Link flipped through what remained of a tattered notebook as he walked alongside the austere wagon that rolled alongside him, two soldiers sitting at its fore, chattering amongst themselves as they guided the horses along the winding pathway of Zorana, oftentimes not even having a road to guide them. Link stopped at one of the small pages as he looked up to notice Zora's Domain in the distance, hurriedly sliding the book into his pocket as he looked over his shoulder, making sure nobody happened to be following them.
"Pretty uneventful, eh, sir?" one of the riders asked, leaning down toward Link, who's eyes turned upward to him.
He nodded, "Can't complain."
The rider gave a jovial laugh as he swung his body back up into his seat, jabbing his co-pilot with an elbow and leaning toward him, speaking quietly, "Heh heh, he talks to me, Jarrol! I'd say he knows who's truly leading this expedition into Zorana!"
He gave a playfully snickering laugh as he reoriented himself, gaily leaning his head back and forth, proudly showing off his pride at actually being addressed by the 'soldier without words'. His counterpart, Jarrol, merely remained fixated on the invoice, his eyes never ceasing their scrutiny of the thick parchment, even during one of his cousin's lively jabs at his status as 'co-pilot'.
Jarrol did eventually speak up, drolly, "Or he just understands who the King tasked with this run."
"Bah!" his cousin, Lall, exclaimed, forgetting their bodyguard was barely a few feet away, "Who wouldn't want a word with the premiere shipping captain of Hyrule? Look- Look at me!"
He leaned toward Jarrol, turning his face up and touching his chin, "If this doesn't look like the face of one who gives good audience, why, I wouldn't know what this world is coming to!"
Jarrol cracked an uncharacteristic, sneering grin, "Reminds me of a face that's only good for receiving a swift kick, cousin."
Lall scoffed, rolling his eyes as he returned to his seat, "Ev'ryone's a critic. I'll tell you, I've got a wife at home, and I assure you, it wasn't due to my swift feet that caught her heart. She saw me from across that bar, and boom, she'd been caught, with nothing more for me to do than reel her in."
"Or," Jarrol shrugged, dropping his hands into his lap as he shot his cousin a wry stare, "Perhaps she was merely wondering what an old brute such as yourself was doing in a bar frequented by young people."
Lall eyed him back with a critiquing sort of stare, holding onto an expression of anger before cracking a grin and laughing, throwing his body backward over the back-end of their seat, a boisterously jovial chortle breaking into the atmosphere as his body shook happily. He finally reached an arm around his cousin, pulling him close and offering an approving pat on his arm.
"You're too much sometimes, cousin!" he nearly shouted, "It's that sort of humor that compelled me to bring you on as my second!"
Knowing he'd only cracked but three jokes in the time he'd even been with his cousin, as he'd counted, Jarrol unenthusiastically leaned away, trying to escape Lall's grasp, "Good thing I'm good at book-keeping too. You still don't realize how dangerously close you were riding that line that crosses into bankruptcy, do you?"
"Bah, life's too short, Jarrol. You let those things work their way out- otherwise, you merely waste-"
Jarrol sighed, "If by 'work their way out' you mean your poor sister came running to my side in order to procure my services, then yes, things seemed to have worked their way out. Not even considering that I turned down quite a lucrative position within the Court simply on the words of that poor girl you insist on worrying with your spending."
"You worry, you worry!" Lall replied, turning the other way and hunching off the side of his wagon as he gave Link a hopeful stare, "A soldier such as yourself should know a little something about that!"
Link remained peering ahead, his eyes nearly fixated on the city before them that stood above the waterfalls. Lall frowned, returning to his seat, only to notice his cousin's grin as Jarrol eyed the invoice once more, "I'm sure 'audience' means something different to you as well, correct?"
Lall mumbled something to himself as the wagon swung around onto a bridge that crossed the river, taking them to the opposing bank, which also forced Link to hasten his steps so that he stood beside the horses instead of the wagon, making himself seen to any Zora that might be on patrol down here. Never had he accompanied a wagon down these parts without being severely checked by some young Zora soldier. Jarrol failed to notice their passing into heavily Zora territory, but Lall leaned forward, his head raised up to gaze upon the serenely curved cliffs surrounding them, as if thinking they'd rain down soldiers upon them.
Link could sense the horse beside him growing anxious, so he reached up to pet its side in an attempt at calming it, though before he could bring his arm back to his side, he lifted it up into the sky, signaling Lall to halt his advance, which he did. Jarrol looked up from his scroll as well, scanning the area to find nothing out of the sort. He turned to his cousin, unsurely, speaking normally.
"Why the stop?"
Lall shrugged, "I was instructed to direct my horses off a cliff were I told to do so by this man. If he say stop, I stop."
His eyes trailed down the river, narrowing suspiciously as he spoke up, quietly, "Although, if you've ever encountered a Zora… They tend to make a habit of hiding in plain sight…"
Jarrol nearly felt a shiver crawl down his spine as he leaned forward, examining the area with increased caution, though still finding nothing. As the two men turned around to examine the path they'd come from, they both hopped up in shock, hearing the wind now behind them whipping as something moved fast enough to break through the atmosphere. They returned to find a Zora crouched on the ground, its hands placed atop the ground before it slowly slithered upward in a delicate stance, its helmet rising up to reveal a sleekly blue body.
