so Millerna had a bit
of an attitude problem and swore more than a girl was supposed to; Link
couldn't help noticing how attractive she was. The glossy black hair
that fell to her waist; the cat-like green eyes framed by long black eyelashes;
the full red lips; the creamy skin that seemed to glow in the moonlight:
the effect was stunning, and he found himself glancing at her more often
then he should have. It wasn't proper for a man to admire a girl's looks
as much as he was admiring Millerna's, and he felt guilty about it. Every
now and then he caught her looking at him, but she
would look away as soon as he returned her gaze.
He couldn't help but smile when that happened. He knew he
was handsome - he'd been told so many times, and it was all that could be
assumed by the way the young women in the kingdom made eyes at him - but he
tried not to let it get to his head. To be honest, it embarrassed him when women
looked at him that way. He didn't like it when someone undressed him with her
And yet, Millerna appeared to have done just that more
than once, and it hadn't bothered him at all. In fact, it had almost
flattered him. Maybe Millerna just wasn't a normal girl.
"So," I said, "exactly what kind of a name is Link?" We'd
stopped to give the horses a break, and were now sitting under a tree as the sun
began to rise.
"What kind of a name is Millerna?" he countered.
"My aunt came up with it, actually," I replied.
"Apparently it means something in the Ancient Language, but I'll be damned if I
know what. And apparently someone named you after chain maille."
"Can we talk about something else?" I thought about
"We could talk about your boss, Zelda," I offered.
"My boss, Zelda?" he repeated.
"Kindly refer to her as Princess Zelda, would you?"
"We could talk about your
boss, Princess Zelda - is that better? I want to know
something about her before I have to meet her. So what's she like? Short, tall;
fat, skinny; pretty, ugly; smart, dumb? Gimme a vague description of this
broad." Link treated me to a look of utter disbelief, as though lack of respect
for the princess was completely unheard of; which, I reminded myself, it
probably was. He sighed as if I were draining him of all his patience, then
"The Princess is a very kind and beautiful woman. I'm
very honored to know her as well as I do."
"Uh-huh," I said, giving him a sly glance. "I
"You see what?"
"You're having an affair with the almighty Zelda, aren't
you?" I accused, grinning evilly.
"W-what? Me? No way!" Link insisted. "We're good friends,
"Sure. I've never known a Pretty Boy to deny his
relationships; you must just be special."
"You know, I'm really beginning to wish I'd left you with
Carlos," he grumbled.
"I'm not too fond of you, either," I informed. Link
groaned and got to his feet.
"Alright, since you and I
are most likely going to be stuck together for a while, I need to get some
things straight with you: first off, you show me and the Princess a little more
respect; secondly, I make the calls if we get into a dangerous situation; and
thirdly - and most importantly -, if I need to fight someone or something for
any reason, you stay back so you don't get hurt. Do I make myself clear?"
"Wait...I stay back
so I don't get hurt?" I repeated indignantly. "Exactly what
the hell makes you think I will get hurt?" Link gave a small laugh.
"Well, come on, Millerna," he said. "You're a woman.
Women don't know how to fight." Link was soon corrected. In a matter of seconds
I had knocked him to his knees, grabbed a handful of his hair, and locked my leg
around his throat. I held him there.
"You were saying?" I asked in my sweetest, girliest
voice, tightening the grip on his throat.
"Y-you win!" he choked.
"I'm sorry?" I asked, still in feminine character. "I'm
sorry; I didn't quite catch that?"
"YOU WIN!" he yelled. I released my hold on him, pushed
him onto his back, and pinned him to the ground. I leaned down close to his
me get something
straight with you," I purred. "I am not like the girls you know.
I am not some helpless little bimbo who needs to be saved on a daily basis
by a big, strong man. I do not cry if I break a nail, I do not wither and
die if left to my own devices, and I do not break if I have to fight some
stupid goon. I prefer to do the breaking." I tangled my fingers into his
hair and pulled his face closer. "Do I make myself clear?" This,
perhaps, was taking it a little too far. He was still bigger and stronger
than me, and managed to flip me onto my
back. He gave me a charming grin.
"Don't start with me, Millerna." I threw my legs around
his neck in a choker-hold. He may have been stronger, but I had technique,
flexibility, and the element of surprise on my side.
"Don't piss me off, Linkie-Boy," I shot back. "I could
kill you like this."
"There are worse ways to go," he panted, smiling at me,
"than with a woman's legs around your neck."
dare...? OOOHHH!" I kicked him away from me and scrambled to my
"Aww, did I make you nervous, Millerna?" he teased, still
giving me that damn cute smile.