Okay, I have some good excuses for taking this long. First I felt uninspired with the story line and actually quite skeptical about it, and I even considered discontinuing the story. But then I started liking it again, and I finally decided to finish this god-forsaken chapter. Please don't be too harsh. I'm not completely dedicated yet.
Oh, and Trold, I did go back and edit Link's part in Chapter three if you want to have a look. Thanks for the advice haha. Enjoy!
My father taught me as a young girl the art of breeding horses. And, just like him, my favorite horses were the black ones. They had a dark passion about them, and when I looked into their deep amber eyes, I could see the reflection of my people swirling inside of them. My father's horse was as black as night, and so mine was as well. Those horses represented our civilization and the way we've survived. I led my group of hunters into the decrepit and shabby barn, and breathed in the familiar scent of the majestic beasts. I heard their soft whinnies, and even before moving through the aisle, I could feel their emanating warmth. The women following at my heels seemed to have the same comfortable reaction; as the Gerudo people, breeding these horses was our life.
We dispersed, each huntress moving to her own noble steed. I could've walked with my eyes closed, my feet knew the way so well. My magnificent gelding poked his head out of his stall, sensing my familiar advances. As his eyes met mine, he let out an excited whinny, and bobbed his head. Smiling softly, I ran my tan hands along his face, left in wonder at the smoothness and warmth of his skin.
"Hey, boy," I cooed. "Hey Aswad." He whinnied in response to his name.
"Can you stop fawning over your horse so we can get going?"
I whirled around to face Nour, whose copper-colored mare was already saddled, gazing at me with a seemingly pretentious gaze.
Trying to maintain my composure and keep Nour dissatisfied, I patiently led Aswad from his stall and began the complicated routine of preparing him. Of course, it was second nature to me; it was second nature to all of us. Before slipping the bit into his mouth, I grabbed the nearest apple—a brown, shriveled up fruit—and held it up for him. Gratefully, he snatched it from my fingers, chewing incessantly.
"And finally, the princess has finished," Nour joked, provoking nervous laughter from the other riders. They were immediately silenced by the dangerous glares I spread over their ranks, and Nour scoffed as I nimbly mounted my shining horse. My crossbow was slung across my shoulder, and I adjusted my position instinctively as the other hunters mimicked my position.
"All right, girls," I proclaimed. "Let's go hunting."
I pushed Aswad into a gallop and led the pack away from the village and into the desert.
As a younger girl, hunting used to be one of my favorite activities. It provided me with an adrenaline rush and a much-needed challenge in this isolated and desolate place. The game was plentiful, the meat replenishing and the hunt enjoyable. Nowadays, with our amount of prey swiftly diminishing, hunting had become more of a chore than anything. We had to hunt sparingly, trying to keep the game alive long enough to keep ourselves sustained...at least, until we were able to return to Hyrule and reclaim our places as citizens. And once this game was gone, we would have nothing but the stolen goods we only rarely received. There were the horses, but nobody in the village would ever dare to lay a hand on the precious animals. We would have to send more raids into Hyrule, in which we almost always lost one or two of our women. It was not a risk that I was very willing to take.
I would rather be able to walk into Hyrule without having to worry about being killed or imprisoned.
The sand rushed past below Aswad's constantly moving hooves, making it seem as if we were hovering nimbly over the desert. The heat was intense, but we'd all grown used to it, and there was barely a single drop of sweat on my face. Our group moved further and further from the village, deeper into the desert. We naturally made our way to the entrance of Arbiter's grounds, where the Bullbos and Moldorms usually gathered. There were few of them left, but if we wanted to feed our children, we needed to hunt them down.
"There are two over there," I suddenly said, pulling back on the reins and forcing Aswad to a loyal stop. He shifted his position impatiently in the sand as the other horses halted behind us. Nour, of course, pulled up right beside me.
"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" she called, raising her spear.
"No, Nour." I narrowed my eyes at her, putting up my hand. The other girls looked around at each curiously. "They're fast. If we go in without a plan, they'll run away, and—"
"Why does it matter? There are seven of us and only two of them. And our horses are faster anyway." She rolled her eyes and scrutinized the large pigs ravenously. "Let's just go."
The other girls seemed to agree with her...
I began to panic. How was I supposed to follow in my father's footsteps as leader of the Gerudo if I couldn't even get this group of hunters to agree with me? Nour had them wrapped around her finger, and she was in the position in which I should've been. The other hunters should've been listening to me. I was the leader, daughter of the great King of Thieves...
