Chapter Sixteen – Epilogue
Everything is like a dream…a sweet, beautiful dream.
I float in an endless white without a care in the world. All I feel is sleepy content, my eyes closed and a pleasant smile on my face. I can't remember anything but why would I want to? Why do I have to know my name or where I come from? Why do I have to know what I have been doing with my life? This fantastic bliss…aw, it is so much better.
And then this euphoric dream becomes a terrible nightmare.
Needles are stabbing at my body. A thousand needles jutting into my arms, legs, cheeks, neck, and even into my stomach, lungs, and heart. I scream but nothing comes out. Nobody is here to save me and I cannot do anything…I am completely helpless. Surely somebody will stumble upon me? Link…where is he?
Link…the name spins in my head as the overwhelming pain continues to tear me apart. I remember him…I remember his gorgeous smile, his brilliant blue eyes, and his lips against mine…a kiss.
Everything about my life comes crashing back to me as vividly as a nightmare…but this is the dream and the dream is the nightmare…if that makes any sense.
I remember Triforces, Ganondorf, Aryll's kidnapping, pink crystals, and glass falling like rain around me. Magical weapons and swords, Shades and evil yellow eyes.
Link and Sheik.
The blissful white is nothing but an illusion. There is no complete freedom, only the dead will rest in a carefree world because, in the dead, there is nothing to feel. There is no pain nor is there happiness. Life, this dark and agonizing spot I am in, is where I belong.
Though my screams continue, stronger than lightning and louder than thunder, I let the torture in. It's bringing me back. I cannot fight it.
It seems like forever until the pain subsides into a mere throb…then a hum…and then light. Not the whiteness but a beautiful golden glow coming from all around me. I feel its rays flowing through my body as a river of sunlight.
And as quickly as this wonderful light has come, it goes without a sound…not even a whisper.
So do I. I officially leave the white and black realm and into nothingness, like I am in a deep slumber.
The first time I awake (and by "awake" I mean enough to actually register information) all I feel is cool blankets around my hot body, my head buzzing due to the painful heat, almost as if somebody is holding a torch right next to my face. I'm only awake for a few seconds before my mind goes dead again.
The second time I'm still burning but the first logical thought enters my head: maybe I have a fever? Fevers means illness…
I drift off there, my weak brain not able to think more than a few seconds.
My third time of awakening is a brief one though better than the rest. I'm not so hot but not cool, more of a comfortable warmth, similar to sitting by a fireplace in a blizzard. I hear a strange hum in the distance. Voices…rapid ones talking and, for some reason, I feel them directed towards me.
The fourth time I gain consciousness, I am at a relatively cool body temperature and my senses are growing. I feel a thin sheet spread over my body and a soft pillow underneath my head. A steady beeping noise creeps into my ears and, focusing a bit more, I listen to somebody's soft breathing from nearby. The heavy scent of roses wafts into my nose, making my brain fuzzy. I want to move – I need to – but my muscles are not obeying my will. It is like doing a math problem at five in the morning. My body just can't handle it.
A math problem…two plus two equals four. Two times four equals eight. Eight divided by two…four.
Suddenly, as if the numbers pull a trigger inside of me, my finger twitches. My entire body is sighing in relief, finally able to move just a tiny bit, and I continue slowly moving the tips of my fingers up and down on the smooth surface.
The fifth time I awake I truly awake. My breathing is deep and relaxed as I flutter my eyes open. At first my vision is blurry and all I see are pale whites and yellows. Blinking, everything becomes clear and I stare blankly at a white ceiling.
I feel like I have woken up from a very long nap, everything from yesterday in the back of my mind and I focus on the world around me. I have not forgotten Ganondorf, nor have I forgotten Nabooru saving Aryll, or Link and Sheik lying hopelessly on the floor. It is a bit odd, since I expect myself to start freaking out, but my brain is still too drained to do much. All I can do is observe my surroundings and wait for the worry to hit me.
A steady beeping noise comes from my left as I twist my fingers around the thin white sheets. Glancing down, I see cords poking out of my arms, bandages covering where the needles go into my skin. I can feel something in my nostrils and two cords gently resting on my cheeks. Through all of this fog in my brain, I manage to conclude that it must be that thing that helps me breathe…what's it called again?
Slowly turning my head to my left, I see an assembly of equipment. Numbers flash on metal boxes, their purpose foreign to me, and syringes and folders are organized on top of a steel bedside table.
This isn't the first time I've been in a room like this, so it only takes me a few moments to realize that I'm lying in a hospital bed.
Like most hospitals, the white tiled floors are amazingly clean, not a single speck of dirt on them, and the walls are a pale cream. Letting out a tiny sigh, I carefully bring my head forward and look to the end of the bed. Although I have been to the emergency room multiple times, seeing something like this is completely breathtaking.
A small wooden table stands at the end of my bed and it is covered with teddy bears, candy, boxes wrapped in colorful paper, and get-well-soon cards. Past that, hanging on the wall, is a large poster made with a rainbow of markers. In bold bright pink letters, it says, "Feel better!! :D" And, underneath those words, are six names written in different styles and colors.
I read them off to myself, my voice nothing but a breath. "Malon, Saria, Mikau, Kafei, Ruto, and Lulu."
My heart tingles a bit and I am not sure what to think. They made me a poster…they actually remember me? It is certainly a nice surprise.
"Zelda…?" A voice whispers from my right and, even though it is soft, the person still startles me.
Blinking in surprise, I turn my head in his direction as he asks hopefully, "Are you awake?"
A few feet away from me, his bed separated from mine by a wooden nightstand, a young man looks at me with hopeful cobalt eyes. His blonde hair is a complete mess and his bangs sway with each deep breath that he takes. A white bandage wraps around his head, going underneath his hair like a sweatband. He's wearing one of those baby blue, paper hospital dresses and the short sleeves fail at covering his muscular arms. Another bandage is wrapped around his shoulder, and an IV is in his arm along with another tube that I am unfamiliar with. His lower right leg is encased in a thick, heavy cast and it rests on a small tray at the end of the bed.
A gigantic smile spreads across my face as I stare at him, relief souring through me. He's okay…thank you, goddesses! He's okay!
Seeing me smile makes him grin his signature, goofy grin and he has never looked more handsome. He's alive and that is all the beauty that I will ever need.
