Wonder Woman : The Contest 04  

By JTCIII

WONDER WOMAN: The Contest
by JR

Based loosely upon the story by William MessnerLoebs
and Mike Deodato Jr. featured in the Wonder Woman
comic book, issues #0, #90-#100. Now without any damn
censoring.

DISCLAIMER: The following story is an adult-themed
parody of the Wonder Woman comic book. Wonder Woman
and all related characters are property, copyright
and trademark of DC Comics, an AOL Time Warner company.
No copyright infringement is intended. The author
received no payment for this story, and no money shall
be earned by its distribution.

WARNING: The following story contains adult themes
and explicit descriptions of extreme sexual events.
MINORS MUST NOT READ THIS. Many so-called adults
shouldn't, either. If you are below your country's
age of legal majority, kindly bugger off.

WONDER WOMAN: The Contest
PART FOUR: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

"By Hera's Left Tit, this is madness!"

"I have traveled the NetherWorlds before, Mala,"
Princess Diana said, securing the fastenings of her
tightly-fit tunic. "I can do it again."

"Without using your Olympian gifts?"

"The Demonplague is no more, Mala. Pandora's banes
were absorbed by Lord Ares," Dina explained. "Doom's
Doorway is no longer the menace you all knew."

"Sometimes I find it hard to believe," Eurydice
muttered, looking at the rocky mountainside where
the Portal stood.

The often-rebuilt gate of thick wood and reinforcing
iron bands had been mute witness to centuries of
effort and sacrifice. The Amazons of Themyscira had
guarded the dimensional portal of Doom's Doorway with
their lives for almost two millennia, and the rocks of
the narrow gorge which led to it had been continuously
bathed by their sweat, blood and tears. It was barely
a few years ago that the unholy beings imprisoned
behind the Doorway had been banished, thanks to the
efforts of Diana herself.

"No sorcerous menace is ever completely vanquished,"
Mala insisted. "The NetherWorlds connect myriads of
shadow worlds, and the nexus shifts constantly. All
kinds of creatures can still transverse it. By
Aphrodite's Bush, you said yourself that the damn thing
connects with Tartarus itself! Who knows what the hell
you will find there!"

Diana shrugged. "Perhaps I may even find some allies."

"Uh, you mean-?" Eurydice said, looking flustered.

"I think most of those I... parted with in friendly
terms, may be willing to help me."

"Oh, sure. To get under your skirt again!" Mala said
with a dismissive gesture. "Look, I don't want to sound
like your mother, but I wouldn't trust any man or...
whatever, down there, no matter if we had slept together
or not. Actually, the ones I slept with I'd probably
trust the least."

"That doesn't surprise me," Eurydice commented.

"Don't worry," Diana said. "I'm not as naive as I was
the first time I entered the NetherWorlds."

"I'm not sure about that," Mala complained. "At times
I feel you are going to be an innocent child forever."

"Of course, there are many big, ugly, and well-hung
creatures there which I really wouldn't mind at all to
fuck again," Diana cut in with a smile. "At least
once or thrice. Each."

"Princess!" Eurydice protested.

Mala shook her head. "Only you can look all sweet and
proper saying that."

"But don't worry. After all this, I'm not likely to
go looking to revive old liaisons without good reasons,"
Diana said, and then added: "No matter how great the
fucking really was."

"Gods! You are incorrigible!"

"Maybe," Diana replied. "While I know that I did make
some mistakes, I still believe that essentially there
is nothing wrong in my having an active sexuality. To
turn my back on it, would be accepting that Mother was
right and that I deserved being stripped of my mantle.
That is why I must win the Contest."

"You will win," Eurydice stated with conviction, as
she handed Diana a sheathed sword and a coiled length
of rope. "This may not be your golden lasso, but it
may useful, and I sharpened the blade myself last night."

"Thank you, Eury."

"You do have the advantage of fore-knowledge of the
environs," Mala said, but there was nervousness in
her voice. "As much as that place can be known."

"Indeed, Artemis is at far greater risk," Diana said,
her smile vanishing. The group of Bana-Migdhallans
was in the other side of the narrow rocky passage,
busy in their own preparations. "She is venturing
into completely unknown danger."

"She is brave, I must give her that," Mala said
grudgingly. "I would not wish to be in her place.
The very idea of entering that place chills me to the
bone."

"I'd call her foolhardy rather than brave," Eurydice
muttered. "The Banas were not here, year after year,
fighting the things that broke though, again and again,
watching our sisters die. They think that the outside
demon attacks they saw were bad. They have no idea
what it is to spend two dozen lifetimes with death or
worse at your back."

"Oh, they'd envy us the gifts of the Purple Fire much
less, if they did," Mala added, her voice echoing the
sorrow in Eurydice's own.

"She really may not be fully conscious of the risk,"
Diana said, frowning. What was her mother thinking,
she wondered. What could be worth placing a sister
in such unnecessary danger? What was behind all this?

"Worry about yourself first, Princess," Eurydice said.
"The Bana will take care of herself."

"Will she?"


"These amulets will help guide you to the artifact,"
Megala the sorceress said, handing twin necklaces to
Artemis and Diana, a small opaque gem on each. Diana
felt a strange sense of recognition as she fastened it
to her neck, while Artemis tied it around her left arm.

Suddenly it came to her, the gem's aura reminded her
of Harmonnia's Amulet, which had channeled Pandora's
Banes. She was surprised that Megala was powerful
enough to duplicate such magic.

"They will also serve to track you if... something
goes wrong," Megala continued, her voice wavering at
the end.

"They will also alert Megala if any unnatural forces
are activated," Hippolyta added, stepping closer to
both where both competitors stood, with Phillipus in
tow. "From without or within."

Diana's lips tightened at the implication. "I gave
my word, My Queen. I will stand by it," she said
softly.

"You can still stop this, Diana," Hippolyta
whispered, moving close to her daughter, a strange
sense of desperation in her eyes.

"So can you, My Queen," Diana replied, her gaze
steady and unflinching.

Hippolyta looked down and stepped back, gesturing to
Phillipus.

"LET THE DOORWAY BE OPENED!" Phillipus commanded.

"What the hell was that about?" Artemis asked.

"I wish I knew," Diana replied.


A dozen Amazons worked an enormous wheel, and in
response a system of wooden gears and hydraulics
began to open the massive portal. Despite themselves,
most Themyscirans grew pale and many grabbed for their
weapons without conscious thought.

Doom's Doorway was open.

The stale air that seeped out smelled of fear and
ancient rot, of bad memories long unrecalled but
never forgotten.

Artemis ignored the shudder that ran through her body.
She called it the tension of own anticipation, and
shifted her bow and quiver on her back, adjusting
also the two long, curved short swords strapped to
her well-muscled thighs.

