A/N: ...If I upload this, will anybody review it? ...Hopefully, I busted my self mentally for the last 4 days to get this chapter out before the visions I got for it drove me to insanity. Probably my best chapter for this story, of course, matching chapter 3. Not boasting or anything, but I try to deliver quality work to whoever supports my fictional realities. And this is a good one, hopefully I will be able to continue to deliver this kind of updates for the future. No, I will. So long as there is a reviewer, I will give it my all.
When you finish reading, please leave me a review telling me how I did. Also, you may notice that I keep changing the years for events that Link participated in. I think my last chapter or chapter 3 got my years all messed up. But, I will look back and fix it all. The times I set in this chapter are the final ones.
The site is destroying my formatting, I've tried to fix the imperfections caused by the upload process, but they still come back so please ignore any mistakes. If a part is missing from the story, let me know in a pm or in a review and I'll send you that missing piece and try to readd it to the story...
Thanks to "chm01" for pointing out the formatting errors in this chapter.
Soul Calibur II – Tale of Heroes
Chapter 5 – Evasion
Fire covered the Market from all directions. The smoke was so thick that the skies could not be seen. Many of the town folk were running in panic and disorder as they pushed each other through the gates of the bridge, all frightened and filled with the need to get away. The Market felt heavy, depressing, and morbid...Link knew it was him making it like this. The ten year old ran through the streets, dodging the guards who were evacuating the Castle Town and the Royal Palace.
The cries from the evacuees proved what he knew, they shouted "The king is dead! The king of Hyrule is dead!". The Gerudo king was responsible. His minions were everywhere, chasing the town folk from their homes, setting the buildings afire, and killing the Hylian soldiers who stayed to buy the horrified mob of Hylians time enough to escape.
Link ran through the streets, drawing his sword and slicing down a few Stalchilds and Stalfos. His right hand held onto his side, where moments ago before he entered the chaos-ridden town, he was struck by the enemy king with his magic. Pain was coursing his singed side, no matter what he did, it refused to pass. The Deku shield he once used was laying on the cobble stone behind him, set on fire by a flaming Keese.
Attached to his utility belt was the relic, the Ocarina of Time, that the princess Zelda had thrown him in an effort to fool him. It worked, he did not suspect him to be in possession of the powerful artifact.
Link's face was riddled with sweat from the heat of the fire. Outside the gates of the castle, the cold wind that seemed to be flowing from Zora's Domain had chased the warmth of the sun away. It even began to snow in the Hylian Fields. But not here, the fires were high and blazing. It got too hot in some places, forcing the young explorer to find a different path to the Temple of Time he sought.
His heart raced, pumping in both fear and adrenaline. The screams of countless could be heard at his back as he made his way through the burning alleys of the Market. It took all his strength to stop himself from turning around and try to save someone's life. His head replayed the same message that Impa had spoke to him in his mind. 'Keep running, don't stop.' The message replayed constantly. 'You will save thousands more, if you keep pushing on.' It was his source of strength. It was his motivation, his drive.
As he reached the courtyard of stone that held the gates to the Temple of Time, he met the most unsavory sight ever. A pair of rotten corpses standing tall, as if waiting for him. One reared its hideous head towards him, opened its mouth and its glowing red eyes...
Midnight. A stir at his side forced his eyes open. Mentally, he was grateful, whatever this disturbance was, it saved him from reliving the nightmare he tried so hard to forget. Link opened his eyes, giving a heavy sigh. He wiped his tired orbs, pulling the sands of sleep from his sockets. Another noise had caught his attention, the sound of bedsheets shifting. He looked in the direction of the other bed, and silently noted it was just his adoptive mother, Sophitia, shifting in her sleep.
At least her respite was more peaceful than his. Slight envy curled his toes in light of this, but he ignored it. Better her than him, he owed her that, the way he felt about his sudden disappearing from her life and how it seemed to affect her made him feel as if he shouldn't be enjoying anything.
Link sighed again. Lifting himself up into a sitting position, wiping his face once more and passing his hand into his golden locks, wearily breaking some knots that had formed as he slept. He gave a glance to the fire place and noted that Ladyhawk was still sleeping soundly. He pushed his sheets aside, and placed his feet on the cold, hard wooded floor. Reaching underneath the bed, he pulled his boots out and placed his feet inside the flaps of each, securing them near his knees as always.
Standing, and giving a long stretch, he quietly walked over to the fireplace to retrieve his hat. Gently, he nudged Ladyhawk who twitched involuntarily. She opened her eyes and squinted up at her new master.
"...Master...? Wha-" She yawned, "What is it?" Link placed his index finger to his mouth and pointed to his hat. In his other hand, he had a thicker, fluffier pillow to replace it with.
Not seeing a reason to trade something adequate for something great, Ladyhawk pushed herself to her feet and stepped aside. Link pulled the hat free, placed it on his head and laid the pillow down for his friend to sleep on. He passed his thumb over her head, to which she responded with a nudge back. He placed his fist on the pillow and pressed, making a makeshift hole for Ladyhawk to settle down comfortably in.
She gave him a look.
"Where are you going?" She whispered. Link pointed to the door, and then his ears and hat. Ladyhawk understood, he needed the hat to cover his ears when in public. But that left his eyes to be seen. Added, his hat was strange and would attract attention anyway.
Link turned around, not bothering to done his armor or cape. He reached the door that led to the balcony, opening it and stepping out while silently closing the door so as not to alert Sophitia. Link bent over and placed his elbows on the stone railing, trying to calm his head and forget. His heart was racing, as if he was just running through those streets again, doing it all over.
Sophitia lifted her head slightly, looking to Ladyhawk who had already fallen back into deep sleep. Poor thing was tired from all that flying yesterday. She noticed that the hawk was no longer sleeping on Link's hat, but a rather large pillow instead. She heard him moving around, she heard him wake up and walk about.
He had a nightmare and she knew it. The signs had been well imprinted in her mind by her own children, who suffered brutal sights sent to them by that evil sword her adoptive son now possessed.
Ladyhawk had asked where Link was going, and the fact she heard him open the balcony door meant he was leaving, or so she thought. Giving the room another glance, the Athenian took note his armor was still here with her, as well as his other equipment. The utility built that he had received that was bewitched and carried that foul soul sword hung over his chest plate, untouched since he put it there.
She recalled his grunting whilst he slept. It had woken her, how loud his thrashing had become. She was surprised that Ladyhawk had not been disturbed by it all. She wondered what he was dreaming of, why he had thrashed so violently about, and what nightmare haunted him this cold and gloomy night.
