Chapter Three: Little Sisters and Broken Arms
Familiar trees surrounded Link. A small smile came to his face as the tree houses came into view. After the Water Temple, he was glad to see so much green. He didn't think he'd ever go swimming again for as long as he lived. The path to his tree house seemed short compared to what it used to be. He climbed up the ladder, and ancient memories poured into him. The last time he had stepped into this tree house had been when he was nine. He had to duck considerably to fit inside. The reason he had come was to think.
Though Reena didn't want to admit it, he had a feeling she enjoyed talking with him. What other reason would she follow him? The figure he had seen in the Water Temple wasn't a demon. It had been Reena, he was now nearly sure of it. Was she watching out for him? Would she follow him into the Fire Temple too? A smile escaped at that thought. Link sighed and sat down against the wall, looking around
So many memories surrounded this place. It seemed ages ago that he and Mido had last fought. It had been ages. Hard as it was to admit, Link missed them. Now, they were just shadows and Mido, along with everyone else, probably didn't recognize him. With his visits always being at the dead of night, no one ever saw him anymore.
"It's for the best, I suppose," Link said quietly.
"Who…who are you?" a small voice stammered.
Link lifted his head, startled. A pang of sadness tore at him. Saria looked at him as if he were a Zora. He couldn't help but smile at the thought of her ever seeing a Zora.
"I'm…I was just looking for shelter for the night," Link answered. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
Sraria held the light in her hand higher, getting a glimpse of Link's face. The fear left her and recognition set it.
"L…Link?" she asked. He slowly nodded. She let out a small cry and ran towards him. She threw her arms around him, laughing and burning her self. A laugh came from Link and he quickly took the candle from her hand, setting it on the ground. He hugged Sraria back tightly. He had missed her so much over the years.
"You didn't have to scare me like that!" Saria exclaimed, pulling away. "It's been so long!"
"I've been staying away," Link explained. "I can't submit this place to danger."
"You're too late for that," Saria said quietly. "The Forest Temple has been taken."
Link sighed, "Yes, I know. That's why I'm here. I'll be going there tomorrow and then leaving. Don't tell anyone you've seen me."
Link hated it when she looked at him so pleadingly. It got him every time. However, he stood his ground and looked intently at her. Saria slowly nodded and Link let out a sigh of relief. A smile suddenly came to Link.
"However, imagine what Mido would think," he said.
"He'd wet himself," Saria giggled. "Where have you been, Link?"
"You want to hear all of it?" Link asked.
"All of it," Saria said, sitting next to him, laying her head against his arm. Link smiled.
"It'll be long and boring," he assured.
"I want to hear all of it," Sraria repeated.
Late into the night a candle stayed lit in Link's old tree house. Many Kokiri crept from their houses and sat outside, listening to the man tell his amazing adventures. From that day forward, the Kokiri waited for the man to return so that they could sit outside Link's tree house and listen to his tales. Someday they hoped to learn his name.
"By the goddesses," Link cursed. "Enough with the fire bats!"
The Master Sword made quick work with the flaming animal. It disappeared in a puff of black smoke and Link continued through the door. It slammed closed and he moaned. Before him was a very large room with nothing in it. Or so it seemed. He took a cautious step forward, picking up a handful of gravel. Link tossed some to his left and a fire wall sprang to life. A sigh came from Link. This could take awhile.
After what seemed like ages of feeling his way around the room, Link came to the wall that had many carvings and walked through the door. It locked behind him and Link cursed again.
"Flare Dancers, fire slugs, fire bats, fire everything else," Link muttered. "I swear, I never, ever want to see water, trees, and now fire ever again in my life!"
In a moment, the Master Sword was away and Link's bow was in its place. The Flare Dancer jumped out of the flames and danced around Link. With deadly accuracy, Link hit the black being in the center. It shrieked and fell to the ground. In circles it ran and Link moaned. He hated this part. He took out his dagger and threw it at the running orb. It froze as it hit it. In a moment, the black orb was in the fire again, forming arms and legs once more.
