"No matter how hard the Messenger of the Gods tried, the Goddess of Time was always just out of his reach. It was because of this affection that the messenger had for her that he wished to protect her, no matter the cost. Though Sheikai loved her deeply, Hylia would always be oblivious to his feelings. That in itself is perhaps the greatest tragedy of them all." – The Book of Mudora
Act 4: Disciples
Thus, Hylia had squared the Triforce away safely into a small ball of healing light that she had hidden within her being. It had flowed towards her chest and faded away. Link had never seen anything quite like it before and he had to admit, taking on the Triforce seemed to add to Hylia's heavenly glow.
Gods were supposed to be attractive, Link had read. But he never expected them to be gorgeous. The authors who had sent their manuscripts out into the world like little sailboats would never have guessed that "beauty beyond measure" was in fact an accurate description. Link had trouble looking away from Hylia. Her beauty was like a siren's song, impossible to resist.
But Link could never admit that. He had done his homework. He knew gods often used their looks to manipulate humans. But Hylia was different. She seemed different anyway. It was as if the manipulative gene was not within her being. She seemed to be goal oriented and focused on her duty, not in using Link. Unfortunately for Hylia, that meant Link would use her instead.
As long as I don't get caught. I don't know what would be worse, being lynched by those imperial clowns or being punished by a scorned goddess. Link reviewed his options in his head before continuing forward through the thicket with Hylia in tow.
"Just a bit farther, okay?" Link's voice chimed through the forest.
Saying nothing, Hylia walked several feet behind the man in green. She kept her distance, as did he. She wished to know more about him, but she couldn't bring herself to ask. She couldn't even bring herself to ask what their heading was. The goddess was following the warrior blind, but she was okay with that for some reason.
Wide eyed and awestricken, Hylia clumsily followed the man. Every now and again she would trip on a tree root or a large stone on the trail. Somehow, Link would spin around and catch her before she hit the ground, and then he would start laughing at her before helping her back onto her feet and continuing on their trek.
"I have to do something..." Sheikai moaned as he continued to watch his friend and the mortal carry on. His red eyes darted left and right nervously as they scanned the looking glass on the floor. "Sister Quazah has made her choice to do nothing until there is a problem, but I cannot do that! I will not stand by and let this happen! Hylia means far too much to me."
The messenger then did the unthinkable. He swiftly plucked a strand of his snow, white hair from his head and quickly examined it. He then looked down at the looking glass and barked. "Show me the group of individuals from three moons ago!"
The mirror on the floor then faded into a scene with seven men and women sitting around a fire in a forest. Their lips did not move, therefore they did not speak. They were a small and efficient band of thieves and assassins the messenger had seen during his last walk amongst the mortals.
They had captured the messenger's attention for their incredible stealth skills and now they were his lifeline to saving his friend.
"Sheikai, Messenger of the Gods, uses his first blessing. Bestow these mortals I see with my abilities. They shall be the shadows." Sheikai recited in a low voice. "May they forevermore act in my stead to watch and protect Hylia. That shall be their duty for all eternity."
The messenger then dropped the single strand of white hair onto the mirror and exhaled heavily as he felt the cold grip of the power draining from his body as the blessing was bestowed upon the assassins in the mirror.
"We're going into Central Town." Link explained. "It's a very large town where all three major parts of the known world come together. It's a hub of sorts for trade and travel. It's much easier to just go through one of the gates in Central to get to another province than it is to walk all the way around."
Hylia nodded as she continued to follow the warrior. This meant more mortals and mortal creations to see and experience. This excited Hylia greatly. She would be going head first into the mortal way of life. After years of watching, she was going to finally get a first person point of view of it. But there was one question that Hylia had on her mind that she felt the need to ask.
"The family that believes themselves to be divinely appointed... where may we find them? Are they too in this Central Town you speak of?" Hylia quizzed as she continued to examine the various flora and fauna of the forest before bumping into Link.
He had stopped dead in his tracks and appeared to be examining the large tree branch that blocked their way. Like a gentleman, Link pulled a tree branch back out of the way of the path and waited for Hylia to walk through the cleared way before he answered. "They may be there. They may not be there. We'll see when we get there."
"Don't speak in riddles. I do not have patience for such things." Hylia informed boldly, trying to at least keep her authority over the human.
