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    Eagle's Eye View (BotW FanFic)
    • Hello, all!

      This is my first time posting a fanfic here. I have posted on fanfiction and archieveofourown, so this may seem familiar, maybe? Anyway, please enjoy "Eagle's Eye View."

      Synopsis: Hazel's convinced she must make a map of Hyrule to help an unknown hero. Revali has no interest in this little Hylian's needs—he's the Pride of the Rito, not Hylians. That is until they are forced together by circumstance. Now, they must accomplish their goals; Hazel her map and Revali his mysterious new power. What comes from their adventure may be more than they bargained for.

      Genre: Adventure, Romance, Drama

      Rating: PG-13
    • Chapter 1

      Display Spoiler


      Hazel finished the final strokes on her map, letting the black ink dry and settle on the smooth tan page. She had just completed her detailed drawing of the stable she had been lodging at for the past five weeks as she scouted around its radius to catalogue the area's wildlife. Hazel always left the drawings for last, seeing as it was a good rest after hunting down animals, rare herbs, and gems. She brushed away some of her sandy blond hair that escape her thick braid.

      "Will you be taking your horse with you, ma'am?" Asked the gruff stable master from his usual post. Hazel looked behind her shoulder, spotting her vibrant russet colored horse, Sven, nipping at a smaller male who was aggravating him. She grinned and turned to face the stable master from the tree stump she had been drawing her map on.

      "Could you keep Sven here for a while?" She nodded up to the cleared path she intended to travel. It led straight up to the solid rock foundation of the Rito village. "I'm going up to that settlement. I'm certain I can get the best views for my map and catalogue from up there for a few weeks."

      "Maybe you could convince one of those Ritos to carry you on their backs? You can see better up in the air. Just tell 'em a little birdie asked you."
      "Not a bad idea," Hazel muttered, ignoring the man's attempt at a joke. The stable master clucked his tongue and ran a gloved hand over his dark black hair.

      "Don't ye worry, little lass. Sven looks to be having fun with his new friend here. Ain't that right, Blaze?" The smaller red horse nudged his head against Sven's flank. The larger horse groaned and galloped away into the woods with little Blaze pestering him all of the way. Hazel massaged the bridge of her nose, feeling sorry for poor Sven, but knowing that he would be in good hands.

      "Well then. I have my supplies. A warm coat, some food, and my mapping supplies. Thanks for your hospitality!" She carefully placed her utensils inside of her pack, and popped a small red wild berry into her mouth for luck. Shouldering her materials, bow, and compass, she set off down her intended path. She waved at the stable master, and he bowed in reply.

      "Hoping to see you soon, Miss."

      Hazel hiked away from the stable, inhaling the sharp, cool air around her. A scent of sharp pine needles and the far off scent of boiled maple candies calmed her body. The cold mountains always cleared her cluttered thoughts and uplifted her sullen spirits. The pine trees brightened with the passing of the sun overhead from a dark mossy hue to that of a brilliant emerald, and she marveled at the shadows that were created on the mountain village. Stiff crab grass crunched under her steady boots as she neared the first hanging bridge connecting the elevated town to the rocky mainland.

      "Hello!" Hazel called to the tall guard pacing around his post. His plumage was midnight black, and he wore the traditional Rito cloth and stained leather garb. When he moved, his topaz colored irises shone as if they could glow in the dark. She'd seen some Rito in her snowy village, Tabantha, a few times before selling their wares of sugar and cold resistant clothing. They usually sold top quality arrows, and it was those arrows that now lay nestled in the quiver on her back. She prided herself on being a master at the bow thanks to her mother, oiling the handcrafted wooden weapon every morning, and practicing nightly as to not grow rusty with her skills. This guard held a spear with arms as toned as to allude to a deadly aim.

      "Oh, hello. A Hylian came all the way here to our village?" He cocked his head in a decidedly birdlike way, but still did not move to allow her passage into the village.

      "Yes! I mean no trouble. I'm making a map, you see." Hazel pulled out the start to her map from her back pocket. There wasn't much, only what was around Tabantha village's and the Rito Stable's perimeter. She unrolled the map further and let the guard take a brief look until she replaced the map back into her pocket. "I'm also cataloging the creatures I see on my journey." She patted her breast pocket where the edge of a worn notebook poked out. The guard brushed a feather under his bill, pondering her response.

      "It's a dangerous time to be adventuring right now." He pointed his spear at the general direction of the heart of Hyrule. "I hear the people at Hyrule Castle unearthed a terrifying prophecy made by a wise fortune teller. Something about a looming evil. Best to stay safe and at home with predictions like that."

      "But that's why I'm doing this." Hazel gripped her hands and held them up to her chest. "Suppose a hero sent to destroy that evil might need to get somewhere quick, but doesn't know how. Maybe he or she would need to know what to eat to survive in a new area? My map can direct that person and let them know of the monsters, animals, and fauna along the way." Her turquoise eyes gleamed with excitement from just the thought of helping someone so powerful. She would have been an actoress in the play that defeated an ancient foe!

      "Hmn, that does seem helpful." The guard glanced up at the shinning sun, covering his golden eyes with a feathered arm. He moved as if he saw someone, his bill clacking. "What do you think, Revali?"

      "Who?" Hazel followed the guard's gaze, locating a shadow flashing before the sun's dappled rays. A Rito flashed into view, swirling on a gust of freezing wind, twirling in the air like a well practiced dancer. He spun once then twice, dove, and landed right next to her with a delicate oof. She couldn't help but back away to give him room. The Rito man brushed a stray feather from his face and gave her an arrogant avian grin. He rested his hands on his hips and cocked his head to the left.

      "Sounds like a waste of time to me," the Rito named Revali mocked. His voice was like a melodic song, pulling one close, only to flit away on a crescendo. He crossed his winged arms, showing off his dark blue plumage. He was fit for a Rito, and quick. More handsome than the Tabantha Village men who frequented her mother's shop to show off. The Rito's attractive physique, however, did not excuse him from being rude.

      "Excuse me. You haven't even given me your name, and you've already dismissed my mission?" Out of habit, she held the small pocket knife in her right trouser pocket, rubbing her thumb along the wooden hilt.

      "Oh, I'm sorry. How crass of me." The Rito gave her a low bow, the smile on his face marked with red patches of feathers on his cheeks. He watched her from under half lidded green slit eyes. "My name is Revali, pride of the Rito, and your quest is meaningless." Revali's grin widened.

      "Er, Revali. You really do have to get a handle on your—" The guard attempted, but Hazel already beat him to it. She surged forward, poking the avian man on his leather tunic. His chest was hard under all of that cloth and leather. She ignored that.

      "What makes you say that?" She hissed.

      "You are not a Rito. How can you truly capture a landscape without the aid of wings?" He grabbed her hand and brushed a feather along her bare arm, indicating the lack of hollowed bones and steady plumage. "You may as well give up now. Leave the map making to us Rito." Hazel narrowed her eyes, winding her arm around Revali's, and hooked his wing so that he could not move. He grunted from the effort to stay on his feet. The guard watched with an open beak.
      "I'll decide if what I'm doing is worth the trouble or not. You don't get a say," she ground out through clenched teeth. He blinked his handsome, electric green eyes at her, both parts shocked and intrigued. He adjusted to her armlock, and seemed to be finding a more comfortable position. She rolled her eyes.

      "What is your name, Hylian woman?"

      "I'm Hazel," she replied heatedly, not sure why she complied so easily.

      "Hold on tight then, Hazel." Revali used her own weight to flip her over his shoulder. She unwound her arm from his just in time for Revali to duck underneath her. She tumbled through the air landing directly on Revali's back with a thump. He bent at an angle, moving over to the side of the cliff. The guard waved his arms, attempting to dissuade Revali but to no avail. Understanding smacked into Hazel almost immediately, and she scrambled to find purchase on the Rito's back, grabbing at the leather tunic at his shoulder blade. Revali spread his wings, hefting the appendages downwards as leapt off of the cliff, plummeting to the cold water below. Soon, after catching a delicious updraftthat drove them upwards, Revali and his passenger were steadily airborne. The guard stared at them from his post, still a bit in shock. His weapon sat abandoned on the frigid ground, and he turned to flee up the pathway.

      "Are you crazy?" Hazel yelped. She flung an arm around Revali's neck after the cloth of his tunic served to be a poor item to hold onto to. She squeezed her legs tighter around his waist.

      "I always make perfect sense. It's you I am bringing into her right mind." Revali turned his head to glance at her, and she wasn't sure if it was the constant flapping of the Rito's wings or her own heart that made her stomach squeeze. "Take a look down there. Tell me what you see."

      Hazel grudgingly took her eyes from the green fabric woven into feather braids on the back of his head, and looked down. She wanted to gasp with amazement, but guessed that if she did so she would be proving some sort of point Revali was trying to make. Instead, she withheld her excitement at witnessing the land and waters below. The Rito did not contain his chuckle of imperious delight at her silence. She could see busy temples, bustling towns, clusters of lush forests, and crystal blue lakes she never thought she would see all at once. With a pang of regret, there was also a ruin she had missed when making the latest installation of her map. Five weeks of trekking and she had still missed that ruin.

      "Alright, I get it," she said. He was right in one way. "I can see a lot from up here. And I have missed a few things. Though, I'm also collecting animals, plants, and enemies from each region. I can't do most of that from up here. So, none of what I'm doing is useless. I just next some extra help."

      "You seem to be set on your travels, aren't you?" Asked the Rito man, shaking his head.

      "I've been living in Tabantha Village all my life," she said over the roaring of the air around them. She leaned over next to where she thought his ear was and spoke louder. A muscle in his shoulder jumped. "I'm done staying in one place. I'm tired of doing nothing meaningful to help others. Or maybe I'm selfish and just wanted to leave." She shook her head. "Might as well do something beneficial to the world while I'm out experiencing it."

      "A good enough reason." Revali managed to shrug whilst in flight. "You'll still need a way to get in the air for a more accurate map."

      "I'll do what I can for now. The map can always be improved," Hazel huffed. She felt the Rito man chuckle underneath her, and couldn't help but also feel the muscles under is tunic. They must be well toned and strong in order to fly. Heck, he was even taking on extra weight with her on his back, and he was still effortlessly soaring in the sky. He was very impressive, but she wouldn't be telling him that anytime soon.

      "Well, good for you. I wish you luck in your foolish attempts at chivalry." Revali dipped down, aiming to land on the wooden pathway at the top of the Rito village. Another slightly older Rito with the likeness of an owl sauntered out from a solid, lighted dwelling where Revali intended to land. He waved at Revali and his passenger, smiling as he did so. The guard from earlier was with the owl Rito who must be the leader of the village. Revali gracefully landed, and Hazel quickly got off of his back.

      "Revali and friend! I heard of what happened earlier," boomed the Owl leader.

      "Hey," Revali said. He wasn't winded from the intense flight whereas Hazel spread her feet to gain a better balance on the now solid ground and sighed.

      "Hello," Hazel answered the leader, still slightly windblown.

      "Little Hylian. My name is Kaneli." He spread his wings in an regal bow. "Could we visit within my chambers? There is something of much import I must discuss with you." The large owl turned toward his home. "You, too, Revali."

      "If you insist," Revali sighed. He hooked his arms behind his head and swaggered alongside Kaneli. Hazel frowned at the ice of Revali's ego, and she wanted to tug at his tan cotton scarf to choke him. But then again, he only did what he did to help her. Or at least, she hoped that was the case. His sly green eyes caught her watching him, and he winked at her. She bit her lip, confused at her body's reaction. Her face was burning and pulse racing. What in the world did that mean? Was she sick? Shaking her head, she tailed the Rito into the homey wooden den. A large blue hammock hung idly along the structure's ceiling. There was book case filled with hard leather tomes and tiny bobbles. A few chests idled, closed in the corner of the room. Kaneli sat on a cushioned chair and faced his two guests.

      "Revali, I heard from Tomeli that our guest may be in need of some aide."

      "She'll need more than that," the avian said under his breath, smirking the entire time.

      "I, umm, don't need any help." Hazel lamely held up her hand.

      "I want you to help, err, what is your name again, dear?"

      "My name is Hazel and I don't need any—"

      "I need you to go with Miss Hazel on her journey."

      "WHAT?!" Hazel and Revali shouted in tandem. They looked at each other, then to Kaneli, and then back at each other. Their faces were mirror images of outraged shock. Kaneli winced, his feathers puffed out from the tension thrown at him.

      "Revali, you've been cooped up at Rito Village for far too long. We are mostly to blame, being dependent on your archery skills. You are the pride of the Rito, but you need more experience in the world. Learn some more life lessons that you can't do here."

      "I already have enough skills and adeptness to conquer life how I please. I do not need a Hylian as a, a teacher."
      "An answer like that only proves my point. Please, Miss Hazel. Will you take Revali on your journey?"

      Hazel eyed the avian in front of her. His dark feathers lay askew from frustration, arms folded indignantly, and he was making sure to keep his electric green eyes away from her sight. He really was well built for a Rito. Tall with narrow hips and broad shoulders. There was also something about his personality that intrigued her. He was crass and annoying, but Revali also buried his good intentions under those verbal jabs. Plus, having a bird's eye view of Hyrule would
      unfortunately be an asset she couldn't refuse. Still, there was one pressing issue.

      "My horse, Sven, will be at the stable below. I can't in good conscious leave him there. I also don't have the funds to do so."

      "Don't worry," Kaneli spread his feathered arms and bowed, "we Rito will take care of your steed. Revali is in sore need of your outside tutelage, and any amount of rupees is worth that advantage."

      "One would guess that you all just want rid of me," Revali muttered under his breath. Kaneli narrowed his glowing owl eyes at the young master and smacked him over the head. Revali jumped away and sighed, his feathers ruffled.

      "If you will not go to master your ill conceptions about non-Rito, then you should at least take this opportunity to broaden your new skill you've attempted to create." Kaneli raised a feathered brow, knowing that he located a sore spot on Revali's part.

      "Fine. I will do your insane bidding, but be aware, I will not enjoy a minute of it!" The blue avian walked out of the hut, the rays of the sun lighting his handsome face. "I shall meet you tomorrow morning to discuss our journey, Hylian Hazel. Don't be late, or I'll consider you no longer interested in partaking of Kaneli's kind favor." With that, he brought his dark blue wings down, lifting his lithe body into the air as he took off from the cliffside. He soared away, grumbling about needing to procure rations.

      "Thank you for your help, Miss Hazel. Our Revali has a bit of a ego, but he has his perks, I give him that." Kaneli crossed his legs, still observing Hazel from his chair. "I was pleased to hear of your self imposed journey and the initial interest Revali seemed to have with you despite you being a Hylian stranger. I couldn't give up the opportunity to educate the nit wit."

      "Well, I didn't want to admit it, but I guess I do need help." She recalled the massive stretch of land she couldn't have possibly mapped all on her own. She also remembered the way it felt when Revali chuckled underneath her. Hazel cleared her throat. "I also thank you for your kindness in taking care of my horse."

      "No need for gratitude, my dear." The owl Rito peered over her to gage the sinking sun. "Hmn, I suppose you should get ready for the morning. Revali is a tad impatient when it comes to schedules." Kaneli bowed to her from his chair and waved good-bye. She departed, rubbing her eyes with the heels of her hands.

      "Jeesh, I wonder what the heck I'm getting myself into," Hazel sighed. She hazily walked over to the open air inn a few levels below her. Her head ached from everything that occurred in just one day. The guard she first saw noticed her from his new post at the inn. The Rito ran up to her until he caught up and kept pace with her step.

      "Thank you, Miss Hazel. I'm sorry I caused trouble by telling Kaneli about what happened." He bowed his dark feathered head. The twisted lock of feathers on either side of his face moved with the breeze. Tomeli was taller than Revali, his outfit showing off more of the avian's hips than the other Rito in the village.

      "No trouble. You've ended up helping me in the long run." She patted the guard on the shoulder as a show of forgiveness.

      "Umm, I know you two just met, but, err…" The guard did a version of bird twiddling his thumbs. Hazel glanced at him as they passed a few closed shops, the wares on the stall covered up for the day. "Revali seems to really like you. I haven't seen him willingly fly anyone anywhere before. The fact he actually agreed to do Kaneli's bidding is a miracle in itself."

      "Like me?" Revali's words of dismissal rang through her ears. "Heh. I don't think so. Tolerates me is a better phrase."

      "Be that as it may, Revali will take good care of you."

      "Thanks Tomeli, but I don't need to be looked after by anyone."

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Memeke89 ().

    • Chapter 2!

      Display Spoiler
      <p>The next morning, Hazel rolled out of her Rito down bed at the Swallow's Roost Inn. She was momentarily thrust into vertigo, expecting her mother to suddenly appear and ask for the chores to be completed. Instead, around her were the calm snores of the other borders consisting of a few blue Zora and one large Goron. Shaking her head to clear her muddled thought, Hazel took a strip of dried wolf deer from her pack, gnawing at the end with her back teeth. She already purchased provisions the night before after settling into the inn and all she needed was to find Revali. Leaving the strip of food in her mouth to savor the taste she reached behind her head to braid her shoulder length hair. After relieving herself outside and washing her hands, Hazel dropped a few red rupees onto the inn manager's feathers, and stepped outside. The sun appeared watery behind the slices of ivory clouds.</p>

      <p>"Where do I go to find that Revali," she grumbled to herself as she shielded her eyes from the sun.</p>

      <p>"I'm up here, Little Hylian," sing songed a familiar vain voice. Hazel audibly groaned and looked up. Sure enough, there was the Rito male, swimming through the air above the tops of the shops as if a Zora through calm waters. Revali wore a rough red scarf today with the rest of his attire similarly hued. Hazel didn't have time to ponder his color choices.. He smirked and waved at her with his long feathers, taunting her.</p>

      <p>"Get down here! We have to discuss where to go first!" Hazel tapped her foot impatiently. Yes, she was originally planning on spending a few weeks at the Rito Village to expand her map, but something within her just did not want to handle Revali's 'all knowing' advice about the village he most likely grew up in. She shuddered. If they were going to map Hyrule together, then she wanted to do so with both of them in the dark.</p>

      <p>"I will," Revali said while flying lazy circles around her. A few of the little Rito hatchlings, two dark brown and one pastel green, giggled as they watched their idol Revali heckle the visiting Hylian. One of the little boys clapped his wings, giving more fuel to Revali's prideful assault."If you can manage to grow some wings and catch me, that is." The kids cheered, and Revali bowed in mid air.</p>

      <p>"You," Hazel growled. Her hands fisted at her sides, and yet she to attempted to remain civil. She dealt with worse at her mother's shop, and there were kids around after all.</p>

      <p>"Me what?" He taunted. His voice was playful, yet challenging.</p>

      <p>Hazel took a deep, soothing breathe, filling her lungs with crisp mountain air; wheat, grass, and the distant snow. She imagined her map, completed and in the hands of a hero. Of how that hero would say all the good deeds they had accomplished were thanks to their special map maker. She had to bare with Revali and his imperious attitude. She needed to ignore how handsome he was when he gloated. She also should probably curb this impulse to punch him to his sense. She had to. Hazel silently slipped her hand into her pants pocket, grasping the wooden handle of her knife. When Revali wasn't looking, she leaned over to one of the children.</p>

      <p>"Kid, I'll give you a red rupee if you go play over at that landing dock," Hazel whispered to the muted green hatchling. The little girl clasped her hands to her chest, her cute big eyes round and curious. The girl almost vibrated out of her shiny blue anklets. Good. She had taken the bait. "Make sure to be really loud," Hazel added. She slipped a shiny red gem into the child's hands.</p>

      <p>"I can buy all the salmon I want with a whooole red rupee!" The child laughed and wobbled over to the dock. The girl waved, cleared her throat, and started to sing a childish melody so off key, even the gruff inn keeper came out to discern what the commotion was all about. The disgruntled guests, shocked shopkeepers, and a few guards crowded over either ready to scold the child, or to join in. The other two hatchlings bolted up to the girl and began their own off tune harmony. Hazel took her opening. She leapt up onto the side of the inn, using her knife to steady her jump by digging the blade into the wood. She felt only a little guilty about marking the inn, but she'd pay them back later.</p>

      <p>The climb was easy, and soon she was on top of the inn's pillar post. Just as Revali swooped over to investigate the children's poorly sung song, Hazel flung her hand out and caught a creamy white feather from Revali's leg. He glanced behind him, his green eyes narrowed, and frowned. He turned in mid flight.</p>

      <p>"Clever," Revali grumbled when Hazel showed him his feather. She dangled the feather between her fingers, unable to keep her triumphant grin from her face. Revali snatched the feather back, glared at it as if the feather was at fault, and threw it out to the open air. He perched on the other inn's pillar. "Fine. Get on my back."</p>

      <p>"What?"</p>

      <p>"Are Hylian's born deaf? Come on, get on my back. I won't ask again."</p>

      <p>"Jeesh, hold on. Hold on." After some maneuvering, Hazel jumped onto the avian's back. She yelped as Revali moved, intentionally giving her a fright. He then reached over to settle her better onto his back, and she was glad that he could not see the hot blush on her face. She wondered if Rito would understand the meaning of a blush on a Hylian's skin anyway. Revali was pleasantly warm, and she found herself immediately wrapping her arms around his neck. A pleasant pulsing somewhere below her stomach shocked her, and she attempted to banish the feeling away with pure will. What she could not see from her position was Revali's confused features, eyes blinking rapidly from the sudden squeezing in his chest. He shook his head and spread his wings, and together, they soared away from the Rito Village.</p>

      <p>With much deliberation, the duo agreed upon Satori Mountain and the area within its 50 mile radius as their first target rather than Rhoam Mountain just south of the Rito Village. Upon their first landing, they were forced to fight the sparse monsters that rambled around the domain. They both pulled out their bows, letting their arrows fly with deadly accuracy and speed. The monsters were mostly bokoblins and easy enough to dispatch. Hazel had to admit that Revali was just a good a shot as she was, perhaps even better.</p>

      <p>During their month stay at Satori Mountain they had to make do with each other as company. Their common ground seemed to lay within the realm of archery. In order to outdo the Revali, Hazel would create a hunting game with a complicated point system. White tail deer; 30 points. Boars; 40. She'd even climb a few trees to paint targets. Those were generally 50 points. Revali would rise to the occasion, almost surpassing her at her very own game. He'd jump from a cliff and soar back up, using his momentum as a tool, notching his arrows and letting them plummet to their destination below. Halfway through the month, he decided to upgrade her bow so that it would produce three shots at once. Revali claimed he only did so because he was tired of seeing her poor skills at work every day with now progress. Hazel knew by that time that he was only burying his good intentions with harsh words. She thanked him, and then beat him at their next game, 120 to 100.</p>

      <p>In the mornings that were crisp and clear, Revali soared just below the clouds. There, Hazel created rough sketches of Satori Mountain, Nima Plains, Dalite Forest, and the Tamio River. Very rarely, and only in the early hours of the pink morning, they would witness an eerie blue glow around a massive cherry tree rooted into a small pond. There was nothing in the cherry tree's vicinity save for a few playful squirrels when they landed. In the evenings, she insisted upon combing the woods for animals and plant life. There were pine trees, oak trees, white tailed deer, and red foxes at every turn. Hazel loved taking into account every creature, their quirks, and habits into her journal. Revali was banished to the campsite during these travels. The first few tries with the Rito in tow only turned sour. It would seem that his haughty voice was far too invasive for the animals inhabiting the forest. Hazel could only giggle from Revali's frustration at his inability to be quiet and being sent to the campfire like some child.</p>

      <p>"I am famished. Let's land," Revali insisted after a day full of flying. Hazel had been scribbling in her notebook, carefully filling out the ridges of Rutile Lake. There was much to do here on the luscious mountain range. So far these past few weeks, they found piles of old bones they believed marked an old bokoblin hideout, a few ponds, and a bountiful feast of edible ingredients. Hazel had diligently marked each location on her expanding map while Revali cleared twigs, branches, and debris from the perimeter of their woods to practice an odd technique.</p>

      <p>Hazel secretly watched from the corner of her eye his many failed attempts at coaxing to life wisps of pitiful air that curled around his taloned toes. Despite the fruitily of his task, he never showed signs of giving up. He'd collapse, barely able to stand, rest for a few minutes, and get straight back up. His boundless attempts at victory at this unknown goal urged Hazel to continue her own journey, whether he meant to be moral support or not. Today whilst up in the air, they had done as much as they could.</p>

      <p>"Remember the apple orchard?" Hazel thought out loud. "Oh, and mushrooms! A whole slew of mushrooms! Let's go and land around there."</p>

      <p>"Hmn," Revali replied. They circled the mountain a few more times until the particular cliff filled with mushrooms loomed below them. Hazel clutched onto Revali tighter as they descended down into the cluster of pine trees and throned shrubbery. He landed with a flourish in a clearing of dead leaves. Hazel climbed off of Revali's back, feeling a cold draft form as soon as she let go. Revali watched with his arms crossed as Hazel bent down to a few patches of gray iron shrooms and plucked at their stalks.</p>

      <p>"Are you going to help, or just stand there pondering at life and its woes?" Hazel asked, intentionally attempting to ruffle the Rito's feathers.</p>

