FFFFFFF, last chapter. D:
Drozan, actually no. He hasn't had a change of heart at all. But you'll see.
In the days that followed, Vaati had caused no trouble. Even his Poe sidekick caused no trouble, though the Poe was prone to berating anybody who dared show his master any kind of bad attitude. The ghost also made it a point to be an annoying nuisance when Vaati didn't get his way – as such, despite the protests from Link and Zelda that Vaati would have a lovely cell in the dungeon, Poe would screech in outrage and simple wouldn't shut up until Vaati was granted a modest room within the castle itself.
Mordrid was not happy.
Well, he hadn't been happy to begin with. According to Quinn and several healers, the prince had suffered four broken ribs, one of which came extremely close to puncturing a lung, a very nasty compound fracture in left arm, and a concussion that should have by all means killed him. But it didn't, and when he had finally come to his senses days later to find out the man who ordered his brother's death was still alive, he was unhappy indeed – and no amount of pain or concussion induced nausea and sensitivity to light was going to stop the prince for attacking Vaati all out. They had to take some rather drastic measures to keep Mordrid in his bed and repeatedly explained to him that this was only a temporary situation.
The prince was still unhappy.
In fact, Quinn was a little unhappy too. Or maybe a lot. It was hard to tell with the young minister because he had an extremely practiced poker face. But the fact was, he did not like the idea of Vaati being anywhere near anyone. It didn't help that Vaati had also taken someone from him, and Zelda had thought that might make the minister upset or angry. But the redhead had no desire for revenge, saying that it wouldn't bring the dead back or undo any other damage. It was business as usual for girlish looking Quinn, but he couldn't hide the fact that he was having just as much issue with idea of Vaati hanging out as everyone else.
Link and Zelda were still unhappy about the situation themselves, despite the fact that Vaati was appearing to be nothing but cooperative. In fact, he hadn't even made any little passes at Zelda - which she was grateful for, yet the absence of them seemed disturbing. More disconcerting was that when they asked how long it would take to repair the seal, Vaati would shrug and say that he only had the roughest of estimations. If he worked on the seal for a few hours a day (which he had already begun doing), he said he should have something by perhaps a little less than year. However, Vaati was milking the situation for everything that he could. He conveniently left out that even an inexperienced sage could lend a hand and probably help him fix the seal in a matter two months, maybe less. It wasn't often that he fell into a situation like this after all…
One Year Later
Link had been out for a ride on Epona, just absently wandering Hyrule Field. Right now, he had just stopped by a creek so his mare could get a drink of water, and in doing so he became caught up with his own thoughts.
Hyrule was truly peaceful for the first time in a long while. The Gerudo were now cooperating with Hyrule, coming to an alliance that most hadn't though was possible. Of course, not everyone receptive to it, but nothing terrible had happened because of it. Ilantia had become a province of Hyrule, no marriage necessary. Mordrid was very clear on the fact that he had no interest in Zelda aside from friendship. He also had a few more reasons, mostly involving the words "old fashioned" and "outdated," which had Faruch and Riah in a tizzy. He did seem to have a clear interest in Malon, however, and Link did wonder what exactly was going on there. However, whenever he asked Malon, she would tell him it was none of his business… which made him think that there was something going on.
Bards like Chopin had adapted well to Hyrule; people seemed to really enjoy their performances. Some were even taking on Hylian apprentices. Not Chopin, though. Tactless and quirky as he was, the last Link had heard of the man was that he had decided to go even further than Hyrule. "Bards go where the adventure is," he had said. And Link could only wish him luck. Because one thing was for sure, and that was that link certainly had enough adventure in his life.
He sighed and looked at his left hand. While there was no more hole there, it was clear that there would never be as much skin as there once had been there. A part of his palm was literally concave, decorated with an ugly pale scar. The bones that had been in his hand had never completely repaired, his index, middle, and ring fingers were essentially useless. Because of that, Link was forced to use his right hand. Having no real choice in the matter, his once secondary hand had caught up easily and taken over for his once dominant hand. It was still shaky at some of the finer details, but at least he could hold a sword again.
With Epona finished, Link sung himself on the mare and began the trek back to Castle Town. The town itself had grown, forcing some of the walls to be torn down and rebuilt around new borders. Hyrule castle itself was finished as well…
And Zelda. Zelda wasn't a princess anymore. She had her coronation; she was now officially Queen of Hyrule. Personally, he thought there wasn't a better queen around.
The only major problem that Hyrule had, however, was that Vaati was still around. The mage had mostly kept to himself… to a point. It was a well known secret that some of the female staff sometimes made some late night visits to his room. But aside from that, he had little contact with people and kept to a strict schedule of visiting the Master Sword for a few hours each day. At the same time, Link was making no huge effort to spend any time with the man. Last he had heard, the mage had reported to Zelda that the seal's repairs were nearly complete…
And that was the real reason why Link had been out with Epona. Not just for a ride. He was just enjoying himself a bit before making the stop to his real destination. He had been heading to Castle Town… but to Old Castle Town.
