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 9

   Link heard the sound of a door slamming, then Sprite shrieking angrily.

"You'll pay for this, you really will! Just wait till King Harkinian finds out, he'll have you executed in the public square for your crimes, you beasts!"

"Can't you get it to be quiet?" said a voice. Link recognised it to be Derin's.

"I'll never shut up you savages! Let us go, and maybe the King'll go easy on you! This a Royal felony, I swear!" Sprite continued.

"Maybe it's like a bird. If we put a cover over its cage..." Aden began.

"Don't you dare! Just don't!" Sprite said. Then her voice was muffled out.

"Maybe not, but at least it hides the shrieking," Derin said. Link shrank back into the corner. He didn't want to endure another beating; if that's what they had planned. He was too weak to fight back. Even channelling his Triforce's power wouldn't help him. Being physically weak would stop that, too.

"Maybe we should just kill it," Aden said.

"No! It may fetch a fine price in the market place!" Derin replied firmly. Link knew what Sprite's muffled cries would be.

"I'm not tame!" she yelled, but it was distorted by the sack.

"Maybe. But if it were to escape, it might go back to Hyrule and tell those rotten high born friends of Link's," Aden argued.

"Well, we'll tell the buyer it must never be taken out of its cage," Derin reasoned.

"It's got a big mouth. It may tell the buyer what we did," Aden replied.

"So say it's mad. By the time we sell it, he'll be dead and buried anyway. No-one will ever know," Derin said. Those words sent a chill down Link's spine. He squeezed his eyes shut, praying to the goddesses for deliverance.

"We can't take the chance," Aden said firmly. Link heard heavy footsteps approaching his cell. "D'you think he's come to yet?" Aden questioned.

"Maybe we should go in and give him a rude awakening," Derin suggested.

"Maybe we should," Aden agreed. Link heard the door clang open, but he felt too weak to even stand. He could have escaped perhaps, but now it was too late. Suddenly, he was kicked hard on his side. He groaned in pain, clutching his torso. "So you are still alive," Aden said.

"Why don't you just go ahead and kill me now?" Link asked, looking up at the two.

"Oh no. We're going to keep you here for a while and torture you. We'll make you feel as bad as you made Kylara feel," Aden stated.

"Sprite's right. This is a royal offence," Link stated weakly.

"Oh, and what do we care? They won't ever even know. They'll never find you here, and they'll never know that we did it," Derin said smugly. Link knew that they were right. He sighed.

"I think you've tortured me enough. Let me go, I won't come back, you have my word," he promised.

"We'll never let you go. And soon, we'll just kill you anyway, you traitor," Derin replied. Link sat up.

"I'm of your kin! How can you do this?" he cried.

"You're no kin of ours, you never were. Your father wasn't Arn, your mother must have had an affair with someone else!" Aden said.

"That's a lie! You know that I looked like my brothers and sisters, swear it that I didn't, swear it!" Link said angrily.

"You looked like your mother more than your father!" Derin said.

"My father told me that your mother ran away from the village for a while when she was younger. She must have had an outside lover!" Aden stated.

"No, no. You're just saying that so you can kill me with a clear conscience!" Link argued. His head was hurting again. A sharp pain shot through to his temples, but he ignored it.

"If you were one of us, you would have married Kylara like it was right to!" Derin interjected. "I was already engaged to marry someone else! Someone who I loved! I never loved Kylara!" Link said.

"I didn't love Fayzie, but we married like it was right to," Aden said. Link swallowed, thinking about Fayzie. He hoped that she was okay.

"You're no Kokiri, Link. And besides, we know that you took your Princess' name, Grâtia-Illustrísquídam," Derin said, saying Zelda's second name in a leering tone.

"That Royal family you love are in love with only themselves! What kind of a name is that, anyway?" Aden said.

"The name they've had for centuries! And anyway, I'm proud to take on Zelda's name. I wouldn't keep my own, because I see what bitter, twisted people you've become!" Link retorted hotly.

"If I remember my Hylian correctly, doesn't that mean the 'exalted ones'?" Aden questioned. Link remained silent.

"If that bitch princess of yours comes here, we'll kill her too," Derin remarked.

"Kill her, and I'll kill the two of you," Link said quietly. The pair laughed, and then walked out, locking the door behind them.


   Kaibre turned from the balcony, and was about to walk back inside, when he spotted Zelda through the glass, on the bed, weeping openly. He paused for a moment, wondering whether to go in. He had to. He pushed open the door, and walked in, kneeling beside Zelda, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. He noticed she tensed up a little when he placed his hand on her. "

Your Highness?" he asked softly. Zelda gulped a little, tears still flowing freely down her face. "Hey, it's okay," he assured her, Zelda sniffed again, and turned, burying her face into Kaibre's chest. She just needed for someone to hold her, comfort her. Kaibre flinched a little, as she touched upon his wound, and Zelda drew away a little.

"I'm sorry," she apologised. Kaibre smiled down at her, and drew her back into a hug.

"It's okay," he repeated. After a few more minutes, Zelda finally pulled away, wiping the last of her tears from her eyes. "Are you okay?" asked Kaibre, although he knew there was clearly something amiss.

"Yes, it's just," began Zelda, her voice wobbling a bit. Kaibre reached across, and placed his hand on her shoulder.

"It's okay, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to, or if you don't feel up to it," he said softly.

"No, I need to tell someone. It's just that I miss Link so much, and I'm worried about him. He and I, we have a psychic link between us. I tried to contact him and there was nothing, I just can't stop thinking about it," confided Zelda.

"Well he's in Catalia right? Perhaps it's just the distance between you. He can't get home because of the weather, that's all," suggested Kaibre.

"I guess it could be that, I've never had to contact him outside of Hyrule before," admitted Zelda. Kaibre smiled.

"Besides, he's this country's hero right? I'm sure he'll be okay," said Kaibre. Zelda nodded, feeling a little better. She began to get up, Kaibre stood, helping her.

"I'm going to go and see Impa now," she said, walking over to Brianna's cradle and retrieving the small child.

"I'll come with you, at least until you get to Impa's quarters," said Kaibre. He walked over to the door and held it open for Zelda, before helping her through and closing the door behind them.

