Okay, so , New Story. Yes, yes, I know, I should be doing Blue Pearls, but right now the juices aren't flowing. Now THIS story? I've had the idea for years. And now it's starting to write itself, so, why not? I'll try to work on the two fics at the same time, so you'll have more to look forward to?
Anyway, here it is, new story: My Beloved Monsters.
I hope you enjoy!
The young man lost his patience and broke the prisoner's forearm. The snap was muffled by the rebel's howl.
The young man patiently waited till the howl subsided, and only ragged breathing remained. It was deathly quiet in these cells, deep under the castle. Nobody and nothing ventured here, not unless there was (un)pleasant business to be conducted.
"You know," he said, "I'm sure that hurt. So, unless you like that, in which case I'll switch to hugs to get you to talk," the jailer grinned behind his mask, eyes flashing. "Tell me where Princess Zelda is."
"I don't… I don't know…"
"I'm pretty sure you're lying, so," the young man snapped the prisoner's arm again, but between the elbow and the shoulder, as opposed to the elbow and the wrist. There was another howl, longer and more agonised than the last.
The jailer sighed, twisting a finger into his ear as if the noise annoyed him. "I think you should start talking."
"Furore, Furore, give me strength…"
"Please stop weeping, it makes me want to cry too," the jailer smiled and crouched, after shaking the booted foot that he'd used to crush the man's appendage with. Its soles were spiked with metal, and each tip dripped blood. "And seriously, when that happens, things get ugly. I don't like to cry. I tend to stomp on things that make me cry. And you have a whole other arm."
The man hissed, biting his lip, and the young man was delighted and amused by the great effort the prisoner put into not shedding a single tear. "Start talking, now, please?"
Just because you're being polite doesn't mean you're not being a brute.
"Shut up, please, I'm in the middle of an interrogation." He tilted his head to the side as he said so, as if the speaker was behind him. He turned back to the prisoner and smiled. "Now, I know that you're her little spy. I've watched you send owls and hawks to her, a couple of times actually. I even shot one of them down, and lookie here: a note." He pulled a piece of rolled paper out of his sleeve, making the older man freeze. The jailer was lying; his shot had never been that good (he'd only injured the bird) and the rolled paper itself was commonly used to wipe one's behind after using the latrines. Of course, the cells were too dark so there was no way the rebel would know that.
You know he's not little. He's older than you, he'd beat you in a swordfight, and he's probably acting a lot braver than you ever could.
"I told you to shut up!" he snapped, making his prisoner flinch. The boy took a deep breath to calm himself before smiling reassuringly. "Anyway, here's the deal. I keep this quiet from Ganondorf, if you tell me where she is. Or I hand this over to our dear boss, with your other notes to verify your handwriting, and let him have his fun with you. So, which is it?"
Water dripped from the ceiling, in a slow, laborious rhythm, and the stubborn man's ragged breathing was all he heard in the cell, until he whispered hoarsely, "What… what do you intend to do with her?"
"She and I have unfinished business." The young man hissed, "And I intend to have a chat with her."
More haggard breathing. The young man reined in his temper as the smell of the cell, murky and cloying with damp, began to line the walls of his throat. "And me?"
"I'll tell him I broke you because you annoyed me. That is, if you want to take it up with him." He gritted out, barely suppressing the urge to bounce on the balls of his feet, the answer, so close, so tantalizing, at his fingertips, right in front of him…
The man released a deep breath, and grimly rumbled out. "I'll tell you nothing, you fostered bastard child of a wolfos and leech."
The toe of a metal-spiked boot rammed into the man's gut, then stomped on his ribs, making them snap inwards into the organs. The rebel's scream turned from shrill to gurgling as blood bubbled up his throat, then he lost his teeth as the young jailer gave him a vicious kick across the jaw, making his voice ever muffled with swollen lips.
Gasping the young man stood there over the curled form of the soldier, who'd been reduced to a whimpering ball. The storm of sudden rage abated just as quickly as it came, even as he took a deep breath, thinking to himself.
Look at what you've been reduced to.
"I haven't been reduced to anything." He spat, clenching and unclenching his fists, itching for a sharp weapon to deliver a good stabbing.
