Disclaimer: I dont want to get in whatever trouble people can get into when using other peoples characters so - The Legend of Zelda, Link, Zelda, Ganon, Hyrule and other related characters and settings belong to to that wonderous console company, Nintendo. No infringement intended.
Shadows of the Past
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)
"Um, your highness?" asked the guard, giving Zelda a pat on the shoulder.
"Uhmm, not now Link," groaned Zelda. The guard cleared his throat, slightly embarrassed. "Princess Zelda, your father wishes to speak with you, immediately," he said loudly. Zelda opened one eye and looked up at the guard. She screamed. "Uh...Princess, there's no need to be alarmed," assured the guard. Zelda sat up.
"I... I thought you were someone else," said Zelda, a little shakily.
"Uh... no, your father, he wishes to speak with you at once," said the guard, a little shaken himself. Zelda let out a moan and stood up.
"What time is it?" she demanded grumpily. The guard hastily checked his watch.
"It is sixteen minutes past the hour of four," he responded.
"Four in the morning?" asked Zelda. The guard nodded. Zelda walked over to Brianna's cradle, and checked on her. She was sleeping, despite Zelda's scream. She scooped her daughter from the cradle gently, and turned to the guard. "Lead the way," she said, somewhat more amicably. The guard nodded, turned and then led her to her father's study.
"Zelda, thank goodness you are okay," said her father once she walked into his study. Zelda smiled, a little confused.
"What is all this about father?" she asked.
"Zelda, I have to admit something to you. After you saw that figure out on the balcony, I thought it right to assign someone to watching you, make sure you were okay," began the King. "You what?" asked Zelda.
"I assigned a castle guard to keep an eye on you," re-phrased the King.
"Who?" asked Zelda.
"Martyn Sullivan. He's been found dead, murdered in the castle moat," said the King with a sigh. Zelda covered her mouth with one hand, carrying Brianna with the other.
"Oh no!" she murmured.
"Yes, a terrible thing. But myself and Drake, we fear his murder could be connected to his post of watching you. It may not be, but if it is..." said the King, trailing off. Where are you Link when I need you?, thought Zelda desperately wishing she had informed Link of the recent goings on instead of allowing him to go to Catalia. "So I'm assigning someone else to Martyn's post, but this time you shall know about it. I can't risk anything happening to you, not after this," said the King gravely.
"Who?" asked Zelda.
"You do not know him my dear, we do not know if he will even agree yet. But he was once the personal guard of Queen Seline of Catalia. He's the best man for the job," assured the King. "But what is his name. And why not assign someone like Drake, or Aaron?" asked Zelda.
"I can't assign anyone in this castle because they are not accustomed to such a post. This man, Kaibre Lainge, he is equipped for such a post," said the King.
"But assigning a total stranger? I need someone I can trust father, Drake or Aaron would be a far better choice," argued Zelda, feeling a little upset.
"He is not even guaranteed. Meet him first Zelda, if he agrees that is, and then tell me your judgement. Martyn Sullivan was the most capable man for the job, and he has failed. We need someone else, who has had far more experience, and this Kaibre Lainge, I feel he is the one," said the King.
"But father, we don't know if the incidents are even linked, I'd really not like to make a fuss," said Zelda.
"Zelda, you are this kingdom's next heir, every precaution must be taken to ensure your safety and I will not settle for second best," said her father firmly.
"I'll have Aaron watch you tonight, until a replacement can be arranged," said the King. Zelda nodded and was escorted back to her room with the guard who had brought her there.
The next morning, Link awoke to the sound of Sprite humming away as she combed her short hair. He sat up and glanced at his faerie friend who was perched on one of the lower branches of a nearby tree.
"Whatever happened to Navi?" asked Link suddenly, referring to his other 'guardian' faerie. Sprite looked up from her task.
"Oh her? She's been banished," said Sprite casually.
"Yeah, I knew that, but for over a year?" asked Link.
"Ummm. No. She just hasn't come back, she likes it better out in the wild or something. No, wait, now I remember. She wants to be 'free... free as the wind blows'," sang Sprite, smiling to herself before beginning to comb her hair again.
"Interesting," commented Link thoughtfully. He got up and rolled up his blanket, and then his bed roll. "You had breakfast?" he asked Sprite.
