A/N: First off I would like to apologize for the week long delay. I happened to have gotten sick again, and it was a little worse this time. Also I have been dealing with quite a lot of school projects and work (especially since I missed nearly a week of school) I would like to thank you all for your patience and especially for sticking with me through this ride. We are at the second to last chapter now, and I would like to tell you all how much your support, follows favorites and reviews mean to me. You provide me with motivation to keep going and keep trying my best. You guys are amazing! All of this means the world to an aspiring writer who is often rather unsure of herself when it comes to her stories. Thank you all so much!
ArianandXaia: Yeah, Rhydd can't really afford to be oblivious XP Aww thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it even though it was pretty calm. Because I was in the mood for asking ridiculously hard questions XP Awww man, the infamous research papers of death, I absolutely hate those XD I get super mad when I am bombarded with them too. But lately I have taken a liking to swearing in dwarvish when I am ticked (simply because I can) I have no excuse for that at all –total LoTR nerd over here XP) Ohh, that is one of my favorite Gandalf quotes of all times, my other is probably "We cannot chose how much time we have, only what we can do with the time that is given us." I hope your break turned out awesome despite the research paper. :D thanks for the review!
Arison Nakaru: Yes he is, or at least her thinks he is :P Aww thanks for that, it really warms my heart to hear that :3 Thanks for the review and vote of confidence, you are totally awesome :3
Yami no Nokutan: Oh, wow that totally made my day to hear that my writing made someone happy. I will try my best to make your demand come true, but I do have to save some things if I was to make a thirds book you know XP Yes more action this week, in fact a nice little battle. It is what inspired the cover art picture that I showed you a couple months ago (which is a bit of a spoiler) thank you for the review!
LovelyKiridia: I glad you liked it despite the non dramatic reveal :P Oh, I agree that his is an epic and quite fabulous villain, but yes he repulses me XD I don't mind, I tend to ramble a lot too ;) Thank you for the review!
Storm Dragon Wolf Princess: Thank you for the compliment. Spelling, who needs it anyway? XD Oh, I wanted to let you know that I have finally finished the oneshot I promised you and I shall be posting it soon! (sorry for the delay) Thanks again!
CupcakePride101: Ahhh the dreaded summer make up days of doom, nobody wants that. I hope you have enough snow days to be enjoyable but not so much as to eat away your summer :) Thanks for pointing that out, I totally left off the last couple letters, sorry about that. Thanks for the review!
Scarlet Curls: Thanks! I agree fully with your question answer :D Oh no! Stopped LoZ fanning? I hate it when that happens. I have never been able to do long term fangirling though, I often can only fangirl over something for like two months or so before interest flies to another of my many favorite fandoms (I have far to many), but they usually come back after I have made a complete circle XP I am a dork and proud of it. Thanks for the typo help, it was super appreciated. Thank you for the review!
silverheartlugia2000: Yes it totally was fun to see that :3 I loved ST and Yes Animal powers FTW! Thanks for the review!
Generala: Yes, more is definitely coming! And don't worry the pair of them will be doing some feelings sorting soon enough. Thank you :)
Also, special thanks to: xxyoda864xx, staticblast1, and silverhawk88
Setting Things Right
It was the middle of the night when the trio burst though the exit to the tunnel and emerged on the other side of the mountains, straight into the far east of north corner of Gerudo desert. The starlight in the black sky overhead seemed to stretch as far outward as the golden brown sand that shone a dull grey white in the darkness.
Their paws sunk lightly into the soft grains of dirt that easily gave way under their weight. In front of them, the sand was pockmarked with shapeless indentations marring the surface of a ground painted with the ripples of a recent wind. Not even the lightest of breezes stirred the air this night so the marks of the army that had passed before them were as obvious as a beacon. Even if fortune had not been with them in that way, the scent of bulblin was fresh and fairly shouted to their sensitive animal noses.
Without so much as glance to each other, they broke once more into a ground-eating lope. It was a pace that wolves could keep up for hours on end, and Zelda, lithe and fit as she was, was not having too much trouble keeping up. Cats could cover great distances in a day, but it was usually by walking, stalking, and sprinting for powerful yet short intervals. However Link was not at the top of his game physically so perhaps it was that which put them on nearly even ground. Even with the extra stamina that they gained in the forms of animals, they were already tired from their ceaseless race thought the caves. Unfortunately, they also knew they could not afford to stop.
