Silent Courage

Chapter 18: Rise of the Sheikah, Fall of the Tyranny

Chapter 17: Mistress Rosaliar?

-Link’s POV-

As I sit in the cell again, humming to myself, I think about what Sheik told me about his past. By the sounds of it, he hasn’t told anyone about it really. I guess he had no one to tell, since both Sonja and Hitoshi already know about the whole thing. I’m so happy he can trust me with that. I find it almost hard to believe that he actually told me. I feel so much closer to him now.

But how Rosaliar and Osamu could do that to him is beyond me. Anyone with eyes, or even a quarter of a brain, could see that Sheik would never do that. Heck, I’ve only known the guy for, what? Three weeks now? And already I know he wouldn’t want to control a throne, he seems to prefer freedom and to do whatever he wants. I swear to Din, Nayru, Farore, Lune and any other God or Goddess up there that Rosaliar and Osamu are going to pay for what they did to Sheik, and I’ll make it the most horrible death possible, I’ll hurt them all right, but not enough to kill them, no. I’ll make them beg to be killed, to be put out of their misery. They will never, ever hurt Sheik again if I have anything to say about it.

I blink to myself, since when did I think so dark? I feel as if it’s my duty to protect Sheik, the same way he’s been protecting me all the time. I smile to myself, no matter what happens, I’ll always protect Sheik, even with my life if I have to. I couldn’t live with myself if I let him get hurt because of me.

‘Why am I so protective of Sheik?’ I cross my eyes and look at my forehead, as if I can see Rouge on my head. The small rat pokes out and looks down at me as if he heard me. ‘I mean, I’m protective of all my friends, but I feel as if I need to protect him, not just something I want to do.’

He blinks his beady eyes before running his paws and forearms over his face, cleaning it. Aww, that’s too cute, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I chuckle at him, at least my cell buddy can keep my spirits up. But why Osamu wants to speak to me is weird. My eyes grow wide. He’s not gunna send me into that Desert Chamber thing, is he? Would Sheik even let him? No! Don’t think of that! That Chamber is not to be thought of for the rest of my life!

From what I gather, Osamu is a racist son of a goat that is bent on making Hylians extinct for some reason, and will go to any and all means to get rid of them. But what has he to gain from doing that? What’s his goal? Whatever it is, I’ll need to be careful around him, if I make one wrong move, it could be the last thing I ever do. ‘I need to do as they say and follow whatever orders they want from me, if I fail to do that, Osamu will be on the throne ‘til the day he dies, then Rosaliar will take over after him, no doubt, since she’s his apprentice.’

“Link, are you crazy?” I jerk my head up to see Navi fly in through the bars, I didn’t know she was here too. “I passed by Sheik a while ago and he told me what happened, you’re going to risk yourself so recklessly?”

‘Navi, it was either going to be just me or both of us. I had to tell Sheik to go or there’d be nothing we could do to stop Osamu.’ This calms Navi down a bit, but she’s obviously not relieved.

“It’s still crazy. Do you hurt anywhere?” she asks, landing on my shoulder.

‘I hurt everywhere. Rosaliar tortured me in here and I would be dead by now if Sheik hadn’t shown up,’ I suppress a shiver at the thought of all that magic used on me.

“I could heal you a bit. Granted, I’m not as skilled as Healing Fairies, but I can heal minor wounds,” Navi suggests.

‘No, Rosaliar will know if I’m the least bit healed, and if she finds out I have outside help, she might hurt you,’ I think.

“Don’t you ever think about yourself? Do you ever let someone else help you, and not the other way around?” she asks. I look down. That’s answer enough for her. “Link, you need other people’s help as well. I know you like helping others, but if someone else helps you, you feel as if you’re useless. I saw that frustration you had when you were a pup, you kept getting angry whenever someone helped you do something. You’re not useless, Link, everyone needs help once in a while.”

I know that, I know what she’s saying is true, but I can’t help it. If someone asks for help, I give it, but when someone does something for me, I can’t help but feel like I’m not capable of it. I guess it’s just normal for me, since I’ve helped other people all my life; it’s different when someone helps me instead. Thankfully Navi drops it and I see something dangle in front of my eyes. The Kokiri Stone? “I thought this might be helpful,” Navi says as I take it, the guards had left my hands untied, instead they decided to chain my foot to the floor. I slip it over my head and tuck it under my tunic.

Rouge squeaks and jumps from my head to land on my leg, to Navi’s surprise. “Link, why did a rat just jump out from you hair?”

‘That’s Rouge, he’s my cell buddy,’ I grin goofily. Navi just looks from me to Rouge and back to me.

“You make the most bazar friends…”

‘And one of them’s a blue fairy,’ I laugh when she flicks my nose with her wing, tickling me.

“Stop being so cheeky. I need to leave for now, from what I gather from you and Sheik, Rosalie will know if I’m around you. Wish you luck for later,” she says and flies out. I lean my head on the wall and pat Rouge absentmindedly, staring at the ceiling with unfocused eyes.

It seems like only a minute passes when I hear keys rattling and I look at the cell bars to see the charming guards from earlier walk in. Crap, gotta go see Osamu now. “You’re coming with us, so keep still and don’t try to escape, we aren’t below beating you, kid,” one guard hulls me to my feet harshly by the back of my tunic and I find myself dangling from his hand, my feet at least a foot away from the floor. This guy’s mocking me, isn’t he? From the smirk on his ugly face, I guess it’s a ‘yes’.

After being carried through the castle by Ugly and Uglier, I’m tossed in front of Osamu. These guys like tossing people in front of this guy, don’t they? I keep my head down, remembering my place, and try to calm my heart, which is beating like crazy. I’m not surprised if someone hears it. “Raise your head,” he commands. I force back a sigh and obey, looking up at the cruel man. “So, now that you have had time to be broken, I believe I have the perfect position for you. Most Hylians die in the first few hours with Rosalie, so you must be something special. That’s the last thing I need. I’m not going to kill you, if that’s what you’re worried about. I only kill those who are old, frail, and weak. You are none of these, so you have your uses.” I try not to shiver. Maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t know I’m a girl, ‘uses’ doesn’t sound so good. “Since you seem to be stronger willed than most, you will be put into slavery,” I feel blood drain from my face. “But not just any slave, you’ll become a personal slave.”

“Of me,” Rosaliar steps out from the shadows, smirking at the terrified look I give her. “While you are my slave, you will do anything and everything I say, without complaint. Of course, it’s not like you could do that anyway,” she smiles over-sweetly and pulls my ear harshly. “So, stay still so I can claim you as my own,” she pulls back my head by my hair and I feel her place a hand on my collar bone before a hot pain touches my skin, as if someone has stuck a hot poker onto my shoulder. But there’s no smell of burning flesh, it’s as if I’m not really getting burned, more like I’m getting some painful drawing on my skin by a knife. She soon finishes and steps back to admire whatever work she did on me. “I must admit, this is one of my better marks. Now if you don’t do what I say, you’ll feel pain enter your body,” she says with a cheerful smile. Oh Goddess, I think she’s more insane than I thought.

She claps her hands. “Alright, slave, get to your feet. I have a few ground rules that you will need to follow,” I get up and stand straight, making sure not to show anymore fear. That’s what she feeds off of. “Ooh, acting brave, are we? This will be fun. Now, first rule, if you so much as think about escaping, then I will have everything in my right to kill you. Second, if you disobey my orders or hesitate to do what I ask, then you will suffer the consequences. And three,” she grabs my tunic and pulls me face into hers, making my feet hover over the ground, “don’t think you’ll be treated like a guest. If I say you’re no better than a dog, you’re no better than a dog.” I can’t help but think about how ironic that sounds. “Now, these gentlemen will take you to the Slave Chambers. Be sure not to harm him too badly,” she says to them as they drag me off. “I don’t want to find him useless after all.”

“Yes, my lady,” one guard bows his head.

I hear a squeak and look down to see Rouge running after me and scurrying up my leg and into my tunic. Well, at least I’ll have my cell buddy!

