Silent Courage

Chapter 13: The Effects of Magic

Chapter 13: The Effects of Magic

Castle sweet castle. It’s nice that it didn’t take too long to get back, the sooner I become human again, the better. I think I might miss Shorty, but not as much as I have missed been Hylian. I jump out of the dammed saddlebag (I won’t miss that), and shake my fur as Zelda dismounts. ‘So, what’s the plan?’ I ask.

“I need to tell the guard captain about the Smog, while I do that, you should go tell Midna to start getting the potion ready,” Zelda says.

‘Okay, see you later,’ I run off, my leg fully healed thanks to some normal potion. I ignore the few people who I pass, and I can’t help but smirk when a maid drops some clothes. I finally find Midna in a small potion room and trot over to her, looking at the cauldron which is bubbling red and green. ‘Is that what I’m taking?’ I ask.

“Once we get the last thing, yeah,” Midna nods, putting in a bit more of the Fire of Din.

‘Well, I think we’ve figured out what it is. I’m not sure on the details, but I think I’ll need to be around someone I care about,’ I explain.

“Are you kidding? Well we wasted a lot of time,” Midna rolls her eyes.

‘That’s what I thought.’

“Anyway, go wander around. Now that I know about the Love of Nayru, I can put the finishing touches on the potion. It should be dark by the time it’s finished.”

‘‘Kay,’ I leave and head to my room, I’d like to rest on my bed. I pass a study to see Pretty Boy coming out of it. Not wanting him to see me, I hide behind a low-hanging tapestry and peek out from the bottom of it. He looks around suspiciously, making me curious, before going down the right corridor, to the stables. Something’s not right. Not trusting him, I push at the door and manage to open it enough for me to get through. It closes behind me with a soft click and I look around the room. Nothing but a desk, some chairs and bookshelves.

I go over to the desk and open the bottom drawer, since it’s the only one I can reach, but as I shuffle through the papers, I don’t find anything interesting. With a sigh, I close the drawer when I hear the door handle turn. Not wanting to be caught, I run under one of the chairs and hide as two people come in, Pretty Boy being one of them. “Lock the door, I don’t want any intruders here,” Pretty Boy orders and the person with him locks the door.

“So, is everything ready yet? I don’t want my brother escaping,” a shrilly voice asks. It sounds familiar...

“No. Our plans are not fully complete. We need a bit more time. Luckily no one is getting in the way, so we don’t have to eliminate anyone for just knowing.”

“Whatever. But when do I get to kill him? I want my revenge for defeating me.”

“Do you think I don’t? Since I saw him I’ve wanted to kill him. But I had to hold myself back. He’s the prefect pawn for this game.”

“Why’s that?” the shrilly voice asks as the owner of the voice sits on the chair I’m hiding under.

“While he’s off doing those chores, we have time to work on our plans, and the more time he wastes, the more we become ready.”

Who are they talking about? Oh, what’s that matter? I need to warn Zelda about him. I knew we couldn’t trust Pretty Boy. I look at the door, I need to get out and warn Zelda before it’s too late. I look out from the back of the chair, maybe I can make a break for the door without them noticing me. I silently run for it and make it to the door when I remember: they locked it.

“Well well, what have we here?” I curse when I’m picked up roughly by Pretty Boy, I narrow my eyes so he won’t recognize me. “When did this mutt get in here?”

“Can I eat it?” the shrilly voice asks, turning on the chair. I can’t see her face though, since Pretty Boy’s in the way.

“No. It’s just a dog, it’s nothing important,” Pretty Boy tosses me out, giving me one last glare before shutting the door. He knows. I know it. Why didn’t he do anything? Does he not think I’m a threat? His fault then.

But five minutes later, I can’t seem to remember anything after going into the study. What happened? Did I hit my head? I shake my head to clear it, it probably doesn’t matter, it won’t affect anyone.

I enter my room and jump onto my bed, stretching out and lying down with a yawn. Finally, I get to sleep in a normal bed. This is my last day as a pup, and I find it funny that I’m getting more and more hyper at the thought of it. I won’t be treated like I’m worthless! I’ll be able to fight for myself again! And I’ll be able to use my thumbs! The joys of little things.

I don’t know how long I was asleep for, but when I wake up I see that the sun is starting to set. The potion might be done soon, so I should start heading down. I push the door to get out and leave it slightly open so I can get back in, like I did last time, and run through the halls, being careful not to be spotted by a servant or maid or a certain pretty boy. The last of which I will bite his leg if he tries anything funny.

Luckily I make it to the potion room with any mishap to see Midna sitting back in a chair, looking dead tired. How long’s she been working on the potion? Zelda’s steering the potion now and spots me come in. “There you are. I was just about to send Navi for you.”

“Well, I hope you’re happy. This potion took two days to make, you know,” Midna says, very irritated.

‘I don’t even care if it tastes like frog skin, I’ll just be happy to be human again,’ I think.

“Good thing you said frog skin, because that’s what it smells like,” Midna smirks and I roll my eyes. Of course.

“Now, after you drink the potion, you need to stay with a person who you care about the most for a full night without your eyes falling on another person,” Zelda says.

‘Who am I gunna stay with then?’ I ask.

