See? I'm alive. I have class at 9:30 in the morning and it's 3 AM right now... SEE WHAT I DO FOR YOU ALL? -grumble grumble- Anyways... I'm sure you don't want to hear my rambles. Go on and read.

Act VI: In Which Zelda Finds Herself Rather Conflicted or In Which the Heroes take a Well-Deserved Break

It was a particularly rough landing. The ground beneath them was comprised of scratchy dirt and rocks… and Zelda had also landed on Vaati. Granted, the mage went through efforts as they fell to make this so, that didn't mean it was enjoyable. Far from it actually.

"Ooof… what happened…?" Came Zelda's groggy voice.

"We fell through a hole." Vaati said flatly, debating whether it was in his best interests to get up and feel a world of pain, or stay down and feel less pain.

Zelda's simple response was, "Huh?" In looking for the source of the voice, she ended up kneeing Vaati in the stomach. His muted cry of pain was what caught her attention below her. "Wha…?"

With a groan, Vaati sat up and gently pushed her off of him. Right now, they… well, maybe not they, but he needed to get his bearings before the dragon found a way to reach them. Not to mention it was certainly in Vaati's best interest to get out of this place – he could feel the air was stagnant and stifled… not a place for a Mage of Winds. Not that it mattered much. He was still jinxed. But before he could really take anything in, he felt Zelda softly embrace him from behind, whispering in a silly giggle, "You're cute."

Gingerly, he unclasped her hands from himself and said, "Flattering, my dear, but this really isn't the time."

"Oooh, but why not?" She whined. Vaati just looked over his shoulder at her, seeing a pouty face on that confusion clouded head of hers. He never quite realized how unbecoming whining was on her. Irritably, he responded, "Because I say so."

With that, he stood up and brushed himself off, again trying to take in his surroundings. But he was not at all pleased with what he was seeing. Rocks, ledges and, the coup de grace, magma. Lots and lots of magma pools just about everywhere. It certainly explained why it was so warm down here. "Fantastic." Vaati muttered under his breath. It seemed they had no choice but to wait until the Jinx wore off...

"Well, Princess it seems… where did you get that?" He asked, taking note of the large pink bow the princess was trying to arrange on her nose.

"Ummmm, I don't know." She said with a furrowed brow as she looked at the bow in her hands.

"Well put it down, you don't know where it's been." He snapped.

"You're… you're… oooh, I can't… you're mean!" The girl said in triumph upon finding her word.

"This has been established already, Princess." Vaati said tiredly.

"Established what?"

He didn't even respond to it. At least he would know the jinx was done with when Zelda started making sense again.

"Oh, that's my bow!" A squeaky voice then said.

Puzzled, he turned his attention back down towards Zelda only to see that the girl was now not alone. While Zelda was protectively clutching the bow she'd found, there was now something else there. Some sort of creature in a red, hooded robe. He could only assume it was female, but the huge, yellow eyes on the thing covered about three quarters of its face, making it very difficult to tell. He was distracted by the oddity, it took him a few moments to realize that the creature and Zelda were having a tug-of-war over the pink bow.

"Nooooo, I found it!" Zelda whined in that very unbecoming way. It was enough for Vaati to get in between them and yank the bow from both their hands before handing it to the red robed figure. "Noooooooo!" Zelda whined, balled fists weakly pummeling Vaati's back.

"Please excuse her, she's not normally like this." Vaati apologized, though in truth his temper was at a rolling boil and he wished he just could have thrown the bow into the magma nearby. However, he had the distinct feeling doing such a thing would not work in his favor.

The thing in the red robes cast it giant yellow eyes on Vaati suspiciously, then on Zelda… and then went about placing its large bow on its hood. "It's fine I suppose…" She said warily in her squeaky voice. "But you two don't look like Subrosians; what are you doing here? Did you fall down here during that landslide?"

Landslide? I suppose they wouldn't know there was a dragon stomping about top side. It would probably be best not to mention it either. "You could say that… You wouldn't happen to know how to get back up to the surface, would you?"

