Chapter 58 - Hard Work
His enraged cry permeated through the air; sweat was glistening off his naked chest from the toil. Link flapped his wings vainly in an endeavor to maintain his position in the air. He had jumped off a broken wall of rubble to gain momentum for the attempt. He screamed his fury as he felt the strength of his appendages give. Tumbling to the ground in a mass of feathers and limbs, he smacked the ground with his fists in futile anger.
“Why can’t I do it Saria?!” Link breathed heavily, kicking up dust that wafted up into his nose which forced him to sneeze. “Damn it!” He shouted.
Rising up to a sitting position violently, he thrust his wings back behind him with an infuriated holler. Why were his wings so utterly useless? Saria alighted next to him from her vantage point above. She walked over to him before kneeling to face him on his level. Impa gazed on the proceedings impassively, preferring to lean in the shadows against the scattered remnants of the structure that had once stood by the edge of the lake.
Fluttering her ethereal wings calmly behind her, she placed a hand on his quivering shoulder. He was clearly angry at being unable to fly. “I’m not entirely sure Link. I honestly don’t think your wings are strong enough to support you.” She said, affirming her own suspicions.
“What?!” Link spat at her, far angrier than he should have been with Saria. He instantly regretted his ire the moment she backed away from him. “Saria…I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you like that. I’m just so angry! What is the use of having wings if they don’t work?” He exasperatedly exhaled.
“I beg to differ.” Impa proposed, stepping out from the shade. “You have been training very well these past few weeks, you and Zelda both. In fact, I believe you are performing better because of your wings.”
“I don’t understand.” Link fumed leaning back, resting his hands against the ground.
“You’re faster, for one thing.” Impa praised. “Whenever you jump or roll out of the way of my thrusts, you tend to travel further, or leap higher.” Link turned away, taking in the majestic sight of the lake beside them. He knew she was right but didn’t want to admit it. “Your wings may not be able to carry you along the winds, but try to think of them as a further extension of what you can do now.”
“I’m sorry Link. I really wanted to share the sky with you.” Saria said dejectedly.
“Tell you what.” Impa offered with a smile. “See that tall wall over there? Try leaping up and over that utilizing your new ability.” She pointed over to a collapsed building wall several meters away that was at least the height of two grown men, far too high to jump over normally.
Rolling his eyes not fully trusting in Impa’s confidence in his skills, he grumbled pulling himself up to standing height. Cracking his neck before stretching out his wings, he breathed hard getting himself psyched up for the challenge. He bolted in a dead sprint at the wall. Within several feet of the brick, he bounded onto its unyielding surface. With a swift kick to push himself off of the wall and a flap of his wings, he vaulted himself over the great height.
A smile burst onto his face as he realized he had cleared the obstacle, it deflated the moment he saw the naked form of Zelda beyond the wall. She had just emerged from the lake from bathing after their training. She was just drying out her hair as her eyes widened at his sudden appearance. They both shouted in unison as he went flailing to the ground by her feet, a tangle of limbs and feathers.
“Damn it!” He roared, averting his eyes from the unclothed Zelda.
“Link!” Zelda yelped, hastily covering herself with her mound of clothes stacked nearby. “I thought you were training with Saria on flying?”
“I was.” He said; remaining prone on the ground, facing away from her nude form as a sign of respect. “Impa asked me to see if I could use them,” he jerked a thumb at his feathers, “to climb over that wall.”
“Link? Is everything alright?” Saria inquired soaring over the debris, her eyes bulging at the unexpected scene. Her hand went straight to her mouth as she broke into a fit of giggling.
“Shut up Saria!” Zelda and Link said as one.
Pushing himself off the ground and walking around Zelda, he moved on towards the lake. “I think I’m done training for today. I’m going for a dip.”
Impa poked her head around the wall and sidled up next to Zelda with a grin on her face. She took one look at the Sheikah before smacking her arm curtly, “You dared him to do that on purpose!”
The grin broke into a wide smile at Zelda’s accusation. “What can I say? If you are to be properly trained by a Sheikah, it would do you well to be ready for any situation. Just because you are naked does not mean you should let down your defenses. I would have expected you to be on him in a heartbeat, dagger at his throat, regardless of your attire. You clearly have a lot to learn.”
“Ugh!” Zelda thundered. “But did it have to be him? You could have easily done the same thing and I would have reacted accordingly!”
