The cry of the Divine Beast Vah Naboris echoed across the vast expanse of the Gerudo Desert, reaching Riju and Urbosa where they stood atop a solitary spire of rock that loomed high above the rest of its surroundings. The two observed quietly as they watched Naboris move across the desert under the veil of night, using its long legs to cross the sandy dunes with ease.
The young Gerudo Chieftain spared a glance toward the Champion who towered over her. Lady Urbosa's hair waved calmly in the wind as she stared at Naboris, still as stone except for the fingers that tapped her hip slowly and methodically. Her glowing green eyes cut through the shadows as she studied the Divine Beast impassively.
Even after spending the last few hours with the former chieftain, the young girl still found the warrior to be intimidating.
Though Lady Urbosa hadn't challenged her authority in any way, she couldn't help but feel that she had only maintained her position because the Gerudo Champion allowed it. She couldn't imagine that their sisters within Gerudo Town would oppose their Champion should she try to retake her former position as chief of the tribe. Riju had been supported by her people since she had taken leadership, but she couldn't help but feel that it had been in a patronizing sort of way, almost as though they were just as amused as they were content with her efforts. She knew that couldn't be the case as their patience would have worn out long ago. Unfortunately, the thought did little to bolster her confidence.
Thankfully, Buliara had taken it upon herself to be more than just her personal guard. While she acted the part of a guard when in the presence of others, she played a much more important role. The guard was only willing to accept so much of Riju's doubts. Once her tipping point had been reached, the guard would make it a point to find some task for the young chieftain to handle. While they were often trivial, they required just enough thought to keep her stray thoughts away from her concerns. It was often quite frustrating, however, she had come to be grateful to her guard for the distractions, as menial as they could be.
She took a deep breath before she turned to face the Champion next to her. She opened her mouth to speak, but Urbosa beat her to it. "If you intend to accompany me, then you need to be ready. There will be no room to doubt yourself. Any hesitation, no matter how small, can get you killed." Her dark green eyes drilled into Riju as she continued, "do you understand?"
"I do." The Chieftain had known the risks of accompanying the Gerudo Champion and accepted them as best she could. The vast majority of her forces had left to join Impa, who was busy building a force to storm Hyrule Castle. Unfortunately, the Yiga had taken advantage of the openings that had created in Gerudo Town's defenses to steal the Thunder Helm. Sure, if even what half of Lady Urbosa had described when detailing her infiltration of the Clan's hideout was accurate, then there couldn't be many Yiga left. Even so, the Chieftain was unwilling to be lulled into a sense of safety. There likely were still clan members hidden throughout the desert and Hyrule. As such, Riju was conflicted about bringing even Buliara with her, as every guard they had would be needed even with the Yiga all but gone. They simply could not spare anyone else but her. She had a feeling that her personal guard would object to that statement, but it wouldn't change anything. "It's time."
The Gerudo Champion studied her for a moment before nodding. Without another word she turned away and began her descent to the ground below, leaving Riju to follow after her a few moments later. She felt the small pit of dread in her stomach grow as she climbed down what she felt to be an infinite ladder. With every rung, she felt a little more unsure, something she tried to subdue as she drew close to the ground. All too soon, she and the Gerudo Champion had reached the bottom, where they met Buliara.
"Is it time, my Lady?"
"It is. The Thunder Helm, Lady Urbosa?" she asked politely. With a nod, the Gerudo Champion unhooked the relic from her belt and handed it over to the Chieftain. Riju took the item, looking deep into its reflective surface before turning it over and setting it on her head, taking care to align it correctly. Taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly, she raised her hands above her head, reaching towards the heavens. "Ancestors of our -" The ceremonial piece of armor turned out to be far too large for the girl's head, which had the unfortunate effect of cutting her off mid-sentence as it fell from its precarious position and instead came to rest on her head lopsidedly.
She temporarily lost sight of her two companions, which turned out to be a boon to her as she heard Lady Urbosa snickering quietly as Buliara sigh, causing her face to burn.
"I fear you are not taking this seriously enough, Lady Urbosa," the Guard muttered as Riju finally reoriented the helm. "As I am sure you are aware, the helm requires a devout prayer to -"
"I am aware. I can also assure you that, as one of her ancestors, we have a sense of humor… and also appreciate Lady Riju's lack of a large head."
"Even Daruk would have understood that one," the Gerudo Champion sighed wistfully.
"She means I don't have a large ego," Riju explained apologetically as Buliara turned to her. It wasn't a particularly common phrase among the Gerudo; however, that didn't mean much in regards to Lady Urbosa. According to several records the Chieftain had perused in her studies, the Champion had spent ample time among the Hylians and had likely adopted many of their sayings and mannerisms. Or, perhaps their people had changed significantly in the last century.
