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    • Zelda
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    Shadows of the Yiga
    • A sequel fic to Shadows of Hyrule
      In the ten years following Ganondorf's defeat, Link went from being a lazy high school student to working two jobs just to pay all the bills and the mortgage that was suddenly thrust upon him after his father's death. He swore to himself they'd stay in the house as long as Aryll was in school. He couldn't think of uprooting her in the middle of high school. He wanted nothing more than for her to have as normal a life as possible. Thank the Goddesses for his favorite bar, which he frequented after work, usually not making it home until well after midnight. Who knew life as Hyrule's Chosen Hero could be so... thrilling.

      Warnings: Swear words, use of drugs and alcohol, violence and descriptions of fight scenes, weaponry such as swords, bows, and guns, depression and suicide, sex talk and implications (but no sex scenes), and descriptions of murder and death.
      Please feel free to send me a message if you think another warning should be mentioned.

      Rating: PG-...16? | Teen +

      Complete | February 23, 2019
      Chapters: 51 | Words: 130,000
      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 1

      Display Spoiler


      A tedious stack of papers dropped on his desk. Link turned his gaze over to them casually, then up to the woman that stood over him.

      “Special delivery,” Sera said cheerfully. “One stack of papers for a Mr. Hero.” She winked playfully at him and casually blew her sidebang out of her face.

      Link turned his gaze back to his computer. He tapped his pen against his desk. It was just another day for him. Five years at that office, and each day simply blended into the next. He understood why people had midlife crises. Doing the same thing day in and day out was mind numbingly tedious. But it was a job, and he needed the money if he wanted to live in a house another month.

      “For someone who faked his entire resume, you do surprisingly well,” she continued with a grin. “Can you get all this done by five like last week?”

      Link shrugged lazily with one shoulder. “Sure.”

      She sat on the edge of his desk, still grinning. “How do you do it?”

      “Well, you see,” Link started, rolling back in his chair. He pressed his fingertips together. “It's all bullshit, Mr. Watson.”

      Sera laughed. “Sounds about right. I mean, who cares about expense reports, anyway? Certainly not this company.”

      “It takes years of practice to do what I do,” Link said with a smug grin.

      “At this rate, you'll be at the top of the corporate ladder.”

      “And all my dreams will come true,” Link said dryly.

      “I could get used to the perks,” she said with a shrug. “Those company cars look nice.”

      Link scoffed. “Suits. Not my style.”

      “That's so Superman of you. Corporate slave by day, hero by night. Why isn't that on your resume?”

      Link turned back to his computer. “Unfortunately, we're not exactly in an age of heroes. No one gives a shit.”

      “They ought to.” She was quiet for a moment. She tapped a finger on the stack of paper she dropped on his desk. “This is no place for a hero.”

      “Well, hero work doesn't pay the bills.”

      “Hm. Touche.” She stood. “Up for another drink tonight?”

      Link turned his attention to his phone as it vibrated against the desk. He sighed when he recognized the number of the high school. “Doesn't look like I'll be able to,” he said as he answered the phone. He turned his gaze to Sera as she walked away, waving over her shoulder.

      “Link. I have Aryll in my office. Can you come by?”

      “Again?” Link turned his gaze to the papers on his desk. They would have to wait until tomorrow.

      “Yes,” the principal said dryly.

      “Sure,” Link said. “Let me just take another personal day. I don't get tired of using those up.”

      “I'm in no mood for your attitude, Link.”

      Link sighed. “I'll be down in a bit.” Without another word, he hung up the call. He got up abruptly, leaving his chair spinning in his wake, and passed Sera's desk as he made his way out. She looked up from her computer screen as he passed.

      “Aryll causing trouble again?”

      “Cover for me?”

      She saluted him. “Aye, aye, Mr. Hero.”

      Link rolled his eyes at her before leaving the office. It wasn’t the first time he had gotten a call from the school about Aryll, but it was the first year she had really started to act out. He didn’t know shit about parenting, and as far as he knew, there was no how-to book on the subject. It may have been ten years ago, but he was sixteen once, too, and he never went through any sort of rebellious phase. Of course, he was a little preoccupied in his chosen destiny to stop Ganondorf and save Hyrule. So, it was very possible he missed out on the inductions into the rebellion club. He was convinced that such a thing existed, and it was all just a big plan to make his life even more miserable.

      Regardless of why Aryll was acting out, she was, and Link had found himself at the high school on a more regular basis than he wanted to be. Fortunately, it was mostly for petty high school crimes. Aryll was found skipping class. Or skipping the day entirely. Or she was caught cheating on her test. A couple of times, she had apparently gotten into some fights, which left her suspended for the next couple of days. These were the worst, mainly because Link knew that being unsupervised at home would only allow her to get into more trouble. By the grace of Hylia, he had managed to sweet talk his way out of that with the principal, though he wasn’t sure how long that would last if she kept up.

      He was bending over backwards for his sister, and she didn’t seem to give a damn. It apparently wasn’t enough that he dropped out of college to be with her when his father was discharged. Or that he had taken over everything when he died, including the unfortunate role of being some sort of father figure in her life. The two jobs he was working just to keep a roof over her head? Well, who needed that? Surely not him. She was going to get kicked out of school at this rate and never graduate, so why did he bother sticking around in the city? There was nothing there for him, anyway, and there would be nothing for Aryll if she wasn’t going to graduate high school.
      So, really, who was it all for, then? What did any of it matter? How he wished he could go to the bar after picking up Aryll.

      It would have felt odd to be back at the school if he hadn’t been such a regular appearance there. Every time, he would find himself looking at the corner of the building from his car where his friends used to hang out before and after classes. Sometimes, he would wander the hallways before making his way to the office, looking out into the courtyard where they once gathered for lunch. On one of the picnic tables, Revali had lovingly carved “Link sux” into the wood. Ten years was a long time, but it seemed a lifetime ago. He hated everything about high school, but in those recent years, he wanted nothing more than to go back and attempt to make a better future for himself.

      And there was Aryll, all too happy to throw it all away. Everything he had done for her.

      Needless to say, Link was in a less than stellar mood when he entered the office. The secretary behind the desk did not look up as he entered, but offered him her usual, monotone greeting. “Hello again, Link.”

      “Did you miss me?” he said with a grin. The woman looked up slowly, meeting his gaze with a raised brow and otherwise emotionless face, and his grin quickly disappeared.

      “He’s expecting you,” she said with a sigh, pulling her gaze away and back onto her computer screen.

      “Right,” Link said. “Of course he is.” He walked around the desk and into the office without knocking, taking the seat in front of the desk. He stretched his legs out in front of him, settling in to hear of Aryll’s latest adventures.


      The principal smiled to Link as he sat in the empty seat in front of the desk, but Link did not return the greeting. He crossed his arms over his chest and waited for him to speak.

      “Nice to see you, Link.”

      “Wish I could say the same.”

      “Aryll told me not to call. She said you were busy at work.”

      “Well, if she cares so much, maybe she'll stop causing trouble.”

      “She's a good kid. She gets good grades.”

      “So, what is it this time?”

      He folded his hands on his desk. “She knocked a kid out cold.”

      Link grinned. “Nice.”

      The principal narrowed his gaze. “Do you really think that's appropriate?”

      Link shrugged. “Depends. Did he deserve it?”

      He sighed and pressed his fingers against his temple.

      “He must have done something to piss her off,” Link continued. “What was it?”

      He looked down at the papers on his desk and scooped them up. He flipped through them until he found what he was looking for. “Apparently there was a disagreement between them.” He adjusted the glasses on his nose as he read the report. “'He said that the legends of Hylia were nothing but bullshit and scare tactics that the government uses and if Ganondorf was ever a real threat, he would have been eliminated. I told the stupid bastard that if he paid attention to the world at all, he'd know that Ganondorf cannot simply be killed as long as he holds a piece of the Triforce, and the fucking prick said that the Triforce was made up by the royal family to keep themselves in control of Hyrule. He said Zelda and Link were frauds.'” He stopped and looked over his glasses, meeting Link's gaze.

      “That's a good one,” he said. “I haven't heard that one yet.”

      The principal placed the papers back on his desk and removed his glasses. “It seems Aryll has quite a temper.”

      “Guess the kid shouldn't be talking shit. Sounds like he got what he deserved.” He smiled smugly. “Next time -” He snapped his mouth shut, thinking better of what he was going to say. Aryll could get away with throwing punches, but he was sure he couldn't make such threats lightly.

      The principal raised a brow. “Next time?”

      “Next time maybe he'll show a little respect.”

      He leaned back in his large, leather chair, turning slightly from side to side in a rocking motion. “Is everything okay at home?”

      Link groaned loudly and rolled his eyes. “Don't give me this shit.”

      “I know things haven't been easy for the two of you these last few years, but you are responsible for her and her actions.”

      “She's sixteen years old,” Link said. “And I'm not her father. I don't control her. She's old enough to know right and wrong and make her own decisions.”

      “She needs guidance, Link.”

      “Guidance with what?” Link snapped. “She's standing up for herself. I'm sorry if my little sister has a better punch than that asshole conspiracy theorist. Maybe he should grow a pair.”

      He sighed and rubbed at his temple. “I've given her quite a few chances already,” he warned him. “I can't keep doing this. You need to do something about it. You need to talk to her.”

      Link got to his feet. “Are we done, or are you going to keep lecturing me about how to raise a teenage girl?”

      “I just want what's best for both of you. I don't want to see Aryll go down the wrong path. She has a lot of potential. You should be grateful she doesn't have the same work ethic you did in school.”

      Link shrugged. “Just busy saving the world.”

      “Mhm.” He turned his gaze away from Link and onto his computer screen. “If it keeps up, I will have to suspend her. Please don't let it come down to that.”

      Link said nothing further. He made his way out of the office, closing the door behind him. In the main office, Aryll was sitting in one of the chairs against the wall, her hands behind her head. She stood when Link came out and without a word to her brother, she left the main office and made her way outside. There was still an hour left of school, but Link was too tired to fight with her. He nodded to the woman behind the desk as he walked after Aryll.

      “See you next week, Link,” she said disinterestedly.

      Outside the school, Link jogged after Aryll as she made her way toward the car. “What the hell was that about?” he said when he reached her side.

      “What was what about?” Aryll kept walking, not meeting his gaze.

      “You can't go around punching people.”

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “I told him not to call you.”

      “Who else is he going to call?” Link sneered.

      Aryll stopped short and faced him. “Right, because I have no one else. No fucking family.”

      Link's expression softened. “You have me.”

      “Do I? You're never around!”

      “I'm working two fucking jobs for you. What more do you want from me?”

      Aryll stormed away from him, away from the car, and towards the road.

      “Where are you going?” Link shouted after her.

      “Home!”

      “Get in the car!”

      “No!”

      Fuming, Link got into the vehicle. He pulled out of the lot and followed Aryll onto the road. He rolled down the window as he slowed to her pace. “Get in!”

      Aryll crossed her arms. “No.”

      “Get in the fucking car, Aryll!”

      Aryll stopped walking and glared at him. She opened her mouth to speak, but thought better of it. Instead, she yanked the door open, slid into the seat, and slammed it closed. She folded her arms over her chest and turned to look out the window, ignoring her brother.

      “What the fuck has gotten into you?” Link hissed as he pulled out into traffic.

      Aryll shrugged with one shoulder and kept her gaze out the window. “I’m going through my rebellious phase,” she said. “I’ll probably dye my hair black or something. Get a lip ring.” She grinned to herself. “Fuck it. I’ll go all out and get my nipples pierced.”

      “You’re not funny,” Link muttered.

      “I’m actually hilarious,” she said. “But you have no sense of humor anymore, so you wouldn’t know.”

      “You’re going to get expelled,” Link warned her.

      “So what?” She glanced over to her brother. “What are you going to do about it? Ground me?” She rolled her eyes and turned her gaze back out the window.

      “Sure,” he mumbled. “That’s what people do, right?”

      “That’s what parents do,” she said. “And we’re sad little orphans.”

      Link’s brows furrowed, but he didn’t respond to her.

      Aryll took it upon herself to put an end to the silence that fell between them. “So, since you’re not my father, you don’t have that power.”

      “No,” Link said slowly. “But I’m the adult. The only adult you’ve got. So that power transfers to me.”

      Aryll shifted in her seat. “Right,” she muttered. “Let me know when you decide to act like an adult.”

      Link stopped at a light, slamming harder on the breaks than he needed to. “When you stop acting like a bratty little twat, then we can talk,” he hissed at her.

      “Fuck you,” she sneered at him.

      “Get out and walk home.”

      “No,” she said sternly. “And you can’t make me.”

      “Wanna bet?”

      “Fine,” she said. “Be a terrible guardian and they’ll take me away and stick me in an orphanage and we’ll never have to see each other again.”

      “Stop being so dramatic,” he said. “You won’t go to an orphanage. Even they wouldn’t want you. You’ll just be a homeless little troll under a bridge.”

      “You’re a fucking dick!”

      The light had turned green, but Link hadn’t moved. The cars behind them started to honk in annoyance.

      “Yup, that’s me,” he said. “The biggest asshole this world has ever seen.” He flipped a motorist the bird as he finally moved through the intersection.

      “Being a hero doesn’t mean you get to act like a dick to everyone.”

      “Thanks for letting me know,” he said. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel. “I guess I misunderstood what being a dick was. Apparently giving up everything for you makes me a terrible person.”

      “Right, go head,” Aryll said, rolling her eyes. “Play the fucking victim card again.”

      “I can’t win with you, can I?” he barked at her. “Nothing I do is good enough!” They stopped at another light and Link turned to his sister. “What do you want from me, Ary? What the fuck do you want?”

      Aryll stared at her brother, her face whitening. When the cars began to honk behind them once more, she pulled her gaze away and slunk into her seat. She pulled her knees to her chest and held her breath in an attempt to steady herself, but the tears rolled down her face, anyway. They didn’t speak again until they pulled into the driveway and Link cut the engine. Neither of them moved to get out.

      “Can you just talk to me?” Link said softly. “Tell me what you need. Tell me what I can do.”

      Aryll glanced over at her brother, but he was staring out the windshield at nothing in particular. She pulled her gaze away and bit her lip to keep her sobs at bay.

      “I’m sorry,” she said softly, though her voice broke. “I’m sorry I’m just a burden to you.” And with that, she opened the door, stumbled out, and slammed the car door behind her.

      Link watched as she ran into the house. He punched the steering wheel angrily, and the car honked in response.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 2

      Display Spoiler


      Link and Aryll didn’t speak for the rest of the night. Aryll didn’t come out of her room for a moment, and Link didn’t bother try to talk to her further. Instead, he fell against the couch where he stayed for the entire night, staring blankly at the tv in an attempt to lose himself in whatever was on. He passed out shortly after finishing off a twelve-pack by himself, and only woke up when he heard what he thought to be a door slamming. It startled him, and he nearly fell off the couch. After a quick check through the house, he determined that Aryll was not there. Whether she had actually gone to school was a different story entirely. He supposed he should have attempted to text her, but instead, he trudged into the bathroom to shower off the stench of alcohol.

      Despite the amount of alcohol he consumed, his hangover was relatively manageable, though his mood still sour. It made concentrating on his work difficult as his mind wandered to Aryll. He knew he couldn’t necessarily blame her for the way she had been acting. It didn’t take a genius to see her struggles, to know she was depressed. Who could blame her? Her parents were dead. Her brother - and only living family member left - wasn’t around, and when he was, he was moody, drunk, and just downright intolerable. He knew he was partly to blame for her downward spiral. He could barely keep a handle on his own life, so of course it would seem that Aryll was just another problem he needed to deal with.

      The truth was, however, Aryll was all that was keeping him together. In a life where it seemed that everyone left him, she was the one who remained. She was the only constant in his life. And dammit, he wanted her to have the best life she could. It may not have looked it to her, but he was trying. Didn’t that count for something? Perhaps it was selfish of him, but he just wanted her to be able to see that.

      He was so lost in thought that he hadn’t even heard Sera approach his desk. He jumped at her greeting, and Sera grinned down at him. She sat against his desk, her arms crossed. “How did your field trip go yesterday?”

      Link didn't look up. He continued to scribble numbers across the paper on his desk, occasionally tapping on a nearby calculator with the end of his pen. He never would have imagined himself actually having a job that would require math. But at the same time, he wasn't exactly finding the angle of a triangle, either. And, fortunately for him, the calculator was a wonderful tool high school conveniently tried to hide from him. “Great,” he said dryly. “I even got to bring home a souvenir.”

      Sera smirked. “Oh yeah? Anything cool?”

      “So cool,” he muttered. “A nice fancy note saying Aryll's gonna get suspended if she doesn't get her shit together.”

      Sera frowned. “Yikes. What the hell did she do this time?”

      Link sighed and dropped his pen. He leaned back in his chair and let it roll backwards. “Gave some tool bag kid a black eye.”

      “Nice,” Sera said with a grin. “Tough girl. I'm sure he deserved it.”

      Link shrugged. “I tried to tell her violence isn't the answer.”

      Sera laughed loudly. “Isn't that ironic?” She stood then, saying “Oh” as if she remembered why she had come to Link in the first place. “We've got a new guy who is just dying to meet you.” She gave him a wink before calling over her shoulder. “Wally, get over here.”

      Within a moment, a kid probably only a couple years younger than Link appeared from around the corner. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with one finger as he regarded Sera. “I told you not to call me that.”

      Sera shrugged. “Isn't it your name?

      “No,” he huffed. He turned his gaze to Link, then grinned. “My name's Walt.”

      “K,” Link said simply.

      “I'm a huge fan,” Walt said excitedly.

      “Fan?”

      “Well, yeah, obviously.”

      Link's brows knit together. “Why?”

      Walt blinked at Link for a moment. “Uh, because you're a total super hero?” He turned his gaze to Sera.

      Sera grinned at Walt. “Never meet your heroes, kid.”

      Link turned back to the papers on his desk, ignoring them.

      “What's a guy like you doing in a place like this, anyway?” Walt said.

      Link let his chin rest in his palm as he stared at his computer screen. “Hero work doesn't pay the bills.”

      Walt nodded as if he understood such a predicament. “For the record, it totally should.”

      “No shit,” Link muttered. “It's not enough that I almost died for this damn country.”

      “Can I get your autograph?”

      Link looked up at Walt, then to Sera, clearly annoyed. “Is he for real?”

      Sera shrugged. “I told you he was a fan. I bet he stalked you here.”

      “No, I swear!” Walt said defensively. “I mean, I knew you lived somewhere in the city. I just moved here a few weeks back. But I swear, I didn't stalk you.” His shoulders dropped slightly in an attempt to seem more relaxed. “It's cool, man. I'm cool.”

      Link's brows raised and he turned his gaze back to his computer. “Yeah,” he said. “Cool.”

      “Cool,” Walt said, waving his hand at Link, as if to dismiss his earlier uncool behavior. “You can get to that autograph whenever. No rush.”

      Sera shoved Walt's shoulders, pushing him around the corner. “Bye, Walt!” She smiled after him as he hurried back to his desk, then turned to Link. “You have such a way with your fans.”

      Link scoffed, keeping his eyes on the screen.

      “So, you down for that drink this time? Sounds like you could use one.”

      “Story of my life,” he muttered. He stretched his legs out under his desk and nodded. “Yeah. Alcohol. Definitely.”

      *****

      Sera was waiting for him outside of the building. It was just after five when he trotted down the steps and walked briskly passed her. She grinned as he walked by, then moved to catch up to him, adjusting her bag on her shoulder.

