Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ Nightmare and a Horse ( Chapter 6 )

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

Chapter Six

"Link… Wake up, Link," a soft voice whispers.

"Huh? Zelda," Link mutters in his sleep, "is that you?"

"Yes, it's me, Link." Unconsciously, he smiles at this confirmation. "Wake up. I need to tell you something." Zelda's voice came in a little louder, but the desired result was achieved. Ever obedient to her whims, Link follows Zelda's command without hesitation now. "I just wanted to say that I'm sorry." He briefly looks at her in confusion, noticing Zelda's expression is one of sorrow and pain-a look that slightly wounds him.

"Sorry?" Obviously, the Hero of Time wasn't accustomed to receiving such trivialities as apologies. "What do you have to be sorry about?" he asks, unconsciously taking hold of Zelda's hand. In a flash, the queen's sorrowful expression turned into a hardened glare.

"I'm sorry you can't move on with your life!" she shouted, snatching her hand back as though Link's touch somehow dirtied her. "You said you weren't simple like the Kokiri, yet you trail behind me-someone you don't have a shot of being with-for four years. And you're not simple?" His eyebrows furrowed together in dismay and a larger part shock. How could Zelda say such a thing? Link wouldn't get a chance to ask, because Zelda's berating continued.

"Good goddess man! There's a fine line between love and pathetic, and you crossed into the pathetic awhile ago." Zelda smiled devilishly, seemingly deriving an unmasked pleasure from the torment her former lover was being subjected to. The wordless response from Link spoke comedic volumes to her chillingly cold persona. It was like someone literally stole his very voice having Zelda say that about him.

"What," she continued, "no pleading or whimpering like a little girl? It's no wonder you're still sniveling all alone. What woman wants a man who's wimpier than she is? I'll grant you one last gift, though." A dark laughter foreshadowed this gift, baiting the silent warrior in Link to speak up.

"W-What's that?" Link asked almost inaudibly.

The laughter immediately stopped, as Zelda shouted, "Your death!" The Queen of Hyrule fastened her lithe hands around his neck, and began to squeeze. And try as Link might, he somehow couldn't get her hands off him. True enough, Zelda was stronger than she appeared, a lot stronger, but this was ridiculous. As his vision slowly blurred, feeble attempts to remove her hands came fewer and farther between. The woman he had sworn time and time again to protect and love was now slowly strangling him to death. Heh, even Link cracked a small smile at the grim comedic value in his situation.

Having caught the smile, Zelda added more proverbial salt to the wound by saying, "I think Arthur and I shall name our first son Link. That way we can be sure the next bearer of that name isn't some spineless little weakling." Her searing words cut through Link's blurred vision and air-deprived mind like a tiny ray of painful light. Even as he began to collapse to one knee, Link stared daggers into Zelda's icy blue eyes.

"Is that fight in your eyes?" Zelda whispered with sinister glee, gazing into his eyes as though they were murky waters hiding a monster of some kind. "We can't have that. Spineless crybabies don't fight!" She underlined the statement with an ungodly amount of pressure to his windpipe.

"Zelda… you… won't kill me!" He coughed, but pushed through the pain to try and fight again. Futile was his last effort, though, because Zelda's strength seemed to amplify with each burst of hope that sprang into his heart. The blackness continued to erode his vision. Link began to panic, tumbling from his knee to his back in one motion. Zelda tossed her head back and laughed, and for good measure her weight was applied to her arms now.

"Just die, Link," she said slowly, repeating it in a haunting drawl that echoed inside of the dying man's mind.

"You… w-won't… k..." Link's last sentence never finished.

The darkness now before his eyes turns an ambient white, his last sight being of the woman he loved murdering him. And more disturbing than anything, the last sound to grace his ears was of her cackling.

"You won't kill me!" Huh? Where is she? And where is that bright light coming from? "Sunrise?" Then that means it was just a dream. I knew she didn't think I was weak for loving her! Ugh, I hate mornings especially when they follow hideous nightmares. Still, I can't shake the idea that Zelda did have a point in that dream. What else do you call a man who spends four years chasing one woman? Pathetic describes it perfectly.