Zelda and Link headed southwest following their enemies' scent and trail as they climbed over the lowest points of the dunes. For several hours, this constant rising and falling of earth was all that their tired eyes could see. Link found himself feeling rather grateful that they were doing this at night. He knew that the stubborn pace they were keeping now would have been impossible to maintain were the sun out.
Link felt himself stumble slightly as his back leg caught the ridgeline of a dune. He felt himself falling forward. He tired to regain his footing, but the sliding sand was not ideal for catching balance. He found himself tumbling into the little valley in between two dunes in a puff of flying sediment. He simply lay in the sand's loose embrace panting heavily as he strove to catch his breath and strength. The air was cold and stung his throat with every breath. The desert was often cold at night, but it was even more so now that winter was practically on the doorstep.
The sight of yet another dune before him in a seemingly endless sea of them caused his chest and sides to heave harder in exhaustion. He became vaguely aware of Zelda near him, her paws set under her body as she crouched low to the ground. Her own cat's mouth was open in what he would have thought a yowl had he not been able to hear her worn out breaths and see her own slightly protruding tongue. She was panting heavily herself in that odd way that cats sometimes did.
When they could breathe almost normally again, they caught each other's gaze. Link was about to tell Zelda that he did not think that he could go much further when Jade came flapping down towards them.
"That is last dune," she chirped, "desert changes after it and, that not all, I see a camp of many men up ahead!"
"Would you get my sword," Link asked her in the way that animals talked to each other. They did not exactly speak, though their barks and yowls could have direct meaning. Mostly however, their speech came from almost thinking at each other. Animals could almost sense thoughts nearly as well as they did feelings and any noises they made supplemented this.
Jade used her dragon claws to free the sword from the straps on his back and dropped it in the sand before him. Simultaneously, he and Zelda reached out their paws to touch the blade. Once they were in human form, they shared out some water from their water-skins and some flat bread. Once they had re-gathered some of their fading strength they gingerly climbed the last hill of sand and peered over the edge.
The landscape before them had changed dramatically from the rolling dunes that had ruled the desert previously. The land before them stretched out in the uneven mesa like flats it became on the northeasterly border of Lake Hylia's basin. The desert pavement that had once adorned the top of this had long ago been covered by a thick layer of the soft sediment blown in from the dunes. This land was flat but uneven and it was an absolute riot of interest geologically after being surrounded so long by dunes that had little enough significance to discern one from another. Before them rose stacks and tors, their aged forms shaped by years of endless winds. Link knew from experience that there were also several deep chasms slicing their way through these lands, evidence of the pass that was long ago known as Gerudo valley and the rifts torn in the earth by a long ago earthquake. They were nothing more now than desert ravines that ended in utter blackness at their bottoms, such was their dizzying depths.
At the North-most edge of theses flatlands, stood the Arbiters Grounds. The stones of these ruins had been hewn from white marble and limestone, capped in bronze artistry that gleamed dully in the starlight and stood out starkly amidst the sand. Just in front of the rocky entrance to the Arbiter's grounds, there burned a massive campfire. Ganondorf's army of two score men were arrayed around the circle of flames, sprawled out upon the sand.
About 10 of these were standing upright on watch, slowly patrolling around the camp. Those on watch seemed all to be bulblins, and Link guessed that the darknuts had pulled rank on the goblin like creatures, for the knights were arrayed in the most comfortable spots near the fire. It was actually pretty typical of them, when he thought about it; completely unsurprising in all actuality. He scoffed lightly in his throat before he felt a rather foolish grin of relief spread across his face. They had made it in time; they had caught up to the first group of their adversaries. That in turn meant that all that exhaustion and strain they had subjected themselves to had not been for naught.
Zelda tuned side on to look at him.
"What exactly do you find so funny?" she asked him. "You do realize that catching up to the first group was only about one fourth of the problem."
Her moody comment and expression only served to make him chuckle. She glared at him.
"What's the plan?" she finally asked.
