• Published 4th Jul 2018
  • 23,166 Views, 3,920 Comments

The Power of Freedom - Greatazuredragon

Having long grown utterly bored with the destiny the gods had decreed for him, Ganondorf decided to take matters into his own hands and escape to a new dimension where he could be free. Even if that would mean turning into a pastel colored pony.

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III - A Not So Peaceful Stroll Through the Woods

A Not So Peaceful Stroll Through the Woods

Dunking his head in the placidly flowing waters of the large river that they had finally reached after nearly three hours of walking through the trees, Ganondorf held back a contented sigh as the cold waters gave him some respite from the heat of the day. Raising his head back out and shaking it side to side in order to dry his mane a little, he sent a deluge of water drops towards the deeply scowling unicorn that had been approaching the river by his side.

“Must you always act like such an uncouth savage?” Zelda asked her usual nemesis with a desert dry tone of voice, trying to dry out her fur with one of her fore-hooves with little success.

“Of course not!” Ganondorf promptly declared in mock indignation, his right forehoof pressed against his chest and head held back as if he had been struck. “But where would be the fun in not doing that?”

Turning her head towards the green coated pegasus at her side in search of support, Zelda instead let out a tired sigh upon seeing her long time friend and stalwart defender calmly walking towards the river’s bank, before promptly dunking his own head into its cold waters.

Watching her two companions acting so at ease and moving so naturally in their new bodies, Zelda couldn’t help but point out said fact. “Am I the only one even remotely uncomfortable with the fact our bodies have been changed into that of equines against our will?” She questioned with a hint of incredulity, gaining a roguish grin from the Lord of Darkness for her troubles.

“Not quite. Truth be told, I must admit that I would have greatly preferred to have been turned into some kind of carnivore. And I’m really not looking forward to finding out what this body can and can’t eat,” he simply stated with a shrug of his shoulders. “But all in all, a pony’s body really isn’t a bad deal for a random transformation. Things could have been much worse.”

“Very well, I’ll concede the point in that regard,” she grudgingly agreed, accepting that there could have been far worse fates than ending up as some kind of miniature unicorn. “And speaking in regards to our new bodies, do you have any idea why our Triforce markings have migrated to our... hindquarters?”

“Flanks,” Ganondorf nonchalantly replied as he tried to place some semblance of order upon his long crimson mane with his hooves.

“I beg your pardon?” Zelda said in slight befuddlement, not really understanding how his one word answer fit with her previous question.

“The word you are looking for is flanks. That’s what you call the side posterior area of an equine,” the Lord of Darkness continued in the same calm tone of voice, despite the fact his efforts in taming his mane were proving to be less than fruitful.

“Is this really the time?” she asked in exasperation, rolling her eyes when her question only garnered an impish smile from the crimson maned pony.

“I would think the Princess of Knowledge above all others would want to know the correct terms for her new anatomy,” he teased while giving up on his mane for the moment. “After all, there is no wrong time for one to increase their wisdom, isn’t that right, oh, follower of Nayru?”

“Ganondorf…” the unicorn started to say warningly, only for him to immediately cut her off.

“The ends of our limbs are called hooves by the way. Our faces are muzzles; the furry lengths that replaced our hair are called manes; oh, and our bellies are now called barrels! The kid and I are stallions, if you were wondering, while you are a mare. And…”

“Ganondorf!” she barked, narrowed eyes staring straight at him and blue specks of magic sparking menacingly all around her horn.

“Yes?” he innocently asked, his expression as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, before relenting and answering the princess’ original question. “As for why we got our Triforce marks emblazoned upon our flanks? Well, forgoing the obvious fact that we don’t have hands anymore and so they had to go somewhere. I really have no idea.”

Zelda stared at the brown coated pony’s smiling face for a moment as she fought to control her growing eye twitch, her mind swiftly passing through several spells she knew of as she pondered how the apparent ease which she could now manipulate magic would affect them and wondering if she shouldn’t volunteer the pony in front of her as a test subject.