"No, I was waiting for you," said Sprite.
"Oh right." He began to rummage through his pack. "Well, you have the simply exquisite choice of bread, and more bread and...oh look, here's a pear!" said Link sardonically.
"I think...I think I'll just have to have the pear Link!" said Sprite, playing along with Link's mood. Link cut the pear up into little pieces and placed them on a tin plate, holding it up to Sprite. Sprite selected one of the juicy looking pieces, the smallest being as large as her head and began to nibble delicately on the fruit's soft flesh. Link ate the rest, then rooted through his pack for a razor.
"Is there a stream anywhere near here?" asked Link after he had finally found his shaving blade. "Yep, just over there," replied Sprite, still eating the pear. She nodded to Link's left. "Thanks, come on Carefree, let's get you something to drink," said Link, who took his horse and headed in the direction of the stream. After a while, he reappeared, looking a little more fresh faced than he had been, along with Carefree.
"Are you ready?" he asked, packing anything left away, and hoisting the pack onto his shoulders. Sprite finished her pear and nodded.
"But are you?" she asked, sounding a little concerned. Link nodded.
"I'll be fine," he murmured. Sprite smiled and flew down to him, giving him a peck on the cheek.
"You'll be fine," she promised. Link smiled.
"I know, I know."
Link sometimes wished that there was another way to reach the Gardarika graveyard, except by going through the town, but unfortunately, there wasn't. He had to ride through the centre of the town, and see everyone. I'm not going to look away in shame, he decided stoically. Besides, he would have to purchase flowers from the stalls in the market square, to place upon Hayden's grave. And, it wouldn't hurt to replace the ones on both his parent's, his sister's, his other brother's, and Kylara's graves. Gardarika stood upon top of a hill, about six miles from the coast. On a sunny day, you could often see the sea. But not today. It was dull, and a little overcast. The sun was only just peeping behind the grey clouds. Carefree trotted up the stone path, towards the town gates. They were opening, but they didn't look all that welcoming. Link sighed, and continued riding towards them.
"Don't mind them, Link!" Sprite whispered in his ear comfortingly. Link nodded, gritted his teeth, and dismounted. Unlike most places in Hyrule, Gardarika didn't have a guard house, although the gates were probably locked at night. It was just after 8am, but already people would no doubt be up and about. He led Carefree along the main road through town, glancing around a little warily. Several people, mostly housewives, turned to look at him, but he ignored them. Some people probably didn't recognise him anyway. But he knew people who would. Hopefully, he wouldn't run into any of those people, and the others would simply think of him as being a traveller, passing through.
"Well, what a surprise!" came a female voice. Great, Link thought. A young woman walked over towards him. She had curly brown hair, that was tied back in a loose ponytail, and she was wearing a grey dress and white blouse underneath. An apron was tied around her waist.
"Miya?" he asked carefully, not really sure if it was her, or not.
"Hello, Link," she said, a little coldly, wiping her flour covered hands upon her apron. Link looked down at the ground. Not even his old friends from his village would give him the benefit of the doubt. "It's been a while," she remarked.
"I suppose it has," Link agreed. Sprite alighted on his shoulder, and glared at Miya in annoyance.
"You could be nicer to him!" she shrieked loudly. Miya ignored her.
"What are you doing here, then? Arcesius won't be best pleased if he sees you here, you know," she said. Link sighed, and brushed a hand through his hair nervously.
"You know fine well why I'm here. The same reason why I come almost every year!" he replied. "Miya! Miya, what are you doing?" called a voice from a nearby cottage. Link recognised it to be from Derin, once a childhood friend, and now Miya's husband.
"I'll be back in a moment, love!" Miya called. She turned back to Link. "You know you're not welcome here, traitor," she hissed in a low tone. Link's expression turned to one of hurt.
"How can you say that, Miya?" he asked.
"Yeah! That's so unfair!" Sprite added. Miya narrowed her hazel coloured eyes.
"You forsook us for your fancy foreign Princess! I suppose you're a king now!" she replied. The sound of heavy footsteps approached. Link saw fair-haired Derin come up behind Miya, a fierce scowl on his weathered face.
