Her sword had been fixed. It was stronger. Heavier too, but she would have to get used that. Zelda had fixed it with magic. Now Maarei was sharpening it, waiting for Link or Zelda to call her for battle. The pre-dawn moisture of late fall made her shiver. She couldn't stand cold; Melanthos was nicknamed "Land of the Neverending Summer". It wasn't quite that way, they got a bit of fall, but winter was just a few weeks of rain, and then the country was embraced in warmth again.
It had been once, long ago, when her land had been covered with snow, killing many Melanthians because they were not used to such cold. The story that led up to this Great Cold was one of Maarei's favorites...
"Maarei," Link said.
She jumped. Maarei hadn't been paying attention, and she hadn't heard the door open. She sheathed her sword and stood up.
"I'm coming," she replied, and followed him through the halls.
"Are you sure you want to go into battle with that?" Link asked, pointed at her sword. "It's more of a dueling sword, if you know what I mean."
"Zelda fixed it," Maarei insisted. "It's fine now." Zelda walked up to them, looking distraught.
"What's wrong?" Maarei asked.
"I...had a dream," she said distantly.
"That's the problem," Zelda cited, frowning. "I can't remember. I know it was really important, but I just can't remember!"
"You'll remember it soon," Link reassured her.
"I'm hoping!" she exclaimed. "I've got an awful premonition that I need to know about it now."
They were silent.
"You mean like a...prophecy?" Maarei said softly.
"Yes." Zelda had never forgoten a prophecy before. Those kind of dreams stayed fresh in her mind. But this one was different, somehow.
The trumpet to assemble blew loudly, and they all turned toward it.
"Well," Link said reluctanly. "This is it."
"Bye, Zelda." Maarei gave her friend a quick embrace before turning and walking swiftly away. She didn't want to cry. She knew there was a good chance she might never see Zelda again.
"Hey, hero," Zelda said. "Just in case I never see you again..." she reached over and kissed Link. "Bye." She turned and walked away, smiling to herself, and for the moment forgetting the battle.
"Hey, princess," Link said, grinning.
"Aren't you going to watch me ride away?"
"Oh." Zelda turned around, blushing. "No. I have to stay in the interior quarters and maintain the shield. Bye."
"Bye." Suddenly she felt incredibly lonely. That was the first time they had ever kissed, and it could be the last.
Watching him go, she sighed to herself. While everyone else was out there, she'd have to be in here, keeping the shield up. Keeping it up for those not strong enough to be exposed to war...
Suddenly a vision of the battle flashed in her mind. She gasped and put her hand on the wall, steadying herself. Minutes later, the vision stopped. Now she finally remembered what her dream was about.
No, she thought. No, wait, Maarei, Link, wait...
"Oh, and there's one thing you should know about these Cyreenians," Maarei was telling Link.
"The Cyreenians have always been strong, even if they are not of the purest birth. So, watch out, and don't underestimate them."
"If each of the races have virtues...Hylians have magic...Cyreenians have strength...what do Melanthians have?"
"We have agility, and speed," she answered proudly. "That's why we are slight and smaller. It cannot be matched in any other race."
"So it may be evened out then," Link said, half to himself.
"Hopefully," Maarei replied.
The sun rose, and they rode out to battle.
"Father, we have to find Maarei," Zelda said urgently.
"Why, Zelda? What's the hurry?"
"Oh, Father, I had the worst dream! She was dead, on the battle field! I'm afraid it's a prophecy!"
"Well now," the king gave Zelda a comforting hug. "It might have been just a dream, you know."
"That's exactly what you said when I warned you about Ganondorf."
"I remember," the king was still shamed because of the time he had failed to heed Zelda's warnings. It had lead to many deaths and Seven Years of Darkness. Of course, Link had fixed it all, but still, he had sworn never to make the same mistake again...
"Father, are you listening to me?" Zelda said impatiantly. "There isn't much time."
"A country is carried on her shoulders..." he began, thinking hard. "You are right, daughter."
"Then you'll have someone go get her?" Zelda asked, hopefully.
