I can't open my eyes. I am suspended in space, relaxed and waiting. I feel a hand on my forehead, a soft one.
"Mother?" I breathe.
"Everyone seems to call me that." Laughs a sweet and kind voice.
"But we cannot take this one." A deep and clear voice says.
"No, he has far too much to fulfill. He cannot live with us now." comes a stern voice.
"Oh but he's so peaceful. Can't we spare him the return to that awful place?" asks the sweet one.
"It will continue to be awful unless he is there to do something about it. You know full well he is the Chosen of Hylia." Says the stern one.
"The Curse effects him too, it would only be a temporary stay even if we took him in." says the clear voice
"As you wish, Nayru and Din." Soft lips press to my forehead. I land on the ground and I gasp.
Zelda is over me, hand over my throat, her face stained with tears, praying. Shock then relief crosses her expression before she throws her arms around me.
"Thank the Goddesses!" She sobs, "Thank Hylia!"
"Fuck." Maltzar breathes. We are in the enemies tent. I am lying in a pool of blood. I'm dazed. I don't quite remember what happened. But I recall the cold feeling of a blade biting my flesh. I feel my throat. There is a large scab where the gaping wound used to be.
"Now I know they're real!" Maltzar sighs, a little dazed himself. Zelda kisses me. I'm so stunned I lie still beneath her.
"I thought I lost you." She hick ups. I stare at her like I've never seen her before. So dishevelled, so human.
"Might I remind you we are still in the enemy's camp. Ghirahim may have left but I don't think they all went with him." Maltzar says, though his usual sardonic voice is shaking a little. I remember the exchange. What Maltzar said to Ghirahim. I get to my feet and come at him, furious. I shove him to the ground.
"Hey- what the-"
"You knew the whole time!!?" I fume. "And you told him where the sword was?"
"Link." Zelda catches my shoulder. "It was a decoy. He saved our lives. As for yours the Goddesses healed you, through me."
I do not trust Maltzar. I am still angry at him. But I relax, taking Zelda's hand.
"Let's get out of here."
We sneak out of the camp with ease. Ghirahim's men don't have much for brains. There was a scuffle or two but the three of us make a good team. In no time we are on our way to the desert.
That night I help Zelda nurse the lacerations on her back while she sows her clothes back together. They were ripped open for easy access. Maltzar is out hunting.
"I love you." I say. Zelda turns to me.
"Link, we can't." she says, grief lining her beautiful face. "It is my duty to unite the clans. I must marry Decoda, Ordon's Son."
It is hard for me to hold back tears.
"But those times, in the forest- did they- did they mean nothing to you?"
"Of course not!" She hisses almost angry. "I love you with all my heart- always have!"
"Then forget the clans!" I snap. But Zelda shakes her head.
"Once Hylia has defeated Demise, all will go back to the way it was. The Tribes of Faron and Ordon will continue to feud unless a peace treaty is met. Decoda asked for my hand so I must-"
"I will find another way!" I say. "I will find a way to make peace. Anything! Anything they want. I will find precious stones from the outer islands! I will hunt and give half of every catch to them. I will be their slave if only they break the engagement!"
Zelda smiles at me. The first I've seen in a long while. She kisses me. This time I kiss back.
"I love you." She says. I kiss every inch of her face. She laughs trying to escape me. I trap her and snuffle in her hear and bite it like a pup. "You lunatic!" She giggles and squirms.
"Might I interrupt." Maltzar says dryly as he throws down a stag from his shoulder.
"Wow, that is impressive." Zelda says, eyeing our meal.
"Did you expect any less?" Maltzar teases though he flashes me a murderous look behind his smile.
We come to the web of rope bridges over Lanayru chasm. Something dark is patrolling it. We pause. He is a horseman, on a red chestnut steed. A war horse with a white mane. The rider is wearing black fur with a long ax in hand.
"What are they doing here?" Zelda hisses.
"Who is it?" I ask.
"He must be from the Dragaun Clan. Their trade mark is the ax." She says.
"As far as I'm concerned we don't have the capabilities to take on this guy." Maltzar says.
"So you say we run?" I accuse him. He glares.
"Let's just see if we can negotiate." Zelda says stepping forward.
"NO! He'll lob your head off!" I hold her back. She pushes me off and draws back her bow.
"That's negotiating?" Maltzar laughs.
"You there." Zelda calls, advancing on the bridge, her arrow ready. "What business do you have here?"
He draws his horse to a halt.
"I am the guardian of my home land." He says in a young husky voice. A little like mine.
"Speak the truth! The Dragauns own the main lands, not the desert." Zelda scoffs.
"I am the desert." He says back with deadly calm.
"Did he just say he is a piece of land?" Maltzar asks.
"I own everything and everyone that enters it." He says.
"Will you let us pass?" Zelda asks.
"Of course." He says.
"But will you let us out?" I ask.
"Well then you'll have a fight waiting for you." Maltzar says.
"That is if you survive." He says coolly.
"Survive what?" Maltzar snaps.
"The Twilit Wastelands, of course: My kingdom."
"And what if we kill you now, eh?" Maltzar says.
"Only the heart of my land has that power." He chuckles. I exchange a look with Zelda.
"Don't doubt it." she says lowering her arrow. "We will return and with that power."
"Then enter if you dare." He steers his horse aside.
As we pass, his horse nuzzles my face. I look up and see my own face staring down at me, with deep red eyes.
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