      <p>"Life's complexities are beyond that of a Hylian," Revali clucked his tongue, lifting his head to show off his profile perfectly. As swift as a lynel, he swung his legs, scooping up a pile of Hylian shrooms with his clawed foot, and flinging his catch towards Hazel. Her hands shot out automatically as she caught each and every mushroom he bombarded her with. Revali cocked his head to the right, his smirk betraying his passive tone. "I suppose that wasn't too bad, little Hylian."</p>

      <p>Once they gathered a few herbs, the traveling companions set up a cooking pit with a pot dangling over the flickering yellow and orange fire. Flames licked at the bottom of the pot, heating the metal nicely.</p>

      <p>"I shall let you cook the meal tonight," Revali announced from the other side of the fire. He sat cross legged and was leaning back. The falcon bow at his side had been properly oiled and now rested serenely on an upturned rock. Flames accentuated the Rito's cornflower yellow feathers above his green eyes, and even though Hazel knew he wasn't smiling, the fire told otherwise. She had taken off her own fleece lined coat and yet she was still too uncomfortably hot. Maybe if she took off her boots? No. She was still embarrassingly warm, and only when she looked at Revali. What in the world?</p>

      <p>"I always cook the meals. How about you try for once, oh Mighty Revali, Pride of the Rito?" She shook her head. Actually, she really liked cooking. Her mother was always too busy to take part in family dinners, and so Hazel ended taking up the wooden spoon and chef's apron. After a few years of trial and error, she had become a fairly adequate cook. Stews, cakes, pies, anything to do with freshly caught meat—she was the one you'd come for. However, she was genuinely curious about Revali's own skills at the skillet.</p>

      <p>"You truly want to taste the fruits of my labor?" He got up and sat closer to her, taking the cutting knife from her. Now she was definitely too hot. Why didn't Revali feel as though he was turning into a baked bird? No, instead Revali smelled of woodsmoke and and freshly cut sage. He skillfully sliced the mushrooms and herbs they gathered and piled them up into the cooking pot. Revali caught her confused expression, which usually meant her eyebrows had crept together making her forehead lined, and winked at her.</p>

      <p>"When you put it that way…" She grumbled.</p>

      <p>"Then sit your little Hylian bottom down and wait for the mastery that is my cooking to laden your bowl with the greatness that are my skills!"</p>

      <p>Hazel did not remind him that she was already sitting down, and she most definitely did not roll her turquoise eyes. She set her head on her knees, fiddling with the wooden handle of her pocket knife, as she watched Revali cook. His navy blue feathers turned orange from the fire's light as he stirred in water, thickening up the stew with Hylian rice and mushrooms. He was so concentrated that the corner of his bill tipped down as he centered all of his green gazed will into creating the meal. The heat of the fire pit at last comforted Hazel as the cool tendrils of twilight slipped around her shoulders like a shawl. The coming night's chill was unable to permeate how close she felt to the Rito beside her. She began to doze in her conjured sense of serenity.</p>

      <p>Revali wiggled a bowl full of delicious stew under Hazel's nose, his yellow brows up as if he had been waiting for her response for far too long. She jumped to attention. Hazel took the brown bowl in her gloved hands, using a metal spoon to lift broth laden with chunks of mushroom to her lips. Her stomach twisted from the anticipation of being filled, and she greedily ate a mouthful of the concoction. She chewed. She rolled the liquid around with her tongue. It tasted. It tasted...</p>

      <p>
      <i>Horrible!</i>
      </p>

      <p>Hazel felt as though she were eating the underside of a foot that hadn't seen soap and water for a good month. No, make it a foot that helped juice grapes into wine and then moldered in sour vinegar for too long. She fought her overwhelming gag reflex, forcing her throat muscles to accept their doomed fate, and to swallow. One. Twooo. Three! Hazel swallowed, gasping.</p>

      <p>"Revali," she nearly coughed. Tears streamed down her cheeks.</p>

      <p>"Yes?" Came his eager reply. He had been closely monitoring her reaction like a child who had made a new project and expected due praise. She saw his piercing green eyes and the stiff way his shoulders sat. His talons dug at the ground, waiting. He was just so comically cute, Hazel could not muster the will to insult his food.</p>

      <p>"This is…" She began, and then sighed. "This is good." Her throat closed on the last word, making it sound as though she choked.</p>

      <p>"Of course! I am highly skilled not only in archery, swordplay, pretty much everything, but also in the field of culinary masterpieces!" Revali was so proud that nearly all of his feathers puffed out. He swiped his own bowl of stew, shoveling a heaping amount into his mouth. Hazel lifted her hand to stop him, but knew it was too late. "GAAAH!" The Rito immediately spat the stew out. He searched for the nearest water skin, dumped all of the contents into his mouth to clear the foul taste, and dramatically collapsed to the ground. Now his feathers were puffed out for a completely different reason. "Hylian, are your taste buds rotten? How could you let me eat this?!"</p>

      <p>He glared at her. Hazel bit her lip, unable to come up with an appropriate response that wouldn't bruise his brittle ego. Something must have shown on Hazel's face that made Revali back down, settling calmly onto his spot. He cleaned at a few feathers that still stood up with his bill.</p>

      <p>"Oh, I see now. You were attempting as to not hurt my feelings. Fear not, I am also humble when the time calls." Hazel covered her laugh with a cough. Revali continued. "It would seem as though I may need to practice my skills with the skillet. For now," Revali turned his head, making sure as to not meet Hazel's gaze, "I would much appreciate your food to mine."</p>

      <p>"Is…is that a compliment?"</p>

      <p>Revali whipped his head around clearly offended.</p>

      <p>"Yes it is! For someone with an acute avian's sense like myself, to be blessed with the honor of producing a fine meal to the Pride of the Rito and for me to accept it is astounding!"</p>

      <p>"And for a while there I wondered why you were single," she dryly replied. That shut the avian up. For a second, Hazel thought that she had said something wrong. They always dug at each other, trying to pry out a treasured annoyed response from one another. Their verbal quips helped to keep their minds sharp and ready, but from the Rito's uncommon silence, she believed that she may have gone too far.</p>

      <p>"Umm," she tried, still at a loss for the right words to say.</p>

      <p>"I'm not interested in a pair bond as of now," Revali chirped out with his usual gusto. He spread his wings, showing off his clean and well kept plumage. "I was meant for something <i>great</i>. Something that would change the whole of Hyrule. I will not settle down until I find that <i>something</i>."</p>

      <p>"Then we are of the same mindset," Hazel smiled. They both saw each other then. One a Rito. The other a Hylian. They did not know it, but as they shared their dreams that night, both hearts beat in tandem, and not from the excitement of accomplishing their goals. Hazel broke that moment, reaching out to stir the sludge stew. She believed she could fix it, or at least make it edible. "I won't stop until my map is complete, either. Let's promise that when we've both become what we wanted-"</p>

      <p>"I promise."</p>

      <p>"I didn't finish!"</p>

      <p>"You don't have to. Whatever you were going to say followed accomplishing our goals. I promise to achieve my dream. Everything else is merely a call to the wind."</p>

      <p>"Hmph! Either way, tonight I have learned something vital."</p>

      <p>"And what is that?"</p>

      <p>"The Great and Powerful Revali is a bland and terrible cook!"</p>
    • I'm not normally one for OC stories, but your Hazel is quite interesting, and she both contrasts and complements Revali nicely. It's a shame that her maps won't be all that useful once the Sheikah towers emerge, but it's cool to see someone trying. The "great and powerful Revali" being a terrible cook is hilarious! I'll be looking forward to future chapters!


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Gear, by my husband, D4rkSilver
    • Chapter 3

      Display Spoiler
      <p>"This is ridiculous. Why can I not go in with her? I've even taken this disgusting elixir to keep my feathers from frying off, and you do not even have the dignity to allow me passage?"</p>

      <p>Hazel and Revali stood at the entrance to Gerudo Town. They had stripped down to their thinnest layers of clothing, and no matter how many hydro melons they ate, the sun was still a ruthless beast. Flying was no longer an option. Everything around them had been leveled to red sand. Here and there were a spreading of leviathan bones, but attempting to climb the massive rib cages took more energy than what was needed. So they had opted to walk the grueling walk over to Gerudo Town. Hazel boiled a makeshift cooling elixir that was rapidly waning, making both of the traveling companions a bit grumpy.</p>

      <p>Revali folded his arms and eyed the two strict Gerudo who were somehow taller than even the male Rito. The guards clutched their wickedly sharp blades and spread their muscled legs as if to brace for an attack. Hazel could not see their covered mouths, but their drawn severe eyebrows were enough to tell her that Revali was walking a thin wire.</p>

      <p>"There will be no men in the Gerudo Fortress. This has been the law since the beginning of time," said the guard to the right. She had the skin of sandalwood bark, hair the color of a wild berry, and eyes the mesmerizing hue of lavender. As lovely as the guard was, Hazel could feel that bundle of potential energy wound around the guard's muscles and emanating around her like a phantom curse. You'd be an idiot to mess with a Gerudo guard.</p>

      <p>Revali may just be that idiot. He sauntered up to the guard almost chest to chest as they engaged in their mental battle off who could look bigger than what they actually were. Hazel blinked and saw that the guard on the left had clapped a hand against her forehead. They both sighed and watched as the first guard growled at Revali.</p>

      <p>"You may rest your weary soul at the trading post to the west," she ground out between clenched teeth. Revali opened his bill. Nothing good would come from this. Hazel shot her arm out in front of the agitated Rito.</p>

      <p>"Revali, I won't be long. I'm just going to ask, hmn, who is the chief's name again?" Hazel asked the friendlier of the guards.</p>

      <p>"Our Lady Urbosa," the guard replied. She seemed eager to disperse the unneeded animosity like Hazel did.</p>

      <p>"Thank you." Hazel turned back to Revali. "I'm going to ask Lady Urbosa if I can take a look at her city's maps. If I can't, I'll only map around the complex out of respect."</p>

      <p>"Phft, respect. And yet you will not respect my own wishes of staying with you?"</p>

      <p>"Staying with me?" Hazel was not expecting that. Her arm fell to her side and she stared up at the avian next to her. She knew her cheeks had taken on the coloring of an apple, and yet she hoped he'd think it was only because of her strange Hylian sunburns. But no, oh no, he knew. He clacked his beak, bringing up his wing to brush the braided feathers at the back of his head.</p>

      <p>"As in making sure your tiny Hylian body isn't skewered with Gerudo blades!" He back tracked. "I can't be too careful with a puny creature like yourself." Aaaand moment lost. The first guard grunted and raised her spear in a ready position.</p>

      <p>"Revali, you better get going before you're the one skewered," Hazell sniffed. She shoved her hands into her pockets, searching for the wooden handle of her knife. Her heart was racing too quickly as if an ice wizzrobe had spotted her and pointed its nasty ice wand at her. Revali huffed, kicking at the sand with a clawed foot, and turned.</p>

      <p>"Utter nonsense I tell you!" He called behind his shoulder. "And I shall wait here." The Rito strode over to a crusty tent set up next to the town's wall. A male merchant was already under the shade. He held a block of wood, chipping away at its edges to create something resembling a Zora. Revali fell next to the man on a pile of brightly dyed carpets.</p>

      <p>"Rejected you, too, huh?" Asked the merchant with a toothy grin.</p>

      <p>"No one rejects Revali. <i>I</i> rejected <i>them</i>!"</p>

      <p>The map maker shook her head, waved at Revali, and walked into Gerudo Town. The two guards nodded at her and she shyly smiled back at them. She was briefly stunned by how busy the town was and the variety of people she saw. There were Hylians, Rito, Gorons, and even one lone (and brave) Zora. People yelled out their stall wares and children giggled as they wove around the bustling feet of customers and kin. Hazel reminded herself to snap her mouth closed. There would be time to explore later. First she had to find the chief. Thankfully, locating the Gerudo leader was not as hard as she thought and soon she passed through the royal gates.</p>

      <p>Hazel carefully kept her expression neutral as she kneeled before Lady Urbosa. The chief sat cross legged on her throne of gold dotted with rubies and topaz. Hazel already felt small when walking side by side with Revali. Now, after being dwarfed by women a head higher, she was fairly certain she'd been demoted to the status of a small, cute kitten. Why did everyone just get bigger the further her journey took her? Lady Urbosa was a giant! A very attractive giant.</p>

      <p>"Hello there, little one. And who might you be?" Urbosa was all angles. Her chin and jawline were cut as if it came from raw diamond, her abdominals and hips jutted out with rock hard musculature, and she peered down at Hazel over a long, pointed nose. All of the gold and bracelets and armor shielding the woman would never compare to her natural beauty of caramel skin and sunset hair. The Gerudo woman smirked down at the little Hylian.</p>

      <p>"I'm Hazel. Pleased to meet with you." She curtsied how she used to when at Hyrule Marketplace to her mother's customers. "I know that I am only a stranger in your sacred Gerudo Town, but I am on an important mission."</p>

      <p>"Important, eh?" Urbosa laughed. Hazel blinked, watching as Urbosa threw an arm around the back of her throne and yawned.</p>

      <p>"I see that you're not for formalities."</p>

      <p>"They do bore me, young one," the chief admitted.</p>

      <p>"Oh good." Hazel plopped down on the ground, digging around in her pack. Urbosa chuckled at Hazel's sudden blunt attitude. "Then I'll get straight to it. I am making a map."</p>

      <p>"A molduga?" Revali chided once Hazel exited Gerudo Town and relayed everything that occurred between her and Lady Urbosa. Now they were trotting to the east of the town at a rapid pace. Some red sand flew up and into their faces. The grains cut at Hazel's soft face, but only annoyed the Rito. Urbosa had supplied the duo with stronger cooling elixir although the sand seemed to be their only enemy at this point.</p>

      <p>"Mm hmn. A molduga," Hazel confirmed. She inwardly cursed herself for having the nerve to purchase all of the bolts they would need only to forget a hat of some kind. Now she'd have to hold her arm to her brow just to see clearly. Revali forged a path in front of her, clearing some of the harsh winds while doing so.</p>

      <p>"She will not give you the map to her stronghold without defeating a <i>molduga</i>?!" He clucked. "Merciful Medli, is she insane?"</p>

      <p>"Do you even know what a molduga is?"</p>

      <p>"I've never seen one, true." He held up a feathered finger. "BUT Kaneli has been in this land before. He says that moldugas are vicious whales of the hot red sand."</p>

      <p>"Have you ever seen a whale?"</p>

      <p>"Have <i>you</i>?"</p>

      <p>No. No she had not.</p>

      <p>"That doesn't matter," she huffed. "What I'm hearing right now is that the Great Revali is too scared to defeat a little whale." Hazel poked the Rito's side. He jerked and snapped his beak at her. Another fun fact. Revali was ticklish.</p>

      <p>"I am merely critical of what this Urbosa's scheme may be. To send total strangers off to destroy a beast that even the top Gerudo guard avoid with the only reward being a map is…odd at the very least." He shook out his feathers, clearing off some of the wayward sand.</p>

      <p>"That's what I thought as well until," Hazel caught up with Revali, got on her tip toes, and whispered, "Look around you." Revali tensed, his entire body turned onto alert mode. He went from making a complete ruckus to barely producing a sound. All thanks to Hazel forcing him to be more quiet when they catalogued animals. There were at the very least five guards trotting alongside the duo. They kept behind blowing dunes and the decaying pieces of walls around fifteen yards away, and they were all dressed for battle. It was clear that they had been sent on Urbosa's orders because the chief's crest shone off of each guard's breastplate.</p>

      <p>"Hmn, they're surely watching us," Revali whispered back.</p>

      <p>"I think this is more than just a quest to receive a map to them."</p>

      <p>"A test of skills and bravery, huh? Well, that sounds more like it." Revali darkly said from the pit of his chest. Hazel bit the inside of her cheek. Now was not the time to ogle over how extremely attractive his voice was right then. She could control herself. That's right. Control. "We'll show them what we're made of," Revali continued, oblivious to Hazel's internal struggles.</p>

      <p>"And blow their tiny minds away!" Hazel said just to say something and clear her mind. They walked onto a patch of desert that stretched for miles from either side of them. In front and to the back were old decrepit pillars from centuries ago stuck in the sand like dead tree trunks. The wind had at last relented, and above was the harsh globe of an orange sun. No sparrows sang. Sand seals were non existent here. The guards disappeared. Everything was calm. Far too calm. "Now to find that molduga." Hazel whispered out of instinct. They both took one tentative step. Hazel's boot crunched delicately onto the sand. She put all of her weight onto the foot, her head ringing.</p>

      <p>A gigantic tunnel of sand sprung up from the desert floor. It charged at the duo, flinging up the sand like it were a puppy wiggling under a carpet. This was no puppy and it was not cuddling under a carpet. The creature shot out from the sand, catapulting at least fifteen feet into the air showing off its monstrous form. It yelled a death screech that sounded like wood cracking against a rock, its tiny eyes rolled around in its massive head. The creature revealed a field of arrow sharp teeth the size of Hazel's forearm when it opened its expansive mouth. If this was what a whale looked like, a giant blubbery yet lethal creature the size of a tower, she would hate to meet said enemy in the sea. The molduga plummeted back into the hot sand below.</p>

      <p>"We found the molduga! I repeat, we found the molduga!" Revali yelled. The monster was swimming right at them at a rapid speed. The ground under their feet shuddered, ringing a violent vibration up to their skulls. Revali grabbed Hazel's shoulder. "Quick, up here." They bolted over to one of the old pillars, trying to balance on the top of the small area of stone.</p>

      <p>"Holy Merciful Medli, indeed," Hazel croaked. She forced her legs to stop shaking. She could do this. She could! "Okay. Okay, thinking of a plan. Think."</p>

      <p>The molduga surfaced again. It circled around where Revali and Hazel had been just a few seconds earlier. The thing roared, sinking back beneath the sand. Only the tip of its ragged fins revealed where the beast was swimming. Revali and Hazel held onto one another, still attempting to balance themselves. Hazel's ear was at Revali's chest. She could hear his out of control heart beat and smell his woodsmoke scent.</p>

      <p>"We have to make it surface again. If we do, we can use our bows," Hazel said.</p>

      <p>"Throw an apple. We'll get more later," Revali said.</p>

      <p>"Alright." Hazel reached down to her waist where she had strapped a small pack full of emergency snacks. She carefully pulled the fruit out. Any sudden movement and she would fall and become the meal of a land fish. She chucked the apple as far as she could throw. Shooting an arrow at a distance wasn't a problem. If that land fish was too close where it could eat them, was one for sure. The monster took the bait, driving through the sand like a shark catching the scent of blood. It burst in an explosion of rocks and sand from its cover.</p>

      <p>"Hurry, shoot!" Revali shouted.</p>

      <p>"Right!"</p>

      <p>Hazel pulled her bow from her back just as Revali did the same. They collided with one another, and the little Hylian almost fell from their perch. Revali yelled and caught the woman before her entire body left the pillar. She held onto his arm, feeling how soft his feathers were under her clutching fingers.</p>

      <p>"We both need more room," Hazel gasped. She righted herself. "I'm going to throw another apple and then run to that pillar over there. That way we'll both have room." Hazel pointed at the pillar in front of them.</p>

      <p>"Little Hylian, you numbskull. Who has the wings, here?" Revali sighed.</p>

      <p>"Oh. Well, you fly over there." She made a shooing motion. He rolled his electric green eyes, his yellow eyebrows almost flying off of his face in exasperation. Hazel chucked another apple even further away and the molduga followed. Revali pushed off from their perch, thrusting his wings down to gain purchase in the air. A hint of a phantom wind blew around his feet, and he almost made his target without trouble. A stray air current blew across the desert and it roughly knocked Revali off course. He landed right at the base of the pillar. The molduga screamed, flinging itself around a complete 180 degrees to face its prey.</p>

      <p>"Revali!" Hazel leapt from her spot, crashing to the desert ground below. Her knees buckled and she braced herself from falling on her face with her hands. The jolt made her bones crunch, but she didn't care. The molduga was careening too close to Revali. He held up his bow, but there was no way he'd win. Hazel hastily grabbed for her bow. Her hands were so sweaty and the sand stuck to the lines in her skin. She notched an ice arrow and fired. The bolt punched into the bone crest at the back of the beast's neck. No luck there. The skin was too tough to pierce through.</p>

      <p>"Hazel!" Revali yelled as the molduga turned to face the Hylian who challenged it. "Get on the pillar! I'm fine!"</p>

      <p>She climbed, her blood pounding behind her ears. Hazel chanced a look behind her. Revali was on a pillar, too. In what seemed to be a fountain of rage the Rito let fly three bomb arrows. All three sank deep into the molduga's red eyes and exploded on impact. Chunks of soft flesh sprayed in multiple directions. The creature bellowed while swimming around in the sand every which way. Hazel shot more ice arrows, landing each bolt near or on the creature's weeping eye sockets. Safe now at their perches, Revali and Hazel took turns shooting at the slowing molduga. One arrow after another, one, two, six, thirteen, thirty nine. The beast heaved. Black blood bubbled from its mouth as it gasped and fell. Its side held still, and soon, the monster's skin and bones degraded into nothingness. In the thing's place on the bloodied ground were a few treasure chests and old weapons covered in pulsating orange guts.</p>

      <p>The fight was over.</p>

      <p>Hazel climbed down her pillar and leaned against it. She couldn't help but stare at the pile of mush that had almost eaten her alive. Revali gracefully fluttered to the ground, avoided the dirtied chests and weapons, and strode over to Hazel. She peered up at him, still trembling. She was a map maker, not a fighter. This was beyond her skill set, but she somehow did it with Revali's help.</p>

      <p>"Woah, that was a rush," she rasped.</p>

      <p>"Hylian," came a stern croak from above.</p>

      <p>"What is it?"</p>

      <p>Revali slammed his feathered hands on either side of Hazel's head making the entire pillar shake with the force of his strength. A chill crawled down Hazel's spine as she looked into Revali's churning green eyes. He was furious. Absolutely and utterly furious. He got closer, pressing the front of his body to hers, making her hot and sweaty. He was all around her, an angry Rito, and there was no escape. He was so close that if he were a Hylian, he could have closed what little distance there was and kissed her. Despite the circumstances Hazel's heart squeezed.</p>

      <p>"You mustn't forget my superb maneuvering abilities. I am quick and accurate. I have the appropriate skills to protect you. Think about that the next time you try to needlessly kill yourself over attempting to help me," Revali growled, his voice full of a snowy winter. His attention focused on a scratch that grazed her cheek. It wasn't the worst of her wounds, and was probably the cause of buffeting sand, but he stared at it as if she were slowly being poisoned. So many emotions played upon his face; anger, fear, concern, tenderness. He shook his head, backed away, and turned.</p>

      <p>"I'll be at the trading post. Do try not to dawdle."</p>

      <p>"I do apologize for sending you out on such a dangerous task," the Lady Urbosa said. She grimaced at her place on the balcony. Above, the fine points of stars glowed around the Gerudo chief, dancing around her cherry straw blonde like a warrior's crown. Said warrior knew she had not gained Hazel's favor. When the woman returned triumphant in her task, her vacant eyes showed no glimmer of emotion. She had not cleaned herself and so there were patches of crusted black blood over her front. Her hair had escaped its braid laying in snarled waves about her shoulders. Urbosa bit her painted blue lip.</p>

      <p>"You sent your guards to watch us," Hazel stated.</p>

      <p>"A necessary command," Urbosa assured. Hazel did not react. This prompted Urbosa to continue to speak and fill the night's silence. "I promised a dear friend, she is almost like a daughter, that I would test the Rito."</p>

      <p>"And this is where you tell me who the dear friend is?"</p>

      <p>"This is where I tell you that you both surpassed my expectations. If there were any sign that you may have failed, my guards were ordered to keep you both safe."</p>

      <p>"Sure. Thanks."</p>

      <p>"I really do feel terrible." The Gerudo spread her arms in surrender, jangling her bracelets while doing so. She popped out a hip and placed her hands on her waist. "Please, take this map of the Gerudo Town as your reward. Only the palace has been omitted for obvious reasons." She gestured to a woman behind Hazel who towed a miniature golden rimmed chest. The woman set the box down at Hazel's feet, bowed, and left the throne room.</p>

      <p>"Thank you, my Lady."</p>

      <p>"Don't you dare lapse into stiff formalities. What is the real cause of your troubled look?" Lady Urbosa gave Hazel the once over. Red lined eyes. Shoulders hunched over. A cacophony of sighing. The lack of enthusiasm from obtaining her goal. Urbosa waggled her perfectly manicured finger at Hazel and clucked as if she solved a well worn puzzle. "Ah. A voe. The Rito one I suspect?"</p>

      <p>"It's not like that." Hazel's face became so red, she could have masqueraded as one of the red clay bricks outside.</p>

