Disclaimer: I do not own anything in Ico: Castle in the Mist.

AN: I recently finished reading Ico: Castle in the Mist, and it inspired me to write this. There are some differences between the book and the game, as this oneshot shows. I highly recommend reading the book if you haven't already. As usual, thanks goes to Awesome Rapidash for all of his help and support!

Days passed since their journey had begun. Ico smiled as he led the girl with the chestnut hair by the hand. The sky was blue overhead and the warm sunlight radiated over the pair. Instead of the soft sand they had been walking on earlier, their bare feet touched the grass and dirt. The blades were a little longer than he remembered and it tickled their ankles and legs. Ico could feel his right horn, which was still attached to his head, swaying back and forth with each step.

The boy mused silently for what felt like the longest time, he was forgetting something and just couldn't put his finger on it. He felt like something had happened, something that should have been unforgettable. And yet, it was at least for the moment, lost within the depths of his mind. No matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't grasp it.

Ico's stomach rumbled and he remembered how hungry he was. Deciding it was best not to worry about it, he looked to the girl next to him. "Hey Yorda, are you hungry?" He remembered calling her by name earlier, yet he didn't understand where that name had come from. Aside from the fact that he felt from the moment that he had seen her, that somehow he knew this girl.

Yorda returned the horned boy's smile and simply nodded.

Ico found it difficult to avert his gaze from her. She wore a white dress accented with a shawl that covered her slender shoulders. He was certain that when he had first cast his eyes on her, that she resembled a fairy or something similar to that. But now as they wandered along the pathway, he couldn't help but wonder just how he could have thought such a thing from one who is clearly human.

Ico scanned the area surrounding them, letting his hunter's instinct come forward. He had no weapons of his own, but he knew that in a pinch, he could find something for them to eat. Even a little bit would help right now. Although, it seemed like forever since he last had something in his stomach.

As he whipped his head around, he could feel his right horn moving in the wind. To his surprise, it cracked and fell right off, landing on the grass next to him. Yorda seemed shocked as well, and she gasped behind the horned boy. He gave it a quick glance, but he wasn't too worried about it. Though he'd felt shameful before about it, now he felt proud.

He flashed Yorda a reassuring smile as he let go of her hand. "Don't go anywhere," he told her. "I'll be right back."

All the girl did was nod and gave him a look as if to say "Be careful."

Ico turned and began walking in a given direction. As he did he reached up to where his horn had once been. Most of the blood around the area had already dried but he could feel some fresh crimson liquid on his fingertips. His body was covered in scrapes and bruises, and they seemed to be healing nicely. She was better off than he was, and it was something he was grateful for. At least she didn't have to feel what it was like to have a severed horn.

The child let out a small yelp when his foot landed on something else other than dirt. The sharp pain radiated through his leg, causing him to look down. What he discovered was what appeared to be a strangely shaped stone. He looked up, and his jaw opened wide in surprise. Before him there was a huge pile of rubble! Not far ahead of him, he was sure he could make out the outline of the Forbidden Mountains. To his dismay he realized that he was standing at the remains of the village that had been turned to stone. The one the elder showed him before he confined himself in the cave.

At this point, Ico remembered something very important. Before waking up on the beach with Yorda, he had been escorted to the Castle in the Mist by a priest and two guards. He couldn't see their faces, including the priest, whom had been covered head to toe in a white robe. He had been placed in a stone sarcophagus.

He was the Sacrifice. He was supposed to be taken to the Castle in the Mist in order to protect his people. But if that was indeed the case, how had he been able to escape? As he was thinking, he reached up and touched his chest. He originally had the Mark on his chest, over his shirt and trousers. And the elder, a man he'd considered as his father, said that he would be coming back home.

He still couldn't remember what had happened. But whatever it was he did, he could puff out his chest in pride. Because he had a feeling that he had finally put a stop to the sacrifices. His brothers and sisters could live their lives in peace.

Ico smiled happily at the thought. He was sure that everyone in Toksa Village, as well as the capital, would be pleased by such news. But right now, the important thing was returning home safely with Yorda at his side.

There wasn't any food where they were, but he was sure they could find something once they passed the Forbidden Mountains. Figuring it probably was not a good idea to leave the girl alone, he turned and headed back the way he had came from.

Ico had his whole life ahead of him in Toksa Village. And he was looking forward to every minute of it.