Webmistress' Note: DO NOT email me regarding Alexandra Spears. I REFUSE to forward ANY correspondence to her, she is NOT interested in Zelda anymore, she will NOT respond so any letters so please do not waste your time. I am sorry if this sounds harsh but just because I host her stories does not mean I talk to her anymore. Any emails sent to me regarding her will promptly be deleted.
*Note* This takes place two years after the events in "Ascension," please read that story before this one. :)
Link was enjoying a rather peaceful day near a small lake. He was taking a little bit of time out to do some serious fishing. Hyrule had been at peace for the last two years, since the defeat of Ganon. Zelda had been Queen of Hyrule for the past two years, since the death of her father, King Harkinian. Queen Zelda was loved by her people--especially by Link, who was her husband and the father of their ten-year-old daughter Reva.
Now if only these fish would bite, Link thought as he sat up. He had it pretty easy, considering his only problem now was that he hadn't had a bite all afternoon.
"Hmph," he muttered as he stood up and reeled his line back in. He carried his rod over his shoulder as he walked along the dirt road that led to North Castle, where he lived with his wife and daughter. As he strolled along he took in a deep breath, enjoying the late summer air. The brilliant blue sky had few clouds in it. Birds chirped merrily in trees whose leaves were bright green. Link didn't think he could ever get used to this sensation, this feeling of liberation he'd had ever since Ganon's defeat and Zelda's ascension to the throne of Hyrule.
Something niggled at Link, though, and he couldn't quite place his finger on it. Was this good feeling the feeling of the calm before the storm? Or was he just paranoid? He just had this feeling that the other shoe hadn't dropped yet.
Link shrugged off the feeling and quickened his pace a little. He could tell by the lengthening shadows and the slightly cooler air that it was almost dinner time. Good things didn't have to come to an end, he thought. His marriage to Zelda, for example. Sure, they'd had a few rough spots, but what couple didn't? He and Zelda were still very much in love after eleven years of marriage and their daughter was a sweet, obedient little girl.
Reva met him at the drawbridge. "Hi, Dad, Mom thought you'd be home in time for dinner," she said by way of greeting. She held out her arms, wanting a hug.
Link dropped his fishing rod, picked her up, swung her around in a circle, and kissed her cheek. "Hello to you too, sweetie," he said.
"Piggy-back ride?" she asked as he set her down on her feet. She picked up his fishing rod, her long sandy hair getting in her face.
"All right...but I won't be able to do it for too much longer...you're getting bigger," said Link as he crouched down and hooked his elbows under her knees. Reva wrapped one arm around her father's neck and held his rod in her opposite hand as he stood up straight.
"You're getting old, Daddy. How old are you?"
"Twenty-seven. And it's not THAT old," he said. "You were born when your mother and I were seventeen; we were married at sixteen."
"Think I'll get married in six years?" Reva asked. She knew that the earliest she could be married was thirteen, and even that was a little young for a Hylian.
"Maybe," said Link. "Depends on who you meet. Take your time choosing, though, 'cause whoever you marry will rule Hyrule with you...like me and your mother. Your husband won't be king, just your consort, but he'll have to help you make decisions. And he'll have to gain my approval, because I want my little girl to be happy with whoever she marries."
Zelda met up with them in the courtyard. "Catch any fish, Link?" she asked as she kissed him.
"Not even a nibble," said Link as he let Reva down. The child went up to her mother and hugged her, and Zelda stroked her hair.
"Well, it's time for dinner," she said, taking Link's and Reva's hands and walking into the castle with them.
While Link and his family were enjoying a happy evening together, there was one whose days would all go well when he completed his task, or so he believed.
He was the son of Ganon and one of the females from the nearly-extinct Gerudo race, and he was sixty years old, barely middle age for a Gerudo. His mother had died the previous year and she'd tried her very best to keep him from following in his father's footsteps.
His name was Balen and he wanted to avenge his father's death at the hands of Link and his wife Queen Zelda. He planned to conquer Hyrule and rule it in his late father's name. He needed to get hold of the Triforce in order to do it. It would be hard to get past the guards, and past Link and Zelda, but he had a remedy for that. He'd been studying magic since the death of his mother.
No one in Hyrule knew about Balen, which would work to his advantage. Right now Hyrule's population was probably lax, since they were totally at peace. Their complacency would be their downfall.
Balen had also heard something about Link's blood being able to revive Ganon. If Link was killed and his blood sprinkled on Ganon's ashes, Ganon would rise again. Nice little bonus there...he wouldn't mind having his father around. Ganon would be so proud of him! He would bring Link here so he could kill him himself. Balen had already collected his father's ashes from the remains of the Underworld. But he would need Link alive for the first phase of his plan.
He'd been planning and plotting for a year now, and tomorrow he would strike.
Link and Zelda woke up the next morning, still wrapped in each other's arms. "Morning, sweetheart," Link said as he kissed Zelda's lips.
"So, what are you going to do today, my hero?" Zelda asked as she traced her fingertips along the contours of his rather muscular chest.
"You mean after I make love to you again?" Link smirked as he pulled Zelda on top of him. "Oh, I don't know...what do you have to do today?"
"Some paperwork...things that go with being a queen," said Zelda.
"I was thinking maybe going for a ride on my horse for like an hour," said Link as he pushed her blonde hair out of her face. "Maybe search for more romantic locations for us to escape to...."
Zelda smiled down at him. "And you can surprise me with what you find," she said as she kissed him. She smoothed his dark hair back from his forehead and gazed into his brown eyes. "I love you."
"I love you too, my queen," Link replied.
After breakfast Zelda went into her father's old study and sifted through some of the paperwork she had to do. Link had taken off on his horse and Reva was in her room playing with her toys.
"I wish I could just burn this," she muttered. "I always knew this--as queen you have control over your country but not over your own life. I wonder if I should warn Reva about this little pitfall."
Zelda looked up. "Link, you're back awfully early," she smiled.
"Zelda, there's a problem," said Link seriously. "I had a dream last night about the Triforce. I need you to go to the Triforce chamber with me."
"What kind of dream?" Zelda asked, standing up.
"That someone managed to sneak into it," he said. "Please, just humor me."
"All right," said Zelda, thinking how odd this was.
Link followed her to the dungeons, to a hidden door. Zelda took out a special key and opened the door, revealing the Triforce, which cast off a red, green, and blue glow.
"Thanks--bitch!" Link transformed and became someone Zelda had never seen before. He looked like one of those legendary Gerudos, with red hair and yellow eyes. He grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her up against the wall. Quickly he pulled out a knife. Zelda gasped as he stabbed it down, the point heading for her chest--but then she parried it and the knife sank into her forearm.
Zelda began to run, was surprised when the villain didn't run after her. She had to find Link....
"The name's Balen," said the villain as he entered the chamber. She wouldn't be any problem once he had the Triforce.
Link was walking slowly, leading his horse along by her reins. He hadn't found anything, so he decided to head home and see if Zelda wanted to go riding with him, or maybe take Reva and go on a picnic.
"Help...me...," a weak voice cried out.
"Uh-oh, someone's in trouble," said Link. He went towards the source of the voice, which was off the beaten path, maybe ten yards into the thick forest.
A figure in a black cloak lay there. "Need help," said the man.
Link took his hand and helped him up. "Are you all right, sir?" Link asked.
The hood fell back, revealing that the stranger was a Gerudo male. Link had seen old pictures of Gerudos but had never seen one in person. "Yes...and now that I've touched you...my plan can be set in motion! I'll take your place and have Zelda lead me to the Triforce!" He raised his hands and knocked Link out cold with a spell.
"That'll keep you unconscious until I can get the Triforce."
Those were the last words Link heard as he sank into darkness.
Link woke up, still in the forest. His horse was still standing there, waiting for him. "Zelda! The Triforce!" he said as he jumped on his horse and slapped her flank to make her go as fast as she possibly could.
A sight awaited him as he approached the castle. Flames were shooting up from several windows. "Zelda! Reva!" he cried as he dismounted his horse, unsheathed his sword, and ran inside.
The castle was in chaos. Flames were everywhere and people were running every which way and screaming. "Zelda! Reva! Where are you!" Link screamed frantically.
Rounding a corner, Link saw Zelda stumbling towards him, a knife protruding from her arm, blood pouring from her wound. "Link...," she managed to say.
Link held her in his arms and pulled the knife out. He quickly unfastened her belt and would it around her arm. "Zelda! What happened?"
"Someone...disguised as you...tricked me...," she gasped as he knelt down continued to hold her in his arms. "Link...I'm dying...leave me here...find Reva...get out...he has Triforce...."
"No, Zelda, you're going to be all right, sweetheart! I love you!" He hoped she hadn't lost too much blood. He lifted her into his arms.
Link headed for Reva's room, carrying Zelda, dodging flames along the way. He had to find his daughter. He had to get Reva and get everyone out quickly.
"Daddy! Dadddyy!!" Link could hear Reva's scream through the door to her room, which was on fire. He hoisted Zelda over his shoulder, fumbled in his pack, found his forcefield ring, and put it on. The force field protected him and Zelda from the flames as he broke down the door.
Little Reva was backed in a corner, the flames getting closer to her. Link ran to her and lifted her into his arms. "Reva, we've gotta get out of here," he said as he prepared to jump out the window with her.
"What happened to Mommy?"
"She's hurt," said Link. "Reva, we have to get going now. Someone has the Triforce and they'll be after us." He jumped out the window, Reva clinging to him, Link clinging to Zelda.
Outside the castle, guards were fighting off Molblins in vain. Almost no guards were left and Link knew that he couldn't possibly fight them all off. From a distance he could see that guy from the forest standing there, the red Triforce of Power hovering in front of him.
He saw them too. "After them my servants! I want Link!"
Link, Zelda, and Reva were seriously outnumbered. He carried Zelda and took Reva's hand as he ran to where he'd left his horse. "Reva, hurry, get on," he said.
Reva quickly climbed up and Link sat Zelda on and got on behind her. The horse raced away from the North Castle at top speed, heading south. Behind them the castle was starting to collapse.
Hours later, Link and his wife and daughter were riding through the Lost Woods. "Daddy, I'm scared," Reva sobbed.
"I know, sweetheart," said Link. "They hurt your mother. We need to find a safe place and help her." Zelda was unconscious.
"Daddy, where are we going to go?"
Link heaved a sigh. "I don't know. We can't go to Calatia, as they'll probably look there first thing. We're not safe here in Hyrule."
They wandered aimlessly through the Lost Woods on Katie, Link's horse. Reva was sobbing quietly and Link stroked her hair gently, trying to comfort her. Link knew he could survive on his own, he'd done it for a couple of years before meeting Zelda, but now he had his ten-year-old daughter and his injured wife to take care of as well. It was going to be harder.
After a while they took a short break. They could not stop in a town, because monsters might be there. There was nothing to eat in the forest, nothing to drink. Link wondered what to do as he laid Zelda down and cradled her in his arms. She was still breathing but she was pale.
"Dad, look at this hollow tree...you can't see out the other end," said Reva, who'd wandered a small distance.