"Link…" I whisper, his name flowing off of my tongue.
We hold each other's gaze for a long time. At one point he reaches his hand out, trying to stretch across the space between us to touch me, but his arm is not long enough. I wish I could touch him too but I'll be fine. As long as he is okay then I will always be fine.
"Sheik-k-k!" Link starts to yell, looking over his shoulder, until his voice dissipates into a fit of coughing. My smile drops to hear him wheeze like this but, thankfully, it stops after a couple of moments.
"Sheik!" Link shouts again and, past him, I hear a loud yelp and a thud.
"What?" Another young blonde man asks impatiently, jumping up and rubbing his eyes. Arching my head up a bit, I see past Link's body to find a small table and chair next to a large window. The outside world is almost entirely white, everything covered in a blanket of snow that's whiter than the sheets around me. I cannot see much from this far away but the sight is amazing. I have lived to see another day…maybe we will have a snowball fight later?
"Zelda!" The other man exclaims, shocked, and pulls me back into reality. He comes rushing towards me and I'm just as excited to see him, despite his evident limp in his left leg.
"How are you feeling?" He asks rapidly, kneeling beside my bed and placing his hands on the edge. Glancing down, I see that his right forearm also has a cast around it, though not quite as big as Link's.
Bringing my head back up, I see some stitches across his cheek and his hair, as usual, is disastrous. To my delight, his crimson eye is full of life and wit. Everything almost feels…normal.
"I'm fine," I whisper, my voice weak and I find that it hurts to talk. Coughing a bit, I ask politely, "How are you?"
He lifts his wounded arm up and grins at me, "A little banged up, but nothing permanent."
I send him a small smile before looking past him to Link who is gazing at us with much affection. "How are you feeling, Link?"
"Good," he replies simply.
A bit of an awkward silence passes by, none of us knowing how to express my thoughts, but I know one thing that has been on my mind for a while. "So…" I mumble, my gaze flicking between the two of them and my voice still soft. "What did I miss?"
And we spend the next hour or so discussing the night. I can barely stay awake through it all but I make sure to hear their every word. The first thing I learn is that I have been out for two weeks, which baffles me. I know I have been asleep for a while but two weeks? How can that be possible?
Sheik then explains that Link and him were separated when Dark Link first attacked. Link and his shadow self went to the classroom, where Ganondorf was, and started fighting. In the mean time, Sheik was sent to a room full of man-eating rats and was trying to save himself. He was lucky to have gotten out with his life on that one, and we were lucky that he came to save us in time.
Once I saved Aryll, she went running all the way home but didn't get there until very early in the morning. The Jones nor her informed the cops because, somehow, the little girl knew that brining FBI in would just make matters worse. If they saw all the magic being used or if they went into an enchanted room…I'd might as well kiss my secrecy goodbye.
They then explain to me what happened after I was knocked out by Ganondorf's electric ball, the last thing that I remember. The jewel Nabooru had given me went flying to the side and landed by Link. He stretched out and touched it, letting the power of his Triforce work the ruby's magic.
"Ganondorf was glowing," Link describes, his eyes fixed on the wall and his voice distant. "He was as bright as the sun and he was screaming as loud as a volcano erupting. Then, like a volcano, a black smoke started to float from him. It swept around and around, similar to a snake slithering up a pole, before it shot into the jewel at a thousand miles per hour. I don't remember much after that. All I can recall is Ganondorf's body losing the light and going limp, falling to the floor dead."
"Where is the jewel now?" I ask, a hint of worry in my voice. I hope it's protected or something. What if we lost it?
"The TPA has it," Sheik reassures me casually.
"What's the TPA?"
Link and Sheik glance at each other like I have just asked what a sandwich is.
"You've never told her?" Link inquires, astonished.
"It never came up," Sheik shrugs before addressing me again. "It stands for Triforce Protection Association."
Still confused, I question, "What do they do?"
"They're a group of people who try to protect wielders of the Triforce, for example, you. They are Triforce Protectors."
"You mean there are more of you?" I marvel and Sheik starts laughing.
"What?" he chuckles, "Did you seriously think I was the only one?"
A blush rushes into my face and it makes him laugh harder. He tells me I'll meet three of the members later and that makes me nervous. There are about one hundred participants of the group in Hyrule; luckily, only three know of my identity and that relaxes me by a lot.
Link suddenly remembers something important that Sheik and him have to show me. "This is what our story is. We taped it for you," he says as Sheik slips in a tape into the VCR and an image of a news channel appears on the small television that hangs from the ceiling.
A man and a woman, both in neat suits, sit at a large desk and I listen intently onto what they have to say.
"It has been about a month since Link Jones, Zelda Harkarian, and Ganondorf Harkarian have gone missing," the anchorwoman begins to say lucidly and two pictures of Link and I appear on the screen. "Only two days ago Link Jones's younger foster sister, Aryll Kast, was kidnapped. Just this morning the two teens and the little girl have been found and their story revealed."
A dramatic pause hangs in the air as the scene changes to the front entrance of a school covered in snow. It looks perfectly normal, not a sign of the contention that occurred only hours before this footage was taken. Horrible memories flash through my mind and I bite my lip, trying to forget them and focus on the T.V.
"On October 19th, Link Jones and Zelda Harkarian were found dining together at a restaurant called 'Sea Breeze.' They had left the building at ten thirty p.m. and started driving down the road when Link's car mysteriously broke down. They pulled to the side of the road and decided to wait for somebody to pass and help, since their phones had no service.
"Unfortunately, a large black van drove down only a minute later and the two approached the vehicle, happy to have somebody to help them-,"
"This sounds pretty far fetched so far," I comment but Sheik shushes me.
"The driver was none other than Zelda's drunken father Ganondorf. He kidnapped the two and threw them in the back of his van."
The image of the school changes into older footage of a large house being eaten by dark black flames, and the voice continues, "He took the two teens to his house and began beating them. A fight broke out and somebody accidentally knocked over a vial of powerful chemicals, creating the black fire."
The newscaster continues explaining the horror story, saying that Ganondorf then took Link and I to an abandoned warehouse and left us there starving, occasionally beating us.