"I don't know… it looks like that hole you two fell from got sealed up. Some of the other ways outside might've sealed up too…"

And then there was a shaking in the ground followed by dirt tumbling down from above. Vaati grimaced. Onox was probably digging… He looked back to the bulbous eyed girl and said, "My fiancée and I really need to leave the general area – at the moment, we'll take any way out of here." And that was true. He was already hating this heat; he was hating the stagnant air; and he certainly hated to think what would happen if Onox dug them up here and now while he and Zelda were still jinxed.

The Subrosian girl gave Vaati and Zelda (who was currently looking absently around in a daze) a wary look. Honestly, she wasn't quite sure she liked either one of these strange looking Hylians. The girl was as dumb as a post, and that was insulting the post. And the man, while having been perfectly polite, seemed to have an aura of menace around him. Like… like he was only being polite because all other options seemed to be avoiding him. And then it occurred to her if that was the case, did she really not want to help a guy like that? It seemed like the best option would be to get the out of Subrosia lest he did find another option. "I guess I can help you two… But…"

Vaati forked an eyebrow. "But?"

"Never mind," Rosa said, shaking that overlarge head of hers dismissively before going on, "I can't take you there myself, but I can tell you where to go. The landslides have covered up a lot of places I'm sure, but I know one that isn't going to collapse anytime soon."

"And that is…?" His voice was thick with impatience. He did not like the underground, and he disliked the volcanic atmosphere even less. He was already feeling his hair stick to his face unpleasantly.

"Hold on," Rosa said, looking around for something. When she found it, she scurried ahead, telling Vaati and Zelda to follow. The mage took the confused princess by the arm and followed, ignoring Zelda's feeble, "Heeeeey, noooooooooo… I dun wanna… I dunno." He caught up with the Subrosian on the top of a hill. The sleeve of the girl's cloak was outstretched and pointing downwards, towards a sheet of rock that seemed to end the underworld land of Subrosia. "In that wall there's a small fissure. It has some carvings around it, so it should be easy to find. If you go through it, you can find a way back to the surface."

"A fissure?" Was all Vaati managed to say skeptically. Rosa was holding information back, no doubt. Walking into random cracks in the wall to who knows where… it reeked of suspicion.

"I admit it isn't the safest thing in the world but it'll get you out." The Subrosion girl stated matter-of-factly, crossing her cloaked arms.

He was still highly suspicion, but the earth shook again, and Vaati knew there was no time to be picky. He hated the idea of going into a fissure – surrounded by rock and all sides in limited spaces with a stupefied Zelda… But again, a lack of options forced him to put on a pleasant expression and say to Rose, "Thank you for your assistance. We'll be on our way now." And I'll be sure to cave in this stupid place once I have my abilities back.

Rosa shrugged, "Good luck, I suppose." And then shuffled off, leaving Zelda and Vaati upon the hilltop.

Vaati stared down at the wall, his bad mood strengthening in the uncomfortable environment. It was especially not helping with Zelda humming an annoying tune right near him. Stop. Stop it. You're getting angry again. Don't get angry again. You do stupid things when you get angry. He thought to himself. But if anything, those thoughts were still getting him upset. Apparently, he couldn't take criticism even from himself. Deciding it was better to perhaps not think about it too much, he took Zelda's hand and guided them downwards toward the wall so that they could find the fissure.

Zelda had at first been as loopy as she had been since they'd first arrived, and the only way Vaati managed to keep a lid on his temper was to convince her to play one of Ezlo's favorite games: The Quiet Game. Unfortunately, the game did not last long. As soon as they made it to the wall, Zelda had forgotten the about the "game."

"Where are we? Where are we going? Who are you? Who am I? Why is it so hot here?"

Worst of all, she was blathering on in a nasally, high pitched voice that made him seriously consider gagging her. Silently, he tried to gag her via magic, but he supposed if he had access to his magic, Zelda wouldn't be acting like an idiot. In his mind, he began a sort of mantra of Patience… patience… And to his great surprise it helped in tuning Zelda out as he searched for the fissure.