   Mara walked cautiously into the nursery, and saw Lady Fayette sitting with her young child, Raymundo. Fayette looked up, and spotted Mara. Her lips curved into a puzzled smile.

"Why Mara, what brings you to the nursery?" she asked pleasantly. Mara saw Fayette and stumbled a little over her words.

"Uh, I was, um, looking for Princess Zelda, you see, I need to see that guard who she has, he was injured last night and I wanted to check if he was okay," lied Mara. She knew Kaibre would be perfectly fine, at least for the time being. She hadn't expected to find Fayette here at this time of day, and was hoping to catch a moment where the children were alone. Impa nearly always supervised, but she did tend to go back to her quarters momentarily, leaving the children unsupervised for a while. Those were the times when Mara grabbed her moments with Ewan. Fayette looked at Mara, interested.

"What? Her bodyguard?" asked Fayette. True, when she had first seen Kaibre, she had not been overly impressed, but now he was smartened up a little, she found him extremely attractive. She hadn't had the chance to have a proper conversation with him yet, mainly because anytime he was around, so was Zelda, and if she so much as opened her mouth, she received glittering daggers from her step-sister. Mara nodded in reply, and Fayette in return, answered the healer's question. "No, Zelda hasn't been in here today, not yet anyway. She'll appear eventually I suppose," said Fayette, turning her gaze back to Raymundo. Mara shrugged.

"I can wait I suppose," said Mara, sitting down.

"How did he get injured?" asked Fayette. Mara shrugged.

"Wound to the chest, Zelda wouldn't tell me how it happened, and he never said anything either," replied Mara. Fayette lifted her head a little, thinking.

"Oh well, I can ask her later," said Fayette, although she knew it was likely Zelda would just ignore her. Ewan, who had been playing with Timothy, turned and saw Mara. He smiled and walked over.

"Hello Mara," he greeted in a sweet tone.

"Why hello Ewan, are you having fun with your friend?" asked Mara, smiling at Ewan. Ewan nodded his head.

"Me and Tim are playing knights and castles!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, that sounds like real fun!" said Mara, her tone enthusiastic.

"Will you come and see the castle me and Tim built?" asked Ewan. Mara gave Fayette and amused glance and stood up.

"Why I'd love to," she said. Ewan smiled and ran off back down the nursery. "He's certainly very sweet," said Mara to Fayette.

"He is. He's nothing like his mother," admitted Fayette her second sentence in a distinctly darker and lower tone than her first. She had a soft spot for her step-sister's son, he had been nothing but sweet and polite towards her, despite what his mother had to have told him. "You and Zelda, uh, I mean, her royal highness, don't get on very well do you?" inquired Mara. Fayette shrugged.

"No. We hate each other," she said bluntly, rocking Raymundo in her arms to and fro. Mara nodded, and sensing the conversation was over, she walked down to the back of the nursery, to see Ewan's and Timothy's work.

   "Look!" said Ewan, showing Mara his and Timothy's 'castle'. It was constructed of several large building blocks, and looked pretty precarious, but Mara smiled.

"It's wonderful," she complimented.

"We've been building it since yesterday," beamed Ewan proudly. Timothy just smiled shyly at Mara.

"So are you two the knights who protect the castle?" asked Mara. Timothy nodded his head. "Yeah, no-one evil can get into our castle, not while me and Tim defend it!" stated Ewan, confidently placing his hand upon the hilt of his wooden sword. Mara smiled to herself.

"Too bad they aren't defending this castle," she thought smugly. Suddenly, the two twins pranced over, Rosalind and Rosamund. Tim and Ewan immediately drew their wooden swords, pointing them at the two girls.

"You can't come near this castle!" said Ewan.

"Yeah! You're girls!" agreed Tim.

"But we want to play," the two whined at the same time.

"But only good people are allowed in our castle, and girls aren't good!" said Ewan.

"We are so! We're far better than boys!" insisted Rosalind.

"No you're not! All you ever want to do is be boring princesses, and have tea!" accused Ewan. "But we are princesses!" whined Rosamund. Mara surveyed the scene with amusement.

"Oh but boys, you need princesses to be in your castle, then you can protect them too," suggested Mara. Ewan looked up at Mara, a little wary.

"But..." he began.

"Yes, she's right!" said Rosalind, placing her hands on her hips. Timothy looked at Rosalind. "But..." he protested.

"Why don't you like girls?" asked Rosamund, sniffing.

"Your mother's a girl, and so is your sister," pointed out Mara.

"Yeah, but, that's different," said Ewan.

"And you'll have to marry a girl one day," pointed out Rosamund.

"I'll never marry a girl!" said Ewan determindley.

"So are you doing to marry a boy then?" giggled Rosalind. Ewan's face frowned.

"No, I'm not going to marry till I'm really old, because I want to adventure!" he said.

"Yeah, me too!" said Timothy. Rosella appeared, the oldest of the three girls. She looked at Ewan and smiled.

"Who was talking about marriage?!" she demanded.

"We were. Ewan said he wasn't going to marry a girl," said Rosalind.

"But Ewan's going to marry me, aren't you? Because you have to marry a princess, and I'm the best one you know!" said Rosella. Ewan blushed a little.

"I can't marry you. You're my cousin," said Ewan.

"So? My mother's cousin married her brother," said Rosella.

"No she didn't!" said Rosalind.

"She did so!" insisted Rosella.

"No she didn't!" argued Rosalind. The two looked over towards their mother.

"Mother! Didn't your cousin marry her brother!" stated Rosella.

"No, she didn't. She didn't marry anyone," sighed Fayette.

"See! Told you!" said Rosalind smiling triumphantly.

"You can still marry your cousin though," said Rosella. At that moment, someone else entered the nursery, Kaibre. He had decided to come and pay a visit to Ewan and Tim while Zelda had a chat with Impa. Over the past few days, he had spent a little time with the two, out in the courtyard as he trained with Dupre. He was a little surprised to see Mara in the nursery, but not to see Fayette. When Ewan and Tim saw Kaibre, they both ran over to him.

"Kaibre!" they both cheered.

"Hiya," greeted Kaibre, grinning down at the two of them.

"We're playing knights and castles!" Timothy told Kaibre. Kaibre's eyebrows rose, he smiled at the two.

"Really? That's great," he said to the two.

