A/N: I was shocked that within an hour of posting my last chapter, I had a few reviews already. Thanks for the support guys!

As for Ganondorf's secret, it's up to you to decide at this moment. Could it be he had a revelation of what he really wanted to become? Could it be that he admitted he was young and inexperienced? Maybe both?

I want to thank all of you who review! Please, if you see anything off, TELL ME! I need to improve. Reviewers: la generala, TheFinalCountdown, Vopi, Beforethedawnbreaks, Morbidly Bored, and Eclipse Storywriter.


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The Consequences of Silence

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Colin walked beside Ganondorf.

Despite his heart trying to break free of his chest, the boy found that he was so excited and so nervous and so worried that his breath was having trouble moving into his chest. He was almost paralyzed as the back passage to the High Prince's podium closed over his head.

The gray stone was cold, layered in bricks that were a foot by a half foot. Definitely made to be too strong to break. Guards were posted every ten feet; the quiet men bowed, hands clasped on metal spears etched with the High Prince's crest.

The boy had never even seen the Council Meet. He had heard great tales of the huge interior, made of stone quarried from the mountains, decorated with red and black silk banners depicting the mottos of the Royalty, the finely wrought lampposts with candles flickering, and the hundreds of representatives that could fit into the registered desks and chairs of mahogany wood.

He shakily followed Ganondorf up the stairs into the High Prince's box. It was separated from the King's Box, but it was higher than any of the others by nearly twenty feet. To some degree, the council members should have been looking up to Ganondorf, instead of ignoring him.

How? Could they not see him?

The door opened, revealing a small sitting area including three wooden chairs and a long table filled with papers and documents, with a stonebacked chair settled at the very front by the railing. A black curtain was hung over the balcony in a delicate drape while the red carpet glared up at Colin.

"Colin."

The boy glanced up to his master, bowing slightly. He didn't speak a word. The man's olive-hued face seemed slightly white, and his eyes were troubled. It took a moment for Colin to realize that Ganondorf was nervous.

"I want you to listen as closely as you can. This is a war meeting. Have my documents ready for me to present to the body. If a mention of the Guardians of the Pass campaign, I want to speak first. Keep an eye on Cero if he manages to get a word in with his cohorts." His broad finger pointed to the farthest right section. "They sit there. You should know the members of the Dark Union. Lord Dethl, Knight Bellumbeck…"

Colin nodded quickly continuing, "Lady Veran, Lady Majora, Cero, General Onox. I understand."

An unreadable expression flickered in Ganondorf's golden eyes before he turned away, settling himself into the stone chair.

Falling into a chair seemed like a good idea. The boy sat like a sack of potatos in the nearest hard-backed chair, still not believing he was actually here. It had only been this morning he had been aware of Ganondorf was allowing him to come after Colin petitioned him in his office.

There was a knock on the door. Colin frowned, pulling on a loose cotton shirt over his freshly scrubbed arms and body. He pulled his rattail out of the way and wandered to the door.

Ganondorf was standing there as he opened it.

At first, Colin didn't know what to say. 'Why are you here?' seemed too obvious a question.

The High Prince's chin was high, and he was wearing his silver polished court armor and the deep red council uniform with pure gold stitching. The crest was shining on the cape layered over the breastplate.

In his hand was an identical, slightly smaller tunic.

That was it. Colin was in a war meeting and he was seated in the High Prince's box. He hesitantly shifted positions on the chair, elbows leaning on his knees in relief. There were no guards settled in the box this time.

Shifting, Ganondorf's massive frame seemed to take up the entire box with his worry; there were lines of worry etched around his eyes. Black marks showed sleepless nights. This had better be resolved today, Colin thought, or he'll get no peace.

Time was rushing by: the seats were filled in droves, the role taken by the clerks, Ganondorf's hail, the first topic of business: accepting the minutes of the last session, and finally-

Snapping out of his lack of attention, Colin began listening as Igos du Ikana shouted, banging the metal gavel on the table. It was a sharp ringing noise. It must have worked; there were subtle shifts in the crowd, showing blinking eyes and stiffening backs.

