Chapter 28 - Transitions
It had been a long, hard day of training; his toned, muscular body brimming with sweat. Link stood in full confidence holding the trident in both hands as he waited for his opponent to make the first move. The midday sun beat mercilessly on their bodies as their skin had tanned over the cycles. He stared at his opponent as a teacher looked on the engagement with scrutiny. At a signal, she moved first. Running at him with great speed, she leveled her javelin at his heart.
Link quickly sidestepped her first lunge as she twirled around to reattempt her jab. He brought the trident down, catching the shaft of her javelin, pushing it to the ground. Infuriated, she utilized her weapon as a vaulting stick to leap over him. Landing behind him, she quickly swung her foot around tripping him. He landed hard on his back and immediately rolled to the side as she sliced the metal tip into the earth.
Recapturing his breath from the brutal fall, he reacquired his weapon as she yanked hers out of the ground. She surged forward in another endeavor to pierce his heart. He swooped under the whistling blade as it nicked part of his ear. Wincing at the sudden pain, Link continued forward with his rush and smacked his palm squarely into her stomach. She doubled over from the blow as he proceeded past her and finished the job by smacking her on the rump with the butt of his trident.
She crumpled forward planting her face hard on the dirt as her weapon slipped from her grip and clattered onto the dusty ground before her. Link seized the opportunity and leapt over her defenseless body and placed the three prongs of the weapon into her back. With a cry of rage, she kicked back at him hard with one leg as he was forced to kneel from the blow. She quickly flipped around onto her back, knocking the trident out of his hands with her arm.
She bowled him over and straddled him. her arm across his neck digging in to cut off his air. She smiled smugly as Link squirmed trying to get her weight off of him as she slowly suffocated him to death with her arm slowly crushing his windpipe. With one final movement, Link placed both hands above him flat on the ground and to the shock of both student and trainer, flipped his legs over with her on top a full 180 degrees. She cried out when her back hit the ground and he was the one in control.
Unable to catch a breath after the heavy thump, she could do nothing as Link grinned maliciously. He rushed forward and bound her to his lips. She struggled fruitlessly against his barrage of passion as he continued to assault her with his kiss. Her arms banged uselessly against his chest, he merely chuckled deep in his throat as his tongue slipped into her mouth. Resistance was futile after that and they both knew it.
Within moments their hands were fondling each other and limbs wrapping around like tangled vines. The teacher hastily ran up to them to put an end to the ruckus. As much as she wanted to watch the show, there was protocol to follow! The Gerudo yelled, “Stop it you two! This is a training session, not a make out session! You take that crap behind closed doors!” Link lifted up from the kiss with a dazed grin as the trainer continued to yell at them. “Get off of her Link! Malon, you lost this time. We’ll try again tomorrow.”
Still chortling from his victory, he stood up and walked back a few paces to allow Malon to get back on her feet. It had been a long seven cycles living with the Gerudo. Malon had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Her succulent breasts were covered in a white sash across the chest with straps over her shoulders to keep it in place, leaving her arms and midriff bare for the training. She wore the standard ivory pants to be expected of an apprentice of the Gerudo culture, laced tight with a plain leather belt at the waist.
Many Gerudo had noticed how beautiful she had become and wanted to bed her weekly. Talon made a plea to Nabooru to spare his daughter the Gerudo custom of sharing apprentices among the women for pleasure. It was all he could do to keep her from becoming nothing more but fodder for the fellow women. She was not born to this life and she shouldn’t have to suffer for it. After many meetings and deliberations, the council finally agreed that she should be the exception, much to the chagrin of many a woman who fantasized over Malon in the depths of the night.
In fact, Link observed as Malon walked over to her shirt lying on the ground, she was looking more like a Gerudo every day. Her skin had tanned to the point it was quite similar in hue to any of the other dark skinned Gerudo. Her brilliant, red hair rivaled the other women in the community as it reached down just below her waist. It was during their second cycle living with them that Malon noticed Nabooru was growing a swollen belly. She was shocked to discover she was to be expecting a sister!
After the baby was born, it was revealed to Malon that Nabooru was her real mother. It had come as quite a blow to her. Up to that point, they were never on the best of terms and she made a point to avoid her entirely those first several cycles. Nobody could console her for days. She moped around the compound unable to bring herself to the ultimate truth about her heritage; these women were her blood and kin on her mother’s side.