"I apologize, your grace." Link bowed his head as he snapped the branch back into place and stepped in front of the goddess once more and continued to lead the way. "The honest truth is, sometimes they are in residence, and other times they are in Lanayru, enjoying their monopoly on those shiny purple rocks. Timeshift Stones, they call them. No one has ever proven them to work. The only reason they make money on those rocks is because everyone is so dense around here and they want to be the first ones to solve the mystery of the purple stones. Nothing but solidified snake oil if you ask me. Making rupees off of the ignorant... and apparently everyone around here is ignorant."
Timeshift Stones, Hylia had never heard of them before. Strange, considering she was at one point the Goddess of Time. Everything time related came back to her one way or another. Though she said nothing on the subject to Link, this would have been proof that the Timeshift Stones were in fact, fake.
"Residence?" Hylia furrowed her brow. "What do you mean by that?"
Link shook his head. "You'll see when we get there. Things have gotten out of control ever since Grand Emperor for Life, Elijah, Empress Zara and their two snotty brats took over."
"Pardon me. Their children. If you can even call them children. Little cretins they are." Link explained.
"Oh, you don't like children?"
"It's not that I don't like children, your grace. Believe me, whether I admit it or not, like every other human, it's honed into my being to want to reproduce and all that... but some children are just horrid." Link shrugged. "When you meet some bratty kids, you'll understand. Some kids just need a smack upside the head."
"Were you such a child?" Hylia asked innocently.
Link spun around and his icy eyes met Hylia's and they peered coldly into the small pools of ocean blue that were the goddess' irises. He became tense and serious, as if he had much to say, before he uttered his one word response. "No."
There was some history there. He had old wounds that still stung as if they were fresh. Hylia asked no more questions as she felt she would be prying, and that was the last thing she wanted to do to someone whom she so greatly admired.
"I would have done anything for my mother." Link narrowed his eyes as he fixed his hat and carried onward.
Hylia watched as the green clad man hurried on ahead of her. She didn't understand the human heart, and she knew she never would. She wanted to, as it was an aspect of the mortals that fascinated her. But she knew she could never fully comprehend it.
Hylia had no true sense of family, so she couldn't understand the importance of a mother or what a mother's role was. Though the gods addressed each other as brother and sister, it was only out of cold respect. They had very little interest in each other unless it came to gambling or getting in trouble. Sure, Hylia had Sheikai's loyal friendship, but he was often away for long periods of time. Even Hylia's own sister was distant from her. Hylia was often left alone, and treated like a bit of a black sheep.
It was often said that Hylia was a mistake goddess. Nayru accidentally poured too much divine power into Quazah and she removed it. Not wanting to waste perfectly good divinity, she used it to mold Hylia. Hylia was simply leftovers that Nayru recycled. No other god had such a creation story, and therefore sometimes they would click their tongues and stick up their noses at Hylia for being a second hand deity. Therefore, Hylia wished to prove herself on the task she had been selected to do. She had every intention of keeping the Triforce safe, even though she was easily distracted by a certain creation.
And so, the unlikely pair walked and walked and walked. The sun had eventually gone down. Hylia of course, never tired, and much to her surprise, Link never seemed to slow down either.
"Amazing..." Hylia mumbled as she watched the warrior continue to plant his feet firmly on the ground, without any sign of exhaustion. "Would you like to have a break?"
"No rest for the wicked." Link huffed a bit. "Not until they put rupees on my eyelids to pay the toll for the chariot ride to the Spirit Plain."
Hylia's ears perked at his words. She had heard Saul speak of the mortal practice and the belief that they needed to pay the driver of a chariot to deliver their departed soul to the Spirit Plan. It was all fiction, but this was another fact that Hylia did not wish to convey to Link. She felt like it would ruin the age-old ritual for the human.
"I won't be able to rest though as long as these imperial idiots are around. They'd snatch the rupees from a dead man's eyes, the bastards." Link panted lightly again.
His resolve was harshly obvious. Link hated the people in power. Whatever those deep rooted issues were, Hylia could only wonder and she wished to understand them. Perhaps it was what shaped his drive. His morale was incredibly attractive, and like a bee to honey, Hylia was infatuated with it. She couldn't help it though. It was natural for a god to be attracted to mortal confidence, but they rarely came as close to it as Hylia had.
She could see that though Link could probably keep walking for days, he was worn down and was in need of rest. He was no good to her if he was dead. At the rate he was going, he was going to run himself into the ground. Hylia's concern for the mortal was more than startling, she even surprised herself.
"Would you like to rest?" Hylia asked again. Though this time she was more so demanding he sit down. "You will surely collapse at this rate."
"I can't, your grace. It is as simple as that. We must leave the forest." Link shook his head as he rubbed the back of his hand over his brow. "I will rest when we get to Central."
