Chapter 17Mistakes Repaired

The Field was dark and quiet, but we knew that the danger was not gone. Without stopping, we ran out the broken gate and kept going on. Within seconds, the air was filled with arrows flitting by, some cutting our skin and clothes but none hitting home. We ran on, one of my hands clasped within hers. The river was close at hand when the body behind me jerked and let out a harsh gasp. I paused, looking back with wide, horrified eyes.

"My Queen!" I called, catching the woman as she stumbled. An arrow protruded from her chest, just above her baby. Abnormally bright crimson began to spread from the wound, dripping down her clothes. I quickly gathered the woman into my arms and began running again. More arrows whizzed by, but I ignored them. In my heart, I had known she would not survive this day. History would not let her. Still, I didn't stop running until we had reached the Kokiri's bridge. There, I set her against the rock wall to tend to her wound.

"Why here?" murmured my Queen as she gazed down at her child. I reached around her and felt for the arrow's tail before snapping it in two. She hissed in pain.

"You'll be safe here," I responded. "The Deku Tree will give you both sanctuary."

She smiled at me. I gripped the other side of the arrow tightly and carefully pulled it from her body, watching the pain filled grimace on her face. Once finished, I threw the pieces off the bridge. The wound was very grave. It bleed badly, her life stream a deep color as it soaked down her clothing.

"I won't survive," she said. I looked into her eyes. There was a sad kind of defeat in that sapphire gaze. She had accepted her fate.

"He will."

She nodded and turned back to stare at her child. Link was fast asleep.

We rested only a few minutes more before I carefully helped the Queen to her feet. She leaned heavily on me, an arm about my shoulders to match mine around her waist. Together, we stumbled into the Kokiri's realm.

Stares…The children of the forest stared in wonder and horror at the two of us. They fled the streets, hiding away up in their homes to watch us from safety. The Kokiri knew of the war outside their sanctuary, but they had not expected anyone to enter their realm and give proof.

The Queen tripped over her feet more and more the closer we got to the Tree. The blood loss was quickly claming her. Still, it would have done her no good to wrap the wound. It would have kept bleeding anyway.

It felt like forever before we reached the meadow of the Deku Tree. Zelda fell to her knees before it in exhaustion and I dropped with her. Her eyes rolled upwards, gazing upon the magnificent sight as she lay in my arms. Few could understand the might of that one being, that tree older than time. He was…awe inspiring.

"Queen Zelda," the Tree murmured in a gentle rumble. "Why hast thou come?"

She smiled lovingly at his gentle face. "I seek…sanctuary…for my son…"

"Thou art weakened," the Tree noted quietly. "Thy war hast done thee wrong."

"Perhaps," she whispered. "But to my son…it has wronged much worse…"

The Deku Tree was quiet for a long few moments. I tightened my hold on the Queen, giving her my comfort.

"Thy faith in mine honor is great," said the Tree. "That faith shalt be rewarded. Thy child is welcome."

"Many thanks to you," the Queen said weakly, smiling so brightly that it made me want to weep. Slowly, ever so slowly, her gaze shifted upwards to my face. Those clear blue eyes held no sadness, no regret. Pure love flowed from them as tears fell from her face.

"My Queen," I whispered to her, reaching up to wipe away the crystalline drops.

"Sheik, you have served me well… and it is time…that I did the same for you," she said quietly, lifting a weak hand to my cheek. "In my death…I can feel the sudden gate of time…opening for me…as it will for my daughter…I see the future clearly…I see you clearly, my beloved Sheikah…I know what you must do…please, accept my last gift to this world…accept my gift?"

I stared at her but slowly nodded. My duty was to the Royal family. I loved them and knew I would do anything for them. And I knew that this would be her death. Not the wound, not the pain…but this gift she would bestow on me.

Her eyes closed and she smiled. The hand on my cheek began to feel warm as power filtered through her body. I gasped as that power jolted into myself, my head thrown back as my body jerked, trying to contain it, to control it.

'Don't fight me,' her voice whispered in my mind. I closed my eyes and tried to let go of the control so fined tuned within me. Slowly, I felt her power growing, felt it taking in every cell of my body. And then, her weight vanished from my lap and the feeling was over. I opened my eyes and stared out at Slade's city.

'Good luck, my beloved Nexus…'

Her voice was like a comforting blanket, but I still broke down and wept for her.

Hours later, I was standing before the Temple. The night air was warm as it breezed through my hair. I had seen Slade earlier. He was the same as the last time I'd entered the city. Slade was very a happy child…unsoiled by the world around him. So pure. It angered me that Ganondorf had dared to taint such a soul.

With a deep breath, I entered the Temple once more. Across the room stood the three as before. They gazed at me in suspicion and wonder, three sets of Goddess eyes.