I'm fine. I'm just dandy in fact. There's nothing like a little nightmare of being killed, and by Zelda no less, to make my day start off beautifully.

"The nerve of her," I mumble, somehow feeling the need to externalize some. "Where does she get off calling me a weakling? After all the shit I've been through-blood, sweat, and tears I've shed-you call me weak? No, fuck you! You won't kill me, Zelda! These feelings won't kill me! And since I know you three loons are up there watching me, I'm not letting you kill me, either! I'll have a bigger family than hers one day with a bigger castle, more money, and I'll have a son named Link who will kick her kid's scrawny ass!"

What do you mean I look ridiculous screaming at the castle gate? Of course I know they're too far away to hear me. Then why did I get so upset because of a dream? I'll tell you why. Zelda and I used to share the same dream through the Triforce sometimes, that's why. It could have just been me dreaming that or she could really be thinking that about me. At any rate I'm done, and I refuse, I absolutely refuse to let myself die in self-pity behind this. Now let's get out of here. The faster we start moving, the faster we can get the hell away from this place.

What was it you were asking about last night? Oh yeah, maybe you'll find some humor in this, because, at current, I don't feel much like laughing.

About a year ago, I let Epona stretch her legs on one of my visits to the castle. She has this homing instinct, if you will, where no matter what, she returns to Lon-Lon Ranch. A few painful hours later-better known as the moment Zelda wrote me off-I returned to Hyrule Field. I played Epona's Song and voila, no Epona. After three run downs of the song, my horse still hadn't shown up. They must have closed the gate on her, I thought. Figured I could use the exercise, so I began my run to Lon-Lon Ranch. A little while later, I arrived and saw Malon and Ingo holding each other. They were doing that lovers' staring thing into the horses' recreational area.

"Hello you two," I whispered for the sake of whatever they were watching. The couple turned and waved me over, smiling that "We're in love" smile-made me sick. I jogged over to see Epona, and quite possibly the darkest horse I've ever seen, making love. Great, even my horse had someone now. Malon and Ingo seemed a little too into the proceedings, which sparked me to say, "You two really need to get out more, because this is just wrong."

They giggled like little kids and kept watching, where as I sort of diverted my attention into brooding. Needless to say, I brooded until the horses wore themselves out and released a single "neigh" of animal bliss. Finally being able to turn around, Epona and her unnamed lover-Ganondorf's old horse from the description Malon later gave me ("He followed her back from Castle Town the night the sky lit up")-silently rubbed against each other. Being the observant soul that I am, I noticed that her saddle noisily ruining the moment. I sought to rectify that.

"Link, what are you doing?" Malon called after me. I knew most animals became defensive after mating, but that saddle was just too ridiculous to ignore. I eased into place, only to be met with Epona's friend stomping and snorting at me.

"Easy, easy, I just want to get this out of your way," I said lightly to the animal, which didn't mean squat in his book. Epona nudged him with her head and snorted briefly, in a style all too reminiscent of myself, the male horse silenced. "We've come a long way haven't we girl? I see you found yourself someone, well that's good. Now let me take this off… and there you go. There's no sense in both of us being alone, so you stay here. And don't worry. I won't annoy you with that song anymore." I brushed my hand across her back, the back that carried me for far too long and acknowledged briefly the sadness that stung the back of my eyes. "You take care of her now," I said to her new companion, who surprisingly nodded.

The rest is… me whining, moaning, and bitching about Zelda.

So that explains why I'm on foot. Epona found love, that's if horses can be in love. And I wasn't about to deprive her of that just so I could get around faster. What else do you want to hear? Fine, how I found Zelda story time… yay! Whatever…

It had been three years worth of looking and no results. Every single inch of Kakariko was searched; neither she nor Impa were ever spotted. I checked Death Mountain-nothing. I checked Zora's Domain-not a damn thing. Heck, I even ventured into parts of the Lost Woods I'd never knew were there, and the fact remained the same, nothing. Almost giving up hope, I found myself in Kakariko Village again one day. I went into the windmill simply for the sake of annoying the organ grinder. Hey, I was bored. So, I played the Song of Storms, and the windmill went crazy as usual. Unfortunately, so did he.

