Silent Courage

Chapter 15: The Sheikah Tribe

Chapter 15: The Sheikah Tribe

The middle-aged man whistles to himself as he walks through the market, the sounds of the morning hustle filling the air. A large fountain stands in the middle of the market, the Sheikah symbol carved above. Two young boys are running around, kicking a ball around as a tan furred dog bounds around them, barking. One of the young boys trip on a loose piece of stone and the man catches him, chuckling warmly as the boy thanks him. “No problem, son. Just be more careful next time,” his black eyes fill with merriment as the two boys continue to play, enjoying the heat of the desert sun.

“Hello, Master Hitoshi!” a woman kneading bread waves her floured hand at the man. “I haven’t seen you in some time. My son tells me you’ve just gotten back from your travels.”

“It’s true. I arrived a few weeks ago. My pupils have finished their training at the moment and I thought I would drop back in for a visit,” Master Hitoshi smiles warmly as he walks up to the woman’s stall.

“Ah, yes. How are your pupils? I suspect Sheik…?” she trails off.

Master Hitoshi sighs sadly, thinking of the boy. “Yes, he still hasn’t quiet recovered from that day. I can tell it bothers him, but he won’t talk about it. I’m afraid he’s just too stubborn to say it, especially to someone who already knows what happened. He’s a bright lad, but he is still young and inexperienced. It is of no matter now though, it’s good for him to be away, and he’s not alone. He has Sonja with him too.”

The woman frowns, shaking her head. “The poor lad. I remember telling Naoko. He was so upset, he still hasn’t recovered from losing his best friend. I do hope they both recover soon though, it’s not healthy for them.”

“Yes, but those boys are stubborn as mules. I need to get going, it was nice chatting with you!” Master Hitoshi waves and walks off, looking at the cloudless sky as the sun rises. His eyes fall to the palace, and harden. How he despises that place.

Suddenly, the sound of the guards coming makes Master Hitoshi look at the entrance of the city where the men come in. Master Hitoshi is not the first or only person to see what is lying over the back of the second-in-command’s horse. It’s a young boy, possibly in his last teens, although it’s hard to tell. From what Master Hitoshi can see, the boy has dirty blonde or light brown hair, which is darker due to sand and dirt. The boy is badly sunburnt, and his clothes are ripped and torn. He had obviously tried to fight back. A big mistake on his part.

But none of these features are what makes this boy stand out.

The pointed ears on his head tell everyone, even the three-year-old girl hanging onto her mother’s dress, that this boy is a Hylian.

The guards dismount their horses and the second-in-command lets the Hylian fall off the horse as two other men pick the boy up by his arms and drag him forward. His head hangs as he’s limply pulled along, and the guard captain smirks from under his helmet as he struts in front of the other guards, head held high. He steps onto the fountain’s edge and the guards toss the Hylian to the ground, where he starts to stir. “You foolish boy,” the Hylian looks up, wincing at his burns. Despite this and other possible injuries, he forces himself to his feet and glares at the guard captain. Master Hitoshi raises an eyebrow at this, this boy is both gutful and stupid. “You think you can trespass on our land and not face the consequences?”

“Ryuu, what is the meaning of this?” Master Hitoshi walks through the crow, making them move away from him. “Osamu won’t be pleased if you put this intruder on the spot in front of everyone before you present this creature to him,” he sends a look at the boy, telling him he’s sorry. The boy just looks confused about what’s going on.

“Hm, I suppose you’re right, Hitoshi. Very well. Go back to your business, this creature is of no importance,” Ryuu says, stressing the word ‘creature’, and the crowd starts moving. Master Hitoshi grabs the boy’s arm roughly. He tries to struggle away, but Hitoshi pulls him along.

“Stop struggling. It will only cause more harm than good,” Hitoshi whispers to the boy. “Now, do exactly as I tell you and stay calm. Showing any kind of weakness could be the last thing you ever do.” The boy’s eyebrows furrow but he nods. “These men will take you to The Emperor, as he likes to be called. His name is Osamu, and he does not like anyone, especially Hylians, disrespecting him. When he sees you, keep your head low and do as he says.”

The boy nods again and the guards come and take him, shoving him roughly towards the palace. He looks over his shoulder at Hitoshi and the man gives a nod of goodbye before disappearing into the crowd.

-Link’s POV-

What a nice man. I look around the desert city, feeling the eyes of everyone burning into my back. Why are they staring? I might look a bit messy, but it’s not like I’m something to gawk at. The guard, apparently named Ryuu, turns to me. I really hate that smirk. “It’s been awhile since we have seen a Hylian wandering around, let alone a full-blood,” he pulls my left ear, making me grit my teeth. Do I need ta smack somebody? I think he can tell that I’m pissed off right now, ‘cause his smirk grows. “Now now, I would keep that temper you have. Alright, we’ve stalled long enough. The Emperor won’t like to be kept waiting.”

And they continue to drag me through the City of the Sheikah, although, I’m not sure of the actual name of it. It feels so weird to be stared at like this, the last time this happened, I was just entering Hyrule Castle Town, and the same thing happened, only, I wasn’t being dragged around like a ragdoll in Castle Town.

As I’m dragged, Ryuu won’t shut up about how proud Osamu will be, how he will treat me, and that Rosalie, whoever that is, will find my weaknesses and darkest secrets. I really, really hope she doesn’t. Wait…Rosalie? I swear I’ve heard that name before. Not constantly, maybe once or twice, but from where? I close my eyes to try and recall where or when I heard that name. I remember it being mumbled by someone before, but from who?