"I wish a private audience with Lord Riaru," I stated plainly. Din rose and went through the door while the other two stared at me. I stared back, eyes hard and resolve strong. The red haired girl came back quickly and beckoned me to follow. Down the long hall we went, the haunting melody filling our hearts.

'Mirabile, mirabile… mysterium, mysterium…declaratur hodie…innovantur naturae…Deus homo factus est…'

I let my eyes fall half closed as I listened. The song spread through me like a spell, both beautiful and terrible at the same time. As I listened, I lifted my gaze to the three before me and felt a smile. Gods becoming man.

"Hello, Nexus."

He gazed at me with a quiet contentment. I could sense Ganondorf within the small form, but he had not yet finished his infiltration of the Sacred Realm. The child was still sacred now. Slowly, I approached him and went down on one knee.

"Lord Riaru," I murmured with a slight bow of my head. He smiled and returned it, his pale eyes tired.

"Why have you come?" he asked.

"To stop our future from going awry."

He looked at me in slight confusion, then stared into my eyes. With a jerk, his eyes grew wide and he took a step back.

"No, it cannot be true! I cannot have become so tainted! Tell me it is not true!" he cried. For those moments, he seemed every bit the child he looked. There was an honest horror in his eyes, wetness clinging to the edges. "How could I have let that happen?"

I got up and approached him again, setting my hands upon his shoulders before kneeling once more.

"What may happen does not matter here," I told him sternly. "It is what we can do that will determine your taint."

"Yes, you're right," he whispered.

"Allow me passage into your soul," I said quietly. "Ganondorf will only continue his reign of terror if allowed to live on inside you. You must let me enter and destroy him."

The child stared at me, a quiet acceptance filling him. He knew of my duty just as he knew of his own. Gently, he lifted his hands to my face and waited until I did the same. I heard the questions from the young three but neither of us had the time to answer.

Suddenly, we were no longer in the dark Temple, but a bright field of flowers. I looked about, taking in the field and then…the tall, dark tower in the center.

"That is the prison," Riaru murmured from my side. I nodded and he looked up at my face. "I wish you luck, Nexus. If you fail, I doubt your soul will ever be free of my own."

I nodded once more and he vanished. Steeling myself, I walked towards the tower, trying my hardest to fend away the terror creeping into me. It loomed over the land like a dark king, malevolent and vile as any evil could be. I found myself at its huge doors before I realized. One touch and they fell open. I could see nothing inside, darkness engulfing it all. Without hesitation, I plunged headlong inside. The door closed behind.

The darkness surrounded me, plunging into my soul and ripping at it. I curled upon myself, trying not to loose that sense of self, of purpose. I could not fail. I could not fail. I COULD NOT FAIL!

"You fight so hard, child."

I lifted my eyes and stared up at the glowing form before me. She was as gorgeous as I remembered from my time with the Gorons.

"Farore…"

A gentle nod of her head was all I could se before she enveloped me in her warmth. From either side, two more forms came and sheltered me. The love they had flowed over my heart and calmed me.

"Nayru…Din…"

"What is your purpose?" Nayru asked quietly, her voice smooth and languid.

"I must destroy Ganondorf's soul once and for all."

"And if your own soul perishes?" Din entered.

"I will do anything to save the ones I love, even if it means dying."

"Do you understand what you are?" Farore whispered.

I was quiet. Slowly, my body uncurled and they fell away, circling me at a distance. I lifted my hands and stared at them before carefully undoing the white wraps. Upon my right hand gleamed a familiar shape of gold that both terrified me and intrigued me.

"How?" I wondered. "Wisdom, Courage, and Power. Zelda, Link, and Slade. How is it that I carry this as well?"

"Because there are four parts to our gift," they said in unison, voices dancing around each other. "Wisdom, Courage, Power…and Balance."

In a moment, I suddenly understood. Nexus. The dark space within the three powers…That was me. My power, a balance between the other three, none overpowering the other. Balance. That was my purpose.

"Show me where to find him," I said, determined. "Let this be over so that our lives will finally be in peace."

The three faded and I felt myself falling. Falling…so deep, this chasm. I fell on and on, barely conscious of time or space. I could feel that power building within me. It filled my every cell just as Zelda's had before. But this was my power, my potential. I felt I could laugh and cry all at the same time.

"Ganondorf!" I cried into the void. "I can sense you there, scheming and planning! I can feel your evil slowly permeating from this prison, biding your time! Come out and face me, coward! It is time for Destiny to choose a victor!"

He appeared before me, large and dark, his power filling the void. It felt dirty and horrible, threatening to engulf me. But I wouldn't let it. I couldn't let it. I could not fail!

With a cry, I launched myself at him. My power pushed foreword and ripped at his, fighting for supremacy. He fought just as desperately but we both knew how this would end. We knew. He had spread himself too thinly all ready.

