tagSci-Fi & FantasyDamsel in Distress Ep. 02: Betrothed to the Baron

Damsel in Distress Ep. 02: Betrothed to the Baron


"Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to witness the joining of this man, and this woman in holy matrimony."

Your heart fills with dread as you hear the words, as if reality has finally struck you with its overwhelming gravity. You stand before everyone in a long, white wedding dress as they all listen to the ambassador officiate. Beside you stands one of the most odious men you've ever known: Baron Heinrich von Zorn, lord of Uberwald. For two days this villain has kept you prisoner inside the palatial Uberwaldian consulate while preparations were made for this farce of a wedding. Unable to accept your rejection of his many romantic proposals, Baron Zorn finally decided to just take you by force—a tactic he employed all too often as the dictator of his troubled nation. He threatened to harm your dear friend Gogo if you did not cooperate, so you were left with no choice.

The wedding party is gathered outside on the wide terrace that overlooks Metro City, making the proceedings highly visible to all around. Unaware of your predicament, the outside world only knows that you were meeting with Baron von Zorn to discuss relations between your two kingdoms. As the Princess of Utopia, you often engaged in diplomacy with the ruler of the neighboring Uberwald, so it went unnoticed that you were being held against your will. Now it would only seem that the Baron had successfully courted you and you were having a surprise wedding. A few reporters have already gathered on the streets below, possibly having been tipped off by the Baron's men. Everything will seem legitimate in the eyes of the public. No one will come to your aid.

You cast your eyes to your friend Gogo, who is wearing a silver dress and standing as your maid of honor. Her expression is somber and defeated, and her eyebrows knit together sympathetically as you meet her gaze. The bridesmaid just behind her is Hilda von Zorn, the Baron's beautiful sister. Officially she is a princess, but in your mind you've taken to referring to her as "The Baroness," as she is something of a female counterpart to her brother. She notices your straying gaze and smiles at you, though you feel no warmth from her. Her eyes narrow menacingly as she glances at Gogo and tightens her grip on her bouquet of flowers. She herself had held a gun on Gogo before taking her away, and she would make good on her brother's threat if anything went wrong.

"Do you, your eminence," continues the ambassador in his German accent, "the Great Baron von Zorn the Strong, Lord of All the Realm, Triumphant Protector of the People..."

The Baron turns to you, smiling, and takes your hands in his. He is an imposing man of large build and great stature, commanding attention and respect with his very presence. He is actually very manly and handsome, with strong features one imagines for a powerful military hero. He has very short blond hair trimmed in a military style and is clean-shaven. His face is perfectly shaped with prominent cheekbones and is without blemish, just like the portraits of him one might otherwise suspect to be idealized representations. His advocacy for bodybuilding, strength training and athleticism is clearly exhibited by his big, muscular physique. As usual, he wears a monocle on his right eye, and an immaculate Uberwaldian uniform that is more decorated and stately than the other soldiers to signify his rank. His blue eyes regard you adoringly, but the smugness you detect there ignites your anger.

The ambassador continues: "take Princess Damsel to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do you part?"

"I do," says Baron Zorn.

The ambassador smiles behind his white beard and nods respectfully before turning to you.

"And do you, Princess Damsel, take our mighty and beloved leader to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward..."

The Baron's smile fades and his expression becomes more serious as your part in the ceremony approaches. Much to your regret, you have actually considered marrying this man. All your life you have known about the atrocities of Uberwald and its ruling family; but the Zorns are people, and people can change. Heinrich is still relatively young, he is attractive and has some admirable qualities—or so you once thought. As difficult as it is to believe, his enduring love for you seems to be genuine. Like his father, however, he has always wanted to conquer your peaceful kingdom of Utopia. Marrying you has always been a means to that end, no matter how he really feels. While considering one of his proposals, you wondered if maybe—as his queen—you could sway the Baron with your influence, and help all of Uberwald in the process. That small seed of hope will perhaps be all you have left when this wedding is over.

The ambassador finishes: "until death do you part?"

You glare at the Baron as silent moments pass. With your hesitation, he begins to tighten his hold on your hands. Bitter thoughts churn in your mind as you summon the will to say those two damning words. You can sense the people behind you stiffening with anxiety. The ambassador continues to smile obnoxiously at you, tilting his head closer to encourage your answer. There is no alternative. You must save your friend.

