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.

Zelda: Requital

Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)

Chapter 8

    Sprite examined her nails miserably. She couldn't believe that she was missing the summer festival, she hadn't missed a single one since she had been born. But she knew, if she broke the rules, she'd end up back here, and for even longer. If she could hold out for just this week, when she returned to the Fey, she would try and convince the council to rethink their sentence. There was absolutely no way she would miss Nick and Selina's wedding for anything, but she wouldn't have any choice if she didn't persuade the council that she didn't really deserve to be punished. Felicity had been along earlier that day, to give her a little support, and some half decent food. Apparently, according to her friend, the council was reconsidering who would take over her role as guardian faerie and faerie godmother. Felicity assured Sprite that she had already put herself up as a candidate, as had Carrie and Tiffany. Then, she'd had to leave. Sprite sighed loudly, feeling totally depressed. She was meant to be the Fey's future ruler, and this was how they treated her! If something like this had happened to Zelda, everyone would've simply said "Oh, everyone makes mistakes, give her another chance!" And Zelda had made plenty of mistakes in her time, take the whole Leigh thing for example, that had been a right mess. But because it was Zelda, no one batted an eyelid.

     Sprite viciously kicked the bark of the tree upon which she was sitting, feeling more annoyed than ever. She couldn't blame Zelda for all this, it was Navi's fault. Hypocrite. "I mean, she goes on at me, saying I'm not natural enough. Well I'm sorry, but her hair is so freaky, it can't be natural," mused Sprite out loud.

"That's not a very nice thing to say Tamara," chirped a voice from behind her. Sprite didn't have to turn around to know who it was. There was only one faerie in the entire Fey who had a voice so annoying.

"Navi, go away," said Sprite disdainfully, folding her arms.

"For your information, my hair is as natural as the bark on this tree," continued Navi, in her annoyingly sweet, high pitched voice.

"Besides, you aren't supposed to be here. I'm to have no contact with anyone for the entire week," said Sprite, still refusing to give Navi a glance.

"Oh, so what was Felicity doing here?" asked Navi sweetly.

"What are you talking about. I haven't seen Felicity since I was banished here," said Sprite firmly.

"Well that's not what I saw," said Navi, alighting herself on the branch, next to Sprite. Sprite quickly edged further away from Navi.

"I always knew you were delusional," sighed Sprite.

"Why lie Sprite? I know what I saw," said Navi, refusing to go away.

"You can't prove anything," said Sprite in a bored tone.

"Well, not if no one else had seen it. But your sister was with me," said Navi. Sprite turned to face Navi, eyes burning.

"I knew it! You two are plotting against me aren't you? Well, let me tell you right now, Ms. Fruits of the forest, I know your game, and when the council hears about it, the both of you will be banished from the Fey, permanently!" said Sprite angrily.

"I don't think so," retorted Navi, but Sprite noticed the faerie's tone waver slightly. Perhaps that explained Fleur's strange behaviour at her accusation. She had been right all along! "Why don't you just go now, and I'll serve out the rest of my punishment, in peace," said Sprite. Navi stood up.

"Fine, I only thought that you might appreciate the company," said Navi haughtily.

"Your company? Me? Enjoy it? Wake up and smell the summer fruits Navi, I hate you, so until you get that into your thick little skull, we aren't going to get on very well at all are we?" snapped Sprite.

"Insulting another faerie without being incensed , you break yet another code of faerie lore," stated Navi smugly. Sprite stood up, stretching to her full height, beating Navi by quarter of an inch or so.

"Go away Navi, before I seriously damage you," said Sprite, taking a step towards Navi menacingly.

"Okay fine, I'm going!" snapped Navi, fluttering from the branch and disappearing into the murky gloom. Sprite sighed a sigh of relief and sat back down again, leaning against the trunk of the tree. She opened the little sack, brought to her by Felicity and pulled out an appetising piece of fruit. Sprite could have no doubt found food in these parts of the forest, but with the limited rain and sun round here, there wouldn't be much worth eating. She bit into the fruit and smiled with satisfaction. If she could just prove that Fleur and Navi were plotting against her, then she'd be able to get rid of her two most hated enemies in one go. Now that was something worth smiling about.

