Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Paths of Deception
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (email@example.com)
"I can't believe you let him talk us into doing this," moaned Aspete as both he and Skoll trekked through the dense undergrowth that cut Death Mountain area off from the rest of Hyrule.
"Well you never said nothin'! It's not like you complained then!" retorted the Stalfos huffily. Aspete just let out a growl of discontent, swinging his club from side to side in an agitated manner. It glanced off the over hanging branches, causing numerous leaves to fall, as well as any settling birds or wildlife to scatter.
"Yeah well...I was confused wa'nt I? He caught me off guard!" insisted the moblin, spitting a lump of debris from his mouth that had once been part of a previous meal of his.
"Well I dunno what you're complaining about. We did this loads of time for Ganon," pointed out Skoll, hacking away some overgrown grass that impeded his way. Aspete just gave a grunt.
"But Ganon was our master," he retorted.
"Well Ganon ain't here no more is he?" replied Skoll with a sneer.
"And he hated that big stupid bird fing. If he ever found out we was helping it, he'd have us...well I dunno, but it wouldn't be pretty," protested Aspete. Skoll just ignored him this time. "And why does he want us to spy on that dumb hero and his princess wifey? It ain't like they'll be doin' nowt," continued the moblin, determined to provoke a reaction from his companion.
"At least he didn't eat us. Them Griffins breath fire ya know!" interjected Skoll, not even looking at Aspete. At this, the moblin fell silent, contemplating the pros and cons of the mission they had been sent on. He supposed if they weren't at Death Mountain, then there wasn't such a big chance that Enzar would get mad at them and eat them. But if they failed their mission...well it wasn't even plausible to consider a return to their mountain home. "Anyhow, we's can still have us some fun on the way. Dere's plenty of little kiddies to scare on the way to Valour Hold," ended the stalfos brightly. Aspete shrugged.
"Yeah...I suppose," he acknowledged, and they both fell silent again, continuing to press forward, crashing noisily through the undergrowth as they went.
"Shhh!" motioned Felicity sharply. Both Tiffany and Carrie ceased the conversation and laid eyes expectantly on their friend. "Can you hear something?" They all paused and listened intently, detecting a faint crashing, as though something were wading through the grass towards them.
"Yes! It's coming from that way!" pointed Carrie, still listening for further noise.
"We should hide, it could be anything," suggested Felicity, quickly flying higher and settling onto a high tree bough. Carrie and Tiffany willingly followed, perching on the branch beside her, and looking down to the forest floor far below.
"What do you suppose it is?" whispered Tiffany, feeling a little nervous. She hated this forest, it wasn't like the Great Ruto Forest, home of the faeries. There were no peaceful creatures or pretty blossoms to admire, just the smell of sulphur and the disconcerting rattle of the dry and brittle leaves that seemed to constantly occupy the trees here all year round.
"I don't know. The best thing is to just wait here until it passes," said Felicity quietly, her gaze also focused to the ground below.
"Hey, it could be that Mara!" Carrie whispered, and they all nodded, just watching below their hideout for what it could be. After a few minutes, as the sounds of disturbance grew closer and closer, Tiffany almost gave their hideout away as she spotted two creatures emerging underneath the tree.
"Mob-!" she began to shriek, but Carrie promptly placed her hand over her friend's mouth, preventing her from making any more noise already.
"Did you hear dat?" asked Aspete, scratching his head as they paused as Skoll tried to decide where they were. Skoll looked at Aspete.
"I dunno. Sounded high," concluded Aspete. Skoll looked about them and shrugged.
"You prob'ly just hearin' things. Stupid," declared Skoll, preparing to move on again. Aspete didn't follow, but instead his nose began to twitch, a familiar smell reaching his nostrils.
"Wait!" demanded Aspete, and Skoll turned, looking impatient.
"What?!" Aspete sniffed once more.
"I can smell 'em! That faerie dust of theirs, I kin smell it!" His beady little eyes began darting to and fro, and he paced the clearing a little, trying to catch the scent's trail.