Only for the feeling of many soft feathers resting upon her shoulder to cut her train of thought short, the silky feeling of them resting upon her back and the warmth radiating from them enough to distract her.

Turning her head to the side she followed the forest green wing gently resting over her back towards the equally forest green pegasus they belonged to, and the serene, understanding smile he was sporting.

“Slow deep breaths, Zelda, in and out, feel the air filing your lungs and then let it leave, let it all out carrying your anger and frustration with it,” Link coached her, demonstrating and emphasizing the movements with one of his hooves until Zelda started to imitate him. “Your anger and frustration is completely understandable, but holding on to such feelings will serve you no purpose here. So let them leave, floating away like leaves in the breeze.”

Calming herself all the while listening to Link’s soothing mantra Zelda felt as her heart beat slowly returned to normal, a tinge of embarrassment for losing her cool so easily now surfacing as she calmed down.

“And his holy greenness strikes again!” Ganondorf's voice boomed from her side, doing a very good job of making her newly found peace scatter to the four winds. “Seriously kiddo, one day you’ll have to tell me your secret to achieve Zen-like enlightenment!”

“Ganondorf…” she trailed off warningly, the wielder of Courage simply shaking his head as she left his wing behind in order to march towards Ganondorf’s smug smiling form.

“What? You can’t tell me you never wondered where his ever present stoic calmness comes from!” the wielder of Power forcefully exclaimed, throwing both fore-hooves up into the air for emphasis. “I’ve seen him explore active volcanoes without a care in the world, go into zombie infested cursed temples without missing a step, sail straight towards gargantuan hurricanes in the middle of raging seas without a moment’s pause, and that’s just to name a few instances! All the while keeping that same placid expression on his face all the time! It’s enough to make one wonder about how he hasn’t already been a monk or something in one of our past lives!”

Zelda kept her silence at Ganondorf’s little outburst, especially because an annoying part of her mind thought that he did have a point. Not that she would ever admit to that out loud, of course.

“Raging against that which you cannot change is simply a waste of time and energy. It’s all a matter of knowing what it is that you can actually change or not and how best to do so,” the blond maned pegasus stated as if it was obvious, a serene smile on his features as leaves blew behind him on a gentle breeze and a ray of sunlight bathed his form. “Accept what is, and strive to change that which will be. No more and no less.”

Ganondorf and Zelda traded a long look, before silently deciding to move on.

“Right, so now that we found the river do you want to follow it upstream or downstream?” the King of Thieves boisterously asked, putting a firm end to that particular topic.

Looking at the over twelve foot tall wild apple tree standing in front of his not even five foot tall equine body, Ganondorf silently pondered for a moment how exactly was he supposed to get said apples. After all, quadruped equines weren’t exactly known for their climbing prowess. He carefully considered his options for a moment longer, before simply shrugging his shoulders and kicking the base of the tree with one of his hooves.

The thunderous sound of bark exploding and ancient wood cracking filled the air for a moment as the proud tree toppled over, turning the problem moot.

Nodding in satisfaction he grabbed the, wider than his own body, fallen tree and hoisted it up over his back with ease before turning back towards the general direction of where they had made camp for the night alongside the river. His even and unlabored pace was not bothered in the slightest by the massive weight of the tree he was now carrying.

Casually shoving a rock larger than his own body away from his path, Ganondorf didn’t even try to fight back the smile that he felt expanding over his muzzle. He really didn’t know why it was so, but by Din’s might was he coming to love how powerful and sturdy his new body was turning out to be!

No matter what he did or how much physical strain he put over his equine body, it seemed to simply shrug it off and keep going, to the point he was literally not even winded after a whole day of following the flowing river at a brisk, distance eating pace, an advantage that, to his slight amusement, his two companions apparently didn’t share.

But then again Link did end up with a pair of wings and the ability to fly, while Zelda’s magic had apparently underwent a major power boost for unexplainable reasons, though he privately was blaming the new spiral protrusion sticking out of her forehead. So in the end things probably leveled out in the bonus due to sudden species change criteria.

