Sooooo... sorry for the long time in between updates. I've actually had a good chunk of this done already, but a convention was coming up and I had last minute cosplays to attend to. More specifically, an Anju from Majora's Mask. I also cosplayed Zelda from Skyward Sword - which won me best novice in a costume contest! So I think all that work was well worth the effort.

Anyways, now that all that is taken care of for the moment, I had time to finish up this chapter. Still not entirely satisfied with it, but I'm so tired of working on it, it'll have to do.

All of the rest of the day, Zelda and Link had been kept busy. Zelda had been practicing nonstop with the lyre that Medli had leant her, and while she had the basic tune she was supposed to learn, she often would try to learn any others Medli would show her. Truthfully, the princess found the instrument a great way to take her mind off any worries. Whenever she strummed or plucked one of the strings, it seemed as if she was in another world far away from any harm. Because while she had been cheerful in the festive atmosphere, she was secretly fraught with all sorts of negativity. Whenever she played the small harp, however, it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered save for the tune she was playing.

Link was less enthusiastic about his role. Since he was a "major" character in this little play, he'd immediately been taken in for a fitting. He had to admit that he wasn't a huge fan of the shade of green chosen for him, but the designer behind it was insistent upon it. Whatever the case, after that was done with, Laruto went over the script with him. The Zora girl seemed to lose most of her skittishness during the script reading, which he had to admit made things a lot less awkward. Of course, when everything was done for the day and he had his own script, Laruto resumed being reserved and quietly asked that he return the next day around the same time they'd met.

It was late afternoon when he'd found Zelda and Medli near one of the beaches. However, he didn't make his presence obvious. The two girls had been practicing a duet, apparently and… well, on the Pride, music was a huge luxury. Yes, there was the occasional party and such, but that was really the only time. The only times he'd really heard music outside of that setting was when Itaav got that infuriating ukulele (which wasn't to say Itaav couldn't play it; he could play it, but Link had dared him that he wouldn't be able to). That and Link had to admit that he rather liked admiring Zelda. She was beautiful, nice, cheerful and optimistic, strong in a way he'd never thought of a princess…

"Huh, that Hylian girl can play."

He nearly jumped out of his boots. He hadn't even noticed the Rito standing by him. Link frowned, however, and said, "That makes it sound like a Hylian girl can't play any music at all."

The Rito, who Link was guessing was around two or three years younger than him, just gave him a half interested look before shrugging, "Well I don't know – never really met a Hylian girl before; then again, I don't know that many Hylians to begin with." He said simply. Then dismissing Link completely, he stepped forward towards Medli, "Hey there, Medli!"

The Rito girl looked up from her lyre to see who was speaking, and when she did she gave the speaker the flattest look possible. "Don't 'hey there!' me!" Standing up with feathers ruffling, the girl went on to say, "Do you have any idea what day this is?"

"… Saturday?" The male Rito said cluelessly.

"It's the eve of the festival, Komali! You're supposed to be practicing for the Founding Play! It's your first time in the lead!"

"It'll be fine, Medli," Komali said carelessly.

Zelda looked to Link with raised eyebrows, who simply shrugged. While the Rito boy's name did raise a flag, he wasn't quite sure why… and was far more impressed by the volume in which Medli's feathers were fluffing.

"It's not going to be fine! You're the prince, Komali – you just can't mess up!"

"I'm not, I promise!"

And this banter seemed to continue along the same lines. For how long, neither of the Hylians were sure. Feeling as if they were intruding on something, Zelda had joined Link and they shuffled away quietly. Both being quite famished from the day's proceedings, the two were wandering the main road to the festival, as stalls were already readying themselves for the next day and preparing some food ahead of time. And to their great surprise, they found someone rather unexpected among the preparing vendors.

"Pennysworth?" Link gaped.

The scrub, wearing a ridiculous hat that looked like it had shish-ka-bobbed bean buns on it, seemed mortified upon seeing Link and Zelda. "Oh… it's you two…" He grumbled, all of a sudden seeming very preoccupied with a wheel on his ramshackle cart (and now that Link really looked at it, he recognized it from Linebeck's cargo hold).

"Mr. Pennysworth, you're selling festival food?" The ever chipper Zelda asked.