The light of the moon shown brightly, lighting the land with a blueish glow. The heat of the day was now rising from the earth, creating a thick fog and mist. She could see how brightly it was by looking at the wall. The moon was angled so that she could also see Link's shadow, bent over the rail and seemingly in deep thought.
She had half a mind to get up and ask him what happened. She was nearly convinced until he opened the door and came back in. He stood there, not moving as the door shut silently. She watched his movement on the wall, watched him undo his boots and place them back where he had retrieved them from, and climb back into his bed. Seemingly as if nothing had been wrong, and that nightmare he experienced never happened.
Something was wrong with him, she could feel it. A second ago, he barely could keep his breath slow and steady, now he was calmer than she had ever seen him. Hiding something, he was hiding his ails, if it was that bad he would of likely left. However something compelled him to stay, but she couldn't figure out what.
"If you're still awake...tomorrow we meet with the princess and have breakfast at the palace as her guests." Link's voice muttered, almost dragging the words through his lips. Sophitia closed her eyes, she said nothing in reply, merrily adjusted her position and pulled the sheets tighter around herself. She heard him sigh, seemingly disappointed that she wasn't talking back. Now she felt compelled to reply.
"Okay... When do we leave?" She muttered, her voice heavy with exhaustion and after effects of sleep. She could almost feel his grateful smile on his lips. It made her return the gesture.
"At sunrise, we're expected at the gates." He answered.
Taki continued to watch the moon, her arms crossed. As if expecting it to fall under her hard gaze and tell her what she needed to know to end this quest. It was very late, and her watch shift was over, Yun-Seong was next after her. She wished the fool luck, it was foggy out and difficult to see.
She dropped down from the boulder she stood from and landed like a cat. Regaining her composure, she made her way back to the camp, following the smoke trail that was the camp's fire light. The entire time she was up, she glared at the direction of Wolfkrone's capital city, hoping that in the direction she glared, that foul sword could feel her hatred for it. It had taken everything from her, her master Toki and now it took her pupil and, in her mind, who she considered the closest thing to a little brother she ever had, Link.
She will find the sword's shards. She will bring Soul Calibur with her, and she will strike them down with everything she had. It took all she had to offer, and now it was Soul Edge's turn to feel what it's like to have your world ripped from underneath you.
As she stared at the moon moments ago, she called on the heathen gods of old, making a pact with them that if they gave her the strength too, she would destroy the soul swords. With Mekki-Maru and Rekki-Maru, she will bring what no other warrior in history could. The end of Soul Edge.
Whilst she stood watch, she had time to also consider Link's condition on which side he was on. He still acted as he did 7 years before, silent, unpredictable, and alert. Despite whatever was the cause of those eyes of his, she still believed he was not against them. She couldn't find it in her to think otherwise.
Now she scolded herself. Her time with Sophitia as partners had made her soft. She was more compassionate now than she was before she teamed up with the Athenians. But she didn't regret it. Had she not, she never would of met the boy. It took some months, but he grew attached to her like a kitten to a ball of yarn, and was constantly following her. She too found it hard to not become attached. She had long-since decided that he would be her successor, should she ever be defeated, she would leave him to take over and finish her mission. Destroy the demons that haunted the earth.
She hopes to get him back. No matter how much she tried to deny it, she missed his warm smile and how he stood with her no matter what. She missed that brother-like connection that warmed her cold heart.
Reaching the camp, she stepped up to Yun-Seong's tent and pushed the curtain aside. She gave him a nudge with her foot and when he refused to comply, her nudge became a rough push. With a yelp, he fell off his suspended net and onto the cold, wet and hard ground. He held onto his head, curling his toes at the pain.
"It's your turn to take watch. Don't fall asleep." Taki grunted as she left.
Yun-Seong glared at her back, but obeyed her order and geared up. As he stepped out, she stepped in her tent that lay across the camp. With mental content, he stuck his tongue out at her back and began walking.
That was, before a rock coming from Taki's tent hit him in the back of his head.
There it was. The item he was told to seek, the legendary blade of evil's bane.
"The Master Sword..." Navi muttered above a whisper, her voice filled with the highest regard of respect and awe.
The shining blade glimmered in the light that was endlessly projected in by the stainless glasses over head. It was supposed to be nightfall outside, and the Market was on fire, but it didn't look like it mattered inside this sacred temple. As Link stepped closer, he felt something reach out and wrap itself around him. The invisible force encouraged Link to approach the dais of the marble stone, where the pedestal that housed the greatest item in the known world rested. Closer, he walked, feeling more and more that pull to which he realized was the pull of destiny.
So many had told him that it would come to this, but he always thought nothing of it. Yet here he walked, in the most holy place in all of the world of Hyrule. The pat of his boots on the hard stone echoed eerily amongst the ancient walls, and the sound of a thousand angels serenaded amongst the unsee-able roof. Their voices, so warm and so mystifying, giving him inner peace and easing his weariness. Behind him, the shimmering of the three sacred stones of Fire, Water and Forest, seemed to push him forward.
Renewed by the endless stream of song from the heavens of time herself, Link increased his stride. With each step, his resolve steeled. With each breath, his heart and soul became sharper. With each motion, he grew stronger. At last, he reached the hilt of the blade, the foot hall of ancient legends passed for millennia untold.
*Take the sword...Take the test of Time.* An unknown voice called from the heavens, its words adding to his encouragement. He raised his left hand and placed it upon the azure hilt of the mythical steel. Navi, silenced by the sheer courage he emitted in the face of fate, idly floated behind him.
The sword glimmered more, it began to shine, and the longer Link's hand remained on the hilt of the blade, it glowed brighter. A surge passed through his frail arm, up his shoulder, onto his spine and into his head, blasting his brain with its energy. His back arched slightly in reaction. He refused to let it go. Again, the blade tested he who disturbed its eternal sleep. Again and again, yet the young boy stood his ground, dauntless in the trial of faith.
*Release it from its resting place...wield its power and strive, young hero.* The voice returned, hidden amongst the ever lasting tune of Divine Three's angels. Link nodded, seemingly to no one. He took his right hand and placed it on the hilt as well, gripping the thickly handle tightly, refusing to let go.
One last surge passed through him, it was so strong, he was forced to tense up, every muscle locked. Again, the blast came, but this time, it did not stop. It grew so strong, it began to manifest itself. The light of the blade seemed to flow off the steel edges and into the soft skin of the lad's hands. Behind Link, upon his back, a dark silhouette began to form. The longer he resisted the sword, the more that silhouette became solid.
At last, a great force pushed itself off of Link's back. He recovered quickly, feeling threatened by a new presence, he hastily pulled the sword from the stone and turned around, holding the sword by its hilt and his right hand gripping the sharp blade in order to hold it.
