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.
Juliet A. Singleton (Scullys@bigfoot.com) & Kirsty Singleton (Indigo_Spacen@mail.com)
Mara glared as the huge Griffin paced before her.
"What do you mean?" she demanded. What he had just told her, she didn't know if it were true, but if it was, she did would be more than extremely angry.
"The boy got away from me."
"How?" asked Mara, the realisation sinking in. She had nothing to bargain with Zelda now, and the boy, well, he had the total power of the Triforce. If she could have ever harnessed that power, she would have surely been invincible. "No. In fact, were where you taking him in the first place?" she asked. The Griffin paced.
"I was taking him to retrieve the power of the Triforce from him. There is only one place in the entire Demiari where such an exchange in powers could take place. That is in the ruins of the Great Palace in the desert. Unfortunately, I found myself mislead by an ancient map, and I became distracted by a great legion of Darknuts. The boy escaped whilst I was distracted," he admitted. Mara glared at him.
"You are not an incompetent human!" she spat. "Mistakes such as this are uncommon in a creature of your power. Where is the boy!" Enzar glared at her.
"As I have already told you, I do not intend to repeat this again. I do not know where the boy is. Where do you think I have been all this time?! Searching for the wretch! He will not survive in the passages of the underworld for long though. I fear some rogue creature may have already slain him." Mara strode up to him.
"You insolent fool!" she screamed, causing Enzar to take a step back.
"We no longer need the boy. He was only required for my resurrection, and that, as you can see, is complete," he dismissed, turning his back to her.
"He would have been invaluable!" snapped Mara. Enzar turned to her, his golden eyes gleaming.
"Perhaps. But we cannot afford to dwell on such thoughts. There are more important matters to attend to," retorted the Griffin. Mara paused, her breathing slowing a little.
"Yes, there are," she conceded. Enzar waited, silence filling the gap. Mara stared at him.
"I have been otherwise occupied to realise the events at North Castle. Have you heard anything?" questioned the Griffin. Mara sighed.
"No. But I have a reliable outside contact who will doubtlessly inform me of any goings on," she answered. Enzar nodded.
"Well then. I suggest we begin. Hyrule will soon be ours, and when it is, we can concentrate on other...matters." Mara nodded in agreement.
"Yes," she murmured unsurely as the Griffin retreated into the shadows.
Robert looked about himself uncertainly in the darkness of Death Mountain, hoping that he could somehow locate Mara before Kaibre did. He had ridden all throughout the night to get here, and it had only been just as the sun had risen that he had entered the old lair of Hyrule's last primary nemesis. He smiled. It was funny how things went around in circles he supposed. Once his own plans were revealed, he would be the main concern of the Hyrulian knights and soldiers. He faintly recalled the passages that Mara had led him down when he last left this place, he only hoped she wouldn't be in hiding. Of course, he couldn't call out her name for risk of Kaibre hearing. Although Robert had never seen Kaibre since the previous night, he knew that the sellsword would be near. He felt his way down one of the rocky subterranean passages with one free hand, the other a hold of one flaming torch he used to light his way. Suddenly in the dim light ahead, he spotted movement, and he paused, wary of his next move.
"Who goes there?" he called out, his hand leaving the wall and resting on the hilt of his sword.
"Robert?" questioned a female voice. His hand left his sword and he stepped forward, showing himself. It was Mara and she smiled when she saw him.
"I knew you would come back. I was drawn here, obviously our meeting was meant to be," purred the sorceress placing one hand on his shoulder. He nodded.
"I knew I had to return. There is something...something that tells me our lives are inextricably linked in some way, though I do not yet know how," said the Catalian General. Mara stepped closer, and lowered her voice.
"I know what you want Robert." He looked at her in the flickering light. How could she possibly know what he did not himself? "Immortality," she whispered, looking up at him with a smile. Robert touched his forehead, and looked to his feet.
"Immortality?" he echoed. Mara nodded.
"Yes, Robert. You know it, your heart does, so does your soul, you just haven't thought of it yet," she told him.
"But even if I do, there is only one way to achieve it, and it doesn't mean living forever. I shall be remembered for who I was by all, especially in my homeland," vowed Robert, clutching a fist to his chest. Mara shook her head slowly, watching the man carefully. He frowned at her. "You disagree?" he questioned.
