Konnichiwa! Welcome to Chapter 20 of The Love Potion! Wow, has it really been almost eight months since I last updated? Sorry about that, I didn't mean to make you guys wait so long, I swear it!
Now, I'd like to thank all of the incredible people who have reviewed since I posted Chapter 19 oh so very long ago. Thank you:
Intelligent Zelink Fan
Tsuna 4 Cn4s
Obligatory Disclaimer: I don't own Legend of Zelda or any of the characters.
"Now just hold everything!" Navi exclaimed. "Pitting these two muscle heads against each other is all well and good, but why am I stuck over here too? Isn't this a mano-a-mano fight?"
"I have no intention of letting any of you pathetic do-gooders leave this place alive." Vaati replied with a sneer.
"Then why isn't Zelda over here too?"
The wind mage waved a hand dismissively. "She's an exception. After all, I wouldn't want my little wife to get caught in the crossfire, now would I?"
Zelda bristled. "Don't call me that!" she snapped. "And I'd rather not be an 'exception' if it means being anywhere near you, you disgusting piece of slime."
Vaati pursed his lips but said nothing.
Navi scowled and turned her attention to the two Links she was trapped with. Link was still staring through the barrier at Zelda with the biggest doe-eyes the fairy had ever seen, while Dark Link was eyeing his lighter half the same way a butcher might a chunk of meat that he was about to hack and chop into little bitty pieces.
The fairy grimaced. Well, it had been nice knowing Link. His power of love crap wouldn't be able to save him now. Plus, in her experience, power of love related things usually had to have both parties reciprocating the love, which didn't really seem to be the case here.
Dark Link twirled his sword in his hand and grinned. "Hey, blondie! You gonna keep makin' goo-goo eyes at your girlfriend over there or are you gonna face me like a man?"
Link didn't even bother turning around as he offhandedly made a shooing motion in Dark Link's general direction. "I'll get to you in a minute. Right now Zelda needs my emotional support!"
Zelda rolled her eyes. "Link, I'll be fine."
"B-but what if the fruitcake tries something while I'm not looking?"
"Then I'll handle it! Besides, it's not like you'd actually be able to do anything about it with this barrier in the way. Just focus on defeating Dark Link for now."
"Hey! Stop talking to the stupid broad and fight me already!" Dark Link demanded, irritated at being ignored.
Link stiffened. Then he slowly tilted his head back until he was giving his dark side a wide-eyed glare out of the corner of his eye. "What did you just say?"
"What, now you're deaf as well as dumb? I said, stop talking to the stupid broad and—"
Link whipped the whole way around to face Dark Link. "Stupid broad?" he growled out. "Stupid broad? How dare you call my wonderful Zelda something so disrespectful?!" The hero marched toward his dark clone, pulling off his left gauntlet as he went. "For insulting my future wife, I challenge you to a fight to the death!" Then he promptly smacked Dark Link across the face with the gauntlet.
"Ow!" The dark doppelganger staggered back a few steps and rubbed at his swelling cheek as he shot glare at his lighter counterpart. "Oh, I see what you're doing; you're trying to show me up with that fancy chivalry stuff!"
Link scoffed as he slid his gauntlet back into place. "Show you up? Please, I do that just by existing. No, I'm doing this for Zelda! Girls love it when men fight for their honor!"
Zelda pursed her lips. She wanted to object and say that offhandedly being insulted seemed a bit too trivial a reason to initiate a full-fledged duel (the gauntlet slap itself had more than satisfied her as punishment for the slander), but it seemed to do the job of getting Link to take the fight seriously, so she'd keep quiet for now. There would be plenty of time to point out his many blunders later.
"No, I show you up by being the most awesome!" Dark Link retorted heatedly. "I accept your challenge, even though I was planning on fighting you anyway! Now show me what you got, blondie! Haaaa!" He charged forward as he let out a resounding battle cry.
