Summary: Link, Liam, Sapphira, and Kalunera travel to Racona after their weddings. When Ganon has Kalunera's younger sister, Auralii, kidnapped by Dark Link, the Costume Ball gang must find a way to save Auralii without sacrificing the world. Sequel to The Costume Ball. Rated R for naughty language, most of which occurs later.
Categories: Fan Fiction Characters: Link (OoS & OoA), Link (OoT & MM)
Chapters: 26 Completed: Yes
Word count: 26358 Read: 138897
Published: Jul 27, 2004 Updated: Jul 27, 2004
1. Chapter One by Sapphira
2. Chapter Two by Sapphira
3. Chapter Three by Sapphira
4. Chapter Four by Sapphira
5. Chapter Five by Sapphira
6. Chapter Six by Sapphira
7. Chapter Seven by Sapphira
8. Chapter Eight by Sapphira
9. Chapter Nine by Sapphira
10. Chapter Ten by Sapphira
11. Chapter Eleven by Sapphira
12. Chapter Twelve by Sapphira
13. Chapter Thirteen by Sapphira
14. Chapter Fourteen by Sapphira
15. Chapter Fifteen by Sapphira
16. Chapter Sixteen by Sapphira
17. Chapter Seventeen by Sapphira
18. Chapter Eighteen by Sapphira
19. Chapter Nineteen by Sapphira
20. Chapter Twenty by Sapphira
21. Chapter Twenty-One by Sapphira
22. Chapter Twenty-Two by Sapphira
23. Chapter Twenty-Three by Sapphira
24. Chapter Twenty-Four by Sapphira
25. Chapter Twenty-Five by Sapphira
26. Epilogue by Sapphira
Auralii stood on the balcony that overlooked the drawbridge. From here, she could see almost everyone who was coming to the Palace of Racona. There was a long, white strip of road that led up to the bridge. The smooth carriageway was tended to almost as much as the beautiful green lawns around it. Auralii liked the fact that the gardens were well cared for. She had been to other castles whose gardeners did not pay much attention to the brown patches of grass and the wilted flowers that caught the viewer’s eye as they entered the castle. Good landscaping made good impressions. Auralii was proud of the beauty of the flora surrounding her home.
At the present, however, Auralii was not concerned about the landscaping. Her green eyes rested impatiently on the road. Her sister should be home by now. Their mother was concerned that maybe she had been ambushed on the road, but Auralii knew that her sister’s husband could handle anything like that. She had seen him battle horrible monsters before. That was when Ganon’s minions had attacked the Palace. Her brother-in-law had fought courageously and had managed to take care of the worst enemies.
Auralii was also excited because her sister’s best friend and her husband were also coming. There was to be a grand feast and ball for the couples, and while she wasn’t too excited about that, she really wanted to sit and talk with all four of them. After all, she was sixteen, only a year younger than her sister, and so she was definitely old enough to be taken seriously by them. To add to that, these people were the only people her age in the entire Palace except for Jakob, and Auralii’s worst nightmare was spending the evening with him. Geez, she thought. What’s taking them so long?
Finally, the Palace Gate creaked open. Auralii’s first thought was, They have to get that fixed. It’s giving me a headache. Then, she realized that her sister was back.
As quickly as she could, she bolted down the stairs. Before long, she stood at the entrance to the Palace. Soon, the small white carriage drove up. It stopped right in front of Auralii. Normally, Auralii never got excited about much, but her sister was actually worth getting excited about. Auralii was practically jumping up and down as the footman opened the door and her sister stepped out.
“It’s about time you got here,” scolded Auralii. “Mother’s been worried sick, and I’ve been bored out of my mind.”
“Good afternoon to you, too, Auralii,” replied Kalunera. “I’m glad to know that you missed me.”
“Just thank Jakob. If he didn’t bother me so much, I wouldn’t miss you at all.”
“Good point. Maybe we should thank him by giving him your hand in marriage.”
“That’s not even funny,” said another voice. Sapphira stepped out of the carriage. “You shouldn’t threaten Lii like that, Kalunera.”
“Sorry, my bad.”
“So,” asked Auralii, “where are your boyfriends?”
“Husbands,” Sapphira corrected. Her face lightened as she said the word. Kalunera beamed as well. “They fell asleep about twenty minutes ago.”
“We were going to wake them up, but we thought we’d let Pixie do it,” added Kalunera. She turned towards the entrance of the Palace and gave a short whistle. A few seconds later, a small white blur raced towards them. It leapt into Kalunera’s arms and proceeded to lick her face. “No, Pixie. Down,” ordered Kalunera as she set Pixie down. When she was not in motion, Pixie was a small white dog with big black and brown spots all over her. Her tail wagged eagerly as she looked at the two new arrivals. Sapphira turned to the open carriage. Auralii could just make out two figures facing each other, slumped over in slumber. “In there, Pixie!” whispered Sapphira. “Go get them! Wake them up!” Pixie was only too happy to comply. She jumped into the carriage.
A few seconds later, male groans became audible. “Just five more minutes,” moaned a voice.
Another said, “Kalunera, it’s too early…”
Kalunera’s face turned bright red as Sapphira laughed out loud. Kalunera turned to her friend and her sister. “If you tell anyone what he just said…” She let her sentence trail off. Auralii knew that neither one of them would tell a soul, but it was still funny.
Soon, one of the men stepped out of the carriage. Auralii recognized him as Liam. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. “Thanks a lot everybody. We really appreciated it, but just waking us up yourselves would have been fine, too.”
“Shut up,” said Kalunera. “You know it was funny.”
“It would have been funnier if we had gotten one of our dogs to do that to you.”
“Or Kingly,” called Link from the carriage. Auralii knew it had to be him. Who else would it be?
Liam stretched and yawned. “Okay. So, what’s next on the agenda? Dinner? Tour?” He walked towards Kalunera as if to put his arm around her…and went past her. Auralii stared in astonishment as he put his arm around Sapphira instead. He looked around for a moment, and his eyes met Auralii’s. “Hi,” he said. “I don’t believe we’ve met yet.”
Excuse me? thought Auralii. I met you when you battled Ganon’s minions a few months ago! Man, your memory sucks. And get your arm around your own wife!
“Oh! If forgot,” cried Kalunera. “This is my younger sister Auralii. She’s only a year my junior. Auralii, this is Link, Sapphira’s husband. You know, the Hero of Time.”
“What?” cried Auralii. “I could have sworn that was –”
Just then, Liam stepped out of the carriage. He looked exactly the same as she remembered him. “Good morning, everyone,” he said groggily. “Oh, hi, Auralii. How’s it going?”
“But, you two…you’re the same!”
Link smiled. “Not quite. We’re not related, and our hair and eyes are different colors.”
“Oh, yeah, that really helps. Why didn’t someone tell me that they were practically twins? I thought that Link was Liam at first. I was about to slap him for putting his arm around Sapphy.”
Link stared at her for a moment, openmouthed. Sapphira blushed and looked at the ground. “Sapphy?” Link asked.
“Thanks a lot, Lii,” growled Sapphira. Link grinned evilly. “Link, if I ever hear you say that…” Link immediately put on a straight face.
“Say what?” he asked, innocently.
“Sorry,” said Auralii. “I’m trying to break the habit.”
“It’s okay. I know that you’re trying to stop. I’m concerned about my husband. I have a feeling that he’ll make an effort to remember it.”
“So anyways,” cut in Kalunera, “first, we have to see my parents. They were unable to come to the wedding, and they’ve never even met Link before.”
“Follow me,” said Auralii. “They’re in the throne room.”
Auralii led the way, with both married couples behind her, and Pixie brought up the rear.
Ganon never stayed dead for long.
Ever since he had first transformed, he knew he could never be truly killed. Link had just recently managed to kill him a few short months ago, but now, he finally stirred again. His gruesome wounds had finally healed over, and his rage had grown. Link had defeated him for the third time. Ganon’s pride had been injured as well as his body.
It just wasn’t fair! The first time, Ganon had started off as Ganondorf, and so he had always assumed that that had been the reason why he had been beaten the first time. The second time, he had been resurrected with a poor sacrifice, and so he had not fought well because of it. However, his third plan had been in the prophecies. It should have worked. It was all that blasted wench’s fault. The Mistake had interfered, and it had cost him.
Ganon directed his anger from Link to this girl. Link was an excellent swordsman and Hero, but he never would have succeeded if it weren’t for the girl.
A plan began to form inside of Ganon’s mind. However, for it to work, he would need one of his more superior minions. He hadn’t actually created this minion. Link had created him when he unwittingly stepped across the Lake of Shadows. This had been in the alternate timeline, but Ganon had managed to salvage him. This minion had actually given Link a lot of trouble in the Water Temple…
“Loki!” bellowed the Evil King. “Loki, get in here! I need you!”
Dark shadows from the corners of the room slowly began to concentrate. They moved sluggishly from their original places to a spot in front of Ganon on the stone floor. When they reached their destination, they began to spiral upwards into the form of a young man. The man was wearing clothes and a sword, but they and the rest of his body were completely black. “You called, Master?” he asked.
Ganon cringed. Loki had originally been called Dark Link, but Ganon had hated calling for any sort of “Link,” even if he worked for him. Loki’s voice was exactly like Link’s too. After all, he had been Link’s shadow.
“Yes, Loki. I need to you do something for me. It’s very important. Come with me. I want to have dinner first, and then I’ll explain.”
“Yes, Master,” Loki replied, and he followed his Master out of the room.
Chapter Three by Sapphira
Auralii hid behind a pillar in the ballroom. She gathered her skirts in her hands so they didn’t billow out and give her away. She sighed in desperation. Jakob, one of the young stable hands, was following her around. He worshipped the ground she walked on, but he didn’t seem to understand that she wanted to be left alone. Unfortunately, she was the only other person in the entire Palace his age other than Kalunera and Sapphira. Their little brother, Kenrith, was only eleven, and he had plenty of little kids to play with. Auralii just wished that Kalunera and Sapphira weren’t so busy so often. In years past, they had always been around, and they always had fun together. Now, Kalunera was constantly busy learning to be the Queen, and Sapphira was always out and about working as a healer and sorceress. Jakob saw this as an opportunity to win Auralii’s affections. Auralii saw this as a living hell.
Right now, at the celebratory ball in honor of the newlyweds, she wished that someone would show up and talk to her so she wouldn’t have to face Jakob. She was almost considering going back to her room when Link walked right past her. She almost didn’t notice him, but it’s sort of hard to have someone walk past you and not notice them. “Link? What are you doing?” she asked.
He was startled. “Oh, hi there. I didn’t think that you’d see me.”
“You walked right in front of me.”
“Sometimes half-hiding works even then.”
“Half what? Link, you are weird.”
He smiled. “Half-hiding. It’s when people see you, but they don’t register that you’re there. I use it when I don’t want people to bother me, but I don’t want people to think to themselves, ‘Where’s Link?’ When you’re in half-hiding, people looking for you can sometimes find you.”
“Not really. You’re doing a pretty good job of it yourself.”
“Am I? Good.”
“Why so relieved?”
“This boy, Jakob, won’t leave me alone.”
“Oh, one of those. Usually if you talk to someone else, they’ll leave you alone.”
“I know. That’s why I’m glad I found you.”
He laughed. “Fine with me. I was just escaping someone myself.”
“A certain Lady Harriet. She seems to forget that I’m married.”
“Oh, trust me. She knows you’re married. She just doesn’t care.”
“That doesn’t help.”
“I’ll talk to her. I’ll explain that your wife doesn’t like the attention that she’s giving you.”
“Hey, thanks! Do you want to get something to drink?”
They walked to the refreshment table. Auralii saw Jakob begin to approach her from the left, and he had parchment in his hand. “Oh great,” she whispered to Link. “He’s going to try to read me poetry.”
“Okay, let’s pretend that we’re discussing something important.” He raised his voice so Jakob could hear. “Although I don’t think that people should be restricted on the number of cows they can own.”
“Well,” said Auralii, playing along, “I think that it should be the opposite. Cuccos are much less expensive to feed and care for, and they take up less space. Cows can cause all sorts of problems.” Jakob looked disappointed, and he walked away. “It worked!” cried Auralii, quietly so Jakob couldn’t hear.
“Good. Are you old enough to drink wine?” He held up a decanter.
“Yes, I am sixteen.”
Link looked surprised. “In Hyrule, legal age is eighteen.”
“This is not Hyrule. Besides, Kalunera and Sapphira must have had wine in Hyrule.”
“But Sapphira is eighteen.”
“Now she is, but at the Costume Ball, she wasn’t. And Kalunera is still seventeen.”
“Good point,” conceded Link, and he poured her a glass before pouring himself one.
“So,” said Auralii, “Are you having a good time in Racona?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty nice. I still haven’t been out of the Palace, but as we rode through, Kalunera and Sapphira pointed out some really cool things.”
“Well, we rode through the center of the town. The stores look very interesting. I want to check out the one that says it sells old prophecy.”
“Oh, I know which one you’re talking about. They also sell really good fiction, too.”
“Excellent. I didn’t bring any of my books with me. We also rode past the Forest of Winter. That place looks so cool.”
“It’s fun to go there in the summer. You walk in and it’s snowing.”
“Maybe we should have a picnic there before we go back to Hyrule.”
“Sapphira and I are going back to Hyrule. I have a job there. Liam is going to stay here with Kalunera, for obvious reasons.”
“That’s sad. I won’t get to see Sapphira as often!”
“Don’t worry. We’ll be visiting very often. Liam and I are blood brothers, and it’s painful enough for us to be separated, too.”
“Oh well. I guess Sapphira will enjoy living in Hyrule.”
“I hope so. If she gets homesick, I don’t know what we’ll do.” He looked around. “Speaking of which, I think I need to spend some time with said wife. I haven’t seen her all evening.”
“Alright. Thanks for helping me out with Jakob.”
“No problem. You’re going to help me out with Lady Harriet, so we’re even.”
“I wasn't keeping score.”
“That’s what you think.” Link left to go find Sapphira. Auralii stood there for a moment thinking that that was not the right comeback for the situation. Then she shook her head and went to find Lady Harriet.
It took Ganon until the following morning to finish eating. He hadn’t had food in months due to his death, and his hunger always caught up to him. Loki sat and patiently looked on as his Master gorged.
Finally, Ganon’s stomach was full. He sighed and yawned. “Alright now, where was I? Oh yes. I have a plan to get back at Link once again. You are aware of the Triforce Room in the Palace of Racona?”
“Yes, Master. It can only be opened by the Princess Kalunera until she dies.”
“Correct. Now, my past attempt to enter the room and drink the power liquid failed although it was in the prophecies. The room is still there, though, and this time, I think I have a way to get past all that. First, I need you to leave the Evil Realm and find me some new prophecy. Also, find out what happened while I was dead. I also want that girl’s name.”
“Yes, Master. But how can I go out there? I don’t look like a Hylian. They will know me right off.”
“I know that. Here.” Ganon raised his hands above his head and brought them down to point at Loki. Red magic issued from his fingertips and surrounded his minion. As the magic touched Loki, His coloring began to change. His skin turned from black to white, and his eyes turned to a piercing red. His hair, however, stayed black as night.