"No Robert. You could achieve it that way. You will. But I know how we can both live forever on this Demiari, eternally," claimed Mara. Robert stared at her, and let out a short laugh.
"No mortal can live forever," he snorted. Mara shook her head again.
"Perhaps you should first listen to my words before you make such a judgement," she warned. She held Robert's gaze for over a minute before he nodded in agreement.
"Okay, then tell me," he said. Mara smiled once more, that seductive smile she held for certain occasions.
"Perhaps we should go somewhere more private. Who knows what roam this long empty corridors," she suggested. Robert nodded, silent, and then followed her as she turned and led the way with his torch.
Kaibre let out a small grunt as he dismounted his horse outside Death Mountain, and looked up in awe at the natural landmark. He dusted off his cloak and gloves, then made his way to the base of the mountain, in the knowledge that, somewhere around here, there was a secret entrance lurking. To his surprise, as he drew closer, he noticed there was already one entrance visible, far from concealed at all. He cautiously approached it, unwanting to be caught off guard, and peered inside. Darkness was all he saw. Taking a step back, he kneeled down and took off his pack, digging through it until he found a torch. He pulled it from the pack and laid it out on the rocky ground, before hauling his pack back over his shoulders, taking the torch and standing once more. He quickly lit it, then held it before him, into the dark mouth of the cave. Nothing but cobwebs distracted his view of the long passage that stood before him. Drawing his last breath of untainted air, he stepped inside the dark passage, intending to discover Mara Hespera and bring her to justice for her crimes.
He hadn't been going long, when Kaibre came across an unusually scorched section of passageway. Soot clung to the walls, which were now bare of the ever present cobwebs. There was the faint smell of smoke, which made a change to the usually musty odour, even if it weren't a welcome one. Kaibre briefly considered that this could be the work of a dragon perhaps, but judging by the size of the passage it certainly could not be a very large one. Nonetheless, the last thing he wanted was to be confronted by a flame exhaling beast in such narrow conditions, no matter how small. Taking a brief pause to take a sip from his canteen, Kaibre soon trudged on, beginning to wonder whether his old colleague had sent him on some kind of wild goose chase or not.
Robert followed Mara into the small cavern she had made her home. It had obviously been something else previously, carved out into rock for some purpose or other. Perhaps a treasury of some sort.
"Please, take a seat," encouraged Mara, and Robert obliged, although his eyes never left her.
"The young prince has been found. I thought I ought to find you," said Robert earnestly. Mara stopped.
"Found?" she echoed. Robert nodded, and Mara sat beside him on the stone bench.
"Yes, a man, a stranger found him and returned him to the castle. I wasn't there long. I only saw him briefly, his name was Kendar Hartrend," the General told Mara.
"Kendar Hartrend. Now that is a name I have never heard," mused Mara quietly. But she continued. "Then my name is perhaps cleared?" she asked, her expression hopeful. Robert shook his head.
"I'm afraid not. Zelda, she seems to have a bias towards Mr. Lainge. She threw me out when I dared suggest he was anything to do with her son's disappearance," answered Robert. Mara frowned.
"I thought as much. I could swear something was going on between those two," she said in a low voice. Robert placed a comforting hand on her slumped shoulder.
"No...but, I was thinking. All the time I was on my way here, about what you said before. About immortality. I didn't realise, but when you said, it made me realise why I am here," confided Robert. Mara turned to him, interested. Robert took his eyes from her for the first time, looking down at one hand. Then he looked back to her, swallowing.
"As you know, I hail from Catalia. I am a man of status in my country, a general," he began. Mara looked surprise.
"But you look so..." she started. Robert nodded.
"I am a young man. Not old enough to hold such a position some think, but the things in my life I have gone through...men double my age have yet to experience what I have," murmured Robert, his head hanging again. He chewed on his lip for a minute, and Mara leaned forward, touching his shoulder, causing him to look back up.
"What is it?" she asked, concerned. He frowned a second.
