Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ The Legend of Link: Lucky Number 13 ❯ The New King of Evil Pt. 02 ( Chapter 12 )

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

Chapter Twelve

As I stand here looking at the sunset, I can only see this as a tragic end. The Goddesses won't let me live in peace, so I guess I have to die to achieve that grace. Too bad this didn't come into the forefront a few days ago. Nabooru wouldn't have been so attached to it that way, but no-they're the Almighty Goddesses, and they have to fuck everyone I've ever touched. I sigh, running a hand down my face, sullenly realizing that the news of my death would've eventually reached her.

Fuck! She hasn't done anything to deserve this! They've screwed with me for the better part of my life, so I can handle these stupid twists of fate. Unclenching my fists, I look over at her. Even though Nabooru stands here as stoic as stone, I can see she's a wreck. Somehow, though, she holds on to every ounce of good will she can muster, and, because of that, I can't truly say I'm defeated.

"Link, why not give them to Zelda and her little fiancé?" Nab had asked, and rather spitefully, but I understood the motivation. The way she clung to me, which was almost as tightly as I held onto my sword, made me aware of just how much I meant to her again.

"I can't do that," I told her calmly, in an attempt to mask the true rage I felt.

"Then let's just go into Castle Town and give them to some stranger."

I won't deny that the idea sounded intriguing, but I couldn't live with myself knowing I put that kind of hardship on someone. Her smile…so full of hope and happiness…faded, as I couldn't bear to tell her no. Instead, I bestowed a silent look that answered her for me. I'd have taken on a thousand Iron Knuckles if I could have kept her smiling, but I couldn't do it. The one thing I wanted to do most of all…and I couldn't do it, and all because of the impartial deities!

"I-If you aren't going to do that, what are you going to do?" she asked me, allowing her voice no reserve or luxury of masked fear. That wounded me, I'll admit. Because as long as she kept taking it on the chin, I could fool myself into believing that my death wouldn't affect her. Nope. I'd be another dead man, just a random face in the grasp of death. But, watching her shed tears for me, I had to face the truth. Heh, I hate the truth sometimes. I felt like crying myself, watching as Nabooru began to breakdown in front of everyone like that.

"It would be best if I left Hyrule," I told them. "That way, I won't hurt any of you when it begins." The plan would've involved Rauru sealing me away in the Sacred Realm, where I'd exist in that limbo until the Triforce slowly killed me. Nabooru had other plans, though.

"No!" she screamed so shrilly it echoed. That surprised me, seeing as she was on her knees in my face at the time. "Get Zelda's piece! Let's go to the castle and ask for her piece; you at least have a chance to survive that way!"

It was a silver lining-no matter how small-in the dark clouds, but I couldn't take that grain of hope away from her. Maybe I'm just a negative person, or a realist about things of this nature, but I didn't (and still don't) think that was going to work. So, to her smiling face and begging eyes, I nodded to this suggestion. Nabooru latched onto me for life itself, and I returned the embrace with equal strength… but none of the conviction.

Those behind her saw it in my face-I didn't believe I would live, but acted the part for her benefit. I resolved enough of Nabooru's fears to get her to dinner, which was quiet that morning, and which also left me with 36 hours to take action by my count. Nabooru wanted to set out for the castle after dinner, but I, again, convinced her to do otherwise. Most people refer to convincing of that nature as bald-face lying.

"Hey, there's no point in rushing," I told her as we settled into bed. "We'll take the horse over to the castle in a couple days, and everything will be fine. Let's not let this change our lives so much, okay?"

The calmer I took it, the calmer Nabooru took it-and that's exactly the reaction I was hoping to achieve. Hours danced off the countdown in my head, but I never led on. The only thing that interfered with my plan was the glow in the veins of my left arm. Everyday it (it being the light) inched further and further up my arm, and there was no way to hide that. Finally, today saw the countdown reach the last 12 hours, and the flow of light reach my shoulder and begin to pulsate. Nabooru became suspicious this morning, but I managed to quell the worrying.

Sex: Raw, unhinged, stress-relieving sex was the answer to her ailments, and the smoke to make my escape. I started at sunrise, and I just kept going…kept hammering her…fucking her until sweat flew from the tips of our hair. A little past noon, I couldn't keep it up anymore. We busted one more time and collapsed. Nabooru fell asleep within minutes, and then I made my preparations. I had 6 hours to get to the castle, four once I took into account that at a full sprint it would take me around two hours to make it there from the fortress.

