Disclaimer: I don’t want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other people’s 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.

Triad of Evil

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (arcadionseye@btopenworld.com)



Chapter 10

     Mara was waiting at the tower summit. Her cruel mouth formed a wordless sneer as she watched Zelda step through the door.

"Back so soon?" she said sweetly. "I would have thought my little trick would have rendered you incapable of ever getting up again. But it looks like I was wrong. You have the Fey on your side," she sneered. Zelda flipped her long hair over her back, and eyed Mara defiantly.

"I've come to take back what is rightfully mine!" she snapped.

"Yours? I think it is mine now, Princess," Mara said, walking across to the Triforce Pedestal. She had already replaced the Triforce of Wisdom back with the other two magical prisms. "Already my consort Robert advances his army upon this very castle. By night it shall fall into his hands and you, my dear Princess, shall be dead! You and your wretched husband, and the rest of your family! Hyrule will be mine, and soon after, the entire Demiari!" she exclaimed. Zelda had seen the battle taking place outside when Sal had flew overhead. She couldn't believe that Robert's army had arrived so quickly. But who knew how long she'd been lying unconscious at Death Mountain? It had to be at least two days since she had left North Castle.

"You tried to kill me once, you will not succeed again," she said. Mara simply laughed.

"The life drains from your weak body even as you speak, Princess! It shall not take much to end your pitiful existence!" She then turned her back on Zelda, approaching the Triforce once more. "This is what I have been waiting for, this exact moment," she said, placing her hands on the Triforce of Power. Nothing happened. Mara tried each Triforce in turn, attempting to channel their powers. But again, nothing. Zelda watched with interest, hope suddenly rising in her. If Mara couldn't make a magic connection to any of the Triforces, then she obviously wasn't bestowed with any of the corresponding virtues. Suddenly Mara whipped round, glaring at Zelda. "You! I have seen you use the Triforce, tell me or you will die!" she shrieked angrily.

"I cannot tell you, it is something you just know," Zelda replied coolly.

"You lie! Reveal to me the secrets of the Triforce, if you value your pitiful life!" Mara screamed, advancing towards Zelda with a furious look on her face. Zelda stepped backwards, away from the witch.

"Each Triforce corresponds to a virtue; either power, wisdom or courage. Certain people in the Demiari are born with these virtues and only they can control the Triforce's power! People like me, like Link! There is no secret!" Zelda exclaimed. Mara glared at her hatefully.

"Very well. Then there is only one thing for it," she said in a cold voice. Zelda stared as Mara began to raise her arms. She was going to summon Link to the tower.



***



"This is a feud between men, Navi, and not us faeries. We will not fight their battles for them," said Nazareth gravely, the head chief of the faerie council. Navi frowned in frustration and let out an annoyed sigh.

"Don't you see?! If we don't intervene we will lose the protection of the Hyrulians! We have lived with their kind for hundreds of years and for them to be wiped out could mean our end also. The Catalians don't understand us faeries like the Hyrulians do..." said the faerie angrily, amazed at the ignorance and stubbornness of the council.

"We are not to intervene, Navi, it is not our place!" said Nazareth insistently. Navi shut her eyes for a second, holding back a scream of frustration.

"We can't just stand by and watch Hyrule fall! The Catalian King is in league with a powerful witch! A powerful witch who has already turned the chief advisor of our Queen to her own dark ways!" spat Navi desperately. As she spoke there was an uncomfortable shift among the council, and Nazareth looked at Navi long and hard.

"You speak of...Felicity?" he asked cautiously.

"Yes! She was somehow involved with the massacre of the Hold...don't ask me how, but she was involved," swore Navi.

"No...it is impossible, Felicity is not capable of such wickedness!" said another member of the council in disbelief. Navi looked at Nazareth.

"I am speaking the truth," she swore. Nazareth frowned.