She glanced to her left, and for an instant stared at
the tall dark haired Princess standing proud, the long,
perfectly smooth legs set gracefully apart, the wide
shoulders and V-shaped back arrogantly arching from
the slender waist and prominent, muscular buttocks,
and the large, high-set breasts thrust forward, boldly
stretching the tight fabric of her tunic.

The bitch clearly knew she was so damn beautiful, and
Artemis hated her for it.

Diana's own gaze was lost to a side. She was staring
at her mother. Suddenly she turned around and smiled
at Artemis, all soft lips, dazzling white teeth, and
clear blue eyes.

"Good luck," Diana said.

Artemis frowned, her eyes full of confusion, as if
looking at something alien and unfathomable.

Hippolyta opened her arms in a wide, sweeping gesture.
"LET THE FINAL TEST BEGIN! MAY THE FAVOR OF OLYMPUS
GO WITH YOU, AMAZONS, AND MAY THE BEST AMAZON WIN!"

"She will," Artemis muttered and sprang forward.


Mala and Eurydice watched as both Artemis and Diana
disappeared from sight in the bowels of the earth.
The multitude stood respectfully for a long silent
hour, the silence broken only by the occasionally
whispered exchange. Finally, one by one, the Amazons
began to leave, knowing that the competitors would
likely take days to return, if ever. Only a select
group of two dozen Amazons had to remain, in full
armor and weaponry, to guard the open portal. Neither
Mala and Eurydice were among them, yet both did not
move.

"We should go get the blankets and provisions if we
are going to stay here," Eurydice said, kicking at
a pebble by her feet.

"Yes," Mala replied.

Neither moved.

"You know, Diana was right about Artemis," Mala said
after a while.

"Yes. Artemis certainly did not falter. Seemed almost
eager to go in. We cannot doubt her courage."

"I meant that she does have a really cute ass."

"Oh, yes."

"Diana really has the hots for her, doesn't she?"

"Oh, yes."

"I hope that it doesn't affect her performance."

"Diana would say it won't."

"So she would say."

"What do you think?"

"Diana will win, of course."

"Of course. But will they get together?"

"Ah! Artemis eats Diana with her eyes."

"Everyone does."

"Sure, but Artemis is almost feral about it. Before
this thing is over, they must have come to blows, or
be fucking like crazy. Maybe both."

"We should be jealous, shouldn't we?"

"No shit. You mean you aren't already?"

"I wouldn't mind joining in, though."

"Who wouldn't? Bana or not, Artemis does have a
really cute ass. Beautiful hair, too."

"Oh, yes."

"Flat tits, though."

"Nobody's perfect. Besides Diana, I mean."

"We should really get the things."

"Oh, yes."

Both stared again at the open portal. Sighing,
Mala sat down, and Eurydice followed.

"The Queen is still here," Eurydice observed.
"And Megala. Everyone else but the guard left
already."

Mala nodded, looking at the Queen and the aged
sorceress, trying to decipher the strange look
in their faces. She glanced at the open portal
again, and tried to shake off the sense of the
Doorway as a huge, gaping mouth, but failed.

"We should really get the things."

"Oh, yes."


Artemis had bounded ahead, moving down the
caverns with almost feverish speed. The light
of her torch was gone already. They should have
progressed thru the entrance cavern together,
Diana thought, to save torchlight. But Artemis
would have hardly considered it.

As she reached the first important forking in the
way, she saw another pile of rusty armor and
stained bones at her feet. The breastplate design
was clearly Amazonian. Closing her eyes for a
second, she offered a prayer for the rest of her
fallen, unknown sister.

Pressing her hand to her neck, she could feel the
almost unsubstantial pulse of the amulet's magic.
Right, she interpreted, and moved down into the
darkness.


Artemis slowed her pace. She had almost twisted
an ankle in a loose rock, and had cursed her initial
burst of speed as indication of her nervousness.
She hated the dark, confined space surrounding her.
She was one for open spaces, where her bow could
sing, not the cold, narrow darkness. This tomblike
place was no place for her. Yet she would die here,
and the dark would claim her flesh, bones and soul,
until her name itself was erased from the memory of
the World.

She shook her head, banishing the darkness that
sought to creep in. The despair and fear were
almost a tangible presence, she realized. This was
really more than just a cave.

She cursed aloud and moved on. Her underwear had
also begun to itch.


The torches had given out, but Diana still moved
on, following the amulet's guidance, aided by the
ghostly light of faintly phosphorescent lichens
coating the walls, carefully committing to memory
her steps.

Suddenly, she felt the amulet pulse, and a brief
surge of coruscating energy surrounded her as she
stepped forward. The cave seemed equally dark
and unremarkable, but a brief look back confirmed
that the passage behind her had disappeared.

She had stepped through a Gate.


Artemis stood open-mouthed at the edge of the
passage's mouth, where it opened into a large
open space. The cavern's opposite wall seemed
at several miles away, but neither the side walls
nor the bottom or top were anywhere in sight.
It seemed like an endless fault in the fabric of
the world, stretching away forever to the sides,
up, and down.

It was impossible, she knew. Themyscira was an
island, whose central peaks could not rise to
such heights. She had lost awareness of how
long she had moved in the caves, but she could
have never gone so far down as to allow such a
perspective to exist.

It took her a few more seconds to realize that
she could see both her wall and the facing one
fading into the distance. Light. A weak light
suffused the open space, source-less and all-present.
Nothing cast shadows, she realized.

Whatever this place was, it wasn't the world
she knew.


Diana climbed carefully down the rocky surface,
the enormous chasm extending in four directions
around her. Though generally featureless, the
craggy plane had plentiful handholds and irregular
ledges, but the strange illumination and skewed
perspective made the sense of depth unreliable.

Soon she stepped into a broad ledge two feet wide,
that seemed to move down and to the left for at
least five miles, before approaching the feature
she seemed to distinguish far in the distance.
She sipped her water skin prudently, and for an
instant considered running the distance, before
deciding on a more sensible brisk walk. She had
spent most of a day in her descent, and she could
not risk a cramp in those circumstances.

As she walked, Diana saw that the almost invisible
line she had noticed was indeed coalescing into a
solid construct as she slowly grew near. A long
thin line of rock crossed the chasm, joining the
facing walls of rock, though in the distance it
had been almost invisible. The amulet told her
that she had to reach the other side and the bridge
seemed the obvious answer.

Three hours passed before she had reached throwing
distance from the bridge. It seemed almost
impossibly slender in its span, and Diana wondered
about how safe it would be.

Suddenly she stopped and stood still. She heard
voices.


"That wasn't nice," the towering creature said,
two feathered arrows sticking from the grayish
pock-marked hide of his broad chest. With a
casual flick of an oversized hand, he brushed
them off.

