Chapter 6: Man of the Woods
A/N: Well, hello again. I've been away yet again because I've been caught up in a move as well as working on my Linux Distro and my own comic book series coming out soon.
"Two bruised ribs, a dislocated wrist, and several lacerations," The doctor said as he went over Link's injuries with Phane.
"I've wrapped him up and set his wrist back, but there isn't much I can do for the ribs but let them heal naturally. I'd suggest to let him rest for today, and to engage in only light activity for the next few days. He should make a full recovery pretty soon though. Also, if he ends up acting funny or complains about dizziness or headaches, it might be a concussion. If that's the case, keep an extra eye on him."
Phane looked down at Link, who was still passed out, but seemed a bit more comfortable now that he was set back in place.
"Thanks, doctor," Phane said, standing up and shaking hands with the doctor.
"Not a problem. Kenna already paid me for my services, so I'll be taking my leave," the doctor replied, leaving the room.
Phane watched the doctor leave the room, and then exhaled loudly. Link was a lot less injured than he appeared when he rescued him after he killed Bruiser. The doctor examined Logan, and Logan's father as well, and they were recovering well. Logan's father was actually able to speak now that he had received some proper treatment, so all was looking bright for the family as well.
"Ugh," a voice came from behind Phane was standing. He turned around and saw Link stirring around under the covers. Phane sat back down, and saw Link push the covers off of him, and attempt to sit up.
"Easy," Phane said, helping Link sit up, "How are you feeling?"
Link sat up for a bit, breathing deeply, trying to lessen the pain in his ribs. His ribs were throbbing, and his head felt even worse.
"Like I've been used as a battering ram," Link replied, looking down at his chest and noticing that he was wrapped up, "How long was I out?"
"Since this morning," Phane said, "You've got a couple of badly bruised ribs and your right wrist had to be set back in place, but you'll be okay."
"And a massive headache," Link said, laying back down to avoid dizziness; the whole world was spinning around him.
"The doctor thought you might have a concussion, so you're going to have to take it extra easy," Phane said, pulling the covers back over Link.
"I guess you're right," Link said, looking at Phane now that he had gotten his dizziness under control. Phane sat back, and cracked his knuckles.
"I'll be honest, you looked a lot worse than you turned out to be when I found you in that cell," Phane said, "But I'm glad the damage was minimal."
"Well," Link said, "They didn't treat their guests well."
"They definitely scored low on hospitality, I suspect," Phane said, grinning at Link's dry humor. They remained silent after that; not sure how to start their next conversation, until Link piped up.
"So what happened when you fought Bruiser?" Link asked, sitting back up again. He had no idea what happened, just that Phane beat Bruiser somehow.
"He knocked me around for a while, but then I got the upper hand and beat him," Phane said, crossing his arms, "He won't be bothering anyone else again."
"Ah..." Link said, "And they just let you come and take me back?"
"I think the defeat of their boss was scary enough to merit such actions," Phane replied, "Not to mention J'on can be very convincing. I don't know what he did, but something happened. I'm not sure that I want to know either."
"No doubt," Link said, "So what now?"
"I think we should get a move on out of the city to Toryn City, but well have to go through the forest," Phane said, "Essen's men are probably still looking for us, and with a gang like Bruiser's, I'm sure that word will get out soon that their boss was... dealt with."
"You killed Bruiser... didn't you?" Link asked, addressing Phane's hesitation directly. Phane knew Link had made a conscious effort not to kill anyone in the limited action he had seen Link take part in, so he wasn't quite sure if he wanted to reveal it.
"And if I said yes?"
"I'd say it was probably the only choice you had," Link said, "I might not believe in killing, but sometimes it has to be done. I can't imagine what would happen if Bruiser was still alive right now, but I'm sure it wouldn't end well for the both of us."
"So you're just... fine with it? You don't even know the circumstances," Phane said, not expecting Link to have a developed view of what had transpired. Link was a lot smarter than Phane thought he was, and he had already figured that Link was very smart already.