I’m taken out of my thoughts when I realize we’re in the palace, right before large doors. Wow, I space out at the worst possible times. “I will go see Osamu,” Ryuu says and goes through the doors. I gulp, why in Hyrule are these guys taking me to their Emperor? I know I tried to fight back, but are they really going to punish me for just showing up in their desert? That seems a little harsh. Besides, they attacked me first! I was just doing it in self-defence. But these guys probably aren’t gunna listen to reason.

The doors suddenly open and Ryuu smirks down at me. “Emperor Osamu will see you,” he turns and I’m dragged into the room. A man sits on a silver throne that’s polished so that it looks like a mirror, tapestries of Sheikah hang around the room, and one particular tapestry catches my eye, it looks like a man is kneeling in front of a Sheikah, who is whipping him. It unnerves me, why would they have this hanging around? On closer inspection, I see that the man being whipped is a Hylian. I gulp, my ears twitching, I don’t like what that’s showing. The two guards holding me throw me forward and I hit the floor with a soft grunt.

“So you are the trespasser?” I look up for a second to see a Sheikah man with blonde hair and crimson red eyes. I remember what the man in the market said and I quickly lower my head, feeling his gaze burn into the top of my head. “Lift your head,” I do as he says, making sure not to look him in the eye. “Hum…this is not what I expected when Ryuu said that there was a trespasser, who had tried to fight back and was a Hylian. I expected you to be…taller,” he grins, as if amused. I try not to scowl, I know this man can do whatever he wants with me, and I don’t want to get on his bad side. “Now, why were you in the desert?” I look down a bit, trying to think of how I can explain I’m looking for a Sage.

One of the guards comes and kicks me in the head, making my head ring annoyingly as the shapes of everyone flip. I shake my head and feel a foot on my back. “Answer me now. Why were you trespassing?!” Osamu pushes his foot down on my back and I gulp, this isn’t going well. I hear an angry growl from Osamu and feel something cold touch the back of my neck. My eyes widen, he’s pointing a sword at me! I close my eyes and tap my throat quickly, hoping it gets across to them I can’t speak. “So we have a mute on our hands?” he lifts the sword off and bends down, lifting my head by my ear, making me grit my teeth. “Fine. Ryuu, go get Rosalie, I’m sure she can find out all we need from this one,” the Emperor orders as he lets my head drop. The guard captain goes off as Osamu sits back down on his throne, his eyes locked on me. “We’ll soon know all your secrets,” he smirks.

I can’t help but wonder how, when Ryuu comes back with a woman behind him. She has long, midnight black hair that looks kinda blue in the light, it reaches her mid-back. She has soft, rose petal red eyes and her skin is pale with a slight tan. She’s beautiful, I can see lots of Sheikah guys fawning over her. She swings her hips as she walks and she bows to Osamu. Personally, I it looks like she has something up her butt.

“What do you wish of me, Master?” she asks, her voice is rich.

“You see this boy?” Osamu nods to me and the girl looks at me, not impressed. “He is mute, and we need to find out what he knows. Do you mind…?” he gestures a hand to me, a smile forming on his face.

“Of course, Master,” the girl, who I assume is Rosalie, says and walks towards me, locking her eyes with mine.

At first I’m confused, wondering what in Hyrule she’s doing, when I feel a headache pound my skull. It’s like someone’s trying to rake their way through my mind, and it’s really hurting my head. I try to close my eyes, to try and make the pain go away, but I find I can’t close my eyes, or look away for that matter. What is this girl doing? Why can’t I look away from her eyes? It’s like she’s keeping me in place-

Wait…crap! She’s reading my mind!

I start to struggle, my eyes going wider and starting to sting from not blinking. She smirks, obviously hearing or seeing something she likes. After five, hour-like minutes, she lets her gaze drop and I let myself fall to the floor, exhausted. My mind hurts so much, it hasn’t hurt this much since I found out I could ‘talk’ to someone. That someone being an Imp I didn’t like at the time. “Hm, interesting,” she lifts my head and looks into my face, her smirk widening.

“Well? What did you find, Rosalie?” Osamu asks, hands folded in front of him.

Rosalie’s eyes flash scarlet as she stands and turns to Osamu, looking pleased. “I have learned two, very important things about this Hylian. For one, his greatest fear is, believe it or not, magic-” All the Sheikah in the room laugh at this and I gulp, I already know this isn’t good. “-And secondly, he’s has an alliance with Sheik,” Osamu’s eyes flash with anger at the mention of Sheik’s name. What in Hyrule…? And why didn’t she tell them I’m a girl? Surly that would have been the first thing she found when looking through my mind.

Without a second thought, Osamu waves his hands. “Take this creature to the dungeons,” my eyes widen in shock as the guards grab my arms again. I look at Osamu, confused. What’s going on? “And make sure this Hylian intruder is dealt with. I intrust that to you, Rosalie.”

“Of course, Master Osamu,” Rosalie smiles, her voice overly-sweet, and gives me a piercing look as I’m taken away. She looks as if she’s…angry and…I’m not sure what that other look is, annoyance maybe? I don’t have a clue. What’s her problem? But I can’t worry about that now, I’ve got a date with some rats…

‘How did I know there would be rats?’ I think, irritated as the guards drag me through the dungeons, I can hear the squeaks from the rats from here. I glance up at the guards, they don’t seem too tough. Maybe I can kick ‘em where it hurts and get outta here. I smirk at the thought. It’s worth a try. I send a swift kick at the groin of the guard on my left, making him fall to the stone floor. The other guard growls and pins me to his chest, lifting me off my feet. I kick my feet back and hit this guard where it don’t shine. He drops me and I make a run for it when Rosalie slips in front of me. I pivot on my foot and try to run, but she grabs the back of my collar and lifts me up. I try to struggle free, but she just laughs.

