"There," Says Zelda, finished my jaw cast. "The bones are healed but its delicate. I don't want you talking for at least another day, okay Link?"
I nod, disappointed. I'm tired of being silent.
"Few, you had me worried there." Says Maltzar poking at the fire. I glare and he smirks at me. "So how much longer to the desert, eh?"
"A day if we move without breaks." Zelda says, laying out the skins for our beds.
"Right then." Maltzar rises. "I'm going out to hunt, I'm sick of this dried fruit crap." he throws his half-eaten fig in the flames.
"There will be time for that in the desert." Zelda says.
"We'll I'm hungry now." Maltzar sets off in the woods. Zelda glares after him.
"Go with him. I'll mind the camp." She says to me. I want to protest but have no means of getting her attention. She ignores my complaining gestures until I give up. Pulling out my dagger I set off. His bright red hair is easy to find even at dusk. How on earth does he think he'll get a catch?
He crouches by a log. I stand by him and glare.
"What?" he asks without looking at me. "Oh that's right you can't talk." He adds snidely. I leap on him. We wrestle. I'm pinned.
"What's your problem?" He snaps. "I'm just getting you food. You think I'd horde it all to myself?"
I nod. He rolls his eyes.
"Such little faith in me. Look," He sighs. "I understand I'm nothing but a thorn in your side. But we need to start watching each other's backs. No matter how much we hate each other." he flicks my forehead. I struggle. "I realize I deserved that punch." He adds making me stop. "I've been nothing but a nuisance. I brought this down on you. So is it too much for me to ask that I at least try and make it up to you?" He has an earnest glint in his green eyes, one that I never thought I'd see. I don't trust him, but he does have a point. I tense. Someone is creeping up on Maltzar.
"Oh come on, it can't be that difficult."
I struggle, nodding behind his shoulder, fear in my eyes. Maltzar's expression changes. He turns too late. A club to the head knocks him out cold. I leap up only to be tackled by four men. They bind my legs and arms tightly and put a bag over my head. I twist and struggle, but there is nothing I can do. I'm slung over someone's shoulder and they run off into the forest.
After a bumpy ride full of struggles and muffled yells, I'm dropped suddenly to the ground. The bag is removed. I am at Lord Ghirahim's feet. I glare. He doesn't look pleased.
"Who is this?!" He snaps. "A peasant hunter? I asked for the Princess!"
"He was with the Sword Hunter." One of the men answer. Ghirahim raises his absence of eyebrows.
"And where is he?"
With a thump, Maltzar's unconscious body lands beside me.
"You killed him?" Ghirahim seethes.
"He is merely unconscious, my lord." The man says quickly.
"Brilliant." Ghirahim scoffs. "It will take hours for him to awaken." His malicious eyes turn on me." I ready for the worse. He swoops down and tears off my cast. I wince, trying to keep my jaw in place.
"Speak!" Ghirahim orders, "Where is Princess Zelda?"
I glare. He raises his hand to strike but pauses. His eyes pierce into me as if discovering something intriguing.
"Tell me your name."
My lips remain closed.
"So silent." he breathes. "So innocent." His hand comes to stroke my jaw. The cold touch sends shivers of loathing through me. "That face...can it be?" Recognition crosses his features. He seizes my throat and lifts me to his eye level. My feet are dangling.
"You're her wretched lap dog aren't you?" he cackles. "Finally I can have my revenge on you." I squirm as he brings our faces uncomfortably close. "And don't think it will be a quick death." he whispers, squeezing my neck. Black spots litter my vision. An arrow cuts his cheek. He drops me. I struggle for air. Zelda has come to my rescue. Stave in hand she takes on the men beating them to their hands and knees.
"Ah, you're highness." Ghirahim sneers. With a snap of his fingers he appears behind her. Grabbing her stave he chokes her up against his body with it. "I have a few questions if I may." His long tongue, snakes out and runs up her cheek.
"STAY AWAY FROM HER!" I yell with a rasp.
"He speaks! How cute. You are a man of few words aren't you, Link?"