"This emergency meeting was called by a hundred and twenty of the members of the court for the duration necessary to decide and motion a war agreement for the Twilight Kingdom. We shall start by opening the floor to any and all arguments, following our laws of regular session.

"The agreement has stated that: 'for the broken laws and treaties the Kingdom of Twilight has pushed into the honest state of Hyrule, relation and justice must be upheld. Funded by citizen tax increases in all provinces and executed by the Hylian Guard, this war would begin immediately.'

"Debate on this subject only has been authorized. Thus, in accordance to the Laws of the Court, the debate is now current."

And the gavel bashed down again.

Surprised, many hands jerked into the air, many calling for attention like animals. The boy noticed Dark's calm and still, a beacon above the heads of all those gathered. It had to start somewhere though. "The Chair recognizes the Senior Advisor for Administration in Lake Hyrule, Maurice Blackeye."

A man with dark brown hair, an oval face, and chubby hands stood in his chair. Fiercely, he stated, "Another tax increase for the war is the last thing that we need." He sopped at his forehead, and like an elephant, his chest heaved, "The people surrounding the lake have their own worries about crops and farmlands without worrying about the city. My constiuents may hold a third of the money of this country, but we also are taxed nearly fifteen percent more and have nearly sixty miles of territory crossing borders with Twilight."

His mustache curled. "How can we survive? Taxes should not fund this war!"

There was a stir of commotion, and suddenly another man had stood- tall and fairskinned- drawing attention from every single eye in the chamber. He was Zoran, from his dark black eyes. "Debation?" he asked emotionlessly.

"The Chair recognizes Ambassador Sigurd from Zora's Domain."

"I would like to award my fellow member," he said, nodding to Maurice, "on his points. Instead of declaring that no taxes should fund this, I would go further to amend this statement by saying that this proposal be rejected by the members of this court. What good is it for us to fght a war when delegation can be used to cease fire and save our rupees?"

"Objection!"

Igos du Ikana frowned, remarking, "Denied." The scribes shuffled papes around, ignoring the single woman standing near the back. The hairs on Colin's neck went up.

Lady Majora.

Her fiery red hair curled around a narrow chin and large, furious eyes. Dressed in a corset of purple, azul, emerald, and cinnamon, she looked straight out of a carnival. It scared Colin.

Suddenly, Sigurd seemed to refuse his previous urge to sit down. Instead of nodding peacefully, the man snapped, "I would give my time to Duke Mikau, also of Zora's Domain." He sat on the wooden bench and gave the woman to his far left a vicious glare.

Mikau, dressed in his navy blue and trimmed with black threads, bowed and stood from his position on the third bench. He spread his thin hands, saying, "I have no weapon, no words with which to arm myself. All I can say to this body is that perhaps the situation is more dire than the nation believes. Cannot we make mistakes? Are we not human?"

Eloquent. Reassured. What an incredible man, Colin thought, watching the way the Zoran lifted his hands, establishing another point to the body. While well spoken, it wasn't changing that many opinions: there were sharp frowns from the last row and whispered disagreements.

There was a pause, and Mikau sat, clearly letting his words reverberate.

"The Chair recognizes the Dark Knight, Cero."

Cero. He was like a snake whispering in the bird's ear.

In his black finery, he called to the people, "I would like to focus on what the war will have cost us if we do not fight it."

And just like that, he had control of the emotions of the merchants, the women, the knights, the royalty...

"Tyranny will continue in the world," the man said sharply, "While I don't agree with never fighting this war, I do not believe it should be taxed so throughly on the people. Why not allow funds for useless programs be funnelled into this? There are countless of entities –such as the Deku Scout Programs in schools, the Open-Air act, the Heir to the Monarchy Funds– to help us."