"I'll kill you!" he shouted, rushing towards me in a blind rage. I could have ended his life in an instant, but I decided to just run.

I flung the door open fast, striking someone on the other side as evidenced by their shriek. The chase ended abruptly while me and the grinder stared stupidly at one another.

"Don't just stand there. Go see if she's hurt, idiot." He pushed me through the door, and I looked around to survey the damage. I shut the door and peered over the opposite edge when I heard a groan.

Wimpy scream for a guy, I thought upon seeing the tunic-and-pants clothing.

"You need any help?" I wasn't exactly cordial with the offer, because if you're a guy and you can't take a little fall, you deserve to lie there.

Heh, funny that's the same crap-line Mido used to use when he pushed me down. The guy wasn't moving, though, so I decided it was time to act my age. I hopped down to the motionless body and gave him a few nudges.

He groaned, and then asked, "What hit me?"

Immediately, things started to get strange. The hair was about the length of my own, and the body, while also my size, had two noticeably different structures. No doubt about it, he was a she. Needless to say, I didn't fully understand that until she opened her eyes. "Sorry about that, Miss…" My question hung there as she faced me. "Zelda," I asked sheepishly, disbelieving my quest had come to an end under such lucky circumstances. Beyond that, my mind couldn't form another word.

Zelda tensed up at first, but slowly her mind caught up and she finally shouted, "Link!"

I thought she was going to break my neck in that hug, not like I gave a damn. While I had been hugged before, I have never been more aware of anyone touching me like I was when she did. We must have hugged for at least 10 minutes over there. I couldn't exactly remember my own name I was so elated and from her silence, I think the feeling was mutual.

"Do you know how long I've been looking for you?" I asked. My scolding was so false I couldn't even keep it up beyond that comment.

"Impa said you should come out of the Sacred Realm in about 7 or 8 years, so I guess about two hours?"

Wrong, between weapon scavenging, I looked vehemently for her. And I saw fit to tell her as much.

"Actually, it has been about 6 years." Her eyes widened in face of this little revelation.

"You were supposed to be asleep." That same tone she used when I asked about the ocarina, and the look, too. However, the look was no longer cute, it was gorgeous. I then began to tell her my plan of how to possibly defeat Ganondorf once and for all, she said, "Come with me."

Like she had to ask me twice, I all but flew the both of us to our feet. We were holding hands, yet we didn't let go once we were standing. She lead me back into the windmill and nodded at the organ grinder, he played a song I'd never heard before and a section of the wall lowered, then rose to allow us entry into Dampier's tomb.

"No wonder I never found you," I commented looking around the cryptic place.

"Not quite the palace, but its home." We walked for a little while before reaching a metal door. Zelda knocked three times and kicked it, and it was obvious code for "Let me in."

The door silently opened. Zelda walked in first, but as I followed, a blade was placed against my throat.

"You've chosen a poor place to intrude." This wasn't going to do. Zelda's doomed, more or less, if I don't stop the psycho with the dagger. So, going into battle mode, I flipped, what sounded like a man at the time, whoever it was clear across the room. "Very good, but I can do better."

Another female, I thought. That means this was… "Impa! Wait!" I shouted blocking her blade with one of my gauntlets.

Hearing her name she did as instructed. "Fairy Boy," she said slowly, almost questioningly through the muted light. Geez, she made it sound like a bad thing. I nodded and her eyes narrowed on me, studying my changes, I suppose. "Why are you here? You aren't ready yet." And people wonder why I'm not brimming with confidence. No one ever believes in me enough to give me a chance, or at least a chance without skeptical looks. I dismissed her opinion, though, as Zelda began to take her through my plan. It took damn near forever, but eventually Impa agrees.

"Here you are," Impa said vapidly, as she unwrapped a small case containing the light arrows. "This is for all of the marbles-you fail, we die."

