Chapter 15: Gathering Once More
The sun had set, now one of the strangest groups conceived by mankind rested. A lost Guardian Fairy, looking for his charge. An orphaned Gerudo, quiet and intellectual, she inspired something within the final person. A Sheikah, who might be a Hylian. A boy, who was maybe a girl. Warrior...or Princess?
He sure as hell didn't know. All he knew was that there were times when he was happy as Sheik, and there were times when he was happy as Zelda. With Kasuto around, it was the former.
But why did he feel safe and secure around the Gerudo? What was it about her that kept him from falling into despair?
"What an enigma..." He murmured.
"Hmm? What was that?" Kasuto asked, turning to look at him. Her eyes, as always, had curiosity and something else, shining out. "Did you say something?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking." he muttered. "Though I think I do that to much."
Kasuto laughed, "You can never think to much, if you stop thinking, well, life will get boring!" She sat down next to him. "I think a lot, but I've never thought that it is too much." She smiled, pointing toward a small bit of light on BrightFires saddle. "Looks like Kalo's asleep, I think he's kind of cute. Though I don't think he'd like hearing that." That got a chuckle out of Sheik.
Sheik put his arm on Kasutos shoulder, it was automatic, really. "You know, I feel comfortable around you, it's funny. I've never felt truly comfortable like this before." He sighed, "I must sound stupid, talking about things like this."
"No! I'm glad you feel comfortable around me. I feel comfortable around you, really comfortable." Kasuto smiled brightly, her golden eyes shined.
Sheik found himself getting lost in those mysterious orbs, like the dessert sun reflected in a oasis. "Beautiful." he whispered. What was going on? Why had Kasuto suddenly...changed? That strange shine that had always been present was now much brighter.
"Sheik..." She spoke softly, "I..." she seemed to forget what she was saying, Sheik didn't blame her, his mind was blank as well.
Sheik closed his eyes, it was almost like he couldn't look at her and not go blind, it would be like looking straight into the sun. "Kasuto...thank you." he whispered as his face moved foreword.
Their lips touched.
It was Sheiks first kiss. Kasutos lips felt like rose petals. It was soft, and wonderful. Nothing he had ever felt could compare to the gentle feeling of her lips touching his. For a brief moment, he was in heaven.
Then horror arose, like a tidal wave, wiping out any other emotion. His eyes shot open, and he looked at the Gerudo, even now he felt drawn to her.
What's happening to me? Sheik panicked he backed away from Kasuto, who opened her eyes, worry etched on her face.
"Sheik, what's wrong?" she asked. "Did, did I go to far, oh Goddesses! I'm sorry!" She began to cry, Sheik hated it, but what his instincts told him to do, frightened him.
"Kasuto, don't cry, please. It's just-"
"That I'm not worth it?" she sobbed, "That you don't like me? That you just feel sorry for me? Well, what is it?" Kasuto looked at him, the shine in her eyes was gone. Replaced by a dimness that he had never seen before.
"It's not you, Kasuto...it's just that..." Sheik felt like he was going to collapse from guilt. "It's just that I'm not supposed to feel this!" He turned away, "I'm sorry, good night." he spoke, before lying down next to the fire, troubled thoughts plaguing his mind.
I want my life to be normal, is that to much to ask? I want to be one person, not two! But who will I be? Zelda, whom I was born as. Under that name I completed my destiny. She is my duty. Sheik, the name I made, I forged my destiny with that name, he is my freedom.
Who will I be? And why does it have to be such a hard choice?
He fell asleep with troubled thoughts and tears.
Saria looked at where Ruto had once stood. To see her friend vanish thanks to Shadow. Why? What did he want? Everybody else knew.
She really didn't like the way she had been regaining her memories. It seemed like she would remember something, then pass out. Afterwards she would remember more. Of course, minor facts, like Malons nickname being "Red", popped into her head at random moments. It was really irritating.
Oh, only Link calls Malon "Red", I wonder why? Another useless fact entered her mind, she groaned, it was all to much for her.
Malon, the girl was worried. She clearly hadn't expected to fail that quickly. The red-haired girl was sitting down on the ground, staring blankly
Hovering close to Saria, though just staying out of her range of vision, was Makan. He was the only one who did not have her heart telling her that she knew, which was odd, because she recognized the sword he lived in. Still, he seemed nice enough, though Link didn't like him.
Link, he was like a shining light to her soul. She could remember one thing about him clearly. That she loved him, with all her soul. It was strange, having those emotions but not remembering what they were. But she could live not having memories, as long as she could make new ones.
"We're leaving." Link said suddenly, breaking silence that had filled the room. "I'm afraid there is nothing more we can do, Shadow won't show his face until he is ready to, to sit here and wait, and probably get in trouble, is counter-productive."