"That is a very serious accusation to make, Navi. If it were true...well, you must be aware of the penalty for such a crime," said the elder faerie. Navi nodded. She knew alright. To kill just one human unprovoked meant death. To kill an entire army of men...Felicity would be stripped of her powers and sent into exile. It was the worst punishment that any faerie could face.

"All of you know and respect Felicity, I know. Imagine that if she could be lured to such evil, then what would the consequences be if her wicked seducer were to take over Hyrule? Our minds would no longer be our own, and we would be recruited to her service without choice," implored Navi. Nazareth let out a long and drawn out sigh. "If Tamara were here, she would agree with me. The humans must be helped!" added Navi desperately. Nazareth nodded a slow nod and rose from his seat. The rest of the council followed suit.

"Very well Navi. Perhaps this is our battle as much as the humans." Navi let out a sigh of relief. She knew Nazareth was not doing this through choice. It was faerie lore. A long time ago, even before Navi's time, all faeries had been bound to serve the Hylians. That was no longer so, but it was now custom for any faerie whose life was saved by a human to serve that human until death. If a faerie killed a human then that could only be repaid by the death of that said faerie. If Felicity had been involved in the Valour Hold massacre as Navi suspected, then that meant the entire faerie race was bound into the service of the race wronged. And that meant fighting against the Catalians.

"Good. We've wasted enough time already," said Navi sharply. Nazareth looked at Navi gravely.

"If your claims are untrue Navi..." he began. Navi nodded.

"I know. But she was involved. Whether it was her own will or not," said Navi solemnly. Nazareth nodded and left the clearing along with the rest of the council. Although it was a victory for the ancient faerie, she did not feel victorious. Doubt was already beginning to crawl into the faerie's mind as to whether Felicity had really been involved with the massacre. She shook her head defiantly. It did not matter. The humans needed their aid, and if it came at the cost of one faerie, whether it be Felicity, or Navi, that was a price the faerie was prepared to pay.



***



"They're here! Valour Hold has arrived!" cried a jubilant voice over the noise of battle. Drake turned and saw to the east the approaching regiments of Valour Hold, and his heart swelled.

"Finally," he muttered, glad to see that the tide was now turning in Hyrule's favour. "It's about bloody time!" cried the knight loudly, unable to hide the glee in his gruff voice.



Aaron turned as he heard the cries of relief and joy, and saw, to his delight, the approaching men of Valour Hold.

"What time do you call this?" he cried, swinging his sword at an approaching Catalian and catching him in the gut. The Catalian fell to his knees, his mouth hanging open, before falling to his face with a splash of blood, mud and water. "Perhaps we might just survive this after all," added the captain as an after thought, before turning his back on the Valour Hold regiment, renewed with enthusiasm and hope.



***



Sprite stared at Navi as if she were crazy.

"We can't do that!" she exclaimed, glancing over at Felicity anxiously who was lying semi-conscious on a nearby bed. She had arrived back at Silva-Veredis Le'Fey not long ago with an exhausted Felicity and a frightened Tiffany. Navi had just returned from a meeting with the Faerie Council and now she was suggesting to Sprite that Felicity had to accompany them both to the battlefield.

"But we need Felicity in the circle to break the spell! She was involved somehow... plus her magic is the strongest of us all," Navi replied. Sprite shook her head.

"She's far too weak, she used the last of her powers to help Princess Zelda. She needs to rest Navi! If she doesn't, she might die"

"We've no choice... look Sprite I know you and Felicity are close, but the future of Hyrule is bleak if we don't help out the only way we can!" Navi argued. The two faeries glared at each other, neither willing to give way.

"As Queen of the Fey, I order that Felicity stays here!" Sprite finally proclaimed.

"And by order of the Faerie Council, which I might add, has the final say in matters of Hyrule, Felicity must come with us! You cannot overrule the Council," Navi answered, folding her arms. Sprite just looked defiant. She knew she was defeated. If the Council ordered that Felicity must attend, then there was nothing she could do to prevent it. She scowled at the other faerie in hatred. .