"Yeah, yeah. Gotta make ends meet somehow seeing as how I can probably never go back to Bleak." The way the scrub's golden eyes glared at Link added, And it's your fault. "I admit it's been a while. Haven't had to make dango for ages."

"Dango?" Zelda asked.

And that's when Link managed to put together that Pennysworth was, in fact, wearing a hat made to looked like shish-ka-bobbed bean buns. Because he was selling exactly that.

"I know that stuff… It's a Mainland specialty," Link said, vaguely remembering trying some in his youth just weeks before the hurricane that killed his parents came.

"Yeah, well here," the scrub picked up two different dango sticks and thrust them towards the two. Zelda took it with glee but Link forked an eyebrow at it. The Deku scrub's leaves ruffled indignantly and he muttered, "Take it as a 'sorry for wanting to sell you out' type of thing. Next ones ain't free!" But when Zelda said delightedly, "Oh this is delicious!" the scrub seemed to soften somewhat with pride and said, "She can have one more for free."

"Link, we should find Itaav! Something like this can cheer anyone sour mood, I'm sure!" The princess said as she took another bite of one of the bean buns.

He simply nodded in response, looking at the dango in his hand skeptically. The last time he'd had was so long ago, he couldn't remember if he liked it or not. So he looked to the Deku Scrub and asked, "Have you seen him?"

"Who? That creepy friend of yours? Saw him earlier and he was being creepy. So I kept my snout out of it." Pennysworth said carelessly.

The blond boy frowned. "Creepy? Creepy how?"

The scrub rolled his yellow eyes and responded as if he were talking to a small child, "As in creepy. I mean, aside from mumbling to himself and ignoring everything around him, he looks like a corpse. You got a weird choice in friend ya know. And if you're not going eat that, give it back."

Suddenly feeling very possessive of the dango he hadn't eaten, Link pulled it closer to himself and then took a small bite out of it. He was surprised that he couldn't remember something that tasted so good and scarfed it down pretty quickly. He and Zelda then said their thanks and goodbyes to Pennysworth, but the girl said with concern, "Do you think Itaav is sick, Link?"

"I don't know. I mean, I've seen Itaav when he's sick. But when he's sick, he's a huge baby… not delusional, by the sounds of it." Something was wrong, that was all Link knew. "We should probably try asking around again-"

But Zelda was distracted by a Zora girl approaching them and interrupted Link's train of thought when she said, "Is that Laruto?"

Looking over his shoulder, Link was able to confirm that it was Laruto. The Zora girl paused for a moment when he looked at her, then cast her eyes to the ground and kept walking towards them. She stopped when she was near them, saying quietly, "Link… the director saw us rehearsing lines earlier and… and he thinks you need more practice."

"Huh?" Was all he could manage. More practice? He could understand that, as he was by no means an actor. He just wasn't sure where the Zora girl was going with this. "Um, all right. So… what does that mean?"

The girl's face seemed to flush that pink purple that looked strange on her natural hue and she stuttered, "I-it means more practice… Rather than the same time tomorrow, we'd need to meet earlier and practice. Then we'll have to rehearse in front of the director so he can see your progress… And… and the costumer wants to see you again… She's having trouble with the sleeves… since you don't have fins…"

"Now?" Link asked. "It's not really a good time. We need to find our friend, we haven't seen him for a while."

The Zora girl fidgeted, mumbling something about the costume designer being upset. Link felt guilty, but at the moment he found looking for an unwell Itaav just a bit more important than some ridiculous play. But Zelda pursed her lips; having made a friend out of Medli, she was able to better understand the importance of the Founding Play to the Rito and Zora of Dragonroost. Since Link was playing the Hero of Legend in the Precursor Play, he couldn't exactly shirk his duties.

"Link, you should go with her. I'll find Itaav." The blond girl announced.

The Scaler looked at Zelda in a mixture of surprise and a tiny bit of frustration. "But Z- Marin-"

"You have a duty to the Precursor Play, Link. It's important that you do your best." Zelda said in a manner that represented the princess that she really was. But the serious manner wore off a bit when she added with a reassuring smile, "I'll find Itaav, don't worry."