      “In a hurry?”

      “Yes,” Link said simply. “Every minute I’m not drinking is another minute I’m not drinking.”

      Sera laughed. “Well, sure, that’s one way to put it.”

      “I think it’s the only way to put it,” Link said.

      Sera frowned slightly and glanced at him. Though he seemed relatively content, she knew he masked his problems well. She pulled her gaze away and sighed lightly. “That new guy is weird, right?”

      Link’s gaze moved to her, well aware that she was quietly judging him. “Sure,” he said. He turned his gaze away and shoved his hands in his jacket pockets. “What a nerd.” Truth be told, something about him did make Link uncomfortable, but he didn’t dwell on it.

      “If he’s a nerd for being your biggest fan, what does that make you?” Sera teased, elbowing him.

      “A sucker.”

      “Gee, you’re extra pleasant today,” she said.

      Link sighed. “I’m tired.”

      “Maybe you should skip the beer tonight,” Sera offered with a shrug.

      Link shook his head. “Nope. Definitely need the beer.”

      “Don’t you think you should get home and babysit Aryll?”

      Link scoffed. “She’s avoiding me.”

      Sera frowned. “Now what did you do?”

      “Why is it always my fault?”

      “It’s not,” Sera said. “But I also know that you like to feed the fire.” She shrugged. “You lectured, she argued, you fought back, and now she won’t say boo.”

      “There you have it,” he muttered.

      “You know -” Sera started.

      “Yeah, I do know,” Link snapped at her. “I know. And that’s why I drink.”

      Sera sighed. They stopped in front of the bar, and Sera held the door open for him. “Ladies first.”

      “What does that make you?” Link said with a grin as he walked through.

      The bar was dimly lit, just how Kit liked it. “I’d rather not see the faces of the pathetic sacks that come in here,” he used to say to Link. “I’m actually very uncomfortable seeing yours so much. It’s like we’re friends now or something.”

      Link had frequented Kit’s bar over the last five years. Sometimes with Sera. Other times, even with Zelda. But mostly, he was alone. But Kit was always there, and his presence was something Link had grown oddly accustomed to, even fond of, even though they sometimes went a whole night without even speaking. If the situation had been any different, it was likely Link never would have associated with Kit, never mind called him a friend. But now, it seemed Kit was the only friend he had left. It definitely helped that he provided Link with all the alcohol he wanted.

      Kit was behind the bar when they entered. He didn’t look up at first, but Link and Sera took their usual seat. Kit seemed occupied tending to a larger group of men on the other side of the bar, but he found a chance to wordlessly slide over their usual orders, throwing his middle finger up at Link over his shoulder as he moved away.

      Sera made a sound of disgust. “Lonely, single girl’s night checkin’ you out.”

      Link craned his neck to look around Sera in the direction of her gaze. There were five woman in a booth still dressed in their business skirts giggling and glancing in their direction. Link shrugged and disregarded them.

      Sera, however, kept her gaze on them, studying them. Her head tilted to the side slightly. “I’d do the one in the middle.” She nodded to herself. “You can have one of the others.”

      Link snorted. “No thanks.”

      Sera shrugged. “Suit yourself,” she said. “More for me.”

      “Good luck with that.”

      “I get laid more than you do,” Sera said.

      Link considered this for a moment, then nodded regretfully.

      The group Kit was tending to made their way out of the bar, and the bartender mosied his way over to them, bringing with him two more drinks. He frowned when he saw they hadn’t finished their first.

      “You’re slowing down,” he said, pushing the bottles over to them. “Come on, let’s go. I gotta make my money off of you.”

      “I think you should send one of those girls a drink from us,” Sera said. “All of ‘em. I wanna get lucky.”

      Kit grinned. “If you get him drunk enough,” Kit said, gesturing with his chin toward Link, “he’ll go home with the cactus in the bathroom.”

      “Why is there a cactus in the bathroom?” Sera inquired.

      “That’s a good question,” Kit said. “I blacked out that night. But I’m convinced Link has something to do with it. He waters it every now and then.”

      “I guess you must really save on plumbing,” Sera said.

      “Kit shoves it up his ass,” Link said.

      Kit’s face twisted in disgust. “I know I’m a lonely guy, but I’m not that lonely.”

      “Debatable,” Link said.

      “Well, we don’t all have the good looks and charm of a hero,” Kit said.

      “Where are these good looks and charm that you speak of?” Sera asked.

      Kit shook his head. “It only comes out when he’s drunk and horny. I don’t know how he does it, but he takes a chick home every week.”

      “Do not,” Link sneered.

      “Oh, right,” Kit said. “You fuck ‘em and run back here to drink some more.”

      Sera frowned. “That’s classy, man,” she said disapprovingly.

      Link rolled his eyes. “He’s exaggerating. Why do you listen to him?”

      Sera turned her gaze to Kit who shook his head.


      “Anyway,” Sera said as she finished off her beer. “I'm glad you decided to come out drinking with me tonight.”

      “Why?” Kit absentmindedly dried off a glass behind the counter. “He's not good company.”

      Sera grinned at the bartender and tapped against the counter. “Hit me.”

      Kit rolled his eyes. He set the glass down, draped the rag over his shoulder, and moved to the other end to grab her another bottle.

      “In a glass with an orange slice!” Sera called to him, leaning over the counter. “Do it right, Bartender!”

      Kit flashed her his middle finger over his shoulder. When he returned, he slid the bottle across the counter at her, an orange slice jammed into the opening.

      Sera grinned up at Kit, then worked to remove the orange slice. “Why don’t you get together with Mipha next time she comes home?”

      “Is she still doing that doctor thing?” Kit grinned. “I'd let her do surgery on me.”

      “Can it,” Sera hissed. “What kinda sick shit you into?”

      Kit shrugged. “She's hot. I'll be into whatever she wants.” He leaned toward Link. “Give me her number already.”

      Link finished his beer and shoved it into Kit's chest. “Piss off.”

      Kit grinned, happy to be getting under his skin. He tossed the bottle, then retrieved another and slid it across to Link. “That one's on me, you cheap bastard.”

      “Giving away products?” Sera said. “How do you possibly stay in business?”

      “You should see this guy’s tab,” Kit said. He turned to Link and grinned. “Your alcoholism supports my small business. Thank you, Sir.”

      “Glad I can be of service,” Link said, unamused.

      Sera frowned, but did not add in her usual two cents as the two men continued to chat.

      “Where have you been, anyway?” Kit continued. “It's been a couple weeks since you've been in here.”

      “Been busy,” Link said with a shrug. “And its cheaper to drink at home.”

      “Touche.” Kit pulled the rag off his shoulder and wiped aimlessly at the counter, removing a wet ring from Sera's bottle.

      Sera finished her drink, then dropped her payment on the counter. “Don't let him get too drunk, Kit.”

      “You're such a buzzkill,” Kit said to her. He slid her money across the bar and counted it. “Where's my tip?”

      Sera rolled her eyes and fished through her pockets. She dropped some change into his palm. “You didn't give me my ora-”

      “You got your orange!” Kit hissed at her. His fingers closed over her money and he slid his hand into his pocket. He smiled at Sera. “I'll take care of ya boy.”

      Sera patted Link's head. “That's my work husband. You better. See you boys later.”

      Kit watched as she moved across the bar, pausing to chat with the women in the booth. They laughed and flirted, and a note was passed between them. Sera waved over her shoulder to them before leaving.

      “Does that come with benefits?” Kit said with a grin to Link.

      “No,” Link said simply. “She’s like, forty.”

      “I'd hit that,” Kit said. He leaned with his back against the bar, just to the side of Link. He watched the game play out on the tv above his head.

      “You'd hit anything that moved.”

      “It's a lonely life, being a bartender,” Kit said. “All day long, I listen to people talk about their lives, but no one ever wants to hear about mine.”

      Link rolled his eyes. “How's life, Kit?”

      Kit turned around enthusiastically. “Well, Link, that's right kind of ya to ask.” He paused for a moment, looking up thoughtfully. “Shit. My life sucks,” he said with sudden realization. “All I do is work. And I don't even make enough money to pay someone to have sex with me.” He frowned and leaned back against the bar.

      “Poor Kit,” Link said. “Can't get anyone to touch his dick.”

      “I could,” he hissed. “I just... don't have time to play the dating game.” He regarded Link over his shoulder. “If you know any single gals...”

      Link shook his head. “They're all out of your league.”

      “I could get them. What about Urbosa?”

      “Have you looked in a mirror lately?”

      Kit craned his neck to do just that, regarding his appearance in the mirror on the wall. He ran his fingers through his scraggly hair and blew the stray strands out of his eyes. His hair was an odd shade of brown, almost appearing grey and dirty. His skin was pale. “So I look like a vampire. I thought chicks were into that sorta thing.”

      “When was the last time you even saw the light of day, man?”

      “That is definitely not in the bartender's job description. Day drinkers are my forte. They keep me in business.”

      “You open at ten.”

      “And you won't believe the line I've got at the door. It used to be eleven.” Kit sighed. “Ten a.m. to two a.m., every day. Doesn't give me much time for a life. Unless, you know, I pick up a hooker on the way home.”

      “Classy,” Link muttered.

      “Hashtag single forever,” Kit said with a sigh. “That's what people say, right?”

      “No.”

      “You're a good friend, Link,” he said with a grin.

      “Anything for you, Kit.”

      “The next one's not free, though.”

      “Hit me.”

      Kit pushed himself off the counter, moving across to grab Link another drink. He set it on the bar, trading for the empty bottle which he tossed into the bin. “Saves me some dishes, at least.” He turned back to Link. “Sera would have me cut you off after that.”

      “Sera's not here.”

      Kit nodded thoughtfully. “What about Aryll?”

      “What about her?”

      “You just gonna leave her alone all night?”

      “She's sixteen. She's capable of taking care of herself.”

      “You'd make a great father someday.”

      “I hope not.”

      Kit smiled, but it was a sad sort of smile. Link met his gaze, then rolled his eyes.

      “Stop it,” he hissed.

      “I didn't say anything,” Kit said, raising his hands.

      “You're giving me that look.”

      “What look?”

      “That therapist look. It's condescending.”

      “Well, you're just such a sad, pathetic sack.”

      “At least I get laid.”

      Kit snorted. “When was the last time that happened?” He left Link to mutter to himself, moving to the other end of the bar to tend to another patron. After a few minutes, Kit returned, his palms against the counter. He leaned against his arms slightly.

      “We're friends, right?”

      “I wish we weren't,” Link muttered.

      “And as a friend,” Kit continued, ignoring him. “It is my duty to talk some sense into you.”

      “You're not my friend until after two,” Link said. “For now, you're the bartender.”

      Kit sighed. He waited for Link to finish his beer, then took the empty bottle from him. When he returned, he only had a glass of water, which he slid across to Link.

      Link scrunched his nose at the glass. “The fuck is this?”

      “I can't in good conscious continue to support your alcoholism.”

      “I'm not an alcoholic,” Link growled.

      “Link, I met you five years ago when your stupid ass stumbled into this very bar with your stupid ass friends not an hour after your father's funeral and you haven't left since.”

      “I only come for your entertainment,” Link said.

      “And I only let you come to extort you. I've made quite a name for myself here, you know. This is the bar the great Hero of Hyrule drinks his life away at. It's practically a tourist spot.”

      “Some damn kid at work asked for my autograph.”

      Kit snorted. “Why the hell would anyone want your damn autograph?”

      “He looks up to me.”

      “You know who I look up to? Movie stars. Those guys get all the tail they want. You? You come with nothing but problems. PTSD, alcoholism, depression. Who wants that guy's autograph?”

      “He sounds like a train wreck,” Link muttered.

      “I'm hoping it will be explosive.”

      “Hmph.”

      “Nah,” Kit said. “In all seriousness. I'm sick of seeing your ugly mug in my bar. Go drink cheap beer at home. At least be with Aryll. Get some damn help or something.”

      “I don't need help,” Link grunted.

      “Denial.” Kit frowned. “No one expects you to have it all together.”

      “Aryll does.”

      “Aryll would understand.”

      Link's brows furrowed. He looked up at Kit. “How could she? She has no one left. I'm all she's got.”

      “Then isn't that worth, I dunno, sticking around?”

      “I'm not going anywhere,” Link muttered.

      “Maybe,” Kit said. “But as a bartender, I'm kind of a self proclaimed expert in alcoholism and depression.”

      “I'm not depressed,” Link hissed.

      Kit raised his hands in the air defensively. “Whatever you say, tough guy.” He left Link alone to mutter into his drink, tending to more patrons.
      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 3

      Display Spoiler


      It was a couple hours before the bar started to empty out, and despite what he had said earlier, Kit reluctantly agreed to serve Link two more bottles. It was close to midnight when the last of his customer’s had gone, leaving Kit and Link the only two left in the building. Kit stretched his arms over his head, opting to close up early by simply locking the door and flipping the sign in the window. He then poured himself a couple of shots and took them one after the other before helping himself to two more.

      Link raised a brow at him. “Really?”

      “I’ve got some catching up to do,” Kit said between shots.

      Link grinned. “You’ve been drinking all night.”

      Kit shrugged. It was true that he had been helping himself to the occasional beer or shot between serving patrons. He and Link even toasted to some nonsense he couldn’t remember earlier in the evening. He finished another two shots, then worked at clearing the glasses along with Link’s empties. He wiped the bar down quickly with very little effort, then joined Link on the other side of the counter, taking up the empty barstool next to him. He pulled out a tin that Link was all too familiar with, along with a lighter, and he offered one of the joints to Link.

      Link rolled it between his fingers in between inhalations, watching it burn. They smoked quietly for a moment before Kit finally spoke.

      “When are you gonna sack up and talk to Mipha? Get back together with her already.”

      Link said nothing. He brought the joint to his mouth and inhaled. A single light lit the bar leaving them otherwise sitting in the dark. It felt better to be there in the dark than at home where the darkness only made him feel claustrophobic.

      “Or are you still on board the Zelda train?” Kit continued.

      “There’s no Zelda train,” Link said simply.

      Kit grinned. “That’s not what I’ve seen on tv.”

      “Do you really believe everything you see on tv?”

      Kit nodded. “When the reporters say ZeLink is a thing, I do.”

      Link raised a brow and inspected his joint. “ZeLink?”

      “Your celebrity couple name,” Kit said. He inhaled deeply, then added, “Obviously.”

      Link snorted. “That’s not a thing.”

      “Don’t lie,” Kit said. “You’re totally banging.”

      Link took another hit and stood. Without another word, he left the bar, leaving Kit to scramble to catch up to him. He waited outside in the cool night until Kit caught up, stumbling and swaying for a moment.

      “Fuckin’ shit,” he muttered under his breath as he caught his balance. He brought the joint to his lips, inhaled, then sighed dramatically. “The night is ours,” he said with a grin. “What kinda trouble should we get into?”

      “Zelda yelled at me last time,” Link said.

      Kit laughed. “Hey, you’re not a thing, what does she care?”

      “She can’t be associated with my antics,” Link said with a smirk. “Makes her look bad.”

      “Well, not for nothing,” Kit started, pausing for another hit. “Your presence can make anyone look bad.”

      “That’s what I aim for.”

      “I still think you should make up with Mipha,” he said. “She was the one thing you got right.”

      “She doesn’t need to be dragged down into my shit,” Link muttered. He took another hit, speaking again as he blew out smoke. “She’s better off.”

      “I disagree,” Kit said frankly. “The way I see it, you’re just a stupid ass who pushes everyone away.”

      “No, I’m just a stupid ass that everyone leaves.”

      “Are you gonna cry about it?”

      Link snorted. “No. I drink.”

      “Poor Link has no friends,” Kit mocked.

      “Look who’s talking.”

      Kit nodded. “No shit, huh?” He paused for a hit. “Guess that makes us a pretty good team.”

      “I prefer to run solo.”

      “You do a lot of things solo,” Kit said with a grin. His face turned serious as he spoke again. “It’s been like, five years. I don’t think either of you are better off.”

      “Well,” Link started, “I’m not about to start taking relationship advice from you.”

      “You should,” Kit said. “Because whether you believe it or not, you would have been better off.” He paused for a long inhale. “You’re not the hero anymore. You don’t have to do what you think is best for everyone else.”

      Link took one last hit, inhaling deeply. He blew the smoke out with a sigh. “You’re a wise man.”

      “I know you’re being an ass, but it’s about time you recognize and heed my wisdom.” Kit stretched his arms over him, working out the kinks as his body cracked and he groaned. He muttered about getting old as they made their way through the city.

      “I haven’t heard any Aryll stories lately,” Kit said thoughtfully. “Anything new and exciting?”

      “She’s gonna get expelled if she doesn’t get her shit together,” Link muttered.

      Kit frowned. “What did she do this time?”

      Link shrugged. “Punched some kid.”

      “Why?”

      Link sighed. “Conspiracy theories.”

      Kit grinned. “Oh, I love hearing those,” he said. “I’m still convinced that Yiga Clan is up to something.”

      Link shook his head. “Zelda was pretty adamant about that.”

      “Well, maybe she should get her head out of her ass.”

      He shrugged. “It’s been ten years. Don’t you think if they were an issue, they would have been, you know, more relevant by now?”

      “They’re waiting for something,” Kit said. “Plotting.”

      “Right,” Link said. “Nothing I can do about it, anyway. I don’t exactly stand a chance against an army of rogue Sheikah.”

      “Too bad,” Kit said. “You could use a good comeback.”

      Link smiled. “Yeah. You’re right.”

      “So, since we’re on the topic of crashing on your couch,” Kit started.

      “We weren’t.”

      “Thanks, man. I appreciate it. Pretty sure my landlord is going to kick me out. He hates me.” He shrugged. “I know Aryll hates me, too. But I don’t owe her money, at least.”

      “She hates me, too.”

      Kit frowned. “I don’t believe that for a second.”

      “Well, she’s pissed at me. Hasn’t said a word to me.”

      “I’m sure you put in the effort,” Kit said, and Link shrugged.

      It wasn’t long before they got to the house. It was completely dark, and Link wondered if Aryll was asleep, or if she had taken advantage of his absence and snuck out for the night. He decided he should at least own up to his responsibility as her guardian and check in on her. He knocked softly on her bedroom door, and when no answer came, he poked his head inside. If she had attempted to fake her own sleeping body with pillows, the blonde hair poking out was a nicely added detail, but Link felt confident that it was indeed her, sleeping soundly, and he wasn’t about to wake her.

      What he didn’t realize, however, was that Aryll was awake. Though she comforted herself in her nest of blankets, she hadn’t found a moment of sleep. She called her brother’s name softly, but he apparently had not heard her as the door closed again.

      “Is she out terrorizing the city?” Kit asked when Link returned.
      He dropped onto the couch beside Kit and took the beer Kit handed him. “Don’t think so,” he said.


      “You don’t think so,” Kit said, then shrugged. “You have such a natural, fatherly instinct.”

      Link snorted. “I learned from the best.”

      Kit frowned. “Are you suggesting your father was terrible at the parenting thing?”

      “A bit unorthodox.”

      Kit shook his head. “I don’t think so.”

      “You didn’t know him,” Link pointed out.

      “Maybe not,” he said. “But I can’t imagine he was that bad.”

      Link shrugged. “Guess not.” He paused. “He did let me play with a ten thousand year old sword.”

      Kit grinned. “Every sixteen year old’s dream.” He flipped through the channels on the tv, settling on some late night talk show. They continued to chat casually with one another. When the late night commercials came on, they teased one another about dialing the 900-lines. At some point during the night, they both finally passed out where they sat, not stirring until morning when Aryll slammed two pans together above them. They jumped violently, then groaned loudly as Aryll let the pans drop noisily onto the counter.

