Childhood Ignorance

By Kurai Hitokiri

Chapter 29: Fallen Girl

"Is this really home?" Zelda whispered.

Castle Town's once beautifully paved streets were filled with the grime of unuse, Soldiers marched about, clomping in their heavy suits of armor as they watched children in tattered clothing pass miserably by with their heads hung in sorrow.

He watched Zelda take a few steps forward, drawing the hood of his cloak further about her features. What had happened here within the few weeks they had gone? Was this really the same place they had left? Everything was so dreary… so gray. And there were so many soldiers about…

"Sir Link! My God, you're alright, my Lord!"

A soldier clambered up to Link, tears in his eyes as he embraced the young man feverishly. He stumbled away from Link, bowing and looking to him in alarm.

"What is wrong, my good man?" Link asked, They were happy to see him? Before all they wanted was him to get out of their hair, now they were holding him like some sort of savior and bowing to him like he were a God.

"Her Highness is gone… kidnapped… Oh my Lord, I can't believe you hadn't heard, Lord!" the soldier cried in woe. "And your honorable Father…"

Link's azure eyes widened as he clasped at the soldier with panic evident upon his handsome features. For the first time since they had left the Sage of Cosmos he again felt the familiar anger and bitterness that his sister had warned him not to undertake. His eyes hardened again in cold blue. "What happened to my Father?"

The guard shook as he looked at Link's menacing gaze boring into his much less emotional orbs. It took a moment for the courage to gather and another for him to find his voice once again before the man spoke softly…

"He's dead, Lord… Long dead not long after you left," the soldier whispered.

Almost instantly the anger was gone, replaced by intense sorrow. A tear pooled gently into Link's right eye as he released the poor man, fighting to contain his sorrow. His father couldn't have died, he was far too mighty a warrior to have died… The man was lying!

"How?" the word came out as a solid growl. It sent shivers of terror up the soldier's spine to hear such an animalistic quality invade the voice of a human. He'd seen many terrifying things within his years of service, but this was by far the most terrifying thing he'd ever heard.

"Caught by Vandellus guards upon a mission to the desert and tortured to death… The body was handed over and he now rests with his ancestors in the gray tomb, my Lord."

Link kept himself composed as much as he could. Vandellus, the war… The world had been cruel to him ever since his first existence one hundred years ago. Why, oh why did it have to take another loved one?

Drawing himself up and fastening his sword again to his back, he looked up at the Castle. He would stop this war. The war that his sister had saved him from before as an infant. The war that had taken her life while she was still far too young.

With newfound determination he set off, Zelda following behind him with the same look alight in her soft violet eyes.

"How can we believe such a ridiculous story, King Harkinian?"

"All of that did happen, Daddy!"

"I can personally attest to the trueness of the statements, Your Highness!"

Within the throne room of Hyrule Castle a battle waged. It was not one with swords and pure strength, it was one of wit and verbal arguments.

Link and Zelda stood upon the beautiful marble floor, staring up at King Harkinian. The old King looked more tired than he was ready to let on, gray eyes drooping over cinnamon brown orbs as he tiredly rubbed his jeweled fingers upon his temples. At his side Prince Edward stood wearing a golden colored tunic, black pants, and leather riding boots.

"How can the opinion of a kidnapper matter?" Edward cried, glaring at Link. "He has made an offense against you, your Highness. He's admitted that he is in love with Zelda, and along with that has even admitted to kissing her. No man, other than the Princess' betrothed, may touch her as such."

"Link is more my betrothed than you ever have been!" Zelda cried out in objection. "He's grown up with me, cared for me, and now he loves me as I love him. Is it a crime to love someone that has been by your side through thick and thin?"

"You are a woman and have no say in this matter!" Edward lashed out. "This is not the world that you have been so forced to traverse with your precious Link, it is a world with rules and regulations. It is the world that you were born into and shall be forced to undertake. Curb your tongue and relearn your place in society, Princess!"

"Enough!" King Harkinian called into the fray. "While I feel affection for and understand what Link has done, most of the offenses pointed out by Edward are true to the ways of our world. Unless there is proof that this 'Sage of Cosmos' really exists, then Link will be arrested and forced into exile."

Link felt himself numb considerably. He should have been prepared for such accusations against him, yet here he was close to being separated from Zelda forever. He might tell them where Artemis in fact lived and then shown her to them himself, but that would be betraying a friend. He'd rather die than do something so vile, and he was sure Zelda felt the same way.

The Princess' eyes drifted to the bottle green tapestry upon the wall, her eyes boring into those of the Hero of Time. In her mind she could see and feel all those moments that he was with her, giving her some sort of courage. Even as a little girl she remembered him… Memories of distant things flooded into her mind and strengthened her resolve.

"Have the standards of Hyrule really fallen so low that we no longer believe in the worth of Her people? Have we forgotten that anything is possible by the power of the Goddesses that have so fervently blessed our world time and time again?" Zelda said, violet eyes flashing with unknown wisdom. "Several times before our People have overcome incredible odds. One hundred years ago a single man orphaned as a mere babe defeated the King of Evil and brought to us the Golden Age of Hyrule. Eighteen years ago we fought against Termina and Emmaus and the small Province of Holodrum ended the war."

"Link is just the sort of man that ought to sit upon the throne. He's been kind, honest, and has brought glory to Hyrule in our current age. You yourself, Father, know that Link would not lie to save his life. Even now he protects the Sage of Cosmos rather than betray her identity. Hyrule can do without the alliance of Termina to defeat Vandellus, we have overcome greater odds in the past. If we stand united, then there is nothing that those blessed by the Holy Trio cannot achieve."