"I trust you enough to do what's right," Link said, "We might not have known each other for long, but I know you well enough."
Phane remained silent; Link's words did resonate with him, and made him feel better about himself, as well as his new friendship with Link.
Phane stood up, and put his hand on Link's shoulder, causing Link to look up to him.
"You're a good friend, kid," Phane said.
"I try," Link replied, watching Phane walk towards the door.
"Well, get some rest for now," Phane said, "Hopefully we can get on the road soon."
"Yeah, okay," Link said, watching Phane leave the room. He laid back down, hoping to sleep off the headache that was still plaguing him, but then the door rattled, and opened. Link looked up and saw Logan entering the room.
"Hey," Logan said, seeing Link try to sit up again.
"I see you're doing better," Link said propping himself up on the pillow, "How are the ribs?"
"I should be asking you the same question," Logan replied, moving the chair Phane was sitting in a little bit before sitting in it, "But for me, I'll be fine."
"Phane says that a couple of mine were bruised," Link said, "And my wrist is going to hurt for a few more days, and my head isn't doing much better."
"You did look like you went through the mill when Phane and J'on brought you back here," Logan said, sitting up in the chair.
"Luckily they got to me before a lot of real damage was done," Link said, "so did the doctor look at you all too?"
"Yeah, he also checked on my dad, and was able to treat him better than my mom could," Logan stated.
"That's good," Link said, "So what are your plans now?"
"With all the money that Phane brought back," Logan started, sitting down in the chair that Phane was sitting in, "I think we're planning on moving ourselves out of town soon. Once we get my dad fixed up that is."
"Where to?" Link asked, wondering if wherever they're planning to move to is any place he had been before, "There's a place called Hyrule to the east. It's where Phane and I are from."
"We don't know yet," Logan said, "But hey, Hyrule seems like a cool place of you and Phane come from there. Might have to at least check it out."
"Yeah," Link said, "look us up when you get there."
"We will," Logan said, getting up, "now get some sleep. Phane said you all are leaving in the morning."
"Thanks," Link said, laying back down. It was nice to actually lay down and alleviate some of the throbbing pain he was feeling. He closed his eyes, and the room stopped spinning as he drifted off to sleep again.Meanwhile...
"So..." Phane said, sitting in a chair on the front porch of the school, "The plan is to cut through the forest again, and hit Toryn City where we can get ourselves a boat and get the hell out of here before Essen and his cohorts find out we're around."
"And hopefully get past the guards so we can do those things," J'on said, also sitting in one of the chairs, "any ideas on how to do that?"
"Not at the moment, but I have a feeling Link will when he sees it," Phane said, "After all, he did break me out of a well-fortified city."
"How long do you think the trip would be?" J'on asked.
"Should only be a couple of days through he forest. We'll take enough supplies and money go get everything done, but we will definitely need to find some place to get warm while we're going through there. It's cold, but Winter's just started, so we can expect it to get worse."
"True, I'll make sure we have some supplies for such an occasion," J'on said, and then looked Phane over, "I know I don't even have to ask about Link, but how are you doing? You were knocked around pretty good."
"Got a little headache, but I'm fine," Phane said, "Link's banged up, but he'll manage. We'll keep him on the horse, but he'll probably be a bit squeamish, so I don't know quite yet. I wish we could wait a few days, but we have to go before the guards come after us."
"Yeah, shame we have to get moving so fast though," J'on said, "But then again, don't want to stay in one place for too long, or else we'll end up getting someone's attention. Especially after what happened this morning."
Phane nodded, and then looked out at the road in front of him. Snow was starting to fall again, and the night sky was glowing with all the torches and the light reflecting off the snow.
"Well, it's getting late," Phane said, getting up, "Might as well get some sleep before the big trip tomorrow, eh?"
"Yeah, let's get some sleep," J'on said, standing up and following Phane inside to their respective rooms.The next morning...