"Link. The man has everything. A beautiful wife, a son, a daughter, and a country that calls him a hero. We came from the same tribe, the Kokiri and someone else in that tribe, well, she loved Link. But he never loved her, never. And I loved her with all my heart, yet she persisted her heart was meant for Link. It was not to be though." Again Robert paused, fighting to keep hold of himself. Mara leaned closer.
"Kylara?" she questioned. His head shot back, and his eyes met with Mara's.
"What?" he asked. Mara let out a sigh.
"Robert, I can sense things. It's a gift...or a curse I suppose. She's always in your thoughts," she told him. Robert's face cracked and he squeezed his eyes shut.
"I loved her so much," he confessed.
"She's gone Robert. You and her, you were never meant to be," Mara told him softly. He opened his eyes.
"How could you ever possibly know?" he asked angrily, although even he knew she spoke the truth. Mara leaned forward and kissed Robert gently, then parted from him. He still looked angry, but when he saw her expression, that anger faded. "I hate Link. He abandoned his own family, his own country, his duties as a Kokiri...all to live in the lap of luxury with his princess wife who will one day rule. But he has never showed any signs of offering aid to my country, which was for years ravaged by the Tanolians, who killed Link's own family. He seems to have forgotten everything. And while Hyrule grows fat on its own prosperity, Catalia grows poorer and poorer. But we have managed to grit our teeth and gain our strength, and now Catalia has an army that could rival any in the Demiari. I want immortality Mara, and I want revenge. My army are ready to move on my command," whispered Robert, pausing to kiss Mara's hand. She put a finger to his lips.
"Not yet. First we shall weaken them for your army. Then together, Hyrule will be ours," she assured. Robert smiled.
"You are so taken with this, I thought you would be shocked," he murmured. Mara frowned.
"As you well know, I have my own quarrel with Hyrule," she reminded him. Robert again nodded in agreement.
"Yes, that is true. But you are a mere healer, with what would you weaken them with?" asked Robert. Mara gave him a small smile.
"I have my ways," she assured.
"Care to elaborate?" he inquired. The short second of silence between them was interrupted by a rattle of stones against rock. Mara turned.
"Someone stalking the passage ways?" asked Robert, his hand on his sword, preparing to stand. Mara stopped him, thinking it could be Enzar. She couldn't let the two meet, not yet.
"I shall go," she said, standing. Robert stood with her.
"No. It won't be safe," he protested. Mara ignored him and walked outside, but Robert followed anyway. As she stepped outside, she was confronted by a flaming torch, and she drew back, shielding her eyes.
"Mara," whispered a harsh voice. She turned and saw Kaibre, a smile creeping across her face.
"I thought you were dead," she exclaimed. She heard Robert behind her. Kaibre drew his sword.
"I came here to bring you to justice," he stated. Mara heard Robert draw his own sword from behind her. Kaibre paused, and Mara stepped out to reveal Robert.
"Kaibre. You took your time," greeted Robert.
"I hope you know what you're getting yourself into with this woman, Robert," said Kaibre in a low voice. Robert smiled.
"Hyrule will be made to pay for their mistreatment of Catalia," promised Robert. Kaibre frowned.
"Hyrule never mistreated Catalia. Besides what do you intend to do? A witch and a general versus an entire country?" questioned Kaibre. Robert's calm smile remained.
"I am a general, Kaibre, of an army, who would obey any command."
"Seline would never allow you to attack Hyrule, or any other country for that matter," contradicted Kaibre. Robert smashed his sword towards Kaibre who neatly deflected it away.
"That's what you think," growled Robert, moving forward with his sword, Kaibre still defending himself.
"Don't do this Robert," warned Kaibre, hitting back with his own weapon, catching Robert across the arm. Robert glared at him.
"Do what? Kill you?" he asked, glancing his blade across Kaibre's.
"Get taken in by her. Put your men to use by eliminating the Tanolians, not conquering countries you don't need," pleaded Kaibre, stepping backwards to avoid Robert's weapon.
"The Tanolians will give up when we demonstrate our power," retorted Robert, swinging his sword back, then bringing it down across Kaibre's shoulder. There was a sickening crack and a spray of blood erupted from Kaibre's shoulder, sending the man falling backwards, cursing in pain. Robert stood over him, and brought his sword down, Kaibre rolled out the way just as the sword struck the stone floor. Mara reached out and stopped Robert, one hand on his shoulder.