Artemis stood several paces away, at the foot of
the slender bridge, another arrow cocked at her
bow. "Stand aside, creature."

"I don't give freebies," the creature said,
shrugging his enormous shoulders. "You want to
pass, you must pay the toll."

"I will kill you if I must," Artemis said, lifting
her bow and aiming at his head. "Don't doubt it."

"With that tiny stick? I will doubt it, lass," he
replied, stretching to his full height of over nine
feet. Artemis seemed insignificant compared to his
massive body.

"Are your eyes as tough as your skin?" Artemis
asked, before pulling the bowstring taut.

"STOP!"

Surprised, Artemis aimed at the voice. She had
not heard anyone approaching, yet Diana was
climbing up the bridge's side to join her.

"What are you doing here?"

"Same as you, remember? Can you stop aiming at me,
please?"

"Hello, pretty lass," the grey creature said. "You
also seek to cross the bridge?"

"Yes, I do, sir," Diana answered, nodding her head
in greeting. "Is there a problem?"

"This monster won't let me pass!" Artemis said.
"I'll have to-"

"She can pass if she pays the toll," he said.
"Same as you."

"That's bullshit!" Artemis spat.

"This is your bridge?" Diana asked, rising an
eyebrow. She could not identify what language he
spoke, yet she had no trouble understanding it.

"You see anyone else around? I'm a troll, this is
my bridge. You want to pass, you pay the toll. It
is that simple."

"Look, Princess-" Artemis began.

"What is the toll, please?"

"Oh, I am open to negotiation," the troll said.
"You have any sweets? Chocolate perhaps?"

"Stand aside and let me take care of this," Artemis
said, raising her bow again.

"There is no need to be rash," Diana said, and as
Artemis stared at her in disbelief, she returned to
address the troll again. "Sorry, but I have no such
things. I could offer you some water."

"It rains every other week. All the water I need."

"Perhaps I could pay you on another time? We are
in a quest and-"

"Then you would pass that other time. Sorry, lass,
but credit is a fool's business."

"I've been through this already!" Artemis cut in.
"Why are you wasting time?"

"I may have need of my tools and weapon, sir, or-"

"I don't take weapons. Evil things. There should
be laws to ban them altogether."

"Why do we need his damn permission?" Artemis
demanded.

"What would you accept as payment?" Diana asked.

"That bauble you wear in your neck looks interesting-"

"Sorry, but that is not possible. Anything else?
Some item of clothing, perhaps?"

"What? Are you going to strip for this thing?"
Artemis asked mockingly.

"That would be nice to see, I think, but those
flimsy things you wear would hardly fit me," the
troll said, gesturing at his massive body. The
loincloth he wore took several yards of fabric
just to cover his midsection.

"Now he is mocking us! Let me-"

"Patience, Artemis," Diana advised. "No one is
gaining any advantage now, right? Let me work
something out the polite way."

"Ah, you know each other?" the troll asked amiably.
"I wondered why such unusually tasty lasses chanced
upon this place the same day. Related, are you?"

"Patience?" Artemis asked bitterly. "I spent hours
first scrambling through rocks and then climbing
down to here-"

Diana frowned. For her it had been two days since
they had entered Doom's Doorway.

"-and when I finally reach the bridge, this hideous
thing says he wants to fuck me, and you advise
patience? Well, FUCK YOU, PRINCESS!"

"'Hideous'? That was uncalled for," the troll said.

"You want sex as payment?" Diana asked the troll.

"For such exceptional lookers like you two, a quickie
each would be enough."

"QUICKIE, MY ASS!" Artemis fumed.

"That would be quite acceptable. You do have a rather
cute ass, I'll say. Any lubricants at hand? The size
issue could be-"

"Violence is always the last option," Diana said
softly, as she placed her hand on Artemis wrist and
brought the raised bow down.

Artemis stiffened and her eyes burned with cold anger.
"Touch me again and I will teach you about last
options," she hissed.

Diana strode forward, placing herself between the
enraged Artemis and the huge creature, though she
could hardly shield his full bulk.

"That is a steep demand for a rather simple thing,"
Diana said. "Why should we pay?"

"There is no other bridge in years around, you can't
sneak past me, and it is a big drop as you can see."

"If we refuse, will you try to take it by force?"
Diana asked calmly, but with steel in her voice.

"You take me for a barbarian? I have manners! You
do not accept the price you can go away freely. On
this side, of course."

"This is extortion."

"It is business. Offer and demand. Only bridge.
Only human females in decades...," he shrugged.

"I can offer you a dozen dirty jokes," Diana said.

"A blowjob each."

"You can't be serious!" Artemis cut in.

"A kiss," Diana offered.

"WHAT?"

"Well, in the right place that may be-" the troll began.

"Not for you," Diana said.

"Uh?"

"We kiss each other," Diana said, nodding towards Artemis,

"WHAT?"

"And I-?" asked the troll.

"You get to watch," Diana explained.

"ARE YOU INSANE?"

The troll ran his eyes once again over the two young
women, lingering particularly on the curvaceous
dark-haired one, and sighed loudly. "It's a deal,"
he said.

"You have to be kidding," Artemis muttered with
gritted teeth.

"You prefer to fight to the death a creature that is
following its basic nature?" Diana asked in calm
voice, stepping up to Artemis.

"Basic nature? Wanting to blackmail me into being
its whore? That may be the kind of thing you-"

"Look, trolls are-" Diana cut in, furrowing her
brow.

"I know what trolls are!" Artemis spat. "But I
won't-"

"You want to cross the bridge? There's a way to
do it without danger of bloodshed."

"So? I'm not afraid of such 'danger'," Artemis
said with clear contempt.

"But are you afraid of a kiss?"

Artemis stood silent for a moment, her blazing eyes
locked firmly with Diana's calm gaze, bright green
facing deep blue.

"I will remember this," she hissed, finally.

"Oh, I'd expect you to," Diana replied with a smile.

Diana stepped closer, and reached gently out to take
Artemis' hand, but the redhead pulled it away
abruptly, clenching her fist. Ignoring the gesture,
Diana leaned forward slowly. As her prominent breasts
first touched the other woman's chest, she felt the
redhead's body turn rigid. Being almost the same
height, their eyes were still locked as Diana's
slightly open lips approached Artemis' tightly pursed
mouth.

"Don't make it too fast, if you may," the troll said.

"Shut the fuck up," Artemis muttered, her fiery green
eyes still not moving from Diana's. The large firm
breasts of the Princess pressed more against her as
she drew closer. Artemis face flushed with anger and
a myriad violent emotions as she realized that not only
could she feel the growing hardness of the Diana's
nipples, but that she could also feel her own becoming
equally stiff, and so could Diana, she knew.