"Miya! There is bread to be made, and yet you stand here in idle gossip to this... this... treacherous man!" he said loudly. Link frowned at Derin, wondering how he could dare to treat his wife in such a fashion. He would never speak to Zelda that way. "Get back in the kitchen! And you... you..." Derin said, turning to look at Link.
"What?" Link questioned, returning Derin's glare.
"You're not welcome here. Get out of our town, if you know what's good for you!" Derin shouted. By now, a whole group of people had begun to gather round.
"Yes, go!" someone shouted.
"Traitor!" someone else called.
"Murderer!" shouted another person. That did it for Link.
"I'm only here for one reason, and I think you should let me do it in peace!" he said angrily. "Feeling guilty?" said Derin. Link felt like punching him, but he managed to restrain himself. "Just leave me alone!" he snapped, beginning to walk forward.
"You don't deserve the life you have!" Miya yelled after him, sounding almost vehement.
"Yes, look at him! With his fine clothes, a pouch full of rupees, rings worth more than what we own put together!" a red-haired man shouted. Link saw that it was another survivor of his old tribe, Aden.
"You leave him alone, you big bullies!" Sprite shouted.
"Looks like faerie-boy here wasn't expecting such a cold reception," Aden continued, advancing closer. Link immediately drew his sword, its silvery blade flashing in the sunlight.
"I'm not afraid to use this," he stated bravely. Aden, and several other men, had drawn their own weapons.
"Oh, the famous hero thinks he can take us all on, does he?" Derin taunted. The men all advanced forward, closing in on him...
A young black-haired woman ran out of her kitchen to see what all the noise was about. She noticed half the men of the town closing around a handsome young man, taunting and sneering at him. With a start, she realised it was Link, once a friend of hers, a long, long time ago, when they'd lived in the same village. Her name was Fayzie, she was Aden's wife. She knew the stories that had been told, that Link had refused to marry her tribal sister, Kylara, and had left her to marry his other love, Princess Zelda, heir of their neighbouring country of Hyrule. But... secretly, Fayzie, and even her friend, Miya, had always thought that Kylara had been a little crazy. She had been deeply affected by the vicious massacre of their village, and then her parents had died, not long after they had managed to seek refuge in the nearby town of Gardarika. She thought that Link didn't deserve the bad treatment he was getting. Alright, he had done wrong in not marrying Kylara, but he hadn't caused her death. She had caused that herself. Quickly, she ran towards the centre of the village, and up the steps to the house of the Elder. He would stop what was going on, though she was surprised that he hadn't heard the noise already. Fayzie banged on the door, and a few minutes later, Elynda, Arcesius' wife, opened it, looking a little sleepy.
"Yes, dear?" she asked.
"Elynda, fetch the Elder at once! There's a riot going on outside Derin's house!" Fayzie exclaimed. Elynda seemed to finally catch on.
"Oh dear! I shall tell my husband to break it up at once!" she said, rushing back inside. Arcesius soon arrived, carrying his staff.
"Fayzie, what in the world is going on?" he asked.
"Derin, Aden, and the others! They're attempting to start a fight with Link!" the young woman explained hurriedly.
"What? Link is here? Link of Hyrule?" Arcesius questioned in surprise.
"Yes, and they'll kill him if you don't stop them!" Fayzie replied.
"I never could trust that young man... always causing trouble..." the elder muttered.
"Do you want us to get on bad terms with Hyrule? Why, they're our biggest ally and we're about to kill their next ruler!" Fayzie said angrily. Arcesius muttered something Fayzie couldn't quite hear, then hurried over to the group, where more than just a heated argument was taking place.
"Oi! Kaibre, you lazy nowt, wake up, you got someone to see ya!" shouted Dalin through the door, the owner of the Rusty Sword Inn of Saria town. Kaibre Lainge woke up, and yawned loudly sitting up in his bed. He stood up, and walked to the door of his room, opening it.
"Yeah?" he asked. Dalin shrugged.
"Messenger from North Castle, only the Goddesses would know what royalty would want with you," joked Dalin. Kaibre grinned, and ran a hand through his unkept hair. He had been staying in the inn for quite a while now, not really doing all that much. He'd made a lot of money during his time in Catalia, working for the monarchy there. He scratched his eye.
"Where is he?" he asked.