      <p>"It certainly is like that! Girl, we Gerudo only give birth to a male of our kind once in a century. In fact, the last male was my father who ruled for a good thirty years before myself. Because of our inability to produce males, we must be on a continued quest to find voe of other races to prolong our clan as long as we possibility can. This is our duty we must fulfill unless we wish for our clan to die. We have trained in the ways of seducing, in the intricacies of other cultures, and of matters of the heart." She padded over to Hazel on light feet as though she was not wearing five inch heels and clapped a hand onto the younger woman's shoulder. "Believe me when I say that this is indeed a voe problem."</p>

      <p>Hazel sighed for what may have been the twentieth time, her eyes sliding over to the treasure chest she and Revali worked so hard for, and then looked at the Gerudo chief. She was warm and comforting. Hazel's mother was still in Tabantha. There was no one else to talk to. Urbosa smiled, moving her hand to the small of Hazel's back and rubbed comforting circles.</p>

      <p>"We may have gotten into a fight. I almost got hurt trying to help him." She leaned her head on Urbosa's chest and the large woman hugged the tiny Hylian.</p>

      <p>"Oh ho! Well, now isn't this delicious? Don't worry, little one. I have just the thing."</p>

      <p>After two hours of scrubbing, pinching, and bubble charged water, Hazel emerged from the baths only to fall into the ruthless hands of Urbosa. The chief brushed the younger woman's hair, painted an array of makeup onto her face, glazed her fingers with color, and outfitted her in brand new clothing. As an added bonus, Hazel original clothes had been cleaned and tucked into her pack, and Urbosa gifted her with a deadly scimitar. Hazel thanked her new friend, gave her a hearty hug, took her map, and left to find Revali.</p>

      <p>Find him she did. The small trading outpost congregated around a tiny pool of clear water. An inn and some merchants still had their lights glowing when she saw Revali perched up high on a miniature tower. He was transfixed on the moon, his feathers and soft leather tunic lit with pale blues and creams. Hazel would have thought for sure she would find him practicing his mysterious technique, and yet there he was, handsome as sin and moping. Hazel clutched her fists and inhaled.</p>

      <p>"Revali! Have you had enough time to cool down?" The Rito's lit silhouette became stiff. He turned, stood, and jumped down. He glided over a few feet on deft wings until he landed right in front of Hazel.</p>

      <p>"How long were you planning to make me wait, little Hylian?" He peered closer and almost fell over backwards, his face shocked.</p>

      <p>Urbosa had said dressing up nicely would put events into a new perspective. Hazel wasn't completely sure. Would a Rito find a pretty Hylian attractive? After all, she did not have plumage or claws or a bill. She was hair and skin and lips. She was small and fragile compared to a Rito. Hazel understood what she felt when she looked at Revali. She liked how he tried to cover his embarrassed responses with snooty remarks. She enjoyed their verbal banter when they got bored. His skill with his bow was remarkable (not that she'd tell him.) And the way he covered up any attempts at kindness, poorly mind you, was adorable. When she saw Revali, she saw someone she lo…she...but would he think the same?</p>

      <p>While Hazel was dressing into the traditional Gerudo garments, Urbosa tried to give her a few tips about voes. All of those tips fled when she saw Revali's glowing green eyes scan from her long straw blonde down around her shoulders covered by a dark brown Gerudo veil, to her chest adorned with a dark brown covering strung with golden medallions, to her legs clothed in dark brown tent pants embroidered with fighting dragons. He even closely inspected her golden trimmed shoes. Did she look ridiculous? Was he still mad? This was a bad move. A very bad move.</p>

      <p>"Do you…umm, are you…" Hazel ventured, her voice cutting off from not knowing what to say next. Revali blinked many times over, straightened, and walked closer to her. When he spoke, he had to clear his throat.</p>

      <p>"I purchased a pot of curry for tonight. I thought we may begin the next part to your insane map conquest at the Palu Wasteland."</p>

      <p>"Does this mean you're not angry with my anymore?"</p>

      <p>"You fool, I wasn't mad, I was—just eat the curry! A Gerudo girl made it so it should be safe, unlike my own poor cooking." He pointed at a fire pit just to their right. Sure enough, a pot of curry sat bubbling within. Hazel smiled, at last at ease. Revali would not look at her, and she smiled even bigger.</p>

      <p>"Thank you."</p>
    • Chapter 4

      Display Spoiler
      <p>"Keep shooting it with those ice arrows!" Hazel yelled. She steadied herself on a rocky outcropping, blinking her eyes to keep the torrent of sweat from clouding her vision. She gripped at the rock wall and pulled up with all her might. She'd have to climb higher if she planned to jump. Her body shook from the adrenaline pounding through her veins after another fire infused rock crashed too close for comfort.</p>

      <p>"Yes, yes. It's not like I don't know basic elemental properties," Revali clucked. He raised his bow and shot three bright blue arrows into the giant lumbering rock before him. The thick rooted magma lining the creature's rocky skin like thin ropes flickered and dissipated. He let loose six more arrows to be certain that the magma would not return anytime soon.</p>

      <p>"This isn't the time to be snarky, Revali," Hazel shakily said. She was far enough up the mountain side to take her chance. Hazel located the talos below her, its vulnerable deposit of rich ore just begging to be smashed, and jumped from her perch and onto the talos's back. She unsheathed her scimitar and sliced into the creature's ore. Slice, slice, slice! If anything, she was quick with a knife and now her new sword.</p>

      <p>"Ho hum," Revali sighed. He stuck out his tongue at Hazel and readied his bow once more. "You just had," he shot three regular arrows at the ore, "to go to," Hazel grabbed onto the creature's rocky surface while it attempted to throw her off, "this Quill forsaken," he rapidly shot eight more arrows making the giant pause in its panic, "mountain with the name," Hazel got back up and with the final slash of her sword and the last of Revali's arrows, the creature fell, "<i>DEATH</i> in it!"</p>

      <p>The talos collapsed, its many joints dissolving into rubble. Hazel quickly dashed away to allow the giant to explode into a puff of black dust and debris. She brushed off her tunic and pants, spitting out some of the dust she accidentally inhaled. Sneezing, she turned to Revali. He effortlessly glided down to her side and kicked the leftover dust at where the talos's corpse should have been.</p>

      <p>"That will teach you some manners."</p>

      <p>"Pot calling the kettle black," Hazel mumbled under her breath.</p>

      <p>"What was that?"</p>

      <p>"I said, look at what came out of its back!" She pointed at five fat rubies glimmering under the red glow of Death Mountain. There was also one finely cut diamond and a shard of amber amidst the pile of rubies. She walked over and bent to pick up their quarry.</p>

      <p>"Gems, meh."</p>

      <p>"<i>Gems, meh</i>, my butt! We can sell these beauties to get some hearty durians. Oh! Or we could buy something to make this heat go away rather than drinking elixirs!" She held out a ruby, smiling at all of the possibilities. Revali opened his bill to say something when the ground began to thunder. Hazel dropped her rubies. Revali spread his wings as if he could soar up in the air right from that spot. Was it another talos? Could the dormant volcano possibly not be dormant at all? Something burst from a cliff above. It was the shape of a boulder and was loud as one tumbling down a mountain side. The thing careened down and down, getting closer until at only three feet away from the duo, it popped open. A large man spread open heavily muscles arms and yelled at the top of his lungs.</p>

      <p>"YOU TWO WERE AMAZING!" The man was <i>huge</i>! He had a white, dense head of hair and beard that resembled the mane of a lynol. His hard skin could have been composed of topaz from how sturdy and sedimentary it looked. The man held a massive sword, or a bat, made entirely from stone. He rubbed an arm across his large nose and showed off two rows of pearly white teeth. Dust from his roll down the mountain flew around him in clouds, so he ended up coughing after his big entrance.</p>

      <p>"WOAH! Who are you!" Hazel yelped.</p>

      <p>"Obviously someone with real taste." Revali stepped forward and bowed. "Thank you good sir, <i>am</i> quite amazing. I'm saddened that you could not witness a proper aerial dive, for I wish only for the public to know of my best qualities."</p>

      <p>"He's been away from people too long," Hazel mumbled to no one in particular.</p>

      <p>"Haha! I, too, hope to see your flight, tiny bird man!" The Goron, because he surely must be one, slapped Revali on the back. The Rito stumbled forward.</p>

      <p>"Tiny. <i>Bird. Man</i>," Revali coughed dryly.</p>

      <p>"On behalf of my tribe, I thank you for vanquishing that talos! I myself was heading out to turn that thing to rubble. It seems like you two had it handled!" The Goron heaved his stone bat so that it rested on his shoulders. He wasn't winded at all. The thing must have weighed 100 pounds! He adjusted his loin cloth and raised a fist formed with a thumbs up. "My name is Daruk. I am the leader of the Gorons. Please, come to my town and we will throw a grand feast in your honor!"</p>

      <p>Revali and Hazel glanced at each other. What ensued was a mental conversation expressed solely through facial expression and gestures.</p>

      <p><i>He called me little bird man. No way.</i> Revali's yellow brows puffed up.</p>

      <p><i>Come on. He's just a little abrasive.</i> Hazel rolled her shoulders around and bit her lip.</p>

      <p><i>No way</i>. The Rito narrowed his green eyes, the white tips of his cheek feathers waving in the wind.</p>

      <p>
      <i>They have foooood. We scattered all those birds and lizards away when we fought that talos.</i>
      </p>

      <p>
      <i>Food. Eh.</i>
      </p>

      <p>
      <i>Yes! Come on. Free food!</i>
      </p>

      <p>"Do we have enough elixir?" Revali asked aloud. As if she would really forget to make an elixir that would keep them from bursting into flames.</p>

      <p>"Yup! I made ten batches from the lizards you caught last night." And they stunk to high Hyrule after throwing in plenty of molduga guts. If she pretended the elixir was an earthy and tart soup, she could sometimes get through the worst of it. That as until a chunk of skin or innards brushed against her tongue. Yuck!</p>

      <p>"Geh, I do so hate elixirs," Revali said as if he read Hazel's mind. If he were Hylian, he would have wrinkled his nose.</p>

      <p>"We'd love to come to your town, Mr. Daruk. Actually, we were on our way there when that talos sprung from the ground." She recalled her confusion when the rock that stood still so innocently under her booted feet had unearthed and formed calcified arms that attempted to pin her to the rock wall, blazing with marbled magma veins. Now every rock had a suspicious air about it. She'd never thought she'd be concerned over rocks.</p>

      <p>"There has been more monster activity recently," Daruk said. His eyes went bleary as he observed the land beyond Hazel and Revali's shoulders. From what Hazel heard from the man so far, he did not know the meaning of an indoor voice. When he spoke this line while seeming so small and somber, a chill rattled down her back. She peeked at Revali. His feathers were unusually ruffled. He felt it, too. The times had become steeped in the dregs of malice. Daruk woke from his temporary haze and returned to the booming Goron of earlier. "Never mind that! Please, follow me!"</p>

      <p>"I <i>am</i> ready to see this feast of yours," Revali told Daruk.</p>

      <p>A few hours later, Revali, Hazel, Daruk, and a grouping of Gorons sat in the middle of their town. Apparently the center of the town was literally the center of activity. There was a pool of crackling lava under the bridge that supported the dinner party, and Hazel was sure she would melt from the inside out. A makeshift table of flame retardant cloth had been careful placed in front of the guests. On the tan fabric lay a spread of plates and bowls. Dark rocks resembling cuts of prime tip steak were placed into an elegantly stacked slant. There was a bowl of slate rock that may have been the Goron equivilant of salad, but, as one would assume, consisted of rocks. There were rock rolls with pebble butter. The centerpiece was a beautifully cut slab of pink marble corded with creamy veins. Hazel cautiously peered into her drink cup. Chunky rocks ground into a fine power so fine, it was almost liquid in texture.</p>

      <p>"So let me get this straight. When you said feast what you really meant was <i>big pile of rocks</i>," Revali moaned. The Rito had removed his scarf and usual attire in favor of a light tunic and kilt. The elixir may keep them both from frying up into bite sized crisps, but it did not drive away the heat.</p>

      <p>"Well, yes! What other food is there?!" Daruk boomed. He cut right through the slab of pink marble by using a swift chopping motion. A piece cleanly broke off, and the Goron let the cool rock land on his tongue. Hazel guessed that Daruk was savoring the taste before breaking the rock up into pieces with his strong teeth. She heard Revali's stomach impatiently rumble, and the avian glared at the rock feast with venom.</p>

      <p>"How about we take some of these rocks for provisions later and use what we have now? Would that be alright Mr. Daruk? That way while we journey, we can think of your tribe. How about it Revali?" She gave the Rito what she hoped to be an eager grin and transferred the same vigorous smile onto Daruk. The Goron leader seemed flattered that the two travelers would want to keep his treasured food as reserves for their journey.</p>

      <p>"Err, yes! A fine couple of travelers deserve only the finest of foods," Revali said, not even missing a beat.</p>

      <p>"I would be honored, my friends!" Daruk slapped the ground with a massive fist. His fellow Gorons mimicked him, pounding their hands onto the slabs of heat resistant wood. The feasting area began to shake and swing. The village of boulder houses and rocky foundations blurred with the Goron's combined movements. Dear Goddess, they would fall into the lava if the Gorons kept this up! Thankfully, Daruk crunched a few rock rolls, ran his tongue along his teeth, and then leaned over to speak as the ruckus died down. "Hazel, you want a map to help a hero, yes?"</p>

      <p>"Yes! If you have one I could copy to my own, I'd be grateful!" Hazel separated their ration of fish jerky and passed the pieces of salted meat to Revali. She threw the water skin of honey water to the Rito as well, and he caught the skin with ease. Hazel's growing map almost buzzed in her pack from the anticipation of another expansion.</p>

      <p>"We Gorons have no affinity for writing," Daruk sighed. "So there would be no maps for you here." The Goron observed the little Hylian's crumpled face from his spot across from her. "You can talk to my people, however. We have the memories of, umm, well, Gorons! Nothing can beat our stubborn recollections!" He slapped his large belly and laughed.</p>

      <p>"Great! Then I hope you don't mind if I start picking brains tomorrow?"</p>

      <p>"I don't know about picking, but you can definitely ask questions."</p>

      <p>"Err, ha, yeah," Hazel said. She and Revali concealed their laughter.</p>

      <p>After their "feast," Daruk showed the travelers around Goron City. They exchanged the rubies and diamond for rupees that would keep them bountifully supplied for the next few months. There did turn out to be a suit that allowed its wearer to forgo elixirs, but Revali was so against its unfavorable appearance that they ended up brewing more elixirs anyway. Hazel didn't blame Revali. The suit would impair flight and speed, traits of which he highly valued.</p>

      <p>Daruk explained the significance of the figure carved into the face of the mountain and pointed out his favorite spots to pluck rock rolls to chomp on. He then took them to a family run inn that his second cousin twice removed owned. The beds were, yes, made of rock. Revali cringed, heaving a sigh so drawn that even Daruk snapped out of his proud recounting of why said beds were constructed from rock.</p>

      <p>"I know your bones are weary from your journey. There are some hot springs down below that can heal a cut a mile long! Mmm, it had the best pebbles to snack on, too!"</p>

      <p>"I've been without a proper bath for far too long. My exceptional physique should no longer hide behind such filth," Revali said. His green eyes sparkled with the thought of something nice among all these rocks and boulders. Hazel turned to Daruk.</p>

      <p>"What he means is yes. We'll go down to the springs."</p>

      <p>Trekking down to the springs did not take long. Daruk rolled along with them, revealing his favored springs with a flourish. There had been a poor attempt to create a modesty wall for races other than Gorons to use the springs. It consisted of a rickety wooden plank nailed together with another thin piece of wood. That wall would collapse in a year for sure, but it would do for now. Daruk left them to clean themselves and said he would wait for them up top. Hazel waved goodbye while Revali was already on his side of the hot spring. The map maker scooted to her side, taking off her poor dirty cloths and slipping into the pleasantly heated water. Steam curled in lazy whirls around her, and she found the fact that the water she stood in was milky white from the mineral deposits at the spring's banks. Too bad there weren't any springs like this in Tabantha, or if there were, she hadn't found them and mapped them yet.</p>

      <p>"I never thought I would have clean skin again," Hazel happily said to the wall. The spring was situated under an overhanging of a cliff, and so her voice bounced off the slick rock walls like it was playing a game of hide and seek. She passed her fingers over the surface of the water to dissipate the tracks of dirt and grime that washed off of her.</p>

      <p>"I am starting to feel like a proper Pride of the Rito again," Revali said from the other side of the makeshift wall. Despite telling herself not to, Hazel still imagined Revali in the water next to her. Would he bathe like a Hylian or a bird? There was a lack of splashing, so she assumed he sat in the water like she did.</p>

      <p>"Hmph, when were you not?"</p>

      <p>"When I was a pathetic hatchling," came an unexpected reply. Hazel sat up in the spring, staring at a knot in the wooden wall like she would have stared at Revali's face. There was a slight watery movement on Revali's side. "Never mind that. How about you? When did you want to make your silly map?" She could hear him move over to the bank of his spring and imagined him resting his head on his feathered hands, waiting for her to answer. Despite traveling with Revali for so long, they never did go into her heritage. Or his for that matter.</p>

      <p>"I came from a family of blacksmiths. Mom took care of the shop up in Tabantha Village. Our house was right on the top of the settlement, and there I'd help her mold and cool the metals used for creating swords, arrow tips, and staffs. She is the best smith I know, and that's not just because she's my Mom. Sometimes, we would take our wares to the Castle Town of Hyrule, and we would let knights test out our weapons against the King's very own smith. Mom's always won."</p>

      <p>"If she was that good, then I can't imagine the King letting her leave that easily."</p>

      <p>"True. King Rhoam did offer her a position as his Royal smith, but she turned him down." Hazel saw in her mind her mother in front of her, tall and strong, kneeling at the King's feet shaking her head with tears in her mother's emerald eyes.</p>

      <p>"Why in the world would she do that? A Royal smith is nothing to sniff at." That meant a lot from Revali. Hazel smacked the water with her palm.</p>

      <p>"Well, my Dad is a treasure hunter." Hazel shrugged. The hot water lapped at her chest, and she sunk further down so the water stopped at her chin. "He counted on my Mom to be at Tabantha. That's where they called home. Albeit, Dad never had a steady flow of income, so he'd only come home when he had enough to make up for being gone. That meant me barely seeing him."</p>

      <p>"Father's are indeed an interesting breed of creature," Revali scoffed.</p>

      <p>"Hmn? Why's that?"</p>

      <p>"My mother died when I was but a hatchling," Revali croaked. He cleared his throat, paused as if he was berating himself for actually deciding to continue, and spoke. "Father did not take her passing, uh, well." Hazel could see the Rito shaking his head from a small crack in the wooden wall. "In my little head, I thought that if I made him proud, he would feel better or at the very least remember that he had a son."</p>

      <p>"I trained day after day at a makeshift archery range until I could no longer stand or fly. I'd let loose arrow after arrow after arrow until my wings accumulated so many blood feathers, I'd have to let the medics cut them off. When I was not missing half of my feathers I'd fly against the wind currents near Rito Village. I'd keep flying until I wearied or until I was flung from the sky and thrown into the cold waters below. I almost died from cold sickness from a few of those stunts," Revali laughed. His voice caught.</p>

      <p>"Father would find me in the early mornings when the skies bled out the stars and moon, leaving a raw, wounded pink behind. He'd stare at me and the pitiful progress I made and say…he'd say nothing. Nothing at all."</p>

      <p>Chills pricked at Hazel's skin. The hot springs did nothing to abate the ice in her belly and the little hairs rising on the back of her neck.</p>

      <p>"I'm so sorry," she whispered.</p>

      <p>"There's no need for pity. I'm not telling you this for hurt words. Actually, I don't understand why I'm telling you this at all. Only, if it weren't for his stern attitude, I wouldn't be where I am today."</p>

      <p>"What happened to your father?"</p>

      <p>"He died fighting an Ice Talos. His wing was hit by the monster's powerful rock projectiles, and there wasn't much he could do after that."</p>

      <p>"Revali…"</p>

      <p>"Anyway, that was right when Kaneli became the Rito leader. He took me in. I believe the only reason why he showered me with an overload of praise for any mundane action I took was because he saw how my father treated me. Kaneli, my poor mentor, needn't have worried."</p>

      <p>"Why?"</p>

      <p>"Because I was born with unnaturally fantastic talent, of course! I already know I am supremely elevated above all others," Revali trilled with his usual prideful gusto. He was very close to sounding like his usual self, but Hazel could tell it was forced.</p>

      <p>"I shouldn't have asked." Hazel sunk into the hot water and made bubbles by blowing raspberries. What Revali told her made a certain kind of sense. Why he told her was another matter altogether. The Rito was the definition of pride. To open up like this meant he trusted her implicitly. She held a hand to her chest and felt the thrill of a thundering heart beat. She wished that there wasn't a wall in between them. Revali broke the silence.</p>

      <p>"So, I'm guessing you're an only hatchling?"</p>

      <p>Changing the subject, huh? Alright, she could deal with that.</p>

      <p>"Oh, no! My younger brother traveled to the Sheikah village to become a scholar. He comes home every month bringing back stories and odd gadgets. He even dresses like them now. And my sister got married to a nice man in Hetano. I'm an aunt of two baby boys. Though I guess they'd be toddlers by now."</p>

      <p>"You're very proud of your family." Was there a slight touch of bitterness there? No. No, that was longing lacing Revali's tone. Hazel closed her eyes and opened her mouth.</p>

      <p>"I wanted to make a map because…my family already accomplished what they set out for. My mom, dad, brother, even my sister, they all shine so bright. I know I'm no fighter. Without you with me I'd probably be dead by now. I thought that if I could do something to help a hero who could fight, something that only I could do, then I would be, umm, worth something." She almost choked from saying it, but she said it anyway. No one had heard this out loud before. Even her.</p>

      <p>"Anyway, after being with you the past half year I want to do this map for completely different reasons now. I want to keep safe all of the people and creatures and families we've seen so far. Urbosa, the Gerudo, the Rito and Kaneli, Daruk and his friends, the villagers of Tabantha, all of the villages in-between. These random monster attacks are getting out of control. It's clear that something big is coming. Something that would be a calamity to us all. Hyrule needs a hero. That hero will need a map."</p>

      <p>"I can be that hero if you'd like. I can protect all of Hyrule with one wing behind my back."</p>

      <p>"Then I would love for you to be the one to accept my map."</p>

      <p>They chatted about mundane occurrences after that. What they had unexpectedly both delved into was too much for either of them to properly handle. Especially while naked in a hot spring and unable to see one another. So they spoke of the glowing red dragon they witnessed a few month ago, throwing around ideas of what the beast could have been. Revali revealed his plans to craft a superior bow that would rival even the falcon bow. Hazel talked about her childhood dog and how she was faring now. Their mundane subject continued even after they completely cleaned off and dressed. They then sat on the rocks, watching as a few sparrows flittered by.</p>

      <p>The sounds reminiscent of a scuffle rose up to Hazel's ears from far below the cliffs. She cupped her ear, poked a finger inside to clear the rest of the water out, and listened again. Yes, that was surely the sound of a sword being unsheathed and clanging against an opposing force.</p>

      <p>"Listen. I think someone might be in trouble," Hazel said. She fumbled in her pack for the scimitar and bow.</p>

      <p>"You battle a molduga and a talus just one time and suddenly you can't seem to have enough of monsters and their blood," Revali huffed. His navy blue feathers were now glossy and clean, and his green eyes were sharp as though ready for the proposed danger.</p>

      <p>"Stop being dramatic," Hazel said and then paused. "Actually, yeah, if you help me, then you can show off your excellent archery skills to the person we save."</p>

      <p>"When you put it that way, I suppose the world does need to know more of the Pride of the Rito. Come on then, up up!" Revali picked up his bow and quiver. He placed a wing to the small of Hazel's back, pushing her over to the cliff's edge so they both could gage the situation.</p>

      <p>They needn't have worried.</p>

      <p>Yes, there was a gang of blue bokoblins and three black moblins surrounding a lone figure, but instead of triumphant expressions on their faces, they wore masks of fear and desperation. They were battling for their lives. The figure, a boy with sunshine hair, sky blue eyes, and the tunic of an apprentice knight, swung his sharpened sword as if the weapon was another arm. The young man dodged the club a bokoblin hurled at him, twirled, and cut the monster's ankles. The bokoblin fell as another jumped ahead of its comrade brandishing a spear. The swordsman side stepped the spear in time for the enemy behind him to receive the skewering he would have taken if he had stayed still. While in the middle of this move, the youth kicked in a moblin's knee, toppling the creature over. This battle would not last long with such a skilled knight!</p>

      <p>"Oh wow! Look at him go!" Hazel leaned over, trying to gain a better view of the fit young man and the enemies his slew. A tan boulder rolled down the side of the mountain, and Hazel pointed. "Look, here comes Daruk." The Goron leader gaped at the circle of dead monsters piled around the knight. The knight sheathed his sword with a click.</p>

      <p>"Do you fancy him?" Revailed asked. Hazel blinked.</p>

      <p>"What? You mean Daruk?"</p>

      <p>"No! I mean that boy there." The Rito impatiently waved at the knight. The youth was calmly listening to Daruk's fanboying banter with his hands resting on his slender hips.</p>