      “I'm going to school, idiot,” she called over her shoulder.

      Kit waved a hand over the couch. “Bye, Sweetie.”

      “Get the fuck out, Kit,” she shouted before slamming the door behind her.

      With another groan, Kit rolled over, falling off the couch and onto the floor. He lay with his face down on the floor for a moment, then let out a heavy sigh.

      “What time is it?” he muttered.

      Link's hand felt for his phone on the end table. He clicked it on and squinted his eyes. “Seven.”

      Kit sighed again. “Three more hours before I gotta get to the bar.” He slowly pushed himself to his feet, wavered for a moment, then moved across the living room. “I gotta take a leak.”

      Link let his arm rest across his forehead. His head was pounding, but it was hardly his worst hangover. After a few moments more of laying on the couch, he got to his feet and moved toward the bathroom. He leaned against the door and banged on it.

      “Get out, Kit,” he grunted.

      The door jerked open and Link nearly fell through. “Can't a guy take a piss?”

      Link pushed Kit out of the way. “I need a shower.”

      Kit scrunched his nose and smirked. “Yeah, you smell like ass.” The door closed behind him and he lifted his arm, smelling his pit. He shrugged. “You going to work?” he asked through the door.

      “Unfortunately.” The shower turned on.

      “Cool. I'm sleeping on your couch for two more hours. Don't wake me.”

      “Whatever.”

      “See you tonight?”

      “Sure.”

      Within fifteen minutes, Link was showered, dressed, and headed out the door, taking a moment to throw a pillow at Kit who was stretched out on the couch. In another fifteen minutes, he was grunting a good morning to Sera before hiding behind the desk where he hoped he could sleep most of the day away.

      *****

      “What's up with you?”

      Aryll looked up from her untouched lunch, only noticing then that Anju had sat in front of her. The cafeteria was buzzing loudly with afternoon chatter, though Aryll had managed to tune it out completely. She had floated by through half the day already, not paying attention to a single thing in her classes, her mind elsewhere. “Hm?”

      Anju frowned at her best friend as she sat across from her. “I'm worried about you,” she said. “You've been super emo for the last couple of weeks.”

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “I'm not emo.”

      “You look like you're going to kill yourself.”

      Aryll frowned down at her lunch.

      “Why won't you talk to me?” Anju’s voice softened.

      Aryll sighed. “There's nothing to talk about.”

      “I know there is,” Anju pressed. “Is it still Link?” Aryll didn't answer, but that was answer enough for her. “Don't you think you should talk to him?”

      “Clearly you don't know my brother at all,” Aryll muttered. “He doesn't talk about shit.”

      “What about Aryll's hot brother?” Cremia slid into the seat beside Aryll, grinning. “When are you going to give me his number?”

      “Gross,” Aryll muttered.

      “Hot,” Cremia said. “Hot damn. I could look at him all day long.” She put her chin in her hand and batted her eyelashes playfully.

      “Oh my goddess,” Aryll said, burying her face in her hands. “Shut the fuck up.”

      “I bet redheads are definitely his type, so I’ve got an edge there.” She sighed dreamily. “I'd let him do anything to me.”

      “Cremia!” Anju narrowed her eyes at her.

      “Oh, come on,” Cremia said. “I am so not the only one. He’s got stupid ass fangirls all over the world.”

      “Like you?” Anju said, pointing at her with her plastic fork.

      “Can we talk about something else?” Aryll muttered.

      “Fine,” Cremia said with a sigh. “We should make plans this weekend.”

      “Agreed,” Anju said. “Aryll needs to get out of the house.”

      “And her brother needs to get into me,” she whispered.

      “Cremia!”

      “Oh my Goddess,” Cremia whined loudly. “Let me have my fantasy!” She closed her eyes and smiled. “Mm, mm, mm.”

      “For the love of Hylia,” Anju said, shaking her head. “Keep it in your fucking pants.”

      “Fine,” Cremia said, coming back to reality. “So, sleep over at my place? We can totally get crunk!”

      “Crunk?” Anju said with a frown. “Really?”

      “Live a little, Ary,” Cremia said. “You could use a night to loosen up.”

      Anju shrugged. “She’s not wrong.”

      “One of these days,” Cremia started, “she’s gonna come in with black hair and black lipstick and stupid black skinny jeans and then I’ll have to kill you. For your own good.”

      “So, this will happen if I don’t go out and get crunk with you?” Aryll said dryly.

      Cremia nodded. “Most def. And I’m your best friend. I won’t let that happen to you.” She straightened and grinned. “So, it’s settled. Maybe we’ll sneak into some clubs. Meet some hot guys. Get laid.” She put her head in her hand and spoke into her lunch. “And then I’ll go over your house and seduce Link.”

      Anju punched her shoulder. “What is with you?”

      “I appreciate hot men! Why is that a crime?”

      “You’re an animal.”

      “What about Revali?” Aryll asked. “Can’t it be anyone else besides my fucking brother?”

      “Hm. Yeah. He’s hot, too.” She sighed. “Alright, fine. For the sake of our friendship, I’ll put Link on the back burner.”

      “I am so uncomfortable,” Aryll muttered.

      “I’m almost afraid to go into her bedroom,” Anju said. “I bet she writes terrible smut starring herself.”

      “I don’t need to hear this.”

      Cremia slapped Anju’s shoulder excitedly. “Dude! You should see some of the fics out there!”

      “Fics?” Aryll questioned hesitantly.

      Cremia nodded. “Oh, yeah. I’m tame compared to what those fangirls want to do to your brother.”

      “What if I got my tongue pierced?” Aryll asked in a desperate attempt to change the subject.

      “Don’t be a cliche,” Cremia said. “We all know you’re going through your angsty teenage phase. No need to fucking announce it to the world.”

      “I don’t know why I’m friends with you,” Aryll said.

      “Funny how that happened?” Cremia said. “It’s almost like I planted myself in your life to get closer to your brother.”

      “Sounds about right,” Anju said. “Actually. I thought he was with Zelda or something.”

      “No,” Aryll said fiercely. “Why?”

      “Well, they were all over the news for a while,” she said with a shrug. “Hanging out, being secretive.” She wiggled her eyebrows at Cremia. “I don’t think you can compete with the Queen of Hyrule.”

      Cremia made a face of disgust and disapproval. She scoffed. “Please,” she started. “She ain’t got nothing on me.”

      “They’re not dating,” Aryll insisted.

      “But they’re probably fucking,” Cremia said.

      Aryll frowned down at her lunch. “Link’s gonna get back with Mipha,” she said softly.

      Cremia rolled her eyes. “Right.”

      Anju bit her lip. “Why are you like this?”

      “That’s how this friendship works,” Cremia said. “You can baby her and let her be emo all she wants. But I’m a realist. I’m gonna talk some damn sense into her and pull her up on her feet and push her forward whether she likes it or not.”

      “Lucky you,” Anju said to Aryll sarcastically. “You get the best of both worlds.”

      Aryll smiled. “Alright,” she said. “Let’s get crunk. But under one condition.”

      “Anything,” Cremia said excitedly.

      “Stop drooling over my brother!”

      Cremia frowned, then turned serious. She put her hand over her heart. “This is how much I love you, Ary. For you, I will never say a thing about your smoking hot brother ever again.” She grinned and winked at her. “Starting now.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 4

      Display Spoiler


      Aryll was feeling particularly petty by the end of the day. She really didn’t want to ruin her streak of ignoring her brother, but she supposed that was already ruined that morning when she announced she was going to school. But there was definitely no way she was going to go home and chance seeing him and giving him the chance to argue with her. So, as the day came to an end, and waiting at the last possible moment, she texted Link, stating simply that she was sleeping over Cremaia’s and would not be home until Saturday.

      It took a while for Link to text her back, and when he did, she was already at Cremia’s, trying on outfits her friend had picked out for her that were, in her words, ‘club appropriate.’ His response was nothing more than a simple ‘k.’ She didn’t exactly expect anything more from him, but she still felt disappointed that he wasn’t putting in more effort. But then again, neither was she. She closed the message and pushed her thoughts aside. She checked herself out in the mirror, and despite her earlier trepidations to Cremia’s clothing choices, she didn’t hate how she looked. She had never cared much for style before, and never wore anything besides jeans (Link always teased her that dresses were here favorite when she was younger) and plain shirts, steering clear of patterns, bright colors, and lace and frills. This was the first time she had worn a skirt - and a black, very short, leather skirt, at that - and a shirt that actually showed - no, accentuated - her cleavage.

      She felt unnecessarily girly. And a little sexy. Very sexy. It was… sort of thrilling, and she found that she didn’t mind it as much as she thought she would. Tonight was about letting go and having fun again. Something she felt she hadn’t done in a while. Cremia was right; she needed to get away. To loosen up. To live her life. And what better way than to break a few little laws and get a little drunk? It seemed like the thing to do to help her forget about her problems. Link certainly did it enough.
      Aryll and Anju sat on Cremia’s bed while Cremia worked diligently at her makeup. Her mouth was open in concentration as she perfected her eyeliner, then applied her lipstick, finishing it with a smack of her lips. She tussled her hair, checking herself in the mirror before giving herself a nod of approval.

      “Plenty of makeup to go around,” she said, turning to them.

      “Where are you taking us?” Anju asked wearily.

      Aryll took the offer of the makeup wordlessly, applying the eyeliner to her eyes in thick strokes.
      Cremia grinned. “Well, first, I thought we’d pregame here for a couple hours. No sense going out this early.” She tapped on her phone as she spoke, scrolling through various apps and web pages. “There’s a few good clubs in the city we can hit. And if you’re really feeling adventurous, we can take a drive and see where the night takes us.”

      “Oh, a road trip!” Anju said. “We should totally do a road trip this summer!”

      “Now we’re talking,” Aryll said. She smacked her lips together and gave herself a flirty look in the mirror. “Hit the coast and never come back.”

      “Maybe, like, after graduation,” Anju said.

      Aryll frowned. “You mean we can’t just drop out?”

      “I also invited a few other people out with us,” Cremia said, interrupting them. “They’re gonna meet us at the first club.”

      Anju frowned. “I thought this was girl’s night.”

      “Totally,” Cremia said. “But, my goal is to get Aryll’s pants off.” She grinned and wiggled her eyebrows. “I invited Mido.”

      Aryll blushed. “Shut up,” she hissed. “Why would you do that?”

      “Because he’s soooo dreamy!” Cremia teased. “He’s strong. And sexy. But not as sexy as some people.”

      Anju threw a pillow at Cremia.

      “Come on, Ary,” Cremia whined. “You had the biggest crush on him.”

      “And then you made out with him,” Aryll reminded her.

      “Oh, yeah,” Cremia said. “But I’m done with him. You can have him now.”

      “Gee, thanks,” she muttered.

      “He’s bringing his friends, too,” she assured her. “There will be plenty to pick from.”

      “I was hoping to just get shit faced,” Aryll said.

      “Drink enough and you might get lucky, too.” Cremia moved to her closet, pulling open the doors and digging through. When she emerged, she had two bottles of liquor in her hand. “Drink up, ladies!”

      They started off with shots, and Cremia laughed as they choked and coughed. “Amatures,” she said as she poured three more shots.

      “I can’t do that again,” Aryll said, shaking her head.

      But Cremia brought the shot glass to her lips. “Drink! Drink! Drink!”

      Aryll closed her eyes and downed the second shot. “Oh my Goddesses,” she groaned. “What is the appeal?!”

      After a third round of shots, Cremia dug through her closet once more, pulling out a case of wine spritzers. “These will be more your style,” she said, then added, “Pussys.”

      They were much more tolerable than whatever hell fire was contained in the two bottles Cremia first brought out. They went down easily, and they drank them casually over the next couple of hours as they chatted and took selfies with one another. By the time night had crept in, the case was empty, and they were giggling together on the bed.

      Cremia got to her feet. “Ah’right,” she said. “We’ve gotta club to rock.”

      “How do you ‘spect us to even get in?” Anju said. “We’re minors.”

      “Never fear, Cremia is here!” She thrust a fist in the air, then fished through her purse, tossing two ID cards at them. “I hook my girls up!”

      “Where…” Aryll started, then shook her head. She didn’t even want to know.

      “Nice photoshop job,” Anju said, admiring her older looking appearance on her card. “Glad to see that older me is still hot.”

      Cremia rolled her eyes. “It’s not like I made you forty, jeez.” She grabbed a set of keys off her dresser, threw her purse over her shoulder, and left her bedroom, calling after her friends.

      “Wait a sec,” Anju said as they followed suit. “Should you really be driving?”

      “We’re literally going down the street,” Cremia said. She lead the way through the house and outside where her mother’s car waited. “We’ll be fine.” The keys were left for ‘an emergency,’ as her mother had said. “Only if the house is on fire or the city has become over run with aliens, or if you are dying.” It wasn’t the first time her parents left her alone for the weekend, but it was the first time she could (legally) drive, and she wasn’t about to waste a perfectly good opportunity to hit the town.

      The three girls slid into the car. Cremia navigated them the short drive down the street, and then a few blocks over, before parking in a lot outside of a club. A bouncer stood at the door, checking IDs of those who entered.

      “Follow my lead,” Cremia said as they stepped out of the car. “Act like you’ve done this before. Don’t be idiots, k?” They hurried across the street between stopped vehicles and navigated to the back of the line, stopping only when Cremia was pulled quite literally into the crowd.

      “Hey!” Mido called to them, waving them over. Cremia stood between him and his friends, giggling as she moved between them, closer than necessary.

      “Hey,” Aryll said sheepishly. Her head was already swimming, and she had started to feel nauseous, but she was determined to push through the night. There was no way she was backing out now. And for the first time in ever, Mido had spoken to her, and her feelings for him immediately ignited once more. Goddess, he was hot.

      Mido smiled. “Started without us?” he said. He took her wrist and pulled her into the line with them.

      “It’s free to raid my mom’s booze,” Cremia said.

      “Don’t worry,” Mido said. “We’ll keep the drinks coming.” He turned his attention back to Aryll. “I was really surprised when Cremia said you were coming out.”

      Aryll brushed her hair behind her ear and blushed. “Huh? Wha? Why?”

      Mido shrugged. “Didn’t really think you were the type.”

      “Guess there’s a lot you don’t know about me,” she said with a flirty smile.

      Mido’s grin widened. “Yeah?”

      “Watch it, man,” the guy beside him said, elbowing him. “You know who her brother is, right?”

      Mido laughed. “The dumbass with a sword? I’m not worried.”

      A couple of the guys oohed teasingly, and Aryll frowned.

      “Jealous, Mido?” Cremia teased.

      Mido grinned and crossed his arms. “If I’m jealous of anything, it’s that he’s fucking the queen.”

      “Don’t listen to him,” Anju offered. “He’s being cocky. He’s got jock brain.”

      The guys laughed. “Football guys are idiots,” one said to Mido.

      Mido rolled his eyes and grinned. “We’ll see who’s the idiot when I get a full boat into college.”

      Aryll shrugged. “Nah, he’s right,” she said. “Link is a dumbass.”

      They had made it to the front of the line, and Mido held his arm out, allowing the girls to enter first. They flashed their IDs at the bouncer, who glanced at them quickly before ushering them into the club, already checking the group behind them.

      From outside, they knew the music was loud, but Aryll still wasn’t quite prepared for how loud it actually was once they made their way inside, then down the stairs. Except for the disorienting flashing lights, it was dark and foggy. Dark masses danced and grinded on one another on the dance floor, laughing and posing for pictures. Cremia gripped their wrists as she lead them through the room as if she had done it a hundred times. The guys had momentarily disappeared, but Aryll was more focused on the bodies that pressed up against her as they wandered the club.
      After a moment, Cremia seemed satisfied with their location, and she pulled at Aryll’s wrist, dancing seductively against her.

      “Come on,” she shouted over the music. “Get into it. Give ‘em something to watch.”

      Aryll shrugged. If you can’t beat them, join them. She took Cremia’s hand and followed her moves, dancing as best as her drunken mind would allow her. Within a few minutes, Mido and his friends had found them, drinks in hand. Mido offered Aryll one of the glasses in his hand, and she took it eagerly, smiling a wordless thanks to him. She didn’t question what it was, fearing it would be like the shots Cremia gave them, and instead held her breath and drank.

      It didn’t taste as bad as she expected, though she still didn’t know what the hell it was. She finished it quickly, regardless, and set her empty glass on one of the nearby tables as Mido pulled her toward him. He put his hands on her waist, and they moved down slowly to cup her ass. He leaned in, pulling her closer and whispered in her ear.

      “Show me all the things I don’t know about you,” he said flirtatiously.

      Aryll smiled and pressed closer to him, grinding up against him as she had seen the other women do. She turned her back to him, then continued to grind against him. She could distinctly feel him against her, in more ways than one, but otherwise took no notice as she lost herself in the music.
      Throughout the night, they continued to dance and drink. Just as they promised, the drinks kept coming from various sources. Each one tasted a little different, but after a while, she didn’t even notice that. But it didn’t take long before she started to feel more and more sick to her stomach. She was stumbling over herself, and though Mido tried to catch her at every chance he could, he was no better off. At some point in the night, she remembered his lips against hers, then moving sloppily to her neck. His hands moved over her body, caressing her thigh and cupping her breasts. She had tried to pull away, but only stumbled against him more, sending him the opposite message she had intended.

      Soon, her stomach couldn’t handle it any longer, and she found herself vomiting violently into a trash can. Cremia took her hand and lead her into a bathroom where she puked first into a sink, then into a toilet. Cremia held her hair back, but the sounds made her sick, too, and she gagged and choked.

      Aryll could not hold her head up any longer. She felt the world spinning much too fast, and her head hit the floor. She hardly noticed the pain, but did feel the cool tiles against her face, and it felt refreshing against her hot skin. And that was the last thing she remembered.

      “Aryll!” Cremia shouted to her. “Wake up, idiot!” She whined loudly and did her best to pull her friend across the bathroom, but she was much too drunk to even keep herself up right. She dropped to her knees and slapped her across the face, but Aryll did not budge. After trying a few more times, Cremia started to panic. She searched the bathroom desperately, for what she didn’t know, before running as best as she could back into the club, searching for her friends.

      Anju and Mido and his friends were leaning against the bar, talking and laughing when she stumbled up to them.

      “Aryll’s out,” Cremia said, panting. She pulled Mido through the crowd and into the bathroom, showing him her passed out friend. Mido picked her up as carefully as he could, then followed Cremia outside and to her car as Anju jogged to catch up with them.

      “Maybe you should call an ambulance,” Mido said after securing Aryll in the backseat.

      “No,” Cremia said. “Serious? We’ll be so fucked!”

      “I dunno,” he said wearily. “She doesn’t look good.”

      “Shell be fine,” Cremia insisted. “I’ll jest take ‘er home and shell sleep it off.” She slid into the car behind the wheel, starting the ignition as Anju got in beside her.

      “He’s right,” Anju said. “We should go to a hospital.”

      “Will still be fucked!” Cremia said. She squinted her eyes as she concentrated on driving. “It’s easier to get home.”

      “Cremia,” Anju said fiercely. “She’s not okay! Hospital!”

      Cremia groaned. “Fine!”

      Anju turned to the backseat, pushing Aryll in her best attempt to wake her, but she did not move or utter a sound. Her lips twisted in concern, and she moved her fingers under Aryll’s nose, then to check her pulse on her neck, and she panicked.