"Wait!" she said sharply. Robert paused, turning to her questioningly. "Let's not kill him...yet," she urged. Robert looked down at Kaibre, who was holding his shoulder.
"Why not?" he asked. Mara smiled.
"The Princess has a soft spot for him. We may be able to use him to our advantage," Robert smiled, nodding, realising her words were true. He flipped his sword in his hand, then closed in on Kaibre, slamming the hilt across his head, sending him across the floor. Mara began to walk down the corridor, motioning for Robert to follow. "Come. I know a place where he can be kept secure," she said, and Robert obeyed, sheathing his sword and leaning down to grab Kaibre's heels, dragging the fallen man down the passage way.
Link's mood didn't match everyone else's joviality later that evening. Drake, Aaron and the others were clustered around one of the tables, starting a card game, Zelda and Selina were sat together chatting quietly. The hero stood to one side, surveying the familiar scene, hands in his pockets. Presently, Drake appeared to notice he wasn't joining in with their usual past-time, and arose, striding over.
"Not playing tonight, eh?" he questioned, scratching his chin somewhat thoughtfully.
"Not in the mood," Link admitted. Drake raised an eyebrow.
"Ah, you're just scared that you can't match up to the poker master here," he laughed, jabbing a finger proudly into his chest. Link managed a small smile.
"You know I can beat you hands down anytime," he replied.
"Well, why don't you come over and prove it, eh?" the knight challenged. Link considered it.
"I..." he started.
"Come on, stop looking like ya got the weight of the world on your shoulders, come and have some fun for once!" Drake interrupted. The hero shook his head.
"I dunno, I think I want some time alone," he finally said. Drake frowned slightly at him, his blue eyes becoming concerned.
"You know, if you ever need..." he started.
"I know, and thanks. I appreciate it. Just I don't want that right now," Link interrupted.
"Fair enough," Drake conceded, shrugging. He glanced round, his gaze settling on Zelda for a moment, before turning back to Link. "Is this to do with Catalia?" he asked.
"I'd rather not discuss it," Link replied, rather sharply. Drake gave up.
"Well, you know where we are, if you decide you want to lighten up," he said, before turning and walking back to the table. Link sighed, and looked over at Zelda for a moment too, quietly admiring her golden beauty. How lucky his was to have her, his beautiful Princess. Zelda listened. But she could never possibly understand how he felt. Like a failure. He'd gone back to Catalia to repair the damage that had been done so many years ago, hoping to exorcise the demons that sometimes upset the balance of his otherwise happy existence. But instead of fixing things, they'd just been made worse. At least he was back in Hyrule, though. Back where he truly belonged, with his family and friends. Back with the most important things in his life. Perhaps the upcoming trip to Valour Hold would help clear his head once and for all. It wasn't like him to ever brood or worry over anything, but the whole situation was starting to get to him. He'd gone to Catalia confident... and returned hurt, confused and ultimately betrayed. Shaking his head to himself at the thought, he figured perhaps an early night was in order. Unnoticed by anyone, he trudged silently out of the Great Hall, and towards his tower.
His room was dark when he reached it, but Link didn't really care. He kicked his boots off, pulled off his belt and tunic, and flopped down on the bed, clad in only leggings and a shirt. The darkness was soothing, and he lay there for a while, not thinking about anything in particular, only savouring the peaceful solitude, and how good it felt to be lying in his own bed, everything settled once more. A few moments later though, a bright light suddenly flying in front of him caused him to wake up from his semi-conscious state. It was Sprite. His faerie companion alighted on one of the bedposts, folding her arms and smiling prettily.
"Ooh, I get you all to myself, huh," she giggled. Link rubbed his eyes, and gave her a wry smile.
"Sprite, go away," he said, though his tone remained good-natured. Sprite's smile became more mischievous, and she danced excitedly along the foot of the bed.
"You don't want me to go, of course you don't, how could you possibly resist my charming company?" she giggled.
"I suppose I can't," Link grudgingly admitted. He sat up, and yawned slightly.