“You’re foolish. Trying to escape your fate as if it were that easy. You won’t be going anywhere, runt,” she wraps her arm around my neck and starts pressing down, cutting off my air supply. I grab her arm and try to pull, but she just tightens her grasp. I feel her breathe into my ear and she whispers. “Hush now, I don’t want to hurt you too badly…at the moment. There’s someone I want to come and enjoy the show first,” I shiver at her voice, which is suddenly cold as ice. She lets me drop and I gasp for air, bringing myself to my hands and knees. She steps on my left hand and I wince, trying my best to ignore the stinging. “Alright, I believe you have someplace to stay. I’m sure they have vacancy,” she grabs my ear and pulls me along, I yelp as I’m forced to follow her as if I’m a kid who stool the last piece of pie. She pays no heed to the guards, who are picking themselves up. “Stay here, if he escapes, you will have time to know.” they nod and salute her, standing at attention as she pulls me down further into the dungeons. When well my life give me a break?

Rosalie tosses me into the cell and I bang my head on the wall, seeing stars and the blurred image of the Sheikah. She chains my wrists to the wall above my head and grabs my face in her hand, smirking again. “Heh, you know, you’re kinda cute. Like a puppy, almost,” she squeezes my face. “Your face does sorta look like a girl’s, but I guess no one really notices since you’re so flat,” I blush at that, that’s just mean and embarrassing. But I guess this means that she does know I’m a girl.

She laughs in my face, grabbing my bangs and pulling my face closer. “You didn’t think I was a moron, did you? My Master may be a ruler, and he may be wise, but he is very unobservant at times, and becomes close minded when a Hylian is involved,” she pulls my ear again. I grit my teeth, jerking forward to head butt her. She stumbles back, rubbing her now red forehead. Ha! Nobody expects a head butt! I can’t help but smirk as she glares at me. She grabs the front of my tunic and lifts me up, making my arms hurt as they’re attached to the wall. “That was not a smart move. Do you realize how much I have found out about you through your mind? I know your greatest fears,” she lets go with one hand and creates a small fire in it, I gulp. “And I know your darkest secrets. I will be back later, starving usually loosens people up. And just remember this,” her hands tighten and her face becomes dangerously dark as she brings her face to my ear, “Sheik is mine.”

And with that, she drops me and slams the cell door behind her. I breathe heavily as my heart slows down. What was that about? What does she mean by “Sheik is mine”? Why should it involve me?

‘Ugh,’ I shake my pounding head, letting it rest on the wall. ‘Why did they lock me up? Just because I’m Hylian? Because I know Sheik? Or is there more to that? Gah! Why do other customs have to make me so confused! I still don’t remember all the customs to Hyrule Castle, and I’ve been living there the past three months for Din’s Sake!’

Groaning, I close my eyes, letting out a sigh. I hope Sonja’s alright. Did she get captured by the Sheikah too? Or did she go and get help?

There’s someone I want to come and enjoy the show first,” Rosalie’s face flashes in my mind’s eye. What does she mean? Is someone coming to help me? Does she know who exactly they are? Or is she bluffing? She seemed pretty serious, but that could just be her normal voice. I gotta say, for someone who looks at good as she does, she sure has a sour attitude.

Sheik is mine,” I blink, even more confused than this morning. Why would she say that? Sheik and me are friends, what’s so bad about that?

‘And here’s that weird feeling again,’ I look down, frowning. ‘Why do I always think of him?’ Memories run through my mind quickly, the first time I saw him as a wolf, when we met in the Fire Temple, how we told each other our fears, how he saved me more than once, how I wake up so often in his arms, how he helped me become human again, and lastly of the night we danced and we…we got closer…he almost took off my mask and in the heat of the dance…I come out of my memories, feeling my face burning. Is it a good thing or bad thing that I got sunburnt? I gulp, Sheik…why have you helped me so much? I’m just an Ordonian…sorta…kinda…okay I don’t know what I am exactly. I’m a Hylian, big whoop.

I feel my eyes water a bit. It is a big deal to some people that I’m Hylian, for all I know, I’m the last one. Zelda’s only half-Hylian, she told me her mum was a Hyrulian. I didn’t even know I was a full-blooded Hylian until I stayed at Hyrule Castle the first week after I fought Ganondork.

-Flashback-

Me and Zelda had been in her study, it was still dark and I remember being tired…as usual…

‘Gaaah, why’re we doin’ this so early?’ I yawned, lying my head down on the desk. ‘The sun hasn’t even risen yet.’

“Stop complaining,” Zelda said, not looking up from her book. “I need to look up something…here we go!” she pushed the book towards me and I sat up, blinking dully. It was just some ordinary book, nothing that special. “Link, can you read what it says?” I looked at Zelda questionably, but shrug and take the book, looking at the page.

The land of Hyrule is a very ancient, very mysterious land. The creation of this land is still not fully understood, as all we gather from our ancestors is that the three Goddesses, Din, Nayru, and Farore, created the land with their power, wisdom and courage. There is said to be a fourth Goddess, who fought in a war that is traced back before even Hyrule was founded. We as Hyrulians have much to discover, but we are growing worried. The race of mystic people, otherwise known as Hylians, is decreasing. The reason why is unknown, but many say that it has to do with the fact that people migrated from outside continues. When that happened, the new comers took over the land, taking its resources and forcing the Hylians to run, since when they tried to fight, they were called threats and were hurt more often. With no choice, the Hylians disappeared. After a hundred years, some ventured out of the place they come from and have traveled far and wide. These are thought to be the last Hylians. And because it was my own ancestors that had stripped everything from them, I am ashamed and apologize on their behalf.’