"Down there, having a drink. Poor lad's had to walk through wind an' rain just to summon you," said Dalin.
"Mmmm, well, I hope they don't expect me to walk through wind and rain to reply to their summoning," said Kaibre with a grin.
"Hey, I'd take the opportunity if I were you. Might want to give you a job, make a bit of money," said Dalin.
"Perhaps, but I've had my share of working for royalty. Too much of a share, some might say," sighed Kaibre.
"Yeah well, get down there anyhow, you never know..." advised Dalin.
"Okay, I'll just get a bit more decent. Tell him I'll be down shortly," said Kaibre.
"A bit more decent? You? You'll have a job," grinned Dalin.
"You know what I mean, I'll be down in a few minutes, 'kay?" said Kaibre.
"Yup, I'll tell him that. You want your usual for breakfast?" asked Dalin.
"Maybe not. Won't do to turn up at the castle reeking of alcohol, especially at this time in the morning," said Kaibre.
"You're right, I'll have a proper full breakfast done up for you, I'll put it on your slate," said Dalin, before walking off down the narrow passage. Kaibre shook his head and walked back into his room, closing the door behind him.
Kaibre glanced at himself in the partially polished mirror. He knew what Dalin meant about him being a scruff. His hair, previously kept in a short and neat trim, was growing longer at the back, and was pretty much everywhere. His normally clean shaven face was covered in an untidy stubble. He guessed he should have a shave, as he ran his finger over his chin. He ran his hands back through his hair. He walked across the room to an old ramshackle wardrobe and opened the doors, one almost falling off in the process. He shifted through his clothes, trying to find his best attire, and finally came up with a blue shirt, red tunic and a pair of black trousers. He quickly changed into them, trying to straighten out the creases. He walked over to the dressing table and poured some water into a bowl and had a quick wash, washing his hair in the process. He quickly dried his face on a towel then left his room, and walked down the staircase.
"Kaibre Lainge?" asked the guard, standing up as soon as Kaibre appeared. Kaibre nodded. "That's me," he said.
"The King, he wants to see you," said the messenger.
"He does, does he? What about?" asked Kaibre, sitting down.
"There's been some incidents at the castle, involving Princess Zelda. The King wants her to have a bodyguard," said the guard, joining him.
"And?" asked Kaibre, Dalin appeared, placing a full cooked breakfast down before him.
"You were recommended to him, by Sir Drake," said the guard slowly.
"Drake? Drake Benowyc? Sir is it now?" said Kaibre, sounding a little surprised.
"Uh, yeah," confirmed the guard.
"Not seen Drake in a long while, how'd he know I was here?" asked Kaibre, beginning to eat some of his friend bread.
"That might be something to do with me. Me and Drake, well it's like every other tavern owner in Hyrule, we go a long way back," admitted Dalin.
"So...my services are once again needed by royalty. The whole reason I came to Hyrule was because I thought no one would need my services here. They've got that hero, Link or something haven't they?" said Kaibre, leaning back a little.
"He's, he's gone to Catalia," said the guard.
"How apt. I leave Catalia and come over here, he runs off to Catalia. When does the King want to see me?" asked Kaibre.
"As soon as possible," said the guard, sounding a little hopeful. Kaibre swallowed.
"As soon as possible?" he asked, banging his knuckles a little on the table.
"Uh-hmm," replied the guard.
"I guess that means now," said Kaibre.
"Well, I suppose," said the guard.
"And its a definite thing, the job I mean?" asked Kaibre. The guard shrugged.
"Could be," said the guard.
"Guess I'd best go pack," said Kaibre, wolfing down the rest of his meal in record time.
"I'll just wait here then," said the guard.
"Yeah, have another drink on me. Dalin, I'll clear my slate when I come down, have the tallies ready," said Kaibre.
"Right sir," said Dalin, doing a mock salute. Kaibre grinned, then left. The guard looked to Dalin.
"Cocky fellow, isn't he?" asked the guard.
"Might seem so right now. But between you and me, that isn't the real Kaibre Lainge," said Dalin in a half whisper.
"It isn't?" asked the guard, sounding interested.
"Got a heart bigger than the Demiari, 'ee 'as, believe me," said Dalin.
"Whatever you say old man. Still, get us another one of these, on the good man's slate," said the guard, holding up his empty glass.