I look at the guards, maybe I can bug them on the way to the Slave Chambers. I stare at one guard’s face until he looks at me. “What do you want?” he asks rudely. I just keep staring at his face, unblinking, which I had learned to do from raising Rocky. If you blinked too much when in eye contact with the dragon, he didn’t trust you and would attack. This unnerves the man, and I fight, and succeed, to keep a straight face while he starts to fidget. “Stop looking at me like that!” he finally yells, irritated.

“Ignore him,” the other guard says. “He’ll soon get that smirk wiped out of his eyes.”

Dammit. Stupid eyes, always giving away my thoughts. It’s bad enough some people can read my thoughts, but to know what I’m thinking by just my eyes? That’s just mean and stupid. Despite that, the guy still looks unnerved and breaks eye contact with me. Ha! I am victorious!

“Hey, did you hear the news about Sheik? Apparently he was let back in my Osamu. If I was the old man, I would have tossed that kid into the desert and let him rot.”

“You’d better show respect to the Emperor, he might be getting old, but he still has a few tricks. He can do whatever he wants with the snap of his fingers or a flick of his wrist. It doesn’t matter how high we are, he’ll always outrank us, so shut your trap and quit saying how you would runs things.” I blank out for a moment as the guards start to bicker. It’s funny seeing grown men act like children.

I’m brought back into reality when they open a wooden door and toss me in. I stumble and turn to the door to see it slam in my face, but this place isn’t dark, in fact, it’s really bright. I look up to see there’s no roof and the sun shines right in my eyes, making me wince and lower my head, squinting. This is a switch from the dungeons. I hear a laugh and see a shadow cover me from behind. I turn away from the door to see a man standing there, and he’s all muscle. Oh boy. “What have we got here? Fresh meat?” he laughs and puts an arm around me, pulling me painfully into his side. I try to get away, but he just walks forward and practically drags me over to three other men, they all look like him. “Hey guys, look at this kid!” he pushes me forward and I trip over my own feet, landing on my face. I get to my hands and knees, feeling my face burning as they laugh. “Isn’t he tiny?”

“I’ve never seen a kid this small before,” another man says as I get to my feet. “What’s your name kid?” he asks, standing up and making me feel really small. When I don’t answer, he growls. “Come on, tell us your name,” he pushes me back and I stumble on my feet, luckily I stay up. He keeps pushing me back, pestering me for my name until he backs me into a wall and pushes me into it, making more bruises form on my shoulders.

“Let the kid go, Roger,” I’m dropped and my head hits the ground. I sit up and hold the back of my head as I look up to see a man coming over. He has messy, dirty blonde hair and brown eyes. He walks passed Roger and smiles at me, a strange youthfulness in his eyes. “Come on, you need to get out of the sun,” he helps me up and takes me over to a small shelter made of thin animal hide. “Just ignore those men, they’ve been here so long they’ve gone mad,” he advices, sitting down in the shade. He pats the straw next to him and I sit down, giving him a small smile. “I’ve never seen someone so young become a slave before, and I’ve been here for about three years. But who’s counting? My name’s Charlie,” he grabs my hand and shakes it. Charlie? Is he the same guy Sheik mentioned? “I guess you can’t tell me your name, huh? Or did you just not want to talk to Roger and his brothers?” I tap my throat and shake my head. “I thought so. Hmm…until I know you’re name, I’ll call you Little Beast,” he ruffles my hair, chuckling as I glare at him. “Too late, you’re Little Beast now. How old are you?” he asks, still smirking.

I draw in the dirt, messily scribbling ‘almost eighteen’. He looks at me in amusement. “Really, now?” I nod. “Could have fooled me, I thought you were fourteen,” I cross my arms, grumbling. “Wait, lift your head,” I look at him raising an eyebrow at the request. He lifts my head himself and looks at my neck, clicking his tongue when he sees something. “So you’re a personal slave. You’re marked by Rosalie, I assume?” he lets go and I nod. He sighs sadly. “I’ve been the personal slave of Osamu for this whole time,” he pulls down the collar of his ragged shirt, I see a small, coal black Sheikah Mark. I guess mine looks the same, but maybe a different colour. “Yours is silver, which is the Rank Rosalie is in. When you become a personal slave, you get marked with the Sheikah Sign of the one you work for. Now, I have to give some advice, no matter how much you hate it, do what Rosalie says. It’s not worth the punishments your new ‘mistress’ gives. And do all you can, she won’t work you enough to kill you.” I nod, I’ll need to remember that. “On a happy note, at least we don’t have to be alone with those morons!” Charlie says enthusiastically. I look at the four brothers and nod, much better.

Then Rouge decides to make his presence known and comes out of my tunic, sniffing the air. His ears flatten on his head and he hides on my shoulder, still under my tunic. “Well, seems you have a friend,” Charlie says. “Reminds me of my sister, animals loved her,” he has a sad, faraway look in his eye, and I see a bit of moister form at the edges of his eyes. I tilt my head at him, trying to ask if he’s okay. He looks at me and blinks his eyes, trying to keep the tears back. “I’m fine. I just miss her, she was…she was my twin,” he looks away, biting his lip. “We didn’t look much alike, and we used to fight all the time, but we loved each other. The only thing that makes us look similar is our hair, but mine’s too messy. My sister was lucky, she just had wavy hair,” I see tears start to roll down his cheeks. Not knowing what to do exactly, I shuffle a little closer to him and put a hand on his leg, giving him a soft smile when he looks at me. “Sorry, I haven’t thought about her for a long time, whenever I did, I thought of what was, not what is. Have any brothers or sisters?” he asks. I make a so-so motion with my hands. Ilia’s my sister in all but blood. “I see, so really you’re an only child, but you have a close friend, right?” I blink, I’ve never had someone who could tell what I’m saying by just my hand movements. “So, Little Beast,” I glare at him, “you should get some rest. You look pretty worn out,” he says.

‘I’m not that ti-’ my thought is interrupted by a yawn. Okay, I won’t protest. I lie down on my side and feel Rouge come out of my tunic. I open my eyes to see him curled up in front of my face, his head turned to me. I smile a bit and close my eyes, falling asleep quickly like usual.

-Sheik’s POV-

I pace my old room, trying not to pull my hair out. Rosalie just came back from the court room, she’s made Link her personal slave. This is bad, no, this is horrible! If Link makes one mistake, it could mean any punishment from the cells to the Chamber. I quicken my pace. No, I won’t let that ever happen. Not to her. Not to anyone. The only person who deserves that fate is Osamu, but what can I possibly do? I can’t trick him into going in, and it needs to be Sonja who fights him in the end. She’s the rightful one to take over the Sheikah after Osamu. I need to think of a plan to get Sonja here, undetected, and save Link. She’s counting on me and believes I’ll save her. And I will, I promise her and myself that. But how can I do that? I want her to be out of here by her birthday, which is in two weeks, so I need to act quickly.

“You’re going to wear a hole in the floor if you keep pacing like that,” I look at the door to see it closed. Who said that? “Pst, over here,” I hear stone grind and look at the wall beside the bookshelf to see a tunnel showing itself, Naoko standing in the exit. “You didn’t think I would let you stay in this Din’s Hellhole alone, did you?” he grins, walking out and pushing the bookshelf in front of the hole. “You can only open it from one side,” he says. “So, what’s the rundown? All I know is that you aren’t in exile anymore.”

I explain to him what happened, and I may or may not have let it slip that Link’s a girl. If anyone asks, Naoko figured it out on his own. “So, she’s risking herself as a slave so you can get Osamu out of his position?” Naoko asks.

“Yes.”

“You’re girlfriend’s crazy,” I choke on air.

“What?” my voice cracks, I thought I was over these things.

He laughs, leaning on the wall beside the bookshelf. “So, she’s not?” he asks, snickering.

“No,” I shake my head.

“But you want her to be.”

“No…” I lie, but fail.

“You like her.”

“Yes. I think I do. But she probably doesn’t feel the same way. She’s got enough on her shoulders at the moment, she can’t have time to feel anything for me,” I say.

