Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ A Desert Rose Has Its Thorns ( Chapter 3 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Chapter Three

I've been walking for maybe two hours at most with my waterlogged boots squishing in unison with the wet ground. Funny, even on foot it didn't take me this long to run back to Kokiri Forest from town. But it's not everyday that you tell your true love goodbye. I feel like I weigh as much as Darunia or, better yet, as if he's on my back… and on my heart. I once again have to rest, as the memory of Zelda's teary eyes begging me to come to her wedding becoming too much weight to bear.

"How can she hold the Triforce of Wisdom and be so dense?" I somehow will myself to scream.

"If you watching me kiss him hurt so bad, how about you come watch him deliver the mother of all kisses? It's next week, we'll have food..." mimicking her happy tone, I vent my anger in own rendition of her voice. That anger momentarily eases the pain. But as with everything involving her lately, I can feel it spiraling back down to nothing but the pain.

"Does my love only equate to food in her eyes?" I ask myself, as though any answer will make me feel better. "Sure I ate my fair share when we were together. But come on! She had to know I loved her more than the damn roast!"

Who am I talking to? I know all of these feelings; I'm living with them. I let out a small sigh before starting my long walk again. I was telling you something last night, wasn't I? Oh yeah, maybe reminiscing on the "good old days" will be good therapy. Yeah, right.

I had made friends and allies with the Goron and Zora people. I had also almost acquired all of my previous weapons, except the Silver Gauntlets. Making my way to Gerudo Valley, I knew the scope here. If I stayed quiet, I stayed alive. And since the carpenters weren't going to need rescuing for another four years, I had no way of getting a Gerudo pass.

"Hey!" I turned on Epona to find a rather portly man whispering sharply at me.

"What?" I replied, raising an intrigued eyebrow as he got flustered and ducked back behind the huge rocks.

I decided-why I have no idea-to go check it out. Upon arriving, he yanked me behind the rock.

"Now look, if you don't..." he put a hand over my mouth, shushing me.

"Please be quiet," he sharply whispered. "They'll hear us!"

That's when I looked at him a little closer. Then I realized that he was one of the carpenters I would eventually save. (Or is that I already saved?) I nodded my agreement and he released his grip.

"Look kid, are you any good with that sword?" he asked cryptically, looking nervously back and forth.

"Depends," I told him.

"Depends on what?" asking this question a bit too loud, he shushed me as though I had said something too loud.

"Depends on why you want to know."

"It depends on my sons' lives." I stopped being a dick then.

Great, I thought trying to hide the rolling of my eyes.

"I'll pay you generously if you'd save them from those Gerudo women," he went on to say. "I told them not to play around up here. But would they listen? No!"

I sighed, upping the ante by promising him that none of his sons would be hurt and none of them would die… if they were alive when I got there, anyway. I know he must have thought I was nuts, but what can I say? I was bored and he was desperate. My line of attack was simple and plain: An arrow or two to the stray guard in my way, I wouldn't attack when I didn't have to, and for the love of god-I wouldn't let that damn stew tempt me again. It's a long story, but the gist of it is that you don't hop face-first into a giant vat of sugary stew or you'll get thrown in a cell.

I was getting close to the first cell by then, and that's when I saw a boy about my own physical age slightly whimpering. He was trying to be brave, but I'm sure he'd heard about them. "Shh! I'll get you out of here in no time," I told him. The kid smiled but it soon relented into a wide-eyed look of fear, and I made a very nice lateral somersault to avoid the guard's blade.

The Gerudo chuckled, slightly amused by my show of agility. "Time to add another one to the collection," she tells me in this haunting, though, seductive manner.

I don't know if it's meant to be like this or what, but the Gerudo all seemed to move very provocatively. Unfortunately, this provocative saunter made its way into their fighting style, leaving numerous openings for attack-at least against someone who had grown up with a sword and shield. To a rookie, or even a novice, they'd have most beaten. That's probably why they hadn't figured out the flaws.

Back in the thick of things, I started to let of my lewdness show. Odd what you pick up in Castle Town's Market Square.