"I'm sorry," I whispered to her, softly stroking the back of her head.

Nabooru had been missing rest to watch over me, I recalled, and that (along with the sex) had exhausted the woman. She was resting peacefully then, though. So, I proceeded to ease out of bed, and then got dressed. Today's tunic color wouldn't be black. Only dead men wore black, and I was too pissed off to die without a fight, so I chose a color that fit my anger-red.

I dressed as if I was going into battle: Great Fairy Sword, silver gauntlets, and my Hylian Shield. If I wasn't coming back, the Mirror Shield would help defeat Twinrova, who was bound to be fuming about the two- or three-day absence of her tax collector. Hopefully, she's looking for him instead of planning to attack the Gerudo.

"If this doesn't kill me, I swear I'll be back for you."

Nabooru stirred slightly as I kissed her forehead for possibly the last time. I spent a few more moments, probably more than I should have, watching her sleep. Once I'd left the room, I put my boots on in the hall to avoid waking her up. From there, I marched through the fortress with no disturbances. It wasn't until I got to the bridge that my first real interruption came.

"Link!" I paused, hearing someone running up from behind me. To my surprise, it was Sepaaru. "Don't do it!" she told me, having finally reached me. "I can take one of them, that way you won't have to die."

I could tell she'd been up all night as well, and here she was trying to give up a part of her life to save mine. Even in death, those three wouldn't let it be simple.

"I'm not going to do that to you," I told her. "You were meant to live a long, healthy life."

"This isn't fair!" she protested.

"No, it isn't fair, but it is a warrior's life that I live. And by all counts, this lifestyle doesn't last very long," I told her, chuckling at how old I seemed to sound.

"You sound like you don't care if you live or die," Sepaaru continued, surprised some as I merely raised an eyebrow to that insinuation. "But you said…"

"It doesn't matter," I interjected. "My life's a commodity, a tool for the 'greater good.' I'd rather not die to be honest with you. But, faced with the alternative, I don't mind taking the big dirt nap… or whatever comes of touching the whole Triforce." I shrugged as Sepaaru struggled to comprehend the concept of dying and, unlike her, being unafraid to do so. "If I don't comeback tomorrow, tell Nabooru that I'm sorry."

Tears came to her eyes, but I had to ignore them. As Sepaaru walked back to camp, I noticed the others had been on the surrounding cliffs watching us the entire time. Their hair reminded me of red flags the way it all flapped in the breeze. Anyway, they all gave me that nod, almost as if to say, "Do what you have to." So, with a little skip, I took off running. I ran for hours wishing that this didn't have to happen. I wished they never knew me. I can take the dying part, but I just can't stand hurting people because of it.

No one seems to understand that hero is another word for tool. There's nothing special about being a hero. You're just a relic, a weapon that uses other weapons for some purpose. Every person that gets close to you hopes, prays, and believes that you too are a person. But you aren't. You walk, talk, breathe, eat, and shit like everyone else, but you're doing it on borrowed time. Because one day, you'll lose a step, or go high when you should've went low, and then you'll die.

No crowds gather to sing your praises when your corpse is rotting at the bottom of a Shadow Temple or beneath the ocean. You aren't a hero then. Then you're that guy. You know-that guy in green. The only people who still remember your name are the ones you cared about and who dared to care about you in return. The Sarias, Naboorus, the Kokiri-and people like them that never understood what I was-those are the people I wish never knew me.

Oddly enough, it wasn't those thoughts that broke my stride beside Lon-Lon Ranch. It was the memory of the date. By all accounts, I had been with the Gerudo for a week, which made today the 13th. And, as we both know, the 13th is Zelda's wedding day. Gee, what a coincidence. I've got to die on our 26th birthday, and her wedding day. To make it even better, I have to ask Zelda to kill me.

That's great, just fucking marvelous, I thought, as I punched the ranch's granite wall. Most people get to die simply by dropping dead, but not good old Link. No, I get to be drug along and trudged through this, that, and the other to reach that simple state. I stood there-right here in this same spot, actually-watching the people from the surrounding areas flock into Castle Town. So caught up in my brooding, I completely dismissed the galloping horse approaching me from the rear.

"What took you so long?" I asked as I turned around and saw the arch of the red ponytail bobbing up and down as she walked around the horse. To tell you the truth, I knew they'd wake her up, and I hated that.