"That's strange," said Link. He had an idea. "Katie--back to the castle." Katie understood that command and she ran off. This way it might throw the Molblins and who knew what else off the trail.
"Should we go in?" asked Reva.
"I don't see what other choice we have," Link replied as he lifted Zelda into his arms and walked through the hollow tree with Reva. In the distance they could hear a noise, the sound of an army. Most likely the Molblins were going to search the Lost Woods for them.
They ran through and found themselves in a strange curvy, twisty corridor. Looking behind them, they saw that hollow tree--and they could not see the Lost Woods through it. The sounds of an army approaching were no more, as if someone had just shut them off instantaneously.
Finally Link, Zelda, and Reva came to a double door and cautiously pushed it open. They found themselves in some kind of building. Walking up the ramps they found that they seemed to be inside a clock or a clock tower. Something about this...from a long time ago...clicked in Link's mind. He couldn't place it. He'd never been here before.
"Dad, what is this place?" whispered Reva.
"I have no idea," Link replied as they went up a flight of stairs and pushed open another set of double doors.
They blinked as they stepped out into bright sunlight. They were in some kind of town. People were rushing to and fro. Reva clutched her father's tunic as they explored the town. Finally Link saw a sign that told them that they were in South Clock Town, in a land called Termina.
"That name is awfully familiar," said Link. "Well, we should be safe here."
"Daddy, will we ever go back to Hyrule?" asked Reva.
"I don't know, Reva, I just don't know," Link replied honestly. He wasn't sure he wanted to go back. He was sure that Hyrule was a complete shambles.
In East Clock Town the family entered the Stock Pot Inn. A sign boasted that the Inn had been in the same family for hundreds of years, starting with its first owners, Anju and Kafei.
"Welcome to the Stock Pot Inn," said a blonde girl behind the counter. "I have a room available if that's what you need."
"Yes, we need a room," said Link. "So this inn has been in your family?"
"Yes. My name is Karena. My many-times-great-grandmother ran this inn. Her name was Anju." She looked closely at him, at the blood on his green tunic. "Were you in a fight or something? And the woman...she needs a red potion!"
"Yeah...my wife and daughter and I escaped from another country. My wife has been hurt. Where can I find a red potion?"
"West Clock Town Trading Post."
"Reva, reach into my pouch and get some rupees, maybe about a hundred or so. Get that potion for your mother."
Reva took out the rupees and put them in her pocket. Then she hurriedly ran out the door.
Karena handed him a room key and Link took Zelda upstairs to their room. It was a nice room, with a fireplace, two beds, and a table with four chairs. Both of the beds were big enough for two adults. Link laid Zelda down on one of the beds and touched her neck, feeling for her pulse. It was weak.
"Link...," she mumbled.
"Shhh...you're safe now," he whispered. He tore her sleeve open. The wound was becoming infected.
Half an hour later Reva ran in, holding a bottle containing a red fluid. "Thanks, Reva," said Link. "Here, Zelda...drink this...." He propped her up and placed the neck of the bottle to her lips.
Zelda drank the contents and Link laid her back down. The wound on her arm disappeared, and Zelda's color went back to normal. "Link, where are we?" she asked, sitting up.
"A land called Termina," Link replied.
"Termina...." Zelda thought about that. "Link...our ancestor Link, the Hero of Time, once saved this place! I remember my ancient history," she said.
"The first Link, who also married a Princess Zelda?" he asked.
"That one," Zelda nodded.
"Cool," said Reva.
"Link, I'm glad you managed to save us," said Zelda. "There was no way we could have defeated Balen--that's his name. The Triforce is split apart again...but this time I don't have the Triforce of Wisdom. I don't feel it."
"I don't have the Triforce of Courage either," said Link. "Hunh. Well, I'm just glad you're all right, Zelda--there was no way I was going to leave you there to die! I love you too much." He hugged her tightly.
"So what do we do now?" asked Zelda.
"I get a job and we find somewhere to live," Link replied. "We can't live as Queen Zelda and her consort Link and Princess Reva here--these people have never heard of Hyrule, or if they have they just know it as a strange place our ancestor came from. We have to live like ordinary people. We can't return to Hyrule."
"Not yet," said Reva quietly.
Link and Zelda looked at their daughter.
"I hold the Triforce of Wisdom now," she said. "I could hear it talking to me when we were running into the Lost Woods. Back home there's someone who holds the Triforce of Courage. We have to eventually help Mom get her throne back. But I'm not old enough yet."
"Why didn't it go to me, I wonder?" Zelda mused.
"Because you have to rule Hyrule. This other person and I have to help defend Hyrule until I become Queen," Reva replied.
"In short our fighting days are over and we have to leave it to the next generation," said Link.
"Something like that," said Reva.
"Doesn't mean I won't help," said Link.
"So in the meantime we live here," said Zelda. She sighed. "I guess we have no choice. If we go back to Hyrule we'll all be killed. You're actually going to get a job?"
"I don't see any way around it. I paid sixty rupees for three nights here," said Link.
Reva lay down on the other bed, kicked off her shoes, and curled up. "Why don't you take a bath first, Reva?" Zelda suggested as she went over and helped her sleepy daughter off the bed. "Link...how much money do you have?"
Link took his pouch off and dumped his rupees onto the table. "Three hundred," he replied.
"We need some clothes...look at what we've got," said Zelda.
"Guess I have to go shopping," said Link. "You're going to give Reva a bath?"
Zelda nodded. "It'll make her feel better...and she's tired."
"All right," said Link. He kissed Zelda's lips, gave Reva a kiss on her cheek, scooped his rupees back into his pouch, and headed out the door.
"Mom, where's Dad going?" Reva asked.
"To get us some clothes," Zelda replied as she led Reva into the bathroom and drew her a bath. She took Reva's torn and dirty clothes off her and Reva sat in the bathtub.
By the time Link got back, Reva was in her bed, sleeping in just her panties. "I managed to get us a couple outfits apiece...it'll have to do," Link told Zelda. "Tomorrow I need to find work."
"What about a place to live?" Zelda asked.
"I'll look for that too," said Link. "We may have to stay with someone."
"This is going to take some getting used to. I never had to worry about this before," said Zelda.
"Don't worry, we'll be all right," said Link with confidence. "Let's get cleaned up and go to bed. It's late."
Zelda could not sleep. She was surprised that Link could. She was lying on her side, Link lying with his body pressed to hers, his arms around her. In the moonlight she could see Reva tossing and turning a little in her bed; surprisingly she hadn't been awakened a little earlier, but then again Zelda and Link had managed to keep it down. She hadn't minded them getting romantic right after what had just happened; they'd needed each other's intimacy.
Tears came to Zelda's eyes. Thankfully her father had not seen the disaster that had come about, since he'd died two years ago. For the past two years she'd reigned in peace, and now she had nothing left. She sighed. At least she had her husband and daughter, the two people that mattered the most to her.
Suddenly Reva started crying out in her sleep. Zelda reached for the robe Link had bought her and put it on. "Zelda? What's goin' on?" Link mumbled sleepily. "Reva?"
Zelda went over to Reva's bed and held her child in her arms. Link sat up, the blankets covering him from his hips down. "Zelda, is Reva okay?" he asked.
"Yes...just a nightmare," said Zelda as she hugged their daughter. "It's okay, Reva, we're here," Zelda told her as she stroked the girl's hair.
"I'm here, Reva," said Link as he got his robe off the bedpost and slipped it on, carefully climbing out of the bed. He went over to his wife and daughter. "You okay now?"
"All right then, go back to sleep," said Zelda as she tucked the child back in. "Daddy and I are here, right across the room, okay?"
"Okay Mommy," said Reva. She curled up and managed to fall back asleep.
Link and Zelda returned to their bed and both managed to sleep until morning.
Link and Zelda woke up the next morning, found that they'd slept in their robes. Reva was already on her bed, putting on a pretty pink dress Link had gotten her.
Reva sat at the table and played with one of the flowers from the vase sitting there while her parents went in the bathroom and changed. She looked up as they came out, Link wearing brown trousers and a green shirt, Zelda wearing a white blouse and an ankle-length green skirt.
Zelda took up a hairbrush Link had also gotten and stood behind Reva and began brushing out the child's sandy hair. Reva winced a little, as her hair was tangled. Zelda carefully undid the tangles and it took several minutes. "We have to look nice...your father is going to be looking for work and we're going with him," Zelda told Reva.
The family went into the inn's dining room and had breakfast. "What kind of work are you going to look for?" Zelda asked Link as they ate and Reva played with her food. "Reva--"
Link shrugged. "Anything I can be trained for and pays decently. You, my lovely queen, get to be a housewife."
"Great," Zelda muttered. She shrugged. "Someone's got to keep our little girl out of trouble." She smiled and gently tousled Reva's hair.
"It's not the prison sentence you make it out to be. My mother was happy," said Link. "Zel, I know you don't care for the idea a whole lot, but there's really nothing we can do about it. Unless you have other options."
Zelda thought about it for a moment. "You're right, Link," she sighed. "I'm just not that used to housework. I guess it's better than living on the run."
"I think there's more to this," Link observed, watching his wife closely. After eleven years of marriage he knew her extremely well.
"Link--I feel I've failed everyone. Some queen I am--just run," she said. "I might as well have handed Hyrule over to Balen on a silver platter."
"Zelda--we were caught by surprise and he had the Triforce of Power," said Link, reaching across the table and taking Zelda's hand. "He defeated the guards easily. I--I nearly lost you...Zelda...we had no choice but to run, every instinct I have tells me that we are absolutely not safe in Hyrule."
"I was so sure I'd die...that's why I wanted you to leave me there," said Zelda.
"There was no way I was giving up on you," Link told her firmly.
Reva paid scant attention as she ate her breakfast. For her part, she'd kept having dreams about the Triforce of Wisdom.
Link, Zelda, and Reva walked through Clock Town, getting a feel for the thriving village and getting something of an idea what life in Termina was like. It was late summer here, as it was in Hyrule. Signs were posted on the walls of buildings. The tenth incarnation of the Indigo-Gos, a Zora band, in concert next week. Advertisements for Goron powder kegs--for Gorons. Celebration of the Deku King's birthday at Woodfall Temple in two weeks--all Dekus welcome to attend, accepting outsiders too. Help wanted ads.
Help wanted. Link paused. "Zelda...look at this," he said, taking Reva's hand and going over to the sign. "Romani Ranch and Farm. Someone to take care of the horses," he said.
"You're good at that. How much does it pay?"
"Five hundred rupees a week. I have a feeling that's quite a bit."
"No wonder--look at these ads for Chateau Romani milk," said Zelda. "Apparently they're good. I'd try that, Link."
"Good thing I thought to buy some maps," said Link. "I thought of everything--I hope." He took down the ad and put it in his pocket. He took out the map and studied it. "Okay, we go down the old Milk Road, go southwest. Should be no problem finding it."
"Well, let's head there," said Zelda, taking Reva's hand.
They headed through South Clock Town. "Look--Clock Town Elementary School," said Zelda. "That reminds me...Reva's going to have to go to school."
"What about tutors?" asked Reva.