"Aye, aye, on its way mate," said Dalin, picking up the glass and empty plate then walking off behind the bar.
"Your majesty," said Kaibre respectfully, getting down on one knee before the King.
"It was good of you to come so soon," thanked the King.
"Not at all. Now, please tell me of what exactly you want of me," said Kaibre, standing up. "No doubt my messenger informed you of the recent goings on, I want you to protect my daughter," said the King. Kaibre nodded.
"Anything for a friend of Queen Seline," said Kaibre graciously.
"Good, I'm glad to hear you're willing to do so," said the King.
"Although, I should meet your daughter first, just to make sure we get on. After all, I'll be sticking around as long as I am needed for, which could be quite a while," said Kaibre.
"But of course, of course...Alain, go fetch my daughter, tell her she is wanted immediately," instructed the King to a nearby messenger.
"Wait, perhaps I should meet her on neutral ground, we don't want to be intimidated by an audience," sad Kaibre. Alain paused. The King nodded.
"True, true. I'll take you myself, get you two introduced," said the King. Kaibre nodded. "This way then, my good man," said the King, leading the way. Kaibre followed, hoping he wasn't going to regret making any commitment.
"Zelda?" asked the King. Zelda turned around, surprised. She was sitting in the drawing room, concentrating on painting an imagined landscape. She hadn't heard him enter.
"Yes?" she asked. Then she saw another man, just behind her father. He was reasonably dressed, but his hair was in need of a decent trim, and his face a good shave. If this was this 'Kaibre Lainge' her father had been harping on about, she wasn't impressed.
"Zelda, this is Kaibre Lainge, Kaibre, this is my daughter, Zelda, next heir to the throne," introduced the King. Kaibre stepped forward, and got down on one knee, taking her hand. "It is a pleasure to meet you your highness," he said sincerely, touching her hand with his lips. "Likewise I'm sure," said Zelda un-surely. Kaibre got up, and smiled charmingly at Zelda. Zelda smiled back, realising, that under this man's unkept appearance, he was remarkably handsome.
"I thought it best we met before your father decided whether or not to give me the job. Because I can promise you this, if I am given the job, you won't be able to get rid of me for anything," said Kaibre. Again, a flash of his charming smile. Zelda couldn't help but smile back.
"And will you protect me with your life?" asked Zelda, expectantly.
"With my life," swore Kaibre solemnly. Zelda smiled at him.
"Well father, he already has the qualifications, I don't see any reason why not to give him the job," said Zelda. The King nodded and turned to Kaibre.
"You have a job dear sir. I'll have someone show you your quarters straight away, there you can unpack, and do whatever you feel necessary. Then I'll send Sir Drake along, who will brief you on how things are done here, then, then I trust you will meet up with my daughter, and tell her how you operate," said the King. Kaibre half smiled.
"Okay. I'll do that," said Kaibre.
"I'll see you later," said Zelda.
"Naturally," replied Kaibre smiling, before leaving the room.
"Seems like a nice gentleman," commented the King.
"I suppose," said Zelda, not wanting to sound too keen.
"You realise this is for your own good dear, so don't try anything like leading him on merry chases and all that," warned the King. Zelda laughed.
"Oh father, that's what I would have done years ago. I've grown a little bit since then," insisted Zelda. The King smiled.
"Oh yes, I keep forgetting," he said with a cheeky grin.
"Dad! You're as bad as Link sometimes," said Zelda, smiling despite herself.
"Okay dear, I'll see you at dinner," said the King, before he left the room, and Zelda alone. Zelda sat for a moment, thinking about Kaibre. There was something about him, something she wasn't quite sure of. He had seemed a confident and outgoing man, but she sensed there was something else, something else under his exterior. She turned back to her painting, regarding it critically. Then, she began to paint again, putting the meeting behind her.
As Kaibre finished cleaning himself up again, and unpacking his things, he heard a knock on the door to his chamber. He turned, ready to open the door, when the door swung open, Drake standing there, a massive grin slapped on his face.
"Kaibre my old boy, it's been a while!" exclaimed Drake. Kaibre nodded.
"Indeed it has, Sir Drake," said Kaibre, emphasising the 'Sir'.