"If you're coming to bed, shouldn't you be a little more... shall we say... unclothed?" Sprite commented wickedly. Link pretended to ignore her, but she simply giggled, and flew up closer, landing on his lap.
"I was just having a little... rest. Yeah, rest. I'm not going to sleep yet," he protested.
"Good," said Sprite, smiling again. "I'm glad that Zelda isn't here," she added, smirking.
"Hmmm," Link said, unconversationally.
"Yeah well, she takes up waaaay too much of your time, in MY opinion!" Sprite continued cheekily. Link swatted at her playfully, but she flew away quickly, higher up, shaking a tiny fist at him.
"She's my wife," he stated.
"Don't remind me," Sprite retorted darkly. She flew back down, her expression turning more serious for a moment. "Enough of the jokes though, Link, I'm worried about you, you just aren't your normal self!" she exclaimed.
"I'm fine, really, I am," Link protested.
"After everything you've been through though... first Catalia, then the incident with Ewan. Really, some guardian I am! I'm meant to protect you!" Sprite continued.
"Sprite, you do fine. You couldn't help anything that happened," Link said truthfully. The faerie's pretty features seemed sad as she gazed at him.
"I know, but... well, you never deserved any of it. I hate seeing you sad!" she said.
"I'm not sad. Just... well, you know," Link replied.
"I'm gonna make sure I take real good care of you from now on. Maybe Navi was right after all. I AM a lousy guardian faerie!" Sprite cried, pulling on her curls a bit dramatically.
"Sprite, honestly, I think..." Link began.
"I don't care what you think! I've made up my mind now, I'm gonna do better! Starting right now!" the faerie vowed.
"Aww thanks, but you don't need to," Link replied, smiling at her. Sprite fluttered around a little, before alighting once more.
"I do and I will! You know me Link, always stick to my word," she stated. Link gave out a yawn.
"Jeez Sprite, I'm pretty beat," he remarked, running a hand through his hair.
"I'm not going to take offence to that... actually, yeah, you go to sleep. You need your sleep, lots of it! I'll have to tell Zelda to be extra quiet when she comes up, so as not to wake you," Sprite exclaimed enthusiastically.
"Mmm, yeah," Link agreed. Sprite grinned. She fluttered over, and kissed him lightly on the cheek.
"Goodnight, sweet dreams," she whispered, before flying outside. The faerie headed in the direction of the Great Ruto Forest. There was some business she needed to attend to, and it involved her friends. While Link was away relaxing at Valour Hold, she would get them to play detective. They would find that evil healer, and put an end to her wicked plans.
Zelda headed up the tower stairs later that evening, a slight feeling of apprehension overtaking her previously more relaxed mood. She'd spotted Link leaving the Great Hall earlier on, which puzzled her a little, since he was usually one of the last to leave the room. She was worried about him. However, she'd been so relieved to return from the hell of their Catalian ordeal, only to discover that their beloved son had been taken whilst they were away, that she'd never had time to think about how he might be feeling. She'd just assumed he was fine, as per usual. But she had noticed he was a little more downhearted than usual. Pausing at the top of the stairs, she swallowed guiltily as she considered her deception involving Kaibre.
My life's never normal unless I have some sort of personal crisis going on, she thought to herself, slightly morosely. Sometimes, the princess wondered how she'd ever got so messed up in the first place, and wished she could be more like her friends, without a care, or problem. At least, that's how it seemed from her viewpoint. Talking to Selina that evening had put the point across, as Selina, deliriously happy, had excitedly discussed how much she was looking forward to going to Valour Hold, how excited she was about having children, and what a wonderful husband Nick was. Zelda had felt jealous of her friend slightly, wishing she could be as equally carefree and happy. It wasn't that she wasn't happy, she was. She just sometimes wished for a more peaceful existence, that was all. Quietly, she opened the door, and stepped into her darkened bedroom, taking care not to wake Link. She undressed in silence, and slipped beneath the warm covers, cuddling up to her husband. He shifted slightly in his sleep, murmuring something the princess couldn't quite make out. She tried to get to sleep for a while, but something seemed to stop her. Eventually, she lit a candle, and sat up in bed, gazing down at her beloved hero.