"We've just been showing Mara it too!" said Ewan. Kaibre glanced upwards, spotting Mara glancing at him. He nodded her head.

"She like it?" he asked.

"She said it was great!" said Tim.

"Looks like it is too, from here," agreed Kaibre. Suddenly Ewan looked a little worried. "Where's mother? I thought you were always with her," asked Ewan.

"She's just talking to Impa about something. Don't worry, she'll be okay," said Kaibre. Ewan nodded and smiled again.

"Oh, that's okay then," he decided. Fayette meanwhile had placed Raymundo in his cradle, and was making her way over to Kaibre.

"Hi," she said confidently to Kaibre, he turned and looked at her. He finally managed a small smile, despite what she had said about him on their first meeting. He ran a hand through his short, thick hair.

"Uh, hi," he greeted quietly. Ewan and Timothy looked up at the two.

"We're going to play in our castle now," said Ewan, sensing the two needed some privacy. Timothy nodded, and then led off back to their castle.

"You know, I just wanted to apologise..." began Fayette. Kaibre waited expectantly. Fayette felt a little flustered under his gaze. She continued, "about the way I acted towards you when we first met." Kaibre nodded, his arms folded.

"It's okay," he said finally.

"It doesn't sound okay though," said Fayette. Kaibre shrugged.

"I don't believe in bearing grudges," he said truthfully.

"Well, now that's out the way, perhaps we could get to know each other better," began Fayette. "I really don't think I'd have the time, I have to keep an eye on Zelda at all times," said Kaibre.

"Well I don't see Zelda here now," pointed out Fayette.

"She's only next door, with Impa," said Kaibre.

"I heard you were injured last night," said Fayette quietly.

"It's really nothing to do with you, or anyone else for that matter," said Kaibre, glancing meaningfully over to Mara.

"Yes but, was it serious?" pushed Fayette.

"Well I'm still here aren't I?" he asked.

"I suppose, but..." agreed Fayette.

"But what?" asked Kaibre, turning to watch some of the children at play.

"If my sister's life is in danger, I think I have a right to know," said Fayette.

"And why is that?" asked Kaibre, still not looking at Fayette.

"Well if her life is in danger, then couldn't mine be?" asked Fayette.

"So it's nothing to do with concern for your sister then? But in any case, how should I know? It depends on how many enemies you have," said Kaibre. Fayette said nothing for a moment. She had plenty of enemies. It would be easier to eliminate those who wouldn't want to harm her, rather than those who would.

"Who do you think it is?" asked Fayette.

"Haven't got a clue," admitted Kaibre rather off-handedly. He turned and looked at Fayette. "What's with the interest anyway?" he asked.

"Well I just think if my life could be in danger, I should know about it," replied Fayette, the conversation not really going where she would have liked it to.

"Well if you're so bothered, why ask me? I thought you would like something far more upmarket," said Kaibre, repeating her very words used only a few days earlier. Fayette blushed a little. "Er, I," she started. Kaibre just smiled in an amused fashion and shook his head.

"I thought you said you didn't bear grudges anyway," snapped Fayette, annoyed by his behaviour. "I don't," he replied simply.

"Well it sure doesn't sound like it," said Fayette, looking hurt. Kaibre noticed her expresson, and remembered what Zelda had said previously, about her step sister's husband. He had been murdered a year ago, around this time. His features softened, and he managed a smile at the woman.

"Believe me, I don't," he repeated, his voice softer. Fayette looked at him shyly, noticing his smile. She smiled back. Kaibre nodded at her then stood up. "Perhaps I should go and check on Zelda," he announced.

"No!" protested Fayette, her voice a little louder than she would've liked. She blushed a little. "Don't go, Zelda will be okay for a few more minutes," said Fayette in a quieter voice. Kaibre half-smiled.

"Really, I have to...that wound wasn't caused by nothing. I do need to keep by her at all times," explained Kaibre. Sensing her disappointment he smiled at her again. "I'll see you round perhaps," he said, before leaving. Fayette slumped back, disappointed. Well she had gotten far. She sighed, wondering how much longer she would have to be alone.


   Link woke up, a little surprised. Well, hardly surprised, he was too weak to be surprised, but still. He didn't even know he'd drifted off. The cell was silent. He couldn't even hear Sprite. He gingerly touched the back of his neck, but quickly drew it away as it stung. He pushed his hands against the floor, levering himself up. He took a few shaky steps forward, and grabbed the bars on his cell door.

"Come on you cowards!" he hollared angrily. Nothing. He frowned angrily. He had to get out. But how? He pulled on the bars, but they stayed put, solid. He shook them harder, but still had no effect. "Sprite?" he called.

"Link! Are you okay!" asked the faerie through the darkness.

"Never felt better," he lied wryly. He'd never felt worse.

"Those scum will pay for this, I swear!" said Sprite angrily. Link failed to respond, turning towards the back of the cell. He ran his hands down the stone walls, praying for a lose stone or anything that could help. But again he turned up with nothing. He kicked at the wall in frustration. He turned around again.

"Come on you cowards! What're you playing at! I'm here, I'm not going anywhere!" he yelled again, quickly drawing a breath.

"Link..." started Sprite. Somewhere, there was the sound of a door slamming open. A shaft of light beamed down from a door way, near the top of a flight of stairs, a fair way from Link's cell. Link rolled up his sleeves, ready for whatever his two kinsmen might have prepared for him. He made out the rough silloette of one person descending down the stairs. They were carrying a lantern and Link soon recognised the figure to be Derin. Link frowned when he saw him.

"You took your time!" he shouted. Derin walked over to the cell door, placing the lantern on a hook.

"You're going to wish you never called me down here," said Derin, taking a ring of keys from his belt. Link stood back, arms folded. The door swung open, and Derin stepped inside. He drew a knife from his belt and pointed it at Link's neck. Link raised his hands and stepped back. "Hey! Look! Kylara killed herself, it wasn't anything to do with me!" said Link, his voice raised.

"She killed herself because of you. It's a pity you didn't die with the rest of your family!" said Derin, stepping forward with the knife. Link lunged forward, grabbing the blade of the knife with his hand, regardless of the damage it would do. He grabbed Derin's neck with his free hand, and pushed him onto the floor.