Then look at what you've done! Is this any way for anyone to behave?
"It's not as if he's going to die," the teen huffed, sighing and heaving the tortured man across his shoulder, frowning in discomfort as bits of rib scraped against his neck. Blood oozed down his shirt, slow and hot as lava across his skin. "Well, not yet anyway."
He's close to it. You should heal him now.
"He'll survive, I'm sure," Link muttered, taking the steps two at a time, walking through the dimly lit corridors with familiar ease, "He seemed like a tough cookie."
For goodness' sake why don't you ever LISTEN to me-
"I. Told. You. To. Shut up!" he finally yelled, spinning on the spot. But there was nobody there. No-one had ever been there, not for six, no, almost seven years now. To the day.
He bit back a sob, rage flashing in his eyes. He gritted his teeth, spun back the way he'd been going, striding long steps, noting the pained breathing of the man he was holding.
He found himself facing a dead end. Without falter he pressed a hand against a panel in the stone wall, making relatively new mechanics click, sliding a piece of wall to slide to the side to create a long thin window that led outside.
The scorching heat of magma and the humid summer air hit him like a mallet. Coughing in disgust at the taste of metal and ash in his mouth he carefully worked the injured man into the window, sitting him up in the frame. Rolling his eyes the blond boy unhooked a flagon from his belt, uncorked it with his teeth, and made the man sip. "It's not poison," he told the unresponsive man, "It's blue potion, with some wine. I know it adds weird side-effects, but I kind of enjoy them. The hallucinations are great distractions trust me. You're going to need them."
He unhooked something else from his belt as he put the flagon back. It turned out to be a bottle with a fairy in it. A pink fairy, to be precise; a rare commodity indeed. "You're most definitely going to need this too, so consider this payment for your mission. Mission. I love that word."
Forcing a smile to his face the blond boy placed a hand to the slowly dying man's forehead, and shoved his consciousness into his. He forcibly planted these commands into his brain, searing them so that they burned and nagged and plagued him till he got it done:
FIND PRINCESS ZELDA. TELL HER THAT SHE WILL BE FOUND. SOON!
With a gasp their eyes met. But the prisoner's final effort to see who'd tormented so came to no fruition, because all he saw was a mask that resembled a skull of an imp, horns protruding forward from the temples, only bright blue eyes shining from the sockets.
And with that he shoved the man out of the window, and he dropped, dropped, and dropped even further, passing the bottom of the castle, the rocks it rested upon, the air that separated the castle from the lava, and just as he was about to drop past the ledge that continued on to the rest of the world, a strong wind scorched through the underbelly of the floating castle, shoving him onto the dusty ground, pulverising his side.
Then the bottle that held the pink fairy smashed right next to him, and it gently began to heal the poor man. The boy watched him through an enchanted mask, designed so that he could see distances away, and satisfied that the man was fully healed and functioning (and hopefully hugely mentally scarred with his numerous slips with death) he tossed a bag with a loaf of hard bread in it and walked away, closing the window.
Taking off the Skull Mask, Link climbed the stairs to meet with his father.
… … … … …
He bowed deeply before the Gerudo King, who smirked. His face was lined, and his hair was shot with lightning streaks of white. But still he emanated power from the very pores of his dark skin, the gleam in his amber eyes, the grip of his hands against the armrests of his thrown. "You've had yourself some fun, my son?"
Link looked at where the King was indicating; his blood-bright shoes, and red-soaked shirt. Sighing Link shrugged, giving a sheepish grin. He earned a whole-hearted laugh for that.
"They were indeed worthy gifts for you; I'm pleased that these have lasted you a full year. Inform me as soon as you find some imperfection in them, any rust, any scratch, and I'll have them mended and improved. I'm surprised they still fit you boy; you've been shooting up like a pillar of windblown sand."
Link bowed again, though not as deeply as before. "Thank you, Father."
"Speaking of gifts…" Ganondorf rose, clicking his fingers. A Gerudo shuffled forth clad in the purple robs a novice/servant, holding a pillow aloft, and on that pillow was a sheathed sword. She knelt before a bewildered Link, and Ganondorf invitingly waved his hand at it, wagging his eyebrows at Link. "Go on."