Artemis' fists clenched tighter as she felt the other
woman's soft breath on her lips. Finally breaking the
matching stares, Diana closed her eyes and tilted her
head slightly to a side and let their lips touch.
But just as Diana's full lips made the barest of contacts
she drew slightly back and Artemis could barely keep
from leaning forward herself. Diana then moved in
again, her lips moving in a short sideways arc softly
brushing against Artemis' own. Then she repeated again
in the other direction. Artemis tensed even tighter as
Diana repeated again and again the fleeting feathery
touch of the caress, the friction of her soft full lips
barely perceptible.

Why didn't she get it over with?, Artemis though with
growing frustration as she closed her eyes tightly,
brow furrowed, while her lips opened slightly, almost
seeking to match Diana's motion.

Diana paused again for the briefest instant, both their
breaths coming out fast and heavy, and using only her
lips softly half-bit Artemis upper lip. She repeated
the soft pecks again and again, gently pressing the
soft flesh between her lips and slightly pulling on it
each time before withdrawing.

She placed a hand gently on Artemis waist as she went
on, and while she could feel the slender redhead's body
tense even more, the gesture was not repulsed this time.
She lifted the other hand slowly, and let it brush
against Artemis' face while her mouth continued with
the caresses. Artemis first flinched, but did not move
away as Diana finally let her hand rest on the other's
cheek, soon to slide to bright red locks of her hair.

Diana paused again and moving back an instant, she
opened her eyes. As if joined in thoughts, so did
Artemis, and for a second both their eyes matched
again, speaking wordlessly.

As their eyes closed again in unison, Diana moved
forward and firmly pulled Artemis by the head and
waist to her, all resistance now gone. Their bodies
pressed tightly against each other as their lips met
in an eager, almost ravenous kiss. Their torsos
rubbed against each other, Diana's plentiful bosom
flattened against the other's, and hands moved to
the round, muscular buttocks, while lips and tongues
moved in a feverish dance, like desperate for the
sweet taste of the other.

The troll stared, not daring even to blink.

Finally, after a time that seemed both endless and
all-too-brief, the two Amazons disengaged slowly,
their breaths still heavy and their mutual taste
lingering in their mouths.

Diana's hand rose tentatively to caress Artemis
hair once more, but the redhead abruptly tossed her
head aside, eyes narrowing and mouth twisted in a
grimace.

"You will pay for this, Princess," Artemis hissed,
and picking up bow and quiver, she turned and ran
towards the troll, who quickly moved aside to let
her pass.

"Rather in a hurry, is she?" he asked.

Diana sighed as for just one instant she watched
Artemis speed away over the narrow expanse of the
bridge, before moving to follow her.

"Excuse me," the troll said, moving to again block
the bridge. "But you must pay the toll, too."

"What?" Diana asked, startled, coming to stop just
before colliding with the massive creature. "We
just paid!"

"One kiss, one passage," the troll said, shrugging.
"And your friend used it up."

"Why, you-" Diana began, her mouth and eyes open
wide in indignation. Closing her eyes with a sigh,
she shook her head. Placing one hand at her hip,
she looked up, and with the other hand's extended
index finger she beckoned the creature to come
closer.

"Yes, lassie?" the troll asked, he went down on
one knee and leaned forward.

"I can hardly kiss her again if she is past you
and I can't go that way, right?" Diana asked with
a lopsided smile, hands in hips.

"Seems like that," he replied with a wide smile.

"All right," she said, sighing again. "One kiss,
no tongue, and no touching" she added, reaching up
with both hands for the troll's face, and rising on
tip-toes to bring her mouth to his.

The creature's wide mouth, with its large protruding
side tusks, met the soft lips of the Amazon Princess
eagerly but with a surprising initial gentleness.
After a briefly awkward moment of adjusting to the
creature's mouth, Diana began to slowly move deeper
into the kiss, leaning forward and up, until she
lifted and extended one leg backwards, balancing
on the tips of one foot. Reaching out with one huge
hand to aid her balance, the troll's massive fingers
encircled her slender waist almost half-way around.

As the kiss grew in duration and intensity, his other
hand reached out and grabbed her right breast thru the
tightly bound tunic, the huge digits easily enclosing
the entire large globe. Firm flesh yielded softly
beneath the powerful grip as he squeezed, first with
slow, deliberate tenderness, and then with more
insistent roughness, kneading and pulling with growing
fervor.

With a sudden motion, Diana disengaged, stepping away
from his grasp.

"Oww-!" she complained, reaching to cup her tender
teat, while gasping loudly for breath, her mouth open
and her delicate tongue still moist with shared saliva.
"That hurt, you cheat! I said no touching, didn't I?"

"Forgive me, lass," the troll said, breathing deeply.
"You didn't seem to mind."

"Not much at first," she admitted. "But there are
limits. And all that was way beyond our deal. There
was to be no tongue, either!"

"You seemed to like it."

"Oh, sure," she said, brushing her long hair aside
after kneeling to pick up her things. "You are a
much better kisser than I expected. But you should
be more honest, if you expect to have returning
costumers," she added. " Now, if you please..."

"Pleasure doing business with you, my lovely lass,"
the troll said, with a slight bow and a look of
resignation, as he moved aside to let her pass.

"Likewise," she replied with a smile. As she walked
past him, she stopped, and turning around, added:
"If we ever meet again, I may not complain much if
your prices had gone up. Inflation, you know." She
winked at him, turned, and began to run, fleet as a
deer.

The stunned troll stared as she faded fast into the
distance. "Damn, I didn't even get her name," he
muttered. "Should've warned her about the Filthy
Ones, too."


Artemis had many long minutes of head start, and for
an Amazon runner, that was miles of advantage. Diana
pressed forward along the slender bridge, ignoring
the mind-boggling expanse surrounding her and the
apparently endless drop beneath, slowing her stride
only when powerful gusts of wind made her crouch.

She could not even make out if Artemis was still on
the bridge or not, she realized, wondering just how
long the span was.

She may have spent less time in the troll's kiss,
but it had been a fair deal, and she would not feel
honest about doing it half-heartedly. Anything
worth doing was worth doing well. But if the troll
hadn't pushed it himself, she may have delayed even
more, she knew, and she had to acknowledge that it
was really a weakness of hers.

She ran on and on, and eventually, her breath grew
fast and labored. She was tiring fast, she knew,
and could no longer rely on enhancing her stamina
with her Olympian gifts. She had spent two days
without any sleep, most of the last climbing the
rock face, and the temporal discontinuities had
apparently favored Artemis. Soon she would need to
rest, and Artemis's advantage could increase even more.