His grin faded and he shook his head, the familiar twinge of nerves making its presence felt in the pit of his stomach. He honestly had no plan, not even the smallest inkling of one. They had caught their quarry, but they appeared only to have gotten themselves stuck in a proverbial frying pan. He saw Zelda bite her lip, her eyes seeking out the direction of Hyrule castle in the dark. Her outwards action reflected Link's inward thoughts. If they did not think of something soon, their people would soon pay dearly for their failings.
Link breathed out slowly and watched his breath spread out in a small puff of white. The dance of the fire and openness of the world around him thrust his mind back to the months he had spent as an outlaw in Hyrule, hiding in the woods and outmaneuvering soldiers. His eyes fell upon his bow and the one Rhydd had given Zelda as a gift and he felt a slow smile begin to creep across his face.
"May I ask why you are smiling like a cat that has just cornered a helpless mouse?" Zelda asked him innocently.
"Perhaps, because I have," he murmured, more to himself than anyone as he gazed out at the camped army and the land around them.
Zelda arched one elegant brow at him, her lips set in a small frown.
"Link, your mouse is about forty men strong, incase you have not noticed, which makes you and I more like a lone Hylain facing a dragon, than a cat playing with a mouse."
Link's smile widened, "That's still doable," he said softly, "I have survived that before."
Zelda gave him an obvious stare and Jade looked at him curiously.
"Why you want to fight dragon?" she asked confused.
Zelda shook her head at him, ignoring Jade's query, "And I suppose that this plan of yours is doable as well?"
His smile faded a little as he thought about the risks, but he nodded. "We might be able to pull it off, but it will be dangerous and risky."
"When aren't your plans risky?" she asked him.
He relaxed a little when he saw the small smile that graced her beautiful features. He cocked his head to the side and frowned slightly in mock thought.
"Fair enough," he finally said. He gestured towards the men by the fire, "An ambush is already more in our favor than theirs," he said softly. "Those sentries on watch and the men sleeping by the fire have their eyes adjusted to the light of the flames, which means it will be harder for them to see into the darkness around them than it is for us, as our eyes are adjusted to the dark. Also, they are silhouetted quite nicely by the flames, whereas we can meld with the shadows and will present a far less glaring target in the night."
"Where did you learn all that?" she asked awed as she took note of the places he gestured and the logic behind his words.
"It's an old woodsman's trick," he replied with a smile, his thoughts for a moment resting far back in his past as he listened to Rusl patiently explain it to him on one of their hunting trips.
What he planned was nearly suicidal, but if it would protect Rusl and everyone else he cared for, he would do it without looking back. What made him worry was Zelda. If he could find a way to tell her to let him do this on his own, he would. Her people could not loose their ruler in one of his crazy schemes and he could not lose her. He cared for her far too much. He was honor bound to protect her. If his plan so much as got her hurt, he would never forgive himself. He had only to take one look at her to know that she would not be left behind though. If he tried to get her to stay, he knew, from previous experience, she would simply order him to let her come or come anyways. She was as protective as a mountain lion over her territory when it came to the lives of her people. He could not decide whether he found that annoying or wholly admirable at the moment.
He suddenly realized that it would be silly to even consider trying to leave her out of it, now especially. After all, she had just single handedly chased after Hyrule's most deadly warlord and rescued him from said warlord's clutches. As he looked at her, he realized that he trusted her to be able to defend herself. She was an amazing woman, he thought with the faintest trace of a smile. She had always been so.
"Link?" she asked, her voice shaking him free from his thoughts.
He had been staring at her the entire time he had been thinking. He felt his checks heat up and his body become uncomfortably hot despite the chill around them. He smiled to cover his bluster and drew in the sand as he outlined his plan to her. When he finished, she considered the camp of men. She frowned and then spoke as she added a few more lines to his.
"I think it would be better if we were to split up after the first stage of your plan, it would thin the numbers after us. I know that there are not two promontories like what you plan to use, but I read a book once that said that the moldorms of the desert like to sleep in large groups at night, especially so in the winter, and usually in small ravines."
