The Forever Night Part Three
Ruto was a Zora with a dream. All Zoras had dreams of course, for all Zoras dreamed for the goddesses above deemed it so. How could they not? However, Ruto’s dream was far better.
To find a husband.
He would have strong fins, of course. How else would he carry her across the waves? He would have eyes the color of jet, for what shade could be lovelier?
“Stop watching me.”
He would be a most becoming shade of blue.
“But I like watching you be annoyed because I’m watching you,” Ruto chirped.
He glared at her. By Zora standards, Ruto could say he was downright ugly. That nose, those golden stands of hair, and the lack of desirable ridges. “Go, go,” he said, “I’m trying to pull off these bandages so Ms. Whatever Her Name Is…” Link pointed at a point of light and wings that managed to waved somehow. However, on closer inspection, the fairy was smiling with its beady eyes shining, waving one of its four arms. “Says she’s going to heal my wounds.”
Ruto blinked. “Ow,” she said, wincing at the same time Link did when one of the bandages stuck to his skin. “That must hurt.”
His hands and feet were raw and bloody. They were the color of raw fish, but looked neither tasty nor remotely edible. Tiny blisters the size of her nails covered his hands. “Yeah,” Link said, “It hurts like I stuck my hand in Din’s Inferno.”
“Don’t you pink-skins have mucus to protect you?” Ruto asked. After all, all Zoras’ skin oozed a substance that kept them safe from Lord Jabu-Jabu’s spit and pre-acidic juices in his first stomach. They need such mucus so they could clean his stomachs and keep the guardian happy. Why would someone without such mucus climb inside Jabu’s acidic insides? Even his spit could dissolve since Jabu’s throat muscles were extraordinarily weak. “From our lord’s spit and stomach acid of course.”
Link held out his hands to the nameless fairy. “No, I don’t. Why?” To the fairy he said. “Look, you better do a good job Ceruel.”
The fairy squealed happily. “Oh, happy day. He got my name right!”
Ruto giggled. This struck her as very humorous. “What sort of fool would go into a fish’s stomach if he knew that he didn’t have a mucus producing skin?”
The instant Link’s hands healed (although they were a nice shade of bright pink), he mockingly bow while his feet were being healed. “Oh, forgive me, your royal fishyness. I had no idea that I was supposed to produce… what was it again?”
Navi’s glow flickered with what Ruto supposed was laughter. She didn’t know. Faeries were a rather boring species anyway. “Mucus, ya’ dumbass,” Navi twittered.
Link blinked for a few seconds before swiping his hat at Nameless Fairy (whose name was evidentially Ceruel) and Navi, trapping them in a single movement. “I know that,” he said with an air of long suffering that Ruto found charming. “That was sarcasm.”
“Let us out ya bully!” Navi fumed through the hat.
Ruto giggled as Link shook the silly hat. “Make me,” he challenged.
Maybe it was the goddesses that caused what happened next. Maybe it was fate. Ruto still couldn’t decide even years after the event and she was telling this to her spawn. The hat started to smoke. “What the…?” Link said, poking at it slowly.
The hat caught on fire.
“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-clad 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?”
“The Great Fairy’s fountain,” Impa repeated, before bowing her head and thinking.
She felt her father’s hand growing cold and could hear the ragged breaths he took become more and more slow and wet sounding. “Lyris, dear queen of mine. Our daughter will be a good ruler. Won’t she?”
Impa nodded. There was a grave air to the throne room. When she finally she spoke, it was with solemn voice that her mother used when she felt Zelda had done something to disappoint her. Usually these were trivial thing such as letting Whitey, her pet dog, eat scraps from her hand or tracked mud into the chambers that were considered hers. There was that one time where she had blown her nose on a priceless tapestry and her mother had used the same voice. She had been young… yet she should have known better. “Yes,” Impa said, “I believe that Zelda will be one of the best queens Hyrule will ever have.” Her voice broke on the last word as if she was going to sob her eyes out.
Had Impa and her father been lovers? Zelda wondered this as Impa brushed her father ruined head. There was a certain tenderness between them. As if they had known each other for ages. “Yes,” he wheezed around, “That’s very good. Very good.”
Zelda couldn’t stand it anymore. “I don’t want to be a queen!” she screamed.
Impa’s hand slammed over her mouth as Zelda’s whimpering cries seeped out around it. “Quiet, princess,” she hissed, eyes glowing with rage, “Do you want Ganondorf to find you, little Zelda.”
Zelda shook her head and hiccupped slightly behind Impa’s hand. Tears ran out of her eyes and snot ran out of nose. “Will you scream if I take my hand away?”