“Perhaps.” She smirked, “But it wouldn’t have been as effective.” She chuckled as Zelda huffed, storming off to change into her fresh clothes in the corner.
Impa turned her head to Saria, “You should be thankful you don’t sweat like the rest of us. I don’t think you change at all.” She mused.
“Nope!” Saria beamed cheerfully. “I’m actually happy about that.” She moved her arms as she admired herself. “I like the tunic I have on now. The Gerudo made it for me many cycles ago. It holds a special place in my heart.”
“Although sometimes you do need a bath.” Impa scrunched her nose. “You should take one after Link gets out.” After seeing Saria sticking her tongue out, she threatened merrily, “Either take one or I’ll toss you in myself.”
“Ha! I’d like to see you catch me!” Saria bluffed, lifting herself slightly off the ground.
Impa raised an eyebrow. “Is that a challenge little Kokiri?” The menace in her voice was apparent.
Saria gulped, “Maybe?” She said feebly. With a shriek of nervous laughter, she swooshed out of Impa’s tackle and began whisking off across the ruined village with Impa in hot pursuit.
Link observed the two of them speeding through the rubble with a smile on his face. It was about time that Kokiri got a proper bath! Agitatedly, he maneuvered around in the water, trying to fold his wings behind him so he could dive deep below the surface and feel the cool rush flow over his head. For some irritating reason, his additional limbs were quite buoyant and it was annoying to try swimming at all with them attached to his shoulder blades. At least they seemed to not soak in moisture like he had expected them to, instead most liquids tended to run right off the feathers.
“Navi?” He spoke aloud to what appeared to be no one in particular. “Do you know why I have wings? Is this your doing?”
I’m afraid not Link. Navi’s voiced chimed in his head. I honestly had no idea how our merge would affect you; I wasn’t even sure if I would survive! A little nervous giggle resounded in his head. Just…consider it a gift from Hylia for giving you a second chance at life? She suggested.
Link sighed as he continued to tread water. It really was a beautiful day. There were only patches of clouds and the sun was beating down warmly. “Maybe I’m putting too much stock into them. I guess…” He struggled trying to find the right words. He had once hoped Navi could read his mind, but it was established early on she could not. He had to vocalize his thoughts to her. “I guess I feel that there has to be some greater purpose to them than there probably is.”
I think you are right Link. Navi agreed. He could almost feel the shrug of her shoulders as she said it.
A tug on his leg startled him out of his conversation, a small splash nearby heralded the entrance of a Zora. Backing away slightly from the sudden visitor, he eyed it warily expecting it to strike at any moment. Although the Zora had a spear gripped in its hand, it raised a palm in greeting.
“Ahoy, do not be alarmed. You must be Link.” The Zora’s eyes darted briefly to the white wings Link was sporting. At a nod from him, the Zora continued, “I was told to come find you to act as an ambassador to your group for us.”
“What for? Who are you?” Link probed cautiously.
“My name is Leelan. Our king has tasked us to assist your reconstruction efforts to rebuild Glaun’rung as a sign of peace between our peoples.” The Zora extended his hand in friendship; Link clasped it firmly, suddenly remembering how clammy their skin felt. “It is agreed then, please see to it that they are accommodating of our presence. We will await word of their decision tomorrow.”
With a flash of a fin, the Zora was gone. Link blinked a few times, had he imagined that entire conversation? As if to test himself, he asked Navi, “Did I talk to a Zora just now?”
Yep. You are not hallucinating Link. Navi pealed softly in humor.
“Good. At least I have you to back me up in that regard.” He laughed.
A howl of distress diverted his gaze over to the shore as he saw a wriggling Saria thrashing against Impa’s powerful grip. His mouth dropped at the spectacle, the Sheikah had not only caught the wry little Kokiri, she had stripped her naked and was firmly carrying Saria under her arm towards the water. With a roar of triumph she dove headfirst into the water with Saria locked in her arms, shrilling all the way into the cool, refreshing liquid.
Link lumbered over, trying his best to swim over to them, his wings continually unbalancing his strokes. Impa popped out of the water first, followed shortly after by a spluttering Saria. “I hate you Impa!” She yelled.
