Threads of Destiny

Chapter 5

Shock and amazement were the only things exhibited by the crowd. The two swordsmen passed each other, having finished their attacks, only for both of their weapons to break upon meeting. The broken steel fell to the ground just as the two slid and turned to face each other. Neither Link nor Groose were willing to back down, even as they were both exhausted and without weapons.

Sweat beaded down Link's face as he breathed heavily. His eye's once again holding that righteous fury, the burning sapphire that could see right through a person, but at the same time they still held that calm tranquility. His arms shook slightly with overuse. He gently discarded the hilt of his broken blade to the side where he wouldn't have to worry about tripping on it. Looking across he saw that Groose did not do the same.

Groose's vermillion eyes radiated contempt. His breathing was slightly winded and his muscles sore, but he could tell that Link was much more worn out than he was. Seeing that Link had discarded his broken blade, Groose decided to keep his, if only to give himself even more of an advantage. "Tsk, Tsk," Groose said. "Look at you, you just have to ruin everything you touch don't you?"

Groose readied the hilt in his hands. He watched with no small amount of satisfaction as Link recognized the danger he would face if he was attacked. "The pride of knight demands that I do not lose," he said. Looking past Link he saw that Zelda among several others were beginning to get worried. 'Serves him right,' he thought. He then dropped the broken blade. "But the honor of a knight demands that I do it fairly, and there is no honor or pride in fighting a defenseless opponent with a weapon."

The roars of the crowd deafened him to all but his father's load boasting. With a smug grin on his face he made to move against Link, but froze when the sapphire fury of his eyes meant with the contempt gold of his own. He saw as Link, obviously too tired to continue readied himself for another round. That determination, that self-righteous fury, seemed to tear him about and leave his being exposed, defenseless to the fires that they held. And he was able to do that with such calm tranquility…

Groose felt a shiver run up his spine, and at that moment was when his own exhaustion hit him all at once, his legs felt feeble, and his arms like mud. He fell to his knees and Looked to see Link having fallen to a knee as well, still breathing heavily. Neither could seem to find the strength required to stand up.

"That is enough!" Eagus shouted, all voices became silent to his own. "Neither side is able to continue, therefore as the mediator of this duel; I decree that it is a draw!" All at once the crowd roared again with cheer and applause. With great effort, the two combatants rose to their feet, and shook hands. Even though they would rather punch each other in the face, it was customary to end the duel with respect.

With it finally over, Zelda rushed into the ring by weaving her way through the wooden posts. She realized he was beyond tired, so when she reached Link she immediately began to unclasp his vambraces before moving onto his gauntlets underneath. After that she removed the greaves he had on his legs. Her fingers worked quick and with the tenderness of an angel. She moved for the final piece of armor that needed removing, the leather breastplate. Undoing the straps on one side, she gracefully moved to the other and just as easily undid the remaining straps, allowing her to remove the offending piece.

Link staggered forward, his gaze ever locked with Groose's even as Zelda removed his armor. The blond maiden wrapped one of her arms around his torso, almost protectively as she joined her gaze with his at the red head. The look that he held in his eyes when he held the broken blade up against Link, she'd never forget it.

Groose glared back at the blond boy while holding his arms out so Cawlin and Stritch could remove his own armor. Across the ring the two blonds stood together, as if they were a single entity. Seeing the two of them together made his blood boil, half with rage, the other with jealousy. What was it that she saw in the dirty blond? He was stronger, smarter, and without a doubt far more handsome than the lazy lump. So what was it? What made her prefer Link over him? Why was it that she clung to the worthless trash rather than him? What was it that he lacked?

Even now she stood over the worthless boy, as if protecting him from a monster. He felt the last bit of his armor come off, and with a huff turned away, making his way through the crowd that parted before him, granting him leave. The two blonds watched him until he left their sight.

Once Groose was gone, Link let out an exhausted sigh and leaned forward, Zelda compensated for him as she held him in an embrace, letting his form rest up against her. His eyes closed in relaxation. She felt his arms slowly wrap around her. A proud smile blessed Zelda's face. "Come on Link, let's go," she said quietly to him. She could feel him nod his head against her shoulder. Helping him walk, the two left the ring, heading back towards the academy. The crowd dispersed along with them leaving Eagus all by himself.