"So what? Dey's prob'ly long gone by now, and we have a mission, remembah?" Aspete ignored Skoll's disparaging words, and as he reached the tree in which all three faerie's were hidden, he gave a small bark of delight.
"They's up there!" he hissed excitedly, hardly able to contain his glee. Skoll looked at Aspete warily and then glanced up the tree, his weak eyes unable to see much. He stood, unimpressed.
"And so what if they are? They can just fly away any moment, you'll never catch 'em!" he said rather harshly, raining rather un-compassionately on the moblin's parade. Aspete turned to Skoll.
"But I never caught me a faerie! This could be my only chance!" Skoll shook his head.
"Yeah, and if we waste any more time, you'll never get another chance," he snapped, reminding Aspete of the deadline Enzar had set for the two. Aspete dawdled for a moment, scraping his bare feet in the ground and finally gave in, albeit in a tone of disappointment.
"Fine." He gave one last longing look up at the tree, and grudgingly followed Skoll from the clearing, dragging his club behind him.
"Whew, for a moment I thought they'd found us!" exclaimed Tiffany, his voice evident with belief. Carrie nodded in agreement. Felicity merely frowned.
"Weren't those two Ganon's old scouts?" she questioned. Tiffany shrugged.
"I wouldn't know, all that I do know is that I hate moblins!" Carrie gave a vague nod.
"You know, I think you're right. I couldn't be sure about the stalfos, but that moblin...heck you don't get many yellow skinned ones about, and Ganon's scout was definitely yellow," confirmed Carrie. Felicity nodded.
"I thought as much. But they looked like they were going somewhere...you know, as if on an errand. That moblin definitely knew we were up here, and he'd have come up too, if he hadn't been with that stalfos. My guess is they're up to something," concluded Felicity, both her voice and gaze that of suspicion.
"Like what? Ganon isn't around anymore, surely they're free to do what they want?" said Tiffany.
"Perhaps they have a new master," said Felicity slowly, still not convinced.
"Maybe one of us should follow them, you know, and make sure they don't cause any trouble," suggested Carrie suddenly. Tiffany wrinkled her nose at the mere thought of tracking a moblin and a stalfos.
"No thank you," she declined emphatically. Felicity looked thoughtful for a second.
"I don't really like the thought of one of us going off alone, but you do have a point. They could be working for Mara now, after all is she is powerful at magic, they won't have the choice to refuse her. They could be up to anything. But I still think we should get to Death Mountain as soon as we can," said the faerie. Carrie shrugged.
"Well I could follow them. They could be important," she volunteered. Felicity paused again, torn. Then finally she gave a nod.
"You're right. Two of us should be enough to go into Death Mountain, we won't be doing anything more than spying ourselves. And if you're sure, then we might as well follow every lead we have," she said, justifying the decision. Carrie stood, and gave a quick smile.
"I'd best go now, before I lose them," she said, and Tiffany and Felicity also stood.
"Be careful," warned Tiffany, glad Carrie was going instead of her. Carrie was no idiot, she could easily use her magic to get herself out of trouble, and she was discreet enough to probably remain undetected.
"You be careful two, Death Mountain is a lot more dangerous than two dumb ex minions of Ganon," said Carrie sincerely. She then tossed a playful handful of faerie dust in the air before fluttering down and away, and soon out of sight, heading in the same direction they had seen the stalfos and moblin go previously.
"We should get going, hopefully there won't be more of their kind in Death Mountain," said Felicity hopefully. Tiffany just gave a nod, and they quickly left, once again resuming their trail to Death Mountain.
By early evening, the group had reached the town of Nabrooru, the biggest settlement in East Hyrule. It was almost as large as Mido, with sprawling outskirts dotted across the Great Plains. Further to the east, an ocean could be seen, and to the north and south, low mountain ranges, forefronted by large forests. Back to the west was again, ocean, though it couldn't been seen from their current position. A long, paved road led into the centre of the town, which was where they were headed, and a wall stood around the inner section of the settlement.
"Feels like I've not been here in ages," Link commented, looking around.
