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)
Early the next morning, Aaron awoke, and realised that dawn was almost upon them. They sky was dashed with colour, streaked with cloud, and the first rays of the day were almost penetrating the night gloom. He quickly stood and rolled up his bed mat, before tying it up and placing it on his pack. He then woke everyone else, quietly waking each in turn and informing them that it was time to move on. As they all woke, he returned to a small stream he had encountered the night before, and took the opportunity to wash, shave and dress. By the time he had returned to the camp, everyone else was up, even the young Aden, who was wiping his eyes tiredly.
"There is a stream just behind those trees, if you want to wash and get yourself cleaned up a little," suggested Aaron to them all. Zelda was the first to stand, before turning and giving her husband a hand. It looked like Link had endured the worst of all of them, but he was strong he could manage. Aaron turned to Fayzie. "Come on, I'll show you," he offered. Fayzie smiled to him gratefully, still without saying a word. She took his hand and stood up, turning to her young son.
"Aden," she said quietly. The young boy sighed and stood up.
"I'm tired," he complained, punctuating the point with a yawn.
"We all are, but come on, you've got up earlier than this," said Fayzie. Aden shrugged and nodded, and Aaron took then to the stream, where Zelda and Link now where, before returning to the camp to get a few things ready.
The first thing Aaron did was stamp out the remains of last night's fire, before scuffing it out of all existence with the heel of his boot. It wouldn't do for them to leave any signs behind that indicated the trail they were taking. Aaron glanced back to the rising sun, wondering whether the time was now for him to go out hunting. He decided for everyone else to come back, they would have a little breakfast, then he would go and try to catch them some more food that would bring them through this journey. He knew Link would want to join him, but he decided against allowing the hero to come. Link needed to regain all of energy he had lost, and that wouldn't be done by going hunting. Aaron sat down and began to prepare breakfast, a little fruit and bread, enough for each one of them. As he did this menial task, his thoughts turned to his wife and son, back at the castle, wondering how they were doing. He hadn't left their side since the Great War, and he was missing both of them a great deal. He only hoped that they didn't take too long to reach Opela.
It wasn't long before they were back the route to the capital. Aaron had gone hunting in the copse, and caught a few rabbits, but there had not been much else. As the young warrior had guessed, Link had wanted to accompany him, but Zelda had prevented him before Aaron even had the chance. It meant they'd all be able to have a substantial meal though when they next set up camp, providing that Aaron would have somewhere else to go hunting. So far, the morning had passed without event, and Aaron wanted it to stay that way.
"Link...I think something's happened back in Hyrule," confided Zelda, as they rode across the plains of Catalia. Fayzie had shown them a very out of the way route, which took them far from the roads that led to Opela, but also far from sight as well.
"How do you mean?" asked Link, who was behind his wife on her horse.
"I'm not sure...I can't quite place it. Last night, something woke me, but it wasn't something here. It was like something had happened...but back home. I think it may be something to do with the Triforce," said Zelda carefully. She didn't want to alarm Link, but she had to voice her suspicions. She felt Link shift a little behind her.
"The Triforce?" questioned Link warily. Now that Zelda had left Hyrule, the spell of protection that would be cast over the tower would certainly be weaker, but not that much. And even so, who in Hyrule would be trying to obtain the Triforce? They had no enemies, or at least none that they knew of.
"Yes, but perhaps it was nothing," Zelda dismissed lightly. Link shook his head. It wasn't often that Zelda's feelings or intuitions were 'nothing'.
"Well, if there is something going on, we can't do anything for now," said Link quietly. Zelda flinched a little at his words, but decided to make no further comment. Link was right, they could do nothing, she just wasn't used to Link being so...well, not optimistic. She had always known him to find something good even in the worst of situations, this just wasn't like him. She dropped one hand from the reins of her horse, and placed it on her waist, finding Link's own hand. He took it, and she smiled a little.
"It was probably nothing," she whispered, before turning to concentrate on the route ahead.
They had not been going for long, when Zelda noticed a movement from the corner of her eye. Seconds later, she saw an arrow sailing through the air, and yelled in horror as she saw it strike Fayzie. The Kokiri woman fell from her horse at the impact of the arrow, young Aden falling with her. Aaron pulled back the reins on Jet, and the horse reared in surprise, almost throwing Aaron from his saddle. Another arrow whizzed through the air, and Link and Zelda quickly dismounted. Aaron was already by Fayzie's side, as was Aden.
