A/N: Because it has been so long since I posted, here's a quick refresher as to where we are in Link's adventure: he has just fought the Imprisoned for the first time and was injured. A tendon was cut in his left arm, and he had various other bruised/broken ribs and a concussion, although those have mostly healed thanks to potions. Groose is on the Surface and Link has returned to Skyloft without his gear so Owlan can (hopefully) fix his tendon. At the end of last chapter, he told Pipit, Karane, and Fledge the entire story of what happened to him. That's it. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, or any of it's characters.
Notes and Letters
Link leapt over the remaining gap, taking off down the long hallway. The Goddess Sword, newly restored and now a solid six feet long, was clutched tightly in his hand. The flames hadn't been hard to find at all, as it turned out Gaepora had them all in his underwear drawer.
"Link…? Is that you?"
"Yeah, Zel, it's me!" Link called, picking up speed as the end of the hallway drew closer. "I'm here!"
"Not so fast, hero!" Link skidded to a halt as Ghirahim fell from above. The Demon Lord stood up to his full height, blocking the rest of the narrow passage. "The girl is mine."
"Sorry, Ghirahim, but not today!" shouted Link. "Fi! Use the spikes!"
"Yes, Master," chimed the Sword Spirit. With the tinkling of a bell, large silver spikes grew out of the end of the blade. Link hefted the massive sword over his shoulder and brought it down right on Ghirahim's head.
"No! Spikes! My weakness!" cried the Demon Lord, fainting dead away on contact with the holy blade.
Cheers erupted all around him as Link returned the sword to its sheath.
"You're the best!"
"I know that guy, I went to school with him!" shouted Groose over the din.
Impa approached Link, a small, approving smile on her face. "You are worthy, hero. Go on, the Maid of Destiny awaits you."
"Thank you," Link said, smiling. The cheers of his friends pushing him forward, Link reached for the golden door, ready to finally go home with Zelda. He twisted the door open, stepped inside, and found a plate of breakfast waiting for him.
"Wha…?" Link moaned, shifting in his bed. "Not toast… Zelda…"
"Link? Are you awake?"
Link blinked awake, the smell of fresh eggs following him from his dream. He sat up groggily and glanced around his bright room. "Wha…?" his eyes focused on Fledge, who seemed to be placing a plate of food on Link's desk. "Fledge?"
"Morning," said the smaller boy quietly. He set down the plate of food and sat down in Link's desk chair. "How are you feeling?"
Link shook his head slowly, trying to clear out the fog that had settled there. "Fuzzy…" he mumbled.
"That's probably the potion Instructor Owlan gave you," Fledge nodded. "Can you feel your arm?"
Link looked down at his chest. His left arm was bandaged tightly to his torso, completely covered and immobile. "No, I can't. Am I supposed to?"
"No, I was just wondering," Fledge replied. He turned and grabbed the plate of food. "Here," he said, holding it out to Link. "Instructor Owlan said you needed to eat something."
Link accepted the plate and set it on his lap. Finding the fork hiding under a slice of bread, he dug in eagerly. Fledge sat back and looked out the open window, waiting for Link to finish.
A few minutes later, the plate was cleared. Link set down the fork, moved the plate to the side and sat on the edge of his bed. He looked around his room, noticing for the first time how quiet it was in the Academy. He couldn't hear the knights walking in the halls or the Loftwings patrolling the skies. "So, where is everyone?" Link asked.
Fledge jumped a little bit before glancing over at Link and giving an embarrassed smile. "Sorry, I was day dreaming. What did you say?"
Link smiled. "I asked where everyone was."
"Oh!" exclaimed Fledge, blush fading a bit. "Well, um, who do you want to know about, in particular?" At Link's confused look, Fledge sighed. "A lot's happened while you've been gone, so it's kind of a long list."
"Oh." Link stared down at his bare feet. "Well, I guess tell me everything." He eyed the bandages covering his left arm. "I can't go anywhere for a while anyway."