"Not today," I replied, "but maybe if you'd bounce back and forth a little more…"

"What do you mean?" she asked, staring at me suspiciously. I let my eyes openly play to her exposed flesh. Even for a 13-year-old, I let my perverted thoughts about her honey-brown skin play all over my face. She flushed a slight red, growing seriously heated all in the same moment. "I had you pegged wrong. You aren't a boy. You're worse. You're a man!"

The Gerudo spat before leaping blindly at me-tsk, tsk. While her statement was true in essence, she didn't know it. The guard jumped swinging one sword at me, which I simply sidestepped. The blow's force gave her a slow recovery time, and that allowed me to slash her across her lower back. The woman screamed out in bloody pain, dropping her swords to clutch the freely bleeding wound. I don't know how I knew, but I knew she'd be alright.

"This… is not over!" she screamed at me before leaping through a hidden trapdoor in the ceiling. Her key to the cell fell, as usual, allowing me to save the boy.

I told him where his dad was waiting, so he thanked me before running for his life. This pattern played out three more times: I found a kid, a Gerudo guard came to investigate, I exploited her flashy sword technique, and then left her a small wound or wounds to remember me by. After the fourth kid was safe, I waited for the appearance of Nabooru to tell me that she was watching me and that I was now a member of the club.

"Duh, Link," I chided, "this isn't the future." I smacked my forehead to lodge the thought in there. Navi flittered from under my hat at the sudden force before returning to her hiding place. It was odd how she seemed to forget all of this; she was with me every single time, yet she seemed totally oblivious to the previous time jumps.

At least she's quiet, I thought.

I didn't bother to go back for my reward, because I didn't need it. I had to get to the Desert Colossus before nightfall or that never-ending sandstorm was going to be a bitch and a half to get through. Naturally, a Gerudo spotted me from her perch on the gate and gave pursuit. To get off subject for a moment, you know they'd be a lot better if they stuck together and attacked rather than make everything a one-on-one assault. Anyway, she stopped her chase once we made it into the sand.

"Bye, bye dead man!" she screamed after me.

"He-he-he, sure I am," I called back to her as I blocked the hot sand from my eyes and simultaneously reached into my bag for the Lens of Truth. Eventually, I spotted the Poe, and you have no idea how happy I was that he was still in place. I made my way to the Colossus and avoided the usual problems. I also avoided the black stallion tied to one of the palm trees. So intent was I to avoid my feathery foes, I stumbled into the horse's rear. I hit the sand hard, but as I stood to dust off, the stupid beast kicked me! I guess I should thank the goddesses that I was facing away from the animal and his hoofs only impacted my shield. After last night, though, I don't see the point in thanking them for anything.

My usual response to sudden impact rang out, "Aaaah!"

I turned over quickly to see if someone had come in response. I heard a feint clanking sound, kind of like a sword knocking against a shield or solid surface. I was standing perfectly still, so I knew it wasn't me. I dove behind a rock to keep my presence a secret. Of course, Mr. Horse wouldn't keep quiet about it.

"Will you shut up?" a voice suddenly snarled. It was a voice I knew very well.

"Ganondorf," I whispered to myself. My hand instinctively began to go for my sword as the clanking grew nearer. That's when I realized something. Damn it! I can't so much as dent the bastard with this thing. And Zelda still has the light arrows, too. Fuck, I thought, as his trudging continued to come closer to my location. It was a fine time to realize my oversights, huh? No Master Sword to cut away at his evil, and no light arrows to make him vulnerable enough to even begin the "cutting away at" portion of things.

*Clank* *Clink* *Clank* the noise stopped almost on top of me.

The rock I was behind was tall enough that he couldn't peer over it. But damn if his horse wasn't tied to a tree at my right.

Why is he over here if his horse is over there, I thought, noticing the distance between the corresponding points.

Crap, my mind shouted as soon as I realized that if Ganondorf went to the horse, he'd have a straight sight on me.

One of the guays began to squawk very a loud and twisted… well, squawk.