Heir to the Monarchy Funds? Colin raised his eyebrows, unsurprised when Ganondorf shifted in his stone chair, stating softly, "That is my inheritance. He is trying to use it, which he can't under law." The armor glinted in the light.

"Ah," Colin hummed.

"This war would increase the opportunities for numerous jobs, a higher rate of intranational trade, less internal social stigmas, and a stronger mental attitude toward our country. This would be beneficial for everyone to see, to know! We could raise the prosperity of the other nations around us, to show stronger support for us!"

A mild burst of clapping came from the liberal side of the room. Lady Majora seemed to be sated somewhat, but Duke Mikau was shaking his head, incredulous.

Dark didn't stop. He stated, "I want to immediately fund the military and attack Twilight. I know how it must sound: a general's need for power." He glowered up at Ganondorf, "I can't imagine listening to someone like me. But I've seen the need in the communities, the hovels, the fields and the forests. What if someone takes that from us? The best defense is offense. We need to attack and stop their idle threats from growing. They need to understand us!

"Besides, our forests are becoming depleted. Our streams are running dry. Could we not force a trade between our countries, strengthening our ties? The disbanded marriage between the Queen and our Majesty was forcibly rejected by Twilight. We need a better, unifying presence in Twilight, and that is our own King! He needs to control!"

Now others were clapping, even from the opposing side. In fact, the Goron behind Duke Mikau rose to his enormous height, nodding and clapping as if he were accepting an award for fervent supporter. A handful of Hylians laughed along, triumphantly raising the level of stupidity in the room.

Cero's smug face was even; he had won this round with a handful of empty promises and words of the devil.

Colin's nerves went off. Action.

His eyes flickered to Ganondorf; the High Prince must have gotten his brain waves, because like a giant he blotted out the candles, creating the shadow of the monarchy. He simply raised his hand.

Down below, there was a skittish lessening of the clapping. At the attention to the Prince's Box, Igos du Ikana stiffened slightly, but instantly proclaimed, "The Chair recognizes the Heir to the Throne, High Prince of Hyrule Ganondorf."

This was it. If Ganondorf's resistance had come too late in this season, all would be lost.

Colin peered into the crowd. From below, the faces gazed up towards him, nervous and surprised. Murmurs were quieting down; Duke Mikau's eyes shone somewhat apprehensively from the left wing box. Ganondorf didn't seem to mind. His legs were sturdy beneath him when he rose to his full height; the formal armor situated on his chest was a regal, demanding presence.

And he began to speak.

"A war over resources is admirable," he said, nodding to the crowds, "Our borders with Twilight have always been attacked, families destroyed, minerals mined without our permission. However, I wish to bring certain investigations to the main body."

He quietly shuffled the papers in his hand, subtly shifting the tone from impressed to slightly disturbed. "On the morning of the twenty fourth day of the tenth month in the sixth year of the King Ganon's reign, a meeting was held between Twilight and Hyrule. A peace accord was signed. Four days later, a caravan from the south was attacked. Hyrule took the defense and immediately killed a family of Twili living four miles from the site. According to official military documents, a mass grave was dug for three men, a woman, and six children-"

"Yield your time." Cero's voice danced out of the crowd. His eyes were dark and seething with madness.

Ganondorf simply glanced toward Igos du Ikana. The thin-lips thinned even more as the man nodded, fingers tapping out a slight rythym. "The High Prince Ganondorf still controls the floor." His eyes flashed toward Cero's disbelieving face, "An infraction will be given to any who interrupts the speaker without probable cause."

Here it was. Colin blinked rapidly, silently wishing that this was not his first session, that his notes would help Ganondorf in the future. Too late, his mind screamed as Ganondorf began speaking again.

"As I was saying, a mass grave was dug for three men, a woman, and six children by the 7th Crimson Squad led by the Dark Knight Cero. The digging of a mass grave directly violates the fourth amendment of the Treatment of Bodies of Foreigners in War Law, Article 36-C. Construction lasted four minutes without a proper sayings. This violates the sixth amendment to the Death Law by not allowing a religious authority of the deceased to bless the grave. In addition to this, a formal compliant was made by the Twilight Queen about the loss of this caravan for trade goods. In due response, she withheld the goods and trades on order of the defaulted peace accord, which was signed in this room."

