Chapter 48: Old Scores
Edited by BeecroftA &looked over by Captain Kelran
Artwork by Pyrocolaxsama
(posting it soon)
Bogo flinched and blinked only once before a calm facade replaced the surprise etched into his features a moment before.
Nick emerged from the crowd, pacing briskly to Judy's side. "Bogo's got about a hundred and fifty mammals with him, Carrots. I've given orders to Ake'cheta and the mercenaries, but, we only have fifty in our ragtag group, most of them civilians. Unless we can get that gate closed before Bogo just barges in..."
Judy nodded. Stalling it is.
The Cape buffalo had other plans.
"Seeing as all of you are in direct defiance of the government of Califurnia," he began, drawing his massive longsword from its scabbard. "I hereby sentence you all to an immediate and brutal death."
The fox and rabbit looked worriedly at each other. "Carrot sticks..."
The whole courtyard became an immediate scene of death, the sound of terrified screams and the heavy scent of gunpowder reeking throughout the place. Thankfully, the criminals that Bogo had unleashed from the prison proved to be the Zootopian side's saving grace. The undisciplined and untrained bandits, fighters and rogues stormed past, pushing aside the lines of soldiers setting up a firing line, destroying any chance of a massacre.
Judy counted her blessings. "Nick, help get the civilians to safety and over the backwall where the haystacks are. Have them jump-" Judy withdrew her sword as a badger nearly cleaved her head off, before leaping forward to smash the pommel into her opponent's head. The creature crumpled to the dirt, Judy chancing a look back at her fox. "-onto it and to safety. I'll organize something to hold them off."
Nick nodded and sprinted across the courtyard as Judy leapt into the fray, the small rabbit disregarding the earlier command from her partner of having a 'no kill' policy almost immediately. A startled cry of pain came from her left and as she whirled around, she watched a young teenage kudu, someone she was responsible for keeping safe in the city she loved, staring in shock at the lynx in a soldier's uniform who had pounced upon his chest and thrust their sword through his heart.
Judy ran towards the lynx responsible for the murder, the feline riding its victim to the ground before trying to pull their blade from the kudu's chest. He barely pulled it out before karma found him. The cat straightened, coughed, then gaped at the sword protruding from his own torso before slumping to the ground atop his victim. Judy picked up the villain's pistol, taking quick aim at the nearest rogue, a koala fighting against one of Ake'cheta's warriors, and pulled the trigger.
Judy's arm bucked wildly, tilting her off balance and almost to her rear, yet the shot found its mark. The koala fell, clutching his shattered remains of a paw before being finished off by the warrior.
A loud 'thud' behind her had Judy whirling, sword drawn and legs tensed, ready to pounce forward or leap away.
"We need a different strategy."
Judy stared up at Ake'cheta, the proud warrior's fur and tomahawks stained red. Glancing around, she briefly saw Nick waving the civilians over the wall while Liam, Rektar, and a few of his fellow mercenaries were sniping off soldiers taking aim at the weaponless innocents.
It left few actual fighters within the garrison's walls. She already noted several soldiers, mammals that had been under her command, face down or moaning on the ground, surrounded by those of the enemy surging within the gates.
"You're right," Judy huffed, before taking a moment to toss the empty one-shot pistol into the face of a wildebeest fighting with Sebastian. The blow stunned the mammal momentarily, allowing the blue steel furred wolf to grab the ungulate by his horns, pull his face down and snap his knee into the soldier's face. The wildebeest flopped to the ground before the wolf blocked a slice aimed at his chest as two of Bogo's group tried to surround the wolf.
Judy and Ake'cheta leapt forward, each taking on an opponent. Judy leapt up, kicking the shaft of an axe aimed at Sebastian's torso, sending it flying away while she grabbed onto the arm of her surprised cheetah opponent. Judy's momentum allowed her to wrench the feline's arm to the ground before she darted towards him. The move flipped the cat onto his back with a pain-filled roar before Judy laid a snap kick into his nose, knocking his head to the side before the cat lay still.
Ake'cheta blocked a sword thrust with one tomahawk, letting the sword slide across the haft before flicking it up. The warthog only muttered a surprised squeal before finding the spirit hunter's weapon plunged into his chest.
Hearing an angry bellowing, Ake'cheta glanced to the side and saw two other warthogs charging him. He attempted to pull out his tomahawk, only to find it snugly lodged in the villainous rogue. "Maker's breath…" he growled, raising his tomahawk to block the first sword strike slashing towards him, only to see the mammal shudder and collapse onto the ground. The second warthog stopped to stare blankly at his fellow, a massive, now bloody, pinecone laying next to him, before a shot rang out, the bullet tearing through a lung before a slash of Ake'cheta's weapon finished him off.