King Harkinian stared a moment, his eyes overflowing with tears of pride as he smiled. His Zelda was so much like her beloved mother. Link… the boy had changed her for the better. She was no longer meek and unwilling, but a woman willing to lay down her life for her happiness and for the happiness of others. Still, something had to be settled.

"If you so stand by what Link has said, then I suppose that from the look gracing your eyes, my daughter, that every word that came forth from his lips is true," King Harkinian whispered. "If that is so, then I shan't do anything to disturb the balance of things except one thing…"

"You must marry Sir Link."

Zelda's eyes widened in shock and somewhat happiness as she registered her father's words. He had cleverly found a loophole in Edward's words. If she was bound unto Link than an offense taken by him would be an offense to her, and with it an offense to King Harkinian and to Hyrule.

Edward, equally shocked, sputtered forth with desperate words. "It is written within the laws of Hyrule that a future Princess must marry one of Noble blood and of great connections. This boy is an orphan of little or no connection, clinging onto the title of Commander by a thin thread. He was found upon a doorstep and taken in out of pity!"

"That is where you are incorrect, Boy."

Everyone in the Throne room whirled about, searching for the source of the voice. Link registered only the sight of someone he had been hoping for in the midst of his intense shock at King Harkinian's declaration.

Standing in all her sagely glory stood Artemis, wearing her familiar blue robes. Gray eyes flashed upon Edward's now pale features as she smirked at the young Prince.

"Remember me, Edward?"

King Harkinian's eyes widened with disbelief as he stood and beheld the Sage standing before him. "My God, my Grandmother had always told me of you, but I never realized… Lady Artemis?"

In return to Harkinian's call, Artemis merely smiled and laughed. "It has been quite a while, Shen. The last time I saw you, you were a mere baby. Your mother would dote on you with such affection… But never mind that, I'm here to clarify something in the name of Lady Amelia Eliza Holodrum."

Link stiffened considerably at the sound of his sister's name being spoken upon the lips of the Sage of Cosmos. Artemis said it with such respect and awe almost. What was going on? Holodrum, the small kingdom that had put an end to the war several years ago?

Artemis brought forth from her pocket a tattered note, spattered with blood and grime. Its pages were yellow with age and crinkled as the Sage gently handled it.

"It states this 'To Whomever this may concern, ma I explain the origins of this dear child whom I have left to you in hopes of a better future. Let it be known this Third day of Farore's Month, that I, Amelia Eliza Holodrum, solemnly declare that this poor creature is my brother. I leave to him all of my earthly possessions and my birthright, which I have already resigned upon writing this letter. This poor child is Link Valiant de Holodrum, the proper Crown Prince of the Nation Holodrum and son to Grace and Sean Holodrum. Upon the year he be a man, he shall assume his rightful place, and, God willing, lead the lost people of His Nation in Glory. And please… please keep him safe for me… He is my last hope and love… Let him know that his sister loved him and apologizes for her failure…'"

Artemis looked up at the faces in the room, eyeing King Harkinian with a solemn sorrow evident in her eyes. "I see you recognize the name of the Writer. The person who wrote this will is the one that saved your Kingdom and countless others… She is that which your 'prophets' speak of as the Savior. Upon her death she gave me this will and bade me place young Lord Link here in loving hands until he was old enough to take his throne."

"So I believe that it is, in fact, acceptable for Link and Zelda to unite, is it not?"

"Yes, I believe it is so," Harkinian murmured, still not quite believing the unbelievable words spoken by the Sage.

As he heard this, Edward screamed in rage, drawing his sword from its scabbard and rushing forward in anger. The peasant had ruined everything! If he could not have Zelda, then neither would this boy!

Link felt his blood rush through his brain as he watched the silvery metal begin its arc down toward him with a mad glint on its bloodstained edge. There was no possible way for him to deflect the blade, it was already too close…

Then suddenly there was a bright flash of light that rent the room literally in two. Edward gave a blood curling shriek as his blow was deflected by a blade nearly two times in length. Blood squirted out from his cheek as he crumpled upon the ground in a whimpering heap, staring with disbelief upon the one whom had afflicted this punishment upon him.

The giant sword glinted with inhuman light, the hilt being held aloft by a shining gold and scarred hand.

Everyone in the room, including Artemis, gasped as King Harkinian gave a loud cry and sank to his knees while praying to the Goddesses in rough Ancient Hylian.

Standing before them clad in a blue tunic, black pants, and shiny leather boots stood the source of the blinding light. Jagged brown hair fell across pupil-less eyes that shone with the brightness of the sun as fine lips set in a firm line of determination.

"Honor my wishes… Spawn of Ganon."

Author's Note: Wow, another ending to another chapter. There's about two or three chapters left I this story, so I hope you'll all continue to read!

Teaser Piece: The One He Never Knew

Each arrow seared its way underneath her fragile skin, blood spewing forth from her mouth in violent torrents. She grasped the little bundle closer to her chest as it wriggled in protest, loosing cries of anger and sorrow.

"Kill her, kill the Hylian! We were ordered not to leave anyone alive, she has seen too much, kill her!"

Hylian, what Hylian? Oh Gods, where was he? Where was the promised savior? She could not die, not now that she had some reason to live. Was fate really so cruel?

For once in her life she believed the prophecy more fervently than ever before. A silent prayer left her broken lips as she fled the place she called home. She could see the bodies of her mother and father, their faces blank of their smiles and their love gone from them.

"Help… Please, help…"

"Link… please take care of him, Amelia… please…"

The Hero standing firm and tall with his sword aloft in victory… a beautiful Princess that she had seen many times within her dreams… Her father's blue eyes and husky scent of earth and incense…

"My Goddesses… Please send him… Please send your Paladin…"

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