‘Ugh, my head hurts, all these weird squiggles are giving me a headache,’ I complained, putting the book down and holding my head.

“So you understood it,” I looked at Zelda, who was smiling sadly. “As I thought. Link, you know you are part of the Hylian race, right?”

‘Yep,’ I nodded, not seeing the big deal. I knew our race is dying, but there’s not much we can do about it.

At the time I had thought all full-blooded Hylians were extinct, but then Zelda had me read some more texts, and she had me drink this awful potion. I can still feel the taste on my tongue sometimes…

“Link…I can only barely understand this text. It’s written in Ancient Hylian, and I have some trouble with it. And the potion I gave you is tasteless to anyone who has Hyrulian blood in them. I had thought this when I first saw you as a human last week, but now I know,” she looked up, she seemed to be on the verge of tears. “Link…you could be…the last Hylian.”

I hadn’t known what she meant right away, I had been confused. Why in Hyrule was she saying that? She was a Hylian too! But…

I blinked a few times after Zelda explained more, about how only her dad was Hylian, and how I was thought to be the last Hylian.

That night, I had dreamed. No. I had had a nightmare, much unlike the ones I used to have. Instead of blurred images of possible future events, I saw fire, I could feel the fire. I felt smaller, and I was being carried by someone. When I looked up, I had seen the face of a woman, but all I could see was pointed ears. Seconds later, a man came into view, he was the same as the woman, and before I could say anything the flaming roof came down and…

“Gaahhh!” I sat up in bed, eyes wide with panic and my sleeping tunic wet with sweat. I could feel my eyes stinging as I fought to keep from crying. I clenched the bed sheet like a lifeline, and soon Zelda came in.

“Link, what’s wrong?” she asked, sitting down beside me. For the first time in years, I let tears fall down my face. Without speaking, Zelda guessed what happened. She pulled me into a hug and I let her.

That had been the moment we became friends, real friends, and I cherish it. I wasn’t the Hero of Twilight, I was Link. Just Link.

-End of Flashback-

I open my eyes slowly, feeling something wet trickle down my face. I guess I fell asleep, and I must have dreamt of that day. I shake my head, wiping my eyes as best I can on my sleeve. That seems so long ago, yet at the same time, it feels like I only found out yesterday. I was still in shock for a few days, the nightmare repeating in my dreams every night, until it finally faded away after a month. I slept for three days after that.

The rattling sound of keys alerts me that someone is opening the cell and I look up to see Rosalie coming in, that smug look on her face again. “Hey, runt, did you have enough time to loosen up?” she asks, bending down and pinching my nose.

I fell asleep if that’s what she means. She lets go of my nose and stands back, pulling out a whip I hadn’t seen on her hip. I gulp, oh dear.

“Now, Master Osamu said I shouldn’t give you any mercy,” she holds the whip back and I shrink into the wall, trembling slightly. “And don’t worry…I won’t.”

-Sheik’s POV-

I grumble to myself as I pack, making sure I have enough knives and that I have my cloak. Why does Link always get in trouble? It’s like she was born with an omen or something. And why the Din’s Hell is it always up to me to save her? Somebody needs to tie her up with rope so she can’t go anywhere. I hear something flutter and don’t even look up. “You’re coming too?” I ask, although I already know the answer.

“Of course, somebody needs to keep a closer eye on Link,” she says. “Besides, I need to give her this if we have any chance in helping her out of there,” she places a necklace with a stone of the Triforce on the bed, the three Spiritual Stones that I had read about engraved in their rightful places.

“What is this exactly?” I ask, I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It’s the Kokiri Stone. The Deku Tree gave it to Link before the first Sage was woken.”

“She’s had it this whole time, huh?”

“Yes. Midna kept it with her when Link turned into a pup. I think it might help her out.”

I put the stone into a small bag and toss that into a satchel that I pull over my head. I throw my cloak on and head out. Looks like I’m going home after all. I wonder if I can drop by Naoko’s and see him again. It will probably be smart for me to do that anyway, they won’t rat me out to the ‘Emperor’ and it will be good refuge for me to plan how to get Link out.

I walk out of Castle Town, I’ll be doing this by foot, since the Sheikah know what Joyce looks like and any other horse would attract unwanted attention to me. My mind wanders as we travel, I sink back into the memories that still haunt me. The memories of being betrayed by my teachers, the memories of being out-shown by her, the memories of being forced to leave with only the clothes on my back, and the memoires of Sonja and my Master coming with me. I feel anger boil up inside me, I will not let them do that again. I’m not a weakling anymore, and I’m bettered trained now, so I can take on the Emperor and take back my place in my own home. And I will not let them hurt Link.

More memories, bad memories, come to mind. The thought of all those people who ‘trespassed’, the people who had their darkest secrets exposed by her, and had their deepest fears used against them. I feel my blood run cold at the thought of Link being hurt by magic. And if I know her, which I do, sadly, than I know she won’t expose Link to be a girl. It’s more fun for her to pick on ‘boys’ and use her ‘charm’ to bring them to their knees. But with Link hiding as a boy, she’ll be even more cruel, since she’s always hated other girls, thinking that they’d ‘steal’ me away from her.

Goddess do I hate her. She’s the reason I’m banished in the first place.

You know, Sheik, Master won’t be happy if he finds out you eavesdropped on him.”

I didn’t eavesdrop, I was passing by when he yelled it out.”

You’ll lose you know, you aren’t brave nor strong enough to take him on.”

That doesn’t matter. I’m going to take him on and free them!”