But despite that, he was still bothered. He didn't want to leave Zelda alone – especially if she did end up finding Itaav. He couldn't exactly say why, but the thought had Link on edge. What if Itaav was still out of it like he was on Bleak, and that's why he was acting strange? He couldn't just leave Zelda alone with that! But Zelda still had that look on her face, even with that smile, that said she would have no arguments. Defeated and quite a bit upset about it, he nodded and grumbled, "Fine… But… be careful, Marin."

"I'll be all right, Link. I'm just going to find Itaav." She said cheerfully.

Link was still far from happy, but nodded and then followed Laruto to find the costume designer. Zelda watched for a moment, before turning on her heel and looking forward. Where on earth would she begin? Itaav could be anywhere on Dragonroost. With a sigh, she looked up to the mountain's peak where the great dragon Valoo resided. No doubt the dragon saw everything from up there, he could probably find Itaav. Yet she doubted she could go up and ask. From what she understood, Medli was the only one who could speak with the dragon, and getting up there alone would be pretty much impossible without wings.

She supposed she could always ask Pennysworth which way he saw Itaav go when he saw him earlier that day, but the time she returned to the stall the scrub had left for the evening. She supposed she could always go to Linebeck's ship and see if he was there, but she had a feeling she'd just be walking around in circles. So she took to asking whoever she came across if they saw anyone that fit Itaav's description. Most of them had seen him earlier in the day when Pennysworth had seen him, but didn't seem to have any idea where he was at the moment.

Night had fallen, and briefly she wondered if Link was still getting his costume fitted. Maybe she could find him and they could try looking together like they had planned earlier?

"Hey Miss Hylian Girl." Zelda hadn't even noticed Komali fly down beside her.

"Oh, hello there… Komali, right?"

The Rito boy nodded. "Yup. What are you doing out here? I'd thought you'd be with your Hylian friends."

"Oh, Link is getting his costume fitted – Laruto said she was having trouble because he doesn't have fins." She told him.

Komali nodded, "Yeah, Lulu gets kind of picky like that. She likes everything perfect – which I suppose is just fine seeing as I'm wearing a hand me down costume; no sewing involved there. I imagine you're getting a hand me down too… But what about that other friend of yours?"

"Well, I'm looking for him," Zelda said suddenly feeling very dismayed. "We haven't seen him since we got here so we're pretty worried…"

"Really? I saw him." Said the boy plainly.

The princess brightened considerably. "Really? Where?"

The Rito prince blinked for a moment, surprised that Zelda had gone from gloomy to bright in what seemed like an extremely quick amount of time. Whatever the case, he saw this as a great opportunity to get some help on a particular subject he was finding extremely confusing. "I'll tell you, but first… well, I need your help on something Miss Hylian Girl-"

"Marin." Zelda said, as she found 'Miss Hylian Girl' wasn't a nickname she wanted to stick.

"All right, Marin. I need you to help me out with something. Tomorrow, after the Zora Race, meet me here. All right?" Komali said. Zelda nodded and promised, to which the Rito prince grinned and said, "Great! Your friend's by the tidal pools on the other side of the island. I saw him when I flew over here not too long ago so he should still be there."

"Thank you, Komali!" Zelda said happily, giving him a quick hug before heading off to where Komali said Itaav was.

The feathered boy, a bit taken aback by the sudden embrace, absently watched the girl head off before calling out, "Remember, here after the Zora Race!"

But Zelda paid no mind to the boy's call. She remembered, because she always kept her promises, but right now she was simply concerned with finding Itaav. When she managed to get to the other side of the island, however, she was a bit confused. She wasn't quite sure where the tidal pools were exactly, and realized she probably should have asked for a bit more clarification from Komali. And looking around, this side of the island didn't seem too different from the one she came from. There were still decks and platforms everywhere, decorated with all sorts of festival preparation, and with plenty of stalls covered in tarps to make them just as indistinguishable from the next. Tidal pools, she was guessing, wouldn't be in the festival area… Tidal pools would obviously be along a beach. But which beach? Everywhere she looked she saw hints of sand but no Itaav.

And then she saw the rocky wall that the festival track seemed to end at. There was a thin bit of sand going around the wall…

Zelda hopped off the deck that was making up the festival track and into the sand. She followed it around the wall, keeping to the little trail that seemed to be circling the wall. But the trail of sand soon widened, and she realized that the main isle of Dragonroost was bigger than she had initially thought. Eventually, the rock wall made a sharp turn and she saw a wide space of sand and rocks. The rocky areas, she was guessing were the tidal pools.

