Chapter 9: Separate Ways
Sheik found himself riding Into Lon Lon Ranch. Looking back at the unconscious Ingo he sighed. Even though it had been nearly eighty years since the War of the Races, a civil war in which all the races fought each other and ended with the Treaty of Union that made Hyrule what it Is today, some people still think their race is superior to all the others. "At least their mostly isolated." Pulling into the ranch, he spotted the owner, Talon Lon. "Mr. Lon!" he shouted.
Talon turned to see Sheik. "What in the world!" He ran towards Sheik. "Ingo! What happened to you?"
"I found him out cold in the field with this horse." Sheik said. Well, it's not a lie. Only part of the truth. "In truth, it's kind of lucky on my part, I was heading here anyway."
Talon had already untied Ingo and had set him down in some shade. "What did you come for young man?"
"I need a horse." Sheik stated "Only for a short while, a few days at most."
Talon looked at what to him was a twelve year old. "Young man. What exactly do you need a horse for."
"I need rapid transportation to the Northeastern Desert." Sheik thought it would be best to tell the truth in this manner.
"Isn't that where the Gerudo live?" Talon asked. He shook his head. "Met some of them once, most confusing race I've ever met. One minute they're all nice to you, the next their robbing you blind if you don't pay up." The Northeastern desert held some important trade routes, so the Gerudo took advantage of that and charged a toll for traveling through their lands, if you didn't pay, you didn't get through with your goods still in your possession. Most people paid. "Can't see why a young boy like you would want to go there."
"I have some relatives there." Which, again, was technically true, his great-great-great uncle had married a Gerudo.
"Well..." Talon muttered, "I'm kind of busy right now, that and I'm worried about my daughter. She should have been home hours ago." A look of worry crossed his face.
Sheik sighed. "How about I borrow the horse I'm on right now." He reached into his wallet and pulled out a silver Rupee. "Will this be enough for it?"
Talon eyed the gem carefully. "I'll need some more for insurance in case something happens to him" He stated in a business-like tone, completely different then the ranch owners normal demeanor.
Sheik pulled out two more silver Rupees "Will this do?"
"Yes." Talon returned to his normal personality. "Well, his name's Brightfire. Take care of him! I just have to get some papers for you to sign and it'll be done."
"And so it's done."
Shadow felt content about the job he did. Like the attack on the Kokiri Village, this one was using beasts that the Gerudo were familiar with, plus some embellishments of his own.
He felt drained. Creating all those ShadowBeasts to distract Link, the Time Sage, and the Forest Sage had been tiring. Making a large portion of them into a living creature, had been even harder. Channeling the magic of the Shadow Temple through the Time and Forest Sages to create the entrapment spell for the Shadow Sage had been hard as well.
Summoning these monsters had been too much for him.
But he had lacked the strength to make ShadowBeasts. "I'll be glad when it is all over." Sometimes he wondered if starting this plan was the right thing to do. But he had started on this path, now he had to finish it.
He reached out into the Void between Worlds, ready to travel to his little pocket dimension. it rejected him. "Great, I don't even have the strength to travel through the Void." Slumping down onto the desert sand, he began to think. "You know," he said to himself "I think this is the weakest I've been since I was sent back." Sighing, he resigned himself to a long wait in the desert.
"And just who in Dins name are you?"
Looking up, Shadow noticed a Gerudo. She was young, about thirteen or so, but she was the tallest girl that age Shadow had ever seen. At least two heads taller then him. Either she hit her growth spurt WAY early, or she's just freakishly tall Her hair was a very dark red, almost black. Like all Gerudo, she had yellow eyes. One thing that made her stand out, (Other then her height.) was that she was wearing green. Green is not normally a color Gerudo wear, preferring Reds, Blues, Browns, colors you find in the desert. Strange... She was looking at him with some confusion.
"Why, pray tell, do you want to know?" Shadow asked.
The Gerudo growled. "One, this is Gerudo land and you are not a Gerudo. Two, I want to know why in the world your wearing a heavy looking black cloak in the middle of the desert. Three, I'm too curious for my own good." She smiled a little at this.
Shadow groaned. "I don't have to deal with this." Just what he needed, a little Gerudo brat. He wished he had some strength left, then he could get away from this. "There is no reason for me to tell you anything." He began to wish he had had the foresight of obtaining some Blue Potion.
She sighed. "Story of my life." She looked at him "Listen bub, you shouldn't be here, so I suggest you go hide before-"
"Kasuto! Where are you? You lazy child!"
The girl, apparently named Kasuto, turned to Shadow. Pushing him behind a rock she whispered, "Hide! If you don't-"
"There you are you brat!" An adult Gerudo was looking over at the tall girl. Said tall girl looked very scared. "You were supposed to clean the storage!"
"I did, Ma'am." Kasuto said.