I accepted the light arrows, and said, "I can't fail; I've done this too many times to fail." Then, from some untapped resource of confidence, I looked Zelda in the eye and said, "And I'll hopefully see you again."

She smiled at the underlying sentiment, but, as usual, something had to fuck it all up.

"You'll see me again," Zelda began. "Now, go kill that…" she suddenly screamed. Ganondorf knew where I was at all times, and, seeing as how I was in Zelda's company, he'd found her thanks to me. Before I even had time to react, the green freak warped Zelda out of there.

"If you can get in touch with the other sages, tell them the action is starting." I scribbled down the notes to Saria's song, and all but threw them at Impa. "Take that and tell her Link said, 'Hurry up.'" I then warped to the Temple of Time to pick up the Master Sword. I kept thinking, "Don't send me back. Don't send me back. Don't send me back!" I pulled the Master Sword from the pedestal and waited… nothing happened. I smiled at my reflection in the blade, because now it really did start. Maybe I was a little cocky going in, but I knew I had trained intensely for this battle and I wasn't going to lose-not with my happiness on the line... and the world at stake.

I got to the palace, which was in surprisingly good shape considering how it usually was, and ran inside. What's the first thing to greet me?

"I knew you'd show her to me sooner or later," Ganondorf's voice boomed, an ominous laughing following his final word. "Fool! Come meet your end!"

A door opened at the far end of hall, which led to his inner sanctum. "As you wish," I whispered beneath my breath, running down the hall, and then up the spiraling staircase.

From here we can cue the usual: Zelda's in a crystal in midair, Ganondorf and me are exchanging blows, (okay, so I was just hitting energy blasts back at him), and I was about to tip the scales in my favor.

"One more time," I screamed at myself.

The winded fool put everything, or so it seemed, into one final blast. I gritted my teeth and let loose a spin slash, and smashed the brunt of it back at him with all the hate I had.

Ganondorf screamed, arching back in midair as the yellow tendrils of energy burned and crackled against his skin. A smile appeared on my lips, but I stayed focused. I lined a light arrow up with his chest and fired. He went from twitching mildly into spasms, the light of good meshing violently with his evil until the pain forced him to the ground.

"This time you stay dead!" I shouted, drawing deep from my reserves to leap the gap that dropped so many feet to the floor. Ganondorf glared up at me from his knees, panting just as hard as I did. Streaks of blood ran from his forehead into his eyes, making his eyes twitch in even more fury. We'd walked this path three times before, but the fourth would be the last time we danced this dance. I summoned what little strength I had, lifting the Master Sword back, and then… swoosh. I speared that son of a bitch right through the chest. "This time you stay dead," I repeated grimly, watching him clutch the wound to stop his life from escaping.

Ganondorf let out one humongous roar, a sound of shattered pride and pain twisting into a single entity that shattered the room. Zelda's crystal disappeared, allowing her to drop to the floor, and perform a beautiful roll before uttering, "Come on! He's trying to use the last of his power to bring the whole castle down!" This was another part of my plan. I usually left him to gasp on his knees, thinking I had cut him severely enough each time that he would die. That mistake wouldn't be made again.

"Zelda, turn around," I commanded her, looming over Ganondorf like death himself.

Zelda did as instructed, thankfully.

"It's been real," I whispered with a sinister smile. With one last look, I stabbed the Master Sword down through his skull-sounded like a split melon, which made me chuckle some. Still, the memories of everything I had been through because of him saw me twist the blade to ensure Ganondorf understood my point. His blood flowed like a poisoned river, black and stagnant.

One last gasp passed his lips before he collapsed in a pool of his own blood-dead. I arrived at that decision based on the fact the castle stopped shaking. 6 years, two hours of battle, and now my plan hinged on Zelda. I removed my sword from Ganondorf's head, amazed how his blood didn't cling to it, and decided to go hear my fate from her.

She was staring up at the slowly fading red clouds, a tiny bit of sadness on her face. I knew that look. That look saw me live this same event four times, and now it looked as though there'd be no end to it.

"This is going to start all over again isn't it?" I asked shakily, unknown to Zelda that she had the same look on her face every time I had to go "live the life of a normal child."