Zelda shook her head.
Malon was dreaming.
Usually she dreamed of horses with wild eyes and coats the color of flames. She dreamed that they were hers and hers alone. They were the thing that would be Lon Lon Ranch to fame. Malon knew this everytime she would look on the heard.
There were three glowing women stand there underneath a tree. Between all three of them was a table with pieces laid out. She recognized the smallest pieces as being the Princess Zelda in her finery and the simple clothed boy from the forest. Link, he said his name was.
Cast the stones sister, said the red sister to the blue sister, I do fancy a good game.
Cast them yourself, the blue sister snapped and looked over at Malon. Her eyes gleamed like hot coals. Is she listening?
Maybe, already the lines are coming unwound. Those who normally would have had no part are being written in.
Interesting, the green one noted, “I shall make note of this, right away.
Such a shame, I like the prophecy we had laid out.
The three voices talked on and on. Malon found herself listening. Evidently there was some sort of battle that was about to start. About the… Triforce? Why would anyone be concerned about the Triforce? For one thing, such a holy relic couldn’t exist. Malon remembered the stories about the realm where it was said be stored.
The sacred realm was supposed to be beyond all senses. Its sky was gold for the Triforce itself was the sun. But that didn’t make sense. Even at the age of twelve, Malon knew that no records could agree on the size of the Triforce. It was the size of a hummingbird’s egg… it was bigger than Hyrule Castle and every size in between. It was solid or it was smoky or crystalline or barely there.
If I were you, one of the beings said, turning to look at Malon and interrupting her thoughts, I would wake up now.
And so Malon woke up into chaos.
“I’m sorry, Impa,” Zelda said as Impa pulled her hand away, “But the fairy fountain. We have to get to it.”
Impa held Zelda’s hands in her own. “And even if we did… what then?”
Zelda didn’t know what to say, but turned to look at her father. He was obviously dying and in immense pain. How could she let her father suffer like that? How could she? Was that the only thing she could do? Watch her father die? “I’m not going to let Ganondorf be the man who killed my father.”
“That’s not a good reason, Princess. What happens if it doesn’t work?”
Zelda smiled softly. “Well,” she said softly, brushing her father’s forehead, “At least we know we tried.”
Impa sighed and closed her eyes. “The Great Fairy’s Fountain is near the northern gate. It was blocked with a stone until our little hero unblocked it.”
“That’s good,” Zelda said as Impa heaved the King over one of shoulders. “Right, Impa.”
Impa nodded slowly. “Maybe and maybe not.”
They made their way out of the castle slowly. Impa obviously couldn’t use her mist form. Although Zelda couldn’t guess the reason. Maybe there was some hidden factor to the Sheikah’s warping that Hylians could never know.
“Father,” she whispered, “Are you alive?”
Her father laughed and it was a wet and ragged sound. “For now I am,” he said, lisping from what Zelda could see were several missing teeth. “I can hold on a little longer.”
“That’s good,” Zelda whispered as a Gerudo thief walked just inches from their hiding spot, several of Zelda’s best dresses her hands. “The nerve of that thief.”
Impa hushed her.
Link only had one thing to say about whatever Ruto had been working on since ten minutes ago when he said he had to leave. He really didn’t get her and didn’t really want to.
“It’s… um… a boat…”
Ruto twisted off the last of the reeds that made up the structure. “It’s a raft,” she corrected, obviously proud of herself.
Navi fluttered over and inspected the work. It was a rather flimsy, whatever it was, barely held together by long slimy rope. Riverweed, Ruto had called it when Link had asked as she had him braid it together with hands that were still a bit numb from his fish-crawling adventure. “It’s a stupid, weak thing,” she said, hands on her hips, “That’s what it is.” She fluttered her wings and poked at one of the more slimy sections. “It’s not even going to get us a little ways down the river.”
Ruto glared. “Firefly, you know nothing about boats.”
All the Zora princess got in return for the firefly comment was a razzing from Navi. So far Link had to go through hell and back as well as get engaged and have his hat caught on fire by fairy light. Navi had said sorry but hadn’t sounded sincere. “I do,” Link said, “So why do we need a bought.”
It was like he had grown a second head. Ruto stared at him. “You said you wanted to get there before dawn, right?” She paused and thought for a moment, “Although there seems to be no end to this night. So you could help Princess Zelda…”
“Yes, well, I do want to get there before dawn. But...”
Ruto’s fins flared and she put her hands on her hips. “Well, don’t complain. Besides, I’m coming with you so there shouldn’t be a problem.”
It suddenly dawned on Link that Ruto was one obsessed fishy person.
…to be continued.
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