Verge of Destruction
Link focused on the road ahead of them. The North Palace had already fallen away from the horizon behind them. A forest was beginning to close around them.
Zelda hadn't said anything to him or Lissa. How long was this fit of anger going to last? By the Triforce, didn't she know he said crap like that for her own good! No one else was going to dare tell her not to do something.
A whole year he had spent away and nothing was resolved. Ganon was still a threat and Zelda, his feelings for her were still a threat to her safety.
One Year Ago
Zelda walked into Link's turret bedroom and stopped short. His saddlebags were lying on the stripped mattress of the bed and he was calmly stuffing his personal belongings into them. "You're leaving?"
"There's no reason for me to stay. I finished the job you wanted me to do, Princess. Ganon's gone and the Triforce is whole."
"Yes, that's been true for about a year. Why leave now?"
"Maybe the moblins will leave with me."
Her green eyes gazed at him, puzzled. "This is ridiculous, Link. Really, why are you leaving? I still need your help."
He took a deep breath. How can I explain this to you? My blood is the only thing between Ganon and the peace Hyrule has now. I don't know what I would do if some moblins or other servants of Ganon hurt you to make me spill it. But I can't tell you that, because then all you would do is worry and more than anything I want you to believe that Ganon is gone forever. It's the only way I can love you. "I'm bored. There's nothing for me to do anymore. Look if something big comes up, use your telepathy and call me back. I'll come running. But I'm just in the way with all this day to day running the kingdom business."
"Were you even going to tell me good-bye?"
"I didn't want you to talk me out of it." That's an honest answer at least!
"I wouldn't do that. Not if it's something you really want to do." He buckled the saddlebags closed and stood with a stretch. "And apparently, this is something you want to do."
"More like something I feel that I have to do." Careful, fool, you'll tell her everything! "Otherwise, I'm going to go nuts."
"Let's try to keep you as sane as you are." She looked down at the floor. "I don't know how to say it."
Link slung the saddlebag over his shoulder. "What? Thank you or goodbye?"
"Both." She stepped up to him and circled her arms around his neck. Her lips reached for his.
Oh, Zelda. If you kiss me now, I'll never leave. I won't be able to protect you. I'll have to stand aside and watch you marry someone else for the kingdom and the throne's sake. And if I did manage to leave after you kiss me, could I live with myself knowing what I'm missing? "No." Zelda's green eyes flew open and stared at him in astonishment. "I'm sorry, but I have my reasons so don't ask me why." She pulled her arms away and stepped to the side. "I'll miss you, Princess."
She swallowed hard. "You can come back to visit. I won't throw you out of the Palace. If I need you, I'll call." She tapped her temple. "And I'll miss you too, Hero."
Link smiled briefly his familiar lopsided grin, then walked out the door.
By the Triforce! Link angrily shook his head. Why can't I automatically remember the good times Zelda and me had, like dancing at Lana's ball? Why do I always dwell on that moment when I had to turn my back on everything?
Not that it did any good. Everything is the same as I had left it.
They continued traveling through the forest.
"I'm beginning to think human companionship is overrated." Lissa confided to the horse she was riding, Easy-Going.
Storm, the white mare Zelda rode, neighed a comment.
"Really? Just about all the time?"
Catherine replied in the affirmative and added a comment of her own.
Lissa laughed hard. Link glanced back suspiciously. "What did she say?"
"You don't want to know," she replied still chuckling.
"It's not polite to talk about someone behind their back." He directed at his horse.
"She said she always talks about rude behavior. Doesn't matter who's doing it."
Kilare screeched softly. He was perched on Lissa's shoulder right next to her ear.
"I am not just talking about stuff so I won't think about the weird magic stuff. No one knows anything about the weird magic stuff. Least of all me."
The forest ended abruptly. The road that had dwindled to a path ended at the edge of a grassy plain. A few feet to their left, a spring pool bubbled on the edge of trees and grass. A large log had toppled near it, forming a perfect natural bench.
Link turned and looked at the sky behind them. "We better set up camp here." Kilare screeched and flew off. "What's his problem? He doesn't like it here?"
