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.

Shadows of the Past

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

Chapter 2

   Link stepped forward and placed a small wreath of flowers at the base of the stone memorial which had been erected in the living memory of Leigh Temple. It was nothing too elaborate, just a stone obelisk, with a plaque bearing her name. He turned back to the small crowd of people who had gathered, most of them Hyrulian based Sosarians, as well as those who had known and respected the woman, many of them soldiers she had met on the battlefield. Link cleared his throat slightly and dug his hands into his pockets, retrieving a few scraps of papers, upon which were written a few notes about what he would say in his eulogy. He cleared his throat again as he reread the small notes he had worked on days before. He looked up at the watching crowd and took a deep breath, ready to begin.

   "To all of us that knew Leigh Temple, we all knew her as a beautiful, brave and intelligent woman who would never give up, never allow herself defeat in any way or form. Those of us who did not perhaps know her personally, would have exactly the same picture of this very special woman." Link paused, before continuing on, "The thing about Leigh was that she was a hero, a heroine, a true champion to the people. She was only in this country for a few months, but during the time she was here, she made an impact that will live with us for years to come, the rest of our lives perhaps. I have been told, by many a Sosarian that Leigh saved their sacred land on more than one occasion, but actually, even this country was not her own. She claimed to come from a different land entirely, were magic and chivalry were long since gone, back there, she said, she was an unremarkable person. So she was just a normal person, no powers were blessed upon her, unlike myself, but she was not only the most adept mage I had ever met, but her skills on the sword were also amazing. Both of these skills were put to use during one of Hyrule's darkest time in years, for our side against the foul army of Ganondorf's. She didn't have to help, but she did, and in the end, it was her skills and ingenuinty that helped me, to finally rid this world of Ganondorf. But she was not just a heroine, she was a person, who cared and thought about other people. But she was only human, and made mistakes, but none that could never be forgiven. Personally, in the few months that I knew Leigh, she became a very dear, very precious friend too me, and to many others as well. She gave more to this land, to this world than she ever got back, and I pray that now she has passed onto the other side, she shall receive everything that she is entitled to and more. As Ganondorf stated before he was captured, Leigh had endured more than most mortals could, or should. But despite her experiences she, I believe, became a stronger, more resilient person. And although a year on, she is still gone, and always will be, a closed chapter in all of our lives, she'll always be here, never forgotten," Link placed one hand over his chest to demonstrate his point then bowed his head for a moment, as a sign of respect. The rest of the crowd, touched deeply by Link's speech bowed their heads also, a humble silence. Link took another deep breath then looked to his left, were Drake was stood, the knight glanced back at Link and nodded. Link moved aside, as Drake stood in front of the obelisk, clearing his throat.

   "There was much confusion after Leigh's death, it was quite a time before this was constructed in memory of her," started Drake, gesturing to the obelisk. "We never all had the chance to pay our last respects, but now, this is our chance, and I would not let the opportunity to pass by without adding my own words of respect to this wonderful, wonderful woman. How a bad word could be said about her is beyond me. She died saving a country she had no links with, other than a handful of friends she barely knew. When she went out to destroy those damn nightmares with Link, she had only just been released from a dungeon cell after being wrongly accused of several crimes. Most people wouldn't have helped a country that had done nothing but treat them badly, but Leigh wasn't spiteful, she was a stronger person than that. She deserves all of our admiration and respect, a model heroine. She showed us, Hyrule, that not just men could protect their country, women could too. Among other regrets a year on, I only wish I had got the chance to tell her how much I, we, appreciated what she did for Hyrule. The day she died, a light went out in this world, a light I fear will never ever be re-ignited," Drake finished his speech full of passion and determination. "And I only think that it is right, that when this is over, when we all return to our homes, that we raise a glass to the name of Leigh Temple, and consider exactly just what she did for this land while she was here, and just think, would you have done the same?" There were many murmurs of agreement from the crowd, and Drake quickly stepped away.