"What happened?" asked Link, looking towards the direction from where the arrow had come.
"I don't know," said Aaron, leaning over Fayzie. "Are you okay?" he asked. Fayzie managed a weak nod, the arrow was embedded in her shoulder, red blood staining the sleeve of her dress.
"Aden," muttered Link darkly, looking across the plains. Both Aden and Derin were able hunters, and would be good with a bow and arrow, it had to be them. Link looked around, but he couldn't see anyone. Fayzie managed to sit up with the aid of Aaron, and she examined her shoulder, wincing a little. She examined the barb of the arrow and shook her head.
"No...this isn't Aden, or Derin," she whispered, looking pale.
"You recognise it?" asked Aaron, glancing at the black feathered arrow. He suddenly felt a glimmer of realisation himself.
"Tanolians," murmured Fayzie, coughing. Aaron's heart sunk.
"In Catalia?" he asked. Link drew his sword. Zelda grabbed her bow, and watched to see if any more attacks were made.
"Yes...they were never all driven out, and after the war in Hyrule, even more arrived...survivors I suppose," said Fayzie, squeezing her eyes shut, trying to ignore the pain.
"Look! There they are!" exclaimed Link, pointing with his sword at a group of dark clad strangers on the horizon. He ran over to Carefree and mounted the horse. "They'll regret messing with us!" stated Link, anger tingeing his voice.
"Link! Wait!" called Zelda, concerned. She turned to Aaron desperately.
"You should go and help him, I'm useless at horseback archery. I'll get these two under cover," said Zelda. Aaron stood and nodded before jogging to his own horse. Zelda quickly grabbed Moonmist's reins, and helped Fayzie up. Aden held onto his mother's hand, and Zelda guided them all to a nearby gathering of trees.
"Link!" called Aaron as he tried to catch up with his friend. There were four Tanolians, and Link had already reached them, laying into the first with his sword, right through the stomach. Aaron shook his head and spurred Jet on. Link had certainly regained some of his lost strength, but Aaron didn't know exactly how much. Link skilfully deflected any blows the remaining three tried to deliver, and by the time Aaron arrived, Link had more or less killed or fatally injured all of them. Aaron let out a breath of relief, but gave Link a discerning look.
"That was stupid and you know it," reprimanded Aaron. Link wiped his brow.
"Is Fayzie okay?" asked the hero, ignoring Aaron and leaping down off Carefree. He began to pick through the fallen bodies of the Tanolians, one protested, and Link deftly finished him off with a short blow to the neck.
"Perhaps for now. Look Link, you don't want anything they've had," said Aaron, looking down at his friend, feeling a little concerned. Link looked up to Aaron.
"Come on, there's no need to be so uptight," said Link, grinning at his friend.
"Link!" cried Aaron, exasperated. Link got up and mounted Carefree.
"They had nothing valuable, come on, let's get back to the girls," suggested Link. Aaron shook his head.
"You could have got yourself killed," said Aaron. Link turned to his friend.
"I'm still here aren't I?" he asked, a little sharply.
"Sure, yes...just," began Aaron, but Link had already ridden off, back towards where they had left Zelda, Fayzie, and her son. Shrugging to himself, slightly confused by Link's behaviour, Aaron took off after Hyrule's future heir.
Mara woke, feeling rejuvenated. Dawn had long since broken, and it was unlike her to sleep in, but after the spell she had performed last night, she supposed she was allowed a few luxuries. She quickly got up, remembering the task at hand, and carefully picked up the cloth bag that hung on one of her bedposts. She laid it down on her bed, and carefully retrieved the vial of that dark potion she had created. She smiled as she stared into the cloudy liquid, thinking of what potential it held. She walked over to her desk, an pulled open the single drawer, taking out a solid, velvet lined box. She opened it, and carefully laid the vial in the box, closing it, then locking it with a tiny silver key. It would not do for this particular potion to meet any mishaps, it was unlikely that she would ever get the chance to be so near the Triforce again to create the potion. Of course, the potion was not yet complete, it required one more simple ingredient, but it would be easy enough to get. And then the final pieces of Mara's plan would finally fall into place.
Fayette sat through breakfast, barely eating a thing, just watching Nick and Selina. Their affectionate smiles towards each other, the friendly banter, it made her feel sick. To think it was all a spell, created by Selina. She wrinkled her nose in disgust.