"You'll be going to school here," Zelda told her. "I'll have to see about enrolling Reva. I wonder if they start in the fall like Hyrule does?"
"Probably," said Link. "How about it, Reva? Other kids your age."
"Okay," she sighed.
They walked past a guard and through a tunnel, emerging in Termina Field. There were houses scattered here and there; apparently Clock Town was the central hub of Termina.
Reva walked along between her parents, holding their hands, as they walked along Milk Road. Occasionally riders on horseback would pass them and tip their hats as a greeting.
Finally after a ten-minute walk they came upon a beautiful, large farm. There was a wrought-iron gate marking the entrance, and it said "Romani Ranch and Farm." Up ahead, along the road, was a big farmhouse. The family headed up to the house and Link pulled the ad out of his pocket as he boldly knocked on the heavy wooden door.
After a moment the door opened and a pretty young redhead with blue eyes answered. "Yes?" she said.
"I'm answering your ad. My name is Link, and this is my wife Zelda and our daughter Reva."
"How much do you know about horses?"
"I used to raise them and care for them a lot," Link said truthfully.
The girl smiled. "I guess you're our man then. Come in, all, and have a seat." She stepped back from the door and gestured to the living room.
Link, Zelda, and Reva went and sat down on the couch. "My name is Romani. I'm a descendant of Cremia, the girl who founded this hundreds of years ago. I was named after her younger sister--Romani. My identical twin sister, Morani, helps me run the ranch and farm, and we're pretty well known for our milk. We need someone to care for the horses, as we just had someone retire. It's five hundred rupees per week. Everyone here is like family." She smiled. "Where are you all from? I've never seen the likes of you around here."
"Another country--Hyrule," said Zelda. "Our country was ravaged by an evil wizard and we barely managed to escape. We just came here yesterday."
"Oh, wow," Romani murmured. "So I guess you're all going to be starting anew here in Termina. It's a really lovely country," she said.
"With that in mind, do you know of any boarders or anyone we can stay with until we can build a house?" asked Link.
"You can stay here, for fifty rupees a week. Most places charge sixty or even seventy-five per week. I'd just pay you four hundred fifty."
"Sounds good," said Zelda. "Thank you."
The door slammed open and a girl who looked exactly like Romani came bouncing in. She was wearing trousers and a shirt tied at the waist. "My sister, Morani," said Romani.
"Got a new horse helper, Sis?" asked Morani.
"Yes, his name is Link. And this is his wife Zelda--and their daughter Reva." Romani laughed. "We're identical opposites. Morani doesn't mind getting dirtier. I do more of the administrative and bookkeeping duties around here. So, can you start tomorrow, Link?"
"Yes," said Link. "And we're paid for two more nights at the Stock Pot Inn."
"Perfect," said Romani. "Gives Morani and me more time to get two rooms set up--one for you and Zelda, and one for Reva. No extra charge for Reva." She smiled at the little girl, who smiled back shyly.
"When does school start here, in the fall?" Zelda asked.
"Sure does," said Morani. "First day of fall to last day of spring. Kids are on summer vacation right now, and summer is when we have fun, like the Carnival of Time right in the middle of the summer. I had a nice carnival last month."
The rest of the day was spent pricing houses. A nice one with three bedrooms, land included, could be built for twenty thousand rupees. They would need two thousand rupees down--ten percent--and five hundred rupees per month, which meant that the house would be paid off in three years, six years if they paid two hundred fifty per month.
Link and Zelda, along with Reva, went into this real estate office. It would take some time for Link to save up that much, but they should have it by spring. Once the down payment was made, work would begin, and they should have the house by the very end of the following spring. They picked a location for it, right outside South Clock Town.
West Clock Town had a bank, and Link started an account with fifty rupees. After that the family only had fifty rupees left, which they would use to buy food. After a week, though, they would have more money, most of which Link planned to put away in the bank. Link planned on making double payments on the house if he could; the least they could pay was two hundred fifty rupees a month.
Link had two days a week off, and it worked out so he had every other weekend off. The next week, after work, he took Zelda and Reva to an Indigo-Go concert. Reva liked the rather strange aquatic music, and she went home wearing a cap with a picture of the band on her head.
The week after that was the Deku King's birthday. Outsiders were welcome, and Zelda wanted to go. Link decided to accompany her, and they took Reva along.
At the party, Reva chanced to have a chat with the Deku Princess. "I had an ancestor, his name was Link, who saved a Deku Princess," Reva told her.
The Deku girl gave a squeak of excitement. "That was my ancestor!" she exclaimed.
"My mother is Queen of Hyrule. We were forced to come here when some wizard took it over," said Reva. "I'm a princess myself."
"I thought you were," said the Deku Princess. "You have the manners of a well-bred princess. Well, looks like I'll have a friend my own age! And you know what a drag royalty can be."
Reva sighed. "I won't be worrying about that for a while. My parents say it won't matter here. We really don't tell anyone because it doesn't matter."
"Actually you're right, but you are still a princess nonetheless," the Deku Princess replied. "Maybe one day you and your family will reclaim your land."
"I know we will," said Reva.
"Come, you must meet other Deku nobles' children!" squeaked the Deku Princess as she took Reva's hand. "They must meet my new friend!"
"Looks like our daughters are getting along fine, Queen Zelda," the Deku King said to Zelda, who'd revealed her status to him.
"She takes after her father in so many ways," Zelda smiled. "How potent is that Deku ale?"
"I've found your race to be more tolerant of it," the Deku King told her as they watched Link down some of the ale. "Judging from your husband's height and build, he can have up to ten more before it starts affecting him adversely." He laid a friendly hand on Zelda's shoulder. "Nice to have a fellow monarch around. Never fear, Zelda. You did not run out of cowardice. I have heard whispered rumors of a land called Hyrule. I know there are evil people there. You must prepare to fight and take back what is rightfully yours."
"I just have this feeling that it'll be my daughter doing the fighting."
"Heroism and royalty run in your family; so you've told me," said the Deku King. "I am confident you will prevail."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," Zelda said. "And happy birthday."
"Thank you," the Deku King smiled at her. He grinned mischievously. "You had best stop your husband. That ale can get to be addictive."
Zelda laughed and went over to Link, who was entertaining some Deku retainers with tales of his adventures. Apparently the ale had loosened his tongue a little, and the retainers were listening with awe.
"And here is my lovely wife Zelda," he said, sounding perfectly sober.
"Hello," said Zelda. She could remember Link accidentally imbibing too much maybe two or three times during their marriage. He'd had a terrible hangover each time and she didn't want to see that happen to him. Fortunately he wasn't an alcoholic, though he did like ale. "Link you'd better consider that glass to be your last or you'll be sorry in the morning."
"Oops," said Link. "This is really good stuff though."
"Good thing tomorrow's your day off and you don't have to be up at the crack of dawn," said Zelda.
"Yeah," said Link. He raised his glass. "To the Deku King."
The retainers squeaked happily and raised their glasses. "To His Majesty," they said.
Link finished off the last of the ale that was in the glass. "I seem to have a high tolerance for this stuff," he said.
"We would--higher than the Dekus," said Zelda. "But I can't imagine what kind of hangover it would give you, my hero."
Reva and the Deku Princess sat just outside the palace, in the cool night air. The Deku Princess was teaching her some astronomy.
"I'm so used to Hyrule's constellations," sighed Reva. "But this is very interesting."
"I've never really had a girl my age to talk to. I'm also ten," said the Deku Princess. "Those kids I introduced to you--they're shallow. You're not."
"My mom says I sometimes act like my dad. He's Hyrule's hero. Royalty and heroes are in my line."
"Your dad is funny," said the Deku Princess. "But he and your mother are perfect together, like two puzzle pieces that fit perfectly. Somehow that even sounds good--a hero and his princess, or rather his queen."
"Where's your mother?"
"She died a few years ago. I miss her. Sometimes my father is too busy for me but he tries."
"I almost lost my mother. I think I know how I'd feel," said Reva.
A retainer came out. "Your parents are looking for you, Your Highnesses," he said.
"Okay," said Reva.
"Party's about over," said the Deku Princess. "Thanks for being a friend. You're welcome to visit anytime. I'll tell my father."
The two princesses, now friends, hugged. "No problem," said Reva. "Thanks for the invitation."
"So you made a new friend?" Link asked as Reva got ready for bed in her room at the farm.
"Yes, she's really nice. Feisty too," Reva replied.
"You'll be starting school next week," Zelda reminded Reva.
"I know," said Reva as she lay down in bed. Her parents kissed her good-night, then left the room.
Link, Zelda, and Reva were settling into a routine. Link worked on the ranch from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon. While he worked, Zelda spent time with Reva, going for walks with her daughter. Sometimes they even helped around the house. Romani had been right; staying at the ranch for fifty rupees a week was a good deal.
The morning of the first day of autumn, Zelda woke up Reva. "First day of school today," she said.
"Mom, what if I hate school?" she asked, looking at the clock, seeing it was six in the morning.
"What if you like it?" Zelda countered.
Reva got up and got dressed in a pretty green dress. She sat on her bed while her mother brushed the sides of her hair back and tied them in back with a green ribbon. "You've got such pretty hair," said Zelda. "Guess Nature couldn't decide whether your hair color would be the same as mine or the same as your father's, so it's somewhere in between."
Zelda stood in front of her and gently brushed Reva's bangs, which curled over her forehead. "You're a very pretty little girl," Zelda told her.
"Mom, would you walk with me to the school building?" Reva asked. "Just for today?"
"Sure," said Zelda.
There was a knock at the door. "Come in," Zelda called.
Link came into the room, looked at his daughter. "Who's this pretty little girl?" he asked.
"Daddy, it's me, Reva," said the child.
"I knew that," said Link. "About ready for breakfast, ladies?"
"I know, you're still a growing boy," smirked Zelda. "Your father still uses that excuse, even though he's a grown man, Reva."
The family went downstairs and joined Romani and Morani, along with some of the other farm workers, at the table. Link enjoyed working here; everyone seemed happy here. Romani firmly believed that a happy worker was a productive worker, and that attitude alone was what made the ranch successful.
"It's Reva's first day of school today," said Link.
"Sixth year?" asked Romani. Children in Termina started school at the age of five. Reva was ten, so she would be in sixth year. School lasted ten years, so Reva would be fifteen when she graduated. Secondary school in Termina was eighth through tenth years; Reva was in elementary, or primary.
"Yes," said Zelda. "Though I think she's a little wary of all this. She's used to having tutors." Recently Zelda had told Romani and the rest about her status as Queen of Hyrule. She'd also made it clear that she didn't expect any special treatment.
"It'll be fun," said Morani. "More children your age to be around."
"I just kind of miss Hyrule. After Mom and Dad defeated Ganon it was really nice," said Reva.
"Thankfully you still have your parents," said Romani as she patted Reva's hand.
Reva smiled at that. "And they're the best mom and dad in the world."
At eight o'clock Link started work and Zelda and Reva started for Clock Town. "Mom, why don't I have any brothers or sisters?" Reva asked.
"For some reason I just wasn't able to have another child," Zelda told her. "I really don't know why. But your father and I are happy with you, Reva."