      “She’s gonna die!”

      “She’s not gonna die,” Cremia barked. “Oh my Goddess!”

      “Cremia, this isn’t good,” Anju sobbed. She shook her head and buried her face in her hands. “We’re so fucked. Hurry!”

      “Okay!” Cremia stepped harder on the gas, blowing through a stop light and causing the cars that tried to get through to slam on their breaks and ski across the road. Their horns blared angrily as they sped onward down the center of the road, no longer keeping to their own lane. Cremia navigated as best as she could between vehicles, ignoring the side view mirror as it clipped another vehicle and flew through the air, landing on the car behind them and cracking the windshield. She didn’t slow as the road narrowed, moving away from the heart of the city.

      It was darker where they were, and she was sure she knew the way to the hospital, but it seemed then that they were completely lost. Still, she sped through the dark streets, cresting over the hills and careening dangerously around the corners. The headlights didn’t seem bright enough for the dark hour, and an early spring fog had settled in, making visibility more difficult. Still, she sped on, taking another corner much too fast and finally spinning out of control. They screamed as the car spun across the road and finally slammed into a tree, and their world fell darker than the night.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 5

      Display Spoiler


      The ringer on his phone seemed to be set to an unholy volume, shrieking in the night and causing Link to jump from his sleep on the couch. His heart raced, and it took him a moment to reorient himself with the world. After a moment, he hurried to find his phone, then squinted at the bright light as he held it up to his face. He didn't recognize the number the flashed on the screen, but considering it was after midnight, he answered it.

      “Link?”

      “Hm? Yeah?”

      “It's Officer Malone.”

      Link sat up on the couch and blinked in the darkness. He had become familiar with Malone over the years, thanks to Aryll’s occasional trouble with the city police. Fortunately for him, it seemed Malone had a soft spot for Aryll, and he was always easier on them than he probably should have been. Still, his late night calls always made Link nervous. “What? What's wrong?”

      “Aryll’s at the hospital,” he said. “We found her and two of her friends in a wreck on the other side of the city. They’re all fine, but heavily intoxicated. Aryll’s getting her stomach pumped now.”

      Link felt violently sick the moment Malone’s words hit him. Link was already out the door the moment the officer was finished speaking. He was barely able to tell him that he was coming, and Malone confirmed that he would stay at the hospital until Link arrived.

      His mind raced as fast as the car did as he sped through the sleeping city. His emotions flared wildly, rapidly shifting between anger, fear, and guilt. The hospital was only a fifteen minute drive through the city, but each second felt endless, each red light unnecessary, and he sped through most of them, anyway. He didn’t care about anything else but getting to Aryll.

      When he finally arrived at the hospital, he quickly parked and darted inside, immediately finding Malone in the waiting room. He was leaning against the front desk, looking up briefly as Link entered. He answered Link’s question before he even had a chance to ask it.

      “She’s alright,” he assured him. “Sit tight, okay? You’ll be able to see her soon.”

      Link ran his hands through his hair, then dragged them down his face. “Yeah, okay,” he muttered, but he couldn’t bring himself to just sit and wait. He took to wandering the waiting room aimlessly instead, pacing back and forth with his hands shoved in his pockets. He stared out the window at nothing in particular. It seemed he was waiting a lifetime, but finally a doctor came through the double doors to bring him through the hospital to Aryll’s room. He informed him that she would be unconscious for quite some time, but they expected her to be awake some time late in the morning.

      It had been ten years since he had last been in a hospital, pacing anxiously as he waited news of Daruk. Or when he eagerly saw his father after his own discharge. But in that moment, he felt more like his ten year old self, moving through the halls to say goodbye to his dying mother. Except this time, if Aryll was gone, he had nothing left.

      He stood in front of the closed door, his hand hovering over the knob. His hand shook, and he grasped the door knob mainly in an attempt to steady himself. He sucked in a breath, then opened the door. His eyes immediately fell onto his sister and he had to balance himself on the frame of the door to keep himself from collapsing. He hesitated in the doorway, his eyes glued to her. She was hooked up to various machines, which he was sure were harmless, simply providing her with fluids and otherwise simply monitoring her, but in that moment, she seemed to be on the brink of death.

      It took him a moment before he was able to enter the room completely, closing the door behind him. He moved to the side of her bed and sat against it. His fingers brushed through her hair, and he watched as she took slow, deep, sleeping breaths. He lifted his legs onto the bed, pulling her into his arms and pressed his face against her hair where he cried softly.

      He stayed like that with her for the rest of the night until the sun crest the horizon. His body had become sore and stiff, but he was unwilling to leave his sister’s side in case she woke. He only pulled away when his phone rang after ignoring it three times prior. He sighed, stretched his limbs, and moved across the room to answer the phone.

      “Link.” Zelda sounded breathless. “Damn it! Don’t scare me like that!”

      His brows furrowed. “What?”

      “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you!”

      “Yeah.”

      It was quiet on her end for a moment. “Link,” she started, her voice softer. “Is she okay?”

      “Yeah.”

      Zelda sighed softly. “Are you okay?”

      “Yeah.”

      “Do you need anything?”

      “No.”

      “I’m not going to get any more out of you, am I?”

      Link smiled. “Sorry,” he said. “I’m exhausted.”

      “Alright,” she said. “Please keep me updated, okay?”

      “I guess I can do that,” Link said. He hesitated. “How did you know, anyway?”

      “Come on,” she said. “When shit happens to Hyrule’s Hero, word gets around.”

      Link frowned and said nothing, so Zelda continued.

      “I am the Queen, you know,” she reminded him. “Of course Malone was going to tell me what happened.”

      Link looked up when there was a knock on the door, and Kit poked his head in. “And did you happen to open your hole to anyone else?” Link asked, narrowing his gaze on Kit. Kit waved a gift shop bear in the air before stepping in.

      “Well, I may have texted Kit when you weren’t returning my messages.”

      “Yeah, I figured,” Link said. Kit took the phone from him with a grin.

      “Howdy, Your Majesty.”

      “Oh,” Zelda said. “Sorry, Link.”

      Link grabbed the phone from Kit. “Now I have a rat to get rid of.”

      “Well, have fun with that,” she said. “Text me.”

      Link ended the call and turned to Kit. “What do you want?”

      “You went incognito,” Kit said. “Someone had to check in on you.” He turned his gaze to Aryll and frowned. “Shit,” he muttered.

      Link let himself fall into one of the chairs with a heavy sigh. Kit sat across from him, sitting the bear on the table. He shoved a finger into it, pushing it toward Link.

      “Look,” he said with a grin. “It says ‘get well beary soon.’” He snorted and Link rolled his eyes.

      “You’re an idiot.”

      Kit leaned back in the chair, stretching his legs out in front of him. “Also, you should know, you’re banned from my bar.”

      Link turned his gaze to his sleeping sister. “Yeah?”

      “Yup,” Kit said. He folded his arms over his chest. “We’re doing this cold turkey.”

      Link nodded slowly. “This is all my fault.”

      “Nah, man,” Kit said in an attempt to reassure him. “Don’t start with that shit.”

      Link rubbed his face with his hands and sighed. “I don’t know what to do, Kit.”

      Kit frowned. “Maybe start by, I dunno, not ignoring each other.”

      Link turned his gaze to stare at the floor. His elbows rested against his knees. “What do I do?” He closed his eyes. “I can’t keep going like this.”

      Kit said nothing. In truth, he didn’t know what to say. He opted to push the bear closer to Link. Link turned his gaze to the bear, then narrowed on Kit.

      “One day at a time, Mr. Hero,” Kit said in a high pitched voice. He moved the bear to indicate that it was the stuffed animal doing the talking. “Mr. Bear will help you!”

      Link sneered at Kit. “Knock it off.”

      “Hey, I was thinking,” Kit said, straightening slightly. “Conspiracy theories aside, there’s definitely something up with those Yiga guys. I mean, you said so yourself. Dorian and your dad definitely had some unfinished business between them. Dorian’s definitely a double agent.”

      Link blinked at him. It took him a moment to realize that he was talking about their conversation from the night before, and even longer to remember how that conversation actually went. His brows knit together. “Zelda says he’s not.”

      “But how can she possibly know that?” Kit said. “She’s being lied to just like everyone else.”

      “What are you saying?” Link narrowed his gaze on Kit.

      “I think these Yiga guys are a bigger deal than everyone is making them out to be. I bet they were the ones opening the portals. With Dorian on the inside, they can get as much intel as they need on you and Zelda. They’re team Ganondorf, right? So, naturally, they’ll want to bring that guy back. They couldn’t stop you the first time around, so they’ve been sitting back and waiting, brewing some plan to bring him back and fuck everything up.”

      Link hesitated. “You’re insane,” he muttered.

      “What if I’m not?” he said, growing excited. “Clearly you can’t trust anyone. So, you go rogue. Hunt those bastards down and end them.”

      “And how am I supposed to do that?” Link said. “Have you seen what a Sheikah can do?”

      Kit shrugged. “Not really. But I’ve heard things.”

      “These are ex-Sheikah,” Link said. “They can do everything a Sheikah can do, except they’re out to murder. They don’t give a flying fuck. I’ll be a rotting corpse with a snap of their fingers.”

      Kit frowned, deep in thought. “There’s gotta be something you can do,” he said. “This is what you do. Kill bad guys and shit. This is what you live for. This is your comeback.”

      “No, this was what I was forced into,” Link muttered. “Besides. We’re talking about real people, here. Murder.”

      “I don’t think anyone would miss them,” Kit said with a shrug. “Besides. You killed Ganondorf.”

      Link grit his teeth together. “This is completely hypothetical,” he said. “Your little fantasy world.”

      “And everything in it is awesome.”

      “Well, that’s not the real world,” Link said getting to his feet. “I’m not the hero anymore, remember?”

      “I never said that.”

      “You said that. You got all deep on me and said I didn’t have to do anything for anyone.”

      “That sounds wise,” Kit said. “Maybe it’s time you let someone else save the day.”

      Link crossed his arms. “I don’t think you could handle it.”

      “Me? Be the hero? Link, you think so highly of me. I’m flattered.”

      Link rolled his eyes.

      “Hero’s think they can save the world when they themselves are lost.”

      “You stole that from a video game,” Link said.

      “Shut up, I’m wise.”

      “Can you both… shut… the fuck… up.”

      Link’s gaze darted over to Aryll. Her hand was on her head and she groaned.


      “Good morning, Sleeping Beauty,” Kit sang.

      “Get… out,” Aryll said between her teeth.

      “Aye, aye,” Kit said, jumping to his feet. “Don’t gotta ask me twice.” He saluted Link as he moved to the door. “Peace out, Girlscout.” And with that, he closed the door behind him.

      Link moved to the bed, sitting on the edge of it beside her. “Hey,” he said softly. “How are you feeling?”

      Aryll sighed. Her hand was still on her forehead and her eyes were closed, but she was sitting up. “Terrible.”

      Link snorted. “Good.” When she opened her eyes, he narrowed his gaze on her. “If you fucking do that again, I will fucking kill you.”

      Aryll frowned and pulled her gaze away.

      “What the fuck were you thinking, Ary?” His voice hardened. Now that Aryll was alright, he allowed himself to get angry with her.

      “I’m sorry,” she muttered.

      “You’re sorry?” He got to his feet. “You could have died!”

      Aryll hesitated. Silence fell between them, and she glanced over at her brother as the tears escaped their hold, and her heart sank.

      “I’m sorry,” she sobbed. She buried her face in her hands.

      Link bit his lip, then moved back to sit beside her, pulling her into his arms. “What were you thinking?”

      Aryll shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said. She sniffed softly. “I thought… I guess…” She sighed, exasperated. “It just seemed like… the thing to do. I was upset, and I just wanted to forget about everything. To have fun, or something…”

      Link’s brows furrowed. “So, you got drunk and crashed a car?”

      “I wasn’t the one driving,” Aryll said. She hesitated. “I don’t… even remember what happened.”

      Link sighed softly and closed his eyes. “Aryll…”

      “I know it was dumb,” she said. “But we were having fun. And after a while, it kinda made sense. Why you’re always drunk.”

      “I’m not…” But he couldn’t finish the sentence. It seemed it was his fault after all. He was spiraling out of control, and it was effecting Aryll more than he realized. He pressed his face against her head. “I’m sorry, Ary.”

      “I… I know.”

      It was quiet between them once more. After a moment, Link found his voice again.

      “When you get out of here, I’m going to kick your ass and put you back in here.”

      Aryll smiled. “Yeah. I know.” She closed her eyes. Her head was pounding, and all she wanted to do was sleep the weekend away.

      *****

      Aryll slept the rest of the morning, and Link attempted to preoccupy himself during that time. The calls came in slowly, one by one, as news of Aryll’s accident circulated, likely from Zelda updating the rest of the group. It had been a while since he had heard from most of his friends, but he appreciated their calls as they came nonetheless. That was, until Mipha’s call came.

      It had been a few years since they had broken up, shortly after the death of his father, and the wounds from it still felt fresh and raw. Despite their break up, the rest of their friends tried to get together whenever they could, but more often than not, it came at a sacrifice. Either Mipha avoided them, or Link did. It wasn’t like they hated each other. Far from it, in fact. Though they never said anything, they both wanted nothing more than to be together again.

      But Link stood firm in his decision. Mipha had too many goals in life. And he… well, he was nothing but a downward spiral who refused to drag anyone down with him. Maybe he couldn’t make Mipha understand that, but it was the right thing to do. If nothing else, he just wanted her to be happy. And if that happiness meant be couldn’t be in her life, then so be it.

      Urbosa, of course, had much to say on the matter, but after the first year, it became clear to them that Mipha and Link would not be getting back together, and they soon dropped the matter completely. They found time to spend with both of them separately, though the group didn’t quite feel the same.

      Link was hesitant to answer her call, but wanted nothing more than to hear her voice. He answered it after the third ring, and Mipha’s tone told him that she seemed surprised he answered at all.

      “Hey,” she said in a breathy sigh. “Goddesses, Link. Is she alright?”

      Link turned his gaze down the hall toward Aryll’s room. Cremia and Anju had made it down to visit her, but not without bursting into tears when they saw her. Link had seen their parents briefly before he hurried out to answer a call, and they seemed just as displeased with him as they did their own daughters.

      “Yeah,” Link answered. “Yeah, she’s fine.”


      “Good,” she said with a soft sigh. She hesitated. “How are you?”

      “Peachy,” Link muttered. “I haven’t slept all night, and I think Anju’s mother is about to rip me a
      new one.”

      Mipha laughed softly. “Glad I’m not you.”

      “Yeah,” he said slowly. He cleared his throat. “How’s, uh, the doctor thing?”

      “Oh, you know,” she said with a heavy sigh. “The last eight years of my life have been nothing but school.”

      Link felt a spark of hope for a moment. “Eight years, huh?” He paused. “So, like, is that it?”

      “Once I graduate this year, I’ll be starting my residency.”

      He frowned. “Oh. Yeah. Right.” He racked his brain for something more to keep the conversation going. “Uh, where are you doing that?”

      Mipha hesitated. “I don’t know,” she said after a moment. “I was supposed to have applied to places by now.”

      “So, why didn’t you?”

      Mipha was quiet for another moment. “I don’t know,” she finally said. “I did apply to some places in the city. I was thinking I should come home for a while.”

      Link’s brows knit together. “Why?”

      “I don’t know,” she said, her voice soft. “It just felt like… something I needed to do.”

      “That will set your whole career back.”

      “Not really,” she said. “It will be a good starting out point.”

      “And then you’ll leave again?”

      Mipha hesitated. “Link -”

      “Do what you need to do,” he said quickly. “I gotta get Aryll discharged. I’ll talk to you later.” He ended the call before Mipha had a chance to say anything further. He stood in the hallway, staring at his phone before slipping it back into his pocket. He looked up as Cremia’s mother approached him. She offered him a warm smile, but Link knew all too well of her strong personality.

      “I’m glad Aryll is okay,” she started. She shook her head in disappointment. “We came as soon as we heard.” She sighed heavily. “I cannot believe Cremia’s stupidity. Grounding her for life doesn’t seem enough.”

      “Sounds like she got off easy,” Link said.

      She frowned. “This seems so unlike Aryll,” she continued. “I never would have thought of her becoming such a problem child.”

      Link narrowed his gaze on her. “Well, you know how it is,” he said coolly. “Obviously, she has some negative outside influences.”

      Her eyes narrowed on him. “I suppose you’re talking about my daughter?”

      “Well, I’m certainly not one to point fingers, but it was her driving, and your car she crashed.”

      Her face reddened, but she seemed able to remain surprisingly calm. “Well,” she said softly. “At least when my daughter does wrong, I take the appropriate actions, as any parent would.”

      “Don’t try to lecture me about being a parent,” he hissed. “Aryll has enough sense to know she fucked up. She doesn’t need me to berate her and remind her of that.”

      “She needs -”

      “What she needs is everyone to stop treating her like a sad little orphan,” he snapped. “If I need help raising a rebellious teen, I’ll be sure to look you up.” He stepped around her, leaving her fuming alone in the hallway.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 6

      Display Spoiler


      Aryll went home Saturday night, and though she had the entire weekend to recover from her drunken adventures on Friday night, she still felt like complete shit when Monday morning came. She was groggy and tired, despite almost sleeping the weekend away. She and Link barely spoke when they returned home, but she felt too ashamed to even look at him, anyway, and didn't want to have any kind of conversation about the situation with him. To her relief, he didn’t pry. If things were different – if her father were alive – she would have surely been grounded. Link, however, never dared to try to ground her, but simply stewed in his own anger whenever she did something stupid. She was sure that was how he spent his weekend, and was probably happy not to have to parent her.

      She barely made it through her first two classes when she was stopped in the hall heading to her third class. She immediately recognized the adult as the school's counselor, and she couldn't help the groan and cuss that escaped her throat.

      Mrs. Chen raised a brow at her but made no other comment about her inappropriate language. “Aryll,” she started. “I was hoping I could borrow a few moments of your time?”

      Aryll hesitated as she quickly tried to come up with an excuse. “You know, I think I have a test in my next class.”

      The counselor smiled. “I'm sure your teacher will let you make it up. I'll write you a note myself. I promise it won't take long.”

      Aryll shifted her books in her arms. “Well, I'm sure I don't have a choice,” she muttered.

      Mrs. Chen held her smile. “Come on,” she said. “Let's go to my office.”

      Aryll rolled her eyes, but followed the woman, dragging her feet begrudgingly as she did so. When they reached her office, she took a seat in front of the desk, slouching back in the chair as she waited for the counselor to close the door and sit behind her large desk like the professional she thought she was.

      “Is this about Ren? Because I'm not apologizing for punching him. Idiot had it coming.”

      Mrs. Chen shifted through some pages on her desk, not meeting Aryll's gaze. “No,” she said with a sigh. “I figured I wouldn't even bother with that one.”

      Aryll grinned. It seemed she was making a name for herself in school if even the counselor wasn't going to bother scold her anymore. “Don't worry,” she said smugly. “I'll try to make your life easy, just as long as those fuckers learn to keep their mouths shut.”

      Mrs. Chen folded her hands on her desk and looked up at Aryll. She offered a small smile, choosing to ignore the clearly rebellious teen's behavior. “How's everything at home?”

      Aryll groaned loudly and rolled her eyes. “Here it comes. Can we just get to the point? Why am I here?”

      “You're here because of your actions on Friday night,” Mrs. Chen said frankly, the smile disappearing.