She looked to him for conformation and he nodded at her, eyes wide as he grasped her concept. Moldorms, he despised those creatures. They appeared to be a cross between a fish and a burrowing worm, quite large in size, with teeth that rivaled a pike's in sharpness. They could move like lightning through the sand. He had been lucky to have only stumbled upon a small cluster of them the first time he tried to get through this desert at night.
"If we send Jade to sniff out the low ravines or gullies to find where the most of them have their burrows, then we will have two traps to lead Ganondorf's army to."
Zelda crouched behind a small rock outcrop with her bow at the ready. It felt good to have her favorite weapon in her hands again. Rhydd's bow had served her well in her battle with Ganondorf and she prayed it would this night as well. She could see that dawn was creeping its way closer to the horizon, for the stars were dimming. They could not afford to wait much longer.
Suddenly, she saw a bulblin sentry fall without a sound. That was the signal to start. She drew back her own bow and picked another bulbin sentry to target and let her arrow fly. They only continued this way for about two more shots each before the alarm was sounded. She and Link, who were on opposite side of the camp from each other, began to move quickly, running and finding cover behind rocks and low dunes as they attempted to pick off more of the enemy.
Zelda felt her heart give a small jump as the enemy finally was able to pinpoint her location, based on her arrows' trajectory. Shortly after they caught sight of her, Link also fell victim to their searching eyes. She took a deep breath as she waited for the inevitable to happen. Sure enough, she saw the lead darknut gesture angrily when he saw there was only two of them and split his forces in half to counter them. About 18 men broke away from the camp to follow her. She ran with all her remaining energy as they pursued her. She found, to her own horror, that she was almost too tired to be properly scared anymore. She stopped every now and then to fire backwards at the mass of soldiers. The fourth time she did this, she nearly screamed aloud. They were gaining on her far faster than she had expected.
She tried to pick up her speed but the soft sand was nearly as hindering as running through water. She headed with all her possible swiftness towards the 20 foot wide and seven foot deep ravine, where Jade had smelt the most moldorms. She did scream when a foot-fall, slightly muffled by the sand, sounded far too close for comfort. She only had five feet left to go before the sand broke off abruptly in the intended trap.
In the middle of this jagged dent in the earth, stood one of the wizened pillars of rock, looking much like the tall stump of a petrified tree. When she had only five more paces to the drop off, she reached a hand into the pouch at her side to touch the shard of twilight. She could feel the customary pinch and shifting that accompanied the change but she did not allow herself to stop running. At the last piece of land before the drop off, her paws pushed hard against the sand for purchase and she leapt.
It was a mighty jump and she fairly flew through the air, her claws outstretched to their fullest. She collided hard into the sandstone stack. Her claws created deep gashes in the rock before the fragile stone gave her purchase. She pulled herself onto its small circular flat top. She balanced there, just long enough to see several of her enemies leap down into the trap.
She did not stay around to watch. She jumped from the top on this natural stone pillar the last 10 feet to the other side. She raced, panting and sides heaving, towards the spot where she was to meet Link. The sounds of the crunching and hissing of the moldorm's furious burrowing and their unearthly shrilling screams as they attacked were mingled with the cries of the bublins and darknuts. As she made her way across the sands, she saw Jade fly in with Link's master sword and Zelda reached out to touch its blade.
Link leaped out from behind cover to fire another arrow into the midst of his attackers before taking off to a new point of cover. He was egging them on, leading them closer and closer to the great chasm that lay just ahead. Once he saw that the 18 after him were in pursuit, he ran full tilt to the gorge in the sandy earth. When he reached it he stopped abruptly and slid dangerously forward, hoping his actions gave those behind him the impression that he had not known about the deadly abyss until it had nearly been too late. The darknuts behind him laughed in their grating airy way as they advanced upon him. They were certain they had won.
Wide eyed, Link feigned to frantically search around him and his eyes fell upon a narrow promontory, a small finger of sandstone stretching out across the chasm a little more than half way across the gaping mouth in the earth. It was only seven paces form where he stood and he edged towards it, his breathing heavy with desperation that was only partially feigned. He was out of arrows. One of the knights stepped forward and made a slash at him with his mace. Link ducked and struck out at his adversary with his bow, but it made hardly any impact against the armored knight. The knight drove forwards with his weapon. Link had no shield and no sword so he tried to block the hit with his bow. The metal enforced middle of his weapon took most of the force behind the hit, but he was thrown backwards onto the narrow promontory. He was winded but rose too his feet. He slung the bow over his back because it would not aid him in this plight. Instead of reaching for the dagger at his belt, he gingerly backed out upon this flat outcrop until his left heel touched only air. He had reached the end and could go no further.