And so for the next hour, Link heard all about the goings-on in Skyloft over the past few weeks. Little seven-year-old Kukiel had wandered outside one night and was currently missing. Jakamar and Wryna were beside themselves with worry, but no one had seen hide nor tail of the little girl. Mallara had taken ill; apparently she hadn't bothered to properly clean her cooking utensils and gave herself something nasty. Pipit, as a result, had been spending time going between the Academy and his house, and hadn't been getting much sleep. This, of course, worried Karane, who was in a constant state of emotional instability thanks to everything that had been going on, and something weird was going on between her and Pipit. Fledge thought they liked each other, ("It's just like Zelda used to say!") but neither of them had acted on it. Groose, up until his disappearance, had not been doing well either. Stritch had been taken home by his mother, who hadn't wanted her son staying in Skyloft, what with all the strange happenings. And with Groose and Stritch gone, Cawlin wouldn't leave his room. Karane had been put in charge of policing him, and according to Fledge, was probably the only reason that he hadn't starved himself by now. Greba had passed away, leaving Gondo all alone. The man rarely left the scrap shop, which was now one of the few shops still functioning in the Bazaar. Peater had taken Peatrice home, so the Item Check was closed down. Rupin had packed up the shop, claiming that the nightly monsters weren't worth the business. Orielle had flown off a few days ago and gotten herself and her bird injured, and was confined to bed in Parrow's house while she recovered. Instructor Horwell had thrown himself into investigating the sudden amount of monsters and behavior changes in the Remlits, but had yet to turn up anything.
"So really, everything's just a big mess," finished Fledge.
Link studied the blue sky through his window. How had everything fallen apart? Was the dark energy from the land below the cause of all the trouble up in Skyloft? He ran his hand through his hair. Things just couldn't seem to stay right, could they?
Fledge seemed to catch on to Link's sudden despair. "But it's alright!" he hastily backtracked. "We'll all be fine! There are good things happening too! Like, um…" he trailed off. "Oh, um, I've been working out! That's a good thing, right?"
Link gave his friend a weak smile. "That's great, Fledge."
Fledge latched on to the topic. "Yeah, um, I've been doing push-ups every night! It's hard to sleep with… well, you know, but Luv and Bertie have been making twice the amount of potions than usual, and they're basically giving it away, so I've been buying the green stuff and using it to give me energy. I've already gotten stronger, too! I've been helping Henya lift all the heavy barrels, and I've helped Eagus move around logs in the Sword Hall, and last night I was helping the Headmaster sort through books while he was translating the song for you," Fledge said, continuing to babble about his activities over the past few weeks. He tactfully avoided any mention of Zelda or any of their other friends, and Link was happy to just let his mind follow the mindless string of thoughts for a while.
"And I almost forgot, Karane is making you another uniform. She's even made you a new bandolier, plus some of the heavy chainmail she's been using on patrols." Fledge finally paused in his constant speech. "So, um, that's it. That's all I have to say."
Link sighed and nodded, standing up. He walked over to Fledge and pulled him into a hug. "Thanks," Link mumbled before pulling away. Fledge smiled and nodded.
"No problem." Fledge grabbed the plate from its place on the bed and headed towards the door. "I'm gonna clean this up and then head back to the Headmaster's. Instructor Owlan said you should take a bath. Don't worry about your bandages, he'll be back later to change them."
Link nodded. "Okay. I will."
Link stared at his bare feet as Fledge left the room. The resulting silence was nearly deafening. The absence of conversation and laughter was painfully obvious to him now. Link felt a lump rise up in his throat. 'Everything is falling apart, and I'm just sitting here, two steps behind everyone else.'
A throb from his arm sent him rocketing up of his bed. He couldn't sit still anymore. He couldn't be in his quiet room. He needed to move around, to do something. People were hurting, his friends were hurting, and he was being useless. Without bothering with a shirt or shoes, Link left his room and sped up the stairs. Maybe he could talk to Karane, then go find Pipit and help with his mother. He could run out for potions, or perhaps try to get his gear from the Surface while he waited for the translation –
The sound of heavy footsteps and labored breathing made Link turn. A familiar head of blue hair bobbed into sight on the staircase. Link felt himself clam up a bit. Despite everything he had been through, childhood bullies were still something to be wary of.