The warrior looked up and saw Oce in the second floor window of Judy's former lodgings, tossing massive pinecones onto enemies below while a russet toned paw passed them to her. He gave them a salute before Judy skidded to a stop next to him.
"Try and get everyone back to the far end of the parade ground and get them to overturn the supply wagons or anything they can get their paws on along the way. If we can slow them down, we might be able to do a fighting retreat over the wall."
Ake'cheta nodded before dashing away, skirting through the fights like a shadow. This is bad… Judy thought, though she watched with a grim satisfaction when the last of the civilians had cleared the wall and Nick drew his blade. The fox leapt from the wall, spinning twice in the air before slashing at a lion's paw who had his blade raised above Sergeant Clawhauser. The lion roared in agony as Nick landed deftly behind him. Eyeing the blacksmith shop, still with a glowing red sword sitting in a nearby fire, Nick grabbed the weapon and slapped it against the much larger enemy's backside.
The feline let out a massive roar, twirling around, snarling and foaming at the mouth while looking for his assailant. Nick waved up to him, before batting the cat in the face with the blunt side, searing his nose and face. The renegade bellowed in agony before a loud 'dong' sounded and his face went limp. He fell to his knees, then onto his face, with Clawhauser behind him holding an elephant sized frying pan in his paw.
"Frying pans, who knew, right?" Nick snarked, before dashing away, only to be stopped by a grey paw.
"We need to do a fighting retreat," Judy cautioned. "We're too outnumbered here and it's far too open."
"I concur," Nick stated, watching the loyal soldiers, fighters, mercenaries and those willing to fight tyranny slowing backing away from the front of the fort, Bogo's soldiers, rogues and villains rushing en masse into the fort.
The order came from deep within the enemy lines. Several petty criminals forewent the command and continued the assault upon a cougar from Rektar's group dragging himself across the ground, his left leg mangled and bloody. One of them, a maned wolf with an eyepatch, laughed as he raised his sword above his head.
"Say goodnight, kitty!"
The cougar's eyes widened, a paw going to shield his face from the blow that never came. He blinked, then widened his eyes further, struggling to pull himself backwards while staring at the mammoth sword that had nearly severed the mammal standing above him in two.
The sword was withdraw with a sickly squelch, the animal's corpse falling limp at Bogo's hooves. The bovine commander of all of Califurnia's military snorted before glancing around the remaining mammals facing him, and his forces, down.
"Surrender." The command was gruff and hoarse. As he opened his mouth to continue, Nick stepped forward.
"You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept."
Bogo snorted. "I wasn't talking to you." Bogo raised his sword, pointing it towards Nick and Judy, who had just joined by the fox's side. "Though I thank you for coming forward at my command."
"But we didn't…" Judy began, only to see General Bogo grin as he pulled out his gun. "I knew you two would come face me if I halted the fighting. Mercy has no place in the Califurnia I wish to make." His grim smile widened as he raised his weapon. "I'm glad you stepped forward to talk...this little insurrection against my rise to power over the past thirty years will now shrivel and die...like you both."
Bogo pulled back the hammer as Judy and Nick tensed.
Judy and Nick winced at the massive sound, the screams of wounded mammals flooding the air around them along with the hysteric shouting from the entrance of the fort.
"What is going on?" Bogo roared, glaring behind him, his height allowing him to easily see the entrance of the fort.
His jaw dropped. "No!"
Outside of Fort Zootopia, a crisp line of marines stood, guns leveled at the now cowering line of mostly petty criminals at the back of Bogo's group. Most of the rogues still standing were surrounding a massive, groaning pile of corpses and mangled mammals.
The rhino holding the mini-cannon within the lines of the marines hoisted the weapon upon his shoulder as a lion wearing the uniform of a lieutenant strode up to him.
"Great shot, Mister McHorn. The Admiral will be much pleased with the results." Nodding at the rhino, the lion quickly drew his saber. "Marines! Fire at will!"
Bogo could only watch in terror as the line of green-coated mammals fired, a plume of smoke and sparks filling the outside of the fort, while screams and cries of terror filled the inside. He turned, only to see a revitalized enemy in front of him, rushing forward.
With an angry bellow, Bogo drew his sword and charged forward, several of his soldiers following his example. The two forces met again in the middle of the parade grounds as another boom from the cannon behind them joined in the noise of battle and cries of the fallen. Bogo bent and slammed his head into an approaching musk ox, stunning the mammal, before the General severed the mammal's head from his body.
Another ibex attempted a charge. Bogo, still swinging his sword, turned full circle before slamming the hilt of his sword into the mammal's throat. A bone chilling crack was followed by a guttural cry as the mammal fell to the earth, his neck bent at a sickly angle. The large bovine glared across the battlefield for his next target, spotting a large, oddly mammoth horse and fox hybrid currently swinging two of Bogo's soldiers, an otter and a dik-dik by their tails as mammalian flails. Bogo charged towards the hybrid, raising his sword when a grey bullet slammed into the side of his face.