"No, he said he was going to find dinner for everybody." Lissa frowned. "Don't look at me like that. Just because I know what they say doesn't mean I know what they're talking about."
"Okay, okay." Link dismounted. "Let's go find some firewood."
Lissa went to the task without complaining. Kilare was more right than she wanted to admit. Father had told her on his last mentally clear day that he wasn't her natural father. That man was dead, had been since she was an infant. And now her mother was probably some magical immortal being.
But what did it mean for her? And for Hyrule? She had talked to some servants in Zelda's Palace. No one wanted Ganon to return. But was it her place to stop him?
She brought her load of sticks to the camp site's firewood pile and dumped it.
Zelda laid out her bedding near the fire. The sun had already sank beneath the trees of the forest they had just left. In front of them, the eastern sky was a deep navy blue sprinkled with stars stretching over a grassy plain that would dry out into desert. Lissa sat with her back to the fire and her mismatched blue and silver eyes stared up in wide wonder.
Link looked up from checking the cooking fish that Kilare the hawk had brought back. He noticed her enraptured expression. "What's wrong?"
"You're acting like you've never seen the sky before."
"I haven't. Not like this. I didn't know you could see so many stars at once. You couldn't see this many in my clearing."
"You've lived your entire life in the forest?" Zelda sat down on her bedding.
"Yes, Father was a woodsman. I've never had to leave it before." She waved her hand at the sky. Zelda noticed a familiar figure, four smaller triangles set inside one large one, on its back. A strange birthmark. "It reminds me of the light Father would put up at night. It was a candle enclosed in tin can that had small holes punched into it. When you lit the candle, the light would shine up on the ceiling and walls and make patterns like the stars. I thought it was magical."
"Supper's ready, ladies." Link put a fish on a plate and passed them around. Lissa reluctantly turned from the stars to eat.
The meal was as silent as the ride had been. Lissa had tried to get them to talk then, but Zelda had been angry at Link and in no mood. She would make up for that now. "It's the simple things we all love best."
"I didn't think you knew anything about simple things," Lissa blurted with surprise.
Zelda's mouth fell open. Link threw back his head and laughed. Lissa blushed. "I'm sorry; I didn't mean it like that. It's just you're a Princess and you live in that wonderful Palace. I'm sorry."
"It's all right." Zelda recovered her composure. "It's true enough, which is why Link is laughing." She shot him a dirty look.
"At least you can admit it," he answered.
"Yes well, I recognize my short comings."
"I've never been good at thinking things through, so I guess I need someone around to point my shortcomings out to me. You want the job, Lissa?"
The golden hawk screeched from his perch on one of the saddles sitting on the ground. Lissa tossed him the last of her fish, which he caught skillfully with his beak, and she turned back to Link and Zelda. "Kilare's right. You two enjoy squabbling with each other. It lets you keep score of who's right and who's wrong. And it's not nice to use me to do it." She wiped her hands on the end of her jerkin as she stood up. "I'm going to bed." She wrapped herself up in her bedding and laid down with her back to the fire. The fox settled next to her, curling itself into a tight ball of red fur.
Link stood up and walked away from the fire toward the spring at the edge of the forest. Zelda glanced at him, then back at the fire. They couldn't head into enemy territory fighting like this. She got up with a sigh and walked over to Link.
He was sitting on the log next to the spring. He looked up with a small smile. "Should we make it a three-way game?"
"It is a game, isn't it?" She sat down next to him. "We don't hate each other when we fight."
"No, we don't hate each other. I think we just find it easier to fight." He stared down at the spring. "She's right. I shouldn't have laughed at your shock."
"I would have laughed, too. Our expressions must have been funny."
"Yeah, they were. But it just leads back to fighting."
"Then let's just talk without fighting for once. What have you been doing since you left?"
"The whole year? Wandered mostly. First, I went through Hyrule, then headed to Calatia."
