Chapter 13: Revenge
Link's eyes widened drastically as he stared at Leto's lifeless form. He stumbled over to the window, leaning against it with one hand, hoping to ride out his shock.
She was gone… Leto would never laugh again, never smile again, never draw her sword again… All that was left of her existence was her body along with the words and memories that lived on in their hearts…
"Damn it, Leto," Link whispered, pounding his fist against the wall. His body shook violently as he finally cracked. Tears fell like rain to the ground… tears of anger, loss, and pain. Was this how Artemis felt for eternity? It was unbearable.
"Leto, you can't be dead…" Link muttered, turning and glaring down at the still smiling corpse. His anger only grew as he glared at it as though it hadn't once held the soul of a wonderful person. "Damn you to hell, Leto! Why are you smiling? How can you smile like that! Wipe that smug grin off your face!"
The corpse gave no response but to continue lying there, cold and unmoving. It looked as though Leto were in peaceful slumber… Death had done her a favor and removed every single bit of worldly care from the young mercenary's face, including the small bit of sadness that was visible in her countenance. She was as beautiful in death as in life, maybe even moreso…
Something within Link finally snapped, he stormed from the small room, boots heavily clacking against wood. He ignored the looks of the innkeeper, the maids, and anyone else he encountered as he continued on his way. He had to go… anywhere away from the body… anywhere away from seeing Leto's smiling face…
He ran through the streets of Iseed, his eyes bleary with tears as he attempted to navigate the nighttime streets. The cold air that pierced through his wool tunic only reminded him even more of the chills of death… Link was running from a person that was now a mere memory…
As he reached the outskirts of town, Link collapsed to the ground, his chest heaving with exertion. Like a tiny child on a tantrum, he beat his fists upon the ground until they bled as he gave anguished curses and cries aimed toward Leto. Try as he might, his words would sound nothing upon a dead woman's ears.
His loud cries slowly disappeared little by little, replaced with the sad sound of broken sobs. Link, the son of Commander John, the one trained to feel nothing, lay curled upon the ground, sobbing bitterly for his lost friend.
"…Good God Leto… Why did you have to stand up to her? You knew you didn't stand a chance, you even admitted it… So why did you stand up to her?" Link sobbed silently to himself. He grew increasingly aware of his surroundings… cold, sticky blood oozed from his damaged fists, his eyes were red and swollen, his appearance shabby and disheveled. "You would have been alive if you had stayed quiet…"
No, Zelda would have died if it wasn't for Leto... Artemis was trying to do something to the sleeping Princess… Leto must have known that with the death of the Princess, the hope of Hyrule would die with it…
"Artemis… you are the cause of all this," Link whispered. He turned his head toward Silver Mountain, his blue eyes glinting with hatred, anger, and loss. Never before had such a frightening look entered the young soldier's eyes before. "Yes… I'll get you to break the curse between Zelda and I… Then I'll make you resurrect Leto and then I'll slaughter you… Peeling your flesh from your bones as slowly as I feel… I'll destroy any beast you send my way. In the end, your life is mine, Sage of Cosmos."
Link awoke the next morning, opening his swollen eyes with great difficulty.
The light of the morning filtered in through his closed curtains and into his sparsely furnished room. The world seemed a little less bright already…
His muscles screamed with protest as he sat up in bed, placing his feet upon the cold wooden floor. His sour mood from the previous night continued as he cleaned himself up as much as he could, ignoring his hideous red eyes in the mirror.
Upon returning home to the inn last night, Link found Zelda still sobbing by Leto's cold body. It had taken a while, but he was finally able to take the grief ridden Princess away from her friend's corpse and have her sleep in the separate room prepared for her. The kind innkeeper allowed them to lay Leto's body in the room for the night, and even called the embalmer to do the work while they slept.
Link opened the wooden door, the hinges creaking familiarly as he made his way over to Zelda's door. For a moment he stood there, contemplating his words before he finally brought his scabbed knuckles to the door, knocking softly.
There was no shuffle of bedspread, no sound of footsteps leading to the door… Zelda wasn't inside her room. If she wasn't there, there was only one other place she could have been…
Link turned to the door at the end of the hall and his blue eyes shadowed with sadness… She was with Leto…
Link slowly walked over to the door, placing a hand on the cold brass knob. He couldn't bear to be around the body… it hurt him too much to know that she would not get up and walk again, never talk to them again, or spar with him again.
Still, he swallowed his thoughts and turned the knob.
Inside the curtains were drawn over the windows, barely any light filtered into the room… Zelda sat next to the bed, her hair neatly kempt and wearing a pale blue peasant dress. Her gorgeous violet eyes stared down sadly at the young person on the bed.
Leto lay in bed, dressed finely in a bright red shirt with golden clasps going down the middle. Black pants made of fine material garbed her lower half, along with a shiny pair of knee high leather boots. Her usually bound arms had none of their usual bandages, instead they were bare, allowing her numerous scars to show through, each one telling a story, as the young mercenary had once said. Her delicate hands were clothed in black leather gloves made for fighting.