      <p>"Revali, he's too young for me. I must be at least ten years his senior." Hazel rolled her turquoise eyes. Honestly.</p>

      <p>"How old are you then?"</p>

      <p>"I'm twenty six. You?"</p>

      <p>"Twenty seven."</p>

      <p>"See? You're a much better fit than the knight down there." She began to sweat. Uh oh. She hadn't meant to say that out loud. Her mouth dried, and she licked her lips to keep them from sealing shut. Hazel cautiously glanced up at Revali, expecting him to be either shocked or annoyed. He was neither.</p>

      <p>"No. No I'm not," he said. His face was stony and cold. All the warmth and kindness she had grown to decipher was completely void from her best friend. "That boy could give you hatchlings. Your anatomy fits. No feathers or beaks." He looked at his feathers a way she'd never seen him do before. He was always proud of his wings and slight frame, but the way he glared at his lovely feathers…"And though I know I am far superior to that child down there, far far more superior mind you, I still find myself loathing him."</p>

      <p>"You've never even spoken to him. I haven't either," was all she could say. Revali's malice was so chilling, she couldn't completely process that this Rito was <i>her</i> Revali.</p>

      <p>"All the more reason to forget him and his handsome Hylian face," he spat.</p>
    • Chapter 5

      Display Spoiler
      <p>"Woah, it's much taller than I thought it'd be," Hazel exclaimed with reverend awe. The structure standing stoically in front of them was constructed on a singular plot of rocky, harsh land where a steep drop to the ground far below served as the citadel's version of a moat. The only way to access the towering building was a sturdy bridge. That and flight. Unfortunately, Revali and Hazel had been traveling on foot for the past week. During a brawl with a massive blue Hinox, the Rito overdid his graceful (more like show off) maneuvers and developed a few blood feathers. He needed to be treated, and Hazel refused to push him any further. Clipping blood feathers was terrifying, and Hazel was not so good with the sight of blood.</p>

      <p>"It is a citadel. They tend to lean towards the extravagant," Revali huffed as he passively waved at the structure. He narrowed his green eyes at the citadel as if the immaculate white and gray stone of the place of worship had personally offered his ancestors. Walking wasn't really Revali's favorite pastime, and so even if he saw Hyrule Castle and all its monarchal glory, he would still rebuff it like it was a hovel.</p>

      <p>Hazel sighed. She liked the were stained glass windows tinted the traditional blue, green, and red in honor of the Triforce and the Goddess Hylia. The tip of the citadel soared high into the low hanging clouds, boasting inspiration and awe through its height rather than its width. If Hazel squinted, she could catch a glimpse of a garden with tress situated on top. Hazel didn't practice the Hylian religion, the worship of the goddesses, but she could still appreciate the stark elegance and architectural ingenuity of their religious buildings. Maybe the Hyrule Cathedral would be just as breath taking?</p>

      <p>"I hope they let us stay up at the top. That way I'd get a view and you'd get a rest." A win-win situation. Although Hazel had bountiful chances to catalogue the wildlife in Akkala during their week on foot, she was having trouble with accurately penning her map. After so long together, Hazel realized that she had grown to depend on Revali more than what she had originally intended. Not just for flight, either.</p>

      <p>After the Hot Springs Incident (that's what she secretly called the time where Revali almost ripped off a Hylian knight's head) the two had gone back and stayed with Daruk for a good month. They made friends, like Gordon the Goron who loved selling gems, but nothing could scatter the angry clouds surrounding Revali. The first half of the month had been tense. No matter what Hazel tried to cheer her companion, he only sulked or isolated himself on a cliff to throw himself into training. His failed attempts at conjuring wind currents only frustrated him further.</p>

      <p>During the times when the Rito was away Hazel noted that she missed Revali. She wanted to joke with him or press his buttons enough for the Rito to snap and puff out his blue feathers or even engage in a fight with some moblins back to back and in sync. As silly and as cliché as it sounded, her heart hurt and it only hurt because she knew Revali was in pain. She wanted to help, but couldn't think of anything to do for him. Eventually, Revali came back to his usual snarky self although Hazel had not forgotten how her chest ached those absent, lonely nights on Death Mountain.</p>

      <p>"I never need a rest. In fact, towing you around on your every whim has strengthened my endurance." Revali stepped onto the wooden planks of the bridge. Hazel followed, barely taking measure of the steep drop to the hard ground below spiked with point rocks. After flying hundreds of feet in the air one does not scare easily from heights.</p>

      <p>"I don't know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult," she mumbled.</p>

      <p>"Both? I don't know. Hylians are so sensitive." Revali waved his feathered fingers in the air as if he was shooing away dust. Hazel poked Revali's side and he yelped. Her secret weapon of choice; tickling.</p>

      <p>The two were greeted at the citadel's massive entrance by three guards. Hazel explained their situation, and soon the travelers were assigned two guest rooms with full access to the citadel library and the gardens on the top level. They were not allowed into the soldier's barracks, which was reasonable enough. There was an area dedicated to the worship of Hylia, her solid stone statue set in the middle of the citadel with a shaft of light making her glow. Rows of wooden benches surrounded the goddess, and a few guards sat reading a scripture of the three goddesses.</p>

      <p>There was no cook to prepare their meals. Hazel shrugged and offered to help make dinner for anyone willing to eat her food. After one night of her meal of salted meat, hot buttered apples, and creamy vegetable soup, the residents of the citadel and the two travelers became fast friends. Their stay was calm and peaceful for the next two weeks. By then, Revali had fully healed and was growing restless.</p>

      <p>"What in the world are you doing, little Hylian?" The Rito chimed when he saw Hazel curled up in a fluffy gray armchair in the library. There were shelves crammed with books reaching up to the very ceiling. Hylians used the rolling ladder to reach the tomes at the top. The musty scent of inked paper and awaiting knowledge saturated the tiny sitting area. Bright rays of the outside sun burst through the tinted windows, lighting the maps scattered around Hazel.</p>

      <p>"I needed a break from maps" She rolled her eyes when Revali acted shocked, lifting his hand to his forehead and gasping. "Yeah, yeah. Anyway, there's a lot of lore here about Hyrule's history." She held up the dusty edition of <i>The Compendium of the People's of Hyrule</i>.</p>

      <p>"You're going to tell me what you're reading, aren't you?" Revali deadpanned.</p>

      <p>"Well, if you don't want to listen, then don't initiate a conversation." Hazel twirled a gloved finger in the air.</p>

      <p>"True enough." Revali searched for a seat, settling on a lavish red velvet arm chair. Of course he would. "Alright. There's nothing else to do here except whither away anyway." Hazel ignored him and his jab. Never coop up a Rito.</p>

      <p>"According to this tome, the Goddess Hylia sent a colony of Hylians up to live in the sky. Apparently they were in too much danger if they were left to live on the surface. She had just sealed away the Demon King called Demise, and the Hylians as they were, were too weak to fight off the remnants Demise left behind."</p>

      <p>"That's no surprise," Revali sniffed.</p>

      <p>"Excuse me, Rito. <i>I'm</i> a Hylian." She glared at Revali over the tattered pages of her book. The Rito, despite his ego, gulped.</p>

      <p>"Alright, alright. Continue."</p>

      <p>"While the Goddess tried to formulate a plan to use a hero to follow her divine instructions, the Hylian colony took refuge in the sky for 1,000 years."</p>

      <p>"How did they manage that? Wouldn't their blood fail due to the bottleneck effect? Everyone knows that if you inbreed, there will be a tipping point where the species will not, and should not mind you, continue."</p>

      <p>"Umm, well-"</p>

      <p>"And how would they have a steady supply of fresh water? They couldn't have relied solely on rainwater. Where would they get their food? There's only so many birds in the sky. And if they planted crops, the soil would certainly lose all of its nutrients if they could not rotate the produce. They'd die from malnutrition."</p>

      <p>"Err, you see-"</p>

      <p>"Not to mention, how would they travel back down to the surface? Don't tell me they threw themselves off of the floating land mass with a silly piece of cloth and managed to safely land on the ground below?"</p>

      <p>"Heck if I know! I'm not Hylia. I'm just saying it how I'm reading it." She rolled a quill between her fingers, pondering. "To be honest, Hylia probably blessed that land and its people to avoid the troubles you mentioned."</p>

      <p>"So, magic. We're not questioning things because, all well, magic?"</p>

      <p>The subtle creaking of the library door echoed throughout the library, bouncing off of the books' bindings.</p>

      <p>"Says the big talking bird," Hazel muttered.</p>

      <p>"What was that?" Revali's voice cracked.</p>

      <p>"I said, what was that I heard?" They both turned in their spots, watching as a new arrival stumble into the reading area. He looked like a Sheikah designated to the strict research field. He wore a heavy cream tunic laced with red Sheikah designs over a tight black skin suit and straw sandals. The youth was well built and slight, perfect to sneak around undetected. He had meant for them to hear his entrance as to not startle them from their conversation.</p>

      <p>"Oh, excuse me. I didn't know anyone was here. Pardon," he said in a lilting tenor. Not very likely. The kid knew alright. The Sheikah was curious and had walked in on purpose. Hazel studied the youth further. No. He wasn't a Sheikah. Although his hair was pulled into a tight bun on the back of his skull, his hair was dirty blonde and not white. Where there should be dark brown, hazel, or red irises, she was met with the sharp sting of silver blue. His nose was long and rounded at the tip. There was a light brown mole on his chin. And the way he held himself, like he could bolt at any moment, was familiar. She blinked and almost hyperventilated from excitement.</p>

      <p>"Wait! Oh! Is that you, Teal?"</p>

      <p>"Hazel?!" The youth also took stock of her. Had she really changed that much for her own younger brother to take pause? No matter. They had finally reunited. Leaving her history book behind, she jumped from her seat and crashed into her brother's lithe body. To her surprise, he hugged her so hard that he actually picked her up from the ground. Her feet dangled uselessly, and they both laughed. Revali calmly watched the reunion from his red velvet chair. Suddenly guilty, Hazel jumped out of Teal's arms. Revali had no family to cling to and engage with, and though she wouldn't let that dampen her reunion with her brother, she reminded herself to be more conscious.</p>

      <p>"When I visited Mom, she told me that you'd gone out to adventure like Dad, but I didn't believe her," Teal exclaimed. He scanned her over. Her worn traveling tunic. The tear in her pants from a bokoblin attack. The scimitar gleaming at her hip. Her poor excuses for boots. He even glanced at Revali. The Rito's first set of clothes from long ago had to be replaced. He now wore a leather tunic and a tanned kilt—a fact he lamented about every moment he could spare.</p>

      <p>"Because I'm not one to go out adventuring?" Hazel wondered. Her brother shook his head.</p>

      <p>"No. You've always had wanderlust. I didn't believe the <i>treasure</i> part. You're more likely to be on a noble quest." Hazel scratched the back of her head, blushing. Her brother knew her well. "Ha! I knew it! Are you doing the map thing? How much have you finished? Did Mom freak out when you left? Does Kriss know?" Hazel opened her mouth to answer. Revali got up and sauntered over to her side.</p>

      <p>"How can you tell we haven't been diving headfirst into gems?" The Rito asked. He was genuinely curious, and for that, Hazel was grateful his usual sarcasm was dormant. Sometimes, others misinterpreted what Revali said or why he said his words. For some reason, she really wanted her brother to approve of Revali, and she likewise wanted Revali to like her brother. Teal straightened and shrugged, a habit he picked off from her when he was younger.</p>

      <p>"You both look travel worn."</p>

      <p>"Geh," Revali flinched. He flicked at the shoulder of his tunic in disgust. "I have been less than well groomed as of late, and now it <i>shows</i>. How uncouth."</p>

      <p>"What you're doing will help many people. I could care less what you look like." Teal shrugged again and smiled his usual lopsided smile. His silver blue eyes flashed.</p>

      <p>"Well, I care what I look like. What if a traveling bard eyes me while I'm slaying a Hinox and all his lyrics consist of is <i>And lo, in rags and dirt of the land/ the pride of the Rito got his clothes secondhand</i>." Did he actually sing that last part? Wow. That was unexpectedly—chillingly beautiful. Hazel rubbed her hands together nervously. Teal chuckled.</p>

      <p>"Have you two heard, then? There's to be a carnival at the Parade Grounds tonight. Peoples from all over Hyrule should be there selling their wares. I'm sure a Rito stand would be present."</p>

      <p>"Splendid! Thank you for your information, er, taller Hylian." Revali was not wrong. Teal was a few inches taller than Hazel now. She recalled when he was just a tiny little baby in her arms.</p>

      <p>"Eh, Teal," Hazel began just now realizing that she had not introduced the two, "This is my travel companion, Revali. He's been helping me make a map of Hyrule." Teal bowed his head, still all smiles. That's just the type of person he was. Happy. Hazel tapped Revali's arm. "Revali. This is my younger brother, Teal. He's the one studying under the Sheikah."</p>

      <p>"It is a pleasure to meet the flock mate of little Hazel. However, she did seem to omit a major aspect of my personage," Revali said in his best, dramatic turn.</p>

      <p>"Here he goes…" Hazel mouthed to Teal. Her brother's eyes merrily widened, as if heartily ready for a joke.</p>

      <p>"I am the Pride of the Rito! The best archer, the best aerial maneuverer, and silver tongued! I do not do autographs because I am not the one who carries the quills and paper."</p>

      <p>"And humble," Teal laughed like the chiming of the citadel's bells. "I'm glad to have met you, Mr. Revali." They nodded again to one another. Teal turned to face his sister. "So, will you go to the carnival?"</p>

      <p>"Will <i>you</i>?" Hazel teased.</p>

      <p>"I've been assigned by my mentor to go. I'm to meet with a Zora here and he will guide me to their Domain. There are a few old Sheikah shrines my mentor wants me to investigate. Her name is Purah. If you come to Hyrule Castle, I bet you two would make fast friends. Especially Impa. She's…" Teal gulped and changed the subject. "Oh, and they've found something ancient-as in 10,000 years old! It's small and can fit in your hands, and yet there's so much you can do with it! They haven't figured out what to name it yet, but the Princess can use that item with your map."</p>

      <p>"Woah! The Princess herself?"</p>

      <p>"Do not get her started," Revali told Teal. Teal only grinned from ear to ear. "I, for one, am in sore need of authentic Rito clothing. I foresee a carnival in my future."</p>

      <p>"I'll go, too. I need more arrows, and I want to spend more time with you, Teal."</p>

      <p>The three left the citadel, hoping to arrive at the Parade Grounds before the crowd truly began to choke the land. There were already brightly colored tents all shades resembling the shades an aurora being set up when they arrived. A large makeshift stage had been built at the back of the tents, and a few of the workers were touching up the structure with bright blue ribbons and fake green rupees. There were Hylians preparing their food and games stalls, sweating over cook fires and sparkling marbles. A Goron waved at Hazel and Revali from his stand selling a multitude of gems. You'd think that that pretty stones would be a delicacy for Gorons, they sure enough look delicious, but gems jut weren't for their taste buds. Hazel waved back at the Goron. That was Gordon! He became a fast friend when they stayed at Goron City. A couple Zora arranged fish on blocks of ice while another poked stakes into a few for carnival goers to roast over a flame. Teal nudged Hazel.</p>

      <p>"I see who I came to talk to over at the Zora tent. Meet up with you later."</p>

      <p>"Alright." Hazel watched her brother navigate the crowd with ease. Although he entered the tribe to become a scholar, it was obvious that the Sheikah taught him the proper way to move with the natural flow with practiced grace. She was too busy feeling her sisterly pride and so she ran into Revali's back.</p>

      <p>"I think I see a familiar face," Revali told her. He was unfazed by her clumsy run in. His focus was on a stall marked with the Rito signage. The dark colored Rito organizing the stand turned to wipe his face and saw the two coming towards him. He clacked his beak in excitement.</p>

      <p>"Revali! Hazel! It's been too long!"</p>

      <p>"Tomeli?" Hazel exclaimed. She hugged him from habit and he patted her shoulder awkwardly.</p>

      <p>"The one and only."</p>

      <p>"What are you doing here?" Hazel backed away and watched as the two Rito males exchanged a firm nod. Tomeli was still garbed in his guard gear, but there was something about him today that was a little off. As if he was expecting to be jumped at any moment. Did he not do well in crowds? She could see his golden eyes picking through the surrounding faces, and the back of his ebony feathered neck stood up. She'd been with Revali long enough to understand when a Rito was on edge.</p>

      <p>"My wife is a vendor at this carnival. Her wares consist of the finest of elemental bolts and high quality leather. I'm her escort. Her's and the dancers for the Rito's slot in the carnival." He gave Revali a nervous grin. Revali clapped his friend on the back, a little too similar to Daruk's famous smacks, and clacked his bill.</p>

      <p>"As well as you should! You are one of the best guards in Tabantha! I trust you to protect those fine dancers so that they may blow away the audience with the brilliance of the Rito clan!"</p>

      <p>"Will do, sir!" And then Tomeli sighed. "If the dances ever get here that is. If they don't, then I have to be the one to dance." He grumbled under his breath, "I hate dancing."</p>

      <p>The day stretched and yawned, taking its time for the sun to set. More people arrived and gawked at the plentiful stalls and their keepers yelling at them to buy the best hydro melons they would taste and authentic pieces of technology from the past. Hazel and Revali tag teamed and naturally worked off one another. When Hazel wanted to go to a stall to taste freshly roasted acorns dipped in sugar and spices, Revali protected her back from the arms and knees of frantic customers. Hazel did the same for Revali when he found a stand offering sleek and deadly throwing knives. He pondered over the amount for ages, leaving Hazel to stare at his new Rito clothing.</p>

      <p>Tomeli sold an emerald green outfit cut almost like Revali's other choice of garb. All parts were dyed green, even the leather, with arrows sewn into the cloth and branded into the leather. Hazel was so used to seeing Revali in reds and browns that the green was almost like a slap to the face. A pleasant slap, though. She huffed and eyed a stand laden with lavish jewelry. Revali wasn't the only one who had changed. Hazel previously slipped into the traditional Gerudo outfit Urbosa gifted her with, albeit without the pretty make up and elaborate hairstyle. Perhaps she could purchase something glittery to add some flare, like a necklace.</p>

      <p>When Revali retreated from the stand, 60 rupees short but with five knives in hand, Hazel pointed out the jewelry stand. They pushed their way through the bustling crowd. Hazel grabbed onto the stand's table, panting. Jeeze. This was worse than fighting that molduga!</p>

      <p>"Hello, baby. What can I get for you?" Asked the elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair behind the stand. Her hair was completely silver and she had kind eyes. She was dressed in a simple white frock with tan pants. The other attendants were probably her grandchildren. They all had the same expressions of warmth. Probably from the coastal village of Lurelin.</p>

      <p>"Hi! I'm looking for…" She was going to ask for their selection of necklaces when something else caught her eye. Two metallic green anklets glowed from a bed of white silk. They were absolutely stunning. "Um, how much are those green anklets?" The older woman peered over the stand and grinned.</p>

      <p>"They are 100 rupees."</p>

      <p>Dang it. Hazel felt around in her pouch, feeling the edges of one purple, two red, and one blue rupee. Not enough. The woman's eyes laughed as she pieced together Hazel's intentions. She motioned for Hazel to come closer so that she may whisper in the younger woman's pointed ear.</p>

      <p>"For you, honey, 70 rupees."</p>

      <p>"What?! You don't have to!"</p>

      <p>"Let me tell you secret. It's called haggling."</p>

      <p>"But <i>I'm</i> the one who has to argue for the price to lower."</p>

      <p>"Who says you didn't? Oh, I'm so old and senile. Whoops. Grandma went and sold the jewelry for cute baby girl again." She winked at Hazel.</p>

      <p>"Alright. But I won't take it unless you accept an offer of a favor from me. Oh, and what's your name?"</p>

      <p>"Baby, I don't need any favors, but maybe my grandson will. His name is Merek."</p>

      <p>"My name is Hazel. Tell Merek that if he needs anything, I'll come help."</p>

      <p>Hazel handed her rupees to the old woman, squeezed her hand, and took the green anklets.</p>

      <p>"That took you a long time, Little Hazel," Revali said just to be his usual impatient self. Hazel elbowed his side.</p>

      <p>"Not as long as your love affair with those throwing knives."</p>

      <p>"It's not an affair," he sniffed, "the knives and I are in a healthy relationship. Judge as you may. I wouldn't expect a Hylian to understand." He elbowed Hazel's side back. Before this devolved into a match of wit, or worse, a playful duel, Hazel took Revali over to an area that was slightly less crowded, the fountain. They sat at its edge, feeling the tiny droplets of water sprinkle their necks. The natural red and brown landscape of Akkala soothed Hazel. She had been raised in a village that face perpetual winter. White, white, and more white. The dark blood red, sun kissed yellow, and vivid orange leaves dazzled her even after so long staying in the land.</p>

      <p>"Here. Take this," Hazel said. She shoved a silk bundle over and onto Revali's lap. He blinked, clearly not expecting to be given anything at all. Jeeze. That was one way to give a gift to someone.</p>

      <p>"What's this?"</p>

      <p>"Maybe you should open it instead of asking?"</p>

      <p>"Merciful Medli, my worst nightmare."</p>

      <p>"What?"</p>

      <p>"I've created another me. The world can only stand one of me at the multitude of my brilliance."</p>

      <p>"Goddesses! Just open it!"</p>

      <p>"Fine, fine." Revali swept away the packing, pulling out the two ankles. Like birds often tended to do, whether it was a sparrow or a Rito, Revali cocked his head to one side and another, observing how the anklets sparkled. He unknowingly clacked his beak, waving the items from one side to another.</p>

      <p>"Do you like them?"</p>

      <p>"You got these for me? Truly?"</p>

      <p>"I thought they'd go well with your new clothes." Goddesses, was she blushing? This was meant to be a friendly gesture, but somehow it had been warped into something that was new territory for her. Yes, she had crushes here and there back at her mother's smithing house. Young men and women caught her attention from time to time, but she'd known that her attraction was wholly based on their physical features. With Revali... Alright, yes, he was handsome. She'd known that the very moment he flew out of nowhere and charmingly said her quest was worthless. Yet this odd feeling was something that went beyond good looks. While Hazel was engaged in her inner turmoil, Revali slipped the anklets on. They fit perfectly. Almost like they were made just for him.</p>

      <p>"Thank you Hazel," Revali said. His voice was low. His green eyes mirroring the same churning she felt. He knew it, too. Oh Goddesses.</p>

      <p>"Guys!" Called a familiar voice. The two jumped up and from the fountain as if they were children caught making off with a mighty banana cream pie. Teal popped out from the crowd, his silver blue irises wild. "Your friend Tomeli has been attacked!"</p>

      <p>"What?!" Hazel and Revali yelped. Hazel looked around her and for the first time noticed how agitated and panicked the crowd seemed. There was fear permeating the carnival, and what had they done? Ogled at each other. How heroic. Hazel pinched her arm, one part to admonish herself, and the other to awaken her senses.</p>

      <p>"Members of the Yiga clan jumped him and stole his wife's supply of arrows!" Teal said Yiga like one would say 'I have an infected boil on my arse.' The Sheikah scholar ground his teeth in frustration. The Yiga were an insane, homicidal bunch that took root from the Sheikah. The fact that they existed seemed to royally piss him off. "A Gerudo woman attempted to stop them, but she got hurt in the process."</p>

      <p>"Does she know where they went?" Revali asked.</p>

      <p>"Follow me. She at your friend's stand right now."</p>

      <p>They hurried over to the stand where Tomeli sat in agitation. The Yiga must have snuck up behind him and cut his ankles, rendering him useless in a fight. A female Rito with plumage the color of Hylian wheat and dressed conservatively for a Rito, bent next to the guard. She must be Tomeli's wife. Another woman spoke with the two Rito. She sported an already swelling soon to be black eye with the other flashing an angry lavender. Her skin was dark, contrasting with her wild berry hued hair. She towered over most in the carnival in her sever Gerudo guard garb.</p>

      <p>"You're the guard from Gerudo Town. I never did get your name," Hazel said. Sure enough, the guard that had been giving Revali a hard time upon entering Gerudo Town was now stewing in her own bottled up rage and incredulity.</p>

      <p>"It's Mertle," she growled. "What a humiliating way for us to meet again."</p>

      <p>"The Yiga are underhanded thieves. No humiliation about it," Teal said. "I'm sorry we didn't get here in time, Mertle."</p>

      <p>"Please, your apologies offend me. If I was in top form, I could have dispatched those imbeciles with the heel of my shoe," Mertle almost roared. Still the same intimidating Mertle.</p>

      <p>"Heartling, please take the elixir Mr. Teal got for you," said Tomeli's wife.</p>

      <p>"Harmony, elixir won't heal these cuts. Only time," Tomeli protested. His wife pinned him down with the famous expression all wives somehow learned that bent anybody's will into scrap metal. "Fine. I'll take it." The big guard tipped his head back and drank the elixir.</p>

      <p>"Do you know where the Yiga went?" Revali asked Mertle. They glared at each other until the Gerudo clicked her tongue. "There were three of the morons. One male and two female. They are still here in disguises. And when I find them first, I'll rip their throats out!" The warrior bared her white teeth like a lynel whose territory had been trespassed upon.</p>

