Chapter 25: Please... Help Him Find His Heart
Darkness… Complete and utter darkness and isolation… Drifting through the depths of the black abyss…
'Is this… a side effect of Artemis' magic? Is that why I haven't returned?'
Pompous laughs, the cries of innocents as they rushed from burned villages… Images of pain, torture, and ultimate sorrow… Glaring up at laughing soldiers, slicing through obstacles with nothing but sheer determination… Blue eyes filled with bloodlust and desperation glaring at him through the thick mists… A gentle smile and a soft touch…
"Link… Link, can you hear me?" A soft, gentle, and melodious voice called out from among the torrents of images flashing through his mind.
"Who… who are you?" Reaching out blindly for an invisible person…
"It's alright. Open your eyes and see who I am."
"Princess Zelda… are you alright?" a stern and gentle voice called out.
'Warm sheets… Unh! My head… Where am I? Is this another memory?'
"Zelda, it is all done. Open your eyes slowly; it will take some time to adjust…"
The flickering lights of a warm fireplace blared into Zelda's vision as she painfully cracked her eyes open ever so slightly.
The elegant yet simple bookcases slowly faded into focus, along with the stern and much older looking features of Artemis. Ragnarok had laid his massive head across her abdomen, attributing to quite a bit of warmth emanating from the familiar's body.
Artemis smiled ever so gently, resting her hands on the edge of the bed as she stared at the very confused and disoriented Zelda lying on the bed before her. Then, as if reading the young Princess' mind she laughed softly.
"This is not a memory, Zelda. Relax, my memories must have done quite a bit to you, I have undergone such an experience before with my Master long ago," Artemis waved a delicate hand, "It is quite an arduous venture, is it not?"
A bit of relief flooded into the Princess' mind, and her stance relaxed slightly, feeling sudden waves of tiredness overcome her. It felt so good to be in a place where she could feel and touch. The world of memories was like being a ghost; a sad and lonely existence with no contact of others. Never had she been so glad for Link's-
Wait a moment, where was Link?
Almost immediately Zelda jerked forward with a panicked expression on her face. Her eyes darted wildly about, only to see Link lying in the bed next to her. He looked at peace; like the child he had once been so much easier to speak to so many years ago.
Zelda turned her gaze back upon Artemis with a fearful expression wrought upon her features. With trembling hands she grasped Artemis' sleeve and glared into the Sage's calm gray eyes.
"How come he is not awake as well? We were together, why has he not returned to consciousness as I have?"
"This coma is none of my doing, Zelda," Artemis replied, gently putting a hand to Zelda's, "It is the work of a force that it beyond my power or control. A power that beckons to Link from behind the doors of the Sacred Realm itself."
The Sacred Realm, the land of the Sages and of the dead? Something or someone more powerful than Artemis' knowledge itself? Could such things even exist that they were beyond the powers of one who controlled the Cosmos?
Zelda tightened her grasp, gritting her teeth and shaking her head in disbelief. "You lie."
"I am not lying to you Zelda," Artemis said simply, "Someone already within the gates of the Realm has taken Link's soul to the edge and is holding him there to speak to him. And if it is who I think it may be, then you have nothing to fear. Link shall return to you safely."
The Sage smiled, taking a hand and putting it gently to Zelda's forehead. "You've gone through so much, Zelda… So, so much. First the loss of your mother, then being forcefully engaged to one whom you do not love. Now your emotions for Link are so tender that not even the spell locks you have covering your affection cannot stop your love from oozing forth from its prison."
Zelda's eyes widened in bewilderment as the Sage calmly continued.
"You remind me so much of your dearly departed ancestor… She didn't have any choice but to yield to Emmaus' demands for unity, and so you were descended from a filthy blooded king when she should have had the Hero as hers. All because of the wars and dangers that the world has pressed upon you so many times before…"
There was a flash of pain sprouting and rearing its ugly head within Zelda's mind. Something easily crushed the spell locks, sending the torrents of love and pain that had been compressing against her mind oozing forth in violent bursts.
Zelda's violet orbs widened for a moment in shock before tears began to fill her eyes. Her worry for Link, which had before been large, increased tenfold as the familiar urge to touch the young man returned and made her arms ache with sadness. Sorrow that he would never be hers.
Artemis gathered the sobbing young woman in her arms with a saddened smile on her face. Looking up toward the skies, she whispered gently to someone within the heavens.
"Please… I beg you to help him find his heart again. Please."
Link opened his eyes slowly to the light shining through his closed lids. What he saw left him awed.
He was standing in a field of soft, emerald green grass. The breeze gently tickled his shaggy blond hair and war torn face as he looked about this unfamiliar place with somewhat confusion.
"Where am I?" Link whispered, looking about the dreamy landscape with a baffled expression wrought across his handsome features. This place wasn't the darkness that had engulfed him only minutes before, nor was it Hyrule. It seemed more at peace… more hallowed and forbidden than any land.
"You are in the Sacred Realm, land of Sages and the dead," a voice promptly answered.
Link wheeled around toward the direction of the mysterious voice, his eyes turning feral at the prospect of an enemy.
A young woman who seemed to be in her early teens watched him with a humorous expression lighting her sky blue eyes. She was clad in black pants, black leather boots, and an emerald green tunic that matched the hue of the sea of grass. Each piece was made of fine silk fit for royalty, meant for a young Prince perhaps.
Her dark, chocolate brown hair gleamed in the bright sunlight and cascaded down her shoulders in languid curls. Her features were beautifully chiseled with great fragility, yet something seemed to emanate from her… a certain aura of power and calm that reminded Link of someone he had met before. The only imperfection that marred her perfect features were the long scars running down her arms and the single, seven shaped scar that adorned her right cheek.
For a moment Link stood paralyzed as he took in every feature… This girl, she was eerily familiar. Had he seen her before? Wait a moment, was this…?
"Leto?" Link asked, frowning slightly, "You know that you don't have to take that disguise anymore, Artemis. Stop playing tricks with me!"
The girl simply smirked, chuckling lightly as she crossed her arms. "Leto? Is that what Artemis calls her little disguise that she used of me? Personally, it pales in comparison to the original, in my opinion."
Suddenly his eyes were opened… Blue eyes… his own eyes were staring back at him. This was his sister!
"Amelia?" he questioned, cautiously glaring at the young girl. If this were another illusion…
The girl smiled gently, her blue eyes softening a bit as she looked at her brother for the first time in eighteen years. "Yes, Link… I am your sister."
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