“Now, you are Hylian enough to fool them. Wear a cloak so they don’t notice your obvious similarity to Link.”
“Yes, Master. Thank you, Master.” The minion dissolved into shadow once more and slowly made his way out of the room. With that on hold for now, Ganon lay on the floor for a much-needed nap. You don’t get much sleep when you’re dead.
Only about two hours later, Loki returned. Ganon was already awake by now, sitting on his throne. He knew that as the King of Evil, he needed something that identified his as king, and crowns were too bothersome. “Well?” he asked impatiently.
“I have managed to find out some useful information, Master.”
“Well, then spill it!”
“Yes, Master. The girl is named Sapphira, and she’s no longer a Mistake. She was just recently bound. Interestingly enough, she can also open the door to the Triforce Room in the Palace.”
“Interesting. Go on.”
“A few days ago, Liam was wed to the Princess Kalunera, and Link was wed to Sapphira.”
“How predictable. I bet they thought it was going to be a storybook ending. We’ll see about that. Any more information?”
“Now, they are all staying in the Palace of Racona.”
“Excellent. Now, here’s the plan. Forget Kalunera. She has done nothing to anger me. Yet. However, Sapphira has caused me my entire plan, the one in the prophecies. If she can also get me into the Triforce Room, then that makes our lives easier.
“You are one of my best minions. The reason for that is because you know all of Link’s strategies. I can only predict his next move while I fight him. You, however, will know it. Unfortunately, he has beaten you anyways. My reasoning is that if he is stronger than you, and you should have been unbeatable, then the best option is to make him join us. That will give me an even stronger minion, and it will get rid of my strongest enemy. So, we will kidnap the bargaining chip: his wife. If he wants her back, he will trade himself in for her freedom. Then, with him under my control, I will retake Sapphira and use her to get into the Triforce Room.”
“What is my purpose in this, Master?”
“You will kidnap Sapphira, and you will be in charge of her here while I take care of the rest.”
“When should I begin?”
“How will I know what she looks like?”
Ganon tried to remember, but he didn’t have a clear memory from their single encounter. “Just find Link. He looks like you, but he has different colored hair and eyes. The woman that he is intimate with will be his wife. Go now, and do not fail me!”
“Yes, Master.” Loki once again melted into darkness.
Ganon thought about what he had said for a moment. If Loki were a normal minion, he would have been offended that Ganon felt the Link would be more valuable, no matter how true. But Ganon hadn’t made Loki. In the Water Temple, there had been a shallow pool filling the entire room. The ceiling and walls were misted over, and there was a small island with a tree in the center. This pool was the Lake of Shadows. As a person crossed, it absorbed the person’s dark side, their shadow. Once they crossed over the island, the shadow was given a form, and to leave the room alive, the person had to defeat their evil side. Link was no exception, and Loki was created. However, whereas Link was a living person who had feelings and cared for others, Loki had no feelings or cares. He was not angry at the idea of playing second fiddle to Link because he didn’t know how to be angry. Ganon found this interesting, and sometimes helpful, but sometimes, like now, it gave him chills up his monstrous spine.
Auralii sat on her bed reading the book that Kalunera bought for her in Hyrule. It was called The Legends of the Temples. Apparently, there were six temples in Hyrule, and a sage guarded each. The book went into great detail about each temple and some of the rooms found within them. Auralii thought it was all very boring, but she was reading it because Kalunera really thought she’d like it. Yeah right, thought Auralii. She knows that I hate reading nonfiction like this. She did feel very proud of herself for reading almost half of it in a day. She was now reading about the Water Temple. It was almost interesting. The history of it was all theories. The author would begin by saying something like, “No one knows for sure who built the Water Temple…” and then it would go on to list several theories on how it might have come to be. “The torture never ends,” she muttered to herself as she rolled over onto her stomach to see better. “I won’t show up for dinner, so Kalunera will come up here to find me and all that will be left of me as the vultures fly away will be a skeleton holding this book. It would have been too vile for them to eat.”
Finally, she reached the end of the theories. The next section described several rooms of interest. Auralii scanned the page wondering if there could be anything less interesting when a section caught her eye. “The Lake of Shadows.” The other room descriptions were titled boringly, such as “The Main Room” and “Room with Water Spouts.” The change in tone was very subtle, but noticeable enough. It seemed as if this was what made the Water Temple so interesting. The section read like this:
“Deep in the maze of the Water Temple lies a room that is but a legend. Some sources swear by the Goddesses that it does indeed exist, but others scorn the theories. If actually in existence, this lake is truly terrifying. The legends say that an eternal mist has always surrounded this room to make it appear endless. The only structures that are visible are three: the entrance, the exit, and the island. Once a person enters, the door is locked behind them, and the far door is already locked. Other than the island, the room is an enormous, shallow lake. When one walks across it, they are said to have been more aware of their reflection. However, only the oldest legends document this. Once a person crosses the central island, this reflection disappears. It awaits them under the tree as their shadow.
“The shadow, their ‘dark’ self, must be defeated by them if they wish to ever leave the room alive. If they die, their shadow will die with them. Their shadow has many advantages. It knows every single move the person can and will make. Even if the person can think of a new strategy on the spot, the shadow will know it. It has every asset the person has including spells and weapons. The person must in every sense, conquer themselves.
“Let all who read this note that the legends of the Lake of Shadows are very old. No one today is sure that the Lake and its room in the Water Temple actually exist. No one, other than the guardian sage, has ever left the Water Temple alive to tell the tale.”
Auralii read that section with interest. Surely someone has, she thought. What year is this? She checked the year. To her surprise, it had been published that year. So that means that no one’s gotten through recently either. It’s so weird…
She was startled by a knock at the door. “Come in,” she called. It was Kalunera.
“Hey, Lii, how’s the book?”
“Um, it’s very interesting. Thanks for getting it for me.”
“Hey, no problem. I was wondering if you could do me a favor.”
“What is it?”
“Dinner’s almost ready, and I don’t know what dress to wear.”
Auralii shook her head. Everyone in the Palace knew that Kalunera hated making decisions. She wasn’t bad at it, but she hated doing it. So, she would always ask someone else and hope it worked out. In fact, she developed a simple system to help her.
Auralii thought for a moment. “Six,” she said after a while.
“Which one was it?”
“The light green one with the yellow trim.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll be down in a minute as well.” Kalunera nodded and closed the door. Auralii shut the book and sat up to stretch. Kalunera’s system was very simple. She would assign numbers (usually one through ten) to each choice, and then she would ask someone else to pick a number. Sometimes, she made it more complicated, but Auralii always assumed it was one through ten. Someday, she’s going to have a decision come her way that she will have to make entirely herself. She is going to be the Queen after all.
She hopped off her bed and dusted herself off. The dress she was wearing wasn’t exactly formal, but it was more or less presentable for dinner with just her family. Her hair was a mess, though. She went to her vanity and pulled out her hairpins until her hair was completely down so she could brush it. She and her two siblings all had red hair, but they all had different shades. Kalunera had coppery hair with a slight curl to it. No one would look at her hair and see a trace of brown at all. Auralii had been jealous as a little girl, and she still felt that Kalunera was the luckiest of them all. Kenrith, in Auralii’s opinion, had the worst deal. His hair was bright orange. Unlike all the other boys his age in Racona, he had a very short haircut to prevent it from poofing up because it was so curly.
Auralii felt as if she got the middle deal. Her hair wasn’t curly at all, which was nice. She was glad that she didn’t have to deal with curls. They looked very cumbersome at times. Yet, if she felt like having curls, she could just stick the curling iron in the fire for a few minutes. Her red hair was also different from her siblings’. It was still red, but it was more of a brick color than a copper color. It looked like auburn with too much red. The color wouldn’t have bothered her so much, but people would always comment on the hair of the Princesses and Prince like this:
“Princess Kalunera, your hair is as brilliant as copper, and as precious as it, too.
“Prince Kenrith, your hair reminds me of the sun setting in its bed of flames.
“Princess Auralii, your hair…it is like the bricks that have built this great country.”
Copper, sunset, and a pile of old bricks. Yeah, I feel really loved here. In time, though, she had learned to accept her hair as part of her being. And as she grew older, she began to think that maybe she had gotten the best deal. Copper was precious, but it was used as money. So Kalunera’s hair was like money. What sort of compliment was that? Kenrith’s hair was like the sunset. Sure, the sunset was beautiful, but it did the people no real good. But, bricks, that meant something. Bricks could shelter people from a storm, and they did not burn like wood. They had been used to build Racona, and that was something to be proud of.
Wow, thought Auralii, I’m having deep thoughts while brushing my hair. Quickly, she braided her hair and pinned it up neatly. Then, she left her room.
She began to walk towards the hall where dinner was being served, but she wanted to check to see if Kalunera was coming. She turned around just in time to see a figure at the far end of the hallway. At first, Auralii couldn’t tell who it was, but then she realized that it was two people. What are two people doing so close together? Hey, one of them is Kalunera. She’s wearing the green dress. But then who is that…Eeeew!
Liam and Kalunera were kissing. “Public display!” called Auralii. “Get a room!” Kalunera and Liam turned to the sound of her voice.
“Auralii!” cried Kalunera. “Go to dinner. And whatever you do, do not tell anyone. Or else.”
“Or else what?”
Liam smiled. “Or else, we’ll send a love note signed by you to Jakob.”
“Fine, I won’t tell.”
Auralii shook her head and walked to dinner. She wouldn’t have told anyone anyways. Well, maybe Link and Sapphira. They might find it interesting. Oh well, I won’t risk it. Jakob is annoying without encouragement.
Dinner was boring as usual. The main course was a vegetable soup that Auralii had asked for. Before the soup was a garden salad, and afterwards was a fruit salad, which Kalunera, Sapphira, and Auralii enjoyed, for they were all vegetarians.
Dinner ended a little early, so Auralii grabbed her book and went to relax in an empty antechamber. As she finished the section on the Water Temple (which went back to its normal monotony after the one burst of interesting writing), the door opened and shut with a soft slam. Auralii’s head shot up. “Oh, it’s you,” she said.
“Hello to you, too,” replied Link. “Does Kalunera always do that?”
“Pick a number between one and ten?”
“Oh, yeah. That’s how she makes decisions.”
“Isn’t she going to be the Queen?”
“Wow. You know, someday, she’s going to be faced with an important decision, and she’ll have to do it all on her own.”
“That’s what I keep telling her. So, she chased you into here?”
“Sort of. I heard someone ask her a question, and she said, ‘I’ll be right back.’ I had a feeling that if she saw me, I’d have to pick another number.”
Auralii laughed. “Welcome to my world. You get used to it after a while.”
“I don’t know how. What are you reading?” He walked over to her so he could see the cover.
“It’s a book on the six Hyrulean temples. It’s rather dull, but Kalunera bought it for me, and I said I’d read it.”
He looked surprised. “What kind of information does it have?”
“Boring stuff, like the temples’ origins, the guardian sages, specific rooms, legends and rumors. You know, that kind of stuff.” His face held an odd, somehow haunted expression. “What, are you actually interested in this stuff?”
He snapped back into reality. “What? Oh, well, a little. I am from Hyrule, as you might recall. What’s the date on it?”
“Wow. Does it say anything about people making it through the temples?”
“So far, I’ve only read about the Forest, Fire, and Water temples. The Water Temple is the only one where no one has made it out alive. The other two say that people have survived, but only several years ago when Hylians were said to have been stronger.”
“But no one’s survived the Water Temple.”
“Nope. It’s a good thing, too.”
“What makes you say that? Do you even know why people go in there?”
“Not exactly. The book has thus far failed to mention that.”
“Evil people have sent monsters and minions into the temples to mess with things. That way, the places that the temples guard over are filled with turmoil. People go into the temples to destroy the source of black magic, to set things right. So it would be a good thing for a person to even survive a temple, even if they didn’t succeed in righting the wrong.”
“Well, you obviously don’t know about the Lake of Shadows.”
“It’s in the Water Temple. It creates an evil shadow of the person who steps across it. The person must defeat their dark self in order to exit the room alive. Once the person dies, though, their shadow dies with them.”
Link’s face went pale. “That’s…that’s terrible. Does it say what happens if the person lives?”
“No one’s ever lived, Link. Wake up.”
“Oh, right. You already said that.” He sat down in a chair beside her. “Let’s get off the subject of temples, shall we?”
“Sure.” Man, he’s really bad at being mysterious. He knows something about the temples, and he’s covering up for it poorly. “So, what’s it like to be a celebrity?”
“Wouldn’t you know? You are a Princess.”
“Yeah, but I’m not the Crown Princess. You, though, you’re famous throughout the kingdoms. Come on, what’s it feel like?”
He sighed. “I just wish that I lived a normal life sometimes.”
“Really? But isn’t it exciting?”
He sounded angry. “Oh, yeah. It’s really exciting. Walking into a dark maze, killing horrifying monsters, knowing that the fate of the world rests on your tired shoulders. There’s no time-out, no break, no day-off. I didn’t even have to apply for this job. And it’s nothing like a good story. There are no guarantees here. You have to win, or die trying.” He sighed. “But there’s nothing I can do. The Goddesses created me for this. I have no choice.” He laughed. “Kalunera would like that. No choices. Although she would be responsible for everyone, but she’ll have to be responsible as Queen, too.”
Auralii suddenly felt guilty. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.”
“It’s just that I’ve always wished for adventure, for something to happen to me. My life is so boring.”
“I know what you’re saying. There is a healthy medium. I just wouldn’t wish for something to happen to me. You have got to be very careful about what you wish for.” A clock struck the hour. “Whoa, it is late. I’m going to bed. See you tomorrow.” He got up and started to walk out of the room.
“Wait for me, I’m coming, too,” she called. She shut the book and hopped out of her chair.
Once she got back to her room, she pulled her hair down and changed into a comfortable nightdress. It wasn’t her favorite one, but the nights were getting chilly, and this one was warmer. As she was about to climb into bed, she heard a sound coming from the balcony. It’s probably some injured little bird again. I’d better go check. She opened the glass door and stepped out onto the cold marble.
“Hmm,” she said to herself. “I could have sworn I heard something.” Maybe it fell of the balcony. How gruesome. She walked to the balustrade slowly. Her footsteps echoed oddly, as if she was stepping in time with someone else. There is something very wrong here. Fear rose up in her, even as she tried to push it away. Finally, it got to her. She turned to go back to her room.
Link stood in front of her, his face devoid of all expression. “Link? What are you doing here?” she asked. Her voice was very unsteady.
He didn’t answer. Before Auralii could say anything else, he made his move. Jumping with an agility she could have never guessed, he landed next to her in a split second. As she began to scream for help, he slapped a reeking cloth across her mouth. As the powerful scent dragged her into darkness, Auralii looked up into eyes that she knew immediately were not Link’s. These red eyes were the last things she saw before she fell into oblivion.