      <p>"We should probably find them first," Hazel whispered to Revali from the side of her mouth.</p>

      <p>"Good plan. Except, what's the plan?" Revali whispered back. He was getting better with those softer decibels.</p>

      <p>"They want weapons," Hazel thought out loud.</p>

      <p>"We should use a stash of weapons as bait," Teal added. Revali and Hazel jumped. How did he sneak up behind them without their knowledge? Wait, no. This was good.</p>

      <p>"Yes! You're right!" Hazel beamed.</p>

      <p>"You have the scheming face on. What is it?" Revali commented.</p>

      <p>"Okay, so we find a stall with the most expensive weapons and patrol it. When the Rito dance starts, the dancers will be as flashy as possible to draw everyone's attention. When the Yiga think the people are distracted-"</p>

      <p>"We'll be the ones sneaking up on them," Teal grinned. They told their little group what they planned.</p>

      <p>"Shouldn't well just tell the Hylian guards? It's their jobs after all," Harmony wondered.</p>

      <p>"Tomeli and Mertle are guards. The Yiga specifically targeted them. They won't be expecting us, however," Teal observed as he gestured to himself, Hazel, and Revali.</p>

      <p>"Master Revali," Tomeli dejectedly said from the ground, "There is one problem. I know I've imposed on you too much today."</p>

      <p>"Think nothing of it, Tomeli. Protecting the citizens of Hyrule is what I do," Revali said, puffing out his feathers proudly.</p>

      <p>"I feel terrible asking you this, but may I ask you a favor?"</p>

      <p>"Yes, my friend?"</p>

      <p>"Could you perform the traditional dance for the carnival? Our dancers have failed to appear. I'm afraid they may have been captured by the Yiga for information on my wife's stall. I was originally going to take part in the dance if the dancers were unable to arrive. That's kind of out of the question now." Tomeli's ego as a guard had been severely bruised. That was plain as day. "My wife and I will play the music, however."</p>

      <p>"Eh, I am a bit rusty. You know, fighting all the monsters that attack this Little Hylian Hazel here," Revali said as kicked out, letting the green anklet catch the dimming light of sunset.</p>

      <p>"But you're our best dancer! I'm sure that if you're the one on stage, you'd be the perfect distraction. I can't think of another replacement otherwise."</p>

      <p>"I didn't know you can dance, Revali," Hazel said. Revali peered over his shoulder at her, indignant.</p>

      <p>"Of course I can dance!"</p>

      <p>"You've never done it before." She drew out her syllables, teasing him.</p>

      <p>"There has been no occasion to do so!"</p>

      <p>"Are you backing down, then?"</p>

      <p>"Little Hazel, I will show you the walking artful masterpiece that is I!" Revali crossed his arms, clearly done with the discussion. "Tomeli, I shall dance tonight!"</p>

      <p>Tomeli, Harmony, Mertle, and Teal all stared at Hazel as if she performed a feat of impossible magic. She shrugged.</p>

      <p>Night claimed the stretch of sky over the Parade Grounds. Deep ebony and violet streaked across the space above like an artist had furiously stroked her brush against a canvas, dipping her paint brush in thick paint, and not bothering to clean the tassels. Flecks of white shone out from the darkness of night with no moon to be seen. Torches lit the perimeter of the grounds revealing the eager faces of patrons from babbling toddlers to the wizened patience of elders. The Zora had already performed a stage play depicting the transcending of Princes Rito from their brave warrior to the brilliant light of a Sage. A few groups of uninterested parties still pursued the outlining stands, and there was still no sign of the Yiga clan attacking the Goron weapon shop the group had convinced Gordon to hold. He possessed arrows, knives, clubs, and swords of every caliber. Mertle, Teal, Tomeli, Revali, and Hazel had rooted around in their possessions and lent their own weapons they could spare for this ruse.</p>

      <p>The Rito slot was up. Hazel took her place right next to the stage. There was a slight incline at its base, and she could see almost as much as Revali from where she waited. A few carnival workers towed a perfectly sanded and lacquered wooden mat that spread all across the surface of the stage. They made sure the mat was steady, heaved two chairs to the stage's corner, and left. Tomeli and Harmony settled in the seats. The crowd was intrigued. What were the Rito going to do? A play? An oration? Maybe they would sing bard's tales.</p>

      <p>Tomeli had changed into a flashy ebony suit embroidered with gold and silver. There were sparkling pieces of gems methodically sewn into the soft fabric. The slightest of movement set his outfit ablaze with glittering motion. Harmony's clothing was of a female cut, dyed a humble peach, with actual rubies emblazoned into her collar. What a perfect way to draw the crowd's attention entirely on the stage. Harmony hefted an old sitar while Tomeli positioned a drum, well oiled, between his legs. Hazel saw Teal shift into the crowd, completely disappearing from view. Mertle put herself in full display, acting as though she was enraptured by the Rito to fool any Yiga that she was no longer interested in their fight. They couldn't be more wrong.</p>

      <p>Revali got onto the stage. Hazel almost staggered, completely forgetting about their mission for a brief second. He was still wearing his green Rito tunic, but someone must have added a few emeralds to his collar and waist, slipping a few leather belts around his arms and calves. There was just something about random belts with no use that, if done correctly, made the wearer irresistible. Tomeli began a steady drum beat; <i>tap-tap-te-tap-tap</i>. Some workers set luminescent stones around Tomeli and Harmony's chairs, letting them absorb everyone's attention first. Harmony breathed and then plucked a tune at first so kind, so sweet that tears immediately threatened to pour from Hazel's eyes. She sniffed. Now wasn't the time. Fortunately, Harmony's tune transformed into an upbeat jig. Tomeli matched her sprint from somber to lively with ease. Even Hazel felt her foot tap along with the beat.</p>

      <p>More luminescent stones rolled onto the stage, illuminating Revali. He spread his wings, displaying every neat feather, and positioned his clawed feet so that his left pointed out and his right knee was bent. His shoulders were level to the ground and did not once move. The music swelled and Revali moved. He danced by bouncing one foot from the front and to the back of his center of gravity. His hips swayed, moving back and forth. His clawed feet tapped at the wooden mat creating a second drumbeat to Harmony's song. Revali sifted through different rhythms of taps, dancing around in a circle, and clapping his feathered hands. Hazel was mesmerized. When Revali said he could dance, she didn't imagine him being this good.</p>

      <p>Snapping out of her temporary reverie, Hazel searched the crowd. Dang. There were still people occupied at a few stands. Gordon nervously nodded at Hazel, and she grimaced. They had to do something more flashy. More attention grabbing. They had to make the Yiga feel brazen from the lack of eyes upon them. Revali must have thought the same because, all while dancing, he picked Hazel from the front of the stage and called out to her.</p>

      <p>"Dance with me!"</p>

      <p>"Eh?"</p>

      <p>"Dance with me, and we'll show them the best spectacle they'll see in this entire parade of theirs!" Revali held out his hand. Oh Goddesses. The crowd was eating this up. Some of them yelled out; do it! Just do it!</p>

      <p>"But, I don't know how to dance. Not like you, at least," Hazel hissed.</p>

      <p>"As corny as this may sound; Just follow my lead and you'll be fine. Besides, being the best, I require only the best company."</p>

      <p>A chill trickled down her back. Why did he have to be so charming sometimes? And cute. And handsome. Just. Just why? Hazel shook her head and took Revali's hand. He pulled her entire body up with only one arm, and she landed onto the wooden mat with a thump. Her Gerudo shoes tapped.</p>

      <p>"Alright, follow this." Revali danced. <i>Clack-a-ta-clack-a-ta-ta-ta-clack.</i></p>

      <p>"Er." Hazel figured out where her feet were. Sweat trickled at her brow. <i>Clack-a-ta-clack-a-ta-ta-ta-clack.</i></p>

      <p>"Good! Now!" <i>Tapa-ta-tapa-ta-clack-clack-clack..</i></p>

      <p>
      <i>Tapa-ta-tapa-ta-clack-clack-clack.</i>
      </p>

      <p>
      <i>Clack-clack-tapata-clack.</i>
      </p>

      <p>
      <i>Clack-clack-tapata-clack.</i>
      </p>

      <p>Hazel matched each move Revali threw at her until they began to dance in tandem in a line. She still had to stare at her feet as to not stumble and fly from the stage, but she could keep up with Revali all the same. He observed her from the corner of his green eyes as she did the same to him. They were both grinning like maniacs, lost in their taxing dance. The onlookers clapped along with the jig, completely invested. Hazel heard the song's finale being strummed by Harmony. She glanced at the crowd. All of the attendees, each and every one of them, were all staring up at her and Revali in utter awe. They'd done it! Jeesh, they really did do it. Was now a good time to have stage fright? Sure enough, a yelp came from the stand belonging to Gordon. Three Yiga clan members in full red attire with creepy white masks had charged the poor Goron man. They fell right into the rag tag group's clutches.</p>

      <p>Before she could signal to Revali, a flash from the crowd burst free from the bewitched onlookers. He wore the Sheikah sneak suit dyed completely black with a mask and shoulder pads. With astonishing speed, he cartwheeled, performed a round off, and sprung. He jumped high enough to capture one Yiga member's neck with his inner thighs. Using the momentum of that jump, the Sheikah warrior flipped the Yiga man through the air to land solidly on his back. The Yiga man was either knocked out or wouldn't be able to catch his breath for a while. The Sheikah immediately stood, dancing with ease out of a windcleaver's windy pathway. Hazel squinted. That was no random Sheikah. That was Teal! Since when did he become so talented at taking down opponents?</p>

      <p>Teal vanished in a cloud of white smoke only to reappear behind his opponent, her blade still drawn in mid swing. He punched the Yiga's women jaw, and a fine spray of red dripped from under the woman's mask. She, too, fell to the ground. That left just one more member. Teal whipped his head around, failing to locate the final offender. Then his silver blue eyes widened. He yelled something out, but Hazel already knew. So did Revali.</p>

      <p>The Rito pulled Hazel onto his back, abandoning their dance, and leapt from the stage. The crowd oo'd and ah'd, thinking that this was all part of the show. Their hungry gazes watched as Revali soared on what little winds Akkala produced until he dropped to the ground. They were on the outskirts of the carnival now. A lone figure was attempting to bolt into a dense thicket of bushes. Revali sniffed and yanked out his new pretty throwing knives. Hazel had to slow the assailant down. She used her own agility, albeit not as fast as he brother had been, and caught up with the frightened Yiga member. She kicked out, catching the woman behind her kneecaps. The woman screeched as she tumbled into a tree. Revali used this opportunity to throw his knives. Each of his three knives sank deep into the tree's soft wood, capturing the red cloth scarf the Yiga member wore. She gasped and then screamed, unable to move.</p>

      <p>The crowd cheered.</p><p>Revali and Hazel turned around, stunned. They looked at one another, smiled, and then bowed to their audience.</p>

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Memeke89 ().

    • Chapter 6

      Display Spoiler
      <p>The Yiga had previously set fire to the wooden bridge leading to the citadel and left the smoking remains of charred, heady wood behind. Revali rolled his green eyes and crossed his feathered arms. That would most definitely explain why there was a startling lack of authority in that poor excuse for a carnival. He watched as a dark emerald Zora, the one that Teal was assigned to meet with, charged up to the smoldering heaps of wood and called out to the guards on the citadel's plot of land.</p>

      <p>"That's what you get when you build a wooden bridge!" She yelled. Her voice was deep, almost as deep as a Gerudo's. Her tail fin reached down to her mid back, and she rivaled Mertle in her height. Cunning blue eyes narrowed at the properly chastised guards. "You silly people and you're attempts at elegance. When will you learn that a structure can be both heart wrenchingly beautiful and sturdy? Just like my Zora's Domain." She smacked a green hand to her forehead as if she could no longer deal with so many morons at once. "Anyway, I shall have a new bridge plan drawn up for you before I leave."</p>

      <p>In other words, no bridge translated to Revali and Harmony needing to haul the Yiga prisoners, Teal, Mertle, an injured Tomeli, and Hazel over to the citadel's holding cells. Revali sighed. At least there was no need to haul the Goron (what was his name again-right-Gordon) to the citadel. Gordon would somehow roll and fling himself over or something like that. Gorons were a vivacious lot, and who was Revali to stop the creature?</p>

      <p>"What are you huffing and sighing about?" Hazel bumped Revali's side with her shoulder.</p>

      <p>"If you must know—" Revali's wanted to say that he was thinking about how wonderful it was to dance with her. About how the rush of jubilant emotions that flushed his system were new, pleasant, and yet frightening. He wanted to let everything he thought and felt and needed to understand to somehow form into cohesive sentences and be delivered straight to her. Preferably by mail. Instead, he said this: "I was thinking about how you need to improve your footwork if you were to ever catch up with my skills on the dance floor."</p>

      <p>And there you go, Revali. How to offend your traveling partner in one sentence or less.</p>

      <p>"There's no way I can dance up to your level," Hazel chuckled. "I hate to admit it, but you're a fantastic dancer."</p>

      <p>Oh, well, I guess it worked anyway. Brilliant.</p>

      <p>Revali felt his feathers puff with pride and hurriedly smoothed them back down. Before he could open his big mouth and insert his equally as big foot inside, he switched direction and walked over to where Teal and Mertle held mercilessly onto the Yiga exhausted prisoners. Revali and Harmony took turns in flying friends and foe over to the citadel. When they herded the Yiga over to the soldier's barracks and into an interrogation facility, the deep night had already melted into the dregs of a clear early morning. The rag tag group were downright weary from keeping guard over the Yiga as the Royal Knights attempted to keep order with civilians. Thanks to Teal's borrowed authority from Purah and by connection the Princess of Hyrule, their group was able to take control over the Yiga questioning, much to the Royal Knights' relief.</p>

      <p>The Yiga Clan members were now unmasked. Their red and black sneak suits were tattered beyond repair. They sat in wooden chairs with their arms tied behind their backs. The woman Teal had kicked under her chin was pretty. There were flecks of dried blood on her sported a few freckles, lake blue eyes, and dark black hair that feathered around her ears. Her feet barely touched the stone floor. She wasn't quite a woman yet. More of a hatchling than a fully grown adult. The man and woman on either side of the girl shared the same features. Freckles, black hair, short. They were either her older fledge mates or her parents. In either case, they should have been ashamed of themselves for imposing such dangers upon her. Revali sniffed and inwardly shook his head. How pathetic.</p>

      <p>"Where did you stow away the Rito dancers?" The Gerudo woman, Mertle, spat. Her fists were clenched as if she were barely able to hold back punching the older female in the gut. She, too, deduced the older pair's folly in including the younger woman in their ridiculous vendetta against the Royal Family. To the Gerudo, children were rare and treasured among all else. Each life was revered as a precious gem to be honed and protected. Mertle's shoulders tensed, and Revali saw the faint lines of scars along the woman's dark skinned back. They spoke of an encounter with a lynel. Impressive that she made it out alive. Revali had never seen a lynel for himself, but Kaneli told many stories.</p>

      <p>"You should probably tell her. There was something about ripped out throats the last time she spoke of you gentle peoples," Teal kindly suggested. He still wore the tight black sneak suit he walloped the Yiga in. When Revali looked at the youth, he saw a younger Hazel only taller, more wiry, and someone who could slip a knife between your ribs and smile about it afterwards. Teal was smiling a lopsided grin now. Either he was truly nonchalant about this whole mess, or he would snap and kick some butt.</p>

      <p>"The Great Ganon will rise again," the male Yiga said. He stared at the closed door leading to the exit with blank blue eyes. His face was pleasant but scruffy, and the deep monotone of his voice was unnerving. "The Hero of Time, of Twilight, and the Wind will fail. Our Lord will purge the land of the weak, culling the ones who Hylia favors." Mertle hissed at the man like a pissed off cat. The Yiga only recited more muddled script with the faint torchlight underlining his eerie features.</p>

      <p>We've captured a bunch of yoddles, Revali thought with revulsion.</p>

      <p>"Maybe he doesn't speak I'm-going-to-kick-your-butt-if-you-don't-give-us-proper-information?" Gordon wondered aloud in his deep, rocky growl. He filled the entire left side of the room and his back pack full of gems filled out the rest. How in all of Hyrule did he manage to squeeze his hide inside? Even the Goron's bleached blonde top knot hit the room's ceiling. Some wondered must be left alone, Revali assumed.</p>

      <p>Revali flicked his gaze over to the younger Yiga member. Perhaps he could attempt to talk it out? He stalked up to the young befreckled woman. Somewhere in the back of his head a voice told him that Hazel's freckles were cuter. He rolled his shoulders, dispersing the thought.</p>

      <p>"Let me try speaking with this one," The Rito announced. He posed, allowing the young woman to see all of his blue feathered glory. "Puny Yiga Clan member, tell us where my people are being kept. I order you as the chosen Rito hero. The weight of my words are the weight of my ancestors. The very ancestors who've seen to the demise of all evil, including whoever this Ganon is." He guessed at the last part, but he was attempting to hit her where it hurt. Plus, he assumed his ancestors could very well snuff out a schmuck that would name himself something like Lord Ganon.</p>

      <p>"He will rise and rise and rise, no matter how many times his is struck down, no matter how many lives he must live, the Demon Lord will see to the snuffing out of all the lights in this puny Hyrule Country. No, in the entirety of this Earth," the younger woman said. Her tone resembled that of the man who spoke last. Same milky stare. Same brainwashed attitude. Revali stepped back in line and shrugged.</p>

      <p>"Heh, not even my ancestors did anything."</p>

      <p>Hazel frowned and targeted the older Yiga woman. She strode up to the prisoner and bent so that she was at eye level to the clan member. Revali approved, wondering why he hadn't tried a similar technique. That was Little Hazel for you.</p>

      <p>"Please," She began in a soft, calm murmur. "Those dancers have families to go back to. Children. Wives. Husbands. They did not leave their home expecting to die or even to be hurt. They left believing they would see their loved ones once more. Chances are, they said their goodbyes briefly. Quick. Would you deny their rights to a proper parting?"</p>

      <p>Revali heard a sniff coming from Harmony and Gordon and smirked. Unfortunately, the same heartwarming effect did not reach the older Yiga woman. Hazel had tried to appeal to the woman's sense of motherly or sisterly attachment. Apparently, all three had been scooped clean of those trivial emotions.</p>

      <p>"He shall cleave the countries to his will, taking all who bend to the savage light, and forcing them to their knees. They will be slaves to the superior authority that is our Lord. And when he is finished with our realm, he will bleed into the Twilight, usurping their crown, and breaking the wills of many."</p>

      <p>Alright, there was loopy talk before. But a Twilight Realm? These Yiga are as crazy as a fire keese.</p>

      <p>"I kind of knew that wouldn't work. I had to try, though," Hazel sighed. She slunk back to where Revali stood and unconsciously leaned against him. Did she know she was doing that? Revali blinked and decided not to tell her. They both watched as Teal ran an unsteady hand along his sandy blonde hair, cracked his knuckles, and straightened. He moved over to the Yiga like a cat stalking its prey, and without looking back at his friends, told them in a pained voice.</p>

      <p>"Here. Stand back. I, umm, kind of don't want you to look."</p>

      <p>"Why?" Hazel chirped. Revali recognized Teal's stiff stature. It perfectly mirrored his father's when he had to deal with a particularly ungraceful situation. This would not end prettily.</p>

      <p>"Come on. Let's give the guy some space," Revali said. He pulled Hazel out of the interrogation room followed by Gordon, Harmony, and Tomeli. Mertle refused to leave.</p>

      <p>"I'm staying. This will be utterly delicious," she almost purred. Revali's saw the back of Teal's head nod. The Rito closed the door with a click. For a few moments, the rest of the group hovered awkwardly behind. What else could they do? But then Teal's voice snapped, more like barked, from behind the solid wood door.</p>

      <p>"You Yiga scum! Your Master will be gutted like the gluttonous pig he is!" Hazel's turquoise eyes widened. She surely believed her brother to be an angel. Did she forget that not only were the Sheikah the Royal Family's protectors, but they were also their dogs? Dogs could snap from cuddly to dangerous with one command. Teal's next shout echoed down the staircase. "Where is he now? How come he isn't coming to his faithful servant's aid?" Revali tipped his head. Good question. "To Ganon, you are the scum he will purge. You are weak. Pathetic. Mewling excuses of failed Sheikah!"</p>

      <p>"Wow," they heard Mertle say. What did Teal do to make the battle hardened, lynel surviving, Mertle utter that word? Teal continued, no less forceful.</p>

      <p>"If it cruelty you bow down to, then you should bow down to me, for I can be very, very cruel." Revali was pretty sure everyone shuddered right there. The temperature dropped to Tabanthian levels, and there were panic stricken eyes everywhere. Even Revali feared the extent of Teal's determination. Not like he'd say that out loud. The sentiment would firmly stay snuggled at the back of his thoughts.</p>

      <p>"Your brother may be slightly terrifying," Harmony told Hazel.</p>

      <p>"I wouldn't want to get on his bad side. Do you think he'd like some prime rock roast? You know, as a tribute? I'd rather be in the kid's favor, goro." Gordon looked like he was about to roll into a sturdy Goron ball. Merciful Medli, how would they get him out of the citadel after that?</p>

      <p>"Teal has changed. I don't know what to think about that," Hazel gulped. A few minutes later the door opened. Teal emerged, his face molded back into the calm and collected grin he had first directed Revali with when they met. Mertle came out last. She was beaming as she jerked a thumb at the Sheikah.</p>

      <p>"Now that's a voe right there."</p>

      <p>"Your people are being held in the woods behind East Akkala Stable," Teal said to the Rito peoples. "The Yiga admitted to shooting them with tranquilizing darts. One female broke her wing when she fell from the sky and the male broke both of his legs. They'll be both in a state of malnutrition and dehydration."</p>

      <p>"We should go right away, Harmony," Tomeli said. He wiggled around in Harmony's arms. She glared at him.</p>

      <p>"What about your own injuries? You could barely play your drum, and that was with the elixir."</p>

      <p>"I'll be fine," the Rito guard grunted. He pushed away from his wife, still unsteady on his feet. He cursed, pulled out a tube of elixir, and downed its contents. Apparently, the elixir only dulled the pain, but allowed Tomeli to walk without the assistance of others. "We have to get to them before a wolf or a monster does."</p>

      <p>"We can come with you," Hazel said. She raised her hand as if she wanted to be called on in class. Nope. That wasn't cute at all. Revali folded his arms.</p>

      <p>"I can handle this. Taking care of our dancers and my wife was my duty. I've already failed twice." Tomeli's voiced was charged with dark venom and urgency. Revali understood the guard's struggle. He, too, had felt that need to redeem oneself. He saw Hazel gearing up for another attempt and placed a feathered hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, her turquoise eyes as wide as ancient Sheikah orbs.</p>

      <p>"Let him do it. Nothing is worse than stomping on a Rito's pride," Revali urged.</p>

      <p>"I thought you were just the worst case scenario," Hazel replied.</p>

      <p>"What?!"</p>

      <p>"I said, I'd be fine with letting them go."</p>

      <p>"I don't know why I let you heckle me," Revali muttered.</p>

      <p>"I'll go with you, goro," Gordon volunteered. He must have sensed Hazel's hovering reluctance to let an injured Rito guard and his wife galavant alone to collect two severely injured civilians. Before Tomeli could protest and wave around his hurt honor like a flag, Gordon held up his large hands. "I need to take some gems to the stable master there. I promised him a delivery a while back, goro." Harmony gave her husband a stare that would have killed him if his injuries did not. There was no backing down from that. Tomeli surrendered and agreed to let Gordon tag along.</p>

      <p>"Thank you Gordon," Hazel told the large man. He offered her his goofy Goron grin.</p>

      <p>"I like helping."</p>

      <p>Revali stayed up for the remainder of the morning. He sat on the grassy banks of the garden atop the citadel watching the skies transform from pinks and purples to a light crystal blue. A light breeze blew the braids at his neck, cooling him. The rag tag group had retired after a long night of capturing and interrogating insane cultists who prophesied the end of the world. He saw how Teal reacted to the lunatics' rambling, however. Some of what they babbled triggered that dangerous reaction from an otherwise collected individual. Could this have something to do with the influx of monsters lately?</p>

      <p>When he set out with Hazel three quarters of a year ago, they had to go digging around to find monsters. Now, they popped up everywhere. The once sweet and tentative Hazel had exploded into a warrior. As a matter of fact, he'd improved as well. Maybe there was some merit to Kaneli's words about learning about the outside world after all. That, and he wouldn't have traded the past year for anything. Revali felt a snapping chill in the air and wondered if Hazel was up. It was around the time to see off Tomeli, Harmony, and Gordon anyway.</p>

      <p>"Now, if I was a Hazel, where would I be?" An image of the woman reading a book bathed in an ethereal beam of sunlight, tinted by blues and reds and greens, appeared before him. His heart squeezed for no reason. He'd find her in the library for sure. Revali entered the citadel, passed his chambers, briefly glanced at the tunnel that led to the imprisoned Yiga, and clacked his way to the library entrance. His feathered hand hovered over the handle and paused.</p>