Then I have no choice…Goodnight, Sheiky.”

I shake my head to make the thoughts go away. I look around to find that it’s getting dark and that I’m in the middle of Hyrule Field, the red hills of the desert in sight. Wow, I’ve never walked this fast in my life.

I hear panting and turn my head to see Navi land on my shoulder, exhausted for some reason. “You can run fast when you want to,” she says.

Run? I ran all the way from Castle Town? That would explain why my legs are burning at the moment. I guess I’m more worried about Link than I thought. “I didn’t realize I was running,” I say, going towards the only tree and jumping up into it. “We’ll continue in the morning. If we time it right, we should get there just as it’s turning dark.”

“Sounds like a plan,” the fairy flies into the tree trunk as I lean back on it, eyes closing.

I hope you’re alright Link, I know what kind of things those monsters do.

-The Next Morning-

We set out early, even before the sun has fully risen, and we pass by the old Fortress. Sonja warned me of the Poes in there, and I’d rather not deal with the ghosts, I have more important things to worry about. I can’t help but smile to myself as I return to the desert, feeling the sand sink under my feet. It’s been so long, and I can never forget how much I love this place. I’m not even at the City yet and already I feel at home. I pull the hood on my cloak up more, making sure not to get burnt by the sun. Link will probably be burnt, since she’s a bit too pale for the desert sun hitting her for long. Guess that’s the price for living in the forest most of your life.

Throughout the day, I explain some of the customs of the Sheikah to Navi, in case she finds Link first and needs to tell the girl about them. The time flies by and I soon find myself on a hill overlooking the walls of the grand city, the sun setting behind it. The sandstone walls are as strong as ever, and the towers reach so high they look as if they’re trying to reach to the heavens, and even from here I can see a few Sheikah heading back into the walls with herds of sheep, goats and the odd Cucco.

I walk down the hill, causally heading towards the city. I look up at the walls, Sheikah guards are patrolling the battlements, luckily they don’t pay me any heed, since my cloak is undone enough for them to see my garb. Looking around, I find nothing has really changed, some are still selling things such as fruit that they searched far to find, people are still loud and talkative, shoving their way through the crowds and pushing to get what they want. The next stall to catch my eye is a small one, which is connected to a house like most stalls. Above the stall is a sign, the words Penny’s Baked Bread written on with a drawing of a steaming loaf of bread. I hope they don’t freak out about my sudden appearance.

Walking to the stall, I keep my head down so no one can notice me and when I come to the stall, I listen in on the two men in front of me. “Hey, did you hear about what they have up at the palace? A Hylian! I tell you, we haven’t seen any of them outside of the coliseum!” one man laughs, thumping the other on the shoulder.

“I heard, they say he tried to fight back after he punched Ryuu! The idiot boy, trespassing then he hits a man who did nothing to him!”

“I was told that it took six minutes for Rosalie to look into his thoughts. That’s the longest anyone has ever lasted. That boy must have strong mental barriers.”

“Well, one of my buddies up at the palace said that he’s mute, so that might help a bit. But guess what? He’s scared of magic!” the man chortles. “Can you believe it? A Hylian fearing magic! Those guys are filled with the stuff! He’s got to have some in him, how do you think it took so long for Rosalie to get anything? Someone should tell him, just to see what would happen!”

“That’s nothing compared to the other thing Rosalie found! Apparently he’s working with Sheik!” I pull the hood around me more, trying to look nonchalant. “Hey lad, did you hear about the kid?” he turns his question to me and I look up, making sure my face is shrouded.

“No, I only just got back from the desert. What about this kid?”

“There are many rumors surrounding him. And he’s a shrimp! Seriously, I’d say that kid is, what? Five feet nothing?”

“Naw, I’d say he was less than even that!” the other man smirks.

“Here’s your bread,” Penny comes up, putting the fresh loafs on the counter. “That will be twenty Rupees each.”

I raise an eyebrow at that, she lowered the price since last time, before it was thirty. Why’d she change it? The two men leave and I walk up to the counter. “And what will you have-?” I cut her off by letting her see my face, she gasps. “What are you doing here? If someone finds out-!”

“I know, but I need someplace to stay.”

“Okay. Go around the back. The door’s unlocked and Naoko is in his room. It’s good to see you again,” she whispers the last part and I nod, sneaking around the back unnoticed by the other customers. I open the door and look into the dark house, it’s so quiet compared to outside. Perfect, so nothing has changed here as much as I thought it would. Smiling, I go up the stairs to see a door open a crack, candle light coming out of the small opening. I silently walk to the door and look in, seeing the back of my long-time friend. Opening the door, I lean on the wall beside it with my arms crossed, a smirk on my face when I see he’s working on something.

“You’re still the tinkerer I knew when I left,” I say, making him jump and fall out of the chair. He picks himself up as he stares at me in disbelief. After a few moments of silence, my smirk grows. “Two and a half years and this is my welcome?”

“S-Sheik? W-what in Hyrule are you doing here?” Naoko asks, brushing off some dust.

“You sound disappointed that I’m here,” I let my arms drop as he shakes his head.

“No, it’s not that. It’s dangerous here for you. What if the guards find you? What if someone else recognizes you?”

“That hasn’t happened yet. Besides, I need your help. That’s why I’m here.”

“What do you need?” Naoko asks, sitting back down to tinker with a small, robot-like thing that looks dead.

I walk over and pull up a chair beside him, looking at the robot. “I’m assuming you know about the Hylian that was captured?”

“Well, yeah. I may be an indoors person, but I do hear what goes on around here,” the silver haired boy says, fitting a small screw into the robot’s arm. “What about him?”