Link blinked in surprise, and tentatively reaching forward, grasped the weapon. He was reminded of his first gift, at how he'd received something similar to this, when he was eleven. He'd been so eager, so filled with rage and revenge he grabbed it, unsheathed it, and charged at Ganon without thinking, not having seen that the weapon had been a dud, a blade that spanned two inches above the impressive hilt, a cruel practical joke on the king's part.
He unsheathed the first two inches, but the blade continued. The metal was of good quality, and there was an engraving of what looked like a ragged autumn leaf embedded on its surface. He unsheathed another two, and the blade still continued. Awed and amazed, Link unsheathed the whole blade, wickedly sharp, the hilt fitting his hand like a friend, the engraving depicting an impressive dragon (he'd mistaken the leaf for its tail) holding a phoenix at bay, clutching the Triforce in its jaw just under the tip of the weapon.
Ganondorf seemed pleasantly surprised by the genuine awe in Link's eyes. A smile swept the young Hylian's face as he tested the blade in the air, going through a few routines of swordplay. He laughed at how the air seemed to wince as he sliced at nothing, at how easily he could manoeuvre his new toy. "It's… it's fantastic. Thank you!"
"I have a mission for you, boy."
Link shivered. A mission.
"As you know, in Hylian culture a boy comes to age when they reach seventeen. I thought a sword worthy for your coming of age, and a mission to go with it, in honour of your new adulthood."
Link smirked as he was handed a belt and scabbard to attach his sword to his hip, the expression eerily similar to the tyrannical king's. "What needs doing?"
Ganondorf leaned forward, placing his elbows in his knees, drumming fingertips together. "I have news from spies of Princess Zelda."
Link's grip on the sword tightened. Ganondorf's grin widened in response as he explained, "Do you remember the blue light that shone from the Temple of Time this morning?"
"I do," Link confirmed, remembering the sight had shot a shiver down his spine, conjuring the memory of when he'd first opened the door as a ten-year-old, his head suddenly found under the vice-like grip of the King. It was also how he'd found the informant's true identity; his face had been filled with hope.
"It seems it was a signal from one of her agents to headquarters, though I don't exactly know what it meant. The only thing for certain is that they've stolen the Master Sword."
Link frowned. "The what?"
"A trinket of lore, sacred to the Temple." Ganondorf shrugged, leaning back into his black and red thrown, "It seems the Princess is desperate enough to use it as a rallying point for her gaggle of troops, so I'd like it back. Kill whomever you need to kill. More soldiers will defect to me, once their precious weapon and morale is stolen from them."
Link nodded resolutely. "I understand."
"Get yourself armed. I wish you a good hunt."
"Thank you father."
… … … … …
Mika helped him tighten his gauntlets. Alita tied his pack with a scorpion's knot. Tarrimb adjusted the belt that now crossed his torso, fixing his sword and shield to his back, and Tsulen smoothed over his hauberk and chainmail.
Link was flushed with embarrassment. "I know I asked for help, but this is too much."
"Nonsense," they giggled in chorus, making Link grin despite himself.
Alita handed Link his things, patting him on the top of his head. She was extremely tall, and heavily muscled; her jaw always made Link jealous. "Nothing is too much for our moon-faced brother."
Link scowled at the nick-name. They knew full well how it irked him that he never tanned; only burnt and peeled.
Tsulen stood from her handiwork and laughed in pleasure, cocking her voluptuous hips to the side. "You look handsome for a skinny little Hylian, brother-ours."
Mika kissed him on the cheek with her big, full lips, making his face burn brighter. "Be safe. Try not to be over-eager when you hunt the Flea, she is after all a girl."
"You mean don't under-estimate her," Link grumbled, rubbing his face.
Mika crowed that he'd finally learnt, clapping gleefully. Tarrimb, finally done fussing over the way he was to be carrying his weaponry, sighed, and turned around to hand him his helm. "I do hope this new arrangement doesn't hinder you in battle. Here," she handed him the helm as the other three grouped behind her, all smiling widely. "We remembered the hat you used to love so much, so we incorporated it into your gear."