"No, she needs to lead her country, but I'll have someone ready to get her if she needs help. Why don't you watch over her, and if you see any trouble, we'll send someone out imidiatly. Would that be all right?"
"Yes, I suppose..."
"Good," the king hoped he had done the right thing. "Now go keep the shield strong for us." He smiled faintly.
That won't be enough, Zelda thought. Just me keeping watch over Maarei won't be enough protection. She was tuning her senses onto her.
Link...Zelda closed her eyes and shot out a telepathic message across the yard to him. Link...watch over Maarei, staying very close to her...
Link stiffened. He could faintly hear Zelda...trying to communicate with him. The more he concentrated, the clearer it was. Watch over Maarei...stay close to Maarei...
Why? he thought back, and waited for a reply. Because...my dream, my prophecy...she was dead...please look out for her, Link...
I'll try, then. He glanced over at her. She looked calm, but alert, as always. Then, with the first clash of swords, the fight began.
The wind whipped Maarei's onyx hair into her face as she fought. Even tying it back had done no good. There was just to much going on around her. She quickly brandished her sword and rode further into battle. It was hard fighting. These Gerudos, they were such good warriors.
She noticed Link was following her. Staying next to her. Perhaps he thought it better if they fought together, they could get the most down that way. But there is no time to think of that, she thought, slashing through a Cyreenian caught off guard. Cyreenians were hard also--their famed strength was shown in their heavy weapons, and they were all skilled in using them.
But it is just as easy to swing a weapon, she thought, ducking under a Cyreenian and stabbing his stomach, than it is to dodge one. Agility could beat strength. The agility and speed given to Melathians could only be looked upon as a gift. They had the quickest reflexes. They had the sharpest eye. That could win or lose a battle. Concentrating so much that you forget your insticts was a problem that some Melanthians had.
There was so much blood around her...red, crimson, the color of hate...the color of evil...the color of Ganondorf's eyes...
Fffftt. An arrow whizzed past Link's head. He dodged it, but just barely. He looked sideways quickly to see if Maarei was all right.
"I'm fine, Link," she replied, blocking a Gerudo's blows. "I can," Maarei said, not moving her eyes from the Gerudo's curved sword, "take" --clang-- "care" --clang-- "of myself!" She had disarmed the Gerudo and sliced evenly through her stomach, watching the blood pour out.
"Gosh, I hate doing that," she admitted as the woman slumped over in her sadle.
"Some things must be done," Link said, crossing swords with a Gerudo himself.
A shower of arrows fell around them, Maarei raised her shield. A Cyreenian sailed past her, circled her, and she dodged, trying to aviod the arrows at the same time. Ffffft. Fffft. Fffft. They were getting close, to close. He heaved a double-bladed battle axe at her head, and she dodged out of the way, just in time. He tried agian, and she caught the weapon in one hand, and tried with all her might to push it away.
Waves of pain shot up her wrist as she twisted it back, keeping the heavy weapon away. Maarei tried best to ignore it. His strength was too much, so she guided the axe away from her and rode forward quickly, losing him in the crowds.
"Duck!" she heard Link say. Maarei leaned to one side and ducked down. Ffffft. She felt something in her shoulder, burning, she looked down and, to her horror, saw an arrow. I have to keep fighting, she thought, but it was in her sword arm, making it almost immposible to fight. Maarei's energy started to drain out. She could feel it.
"Oh," she groaned, her eyes widening. She tightened her fingers around it and pulled. Hard. But it was in too deep. Someone, seeing her vulnerablity, rode up and started fighting with her. In agony, she tried lifting her arm, and clumsily blocked the attack.
I...can't...breathe... she thought franticly. A single arrow shouldn't kill...what was on the arrow? The arrow hadn't hit her lung, she was sure. What was making her so sick? Clang--gasp--clang--gasp. She couldn't fight like this for long. Suddenly, the expression on the persons face changed, and they fell over. Dead. She looked up, to see Link. He had killed them.
"Link..." Maarei began, gasping for breath. "I'm...sorry..." she wanted to say more, but...a red haze filled her mind and Maarei slowly relaxed...
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