“Well figure it out later, the potion will only be effective for a few minutes,” Midna says, getting up and scooping the potion into a bowl. “When you drink it, keep your eyes closed until we figure out who you’re going to stay with.”

‘Okay,’ I nod and she puts it down. I drink all I can, ignoring the frog skin taste, and right as I finish it, my mind goes bla-

-Sheik’s POV-

I walk through the castle and go down to the potion rooms, Midna said that they had found out about the Love of Nayru, and I can’t believe the time we wasted. I open the door to the potion room to see Link run at me, her pupils enlarged. You’ve got to be kidding me. “Did she not drink the potion yet?” I ask.

“She just finished. You’ll need to take her somewhere there won’t be anyone,” Zelda says as Midna goes into her shadow.

“Why’s that?” I raise an eyebrow as Shorty paws at my leg, whining.

“She saw you first, she’ll need to stay with you for the rest of the night, since she can’t look at anyone else now, or the potion won’t work.”

“How does that make sense?”

“Easy, it doesn’t,” Midna says.

“I suggest going to the courtyard that you can see from her room, no one really goes there,” Zelda tells me.

“Why do I always end up with Link when she becomes Shorty?” I roll my eyes.

“Because it’s funny, she likes you the most anyway,” Midna laughs as Shorty scratches at the door.

I just sigh, I had to open the door at that time. Now I’m stuck babysitting Shorty. Again. For the third, and hopefully final, time. “Fine, see you in the morning,” I say, opening the door and letting Shorty out. This is going to be another long night, isn’t it?

Shorty runs around the halls as we head to the courtyard. I keep a close eye on her as she sniffs at the tapestries, bats at the suits of armour, and growls at a study that I know Edward’s using. Looks like Shorty hates him too. “Come on,” I pat my leg and she barks before running over, looking up at me with a smile. “Why do you always come to me?” I ask her as if she was still Link, bending down to scratch behind her ears, she leans into my hand. “Do you like me that much?”

I’m replied with a bark and her jumping up to lick my face. I push her down and wipe my face, she just pants away. I wonder what Link thinks when she gets her right of mind back. Can she remember anything? I never asked her that. I shake my head and we start walking again when I see a shadow down the corridor. Oh great, I need to distract Shorty so she doesn’t run and ruin the only chance to change Link back. “Come here,” I lead her into a separate room and hold her to the ground gently to keep her in place. She licks my hand as the footsteps of the person come and fade from the corridor. I open the door a bit to find it empty once again and leave, closing the door after Shorty.

I pick up the pace and jog to the courtyard, Shorty keeping a few paces behind me, her tongue hanging out of her mouth. We enter the courtyard and the second Shorty comes in, she runs to the single tree in the middle. The leaves are starting to change colour and fall off of it, signalling that winter is around the corner. Shorty runs into a small pile of the leaves and rolls in it, barking joyfully as she kicks up leaves. I go over to the tree and lean back on it, closing my eyes when I hear a whine. Oh Goddesses, what now? I open my eyes to see Shorty sitting beside me, looking at me in the same way she did the first time this happened. She wants to play again.

I look around to find a stick and pick it up, throwing it across the courtyard. Tail wagging, Shorty runs after it, a small grey blur in the night. She gets the stick and runs back, putting it down and stretching her front paws out, her rear up as she wags her tail, waiting for me to throw it again. I sigh, why does she have to be cute? I throw the stick for what seems like hours, but it turns out I’ve only thrown it for twenty minutes when Shorty grows board of this game. She then decides that it will be hilariously fun to steal my boot. Now, with one bare foot, I run after her through the yard. I see the smirk in her eyes even in this state as she runs through the flowers and mud.

After finally getting my boot back, I glare at the grinning pup as she looks at me putting the boot back on. She knows I’m ticked, and she’s laughing on the inside. “You just love putting my patience to the limit, don’t you?” I ask. In response, she nudges her head into my side, grabbing the tunic I’m wearing in her teeth and pulling back, playfully growling. “I’m taking that as a ‘yes’,” I tell her. She just puts her paw on my leg and lifts herself up to sniff my face. “Yeah yeah yeah, you know others find you cute. I’m not one of them.”

Wanting to prove me wrong, Shorty flips onto her back and puts her head on my leg, looking at me with her ears flat, tail wagging and her tongue sticking out goofily. I sigh and scratch behind her ears, making her push into my hand again. I look up at the moon and I blink in disbelief. It’s already midnight? When did that happen? I look down at Shorty when I feel her curl into my side and she puts her snout in her paws, snuggling into me. “Just a little longer,” I say, feeling drowsy. Yawning, I put an arm around Shorty and lean my head back on the tree, quickly dozing off.

-The next morning-

I wake up when the sun hits my face and I squint my eyes open to see the courtyard, morning dew on the grass and leaves. I’m surprised I didn’t get cold last night. I look down when I feel something shift and my eyes widen. Link’s back to normal. She’s gripping my tunic with her legs brought up to her stomach and her head’s turned into my chest. I feel a small blush rise on my cheeks when she snuggles her head in a bit more, letting out a small snore.