   As Drake walked away from the obelisk and sat down on a nearby grassy knoll, the knight shook his head. He hadn't felt so...emotional since the death of his father. It didn't make sense, why he felt so strongly about Leigh, he'd barely known her, or spoken with her. It was just when he had, there had been something there, something between them that he had never felt with anyone else before. He looked down to the ground, feeling sad. He realised that he'd been devastated when Leigh died, although no-one else had known. He'd learnt to hide his feelings over the years, after all, he felt he deserved no pity. Pity from others just led to self wallowing, and that led to incompetence and laziness as far as Drake was concerned. He looked across to Link, who was also sitting near by, the hero wasn't covering up his feelings as well. He look clearly upset by the resurfacing of memories of Leigh, though he still wore a determined look across his face. Selina was currently delivering her own few words of Leigh, the two had become good friends during the Avatar's stay in Hyrule, much to Zelda's annoyance. Drake sighed deeply and ran a hand through his thick hair, listening to Selina's words thoughtfully. She described Leigh as 'kind, smart, strong and brave' all the things that the woman had been. Drake suddenly felt a trial of wetness across his cheek. He looked up, to see it was beginning to rain, but he knew himself that for the first time in years, since the death of his brother, more than three decades before, he was shedding tears. He quickly wiped them away, and rubbed his forehead agitatedly. Then the heavens above opened, and cracks of thunder filled the skies. Drake stood up and watched as much of the crowd hurried for cover. Instead of hurrying for cover however, Drake strode up to Leigh's obelisk and knelt down beside it, whispering "No matter what, just like Link said, none of us will ever forget you, least of all me."


   Zelda scowled, as she looked at the clock in the Great Hall. The King walked in from the back passage, noticing her. "Zelda my dear, would you like to meet the new healer, Mara?" he questioned. A young woman stood shyly behind him, a few waves of her strawberry blonde hair falling in front of her face, as she bowed her head in respect.

"Well, I..." she began. However, the woman immediately stepped forward, her shyness disappearing. She held out a lightly tanned hand.

"Such a pleasure to meet you, Princess!" she exclaimed in a tone that was far too casual for Zelda's liking.

"Nice to meet you, Mara," Zelda replied, shaking the woman's hand grudgingly. Mara smiled in an easy fashion.

"Yes. I have a feeling that I'm going to enjoy working here," she said, rather enthusiastically.

"Ah, you must be the new healer!" came another voice. Zelda turned, and scowled again, seeing her step-sister, Fayette.

"And you are?" Mara questioned politely, holding her hand out to Faye.

"I'm Lady Fayette, Zelda's step-sister," Fayette said, smiling over at Zelda sweetly. Zelda gave her a black look, then stormed off towards the steps. Mara looked after her in surprise. "Did I say something wrong?" she questioned, puzzled. Fayette laughed.

"Oh, not at all. Zelda doesn't like me very much, that's all. You know, the sibling rivalry thing," she remarked.

"I see. Well, I'm Mara," Mara said, looking thoughtful.

"Nice to meet you, Mara. About Zelda, well, she's rather jealous of me, I'm afraid," Fayette lied. The King suddenly walked over to them.

"Mara, come, I'll show you to your quarters. You can meet the rest of the court once you've got settled in," he said kindly.

"Thank you sire," Mara said politely, bowing her head again. The king and the young healer disappeared out of the hall, towards the stairs that led to the servant's quarters below the castle. Fayette smiled thoughtfully, then headed off after Zelda.

   The Princess had gone up to her room, and was gazing out of the window, looking a little impatient. "Oh, missing Link already?" Fayette intoned in a sly voice. Zelda span away from the window in surprise.

"Fayette! Do you mind? You could have at least knocked!" she said, looking angry. Fayette folded her arms and smiled smugly.

"Your door was open," she replied.

"It's terribly bad manners!" Zelda protested.