“Maybe she does.”

“How will I find out? I just can’t ask her if she likes me, one, she’ll think I mean as friends, and second, if I go any further, it might get awkward between us.”

“It’ll probably be awkward anyway, with you knowing you love her and her not having any idea.”

“I know, but for now, it’s better this way. Well, putting that aside, I need to get her out of here. Rosalie will kill her if she messes up even once.”

“Rosalie holds that big a grudge on her?”

“Sadly enough.”

“Yep, Rosalie’s jealous.”

“Of what?”

“Of you and Link. She hates how close you two are, considering you only met three weeks ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could hear each other’s thoughts.”

“Then don’t be when I tell you that that’s true.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, I could hear her thoughts from the beginning, basically, and I found she could hear me today.”

“You mentioned her being mute, I can see why you could hear her first; we’re all used to talking.”

“I know.”

“So, any plans?”

“Not so far. I’m drawing a blank. I can’t just go in there and help her, I’ll probably be killed, but I can’t let her get hurt.”

“Hmm…I know,” Naoko snaps his fingers. “I’ll go get your Master, and send a messenger hawk to Sonja. We’ll need all the help on our side as we can get. And maybe I can talk to some of the guys down at the bakery.”

“Well that’s a start. Alright, I need to get going, Osamu wants to talk to me,” I sigh.

“Good luck,” he pushes the bookshelf out of the way and closes the path behind him.

“I’ll definitely need it,” I mutter.

I come to the throne room to see Osamu sitting tall on the throne, as if nothing can knock him down. I keep my face blank and bow to him. “Ah, Sheik, I am very pleased with you apologizing to me for trying to rise against me. I know it was just a youthful spur of the moment, so you are forgiven,” I feel my eye twitch. “Now, you may take personal lessons under your old Master,” he’s behind on the times, isn’t he? “Also, I want you to stay here and keep an eye out for any assassins. More and more have attempted to kill me as of late.” Good riddance.

Reluctantly, I stand beside Osamu, hands behind my back and feet spread at shoulder length. I need to at least pretend I want to follow him. “Rosalie should be here soon, she already has plans for the creature,” Osamu smiles gleefully. “Speaking of creatures, guards! Bring my slave here, now!” he orders. Slave? He has another one? Or is this the same one from a few years ago?

“Yes, Emperor,” the guards bow and leave.

“Sheik, do you still care for those creatures?”

Yes, I care about those people. “I’m not fond of them, but I don’t despise them. As long as they don’t do anything to me, I’m content to be around one.”

“I like your answer.” Great, the only time he can praise me is when I hate on Link’s race. “Do you think they deserve to live?”

“It doesn’t matter what I think, you’re the Emperor, after all.” My mouth is so dry, it’s like someone poured sand into my mouth.

“Indeed. Well, we are on the verge of finding the home of those creatures,” I perk up a bit at that. Home? “My spies are gathering information from all over Hyrule, and we are very close to finding where they live. We know they live in the forest on the other side of the desert, where I burnt down that house of that one family.” I feel rage burn through me, so it was Osamu who did that. Master’s suspicions were right.

The guards come back, guiding a man in with the tips of their spears pointing into his back. He walks calmly, his face is in a hardened mask, but I can see a glint in his eyes. A sort of happy, hopeful glint that is like a small flame. Something happened to make that happen, being under Osamu’s orders kills any flames. “You summoned me, Master?” the man, who I realize is the same man from years ago, bows on his knee.

“Yes, go clean the stalls of my men’s horses. They’re patrol is soon, and they will need to be ready. But they can’t possibly do it themselves, so you will get them ready.”

“I think you should get my slave to help,” Rosalie steps in from the other side of the throne. I didn’t even see her. “He needs to start his labours.”

“You mean that short kid, right?” Charlie asks. “He’s right out tuckered, he won’t be able to work very well at the moment. Fell asleep before his head even hit the straw.”

That’s just how Link normally is. I’ll be worried when it takes Link more than ten minutes to fall asleep.

“Does it look like I care? Guards, take my slave to the stables, he’ll tack up the horses.”

“Yes, miss,” they left again, dragging Charlie out.

I hope Link will be alright. I think she’ll be safer now that I know this man’s still around, maybe he can help her out.

-Link’s POV-

I am rudely awakened from my nice nap by the guards picking me up. I was having such a nice dream, though! It was about…I can’t remember. How come I can never remember good dreams? It’s stupid.

They take me out of the castles and to a smaller building that looks like stables; they’re beside another building that looks like they could be the barracks. I’m pushed into the stables and they make a short order at me to saddle up the horses. Awesome, my first job as a slave is to do something I love to do.

I walk into the center of the stables and look over all the horses from a distance. Let’s see…that grey one looks like he needs to be brushed. I grab a brush sitting on top of a barrel and take a bucket of water over to the horse. I look him in the eye and slowly walk up to him, my hand flat as I hold it palm up for him to sniff it. The hairs on his nose tickle my hand and he snorts before pressing his nose further into my hand. I smile as I scratch his nose. What a good horse. Whoever has you must be very proud.

“You have a way with animals,” I look over my shoulder to see Charlie standing there, smiling. “Not many people have that gift.” I shrug, picking up the water bucket and going into the stall, patting the horse’s neck. “Well, it’s nice to have help, I usually have to do this on my own.”

I nod and start brushing, I have a feeling this is going to be a short afternoon.

For the next few hours, Charlie talks about the different tasks the other slaves have, what they’re there for, and why they haven’t died yet. “There’s one thing we all have in common: we’re stubborn, and have more to live for than this. We have our goals and our personal reasons to live. My reasoning for belief that I’ll get out alive is still strong, and nothing is going to damper my spirits.”

When we’re finally finished saddling the horses, they all seem to like me and Charlie, a few Sheikah come in, all wearing armour. One of them’s that Ryuu guy, and he walks up to the grey horse I had saddled. That man better have better treat that horse fairly. “You, slaves! Out of the way! I don’t want to bother with you scum!” Ryuu shouts and mounts the grey horse, what happened to his other horse? We move out of his way as he and the other guards lead their horses out of the stables. So, now what do we do?

“We have to wait here until our ‘Master’ and ‘Mistress’ order the guards to take us in. It won’t be too bad,” Charlie says, sitting on a barrel of hay. Well, this is a good time for a nap. Hopefully I’ll be able to have another good dream. I sit down in front of the hay and rest my head against it, dozing off in a second.

But I’m shaken out of the doze by Charlie. “You can’t fall asleep, if you do, you might get in some trouble.”

I nod and watch the door with unfocused eyes, just waiting for Rosaliar to come in and order me to do something that will probably break my back. The first thing I’ve done as a slave might be easy, but I have a feeling everything else I do will be much harder. I don’t have to wait long, Rosaliar enters the stables, her face screwed up in disgust. Guess someone doesn’t like it here. “You, slave, come with me. I have a job for you,” she snaps. I stand and follow her, glancing at Charlie from over my shoulder. “Alright, the guards of the Palace are patrolling today, and you are going to clean their barracks,” she tosses a broom and bucket at me, the bucket lands on my head somehow and I find myself on the ground, dizzy. “Get up!” Rosaliar uses the end of the broom to hit the bucket, and now my head hurts horribly. I scramble to my feet and lift the end of the bucket, she throws the broom back at me and I catch it, luckily. “Now, do as I say and don’t leave those barracks until they’re clean. It should take you…” she taps her chin with her fingers, “Until sunrise. So have fun,” she pushes me into the barracks and slams the door behind me, locking it.

Well, it can’t be that bad. I’ve been in the man’s barracks before at Hyrule Castle, I had to help clean that too. I turn and my ears drop when I see the problem I have to deal with. Cats. Oh dear. They all stare at me, unblinking as they wait for me to move. Ever since the Twilight, it’s like cats know I turn into a wolf, and they will attack me if I make sudden movements. Evil devil spawn. I tiptoe into the mess of clothes on the floor, as if doing so will make it so they won’t swipe at me. I look down and go to pick up some tunics when a cat pops its head out of the pile, making me jump. It looks at me and I can see that smirk in its eyes. It’s laughing at me right now, I can tell.