He remained oblivious to her presence, peacefully dozing. She had no doubt that he was dreaming something nice, and yet, there was something else in his contented expression that immediately convinced her that he wasn't entirely at ease. Gently, she pulled back the bedcovers a little, to see how well his battered body was healing. She knew the pain was still there, despite how well he tried to hide it. Link never let anyone know when he was suffering, he was far too brave for his own good, sometimes. Tears sprang to her eyes as she noted the bruises and marks upon his otherwise perfectly toned chest. Why anyone would possibly want to hurt Link... she let out a sob, thinking about it.
"I've done it too, Link, I'm so, so sorry..." she murmured quietly, the tears sliding down her cheek. She let her gaze travel back up to his face, immediately wishing that she could drown herself in his deep blue eyes. How could she have even considered looking at someone else? The guilt was getting too much to bear. Leaning down, she placed a gentle kiss upon his cheek. Valour Hold would be the perfect getaway for them, she decided. Of course, it wouldn't be that private, but that wouldn't matter. It would just be them, their closest friends (excluding Fayette, of course), and their children, ready to have some fun and relive the old times. She would even be able to get some archery practise in, and no doubt plenty of riding, and playing games with the children. It would be a lot of fun, the perfect way to take their minds off the recent events.
"So, let me get this straight. You, Tamara of the Fey, are going on a holiday to the delightful Valour Hold, and while you are enjoying yourself, you expect us to go and find some kidnapper witch?" asked Carrie, raising an eyebrow at her friend. She was sat in a private glade, along with Felicity and Tiffany, who had all been called together by the Queen of the Fey herself. Sprite smiled brightly.
"It'll be fun!" she exclaimed.
"Isn't it a bit late for this! I'm tired!" complained Carrie.
"It'd be more fun to go to Valour Hold," remarked Tiffany, combing her long golden hair with her fingers. Felicity crossed her arms, a thoughtful expression on her face.
"She was the one we saw in the Mido Graveyard wasn't she? Collecting the black ivy?" she questioned. Sprite nodded.
"That's the one!" she assured her friend.
"What has that got to do with anything? I'd rather stay here in the Fey, or go to Valour Hold. I hate Death Mountain, it's full of moblins...and tektites and..." at this point Tiffany gave a visible shudder, refraining from finishing her sentence. Carrie nodded in agreement.
"Why should we trail all the way to Death Mountain to look for this witch? Hasn't Zelda got soldiers doing that?" asked the faerie. Sprite gave her two resisting friends a visible look of disdain.
"Well yeees...but what chance do mere mortals have against a witch who can harness the powers of substances like black ivy?" reminded Sprite.
"She does have a point," agreed Felicity reluctantly. Sprite let out a sigh upon the sight of Carrie's and Tiffany's as of yet unconvinced expressions.
"I'm the Queen of the Fey. You have to do what I say!" she exclaimed impatiently.
"Why don't you just send Fleur, and her little following. They love casting magic, they'd love to cast it against a mortal even more so than...well, whatever they normally cast their magic on," suggested Carrie, taking a bite from a plump berry she had just extracted from the tangle of the jade green bush behind her. Sprite rolled her eyes.
"But what if she succeeded? Then she'd get all the glory and I'd never hear the end of it!" retorted Sprite. She had, by now, made it plainly obvious she wasn't going to budge on the subject.
"Well, I wouldn't mind going," said Felicity quietly. Carrie and Tiffany both laid their gaze on their friend accusingly. Once Felicity agreed to something, chances are, she normally persuaded the rest to follow along. She stared back. "What?!" she questioned indignantly. Sprite hugged her friend.
"Ah, I always know I can count on you Flic!" she said happily.
"Not so fast. I may agree with going to see what this Mara is up to, but the fact is, how come you get to go swanning off and leaving us behind to do all the work?" said Felicity sternly. Sprite frowned.
"Hmmph, I should've known it was too much to expect my bestest friends to do me just one tiny, teeny favour without resistance," she moaned.
"Come on Sprite, even you can see why we'd think it unfair," protested Tiffany, flicking her hair.
"But I have to go to Valour Hold to, uh, protect Link. It is my job you know. I can't shirk my duties just because there's a witch taking residence in Death Mountain," said Sprite haughtily.
