A/N: Hello readers new and old! Welcome to Through Time and Back - a Soul Calibur fiction like no other. Here, you will find a story that is both different and unique and hopefully interesting. Follow both Link's and Siegfried's story as they fall victim to fate. Together, they embark on a long and painful journey...
Many thanks to darkwings13 for beta-reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Calibur or Zelda.
Chapter 1: Clash of Swords
It was another lovely day: The glorious sun was shining brightly in the cloudless sky, songbirds were singing amongst the trees and a cool, gentle breeze rustled through the forest. It was a nearly perfect day for a lone, male swordsman dressed in green to traverse in peace. The only thing that would make the day perfect for him was if he was back in Hyrule, his homeland. But alas, he was not. He was far away from home. He was in a new world; one that closely resembled the world he hailed from.
He had chosen to leave in search for the source of the great evil that cast Hyrule in a moment of darkness; an evil sword by the name of 'Soul Edge'. An absurd name. It made the swordsman roll his eyes whenever he thought of it. But it was dangerous nonetheless and it needed to be destroyed quickly if he wanted to protect his world from any more threats.
Reaching into the satchel he carried, he pulled out a small bundle of dark cloth. Carefully, he unwrapped it to reveal the jagged metal fragment inside. The dark metal pulsed with a soft red light and it was ice cold to the touch. It was a shard of Soul Edge that invaded his world, plunging its evil into Hyrule and it drove a powerful wizard mad. With a sigh, he vanquished his memories of the arduous battle that raged between good and evil and pocketed the shard back into his bag.
He rested his palms behind his head and smiled at the beautiful forest around him. The lush green trees and the pleasant smell of the forest reminded him so much of the Kokiri Forest. The new world did not even appear to be threatened by the evil sword at all. It was surprisingly peaceful. Perhaps he should rest for the day?
It had been well over a month or possibly even less than that since he arrived in the new world. He traveled nearly endlessly each day, searching for the whereabouts of the evil sword. He had also been hiding away from the strange people who inhabited the foreign land, being cautious not to invoke any unwanted attention.
But it was so lonely... He missed one of his greatest companions, Epona. A beautiful mare that was both loyal and graceful. Epona was truly a wonderful friend willing to go as far as he would go. Sadly, she could not come with him across the Gate to the new land. If only she were here, it wouldn't be so lonely. Not to mention; she would drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to travel. He sighed again and looked up through the gaps between the trees to gaze at the blue sky.
It was truly a wondrous day for the Azure Knight. He had found a small village filled to the brim with lowly, pathetic humans. Nothing but wretched creatures, the human souls residing within the shanty village were only meager morsels for Soul Edge.
Crimson eyes glowing within a dark, winged helm glowered at the trembling human on the blood-stained ground. The tattered-clothed pest was too terrified by the demon's presence to flee. Slain bodies piled all around in pools of red amongst the remains of the miserable village. Very few of the humans dared to oppose Azure Nightmare and they quickly fled. Those foolish enough to fight were instantly killed with a single swing of the demon's great blade and those that ran were hunted down like easy prey.
Then there were the select few individuals who were too frightened to even move. Just like the petrified man before the dark knight's feet. Nightmare sneered in delight at the fear reflecting in the man's deathly pale and horrified expression before bringing his blade down upon the final peasant. Soul Edge's large yellow eye shined with glee as it absorbed the last human soul before crying out for more. However, its wish could not be fulfilled since there was nothing left to slaughter.
Standing amongst the massacre beneath the blaring afternoon sun, Nightmare hissed in annoyance at the poor quality of the souls harvested. The sword still hungered, forcing him to once again search for more inferior humans. Snarling in frustration, the Azure Knight left the remains of the village.
He stopped abruptly the moment he stepped foot outside of the destruction. He sensed something familiar; something that possessed a weak evil aura. The eye of Soul Edge gleamed with happiness, recognizing the dark energy was coming from one of its fragments. A helmed head turned in the direction of the evil signature. It came from the East, deep within the surrounding forest. Without wasting another second, the demon headed straight for the lost shard.