"Yeah. Went by and saw my foster family. The jerks are still jerks, annoyed that I had left and more annoyed that I proved them wrong by not ending up dead. I went through Lemhar next. That was fun; they're in the middle of a civil war. A trip through Obkee, then I crossed the mountains and came back to Hyrule. Fought with some moblins and Lissa found me before they came back to finish me off."
"Don't you ever get tired of the risks?"
He shrugged. "Life is a risk. At least I know where I stand with moblins."
"Don't you ever want to stop wandering?"
"Not yet, I guess. When I find a reason to stop, I'll stop."
Zelda glanced at his profile. He stared down at the dark water reflecting the stars and the moon on an undulating surface. The question filled her mouth, but should she ask it? No, it was better not to know. "Look, we managed to have an entire conversation without fighting."
"Too bad Spryte wasn't here to witness it."
"She'll never believe us," she agreed. "I'm going to sleep. We'll probably want an early start tomorrow."
"Good night, Zelda."
"Good night." She returned to the fire and laid down so she couldn't see Link. Why did he have to make things so difficult? Things had been fine that year after they had gotten the Triforce of Power away from Ganon. Then he had to leave and stay away. Because he had finished his job? Like she wanted him to stay because she needed his protection. She was pretty good at protecting herself. She heard Link walk from the spring and settle down into his bedding. Okay, she was pretty good at protecting herself now, thanks to Link. By the Triforce, why did he have to make things difficult? Zelda closed her green eyes with a sigh.
Link was sitting on the log next the spring. The waning moon had risen higher and the fire had died down. Their campsite was lit in a silver sheen as bright as daylight but left all the colors a shade darker than they were normally.
Zelda walked up to the spring and Link turned to face her. "Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing's wrong. I just wanted to ask you something." She sat down on the log next to him.
"Why didn't you ask me before? While we were talking?"
"I was afraid."
"You, Princess? Afraid?"
"I've been afraid before."
"You hide it well. I don't think I ever remember seeing you afraid." The comment was made musingly and without the teasing tone his voice had held earlier.
"It's something we're both good at," she answered with sudden insight, "hiding our true feelings from each other."
"You're right. But you haven't asked me a question."
"Before, you said when you found a reason to stop wandering you would stop."
"Yeah, that's what I said."
She looked down at her hands resting on her knees. "Am I a good reason to stop?"
Link's darkly tanned hand reached over and touched her left one, picking it up and cradling it in a warm grasp. She looked up to his face. "You're the only reason I do anything."
"Then why won't you stay?"
"Because it would kill me if anything ever happened to you because of me."
"Don't you want to stay?"
"You think I'm doing what I want to do? That I want to wander around the world and stay away from the one place, the one person who has ever made me happy? What I want to do and what I have to do haven't matched for a long time."
"Link, it doesn't have to be that way. We can find some way of reconciling our desires with our duties."
His laugh was short and bitter. "It can't be done, Princess. All the magic in Hyrule couldn't do it. If it could be done, I would have done this a lot sooner."
He pulled her closer and lowered his face to hers. Right before their lips met, Lissa's cheerful voice broke in. "Rise and shine, people!" She giggled, "I always wanted to say that."
Zelda opened her eyes. Dawn's light was breaking over the grassy plain. The fire was burning again and a pot of what smelled like porridge was hanging over it. She sat up and rubbed the fog from her eyes.
Link groaned from his bedding. "This always happens."
Lissa stood over them, frowning slightly. "Guess you're not morning people."
The circle was carved into the sand of the desert. Its strange runes should have blown away a long time ago. A healthy sense of dread blossomed in Zelda's stomach. "This must be the place."
Link grabbed Lissa's shoulder and Zelda saw that the triangular birthmark was shared by both of them. "Are you sure you can do this?" Link asked Lissa.
"No. Does that make you feel better?" Lissa bit her lip.
Link released his grip. He turned to Zelda as Lissa started to concentrate. "Keep alert," he told her gruffly. "If Lissa can't find that limbo place, we'll probably end up in the Dark Realm." They stepped over the seal at the same time.