"In another fact, Emissary Zant arrived to provide a compliant about Article 36 in the spring. His report held that the bodies of Honey and Darling were left while the leading officer had never been found of a military unit. A pardon was given at the next council meet due to sufficient documentation. The soldiers of Twilight knew the laws better than our own soldiers."

Colin's mouth gaped at the sheer facts, but Ganondorf wasn't done. "This is only one example of the broken laws that Hyrule has covered up. Another can be traced to the attacks on the Terminian border that dealt with six 'brigands'. These were not robbers out for petty cash, but simply a hunting party of two adults and two adolescents as well as two boys used for flushing out game. The only weapons they carried were bows and arrows, no bombs which are illegal for Terminians to possess on Hylian grounds. They broke no rules, and were actually crossing the border when a warden alerted an off-duty patrol unit under the leadership of General Onox."

The general's face down below reminded Colin of a skewered pig. His face was beet red from holding in anger, while his entire body had stiffened. Those around him, including Lady Veran and Lady Majora, sneered at the implications. Lord Dethl leaned from behind the man and began speaking rapidly. The entire population shifted.

Suddenly, the older merchant Alonzo called to the Chair, "Point of question?"

Igos du Ikana nodded, formally stating, "Point of question given to Mr. Alonzo from the Administrative Branch of Marketing in Castletown."

The man clumsily managed to get to his feet, his large stomach showing his well established stomach. Behind a droopy mustache, he asked, "Are these documentations ready for presentation? I would like to see a copy of each of these reports as well as any of Lord Cero's." With a troubled frown, he sat down. Mutoh, the Royal Architect, leaned into him, mustache quivering as his mouth flapped and his fists clenched.

Ganondorf nodded, and began explaining that a copy had been made three nights in the past, and that his page had delivered them to Igos du Ikana. Colin's heart sped up.

On the Chair's Podium, the clear-headed du Ikana nodded sharply, pressed jacket too neat and strict for his discomfort. "I received them in good documentation. They will be delivered momentarily." He turned away from the amplifier, snapping his fingers to the clerks. Ten of them dressed in bright red suits immediately gathered information in their arms and headed down the aisles, quickly dispensing the reports.

The Chair tapped his gavel twice, continuing, "The High Prince Ganondorf still has the floor."

Muttering, nothing substantial, waved around the council room, along with the shuffling of the copied statements and papers. A hundred anxious faces turned to stare at Ganondorf.

He took a deep breath, and said in his gravelly voice, "These have all been documented and placed into the archives. Most, under careful scrunity, can be seen as misunderstandings or deliberate attacks on the Kingdom of Twilight. Thousands of thousands of citizens' rupees have been forged into the military on pointless-" His voice shook angrily for a moment as offended members of the council stood with shouts "-endeavors that have our taxes raised by 13% since the last year and continuing to increase. The treasury is running low, and unless Generals, Knights, and myself want to fund this war to increase lands there is little to be done. I am very against this proclaimation."

Voices- from Knights to merchants- were screaming and shouting, demanding attention through high-held fists and swinging capes. Groups of men were close to brawling like dogs amongst themselves; the women were snarling at each other, desperately taking sides. The brightly colored tunics of reds, oranges, greens, and blues were a rainbow along the high benches, spotted with white and black throughout the throng of movement. Igos du Ikana was smashing his gavel into near splinters.

Colin stared at the mass. It had exploded with Ganondorf's final admittance. Hope began to swirl in his heart, and the boy sat straighter, thinking, Can this be it? Can the war be prevented?

"MY PEOPLE!"

The voice cut through the chaos like a whip. Gaping, the men and women of the council turned to see Dark, situated by the Chair, black eyes dark as coals staring up at Ganondorf.