Vaati had finished with the seal on the Master Sword. And he was happy about that. Ganondorf wouldn't likely get out of that seal for a good long time as long as those sages of Zelda's made sure to keep it up. He'd also made sure, as he was working on the seal, that on the off-chance if that particular blade were ever to be turned on him, it would be useless. In truth, that was why full repair on the seal had taken so long – because he had to shape it to certain specifications. But it was all done now, so that was one less thing to worry about. Not that he really needed to worry.
He hadn't said that the repairs were complete just yet, as he still wished to have a bit of fun with this. He wasn't going to get the chance to enjoy Hyrule Castle like this for a long time to come after this. At the same, he knew very well he couldn't stay forever. Link and Zelda would see to that, especially when Zelda went to check in on the seal and saw that he had completed the repairs. He still intended to carry out his plans to obtain the True Force, even if he did have to find another way to obtain Power… And he was sure that Zelda and Link quite knew he wasn't going be turning over a new leaf. He would disappear and wait till they were at their weakest – then he'd take what was his and find the pieces of the Eternal Force. And hopefully by that time he would manage to find away to get a hold of Power. And then it would be his. But that wasn't all.
The goal was that hopefully, history would repeat itself. Wars would break out, chaos would erupt, all for the want of the True Force. And then those that would come near the True Force, those strong enough to get there… Vaati would take their power and add it to his own. And then he would be the strongest and most powerful being – like a god – like the plans for so long ago that he had but just been out of his reach… No one, not even the goddesses themselves could hope to challenge him.
The mere thought alone was enough to make him smile with delight. Even though he had to postpone these plans, they would come true. He knew it.
That day, however, he was only visiting the Master Sword on that day just to make sure he wasn't overlooking anything – it didn't hurt to double-check, after all.
The blade had been relocated back to the Pedestal of Time after the rubble and remains of the Temple had been cleared away. That also helped in the sealing process. Being placed in a pedestal of some sort tended to strengthen the lock the blades held on their captives. The only downside to that was that when the sword was placed in that extra strength padlock, when it was pulled out, the lock went from super strong to super brittle and could be broken quite easily. Maybe he should advise the princess – or Queen; she was a queen now – to stick a "do not touch" sign over the Master Sword.
He had warped to the where the Temple of Time used to be in the blink of an eye. He looked around, having expected Poe to show up. The idiot ghost tended to like Old Castle Town, probably because it was dreary and practically exuded misery – something which Poe had been fond of inflicting on others since he was still alive. But the ghost made no appearance, and he didn't pay much mind to it. It was a bit unusual, but not uncommon for the specter to go off on his for a bit.
He walked up the dusty steps towards the Pedestal of Time and to the Master Sword. And that was when Vaati realized that he may have been caught in a bad situation.
Poe was in a magic bottle at the base of the pedestal, banging at the glass walls desperately as if trying to warn his master of something. But Vaati was already quite aware of a presence behind him. He turned around, to see Zelda standing with legs locked and hands on her hips. Well, someone meant business.
"How long have you been finished?" She asked coolly.
"Not long, actually." Vaati responded with the same tone. "I have to admit I had hoped to keep the charade up a little longer, though. But now that I'm caught, I think it's best to leave."
He turned his back on her, not worried that she would try anything. And even if she did, she would be making a terrible mistake in thinking he wouldn't fight back. But as he knelt down to pick of the glass bottle in which his servant was trapped in, all he heard was, "You know, the Ilantians had some great information in their libraries. A few books that managed to escape burning by Ganondorf's hands ended up there."
"Did they now?" Vaati asked, carelessly brushing off some dust on the bottle.
"Yes. Funnily enough, some of them pertained to the One Eyed Beast."
For the briefest moment, Vaati's breathing stopped. But as quickly as he had frozen, he went on as if there wasn't anything wrong. "You've seen the form – it's quite terrifying. It's rather understandable o think I'm a legend even in foreign lands." He looked over his shoulder at her. "Now if you're quite done, I'll be going now."
"But I'm not done," she said so proudly… he wanted to smack her. "Because Vaati, those books had quite a bit of information on you and the Four Sword."
"I'm done here." Vaati snarled. He didn't wait for a response; he simply warped out of Old Castle Town. Apparently, the thought of Zelda knowing about the Four Sword had perturbed him enough so that he had miscalculated his warp and landed right into the broken bridge. He scowled at the fact that boots were getting soaked through in the old, foul moat water, but continued onward to the grass.
That was until he felt another presence behind him. At first, he thought it was Zelda again; that she had followed him with a warp of her own. Unfortunately, the person he happened to see was worse than the newly crowned queen of Hyrule. It was Link. And in his hand…
Vaati staggered backwards, just barely managing to keep his balance. "Where did you get that?" He demanded.