"I hope you don't take offense," the Zora spoke in a masculine voice, "I'm kind of hoping you three don't have papers."
Link eyed the soldier with darkened eye, though his glare broke as he reached a hand up toward the two others, silently, simply keeping his fingers open in retrieval. Still a bit shaken, the two only looked at his hand with confusion, though soon enough, Lall composed himself, grasping the sheet of paper out of Jarrol's lap and handing it to Link, who accepted it quite readily before approaching the Zora.
"Damn," the Zora groaned through a devious grin, "I was hoping to finally have a reason to draw a sword before the great knight of Hyrule. I suppose that will come another time, though."
Link allowed a wry sort of smile escape him as the Zora, Zevan, waved him off, "Oh, nonsense; I know who you are. I've often wondered if your King sends you along on these supply runs simply on the off-chance your men are less than competent and lose their papers."
"Hey!" Lall shouted, raising a defiant fist into the air, "I take offense to that!"
Zevan smirked, leaning closer toward Link, "You've got a lively one today."
"That implies the ability to derive pleasure from such a person," Link frowned, "I'd say 'loud mouth' more than anything…"
"Hmm hmm," Zevan laughed behind closed lips, leaning to the side to glimpse the entirety of the wagon, now speaking absently, "No wonder you prefer the company of us Zora. You know, our princess' birthday celebration is just in a few days, and Trello has already proclaimed it to be the biggest and brightest-"
Link interrupted him, nearly stingingly, "I'm only here on business."
Zevan watched him skeptically, though quickly shrugged with indifference, "I understand. My apologies; I'm often inundated with many Hylians roaming these parts merely to catch a glimpse of either the princess or any young lady of our people."
His eyes turned up toward the two men atop the wagon, unamused, "I forget some of you still retain some sense of respect."
Link turned to find the target of Zevan's innocuous glance, "I'd be far too afraid to inspire the ire of anybody on the Royal Guard."
"Good answer," Zevan cocked a grin, stepping out of the way, "I do not wish to keep you, so make haste. I assure you, nobody will come after you."
Link gave a deep bow in thanks before returning to the wagon's side, scratching the closer horse's neck as he passed, knocking near Lall's feet to signal his permission to advance. He did so, though only with the most skeptical of glances toward Zevan as he kept his head low, already untrusting of the man. Jarrol, in kind, grabbed the second copy of the invoice and began examining it once again, trying to alleviate his nerves in this way.
"I've never trusted those things," Lall muttered, immediately shattering his cousin's attempts at calmness, "Always hiding in their mountains back here, never leaving. It's always made me think they're up to something. and they have the nerve to rouse their own King?"
Jarrol slapped his leg in frustration, turning to his cousin, "Lall, please! I've enough rattling around in my brain right now!"
Lall turned toward him, his fry face turning fluidic as he grinned, "No worries, cousin- the women are said to strike even the stoniest of men's hearts with such waters that they immediate erode in balmy iridescence!"
"I've never been more ashamed of your hipocracy than at this very moment…" Jarrol queasily groaned, leaning forward as he wrapped his arms around his stomach, "Just thinking how quickly that thing back there could have shoved a spear through me…"
Lall laughed, "My cousin! Why else would I have hired this bodyguard were it not to protect us from such slights?!"
Jarrol's eyes fell into narrow slits, his hand quickly reaching into a sturdy box and pulling out a sheet of paper, scrutinizing it quickly before murmuring, "I've gone over this list of expenses, and nowhere was there a bodyguard fee. Why didn't you tell me?!"
Nervously, Lall's hand reached behind his head, chuckling, "W-Well, because he wasn't hired. He simply volunteered, pretty quickly after I'd reported that I was making this trip, as a matter of fact."
"Ohhhnoooo," Jarrol gasped sickeningly as he keeled over once again, compressing his stomach, "A free bodyguard. You always know what to say to keep me in the throes of distress… How your sister puts up with you, cousin…"
Lall only happily jabbed his side with a boyish energy, "Come now, Jarrol, just think of how rare it is for us Hylians to even be this deep into Zorana! If we play our cards right, who knows, we may be rather deep into something a tad more enjoya-!"
A tuft of his clothing immediately gathered, yanking him from his spot and clear off the wagon, only stopping as his head fell upside down, with only his midsection and legs atop the wagon. He breathed deeply as his heart raced, suddenly recognizing his bodyguard's intense stare as the world around him slowed from its dizzying haze. Link held him up with a powerful grasp at his collar, though refrained from performing what he'd have liked, which would have been dropping him completely from his vehicle.
Instead, he spoke critically, his steps remaining in-time with the horses, "Another one of those comments, and not only will you no longer have a bodyguard, but you'll have to be quick to replace him, considering what I'd be aiming to do to you."
Lall bit his bottom lip frighteningly, just managing a quick nod from his unusual position before Link threw him back up onto the wagon, leaving the wagon's pilot to remain disheveled as he tried to collect himself, the entire experience having been severely disorienting to his nerves. Jarrol, on the other hand, found relief as he gave a gentle chuckle, shaking his head in disbelief.
"'Audience' definitely means something different to you, brother," he opined, gleefully.