The Forever Night Part Two
Her bodyguard nodded and with a final push, opened the door far enough that only one person could slip through. Eagerly, the young princess slipped through the door. She felt Impa grab for her, but all her guardian could snag of the princess was her headdress. Zelda continued past the statues and tapestries to the back of the thrones. She stopped as soon as she passed her father's throne. It was eerily quiet and still.
Then from nowhere, a voice whispered…
"Zelda… my Zelda…"
Zelda felt something grasp her ankle causing her to stumble and fall. She squeaked and landed hard, teeth slicing into her tongue. Zelda spat blood onto the stone floor and turned to see who had grabbed her leg.
Then wished she hadn't.
The man lying on the floor was badly beaten, his pale eyes nearly swollen shut. He had no hair for his scalp had been cut off taking every hair with it. Such a sad looking man with a bruised face. Ganondorf had shown this poor soul no mercy. "Zelda… my Zelda," he repeated, hands out-stretched to touch her ankle, "Please forgive this old fool…"
"Impa," Zelda called out and Impa was by her side in a moment.
"Careful, your highness," Impa said, pulling Zelda back. "Running out like that…"
Zelda looked at Impa, eyes wide with terror. "Impa," she whispered, clutching her guardian's leg tightly, "That poor man."
The man's eyes rolled up to look over at Zelda, blood still trickling from the ruin of his mouth and nose. Whoever this man was, Zelda decided, he was a man to be pitied. "Zelda… my Zelda," the man repeated.
Zelda wished she could bury her head into the walls. Anything to not hear the piteous death cries of this poor soul. "Impa, who is this man?"
Impa remained silent, stroking Zelda's hair through her headdress. Finally, she managed to say something. "Don't you know?" she whispered fiercely. "Don't you know? Dear gods, child, don't you know?"
She looked up at Impa, eyes wide. "Know what? Impa… tell me…"
All she received was Impa shaking her head, tears streaming out of her eyes. Her silver eye marks smeared beneath them and trickled down her cheeks in the tears. "Don't you know? Don't you know? Don't you know?"
The man continued to gasp for breath. Such horrid wet-sounding noises he made. "Impa, please tell me. I don't know. So tell me or I shall slap you. I will! I'll slap you hard and if you don't tell me then…" She chewed on her lip while she clenched and unclenched her hand. "I'll slap you again."
Impa looked down at Zelda finally. "Zelda, please forgive me for assuming you knew, but that man…" She chewed her lower lip until it was bloody. "That man is your father."
"Are you awake?"
Link tried to answer, but it was like answering through a mouthful of paper. Navi wouldn't let up until he had. He didn't want to get up, even if he had to. His legs, up to his knees and both his hands stung sharply. "Mmrph," he said.
Navi's small hand brushed against his brow. Okay, so she was almost acting maternal. Not bad. Suddenly she smacked him with a wing. "Get up you lazy boy!"
He sighed and batted at her. So much for nice fairy. "Go away, I hurt."
Two small hands pried open his left eyelid. A small blue face with eyes like two bits of coal stared back at him. Navi was obviously ticked. "Why do you think I brought help?"
Link opened both eyes. "Help? What are you talking about?"
"Grr…" Navi stormed back and forth. This would have looked serious except she was doing it mid air, wings buzzing. He muffled a snort. "And don't laugh."
"Open your other eye."
Grumbling, he did, although it felt like scrapping sandpaper. The world was a blur of color and he blinked until it became clearer. There was another fairy next to Navi. She glowed rose-colored instead of white, but otherwise was the same sort of translucent fairy as Navi. "This is Ceruel. Say hi to the silly Kokiri boy who got himself into the belly of a fish."
Link tossed his hat at her and regretted doing it because of the wounds and his hands. "Ow, ow, ow… my poor hands."
Ceruel turned a brighter shade of pink bordering on red. "I'm pleased to meet your acquaintance," she said, small voice trembling.
"Is that all you have to say?" Navi teased, the halo of light surrounding her flickering. Link had recently realized this was Navi's way of laughing. "You shouldn't need to talk to this bumpkin so formally."
Link tossed a nearby vase at Navi. She dodged it, thumbing her nose. "Let's see if Ceruel heals you, Mr. I traipsed around in a fish's gut!"
