As usual, here is your warning that this story has cursing, sex (not graphic), innuendo, and violence. It’s my Rated-R action adventure called Derailing Bedlam. This is the fourth outing (third official) for Cassidy and Lloyd, so feel free to click on one of the two covers to see how it started. Each one is 99 cents!
Excited employees and guests hurry into the bowl-shaped arena to claim seats, the word of a challenge having spread quicker than Cassidy expected. The mercenary follows Arethusa out of the tunnel and across a narrow bridge, the crystal clear water allowing her to see all the way to the bottom. No longer wearing her dolphin tail, the mermaid has changed into a black one-piece that looks half a size too small. Spotting Tyler in a boxed off area, she is thankful to see that Dale has arrived to protect the businessman. Cassidy waves to the one-armed man before taking in her surroundings in the hopes of discerning the upcoming challenge. Eight of the male employees have dressed as pirates and stand behind water cannons, which are on pillars that rise from the pool. Mermaids swim in circles and send splashes into the air with their tails, the display helping to further excite the crowd. Watching one of them go by, Cassidy swears the woman has some kind of weapon strapped to her back, but the shape is unfamiliar. Stopping in a central circle, she is surprised to find that the floating platform is very unstable and shifts at the slightest movement. Slick handles are on the edge, making her believe that part of the challenge is knocking your opponent into the water.
“This was put together by one of the engineers,” Arethusa explains while the water cannons cool off the warm platform. She stretches and jumps in place, her confident motions proving that she is comfortable on the unstable ground. “The guy is a fan of foreign cartoons and loved one that had this weird sport. All about barely clothed women fighting over water and knocking each other in without using their hands. King Grannus allowed it because he needed the man to build the hot spring system. There used to be two version of this too. One was like this with a lot of movement while the other was two women on a small float. That was all about pushing with your butt and . . . walk away and I win.”
“I am not getting involved in something so stupid,” Cassidy contends as she takes a seat on the platform. She watches as the bridges are retracted and the mermaids lean over the edge of the pool to interact with the audience. “I’m all for a challenge, but this is ridiculous. Just give me a classic fistfight or some kind of race. You need to give me a choice on if I want to be humiliated by some perverted fetish sport.”
The emerald-haired woman giggles before doing a backflip followed by a split. “Those were the rules, but you don’t have to worry. We don’t do it that way anymore. Sexist objectification aside, the early days had accidents. Bruised breasts, broken tailbones, and pulled muscles for the women. The men, because they had to do this too, had a habit of getting too rough. I believe the term was testicular rupture, which sounds agonizing. A lot of people were put out of action because of this, which wasn’t good for the rest of the park. Today, the object is still to knock your opponent completely off the platform, but you can use your hands. Just pushing and throwing because we don’t want to draw blood or break anything. We have hazards like the water cannons and my friends, who are under orders not to aim. That way they don’t play favorites. Half of the mermaids will try to pull you in if you’re dangling while the others will push you back up. Once one gets to you then all others have to stay away. Does this sound any better?”
“Yes, but I’m still a little queasy from imagining testicular rupture. Remember our deal?”
“I win and I get Mr. McHale.”
“I win and you get me.”
“Such an odd way of saying it, but it’s a deal.”
“You’re moving pretty well here.”
“Been the champion for two years, so I better be good at this.”
“Son of a bitch.”
Arethusa practically glides across the slick puddle-covered platform while Cassidy runs backwards. The mercenary struggles to maintain her balance and is about get grabbed when a water cannon blast knocks her to the side. Rolling to the edge, she stops herself by bracing her feet against two of the handles. As she gets up, a mermaid drenches her with a splash that also blinds her long enough for Arethusa to close the distance. Catching a wrist, Cassidy lifts her up and tries to throw the woman off the platform. The smiling champion grips one of the handles and spins herself around before calmly returning to solid ground like a gymnast dismounting a high horse. Darting forward, the mermaid shoves the mercenary and continues landing open hand blows that drive her back. Hearing a familiar noise, Cassidy leaps to the side and stretches to grab Arethusa by the back of the head. Having focused on moving forward, the woman is unable to escape and gets pushed face-first into a water cannon jet. The impact is enough to knock her off her feet, but she twists to wrap her legs around the mercenary’s knees. Within seconds, both combatants are on the ground and the audience is cheering.
The first to stand, Cassidy is about to charge when she hears a series of noises that remind her of popping open a bottle of champagne. She notices a swarm of shadows on the ground and looks up in time to see an incoming barrage of balloons, which have been launched by nine of the mermaids. Pelted by the brightly colored projectiles, the mercenary curses at the sensation of icy water on her skin. Numb and shivering, she takes a step toward her opponent when she hears the sound again. Before she can run for safety, several of the mermaids shove the platform to make it difficult for those on top to escape the second attack. Their violent impact causes the entire thing to tip towards one side where more of the employees hurry to grab the handles and keep the buoyant structure tilted. Dazed from the water cannon and cold from the balloons, Arethusa nearly slides to the bottom, but she is caught by the waist and hauled up to a handhold by Cassidy. The platform is suddenly spun until the pair are dangling from the top where they are pelted by jets of water.