"Stupid council!" she spluttered. Navi's expression softened for a moment and she laid a hand on Sprite's shoulder in comfort.

"Look Sprite, I can see as much as you can that Felicity is in no fit state. But we need her. Hyrule needs her," she said. Sprite pushed Navi's hand away and glared at her furiously.

"This will kill her!" she cried, tears forming in her eyes as she looked over at her grievously ill friend. Navi walked over to the bed and looked down at Felicity, who was extremely pale, a sharp contrast to her long black hair cascading onto the pillows and her dark crimson dress. Slowly she placed a hand onto the faerie's forehead and shut her eyes.

"I can't fight Mara's dark magic, but I can ease it," she said, before beginning to chant something in Hylian that Sprite couldn't quite understand. Felicity was briefly bathed in a soft blue glow and after a moment, two spots of colour formed in her cheeks. She blinked, looking confused for a moment, before sitting up in bed.

"Felicity!" Sprite exclaimed, rushing over to embrace her best friend. She turned to Navi, who was stood to one side shyly. "Uh, thanks, I guess. Does this mean Flis will be okay?"

"It's just a revive spell, Felicity will need plenty of rest of she's to survive," Navi answered.

"Thank you Navi. Now lets hope I feel okay for long enough to dispel what Mara's done," Felicity said, speaking for the first time. She eased herself up off the bed and stood. "Is Tiff okay?" she asked suddenly, concern flashing across her pretty face. Sprite looked down at the floor, still upset.

"She's resting, like you should be," she said.

"She'll be fine... you helped heal her, right Navi?" Felicity said, looking across at Navi. Navi nodded.

"Yes. Tiffany will definitely be okay. The rest of the Fey have already left the forest to head out to the battlefield. Come on, we better catch them up," she said.

"We're with you Navi," Sprite said, taking both her and Felicity by the hand. "Let's go and kick some Catalian behinds!"



***



Robert balked as he saw the reinforcements arrive. His men were already suffering heavily on the western flank, and now Hyrule had more men arriving from the east. And not just any men.

"Mara!" he cried aloud, anger spilling over him as he raised a clenched fist to the sky. The woman had promised him that the men of Valour Hold would be no threat. She had lied! This was not going to plan at all. Robert had been so sure of victory when the battle had begun he had outnumbered and out manoeuvred the pitiful Hyrulians and yet it was he, Robert, who was suffering. "This cannot be!" he roared, spurring his steed on and racing towards the thick of the battle. He had stood back long enough. He could do so no longer.

"Your Majesty! Please, what are you doing?" asked one of Robert's advisors desperately. Robert turned on the man and snarled at him.

"We are losing against these fools! I will not stand idly by and watch this plan fail!" he shouted furiously, his dark eyes glittering with dangerous menace.

"But to risk yourself sir is foolish!" reminded the advisor pleadingly.

"I am no fool. How dare you even suggest it!" cried Robert angrily, whipping his sword from its scabbard and cutting off his advisor's head in one fell swoop. Silence overcame the camp and Robert glanced around, daring another to oppose him. His beheaded advisor fell to his knees and then slumped into the mud.

"Let that serve all of you as a reminder to choose wisely who you call a fool!" screamed the general almost hysterically before turning and riding away into the bloody melee of battle.



It was Aaron who saw them first. The faces of the men of Valour Hold. Their uniforms. Their stance. They were not allies of Hyrule. They were its enemies.

"By the Goddesses," whispered the young captain, the icy hand of fear finding its grip around his heart. The men of Valour Hold were pale and ashen grey, their uniforms sopping wet as if they had just made a trek through the sea itself. Their eyes were a murderous shade of red, and many of them wore the expressions of men who had died with fear in their hearts. "What sorcery is this?" asked the captain, his heart beginning to pound wildly. They were trapped once more between Catalians and Catalian allies. It was like a nightmare, but Aaron knew he was not asleep. This was no dream.