Chapter Seven by Sapphira
Auralii awoke on a small cot. It wasn’t very comfortable, but when Auralii sorted out what must have happened to her recently, she was glad that it was dry and mold-free. What did happen? Someone who looked like Link (and like Liam, now that I think about it) kidnapped me. Why? What did I do? The conversation that she had had with Link before came to mind. He had told her to be careful of what she wished for. She had always wanted adventure. Being kidnapped was an adventure. Now, she understood what he had meant. Right now, the only place she wanted to be was home, with her family.
Cautiously, she opened her eyes and sat up. She was in a small, barred cell with no windows. All that was in her little room was the cot she sat on and a hole on the other side of the cell. There can only be one use for that, she thought with disgust. Outside the cell seemed to be a small room and a door. There were no other cells at all. A few torches tried to brighten the room in vain. Auralii was glad that she wore her warmer nightdress now. She found a thin blanket at the end of the cot and wrapped herself up in it as best she could. At least she wasn’t tied up.
After a short while, Auralii heard the sound of a key in the lock of the door. She looked up with what she felt was a defiant expression as the door opened.
It was the man that she had thought was Link. In the dim light she could see that he definitely was not. His hair was as black as night, and his eyes were red as blood. His skin, in contrast to his hair, was white as could be. He’s like Snow white, except his eyes are red, not his lips. His expression was what made him even more different. He seemed to have no expression at all. Auralii couldn’t help but shudder.
Before she could interrogate him, another figure appeared through the door. This shape was not in any way that of a person. Auralii felt herself shrink back involuntarily as the shape loomed before her in the light. It could only be one thing: Ganon.
“What do you want with me, Ganon?” she asked, her voice surprisingly steady. “I’m not afraid of you.”
“I don’t care if you are,” he snarled. His voice was full of rage and hate, and Auralii doubted her words. No, I have to be brave. He’s just an overgrown pig. I’ll make him into bacon and serve him to my family for dinner tomorrow night.
“Well, what do you want with me? You still have yet to answer me.”
“You’re being foolishly brave again, just like the last time,” he growled.
“Last time? What last time?” What, is there something I missed?
“You remember! Don’t play games with me, Sapphira. I won’t stand for your cheek again.”
Auralii laughed out loud. “So, I’m Sapphira, am I? Looks like you’ve mixed up your girls again, Ganon. I thought it was hard to think that Sapphira was Kalunera, but this is even better.”
“What?!” He stomped forward for a better look. “Loki! Bring her out of the cell!”
“Yes, Master,” replied the man. He pulled out a key and unlocked the cell. Auralii wouldn’t have though of running, but he was next to her in a split second, dragging her to her feet and out of the cell. Now, she stood right in front of Ganon. It’s a good thing that he’s not scarier close up. The Evil King studied her in the better, yet still poor light.
“Loki,” he said, his voice even, yet still full of rage, “How did you manage to find this girl?”
“I did as you said, Master.” He didn’t seemed distressed as he spoke. His life might be on the line for his mistake! thought Auralii. Isn’t he scared at all? “You told me that Link would be a man who looked like me aside from coloring. I saw him kissing a red-haired woman. Later that night, when the coast was clear, I kidnapped the red-haired woman.”
“But this isn’t Sapphira!”
Auralii thought to herself for a moment as Ganon fumed. Link’s never kissed me. Neither has Liam. Liam has kissed Kalunera, who also has red hair. I saw him do it tonight…
“I can tell you what happened,” said Auralii. This ought to make him feel stupid. “I don’t know if you recall a man named Liam.”
“What? No!” cried Ganon. “I should have remembered to warn Loki!”
“Exactly. He looks like Link except for coloring, and I suppose that means that he looks like…Loki…except for coloring, too. So, instead of attempting to kidnap Link’s wife, he tried to kidnap Liam’s.
“He remembered what Kalunera looked like because she had red hair. It’s not a very common trait. However, that night, the girl he kidnapped, me, also had red hair. That’s because I’m Kalunera’s sister.”
Ganon stared at her for a second. “Well,” he said gruffly, “I managed to mix up Kalunera and Sapphira. I guess that would make it forgivable if my minion mixed up three people. You’ll have to do as the hostage.”
“What? I’m being held hostage?” It was Auralii’s turn for the tone of disbelief. “I’m the middle child! I’m supposed to get the least attention.”
“Tough. You don’t have a choice, Princess. What is your name, anyway?”
She straightened up. “Auralii.”
“Fine. Deal with it, Auralii.”
“I will. On a few conditions.”
He sighed. “Isn’t the youngest supposed to be the spoiled one?”
She ignored him. She was on a roll. “If I’m going to be held hostage, then I will require a bigger room, a more comfortable bed, more blankets, windows, suitable food –”
“Okay! Shut up! Loki!”
“Take the prisoner to a third floor room. You know which ones.”
Loki pulled Auralii out of the room and into the hallway. Auralii was surprised at getting her way. I heard that the King of Evil was supposed to be no one to be trifled with. I didn’t expect for him to listen to me so easily. He must be going soft. He should have been angry with me for using such tone with him. Weird.
“So…Loki,” she said as they walked. “Why does Ganon rely on you so much? Doesn’t he have other minions?”
“Of course he does.”
“What makes you so special? Did he make you better than the rest?”
“Oh, no. The Evil King did not create me.”
“Then who did?”
“How did –”
Then, she got quiet. When she had talked to Link, he had been very curious on what her book had to say about the Lake of Shadows. His face had been haunted, and he had asked about what happened if the person made it out alive. He had checked the date. And Loki looked exactly like Link. Then it hit her.
Chapter Eight by Sapphira
Auralii was silent for the rest of the long trek. Finally, they reached a door on an upper level. It had a large lock in the center. Loki produced another key and opened the door. He led Auralii inside.
The room was smaller than her room at home, but it was larger than what she had expected. The floor and walls seemed to be carved out of a large rock. Then again, everything seems to be one large maze set in stone. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one huge rock. There was a medium sized bed up against one wall, and it had several blankets and pillows on top of it. There was a small vanity and mirror on the opposite wall with a pitcher and basin on top. There were small torches along the walls and a small window that let in a little light. The light was of an odd quality, and it seemed to be shed by fire, not sun.
“This will be your room now,” said Loki. His voice still had no expression whatsoever. It was almost terrifying to hear Link and Liam’s voice devoid of all feelings. Auralii had talked to the two men several times, and their voices were always full of feeling.
“Um, Loki, aren’t you worried about what Ganon’s going to do to you? You messed up trying to kidnap Sapphira, and he seemed angry.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“What do you mean? He might do something horrible to you!”
“He’s my Master. I will do whatever he wants.”
“What if he wants to kill you?”
He shrugged. “So what? I don’t care.”
She stared at him in disbelief. “Don’t you care about anything?”
He thought for a moment. “No.”
“You must care about something.”
“Then what do I care about?”
“I’m…I’m not sure.”
“That’s because I don’t care about anything.”
“You just said that you didn’t know what.”
She sighed in exasperation. “I don’t know now, but I’m going to find out.”
She thought for a moment. How am I going to do this? There’s no way he has no feelings at all. He has to have some feelings. Maybe if I talk to him or something. “Sit with me on the bed,” she ordered. He obeyed. “Now, I know that you have to have feelings.”
“Good luck, Princess.”
“My name is Auralii. Call me that, please.”
She paused, thinking about what could possibly give him strong feelings. “What do you think about Link?”
“He created me.”
She sighed. “Yes, I know that. Is that all you think of when you think about him?”
“I think about all his strategies and moves.”
“Do you think he should change them?”
“It doesn’t matter. Whatever he does, I’ll know how to counter him.”
This is going nowhere! “Aren’t you angry at him? He defeated you in the Water Temple.”
“Yes, I know. I don’t care. He won.”
“Would you have been glad if you killed him?”
“I wouldn’t have cared. I would have disappeared if he died.”
“But don’t you wish you had won?”
“I don’t care.”
“You’re impossible! You must have felt something!”
He smiled. “I don’t have feelings, Auralii. I can’t feel anything.” He stood up. “Fear, joy, anger, hope, hate, happiness, despair, love. I feel none of these things. They mean nothing to me at all. I just am. I exist.” He began to leave.
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“My Master calls for me.” He left and closed the door. Auralii heard the lock click as he turned the key.
Now that she was alone, Auralii didn’t know what to do. At least she was occupied while talking to Loki. She lay back on her bed and thought of ways that the shadow could have feelings. What a way to pass the time…
Kalunera knocked on the door again. “Auralii, wake up!” She sighed in frustration. “Okay, that’s it, I’m coming in. It’s not my fault if you’re not ready!” She pushed the door open.
The bed was empty and made. That’s weird. It’s pretty early. Usually she’s still in bed. Or at least she hasn’t made her bed yet. Auralii was nowhere in sight. Kalunera checked the bathroom. Auralii wasn’t there either. “Okay, Auralii. This isn’t funny at all. Where are you hiding?” There was no answer. “Don’t play games like this with me, Lii. We’re not little kids anymore.” There was still no answer from her sister. Maybe she left already. Kalunera quickly left the room.
As she walked down the hall, she saw Sapphira walking to breakfast. “Sapphira!” she called. Her friend turned around. “Have you seen Auralii at all this morning?”
Sapphira shook her head. “You know me. I’m a late sleeper. I just got up. Link’s been up for a while though. I think that he’s down in the library.”
“Is something wrong?”
“Auralii’s not in her room”
“Her bed’s made.”
“This early? The servants don’t come around until eleven, and she hates making it herself.”
“Exactly. I’m going to go see if Link’s seen her anywhere.”
“Okay. I’ll ask around at breakfast.”
Kalunera made her way down the hall and went to the library. Sure enough, Link was sitting in an old armchair. He had pulled over a table and pilled books on top of it. He was currently sitting sideways in the armchair with his legs over one of the arms and using the other arm as the backrest. As Kalunera walked in, he was writing down some information from a book onto a sheet of parchment. He sighed in frustration as he put the book on top of a large stack of books. Then, he picked up a tome from a smaller pile next to it and began to search the pages. He looks like he does this a lot. He’s got a little system going here.
“And what is the illustrious Hero of Time doing this morning?” she asked with an air of authority.
He looked up with a startled expression on his face. “Oh, good morning, Kalunera,” he said. “Do I have to pick a number?”
“Not yet. How long have you been up?”
He thought for a moment. “I don’t know, maybe around five. I was talking to Auralii last night, and our topic of discussion was keeping me up all night.”
“What were you talking about?”
“The book that you got her. The one about the temples.”
“Oh, that one. Speaking of Auralii, have you seen her this morning? She’s not in her room at all, and her bed’s been made.”
Link looked worried. Then, his worry turned to fear. “Are you sure that she made her bed this morning?”
“She would have had to. The servants don’t get to her rooms until eleven or so. What are you saying?”
“What if she didn’t make her bed this morning?”
“Link, don’t confuse me so much! I’m a simpleminded person!”
Link quickly put the book down and took off his left boot. As he put the notes he took into his boot, he said, “She wouldn’t have had to make her bed this morning if she didn’t sleep in it!” He hurried out of the room. Kalunera followed closely.
“Where are you going? And why would she not sleep in her own bed? Link, answer me!”
“I have a bad feeling about this. I’m going to tell your parents.”
“Well, they’re in the dining hall now, not the throne room.”
He changed course slightly. “Fine, we’ll go there then.”
“Link, what do you think it is?”
“I think she’s been kidnapped.”
“You’ve no proof of that. Besides, there was no ransom note. Maybe she ran away.”
“I just have a feeling, okay! Let’s tell your parents anyway. They have the right to know about this.” They were silent until they reached the room.
“Good morning, you two,” said the King. He, the Queen, Sapphira, and Liam were already seated at the table. “Have you seen Auralii this morning? We had the kitchen make pancakes this morning because she likes them so much.”
Kalunera was out of breath. “Auralii’s missing! She wasn't in her room and her bed is made.”
Before Link could add his opinion, a loud boom shook the Palace. Plates fell off the table and smashed, drinks spilled, and people screamed. Link and Kalunera rushed to their respective spouses.
Before anyone could register what had just happened, a black vortex appeared in midair. Soon, the blackness faded into a recognizable face. It was Ganon.
“Good morning, everyone!” he bellowed. “Hi, Link!”
Link cursed under his breath. The Queen heard him and said, “Watch your mouth, young man.” Link apologized quickly.
“What do you want, Ganon?” Link asked with his teeth clenched.
“I think I want to make a little bargain with you, Link.”
“Is she alive?”
“Wow, you’re smart!” Ganon said sarcastically. “Yeah, she’s still alive.”
“You don’t take chances, do you? She’s safe. In fact, she’s staying in one of my guestrooms.”
“You have guestrooms? In the Evil Realm?”
“Yeah, of course I do! I don’t want to make my friends sleep in the dungeons! I didn’t give her the nicest one, but she demanded that I give her a decent room.” He looked scared. “She demanded! I almost died of shock. But she hasn’t done anything to make me mad yet, so I thought, ‘Why not? I have a couple rooms free anyways, and it’ll shut her up.’”
“Okay, a little off subject,” said Link. “Show her to us so we know she’s okay!”
“Fine. Loki!” Ganon turned and called to someone out of sight. “Bring the Princess here immediately!” He turned back around.
“Why did you kidnap Auralii in the first place?” asked Kalunera. “Like you said, she hasn’t done anything to you.”
“I wasn't trying to kidnap her. I was trying to kidnap Sapphira.” Sapphira turned white and Link hugged her close.
“How’d you manage to mix them up?” asked Kalunera. “They look nothing alike.”
“Long story. I sent one of my minions to do it. He thought that Liam was Link and so he thought he was supposed to kidnap you, Kalunera. But last night, he took the wrong redhead.”
“Geez, Link,” said Liam. “We keep on screwing people up. Maybe we should shave your head and dye it blue.” Link rolled his eyes.
“Actually,” mused Ganon, “could you do that? It would only solve, let’s see, about half my problems.”
“Sorry,” said Link. “I like my hair the way it is.”
“Ha!” said Ganon. “You’ll look ridiculous no matter what you do with it. Oh, here comes Loki with your precious little Princess.”
The vortex expanded to include two more figures. The Queen cried out as she saw Auralii. She looked calm, but there was a knife being held to her throat. Link cried out, too, but it wasn't because of the knife. It was because of who was holding it.
“No!” he cried. “That never happened! I changed everything!”
Everyone, including Auralii, looked at Link in confusion. “What are you talking about, Link?” asked Sapphira.
Ganon just smiled. “I managed to keep him from disappearing. Once you relived all those years, he came into being again.”
“But I never stepped into the temple again! He shouldn’t exist! How did you manage to save him? I defeated him!”
“Yes, but he lived on. The shadow can only die if the person who casts it dies as well. You lived, and so did he. I found him and imprisoned him so the time flow wouldn’t erase him.”
“What is going on?” demanded the King. “What are you two talking about?”
Ganon laughed. “Haven’t you always wondered why Link is called the Hero of Time? Or why I just suddenly appeared as the vile creature I am now? Eight years ago, I existed as a Gerudo, the King of the Gerudo, in fact. I sought the Triforce. I cursed the three races that held the Spiritual Stones in order to obtain the stones myself. Then, I was going to steal the Ocarina of Time from Princess Zelda and open the door to the Sacred Realm. Then, the Triforce would be mine.