"Is something the matter dear?" suddenly questioned Fenella, Fayette's mother. Fayette looked at her mother, feigning a smile.
"No, I'm fine mother," she replied, quickly taking a forkful scrambled egg and eating it. It had gone slightly cold, but she ate it anyway.
"So Selina, how are you feeling?" asked Fayette in a friendly manner, interrupting her and Nick's conversation. Selina glanced at Fayette, giving her a wary smile.
"I'm feeling fine Faye, thanks for asking," said Selina. Fayette was a little surprised at Selina's apparent friendliness, she had been given nothing but cold looks by the Queen since she had arrived, and at no surprise either, after the stunt Fayette had pulled on her, trying to split her and Nick up a year earlier.
"It's just, well, I know what it's like, to carry twins you know," reminded Fayette, smiling. Selina nodded, glancing down at her own breakfast.
"Well, you've not got much longer to go now dear, have you?" piped up Fenella, entering the conversation. Nick smiled over at his wife.
"No, she hasn't," he agreed. Fayette saw that look they exchanged, and felt that there must be something genuine between the two, but she quickly dismissed such thoughts, it was all a spell. It had to be.
"Any ideas on names?" questioned the King.
"Oh, a few maybe, nothing set in stone," replied Selina, smiling over at Harkinian.
"I suppose you're hoping for boys?" questioned Fenella, talking to Nick. He shrugged, grinning.
"Perhaps a girl and a boy would be nice, but whatever they turn out to be, I'll be happy," said Nick.
Fayette left the dining hall feeling a little confused. Nick and Selina really seemed to love each other, she supposed she had never realised it before, but now she had, it struck her so boldly, she began to doubt that there was any magic involved. She reached into her pocket and drew out the vial that contained the potion that Mara girl had created the night before. This would break any spell that Selina had cast over Nick, that was what Mara had said. So if there was no spell, the potion would have no effect. And if the potion did take effect, that would prove that Selina had cast a spell over Nick. Fayette had every right to use the potion. Just when she would get the chance to use it was another question completely.
Felicity alighted on a nearby gravestone, examining her small spell book.
"Flis, you're sick, I swear!" exclaimed a golden-haired faerie fluttering nearby, a distasteful look upon her pretty face.
"Yeah, why are we here anyway?" asked the red-haired faerie, also fluttering about. Felicity looked at her two friends fixedly.
"I need a certain ingredient for my spell, which can only be found in a cemetery," she stated in a calm tone. Tiffany, the blonde haired one, still scrunched up her face a little.
"But why did we have to come?" she moaned, quickly darting away from the headstone she was near.
"I need you both to help me gather it," Felicity said, looking around.
"Fine," agreed the other one, Carrie. "It's a plant, is it?" she questioned. Plants were her magical speciality. Felicity nodded.
"Yep. Plesidarnarus Kadinerou Ygerni," she said, speaking in ancient Hylian.
"Or in other words, black ivy?" Carrie said, translating to everyday Hyrulian. Tiffany raised an eyebrow.
"Black ivy? You can get black ivy?" she asked.
"Of course you can. It's like green ivy, but black," Carrie said.
"I know, I'm not that stupid," Tiffany snapped, scowling. She was more interested in rocks and stones, in fact the only flora that did interest her were the blooms she liked to adorn her hair with.
"It's vital to a new spell I'm making, and I'm going to need a fair bit. Problem is, there's not much around, so we're going to have to scour this place," Felicity commented.
"What sort of spell is it, Flis?" Tiffany questioned.
"You'll see," Felicity smiled.
"Oh, now she's being all secretive!" Carrie exclaimed, grinning. Felicity smiled again.
"Actually, it may have to wait until Sprite returns... I may need her help," she said.
"Must be a biggie, then," Tiffany commented thoughtfully. Felicity nodded, fiddling with the moonstone pendant that hung around her neck.
"Yes, but it's all I'm revealing for now," she stated.
"Alright, but we'd best be quick. I need to get back to Silva-Veredis Le' Fey soon to water my garden!" Carrie said.
"Yeah, I agree. I hate graveyards, they're creepy," Tiffany shuddered.
"We could be here a while," Felicity pointed out.
"Which is precisely why we ought to stop chatting and get looking!" Carrie said.