As he drew near the source of evil, the demon could sense it moving. Some unfortunate fool was carrying one of his precious fragments. Curse the vile wretch! No one had the right to touch what solely belonged to him! He quickened his pace. Moments passed before the dark knight sensed the carrier stop in its movements. Had it sensed his presence? Let it be so. He shall bring fear and chaos to the mind of the cursed fool. Nightmare closed in on the target seemingly waiting for his arrival. Crimson eyes narrowed, having found the location of the pest hidden behind a tree. Without a thought, the demon lunged forward.
He saw a glimmer of silver as something was fired straight at him. The demon twisted his head to avoid the projectile, catching a glimpse of an arrow flying by. Once he was close enough, the Azure Knight brought Soul Edge around to cleave through the tree hiding the fool that dared to strike him down with a measly bow. He struck only the trunk for the pest was surprisingly quick to avoid Nightmare's evil blade. As the tree noisily fell to the ground, the demon caught sight of the human dressed in white and green diving behind another tree.
Nightmare pursued right after the pest, bringing Soul Edge down to splinter the tree vertically in half. "You cannot hide from me, wretched human!" he bellowed in fury. The fool was quick to evade the demon's deadly sword. As the human leapt away from the remains of the tree, another arrow was fired. Too slow to react that time, Nightmare felt a sharp pain penetrate his right side. Unhindered by the arrow, he turned around with a furious growl, swinging his sword with him to cut the vile being that dared hurt him.
Instead of slashing into flesh, his sword struck a metal shield and knocked the human away. Stumbling back, the vile being chose to confront the Azure Knight with the shield, bearing a strange design, still held out front. Annoyingly bold blue eyes narrowed at the fuming demon while an arrogant little smirk adorned the warrior's young face.
With a hiss, Nightmare effortlessly pulled out the arrow pierced into his side and glared at the foolish boy daring to face him with such a confident demeanor. The boy was the carrier of the shard but somehow, he was unaffected by its evil influence. Dressed in a green tunic that matched the surrounding forest, the brat partially blended with the surroundings. He wore white undergarments beneath his tunic, brown leather finger-less gauntlets on both arms and leather boots that reached just below the knees. Around his waist were a leather belt and a satchel. Atop his blond head was an odd hat that was the same green as his tunic. Strapped to his back was a sword and quiver, implying that the brat was a skilled swordsman as well as an archer. And then, there were the boy's ears… They were abnormally long and pointed, similar to the 'elves' spoken in fairy tales and other ridiculous human fables.
Wanting an answer, Nightmare gazed into the brat's steadfast eyes but could not read the other's mind. The creature was fearless despite the menacing glower directed at his pitiful form. Rarely were his victims capable of staring straight back into his crimson eyes. "What are you?" he demanded angrily.
The boy did not yield under the dark knight's harsh tone nor did he answer.
"Did you not hear me, little pest?" Nightmare spat, lifting Soul Edge to point its end towards the ignorant creature. "Or do you not understand? How pitiful."
"I understand," the boy finally replied in a calm, serious manner that irritated the Azure Knight. "I was just a little surprised. I understand your language after all!" The elf continued to smirk behind his defense, his unwavering blue eyes meeting the other's vicious glower. "To answer your previous question; I am a Hylian."
Nightmare scoffed. "An alien?"
The brat pursed his lips and shook his head, making his hair and hat sway with the motion. "I said, 'Hylian'. I'm from Hyrule, therefore I am a Hylian." One blond eyebrow was raised as a smug grin formed on the pest's cocky face. "Do you understand, demon-knight?"
A snarl was the dark knight's initial response. The boy was an infuriating creature. Nightmare's monstrous claw tightened around the hilt of Soul Edge. "You have something that belongs to me, brat." He fell into his stance, making the elf take a wary step back. "I shall reclaim it and devour your soul!" He dashed forward and closed the distance between them within an instant. Going for a downward slash, his blade aimed for the boy's head. The brat's reaction time was commendable but also truly annoying. Soul Edge crashed into the earth as the pest back-flipped out of harm's way.