What he saw, was himself. Only, it wasn't him. His jaw dropped, this new presence was a copy of himself, only it only wore black and its eyes were crimson red. Before either could do anything, a great burst of blue light emitted from the surrounding dais. The other was knocked back, as if refused to take part in this new ritual. Link felt himself freeze, stone began to form at his feet and quickly ascend his body. Fear threatened to consume him, for even Navi was clueless and in shock. Link struggled, but as the stone rose, he fell to deep sleep. Around him, he could see 8 figures standing, each holding a sword in their left hands shaped exactly like the Master Sword. Next to them, stood several others. One who resembled a Zora, one who resembled a king, one who resembled a Goron, one a child, one a tall and dark warrioress, and one a woman.
The last thing he heard, as he eyed these figurines, was an evil cackle. One so sinister, his hair stood on end, his spine felt a very cold chill run up and down, one so dark and menacing that he wished for nothing more than to run away. To be as far away as possible from the source. He knew who's voice that was. The red eyed Gerudo.
King Ganondorf Dragmire.
Link sat up, immediately drawing the Master Sword from its hilt next to him, in utter panic. His breathing was heavy as if he ran Hyrule in a matter of hours with no rest. His vision was blurry, as if salt from the sea had bathed his orbs. His skin was sticky, the sweat dripping from his face as if he had just spent the day in the desert.
He lowered his head, pressing his right hand to his chest to calm his racing heart and ease his breathing. It was then he noticed a hand was on his right shoulder once his vision cleared and his mind had recomposed itself. Looking up slowly, Sophitia met his gaze with worry. He tried again to ease his breath, looking away to hide his discomfort.
Her free hand came up and pushed his chin until he faced her once more. He still refused to meet her sight a second time. Understanding his insecurity, she pressed his head into the crook of her neck, holding him. Link never felt more ashamed than now, he had lost his control over his dreams, reduced to a shivering pathetic pile in the arms of his self-proclaimed mother. As if he was still a child clinging to the leg of a parent, he returned her embrace. Seeking her comfort.
It dawned on him that he caused too much disturbance and awoken her. Once again, shame filled him like a bucket in a fountain. Why couldn't he dream about something else? Ever since he regrouped with Sophitia, his memories resurfaced. But he dare not blame this misfortune on her, his love for her was too strong. No, it was not his adoptive parent. Her touch eased him quicker than any. Her gentle strokes had impact on his erratic lungs, as each stroke seemed to hush their anxiety. His heart beat was less frequent and not so harsh with each bit of her breath that caressed his skin. Her silent hushing forced the shivers from his throat, and brought order to his mind.
"What's wrong with you?" She asked, worry evident. Link closed his eyes, hating ever bit of himself for loosing control over his past.
"I'm...sorry, I woke you...just another bad dream." He admitted. She would not be satisfied with such a vague response. She pressed further, without stopping her treatment.
"What was it about?"
"...My past. It's haunting me now, certain scenes are replaying in my dreams...every image, every emotion, every sense...so vivid, as if I was reliving it." He tried to describe, "I was in control of this before...but now, I seem to have lost that control. But why? What is wrong with me?"
Sophitia was utterly powerless to offer a reason why. This was something she never dealt with, vivid dreams were unusual and she had experienced them before but...to this extent? Never. There was not a single thing she could think of saying to silence his questions. It made her feel useless. Just as she had felt before, when he explained himself the previous night.
As he silently held her for dear sanity, she began to wonder if questioning him was pushing him mentally too far. Prophetic dreams was something Taki utilized every now and then to find her target, and it often was as Link described, as if the foreseer was actually living the scene. But to Sophitia's knowledge, Taki never taught that spell to Link. She said he had not yet mastered inner peace of mind, and that was never more painfully obvious than now.
She now tightened her grip. Words would be useless here, whispering of calming lines would not help this troubled soul. She searched her memory for anything that her parents had done to calm her after a horrid nightmare. There was only one thing that worked. Singing.
She felt shy about it, being she never raised Link like she raised her children Patroklos and Phyrra. But she did adopt him. He was now her son. And her motherly determination returned. Her shyness thrown aside, she tilted her head until her lips faced his long ears. Her voice left her lips with a sweet and quiet tune, humming a song her mother always sung.
Link made no protest, her voice was beautiful and angelic. He was slightly startled to hear her singing, but her song wasn't joyous or fast, it was slow and sad. Her tongue formed the words in the Greek language, so he did not know what she was saying. But it didn't matter. Her voice calmed his soul. Slowly, he seemed to slip, his deprivation of sleep was overcoming him as was her voice. She never raised her volume, she continued to keep her pitch and stream.
Gradually, she let him down, and placed her finger tips on his eye lids. Pushing them close, and ending her song, she pulled his sheets over his chest and kissed his forehead. With this done, and feeling that her effort proved fruitful, she retreated to her bed, hoping that this time he dreamed of her voice and the good times, without the nightmares.
Daylight loomed over the horizon, the chickens of the nearby farmers cropping their fields began to greet the morning happily, birds chirped their greetings to the light of day and took flight. The town folk stirred, going about their daily routines with out a care as if the two warriors walking amongst them were one of their own.
Sophitia walked behind Link, both fully dressed, and in Link's case, fully armed and armored. She followed him closely, trying not to get separated in the bustling morning traffic. The sights were welcoming, so many small shops were opened, selling their wares like so many other markets she had walked through before in her life. Many merchants yelled their items' names and called prices, food, clothing, weapons, tools, anything they had was on sell. Many of them seemed foreign, dressed oddly and some weren't even fluent in the universal tongue.
She half pitied them. Only half because she knew that those who didn't take the time to learn a new language were too compelled by their greed to care and were often ruffians and sinners. While the other half were legit in their reasons for not knowing, such as they needed help but no one would or they couldn't afford that help yet.
Commerce was everywhere, and everything on the streets. It's corruption drowned the most honorable of men in greed. Much like many in the high class, and leaders were corrupted by greed and lusts for power. Sophitia knew to be careful in these areas. Soldiers were on patrol to provide some form of security and order, but most of the time they too were as corrupt as the sinners.
Link didn't seemed bothered by this atmosphere at all. She had noticed this, he walked around softly, but carried a sharp image as if he was the alpha here. She noticed others stood aside for him because of that edgier image. They respected someone who emitted a strong aura. He acted as if he didn't notice the merchants shouting to him to buy their wares. They even made effort to capture his attention by shoving items in his face, but he refused to acknowledge their presence.