Bogo snorted, his head whipping to the side as he stumbled, nearly falling into the dust as he spotted whoever had dared to strike him.
His bellow would put to shame the roar of the mightiest lions, and the battlefield nearly fell silent, its effect nearly immediate. Judy glared down the line of her sword, tilting it towards Bogo's chest.
"General Bogo, if you do not wish to die, then I would suggest you surrender immediately."
A gruff chuckled escaped his lips. "You've got this all backwards, Hopps. You've always had it backwards." He took a heavy step forward, his broadsword slathered with blood and glistening in the sun. "And now you will be the one to die and the rest of you to fall in line with the next leader of Califurnia!"
Judy sighed and shook her head. "Then you leave me no choice, General. FIRE!"
A massive, crackling volley of guns spat fire and smoke from the walls, Rektar's mercenaries unloading an entire barrage into the massive Cape buffalo.
Bogo roared again, this time in agony as the rounds ripped into him, forcing him to his knees as his chest heaved.
Judy took a step forward. "I know your skill, but I also know your limits. We will all fight you as one, which is why you cannot win. Surrender."
Bogo raised his head, several mammals taking a step back from the hideous sight.
The right side of his muzzle and eye were shot to ribbons, blood clotting the entire side of his face. "You...will not...defy me...any longer!"
The Cape buffalo shot forward like a bat out of hell, swinging his broadsword straight towards Judy. The rabbit prepared to leap away when an orange blur smashed into Bogo's arm, a sickening thud sounding throughout the yard.
The general again fell to the earth, bellowing in pain as Nick landed deftly on his paws, a sledgehammer held in both paws. Judy shot the tod a grateful smile, the fox simply shrugging for his reply before joining her side. "Sorry, I had to hammer out some issues across the field."
Judy groaned before once again turning her attention onto Bogo. The entire fort had fallen silent besides the angry, pain filled wails from the bovine. "You've lost, Bogo. Let there be no more shedding of blood."
Slowly, the buffalo stood, chest heaving as rivulets of blood dripped across his uniform. "Never."
"Ornery fellow, isn't he," Nick said with a heavy sigh.
Once again Bogo trudged forward, grimacing as he raised his sword...only for his face to snap to the side as Felix punched him full force in the temple. Bogo tumbled to the earth, gasping again in pain.
"You foxes…" he rasped. "Can all burn in hell."
All eyes turned to the sound of the voice, only seeing a darkened shadow against the sun leaping from the nearby roof of the mess hall. The small, black clad figure spun several times in the air, aiming straight for Bogo.
"Wait!" Judy yelled, but it was too late.
A double flash of steel shone from the creature's arms before she landed atop Bogo's head, the figure's fists plunging down as two swords concealed under her sleeves stabbed straight through the bovine's skull.
Bogo's body trembled, his eyes glazing over. One last, heavy gasp escaped his muzzle before his body fell limp. Judy and Nick could only gape in amazement and horror as the buffalo before them, the mammal behind the deaths of hundreds of others, was finally gone.
The assassin stood, their blades retracting back under their sleeves. Judy and Nick carefully approached them, both holding their weapons defensively.
"Who are you?" Judy asked, keeping a defensive pose against this new potential foe.
The figure raised its paws, earning a startled halt to the fox and bunny's advance. Giggling softly, the figure finished reaching towards its hood and pulled it back, revealing a wash of pink hair and a sand cat's face beneath. "I mean you no harm," the figure said, bowing her head. "I was sent here by my order to help rid the world of the tyrant Bogo, as well as the one who has just escaped the fort."
"Escaped?" Nick asked, before facing Judy.
The two went to leave, but were halted when the sand cat stood in their way. "I may have said she escaped, but if I were worried, wouldn't I be after her now instead of talking with you?"
Nick lowered his sledgehammer. "Fair point," he answered. "Though why won't you let us through to capture her?"
The sand cat smiled. "Because someone with a deeper revenge than you has laid claim to her already."
Fifteen minutes earlier
Bellwether ran for her life. The two tigers who remained of her guard, along with a small group of deserters from Bogo's force fled down the road at full speed, daring not to look back as the sound of battle rang out behind them. It was sheer luck that several soldiers from The Master's group had found her locked in the cell, but it was greater luck that one was a rhino. Within seconds the cell door was a twisted heap on the ground, and Bellwether was out the door.
"Where are we going?" one of her tigers asked, easily keeping pace with the drunken ewe.
"The docks!" she bleated, tripping yet managing to catch herself before she fell. "There is a ship there from Denmartin, the Saeak. I know the captain and he'll take us away from here and to safety."