But it also made him wonder if other members of their new species suffered from similar racial specializations, and if so, how that would change the structure of their societies. After all, having a clear advantage over another being hardly lead to healthy relationships between two or more beings forced to coexist with each other.

He wondered about it for a moment, before dismissively discarding the train of thought as inconsequential, not really caring one way or the other about the subject, save as a time waster to stave off boredom as he drew closer to the camp, deciding instead that he would rather leave all that philosophy-like stuff to the Princess, thank you very much.

Crossing the clearing’s boundary where said camp was located he couldn’t help but let out a small impressed whistle as he gazed upon Zelda’s form as she expertly weaved dozens of different vines, branches and large leaves into an impromptu shelter more than large enough for any of them to sleep in. Two other such shelters already ready by the side and a small fire inside a fire pit circled with rocks completing the picture.

“Impressive, Princess, I can’t have been gone longer than an hour!” he cheerfully noted while moving closer to the fire and unloading the apple tree next to it, his eyes interestedly tracking the intricate telekinetic dance Zelda was doing with apparently little effort.

“I believe this body’s horn may be acting like a natural focus for both conducting and channeling magic,” Zelda answered in an absent minded manner as she added the finishing touches to the last shelter. “Telekinesis and other such minor cantrips require but a fraction of the concentration and energy that they would have demanded back in Hyrule.”

“Flight, magic channeling powers, and super strength and endurance,” Ganondorf commented half to himself as he shattered the tree’s trunk near its top in order to move the apples a little further away from the fire before promptly turning the rest of the massive trunk into firewood with little to no effort. “Truly a curious breed of equines.”

A small noise of agreement being his only answer, the King of Thieves arranged the firewood into an almost organized pile before turning his eyes towards the rest of the camp, noting the absence of a certain green Hero.

“Where’s Link by the way? Considering how now he can fly, one would think he would have gotten back before I did,” he said, since both stallions had decided to try and forage for some food while Zelda had stayed behind to fix the camp for the night.

“He did,” Zelda stated, gesturing with a hoof towards two big piles of fruits neatly arranged over a stack of large leaves near one of the shelters, one that looked like some kind of strawberry and the other a large fruit that kinda looked like a plum, if one were to ignore the fact they were neon pink that is. “But he decided to make a quick recon of the surrounding area before the sun finished setting.”

“So, you let the green trouble magnet out unsupervised at dusk in an unknown forest?” Ganondorf teased, a small grin on his muzzle. “We will be lucky if he doesn’t stumble upon a quest or three before it’s dinner time!”

Receiving nothing more than an irritated grunt as an answer and noticing that the Princess had yet to even look in his direction, he wasted a moment wondering if he should ask what her new problem was or let her deal with it on her own time. He quickly decided that subtlety was never really one of his virtues anyway and that he would rather not wait in silence until the Kid got back.

“Alright, what’s your problem now?” he cheekily asked while sitting on his hindquarters near the fire. “You are grumpier than normal, and that’s saying something!”

His tactful approach to the subject earned him a baleful glare from the white unicorn, the kind of look that would have lesser, or perhaps smarter, beings running for their lives. But considering the fact that Zelda was now properly looking at him and how the angry scowl she was leveling his way clearly preceded a long discussion that would probably waste more than enough time for Link to come back so they could eat, he would chalk it up as a success.

“My problem? My problem is that I’m the ruler of a kingdom, with all the responsibilities and duties that entails, that has been forced to abandon said kingdom without any warning!” Zelda angrily hissed at him, her blue eyes narrowed.

“You do realize I’m the king of the Gerudo in quite a few of my lives right? Including this current one?” Ganondorf curiously asked, idly wondering what her point was.

“Yes, but unlike you I actually care about my subjects!” she harshly rebuked while rising from her sitting position and pointing a hoof forcefully towards him. “Do you have any idea the kind of chaos our disappearance is probably causing with our subjects? How do you think your followers are taking your unexplained sudden disappearance?”