I can’t help but snort at that. Okay, that’s kind of cute, I’ll admit that. Chuckling quietly, I brush a bit of her hair back and my hand brushes her ear, making it twitch and she turns her head away, scrunching her face. Smirking in amusement, I rub her ear and she lets out a content sigh, smiling in her sleep. It’s now that a notice something…awkward.

Very awkward.

My blush deepens considerably when I realize she’s naked. I turn my head away quickly, staring at anything but her. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. This is going to be bad when she wakes up. Not wanting to be seen by anyone, I move so I can take off my tunic and I stare at her head as I get it over her and get her arms through the sleeves. This is one of those times that I’m happy she’s so tiny.

Not even fazed by me moving her, Link just keeps snoring quietly as my eyes fall on the small pond a few feet away and I absentmindedly rub her head gently.

-Link’s POV-

I look around the flowery plane, human once again, when I feel a tugging sensation, like something’s pulling me forward. It makes my feet skid over the dirt as it brings me forward and suddenly stops when I smack into someone. I fall back and sit up on my hands, shaking my head. Looking up, my jaw drops when I see a large wolf sitting there, just smiling at me. The tugging gives one last, strong pull before a misty spirit of some sort comes out of my body.

With a nod, the wolf turns and enters a misty door and the spirit, which circles around me a bit, follows soon after. I smile and wave when I feel something pull me back now. I then start falling and just before I hit something solid, I wake up.

I blink my eyes open, the world is fuzzy and my head’s pounding annoyingly. What’s going on? Once my vision is clear, I find that I’m in the courtyard, and it takes a few seconds to regain my thoughts on what happened. I drank the potion when I turned into Shorty, and all I remember hearing is “cute” for some reason.

Wait, I drank the potion. Does that mean…? I slowly lift my arm in front of my face and smile when I see my hand and fingers. I flex my hands and feel the smile grow as I let my head fall the pillow I’m using. Wait, since when did pillows breathe? Tensing slightly, I look up and feel my face become red when I see Sheik, his arm is around me and patting down the back of my head, and he’s just staring off into space. He’s not wearing his shawl for once, and his hair’s tied back. I’m snuggled into him, and it’s a lot weirder when I’m human.

Feeling my head move, Sheik looks down and smirks, are his cheeks red? Or am I imagining…?

“Morning,” he simply says. “How are you, Shorty?”

‘Ugh,’ I reply, not caring when I put my head back down him. ‘I feel sick.’

“Why’s that?”

‘I dunno, my stomach’s all tossy-turny,’ I think, wrapping my arms around my stomach, noticing the tunic I’m wearing. ‘This isn’t mine.’

“Uh…no, it isn’t. It’s…mine,” I look at Sheik, he’s blushing the same colour as his eyes. That’s kinda funny. “You were cold as a pup, so I put it on you and just rearranged it when I woke up to find you Hylian again.”

‘Oh, okay,’ I smile. ‘Thanks.’

“Yeah,” he smiles back, a bit nervously for some reason, and shifts himself so he’s sitting up, taking me with him. “So, happy to be human again?”

I nod, liking the warmth, when I feel my face fall. My jaw slacks and my stomach starts to rumble, making me put a hand on it as if it will help. “Link? Are you alright-” I interrupt by puking in the grass beside us. I think all that magic’s catching up on me. I heave as I feel a hand making circles on my back, my face becomes hot and sweaty and I feel exhausted. Sheik moves and I find myself being picked up bridle-style by the Sheikah. I hate magic.

-Sheik’s POV…again-

I practically sprint through the castle, ignoring the servants as they pass. Now that I think about it, Link did look pale when she woke up. And this might be why. By what caused her to get so sick? I shake my head, that doesn’t matter right now, I need to get Link to Zelda.

“Zelda, we have a problem,” I tell her, not bothering to knock as I come into her study. She looks up from the papers she’s working on and ditches them, rushing over.

“Put her on the bed, I think I know what’s wrong,” she orders and I do as she says, gently putting Link on the bed as she holds her stomach and shivers, her eyes tightly closed in pain.

“What’s happening?” I ask as Zelda pulls up a chair and wipes Link’s forehead.

“She absorbed too much magic.”

I look at Link, who’s shivering a lot more violently. Her entire face is red and she looks like she struggling to hold herself still as Zelda comforts her. “This is what happens when she can’t take anymore magic? She gets sick?”

“Yes, it happened after she fought Ganon. But it wasn’t nearly as bad. Luckily all she needs to do is keep hydrated and have rest. That should cure her in at least two days.”

I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding. “I’m going to get some water and a change of clothes, can you watch over her?” Zelda asks, standing up.

Nodding I take the chair as she leaves, looking at Link’s red face. “You weren’t kidding when you said you felt sick,” I mutter, wiping her forehead. She coughs in reply and turns her head, burying it into the pillow. “You have the worst luck of anyone I’ve ever met.”

If she wasn’t so sick, I know she’d be ‘saying’ something sarcastic.

Zelda quickly comes back with spare clothes and I step outside as she changes Link. I’d rather not have that awkward moment again. It doesn’t take long, and I come in, leaning on the bedpost. “So what now?” I ask as Zelda forces Link to drink some potion.

“Now we just need to let her rest,” Zelda says. “The potion I gave her well help her sleep.”