Be a good cat and go away, I don’t want to kick you and have your friends go berserk. One cat jumps onto the bucket that’s still on my head and I cross my eyes to glare up at it, growling. You’d better get off.

Then, with horrible, horrible timing, Rouge wakes up from his nap in my pocket and looks out, sees the cats, and hides back in after a full second of the cats staring at me.

…Crap.

Three hours. Three. Stupid. Hours. Before the cats grew bored of scratching and biting me. Rouge escaped the barracks, but that didn’t stop the horde of cats trying to kill me.

And Zelda wonders why I hate them.

Covered in scratches, cuts and claw marks, I’m sweeping the floor, grumbling. The cats still watch me, and I’m almost done, but then the doors unlock and slam open. I look at the door to see a bunch of guards come in, laughing loudly and with the smell of ale and gin radiating from them. This won’t end well. One man spots me and chuckles, stumbling over as I hold the broom up. “H-hey-hic-kid. Yer the new…eh…wha’s the word ‘gain? Uh…Slave! Yeah, yer the new slave…right?-hic-”

I nod slowly. “Well, ain’t you a-hic-tiny li’l feller?” he steps up to me and I wrinkle my nose at his breath. This is why I don’t drink. “Tha…that broooom-thingy ya gots is-buuuurp-bigger tha-than ya!” I wave my hand in front of my face. I think that burp could kill a skunk.

One of his other friends comes over, grabbing my hand and shaking it tightly. I yelp and tug, trying to get away. I can’t feel my fingers! He finally lets go and I clench my hand. “Well…you should-should stay ‘ere! We-we-we’re gunna-hic-have-a-hic hic- have-a mer ta-ta drink! Drinks! They-they give ya great-great feelin’s of them good thangs in life! They…they…” the man passes out, falling forward and face-planting at my feet. All I can be grateful about is that he didn’t land on me.

I look around the barracks. Great, all that work and pain for nothing. I shake my head and pick up the bucket, heading towards the door. It was clean, but it’s not my fault it’s messy again. When I turn the doorknob, my neck suddenly burns. I let go of the knob and hold my neck, right on the spot where Rosaliar marked me feels warm, and is slowly cooling down. Does that mean I can’t leave? I have to clean this all again with drunk men around?

This is going to be a very long night.

No matter how hard I try to clean, the drunken guards always make it ten times messier. I’d like to give up and rest, but the mark burns whenever I try to sit down or lean on a wall. Even when I lean on the broom standing up it starts to burn, so I can’t even rest like that. I start to become woozy from the smell of barf, urine and other humanly smells that occur when people drink too much. The yelling and laughing is starting to irritate my ears enough for them to hurt, and I’m swaying on my feet from exhaustion. But the more I try to rest, the more the mark burns, and I’m sure there’s a burn mark all around my neck, since when I rub the back of it, I feel my skin hot, sticky and raw.

All the while, the guards push me around, stumble into and onto me, step on my feet (one even steps on my back when I’m pushed over), and sometimes lift me over their heads and pass me around like a ball. They usually drop me. I can’t even count how many times they’ve tried talking to me, just to burp in my face, wet their pants, or pass out in front of me.

It’s a Goddess sent miracle when they all pass out eventually and I’m able to finish cleaning before sunrise. I try the doorknob again, and sigh in relief when the mark doesn’t burn. I exit the barracks and stumble over to the stables, dropping the bucket and broom on the way. The last thing I remember is passing out just inside the stables.

I’m awoken by a kick to my gut, making me gasp and curl up into a ball, arms wrapped around me. I look up to see the outline of Rosaliar. She’s smirking down at me. “Resting on the job? Tut tut, you shouldn’t do that,” she grabs me by my hair and tugs me to my feet. “Come on, I need you alive for my next command,” I stumble after her, dreading the day to come.

She drags me to the Slave Chambers, flinging me into it. I feel a hand grab me before I hit the ground and glance up through my bangs to see Charlie. He looks worried. “I’ll come by for you later, Slave,” Rosaliar says and the echo of the door closing rings through my ears.

“You look horrible,” Charlie says softly as he guides me to the hay pile. “Oh my…It looks like you’ve experienced the pain of not doing everything your ‘mistress’ wants,” he sighs. “I was hoping you wouldn’t have to live it.”

I rub my neck gently, my skin is still a little raw, but it’s healing on the edges. “I know how it feels. When you are on a job, you can’t even rest for a second or the mark will burn you. I had no idea Rosalie would be so harsh on you your first day as a slave.”

I should have figured, she seems to hate me. I lie down, putting my arms under my head.

-Third POV-

Charlie chuckles softly as Little Beast falls asleep. The poor kid must be worked to the bone, and judging by the smell, Charlie will say the kid had to clean the barracks when the guards were drunk. Those guys really are useless, Charlie shakes his head. Charlie sits by Little Beast, leaning his head back against the back of the wooden wall and closing his eyes. He will have to help get Little Beast out, the kid is too young to be forced into the slave life, and Charlie will not see Little Beast dead before himself. With the way Rosalie is treating Little Beast, she’ll kill the kid in the next week, if not sooner. He’ll need to get the kid out before that happens. But the big question is how he will do so. He doesn’t know if he can trust anyone in the Palace, so he’ll be on the lookout when Osamu calls him to serve him.

Charlie hears a moan and opens his eyes to look down at Little Beast, the kid is shivering violently and seems to be plagued by nightmares. Charlie shakes the kid’s shoulder and Little Beast wakes, looking up at him with bloodshot eyes. “Sorry to wake you, you looked scared,” he says. “Listen, kid, I’m going to get you out of here. You don’t deserve the life of a slave. Do you have any friends in the Palace?” Little Beast nods. “Good. Now, I’ll be called to be a messenger boy for Osamu in a bit, while I’m out, I’ll try and find your friend or friends. And try to think of happy things, that way, you won’t get nightmares.”

Yawning, Little Beast nods and tucks back into a ball, snoring quietly in a dreamless sleep.

Like Charlie had predicted, Osamu’s guards come for him and bring him out of the Slave Chamber in their usual style, pointing spears at his back. “So, gentlemen, what does Master wish of me?”

“He wants you to work in the kitchens,” ‘Gentleman’ 1 says gruffly.

“I see, what a lovely day to work in the kitchens! Time for rejoicing is upon us, gentlemen! For the Emperor’s nephew has returned!” Charlie says enthusiastically.

“Shut up, you crazy idiot,” ‘Gentleman’ 2 snaps. “You’ll work in the kitchens and you won’t enjoy it!”

“Whatever my Master wishes, I will not be held back from my excitement. Oh, have you heard? I know this may be just a rumour, but it’s just so amazing! I heard from a very reliable source (the gentlemen snort at that) that the Hero of Hyrule is somewhere in this very city!”

“Hero of Hyrule? Yeah right. If he was, Emperor Osamu would know,” ‘Gentleman’ 2 rolls his eyes.

“Oh yes, I don’t doubt my Master’s word. Nope. Not at all. But it is just some rumours buzzing around the hornet’s nest,” Charlie walks with a hop in his step, smiling stupidly.

“Keep your comments to yourself, slave,” ‘Gentleman’ 1 says.

“The only man who can silence me is Master Osamu!” he sings off-key and scratchy, making the gentlemen cringe.

“Hey slave, two words. Shut. Up,” ‘Gentleman’ 2 growls. “Say anything more and I’ll be tempted to cut your tongue out!”

“That wouldn’t be very nice. I’m sure Master Osamu loves having me as his little messenger boy-guy.”

“How did we get stuck with this idiot?” ‘Gentleman’ 1 asks.

“I think Emperor Osamu has something against us,” ‘Gentleman’ 2 says.

“Do you think it’s because we couldn’t find that one Hylian kid?” Charlie’s ears perk up.

“Ooh, another Hylian? Do I know them?”

“Probably not. It was some kid we were looking for. I even looked in that stupid place to the South. What was it called? Ordan or something?”