    "I told you I'd win!" remarked Dion triumphantly as he lifted the archery trophy. Damon grinned.

"Okay Dion, we get the picture," he said, laughing at his friend.

"Was there any doubt?" asked Drake with a grin.

"Nope, there never was. Not one of you had anything on me!" exclaimed Dion confidently.

"Yeah, okay. Like Damon said, we know Dion. You're great, excellent, remarkable," said Link. He'd come in a close second, though it wasn't enough to beat the archery skills of Dion.

"You're just sore cause you know I'm better than you," said Dion with a bright smile.

"Well enough of this soft lark, let's get onto the real sport, jousting. Any of you talking part?" asked Drake. Link nodded, as did Aaron.

"I'm passing this year, my steed, Jasper, isn't up to his best," said Damon with a wave of his hand.

"Any excuse," said Drake with a grin. He turned to Dion. "And how about you, Mr. Archery champion?" he asked. Dion shrugged.

"Nah, I prefer to participate in games of skill and precision, rather than a sport which uses brute strength and luck," said Dion with a shrug.

"So in other words, you're chickening out," said Aaron. Dion paused for a moment, then nodded laughing.

"I guess it means I am," he replied.

"Come on then, let's get over to the field, I want to be first up," said Drake eagerly.

"We'll see you there Drake, I promised Ewan I'd let him watch, so I need to find him first," said Link.

"Me too," said Aaron.

"Fine, fine, I'll see you there. But remember, with me, you can only delay defeat and nothing else," said Drake, grinning broadly.

"The next time I see you Drake, you'll be flat out on the ground," said Link confidently.

"You wish!" called Drake as Link and Aaron left the tent.

     "Look, dad's next!" said Ewan excitedly as he and Timothy watched from the stand. Dion and Damon were sitting either side of them, with Aimée, Selina and Zelda sat in front of them.

"Who's he against?" whispered Timothy.

"He's against Orson Calliden, he came third last year," said Damon. He knew Orson well, for he had been knocked out in the joust by the knight.

A hush went over the crowd, as the two horses paused, the riders atop them. Then the signal was given, and the two raced towards each other, the sound of metal hitting metal. It was all over in a few seconds, the knight in the polished white metal on the ground.

"Dad won!" said Ewan excitedly.

"He sure did," commented Dion, glad he wasn't up there. The audience burst into applause as Link lifted his visor on his helmet, punching the air in victory.

"When I grow up, I'm going to be as good a jouster as dad is!" said Ewan. Zelda turned around and smiled at the two boys.

"I'm sure you will be," she said encouragingly.

     Next up was Aaron, and he was against Nick. "I hope my dad wins," said Timothy hopefully, eyeing Nick in his fine blue and white armour suspiciously.

"Nick's pretty good," said Damon, patting Tim on the shoulder.

"Better than my dad?" asked Timothy.

"We'll see," said Damon, turning his eyes back up to the two steeds and their riders. Timothy crossed his fingers, watching nervously as the two horses crashed towards each other. Again, there was the sound of metal against metal, but the two riders remained upright and intact.

"Neither of them fell off!" said Timothy in surprise.

"They'll have to go again," said Damon. The two horses trotted to the end of the field, pausing for a few minutes, pawing at the ground and snorting. This time, Timothy closed his eyes, his ears hearing as the two horses hooves thumped powerfully against the ground. Metal crashed against metal, and there was a thump and clanking of armour as one of the rider's was dismounted. Timothy opened his eyes, and to his disappointment, saw that Nick, in his white and blue armour was still atop his speed, his dad on the ground. He watched as Nick climbed off his horse and helped Aaron up, shaking his hand firmly. Then, the two both took the reins of their horses, and left the field together, the crowd clapping and cheering.

"I'm glad my dad didn't lose to anyone nasty," sighed Timothy, deciding that it was a small consolation.

"You want to go and see your dad?" asked Damon. Timothy nodded. Damon stood up, and quickly made his way through the stand, Tim close behind him.

"I didn't know who to cheer for. I really like Aaron, but I like Nick too, he's always really nice to me," said Ewan, turning to Dion.