"These facts have all been stated-" he pitched his sultry voice, calming down the crowd "-and put onto record. There have been incidents all along the border, but it has never been with the intent of war. Twilight has always attacked first; the Ambassador Zant came to apologize earlier in the year because of this! That was the whole reason!"

Instead of continuing, he whipped to Igos du Ikana, asking clearly, "I wish to discuss the course and nature of the statements the High Prince has brought upon this council." His voice was dredged up from his chest, growling like a beast. Black suit impeccable, he turned.

The Chair simply stated, sneer deepening, "We recognize the Dark Knight Cero." His hands clenched at the amplifier. Igos du Ikana- with his shockingly gray hair, narrow face, sharp red cape embedded with silver buttons- did not look like he enjoyed listening to the raving lunatic.

"Why…?" Colin whispered, but a sharp wave from Ganondorf cut him off.

Back upon the floor, Dark's fist came up, mockingly saluting Ganondorf. The crowd remained strangely silent as Dark shouted, "I've been situated under the High Prince's command for years. True, he may be related through bastard blood to the Sovereign King, but his attitude has long been lax and unneeded…"

It was utterly quiet in the box. Ganondorf's chin lifted slightly, square jaw pronounced. His entire being stiffened. He was clearly offended and yet he did nothing; he followed protocol, unlike Dark who had taken the Chair by force.

"- from missions, he first writes paperwork! Paperwork! He never attends to the wounded, the sick, the dying, the deceased families! I have! I have been there for years-"

Hissing at his master, Colin snapped, "He's feeding them lies and they're believing it!"

Ganondorf didn't tear his eyes awake from the dark clad man still preaching, only nodded once. The lines deepened on his face. His hair seemed to be gaining white streaks throughout his temples. The boy realized he'd never seen his master so upset in his life.

"And what-" Cero shouted, "-has our High Prince Ganondorf done for us, as a people?" His long finger was pointing toward the box.

"He has played us as fools, pulling strings behind our backs! While the people starve, he dines on roast pork and fresh fruit! Men have died under his watch, and he brushes the families aside, without any consulting or explanation!"

Murmurs shot through the crowd like lightning. A bash of the gavel on wood was followed by, "ORDER, MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL. STAND DOWN, DARK KNIGHT CERO!"

Colin hastily glanced to see Igos du Ikana furiously begin to cite regulations against the public opinion, treason to the monarchy, and demand immediate withdrawal from the floor due to personal reasons. Under black eyes, his mouth was curled into a snarl as he explained, "There is no personal quarrel here! This is a governing body using governing practices. We are still debating on the report from the High Prince about these illegal affairs in the military."

Quietly, Ganondorf raised his head. He gave Colin a nod of encouragement, red hair slick against his olive skin. The man on the governing floor straightened imperceptibly in the high-raised wooden chair before citing, "The floor is given back to High Prince Ganondorf."

About half of the floor shifted. Silks in shining tunics and a variety cotton scratched against each other as everyone –from Mutoh, to the local doctor, to Duke Mikau, to Lord Bellenbuck, to Cero, to the couriers, to the trumpeter, to the scribes- hesitated, faces turned toward their noble. They wanted answers, Colin realized.

The deepest, most sincere voice started, "This proclamation of war is too great for us. As a people, we are dedicated. We never give in." Leaning out over the stone wall, Ganondorf motioned to the entire senate, broad hands open in safety.

"I know the consequences of my silence," he said slowly, eyes lifted to meet the eyes of his kinsmen, "I know how I have estranged you as a people and brought shame to the role in which I play heir to the monarchy. I want to correct that."

His fists suddenly steeled fast. "At the beginning of this year, an expedition was sent to the north on the mission to bring any caravans or goods back from Twilight before the winter completely froze the roads-" Colin listened in horror as the Prince raised his chin. He was going to tell the secret! "-Myself, Lord Bellenbuck, General Onox, and Lord Cero were sent to monitor this trip, when in fact we were sent to appro-"

"STOP."