Link gazed around. He stood in the center of a clearing in the middle of a dead forest. A seal matching the one in the desert was carved into the ground behind him. He looked up. The sky that was visible was black as if a thunderstorm was about to strike but without clouds. "Zelda? Lissa?"
Zelda dangled from a dead tree and dropped into the clearing. "I'm here, in more or less one piece. But I don't see Lissa."
"Maybe she made it. Maybe we weren't supposed to."
"Link, you and Lissa have the same birthmark on your hands."
"What?" He stared at Zelda's face then looked down at his right hand. "That's impossible. A seer told me this is the mark of the Triforce, for the ones who protect it, and that it's passed down only in my family."
"Then Lissa must be part of your family."
Shock undermined his disbelief. "No. Then Ganon could use her too."
Zelda grabbed his hand and squeezed it. He could feel her mind pressing against his. He pushed it away. "Use her for what? Tell me, please."
Link jerked his hand back. "It's nothing. We better find that silver arrow."
After all we've been through and this is what you think of me? You think I can't handle what you know? Stop hiding, stop running, and tell me!"
"I just thought it would be better if you didn't know."
"Let me decide if I need that kind of protection from you."
He couldn't look at her angry face. "That last spell Ganon cast, the one he hit me with while you were escaping with the Triforce of Power."
"I remember. It hit me, too. But you said it was nothing."
He grabbed her shoulders angrily. "Why didn't you tell me it hit you!"
"You said it was nothing!" Link threw down his arms and turned away. "You lied to me?" He didn't answer. "Link, you lied to me!"
His shoulders sagged with despair, anger, pity. And he told her of the burden they now shared.
Two Years Ago
"Link? Link, answer me, please." Zelda fought to keep the worry out of her voice.
Link blinked his eyes open. He was lying in his bed back at the North Palace. The last thing he remembered was Zelda running from Ganon's Grand Chamber dragging a green and a red Triforce behind her. "Zelda? What happened?"
"We did it! We won!"
"Won?" He sat up, mainly to see if he could.
"We have the Triforce of Power! All three of them joined together. I was so worried." Her arms circled around his neck in a quick hug. "When Ganon hit you with that spell, I thought you were going to die before I could get you back to the Palace. But Captain Krin heard me calling for help." She stood up. "I have to go tell Father you're okay. He's worried."
Link blinked again as she left and shook his head. The Royal Physician sat down in the chair Zelda had just jumped out of. "How do you feel?"
"She's different. What happened?"
"The Princess?" The doctor peered at him.
Zelda's voice broke into Link's mind. The Triforce has given me telepathy.
That's how I called to Captain Krin.
You're showing off, Zelda.
What? No one else can talk back to me. They can just hear me. Why can you?
You're showing off, Zelda.
What? No one else can talk back to me. They can just hear me. Why can you?
Zelda's mental snort was the same as her audible one, and she broke the connection. Link chuckled.
"The Princess is showing off?" The physician asked with a smile under his black mustache.
"I can talk back to her telepathically. That surprised her."
"Interesting, no one else has been able to. How do you feel?"
"I feel fine. What did Ganon hit me with?"
The physician shifted in his chair. "I didn't tell the Princess; she was worried enough. Don't ever cut yourself, at least not in the presence of any of Ganon's servants."
"Why not? I'll bleed to death?"
"No. It was the most powerful spell I've ever seen. Ganon's immortal soul must have known that you and the Princess were going to destroy his body."
"Doc, you're not making any sense."
"Your blood can bring Ganon's body back to life. There are probably other ways to do it, but you have now become the easiest way for the moblins to have their master back. And possibly the blood of any relations, since the spell was so strong."
"I don't have any family. I'm an orphan." Link's voice was dazed.
"Most parents aren't considered orphans."
"I'm not a parent!"
"Why didn't you tell me then?" Zelda yelled with her hands on her hips.
Link whirled to face her. "You were happy! Ganon was gone; Hyrule was safe. Do you really think I could have destroyed your peace of mind by telling you I'm the biggest threat to Hyrule now? You're giving more guts than I've got, Princess."
"Then why did you leave? What good did that do?"