"That guy is nice to every one. But I know what you mean, you'll find that as you get older, you'll have bigger and even tougher decisions to make. But let's not think about that right now, enjoy yourself," said Dion with a grin.

     "Hi dad," said Timothy as he and Damon entered the tent.

"Bad luck," commented Damon. Aaron shook his head.

"Better opponent more like it," said Aaron, but he didn't look disappointed. From outside the tent, there was a crashing of steel, and Aaron peeped out of the entrance.

"Sounds like Drake's on form this year," he commented.

"Isn't he always?" said Damon, shaking his head.

"Well he is head knight, I suppose he sees it as a kind of duty," said Aaron with a shrug, taking a drink from a small cup.

"Where's Nick?" asked Timothy. "He's getting ready, I think he's up against Link next," said Aaron.

"Who do you think will win?" asked Tim. Aaron shrugged.

"I'm not sure, Nick's certainly pretty tough though. I didn't know what'd hit me," said the young Triforce protector.

"Can we go and watch?" asked Timothy, eagerly.

"Yeah come on through this way, you can get a better view from here," said Aaron, leading them through a back exit of the tent.


     Drake placed his empty beer mug down on the end of the temporary bar, feeling pleased with himself. He'd won the jousting hands down. In fact, it had all been too easy. Black Shadow was a good horse for the event. He was big and solid, and could stand his ground. Horses like Link's and Aaron's barely even stood a chance. There'd been a couple of tough knights, such as Captain Krin and his mount, a dark grey cob called Steel, but in the end, Drake had prevailed, like the head knight that he was, and carried away the trophy for the fifth time running. At that moment, a comely barmaid with long flaxen hair walked over with a jug. "Care for a refill, Sir Drake?" she questioned, smiling most attractively. Drake found himself smiling back at her.

"Certainly, my dear," he replied, in his most charming tone.

"Gwen," the barmaid told him, filling his mug to the brim.

"Most charmed to have met you, Gwen," he said.

"And it's an honour to be serving the best knight in Hyrule," Gwen replied, smiling flirtatiously. Drake decided to play it cool, and took a sip of his ale. Ever since... ever since that horrific incident, where Leigh had seemingly been killed in the Tower of Nagul, Drake had almost given up on women. He'd really liked Leigh, more than any other woman he'd met. She had been... well, perfect. But before they'd really been able to get to know each other, she'd been taken away from him. And for a while, no other women had compared to her. But the memories were getting misty now, and he found he could be attracted to other women. Gwen was particularly beautiful. Blonde, and comely, just the way he liked them. Living at North Castle didn't really give him much pick; he didn't see the servant girls much, although there were some nice maids... and then of course, there was just Zelda. Zelda... now, she was one of the most complicated women he'd had the pleasure of knowing. He'd watched her grow up, from a pretty girl of ten to an extremely beautiful young woman. He'd be lying if he said he hadn't been attracted to her, every now and again. She was impetuous and stubborn, not to mention sometimes ostentatious, and it was attractive, in a bizarre kind of fashion. And then there was her other side, that soft, warm sensitive one. He loved her to bits, but now, he felt more like her big brother, than anything else. But he was glad. He felt that he would have not been the right partner for her, but Link, he balanced their relationship out. He was tolerant, calm and he had learned to be patient, things Drake had never mastered. He smiled to himself, thinking about the couple. They were perfectly matched in every way. Selina was at the castle sometimes. He genuinely liked Selina. She was a lovely girl, and very beautiful indeed. Everything about her seemed to radiate warmth and love, it was probably why she was such a good healer. But her heart too, had always seemed to belong to another. First Aramis Dunston, and then Prince Nick of Dalsona. He had never tried to interfere. Finally, there was Fayette. Unlike the other girls, she was available, but Drake despised her, like he despised all things evil or unjust. Fayette was conniving and irritating, a complete and utter trouble maker. Despite her great beauty, it didn't blind him, unlike it blinded some people. Fayette hid behind a false facade of charm and pleasantry, but Drake saw right through it, just like Zelda did. The knight sighed, thinking to himself. At forty two, he was getting on a bit. Of course, he told people that he was simply in his prime, but any older, and children would begin to be out of the question. He did want a son to carry on the family name... perhaps the time was looming, where he had to stop his carefree days of flirting with every barmaid in every tavern he visited. Maybe it was time to start hunting out that special someone. He looked up, and saw that the pretty blonde barmaid was still smiling admiringly at him. Maybe he could even start with Gwen...