I nod and get up to leave with Zelda when a moan makes me stop. I look over my shoulder at Link, who’s now under the covers with a wet cloth on her head. “Actually, you go. I think I’ll stay here in case she needs anything,” I say, walking back and sitting on the chair.

“Alright,” I swear I hear a smile in her voice, but when I look up she closes the door. Did I catch a knowing look in her eye? Whatever.

I just sit and watch over Link, worried for her sake. It’s rare that I’ve seen someone so…ill. Last time I knew someone who was this sick, they…I shake my head. You don’t have to worry, Sheik, she won’t end up like him. Link turns over towards me and hugs herself in her sleep, it’s hard to believe she’s been through so much. When she’s awake, she has that proud, fierce look to her that any warrior has, but when she sleeps, she’s like an innocent child, oblivious to everything around her. Her face is soft and I can now see the true Link behind the stoic mask. Her experiences must haunt her, but she doesn’t show it.

Why is it always the innocent that suffer? I can tell by the little time I’ve met Link that she doesn’t like her fame. She doesn’t like being the hero. I see the angry, sad and annoyed look in her eyes whenever someone calls her ‘hero’. I guess that going from a small village that no one really knows about to a big city where everyone knows you can be a huge shock. I wonder how she coped with learning that she was the next hero. Did she know what her Triforce meant when she was younger? Or did she just think it was a birthmark?

Maybe I should ask her, I see the way she acts around Midna and Zelda, she’s open, she doesn’t hide at all, but when it’s just me, it seems like she backs up into herself to try and hide. Honestly, that kind of hurts me. She didn’t trust me when we first met, which is smart, then she started trusting me when she told me her fear, and now it’s like she doesn’t trust me anymore.

That’s why you shouldn’t have used so much magic around her, the cold voice in the back of my head says. You had her trust, but you broke it when you summoned magic around her constantly.

Shut up! I know what I did was wrong, but does she really hate me for that?

She doesn’t hate you, she just doesn’t trust you.

I shake my head harshly. I am not getting into an argument with myself again. Even if it’s a bit too late now. A groan takes me out of my thoughts and my eyes fall on Link again. Why do you make me so confused? It’s like you try to make me feel these things, even with the small stuff you do.

She starts turning in her sleep, and I recognize the movements from the nightmare she had in the Fire Temple. Not thinking, I reach out and grab her hand and, to my surprise, she settles down, as if I can protect her. I sigh and turn my head away. I can’t protect anybody.

“I see that she calmed down,” I snap my attention to the door, where a man is standing with his arms crossed, a small smile on his face. “Sometimes it’s hard to get her out of the nightmare state while she’s still sleeping.”

I take my hand away, wishing I had put my shawl back on and the room wasn’t so bright. The man just chuckles as he walks over. “I’m Rusl, my wife Uli and I raised Link,” he says. “I’ve helped comfort her for only a few nightmares. One in which I’ve lived myself. What’s your name, lad?”

Trying to remember when someone last called me ‘lad’, I reply. “My name’s Sheik. I only met Link about two-three weeks ago.”

“You’ve obviously grown close in those few weeks.”

And here comes the heat. “Oh, uh, no, not really. We’re just friends.”

He doesn’t say anything, he just smiles. “So, judging by your eyes, assume you’re a Sheikah?”

“Yes. How did you know?” I ask, confused at the subject change.

“I’ve heard a bit about your people. You live deep in the desert, right?”

“Yes. It’s not every day I meet someone who knows about us.”

He just nods and smiles. “So, how is Link?”

“I’m not exactly sure. She’s pretty sick though. Zelda said she’ll have to rest for a few days,” I say.

Rusl runs his hand over her ear and she moves her head away as it twitches. I wonder why she does that when you touch her ear. Rusl smiles, seeming to read my mind. “I found this out when she was five. Hylian ears are a little bit like a cat’s, they twitch at loud noises and when someone touches them. She loved me scratching her ears when she was a kid. The last few years she’s thought she’s too old for it anymore, but when she’s sick it comforts her.”

“She’s so weird,” I can’t help but say. Rusl laughs.

“And she’s proud of it,” he shakes his head.

“How did she deal with becoming the hero?” I ask.

Rusl sighs. “She was so confused when she came back to Ordon, when I saw her wearing her old clothes for the first time in months, I could tell they didn’t feel right. They didn’t even look right on her anymore. She would sit in the goat pasture all day with Epona, she was slow to responding to anyone, and she looked even more out of place then she did growing up. It was maybe two weeks after everything returned to normal that I realized, nothing could ever be normal again. I knew Link would never be the same, she would never fit in Ordon again, and she looked as if everything she knew was stripped of her. I suggested that she went and lived in Hyrule Castle, knowing Zelda would welcome her, but she was reluctant. It was so strange seeing her leave, she stood taller than she ever did, she had that warrior look to her, and she didn’t hide her face nearly as much.”

“That whole experience really changed her, didn’t it?” I look at her face, she still looks innocent when she’s asleep.

“Yes, it did. It would change anyone. She went through so much in just a few months that many people couldn’t do in years. People praise her for saving the land, but they don’t realize what she went through to save it. Even I don’t know the full story. Sheik, I can see that you care about her, so I want to ask you a request.”

