Chapter 29 - Separating the Two
Ganondorf swept his hand across the table in rage; vials and tubes were scattered to the floor, shattering into many pieces. The trembling old man before him quivered in a bundled heap as he whispered mercies. Ganondorf was enraged at the lack of progress the imbecilic scientist had made over the course of the past three cycles and was not afraid to show his displeasure about it. He stared him down from on high as he stepped over to his whimpering form.
“What do you mean you can’t make anymore?!” Ganondorf bellowed.
The old man shriveled further into the folds of his clothes as he did his best to cringe away from Ganondorf’s wrath. He stuttered almost incoherently, “I…I can’t make a…anymore! I…simply don’t h…have enough venom!”
Ganondorf placed two fingers on the bridge of his nose as he sighed deliberately at the incompetent man, “Did you not ration it between all the weapons? Did you use too much per weapon?”
“N…no!” The man exclaimed, “I made sure I used just enough per arrow and sword to make it effective!”
The last seven cycles had been rough on the Gerudo, although they were safe behind the aura Ganondorf had erected and was keeping alive through great force of will, the army periodically made attacks to weaken the shield. It had little effect on the barrier but impressed great burden on his heart with each blow they connected. The women were able to utilize the new weapons to fire beyond the barrier to explode several of the men on the spot with the powerful venom, most stayed outside of their range after that. In time, their resources were getting limited as the remaining venom to apply to their weapons had run out.
“Perhaps he is telling the truth, my lord.” Kotake offered as she stepped up to the sniveling man.
“Agreed sister, I do not sense any lies in his words.” Koume confirmed.
“What do you witches know?!” Ganondorf screamed at them. He quickly had to compose himself, he had been under a lot of stress recently and it was taking its toll on his mental sanity.
Both witches shied from his ire but remained in place, confident that he would not hurt them, even in the deepest of his rages.
A small voice from the doorway seemed to instantly pacify the room, “Are you frightening that poor man again Ganondorf?”
Only one person called him that name so casually, he looked up relieved that she was there to calm his spirits. Saria walked into the room and stooped low to place a reassuring hand on the old man. She smiled at him as he looked up at her blubbering with despair.
“I…I’m telling you the truth! There is simply no more venom!” He cried, “Oh, I just wish I was back at my home on Lake Hylia conducting my experiments in peace!”
She knowingly nodded her head, “I know Terrance. I’ll make sure the ‘bad’ people go away.” She smothered a giggle as he looked upon her graciously and in awe, as if she was an angel in disguise come to save him. In some ways, she might have been mistaken for one with her wings.
“Oh look Koume, it is the master’s little pet!” Kotake scoffed.
“Come to do the master’s bidding and be the good little girl that she is!” Koume sneered.
“Leave.” Ganondorf seethed, it was hardly above a whisper but the meaning was clear. Both witches huffed as they shuffled their way out of the room, each one giving evil glares at Saria as they passed.
“Ganondorf, he says he has no more venom, do you not trust him on that?” Saria said informally as she strode up to his hulking form, deliberately staying on the ground as she looked up into his eyes from her diminutive height. Over the cycles, she had learned how to manipulate his moods and knew exactly what to do to quell his anger.
His grimace softened at the sight of his little, personal angel. Ever since that miraculous event seven cycles ago where Saria came back from the threshold of death, he had taken her under his wing as almost a private daughter. Ganondorf had seeded many daughters over his time as king, but they were all the same and held no meaning for him. Saria was someone unique and forever unchanging. Something about Saria made him want to protect and treat her with special significance. The events with Kiera did little to help matters and only strengthened his resolve to make sure the same thing did not happen to Saria.
Ganondorf sighed at the seemingly simple logic of her words, “You are right. We need to send another expedition out and acquire more venom from the beasts of the marshlands to the south.” He quickly nodded his head before sweeping his cape behind him as he headed for the chamber door, “Old man, see to it that you clean up this mess, you are free to go back to your room after that.”
Terrance flubbed unintelligibly as he scrabbled across the ground trying to pick up the mess Ganondorf had made. Saria gave the old coot a heartfelt look before following Ganondorf into the hall. He didn’t have to be so mean all the time; she was trying her best to be that positive influence in his life. Saria reasoned that because he had a terrible upbringing he had turned out this way. She was determined to help stem the tide.
“How do you fare today my little fairy?” Ganondorf spoke, with obvious affection in his voice.
She colored at his little pet name for her, “I’m doing very well, thank you. I got to watch the trainees practice in the field up on the hill today.”
He confirmed her response with a grunt, “I don’t expect you to fight, but did you learn a lot from observing?”