And when he found it, he grimaced. It was small, as Rosa had said. It was single-file only space wise, and short enough so that he and the princess would have squat down to get through. He already felt uncomfortable just peeking through the space. His natural element being wind, he didn't have a very good time in enclosed spaces. But they couldn't stay put – the earth still shook with the vibrations of dragon claws scraping against it. It wouldn't be long before the dragon broke through.

"Princess, come here – yes, you." He said exasperatedly to the confused girl. "Crawl through this-"


"Never mind why, just do it!" He snapped. She probably couldn't understand, in her current state, that it would be a very bad idea to have her absent minded self attempt to follow him down a thin, dark tunnel.

The girl pouted, but then quickly dazed again. Rather than try to convince her yet again, he quickly prodded her into the fissure. With a yelp, she proceeded forward, if not hesitantly and confusedly. Zelda again began on a chorus of whiny questions ad Vaati continued his mantra of "patience" within his mind. And luckily, as he'd hoped, the cramped space did not last for long. Zelda stumbled ahead and he'd seen that she was now standing upright within a small cavern. He entered the little cavern himself and looked around, ignoring Zelda's fascinated "oooooooh" in favor of the most unexpected sight in this small cavern. Which was a door. And not just any door – an old stone door with intricate engravings. And he knew exactly why Rosa had been so sure this place wouldn't be caved in and why she had been so hesitant to take them there.

"A monster's den. Perfect." He scowled.

"Preeeetty!" Zelda piped up right next to him, pointing at the engravings of the stone door that foretold danger. There was no apparent means of opening it but… well, having opened a few of these in the past, he knew there was a way. There was always a way to open these things. Why, he really had no idea. These things were obviously meant to keep things in, so why would anyone put a failsafe that would let the things out? The wind mage supposed he shouldn't be in a position to complain, however, as those idiotic mistakes worked for him.

Looking at the door, he saw this was one of the more simplistic mechanisms. There was an indentation in the door deeper than the rest of the engravings. It required a key of some sort. He looked around the small cavern and frowned. The indentation wasn't that big… which meant the key couldn't have been that big… It had to be around somewhere, though, else Rosa wouldn't have directed them to this-

"Princess, what are you playing with?" He'd gone back to ignoring her presence after his little chat with her, and apparently she took it upon herself to entertain herself and found something. But upon hearing Vaati, she quickly hid the object in her fist and put her hands behind her back.

"Nuthin…" She said, her dirtied, cut up toes curling inwards.

"Don't lie to me, what is it? Show me." He demanded.

She pouted and shook her head defiantly. The wind mage growled and then marched to her, but she attempted to run around him. The limited space worked to his advantage, though, and he had grabbed her arms and pulled her towards him. It almost seemed like when he'd first captured her and taken her to the palace, her struggling like this. Except now she was as dumb as a post, and that was insulting the post. "Stop flailing and just give me whatever it is you have!"

"NooooOOOOOO!" She shrieked, her fists still balled up protectively over the little item.

But he forcibly opened up her palms, and in one of them he managed to fish out the little item – the very key he was looking for. He wrested it from her triumphantly and shuffled quickly to the door, while Zelda stood there flabbergasted before sticking out her lower lip and getting teary eyed.

"And you were complaining about me acting childish earlier!" He scolded with a huff.

And then she began to wail.

PATIENCE. PATIENCE. JUST HAVE PATIENCE. His thoughts had to practically yell his mantra at him to be heard over the girl's shrilly crying. Looking at the item he'd taken from her, and confirmed his suspicions that she'd found the key. He tried to see that as a bright side, but her loud sobbing was grating. Because this wasn't crying like he'd heard when he captured maidens in the past. No, this was the irritating crying of a child.

He pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingers. How was he supposed to take this dimwit of a girl through a maze of monsters without getting them both killed? Especially if she kept screaming like this? He had no magic and no other means to protect their lives… Vaati glanced at Zelda, who was now stomping angrily. There weren't even tears on her face, she was just throwing a tantrum. With an angry sigh, he took her by the shoulders and forced her to look his way. "Pay attention – what I am going to say is of the utmost importance!"