      “Friday night?”

      She pointed a finger down at one of the papers on her desk. “You and your friends were drinking, which was your first offence. You also stole a car, your second offence, and drove while intoxicated, offence number three. Not to mention the fact that you got into a very serious accident that could have claimed your lives.”

      “It wasn't stolen,” Aryll said with a loud groan. “It was Cremia's mom's car!”

      “Taken without permission,” Mrs. Chen continued. “But that’s hardly the worst of the situation.”

      “What's your point?”

      “This is unlike you, Aryll. These last few months, your behavior has completely changed. And it's my job to figure out why and get you back on track. You're a straight A student, Aryll. You're better than this.”

      “I hardly see how what I do outside of school is any of your concern.”

      “The well-being of all the students here are my concern,” she said, her brows furrowing slightly. “When things are hard at home, students tend to rebel.”

      “What makes you think that's me?” Aryll accused.

      Mrs. Chen cocked her head to the side. “Well, it can't be easy to be in your shoes,” she said. “To be without a mother and a father.”

      “That's not it,” she said. “You're talking about Link.”

      “Is there something going on with Link?”

      “Look,” Aryll said frankly, sitting forward in her seat. “I'm sorry you weren't good enough to become an actual shrink or whatever. You're stuck here in a hormonal infested high school where you're stuck with the greasy-haired goths that just want to write song lyrics about how they're going to kill themselves. That's gotta be the lowest of the low in your line of work. So let me cut to the chase and do your job for you. You think life sucks so much for poor Aryll. She's got not mother, no father, and an ex-hero of a brother who is clearly just as fucked up as she is, maybe worse. PTSD, depression, alcoholism, you name it. It's no secret. And someday, he'll either drink himself to death, or OD, or maybe just straight up kill himself, and then poor little Aryll will have no one left, and she won't be able to handle that, and she'll follow in her brother's sad, pathetic footsteps, and that will be the end of that.”

      The counselor held her gaze on Aryll as she spoke, and when she finished, her forehead creased in concern. “Is that what you think will happen?”

      Aryll hesitated, her words lingering in her mind after her outburst. She replayed them over and over, and each time she realized just how much of a possibility that situation seemed to be. She burst into tears at that moment and pulled her legs to her chest to hide her face in her knees. She sobbed and her body shook. She let the tears flow despite wanting to seem stronger than she was. She didn't quiet until she heard Mrs. Chen shifting in her seat, and when she looked up, the counselor had the phone in her hand, her finger hovering over the numbers.

      Aryll lunged across the desk, knocking the phone out of the woman's hand. “No, please!” she begged as she fell against the desk and continued to sob. “Don't call anyone. Don't call Link. Don't call someone to take me out of here in a straight jacket. Don't call anyone. Please.”

      The counselor hesitated, looking Aryll over, then replaced the phone. “You realize that it is my job to report students with suicidal tendencies.”

      “I'm not suicidal!” Aryll barked. She dragged herself off of the desk and fell into the chair, feeling exhausted. “I'm not, I swear. I'm not. I'll talk to Link, okay? I'll do whatever. Just don't call him. Don't call anyone. Just... just...” She broke into another sob. “Don't take him away from me. Please.”

      Mrs. Chen frowned down at Aryll. “What would you like me to do?”

      Aryll shook her head. “I don't know,” she muttered, still avoiding the counselor's gaze. “Let me... let me do this. Let me talk to him. He'll listen to me. He'll do anything for me. I can fix this.”

      “Can you?” The counselor paused, but Aryll said nothing. “That's a lot of pressure for a sixteen year old girl.”

      Aryll pinched her lips together, but said nothing.

      “Aryll, you've been through more shit than most people have in their entire life,” Mrs. Chen said frankly. “No one expects you to be able to do it alone.”

      Aryll stood and wiped at her eyes. “Can I go now?”

      Mrs. Chen hesitated, then sighed. “Alright,” she said simply. “But I'd like to see you on a regular basis. At least once a week. Can we do that?”

      “Do I have a choice?” Aryll muttered.

      The counselor smiled. “I'll see you next week, Aryll.” She watched as Aryll left her office without another word. When the door was closed, she reached for the phone and dialed.

      *****
      Link stared at his computer screen, but the words and numbers seemed unrecognizable. He couldn't make heads or tails of anyone of it, but he wasn't exactly trying, either. No, he was simply staring, his mind empty. He wanted to close his eyes and sleep forever, and for a moment, he thought of doing just that. Or, at the very least, putting his head on his desk and hoping no one came to bother him. He had done it before. It was easy enough to hide in a cubicle and catch a quick nap. But life had other plans, the ringing phone causing him to nearly jump out of his chair.
      He rubbed his eyes, letting it ring twice more before answering it. “Yeah?”

      “Link, it's Mrs. Chen, the school counselor.”

      Link's heart jumped. “What? What's wrong? Is Aryll okay?”

      “Yes, she's fine. Actually, she just left my office. We had a little chat.”

      Link blinked at the wall. “Huh? Why? About what?” He listened as the women spoke, and his heart sank. He nodded his head and verbally acknowledge that he had heard her and understood, but the world seemed to move forward without him, and before he realized it, he was hanging up, the conversation over. He stared at the phone for a moment before jumping out of his seat, grabbing his jacket and flinging it over his shoulder as he ran across the office.

      “What's the hurry, Hero?” Sera said with a grin, but it disappeared quickly when she caught his urgency. “What's wrong?”

      “I'm sorry, Sera,” he said simply, but she knew too well what he needed of her.

      “Alright,” she called after him as he ran for the door. “You get one more of these!”

      Link didn't know what to do with himself when he got home. There was still a couple hours before Aryll actually came home. He considered going right to the school to pick her up and give her the rest of the day off, but he thought better of it, figuring she wouldn't want to be bothered. Still, it didn't ease his worrying, and every situation imaginable found its way into his head. What if she didn't come home at all? What if she was hurt? What if she hurt herself? Or someone hurt her?

      He tried to drown out the thoughts with tv. He stretched out on the couch, then curled up into the corner, tossing and turning every which way, unable to get comfortable, or get away from the thoughts that haunted him. Finally, he made his way into the kitchen, where he started for the fridge to get a beer, but then thought better of that. Aryll was upset – seeing him with a beer wouldn't help the situation.

      So he opted to shift through the unopened mail on the counter, but that only brought him more distress. Overdue bills, an unpaid mortgage, what if the house was foreclosed? Could he find an apartment cheap enough for the two of them? Or would they just be stuck living like trolls under a bridge?

      He moved to the table where he sat and instead opted to bury his face in his hands. It wasn't long after that when Aryll finally came home, looking just as tired and ragged as he felt. She hesitated in the doorway when she saw her brother, then let it close softly behind her.

      “She called you,” she said simply.

      Link glanced at her from over his hands. He let his hand drag down his face, and he paused for a moment to scratch at his chin. He needed to shave. Or maybe he'd just let the beard grow in. He stretched his legs out under the table. He was avoiding the conversation. “Yeah,” he finally said.

      “Oh.” Aryll dropped her bag on the floor but did not move from where she stood. “What... did she tell you?”

      “Everything.” Link assumed it was everything, anyway. Mostly, he was waiting to see how Aryll would react.

      Aryll pulled her gaze away, then sat herself at the table across from him. But still, she did not regard him. She chewed on her lower lip for a moment before she spoke. “Oh.”

      Link hesitated. His brows furrowed as he held his gaze on his sister. “So, is that what you think's going to happen?”

      Aryll shrugged a shoulder. “Is that what's going to happen?” She met his gaze. When Link didn't answer, her heart dropped. She stared helplessly at her brother.

      “Link!”

      “Nothing's going to happen,” he muttered, pulling his gaze away.

      Aryll stood suddenly. “I'll believe it when you mean it!” she shouted at him.

      “I mean it!” Link shouted back. “For the love of Hylia, I'm not going anywhere!”

      For the second time that day, Aryll broke down. She covered her face with her hands, dropped to her knees, and sobbed. She continued to sob as Link hurried to her and took her in his arms. She let him pull her into his chest where she cried harder, and he held her tight.

      “I'm sorry,” she said between sobs. She was finding it more difficult to breathe as she continued to cry, no longer able to control any of it. “I don't know what's happening. I don't know what to do. What do I do? What do you want me to do?”

      Link pressed his face into her hair. “I'm sorry, Aryll,” he muttered. “You don't have to do anything, okay?”

      “I have to,” she sobbed. “I’m just… I’m so scared, Link. I don’t want to be alone.”

      “You’re not,” he said to her, hugging her tighter. “I promise you, Aryll. You will never be alone. I promised you that, and I won’t break that promise. Ever.”

      Her body shook as she sobbed. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. “For Friday night. For everything. For being a burden. I’m sorry.”

      “Stop it,” he growled. “You’re not a burden.” He hesitated. “Please don’t do that to me again. I can’t lose you, too.”

      Aryll nodded against him, unable to speak as she continued to sob.

      “All I wanted to do was give you a normal life,” he said softly.

      “I know,” she whispered. “I just. I took that and threw it in your face. I’m sorry.”

      “I know,” he said. “I’m sorry, too. For everything.”

      Her crying quieted after a moment. She didn’t move from his arms. She listened to his heart beat and closed her eyes.

      ******

      Link lost track of time. He didn't know how long they sat on the kitchen floor. All he knew was that it was very late, and he was seriously thinking of calling out of work, and maybe even letting Aryll skip school. As the night went on, her sobbing had quieted, and she eventually fell asleep against him. Link didn't dare move or wake her. His fingers stroked her hair absentmindedly as he stared into the darkness. For a moment, she shifted and murmured something indiscernible. Link let his fingers rest in her palm and she quieted once more.

      But her eyes opened at his touch and she blinked in the darkness. Her fingers curled around his and she sighed softly through her nose. It was a simple gesture, his hand in hers, but in the time since their father’s death, it had become an unspoken reassurance between them; a reminder that they were not alone. That they still had each other. That the other was still very much a presence in their lives. It was a promise. One they both held dearly.

      She pressed closer to her brother. “Link.”

      Link wrapped his arms tightly around her. “I’m here,” he said softly. “I promise. I won’t leave you, okay?”

      Aryll nodded silently. “I miss Dad,” she said after a moment.

      “Me too.”

      “And Mipha.”

      Link sighed softly. “Me too.”

      “You know,” she started after a quiet moment. “I always knew what you were doing when you ran off in the middle of the night. Or when you came home with torn, bloodied shirts. Dad never said anything to me, but I knew that my brother was a hero, that he was saving the world.” She hesitated. “It scared the shit out of me. It scared the shit out of Dad. But I knew you would be okay. I just had this feeling, I guess, that everything would be okay. That you would make everything okay.” She sighed softly. “I guess it never occurred to us that things wouldn't always be okay, even after the war was won. You gave up everything, for this world, and for me, and you never got so much as a thanks.”

      “I don't need thanks,” he said. “If I wanted anything in return at all, I wouldn't have gone through all this bullshit.”

      Aryll smiled. “I guess that's your problem. You're too selfless.”

      “I really thought that would get me further in life.”

      Aryll let her head rest against him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

      Link shrugged. “I didn't do it for you. I did it for me. I didn't want to lose anyone else. See? I'm selfish.”

      Aryll laughed lightly. “I think you deserve to be a little selfish.” She paused. “We don't even have to stay here. We could go anywhere. Who would stop us?”

      “You need to finish school.”

      “But I can do that anywhere.”

      “Maybe,” he said. “But you don't have much longer.”

      “I guess.” She closed her eyes. “As long as we're together.”

      He kissed her head. “I promise.”

      Aryll nodded. “And Mipha.” She turned her gaze to him. “Don’t push her away.”

      Link’s brows furrowed and he turned away from his sister. “It’s complicated.”

      “It’s really not,” she said. “You think you’re doing her favors, but you’re not. You’re not doing anyone any favors.” She forced a smile. “I mean, you’re a mess without her. Why don’t you just let her be there? For you?” Her smile grew. “She’s your hero.”

      “Being a hero is a lot of pressure,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

      “I think true heroes have the strength to handle those kinda things,” she said. “Sometimes, even the most unlikely people.”

      “Maybe you’re right,” he said. “That doesn’t mean she’ll take me back, though.”

      “She will,” Aryll said.

      “You seem pretty sure of that.”

      Aryll shrugged and smiled. “I just know these things.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 7

      Display Spoiler


      It was very late when Aryll finally made it to her bed, knowing all too well that she would need to get up for school in just a couple of hours. To her relief, sleep came easily, taking over the moment her head hit the soft pillow, and she didn’t stir until she felt the bright sun streaming across her face. She squinted and groaned, turning her back to the sun before her eyes landed on her alarm clock. The time read 8:36. She jumped up and stumbled out of bed, falling onto the floor before bounding back to her feet in a panic. She had already missed her first period of the day and was well into her second. She cursed her alarm clock for not waking her as it should have. She grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from a pile on the floor of her room as she sprinted out the door and practically leapt down the entire flight of stairs. She bounced against the wall, pushing herself around the corner in a frenzie to search for her sneakers when a strange scent caught her attention. Something was burning.

      “Why is the house burning down now?” she shouted as she slid into the kitchen. She stared at her brother as he blew desperately at a pan on the stove that had ignited.

      “What are you doing, idiot?” Aryll shouted at him. She grabbed the pan and threw it immediately into the sink, dousing the flames with water.

      “Why is it on fire?” Link shouted at her. “What did I do?”

      Aryll turned and sneered at him. “What the fuck are you doing?”

      “Making pancakes,” Link said sheepishly.

      Aryll blinked at him. “How the fuck do you burn down the kitchen making pancakes?”

      “I don’t know!”

      Aryll shook her head and sighed. She ran her fingers through her hair quickly before pulling it into a ponytail. “Drive me,” she said simply. “I’m late.”

      Link turned back to the stove. A few pancakes he cooked earlier came out halfway decent and were waiting on a plate. “Yeah, I shut off your alarm,” he said. He took the plate and offered the pancakes to her.

      Aryll moved her gaze between her brother and his poor attempt at making breakfast. Her brows knit together. “Why?”

      “Because we’re playing hooky,” he said. He pushed the plate at her. “Look. It has peanut butter and bananas.”

      “You’re real proud of yourself right now,” Aryll said with a grin.

      “Yeah, a little bit.”

      She took the plate with a shrug and sat at the table. “Well, it looks edible. The house is still standing. You only ruined one pan. I guess you did alright.”

      Link sat across from her with his own plate and shrugged. He poked a fork into a pancake and noticed then that the inside was not as cooked as it should be.

      He frowned. “What the fuck are pancakes, anyway?” he muttered. “Devil’s food.”

      Aryll grinned. “You didn’t let it cook all the way through.”

      Link flipped the pancake over to reveal a slightly burned side and his frown deepened.

      “The heat was too high,” Aryll said simply.

      “Well, don’t you know everything,” Link said.

      “It’s like, cooking one-oh-one,” she said. “You love food. How are you not a better cook?”

      Link shrugged. “I do the eating, not the cooking.”

      Aryll snorted. “I’m still not sure how I survived childhood with two of the most incompetent men in the world.”

      “There were a lot of peanut butter and banana sandwiches,” Link said.

      “And pizza.”

      “You’re alive, aren’t you?”

      “For now,” Aryll said. “But I might die of a heart attack at twenty.”

      “I only have to keep you alive until you’re eighteen. After that, you’re on your own.”

      “What ever will I do?” Aryll said dryly. “I’ll have no one around to tell me to eat my veggies.” She smirked at her brother.

      “Wow,” Link muttered. “We really did do a shit job. I don’t think you’ve had a vegetable in your entire life.”

      Aryll laughed. “Not true,” she said. “Pizza sauce has tomatoes.”

      Link chewed thoughtfully. “Oh, yeah.” He shrugged. “Guess that means we can have pizza for dinner tonight. Get your daily dose of tomatoes.”

      Aryll grinned. “Just what every teen needs.”

      “So, what are we doing today?”

      “I dunno,” Aryll said with a shrug. “You’re the irresponsible adult that let me skip school. What’s your plan?”

      “I only got as far as pancakes,” Link said. “You pick next.”

      “Let’s go to the ranch,” she said cheerfully. “I want to ride.”

      “You know Talon will make you shovel shit,” Link warned.

      “That’s okay,” she said. “I don’t mind. Someone’s gotta do it.”

      “I do it.”

      “That’s not what I’ve heard,” Aryll said with a teasing grin.

      Link raised a brow. “What have you heard?”

      “Talon says you spend most of the time chasing the cuccos.”

      “They chase me,” Link muttered.

      “And why do they chase you?”

      Link sighed loudly. “Because I ran them over one time!”

      “I think you did it on purpose,” Aryll said.

      “Did not,” he retorted childishly. He crossed his arms. “They want to kill me, and they won’t stop until they do.”

      “Don’t worry,” she said with a grin. “I’ll protect you from the big, bad cuccos.” She brought her empty plate to the sink. “Who would have guessed that Hyrule’s Chosen Hero, defeater of Ganondorf, enemy number one, would be afraid of a little cucco?”

      “You’ve seen a cucco, right?” Link snapped.

      “You’ve seen Ganondorf, right?”

      “Yeah, but,” Link started. But he had no reasonable excuse to bring to his defense, and Aryll snickered.

      “Hey, so can I drive?” Aryll grabbed his keys from the counter.

      Link stood and sneered at her, pulling the keys out of her hand. “Over my dead body.”

      Aryll frowned. “But I have my license,” she whined.

      “You crashed into a damn tree,” Link hissed.

      “I wasn’t driving!” Aryll followed her brother as he made his way outside to the car. “Come on, man, don’t be like that.”

      “Fine,” he said, stopping and leaning against the car. He looked up in thought. “But, remember the last time you did drive?”

      “We arrived safely at our destination,” Aryll said proudly.

      “You hit a curb,” Link said, crossing his arms.

      “I just misjudged the turn a little bit.” She rolled her eyes.

      “You fucked up the wheel.”

      “It’s just a little scratch!” She sighed in frustration. “It’s not like it’s a new car or anything.”

      “It’s an antique!”

      “So,” Aryll started slowly. “Old is better than new?”

      “You are infuriating,” Link said. “You’re never driving it again.”

      “Does that mean you’re buying me a car?”

      Link laughed sharply. “You’re lucky you don’t live under a bridge.”

      Aryll frowned. “Dad would let me drive it. It is his car.”

      “Well, it’s mine, now,” Link said. “And if I had to save you or the car, I’d pick the car.”

      “Rude,” Aryll said, crossing her arms.

      Link sighed. He pinched the bridge of his nose before pulling open the passenger door and sliding in. He tossed the keys over his shoulder at his sister. “Please don’t kill me.”

      Aryll squealed and hurried around the car. She slid in behind the wheel and turned the key in the ignition.

      “Seatbelt,” Link warned her.

      Aryll rolled her eyes and sighed, but she pulled the belt around her. “Can we put the top down?” She was pressing the button anyway, grinning up at the sky as it pulled back.

      Link sighed and got out of the car, securing the top of the vehicle before getting back in. “Stop touching shit,” he muttered. “You’re gonna break it.”

      Aryll pulled her sunglasses out and wiggled her eyebrows at her brother. “Stop being so lame.”

      “You suck the life out of me,” he said.

      Aryll revved the engine and laughed as Link scolded her.

      “Stop being a child,” he hissed.

      “Stop being such a Dad.”

      “How have I not died of a heart attack, yet?” he muttered.