She had taken only two steps into the area when she realized all the sand in the area seemed disturbed. Looking down… she saw they were pictures and… sloppy writing. She tried to make them out, but everything seemed jumbled. It didn't make any sort of sense at all, but the drawings, she noted, almost looked like bits and pieces of the late Helmaroc. She raised her head, looking around worriedly, seeing that nearly all the sand in the area had sketches and sloppy writing. It didn't take very long to find Itaav; he was currently crouching down, hunched over an area of sand. Zelda rushed over and knelt down beside him; if he noticed her, he did not show it. He was mumbling incoherently to himself while doodling something in the sand with a piece of driftwood.

"Itaav?" She asked. But again, he didn't seem to take any notice of her. He simply kept mumbling something about "counterbalancing the iron rods" and "trimming weight off the bow" and other things she wasn't quite sure of. Finally, she put a hand on his shoulder and said his name again. The touch was what seemed to bring him back to reality. He looked at her hand on his shoulder, as if it was some foreign entity he couldn't understand. He followed the hand up the arm and then found her face, again looking at her as if she was something he couldn't quite compute. "Are you… Are you feeling well, Itaav?"

For a few moments, Zelda wasn't at all sure he understood a word she had said. But just when she was about to repeat her question, he broke out into a very unstable smile and said, "I found a better way to counterbalance the wings with the rest of the ship."

"Itaav, that's… that's not what I asked…" She said quietly. Currently, she was very disturbed by what she was seeing. Pennysworth hadn't lied when she said Itaav looked like a corpse. The shadows under his eyes were… "Itaav, when was the last time you slept?"

Not knowing at all how it was possible, Itaav seemed to look even sicklier than before at the word 'slept.' In fact, he looked back down to his sloppy sketches and said, "Can't sleep; I have to rebuild the Helmaroc." But his words sounded force and frightened.

"Itaav, did you… you didn't sleep the night we came here, did you. You haven't slept in two days! No, three! You were out that whole night when we got to Bleak, and when you came back you were planning and… Itaav, you need to rest!" She said in alarm.

He froze, and then looked at Zelda in wide eyed fear. In a cracking, squeaky voice, he said, "If I sleep, the darkness gets me."

"Darkness… Itaav what darkness? The night?" She asked. Being afraid of the dark was one thing, but if this was how Itaav was reacting to it…

"No! No, not the night, not the night," he shook his head violently. "Not the night; no, worse. It's the dark that doesn't go away; it doesn't leave; doesn't end; just keeps going; closing in, no escape…" By this time, Itaav was pulling on his own hair. Zelda wasn't at all sure what to say or do. It was obvious he was having night terrors but… was he thinking of that time they were in the bowels of the Pride? She didn't think so… but to say the two weren't related might be taking to too far. But even if they were related, it didn't matter. Not right now.

Itaav then shot up and began pacing frantically, leaving a stunned Zelda just watching him. "That's why I have to build the Helmaroc again. Building keeps me from sleeping; if I don't sleep I can't go to the bad place and the darkness doesn't get me; it doesn't eat at me from the inside out; doesn't make me want to just end it all to stop the scary."

Zelda stood quickly, finding that very last statement to be the most frightening. But despite that, she still didn't know what to say at all. This was more than just sleep deprivation – three days of no sleep could rattle a person but it wouldn't do this. If there was anything Itaav was trying to get over, it was crippling paranoia to the extreme. "Let me help you…" She said. If she couldn't figure out what to do, he had to tell her how to help.

Her words actually made Itaav stop in his pacing, but only to laugh a very disturbing type of cackle. "Help? Help? There's no helping. The darkness doesn't go, it's always there. It's always been there. And I feel it there right now." He said, with his fist clenching at every 'there' he spoke, as if he was trying to grab the very word itself. "Even when I'm awake it's there… like it was… like it was then…"

"There?" She asked. She was frightened again, though she couldn't say why. It wasn't so much she was frightened of him, though, as she was frightened for him. What was he saying? She didn't get it. If she could get him to say, maybe she could help. "Where's there?"