"Wonder how the old Fighting Hall is doing," Drake spoke, turning from his position of the front of the cart to Link and Aaron. Selina bit her lip at the mention of the place; Aramis, her previous love, had spent most of his time there. There, and at her uncle's tavern, of course.
"Too bad it'll be closed now, not had a good spar in ages," Aaron said, in a regretful tone.
"Yeah, and we'll have to push on in the morning, we could probably make it to the Hold if we set off early," Link added.
"Oh, I don't know, it's dangerous to travel the forests at night, you know," Aaron said.
"We should probably stay in Tarn, their tavern is big enough besides," Zelda agreed, smiling over at Aaron. He smiled back. She knew he was obviously keen to pay a visit to his family while they passed through the forest village, she would certainly grant him that.
"What? We have to stay in ANOTHER tavern?!" Fayette asked, looking annoyed.
"Ahem, I'll have you know, Lady Fayette, that The Dice and The Table is an extremely fine establishment!" Drake stated, giving her a stern look. Fayette pouted.
"It's still a tavern, though!" she wailed.
"Oh shut up, they aren't that bad Faye," Zelda said coolly. The two stepsisters eyed each other angrily.
"Maybe not for people like YOU, Zelda, I mean, you never did manage to act that ladylike, you always did prefer to go gallivanting around with PEASANTS..." Fayette started snidely.
"Erm, excuse me, but..." Zelda began, outraged at her stepsister's comments.
"I, on the other hand, am a refined lady, and..." Fayette continued.
"Haha, very funny," Drake interjected. Fayette stopped, looking annoyed.
"Well..." she began again.
"For Hyrule's sake, would the pair of you just stop it? You've been arguing all the way here, and I'm getting a headache," Link complained, finally losing his own temper.
"Oh, well if that's your attitude over this..." Zelda huffed.
"Zelda, Link's right. You two ought to give it a rest," Selina said quietly, trying not to upset her friend. Zelda just scowled, whilst Fayette looked smug again.
"Erm, shouldn't we be getting to the tavern?" Aaron suggested hopefully.
"Yes, that sounds like a good idea," Nick agreed.
"Well, come on! Head for my uncle's tavern, The Lucky Dragon Inn," Selina said to Drake. He nodded, and urged the horses on.
"Right away, Your Highness," he laughed.
"Yeah, I could really do with some ale," Link muttered. Zelda gave him an annoyed look, before returning into her current sulk. He ignored her. Some things weren't even worth troubling yourself over, and he found Zelda was moving even quicker into that category as the day wore on. Aaron gave him a sympathetic look, and Link gave his son's hand a small squeeze to reassure him everything was okay. Only another day till we get to the Hold, he thought. Once there, surely all his worries would dissipate.
The tavern was fairly busy when the group arrived there, but Wilfred, Selina's uncle, ensured straight away that they all got tables and comfy seats near to each other. He gave Selina a warm hug.
"So wonderful to see you again, niece," he exclaimed. She kissed him on the cheek.
"And how good to see you again, uncle!" she replied, smiling. Drake strode over, as usual, exuding his knightly air.
"I trust the inn is doing well?" he enquired, looking around with interest.
"Of course, Sir Benowyc! But all the more better, for your custom!" Wilfred laughed.
"Ah, of course! It is a sad thing, that I cannot frequent this fine drinking establishment more often; The Red Swan in Mido takes most of my custom, since I have to spend most of my time at the castle these days," the knight replied, laughing also.
"Well I shall see to it that you shall be able to try out some of our newest and finest beverages while you are here, then maybe you can spread the word," the tavern owner suggested. Drake patted him on the back.
"That I will do, my friend. Now, let me advance to your bar!" he grinned, before striding away once more. Wilfred smiled, and turned back to his niece.
"I take it you shan't be wanting to serve here tonight," he joked.
"Uncle, I would, only it is not Queenly behaviour!" she laughed. Her uncle nodded, and gestured over to the seating area.
"Do be seated Selina, I shall send one of the barmaids over to take food orders, I am sure you're all hungry," he said.
"Definitely!" Selina grinned. Her uncle walked off, back towards the bar, and the young Dalsonian Queen went back to join her friends.