"I don't understand why that would be funny."
Riju shrugged apologetically. It wasn't that Buliara didn't have a sense of humor, but rather, a highly specific sense of it instead. Whenever she did understand wit and banter, she failed to find it as humorous as the people around her. "No matter," she said before she took another deep breath and started again, again reaching skyward as she asked her ancestors to watch over them and grant them their blessings, the fact that one of her predecessors stood beside her not being lost in the process. Though she was not a direct descendant of the Gerudo Champion, they were still related. Her grandmother had been Urbosa's younger sister after all.
When she finished her prayer, she turned back to find both of her companions watching her, both waiting for her direction. Even now, it was strange to her to be commanding her elders, but there wasn't time to reflect on such things again. "There is no telling from how far Vah Naboris can attack us. As such, you both need to remain as close to me as possible." The Thunder Helm was a magic relic with the power to dispel electrical attacks, even ones as powerful as Naboris' lightning. With its power, they would be able to get close enough to Naboris to attack the only weak point they had been able to find.
Both women nodded before turning back to their sand seals and, with practiced ease, they reattached themselves to their respective animals and set their shields beneath their feet. With nothing more than a simple gesture, Riju set them all on a course toward the Divine Beast. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw both women following close behind, their scarlet hair whipping wildly in the air behind them as their seals dashed through the sand as though it were water. Though two of the finest warriors born to the Gerudo were accompanying her, she couldn't dispel the dread that continued creeping its way through her.
As they raced across the sandy dunes, Riju noticed that they were catching up to the Divine Beast far faster than they should have been able to; however, she quickly discarded the thought. She had been trying to gauge its speed from a vast distance and had been basing her estimates on that. She decided that, in the grand scheme of everything, it wasn't that important.
Thankfully, there was little between the Gerudo Chieftain and her target, making it a simple matter to skirt around the few cacti that grew out of the desert sand. Unfortunately, she didn't expect things to remain easy. Even with the Thunder Helm, there was no guarantee that they would walk away unscathed, in fact, she considered that thought far too idealistic. Despite how skilled the two women with her were, they would likely struggle to hit a moving target with their arrows while traveling at high speeds, all the while trying to remain within the protective field provided by the helm. She genuinely believed it would have been a nigh impossible task for even the Rito Champion, one of the greatest archers who had ever lived.
"Stay close!" she called as they drew close enough to Naboris to make out the glowing marks that covered its legs. Riju was surprised that they had managed to make it so close to the Divine Beast without being attacked. It should have eased her nerves, as there was a chance that Naboris hadn't yet noticed them, meaning they should have time to deal a devastating blow before it could muster a defense, and yet she couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.
The Chieftain watched, temporarily forgetting to guide Patricia, her sand seal, as she watched the Divine Beast visibly slow its steps. Her seal, who must have sensed her master's distress, slowed their progress. Both the Gerudo Champion and the guard, who were hyper-aware of her movements, slowed as well.
"Something isn't right!"
"I know." If she hadn't been on edge before, the cool detachment she heard in Urbosa's voice would have been enough to chill her to the bone.
Regardless, the trio continued on, observing as Naboris continued slowing its steps, allowing them to draw closer and closer. Riju could only surmise that it was trying to draw them in before striking them down with a powerful bolt of lightning, but something about that was off to her. Why would such a powerful being need them to draw so close before striking?
Her question was soon answered as the Beast stopped moving entirely for a moment, remaining frozen in place as the markings on its body glowed harshly in the moonlight. Reflexively, Riju stopped Patricia, prompting her two companions to stop alongside her. "What is this?" No one answered as they all stared at the Divine Beast, waiting for its next move.
Without warning, Naboris let loose a massive cry before sinking down to its knees, lowering itself to the ground. Apparently, it had no intention of fighting them.
Riju continued staring at the machine, dumbfounded until she heard the sounds of a belt being loosened, followed by feet stepping lightly across the sand. Urbosa crossed into the Chieftain's field of view, her sights set solely on the Divine Beast before them. Riju immediately understood the woman's intent and spoke before she could do anything too foolish. "You can't mean to board Naboris now. It's clearly -"
"I need you to go to the Bazaar," Urbosa interrupted as her cool green eyes regarded the Chieftain over her shoulder. "There, you'll find the other Champions. Let them know what happened here, they'll figure out the rest."
Without another word, the Gerudo Champion started her trek towards the Divine Beast.
Riju tried to follow, intending to call out one last time and talk some sense into her; however, she was stopped as Buliara's hand settled on her shoulder.
"This is something she must do. The only question now is what will you do, my Lady."