Suddenly, she realized that there were sounds coming
from ahead of her, and that she could make something
out in the distance, in the air around the bridge.

She drew a deep breath and pressed on.


Artemis let the arrow fly, and a loud shriek of
agony instantly following confirmed her hit. She
rolled to escape the razor sharp talons diving at
her, coming to her knees dangerously close to the
bridge's edge. She drew her last arrow, and let
it fly with a loud curse.

The repulsive winged creature fell in a heap
several paces away, on the bridge's surface,
instead of pummeling away into the abyss below,
as its many companions had done. Unsheathing
the curved short sword at her left thigh, Artemis
sprang forward, ducking low, narrowly evading
another attack from the hideous flying assailants.
She moved to a side, and spun, sharp talons missing
her by mere inches, before her sword cleanly
decapitated her attacker. The humanoid head fell
and rolled over the bridge's surface in macabre
fashion before falling off an edge. Shouldering
her bow, Artemis drew her other sword and spun
forward, both blades cutting a bloody swath around
her as she advanced, but without managing to do
more than just wound and ward off her attackers.

She swung, missed, and ducked barely in time to
escape another swipe that would have cut her
face in two. The sharp talon however cut the
cord binding her hair, freeing the long, flowing
mass of red hair, whose silken lengths spread
around her head.

"FUCK!" she cursed, tossing her head violently
to a side, as her own hair could impair her
peripheral vision. She was then forced to step
back to escape another swooping dive, but her
sword tasted flesh and another attacker fell.

Artemis gritted her teeth and fought on, trying
desperately to advance, knowing that she could
not survive for long the onslaught in the open
surface of the bridge, where the foul flying
creatures had the advantage. But the bridge
still stretched on for at least a mile, and she
had to struggle for each few steps. Her bow had
decimated her enemies, every single arrow having
found its deadly mark, yet there were still two
dozens of the blood-thirsty things and she knew
she could not take all of them on with just
hand-held blades. She knew she was doomed, but
she would make her foes pay dearly for her life.

It was just a matter of time.

A shriek filled the air behind her, and she
turned to see the grime-covered hybrid of bird
and woman crash to the ground, a straight sword
sticking out from between the ugly, grayish
wings. Artemis looked up and saw Diana, now
weaponless, running towards her. More than
half the flock saw her as well, and swerved to
fly towards the unarmed Princess amidst cries of
eager delight.

Sidestepping a new attack that would have
eviscerated her, Artemis aimed, and with a
grunt of effort, threw her right sword with
all her strength towards Diana.

The curved, blood-stained blade spun in the air
and struck the ground five paces before Diana,
just as the flock reached her.

Artemis was already moving forward again.


"Harpies," Diana muttered with disgust, as the
nearest bird-like creature with human face and
torso swooped down on her with a screech of glee,
the cruel talons leading the dive. But at the last
possible instant, Diana slid aside, the talons
ripping only the edge of her billowing short skirt,
and the evaded rush was cut drastically short as
with a sickening snapping noise, the harpy's neck
struck against Diana's extended arm, .

Diana ducked low to evade another sweep, and
grabbed the fallen, foul-smelling body, lifting
it up before her, letting it receive the rush
of a third attacker. Stepping aside as the
harpy tried to disentangle itself from her, she
threw a powerful right cross that sent the
instantly unconscious harpy careening over the
bridge's edge.


"FUCK!" Artemis swore loudly, as she used her
bow and remaining sword to keep her foes at bay.
She ducked and swung, and her blade bit deep,
but the dying harpy's wing spread wildly and
struck her the face, sending her sprawling down
to the ground, almost at the edge of the bridge.
Her sword, fallen from her grasp, tottered at
the edge a second, and then fell.

Still dazed, Artemis saw the harpy dive at her,
and in desperation rolled sideways away from the
edge, seconds before the powerful talons crunched
into gravel the rocky surface where she had lain.

Kneeling up, she saw a second harpy rush at her,
and in desperation, sprang forward and rolled on
the ground, bow held before her, reaching the
body of the harpy she had killed moments before.
As she tumbled over the corpse, she removed the
arrow still sticking whole from its neck, rolled
again to her knees, spun, cocked the arrow and
shot. The attacker fell, barely two steps away.

Artemis rose and stepped forward and removed the
arrow anew, letting it fly once more. It struck
another harpy, which fell screeching to a side.

With a yell of anger and defiance, Artemis brought
her bow hard over her raised knee, breaking it in
two with a grimace of both effort and regret.
Immediately, she ducked and spun, stabbing the next
attacker with the jagged wood in the chest and neck.
It stumbled away and fell off the bridge, the remains
of the bow stuck to the grisly flesh.


Diana threw herself face down to escape a further
swoop, and saw Artemis, now weaponless, step back
as two harpies rushed at her.

The Contest be damned, she decided. She would not let
Artemis die for her mother's absurd games.

As she rose, about to summon the flight and speed of
Hermes, she saw Artemis give another step back and
suddenly disappear.

A Gate, Diana thought. There had to be a Gate there.

The remaining harpies that had been attacking Artemis
shrieked in rage, and flew towards Diana.


Artemis shook her head, fighting the disorientation
that stepping through the dimensional Gates brought.
She looked around her, ready for battle, but the
rocky cavern, illuminated by an eerie glow coming
from around a bend, was empty. The harpies had not
followed her. She wondered if they were unable to
use the Gates, or just irrationally afraid of them.

For the briefest instant she worried if Diana would
manage to reach the gate, but instantly banished the
concern from her mind. They were each on their own,
now.


Diana moved towards the sword Artemis had thrown,
but the harpies blocked her way, forcing her to
step back. It was stuck in the rock, just a few
feet away. She had to get it, she knew, without a
weapon she could not fight the harpies off.

If reaching the sword was difficult, the Gate many
yards away seemed an almost impossible goal.

Two harpies circled, screeching, and dived at her.
Diana evaded the first attack, freeing the bundles
over her shoulders, and as the second creature
rushed at her, she threw her water skin in its path.
The talons ruptured the bag and water drenched the
harpy, which screamed in anger, confirming what
their smell had indicated. As the first harpy
swerved and attacked, Diana swung with her coiled
length of rope, using it as a flexible club and
striking the harpy on a leg, deflecting her rush.
Pivoting, Diana's left leg lashed out at the harpy
behind her, while it tried to shook off the water
out of its grimy feathers. The creature's ribcage
broke with a loud noise under the kick, and as it
collapsed with a loud shriek, Diana jumped over her,
tucked into a ball, and rolled towards the sword.

And stopped.

With a ominous shriek, a harpy had settled on the
bridge before her, and one powerful leg swiped at
the embedded sword. The blade snapped and the hilt
portion clattered to a side and off the bridge.