"Why haven't you gone in yet?" Nabooru saw fit to answer me with a question, looking quite pissed that I ducked out on her, but taking a stand beside me on the hill.

"I just realized today was her wedding day, so I'm not sure how to go about this," I said while squeezing the hand she slipped into my palm.

Imagine how that answer settled.

"You couldn't possibly be worried about ruining her big day," she asked me in light sarcasm. When I didn't reply, things became a lot louder. "These are our lives you're playing with!"

It was a few minutes ago when she said that, and I realize now that she was right. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I actually didn't want to ruin Zelda's wedding. On the other side of that, I had to examine what meant more to me: Nabooru's life or Zelda's wedding. Our life, I keep thinking. The words keep repeating over and over again, and it keeps stirring this will to fight… to believe that I will survive this.

"Let's go," I command more than ask.

"What took you so long?" she asks, giving a playful smile to counter my serious demeanor. I return the smile, as I walk over and mount the horse and help her on behind me. I'm probably not pure enough to possess the Triforce. If I'm lucky-the jokes just keep on rolling-it'll grade me on effort, because that's all I have left to give. And best believe, I'll give this as much effort as I've ever given anything.

Nabooru wraps her arms around my stomach, and then rests her cheek against my back, as I take a deep breath and snap the reins. With a snort, the horse bolts down the hill towards Castle Town. So, what do you think the odds are that I'll survive? Two-to-one, and in my favor? Wow, you're a shitty gambler. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though. In short order, we arrive just as the torches come to life, which signals the arrival of nightfall. We both get off the horse in total silence, until Nabooru gasps.

"Your neck," she whispers, running her fingertips across the left side of my throat.

"Come on, it's starting," I tell her, dismissing the worried look on her face, and pulling my collar up some.

She takes a deep breath, and then we both break and run at full pace through the crowd. I smile, somehow taking the time to notice that she's as fast as I am. Although, I could probably beat her if it weren't for the weapons and all. Straight ahead, we continue down the dirt road to the castle, only to find there's no one here. What in the world?

"Where is everyone?" Nab asks, peering around the vacant scenery. I merely shrug, as if to say, "Beats me." Wait a minute…

"Don't you think the Temple of Time would be a great place to be married?"

Bad time for a flashback, but I'm betting that's where everyone is. I don't know why, but that upsets me. We were supposed to get married there, not them! Yeah, calm down. There are bigger issues at stake here, Link.

"I know where they are," I tell her. "Follow me."

I turn and run back down the road towards Castle Town with Nabooru in step behind me. This time, though, we make a hard left towards the temple. The world seems to move in slow motion, as I remember what I'm running towards, but, then again, I'm not running towards death this time. I'm running towards that teeny, tiny inkling of hope that I'll come out of this unharmed. And with that memory, time speeds up until we reach the giant doors.

"Halt!" a guard shouts. He's Sermonian, as indicated by the abstract crest on his silver breastplate.

"No one gets in without an invitation," his Hylian counterpart then says. They cross their spears in front of us, which brings a sigh from deep within my lungs.

"Not now, I have to see Zelda." I'm going to stay cool about this.

"Oh, Link," the Sermonian Knight says in that snide way. "Go ahead in, but your little friend is going to have to wait out here."

Did he just… he did! He looked down his nose at her, didn't he? Mush-mouthed mother… calm, stay calm.

"I will not wait," Nabooru snaps. "If he goes in, I go in."

He rolls his eyes at her. "Why don't you run along home, you little s…"

This is me calm, because I should have his lungs out by now! Don't ask me why I just grabbed him by his throat, because I'll tell you. You don't sit here and start looking down your nose at my girlfriend and not expect some form of physical harm. Well, you shouldn't be stupid enough to expect that.

"We are going to go in now," I tell him very precisely, putting that added period on each word. "I'm going to talk to Zelda. And if you so much as think about calling this woman anything but Nabooru, I'll break you," I lift him into the air with the aid of the silver gauntlets for added melodrama. "I'll break all of you. Understand?"

"Yes, sir," he grinds out between his teeth.

I don't even acknowledge the answer; I just throw him back against the doorframe, and brush past.

"You two have a lovely evening," Rampart adds, casting a smirk at his fallen comrade.

"Ow!" I look back in time to see Nabooru's foot leaving his crotch, and I can't help laughing.

"Nice kick," I muse, bowing some and opening one of the doors for her.