The Gerudo Chieftain didn't reply as several emotions hit her like a pack of sand seals. There was no small amount of worry and dread as she watched the Champion of her people walk to what very well could have been her end, both of which were accompanied by despair at the realization that there was little she could do to change it. That realization was followed by another, in which she remembered the Gerudo's parting words. She took a deep breath, regaining control of herself as Buliara's hand tightened ever so slightly. Straightening herself to her full height, she stared her guard straight in the eye before saying, "we go to the Bazaar."
As her predecessor had said: now was not the time for hesitation.
"Are you okay, Revali?"
"Fine. Just thinking," the Rito Champion replied as he paced back and forth across a small patch of grass that grew next to the oasis. He was surprised to see Medli up, as she had excused herself earlier to turn in for the night. With her gone, Link and Mipha having an argument over something on the other side of the oasis, and Daruk having wandered off, the Rito Champion had been left to his thoughts. Unfortunately, his room hadn't had adequate space for him to pace as he reflected on his musings, and so he had taken it down to the inn's foyer, where he was promptly kicked out for being "disruptive." A few minutes later, he found himself in front of the oasis, agitatedly walking back and forth as the humiliation of being publicly called out added to the emotional turmoil he was experiencing.
Maybe, under different circumstances, he would have been able to appreciate how large and bright the moon was as it watched over them all down below, especially after experiencing the harsh sun during the day. Perhaps he would have been fascinated by the way its light glittered on the still, glassy surface of the water before him. Maybe he would have even appreciated the way it framed the tents and buildings that made up the Bazaar. As it was, he was too enthralled with his current thoughts to pay attention to any of the sights around him.
"Nothing important." That wasn't true in the slightest. Since Urbosa had left, the Rito Champion had been besieged by the idea that she would attempt to reclaim her Divine Beast on her own. Whether or not the thought was well substantiated wasn't of interest to him. The fact that it was a possibility was very much of interest to him.
What really ruffled his feathers was that, even if she did, there was no way for him to know for certain. As much as he may have wanted to, he couldn't just fly to the Divine Beast and check. She had told him Naboris was capable of using lightning as both an offensive and defensive measure, meaning that there was no way for him to reach the Beast currently. To try would be to get himself killed, and he wasn't willing to face uncertain death unless he could be sure there was a good reason for it. Even more aggravating was that he could have flown to the city himself; however, he would have been thrown out as soon as he landed as males of any race supposedly weren't allowed in. He had heard one Hylian complaining about how two Gorons had made it into the city, but that wouldn't help him. Even if Daruk could make it into the city, there was no way he would make it back in time.
He had already discarded the idea of asking Medli to fly to Gerudo Town. Had she been asleep, as he originally thought, it would have been nearly an impossible task to rouse her. Even if he did manage to wake her, it would have been some time before she was coherent enough to understand what it was he needed. That was to say nothing of her struggles when it came to flying large distances. Even though they had spent a considerable number of hours flying together, she hadn't yet unlearned the old habits that actively worked against her. Not only that but with such a short amount of training, she hadn't yet developed the muscles required to sustain prolonged periods of flight. And all of that was ignoring the fact that she was still rather sore from flying back with Link's weapons. There was no way she could handle such a flight at that moment.
Which meant he was stuck with no way to get the information he wanted, and it was frustrating. "Couldn't sleep?" he asked, not just out of curiosity. While it was strange to see her awake after laying down, he was more concerned with distracting so as to avoid discussing his concerns.
"No," she replied. "Are you worried about Urbosa?" Medli asked as her eyes followed him, causing her head to turn back and forth as he traced his path. Apparently, this was one of the few times she couldn't or wouldn't be distracted.
"Do you think she went after the Divine Beast on her own?"
"I wouldn't put it past her," the Rito Champion sighed as he stopped, setting a wing on his forehead as he tried to think of some solution to his current predicament. He had spent quite a lot of time reflecting on his companions over the past few weeks, and during that time he had come to begrudgingly acknowledge a few similarities between himself and the Gerudo Champion. One such commonality was the same that had led him to attack Medoh on his own: his pride. As such, he found her odds of doing the same well within the realm of possibility.
"What are you going to do?"
"...Nothing, for now." He started pacing again as Medli fell silent, for which he was grateful. Despite the teasing that often flew above the Rito girl's head, she could be quite perceptive in her own way. Either that, or she had run out of things to say. While he supposed it was possible, it was nearly unlikely.
And, if he were to be honest, he hoped that she would always have something to say.
Revali, well aware that Medli was still there but unsure of how to reassure her, continued his pacing. Unfortunately, his emotions became even more turbulent as he sensed Medli's own disquiet, and even pacing wasn't enough to manage them anymore. Even so, he continued his back and forth motion, doing his best to manage to maintain what little of his composure remained. The difficulty of keeping himself relatively in check grew minute by minute until Medli clapped her hands together suddenly. "I got it!"