"Huh? I'm sorry, I wasn't listening."

Do you think I repeated myself?

"I asked you, what's the matter?" I repeated solemnly, sheathing my bloodless sword.

"I was just wondering where my father is or if he even made it out." She sighed deeply, returning her gaze to the horizon once more. I wished I had an answer for her, but I didn't in all honesty. Even though the facts all indicated that, more than likely, he was dead. That's when I heard the rubble shift, and a low laughing.

"Let's just say you'll be known as Queen Zelda for all of the next 30 seconds of your life!"

I turned to be met with Ganondorf's last stand; the largest ball of energy I'd ever seen (for the time being) hit me square in the chest. It felt like I was being eaten alive from the inside all while being burned. After everything I'd done to him, I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of hearing him scream. Well, not for a good five seconds anyway. After that, I screamed and dropped to my knees. Then I saw something, something so hideous that it made the pain seem to stop.

Ganondorf's bloody body was lurching towards Zelda.

I tried to stand, I really did, but my legs just wouldn't move. "Leave her alone!" I screamed as tears of rage began to form. I don't believe this! It will not end like this, I kept thinking. "No!" I shouted, grabbing for my sword. I used it to get back to my feet, screaming at Ganondorf like it was my life he attempted to take. "I said, leave her alone!"

He spun around to look at me, and that's when I made one of those snap decisions. I didn't have enough left in me to survive another battle, so I had to use an energy blast of my own. I threw the Master Sword with everything I had left. You could say I was happy when it hit him in the heart, but I was more stunned at the luck. The irony in my having good luck made me laugh at him, laugh hard.

Naturally, Ganondorf bellows, "I won't die… alone!"

I know I've said he threw some big energy blasts, but this was ridiculous. My legs were wobbly and I knew I couldn't dodge it. So, in mild horror, I watched this golden orb about the size of a Biggoron's head, etched with the Triforce insignia, fly from his shaky hand. It bore down on me like the sun itself, striking with such a force that it threw off the edge of the tower. The last thing I saw was Ganondorf's body beginning to burn with purple flames, and then the side of the castle whooshing by. Till this day, that is the most painful, minus the Zelda thing, event in my life. I wasn't even aware I'd hit the ground if that was any indication to the pain that it caused. From there, Zelda told me his body continued to burn, ending with another scream before the sun broke through his clouds of darkness.

"Wake up, sleepy head," a familiar voice called to me.

My whole body ached, but not like it should've considering I'd fallen off a castle, and been through hours of energy blasts. As the memory replayed, I didn't understand how I was even alive. I opened my eyes to the smiling image of Saria, that's when I knew how I'd survived.

"I got sent back again," I muttered. "Goddess damn it!" I sat up and shrugged off Saria's bopping me on the head, because it truly didn't matter.

"Don't use naughty language, Link!" she scolded, waving her finger at me.

I couldn't be mad at her. My ass-in-mouth plan did this to me. Well, that's what I thought. Then Saria shouts, "Everybody, he's awake!"

Slowly, several silhouettes surrounded me. "Brother Link, you're alive!" Darunia shouted in his burly voice, once again lifting me to my feet like I was nothing. "You still aren't getting enough to eat, I see." Geez, I was five-foot-eight, not a seven-foot-tall rock eater, cut me some slack. But seriously, I knew he was just joking, and, more importantly, I was still in the present.

"I didn't get sent back! I didn't get sent back!" I shouted, jumping around like a complete idiot in hindsight. They all exchanged looks before Rauru stepped through the crowd and pulled me off to a side.

"Link there have been complications," he started before I went into a tirade.

"What? Is Zelda okay? That bastard didn't hurt her, did he?" I interrupted.

"No, she's fine."

I once again jumped in with, "Well that's good. Where is she by the way?" He pointed to the gate you arrived at before getting to the palace, where Zelda sat on the grass staring at the sky again. "That's a relief, anyway I have to go see her. Can we finish this later?" I asked, already walking away from him.

"No, wait, listen!" Rauru said actually grabbing my arm.