Just as Nightmare pulled his blade free from the dirt, the boy soundly drew out his sword. White light met the demon's eyes, making him freeze at the sight of the holy radiance emanating from the brat's weapon.
The Spirit Sword? It cannot be! Nightmare's eyes widened at the sight. Panic rose within the dark knight and Soul Edge trembled in his grasp. The cursed light of the sword... it felt the same as Soul Calibur, the wretched blade that had mortally damaged Soul Edge and fatally wounded Nightmare years ago within a dark void. He had been trapped within the twisted realm with both polar weapons for what felt like an eternity, wandering helplessly in hope of finding an escape without even knowing if he was dead or alive. He was most fortunate that he stumbled upon an exit before the cursed void had completely sealed itself.
But the sword in the boy's hand was different from the original Soul Calibur. Could it be another cursed Spirit Sword? Fear turned to utter hatred. The sight of the glowing blade drove the Azure Knight completely mad. He would not be defeated by another wretched being that possessed such holy power again! Enraged, Nightmare roared as he charged straight at the elf with profound speed. He thrust forward, wanting to run the brat through with his blade. However, the accursed elf deflected the evil sword with his shield and countered with a sideswipe with his sacred sword.
Acting in haste, Nightmare switched Soul Edge to his left hand and swung his right arm to intercept the blade with the bony backside of his large claw. He hissed at the burning sensation coming from the shallow wound but soon ignored it. "Die!" he growled, throwing both his arm and his opponent's blade aside to bring Soul Edge down on the boy's head once more. Again, his wicked blade soundly clanged against the inferior being's shield. The impact knocked the other back, giving Nightmare a chance to rush in to follow with a horizontal slash.
Soul Edge noisily clashed into the Spirit Sword, creating not only sparks but a brilliant white flash between the opposing blades. Both fighters froze in their positions, eyeing the strange light that surrounded both swords. A soft ringing noise sounded around them that grew in volume along with the brightening light.
"What's–" the elf was cut off as the light swallowed them both.
He found himself floating in midair in a quiet but familiar realm. He tried to open his eyes but the bright bluish glow of the world stung them shut. Before he could try again, he suddenly felt his body fall. Before he knew it, he left the world of light and entered darkness where his back struck something hard and painful.
Link cringed at the jarring pain running up his spine as he writhed on the ground. With a groan, he carefully sat up; only to suddenly blink in astonishment at a strange portal that opened up into a realm of bluish white light before him. The swordsman stared in confusion for only a moment before the opening suddenly shrunk in width. Soon it became a brilliant pillar that reached past the treetops and into the starry heavens. From there, the beacon separated into two beams of white that flew in opposite directions similar to that of shooting stars.
The darkness of night enveloped the Hylian soon after, casting him in a state of utter bewilderment. He blinked again and rubbed his eyes but paused when he felt his left hand bare and gloveless. It was too dark to see clearly but he certainly could feel that he had lost both of his gauntlets somehow.
Link tensed immediately when he recalled the battle with the demonic knight. Last he had remembered he was in the middle of a battle! The Hylian tuned his senses in search of the powerful evil he had felt during the confrontation with the demon. All he could detect was the cursed fragment he still carried. He sighed in relief but soon furrowed his brow.
What had happened during his fight against the armoured demon? The light that had surrounded them in the midst of battle… what was that phenomenon? The demon-knight had suddenly disappeared along with the strange light, making Link sigh in frustration. The hideous, wicked sword the dark knight carried; Link was certain that was Soul Edge. Just when he was about to accomplish his task and go home, the evil sword and demon had to suddenly vanish.
Gradually, his eyes adjusted to the blackness of the night, however he still couldn't see much of his surroundings. He stiffened when he heard something stir nearby. It softly moaned, sounding almost like a child. He frowned with worry. How did a child end up in this forest at this time of night?
Link looked around, unable to find his Master Sword despite its radiant glow. Where did his sword go? It was not sheathed the last he remembered. He could have used it to see in the night. Frustrated with the darkness, the swordsman reached over his shoulder and grabbed an arrow. With a flick of his wrist, he ignited the pointed tip aflame with his remaining magic to chase away some of the shadows. Blue eyes widened at the sight before him, nearly making him drop his only light source…
He could no longer hear the harsh whispers tempting him in the shadows. Laughter once cruel had been silenced. Desperate thoughts of salvation had calmed. The frozen binds that held him in place have all but vanished. He was free... His mind was his own. His body was his.