“Alright,” I say, uncertain.

“Can you protect Link?” I blink, why would he ask this? “She’s not strong enough to take everything on alone. She might try to, but that’s just her being stubborn. There will come times when the stress of everything she does piles up and breaks through, and she’ll need someone to be with, to just be with her and help her. Can I trust you with doing that?”

Can he? I wonder, looking at my hands. Why would he trust me? He doesn’t know me. But maybe it’s because he sees that Link trusts me, which I find hard to believe. This man, the man who raised Link, trusts me with keeping her safe, and protecting her. How can I? I can’t protect anyone, all I do is bring danger to others.

Oh? Then why do you want to say yes? the blasted voice whispers.

I sigh deeply, open my mouth to say no, and glance at Link. “Yes,” I nod, looking at Rusl, who’s smiling.

“Thank you,” he says and gets up. “You’re a good lad, Sheik.” And with that, he leaves.

Stupid! I hadn’t meant to say yes! I wanted to say no! What made me say yes? I groan, rubbing my hands over my face. “What’s wrong with me? She doesn’t know me or my past, I don’t know her or her past! Why do I feel like this?” I curse loudly, getting up from the chair to pace, my shadow following me as the sun streams in from the window. I look out the window to see wind blowing the leaves across the grass and a clear blue sky. My entire lift’s a mess at the moment, I don’t need any more trouble.

“Uhh,” I cringe a bit at the moan, still kicking myself for using magic. I thought bringing a shield would protect her, but apparently not. It just made things worse. I sit down and close my eyes, no matter who I try to protect, they always seem to suffer…

When light flashes behind my eyelids, I open my eyes to find that it’s night, and there’s a storm outside. The rain pelts on the window and the lightning flashes, making me wince at the sudden light that brightens up the room. I get up from the chair and close the curtains, lighting a candle with a simple fire spell. I rub my eyes as I sit down again, have I really been asleep this whole time? I’ve never slept that long in my life. Letting my hands drop to the chair’s arms, I look up at the bed, seeing Link had pulled the covers over her head in her sleep, but she pulled them a little hard, her feet are sticking out of the bottom of them. I chuckle at that, she never fails to amuse me. That’s probably why people seem to like her, she’s just fun to be around.

I get up and gently pull the covers back down, but she pulls them back up. Giving up after five times, I sit on the edge of the bed and feel her forehead. The cloth is dried and she’s still hot. I take a container and tilt her head back, tipping the container up and making her drink the water. After that, I take the cloth off and go to the washroom, dunking it in the water-filled sink before wringing it out and going back in, putting it on her forehead again to cool her down. I brush her ear again, and she sighs like before, a smile forming on her face in her sleep. I run my hand down her face and let it rest on her shoulder, giving it a comforting squeeze to tell her everything’s alright.

Sitting back down again, my mind drifts off. I don’t think of anything in particular, but I just sort of fall into a slight daze as I rest my head on my hand, which is propped up on the chair by my elbow. I just realized, I haven’t eaten in a few days, yet I’m not hungry. And now that I think about being hungry, I feel my stomach growl. I get up to go, when my heart twinges a bit at the thought of leaving Link alone in the dark on a stormy night. W-why is this? Lightning strikes again and I hear a scream come from the bed. I turn to see Link thrashing in the bed, kicking the covers off and sending the pillows across the room.

Panicked, I run over and put my hands on her shoulders, giving her a light shake as she freaks out. “Link, it’s alright! It’s okay! Nothing’s hurting you!” I say, sitting on the bed and hugging her to me. She snaps out of the frenzy and I get surprised when she hugs me back, practically squeezing the life out of me. “You alright?” I ask, holding her head to my chest. She nods a little, but then stops and shakes her head, gripping my tunic. “What was it?”

‘A nightmare,’ her thoughts even sound sick. They’re raspy and weak, as if she is speaking through a sore throat.

“What was it about?”

‘…Someone I care about…they turned into a monster and…and…I couldn’t save them,’ she tells me, still shaking as I feel the front of my tunic become wet.

“I’ll go get you some water,” I move to leave, but she just hugs me harder.

‘Don’t go,’ I think my heart breaks a little inside. She sounds like a scared kid. I stand, but cradle her as I get onto the bed, leaning on the back of it.

“I won’t,” I whisper, thinking it impossible to leave her like this, even if for a second.

‘Thank you,’ she relaxes, but still shivers. I rub her back and rock a bit, not knowing how or why I’m doing this. ‘Sheik…am I gunna be alright?’

A lump grows in my throat, she sounds…scared. “Why do you think you won’t be?”

She doesn’t answer. ‘Will I be okay?’ she asks again.

She must have never been this sick in her life. And to have a nightmare on top of being sick, that’s not a good combination. “You’re going to be fine. Nothing will hurt you.”

‘‘Cause you’ll protect me, right?’ I look down at her, she’s looking up. Her face is so innocent, the most innocent I’ve ever seen her when she’s awake. I touch my forehead to hers, closing my eyes.

“Right,” I say in a breath. “Go back to sleep, Linky. You need it.” Since when did I start calling her ‘Linky’?

She doesn’t say or do anything, she just closes her eyes and soon starts to snore quietly. I smile and hug her closer, letting my head rest on hers, and close my own eyes. ‘I’ll protect her, Rusl. I promise. For both of us.’