"Look, am I about to be sent back to my original time?" I asked sharply.

"What?" he asked in mild confusion, as I shook the question.

I then asked, "Do these complications involve Zelda?"

"No. But they do however involve you…"

I, of course, butted in, adding, "Look, about the fall and what not, I'll be fine. We can talk about this all later!" I shouted breaking free of his grasp running towards everything right in the world. Notice I've still yet to experience any of those so called "complications."

I'm assuming Saria used a fairy on me, but, whatever the case, I could run and I only had one target in mind, body, and spirit. 50 feet and closing, happiness is just a few more steps when…

"Excuse me," Nabooru says, stepping from behind a tree in my path, causing me to break stride to avoid running her over.

"Yeah, yeah what is it?" I said impatiently, causing her eyes to narrow in on me with frustration.

"I just wanted to apologize for trying to kill you. Is all forgiven?" I hadn't heard a word she said at the time. I was too busy staring at Zelda.

"Forgiven, of course you are." I moved around her, but I don't even recall looking at Nabooru when I said that. Goddess that was just low. As proud as she is, it must have taken a lot for her to say that and I brushed it off like nothing. Even sadder is I've spoken with her from time to time since then and I still didn't apologize. Wow, not only do I whine to my friends-knowing they all had feelings for me at one time-about Zelda, I don't even listen to their problems. Yep, I'm Link, the Stop By and Cry Guy. You listen to me, and when it's your turn, I flee.

Anyway, Zelda was once again sitting there looking at the sky.

"Zelda?" I asked softly, careful not to rattle her. She didn't speak. So, as I prepared to question her further, Zelda patted the ground beside her. I obliged in my overly eager, and, considering everything, stupid way.

"What am I going to do?" she asked me, looking for a serious answer. As you can imagine, I had none. Her eyes returned to the sky, and I felt small. One question and I couldn't even answer it. Yeah, I had a shot now! More like a shot in the head. "I'm not ready to be a queen." Zelda sighed, taking the pins out of her hair and let the golden cascade tumble from her shoulders down her back. "And dad… if he had only come with us!" She slammed her fist into the ground, but sighed once more.

I'd never lost a parent. Well, if you count my mom, I had lost one. Since I can't remember her, it isn't the same. This made putting a feeling with the pain she was in impossible for me. Still, I tried to find words of comfort for her. "I don't know what you'll do," I said honestly. Now, cue opportunistic Link. "But if you ever need a friend, I'm always available." I swear the tone that I said it in was so, so lust-ridden until thinking about it makes me almost sick. Notice I say almost.

"Thanks, Fairy Boy." Zelda chuckled some, but rested her head on my shoulder all the same. Sure my skin felt like it was still on fire, her head resting on me only added to that misery, but at the time nothing else mattered. I admired her for the strength she showed by not sobbing over the loss, yet at the same time, it struck me as kind of odd. "I can't let these feelings stop me, Link," Zelda suddenly stated, sitting up straight again. "After everything you've done to make Hyrule safe, my self-pity can only destroy it. I have so much work to do."

More opportunistic Link!

I turned my face away from the setting sun and looked at Zelda, her face looking up at me like I single-handedly could make or break her. How could I not volunteer more of my services like some kind of fool? I couldn't.

"I'll help you… I'd do anything for you." I laid it on a little thick… a lot thick. But, still, every word of it was true. She finally smiled that same smile she smiles at him now. I felt alive, so alive in fact that I asked the question of questions. Well, it was the question of questions back then.

"Zelda, can I ask you something?" First off, maybe it's a side effect of my life style, but I never get scared. Startled, yes, but pure fear I've only known three times in my entire life. Once when she about to end the relationship, again when I told her goodbye, and the moment I asked that question.


If she'd just repeat that after I ask my question I'll be great, I thought hopefully.

"Can I kiss you?" My heart started beating like Bongo Bongo's drum. When Zelda's eyes fixated on me, I felt my damn eyes begin to shake. I wanted to ask something else, fast, but my mouth wouldn't move. Chalk that up to four times I've known true fear. For an ageless few seconds, she stared at me and when I finally prepared to break, she answers me.