"When will I be able to have children?"
"In a few years probably. Your father and I were married at sixteen and we had you when we were seventeen--you know that. Within ten years from how you may be a mother," Zelda replied. "But don't rush it. Your father and I were married because we were--and still are--very much in love."
"Why didn't you marry a prince? I love Dad--but I'm just curious."
Zelda laughed. "I wanted a man who loved me and would protect me. After seeing what was available prince-wise, I realized that it doesn't matter whether you're a peasant or royalty. Your father loves me very much and you know how protective he is of me--and of you. He's an honorable man."
"Like that Prince Facade?" Reva asked.
"Don't get me started on him. Your father was rather upset with me over that...but he came back and rescued me anyway. To this day I don't blame him...I did treat him pretty mean and really hurt him. But at least he's forgiven me."
"Mom, when are we getting a house?"
"In the spring. Your father is saving up money now--they require two thousand rupees before they'll build it. It won't be long."
Soon they arrived in South Clock Town. "Well, we still have some time before school starts, Reva. Why don't you go introduce yourself to some of your classmates?"
"Okay, Mom." Reva hugged her. "Bye, Mom. Don't forget me--school lets out a three."
"I won't forget you," Zelda told her as she hugged her back. "Now be a good girl."
Two months later Link had the two thousand rupees for the down payment, and it was just over a month before winter would come. "I say we see if we can get our house built before winter," Zelda suggested one night as they sat together in bed. "Especially since...."
"Especially since what? Zelda...are you hiding something from me?" Link teased.
"Especially since I'm pregnant," Zelda said softly. "I'm almost two months along."
"Oh, Zelda...." Link hugged her. "Who all knows about this?"
"The midwife I went to visit--and now you. I want to tell Reva in the morning, that she's finally getting a brother or sister. She's wanted one. And she does understand that if it's a boy he'll be next in line for the throne instead of her, but she doesn't seem to mind."
"Yes, our own house would be better. When's the baby due?"
"Beginning of the summer--before the Carnival of Time," Zelda replied.
Link nodded. "Tomorrow is my day off, and we'll go down to the real estate agent and see if we can manage it. I'll go--you rest. You've had three miscarriages in the last ten years or so."
"Link, I'm sure I'll be fine--I just have this feeling," said Zelda.
"Sure?" Zelda had always wanted another child and he knew she wouldn't do anything that would adversely affect her pregnancy.
"I'm sure...my hero," Zelda replied.
"All right," said Link. He lay down and gently pulled her down with him, and he wrapped his arms around her. "I love you, Zel."
"I love you too, Link." She snuggled up to him and kissed him. Then, to his surprise, she rolled over on top of him. "Want to celebrate?"
"Isn't that how you got into this?" Link smiled as he kissed her. He reached down and pulled her nightgown up....
"Zelda and I have some good news," said Link at breakfast. "Reva's going to have a little brother or sister beginning of summer!"
Romani's blue eyes widened. "Zelda--you're going to have a baby?" she asked.
Zelda blushed and nodded.
"All right!" said Reva. "Thanks, Mom and Dad."
Link laughed and tousled Reva's hair. "Now you have something to tell all your friends at school," he said. "Your mother and I are going into town today to see if we can get a house built before winter, because of the baby, so we'll both be walking you to school."
"That'd be great," said Romani. "Near Clock Town, you once said?"
"Yes, on the south side," Zelda confirmed.
Link gave Reva a piggy-back ride on the way to school, Zelda walking alongside them. "I think Reva's happy. I am too," said Zelda.
"Me too," said Link.
They dropped off Reva at school and went to the real estate agent's office and explained the situation.
"Yes, it can be done in one month. You have the down payment?"
"In the bank," said Link.
"We usually tell people two or three just in case of unforeseen circumstances," the agent revealed. "But since there's a baby on the way, we'll give you priority. Winters here can be rather cold and I'm sure you'd want to move in before it starts to get cold."
"Thanks, we really appreciate that," said Zelda. "We just need to go to the bank and get out the money."
The agent nodded. "And as was discussed, you don't have to make your first payment until you approve everything and move in, as we stand behind our work."
"I'm glad that worked out," said Link as he and Zelda went to the Clock Town Bank, hand in hand.
"What can I do for you today--Link?" asked the teller as he held his hand over Link's head.
"We need two thousand rupees--for our house," said Link.
The teller handed Link twenty silver rupees, which Link put into a wallet he carried. "Your balance is thirty-four rupees, sir."
"Oh there'll be more," Link said. "Next week, same time."
At recess the children were playing in South Termina Field. Reva was talking to two of her best friends, Kristin and Cecilia. "My mom's going to have a baby," she said.
"She's got to be kind of old," said Kristin.
"Well, she'll be twenty-eight when the baby is born," said Reva. "She had me when she was seventeen...she and my dad married a little young."
"Twenty-eight isn't that old," said Cecilia. "Will she make you take care of the baby?"
"I don't think so," said Reva. "I might help...but Mom will stay at home and take care of things while Dad's working and I'm at school."
"I wonder if it's going to be a brother or a sister," said Cecilia.
"Doesn't matter," said Reva.
"Hopefully your mom doesn't pay more attention to the baby and ignore you. That happens," said Kristin.
At the end of recess Reva went back into class, lost in thought about her new sibling.
Link and Zelda hung around Clock Town together. For a little while they sat on one of the many wooden benches, just enjoying the autumn day. Every once in a while, when no one was looking, they would share a kiss.
Link had some rupees in his pocket and he treated Zelda out to lunch. Their funds would be limited until payday later that week, but Link wanted to show Zelda how much he appreciated her.
"You're so sweet, Link," Zelda said as they ate their lunch.
"Looks like you're adapting pretty well to this kind of life," said Link. "To be honest, I've always wanted to care for you and support you. It was great living in the castle like we were, though. I don't know what it is...I've always loved you and wanted to protect you the minute I first laid eyes on you."
"I just feel like I'm a lousy queen. My kingdom is ruined. I just feel so bad," said Zelda.
"Honey, there was nothing that we could do at that point," said Link. He took her hand. "You scared me half to death; I thought you were going to die. I'm just glad I have you, and Reva, with me, and hopefully you'll carry this pregnancy to term. I love you."
"I love you too, Link."
Link kissed her hand and smiled at her. "My pretty princess. I know, you're a queen, but you'll always be my princess."
At three o'clock Link and Zelda waited at the school for their daughter to emerge. Reva came out, carrying some books, looking lost in thought.
"How did you do today?" asked Link.
"I got a good mark on my paper," said Reva.
"Then why do you look so down?" asked Zelda.
"Mom, when the baby's born, are you going to just pay attention to it and not to me?" Reva blurted.
"Of course not," said Zelda. "Now who told you that?"
"Kristin and Cecilia. They said it happens a lot."
"Reva--you're our daughter and we'd never ignore you," said Link as they started the walk home. He looked at Zelda. They had both been only children, so they didn't know what it was like having any brothers or sisters.
"You can help take care of the baby if you'd like," said Zelda.
"Am I gonna have to do all of it?" asked Reva.
"I don't know what those girls have been telling you, but the baby is mainly the reponsibility of me and your father," Zelda replied. "What's going to happen is, your father is going to work and I'll be taking care of the baby while you're in school. I just said you were more than welcome to help. Yes, there may be times where you may have to watch your little brother or sister, but we'll try to keep that to a minimum so you can play and have fun."
"Maybe they're jealous because their mothers aren't going to have a baby," Link suggested. "So they don't want it to be fun for you."
"But they're my friends!" Reva protested.
"Friends sometimes get jealous of one another," said Zelda. "Just don't pay any attention when they tell you those things."
"Besides, you're our firstborn," Link added. "And guess what, Reva? Tomorrow our house is going to be started! We should be able to move in before winter sets in."
"All right!" said Reva.
A month later the house was built, and on one of Link's weekends off the family began setting it up. Link didn't want Zelda moving any furniture, for fear of her losing the baby, but she did hang up their clothes in the closets. During the past month Link had saved money and gotten some basic furniture.
As ordered, the house had three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The master bedroom, of course, was for Link and Zelda. Reva had her own room, as she always had, and the third bedroom was a nursery, later to be Reva's sibling's room.
The family had basically only their clothes to move, and this made it much easier. The furniture had been delivered directly to the house. There were a table and four chairs in the spacious kitchen and a couch and a coffee table in the living room. The living room also had a fireplace. There was also an attic where things could be stored.
There was also running water on Termina, and there were iceboxes--literally. Link and his family had seen ice wagons coming and going (much like Earth in the former half of the 20th century), delivering ice for a small price. During the winter, though, people often had a wooden box outside in which they kept perishables.
"This is so nice, Link," said Zelda as she carefully hung curtains up in their bedroom. Yesterday Link had painted their bedroom a nice pale green. He'd done Reva's room in pink, which was what she'd wanted, and the nursery a pale yellow.
"Yes, it is. I like it. How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine...in fact, I'm starting to show a little." Zelda pulled her skirt down a little and pulled her blouse up, showing him.
Link placed his hand over the small lump and smiled. "I have a good feeling about this too. Those other times you didn't carry past the second month."
Reva poked her head in the room. "Oops...."
"It's okay, Reva, I was showing your father something here. My pregnancy is starting to show, see?"
"Cool," she said. "Mom, Dad, can we have a dog? Kristin's dog just had puppies and there's one left. A really cute little girl puppy for five rupees."
Link laughed. "What do you think, Zelda?"
"Sure, why not? Dogs are pretty loyal animals. Give her five rupees, Link."
"Really? Thank you so much!" exclaimed Reva as Link handed her a blue rupee, which was worth five.
"How old is the dog?" Link asked.
"Six weeks. She said they've been weaned, whatever that means," said Reva as she sailed out the door.
Link and Zelda looked at each other and laughed. Reva seemed to be adapting to this new life fairly well.
"I was thinking the dog would be her companion--and help protect her," said Zelda. "There are thieves around here."
"Yeah," Link agreed. "And Reva's really good with animals."
Some time later Reva came home with an adorable black puppy, whom she'd named Jeni. "Dad, what's that basket over there?" Reva asked as she pointed to a basket near the fireplace.
"A doggie bed," he replied. "For Jeni. You can take it up to your room at night if you want, so she can sleep near you."
"Oh, Link, this puppy is so cute!" exclaimed Zelda as she patted the puppy's head and caressed one of her long, silky ears. The puppy was almost as big as a newborn baby, and Reva was holding the dog as if she were a baby. Jeni licked Zelda's hand tentatively.
Reva gently laid the puppy down in the basket, which had a cushion and a blanket. The girl sat down and petted her puppy happily. "This is your bed, Jeni," said Reva. "Thanks, Mom, Dad...."
Link knelt down next to his daughter and stroked the puppy's head. "She is cute," he agreed, laughing as he scratched the puppy behind her ears. Jeni closed her eyes, clearly enjoying it, wagging her long tail a little.
Winter came, and with it snow. Reva didn't have far to walk to school, but Link did have to walk in the snow to the ranch, and Zelda always made sure her husband and daughter were bundled up well.