"Well, this seems intriguing," a voice said.
"You are a liquid, I swear," Link said, glancing back at Reena. "How did you get in?"
"I followed you," Reena answered. "It wasn't that hard to slip in without you noticing."
"Right," Link answered as he fired his bow again, the orb beginning to run again. Metal rang as Reena pulled her double swords out and slashed it. "So, why'd you follow me?"
"I came to steal something from here and heard you," she answered.
Link smirked as he repeated the tedious process of shooting and slashing. Somehow he didn't believe her. However, he wasn't going to challenge her. She was being somewhat warmer to him and he wasn't going to ruin it. In the Forest Temple she had covered his back from the shadows when going against two Stalfos. He owed her for that. He wondered if he should tell her that he knew she had been following him to every temple. After a moment, Link decided against revealing the fact.
Link slashed the Flare Dancer with the master sword and it shrieked loudly. Link ducked behind his shield as it exploded. A coughing fit over took him and Reena. Link straightened, waving away the smoke. He looked over at her as she put her swords away.
"Thanks," he said. Reena nodded. She frowned when she saw his smile.
"What?" she demanded, putting her hands on her hips.
"Nothing," Link answered, walking up the stairs to the center platform that had once held the flames of life for the Flare Dancer. "Are you coming with?"
"What's with the expectancy?" Reena asked, crossing her arms.
"Because you always come with," Link answered with a smirk. A red tinge came to Reena's cheeks. She jumped onto the platform just as it was rising. There was silence as they rose to the next floor. "So, can I expect you at the Shadow Temple?"
"I haven't been following you," Reena said coolly. Link nodded, trying hard not to smile. He wasn't as clueless as she thought. He always knew what was going on around him, he needed to or else it could be his life. "I might see something worth stealing from here though."
"Seems pretty risky coming here," Link said, giving her a sideways glance.
"Since when were you worried about my well being?" Reena asked crossly.
"Don't get so upset," Link said as they stepped off the platform. "I wouldn't dare go against your judgment."
Reena eyed him uneasily. What was he getting at? Was he trying to play her? Was he trying to impress her? However he entered the next door, acting as if the conversation hadn't occurred. He cast a glance at her and she waited for an explanation.
"I'm coming up to Ganondorf's demon," Link said.
"Maybe it has some loot," Reena said in a bored voice. Link looked away before she saw his smile. Why was she helping him?
"Alright, follow me," Link said. He saw Reena bristle at him commanding her. The door before them opened and Link tried to pick out which pillars to jump from to get to the demon's door. Pictures of a dragon flew through his head and he sighed. A dragon. That was the last thing he wanted to go against. However, he had a feeling he'd be going against it one way or another.
"Are we just going to stand here?" Reena asked impatiently.
"Well, I'm trying to decide the best way to go without getting killed," Link answered, throwing a glare at her. She rolled her eyes and Link began to take jumps to the pillars. He heard Reena follow him and they safely made it across the pit of lava. Before them was the large golden door that alluded to the demon. Link put his hand on it and it opened.
A stone platform of immense size of was in the center of the room, surrounded by lava. As soon as the two step foot on it, the ground began to shake. A roar went out and a dragon broke through the rock. It shook her head and glared at Link and Reena. Its huge mouth opened and fire flew towards them. Link's shield was out in a moment and he shoved Reena behind him, deflecting the death trap. It bounced back, hitting the dragon straight in the eyes. Link pulled his sword out as the dragon thrashed in pain and struck it between its armoring scales. Reena was next to him and stabbed the demon with him.
"Thanks," she said in a voice that he could barely hear. Link had to take what he could get.
"Forget it," he answered. "Let's worry about this thing at the moment."