"I do," you say with resignation.

Baron Zorn grins widely. One of the groomsmen steps forward and presents the rings.

"I give you this ring, Princess," says Baron Zorn, slipping the gold band over your finger, "as a symbol of my eternal love and commitment to you. As we join together, so do our two great lands, finally unified in peace."

You feel as though you've just betrayed your people. The Baron slips the other ring over his own finger and holds your hands again. He's clearly taking great joy in this.

"Marriage is a sacred union between husband and wife and shall remain unbroken," says the ambassador. "If any person here has cause why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Baron Zorn shoots an angry glare at the ambassador.

"I-I mean—" he stammers, backing away.

You hear a faint blasting sound from somewhere high above. One of the armed guards suddenly falls to the ground, then another, and another.

"Was ist los?!" one of the groomsmen exclaims in German, as everyone looks around in shocked surprise. The bodies remain motionless on the ground. The remaining guards ready their weapons and search frantically for the source of the shots.

A shadow swiftly crosses over the terrace, and you look up to see a male figure leaping from an airborne vehicle. His large form momentarily blocks the sun, a black silhouette as he rapidly descends. The powerful impact of his boots slamming down causes the terrace to tremble. Frozen, you watch as he lands right in front of the ambassador, who falls backward onto his rump with his hands held up in fright.

Before you is a giant-like man bulging with solid muscle. His physique is incredibly large and powerful, with very broad shoulders, a swollen chest, and tree-trunk-sized arms and legs. You don't think you've ever laid eyes on a man so big. His face is stern and masculinely handsome. He has dark, rugged-looking beard stubble and his head is shaved. He's wearing a tight black A-shirt that clings to his huge muscles, and black and red pants, with the red covering the outsides of his massive legs. He has two red numerals tattooed on his left shoulder: a zero followed by a five. There's some sort of device on his ear that connects to a red lens over his right eye. In his hands is a very large and intimidating rifle. Straightening himself up, he glares at the Baron with an angry scowl.

"What is the meaning of this—!" Baron Zorn shouts, before the huge intruder swings the butt of his rifle and strikes him powerfully across the face, dropping him to the ground.

"Agent Alpha," the man states, introducing himself to you. "I'm here to rescue you."

His voice is manly, deep, and very matter-of-fact. He quickly steps in front of you and boots one of the groomsmen in the torso, knocking him into the others. They cry out and fall over each other while Agent Alpha quickly takes aim and starts shooting at the guards.

"Get down, Princess!" he orders. Gogo takes advantage of the situation to elbow and strike the stunned Baroness before rushing to your side. She takes your hand and leads you to cover in the alcove of a large window. The Baron's men have opened fire on Agent Alpha, with a handful more pouring out from inside. You worry for his safety as shots ring out across the terrace. Why is he just standing there, not taking cover? There was no way he would survive the onslaught.

One after another, the men fall to Alpha's deliberate rifle blasts. As the gunfire comes to a stop, you see with great relief that he remains unharmed. You know the hail of bullets must have struck the huge man, yet amazingly seem to have just bounced off of him. You recall that he had jumped from an incredible height and landed without the slightest injury. Was he superhuman, like your hero Captain Astro?

"Princess Damsel," Agent Alpha calls, turning to you and Gogo, "are you all right—?"

The Baroness suddenly tears her bouquet apart to reveal a pistol and shoots at Alpha. Bewildered, he watches as her bullets strike the body of his large rifle and tear through the metal. He takes aim at her, but when he tries to shoot there's a sound like a click and nothing happens. As Alpha reexamines his rifle, the Baroness tosses her long blonde hair and smiles confidently. She had hit exactly what she was aiming for, with pinpoint accuracy, to disable his weapon.

"Is something wrong, hero?" she asks him mockingly. You notice Baron Zorn is rising to his feet, while more of his men rush out onto the terrace brandishing their guns. The Baroness moves back and the men surround her protectively.

"Defend our leader," the Baroness orders them. Agent Alpha tosses away his broken rifle, and is once again under fire from numerous soldiers. Unfazed, he charges forward and starts throwing powerful punches. He occasionally raises his arms as if to deflect incoming bullets. You notice he is wearing red, metallic bracers on each wrist, as they catch the sunlight and gleam with a dark ruby color.