    Zelda leaned against Link's shoulder, as they swayed in a slow dance together, in the town square. A band played a romantic tune, the soft notes almost drifting through the air. "Zel, you look so beautiful tonight," Link said, caressing her shoulders gently.

"And you look equally handsome," Zelda replied in a soft tone, stepping lightly over the paving stones. She led him to the edge of the square. "It's so romantic, dancing under the stars," she added, glancing upwards for a moment. It was past eleven o'clock at the night, and the moon was out, shining luminously, a full circle of light. The stars twinkled brightly in the otherwise indigo coloured sky. Some people had left to return home, and Impa had gone back to the castle with the children, but most had stayed for the late night buffet and the moonlit dancing.

"Remember when we used to picnic under the stars, when we were younger?" Link asked, referring to when they had been about sixteen. They'd often stayed out late, going off exploring, and eating their picnic meal at night. Zelda's father used to be livid when they returned home after dark. Zelda laughed lightly.

"Yes," she replied, smiling.

"It was always my intention of making you fall in love with me then," Link confessed, smiling ruefully. Zelda looked away, still smiling.

"I know," she replied, turning back. "Too bad I pretended not to notice, but, I guess it doesn't matter now anyway," she added, smiling up at him lovingly. He pulled her close for a impassioned kiss, then released her, almost breathless. Despite the fact that they had been married for six years, lovers for seven, and friends for eleven, he was still as much attracted to her now, as he had been the day that they'd met. Sometimes, he couldn't even believe that he was married to her, it was all so amazing to him. And tonight... tonight she seemed to stir up the feelings that made him feel like a teenager again... perhaps it was the way the moonlight shone on her lustrous golden hair, or the pretty smile she had upon her lips, or perhaps it was simply how her deep green eyes gazed into his so intimately.

"Zel, let's..." he began. However, his sentence was rudely interrupted as someone walked over to them, and pulled them apart.

     "May I take this dance?" Fayette questioned, smiling sweetly at Link. He frowned, and Zelda stood there, looking absolutely furious. Link pulled Fayette's hand off his arm.

"No, not really. Can't you see that I was dancing with Zel?" he asked.

"You've been dancing with her all night!" Fayette protested. Zelda's expression had turned completely livid.

"He is my husband, you know!" she remarked.

"And I'd like to dance with him. So if you don't mind..." Fayette began, turning back to Link.

"Faye, leave us alone. I'm sure there's plenty of people around who'll dance with you," Link said. Fayette scowled, her expression reminiscent of Zelda's, when she was angry.

"Fine," she seethed, walking off. Her dress trailed along the flagstones, it was far too long, and far too hot for her. She had seen the two gazing at each other like star-crossed lovers, and it had been too annoying for her, she just had to spoil it. She turned back, pleased to see that Zelda was upset, and refusing to dance anymore. What was even more annoying, was the fact that Nick and Selina where nowhere to be seen. She been looking around for the past fifteen minutes, but no avail. She hated to think that they might have sneaked off somewhere, to be... alone. That would really clinch things, and she had no hope of attempting to salvage a relationship with the Dalsonian prince. Selina, most annoyingly, had managed to look simply radiant that day. Fayette had gasped when she saw the gown that the lowly healer had been wearing. It had obviously been tailored from the finest materials in Demiari, and she had looked beautiful. Many a man had turned to look twice at Selina. People had also looked at Fayette, but perhaps they had been pitying her, because of her over-elaborate gown. It had looked good when she'd put it on, but now she was regretting wearing it. It had restricted her movement, made her stand out far too much, and had been far too hot, so she'd been confined to sitting in the shade most of the day. At least it was cooler now. Fayette looked around the square one more time. To her luck, she spotted the two people she was looking for. Nick and Selina were dancing slowly very close by. Smiling to herself, Fayette hitched up her skirts, and headed straight over....