"Oh, you're one to talk about manners! You barely even looked at that new healer, never mind spoke to her!" Fayette replied.

"Big deal. She's only a servant. Besides, I have more important things on my mind," Zelda answered. Fayette's smile grew smug.

"Oh, wondering whether Link really did love Leigh or not?" she asked, her voice sugar-sweet. Zelda glared at her angrily.

"Excuse me Fayette, but how dare you even make such a remark?!" she demanded.

"Because, it might just have been true," Fayette replied languidly.

"Well, it isn't! Link did not love Leigh! He loves me, and only me!" Zelda retorted, her voice rising.

"Oh, I'd watch him with that new healer girl. She looks like just his type..." Fayette began.

"Shut up, Fayette!" Zelda cried, looking upset by this particular remark.

"Oh come on Zelda, admit it to yourself. You know that you can't trust him. Not after what happened, with both that Kylara, and..." Fayette began.

"Nothing happened with either of them! And... and... and... of course I can trust him! I really can!" Zelda said. Her words sounded unsure, though. Fayette smirked.

"Of course, it's understandable. I mean, he is quite attractive, and he knows it. I guess he can't help thinking that every woman ought to get a..."

"Faye! Link's not like that at all... well... not really," Zelda interrupted. "He's been a good and devoted husband to me in every respect."

"Oh really? You know, it's quite funny, really. Leigh's been dead over a year, and yet she still manages to come between you and Link. Yes, very funny indeed," Fayette said, thinking she was being clever. She sniggered a little. Zelda folded her arms and pouted.

"I can't imagine what you're talking about, Faye," she lied.

"Oh, I heard your little argument in the library this morning. Not to mention the fact that you didn't even go to the epitaph," Fayette said.

"Well, neither did you! And she's the patron of your home country!" Zelda retorted.

"Why didn't you want him to go, Zelda?" Fayette pressed.

"I let him go, didn't I? Now please, just drop it. Besides, it's absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the likes of you!" Zelda replied, fuming.

"Well, I'm surprised that your marriage has lasted as long as this, actually. I mean, considering only last year, you were heading for a separation..." Fayette remarked casually.

"The reason, Faye, why our marriage has lasted, is because we love each other! Don't you understand? Are you really so stupid, that you don't see it?" Zelda demanded.

"Well, if any husband of mine had acted the way he did, I..." Fayette started.

"You've only had one husband! And he was a saint to put up with you!" Zelda snapped. Fayette looked angry now. Her pale blue eyes narrowed, and she regarded Zelda rather hatefully.

"For your information, Raymundo didn't put up with me. He loved me, simple as that," she said, her tone low.

"There! Well now you know how it feels!" Zelda retorted.

   They both glared at each other, for what seemed like an age. Finally, Fayette looked away. "Yes, well, I still think that you made a mistake when you married Link," she remarked. Zelda scowled.

"Jeez Faye, do you ever give up?" she questioned in disbelief.

"I feel so sorry for your poor children! You and Link do nothing but argue, admit it!" Fayette exclaimed.

"Um, excuse me, but I don't think so! Link and I haven't argued for ages! Besides, everyone has disagreements now and again," Zelda replied. She paced over to the window, looking out again.

"Seems to me, that all your disagreements are about Link's fancy women," Fayette said, smirking again.

"He doesn't have fancy women, so just shut up," Zelda said in a cool tone.

"Could've fooled me," Fayette remarked, her tone turning flippant.

"Yeah, you're stupid enough," Zelda replied, turning once again, to stare at her step-sister coldly.

"I'm stupid?! Well look at you! You married someone you can't even trust!" Fayette laughed.

"Why..." Zelda began, sounding even more angry than before. Fayette interrupted her.

"Go on Zelda, admit it. You know that Link and Leigh had more between them, than he let on! What about all those nights you two didn't sleep together? Where do you think he was, Zelda? And what about Kylara? He left Hyrule as soon as he thought you were gone, just to be with her! I don't even understand why you took him back in the first place!" Fayette said.