“However, my plans were thwarted. A ten-year-old boy managed to break all of the curses and obtain the stones. He was helping Princess Zelda. You can just guess who that boy was.” No one needed an explanation. All eyes turned to Link. He had an expression of despair on his face.
“It’s true,” the Hero said. “Ganon was called Ganondorf then, and he chased Zelda out of the Castle while trying to steal the Ocarina. Zelda threw it to me, but Ganondorf didn’t know that. When I thought the coast was clear, I went to the Temple of Time. I got into the room with the Master Sword in it, and I pulled it out without thinking.
“I was planning to get the Triforce, but two things happened that I didn’t expect. The first was that Ganondorf hadn’t followed the Princess, he had followed me. He followed me into the Sacred Realm. The other thing was that I was destined to be the Hero of Time, but I was not old enough to bear the Master Sword. So, upon entering the Sacred Realm, my spirit was sealed away for seven years. Ganondorf managed to get the Triforce before me, and with it, he became the King of Evil.
“I didn’t know this then, but I learned it later. Ganondorf didn’t get the entire Triforce. He had power, but he was lacking in wisdom and courage. The Triforce cannot go to someone who is so unbalanced. So, he only received the Triforce of Power. The two other pieces went to two people that were destined to hold them from birth. The destined holder of the Triforce of Courage was I. I found out later that the holder of the Triforce of Wisdom was Zelda. Ganondorf wanted to get the Triforce pieces from us to gain the true Triforce.
“So, after being sealed away from seven years, I had to awaken five of the six sages. To do this, I had to travel to all of the temples across the land and destroy the evil lurking inside. Finally, I awakened all of the sages. The six sages then helped me to get into the Castle where Ganondorf was. I fought Ganondorf and escaped with Zelda from the Castle before it collapsed.”
“I don’t remember any of this!” said the King. “And Hyrule Castle never collapsed!”
“Please, Your Majesty, let me finish. We thought that Ganondorf was dead, and we started to rejoice. Then, we heard noises from the rubble. Ganondorf, on the brink of death, had transformed into Ganon using the Triforce of Power. So I fought him and managed to weaken him enough for Zelda to send him into the Evil Realm.
“I thought that that was the end of this whole mess. But Zelda told me that she was going to send me back to regain my lost time that was stolen from me. So, I went back. I was ten again. Everything was as if I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t met Zelda or collected the Spiritual Stones. There was only one difference. Ganondorf had disappeared completely. He was still Ganon, and he was still in the Evil Realm. I had changed the past in the future. But only Ganon and I remember this. No one else remembers. People just call me the Hero of Time because that’s my title. But Ganon and I are the only ones who know why I’m called that.”
“Nice story, Link,” said the Queen, “but what does this have to do with what you were upset about earlier?”
Link pointed to Loki. “You! You shouldn’t exist anymore! You should have been erased with the rest of it! Ask Auralii! She’ll tell you! No one’s ever crossed that stupid lake in this timeline. Never! So you shouldn’t be here!”
“I’m here anyways. It doesn’t matter that I shouldn’t be.” Loki’s voice was completely emotionless.
“I’ve checked every source in the library. You shouldn’t exist. There is no way that Ganon could have preserved you.”
“It doesn’t matter. He did.”
“Enough!” bellowed Ganon and the King at the same time. Sapphira hugged Link close.
Kalunera tried to register what was going on. Somehow, Link had changed the timeline, and the only thing that was supposed to be changed in the past was the existence of Ganondorf. Ganon was already locked away when Link went back in time. But somehow, this man who held the knife at Auralii’s throat was not supposed to have remained, yet he had. Okay, this makes sense now. But why does this guy look and sound so much like Link?
“For those who are very confused as to who my minion is,” said Ganon, “his name is Loki. Link created him when he stepped across the Lake of Shadows in the Water Temple. Loki is Link’s dark side. He was not completely destroyed because Link lived through the Water Temple. Link is the only person to ever survive, but because this was in the alternate timeline, it isn’t documented. However, I salvaged Loki by having him become shadows, which he does very nicely. He became a shadow in the Evil Realm, and the Evil Realm was not affected by the change in timelines. So, he lived on. He is the perfect minion because he knows everything that Link knows.”
“So, what do you want?” asked the King.
“Oh, nothing much. In return for Auralii…hmmm…let’s see…I’d like to have…Link!”
Sapphira gasped. “What?”
“How much time do we have to think?” asked the King slowly.
“I’ll give you three days,” replied Ganon. “That means you have the rest of today, all of tomorrow, and most of the next day to think. Then, if I don’t have Link, I’m going to kill Auralii. Have a nice day!” The vortex turned black and disappeared.
“What?” shrieked Auralii. “You’re going to kill me?”
“Yes, Princess,” sneered Ganon. “Why do you think I was so lenient? Did you think that I let all my guests stay in those rooms? I thought that you should get a nicer room seeing as I would be killing you. You haven’t really pissed me off.”
“You are one sick little piggy.”
His eyes narrowed. “Don’t ever call me that again. If you do, I will make sure that you will live to see Link join me, and then I’ll have him kill you.” He turned to Loki, who had already sheathed the knife. Auralii noted that the blade was very dull and he had held it very lightly to her throat. “Loki!”
“Take this spoiled little brat to her room. Do not give her any breakfast, or dinner either.”
“Yes, Master.” He took Auralii by the arm and led her back to her room. Once they got there, Auralii plopped down on the bed.
“Loki, does Ganon need you right now?”
“Sit with me. I want to talk with you.” He obeyed and sat beside her. “What was it like before Link created you?”
“I didn’t really exist. I was his shadow before, but then I was given a form.”
“But Link still has a shadow.”
“Yes. It’s more of a symbolic thing. It’s magical. All of his darkness and evil was taken from him and put into me. Then, I had a form and I fought him.”
“So, Link has no evil in him?”
“He didn’t have very much to begin with. But after I was defeated, he went back to normal. It’s not supposed to make sense.”
“Good, because I don’t get it.” They were silent for a while. “Loki, how do you know when Ganon needs you? I know he yells, but you’re not always within earshot.”
“The yelling is for show. I just know when he needs me.”
“Can I call for you, too?”
“Yes, if I’m not needed by my Master.”
“How can I call you?”
“Just say my name. No matter how soft you call, I will hear. I’m in the shadows.”
“Why would you want to call for me?”
She sighed. “You’re almost a person. No one else down here is like a person. I’m getting lonely, and there’s nothing to do.” She sighed again. “I wish you were a real person.”
“Because I’m lonely! I’m stuck in here with no one to talk to. You’re here, but you’re not a real person.”
“If I’m here for you to talk to, why are you still lonely?”
“Because to make someone less lonely, you have to understand what loneliness is. You don’t because you have no feelings.”
“Is that why you want me to have feelings? So you are not lonely?”
She thought for a moment. “No. It’s just that you look like Link and Liam. They have emotion, and they express it all the time. It’s eerie to see their faces without emotion.”
He stood up. “My Master calls. Goodbye, Auralii.” He walked out of the room and locked the door.
Auralii sighed again. All I do now is sigh. I wonder why. Wow, that rhymes. I could be a poet, and my feet sure show it. Kalunera taught her that when she was ten. I just wish I could get out of here without Link giving himself up. But to do that, we’d need inside help. Once Link gives himself up, even when he’s still outside of the Evil Realm, there will be no way he could help me at all. I can’t escape on my own. Loki probably isn’t the strongest minion that Ganon has, and even he can restrain me. Plus, once they get Link, who cares if I die anyways? Once he gets Link, he’s going to take over the world, and he’ll probably kill us all. Auralii felt that these were appropriate thoughts for a bad day like today.
Chapter Eleven by Sapphira
Everyone was comforting their spouses. The Queen had begun to faint in the classic style (with her hand palm-out against her forehead), and the King was trying to revive her. Sapphira held Link close to her and neither said a word. The look on Link’s face made it clear that he didn’t want to talk.
Kalunera, meanwhile, sat on Liam’s lap while he held her. “What are we going to do?” she asked. “I can’t let my sister die!”
“I know,” he said. “I wish I knew what to do.”
“I don’t want her to die, but I don’t want to lose Link! Without him, we might as well all die.” She sighed. “He’s more important to the people as a whole, but my Auralii is more important to me! What’s the right decision?”
Kenrith walked into the room. He had slept extremely late (as usual), and was startled by the state of the dining room. “Um, good morning, everyone. What’s going on?” He noticed the fact that everyone was in couples. “Do I have to get a girlfriend? And where’s Auralii? I never sleep later than her.”
The King cleared his throat. “We have just received new that Auralii has been kidnapped by Ganon. We have been told that she will die in three days if we don’t hand over Link.”
Kenrith stood in the doorway, completely shocked. Kalunera hung her head in despair. Good job, Dad. Way to break the news to an eleven-year-old. Her own feelings of anguish returned. Auralii! Just hold on! We’re going to do our best! I hope…
“That’s easy,” said Kenrith. He still looked like he was on the verge of tears, and his voice betrayed that, too. “Give him Link. Auralii’s part of our family, and he isn’t. He’s not even from Racona.” The little boy walked to his mother and climbed into her lap.
“I agree,” said the Queen. Tears were running down her face, and she sniffed loudly. “Link, you seem to be a nice young man, even if you do have a foul mouth, but Kenrith is correct. It has been nice knowing you.”
“What?” cried Sapphira. “You cannot just toss him out like that! Without him, we are all doomed! If you relieve Auralii of the death sentence, you’re giving it to everyone else! Including her as well!”
The entire breakfast table burst into argument. Kalunera and Link were the only silent ones. Kalunera looked at Link. His face was almost as white as the tablecloth, and his eyes seemed hollow. He was staring into the nothingness in front of him, but he must have felt Kalunera’s eyes on him. His gaze met hers. Suddenly, Kalunera felt the same hopelessness that he felt. Everyone was fighting over him. Should he cause Auralii’s death, or should he cause the destruction of everyone else? She realized the amount of blame he was getting for a crime that he didn’t commit. Kalunera’s job was very clear.
“Everyone, shut up!” she yelled. To her surprise, everyone was quiet, even her parents. “Listen up, everyone. There is to be no more arguing. While you have all fought over one of two options, you have failed to recognize the third. What we are going to do is discover a way to free Auralii without giving up Link.
“Sacrificing Link is out of the question anyway.” She saw Sapphira relax visibly. To her surprise, Liam’s body relaxed a bit as well. She had forgotten how much he loved Link as his brother and friend. “So, don’t even think about suggesting that option. If Link gave himself to Ganon of his own free will, then Ganon would have a very powerful minion. That would be like Ganon fighting for us. It gets rid of the number one enemy. The bonus is that Link would work for him, which would make our lives much harder.
“Now, don’t think that I don’t love my sister. I do. I love her very much. Contrary to popular belief, just because I don’t want to give Link up does not in any way whatsoever mean that I want my sister to die. I don’t want her to die. Get that straight. So, I suggest that we find a way to free her. Anyone who wishes to help, please follow me into the library.” Kalunera stood up off of Liam’s lap and began to leave. She noticed that no one was following her. I just had a burst of leadership, and no one’s reacting! This sucks! “And,” she added, hoping this would help, “I will be having servants bring breakfast to us.” This time, Liam, Link, and Sapphira all stood up and left with her.
Maybe this whole “Queen” thing won’t be as hard as I thought it would.
Chapter Twelve by Sapphira
Auralii crouched down on the floor and examined her work. The dirt floor was covered in layers of dust, and she had found it easy to write and draw on it. Writing with just her finger was not a good idea though, because it barely made a mark and the dust got all over her (even more than it already was). So, she managed to pull some strong pieces of straw out of the bed’s mattress and use them as styli. At first, she drew tiny doodles of people and animals. After a while, she began to make the dresses of the ladies fancier, and she drew the men fighting monsters. She realized what she was doing after a while. I’m drawing Princesses and Heroes. Why? The only Hero I know is Link, and he’s not married to a Princess. Liam is kind of a Hero, too. Maybe it’s Liam and Kalunera. Well, whoever these Princesses and Heroes are, I’m sick of drawing them anyways.
Without thinking, Auralii began to draw a face. Before she knew what she was doing, she had already made the face recognizable as Link or Liam, it didn’t matter which one. She finished the face and sat back to study it. Why don't I think it looks like Loki? He looks the same as Link and Liam, but somehow, I know this doesn’t look like him. She shook her head. As much as she shouldn’t care, this was bothering her a lot. Maybe if I call Loki in here, I’ll be able to figure it out. No! I can’t just call him in here, even if he’s not busy. It’s not his job to keep me company.
She stopped staring at the face with uneasiness and lay down on her bed. Although she stared at the ceiling, she could see the faces of her loved ones back at the castle. There was Kenrith, with his crazy hair and freckles, playing his famous practical jokes on everyone. He was the biggest trickster around. Even though Auralii knew what he was up to, she always managed to forget about his jokes as she poured the salt from the saltshaker…after Kenrith had unscrewed the top. Nothing could ever taste good with that much salt. Then, there was Mother herself, with her auburn hair and golden eyes. That was where Auralii had gotten most of her hair color. Her mother had always been a loving mother, even if she wasn't a strong ruler. Then, there was Father. He had flaming red hair, not unlike Kenrith’s, and it was the curliest hair anyone had ever seen. He had green eyes, just like Auralii. Unlike Mother, Father was an incredible monarch. Racona was in her golden age because of him.
Kalunera. Auralii felt a tear leak out of one eye. She missed Kalunera so much. Today, when she had seen her family, Kalunera looked the most forlorn. Auralii could read the pain in her sister’s eyes as Ganon made his demands. And Sapphira, too. Sapphira was practically her sister as well. Auralii let out a small sigh that would have been a giggle as she remembered the time when she and Kalunera had sent a package to her and pretended it was from her boyfriend. They had laughed so hard when she thanked him for it and he didn’t know what she was talking about. Sapphira hadn’t gotten back at them for it yet, and she hadn’t become angry either. She did ditch the boyfriend, though, based on the fact that he never thought of sending her nice presents like that.
And finally, the new additions to the family. Liam was probably the funniest guy that Auralii had ever met. He made jokes about everything, but you could tell when he was serious. He was the jokester, even more than Kenrith.
Link was like Liam, but he was the sincere, nice guy. Yeah, Liam was nice, but he was a goof. Link was silly when he was around Liam, but normally, he was much more serious. Auralii was just glad to have the two related to her. Well, Link was practically related to her.
Yet, as unbelievably handsome as they both were, had they been unmarried, she wouldn’t have been attracted to either one. Sapphira and Kalunera would be relieved. She guessed she was looking for the adventurous type, like a bad boy. Someone who wasn't afraid to take a risk and get in trouble. She stayed on this train of thought until she drifted off into sleep.
She awoke several hours later, or so her body told her. Her stomach growled at her like a starved dog. She hadn’t eaten in ages. When was Loki going to bring breakfast? The she remembered that she wasn't getting any food today. She sat up and sighed. She heard the click of the lock and her head shot up. There was no one there. As she began to mope around the room as usual, she noticed something near the door. Cautiously, she got off the bed and walked closer.