"How pitiful is this," Ganondorf mused, "the Great Ganondorf's own horse is afraid of a few sniveling birds."

The next sound I remember hearing was that familiar hum of evil energy; I held my breath feeling as though he somehow knew that I was there.

He released the energy, but I was still alive.

To answer my disbelief, a rather large guay hit the ground just inches from my boots, still twitching even in death.

*Clink* *Clank* *Clink*

I was so relieved about being alive that I forgot my situation. So, imagine my surprise when I turned and saw Ganondorf's back heading towards his sedated horse. I stifled a yelp and slowly inched around to the other side of the rock.

"Well, I'm heading back to the fortress, Nabooru," he shouted back towards the temple. "I trust you will have what I require. And if you don't…" I heard that hum again, before I turned and saw a large rock obliterated a few yards away from me.

"Yes, my king," I heard the all-too-familiar voice of Nabooru say, fear nowhere hinted in her voice.

"Yah," Ganondorf shouted, snapping the reins against his horse. "If you don't get it, I would suggest you not show your face for awhile!" the green bastard yelled at her as he rode off. As his image disappeared, I stood and began to dust off.

Nabooru's one of the good people, I thought. Hell, she was the Sage of Spirit-how could she not be one of the good people? When I saw her, she was already walking into the statue as I ran her way. Notice a pattern here? I'd forgotten this was all happening four years ahead of schedule. She apparently couldn't hear me running toward her, so I decided to call out to her-big mistake.

"Hey, wait up!" Her amber-colored eyes seemed to flash as she swirled to see who called her. I managed to get right in front of her, completely out of breath do to the heat.

"Whoa, hey so what have you been up to?" I asked like I was talking to an old friend.

Needless to say, I wasn't a friend of Nabooru. She flipped backwards, and retrieved a bladed staff like the ones the guards used at the main compound. I thought for a brief second that I had confused her with another of the Gerudo, but Ganondorf did call her Nabooru and her eyes matched. If you're wondering how I can tell the difference, the other Gerudo varied in eye color when it came to Nabooru. Her eyes were a shade darker, though more sparkly, than the others who shared gold as the eye color.

Uh oh, she doesn't know who I am, I thought looking on as she was posed for combat.

"Nab, can we talk about this?" Yeah, Mr. Silent wants to talk something out. Don't hurt yourselves laughing now. I held up my hands, backing away as she approached. I couldn't very well kill a sage and I couldn't let her kill me, so a middle ground had to be reached.

"My name is Nabooru," she corrected me, "how you knew that, I don't know. Now, the time for talk is over."

The calm in her voice was betrayed by her battle stance with the ever-present seductive motions.

Maybe I can just hit her in the head or something, I thought, ignoring her as she slowly invaded my position. "Well, ah!" My statement was cut short as she surprised me with a sharp blow to the ribs. Lucky for me, Nabooru used the blunt end of her weapon.

I stumbled back a ways, holding the damaged ribs while slightly coughing from the loss of air.

"So, this is another example of a man," Nabooru stated, laughing darkly as I finally found my breath. "Pathetic, as expected."

I coughed once more, before trying to reason with her. "Nabooru, you don't want to do this."

"Oh," she asked, feigning confusion, "and why not?" She punctuated her last word by thrusting the blade end of the weapon at me.

I jumped left, tucking her staff under my arm. Startled, Nabooru didn't react as I spun slightly and backhanded her across the face. I let the weapon go, as it was her turn to stumble.

"Because appearances aren't what they always seem," I replied to her question of earlier. Still, I had to fall back on reasoning, ignoring the instincts that told me to kill her on the spot. "Now, we don't have to continue this." My voice was harsh, trying to make her understand reason or at least let me try to give her one. Nabooru leaned against her staff, wiped a trickle of blood from her mouth, and when her eyes met mine I knew this was going to continue.

"If that's how I have to convince you that I'm not an evil man, then so be it." I sighed, reluctantly drawing my sword and shield. It was the Great Fairy Sword, it fit my hand like the Master Sword-now that I was bigger-and it looked cool enough, so I used it more often than the still way too heavy Biggoron's Blade. Nabooru stood tall and proud before offering what were to be our last words for a while.