"You take that back!" snarled Link angrily.The knife had sunk through Link's hand, but the pain was blocked out by the anger caused by Derin's last comment. Derin stayed silent, too shocked by Link's attack. Link pulled Derin's neck forward, then slammed it back, causing Derin's skull to hit the floor. "You take it back!" growled Link angrily.

"Make me!" offered Derin, before kicking Link in the stomach. Link winced, and then pulled Derin up with him.

"I said, take it back, or I'll kill you I swear!" said Link menacingly. He slammed Derin off the cell wall, and let him slide to the ground, his hand releasing his knife, which was now embedded rather gruesomely in Link's hand. Link stared at it then pulled it out, almost shouting out in pain. He tore a piece of material from his sleeve and began to wrap it around his hand. He then turned his attention back to Derin. "I should kill you now, for what you said. But I'm not into killing my own tribesmen," snarled Link.

"Hah!" managed Derin, although it came out in a wheeze. Link kicked him cruelly in the side, sending him to the floor. He then left the cell and grabbed the drape from over Sprite's cage. "Oh Link! You're okay!" said Sprite.

"I am for now," said Link, beginning to fiddle with the door to Sprite's cage. "Damn, it's locked," sighed Link. He turned and made his way over to Derin, searching him for the ring of keys he had seen earlier. He found them and snatched them away, and walked back over to the cage that held Sprite. He began fiddling with the lock with each key, when Sprite let out a startled yell.

"Link!" she cried, but he felt a blow to back of his head before he could react, and he fell to the floor, twitching in agony.

"You'll regret messing with us," snarled a low voice. Aden's voice. Link tried to get up, using all fours, but he was kicked viciously in the side, causing him to collapse to the ground. "Ughhh," he groaned, blood beginning to trickle from his mouth.

"You're going to die even slower than we planned," went on Aden, dealing Link another blow. The knife Link held in his hand sprang from his grasp, spinning across the floor.

"You leave Link alone, you big bully!" demanded Sprite, but Aden just sneered at her, continuing to beat Link. Link tried to avoid Aden's next attack but failed. He closed his eyes, and slowly began to seep away, into an uneasy depth of black.


   A few days later, Zelda sat up in her room feeling depressed. Link still hadn't returned, and now she was feeling worried. The weather had been much better recently, and she couldn't understand why he hadn't come across on the first ship from Catalia. Not to mention that tomorrow was Fayette's 26th birthday party. She had invited her horrible Sosarian and Brynnelian friends. Zelda hoped that they wouldn't be able to make it, for no doubt they would be awful. Zelda had never actually met them, for Fayette had been married fairly quickly after her mother, and had had all her birthdays in Brynnel. Now she was living at North Castle though, she'd insisted on having her friends there. Zelda scowled, thinking about it. North Castle was her castle, not Fayette's, but she didn't even get a say in who Fayette invited. After all, her father still lived there, along with Fenella, and they were the only people who prevented Zelda from throwing Fayette out permanently. Looking out of the window, it had begun to drizzle again. Zelda felt lonely without Link. Since Selina was at the castle, she had her to talk to during the day, but now it was almost nightfall. The princess wondered if Kaibre felt like talking. Zelda got up off the bed, put a warm robe over her night dress and then walked out to the balcony, where Kaibre was stood guard. He turned in surprise upon hearing her approach.

"Yes, Your Highness?" he questioned politely.

"Why don't you come inside for tonight? I mean, nothing's happened recently..." Zelda began. Kaibre shook his head.

"No. I must remain on guard. It's my job," he said in a steadfast tone.

"Oh... I just thought..." Zelda said, then she stopped. "I'm sorry," she added, before quickly turning, and going back inside. Kaibre followed, noting she seemed upset.

"Are you okay?" he questioned. Zelda nodded.

"I'm fine. Just... oh, it's nothing. You better go back outside," she said quickly.

"Missing Link?" Kaibre questioned, looking sympathetic.

"I guess so," Zelda agreed. She ran a hand through her golden blonde hair and sighed. "I'm okay," she said softly.

"If you worry, you'll not sleep. And it's a big day tomorrow, you need to rest," Kaibre said sensibly. Zelda let out a short laugh.

"What, Faye's party? I'm not going," she remarked.

"But... well, I know it isn't in my place to say, but isn't that rather unkind?" Kaibre asked. Zelda frowned for a moment, narrowing her eyes.

"I hate Fayette, and I should think her friends will be just as bad as her," she stated.

"They might not be," Kaibre said.

"I know their type. They'll mock me, no doubt, and Selina too," Zelda replied.

"Why would they want to do that?" Kaibre questioned. Zelda folded her arms.

"Because I married below my rank, and because Selina is below Nick's rank," she answered, her tone becoming bitter. "Because I am not beautiful like Fayette, because I am not as lady-like as her, because I do not wear over-elaborate clothes, because I do not curl my hair as it is fashionable..." she listed. Kaibre interrupted her.

"Your Highness, you're one of the most..." he stopped, quickly rephrasing the sentence. "You are as beautiful, if not more so, than Lady Fayette, if you will permit me to say it, Princess," he said. Zelda smiled briefly, but then frowned again.

"It will be unbearable. You hardly know Faye, but I have known her for too long, and to have more of her..." Zelda trailed off, and sighed. "And Link isn't here," she added, her eyes suddenly brimming over with tears. Kaibre hugged her, not knowing what else to do. "Thank you," Zelda whispered gratefully. A moment later, she stepped back. "You must think I'm awfully over-emotional sometimes," she remarked, suddenly grinning.

"Only as much as the next woman," Kaibre smiled. Zelda smiled back.

"I hope Link gets back soon. I bet you and him could be great friends," she said excitedly.

"Ah, but when he gets back won't I be out of a job?" Kaibre questioned good-naturedly.

"Well... there's plenty of other jobs a guy like you could do here, you know," Zelda said. On impulse she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you for everything," she said, hugging him warmly.

   Fayette paused outside Zelda's room, hearing voices. When it went quiet, she figured it would be safe to go in. She pushed open the door, and then stood there frozen, as she noticed Zelda wrapped in an embrace with her bodyguard, Kaibre. As they heard the door, they quickly stepped apart, looking surprised. Zelda scowled when she noticed Fayette.