Impa cackled with diabolical glee, “Don’t ever dare a Sheikah! You had no idea who you were messing with!” She rammed her hand into the lake, splashing the gasping Kokiri with a tidal wave of water. Impa looked down at her sopping armor but dismissed it, “My clothes may be soaked, but it was worth it!”
“You are nuts Impa.” Zelda accused from the shoreline. She had fitted herself with a free flowing dress of blue, with a side stitch of runes trailing down of gold and white.
“Don’t I know it!” Link chipped in smiling.
“Oh…don’t you start ganging up on me.” Impa warned, waggling a finger. “I will dunk you under, wings and all boy! You may be skilled, but I am still the master here!”
Saria and Link shared a devious look before they surged in to assault the bellowing Sheikah. “Attack!” They yelled in harmony.
“Zelda!” Impa screeched as their hands began forcing her beneath the surface. “Get in here and save your teacher!”
“Nuh-uh!” Zelda shook her head swiftly. “You brought this on yourself. You deal with it!”
Grabbing the Saria and Link by the neck, Impa did a backflip in the water, plunging their faces into the lake in a somersault of death. They all came up spitting out water and laughing. It had been a long time since they enjoyed rare moments of respite like this. It was peaceful.
They got back into the city just as the sun was setting on the horizon, its brilliant rays of gold and red basking the buildings in their comforting glow. Link was astride Epona with Saria sitting in front of him. She sometimes felt the inner urge to simply sit in the saddle with him and enjoy the ride. She didn’t always have to fly. Zelda and Impa were riding the two spotted horses Francis had once owned before his death. They had given them the names of Fado and Tellah. Fado was the rambunctious one with Tellah being quite a bit more subdued.
Link glanced up at the sky as he saw Kotake and Koume levitate higher into the air on their brooms before spiraling off with crowing laughter towards the distant snow-capped mountains to the north. He always wondered what those two were up to, he did not trust them. Ganondorf had been keeping to himself mostly, emerging from his secretive dealings to appear with Apolloni, who seemed to be willing to do whatever he desired. Link wrinkled his nose at the thought of that woman, her slow slippage of sanity began with the loss of Aveil and the only thing that kept her grounded these days was her king.
Dismounting from their horses, they guided them into the stables which had been recently refurbished over the course of the last orbit. Link, Talon and Ingo had worked hard each day to rebuild and touch up the majority of the structure. To ensure its lasting quality, Ingo even polished down the wood to a nice sheen. His pub and inn received similar treatment. it had been hard work, but the people of Glaun’rung were finally starting to recover from the infectious poison that Barrachas had brought to their community.
Zelda leapt back slightly at the restless snort from Ganondorf’s horse Appa. The discovery of that name had been quite the hilarious event. Malon and Link were coming in to brush down Epona, Fado and Tellah when they saw Ganondorf grooming his black stallion. He presently ignored them as they entered and preferred to mind his steed over their company, which mattered little to the two of them.
On a whim, Malon asked if the horse had a name. Ganondorf was a bit taken aback at her interest but smiled nevertheless about her curiosity in his horse. After revealing its name to be Appa, Link looked at her with an air of smugness at having his original name suggestion vindicated. They could do nothing but laugh at the ludicrous nature of it all. Ganondorf merely growled and stalked out of the stables.
Giving Appa a wide berth, they tethered the horses to their individual stalls. Link looked forlornly at the stall beside Epona’s that once belonged to Harden. Sighing, he turned around to the slumbering Cyn’Taak. Xavier had taken up residence with the horses, not that she minded it much. At first, the horses were alarmed and quite panicked in its presence. Over the course of weeks, they had grown accustomed to its company and even began to sleep near her as if drawing comfort from the snoring behemoth.
Not wanting to wake the sleeping Cyn’Taak, he motioned to the others to follow him out back to the inn. Link was still amazed at how much the creature had progressed in the past orbit. It was now capable of speech at a level that was far beyond anything he remembered her ilk ever producing. He figured being around men and women who spoke proper Hylian assisted in its amazing grasp of the language. It wouldn’t be long now in its growing development that its tail would start producing potent venom. Link shuddered at the thought.
The four of them strolled into the pub, admiring the freshly greased shutter doors as they entered. Ingo had just begun to set down plates of steaming food at the table. Looking up to see them return, he smiled. “Welcome back everyone! Merin actually helped me cook this delicious meal tonight. She is quite the chef!” Merin, who was sitting beside Ashley, blushed from his praise; Ashley merely rolled his eyes at him.