His head turned, and he looked at her in such a way she could only describe as crazy. With one index finger he pointed to his temple and said, "It's up here," and with the other he pointed at his heart, "And it's right here. It's there and there, and I always feel it." And then he just collapsed. But he didn't faint. He simply fell on his back and resumed the cackling from before, "Nothing helps me. Because it's always there."

She hesitantly stepped forward and knelt down by Itaav. "Please Itaav. Let me help you… let me help you like Link helped you." She said gently.

Again, Itaav seemed to freeze. His red gaze met Zelda's blue. "Like Link helped me?"

With a hopeful smile, she nodded. Maybe she was finally getting through to him. But she found she was not when he burst out into a fit of insane laughter again. "Link; he's such a fucking idiot!" With a nutty cackling pausing his words, Zelda just stared in shock. "Link would've been better off letting me fall all the way down, because I was hoping he would fall all the way down." He cackling subsided, but he still had a mad smile on his face as he sat up, looked back at Zelda and said brightly and he rocked back and forth, "I wanted to kill him, just like I wanted to kill Blind. I fucking hate him - I hate both of them, yes I do."

What on earth was going on with him? He couldn't possibly be speaking the truth. This lack of sleep mixed with his fear of those night terrors – it was driving him mad. He needed to rest. "Itaav, you need to sleep."

"No." He responded immediately, giving her a threatening glance.

And she was at a complete loss. How could she help someone who didn't want help? Especially when he so desperately needed it! And then she blurted out, "When I was little and I couldn't sleep, my mother would sing to me. Did… did your mother ever-" His face had hardened significantly, but at least he didn't seem unstable. "Um… I can sing, if you want?"


She frowned. He didn't have to say it so bluntly! And it was too bad, she was going to anyways. She didn't immediately, however, as she was debating which song to sing. Sitting down properly, she thought for a moment. Her mother would sing several songs, each for a different occasion. The standard was always the lullaby that apparently was passed down on her father's side, which her father had taught her mother upon their marriage… There were the funny songs that would make she and her brother laugh… and then there was the one she would sing whenever they felt unwell…

"Day to night, dark to light, fall the sands of time… let the years like the gears, of a clock unwind…" She glanced at him. Despite the fact he said he wanted none of her singing, he was not objecting. He was, however, looking out at the ocean quite sourly. "In your mind walk through time, back to better days… Memories, like a dream, wash tears away…" She was already feeling some of that malice and madness from before vanish a bit. It was plain to see that Itaav was quite a bit more relaxed than he was earlier, though he was trying to keep up the surly façade. "Like a star in the sky, darkness can't reach you, light the night, joy is light till the new dawn…" His eyes had closed; there was no pretending now. "Cast away your old face, let go your spite… With this mask I'll ask to borrow your light…"

She repeated the song a few more time and when Zelda had finished her singing, she chanced getting a closer look at Itaav. He was sleeping… he was really sleeping. And from the looks of it, without nightmares. She sighed in relief. She had a feeling the song would do that. Whenever her mother had sung it to her or her brother when they were feeling bad, whether it be from physical sickness or just sadness, the song had a soothing, relaxing sort of effect. For that reason, she could understand why it was called the Song of Healing. She just hoped for Itaav's sake that it really was helping him and the calm he had now would last.

But before she could dwell any further on that thought, she saw Itaav slumping over. With a bit of a yelp, she quickly grabbed him before he could wake up to a face full of sand. But as she pulled him back, she ended up pulling him towards her. And before she knew what she was really doing, his head ended up on her lap. She blushed for a moment, remembering multiple scenes from a few cheesy romance novels she'd read that had situations just like this happen. It half tempted her to just wake him up right then and there. But she decided against it. Seeing him sleep there… well, she preferred seeing him sleeping peacefully to the crazy version of him from earlier or the violent one from Bleak. Yes, this was just fine… and hopefully when he did wake up, he wouldn't be too upset with her.

She sighed and looked up, absently staring at the stars. Then she wondered what a sleeping dragon might look like, so she looked towards the peak of Dragonroost. However, she didn't see a sleeping dragon. She saw a perfectly alert one that was staring right at her. Zelda even made sure; she looked around and saw nothing of interest around her or Itaav. There was no doubt the Guardian of the Rito was looking right at her… And the way it stared… she almost felt as if it was looking into her soul.

All of a sudden, she felt very uncomfortable again.

"Mommy, Pep-pep and Granny say Pop was a bad man."