At first, she thought that it was slightly rude of him, but then she remembered that many of these merchants weren't clean. Some of them stole what they were selling from others in a different city with hopes to make profits in another.
Link slowed his walk, until Sophitia was almost walking past him. She noticed his slow in pace when he draped his armored right arm over her shoulders, keeping most of its weight off her. She looked up at him with question in her eyes. He gave her a slight and sly wink as he looked forwards at a more...unwelcoming area of town.
She was unarmed and utterly defenseless as she was. The way he draped his arm around her was to invoke his presence on her image. Obviously, as big and heavily armed as he was would deter any unsavory characters from trying to make a scene. He was allot taller than she was, now that he was at least 18. He looked older, maybe 23 with all that gear on him. And his sharp gaze looked menacing enough if his image wouldn't take care of things.
At least she could count on his skill if they were backed into a corner.
They walked in, Link's gaze straight ahead, while Sophitia kept hers on guard. The dirty floor, littered with garbage and waste was most sickening. For awhile, neither had seen a single guard standing watch on this path. As if it was riddled with too much crime to risk soldiers on patrol there. Hilde would never condone such neglect, this was the work of lower powers. Link knew this to be true.
A few eyes passed over the two, mainly watching Sophitia with hungry gazes that made her uncomfortable. Link even locked eyes with one man, taking great offense to his prying sights. The man eyed Link and sized him up, likely determining the odds of a possible outcome should a fight occur. Link was more than experienced with men such as this one, some aristocrats hired him in he past to escort someone in exchange for food and shelter. He knew how these scum would act in a heated situation. They had no honor, attacked in numbers, stole what they could, and if the fight was not flowing in their favor, they ran like cowards.
Oh, he was well accustomed to them. He was disgusted by their lack of respect for others and their property. Especially for their lack of respect towards a female. And right now, the female he was escorting happened to be very important to him. His glare had become so threatening the man looked away and walked into a back alley.
Link's eyes followed the man until he disappeared from sight and gently urged Sophitia to continue their stroll. Only, this time their walk was a bit faster.
Although he obviously showed signs of experience here, he also knew what to expect in these low-life areas. When one man wasn't enough, he usually was off to rally more to his side. Link and Sophitia hoped that wasn't the case this time. But, as fate would have it, several men stepped out in front of them, blocking their path. They stopped, looked behind them and noted more men had come and blocked off the path they just came from, and one man held a large and thick chain in his hands. It dangled lazily, the rust very evident in the links.
Link felt himself heat up. Adrenaline pumping in his veins as he pushed Sophitia behind him and backed up to the wall. She hid behind him, as shameful as it was she had no choice. He reached under the back of his cape and pulled a very familiar short sword free. She recognized it, that brown hilt and that shiny steel. Her eyes were glued to the remarkable crafting of the weapon. Link seemed to hand it to her.
Sophitia hesitated. Was he trusting her with a weapon? And a weapon that was very symbolic to his past at that? She gingerly took the sword in her hand, feeling the smooth grip of it, seemingly comforting her fears. One man approached Link and pointed to Sophitia. Obviously he hadn't seen the transfer a second ago. Link shrugged and tapped Sophitia's shoulder with his right hand so that the man didn't see it. She gave a slight nod in understanding and mentally prayed for forgiveness.
Link began to step to the side. Once his foot was clear, he gave the signal.
"Now." He calmly said.
And with that, Sophitia plunged the Kokiri Sword deeply into the man's chest. She didn't look him in the eye, she showed no emotion, no sympathy, no hatred, nothing. His gurgling was all that could be heard until she ripped the sword free and he crumbled to the ground where he died.
The others exchanged glances. But this display didn't seem to faze them at all.
Link summoned the Master Sword to his hand and spread his arms wide, blocking off the perpetrators from a clear shot at his beloved adoptive mother. They approached, encircling the two with a wide arc. Link now pulled his Hylian Shield free and donned it too. Link was ready to pounce the nearest man, to take his frustration out on him with a good bludgeoning for eying his mother so openly.
The man from before had a rather big steel pipe in his hands. He was the first to swing. Link brought up the Master Sword and blocked it so the shock wave would be absorbed by the thick hand -guard. But the man pressed. Trying to out power Link, but failing. The hero, using the weight of his armor combined with his own and the leverage he possessed, pushed the scum off with relative ease and bucked his nose with the Hylian Shield.
Blood began to pour quickly as the nose membrane was broken and the man's face was fractured by the force of the steel shield colliding. The others merrily looked at Link, pure malice etched on their faces. But before they could rush him, a group of Hilde's guards called down the northern end of the street and several soldiers were suddenly shoving spears in the direction of the mob. The men, seeing that the odds were painfully against them now, dropped their tools and retreated to the back alley.
One soldier approached Link who had sheathed his sword and shield. Link turned around and stuck his hand out to Sophitia, silently asking for the Kokiri Sword back. Sophitia looked down at the battle-worn yet mint-conditioned weapon, she could utilize it against him...but she would break the agreement. So long as she was unarmed, Link guaranteed her safe return to the group. But if she betrayed him, she could over power him and take him as her prisoner. She would only do it to destroy Soul Edge.
But she reluctantly gave the sword back.
Link hid the sword once again as a soldier binded the hands of the assailant who led the mob and another hauled the dead man out. Link's attention fell on the soldier from before. The soldier gave a chuckle and pulled Link into a welcoming embrace, removing her helmet to reveal princess Hildegaard Von Krone. She gave him a wry smirk.
"Getting into trouble again?" She asked teasingly. Link smiled nervously and briefly looked at the mess in the middle of the alleyway.
"Don't look at us, they asked for it." He defended. She nodded.
"I know, this area of town is where the criminals love to hide out. What I don't understand is where my guards are."
"I believe some of your underlings are to blame for the absence of order in these parts..." Link offered. Hilde seemed a bit displeased as it sunk in, it looked like someone was going to be put on trial later for this neglect.
"Don't you worry, I'll fix that right away...who is this?" Hilde asked, looking to Sophitia who gave a warm smile in greeting.
"This is my adoptive mother...and hostage...Sophitia Alexandra of Athens, Greece." Link introduced, whispering the middle of his answer so that only Hilde heard it. Hilde lifted her eyebrows at his words, but gave a courtesy as Link introduced Hilde to Sophitia.
Ivy strapped her armored arm piece on to her left arm, tightening the straps to meet her comfort. She picked up Valentine and gave herself a quick look-over. Fully suited up, she donned her cloak to hide her revealing outfit and stepped out. Morning was here, the cool air smelled of the forest pine as she inhaled it all, ready to embark once again. However, her stomach disagreed but she ignored its pleading growl.
