Disclaimer: I don't own this disclaimer.
Author's note: OHEMEFFGEE I updated!11!elevenzorz!1!1 Rub me gently with a chainsaw! AND I have another chapter written which shall be put up in due time! It's a Post-Christmas MIRACLE!
Chapter 13: Legend Has It
For the first time, Link and Malon rested. The next day, they were called once more to meet with Darunia. Torino guided them back to the chief's room and they foundhim just as he was when they last saw him, tall and sombre. This time, though, he had another person with him.
"Impa!" Link blurted before he could catch himself, a wave of relief washing over him. Only Sheik remained expressionless, seemingly unsurprised by her appearance.
"She arrived this morning and demanded an audience," Torino chirped helpfully. Darunia shot him a look only a rock could interpret and the small Goron bowed, leaving the room and going to stand once more by the long rope. Impa was looking tired and stern, and Link promptly took a seat when Darunia gestured for him to do so. The red cushion was hard and seemed to be filled with grains, but Link sat still, smirking as he noticed Malon squirming uncomfortably. Darunia nodded to the three newcomers in turn.
"I hope you have enjoyed your stay, because I fear it will be cut short," he said, his voice rumbling in his barrel-like chest. Link turned to Impa, eager to hear their next stop in their goal for saving the princess. Impa caught his expression, nodding solemnly.
"Ganondorf's guards have occupied what's left of Kakariko." She barely even blinked as she said the words, her voice calm and her eyes dark. Link could only guess at the pain and suffering Impa felt. He turned to Malon, studying her face; his young friend could understand perfectly.
"They suspect that we are still in the area and will be arriving shortly to search the city," Impa continued, exchanging a quick nod with Sheik. He rose instantly, bowing sharply to Darunia, before turning to leave.
"Wait, where are you going?" Link called after him. Impa shook her head as Sheik continuedon his waywithout bothering to answer.
"Ganondorf's people are wary of the Gorons. They are not a people for meddling with," she explained, casting a hint of a smirk in Darunia's direction. "Many soldiers will be here to search for us. Sheik will use this as an opportunity to return to the castle and retrieve the Princess."
At this, Link's mouth dropped open in protest and Malon regarded him warily.
"What?" Link stammered, "I'm supposed to save her." Impa cocked a brow in his direction.
"You will have your part to play, your majesty-" Impa started, but Link cut her off.
"It's just Link, okay?" He rose from his seat, blond hair falling in his eyes. "I'm not a king and I haven't decided yet if I'm really even a Dragonclaw! But I came here to save Z-Zelda." He stuttered her name, his face flushed, "and that's what I intend to do!"
He folded his arms across his chest and Malon stood as well, giving Darunia an apologetic look and taking Link's hand. He looked at her, taking a deep breath.
"Link," Impa spoke, her voice surprisingly gentle, "It is too dangerous-"
"It's my job!" Link shouted, shaking. He took his hand from Malon's grip and stepped towards Impa, towering over her as she sat on her cushion.
"Otherwise, why the blazes am I even here? I left my home for this, and now it's too late for me to even go back without endangering the forest, thanks to having Ganondorf on my tail! So tell me, Impa, now what? I let Sheik do all the work and hide out with the Gorons?"
The words were barely out of his mouth before Darunia stood up and placed his rough hands against Link's shoulders,forcing him to the ground so suddenly that the breath was knocked out of him. Link winced, staring up at the Goron chief in alarm.
"I like your fire, boy, but you need to calm down. You aren't a king yet." Darunia bent down, his black eyes peering into Link's. Link swallowed, steeling his will against backing away from the golem-like man.
After a moment, Darunia took his seat once more and Malon did the same, taking Link's hand again as he held an arm over his stomach. Impa alone looked amused.
"Link and Malon," she nodded respectfully towards the redhead, "will come with me to the desert. We have work that needs doing." Link suddenly found his nails very interesting and Malon leaned forward.
"The desert? You mean …"
"The last dragon claw," Impa said, her voice hushed. Link looked up, barely concealing his confusion. The last what?