"Now, now, my dear little Itaav – your grandparents don't know a thing about your Pop. He was a great man, descended from Buckfee Sallas, you know. He's the one that made the Pride."

"Does that mean I can make something better than the Pride?"

A soft chuckle, "You don't need to be a Sallas to be able to do great things, dear child. But yes, you can. I've Seen it. You'll do great things, my dear Itaav…"


"Of course, my dear. Of course…"

"… Mommy…?"

But he did not hear his mother's voice. He just heard waves. So it was a dream. Or a memory. Or both. His mother was still dead; his grandparents still dicks; and he still incredibly confused by his mother's words.

Suddenly feeling incredibly itchy, Itaav dragged himself up. Why the hell was he itchy? He opened his eyes and looked down. Ah, it was because he was covered in sand. Sand got everywhere… But why was he covered in sand? He looked down to the side. If he wasn't awake before, he surely was now. "P-princess?" He scrambled away from the sleeping form of Zelda, who barely stirred despite his very audible stutter.

Did I… Oh goddesses, did I…? But upon observance of his person and Zelda, he sighed in relief. Clothes were intact on both of them, which means absolutely nothing happened… So if nothing happened, why had they fallen asleep in the sand? Granted, everything was incredibly fuzzy. The last clear memory he had was of coming to this place and deciding to plan out a new Helmaroc to avoid any excuse for sleep. He shuddered, remembering very well how the nightmares had plagued him worse than ever the night they had escaped Bleak – enough so that he refused to try and sleep again after waking. And then after that the darkness was creeping up on him while he was awake and… well, he supposed bad things happened. So how did they un-happen?

Especially considering his last thoughts concerning Zelda were… dangerous… to say the least…

His thoughts were disturbed when Valoo let out an earth shaking roar. Cursing loudly (but not nearly loud enough to be heard over the dragons; roar), Itaav clamped his hands over his ears and hoped to the goddesses the damned dragon would shut up. But he was distracted as Zelda shrieked (not that he could hear it) and scrambled wildly away.

When the roar had died down, Zelda simply sat, panting wildly while looking incredibly stunned. Her hair was in disarray and she was covered in sand with those wide blue eyes… It was enough to get Itaav laughing – genuinely laughing. The princess noticed his laughter, her trance of terror broken. She felt her face redden and said indignantly, "Stop laughing! That was frightening!" But she felt a smile creep upon her face as she said it.

Itaav's laughter died down, "Sorry it's just… you looked really cute." He said, forgetting for a moment he was dealing with a princess and probably shouldn't have said such a thing. But even if he had remembered, he didn't care. It was true.

Zelda blushed, never having heard that comment from any other boy aside from her brother. But she quickly put it to the back of her mind when she remembered the night before. Leaning over to get a better look at Itaav, she asked worriedly, "Are you feeling all right?"

Blinking in confusion, the Engineer thought for a moment. He hadn't really given the faintest thought as to how he felt. And then he realized… no nightmares. He was asleep. And there had been no nightmares. So he actually felt… quite refreshed. But how? The nightmares had been going so strongly without any evidence suggesting they would stop… so why did they? "What happened?" He asked her.

The girl's face darkened. "You… you weren't well…" Was all she said, apparently not finding the appropriate words to describe just how unwell he had been.

"I got that much," he said with just the tiniest bit of annoyance. "What made the nightmares stop?"

Zelda found herself blushing again and looked away, suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious. She mumbled her response, only to have Itaav say impatiently, "Speak up!"

Pursing her lips, she sheepishly said, "I sang," while still avoiding looking at the purple haired boy.

He forked an eyebrow. "You sang?"

Twiddling her fingers in the way that Itaav had come to realize was her way of conveying discomfort, she mumbled, "Yes, well… It was a song that my mother used to sing whenever my brother and I were sad and…" Then Zelda realized she really had nothing to be so shy about. And if anything, Itaav needed to drop that annoying attitude of his and just say a big thank you to her. So she looked him in the eyes with a fiery gaze and said indignantly, "Well, it worked didn't it? So I think a thank you is in order!"

Itaav was stunned by the outburst. It really was the last thing he would've expected, and again, he found himself impressed by the girl. Yet for all that she seemed to continuously impress him, he felt he also wanted to snuff that little flame she had. But he pushed the somewhat disturbing thought to the back of his mind and held his hands up in surrender, "All right. I'm sorry. Thank you, Zelda."