      <p>"You like him, don't you?" Came the voice from the library's door. That was Teal.</p>

      <p>"Like who?" And that was Hazel. He had guessed correctly. Should he open the door now? His feathers twitched. He'd be lying if he said he was not the least bit curious of who Teal was accusing Hazel of liking. Revali scanned the Goddess Statue room for worshippers. No one. Not even the resident Zora priest. The Rito pressed his head to the door.</p>

      <p>"Don't play around. You know I mean Revali." For some reason Revali wasn't breathing. What was Hazel going to say? He resisted the urge to clack his bill.</p>

      <p>"What? No. Of course I don't. He's meant for something great and I'm, well, I'm the one who'll give him a map." There was her nervous laugh. She wasn't telling the truth.</p>

      <p>"Stop being so negative. I can tell he likes you, too."</p>

      <p>"Nope. Tolerates me is more like it," the map maker paused as if recalling something. "Hmn, that felt like dejavu."</p>

      <p>"Hazel, everyone who watched you two on stage knows. The way he looked at you, like you were the Goddess Hylia herself, was unmistakably the face of someone who is smitten ."</p>

      <p>My face looked like that? Actually, what does a smitten face even look like?</p>

      <p>Revali conjured the previous night's dance. Hazel was elegant in her Gerudo outfit, but it wasn't just the added high quality silks that made her more beautiful than the sunrise. In that dance, they played off of one another. They were in tune, and at times, as one. Her long hair swirled around her like magic, and when her light laugh poured from her soft lips, that laughter was for him and no one else. That pale, featherless skin that had once confused him, had then seemed so compelling, so ready to be touched.</p>

      <p>Hazel wanted to prove herself just as much as he did, and all of that hard work would become the form of a map. He'd be the one to use it. And maybe, when the task was done, she would…maybe she could stay. The green anklets suddenly became heavy above Revali's feet. Not that he liked her or anything insanely sappy like that. It was just that she recognized his natural superiority with a bow and wit. That was it.</p>

      <p>"Nonsense." Revali could practically see Hazel wave off Teal's remark.</p>

      <p>"And how you both moved in sync when fighting together."</p>

      <p>"I'm telling you, it's nonsense!" Hazel sighed. "When he was a child, he was hurt. I can tell he's still stung by the past. I'm by no means perfect. I don't know if…I just don't want to hurt him. Or myself."</p>

      <p>Is that what she truly believes? I'm tough. There's no possible avenue taken that you'd hurt me, Hazel.</p>

      <p>"Hazel, I guess there's no way to make an empath unfeel." There was probably a faint sound of Teal scratching his head."I won't force the issue. You do what you feel is right. If it's any consolation, I like him. Despite his haughty, egotistic, narcissistic, superiority, prideful-err-you get the point. Looking past all of that, his heart is pure. I'd very much like it if you both dissolved your barriers and saw each other for who you truly are."</p>

      <p>Revali narrowed his eyes at the door pretending that it was Teal.</p>

      <p>"Stay with the Sheikah for five years and you've become a philosopher," Hazel laughed. There were sounds that might have been the rustling of clothes for a hug. It must have been because Hazel's next words were muffled as if she were pressed up against Teal's chest. They were barely audible, but Revali caught them. All of them. "I do like him."</p>

      <p>The Rito decided he should speak with Hazel later. Better later than now. Always better later. He fled.</p>

      <p>When later came and went, Revali was able to retain his composure. He even managed a few snarky quips that stunned Hazel into silence as they watched their two Rito and Goron friends take off in the direction of the stable. They had performed their goodbyes, and Hazel still stood at the broken bridge waving. The next day they, too, said goodbye to the citadel and the whole of Akkala. It was past time to add Zora's Domain onto the catalogue and map packed away in Hazel's belongings. There was only one problem.</p>

      <p>"Why am I riding a horse?" Revali asked from atop a pure black gelding. He knew that he looked ridiculous huddled up on a horse's hide. Birds weren't made to ride horses and that was that. And yet, here he was, side by side with Hazel's blue flanked stead.</p>

      <p>"Because we're with company?" Hazel shrugged, letting her reigns go as she did so. Her horse blew between its lips and Revali's horse answered with a nicker. What in the world were the horses talking about. Revali huffed and openly glared at the riders next to him. Teal, Mertle, and the Zora guide.</p>

      <p>"And why, pray tell, are we with company?" Come to think of it, said company didn't look like they fit well with horses either. Not that this made his situation any better. His legs were already becoming sore, and they were only on the road for a few hours.</p>

      <p>"Because we are social creatures who wither without outside contact whether we enjoy said fact or not?" She winked at him, and Revali frowned. We will be having none of that.</p>

      <p>"Is this not counterproductive to the main reason why I have joined you on your map making journey? How can we create an accurate map without flight, hmn?" At that moment, his horse took the Rito directly underneath a low hanging branch. Revali was forced to duck under or be knocked off. He grumbled when the danger passed and forcefully motioned to the horse as if to emphasize his point. Hazel held up a finger and twirled it around.</p>

      <p>"If you recall, Kaneli asked me to be your teacher in all things not Rito. So far, I haven't been doing a a great job. I have to fulfill my part of the bargain." She temporarily let go of her reigns to smack her left fist onto her right palm. How revoltingly adorable. Any more of this and he'd have to abandon her and these feelings.</p>

      <p>"That's the coward's way out, Little Hazel. But if you insist upon company, then I still beg the question, why am I on a horse?"</p>

      <p>"Really don't like horses, do you?"</p>

      <p>"I am Revali of the Rito. Graceful, deadly, and accurate. What part of me riding a horse looks graceful to you?" Again, he motioned to the black horse. The horse flicked his tail and smacked Revali's side.</p>

      <p>"You're on a horse because it's easier to speak with our companions. You can always just walk," Hazel shyly suggested.</p>

      <p>"Hmph!"</p>

      <p>"You know we can all hear you, Rito," Mertle grumbled from her white mare. The Gerudo had business to attend in Zora's Domain and decided to come along for the ride. She could not stop patting her horse's neck, and the horse leaned happily into her touch.</p>

      <p>"My apologies, Lady Mertle. Did I somehow stutter? Then let me summarize; I'd rather not be in a gaggle of goons!" Revali sweetly cooed.</p>

      <p>"Say that again, bird, and you'll be roasted for dinner," Mertle growled. Her hand hovered above her shoulder, just itching to fling her spear at the Rito. Teal directed his black spotted horse in between the bickering couple.</p>

      <p>"Now, now. There's no need for violence. We're all adults here." He grinned and held up his hands in a placating motion.</p>

      <p>"Says the man who demolished those Yiga creeps," Revali mumbled.</p>

      <p>"And I'll demolish you, too, if you don't quiet down," Teal said. He opened his silver blue eyes, and if he could have shot laser beams from them, they would have definitely set the Rito ablaze. Hazel sighed and rolled her eyes while Mertle did a very un-Mertle like gesture and stuck out her tongue. Revali grimaced.</p>

      <p>"Now please. I'm discussing my research with Rutia. She's the head architect in Zora's Domain. Her knowledge of construction is brilliant. She even installed massive stone tablets along the walkway to the domain in commission for the Great King Dorephan. She'll help me in discerning the type of tools used for their shrine, how long it dates back to, and what may lay hidden inside." Revali would have sworn that Teal was clapping his hands in giddy anticipation, but it must have been just his imagination.</p>

      <p>"And I'm also mother to a feisty little fishling. I need to get back to my boy, Ledo. He sure causes a ruckus when I'm apart from him for just one day, think about how long it's been now!" The green Zora pondered. She wasn't much of a horse rider either and almost threatened to topple the poor creature. She would have been more suited to a bear or a moose. Revali supposed that there were miracle in the world that allowed Zora to ride horses and that Rutia just temporarily borrowed one.</p>

      <p>"Why do you need all of this information anyway? What's the point of expending all of your resources on useless shrines that no one can enter?" Revali pondered aloud. Everyone, even Hazel, stared at him as if he had gone as insane as the Yiga. "What? We have one at the Rito Village. My father was obsessed with the silly thing. He built a bridge to it and then worked the whole thing over. It was a fool's mission." He backtracked when he saw the concern in Hazel's turquoise eyes. He would not be pitied, least of all by her. "Not that I'm bothered. He'd weep to see that his son accomplished so many feats and would have forgotten all about that shrine nonsense when he did. Anyway, none of this answers my question."</p>

      <p>"There's something coming. Something dark," Teal whispered. He bent over his spotted horse and gripped the reigns until his knuckles turned completely white. The youth could have been covered by a dark cloud by how scared he looked.</p>

      <p>"The rumors are true, then?" Hazel asked. Her hand absently rested over her journal at her breast pocket. The poor thing was almost filled to the brim with animals and secrets. She'd need to get a new one soon.</p>

      <p>"I don't want to feed any of your fears," Teal said, snapping out of whatever self imposed dazed he was under. "Know only that there are ancient beasts that have been unearthed that may be to the key defeating that darkness. I trust Purah and Robbie when they say so."</p>

      <p>"Beasts? You mean when the Sheikah made a fuss over a clump of rocks a few years back? Those voe and vai made a mess of our canyon," Mertle said.</p>

      <p>"Ah, there's something like that that was pulled up at Rito Village as well. I forget what it was called. Hmn," Revali said. It was Vah something. Vah Rrrr. Revali shrugged. Whatever that ancient technology was, it didn't concern him.</p>

      <p>"Us, too. I was in charge of attempting to pull the beast out without collapsing all of Zora Domain and or submerging all of Hyrule." Rutia said this as if the thought of reconstructing the domain's reserve would have been a magnificent time but thought better on it the whole loss of life thing. "That was fun, let me tell you. No sarcasm here. I got to use explosives. Three huge ones, one, two, and three!" Rutia giggled.</p>

      <p>"Yes. Those are the very beasts that could be what we need to win the fight against the darkness," Teal confirmed.</p>

      <p>"Can you tell us more? Maybe we can help," Hazel asked her brother.</p>

      <p>"No. At least, not yet. My job is to piece together what the shrines are and how to open them. I only know about the beasts and the darkness because Purah was speaking with Impa and Princess Zelda."</p>

      <p>"So, you eavesdropped?" Hazel asked.</p>

      <p>"Not…technically. Okay, maybe just a little."</p>

      <p>There was no more mention of a darkness or what the Yiga spoke of after that first day's journey. They traveled over hills crowded with thin trucked trees and infested with squirrels. White tailed dear, and at one time a bear, flitted around the group. They followed the Akkala Span onto Ternio Trail where they made camp to allow Hazel to write down her findings. Revali did have a chance to take her up into the skies. He wouldn't be telling her this, but the time above the ground and away from the others soothed him. It was just the two of them up in the swirls of clouds and stars.</p>

      <p>Soon the group founds themselves in Trilby Valley where they met a passing merchant who exchanged his wares with some of the deer meat Rutia and Mertle caught with their spears. The merchant and his faithful donkey left soon after. When they came upon the rushing waters of Zora River, Rutia almost spun in a happy dance, nearly forgetting that she was riding a horse. The beast nickered and almost bucked her off.</p>

      <p>In Tabahl Woods, Teal almost sprouted wings and flew like a Rito when he saw a decrepit shrine on top of an incline. He urged the group to ride around the mountain and to make camp at Bone' Pond. Revali was not on any schedule to be back at Rito Village any time soon, but he was close to pulling his feathers out from how long Teal and Rutia gawked over a piece of useless junk. Just the thought of the shrine at his village made his blood seethe.</p>

      <p>Hazel started a cook fire one of these still nights to sear the meat Rutia and Mertle had speared for the day's meal. The group sat around the flickering, snapping flames. Revali and Hazel sat side by side, their faces equally illuminated by the fire's light. Teal was furiously scribbling something down in a notebook and grumbling to himself. Mertle sharpened her set of throwing knives.</p>

      <p>"Okay! There's five of us," Rutia said. There was a heaping plate of meat with some uncooked to fit her own appetites. "One. Two. Three. Four. Five. That means I should split the meat into ten groups. Let me count. One. Two. Three."</p>

      <p>"Why does she have to do this every time?" Revali leaned over to Hazel who had been patiently watching her plate become laden with food.</p>

      <p>"Maybe it makes her feel better?" She answered, barely moving her lips.</p>

      <p>"I'm going to stop her."</p>

      <p>"No, you won't."</p>

      <p>"Yes, I will."</p>

      <p>"Children," Teal sighed. Revali and Hazel glanced up to see that the counting had ceased and that the rest of the group were calmly waiting for the couple to settle down. "She's done. Don't let your food get cold."</p>

      <p>"Yes, mom," Hazel and Revali said in tandem. The two blinked.</p>

      <p>"Honestly, I do not know why counting is such a problem! Being accurate is a wonderful and necessary attribute. What if I misread my measurements and miscount when building a siege wall? The enemy could reduce my hard work to gravel with one tap of a butt cheek."</p>

      <p>"Butt cheek?" Mertle echoed. She hit her chest with a balled fist to clear her airway of meat.</p>

      <p>"Yes! When illustrating a point, one must always use a hyperbole or an example that is very close to outside the realm of possibility." The green Zora used her hands to eat and bit into her raw piece of red meat, showing off a field of tiny, white teeth. "So when I use the example of a butt cheek, you were able to better visualize a nice sturdy wall being assuaged by a Moblin's hearty butt cheek, which thereupon disintegrates the entire structure. Because you conjured said image, you now better understand that, no, you do not want a Moblin to smear his butt on a miscalculated wall. You'd rather have me count an accurate measurement to avoid all butt marks in the future to win any sieges."</p>

      <p>"Hurry and think of a new topic," the all mighty Teal pleaded with Revali.</p>

      <p>"Hmph, now you need my expertise."</p>

      <p>"Do you truly want to listen to more butt talk?"</p>

      <p>"You do provide a valid point," Revali mused. "Yes, say Mertle. I heard that Gerudo men are very rare. Did you know the last Gerudo King?"</p>

      <p>"But I have to tell you about how I—" Rutia held out a piece of food as if to direct the conversation back onto her. Mertle butted in.</p>

      <p>"I was only a child when I witnessed the Gerudo King," Mertle began. Teal, Hazel, and Revali let out a collective breath. Rutia haughtily tore into her food. "He was our current Lady Urbosa's father. He was the man who introduced her to the Queen of Hyrule, and they became fast friends. Our King was nearly seven feet tall with ruby red hair down to his mid back and knife sharp golden eyes. I had the biggest crush on him as a child. The King could slay a molduga single handed, won at any sand seal race, and he issued a law to maintain the upkeep of our holy relics, such as the seven goddess statues. He made a point to keep the friendship between the Royalty of Hyrule and the Gerudo strong seeing as in the past we have been led astray more than a few times."</p>

      <p>"What a supr—" Revali attempted to say in a sarcastic tone. Hazel stopped him.</p>

      <p>"How so, Mertle?"</p>

      <p>"This is a hazy myth. As I was told by my mother, thousands of years ago our Gerudo King was born as a great darkness. Under that darkness the Gerudo were instructed to a multitude of distasteful acts. What else could we do? Our King of 100 years had been reborn into a monster. We had to obey. This tale has been passed down over and over again to relay our folly in blindly following a fool." Mertle let the silence fill their bellies like food.</p>

      <p>"Mertle," Rutia said. She wiped her mouth with the back of her clawed hand. "You may scare the butt off of me, but you're a good person. You're free to stay with my son and I at any time."</p>

      <p>"Visit our mother's blacksmith shop in Tabantha whenever you need arrows or a sword. We'd love to have you there," Teal urged. "Right, Hazel?"</p>

      <p>"Yup!" Hazel stared pointedly at Revali. They argued with one another via gestures and eyebrow inclinations before the little Hylian won. He sighed and faced Mertle.</p>

      <p>"You have never scared me," Revali sneered, "Yet I suppose I would rather have you by my side in battle than against me."</p>

      <p>"You all have truly honored me." Mertle smirked. "However, the bird needs some work. Hazel, you must train your Rito voe."</p>

      <p>"Excuse me? Train, you say?" Revali's blue feathers puffed out. Bickering filled the rest of that night.</p>

      <p>The group drove their horses over to a makeshift stable at Kinecean Island the next morning. They had to go on foot from thereon out. Rutia advised walking as the best option. When the rain came over the domain, it really shot down. The horses wouldn't like trotting on a slick bridge and even more dangerous roads while in a storm. Even though Revali was relieved to hear that this would be the last of his horse riding days, he was going to miss the spunky black gelding.</p>

      <p>Amidst the rush of horses and donkeys, there was a small spreading of good prepared by merchants of all races. The gathering reminded Revali of a miniature carnival. There were weapons, packs, and food galore. A stand that offered personalized knick knacks stood out among the few. One pedestal boasted that with the fires akin to Death Mountain, the merchant could sear a name into any leather bound commodity. As an example, a journal lay spine up on the hasty table reading; King Rhoam. Revali found his voice calling out to the merchant and asking for a speciality made journal. He watched as the Sheikah man seared letters onto the book's cover and how the two blue rupees glimmered as he dropped the payment into the man's hand.</p>

      <p>As Revali brushed the newly seared 'A' in Hazel's name, he knew he was long gone. Alright. So what if he was falling just a little bit in love? It's not like he was going to build her a house to show off his masculinity. Besides, there was no way he was going to dance to attract anyone. Oh. Oh, right. They did dance together. Never mind that. She hadn't given anything to him of significance…except the shiny green anklets around his feet. And here he was about to gift her with her own version of a shiny something. A journal. He rested his face in a white tipped feathered hand. Merciful Medli, he all but announced his intentions.</p>

      <p>This is going straight into my pack. I'll give it to her later. Go away, feelings!</p>

      <p>The friends said their farewells to the sweet horses they had become attached to and retraced their steps into the Tabahl Woods and into the new territory of the Bank of Wishes. Revali predicted that there would soon be rain. There was the light, earthy scent that always foretold of a storm. He was glad that he would not be riding a horse during the rainy onslaught. Especially along this twisting pathway up and over and up again with narrow bridges as crossways.</p>

      <p>"Aaah, home sweet home. At least, almost." Rutia twirled around. Her silver spear glinted in the dimming sunlight. "Do you see over there? I'm going to build the next King Dorephan diary slab right underneath that nook." She did another skip. "I can't wait to see my son! Ledo must be going nuts! Nothing can go wrong now!" She cooed.</p>

      <p>That's when the storm hit.</p>

      <p>"You just had to say that," Revali groaned. He held out his right wing to cover Hazel's head. Hot, fat water droplets hit his feathers and slipped off. His feathers were pretty much water repellant, but if he was stuck under consistent rain for an extended amount of time there'd be nothing repelling about them.</p>

      <p>"Do you guys hear anything off?" Teal asked after five minutes of walking.</p>

      <p>"I just hear the rain," Mertle huffed. "Can't we find some shelter?"</p>

      <p>"There's a little cave just up yonder. Oh! And the domain should be a good half hour away after that. Ten. Twenty. Thirty minutes away!" Rutia sing songed.</p>

      <p>"No, I think I hear something, too," Hazel whispered. She whipped her head up towards Revali. Yes. The sound was all around them now. A faint clicking sound tapped at the blue stones of their surrounding perimeter. Revali focused, closing his eyes, and listening. He knew by instinct that Hazel was already pulling out her scimitar for close combat fighting. There. A very soft chirp from one monster to another. Another chirp echoed from behind and then in front, and now the sides. Revali snapped open his eyes and drew his bow.</p>

      <p>The Rito let fly a single bolt that buried itself in the chest of a blue lizalfos. The creature spun and fell. Rutia cried out and attacked the three yellow lizalfos that sprung out from behind a boulder with her silver spear. Mertle snapped into war mode and joined her friend in skewered the monsters. Teal jumped onto the mountainside as a black lizalfos threw a spear. Teal barely missed the sharp point. He pushed from the mountain and then plunged a knife into the creature's throat. Black blood spurt from the wound, but the thing kept going. Revali located a silver lizalfos. The Rito glanced at Hazel and she nodded.</p>

      <p>"We'll take him down together," she yelled.</p>

      <p>"I bet you I can deliver the killing blow," Revali crowed.</p>

      <p>"I'm not taking that bet."</p>

      <p>"Why not?"</p>

      <p>"Because I'll be the one to take it down!"</p>

      <p>Revali snorted with laughter as he dodged a sword swipe from the lizalfos. It yelped in anger. Hazel flung herself forward and locked weapons with the beast. Revali held back. The plan was to let Hazel make the creature weary, giving Revali the ample chance to let all of his arrows pierce the monster's chest. Hazel danced around the lizalfos cutting with a deftness she certainly did not have when they first met. Revali shot one arrow after another, not once missing. The Rito barely got cut in two by a broadsword as he shot his arrows. Teal ran and intercepted the lizalfos who thought it was clever to hit a fighter from behind.</p>

      <p>"Thanks, but I could have gotten that," Revali said.</p>

      <p>"Just helping you do what you do best," Teal shrugged. He pushed the lizalfos away from the fight with the silver scaled beast. Hazel at last stuck a now disarmed lizalfos in the gut with her weapon.</p>

      <p>"Now, Revali!" She yelled.</p>

      <p>"Right!" He took aim. If he moved just by a centimeter, he would be at risk of hitting Hazel in the head with his arrow and killing her. He knew this. She knew this. And she trusted him with her life to be accurate. Well, that was a given. He was Revali of the Rito after all. He was always accurate. The arrow was set free, making a new home in the lizalfos's skull.</p>

      <p>"Ha! I told you I'd win the bet," Revali chuckled. Hazel pushed the lizalfos off of her weapon and wiped the blood from her blade.</p>

      <p>"Technically, we both killed it."</p>

      <p>"No way, I'm not having that. My arrow, my bet."</p>

      <p>"Fine, fine. You win Mr. Great and Powerful Revali. What do you win?" Hazel turned. Her hair lay delicately around her shoulders, freed from her usual braid. She was tall for a Hylian woman and well built. She gained muscle mass around her arms and legs, but still retained the curves of femininity. Her freckles almost glowed from her pale face, and she scrunched up her nose in a smile that crinkled her dazzling eyes. Revali's heart leapt. He wanted to tell her that she was his prize, but couldn't find the strength to say the words. Was it his pride, or did he have to prove to her that he was worth the wait of him discovering his calling? Why couldn't he just say that?</p>

      <p>Hazel's smile fell. She turned her head, worried about something. Revali followed her line of vision and shouted. An arrow, seemingly from no where, careened straight at her. There was no time to move. Not even Teal could have squirmed away from an attack such as this. The arrow slammed into Hazel. She flew back, spinning, and crashed to the ground on her back. Revali heard her gasp in utter pain, and he could hear his own voice waver into a lost, keening wail.</p>

      <p>Time slowed down. And down. And down. Retracing its steps. Reminding Revali.</p>

      <p>Revali couldn't believe that his father, his strong and stoic father, would allow himself to be lost in a Tabanthian blizzard like the adults kept saying. The young Revali slipped passed Kaneli's watchful owl's gaze and brushed off Tomeli's attempts at holding onto his tail feathers. He jumped from the cliffs of Rito Village and into the familiar motions of flight. The child cut through the cold with steel determination. Each flap of his wings that sliced into icy winds reverberated through his skeleton, reminding him that he was alive and could push himself even more. He flew and flew. His tiny Rito body was slammed into a rocky mountainside when a harsh updraft flicked him off balance. Bones crunched on impact, and yet Revali pushed away from the mountain and plummeted down with controlled ease.</p>

      <p>Snow drifted down in fat, wet flakes. They weren't pretty. They weren't magical. They were messy, ugly, and they stung. The flakes smacked against Revali's navy blue feathers and caked along his yellow arched eyebrows. When he breathed, his lungs felt as though they gained a layer of ice. The murky gray blue of morning lit a snow drift. A stench of copper and fresh meat assaulted Revali's senses. The hatchling aimed for the drift and landed. The boy should not have seen what he saw in that drift. He almost stumbled back, but he did wretch into the slushy snow.</p>

      <p>Red. Red. More red surrounded his father in inky swirls like some demented version of a snow angel. The Rito's wing was bent entirely back, snapped enough to show raw, white bones. Whatever broke his father's arm had crushed his chest cavity. The ribs were exposed. His insides mashed. Bloody black feathers matted the snow along with discarded arrows and a Rito sword. His eyes, once so green one was convinced they were staring at the sun behind a healthy leaf, were blank and unseeing. Revali vomited again although there was nothing left to stew in his stomach. The boy shook, unable to keep warm, and almost shared his father's fate. Revali spied a shadow at his feet. It was large and hulking. A monster.</p>

      <p>Revali tucked and rolled away just before a massive rock smashed into the ground where he last stood. The boy desperately searched for the sword he saw next to his father's corpse and took it. Revali faced an ice talos. The thing shook itself like a cat and readied itself for another blow. Its hulk blocked the watery sun, and the ice crystals on the beast's back sparkled from the additional light. Revali never fought anything before. Today, he would kill for the first time.</p>