“He’s my friend, and I need to get him out of there,” I explain.

“You know it’s impossible, right? No one’s ever escaped from that place. And what are you going to do to save him? Scale the wall?” he rolls his eyes sarcastically.

“I haven’t exactly thought of that yet. I was thinking you could help me, since you know the secret passages in the palace.”

“I haven’t been in there for three years, I can’t remember everything.”

“Don’t you have the map?”

“It was taken by a guard the day you were exiled. But it won’t matter if you can or can’t get into the dungeons, where the kid will probably be now, if you get caught. Be careful, not everyone believes Hitoshi,” Naoko warns.

“Oh I know,” I say bitterly, curiosity about the robot getting the better of me. “What are you working on now?”

“It’s some sort of old machine. I found it in the desert a few months ago and haven’t quite figured out what it is yet. It doesn’t really matter anyway, it’s interesting to look at it. Anyway, how have you been?”

“Fine. I’ve been helping the boy who got captured find some people.”

“What kind of people?”

“…Would you believe me if I told you he’s looking for the current Sages?”

“Why would he be looking for the Sages? And what’s his name anyway?”

I look around, making sure no one’s listening in. “Link,” I whisper, his eyes go wide.

“Link? As in, the guy who keeps getting reborn Link?”

“Yes,” I nod.

“Wow, poor guy. Rosalie probably didn’t tell Osamu, if she had, then the kid would be let out.”

“What has she got to gain for keeping it to herself?” Navi flies out, making Naoko fall off the chair again.

Coming out of the shock, Naoko puts his hand on his chin, frowning as he thinks. He soon gulps. “Uh-oh. Sheik, I think Rosalie might be using Link as bait to get to you.”

That sounds like something she would do. I might need more help then I originally thought. “I see. Rosalie looked into Link’s thoughts, which means she knows I’m helping him. She probably knew I would try and help him, so she’s most likely waiting for me to just slide on in. If I have any chance at getting Link out of there, I’ll need Master’s help.”

“Hitoshi stopped by earlier yesterday before the Hylian came. I saw from the window that your Master helped the kid when he first got here. He probably told Link about the ‘Emperor’.”

“He’s still calling himself that, is he?” I ask, rolling my eyes. I’m not really surprised.

“Yes, but I think he’s starting to go insane.”

“That’s the last thing we need. Alright, do you mind if I stay for the night? Master Hitoshi is usually outside the city at this time.”

“Sure, there’s a spare cot in the room you used to sleep in,” he gets up and gives me a brotherly hug. “It’s been too long.”

“Yeah,” I agree, hugging him back. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

“You’re going to sleep already?”

“I ran all day yesterday to get here,” I shrug and head to the familiar room. As I lie down in bed, I think of Link. I really hope they’re not using magic on her. My fist clenches, if they have, there’s going to be Din’s Hell to pay.

-Link’s POV-

I pant heavily as Rosalie steps back, looking a bit pale but otherwise proud of what she’s done. From where I am on the cold floor, I force my eyes open to see my skin scorched from boiling water, every part of me covered in various bruises and cuts, my back still throbs from the whip yesterday and the small electrical charges she sent at me haven’t helped any of my injuries heal. I feel a hand on my chin and my head is painfully lifted up by Rosalie, I can only see her blurred face through half shut eyes. She giggles, stroking my hair with her other hand. “I think I did well, don’t you? All that magic has finally broken you, and I can tell from the look in your eye that you fear me,” she smiles cruelly and I try to move, but my body screams. She lets my head fall back down and I don’t even feel the slight pain compared to my other injuries.

“Such a brave, brave hero you are,” she mocks, cracking the whip at me and hitting my back, making me wince violently, “Afraid of magic. Ha! You’re afraid of an essence that is within your very blood and being,” despite the pain, I lift my head to look at her. I know I have magic in me. I’ve known for a long time now. But I can’t use it. I’ve never had a reason to. Zelda told me I have a bit of magic, but not a whole lot, so I don’t have to worry about it. “But of course that doesn’t matter to you. So, how long do you think you can last before you’re completely broken?” she asks, whipping my back again. My hands clench into fists and I bite my lip, making it bleed.

“Fine, another shock for you,” she raises her hand and sends yellow lightning out of her hands, making me twitch and jerk around on the floor. I open my mouth to scream, but my throat has been rubbed raw from all the screaming that came from me. When she finally lifts the lightning, she pushes me onto my back, and I cringe at my stinging wounds. “Let’s clean those, shall we?” and once again, scorching water sprays over my body and leaves burns.

“Rosalie?” the door opens and a guard comes in, paying me no head as he steps on me to stand in front of the Rosalie. “Your Master wishes to speak with you. He senses that he is back,” he informs.

Rosalie smiles that overly-sweet smile and nods. “Thank you. I will see Master in a bit. You may go,” she says and the guard steps on me again, worsening my injuries and reopening the cuts on my back from the whipping I got yesterday. “I’ll see you later, runt,” Rosalie drags me over to the wall and chains me up again. Before she goes, she kicks me in the gut, making me gasp and wheeze.

‘I think I hate her,’ I think bitterly and look up, tears form in my eyes as the pain starts to set in again. I don’t think I’ll be able to take much more of this, if Rosalie continues doing this every day, I’ll be dead by the end of the week. ‘Who’s here? Is it Sheik? No, he said he wouldn’t come here. I don’t want him to remember obvious bad memories from this place. Why would he risk himself for me?