     Selina sighed contentedly, and smiled up at her fiancé. "Oh Nick, I'm so happy..." she began.

"I'm glad. I want your life to be as perfect as possible," Nick smiled.

"Well... it is, now that we're together," Selina replied.

"Yes, but... will you be happy in Dalsona?" he asked, somewhat nervously.

"I think it's a beautiful country. I'm sure I'll be very happy," Selina assured him. Nick nodded.

"Yes, it's just that it's a very different way of life over there, you've only been for a few days at a time. But you know our lifestyles are different, the food, the clothes..." Nick started.

"I don't mind. So long as I'm with you, nothing else matters," Selina replied firmly. She smiled at him, to show that she really meant it.

"But won't you miss Hyrule?" he questioned. Selina nodded.

"Oh, lots. I love Hyrule, I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world, and of course I'll think that, I've lived here all my life, and my family and friends live here. But I'm not afraid of change, and I'm sure we'll come for plenty of visits," she answered, still smiling.

"Oh yes, of course," Nick said, nodding.

"Hyrule is a lovely place, and its people are most charming," he added, taking her hand and kissing it lightly.

"Most of them," Selina grinned, thinking of Fayette.

"Your festivals are also a nice touch. But I am sure that you'll enjoy the Dalsonian ones too," Nick said. "Although, yours are much more romantic," he added, glancing around the square at all the happy couples dancing. Selina smiled, and leaned forward to kiss him. Nick laughed. "To think, I first journeyed over here, with the intention of offering Zelda my hand, and then Fayette, but I ended up with you, that astoundingly beautiful, brave healer girl who I always noticed, but never really knew as well as the others," he said, pulling her close.

"I was shy. Anyway, you were royalty, and it would have been bad manners to just... well, you know," Selina replied, looking away shyly.

"Don't be silly! You know, just because someone is royal, it doesn't make them a better person. Sometimes, it makes them worse, but beneath it all, most of us are as down to earth and as humble as you. You mustn't worry about things like that. Status doesn't matter to me, it only matters to those who are self-conceited and vain. Look at Zelda, for example. You saw her walking around today, chatting with all the townspeople quite happily, not worried that to do that sort of thing was supposed to be beneath her. Yet her stepsister would talk to none of them," Nick said in a serious tone. It was amazing how wise he was, Selina thought. Nick always had a good grasp of any situation. She nodded at him.

"Zelda is nice like that," she replied, thinking of her friend. When they'd first met, they'd hated each other. Selina suspected that Zelda was used to being the only girl in a large group of guys, and plus the fact that she'd been extremely jealous of Selina's attention towards Link, since she was secretly in love with him herself. However, everything had sorted itself out in the end, and the pair had become good friends. Selina certainly would miss her, once she moved to Dalsona.

"It was lucky that her heart already belonged to someone else, or perhaps I might have married her," Nick joked. Selina laughed, thinking of how the present might have been. Zelda married to Nick, and she with Link?

"I prefer it the way it is now," she replied, still laughing.

"Yes... I think perhaps, that Zelda would have been too... shall we say, tempestuous, for me," Nick said, his soft smile turning into a grin for a moment.

"And I?" Selina questioned, her green eyes sparkling with anticipation.

"You... you are the most perfect woman in the whole of Demiari, no question about it," Nick started. Selina blushed.

"Oh Nick..." He reached up to finger a strand of her red-gold hair.

"Such beauty," he said. Then he kissed her. "So brave, and forthright, intelligent, kind," he continued. Finally, he laced his fingers into hers, and stepped back to admire her fully. "And so wonderfully talented, in magic, archery, and your chosen profession of healing," he finished, smiling lovingly at her.

"Not to mention, I can pull a pretty good pint," she added, grinning, referring back to the days when she'd worked as a barmaid at her uncle Wilfred's Inn, the 'Lucky Dragon'.

"Another added bonus," Nick said, ruffling her hair affectionately.

"I can't wait until we're married," Selina sighed, gazing at him lovingly.