      <p>The boy moved again when the talos heaved its entire weight into a forward thrust. Revali jumped onto the monster's back, forgetting that the thing was made of ice. He had no choice, although the ice seared at his feet, he did not have fire arrows, and this thing killed his father. With a strangled cry of pain and hurt and years of frustration, Revali swung the sword into the mineral deposit jutting from the talos's back. Despite his self imposed training, Revali was not familiar with the ways of the sword. His swing barely marked the talos. Enraged by his lack of power, Revali swung again, and again, and again. The talos flung the child off only to be assaulted immediately after. The boy was in a rage. He swung and swung until his father's blade broke. He fumbled for his pocket knife and then attacked with the pitiful blade. The ice ate at the child's exposed feet and flesh, yet he was beyond physical pain.</p>

      <p>The talos creaked, perhaps screamed, and the echoes of the creature's dying keen would have sent chills down any sane Hylian's back. Tumbling into chunky pieces, the talos died an unclean death. Just like Revali's father. His father. Revali lay on his back. He was cut in so many places. He probably had frostbite. The boy only watched his father's unmoving body, mesmerized by the blood blooming like a red flower out and to him. Revali would never have the chance to prove to his father that his mother's sacrifice in birthing him was worth it. There would be no resolutions. His selfish father had to go and die. He had to leave Revali alone to deal with his hurt alone.</p>

      <p>And now she was the one bleeding.</p>

      <p>Her blood swirled in the battering of the constant rain as if it were oil. Revali saw his father superimposed over the body of his companion. Of his Hazel. An arrow stuck from her ribs, the feathers of the bolt still shuddering from impact. Her breath rattled as if blood had collected in the back of her throat. Was her lung pierced? The rain beat harder onto the slick rocks, and it was as if there was nothing else to listen to except the pattering of many angry, tiny feet.</p>

      <p>Revali swept out his right wing, coaxing the moist air around him into a solid force. The wind ate a forceful path around him and created a defeating, terrible cyclone. The Rito innately jumped up, letting the wind catch under his wings, and was pushed up at least ten feet into the air. He sighted the electric lizalfos that had shot the offending arrow jutting from Hazel's chest. The creature was cunning. It hid behind a crevasse. No one would have been able to see the beast, that is, no one on the ground. The Rito saw just fine. With a primal cry, Revali notched his falcon bow and let a bolt fly. And then another. And another. The three whistled through the pouring rain and cut a path straight to their hated target. The lizalfos died before it realized there were arrows sticking out from each eye and its throat. Hot black blood oozed from its wounds, painting the creature into a shadow. The lizalfos fell with a slap of rainwater. Revali landed and darted over to where Hazel still lay.</p>

      <p>"Woah, that was awesome," his companion gasped. Blood dribbled from her mouth and coated her teeth. He always thought that Hylian teeth were odd. Now, he'd give anything for her to smile.</p>

      <p>"You must really be out of it to willingly compliment me." Revali knelt and passed feathered fingers over her forehead.</p>

      <p>"What was that? The wind you conjured?" Her sparkling turquoise eyes were no longer looking at him. Revali saw his father's blank eyes, shook his head, and picked Hazel up.</p>

      <p>"I don't know. It doesn't matter now."</p>

      <p>Hazel said nothing else.</p>

      <p>By then, the isolated fights between the lizalfos and their rag tag group had terminated. Mertle held a cluster of yellow and blue tails in one hand and two long horns in another. Rutia's silver spear sported a few lizalfos arms presumedly to roast and eat later. Teal was splattered with black blood, completely ruining his scholar's dress. The youth's face was dark as he splashed his way over to the Rito.</p>

      <p>"I'll take her to Zora's Domain," Revali rasped. He held the unmoving form of his companion. She was growing cold. Rain pelted his face, creasing along his eyes. Teal padded up to the Rito and solemnly shook his head. His voice was gentle and calm.</p>

      <p>"No. I have to be the one." The Sheikah made a move to retrieve his sister. Revali reeled back. The youth would have to pry Little Hazel from his arms. He could save her. He had to. "Please. The rain will make your feathers heavy and hold you back. I'm faster. Smaller. The way Hazel is bleeding-Goddess, she will die," Teal's voice cracked. Revali narrowed his green eyes. Teal, the ever grinning, confident, and steady Teal, was terrified.</p>

      <p>Despite years of training, his hard resolution, and the encouragement of friends, Revali was back at square one. He couldn't save Hazel. He couldn't save his father. Teal was right. The Rito held out Hazel and Teal carefully folded his sister into his arms. The Sheikah nodded to Revali, turned, and darted up the wet pathway lit by the blue lights of Zora creation. Teal grew smaller and smaller until he was only a dot in the distance, and then the sheer blue rock mountain wall took him. Rutia and Mertle watched Revali. They were afraid to speak.</p>

      <p>"Come on. We need to follow them," Revali barked. His own voice was unfamiliar to him. His two friends jolted to attention, and they jogged to keep up with the Rito's brisk pace.</p>

      <p>Kaneli was the one who found Revali near dead in the snow all those years ago. The owl Rito only needed to take one look. Revali's father. The remains of the ice talos. Revali broken.</p>

      <p>"With such fury one day you may become the Pride of the Rito," the owl whispered when he picked up the hatchling. He had not thought that Revali heard. The child's eyes were closed, after all. The young Revali did not want to be the Pride of the Rito. He only needed his father back. But if he were to be anything, anything at all, the pride of anybody-no, the entirety of Hyrule, would be something to fight for.</p>
    • (And the last of all that's finished for now)

      Chapter 7

      Display Spoiler
      <p>Hazel watched her mother moving around their forge stationed outside in the persistent snow. She saw her mother's familiar movements of shaping a length of high carbon steel into the rough outlines of a knight's broadsword. Her mother used a fire rod to cut the steel and placed the metal onto a pedestal with her favorite pair of thick tongs. The woman wiped away sweat and grease from her brow and took her seat at the ash covered forge. Her pixie cut brown hair glowed from the fire's light as she hunched over her new project. She wore the usual gray overalls that covered her chest and legs and revealed her muscular arms and torso. The woman's pointed ears twitched, and Hazel knew that she'd been found out.</p>

      <p>"You're fixing to leave," Aelena announced in a soft, even lilt. She wasn't asking.</p>

      <p>"Mom." Hazel clutched the tattered notebook to her chest. The bindings all carried the types of birds and enemies found near Tabantha Village. There were secrets, odd ancient structures, and shortcuts all scrawled with a raven's quill hidden on those pages. The book was her passion.</p>

      <p>"I saw how you were looking at Kriss and Teal last night," the blacksmith said. Aelena fed the fire pit, and Hazel recalled the night before. Teal had brought back scrolls and books about agriculture and commerce. There were historical anecdotes, ballades, and grimoires stuffed into the mess in his pack. The youth had gone on and on about his studies, his tutors, and new experiences. Kriss calmly brushed her fingers along her youngest son's head. She had filled out and was as healthy as Hazel's horse, Sven. Kriss inherited most of her looks from their father; straight black hair, hazel eyes, and a wide cut jaw. Her sister listened to Teal with stars in her eyes, and Hazel's brother-in-law kept their eldest son occupied with games and tricks.</p>

      <p>Aelena was right. Hazel had been enraptured with her sibling's achievements. They'd done much while Hazel stayed in Tabantha Village. Oh, how she yearned to sprout wings and fly away. She had heard what the travelers told her mother. There was something dark approaching that may doom the whole of Hyrule. How could Hazel just sit by and do nothing while others could be in trouble?</p>

      <p>Again, how could she leave her mother alone? Hazel's father had been gone for ten years. The last time she saw the man was when she was a kid at the age of fifteen. He told her that there was a treasure that belonged to a hero left deep within the eastern sea. He said to protect her mother. Even now, when there was no certainty as whether he was dead or still alive, Hazel kept her promise. Not because of anything her father said. She could care less about the man who up and abandoned them. No. It was because of her mother's insistence that if she just stayed where her husband left her, he would one day come back. That keeping put was her husband's only lifeline and clear way back.</p>

      <p>"But mom, I don't—"</p>

      <p>"Hazel. What kind of mother would I be if I made you my keeper? I need no keeping, anyway. Everyone treating me like I've been broken," Aelena grumbled. She held the piece of steel over the fires with a mitten on one hand and a heavy hammer in the other. She waited until the flickering fire turned the metal yellow and walloped blows along the forming sword's length.</p>

      <p>"There's a chance Dad could be…could come back," Hazel said. She had to raise her voice for this part. That was nothing new. Hazel learned as a child that Aelena's hearing was sharp, even when the woman made her weapons.</p>

      <p>"Yes, there's always a chance," her mother sighed. Aelena swung her hammer again and again, making the metal lengthen. When it was at the desired length she focused on the width. "Until then, my children should have a shot at achieving their own happiness. I shouldn't burden you with my stubbornness." The blacksmith switched out the heavy hammer for the pneumatic hammer designed to create the finer details of the sword. The weapon was being crafted into a metal masterpiece."Besides, good Ol' Truffle says he'll keep an eye out for me. He's as much as a mule as I am."</p>

      <p>Hazel didn't doubt that Truffle would take care of her mother while Hazel was gone. The man was a little older than her mother and was the resident butcher. He was rustically handsome and had the wildest of crushes on Aelena. Too bad for the butcher. Hazel's mother would never see anyone but her father. Even if her father was a piece of crap who left his family behind for pirate treasure.</p>

      <p>"I love you, Mom," was all Hazel could manage to say. She was being let go, and the realization hurt almost as much as it made her giddy. The resulting combination made her stomach upset.</p>

      <p>"Honey, just let me part with some personal advice." Aelena eyed the piece of metal. It was parallel, straight, and even. The woman nodded and set the sword to the side. She turned the chair around and rested her hands on her knees. Her irises shone, and Hazel was compelled to walk a little closer to her mother.</p>

      <p>"Like I said, I saw you lookin' at Teal and Kriss. You want it all. Adventure and romance. Maybe start a family. Fight some lynel. Such and such like so." The woman waved her right hand to indicate the vast possibilities. Her thin eyebrows drew together, crinkling her long nose and pulling down the woman's lips. "Hazel, you can't have them both," Aelena said. Her voice was harsh, as if she had admonished the family dog, Chancey. And then her shoulders slumped. She buried her face in her grease marked hands. "Take it from me, placing a foot in both worlds will only end up with you split and empty. Don't get me wrong. You children give me life. I only just..." Her mother lifted her head and was unable to hide the grief she always tucked away from her children. The raw agony she must undertake every day for the past ten years must have settled in the pit of her heart like an iron ball. "I just miss your father. I don't want you with this hurt."</p>

      <p>"Mom, I'm not interested in love," Hazel said. Love was not in the books for her. She saw what it did to her mother and father. In this world, her only love would be her map and the fact that it would be used to do something good. Yes, that dreamy expression Kriss sent to her husband while they stayed over the night before seemed pleasant enough. More than anything, just the thought of being tied to another person was painful. Bittersweet.</p>

      <p>"Oh, you will. One day, you'll be struck over the head as if done in by a feisty goat. When that day comes just remember; do you want to settle down or do you want to help Hyrule? Does your man or woman want what you do? I'm just asking you to be certain. Don't regret. Only live."</p>

      <p>Only live.</p>

      <p>Live.</p>

      <p>Live, Hazel. Live. Please. Don't die. You little dolt, I love you. I can't lose you. Please.</p>

      <p>Hazel sat bolt upright. Her hands immediately searched where she had been hit with the lizalfos's lethal arrow. The area below her left breast stung as if someone had kicked her with all of their might. Something akin to a Gerudo's power. No, maybe a Goron's. Ugh. There was nothing but an enormous green and purple bruise spread across the skin of her ribs. No punctures. No open wounds. But she could have sworn that the arrow connected. She tasted the blood and snot lodged in her throat of that moment. The air of death lazily cuddling against her like a kitten. She was so, so close to dying.</p>

      <p>She scanned her dwellings, hoping to gain insight on her relatively-still-alive status. Hazel was on a light, airy water bed. The bed posts were blue and arched above her in graceful swirls. Her bedroom was open to the elements around her, and she could smell lingering rain in the atmosphere. She was dressed in a simple blue frock, covered in blue sheets, and basically had her fill of blue for a lifetime once she saw the blue architecture around her. Something, just a little something, told her that she was in Zora's Domain. Now that the mystery of her location was solved, she had to figure out where Revali, Teal, Rutia, and Mertle were at.</p>

      <p>"You almost died!" Said someone at her side. Hazel coughed, maneuvering her sore body to turn and face the child's voice. A boy sat in a silver framed chair. He had obviously been watching her sleep with dutiful vigor. Someone had told him to keep an eye on her, and the boy had followed the directions to the letter. The child was a Zora; smooth red scales, a white under belly, chubby cheeks with blush marks, and when he opened his mouth, rows of tiny shark teeth greeted her. Oh right, and he was completely adorable.</p>

      <p>"Is that so?" Her throat was scratchy. What she wouldn't give for one glass of ice water. Heck, even boiling water would suffice. The figure by her bedside toddled over to a nightstand with a silver tray resting on the edge. The child reached up, getting on his tippy toes, grabbed a glass of water from the tray, and gave Hazel the beverage. She took it and downed the entire glass in three gulps. "Thank you."</p>

      <p>"Yeah, your chest was all red. I thought you really were deaded." The boy held out his arms to emphasize how dead he believed Hazel to have been. She forced a giggle down. The boy was being serious, and the fact that she was so close to death even a child was fooled had unnerved her. "Don't worry. My sister Mipha put her hands on your ouchie and said May Mipha's Grace Protect You, and then she went all glowy and then you got better."</p>

      <p>"Your sister's name is Mipha, then?"</p>

      <p>"Yeah!" The boy's vivid yellow eyes widened as if he realized something quite vital. He rubbed his face and stood rigid. The boy bowed, almost toppling over with the weight of his fins, and said in the cutest regal tone he could muster, "I'm sorry. Let me intwoduce myself. I'm Prince Sidon of the Zora. Peas to meet you."</p>

      <p>If she wasn't going to die of an arrow wound, she surely would be demolished by anymore of this boy's magical powers of cute.</p>

      <p>"Hello, Prince Sidon. My name is Hazel. Thank you for taking care of me in my time of need." She noted how the boy blushed with pride. Goddesses, strike her down now.</p>

      <p>"My sister told me to protect you while she was gone talking to the giant birdy." The boy's sweet face fell. "She also said that I have'ta believe in others more. That thinking the worst will make it worse. A elf Phil pulling prophecy."</p>

      <p>"A, umm, self fulfilling prophecy?"</p>

      <p>"Yeah!" The boy jumped onto Hazel's bed and snuggled into the crook of her legs like a cat. He clapped his tiny hands together. "I think that means if I think I will protect Zora's Domain when I growed up, then I will!" He showed off his sharp teeth in a wide grin.</p>

      <p>"That's close enough." Hazel patted the boy on his head and he leaned in. If he wasn't careful, she's have to adopt him. She let herself imagine if Revali would be any good at handling children. When she was at Rito Village, the children flocked to him. He seemed to like showing off and impressing them. There could be a possibility of having both. No. She will have both.</p>

      <p>Revali stood with his arms crossed in the great hearing room of the Zora's threshold. He could see the entire domain from this singular room from under the rising archways. The sound of trickling water was everywhere. Everyone in the room annoyed him whether they meant to or not. He'd been stiff and irritable for the past two days since Teal carried his half dead sister to be healed by Princess Mipha. Since the initial healing Hazel had not moved once. Revali didn't care if the others heard his pleas for Hazel to awaken. He never did mind other's scrutiny, only that they learned what he was capable of and that they respected his skills. Today was their audience with King Dorephan. Revali needed an enemy to pummel, and he was running out of patience. Maybe he'd start something with Mertle later. He needed a good spar.</p>

      <p>"I extend my deepest of apologies for your trouble on the road to our great Zora Domain," Dorephan boomed. Great Quill, the Zora was big. He almost encompassed the entire hearing room. If he moved just so, the king would smack his head right into the elaborate blue chandelier. "The influx of monsters has been difficult to contain recently."</p>

      <p>Despite being unusually charged with negative, potential energy, Revali couldn't help but ponder at these few observations; will Mipha and Sidon get as big as their father with enough time, what color scales would their mother have to be for both of the royal children to be red, and would their head become too heavy to carry the shark fins on their head when they get older? Revali simply couldn't help it, but even he wouldn't ask those questions out loud. The amount of times others asked him if he was just an oversized bird peeved him to no end. There was no use in delivering the same uncomfortable feeling to others.</p>

      <p>"You need to send a messenger off to Hyrule Castle. King Rhoam must learn of these incidents," Teal urged. He still wore his smiling face and that made his words all the more chilling. The scholar was forced to wear his black sneak suit. His other clothes were too covered in blood to use. Not even the magic of Zora water could wash away Hazel's blood. Revali knew this too well. There was a patch of faded blood at his stomach that would not go away. He clenched his fists and clacked his bill. He would not remember. He would not.</p>

      <p>"I…cannot. If what you say is true, then I must protect my peoples and keep them in the domain." The large Zora extended his hands. Teal's silver blue eyes narrowed and he took a step back. The youth was just as wound up as Revali. Mertle and Rutia stood side by side next to Princess Mipha. All together, they formed a half circle around the great king of Zora's Domain. He was still stoic and reserved even though he was on the receiving end of five angry glares. Even Rutia needed to bite at her black claws to keep from speaking out of line, and she was deathly loyal to her King.</p>

      <p>"Father, we must attempt to send someone," said the soft voiced Mipha. The Zora Princess was small compared to others of her kind. Perfectly arranged red and cream scales lined her petite figure that was wrapped in a gauzy white sash along her side. A three pronged silver trident sat in a sling atop her back. Revali knew that with her tiny stature, she'd be a difficult speed demon to catch. She was also kind of cute, and if he wasn't already plunging headfirst into the waters of a potential relationship, he'd consider approaching her to test her personality. As of now, not so much. Mipha increased her volume. "The Hylians are our allies deserving to know of this danger, and they may help us in protecting our home."</p>

      <p>"I shall need to think upon the matter at hand," Dorephan leaned over and set a massive finger on his daughter's head. She reached up and grasped it. Mipha must have had a tight grip because Dorephan contained a grunt of effort.</p>

      <p>"Please, Father. Their beloved friend was hurt because of our lack of guard. We are in need of strict training to counteract this rising threat." She glared at her father. This very expression must have gotten her many stuffed animals and bobbles when she was younger. Revali saw the flicker of Dorephan's resistance waning.</p>

      <p>"Are you suggesting we call the Royal Guard?" Asked the older Zora.</p>

      <p>"Yes. And we need Princess Zelda," Mipha pressed. "Someone is required to go."</p>

      <p>"I can be the messenger. I can continue my shrine mission later," Teal volunteered. Mipha and Dorephan both looked at Teal. Yes, he was a strip of a lad, but there was a venom in him that no one wished to unleash. Mertle stepped up next to Teal and rested her arm on his shoulder. All of the blue hues set into every corner of the domain glowed off of her, making Mertle shine purple. The effect made her seem menacing.</p>

      <p>"I'll go with him. I've already completed my trade route."</p>

      <p>"Your Majesty, I would also like to be included." Rutia tottled up to the other two. The gills at her rib cage flared open and closed from nervousness. She saw the uncomfortable slump to her King's posture and held up a finger. "Before you say no, your Majesty, I believe the Hylians and myself could mutually benefit each other. I could teach them a few building techniques and they could do the same for me. If we do need to prepare for some unknown war, you'll need me to be knowledgable in my battlements."</p>

      <p>A tense pause permeated the hearing room. Mipha held her clasped hands to her chest. Her mouth was slightly open, drawing the eye to her soft red lips. Teal's jaw was clenched and his rough cloth mask did nothing to hide the strain. Dorephan settled into his throne, all of his silver decorations and metal clanking from the movement, and threaded his long fingers together. Rutia smoothed out her scales as if she was brushing away wrinkles from a dress. No one said a word as the king processed his next command.</p>

      <p>"You should probably say yes before she gives you examples," Mertle told the king from behind her right hand. Her face was serious, and yet the lilac and periwinkle outlines of her features told another story.</p>

      <p>"I know of her famous examples quite well," Dorephan hurumphed. He messaged the spot right above his snout with his pointer finger and thumb. A surprisingly Hylian gesture. He hazily looked at his hopeful daughter to the stone cold serious Teal and Mertle, and then to the architecture obsessed Rutia. The king then commenced in slumping down his throne and rolling his big eyes. "Alright. Permission granted," he moaned.</p>

      <p>"I, too, shall go to Hyrule," Revali added. The room's attention swiveled and centered onto him. He puffed out his chest. "I want to know the cause of this nonsense. Princess Zelda and her crew seem to be keeping secrets, and I'll root them out." Revali couldn't help but stare at Teal. The youth knew more than what he was letting on, and seeing as he was being tight lipped about the whole matter, Revali would have to go straight to the source. "I shall be the one to destroy whatever is menacing Hyrule. I will keep the people safe." With that said and done, Revali turned around and left. He didn't care what they thought. The Rito would dispatch of the threat by whatever means. He'd be the hero. No one else.</p>

      <p>When Revali rounded the familiar corner that led into Hazel's recovery room, he was greeted by the sight of a Zora child eating cookies with a very awake and alert map maker. If Revali wasn't concerned over appearances, his jaw would have dropped from surprise. Out of all the ways he could have found Hazel, she had to be up and merrily eating pastries as if she hadn't almost died from a punctured lung. For a moment he still saw the blood along her lips instead of cookie crumbs, and then it was gone. She was alive. She was well. She was eating cookies!</p>

      <p>Hazel's shoulders straightened and she stopped chewing. The woman moved her head just so and locked eyes with Revali. Merciful Medli. His entire body felt as though he had been dropped into a frozen river. Why couldn't he move? She was right there within his means. He saw the pinprick of Teal carrying Hazel away and out of his grasp. Revali could feel his entire being be drawn to her, and yet his clawed feet were locked into place. He lived in his uselessness.</p>

      <p>"Revali!" Hazel said. Her voice broke whatever self imposed spell he cast. His feet clacked against the stone floor and he was right at her side. Revali bent over Hazel and carefully wrapped his feathered arms around her. He pressed his beak to her jawbone and neck, nuzzling into her. Her pulse beat strong and healthy. She hesitantly hugged him back as if she'd snap him if she moved the wrong way. He never cared to notice the scent of a Hylian before, but now he could not get enough of her wild berry aroma. And yes, Hylian skin was indeed soft. Or maybe it was just hers.</p>

      <p>A little crimson Zora poked up and in-between the companions' reunion. The child's yellow cat eyes flashed and he giggled when Revali whipped his head around to gage the little Zora. The fact that his fins were far too large for the child only doubled the kid's adorable factor. Revali had a soft spot for children. No matter his mood, he would make certain to treat hatchlings with due respect. Something that he lacked with his own childhood experience.</p>

      <p>"Come here, kid. You, too." Revali pulled the Zora into the hug. The child wrapped his tiny clawed hand over Revali's shoulder and the other on Hazel's. Hazel laughed, and Revali couldn't help but appropriately chastise her. "I thought you were going to kick the bucket on me right when you owed me a bet."</p>

      <p>"Not likely." She raised a thin, arched eyebrow. How in the world could she act smug in her healing bed? The bed that most of his body was propped on. Wait. Revali was in her bed. Hmn. That could be a reason for the smugness. The Rito removed himself from the bed and planted both of his feet firmly on the ground. The little Zora boy fell onto his back on the bed giggling and Hazel crossed her arms. Revali pointed at her and felt his usual arrogant expression settle back onto his face.</p>

      <p>"I order you never to do that again."</p>

      <p>"I'll do my best."</p>

      <p>"I want an oath. Swear to me that you will never, ever do that again."</p>

      <p>"I swear that I will do my best not to get attacked by a too-clever-for-its-own-good lizalfos and instead have telepathy that allows me to read minds and kill the monster instead." She was being a crass smart ass. He had taught her well.</p>

      <p>"How very apt," Revali said as dry as a bone.</p>

      <p>"Hey, big birdie!" The Zora boy shouted. He jumped off of the bed, twirled, and tugged on Revali's tunic. The Rito peered at him from the corner of his green eye.</p>

      <p>"It's Revali, kid."</p>

      <p>"Hey, Ravioli! You're cool!" The boy amended. Revali sighed.</p>

      <p>"I am at an unfair disadvantage and am unable to be properly be offended. Please, do continue your tirade of cute." He wearily waved a wing at the hatchling. Hazel was alive and healthy. He could handle being called anything at this point.</p>

      <p>"Hello. May I come in?" Asked someone from behind the entrance's archway. Revali could see the side of a red fin sticking out and immediately knew that Mipha was here. He wondered how long she was standing there. If Rito could blush, there may have been the faintest of red dabbing his cheeks. As it was, his secret was safe. Hazel waved the princess over, and the Zora walked gracefully up to Hazel's bed. "I am glad to see that you are doing better, Miss Hazel."</p>

      <p>"You must be my savior, Mipha," Hazel grasped Mipha's small hand and gently shook it. Mipha put her hand over Hazel's. "Thank you so much. There's still some life in me yet."</p>