"Watch out!" cried Aaron, his voice hoarse as he saw the men of Valour Hold draw their bows. They were aiming for the few men of Aaron's that remained. "Behind you!" yelled Aaron desperately, bringing his shield down in front of him. His warning came too late for many. Arrows flew through the air and struck down many Hyrulians, and one arrow found its path came to an end in the steel of Aaron's shield. The impact sent Aaron sprawling to his back, and more arrows rained down on him. He held up his shield defensively, knowing that it was all that stood between him and death. His last thoughts were of his wife, Aimee, and his son, Timothy, before something struck him on the skull and his vision blacked out.



"What in the void?!" cried Drake in amazement and confusion as he saw the men of Valour Hold draw on their own allies.

"What in the void are they doing?" he growled, his voice catching in his throat as he saw arrows fly. He cursed aloud and swung his sword in a devastating fashion into the neck of a fleeing soldier dressed in purple and silver. "What are they playing at?" he yelled, riding through the field in an attempt to get a closer look at the events unfolding on the east flank. His attention distracted, the knight failed to see a fallen Catalian rising to his feet, sword in hand. He swept his blade up and across Drake's steed, and the knight was thrown from his seat, landing face down in the mud. With a grunt the knight pushed himself up, reaching at his belt for his sword, but it reached little but air. He cursed again and got to his feet, only to be confronted by a bloody faced and sword wielding Catalian. Drake put up his hands and let out a low chuckle.

"Come on, man, you don't want to kill me. Don't you know who I am?"

"Names matter little to the dead," spat the soldier, raising his sword above his head. Drake smiled and then launched himself at the Catalian, wrestling him to the ground. He held the man's head down in the mud and delivered a few heavy fisted blows, knocking the man into either death or unconsciousness he could not tell which. He prised the sword from the fallen man's fingers and then turned back to the east. He swore under his breath and then marched on, little deterring him from his set course.

 



As Drake pushed on through the battle field, his attention was momentarily distracted when his eyes were drawn to the centre of the field. Link. The hero was little more than a killing machine, and Drake suddenly felt glad to have the hero on side. But then he saw something he had no expected. Robert. The general King of Catalia. The man behind all this needless death. He was approaching Link from the North, and Link had his back turned, concentrating on dispatching three Catalians who decided to join together in a bid to stop the hero.

"Link!" cried Drake, calling a warning to his friend, but his hoarse voice failed to carry over the field of battle. Letting out another curse, Drake began to race towards his friend, hoping that he wasn't too late to help him.



Link heard the approach of a mounted foe, but he did not turn to face him. Three Catalians had him surrounded, and he was more concerned with getting rid of them for the time being. But then something changed. The Catalians seemed to see something behind Link that warranted their reverence, and then Link knew who it was who had approached him. He forgot those that faced him, and turned his back, looking up at Robert, his brother in name though not in blood.

"Robert." He spat the name like one may spit something distasteful from one's mouth, and his eyes were full of disdain and disgust for the King of Catalia.

"Link," greeted Robert, dismounting from his horse. He walked up to Link and then nodded at those who stood behind the hero. Before Link could react he was grabbed on all sides, his hands brought behind his back, an arm pressed against his neck. Robert smiled, almost serenely, a different picture to the angry and furious man some may have witnessed moments before. Robert now knew Mara had not lied. He had seen the men of Valour Hold turn on their own comrades. Mara had been correct when she had said they were of not threat to Robert. Robert looked at Link and let out a small sigh as the hero struggled in vain against the hands that held him.

"You have killed many of my men, today, Link. What a sight it would have been if we had been on the same side," said Robert in a contemplative tone. Link continued to struggle, attempting to break free of Robert's men.

"I would never have fought for you Robert. You are all that is wrong with our kind. Arrogant and greedy and corrupt. You care not for life, but for power, and that makes you no better than a common thief," growled Link, barely able to talk as the forearm of a Catalian pressed against his throat. Robert smiled.