It wasn't long before hot meals were all set before the hungry travellers. Only Fayette, of course, turned up her nose at the delicious spread, but her complaints were ignored. The meal consisted of delicious roasted beef in gravy, mashed potatoes topped with cheese, green vegetables, and freshly baked crusty bread.
"I didn't realise how hungry I was until now!" Selina exclaimed, taking a dainty bite of her meat.
"I must inform your uncle that he has excellent cooks," Nick said, smiling.
"Oh yes!" Fayette quickly agreed, smiling over at Nick. Zelda and Selina exchanged bored glances. Only minutes before, Fayette had been moaning.
"He'll appreciate it," Selina said, taking another bite. Zelda sipped her wine, and watched Fayette out of the corner of her eye. Her step-sister however, was too busy gazing adoringly at Nick to notice. Will she ever give up on him, the Princess wondered. The children, the delight of many in the tavern, had barely touched their food, but instead, were running around and playing near the large fire. Aden was shyly joining in with the friendly Ewan and Timothy, much to Fayzie's joy. Fayette's daughters were also playing together, only Roderick, as usual, did not join them, he stayed close to his mother. Zelda found herself smiling at the scene, and began to feel a little better, with a hot meal inside her, and the wine made her relax. Perhaps she could steal a few private moments with Link sometime during the evening... the others would watch Ewan, until it was time for bed... she had a lot to make up with him, after all. She knew he wasn't too happy with her at the present moment, and she had to make things up with him, after the way she'd been feeling about Kaibre... she just had to get him off her mind. Finishing off her food, she turned to her husband, looking at him imploringly.
"You shan't be drinking with the others all night, shall you?" she whispered, out of earshot of the others. He unfortunately, didn't take her hint.
"I don't know yet... maybe, I want to spend time with my friends again, in a relaxed atmosphere, I missed that, while I was in Catalia," he replied, somewhat distantly. She bit her lip, disappointed. She supposed she had brought it on herself, after all.
"Well okay... I just figured we could... you know. Be alone, together, for a while. Ewan shall have to be with us later, after all and we haven't spent that sort of time with each other much recently," she replied. He gave her a surprised look.
"I didn't know you felt so strongly about that," he replied.
"I... oh Link, you know I love you! I want it all back to way it was... before Catalia," she said, placing a hand on his arm and gazing up at him. Something in him relented.
"Zel, me too! More than anything... you're right," the hero agreed. He quickly stood up, pulling Zelda with him. "Come on, let's go now it's all the more time for us," he whispered, smiling at her. She smiled back, and they quickly stole upstairs towards their allotted guestroom. Link paused by Aaron before they went, though.
"Do me a favour, keep an eye on Ewan. I need to talk to Zel," he said. His friend nodded.
"Sure, I'll send him up when he gets tired," he promised. Link smiled and nodded.
"Thanks," he said, before following Zelda.
Zelda wasn't really sure what she was hoping to achieve, except maybe to prove to herself that Link was the only man she would ever want and need to love. She remembered Fayette's mocking words, earlier in the day, that had made her blood turn cold, and she couldn't believe that her step-sister even knew what had gone on. Fayette, she was sure, was only jumping to conclusions. But was she really being that transparent? As she looked at Link, she wondered if he was starting to suspect too. She wouldn't blame him, if he did. She'd barely given him the attention he needed, since they'd arrived back in Hyrule, after all. However, if he did suspect, he didn't let on. Instead, he smiled hopefully at her, running a hand across her cheek, through into her hair.
"Isn't it going to be a great vacation?" he said, looking more cheerful than in recent times. She nodded.
"It'll be just like the old times," she said, hoping it would be.
"Mmm... remember that time when we first met Selina, and stayed here?" he reminisced. Zelda smiled.
"Uhuh... don't know how I managed to resist you back then," she replied.
"I forgive you, you sure made up for it later," Link grinned, running his hand lightly through her hair with affection.
"Well I... I was just shy, you know," the Princess defended.
"Not now, you aren't," he teased lightly, before bringing his lips to hers in a sweet kiss.