"Oh no Sprite, don't go using that line!" scolded Felicity, "I could quite easily point out that you are blatantly shirking your duties as Queen of this Fey to go protecting some mortal." Sprite scowled.
"But Link is the hero of Hyrule. I can't not protect him just to rule this place. It's very low maintenance you know," argued Sprite. She folded her arms, a pertinent spreading across her face. It didn't last long as her friends met her with equal expressions of stubbornness, and her own face soon cracked into a pleading one. "Pleaaaasssse!" she practically begged. Her three friends all swapped wry expressions.
"Well, what's in it for us?" probed Carrie, her hands folded neatly across her lap. Sprite looked confused a moment.
"You know, reward wise?" added Tiffany. Sprite paused a second, before an answer reached her.
"Anything you wish!" she declared. Felicity let out a short laugh.
"I doubt that's a promise you could fulfil," she joked.
"Well, anything I can give you," re-worded Sprite after a second of thought.
"We could probably think of what our reward could be on our way there," said Carrie reluctantly. Sprite let out an inward cheer.
"Yes, yes, that's what you can do," she agreed, slightly over-enthusiastically. Tiffany let out a sigh.
"I take it this means we're going," she groaned. Felicity and Carrie shrugged.
"It'll be something to do," put forward Carrie lamely.
"Exactly, and while you're doing all exciting exploring and stuff, remember to spare a thought to poor old me, to bound by her duty such that to accompany her dearest friends is simply impossible," said Sprite in a woeful voice.
"Well, I'd gladly take over your duty, and you could got to Death Mountain. Some of the mortals in the castle are extremely handsome," piped up Tiffany. Sprite stopped her self-pitying wail and stuttered out a response.
"Ah, well, that wouldn't be right would it? To place all the responsibility on you, it'd be very erm...un-friendlike," she said quickly. When she saw the playful glance Tiffany nimbly shot to her other friends, she slumped in relief as she realised they were going to carry out her wish.
"We'll get started straight away," promised Carrie, filing out of the glade, Tiffany shortly behind her.
"I'm eternally in your debt!" Sprite called after them. Felicity finally rose from the patch of grass she had chosen to be her seat, and flew past Sprite.
"See you Sprite...and remember, when you see Navi, be sure to give her my love," commented Felicity. Sprite shot out an arm and grabbed Felicity.
"What?!" she demanded. Felicity was the picture of innocence.
"You didn't know? I assumed that was why you were so eager to go the hold in the first place. Navi is living out there in the woods on Valour Hold, with a group of her, how should I put it...followers. She has been for a while now...I thought it was common knowledge," said Felicity, her tone deliberately slow and hesitant.
"You are kidding me!" demanded Sprite. Felicity shook her head.
"No. I'm afraid not. But who knows...maybe you two will patch things up," suggested the faerie wickedly. Sprite frowned at her, before breaking into an easy smile upon realising her friend's true meaning. Her smile dissolved however as quickly as her frown, and she stared at Felicity earnestly.
"Be careful, around her. She's killed people, and she's ruthless. That's why I wanted all three of you to go along...I really think you can deal with this." Felicity was a little surprised by the solemnity in Sprite's voice, but she nodded, a relaxed smile on her lips.
"Hey, since when has any mortal out matched us faeries when it came to the magic stakes?" she questioned confidently. Sprite nodded.
"Just, you know, be careful...maybe don't even confront her, just find out what she's up to," suggested Sprite.
"We'll do what is necessary. Death Mountain right?" Sprite nodded, recalling the conversation she had overheard between Robert and Link about Mara and Kaibre. She had heard every word, and was glad she had. She hadn't trusted Robert, not for a minute. He was too much like his other kin, Aden and Derin, but his remorselessness when he had killed the two had been zero, which made her believe he would not think twice about striking down other members of his clan. And his obvious trust of Mara, well it only made her suspect the worst.
"Death Mountain," she assured, with a nod.
What will happen next? Will the faeries discover the evil Mara, and just what is Enzar up to? To find out how Link and Zelda cope with their troubles, continue the saga in the next book, Paths of Deception!
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