Jeni proved to be a very intelligent dog, and by the middle of the winter she was housebroken, and fast becoming a good watchdog. Link felt better knowing that Zelda had some kind of protection, that she wasn't alone in the house. Whenever Jeni was let out she stayed in the yard, and the dog loved the snow. She would burrow her long nose into it, flip some up in the air, and try to catch it. Jeni seemed the most protective of Zelda, who was in the middle of her pregnancy.
Zelda was relaxing on the couch one afternoon. She was five months pregnant and sometimes her back ached a little. Reva was at school and Link was at work. Jeni was curled up next to the couch, on the floor. The puppy was nearly four months old now and smart as a whip.
Looking up at the clock on the mantel, Zelda was that it was three o'clock. Reva would be coming home from school soon, so she got up to fix a snack for her daughter, who would be eleven that spring.
Jeni obediently moved out of the way and followed Zelda into the kitchen, wagging her tail. "Yes, I know, you're a good girl, Jeni," said Zelda as she stooped down and patted the dog's head. "But I have to fix a snack for your mistress."
Zelda had just fixed the snack when Jeni let out a few barks. Moments later, Reva came bounding in, her cheeks and nose pink from the cold. Jeni ran up to her and wagged her tail furiously, happy to see her.
"Hi, Jeni," said Reva as she hugged her dog. She hung her coat and scarf up on the pegs near the front door and set her books down on the coffee table. "Has Jeni been a good doggie?"
"Yes, she has," said Zelda. "You got a smart dog, Reva. She won't leave my side while I'm here alone."
Reva sat down at the table and had some milk and a few cookies. "I learned more about Termina in school. We learned about our ancestor Link the Hero of Time."
Zelda smiled at that. "I could tell you about that. That Princess Zelda sent that Link back to his childhood in the Kokiri Forest. Later on, when they were fifteen, they married and had several children. I was descended from the firstborn son, which is how I'm Queen of Hyrule, and your father was descended from one of the daughters. They had around ten children."
"Wow!" said Reva.
Zelda sat next to Reva. "It's said their love is legendary too. Our ancestors had such great love for each other. They died of old age...it's said that when Link died, hours later Zelda did too, as she didn't want to be without him."
"Is that how you and Daddy are?"
"Depends on how you look at it," said Zelda. "I love your father more than anything. Aside from his not being a prince--well, at least being of diluted royal blood--he was everything I wanted in a man. Took me a year to realize it. But I know your father would give his life for me without a second thought. And you know what? You were born out of that love, Reva."
Reva smiled as she ate her last cookie. It felt good to know that she was there because two people loved each other. Last year her mother had sat down with her and talked to her about sex.
Zelda hugged her daughter. "Mom...I think the baby's kicking," said Reva. "I could feel it!"
"This baby is an active one," said Zelda. "Do you have homework?"
"Yes...and I'm going to do it before dinner." Reva kissed her mother's cheek, got up, and went to get her books. Jeni followed her up the stairs.
Zelda stood up and leaned out the back door to get some things from the wooden box so she could start dinner. It had taken her a little while, but she'd learned how to cook. Fortunately it seemed Link would eat anything!
When she came back in the door, Jeni was right behind her. "Jeni, you HEAR food!" Zelda laughed.
Jeni sat in a corner and eyed Zelda as she washed her hands and fired up the black stove. Jeni let out a low growl. "You hear something, Jeni?" Zelda asked. She went into the living room and peered out the window that was next to the front door. Link was due home any time now, especially since someone had taken a plow to the roads. All she saw were footprints in the snow, and some likely belonged to Reva.
Jeni was still growling softly. Cautiously, Zelda opened the front door--
--and a man burst in, holding a knife in front of him. "I want money," he told Zelda.
With a growl Jeni leaped onto the man and pinned him down. Right at that moment Link came running up. "Zelda! Are you all right?"
Reva came running downstairs. "What's going on?"
"He was going to rob us," said Zelda.
"Get this dog off me!" whined the man. Jeni still had her nose in his face, growling.
"Reva, go into Clock Town and get the constable," said Link. He bent down and picked up the man by the front of his shirt and slammed him up against the wall as Reva threw her coat on and raced out the door. Jeni stayed put. "So--you get your thrills out of threatening pregnant women?" snarled Link, slamming the man's head against the wall, hard.
Zelda was trembling a little as she went over to the couch and sat down. Jeni followed her, still growling and baring her teeth. No one hurt HER masters while she was around!
Link threw the man to the ground, feeling satisfied, and pinned his arms up behind his back. Jeni went over and thrust her nose back into the man's face, just daring him to make a false move.
"Are you okay, sweetheart?" Link asked Zelda.
"Yes...I'm all right," she replied. "He had a knife."
"Yeah, I see it. So--thought you were going to threaten my family, huh?" asked Link, tightening his grip.
Soon Reva came bouncing up with the constable and a guard. "We've been looking for this thief," said the constable. "Good job, sir."
"Our dog helped," said Link, getting up off the man. "He was threatening my wife."
"It's good to have a dog around," said the guard. "And there is a five hundred rupee reward for capturing him, did you know that? We'll see to it that you get your reward." The thief was hauled away.
Reva knelt next to Jeni and hugged her. "Good Jeni," said Reva. "Good dog."
"I am so glad we let Reva get a dog," said Link as he sat next to Zelda and hugged her. He patted Jeni on her head. "Yes, you are a very good puppy."
"I'll make her a nice big dinner," said Zelda, wondering how to convey her gratitude to the adorable black puppy. She winced slightly.
"Zelda, you all right?" Link asked, concerned.
"The baby's kicking," said Zelda. She took his hand and placed it on her belly. He smiled as he felt his child kicking.
"I'm just glad I was on the way home," said Link. "And I think we should thank Reva for wanting a dog in the first place." He hugged his daughter to him. "I say give her a hundred rupees out of that reward money and put the rest in the bank."
Link and Zelda's twelfth wedding anniversary was early that spring, and knowing this, Romani gave him the day off.
Reva got up an hour early and prepared a special breakfast for her parents. She put it on a tray with a card she'd made and went into their room just as the Cuccos were crowing. Link and Zelda woke up, saw their daughter standing there fully dressed with the breakfast tray. "Happy anniversary!" she sang.
"Oh, thank you, Reva!" exclaimed Zelda.
Link took her hand and gently pulled her so she was standing next to his side of the bed. He gave her a hug. "Thanks, sweetheart," he said. "This is very special and you're a thoughtful little girl."
"I've had my breakfast already," Reva told them. "Enjoy!" She left the room, leaving them alone together.
"That was so sweet of her," Zelda told Link. "So, Link...what did you have planned for us today?"
"I thought we'd all go out together," said Link. "You, me, and Reva. But tonight...just you and me...."
"Carefully," said Zelda, placing a hand on her belly.
"Of course," said Link, placing his hand over hers. He smiled. "Active little guy."
"Or little girl," said Zelda as she leaned over and kissed him on his lips. "I think Reva wants a sister." She smiled at him. "Let's have our breakfast. Looks like Reva's done a good job."
"We'll have to get her something extra-special for her birthday next month," said Link as he started eating his breakfast. Reva had been doing special things for her parents. Zelda's twenty-eighth birthday had been two weeks ago, and Link's twenty-eighth had been two weeks before that.
After they were finished with their breakfast Link and Zelda got dressed and went downstairs. Looking out the window, Link saw that Reva was walking Jeni, like she usually did in the morning before school. Reva was a responsible little girl at nearly eleven and took good care of her dog. Jeni had taken to sleeping with Reva at night.
Link went outside and sat on a bench he'd put in front of the house, right next to the front door. He sat and watched as his daughter played with her dog, throwing her a stick. Jeni was half-grown and her head now came up to Link's knee; she would be a decent-sized dog when she was fully grown.
Jeni's long ears flopped as she chased after the stick Reva had thrown. She brought it back to her mistress, her tail wagging merrily, looking up at Reva with what had to be adoration.
"Good girl," cooed Reva as she squatted down and hugged the dog. They were inseparable. Jeni followed Reva everywhere, except when told to stay in the house; Reva never took Jeni with her if her mother was home alone. That incident with the thief had reinforced that decision.
When Reva left for school that morning, Jeni followed her. The dog would see her to school and come back. Jeni even knew when to go to the school and wait for Reva to come out and so she could walk home with her; she was a very intelligent dog.
Link treated Zelda to lunch that day for their anniversary. They would go out again, for dinner, with Reva. "Our twelfth anniversary," said Link as he gazed at Zelda across the table. "Hard to believe."
"Hard to believe we're finally going to have another baby," smiled Zelda. "The little one is very active."
"How's your back?"
"It hurts sometimes."
"When we get home you're getting a good backrub from me," said Link.
After lunch Link and Zelda slowly walked home. Once they were in the door Jeni came up to them, her tail wagging. She'd long since been trained not to jump on people.
Zelda sat on the couch, and Link sat behind her and massaged her back. "Oh, Link...I feel better already," she said.
"I still remember from when you were pregnant with Reva," said Link. "I see I haven't lost my touch." He moved her golden hair aside and kissed her neck, his lips moving slowly across her skin. She shivered a little when she felt his tongue flickering along the nape of her neck.
"Like that?" Link murmured quietly.
"Yes...," Zelda whispered. "You've come such a long way in our marriage, Link...you make me feel so good...."
Link slid his hands underneath her blouse and gently massaged her back some more. At one point he rested his chin on her shoulder and reached his hands around her belly, feeling his child kicking within her. "I'm very happy...being married to the girl of my dreams...having her bear my children," he whispered in her ear. "I love you, my queen. Queen of my heart...happy anniversary, darling...."
"You may not be a prince or anything but you'll always be my king," Zelda told him. "Happy anniversary to you too, Link...I love you so much...."
For a while they sat like that, Link gently rubbing her belly. "I think you're putting the baby to sleep doing that," said Zelda.
"Yeah...I can tell...."
He took his hands out from under her blouse and they sat back on the couch together, Zelda leaning up against Link, who had his arm around her. They sat together like that, cuddling, occasionally kissing.
At about a quarter to three, Jeni barked, wanting out. Link reluctantly got up and opened the door for her, and the dog headed off to South Clock Town to wait for Reva. Then he went and sat back down next to Zelda.
"I'll never understand how that dog can tell time," said Zelda, shaking her head, amused.
"She does it somehow," said Link.
Almost a half hour later Reva came in the door, Jeni right behind her. "How was your day?" Zelda asked her.
"It was good," said Reva. "What did you do today?"
"Your father and I went out for lunch, since we were alone. And as planned we're going out to dinner together, all three of us, since you're part of our marriage," Zelda told her. "Or all four, depends on how you look at it." She placed a hand over her unborn baby.
"We'll be leaving at five, so if you want to freshen up or anything...," said Link.
That night, Link and Zelda were in bed, cuddling together. They'd had a nice dinner with their daughter, and they'd stayed in Clock Town for a while, doing things together.
"About two more months to go," said Zelda.
"At least the pregnancy is going well," said Link. Zelda visited the local midwife every two weeks. "I was worried that you'd miscarry again."