But as Cawlin reached the landing, he made no move to start a fight. Instead, the shorter boy stopped, looking at Link up and down as he caught his breath. His beady eyes focused on Link's scars, his arm in particular. Cawlin seemed to deflate a bit, and Link could have sworn he saw something flicker in his eyes: regret, maybe?
Link looked closer and found that Cawlin seemed to have lost weight. His face, once round and pudgy with food stolen from other students, was thinner. Not gaunt, not starved, like Fledge had implied, just… a little emptier.
Cawlin moved his gaze to meet Link's. "…Hi," he said quietly.
"Hi," Link responded after a moment.
Cawlin glanced down at his feet, discomfort seeming to ooze off of him in waves. "I… um…" Cawlin squirmed under Link's confused gaze. "I'm… I'm not here to apologize for anything," he said in a rush, a fierce look in his eyes.
"Oh. Um… alright," Link said, surprised. "That's… okay." He took a step back. "I'm just going to…"
"Hey, I'm not finished!" Link stopped. "I'm not apologizing, but…" Link saw Cawlin's eyes move to the side of his head, where his hair was still choppy and his skin uneven from his burns. "That stuff… I don't like you, but I… We didn't want you and Zelda to…"
Link forced a small smile. "It's okay."
"Yeah… well… that's all I had to say," Cawlin finished lamely.
Link gave an awkward nod. "Okay, I'm gonna…" Link gestured over his shoulder.
"Yeah, alright," said Cawlin.
Link turned and walked down the hall, heading towards Karane's room. He didn't notice Cawlin was following him until he stopped to knock on the door.
"Oh, um, you're going to see Karane?" asked Cawlin.
"Yeah," said Link, thoroughly confused. "Are you?"
"Yeah. Um, no. No. I just…" Cawlin fished a crumpled letter out of his pocket. "I was gonna give her this."
"I'll give it to her," Link offered, extending his hand to the shorter boy.
Cawlin glanced between the letter and Link's hand. He reached a decision fairly quickly. "Alright," he said, shoving the letter into Link's outstretched hand. "But don't read it. If you do…"
Link nodded. "I won't."
"Good," Cawlin said. "Good." He stepped back from Karane's door. "So… Bye, I guess."
"Yeah, bye." Cawlin turned and headed down the staircase. Link waited until he heard a door open and shut downstairs before he turned to look at the letter in his hands. 'That was weird…'
"Mom?" called Pipit as he stepped into his dimly lit home. "Are you awake?"
"Yes, I'm up." Pipit shut the door behind him and picked his way over to his mother's bed, carefully avoiding all the stacks of random objects and old, sticky messes. Mallara smiled at her son. "It's so nice of you to stop by, Pippy. You're my sweet boy."
Pipit sat down next to his mother and took one of her hands in his. "How are you feeling?"
Mallara smiled. "Oh, the same, I suppose. That's the last time I try to feed myself!" she laughed. "I miss it when you used to cook for me, Pippy."
Pipit sighed. "Mom, you know I can't be here to cook for you all the time."
Mallara waved her free hand at him. "Oh Pippy, I wasn't suggesting anything like that. I know you're much too busy with your friends at the Academy to worry about your mother…" she said disdainfully.
Pipit pushed down his frustration. "Mom, you know it's not like that. If I could be here, I would, but –"
"Then move back in with me, Pippy!" she exclaimed, squeezing his hand. "You can clean up for me, the dust just gets so out of hand sometimes, and I can never keep track of what dishes I have and haven't cleaned. You need to help me. I'm getting old, you know. I won't be around forever."
"Mom, you're only forty-six. You can still do plenty," Pipit argued.
"Well obviously not!" she said, pulling her hand from his. She gestured to the bucket near her bedside, which still had residue from her last bout of nausea. "Look, I've gotten sick!"
"That's because you never check your food or clean anything." Pipit's response was automatic and toneless. He had argued with his mother over the issue a hundred times.
"Well, I don't know how to. No one ever taught me," she responded heatedly.
"I taught you. Dad taught you. A thousand times."
His mother fumed. "Why can't you just do it for me?!" she yelled.
Pipit rocketed up from his spot on the bed. "Because I don't plan on spending my life cleaning up after you!"
Mallara just glared. "Fine then. Fine. I see how it is. Leave your mother to die, see if I care," she said. "At least have the decency to get me some water. Consider it my dying wish. And move the bucket closer!"