The woman then tells her viewers about Aryll's abduction. Once again, I find the story unnecessarily elaborate but Sheik reminds me that he wants the public to have something to chew on for a while. Apparently, Ganondorf left a note for Link and I to come to the school if we wanted Aryll to live. Of course, it was a trap (which is similar to what really happened I suppose) and Ganondorf began beating us all. I managed to save Aryll by breaking down the door and throwing her out there. She was wounded with a broken ankle so couldn't get far but, luckily, limped all the way home."
The image on the screen changes to another woman who seems somewhat familiar. A microphone is held up to her wrinkled face and her curly hair frizzes out into a triangle shape. The words "Principal Thuton" displays at the bottom of the screen as she begins to tell her side of the story.
"Due to the blizzard school was canceled but I came in to work for a bit, like I usually do," She starts to describe, her voice shaky and her dark brown eyes looking this way and that. Normally, she is very strict and would never appear so nervous but it is impossible to tell how somebody will act in front of camera. "I was walking to one of the history rooms, going to deliver a file, when I saw that the door had been smashed into a thousand pieces. I entered the room and found three bodies lying on the ground-,"
A picture of the room cuts her off, and the anchorwoman speaks again, "This is the damage of what occurred the previous night."
About ten seconds go by before they switch the image again. Even though, it is all the time I need to have the memories flood painfully back to me. Like before, desks are broken in half and I see a charred one in the background. I remember Link, Dark Link, Sheik…all of us…getting hurt with each dried splotch or puddle of blood I see. There are a few knives lying around and I recognize them to be Sheik's. I wonder if he will get them back? Glass litters the floor and snow continues to drift through the open window. I remember the lightning balls, flying everywhere, and the one that almost ended my life. Dark black scorch marks streak the floor, walls, and ceiling. How are we going to cover this up?
Our principal starts speaking again, her voice etched with worry and is very grave. "I recognized two of the bodies to be the missing students: Link Jones and Zelda Harkarian. The third is a mystery to me but I have heard a rumor of him to be Ethan Ignis-,"
"Ethan Ignis?" I echo and send Sheik a confused look.
"I changed my name for safety reasons after joining the TPA," he answers rapidly and gestures back towards the T.V., encouraging me to pay attention.
"Ethan Ignis used to be in the police force but mysteriously quit after only a year," the anchorwoman cuts our principal off again and the camera focuses back on her. She explains how Ethan (Sheik) had seen light from the school and went to investigate and then tried to save us.
There is a pause and the camera zooms in on the anchorwoman. She's staring at the ground and wiping her eyes…is she…crying?
"I am sorry…" she whimpers, trying to compose herself again. "It is just the horrors that these children went through…nobody should go through them."
I am not sure what to think. Maybe she is just pretending to be so choked up to get a good reputation or sympathy from her viewers yet another side of me is touched. I wasn't being wimpy when I thought that my life was not fair – of course it never will be – but at least people do care about it.
After a couple of minutes of wiping her eyes, she looks back up and says a bit more strongly, "When Principal Thuton discovered the teens she also saw the horrible damage they were in. Link Jones's right leg was broken as if a SUV ran over it. There were cuts in his shoulders and finger marks on his neck, evidence somebody tried to strangle him. Those are only his major injuries.
"Ethan Ignis's major injuries were his broken wrist, a large cut in his back where glass had stabbed him, and a few bite marks in his stomach. The worst victim, however, was Zelda Harkarian."
Confusion swarms into me at once and I look at the screen incredulously. Out of anybody I had the least injuries, just a cut here and there and lots of bruises.
The woman pauses again, wiping her eyes, and warns us very seriously, "What we are about to show you are some very disturbing images that may not be suitable for children."
Oh no…this cannot be good.
An image of a blob that's a gross, fleshy pink and dark black - coal color - appears on the screen. I wrinkle my nose in disgust, studying the form very closely to try to identify what it is. The thing is lying on a hospital bed and paramedics surround it. It's shaped similar to a human body but what person looks so disfigured? Hm…the top part looks a bit like a head…and there is a few strands of blonde hair and –
"This is an image of Zelda Harkarian's body when she was found," the voice says gravely.
The screen changes to another picture, one where I suppose the body is not as repulsive but definitely more powerful. I can easily tell it is me; it's so obvious that it stings at my heart. I recognize the small nose, sharp jar, and the shape of my body. Most of me is covered in charred cloth, luckily hiding private parts, but it is difficult to distinguish skin and clothes. The eyes are closed and most of the hair is black though blonde strands are sticking out again. Each bit of skin is a coal black, as if it were an overcooked piece of meat.
I feel the stares of my friends burning into me as I gaze helplessly at the screen with watery eyes. A strange choking sound comes from my throat and I place a hand on it, my fingers slowly skimming my skin. Is my body still like the way it is on the screen? How did this even happen?
I flinch like somebody has slapped me as the memory pops into my head. The lightning flew at me and I could do nothing to stop it. Now my body is nothing more than charred skin and bones…I can't look at myself. Dear goddesses, it would be too much.
The sound suddenly stops and the television goes dark. Out of the corner of my eye I can see Sheik holding the remote in his hand and his gaze never leaves me. I don't want to look at Link…what if I see my reflection in his eyes?
Shaking uncontrollably now, I take a deep breath and struggle to move my hands. They are a hundred pounds heavier than normal but, by some miracle, I slowly force them in front of my eyes.
Flesh…soft pale peach…not black. I'm fine.
But how? How is this possible?
"They said it was a miracle you were even still alive when the principal found you," Sheik whispers as I carefully poke at the rest of my body, looking for just one small charred spot but find none.
"H-how…" I choke on my own words, tears threatening to spill over as I place a hand over my heart, holding it in place.
"As soon as the bolt hit you I started pulling myself towards you," Link explains softly from my right and I finally manage to bring my eyes away from the gruesome screen and to him. His concerned blue eyes cast down and he continues in an almost whisper, "My leg was holding me back but, once I reached you, I thought you were already dead. You were completely black and weren't breathing. I poured all of my red potions down your throat but nothing worked…" he trails off for a moment, taking a deep breath before resuming his story. "We thought we lost you…that you were gone. I don't remember much, everything is still like a foggy dream, but I know I fell over your body and was clutching your hand. I just recall begging the goddesses to bring you back – to help me save you – and I guess they listened…"
"What do you mean?" I ask urgently but my tone also quiet. The memory must be awful; he's blinking rapidly and taking shuddering breaths.