“Well, Usug is probably challenging all other officers in the army to duels in an attempt to prove her superiority and become their war leader. And if Segiki and her sisters haven’t raided my personal treasure vault by this point I would be really surprised. Not to mention that Turat is probably trying to surreptitiously gather power in order to try and install herself as Queen or something, all the while devoting as many resources as possible to confirming that I won’t be coming back,” he dutifully answered while stroking his chin, naming his head general, spy/thief master and vizier’s probable reactions to his sudden disappearance.

Zelda simply stared at him for a long moment, before continuing in a desert dry tone of voice. “And you don’t see any kind of problem with that?”

“No, not really, why?” the Dark Lord cheekily asked, purposefully pushing the Princess’ buttons.

“I don’t know why I even bother,” she mumbled while massaging her brow. “Unlike you and your bunch of barbarians and their ‘might makes right’ mindset, Hyrule is an actual kingdom with an actual government. A government who just had its head of state disappear into thin air after being kidnapped, right alongside the equally sudden disappearance of its greatest hero who just so happened to have been trying to save said head of state.

“Goddess knows what state this will have left the government, much less the kingdom itself,” she continued in a defeated tone of voice.

“Oh, please. We both know that over two thirds of your time as a ruler of that accursed kingdom is spent either on the run and hiding, as a captive of yours truly, or trying to alert people to the next coming disaster while being summarily ignored by the idiotic masses,” he cut in, growing tired with the Princess’ defeatist attitude. “Even the sheep-like useless beings you tend to call subjects have to have some modicum of survival ability and have learnt how to take care of themselves by now. They will be fine.

“You can’t know that,” the mare bit back sharply, the answering grin on her conversation partner and the mischievous glint on his golden eyes only adding to her irritation.

“Of course I know! Fine stands out for: Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional after all!”

The growing eye twitch and the slowly gathering blue glow around the Princess’ horn probably meant she didn’t really agree with his point of view. And so, Ganondorf slowly rose from his sitting position, his four legs tensed and ready to launch him away from his current position when she decided to finally express said disagreement.

"Oh, good, you are both here,” a voice coming from up above resounded through the clearing, stopping things short before they could really start, to the King of Thieves’ slight disappointment. “I could really use the opinion of a magic user right now.”

Enduring another annoyed glare from the Princess with a cheeky grin, he turned his gaze upwards towards the source of Link’s voice, Zelda following suit soon after with an annoyed huff.

“What is it Kid…” he started to say before trailing off as his eyes found the source of the Hero’s voice. Or more importantly, exactly atop what said Hero was currently standing.

“How does that even work?” he heard Zelda mutter incredulously at his side, the wide eyed Princess also staring at the same thing the Lord of Darkness was, with equal incredulity in her eyes.

“How should I know?” Link simply stated with a shrug of his wings from atop the small, fluffy, white cloud that was floating less than two meters above ground which he was currently standing on as if it was a solid surface. “You are the spell caster and the warlock respectively. All that I know is that it’s probably magic and that it happens. If you two don’t know why it’s so, then why would you expect me to know?”

“Okay, this is pushing it!” Ganondorf grumbled, balancing himself atop his hind legs in order to pass one hoof through the small cloud in order to confirm that, yes, said cloud was still apparently made of water vapor and wasn’t actually solid, despite the fact the green pegasus atop it was treating it as such. “So you can stand on clouds now?”

“Stand, push, pull and manipulate them as if they were solid objects, yes,” the Hero calmly spoke, jumping off the cloud and hovering besides it in order to demonstrate his words by pushing the cloud around a little. “They are incredibly soft, by the way.”

Both extremely powerful and incredibly experienced magic users stared at the forest green pegasus casually pushing around what should be by all accounts a loose collection of suspended water droplets with identical looks of bafflement and incredulity. The fact that said cloud was somehow maintaining its shape perfectly despite the growing speed with which Link was pushing it around in circles, and the fact neither could really detect any kind of spell at work, was also really not helping.

Trading a long look with the bearer of Wisdom, the bearer of Power felt as they silently reached a mutual understanding.

“Okay, dinner first, weird magical weather phenomena latter!” he loudly declared, turning his back to the fluffy cloud with finality.