"Hyaaaa!" Link answered with a battle cry of his own as he dashed forward to meet his opponent, their swords clashing in a shower of sparks. As they parted, Dark Link's leg swept out in an attempt to trip Link, but Link jumped over it and retaliated by stabbing at his dark side's ribs, which Dark Link avoided with a quick sidestep.
Navi looked on in surprise. Link was actually holding his own against his more bloodthirsty counterpart! That was certainly unexpected. If she didn't know better, she might actually mistake him for the competent swordsman he'd been before the love potion had screwed him up. At this rate he might actually have a chance, especially since he seemed angry, which was usually pretty helpful in fights like this. All that was really left to do now was sit back and see who would come out of this as the winner.
"…I can't believe they're still going at it." Navi said in disbelief. "How long have they been fighting for, anyway?"
"I'm guessing probably about an hour." Zelda answered from where she'd taken a seat on a large piece of rubble. "What amazes me is that neither of them have slowed down even a little. Where do they get all of that energy from?"
"Hmph. And here I was expecting that this would be quick. I'm going to be late for my nail appointment at this rate." Vaati groused.
Zelda and Navi both shot the wind mage a strange look.
"What? You think these nails file themselves?" Vaati asked, holding up a hand to show off his perfectly buffed and polished fingernails, which had been carefully filed into fierce-looking points. They almost seemed to twinkle in their perfection. Then the wind mage frowned when he saw that, upon closer inspection, one of his nails had a near-microscopic chip in it. That nail instantly lost its sparkly quality. "…well, I see no reason why I can't still make my appointment. It's not like I have to stay here and monitor things, since nobody will be able to go anywhere as long as the barriers are in place." He glanced up at Zelda. "Care to join me?"
"No thank you." the princess responded curtly.
The wind mage shrugged. "Suit yourself then. I'll be back in about an hour or so." And with that, Vaati teleported away.
"…that guy seriously cares way too much about his image." Navi said.
Zelda sighed and rested her chin on her palm. "You have no idea."
"Ugh, now they've been going at it for almost two hours!" Navi groaned. "At this point I honestly don't care who wins anymore."
"Navi!" Zelda scolded. "How can you say such a thing? If Link loses then all of Hyrule will be doomed!"
The fairy pouted. "I know, but I'm bored. It was fun to watch for the first fifteen minutes or so, but then it just started getting predictable. For instance, as soon as Link dodges this next blow, Dark Link will do a spin attack which Link will block with his shield." Her statement was followed by the resonating sound of metal clanging as Dark Link's sword bounced off of Link's raised shield. "See?"
"Well if you're so bored, then why don't you go help Link out?"
"Mmn…I'm not so keen on getting close to a guy who has explicit orders to kill me."
The princess scoffed. "That's a load of bull and you know it. Do you really think that Dark Link is actually going to do anything that Vaati tells him to?"
"…he still might do it anyway…"
Zelda sighed tiredly and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Look, right now he's completely focused on defeating Link, so killing you probably isn't at the top of his list of priorities, if it was even on there to begin with. So why don't you fly over there and make yourself useful by pulling Dark Link's hat down over his eyes or something?"
Much to her chagrin, Navi found that she really couldn't argue with logic like that. "Oh, all right." she grouched, flying over to the dueling Links. She hovered over them for a brief moment before diving down and yanking Dark Link's cap down over his eyes.
"What the—what's going on here?! I can't see!" the dark copy yelled, slashing his sword around wildly. Navi yelped and beat a hasty retreat before the deadly piece of metal could slice a wing off. Link, however, wasn't so fortunate.
"Link!" Zelda cried out in horror.
Unprepared for Dark Link's sudden barrage of haphazard swings and unable to read his wild movements, Link's sword had been knocked out of his hand and clear across the room. The following flurry of slashes forced him to go on the defensive as he ducked behind his shield, unable to go retrieve his sword for fear of exposing his back to Dark Link's berserker swordplay.
Dark Link finally stopped swinging long enough to wrench his hat from over his eyes. His face broke out in a savage grin when he saw his light side's predicament, and he began to attack him with a renewed vigor, specifically aiming for Link's unguarded legs.