"My Triforce started glowing that bright yellow, you know how it is, but this one was brighter. It blinded me and I think somebody screamed..."
Sheik adds in quickly, "That was me."
"Yeah," Link mumbles, "then yours started glowing but, after a moment, it just stopped. I passed out then and didn't wake up until I was in the hospital a couple days after my surgery."
"Surgery? What for?" I gasp, my attention yanked away from my scorched body and to Link's welfare.
"We were all worked on," Sheik answers while shoving his hands awkwardly in his jean pockets. "You got skin graphs, I needed stitches and my wrist was broken, and Link needed quite a lot: fixing his leg, stitches, and even some dental care for his mouth.
"But that isn't important right now," Sheik shakes his head, making me close my open mouth and hold back my comments. "We concluded later that it was your Triforces that saved you and kept you alive long enough for the doctors to fix the rest of you up. Most people who were as badly burnt as you wouldn't get their normal form back but the Triforces also helped you with that. Besides a few cuts, you are completely healed."
I take a deep breath and think this over. My eyes travel to the back of my hand and I look for the Triforce but…
"What happened to it?" I yelp holding my hands in front of me but not finding anything on either one of them. "Where is it?"
"Relax, Zelda," Sheik hushes me calmly, "We just had to cover it up with some makeup. If you lick it away it'll be there – don't do it! It took us forever to apply the right amount and it tastes gross."
I nod and gently put my hands across my stomach. Releasing an exhausted sigh, I clarify, "So Link has healing powers? Do all Triforces do or is it just him?"
Sheik shakes his head. "No Triforce can heal like that and, frankly, we are not sure how this happened. Remember what Link told you, about a month ago? You and your Triforce need each other to stay alive. Your Triforce will do anything to protect you. That's what it did: it needed to keep you alive but, at the same time, needed some help. We think that the your Triforce either communicated with Link's, asking for help, or Link really wanted to save you and his Triforce decided to lend a hand."
I nod and an overwhelming sense of fatigue rushes through me. I can't hold my eyes open any longer and feel them closing on me.
"I think…" I murmur, sinking my head back into the pillow. Everything rushes through my head, a tsunami trying to drown me in my own weakness and thoughts. I died but Link saved me. It's great but I still can't get over the shock. Seeing those pictures…it shows me so much what Ganondorf can – no, could - do to me. I just need to rest.
Releasing a deep sigh, I barely whisper, "I'm going to take a nap…"
The next time I wake up (which I estimate to be two days later but I really don't have a clue), I see Sheik bustling around the room as he tries brushing his uncontrollably blonde hair with a Hello Kitty comb. I feel much better than I did before, only tired but no fevers or blurry vision.
Yawning as he straightens out stacks of get-well cards on the table, I ask while rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, "What are you doing?"
"Oh thank goddesses your awake!" He exclaims, stuffing the comb in his nice black coat, giving up on his hair, and tries patting out the wrinkles in his khakis pants. I notice how his black dress shoes shine in the noonday light.
It is one of the oddest things I have ever seen in my entire life. Sheik wears T-shirts, jeans or baggy sweats, and really run down sneakers, not this dressy stuff.
"Why are you so…presentable?" I question, raising my eyebrows and watch him throw a plate of this morning's breakfast away. Hm, food does sound kind of good…
"The two leaders of the TPA are coming," Link's warm voice answers from my right and I turn my attention to him. I expect to see him lying in his bed, but, instead, he is a few feet away from me in a black wheelchair. He's still in his hospital clothes, those annoying paper blue sheets, and his right leg sticks out, encased in a gigantic cast.
"Why are they coming?" I inquire, "And why are you in a wheelchair?"
He grins that handsome smile, the one that makes my heart melt, and wheels himself closer to my bed. "I'm only in it until my leg gets better," he explains while brushing a strand of hair away from my face. I feel my cheeks heat up and I can't help but smile back. His fingers are so warm… "And so I can do this."
Then he presses his lips against mine in one of the most wonderful kisses I've ever known, even if I haven't brushed my teeth in forever, but he doesn't seem to mind.
It isn't surprising when Sheik scolds us while adjusting the blinds on the window, yelling, "I would smack both of you right now but I can't since we are in a hospital!"
"Please, Sheik, there is no need for such actions anywhere," a new, deeper voice calmly says from the doorway, and Link instantly pulls away from me and straightens up in his wheelchair.
Clueless, I avert my eyes to the front of the room to see three people. The owner of the voice is an old man with a puffy, snowy gray mustache that stretches across his face and attaches to two thick sideburns. Even though most of his mouth is obscured by his facial hair, I can see a friendly smile plastered onto his tan, wrinkled face and his dark brown eyes have a light hearted twinkle in them. He is a bit bulky, his long black coat resting on his large belly and ending at his ankles, and his chin sticks out a bit.
Beside him is a relatively old woman but she is definitely not anybody I would call "granny." Her white hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, a stub at the back of her head, and her piercing blood red eyes travel around the room as if daring somebody to approach her. She isn't normal, that's for sure, but her clothing takes it entirely to a new level. Her muscles bulge out of a skin tight, dark blue unitard with a white Sheikah symbol on her chest. A black cloak flows down her back and almost touches the floor. I can't even think of any movie she could be from because she is that odd looking.
Beside her is somebody who looks perfectly normal compared to the woman. He looks around my age, seventeen or so, and is taller than the rests of his companions by an inch; he's probably around six feet. A dark blue baseball cap that says, "there will be no war, there will be motocross", covers his buzz cut brown hair and an amused glint sparkles in his hazel eyes. He wears a tan muscle shirt that lines his six pack, baggy camouflage pants, and brown timberland boots. All of this reminds me of an army captain.
"R-Rauru," Sheik stutters, rubbing the back of his head and his cheeks turning a bright red. "You know, I-I was just joking."
"I know," the old voice responds with a smile. He turns to face Link and I and, simultaneously, he and his companions all give a low bow.
Puzzled, I glance at Link and see that he dips his head as well. Still a bit unsure, I bow my head before raising it like everybody else.