      Aryll grinned and pulled out into the road. “Why are the men in our family so damn dramatic?”

      “Because we had to deal with you.”

      “I’m wonderful.” She swerved to avoid a chipmunk.

      “You know there’s a million of those, right?” Link hissed.

      “But it’s so cute!”

      To his relief, his phone rang, and Revali’s name flashed on the screen as an incoming video call. “What’s up, idiot?” he said when he answered. He was clearly at some sort of party, judging by the people in the background and the loud music playing. His brows knit together. “What the fuck you doing?”

      Link turned the camera to focus on Aryll as she drove. She waved excitedly and Link shouted at her. He turned the camera back to his face. “I’m probably gonna die,” he said. “If I do, please blow up the house. Tell Daruk he can have the insurance money. You get nothing.”

      “What about the car? Assuming its salvageable.”

      “No. Daruk gets that, too.”

      “The fuck is he gonna do with it? He won’t appreciate it like I do!”

      “You will bring shame to it,” Link said.

      “Your father did that a long ass time ago when he conceived your sorry ass.”

      Aryll groaned loudly. She picked her hands off the steering wheel as if she had touched something gross, and Link scolded her once more.

      “I don’t need to hear these things,” she whined.

      “I can’t believe you’re letting her drive it,” he said, shaking his head. “Hey, wait. It’s a school day. The fuck are you guys doing?”

      “Playing hooky,” Link said.

      “You couldn’t have waited until I got home?”

      “Why?” Link said. “I don’t want to hang out with you.”

      Revali frowned. “Don’t you miss me?”

      “Why are you calling?”

      “To show you this rager you’re missing out on.”

      “Revali,” Link started. “It’s almost ten in the morning.”

      “I’ve been awake for two days straight!”

      Link frowned.

      “For real,” Revali continued. “I’ll be in town later this week. Mipha said she’d be home from her big fancy doctor school. We’re all getting together.”

      “I don’t think so,” Link said.

      “Dude,” Revali pushed. “Kiss and make up already.”

      “Goodbye.” He ended the call, cutting Revali off.

      “I’m not the only one,” Aryll sang.

      “Whatever.”

      “Why didn’t you tell me everyone was coming home?”

      “Because no one told me.”

      “We’re hanging out!”

      “No, we’re not.”

      Aryll frowned. “Stop being you for like, two damn seconds, alright?” Aryll sighed. “We haven’t seen them in like, forever.”

      “That’s what happens,” Link muttered. He turned his gaze out the side of the car. “Get used to it. Once you hit college, you’ll never talk to you friends again.”

      Aryll bit her lip. “We can just… go home…”

      “No,” Link said quickly. “No, fuck that. You’re driving. You’re in charge.”

      Aryll smiled. “So, you can’t stop me if I drive to the shelter and get a dog.”

      “Can’t you just play with the dogs at the ranch?”

      “Fine,” Aryll said. “But only because I don’t need you feeding it peanut butter and banana sandwiches for every meal.”

      “You would deny it such fineries?” Link said. “That’s abuse.”

      Aryll snorted. “I feel bad for your future children,” she said. “Good thing they’ll have Auntie Ary around.”

      “Or,” Link started. “I’ll be the really cool, single, kid-free uncle to your future children.”

      “That’s just sad and pathetic.”

      “That’s kind of my jam.”

      “You and Mipha are having babies.”

      “Can we stop with this Mipha shit?”

      “Not until you accept the fact that you’re gonna be together forever.”

      Link sighed. “You’re stubborn.”

      Aryll smiled. “I guess it won’t be so bad for your future children,” she said. “I mean, I think we turned out alright. And you’re like, basically the same person Dad was.”

      “I don’t know how to take that,” Link said slowly. “And I think you’re playing fast and loose with the term ‘alright.’”

      Aryll shrugged. “We’re alive and no one’s stripping for money.”

      “Yet,” Link said. “I might start.”

      Aryll frowned. “Then what am I supposed to do? There’s only room for one cliche sad stripper story.”

      “Gold digger,” Link said. “I’m sure Zelda could hook you up with some rich old man.”

      “Ah, yes,” Aryll said. “An excellent trope. I think that one will work out well for me.”

      “Don’t forget to send me money every now and then.”

      “And when my husband kicks the bucket, I’ll be living free and easy.”

      “Nice.”

      Aryll sighed. “I guess we are pretty fucked up.”

      “I wasn’t gonna say anything.” He paused. “There’s still hope for you.”

      “Yeah,” she said softly. “There is. For both of us.” She smiled as she navigated into the countryside.
      “Because Mipha’s coming home, and you guys are gonna get back together, and everything will be good again.”

      Link frowned. “Why can’t we be good as we are?”

      “Well, we can,” Aryll said. “But, good can always be better.”

      “Maybe you’re right,” Link said. “I could go for better.” He meant it in more ways than one.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 8

      Display Spoiler


      Talon wasn’t around when Link and Aryll got to the ranch, but they made their way into the paddocks, anyway, each retrieving their favorite horse and bringing them into the barn. The old, battered farm truck pulled up in front of the barn as they brushed and saddled the horses. Talon stepped out, grunting and muttering under his breath as his stiff joints cracked. He stretched his arms over his head, then mosied toward them with his rifle in hand. He spat at the ground before entering the barn, acknowledging Link with a nod and tipping his straw hat to Aryll.

      “It’s yer day off, Kid,” he said in a gruff voice. “Fact, shouldn’t she be in school?”

      “We’re playing hooky,” Aryll said with a wide grin.

      “You know,” Link started, “you’re not supposed to announce it to everyone you talk to.”

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “It’s not like I’m telling my teachers.”

      Talon smiled and nodded. “Right, then. So, yer cleaning dem stalls afta, hm?”

      “Link said I could do it,” Aryll said, still grinning over her horse’s back.

      “I dun care who does it,” he said. He thrust the rifle into Link’s arms. “Dem bears ‘ave been out ‘n about, yanno. Shoot ‘em ‘fore they get at my cuccos ‘gain.”

      Link shrugged and secured the rifle onto the saddle. It wasn’t the first time he had to shoot a bear or two that had wandered onto the property. Link would have allowed them to take a cucco or two, mainly out of revenge, but it would have only made them come back more frequently, and then he’d never hear the end of it from Talon.

      “You trust this idiot with a gun?” Aryll said, frowning.

      “If ‘e can defeat the great Ganondorf with a sword, I think ‘e can handle a rifle.”

      “He can’t shoot himself in the foot with a sword,” Aryll pointed out.

      Talon grinned. “Would you ratha I give ‘im a sword, den?”

      Aryll seemed to consider her options for a moment.

      Talon slapped Link on the back with a wrinkled hand and tipped his hat at them once more. “‘Ave fun, now.” He shot an invisible rifle. “Shoot ‘em dead.”

      “Poor bears,” Aryll said as Talon mosied back into his truck. “All they want is dinner.”

      “They’ll eat you for dinner,” Link said.

      “Beats peanut butter and banana sandwiches,” she said with a shrug.

      They brought their horses out of the barn where they both climbed into their saddles. Aryll took a moment to coo to her horse, reaching down to scratch the gelding’s ears as Link and his steed started onward. Her gelding trotted to catch up to his companion, slowing to a walk as he reached his side. His ears and tail flicked happily as they walked.

      They followed the path around the open pastures, along the tree line, and eventually into the woods, where they continued to follow various trails as they twisted this way and that. When the path widened and flattened, they broke into a gallop, racing one another. Most of the time, Link let Aryll slip passed him.

      She stood in her stirrups, thrusting a fist in the air and whooping loudly in an attempt to rub her victory in Link’s face.

      Before long, the trees thinned, and they eventually stepped out of the forest and into a clearing. Rolling hills stretched out into the countryside of Hyrule and to the horizon. To their right, the land sloped downwards toward a dirt road. Beyond the road lay a thick forest, and the mountain range seemed to spring up from the trees. To their left, the land stretched on until it met the edge of Lake Hylia. The lake was far too wide to see beyond it, but somewhere, the highway stretched over the lake, busy with passing motorists oblivious to the landscape that Aryll and Link enjoyed.

      It was like a secret only she and her brother knew about, and it quickly became Aryll’s favorite place to escape to. They often rode out to it, letting their horses stretch their legs, galloping along the ridge of the hills, without a care in the world. It didn’t matter who won or lost; it wasn’t a race, but an escape from their own realities.

      This time, however, they did not run away from their lives. Instead, they looked out over the landscape as the horses grazed quietly. A gentle breeze blew through their manes and tails and Aryll sighed. It felt like the first time in a long time where she felt relatively at peace. Despite all that had transpired, she and Link had both come out on top, and she was reminded that over the years, they always did. No matter what life threw at them, they always prevailed, and she felt comfort in that. Link would never let it be otherwise. And neither would she.

      She turned to her brother, who was no longer enjoying the peace that came with the view, but instead had his nose in his phone, his fingers flying along the screen as he texted. Aryll took out her own phone, flipping through the filters on her camera until she settled on one with dog ears and a tongue. She held it out at arm’s length until Link was in the picture. He glanced up with an annoyed look on his face, and she snapped the picture.

      “Mipha says hi,” Link said dryly as he turned back to his phone.

      Aryll glanced at him. “You’re texting her?”

      “She called Saturday asking about you.”

      She pinched her lips together. “Whatcha talkin’ about now?”

      “How many kids we’re gonna have.”

      Aryll frowned. “I know you’re being a jerk, but I’d be okay with that.” She watched as he snorted and otherwise ignored her comment, recalling the end of the conversation she overheard in the hospital. Link and Kit were talking about some kind of Yiga Clan. She hadn’t thought anything of it then, or the days that followed, but the more she recalled the moment, the more intrigued she became. It seemed a serious topic, or, at least at one point, but Link had blown it off completely.

      “So,” she started, keeping her gaze on Link, hoping to catch a reaction from him when she continued. “What’s the Yiga Clan?”

      Link’s fingers paused, but his gaze did not move off the screen. He continued the message after a moment, then slipped the phone back in his pocket. He turned his gaze to the horizon. “The Yiga Clan?”

      “Yeah,” Aryll said carefully. “I heard you and Kit talking about it in the hospital.”

      His brows furrowed. “You mean his crazy conspiracy theories?”

      “I thought the Yiga Clan was real,” she said. “Dad mentioned them once or twice, didn’t he?”

      “Yeah, the cult of losers, sure.”

      Aryll hesitated. “You said they were rogue Sheikah.”

      Link’s gaze met hers. He was angry and suspicious with her. After a moment, he turned away. “They’re nothing to worry about.”

      “I don’t know,” Aryll said slowly. “Rogue Sheikah sound like a big problem. What do they want? To bring Ganondorf back or something?”

      Link hesitated. “There’s nothing they can do to bring him back,” he said. “Not without breaking Zelda’s seal. And there’s no way to do that without…”

      “Without?” Aryll pressed.

      “Without the Master Sword,” he said simply. It was the truth, anyway. But he was sure that if it came down to it, they could do whatever they wanted if they had another piece of the Triforce to aid them.

      “Oh.” Aryll turned her gaze away. She sensed her brother was hiding something more, but she didn’t press further. “Well, that’s good, then. I don’t want you to be a hero anymore.”

      “It’s not exactly a job I can quit,” Link muttered.

      “Well, if there’s no danger, then there’s no need for a hero, right?”

      Link shrugged. “Sure.”

      “You have no sword anymore, anyway,” she continued. “You’d be useless.”

      “I don’t need a sword to be useful,” Link said.

      Aryll glanced at the rifle on his saddle and bit her lip. “I guess,” she said. “Either way, you don’t stand a chance against a rogue Sheikah.”

      “Nope,” he said with a sigh.

      Aryll frowned. “Are you sure? That they’re not… a problem?”

      Link glanced at her. “Don’t you think if we were in danger, I would have done something about it by now?”

      “I guess.”

      “Don’t listen to Kit’s shit,” Link said. “The war’s been over for ten years. Everything’s fine.”

      Aryll nodded. Of course she was being ridiculous. She got herself nervous over nothing. If the world was in trouble, Link would know about it. And he would fix it.

      It was just after noon when they returned to the barn. Once the horses were untacked and back grazing in their paddocks, Link and Aryll turned to the task of mucking stalls and otherwise cleaning the barn for Talon. Talon moseyed into the barn a couple hours later as they were finishing up, and he had his hands on his hips as he inspected the barn with a nod.

      “Guess I gotta pay ya for the day,” he said gruffly. “Even though ya came in on yer day off.”

      “Nah,” Aryll said with a grin. “I did all the work today.”

      “So, I gotta pay you?”

      Aryll put a hand on the old man’s shoulder and winked. “This one’s on me since I took your horse out.”

      “Ah, he could use a lil’ work,” Talon said. “He’s been gettin’ fat out there on that grass all day.”

      “Any time,” Aryll said as she dusted her hands together. “I can drive now. Link said I could take his car whenever I want.”

      “The actual phrase was ‘over my dead body,’” he reminded her with a sly glare.

      “We’re still working on it,” Aryll said with a nudge to Talon. “Someday.”

      “Guess I’ll see ya this weekend?” Talon said, tipping his hat to them. “Don’t work too hard there, Kid.”

      Aryll let her brother drive on the way home, and Link opted to stop to treat them both to ice cream sundaes before making it home for the evening. Both of their sundaes were much larger than necessary, which made up for the fact that they hadn’t eaten lunch, and it seemed reasonable enough to label it as their dinner, too, as neither of them would feel hungry for the rest of the night.

      When they got home, Aryll plopped herself down on the couch, letting her legs hang over one end as she lay against the couch on one side. While Link busied himself with the mail, Aryll flipped through the channels on the tv. After finding nothing of interest, she let it stay on a channel that had soap opera reruns playing and instead occupied herself with her phone.

      Still, nothing on it caught her interest, and when Link finally sat beside her with a sigh, she took his phone and decided to flip through his apps.

      “There’s nothing weird on here, right?” she asked carefully. She opened his social media apps, and finding nothing of interest, chose to send suggestive emojis to Revali insead. She then moved on to searching the internet, particularly searching for an obscene image to plaster on Link’s background. After saving to his phone a variety of images, from fat, naked men, to pink unicorns. She opened the gallery to select one to make as his new background. She scrolled through the albums in search for the images she downloaded, but a few particular albums caught her attention instead.

      One album in particular seemed to have images from years ago. Some of them included Link and Mipha together, while others ranged from Link and Riju posing with laser guns and Revali flipping the camera both middle fingers. Among these were even a young Aryll, and a few of her and her father together. It seemed even then, she felt the need to steal her brother’s phone and put ridiculous pictures on it.

      A particular video caught her attention, and she opened the file to play it. A six year old Aryll held the phone out in front of her, making faces at herself and giggling. It shifted and moved violently as she skipped about the room. Her face returned, and her tongue stuck out at the corner of her mouth as she concentrated. The image on the screen flipped to her father leaning against the counter. He looked up from his phone and grinned.

      “Stop playing with my phone,” came Link’s voice from somewhere off screen. The camera turned to her older brother, standing in the doorway, his brows kit together in annoyance. Aryll giggled from behind the camera and the video jolted again as she hurried out of her brother’s grasp.

      “Argh!” came Link’s voice once more. “What the hell? Stop it!”

      The video spun around, revealing Link’s head in his father’s arms as Rusl proceeded to dig his knuckles into his son’s skull. Link squirmed in a desperate attempt to get out of his father’s grasp.

      “You’re an immature weasel!” Link shouted.

      “No evidence!” Rusl shouted, throwing his hand out in a playful attempt to block the camera. Link took advantage of his dropped stance and freed himself. He rubbed his head with his hand and frowned as Aryll giggled.

      “I think he lost some brain cells,” Aryll’s voice said.

      Rusl grinned. “How can he possibly lose any more? There’s nothing in there!”

      The camera dropped and Aryll giggled as her father scooped her up, and the video ended. Aryll held her gaze on it for a moment with a smile, then closed the gallery, completely forgetting her mission to plaster ridiculous images all over her brother’s phone. She let it drop to the couch and sat up, pulling her knees to her chest.

      “I’m glad you let me steal your phone all the time,” she said. “And you kept everything.”

      Link had been watching her at the corner of his eyes. He turned his gaze back on the tv. “That’s not true,” Link said. “I deleted all the poop emoji pictures you downloaded.”

      Aryll grinned. “I forgot I was obsessed with those.”

      “You were a weird child,” Link said. “It was mildly concerning.”

      Aryll threw a pillow at him. “That’s because I grew up in a weird family.”

      “For the record, I was completely normal.”

      “Yes, because having the spirit of a hero and a magic triangle on your hand is totally normal.” She rolled her eyes.

      “And I still managed to barely skate by in high school,” he reminded her. “Totally normal.”

      “Totally lazy.”

      “I saved the world. How does that make me lazy?”

      “Is that on your resume?”

      “Right between barely passed high school and college dropout,” Link said dryly.

      “Employers must have been throwing themselves at you.” She sighed and got to her feet. “Speaking of passing high school. I do have finals next week I need to study for.” She offered him a crooked smile. “Thanks for today.”

      “Sure.” Link watched his sister leave the room. When she was gone, he trudged into the kitchen, pulling a beer from the fridge. He popped the top, tossed the bottle cap on the counter, and dropped back onto the couch to zone out in front of the tv.

      *****

      Kohga stood on the cliff just outside of the hidden base, overlooking the vast, empty desert. He had heard Dorian’s approach, but offered the Yiga soldier no greeting. Dorian stood a few yards away from the Yiga leader in silence, making no effort to move any closer, waiting for him to speak. And he did.

      “The ward remains over the city,” Kohga said. “All these years it has held strong. But I’m not surprised. Even in her aging years, Impa has remarkable abilities.” He glanced over his shoulder at Dorian. “I would have preferred it if you had killed her when I asked, but I can’t say I didn’t understand your resilience. You’ve gathered a lot of intel from within the city walls. And it seems you were right, afterall. My patience has paid off.” He turned to look back out over the desert. “I knew it would be next to impossible to get my hands on Zelda, but it seems Link has finally come out from the shadows, just as I hoped he would. The ward is strongest inside the city. Every time he leaves those boundaries, it grew weaker around him. My men have found him at last. We can finally get our hands on the great Chosen Hero and his little piece of the Triforce.”

      “Zelda will look for him,” Dorian confirmed with certainty. “I cannot promise she will be alone, however.”

      “I am not concerned about those Champions,” Kohga said, blowing him off with a wave of his hand. He looked over his shoulder at Dorian once more and grinned. “Are you?”

      “Of course not.”

      “Good,” Kohga said with a nod. “I know you will be able to finish them just as you did Rusl. They will hardly be a hindrance in our plan. It’s only a matter of time before we have the Triforce in our possession. I am confident we will be able to use it to its full potential and revive Ganondorf once more. And I will have much pleasure in turning Hyrule’s Heroes against them.” He turned to face Dorian completely. “You have done well, Dorian. Keep up your appearances with Impa and Roham. Should anything more of note transpire, do be sure to let me know, hm?”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 9

      Display Spoiler


      “He lives.” Sera had a cup of coffee in hand and she paused beside Link’s desk. She sipped at it, regarding Link over the mug, and smiled. “Thought maybe you had run off to fight some bad guys.” She shrugged. “That’s what I told Wally, anyway.”

      “It’s Walt!” Walt shouted from somewhere in the office.

      Sera rolled her eyes and grinned.