“I believe you mean Ordon, good sir,” Charlie corrects, getting intrigued by what they’re saying.

“Whatever. That place is so small it can’t even be considered a village. When I want there about eleven years ago, I came to this one house and this stupid kid wouldn’t tell me if there was a Hylian there. All the kid did was hide behind the door. Bloody coward. Then he must’ve blocked the door from the inside, because when I tried opening it, it wouldn’t budge.”

“And you called this kid stupid. Oh look, gentlemen! We are at the kitchens! Thank you, you are such nice sirs to talk to,” Charlie bows and goes into the kitchen, the goofy, idiotic look in his eyes vanishing when he closes the door behind him, replaced by a thoughtful, worried look. “One of them went to Ordon, huh? I wonder why they looked there, could she be there…?” he trails off, shaking his head. No. Obviously not, they didn’t find her.

“Ah, Charlie, you’re working with us today?” the head of the kitchens smiles, chopping some onions.

“You are a very manly man for not crying. Those things make my eyes sting when I even look at them,” Charlie says, standing beside the bald man. “So, that rumour, about the Hero of Hyrule, is it true?”

“I’m positive. My predictions are never wrong,” a young, grey haired woman comes in, putting a bucket of water on the ground beside the fire.

“That’s only because the ring you have lets you see that ‘Insightful Eye’ of yours,” the head of the kitchen says.

“You’re just jealous, Herbert, that you don’t have any magical properties at all,” the woman smirks.

“I don’t need magic to live, Willow. It’s just a help in life,” Herbert shrugs, putting the onion in the soup. “Now go get a Cucco, Osamu doesn’t like waiting.”

“He’s already fat enough, he doesn’t need any more feeding,” Willow mutters before looking at Charlie. “So, that new slave of Rosalie’s is a trooper, huh? Any and all others who have to clean the barracks when the guards are drunk usually fall asleep after the first hour.”

“That kid’s something alright,” Charlie nods. “I have a feeling Little Beast will have a big role to play.”

“Little Beast?” Herbert asks.

“What? That kid’s tiny and has wolf eyes. What am I supposed to call the kid?”

“Doesn’t he have a real name?”

“The kid can’t talk.”

“Oh, that’s it.”

“Quit chatting you two, we have a dinner to prepare!” Herbert snaps. “Charlie, go get some Cucco, and Willow, start to prepare the broth.”

“Yes, Herbert,” they roll their eyes in unison.

Charlie whistles as he comes out and bows to the gentlemen. “I was told to go get a Cucco, Gentlemen.”

The ‘gentlemen’ look at each other, as if that’s the last thing they want to do. Now they’re going to have to deal with this crazy coot again.

Charlie rambles as the guards guide him to the Cucco pens, he just talks about random things that have nothing to do with anything. When they come down one corridor, Charlie locks eyes with a familiar man and shuts up. The guards notice this and look at who he spotted. It’s just Hitoshi.

“So, Osamu’s letting you back into the Palace again?” ‘Gentleman’ 1 asks, glaring at him.

“Yes, I am the only one who can teach Sheik, aren’t I?” Hitoshi asks, glancing at Charlie ever so often.

“I suppose,” ‘Gentleman’ 1 mutters.

“Where are you taking this slave?”

“To the Cucco pens.”

“Well, I was going that way anyway. I will take him for you,” Hitoshi offers.

“How do we know you won’t let him go?”

“Do you think I’m that stupid?” the question makes ‘Gentleman’ 2 bite his tongue. “That’s what I thought. No, you two enjoy yourselves, away from this idiot.”

The gentlemen basically throw Charlie at Hitoshi. The blonde man waves his butt at the guards’ backs. “Suckers,” he snickers before looking at Hitoshi. “Hullo, old friend. Did I trust you right that you would find my niece?”

Hitoshi sighs. “I did, but not in the way you would want. Surly you have seen her.”

“Have I?”

“I know you have. She’s working here now, as a slave,” Charlie’s eyes go wide. No. It couldn’t be…

“She’s…a what?”

“Slave. Sheik told me she’s a personal slave too.”

“Personal…slave…” Charlie holds his forehead, feeling lightheaded. Oh Goddesses, please, please tell me this isn’t happening. Please tell me that’s not her.

“Charlie!” Hitoshi catches the small man before he falls. “Have you seen her? Is she in your chamber?”

“I…I…I…” Charlie can’t speak, his tongue feels dry. “Did Sheik tell you her name?”

“Yes, she is a friend of his. The lad wants to get her out by her birthday, or that is his goal, anyway.”

“When?”

“Two weeks, the last week of autumn.”

“Goddess, I…I can’t believe this…Hitoshi, old friend, please tell me you’re lying! Tell me!” Charlie pleads, feeling his eyes sting. It can’t be, it just can’t be!

“I wish I was.”

Charlie can’t take it anymore, he faints.

-Link’s POV-

I yawn as I wake up, I feel uneasy. Like when someone’s looking at me. I look around, but none of the other slaves are present. I suddenly sneeze, my head jerking forward. I sniff and when I look up, I see Rosaliar standing in the open door, smirking. “Time for work, Slave.”

Oh boy.

I follow behind her until we come to an armoury, some Sheikah are training with some practice dummies. “For your next job, you’re going to fix every single weapon, dummy, armour, etc. You can’t leave until it’s finished, and if someone asks you to be a test dummy yourself, you must listen to them,” Rosaliar smiles sweetly. I gulp. “Hope you have a horrible time,” she waves and sits down on a bench. “You didn’t think I would leave you like last time, did you? I want to be sure you do as I say.”

I hope you burn in Din’s Hell when you get there.

I go over to the weapon rack and groan, almost all of them are broken in one way or another. Better get to work. I grab a spear, ignoring my aching and stiff muscles, and I start fixing the splintered staff, not risking sitting down.

-Sheik’s POV-

Well, I won’t be able to help Link if I stay in here. I might as well go down to the training area and practice. As I head down, I bump into Master Hitoshi, who’s half carrying/half dragging a blonde man along. “Um, Master?” I ask.

“Oh, Sheik, I see you’re no longer wearing a hole in the floor. I would love to stop and chat, but my friend here needs a place to rest where Osamu can’t find him. He apparently came to some conclusion about something, and I suspect what.”

“And that is…?”

“About the only family he has left,” Master Hitoshi goes into his old chambers and rests the man on the bed, I see he is Charlie.

“So he’s still here?”

“Yes, I didn’t know that until I saw him being taken to the Cucco pens with some guards. He seems to have gone…a little more than crazy under the orders of Osamu,” Master sighs, shaking his head. “Either that or it’s just an act for the guards.”

“Well, be careful. Hey, where’s Navi?” I ask, not seeing the fairy anywhere.

“She told me she’s going to get Sonja, if anyone can help with this problem, it’s her. Now, carry on with what you were doing, I can deal with Charlie.”

“Okay, Master. Make sure Osamu doesn’t catch you with one of his slaves,” I advise and leave. I shouldn’t worry, Master’s no idiot.

I come to the training area to see Rosalie sitting on a bench, her legs crossed as she watches a Sheikah of the Blue Rank kicking a flour bag. I see that someone is holding the bag up, and their legs are shaking. “What’s going on?” I ask her, she smirks.

“Oh nothing. My slave wasn’t listening to me, so I’m making him hold that bag there,” she nods to the flour bag.

‘Sheik?’ Link looks around the edge of the bag and smiles a little before the Sheikah kicks the bag, sending her back. ‘Ouch.’

I wince, that looked like it had hurt. “What is he supposed to be doing?”

“Fixing the weapons, but he was doing such a horrid job,” Rosalie shakes her head, looking disappointed.

‘That’s not true at all, she kept breaking them,’ Link mind-grumbles as she kicks the flour bag off. I notice she’s covered in scratches and has a red ring around her neck, the reddest part on her skin is surrounding a silver Sheikah sign. Rosalie. I suppress yelling at her.