"But I am a King, Link. And what are you? You are nothing," sneered the general.

"At least I won't be dead in a few moments," spat the hero defiantly. Robert raised his eyebrows and smiled.

"Oh? And what makes you think that? As far as I can see, I am the one with the upper hand, Link," said the Kokiri amiably. Link frowned.

"Appearances can be deceiving," he muttered fruitlessly. He knew Robert was right. Men were fighting all around them. Everyone else was too busy fighting for their own lives to even realise Link was about to lose his. Robert nodded to the one of the Catalians behind Link and he felt his throat released. Robert drew his sword and held it to Link's Adam's apple.

"Any last words?" inquired Robert.

"Yes. Put your sword down and I won't run you through you cowardly bastard!" Robert froze, and Link suddenly saw his comrade and friend, Drake, standing behind the King, his sword in his back. Drake nodded to the Catalians that held Link.

"That's right, let him go, and I might consider letting your so called King live," ordered Drake. The Catalians released Link and stepped back unsurely.

"Kill him you fools!" cried Robert suddenly, but Link had already grabbed his sword from one of them and dispatched the three of them in a sweeping strike. He turned back to Robert who was seething with fury.

"Do you want to have the honours Link?" asked Drake politely. Link regarded Robert carefully and then, after a moment of deliberation, shook his head solemnly.

"He's not worth the steel of my sword, Drake," said the hero slowly, backing away from Robert, his eyes full of disdain and disgust. Robert's eyes glittered furiously at Link's words, and he stepped forward suddenly, his handsome face distorted into a mask of hatred.

"You are nothing!" screamed the Kokiri furiously, before spitting at Link's feet in a gesture of animosity. Link looked down to the mud and then back up to Robert.

"I'd rather be nothing than what you are," he said, sickened by the very presence of his kinsmen. It baffled him to think that the man stood before him had once been a sweet and unassuming boy, with not a word of hatred for any person, living or dead. But then, Link thought, the world was a different place to what it had been back in those times. So very different. His contemplation was suddenly broken when he heard a whistle on the air.

"Oh Din! Look out Link!" cried Drake suddenly, but it was too late. An arrow flew through the air and struck Link through the shoulder. The hero let out an anguished cry and fell backwards. Drake pushed Robert out of the way and fell by Link's side, sighing in relief when he saw the wound was not as bad as it could have been.

"Drake, watch out!" cried Link as Robert loomed over them, and Drake rose to his feet, striking Robert on the chin with the back of his fist. The Catalian span to the ground, landing with a thud, and Drake turned back to Link.

"You okay?" he asked. Link nodded.

"Just finish him! Finish him and it'll be all over," cried Link insistently. Drake turned, only to see Robert staggering over to his steed.

"Oh no! You aren't going anywhere!" shouted Drake, rushing over to the Catalian. This time Robert was ready for the knight however, and he lashed out with his sword, catching Drake on the shoulder. The knight fell back, clutching his new wound, and he turned his blue eyes to the fleeing Catalian.

"You're going to die sometime Robert. You're just postponing the inevitable!" he called after the Catalian monarch. Robert looked back as he rode away and shook his head.

"Aren't we all?" he cried mockingly, before disappearing from Drake's line of vision. The knight shook his head and staggered over to Link, blood ebbing freely from the wound Robert had inflicted on him. He looked down at the hero, who had suddenly turned very pale, and Drake crouched down by his side, looking at the arrow lodged in Link's right shoulder with dismay.

"That arrow came from the bow of a Valour Hold man," he said slowly, casting his gaze gingerly back to his own wound.

"Isn't that what they call irony?" asked Link, emitting a weak chuckle, easing himself up. He let out a sharp gasp as he rose, and Drake steadied him.

"No. It's called treachery. Valour Hold is fighting for Robert. I saw them turn on our own men with my own eyes," said Drake morosely, helping Link to his feet.