He turned away again. "The moblins kept coming after us. I left because I didn't want them using you as a hostage to get to me. But he can use your blood, too. And Lissa's. So I left for nothing." He punched the trunk of a nearby tree. "I thought I was doing you and Hyrule one last service--not letting Ganon come back." He punched the tree again, scrapping the skin across his knuckles. "But I did it for nothing!" He mouthed the last, so Zelda couldn't hear it. "I tried to prove my love for nothing."
Zelda laid her hands on the shoulders that faced her. "Link, I'm sorry. I don't think you did it for nothing." He pulled away from her touch. "It was a very noble gesture." He didn't answer her. "We better find the silver arrow."
"Yeah," he said gruffly to cover his emotions. "We may need it."
Lissa looked around the black void she was standing in the midst of. A woman, neither young nor old, walked up to her. Her silver eyes looked down impassively at the girl. "Welcome, my child."
With those words, an understanding exploded into Lissa's mind. "You're my mother?"
The questions buried in Lissa's heart, in her past, flooded her mind, but she gave utterance to one word. "Why?"
"It is hard for you to understand. You are half-human and raised as a human. You don't realize that we--called Gensiarians here--act by different rules than the limited mortals. Magic's boundaries must be observed and destiny must be protected. I met your father in the midst of his grieving for his just dead wife. You do not understand why yet, but I stayed and comforted him. Soon after you were born, he was in a fight and received a fatal wound. I could have saved him, but the only wish he had was to see the son that he had given away after his wife had died. But I was unable to reach the boy before your father died."
"You mean I have a brother?"
"Yes. I let a friend of your father raise you, under the condition that you would be kept ignorant of your past."
"You should know that," the Gensiarian chided.
"So destiny and the future are protected."
"A guardian of what has happened, must happen, and shall happen cannot be told of the fate until he or she is ready to make the choice. The choice has come to you."
Lissa took a deep breath. "I need the Triforce of Destruction."
"You have not listened to both arguments." Seeing Lissa's confused look, she continued. "We are the arbitrators. Two sides constantly battle for control. You have a mortal's choice of which side to serve. But you cannot make this choice without hearing the other's arguments."
Link and Zelda were back to back, surrounded by moblins. One rushed out of the circle--heading for Link. "Look out!" He managed to shout before the whole mob attacked.
Zelda pulled back her bowstring and let the arrows fly. A moblin took one of these arrows and vanished. In his place, was a shining silver arrow. She snatched it up. "I've got the silver arrow!"
Link kicked back a moblin. "One problem solved." The horizons grew hazy. He blinked and turned around. He and Zelda stood on an infinite black plane. "This is getting slightly ridiculous. Where are we?"
Lissa walked up to them. "We're where the Gensiarians meet."
Link grabbed Lissa's hand, comparing her birthmark to his. "Zelda, you're right! They're identical!"
Lissa looked at her hand, then Link's. "But that means." Her jaw dropped. "Link, you're my half-brother! We had the same father."
He closed his eyes and shook his head hard. "It makes perfect sense. Perfect sense."
"I hate to break up this touching family reunion, but where is the Triforce of Destruction?" Zelda asked. "We have no idea what Ganon is up to."
Lissa turned to Zelda apologetically. "The Gensiarians won't let me have it yet."
"Why not?" Link asked.
"Your understanding is not necessary." A cold clear voice rang out in the void. "Are both parties present?"
"Now they are." A hissing voice answered.
Link's eyes narrowed. "Ganon." He took a step forward. The pig-faced wizard smiled evilly at their group.
Lissa set both her hands on his chest as she stood in front of him, shaking her head. "This isn't the time or the place."
Link stepped back, but kept a wary eye on Ganon. The man who owned the voice came forward dressed in a shimmering robe. "Evil's consul may now present their case."
A woman dressed in the same shimmering robes stood next Ganon. She was the one who spoke. "You call us evil, but by what facts do you base that assumption? We have not had a chance to prove our leadership abilities to anyone thanks to the meddling of the so-called good side. We need the Triforce of Destruction to prove that we do not deserve the title evil."