In time, she came to accept her lineage and eventually grew to be on civil speaking terms with Nabooru. There was always a level of mistrust between them but it was never outright hostile anymore. Talon was completely at peace with his new living situation. Having been regulated to just one woman, his life eased considerably among the Gerudo. Malon could do nothing but be happy for her father for the love he had found.
A budding romance was growing between her and Link and a lot of the women could see it too. As they grew up together in the fortress, Link and Malon gleaned hints and ideas as to what actually happened between a man and a woman in the privacy of night. Like a few rebellious teenagers, they had attempted many times to sneak away and confirm the knowledge they had learned from their raunchy Gerudo benefactors.
Just as they were in the throes of their passion, Impa, Nabooru, or some other irritating woman would find them and put a stop to it before it was ever consummated. It gnawed at them that they couldn’t express what they felt for each other deep inside on a physical level. The most they ever came to it was kissing and fondling with clothes on. After the first few times of being caught, Nabooru put a stop to it by making sure Malon had a constant Gerudo companion wherever she went. The two were not pleased at this prospect.
The trainer ensured Malon had everything she needed before heading over to Link. She placed a tender hand on his shoulder as she congratulated him, “Good job out there! You learn faster than most women! I think you will be a fine warrior.”
Link flushed at her praise, “Thank you.”
The woman briefly glanced back to make sure Malon was out of earshot before whispering, “As much as I see that you two like each other, it is still up to the elders who is eligible to have a baby. Women don’t just decide for themselves to get pregnant, they must get consent from the council before claiming a man to be the donor.” Link nodded, it was odd that he was getting advice on sexual matters from a woman who was technically his superior.
With a glint in her eye she leaned in a bit further as they strolled down the hill toward the compound, “Besides…there is no exception for you yet. Why the council hasn’t allowed access to you as breeding stock, I have no idea. When the time comes, you may not be able to decide the women you’ll be sleeping with weekly!” She crowed at her teasing. Link looked away hurriedly to avoid her sensual stare. He jumped slightly as she squeezed his butt before walking on ahead waving bye.
Malon stepped up behind him and watched as the woman headed down the path, “They are constantly swooning for you, aren’t they?”
Link smiled, “So are you.”
She gave him a huge shove as they laughed, “You jerk! I completely had you there before you cheated!”
Sticking his tongue out of the corner of his mouth he teased, “The moment I had you in my arms, the fight was over. Just admit it, you can’t resist my charm!”
He leaped sideways as he deftly avoided a misaimed swing. She kicked forward hoping to strike a shin but met nothing but air and his laughter. “You’re horrible Link! I don’t know why I put up with you!” The words sounded terrible, but Malon’s face told a different story.
As the mirth subsided they walked down the incline a ways in silence before Malon spoke up, “You are a handsome man Link.” He flicked over to see her deep in thought, eyes on the ground. She hesitated before continuing, “I…I hope that when my time comes, that I’m with you.” She dared not look up for fear of being embarrassed by his penetrating gaze.
“Who cares about their rules?” Link asserted. Malon brought up her head in shock. “We may be in their domain, but that does not make us Gerudo. We can love whom we want.”
“But I’m half Gerudo Link. That is a part of me I can’t change. My mother is one of the elders of the council. I even have a little sister who looks more tanned than I do! Other than my father, our family is firmly entrenched in the heritage of their culture!” Malon exclaimed.
“Yes,” Link said calmly, “but does that obligate you to follow their laws?”
Malon tilted her head as she directed her eyes back on the path, “I’m not sure. Ganondorf is their king and ultimately the enforcer of all their rules. Would he even allow it? Would we be punished for going outside the bounds of their strict law of pregnancy?” She sighed heavily.
It was true, ever since Ganondorf had erected the aura around their domain, food, water, and other resources began to grow scarce. Pregnancies were limited to only a few a year to avoid the problem of having too many mouths to feed. It took intense effort, but Ganondorf was able to let several scout groups to leave to scavenge for more supplies, and very rarely men (the few that were left). The stories they came back with were not encouraging to say the least.
The army had fully settled into Hyrule town and had claimed the castle as their main functional base. Other regiments of the horde split off and occupied other areas including Kakariko and Lon Lon Ranch. The southern route through the desert to the Negev Marshlands seemed to be the only road left open to the Gerudo to sneak additional provisions into their kingdom. It wouldn’t be long now before even that was sealed off and they eventually starved to death. Naar was playing a waiting game with the Gerudo. After seven cycles, he was slowly winning.