Upon noticed her voice had been overshadowed by his, she clammed up. Her eyes screwed up a bit, and she seemed to have completely forgotten whatever it was that she had been screaming about. "Im-porrrrrr-tanssssss-ah!" She finally repeated dully.

"Quiet!" He hissed. The severity in his voice actually widened the girl's eyes and she froze. She was listening. Good. "We are about to enter an extremely dangerous place. You must stay close to me and do what I say at all times until we are out of this place or your stupidity wears off. Do you get what that means? Stay close? Do you understand what I say? Do you?"

She nodded.

"Good." He let her go and faced the door again.

He placed the key in the indentation and pushed.

With the horrible grating sound of stone against stone, the door began to slide to the right. Vaati than glanced over his shoulder at Zelda, seeing that she still looked as vacant as ever even with the door before them moving. He honestly didn't trust her to move by herself, even if she did seem to understand his harsh words earlier, so he took her hand and when the door finished its sliding, led her into the literal den of the beast.

It was a straightforward tunnel, its passage difficult only because of Zelda's uneven steps. Nonetheless, the hand that wasn't gripped around Zelda's Vaati placed against the walls of their pathway to escape. He was trying to figure out how exactly the tunnel had been carved out, seeing as the walls seemed to be of sheet rock. From the feel of it, it seemed to have been hewn by claws rather than hammers or other technologies available to bipedal races of higher intelligence. That was not comforting, seeing as how it was probably whatever was lurking on the other side of this tunnel that had said claws. And he only wished he could hazard a guess as to what it was if only so they could properly avoid it if they had the wonderful pleasure of meeting it. And seeing as how his luck had been running lately, he was sure they would.

"It smells…" The dumbfounded Zelda whispered quietly.

He nearly snapped at her for speaking, but realized she had a valid point. The whole of Subrosia smelled – magma had a certain fire and brimstone stench to it, and the dry earth and rocks that surrounded them also had a stagnant, old smell to them. But now the odor of fire and brimstone had resurfaced strongly in this place, and Vaati wasn't sure if his frown could get any deeper. The resurgence of the smell could mean a few things – his biggest fear being a chasm of magma they couldn't cross or the beast living in this goddess forsaken cave being comprised of magma or some other horrible thing.


Zelda suddenly clung onto Vaati tightly-

"What the-?" Again, he would have snapped something unpleasant, except he was seeing what had frightened Zelda. "Dammit, Dodongos…" he cussed upon seeing a lizard-like head burrow out of the ground. Worst of all, Zelda's squeal had attracted its attention. While the creature was very young and small, the things were irritatingly territorial even at such young ages. And where there was one, there would be several others. Gripped the princess's hand tightly, he said to her, "Come, dear, time to run."

Sure enough, as they ran, other baby dodongos began to crawl out of the ground behind them, wiggling their legless bodies in an attempt to catch the intruders of their cavern. Eventually, some of the dodongos gave up and burrowed under the ground, yet others still attempted the chase. However, when they reached the end of the tunnel and came upon a clearing with the occasional magma puddle, the baby dodongos vanished. Both mage and princess paused then to catch their breath.

"Wormy lizards – eeeeeew." The still stupid Zelda whined.

"Keep quiet!" Vaati whispered harshly before going back to his own thoughts. Now that he could identify the creatures that lived within this cavern, he wasn't sure what to make of their situation. There were definitely older dodongos around, and those were harder to get around than babies. The babies couldn't breathe fire, after all. He scowled at the thought, As if one fire breathing lizard after us wasn't enough…

To disturb that thought was the sound of a roar. It wasn't like Onox's roar, as it'd come from a creature significantly smaller than the great beast of a dragon. But it was still a roar large enough for Vaati to grab the princess and hide behind a boulder. He held the dumbfounded princess tightly as the sound of large, dragging claws scraping against rock grew nearer. He chanced a peak over the boulder and then quickly drew back at the sight of an adult dodongo. Just one time – just one time – why can't things go my way? He thought bitterly.

"What the-"

The sound of that tone of voice… Vaati couldn't remember the last time he felt such a wave of happiness fall over him.