"Um... well... I..." Zelda started. She gave up, and kissed him back. Everywhere he touched, sent little trails of fire running through her, arousing her old feelings for him with each passing moment. I love him, I really do, how could I ever doubt it, she thought to herself, trying to dispel all the emotions she felt for another.
"Love you, Zel," Link murmured, barely stopping his kisses.
"I love you, too," Zelda replied, leaning back a little to catch her breath.
"Course you do, how could you possibly not?" he joked.
Yes... how could I not? Zelda thought in agreement. I ought to burn in the void for this! she thought angrily to herself. For her deception to the perfect young man stood in front of her, regarding her with nothing but his deep and true love for her. Why did it take me this long to see, he never deceived me at all with Leigh, or anyone else! He wouldn't... because he's Link. He loves me too much to hurt me. And yet I paid no heed to that, I put him through hell over Leigh, and now if he found out what I'd been doing while he was away...
"Oh Link, I..." she began.
"Why are we wasting our time talking?" Link suddenly interrupted, pulling her down onto the nearby bed beside him mischievously. "There's so much better things we could be doing," he added.
"Uh... well, you said it, shut up and kiss me, you idiot," she joked weakly, although in her heart of hearts, she couldn't go on with the charade much longer. Link of course, gladly obliged. He'd never turn her down for anything, after all.
"Something tells me, we'll be having a real early night, for once," he smiled.
"Uhh... are you sure you don't want to join the guys later?" Zelda suddenly asked.
"I thought you wanted..." Link started.
"I, uh... well..." Zelda stammered, going red. He looked at her questioningly. She gave him a weak smile.
"Oh fine, I will then!" he said. "If that's what you want so much!" Sighing, he got up, and walked out of the room. Zelda sighed to herself. Could things get any worse?
It was nightfall by the time Felicity and Tiffany reached the oppressive natural monument of Death Mountain. Tiffany gave a visible shudder, hovering nervously.
"I hate this place!" Felicity nodded in agreement, she wasn't a big fan herself.
"I know what you mean."
"Are we heading in now...I mean it's night, we could just sleep out here, go in the morning, when we're all fresh and aware," suggested the pretty faerie hopefully. Felicity didn't look persuaded.
"I don't know. Night time is probably just as good a time as any. In fact, with Mara being a mortal and all, there's no reason to expect her not to act like one. Now is the time she'll be least aware, which can only be a good thing, especially now there's only two of us," argued Felicity. She paused. "I hope Carrie's doing okay though," she added in a murmur. Tiffany nodded.
"Yeah, me too." She turned to look at Death Mountain. "We go now?" Felicity rubbed one eye absently.
"Can you feel it?" she suddenly asked. Tiffany stared at her, puzzled.
"Feel what?" It was Felicity's turn to shiver. A shadow of what Tiffany guessed as fear passed Felicity's features, and she shook her head, her chest falling as she exhaled. She replied, her voice suddenly dry, like something was constricting her throat.
"Oh, by Farore!" Tiffany's brow furrowed, still confused as to what Felicity was feeling...or seeing.
"What?! What is it?!" she asked, her voice urgent. Felicity focused her eyes upon Tiffany. She suddenly waved her hands in a complicated movement, and a thin line of pure white light surrounded her, before spiralling away, tiny sparks illuminating the darkness. They did not fade, however, but instead, their pure brilliance became heavily tainted, grey at first, before changing to an impossibly dark black, that stood out as clear as day against the dusk laden sky. Felicity let out another audible breath.
"There's something here." Tiffany gazed at her friend, wide eyed.
"I don't know. It could be Mara, but there's evil here, more evil than I've ever known since Ganondorf's demise...it can't be Mara, and yet, who, or what, else could it be?" Tiffany appeared frightened by her friend's ominous words.
"You mean...no...I don't know. But something as powerful as Ganondorf?" Her eyes turned to the stygian black lines that stood out from everything else, like smoke, only not. Felicity could do nothing but shake her head once more.
"I...I don't know, but Tiffany, can you not feel it. Being near this place makes me feel ill!" Tiffany looked down at her hands.