“I didn’t say you could stop,” Rosalie says. “Pick that up and hold it or I’ll put you in armour and tie you to a pole, then you can be a dummy yourself.”

I see Link’s hand twitch as Rosalie turns to talk to me. I fight to keep a straight face when Link flips Rosalie off behind her. “So, have you settled in fine?” she asks.

“I guess so. It’s strange being back,” I say, watching Link struggle to pick up the bag of flour.

“I would assume so. I’m very sorry that had to happen, Sheik. Can you forgive me?” she pouts her lips and flutters her eyes. I try not to scowl.

“Not quite yet, just give me time, alright?” I shouldn’t have said that. I watch as her eyes flash scarlet before looking at Link.

“Slave! Come here!” she orders, tapping her foot impatiently. Link drops the bag and walks over, her head down. Once Link is standing in front of her, Rosalie slaps her across the face, her nails scratching her. “Go back to your job,” Rosalie hisses as Link holds her cheek. Link nods timidly and runs back to the flour, picking it up. “The longer it takes you to forgive me, the harsher its punishments will get. And it needs to be sincere, not just because you want me to stop.”

‘Sheik, forget about me. Remember, you gotta pretend to be on their side. I can take whatever she gives me,’ Link grunts.

‘I don’t want you to get hurt…’

‘It’s not anything I can’t handle. I defeated Ganondork, didn’t I?’

I gulp, hating myself for this. “I don’t care about what happens to that thing. It’s not human, so it has no feelings or emotions. It’s probably too stupid to even feel the pain,” I feel like I’m going to be sick.

Rosalie’s eyes brighten. “I see you’ve finally seen the truth. These vile creatures don’t deserve any pity. They’re just a waste of space. But I must say, they come in handy as slaves, since they’re so stupid.”

“Yes, I agree.”

“Well, let’s go Sheik. My slave can’t leave until the weapons are all fixed, so it will only get burnt if it tries to leave,” we walk out and I glance at Link, who gives me that cute, innocent smile, and I smile back before following Rosalie. “I know it’s hard seeing such idiotic creatures being treated with such light tasks, but I don’t know what to do with it. It can’t deliver messages since it’s too stupid to talk.” She’s mute, not stupid. “And I doubt she can even read.” She might have a hard time with Modern Hylian, but she reads Ancient Hylian perfectly. “It could probably go down to the market and fetch me some potion ingredients...no, it won’t know health from magic potion.” She knows the difference. “I still need to think about it. You know Sheik, it’s good seeing you again,” Rosalie hugs me before walking off.

I hold my stomach. I feel horrible for what I said. What if Link gets worse punishments than she’s gotten? It will be my fault. Oh Goddesses, all I can hope for is that Rosalie doesn’t end up killing my Little Linky.

Oh, so now I’m referring her as mine and her nickname. I push the thought aside, I can’t get distracted! Maybe I can visit her tonight, but I don’t know where the Slave Chambers are, and which one she’s stuck in. Life just got a lot more complicated.

I hear something from inside Master’s room and press my ear to the door, wondering what he could be talking about and with who. “I can’t believe it, I just can’t. My niece is here after all. I wish I could have met her in better conditions. She’s gotten so big, she’s like the best mixture of her father and mother. She has Josh’s smile and that fun, mischievous glint in her eyes, but she has such an innocent face, and her eyes have a youthful spark like I haven’t seen since Amy died. She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Hitoshi.”

“You must calm, friend. If you blurt it out to her, she might not believe you. You will need to tell her when you see her next though, I fear Rosalie might hurt her too much in the near future.”

“Well, Rosaliar is a little brat who needs someone to tan her hide. I don’t care how old she is, somebody spank that brat.”

Rosaliar? So Link’s not the only one who came up with that.

“I know you’re angry, but you must stay calm.”

“Yeah yeah, you don’t need to shove the meaning of your name down my throat, friend. Oh, we have a visitor!” I jump back as the door opens. Charlie’s standing there, smiling like an idiot. “Well hullo there! Did you come to deliver the papers? I’ll take ‘em and stuff them down Rosaliar’s throat!” this guy is crazy.

“Um, no, I’m here to see Master. Why is he still here and he is always this crazy?” I ask Master as I come in. Charlie closes the door and sits in a chair upside-down.

“He was about to leave, and it’s only a bit of an act around anyone who’s a Sheikah, he doesn’t trust many,” Master explains.

“Would you if they used you as a stepping stone? My back still hurts from my fatso Master,” Charlie scoffs.

“Alright, we need to get those Cuccos, the feast won’t wait you know.”

“Feast?” I raise an eyebrow.

“In celebration of being close to finding where my people are,” Charlie says, getting up to pace. “I’m not worried about my people, our home is very well protected from outsiders. Anyone who is suspicious can’t even see our home through the invisible barrier we put up. And only a Hylian may enter. If someone is holding hands with a Hylian they can get in, because it’s a sign of trust between the outsider and Hylian. What I’m worried about is if they use me or Little Beast as bait to get in. They’ll probably use Little Beast, since the kid can’t talk.”

“Little Beast?” I ask.

“Yes,” Charlie smiles goofily. “It’s an old nickname I haven’t used for a long time. I thought if fitted the kid well, since the kid’s so small and has beast eyes.”

“Are you talking about Link?”

His face goes solemn, as if I’ve just told him of his death sentence. “Link. So it’s true. Little Beast is Link, and if Little Beast is Link, then that means what is said is true, the rumours are true and if the rumours are true, that means that we must protect the kid at all cost, if ‘Master’ Osamu finds out, he will kill the kid!” Charlie continues to rant as Master tugs his arm.

“Don’t worry about it Sheik, everything will be fine. Go relax until the feast, we have plenty of time.”

-Link’s POV-

I feel my eyes grow heavier and heavier as I sharpen a sword. I jump when a bell rings, and frown. It’s only six at night. I must still be tired from last night. I start to hum to myself as I put the sword down and pick up a spear. It’s a lullaby song I remember from my good dreams, I think my mom sung it to me when I was a baby, but how I still remember it I have no idea. I can barely remember my childhood, how I can remember being a baby is beyond me. I yawn, making me stop humming and I can’t help it, I fall asleep, becoming immune to the burning on my neck as my head falls and I close my eyes.

Like before, I’m woken by a kick to the gut. I fall off the rock I was sitting on and look up to see Rosaliar standing over me, hands on her hips and tutting. “Still sleeping on the job? You’re starting to make me rethink my choice in making you my Slave,” she pulls me to my feet by tugging my earring. “Alright, I have a perfect job for you, you’re going to be serving as my slave tonight at the feast. You will get anything someone asks you and will even take a whip if we can’t get entertainment, got it?” she tugs the back of my collar. I gulp, nodding quickly. “Good,” she keeps pulling me and I’m forced to walk backwards. “For now, you’ll go to the kitchens and help there. Just don’t burn the food,” she hisses. Hey, I just realized, her hisses sound like actually hissing, from a snake sounds most like it. It’s kind of like how I actually growl.

I shake my head at the thought, that’s just my imagination, it can get rather wild at times.

She brings me to the kitchens where a man and woman are working. “Got another slave to work with you, since that last Hylian went too crazy for work,” she shoves me in and I’m luckily I catch the edge of a counter. I right myself and look at the door as it slams shut.

“Alright, new slave, go tend to the fire,” the man says and I go over to the hearth. The fire’s a bit low. I take a piece of wood and throw it in, making sure the pot overtop doesn’t get too hot. Oh, they’re making soup. I spoon some and sniff it. I didn’t know they had pumpkin here. It smells different form Ordon Pumpkin. I spoon some out and sip it, gagging. This is pumpkin? I think it needs some spices. I go to the counter where the woman is cutting up some herbs and take a small plant. I make sure that the man or the woman aren’t looking and smell the plant. This will work.

Another good thing from the Twilight, not only is my eyesight heightened, but my sense of smell is better too, which helps with cooking food.

I put a few pinches into the soup and stir it around a bit with a small spoon. I smile to myself, now it smells a lot better. I check to see if the other people are looking. They aren’t. I take a sip of the soup and nod. Much better. Amazing what such a little thing can do.