The others were waking up as well, but none seemed to have come out yet. She knew they were awake by the sounds coming from each member's tent. Deciding to get a quick look at the city before the group left to acquire their missing member from the target they hunted, Ivy left for the look-out post that she took first watch from last night.
The squirrels ran about, collecting nuts as nutty as they could, jumping from tree to tree while screeching their hellos, or warnings to Ivy. She paid them no heed, but listened intently. Birds chirped, deer grazed, the sun wasn't so harsh, and the atmosphere was nearly perfect for travel. It was a while since she and the others walked somewhere where peace had yet to be consumed by the evil blade's influence.
Snoring could be heard behind the bushes next to her, she turned to the source, an eyebrow raised in surprise. She took Valentine and pointed to the bushes and the blade broke to whip form and pushed the branches aside. Ivy had to resist the urge to roll her eyes as she noticed it was Yun-Seong sleeping in the shrubbery. She smirked at the sight of his drool, slowly dripping out of his mouth.
Deciding that waking him up wasn't punishing enough for leaving the camp vulnerable, the dominatrix left him where he was to be collected by Taki. That was the worst she could think of.
Hilde put her spoon down, taking a cloth in her free hand and wiping her mouth of the fruits she just ate. Lifting her warm, hazel gaze, she watched as Sophitia and Link finish their breakfast's soon after. Silence reigned for awhile between guest and ruler. Each party matching neutral gaze and shifting between targets. Eventually, Hilde spoke up.
"Leave us." She commanded to the servants and guards surrounding the hall. Nodding, they all left quietly, servants through the kitchen doors behind Hilde's chair, and the guards behind Link's chair which sat directly opposite of Hilde's long table. Sophitia sat at Hilde's right, right in the middle of the two. Hilde gave Sophitia a smile when the mother looked up at her, she returned it without haste.
"So...Link tell's me you are his adoptive mother." Hilde called, breaking the silence again.
"Yes. I and others found him half-dead in the middle of the woods, 7 years ago. I nursed him back to health and learned some bits and pieces about him and took it upon myself to be the mother he lacked." Sophitia explained.
"A noble gesture of you. But how do you feel now that your adoptive child is holding-"
"Hilde." Link hissed, interrupting the Wolfkronian leader. She passed him a glance, a inquisitive look on her features.
"I'm curious." She admitted.
"I'm not. And I'd rather you not ask her how she feels...you can get a good idea by the look in her eyes."
"Yes, well, I'd like to hear it from her own mouth. But...I wont force her to speak. What of Nightmare?" She answered. Link sat back against his chair, heavily. A serious look on his face as he contemplated her question. He hadn't felt the Azure Knight's presence since their skirmish in the woods near the city.
Link glanced outside the windows of the halls, which provided a well positioned sight of the royal gardens. Hilde had fallen silent as she waited. Sophitia, seemed interested in his answer as well.
"I don't know. He's evaded me again." Link finally replied. Hilde looked down in disappointment. She had hoped for a lead on the evil creature's whereabouts. Hopeful that she could fight him off her lands.
"Is he still in my kingdom?" Hilde asked.
"I've yet to sense his presence anywhere since my encounter yesterday. As if he suddenly disappeared." The armored hero answered sadly. He too has hoped for a lead. Hilde was worried about her people's safety, as long as Nightmare was nearby, he was bound to kill and massacre. All three warriors had not wanted to give him the chance to harvest more souls. Even without the help of Soul Edge, he could use that phantom sword of his to act as a vessel until he got it back. But Link didn't plan on letting him have it. Hilde stood from her chair, walking to the glass doors.
"...What do you need of me?"
"I'll ask you that later, when I return my mother to her fellow travelers."
"Link...Taki is relentless. She will track you down the second I'm free of the agreement." Sophitia spoke up. Link didn't make eye contact with her, but he knew she spoke the truth. He was counting on it. The huntress never missed her marks, and he knew she wouldn't start anytime soon. Finally, Link looked up to Sophitia.
"Wait for me at the gates, I'll be there in a second." She seemed ready to argue, but he gave her a pleading look that convinced her. So she stood, excused herself from Hilde's court and left for the gates. Link waited until the double doors were securely shut before standing from his chair.
"When I take her back, I'll need the kingdom's fastest horse. However, you may never see it again. If I can outrun Taki's warriors, I can lead Nightmare out of Wolfkrone and fight him near Mycenae. But Hilde," She looked back to Link as he paused, "When they come to the city gates, looking for me, I need you to hold them here. It's for their safety."
"If I detain them, they might find a way to break free. And I wont send soldiers out to stop them, not while you and Nightmare are still here, fighting for that foul blade." Hilde warned. Link nodded.
"I'm not asking that you arrest them, I'm asking that you buy me some much needed time to forge a reasonable distance between me and their sights."
"And what route will you take?"
"The mountain roads. That way, I can erase my tracks in the river banks, so Taki can't track me so easily."
"That is clever...but it's a long shot. And a very risky gamble as well."
"I'm willing to risk it. Whatever needs to be done."
"So be it." Hilde finalized, "I'll have one of the fastest horses from the royal stables ready to meet you where ever you need it."
"Have a soldier follow me and Sophitia back to the woods, but keep his distance so that Sophitia or the group doesn't notice them. When I release Sophitia, the soldier needs to head back to the city immediately, leaving the horse on the out-skirts of the forest. I'll take it from there, lead the group into the city, and loose them in the alleys. Just have a reasonable garrison ready to hold them off for me so I can escape through the eastern gate." Link explained his plan.
Hilde nodded, it sounded like it would work, but it was still risky, there was no telling how far in the trade zone was in the forest, and if this group rode on horseback, they could out-run Link and overpower him. Yet he was very confident in this course of action...so confident she trusted his judgment.
"Do not fail us, young hero." Was Hilde's last words before she left the room.
Link stepped out of the palace gates, and right up to Sophitia's back, who was patiently waiting for him but hadn't noticed his presence. He cleared his throat, breaking her from her thoughts and gaining her attention. The two traveled the long way through the city, only because it was a safer route than the shortcuts through the back alleys.
Link had gone and purchased a few bits of supplies, leaving Sophitia in the lobby of the Inn they spent the night at last time. When he returned, most of his purchases were foods that could last a month or so, and he handed the bag to his mother. Her grimace at the notion did not escape Link's eyes. The fact she was hunting him outside of the city limits, didn't seem to matter to him at all. All of his funding went to buying her supplies that, if she wanted, she could of shared with the other warriors. Her first thought was that he had lost his mind. But he gave her a smirk and knew his gesture was deliberate.