      Link, however, had his attention on his phone at the group text he had apparently been dragged into. He spent most of the morning watching the messages silently, offering no input. Though they had all moved out of the city over the last five years and were now in various locations across Hyrule, Revali had managed to convince them to come home for a couple of weeks so they could all get together. He wasn’t quite sure why Revali would be around and simply assumed he was probably brought to the city for some sort of work related thing (though he never actually knew what kind of work Revali did). But Urbosa confirmed she could get some time off to come back, mentioning that she was due for a visit with her mother and Riju, and Daruk had no boxing matchings any time soon, freeing up his schedule as well.

      Mipha had hardly said much throughout the text, but when she did respond, she confirmed what she had told Link earlier - that she would be moving back home to begin a residency in the city. When it was all settled that they would each be around, they tried to make plans, but still, Link did not weigh in, and Mipha was not any more present in the conversation than he was. Revali did not hesitate to vocalizing his annoyance with them in the group messaging, stating outright that they should ‘get the fuck over shit.’ This brought Urbosa to their defences briefly, but not without an attempt at making them both feel guilty since they hadn’t all been together in quite some time.

      “Trouble in paradise?” Sera inquired.

      “Mipha’s moving back,” Link said simply.

      Sera raised a brow. “Oh? Why?”

      “Got a job.”

      “Ah.” Sera smiled. “That’s nice.”

      Link narrowed his gaze on her. “No, it’s not,” he said stubbornly. “She could work anywhere she wants, but she gave up all her offers to come here.”

      “To be with you!”

      Link pulled his gaze away, fuming quietly. “It’s stupid,” he muttered.

      “You’re such a child,” Sera said with a sigh. “You two need to get together and talk things out.”

      “I don’t think so,” Link said.

      “Typical man.” Sera rolled her eyes. She sipped her coffee, winking at him over the brim, then left him alone at his desk.

      Link turned his gaze back to his phone as more messages popped up. He dismissed them, then unlocked his phone and opened a new message, selecting one of his contacts.

      drinks tonight?

      It took awhile for the response to come through, but when it did, he smiled.

      oh, hey. im good. thanks for asking.

      miss you too.


      :) i guess it has been a while. how about 8?


      *****

      Link found a chance to sneak out of work early and he took it without hesitation, even getting home before Aryll, though he was sure she would be home soon after him. According to her earlier text to him, she was staying after to play catch up on the one measly day she missed. Despite her apparent rebellious stage, she was still eager to be a better student than Link was. He was relieved about that. Her good grades would help - hopefully - help land her a decent scholarship and at least give her a slight chance at being able to go to college, because there was no way in hell he would be able to help her get there.

      Despite everything he had done over the years, he always knew it would never be enough to get her further in life after high school. It wasn’t enough that he had been able to keep a roof over her head and keep the pizza in constant supply. He wanted more for her. More than what he ever had. But the overdue bills, the unpaid mortgage - all the opened envelopes with the red warning ink across their pages reminded him that there was nothing more he could possibly do for her.

      Link didn't look up when Aryll came through the door, though she greeted him cheerfully. Torn envelopes and unfolded pieces of paper were scattered across the table, and Link had his chin in his hand, staring at them. Aryll sat in the empty chair across from him and put her own chin in her hands, her head cocked to the side slightly. Her eyes moved from the bills, to her brother, and she frowned.

      “Is something wrong?”

      Link gathered the papers up quickly and shook his head. He leaned back in his seat and offered her a smile. “How was school?”

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “Same as it is every day.”

      Link nodded his head once. “Cool.”

      “You don't have to worry,” she said with a smirk. “I get much better grades than you did.”

      Link stood, taking the papers with him. “Good.”

      Aryll's lips twisted to the side. “Want to get pizza for dinner?”

      “I was thinking Ramen.”

      Aryll slunk back against the chair. “Ramen is what poor college kids eat.”

      “Good practice for your future.” He tossed the bills onto the counter where he hoped he could ignore them for a little longer and turned to the fridge.

      “I get to go to college?”

      Link stared into the fridge longer than necessary. His first instinct was to grab a beer, but he was supposed to be going to the bar in a couple hours. “Not likely.”

      Aryll bit her thumb nail for a moment. “That's okay,” she said. “I can just work with you on the ranch. I like the animals.” She paused in thought for a moment. “I could be a vet.”

      “Not without a college degree,” Link commented, still staring into the fridge.

      “Right.” She pinched her lips together. “That's okay. Why spend money on school when I can just go right to work?”

      “You want to shovel shit for a living?”

      “Well, when you put it that way.” Aryll sighed. She stood up, hesitating as she tried to think of another conversation to have with her brother. “I heard Mipha is home.”

      “Hm. Yeah.”

      “You never told me. Are you guys going to get together?”

      Link shrugged. “Probably not.”

      Aryll frowned. “Your face is going to freeze, Moron.”

      Link grabbed a beer anyway and straightened, closing the door. “We could only hope.”

      Aryll watched as her brother opened it and leaned against the counter. A dozen or so empties were scattered through the kitchen and living room, not yet disposed of. She sighed. “Okay. Well. I have to get started on my homework. I'll come out and make Ramen later.”

      Link lifted his beer towards her. “Have fun. I’m going out.”

      Aryll was not surprised by this, and her frown deepened. She had hoped after their day off together, things would be different, but she saw now that that was a foolish wish. Nothing would change. Certainly not overnight.

      “Alright,” she said simply, her lips twisting to the side. “See ya later.” She turned and made her way into her bedroom, pulling out her phone and falling backwards onto her bed. She tapped on the awaiting text message from Mipha.

      idk, she had said in response to Aryll’s request that she come over. i dont think its a good idea.

      Aryll typed back. he wont be home. hes going out.

      out? came Mipha’s reply.


      hes hardly ever home. he goes to the bar a lot.


      what do u do?


      eat ramen.


      ill bring pizza.

      Aryll smiled. She was glad that, despite the strained relationship between Mipha and Link, Mipha still talked to her, even looked out for her. And she missed Mipha. She missed all of them.

      *****

      It was earlier then eight when Link got to the bar. After Aryll had disappeared into her room, Link felt overwhelmingly alone, and he couldn’t stand to be in the house a second longer than necessary. He found comfort in Kit’s bar, in his usual seat in the corner, watching as Kit busied himself with his patrons while occasionally stopping by to chat casually with Link. It was promptly eight when his guest arrived, punctual as she had always been, and this brought a smile to his face as she slid into the empty seat beside him.

      “You know, I can’t exactly be seen getting drunk at a bar.” Zelda said.

      Link glanced over at her and grinned. She was wearing a pair of jeans with rips at the knee that she likely bought like that. A loose, plaid shirt hung over her delicate frame, and her blonde hair was in a ponytail which was pulled through a snapback and pulled low over her forehead, as if in an attempt to cover part of her face and keep her from being recognized.

      “That’s cute,” he said. “Is that the new royal fashion?”

      “Shut up,” she muttered.

      “You didn’t have to come out,” he said with a shrug, and he took a sip of his beer.

      “I kinda did,” she said. She nodded her head in greeting when Kit met her gaze. “It’s not like you have any other friends around to drink with.”

      “I don’t need friends to drink,” Link said. “In fact, I am proficient at drinking alone.”

      “Well, well, well,” Kit said as he approached their corner of the bar. He slid a beer over to Zelda. “Slumming it with the rest of us, Your Highness?”

      “Hello, Kit,” Zelda said with a sigh.

      “It’s been a while,” he said with a grin. “Last time you came by, you were still just a wee little princess.”

      “I didn’t miss you,” she said dryly.

      “Oh, come on, yes you did.” He took Link’s empty glass and replaced it. “How’s life as the supreme ruler?”

      “Am I a Marvel villain, now?”

      Kit rolled his eyes and left them alone to tend to other patrons.

      “What do you see in that guy?” she said.

      Link shrugged. “He gives me beer.”

      “Sounds like a pretty solid friendship,” Zelda said with a nod.

      “I think so.”

      “So, is this what we’re doing tonight?” she asked. “Getting trashed?”

      “Isn’t it what we do best?”

      Zelda smiled. “It’s been a long time since I sat here getting drunk with you.”

      “Good times.”

      “It’s dangerous,” she said.

      Link regarded her at the corner of his eye. “I live for danger.”

      She smiled down at her beer. Before she could speak, Kit returned to them.

      “So,” he started. “Is this going to be one of those nights where I call you a cab and send you on your way?”

      “Why not?” Zelda said. “I came here to drink, and I’m gonna do it right.” She lifted her bottle at Kit in toast, then quickly finished it and set it on the counter, tapping with her fingers.

      Kit grinned. “I don’t get it,” he said. “What sad life does the queen of Hyrule have to drink away?”

      “Beer,” she said simply. When Kit returned with her drink, she continued. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

      “Yes,” Kit said frankly. “Yes, I would. I am the bartender, afterall. I’m a cheap therapist for you sad sacks.” He cleaned a glass absentmindedly. “I know all Link’s problems.”

      “I’m sure you don’t know them all,” Zelda said. She wiggled her eyebrows at him.

      “Oh, I sense secrets,” he said, leaning in closer to them. “Spill.”

      “There are no secrets,” Link said in an annoyed tone.

      Kit frowned. “But I wanna know,” he whined.

      “There’s not enough alcohol in the world,” Zelda said.

      Kit straightened and grinned. “Challenge accepted.” He moved across the bar, tending to a couple more patrons, and returned shortly after with four more bottles of beer. “Drink up!”

      Zelda narrowed her eyes at him for a moment, then shrugged. “Well, that’s what we came to do,” she said.

      As the night wore on, Kit continued to provide the beer, and from time to time, he brought over three shots, and the three of them toasted to whatever ridiculous ideas came to mind before taking their respected shots.

      “Yer not a very good bahtendah,” Zelda said as she almost slammed the shot glass down onto the counter. “Drinkin’ ya own s-s-supply.”

      “Hey,” Kit said, pointing a finger at her. “That’s how the best bartenders do it.”

      Zelda snorted, then broke out into laughter.

      “How you think ‘e stays in… in, uh, in store?” Link asked.

      “In business?” Kit said with a raised brow.

      Link pointed at him. “Aye. Yeah. This guy’s got it.”

      Kit rolled his eyes. “So, do I get secrets, now?” Kit said, leaning in eagerly.

      Zelda sighed and nodded. “Ahright,” she said. “I’ll tell ya.”

      “This better be good,” Kit said.

      Link nodded. “So good.”

      Zelda put her palm down on the table. “Onccce upon a time.” She paused to burp, then giggled. Her expression turned serious after a moment and she continued. “There was a beautiful Goddess -”

      “I don’t want the PBS special,” Kit said. “Get to the good stuff.”

      “But,” Zelda started with a frown. “You gotta understand the back story!”

      Kit sighed. “Fine. Hit me.”

      “The Goddess Hylia,” Zelda continued. She lowered her voice for a moment. “She was so pretty.” She hiccuped, then continued. “She had to like, you know, you know Hylia, right? She had to save the world.”

      Kit nodded. “Uh huh, yup. Hylia and her Chosen Hero. A classic love story.”

      Zelda giggled. “It’ss true,” she said. “They so wanna bang.”

      “I’m sure they did,” Kit said. “Thrilling.”

      “But,” Zelda said, holding a finger in the air. “Like. We.” Her finger moved to gesture between her and Link. “We’re like. Them. You know?” She pointed to her chest. “I am, like, a descendant of Hylia. Her power is, like, inside of me. She is in me.”

      “That’s what she said,” Kit said with a grin.

      Zelda pointed to her head. “No, for real. She’s like. Totally in there.” She then pointed at Link’s head. “And like, the spirit of her lover boy, is in there.” She moved her finger to poke at Link’s nose. Link rolled his eyes at her, but said nothing.

      “That sounds pretty gay,” Kit said. “He’s inside you right now, isn’t he, Link?”

      “You’re stupid,” Zelda hissed at Kit. “They’re totally in love with each other.”

      Kit raised a brow. “They are? Or you two are?”

      Zelda snorted and rolled her eyes. “Goddess, no, Kit. Duh. Ew. Ugh.”

      “I’m flattered,” Link said. “That’s the kindest thing she’s ever said about me.”

      “So, what?” Kit continued. “What’s the secret?”

      Zelda shrugged. “They love each other. And sometimes.” She paused.

      “Sometimes you feel warm and fuzzy for Link?” Kit grinned.

      “Link smells,” Zelda said, crossing her arms. She leaned in closer to Kit. “He has cooties.”

      “With all due respect, Your Highness,” Kit said. “You are a complete child.”

      Zelda grinned.

      “So, you come here to drink and silence your love for each other?”

      Zelda raised her empty beer bottle at kit. “I feel warm and fuzzy. Make it stop.”

      Link put his head down on the counter. It felt cool against his skin. “Me too.”

      Kit shook his head. “You guys are so weird.” But he turned to fetch them more beer. When he returned, he leaned against the counter, patting Link’s head for a moment. “Silence those demons, you two crazy kids.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 10

      Display Spoiler


      They drank some more until the bar began to empty out. It was late, but hardly late enough for Kit to close. Still, he opted to cut them off before they started to get sick all over his bar, and he called them a cab as they worked together to count out their pay. After watching them struggle to add, Kit sighed.

      “Do it when you’re sober tomorrow,” Kit said, shooing them away. “I want the correct change. I’ll add it to your tab.”

      “Aye aye, Capt’n,” Link said, saluting him. He turned to Zelda, pulled her hat further down her forehead, then grinned. “Le’s go.”

      “I look like a… a… one of those people.”

      Link pulled her outside and did his best to hold the cab door open for her. He slid in behind her and leaned forward between the two front seats. The driver moved away slightly, regarding Link warily.

      “Home,” Link ordered.

      “I… don’t know where that is,” the driver said.

      Link turned his gaze to Zelda. “Where’s that?”

      Zelda laughed.

      “Is that… Queen -” The driver started, but Link cut him off abruptly, slurring out his address.

      “Alrighty, then,” the driver said slowly. “Please don’t throw up in the car.”

      Link settled back against the seat with a heavy sigh. Zelda leaned against him.

      “I’m gonna try really hard not to throw up,” she whispered loudly to him. The driver regarded her in the rearview mirror with annoyance.

      Link grinned. “That’s hot.”

      Zelda giggled, quieting suddenly as she came to a realization. “Wait,” she said. “I didn’t tell him where I live. Where will he bring me?” She straightened in panic. “Where will I go? I’ll be on the streets forever!”

      “Shut up,” Link said, pushing her. “You’re coming with me.”

      “Oh, okay,” Zelda said, feeling a sense of relief. “I thought I was homeless for a second.”

      Link grinned. “You are.”

      “Oh, no,” Zelda whined. “I’m gonna live under a bridge like a troll.” She settled in against Link once more and he patted her head.

      “But at least you’re a pretty troll,” he said.

      Zelda smiled. “Yeah, I am. I bet pretty trolls could get by alright.”

      Link nodded. “Right,” he said. “Definitely.”

      Zelda sighed. “At least you understand,” she said. “We… we’re like. We’re like trolls. Together. You know?”

      “We’re the only trolls in the whole world, probably.”

      Zelda nodded. “Yeah, probably.” She met Link’s gaze and hesitated. “Do you think -” But Link’s lips were on her’s suddenly, cutting her off.

      She pulled away after a moment, blinking at him. But then with a shrug, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, pressing in as close as she could until he was pinned against the side of the car and they were making out.

      “Get out,” the driver said shortly after. “And get a damn room.”

      Zelda pulled back and looked out the window. They were in front of Link’s house. They threw their change at the driver before scrambling out of the car. Link pulled at Zelda’s wrist, leading her into the driveway, but Zelda pulled him back and their lips met once more. They stayed in their clumsy embrace as they tried to make their way toward the house, falling against the door for a moment. Link’s hand searched for the doorknob as Zelda pulled at his shirt. The doorknob turned, and they both stumbled through into the dimly lit kitchen. They stumbled backwards into the table and Zelda pushed him against it, climbing on top of him and straddling him.

      “Oh my Goddess,” a voice said, but it didn’t quite sound like Zelda’s voice. They didn’t stop, however, until they suddenly felt water spraying at their faces.

      “Stop it!” Aryll shouted, spraying them with the hose from the sink. “What the fuck are you doing?”

      Zelda yelped and tumbled off of Link. She steadied herself on her feet, then looked around them, disoriented. Her eyes landed first on Aryll, then on Mipha, who stood in shocked silence as she watched them.

      “Oh my Goddess,” Zelda muttered, her hand flying to cover her mouth. After a moment, she sighed, then pointed with a finger at nothing in particular. “Nice to see you, Mipha,” she said. “I’m… going to go throw up now.” She hurried out of the room, slamming the door behind her once she reached the bathroom.

      Link moved his arm across his face in an attempt to dry himself. He sneered at his sister, then at Zelda’s greeting, he turned abruptly to see Mipha. His face paled; he, too, started to feel sick to his stomach.

      “Mipha.” He blinked at her, then furrowed his brows. “What… Why are you here?”

      “Doesn’t matter,” Mipha said quickly, pulling her gaze away. “I’ll just… I’ll go.” She hurried passed Link and headed outside, her head hanging low to avoid his gaze.

      Link cursed under his breath and pressed his fingers to his temple, wincing as the door slammed behind him. After letting his mind process what had just happened, he turned to hurry after her, catching her wrist outside.

      “Wait,” he said. She stopped, but he said nothing for a moment, his head spinning. He desperately fought against his drunken mind and body, making sure he was steady on his feet before he spoke again. “Mipha,” he said softly. “I’m sorry.”

      Her voice shook as she spoke. “Sorry for what?” She turned her gaze away. “It’s not like we’re together.”

      Link pinched his lips together. “Look. It didn’t… it doesn’t… mean anything.”

      “You don’t have to explain it to me,” Mipha said. She pulled her wrist out of his grip.

      “No. Wait. I do. I… it’s not. It’s nothing, alright?”

      Mipha glanced at him. “It’s not nothing.”

      Link sighed, frustrated and exasperated. “Why can’t you just trust me when I say it’s not?”

      Mipha hesitated. “Because I don’t understand,” she said softly. “Any of it. I thought… do you love her?”

      “No,” Link said fiercely, then hesitated, his expression softening. “It’s… complicated.”

      Mipha’s brows furrowed. “How can it be complicated?” she said, growing angry. “You either love her or you don’t.”

      I don’t,” he said.

      “Then what’s going on?” Mipha said angrily.

      You wouldn’t understand,” Link said, pulling his gaze away.

      “What is there to understand?” she said. “It seems pretty clear what you guys have been doing.”

      “Well, so what?” Link snapped. “We’re not together, remember?”

      Mipha hesitated. She could hardly breathe thanks to the hard lump that had formed in her throat. She blinked back her tears as best as she could. “Is that why we’re not together?” she asked. “Please, just tell me the truth.”

      “There’s nothing to tell,” Link said.

      “Then why?” Mipha begged.

      “Because she was there,” Link snapped again. “Everyone else was gone, but she was there.”

      “Link,” she said softly. “I… I’ve been here. You were the one that ended it. You were the one that pushed me away. Goddess, what the fuck do you want from me? Nothing I do is good enough for you.”

      Link turned away from her. “Nothing,” he said simply. “I don’t want anything from you.”

      Mipha hesitated. “Fine,” she said. “I’m sorry I interrupted your life.”

      The door opened, catching their attention, and Zelda steadied herself against the frame. She frowned. “I guess I should… go.” She hiccuped, then clumsily pulled her phone out of her back pocket. “Don’t mind me. I’ll just… get a ride.”

      “Don’t worry about it,” Mipha sneered. “I was leaving.”