Talon was sitting beside his daughter Malon. She beamed at Link as he sat down at the table next to her. Talon grunted slightly at this but did not comment, instead directing his attention to the food at hand. “Did ya have good training today, Link?” He asked passively.
Adjusting his wings so he wouldn’t keep banging the back of Malon’s head with them, he nodded. “Yeah, I think I’m getting used to these things.” He motioned toward his new limbs.
Malon leaned back to check out his modified tunic she was forced to make him. “I see that the zippered design works well with your wings.” She commented.
“I agree.” Merin pitched in cheerfully, “That idea of yours Ingo was brilliant. I honestly didn’t know how we were going to get shirts on Link after that.” She waved a hand in Link’s general direction.
Link shifted uncomfortably, he felt horribly out of place with everyone talking about him and his wings like it was something unnatural that had to be accounted for. “Let’s just eat.” He spoke flatly.
“Excellent idea, m’boy!” Talon puffed. “I am famished!”
It was an excellent dinner that evening, Merin and Ingo had prepared a succulent steak sidelined with mashed taters and steamed broccoli. Saria poked slightly at the steak before politely refusing it, preferring to eat the broccoli instead. She couldn’t bear to eat animal meat. Impa and Zelda sat together eating in silence as they enjoyed the company of the others in the room.
Figuring this was a good time to bring up the Zora exchange, Link brought it to their attention of the potential help from them. Ingo thought it was a great idea and wouldn’t mind the extra help in rebuilding the capital. Now that the ownership of the city had transferred hands back to its people, things could finally begin on the right foot this time. Link was in admiration of Ingo. Ever since the death of his final brother and all of his kin, he took it upon himself to run the pub and inn in his stead, never once offering a complaint.
“Um…can I have some jam on this steak?” Malon asked abruptly.
Ingo’s mustache quivered in confusion, “I’m sorry, what?”
She pointed to the steak, “Some jam. Strawberry, raspberry, doesn’t matter. Do you have any?”
Ingo looked over at Talon about the idiocy his daughter was spouting. Talon merely shrugged before plopping a huge hunk of meat into his mouth. “It’s steak, Malon. You don’t put anything on it, you’ll ruin the flavor.” Ingo chided.
“Just do it Ingo.” Talon implored in-between mouthfuls of meat chewing.
Ingo creased his nose in disgust but consented to honor her request. Ashley looked on in shock as Malon slathered the offered jam onto her steak. She sliced up a few chunks before gulping them down like she had been starving for cycles. Link went to say something about slowing down when she brought a hand to her mouth. She looked like she was going to puke. Quickly excusing herself, she rushed up the stairs. Link winced as they all could hear her empty the contents of her stomach in the room bucket.
The rest of them finished the scrumptious meal in silence before heading off to their respective rooms for their bedtime routines. Talon gave Link a hard look, “I think it’s time you and I talked son.” He said sternly.
Avoiding Ingo who was clearing the table, he brought Link to the side of the room by the roaring fireplace. “What is it Talon?” Link asked cheerfully, although he had an idea of what was coming.
“We need ta talk about the future of you and Malon.” He rumbled gravely. “We all know ya like each other. That can be seen plain as day. Furthermore, it’s not like I can stop ya two anyhow especially since ya two are of age…and,” he coughed purposely trying to think of a way to avoid the subject, “since you’ve both done the deed several times now.”
Link blushed as he looked away from Talon’s penetrating eyes. Scratching the back of his head like a nervous tic, Link offered meekly, “We were going to tell you, but…”
Talon put up a hand to stop him, “Link, ya better be prepared fer the future with her. We all know ya are going on a journey with Zelda and all them, and that’s fine. But I know she will want ta come with ya. My strong advice is ta ensure that she stays here and comes with us.”
Link looked at him mystified, “What? Why?”
“She’s got a lot more ta think about now, Link. Where ya are going is far more dangerous than where we are headed.” Talon crossed his arms, trying to get it through the lad’s thick skull.
“Don’t tell me you think I can’t protect her?” Link asked skeptically.