"But...no. That's impossible," said Link with a furrowed brow.

"I know that. But it's happened...now come on, I'm getting you back to the castle. The last thing we need is you dead," said Drake gruffly. Link shook his head, breaking away from Drake's grip. He swayed for a moment and almost fell, and he would have done if Drake had not caught him. "Come on. Dying out here won't help anyone," reprimanded Drake softly, supporting the hero with his good shoulder. "Now let's get going while we have the chance." Link could not argue, the arrow in his shoulder hurt more than he could describe, and he knew from the pain it was causing him that the steel shaft of the arrow head had struck the bone, shattering it. His right arm dangled uselessly from his side, and he could only offer a silent thanks to the goddesses that it was not his left arm, his sword arm, that had been struck.



***



"By the Goddesses, what in Hyrule is that?" exclaimed a Hyrulian soldier, shading his eyes against the oncoming shimmering cloud passing above him. Drake looked in his compatriot's direction, also seeing the spectacle. The sprinkling of magical dust that fell upon him at the moment was enough to assure him of the answer.

"The Fey! But what are they doing here?" he wondered out loud. Drake was used to having faeries around; Sprite and her friends were common visitors to the castle, after all. But he knew, as a rule, the Fey kept themselves entirely separate from humans and hylians, concerned with their own affairs only. Maybe things were about to change. And in that case, it meant things were looking up for Hyrule.



"Let us all join hands!" Navi ordered to the massive gathering of faeries. She firmly took the hand of Sprite, who in turn took Felicity's hand, who took hold of Carrie's hand, and so forth. Soon hundreds of faeries had joined hands in a gigantic circle, high above the battlefield. Below them the massacre of war continued as Catalia came closer to their goal. Navi turned to Sprite.

"I'll start, repeat what I say around the circle," she instructed. Sprite nodded.

"Okay," she said, her glance flitting downwards to see if she could spot Link. He was nowhere to be seen. Navi saw her look and smiled.

"Link is fine," she said.

"I know... I just wish..." Sprite started, before trailing off. "Well, just get started Navi!" she quickly ordered, her face suddenly flushing.

"As you wish. Okay here we go," Navi said, closing her eyes. She murmured in Hylian, and Sprite followed suit, also closing her eyes and repeating the words. She didn't know much of the language, but it was as if she'd always known it. She heard Felicity speak, and then Carrie and the spell continued around the circle.



A shimmering radiance rained down upon the vast battle plain, like water from the heavens. Everybody stared up in awe and wonder, stopping their fighting as they did so. Magical auras began to surround the undead Valour Hold fighters, their ashen faces once more becoming warm and pink, their eyes no longer red and wicked, but shades of blue, green, grey and brown. They were mortal once more. Aaron rolled over in the mud, life returning to his wounded body as the magical aura touched him also.

"Tis truly the work of the Goddesses themselves!" one soldier exclaimed in wonder.

"The witchcraft has been lifted! Oh praise to the Goddesses!" said another, dropping to the ground in worship. The men of Hyrule at once saw their alliance doubled and at that moment there came the sound of more marching feet. They looked up on the horizon to see the pennants and banners of Dalsona approaching, an army dressed in blue, white and gold.

"Hyrule is saved! Dalsona is here!" cheered the men.

"Hail to King Nicolas of Dalsona! His alliance has never yet failed us!" shouted Captain Krin, riding up on his grey mount, sword in hand. Already the Catalians were beginning to scatter. Hyrule's own army already now outnumbered them, and the Dalsonian reinforcements were a formidable sight, with their cruel curved blades and shiny golden armour. Aaron stood shakily, shading his eyes. Damon suddenly rode up alongside him.

"Friend, here take this sword," he said, tossing the young vice-captain his weapon. "My bow shall serve me equally as well," he added, arming himself with the new weapon. Aaron smiled.

