Disclaimer: I don't own The Legend of Zelda or NiGHTS.
Dreamer's Garden was always a lovely place, especially at night. That was when the luminescent, mothlike night fays came out and perched on soft flower petals. There was a plethora of statues, most of which had heads tilted forward or backward and eyes closed in slumbering poses.
Tonight, the night fays eagerly whispered among each other. Two big humans had entered, a male and a female.
The male was stood an inch or two taller than the female, with pointed ears and dirty blond hair sticking out of a floppy green cap that might have looked silly if he didn't have such a serious face.
His companion followed a step behind, hands casually resting on her hips as she looked around. She had messy short black hair that was kept under a loose rein by a metal circlet. Both were dressed for battle.
"Hey, Link, do you get the feeling something's here?" The young woman asked. "You're better with that sort of thing."
"Why? Are you feeling something?"
"Yeah," she folded her arms over her chest and gave a tiny shudder. "It's giving me the creeps. Answer to question, please."
"Yes," Link nodded, brow furrowing as he concentrated. "If I'm not mistaken, it feels like--"
"...You know I hate when you do that."
"So I know you like the back of my hand. Sue me. Point is, can you sense Zelda here?"
"Yeah." Without warning, Link broke into a run.
"HEY!" His friend chased after him, trying to ignore the slight limp she'd gotten from a recent foot injury. "LINK, WAIT UP! 'Oh, I'm sorry, Kris. I forgot all about your foot. Let's go slow. Wouldn't want to get your ankle twisted or something.' No, but thank you. Link," She muttered under her breath, sarcasm growing thicker with every word. "Let's just keep on running like the crazy yahoos we are. My foot's fine. Really, it is. Let's go hurry and save the stinkin' princess and I can just use crutches for the rest of my stinkin' life."
Link skidded to a halt, and Kris staggered to his side breathing hard. "You know, Link," She gasped out as she rubbed her sore foot. "There's this really nifty little thing called 'chivalry'. You should check it out sometime. It's basically being considerate of ladies. Like, say, maybe NOT running off and leaving your poor injured friend to limp after you. Or at least helping her out."
Link smirked. "Right. 'Cause you're such a lady." Kris punched him. Unlike with most girls, it actually hurt.
"See what I mean?"
Link rolled his eyes and didn't pursue the point further. "Okay, something told me she would be around here. But I don't see anything."
"I do," Kris pointed behind him.
Link turned and frowned. "I just see a gate with creepers."
She rolled her eyes. "And there wouldn't be anything behind that gate, now would there?"
"Er, right," Link sheepishly scratched the back of his head. That girl really knew how to make him feel stupid. Why am I friends with her again?
"Come on," Kris grinned, stepping up to the gate. "You're the hero, you're supposed to do all the important stuff. And you love me like I'm your little sister. That's why."
She does know me like the back of her hand. Link couldn't hide his own smile as he lifted the handle and pushed the gate aside. His and Kris's eyes widened at what they saw.
An attractive pointy-eared young woman lay unmoving with eyes closed on a stone bed. As the two friends rushed to her side, Link's throat ached. Was she…? Link took a deep breath. No, he could see she was breathing. Softly and evenly. She was asleep. Link slowly reached over and took hold of her arm. "Zelda, wake up."
Link shook her gently. "Come on," he said. "Please."
"She won't wake up," Kris spoke softly. At any other time, Link would have made some stinging comment about stating the obvious. Instead, he released Zelda and hung his head, eyes growing watery. Kris put her hand on his shoulder.
"Sorry," she whispered. "Hey, what's that?"
Link looked up where Kris was looking. In the starry night sky, a streak of gold soared. A falling star? Link almost considered making a wish before realizing it wasn't a falling star. It was actually coming toward Dreamer's Garden.
As it approached, the object lost its gold glow, but Kris and Link could still see two streams of sparkles an arm's length apart. It turned out that the sparkles were coming from the white-gloved hands of a flying humanoid creature. Kris wasn't entirely sure if it was a boy or a girl. The newcomer came to a graceful stop and floated five inches above the ground in front of them.
"Girl," Kris decided. After all, she reasoned, no boy would have long eyelashes like that or be that thin. At least, no boy could pull it off.
"Who are you?" Link demanded, drawing his sword.
With a shimmer, a second figure appeared close behind the first. Unlike the first one, this figure looked translucent and ethereal. It also looked like…
"Zelda?!?" Link sheathed his sword.
"Link," the Zelda ghost said in her soft voice. "And Kris. I'm so glad I can talk to you." She gestured with one arm, and the purple figure did the same. "This is NiGHTS. With her help I was able to come here."