"That time will arrive soon, my love," Nick replied in a gallant tone, sweeping her around in a small circle, as the music ended.

"Let's take a break," Selina suggested.

"Alright. I'll go an get us a glass of wine," Nick said, heading over to the refreshments table. Selina turned, and saw Link and Zelda stood on the sidelines, so she walked over to join her two friends while she waited for Nick to come back.

     As Selina arrived over at the sidelines, Link offered to go and fetch the two ladies a drink. "I'm alright thanks, Nick is getting mine," said Selina.

"Well, I'll go get me and Zel one anyway, keep Nick company," said Link, making his way over to the refreshments table, weaving in and out of the crowd.

"They shouldn't be too long," said Zelda, sitting down on the grass. Selina joined her.

"This day, it's been perfect," said Selina dreamily. Zelda smiled, knowing that her friend was referring to more than just the day, but the people who had been in it. Such as Nick.

"It has, hasn't it?" agreed Zelda.

"I can't believe how lucky I am, how perfect he is," said Selina, not really listening to Zelda.

"You two really are in love aren't you?" said Zelda, amused at Selina's expression. Selina snapped her attention back to Zelda, smiling sheepishly.

"I never, ever felt like this about Aramis. But I know I loved him, it's funny isn't it, love?" said Selina.

"I've only ever been in love once, so I couldn't say, but I know that it's the most precious gift you can give or receive," said Zelda.

"He was talking about how he originally came across for you, and then Fayette. Just think, if a few things had been different, he could've been married to Fayette by now," said Selina with a small laugh. Zelda gave her friend a look of mock horror.

"Perish the thought, it's not even worth contemplating!" said Zelda, although she couldn't help laughing herself. "He got it right eventually though," added the princess.

"None of my family could believe me when I told them, they thought I was going a bit senile," said Selina with a grin.

"Senile!? The cheek of it!" exclaimed Zelda.

"You're telling me. But they all absolutely adore him, I was a bit surprised myself when he asked to meet them," admitted Selina.

"Yeah, but you should've known, it is Nick remember," said Zelda. Selina lay back on the grass, staring up at the stars.

"I have to say, I'm going to miss this place though," said Selina, suddenly feeling a little sentimental.

"I wouldn't blame you, but you know that Nick will make sure you settle in okay, and I'll visit as much as I can, mind you, I expect the same from you," said Zelda.

"But of course," promised Selina, her eyes tracing the constellations in the sky. "I'd always dreamed I'd have something more, but I would've never comprehended this, it's all too much like a dream," said Selina quietly.

"Well, you deserve it. After what you've been through, it's your destiny," said Zelda sincerely.

"My uncle always said there was no such thing as a coincidence, just fate," mused Selina. Zelda nodded. "I guess it has more meaning than I ever thought," continued Selina.

"A lot of things do," commented Zelda.

     As Nick picked up two glasses of wine from the refreshments table, he pondered whether to get any for Link or Zelda. After all, Selina had gone over to talk with them. "It's been a while Nick," purred a voice from behind him. Nick turned his head, and saw Fayette, smiling pleasantly at him.

"That it has," he agreed, nodding politely.

"I was impressed by your jousting skills, such power, such strength," complimented Fayette.

"But I was ultimately beaten. If there is anyone you should be admiring, it is the good Captain Krin, or the winner himself, Sir Drake," said Nick.

"I take it that other glass is for Selina," said Fayette, nodding at the two glasses he was holding.

"What of it?" asked Nick, who still wouldn't bring himself to forgive Fayette for upsetting Selina as she had.

"That dress she is wearing, it is most beautiful, no doubt a gift from yourself," continued Fayette.

"Indeed, but it can do no more than compliment her sheer beauty," said Nick truthfully. Fayette frowned a little at this comment, but quickly replaced it with a winning smile.

"It is a lovely example of tailoring," she remarked, ignoring what Nick had said about Selina. She hoped that he might perhaps praise her own gown, and to draw his attention to it, she smoothed her skirts down casually. He didn't comment, or even look in her direction.

"Yes. Well, I must be getting back to my friends, they will be wondering what has become of me," he said, starting to walk away.