There were no archers in the company that had followed him. He and Zelda had taken care of those first. There were however, a few soldiers who had spears. These darknuts hurled their weapons at the cornered teen. Link was far enough away from the darknuts that the spears lost most of their momentum when they finally neared him, making them easy enough to dodge. He did not have space to do so however, so there were a few times the spears came far too close for comfort. On one such occasion, the wiz of a spear was accompanied by a burning sting, but he ignored it. The darknuts, running low on spears and tiring of this game, drew their swords and began advancing upon him, trusting their weight to the narrow ledge on which he cowered.
"Please, no," Link whispered in mock abject horror, sinking to his knees and holding his hands out before him. "Please, I surrender, just please don't hurt me."
The darknuts only laughed deeper in their throats and came at him. Soon, ten of these warriors were inching their way across the narrow ledge of sandstone. When two more added their weight, Link reached a hand backwards into his side-pouch and, once he found what he sought, he took very careful but discreet aim. He knelt, ready to fire behind, above, and to the left of his current position. He gave a silently prayer to the goddesses that this would work.
Desert cement, the stone they had all entrusted their lives to was made by years of compressing and draining moisture out of fragments of stone and sediments. It was not strong and the small promontory that Link had backed onto had little enough supporting it against the wall it jutted from. There was no way it would support the weight of twelve armored darknuts and that had always been the plan. Just as he thought it, he smiled. The enemies after him paused in slight confusion at his sudden drastic change in demeanor. A shuddering crack rang though the night, and Link fired his weapon.
The four darknuts closest to the safety of the wall of the chasm leaped for it with all their might as they realized what had happened. It was too late for everyone else as the ledge was torn from its hold on the wall to fall into the seemingly endless blackness of the jagged pit below. Link could only pray that his aim with his clawshot had been true as the ground beneath him began to plummet.
There was one second of mind-numbing terror that encompassed him before he felt the pull of the chain against the mechanism his hand was desperately clasped around. He watched the dark knights fall into shadow as he himself was lifted free of the depths to crash into the rough pointy arms of an only half-living desert willow on the opposite side of the chasm. He released his clawshot and tumbled to the ground right on the edge of the gorge. He tired to catch his breath, and breathed quiet thanks that he still lived. His relief was painfully short lived. Already, the furious 10 remaining soldiers were racing to the place where the lips of the chasm came together to allow safe passage to the other side.
Link rose from where he crouched and stared in confusion for a moment at a small circle about the size of his palm staining the sand by his knees. The circle looked to be black in the darkness around them, but he knew that was not its true color. A flash of pain in his leg alerted him to the source. He must have been grazed deeper than he thought by that darknut spear, he surmised as he pulled his hand away bloody from the side of his thigh. This deep graze was added to the myriad of other scrapes he had acquired when he had decided he should become better acquainted with the rough branches of the tree.
He cursed softly as he rose to his feet and began to trot away towards Zelda. He found her quickly enough and soon saw that she was being pursued by about 10 soldiers as well. Zelda handed him his sword and drew her own. He stood at her back and eyed the press of twenty darknuts that were slowly closing in on them.
"Are you having as much fun as I am yet?" he asked mildly as he eyed the approaching enemy. His injured leg trembled under his weight, followed shortly by the rest of his body as fatigue overwhelmed him.
"Oh, always, hero," she panted in reply. "I think we have just managed to get ourselves cornered by your mouse, Link."
Her light comments caught him of guard and he started to laugh before a wave of dizziness overtook him. The familiar black splotches began assaulting his vision and he felt himself losing his footing and balance. Obviously he had pushed himself too hard after not a long enough time to recover from Ganondorf's abuse and magic.
"Link?" Zelda asked.