Immediate silence fell. Confused, Colin glanced toward his his utter horror Ganondorf's face had turned ashen and his hands were shaking as he leaned on the railing. His head swung to the right. "What's going-" Colin tried to speak; Ganondorf waved a hand. His eyes closed in defeat.

He whispered, "We've failed, Colin."

At the southern two-story door, the scarlet-robed boy herald fumbled and brought his shining horn to his lips, and the King's Call was trumpeted for all to hear. Instantly, the boy knew what had happened.

The King was in his box.

Colin was dumbfounded as he stood with the entire body of the council, bowing in the direction of the King's box, lit with a pomp and ceremony it hadn't for the entire session.

This hadn't happened in four years. The King had never come to a council meeting, only stayed in the castle, an elusive, terrifying figure. Even the people out in the desks and chairs had faces that resembled dolls. Brows were lifted, fans were stilled in women's fingers, capes were tucked in properly, and feet were brought immediately to attention. It was like watching a row of tin soldiers being erected methodically. Not one person moved an inch.

Until the trumpeter was done. Igos du Ikana's hand fell to his knee in a sign of respect as he called, "We welcome and recognize the Lord Sovereign, the King of Hyrule and all Its Lands, the God of War, His Majesty Ganon IV, descendant of the vanquisher of evil Ganondorf, the rightful Hylian and true King!"

Applause was immediate from hundreds of white, red, tanned, and brown hands. Eyes strained, Colin saw the black silks being cleared from the King's Box by two mousy-haired boys, dressed in solid red. Twins, their thin arms shook as the last gauzy fabric was untacked, revealing the man behind.

He had a square, fat face with beady black eyes over a broad nose, surrounded by meticulously groomed scarlet hair. Black tunic of the finest silk, spotless armor, and a large golden crown shone in the many lights decorating the box. The King of Hyrule was a short, brawny man that Colin could only describe as ruthless.

"My lord!" Cero suddenly crowed, establishing himself upon the dias in front of the King's box. Dressed to kill, with his ebony hair curling about his crown, the man seemed unstoppable with the gleam in his eye. "You honor us with your marvelous presence, Majesty, and your words! The people of Hyrule will know your words as the truth! As justice!"

Shocked, Colin coughed. Really? He was trying to impress the King by lavish praise? That never worked with-

"The Dark Knight Cero," the deep voice came, booming off the walls like thunder, "You have done well to lead this debate in matters of intercontinental relations. Your leadership is vital to this council."

Puffing his chest out like a giant ox taking in a gulp of breath, the King boomed, "I personally received a document of war this morning from the fastest courier. The barbarian Queen Midna thinks she can affect our peaceful lifestyles with threats and destroying our lands."

Applause had begun to drift in after the King's public show, but now it was thundering. The very walls were reverberating with a hundred calls for war, with hands clapping. Even shoes from the women tapped. All of Ganondorf's quick points washed away in the tide of enthusiasm.

This could not do. Where was the democracy? Didn't those stupid people remember that there were documents clearly explaining it wasn't Twilight's fault, but Hylian err? They had to be reminded. Colin hastily moved to his master's side, whispering, "State the rules of the court. Du Ikana might come to reason." His sharp eyes met the golden, frustrated ones of Ganondorf's, and deep within, he saw the flicker of determination. There was a slight nod, and the boy was moved back to his seat in the shadows.

Polite clapping. It was grating on Colin's nerves.

Imitating his father, Ganondorf raised his voice, and shouted down to the pedestal, "Igos du Ikana, I request that my arguments be continued with the acceptance of the Majesty and King Ganon."

The clapping immediately halted, fading into unsure whispers. Even the thin man on the stand looked unreadable. He obviously was bound to his monarch, because he did not move.

Golden eyes met through the air. Tension grew. Then, like a child, Ganon's lip ripped into a frown.

"You are an abomination."

Ganondorf's jaw tightened, but his backbone didn't even flinch.