I captured him within myself, but did not leave him be. No, I continued to crush and rip at him until there was nothing left. And then…then I fell from consciousness.

The world came back to me hours, days, perhaps years after. I had no idea what time was anymore. My body was tired and weak. My mind was numb. And when I finally opened my eyes, I was confronted with the most beautiful sight I'd ever seen.

Shining sapphire depths of light.

In the days following, I learned that seconds after emerging from the Sacred Realm, time suddenly took a leap forward to the time all this had started. Memories that had become during this time smashed into the people's minds, showing them exactly what could have been. Our world, and all its peoples, were finally complete.

Link took me back to Kakariko, back to the arms of my lady mother and sister. Aridine and Kiris held me tightly for an eternity, tears running down their faces with joy. I held them just as tightly. Yue and Star were reunited and happier than ever. They came to me quickly to mend our friendships. My soul finally, blessedly, stopped aching.

It took many weeks for me to recover my strength, mentally, physically, and spiritually. But Aridine, Kiris, Zelda, and Link were there all the way. When I was finally strong enough, Link took me to the castle. I had things that had to be revealed.

Standing before Zelda, I almost lost my nerve. Would it truly help anyone to know of Zelda and Link's relationship? Of their mother's sacrifice? But looking at both her and his expectant faces, I couldn't bare to keep it from them. The words spilled from my lips, telling them of my time in that past and of the war. I told them of the Queen's escape and her last gift to both her children and myself. When I was finished, they were silent. I watched them carefully, noting the fleeting glances they gave each other as they rolled the information about. Then, Zelda lifted her head and turned to stare at Link, eyes shining.

"My…brother," she whispered, a smile of pure joy lifting her lips. She threw her arms about him, tight and needing of that sibling connection. Link held her just as fiercely, his shoulders shaking as he tried to contain himself.

This was my gift. Family. They both now had true family.

It was beginning to cool as the seasons changed. The months after final release flew by for all of us. I had felt the stirrings in the ethereal river and I knew that I was being called forth. Kakariko was difficult to leave, my mother and sister more so. They had merely smiled and wished my luck at the door, but I knew they cried as soon as I left. Star gave me a flower wreath and reminded me so much of how it had been once before. I stared back up the Stair, wondering when I would return to my home again. Evalus nudged my shoulder and I smiled at him, climbing up. Together, we set off for the Gerudo Fortress and beyond that… the Sheikah.

The day's ride was pleasant. Wind soaring around us, becoming one with that feeling of near flight. Evalus loved that feeling as much as I did. It was almost regretful when we reached the edge of the Field.

A form caught my attention. Dismounting, I strode towards him.

"I thought you might be going to them," Link said quietly, his face somewhat sad. "Can I go with you?"

"No," I answered softly. "The people need you here just as the Sheikah need me."

He was quiet a moment, eyes falling to the ground.

"You know, Slade has come to call on my sister."

"Has he?" I almost laughed. "What does she think?"

He shrugged. "I don't think she minds. She keeps walking around in a weird daze, blushing for no reason."

"I see," I said, and I did laugh that time. He smiled at me. "Do you approve?"

"I suppose," he answered. "Slade is a good man. He won't hurt her. Actually, I think he's put her up on a crystal pedestal…"

"Ah, youth…"

We stood in silence for a long time before he lifted his eyes to mine. Slowly, he stepped up to me, reaching for my face. I sighed softly as his skin pressed to mine and leaned into him, allowing for that need of comfort.

"When will you return?" he asked, but we both knew it would be a long while.

"When I'm finished," I responded. He nodded and closed his eyes. A moment later, I found myself shoved up against the rock wall, bodies pressed tight as his lips claimed mine. Arms held tight, desperate need for closeness overtaking our minds. The burn of that need filled us, engulfed us. And when he pulled away, it was as if life would never survive without him.

"Come back to me," he whispered harshly, cheeks flushed and lips bruised red. I tenderly stroked his face and nodded. My eyes burned and his shined.

I left him then, going on into my journey. He watched until we disappeared into the fortress. I paused there only for supplies before Evalus and I took off into the desert sands

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Since my editor kinda...disappeared...I had to do this edit on my own. I figure you guys have waited long enough so...Here you are. The end of Ruby.

I can't believe it's over...I finished Ruby in six months. That's pretty quick for me. ;; And so many people liked it!! I'm amazed!! Now...I have to say...

THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH IT!

Man...I think I'm gonna cry...That's so unmanly of me...

Well, it was a fun jig. I dunno if I'll ever write another Zelda fanfic...But who knows what the future brings? Writing this fic taught me a lot about writing...I hope I can keep entertaining people with my writing.

Ciao!

EDIT: 1/9/10 - I took off the epilogue because I'm rewriting it. But do have fun with the sequel, the Desert's Rose!