"There is no such thing," she said as her almond shaped eyes narrowed in on me.

I was accustomed to fighting the sword wielding Gerudo, the stray monster, the random dragon made of pure fire, a Triforce-piece-wielding king thief… let's just say that I was accustomed to fighting any and everything. Well, I was accustomed to fighting everything but a sage. The sexy Gerudo saunter was in full swing as she took another thrust at me. I parried the blow easily with my shield. As her blade bounced off my shield, my boot found its way into her exposed midriff.

I went on the offensive throwing various kick-and-punch combinations at her.

"You may want to kill me, but I can't kill you," I kept repeating to myself. The woman-she looked exactly how she did in my 17-year-old form, which strangely is the same as she looked in my 10-year-old form-dodged every blow. Her staff, however, found its mark against my jaw this one time. I quickly shook it off in time to parry an overhead swing from the bladed end of the staff. Even with her flashy movements, Nabooru had the speed to close her defenses better than any Gerudo woman that I had previously faced, which made my "No harm, no foul" policy a little hard to leave in place. She swung for my legs this time around, and I quickly did a back flip to avoid it. I caught her off guard, and as soon as my feet met the ground, I rushed her. My shoulder slammed into her deep-it was a little thin, but it got the job done. My head smashed into her breasts when we hit the ground, which made things a little awkward.

I paid it no mind, but Nabooru completely flipped. She literally threw me back to my feet while she flipped to hers. Then she proceeded to scream her frustration as she swung at me. I could only block and dodge this new fury. Her speed left me with absolutely no time to attack and the heat was quickly draining my strength. To compound this, I was backed against the rock formation-you know the one that's right outside the Colossus-and Nabooru reveled in it. Her expression still shone brightly of I'm guessing embarrassment and hostility.

Ah, but Nabooru's previous exertions were weighing on her as well. Something told me she could keep going, though. I, on the other hand, was fresh off fighting four guards and a trip through a hellhole of a desert. My strength was going to be completely gone if this kept up. I decided to risk a few injuries coming to her in order to save my life. I had maybe four feet to work with, plus the fact that the length of her weapon gave her the advantage.

My sword hand began to rise quickly-or at least I thought it was quickly-but the blunt end of her staff smashed into my wrist, snapping my hand open. I hissed in pain and tried to stare at her menacingly, but this only made Nabooru smile. She sensed the kill. I decided to risk a roll for the sword, but I swear it's like she read my mind, because the dull end hit me full on in the stomach. My arms went to clutch my stomach to soothe that pain, but I saw her overhand strike-blade first this time-approaching, so my shielded right arm flew up in preparation to block.

The goddesses chose that moment to exact revenge.

One of the straps on my shield was apparently broken, because as I went to block her attack the damn thing slid off my arm and Nabooru sank the blade in to the bone. I'll tell you what, you think it's sick to have a bad guy do this to you, but when a freaking sage does it… it's just disturbing. Nabooru smile widened as I scream, a sound that only furthered once she began to wriggle it free. From there, she placed the bloodstained blade against my throat. I was too concerned with stopping the surplus of blood that was spraying from my arm to really care.

That's when I heard my blood literally boil at it hit the sand, which made me suddenly aware of just how hot it was out there.

So this is how the Hero of Time gets done in? I found myself thinking. No princess, no fairy tale ending, just gored to death by a sage. Great…

I continued holding my arm; I wasn't worried about bleeding to death so much as I was worried about being tortured by Nabooru.

"Apparently appearances are worth more than you know," she told me in that low, and every bit as sexy, tone of voice. Nabooru brought the staff up to deliver her final blow, and my death, when I finally thought of something to say.

"Wait!" It wasn't the flashiest thing, but it got the job done.

She stopped and looked at me with another smile; it was kind of shocking someone so heartless could be the Sage of Spirit.