I stare. How did he know my name?
"And I'm a man of many!" Maltzar springs up and grabs the stave, fighting to free Zelda. "Mother-fucking, cock-sucking, back-birthed... WHORE!"
Zelda kicks Ghirahim's knee. He stumbles and she falls into Maltzar's arms. He whisks her up like a hero. I am relieved but I fume inside. With an unimpressed expression, Ghirahim snaps his fingers. The two are blasted apart and thrown to the ground. He grabs Zelda by the hair and holds a black sword to her throat. Maltzar leaps to his feet with a snarl but stops.
"Tell me, Sword Hunter, where is the Ether Blade?" He growls.
"So I'm a Sword Hunter, eh? Cool." Maltzar shrugs. "Didn't know that since I have AMESIA." He shouts. "Do you really think, threatening her life is going to bring back my memories? Fat chance."
Groggy men clobber him. He struggles but they are too many.
"I'll deal with you later." Ghirahim sneers. "Zelda and I are going to have a little one on one."
"NO!" I shout as I'm hauled away. "ZELDA! ZELDA!"
Her face is calm as stone and pale as marble. She shows no fear.
Maltzar and I are tied back to back around the center pole of the tent. We do not speak to each other. For long...
"Can you reach the knots?" Maltzar whispers.
"No. And they took my dagger." I say before he can ask. Silence. I hear a scream.
"ZELDA!" I struggle.
"Now- now keep it together-"
"ZELDA, ZELDA, ZELDA!"
"AAHHSHHHHHH!" Maltzar turns back to me. "That isn't going to help. Save your breath!"
"For what?" My voice cracks.
"SHHHHHHHH! Keep it down!" Maltzar snaps. "You know the legends of Hyrule, don't you Link? That it was first created with music, Hylia's music and if you play the right tune you hold creation in your hands."
"Yeah but you need the sacred instruments!" I hiss.
"What do you call that." He nods to harp in the corner.
"Like we can reach that." I laugh coldly.
"We don't have you. If we listen we can hear the melody it is already playing." Maltzar says.
"Everything has its own song- and you control anything with those songs. You just need to listen for it. So be quiet." He scolds. I hold very still. I'm shaking. I can hear her screams again, what is Ghirahim doing to her? My insides writhe with thoughts of the worst.
Maltzar begins to hum, in a deep melodious voice. It glides like the mournful west winds of decay and death. It has a sound like the gradual profound flow of time. It multiplies like many voices all around us. Old voices, lost voices. I tentatively join the canticle. I jump when a harp string sounds. I sing again and the harp follows my voice- the strings are my voice.
Then all the plants in the tent wither, the supports become worm infested and rotten, and the ropes around us dry and flake away in the wind. The music dies and we were free. I leap to my feet and grab the harp. I hold it up to the light trying to figure it out.
"You learned the Song of Nocturne of Shadow." Says Maltzar, "The Song of Death."
"I thought you had no memory." I say suspiciously. Maltzar dusts himself off with a shrug.
"What can I say, I didn't forget everything."
We sneak through the camp following Zelda's cries. We come to the main tent. With my dagger I cut a slit in the side and we charge in.
"What did the stone of Raine say! Where is the sword?!" Ghirahim questioned as a man with a three tailed whip winds back. Maltzar clobbers him. I punch Ghirahim and free Zelda. The man falls dead at Maltzar's feet. Blood drips from the Megaton Hammer he found at Dragon Roost.
Ghirahim grabs my hair and holds his blade to my throat.
"Meddling wretch!" he snarls.
"Put him down, Ghiraher." Maltzar growls.
"Not until you tell me where the Ether Sword is." He sneers.
"You wanna know?" Maltzar steps forward. He drops his hammer and holds up his hands. "Okay, you win I'll tell you."
"Maltzar, no." Zelda begs. I seethe inside.
"It's right where you left it." Maltzar says. "In the outer islands."
"There's a good boy."
He cuts open my throat.
I don't feel the floor when I fall.
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