"So it's true," Malon muttered. Her blue eyes were wide as she studied Link in awe. A glint flashed through her eyes and Link suddenly felt very uncomfortable. After a moment it passed, and another emotion filled her gaze. Link couldn't identify it, but he felt his cheeks turning red and she squeezed his hand reassuringly.
"We have to get it, then. That's that." Malon nodded.
"W-what are we going on about now?" Link managed, uncomfortably aware of Malon's hand holding his. Suddenly it didn't seem like just a friendly touch anymore. Equally as suddenly, he was wishing that it were just him and Malon in that room.
"Oh, honestly, Link!" Malon said, exasperated, but sighed. "Sorry," she mumbled, "I know you hate that."
Link gave her a pointed nod and waved his hand.
"Just tell me, all right?" He requested. It was Impa who complied, cocking her head towards him.
"Do you know of your ancestors?" She asked him, slowly. He swallowed, nodding grimly. So far, Malon's suggestion of him trying to be "just Link" wasn't working very well.
"They were given their name by the goddesses. In the days long ago, there were dragons. They were wild and dangerous creatures. Only the most powerful and courageous people could slay them," she explained. She opened her mouth to continue, but Malon's voice butted in, loud and excited.
"But only the wisest of those few could tame them," she said. Impa nodded, allowing Malon to continue. She certainly loved a good story.
"The Dragonclaws. Din was so impressed that they were able to truly master beasts of her design that she granted their line the Kingdom of Hyrule." She was breathless as she spoke, her face flushed. Link swallowed. She'd said she only liked him for being himself. Not all this dragon-tamer nonsense.
"Farore and Nayru agreed to this, and the Dragonclaws became masters of the land."
"So," Link started, but Malon waved her hands.
"Let me finish!" She said, impatiently, "Din isn't a bad goddess, but she can be a bit… reckless, sometimes. To challenge the people, she said anyone who could slay a Dragonclaw would get the power of the dragons." It was then that she stopped, looking to Impa for approval. The older woman nodded gently, and Link sucked a breath in through his teeth.
"The power of the dragons? That's everlasting life and strength," He whispered, horrified. "That's what he's after. But he's already killed Zelda's father, hasn't he?" He stopped, feeling sick. "My father."
Malon's brow creased, and she looked to Impa for help. The older woman simply shook her head.
"Farore and Nayru did not let it end there. Together they cast spells upon the dragons and the Dragonclaws, so that the transition of power could only take effect if the Dragonclaw was slain by, appropriately, the claw of a dragon."
Realization dawned on Link's face and he almost laughed, and Malon smirked, seeing his expression.
"Clever ladies, those goddesses."
"The fire of a dragon consumes its flesh when it dies," Darunia nodded, his crunching voice soft, "Everything turns to dust. The only way to take the claw of a dragon is before it dies." Darunia's face scrunched up, suddenly, and Link grabbed on to his cushion as the Goron chief laughed, the room shaking in response.
"And they don't give those up without a fight," he said, finishing his joke. Link laughed nervously in response, and Malon bit her lip thoughtfully.
"I thought I read about someone doing it, though …" Malon said, tapping her fingers against her throat. Her eyes widened and she snapped her fingers. Darunia smirked.
"I did, fifty years ago," he nodded, his voice still full of mirth. "The beast Volvaga: the last dragon in these lands. I would have left it alone if not for it terrorizing my people." He shook his head regretfully.
"So, you have it?" Link asked, his forehead wrinkled. Darunia shook his head.
"No, I gave it as a prize to a Gerudo woman long ago. She bested me in battle and she demanded that as her reward. She is a good woman, though, and to this day I trust it in her hands. But Ganondorf will take it by force when the time comes, and even she could not defeat him." Darunia sighed, but Link couldn't help but feel excited. This was something he could actually look forward to. This was what he'd hoped an adventure would be like. Journeys to exotic lands and magical items were all in his job description. Technically, he was still even having a hand in saving Zelda, if he found the dragon claw that Ganondorf wanted to kill her with.
He exchanged glances with Malon and knew that she was just as eager as he was to get started.
"So, when do we leave?"