"What do you want?" she questioned coldly. Fayette just stared at her. So, was her oh so pure step-sister suddenly becoming a hypocrite? Was she carrying on behind Link's back with someone else? It certainly appeared to be that way. Fayette began to smile.

"Oh, so sorry to have interrupted! Gracious, it's lucky it was me who walked in, and not Link, else you really would have been in trouble!" she remarked in a languid tone.

"Only you would think like that, Faye!" Zelda snapped. She didn't look particularly guilty to Fayette, but she had coloured visibly.

"I was joking," she replied.

"Well, what do you want?" Zelda asked again.

"I came to have a word with you about tomorrow," Fayette said.

"Oh?" Zelda asked. Fayette turned to look meaningfully at Kaibre.

"In private," she said.

"Sorry. Please excuse me, ladies," Kaibre said. He quickly turned and walked out towards the balcony.

"Well, come on, out with it," Zelda said impatiently.

"Oh, what's the matter? Upset that I've found out your little secret?" Fayette leered.

"Secret?" Zelda asked, looking furious.

"Oh sister dear, you have so much to learn! Having an affair is all about... discretion, you know," Fayette said, smirking.

"I'm not having an affair! Jeez Faye, don't be so stupid!" Zelda said angrily.

"Oh Zelda, it's blindingly obvious! And I don't blame you, what with Link away, you must feel so lonely, and Kaibre is so handsome..." Fayette persisted.

"No Faye!" Zelda shouted. "You couldn't be more wrong!"

"What? You don't miss Link after all? Surely Kaibre's not that good..." Fayette laughed.

"You're not funny, Faye," Zelda sulked. She strode over towards the fireplace, and then turned to face her step-sister again. "How you could even imagine I'd do such a thing, is simply beyond me," she continued. Fayette rolled her eyes.

"Really Zelda, don't you wonder why Link is taking so long to return?" she asked.

"The weather is bad," Zelda said promptly.

"Not anymore! Why, he's probably got another woman tucked away in Catalia! One like Kylara," Fayette said smugly.

"Oh sure, Faye!" Zelda retorted.

"I won't tell him, if that's what you're thinking," Fayette said, smoothing down the skirts of her dress calmly.

"What did you originally come to see me about?" Zelda pressed.

"Oh, yes. We'd better discuss it now," Fayette agreed.

"Well?" Zelda questioned. Fayette narrowed her eyes.

"Alright Zelda, I'll make it clear. When my friends arrive tomorrow, you'll either make yourself scarce, or you'll behave in a nice manner towards them. I'll not have your usual snide comments, making me look bad!" she said. Zelda sighed.

"Oh, and you don't make me look bad in front of my friends, Faye?" she asked.

"I mean it. If you do, I'll tell Link what I just saw!" Fayette said. Zelda looked down at the floor. "Tell him. He'll never believe you," she said.

"Oh, so you're admitting it?" Fayette asked, looking triumphant.

"No, because there's nothing going on. I was simply upset, and Kaibre gave me a hug. That's all. But if you don't want to believe it, then fine. Now get out of my room!" Zelda retorted. Fayette smirked.

"Goodnight, sister," she said, before walking outside. Zelda slammed the door shut behind her, and then leaned against it, sighing heavily. Tomorrow was certainly shaping up to be worse than she'd previously imagined.


   Fayette shrieked happily, and ran across the Great Hall the greet her two Sosarian friends, Lady Evelyn and Lady Felicia.

"Oh Eve, Felicia, it's so wonderful to see you again, after all this time!" she said, hugging them both.

"Oh, likewise," Evelyn said, smiling.

"Oh Faye, you're missing so much back in Sosaria, you know," Felicia added. Evelyn was twenty-four years old, a fairly short lady with a slim figure, pale skin and dark immaculately curled hair. Felicia had blonde hair piled glamorously on top of her head, hazel eyes, and she stood of average height. They were both dressed in fashionable Sosarian-style gowns, and looked as stunning as they ever had. Fayette felt herself cringe a little, she was hardly 'with it' compared to her friends standards. She glanced down at her dress, realising it must be so dated now in Sosarian terms. She quickly dismissed the thought, and smiled at her two friends. "Really? I was under the impression..." she began.

"Lord British is finally getting his priorities right. At least where we're concerned, isn't that right Evelyn?" said Felicia, turning to Evelyn.

"Oh certainly. He's finally giving us nobles the attention we deserve," agreed Evelyn. "Really? I would've thought after he married that little commoner..." started Fayette, but her sentence was once again cut short by her friend.

"Oh that? Well that's hardly a worry anymore, at first he was all 'give priority to the peasants' but now, well he hardly gives them a second glance," said Felicia.

"So what's happened, are they not getting on?" asked Fayette.

"Uhmm, hard to say really. I thinks it's only because she has given him a son that he really cares," said Evelyn, touching her immaculate hair.

"Of course," Fayette said quickly.

"Of course," Felicia agreed. Suddenly, Fayette remembered that she too, had something to tell her friends.

"So, have you heard from the Avatar recently?" she questioned innocently. Evelyn let out a short laugh.

"Oh gracious Faye, she's not even spoke of now!"

"Yes. Lord British has ordered that everything to do with her should be destroyed at once," Felicia added. Fayette swallowed uneasily.

"Really?" she questioned, feeling utterly shocked.

"I think it's rather extreme myself, but..." Evelyn began.

"Well, you'll never believe this," Fayette began, interrupting. Her friends looked at her questioningly. Fayette lowered her voice.

"The Avatar turned up here, in Hyrule," she whispered.

"What?!" Felicia questioned loudly.

"It's true," Fayette said.

"Is she still here?" Felicia asked, sounding curious. Fayette shook her head.

"Um, no.... it was about a year ago. She kinda... disappeared," she said.

"Well, isn't that just like her?" Evelyn said, folding her arms.

"She caused such a scandal here at the court," Fayette continued quickly, trying to keep her friends attention.

"Doing what? Like what she did to Lord British?" Felicia questioned.

"Oh, no, nothing like that. It was a lot worse," Fayette said, starting to enjoy herself.

   She pointed over to the seating area of the Great Hall, where Zelda was sat, conversing with Drake and Aaron.

"That, is my step sister," she remarked.

"You will introduce us formally, won't you?" Evelyn asked. Fayette rolled her eyes.