As the faeries prepared to start looking, they suddenly heard the iron creak of a gate being opened. They paused, all alighting atop of one stone, wondering who else could possibly be visiting this desolate place. They were in the largest graveyard in Hyrule, the Mido Graveyard, which lay to the south of the town, and stretched far along the coast. It was perfectly legible that people came to visit the graves of their loved ones but it wasn't exactly the nicest place to be on a day as drab as this. A small woman step in, her face hidden by a dark coloured hooded cloak.
"Let's get looking," Carrie said, her curiosity now sated. She and Tiffany flew off together, leaving Felicity alone by herself. The dark haired faerie flew down towards the ground, searching for the elusive plant. It tended to creep along the ground, rather than curl around headstones. As she searched, she noticed the woman again, who really was acting rather strangely. She was closely examining each headstone. Looking for someone, perhaps? But it was the way she was doing it. Felicity was getting a bad feeling from her. As a faerie, she was sensitive to such things, and right now she was feeling that the visitor's intentions in the cemetery were far from pure. She drifted closer, her original errand suddenly forgotten. The woman did not notice her, so intent she was on checking each tomb. Felicity got a surprise when she saw who it was... the new castle healer! What was she doing here? She noticed some vials hanging at the woman's side, filled with various concoctions, but of what, Felicity couldn't quite tell. She waited for a while, simply watching. Eventually, she saw the woman kneel down, a triumphant expression on her face. She held something in her hand, the black ivy Felicity herself was searching for. The faerie frowned, annoyed. The stuff was rare, and if she didn't get any here, the only other graveyards were in Saria, which was very small, or the deserted one on the south west island, which Felicity really didn't wish to visit. Otherwise, she would have to head over to East Hyrule. Why did the healer want it? It was rarely used as a reagent in general spells, but more... necromancy. Not many people practised that anymore. Except Felicity of course, but then, she practised all forms of magic. And most necromancy wasn't usually put to good uses. She frowned once more, her suspicions immediately raised.
"Hey, Flis!" came Carrie's cheerful voice, and Felicity turned to see her friend waving. The healer suddenly tensed, obviously hearing. She looked around, and then quickly dashed towards the gate. Very strange indeed, thought Felicity.
"I'm coming," she called back, flying over towards Carrie, who'd obviously found some ivy too. She'd have to keep a close eye on that woman's doings from now on.
Fayette looked down at the glass vial for a split second, before quickly closing her hand around it as Drake walked past. She still hadn't found a good opportunity to empty the vial over Nick's meal, or in his drink, and she didn't really know when she would. Sighing, a little frustrated, she began to make her way to the dining hall, pondering over what she was going to do.
The entire meal, Fayette sat there, wondering what to do, waiting for an opportunity, even if it was just one. She only needed one, but it looked unlikely of coming her way. Everyone sat quietly, silently eating their meals, which had been well prepared, as always, by Milona, the head cook at the castle. The meal consisted of delicious roast potatoes, fresh vegetables and delicious and generous servings of roast cuccoo. Fayette was enjoying the meal, as she always did, but all the time, she felt that vial weighing in her pocket, just waiting to be used. It was obvious that she wasn't going to be able to use it at mealtimes, it would be too obvious, she would have to find other opportunities instead. Then a perfect thought struck her. If she could arrange for Milona to send breakfast to the couple early the next morning, then she could perhaps intervene, and plant the substance then. That was it, that was how she would do it. Feeling considerably more cheered, Fayette smiled to herself, before tucking into her meal more heartily than she had previously.