"Hmm, now this is something," he said to himself as he picked up the discarded hilts that the two boys had used. Taking the equipment used earlier and being especially careful with the broken blades, Eagus returned to the armory.

After carefully escorting the boy until he assured her that he could carry himself, the two blonds entered the academy dormitories. Zelda was close by his side just in case his strength should fail him again. The distance allowed them to see each other more clearly though.

Zelda was dressed in a simple blue tunic and white trousers. Link knew that Zelda was a little more tomboyish than most girls her age, especially seeing as how she was in the knight Academy and all, so seeing her in a tunic was rather common. That's not to say that dresses were uncommon, in fact, Link would say it would be a fifty, fifty chance of seeing her in either. They hugged her frame quite nicely all while still displaying a good amount of modesty as well, but he never told her that. Her green wristbands that she had always worn still adorned her figure as well as the pink and green ribbons she tied her hair with. Her bag hung by her alluring waist by her belt.

Link on the other hand wore another one of his bland tan shirts and his green trousers. Zelda noticed that he was not wearing the betroval belt that she made. 'Probably better that way,' she reasoned as she recalled a large amount of the city's residence watching the fight. She'd hate for some of the traditionalist residents to cause uproars, and goddess forbid Groose's reaction. It would have just been pouring oil on a fire for the two of them. Link's hair was messier than it usually was, understandable she reasoned considering it was probably coated in sweat and tossed about from moving about so much. It was probably overdue for a cut anyway. Seeing him, sweat glistening off of his skin, his shirt sticking to his body, his hair tattered, his blotchy red sleeve-.

It was then that Zelda noticed something rather peculiar. "Link, you're bleeding," she stated as she jumped in front of the boy to get a better examination. She took his right sleeve and rolled the crimson stained fabric up only to find a nasty cut halfway between his elbow and wrist.

"Zelda, it's nothing, I don't even feel it," Link simply stated, trying to keep her from worrying. In truth, it hurt, it hurt a lot. He felt the cut when the blades broke during the earlier clash. She already pulled her handkerchief from her bag and began to try and clean the wound.

"Nothing?" Zelda rebuked. "Link, this is a serious injury, just imagine how bad it would be if it got infected!" Before Link could say anything else, Zelda reached behind her head and tugged the two ribbons holding the bulk of her golden hair and securely wrapped them around her handkerchief on his arm holding the wound closed. While she worked, he watched as her hair cascaded freely behind her head, elegant like a beautiful curtain of gold.

"Go clean yourself up and get some rest alright? I'll be back soon," Zelda said, or rather ordered with a tone in her voice that spoke with authority. She was already a few steps closer to the door when she finished speaking. Link didn't even get to answer her before she bolted out the door.

Sighing in defeat Link ventured further into the dormitories to return to his room. It was a simple room, a green rug sat in the center. His bed, which also had green covers sat off to the left side. To the right was his wardrobe where he stored all of his clothes as well as some of his tools and knickknacks. A desk sat up against the far wall, just under the window that was large enough for a full grown loftwing to fit its head through. When he and his bird were younger, Link remembered having his loftwing fly through the window on stormy nights so that he wouldn't have to endure the weather, left a mess of feathers each time much to his cleaning misfortune, but he never regretted it. Over on the desk and on top of the wardrobe sat numerous carvings, some completed, others a work in progress. The ones on his desk were mostly projects that he would work on when he had time to spare.

Fighting the temptation to lay down and inevitably fall asleep, Link lumbered his way over to his desk, and took a seat. He opened the top drawer and pulled out his diary. Zelda had insisted years ago for him to have one so that in case his apparent laziness spread to his memory than he would have something to help him remember things. Over the years it grew on him and he kept up the habit. Grabbing a quill and an ink jar he began writing down everything he remembered seeing from his dream just as he had the night before with the other dream. All of the horrible details came back to him as if he'd seen them with his own eyes, and as much as he'd like to forget it, deep down, he knew he'd never be able to.

It was one of those dreams that seemed as if it was trying to tell you something. He was conflicted with whether or not to talk to someone about it. But the moment he thought about it he dismissed it. After all, why should he concern someone else with his crazy nightmares?