"Because I loved him! If he says he felt nothing for them, then I believe him!" Zelda said, her voice started to waver a little.

"If you'd married someone noble in the first place, you wouldn't have had these problems. I swear, these peasants, they're all the same. They have no common decency at all," Fayette stated. "Oh, and you do?!" Zelda asked angrily.

"I bet Link was with loads of girls before you, Zelda," Fayette continued, her voice turning syrupy.

"Oh, and so what if he was?! Which I might add, he wasn't. That's nothing to do with you, and it's nothing to do with me, either!" Zelda replied.

"Oh, but aren't you jealous, Zelda? That he loved other people before you?" Fayette questioned sweetly.

"Fayette, I think that you better just shut up right now!" Zelda said angrily.

"Oh why? Have I hit a raw nerve?" Fayette asked, smiling complacently. Zelda wanted to slap her across the face, but managed to restrain herself.

"For your information Fayette, even though you don't deserve to know, I know fine well that Link loved me truly, and only me. He loved me ever since he met me, over ten years ago! And alright, perhaps he had a few girlfriends before me, but hey, so what? It's not like he got married to any of them," she replied.

"Luckily for you," Fayette said snidely.

"Oh, I know fine well that Link would never, ever have settled for marrying anyone else but me!" Zelda cried.

"So how come he nearly married that Kylara girl, then?" Fayette asked smugly.

"That, was different! And for Hyrule's sake, would you please just shut up about the whole matter?" Zelda demanded.

"Oh, fine. Sorry for even bringing it up," Fayette said sweetly. Then, leaving Zelda staring after her angrily, she gracefully swept out of the room.

   Sprite watched as Fayette left, and quickly left the cover of the nearby wardrobe. "She just never gives up does she?" said Sprite sympathetically. Zelda turned and glared icily at Sprite, who hastily backed off. "Hey, don't take your mood out on ME, princess," said Sprite defensively, adopting Zelda's old nick name.

"It's not princess anymore, least of all to you, Queen Tamara of the Fey," said Zelda pointedly. Sprite folded her arms.

"Hmmph, I was only trying to be supportive. Everyone knows that Link only loves you and only you, unfortunately for some. But by the way you've been acting recently, I really can't imagine what he sees in you," said Sprite. Zelda again glared at the faerie.

"Sprite, you really aren't helping. Do you want me to be in a bad mood?" snapped Zelda. Sprite raised an eyebrow.

"You already were before I arrived, oh Queen of Hyrule, may we all bow down to you," mimicked Sprite.

"Oh why don't you just shut up for once?" demanded Zelda.

"You know Zelda, this may seem in bad taste, but Leigh always had a far better and original come back than 'why don't you just shut up?'" said Sprite.

"You were right, it was in bad taste. And I could have better come backs, but I don't see why I should waste them on the likes of you," said Zelda.

"Well, if it's any consolation, I didn't come here to see you anyway. I came to see my god-daughter," said Sprite, fluttering over to Brianna's cradle.

"Fine, do what you want, it's no skin off my nose," said Zelda, flopping down onto the bed. At that moment, there was a terrible rumble over head, shaking the castle to its very foundations. Brianna, who had been quietly sleeping was awoken by the noise and began to bawl loudly. Zelda quickly got up and carefully took Brianna from her cradle and began to comfort her with hushed tones, and by rocking her back and forth in her arms.

"Sounds like a bad storm. Knew it'd be like this as soon as I saw the sky this morning," commented Sprite. Zelda walked back and forth, still cradling her daughter in her arms, but glancing up at the clock every now and again.

"He should be back by now," she commented, more to herself than anyone else.

"In this weather, I wouldn't count on it, they'll probably take shelter in Mido for the night," said Sprite surely. Zelda glanced over at Sprite and sighed.

"You're right they probably will," she agreed.


   "To Leigh," said Drake, holding up his glass to the rest of the group.