"It is a pleasure to see you two, Mr. Oakwood and Sheik, and an honor to meet you Miss. Harkarian," He greets in a humble and baritone voice. "I am Rauru, the leader of the TPA, and this is Impa, my adviser and co-leader," he gestures to the woman who stands their with her arms crossed. Meanwhile, the teenage boy mouths something to Sheik, who blushes even more. "And this is one of our newest and younger members Lynard. He is an expert at transportation, especially with dirt bikes and motorcycles, and helps us decipher these so-called 'text messages'."
Lynard continues silently talking with Sheik (since they are both in the TPA, I suspect them to be pretty good friends) and doesn't even notice that we are talking about him until Impa impatiently nudges him and he straightens up.
Suppressing an amused smile, I turn back to Rauru and ask curiously, "Are they in a secret code so nobody else can read them?"
Lynard instantly starts laughing like it is all some big joke. Impa sends him a scolding look but he doesn't seem to care as he explains through he chuckles, "They just can't read simple text lingo. It took me forever to explain that 'ttyl' means talk to you later. Reading texts for them is like a turtle with no legs trying to climb up a flag pole with a flag that says 'FAILURE' in big, fat letters."
As he starts laughing again I cannot hold back a small smile. Lynard looked intimidating at first, but listening to that odd remark makes me realize that he isn't scary. The same goes to Rauru, and I find it adorable how puzzled he is by the world of technology. Impa, on the other hand, is still formidable.
The fierce woman continues to death glare Lynard as he struggles to calm down and, after a good two minutes, he finally does and Rauru goes back to the main purpose of their visit as if nothing has happened. He explains to me how him and Impa are Link's and my "lawyers." They are dealing with all of the press, making up the cover stories, and handling our medical bills. Trying to find a way to cover up the scorch marks and my burnt body will be tough but they seem to have it under control (so they say).
I also learn that Impa is actually honored to meet me. Her ancestors used to serve the ruling family and they acted as her bodyguard. Link whispered to me, mentioning that she feels she has a special connection with all wielders of Wisdom because it's rumored that the princess held the Triforce too. At first I found this kind of creepy, but he quickly tells me I am very lucky. Impa is strong and cunning so it is great to have somebody like her always looking out for me.
At one point, Rauru looks at me seriously and questions rather suddenly, "Has anybody explained to you the options you now have with the TPA?"
I look to Link for help but, before he can even say a word, Sheik intervenes. "Sorry, but I have not come around to that yet."
Smiling gently, he reassures him, "That is perfectly fine. I will start by first asking Link. Do you wish to join us, Mr. Link?"
A friendly and knowing smile spreads across Link's face as he gently grabs my hand. Turning his beautiful blue gaze onto my puzzled expression for just a second, he responds strongly. "Your offer is kind but my answer is still no."
Rauru nods, as if he was expecting this, and turns his dark brown gaze onto me.
"Now, Zelda," He starts gently as if talking to a confused child. "What we are offering has its ups and downs. As you know, the world of a Triforce Wielder is a harsh one and people will always be hunting you. The TPA is dedicated to keeping you safe from all harm. One way we can do this is sheltering you in a house away from prying eyes. People can work with you and your abilities and, if you want, we can get professors to home school you in 'normal' subjects, such as math or science."
Before I get even the slightest chance to think this over, Link quickly adds in with a determined voice, "But that isn't it, Zelda. I deny their offer every time because I always strive to be normal. You'll live in some large house in the middle of nowhere, up in the mountains or in a forest with only other TPA members as your company."
He opens his mouth to say more but Rauru sends him a look saying you are making this sound so much worse, please stop. Link, of course, obliges and clamps his mouth shut somewhat reluctantly.
I pause and ponder over what he has just told me. I'd be alone but not entirely, there would be members living with me and maybe if I go Link and Sheik will come too. We can finally live happily together, like we did at Sheik's home. How is it any different?
But then I remember what Sheik had told me about Link once. Despite the danger, Link continues to live in foster homes to attempt a normal life. That is all I have ever wanted and, though I know I will never be entirely normal, how can I pass up such an opportunity? Furthermore, how can I simply leave Link and Sheik behind? I cannot drag them into such a sheltered life, it would be like taming two wild wolves. Taking the beautiful life out of their eyes.
Yes, the world outside is dangerous and crawling with scum. Triforce Hunters will always be after us but, with everything we have been through, I have this feeling that we can handle them. We defeated Ganondorf together, we can defeat anything.
Ganondorf…all my life I have been dreaming of his downfall so I can leave and be free. Rauru's offer shows some freedom but not the one I want.
I smile kindly at the old man and answer sweetly, "Your offer is very kind but I am going to agree with Link," I pause and look up at him while giving his hand an affectionate squeeze. He gives me that goofy grin and joy shines in his gorgeous blue eyes. How can I ever leave those? "I fully understand the danger I am in but my answer is no."
Rauru, glancing between us, nods and sends us a polite grin. "No matter what, you are always welcome to call for help or change your mind whenever you want. Nobody else in the TPA will know you two are Triforce Wielders besides us three."
I nod as he backs up and turns to Sheik. They shake hands and Rauru gives him an envelope, which Link tells me is the TPA's charitable donation to help him watch out for us. It is one of the highest honors for a member to be allowed the responsibility of watching over two Triforce Wielders and, though they at first wanted to send somebody more experienced, Link had made sure to let them know that he and I only feel comfortable with Sheik, which is true.
With two low bows, Rauru and Impa leave the room without another sound. Lynard, however, stays back and lets out a loud yawn.
Sheik grins, walking up to him, and they high five each other. "Nice to see you again, buddy."
"Training hasn't been the same without you," he responds, smiling for a second before exclaiming suddenly, "And you missed me do this awesome trick off of the third floor! I spun backwards four times and landed on a ramp that was only three inches wide! It was more awesome than two thousand starving people getting a gigantic chocolate molten lava cake on top of a gold mansion!"
Sheik just laughs and shakes his head while I struggle to wrap my head around what Lynard has just made a comparison to. "You are still doing ridiculous and life threatening tricks off of your bike?" Sheik rolls his eyes in mock annoyance.
"Why wouldn't I?" Lynard huffs jokingly. "I only got to come see you guys because I accidentally trashed Impa's BMW last weekend and they needed a way to get here."