"What?" Revali asked as he stopped in his tracks.
"Can you meet me up on the roof of the inn? I'll be up there in a minute or two!" she exclaimed before rushing off. The Rito Champion stared after her for a few seconds as he tried to comprehend her request. He shook his head before extending his wings and taking to the skies. It was more force of habit than anything that drove him to fly the laughably short distance, especially since there was a stairway leading up to the inn's roof and as there was no real rush to get to the top. A "minute or two" for Medli translated to five at the very least, and that was if there was a real sense of urgency.
Revali's eyes narrowed as he caught sight of what appeared to be a Hylian woman standing atop the roof; however, something was off about her. While she wore the long, white baggy pants that most Gerudo wore, accompanied by a small, bright blue top with a matching veil to boot, it didn't quite fit her the way it should. His keen eye for detail noticed how wide the Hylian's shoulders were, as well as how thick her arms were. Even Urbosa, who had quite a lot of muscle and definition to match, couldn't quite compare. He continued to observe her as he landed, deciding immediately that he would convince Medli that they should move away.
Feeling extremely uncomfortable, but unwilling to leave until his friend was accompanying him, Revali turned his back to the woman, listening very carefully for even the slightest movements. He wasn't sure what about her made his skin crawl, but he was certain that no amount of preening would have been able to make him feel clean.
His ears perked up as he heard the slight rustling of clothes being shifted before light footsteps approached him. He tensed up, still refraining from reaching for his bow. He wanted to be certain that there was a danger before he raised a ruckus in the Bazaar.
"Well, hello there handsome."
The Rito Champion immediately recoiled, reaching for his bow as he heard the audibly forced high pitched and nasally greeting. Without much effort, he realized why the wide shoulders and larger arms had bothered him. The Hylian standing atop the inn with him wasn't a woman, but rather a man masquerading as a woman.
"No reason to be alarmed, sweetie" the man replied airily, his voice scraping over Revali's eardrums in one of the most unpleasant manners the Rito had ever experienced. "Let me guess, you came here to see the famed Gerudo Town and it's women, only to be turned away at the gates, like every man. I think I can help you with that."
The Rito Champion's shock was lost to disgust as he realized why the man was dressed as he was. He was simply a pervert who was willing to stoop to any means to get into the Gerudo's sacred city. His disgust turned to anger as he remembered that he had female companions, all of whom could have found themselves in potentially humiliating situations as a result of actions like that.
With a tight beak, he stepped forward and jutted his face into the man's, needing to stoop down slightly in the process. "Get out of my sight!" he spat.
"Now, there's no need to -"
"If you aren't off this roof by the time my friend arrives, I'll throw you off myself."
The man swallowed involuntarily, his eyes flicking around nervously for a few moments before he finally nodded shakily, turning on his heels and rushing away, nearly stumbling as he did so.
Revali snorted angrily as he turned back toward the Bazaar below, folding his wings as he made a mental note to let the proprietor of the inn know what he had just discovered. He wasn't intent on dealing with it himself, as he had no patience for cowards or perverts.
"Is everything okay?"
He looked over his shoulder to find Medli standing at the top of the stairway with harp in hand, her gaze torn between him and the "woman" who she must have passed on the way up.
"Fine," he replied, a little more curtly then he intended. He didn't want to explain what had just transpired, but he could see he'd have no choice as his friend continued to send conflicted looks down to the figure who was rushing toward the other side of the settlement. "He was dressing up as a woman to sneak into Gerudo Town," Revali muttered, looking away. For some reason, even though he hadn't been the one to do it, admitting it made it hard to look her in the eye.
"...Oh?… Oh!… Oh..." In the span of a few seconds, he could hear nearly the same emotional whiplash he had just experienced, from her. A part of him found that morbidly humorous, but it was far from enough to make him laugh, or even reduce his revulsion.
"So, why did you ask me to come up here?" Revali asked quickly, hoping to change the subject before the moment was entirely ruined. With the events of the last few minutes, he had managed to mostly forget about his worries where Urbosa was concerned, and he was reluctant to let that go.
"Oh, right!" the Rito girl exclaimed, shaking her head slightly as she held up her harp. "You remember Genli? My niece."
"Well, she used to have a lot of nightmares. She would wake up screaming and usually woke her sisters up too. Anyway, I would always play for them and put them back to sleep… Not that I'm trying to put you to sleep!" she explained quickly. "I just thought maybe listening to me play might help you feel a little better."