"Vaati, you release me this instant!" Zelda demanded.

The mage's face cracked into a wide grin as he did the exact opposite Zelda's demand and embraced her tighter.

"Vaati! Wha- how dare you?!" Zelda shrieked as she tried to wriggle her way out of the wind mage's grasp.

"I have to admit, I have never found your ungrateful tone more charming than right now, at this very moment." He said, sounding as if he were completely at peace yet still managing to keep a tight hold upon the princess. Zelda hated it, but gave up her wriggling – mostly because she'd caught the sight of a dodongo turning the corner of their hiding spot. She had no idea where they were or why there was a dodongo here, but all she could sputter was "V-V-Vaati…?"

"Hmm," the mage vacantly looked over his shoulder. "Oh that." He finally released the princess to face the beast, his expression back to its normal scowl. "Excuse me, can't you see I'm having a moment here?" The dodongo began to draw breath. "Tch. Apparently not." Before the dodongo could release its jet of flame, Vaati all too happily waved his arms out in front of him to the right where a powerful gale smashed the dodongo aside into a magma pool. The feeling of his magic coursing through him and into his element was exhilarating enough for the mage to let out a maniacal cackle, before gliding quickly over to Zelda and embracing her happily again.

"Vaati?! What on earth are you doing?! What's going on – where are we?!"

Letting her go again, the mage simply cackled once more before saying, "That's a story for later, my dear princess. We should probably go before more of those creatures come – and honestly, I don't know about you, but I've had quite enough of fire-breathing lizards."

Zelda huffed, finding herself actually wanting to make an argument about it. But Vaati was in a surprisingly good mood at the moment, for what she couldn't even begin to guess. But she didn't want to ruin that, seeing as the last time she had offended him he'd acted like a child. And she did have to agree with the last sentiment – she certainly was sick of fire breathing lizards.

"We really should move on." Link said to the rest of the group.

Currently, the other three Links and the two guardsmen were sitting in a circle on the grass, each lazily doing their own thing.

"Relax, Green," Blue said exasperatedly. "We've been at this freeing fairies thing nonstop; we deserve a break."

"Much as I want to move on as well, Blue has a point Green," Vio said, "If we keep going on without taking a break, we'll be fried before we can even get to Vaati."

"But Vaati's not in Hyrule! Didn't you guys hear what the Helmaroc King said?!" Link said almost in a panic.

"But the Palace hasn't moved," Red commented chipperly, pointing at the Palace high up in the sky.

"He doesn't need his palace to fly!" Link snapped. But his tone and expression degenerated quickly to one of worry. "He could've taken Zelda somewhere else… I mean, how can we save her if we don't even know where she is…?"

Red rose and scuttled over to Link, putting a comforting hand upon his green counterpart's shoulder. "Green, don't think we don't care. We do care about Zelda-"

"I don't," interrupted Poe, who was quickly elbowed by his brother.

"-but if we spend all of our time worrying and overworking ourselves, then we can't save her. You, me, and Gibdo spent our first dungeon sick as dogs while Vio, Blue, and Poe handled a monster. Then we all hiked up Death Mountain and had the teeny confrontation with Mr. Helmaroc King… and then we had to hike all the way down. We've accomplished a lot in less than two days – it's amazing we're still standing." Said the Red Link gently.

"Yeah, we're tired!" Poe piped up again, receiving the same elbow treatment from his brother.

Link frowned. It was true. Their small group was exhausted, himself included. They did a lot of trekking, travelling, and fighting. Even Poe, who was all for saving the Great Fairies (and strangely enough, Vio as well), was reluctant to go anywhere. To push themselves any further would be suicidal – and that probably wasn't an exaggeration. Still, the great helmed bird's words still echoed in his head, and he said, "But what about-"

"Oh fooey what the huge bird said!" Blue cried out, agitated.

"What Blue means to say," Vio interrupted, giving his Blue clone a look of distaste, "Is that the Helmaroc King was probably lying to confuse us. Remember whose orders he was acting on."

