A/N: Gah, I'm such a terrible person! So sorry this took so long to get up, you guys have life and my own pure laziness to blame :/ I promise I'll try not to keep you guys waiting so long next time, okay? OKAY.
So, thanks a bunch for the reviews! They seriously filled my heart with rainbows ^_^
On a completely random note: IT'S MY BIRTHDAY! Woot! :D
Well, I won't delay you guys any longer. Enjoy the chapter!
"Aw, Link, are you sure you gotta go?" asked Talo, green eyes fixed on the young hero's face.
"Yeah! You just got here two days ago!" added Beth, who frowned.
Link nodded apologetically. "Sorry, guys, but I have to be in Castle Town by tomorrow. I promise I'll be back as soon as I can, though. Okay?"
"Fine," Talo, Malo and Beth grumbled in unison. They turned and left without another word, leaving only Ilia and Colin.
"You promise not to work Epona too hard?" Ilia asked playfully, a teasing grin on her lips.
Link chuckled. "I promise."
"I'll look after the village while you're gone, Link," Colin promised, standing taller and attempting an air of bravery. Link couldn't help but notice how different he looked from the scared little boy he'd been before he'd been forced to be brave. It was different, but in a good way.
The hero just smiled and ruffled the little boy's hair. "Okay. Remember the sword techniques that I taught you, okay?"
Colin nodded vigorously. "I will!"
Ilia wrapped an arm around the young boy and smiled sadly at Link. "Now, go. You can't keep Princess Zelda waiting."
Link stepped forward to embrace her, hugging tight. "I'll be back before any of you can even miss me, okay?" She nodded. "Don't be sad, now. Smile." He reached out to tilt the corners of her lips up, smiling when she smiled for real and laughed.
"Oh, just go," she said, still laughing. She gave him a light push in Epona's direction. Still grinning, Link mounted the mare, straightening his sword on his back.
He gave the horse a pat before looking over his shoulder to look back at Colin and Ilia. They were smiling at him, and he nudged Epona forward, calling, "See you soon!" Their only response was to wave, and he waved back until they were no longer in sight. At that point, he tapped the taffy-colored mare's sides and, with a whinny, she shot off through the forest.
As he rode, Link found himself wondering why Zelda had requested his presence so suddenly. He'd only been back home for a few days, and he'd been at the castle for over two weeks before then, ever since he'd beaten Ganondorf. He'd been looking forward to some peace and quiet in Ordon, but it looked like the goddesses had other plans for him. He knew that Zelda wouldn't have requested him if it wasn't important. And he knew that he'd never refuse her, not only because she was the princess, but because she was his friend.
After Midna had destroyed the Mirror of Twilight, it had been Zelda who helped him cope with her absence. He hadn't dealt well with her loss, because she'd been with him through, well . . . everything. Sure, she'd been less than friendly in the beginning, but after her near-death experience in the Lanayru Spring, she'd become . . . softer. She was still the same sarcastic, witty Midna that she'd been before, but something deep within her had changed. She'd begun to treat Link as her friend instead of a means of reaching her goal.
Link missed Midna dearly. Not a day went by where he didn't miss her. She'd left so suddenly, destroying their only chance of ever meeting again with a mere "See you later". He knew that it had been for the best, so that their worlds never threatened each other again, but he couldn't help wishing that there had been some other way.
The young hero rode the entire day before deciding to stop. The sky was nearly dark, so he figured it would be alright to finish his journey in the morning. Epona was tired, anyway, and could use the rest.
He slid off the saddle and led Epona to a nearby tree, where he tied her reins. He set up camp and sat against the base of the tree, just watching the sky. It was twilight, and it was at that time that he missed Midna the most. However, it was also at that time that he felt closest to her, almost as if he could reach out and touch her. He could imagine her by his side, lounging in the air, giving him a lecture about wasting precious time. The mental image brought a smile to his lips.
Link watched the sky until it faded from burnt orange to navy blue. With a sigh, he dug through the saddlebag for the strips of dried meat he kept there. They weren't much of a supper, but he hadn't planned on stopping before he reached the castle.