"Don't back talk me brat! If you did it, then it's not good enough-"
"That's quite enough." Shadow interrupted the woman's tirade.
Kasuto looked at Shadow with a look of horror.
The adult looked at Shadow, then back at Kasuto. "I get it." She whispered "You were sneaking off to play with some male!"
"Actually I just met her a few minutes ago." Shadow interrupted. He couldn't stand people being yelled at and degraded. He got that from Link. He was still weak, but hey, if he was captured he just needed to regain his strength, right?
Kalo nearly burst out laughing as he saw Shadow get beat up by the Gerudo.
He did burst out laughing when he was tossed in their prison.
"Looks like he finally got what he deserved."
Shadow considered sending the mental order to attack. But reconsidered. The Time Sage wasn't here, so attacking now would be pointless. "Note to self, NEVER pick a fight when your this weak." Pulling himself up, he reached into his bag. He pulled out a Hookshot. Luckily the Gerudo didn't know how the magic of the Kokiri-made bags worked, so they thought is was just an empty sack. Thus, they let him keep it.
Shooting the Hookshot at the open wooden cover that was over a window. He pulled himself up. Looking down at the fortress below, he smiled.
The Gerudo Fortress was the most well known part of the Valley, the houses, storage buildings and other things that lay beyond it tended to be ignored, in fact some people thought that the Fortress was the only thing the Gerudo had!
"I have to admit, their defense is pretty impressive." It seemed that they always had guards out in shifts. And they moved in shifting patterns, to keep people from predicting them. "I'd hate to have to sneak through that." But he wasn't going to try to escape.
No, he was going for petty revenge.
Even if he couldn't attack them yet, he could still cause a lot of trouble.
After spending some time engaging in idle conversation. Link found himself ignored by both Malon and Saria in favor of "girl talk". Now almost an hour had passed with them both chattering away at speeds no male could match.
"...and then the bombchu blew up!"
"In his hands?"
Link winced at the memory and decided that they had talked long enough. "Red, Saria, are you two done?"
"Oh! Sorry Link." Saria looked somewhat embarrassed.
Malon grinned sheepishly, her eyes turning down. They glanced over a piece of paper. Her smile vanished. "Oh, I forgot about that."
"Forgot about what Red?" Link asked her.
"Link," this made Link pause. Malon never used his real name, preferring to call him by her nick-name for him. This must be serious. "This letter is for you. I'm sorry." Tears were starting to flow "I'm really sorry, but I read it."
Link took the letter slowly. "It's OK Malon," he said, trying to comfort her. "It's just a letter." He began to read the note. "Oh." he went down further. "Oh..." he finished it. "Oh crap..." He glanced at Malon. He eyes were wide, filled with tears She looked at him.
"Is it true?" she whispered.
Link found himself nodding. "Yes."
"Oh goddesses!" Malon whispered, slumping on the ground.
Saria ran over to the farm girl. "Malon, are you OK?"
"Saria, Link. Tell me what happened." Malon said.
Riding through the plains was something Sheik hadn't done in a while. He'd forgotten how exhilarating it was. Riding Brightfire at speeds he could not hope to reach, he rushed past the Zora River. Following this would lead him to the cliffs that shielded the desert.
With a spell of invisibility over him, Shadow struck. A bucket of mud poured down, over two Gerudo guards.
They were ticked.
Running around, looking for the one who played that prank on them. They shouted curses and threats.
Shadow laughed like a madman. The guards heard it. They began to look around nervously. Shadow laughed even harder. They ran, terrified.
"Oh, that was so much fun!" Shadow chuckled. "I think I'll keep this up until the Time Sage comes!" He thought about the girl that had been so mistreated. "She doesn't matter." he told himself Malon came to his thoughts "She does not matter!" He shouted. He remembered Zelda, crying into his chest. "They do not matter!!" he shouted into the heavens.
Malon listened intensively as Link told her everything. How Ganondorf stole the Triforce of Power. How Link was sealed away for seven years. How Saria was a Sage. And the fact that, Link and Zelda held the other two pieces of the Triforce.
Link was telling her a quick version of the tale, going into as little detail as possible. Finally he finished.
Saria glanced as Malon 'She seems to be taking this somewhat well.'
Malon was wide eyed, looking back and forth between Saria and Link. "Link..." She suddenly asked. "What, what happened to me?"
Saria looked over at the young man. he seemed to be worried about this question. "Link?" Saria asked "Did something happen to Malon?"
Link sighed sadly. He seemed to be remembering something.
"Come on girl, lets see how Malons doing."
Link was riding Epona, his new horse, down to Lon Lon Ranch.