"Huh…maybe I should've pulled the hat over Link's eyes instead." Navi mused, watching as Link was forced to jump over all of Dark Link's swings and stabs while simultaneously trying to crouch behind his shield. It looked like they were playing a strange variation of jump rope, except the rope was a sharp piece of metal that could slice off Link's legs if his concentration slipped even a little.
"Ah well, I suppose I should do something to fix this." The fairy reached behind her back and pulled out a giant horseshoe-shaped magnet, which she promptly aimed at the darker Link.
Dark Link was just about to take another swipe at his light side's feet when his sword was abruptly wrenched from his hand by some unseen force. "Hey! My sword!" He spun around and saw that Link's mouthy fairy had used a giant magnet to steal his weapon.
…how in Din's name was a small sprite like her even able to carry that thing?
He charged at the conniving little ball of light, intent on taking back his blade until Link tackled him to the ground. "Let go of me! I've gotta get my sword back!" the dark doppelganger snarled as he tried to claw his way out from under Link.
"There's no way I'm gonna let you get the upper hand again!" Link growled, tightening his hold.
Dark Link twisted his torso around and shoved at the hero's head. "I said let go!"
Dark Link threw his weight to the side, breaking Link's hold. He scrabbled to his feet and darted toward Navi, who by this point had detached his sword from the magnet and was idly swinging it by its handle, but Link grabbed onto his ankle, sending him toppling face first to the floor with a loud smack. He rolled onto his back and kicked at Link, trying to loosen the hero's hold. Link retaliated by chomping down on Dark Link's boot-clad ankle.
"Ow! Holy crap, he bit me!" Dark Link cried out in shock. Link growled as he shook his head from side to side, digging his teeth deeper into the leather.
"Agh! He's a lunatic! Oh goddesses, I think he's drawing blood! Get him off, get him off!" Dark Link flailed wildly, but couldn't detach the death grip of his lighter side's teeth on his ankle.
"Uh…" Both Navi and Zelda were at a bit of a loss. Seeing Link act like a rabid dog was definitely not something one saw everyday, and it was somewhat unsettling.
It was then that Vaati finally decided to teleport back into the room. "I have returned! It took a bit longer than I anticipated since they were having a two for one on manis and pedis, but I just couldn't pass up a deal like…that…" he trailed off when he caught sight of Link growling like some sort of animal as he gnawed on his dark side's ankle through his boot while Dark Link yowled and attempted to kick him off. His brow furrowed. "…what the hell did I miss?"
"Eh, not much." Navi said, shrugging. "This is a fairly recent development."
The wind mage wasn't entirely sure of how he should react to this bizarre situation. "…is it now?"
Dark Link finally managed to escape Link's mandibles of death by yanking his foot out of his boot. His ankle was covered with bite marks that were alternatively bruised and bleeding. He wasted no time in scurrying a safe distance from his light side. It took Link a moment to realize that he was chewing on nothing but a boot. He spat out the mangled leather and sprang to his feet. "Come back here, you coward!"
"Not without my sword I won't! You're crazy!" the darker Link yelled, pointing his finger at Link accusingly as he continued to back away.
"Oh, did you want this sword?" Navi asked, holding it up tauntingly.
"Of course I do!" Dark Link snapped.
"Well, too bad!" Navi laughed as she began to spin around with the sword. Once she'd gathered enough momentum, she let go of the handle and watched it fly through one of the darkly colored stained glass windows decorating the room. Bright light poured into the room from between the jagged pieces of glass as the sword sailed out of sight.
"My window!" Vaati screeched.
"My sword!" Dark Link exclaimed in horror. He dashed to the shattered window and dove out after his weapon.
The first thing Dark Link noticed once his dazzled eyes had adjusted to the sunlight's glare was that he was surrounded by fluffy white clouds. His initial thought was that Vaati's Palace must be located on top of a very high mountain, but upon looking down to gauge what kind of fall he might expect, he saw instead that there was no mountain or any sort of solid terrain in sight, only clouds and endless blue sky. He paled. "…eep." As if that utterance were a trigger, his sense of time sped up to normal again and his body abruptly plummeted. "You haven't seen the last of me, I'll be baaaack!" he yelled as he disappeared into the sea of clouds.