Slowly, Link let his breath out, keeping his eyes closed tightly. He could feel them watering and he clenched his fists. He looked down at the water, opening his eyes. Blood swam next to him. He took another deep breath, watching the cut across his torso produce more blood. Another step took the gash under the water. The freezing water bit him, making him hiss. Link looked over his shoulder, the cuts along his back still visible.
For a moment, he just stood there. He was afraid that if he submerged his other two cuts, the shock and pain might kill him. The water gently splashed against him, soothing his aching body. Finally, all the temples were done. He had the luxury to stand here and let the biting pain remind him he was alive.
Sometimes, every now and then, he needed the reminder. Behind him he heard Epona eating the grass and drinking water. He could feel her eyes on him, in case she needed to suddenly help him. He took a deep breath and sat in the ice cold water, going completely underneath the water. He instantly resurfaced, cursing.
"Yeah, that hurt," he muttered, shivering and shuddering. He sighed at the thought of having to do it again. He needed to get the wounds washed. He walked back towards the shore more so that he could sit in the water and still be above it. The water came up just past his cuts on his back as his sat and he closed his eyes, concentrating on something else.
"What happened to you?"
Link smiled. "Why should you worry?"
"What happened?" Reena repeated.
"Shadow Temple," Link answered, opening his eyes. The water was disturbed next to him as Reena entered the small pond. He looked up at her and saw her eyeing the bloody water she was standing in.
"Get out. I'll treat them," she said. Link gave her a half smile.
"You don't have to," Link assured. "Many times I've just let them like this."
"Come on," she said, taking his arm and pulling him up.
Link let out a cry and quickly stood to stop the stabs of pain. He followed her over to the grass and she made him sit. Reena reached into her shirt, pulling one of the small vials out. She kneeled behind him, calling Epona over.
"Why are you doing this?" Link asked.
"Can I not help you?" Reena asked, irritated.
"Well, I appreciate it," Link assured. "But…are you planning on stealing something from me?"
"No," Reena answered, taking a bandage from Epona's saddle bag. She opened the vile and poured thick, green salve on it. She handed the end to Link. "Put that on the wound."
Link did so, making sure it lay flat. He held his hand over it and Reena came over to the front, bringing her end. She wrapped it around his torso and soon another went around his chest for his back wounds. The salve froze against his skin, soothing the pain. Reena put the vile away, sitting next to him. Link looked at her, surprised.
"Alright, what's this about?" he asked.
Reena looked at him. He saw embarrassment. She sighed.
She mumbled something unintelligible.
"Er…what?" Link asked. Reena banged her head on her drawn up knees.
"You know, breaking an arm is less painful than this," she muttered. "Do you…do you… damn it, I'm never going to get it out!"
"Get what out?" Link asked, wondering what in Hyrule was going on.
"Do you want to be friends?" Reena murmured.
Silence. Reena looked at Link. He was just staring at her as if she had suddenly turned into a Goron. He suddenly began to laugh. Reena glared.
"What is so funny?" she demanded. Link wouldn't answer her. She knew this was a bad idea. In a moment she was on her feet. A hand grabbed hers.
"Stop," Link said, regaining for his sudden attack. Reena's venomous glare penetrated his mind, but he shook it off and made her sit down. Her knees were drawn up under her chin as she stared across the water.
"Going to laugh some more?" Reena asked sharply. "This isn't the easiest thing for me you know."
"No, I'm not," Link assured, a smile on his face now. "We can be friends."
Reena's head shot up, "Really?"
Link fought hard not to laugh, "Why not? You asked didn't you?"
"You mean…you don't mind?" Reena pursued, shocked at his instant answer.
"Well…should I? Are you going to suddenly use me and kill me in my sleep?" Link asked. "Then I would mind."
Reena eyed him and shook her head, "No, not yet at least. But…you want to be friends? Just like that?"
"Er…yeah," Link answered. Obviously she didn't make friends easily.
Reena looked back across the water in shock. After how unpleasant she had been to him…he wanted to be friends with her. Nabooru was right. Men were very confusing. Reena looked at him, swallowing hard.