Even if it is Sheik, how can he get me out? I’m so deep in the dungeons, and I doubt he remembers this place, he probably doesn’t want to. I hear a squeak and I painfully lift my head to see a grey rat sniffing my leg, its whiskers tickle my skin that it can feel through the cuts in my breeches. I smile fondly at it as it climbs onto my leg and up my body. It stands on my chest and nibbles my nose gently, making me laugh quietly, despite the pain in my ribs. It climbs up onto my head and I feel it curl up, as if it’s trying to comfort me. Yay, I made a friend in prison! Its name will be Rouge.

I laugh to myself, a louder laugh this time. It echoes off the walls and makes it sound like I’ve gone crazy in here. This just makes me laugh harder. Soon my ribs hurt too much and I take deep breaths to calm myself down. Man, I must be exhausted if I’m laughing about making a rat friend in a cell. My smile fades not long after I calm down and I my eyelids feel heavy. I guess there’s nothing I can do but sleep. ‘Good night, Rouge,’ I think, yawning a bit before letting my head sag.

-The Next Morning, Sheik’s POV-

With a last goodbye to Naoko and Penny, I leave the house and look out of the alley, pleased to see that not many people are out yet. I look around, checking my mental map to see if I can remember where Master Hitoshi lives. I’ve tried to forget this place so often so I can’t quiet remember, but I know I’ve only visited Master Hitoshi’s home maybe five times in total, on different occasions. I start to wander, knowing that when I see it I’ll know. I smile again, even though I know Link’s in trouble. I can’t get over the fact that I’m back home, nobody has recognized me yet, and everything is the same, the only thing that’s different is the money. Penny told me that Osamu has raised the tax rate, so she needs to lower her prices so people can buy her bread. It’s the same with all the merchants.

If only he hadn’t cheated the real ruler out of his place, then none of this would have happened.

But if that hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t have met Link, the nasty voice in the back of my head says. I simply ignore it, even though I feel that it’s right. If I hadn’t left the Sheikah, I wouldn’t have met the Shorty. For some reason, that makes me feel sadder than it should.

People start to open their shutters to the desert morning, everything is still sandy, so there was a recent sandstorm here. They come so often in the late fall and winter, it’s like the opposite of a snow storm for the rest of Hyrule. I wonder if Link ever got snow in Ordon, I believe it’s a bit warmer and wetter than the other Provinces, so it rains a lot in the winter.

And there are my thoughts back on the Shorty. It’s like when I spent hours thinking of her when I was younger. But it’s much stronger now. I might not think of her every moment, but I think of her more often. Funny how things from the past happen again in the future, only with different people.

I’m taken out of my thoughts when I find myself walking down an alley, one that I’m familiar with. Good, I hope Master can help. By the sounds of it, he already helped Link by telling her about Osamu. I walk until I spot the old house, it’s still standing, and everything seems to have been kept the same as before. Smiling, I go to the door and knock, waiting patiently as I hear footsteps coming. Master Hitoshi opens the door, he has a few more wrinkles than I remember and his hair is thinning, but he seems to have not changed a whole lot. He opens his mouth to speak, but I pull down the hood and his eyes grow wide before he grabs my arm and pulls me into the house, slamming and locking the door behind him. “What a welcome,” I say sarcastically.

He ignores my sarcasm. “Sheik, what in Din’s Hell are you doing here?” he asks. “If the guards catch you-”

“I know, but that doesn’t matter right now. Master, I need your help. You know the Hylian you helped the other day?” he nods. “I know him. He’s a close friend to me and I need to get him out of there.”

He sighs solemnly, sitting down in a chair and looking like he aged ten years. “Do you know what you’re saying? You’re going to risk yourself for this boy?”

“H…We’re very close. We’ve been through a lot over the past few weeks,” I try to keep my face from turning red.

“…That Hylian is a girl, isn’t she?” I blink in surprise, although I shouldn’t be shocked, it is Hitoshi after all. “I’m taking that as a yes. I see why Rosalie didn’t tell anyone. Over the past three years she’s become insane when another girl shows up to be a potential threat. I guess she thinks that she can get away with more with everyone thinking that girl’s a boy.”

“Rosalie,” I growl, clenching my fists. “Master, I need to get in there and save my friend. She’s in serious trouble.”

“I know, but what do you plan to do to save her? You can’t just recklessly run in there and hope for the best.”

“That’s why I need your help. Will you help me?”

Master sighs, rubbing his forehead. “What can I do? Osamu will have my head on a silver platter if I try to oppose him. I’m already on his hit list for taking your side over his.”

“Couldn’t you distract the guards? Saying that there’s something suspicious at the oasis? When the coast is clear, I could sneak in and you can lead me to the dungeons.”

“It’s a bold plan Sheik, a bold and foolish one. How do you expect the guards to be so gullible?”

“They believe Osamu’s slander.” Master looks at me, clearly seeing my determination.

“…Why are you risking so much for this girl?”

I look down, time to spill the beans. “Master…that girl’s name is Link,” I see his eyes widen.

“Link?” he asks, looking shocked. I nod. “Oh dear. If Osamu finds out who she is…” Master trails off, as if remembering something that happened a long time ago. He shivers, obviously not liking the memory. “We must save her. If Rosalie spills her name, then she will most likely be killed!”

“What? Why?”

“I can’t explain now. Not without Link. Alright, I’ll help you. But you must promise to get out of there as soon as you find her.”

“Promise,” I say, confused at the sudden change.

“Well, let’s go. We have no time to lose.”

-Later-

Holy Goddesses, my plan worked! I smirk to myself as I sneak through the shadows. So the guards are that gullible. They didn’t even spot me when I snuck in. Shows how smart they are. I would suggest that Osamu should get better guards, but then again I wouldn’t be in here if he did. Come to think of it, all castle guards seem to be incompetent. Wonder why that is.