"Where were you before?" Link asked. Kris could see his second question in his eyes: And how can I get there?
"I am trapped in the world of dreams. I can only contact you through NiGHTS for so long before she - er, we- are forced to go back. You have to find some way to wake me up here! I-"
NiGHTS and Zelda's heads jerked upward at the same time. "We should go now," Nights warned. "Time is running out."
Zelda sighed sadly. "Good-bye, Link."
Her image faded away, and NiGHTS flew back up into the night sky. About three miles away, she starting spinning and glowing gold until she was once again a gold streak in the darkness. Then she vanished.
Link and Kris gazed up at the starry sky for a few minutes without speaking.
"Well, now that was quite a visit. Haven't seen her around here for a while."
They spun around, Link's hand going for the sword hilt hanging over his shoulder while Kris grabbed the dagger in its sheath hanging from her belt.
"Whoa, now! Calm down, calm down. My, you two are certainly high-strung, aren't you?" A middle-aged man raised gnarly hands in a "calm down" position.
Link lowered his hand to his side. "Sorry. Force of habit."
Kris's hand relaxed as she nodded. "Right. From past experience, anything coming up behind us usually isn't friendly."
The man nodded. "Quite understandable. You both have the looks of adventurers. Adventuring certainly doesn't come without its dangers. Well, you don't have anything to worry about here." He turned and strolled off. Link and Kris exchanged a look and caught up with him, walking on either side. The man nodded "I am the Gardenkeeper. You are?"
"I'm Kris," Kris answered. "We came here looking for our friend."
"Is there any way to wake her up? What's she doing here?" Link asked.
"This place is called Dreamer's Garden," the keeper replied, giving Link a look that indicated he was supposed to be able to figure all this out. "She's a dreamer."
Link got angry. "You mean you KNEW she was here?! And you're not going to do anything about it!?!"
"Hey, my job is to take care of and protect the garden and everything in it. That includes your girlfriend. She's in good hands, my friend."
"She's not my girlfriend," Link grumbled through clenched teeth. "And I'm not your friend." He turned on his heel and walked back to Zelda's resting place.
Kris stayed with the Gardenkeeper and asked more questions. "If she's in such good hands," she asked, trying to sound as polite as possible. "how did she get here in the first place?"
"Honestly, I don't know," The keeper replied with a shrug. "First time I looked, no one there. Second time, there's a girl lying there. Most likely, someone put her to sleep outside the garden and left her here."
Kris crinkled her brow, puzzled. "I'm not sure I get what the significance is."
"It's like this. I don't entirely understand it, but if someone is asleep and brought into the garden, they don't wake up at all. It takes something special to wake them up again."
"I don't know, to be honest. It depends on the person and what kind of method was used on them. Sometimes it's the clichéd true love's kiss, other times it's some special plant or potion, other times it's some long, tedious procedure with a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo. You'll have to learn who put her to sleep and how he, she, or it did it."
"If we do, will you tell us how to wake her up?"
"Maybe. If it's been done before. I'm afraid I'm no expert on the subject. All I know is what I've seen done before."
"So, you don't have any ideas?"
"Oh, I have ideas, all right. The main reason this place is called Dreamer's Garden, I think you saw already."
"Yes. NiGHTS is a creature from the dream world. She and others can enter the waking world here."
"NiGHTS has apparently befriended or at least agreed to help your friend. She can be helpful in awakening your friend from the world of dreams, maybe with the Awakers."
"They're creatures that come to carry dreamers back to the waking world. If Awakers are barred from approaching a certain dreamer, he or she cannot leave safely, and therefore-"
"Can't wake up," Kris finished. "What about throwing yourself off a cliff? Doesn't that wake a person up?"
"At times, yes. Unfortunately, in Dreamer's Garden, the connection to the dream world is so strong that if something kills you there, you die here as well."
Kris frowned. "Well that makes things harder."
"Yes, I suppose it does."
"Thanks anyway. I'd better go find Link. See ya."
When Kris found Link again, he was standing by Zelda's stone bed, gazing at her still face. Kris sighed to herself. He cared so much about her, why did he have to only show it when she was unconscious? Life would be so much easier for everyone if he just had the guts to admit…
"Hey, Link," Kris greeted him. Link spun sharply and relaxed when he recognized her.
"Kris…" he smiled weakly. "…hi."
Kris shoved her fingers into her pockets. "I talked to the Gardenkeeper some more after you left."
...Yes. Horrible part to leave off at, but deal with it. Please R&R.