"I know you're lying, human." Hylia barked a bit, again trying to make herself seem all-powerful. "Now would you sit down?"
"Not until we get to Central, your grace." Link disagreed again.
Hylia sighed before poking the man in the back with her index finger "Forgive me."
Link felt his body tense up and his eyes close as the nimble and warm fingers of the goddess clamped onto his shoulders and carefully lowered him to the ground, making a makeshift pillow of his green cap. He had fallen fast asleep, thanks to some divine intervention.
"You cannot guide me if you are weary." Hylia whispered as she tried to make the mortal comfortable on the grassy ground. "I don't need sleep, so I can protect you."
And for that moment, they were alone in the silence of the woods. It was calming and peaceful. Hylia had gotten beyond her initial thrill and shock of her surroundings quickly as she had spent most of her focus on keeping up with her mortal guide.
The moonlight graced the trees and it glittered as it trickled through the canopy of leaves above. It was beautiful and if it wasn't for Hylia's glowing complexion, it would have been the only light in the forest that night.
Hylia watched him intently with a yearning stare. Cupping his cheek with her right hand, she brushed a loose strand of hair from his face with her thumb. She hummed a song she would often play on her harp. She had written it herself and she took great pride in it. Hylia even went as far as calling it the Ballad of the Goddess.
But alas, the tranquil stillness was not meant to last. As Hylia glanced down longingly at her unconscious acquaintance, she sensed that they were no longer alone in the darkness. For beady eyes of red floated in the shadows. They were nearly invisible, but Hylia sensed them and she readied herself for whatever it was that wished to tangle with an immortal goddess.
Hylia stood up from the human's side and stepped back and peered into the woods where she sensed the strongest energy.
"Brother Sheikai?" Hylia scowled a bit as she raised her left palm and produced a yellow light around her hand in order for her to see better in the sea of black that was the forest. "No. You aren't Sheikai."
The was no response, but Hylia still felt the presence near her.
Narrowing her eyes, trying to hone her senses, Hylia tried to figure out who her watcher was. "You are not Sheikai, but you are laced with his essence. I sense it. Who are you?"
Still no reply.
"It's not my style, but I will turn this forest upside down and right side out just to find you. Do you understand?" Hylia hissed. "I do not take kindly to being watched."
"Tell whoever sent you that they can deal with me personally if there is something they wish to say." Hylia barked.
And with that, the presence faded into obscurity. Hylia heaved a gentle sigh when she took note of the change. She truly didn't think she had it in her to blown down the forest, and she probably wouldn't have tried anyhow. It was out of character for her. But still, her divine pride made her say silly things of the sort.
She lowered her hand and put out the light that she had been emitting from it. She returned to the mortal's side, brushed her fingers through her yellow hair and continued to hum her song. She would not forget her strange stalkers, and if she ever saw Sheikai again, she wouldn't think twice about saying something. But for the remained of the night, she sat and hummed to the sleeping mortal.
Sheikai glanced through the looking glass on the cloudy floor of Hylia's old domain as his new disciples hopped swiftly through the bushes. His eyes were focused as Hylia fell out of view. He had made himself quite comfortable in Hylia's former home and workspace. He missed her desperately, and perhaps it was his way of staying close to her.
His newly appointed minions -whom he had not yet named- would eventually report to his gossip stones and tell him of what was seen and heard that day whilst following the goddess and the mortal man. He would then give them orders on how to proceed.
His blessing had turned a small group of thieves into divine servants. Crow black, shimmering silver and golden blonde were the only hair colours of Sheikai's followers. With burning red eyes that could see in the dark, their clothing had changed from simple rags into elaborate costumes using various fabrics and pieces of armour with shades of violet, red, black, grey and gold. The red, all seeing eye symbol that Sheikai had stitched on his chest was also stitch onto the clothing of his followers in some way, shape or form. Some of them had war paint designs on their faces as well, something Sheikai was also quite fond of.
"I'm sorry Hylia." Sheikai sighed as he stepped away from the mirror. "It's not that I do not trust you... it's that I worry about you. I'm just trying to protect you in a way that I understand."
Though the messenger was very much in love with the former Goddess of Time, he knew she would never be his. And even though it would never be, Sheikai was still hopelessly devoted to his friend. Therefore, it was through this devotion that he would keep her safe no matter what, even if it meant betraying her trust.
Review it. Sorry about the length. Next chapter will be more interesting. The final months of 2013 were hard on me. My only wish for the New Year is to be better for you guys. I'll finish this story.