"Nick, wait!" Fayette quickly said, dashing after him. In doing so, she tripped over the hem of her gown, and went sprawling over onto the floor. Fayette cried out as a sharp pain shot up her left ankle. She must have twisted it! Nick turned around, looking surprised, and also concerned. He knelt down beside her, and offered her his hand.

"Fayette, are you okay?" he questioned. She nodded silently, and attempted to stand.

"Serves me right for wearing this," she muttered, more to herself, than Nick. The pain continued, and Nick saw her flinch as she tested her weight upon her feet.

"Fayette, you have to get yourself sorted out. You must be in agony," he said.

"No, no, I'll be okay," she said, stepping forward gingerly. Best to put on the brave act, she thought, bravery was something Nick admired.

"Selina might be able to help, but maybe you should get back to the castle. Come on, I'll help you to the coach," he offered.

"Well, maybe you're right. I'm certainly in no fit state to dance," Fayette answered, her voice wavering in disappointment. Nick wrapped his arm around her shoulder to try and support her.

"That's too bad, but at least it happened now, rather than sooner," he said softly, leading her off towards the coach.

     Link almost dropped the glasses he was holding, when he noticed two familiar figures walk past him, back into the darkness. The flouncy, over the top dress the woman had been wearing meant she had to be Fayette, no doubt about it. And the man with her, he had been tall, and dark skinned, wearing the colours blue, gold and white, the colours of Dalsona. It had to be Nick, there were no other Dalsonians at the Festival, none that he'd noticed. Surely not? he thought, staring as they walked off together, arms around each other in a terribly intimate fashion. For some reason, Nick had always seemed to have a soft spot for Fayette, but Link had thought those feelings had been dead and buried several months ago, when Fayette had tried to split him and Selina up. He frowned to himself, trying to think up a possible explanation for what he'd just seen. Many scenarios went round and round his head, but there was just one that stood out, one that made him feel terrible. Had Fayette somehow managed to seduce the good, Dalsonian king? She'd always liked him a lot, and although Nick had never encouraged her, he'd never discouraged her either. Link knew how easy it was to fall into the trap. It had happened to him with Leigh. He'd been attracted to her, the moment he'd first saw her, like most of the men at the castle, even though he'd been deeply in love with Zelda at the same time. Sometimes, lust could get the better of you, although he hadn't actually acted upon his feelings. Leigh had acted upon hers, though, and when Zelda had found out, it had been a complete, terrible mess. Link didn't want the same sort of situation to crop up among his friends. The hero set the two wine glasses down on a temporary table, and hurried after the two, slowly walking figures. As he approached, he saw them both climb into the Royal coach. Someone pulled the door shut, but the coach did not move. Link walked over, intent on discovering the truth. As he reached the coach, he heard muffled voices. Pressing up against the door, he tried to make out what was being said.

     "Did anyone see us?" Fayette said.

"No, I don't think so. Well, maybe aside from a few peasants, not that they'd care," Nick replied.

"I'm glad. I can imagine the comments people might make," Fayette said, looking down at her dress ruefully. Nick chuckled.

"It doesn't matter. What does matter, is getting you back," he said. Fayette nodded.

"I'll be okay, you know," she said, in a lowered voice.

"I don't want to take that chance," Nick answered.

"What if people miss us?" Fayette questioned.

"Perhaps I better go back and tell everyone about what's happened," Nick said, scratching his chin thoughtfully.

"I guess it's the right thing to do," Fayette acknowledged amicably, giving him a gentle smile. He smiled back a little, and leaned a little closer to her.

"I hate to leave you in these circumstances, but people are probably starting to wonder where we've got to. I'll get a guard to drive you back, and we can meet up later, so that I know you're okay," he said. Fayette smiled.

"Thank you," she said, in a breathy tone, gazing into his warm brown eyes with her own pale blue ones. Nick took her hand and kissed it, in his usual courteous manner, and Fayette nearly frowned. Before, they'd been close enough to kiss, if only she'd acted upon it! Now he would go, and whatever chance remained was probably gone. Quickly, she leaned over to him, and placed a small kiss on his cheek.

"No-one else would have done this for me," she whispered, in a gratifying tone.