Next time I wake up, I find that the storm is still strong, and the candle I lit is down to embers. It’s morning once again. I look down and see Link, her face not as red as before, but when I feel her forehead, she’s still hot. I gently get up and place her on the bed, repeating the process of getting the cloth damp. I sit in the chair again and lean over, gripping her hand so she knows I’m still here. I’m not going to leave you. I’ll be by your side. With my other hand, I hold the side of her face, making her move her head into my hand like she did when she was a pup.

In all honesty, I don’t miss Shorty. Now that I have her back, I realize how much I missed Link. I missed her funny, spunky attitude, her stubborn pride, her cheerful smile, her proud, kind eyes. Her ocean eyes. No matter what, they’ve never changed. My stomach is full of butterflies at the thought of her eyes, the thought of them smiling at me, laughing, I realize how much I like her eyes. They show the true Link, no matter what. Maybe…maybe these feelings aren’t so bad…?

No! Sheik, you need to stop. You can protect Link, but not if you think of her like that.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes, calming down. When I open my eyes again, I find Link awake, looking at me with hazy eyes. I smile and take my hand from her face, sitting on the edge of the bed. “Good morning, Link,” I say. “Any better?”

‘You asked me this a few hours ago,’ she laughs weakly before coughing. I miss her usual laugh. It’s the only sound she can make, and it’s like music. ‘I dunno. Am I better?’

“You look a lot better. You’re not as red and you’re cooling down, even if it’s slightly. What’d I tell you? You’re going to be fine,” this stupid smile won’t leave my face, but just seeing Link trying to smile back makes it grow. I probably look like a dork right now, but I don’t care.

‘Can I have some water?’ she asks and it takes all my strength not to run to get it. I come back and hand her a cup, helping her sit up and take it. Her hands are too shaky and I take the cup before she can spill it all over herself, and tip it so she can drink. I see her face get darker and worry, is she getting hot again? The reddened face vanishes and I realize she blushed, which makes me blush. I shake my head, no, that doesn’t matter anymore. ‘I’m happy I’m me again.’

“I’m happy you’re you again, too,” I say, taking the cup and putting it down. Thunder crashes outside and Link shivers. “Are you cold?”

To my surprise, she nods, not denying it. “I’ll go fix a bath for you so you can warm up,” I say, getting up and going to the washroom. I heat up the water, pour it into a tub, and get a towel and soap ready. I come back in to find Link trying to stand, but her legs are too wobbly. I catch her as she falls forward and chuckle. “Isn’t this familiar?” I tease. She rolls her eyes as I help her to the washroom. “Can you do this yourself?” I ask. Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.

‘Yep, I’ll be fine,’ she smiles and I sigh in relief before leaving. While she’s washing, I should get some new clothes for her, and probably something to eat. Soup will be best, I don’t trust her eating solid food yet. These goals set in mind, I leave the room and run to Link’s, somehow finding it with no problems. I get a baggy tunic that will work as a sleeping gown and leave. I knock on the door and when I don’t hear anything, I slowly enter to hear splashing in the washroom. Good, she’s still in there. I fold the tunic onto the bed and leave again, this time going to the kitchens.

When I entire the kitchens, I find Zelda sitting there reading a book, eating some porridge. She looks up from her book and smiles as she bookmarks it and puts it down. “Good morning, Sheik,” she greets. “Is anything wrong?”

“No, I just thought I’d get some soup for Link. She’s probably hungry,” I say, scooping some pumpkin soup into a bowl.

“Good choice of soup, that’s her favourite,” Zelda says, her smile growing.

“Her favourite’s pumpkin?” I ask.

Zelda nods. “It’s her favourite food, besides Cucco. She’s grown up with pumpkin, since Ordon can grow them year-round.”

I nod at this new information as I put the bowl on a small tray. “What else does she like?” I ask.

The princess smiles knowingly. “Why don’t you ask her?” she asks, getting up and taking her book as she leaves, making me think that over. This could be a good time to learn more about the small Hylian. I’m not even sure how old she is. I know she’s younger than me, but that’s it. Shrugging, I pick up the tray and go back to the room. I enter it to find Link sitting on the bed, wearing the sleep gown/tunic and humming as she moves her head from side to side, watching her bangs flop back and forth.

Dammit Link! Stop doing things that make me thing you’re cute!

Her eyes fall on me and she smiles. ‘I smell pumpkin,’ she thinks as I come in.

“I wonder why that is?” I say sarcastically as I put the tray down in front of her. “Here, I thought you might be hungry.”

‘Thanks,’ she thinks and picks up the spoon, taking a mouthful of soup. ‘I love pumpkin. Not many other people I know do though, it’s weird.’

“I’m not a huge fan of it myself, but my cousin makes great pie out of it,” I say, sitting down in the chair.

‘Really? Cool. I think you mentioned your cousin before, maybe, who are they?’

“Her name’s Sonja. She’s a black-rank Sheikah and the best at her age, maybe even older ages.”

‘Black-rank? There are ranks?’