"You trashed Impa's BMW?" Link gasps, astonished, and his mouth hangs open. "How are you still breathing?"
"The old man managed to save me before she cut me to bits," He chuckles at the memory before turning his hazel eyes on me, acknowledging me for the first time. "Maybe you'll be better at the bike than your little boyfriend here."
Link just rolls his eyes and smiles politely. "I'll race you again once my leg is healed."
"How 'bout I break both my legs and arms and maybe you'll win," he teases with a smirk.
"I bet Lynard is going to win," Sheik announces and Link snickers at him.
"Thanks, you are a true friend."
Sheik just grins.
Before Lynard can say a really long simile that relates to how badly he's going to beat Link at the race, his phone rings with a text message and he has to go. Waving a cheery goodbye, we watch him walk out the door and Sheik chases after him, remembering he needs to talk to Impa about something.
With them both gone, I turn my attention to Link and smile at him sweetly. "He seems nice."
"Him and Sheik are pretty good friends. I don't know him very well, but he's a good guy," he answer while taking my small hand in both of his and he beams back at me.
We sit there in silence for a moment, just taking deep breaths and trying to slow down our lives. Minutes pass but the silence is nice, and so is basking in his beautiful, fully alive, and joyful presence.
"How are you feeling?" Link asks quietly as he runs a hand through my tangled hair. Oh goddesses, I bet it looks awful.
"Better," I respond in a relaxing sigh as I close my eyes, focusing on the feel of his fingers combing my blonde hair.
A calm stillness follows for a few seconds before I feel his lips kiss the top of my head.
"I love you," he whispers while gently pressing his forehead against mine.
Blinking my eyes open out of shock, I soon change my expression to one of affection and relief. His dazzling blue eyes are only inches away from mine and I quickly kiss his lips before replying with a warm smile. "I love you, too."
He caresses my cheek tenderly, making my heart flutter, and says quietly. "How does it feel to finally be free of him?"
Him…I know who he is talking about.
"I don't think I've been awake long enough for it to hit me."
He nods and strokes my cheek again. "It hit me when you woke up the first time and I was ecstatic for so long – I probably still am. All you need to do is think about it and I know you'll be on some weird high."
"Alright," I grin at him and, releasing a deep sigh, I close my eyes as I start to think.
I think of how he destroyed my life, abusing me in all ways. And now that he's gone…it feels so unreal. I always dreamed of being rid of him but I still have this trapped feeling, like he is going to pop out of nowhere and try to murder Link again.
I hear Link's soft breathing and feel his fingers playing with my hair, carefully pulling the tangles away. He's a bit beat up but more alive than I have ever seen him. I remember how hard it was for me to see Link after school: going to the museum, sneaking to the movies, and then going on that date together. Though that day was full of sorrow and pain, it was one of the bests because I left Ganondorf. I was leaving him in the black fire that consumed his and my life. He made me the bad guy with him, like Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie I saw with Link. I had started crying because one of the characters (Malfoy) was so much like me. At the time I felt awful about myself and how I caused so many people pain, I ruined their lives just like the boy. Yet now…after I saved the ones I loved and destroyed our enemy, I feel like a hero.
And finally, after all of this time, the thought finally hits me. Ganondorf is gone! He's dead! Never again will he slap me; never again will his cold yellow eyes stare at me like I am prey. The two things I wanted most my whole life are finally mine: freedom and the sense of belonging.
The feeling is so strong that something tugs at my heart and overwhelming joy shakes my body so much that I feel my eyes water.
And I cry.
I cry tears of tremendous joy into my hands, hunched over with Link rubbing circles in my back, probably extremely confused at my behavior. Maybe it's immoral to have so much blithe over another's passing but I can't stop thinking of all of the things I have open to me now. I can be with Link. I can have friends. I can go to college. I can live.
"Are you alright, Zelda?" Link asks with concern. "I thought you'd be happy."
Choking back tears, I cheer instantly, "I am!" I then throw my arms around his neck and embrace him in a tight squeeze. I feel his hands rest on my back as I cry in his shoulder and sob over and over again, "We're free…we're free!
The rest of the days pass by in a slow blur, falling in and out of sleep because my body still needs its rest. Though it doesn't bother me, I am happier than I have ever been.
Link and I spend the hours I am awake together, me in my bed and him rolling around in his wheelchair. Sheik isn't always allowed with us, since it isn't always visiting hours and he's out of the hospital, but he visits everyday and all day.
I constantly read all the get-well cards Link and I received from our friends, even if I have already memorized them. The one I like best is Ruto's because she apologizes for her hostile nature so long ago and wishes that we can be great friends once I am up and running again. I hold nothing against her and I cannot wait to see her to start our new friendship.
People have given us many gifts – candy, stuffed animals, and movies - that we all love. Over the course of two weeks in the hospital we have watched "Up" four times, "Confessions of a Shopoholic" three times (though Link does not like it much, which is understandable), and "Spiderman" five times because it is his favorite movie.
We have also beaten an amazing computer game called "Plants vs. Zombies." It is highly addictive and we once spent three hours straight on it before a nurse told us to put it away and take a break.
I think she was jealous.
Aryll and Mr. and Mrs. Jones visit frequently. The first time they came I almost cried again because I was just so happy to see the little, blonde girl alive and well. My hard work really paid off and it showed when she hugged and thanked me.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones, being the kindest people I know, offered to take me under their wing like they did with Link and Aryll. I wondered if it was still safe to be in the same place but Link insisted that it was fine and they'd love to have me. I couldn't say that I wouldn't love it too.
Sheik reassures me that Link and I leaving him is perfectly fine because he travels often whenever he is living alone. Even though I'm looking forward to an entirely new life with the Jones, Aryll, and my fantastic Link, I still feel guilty for leaving Sheik. I will no longer have to live with the Triforce as a secret though because Link and I plan on telling the family about the ancient powers once we get home. It's a big step but I think I am ready.
I have never been so happy before in my life and I think that nothing can bring me down. That horrendous night seems nothing more than a scary movie yet it all comes to life when I sleep. The nightmares torment me and Link, the nurses, and Sheik constantly tell me about how I thrash in my bed and how my screams frighten other patients. It is an on and off kind of thing but they haunt me, ghosts of my past.