She sounded scared and she had a right to be. She was probably nearly as fatigued as he and they were but two facing a ring of twenty angry and fresh darknuts in full armor. Their situation was bleak indeed. He suddenly felt anger boil up inside him. Though he knew that he probably would not make it, he determined that he would give Zelda a chance to escape and have as many of the foe as he could accompany him to the end.
The enemy, as if privy to some silent signal of attack, raced towards them. The clomp of their metal boots was dulled by the muffling sand that sprayed up from the ground in small clouds with their every step. Link lifted his sword with a ragged yell, and was surprised to hear it answered, not by the darknuts but by several people behind the enemy line.
Ashei had been standing atop the great watchtower of Lake Hylia with all the members of the Resistance -aside from Shad who was at the castle and including Kasran whose small troop of 15 soldiers were camped below. Rusl's discovery about the missing influential people from Hyrule had given the Resistance ideas about suspected treachery, and so they had set watches for all these peoples' return. When they had all returned nearly simultaneously, their suspicious had been confirmed as far as they were concerned. They had arranged for all in that group, who were citizens of Hyrule, to be quietly arrested.
Auru had gotten one of the traitors to talk, and they had learned of their coup and of the army of two score men that was to follow after them once they made their move. This was why they were currently on the watchtower taking turns to keep tabs on the enemy soldiers they could see camped upon the mesa of Gerudo desert. They had already resolved to attack the trespassers just before dawn and were merely waiting for the most opportune moment to advance.
Ashei adjusted the two lenses on her hawkseyes, which allowed her to get a closer view on the small figures around the fire. She had to do a double take when she thought she saw some sentries fall. She tried to adjust the lenses to get a better view and, when she found the camp again, she thought she could see that the enemy army was wide awake. They had split in two and were in pursuit of two bowmen, she focused in on one of these and felt her breath catch in her throat as she caught a familiar glint of green from the fire as the bowman leapt from cover to shoot at the enemy. She instantly recognized him. She suddenly felt a relief and joy that was only tempered by the fear she felt for him in his current plight.
"It's Link! She found herself nearly yelling, "he ambushed the men and now they're after him!"
"What!" the voice was nearly raw with emotion; hope mixed with sorrow, worry, and anguish. Ashei knew it could belong to none other than Rusl. He had healed well enough from his injuries to aid them in this recent mission.
Sure enough, the Ordonian swordsman took the hawkeye fro her grasp and focused it to where she pointed.
"It is," he breathed, "and he won't be able to outrun them for long."
"Well he beat us to our game, but I think this is exactly the sort of diversion we were waiting for," Telma declared. "What do you say we lend a hand?"
The question was rhetorical, for they were already shifting themselves into motion before she had even finished her sentence.
Kasran began climbing down the ladder as fast as he could to rally his command, followed quickly by the Resistance. Shortly after, Ashei was following Auru up the steep path carved into the mesa sides. It was a precipitous road but she hardly noticed the climb; their trek upwards passed almost as a blur to her. Hardly any time seemed to have elapsed before her boots touched the shifting sand to the top.
She could see Link up ahead and saw also that he was surrounded by a somewhat diminished, yet still strong force of darknuts. She felt her eyes widen slightly when she realized the figure standing at his back was none other than that of the princess of Hyrule herself. The pair was barely standing upright they looked so exhausted. The darknut ring began to close in. Link let voice to a battle cry of defiance and Ashei found herself and several others of their party answering it. Their cry finally alerted the enemy to their presence and caused confusion in the darknut ranks.
Kasran and Auru led them swiftly in a charge. Their numbers were nearly evenly matched and the battle was soon over. Ashei withdrew her rapier from the chest of the last enchanted knight and bent down to give the exhausted princess, whom the darknut had knocked to the ground, a hand up, after checking to make sure she was not seriously injured. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Rusl carrying an unconscious, yet very alive, Link back down to their camp. The sight warmed her heart in a way she found she could not explain. The princess was back and well, and so was Link. The traitors' coup had been averted and Zelda spoke of the warlord's defeat. Ashei decided that perhaps she might allow herself to believe that everything might just turn out alright.