“It’s always the little things that make the biggest impact,” I jump, hitting the back of my head on the hearth, and turn, rubbing my head. The woman is standing there, smiling kindly. “I was thinking of how to improve the soup, but it looks like my big ideas, like adding potato or another squash, were pointless, all you added was a leaf and it already smells better.”

I shrug, I’ve had to grow up cooking, so it’s easy to me. I usually just wing what I make. “I am Willow, I’ve worked in these kitchens for many years with Herbert over there,” she says, bringing me over and handing me a cutting knife, pointing to some lettuce. “Fix a salad. Anyway, Charlie mentioned you earlier, calling you ‘Little Beast’,” I huff. “I see what he meant. The nickname suits you…” she trails off and her face becomes blank, her eyes grow misty and I see a ring on her hand glow softly.

In the deepest reaches of the crypts of the City of Sheikah, a horrible creature, once banished to a strange world in the woods, waits. It waits, and waits and waits and waits. It needs no food, for motivation feeds it, it needs no sleep, for desire drives it, and it needs no warmth or coldness, for the promise one of the ones that escaped keeps its blood pumping. It will kill one of them and take their power to become stronger, and once that is done, it will go after the other who escaped. The creature thrives in the dark, it feeds of the very essence that flows through all humanoids. Nightmares will resurface in the center of a place full of darkest fears, deepest wishes, and cruelest thoughts,” Willow coughs into her sleeve before looking at me in horror, as if she had just read out my execution. “Oh dear.” I tilt my head. “Oh, you don’t have to worry. That happens every now and then. They’re nothing but foolish rubbish. Why don’t you go fetch me a sack of potatoes?” she asks.

Confused, I walk into the storage room to look for potatoes, and I find Rouge standing on one of the shelves, squeaking at me. I smile and pat his head gently, he nibbles on my fingertips before climbing up my hand and arm to hide in my hair. Does he like to emphasise that I have a rat’s nest for hair? I shrug and find the potatoes. I manage to pick them up and walk out hugging the bag to me. It’s hard to see. I peek out from the side to see Willow and Herbert whispering to each other. I clear my throat, making them snap their heads towards me. I lift the bag a bit, asking them where I need to put it. “Could you put it on the counter?” Willow asks, patting the spot beside her. I put the bag down and tilt my head, curious about what they were whispering about.

“We should get back to work. If we don’t have the feast done in an hour, Osamu will have our heads,” Herbert says and we get to work. I pout on the inside. I’m still curious.

When we finally get the food ready for said feast, servants come in and take some of the plates. I take one that Herbert told me is Rosaliar’s and follow the servants, being careful not to make the food spill or get lost or left behind. We come to the mess hall and I walk up to Rosaliar, who’s sitting on one side of Osamu while Sheik sits on his other side, talking to Hitoshi. I put the tray down in front of Rosaliar and bow deeply, not looking up at her. “Looks like you tamed it. Very well done, Rosalie,” Osamu says, sounding impressed. “Come now, Rosalie’s slave, look up at me,” I do as I’m told and look up, locking my hands behind my back. “You’ve been disciplined. Good. No creature can go unharmed to become tame to their master,” Osamu starts cutting some thick beef. I hope they can’t hear my stomach. “Now, Rosalie has been telling me that you make some…odd noises, like whimpering, whining, and growling,” I wince further into myself the more he says. Will they find out? “She says you sounded almost like a dog when she was torturing you the other day. Do you know why this is?” he looks at Hitoshi.

“I haven’t the slightest clue as to why this creature can make such noises. I have not heard any myself,” he says.

“I wish to know what you sound like. Rosalie, if you will,” Osamu motions at me and Rosaliar stands, pulling out her whip. I start to shiver violently. No matter what, I can’t make any noises, I can’t let them know about what I can turn into. Osamu stands as two guards turn my back to the table and Rosalie. “My dearest people, do you wish for entertainment?” many of them cheer, but others just stare at me, knowing what he’s talking about. “Well, prepare for a good time! Rosalie!” I hear the snap of the whip and jerk as it hits my back, shredding my rags and taking off skin with it. I bite my lip until blood is drawn as she keeps whipping, the snap filling the air along with the laughter. The guards kick me down and I find the whip becomes harsher and harsher. I refuse to give in to their sick ways of trying to get me to bend to them. I have more willpower than they take credit for. I’m stronger than they would believe me to be!

“Well this isn’t working. Guards! Join in!” Osamu orders and the whipping intensifies by double, my skin is ripped and shredded but I feel my skin burn at the same time. Rosaliar’s manipulating the whips with fire so I don’t bleed. Goddesses forbid getting my filthy blood on the carpet.

Suddenly, a voice breaks through the pain. “Master, may I interrupt?” the whipping stops, but I can’t move.

“What is it slave?”

“Why do you harm this one? This kid’s really done nothing except trespass. Isn’t this punishment a little harsh for such a thing?”

“This is too light in my opinion. Besides, we need this one broken more than you if we are to reach Hylia Village,” gasps come from everybody. Whatia Village? “It is the last connection to that place, and it must be broken to obedience if my conquest is to work. We start with those abomination, then once they’re out of the way, we will send assassins to take care of that half-blood princess,” I feel my hands clench at that. There’s no way I’d let them hurt Zelly. “Then once she’s taken out, we’ll have the power to take over Hyrule. That man in red promised that we will prosper for thousands of generations if we can wipe out those creatures, along with threats to his plans.”

Man in red? He couldn’t mean Ghirahim, could he? How many people are helping that guy?

“Now, move aside, slave, this one needs to be broken. And I will be the one to do so,” I hear a chair creek and see a shadow hover over me. Oh Goddesses. “You will suffer, little one, and I will enjoy watching your face go red.”

‘And I thought he was going to cut my forehead,’ I think as Osamu has me hung upside-down.

“I will be back later. I have a feast to finish,” Osamu walks away. I growl lowly as the stinging in my back starts to intensify. My old injuries have been reopened along with me getting new ones. So they think they can break me? I won’t bend. I’ll die before I let Sheik, Zelda or Hyrule down. I don’t care what they try, they won’t break me, not if I can help it.

-Sheik’s POV-

I look at Master as Link is dragged out behind Osamu. “Hylia Village?” I whisper.

“It’s the village that is in the forest on the other side of desert. It is the place where the Hylians live.”

My eyes widen. “There are more?”

“Yes, they still live. Osamu wants to wipe them out and to do that; he needs to use Link to find the village, since only Hylians can see it.”

“I know, I overheard you and Charlie, remember?”

“Right.”

“Master…why did Charlie try to help Link?” I ask, watching the blonde man get a harsher whipping then Link had.

Master sighs deeply. “If I tell you, will you try to not get worried and try to tell Link yourself?”

“Tell Link what?”

-A few minutes later-

“WH-” I clamp my hand over my mouth before I can be heard, luckily no one’s paying attention. “Charlie’s-”

“Yes, he is. But you can’t tell anybody. Keep quiet and push it to the back of your mind for now. If Osamu or Rosalie find out, then they won’t hesitate to kill either of them,” Master whispers. “Now, since we’re both back, we need to pretend we don’t care for our friends. We can’t get them out if anyone realizes what we plan. No matter how much you hate it, just act as if those two are like bugs. Okay?”

“It’s not okay, but I know what you mean,” I go to rub my forehead when I see my hands are a bit bloody. My fists had been clenched so tightly when Link was getting whipping. I gulp. “Master, do you realize how innocent Link is?”

“Yes, this whole time she’s had that youthful charm in her smile that only few have at her age, and being with all she’s been through. It’s that innocence that makes Osamu angrier towards her. He hates innocence almost as much as he hates Hylians, it’s the one thing he doesn’t know how to take, thankfully. But if he finds out about Link’s true gender, it might not be as good an outcome.”

“Master, I need to protect Link. I have this strange...bond with her. I feel like I need to protect her, it doesn’t feel like a want.”