Zelda sucked in her breath. "How logical. What do we do now?" she asked.
Lissa took a deep breath. So they want my choice, but it had to be a fair one. "Evil says they need the Triforce of Destruction to prove that they do not deserve the title evil. For that reason, you should not give the Triforce to them. Ganon will hold it over the mortals' heads to give himself power. And when they refuse to submit to his greed, he will use the Triforce of Destruction to destroy the Power of Gold. Therefore, destroying the boundaries of magic that hold the universes together. We wish to destroy the Triforce of Destruction, so that for better or worse, it cannot be used to destroy everything."
"The child has spoken well. A guardian is born." The judge announced after a moment's deliberation. "We give her the Triforce of Destruction."
Ganon snarled, hurling himself at Lissa. He doubled in size, towering over them. Link pushed her out of the way and stood, sword drawn to face the monster. Zelda, gripping the silver arrow, crept up to Ganon's side. Ganon whirled around and grabbed her in one swift movement. She cried out and dropped the silver arrow. They hazed and disappeared. "Zelda!" Link shouted as he felt something inside his soul tear away. Grabbing the silver arrow she had dropped, he turned to Lissa. "Send me after her," he ordered hoarsely.
Lissa nodded and turned to the man who had judged. "If we leave, the Triforce of Destruction is still ours, isn't it?"
"It is yours for all eternity."
The horizons started to grow hazy again. Link set his jaw. They were in the Dark Realm, at the entrance to a giant castle-like spire. "This is Ganon's Castle here in the Dark Realm. He and Zelda are inside. Be careful, Link." Lissa warned him. "I would hate to find and lose a brother in one day."
"Don't worry." Link stuck the silver arrow in his belt.
Ganon still held Zelda in his huge fist. "Prepare the Bath of Blood." He roared to his underlings. "Her Highness soon shall be one of us."
"I will not!" Zelda shouted with much more courage than she felt. Link was coming. He'd rescue her again.
Ganon brought her closer to his sneering pig face. "That's what you think."
"Master." One of the skeleton men, a stalfos, crept up. "We have no fresh blood."
Ganon gloated in his superiority. "The blood," he hissed, "shall come to us. Make sure no one gets in his way." Zelda guessed at the meaning of those words. Her face turned very pale.
Link frowned. This wasn't right. No one had faced him as he searched for Zelda. It just wasn't like Ganon not to send out any of his minions when he could let them give him a hard time. He rounded another corner cautiously. The lighted doorway beckoned from the end of the corridor. Gripping his sword tightly, Link glanced at his almost healed wound.
Everyone was busy preparing for a ceremony. But where was Zelda? Link found her--literally held in Ganon's grip. Losing all caution, Link ran into the chamber with a battle cry.
"Link! No!" she screamed.
Ganon faced Link. "Drop your weapon, Hero, or I'll kill her." He squeezed his hand. Zelda gasped for air.
He'd do it too. Link felt rage burning behind his brown eyes. But Ganon hadn't seen the silver arrow yet. He dropped his sword.
Link, get out of here. They want you for a ritual to turn me evil. Run!
I'm not leaving without you.
I'm not leaving without you.
Tears filled her green eyes. he could see them from where he stood. Now's
not the time for some macho stunt! Get out of here before they kill you!
I have a plan.
I have a plan.
Ganon turned to his minions. "Prepare him for...." With a running leap, Link jumped onto Ganon's back. In one quick movement, he buried the silver arrow deep in it and flipped off.
"Ereah!" Ganon screamed and dropped Zelda. Link caught her and ran for the doorway. They never made it. Link stopped running when he realized they were back in the limbo. He looked around. "Where's Lissa?"
"She will be here shortly. She must destroy this place." A woman stood beside him. They were back in the desert of Hyrule in the Light Realm. The animals shot them nervous looks. "We may have to wait a while," she continued. "My daughter's youth and mortal side hinder her powers."
Link looked down at Zelda. His heart thudded loudly in his ears and not just from the exertion. She had fainted. Link knelt down and laid her on the ground, her head on his lap. "So," he said at last, "you're my stepmother?"