It was a tray with some bread, fruit, and water on it. Someone had brought her breakfast anyway.
Chapter Thirteen by Sapphira
“So, do we have a plan?” asked Sapphira.
“Um, no,” replied Kalunera. “I was hoping you’d all help me think of something.”
“Sure we will,” replied Liam. He placed his hand on her shoulder reassuringly. “The four of us together should be able to find out something.”
They all nodded to themselves and went to sit in one corner of the library. Kalunera sent everyone to work at once to find information. “Link and Liam, since you already had a lot of information on the Evil Realm, you two should go collect some of the more useful stuff. Sapphira, go find as much information on this Loki guy and the Water Temple as possible. I think Auralii left the book I got her by her bed. You can use that, too. I’m going to get a servant down here with some food. Then, I'm going to find out about what’s been going on around the world. I'm also going to try to contact Zelda and the King of Hyrule. Maybe they can help us.” She turned and left the room.
Wow, I'm really taking authority. This isn’t like me at all. Maybe I'm so traumatized, my brain is decaying, and this is a side effect. I’m usually the quiet person who does whatever anyone else suggests as long as I have nothing against the suggestion. If someone wanted to know if I wanted a dress in blue or green, I’d ask for a number. But, now, when no one knows what to do, I’m suddenly in charge. It’s almost as if I have no control of the words coming out of my mouth anymore. I hope this isn’t permanent. I’m getting scared.
She found a servant quickly. “Excuse me,” she said, “could you please go down to the kitchen and have them bring up some breakfast food?”
The servant was a bit startled, but he straightened and asked, “What would you like, and where would you like it, Your Highness?”
Oh, right, I forgot about those little details. Ahhh! What should I pick to eat? It was a simple decision. “Um…Well, just bring about five or six bagels, some cream cheese, a large bowl of fruit salad, some croissants, and some kind of fruit juice to the library. Link, Liam, and Sapphira should be there.” Before she had to make any more decisions, Kalunera went to her study, which she rarely ever used in normal circumstances. Now, though, she had to write a letter. She and Zelda had gotten to be very good friends before she and Sapphira had returned to Racona with husbands in tow.
Hello, and greetings from Racona. I hope you’re doing pretty well. Our little group, however, has not exactly been having a blast.
Ganon kidnapped my little sister, Auralii, last night, and he is holding her hostage. In three days, well, two days really, either she will die, or Link must surrender himself to Ganon. We know we can’t let Link do that. Then, we will all be doomed, but I don’t want to see my sister die! I hate this so much.
There is a little humor in this story, even though it’s still not a good story at all. Ganon was trying to kidnap Sapphira because she ruined his plans a few months ago. However, the minion he sent to kidnap her thought that Liam was actually Link, so he was trying to kidnap me by accident! And then, he kidnapped the wrong red head. It’s also very frightening because the minion is apparently Link’s shadow. Do you know anything about this? Link and Ganon both tried to explain something about an alternate timeline, but I confess that I completely do not understand at all.
I guess I’m writing partly to tell you of the events and partly to seek advice. In other words, what the hell are we supposed to do? Also, is anything strange going on in Hyrule? Just write me back as quickly as possible. As you can tell, this is just one hell of an urgent message.
Kalunera sealed the letter, threw it into an envelope, addressed it, and ran it to the couriers’ stable. After a courier departed from the Palace, she hurried back inside to the library. The letter had taken some time to write, and a few rough drafts, so it had been roughly an hour and a half. Kalunera reached the library and went inside.
She first saw the leftovers from breakfast. She knew that Sapphira probably had a lot of the fruit salad, and probably several croissants, but Kalunera was astounded by the remains of the meal. There had to have been about twenty croissants at the start, but there was one left, alone on the platter. A bowl, which must have held the fruit, was almost completely empty, as were the individual bowls. There was a large pitcher and some glasses, but they were all empty. Not one bagel was in sight, and most of the cream cheese had been used. “What in the Goddesses’ names…” muttered Kalunera. “They didn’t exactly starve back in Hyrule.” Still in shock, she found Sapphira sitting in a large, over-stuffed chair, searching through Auralii’s book. There was a stack of books beside her on a table, most of which had pieces of paper sticking out to mark pages. She had also written things down on a piece of paper. “Any luck?” asked Kalunera.
Sapphira’s head snapped up. “Oh, hi,” she said. “A little bit,” she added, to answer Kalunera’s question. “I think I might actually understand what’s going on with Loki, and why he shouldn’t exist.” Sapphira quickly explained the circumstances to Kalunera in a way she would understand. And understand she did.
“So,” said Kalunera, slowly, “Link or Liam without feeling…that’s scary!” Sapphira’s eyes widened as she nodded in agreement. Kalunera went on. “Well, he’s Link’s shadow, not Liam’s. Maybe if Liam went to save Auralii, he could get past Loki. Loki doesn’t know Liam’s every move.”
Sapphira thought about it. “Well, so far I can’t think of why that couldn’t work out…” She thought some more, trying to think of a pitfall. Then she looked up at Kalunera and shrugged. “I can’t see why not. Let’s go find the guys.” She pulled herself out of the chair. “Did you have any breakfast?”
Kalunera snorted, in a very un-Princess-like way. “Even if I were hungry, I wouldn’t eat anything. What did you have for breakfast?”
Sapphira looked a little skeptical, but she answered, “I had only a bowl of fruit, one croissant, and a glass of juice. Why?”
Kalunera just smiled and shook her head. “Come see what the starving boys ate.”
After showing Sapphira the remains of breakfast, they went deeper into the library to find their husbands. The two men were found sitting on more comfy chairs, finishing off the last bagels and reading books. Liam looked up when the two entered the section of the library, but Link continued to be interested in his book and (more of) his breakfast.
“Hello,” said Liam. “Any luck?”
“How did you two possibly manage to eat that much food?” asked Sapphira, a false smile plastered on her face.
Link looked up. “Oh, hi, Sapphira and Kalunera. Is everything going okay?”
Kalunera rolled her eyes. “You two consumed all but one bowl of fruit and one croissant.”
Link and Liam looked confused, and then at each other questioningly. Link then looked down at his half-eaten bagel, appeared to be counting in his head, and then he stared at them in surprise. “Goddesses, I think we did…”
Sapphira shook her head. “We’ll yell at you guys later. I didn’t find anything new, but Kalunera thought of something pretty interesting.”
“I don’t know if this will even work,” started Kalunera. Liam shrugged and motioned for her to go on. “Well, Loki knows all of Link’s moves, and he can counter almost anything Link can do, right?” Nods. “But Liam, you’re just as heroic as Link, so you could almost do Link’s job, right?” She was really unsure of herself, and her face burned. It was one thing to discuss this with Sapphira or Liam alone, but she felt bad saying it in front of Link. However, both of the twins nodded without comment. “Well, I was thinking that if Link tried to rescue Auralii, Loki would be able to stop him easily, knowing his moves. But if Liam goes, he could do the same job, but Loki wouldn’t know his moves as well, or at all.” She sighed. “Whatever. It’s probably stupid.” She looked at the floor.
“Actually,” said Link, “that’s brilliant.” Kalunera’s head shot up and she looked at him as though he was crazy. “No, I mean it. Kalunera, you’re absolutely right. Why didn’t I think of this before?”
“Because you’re a dumbass,” said Liam, shrugging.
Chapter Fourteen by Sapphira
The day passed so slowly. Auralii found herself napping most of the time. Honestly, there is nothing to do, she thought. I don’t even have a clue what time it is. For all I know, it’s the third day, and the last day of my life…
She had tried looking out the window to figure out the time. This did not accomplish anything except scare her. To her great shock and horror, the world outside looked like hell. There were fire pits everywhere, and there was no ceiling or sky, just endless darkness. The light that had been “shining” into the room was definitely not sunlight. It was amazingly bright light from the fire pits as they burst into flame silently. It amazed Auralii that they made no noise, and it also bothered her. The silence seemed to mock her, even though she couldn’t quite say how. It just did. It gave her too much to think about, nothing to distract her. It rang in her ears.
She plopped down on the bed. The small sound that made almost made her go deaf. After a while, she fell asleep once more. It was difficult because of the silence.
Auralii didn’t know what time it was when she woke again, but she guessed it was probably late evening. She was starving again since breakfast had been hours ago. She stretched and paced the room, coating her clothes with dust again. Her footsteps echoed strangely.
As she walked around, a thought occurred to her which had not before. The silence was like Loki. It lacked sound just as Loki lacked feelings. But silence could be broken with any noise at all. What could possibly act like sound inside of Loki? I’ve tried everything I could think of! Now, however, the path was clear. She could break the silence with just one footstep in her room. She would have to break into Loki somehow.
After another nap, Auralii found dinner waiting for her. As she ate, she wondered if Ganon had forgotten what he said about no food. It certainly wasn’t breakfast for the next day, although Auralii couldn’t say how she knew. She pushed the tray next to the door where she had left it last time.
Once again on her bed, she stared at the ceiling. I can’t spend these days sitting here like this. What am I supposed to do? It occurred to her that she hadn’t spoken with Loki in some time. But she had never called for him before, so would it even work? I guess I can just try…
“Loki?” she whispered. She waited. The silence had been broken for one moment, but it came back after, just as loud. Auralii sighed. It hadn’t really worked.
Then the lock clicked and Loki stepped inside. “Hello, Auralii,” he greeted her.
She was startled that he had come. She motioned for him to sit with her again. As he sat, she said, “I didn’t think you would come.”
“Why wouldn’t I? You called for me.”
“Well, I didn’t know if you would keep to your word. And I didn’t think you heard me.”
“I heard you very clearly. I would have been here sooner, but I was finishing something for my Master.”
Auralii was puzzled by how he phrased his response. It sounded the same as usual, but something was different than before. Then it occurred to her. “Did you just apologize to me for being late?”
“No,” he said, with the same indifference. “I was just telling you why I didn’t arrive sooner.”
Once again, she was at loss for words. Auralii had no clue how to go about breaking the silence. Well, might as well get some information from him…
“What time is it?” she asked.
“It’s almost midnight.”
Shit! It’s almost the second day! My last full day…
Before she could say any more, Loki stood up again. She looked up at him, startled, and met his eyes. Somehow, she found them less chilling.
“My Master is calling me right now,” he told her. “I must go.”
His eyes…what’s wrong with them? Goddess! What’s wrong with me? Am I seeing things? Or is something there?
As he turned, Auralii almost reached out to him, but her arms stayed glued to her sides and her lips were sealed shut.
Chapter Fifteen by Sapphira
Kalunera woke up with a heavy feeling. At first she had no clue what it was, but as she slowly woke up all the way, she realized it was a heavy feeling of responsibility. As she got up and dressed for the day, the feeling became much clearer. It was the feeling she had feared for so long, but had never truly experienced. Real responsibility is when you decide to take it on your own. But to Kalunera, it was too heavy. Like her heart.
Liam wasn’t in the bed or the room, so Kalunera assumed he was already working on their dilemma. After brushing her hair and walking into the hall, something occurred to her. She had picked out her outfit without thinking. She hadn’t done a number system. She had just picked a dress out and put it on. She stood in the hall for a few minutes, looking at her dress.
An arm around her waist brought her back into reality. She looked up into Liam’s face. “Oh, sorry!” she said, completely embarrassed. She blushed and looked away. “I was just thinking about something, and I guess I sort of went off into nowhere.”
He hugged her close and kissed her head. “It’s alright,” he said sadly. “I don’t think any of us are in our right minds right now.”
Kalunera looked up at him. “What do you mean by that?”
He shrugged. “You seem out of it today. I saw Sapphira in the hall earlier, and she can’t keep still. It’s terrible. Her nerves are on end. As for Link, I think he stayed in the library too long. The Evil Realm is terribly complicated, and he wants to find as much information as he can, even if we don’t need it.” Liam sighed. “I also think he might turn himself in tomorrow to save Auralii.”
“I know, that’s what I told him. But he doesn’t want to have a burden such as Auralii’s death. He’d been getting to know her, and he seems pretty fond of her. I don’t know what it would do to him.”
“I understand. What about you?” She turned so she could rest her head on his chest. “How are you acting strange?”
Another sigh. “I’m just worried about you, really. I can’t bear to see you like this, all stressed and worried. I feel as if there’s nothing I can do but watch you as you go through this.”
“Oh, Liam…” She looked into his eyes. “I’ll be alright. And you’re not useless. You’re going to be the one to go in and save her, you know. That’s about as far from useless as you could get.”
“Well, I’m glad you think so.” He smiled. “We’d better grab some breakfast. I know that Link and I need to train a bit. He’s going to help me figure out how to at least dodge his moves. I feel bad for him. After this, I’m going to be so much better than he is.” His smile became an almost devilish grin. “What a pity…” The grin returned to a reassuring smile. “Anyways, Sapphira offered to finish the Evil Realm research for Link and me. And I think a letter came from Hyrule Castle late last night.”
Kalunera took this in and nodded. The responsibility became heavier. “Breakfast then.”
“Yes, breakfast.” He kissed her gently. “Everything will be alright, love, I promise.”
She smiled, although tentatively. “Somehow, when you say that, I know it’s true.”
After breakfast, Kalunera went to pick up the letter. She plopped down on her bed to read it. It was very disappointing.
To the Princess Kalunera
I am not one to read my daughter’s mail, but since the courier insisted it was urgent, I took the liberty of reading it myself. Zelda is currently in Labrynna, and she will not be able to return for a week or more.
I must say, my dear, that this news is devastating. I frantically think of how I can help, but I can think of nothing. I do know that Link is probably in a terribly sullen mood right now. I do suggest that you either leave him alone or at least don’t criticize him. The only person who can get away with that is Liam, honestly.
I know you are pressed for time, and I hope this letter gives you enough of it, since I do have an idea. There must be a way to save Auralii without sacrificing Link. It occurred to me that Liam might come into play somehow. Just something to think about.
I do hope this situation ends up alright. If something else comes up, please let me know right away.
The King of Hyrule
Kalunera couldn’t help but scowl. Not only did the King read someone else’s mail, but the only suggestion he offered that she could use was the part about Link being sullen. She left the letter on her desk and went to find Sapphira.
Chapter Sixteen by Sapphira
Auralii was singing to herself. Now, the silence was truly driving her crazy. She was overtired from sleeping for too long. She hated when it happened, but it was better than getting too little sleep. By the time she had woken up, her breakfast had gotten cold. The most interesting thing was that at some point it had to be hot, since toast was included in her meal.
She sang every song she could think of. Ballads she had heard from traveling minstrels and lullabies her mother used to sing to her. She sang songs which she and Sapphira, who had a beautiful voice, had made up when they were bored.
The minutes ticked by, and Auralii’s voice became a little hoarse. I don’t want to lose my voice. I’ll need to use it to get out of here. Or at least to say my last words…Her heart almost stopped when she thought that.