Revali nodded silently as he turned to gaze back over the land below. He always loved hearing her play and had found listening to her quiet melodies to be soothing. It was fascinating to him that she could be so disorganized and a bit of an airhead when it came to normal activities, but when it came to playing her harp, she was calm and composed, giving life to the music she played.
The Rito Champion closed his eyes, letting the first few notes wash over him as Medli plucked at her strings. Though she had just begun to play, he already felt his frayed nerves relaxing, and it was a welcome change.
"I just wish you had told me you were getting up. Even leaving a note would have been something," Mipha sighed as she retracted her hand. According to Daruk and Urbosa, the Zora Champion had spent much of the past day sleeping, yet she looked to have not slept in days.
"Sorry," Link muttered as his eyes shifted down to his hand, clenching it into a fist. He could still feel a tingle, letting him know something wasn't quite right; however, it was a far cry from the sore, nearly useless stump he had woken up with. He imagined that so long as he didn't push himself too far, it wouldn't require much more healing. "You should get some rest."
"I'm okay," Mipha replied she pulled a bottle from her belt and handed it over to him.
Link studied her for a few seconds as he uncorked the bottle. "You're a poor liar." He then downed the concoction as she pulled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them.
"I have just had a lot on my mind." She set her chin on her knees as she stared down into the depths of the oasis. Link remained quiet, figuring that she could benefit from some quiet after their argument concerning his disappearance and the toll healing took on her. He took that opportunity to look to the other side of the oasis in search of the Rito Champion. Despite how unpleasant the rather one-sided argument with the Zora Champion had been, he had noticed Revali exiting the inn and picking a rather wide expanse of the oasis' shore on which to storm back and forth. Maybe it had been a trick of the moonlight, but he could have sworn he saw the Rito's emerald green eyes glancing over at them from time to time as though there was something he wanted to say. Regardless, he had been a little too preoccupied to do much more than spare his fellow Champion a few glances. For better or worse though, Revali had already disappeared. "I'm sorry."
Link returned his attention back to the companion at his side. He wasn't quite sure what the apology was for, or why she found it necessary, and so he decided to wait for her to continue on her own.
"I know that it is not my place to tell you what to do, or how you should be living your life. I just worry because I know how reckless you can be."
"I'm sorry too." Link held up his hand as Mipha tried to speak again. "I knew you'd be upset, but I thought it wouldn't matter if I got back before you woke up. I should have left a note. I'll try to keep that in mind next time."
"Thank you. I'll try to be less upset if you do move around. I should know better than to expect you to sit still."
He feigned indignation with a frown. He couldn't deny that she was right about that; however, he hoped that the action would prompt some sort of discussion that would distract her for a bit. He liked to think that he knew her well, and so he was very aware of how much time she had spent locked away in the confines of her mind over the past few weeks. As such, he had tried to find any opportunity he could to draw her out of it, with very little success. He had no reason to believe that this time would be any different, but he decided to try anyway. For all he knew, this might have been the time where he succeeded, and the chance alone made it worth it for him to try.
"Link, we both know it's true. Don't you remember how often Muzu would lecture you because you refused to sit still during his lessons?"
"Nope," Link replied with a small smile. He did indeed remember how long and tedious those lessons had been, making it nearly impossible for him to contain his childish energy. While he had the ability to grasp difficult, abstract concepts, they weren't his first choice when it came to learning. He preferred more practical things. Things that could help him survive in the wilds of his homeland.
"I think my father is the only reason you were allowed to continue attending Muzu's classes."
"Sidon was louder and more distracting."
"So, you do remember?" the Zora Champion asked accusingly.
"Weren't you the one who constantly interrupted him?" Link asked, only half-jokingly. He had always wondered why the Princess made a habit of stopping in, despite how flustered she would be at times, even when she was there for her father rather than to just sit in. In fact, he couldn't fathom why she would want to sit in on the classes Link was in when she was much further ahead than he was. "Why?"
I- that's not – I..." Mipha took a deep breath before releasing her legs and allowing them to slip into the water. Her soft eyes gazed into the water below, staring at her reflection sadly as she formed a more coherent response. "All of my friends were there," she murmured. "I know that Muzu's lessons could be quite dull, but I was willing to sit through them again if it meant I could spend more time with all of you."
Link kicked himself as a melancholy silence fell between the two of them. He had meant to lighten the mood, not make it just as heavy in another sense. He quickly scoured what memories he had, despite how hazy and few they were, finally settling on one she might find humorous. Well, for Sidon's sake, he hoped she found it humorous. "Do you remember when Sidon stuck the needle of an urchin in Muzu's chair?"
"He did what?!" Mipha snapped, whirling to face him quickly.
"Well, Bazz and I may have helped out a bit," Link offered sheepishly. He was already regretting his decision to bring the topic up. While he wasn't one to dwell on the topic of his lack of memories, this was one instance in which he wished he had more.