"Damn," Diana muttered.


An enormous cave opened before Artemis, the myriad
rock formations veined with quartz illuminated
faintly by a reddish glow visible through the misty
air. Dozens of streams of glowing molten rock flowed
slowly from openings in the walls, accounting for the
light, and vapor rose in thick clouds where the lava
flowed into the large body of water occupying most of
the cave.

Artemis moved cautiously over the rocks, jumping
over the lava streams, whose heat could be felt like
an almost tangible wall.

She paused, and closing her eyes, concentrated on
interpreting the almost infinitesimal tug of the
amulet.

She opened her eyes and frowned. She had to go into
the water.


Diana ducked the deadly talons again, but a wing
sweep struck her, and she fell, her side hitting the
rocky surface painfully. For the briefest of
instants she felt the pain and the dazedness cloud
her mind, and she almost reached automatically for
greater resistance and strength to fight them off.
But she did not. Rolling in the floor, gritting her
teeth, she knew she had to endure without summoning
power.

Suddenly a harpy loomed above her, and a talon was
coming at her head. In desperation, Diana lifted
the gathered lengths of rope up and above her head,
stretched into a line, and blocked the attack,
catching the harpy's foot right between its extended
talons. Instantly, Diana threw her legs up, back
and over her head, striking the harpy square in the
chest, and used the bounce back to flip to her feet.

Suddenly, she blinked with surprise. The coiled
bundle of rope had a metal object at an end. Diana
jumped and ducked, narrowly escaping two further
attacks, while working at feverish speed to let the
full length of rope loose. As she finally achieved
it, Diana muttered a blessing for Eurydice, and began
to spin the extended length of rope in wide circles,
around and over her head, faster and faster. It was
not her magic lasso, but it would do.

As an harpy swooped close, the small grappling hook
Eurydice had strapped to the rope's end, struck the
creature in the face with bone-shattering power.

Diana began to whirl the rope around her in shifting
fluid patterns, creating a wide zone of protection
that the harpies would not dare to breach. With
a smile, she began to move forward.


Artemis moved in the darkness, her hands clumsily
groping at the muddy floor, the still water all
around her murkier than soup, and much hotter. It
was not enough to produce serious burns, but after
long the heat could became almost as unbearable as
the lack of air.

Surfacing, Artemis gasped for breath. The thing
was down there, the amulet told her, but she could
not manage to find it.

Breathing deeply she went down again.


Moving the lasso in a figure-eight pattern, Diana
paused just enough to retrieve her straight sword
from the corpse of the first harpy she had killed,
and then ran all the final distance to the gate.

As she disappeared, the remaining harpies shrieked
in rage and frustration.


Diana approached the enormous subterranean lake,
frowning at the sulfurous smell in the air. Too
lengthy a stay in this cavern could be dangerous,
she realized.

She felt the amulet point her to the water, and as
she reached the muddy shore and began to wade in,
she saw Artemis break water a distance away, to
catch breath before disappearing again.

With a smile, Diana moved on. Artemis had yet to
find the goal. As she reached enough depth, Diana
dove in, and began to swim powerfully to where the
amulet led her.

She moved along the bottom, fingers skimming the
muddy surface. She was almost there, she felt,
before she suddenly felt the amulet's pull change
direction. Artemis had found it, Diana thought
with a knot in her stomach, before noticing that
the water had suddenly become very turbulent.

She swam, seeking the source of the agitation in
the water and suddenly her hand touched something
cold and slimy. The object moved, instantly
reacting to her touch, and Diana felt a large
mass brush by her. She swam aside, but the thing
coiled about, seeking her. She tried to move away,
but the thing pursued her with uncanny accuracy,
a long, semi-cylindrical length of cold flesh
wrapping around her leg. Twisting, her movements
impeded by the water resistance, Diana used her
sword, held in a reverse grip, to slice at the
tentacle trapping her.

It seemed like some kind of oversized octopus, she
thought as more tentacles surrounded her, trying
for holds on her body, the small suckers on each
trying to fasten onto her flesh. She sliced again
and again, twisting and squirming, knowing that if
she was fully grasped it would be almost impossible
to escape, when suddenly her back touched something
else.

The struggling figure barely brushed her, before
being moved away, but Diana grabbed at one of the
tentacles holding it, and as she pulled herself
closer she was struck by two chilling realizations.

It was a Kraken. And it had Artemis.

Diana sliced with renewed fervor, trying to figure
out in the utter darkness the configuration of the
tentacles, needing to cut at them without doing
damage to Artemis as well. Artemis' own struggles
made Diana's work difficult, but these were getting
progressively weaker. Artemis had gone under water
much sooner before her, Diana realized, and she
could be drowning. If her next attempt failed she
would have to forfeit the Contest and fly them both
away. Grasping the larger tentacle that wrapped
itself around Artemis' slender torso, Diana forced
the blade inside the limb's grip, pushing away from
Artemis and against the line of sensitive sucker
structures running along the tentacle's inner face.

The kraken jerked and let go.

Instantly Diana pulled Artemis and pushed her up
and away. Artemis' movements were sluggish, but
her survival instinct took over, and she swam,
seeking the surface.

Diana followed, when suddenly she was jerked back.
A tentacle had grabbed the rope that she had again
coiled around her shoulder and had pulled on it,
halting her escape. She twisted and let the rope
slip off her arm, but already other tentacles were
wrapping around her, grabbing her legs, arms and
torso. Diana tried to hack away at them, but her
sword arm was trapped as well. She kicked and
swung, squirmed and pushed, all to no avail. She
was being pulled back to the lake's bottom.

The tentacles around her grew tighter, and began
to slide sinuously around her even as she fought,
lack of air sapping her strength. While her arms
and legs were being pulled with irresistible
strength, other tentacles began to run the slimly
lengths of their ends over her body, exploring her
form, like a blind man trying to learn through
touch the shape of a new object. Two tentacles
slid around her slender waist and under the ragged
tunic, wrapping themselves twice around her torso,
before moving to coil over and around the breasts
moving buoyantly in the water with her struggles.

Diana's body tensed for a moment, and then grew
limp. The tentacles paused briefly and then began
their exploration anew. Suckers clasped the
protuberances of her nipples, and the thick tentacle
that had clasped her left leg began to slide up,
coiling around the upper thigh and hip, and slowly
sliding between her legs.

Suddenly Diana surged forward, pushing against the
now relaxed tentacles, and breaking away from their
grip. The tentacles jerked to pull her back, but
Diana had moved down and not up, pulling herself
down along the length of the thickest limb and
kicking powerfully to swim at the core below.

The kraken's arms moved in confusion, hitting each
other as the Amazon Princess slid down and reached
the base of the central tentacle. With all her
strength, Diana plunged her sword point-first into
the soft flesh before her.