"No...I can't feel anything," she admitted. Felicity fluttered around, then headed for a small brush of trees. She motioned to her friend.
"You were right, we should rest before we go in...perhaps the whole day. If there is something as strong as what my spell indicated, and what my heart tells me is in there...we'll need all of our reserves to keep us safe," said Felicity in a grave tone. Tiffany nodded, she would've been happy for them to head in, but now after Felicity's words, she did not want to set foot in there, or even stay near the place. But she knew she would have to, whatever the consequences.
They rested for longer than they had intended. Felicity only awoke when her dreams were interrupted by a constant drumming, and in turn, a cool shock to her skin. Her eyes shot open, and she sat up from the branch she had been resting on and let out a small cry as the rain poured down upon her. Tiffany was also stirring, but Felicity quickly shook her awake. Tiffany let out a moan of discontent, but still sat up, clutching her knees to her chest.
"Oh rain..." murmured the pretty faerie. The leaves above them had protected them from the majority of the shower, but still some had inevitably got through.
"What time is it?" asked Felicity aloud, but Tiffany could not give her a reply. She rubbed her stomach hungrily.
"I couldn't tell you, but something does tell me it's well past midday," answered Tiffany. Felicity nodded, casting her eyes to the greying sky.
"We should eat," she said, brushing her hair back from her ears.
"I won't argue to that," agreed Tiffany, taking her pack and opening it. Felicity did the same, but she could keep her eyes from the mountain, and its unholy aura. As she began to delicately eat her rye bread, she couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that had gripped her heart and mind. She slowly swivelled her gaze to Tiffany, who seemed blissfully unaware of what Felicity was...feeling. "I can't believe we slept this long!" exclaimed Tiffany, her words shattering Felicity's thoughts.
"Uh...what?" Tiffany smiled at her friend.
"I was just saying I couldn't believe how long we slept," repeated Tiffany. Felicity gave a vague nod, her thoughts once more distracted by the aura of the mountain.
"We should go now." Tiffany paused.
"Now?" she questioned. Felicity gave a confident nod, although she failed to meet Tiffany's eyes.
"Yes. The sooner we leave here the better."
"Well, that fills me with confidence," commented Tiffany warily. Felicity looked at her friend.
"I don't think it's confidence we'll need in that place," she murmured. Tiffany was about to question her friend's ominous words, but Felicity was already fastening her food pouch to her belt, and standing in preparation to leave.
"Please Felicity, if we're going in there, and you know something I don't, I'd rather know," said Tiffany, standing also. She grabbed her friend by the hand, forcing Felicity to look at her. Felicity let out a sigh.
"Tiffany I know as much as you do. Except that whatever Mara has done, or is doing, it's having an effect on the atmosphere around her...on the surroundings..." she paused, her eyes looking skywards, "maybe even the weather...and those nearby." Tiffany stopped Felicity at this point.
"Those nearby?! As in, people...as in faerie people? As in us? Are you saying we could be affected by this?!" asked Tiffany, sounding worried, as well as looking it. Felicity looked at the mountain once more. She looked at Tiffany once more, who had laid an imploring gaze upon her.
"I think...I think something in there is affecting me," she confessed. "But it doesn't seem to be touching you," she added. Tiffany ran a hand though her blonde curls, frowning a little.
"Are you okay Flis? I mean, you're right about me, I feel fine...a little scared maybe, but..." her voice trailed off there.
"I'm okay...I think. But we should go now, before I feel...not as good as I do now," said Felicity carefully. Tiffany was not convinced, but she knew Felicity would go in, whether she approved or not. It looked as though she was going along just to make sure they got back out, preferably alive.
"Flic, if you think it's too dangerous..." began Tiffany. Felicity shook her head.
"No. We should check it out first, we're faeries, we can cast our way out of pretty much anything," reminded Felicity, trying to sound a little more upbeat.
"Famous last words," said Tiffany wryly. Felicity tried to smile, but it failed. She let out an agitated sigh.
"Come on. Let's go," she ushered, before flying from the tree that had housed them until now, and headed towards Death Mountain.
Back to Story Menu