"No," I persisted. At this point, I was arguing irrationally. I just couldn't stand the thought of them choosing Nour over me. "We should approach slowly and kill them from afar. It will be much easier that way."
"Oh please, Rasha," she scoffed. "You and I both know that it would be easier to rush at them, surround them, and kill them on the spot."
My temper was beginning to get the best of me; I could feel the rage pulsing through my heated blood.
"I'm the leader, you do what I say, got it?"
"You're not my leader."
"Yes I am. I'm the only heir to the throne." My fingers tightened around Aswad's reins, and he snorted uncomfortably. I barely even noticed.
"What, because your father was the leader?" Nour raised her eyes at me. "I find that to be very poor reasoning. Your father was the worst leader the Gerudos have ever seen. He promised us prosper and riches. What did he give us?"
I was suddenly blinded with rage.
"Starvation and rags, that's what—"
I flew at the speed of light off of Aswad, straight toward Nour. She could barely manage a yelp of surprise as I knocked her off of her horse, pushing her straight into the sand. I pinned her arms and looked straight into her eyes, hyperventilating with anger. For a moment, I saw a flash of fear in her eyes; slowly, it dissolved into impudence. My uncontrollable wrath increased.
"Don't talk about my father like that," I hissed. "He wasn't the worst leader. He was the best."
"Rasha," she purred, "you don't understand. What has our life been like under the reign of your father? Huh? Tell me that."
"Stop it! He did everything he could to help us!"
"You're so stupid!" Nour pushed me off of her with a grunt of frustration and stood up, dusting herself off. I mimicked her actions, keeping my teeth clenched and my fists tight. "Are you completely blind to the world around you?"
"No, I know what my father did, and I know that he cared about his people," I argued. My head was spinning. Nobody had ever spoken of Father like this, and to be completely truthful, I didn't know how to react.
"You know what your father cared about, Rasha?" She spat when she said my name. "Himself. He could've asked us to help him kill the Hero of Twilight. He could've asked us to help him take over Hyrule. What did he do?"
She narrowed her eyes, and my heart skipped a beat.
"He asked a Twili to help him. Not even his own people."
I opened my mouth and screamed at the top of my lungs. Nour stumbled back in surprise, blinking at my sudden outburst. Then, with a speed incomparable by any other Gerudo, I lifted my crossbow and pointed it at her. She caught her breath, eyeing me with evident fright swimming in her irises.
"Rasha, what are you...AH!"
I shot the crossbow. It zoomed right past her ear, and she stood in shock as it whistled through the dry desert air. The other girls screamed. Finally, she turned around, and saw a Bullbo lying on its side, its forehead pierced by my arrow. Its eyes were still open, shining hauntingly in the sun.
"I am the leader," I finally growled, putting my crossbow back over my shoulder. "And I will kill the Hero of Twilight. I will finish my father's job."
Leila sat cross-legged inside of my house, hunched over her dusty and open book. I lay on my bed with my arms behind my head and scraggly red hair, staring up at the ceiling with a distant expression. With each minute that passed, I heard another page of her tome flip, and my lips twitched with each minuscule disturbance. Every so often, I could hear an incomprehensible murmur from her lips, or the billowing the cold desert wind rattling the surrounding night.
"Rasha, you really should read this book." Leila finally broke the silence and straightened her back, a large smile plastered onto her energetic features. My eyes moved just barley to where she sat, but I didn't move.
"I hate reading."
"But it's really interesting," she persisted, looking back down at her book.
"Where did you even get that?" I scoffed. She shrugged absentmindedly, as if she hadn't heard the question. Or perhaps she simply didn't want to answer. I rolled my eyes and then closed them for a few moments.
"I've always loved science, but astronomy is definitely my favorite," Leila continued. When I opened one eye, I saw her practically jumping in her seat and biting her lower lip. "The constellations and the stars and the moon and—It's just fascinating!"
"Oh yeah. Extremely."
"But even better than science is history. I have this one book, back home, and it—"
"Leila!" I suddenly jerked up in bed, turning on her with a furious expression. She blinked a few times, and then furrowed her brow. "Can't you think of anything but your dumb books?"
As always, Leila just smiled and looked away.
"We all have our own passions," she replied. Then she continued reading. With a heavy sigh of exasperation, I ran my hands over my exhausted features and leaned my elbows on my knees.