She had been expecting a bit of a fight, so now she was off guard. Flushing, she found herself looking away again and said, "Yes, well… You're welcome, Itaav…"

There was an awkward silence in between them, then. Even Itaav found himself a bit unwilling to look at the girl… though he had to admit her answer had been interesting. She sang… To think of all things, singing would take his nightmares away… And then he became swept up in a memory. Nightmares… the nightmares had come for him and his mother…

"My mother used to sing for me too." It was more he was speaking his thoughts aloud rather than telling Zelda. But the girl was intrigued. Link had said that Itaav didn't like speaking of his mother… "I don't remember what she would sing but… her voice made the nightmares go away."

"… What was she like – your mother?" Zelda asked.

Itaav stiffened, suddenly finding himself in ground he wasn't quite comfortable treading. What was she like? What was his mother like? As far as Itaav was concerned, his mother was the most caring amazing woman he had ever known. The only problem was he could only ever remember her how she was when he'd last seen her before she died. Sickly pale and sallow, pink eyes clouded with blindness, white blond hair frayed and thinning… fingers that had once been so soft to his touch felt like brittle, dried twigs… "I don't want to talk about her."

She shuddered. Zelda could sense there was more to his words than simply not wanting to talk about it, but she did not push it. She had a feeling that if she pried too much, he might become… unwell… again.

Again there was silence, and both were so caught up in the sand in front of them, neither had noticed the dragon Valoo watching them with intrigue.

Eventually, Itaav had decided it was time to leave the area. After having holed himself there for the majority of their time on Dragonroost, he felt it was time to actually looka round for himself. He stood up and regretted it almost immediately because he found out there was sand in places he'd rather not have sand in, but it'd stay there so long as he didn't move. After brushing off the exterior sand, he looked to the princess and found that she still seemed to be avoiding his gaze. He held out a hand to her, "Come on. I don't know about you, but I've had enough of here. Besides, weren't you all excited for the festival?"

Zelda perked up and let a small smile out, forgetting her embarrassment and accepting the hand that was offered to her. Of course, after she had stood up and brushed the sand off of herself, she remembered the promise she'd made to Komali. "Oh! Oh my goodness…" Ignoring Itaav's curious look, she looked up at the sun and grimaced, "Oh… the Zora race is going to start any moment now…" She then quickly grabbed Itaav's arm and pulled him along, "Come on, we've got to hurry!"

"For what?" Itaav asked in surprise as he stumbled along behind the princess.

"I don't know, but I don't want to be late!"

And there we go. That ZeldaItaav? That was essentially it. It's not much, but do try and remember Itaav has already developed quite a bit from when he was first introduced - in other words, he a lot more rough around the edges than when we were first introduced to him. I know there's probably a bit more I want to say regarding Link and Laruto, but it's late and I'm sleepy and I can't really think too straight right now. If I remember next time, I'll get to it. -w-

Oh yes, I take no credit for the lyrics to that version of the Song of Healing. I'm about as much as song writer as my bird is a pterodactyl. Credit goes to ColdFlameZero (deviantArt name I believe). :3

Tinselplease, haha, thanks. We'll get to the plays soon enough. :3

fleets, ah Laruto. I wanted to take a different direction with her. I didn't want her to be a Ruto clone, so she'll have some different interaction with Link. You'll see what I mean. :3

XiXIXiX, it might very well have. XD Anyways, I actually never found the silent realms very scary. Most people list that as their least favorites parts of the game, but my least favorite parts were the ones that involved any segments of controlled falling. Three playthroughs and I only just started getting it. D: Oh the sweetness won't last, so don't get too used to it. -w- Anyways, as I believe I mentioned to you once before regarding Ghirahim and Vaati... NO, NO, NO, JUST GOD DAMN NO. Two entirely different characters with two entirely different motivations.

Sage of Video Games, yup. As for the ItaavZelda action... kind of got it here. Granted, it's not much and not nearly as fuzzy as Zelda's and Link's, but hey, Itaav's pretty rough around the edges right now. As for his reaction to Link in the Hero's clothes... ah, we'll get to it.

What-a-bother, thank you dear!