"I don't know. Can you kiss me?" Zelda asks me with no smile or hint of jest in her voice.

Fear isn't a good feeling, especially when it comes to something you've banked the last 6 years of your life on. I'm sure I was blushing when I suddenly started staring back and forth between her face and my boots. The only thing I kept thinking was if I do this and she didn't want me to, I'm dead. Then again, I would always have the one kiss to remember. So, what do I do? I'll tell you what I did. I did… the looking thing a few more times. That's when I caught one of those small details that usually fall through the cracks. Zelda had never turned away. Her face was still mere inches away from mine with her chin poised atop my shoulder, waiting.

Gathering every shred of courage I could get out of my piece of Triforce, not literally, but you know, I closed my eyes and did it. Like those couples in town, I rested my lips upon hers and it felt like my brain burst. Naturally, I didn't give a damn. Her lips were so soft, I noticed… and noticed again… then a few more times to be safe. My day was perfect, simply perfect. I killed the villain, got the girl, and then I got a small earthquake. Earthquake, I repeated a few times to try and figure out why it was a bad thing. I opened my eyes and painfully, not because of the sudden blast, pushed Zelda away.

We stood up and watched pillars of multi-colored light shoot into the sky from the surrounding areas, another theory of mine having proved itself true. If I killed Ganondorf, all of his evil would die without me ever having to face it or much of it anyway. "Just like Morpha, so dies the nucleus and so dies the body," I whispered watching all of Ganondorf's minions leave Hyrule in a blaze of twisted screams and groans. The ground finally stopped shaking, leaving most staring on in confusion, except for me.

"I think it's safe for you all to return home now," Rauru announced, scratching the end of his nose as he eyed me.

Saria ran up to me as fast as her little legs could carry her and said, "Link, come on! You gotta tell everybody about this!"

I wasn't ready to go home just yet, though. "I'll tell them about it a little later," I said while letting the occasional gaze point in Zelda's direction.

"Oh," Saria sighed, trying to mask the hurt, then she got it. "Oh! Alright, be good you two." She giggled, but prepared to embark on her journey back to the forest. Suddenly, out of nowhere, from under my hat as it's known in some cultures, Navi appears.

"Saria!" the fairy screamed. "Link you don't need me anymore, do you?" Navi asks impatiently, resembling the bothersome spirit of old.

"Nah, you two go ahead on home." With that said, Navi tried to hug me, I think, but she more so just pressed against my cheek and flew off with Saria. Me and Zelda watched them leap to the ground and begin the walk home, before an idea occurred to me. "Wait a minute," I called out to them. "Hey Saria, you have an ocarina on you?" She gave me the "You've known me for over 10 years and I've always had an ocarina on me" look. "Play this song," I can't remember the name, but it was a warp song. After her keen ability mastered it in one test play, I said, "There, now you can go home faster."

She shouted, "Thanks!" before disappearing into the wind.

Next in line to leave was Darunia.

"I'm off to retrieve my boy and the rest of my brothers. Thanks again, Brother Link!" A slap on the back, which from him feels like tree striking you, and he was off and rolling… literally. Ruto, a more grown up Ruto, said her good-byes before running off to get her tribe. Only Rauru and Nabooru remained to cramp my style.

"Link, I really do need to tell you something," Rauru began the spiel again. "This is for your own safety." I was kind of anxious for them to just leave us alone, and my attitude reflected that.

"You said I'm not going back in time, Zelda's fine, beyond that I could care less about these so-called complications," I said roughly, almost dismissing him.

This time he fixed me with a cross stare before saying, "Fine. I give up." Then he simply raised his arms and disappeared.

Nabooru, Zelda, and me are all that remain in the now night air. Good, one down and one to go was the motto then.

"I guess I'll be going, too. And Link, I am truly sorry for trying to kill you," Nabooru attempted to be apologetic once more. "I'd also like to say thank you for not killing me. I know I must have made things more difficult…"

She continued to humble herself before me. Can you guess how I rewarded it? Come on, I know you want to.