On one of the nights that I am actually sleeping peacefully, I wake up in the middle of the night to two soft voices.
I'm not sure why, but I hold my breath and made as little noise as possible. I recognize the shadowy form in the bed next to me to be Link sitting up right. I hear him sniffling as a deep, clear voice whispers to him.
"You are not a killer, Link," it reasons with sincerity and concern. "You never meant to hurt anybody."
"That doesn't take away the fact," Link pauses, his voice shaky and weak, and takes a deep breath, "That three people are dead because of me."
"Your Triforce killed the man who broke into your house seven years ago," the voice replies strongly yet gently all in one. "It means that the goddesses wished for him to pass on. The Triforces are an extension of them, you cannot always control their wishes."
"But the Shade…" Link whimpers.
"Was a Shade. Although the scream seemed human, it was really nothing more than a misunderstood creation with one purpose: to kill you and the ones around you -,"
"Just because it wasn't necessarily human doesn't mean it doesn't have a life!" Link argues hotly.
The other voice sighs and, keeping his cool, tries again. "It is a difficult subject but there was nothing else you could have done. He threatened the innocent and was brought in by an evil spirit. The same goes for Ganondorf. You are not a bad person for it, Link. You feel guilt, which means that you are not heartless, and leaving them both alive would mean the death for the ones who deserve life. When you look at Zelda, Sheik, Aryll, and anybody else for that matter, I want you to be proud of yourself because you destroyed something that could have wiped away the smiles from their cheerful faces. It is a tough job that nobody wants, but somebody has to do it."
A long silence.
"Thank you, Rauru."
One and a half years later and I have graduated from high school and am preparing for college. I have a scholarship to an Ivy League school called Hale University, which is only twenty minutes away from Hylia College where Link is attending. I am undecided in my major but I am looking at biology courses – maybe become a doctor? – and at Hylian History classes. Link is also undecided but has a full scholarship to fence for his school. He is thinking of business so he can open up a fencing school but he is also looking at being a psychiatrist or physical therapist.
Though Sheik is not necessarily pleased with the idea of us being six hours away from him, he cannot hold us from trying to make a future. The only way he sleeps at night is knowing that Link and I visit each other often and we make sure we won't become anybody famous so we don't draw attention to ourselves.
But, going back before my wonderful graduation day, it was probably the best year of my life. I remember attending junior and senior prom with Link, which - despite the drama Malon got into with Shad the first time - were both wonderful. I went a bit crazy on after school activities, since I never got to do any before, and I joined every possible club that I could. I became part of the fencing team with Link and did gymnastics at the same time and, later in the year, joined the archery team. I also wanted to do something more musical and took harp lessons after school since Sheik had once told me that wielders of Wisdom were supposed to be gifted with harps and lyres.
My friendship with my old friends has grown stronger. Ruto and I are very close and she loves playing with my hair, putting it in braids or intricate curls. Saria and I constantly help out at the animal shelter and we all enjoy riding at Malon's ranch over the weekends. During the winter once, we all went snowboarding and skiing with the boys. Link and Mikau taught me how to snowboard while Lulu and Saria struggled to find boots small enough for our green-haired friend.
With Aryll and Mr. and Mrs. Jones (whom I can now call Richard and Louise) knowing about the Triforces, I feel more comfortable here more than I ever have. Link and I practice our magic in the basement and we rarely do it above ground, just in case.
Speaking of Link, he's wonderful as usual. After the talk he had with Rauru (who I haven't seen since then), he has been perfectly fine with his past. Though I know how much the memories hurt I am glad to see he doesn't let them drag him down.
Sheik visits on all holidays and Link and I stay with him at his house during the summer time like it's a private camp. Now that he is not here to "parent" Link and I, we have to be kind to Aryll, Richard, and Louise by not kissing in front of them. They don't follow us around all the time because I think they understand that we won't do anything inappropriate.
The days are perfect. Link always gives me a sweet, tender kiss and asks how I have slept when we see each other every morning. When I get home from whatever activity I was doing, he is there to kiss me hello and later to kiss me goodnight. I never want those days to end.
But now, packing up my belongings as Sheik and Link make bets about the weather behind me, I have to leave those days behind. I am willing to do this for the new life I plan on making. College will be a new start and a dream come true; there is no way I can complain about this.
And, as Link and Sheik look online for the weather tomorrow, I can't help but look back on my old life. My life with Ganondorf.
I know that just because he is dead doesn't mean Link and I are entirely free from the negatives of having a Triforce. There are always other Triforce Hunters such as Vaati and a new one named Cole. They are threatening people indeed, but I have a feeling that we can handle whatever they try to throw at us.
Ganondorf is a different story all together. My whole life I have hated him, dreamed of his downfall. He was the worst man on the planet and ruined so many lives yet, at some points, I pity him. He was so obsessed with getting the Triforces that it destroyed him. Maybe he could have led a normal life, but his lust for more power was the black flame that engulfed him in the end. It was not entirely his fault because there was an evil spirit lurking in the Triforce of Power that tainted all of its descendants. Two months after I got out of the hospital, I had received a tiny torn piece of paper from Nabooru. It didn't say much besides a "thank you for the money" and "with the curse gone, the next wielder should be much nicer…hopefully".
"Ha!" Link cries out victoriously as I push down some shoes into my bag. "I told you it was going to be 88 degrees tomorrow!"
Sheik just groans and says, "Okay, okay…you can chose the restaurant we eat in on the way to your schools."
I listen to Link's happy dance and Sheik telling him that there is no way we are eating at the Zorian place again. Sheik hates raw fish with a passion.
Once their arguing calms down a bit, I feel an affectionate kiss on my neck and Link's arms wrapping around me from behind. "Perfect day for traveling, love," he whispers sweetly into my ear.
Smiling, I twist around in his embrace and place my hands on his chest. "I'll miss you beating me up with a stick everyday."
"And I'll miss grossing Sheik out when I kiss you," he grins back, giving me a quick kiss as he does so.
"I'll see you often though, won't I?" I question and he nods.
Peeking over Link's shoulder, I see Sheik watching us suspiciously and, cracking a grin at him, I pull Link's head down and plant my lips on his in a very passionate kiss.
"You sicken me," Sheik says dryly and I feel Link smiling against me.