Link shrugged as they walked on, “Probably Malon, but I don’t want any of the other women. They are all the same and I share none of the same passions as I do with you.”
Malon giggled, sweeping back her ponytail, “True, but I don’t think they want to be with you for your personality. They only want you for your body, it’s about the only good attribute you have!”
“Yeah.” Link agreed, after a moment of thought, “Hey!”
Malon ducked away from Link’s arm as he meant to grab her around the neck, “There is more to me than just that!” Link rebutted.
With a flourish of red hair, Malon was running down the hill with Link in hot pursuit. Several of the positioned guards looked up from their bored stupor to see the two teenagers running down. They shook their heads in tolerance as the two ran by quickly, kicking up sand and dirt. Malon was squealing in delight as Link roared down the pathway trying to overtake her. He may be stronger and more skilled with weapons, but she was nimble and faster than he was.
“Malon!” A tiny voice cried out from a doorway.
Skidding to a halt, she swirled to the adorable voice, “Lil sis! Come here, you!”
The little girl hurtled forward into her big sister’s outstretched arms in one, big, loving tackle. They swirled around and around with the force of their hug as Link finally caught up to them. He smiled as he looked on the joyful meeting. She was every bit as pretty as her bigger sister; her head encircled by a blazing mane of red hair complete with eyes of the deepest blue. Her petite body was darker than Malon’s and gave more credibility to her lineage. Whenever she smiled, as she did now, the biggest dimples would form on her cheeks.
“Hi Link!” She waved at him ecstatically as she looked over Malon’s shoulder.
“Hey Giana. You are looking absolutely stunning today!” Link extolled.
Giana’s little face flushed something fierce as Malon turned to him, holding Giana against her hip with one arm. “Well, I have to get going now Link. I need to clean up after today’s training.” Malon affirmed.
Nodding his head, Link agreed, “Me too. It was a good work out. Thanks!”
“Bye Link! Play with me later?” Giana looked at him bashfully.
“You know it little princess!” Link laughed. Giana giggled with glee at his little pet name for her. She truly felt like one whenever Link was around.
“Okay heartthrob,” Malon rolled her eyes, “time to get going!”
She spun on her heel and headed indoors to bathe. Giana was furiously waving back at Link the entire way. Link chuckled at how cute she was. He had to say this much, Talon and Nabooru sure made some awesome kids!
“I still have trouble believing you’ve grown up so fast. You’re not the boy I knew.” A voice said behind him.
Smiling, he turned around as he beheld Saria. She hadn’t aged a day since she left the forest; she had to look up into his face to talk to him. Not liking that prospect much, she learned how to utilize her wings functionally. She was on level with his eyes, flapping her ethereal wings to keep aloft. Some of the Gerudo seamstresses made brand new Kokiri clothes for her with an obligatory Gerudo flare, spiraling stripes of ivory swirled around her green tunic with the texture of patchwork leaves. It looked silly at first until she put it on, then it seemed it was always meant for her.
Link waved a hand to brush off her comment, “I’m still the same boy you’ve always known. I’m just bigger now and know more things.”
Saria smiled as she put a finger to her lips, “That remains to be seen.”
“Not you too!” Link sighed.
“Oh?” Saria looked amused, “Did Malon tease you too today?”
As well she should! Sora fumed in Saria’s mind, “Shush you!” She hissed.
“What is she saying now?” Link asked, pointing to her head.
“Just agreeing with you, that’s all.” Saria lied innocently.
Link raised an eyebrow but disregarded her blatant attempt to quell the argument with her internal fairy. Ever since Sora had bonded in a literal sense to Saria seven cycles ago, she was prone to having conversations with herself daily. To the Gerudo who were not there to witness the miraculous event, they all thought she had gone a bit batty after having come back from the brink of death. ‘Must have been a brush with the afterlife that made her this way’ they would whisper amongst each other. Saria paid them no mind and continued her regular talks with Sora.
Another surprising development that shocked Link, Zelda and the others was her growing friendship with Ganondorf. Ever since that night, he had taken a real liking to her. He was overly protective of her and would always spoil her rotten, much to the dismay of anyone in attendance. It didn’t help Saria’s disposition towards everyone. She began to feel slightly entitled to the exquisite treatment she was receiving. Link always made sure she was brought down a few notches every time they met. It is what any true friend would do!