Later that night, they set up camp once more. Link and Zelda slipped away together, telling the others they were taking a 'short' walk together. Aaron, Fayzie and young Aden cooked themselves supper, and to keep them amused, Aaron related some tales of his deeds in the Great War the year previously. Meanwhile, Link and Zelda walked some distance away from the group, before deciding that they were truly alone. Link wanted to question Zelda on her 'feeling' from earlier that day, but she didn't seem that interested in talking. Instead, she just stood, gazing at the sea. They were stood under a small canopy of trees, protected from the sea breeze and the nights coolness. The moon was out, and almost full, but not quite. Link looked at it for a while, before turning to look at his wife. She had a somewhat determined look about her, and her long golden hair had fallen loosely around her face, tousled up and wavy. She looked so beautiful. But then, Zelda always looked beautiful to him. His beautiful, fiery Princess. His whole world. The woman he would love for all eternity. Kylara would never have taken that away from him. He would have always loved Zelda, deep down, whether they'd been together, or not. No matter what Kylara said, no matter what Arcesius said, no matter what his Kokiri kin said, Zelda was the one he was meant to be with. He knew that. How could he even have doubted it? He had nearly lost her, through those doubts. And it was because of that, that she could never fully trust him again, deep in her heart. That hurt him a lot, that she always had that niggling doubt about him, that she thought he would abandon her for another, so easily. He could never do that, whatever pretty girl might come his way. No matter how tempting it might be. Sometimes, they drove each other crazy, to the point of almost hating each other, but luckily, their love was stronger than that. He'd chosen her over his brother, and over his so-called destined lover. Hurtful, as both choices had been, they had to be worth something. He'd chosen that path on his own accord.
"I'm thinking of Hyrule," Zelda suddenly said out loud, interrupting his own thoughts. She remained facing the sea.
"I'm thinking of you," Link replied, willing her to turn. She did, a hint of surprise in her deep green eyes.
"The feeling has passed me by. I think I imagined it. Maybe I'm stressed out," she finally commented. Link reached his hand across to clasp hers.
"Yes, maybe," he agreed. Their gaze met.
"The Triforce feels far from me today. But I still feel a glimmer..." she murmured, turning to look at the sea once more.
"Far...." Link agreed, amazed at Zelda's sheer power of affinity to her most treasured possession. He could never have that power himself, no matter how hard he tried. Slowly, he steered her closer into the copse, pulling her close, and kissing her. How he'd missed their nights together, being alone with her, knowing that they were truly together. Sometimes, he still couldn't believe the fact to this very day, that Princess Zelda, his former employer, former teenaged crush, was really his wife. All his. He liked to remind himself of that every now and again. Just in case it really was all a dream.
"We said a 'short' walk," mumbled Zelda, breaking the spell.
"They shan't miss us," Link replied, kissing her again. She pulled away, evading his affection.
"They'll come looking for us, if we stay much longer," she said.
"I told Aaron we were spending some time alone, he won't disturb us," Link promised. This was somewhat true. He'd brought her out here to talk, but now he'd changed his mind. She seemed to relent a little. He pulled her close again, kissing her warmly. Eventually, she relaxed, kissing him back. Link let his hands wander a little, but she immediately stopped him, looking a bit annoyed.
"No Link... not here," she murmured.
"We're all alone, no-one else is around," Link replied imploringly. She turned on her heel, walking away. He rushed after her. "Zel, wait... don't get mad," he called. She ignored him.
Walking in what she thought was roughly the direction of the camp, Zelda felt the guilt beginning to overtake her again. Had Link felt like this over Leigh, she wondered to herself, shaking her head a little. Link caught up with her, a questioning look on his face. He knew something was wrong, but she was glad he wasn't quite sensitive as to what it actually was. She couldn't let him start suspecting, though. Best to lie, to feign it off. If he found out, he'd be devastated, and she would be the biggest hypocrite in Hyrule. She wouldn't want to go through what Link had gone through with her. Then again though, she didn't believe Link would ever do that to her, whatever she did. He was much more sensitive than that, he didn't like to hurt her feelings. That was why she hated herself sometimes. As she thought about it more, it wasn't only Kaibre that was making her so guilty, it was how she'd acted throughout the Leigh incident, how she'd acted over Kylara. It was a miracle that Link even still had feelings for her, when she'd acted so cold and selfish. It was because of her, they were running away now, from the demons of Link's past. She'd made it that way, almost. She swallowed a little pausing.
"Zel?" Link asked, his hand on her arm.
"I just think we have more important things to worry about right now!" she snapped, immediately regretting the automatic lies as he gave her a hurt look.
"I suppose you're right," he conceded. "It's just that I've missed you..."
"And I've missed you, but this isn't really the time, or place for any of this. We should be on our guard, Tanolians are everywhere, and Aden and Derin are no doubt close at hand," Zelda interrupted.