"Leila, I'm sorry, it's just," I began, unsure of how to continue. She looked up at me with that same phlegmatic expression. "I can't stop thinking about the Hero of Twilight and what you said. And you're right...I can't defeat him with power alone."
"Nope." She was still consumed with her book, but I knew her well enough to realize that she was in fact listening to me.
"But how else can I defeat him?" I lay back down, rubbing my eyes idly. There was silence for a long time after that, until she finally broke it.
"Rasha, I kind of want to go down to Hyrule, too," she admitted. I sat back up in surprise and stared at her. She had closed her book. "I mean, after you've conquered it and everything. I mean, Hylians are such intellectual beings. I'm sure they have so many books and theories..."
I couldn't help but burst into uncontrollable, hysterical laughter. As I clutched my stomach and attempted to surprise my erratic giggling, Leila sat placidly, watching me with an amused expression.
"That's why you want to go down to Hyrule? Really, Leila?"
"Well, why do you?"
"Because," I sighed, "my father wanted to. He saw something in Hyrule, something that made him want it with all of his soul."
"That's not a good reason." Leila furrowed her brow and shifted her position uneasily. "You want it, but you don't even know why?"
"Well, I know my first reason," I raised an eyebrow. "I can't kill the Hero of Twilight unless I go down there."
"Oh please, not this again..."
"I want to go down there, and I want to go soon."
"Be rational about this," Leila pleaded, her dark eyes sparkling. "You have no plan whatsoever."
"And that's what's killing me," I said through clenched teeth. "I don't know how I'm going to do it."
"More training isn't really going to help you. You're the most powerful and agile Gerudo in the village." She took on a more pensive expression and twisted up her mouth, the way she does when she goes deep into the inner workings of her complicated mind. "Like I said, you need something that your father didn't have to defeat him."
I painstakingly remembered what Nour had said to me that morning, about my very own father.
"Your father was the worst leader the Gerudos have ever seen. He promised us prosper and riches."
I told myself at that moment to do what my father couldn't do...no, what he didn't have time to do. He would've done it. He would've saved his people, but the Hero of Twilight got in the way. It was his fault that we were living in squalor, struggling to survive.
How...How? I ripped at my hair in frustration, gritting my teeth. Leila simply stared at me, concern written all over her features.
"You'll figure it out," she consoled. "If you just give it time, it'll come to you."
"That's exactly what we don't have, Leila," I replied in disillusionment. "Time. We're going to die if I don't do something."
She had no way to reply, and continued looking at me with those wide golden eyes. At that moment, I said something even I hadn't been expecting.
"I'm going down to Hyrule."
"What? Have you completely lost your sanity?" Letting the book drop from her lap, Leila scrambled to her feet and glared at me as if I were mad. I looked back at her evenly. "You can't do that without a plan!"
"Like you said, it will come to me."
"Okay, it's official. You're crazy!" she screamed. "What are we supposed to do here while you're down there trying to think of ways to kill Mr. Hero, huh?"
"Leila, you should've heard what Nour said to me today," I hissed. The anger of that morning returned to me in an emotional rush, and I had to close my eyes to regain my composure. "You should've heard what she called my father."
"It doesn't matter what Nour said," she sighed. "What she said isn't going to make it safer to go down to Hyrule."
"Come with me."
"You're even crazier than I thought."
"You said yourself, you want to learn about their ideas," I persuaded. Her mouth was locked open and her eyes were narrowed.
"Yeah, but I'd rather not get killed at the same time." She began pacing the room. "Please don't do this. It's way too dangerous."
"But necessary. We have nothing else to do, nowhere else to go," I said, and my voice was rising. "This is our only choice!"
She stopped, leaning her forehead on her open palm. For a few moments, the only sound was the jingle of her signature golden bracelets and the combinations of our heavy breathing. Then, slowly, she began shaking her head.
"Rasha..." she began. "If we die, I'm never forgiving you."
And then she flashed me that small, comforting smile she always gave me before giving in to my eccentric plans.
"Don't thank me yet. I still have time to change my mind." Leila bent over and with a grunt of effort picked up her book. "Now go to bed."
She left without another word.
Father? My gaze turned up toward the ceiling. My eyelids were beginning to droop dangerously. I'm actually going down to Hyrule. I'm going to confront the Hero of Twilight for you, and I'm going to kill him. I'm going to show the world that you really were the best leader of the Gerudos. I won't let you die in vain.
All right, that's it for now! I hope you enjoyed it :) Leave reviews, and hopefully I'll update sooner next time! Thanks guys!