“Seconded,” Zelda readily agreed, also turning her back to the unexplainable not quite natural phenomenon and moving towards their dinner.

Both of them leaving a slightly bemused pegasus calmly leaning against said fluffy cloud about two meters above their campsite, a small barely perceptible smile on his muzzle.

The birds were singing atop the trees, the sun was shining on a beautiful azure sky, small forest critters were frolicking among the underbrush. All in all it was a truly magnificent and perfectly peaceful day.

Much to Ganondorf’s current boredom.

Silently praying to Din for strength, the Dark Lord wondered what his adventures had been reduced to. The most interesting thing to happen to them so far this fair day had been having found a small dirt path crossing the forest, way too small and unkempt to be called a road by even the most generous of souls, but at least it was a sign of some form of civilization.

The problem was that said discovery had happened about two hours after they had started walking at sunrise, and now it was already well past the middle of the day and absolutely nothing else of interest had happened yet.

No interesting new sights. No mysterious forks in the ‘road’. No other travelers. Not even a monster or two to break the monotony of the day!

Seriously, considering the track record of the little Hero by his side alone he gathered that they should have stumbled upon a fleeing noble, discovered a long lost temple, or at the very least have been jumped by a horde of skeletons or something by now!

But no, the day remained stubbornly boring and uneventful. Despite having not one, nor two, but three distinct trouble magnets in the same party! It was downright unnatural, it was!

He silently fumed for a few moments longer as they walked down the dirt path, until his ears perked in interest as he noticed something at the edge of his hearing range.

He carefully tracked the sound for another moment, seeking confirmation to what he suspected, before sending Din a silent but heartfelt thank you. For the Goddess of Power had apparently heard his prayers, as the all consuming boredom of the day that had been but slightly disturbed but a few minutes ago was once again being disturbed, now in a far more intense way that hopefully promised at least some entertainment for the evening.

“That looks like a good enough spot,” Ganondorf happily declared as they approached a part of the path that opened up into a small clearing with a large oak right in the middle, excitement clear in his voice. “So, should we greet our new friends?”

The answer to his prayers and source of possible entertainment being the fact that someone had apparently spotted their group and started to briefly follow them while trying to remain hidden from their senses earlier in the day, the key word being trying, of course.

Sadly their little guest hadn’t remained there for long, swiftly leaving after but a few minutes of trying to stalk them. But thankfully now said interloper was apparently back, and had even been courteous enough to bring along friends!

And the way their little stalker and his friends were now trying to slowly approach the Dark Lord and his two companions without being noticed spoke very favorably to a soon end to the day’s boredom.

Link quickly took in their surroundings before nodding in agreement that they probably wouldn’t find a better place than the small clearing for dealing with the group that had started following them, at least not without a disproportionate amount of effort on their part neither really felt like undertaking, that is.

“I count fifteen individuals, all of them flight capable. You?” Link calmly spoke, rolling his shoulders, stretching his wings and slightly flexing his legs, loosening up all his muscles to what was to come.

“The same.” Ganondorf readily agreed with his sometimes archrival’s assessment, turning his neck with a crack to one side and then the other. “This will be interesting, I wonder how the warriors of this realm stack up to those from back home?”

“Seriously, you two...” Zelda trailed off with a tinge of resignation in her voice as they approached the tree in the middle of the clearing.

“Could you at least try to resolve things peacefully for a change? There could be perfectly valid reasons for why they are acting the way they are. We have no idea if we are trespassing upon their borders or something along those lines, after all,” she reasonably stated while giving a slightly annoyed huff at the look the two stallions were giving her for her suggestion. “There is no reason why we can’t solve this through this little thing called diplomacy!”

The two stallions traded a bemused look for a moment before the brown coated pony simply shrugged his shoulders signaling his indifference in regards to the topic while the green coated pegasus calmly nodded his acceptance to the idea.

“It’s worth a try, I guess,” Link simply stated, though the look he briefly gave Zelda showed he wasn’t exactly trusting of her idea actually working. “After all, there is a first time for everything.”