"Thank you," she replies giving me a little wink. Hmmm, I hope that little threat doesn't count towards de-purifying my heart any. It was justifiable…at least I think it was. Ugh… why isn't there a book outlining this sort of stuff?

"Doesn't look like we have a place to sit," I notice. Nabooru concurs, so I ask, "Want to play the wall?"

"Sure," she replies, as I take her hand and move into the shadows along the left side of the room.

From my viewpoint, I can see the altar and Rauru doing a few robe checks. Leave it to him to get all anal about his immaculate robes, but I suppose that's habit for a man who converses with the Goddesses. I see Darunia and his crew are centered more towards the back of the rows, probably something to do with their height. There's Ruto and her Zoran entourage occupying the more middle of the rows, which brings us to the Hylian crowd from Kakariko and Castle Town in the front rows. Yeah, you're right. Where's the Gerudo persuasion?

"Why aren't any of the Gerudo here?" I whisper to Nabooru, as the lack of red hair kind of stands out.

She laughs, but replies poignantly. "After everything with Ganondorf, we were sort of banished." Okay, that's news to me. "We can come around, but the majority really doesn't like us. So, we tend to stay to ourselves, really."

I don't have time to dwell on it further as a few knights, working as ushers, shush the crowd's chatter. As Arthur comes down the isle, a coterie of musicians accompanies him with everything from horns to harps. Can we say overdone? He smiles, waving that stupid little royalty wave to the crowd. Give me a break. Wow, a black tunic, embroidered with his family's crest of a man's face in war-paint and two crossed golden broadswords, and white leggings. That's original, really! It is! See, no one gets married in a black tunic and white tights now. Nowadays, it's all about a white tunic and black tights. See the difference between being mundane and original? Me neither…

Taking his place before the altar, his minions spread out-five on either side-and begin a new song. The inner doors of the temple open again, and this time a little girl in an emerald green dress marches down the aisle. A smile forms on my lips, as I recognize that it's Saria, and direct from the forest by way of Sage Magic. She finishes her basket off with a loud ovation, which is spearheaded by me, the possibly dead man in red. After accepting her applause, she takes a seat near our wall. The music dies down some, as the head usher informs us that the queen will be here shortly. Well, I guess I should say something to her.

"Hey Saria," I whisper. Why am I acting like I shouldn't be here? Examine that question for a moment. Link, the obsessive and pathetic ex-boyfriend, armed to the teeth at his ex-girlfriend's wedding. Yeah, I figured I didn't need to spell it out. "Saria!"

This time she looks over at where we are, and scoots off her edge of the pew and cautiously approaches the shadows.

"Link," she says, as though trying to recover a distant memory.

A week with no word and she barely remembers me.

"Who else do you know that hangs out with shadows?" I step a little more into the light, smiling at her. "Hey!"

Damn, she kicks hard for someone so small.

"That's for not saying goodbye!" Saria shouts, waving her finger at me like a parent to a small child.

"I'm sorry," I reply with smile firmly in place, to which she finally submits. "Nabooru, this is Saria. Saria, this is Nabooru."

They exchange a quick pleasantry, but Saria's attention quickly returns to me.

"Why are you here, though?"

Is it that obvious I want something? Technically, I don't want it, but it's either that or a slow, bloody descent into death and madness.

"Ganondorf came to see me a couple days ago…" I continue yammering in a tone just above a whisper, so as to keep a lid on mass hysteria. Saria's eyes widen, even as the music begins to pick up again. "Then there's this loveliness." I slide the shirt sleeve under my tunic back, exposing the glow in my veins.

"Are you ok?" she asks, carefully touching my arm with an obvious look of sadness creasing her brow.

"I'll be even better if this all works out," I inform her, noticing the ushers shushing the crowd again. "Looks like they're ready for Zelda now, so you better grab your seat."

The song alone tells you that, but I said it for her sake because I know how she worries. Saria rushes back to her seat, yet still cautiously watches me.

"Hero, let's ask now," Nabooru whispers, just as the doors open.

"A few more minutes won't kill me," I chuckle, much to her chagrin.