"I'm sure you'd rather not," she said shortly. "But, I suppose you must. It's only polite," she added.

"Oh yes. Besides, I want to know if she's enough to rival my beauty," Evelyn said, patting her hair again. Fayette smirked.

"Hardly. Zelda's pretty, but she doesn't care much," she remarked.

"We still want to meet the infamous step sister though," Felicia persisted. Fayette cleared her throat.

"Certainly, but later. Enough about her, though. You want to know what Le... I mean, the Avatar did, right?" Her friends nodded.

"Well, Zelda is married okay," Fayette started.

"Yes, to that peasant guy, right?" Felicia questioned, beginning to giggle. Evelyn laughed too. "Yes, Link. Speaking of marriage to lower ranks," Fayette began in a low tone. She gazed around the room, searching for Nick and Selina, but they were nowhere to be seen. She turned back to her friends. "Well, anyway, the Avatar intentionally set out to seduce Zelda's husband, and she succeeded," she said.

"Isn't that just like her?" Felicia sighed.

"Peasants are fickle," Evelyn added, in a knowing tone.

"That's true enough. But, she befriended the court and did good deeds for Hyrule, Zelda and she were practically friends. Then she went behind my sister's back, and stole Link away. Of course, I don't actually blame the guy..." Fayette began.

"What, because the Avatar is so beautiful? Or because she uses magical spells on men?" Evelyn asked. Fayette shrugged.

"Maybe that was part of it. But, I've always known how unhappy he was married to my sister. She expects him to be perfect, and he can't make the grade for her obsessive standards. Not to mention that she's just generally unpleasant to start with," she replied.

"The Avatar makes me sick. I'm glad she's gone," Felicia said.

"Probably seducing an important guy in another country," Evelyn added.

"Probably," Fayette agreed snidely.

"It's so much better in Sosaria now. No having to follow the eight virtues," Evelyn said.

"Oh, I stopped that long ago," Fayette remarked, smirking.

"And Lord British is taking the Ankh off our country's crest," Felicia stated.

"Things really are changing in Sosaria, aren't they?" Fayette said, sounding slightly wistful. "For the better, too," Evelyn said. Suddenly, a messenger ran into the room.

"Lady Fayette," he said, bowing.

"Yes?" she questioned.

"More guests have arrived, they are in the courtyard," the messenger replied. Fayette smiled. "Ah. That will be my friends from Brynnel. I'm so glad you'll all finally get to meet each other," she said, smiling over at Evelyn and Felicia. They smiled back. Fayette hitched up the heavy skirt of her dress slightly, and headed outside.

   Zelda stood on the balcony of her tower, gazing down into the courtyard. It was fifteen minutes later, after she'd seen Fayette pointing at her, stood with her two friends down in the Great Hall, and her step sister was still outside, chatting to the new arrivals. Sighing, she headed back inside. She was still debating whether to hide in her room all day, or going down to Fayette's party that afternoon. As Zelda walked into her room, she came face to face with Kaibre. She gasped a little, surprised.

"Sorry," Kaibre immediately apologised. Zelda walked past him towards her mirror, and gazed into it.

"You just surprised me... I'm... jumpy," she admitted, watching Kaibre through the mirror.

"I noticed," he replied, grinning. Zelda turned her attention to her reflection thoughtfully. "If someone was trying to kill you, you'd feel the same," she remarked.

"Someone almost did," Kaibre replied, referring to the incident a few nights back.

"You're used to it, it's part of your job," Zelda said. She ran a hand through her hair, tussling it up a little. It immediately fell back into place.

"That's true," Kaibre agreed. She turned away from the mirror.

"It's worrying me... the fact that... well, nothing's happened. I'd like to think you scared them off, but..." she started.

"Believe me, Your Highness, I won't rest until I catch this villain. Only when you can rest easy, can I," Kaibre stated solemnly. Then, he turned, and walked out onto the balcony. Zelda stared thoughtfully after him for a moment, before turning back to the mirror. I look great today, she thought, somewhat self satisfied. Her hair looked more golden than usual, and was actually behaving for once. Zelda had slept quite well the previous night, and she felt better then she'd expected. Certainly, she missed Link, and certainly, she was fearful of whoever had a death wish on her, but she didn't feel too upset today. Perhaps it was time to put Fayette in her place, show her up somehow. The princess strolled over to her closet, looking for a pretty dress to wear. Rifling through the racks, she eventually came across a deep red one, made from silk and taffeta. Zelda knew it was close fitting, but, if she stood next to Fayette in it, then it would show off her diminutive figure, and Fayette's plumpness. Maybe I will go to that party after all... she thought, smiling.


   The party took place during the late afternoon. It wasn't really much of a party, because Fayette had only invited a few select guests, but Drake, nonetheless, had took advantage of the fact that it was a celebration (even though it was in honour of the person he most hated), and set up his usual mini-bar. Down one long table, a delicious looking buffet had been laid out. Fayette was stood in one corner with her friends, and mother, and the King, excitedly unwrapping her gifts. Nick, Selina, Aaron, Damon, Dion, Charles and Drake sat in their usual corner, trying to ignore them as best they could. Only Aaron had given Fayette a gift, and that was out of courtesy. The others all hated Fayette so much, that they hadn't even bothered to give her anything at all. Shortly, Zelda appeared. She came down the stairs, carrying a small gift-wrapped present, but headed over towards her friends. She was followed by Kaibre, who stood politely nearby, not saying a word.

"Ah Zelda, looking as lovely as always," Drake grinned.

"Good," Zelda replied, smiling somewhat smugly over in Fayette's direction.

"A present for the enemy, I see," the knight continued, still grinning.

"Well, it's only right of me. No doubt my father would be angry if I didn't," Zelda replied, toying with the bow on the present, and looking a little angry. "Well, I suppose I'd better go and give it to her," she continued.

"Yes, then you can come back here, and help Selina in her barmaid duties," Drake laughed.

"I don't think so," Zelda replied, folding her arms.

"You can count me out, too," Selina said, smiling widely.

"Oh amigo, looks like you're stuck with the girl's job again!" Dion said, looking amused. Everyone laughed, except Drake, who grumbled under his breath. Then he spotted Kaibre.