There was a moment of dumbstruck silence, no one quite believing what had just occurred. Navi was the first to speak.
"Um…wow. I was just trying to get rid of his sword. I didn't think he'd actually go after it." she said, still somewhat shocked.
Vaati snapped his open mouth shut and folded his arms, tsking irritably. "What a fool. But then I suppose I shouldn't have put so much faith in his intelligence, what with him being the dark side of an idiot like Link."
"Hey!" the hero exclaimed indignantly. "I resemble that remark!"
"It's resent, not resemble." Zelda said dryly. "You're not doing a very good job of proving him wrong, you know."
The tips of Link's pointed ears turned red, and he looked down at the floor in embarrassment. "I-it's a common mistake." he mumbled, trying to salvage at least a scrap of his dignity.
"Yeah, for ten-year-olds." Navi snickered.
"Not helping, Navi." Link hissed.
The fairy grinned. "I try."
"At any rate, I suppose that now that Dark Link is gone, I'll have to kill you myself." Vaati let out a long-suffering sigh. "Why must it always come down to this? Just once I'd like to see one of my minions take down the hero so I wouldn't have to bother. Oh well, I suppose it's as they say; if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself." The wind mage teleported himself to Link's side of the barrier.
"Wait, I thought you said that you would take down the barrier if Dark Link was defeated!" Zelda protested.
Vaati shrugged. "I said that I would remove the barrier if Link defeated Dark Link. Dark Link was defeated by his own stupidity. Thus, I am under no obligation whatsoever to eradicate the barrier."
Link threw up his hands incredulously. "Oh come on, you're really gonna try to worm your way out of your end of the deal using a stupid technicality?"
"It's not a technicality if it was a blatantly stated term." Vaati rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck before raising his hands with an evil grin. "Now prepare to be eliminated."
"Oh sh—" Link jumped out of the way of the blast of dark energy that the wind mage shot at him. The final showdown had finally begun.
Welp, Dark Link has now been very literally dropped from the story. I know that a lot of you are probably disappointed, but Dark Link was never meant to be in the story for more than a few chapters (much like I had planned for Vaati, but look how that turned out…). If I had known how popular he was going to be I would have made plans to keep him in the story longer, but that would've derailed every single last potential plan I have for the story big time.
I apologize again for how late this chapter is; there were a number of things that contributed to the long wait time.
- Firstly, writer's block. This chapter was originally supposed to be longer, but the second half has been giving me more than a few headaches, which eventually made me decide to just split it in half and post what I was satisfied with so you guys would have something to read while I work out the kinks in the second half.
- Secondly, tumblr. That site sucks you in and just won't let go! I've been spending most of my time on the computer on that addictive site, and consequently I've been spending less time writing than I should.
- Thirdly, I…kinda started writing another fanfic. But no worries, this story is still first and foremost on my list of writing priorities! I was just struck by a bout of inspiration one day and started obsessively writing an outline for an idea I had for a Slayers fic, which eventually turned into the beginning of an actual story. But I swore an oath to myself that I wouldn't post any other fics until this one is finished, and I shall stick to it!
Now, onto the final piece of business; the final result of the poll. It seems that Link and Zelda will be ending up together by the end of the story. How this will be accomplished is still a bit of a mystery to me, but since it isn't required to be some epic romance that will blow everyone's minds and make you keel over from an overwhelming case of feels, I think I'll manage. Just remember what I said about the possibility of it feeling a bit rushed and maybe even being somewhat underdeveloped. After all, this is something of a shift in my original plans (vague as they were).
One thing that really surprised me was how many people said that they would've liked to see Dark Link and Zelda end up together. I get the feeling that it's only because Dark Link didn't have an interest in Zelda that people suddenly became intrigued by the notion. Go figure.