The kraken exploded in a paroxysm of motion, its
arms jerking about wildly, while Diana swam up,
narrowly evading the flailing tentacles, letting
her motion ride the kraken's surge.

Diana surfaced with a gasp. Her lungs had been
about to burst, her air supply long exhausted.
She felt tired beyond words, yet she still
managed to swim wearily to the lake's shore.

Face down in the mud was Artemis, a small, open
casket of grayish hue clasped in one hand.

"no, no, no-!" Diana muttered, stumbling to reach
Artemis and pull her up and around. She was not
breathing.

Diana leaned down and began to give Artemis mouth
to mouth resuscitation, pausing only to draw breath
and press rhythmically on the unconscious woman's
chest.

"Don't do this to me," Diana muttered. "You are
too damn stubborn and mad and beautiful to die on me!"

Suddenly, Artemis coughed, and slimy water burst
from her mouth. She turned and coughed, gasped and
wheezed, getting on all fours, while Diana sat back,
breathing deeply with relief.

"-The-fuck-were-you-doing?" Artemis sputtered.
"Told you-to never-touch me again."

Diana did not know whether to laugh or curse, or
do both.

"You-" she began, before a loud splashing noise
made both turn towards the lake.

A large dark mass was slowly surfacing, multiple
tentacles waving in the air.

"Oh, fuck," Artemis whispered hoarsely.

Both women staggered to their feet, and both
reached simultaneously for the open casket lying
in the mud between them.

Their eyes locked, the casket held by both.

"Let go!" Artemis coughed as she pulled hard,
the casket's body detaching from the lid.

Both stared an instant at the piece each held,
before turning around to glance once at the
monstrous creature noisily approaching them,
and finally turning to run away.


The air over the rocky bridge shimmered once and
Diana and Artemis stepped panting through the
Gate, both splattered with mud and dripping foul
smelling water.

"That was close," Artemis gasped, before a loud
screech made her look up. "Shit, no! NO!" she
muttered through gritted teeth.

The dense flock of harpies gathered over them, their
numbers apparently strengthened by new arrivals, and
their shrieks seemed to be louder than ever.

"That's more than when I left!" Artemis complained.

"Same here," Diana echoed, shaking her head. Both
were now unarmed, and weary to the bone. There was
only one way out now, she knew.

"Mother will be happy at least," she said bitterly,
preparing to focus, before a different kind of
scream filled the air.

Another harpy screamed in pain, before pummeling
down like a dead weight into the distance.

"Stones," Artemis muttered with a look of clear
bafflement, as the flock of harpies flew in disarray
above them. "Someone is throwing stones at them."

Diana frowned and looked at something far away along
the bridge. Then her eyes opened in amazed surprise.

"The troll," she said. "It's the troll."


The troll walked briskly for his kind, moving slowly
towards the center of the bridge, pausing after each
step to thrust his fingers into the rocky surface,
tearing out large handfuls of rock which he then threw
with impossible strength.

Each thrown chunk of stone cut through the flock of
harpies like a missile, scattering the screeching
creatures.

"Just what we needed," Artemis muttered, her mouth
still tending to hang open. "Cover fire."

"Come on!" Diana yelled, springing into movement,
signaling Artemis to follow her. Both ran away from
the Gate and towards the far end of the bridge, from
where the troll was approaching, their long legs
rapidly cutting the distance.

"Hope he doesn't get us first," Artemis yelled as
another thrown rock ricocheted off the bridge a few
paces behind them.

"Can't you do anything but complain?" Diana yelled
back.

"Hello, lasses!" the troll called out, with a deep,
booming voice, waving cheerfully as they came within
shouting distance of each other. "Glad to see you
wee beauties again!"

"Don't stop, you asshole!" Artemis screamed as she
ducked below a harpy's dive. "They are still coming!"

"Oh, sorry," the troll said, leaning down again to
gather ammunition. A harpy dove at him, screaming
with rage, and he just brushed her aside with an
indifferent slap, sending the crushed creature
hurtling away to smash against the gap's closest wall.

Diana and Artemis reached the troll, and collapsed
at his oversized feet, gasping for breath.

"Hello, lasses," the troll said, extending his huge
arms to the sides to protect them, while the harpies
shrieked their frustration, flying around them but
not daring to approach the towering protector.
"Nice to see you both made it."

"Thanks to you," Diana said with a broad smile,
rising slowly to her knees, her hand reaching to
touch his thick, granite-skinned thigh in a
gesture of gratitude.

"Oh, I don't like losing customers, you know," he
said, letting another stone fly, making the harpies
withdraw farther. "Bad for business."

"Sure," Diana replied, nodding with mock seriousness.
"Just good business practice, eh?"

"I was thinking of going to the other end in case
you lasses came back this same way. The toll must
be paid in either direction, you know."

"Oh, I am sure!" Diana said, smiling broadly.

"Are you joking?" Artemis muttered from the ground.

"Really, we are in your debt," Diana said, ignoring
Artemis.

"I'd ask for payment on that debt, but... well, I
really should have warned you about the Filthy Ones."

"Yeah, you fucking should have," Artemis spat.

"Still," Diana began, now in a serious tone. "You
do have our gratitude."

"Can you walk to the bridge's end?" he asked.

"In a couple of days, sure," Artemis said, still
face up in the ground.

"I'd be happy to carry you both in my arms."

"Oh, sure you would," Diana said, slapping at his
leg, while giving him a sideways look.

"What the hell?" Artemis muttered from the ground.
"Are you two flirting?"

Suddenly the harpies began to shriek louder again,
and after a moment of wild fluttering, they
scrambled away in a rush, flying off into the
distance.

"What happened? Did ugly here make a face or what?"
Artemis said, rising laboriously to her knees,
before glancing at the bridge.

"Oh, fuck," she whispered, staring at the Gate,
which now crackled with coruscating energy, growing
larger and larger, as a multitude of tentacles
began to appear through it.

"That doesn't look good," the troll said.


The kraken's enormous body began to move thru the
Gate, its huge mass appearing to shift and change
as if adjusting to the nature of the world it was
entering. Its central body was larger that the
bridge's width, and long tentacles coiled all
around the rocky formation for anchor, while the
rock creaked in protest at its weight.

"Strange, the limbs appear mollusk-like," the troll
commented. "But that shell-covered body seems more
like a crustacean."

"Who cares what it is? Let's get the fuck away!"
Artemis said, bolting to her feet, her weariness
forgotten.

"If it reaches the end while we are still climbing
the walls it could pick us off easily," Diana
said.

"How the fuck can it even leave the water?"

"It isn't a full-grown kraken, possibly the young
are more mobile."