“Shit, I forgot we’re against each other,” the mercenary snaps, earning a laugh from the crowd. Using her legs, she tries to push the other woman away, but their skin is too slick for her to make solid contact. “Honestly, this is kind of fun. The cannons hurt a bit and I still can’t get the hang of moving here, but it definitely beats lazily floating around. Hope they let this thing level off soon.”
“You should visit when we have the tournaments,” Arethusa whispers before wrapping her legs around Cassidy’s waist. Releasing the handle, she lets all of her weight pull her opponent free, which sends them sliding towards the water below. “We have them every equinox and solstice. Men and women compete against each other too. Now, this is when I finish you off and claim my prize.”
Cassidy is released when the mermaid lets go, curls her legs, and gently kicks out to send the mercenary spinning toward the edge. The platform abruptly returns to its original position, but she is already moving too quickly to stop like her more experienced opponent. Desperately flipping herself like a pancake, she presses her fingers, toes, and chin against the ground in the hopes of creating enough friction to slow herself down. As she goes over the edge, Cassidy grabs a handle and is submerged up to her waist. Two shark-finned mermaids rush towards her and she can barely see a third coming from directly below. Unwilling to depend on any of them for help, she waits until the fastest one gets close and hoists herself up. Kicking out, she puts her feet against the startled woman’s face and pushes off to awkwardly flip back onto the platform. The clumsy escape gets some applause, but most of the audience is too busy laughing.
Knowing that Arethusa has had plenty of time to recover, Cassidy scrambles away from the edge on all fours. Seeing the mermaid coming at her from the left, she quickly stands and prepares to meet the charge. Their hands meet and they push against each other, the slippery ground making it difficult for either to get the upper hand. Arethusa repeatedly tries to duck and flip Cassidy, who always pulls back and up to avoid the attack. Hitting a puddle, the mercenary spins around her opponent without letting go and catches her in an awkward chokehold. A water cannon to the stomach weakens the mermaid, who is beginning to lose consciousness. The hold is broken when a barrage of water balloons batters Cassidy’s back and startles her enough that Arethusa can slip free. A blast knocks the mercenary’s legs out from under her and she goes down hard on her side.
“Think I found your weakness, little fishy,” Cassidy groans as she stands. At the sound of a sprinkler turning on, she pauses and gets hit in the face by a geyser that erupts from a hole in the platform. “What the hell? We’re spending more time fighting the hazards than each other. Can’t we get a few minutes to wrestle? Should have known that would get the crowd hooting and whistling. Ow! If somebody is controlling these things then don’t aim for the butt. It’s not enjoyable by any stretch of the imagination.”
“These turn on when a fight has been going on for five minutes,” Arethusa says while nimbly avoiding the blasts. She frowns at the way Cassidy does the same, the other woman showing more agility than before. “If this goes on much longer then it will have to be settled by the audience. I’m the fan favorite, so I don’t think you want it to get that far. Be rather humiliating to lose by applause too.”
“Like I’ve been the pillar of pride and decorum up to this point,” the mercenary mutters, taking a water cannon to the chest. Having seen it coming, she pushes against it and leaves herself open to getting grabbed from the side. “Okay, I’m starting to prune up here. Not to mention I’m getting tired of the cold water. Do you mind if we put an end to this?”
Without a word, Arethusa pushes Cassidy towards the water and it is only when they near the edge that she begins to worry. Before she can move away, the mercenary turns into the charge to hug the mermaid by the waist and deliver a hard kiss. Stunned by the unexpected contact, the emerald-haired woman is barely aware of them continuing to run. As they go over the side, Cassidy hooks a foot on one of the handles and throws Arethusa over her head. The champion splashes into the pool while her opponent’s lower leg remains out of the water at an uncomfortable angle. Shocked by the finale, a lingering silence comes over the crowd as the winner is announced over a crackling loudspeaker. They only begin to cheer when both women return to the platform and wave to the audience.
“A deal is a deal,” Arethusa admits with a flicker of dismay on her face. Taking Cassidy by the hand, she leads her to where a bridge is being extended. “That was one of the most intense challenges I’ve ever had here. Now be honest, did you do this to save your boss or because you wanted me for yourself?”
“I take my work very seriously,” the mercenary claims while waving to Tyler. “Although, I don’t like to share either. Now, I saw a sign about private hot springs. Care to show me one of those?”