It was still snowing when Phane and J'on started loading Epona the next morning. Link was still asleep, and they had taken the liberty of packing everything up for him as well. Logan was nice enough to lend some clothes for Link as well, so everything was going well. Of course, Epona nearly kicking Phane for getting close to her without Link around wasn't exactly making Phane happy when J'on was able to calm her down and start loading her.
"I don't get it," Phane said, packing another bag while watching J'on load Epona up, "That horse won't even go near me, Logan, or Kenna, but she's just fine around you and Link. It makes no sense."
"Well, I guess I don't look that dangerous," J'on said, loading a bag of fur blankets onto Epona.
"...You've got to be joking," Phane said, stopping what he was doing. He really didn't understand J'on sometimes; he could get dry humor, but J'on was so blunt sometimes he wasn't quite sure if he was joking or simply telling the truth.
"Maybe," J'on said, "You might want to go wake Link up, it's almost time to go."
"Right," Phane said, "Might as well since I can't get anywhere near his horse without her trying to kill me painfully."
"Well, there are things you just can't control," J'on said, watching Phane open one of the bags on the ground and pull out one of Logan's shirts, a jacket, and a pair of boots.
"He'll need these," Phane said, tossing the bag to J'on, who caught it and loaded it.
Phane walked inside to the room Link was sleeping in, and shook him gently.
"Link, wake up," Phane said, watching Link stir, and then open his eyes.
"We've got to move," Phane said, watching Link sit up and gasp at the pain that ensued.
"You all right?" Phane asked, watching Link grimace in pain. The whole world was still spinning for Link, but he figured that getting up and about would probably help.
"Fine," Link said, getting out of the blanket. He sat on the edge of the bed, and Phane stood up and handed him the shirt and jacket.
"I think you'll need these," Phane said, "they're some of Logan's old clothes, but you should fit in it as well. Apparently, he hates green, so he decided to give them to you."
"Thanks," Link said, taking the shirt and gingerly put it on. Unlike Logan, green was obviously his favorite color, so he had no problem taking the clothes off of Logan's hands, especially since he didn't really want them to begin with.
"Here," Phane said, handing Link the boots too. He watched Link put the boots on, and then the jacket.
"All right," Link said, standing up. The world was still spinning for him, but he managed to keep his balance long enough for Phane to realize that he was still dizzy. Link caught himself on a chair before he fell over, and shook his head when Phane came over to help.
"I'm fine," Link said, and stood up again. He walked out of the room, and out the front door of the school, and saw J'on finish loading some bags onto Epona.
"Nice to see you moving around," J'on said, noticing Link walk out of the school and into the cold weather, "You feeling better?"
"I'll manage," Link said, looking at J'on, who was just finishing loading Epona.
"Oh, I found this in the school once we got it cleaned up," J'on said, pulling a small blue object out of one of the bags, "I think it's yours." Link immediately knew it was his ocarina, and sighed in relief that it wasn't lost. He didn't really occur to him that he could have lost it until then. He didn't know what he would do if he did lose it; it was probably the most important thing he owned.
"Thanks, I don't know what I would've done if I lost it," Link said, walking over to J'on and taking it. He put the ocarina safely in his jacket pocket, and then mounted his horse. Logan and Kenna came out to see them off, and Link nodded to Logan.
"We'll meet again, right?" Link said, "If you all end up going to Hyrule, it's to the east. Look up the Lon Lon Ranch, you all should have some things waiting for you all when you get there."
"We will," Logan said, waving them off. Link nodded to Phane and J'on, and waved at Logan and Kenna as they set off out of the town.
"So, you want to go back to Hyrule," Phane said, focusing on the long walk on the road out of town.
"Yeah," Link said, "It's home, and I want you to be able to see it too. Besides, I've been traveling so long, I have kind of lost my way... slightly."
"Well, in light of recent events, I would say Hyrule would be a definite improvement," Phane said, "At least you don't have the whole royal guard after you or anything."
"Right," Link said, "So let's get off to Toryn City before any of Essen's men come after us."Meanwhile...