Not long after, a man approached Link outside of the Inn's door and the two spoke for awhile, leaving Sophitia suspicious as to the nature of their conversation. The man was holding the reigns of a horse with a simple saddle, but it was obvious that the horse was in top notch condition and most likely a high class owned animal.
When the man left with that prize, Link returned and led Sophitia through the rest of the city and to the gates. Once out, the two made their way down a dirt road path that led to the forest outskirts on the South-Eastern hills of the Wolfkronian plains. Link had opted to carry the bag of supplies he filled for his mother, trying his best to make up for lost time in as little time as possible.
She kept a neutral look on her face, seeking to keep her motherly side in check when it came time to her back to her friends. In the far distance, they both suddenly hear Taki's voice yelling very angrily at someone. From what little they could make out, one of the members had fallen asleep.
"Wonder who she's yelling at..." Link thought out loud, hoping to strike a conversation. His bait worked, Sophitia gave a small giggle, trying to stifle it.
"Yun-Seong of course. He's the arrogant one, more than Raphael ever proved to be. When ever someone strikes a talk with him, he boasts about being the one to claim Soul Edge first." She explained. Link shook his head.
"Doesn't he know, of what this sword is capable of?"
"Time and again, Siegfried of Germany tries to make him see that the sword will not bow to him. But he never listens...not to reason, at least. Even Talim, our wind priestess, who he listens too more than anyone can't convince him." Sophitia sighed, the thought of dealing with the self-righteous Korean warrior was tiring. She thought of changing the subject, and turned the tables.
"I don't believe you've met Cassandra. She's my sister, making her your aunt." She smiled brightly, Link's face lit up too, surprise and a brief glimpse of joy.
"Really? What's she like?" Sophitia laughed at his question.
"She's a tough one. And, you should know that. She was the one who bonked you on the head with her shield slap!" Link flinched as he recalled the crazed looking girl from the other day who viciously struck the hard spot of his head with her small shield. The painful memory made itself evident, but Link put effort in hiding it.
"Well, I guess she doesn't like me very much..." Sophitia gave him a sad smile, assuring him.
"She doesn't know yet that I adopted you. And, you have to understand that she's...passionate about what she sets out to do. And, 4 years ago when the group split up, I found out she left to take down Soul Edge as well. It wasn't until a year after we regrouped and added to our numbers that I found her." She explained.
Link kept silent. If what Sophitia said was true, than he wouldn't be welcomed by Cassandra until he proved his purpose by destroying Soul Edge. His desire for a family clashed with his sense of duty, he wanted to earn his aunt's love...but he also couldn't risk getting any closer to them with the evil blade in his possession. He was taking a very huge risk by walking with Sophitia, who is likely the most vulnerable of them all because of her injuries it caused her before he met her. Sophitia looked up at Link, noticing he had fallen silent again as they walked on.
"Link?" She called him. He glanced at her, and she could see that there was an inner conflict. He lifted his head slightly, still silent and the light hit his eyes at the right angle, letting that silver shimmer appear.
She still didn't understand that feature. She didn't think to ask him.
"Why do your eyes shine like that?" her question had caught him off guard, and he seemed to collect himself quickly.
"Not long ago, I was in Japan. And, if you recall, me and Taki had been seen together by the ninja clans and they marked me as an enemy," She nodded, "Well, I was ambushed. They had a significant advantage in numbers, and I was weakened from another conflict with Nightmare who was hot on my trail. I was injured, bleeding, and tired. I fought them off as best as I could, but in an attempt to finish me quickly, one of them threw a flash bomb in my face. It exploded just far away to keep me alive, but close enough to put the shrapnel in my irises." He answered. She opened her mouth, but couldn't say anything. She was shocked, anyone else would have been blinded permanently and writhing in pain.
"Their strategy worked, the move took me out, off my feet and left me defenseless. As a last resort, I used Din's Fire to keep them from taking the sword." She gasped. She knew that spell, seen him do it before, and she could only imagine the devastation he had caused when he resorted to that kind of power. And, what it left him as, for that spell was so strong that it took allot out of the caster.
"They had left me blinded...but I healed my sight with a potion I still had that I was saving for the next conflict with the azure one. As for that shine effect, the shards in my eyes were embedded, and until I get home...I'm stuck with it and forced to hide it from others, or they'll call me a demon."
"Hephaestus...What happened after?"
"I had to escape that forest or be burned alive. Din's Fire had set the surrounding woodland to blazing flames and...I couldn't find any one to save. The clan members that attacked me were all gone."
"Gods..." Was all that Sophitia could say.
"What the hell are you doing, falling asleep and leaving us vulnerable to Link, or worse, Nightmare and his minions?" Taki continued to shout at Yun-Seong who was resisting the urge to draw his sword and start swinging in a frenzy.
"Don't you ever do that again, or you wont ever get a chance to set eyes on the sword." She hissed with enough venom to put a black mamba to shame. Her glare seemed to say how she felt, burying him and leaving his head for the vultures to take.
Talim walked up and put her hand on Yun-Seong's shoulder, leading him away before Taki could make her fantasy a reality. Ivy kept a straight face as she watched the ninja cool herself off. She traded an impressed glance with Siegfried who also took his leave.
For about quite a while since she woke up, the entire group listened to Taki's raging voice as she melted Yun-Seong into the dirt beneath their feet for falling asleep during his shift. The outburst seemed to wake the fighters immediately up and put them on edge. In a way, it served Taki as it got her warriors ready for whatever the day had in store for them.
Taki stormed off to her horse and began to throw her camping equipment onto the saddle. While Ivy stood next to her stallion, she heard Maxi running up behind her.
"Ivy! Where's Taki?" He asked urgently.
"Over there." She said simply, not showing a care in the world for whatever he needed to see her for. Breathing his thanks he jogged over and tapped her shoulder. And he immediately regretted it when she turned around and put her deathly glare on him. He felt frightened by her expression, but pressed on.
"I spotted 'em. He and Sophitia are at least a 100 yards from the outskirts." He reported. Her angry expression melted to a neutral one. She sighed, trying to cool her head some more before she answered.
"Thank you, Maxi. And...forgive me for that look I gave you."
"I know why you had it." He assured, winking as he took off towards the now dismantled camp to retrieve his horse. She grunted a bit as she climbed onto her horse and began to steer him into the woods on a slow walk.
Ivy watched her the entire time, and Taki knew she was more than amused by the ordeal. She hated it when the alchemist used her outbursts for entertainment. Now that Taki realized her lack of control over her negative emotions, she scolded herself. A ninja was not supposed to let anger or fear get the best of them.
Ivy knew this. And that was why it amused her.