"Thanks Damon," he said gratefully, gripping the blade tightly. He wasn't sure what had just happened, but whatever it was, it had been a blessing. Now it looked like Hyrule was going to win after all. A fleeing Catalian dashed past him and Aaron begin to give chase. Then men around him had also been filled with new vigour. The goddesses were on their side.



 

***



Drake had left Link as soon as he was sure that the hero was safely inside the walls of North Castle. The knight, despite insisting on Link's own treatment, did not stay to have his own wounds tended to. Link did not like the prospect of being away from the field of battle, especially when it was so apparent that Catalia were gaining ground with every passing second, but the words Drake had spoken had been true. Link would not be able to help anyone if he were dead.



An inexperienced healer was sat by Link, tending to his wound in the best way that they could manage. As his shoulder wound was inexpertly bandaged, Link couldn't help but glance down at the discarded arrow which had caused him so much pain. There was no doubting its point of origin, it was the arrow of a Valour Hold man, and although Link knew that it was no uncommon thing to be struck by one's own archers on the battlefield, he could not help but wonder if it had been an accident. Drake's words once more rang through his mind, 'Valour Hold is fighting for Robert.' It couldn't be true. It didn't make sense. Link winced as the healer touched upon an errant stitch and the young apprentice hurriedly apologised.



Nothing made sense anymore, the hero supposed, it hadn't for months. He wondered if it ever would again. As the hero pondered these thoughts, there was an almighty crash and Link sprang from his chair, his hand reaching for his sword in an instant. At the door to the healers chamber stood no one else but Link's own kin, his most hated enemy. Robert.

"Shouldn't you be on the battlefield?" asked Link, confused and bewildered as to how Robert had come to enter the castle.

"I was looking for you. It was only natural that I would find you behind castle walls, like the coward you truly are," snarled Robert, drawing his own blade. It was not as fine a sword as Link's, but it was wicked all the same, and it dripped with the blood of dead men, and living men too, for Link knew that Drake's blood was also on that blade, and potentially soon would his.

"Yes, that's right Robert. Belittle me, if it makes you feel better," invited Link, stepping forward, testing his right arm warily. The pain in his shoulder was still there, and it was slowly intensifying, but Link did not show any pain in his eyes, at least not to Robert. The healer was slowly backing away, afraid for his young life, but neither Kokiri paid any notice to him, they were only intent on one another. Link put up his sword.

"To the death, Bobby?" he asked. Robert smiled. It was not a genuine one.

"To your death, coward," he growled. Link gritted his teeth at Robert's remark and then made his move, lunging forward, lightening quick and catching the tip of Robert's chin with his sword. Robert stepped back, touching the blood that dripped from the cut and looking down at it with interest.

"Was that the first time you drew blood from a man?" he mocked, tossing his sword from one hand to the other.

"Maybe. The smart ones usually run away before I get the chance," replied Link, lunging forward again. This time he marked Robert's cheek, drawing yet more blood. The Catalian King could not comprehend Link's speed, but he was not about to show Link that it worried him. He merely wiped his cheek with his free hand, which served only to leave a scarlet mark smeared across the right side of his face.

"Pray tell, why is that? Do they detest the stench of a man who soils himself as soon as the first sign of danger emerges?" This time Robert was too quick for Link, and the usurper left a neat mark under Link's left eye.

"Coming from the man, if you can be called that, who had to murder an ageing, defenceless woman to call himself King?" retorted Link, neatly avoiding another lunge made by his foe.

"At least I didn't have to marry a whore to gain a crown," spat Robert, blocking Link's counter blow. The hero's eyes narrowed at this comment, he felt warm blood trickle down his cheek, and he lowered his blade before slicing it towards Robert's torso. Robert blocked, only just, and smiled.

"Touch a nerve, did I?" he inquired cordially.

"Zelda is no whore, and I married her, not for her status but, because I loved her," growled the hero, warily pacing adjacent to his enemy, waiting for the next move. He did not wait long.