Pipit angrily complied with his mother's demands before leaving his house. As he stepped out into afternoon sunlight, Pipit felt his frustration leave him. He rubbed his temples and tried to will away the headache he knew was coming. A cool breeze blew past, and he gratefully breathed the fresh air. Its crisp smell was a welcome change from the stagnant air that rested in his mother's home. Pipit often tried to get her to open windows, but Mallara claimed that it was too much trouble.
Pipit made his way back to the Academy slowly. He needed some time to get calm again before he went to go check up on Link.
"He WHAT?!" Pipit exclaimed.
"He went to go get his things from the Surface," Fledge repeated, staring sadly out his bedroom window. "I told him he should wait, but he got the Headmaster's permission."
"And Gaepora let him go? With his injuries?" Pipit said with disbelief.
"Yeah. I don't get it either," said Fledge.
"Who gave him clothes? I thought Owlan specifically took his things away so he couldn't leave."
"He found an old shirt under his bed and took some boots from the Sword hall," said Fledge. "He knows that place like the back of his hand."
Pipit shook his head. "He's… This is… I don't even know." He sat down on Fledge's bed. "This chosen one stuff… The Goddess Hylia… We read about it in class, and I believed in it, but I never really believed, you know?"
"None of us did," Fledge agreed.
Pipit rubbed his face. "It's all just so…"
"Crazy?" Fledge quietly suggested. Pipit nodded. "I know. But at the same time, it kind of doesn't surprise me."
Pipit looked up incredulously. "All this destiny stuff doesn't surprise you?"
Fledge blushed. "Well, that part of it does, but… I mean, all the time I've known Zelda, she's done nothing but try to help me. She's been my friend since the day I met her, her and Link both. She was brave, and kind, and so smart. If anyone had to be chosen to go on a crazy adventure, Zelda is the best choice."
"And Link?" asked Pipit. "What about him? You know he only ever did anything risky because Zelda pulled him into it."
"That's not true," Fledge disputed, "Remember the time he jumped into the cold pond just to get Karane's letter for her? Or right before all this mess, where he went through the entire Waterfall Cave just to go help his Loftwing?" Fledge smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "Link does things, crazy things, that he would rather not have done, because it's for things he cares about. And he's really brave. He's probably the bravest person I know."
Pipit thought of the way Link's hands shook as he recounted parts of his journey, and the way he trembled when he described his first battle with the Demon Lord. He remembered the determination he had seen in the younger boy's eyes when Pipit had suggested he rest. "Yeah, I guess he is."
Karane sat at her desk, Link's mostly-finished tunic sitting abandoned on the floor. She was too distracted to sew. Not only were worries for Link and Zelda now swimming through her mind, but thoughts of the most confusing nature were blasting through any attempts at focus she could muster.
"Your eyes are blue like a glass of water…"
"No, don't think about it," Karane muttered to herself. She glanced at the open letter lying nearby. A heart with Cawlin's signature was clearly visible, and Karane groaned and buried her face in her hands.
It was just too much. First all the mystery and worry with Zelda and Link, then suddenly everything is a pre-destined quest, and then a love letter. A love letter. With all the strange happenings in Skyloft, it was just… too much.
And as loathed as Karane was to admit it, the practical reasons, the reasons she should be so overwhelmed, weren't the only things weighing down on her. Her eyes moved to her diary, closed in front of her. She knew what was waiting inside: drawings, primarily of Pipit.
She had liked him for a very long time, longer than she probably knew herself. And with all the stress and fear that seemed to permeate the air lately, Pipit had been a source of comfort. Her thoughts trailed back to the night they patrolled the Goddess Statue, and the long embrace they shared. Karane had felt safe there in his arms. And she was almost positive the way he held her, tight against him, couldn't just be the actions of a friend.
Yet, Pipit avoided her. He would deny it, but it was true. He usually opened up to her about his problems, especially those concerning his mother, but whenever Karane tried to talk to him, he found an excuse to walk away. He wouldn't meet her eyes for extended periods of time. In fact, the only time she had been able to really have a conversation with him was when they were on patrol.