She nodded vigorously as they turned the corner into another corridor, “Oh yes! I find the art of warfare fascinating. The skill and technique used is almost like a dance in itself.”
Ganondorf’s gaze flicked over to the Kokiri with some concern, “Agreed, but that is one aspect I hope you will never have to put into practice. You’ve experienced enough already in this war.”
Saria tilted her head as she thought about his concern for her, “But I want to fight! I want to feel useful to everyone! Why won’t anybody let me prove myself?” She sighed.
He stopped dead in his tracks as he turned to her. He quickly knelt down and placed both hands on her shoulders. She stared intently into his eyes, imploring him to reconsider, “Saria, you are young and still innocent. Something I think we have all lost in this war. I would like to keep it that way.” Ganondorf explained smoothly.
She began to whine in frustration, “But I never age Ganondorf! I might be older than you!”
He guffawed hard at her statement, “As true as that may be, my objective is to protect the last remaining Kokiri in this world.”
Saria was astonished at the gravity of his words, “I just want to help, to fight alongside my friends. Link and Malon are already training up to be fine warriors while I’m merely sitting on the sidelines.” She persisted.
Without missing a beat, Ganondorf followed up with a question, “You saw them train today?”
Saria nodded in the affirmative, “Yes, they are really close. They play with each other all the time, both on the battlefield and off.” She continued rambling about the two of them, unaware of what she was revealing to Ganondorf.
Lost in thought, Ganondorf rose up to his feet, “Thank you Saria for telling me this, I am glad they are such fast friends.”
Saria smiled, happy to be of some help to Ganondorf, “So what now?” She asked inquisitively.
“Let us retire to my room, I wish to hear one of your beautiful songs.” Ganondorf requested.
With evident happiness in her face, she paced down the hall alongside him as she began singing a ditty of the forest. Her melodic voice carried down the halls and soothed anyone within earshot of her innocent ballad. Ganondorf kept walking only half listening to the harmonious tones, his thoughts were on Link and Malon. Things were getting more serious by the day. It was time to separate those two and keep what belonged to the Gerudo.
Link quickly stashed away the whispering mask under his pillow as the door shifted open slightly; Zelda quietly entered before shutting it without a sound. She tiptoed over to her bed and was rustling to get under the covers to relax her aching bones. She yelped a bit as Link startled her with his unexpected voice.
“Where do you go all these nights Zelda? Don’t think I haven’t noticed you sneaking out with Impa. Do you go train? Do you moonlight as the eternal defender of our kingdom? What do you do?” Link began interrogating.
“Please, Link, just drop it.” Zelda sighed, wanting nothing more than to rest her head on the pillow and drift into oblivion.
Tonight was different, maybe it was his practice with Malon that day that gave him confidence to speak further on the matter, “I will not drop it. You’ve had me worried for several cycles now. What is it that Impa is teaching you? It’s obviously something!” He persisted.
She sat up in her alcove as she stared over to his position across the room, separated only by a table in the center of their chamber. “We just go out and have long talks, ok?” Zelda exasperated.
“Long talks.” Link said flatly, clearly not believing.
“Yes.” She confirmed with determination, “Now please turn around, I need to dress for bed.”
Link obliged as Zelda began stripping her sweaty clothes off her body. She wished she could bathe but dared not in Link’s presence, it was no longer proper anymore. Over the cycles, she had developed into a very striking woman, her curves had accentuated and her chest had blossomed lavishly. It was extremely hard to hide her monthly flows from Link when they started just three cycles ago.
She unclipped her blond hair and let it flow down to her buttocks. It was normally silky smooth but was caked with the grime and dirt of the day. The intense effort of both Impa and Zelda in keeping up the Zander ruse was taking a toll on both of them. As Zelda grew out of puberty into a fully developed woman, more Gerudo were starting to notice strange inconsistencies with Zander. During her times of month, she basically had to become a hermit to avoid attracting suspicions from the local populace. It was unclear as to why Impa choose to keep Zelda’s identity a secret, but Link figured it had something to do with Ganondorf and what he might do with her.
Zelda emitted a small squeak as Link’s hands enveloped her arms, gently kneading the muscles underneath her skin. She quivered at his touch but did nothing to dissuade his advance. He spoke calmly behind her, “If long talks are all you two are doing, then why are you sweaty? Why have you grown these muscles you did not have before? You are obviously training.”
“This is scandalous Link. Please let me dress.” Zelda shivered not from the cold (for the room was quite warm) but from the closeness of Link to her naked form.
“Answer the question Zelda.” Link insisted, “You owe me that much after years of pulling away from me. Are we not friends?”