"Miss Damsel!" Gogo says urgently, shaking you in her arms. You glance at her, and notice she's staring in a different direction. You turn your head to see Baron Zorn striding toward you, his brow furrowed angrily. He lost his monocle when Agent Alpha struck him, but is otherwise unharmed.

"Come!" Gogo says, and she leads you by the hand out of the alcove to escape. As she heads toward one of the doorways, you watch Alpha fight the group of large, brawny soldiers with his bare hands. He's clearly a master fighter, and immensely strong, sending men flying with his forceful strikes and grapples. His enormous muscles flex and bulge even larger with his powerful moves. He takes their guns away and breaks them, smashing them with his hands or underfoot, or bending them out of shape. He doesn't use their weapons against them.

Gogo pulls you into the large, opulent hall. Gunfire and the shouting of men continues to sound behind you. You grip your long skirt in your hand and run with Gogo for the far door, but a straggling soldier darkens the doorway and holds his hand up to stop you. Gogo wastes no time and attacks him, taking him by surprise. A trained martial artist, she strikes him and twists his arm painfully, then knees him in the gut. After a series of quick strikes, she knocks him against the wall, and he slumps to the ground, defeated.

"Princess!" Baron Zorn calls from close behind. You and Gogo spin around to face him. He towers in front of you, reaching out for you with his hand.

"Come here, my lovely bride," he says.

Gogo moves between the two of you and cries out ferociously as she throws a punch. Baron Zorn grunts and catches her arm with a skillful maneuver. He grips her tightly and pulls her arm behind her back, easily overpowering her.

"She has no need for you anymore," he tells Gogo. "She belongs with me!"

You yell at the Baron in concern for Gogo, and he pushes her aside. Gogo falls to the ground, unable to catch herself in time before hitting the floor. You rush toward her but the Baron grabs you and takes you in his strong arms. He carries you out the door and into the grand hall of the consulate. You struggle, but Baron Zorn is incredibly strong and holds you tight. He hurries through the colonnade and to one of the long stairways, his footsteps against the marble floor echoing through the vast space. As he plods down the steps, the heavy front doors swing open and more soldiers spill into the great hall.

<"Finish off the intruder,"> Baron Zorn commands his men in German. <"And bring me the African girl. I want her alive.">

<"Yes, Baron Zorn!"> the men answer together, giving a quick salute.

You hear a man somewhere bellow with exertion, and you see it's Agent Alpha vaulting over the balustrade. He lands down in front of the newly arrived men with a powerful thud. They shout and raise their weapons, but he's already tearing through them with strong blows. Upstairs, he had used a polished martial form. Now, he seems to have dropped it in favor of implacable brute force, and moves through the men like a juggernaut. He barely notices as they shoot or strike him, and soon they are all overcome by his exceedingly superior might. They lay at his feet, unconscious or groaning in agony. He solemnly looks over them, and notices one soldier crawling for his weapon. He stomps down on the rifle to render it useless. The soldier starts to get up, but Alpha takes a step and kicks the soldier aside, sending him tumbling across the floor. Finally Alpha turns to face the Baron.

"So," the Baron growls, "the Americans have found some measure of success with the supersoldier program they appropriated. That's what you are, isn't it?"

The Baron moves closer to Agent Alpha, engaging in a tense standoff with him in the middle of the great hall. The two gigantic men stand with confidence before one another. Even after the remarkable feats of strength he has witnessed, Baron Zorn is somehow undaunted. He holds you securely in only one of his arms now as he faces off with the man trying to save you.

"Let her go," Alpha commands. "Your imprisonment of this woman ends now."

"She is my bride!" the Baron shouts angrily. "I am the Baron of Uberwald, and this palace is on sovereign land! You have no authority here!"

"I'm acting outside those restrictions. Let her go now, or I'll SHOW you what 'authority' I have."

Baron Zorn roars with anger and lunges at him. Alpha dodges the punch, then swiftly locks Baron Zorn in a submission hold. His huge arms squeeze the Baron's thick neck, and the Baron lets you free. You stumble away as the two men struggle, grunting and wheezing with their efforts.