Zelda brought her piebald mount to a canter, shivering in the predawn late autumn chill. She glanced at the growing glow to the east that foreshadowed the glory of the rising sun. Only the brightest stars still remained in the ever brightening sky. She breathed in the silence and the beauty of freedom. For a week, after her return to Hyrule, she had been trapped by business of state and had been hard pressed to catch up with all that had happened in the kingdom since her little escapade.
Her heart had been warmed by the reunion between Link and his village family. Most of them had traveled to the castle to see his return. He had been immediately swamped by the hugs and handshakes, especially when it came to Colin, Uli, their youngest child. A pretty blond girl from Ordon, who was about her and Link's age, had hung back for a while. It was her greeting that Zelda found the most unusual. Her greeting had consisted of yelling at him, telling him how selfish he had been, how scared she had been, and to never ever die on her again. Her words had been punctuated hysterical, but not harmful, blows. He had calmly caught her flailing fists and pulled her into a hug. When that had happened, she had noticed something a bit strange about herself. She was happy for him but there was something else, she thought as she guided her horse around a beech tree of Faron woods. Although she hated to admit it, it was almost as if she had felt a bit jealous. She tried to shake away the rebellious feeling.
She had snuck out of the castle many hours before dawn disguised as Serhild, and was heading for the outlying province of Ordon. Link had left Hyrule castle shortly after arriving and recovering his health and strength enough because he said that he was needed to help with the harvest of the late wheat, and help in the preparations for winter for his village. She knew it was an important job so she had not wanted to summon him to the palace. However, she needed to speak with him about an unresolved matter that she had been putting off for nearly seven months. She did not want to wait another second so she had decided to go to him. She hoped to be back before anyone knew she was gone, but Ashei was in on her scheme and would step in for her if necessary.
She had acquired a new sense of boldness because of her venture, it seemed. Before she had left on her quest, she had hardly stepped foot outside of her castle and the town that surrounded it, but now she seemed to have gained a taste for adventure and exploration. She knew she could never be an adventurer because she was the ruler of a kingdom and had obligations, but she no longer saw anything terribly wrong with sneaking off to have some time to herself every now and then.
She dismounted in the wooded alcove where Link's house stood but did not bother to check for him there since she knew he would be in the fields. She made her way down to the hollow were the rest of the village stood. She walked past the houses and the village gardens that now stood fallow for the coming winter.
She crossed the creek that ran through the village and walked up a small rise that led to the top of the plateau that surrounded the east side of the village. She chuckled to herself as she walked. The quant yet quirky villagers had labeled their village streets, as if a town as small as this one needed such extravagance. She assumed that it was mayor Bo's idea for his house was labeled in much the same self important manner. Most of the other houses had been labeled thusly once but the signs had not been taken care of. It was as if all the other people aside from the mayor himself thought such labels paltry. Rusl an Uli had used her sign as a tether for a clothes line and it was painfully obvious that, at some point, Link had used his for target practice. Only the street signs and Mayor Bo's sign were well polished and freshly painted.
As soon as she reached the top of the plateau, she saw that nearly all the village was laboring over a half harvested field of wheat. Some were threshing the wheat with sharp sickle shaped scythes; the young ones were gathering the fallen stalks and the rest were using the cool early morning breeze and a very long cloth to separate the wheat grain from the chaff.
She caught sight of Link, who was one of the threshers, severing the dried yellow stalks of grain. It had taken her a bit longer than usual to find him because his back was turned and he was wearing the garb of a peasant rather than his woodsy warrior outfit. His boots were replaced with sandals, his green tunic with an off-white one that lacked sleeves. His pants were dark grey and baggy, extending slightly past his knees, stopping at his calves. The entire village was dressed similarly but what gave him away was the way he carried himself, his tousled mop of dark blonde hair and his pointed hylain ears. She headed directly for him. Most of the villagers and the children stopped to gawk at her, and she gave them a slight nod of acknowledgement before continuing onwards. She stopped directly behind Link.
"Good morning miss Serhild," he said politely, his back still turned to her as he continued on with his work. "What, may I ask, brings you here on this fine morning?" he inquired halting in his work to turn and face her, flashing one of his broad grins, his deep azure eyes twinkling with fun. "Have you come to lend a hand with the harvest?" he asked mischievously.
