Chapter Seventeen: Prince Charming…err…Ganondorf

As soon as Aveil had disappeared beyond the morning horizon, Ganondorf's expression eased, and he turned towards Nabooru. His eyes were soft as he looked at her. Soft…and innocent…

"How have you been getting by all by yourself?" he asked her.

She shied her face away from him as she felt the heat rise to her cheeks. "I've been staying with an old man who rescued me from drowning. He was very kind to me, but after what I've heard from Aveil…"

"Are you really so worried about that? Don't be. That case has been closed for a while now. The murderer was disposed of, and only his son survived. But his son had nothing to do with the crimes committed against our people. You were perfectly safe with that man at the lake."

Nabooru let out a deep breath that she hadn't known she had been holding in. "I…" she began. "How do you know all of this? Why…"

Ganondorf interrupted her. "Let's go home, okay?"

Nabooru grunted and crossed her arms. She didn't like to be interrupted. But she followed along anyways. "Home as in where? I don't really want to go back to the old temple, if that's what you mean by home."

"Why not?" he asked her, looking back into her eyes as he asked. He cocked his head playfully and smiled at her. Nabooru felt shivers rush down her spine when he looked at her like that. Her heart was starting to beat faster. She couldn't help but wonder how he could do that to her. How he could control her body in such an unusual way.

"I don't like the feeling I get around the witches you call your mothers," she replied as she tried to suppress her feelings. "That place is no home to me. They are no mothers to me. They are…evil, can't you sense it? "

Ganondorf looked away from her and stopped acting playful. His eyes fell to his feet, and his tone became serious now. "Oh, you're just being ridiculous now. But you don't have to worry about them. They've gone on a trip to a swamp or something like that to freshen up on their magic. At least that's what they've told me."

"A swamp? I didn't know there was a swamp in Hyrule."

"There isn't. They've gone to Termina, the same place that Aveil has been banished to as well. Only she has gone to the ocean, while they have gone to the swamp."

Nabooru pondered what this strange "Termina" place was. It must have been a pretty awful place to banish people there…and especially if there was a disgusting swamp there. Ganondorf interrupted her thoughts.

"Where should we go, then?" she asked her.

Nabooru let out a sigh of relief as she uncrossed her arms and let them hang by her side. "Can you take me to the Oasis just passed the Haunted Wasteland then? I need to get something from there. Then I want to go right back to the Fortress. Surely it's been rebuilt by now, right?"

"As you wish, my lady," Ganondorf said as he mounted his horse, reaching up his hand to her so that he could pull her up behind him. His smile melted her insides in a single moment. She hated it and loved it at the same time.

Nabooru took his hand and mounted the horse, wrapping her arms tightly around Ganondorf's muscular waist, so that she would not fall off. She couldn't help but to let out a little squeal of happiness for being so close to him. But she quickly stopped herself. It wasn't proper. And it was just plain weird. Besides, he was just a boy, and she was just another Gerudo. She had no business getting all lovey-dovey over him. Nor did she fully want to, for that matter. But she couldn't say the same for Ganondorf. Did he feel the same way for her? He appeared to have feelings for her, and he was so kind to her. She hoped she was wrong…

As they rode into the Valley and then through the Gerudo Fortress, huge clusters of the red-haired, dark-skinned women clustered around them, cheering. "The princess has returned!" It was amazing. Never in her entire life had people been so happy to see her. No one had ever seemed to care much about her. Had they only realized what they had done by abandoning her after she had disappeared from their lives? Music began to play as the two royal Gerudo rode through the Valley, and there was much rejoicing.

All throughout the rest of the day, there were parties and dances. Nabooru had never before felt more accepted in her life. And she had never before tasted such delicious food, or visited so many of her own people. It was a glorious day, and she was certain that life could only get better from here on out. And tomorrow morning, she would repay her debt to the old man by finding the flower and sending it down the river. The goddesses were surely smiling down upon her.