"Hey, Kaibre, me old friend. Get yerself over here, now!" he shouted, grinning again. Zelda turned to Kaibre.

"I'll be fine," she said softly, in a tone too quiet for the others to hear. "You go and talk to Drake and the others. Consider this a day off," she smiled.

"No...I really shouldn't," began Kaibre.

"I order you," demanded Zelda, giving hm a confident smile.

"I..." he began in protest. Zelda threw him an ordering glance and he shrugged.

"I'll still be keeping an eye on you," he promised sincerely. Zelda smiled and he nodded at her walking over towards the group, before Zelda headed over to her step sister.

   Mara looked carefully at the vial of clear liquid, feeling satisfied with herself. That morning, she'd produced a special potion especially for Kaibre. The slow working poison she'd given him, would kill him sooner or later, but Mara had been annoyed at how close he and Zelda had become. If Kaibre died at the court, they might end up investigating her, Mara, and she could lose her job. So, it was either killing him straight out, or getting him sacked from his job. The first she didn't want to try, because Kaibre was a good fighter. He might get the upper hand over her. So, it was time to turn to her other skill, magic. This potion would hopefully make Kaibre act a little too friendly towards Zelda. The Princess would be offended by his behaviour, and order him out of the castle in disgrace. That, would be one problem solved. Smirking, the sorceress made her way over to the table where she'd seen Kaibre set his beer glass down. The man was busy conversing with Drake, and the two didn't notice her sidling up to them. Watching carefully to see if anyone was looking, she stood close to the glass, and tipped her hand over it for a split second. The potion fell into the golden coloured ale, frothing it slightly, before dispersing into the liquid. Now, she had another task to do; befriend the rest of the court. She had to make sure that no suspicion would lie upon her whatsoever, so that she could basically start planning Ewan's kidnap, and steal the Triforce too.

   "Happy birthday, Faye," Zelda said, in a sugar sweet tone. Fayette and her friends turned to look over in Zelda's direction, and Zelda was pleased to note the look of shock upon her step-sister's face.

"Er, thanks," Fayette said, accepting the present that Zelda was holding out.

"Well, I take it you're the infamous step-sister," Evelyn said.

"Yes, I'm Princess Zelda of Hyrule," Zelda said, smiling.

"Oh, how nice," Fayette said, holding up the jewelled bracelet Zelda had given her.

"I thought you'd like it," Zelda said pleasantly. Fayette frowned, and moved away from Zelda a little. She looked a little too good, for her liking.

"Well everyone, this is Zelda, Zelda, these are my friends, Evelyn, Felicia, Marisol and Maria," she introduced.

"It's lovely to meet you. Enjoy your visit to Hyrule," Zelda said politely, still smiling sweetly. Fayette wanted to hit her.

"What a gorgeous dress, do tell me who your dress maker is!" Felicia exclaimed.

"Oh, I have lots of dressmakers," Zelda lied.

"It brings out the colour of your hair beautifully," Maria said. She was a typical looking Brynnelian, with thick, dark curly hair, and dark eyes. Zelda smiled.

"Why thank you," she said.

"And such a good figure! I hear you've had children, too," Evelyn noted.

"I never could get rid of those extra pounds I put on myself," she added, tapping her slim mid-riff. Zelda felt like rolling her eyes, but managed to stop herself.

"I do a lot of exercise," she replied, keeping her tone sweet. Fayette looked about ready to explode in anger.

"Well, obviously!" Marisol laughed. She too, was Brynnelian, her hair was short and dark, decorated with jewelled clips, and she had grey eyes. Zelda couldn't do fake laughs like Fayette could, so she simply smiled.

"I do like to keep in shape, unlike Faye over here," she said in a silky tone, patting her step-sister on the shoulder in a mock affectionate gesture.

"Well, now the introductions are over..." Fayette began, looking flustered. But Evelyn jumped in.

"We hear that you're married to a peasant, Zelda," she said, somewhat snidely. Zelda let her charming facade drop, and glared at the woman angrily.

"Excuse me?" she said coldly.

"Faye told us. Is it true?" Marisol enquired.

"My husband may not have been born of high status, but he is more noble than any of you could ever be!" Zelda retorted, folding her arms. Fayette smirked.

"Really Zelda, please don't talk to my friends like that!" she said.

"Well, don't talk about Link in that way, especially when he's not here to defend himself!" Zelda replied heatedly.

"Oh yes, he's too busy visiting his fancy girls in Catalia, isn't he?" Fayette said snidely.

"I don't think so!" Zelda replied, turning on her heel, and stalking off.

"Oh, touchy about it, isn't she?" Felicia remarked.

"She's touchy about everything. You should try living with her," Fayette said. "Of course," she added, darkly, "she's not half as bad as Selina."

"Who's Selina?" everyone questioned.

"The common little bar wench who stole King Nicolas of Dalsona away from me," Fayette replied sourly, before launching into the full sad, sorry tale.


   Kaibre watched as Zelda stalked from the great hall. He turned to Drake and shrugged.

"Duty calls," he said, downing the rest of his drink.

"I understand," said Drake with a grin. Kaibre smiled, and then left the hall, hoping to catch up with Zelda.

   Meanwhile, Mara glanced around the great hall thoughtfully. First of all, her eyes came to a rest on Nick and Selina talking in the corner. She let out a snort of disgust, allowing her eyes to travel around the room, until they came to rest on a small group of friends. She only recognised Sir Drake, the sandy-haired Head Knight of the castle, and remembered him for being the one who had caught her outside the Triforce tower. She smiled at little. She'd heard that Sir Drake was one of the King's favourite advisors, and had quite a penchant for blondes. Quite frankly, the thought of love disgusted her, but she didn't mind getting a little fun, every now and again. It was just important to remember not to get carried away. That was the making of many people's downfalls. But it wouldn't be Mara's. Yes, Drake was certainly handsome enough for her needs, and maybe, just maybe, if she could beguile him enough, she'd be able to get some useful information out of him. Putting on her sweetest smile, Mara walked over and tapped Drake on the arm. He turned, and smiled.

"Why hello, Mara," he said, looking at her expectantly.

"I was wondering Sir, if you and your friends might perhaps care for a little music," Mara suggested.

"Ah, yes. That would be marvellous," Drake replied, grinning.