Closing his diary, he placed it back in its hiding place and looked outside. He was glad he didn't have any classes today, it was beautiful outside. He set his hand on his desk, disturbing his wound, as if reminding him about it. With a grimace he noticed that Zelda's pink and green ribbons had begun to become dyed by his blood, as if they were being tainted and defiled by it. 'Go clean yourself up and get some rest alright?' he remembered her saying to him before she left.

Listening to his crush, he grabbed a spare set of clothes, and a proper bandage and headed to his dormitory level's bathroom. Many of the boys in his dorm were taking full advantage of the day off to prepare themselves for the exams they faced or were outside practicing and polishing their skills. Therefore, Link was not surprised to find the bathroom empty.

It was a large bathroom, containing a number of wooden tubs, each separated by a curtain for the boys to clean themselves and have a bit of privacy while doing so. Lavatories were found across the hall in a separate room. Each of the tubs had a rope hanging above them to help regulate the water flow from the pipes above and a lug at the bottom for draining. Link picked out a tub, set his clean clothes off to the side and began to undress. He placed his old clothes in a small bin located in the corner of the room. He then took hold of the rope and pulled his. Hot water immediately began flowing into the tub from the metal pipes above. Immediately the steam from the water made his face blush from the heat. He took a glance at his wrist and began to undo Zelda's make shift bandage. To his instant disappointment he saw that not only her white handkerchief, but also the ribbons had been brutally marred by the large red blotch that was his dried blood.

"Well, I may as well wash them as well," Link considered as he grabbed the soap off of a shelf and stepped into the hot water.

"Thanks Mother!" Zelda said as she left her mother's store. With her new basket full of materials in hand, Zelda was sure she had all she needed to make the best ceremonial sailcloth Skyloft had ever seen. With a grace earned from a lifetime of experience, the blond wove her way through the crowded bazaar and away from the market district. She moved with such skill that even with her large basket, she didn't bump a soul in the overly crowded plaza. Zelda released the breath she didn't even realize she was holding when she saw the academy up on top of the hill it rested on.

It was on her way back there that she stumbled upon them. "Oh!" Zelda exclaimed as she deviated from her previous path. Heart flowers were growing among a group of trees overlooking the steppe on the academy grounds. The flowers grew like weeds in Skyloft if left alone long enough. While getting their name from the heart shaped fruit that they produced, the flowers were hard to find growing in the wild due to their popularity and practicality. The fruits they produced while nutritious, were as sweet as chocolate, making them very popular. But more important to Zelda, were their healing properties. They held many antitoxins and had a multitude of other nutrients that promoted healing.

Grabbing ha handful of the fruits and putting them in her bag, Zelda rose from her knees and returned to the path up to the academy. She was almost back to the dorms before a familiar voice reached her ears.

"Zelda?" the voice asked. Said blond turned to face the owner of the voice. Her eyes met with another girl, she had copper red hair and blue eyes. She wore a light green knight's uniform with a beret instead of the normal long cap. Her gauntlets were well kept and her boots pristine. She had an athletic build, and carried the standard knight's sword on her back. She stood just a little further back down the path with her head tilted curiously to the side.

Zelda nearly dropped her basket in surprise. "Krane!?" she exclaimed. Zelda ran back down the path to greet her old friend; gently setting the basket down so she could embrace her old friend. "You're back!" the blond giggled when they broke apart. "Oh, you have to tell me how it was, where did they assign you? What was it like? Did you meet any interesting people? See any great sights? Have any spectacular adventures?" she asked excitedly.

"Whoa, calm down Zel, I only just got back," Krane answered, holding up her hands in an effort to halt the stream of questions, her face full of mirth betraying her attempted distress. "Um, let's see," Krane started. She waited for Zelda to pick up her basket before the two of them continued on the path together.

"My group was sent to the Kokiri Colony, under Commander Gustoff, and boy Zel, let me tell you, all that that guy can do sometimes is talk and talk and talk," Krane started. Zelda couldn't help but giggle as Krane accented her words with hand gestures. "But it is a beautiful place, plenty of trees and vegetation, not so many buildings, but it is still a young colony after all. You should go see it sometime!"