"You did what?!" He really didn't like the way her eyes were flashing.
"Hey, guys!" Link felt relief crash over him like a wave as he heard Daruk's greeting, followed by the typical shaking that accompanied his approach. "Ya won't believe it, Little Guy, I just found a… oh, do ya still need a minute?"
"Oh, no," Mipha answered, her bright, amber eyes drilling holes into Link, who felt himself being backed into a corner faster than he thought possible. "Link was just about to tell us a funny story."
"Oh, really? Well, don't keep us waiting!"
Link gulped as the Zora Champion kept her unblinking eyes trained on him. For some reason, he was much more aware of all of the sounds around him, from the slight rustling of the grass beneath him to the sound of sand seals not far away. That was strange to him, as he hadn't seen any nearby, but he had more important things to focus on, like getting out of his current situation without being verbally flayed. "Well, one day, the Bazz Brigade was swimming around at the base of the Veiled Falls and Bazz accidentally -"
"Stepped on an urchin." Mipha finished curtly.
"Right. And -"
"- You snuck it back into the Domain because Sidon asked you to."
"Yeah." For some reason, the memory became less humorous by the second.
"Then he took one of its barbs and set it in Muzu's chair?"
"And he sat on it?" Daruk asked, sound almost excited. "Please tell me he sat on it!"
"He did," Link confirmed resisting the urge to shrink into himself as Mipha glowered at him. Thankfully, her gaze was finally torn away as Daruk suddenly howled with laughter. "Oh, it serves that geezer right!" he chortled as he set a hand on his stomach. "What?" the Goron Champion asked uneasily as Mipha eyed him silently, clearly displeased.
"Imagine that those barbs had been filled with venom," Mipha said quietly. "You could have killed him."
Link did frown at that. Surely she must know him better than that. "How long would it have taken for venom to kill Bazz?"
"Around that time? Within an hour."
"If that one had been venomous, he would have died."
"I was there to heal it," Mipha answered.
"Not that one. Rivan and I had to carry him back because he was freaking out too much to walk. It took us several hours to make it back. That was the only reason I agreed to help Sidon." He had never been fond of Dorephan's advisor, but he would never have done anything that could have threatened the old Zora's life.
"… But I thought… Wait… I started going to the Veiled Falls after Muzu complained that Sidon –" The Zora Champion's eyes widened as she set a hand on the crest of her head. As far as Link could tell, she was starting to remember that there had been two instances of Bazz stepping on an urchin. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to -"
Mipha was cut off sharply as Daruk started laughing again. He continued, suffering a renewed fit as Mipha and Link gave him a nonplussed look. "You two remind me so much of yer parents, Little Guy. Yer father loved to pull one over on anyone he could, and yer mother always lectured him, then apologized a minute later."
The trio was too enthralled to hear the pair of footsteps that approached them.
"I see?" Mipha answered with a confused frown.
"Don't worry little sister, it's a good thing," Daruk explained as he sat down next to them and gave them a large, affectionate smile. "I think the world could use a few more Ellens and Henrys."
The two younger Champions exchanged small smiles. Conversations relating to their future were still awkward in many aspects. Mipha was just learning to talk about her feelings and what she wanted for them both without becoming too mortified to speak and Link was still struggling to verbalize his thoughts at all. Often times, Mipha had to keep suggesting what it was he might mean, constantly revising her theory until it was close to what he wanted to say, which was a frustrating dilemma for them both. Still, though, it was progress, and he found that he was fairly pleased with it.
Still, though, he couldn't shake the feeling that Mipha questioned whether or not he actually returned her feelings. He couldn't blame her if that were the case, as he struggled to convey the affection he felt for her. He had a rough idea of how he could; however, it was a rough idea. Something he had only toyed with for a few days. He knew he needed not to delay with the matter, as Dorephan's deadline was fast approaching, and he wanted his feelings on the matter to be clearly understood. At the same time, he didn't want to do anything that would make her think he was patronizing her either.
"Ya know somethin?'"
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but this can't wait," a young voice cut in, causing each of them to turn and find a young girl accompanied by a tall Gerudo warrior approaching them. "You came here with Lady Urbosa, correct?"
"What did she do?!" Revali called sharply, falling out of the sky and landing gracefully in front of the girl before any of them had time to process where he had come from. Link shook his surprise off quickly and stood up, holding a hand out to Mipha as he did so.
"Ah, you must be the Rito Champion-"
"What did she do?" Revali asked again, ignoring everyone except the girl in front of her.
"What's going on?" Medli cried as she nearly crashed to the ground beside them.
"That's what we're tryin' ta figure out," Daruk answered before turning back to eye their audience.