Now it's time to face another demon. I have to see Zelda marry another man. The thought doesn't seem so disgusting anymore, but what of the reality? We shall soon see, won't we? The citizens all stand in respect for the Queen of Hyrule, who, I must admit, looks fantastic. Her hair is all done up in those spindly curls with a diamond tiara placed precariously atop her head. I smirk to myself, as it amuses me to great lengths that she'd be in white. Nevertheless, her dress-with its enormous train, flowing seams, and scooped neck-seems to glow as much as her smile. Every row that Zelda passes takes a seat until she finally stands side by side with her future husband.

"Link…" Nabooru whispers, undoubtedly noticing the strength in which I squeeze her hand.

I keep smiling, but my attention shifts easily down into Nabooru's eyes. "I'm fine," I promise her. Oddly enough, it isn't a lie to make her feel better. I'm actually fine. Well, I suppose it could be the pieces of the Triforce messing with my mind, but I have a feeling they aren't. My arms slide under Nabooru's, and then close around her waist, allowing me to pull her back against my chest. She strokes my cheek as I rest my chin on her shoulder, a touch that brings me an inner tranquility for some reason. Even as I notice Zelda watching us, I don't tense up or get anxious. It may be her wedding day, but my life and my feelings aren't going to die because they aren't spent on her.

Rauru coughs into his fist, as the bride has missed her cue. "Queen Zelda of Hyrule, do you take Arthur, King of Sermonia, to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Still, Zelda doesn't respond. Maybe she has cold feet? I nod at her, which seems to jolt the queen back to life.

"I do," she affirms.

"Then, by the power…" Rauru pauses, a little taken back as Zelda just grabs Arthur and lays one on him. "Well, yes, you may do that."

I don't know for sure if she's looking at me or if Nabooru is mouthing what's going on to her, but Zelda's looking in this direction just a little too hard considering that she's in mid kiss. The uproar from the crowd is immense, as I smile. The first girl I've ever loved is now a married woman, and I'm not saddened by it. Instead, my interest lie in the Gerudo with her back pressed to my chest. Rauru raises his hands to quiet the crowd now, which takes a moment to register.

"If I could have your attention for a moment," he shouts above the chatter, bringing the commotion down to a reasonable hum. "The reception will be at the castle in a few minutes. Everyone go make yourselves comfortable; the bride and groom will be there shortly." As the crowd begins to shuffle out of the temple, I feel Nabooru tug at my hands. I pat her stomach, indicating that I won't let Zelda leave without asking.

"You two can come out now," Zelda says in our direction after the guards shut the doors behind the last of the crowd.

"What gave us away?" May as well start out light with all things considered. We emerge from our little hiding place, coming to a stop before the King and Queen of Hyrule. "Nabooru, Arthur. Arthur, Nabooru. I trust you two remember each other."

Nabooru extends her hand to Arthur with a void expression, but forces a smile under my arched eyebrow.

"Well," Zelda says, as her hand is left hanging in space, switching her attention back unto me. "I can't say many people look at me the way you do."

"And how is that?" I retort, taking hold of Nabooru's hand out of more instinct than need.

"Like food," she replies, grinning at sentimentality of it all.

"Ahem," Nabooru and Arthur both cough, which quells the disrespectful flashbacks.

"Down to business then," I throw out onto the table. "We've got problems." And doesn't something like that just suck the fun out of any conversation?

"What's wrong?"

"Ganondorf showed up the other day," I tell her, watching as the color drains from her face. "He's still green, still ugly, and still dead. Anyway, he starts blabbering about the day of our battle."

"What about the battle?" Zelda asks, steadying herself by holding on to one of the pews.

"You remember the blast he hit me with that flung me off the tower?"

She nods her head solemnly as the memory returns. "Yeah, I remember."

"It turns out he gave up his piece of the Triforce." Her eyes grow wide, and now here's where things go from bad to downright fatal.

"Where is it then?" Zelda asks in nervous anticipation.

I let go of Nabooru's hand, slowly undoing the thick leather gauntlet straps on my left hand forearm.

"It's right here." I flash the back of my hand, then the trail going up my arm, and then turn down my collar. "And it's trying to get in here." I thump my head, as Zelda gasps.

"Without your piece, he'll become the new evil in Hyrule," Nabooru says, though, struggling to keep her voice calm. "There's either that or giving the pieces to two random strangers, but he won't do that. So, it's either your piece or Link kills everyone-including you two."

"I'd kill you myself before I let that happen." My eyebrows rise in a show of disbelief, and a little anticipation. Arthur, kill me? Ha-Ha-Ha!