"Yep. So you took the job, eh? I wasn't sure if you would, but I knew you'd be the best for the job," said Drake, his grin replaced by a sheepish smile.
"Yeah well, I've got a bit of money left, but not so much that I can retire from the game entirely," said Kaibre. Drake walked up to his friend.
"You'll mind me saying this, but you look like hell," said Drake seriously. Kaibre touched his face self-consciously.
"I know, but so would you," said Kaibre, quietly.
"Hey, what's up? Is this something to do with why you left your post in Catalia?" asked Drake worriedly.
"You could say that, but it doesn't matter now. What matters is that my days in Catalia are over, and my days in Hyrule are about to begin," said Kaibre, attempting to sound more cheerful. Drake wasn't fooled, but he decided his friend obviously didn't want to go into details, so he left it at that.
"So, I'm supposed to brief you on stuff around here, but I expect you know most of the routine rigouromole already. So, I'll take you for a tour of the castle instead," said Drake.
"Sure, that'd be great," said Kaibre with a nod.
"Yep, we'll stop by the royal barbers first, if you get my meaning," said Drake subtly.
"Uh-huh, I suppose you have a point," said Kaibre.
"I do. The Royals round here, they have particularly high standards," said Drake.
"I can see that. They made you captain of the guard didn't they?" asked Kaibre, half-jokingly. "You're right, I don't know what they were thinking either," confided Drake laughing. "Come on then, we'd best get going, get you acquainted with your new surroundings, they'll be a lot different from the Rusty Sword, I can assure you," added Drake, turning, ready to leave.
"I figured that much," said Kaibre, following his friend out the door.
As the two walked towards the great staircase, they were stopped by Fayette, who looked at Kaibre in obvious distaste.
"Drake, really, you shouldn't be bringing your bar mates back here you know. They should stay in the tavern, where they obviously belong," said Fayette haughtily.
"Actually Faye my dear, this is Zelda's new bodyguard, Kaibre Lainge," said Drake, eagerly anticipating the look on Fayette's face.
"Bodyguard? Since when did my sister need a bodyguard?" asked Fayette, still looking at Kaibre warily.
"Since now. So, if you'll excuse us," said Drake, beginning to walk past.
"Hang on, if Zelda has a bodyguard, then I think I should too," said Fayette.
"Fascinating Faye, why don't you take it up with the King? After all, I only act on orders from him," suggested Drake.
"Yes, well. I don't know which gutter you pulled him from, but when I have a bodyguard, I'll be expecting someone a little more up market," said Fayette.
"Of course you would Faye, but like I say, you'll have to take it up with the King," said Drake, not sounding particularly bothered by Fayette's demands.
"Hmmph, well, we'll just have to see won't we!" exclaimed Fayette before sweeping off down the corridor.
"Charming, isn't she?" asked Kaibre.
"Totally. She acts that way with everyone. Hey, I've been meaning to ask you, how's Jenny, and that kid of yours, Benji?" asked Drake as they walked down the stairs. Kaibre didn't reply. Drake turned to look at his friend. "Kaibre?" he asked. Kaibre looked at Drake.
"They, they're not around any more," said Kaibre quietly.
"Hey, I'm sorry to hear that. You two split up?" asked Drake, continuing to walk down the stairs.
"Something like that," replied Kaibre. Drake nodded, going quiet for a while.
"Well, if it's any consolation, I'm still not married, and at this rate, I don't think I will be," said Drake.
"You'll find someone eventually, everyone does," said Kaibre.
"Yeah, I thought I had," said Drake, thinking about Leigh.
"But it didn't work out, huh?" asked Kaibre.
"No, it never had the chance," said Drake.
"Sorry to hear that," said Kaibre sympathetically.
"But enough of that, let's talk about something else," suggested Drake, wanting to change the subject.
"Well...what about the woman just there? She's Zelda's sister?" asked Kaibre in surprise.
"Not really, step-sisters. They hate each other something rotten though. Myself, I like Zelda, well everyone does compared to Fayette. But put it this way, I wouldn't fancy working under her order every day and night, she's real bossy, takes no crap from no-one," said Drake.
"She won't be the one doing the ordering, not the way I work," said Kaibre.
"Oh, you will, believe me," said Drake with a laugh.