Justiciar Essen was again sitting at his desk, getting ready to depart for Toryn City. All of his preparations were made, and several of his bandit cells were bringing in enough money for him to fund his small army for his planned takeover. Not to mention that those bandits were also backup for him. It was a shame one of his most profitable bandit cells had to be sacrificed so he looked innocent in the eyes of the public when they attacked Link. They had no way of knowing just how difficult it would be to take one child out. The loss was manageable though. His most successful bandit cells were still going strong, mainly in Clearwater. Bruiser was doing a great job for him; he brought in several hundred thousand rupees in loot last time, and from what he had heard, there was a lot more to come.
It was then that he heard a frantic knock on his door.
"Come in," Justiciar Essen said, sitting straight in his chair, placing his elbows on the desk, and held his chin up with his fists.
Captain Tanto's Assistant, Liutenant Joro, opened the door, looking slightly pale.
"Yes sir. I have received word that Bruiser, the leader of your bandit division in Clearwater, has been... killed."
Essen stood up, obviously shocked at this development, "Killed? By who?"
"We couldn't get any names, sir," Joro said, "But we do have a description. It was a man in his mid 20's, black hair, and tall. It's said he snapped Bruiser's neck in single combat."
Essen slammed the desk with his fist, cracking the wood slightly. He didn't need this.
"Phane..." Essen said, gritting his teeth, "That bastard survived after all."
"It appears so, sir. We have also gotten word that he might have had a lizalfo in his company, and also was traveling with a blond-haired child who looked around 11 or 12, sir."
"That damn kid is ruining everything," Essen said, "Any word on their whereabouts?"
"No word," Joro said, "But I suspect they are not going to stay there long. They are probably heading off to Toryn City as we speak."
"Yes, they probably are," Essen said, "We cannot allow Phane and this little nuisance of a kid to foil our plans any more."
"What are your orders, sir?"
"Send word to our Chesgrove Bandits. Chances are they will pass through there, or will be at least seen. If they are to engage them, then do not spare them. Kill them all."
"Even the boy?"
"May I ask why? He is just a child," Joro asked. He didn't want to be the one giving the order to kill a child.
"He's no ordinary one. Not even close. Did you hear what happened here in Ninso?"
"Yes, your bandits were compromised, and Phane escaped," Joro said.
"The boy managed to defeat all my men single handedly, and then after I managed to capture him, he broke himself out of prison, rescued Phane from execution, escaped the city, and managed to get himself and Phane to Clearwater, where Bruiser has met his end, along with that division as well. He has sabotaged too much for me to spare his life. He has to die in order for me to gain my throne."
Joro sighed, "Yes, sir, I will give the order."
"Thank you," Essen said, sitting back in his chair, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a king to overthrow."Later...
Link, Phane, and J'on made their way through the thick and cold forest. It was a difficult journey, but they were able to make good time regardless. The sun was starting to set, and they decided to find a place to set up camp, and start a fire to warm themselves up. Even in the thick tree cover, there was still some heavy snowfall, so they needed to find some better shelter than what they had at the moment.
Link dismounted from Epona, and unpacked her blanket. He placed it over her, and then tied her to a tree while he looked around at his surroundings.
"Think we should split up and find some firewood and shelter?" Phane asked Link.
"Yeah, that would probably work," Link said, looking around the quickly darkening forest.
"I'll go look for firewood this way," J'on said, pointing in the direction he wanted to travel, "I think you two should go look for shelter, and Phane could get some firewood. Starting a fire won't be hard regardless, but we do need to keep it going."
"Right, we'll go this way then," Link said, taking Phane with him to go search. They made their way through the thick brush, and picked up whatever dry wood they could. Then, Link spotted a cave, which he decided to go check out while Phane was still gathering wood.
"I think I found a cave, Phane!" Link said, "I'll be right back, I'm going to check it out!"
"Be careful! Don't want you to walk in on a bear," Phane said, still picking up wood.
"I'll be okay," Link shouted back, and then walked into the cave. He was relieved to find it empty, except for one thing, a large chest. Link's adventurer services took over, and he excitedly opened the chest...