"To Leigh," the rest of them chorused back, also raising their own glasses. The weather had become so bad, that it would have been impossible to travel back to North Castle for the night, so they had all agreed to stay in a local favourite tavern, the Red Swan. They were lucky to all get rooms for the night, as many travellers were currently occupying Mido town, fortunately for the group, their haunts did not consist of the Red Swan.

"I'm sure Leigh would have appreciated what went on here today, I couldn't have put anything you said better myself. But it hardly surprises me that Leigh had that effect on people in such short time, she always did," said Sentri, speaking out for the first time in a while.

"It's only what she deserved," said Drake solemnly, his usual jovial self not evident.

"She didn't deserve to die though, she never did anything wrong. She was the most kind-hearted, caring and brave person you could ever know. She didn't deserve to die," said Sparks quietly. Sentri, who was sitting beside him placed one hand on his shoulder.

"No she didn't, but sometimes, sometimes things like that just happen," said Sentri with a sigh.

"But they shouldn't," said Sparks. Silence once fell over the group, who all stared into their drinks thoughtfully.

"It only seems like yesterday that she was on the battlefield with all of us," commented Selina. Nick nodded in agreement. They were all silent for a further few minutes. Finally Drake spoke, in attempt to try and cheer up the mood a bit.

"Look you guys, Leigh, she wouldn't have wanted for us to be all like this, she wouldn't have wanted us to dwell on her, the past, she would have wanted us all to look to the future," said Drake firmly.

"Yeah, you're right," agreed Sentri, straightening up. Sparks had also stopped hunching over his drink too, and was looking around, a little less un-happier than he had been.

   "Look, I knew Leigh the longest out of all of us, and okay, so half the time she was too busy saving Sosaria, but we certainly had some laughs on the way, even Sparks would know about some of them," said Sentri, following Drake's idea of cheering them all up a bit.

"So tell us, we could do with a good laugh," remarked Drake. Sentri smiled, as he remembered some of the times he and his friends had shared alongside with Leigh.

"Well okay, there is one particular that I can remember, more than the rest in fact, it was pretty funny at the time, but be warned, we Sosarians are said to have a bit of a warped sense of humour," warned Sentri, his eyes shining. He looked across at Sparks and grinned at him. "You'll remember this one, remember Max Morphillious?" asked Sentri. Sparks smiled as he too, recalled the humorous situation the famous Sosarian play write had gotten himself in to. He nodded.

"How could I forget?" he asked. Sentri nodded and looked across to the rest of the group,

"Okay, well it all happened when we were on our way to visit our old liege Lord British, back in the days before...well you know, before corruption had crept its way into the land..."

   "So this guy is standing there, looking totally ridiculous in this red wig and this costume thing that was supposed to resemble the Avatar's attire in that day. You have to remember that Leigh hadn't been around in well over 200 years, so people were beginning to doubt she really had ever existed at all, let alone as a woman. Anyhow, Leigh's standing there reciting these totally pointless lines for this play that's supposed to be on her life when Max says she's doing it all wrong. Leigh then reacts by saying how can she be doing it wrong when she is the Avatar? So Max gives her this look of disgust and tells her to stop making up such things. So Iolo, that's one of our friends, decides to give that pompous gentleman a piece of his own mind by launching into this speech by telling him that Leigh really is the Avatar, and that really is the way how the Avatar dresses. Max just goes on to tell Iolo that he's must be so old he's suffering from senile dementia, when his wife comes up to him and taps him on the shoulder and tells him that it really is the Avatar he's talking to. He went this white colour and began to say how sorry he was and that he'd never really doubted her in the first place, and how would she like to star in her own play. Leigh then declines the invitation by saying she'd only make the play even worse because she has the dramatic effect of a plank of wood. You should've seen his face, he had no idea what to say and started gibbering on about how he was sure that she was just being modest and so on. He was practically on his knees when we left," finished Sentri, glad his and Sparks little recalling of old times had lightened the mood a little.