"Glad to see you care Link." Malon spat, "You saw Darunia! You saw Ruto! You saw the look of horror on their faces as that crystal formed over them! How can you sound so uncaring!" She stormed over to him, glaring at him. "Well?"
"Red, right now isn't the time to feel remorse! When this is all over with I can worry myself with what I did wrong! Until that fortunate time comes, you need to learn to put your guilt on hold, focusing on the goal alone." Link drew his sword. "With the blade alone I have ended over a thousand lives. Of those about one hundred of them were human. Some of them might not have truly deserved death, some were mercenaries, hired to fight against my side. Others were told lies, believing they were in the right. Yet some still were forced to fight, or their loved ones would be hurt or killed. It does not matter on the battlefield. If someone who can kill you is attacking you, you kill them first. It is the most basic of laws, understood by all races and nations. Their past, their history, their hopes and dreams, it is pointless to think about it." Link sheathed his sword. "That is how I stay sane Malon, I do not think about what I'm doing, only how to do it. It may sound heartless, but remember, you chose to follow me on this path when you followed me and Saria out of Hyrule Castle City."
Saria took all of it in, what Link said, it did not shock or horrify her for some reason. She understood what he said, and knew that despite what he had said..."and you're still a good person." She spoke. "Despite everything, you still have a heart, you're still good."
Malon looked from Link to Saria, her face appearing confused, before smiling, just barely, and saying, "I guess you're right Saria, Fairy Boy, come on, lets go."
"Good to know you see reason Red." Link said, "Come on, Hyrule Castle City is just a few hours away. We can rest there."
Leaving Zoras domain, Saria turned around a moment before they left, it was the only place she remembered, she couldn't help but feel a little sad bout leaving. "Goodbye, Ruto, I'll help you get home."
"How long has it been, only five months?" Five months, that was how long he had been working on his plan, it was nearly complete. Soon the world would end, and with it, pain and suffering.
So why was he having second thoughts? Why now? Why not when he had been planning it, why when he had nearly finished it? "How can I even be feeling guilty! This is for the best!"
He sighed, it didn't make sense. "Do I have to feel this way?"
-Because you aren't evil...-
I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot. I am an idiot!
Kasuto stared at the fire, not really seeing it. All she could think about was what Sheik said.
...I'm not supposed to feel this!...
"What does that mean? Does he still feel loyal to this person, whom Shadow took advantage of? Or is he repulsed by the thought of loving a Gerudo?" She turned to look at him, of all the people for her to fall for, it had to be him. "Do you hate me?" She asked him, even though he was sleeping "Do you hate me for taking advantage of you? I'm sorry, I just want to be happy, I thought we could be happy, I guess I was wrong."
It was Sheik, he was whispering something! "What is it?" She dashed over to him, no, he was still asleep. "Talking in his sleep?"
"Kasuto..." he whispered, "I'm....sorry...wish...love..."
"What?" She smiled slightly, "I guess I can wait a little longer, good night, I love you." She placed a small kiss on the boys lips. "Sleep well, I hope you allow me to help you with whatever problems you have.
"Because I want to help you."
Kasuto slept peacefully that night.
Walking along the Zora river, Malon turned to look at her two friends.
Link, wearing traditional Kokiri clothing, a white shirt with a green vest over it, and green shorts as well. Strapped on his back was a Mirror Shield, as well as his pink sword. His large green hat covered his straw-blond hair.
Saria, who was a human display of the color green. Malon counted at least five shades of the color on her. Her long-sleeved sweater had two of them, one on the main body of the shirt, the lighter one on the edges on her sleeves. Her skirt went down to her knees, itself a pattern of shifting greens, moving and changing as she walked. Her hair was a beautiful emerald color, unlike any Malon had seen before, held back by a green hair band then somehow both blended in and stood out. Only her eyes weren't green, they were a dark blue, the color of the night sky, the darkness gradually deepening into the blackness of her pupils. Her golden sword strapped on her side.
Both of them looked so good together. Link was constantly staying alert, watching her with the uttermost care. Saria stayed close to him, smiling gently as she walked, affection that stayed alive even through her memory loss radiated from her being.
They truly are a perfect couple. She thought They need each other. Because who else could take them? Both of them were on the fringes of society. Both of them were raised in completely different ways then most people, and the roles destiny had picked them to shoulder set them apart even further. Perhaps that's how Malon, in a sense, can fit in with them. She herself has lived alone, with only her father for company. She had come to rely on the animals for company. Now she had two close friends that she would give anything for. "Fairy Boy?"
"Yes?" Link asked, "what is it?"
Malon smiled, "Thanks, you too Saria."
"Hmm?" Saria was confused, "for what?"
"For being my friend." Malon gave them both a small hug, they only had a little bit of trouble breathing. "I never realized how lonely I was before I met you guys."