"Actually…" she paused, completely ignoring his joke, "do you have a moment?"
"It's about time for my break. We could talk in the woods," he told her seriously wiping the sweat of his forehead before he gestured to the fringe of woodlands that skirted the village.
His face was as handsome as ever and it was obvious by the color in his cheeks and his energy that he was completely back to normal physically. She looked him up and down. The extremely light tunic that he was wearing plainly showed that despite the fact that he looked skinny he was actually quite toned and strong.
She quickly looked away trying to stifle a blush. "I'll wait for you in the woods," she said hastily, suddenly feeling dreadfully self conscious of the stares of the villagers, who continued to gawk in a most unseemly manner as she walked past. She was unaccustomed to this type of greeting. People usually never dared to be so brazened in her presence.
Going around in disguise did have its drawbacks. Only Colin, Uli, and Rusl, who was looking well and strong considering what he had been through, gave her friendly smiles. The young blond haired girl, who Zelda assumed was Link's friend Ilia, looked at her warily. It was as if she had a strong distrust of people who traveled around with disguised painted faces who seemed to be on friendly terms with her resident hero. Once she entered the woods, she leaned against a slender ash tree as she waited for Link.
A/N: Well that was a rather long chapter X) So only one more to go after this one. :P I can hardly believe that we are nearly at the end. A few of you have asked me if I plan to make a trilogy of these two tales of mine. I actually have quite a few ideas for a third and final book. If any of you would like to read another book, please let me know. A bit of a fair warning, if I was to write it though, it would probably have to wait until summer before I start posting, as I am in the middle of several projects and school had practically eaten me as well as most of my time. I refuse to start something unless I am sure that I can finish it, and finish it well and within a timely fashion. I don't ever want to let my readers down when it comes to my writing. I also have a small series of Zelda related oneshots that I promised several people I would start posting after the completion of this tale, so I do not plan on going completely dark in the LoZ fandom XP. Which brings me to my chapter question.
Question: I would really be interested in hearing what you guys think of my upcoming plans and what I should work on next. So, although they are not exactly set in stone yet, I will give you guy some tentative summaries of what I am thinking on doing. So let me know your thoughts and tell me, if you want a third book, what are some things you'd like to see?!
The next book if I do a trilogy:
The Demon's Sword (fantasy/ action/adventure) (most likely rated T and –without spoiling to much- very probably ZeLink)
Hyrule has entered a tentative peace and Zelda has come of age. The stress of an upcoming coronation is added to the already existent threat of forging and maintaining alliances and mending tensions within her own kingdom. To add to that, a queen is expected to wed. Zelda finds herself torn between a political marriage and a marriage of love though she had no guarantees in the latter. Meanwhile Link finds himself investigating some strange happenings inside the kingdom while dealing with the strain of a rival. However everything could change when a happening of the distant past sets in motion a chain of events that sends the past colliding headlong with the present. Peace, after all, is never a guarantee and it certainly cannot last forever.
So for my upcoming oneshots and shorts:
The Brains of the Operation (hurt/comfort)
(SS Manga) Link has been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he has not committed while his entire world crumbles and falls around him and the land he loves is sentenced to its doom. Has he truly been forgotten by the ones he once called friends? And what will he do when the very ones who abandoned him beg for his aid. (Takes place before and during the first part of the Manga with a bit more)
The Hero who Couldn't Swim (humor)
(ST) Link has studiously avoided deep water for certain personal reasons but he must try to thrust his fear aside in order to keep a promise to a friend. And what might happen if she takes it into her held to help him through his fear?
Bandit Attack (fantasy/adventure/comfort)
(very pre Tp) Bandits attack the small outlying village of Ordon and lay siege to the small town, but what can a mere orphaned child do about any of it, and how far would he go if he is looking for acceptance.
The Law of the Desert (fantasy/adventure)
(OoT)Even thieves have laws and codes of honor amongst themselves but Link finds himself clashing headlong with one of these customs because of a circumstance out of his control. The worst part of all is that, if he does not find a way around it, this matter could cost him his horse as well as the trust and respect of his new allies.
So, what do you think? Do any of these peak your interest? I'd be interested in hearing from you!