"Just…uh… don't…er…," Reena stammered, knowing she was going to sound shallow.
"I won't tell anyone," Link assured with a small smile. Reena couldn't help but return a guilty one. She scratched the back of her neck nervously. Link eyed her. "You don't make that many friends, do you?"
Reena looked at him for a moment and slowly shook her head. "I really can't because I'm under Nabooru. So I'm the second commanding officer of all the Gerudo save Nabooru."
"That would be a problem," Link agreed, nodding his head. "You've got to maintain the leader persona back at Gerudo Fortress."
Reena nodded. He understood her problem well. Maybe Nabooru talked with him more than she thought. A quiet laugh came from Link as if to read her mind.
"I'm close friends with the King and Queen of Hyrule," he explained. "I can keep a secret, don't worry."
A red tinge came to Reena's cheeks, "Thanks."
"Hey, what are friends for?" Link asked, giving her a sideways glance. He watched as a small smile came to her face. They watched as the setting sun behind them cast their shadows across the pond.
"Lera! Lera stop!" Link shouted, running towards her.
Dust flew everywhere with curses and screaming echoing through the streets. Through the thick cloud, Link could make out two bodies rolling, kicking, and hitting at each other. He ran into the midst of it all, pulling them apart. Behind all the mud, dirt, and blood Link saw Lera's fiery eyes ready to rip her opponent apart. The boy in Link's other hand looked the same. They tried to go at it again, but Link's hold on their shoulders was strong.
"Hey!" Link said firmly, pushing them even farther apart. "What's going on here?"
"Nothing," Lera said darkly, wiping her mouth on her sleeve. Link wasn't bought.
"Somehow I don't see this coming from nothing," Link said, looking at both the boy and Lera. At thirteen years old, Lera must have been put to the extreme test to blow up like this.
"You're no fighter! Come back when you're a real challenge!" the boy sneered. "I would've beaten you if you hadn't hidden behind the Hero of Time!"
"Shut your face before I make you, Dierden!" Lera snapped, bringing her fists up.
"You might chip a nail, Princess Lera! " the Dierden sang, an evil grin coming from his lips. Lera kicked out with her foot and Dierden crumpled to his knees, howling in pain. Link felt his veins run cold and looked at the fallen boy with dread. Relief flooded through him to see Dierden holding his shin with tears streaking his dirty face.
"Castle, now," Link said sternly.
Lera was about to protest but one look made her shut her mouth. She threw a glare at Link and Dierden before hurrying off up to her home. Link looked down on Dierden, eyebrow raised. "And I think she just beat you."
Link walked after Lera, seeing her as only a pinprick in the distance. Once again he wished she wasn't so fast. The small footprints on the road led him behind the castle and through the garden's gates. Because of his experience, Link had no problems in tracking the thirteen year old through the garden which was more a forest. An enchanted one at that. It was like one from a fairytale really. Link had a feeling that the Great Fairies had something to do with that.
Soft crying floated past, startling Link. He quietly continued his journey, coming to Lera's favorite place. It was the deepest part of the forest and was a breathtaking sight. It looked as thought it had jumped off the pages of a fairytale book. A small pond with crystal clear water was in the center of the clearing with a few willows hanging over the water. At the bank was Lera with her knees drawn up, crying. Silently Link approached her, taking a seat by her side. He took off his weapons, laying them next to him before placing a hand on her head and smoothing her hair.
"Hey, what's up?" he asked gently, already knowing the answer. "Don't let him get to you."
"I could've handled him," Lera said sharply.
Link couldn't help but smile at this. He skipped a stone across the water, watching it as it skimmed five times before drowning.
"I don't doubt that," he assured.
"Then why'd you stop me?" she demanded.
"Do you want a list?" Link asked.
"Yes," she mumbled. However, Link could hear a small smile in her voice.