"You wouldn't kill a crippled, unarmed man, now would you?" I asked it with hope while thinking the obvious: "You do realize this is where you die, right?" that little voice told me. He can go to hell by the way. If I gave up every time he spoke, I'd be crushed under Castle Town's Gate… no, I won't think about that, that place.

Anyhow, Nabooru seemed to falter in what to do, and I took that as a sign of hope. That tick-like ability to latch on to the positive, I suppose. My sword had fallen a few feet away and I eyed it pleadingly.

"You know anyone can kill an unarmed cripple," I continued to goad her. "How about giving the cripple a shot at redeeming himself?" I didn't know if that statement was more wood to the fire or what, because her smile faded into a stone-like bust. My stress reduced greatly as Nabooru went for my sword. I couldn't resist watching her walk towards it. I swear it was like everything the Gerudo did was meant for sexual distraction.

That or it could have been the raging hormones of a 13-year-old body, but nevertheless I watched her intently as she picked up my sword. By the time she had turned around, a little more of my maturity shone through the fantasy of her naked. I realized that she'd just given me a perfect opening for an attack-and I missed it. As if the goddess Farore herself was trying to teach me a lesson, the winds blew a few grains of sand into my wound. I snapped fully awake to the fact that I would have probably been killed if I had tried to get the sword.

"Beautiful sword for a man," Nabooru commented, eyeing the black roses and turquoise color that adorned its blade and handle.

"I'm not one to let beautiful things miss my eye or my grasp." Where the hell did that come from? The pure cheese of it makes me cringe now, but what's said is said. True enough, I had planned to comment on her beauty-like I did to the others-to throw off her fighting ability. But the tone of voice I said that in, and the fact my eyes roamed over her body, shocked me. Nabooru's eyes left the sword and fixated on me. I didn't know what to do. She was blushing, but at the same time, she looked a little confused.

Uh oh, I thought, watching her face contort into real anger. And compared to the look before, this was on Ganondorf levels.

"If beauty doesn't escape your grasp, then I suggest you hold onto that sword," she seemed to warn me. "Because that sword is going to be the last beautiful thing you ever see!"

Nabooru released a primal scream as she threw me the sword. I had barely caught thing before Nabooru set in on a run at me. I thought about just running her through with the sword, but I quickly gave that up as the safety beacon of sage hit me in the head. She reared back on her staff, holding it much like a sword. Heh, Nabooru was going to stick me to the rock, I guess. Got it, I thought, casually making a small pivot to avoid her blow. The sharp edge crashed into the rock, as did the majority of the dear sage's weight. That's when I used my damaged right arm to elbow her as hard as I could in the back of the head.

She softly cried as her skull smashed into the rock. This, my slight upper hand, gave me the victory without hurting her too badly. I spun around, tensed and ready in case she was going to trick me.

"Oh goddess," was all I could say as I saw the trail of blood her face left in its wake sliding down that hot rock. I used my good arm to roll her unconscious being over to better assess my damage to her. Nabooru's forehead had a slight wound-and if you notice, I considered my profusely bleeding arm and possible broken ribs slight damage-which was seeping a good amount of blood. Other than that, she appeared unharmed.

"This is exactly what I warned you about!"

I groaned in half pain and half annoyance as Kaepora had found me again.

"This makes like what now," I said absent-mindedly. "The 5th or 65th time you've started with this, 'you must do it how the goddesses say or else' trash?"

He scoffed at my attitude, saying, "There are things at stake here that you don't realize. Listen to reason, Link." He almost sounded pleading. That's pleading if you ignore that condescending atmosphere that usually surrounded this Kaepora.

"Look," I snapped this time. I was hot, tired, and in a lot of pain-too many factors to be civil to the damn bird. "I'm doing this my way this time. If my way doesn't work, I'll keep running the time gambit. So for the last time, either help me-and if you can't do that without trying to change my mind about my choice-or leave me alone." I spoke to him just as seriously as the last few dozen times he'd ambushed me talking about that particular subject.

"Well, I hope you realize that you've doomed us all," he said fatalistically as always. "Nabooru there, Saria, me, you, Princess Zelda-all of us are doomed. I hope your way does work, because if you fail, Hyrule is finished." He took flight, his seed of doubt taking root as he brought Zelda and Saria into the picture.