And remember he also said he didn't take orders from Vaati either. But at the same time, maybe Vaati told the bird to say that? Maybe this really was some ruse to throw them off…

"Besides," Vio began again, "The next great fairy is in Lake Hylia."

"Wait…" Gibdo thought aloud. "Isn't the King on holiday at Lake Hylia right now?"

"Yeah…" Link groaned. They would have to find some way to avoid the king while they were there…

Zelda had to admit: she had never seen Vaati so gung-ho. Whatever had happened that brought them to this strange, way too warm, underground cave, the wind mage seemed very happy to smash any dodongo they came across into nearby lava pits. In fact, he was so happy, that when he noticed Zelda lagging, he insisted they stop. He'd even gone so far as to get them a little "snack," and Zelda had to admit that dodongo meat had an interesting taste… But given how hungry she was, the meat, while strange, was possibly the best meal she could ever confess to having (especially in her current circumstances!).

"They could stand to use a bit more seasoning, but all in all, not bad, wouldn't you say, Princess?" Vaati asked cheerily as he licked his fingers of dodongo scraps.

The princess, still nibbling at a piece of the meat, merely nodded politely.

The mage rolled his eyes, though he looked more amused than annoyed. "Come now, no need to be so polite. Look at where we are and our current states. No need for formality here." He said.

Pausing, she took a moment to consider what he'd just said. There she was, her feet bloody, her dress torn and ragged, her strawberry blonde hair plastered to her face, and she didn't even want to imagine how many layers of grime were on her. Vaati wasn't much better, either it seemed. Absent of his cloak, his tunic and pants had several frays and cuts, the tapered tip of his hat just wasn't there, and his own hair was sticking to his face. While he certainly did look a bit cleaner than her, it was obvious that he'd been doing a great very much in looking for her. She was kind of glad her face was already flushed from the heat, after that last thought… But then she said, "Actually, you're right, Vaati. Formality schmormality!" And with that, she took a large bite out of her scrap of dodongo.

"That's the spirit, dear." Said the mage proudly.

Zelda wished she could have huffed through a full mouth, but she waited until she was done chewing before saying, "I'm not your "dear" or anything of the sort! If you must call me something other than that or Princess, then call me by my name!" And she sort of wished she'd taken it back as soon as she'd said it.

At the statement, Vaati forked an eyebrow and his lips twitched upwards a bit. "Very well then… Zelda."

"It doesn't mean anything!" She added quickly. "It's just… we've been through a lot the past two days and… you've seen me like this… and… well, we're there, I suppose! But that doesn't mean anything! You're still the bad guy here!"

The mage didn't seem bothered at all by her statement, leaning back against the stone wall and twirling a lock of purple hair in his finger. "Methinks thou dost protest too much, Zelda. Especially considering your earlier words of… let me think for a moment, ah yes: 'You're cute.' Your words, not mine."

Again, she was very glad that her blush was in all likelihood not visible. "Tha-that's not true!" She stuttered, even though she knew she couldn't be sure. She had no memory of the past few hours, after all, and to say she didn't think he was attractive would be a lie… "Alright, so maybe I do think you're attractive," she blurted out, "But that doesn't mean anything! You kidnapped me!"

For a moment, she thought he would get angry… but instead, he smiled and shrugged. "I was only teasing, you know. But it is flattering to hear you say that when you're in the right mind."

That time, she was so sure her blush was audible that she buried herself in the chunk of dodongo meat in front of her. She had no idea what he was talking about, but she couldn't believe that he'd somehow managed to get her to say that she thought he was good looking! She didn't dare look at him, as she knew that would only further her embarrassment… yet she was also perturbed by the fact that the mage wasn't be an utter pig about the whole thing and teasing her further.

But Vaati was relatively happy to let the girl wallow in her own awkwardness. In fact, the high he'd had from having access to his magic again was still in full effect, and he had to admit he had rather missed the snarky Zelda… and there was a sort of cuteness to the way the girl stumbled about her own words.

When Zelda had finished her meal, she acknowledged that they should probably move on, though she still made it a point not to look at Vaati directly. The mage chuckled a bit, but resumed clearing their path of any dodongos and dodongo babies. This continued on for a while, though for how long Zelda couldn't say.