"Okay, here I go," he said, taking a deep breath. "One: You would have killed him. Two: It isn't ideal for the future Queen of the greatest nation to kill her subjects. Three: You'd have a murder on your head. Four: No boy will ever step towards you… which is good because I'm not having any boy date my younger sister. Five: You need to control your anger because you can't maul everyone that makes fun of you. Six: Your parents would have murdered you. Seven: Impa would have murdered you. Eight…Can I stop yet?"
"Fine," she answered, raising her head and drying her eyes. Link put an arm around her shoulders, giving her a small shake.
"Don't let him get to you," he said. "Like I said, I know as clear as day you could have killed the kid. But I had to stop you for reasons that I said before."
Lera nodded, leaning her head against Link. She swallowed hard, trying hard to keep from more tears coming.
"Can I ask you a question?" she said.
"Shoot," he answered.
"Why… is your gender so… so… annoying, stupid, and…immature?" she asked, truly puzzled. "With the exception of you."
Link laughed. "I think it'll remain a mystery."
"Oh, come on! You're a boy!" she exclaimed. "You were thirteen at one point in your life! Then again, you still barely know what a girl is because you're off on some crusade. You only have your woman knowledge because of me."
"Which still isn't saying much," Link teased, receiving a hit in the arm. He ruffled her hair, taking his arm from around her shoulders in case he needed further protection. "But that's not fair to say. I mean, I did manage to make a friend out of someone who hated me."
"You mean the Gerudo is…you're friend?" Lera demanded. "I thought she hated the sight of you!"
"Thanks for making me feel so much better," Link said, eyeing her. "Yes, we've become friends."
"This is… unheard of! You've made a friend… that's a girl… that hasn't begged for a date!" Lera gasped, slapping her hand on her forehead.
"Will you stop bringing that part up?" Link demanded.
"What are little sisters for?" she asked sweetly.
"Aside from annoying someone to death?" Link asked. Lera glared at him and he returned it with a smirk. "However, I've sworn not to reveal our friendship to anyone."
"I'll tell everyone," Lera said, rolling her eyes.
"Including all your boyfriends?" Link teased. Lera's look bore pure hatred. "But, back to your original question. I have no idea what's wrong with boys."
"I do," Lera muttered. "They breathe."
"Harsh," Link winced. "I love you too, Lera."
"You're nearly seventeen, not thirteen," Lera pointed out.
"Not nearly. Still four months," Link said.
"Whatever," she said, rolling her eyes. She went to the waters edge, cleaning her face off. If her parents saw her like this, they'd know what had happened. They'd know that she had snuck out of the castle again. Pressure was suddenly applied to her back and Lera flew into the water. She surfaced, lunging at Link who was grinning at the water's edge. "I hate you!"
"One moment I'm your confidant. The next, I'm your enemy," Link said thoughtfully. "You're a two-sided witch."
"Oh, I've got plenty of names for you!" Lera assured, pulling her self out and jumping on his back. She put her arms around his neck and wrapped her legs around his stomach.
"Can't… breathe!" Link gasped.
"Some Hero of Time you are!" Lera said, loosening her hold slightly. "I mean, come on! Having to breathe?"
"I'm so sorry," Link remarked, crouching so that Lera could grab his things. "I'm working on that bit."
"I hope," Lera said with a smile. She slung Link's shield over her back and looked at the Master Sword, tempted to pull it out.
"Do not pull it out, please," Link said. "It's just our luck that I trip and one or both of us are skewered!"
"You are such a pessimist," Lera commented. She jumped down once they were at the castle doors, returning Link's things except the Master Sword.
"Just don't stab me please," Link said, eyeing her.
"You caught on," Lera said glumly. "Nah, I won't yet. I just want to hold a real sword for once. All I've got is that wimpy practice one."
"Yeah, but you could kill someone with that 'wimpy' practice sword," Link pointed out.
"You're just saying that," Lera accused.
"Say what you like," Link said with a shrug. He stopped her before they entered the castle and faced the King and Queen. "And… I hope he can't walk for a week."