“It’s not that.” Talon placed a hand to his forehead, how could he say this? “She’s caring fer two now, and ya are responsible!” He pointed a finger directly at Link’s chest. Seeing the confused look on Link’s face, he groaned. “Boy! Haven’t ya learned anything all them orbits ya helped us out on the ranch? She’s pregnant!”
A clatter of dishes erupted from behind the counter, as Ingo hastily wiped up the mess; trying to appear like a fly on the wall, completely eavesdropping on the conversation. Link’s mouth opened in disbelief, he had some vague idea where babies came from but didn’t quite put the connection together that making love with Malon would result in such a thing. Talon quickly helped Link sit down on the nearest chair as he stared off into the fire, lost in his whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. He was going to be a father!
Patting his shoulder gently, Talon smiled at the youth’s reaction. “I understand this is tough ta take in Link. I won’t deny ya access ta my daughter anymore, but ya gotta treat her right. Make sure she stays behind when ya leave. We’ll take care of the child if it is born before ya return.” The two of them sat there together for a time before Talon grunted, unsure of what else to say, “Well…good night Link. See ya tomorrow.” Heaving his girth off the creaking bench, he rumbled up the stairs to go sleep next to Giana.
Passing by the glares of Ingo, Link walked numbly up the stairs as he headed for the room he shared with Malon. Their relationship was quite known amongst the group by this point. They had moved Saria out and placed a third bed for her to sleep beside Zelda and Impa, the Kokiri wasn’t exactly happy at this prospect. When this roommate change transpired Link could hear Zelda crying in the next room the first few nights before finally tapering off. Now he heard nothing beyond the wall adjoining their rooms after the three of them had gone to sleep.
Link saw Malon sitting at the edge of the bed that they shared, clothed in nothing but a lightweight ivory negligée. She beamed at him as he entered and began taking his boots off in the corner, “Good evening Link.”
“Hey Malon.” He grinned, as he turned around to offer his back to her. She hopped off the blankets as she walked over to him to help unstrap his tunic. Ever since the sprouting of his wings, she had to reconstruct his Kokiri tunic so that it zipped up and around the base of each. Gingerly taking the cloth off his back, she stood back and admired his physique. Catching her shameless stare, he looked at her sheepishly. “What?”
Malon smirked, “Nothing. I’m just lucky I have the best guy in the world.” She crooked her finger, beckoning him to follow her to the bed. She swayed her hips enticingly as she paced toward the inviting covers.
Nayru have mercy! Do I have to watch this again? Navi jeered.
“Well, if you don’t like it Navi, you can just look away.” He chuckled.
You know I can’t do that Link! I see what you see! She susurrated.
“Is that Navi talking to you?” Malon inquired, suddenly feeling diffident that someone inside Link’s head would be watching them making love…who already had been!
Link nodded his head at her question before replying back to Navi, “Well then don’t complain then. You are the one who merged with me. You’re just going to have to put up with it. It’s a natural part of life!” He laughed.
Yeah I know. What was I thinking? I didn’t really take into account all aspects of this merging; it seemed like a good idea at the time. She huffed loudly in his mind. If he could see her, he visualized her arms crossed in a severe pout.
“Then it’s settled.” He undid his breeches and kicked them off, revealing his swollen member that was eager for release. After a quick thought, he added, “Just…be quiet during this?”
Fine. I’m just glad I can’t feel it, man that just gives me the willies. She retorted.
“Is she quite done?” Malon crooned, already naked on the bed with her legs spread wide, her small tuft of ginger hair directing his attention to her lovely crevice.
“Yeah…” Link said dryly.
Link hiked himself up over her as he dipped himself quickly inside her folds, she moaned in pleasure as his full manhood reached her inner depths. It took some time and a lot of fumbling, but they had learned to make love with the addition of his new wings. She reached around his back and began rubbing the base of his appendages. It struck raw nerves in his spine which shot down his body making him groan in desire. She delighted in the fact that his wings were highly sensitive in certain areas to have this erotic effect on him.
Link was kneading into her womanhood, building a good rhythm when she suddenly pushed him away, forcing him to slip out of her with a slurp. “What’s wrong?” He asked, both concerned and bothered at the same time.
“I’m…going to barf!” She managed to stammer before clapping a hand to her mouth and tearing towards the room bucket by the wall. Within seconds she retched into the pail what was left of her stomach. Link flinched at the sudden change in the sexual mood of the room.
Lovely. Navi mockingly rang.