"Princess!" Alpha says, turning his head to you.

Amazingly, Baron Zorn is able to wrench himself free of the titan's grasp and shove him away. Agent Alpha moves between you and the Baron, holding his arm out protectively.

"Stay back," he says to you. "I'll handle him."

"I will crush you!" Baron Zorn shouts furiously. His face turns red with anger, and a large vein bulges in his neck. "Once you are broken and disposed of, I'll still have my wedding night! The Princess and Utopia are mine!"

Becoming angry, Agent Alpha attacks Baron Zorn with mighty strikes, catching him by surprise with the first two. The Baron retaliates in kind, first defending with skilled form and then counterattacking. You hurry away and watch them from behind a column. The two colossal men fight with great martial ability. After seeing what Alpha can do, you are astonished to see Baron von Zorn matching his strength. Alpha lands a punch across his face, sending Baron Zorn staggering back. He quickly recovers and bursts forward with outstretched arms. Alpha does the same, and the two men become locked in a fierce grapple. Pushing against each other's hands, they grunt and growl and try to overpower the other with sheer strength. You watch with awe as Agent Alpha really starts to exert his might, his huge biceps flexing with the strain. Baron Zorn's muscles similarly bulge under his uniform, somehow granting him enough strength to contend with the superhero. While always known to be tremendously strong, the Baron had never shown this level of power before.

Agent Alpha determinedly sets his jaw and pushes even harder, forcing the Baron to take a step back. Baron Zorn's eyes widen with disbelief and now he seems to be struggling. His big arms start to quiver and bend at the elbows as Alpha pushes forward.

"It...can't...be!" the Baron says. He utters something in German you don't quite catch. Alpha finally overcomes him and takes the Baron in a hold. The weakened Baron struggles but is soon slammed down onto the floor with a loud crack as the stone breaks underneath him. Unrelenting, Alpha kneels over him and punches him repeatedly.

The Baron gains a second wind and redirects Agent Alpha's arm, then he lands a few punches of his own to knock the bigger man away. Your heart sinks as the fight continues anew. You watch with captivated attention until burly arms suddenly take you from behind. You struggle and are turned around to see it's one of the groomsmen, the big and brawny General Fleischer. He sneers at you under his brown toothbrush mustache.

"I have you now, fräulein," he says.

Agent Alpha hears you struggling and worriedly calls out for you, but he's too busy fending off the powerful Baron to help. You try to escape the General's clutches but you're largely helpless against him. He laughs at you with amused derision.

<"Finally our leader will put you in your place,"> he says.

He turns you around to face the Baron and forces you out from behind the column. Zorn smiles upon seeing you in the hands of one of his men as he continues to fight. Alpha glances at you, then furrows his brow angrily and strikes at the Baron with reenergized vigor. Zorn's smile quickly falls and he struggles to contend with the angered hero.

Suddenly the General is stricken in the face by your friend Gogo, and she tears you away from his meaty hands. You express your relief to see her as she cradles you protectively from General Fleischer. Gogo leads you away, toward the door, with Fleischer lumbering after you. You check on Agent Alpha and see he's now gained the upper hand, beating down on the tiring Baron. His punches overpower Baron Zorn's defenses, and the Baron's strikes are quickly blocked and countered. Finally the Baron is knocked backward several steps, and, failing to keep his balance, falls to his knees. His exhausted arms hang at his sides, and he slowly lifts his head to glare up at his defeater.

<"I cannot be beaten,"> Baron Zorn says with incredulity. <"I am the strongest man.">

Agent Alpha rears his arm back mightily and then swings at the Baron's face, knocking him to the floor. The Baron remains motionless. His large body is sprawled before Alpha, who stands over him breathing heavily.

"Herzog Zorn!" yells General Fleischer. Alpha turns and stomps toward him. Fleischer boldly tries to attack, but Alpha knocks his arm away and grabs him by his lapels to pull him close. He lifts the General off his feet to glare into his eyes, then swings the large man and hurls him into one of the columns. Fleischer cries out in pain as his spine strikes the stone, and he falls to the ground.

Agent Alpha comes toward you, surveying the hall as he walks.

"Are either of you hurt?" he asks. You and Gogo shake your heads. "Good. Come with me. We need to leave right now."

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