A knock at the door interrupted Karane's thoughts. "Karane?" It was Pipit. "Link's back."
Karane shot up out of her chair and ran over to the door. She pulled it open and found a surprised looking Pipit. "Is he alright?"
Pipit blinked. "Yeah, he's fine. A little tired, but fine."
Karane let out a sigh of relief. "Good. If he got hurt, I would've have killed him on Zelda's behalf."
Pipit chuckled. "Yeah, I feel the same way."
Karane met his eyes and smiled. For a moment it looked as if he wanted to smile back, but he looked away instead. "So, he's with the Headmaster if you want to talk to him," said Pipit. He glanced behind her into her room. "Is his tunic ready?"
Karane's heart twisted. "Um, no, it's not. Why?"
Pipit seemed to pick up on her sudden discomfort and stepped away from the door. "I was just going to suggest that you take your time. Link can't leave if he doesn't have clothes."
Karane nodded stiffly. "Will do." There was an awkward silence. "Well… I'm going to go take a bath before patrol tonight. So… see you later." Without waiting for a response, Karane made a beeline for the bathroom, not even bothering with her door. 'When did we get this way?' she thought hopelessly.
In her haste to run from the conversation, Karane overlooked the fact that with her door open, Pipit could plainly see the love letter sitting open on her desk.
"Headmaster?" called Link as he stepped into Gaepora's study.
"Ah, Link, you're back. Good." Gaepora stood from his desk. He stepped over the piles of books and papers with ease, navigating his way towards Link with a piece of parchment grasped tightly in his hands. "I have found the translations you need."
Link smiled. "Really? That's great!"
Gaepora nodded. "I have taken the liberty of writing them down for your reference," he said, handing Link the parchment. Link examined the writing while Gaepora explained. "You know the first verse; it is the one Zelda sang, and also the one most commonly taught. The 'servant of the Goddess' mentioned must be the sword spirit you know." Gaepora blinked, suddenly focused on Link's appearance. "Where is the blade, and for that matter, the rest of your gear? I thought you went to get it?"
"I did," Link nodded. "I put it in my room for now."
"Ah," said Gaepora. "Of course. Where was I?"
"Servant of the Goddess."
"Ah yes! Right. 'Bring Light to the land' must refer to the blade's ability to summon light, and also to the obvious need for the success of your quest." Link nodded. "Now, the second verse goes as such: 'Oh youth, show the two whirling sails the way to the Light Tower, and before you a path shall open, and a heavenly song you shall hear.'" Geapora shook his head. "I feel that this is fairly self-explanatory, but I shall analyze anyways. It is important to understand everything so we may anticipate anything, yes?" Gaepora pointed to the second verse on the parchment. "The 'whirling sails,' if my guess is correct, may refer to the windmills on this very island, though I have never known them to move."
Link's brow furrowed. "The windmills? But this is ancient writing, they're not that old, are they, sir?"
"They are well-maintained, but they were in fact here for as long as Skyloft's extensive history remembers. The same way the Goddess Statue has simply always been, the windmills are a part of the island that has never changed. And another such landmark," Gaepora pointed to another part of the verse, "Is the Light Tower."
"It's in the plaza…" said Link, his eyes growing wide. "This is… kind of scary to think about."
"The idea that our entire history was planned from the moment of our creation… yes, I suppose it is. But Link," Gaepora put a reassuring hand on Link's shoulder. "We must remember that the Golden Goddess loves us, with all her heart. She would never lead us astray. If she found it necessary to lay such an organized plan, then she must have had good reason."
Link's thoughts trailed back to the Imprisoned. That was just a fraction of whatever had originally terrorized the Surface. "Yeah, I guess so," mumbled Link.
"Again, the rest feels self-explanatory. A path shall open, and a heavenly song you shall hear. Perhaps more of the Goddess Ballad? I'm not sure, I would need to study more of the ancient texts…" Gaepora trailed off, turning back to his desk. "Let me know if you need anything more, I shall be here researching."
"Thank you, sir," Link said. He left Gaepora's study in silence, thinking, 'I'll ask Fi what she thinks, and then I'll go look at the windmills before nightfall. If Karane finished my tunic, I can probably sneak away from Owlan–'
Link turned and saw Pipit jogging down the hallway towards him. The older boy looked frenzied. He stopped just in front of Link and held up a letter crumpled in his hand. "Look at this!"