"Um," Ceruel said tugging on Navi's dress, "I do intend to heal him no matter what."
Navi turned with a whirl of skirts made from the flowers of bluebells. She held a finger up to her mouth. "Sssssh," she whispered, not aware that Link could hear every word she said. "I want him to think-"
Link took one finger and whacked her on the head. Navi squeaked, wings folding in on themselves as she clonked down on the desk. "Hey," Link said to Navi's twitching legs, "Wait until I'm out of earshot."
Navi's wings fluttered as she tugged the skirt of her dress over her momentarily bare bottom. She straightened her wings and shoulders and walked over the bedclothes, up Link's neck, and sat on his nose. "Who cares if you're out of earshot or not?" She walked over and bounced on one of his ears. "With these pointed things you could hear a bug burp on the other side of the world."
Ceruel fluttered in midair and smoothed her dress.
Navi continued to bounce.
Link glared some more and complimented the universe. Which at the moment was the throbbing his wounds were giving out. It was a small universe.
Ceruel's glow pulsed bright and then dim in a sequence which could drive anyone mad.
Navi bounced some more.
Link sighed and tilted his ear to the side, Navi falling off. "Okay," he said, "I'm getting sick of this." He straightened the hood on his head. "Did you just bring this Cer-ule character…"
The pink of the other fairy's glow dimmed slightly. "Actually, it's Ce-rue-el," she said, pointing at herself. "Ce-rue-el. Ce-rue-el."
Ordinarily, Link would have been polite to Ceruel, but he honestly didn't care. "And I don't care!"
Ceruel burst into tears.
"Great," he said to the roof of the cavern he was in, "You must hate me. All three of you."
There was nothing but the sound of rushing water and Ceruel's sobbing. Navi glared at him. "Look," she said, "I didn't bring Ceruel to laugh at you." She folded her lower set of arms and drummed her upper arms against them. Like all fairies, she had four arms, each capable of yanking pointed ears. "It's rather too easy to laugh at you."
"Ha, ha, Navi."
Navi smiled softly. "Well, you just make it so easy."
"That's great," he huffed and poked Ceruel's small shoulder. "Hey you."
Ceruel's face raised, eyes shining wet. "Yes, good sir?"
Link took a deep breath, knowing that this would be hard to say. "I'm sorry for making you cry."
He waited for her to say anything or start crying harder. Ceruel sniffled a bit more. Navi cleared her throat.
She extended a hand toward Ceruel. "Repeat what I say."
He blinked. "Why?"
"Obviously, you're going about this all wrong," Navi said. "Now repeat after me."
"Now repeat after me."
Navi looked like she wanted to toss herself off a cliff.
Zelda's hands clung to her father's mangled ones, unheeding of the blood now. It didn't matter that she could barely recognize him. When her hands touched his, he almost smiled. That was enough for her. "Father, you can't die."
The stone under her feet grew warmer and wetter as her father's blood spilled out onto the floor. But her father's hand gripped her own tightly. "Please, my Zelda," her father said slowly, liquid gurgling underneath the sound of every breath he took. "Forgive this fool for not believing you."
She held her father's hands as long as she knew she probably could. How fragile life other than those of the goddesses were. "Of course I do… it must have seemed like the silly dream of a child."
Impa shook her head and glanced at the King. Crouching low, she pressed two fingers against the King's bloody throat. She sighed and looked at Zelda. "He's weakening, Princess. Obviously there is nothing potions can do."
"Are you sure?" Zelda asked.
"Princess," Impa said sternly, "It is simply your father's time."
The King rolled his eyes up to look at Impa. Was that love Zelda saw in his eyes? For Impa? Or for someone long passed away. "It's all right, Lyris," he said, saying the name of Zelda's long dead mother. "She's simply scared. We all are."
Impa bowed lowly. "Of course we are. Ganondorf's forces attacked swiftly and without warning. My small unit of Sheikah fighters can barely hold them out."
This was impossible. How could they give up hope so easily? Zelda stomped her slipper foot against the ground. "Stop it!"
Impa frowned. "And what can be done? Your father is dying."
Zelda managed a watery smile. "How fast can we get to the Great Fairy's Fountain?"
….to be continued.
Back to Story Menu