"I happen to have met Mr. Morphillious myself, and found him more overbearing than every other person I have ever met, I would have given a lot just to see the expression on his face at that time," commented Nick with a broad smile.

"Yeah, but let's tell them about the time we went over to Jhelom, remember? When that tavern owner, Sprellic had got himself into a bit of trouble, and both the barmaids were taking wagers?" suggested Sparks. Sentri laughed.

"Yeah, there was that time, how 'bout you tell them this time?"


   Zelda hummed to herself, feeling a little happier than a few hours previously. She had just finished spending most of the evening with Ewan and Brianna. She had read a story to them, played a game with Ewan, sang Brianna to sleep. Spending time with her two children had made her forget her previous anger at the fact that Fayette had been winding her up, and that Link obviously wasn't going to return that night. The princess had decided to finish off her night by having a nice, long bath in her father's plunge pool, and to wash her hair at the same time. The rain was pounding down relentlessly outside, and Zelda felt glad that she was inside the safety of North Castle's thick, stone walls. It really was too much of a coincidence that today had been exactly as it had been a year ago - cold, dark and very, very wet. She pulled the thick curtain over the doorway which led to her father's room, ensuring her privacy, then proceeded to strip off, before climbing into the pool. The water was nice and warm, with a nice, foamy layer of bubbles floating on top. Relaxing in the water, Zelda immediately felt better. Maybe I should have gone to Leigh's memorial, she mused to herself. She wondered how the others were getting on. Probably having fun in some tavern somewhere, she thought, somewhat bitterly. Frowning, she released her hair from its tidy plaits, letting in fall down her back and over her shoulders. Most of it became submerged under the water, turning it a dark reddish colour. Taking a deep breath, she ducked her head into the pool, drenching her hair completely, before resurfacing. Then she took some soap, and worked it into her hair, washing it thoroughly. Sometimes, she hated having such thick, long hair. It always took such a long time to dry. She'd already instructed a maid to make up a fire in her bedroom. With the rate the weathers going, I think I'll be grateful not just to dry my hair, but to keep warm too, she thought. Taking a jug from the marble console that ran alongside the pool, Zelda filled it up with water. As she prepared to pour it over her head to wash the soap out, she suddenly heard a noise, kind of like a scuffle. The princess froze, and strained to listen, but all she could hear was the rain pounding on the window outside, and the wind blowing fiercely. Just as she was about to dismiss the noise, there was another. This time, a sort of dull thump. Zelda sank deeper into the water. "Father?" she called out, uncertainly. There was no answer. She remained silent, still listening. Stop being silly! she told herself. It was probably someone walking about nearby. Maybe it was Fenella even. Shaking her head at being so stupid, she tipped the jug over her head, squeezing her eyes shut to avoid getting soap in them. Just as she was finishing off, there was a loud roll of thunder. Zelda placed the jug on the marble console, watching for the lightning. It flashed, and to Zelda's horror, a figure was outlined outside the bathroom window, red eyes glowing. She screamed.

   "Zelda, Zelda my dear, what's the matter?" King Harkinian asked, rushing into his bedroom. His daughter was sat there on the bed, shivering in a thin silk robe, soaking wet. Her hair hung in wet tendrils around her face.

"N... nothing, dad," she said, hugging herself, to try and keep warm.

"But dear, the guards out in the passage say that they clearly heard you scream," Harkinian said, obviously concerned. Zelda bit her lip. She was beginning to think that she had perhaps imagined the malevolent looking figure. It had been embarrassing enough, the guard bursting into the small bathroom, while she had been bathing. Then, full of apologies, and blushing, the young guard had immediately hurried out. Zelda had quickly jumped out of the pool, and pulled on the nearest silk robe.

"It... it was nothing, father. I... I imagined it," Zelda replied.

"Imagined what?" the King asked, looking a little perplexed.