"I only wanted to kiss you for a little while, to be alone with you. That's all," Link replied forlornly. Zelda didn't look at him, instead running a hand through her hair, teasing out some of the curls that were starting to form. Her eyes were cast down to the ground, not able to meet with his. She was hoping that Seline would indeed give them the protection they would need. Seline, in earlier years, had sometimes been like a second mother, like Impa. Seline and her father had even liked each other. A lot. But they had never married, for some reason. Perhaps if they had, Zelda would have been far happier, with no Fenella, or Fayette. But these days, Seline and her father rarely spoke. Zelda had never known why. Last time they had properly spoken, had been at her own wedding, and that had been only brief words. But whatever quarrels might stand between their family, the Queen would surely help them. She slowly looked up, to find Link still looking at her a little dejectedly.
"You're so beautiful, so perfect..." Link started, letting his hands drop to her waist. "I love you, I've missed you."
"I love you too," Zelda replied quietly. That, at least, was true.
"It was you who kept me going, the thought of you, my beautiful Princess of Hyrule," Link continued, learning forward to place a gentle kiss upon her forehead. Zelda gave in at that point. But as she kissed him, another feeling suddenly overtook her, and it wasn't guilt this time. Something else. It washed over her briefly like a wave upon the sand, neither pleasant or unpleasant. The Triforce, she thought, almost immediately, pulling away from Link. Using her magic, she could still feel it, Hyrule was in some sort of danger maybe. Her feelings earlier that day had proved correct after all, and she let out a tiny gasp. Link was looking at her with concern.
"Our country needs us," she whispered.
"But..." Link started.
"We must reach Opela as quickly as possible," Zelda replied, quickly heading back to the camp. Link followed after her, his own mind suddenly in turmoil too.
When Link and Zelda arrived back at the camp, they saw Aaron tending to the ugly wound that had been left in Fayzie's arm by that vile Tanolian arrow.
"I'm lucky, in a way," began Fayzie, taking the damp cloth from Aaron and dabbing at her arm. "Those Tanolians usually coat their damned arrows with poison, but fortunately they hadn't," explained the Kokiri woman. Aaron nodded.
"Yeah, that's true, during the war a few months back, we lost a lot of men that way," acknowledged the young Hyrulian. The two looked up from their conversation when they heard Link and Zelda approaching, and smiled at their appearance.
"Finally! I thought you two were never coming back!" piped up Sprite loudly. Link smiled at the faerie and sat down on his bed roll. Zelda joined him, but gazed at Fayzie, a look of concern forming as she saw the wound.
"How are you feeling?" asked the princess. Fayzie smiled.
"Tired, but apart from that, I could be worse," she said shyly. Aden was curled up at her side, apparently asleep.
"I wish I could have warned you sooner about that arrow, but by the time I saw it myself, it was too late," continued Zelda, an apologetic expression on her face.
"Well, an apology from the princess, now I really have seen everything!" exclaimed Sprite, who was not pleased at being ignored. Aaron glanced across at Link, wondering if his friend had calmed down from his previous mood. He seemed more at ease than he previously had, but Aaron got a feeling that Link wasn't very happy. Not that he blamed him of course, Aaron himself would have been as bad, if not worse, if he had had to endure the torment that Link recently had been put through.
"Well, we can have a good supper tonight," motioned Aaron finally, pointing over to the rabbit stew he and Fayzie had prepared over a small fire. Link glanced over and grinned.
"Quite the cook are we young Aaron?" he joked, grinning. Aaron shrugged.
"He's not bad," smiled Fayzie. Link and Zelda laughed a little, grinning at the slowly reddening Aaron.
"Hey! If you're going to start teasing me, I might just eat that stew all to myself!" warned Aaron good-naturedly, getting up and walking over to the fire, testing to see if the meal was ready. Apparently, it was, and he grabbed a ladle from his pack(he had come well prepared) and began to dish it out. Link took the bowl gratefully, and began to tuck in, not realising how famished he had been. Zelda accepted the bowl too, although a little less enthusiastically than her husband.
"What, exactly, is in this?" she questioned. Aaron shrugged, handing a bowl to Fayzie.
"Rabbit, water, some herbs me and Fayzie managed to find," he listed, getting another bowl and handing it to the just awakened Aden. He finally got his own, and sat down, tucking in along with everyone else. Zelda sniffed a little, then finally tested the meal, and found it surprisingly tasty. Sprite meanwhile fluttered down onto Link's shoulder.
"Where's mine?" she demanded. Aaron gulped and stared at Sprite.
"Sorry," he apologised. Sprite pouted, while Link fished around in his own stew, finishing a piece of meat and handing it to the faerie.