The tiger nodded, then bolted forward with his brother, leaving the confused sheep in the dust. "Hey! Where are you two going!"
They left her with not a word, Magistrate Bellwether hurrying to keep pace with them to get to the ship. It was only a few moments of dashing through the quiet streets, the sound of battle behind her limited to the crackling of musket fire, when her ship came into view. Another minute and she was onboard before the gangplank was dropped, leaving several of Bogo's soldiers on the dock, screaming and cursing her name.
The ewe collapsed against the railing, breathing heavily as the ship's sails caught the fluttering breeze and turned to starboard.
She giggled. Soon it turned into full blown laughter as she realized she has managed to escape.
Her guffaws turned to screams as the forecastle of the ship exploded into a majestic shower of wood and splinters. Another boom and the floorboards beneath her expanded upwards, tossing her to the center of the ship as it listed hard to port.
The sound of a whistle distracted her, and upon unsteady hooves, she made her way to the side of the ship.
"I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning."
Admiral Wilde breathed in deeply as the cannons of the Nighthowler continued its barrage into the side of the Saeak. Through his telescope he could see the cowering figure of Magistrate Bellwether running towards the stern of the ship, nearly falling overboard as another cannonade shattered the main mast, the oak beam exploding outwards. A loud groan and the main mast fell, bringing with it the rest of the sails as they thundered into Zootopia bay with a splash of foam and water.
Wilde put away his telescope as the Nighthowlever crept closer to the stricken vessel. "Mr. Mamstrong, bring us up for a full broadside, aim at her magazine."
"Aye aye sir!"
With his paws clasped behind his back, the grizzled sea veteran felt a smile creep upon his face. He was glad for the tip from the Assassin Koraru of how the Saeak was chartered under Bellwether's name.
...as well as how she had placed over a ton of powder next to the ship's galley.
"Make sure the shot is hot!"
"Aye aye, sir!"
The order was passed along and a minute of silence passed, the admiral bracing for the shock of the full power of his ship on display.
This is for you...my precious Esmeralda.
The Nighthowler shook, vibrating its frame as all twenty cannons fired at once. They were close enough that before the belching smoke from the guns obscured his vision, he could almost see the terrified expression of the one who took away the love of his life.
It wasn't a second later that the Saeak exploded in a fiery plume of fire and wood. The entire ship was consumed in an instant, sending a shockwave across the waves and blowing heat across Wilde's fur.
It was almost enough to dry the tears streaming down his face.
He watched the partial remains of the ship sink beneath the waves, a bubbling cesspool of foam and debris scattered across the bay. Timbers and bodies dotted the churning water as boats were sent to search the wreckage. It felt like ages before they returned, nary a survivor picked up among his seamammals. Admiral Wilde greeted them as they came aboard.
The jackal hopping aboard his ship grinned. "We saw her for a bit there, bobbing in the water like a cork before a good ole shark snapped her down to join Davy Jones, sir."
Admiral Wilde nodded once, turning away from the sailors and heading towards the bow. As he stood at the tip of the forecastle, staring towards where his old home would have been, he spotted a fox and rabbit standing at the edge of the docks.
And he smiled.
AN: Well, this was the final battle of the story. I hope you enjoyed it as it was a bear to write, and hopefully it came off as the climax you were all hoping for. While this precise chapter has changed about twenty different times in how to present it, Bellwether's fate had been decided almost since the beginning of this story as I wanted something huge to happen to her due to her impact on the story. Bogo may be The Big Bad, but, I wanted folks to get more enjoyment from Bellwether's fate, so I hope that worked out well in its presentation.
I also hope that Bogo's fight here was worth it. I know it is short, and wasn't entirely Nick/Judy vs Bogo with an epic sword fight to close the climax. However, I felt that as Nick and Judy this entire story have tried bringing mammals together, as is within their characters, I wanted to show how they united everyone against this threat, and how they all worked together to bring Bogo down. So why push all their friends to the side so they can 2 on 1 General Bogo, when instead they can hustle him with Everyone vs Bogo. His ego is what takes him down, and I hope that came through here. ^^;
I also wanted to make sure that the climax with Bogo didn't overshadow the one with Bellwether. That ewe has had it coming for thirty chapters now. XD
And I have to thank so many people for letting me use their OC's in this chapter. It was quite fun to include them all and I hope I portrayed them well. This story has been chock full of them, and I really wish to thank everyone for letting me use their OC's. I hope I've done you all proud. :)
Chapter Character OC list:
Felix "The Crimson paw" belongs to FoxintheHenhouse
Ake'cheta belongs to Knoton13
Sebastian belongs to Sebastian.
Liam McIver belongs to ScaraMedn
Rekter Argid belongs to DrekkDeina
Korarusan belongs to Korarusan
Oce belongs to OceRydia
Zieg belongs to Ziegelzeig