Link stopped in a clearing, for 10 minutes, they had walked in the forest up until this point. This was where he would release Sophitia and make a break for it. Ladyhawk flew overhead, out of sight and ready to do what needed doing as Link's eye in the sky.
Sophitia had no idea what he was going to do when he let her go. She didn't know if he would fight, or run away and try to escape. He refused to give her a hint of his intentions, of what he spoke about with Hildegaard in private, or who the man with the fine-looking horse was.
He was planning on something, he never went into a situation like this with a fall back plan. Taki had not been in a good mood since she led them on the hunt. She had grown more frustrated as the days went by and Link continued to evade capture. She wouldn't allow him a head start, she knew this. The second Sophitia was out of arm's reach, she'd likely pounce him. Taki will not risk giving him a chance to escape her again.
Sophitia could only hope that if Taki did catch him, she didn't maim him for the past. Link had grown so close to her, and even got her to open up a little. And when he disappeared, he took her secrets with him. She had grown so close to him as a sister, that his action had shattered her heart and left her in pieces. She had, of course, recovered quicker than anyone. Assuming he was kidnapped at night and killed somewhere. But seeing him alive had revived the pain he put her through. She wanted to get even. How even, Sophitia wasn't sure.
But a reunion would not go without blood being spilt. That was certain.
Taki sat on her horse in silence. Staring her adopted brother down with her coldest gaze. He met it with his most neutral one, making a good impression that he was not intimidated by her threatening look, or the fact that everyone of her warriors were armed and pointing their weapons at him. Sophitia stood behind him, her head meeting his shoulder with her arms around his right arm. She looked up to him, waiting.
Link broke his gaze from Taki, analyzing and sizing up the others who stood around their leader. Link's sword was still in its sheath, Soul Edge was left in the pouch, and Link was without a defense, aside from his armor. Taki was using all her will to hold herself back from attacking the boy before her. Every last fiber of her screamed to beat his skull in. While her soul told her no. He may of left when he said he wouldn't, but he was still her brother.
Still...he had no right to do to her what he did. And right now, she still was holding herself back.
"You had better not of touched my sister, you bastard..." Cassandra hissed. Link locked eyes with her, she seemed to seethe with hatred for him. While Link, held her gaze, he mentally knew that she was his aunt. And it pained him for her to speak those words so harshly at him.
"Release Sophitia." Taki commanded, seemingly in control of her anger. Her voice certainly said so. Link did not speak still, he turned to Sophitia and handed her the bag. She put it down, and took his head in her hands.
"I know you're about to do something foolish..." She stated quietly. He smiled, she knew him too well. Taking his smile as a yes, she tilted his head down and kissed his forehead. Just in case he managed to get away this time, she wanted to be prepared.
That done, she picked up the bag and began walking slowly. She eyed Taki, who was still locked on Link with her emotionless eyes. But Sophitia was not fooled, she could see the storm that was brewing. She was now half-way. Almost there. She kept her eyes locked on everyone, watching for any hint of an attack towards Link, but no one moved but her.
Link suddenly bolted. Going the complete opposite direction that Sophitia was heading, he ran. Taki swore as she gave chase, followed by the rest of the group except Cassandra. Cassandra jumped off her horse and embraced Sophitia tightly.
"Did he hurt you?" She frantically questioned.
"No! He'd never!" Sophitia tried to reason, left dumbfounded by the sudden departure of the group. Cassandra looked at Sophitia with her jaw dropped.
"You're defending him?"
"Yes! He's my adoptive son, I never-"
"What?" Cassandra interrupted, even more shocked.
"I adopted him when he was 11 years old, Taki became his sister, but when he left, we thought he was dead. Taki is so determined to find him because he made a promise to her and broke it by leaving." Sophitia explained.
"He turned his back on you, has Soul Edge, and kidnaps you yet you defend him...?"
"Of course I do, he's keeping the sword from causing anymore damage, and protecting us while hunting Nightmare and the shards. The more we stay away from him, the better chance he will have at destroying it." Cassandra didn't know what to think or say. Sophitia never mentioned an adoptive son to her, yet after what Link did she still cared. She couldn't understand it.
Link may be her nephew now, but she would not trust him still. And, seeing as Sophitia wants to believe in him, she has no choice, she can't harm him.
Link summoned Soul Edge to his hand and sliced down a few trees to block his pursuers path, immediately storing the sword away again as he reached his ride. Climbing on and kicking off, he made his way North, straight for the city gates. The group had yet to emerge from the forest, but he knew it was only a matter of time. But when they do emerge, he wanted to be out of their sight.
He pushed this horse hard, and it seemed to be a skittish animal, neighing every now and then and threatening to throw him off his back. Hopefully the ride would not buck him off anytime soon. Ladyhawk appeared at his side, flying at his speeds as he urged to horse on, standing in his holds. Link looked back, to check on the progress of his attackers. He noted, with annoyance that they had finally emerged, Sophitia and Cassandra closely following. Their gallop was full speed, but it seemed the distance would keep them from catching Link anytime soon.
The hero and his companion hawk finally reached the gates of Wolfkrone City, with Ladyhawk now resting on Link's shoulder, the soldiers gave him a nod to signal that they were informed by Hilde. He was permitted and began to traverse the back alleys of the streets as soon as he was in the main hub of the market area.
His stallion kept its stride at a quick trot, quick enough to keep the distance from the Soul warriors and slow enough to not attract attention or cause an accident by a hoof slipping on the stone walkway. Link kept his head low, and adjusted his hat so that it covered his ears completely. He hated this, his ears were sensitive to touch and if they were rubbed against a fabric long enough, they grew red and uncomfortably heated.
But desperate times, means desperate measures. And if covering his ears would keep him from being noticed, he'd deal with the uncomfortableness of it all. Whatever it takes. So long as Soul Edge died in flames, he would do what must be done.
A few soldiers on patrol caught sight of him, and rubbed an index finger on their neck, signaling him that they were ready to create a diversion. He nodded at them, but once he was out of their sight, a hammer struck his breastplate and knocked him off his horse.
Getting up and holding his chest and head, which struck the unforgiving concrete floor, Link looked for the person responsible. From all sides, the men from yesterday returned to finish what they started.
"Where's that pretty lass that was with ya yesterday?" One of the gang members gruffly asked. Link spat at the man's feet, ripping his sword and shield from their places.
"I will slit your throats and drag you to hell if you touch her, scum..." Link's angry warning echoed in the alleyway. The group laughed in mockery of his bold statement.
"This guy must be drunker than a Scottish-man!" One of them called, causing a few to laugh at the stereotypical joke.
"Crucify him near the princess' window!" Another called, followed by a cheer of agreement.