What if there is some difference you don't know about? I thought all of a sudden. All these minor changes could just be the bad before the worse. I stared at the owl until I could no longer see him. I began to grow angrier the longer I stood there doubting my plans. The overgrown buzzard was getting to me. No! I will do this! Zelda and I will be together and I won't fail!

I screamed to dislodge the confusion, the rage I felt for even doubting my love for her, and even thinking about throwing it all away to go back into that loop for who knew how long.

I turned to retrieve my fallen items, more determined than ever to get Zelda, when I saw Nabooru's broken body lying there. She was undoubtedly being burned by the sand. So, I knelt to pick her up when a searing pain shot up my right arm. I seem to have screamed a lot back then, because that's exactly what I did in response to that. The hot sand had touched my exposed wound, causing me to fall back on my haunches in raw pain.

I usually could block it out, but today I had no such luck.

"Get a fairy," Navi said unenthusiastically, not bothering to come from under my hat.

I was in too much pain to even respond. Pushing off the molten hot sand, I stumbled to the dry oasis. But wait, what was this? The oasis, while not full, did hold water. I retrieved the ocarina and played the Song of Storms. One fairy appeared, I touched it, and my wounds and injuries all faded away with fairy's life energy. With that settled, I went to go check on my gear and the fallen thief.

I made sure that she was still alive, because I didn't want to believe that I could kill her with a simple elbow to the head. I had to get her out of that sun. I know the Gerudo can take the heat, but that was ridiculous. I also removed the miniature dagger that I'd spied at the back of her waistband, checked her body for any other weapons… not like that you perverts. I couldn't risk her waking up and killing me, now could I? Of all people, I found myself slightly disturbed by the large amount of blood rushing from her head and recently noticed nose.

A stroke of genius hit me as I carried her swiftly to the oasis.

I knew she'd probably try to kill me again if the fairy healed her, but I played my tune anyway in hopes another fairy would show up. However, none came.

"Guess we'll have to do this the old way," I sighed, hoisting her again and making for the interior of the colossus. No invisible keese attacked this time, which was another bit of good luck, I suppose. I brought Nabooru to the area the stone guard usually occupied and laid her out on the space of carpet. "Now, I need something to stop the bleeding," I said to myself, already searching the interior. An old Hyrulian saying says: "A man only removes his hat for three reasons: (1) In the face of royalty, (2) when he goes to bed, and (3) in the presence of the woman he loves." Well, I added a fourth to the list, and it said, "When you break open a sage."

I took my hat off and used her dagger to slit it at the seams. Then, I took a few of the clay pots to the almost barren oasis and filled them with water. Navi floated lazily behind me, which made me aware that something was wrong with her-and it wasn't just the fact she was glowing, a deeper, and more mundane shade of blue. I pushed my concern for the fairy to the side for the time being, as Nabooru's incessant bleeding was starting to worry me.

For the next few hours, I sat in silence washing the blood and sweat from the desert sage's face. The bleeding had slowed to the occasional trickle, but I wanted to make sure nothing reopened and caused her an infection. Once her nose stopped, I decided that I better figure out my plan to get through that tiny slot to get my gauntlets. I left my shredded hat on her head, resting both against the floor, as I went to check out the opening.

While I was almost as tall as my 17-year-old self, I was lacking the physique. I knelt down and tried to fit through, I was on my stomach, arms stretched ahead of me, and I had to move by the sheer pull of my fingertips. It was a tight fit, but I equated that to my thick tunic. So, I worked my way back into the main corridor of the building when something interesting caught my eye…

Look, I'm sorry, but I'll have to finish this tomorrow. It's getting late, I'm wet, cold and after my stint in the field and the Carnival of Nightmares with Zel... that woman and her fiancée, I want to sleep. I promise I'll be alive-although how much of me will be alive remains to be seen-in the morning so no worries. Goodnight.

Author's Notes: So ends another chapter. Comments can always be sent to redknight2k@hotmail.com.