I’m a Princess. If I’m going to have to say my last words tomorrow, I’m going to have to say something that will go down in history. Hopefully I’ll say something that will be words to live by. I certainly don’t want to say, “Please don’t kill me!” or “I want my mommy!” That would be disastrous.
Maybe I should come up with a clever, life-changing quote. Maybe, “I wish for every child to be spared what I have not been.” Oh! That’s a good one. Or maybe, “I only wish I could have lived to be a woman.” Nah, that sounds immature and mature at the same time. It would confuse people. Maybe, “Because I am loved, I will never truly die.” Yeah, I like it!
For the next twenty minutes or so, Auralii thought of more, but the one about being loved stuck out. That’s something people will remember.
Now that she had sung all the songs and chosen her last words, she had nothing more to do. She thought about spreading out the dust on the floor and drawing, but she kept sneezing. What about Loki…
“Loki,” she said, only a little bit more audible that the last time. A few minutes passed, and Auralii began to get nervous. Why isn’t he here? Did something go wrong? Did Ganon find out about the food yesterday?
The lock clicked. Auralii visibly relaxed. It was amazing what that sound could do. Loki walked into the room and sat next to her automatically.
“I would have come right away,” he said. “My Master had me occupied, though. I did hear you though.”
“Yes, I know,” she responded. “Thanks for coming.”
He just nodded.
Auralii looked around the room. Her eyes found the window. “Loki, what is outside?”
“The Evil Realm.”
“Is this hell?”
“No. Hell is for the souls of the dead. The Evil Realm is where Ganon lives with his minions. It’s a great enough difference.”
“Why are the fires silent?”
“I don’t know. They’ve been like that always.”
“Does the silence bother you?” Like the silence in your heart…
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what annoyance is.”
“Do you ever wish there was any sound at all? I’ve stood at the window for long whiles, and nothing outside ever makes a sound.”
“Breathing makes a sound.”
She looked at him. “Yes, but it is lost in the silence. I’ve tried my best to make myself heard, but the silence swallows it up.” She sighed and lay down on her bed. “I feel like I can fix it if I speak loud enough, but it’s not working. I could shout at the top of my lungs, and it wouldn’t make one difference. There wouldn’t even be an echo.”
He nodded. “That’s the way this place works.”
The conversation was swallowed in the silence.
“Am I going to die tomorrow?”
For the first time, spoken words hung in the silence, refusing to be swallowed up.
“I don’t know.”
More words hanging there, so substantial, you could almost touch them.
“I have to go. My Master needs me.”
Auralii sat up as he turned and walked to the door, through the words hanging invisibly in the air between them.
“Wait.” He turned around to face her. “Don’t leave me…”
His eyes held the strange quality that she had noticed the day before as he said, “I can’t stay.”
Chapter Seventeen by Sapphira
Kalunera carried the oversized portfolio into the practice room and immediately was pushed over. It was a good thing the floor was padded. The papers scattered all over the floor.
She pushed herself to her feet, her hands and knees stinging. “What the hell just happened?” she cried in anger. She bent down to pick up the papers. “Do you know how many hours Sapphira and I have been organizing these for you guys?”
Liam and Link rushed to help her. “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry,” Liam kept saying. “Kalunera, I really didn’t mean to do that, you just walked in! I was moving backwards to dodge a move, I wish I had known you would be there, I’m so sorry…”
“Liam, Liam,” she responded as she finished picking up the papers. They all stood up. “I’m the one who should be sorry. I should have been looking before I came in. Don’t blame yourself. And I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?” asked Link. “You took a pretty nasty fall, Kalunera.” He and Liam handed her the papers.
“I’m alright. I’m just being stressed, that’s all.” Luckily, the papers managed to stay in some order. “Here you are,” she said, handing them to Link. “All the information Sapphira and I can find on the Evil Realm and anything related to it. How’s the training going?”
Liam grinned in that amazing way of his. Kalunera laughed when she saw it. It was even funnier since Link looked ashamed.
“Well,” said Link, “I hope I can come up with some new moves, but I guess that will have to wait until this whole mess is over.”
Kalunera laughed. “It’ll be alright, Link. You know not to take Liam seriously. He’ll forget how to fight better than you in a few days.”
“Hey,” said Liam, sounding hurt. He sheathed his sword and wrapped his arm around her waist. “You’re in trouble for that.”
“Oh, and what’s my punishment?” she asked. Liam blushed, and Link laughed so hard, he dropped his sword.
Sapphira walked in at that moment to find the three of them laughing uncontrollably. “I’m not even going to ask,” she said. “So, do you two boys have a plan? We spent a lot of time researching, don’t make it all for nothing.”
Link stopped laughing as best he could. Kalunera knew it was to make Sapphira happy. “Um, well, so far Liam’s just going to get in there and find her. We’ve got a lot of spells to use just in case. I don’t really think there should be a problem. For now, the two of us will train a little more, then look at the information which you two ladies kindly looked up for us.” Kalunera snorted and Sapphira rolled her eyes.
“So, do you need anything else?” Kalunera asked Liam.
“Nope, we’re fine right now.”
“I think you two should get some rest or fresh air or something,” suggested Link. “You’ve both been working really hard.”
“I guess,” said Kalunera. I’m exhausted, but I need to help. I just have to.
Sapphira crossed over to Link and gave him a quick kiss. “Just don’t wear yourselves out,” she warned the two boys. “You’ll need everything tomorrow.”
Kalunera looked around at the faces.
Sapphira looked as if she wished she hadn’t said anything.
Liam looked like a scared child. Tomorrow, he’d have to be the Hero.
Link looked as if he had one day to live.
Chapter Eighteen by Sapphira
Auralii didn’t know how she slept. She woke up to the door clicking shut and breakfast at her door. My last breakfast…Although I wonder if I’ll get dinner. Maybe he’ll do it before then, though…
She shook the gruesome thoughts out of her head as she quickly ate her small breakfast on her bed. Last night’s words still were suspended in front of her. She could hear her own voice echoing in the room. Am I going to die tomorrow…
Even more mysteriously, she could hear his as well, with the same haunting quality. I don’t know…
Why was it that those words were so powerful? I spoke them as I spoke any words. Somehow, they broke into the silence. It’s as if I’ve broken into a fortress. Can I do damage from within? But his words are here as well…How is that? And what can it possibly mean?
As she put the tray in its normal place, she walked through the words. They were almost solid, and she could feel them. What had happened last night?
Out of confusion and boredom, she picked up some straw again to sketch in the dust. After two hours she was covered in it. Her drawings, however, spoke how she felt.
The first was of a handful of coins. The second was of a sunset. The third was of a pile of bricks.
In another corner of the room, she drew a castle. It was magnificent, with towers and gardens and a terribly impressive portcullis. She had drawn in as much detail as she could with crude materials such as straw and dust.
Near the window, in the fiery light, she drew more symbols. One was a magnificent phoenix. Another was a proud hawk. The third was a delicate butterfly. The last was a beautiful fairy.
She drew whatever came to mind. Unfortunately, after the burst of creativity, all that came to mind was silence. How do I illustrate silence? Is that even possible? She thought of drawing a tree, since that seemed peaceful. But that would bring to mind the rustle of the wind in the leaves. Maybe a seascape, but she could hear the pounding waves. A mountain? The birds would sing.
She stared down at the picture of the castle. She hadn’t modeled it after the Palace at all. She had just drawn what came to mind when she thought “castle.” It was quite an impressive fortress…fortress…
The fortress was protecting the silence.
Carefully, Auralii erased the portcullis with her foot.
She drew right in front of it a tree, an ocean, and a mountain.
The door clicked open. Auralii’s head flew up and she realized this was it. They’re going to kill me now…Loki stepped into the room and closed the door.
“You’ve been drawing,” he said. The words were eaten up, like they were normally. Avoiding the drawings, he stepped over to her, through last night’s words. His eyes widened slightly, but otherwise he had no reaction.
“Is it time?” Auralii asked him, as bravely as she could.
“No,” he said. “You called for me.”
Auralii blinked. “I did? I don’t remember calling for you.”
“You must have. I heard you say my name. I was late in coming, for once again, my Master needed me.”
Auralii thought. Maybe I said his name in my sleep or something. I certainly never called for him, though. “I never called for you,” she reiterated.
“Do you want me to leave?”
“No.” She didn’t even have to think about that. She didn’t want him to leave. “Sit with me. Be careful of the drawings, please.”
They sat on the bed at the same time. Auralii stared at her hands. There was nothing to talk about. He didn’t feel anything, and if he did, it was too late.
“When is Ganon going to make the deal?”
“In about one and a half hours.”
“How will I die?”
These words joined the rest above the center of the room.
“You might not.”
These floated there as well.
Loki stood up.
Auralii’s mouth dropped. “You just got here!”
Loki shrugged. “When he needs me, I have no choice.”
“Please don’t leave me. This is my last day before I die. Please stay with me.”
These words didn’t follow the rest. They seemed to wrap around Loki, holding him just long enough.
“But I have to leave,” he said with finality. The words couldn’t hold him for too long, and he was able to turn to leave.
Auralii didn’t know why, but she rose and grabbed his hand. It was a gesture to get his attention again, to convince him to stay. She didn’t want to be alone on this day.
A jolt seemed to shock both of them as their hands touched. They had touched before when Loki was taking her out of her cell and when he held the knife to her throat. This was so different, Loki turned around, his eyes so wide, there was no question that he hadn’t expected something like that to happen. They stood there, staring at each other in disbelief, not knowing what to think.
At the same time, they moved away. Loki nodded and repeated himself. “I have to leave.”
Auralii could only nod as he walked out. But these words stayed, too. They never had before, and they did now. They were echoing in her mind.
Chapter Nineteen by Sapphira
Liam was strapping on his armor. It was about three in the afternoon, and no one knew when Ganon was going to make his appearance. Link was in the library, finishing off the map for Liam. Sapphira was busy finishing off the spells and putting them in a pack for Liam.
Kalunera was nervous. She was scared that Ganon would show up, and they wouldn’t be ready. Ready meant that Liam would have escaped the Evil Realm with Auralii. She hoped that Ganon was going to make a dinner appearance. It would give Liam a mere three or four hours, but that was better than nothing.
Kalunera was walking down the hall, heading towards the library. When she arrived, it took her several minutes to find Link. He was in the very back of the room, putting the final touches on the map.
“Looks good,” said Kalunera quietly.
He looked up at her. “I just hope it helps.” He sighed. “I don’t want to have to make this decision.”
“I know, and that’s what I want to talk about with you.”
He nodded and motioned for her to sit. She pulled up a chair.
“Link, as the Crown Princess of this country, I forbid you to surrender yourself.”
He blinked. “But what about Auralii?”
She shook her head sadly. “Auralii is brave. She’s probably resigned herself to death already.” Seeing the expression on his face, she waved her hands in reassurance. “No, not in a bad way. Auralii is that sort of person. She understands the situation, and she knows that we have to keep Ganon from getting you at all costs. That’s what I mean by resigned.”
“But is it really worth it? Your country would hate me. Hyrule and Racona would probably go to war, Kalunera.”
“I don’t care. Link, you’re the world’s only hope against Ganon. If he could control you, who knows what he would do! I’m not saying that Auralii will die. I’m praying we can get her out of there alive. All I’m saying is that when he says to make your choice, you’re just going to have to apologize to Auralii. We cannot let you go.”
Link sighed. Before he could speak, screams rose from the throne room.
“Oh my Goddess…”
Kalunera’s heart stopped. She couldn’t breathe. It’s too soon, Liam hasn’t even left yet. This can’t happen now! No! She and Link bolted for the throne room. In the hall, they almost ran over Sapphira and then Liam, who were both sprinting in the same direction. Soon enough, they reached the throne room.
Kalunera’s mother had fainted for real. Her father was as red as his hair with anger. The vortex stood off to the side, and Ganon was very visible through it. Beside him was Auralii, being held by Loki, and the knife back at her throat.
“Shit,” said Kalunera.
Ganon’s eyes locked on Link. “Ah, here we are Link. I decided I couldn’t wait any longer. I want your choice now.”
“What choice?” Link growled, even though he knew.
Ganon’s eyes narrowed. “Either you surrender to me, or Auralii dies. All you have to do is step through this vortex, and Auralii can step through it the other way. That’s all you have to do.”
Sapphira looked as if she was going to break Link’s hand. Kalunera knew she was breaking Liam’s. Link looked as if he was ready to face death. Kalunera then stared at her sister. Auralii, however, also looked ready for death.
It was even.
“Auralii,” Link said. “I don’t want to have to say this…” His voice trailed off.
“I know what you are going to say,” Auralii replied. The words were said without saying. Link could not save Auralii. She would have to die.
“You’ll be saving everyone,” he told her. “You know that.”
She took a deep breath. “Because I am loved, I will never truly die.”
The words filled the air, and Kalunera knew Auralii understood.
Ganon rolled his eyes. “Fine then. Loki, cut her throat.”
Kalunera couldn’t tear her eyes away. Liam wrapped his arms around her and held her close, but they were both watching, as were Link and Sapphira. The King was watching with terrible emotions written across his face.
Loki’s grip tightened around Auralii…and then he pushed her through the vortex.
Arms tied behind her back, but her throat intact, Auralii fell to the floor inside the throne room. Kalunera’s mind stopped working. She rushed to her sister’s side, untying the bonds with alarming speed. She could hear Ganon’s rage, but she didn’t look. She heard a skirmish as she untied the final knots, and a body hitting a wall and sliding to the ground. She got Auralii to her feet, but before she could follow her little sister away from the vortex, she felt a massive hand grab her and pull her in.
Chapter Twenty by Sapphira
The vortex zapped itself shut as Ganon swung Kalunera out of its vicinity. He let go of her as he did so, and she fell to the floor painfully. She heard the sickening crack of bone as she landed on her left arm, and it was all she could do not to cry out in pain. She let out a small whimper as she used her good arm to push herself to her feet. Ganon helped her by grabbing the back of her dress and cruelly tugging her into a standing position. His hand closed around her throat.
“So,” he sneered. He didn’t seem to be speaking to her. “I lost a decent bargaining chip, but now I have a better one.” He turned to look at a form on the ground and shook his head. “I don’t understand what could have happened,” he said with an edge of anger in his voice. Kalunera could tell he was talking to her now. “But whatever it is, your sister is safe.” He must have felt Kalunera relax slightly. “You, however, are not.” She tensed again.
“What do you plan to do?” she asked, with enough bravery in her voice.
“I’m thinking about that,” Ganon growled, as if she should have known already. “I, however, can’t think too well with you staring at me, you little witch.” He reached over and picked up the form in the corner. Kalunera wasn’t surprised to see it was Loki.
The events of the past few minutes began to spin through Kalunera’s mind as Ganon began to walk. Somehow, Loki, cold and unfeeling and under Ganon’s control, had disobeyed the order to kill Auralii. Instead, he had gotten her to safety. Kalunera felt like an idiot as she realized that when she had run to Auralii’s side, she had stupidly put herself within the range of Ganon’s ugly fist. Damn.