"We can get the girl later, lets burn his flesh!" Another called, answered by more cheering.
Link had enough of this, he launched himself at the nearest and used his shield as a battering and decided to decimate this gang so they couldn't bother anyone any more. They were low-lives, cut throats, rapist, sadists, psychos, thieves, the list goes on. He'd do Wolfkrone and Hilde a huge favor by disposing of them.
He used wide swings, cutting necks, severing heads and arms, removing legs, and slicing open chests. As he killed them, and dodged those who tried to strike him, he constantly spun himself in a circle. When he was grouped up by several, he cut them all down with a massive spin that sliced their leg arteries open, leaving them to bleed to death. When one-on-one, he fought with honor even if the attacker had none. Waiting until there was an opening or if he knocked his opponent's weapon from their hand before striking them down.
When he was finished, he stood in the middle of a bloody mess. Bodies all over the alleyway as he fought his way through. Blood was sprayed on the walls, some bodies still spewing it from where the holy blade had cut. Ladyhawk was hovering overhead, and she seemed horrified.
Link passed a bloodied hand over his head, unintentionally smudging the still warm liquid across his face. Killing. It never tasted good. But had he not of slayed them, they would continue to do the world harm. He wasn't about to knock them all out and let it happen. Especially after they threatened to take Sophitia and do what they willed. She was a damn good fighter, but he wasn't about to risk it. He ever would.
The group burst through the gates of Wolfkrone, galloping through the cobblestone of the market area, all warriors spread out and searching for Link. They made their ways to the other side, not provoked or stopped by the citizens. However when they reached the gates of the Eastern Village, they were confronted by a large group of Hilde's soldiers. Taki tried to make her way around them, but the soldiers lowered their spears and stood their ground.
More soldiers came up behind the group and blocked them off from going back.
"What is the meaning of this?" Taki angrily called. One of the soldier's stepped forward, holding a decree in his hand.
"By order of princess Hildegaard Von Krone, you are hereby summoned to the castle, regarding one party, named Link." He calmly said loudly, making sure each member of the group heard him.
"We're in a hurry and must depart!" Taki argued.
"My orders are clear, madam. You must speak with the princess first before you can leave this city."
Taki could almost scream her anger. Once again, her chance was ripped from her hands. She grunted loudly, sitting back heavily on her horse. Feeling defeated, she followed the soldier as he lead them to the palace gates, still being escorted by the battalion blocking their path from escaping.
Link was already through the eastern Gate and on his way to the mountain path, Ladyhawk was still following him, but keeping her distance. It would be difficult to get her to come close again when he set down later.
His horse heaved as each pound of its hoofs kicked up dirt and grass from the plains. The clouds seemed to darken as he continued to traverse the land. Thunder echoed threateningly across the skies. As the sun was consumed by the signs of rain, lighting lit the dim world. Link cursed his luck.
Sure enough, it began to rain, and as he traveled, it grew harder. A mist began to fog his view of the land, making it harder to see if the warriors managed to escape and continue to pursue him. He continued to press on, praying to Farore for safe passage through the rain.
He passed a few oak trees, ducking his head as he went through to avoid getting knocked off his horse by the thicker, lower branches. His chest still hurt from the impact of that hammer from earlier. Each bounce made his chest contract on itself and aggravate the nerves that were disturbed. But he pressed on.
Ladyhawk moved closer to him, seemingly ignoring the scene she witnessed earlier and looking for cover. Link looked up, ready to offer her a spot underneath his armor where his warmth could keep her from getting sick.
"Ladyhawk, come to me!" She seemed hesitant, "Come before you catch a cold!" He called again. This time, she acknowledged his command and he pulled his armor open a little at the neck. She landed on his arm and he moved it over the gap for her to rest in. When she entered, he removed his cape and wrapped it around himself to keep the rain from touching him any further.
"Why did you do that?" He heard his companion's voice call from under the garment.
"I had no choice, they were threatening my mother! Those men are evil, they don't care what damage they do!" Link answered. She didn't reply after that. Link felt he should add something, "And I made sure it was quick, they didn't suffer for long." He admitted.
"But they still suffered!" She retorted.
"Then their dues are paid and justice was served. I punished them for their past sins, they should be cleared now!"
Again, silence reigned.
*Ladyhawk, do not question Link's methods...he defended his friends, his action was justified.* Serenity's voice finally spoke up for the first time in the past few days.
Link had almost forgotten the angel was watching him.
Taki and her group stood before Hildegaard Von Krone, princess of Wolfkrone, who sat on her throne in full battle gear. She stood, and approached the group. Her armor was elegantly shaped, a wolf's jaw made up the shape of her helmet which she left on her throne's arm rest. A red and vivid cape flowed gracefully behind her as she walked.
"I understand you are hunting my friend." She said once she reached Taki, briefly locking eyes with Sophitia who met her gaze.
"I told you." Siegfried said. Taki punched his shoulder lightly.
Hilde shook her head.
"I know why you hunt him. I know that he holds Soul Edge..." She revealed.
"And you helped him?" Taki shouted in outrage.
"Only because he is doing me a favor by destroying it!" Hilde returned. Taki snorted in reply.
"So he has fooled you into believing that?"
"Taki! Link means well! He told me everything the other night, he explained it all!" Sophitia defended. Taki gave her one of her burning glares.
"I still don't trust a word he says. He's fooled us before." Taki retorted. Hilde only watched the argument as she sat back on her throne.
"His blade can't shatter Soul Edge, it isn't a Spirit Sword. He needs Soul Calibur to destroy it, and he left to protect us!" The elder Athenian pushed back verbally. Taki rolled her eyes.
"Enough." Siegfried spoke up with heavy authority. "This bickering will only prolong our quest from completion. We all agree that, regardless of intention, this boy must be found."
"Fine..." Taki agreed.
"You are not leaving tonight. Rest in my castle at least for a day, and then I will let you continue. You can either stay in a comfortable room, or share a cell in the dungeons." Hilde laid their choices out.
Taki looked back to Hilde, frustration in her eyes.
"Why are you doing this?" She asked stiffly. Hilde did not smile, smirk or wink, she merrily looked out the windows of her court.
"I believe in his strength. You should have faith in him as well. Link is gathering the shards of Edge, you all have most of the shards of Calibur. If you let Link collect the remaining shards, while you acquire what is left of Calibur, than the two swords will finely be silenced." Hilde spoke.
"How can we be sure that Link will not fall victim to Soul Edge's power? None have controlled the sword before, its only a matter of time, if he still is who he says he is, that it finally conquers his conscious." Taki asked.
"Time will tell." Mitsurugi answered.