“Oh, why not,” Ganondorf jovially proclaimed with a teasing smirk firm on his muzzle. “Stranger things have happened before.”

For a moment Zelda thought about berating her two companions’ dismissive attitudes to the mere idea of diplomacy ever working for avoiding a fight. That lasted until she remembered their less than stellar track record regarding such attempts in the past. Not to mention the size of said track record. And so, with a tired sigh, she instead decided that it was better to be safe than sorry and closed her eyes for a moment, expanding her senses searching for any active magical signature in their surroundings.

“They do not have any spell casters that I can sense, or any functioning enchantments on their persons, nor is there anyone actively using magic to hide themselves within my sensing range,” she succinctly informed her companions as they stopped by the large oak in the middle of the clearing.

“Very well then, let’s try your so called diplomacy and then proceed to the main event shall we?” Ganondorf answered in the same far too cheerful tone, turning his head slightly upwards and taking in a deep breath.

“Oi, you useless maggots, stop trying to skulk around in the shadows like a five year old pickpocket and come out here!” he bellowed at the top of his lungs, completely ignoring the indignant look Zelda was giving him or the small chuckle that had come from Link.

Seriously, there was no pleasing some people! He hadn’t even threatened their stalkers with the extremely long and painful end of their worthless lives or anything of the sort. And if that wasn’t being diplomatic then he really didn’t know what was!

Sharp eyes tracking the treetops, he saw as their little interlopers made themselves known, a glint of interest showing itself on his eyes the moment they did so. Mostly black and brown feathers covered an avian-like front body with wickedly sharp looking long talons and beaks, and similarly colored fur covered feline hindquarters ending with large lion claws and a long slender tail.

The Dark Lord immediately recognized the creatures as some kind of gryphon, clinically noting the beasts’ species and their usual strength and weaknesses with a slightly detached air before moving on to the details of their equipment and individual appearance, not being particularly impressed by what he saw.

The bunch was lightly armored and armed at best. Wearing what amounted to boiled leathers with pieces of metal sewn over vital spots here and there while carrying an assortment of shoddy looking spears, a few simple wooden shields banded with iron here and there, and a scattering of cheap looking swords for their equipment, all of them very basic looking, while four members of the flock further behind were carrying what looked like very crude crossbows.

Crude looking crossbows that were nonetheless loaded with sharp steel tipped arrows and were pointed straight towards him and his two companions the moment the band landed in a half circle around the three ponies. Not that that particular fact really worried him in any shape or form. After all, after repeatedly dealing with Zelda’s supersonic Light Arrows or the ever growing assorted armory of exotic and deadly munitions Link tended to favor more times than he cared to remember, the more ordinary kind of ordinance most archers used had long since lost any threat value to him.

Instead he focused on the clear leader of this little warband, the gryphon’s position clear by the way he was standing in the middle of the others, and the fact he was the only one sporting true metal armor, a burnished chest plate covering his feathery chest and a helmet atop his head.

Though, the large broadsword he was sporting looked equally as ordinary and basic as his followers’ weapons. Which was a real pity, since Ganondorf really preferred broadswords, so looting the leader after his inevitable defeat should his equipment have been even halfway decent had been a more than decent proposition on the King of Thieves’ mind.

Also, they were all jeering and sneering towards the three ponies, showing a lack of discipline and caution that would have made him kill them on the spot out of sheer principle should they have been part of any of his armies.

In other words, adding their shoddy looking equipment, the lack of discipline, and their overall appearance, the bunch looked like either a very poorly equipped and trained army unit or a band of brigands. Neither of which had apparently any idea they were biting off ridiculously more than they could ever possibly chew.

The day was definitely looking up!

“Well, well, well, what do we have here? A mud-pony, a feather-brain, and a needle-head out for a stroll through the woods, isn’t that cute?” the leader jeered to his minions in a contemptuous tone of voice, the fact that Ganondorf was quite sure that they had just been insulted making him wonder why Zelda still insisted with her so called diplomacy.