"That is what you could call the relationship." She paused, "I believe your father would be proud of you."
"Tell me about him."
"Many considered him a brave man," Lissa's mother said slowly. "He must have loved your mother very much, for he never stopped mentioning her. Though you do not share his looks, you act very much like him."
Zelda heard voices. She shifted her foot slightly and felt the sand she was lying on. What had happened? Ganon had her; Link was in mortal danger. Her eyes flew open.
She looked full into Link's face, that wonderfully strong, honest face. Relief flooded his brown eyes and yet something else, some other emotion flickered there. But it left and the mask was in place. "Are you okay, Zelda?"
"I'm all right," she replied slowly, "but Ganon?"
"He's out of commission again." A violent shift shook the entire world, as if it was being magnetically drawn to something else. Link instinctively tightened his hold on Zelda's arms.
Lissa appeared, haggard and older. Destroying the Triforce of Destruction showed her the knowledge she must know to be a Gensiarian. In time, she would find a better way to reconcile her two halves. Now all she could see was the endless possibilities of both halves--either here on Hyrule or on other worlds--and how limited she was. For the mortal half must die and the Gensiarian would continue, each half being true to what they are.
Her mother spoke, "Well done, Gensiarian," and vanished.
"Is it?" Zelda halted, fearing to complete the question.
"I destroyed it, Zelda." Lissa sat cross-legged on the sand. Nalga crept into her lap, comforting her. "Oh!" she cried softly, an idea had just occurred to her. "Here, Link." She handed him his sword.
"Thanks, Sis." He took his sword. Zelda sat up to be out of his way. "Your mother said you had to destroy that limbo place, why?"
Lissa laughed, "You're going to love this. The Triforce of Destruction was where the Gensiarians meet, suspended between the Dark and Light Realms."
"It makes perfect sense. Perfect sense."
Link walked into the throne room of the North Palace. "Well, I'm leaving."
"You are?" Zelda looked up from the paper she was reading. "Where are you going?"
"Around." He shifted his feet uncomfortably. "Lissa wants to see a bit of the world."
"I see," she said softly, looking down. She looked back up. "When will you be back?" She hoped she was successful in suppressing the eager note in her voice. "If you're coming back?"
"Whenever you need me, Zelda." He walked stiffly out of the throne room. She turned to the window and watched him mount Catherine. A tear slid down her cheek as brother and sister rode from the courtyard. "I need you now," Zelda whispered.
Lissa sighed. Link's determined facade had crumbled halfway down the road from the Palace to be replaced with misery. She saw the paths of the future in her mind, so many paths. But only one was the correct one. Only one could ensure the safety of the Power of Gold forever. She had to act. "You love her."
"What!" Link's head whipped around to look at the girl riding beside him.
"Why don't you tell her?"
He sighed. "Everyone loves her. Zelda's good to her people."
"That's not what I mean, Link, and you know it! Everyone knows it. That's what me, Catherine, and Storm were talking about when we were going to the Dark Realm portal. Storm said you two fight like an old married couple. And Catherine said you two should just mate and get it over with."
"Thanks a lot," he muttered down at his horse. "See if I pour my heart out to you again."
"Why don't you pour it out to Zelda instead?"
Link shook his head. "You're too young to understand."
"I understand, all right. You're afraid. Afraid that the feeling might not be mutual."
"That might be a reason, but not the only one. She deserves somebody better than me. She's a princess; she needs to marry someone who's good for the Kingdom. I'm a nobody--no title, no land, no ruling skills. Zelda deserves better than that."
Lissa whirled Easy-Going in front of Catherine. "If that isn't the stupidest thing I have ever heard! You're both denying yourself happiness because of your illusions of each other. Would you want to marry a simple farm girl? `I'm sorry, Honey, but even though I'd never leave you or try to hurt you, my heart belongs to another.' Do you have any idea how devastating that is? You go back there and tell her how you feel!"
"Some things are best left unsaid." Link tried to prod his horse around Lissa, but she blocked that path.