"THAT is a young one?"

"I can take care of it," Diana said, with a sigh.
"To Hades with the Contest."

"Oh, so now you do the magic powers thing and all
is fine," Artemis said bitterly. "Fucking great."

"What? Why are you complaining? If I-"

"Because all this is a game to you! You are never
at any real risk, are you?"

"What do-"

"I'm here risking my life, seeing things that can
make me piss my pants, while you just go along,
confident that if things get tough, you can just
call on the fucking powers and all will be dandy!"

"This is not the time to-"

"You can even flirt like a slut with that ugly
bastard-"

"He isn't ugly!"

"Because you don't need to be afraid! Ever!"

"Oh, for Hera's sake-!"

"There's no bravery in that! Without fear there
is no courage! I'm scared shitless but you are
just playing! You are just fucking playing!"

"Wait a moment-"

"IT ISN'T FAIR!"

"Where is he going?"

"Who?"

"The troll!"


The troll approached the creature as fast as his
rock-like limbs allowed him, while the kraken,
having moved completely though the gate, began to
extend multiple tentacles, waving them in the air,
as if tasting its surroundings.

The bridge groaned and trembled beneath the kraken's
weight, and the troll studied the cracks forming
through the rocks before reaching a suitable point.

"WAIT!" the dark-haired girl behind him called.

"STAY THERE!" he replied, opening his stubby legs
in a wide, low squat, while the kraken's tentacles
shifted at the sound of his voice, as if tracking it.

"DONT DO THAT!"

"IT IS ALRIGHT! I KNOW STONE!" the troll yelled,
before raising his thick arms high above his head
and letting them fall with a roar, his massive
fists striking the rock with a sound like thunder.

With a deafening crack, the bridge broke.

The segment below the kraken shattered into rubble,
and fell away, the huge monster falling with it,
tentacles flailing uselessly.

Diana and Artemis stopped in their tracks, stunned.

The troll turned around with a wide smile. "The
problem is solved, lassies."

"You foolish-" Diana began, shaking her head,
before a new creaking noise made her stop.

All looked down, and saw the rock between the troll
and the two Amazons grow a sudden crack. Without
further warning the piece bearing the troll simply
dropped off the end of the broken bridge.

"I never got your name," the troll said, eyes wide
open, looking at Diana, before falling away.


Megala the sorceress opened her eyes, and breathed
deeply. "It happened," she said.

"What happened?" Queen Hippolyta asked with savage
urgency.

"Princess Diana used her Olympian powers," Megala
whispered, her words seeming almost too heavy to utter.

"Then she lost," Hippolyta said, her voice a strange
mixture of relief and regret, sorrow and happiness.
"Diana forfeited the Contest, and she is no longer
our Champion. Artemis is the new Wonder Woman."

EPILOGUE: ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD

The Bana-Migdahllans cheered as the tired figure of
Artemis emerged from Doom's Doorway. The crowd
began to chant her name.

"ARTEMIS, ARTEMIS, ARTEMIS-!"

The tall redhead moved slowly towards Queen Hippolyta,
the body and lid of a nondescript casket in her hands.

"We welcome you, Amazon," Hippolyta stated solemnly,
opening her arms in a sweeping gesture. "The Amazon
Nation celebrates your victory."

"Sure, whatever," Artemis replied, throwing the pieces
of the casket and the amulet at Hippolyta's feet, in
unceremonious fashion. "Here's your trinket."

"Ah, yes - You do honor to the name of the Goddess of
the Hunt, Artemis," Hippolyta continued. "You brought
your prey without fail, and for that, you are now
named the new Champion of the Amazon Nation."

"Fine," Artemis said, turning and walking past the
Queen and gathered retainers.

"Ah, yes, your competitor-?" Hippolyta called out,
frowning.

"Your daughter had... things to take off," Artemis
said with a grimace of distaste.

"What things? When will she return?"

"Whenever she's finished, I guess," Artemis said,
walking away.

"You did it!" a dozen Bana-Migdahllans yelled as they
rushed to hug and lift Artemis over their shoulders.
"You beat the damn Princess!" one exclaimed.

"Shut the fuck up," Artemis spat. "And get me a damn
bath and a bed."


Diana gasped again and again, and finally cried out
softly, her trembling, sweat-covered body collapsing
on top of the troll's massive torso. One of his huge
hands reached gently and caressed the long mane of
her shiny black hair.

"Gods, that was great," she said, still rocking slowly
over him, her eyes closed, savoring the feeling of his
enormous member still pulsing inside her loins. "It
just gets better and better."

"You are amazing, lass," he said softly, his hand
running over the curves of her body. "I'd never had
anyone like you. So soft and delicate, yet as durable
as the toughest trolless."

"I may be a little atypical," she said, smiling.
"But you haven't seen anything yet."

"I normally have to be so careful with humans, but you-"

"Oh, you don't have to worry, I can take it as hard
as you want, or more," she said, with a wicked glint
in her eyes. "You do have a thing for human women, eh?"

"Oh, yes, quite a fetish, indeed," he admitted.

"I may have a fetish for certain kinds of lovers myself,"
she said, slowly moving up from her mounted position,
and sliding off him, until she gasped with the expected
pain as his large head slid out. "The rather... gifted
kind."

"You did not need to do this, Princess."

"I did. And call me Diana," she said, moving up his
torso, rubbing her breasts over his chest deliberately,
before letting their lips meet. They kissed deeply, the
lovely figure of the Amazon Princess pressing tightly
against the granite-like hide of the troll, in their
shared bed of furs and cloth scraps, deep in the troll's
cave.

"I meant no further payments were needed," the troll
said after the long, lingering kiss.

"Of course they were!" she said with mock indignation.
"I saved your ass, didn't I? You owed me, and you still
haven't finished paying."

"You drive a hard bargain," he said, smiling.

"So do you. Rock-hard, literally!" she replied, her small,
bare foot moving to touch his unflagging erection. "We
should really do something about this."

Their kisses and caresses continued in silence for a
while, before the troll spoke again: "You can't stay
here long, can you?"

"Just a little longer," she said with a sigh. "There
are many things I have to look into. Questions that
demand answers."

"Anything I can do?"

"Outside here, not really," she said, wistfully. "But
in here you can still be of use."

"Will you ever return?"

Diana shrugged, sitting back on her heels, and brushing
her long hair off her face. "Who knows? We must make
good use of what time we have now."

The troll nodded and his hands reached for her.

"And don't even think of trying to be gentle this time,"
Diana said. "Or you'll pay for it."

"Oh, we all pay. Always."

THE END of THE CONTEST

(The adventures of Princess Diana and Artemis as the new
WW will continue in WONDER WOMAN: The ARTEMIS GAMBIT)

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