She turned her head to the side to get a glimpse of his face but stayed with her back to him, “Of course we are still friends.” She hesitated, “There are just some things I cannot tell you.”
“Will you tell me what you can?” Link proposed an alternative.
Slowly bowing her head she began, “Yes.” Keenly aware of his hands still kneading her arms, she began, “It is true Impa and I have been going out at night to train. She is getting old Link and is the only Sheikah here. She has no idea if any others are left alive outside the barrier. She fears that, in time, she will no longer be able to protect me.”
She turned around to face him. It took all of his willpower to keep his eyes on her face. She was intimately close to him as his arms were wrapped around her shoulders. He forced his mind not to wander as he focused on the conversation. “But I can protect you Zelda.” Link offered.
She shook her head as she smiled at his assertion, “I understand and I believe you would do your best. Impa wants to ensure that I can defend myself. She is training me in the ways of the Sheikah so that I can be protected even after she is gone.”
The puzzle pieces were starting to come together, it made a lot more sense now. Of course Impa would want to do that. Link asked wistfully, “May I come join and watch your training? I’d love to learn.”
Zelda shook her head again as he frowned at her refusal, “That is something she expressly told me, the ways of the Sheikah are secret to all but themselves. Since I am the object of their protection, she felt it necessary to break that tradition and train me in their ways. She’s told me so many things…about…” Zelda halted as she realized she might be saying too much.
“I understand now that you can’t explain everything Impa has conveyed to you. I won’t force the issue.” Link assured, Zelda seemed visibly relieved. “But will you please promise me that you won’t hide something like that from me again? We are friends and I don’t want to lose you.”
Zelda beamed warmly as a tear flickered down her face. Link went rigid with shock as she hugged him tightly. The feel of her warm body pressed up against his played havoc with his mind, her breasts compressed across his chest were quite distracting.
“Thank you so much for understanding Link!” Zelda cried into his shoulder. It had been hard on her all these cycles of keeping this secret from him. Telling him evaporated a huge encumbrance off her chest. She was finally free to be herself again with him. She hated the sneaking and the lies.
After holding each other for several minutes, Link could feel Zelda slowly gripping his shirt. Confused he leaned back to look into her face, she regarded him longingly as she was nervously biting her lower lip in indecision of what she should do next. A split second decision urged Zelda to place her lips onto his. Link’s eyes shot open as she pressed into the kiss. Her hands began raking down his shirt in an attempt to rip it off his back as her body crushed into his with an inner primal need.
Link’s senses were assailed with a swirling spiral of confused thoughts, he had barely any time to react to this sudden change of events and did little to halt Zelda’s advance. This was something completely new for the two of them. He wasn’t exactly sure how he should take it. His lack of resistance was enough incentive for her as she began to pull off his shirt, revealing the ripping muscles across his chest and abs. Her hands danced across them as Link shuddered at her touch.
Link felt guilty cooperating in this. All he could think about was that Zelda was still a princess of Hyrule. They were friends, should they be doing this? She began to nudge him towards his bed as she planted kisses over his face and neck, slowly unloosing the strap that held his pants up.
As they slumped to the ground revealing his obvious interest to her, she surged ahead with conviction; more certain than ever what she wanted to do. He was absolutely gorgeous and a strapping specimen of a man. Why she never attempted this before she had no idea. She leaned him onto his back upon the furs as she began to slide over him.
“Zelda…I…” Link fumbled with his words. This was not happening! It seemed too unreal.
“Yes?” She responded huskily as she slowly trailed her kisses down his chest, getting lower with each kiss. Her hands were already massaging his inner thighs, scant inches away from the object of her desire.
“Uh…we…can’t…Malon.” The effect was immediate and as drastic as if he had dumped a basin of cold water over Zelda. Link cringed at her expression when she drew back from him; hurt echoing in her eyes as she stared at him. He had said the wrong thing and they both knew it.
She promptly got off of him roughly and proceeded over to the barrel, its water chill from sitting through the evening. “Link, I would like it if you were to turn around while I bathe.” Zelda said icily. The rancor in her voice was apparent as she slipped into the water, gasping slightly at the temperature of it.
Muddled and disoriented, Link rolled over facing the blank adobe wall. His thoughts were jumbled as he tried to make sense of what just happened between the two of them. Did he just ruin something that they just repaired? Was it wrong for him to deny her something like this? Do friends really act this way when they got older together? The questions swirled about his mind as he heard the lapping of water from Zelda’s bathing.
The last thing Link remembered was smacking his pillow to make the mask shut up.