He ate in silence, watching Epona as she munched on some grass. The moon rose higher and higher until it reached its apex, lighting the field with its ethereal glow. It was full, and it was on nights like these that he wished he could still transform into a wolf. The moon called to him, almost begging to be howled at.
When at last he fell asleep, he dreamt.
He dreamt that he was in the Sacred Grove once more, where the Master Sword stood in its pedestal, pulsing faintly and giving off a blue light.
"You must return to me, Hero of Twilight . . ." a faint voice whispered. Though it was quiet, the sound reverberated, surrounding him.
"Who said that?" asked Link, his head whipping around. His cerulean eyes searched for the source of the voice, but he could find nothing.
The sword flashed once more, this time so brightly that Link had to shield his eyes. When the light finally faded and he deemed it safe enough to lower his hand, he found that he was no longer alone in the peaceful meadow.
A woman floated above the Master Sword. Her face was rubbery-looking and expressionless, her eyes blank and devoid of any emotion. There was a pulsing blue crystal in her chest, and half of her body was colored a deep purple, much like the color of the hilt of the sword. The rest of her body was blue, save for the black tights she wore, which had crisscrossing ribbons of forest green going up their length. She also wore no shoes. She was very symmetrical, beautiful, in a way, and Link was momentarily speechless.
"Who . . . who are you?" he questioned upon finding his voice. To his dismay, the words came out sounding slightly shaky. Shaking himself off, he slowly began to make his way towards the being, entranced.
When it spoke, its lips did not move. "I am the spirit who resides within the Master Sword. The goddess Hylia gave me the name Fi when I was created, many centuries ago. I once served as a guide to the goddess' first chosen hero, but I have long lain dormant. The heroes who have wielded me before you have not required my assistance, having guides of their own, and until now, you have not needed me, either. But now that the princess of Twilight has returned to her realm, you are without guidance. And because of that, I have awoken once more to serve you, my master."
It was silent for a moment before Link finally spoke up, his brow furrowed in confusion. "But I have no need for the Master Sword now; Ganondorf is gone. Hyrule is safe."
Fi floated closer. "No, Master. Darkness is rising once more in this land, and if you are to defeat it, you must take the Master Sword once more. I calculate your chance of success without it to be 37%," she told him.
"What else could possibly threaten Hyrule, Fi?"
"I cannot say for sure, Master. I can only say with certainty that there is evil in your land, and it must be dealt with as soon as possible."
Link began to slowly back away, shaking his head. "I'm dreaming," he told himself. "This is all a dream. It's my subconscious trying to invent a reason for me to get the Master Sword again. This isn't real."
"I am afraid not, Master. While it is true that you are in a dream-like state and that your subconscious could be yearning again for the Master Sword, this is all very real. I implore you, Master. You must come and retrieve my blade. If you do not . . . then your life, and the lives of every being who resides in Hyrule is in grave danger."
He shook his head harder, backing away faster. "No . . . no. I need to wake up."
If Link hadn't already decided that Fi could not express any emotions, he would've thought that her next words sounded sad. "As you wish, Master. I know you shall understand soon."
The grove slowly began to fade away. Just before Link sank into the black depths of a dreamless sleep, he caught a glimpse of a pair of burning red eyes.
A/N: Ooh, ominous! I couldn't resist the ending, lolz.
ANYWAY, time for review replies~
loveless an the living fantasy: Thx, bro! Sorry to keep you waiting!
RegularGirl: I'll try not to keep you waiting so long next time, because even though we say we don't mind waiting, I think we're all secretly impatient xD
Shiny-phoenix: Thanks so much! I'm glad you like my way of writing him, I was kinda worried about making him evil, since he wasn't in Free. And you'll just have to wait and see! I have big plans for Dark, big plans... *cue ominous, evil laugh* *twirls villainous moustache* and I've decided on the pairing of this story, and I hope you'll approve!
Syrena Li: Haha, trust me, worse cliffhangers will ensue. *grins*
Well, that's all, folks! I'll *hopefully* see you all at the next update! :)