Leto's short brown hair was combed back and away from her face. Her eyes were closed over gentle blue, the smile on her lips still etched there… the embalmer had left her in her state of peace. Her hands lay clasped on her stomach, almost as if in a silent prayer.
Indeed, the embalmer had made it look as though the young mercenary was just sleeping and could wake up at any time, smiling and laughing.
Tears once again burned at the young man's eyes as he stared at his dead friend… She was so cold yet so lifelike… Were the Goddesses taunting him?
"Zelda…" Link whispered, placing a delicate hand on his friend's arm. "I saw a beautiful hill not far from here… I think we could put her safely to rest there… Is that alright?"
Zelda sat still for a moment, making no hint that she was going to say a single thing. She was still in shock from the previous night, perhaps? Link could not blame her, this was probably the first time that the Princess had seen someone die a harsh and violent death, a sight that a Princess was never supposed to see.
He gently squeezed the young Princess' shoulder, smiling as well as he could before he spoke again, this time his voice even gentler. "Do you want to come, Zelda? I think that Leto would have wanted you to."
For a moment, Link could feel Zelda's shoulder stiffen considerably as she nodded, slowly and heavily. She moved aside, staring at the ground, her face guarded by her blonde curtain of hair.
Link gently took the young mercenary's body in his arms, carrying her limp form as gently as he might. The body sent chills down his back… it emitted no heat or sign of life… had it really been one of his dearest friends at some point?
The smell of incense met in a wave against his nose, the smell of the embalmer's doing, most likely to hide the smell of rotting flesh in case Leto's body would have been sitting out for a long period of time. The scent reminded him oddly of the Temple of Time, and strangely, somehow of the Sages of Hyrule…
Without saying another word, Zelda got shakily to her feet, stumbling over to the door and opening it with a trembling hand.
Link walked through the door, his arms clasping Leto close to his chest.
Now more than ever, Link wished he had never made the vow…
The hill that Link had chosen for Leto's place of burial was a grassy hill overlooking Iseed. The sun rose just over it, making the morning dew glint with mystical sparkles, almost as though fairies were present. Multiple flowers burst into radiant blooms about its risen surface, their faces as cheerful and beautiful as the clear sunny skies.
Somehow, it was oddly fitting for Link and Zelda's beloved friend.
A crude wooden cross was all that marked Leto's grave, her large sword thrust into the ground behind it in honor of her status as a warrior. Link had carried it there the previous night with much difficulty, needing to use both Guard and Epona to bring it to its current resting place. It was odd how Leto was able to carry it so easily with one hand, a testament to her great strength.
Link stared solemnly at the grave, his hands clenched in at his sides in fists. The gentle morning breeze blew his shaggy hair into his bright blue eyes and stirred the fabric of his tunic. Still, he ignored its gentle, comforting embrace and allowed himself to wallow in his misery.
Zelda was crouched beside the cross, her swollen eyes now dry. She had no more tears left to cry, now her face was set in a determined, solemn expression. She couldn't let Artemis get away with slaughtering her friend… She would see the Sage of Cosmos suffer for the things she had done, no matter how many years it took.
"Well, Leto, I guess this is goodbye, huh?" Link asked, smiling sadly at the grave. He spoke to the cross as though Leto were sitting there, listening to him with a fond smile on her face. "You had a great personality, I'm sorry that it had to end this way for you… But don't worry, we'll be fine… If I am truly the Hero of Time's reincarnation, then I'm sorry that I don't remember your previous incarnation… I bet you were just as an amazing person then as you were now…"
He cleared his throat, trying hard to keep the stoic expression on his face. It was already taking him so much just to stand there and look at the grave…
Zelda suddenly spoke up, her voice wrought with grief.
"Leto, we'll be alright, you just rest now… We'll go see Artemis, but remember, we will never forget you, or your funny attitude," Zelda choked slightly, stumbling over her next words, "You'll always be my best friend… Don't worry about Guard, we'll take care of him… Just rest." The young Princess put her hand against the cross, smiling for the first time in days. "I'm not going to say goodbye because I'll visit you all the time, with new stories to tell… I promise, Leto."
Link looked up at the stark blue sky. Yes… this wasn't goodbye, someday they would see each other again… someday soon, perhaps, if he could force Artemis to resurrect her. If not, then he would visit this grave… he knew that Leto was there, watching over them with angel's wings.
Still, how could a simple adventure turned into something so much bigger… so much more painful… so much darker than the beginning? At the beginning of their venture, he certainly wouldn't have expected to have lost Leto, especially with her incredible power.
But once again, fate was cruel to him and took away those that he loved.
Link lowered his gaze from the sky onto the mountain, his eyes narrowing and shining with hatred and determination.
'I'm coming for you, Artemis, and no matter what beasts you send after me, I will avenge Leto's death and make you suffer for every single moment of life you stole from her.'
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