I shake my head. It is not the time to wonder such things. I need to save Link! I wait in the shadows as Master passes by. Navi is with him to make sure no one sneaks up on him. He casually walks towards the dungeons as I follow silently, thankful for all he taught me. Funny, when I was younger, just learning about the Sheikah ways, I was impatient to learn all the ‘coolest’ tricks my people knew. I guess the basics are truly the most important after all.

Suddenly I feel a shiver go down my spine, and the horrible feeling that you get when you know someone’s watching you fills me. Somebody has spotted me. I search the shadows, but the person who’s been following me comes out of nowhere and jabs my nerves quickly, making me fall to the ground, unmoving. I hear talking, and feel myself get dragged away. I can’t do anything but let the people take me, to my anger. Where did they come from? And who had been following me?

After a while, they take me to a small dungeon room that is usually used to get information out of people. They tie me to a chair with my arms pinned to my side and when they tie the last knot, I regain feeling in my body. I shift a bit, trying to get out of the ropes, but it’s useless, like I should have known. I look up to see two Sheikah guards smirking at me. The door opens and I growl as she comes in, her rose red eyes shining as she sees me. “It’s been too long, Sheik. Bring in the prisoner!” she shouts and moments later, they bring in an exhausted-looking, beat up Link. She has bruises covering her body, her hair has been singed and burns cover her. What did these monsters do? They tie her up on a chair behind me so that our backs are facing each other. I look over my shoulder at her, worried. She looks like she’s been to Din’s Hell and back. “Amazing, isn’t it? It was hard to break him into fearing me, but I had just achieved that task when the guards said they found you. Your friend is very strong, Sheik. Either that, or he’s just too stupid to realize what I was doing.”

I scowl at her, tugging on the ropes. “Rosalie, what do you have against him? He didn’t do anything to you!” I yell, Rosalie smirks, crossing her arms and leaning on her right foot. Crap, I know that stance.

“Leave, I have some private issues to deal with,” Rosalie tells the guards and they leave as I hear a moan behind me.

“Link?” I ask, looking back at her. She lifts her head and looks around slowly, not even bothering to struggle out of the ropes, to my surprise. She must be more injured than I thought. “Link?” I repeat. Her head lifts up faster and she looks over at me, a large, childish smile forming on her face when she sees me, reminding me of the impossible innocence of this girl.

‘Sheik! You’re okay!’ despite her outer look, her voice is peppy and happy. She…cares that much about me? Her eyes go past me and widen, she starts shivering with…fear… ‘W-what’s going on?’ I look back at Rosalie to see her smiling, enjoying the fear coming off Link.

“Now that we’re alone, we have time to talk. It really has been too long, Sheik. Who knew in only two, almost three, years that you have found another,” she looks at Link with deep hatred. I give Rosalie the same look, growling.

“Rosalie, I’ll ask again, what do you have against Link?”

“Easy, she’s trying to take my old place,” Rosalie’s face melts into a sneer as she walks around me and stands in front of Link. I look over my shoulder to see Link trying to shrink back into the chair as Rosalie reaches forward, small electrical sparks jumping off the tips of her fingers. Link whimpers and closes her eyes, as if waiting to be hit. I feel red rage run through me.

“You’ve been torturing her with magic?!” I yell.

“Of course, it was the fastest way to break her,” Link’s ears drop at the word ‘break’.

‘Am I really that…cowardly?’ she thinks, unknowingly letting me hear it.

I’ll confront her about it later, I need to deal with Rosalie. “Let her go right now. I’ll do anything you say if you free her,” I say. Rosalie looks thoughtful before giggling.

“Will you apologize to your uncle and rejoin us?” she asks. The blood drains from my face. Me apologize to him? Why should I do that for?! “I’ll give you time to think on it. But have you really forgotten what we were?” she asks, bending over and letting the collar of her shirt drop, twirling her hair with her finger and trying to act seductive. I glare at her face, that won’t work on me.

‘What were you?’ Link asks curiously. I’ll need to ask her how she stays so innocent, it doesn’t make any sense.

“Well, flatty,” I look at Link to see her blushing dully at that. Link looks down and I roll my eyes at Rosalie, seriously? How immature can you get? I think about it…maybe not as immature as Link, but at least Link’s is a cute immature- Wait what? “Me and Sheiky here were once closer than anybody,” Rosalie lifts Link’s chin with her hand, not missing the fearful look the younger girl gives her. “But something happened and Sheik didn’t believe that we were Connected,” Oh boy, this looks bad. “But Connecting is only an old urban legend. There’s no such thing as a Connection between two people. Apparently this didn’t apply to Sheik, since he broke it off when it wasn’t fun anymore.” I growl, that is not true! I was the one who wanted us to stay together! She’s the one who broke it off over nothing!

She circles the two of us, waving her butt and trying to look ‘beautiful’. She turns to the door and pauses. “I’m still holding up on that offer Sheik. I’ll be back in two hours,” she says and slams the door behind her.

‘…Sheik? What did she mean? About your uncle?’

I gulp. “My uncle…is Osamu,” I know her eyes are widened.

‘Tell me what happened?’ she doesn’t order me to, she asks. I look at her.

“It’s a long story.”

‘We’ve got time. C’mon, you can trust me!’ she smiles. I look at her face, she has a black eye, a bleeding lip and all sorts of bruises and cuts, but seeing passed that, I see her cuteness coming out and I find that I can’t say no to her. Looks like my past will be reviled, I just hope she doesn’t hate me.

“Alright, I’ll tell you. When I was seven…”


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