He took a slow deep breath and opened his eyes. His vision was blurred at first. He blinked a few times before he made out a pair of curious blue eyes looking down at him. He froze, seeing a young child standing over him with a flaming torch in hand. It was not an ordinary child either. The blond-haired boy had long-pointed ears like an elf, similar to the swordsman he could remember fighting moments ago…
In an instant he sat straight up, his gaze remaining on the strange creature. He did not recall seeing or sensing another being besides the elf with the Spirit Sword so where had the child come from? Oddly enough, the boy wore a similar green hat and tunic as the older elf.
He took a quick glance around and noticed that he was still in the forest but it was suddenly nightfall. And Soul Edge… He could not sense the evil sword's presence nor could he feel it within his consciousness. However… there was still something that carried the sword's evil albeit very weak. It was not too much of a concern at the moment.
What exactly happened to him? The mysterious white light that enveloped him and the swordsman in green... was that the reason why he was free of Soul Edge's control?
"Are you all right?" the boy asked, bringing the other's attention back.
He nodded briskly to answer the elf's question. "Who are…" he started to question but stopped himself short when he heard his own voice. It sounded rather strange and foreign; higher in pitch and far too young. He tried again; "Who…" Once more, it was not his voice coming out of his mouth. He furrowed his brow while the elf formed a wide smile.
"You must be the demon-knight," stated the boy, making the other angrily frown. "Quite a situation we've gotten into… Take a good look at yourself."
Without a word, he listened to the child and glanced down at himself. He gasped and bolted to his feet when he saw his bare human torso. The cursed dark armour that nearly covered his entire body was gone. Instead, there were some familiar pieces of silver armour on his upper legs and over his boots. Beneath the armour, he wore a pair of green pants held up by a simple leather belt. His right hand was back to a normal five-digit human hand that was bare while an armoured gauntlet covered his left. He tenderly felt his face, feeling no helm or leathery skin but soft human flesh. His once short blond hair had grown over the years, reaching past his shoulders and ending near the centre of his back, despite his body being under the possession of the evil Soul Edge.
Overwhelmed with the fact that he had regained his human body, he had no idea how long he stood gawking at his hands, watching his fingers flex under his own will. But then he started to notice something odd… His hands seemed smaller than normal. Slowly, his eyes drifted back to his body once more before turning to the watching elf beside him. The child was only one head shorter than him!
"What the hell?" he cried out, suddenly realizing the state he was in. His body was human but his body was also that of a young boy. "Wh-What is this? What happened?" He was supposed to be at least twenty-three years old! Not twelve!
The elf shortly laughed in amusement before smirking in an annoying way that it reminded the other of the swordsman in green. "Took you long enough to notice!" said the child, truly enjoying the older boy's panicking reaction.
"What happened?" the older boy asked again in a more demanding tone as he glared at the grinning elf. Was it the mystical creature's fault? Did the strange being possess some sort of odd power? "Y-You did this, didn't you?"
The blond elf raised an eyebrow and snorted. "Me? Not at all," he coolly replied, carefully crossing his arms. The torch in his hand, upon closer inspection, was an actual arrow and its pointed metal tip was somehow burning with fire. "I got turned into a kid too."
"Too? Then…" The older boy stared at the other, finally understanding why the annoying little child was so similar to the green swordsman. "Then you're that elf from before!"
"Elf?" The boy seemed a bit confused. "Not sure what that is. I told you that I'm a Hylian. My name is Link. What's yours?"
Lowering his gaze to his hands by his side, the other hesitated in his response. "I am…" He closed his eyes and knitted his brow in concentration. Nightmare had been his name... the name of the malevolent demon he had become. The name brought fear during his reign of terror years ago. Many trembled whenever they heard it spoken or whispered. Knowing that fact once brought joy to his dark being.