"I'd love too! I hope Link and I are assigned to Kokiri for our senior exhibition tour ," Zelda said with a smile on her face. Krane beamed back at her. "And if you are given a post there then you can show us around!"

"Whoa there Zel, what if I'm not assigned to Kokiri, or…" Krane started leaving a suspenseful tone in her voice. "What if you and Link are assigned to different groups and you're stuck with Groose?" she teased with a laugh after seeing Zelda's revolted reaction. Zelda lightly punched Krane's shoulder with her free hand, a pout evident on her face.

"That's not even funny Krane!" Zelda admonished.

"No, but your face was!" Krane responded. Zelda turned her head away with a huff. "Aww, Zel don't pout I only just got back," Krane said in between fits of laughter. "Anyway, I'll tell you about how my trip went later, night now I could go for a bath and a bite to eat. It was a long trip," The red head said as they stepped onto the academy's courtyard.

Zelda nodded and gave a parting smile. "That's fine, I have to go check up on Link anyway," Zelda replied shift the basket she was carrying so that her arms wouldn't get too sore. Her gaze shifted over to the boy's dormitories located next to the girls'.

"That reminds me, what's with the basket…" Krane started but was left speechless as she found the blond haired girl was already gone. "Honestly…" Krane sighed to herself before heading inside the girl's dormitories.

When Zelda reached the room she was looking for, she wasted no time in opening the door to his room, only to find it unlocked. Turning the door knob Zelda cheerfully stepped into the room. "Hey Link!" She started. She stopped mid-step when she found the room empty however.

His bed was made, room clean, everything neat and organized. Normally when Link would wake up she'd find his bed covers tossed about like some chaotic mess across the bed and floor surrounding it. Of course most of those days she was the one to wake him from his persistent slumbering.

'Where is he? I would have thought he'd have been out like a light by now,' Zelda mused to herself as she strode forward and placed her basket on his bed. She sat down next to it, her head resting in her palms as she waited for him to get back from wherever he was. 'Probably washing up; if he didn't fall asleep in the tub,' she figured. A giggle escaped her lips as her mind created an image of such a scenario in her head. Her gaze flickered across the top of his wardrobe where many of his pet-projects lay completed or still in progress. She remembered when he first starting making wooden sculptures, how edgy and disfigured they were, but now they looked as if a professional crafted them. Gone were the barely distinguishable figurines, they were slowly replaced with exact wooden replicas as time went on.

She rose to get a better look at them. Her gaze traveled from the wardrobe to the desk where many of the more recent sculptures lay. His tools were all neatly set to the side, organized by purpose and grade. As she moved from one to the next, that was when she saw it; just sitting there on his desk.

His diary sat bare to the world around it, accompanied only by a recently used ink jar and the quill rising from it. She pulled the chair out from the desk and sat down staring at the green book, its pages bound by the leather covering. She set a hand on it, tempted to open the book up and read from it. It wouldn't have been the first time. She'd read from his diary numerous times before. It was part of the reason she insisted he keep one.

When she was little, Zelda quickly discovered that Link was a master at disguising his unease and pain. But he'd write them down if he felt no one would ever know. She had learned so many things about him from this book, what he liked, what he didn't. She learned of his fears and his nightmares. She learned of the crush he'd developed for her and how it continued to grow over the years. Everything that Link felt uncomfortable to talk about, or too stubborn to in some cases, he'd write down in this book, the very same book that sat in front of her almost pleading to be read.

The temptation was great, but so was the risk. What if Link was already on his way back? What if she was caught reading his diary? Looking back at the door and then back to the diary, Zelda took a deep breath and flipped the cover open.

And Cut! So I'm still alive, my copy of Skyward Sword stopped reading on my Wii so I had to get a new one and no game store around me had one. (Sad face) But I finally got my hands on a working copy and so my ideas for this story came flooding back with it. So for any of you still reading this, the story is back on! And also, this chapter was going to be ridiculously long so I decided to break it up into two parts. This was the best place to leave off on this one, the next covers the rest of the rising action leading up to the events of the actual game, so please stay tuned and enjoy!

As always any feedback is greatly appreciated so don't be shy. I'll be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the story so long as they are not spoilers! So please review!

Anyway till next time! ~Knownobody