"Thanks Red." Link regained his breath, "It's nice to see we're so important to you."
"I know you're an important person to me Malon." Saria said happily, "It's good to see you feel the same about me."
"Can I have a hug Miss Malon?" it was Makan....Wham!..."I guess that's a no...ow..." He rubbed his transparent head, "I don't know why you're so violent towards me Miss Malon."
"Because she recognizes you for what you are Makan." Link said irritably.
"I'm really wondering if I want this sword..." Saria mumbled
"Anyway," The ghostly Kokiri said, "I believe you need rest, it is after all, night." Makan moved in front of Saria, "And Miss Saria, lovely as you are, sadly do not truly know how to be a Sage yet, I doubt even before your unfortunate memory loss you didn't know everything you could. I'm here to help you."
"Not flirt with her." Link snapped. "But you're right, unfortunately, we should rest. We'll set up camp here."
He appeared over Hyrule Castle City. Standing on top of a building, he watched the people, going through their motions of their lives, suffering through the trials that had been unjustly thrust upon them.
So why was he regretting his plan to end the pain? Was it the fact that he wouldn't see his results? No, he didn't care about that, if anything he was glad that his mockery of existence would soon end.
"So what is it? Why do I feel guilty?" He asked the air...
"Maybe because what you're doing is wrong." A voice answered.
Shadow smirked, "I was wondering when your kind would find me, Mask Salesman."
The strange person frowned, "Do you know how hard it is to find someone who is outside the Paths of Destiny?"
"So that's how come you've taken so long." Shadow chuckled, "I guess the only reason you've found me now is because I have five Sages on my person."
"Sadly yes, but you do know how much you've warped the Paths?" The Mask Salesmen sounded...slightly frustrated. "Already new threats have emerged that should not have risen for years, if ever!"
"Don't worry about that. Any threat will be non-existent when I'm done." Shadow felt that sinking guilt rising once more, but he shoved it down.
"What does that mean?" Mask Salesman demanded, narrowing his eyes.
"Well, lets just say your employers will have to restart their project."
"What does that mean!" Mask Salesmen shouted, actually showing some emotion.
"Guess." Shadow smirked, jumping off the building and dashing past some dogs. He emerged into an alley.
"That was too easy." he said aloud, "Now to wait until the happy little group unites again."
She sat down, watching the sunrise. It was strange, how something so simple and regular could be beautiful, all you had to do was pay attention to it. "Kind of like Kasuto." Zelda muttered, oh yes, she had wanted to be Zelda again, mainly in an attempt to straighten her mind out.
It wasn't working.
How the hell did she fall in love with one guy, and seemed to be having strange feelings for that strange Gerudo who had come into her life suddenly. What was it about Kasuto that inspired these emotions?
"As if I need more confusion." She had known that the transformation to Sheik had mental effects. Sure he had thought Sheik was a real person, but was he? He seemed to be as much a part of her as Zelda was. "Great, that means I'm both a boy and a girl." she muttered, she could imagine it now. "Princess Zelda, inventor of the Sex Change Spell. I'll be famous, if I'm not lynched first. Or maybe I'll be both." that was wonderful, but what to do about Kasuto?
Link brought about a burning passion, he inspired the best and worst in her, almost an obsession. And yet, he was distant, so clearly in love the Saria, who probably knew him better then anyone else.
Kasuto was the bringer of softer, tamer feelings. She felt content around her, happy, like there wasn't any problem in the world. And she seemed to have similar feelings.
But she couldn't do anything about either of them. Because her own soul was still divided, even more so now then it was before. She couldn't live like this, who would she be? She could not be Zelda as things were, not when the temptation of freedom existed as Sheik. And she could not be Sheik, for her duty to the people of Hyrule is too great for her just to cast aside. "If only I had a brother or sister...then the decision wouldn't be so tragic or split..." she whispered, because then they could have taken her place as heir to the throne. But would she be happy as Sheik anyway? "I can't make a decision." tears began to flow. "I'm doomed to this twisted duel-life forever, aren't I? Damn my decision to start this!" she sobbed. "I'll never be happy..." it hit her like a landslide.
She'll never be happy. It was a simple as that. "Odd, knowing that your doomed to misery the rest of your life makes things seem so much simpler. Sure I won't be happy, but at least I don't have to worry about it either." It was strange, for most people realizing they would never be happy would be a crushing blow, but for Zelda, it was actually a relief. She didn't have to worry about it anymore, sure she'd be miserable, but she figured she'd be used to the misery, or insane, within a few years. She activated the magic that made Sheik visible to the world, even though to her, he was always there.
Sheik got up and walked back to camp.
The suns rays touched Links face, their gentle light stirring him awake. He didn't want to get up, but the sun was shining straight into his face, and it wasn't going to stop. Despite everything he had gone through, he was still a heavy sleeper.