“Hmm…interesting. Tell me, Sheik, can you hear Link?” I blink, should I tell him?

“Yes, I was able to hear her after a few minutes of being with her, within those few minutes I had believed she was a boy.”

“I thought so. One more thing, can she hear you?” why is Master asking this?

“We were experimenting in the dungeons, and found I can talk to her through telepathy. Why?”

“I can’t tell you, you must figure it out yourself,” Master leans back, looking me in the eye. “You love her, don’t you?”

I feel my face heat up and I tug the corner of my shawl to hide my face a bit more. “A little, I’ve liked her for a while it seems. And now that I think about it, I think everyone knows besides Link.”

“That’s because she’s, as you said, innocent. She’s probably only ever experienced parental or sibling love from the people she lived with.”

“Master, can you stop it? I like her, yes, but she can’t possibly feel the same way with me. Look at me, I’m related to the monster that wants to wipe out her entire race!”

“Well, you’ll have to wait and see. Now, eat. Starving yourself won’t help Link in the least,” he pushes my plant towards me.

How can I eat when Link is being starved?

But…Master’s right, if I starve; there will be no chance of me getting Link out of her.

I hate this.

-Link’s POV-

I hate this.

I hate this so, so much.

Once I had woken up from passing out, I had to endure being electrocuted by Rosaliar. It’s now late at night and I can barely feel my eyelids, let alone my hands or feet. My eyes can only stay half open as Rosaliar crouches in front of me, hissing into my ear. “I will break you, even if I have to break your bones, spine, or skull. I will break you and you will be the key to Hylia Village and the demise of your people. Ta ta,” she pats my head and leaves.

I let a stream of colourful thoughts swarm my mind. If only I could have at least bitten her. But I already know that wouldn’t end well.

Rouge climbs out of my hair and sniffs my face before nibbling my nose, like usual. I smile as he stands on his hind paws and puts one paw on my nose, the other on my cheek. He sniffs my forehead and I cross my eyes, wondering what he’s doing, when he licks my forehead. That’s right, a rat just licked me. Sheik will be so jealous! I can tell.

Sometime later, the ‘nice’ guards come in and lift me, kicking Rouge aside. I fight the urge to growl, somebody’s losing their masculinity if I can get my legs on the ground. But these guys learn from past mistakes, and don’t let me touch the ground, which sadly isn’t that hard. They toss me, once again, into the slave chambers and I get to my feet before stumbling over to the hay. I sit down harshly and my head sags, finally, I can get some sleep.

‘So much for that,’ I think when I feel something shake my. I wake up and blink to see Charlie, he looks happy, sad, angry, worried, calm and relaxed all at once. Don’t ask me how that’s possible.

“Kid, we need to talk,” he sits down beside me, I notice he’s covered in whipping scars. “There’s something I’ve always been looking for, that something is my niece. She was taken away by her father when his and my sister’s house was destroyed. Me and my sister where playing with my niece, cute little baby, could never stand still. Anyway, when we were playing, it was just a summer day, dry and humid, but we were shaded by the trees surrounding the house. We were laughing, playing piggy-back, horsey, hide-and-seek, you name it. But there was suddenly the smell of smoke. Not normal smoke from a natural forest fire, but smoke summoned by magic. You see, my sister and I could see magical auras, which is all the magic we possessed, and we could tell when something’s abnormal or not. The fire was defiantly magic. It started outside, but moved towards the house. I stood to stand in front of my sister and niece, but the fire came from all around, surrounding us. The roof soon collapsed and I was knocked out. When I woke, there was rain pouring heavily. I saw the hand of my sister from under a log, and I pushed the log off to find she had covered the baby with her own body. She wasn’t breathing and everything seemed to slow down. I felt like a part of me broke inside, but that was slightly repaired, slightly, when I heard that cry. At the moment it was the most beautiful cry I had ever heard. I parted her arms to see a small, magical shield surrounding the baby. The shield faded and I took her into my arms, holding her close as she wailed. I cried myself. My sister, my twin, was dead. I had lost a part of me, a part I would and will never find again. I forced myself to stand, and tucked the baby in a basket before taking her and my sister’s body out of the house. I ran into my brother-in-law and told him what happened, noticing him covered in wounds that already seemed infected. He told me to give my niece to him, we were both crying by this point, and I gave her to him. He told me that we were being hunted, and he had to give his daughter to the only person he knew who could care for her. He didn’t tell me where he was going and left. I was left to bury my sister. I went to the cemetery in the nearby village and buried her there with the help of the grave-keeper. A few days later, I was still worried for my brother-in-law and niece when a couple of my people came back, my brother injured on their cart. His last words were for me to find his daughter, and keep her safe, and just like that, he died. Pretty anti-climactic if you ask me, I thought he would have gone out with dramatic style, but eh, you can’t have everything,” I snort. This guy makes death sound light. He smiles at me. “And many, many years later, I’ve found my niece! Although, I wish it was under better circumstances.”

I tilt my head. Who is this guy talking about? “Little Beast, would you like to know the name of my niece?” I nod, sitting up a bit more. “Are you sure?” I nod. “Are you positive?” I nod again, starting to get annoyed. “Are you really, really super-duper ready?” I nod firmly, poking his shoulder. “Her name…is Link!”

I stare. And stare and stare and stare. I couldn’t have heard right, I could have sworn I just heard this man say my name. He waves his hand in front of my face. “Hello? Hyrule to Little Beast,” I shake my head looking at Charlie with wide eyes. “Well you reacted better than I did. I fainted when I figured it out earlier today.” I look down, not sure what to think. “So, looks like we still have a bit of family.”

…Family? I…I have one? I feel my eyes sting at the thought. I never knew I had any family. And to find I have an Uncle, who’s been searching for me, I…I can hardly believe it. I look up at Charlie, he looks on the verge of tears. He’s…really my Uncle? My eyes sting more and more. Finally, after what seems like forever, I regain the feeling in my arms and the first thing I do is hug Charlie, my Uncle. He hugs me back and rocks me a bit, leaning his head down. “I’ve finally found you…I’ve finally kept my promise to my sister and brother-in-law, your parents.” This does it, I feel tears start to leak from my eyes as I let out a sob.

I have a family! A real family! I hug my Uncle-Haha! My Uncle!- tighter and he hugs me back. I breathe in his sent; musky, damp and a bit bloody. Usually smells that make me cringe, but right now he could smell like crap and I wouldn’t care. Charlie keeps rocking me as I feel the top of my head become wet from him crying. He moves me so I’m sitting up straighter and he keeps rocking me. He whispers to me, singing softly to me. His singing voice is a bit deeper than his normal, and it sooths me, making me feel warm, safe and like nothing in the world, not even Rosaliar or Osamu, can hurt me.

What he’s singing, I’ve dreamed of it. It’s the song I remember from my best dreams, the dreams of my mom, dad, and now my Uncle. I hum it to myself when I’m sad, feeling lonely, or when I’m really tired. As he sings, I start to calm down, but I don’t let go of him, in fact, I hug him tighter. He lifts my face with his hand and kisses my forehead, wiping a few of my tears with his thumb. “You’ve grown so much, and now that I know who you are, I must say, you’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, you could probably rival you’re mother’s beauty,” Charlie chuckles as I move back a bit and smile at him, feeling a light blush on my cheeks. “I’m sorry for dropping the bomb on you like this, but how could I keep it to myself when I can talk to you? We might not even be able to be alone for a while, so I thought I’d take the chance when I could. And don’t worry Link, I’ll get you out, even if I can’t, I’ll be dammed if I don’t get you out of here, alright?” he makes me look him in the eye. “But let’s not think of that. I’m just so glad I’ve finally found you. I’m so sorry I never found you beforehand, but now we can be with each other. Like we used to be. And remember, I’ve never stopped loving you. You’re my last ray of sunshine, and I will never ever ever, as long as I live, let that ray die.” He hugs me again. “Now get some sleep, you’ve had it rough the past few days,” I nod and rest my head on his shoulder, yawning. I move into him as he brings me closer, and for once in my life, I sleep in the comfort of my family.


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