“Yes, the first rank is white-rank. Then green-rank, orange-rank, red-rank, blue-rank, which is where I am, grey-rank and black-rank. There’s one more, and I only know one person who’s gotten it. It’s the silver-rank.”

‘You’re a blue-rank? Is that what you’re garb means?’ she asks, eating some more soup.

“Yes. I’m second-top of my age. Which is hard, believe me.”

‘Sounds like it. I could never learn to do all those stunts,’ she shakes her head, laughing.

“No, probably not,” I laugh along with her. “So, what other things do you like?”

‘Well…’ she thinks for a moment. ‘I really like the rain. Not when it’s stormy, just when it’s rainy. It just refreshes everything. I love the moon and stars, one of my favorite pass-times is stargazing,’ -I check that on my list to take Link stargazing, maybe I can teach her the constellations- ‘I love the forest. When I was younger, I would just go out at night and sit in the trees, just listing to the owls and other night animals. Oh, and quick note, never, ever, ever go really deep in the Faron Woods from the bridge. If you see a bunch of dead trees, run back. I’m not even kidding,’ she shutters, like she lived some horrible experience.

“What happened?” I ask.

‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ she shutters again before smiling, easily forgetting about it. ‘What about you? What do you like? Any favorite foods?’

So now it’s my turn, huh? Alright, I’ll bite. “Peaches. They’re hard to come by where I used to live, but I get them when I come here,” I say. She looks thoughtful, nodding. “I prefer when it’s sunny, but I’m used to the sun, so that might contribute. And I love a night in the desert.”

‘Yeah, desert nights are amazing. All the stars you can see, it’s absolutely beautiful,’ Link nods, agreeing whole-heartedly.

For the rest of the morning, we just talk. I learn that Link isn’t fond of cats, calling them ‘evil demons’, and she only likes a cat called Louise that is owned by Telma, she used to like riding goats at Ordon, and that Epona seems to know exactly what she thinks. And Link learns that I don’t like cows, weird, I know, I’m allergic to pollen, and my Clydesdale, Joyce, was born with the help of Sonja and me when we were both pre-teens. I also learned Link’s turning eighteen in about a month and she knows I’m turning twenty in the winter after the New Year.

When I look out the window, the storm is starting to settle and I can tell by the light it’s an hour after mid-day. Wow, we talked for a long time. ‘It’s nice having someone I can talk to as me,’ Link smiles. ‘Sometimes it gets annoying when people refer to me as ‘Hero’ or ‘Saviour of Hyrule.’’ I nod, happy that we can actually open up to each other.

“Well, I’m going to have a walk. I’ll be back later,” I say as she settles back down into the bed. I take the tray with me and leave.

Do I wish I stayed.

After a few hours of walking, and clearing my head, I see Navi flying at me, her aura red. “Sheik! Thank Deku Tree! I’ve been looking all over! Link’s fever got worse! She’s actually been calling for you!” my eyes widen and I feel my heart drop. Not wanting to waste a second, I sprint through the castle, crashing through people, and burst into the room to see Zelda putting a cloth on Link’s forehead.

“What happened?” I ask, coming over and staring at Link.

“We don’t know,” Midna says as she comes in with a bucket of water. “Her temperature just rose and she started going crazy.”

“When did that start?”

“An hour ago. We think someone might have come in here,” Zelda says, handing me a glass shard. “We found this on the floor. There’s some sort of powder on the bottom, so I think this might have been a minor poison potion. But even if it is minor, it’s causing Link to get sicker, and when I try to cure the poison, she pushes me away.”

“And she’s been muttering nonsense, along with calling you,” Midna says.

“Why me?”

“We don’t know. Maybe you can do something,” Zelda backs up and I slip into her place instinctively. I grab Link’s hand, wishing for her to stop, but she still thrashes.

“I know what to do. But I’ll need you guys to leave,” I say, eyes hardening.

Zelda, as if she knows what I’m about to do, nods, giving Link one last look before leaving. Midna follows, giving me a look that clearly says ‘If you mess up, I’m killing you’. And Navi, aura still red, reluctantly flies out. I close the door, open the window all the way, and start a fire in the fireplace. I walk over to Link and grab her hand tightly. Even as she tries to pull back, she can’t get out of my grip. I turn my head to the fire and raise my hand. Following in sync with my hand, the fire flickers and rises a bit. I clench my hand into a fist and the fire slowly, painfully slowly, flows out of the fireplace like water. It comes to me until it touches my hand and engulfs my arm in flame, but I don’t feel it. I tighten my hold on Link’s hand, who I can feel struggling more, and close my eyes, summoning all the power I can.

I’m pulled into a black void, misty air floating everywhere, and I hold onto the fire as I walk through, burning away the void. When I spot a small prickle of light, I go to it, not running, I don’t want the flame to die. When I reach the prickle of light, I bend down and sit on my knees, bringing my arms in. The fire jumps to my other hand and sets fire to my other arm. With the fire burning bright, I cup my hands around the prickle of light, forcing the fire into it and making the tiny light grow. Pulsing with energy, the light grows larger and larger until in consumes the entire void, eating away the darkness that plagues Link’s mind.

Once it’s clear, I look into the distance and see a something lying there. Even from here I can see their chest moving steadily up and down. Smiling I great relief, I start walking, careful to keep a steady pace so I don’t scare away the light and bring the void back. I reach them to see Link and crouch down beside her, grabbing her hand. “It’s alright, you can come back,” I say and everything flashes a bright red.