Or, as Kalo described him once, "I've seen rocks that wake up faster."
That described him well.
And so Link forced his eyes open, his first instinct was to look around for threats., however, there were none. Instead, very close to him, was the most beautiful girl in the world to him.
Link couldn't help but smile, Saria was just so cute when she slept. It was rare that he had seen her in this state, most of the time she was vibrant, always moving or talking. Very rarely did anybody catch her resting, it had been almost three years since he had caught her like this. Smiling devilishly he snuck next to her, he simply took a moment to look her over. She was breathing deeply, a faint smile was on her face, meaning she was likely having a good dream. Saria simply looked, content. Link would have laughed manically, but that was Malons job. Besides, it would wake her up.
Taking out one of his glass bottles (He had about ten at the moment.) He walked over to the nearby river, scooping up some water. Sneaking back over to Saria, he aimed carefully, "Wakey Wakey Saria!" he dumped the water on her head.
"Gah! Wet!" Saria bolted awake, she shook some of the water off her, and saw Link laughing. "Link! What was that for?" She shouted at the laughing boy.
"Hee-Hee- sorry- heh- but it- hahahah- was too good- heehawed- a chance! Bwahahahah!" Link fell down laughing.
"You've been under a lot of stress lately if this sends you to the ground." Saria dryly noted.
"Is it morning already? Crap." Malon mumbled, "And whose making that Goddess-Cursed noise?"
"That would be Link." Saria said calmly, as Malon got up, walked up to Link, hit him on the head, and walked back to where she had been laying. "Thanks for the advice Malon, I'll be sure to remember it."
"Ow..." Link muttered "What is with you women and hitting men?"
"The Great Deku Tree said boys can't hit girls, he never said anything about girls hitting boys." Saria said, "Hey! I remembered something! Wait...who's the Great Deku Tree? I know he's important..." she continued to mumble about her memories.
"Thanks for the support." Link muttered, though he was glad Saria was remembering more and more. Though there hadn't been any major revelations yet, she was getting more and more back.
"Hey Link, isn't Hyrule Castle City only a few hours away?" Malon asked, "Because I can see the very tip of the castle now."
"You can? That's good, it means we're about two hours away, we'll be there by Eight O' Clock." Link helped Saria up, "I guess it's time to start walking again."
"Will I remember this place?" Saria asked, more then a little hope in her voice.
Kalo yawned as he woke up, BrightFires saddle wasn't the most comfortable thing to sleep on. But it did keep him from being stepped on accidentally in the night.
Kasuto was awake, apparently making some breakfast, eggs and ham, cooked on a griddle. "Good Morning Kalo, would you like something to eat? I can give you a tiny bit of mine if you want. You don't eat much, do you?"
"Thanks!" Kalo licked his lips, "No, fairies don't eat much, it's the small size, you see. Though I am pretty hungry, can you cut two slices of egg and a slice of ham?"
Kasuto placed an egg and piece of ham on two plates. "Sure thing." Making small cuts, she produced two fairy sized pieces of egg, and a fairy sized piece of ham. "There you go! Enjoy!"
"Thank you, I'm famished." Kalo flew over the plate, grabbing the piece of ham, and sticking it in-between the two pieces of egg. "Behold! Breakfast sandwich!"
"That's so cute!" Kasuto giggled.
"Is that breakfast? Smells good." Sheik was back.
"Oh, hi Sheik! Yeah, I made us a small meal to eat, hope you don't mind." Kasuto smiled gently, there was something different about that smile...
"Oh, I don't mind, not at all. Thanks." Sheik sat down mechanically, and began eating his food.
"Um, Sheik, is there something wrong?" Kasuto sounded worried, Kalo had to agree, Sheik was acting strangely.
"Oh, it's nothing, I just had a revelation about myself, that's all. Don't worry Kasuto, you had nothing to with it. I was just thinking this morning, that's all." Sheik sounded...dead to Kalo, like his soul had been crushed. This worried the fairy.
"Are you sure you're fine?" Kasuto either didn't notice what Kalo did, or chose not to comment.
"Oh yes, I'm very fine, better then I have been in years." He finished his breakfast. "I think we should get going, if we start now we can reach Hyrule Castle City by Noon."
"Sheik, are you positive you're OK?" Kasuto sounded really worried now.
"Kasuto..." Sheik smiled, like everything else about him, it was dead. "You're a good person. I know you'll be happy one day. Come, let us go, I wouldn't mind showing you Hyrule Castle City before we continued."
Kalos was very scared, it suddenly came to him what was going on, something he had heard of, but never actually saw. He knew right then and there that nothing he could do could help Sheik now. Already he was mourning for his new friend.
The Time Sage had lost the will to live.
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