The helm had a cap sewed on, almost as if to disguise it, and was lined with typical Gerudo crystal. The cap wasn't the original green, but a shade of reddish copper, much like his hauberk and boots. Link stared at it and then at his sisters in awe, and with a shout of glee he threw himself at them, hugging them all.
Chuckling they held as much of him as they could in return, kissing their fingertips and touching his forehead in blessing.
… … … … …
Link walked through the decimated Castle Town, experimentally cutting down some redead to test his weapon. They didn't scream, somehow retaining his icy gaze in the pits of their rotted brains, somehow understanding that their paralytic scream would only end in their slow, demeaning destruction. So they stood there and were hacked at, moaning their last into true oblivion.
Link grinned at how easily the metal cut through flesh and bone, and couldn't wait to try it out on some creatures that lived out in the field. In the middle of his slaughter he paused. He looked towards the clearing that led to the Temple of Time and chopped the last redead's head off before strolling in that direction, taking out a cleaning rag out of his pocket as he went.
Stone statues had once lined the road to it, but all of them had been shattered. He didn't think it was too much of a shame, since the fragments all looked squat and smooth, as if the statues had been simple little stumps with even simpler, almost crude engravings on them. The doors to the temple were open, as if someone had walked in and out without preamble.
Nobody had been allowed to pray here for years, especially as the town was overrun by the dead. But he found footprints in the dust, a pair coming in, the same pair going out. He compared his footprint to theirs. The footfall was lighter, and the footprint itself was smaller. The stride only slightly shorter than his, and moving as though… Link tried to copy his invisible prey, and smirked.
So. Whoever this was, he/she was lighter in weight and build, possibly younger, judging by the foot-size, but almost the same height as him (but again shorter) if the stride was anything to go by. They'd walked in carefully, the left side further forward than the other, weapon drawn most likely, calm but confident. The way they walked in was different to how they walked out; they'd pretty much run, abandoning caution, getting out of there as fast as they damn well could.
Link smiled in self-satisfaction. Ganondorf had taught him well.
… … … … …
He headed for Kakariko straight away with a sword and shield across his back, murder in his mind, and a surprisingly liberating sense of adventure in his heart.
Ganondorf hadn't given him a horse, which Link supposed was for good reason. Just because he trusted the youth to not attack him, it didn't mean Link wasn't going to escape to another land, or defect to the other side, which a horse would greatly aid him in. He was probably being tracked by guay by day, keese by night. Link shrugged and deemed it sensible.
He was going to miss his sisters, though.
The field was open, almost uncomfortably so. He liked closed spaces; first he'd been comfortable surrounded by trees, but now it was walls. He wished he had a wall to lean against, corridors to puzzle his way through, rooms to explore. He didn't like the thought that the world was so big, and that he'd have to walk so far to reach his destination.
He was going to be exhausted.
But isn't it a relief to be away from that monster?
Link nodded, reluctantly conceding the point.
Go on, say what you want. Anything you want. You've bottled whole paragraphs up for years.
Link smiled. "I can't think of any right now."
Piffle. You've got something. Come on, hey, it's easy. Say it!
Link grinned, cupped the sides of his mouth and hollered against the sky: "I WANT A PUMPKIN HAZELNUT CARAMEL PIE!"
There was a brief echo, then silence. Seriously? That's it?
"All the Gerudo don't like pastries. Or pumpkins. They don't mind hazelnuts or caramel, but they never mix the two together! It's insane. I haven't had any sort of pie in seven years, Navi, and you know I have a sweet tooth."
The voice in his head sighed. Oh gods, you and your sweet tooth. Sweet jaw, more like.
"As soon as we arrive in Kakariko, I'm having a pie. I don't care what kind, but if there're sweet ones, I'm stocking up."
Try not to spend all your money on sweets, Link, she muttered dryly, all else your biggest worry's going to be a hole in your molar.
Link stuck his tongue out contentedly at the air, for a companion that wasn't there to scoff at.