“So let’s make it so that your pathetic little pony brains can understand your situation,” the gryphon continued while unsheathing his cheap looking broadsword, not really noticing that none of his three targets were showing a single hint of fear or apprehension at being confronted by a pack of armed gryphons. “Right now y…”

Ignoring the buffoon’s words completely Ganondorf gave Zelda a smug look, a look that grew even more smug as the Princess surreptitiously avoided his gaze while sporting a slightly miffed expression. The way Link was clearly fighting to contain a small chuckle was also helping his smugness quite a bit too.

Unfortunately his enjoinment was soon cut short as the armed idiot’s next words reached his ears, making his smile swiftly be replaced by a slightly annoyed frown.

“So, lay down whatever weapons you may be carrying, do not try to resist in any way. And perhaps you may get to keep your pathetic lives as slaves to the Gryphon Kingdoms,” the leader continued, failing to notice the deathly stillness that had just descended upon the clearing.

Giving the pathetic excuse of a raid leader and his equally underwhelming thug-like followers a hard look, Ganondorf swiftly decided that the joke had long since run its course.

“A very interesting proposal, but I’m afraid we will have to decline it,” the Dark Lord answered in a flat tone of voice, now deeply unamused by the whole situation.

If there was one thing he never really liked and made sure to never allow to happen under his rule, then that thing was slavery, for quite frankly he never saw the point of it. For in his opinion if you wanted to kill someone you should just do it already, and besides there were far better ways of making an enemy suffer. In his mind it was simply a pointless and wasteful endeavor that was so far beneath him that it wasn’t even worth of consideration.

And no, his stance about it wasn’t due to that strange thing Zelda kept referring as a conscience she insisted he had, or the even weirder thing called morals that Link liked to talk about from time to time. It was simply something so pathetic and unneeded that it would be nothing but an insult to even allow it to happen under his rule.

And that was his excuse and he was sticking with it!

Calmly placing his right forehoof upon the very large and very sturdy looking oak tree by his side, while discreetly trading a meaningful glance with both Zelda and Link, Ganondorf kept talking, a fanged smirk slowly surfacing on his features.

“So here is our counter offer: You drop your weapons, give us the best map you got of the surrounding regions, get out of our way, and we don’t make you all deeply regret ever crossing our path,” he magnanimously proclaimed, as if a king humoring a particularly dimwitted peasant. “Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?”

“Why y-" But whatever the gryphon was about to say would forever remain unknown, because the moment he had opened his beak Ganondorf had acted. Said action took the form of using all his considerable strength to uproot and hurl the large oak tree right next to him, in one fluid motion, straight at the oaf with not inconsiderable speed.

The brown blur that was his impromptu ranged weapon was swiftly followed by a green blur racing it while verging to the right and towards the five startled looking gryphons there, and by a pulsating ball of flame darting straight after both of them and bearing down on the four crossbow wielding gryphons standing behind their leader.

The moment the hurled tree had left his hooves he charged towards the enemies to his left, while mentally marking all the enemies to the right where Link had charged at as already dealt with.

Swiftly approaching his first opponent Ganondorf focused upon his inner magic, swiftly bringing it to the surface. For while he hadn’t yet managed to learn how to use his usual spell repertoire in this new body, he had learnt quite soon that reinforcing his equine body’s strength and endurance with magic was almost as easy as breathing, raising his already impressive physical attributes even further. And that would be more than enough for dealing with these wannabe thugs.

Exploding into motion he reached the closest gryphon before the feline avian had even truly processed the fact his leader had just been assaulted by an aerial tree trunk, the loud explosive sound of roaring flames making him mark the crossbow wearing enemies as engaged by the Princess and so not a current threat. Not wasting a single moment he struck his opponent down with a powerful strike straight to the chest, the leather armor with studded metal pieces the gryphon had been wearing proving very little defense against the blow.

Grabbing his enemy’s former sword straight from his talon before his crumpling form could even hit the ground, while outright sneering at the extremely poor quality of the blade, he spun around, swinging it while using his own momentum to increase the strength of his strike. The move proved itself successful as he cleaved straight through the wooden shield the next gryphon had been raising in an attempt to defend himself.