"It always was a shame that we never had a bard among us," Damon acknowledged. Mara smiled shyly.

"I have many a great tale to tell, and I play the harp," she said.

"All the better," Drake said heartily, patting her on the back. Mara almost fell over. She let out a nervous laugh.

"Well, just let me get my things," she said.

"Don't take too long!" Charles replied, smiling at her.

"Yes, will the voice be as lovely as the face, one wonders?" Damon added, flirtaciously. Mara blushed.

"Oh... well I... I will be quick!" she said, her voice rising in pitch a little.

"Then be going now, pretty healer!" Dion grinned. Mara blushed even more.

"Uh, I am," she said, before dashing away quickly across the hall.


   Selina finished her drink, standing close to Nick, eyeing Fayette.

"She's talking about us," said Selina. Nick raised his eyebrows.

"I've never known you to be so paranoid," he commented, smiling his lovely white smile. "Paranoid? It's obvious, she's been pointing over here for the last half hour, and those friends of hers have been doing nothing but sniggering," said Selina, a little sourly.

"I wouldn't read too much into it, knowing Fayette, she's just doing it to wind you up. She'll get bored eventually," assured Nick. Selina looked up at Nick.

"But it really annoys me, I don't know how she has the cheek to go on like she does," sighed Selina. Nick kissed her on the top of her head.

"I'd be surprised if your goddesses knew," said Nick, smiling a little. Selina placed her empty glass down on a nearby table.

"I'm going to go over there and give her a piece of my mind," she said, determined to put Fayette in her place.

"Are you sure that's a good idea, I mean handling Fayette, that's fine, but when there's five of them, all with probably the exact same attitudes of Fayette..." began Nick. Selina turned to Nick, an exasperated smile on her face.

"Men can be so clueless at times," she said.

"Why thank you," said Nick, grinning.

"I can't stand here and let her just tell a whole pack of lies in front of me, goodness knows what she's telling them," explained Selina. Nick leaned forward and kissed his wife.

"Does the lady wish me to accompany her?" he asked. Selina glanced over her shoulder, and kissed Nick again.

"No. I'd be afraid you may see me acting in a very un-ladylike manner," she apologised. Nick shrugged and smiled.

"Don't let her get to you. Really, it would be far more embarrassing for Faye if she were the first to act out of line, rather than yourself," commented Nick. Selina looked thoughtful for a moment.

"You're right, of course," she agreed with a small smile.

"Aren't I always?" asked Nick, with a brilliant white grin. Selina raised an eyebrow.

"Nah, I just let you think you are," she said.

"Really? Well anyway, I think you've been saved a journey, because here comes Faye and her gaggle of friends right now," said Nick, glancing past Selina's shoulder. Selina turned and saw them heading her and Nick's way, and grimaced.

"Oh brilliant," she said under her breath, but quickly replaced her sour expression with a smile, in anticipation of talking with Faye and her friends.

   Fayette glided across the floor, her long skirts trailing after her. She stopped before Selina and Nick, her four friends crowded around her.

"Oh Faye, what a pleasant surprise," remarked Selina, smiling at the rest of Fayette's friends in a friendly fashion.

"Ladies," greeted Nick with a nod, his hand found its way to Selina's slim waist. Fayette stood silent for a moment.

"Well Faye, aren't you going to introduce us to your friends?" asked Selina expectantly. Fayette winced inwardly as Nick draped one arm around Selina's waist, which was too trim to be true, especially considering she was pregnant. Fayette quickly regained her composure and smiled.

"Why of course," she exclaimed, keeping up the facade of civilness. She motioned to her friends, giving out their names in turn. This is Evelyn, and Felicia, Marisol and Maria," she introduced. Selina smiled.

"It's lovely to meet you all," she said, her voice tinged with pleasantness, but hardly any of enthusiasm. She wasn't about to sound like she was excited to meet Fayette's snobby friends from Brynnel and Sosaria.

"It is an honour to meet thee," chirped Marisol, with genuine enthusiasm. Selina smiled. Fayette did not.

"So, we have been hearing quite a lot about the two of you," began Evelyn. Selina looked at Fayette, who was smiling smugly.

"Is that so?" she asked, still not able to take her eyes from the smug line that traced Fayette's lips.

"Yes. We heard you were a peasant," said Felicia.

"Yes. Interesting the way some things turn out, isn't it?" replied Nick.

"Yes. It seems to be quite the trend these days, nobility marrying peasants. Myself, I don't think it's proper," said Evelyn, in a snooty tone.

"Oh you do? So I suppose you wouldn't really approve of the marriage of Fayette's mother, to her first husband, or to her second, the King. After all, before she was only a mere lady in waiting," said Nick. Selina felt like kissing her husband there and then as she saw the expression on Fayette's face, but even more priceless was that of the look on the face of her friends.

"Is that true Faye? You always told me..." began Evelyn. Fayette laughed nervously.

"Oh Nick, you're so amusing," she said quickly, giving Nick a meaningful look.

"A lady in waiting to Zelda's mother, I do recall," continued Nick, enjoying giving Fayette a taste of her own medicine. Evelyn and Felicia looked at Fayette, slightly perturbed, slightly disgusted.

"Really?" asked Felicia.

"You're just kidding, aren't you Nick," said Fayette desperately. "Kidding? No, no, I don't think so. You could go and ask Fenella herself if you wished," said Nick. Selina slipped her arm around Nick's waist, leaning against him.

"Well I don't really see the problem. In Brynnel we don't have the stupid system of nobility. He who works hardest is the one who rules," said Marisol. Fayette could have willingly fallen upon a sword at that moment.

"Nobility is not a stupid system. Those who have the best lineage are those who are given the privileges, and rightly so," said Evelyn, giving Marisol a look of distaste.

"You talk about yourselves as if you are dogs," said Maria. Selina smiled faintly at the expression. Fayette looked as if she were about to burst. This was not going how she had planned. She gave Nick a glare of ice, then dragged her friends away. Selina turned and smiled at Nick, giving him a kiss.

"I couldn't have done that," she said with a smile. Nick smiled at her.

"Well, if they are going to persecute you because of who you were, it's only fair they get the chance to give Fayette the same treatment," he said.

"I love you," said Selina, kissing him again.

"And don't I know it," said Nick with a grin.

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