But he was no longer that demon… He was... "Siegfried." It was his true name, and the only piece of his humanity that he held onto during his desperate struggle against the powerful evil. "My name is Siegfried."
"Well, nice to meet you, Siegfried, even though our first confrontation was a little too…"
"I'm sorry," the older boy quickly apologized, remembering the details of their initial encounter. He slowly shook his head as the guilt started to swell inside him. "I… I'm so sorry. I didn't hurt you, did I?"
Link tilted his head slightly as if studying the other before giving Siegfried a wide smile. "Hey, don't worry about it. You didn't get me at all. Although, I did hit you with my arrow…" He bent over to look at Siegfried's side.
Siegfried brushed his right hand over the area where the wound was supposed to be but found nothing. Not even a mark.
"It's gone! That's good." Link sounded relieved while the older blond kept prodding his side in bewilderment.
"What happened to us?" Siegfried slowly questioned, meeting the younger boy's blue eyes with a slight frown.
The boy in green started to twirl the arrow in his hand as he soundly pondered, making the shadows dance around them. "The light," the elf began, stopping the arrow between his fingers, "Do you remember it?"
Siegfried nodded. "When our swords collided…"
"Our swords…" Link trailed off in thought as he started to pace with the flaming arrow spinning in his hand once again. He gave the older blond a sideways glance as he walked past the other. "Your sword was Soul Edge, wasn't it?"
The older blond crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at the boy. "Yes. How do you know of it?" His question came out more of a snarl than he intended to.
"Because…" Link stood before the other and dug into his satchel with his free hand, "of this." He pulled out a small bundle of black cloth and unfolded it with his thumb to reveal a jagged metal piece that pulsed with a wicked red glow.
Emerald eyes widened at the sight of the cursed sword fragment. The boy's shard, Siegfried nearly forgot about it. He had sensed it earlier and had ignored it, but being able to see it changed the situation. The power within the shard was pathetically weak compared to the actual sword but its evil aura still grasped his immediate attention. Its pulsing light was enticing, making everything around it fade to nothing. A bitter cold gripped his body and he shuddered. The light felt warm and powerful, tempting him to reach out and grab it. But then the red light vanished from his vision and a voice broke through his thoughts.
"… okay? Can you hear me?"
He gasped and stumbled backwards before falling to his knees, shaking from the awful cold that suddenly surrounded him. His breath was labored and his body felt uselessly weak. There was an awful throbbing pain in his head. Someone kneeled before him, someone who carried the wretched evil that tried to pull him back into the darkness. He dangerously glared at the ignorant child and shoved the brat away. "Get away!" Siegfried roared, baring his teeth in anger. Then in a low hiss, he seethed, "Get that damn thing away from me!"
The younger blond had fallen on his back from the push. He quickly rolled to his feet with the flaming arrow still in his hand while the other hand, the one that held the fragment, was hidden behind his back. Wary blue eyes watched him briefly before they became worried. In haste, Link returned the shard in his bag. "I'm sorry. I didn't know…" he started to apologize, taking a small step forward. "Are you all right?"
Siegfried tensed at his approach and growled a warning, prompting the smaller boy to take several steps back. Once the powerful aura had noticeably lessened with the elf's distance, the older blond closed his eyes and shook his head vigorously while pressing the palm of his bare hand against his forehead to ease the pain. "No. I'm not all right," he murmured venomously. "I'm not… I'm human but I'm still cursed." He swore out loud and curled his hands into fists. "I'm not free."
He heard the boy move about before mumbling something incoherent. Slowly, Siegfried looked up to see the elf gather dead leaves and broken sticks lying around with both hands. The long wooden shaft of the flaming arrow was clamped in between the boy's teeth as he worked.
Silently, the older blond watched the elf make a pile of forest litter. Once finished, Link then pierced the flaming tip of his arrow into the centre of dead leaves to start a camp fire. Smiling, the elf then dropped onto the ground right across from Siegfried and looked at the other over the orange embers. The heat of the burning flames chased away the cold. Siegfried was slightly thankful for that.
"Soul Edge," Link began, his childish expression turning serious, "Did it transform you into that demon-knight?"