“So, what’s up with you today?” Link nonchalantly asked.
“Oh, nothing.” She purported. Fluttering after him as he walked across the sand to his quarters, she spoke coyly, “So when are you and Malon finally going to get together?”
Link stopped in his tracks as he gazed up at the sky in exasperation, “Ugh! Enough with that question already! I’ve told you millions of times that we can’t be together because of the Gerudo laws.”
Saria grinned, “That’s not what I saw last night!”
Link twisted in her direction in shock, “You saw us kissing?”
Saria swiftly glanced away before saying in a cherubic voice, “I don’t know.”
His mouth contorted in a mixture of a sneer and a smile, ultimately undecided what it should do. “You little sneak!” He accused, “You kept watching, but didn’t alert us to Impa coming?”
A small grin emerged on her face as she kept her bubbling merriment in check, “Maybe.”
“You know,” Link started, waggling a finger at her, “it isn’t nice to peep in on people in their private moments!”
Saria turned to him feigning shock, “What? Are you saying I can’t see that when I’m never going to experience it in my life? Look at me!” She gestured to herself. “I’m not getting any older, that will be a part of life I’ll never get to have. Would you honestly deny me of at least viewing my best friend experiencing it?”
Link shivered slightly at the proposition, “As good a point as that is,” he quickly looked away, “it’s still kind of weird.”
“Not as weird as you two fumbling around like a bunch of overgrown Deku Scrubs trying to slip out of clothes.” Saria said flatly.
“Hey!” Link fumed affronted. “That wasn’t necessary.”
“You two seriously need to pick better times and places so you won’t get caught all the time.” Saria offered.
Link began storming indoors, leaving her to catch up, “I can’t believe I’m listening to this talk from you! The last thing I need is love advice from a Kokiri that hasn’t had any.”
Saria broiled at the comment, “Excuse me? Come back here Link!”
He was practically running down the corridors, passing alarmed Gerudo who were befuddled as to why Link was running away from a very angry, flying Kokiri. Finally arriving at his door, he slammed it shut behind him and inserted the bolt. Within moments Saria had started pounding on the door. Link hooted with elation at having outrun Saria to his room.
“Open this door Link!” Saria buzzed crossly.
“I’m taking a bath now! Let me bathe in peace!” Link yelled from inside the room.
Link stripped and blissfully stepped into the warm bath water that filled the body-sized barrel in the corner of their room. Every day after training, the apprentices usually went to each room and restocked each bath with warm water for the occupants. He jerked and quickly looked around the room. He had completely forgotten that Zelda was his roommate. He breathed a sigh of relief as he discovered the room to be empty, it wasn’t the first time he accidently forgotten she was there when he went to bathe. Those were awkward moments.
They had kept up the ruse of Zander but it had taken a huge toll on Impa, who had to maintain the guise over Zelda through the cycles. She looked weary and worn down from keeping her presence secret from Ganondorf and the rest of the Gerudo. She couldn’t train daily and her abilities and skills suffered as a result. It had not been an easy time for Impa. Most nights she would stay in their room and watch over them as they slept. During the days, they were unsure of where she went.
Once Zelda turned her 15th cycle, another strange thing occurred. Late in the evenings as he was settling down to sleep, Impa would emerge and request Zelda’s presence for several hours. Link never knew where they went or what they did, most evenings it would be close to midnight before they returned, both exhausted and tired. One night he decided to follow them to see what went on under the cover of darkness, he never could catch up to them, either because they blended in with the shadows or simply gave him the slip. Zelda had slowly drifted away from him as a friend and he had no idea why.
Saria’s pitiful wail broke him from his thoughts, “Will you please let me in?”
Link happily replied, “No.”
After a few moments of silence, “Do you love me Link?”
Link suppressed a belly laugh, “Of course I do Saria.”
“Am I still your best friend?” Saria asked for confirmation.
“Always.” Link returned.
“So can I come in now?” Saria asked wistfully.
“Still no.” Link replied smiling.
After a few minutes of silence and letting the water ease his aching muscles, he heard some scrabbling on the other side of the door. Within moments he knew she had left. Well, he thought to himself, that was quite the unexpected conversation with Saria! He snickered to himself as his head submerged beneath the surface of the reinvigorating water.