"Let's be realistic now," I nearly chuckle at his sense of bravado. "I could kill you now without much effort, and that's just fact. When this thing takes over, there's no stopping me."

He steps towards me, nearly surprising me with how far he's willing to take this. Oh, and he's keeping eye contact, too.

"You're not the only person with battle experience around here," Arthur says, eyes glinted with a sort of anger or perhaps that's wounded pride.

Heh, so the General wants to play with the big boys; I can deal with that. I can feel his body temperature rising, as he desperately wants to show off for his new bride. You just know he's thinking of all the ways to humiliate me, too. This is why this test is going to be easy. I suppose I could let him floor me, but where's the fun in that? Without much warning, or much space to work, I slightly butt heads with him. Taking advantage of his prone state, I quickly duck around to his back, take the dagger from his side, and apply a chokehold with my right arm. I cinch it in tight, holding his weapon at his temple with my left hand.

"You could be a corpse now, and you wouldn't have even had a chance to scream," I whisper, releasing him with a slight shove.

"Are you two finished?" Zelda asks, folding her arms in a disgusted manner.

I laugh, as does Nabooru, but find the resolve to add more wood to the flames. "Are we through, or is Arthur going to show more 'battle experience' and go for the second one in his boot?"

He chokes, holding his throat, but doesn't make a motion to continue this idiotic display.

"Why not just give the Triforce of Power away?" Zelda turns to me, which somehow upsets me.

"That would mean we go back into the loop," I reply, eyes narrowing with a silent fury. "Correction, I'll go back in. I'll be the one stuck remembering everything again, and that's out of the damn question."

As I was saying that, I caught her eyebrow twitching. Heh, she's thinking of an alternative.

"I'm sure we can come up with some criminals that would serve to punish."

Good idea, right? There's just one problem: "Who's going to want to save the woman that sentenced him to an eternity of battles?"

She opens her mouth to reply, but quickly closes it.

"And the only other alternative is giving away the Triforce of Courage, which leaves you with the Triforce of Power…"

"And that only leaves your marriage wrecked, my relationship killed, and, according to Ganon, my life force slowly being drained."

"You know the other alternatives, don't you?" I hear Nabooru's breathing pick up as the anticipation builds. "I can take your piece or I can give you mine."

It almost seems fitting the new giant clock in Kakariko would chime now. The hour of decision is now upon us.

"Do you know what would happen if I did this?" Zelda asks very quietly, as panic begins to factor in. I can only smile as she cutely nibbles her lower lip. Nabooru does it a lot cuter, though. In the bathroom, I tell you it… easy, easy-let's not forget why we're here. As time continues to tick down, I'm starting to feel something prickle behind my eyes. No, it isn't tears. It's a kind of pointless anger.

"I'm not asking you to do anything," I suddenly snap. "Give me the damn Triforce of Wisdom!"

I think that's the first thing I've ever really demanded of her. Naturally, she isn't going to obey me. Stupid fucking… ugh, this isn't right.

"You'll probably die," she says in an attempt to justify her indecisive ways.

"It won't be the first time," I shout back, somehow failing to quell this desire to slit her goddamn throat! "Just give me the Triforce, okay?" I try to smile sweetly, but my teeth grind as she still does nothing.

"I said no!" Zelda screams back at me, making my blood boil. "I'm not going to kill you!"

"I said give it to me!" The power rushes to my fingertips, seemingly begging to be levied at her head. No! No! I can control this! "Look, you saw how the Triforce of Power is exchanged. So, unless you want me to eventually kill you-or if you're ready to face whatever holding the whole Triforce does to you-give me the fucking Triforce!" My entire hand begins to glow with that crimson energy. It aches to kill her, practically screams at me to kill anyone… anything! My nails dig through my gauntlet into my palm, as I squeeze my fist tighter to contain it.

"Link," she says softly, through the Triforce. "I'm scared, Link. I don't want you to do this, but I know I can't risk everything to do it myself."

Nabooru and Arthur look on in silence, unaware of this bond between us.

"What if he was just…" her voice slows, as I open my fist at my side and blast a chunk out of the floor.

"I wish he was lying," I manage to say with nil malice.

"Time is almost up," Nabooru suddenly shouts, watching as my arm continues to pulse with light.

Zelda slowly accepts what it is she has to do. She places her hand atop her right breast, home to the Triforce of Wisdom, and begins to concentrate. Slowly, her third of the equation materializes in her palm, glowing with a tranquil blue. It hovers in her hand, somehow making my body surge towards it. I feel Nabooru clutch my left hand as I reach towards my fate, and I smile at her through the negative feelings bearing down upon me.