"Well, I couldn't has just ignored you, could I?" Nick said, smiling, but moving away from her at the same time.

"I guess not," Fayette replied, clasping her hands together. It's now, or never, she thought to herself. He hadn't made any sort of move on her, and she obviously had to make the first one. It could be the beginning of a reconciliation, or the end of a relationship that had been doomed from the start, but at least she could say that she had tried. Tried to win back the only thing she'd ever wanted. Smiling softly, she leaned close, and wrapped her arms around him, giving him a gentle kiss.

     Link stared in horror at the scene he saw before him. He'd heard snatches of the conversation, and he'd seen them lean close and kiss each other at least twice. He didn't want to believe it, but he had seen, and heard the evidence. I can't deny it, he thought sadly. Nick and Fayette are... are... he couldn't even think the word, never mind say it. He rushed away, before Nick got out of the carriage again, back over to the square. Never mind people missing Nick, they would no doubt be missing him too. He was surprised that Zelda hadn't come looking for him. She could get highly suspicious at times, whenever he took too long to do something. Link reached the refreshments stand, and purchased two more glasses of wine, and then quickly walked over to the grassy knoll where he'd left his wife and her friend. The two were both laid out on the grass, looking up at the stars. Zelda sat up on his approach, and eyed him a little warily. "You took your time," she finally commented, as he handed her the wine glass. He settled down on the grass, quickly thinking of an excuse. He couldn't possibly tell her, or Selina, what he had just witnessed.

"Uh, sorry Zel. I just saw some old friends at the buffet table, and..." he began.

"Oh, don't bother with the details," Zelda sighed, taking a sip of her beverage.

"You didn't happen to see Nick, did you?" Selina suddenly asked. She was looking a little worried. Link blushed guiltily, but it was too dark for either of the women to notice.

"Uh actually, no," he lied.

"Oh... strange. He's taking an awful long time to get the drinks," Selina replied, lying back down again.

"Probably surrounded by a group of adoring women who won't let him get away," Zelda joked. Selina laughed, and Link looked down at the ground penitently, wishing Zelda hadn't made that remark. It was too close to the truth for comfort.

"Maybe I'd better go and look for him," she smiled, standing up.

"Uh, no, wait here. I'm sure he'll be back soon," Link said hurriedly. Zelda glanced at him, looking a little puzzled.

"Link?" she questioned.

"Uh, yeah?" he asked.

"Are you okay?" Zelda asked.

"I'm fine," he replied quickly.

"You look a little... flushed," the princess remarked.

"I'm just... uh... hot," he said, wishing she wasn't so sensitive to changes in people's moods.

"Funny, because I'm getting rather cold myself," Selina stated, pulling her wrap around her shoulders more tightly.

"Yes, me too. I do hope you're not coming down with something," Zelda said, her tone turning more concerned.

"Really Zel, Selina, I'm fine. You women worry far too much," he said, trying to sound casual and dismissive. Zelda sighed, and took another sip of her wine.

"Fair enough," she conceded.

"Well, I'm going to look for Nick," Selina decided.

"Then again," Zelda grinned. Nick was walking right their way. Selina walked over, and gave him a hug, and they exchanged a few words. Link watched, wondering how Nick could be so casual about the matter. Figuring he better leave them alone to sort the problem out, he turned to Zelda and helped her up.

"Come on, let's have one last dance," he suggested. Zelda finished off her wine.

"But Nick only just got here," she protested.

"I think we ought to let them have some time alone.. if you get what I mean," Link replied, pulling her away. "See you two later!" he called, turning to wave at Nick and Selina. Zelda frowned at him.

"I wanted to talk to them," she complained.

"Well I want to dance," Link answered, as they approached the town square again.

"I suppose we might as well," the princess agreed. Link smiled at her encouragingly, and she smiled back slightly. He danced her right to the opposite side of the square, well away from Nick and Selina.

"You wanted to get away from them in a hurry," Zelda commented.

"I... I wanted to be alone with you," Link replied. There was some truth in that, at least. Zelda smiled, and leaned against him, looking up towards the stars. Link sighed in relief, and tried to get his mind off what he had just witnessed.

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