"Hmm, we'll see. Anyhow, d'you have any idea who could be behind this thing with Zelda?" asked Kaibre.
"Not one. Unless you count Fayette, but I don't reckon she's that imaginative," said Drake. He stopped. "Here, in here, Colin'll give you a trim," said Drake, opening the door. "And a shave," he added.
"Let's see just how good the great hero really is!" Aden sneered. Link realised that he couldn't back away any further, because the men of the town had begun to form a ring around him. Whichever way he turned, there was someone brandishing some sort of weapon.
"Can't we settle this fairly?" he asked hopefully. There were laughs of scorn from the group. "Settle it fairly? I don't think so!" a dark-browed man shouted. Aden jumped forward, pulling out his crudely made sword. He slammed it towards Link, but the hero reacted quickly, blocking the move with his own blade. Link then span around, defending himself from another attack. The men were attacking him from all sides, with whatever they could lay their hands on. Some had swords, other had daggers, sticks, planks of wood, clubs, maces, stones.
"This is sooo unfair!" Sprite wailed, darting about, keeping away from the weaponry.
"Like they even care!" Link muttered angrily, attempting to block another attack. He ducked, as a rock came flying in his general direction. It missed, and hit someone else, who immediately fell to the ground, stunned. "One down, at least twenty to go," Link said to himself sarcastically.
"Kill him, kill him!" the gathering crowd chanted.
"Let me help you, Link!" Sprite said, suddenly firing off a magical bolt. Some of the men shouted, and dashed away from the explosion.
"Someone nab that damn faerie!" someone shouted, but Sprite quickly flew out of the way, shaking her tiny fist at the men angrily.
"Don't aggravate a faerie, don't you dare!" she shouted. Link grinned to himself, then winced as he was struck from behind by someone.
"Go on, get him!" Derin shouted loudly. Link made a wild spin attack, in effort to protect himself, but tripped, and found himself sprawled back done on the ground. Derin moved forward, lunging to stab him in the chest, but Link was quick onto his feet.
"Don't ever, ever think you'll get the upper hand on me," he growled, knocking Derin's sword out of his hand.
"What, the..." Derin began, as his sword flew into the air, and landed on the ground a few feet away. Satisfied, Link turned to deal with his next oppressor, and was promptly greeted by a punch in the face. Holding his jaw, Link stumbled backwards, intense pain shooting through his body.
"You'll regret the day you messed with us!" someone cried loudly. Link rubbed his jaw, then tried to ignore the agony he was feeling. He disarmed someone else, and then floored another. "Think you're good? Think again!" shouted Aden, rushing towards him.
"No, you, can think again!" Link retorted, beginning to grow angry.
"Come on Link, you can do it!" Sprite encouraged, firing off another bolt.
"Kill the killer!" the crowd shouted. Someone bashed Link on the shoulder with a plank of wood, nails attached. They went through his tunic and shirt, into his skin. He gasped, then hit his attacker with his sword, drawing blood. Swallowing, he turned to deal with Aden. A warm, sticky substance on his lip made him realise that his nose was bleeding.
"You deserve to die, after what you did to Kylara!" Aden shouted.
"But I didn't kill Kylara!" Link argued.
"As good as! You abandoned her for your slut of a Hyrulian princess!" Aden replied.
"Ahem!" Sprite shouted loudly, but nobody listened.
"Don't you dare speak of my wife in such disrespect!" Link said, feeling even more angry.
"She tempted you away from your duty with her beauty and power. That makes her so!" Aden retorted.
"Well I think that you're just jealous!" Sprite yelled. She blew a raspberry, then darted away quickly, as a stone came flying in her vicinity. Link cried out in pain as a dagger became embedded in his arm. He dropped his sword, as the pain coursed through his left arm. It became hidden underfoot, lost. Feeling nauseous, he pulled the dagger out, and blood began seeping through his tunic.
"Face it traitor, you're as good as dead!" Aden sneered. He grabbed Link by the tunic, and punched him, hard. Link punched the red-haired man back in defence, sending him flying backwards.
Arcesius rushed over to the crowd, holding his stick up high. Fayzie followed close behind, along with Elynda.
"Stop this, stop it at once!" the elder shouted above the din. Derin looked over at the elder. "I'm sorry sir, but he deserves it!" he said angrily.