"If there is a way out of this, I promise I'll come back." I know I've said it before, but now she's awake to hear it and I need her to know that.

She attempts to say something, but chooses to kiss me. Salt-the taste of tears simply fucks it all up! Not because the kiss isn't good, but because she's crying. Infinite power and they choose to toy with me. What the hell makes me so special? I swear, if I could, I'd rip those wenches' kidneys out! This is where we part ways, I suppose. Look out for her if I don't survive this, I'd appreciate it.

Nabooru releases him to the hands of Fate it would seem. It was surreal in a sense that Link did this with such ease. But wasn't that what heroes did? Sure, but this was her hero extending his hand toward death…

"No, he will live," she muttered firmly, stepping away from him. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that Link would survive this. He was the Hero of Time. Link had done too much to be killed by a stupid relic.

The moment his hand touched the Triforce of Wisdom the Temple of Time filled with an ambient light. An intense wind began to blow in through the spacious temple's windows, accompanied by the howl of a beast… in pain. Nabooru felt her heart sink. He was dying! Link was actually… dying. She stumbled forward, futilely attempting to shield her eyes from the light to reach her friend… her boyfriend… her Link. With a final lunge, she reached him. At that exact second, the light and wind both stopped. And there he stood, the Hero of Time in one piece… one living piece.

"Nothing happened," Link said with an air of shock, looking down at the hands on his bicep. "I'm all right." Not leaving anything to chance, Nabooru lifted up his left sleeve. His veins weren't glowing anymore! She couldn't find the words, so she merely hugged him tight and quietly sobbed into his chest.

"Well, that was anti-climatic," Arthur mumbled, taking a seat on one of the pews. His wife, on the other hand, was almost as ecstatic as Link's new girlfriend. She wanted to run and drape herself all over him, but something stopped her. Well, more to the point, Nabooru was hugging him enough for the both of them. The celebration would be short-lived, however, as Link stumbled back from Nabooru.

"Something… isn't right," he muttered repeatedly, placing his hands on the back of one of the pews to stabilize his balance.

"What is it?" Nabooru asked, attempting to approach him.

There was no verbal response, but more a distant moan. Link shook his head, but the pain was obviously growing, his fingers digging into the wood was a testament to that. Zelda looked on in hopes that his discomfort would pass, even as Link snapped the back of the pew off. Again, he stumbled further away from them, grabbing his head this time.

"This isn't funny, Link," Nabooru said, hoping to shift his focus onto something else.

"Doesn't feel funny, either," he growled between his teeth, collapsing to his knees atop the hexagonal warp pad. His face began to turn a shade of red, pulsing with every breath he took. Without warning, Link put his hands on the floor and screamed, as a column of brilliant light erupted from the back of his left hand. It was from the Triforce insignia, obviously. Still, though, this wasn't the end-Link's incessant wailing a clear show of that..

"Link!" Nabooru and Zelda both shouted in tandem, this time drawing Arthur's attention.

"What in the world…" he silently mouthed, as he turned around and saw Link's new predicament. "What should we do?"

"Stay back!" Link screamed, before howling as his the skin on his hand began to bubble and burn around the majestic light that continued to poor from within him.

Before Nabooru could react, his voice warped into a deafening roar. Then, to her surprise, a single triangle-shaped pillar of light burst from his back, violently ripping his shield and sword off, and tossing them into the air while simultaneously destroying a section of the roof. She shook her head, watching helplessly as the Triforce ripped two more holes out of his back.

Even in such obvious pain, they could all tell that Link was trying to quell his screaming. But how could one man stop the power of the Triforce? Or, for that matter, how could one man hope to possess such a thing and not expect this outcome? In both cases, Link was attempting to be that man for Nabooru. And, as the light ripped through the temple's walls, roof, and wherever he happened to turn, Link kept fighting it. The whites of his eyes were filled with blood, veins having burst from the stress. He was losing, though. The strength that he'd exerted to keep himself alive for this long was draining, and Nabooru had to see it.

Nabooru wanted to cheer, but something about his newfound silence didn't seem right.