Here's how, "Yeah, yeah, my arm will live, you'll live, and we'll all live. It's no big deal. Now go find your tribe, I'm sure they miss you by now."

Is the word "asshole" flashing on my forehead now? I could tell she was struggling to keep her cool, but I honestly didn't care if she flipped. I was so happy everybody else just sort of fell… by the way...side. I think I've finally got it, or at least I finally understand it. Nothing else matters to her now, if she feels that way-the way I remember feeling about her in this story-about Arthur. I honestly didn't have a chance. She didn't care about my feelings in all of this one way or the other. If I was happy to be there, it didn't matter. If I was miserable, which I was, that didn't matter either. As long as he was there, I didn't matter. I guess I should have known… but still, the reality of this is... is... it hurts again. She probably cried more so out of reflex than actual feeling. So it really is just me who's in pain. And, to think, I was finally starting to feel a little bit better. I should have known the goddesses wouldn't allow for that. It's too easy for me to exist in a piece of happiness anymore.

No I'm not going to cry, I don't think. Maybe if I keep talking this whole reality thing will get easier.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I had stepped on Nabooru's feelings again. Even in face of her stunned expression, the only thing I thought about was Zelda.

"Like I said before, I forgive you. It must have been unnerving to see some strange man-child appear and then start talking like he knew you. So no worries, I don't hold any grudges." This time, I said it as sincerely as I could, considering the fact I wasn't feeling very sincere.

Her stunned expression turned into a small smile before she said, "Good, now I'm off to get the girls."

With that Nabooru turned and leapt from the gate to the ground and began to run off.

"Now then, before we were interrupted..." Zelda said placing her arms around my neck. Keep in mind that I'm shocked she was so freely ready to continue this kiss, so I'm not really stupid when I asked, "Huh?"

Before long she had circled me and pressed her lips to mine, to which I objected like a starving man would free food. We continued like that for a good while until something began to cut in. I was that feeling of being watched. I opened my eyes and estimated that, whatever it was, had to be in my line of sight, so I didn't break the kiss. The darkness made it hard to see and after the day I just had, paranoia was not a mental state I handled well.

Nothing's in that tree, I thought, scanning the sky in the next moment. I don't see anything in the sky, wait a minute. I saw something glimmer in the moonlight. I focused intently on it for a few moments, before I realized "it" was Nabooru. But why was she watching us? Eventually she turned and left, and that was that. I later asked why she was there watching, to which she said, "I don't know what you're talking about." I didn't bother to dispute her claim, no need to victimize her pride any more so than I had done in previous engagements.

Hold on for a second. Let's rest here for a little while. Yeah, Gerudo Valley is up ahead. What's that scratching? Ah, one of the Skulltula family members-I never got around to saving them. I guess I never will now. I think I'll soak my feet for a while, all that walking kind of made them soar. What? How did I know my plan would let me stay in the present? Okay, but this is the last bit of story I'm telling for awhile, I want to relax for a few minutes.

I was thinking aloud in the midst of my run to Lon-Lon: "They send you back every time to lead the life of a normal child, yet they send you back to the day this all began. What would happen if I chose to live my life as a child who volunteered to do this?" I knew the result of going through things the hard way, and it always resulted in the same thing, but this way left it up to me. I could play like a kid and ignore Navi and the Great Deku Tree, or I could listen, take the 7-year nap, and go back to the beginning and not skip anything.

I, of course, chose to not skip anything, but I also decided to attack Ganondorf while he was sort of weak. In effect, I skipped the 7th year of his torment by ending his reign of terror a year earlier. The goddesses gave us free will, so I exercised mine by giving up 6 years of my life to a cause I wasn't supposed to start until 7 years later. What does that mean? It means I made the quest part of my normal life. That way they couldn't say, "I needed to go live a normal child's life," because I already had. I didn't miss any events that took place. I didn't miss seeing any of my friends. I led a normal child's life-minus the killing things and stuff. It apparently was the right call seeing as I've finally made it to the ripe old age of 25 and have yet to be sent back. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some soaking to do.