      <p>"There's no need for thanks. My heart is warmed only knowing that you still live."</p>

      <p>"My sister is awesome!" The little Zora roared from where he still tugged on Revali's tunic. Ah. So this must be the little Prince Sidon he'd been hearing all about from Rutia. Sidon let go of Revali, galloped up to his sister, and hugged her middle. She released Hazel's hand and patted her little brother's head.</p>

      <p>"Hazel!"</p>

      <p>"Hey, Teal," Hazel said. She grinned when her brother brushed passed the princess and encompassed Hazel in a lynel of a hug. Revali saw Hazel's turquoise eyes catch the audience at the archway. "You guys can come in, too."</p>

      <p>Mertle and Rutia came in followed by two more little Zora children.</p>

      <p>"I give thanks to the Goddesses that you are well," Mertle said. She inclined her head.</p>

      <p>"I still need your notes about some of those ruins you found. You can't very well die and tease me with important information like that," Rutia added. She put her hands on her hips and tapped a foot. Tactful as ever. The little green Zora boy that had followed Rutia and Mertle bumped his companion's shoulder.</p>

      <p>"See, Bazz? There can be girl Hylians, too," the little boy prompted. His scales were a shade lighter than Rutia, but anyone could see that they were mother and son. The boy continued. "Just 'cause you only see what's his name doesn't mean there are only guy Hylians."</p>

      <p>"His name is Link. He helps me fight n' stuff," Bazz said. He was small with black as ink scales. His golden eyes sparkled. There were throwing knives pinned to his side. He stuck out his tongue and gestured something that must have been slightly offensive in the Zora culture because Rutia clicked her tongue and smacked the back of Bazz's head. "And fine. It's a girl. Whatever. But get this. Have you seen a girl Goron?"</p>

      <p>"Well, you see…" The green Zora attempted to answer. His face turned into that of a child that had eaten his first sour fruit. "Umm…" He turned to Rutia and held onto her utensil belt. "Momma, are there girl Gorons, too?" Rutia straightened and gulped.</p>

      <p>"Ledo, my fishling, that's a talk for when you're as tall as me."</p>

      <p>"That's so far awaaaaaay!" Ledo bemoaned.</p>

      <p>"No faaaaair!" Echoed Bazz. The two little children took turns running around Rutia and Mertle shouting their disappointment. Sidon laughed from his sister's side.</p>

      <p>Teal took the opportunity to tell Hazel about what happened when she had been recovering including their plans to set off to Hyrule Castle. Hazel munched on her cookie while watching the antics of the tiny Zora trio as they got over the fact that they may never know how Goron's reproduced and instead passed Bazz's knives around in fascination. Rutia fussed over them, and Mipha sat down on a bench that had been built into the blue stone wall. Hazel sipped at her fourth glass of water and placed her food to the side when her brother finished speaking.</p>

      <p>"I am going, too," She assured the group.</p>

      <p>"Not while you are injured," Revali clucked. His gaze landed on the exact spot where she had been hit with the arrow. He narrowed his green eyes as if he could will the memory away. The Rito felt his feathers ruffle just at the mere thought of her getting out of that bed and endangering herself. This moist Zora air was really beginning to bother him, and Hazel even more.</p>

      <p>Oh hey, monsters. Want to see the big red target on my weak Hylian back? Let me get closer so you can have a better look.</p>

      <p>"I just need a week," Hazel huffed.</p>

      <p>"That should be a sufficient amount of time," Mipha agreed. The princess sat demurely on her bench as if she hadn't just supported the fool who almost died.</p>

      <p>"What about your precious map?" Revali asked. She couldn't possibly resist an argument that involved her map.</p>

      <p>"There's no point in making one if the good guys aren't informed there's bad guys to defeat."</p>

      <p>"Impossible. Stubborn!" Revali sidestepped the thundering parade of Zora children running around him. Mipha crossed her legs and merely absorbed the entertainment. It was clear no one was going to stop the little creatures.</p>

      <p>"Sounds like someone else I know," Mertle grumbled.</p>

      <p>"Now, now. Let the love birds fight it out. No communication in a relationship is the key to its downfall. Take for instance, my ex-wife. How long was it ago? One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Five years. Now we were," Rutia began her long suffering story of how her ex-wife complained that their relationship was too boring and was filled to the brim with building examples and how to construct archways. Mertle clenched her spear in frustration until her knuckles almost popped.</p>

      <p>Revali and Hazel were only thankful the others ignored the 'lovebird,' jab.</p>

      <p>"Rutia, I don't think lack of communication was the problem. Perhaps it was over communication," the Gerudo growled. She hastily redid her hair, leaving her spear leaning on the wall, and blindly braided locks faintly shining red and purple.</p>

      <p>"That's not true! I know when to stop a conversation." Rutia shot daggers at Mertle, her slit pupils growing smaller.</p>

      <p>"Then let us speak of Hazel's insistence upon joining us," Mertle counteracted.</p>

      <p>"I can totally stop when I want to. I've already dropped the conversation for three, four, five, six, seven, and look, eight seconds!" Rutia continued to count.</p>

      <p>"I believe we all need time to heal. We did just trek all the way from Akkala only to flee at full speed to Zora's Domain. I think we can allow a week of safe haven," Teal weighed in. Hazel shot Revali a I-told-you-so look. He pointed to his eyes and then to hers in the Hyrulian universal I'm-watching-you gesture.</p>

      <p>"Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three…"</p>

      <p>"If she wants to come, I will certainly be the last one to stop her. A vai must have her own life they way she sees fit," Mertle said.</p>

      <p>"Thirty-eight, oh-Hazel's fun to talk to, so I want her to come with us, forty-seven, forty-eight…"</p>

      <p>"Fine!" Revali squawked when every being in the room shot him meaningful glances. Even the hatchlings had ceased their insane pretend battle to gawk up at him. "She can come with us." Revali turned around, his arms crossed, and made a point to glare at the blue rock walls. If she wanted to up and get herself hurt again, he wouldn't stop her. The again, she wouldn't be able to stop him from using every ounce of his will to protect her all the same.</p>

      <p>"One minute three seconds, one minute four seconds, one minute five seconds, one…"</p>

      <p>"RUTIA!" Mertle boomed.</p>

      <p>"What?"</p>

      <p>"Will you, for the love of the seven goddesses, stop?!"</p>

      <p>"I have stopped. For at least one minute and ten seconds."</p>

      <p>And this is why Revali preferred to travel exclusively with Hazel, and he had just willingly agreed to spend more time with these lunatics.</p>

      <p>The next week was primarily a time of healing. Mipha and Sidon sat vigil by Hazel's side as she recovered. Mipha read her favorite romance ballads, which mainly consisted of Zoras and Hylians engaged in star crossed love. Sidon would grow bored of these tales and seek out Revali. The Rito had gained a celebrity status among the young Zoras. He let the children hold his bow and throwing knives, and every now and then taught them a few techniques. Bazz was completely enamored with the Rito, who in turned vowed to impress the young child with his skills enough to debunk this much spoken of, Link.</p>

      <p>Teal and Rutia took their time in exchanging as many notes and theories about the shrine sitting right in the middle of the domain as they could. They took measurements, dated some of the debris, and conducted complicated methods to listen to what may be hiding inside of the structure. Most of their tests were inconclusive. As for Mertle, she sparred with the guards and relayed what she learned of the lizalfos to their current tactician. The Zora would be ready to at least defend their territory if any more monsters decided to attack.</p>

      <p>There was no time for privacy, to say the very least. No declarations of love were made. No sweet nothings. Only the calming reminder that everyone was alive and well. Hazel could live with that.</p>

      <p>When Hazel was fit enough to deem herself ready to embark on their journey, Mipha hugged her tightly.</p>

      <p>"I wish you luck, my friend," she whispered in her soft, sweet voice. Hazel hugged her back.</p>

      <p>"You, too."</p>

      <p>Both knew that they were not speaking of Hazel's upcoming journey.</p>

      <p>Hazel, Revali, Mertle, Teal, and Rutia said their farewells at the end of the week. All of their new friends stood in a group waving back at them. Only Sidon, Bazz, and Ledo were nowhere to be seen. Rutia squinted through the fine mist that cloistered around the domain in curtains. She frowned.</p>

      <p>"Where the heck is my son? He never misses a chance to say goodbye."</p>

      <p>"Maybe he's in his rebellious stage," Mertle offered.</p>

      <p>"No, no. That happens when a Zora in well into their twenties. My boy is just fifteen."</p>

      <p>"I shall never grow accustomed to the Zora age difference," Revali whispered to Hazel.</p>

      <p>"If you think that's strange, then you should know that Prince Sidon is seventeen," Rutia said.</p>

      <p>"Merciful Medli," Hazel groaned. Revali raised a yellow brow and smirked.</p>

      <p>"I am sure that your son is fine. He is most likely playing with Bazz and Prince Sidon. We must get to Hyrule Castle as soon as possible," Teal insisted. Rutia searched the crowd one more time and nodded.</p>

      <p>The group traveled down the somehow eerie walkway out of Zora's Domain. Hazel was busy being near death to properly admire the elegance of the lamps and bridges leading out the last time she passed through this particular area. She told Rutia that the diary slab they glimpsed was gorgeous, and the Zora woman preened for the next hour. There were no lizalfoes. No monsters. No beasts. Hazel gripped her bow. There were no animals either. Something was ready to attack them, but it would not be on land. She watched the deep channel of the Zora ravine. White capped water churned in hungry swirls down below. And there was something else. Something with a purple tentacle.</p>

      <p>A fiery rock torpedoed out of the water. It sped right passed Teal and slammed into the blue mountain rock. Chunks of rocks and boulders trembled and fell. Revali moved Hazel out of the way, and Mertle picked up Rutia by the waist to do the same.</p>

      <p>"An octorock. Fish bellies, I hate these guys," Rutia huffed from Mertle's grasp.</p>

      <p>"Are they usually this monstrous?" Teal asked. It was a good question. The octorock was at least a story large. Slime coated its writhing purple tentacles as it pushed its body up and out of the rushing water. The vegetation on its head consisted of a few trees and bushes and made for some pretty impressive camouflage. Glowing red eyes seared a path towards the group and it shot another boulder. Again, the group dodged, barely making their escape the second time.</p>

      <p>"Oh, they are always beasties. Shooting rocks from their mouths one after another. Ugh!" Another boulder soared over. "But to answer your question, eh, they are usually smaller." The octorock bellowed in frustrated, causing the water around the beast to froth and steam. "As in, Hylian dog smaller."</p>

      <p>"Yes, yes. Throw in a squid the size of a molduga, why don't you, Hylia? Great Protector Quill, I do not have time for this." Revali moved Hazel over to the very edge of the path closest to the mountain. He then gestured to Mertle, Teal, and Rutia. "Stand back, everyone. You should all witness what a true Rito can accomplish."</p>

      <p>"I think I've witnessed enough of that." Mertle rolled her eyes.</p>

      <p>"Just let Revali do Revali. It's best this way," Hazel told the Gerudo.</p>

      <p>Revali waved his wing, attempting to replicate would he accomplished when Hazel had been hurt. Nothing. He tried one more time. Still nothing. Without wasting anymore time, the Rito jumped from the cliff that led straight into the ravine. He flipped his bow from his back, threw up three arrows, notched them, and let all three bolts go. They embedded themselves into the octorock's corneas. The creature screamed and thrashed around. Revali caught an updraft, flew higher, and shot five more arrows. Two caught the monster in its eyes again, and the remaining three shot into its open maw. The octorock screamed, almost bursting the groups' eardrums, and fizzled into its own dark green blood and guts. The tree headpiece crashed into the water, sending a spray of moisture up an onto the path. Revali haughtily landed right next to Hazel and proudly bowed.</p>

      <p>"There. Did you see how gracefully I handled this problem. I shall wipe clean Hyrule of all other threats with as much ease as I dispatched that octorock." Behind him, fish were already gathering around the deceased monster, nipping at the newly revealed flesh.</p>

      <p>"First we need to get to the castle," Hazel pointed out.</p>

      <p>"Allow me to amend that. 'We need to get to the castle as quickly as possible.' We've already taken," Teal was going to explain how much time they wasted already but caught the hurt emanating from Hazel's features. "Um, you know what I mean."<br />
      "That's fine, Teal," Hazel smiled at her brother.</p>

      <p>"And we have to move fast. These monsters are only increasing, getting bigger, and are exhibiting a tendency to be more aggressive than usual," Teal said.</p>

      <p>"If we can find a good incline, I can fly us both over in no time," Revali offered. Hazel and Revali could arrive at the castle within a day with the right air currents and angling.</p>

      <p>"Then we can meet up at the castle!" Hazel added. Everyone had business there anyway.</p>

      <p>"If you insist," Revali grumbled more to himself than anyone else.</p>

      <p>"What about that trick you used back when I got hit by that arrow? That way we don't have to worry about ledges anymore."</p>

      <p>"I like to forget that part of my life, thank you," Revali said and then huffed. "Honestly, I am not sure I can reproduce that power again. However, you are correct. If I did it once, I can surely do it again."</p>

      <p>Rutia took them over to a perfect place to take off. The drop was a perfect ten or so feet down. "To think, a Rito who can command the very air around him. There would be no need for cliffs or perches. Creating an updraft would mean power," Revali reveled.</p>

      <p>"Well, I believe in you, Revali," Hazel grinned. Her pack moved a little. Maybe it was the clothes she packed settling. "Anyway, I know you can do it again. For now, let's use the wind the old fashioned way."</p>

      <p>"As you wish, little Hylian."</p>

      <p>Hazel jumped onto Revali's back, and the two companions promised to meet their friends at Hyrule Castle.</p>

      <p>"And there they go," Teal said, heaving a sigh. "Come on. We can get horses from a stable and be there a little after those two." He brought his group around a corner, resisting the urge to sprint after his sister and the Rito man she fancied.</p>

      <p>When he left his family in Tabantha Village five years ago, it was the girl, Impa, who took him under her wing at the Sheikah Village. He didn't mind that she was one year his junior. She was strict, serious, and she set him on the path he now followed. He admired her iron will, and tried to emulate her confidence.</p>

      <p>"When you take the oath to become a Sheikah, you are absolving yourself from everything you once knew, severing your familial bonds and previous interests. You must dedicate your very soul to protecting the royal family and the land of Hyrule. Nothing else matters thereafter," Impa said after she had promptly kicked Teal's feet from under him and pointed a light metal blade at his throat. She was at her most beautiful when she was like that. Her dedication was addictive, and her blunt nature effectively closed off any retorts his fifteen-year-old self may have conjured.</p>

      <p>Teal's thankless father had abandoned the family when he was only nine-years-old. He could only watch as his mother wilted and withdrew into herself as the years bled by. He couldn't stop Kriss from eloping with the sweet boy who purchased a spear from Aelena and then running off with him. He could do nothing to pull Hazel out from her needless hope that she could both comfort their mother and change the world just by staying in in their village. He couldn't help but hate his father, Misko.</p>

      <p>When Impa had pointed that sword at his adam's apple, her red eyes blazing with righteous fire and a mane of smooth ivory hair swirling around her like she was a type of goddess, Teal knew what he needed to do. He had a purpose with the Sheikah like he never could have achieved in Tabantha, and he yearned to make Impa proud.</p>

      <p>The fact that he was left behind to play escort nearly drove the youth to banging his head against the rock wall. Hazel and Revali worked better together. They would be faster than if Teal had insisted he's go with Revali. Still, his feet burned with anticipation. Rutia padded up to Teal and tapped his shoulder. He had to forcibly tear himself out of his deep thoughts. He turned and smiled at her. The usual cheerful mask again slipped back onto his face.</p>

      <p>"Hey, this has been bothering me for a while, but do you hear that?"</p>

      <p>"Please, if lizalfoes pop out after you said that, I would have to dispatch you," Mertle growled. She shook her spear at the Zora woman.</p>

      <p>"Dispatch away. Doesn't change that I hear—there!" Rutia spun around and pointed at a crevice. Two figures scuttled out and sped over to Rutia. They collided with her, hugging her sides with vigor. "Ledo?! Bazz?" Rutia picked up Ledo with one arm and Bazz with another. "Why are you hooligans here?"</p>

      <p>"I command you to let us come with you!" Bazz waved around a tiny fist clutching a small knife. "We want to help Hyrule, too!"</p>

      <p>"This can't be happening," Mertle sighed. "Shoo, children! Shoo!"</p>

      <p>"We're too far away to just send them on their way, Mertle," Rutia moaned.</p>

      <p>"And time is of the essence," Teal added. This was just not his day. Or week. Year? No. This was just not his life.</p>

      <p>"Anyway, he's already with Lady Hazel and Mr. Revali," Ledo said. He gasped and slapped his clawed hands over his mouth.</p>

      <p>"He who?" Teal asked. A fine chill sprinkled down his skin. Yes, definitely not his life.</p>

      <p>Hazel and Revali landed on a patch of green hill just outside of the castle. They decided to trek the rest of the way to the castle as to not startled any guards. It simply wouldn't do for Revali to be shot down from the sky before they had a chance to deliver their message. That being said, they still had a ways to walk until they reached the castle.</p>

      <p>"What did you put in that pack of yours?" Revali asked Hazel. He rubbed his middle back as if he were an old man.</p>

      <p>"Just my usual items. I did put in more clothes than usual." She scratched her chin. The sun was glaring down from a clear blue sky, and a soft summer breeze ticked the back of her neck. Hazel had tied up her long hair in a bun today to avoid a braid slapping her back while in flight. Her side still emitted a dull ache, but it was nothing she couldn't handle. "I'm sure I gave all of the rock gifts from Daruk to Gordon in order to thank him for setting up that fake weapon stall at the carnival."</p>

      <p>"You did. I heard every crunch."</p>

      <p>"And if anything, I lost a little weight from staying in a bed for a week."</p>

      <p>"I suppose it doesn't matter now," Revali said. He blinked as the wind rustled the tied braids on the back of his head. "I think what is our most pressing issue is that wild man running at break neck speed right at us."</p>

      <p>"Running man right towards," Hazel mumbled. She searched and found exactly what Revali was referring to. Yes. There was indeed a man charging right at them, cutting the pathways, and scrambling up a grassy incline.</p>

      <p>"There's a gold lynel ravaging the ranch!" The man yelped once he was close enough. The man hunched over his knees in a semi fetal position. His arms were corded with muscle one only attained through hard labor. Unfortunately, he was currently caught in the uphill battle with age. The once toned stomach protruded from too much ale, and there was a fine sheen of sweat glazing the man's forehead. He rubbed his gloved brown hand across his face, still panting.</p>

      <p>"What? That doesn't make sense. Lynel's protect their pieces of territory outside of Hylian civilizations," Hazel wondered out loud. She had just obtained her land feet and held onto Revali's side to steady herself. He kept a wing at her back.</p>

      <p>"Yes, that holds true in most cases," the man agreed. Hazel could tell that his voice had once held the possibility of wrangling all the women in with one ballad, but was now rusted over with too much smoking. The man's bright brown eyes were still sharp, and he pinned the couple down. "But this one is of the I'm-going-to-reek-havoc-on-Hyrule-Gardens-and-then-battle-my-way-through-towns-and-eat-your-cows-at-the-ranch variety."</p>

      <p>"Oddly specific variety. Hazel, write that down in your notebook. You've discovered a new species." Revali nudged Hazel's side and she pushed back.</p>

      <p>"Shush! Alright, why are you asking us for help? Where are the Hyrule Knights?" If they weren't here and actively fighting off a beast, then was something else the matter? Did waiting for her injuries to heal waste what little time they had to warn Hyrule Castle? Her stomach twisted.</p>

      <p>"They are having a competition at the Coliseum for, oh heck, something about being Princess Zelda's body guard? Don't know. Don't care. I only care about my cows and the bows at your backs." The ranch owner, Hazel guessed, pointed at the bows poking from Hazel and Revali's shoulders. The owner had a keen sense of intuition. His eyes watered and he actually fell to his knees. "Please. I'm no fighter, and the knights won't be able to come back in time. I'm desperate."</p>

      <p>"No." Revali clucked.</p>

      <p>"Yes," Hazel urged.</p>

      <p>They held an intense staring contest until Revali held up his wings in surrender.</p>

      <p>"Come on, Revali. Let's go bag us a lynel." Hazel called out to her companion. The ranch owner sighed in relief and thanked them profusely. He directed them to the ranch, which was a short distance away, and proceeded to attempt catching run away horses thundering by.</p>

      <p>"Huh." Revali sniffed as they gingerly walked over to the ranch.</p>

      <p>"What's that huh, for?" Hazel whispered. If she squinted just so, the dot in the middle of a fenced in field sort of resembled a lynel. She only had Teal's books as a reference.</p>

      <p>"I thought you were going to end that with something different like, letting the cat out of the bag, or some such."</p>

      <p>"Honestly, Revali, sometimes I can't handle you." They inched closer. Hazel's heart was thumping out of control in her chest. She set down her pack. Yup. That was indeed a lynel. A massive, pissed off, golden lynel. He gleamed in the sunlight like a polished crystal lamp. The beast loped from one side of the ranch to the other. It had completely devastated the livestock within a fifty feet radius of where it prowled. Insanity. The golden lynel had claimed the ranch as its new territory. That was unheard of. The half feline half equestrian absolutely despised other sentient beings, even its own kin. Now was a great time for the knights to be out having some sort of skill test. Not.</p>

      <p>"Admit it, that's why I'm irresistible."</p>

      <p>"That's part of it. It's also because of your cute butt." And why did she just say that? Oh Goddess, the nerves must really be kicking in.</p>

      <p>"What?!"</p>

      <p>"I said, don't get hit in the gut." Hazel gulped. Her entire body was shaking, and her palms were running with sweat. No matter how many moldugas, taloses, lizalfoes, moblins, and bokoblins she had battled with, facing a lynel was a fight in a world of its own. "We have to be quiet and quick. Our only advantage right now is a sneak attack."</p>

      <p>"Quiet. Alright." Revali surveyed the ranch battleground. "I'll sneak in front of him and use the hut as a perch to use my arrows. While I'm distracting him, you high tail it to that tower and shot from up there."</p>

      <p>"Okay. Let's do this," Hazel whispered.</p>

      <p>"YEAH! LET'S DO THIS! I BELIEVE IN YOU, FWIENDS!"</p>

      <p>Revali and Hazel both threw looks over their shoulders where Hazel's large pack lay opened. Prince Sidon of the Zora poked his adorable crimson head out of the bag and waved.</p>

      <p>"I twicked you!"</p>

      <p>"Waaa?"</p>

      <p>"I dwank sneaky elixir. It made me all light and quiet. You didn't notice all the way here!"</p>

      <p>"Yeah, we didn't notice until now that is," Revali rasped.</p>

      <p>A booming, mighty roar ripped through the air, <b>ROOOOOOOOARRR</b>! Hazel began to hyperventilate. That roar stabbed at that primal place within her that told her she should probably start running.</p>

      <p>"Aaaaand, it would seem the lynel notices, too. Merciful Medli, give me the strength," Revali groaned.</p>
    • Violetlight wrote:

      I'm not normally one for OC stories, but your Hazel is quite interesting, and she both contrasts and complements Revali nicely. It's a shame that her maps won't be all that useful once the Sheikah towers emerge, but it's cool to see someone trying. The "great and powerful Revali" being a terrible cook is hilarious! I'll be looking forward to future chapters!
      Oh, thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying this so far. ;^)
    • Just read Chapter 3. I found your scene changes a little jarring, since there was no punctuation in between, so it was unclear when the scene changed.

      For example:


      Memeke83 wrote:

      "Oh good." Hazel plopped down on the ground, digging around in her pack. Urbosa chuckled at Hazel's sudden blunt attitude. "Then I'll get straight to it. I am making a map."</p>

      <p>"A molduga?" Revali chided once Hazel exited Gerudo Town and relayed everything that occurred between her and Lady Urbosa.
      Maybe put something, like *** between the paragraphs, just to indicate the scene change. It may just be a formatting problem (I've been having that with this site).

      Other than that, great chapter! I love Urbosa's warm, welcoming attitude towards Hazel, and it's funny that Zelda asked her to test Revali. The mogula battle was epic! I could see what was going on in my head perfectly! Loved Revali's reaction to Hazel's Gerudo outfit as well.


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Gear, by my husband, D4rkSilver
    • Finished Chapter 4 :DD

      I love the backstory you gave Revali! It goes a long way to explaining his jerkass attitude (though he doesn't seem *quite* as much as a jerk in this fic as he does in canon). I also enjoyed Hazel's family history. It was funny to see Revali's jealousy of Link starting before he even really met him, and over him potentially making "hatchlings" with Hazel too! (Even if Hazel herself rejected the notion). It was nice to see a hot springs chapter without it getting all anime weird.

      Daruk was described perfectly! I was a little taken aback that the Gorons didn't know that non-Gorons don't eat rocks, since they specifically sell food to "tourists" in-game, but that is 100 years later, so maybe they just haven't got around to that yet. Besides, sometimes Rule of Funny wins.


      BotW Zelda in her purple Hylian Gear, by my husband, D4rkSilver