Link glanced down at the crumpled up letter. "Um, Pipit, you're going to have to help me out here. I only have one arm."
Pipit glanced down at the empty sleeve of Link's blue shirt. "Right," he said quietly. "Sorry." He un-crumpled the letter and placed it in Link's hand, holding the Goddess Song verses for him. "Read that."
Link complied. 'To Karane,' it began,
'Your hair is like orange pumpkins
On a really bright day,
And your eyes are blue like a glass of water
That on a table lay.
You are tall like a tree
And you tower over me
And protect me with you sword
And that's really cool.
I wrote this for you,
To express my feeling too
So say you'll be mine,
Link felt the tips of his ears turn read. "This is… wow." Link swallowed. "I never thought Cawlin would write something like this…"
"It's completely inappropriate!" said Pipit, running his hands through his hair and pacing back and forth. "We are facing some of the most serious issues ever to arise here in Skyloft, and a student of the Knight Academy does this? It's unprofessional, I should report it to the Headmaster –"
"Why?" Link questioned. Pipit stopped pacing and gave Link a blank look. "I mean, as weird as this..." Link's ears heated up again, "…letter is, it's not really breaking any rules, is it?"
Pipit looked flustered. "Well, no, not exactly, but it's not behavior that should be encouraged!"
"Why not?" Link was genuinely confused. As embarrassing as the poem was, Link thought Cawlin was brave to do it. He was never able to admit his feelings for Zelda, let alone write her bad love letters. "It's not really breaking any rules, is it?"
Pipit looked at a loss. "No, but Cawlin can't say those types of things to Karane, because–"
"Because you like her?"
Pipit froze. "Because I…?" Pipit seemed to shake himself. "Don't be ridiculous, why would you think that?"
Link glanced from the letter to Pipit's standoffish stance. "Because you're way too jealous right now to just think of her as a friend."
Link was almost positive he saw Pipit's jaw drop to the floor. Link couldn't help but smile at his friend's expense: he was positive he had the same flabbergasted look on his face when he realized he liked Zelda. "It's alright," said Link. He gently pushed the letter into one of Pipit's hands and grabbed the Goddess Song verses. "Just think about it for awhile, okay?" Link continued back towards his room after receiving Pipit's distracted nod. As soon as Pipit's still stationary body was out of sight, Link's smile turned into a full-blown grin. 'It's about time!'
A/N: Hi guys! Happy New Year! I'm sorry it took me so long to write this chapter, school has been crazy and I had writers block. Not a good combination. I'm hoping now that I'm getting back into the quest again after this chapter things will move a little bit faster.
So I hope you enjoyed this chapter, I know it's been awhile. This was what I promised though, cute Pipit/Karane side quest stuff. we may or may not see more of them next chapter, but I feel like Link needs to get on with his adventure now. About Pipit's mother: when I met her in the game, all I could think of was how awful a mother she must have been. She didn't clean her own house, how disgusting is that? So I wanted to put that bit in there just because I really dislike her and love Pipit.
A bit about my life lately, I got into Attack on Titan and finished it. If any of you are remotely interested in something great to watch, go check it out online. I got Link Between Worlds for Christmas and it's alright. I was expecting a sequel to Link to the Past, but it's really more of a remake. All of the extra items like the Ice Wand and stuff are just sort of handed to you instead of you getting to go find them, but the bosses and difficulty level are satisfying so far. Frozen is amazing, everyone go watch that because I love it.
I can't remember if I've suggested this or not, but anyone who has played Ocarina of Time should go check out the series "64 Things Wrong With Ocarina of Time" on Youtube. They are joke videos that are extremely funny and fabulous. Also, I discovered the Zelda Project, which is a photographer who has hired models, made costumes, and hunted out locations for Ocarina of Time photo shoots. They have 2 amazing shoots done and are working on a third, you can google them.
Thank you to HelenTheTrueHylian for beta-ing this chapter and Volvagia's walkthroughs on youtube for game reference/dialogue used in this chapter. See you next time!