"Heh, wait till Malon hears how a got a free horse!" He petted Epona. "Then again, you are really Malons, I should ask her permission." Epona seemed to snort in agreement. "But I bet she'll love my tale about how I beat Ingo!" Chuckling as he remembered the comical look of anger on his face. He stopped in front of the entrance to the center of the ranch. Getting of Epona, he said to her "Now you stay here girl, I'll call you if I need your help." He walked into the ranch.
Everything seemed so quiet at night. It reminded Link of the fun times he and Malon, or "Red" as he had nicknamed her, while on the Ranch as children. Malon probably doesn't even remember me. He thought sadly She didn't recognize me when I came over. Then again, for her it had been seven years. And outsiders tended to not have as good a memory as Kokiri. I'll have to ask somebody about this "growing up" thing. My best guess is that it's because I left the forest. Getting closer to the farmhouse, he heard shouting.
"You little whore!"
The sound of someone getting slapped echoed out from the open window.
"It's your fault that I lost the best horse on the Ranch!"
"No...Master Ingo, I don't even know him!" Malon this time.
More slapping noises. "Liar! He played that accursed song of yours! I'd recognize that Idiotic tune anywhere!"
"It's not idiotic!" Malon shouted, seeming to leap in defense of her song. Link heard her getting slapped again.
"Don't talk out of turn you little wench!" He seemed angrier now "Looks like you need to learn your place!"
"No Master Ingo...not again...please."
Link didn't know exactly what was going on, but he knew it wasn't good for his friend. He ran to the door, It was unlocked. Thank the goddesses. Running up the stairs, he kicked open the door to Malons room.
Malon was being shoved against that wall, Ingo had a mad look on his face. Link noticed shreds of Malons blouse was on the floor, it had been torn off. Ingo was going to hurt Malon in a way nobody should be hurt, Link knew this. And judging by what she said earlier, he had hurt her like this before. Link saw red. He knew what to do now.
Link drew the Master Sword. "Let her go."
Ingo unhanded Malon, she slumped to the floor. He turned to look at Link, his eyes went to the sword in Links hand, fear appeared on his face. 'Good. I want him to feel fear.' Link spoke, in a cold tone. "I'm going to kill you." He punched Ingo with his right hand. The scum fell to the ground. Link kicked him in the stomach. "I just wish I could make you suffer like you've made Malon suffer." He rose his blade.
"Stop...please." It was Malon. Her face was swollen are red. She had two black eyes and she was in her undergarments, her clothing having been ripped off by Ingo. "I...don't want you to become a murderer...for my sake."
Link looked down at Ingo. "You hear that. The girl you hurt so much wants me to spare your life!"
Ingo just whimpered.
"Get out. I don't ever want to see you again. Leave this ranch, it does not belong to you." He kicked Ingo again for good measure. "If I ever see you again, Malons request won't save your worthless life."
Ingo scrambled to his feet. He turned around and ran out of the door.
"Thank you." Malon said, glancing up at Link "But...why did you help me? What do you want?"
What had Ganondorf done to the world? If one could not help another without suspicion? Link looked at Malon. "What's the matter Red? Can't a guy help an old friend?" He smiled.
"L-Link?!" Malon exclaimed "Is it really you?" She recognized him.
"Yes Malon, it's me."
Link seemed to be thinking about something that made anger flow over his face. 'What Is he thinking about?' Malon thought. She couldn't help but think that it had something to do with her. "Link, please tell me. What happened to me?'
Link looked up at her. "You're better off not knowing"
Malon huffed "Link! Tell me!"
Link looked at her, a dark glint In his eyes. "It's the reason I don't like Ingo." He sighed "You want to know?'
"Yes Link, I really want to know" Some part of her begged her to take that back. But she did not.
Link took a deep breath. "Alright Malon." He started to tell her.
"When Ganondorf took over Hyrule, Lon Lon ranch was taken from your father. Ingo was given the ranch. He ruled it like a tyrant. He was cruel to the animals. He charged obscene prices for them. Firing all the ranch hands, he made you work all alone." He shuddered "He...hurt you. He hurt you in the worse way possible." He looked away from her. "I forced Ingo off the ranch. I swore I would kill him if I saw him again. Now do you see why I can't stand the sight of that scum?" He stood up and left the room.
Everybody was talking about the sprit that seemed to be causing trouble everywhere around the fortress. Nobody seemed to know what to do about It. Even Nabooru didn't know what to do. The young girl sighed. "At least I'm safe." Her name was Kasuto Lila, at least, that's what she considered her name. Gerudo don't have last names, that's a Hyilan custom. But she kept her fathers last name to remember him. "I wonder what happened to that boy?" He had somehow escaped just before the sprit came. Kasuto was sure that he was somehow responsible for the sprit. But nobody would listen to her. Because she's an orphan.