"This old thing?" Link said, holding up the Four Sword to the sunlight, causing the blade to glint and gleam. "Ends up there were records in Ilantia saying that the shrine of the Four Sword had been swallowed up in a landslide after a massive earthquake. Coincidentally, the shrine also held the Eternal Force – so people thought both the Sword and that piece of the Force were gone. With nothing else to do… people built over it and it was forgotten. That's what Chopin said, anyways." Link grinned at Vaati, pointing the blade right at the mage. "But it looks like it's true, right?"
Vaati wasted no time. There were three other Links around, he knew it. He made as if to warp away – far, far away – but he wasn't quite fast enough. Link had literally come and stabbed him in the back – and even then he could feel the Four Sword pulling him further into the depths of darkness that were his prison. But he couldn't understand. Where were the other three? Why was it only one Link?
But he never did find out. He was sucked into the void, into the prison that haunted him even in his waking dreams.
Poe's bottle fell into the moat, and the ghost wailed within it. His master was gone again! So swamped with grief was Poe, that he had not noticed that Link had plucked the bottle from the water and grinned. The ghost merely sobbed into cowl, wishing that he could have taken his master's place instead. "You're bigger than the average Big Poe. The Poe Collector is definitely going to like you." Link commented, feeling oddly self-satisfied. The part of him that was Dark had definitely wanted to hand over the ghost to the one-eyed creep in the hood for quite a while.
"Did you get him?" He heard Zelda's voice from behind him.
Link, still grinning, stuffed the poe into his pocket and held out the sword. "He didn't even know what was happening."
She grinned and then threw herself on Link, pulling him into a tight embrace and kissing him. It took him by surprise at first, but he kissed back, relishing the feel of her lips upon his. Eventually, they parted. Zelda, still all smiles, took his free hand and they began to walk back to Castle Town. "He looked for three more of you?"
"Yup." Link nodded. "I don't think he ever realized that you and the sages fixed the Four Sword so that it was practically brand spanking new again."
"That's good. And with any luck, he'll stay in there forever." The words did not come out bitterly, but serenely. It was all truly over now… And while running a kingdom would never be easy, she was definitely hoping she wouldn't have to deal with anything involving the fate of the world again.
"Hey, Zelda – what do you think would happen if we melted the sword down? Think that would kill him?" Asked Link as he looked at the Four Sword.
Again, she grinned. "Maybe. We'll have to look it up, I suppose." She said.
Link grinned back, and the two walked back to Castle Town in happy silence. By the time they had reached the gates, though, Zelda had all but paused and her face was serious. Link looked at her, visibly confused.
Zelda looked at him – really looked at him. The Hero of Time she had fallen in love with before he was even a Hero. Some part of him was still a child… but despite that, he had grown up so much since last year. Before, he had just seemed so confused, not knowing what he wanted in his life or how to deal with being a normal adult. But here he was now, evidently having found something in himself that was allowing him to enjoy being an average adult, yet still having some of that child in him. It had given him a sense of confidence the likes of which she hadn't seen since she had been Sheik, aiding the Hero of Time on a quest to awaken the sages… And although she had loved Link before, seeing him like this now… confident and with a new swagger she hadn't seen before, she found herself being so proud of him.
"What is it? I got something in my face?" Link asked, clearly confused as to why Zelda had been staring at him so long.
"How'd you like to be a prince, Link?" Zelda said shamelessly.
The part of Link that was still a child nearly seized up. He knew for sure that his face had reddened as well. But despite that, he managed to put a confident smile back on. "Prince? That seems like an awful lot of work."
She resisted the urge to laugh, and instead put a hand on her hip and asked, "Is that a yes or a no?"
Link's expression softened completely. "Do you really have to ask?"
And then she kissed him again. And he kissed back. And they didn't care that practically all of Castle Town had seen.
Last chapter is squishy. Ew. Anyways, woooooooow. I finished this. This is like... woooooooow.A lot changed throughout this whole story, thoiugh the end is relatively the same plus or minus a few things... I really have nothing else to say about it really. Except wooooooow.
As always, I'd like to thank my reviewers, because you guys are all awesome. More awesomer than readers who don't review. Special shout outs to fleets and Midna Hytwilian for being awesome friendlies. And special shout outs to Drozan, beforethedawnbreaks, and SubZeroChimera for being such faithful reviewers! It makes me happy to know that people enjoy what I write, and even nicer to hear from them rather than just a fave or a watch.
Anyways, my writing path ain't done on the Zelda circuit. Those of you who haven't already, check out my story Fly Away, it's a neat AU if I say so myself, chock full of tons of Zelda stuff from tons of Zelda games. Aside from that, I also have another fic in the works called Reversal, which should be out soon. That one's going to be a short fic, probably around five chapters at the most, and meant to give people a laugh from the absurd, though it will have its serious moments.
Advertising aside, again, thanks all for reading! Especially reviewers and friendlies! I'm glad to know I've got an audience. XD I'll still answer any reviews for this last and final chapter through PM, so if you have questions, feel free to ask them (or send a PM if you don't feel a review is worth it, though I really much rather prefer reviews -eyeborw waggle- ). So see you later guys! 8D