"This is my meal?" she asked. Link kept eating, and nodded.
"Uh-huh," he replied.
"Hmmph!" exclaimed Sprite, before taking a bite from the tender meat. It tasted quite nice actually, but she wasn't going to let anyone else know that.
"I don't see what you're complaining about," muttered Zelda.
"Well I don't see you jumping in delight," spat back Sprite.
"Now, now girls, calm down," intervened Link.
"It's a very nice meal," Zelda finally commented.
"Exactly, so just keep quiet you," scolded Link to his faerie companion.
"How much longer til we reach Opela?" asked Zelda conversationally.
"I only ever came this route once or twice, but it takes about five days altogether. I'd say three days at the least now, four at the most," said Fayzie, finishing her stew. Zelda let out a sigh.
"Do you think Aden and Derin are following?" she asked. Aaron shrugged, as did Link.
"I wouldn't put it past them," said Fayzie darkly. Aaron began to collect in the empty dishes.
"There's a stream nearby, I'll just go wash these," he said. Fayzie stood, along with Aden.
"We'll help," she offered, before Link and Zelda were left alone again.
Link gave his faerie companion and she let out a huff of discontent.
"Me and Zelda need to talk," he said pointedly.
"Fine, I'll just go off and get eaten by a moblin or something...not that you'd care," said Sprite sulkily.
"They don't get moblins in Catalia," said Link dryly.
"Well fine!" said Sprite, before fluttering off. Link turned back to his wife, a lazy grin on his face.
"She won't stay mad for long," he promised.
"Oh yes she will!" shrieked Sprite, somewhere not far off. Link shook his head, and the grin disappeared.
"I don't think there's much we need to talk about," began Zelda, trying to evade and questions that were bound to come.
"I think there is Zel, like your attitude for a start," argued Link, his voice calm.
"Pardon?" asked Zelda. She knew fine well what he was talking about.
"You just seem a little dismissive...and maybe like you don't want to be near me or something," began Link. He looked hurt, and Zelda softened at his expression.
"Link, that just isn't true," she began, taking his hand. Link gazed at her imploringly.
"But just before," he reminded.
"I just didn't feel comfortable Link. Not after what happened to Fayzie," said Zelda, unable to hold Link's gaze.
"I'm sorry to drag you into all of this," apologised Link, looking ashamed.
"It wasn't your fault Link," protested Zelda.
"It was. If I had waited around a little longer all those years ago, I might've found Hayden and Shawn...we could've all come to Hyrule together, and both of them might still be here now. If I had dealt with Kylara carefully, been nicer to her maybe, not given her false hopes, she might have never killed herself..." argued Link, his voice edged with despair, failure. Zelda, tears springing at her eyes to see her husband in such a state, pulled him close, hugging him.
"Link, you can't think like that. It's happened, you didn't know your brothers were still alive, you didn't know Kylara would react like that," said Zelda comfortingly.
"Then why do I feel so guilty?" asked Link sadly.
And why do I? thought Zelda to herself.
Late that night, Mara crept stealthily through the corridors of the castle, making her way to the nursery, where Ewan slept. She was ready to leave this place as soon as possible, but she needed the son of the heir and the hero first. She knew, of course, that that damned Kaibre Lainge had been appointed to protect the child, rather than being asked to leave, which confused Mara slightly. The potion she had slipped into the man's drink would have made him act rather inappropriately towards Zelda, unless it hadn't worked. But that was unthinkable, it must've worked, because Mara never made mistakes when she prepared a potion, she couldn't afford to. All the potions she had made in her short life had been mere practise for the ultimate concoction she knew that, one day, she would have to create. That day had come and gone now, but she still didn't know whether she had succeeded. She had never doubted it, but then, since Mr. Lainge was still working in the castle, she was beginning to doubt the ability that she had always taken almost for granted. She slipped from corridor to corridor, careful not to make her presence known, and she was there, so close she could feel his presence near by. The one, the chosen one. He with the virtue of all three. Her heart was beating faster just at the thought of being so near to her dream, her goal. But she wasn't there yet, not quite. A sly smile curved upon her lips, she was so close, and nothing was going to stop her. Her hand closed on the concealed dagger at her side. No one would pose a problem for her now, not when she was so near. She saw a figure at the door of the nursery, shifting from foot to foot, seeming a little discontent. Mara smiled again, she would certainly liven the night up for Mr. Lainge. She edged towards him, quietly, foot by foot, when the man turned, glancing in her direction. She froze, and pressed into the wall as far as she could, melting into the shadows.