"I... I thought I saw a figure at the bathroom window. They had red eyes.... they were lit up in the lightning," Zelda exclaimed, a reddish blush creeping up into her cheeks at how stupid she had acted.

"We must have the grounds checked at once!" the King decided.

"Dad, I..." Zelda began. Then she froze in horror. The King looked to where his daughter was staring. The chiffon curtain that usually covered the French windows, had been drawn aside, and part of it had been trapped in the door. The King walked over for a closer look.

"Strange. I could have sworn that I closed these curtains earlier," he muttered. A chill was beginning to travel down Zelda's back. Those noises I heard... she thought to herself. The strange scuffle, and the thump. It could have been someone opening the door to the outside. It was probably possible to climb onto the ledge outside the bathroom window from the balcony. And that meant... it meant that the prowler had been inside to start with. She looked over at her father.

"Dad, I heard some noises... before I saw the figure. They sounded like they were coming from this room, but I.. I thought it was you," she said. Harkinian nodded.

"Joseph!" he called. A guard quickly walked into the room. Zelda noticed that it was the one who had burst into the bathroom earlier. He quickly averted his eyes from her in shame.

"Your Highnesses," he said bowing.

"Check the balcony for me. We may have an intruder," the King ordered.

"Yes, sire," the guard said, at once drawing his sword, and opening the French windows. A rush of wind came through the doors. The guard remained outside for some time, before coming back in.

"Sire, I see no-one, neither on the walls, the roof, or down below," he said, closing the doors once more, and pulling the bolts across them.

"Thank you. Tell Krin and the others to make a through check outside, please," the King said.

"At once," the guard said, touching his helmet in salute, then walking out. The King turned to his daughter, who looked thoroughly shaken up.

"Zelda, are you sure that you're okay?" he asked. She nodded.

"I'm fine, really, I am," she insisted.

"Shall I post a guard outside your door, as well as at the bottom of your tower?" the King questioned. Zelda shook her head.

"No thank you. I'll be okay," she said, standing up.

"Well, as you wish," Harkinian conceded. On impulse, Zelda turned, and gave her father a hug.

"I love you," she whispered. The King smiled.

"I love you too, my daughter," he replied, before releasing her.


   Mara stripped off her wet outer garments, and hung them to dry in front of the fire she'd set up in her room. A wicked smile was curved on her dark red lips. In the rain, her strawberry blonde locks had been stained a deep red colour. Mara liked the look of it. If only her hair really was that colour... she had never liked the golden streaks that adorned her otherwise light red hair. Yes, she had certainly scared that stuck up princess. Mara hadn't meant to torment the woman, but she hadn't been best pleased with the princess' rather chilly reception to her. Zelda had barely even looked at her, and for that, Mara would make her pay. Mara did not like being ignored, after all. In fact, it had been quite fun, and more effective than she'd imagined. It had been lucky that the princess had been bathing. Scaring her from outside her room would have been much harder. Mara had simply gone out onto the balcony, then climbed across to the lit up frosted glass window further along the castle wall. She hadn't been able to see inside (not that she would have wanted to anyway) but she knew that the flash of lightning would light her up quite nicely. She'd heard the stupid princess scream, and then, her job done, she'd dropped down a storey onto the drawing room balcony, then climbed down a convenient vine that allowed her to drop down to the ground. She'd then hurried around the side of the castle, back inside via the west tower, climbed the stairs, and came out on the second floor, and ran down the passage where her room was situated, before anyone had spotted her. She certainly was lucky to have such strong agility, stealth and speed. Stealing the Triforce, and the princess' young son, was going to be very easy indeed. Mara turned to the crude mirror that hung on her wall, and smiled again. Not yet, not yet, she thought. She had to get to know the castle well, and also, the inhabitants so that she could plan her escape. Mara was very patient. She would wait weeks, even months, if necessary, in order to attain her goal. She would not make any mistakes. No-one would stand in her way, impede her task...

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