A/N: New computer, classes, and a new job. Sorry. :(
Warning: This is a CYBERPUNK AU (Alternate Universe), heavily inspired by Ocarina of Time, but not a parody/mirror/whatever. By cyberpunk, I am including dark themes, suggestive material (including but not limited to: drug use, horny teenagers, unorthodox violence, excessive cursing, and addiction/dependency). If this bothers you, if you are under-aged, there is a button at the top of your screen that stands for BACK. I suggest you use it.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, amateur effort not intended to infringe on the rights of any copyright holder. Characters belong to their respective owners.
Chapter 11 - A Little Swim
Saying that this was not what Link expected would be an understatement. A lot of things had happened that he did not foresee happening. After all, he did not expect the rumors of his existence to spread as quickly as it did. Then there was the Goron-related fiasco. But this…
Link sighed inwardly. His blue eyes tracked a particularly large tropical fish behind the glass, watched the long multicolored fins ripple in the enormous tank. No, he realized, he did not expect to end up here. Again.
"Link!" A high pitched voice squealed. The teen spun around in time to take a tackle to the chest that nearly knocked him off his feet. Nearly, but didn't.
Link gasped and stared down at the tiny girl whose arms were wrapped tightly around his waist.
"N-nice to see you too, Mai," he grunted as he peeled the tiny, blue skinned Zora child away from his body.
"You said you would visit!" Mai squealed, her lips pouting cutely. "You lied!"
Link winced at the tears gathering in her large, black eyes. The sight easily bent his will and he quickly gave in to the needy child. He knelt down to her eyelevel, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry," he said.
A moment passed, and then the girl threw her arms around his neck in a hug. Link froze. Slowly his senses returned to him and he awkwardly patted the child a few times on the back. Then, in one swift motion, he lifted the girl off the ground and spun in a circle.
Mai's soft whimpers quickly warped into voracious laughter, and Link could not help but smile.
Once the spinning ceased, he realized they were being watched. He let out a hesitant smile towards the young Zoran woman in the doorway.
"Your mom's watchin," he said, and resisted the urge to laugh as the child launched herself from his grip to run back to her lilac-tinted mother.
"Link." The Zora in a fine white gown greeted him with a soft nod of the head.
"Lady Raito," he replied and returned the gesture.
"You must be hungry." She spoke quietly, dark eyes dancing as she approached him. Everything about the woman screamed elegance and sophistication, and if she wasn't a fish person Link was sure he would've been dumbstruck by her feminine wiles.
However… she was a fish person, and he wasn't dumbstruck, so he settled for a shake of the head.
"No, thank you." Link paused, mulling over his thoughts. "Is Zelda's meeting over yet?"
As much as Link didn't want to ask, he was more than a little perturbed that he could not join in the gathering. Truth be told, it made him uneasy. More than once did the thought of him walking face first into a trap come to mind. Yet he could not help but trust Zelda, no matter how much his logical side reminded him that this was simply blind faith placed on a beautiful face.
"Are you so eager to leave?" Lady Raito asked teasingly. Link blanched at his apparent rudeness, but before he could apologize, she waved off his expression with a delicate hand and a soft laugh.
"No," she said between chuckles, "It will be some time before they are finished."
An unnamed emotion jumped to the front of his mind, and he was not entirely sure if it was due to his paranoid suspicion.
"Link!" Mai's voice snapped him out of his reverie. "Wanna watch me fish at the docks?"
It wasn't a hard choice, really. Especially considering he needed a distraction, it didn't take him long to reply.
Before he had time to breathe, tiny scaly blue hands grasped his wrist and hauled him out of the room, down a dizzying path of hallways he didn't bother to memorize—mostly because Zora don't usually wait to kill someone, and the best way to escape them is to never go near them in the first place.
And suddenly Link found himself staring at a vast open space of blue. The horizon was forever away, but he could almost see sky. Almost. But the blue wasn't really blue, more of like a murky, convoluted liquid mixture of black, brown, gray, and violet.
He should've immediately thought ocean, but from all the pollution it just didn't look like it.
However, the sandy, fishy smell told him otherwise.
The two hands around his wrist released him, and Link watched the girl run across the metal platform, weaving between nets and heavy machinery. Despite his best efforts, his chest twisted in slight panic every time her hands nearly grazed the still moving, still churning hunks of metal.
He followed her, and reached the guard rails in time to see the Zora child dive head long into the shifting polluted waters. He blanched. The sight shook him.
Sure, it was common knowledge that the fish people had somehow developed a powerful enough system of filters and chemicals hardwired in tandem with their immune system to be perfectly safe from the pollution, but to willfully swim around in that mess of liquid…
It bothered him.
"Mai?" he called out as he gripped the rails a little tighter and leaned over to peer into the polluted mess.
A beat passed and suddenly she flew out of the water, flipped into the air, and laughed, before disappearing once again into the waves, out of sight. Link grinned and clapped his hands, whistling loudly.
The water bubbled and he edged back in anticipation. Once again, the Zora child flew out of the water in a series of elaborate twirls. It was almost enough to distract him from the agitated fish that flew towards his head. Link ducked as a fish whirled past his head. It hit the floor, flopping around and spraying the violet sea water everywhere in its struggles. He shuddered and turned back to watch Mai and her theatrics.
Minutes passed, the sound of heavy machinery breaking the silence as well as a few bursts of giggles and laughter.
"It won't kill you," Lady Raito murmured at his left.
The teen jumped, startled. He glanced at her, confusion written on his face.
She smiled in return. "A little water won't harm you," she elaborated with an elegant wave of her hand.
"Oh," was all he managed to say.
The conversation lapsed into an awkward silence. The close proximity to the Lady made him uneasy, for more than a few reasons which he vehemently did not want to think about.
"She missed you," Lady Raito said suddenly.
"I know," he replied without looking away from the water. "I was supposed to be in hiding."
"Well, clearly you did not do a good job of that, as of recently."
Link sighed and rested his elbows on the bar, rubbing the space between his eyes as he did so. The weight of his failure took that moment to hit him with full strength. His makeshift family—Cyprus, Saria, and the rest—suffered because of him. The responsibility bared down on his shoulders.
Saria and the rest were at who-knows-where.
All because of him.
And there he was, standing around like some kind of asshole with his thumb up his backside, watching some fish-kid swim while his friends…
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you." She broke his train of thought.
"Don't," he replied.
Her hand was on his shoulder. The urge to shrug her off was immense, and he was about to follow through when suddenly a scream pierced the air.
Immediately his attention snapped to the water in time to see Mai struggle against something pulling her down. Without thinking, a mental switch flipped and a prickle of hot chemicals seeped behind his eyes, intensifying his view. Beneath the surface of the water, he saw some kind of massive ship or funnel-like object.
"Mai!" Lady Raito gasped.
"Help me!" the girl screamed before being sucked under the surface.
Link didn't think. He just reacted.
The freezing water hit him harder than he anticipated. His muscles strained as he fought the current, trying desperately to reach Mai. But as sudden as the current appeared, it reversed, and he found himself sucked towards the thing at breakneck speed.
And then all was dark.