"All you have done for this council is waste time, energy, and rupees. A war will bring us out of our economic downfall into an age of prosperity!" Ganon's voice was too loud and overwhelming.

There was not one squeak from Igos du Ikana seated at the hard bench; Colin felt like shouting at him to recall rules and regulations in a proper documenting fashion, not allow a shameful act of dysfunction to occur. But his heart was in his throat listening to the power of the voice.

"Hyrule is a land of opportunity! Twilight has destroyed values and morale! How can you-" his finger pointed sharply at the High Prince "-say this is bad for us, as a people?" Eyes burned.

Colin could not believe the blasphemy coming out of the monarch's mouth! How could anyone belief this-?

"To help fund this operation, I strip you of your rights-" King Ganon roared, "High Prince no more, you have seven hours to remove your office-"

"What?" Colin hissed, standing without meaning to.

"-and furthermore, the Dark Knight Cero, who has given his time and soul into these missions, will become the Commander of all the Armies of Hyrule-"

Voracious applause! Colin saw Ganondorf's shoulders shake – in agony or utter hopelessness he didn't know. Wordlessly, he glared down into the ground; his veins nearly popped out of his neck in bulges when he saw the glowing, utterly intoxicated appearance on Cero's face.

"- thereby establishing control over all properties seized-"

Colin felt rage.

This cannot be happening.

"-and to be resettled within twenty four hours, including treaties, priviledges, and properties received or acquired. Let it be done!"

All properties received? A streak of fear shot through Colin, and glancing the scrap of note paper, his thin calligraphy spilled forth, ignoring the utter silence, racing against any hope of any time. All properties received...

Link.

No! No! No!

"In addition to this decree, I wish to lower the taxes on government spending by two percent! We will be not be attacking Twilight in a hopeless war, we will be defending our rights as a nation! We will once again find justice and peace in our borders, from within our people and without the borders! We will conquer the Twilight Kingdom! We will have freedom!"

A man shouted, "All hail the Great Lord of Everything, our Lord Ganon!"- Colin's eyes centered on Cero- "Your words are the truth, your actions sound! Even through delinquent troubled youths eating the bread from your own table, you rise above all expectations to do the pure movement!"

What was he doing? There was a general jibe to Ganondorf there. Was he…turning public opinion?

Several screams of excitement reverberated the walls. The King quietly nodded, eyes gleaming. Colin could only stare, body feeling numb; he moved his eyes wildly around to focus on the people, to see how they were taking it.

It seemed to Colin like everything was going mad. Laughter and riots of arms came from the floor, and 'freedom' was being shouted into the air. These people had been on the verge of declaring the war unethical! They had asked for documentation which was still in their hands; how was Ganondorf to even speak with this catastrophy of a democracy going on?

And what if Cero had somehow managed to manipulate the King before the council meet? What if he had bribed and prodded, shown himself more ruthless, been more aggravating, had a heart of stone, or maybe just bluntly said he wanted the throne? Would the King actually believe it? Nothing was past him at this point!

"Colin."

He drew his treasonous thoughts away and listened to his master. Softly, Colin asked, "Sir?"

Like bull readying itself for the charge, Ganondorf whirled, still resolutely tall with his hand curled around the pommell of his sword. His mouth was set sharp.

"We're leaving."

There was no question; the boy became a shadow again, sidling next to Ganondorf as he left the area. The soldiers didn't snap to attention as the two of them breezed past. Thousands of thoughts hit Colin's head. First of all…

Brows furrowed, Colin whispered, "Link's freedom is forfeit." He took one step closer to the High Prince, saying, "We need-"

"I know, Colin," Ganondorf snapped back. "It needs to happen within six hours. Cero will move. I need my study, with the notes. I can…I can finish my will and leave a legacy of a coward behind." His eyes glowered, even though his voice was gentle. "And you need to pack."

Prickles of uncertainty fled up Colin's neck. "For how long?"

"As long as it takes to get Link to the Pass."

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