"I thought I'd never have another child," said Zelda. She shrugged. "I was just grateful to have Reva...but I'm happy that we're having another one."
Two months more went by, and today was the first day of summer. Romani had graciously suggested that Link take a week off--with pay--as soon as his second child was born. She was a very fair employer and was loved by her workers for that reason.
That morning Zelda woke up with contractions. She shook Link awake. "Link--I'm in labor," she told him.
Link jumped up and rushed into Reva's room. "Reva--I need you to hurry up, get dressed, and run for the midwife. Your little brother or sister is coming!" he told her excitedly.
Reva jumped out of bed, threw her clothes on, and rushed down the stairs, Jeni right behind her. "C'mon, Jeni!" she called as she hurried out the door and down the road.
Link got dressed and sat at Zelda's bedside. She'd last gone through this eleven years ago and it was coming back to her. "It's okay, honey," said Link.
Soon Reva was back with Tania, a middle-aged woman who was an experienced midwife. "Second child, healthy mother...this shouldn't be too hard," she smiled as she got Zelda ready.
Zelda was in labor all that morning and into the afternoon. Reva was in and out, sometimes playing with the dog. "Dad, when's the baby going to be born?" she asked at one point.
"It may be a while yet, Reva," Link told her.
Finally, late that afternoon, Zelda gave birth to her second daugher, Princess Kelcie. Reva had wanted to watch the birth, and she got to, the midwife explaining what she was doing as she worked.
The midwife carefully washed the baby, wrapped her in a blanket, and handed the child to Reva, who placed her baby sister in their mother's arms.
"She looks like you, Link--she already has your eyes," Zelda told him.
The next day the house was almost crowded with Link's, Zelda's, and Reva's friends coming to see the new baby. Even Romani, Morani, and a few of Link's co-workers stopped by to see Link and Zelda's newborn daughter.
A pleasant surprise occurred when Reva's friend, the Deku Princess, came by with her father, the Deku King. "We came to see Princess Kelcie," said the Deku King, two of his retainers in tow.
Link and Zelda looked at Reva, who was smiling over her baby sister with her friend the Deku Princess. It looked like Reva would enjoy being a big sister.
Link took Romani up on her suggestion and stayed home with his wife and two daughters for a week. Since Zelda chose to nurse the baby as she'd done Reva for the first six months or so, she would be the one getting up in the middle of the night. Besides, she thought, she could always sleep in; Link had to work.
Already baby Kelcie had her father's brown eyes, and it looked like she might have the same hair color as her sister. She was an adorable baby. Even Jeni liked her and already she was taking to making her nightly rounds--sleeping with Reva for a couple of hours or so, then sleeping in the nursery, guarding the baby.
Reva adored her baby sister and enjoyed playing with the baby and helping her parents care for Kelcie. Since school was out for summer vacation, Reva was a big help around the house.
"Why don't you go out and play?" Link asked Reva as he held three-day-old Kelcie in his arms. "Your mother and I can take care of the baby. Go have some fun."
"Okay...I'll go visit the Deku Palace," said Reva. "C'mon, Jeni!"
"Be careful in that swamp," said Zelda.
"Reva knows how to swim and so does Jeni," said Link. "They'll be fine." He bent down and gave Reva a kiss on her forehead.
Zelda hugged her. "Be careful, Reva."
"I will. I'll be back later," said Reva.
Reva ran out the door, Jeni right behind her.
Reva walked along the road leading to the Southern Swamp, Jeni right beside her. The Dekus were still wary of outsiders though they were getting over it. Reva was welcome because she was a friend of the Deku Princess and because Reva's ancestor had saved the Deku Princess' ancestor. Jeni was welcome there too; she was one of the few dogs who didn't growl at Dekus.
There was a small boat that Reva had found and her father had helped her restore this past spring, and it was big enough for her and Jeni to ride in together. Reva got into the boat and Jeni hopped in with her.
Jeni sat up straight and enjoyed the ride while Reva tugged on the oars. She guided the boat through a tunnel and moments later she pulled up to a wooden dock in front of the Deku Palace. Jeni hopped out onto the dock, and Reva climbed up and tied the boat to a post to keep it from floating away.
Two Deku Scrubs were posted at the door. "Welcome, Princess Reva!" one of them said.
Jeni licked their faces in greeting, making them laugh.
The Deku Princess was just coming out of the inner garden when she saw her friend. "Reva! You've come to play!" she squeaked, pleased. "How is your sister?"
"She's cute. Mom and Dad told me to go play. Dad has a week off to be with Mom, 'cause of the baby."
"That's nice," said the Deku Princess. "So what do you want to do?"
"Meaning, what kind of trouble do we want to get into?" Reva joked.
"Let's go into the Woods of Mystery and visit the monkeys," suggested the Deku Princess. "Let me ask my father first. Come with me."
Reva followed her friend into the throne room. The Deku King smiled when he saw the two princesses. "Father, may I go into the Woods of Mystery with Reva?" she asked.
"I don't see why not. Reva is a responsible child and she has Jeni with her," the Deku King replied. "But be back in time for dinner, daughter."
"Thanks!" Reva called.
They went out of the Palace and hopped into Reva's boat along with Jeni, who stationed herself between the two girls. The Deku Princess petted Jeni while Reva rowed them to the Woods of Mystery.
"I have to be home by dinner too," said Reva as she climbed out of the boat and pulled it halfway onto the bank. She knew that Dekus could not swim.
Jeni walked along behind the two girls as they entered the forest. "This reminds me of the Lost Woods back home in Hyrule," sighed Reva as they made their way through the woods to the monkeys' lair.
"I'm sure your mother will reclaim Hyrule. My father already said that he would be happy to help. He's grateful to your family, because your ancestor rescued mine," said the Deku Princess. "My family has always been in debt with your family for that heroic deed. His words of course." She smiled. "All you have to do is let us know when you plan on taking Hyrule back and you will have the Deku army at your command."
"Won't be for several years yet," said Reva. "I-I'm not ready. I carry the Triforce of Wisdom with me and I think it guides me somehow. I just know that I have to prepare."
"My father is already preparing his troops. After several years they should be more than ready," said the Deku Princess.
"I also have my baby sister to worry about. She'll still be a little girl when the time comes," said Reva.
"I'm sure the Gorons would be happy to help as well," said the Deku Princess as they entered the monkeys' Woods of Mystery lair.
A group of little white monkeys chattered excitedly when they saw the two girls and the dog. "All right, they've come to play with us!"
Reva forgot about her troubles for a few happy hours as she, the Deku Princess, and the dog played with the monkeys.
Right at dinner time Reva came bounding in with Jeni. Jeni headed straight for the kitchen; she'd smelled food.
Reva followed the dog into the kitchen and washed her hands. "Have a good time at Woodfall?" asked Zelda.
"Yeah...the Deku Princess and I played with the monkeys. Mom, did you know that her father are willing to help us take back Hyrule when it's time?"
"Really?" said Link.
"Yeah, because our ancestor, the Hero of Time, saved his ancestor," said Reva.
"That is very kind of him," said Zelda.
A few weeks later everyone was starting to get ready for the Carnival of Time. An air of excitement hung over Termina. More Dekus, Gorons, and Zoras could be seen in Clock Town at this time, as some had wares to sell or were going to be performing at the carnival. Akindo Nuts could be seen flying overhead with their heavy sacks.
Link was working in the stables at Romani Ranch and Farm, as usual. Romani came up to him. "Just thought I'd let you know I'm giving everyone the day of the carnival and the day after off," she said.
"Thanks, that's really nice of you," said Link.
"How's your baby?"
"Oh she's fine," said Link. He leaned up against the wall thoughtfully. "In a way I consider Kelcie a miracle of sorts. I'd nearly lost Zelda when we first arrived here, and she'd had three miscarriages after she had Reva. She'd really wanted another child, and Reva wanted a brother or sister."
"Zelda's lucky to have a man like you," Romani smiled. "You're a good worker and you appear to be a good husband and father. I just hope Tom will turn out to be half the man you are."
"Your boyfriend?" Link asked.
Romani nodded. She and Link were good friends, nothing more. She had to admit she'd been somewhat attracted to Link at first, but for one thing it was dishonorable to chase after another woman's husband; for another, Link was completely devoted to his wife Zelda. She'd never so much as flirted with him; she was a proper young lady.
"I like him. He talks about you a lot." Tom ran the Milk Bar in Clock Town and his visits weren't always for business.
"Really?" asked Romani.
"Yeah, I think you'll be happy with him," said Link as he resumed work.
"I hope so, because he asked me to marry him and I told him yes."
"Congratulations!" said Link. "When's the wedding?"
"This fall. Would you, Zelda, and the girls like to come?"
"Sure," said Link. "Zelda loves occasions like this. She's a queen and she's used to social events. I could even ask her to help out, if she wants to."
Romani smiled. "Thanks, Link."
Link smiled, glad his friend was getting married. He'd sensed that she'd been somewhat attracted to him at first, but even though it built his ego up some, he had never had the least bit of interest in her. He knew Zelda probably was worried about that from time to time, but at this point in their marriage she was more confident that she had nothing to worry about. Besides, Zelda was as desirable to him as the day they'd first met and he'd never do anything to hurt her--ever. He was still madly in love with Zelda; she was still the girl of his dreams and he wanted no other.
His thoughts went to his three-week-old daughter Kelcie as he tended to the horses. She looked a lot like him; she had his brown eyes. So far her hair was the same shade of blonde/brown as her sister's, except, of course, that Reva had Zelda's green eyes. Link was proud to have two beautiful daughters--and happy that Zelda was their mother.
The busy season was on them because of the carnival, and Link had agreed to work a sixth day per week for an additional hundred and fifty rupees per week. It more or less amounted to being paid time and a half. Zelda didn't object; she knew that they could always use the extra money, and it was from now until the carnival was over. On his extra day Link would help with other duties around the ranch.
At four o'clock Link said good-bye to his co-workers and left for home. He stretched his arms out as he walked along the old Milk Road.
Finally he came home, was greeted by Jeni. Reva hugged him and Zelda kissed him before he went upstairs and got into the shower.
Link stood there, letting the nice warm water relax his body, when he heard the bathroom door open. He thought he heard the rustle of clothes; then the curtain was pulled back and Zelda stepped in. "Hello, my hero," she said.
"Welcome," grinned Link.
Reva sat on the couch, her baby sister cradled on her lap. Jeni was on the couch, protectively watching over the two sisters.
"Kelcie--this is Jeni," Reva told her sister.
Reva snickered to herself when she heard the sound of running coming from upstairs. Sometimes her parents played cute little games with each other. They pretended that nothing out of the ordinary had gone on whenever they came downstairs, but Reva had a very good idea.
She hoped she'd find a man like her father to marry. She knew that her parents just adored each other, something that seemed to be rare.
"Mom and Dad are playing, Kelcie. Grown-ups play games too," said Reva as she sat up and carried the baby on one arm and went to check the food cooking on the stove. Her mother had asked her to watch the food and the baby for a little while--all the time acting like nothing was going on.