Kalunera’s thoughts were interrupted as Ganon tossed her (literally) into a small cell. She rolled into a corner and landed on her arm. Tears leaked out of her eyes and she bit back a scream. As a princess, and a crown princess at that, she had never felt so much pain in her life. I can’t believe that something could hurt like this, she thought.
As she began to slowly get to her feet, Ganon tossed Loki into the cell with her. When Loki hit the floor, he stayed motionless, but then began to stir. Kalunera backed away involuntarily. The door was slammed shut and the clink of the lock could be heard. Kalunera couldn’t see Ganon, since this cell was just a small room, and the door only had a tiny barred square to see out of. The one window, also barred, let in the same strange light that Auralii had seen in the previous few days.
Kalunera slowly sat on a tiny cot across the cell from Loki. He was beginning to get up slowly. What if he attacks me? I don’t know what I’ll do! Oh Goddesses, he’ll be as strong as Link and Liam! I’ll be dead, which is not going to be fun…She began to panic a little as the young man stood up and looked at her. She cast her eyes to the floor, not wanting to meet his gaze. It might provoke him or something. After a few seconds, she realized he had not crossed the cell. Looking up, he had sat down on another cot across from her. He was shaking.
“Um, are you okay?” asked Kalunera quietly. If he’s shaking, I guess that means he’s not about to kill me or something.
“I don’t know,” he replied, his voice soft and wavering. “I…I don’t know what’s happening to me. I’m thinking all these strange things…”
He opened his mouth to speak, and then paused to think again. “I’m not sure,” he said finally. “I’m thinking strange things about Ganon, my master.”
Um, okay. That sounds weird. “What are you thinking about?” He’s different than he was when we first saw him…
“I…Well, when I think about him, I’m thinking about me killing him.” He looked up, his eyes full of fear. “I’ve never thought about killing like that.”
“That’s okay,” said Kalunera, hoping that she sounded reassuring. “When you are really angry with someone, or you hate them, you usually think something like that at least once.” Or I hope so, because I know Auralii has definitely thought about killing Jakob…
Loki blinked at her. “Are you saying I’m angry or hateful?”
“Well, yeah, isn’t that how you feel?”
Loki didn’t answer. He began to blink a lot, and then breathe faster.
“Loki, what’s wrong?” This is just weird.
“I…I…” He couldn’t speak at first. “I can feel.”
At first Kalunera was going to tell him something like, “Yeah, that’s great,” but then she realized something. Loki didn’t have feelings, but now he does. That’s why he threw Auralii back instead of killing her.
“Loki, think about Auralii. Think about her and tell me what you think of.”
Loki stopped breathing and blinking. He stared at the floor. When he looked back at her, the most amazing thing was happening.
Loki was crying. Not bawling, but a very dignified way for a guy to cry. But the amazing thing was that his tears were red. Kalunera watched in astonishment as the red pigment ran down his face slowly, and she watched as the color drained from his eyes. It looked almost as if his eyes were tanks, being drained of blood or something. Soon, they were such a dark brown, they looked black. The red tears faded like all tears do, and soon there was no trace of them. A few normal tears continued to fall.
“I want to put my arms around her,” stammered Loki. “I want to make her smile or laugh. I don’t know what that means, but I want it. When Ganon told me to kill her, the knife just wouldn’t move. I knew I would never hold her or see her smile or stroke her hair if she died. I didn’t even think when I pushed her…”
Kalunera couldn’t believe this. Loki had fallen in love with Auralii. Somehow, her little sister had made Loki feel things, and without realizing he was feeling anything, he fell for her. Kalunera realized that Loki was waiting for her to answer him, to tell him he wasn’t crazy.
“It’s okay, Loki,” she told him. She reached out a hand to him, and he took it. It felt like Liam’s hand, and she felt tears well up at the thought of her husband. “It’s love, and it’s alright.”
Loki had been looking at the ground before, and now his eyes shot up. “What? This is what love feels like?” Kalunera nodded. Loki closed his eyes and sighed. “Well then, we need to get out of here.”
“What?” Wow, that’s a change of attitude.
“I know you’re Auralii’s sister, since you both have the same color hair, and I know you probably want to go home. I want to go with you because I need to see Auralii.” He stood up and began to look around. “Now, how the hell are we going to do this?”
“My name isn’t ‘Auralii’s sister,’ you know. It’s Kalunera.” She was a little peeved.
“Well then, hi there, Kalunera!” Loki said with heavy sarcasm.
Kalunera sighed. It figures. As soon as he gets feelings, he’s a smart ass.
Chapter Twenty-One by Sapphira
“It’s a damn good thing we were already planning on heading to the Evil Realm for a rescue mission,” commented Link as he strapped on his shield.
Liam was already ready, and he was currently sitting on a chair, head in his hands. “Yeah, I know,” he sighed.
Link nodded. “Liam, we’re going to get Kalunera out of there. You know that.”
Liam nodded, which looked kind of funny with his head in his hands.
Sapphira walked in with more of Link’s Hero stuff. “I think this is all of it,” she said. “I really wish you kept your stuff more organized, though.” Link grimaced, but nodded.
Auralii was watching all this from a crack in the wall. She had discovered it several years ago, since the room next to it was the old playroom. No one used it anymore, so when Auralii found the crack in the wall, it was her own little secret. She had escaped from her worried parents, claiming that she needed to be alone a little bit due to her traumatic experience. Instead of fleeing to her room or the hospital wing, she had hurried over here. She could easily look into the antechamber where everyone else was at the moment.
Link finished strapping on his armor, and he shifted his sword in place. He and Sapphira looked at Liam. “Liam,” Link said, “come on. We have to go now.”
Sapphira walked over to Liam and put her arms around his shoulders. “Liam, Kalunera needs you. Go get her.”
Liam stood up violently, surprising Sapphira. He grabbed the rest of his gear and strapped it on more quickly than Link had. When he looked up at Link and Sapphira, he sighed. “I have nothing else left but her.”
“Gee, thanks, Liam,” Link said, rolling his eyes. Liam managed a chuckle.
“Any time, little brother.”
Sapphira kissed Liam on the cheek, and then went to Link and kissed him. “I’ll wait here for you, I don’t want to go near that place ever again.” Her face turned pale.
“You’re not going to have to go back, Sapphira,” Link reassured her.
“Thanks…Now get out of here, go get Kalunera!”
Liam and Link nodded and hurried towards the stables.
Auralii scurried off as well. She had stopped in her room before hiding in the playroom, and was now out of her dusty clothes and wearing dark britches, a warm shirt, sturdy boots, and a tunic. She had slipped a tiny knife in her right boot, and was carrying her cloak.
Now in the stables, she saddled her horse, Brick-a-Brack, and wrapped her cloak around her. She could hear Liam and Link enter the stables as well, saddling their horses just as quickly as she had hers. “Alright, let’s go,” one of them whispered to the other.
“Okay,” said Auralii.
“Shit!” cursed Link, snapping around in his saddle to the sound of her voice. “Auralii, you’re nuts! You aren’t coming with us, no question.”
“Get back inside,” added Liam, “and keep Sapphira company. She’s scared beyond belief, you know.”
“No, I’m coming with you guys,” Auralii said defiantly. “Link, you’re going because you’re a great Hero, and only the Master Sword can defeat Ganon. Liam, you’re going because you love Kalunera and you want to save her.”
“Well, DUH!” said Liam.
“Well, I’m going because I want to save Loki! I don’t care if you guys don’t want me coming, but I am no matter what.”
“You want to save him?” cried Link. “But why?”
Auralii blushed, not wanting to sound silly. “Well, he saved me and all…” Link and Liam looked at each other, knowing that she obviously had feelings for Loki.
“Fine,” said Liam. “Fine, but if you get hurt, and our wives kill us, you’re the one who’s going to take the blame. Because it’s your fault.”
“Fine,” she shrugged. “As long as I get to come.”
“Shut up,” said Link. “Do you have any weapons?”
“Yes, a dagger. In my boot.”
Link turned to Liam, shrugging. “That’s alright.” Liam nodded. “Alright, let’s go.”
Chapter Twenty-Two by Sapphira
They rode very quickly. Auralii knew suddenly that she would have to throw her cloak over Brick-a-Brack as a blanket, she was pushing him so hard. She suspected that this was the same speed at which Link had ridden to save Sapphira: As fast as the horses could run.
Soon, Link took out a map. Horses still at full speed, he pointed to the left, and to the left they all went. Periodically, he would pull out the map and they would go in the direction he pointed in. This continued for a long time. Auralii couldn’t tell how many hours or minutes it had been, but it seemed like forever.
I’ve gotta get to Loki…And Kalunera…Ugh, I just hope Ganon hasn’t done anything to either of them. She wanted to save Kalunera beyond belief, but saving Loki seemed just as important, but in a different way. She sighed. I know, I know…I have feelings for him. I think…I think he’s changed, I think it all worked. Why else would he have saved me? I just don’t know what I’ll do when I see him. It’s so strange…
“Wake up, Lii, we’re here,” whispered Liam. Auralii snapped out of it and looked up to see a menacing crevice in the cliff face they had arrived at. The smell coming from it was of fire and stone. A smell she suddenly recognized as the Evil Realm…She hadn’t noticed the smell when she was there, only the silence.
They all dismounted, covering the horses. Liam and Link had been smart enough to bring blankets for Blaze and Epona, and Auralii used her cloak as planned. She felt exposed without it, but it was better than the dust-covered dress she had been wearing before.
They slowly crept through the crevice in the stone. The darkness closed in on Auralii, and she wondered if Link and Liam felt as frightened as she did. She didn’t ask, for fear that speaking would break the silence. The silence they now needed as their cover.
Link was still taking out the map and pointing, and Liam and Auralii were still following. Link had his left hand near his sword sheath at his waist (Auralii always thought it was strange that the Hero of Time carried two swords), and Liam had his sword drawn. Auralii kept her knife in her boot, not wanting to give away the fact that she was not defenseless.
At last, they were out of the maze in the stone, and Auralii was confronted with the place she had only seen outside her window. It still looked like hell, and it was still silent. But it seemed so much more expansive now, and she shivered. Link led them around the fire and brimstone to the great rock in the center. This was the rock that Ganon used as headquarters. Auralii was correct to have thought the rooms inside were carved from a stone.
Link stopped them. “Alright,” he whispered, barely audible. “When we go inside, there might be some minions. Auralii, let us handle them, we know how. Stay out of sight. When we get to Kalunera and Loki, you’re going to need to use some of the spells Sapphira made.” He handed her a few wrapped items. “When you’ve got both of them, throw the blue on one the floor, but make sure, and this is very important, make sure that Loki and Kalunera are holding onto you, and no one else. It’s going to take you back to the Palace. The green one is to be used for any injuries. You can unwrap this one and cut off small pieces. Rub it onto any injury and it will heal it. It’s very powerful, so a little bit will do. The red is actually several small pellets. If you come up against any minions, you just throw a pellet, and it will either kill the minion or stun it. After you get to Loki and Kalunera, you just need the blue one. The other two are just in case anything happens.”
“But how are you two going to get out?”
“We had Sapphira make a couple more spells before we left. We’ve got purple ones. They are the same as the blue ones, but they only take one person back. Once you’re back at the Palace, we’ll leave, too.”
“Wait, how will you know when that is?”
Liam chuckled. “Sapphira again. She cast a spell on the blue spell, so that when you use it, you’ll go to wherever she is, and then she will actually use telepathy to tell us to get out. The telepathy is very difficult, and I think this is one of the few times Sapphira said she would ever use it.”
“Alright,” said Auralii. “Where should I go, then?”
Link took out his map again. “Okay, we’re here.” He pointed to some spot on the map. “Ganon will be keeping prisoners most likely around here.” He pointed to another spot, not too far from where they stood. “Just look around there for a while, you should find them. That’s where you would be using the red spells, you might bump into some baddies while you poke around.”
“No problem.” She took the red spell and unwrapped it. She put several red pellets into her pocket and then wrapped the rest up again. She put the wrapped spells back into her other pocket. “What are you guys gonna do?”
Liam grinned. “We’re staying with you for now. If we run into Ganon, though, we’re going to have a little fun with him. We’re sick of the kidnapping thing.”
Auralii grinned. “Okay, then, let’s go.”
They continued to walk, now through the great stone. “Link?” whispered Auralii.
“Remember how we talked about not wishing for things to happen to us?”
He laughed almost silently. “Yes.”
“Well, when I was kidnapped, I realized you were right.”
He grinned at her. “But this is kind of exciting, isn’t it?”
Liam shook his head. “Link, you were terrified when you went to save Sapphira.”
At last, they reached a room. It was filled with flickering torch light. On a great throne sat Ganon. Auralii recognized this as the room where Ganon communicated with her family. She could see the spot where she had stood with the knife at her throat…with Loki holding her. She shook her head. He had been holding her against her will with a knife to her throat. He had not been holding her in a loving embrace…Damnit, I used the word “love…”
Link and Liam stood in front of the throne where Ganon sat…sleeping. They motioned for Auralii to keep going. She nodded, suddenly feeling her face go white. She was scared…she was alone now, and she had never done anything like this in her life. Link was right. It was very exciting, but terrifying. She had no clue if she’d get out of this alive, no clue if she’d actually save Kalunera and Loki.
As she walked on through the dark corridors, she heard a faint clinking noise. A minion! I’d better go the other way, then. Wait, no, I have a knife and the red spell…I need to see what it is. It might be a minion guarding Kalunera and Loki.
She turned the corner and saw a small door with a tiny barred window. Someone was trying to break the bars with a chain.
“Fucking bars,” a voice said. It was incredibly familiar.
“Geez, your language is terrible, too. I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap.” Auralii knew that voice. It was Kalunera.
“Kalunera?” she asked tentatively.
“Auralii?” her sister asked back.
“Oh my Goddess, I’m so glad you’re alright!”
“Auralii…” the second voice whispered. Auralii walked to the door, and she found she was just tall enough on tip-toe to reach the bars. Loki’s face looked back at her. He looked as if he could not believe he was seeing her.
“Loki…oh Goddess, your eyes…”
“I know. Are you alright?” He had a new tone to his voice. That of concern.
“Yes, yes, I’m alright. Are you both okay?”
“No,” Kalunera said. “My arm is broken.”
“Ouch…I have something for that, though.” She carefully opened the green spell and took the knife from her boot. She slipped a small bit of the spell through the bars. “Loki, give this to Kalunera. Kalunera, rub it on your arm.”
She didn’t hear anything for a moment, then, “Goddess, that’s better.”
“I take it you guys haven’t figured a way out of here yet.”
“We’ve been trying for a long time,” Loki said. “We’ve had no luck at all. Can you open it from the outside?”
Auralii looked doubtfully at the lock. “I don’t think so. I do have a spell from Sapphira, but it’s supposed to be a weapon. I’ve learned that Sapphira’s spells should only be used for the purpose she gives to them…I’m not going to use a weapon spell to open a door when I need a pick spell.”
“I understand,” Kalunera said. Her voice was closer, since she had moved near the door.
Auralii thought for a moment. “Wait, can you two hold one of my hands through the bars?” She reached up and her hand was grabbed by two others. “Okay, I hope this works, then.”