Link felt a small pit of dread grow inside him, its tendrils snaking their way through him as the girl collected herself. "Tonight, Lady Urbosa, Buliara, " she said as she gestured to the woman next to her " and myself went to attack the Divine Beast. When we arrived, it stopped and allowed her to approach without attacking."
The four Champions present exchanged a look amongst themselves, all coming to a silent agreement. Something was wrong.
"How long ago?" Daruk asked.
"A few hours," she answered.
"We should have time then," Daruk muttered. "Revali, do ya think ya can make it?"
"Why does everyone always ask stupid questions?" the Rito Champion grumbled. "I just need my bow."
"I'm coming too," Link stated, glancing back at Mipha. It was then that he realized he was still holding onto her hand as he felt her grip tighten. He gave her a small reassuring nod followed by a squeeze of his own.
"Are ya sure yer up fer it?"
"He is," Mipha answered, her voice wavering slightly. Link's eyes widened as he looked back at her. He hadn't imagined for a second that she wouldn't argue against the idea, let alone support his decision.
"We won't be able to stop him even if he isn't," she replied quietly.
He gave his friend's hand another squeeze as Daruk eyed them both skeptically.
"We're wasting time," Revali commented impatiently.
"I just need to put on my armor and grab my weapons," Link said.
"Well, be quick about it!"
With one last glance to Mipha, Link let go of her hand and ran toward the inn, barreling through the door and up the stairs before anyone could say a word about the disruption. The Hylian Champion reached into the pouch and pulled out the first piece of armor he could think of before pulling off his destroyed tunic. He hadn't realized that he'd gone outside with a shirt that was missing the right sleeve and good section of its chest. Regardless, he tossed it aside in favor of the piece that sat on his bed. He paused as he laid eyes on blue and black scales along with the metal bracers and shoulder pads that made up the Zora armor. This wasn't exactly what he'd had in mind when it came to telling Mipha where he stood, but seeing as it was one of the few tunics he had left in good condition, he didn't have much of a choice. Deciding that he was only wasting time being indecisive, he grabbed the piece and donned it in less than a minute before grabbing his weapons and strapping them to his back.
Knowing that one last meeting with Mipha before his and Revali's departure was inevitable, he took a deep breath. For some reason, he was more nervous to face her than he was about the impending battle before him. Even so, he wasn't about to let his doubts get the better of him. The last time he'd made that mistake, he had hurt her and nearly ended their friendship. Whatever was about to happen would have to happen.
His decision made, he opened the door, only to come face to face with the Zora Champion far earlier than he had imagined.
"I came here to..." She trailed off as she looked at what he was wearing. She stared at him, dumbfounded as he did the first thing that came to mind. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her. She was too shocked to return the gesture, but that didn't bother him in the slightest. Were he in her position, he likely would have felt much the same.
"I'll be back." He stepped back and searched her face for any sort of recognition. There was much he wanted to say but had neither the time nor the words to express any of it right then.
Thankfully, she seemed to understand even through the haze of surprise, managing to get out a nearly silent "I know."
He still didn't have the words, but he had at least given her enough to figure out all she needed to know. If not, then there was a chance that he would find the words in the years to come. Either way, he was certain that he would be coming back.
Mipha watched as Link clung to Revali's back, her mind still reeling as the Hylian set a strange helmet on his head. She had no idea how he had come to retake possession of the armor, how long he'd had it, why exactly he had chosen then to put it on, or what had changed. Sure, he had come to admit, in his own way, that he reciprocated, but she had imagined that it would be months at the very least before they would even be able to broach the topic of being engaged again.
"Be careful with that helm, boy. It's a sacred relic of our people," the Gerudo Warrior harped as Link adjusted the helm.
"Buliara, please… Our main concern is the safety of Lady Urbosa."
"Make sure ya bring her home," Daruk added.
"Oh, I intend to," Revali growled. "Stand back." The Rito Champion barely gave anyone time to heed his warning as he crouched low and created a violent updraft that blew sand in all directions. It was only reflex that kept sand out of Mipha's eyes as she flung an arm up to protect her face.
"I forgot how strong that was!" Medli shouted over the gust.
As soon as the gale was gone, the Zora Champion lowered her arm and looked up, seeing the vague outline of Revali as he hurtled away from them. She took a few steps after him, forgetting for a moment that there was no way she would be able to keep up.
"Where ya goin,' little sister?" The question, along with a heavy hand landing on her back was enough to break her out of her stupor. She had been so distracted that she hadn't even noticed the departure of the two Gerudo who had come to inform them of Urbosa's plight.
"I was… I..."
"Come on," Daruk said quietly as he turned her around and guided her back to the oasis. "He's gonna be okay."