Siegfried avoided the elf's gaze and grimly nodded. "It… controlled me," he slowly answered, shifting into a more comfortable position. He did not go into more detail, not wanting to draw up the horrid memories of his past sins. Instead, he stared at his left gauntlet and watched the orange glow of the fire reflect off the smooth metal surfaces. Carefully, he curled his iron fingers into a fist, taking note of the short, curved claws at the end of each fingertip. It was strange that he was shirtless and wore only one gauntlet and several pieces of leg armour. "Why are we children?" he questioned after a moment of silence.
"Well, this is pure conjecture, but I believe our swords may have created a time portal when they connected," Link answered.
"Time portal?" The older boy scoffed in disbelief. "Ridiculous…"
"Would you prefer to call it a 'time void'?"
Siegfried sighed and rolled his eyes at the child's misunderstanding. "What's the difference?"
"One's a portal and the other's a…" Link stopped when he noticed the irritated scowl on the older boy's face. "Anyway, our swords; your Soul Edge and my Master Sword are complete opposites of one another. Maybe the opposing energies of our blades were so great that they managed to, I dunno," the boy tried to gesture with his hands, "tear open a rift in time or… or create a time portal."
The older boy blinked at the elf before muttering, "Nonsense."
Link leaned back on the palms of his hands with a sigh and gave the other a sullen glare. "Do you have a better answer?"
Siegfried did not even have to think. "Yes. This is a dream. It has to be."
The elf laughed and leaned forward as he crossed his legs. "I assure you this is no dream. If it was, wouldn't you prefer it than return to your demonic form?"
The older blond flinched at the elf's truthful words. Yes, he would rather be turned into a human child than remain as Nightmare. Even if he was not entirely free of the evil that once controlled him, being himself was better than the vile demon.
Everything felt too real for it to be a dream. Was it truly possible for a time portal to suddenly open up due to the repelling energies between an evil sword and a holy blade? It sounded absolutely absurd yet there really was no other plausible explanation…
Siegfried brushed his unarmoured hand through his hair. "Unbelievable…" he finally admitted in defeat. "I never thought going back in time was possible…"
"We didn't actually travel back in time," Link informed with a knowing smile. "Look behind you."
The young knight looked over his shoulder and gasped at the sight of two destroyed trees nearby. One was vertically split entirely in half while the other was horizontally cut down from the trunk.
"That's… From our battle…" Siegfried fully turned around and stared at the devastated trees in horror. He was the one that cleaved through the wood, intending to slaughter the carrier of the cursed fragment. For the damage to remain, that could only mean…
"We're still in the same time but our bodies are not," explained the elf. "We are ten years younger than our actual age."
"Give or take."
Siegfried muttered a curse in aggravation. "Unbelievable. Absolutely ridiculous!"
"What do you want to believe then?" Link demanded, sounding quite annoyed.
Exasperated, the older boy heavily exhaled. "I don't know. I don't know what to believe anymore, elf."
"I don't care."
Both shot annoyed glares at one another over the burning fire. It was Link who looked away first with a tired groan. He raised his knees to rest his crossed arms over them and buried his face in his arms. "Goddesses… Turning back to normal is not going to be easy," he quietly murmured.
Siegfried's eyes widened. "Is that possible?"
The younger boy shrugged his shoulders, keeping his face hidden. "Well, our swords opened the time portal in the first place so clashing them together again might make the portal reappear."
"There's one slight problem... Our swords are gone…" the older blond muttered.
Link lifted his head and rubbed his face with his hands. "Yeah, that's right. They disappeared with the light."
"So... are we trapped like this?"
"Not exactly." The elf looked up and pointed at the starry sky through the canopy of the forest. "I saw the portal turn into a pillar of light that reached the heavens. From there, it split into two beams that flew in opposite directions. Again, this is purely conjecture," Link soundly smirked, "but I believe that those separate beams could be our swords. One headed that way," the boy pointed to his left then to his right, "and the other went that way."
Without the sun or visible moon, it was difficult to tell which direction the elf was pointing exactly. Lifting one knee to rest his arm atop, Siegfried leaned forward and pressed his forehead against his open palm for the ache in his head was returning. He heaved a sigh laden with frustration. "How far?"