Phane was just minding his own business, when suddenly he heard a loud scream come from the cave. He immediately jumped in surprise, and then recognized the voice as Link's.
"Shit," Phane said as he dropped the wood, and sprinted over to the source of the voice.
"What the..." Link said, crawling to the back of the cave, obviously scared at what had just happened. He had just opened the chest, and all the sudden, someone jumped out of the chest, knocking Link over, and startling and scaring him enough to react the way he did.
"Shhh," The person said, holding his finger to his mouth. He had long, auburn hair, and had a full goatee. He also had a tall and lanky build, and wore mismatched clothes, "Easy, laddie, it's just me."
"Y-you just came out of that chest!" Link said, pointing at the chest said person just escaped from.
"Nice an' warm in there too," The man said, "What're ya doin' out in this cold snow?"
This guy's weird... Link thought, before replying, "Well, I was looking for a place to get out of it."
The man put his arms in the air, and stretched a bit, "Aye, an' here ya are! Call me Nigel, laddie. An' who do I get to thank for releasing me from me infernal chest?"
"Link," he said, taking Nigel's now outstretched hand. He stood up, and exhaled a bit, since his ribs were now throbbing again.
"Link!" a voice shouted, "What the hell's happening?"
Link looked up and saw Phane standing there, in a slight guard, "Any who the hell are you?" Phane continued.
"Phane, it's fine," Link said, "I just got startled when I opened the chest and found Nigel here inside the chest."
Phane relaxed his guard, and then looked at Nigel, and then looked at the chest, and then finished by looking at Link.
"Wait..." Phane said, watching Link walk over to his side. Something wasn't right with this Nigel guy.
"How the hell did you end up in that chest?" Phane asked, not sure how this happened. Nigel didn't look like he was all there, but locking himself in the chest was beyond stupid.
"Well, ye see, I got me caravan jumped about a day ago," Nigel said, "An' the bandits gave me a choice of either be stuck in this snow... or get locked in that chest."
"And die slowly of dehydration and hunger rather than potentially escaping to safety?"
Nigel shrugged, "Figured I'd rather be warm."
"... You're fucking stupid," Phane said, not believing what he was hearing. It was just total luck that Link found Nigel to begin with.
"Phane!" Link shouted, and then whispered into his ear, "Be nice... He might not be as dumb as you think."
"I somehow doubt that," Phane retorted.
"I do too, but at least be nice to the guy," Link said, and then started talking at full volume again, "I'm sure that Phane was just joking, Nigel..."
Link looked back to where Nigel was just standing, and saw nothing.
"...Nigel?" Link said, looking around, "Where'd he go?" Link then turned around and saw Nigel walking out into the forest.
"Nigel!" Link shouted chasing after him, "Where are you going?"
"There's a village up this way," Nigel said, "We don't have very far to go."
"Village?" Link said, and then Phane came up behind him.
"Chesgrove," Phane said, "I didn't think we would get that close today. Having a horse is definitely a good thing." Phane then called for J'on as loudly as he could, and then watched Link mount Epona again. J'on came back with a handfull of firewood, and saw that they have already gotten ready to move again.
"Looks like we'll just need a torch," J'on said, making one and then setting it on fire with his breath.
"Chesgrove isn't that far from here," Link said, "We're following someone we met here to it."
"Okay then?" J'on said, taking one good look at Nigel. J'on whispered to Phane, "What's with that guy?"
"Not a clue," Phane whispered back, "But Link seems to want to trust him."
"You might want to talk to that kid about not talking to strangers," J'on said.
"I'm pretty sure he knows what he's doing," Phane said, "besides, I feel bad for anyone stupid enough to take him for granted."
"Is this guy stupid enough?"
"Not sure if he's stupid, or insane."
Link, Phane, and J'on all followed Nigel, who was setting a brisk pace. He was also humming some weird tune to himself as he walked, and seemed to tune everyone else out.