In Gerudo society orphans were looked down upon. It was the responsibility of the mother to raise the child, the strength of the mother reflected the strength of the child. If the mother died outside of war or a major plague, It reflected badly on the child. She didn't know what had happened to her father. He had lived with her mother, Kilian, until she was three. Then Ganondorf ascended to power he banished all non-Gerudo from the valley, including her father. When banished, they were dead the all Gerudo. Her mother died when she was seven. She sighed sadly at the memory, it was the reason she wore green. Don't think about it. Lying down on her bed, she looked out her window, the desert sunset was always beautiful. "Well, goodnight world."
Saria noticed that Malon was still looking at the spot that Link had been sitting on. "Malon, are you OK?"
"Oh, I'm fine. I'm just confused." She shook her head. "I think feels guilty about...that."
Saria nodded. "You're his friend, right?"
Malon smiled weakly "He's my best friend.
"Hey, I thought I was Links best friend." Saria teased.
"Nope, you're his girlfriend, there's a difference."
Saria blushed "Oh, right..." She shook her head. "Anyway, Link can't stand seeing his friends hurt. It eats him up inside, even if he can't do anything about It. A while ago, when Link was just a decade old-"
"Wait, why do you say decade? Why not just say ten years?"
Saria shook her head, Hylians could be so confusing! "Because Kokiri live much longer then Hylians, you don't measure your age in months, do you?"
"Anyway, When Link was a decade old, I got Injured while tree-leaping."
Saria sighed, "Tree-leaping Is a sport Kokiri play. It involves picking the tallest tree you can find, climbing it as fast as possible, and doing stunts on the very top while jumping from tree to tree. The winner is decided by who has the most points, which are given based off the height of the tree, how fast we climb it, and the kind of stunts we do and the distance of the trees we jump between." She smiled fondly, "Now I ended up falling and breaking a leg. Link was watching that day, cheering me on, he felt terrible that he didn't catch me, even though there was no way he could have!" She rolled her eyes, "He went on such a guilt trip. It took two months to get him over it!"
Malon nodded "I think I understand what you mean, he blames himself for everything bad that happens to people he cares about."
"Yes." Saria replied, "You just have to talk to him and tell him that it's alright now."
"Right." Malon stood up and went to follow Link. "By the way," she turned to Saria. "How old are you? In years."
"Oh fine, I'll tell you." the Kokiri got a big grin on her face. "I am one hundred and thirty-two years old." She eyed the farm girl "Link Is sixty-three, just so you know."
Malons eyes widened. "Wow." she whispered, obviously Impressed.
Shadow could not believe his luck! In this storehouse, there was a ton of Red, Green, and Blue Potions! "Looks like I'll be regaining my strength sooner then I thought." Grabbing some bottles of Blue Potion, he guzzled them down, instantly feeling his power coming back to him. "Much better."
"Hey, it's that boy!" Apparently his invisibility spell had warn off, and the night watch had seen him. "Get him!"
Shadow smiled. "Sorry, ladies, but I must be going." He vanished into the void between worlds.
Kalo eyed Shadow as he returned to this void. "You've been gone all day." He stated.
"Are you starting to enjoy my company, Fairy?" Shadow said dryly.
"Yours is better then none."
"Touché." He shook his head. "Anyway, I must make sure that Link does not come to the Time Sages aid. And I know just the way." He vanished yet again.
Stupid stupid stupid! How could I tell Malon that? That I let her get r-ra- He couldn't even think it. It's all my fault. If I hadn't pulled that stupid sword out of that rock none of this wouldn't have happened.
"Feeling troubled, Link?"
"You..." Link hissed, it was Shadow. "Did you come to let me finish killing you?"
"Sorry, but no. I'm here to inform you that I will be attacking Death Mountain In two days."
Link glazed over the cloaked person. "Your kidding right? Why would you tell me about your plans?"
"Because Link, I happen to believe in fair play. I think it's only fair I give you warning of where I'm going to strike next."
"But," Link growled "your planning to attack the Gerudo, aren't you?"
"Yes, but do not fear, the Time Sage is on her way. I have already warned her. And I will not be using ShadowBeasts In that attack, I will however be using them on the Gorons." He stepped closer to Link. "You have two choices, go on a two day trip to defend those who will be able to defend themselves and ignore those who can't. Or defend the ones who can't"
It dawned onto Link. "You little sneak. You don't want me going to Zelda."
Shadow smiled. "You are correct Link. But I am telling you the truth. So listen well." Shadow vanished.
'Great, I have no choice.' He groaned. 'This guy always has the upper hand! It's not fair, he knows how to make us do what he wants!' Link didn't know what Shadow wanted with Zelda, but It would have to wait. He ran back into the room Saria was in, passing Malon on the way.
"Killing two birds with one stone." Shadow laughed.
"I still don't get what this is all about." Kalo muttered.
"Only I do, nobody else shall until the end, Fairy.
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