"Loved? Interesting how you place that in the past tense," commented the King with a sneer, flashing towards Link and striking towards his chest. Link moved his sword in accordance, neatly blocking the attack.

"I'll go on loving her until end of my days," he replied solemnly, his voice strained, frustrated. Robert turned and walked away from Link, switching his sword from his left hand to his right.

"So not for very long then?" he replied airily, turning to face Link once more, sword raised, eyes narrowed.

"Longer than you'll live to know," promised Link, shifting the angle of his blade with a flick of his wrist. He raised his chin to Robert, beckoning him towards him. "Unless that is you run away again," he prodded scornfully. Robert frowned at Link's words, and his sword arm twitched slightly as the hero spoke.

"Touch a nerve, did I?" quipped the hero lightly. He took a step towards Robert, still wary, still in pain.

"No...I was just wondering how a fool such as yourself came to be known as the hero of this country," answered Robert. Link shrugged as best he could, never letting down his guard.

"I would give my life for this country...I would give my life for Catalia under its rightful ruler," he replied bitingly. Robert smiled ruefully as Link spoke.

"So you would die for me then? I'm touched."

"I said rightful ruler. That isn't you," corrected Link, edging closer to his adversary.

"Oh but I think you will find that I am the rightful ruler of Catalia, whether you like it or not," contradicted Robert patronisingly. Link shrugged again.

"Be that as it may...I will never see you as King of my home country," swore the hero. Robert had no time to reply, as Link leapt forward, sweeping his sword forward with a powerful blow. He brought the edge of his sword across the front of Robert's chest, slicing the thin armour and into the flesh beyond. Link could tell by the clean sweep of the cut that the wound was only superficial, but it was enough to send Robert to his feet, his sword flying from his hand. Link stepped over the king, pointing his sword to Robert's throat.



"You have caused the death of many Hyrulians and Catalians alike, and that is something for which you must die," began Link, pressing the tip of his sword into Robert's throat. Robert leaned back, his eyes shut, his chest rising and dropping rapidly as he struggled for breath.

"Kill me if you will, but don't expect this to end things. My army shall win, with or without me, and you shall still have lost," growled the Catalian King angrily. Link looked down at Robert, his eyes devoid of malice and hate and instead full of sadness.

"What happened to you? What quarrel did you ever have with me or Hyrule?" Robert looked up at Link as he heard the question, his brilliant green eyes meeting with Link's blue ones.

"You killed the one woman I ever loved," spat Robert with a grimace. Link frowned, not comprehending the King's answer.

"I don't know what you're...." he began. Robert let out a cold snigger, shaking his head.

"No of course you don't. Kylara. You killed her, and have not paid the price...how can the world be such a place of injustice where callous cowards live whilst innocent, kind angels die?" Link shook his head.

"I didn't kill her Robert. She took her own life," he began, his voice wavering.

"Because of you!" spat Robert, his green eyes darkening in accusation.

"Do you think I wanted her to kill herself? Do you think I asked her to? If I could change what happened, I would have it done in a second, Robert, but the past can not be changed...you of all people should know that," said Link sadly, his desire to kill the man before him waning by the second. Robert looked at Link with hate in his eyes, a frown on his forehead, contorting his usually handsome face into a mask of ugliness.

"I wanted justice, Link. Can't you see that?" he questioned coldly.

"I'm innocent of what you accuse me of Robert. But do not think for one second that I do not regret what happened."

"How touching," remarked Robert sourly, fixing his green eyes upon Link. Link looked down at his foe, and raised his sword, ready to deliver the final, deadly blow. But then something changed.



The air around the two began to flicker, and Link began to feel a pulling sensation at his very core. His eyes met with Robert's, and he knew that the Catalian usurper was experiencing the same kind of feeling.

"What in the...?" began Link, but the question died on his lips as a massive light exploded before his eyes, and he felt the air around moving and shifting. There was another almighty flash, and moments later the healer's quarters was empty, devoid of all life. Robert and Link had simply vanished.



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