Curiosity and concern getting the best of her, she swallowed her pride and finally asked "Vaati… how long have we been down here?"

The mage paused for a moment after sending another dodongo to a fiery grave. "That's a valid question," he mused, "I have no idea." There being no sunlight in Subrosia, it made telling time a pretty impossible task. Tracking time under duress was not a specialty of his. "If I had to guess… a few hours I'd say, perhaps longer…" And come to think of it, he hadn't felt any recent vibrations in the earth. Either the dragon had moved on or they'd walked far away enough so that they couldn't feel his prying claws in the earth. But given the size of the great beast, Vaati highly doubted it was the latter. "If we're lucky, he'll think us dead."

"We're not that lucky…" Zelda mumbled.

"No, we're not… But we're not staying here either. We have to move on, Princess." The mage said, continuing forward.


The mage paused again and gave a puzzled glance over his shoulder at the girl. "Hm?"

"I said you could call me Zelda, before…" She said, suddenly feeling self-conscious. But she shook her head quickly and then went on adamantly, "Ah, never mind, let's just go!" And as she said so, she marched briskly past Vaati, who suddenly grimaced.

"I wouldn't advise going on-" But before he could finish, a screech pierced through the cave and a bipedal lizard wearing armor burst from a hidden alcove right in front of Zelda. The princess screeched, but the screech was cut short when she felt something swoop her around and backwards. She caught herself, not having registered that a mini tornado had just twirled her back several feet and that Vaati had raced past her to take her place before the Lizalfol, a look of utter disdain upon his visage.

The Lizalfol screeched in the mage's face. "Your breath is horrendous." Was all Vaati had said, his expression unchanged. The creature then swung its club downwards, and the mage merely side-stepped. "I'm having a terrible time with lizards lately. If you know what's best for you, I'd suggest leaving now and going about your business." The creature hissed and went to swing its club again. Since the monster asked for it, Vaati happily sent a gust of wind right into its gut strong enough to send it flying into a magma pit.

Hearing Zelda screech again, he turned on his heel quickly to see another Lizalfol closing in on the girl. It figures, he thought bitterly, Always in pairs. He quickly sent another gale in the newest creature's direction, using another eddy to propel him forward in front of his bride to be. The Lizalfol stumbled, hissing angrily upon seeing Vaati land with a small skid in front of Zelda. But the mage let out his own hiss, "Get your own princess." And with that statement, he let loose a blade of air that sliced the creature fatally down the middle.

Zelda blinked absently, not quite having registered what had just happened in less than a minute.

"Are you well, Zelda?"

Her name bringing her back to reality, she looked up at the mage. "Oh… oh… yes…"

"Good," he nodded, briskly turning on his heel and continuing forward, "Come now – and if it's all the same to you, I think it's better if I lead the way."

For a moment, her temper flared. She wanted to tell him that he wasn't one to tell her what to do; she wanted to bring up yet again that it was his fault they were in such a situation... But she didn't. The words were caught in her throat, and… she gave it up, without a fight. She simply stepped forward, catching up to the mage in a puzzled silence. Maybe it was the heat or maybe it was being in a significantly better mood after having eaten recently… She didn't know, but she managed to quietly say, "… Thank you, Vaati…"

The mage stopped dead in his tracks and looked at the girl genuinely stunned. "… Have you been Jinxed again?"

"What? Jinxed…? No!" She snapped, her temper coming back, "I can't just say thank you because I want to?"

Vaati just stared at her curiously before saying, "I suppose not… It was just unexpec-" His eyes widened and he looked down the cavern they had been walking through before Zelda had shocked him with her gratitude.

"What? What is it?" She asked, somewhat alarmed.


"… Wind? You mean… a way out?"

"Yes… The exit's near." He said, glee coming back into a voice. Vaati looked at the princess, a smile coming upon his handsome features. He held a hand out to her, "Shall we, Zelda?"