Sure, the fact that the pitiful blade shattered explosively like an impromptu shrapnel bomb due to the strength of the blow wasn’t exactly part of the plan. But, considering the fact that his enemy had just gone down with several sharp pieces of metal hitting his lightly armored body all over while the very same speeding pieces of metal had harmlessly bounced off his own magically reinforced coat, he would chalk it up as a success anyway.

Outright ignoring his second enemy’s equally pitiful sword he charged his remaining three foes unarmed, preferring to trust his own hooves instead of the dubious metal of the blade. For at least with his hooves he knew that they wouldn’t simply break after doing something as simple as smashing through a bit of solid wood reinforced with iron.

All the while the sound of panicked shouting, fiery blasts, and of someone darting at speed around the right side of the battleground, told him that Zelda and Link were already mopping up the rest of the feathered idiots that decided to try and attack them.

Dodging the rushed spear thrusts of two gryphons and a panicked sword slash from the remaining one with contemptuous ease, he closed in before they could even think about attempting another strike.

Two swift blows to the base of the necks of the first two and a harsh back kick to the chest of the last one and it was over. His newest foes folded like a house of cards facing against a raging typhoon and no more enemies were left on his side of the battlefield to take their place against him.

Turning around he idly noted that Link had dealt with the opponents that had littered his side of the clearing with equal ease, while the burnt and crispy looking gryphons further behind carrying the destroyed husks of what had once been crude crossbows showed that Zelda had dealt with their archers before they could manage to unleash even a single arrow.

Start to finish, from the moment he had hurled the tree at their leader until the last of their number had fallen, the battle hadn’t lasted even five seconds.

“Well, this was vaguely disappointing,” he mumbled to himself, idly hoping that this wasn’t indicative to the level of ability of this realm’s warriors while halfheartedly inspecting his downed opponents’ weapons, before dismissively shattering the remaining sword with a hard stomp upon it, confirming that they were of equally shoddy quality, just like the first blade.

“They probably have a camp nearby. Bandits and raiders always do,” he mused out loud, considering that whatever supplies these wannabe bandits had to have in said encampment would be downright useful for them right now.

“Indeed, but nearby probably has a whole other meaning for a race capable of flight,” Zelda reasonably pointed out, giving the downed gryphons a slightly annoyed look for a moment before huffing and moving to where Link was inspecting one of their downed opponents’ blades with a very clear look of disgust before promptly throwing it away.

“You have a point there, Princess,” he agreed, the idea of searching through miles of forest for said camp not really enticing him in the slightest. But thankfully a loud groan coming from a certain armored gryphon provided an easy answer to the problem.

Calmly trotting to the form of his first opponent, who was still lying on the floor half buried beneath the shattered remains of the oak tree, Ganondorf first pushed the large pieces of wood off of him before placidly resting his right hoof over his battered armor.

Smiling beatifically at the slightly dazed gryphon, he leaned forward, looked him straight in the eyes, and started to press his hoof downwards. The loud groaning of metal immediately accompanied his action, as the metal of the chest plate said hoof was resting atop of started to readily dent and sink beneath his appendage, and immediately making the gryphon inside the now shrinking chest plate to stare at him with wide eyes.

“Now then, about that map we were talking about?”

Author's Note:

Okay, so the story is less than a week old... and already has over two hundred and sixty thumbs ups... and is still in the featured box after three days there… clearly I’m doing something right, so no pressure… none at all…

Jokes aside, all this support is getting me pretty hyped about this story! Normally if I manage more than a chapter a month for my stories I consider it an achievement, and yet here am I, posting the third chapter in a week of The Power of Freedom!

This is for all of you who gave me thumbs ups, favorites, and words of support, enjoy!

P.S.: Just pointing this out, English isn’t my first language. So if you spot any mistakes please give me a heads up so that I can correct them and try and improve. Thanks.

P.P.S.: I now have a Beta Reader! So if you notice any sudden improvement of the story grammar be sure to send your thanks to Emtu!