"I don't know. Beyond the forest for sure. Do you – I mean, are you not able to sense Soul Edge?"
"No. As grateful as I am that it is gone, it also means that it could be lying somewhere, waiting to be taken by another goddamn fool." He muttered a curse under his breath. "I cannot let that happen… I was… If only I was stronger…" But he had been too weak. He could not resist. He could not fight against the darkness dwelling within his heart and soul and as a result, Nightmare was reborn once again. He did not know how long he had traversed the lands in search of Soul Edge's fragments in hope of reviving the sword to its full power. He did not know how many innocent lives he had taken before encountering the elf sitting across from him.
The light from their battle… it had silenced Nightmare and taken Soul Edge away. The risk of another finding the evil sword weighed heavily on Siegfried. He could not allow another to suffer the same horrid fate he had experienced. He could not allow another demon to arise. "I have to find Soul Edge…" he quietly told the other, slowly shaking his head.
"And how are you going to do that?" Link raised an eyebrow at him. "Have you already forgotten the state you're in?"
Siegfried snorted at the brat's tone. "I will follow the direction of the light. Simple as that, is it not?"
The elf furrowed his brow and hardened his gaze against the knight. "What do you hope to do when you find Soul Edge, Siegfried?"
Hearing his name spoken a second time by the boy made the older blond wince. "Destroy it, that's what I'll do."
Link was a little shocked to hear that before breaking out with mocking laughter. "Seriously? You can hardly withstand the evil of a fragment!" Siegfried growled at the elf's truthful words, but the little brat continued. "You are an idiot if you think you can search for it alone. Besides, we need Soul Edge intact if we want to open the time portal again."
The young knight huffed angrily. "I am no mere fool, brat. I just don't want Soul Edge to fall into the wrong hands. There are many who wish to gain its immeasurable power, wanting to rule over kingdoms or have other petty goals that would eventually destroy them in the end."
"I understand your urgency but you have to think this through," the elven boy argued.
Frustrated, Siegfried quickly rose to his feet and glowered at the blue-eyed child. "There is nothing to think about! The plan is as simple as I have stated before!"
Link jumped to his feet and returned the older boy's glower with one of his own. "You're more of an arrogant idiot than I thought." His hands moved to unbuckle the satchel by his waist.
"You don't understand anything, little pest," Siegfried snarled through clenched teeth, hardly able to restrain his full anger.
After dropping his bag to the ground, Link narrowed his eyes. "I understand enough to know how one little piece of Soul Edge can drive one man completely insane," he evenly told the fuming knight as he rounded the fire. "I understand enough to know how the sword can turn you into a red-eyed demon-knight."
Hearing the elf's last words made Siegfried turn away with guilt and shame. He heard Link stop beside him before seeing the boy lean forward to peer at him from the side. Siegfried glared and turned away once more.
"We should work together," the elf suggested. "I will help you overcome the evil of Soul Edge."
"How?" Siegfried demanded, crossing his arms as he stubbornly refused to look at the other.
"We'll search for my Master Sword first. It has the power to repel evil."
The young knight bowed his head slightly and held back a sigh. "Do you even know which light was your sword?"
"No. That's why we should travel together. We're bound to find either one if we head in one direction. If it's Soul Edge that we find first then I'll figure out a way to help you. I promise."
Siegfried wanted to laugh at the damn fool. Why would the brat bother to say such a redundant thing? There were no such things as promises.
He started to walk away from the ignorant child, making the elf question him. "I'm going for a walk," was his grumbled reply.
Footsteps trailed behind him. "In the middle of the night?"
"Yes. Don't follow me."
"You'll get lost!"
"I will find my way back. Now go away!"
He heard the other boy groan and abruptly turn around. "Fine. Just remember what I said…"
Siegfried did not answer. He left the light of the fire and entered the cold, dark shadows of the forest. As he walked in near-blindness, he was grateful he was leaving behind the cursed evil the annoying elf carried.
The forest was rather quiet, allowing Siegfried to ponder over his strange new, twisted fate.