"I know he will be… I just can't believe he's wearing the armor." Again, so many questions arose in her mind, nearly overwhelming her.
"The armor?" Daruk asked.
"I made it for him."
"Oh, like an engagement gift!" Medli exclaimed excitedly. "Does that mean you two are…?" Mipha almost giggled as she watched the Rito Girl bouncing up and down, almost like her brother would do when he was excited or pleased by a development.
"Yes, I suppose we are," she replied absently, still trying to comprehend that very thing herself. When she had woken up that morning, she had been expecting to spend the day healing Link. Admittedly, much of her waking hours had been spent doing just that. She hadn't imagined that she would be having an argument with her childhood friend, only shortly later to find that he had accepted her proposal. Of course, he'd had to leave before she'd been able to say a word on the matter. In truth, she still wasn't sure how she felt about it. In the span of a few seconds, everything had changed, and she wasn't sure how she was supposed to feel about that.
Oddly enough, she found herself wishing that Urbosa were there that very minute. Though the Gerudo Champion never missed an opportunity to tease any of them, she was also always willing to lend an ear and give her counsel.
"That's a good thing, right?" Daruk asked.
"It is," Mipha replied, her mind still not fully present during her answer.
"Ya sure? Ya sound like you're not that excited about it."
"Well, I mean, Link did just have to spring it on her… he did spring it on you, right?" Medli asked, sounding slightly embarrassed at the thought of being too presumptuous.
"He did." Now that she thought about it, they might have to have words about that when he got back. Assuming Urbosa was still in one piece herself, she might be able to back Mipha up. From what the Zora Champion knew, the older woman took matters of the heart relatively seriously, and she might have a thing or two to say on the matter herself.
"Right! He just sprung that on her and ran off to fight a monster! That's like a hero out of the stories my brother tells!"
"Uh… I guess I don't get it," Daruk sighed. "Sometimes, I wish I asked Henry more about all of this."
"There's so much planning to do! We need to pick colors and flowers to match, make invitations, come up with a menu -"
"Make sure rock roasts are on the menu," Daruk interjected pointedly. "I don't want any of that mush the rest of you call food."
"-Right! Where was I? Oh yeah!"
Mipha watched, bemused by the antics of her two companions. While they could do all of the planning they wished, inevitably, her father would plan it all himself. While he was famous for his wisdom and his patience, he was also known for his ability to set a feast for his people faster than should have been possible. Not only were they set up with incredible speed, but they were something to behold according to the travelers that attended such events. Several had claimed that they rivaled celebrations hosted by King Rhoam, who would take months of careful planning when it came to his feasts.
At the thought of her father, the Zora Champion climbed to her feet. "I need to let my father know!" was all the explanation she gave before rushing toward the inn, leaving her two companions behind. As she crossed the Bazaar, the realization that she was engaged finally hit her, causing her to nearly stumble. For better or worse, the course of her life had just been altered in a few short seconds, causing her to feel both nervous and elated all at the same time. Of course, that didn't change the fact that Link was going to get a piece of her mind upon his return. In her opinion, he sorely needed it after that little stunt.
A/N: You know, I was in the middle of an excellent April Fools fic, but then this chapter decided to be updated. To add insult to injury, only about a third of this chapter went according to plan. Apparently, I am getting so good at droning on forever that the chapter that was supposed to end with the battle for Naboris is now being split in two because I don't want another almost 14K word chapter.
On another note, sorry it took so long to update. Life has been hectic, I had a severe case of writer's block, excuses excuses. At any rate, I may have come up with a solution to the problem of me randomly disappearing. I now have a Discord server and a Twitter and the info for both can be found on my Profile. Assuming that people are interested, I will use Twitter to post weekly updates on my... updates. As for Discord, I thought it might be an interesting idea, as it will make it easier for people (both with and without an FF account) to have actual conversations with me. Or you can talk to other people who follow my work and we can all laugh at me together. Also, we have memes and fanart channels as well, so if you want to make fun of OWaP and AFO, you can go explore those (I may have made a few of them myself).
Anyway, I'm not going to make a promise regarding the next update, as we all know where that goes. As always, thank you all for the support.
E.A.T: Uh... I hope question one was answered. As for question two... how dare you ask me that. You should know by now that I despise puns (and yes it is).
Nightbreed1: 1.)0/10 would not recommend. 2.)I think they all fit except Mipha, but I think that was about the best they could do (though it would have been better were she playable). 3.)No spoilers, but basically I'm ripping off the MCU because I have no imagination to speak of. 4.) I regrettably have a Tumblr, but I don't use it. You can find my Twitter and the invite to my Discord on my Profile.
Apophis Rising: I think we covered my response in Discord more thoroughly than I could here. Thanks for the review though!