Kaibre sniffed a little, positive that he had heard something, seen something. He leaned back into the wall. He hadn't slept for days, he never did when under such employment. He supposed it wasn't good for his health, but he was used to it. He had barely slept at all when working in the court of Queen Seline. He could not afford to with the multitude of Tanolian assassins that lurked continually, waiting for one slip, one moment where they could strike. These days, Kaibre didn't like to sleep anyway, his dreams constantly plagued by nightmares of guilt over the death of his wife and child. Kaibre snapped his attention back to guarding his post, something else interrupting his thoughts. He placed one hand on his sword, perspiration sliding down the back of his neck. His senses rarely misled him, someone was near. His eyes snapped back and forth along the corridor, wondering who was there, waiting, lurking in the shadows. He drew his sword, to prove that he meant business. His blade glinted in the moonlight that shone through the window, and it distracted him momentarily. A split second later, the silent lurker in the dark was upon him, and he only shrugged off their attack just in time.
"So, you finally show yourself again!" spat Kaibre, holding his sword before him.
"You will wish I hadn't, naive fool!" replied his attacker. Kaibre suddenly realised the voice belonged to someone with whom he had spoken with.
"Mara?" he questioned warily. His concealed attacked laughed.
"Not that it matter's now that you know, for you will soon be dead!" exclaimed Mara gleefully. Kaibre gritted his teeth.
"You will fail in any attempts to harm anyone in this castle, whether it be the children of the royal couple, or myself," vowed Kaibre.
"So valiant, yet so foolish. It won't be by the blade that you die," sniggered Mara. Kaibre lunged at her, his hands shaking. Mara stepped away, her reactions quick and nimble. He recalled the first time these two had met, of course, he had not known her then. She had stabbed him, and he had gone to her quarters, where she had injected him. A feeling of utter nausea crashed over him, and he staggered back. She could've easily poisoned him then, and he would've never known. He grabbed the door frame to support himself. "Such a pity, but I suppose no one will notice your loss. Your family are all dead, no one shall miss you," mused Mara. Kaibre let out a shallow gasp, agonising cramps in his stomach forming.
"You won't succeed in whatever your vile plans are," promised Kaibre, his voice hoarse. Mara loomed over him, revealing a shining dagger.
"And who will stop me?" she questioned. Kaibre gripped his sword firmly in his fist and swept it before him, hoping to catch the healer. He almost did, but she backed away just in time. Kaibre let out a dry cough, and tried to stand, conquering the terrible pains that plagued him. Mara watched, looking a little surprised. The poison she had administered to him days earlier was a slow releasing poison, that could be controlled via a certain pendant that Mara herself was wearing. The nearer she stood to him, the more agony he would suffer. She had tried it before, half a dozen times, and no-one had survived the first attack yet. Kaibre stepped forward, steadily, brandishing his sword.
"I will stop you," he murmured, taking another, not so clumsy, swipe. Mara staggered back as he caught her across the shoulder. She grabbed the pendant that hung from her neck with her free hand and held it out, close to Kaibre. He stepped back as the pain reached a new level of agony, but he still managed to keep upright. He pushed his sword forward and caught the pendant, cutting it away from the chain around Mara's neck. He tossed it away, and immediately the pain subsided within him. He stepped forward and Mara scowled.
"Although I am impressed by your resilience, you must know that ultimately, you will fail," said Mara somewhat snidely.
"Is that so?" questioned Kaibre. Mara smiled, then drew a vial from under her robes. Before Kaibre could react, she threw the vial at him, and it shattered against his arm which he had used to shield himself, a hissing emitting from the liquid that clung to his arm. "Guards!" he called as loudly as he could, before crashing to the ground as he inhaled the toxic fumes of the potion. Mara smiled and stepped over him. She had disposed of every guard in the vicinity, the only people she had to worry about now was if that dratted Impa awakened. She opened the door to the nursery and stepped inside, glad to see none of the children had been disturbed by Kaibre's call for the guards. She smiled again. Everything was going like clockwork, well apart from Kaibre's little resistance, but luckily she had planned well ahead for any such...irregularities.
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