After a few more kisses, Sheik speaks up again. "And I thought you didn't touch perverts, Zelda?"
Link instantly snaps away from me and, spinning around, he yells, "I am not a pervert!"
A sly smirk spreads across Sheik's face, "Yes you are…pervert."
Link takes a couple of steps forward and lifts his head high. Grinning mischievously, he asks in a low voice, "I sense a challenge in your tone - "
" - First one to guzzle a bottle of Coke wins."
And they dash out of the room like two five year olds running to the candy store.
Smiling to myself and zipping up my last duffle bag, I think of all the wonderful times that are to come with my new family and the best guy in the world.
I wish you could see me now, Ganondorf, because I know how furious you'd be to see me totally and insanely happy.
Super long note alert!!!!!
Acknowledgements at the end. :p I have a lot of those to give so you don't have to read them if you don't want to, but you might be in it
Now, about the chapter: it was longer than expected but I had a lot of things that I felt needed to be covered. One was what happened to Zelda of course!! Yeah, I burnt her to smithereens but thankfully the Triforces saved her! :D Not only does it so how much Zelda should be grateful for them (if you recall she hated them at first) but I also couldn't let her die. Also, the cover story for them is extremely far fetched, I know, but I am leaving it all to the TPA so if you really want to know what the rest of the world believes to have happened, you can ask me. :)
Secondly, I had to show the cameo for LoZ4L and my 3rd place winner for our contest: Zelda4life as Lynard! I personally think that he has a very interesting personality and it was fun to write about. If there is anything you find offensive or absolutely hate (which I hope you don't) then let me know immediately and I will change it. Congratulations!
Third, I like the idea of having an underground system of Triforce Hunters and Protectors. Trying to depict what Rauru and Impa would look like in modern times was a killer! I always think of OoT Impa, the one with just armor on, so trying to find something suitable yet still in character for her was a challenge. In the end I settled on really odd clothing, which is like her I think.
Also, I felt it necessary to show Zelda's thrill of being free and I hope I did that well enough since it is her life long dream. I also needed to solve Link's guilt problem because he killed three people and I hope it also shows Rauru's wisdom.
Lastly, I had to show how things end up for our characters. Zelda and Link get to go to college after living in a foster home with Aryll (and I know, it is a little odd). I really tried to focus on how different her life is now with Ganondorf gone, do you think I did that?
Oh, and yes, Plants vs. Zombies is a real and AWESOME game!!!! When I went on my vacation over Christmas break, my sister and her boyfriend were playing it non stop! I couldn't help but add that in. At the end of the game there is a music videos of all the plants and zombies singing and dancing, it is so hilarious!!
Now for those who will not read my acknowledgements, let me just say thank you so much to all of my reviewers, readers, alerters, favoriters, and everybody else!!! You all really motivated me to continue this story and I kicked myself to update faster just for you guys since I love you all so much! Over 135 reviews is AMAZING!!! Thank you and I really hope you have enjoyed my story!
I'd love to hear your final thoughts and your last criticism for this story so I know what to work on for the next ones to come. Feel free to do whatever!
Number of Reviews: more than 135
Number of Alerts: 35
Number of Favorites: 39
Total Hits: More than 6,287
Total Pages on Microsoft: about 180 pages O.O
Thank you so much (and sorry for the really long note),
Like I said before, I owe all of my reviews and readers a ton for supporting me and helping me out with this. I wish I could give you all a gift for being so wonderful and I have thought of one. (I don't want to sound arrogant though.) I have had a few people ask me to read their stories and give some critiques on it throughout the process of making this story. I understand how hard it can be to get people who will actually try to help you and many authors would love some criticism, so if any of you would like a review or a critique, let me know and I'll be happy to read/comment one of your stories (but please make sure the story is based on something I know, like LoZ, Trauma Center, Professor Layton, or Smash. I can't do well on things I am unfamiliar with, sorry!). It is the least I can do for what you guys have done for me.
Now for some special thanks…
I MUST thank my fantastic, uber cool, trilingual, magnificent, extremely helpful, loyal friend and Beta Reader Legend of Zelda 4 Life! You have been so kind to me and really saved me lots of time with this story. I am still REALLY EXTREMELY SORRY TO HAVE PUT YOU THROUGH THE MESS EARLIER!!! FF does this thing with me where it deletes all punctuation and mashes words together in my stories sometimes. Thank you so much for the time you put into that (which still makes me feel so bad that you went through the torture) and, generally, all the other time you took out of your day to help. I could not have done it without you so thank you a ton! You are one of my best friends and I hope we remain that way!
I would also like to thank MythCreatorWriter, Canada Cowboy, and Kiba Wolf for their amazing reviews that helped me out so much and I learned tons from you three. Getting feedback from readers is the most important part of writing (so I think, it helps me get better! :D) and I owe you for that. Although Kiba Wolf stopped reviewing after some time, I still find her lessons useful and couldn't stand not thanking her. It was fun talking to you guys and really put a smile on my face, thanks again!
I also must give credit to my inspirations that started and help built the story. First and foremost, Disney's "Hercules" was the real basis for this, now that I look back on it. I think I said this before but I figured I'd mention it again: I got Zelda and Ganondorf's relationship from Megera and Hades. In the movie, Megera works for Hades but secretly loves Hercules, who is the man she has to later send to his doom. Sound familiar? :p Yes, I watched that movie a lot after I started them (and I still do. Love it!!!). XD
Another source of inspiration (especially with Dark Link here) was Legend of Zelda 4 Life again. She wrote a story called "The Puppet" which focused mainly on Dark Link. In this story she had Dark Link's scream seem very human, does that sound familiar too? Not only that, but the same story started the spark for the idea in the first place. Read the story and maybe it will make more sense. :p
So here is my final thank you and goodbye to everybody. You have all been so wonderful and I'm going to miss this story but I have got to move on, haha. I'm planning on starting a new story soon so, if you liked this, keep an eye out for a new one! Once again, thank you a ton and feel free to contact me!
Disclaimer: I do not own Legend of Zelda and its characters, the movies Up, Confessions of a Shopoholic, and Spiderman, nor do I own Plants vs. Zombies, Hello Kitty, and any other real product in here. It is called Fan Fiction for a reason!!!!