She looked from his face to his hand… She shouldn't. Doing so would give the mage the wrong idea… But even as she thought that, her hand made its way into his, and they were both rushing through the tunnel until they saw an opening through which light was pouring through. They both rushed out, feeling fresh air and the light of the setting sun pouring over them.

"Finally!" The mage said, his voice filled with more relief than Zelda would have ever guessed she'd hear from him.

"Yes, finally indeed." A low rumble vibrated through the air. Both princess and mage spun around to see right above the cave they'd emerged from was Onox, laying over the rocky mountain the cave had been part of. With a horrible, gravelly laugh, the dragon continued, "I was worried you'd deliver my dinner late."

Okay, so yeah... sorry this took so long. As I have said many, many times before... This story has not been given up on. Don't get me wrong, I have had my share of issues regarding motivation to writing this. Honestly, as glad as I am people are enjoying it, it gets me kind of upset too seeing as how it's recieving so much praise despite being something I'm putting very little effort in. So I was kind of depressed writing this for a while and I just didn't want to for several personal reasons I shan't go into. That was a few months ago, though. Now it's mostly been that I have a lot going on lately.

Also, we're almost done. I'm thinking that the next chapter will be the last one, followed by an epilogue of sorts.

This chapter actually went through five revisions. This was the least horrible. And now onto...

Midnightsun of Shadowclan, I'm glad you're enjoying it... take note, however, and I really don't mean to sound rude, but... begging me to update is not going to make me update faster. Sorry. D:

H-Bomber, it wasn't soon. I'm sorry. D:

SkyArrow, thank you, and sorry this didn't get updated fast. Busy schedule, ya know. DX

The MHT of R, crack fics are all fun and good, but I much rather prefer in character fics. They're more of a challenge, especially considering a pairing that isn't so common like VaatiZelda. ;D

mikumikunishiteageru, no Ghirahim because I am not a Ghirahim fangirl. Sorry. D:

Olivia-the-awesome12, I'm glad you like it so much, but it's really quite far from the perfect story. Thank you, though. It means a lot!

0-Eeveelution-0, you are a very understanding cookie, and for that you have my sincerest gratitude and respect. Again, this will be continued, unless I announce otherwise. :3

Aerois, you like this couple because you obviously have excellent taste. Ohohoho... Anyways, thanks! I've been told my style is "conversational," and I think that's a good way of putting it. XD Hopefully, this chapter fulfills your desire for fluff.

Anon, wellp... it's updated. Enjoy. 8D

gabbypie64, hope you enjoyed.

Triforce of Awesome, such are the sorrows of the interwebs... people always taking names all over the place. D:

fleets, both you and me got stubborn birds, then. XD Ahaha, yes, I love the idea of pigheaded birds, because really... well, they are. XD I actually did the dragon flame color thing on a whim - I thought it would be cool too! XD But seeing as I don't take a scientific approach to dragons, and consider them beings of magic, it seemed right to do it too. And no they do not... fanfics definitely do not supersede real life obligations... though sometimes I wish they did... I did an evil great fairy once, many moons ago... I don't think they're impossible, seeing as we've had very mischievous fairies in the Zelda universe... It'd be cool if that fiddled with that concept some more. :3

Tinselplease, vaati can be a brat sometimes, something I've noticed in MC XD Hope you enjoyed.

Elle-in-Wonderland, they get some alone time here. XD

Sage of Video Games, apparently not. XD

LadyLink98, I am still writing. Please don't hunt me down. That will make me quite upset.

Mystique Luna Tique, it totally is being tough being a monster. It puts the bread on the table and all but when do you get the time to just stretch your wings and relax, ya know?

windmaster45, they didn't get away for long. XD

msfcatlover, lol, it's not weird at all. In fact, I know that feel very much. Unfortunately, there's not so much Vaati being an ass here, but there's plenty of fluff.

Sheikagal, hopefully you've stuck around to see this update...

MaroonAngel of Darkness, it's still being updated, but I don't have as much free time as I used to... and most of my free time goes to a few other things now too. Cosplay's a time consuming hobby, after all...

realperson909, I'm glad you're enjoying. :3