Kelcie started crying. Reva knew that she'd just been fed. "What's the matter, little sister? Are you wet?" Reva asked, feeling around Kelcie's diaper, which was all the baby was wearing. "Well, we're going to have to do something about that, aren't we?"
Reva carried Kelcie upstairs, heard the muffled squeaks of bed springs coming from her parents' room. She knew it. She smiled, recalling the talk her mother had had with her, about sex being an expression of love between a husband and wife. Apparently her parents loved each other quite a bit, Reva thought as she carried Kelcie into the nursery, Jeni following along.
Reva changed her sister's diaper, remembering to put a special powder on the baby to prevent her from breaking out in a rash. Kelcie immediately stopped crying and started waving her legs.
"Hold still, Kel," laughed Reva. Finally she pinned the diaper on, just as her mother had showed her. Reva carried Kelcie back down to the living room and placed her in the playpen, which was in front of the couch.
Zelda lay in Link's arms on their bed for several moments. It had been the first time they'd made love since Kelcie's birth, since Zelda had been healing up a little from childbirth.
"Must have been over a month since we last did this," said Link, referring to them having abstained from sex during Zelda's last month of pregnancy. "I really missed it."
"Feel better now, Link?" Zelda smiled.
"I thought I heard the baby crying...Reva must have taken care of it," said Zelda.
Link grinned mischievously. "Reva probably heard what was going on in here, too," he said.
Zelda swatted him playfully. "Reva knows what we do. And she knows why we do it."
"Why do we do it?"
"Because we love each other, silly."
"I just wanted to hear you say it."
Zelda sighed and sat up. "I need to finish making dinner."
"I see you got your figure back already," said Link as he watched her get dressed. "Just like after you gave birth to Reva."
Zelda looked at herself critically in the full-length mirror. "My hips are a little wider...ever since I had Reva...."
"I think that's normal," said Link. "But I love you just the way you are, Zelda."
Zelda smiled at him as she finished getting dressed. She blew him a kiss as she left the room.
Link lay back and sighed happily. He didn't move from the bed to get dressed until Zelda called him down for dinner--then he dressed at record speed and almost flew down the stairs.
"Romani's getting married in the fall," Link said at the dinner table. "That guy Tom that runs the Milk Bar."
"I thought they might," said Zelda.
"She invited us, and I told her I'd ask you if you wanted to help her with the preparations, if she would like you to help. It's up to you."
"I'd love to."
"There's gonna be a wedding?" asked Reva.
"Yep, and we're invited," Link repeated.
"Well, after the Carnival of Time we'll have to shop for some dresses, won't we?" asked Zelda. "Romani is my friend and I'll do that for her."
For several nights young Dante had hardly been able to sleep. He kept thinking of Princess Reva for some reason. He knew that she was a very distant cousin of his. His father had known the family line right back to the first Link and Zelda. Reva had been the daughter of the current Link and Zelda, who had been both descended from the Link and Zelda who had fought the wizard Agahnim, who in turn were both descended from the first Link and Zelda. In each case it had been distant cousins marrying.
Dante was descended only from the first pair. Oftentimes he didn't mind fancying himself a prince or whatever, but over the centuries his father's side of the family had become farmers. If anyone bothered to figure out how succession went, if a distant relative needed to be found, he figured he'd probably be the billionth in line by now.
"I can't sleep," the lad muttered as he sat up in bed, swung his lean, muscular legs over the side. "I can't get the princess out of my head or my dreams! But she's dead--why am I constantly thinking about her and dreaming about her?"
Standing up, Dante jerked his nightshirt, which he was rapidly outgrowing, down over his thighs. He went into the main room, where his maternal grandmother was sitting in front of the fire, rocking in her rocking chair, doing some knitting. "Can't sleep, dear?" asked his grandmother, whose name was Anna.
"I keep having weird dreams, Granny," sighed Dante as he headed for the kitchen. He got a glass out of the cupboard and pumped some water into it at the hand pump that was installed at the sink.
"This past year or so has been a nightmare," the slightly plump, gray-haired woman sighed, "with the deaths of the Royal Family, and that Balen demanding such high taxes from everyone. You know he had your father killed because of his bloodlines." She put her knitting down and gazed up at her grandson, her daughter's child, who was entering the main room, gulping down the water. "I'm so glad my Sarah--your mother--was able to bring you to me before she died of her injuries."
"Yeah and I bet Balen's looking for me too," said Dante. "But don't worry...I'm pretty good with a sword and I can defend myself--and you, Granny."
"Link's parents are in hiding as well," sighed Anna. "No one who's descended from the first Link and Zelda is safe. And they had so many children, it could be anyone now."
"I'll be glad to give that Balen what he deserves one day," declared Dante. He set the glass down on the mantel and kissed his grandmother's cheek. "Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep, Granny. I want to hang out with Jay and Bob tomorrow morning, since there's no school."
"Not before you put that glass away, young man," Anna smiled.
"Yes, Granny," Dante chuckled as he obeyed his grandmother.
Only a week remained before the Carnival of Time. Link was working his six-day work week and putting money aside so he and his family could better enjoy the carnival. School was out for the summer and while Link was at work Zelda took their daughters to Clock Town to look for new outfits and other things.
Link had one day off during that week, as usual, and that day he decided to take his family--and the dog--to Great Bay for a picnic and to swim.
Link and Zelda watched as their older daughter tossed a stick out into the bay, and as her dog, Jeni, swam over to it and brought it back. "Look, see your sister?" Link asked baby Kelcie, who was on his lap.
"I look at this world...and I think of the races that have been extinct for millennia on our world," Zelda said as she stroked Kelcie's head. "Zoras, Gorons, Deku...and they're here in Termina."
"But yet Termina is different from Hyrule in many ways...some of the things they have that Hyrule doesn't," Link put in.
Zelda nodded silently. "I keep remembering the jewels that are in the king's and queen's crowns," she said, a tear coming to her eye. "Pieces of the Spiritual Stones that our ancestor used to help save Hyrule...the Kokiri's Emerald, the Goron's Ruby, the Zora's Sapphire...."
"One day we'll go back and defeat Balen," Link said, turning to his wife and taking her hand and squeezing it. "Reva keeps saying it isn't time yet."
"She's right, it isn't," Zelda sighed. She drew her knees up to her chest, rested her chin on them. "I wanted Reva to have as normal a childhood as possible."
"C'mon, Zel, you should know by now that in a family like ours, the abnormal is normal," Link teased, trying to cheer his wife up. "Reva and Kelcie are not ordinary children because they're princesses."
Zelda turned her head and looked at her infant daughter. "Kelcie may never know what it's really like to be a princess," Zelda remarked. "She's one by blood and that's it."
"Looks like Reva's found a new friend," said Link, changing the subject.
Zelda looked up, saw Reva in conversation with a Zora girl. "You need to get out more often, Link," she said, laughing a little. "That's Reva's friend Lalu. Princess Lalu of the Zoras here."
"At least Reva's friends are upper-crust, not that it matters to me," said Link as he lay back on the blanket they were sitting on, Kelcie asleep on his bare chest; he was in swimming trunks.
Zelda gently lifted her baby off Link and laid her down between them, covering her with a towel. "I don't want her to get sunburned. She's got fair skin like me and Reva," Zelda explained. "Though Kelcie's a bit darker...kind of like you...."
"Mm-hmmm...," Link murmured as he put another towel over his eyes, getting ready to take a nap.
Zelda smiled and shook her head. Well, he deserved to nap like that, after all the work he'd been doing so they could live comfortably. And at least after the carnival he'd go back to his normal five days per week. Funny, she'd never thought he'd actually hold down a job like that. Then again, when they were fifteen, she'd never thought she'd actually be married to him, let alone bear him two daughters.
"Reva, I'd like to ask you something," said Lalu as she and Reva sat in the water together, Jeni splashing around them.
"What is it?"
"What happened to the Zoras in Hyrule? You said there weren't any, but that there used to be."
"They were wiped out by Agahnim and Ganondorf," Reva said. "So were the Dekus, the Gorons, the Kokiri...."
"And now Ganon's son continues in his madness," said Lalu, who was fourteen and quite knowledgeable about lots of things. "The son of Ganon takes revenge on the Royal Family of Hyrule--and the descendants of Link the Hero of Termina." She shook her head. "Not acceptable."
"The Deku King is willing to help when the times comes to take back Hyrule," said Reva.
"He's a great ruler. Rules with a wooden fist," Lalu smiled. "The Dekus, the Gorons, and the Zoras have been allies for centuries now. I think I'll ask my parents if there's anything they can do to help."
"Why not? Termina, I think, owes you and your family a debt of gratitude. Your ancestor saved our world from the evil Mask of Majora. I think we should help you take back your home."
"Thanks, Lalu!" Reva cried, throwing her arms around the Zora girl's neck.
"Now check this out, guys," said Dante as he withdrew his sword from its scabbard, which was hooked to his belt.
His friends Jay and Bob watched as Dante twirled his sword around by its handle and slashed at a small, skinny tree, neatly slicing through the tree's trunk.
"Hey, cool!" said Jay.
"Yes, that was really nice," said Staci, a pert, twelve-year-old brunette. She went up and kissed Dante on the cheek.
"Go away," said Bob. "Boys only."
"Who asked you?" demanded Staci.
Dante discreetly wiped his cheek.
"I asked me. No girls allowed," smirked Bob, as he folded his arms across his chest.
"Yeah really. Girls--ack, who needs 'em?" Jay chimed in.
"You need girls to bear you nice, strong, healthy sons," said Staci, tossing her hair back over her shoulder.
The three boys looked at her as if she'd grown another head.
"So--trying to play hero, my Dante?" Staci cooed. "Link's not really your cousin, was he?"
"Extremely distant," said Dante, uncomfortably. "I mean, we're related but not related...we had the same ancestors...."
"Maybe you can one day reclaim Hyrule and you can be king," Staci purred, moving closer to him.
"Whoa--down girl!" snickered Bob.
"I'm just interested in seeing Balen gone," said Dante.
Staci laughed. "You're only thirteen!"
"Maybe you ought to read up on your history, Stace," said Dante as he and his friends turned and started heading back towards the village in which they lived. "My ancestor was ten years old."
"She's right, though, you're probably the only living relative of that Link," said Jay. "The Royal Family is gone and if everyone else in that family is too, then you can call yourself King Dante of Hyrule."
Dante snorted. "Right." However, his expression did turn pensive.
"I wouldn't mind being queen," Staci said.
"You're already a royal pain," said Bob.
Suddenly loud noises--explosions--could be heard from the direction of the village. "What in Hyrule!" shrieked Staci.
The four children ran as fast as they could towards their village. An army of Molblins, Stalfos, and Gibdos was terrorizing the villagers, and the air was filled with smoke and fire. "Where Dante of Hyrule!?" demanded one Molblin just as the four children entered the village.
"Oh, great, they're looking for me!" Dante gasped.
"I'll take care of this!" said Jay as he stepped forward.
"Jay, get your butt back here!" hissed Bob.
"Don't worry, I know what I'm doing," Jay replied. "You guys stay back."
A Stalfo grabbed Jay. "Where is Dante?"
"You have your greasy mitts on him," sneered Jay. "What do you want?"