"That may be true, but I'll not have such disorder in my town! Step aside!" Arcesius ordered. Eventually, everyone began to move away, leaving an unhappy looking Link stood there, alone. Spotting his sword, he walked over to retrieve it, slipping it through his belt. Then he turned to face Arcesius. "I think that you'd better come with me, boy!" the elder spat angrily. Link brushed away the strands of hair that had fallen out of place.
"I'd rather not," he stated coldly.
"You'll be safer with me, than out here," Arcesius warned.
"I don't need your help. Just leave me alone, for goodness sake!" Link snapped. Arcesius waved the spectators away.
"Be gone with you all! Get back to your daily jobs!" he ordered. The people began to disperse, leaving Link and the elder alone. Elynda hovered nearby. Sprite appeared, and alighted on Link's shoulder.
"What are you doing here?" Arcesius questioned.
"In case you didn't remember, it's the anniversary of my brother's death. I've come to pay my respects," Link replied.
"Well, get going! Next time, I won't bother intervening!" Arcesius said. He then began to walk away, leaving Link stood alone. "
Oh Link, you look terrible! You'll have bruises for sure!" Sprite cried.
"I don't care," Link replied moodily, retrieving Carefree, who had ran away during the confusion. He was beginning to wish that he'd never bothered coming in the first place. He trudged towards the centre of the town, where the market stalls had been set up, wiping the blood off his face with an old rag from his pack.
"You'll not be buying 'owt from here!" a woman cried, shaking her fist.
"But I only want..." Link began. A man walked towards him, brandishing a club.
"Get lost, before we give you another beating, traitor!" he said in a fierce tone. Link felt his
eyes beginning to water. Trying to retain his dignity, he quickly walked away, and headed towards the graveyard.
Fayzie knew that she was doing wrong, but she didn't care. It had been awful to see one of her own kin, bashed and bloodied. Hurriedly, she paid for the flowers, and walked towards the graveyard, hoping that no-one had spotted her. Walking through the iron gate, she noticed a lone figure, dressed in green, kneeling at a grave in the far end of the cemetery. He looked up as she approached, and she could tell he'd obviously been crying. Fayzie had never seen a man cry before, and she was slightly surprised. His expression hardened however.
"Leave me alone!" he said angrily.
"Link, no! Please... these, I got them for you," Fayzie said softly, handing him the small bouquet. He took them, looking grateful.
"Thanks, Fayzie," he said quietly.
"You've been treated unfairly, Link, I'm so sorry. And Aden, I..." Fayzie began. A blush began to creep over her cheeks. "He's... he's not the nicest of men. Are you hurt badly?" she enquired. Link shrugged.
"I've been in so many battles that I'm used to pain," he replied, fingering the soft petals of the flowers thoughtfully. Fayzie laid her hand on his arm, which was covered in blood. He moved it away.
"Fayzie, you'd better go. Considering I'm seen as some sort of enemy..." he started.
"Link, I don't blame you for what happened to Kylara. She'd been... she'd always acted so strange, you know. Neither Derin, or... or Aden wanted to marry her, because of the way she was. It was so horrible... yet, maybe it was the way it had to be," Fayzie said softly. Link laid the flowers down on Hayden's grave.
"Maybe," he muttered, staring down at it.
"At least let me help you," Fayzie begged.
"Why should you want to? I'm a traitor," Link said sourly.
"Oh Link... we used to be friends. Can't we still be?" the young woman asked. Link saw nothing but pure sincerity in her warm brown eyes, yet he looked away, still not sure.
"I'm not staying. I planned to... but its clear everyone still hates me. It's best if I go," he muttered. A crack of thunder suddenly clapped overhead.
"You can't go back tonight... it's going to rain for a good few days," Fayzie said, looking worried.
"Well, that's just great," Link said in a sarcastic tone.
"Yeah, why should we trust you?" Sprite added.
"Come. I know a place that might provide a little shelter. It's a cave... not too far away. I'll take you there, then I'll come back later, and get those wounds cleaned up," Fayzie said, rising.
"With hospitality like that, how can I possibly refuse?" Link said, still sarcastic. He was still wishing that he was back in Hyrule, rather than this hole of a country he'd been born in...
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