The day passed as he conversed with his memory of Navi more freely than he had in seven years, a mad boy talking to thin air as he travelled through the quiet, deserted countryside.
… … … … …
It was two hours before sunrise when he heaved himself up the final step of Kakariko. No wonder the denizens here felt safer from Ganon; whoever attacked would be tired out, especially if they were wearing armour, and horses would've refused to climb those precarious steps. Leaning on his knees he took a few bolstering breaths, even as two spearmen angled their weapons at him. "Show your face, stranger!"
He winced as they shone a lantern into his eyes. "Ow. Hi. I'm Hylian, if that helps."
Don't tell them it's Link, they might recognise it!
"Shut up, Navi."
Link inwardly swore. He spat to the side, and wiped his mouth apologetically, gulping. "Sorry, had something in my mouth. My name's Navi."
One of the guards repeated with a perplexed tone, "Navi? Odd name that."
"It's southern," Link shrugged in explanation, rolling his eyes.
That seemed to do the trick, as their demeanour relaxed, and the way they asked their next questions were less urgent (What're the weapons for? Self-protection; these are dangerous times after all. How long do you plan to stay? As long as need be) and they let him through, one of them even guiding him to the tavern. Link eagerly asked if there was pumpkin pie, and though the man laughed that it was off-season they may still have it; if not, he recommended the apple, hazelnut and caramel turnovers.
Link licked his lips. "Are turnovers made of pastries?"
"Of course, lad."
He pumped his fist and crowed: "Sold!"
He ordered it immediately before considering a drink or a proper meal, much to Navi's dismay. There was nobody around aside from the manager, so he retired back into the only room left, which was almost like a broom closet, barely a room at all. Any other man would've felt cramped, but Link was perfectly happy; it reminded him of his childhood. The Kokiri Forest.
"I hope this mission proves a better challenge than the others," Link sighed as he placed the lantern by the bedside table, taking off his boots, "Or else I'll be home in a week."
What's that mask?
Link blinked, and peered at his pack. From the top poked out a bone horn, connected to a too smooth forehead of a mask shaped like a fleshless skull. Link smiled. "Don't you remember? I got this from the Mask Salesman, after trading in the Keaton's mask. We couldn't find anyone who wanted it because it was so creepy."
What do you use it for?
"When Father wants me to do something on his behalf, especially when it comes to rebels, and spies, I wear this. In case I need to stop being a spy and start being an assassin, I'll need it."
Silence greeted him, making him nervous. "Navi?"
Why do you call him 'father'?
A cold shiver racked his spine. He knew this moment would come, but… "Because he was kind to me."
He wiped your memory. He imprisoned you. You call that kind?
"You know I only remembered that a couple of months ago, give me a break." Link grumbled, dragging a hand down his face. "It's not like he tortured me into a slave on top of that."
Yeah, you do the torturing instead now, don't you, like that poor man from yesterday. Oh no, Ganonpork jerk-face didn't turn you into a slave, he just turned you into a killer instead! How many men and women did you hurt at the Sacking Of Castletown? How many Zora eggs did you arrow down from those target podiums? How many times did you spell winter clouds over Death Mountain and watch the children freeze to death?
You're better than his slave, Link, you're his PUPPET. Read my invisible lips, grasshopper, you're a PUPPET. A puppet against Zelda, against Hyrule, against yourself! You were supposed to save the Triforce, but he stopped you and used you! How can you stand it and still call him FATHER?
"Navi you don't understand you-"
He killed me, Link! He killed me and you forgot!
"Shut up!" he hollered, throwing the pillow against the wall, tearing at his hair. "Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up! Leave me alone!"
Gasping he held his head and rocked back and forth, back and forth, whimpering for quiet, for peace, even as he saw Navi in his mind glowing flashes of yellow in anger and hurt, before she slipped away into the dark recesses of his head.
Confused? It's okay. It'll pass eventually. At least, I hope so.
So, yeah, Link's a little insane in this one. The funny thing is, Sheik was supposed to be the main characer for this but I wanted to make life difficult for our characters, so yeah. It's Link that's crazy and considers Ganon as his family.
Please leave a review, tell me if you like it or not?
Have a nice new year!