When I open my eyes again, I find that the stream of fire is going back into the fireplace, the room dimming back to its original colour. I smile, feeling beads of sweat running down my face, and turn to look at Link, who’s stopped thrashing and, even though she’s red faced as if the sun burned her, she’s resting and is fine. She’s fine, she’s fine. I keep telling myself this as I loosen my grip on her hand, but don’t let go fully. I shouldn’t have left her, but at least I was able to save her. I brush her bangs away from her face and put a damp cloth on her forehead again before slipping her some water.

Once the room is finally dark again, with only light from outside shining in, I sit back, panting in the chair. I haven’t had to do that spell for a very long time. As the door opens, I close my eyes and fall asleep, still holding Link’s hand.

-Later-

I wake up sometime later to find that I’m still in the chair, but a blanket is around my shoulders and a pillow is behind my back. Link is still sleeping, her breathing is a bit shallow, but otherwise she’s much better than before. That spell works wonders, but it’s the hardest one to perform. I’m one of the only Sheikah who can work it properly without any mixed results.

“Wow, you’ve been here the entire time,” I look up to see a redhead standing at the door. I think I saw him dancing with that Gerudo at the mask party. “Me and the others came a bit, but you were by her side every time we came.”

“You try using a healing spell like the one I did and see how long you sleep for,” I try to make my voice sound not snappy, but that spell also gets me moody.

The boy just smiles, seeming to not mind my attitude. “Link’s better, that’s all I ask for. My name’s Adam, by the way. I became friends with Link the day she moved in. She was lost,” he laughs.

I just smirk tiredly, looking at Link. “She has strange ways of making friends.”

“Yeah, but she’s great to be with. No one else in the castle will throw eggs at snobs with me,” Adam smiles goofily as he leans on the bedpost. “Who are you anyway?”

“Sheik,” I say shortly.

Adam nods, “You know, you should probably rest in a real bed, I don’t think the chair’s good for your back.”

“I’m not leaving again,” I say, angry at myself.

“I know you’re kicking yourself for what happened, but don’t become over-protective for her. You couldn’t know someone would try to poison her. And she’s fine, so don’t worry about it,” Adam says reassuringly. “I need to get going, dad’s planning another council meeting soon,” he rolls his eyes and waves a goodbye.

I sigh and look at Link. “You have weird friends,” I tell her, she groans and rolls over. I smile and give Link’s hand one last squeeze, somehow I was holding it all this time, and let go. I stand and go over to the window, sitting on the sill as I look out over the castle grounds, thinking of nothing as I stare off into the distance.

-Link’s POV-

I open my eyes slowly, trying to remember what happened after Sheik left. I think I fell asleep, when I was woken up by someone. They made me drink something, it tasted like cinnamon, and then it felt like my head was being filled with all sorts of horrible images. I couldn’t escape them, and I had to start fighting, so that’s what I did. Through the fighting, I felt something hold my hand, it was invisible, I couldn’t see it, but I felt it giving me reassurance. I remember calming down enough to block out the worst of the images, can’t remember what they were, and I think I heard a voice. It said everything would be fine, and that it was okay to come back. I…I think it was Sheik.

Speaking of Sheik, I see the Sheikah sitting on the windowsill, looking out of it as he stares off into nothing. I smile, knowing he helped me. ‘Sheik?’ I ask, he looks over and smiles softly. ‘What happened to me?’ I shift in the bed, almost afraid to know.

“You were poisoned. It’s fine now though, I cured it,” he says, sitting down on the chair. Has he been here the whole time?

‘Thank you. You really saved me,’ I look down at the blanket, feeling my face heat up a little more.

“I couldn’t let you become mad, could I?” he asks, brushing my hair away from my face, but I don’t mind.

‘And here I was thinking I was already crazy,’ I tease, grinning. He rolls his eyes and grips my hand, I grip back, smiling in amusement at how his hands are a lot bigger than mine.

“You are crazy, but that’s a good thing. Hyrule needs more crazy people like you,” he says. It’s my turn to roll my eyes.

‘Lemme guess, you’re gunna ask me how I’m feeling?’ I smirk.

“Yes actually. And?”

‘I feel a lot better. I think all I need to do now is just sleep for the next three days and I’ll be back on my feet and looking for the last two sages in now time!’

He shakes his head, smiling. “Only you,” he simply says. He gets up and leans close, I inch my head back, but he only pushes a bit of bang out of the way, his eyes smirking. “Have a good rest, Shorty,” he says.

‘You too, Jerk,’ I retort and he backs off, leaving to let me finally have a rest of peace. I’m still a little warm, but it doesn’t bother me as I close my eyes and fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.

-Somewhere else-

“Dammit!” he curses loudly as he paces the dark room. “We were so close! The hero was almost killed, but then that Sheikah had to get involved.”

“I thought it was funny,” the shrilly woman back flips. “Besides, why are you so worked up, Debby? Now we have more time to get ready!”

“Stop calling me Debby! But I see your point. You’re very, very insane point. I will kill the hero! Even if it’s the last think I do!”


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