He appeared to be shedding tears of blood, but, for some reason, Link smirked. She almost returned the gesture when another one of those lights burrowed out of his chest and shot just past her left leg. Link's voice began to tremble, as two multicolored beams energy burst from his eyes. In his last good deed, Link managed to tilt his head toward the ceiling, thus saving Nabooru, Zelda, and Arthur's lives. The Triforce's torturous power now shone from his back, chest, eyes, and hand-and it wouldn't stop!

If he could've formed the words, Link would've liked to ask one question: What's next? The answer saw his body suddenly glow with an almost divine light, illuminating the temple and turning the nighttime sky into day. When the light finally ebbed down, everyone was surprised to see Link's new position. He was on his knees, his hands outstretched in front of him and palms facing the sky as though offering a sacrifice. His tunic appeared untouched, sans one smoldering Triforce-shape over his heart the size of a child's fist.

As she approached him, Nabooru could smell the scent of charred flesh. His lips were black around the inner edges, obviously burnt by the small wisps of black smoke billowing out. The tears of blood, now blackened, streaked down his cheeks-they created an appearance of cracks in his deathly frozen face… a face that was twisted in a tortured scream. That stupid insignia had been burned clear through his hand, and the one on his chest… "No," Nabooru whispered, getting down onto her knees. Hesitantly, she reached out to the burnt fabric, only to shudder as her hand touched the void in Link's chest-his heart was gone. Smoke drifted from his nose, nearly making her wretch in revulsion with its pungent odor.

"Is he…" Zelda couldn't even find the word. Even as Nabooru's head barely nodded, the reality didn't make sense. Link was going to get up and curse Ganondorf's name any second now. Any second now, he would be up and alive.

The Gerudo Queen had no more words as she looked down upon her fallen lover. As she slowly stroked his cheek, Link's body quietly unlocked and fell back onto the floor. Her shoulders rolled forward as she sobbed, watching his lifeless eyes stare into nothingness.

"What happened here?" a voice suddenly asked, appearing from the winds of which it spoke. Rauru stood beside the king and queen, took one look at the floor, and it all became clear. He shook his head slowly, recalling the warning he'd tried to bestow upon the young man so many years ago. He'd sensed the Triforce of Power within him, but Link wouldn't listen. Now, here was the outcome.

"Some guy named Ganondorf gave his piece of this Triforce thing to him," Arthur offered up, as both women seemed to be catatonic. "And to save everyone, he sacrificed himself by taking Zelda's piece."

"He didn't have to do this," Nabooru screamed, jolting out of her stupor with a very vehement claim. "She could've taken them! But no, because she can't control his heart anymore, she sentenced him to die!"

Zelda wept the moment she heard that, somehow feeling at fault for his sacrifice. Rauru took a knee over the man's corpse, as Nabooru's tear-filled eyes locked onto him.

"What are you doing?" she demanded, watching the sage extend his hands over Link's chest. "Leave him alone!"

"I'm trying to save him," Rauru calmly stated, as his hands began to glow.

With that said, Nabooru's mouth closed without further objection. The light from Rauru's hands gently wafted into the charred hole in Link's chest, causing his burns to heal little by little. The hole in his left hand slowly closed, leaving only a Triforce-shaped scar. As for his chest, that wound closed too. Unfortunately, this was all cosmetic. Link was beyond his reach now, much to the old man's chagrin. Rauru looked up into the hopeful eyes of Nabooru, who looked as if she expected Link to wake up any second... even though his eyes remained that deathly white.

"I'm sorry, but he's gone." The elder sage ran his palm over Link's eyes, shutting them on the living world.

"He promised me he'd come back for me," Nabooru began, eyes filling up with tears as she pushed the sage out of the way. She picked Link's corpse up, cringing as she felt the large areas of scar tissue on his back, repeating that he'd be back, and marched towards the pedestal that held the spiritual stones. Rauru shook his head solemnly, as he watched Nabooru violently slap the stones out of place and lay out Link's body. He held his hands out towards the Hero's Shield, which disappeared from the far corner of the room and reappeared on its owner's chest, along with the Great Fairy Sword. Nabooru took the time to align his things-blade facing his toes, hands wrapped around the hilt, and shield overtop of that.

With that, she gave Link a kiss on the forehead and left the spectators without a word. Link will be fine, she thought, even as the tears continued to run down her face. "He'll be… fine," Nabooru whispered one last time. She couldn't deny it any longer and pitifully sank to her knees with a piercing shriek just outside of the gate, because reality had finally hit her.

Link was dead.