"Link," she warned. Link gave up, reared his horse, and galloped back to the North Palace.
Zelda jumped off her throne, roughly rubbing her cheeks. Link had barged into the throne room. He closed the doors softly and turned to her. "Just sit. I have something to tell you. Don't interrupt. Please," he added as an afterthought. Zelda sank back into her throne, knitting her eyebrows together in confusion.
Link took a deep breath. "It's like this. I saved you from Ganon that first time five years ago because I didn't think that anyone should have that fate. I never dreamed--never hoped--that I would fall in love with you." His face twisted in an expression he had never let it form before. "But I have. I know that it is too much even to think that you may care for me in the same way. And even if you did, I know you can't marry me since you're a princess. So... so... so I'm leaving. Please marry somebody who is right for the Kingdom, is perfect for you... and loves you as much as I do." He turned away, his heart aching. Whoever said love was a wonderful feeling?
Zelda jumped up again, ran across the throne room, and grabbed hold of his arm before he opened the doors again, pulling him to a stop. "Why in Hyrule have you waited so long to tell me?" Link turned from the door. "Here's my answer!"
Link opened his mouth to protest and found Zelda's sweet, warm lips pressing against his. Every thought in his mind stopped and reveled in the sensations of the kiss. "Was that a yes?" he asked when he was able.
"Of course that was a yes. You just proposed to me, you dummy."
"What did I propose?"
"Marriage, you idiot." Her red-rimmed eyes opened wide with fear. "Unless you didn't mean it?"
"No, no," Link hastened to remedy. "I meant it, believe me!" He relaxed and pulled her closer. Everything was fine. He loved Zelda; Zelda loved him. "I must have proposed pretty good for a stupid, idiotic dummy."
"No, not really, but I'm not waiting for one that sounds better and is less sincere." Zelda's green eyes gazed into Link's warm brown ones. "Confidentially, you were they only one I ever made fun of like that."
"I wouldn't go in there right now." Lissa sat holding Kilare outside the throne room.
The courier removed his hand from the doorknob. "And why not?" he asked haughtily.
"Because the Princess will be ringing for you any minute now." Lissa smiled, her mismatched eyes mysteriously lighting up. "I would advise getting out all the things you use for a wedding."
"And I would advise you to keep your impertinence to yourself." The throne room bell rang. The courier gave Lissa a worried look before entering.
Lissa giggled delightedly as she smoothed Kilare's feathers. "I think I frightened him."
They held the beautiful wedding outdoors a week later. Zelda radiated in her white, silver, and blue bridal gown. Link felt ridiculous in the uncomfortable formal clothes, but forgot everything when he saw Zelda. She so occupied his one track mind, she had to prod him to say "I do."
Lissa did not join the festivities after the ceremony. Instead she sought out the elderly-looking man with silver eyes. "Will they be happy?"
"Oh, yes, they will be happy--in their fashion. But you have a more important job ahead of you." The Gensiarian looked at the dancing couple before continuing. "You must protect their son. The future of Hyrule depends on his destiny. Remember," he placed his hand on her shoulder, "you are also the liaison between the mortals and us. You are the one to ensure that what has happened and what must happen will happen."
"I will remember," Lissa promised softly. The Gensiarian nodded as he vanished.
Link pulled Zelda closer. "Why didn't you ever admit that you loved me? I told you lots of times, before I decided that I should stop since you're a Princess, and too good for me."
Zelda laid her head on his shoulder. "Do you want an honest answer?"
"It would be nice."
"Well, I didn't want you to get a swelled head."
"A swelled head! I never get a swelled head!"
"That's what you think." Zelda retorted as she walked off the dance floor. Link watched her go with a smile on his lips.
He bowed stiffly to Lissa. "May the groom have this dance with his favorite sister?"
Lissa giggled, she couldn't help it. "Favorite sister? I'm your only sister."
"So that makes you my favorite sister automatically." Link said smoothly as he guided Lissa over to the dance floor.
Lissa put the Gensiarian's statements to the back of her mind. This was a day
of rejoicing. Let the future come on its own.