“You hope what works?” asked Loki.
“Just don’t let go of my hand, whatever you do.” Auralii drew the blue spell from her pocket and threw it to the ground. Suddenly she was enveloped in a flash of blinding blue light.
She could still feel Loki and Kalunera’s hands, and when she opened her eyes, they were all in Sapphira’s room, and she herself stood right in front of them.
“Oh, thank Din you’re all safe!” She cried. She hugged Kalunera and Auralii. “Auralii, don’t ever do that again! I wouldn’t have stopped you, but we were all worried sick!”
“Sapphira, what about Link and Liam?” Auralii reminded her.
“Oh, yes, thank you!” Sapphira closed her eyes briefly. She looked as if she had fallen asleep standing up, but sweat began to form on her forehead, and soon enough, it ran down her face. Her eyes then snapped open, and a split second later, both Liam and Link were also in the room. Liam had several gashes on his face and arm, and Link could barely stand.
Kalunera rushed and grabbed a chair, which Link immediately fell back into. “Oh, no…” Sapphira whispered as she rushed to his side. The blood flowed freely from his chest, down his shirt and onto the floor.
“Sapphira, I’m fine,” he said, although his voice was strained.
“No, you’re not, silly, you’re bleeding beyond belief.” Her voice was full of fear. “Auralii, get me that green spell thing. Oh, if only I had called you guys back right when Auralii, Kalunera, and Loki got here!”
“Sapphira,” Liam reassured her, “Link got that wound right after Auralii went to look for Kalunera and Loki. He’d been fighting with it for several minutes before you called us back.”
Sapphira shook her head as Auralii handed her the green spell. Almost all of it was left. Sapphira picked up the whole thing and stuck it on Link’s chest, where the blood was pouring from.
Immediately, the gash closed up, and Link breathed in deeply. “Stabbed through the lung…” Sapphira said softly. “I’m glad everyone is alright, but I’d like to be alone with Link right now…”
The rest of them left. Kalunera was clinging to Liam, who was still wounded. “Lii, we’re going to go to the hospital wing, alright?” Kalunera’s voice was soft, but not with worry like Sapphira’s had been. It was soft with relief at being home again, and with everyone safe. “Tell Mother and Father we’re all alright…Okay?”
Auralii nodded. “Of course.” Kalunera smiled at her and gave her a hug. “Well, for the first time in a while, neither of us are being held hostage. We should have a party.”
Chapter Twenty-Three by Sapphira
Kalunera and Liam walked down the opposite hallway. Loki and Auralii were alone now. Auralii knew she needed to see her parents, but…
She turned to Loki, who was staring intently at her.
“Auralii…I don’t know what to say…I really don’t.”
“That’s okay. I don’t either.”
“No, I need to say something…can we sit down anywhere?”
“Sure.” They walked silently until they reached a balcony. It was the same balcony Auralii had stood at, waiting for Kalunera and Sapphira to come home. They went out and sat on the small bench. “What is it?”
Loki sighed. “Auralii, you changed me, you know. From the first night you were with me in the Evil Realm, I haven’t been the same. It just started out with taking you to your room. I didn’t want to leave you there, alone. You looked so unhappy, and I thought to myself I wouldn’t be happy in your place. That’s when everything started to change.
“I left you breakfast and dinner even though Ganon told me not to. I didn’t think it was right for you to go hungry just because you were unhappy with dying. Then I realized that I felt bad for you. I felt…I tried not to show it. But I left you food anyways.
“Then, you started asking me to stay with you. The way you asked me, it made me want to go to you and hold you and tell you everything would be alright.” Here, he sighed. “It was then I knew that I could never harm you. Never. I was unhappy because I couldn’t afford to tell you that. Ganon would find out somehow if I did.
“The last day, when you said it was your last day before you would die, you reached for my hand, and this incredible feeling went through me. I wanted to hold you more than ever and tell you everything would be fine. I wanted to take you out of the Evil Realm and bring you back home…I wished I had never taken you from your room that night, yet I was glad I did because I had found you. You noticed that I would apologize for not arriving right away when you called, and the final time, I came when you hadn’t called, and I lied about it. I knew you wanted me to be there, but I didn’t want you to know that I began to wait for you to call for me. I couldn’t stand it that day, I had to see you…
“When your sister and I were in the cell together, I was just coming to terms with all this. I began to see myself killing Ganon and liking it, and Kalunera said that was anger or hate. Then she asked me what I thought of when I thought about you…and when I told her how much I just wanted to hold you, she told me it was love.
“I know that I was, up until now, a complete enemy. I kidnapped you, and I was supposed to kill you. I also recently have started to feel emotions, and I think right now I’m feeling afraid. I am afraid that you don’t really like me that much after all this…”
“Shhhh…” said Auralii. “It’s alright.” She smiled. “You were never a complete enemy. You brought me food against orders. You kept me company when I was alone and afraid. You saved my life, not thinking about your own…”
Loki looked down at her. Auralii suddenly felt a warmth in her chest. Loki tentatively raised his arm and put it around her waist. After he did that, he looked at what he had done. He grinned. “I can do that now, and it means something to me.” He sounded very proud of himself.
Auralii laughed. Her laughter was cut short when Loki wrapped his other arm around her and drew her close. “I really wanted to do this for the past few days,” he whispered. Auralii’s heart skipped a beat. Her hands were on his chest, so she moved her arms up and around his neck. Loki took this cue. He slowly tilted his head toward hers, and their lips met.
After this was finished, Loki was smiling like a little kid. “That was fucking amazing,” he said. “I mean, I’ve never done that before ever, yet I knew exactly what do to…and it felt really good, I felt so wonderful…I felt…”
Auralii shook her head. “Kalunera was right. You do need to watch your language.”
Chapter Twenty-Four by Sapphira
“I beg your pardon!” exclaimed the Queen. Auralii and Loki’s heads snapped upward at the sound of her voice. “Young lady, do you have any idea of what you are doing?!”
“Mother!” Auralii retorted, “leave me alone!”
The King had now come onto the balcony as well. “My dear, your mother has every right to wonder what in Nayru’s name you are doing! You disappeared shortly after you were rescued and no one had any clue where you were! You’re wearing men’s clothes, which you are never supposed to do, and you know that.”
“And to top it all off,’ shouted the Queen, “we catch you completely alone and being intimate with the very man who was responsible for your kidnapping! And he has a dirty mouth!”
“Have you anything to say for yourself?” demanded the King.
Loki opened his mouth, but Auralii stopped him before he could use any curse words in front of the King and Queen. Mother and Father, I can’t believe you! She stood up, standing between Loki and her parents.
“I do have something to say for myself! Over the past few days, I was held hostage by Ganon, not Loki, and Loki himself disobeyed direct orders for me. He brought me food when he was told not to, he kept me company because he wanted me to feel better, and, if you hadn’t noticed already, he saved my life. He was ordered to slit my throat,” and here, she drew a line across her own throat with her finger, “and yet he put me out of danger. He knew his own life was at terrible risk when he did that, but he just wanted me safe.” She drew a deep breath. “I ran away because I wanted to save him and Kalunera. I knew you wouldn’t let me go, so I didn’t tell you. I wore men’s clothing because it was much more suitable than a dress for this occasion. And I am ‘completely alone and being intimate with the very man who was not responsible for my kidnapping, although he has a dirty mouth’ because I love him and he loves me.” With all this said, she crossed her arms and stared dead on into her parents’ faces.
Loki stood up behind her, putting his arms on her shoulders. “Your Majesties, I apologize if my language offends you, but your language offends me. Auralii is right, I fucking love her more than anything. I didn’t have one damn feeling or emotion until I met her, and every since, I’ve felt everything. I’ve felt like the happiest bastard in the world, and I’ve felt like shit. I’m just happy that I can feel, and it’s thanks to Auralii. I can’t help all the shit I’ve done in the past, but that crap is over and done. All I care about right now is being with your daughter, and I can assure you that I will never kidnap her or hold a knife to her throat ever again.” His facial expression was blank, but not the same sort of blank that it had been previously. It was unreadable now, a person could argue that he was pleased with himself or he or she could argue that he was angry.
The Queen and King stared in disbelief. The Queen’s mouth was open, and it looked as if she was trying to decide whether or not to fake another faint or to yell some more. While it looked as if fainting was a bad idea (since the King couldn’t catch her in time), she also seemed at a loss for words.
Then the King began to laugh heartily. As he laughed, Auralii rolled her eyes. Loki grinned widely. The Queen shook her head.
“I guess I’d better get the tailor,” she said. “Loki, we’ll need to take some measurements.” Loki’s grin turned devilish, and she quickly added, “And, no. We will not be doing any sort of measurement there, so don’t bother asking.”
Auralii began to laugh now, and her father was still guffawing. Loki wrapped his arms around Auralii’s waist from the back and kissed her neck. “I guess I should go get some real clothes now,” he said. “I hope I look spiffy.”
“Oh, you certainly will,” she said smiling. “Just, please, make sure that you don’t get anything silly. My mother might try to make you wear some of those styles that are ‘fashionable,’ but she’s just trying to make you look foolish.”
“Thanks for the advice.” The Queen was leading the giggling King off the balcony. “We’re alone again. Do I have to go yet?”
“I don’t think so…do you think my mother would mind if you were a little late getting to the tailor?”
Chapter Twenty-Five by Sapphira
It had been a while since the kidnappings, but the days had been hard. The first issue was that everyone had forgotten that Liam, Link, and Auralii had left their horses at the Evil Realm. They had figured this out when Auralii was going to take Loki for a horse-ride, yet there was no Brick-a-Brack. Link had given some scouts the map, and later that day, the horses were back. Epona was alright, but Blaze was slightly sick, and Brick-a-Brack was very sick. Luckily, the horse doctors knew how to make both Brick-a-Brack and Blaze healthy again easily.
Loki had a hard time adjusting. The slightest things would set his new emotions off. At first he cried more than another other guy Auralii had met. She quickly convinced him, however, that guys didn’t cry very often. In fact, they barely cried. But Loki still was overjoyed at things that were happy, but not that happy. It was hard for other people to take him seriously, but he was slowly adjusting…slowly…
Liam and Kalunera had grown a lot closer now. Kalunera was suddenly out in the Palace Town at least twice a week, helping people out and sometimes working as a healer’s assistant. This change shocked the King and Queen, as well as the people, but Kalunera insisted. She told them that she had broken her arm when she was kidnapped, a common occurrence in a normal person’s life. She, however, had been so sheltered, the pain was unbearable. She wanted to go out and experience the world more, and help people keep pain like that out of their lives. The King and Queen refused, especially since Kalunera wanted to dress either like a peasant woman or a peasant man when she went out, but they finally gave in when she told them that the experience would make her a better ruler. When they asked what would happen if she died, Kalunera calmly pointed to Auralii, who laughed so hard, she had to leave the room.
Sapphira and Link were almost never seen. The biggest problem was Link’s severe loss of blood. He could barely walk even after a few weeks. Sapphira was constantly at Link’s side, both as a healer and as his anchor in life. Sapphira herself had matured a lot. She no longer was silly all the time, and she was constantly worrying. She was working so hard to keep Link alright, she began to lose sleep and look tired all the time.
Link and Liam barely spoke to each other. Something had happened in the Evil Realm, and neither of them would talk about it. They did not seem mad at each other, but something had happened between them, and neither knew how to handle it. Link and Loki rarely spoke, although they seemed to have an unseen bond, but Liam and Loki bonded quickly. Link began to be isolated because of his condition and because of what had happened between him and Liam. Sapphira was frantically trying to tend to Link and give him space at the same time, and it was tearing her apart.
Auralii was very unhappy. I thought things would be okay after we saved Kalunera and Loki. I didn’t think everyone would change so much, and I especially didn’t think Link and Sapphira would be so miserable. Link was right, there are no guarantees. Even though we were successful on our mission, happiness wasn’t a guarantee…I was foolish to think it was…
She stood on the balcony in her room, looking into a garden below. She could see Link and Sapphira down there. They were discussing something, but Auralii couldn’t tell what it was they were talking about at all. She then felt arms around her waist, and her sullen mood was lifted. She turned and smiled at Loki. “Here to kidnap me again?”
He grinned. When he grinned, he looked devilish, but in a very sexy, masculine way. “Of course. But I’ll need to keep you quiet as I sneak you out of here.” At this, he covered her mouth with his own. As much as Auralii had been frightened when he had actually kidnapped her, she was having too much fun at the moment to feel frightened by the memory.
When they broke the kiss, Auralii sighed. “Do you think Link and Sapphira are going to be okay? I mean, Liam seems normal enough. He did that stupid salt-shaker joke last night, and when I had salt all over me, he laughed for the rest of dinner. I know he’s alright. And Kalunera is just being righteous. It’s about time.”
Loki nodded. “I know what you mean. Link and I were never friends, but he’s been pretty nice about the whole ‘I’m not supposed to be here’ crap. The thing is, and we all know this, something happened between him and Liam that day. That event along with his wound have really hurt him, and he and Sapphira are so much in love, it’s as if they are both hurt at the same time…” He paused. “It’s pathetic, I feel so bad for them, yet I’m happy that they feel. Does this make me bad?” He looked ashamed.
“Oh, Goddess no, of course not! The difference is that they have always had feelings, and so they take their feelings for granted. Don’t be mad at them, I take mine for granted, too. I never think ‘At least I can feel’ when I’m feeling miserable. But I can understand what you mean, and that’s not bad of you.” She kissed his cheek. “I’m just worried that something bad is going to happen to Link and Sapphira…”
“Me, too,” he said, “but I have a feeling there’s nothing we can do.”
Sapphira hugged Auralii. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but we have to go. Link needs to go home, and where he goes, I go, too.”
Auralii wiped her nose on her sleeve. “I know, it’s just that things have been so miserable around here, and you know we’re all worried, and –“
“Don’t worry about us. We can still write and visit. But you know we have to go home. It’s been over a month since we told the King of Hyrule we’d come home, and I think this place would seem much less dreary if Link and I went back to Hyrule for a while…he’s not healthy yet, and I think he and Liam need space.”
“What happened between them?”
Sapphira shook her head. “I have no idea, Link won’t tell me. It’s not hard to see that something obviously happened, but I guess he just doesn’t want to tell me yet.”
“Well, I hope you guys are alright…Write to me or else!”
Sapphira laughed for the first time in weeks. “Or else you’ll kidnap me?”
Auralii watched as Sapphira and Link said goodbye to Kalunera, Loki, and Liam. Sapphira and Kalunera were practically weeping, and Sapphira gave Loki and Liam a kiss on the cheek each. Link hugged Kalunera, and he also shook hands with Loki. But when he turned to Liam, both looked down. Finally, Link held out his hand, and Liam took it in a slow handshake.
“Say hi to Kingly for me.”
Sapphira and Link were escorted to a carriage, not unlike the one they had arrived in, and they waved as they moved off into the sunset, and everyone continued to cry and hug and call out goodbyes.
Auralii was currently being held by Loki as the carriage left, but before she buried her head into Loki’s chest, she saw Liam bend his head down, and a single tear fell to the floor.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.