The other three children stood there, frozen. There was nothing any of them could do. Bob was holding Dante back; Dante wanted to save Jay and own up to who he was.
"He's doing this for Hyrule, Dante," said Bob.
"He's getting himself in trouble for me!" cried Dante.
"So...Dante...Balen wanted us to give you this...."
The Stalfo quickly grabbed Jay by the hair, took out his sword, and lopped off the brave boy's head.
Staci shrieked and turned away.
"You--you--!" Dante cried, unheard except by Bob and Staci.
The Stalfo signalled to its companions that Dante had been found and executed. Almost as quickly as they'd come, Balen's army left.
Staci and Bob ran to their own homes, as did Dante.
Dante found that his home had been burned down--a replay of last year. "Granny!" he called. "Where are you!?"
In the midst of the wreckage Dante found his grandmother lying there, a knife in her back, her knitting burned to a crisp. Giving a strangled cry, Dante turned and fled.
Tonight was the Carnival of Time. Link, Zelda, and their children were getting ready for the event. Link put on dark trousers and a light-green shirt. Zelda and their daughters were in mother-and-daughter outfits--they all were wearing white blouses underneath pink jumpers.
"This is supposed to be really exciting," said Link as he and his family left their house. "Now be a good girl and watch the house, Jeni," he added, addressing the dog.
"Could I push the stroller?" Reva asked.
"Sure," said Zelda.
Little Kelcie was sleeping comfortably in her stroller as her older sister pushed it along. Link and Zelda followed close behind their daughters, holding hands.
As they approached Clock Town, the family could see dozens of people milling around. Excitement hung in the air. The Carnival of Time had had another meaning added to it thousands of years ago--it was the anniversary of Termina being saved by a young Hyrulean boy, Link.
"Mom, Dad, I see some friends!" exclaimed Reva.
"Take Kelcie with you--and keep a good eye on her," said Link. "Meet up with us in an hour or so, okay?"
"Why did you send the girls off?" Zelda asked.
"Well...I know of a quiet little spot for us to spend a few moments," said Link. "I did explore this town, you know...."
Zelda smiled. "Show me."
"Hello young lady," said an Akindo Nut--one of the Deku--who had a table set up for his goods. "And who is this adorable little girl?"
"I'm Reva and this is my baby sister Kelcie," Reva replied. "Oh...what's that?"
"Some of my wife's baking," the Akindo Nut replied. "Two rupees per slice of cake--her special recipe."
"I'd like to try a piece. No, not you, Kelcie, you're too young. You get yours from Mom."
Reva gave the Akindo Nut two rupees and he gave her a piece of the cake. "Oh wow--this is really great!" she exclaimed. "I'll have to bring my parents by later so they can try it."
"Ten rupees for a whole cake," the Akindo Nut grinned.
"We'll probably have to get a few--one for me and my mother, the rest for my father," Reva laughed. "I hope you'll have some left later, so we can take one home."
"My wife comes by every so often with more," the Akindo Nut assured her. "I'll be sure to tell her what you thought, it'll mean a lot to her."
Reva ate her piece of cake as she steered the stroller with one hand. Kelcie, too young to sit up on her own yet, was looking around; she'd awakened a little earlier.
A Goron boy, Ramadi, waved at her. He was one of her friends. "Hey, Ramadi!" Reva replied, finishing her cake. She steered her sister's stroller over to him.
"I see you have your little sister. Where are your parents?"
"Knowing my parents, they're probably playing their little adult games." Reva winked, and Ramadi giggled.
Zelda giggled coyly as she felt her husband's hands on her. They had found a hidden area amongst the rooftops of East Clock Town and were doing some serious necking. "Link, we're acting so much like teenagers...."
"So? We were teens when we married," Link replied as he kissed her again. "And things like this...this is what keeps our marriage so enjoyable...at least to me...."
"I like the fact that you're so romantic," Zelda sighed as they sat together.
"Maybe we can go a little further...?"
"I don't know, Link...," she murmured as he kissed her neck. "Someone can accidentally discover this place and see us...."
"Sounds exciting...and forbidden...," Link grinned. Zelda so loved his lopsided grin...and right now it was making her heart race--that and his hand on her thigh underneath the skirt of her jumper.
"Hey, I wonder what's up here!" said a child's voice.
Link and Zelda heard the voice from nearby and quickly stood up and pulled themselves together, Zelda straightening her jumper, Link fastening his trousers. They were just in time, for a couple of little boys came into view.
"Oh, hi," said one of them. "What are you doing up here?"
"Looking for our daughters," said Link. "Figured we'd have a good enough view so we could find them."
"Oh, okay," said the other one. Both looked to be about Reva's age. "Well, let's find something else to do. They want to kiss."
Zelda giggled once the boys were out of earshot. "Told you so. Now let's find the girls."
Link and Zelda found their daughters quickly in South Clock Town. Reva was looking around at what some Gorons had for sale. "Have fun?" she asked them.
"Yep," said Link. "You know, it's almost midnight...everyone's gathering by the clock tower."
"Dad, there's this Deku cake you have got to try," said Reva as she pushed her sister's stroller.
"We'll check it out after midnight," said Zelda.
Once they arrived at the clock tower, which had a throng assembled around it, Link hoisted Reva up onto his shoulders while Zelda held on to her baby's stroller.
On the stroke of midnight, fireworks soared into the sky, and ooh's and aah's of admiration could be heard as the clock tower opened up. The Indigo-Go's emerged and started playing their latest hit while everyone cheered and whistled. They even played an old hit of the original Indigo-Go's.
"Wow, that was really something," said Link as the party started to break up. The family stopped by the Akindo Nut's table, where Link and Zelda each tried a piece of the cake that Reva loved. They wound up buying three cakes.
"They're going so fast!" the Akindo Nut squeaked in pleasure. His wife was beside him, and she looked pleased and proud. "Wife of mine, remind me to find you a Moon's Tear pendant. I'm sure I can find one in an antique shop."
Dante sat with his back up against a tree, crying miserably, his head on his knees. "It's not my fault who my ancestors were," he sobbed.
"You're right, it's not," said a tiny voice.
"Huh?" Dante looked around. He only cried in private; he hated to have people see him, a thirteen-year-old boy on the verge of manhood, crying.
"I'm Flit," said the voice. A fairy flew down from the tree. She had dark blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her hair was braided and hung between her wings. She looked very young, like a seven- or eight-year-old Hylian girl. "Princess Flit. Spryte is my mother, and she was friends with Link and Queen Zelda."
"I didn't know she had any kids," said Dante, wiping his eyes with the sleeve of his dark-blue tunic.
"Well, I'm here. I'm only eight but I know that I want to be your guardian fairy. Like your ancestor. Navi and Tatl and Tael were of our race a long time ago."
"How can you help me?"
"We fairies know quite a lot," said Flit. "I know about the Royal Family being missing."
"I think they're dead," sighed Dante.
"No one ever found their bodies, unless Balen did something with them," said Flit. "But that aside, I want to make you the new King of Hyrule. You can lead Hyrule to peace."
"But I'm only thirteen!"
"Your ancestor was ten--as you've pointed out. What makes you any different? He was very inexperienced in fighting when he first started out but he made it--and saved Hyrule."
"The difference is, my ancestor was not up against an army!"
"Oh yes he was. Molblins, Stalchildren, Redeads--you name it. Come on, you know you've always wanted to be a hero, it's in your blood!"
"Yeah, provided it doesn't get spilled. My whole family is dead--and one of my friends gave his life for me a few hours ago," said Dante.
"That's one thing going for you--Balen thinking you're dead. Unfortunately, your swordsmaster friend died in the raid as well. I want to help you, please let me."
"All right," sighed Dante. "I'll do it for my relatives, for Hyrule--and for my ancestors."
Dante trudged northward through the Tantari Desert, Flit sitting lazily on his shoulder. Flit had told Dante that there were some Gerudo thieves living in the single cave that was in the desert, and that they were expert fighters and excellent with the sword.
“It’s so hot,” Dante whined as he took a sip of water from his canteen.
“It’s not far now,” said Flit.
“I’m getting sand in my shoes,” Dante griped. “And it’s hot. And I have to pee.”
Flit rolled her eyes. “Then go.”
She turned her back as Dante opened the front of his trousers. Flit waited while he relieved himself. Suddenly she heard a shriek.
Whirling around Flit could see an angry-looking worm-like Geldarm emerging from the sand, and its head was wet. She slapped her hand on her forehead and dragged her hand down her face.
“I’m outta here!” Dante shrieked.
Flit flew behind him as he ran northward, the Geldarm not too far behind them. “Nice going!” she squeaked.
“Shut up!” Dante fired back as he ran.
Moments later they saw the entrance to a cave. “In there! It won’t go in there!” Flit shouted. It was also their destination.
Dante hurried into the cave, Flit right behind him. The Geldarm turned and slithered away. “That was close,” Dante panted as he leaned up against a wall in the cave.
“Now who might you be?” asked a feminine voice.
Dante turned around, let his eyes adjust to the light. He was surrounded by beautiful red-haired women--and they were looking at him, pointing, and snickering! Seeing where they were pointing, he realized that he had not fastened up the front of his trousers! “Yikes!” he said as he whirled around and quickly corrected things.
Flit slapped her hand to her face and shook her head. She’d heard her mother talk about Link and how goofy he could be--but this kid definitely took the cake!
Dante turned around. “Um...my name is Dante, and, well...I’m a really really really distant cousin of Queen Zelda and Sir Link and Princess Reva,” he rambled. “Flit...um...she wanted me to, um, come here, and, um, learn how to fight with a sword and stuff....”
Some of the women snickered. “You?” asked one of them.
“Silence!” another voice commanded.
A regal-looking Gerudo, dress in white pantaloons and bustier, approached. “I think this is the boy we’ve been waiting for, according to our prophecies,” she said. “A descendant of Link and Zelda of the Ocarina of Time. The only one left in this world.”
“Wh-who are you?” Dante asked.
“I am Queen Belandru of the Gerudos,” she said. “And your name?”
“Well, Dante, like your distant relation, you’re a diamond in the rough, and it’s up to us to polish you so you shine,” said Belandru. “You have a lot of work to do and we must prepare you. You are destined to help Queen Zelda take back her throne.”
“But they’re dead! And you said I’m the only descendant left in this world!”
“In this world, yes. But I have visions that the Royal Family is alive, but in another realm--another dimension,” said Belandru. “We Gerudos have told no one of this except you. It’s best for now for everyone to think that they’re dead, so it gives us the element of surprise.” She paused. “Balen is my older brother.”
Dante’s eyes widened.
“I tell you this so you’ll trust me,” said Belandru. “Nerissa. Tomorrow, after this young man has had his rest and a decent meal, you will take him to the grounds of Parapa Palace and start teaching him how to fight with a sword. You are our best swordswoman.”
“Yes, my Queen,” said a Gerudo with exceptionally long hair. She was clothed in purple.
“You will sleep with me,” said Belandru. “In my chamber. I will prepare a bed for you, young Dante.” She smiled. “You will be like the son I never had.”
To be continued in the next book, Reclamation....
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