"So what do you know about Chesgrove?" Link asked Phane, depending on him to be his guide again.
"It's a small village, but is known for having a nice inn that even has a hot spring," Phane said, "Other than that, it's not anything out of the ordinary. Just a nice, relaxing forest village."
"Sounds like it is," Link said.
"And with the money we now have... we can all take advantage of it," Phane said, "Might be nice to relax for a night before getting to the city."
"Sounds like a plan," Link agreed. It would be nice to actually relax for a night, rather than get captured and beaten to a bloody pulp like what happened last time... or get thrown in jail, which also happened recently.
Sure enough, Nigel was right, and they arrived in Chesgrove within an hour. The night had fully set in, and the town was lit up by several torches and lanterns. It looked inviting.
"This is Chesgrove?" Link said, looking around at the people still wandering the streets. This town might have been small, but it was definitely a lively and peaceful place.
"You like it?" Nigel said, "I was thinkin' about bein' a chef here."
"You're a chef?" Link asked. Nigel didn't look like a chef.
"Aye, one of the best around too," Nigel said, "No one can bake a pie like me, laddie."
"Sounds interesting," Link said, and saw Phane walk up beside him.
"Well, we should see if the inn's got some vacancies, eh?" Phane said, looking at J'on, "I think we can figure something out with you as well."
"Already have," J'on said, pulling a long hooded cloak out of one of the bags, and putting it on, concealing him totally. He looked like a regular monk now.
"Good enough," Link said, and then dismounted Epona. They walked over to the inn, which looked like the rest of the buildings in the town: dark wood exterior with a gilded sign stating that it was the Chesgrove Inn. Link, J'on, Phane, and Nigel walked in to the hotel, and saw a receptionist working at a desk. This hotel was definitely one of the best Link has seen, with marble columns and ornate sconces. Valuable looking pottery was placed in appropriate areas, and several local paintings brought a nice relaxing, yet local atmosphere to the place.
"Yes, are there any rooms available?" Phane asked, "Hopefully a large one?"
"Yes, we have our most expensive suite available, with a hot spring as well," The receptionist said, "It is 700 rupees a night."
"Seven hundred?!" Link whispered loudly to himself. That was more than he had ever spent on a room before, which usually was around 10 or 15 rupees.
"We'll take it," Phane said, pulling out one of the very large bags of rupees retrieved from Epona.
Link looked off to the side and saw a man dressed in casual clothes staring at them, pretending like he was reading a book. When the man noticed, he shut the book and then walked quickly out of the hotel.
"Hmm..." Link said to himself, and then turned his attention back to Phane, who literally paid cash for the most expensive room in town.
"Did you have to unload all of that?" Link said, "I thought we were going to need that for the boat!"
"Relax, kid, we have plenty," Phane said, twirling the key around in his hand.
"Just how much is plenty?" Link asked, not knowing just how much money they had.
"We left with roughly 6 thousand," Phane said.
"SIX THOUSAND?!" Link exclaimed, nearly falling over in shock. That was a lot of money to be taking around at once.
"Relax, we've got it all with us," Phane said, "Now, let's actually enjoy ourselves for once."Meanwhile
The man Link spotted in the inn made his way to a small building on the street. He made sure Link didn't follow him, and then entered the building, and went through the hallway to his boss's office.
"Sir, we've got prime pickings at the inn tonight," The man said, "We're talking loaded. A few thousand rupees at least, I think."
"Really now..." The man's boss said, picking up a spear, "How many?"
"Three men and a boy," The man said, "They looked like adventurers who struck it big,"
"I wonder if they'll feel like paying up a little ransom for their youngest," The boss said, "Give them a little while to get comfortable, and then we'll strike. Essen would definitely welcome more profit, so let's give it to him."
The man left the room, and the boss sat down and started to sharpen his spear.
"Looks like I'll need you tonight after all..."A/N: Well, there we go! Chapter 6 is complete, and off to chapter 7 we go! Hope you enjoyed and will forgive Phane's foul mouth