      “No, no,” Zelda said. “You… you two. You gotta. You two. You know?”

      Mipha stared blankly at Zelda. “What?”

      Zelda sighed loudly and shook her head. “It was just stupid,” she muttered. “Nothing happened, okay?”

      Mipha pulled her gaze away and moved toward her car. Without another word, she left them alone in the driveway. When she was gone, Link stepped around Zelda and back into the house. Zelda chased after him.

      “Wh-why didn’t you stop her?”

      “‘Cuz,” he said simply. “She’s better off.”

      “Goddesses, Link. Will you just stop saying that?”

      Link turned his attention to Aryll. Her brows were furrowed angrily as she started at them both.
      “What the fuck is this?” She barked. “How… how long has this been going on?”

      “Nothing’s going on,” Zelda insisted when Link gave no response.

      Aryll’s helpless gaze turned to her brother. “I thought…”

      “What?” Link sneered. “That you could push us together and think everything would go back to the way they were? Wake up, Aryll. You’re not six years old anymore. Nothing is going to be the fucking same.”

      Aryll’s mouth hung open at her brother’s outburst.

      “I’ll just… wait for my ride outside,” Zelda said quickly, stepping outside and closing the door behind her.

      “I know you didn’t choose this life,” Link said, quieter this time. “But the sooner you accept that this is your fucked up life, the better off you’ll be.”

      Aryll’s gaze turned angry once more. “What? Like you? I should just give up and accept this shit the way it is and do nothing to change it? To make it better?”

      He cursed loudly. He was fucking up, yet again. Every time he opened his damn mouth. So, instead, he kept it closed, and left Aryll alone in the dark living room.

      He made his way upstairs and into his room where dropped onto his bed, his face in his pillow. He groaned loudly into it. After a moment, he moved to the edge of the bed, pulling the trash can up to his face, and vomited. When he was finished, he moved slowly onto his back, his arm against his head, and he closed his eyes.

      He stayed there motionless for the rest of the night. Sleep came and went in spurts, but it wasn’t anything he wasn’t used to. He hardly slept at all. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he got more than a couple hours of restful sleep. Whenever he did manage to fall asleep, his mind was riddled with nightmares that always jerked him back awake. More often than not, he woke up sweating, trembling, and other times sobbing. Some of the dreams seemed to disappear the moment he woke, while others stayed with him, haunting him for days and weeks on end.

      He slept as little as possible for that very reason. It was why he occupied his nights at the bar with kit, or simply drinking at home. More often than not, he found that if he drank enough, he would pass out long enough to catch a couple of silent hours of sleep. That, mixed with a cold shower in the mornings, seemed to be just enough to get him through another day. It had become his routine over the last few years. It certainly wasn’t an ideal routine, but at least it worked.

      He was already awake when his alarm went off, and he dragged himself out of bed, trudging down the hall into the bathroom. Once he was showered and dressed, he checked in on Aryll, but her bedroom was empty, as was the rest of the house. He assumed she had already left for school, so he locked up and made his way into work.

      “You look like shit,” Sera noted as he dropped into his chair at his desk. She was waiting for him with a cup of coffee, and he took it eagerly.

      “I mean, more shitty than usual,” she added, and Link grunted. Sera frowned. “What’s going on?”

      “Same shit as every day,” he muttered. He stared at the dark computer monitor. He was not in the mood to talk to Sera.

      “You’re worrying me,” she said. “You look like actual death.”

      “Can we not do this?”

      Sera bit her lower lip, then shrugged. “Alright,” she said. “Sorry. I’ll leave you alone.” She lingered a moment longer before actually leaving Link alone at his desk.

      Link sighed softly and pinched the bridge of his nose. His head was throbbing. It was going to be a very long day.

      Sera didn’t bother him for the rest of the day. He couldn’t help but to feel guilty, but the last thing he needed was her breathing down his neck, trying to make his life better. When the end of the day came, Sera left without a word to him. He opted to hide behind his desk later than necessary, in no real hurry to go home, or anywhere for that matter. But when six came around, he gathered up his things and hurried outside, making his way briskly toward the bar. He slid into his seat just as Kit slid over a beer, not a word or a glance exchanged between them. Kit could usually sense when he was not up for talking (not that he said much, anyway) and left Link alone for the first couple of hours.

      It was just after eight when Kit found a lull in his duties as bartender. He pulled a stool up to his side of the bar, sitting across from Link with his own beer. He leaned forward slightly until the stool was balanced on its front two legs and sighed, bringing the bottle to his lips.

      “Are you here to pay me back for last night?” Kit said with a grin. When Link made no effort to respond, he frowned. He picked at the label on his bottle. “I guess everyone got home alright?”

      “I fucked up.”

      Kit looked up at Link, but Link was staring at the counter. “Hm?”

      “Mipha was there.”

      Kit’s brows furrowed slightly. He was putting the pieces together. “You and Zelda, then?”

      “Nothing happened,” Link growled.

      “This time.”

      Link met Kit’s gaze. “I told her not to come back here,” he said. “If she had just listened to me -”

      Kit let the stool fall back on all four legs and stood. “Enough,” he hissed. “Didn’t I ban you ass from here, anyway?”

      “And here I am.” He was already several beers in, and he waved his empty bottle at Kit.

      Kit snatched it from him, tossing it into a bin, but made no effort to get him another one. “I don’t think so.”

      Link frowned. “Dude. Come on. I’ve had a long day.”

      “You have a problem,” Kit said simply.

      “I do not,” Link hissed. He sighed. “Come on, man. One more so I can just go home and sleep.”

      Kit walked away from him, leaving Link alone at the bar to tend to the other patrons. Link didn’t move from his seat for another hour, staring into space until Kit returned.

      “I’m exhausted,” Link said softly. “I’m done. I’ve got nothing left. I can’t be here anymore.”

      “Stop it,” Kit snapped. “You have Aryll. And you’re all she has left. You’re not fucking going anywhere, alright?”

      “I can’t,” he whispered. “I don’t… I don’t want to.”

      Kit moved to the other side of the bar, gripping Link’s shoulder and pulling him away. He pushed Link outside into the cool night. He couldn’t quite close up yet, but he knew Link needed to get home. “Give me your phone.”

      Link sighed and leaned against the building. He slid down until he was sitting on the ground, staring out into the street. “I can’t do it anymore, Kit,” he said. He closed his eyes and buried his face in his hands.

      Kit frowned down at Link, concern in his eyes. He sat beside him and, with a sigh, reached his hand into Link’s pocket, pulling out his phone. “Don’t get any ideas,” Kit muttered. “I’m not into dick.”

      But Link made no response. Kit took his phone and scrolled through his call list. To his surprise, Revali was at the top of the list, but he did recall Link mentioning something about him coming back to the city. He opted to try the number, despite the late hour, and Revali answered almost immediately.

      “Dude,” he shouted into the phone. “What are you doing, idiot?”

      “Hey, it’s Kit,” Kit said quickly.

      “Oh, yo. What’s going on?”

      Kit turned to Link, still sitting and staring at the ground. “Are you around?” He could hear the frown in Revali’s voice.

      “Yeah, I am. What’s wrong?”

      “I can’t babysit tonight,” he said. “Can you come get your boy?”

      Revali did no hesitate. “On my way.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 11

      Display Spoiler


      Unsteady - X Ambassadors
      I know you're trying to fight when you feel like flying. If you love me, don't let go. If you love me, don't let go. Hold… Hold on… Hold on to me, 'Cause I'm a little unsteady. A little unsteady

      ~~~

      It took almost a half an hour for Revali to get to the bar. He pulled the car to the curb and stepped out. He looked down at Link with a frown and shook his head. “The tables have turned,” he said. “Guess I did owe ya one.” When Link didn’t respond, he reached down and grabbed his arm, pulling him up to his feet. “Let’s go. Get in.” He pushed Link toward the car.

      “Keep an eye on him,” Kit said. “He’s not okay.”

      “I’ve got two,” Revali said, turning to Kit.

      Kit frowned. “I’m serious.”

      Revali met his gaze. “So am I.”

      Kit nodded once. “Don’t let him do anything stupid, alright?” He hesitated, turning his gaze to the car. “Keep him away from pill bottles.”

      Revali nodded silently. They shook and he thanked him before sliding in behind the wheel, pulling into the street and navigating the city. He glanced over at Link briefly before speaking.

      “Are we gonna talk about this?”

      Link gave no response. His arms were folded across his chest, his head against the seat as he gazed out the window.

      “Yes,” Revali said simply. “Yes, we’re talking about this.”

      “There’s nothing to talk about,” Link muttered.

      Revali’s brows furrowed. “So, why does Kit think you’re going to kill yourself?”

      Link didn’t respond. Revali slammed on the breaks at a red light and sneered at him.

      “This isn’t fucking funny!” he shouted at Link.

      Link met Revali’s gaze wordlessly.

      Revali’s gaze softened. “Come on, man.” He turned his gaze back out the windshield as the light turned green. “You can’t do this shit. You know that.”

      “You’re right,” Link said. “I can’t do anything I want to do, because I always have to do something for someone else.”

      “You’re being an idiot,” Revali muttered. “Being dead doesn’t do anyone any good. Especially Aryll and Mipha. You can’t do that to them.”

      Link’s brows furrowed. “I know.” Revali was right, after all. He couldn’t do that to them. He wouldn’t. But at the same time, it didn’t seem fair. It seemed his whole purpose in life was to do what everyone else needed. Not once did he ever have a chance to do what he wanted. “Everyone else got to leave,” Link said softly. “Everyone got to do what they wanted. And I had to stay here. I had to give up what I wanted to take care of everyone else’s shit.” His voice hardened as he grew angry. “I save the world, and for what? To get left behind?”

      Revali frowned. “You could have -”

      “Could have what?” Link snapped. “What should I have done? Sold the house? Pawned her off on someone else? There was nothing I could have done. I had to stay home to take care of Aryll. I had to be a parent. I had to be a fucking adult with a mortgage and bills and two jobs and it still isn’t enough.”

      Revali’s brows knit together. “So, you’re mad because everyone else got to live their lives?”

      Link’s expression softened. When Revali said it out loud, it sounded petty. He knew that. But it didn’t change anything. “I’m mad because… this wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I didn’t want to be stuck here like this. Everyone got to escape but me. Now…” His voice trailed off. “I just wanted one thing I could control. One change I could make. I wanted my escape.” He sighed softly. “I don’t expect anyone to give up their lives like I had to do. That’s not what I wanted. Mipha already has. I don’t want that.”

      “What do you want?” he asked. “Because now you’re starting to contradict yourself.”

      “I don’t know,” Link muttered.

      Revali’s lips pinched together. “Alright,” he started. “I get it.”
      Link glanced at him.

      “So, here’s what you do,” he continued. “Stop trying to be the damn hero. The way I see it, the only one who needs saving is you. And you’re not letting anyone do it. It’s not your fucking job anymore, alright? So just give it a fucking rest already.”

      Link’s brows furrowed. “Is this a joke? Are you and Kit stealing each other’s notes or something?”

      Revali’s gaze flashed to his. “Huh?”

      “I’ve heard that twice already,” Link muttered.

      “Well, then maybe that fucking means something,” Revali said in an obvious tone. “Goddesses, you’re dense.”

      Link sighed. “That’s easier said than done.”

      “You’re not getting your one way ticket out of here,” Revali growled. “Sorry, pal. It’s not happening. Not while I have something to do about it. Besides, you’re not a quitter, Link. If there’s one thing I know, you’re too damn stubborn to give up.”

      “So, what?”

      “So.” Revali sucked in a breath. “So, what? What do you want? Don’t think of what you need to do, or what you think the world wants. What do youwant?”

      Link thought about this for a moment. He realized then that he didn’t know what he wanted. He was so busy doing everything he thought he had to do that he lost sight of what he wanted. And what he wanted was Mipha.

      “I want Mipha back,” he said softly.

      Revali smiled. “What else?”

      Link glanced at him. He thought further. “A dog.”

      Revali shrugged. “Alright. Sure. A dog. What else?”

      “A new job,” Link muttered.

      Revali grinned. “That all seems pretty doable, dude.”

      He hated to admit it, but Revali seemed to have a point. Though, a part of him felt angry at Revali for pointing these things out, as if he were just an idiot that couldn’t see the bigger picture. Still. The more he thought of it, the more he wanted it all, and the worse he felt for wanting to give up. In truth, he cycled through these various emotions so quickly that he didn’t really feel any better, but just confused. And still, his heart was hurting. Hurting for all the ways he seemed to be fucking up. For the terrible life he was giving his sister. For giving up on Mipha. And in the midst of it all, he just wanted his father back.

      Link realized only then that he was crying.

      “Man, no, what?” Revali frowned. “I thought we were making progress.”

      Link sighed and slumped back in his seat. “I’m tired.”

      Revali nodded. “One day at a time,” he said. “One issue at a time.”

      “Where do I start?”

      “Where do you want to start?”

      Link hesitated, then pulled a ring box out of his pocket. He opened it and examined his mother’s ring. “Mipha,” he said simply.

      “You have a ways to go before you can do that,” Revali pointed out, but he was smiling smugly.

      “Yeah,” Link said with a sigh.

      “This weekend,” Revali said. “We’re getting together. You can start then.”

      Link hesitated. He was eager to see his friends again. But he wanted to make things right with Mipha as soon as he could. He was ready to stop being the hero. He just wanted to live his life.

      *****

      Aryll was already in bed when Revali and Link got to the house. The house was dark, but Link didn’t bother turn any lights on. He headed straight for the couch, letting himself fall against it with a heavy sigh. Revali joined him, kicking his feet up.

      “Don’t get any ideas,” he said. “No making moves on me in the dark.”

      “You can leave,” Link said. “I don’t need a babysitter.”

      “Agree to disagree,” Revali said. “I canceled all my plans for you. I’m staying.”

      Link snorted. “Like you had plans.”

      “I always have plans,” Revali said. “But my best friend is more important.”

      “When did that happen?”

      “When I decided I could ride your coattails into fame.”

      “How’s that working for ya?”

      Revali frowned. “Not as well as I’d hoped,” he said. “I thought we’d be knee deep in babes and cold hard cash.” He shrugged. “Well, I am, anyway, but I had to do that all on my own.”

      “You must have it so hard,” Link said, rolling his eyes.

      “Eh, I’m doing alright, all things considered.”

      “Good for you,” he muttered.

      “Have you given up on milking the hero bit?”

      “No,” Link said dryly. “You haven’t noticed all the babes running around my mansion?”

      Revali grinned. “You almost have me beat.”

      “Don’t worry,” Link muttered. “The bank will be kicking us out any day now.”

      His grin faded. “You know we’re here for you,” Revali said. “You’re not alone.”

      “I kind of am,” Link said. “Besides. I don’t need anyone’s charity.”

      “It’s not charity,” Revali said, his brows knit together. “You’re allowed to ask for help.”

      Link sighed. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “I just wanted to keep it all together until Aryll graduated.”

      “My company’s opening an office here,” Revali said with a smug grin. “They sent me here to finalize the plans. I’m running that bitch. But, I don’t have an apartment set up yet.”

      “You’re not living here,” Link said.

      “Aw, come on,” Revali whined. “You need money. I’ve got it.”

      “All the money in the world wouldn’t be enough for me to live with your ass.”

      “A thousand,” Revali said. “I’ll sleep on the floor in the basement. I’m hardly around, anyway.”

      Link raised a brow. “You would pay that much for a room with a concrete floor that you’ll spend no time in?”

      “Assuming I can bring chicks.”

      Link opened his palm. “Let’s see it, big shot.”

      Revali shrugged and pulled out his wallet. He then proceeded to count out the money, his smug grin returning.

      “What the fuck do you do? You just carry around this much money on a daily basis?”

      “Don’t worry about what I do,” Revali said. “I’ll be hiring in our new office. Interested?”

      Link regarded Revali with hesitation. “Doing what, exactly?” he asked carefully.

      “Those details are on a need to know basis,” Revali said.

      “Don’t I need to know the job?”

      “You do your job as I tell you to do it.”

      Link raised a skeptical brow. “That sounds shady.”

      “That’s why I’m hiring Urbosa as my lawyer.”

      “What the fuck do -”

      “Don’t worry about what I do! For the love of Hylia. The less you know, the better.”

      “Uh-uh,” Link said, shaking his head. “I’m not getting involved in your shady ass business.”

      “Name your price. Salary. Paid sick time, personal time. Four weeks vacation. All holidays. Company car. Paid mileage.”

      “You can’t do that,” Link muttered.

      Revali grinned. “What’ll it cost? Fifty big ones?”

      “Fifty?” Link said slowly.

      “Sixty? Seventy?”

      “You’re insane.”

      “Eighty?”

      “Is this a joke?”

      “The money is no issue. Top dollar. And most of the shit you’ll be doing, you won’t even know about. And if something goes wrong, we’ve got Urbosa.”

      “Are you a hitman?” Link whispered.

      “Please,” Revali said, though he pause to consider this for a moment, scratching at his chin. “I would be so good at that, though. I’ve got that whole Matrix thing going for me, yanno?” He smirked at Link. “You, on the other hand…”

      Link crossed his arms and turned his gaze to the tv. “Right.”

      “So, think about it?”

      Link sighed through his nose. “Sure. I’ll think about it.”

      “Good,” Revali said with a nod. “Then you’ll be able to actually afford a ring for Mipha instead of giving her hand-me-downs.”

      Link frowned. “Aryll says it’s romantic.”

      Revali laughed sharply. “Right,” he said. “Nerd.”

      “Can I go to bed now?”

      “Sure. We spooning? Or is that reserved for Daruk?”

      “I… what? We don’t spoon!”

      “I have pictures that say otherwise,” he said with a snicker. “And one of you in an adorable little skirt.”

      Link groaned loudly. He pressed a pillow to his face. “End me.”

      “Not today, man.”

      Link let the pillow fall onto his lap with a sigh. After a moment, he propped it up against the couch and lay across it, letting his feet stretch out to kick Revali.

      “What are you doing, idiot?”

      “Going to bed,” Link said with a yawn. “I have a feeling you won’t let me be alone in my own room.”

      “Two eyes,” Revali said. “I promised your boyfriend.”

      “Hmph.” He closed his eyes and groaned when he felt Revali drape a blanket over him.

      “Do you want a bedtime story, too? Some warm milk?”

      “Bite me,” Link muttered. When Revali didn’t tease him further, he let his mind quiet as he listened to the tv, and eventually, quite unexpectedly, sleep came to him.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 12

      Display Spoiler


      Link was jolted awake when a pillow flew at his face. He grunted, blinked groggily, then turned his gaze to Revali, who was leaning over the back of the couch.

      “Aryll says get the fuck up.”

      Link’s brows furrowed in confusion. He rubbed his eyes and sat up. “What? What time is it?”

      “Half past a monkey’s ass,” Revali said boisterously. From somewhere in the kitchen, Link could hear Aryll giggle.

      “What’s your deal?” Revali said, checking his watch. “You going to work?”

      “Huh? Work? Sure.”

      “Shit, man, is this how you are every morning?”

      “No,” Link grumbled. “I don’t usually get this much sleep.”

      Revali frowned, but turned away from him to join Aryll in the kitchen, leaving Link to find the strength to get off the couch. His body ached from not being in his bed, but it wasn’t anything he wasn’t used to.

      “I bought coffee,” Revali called over to him.

      “You’re a good wife,” Link said as he finally got off the couch. He scratched at his head, his chin, then shuffled into the kitchen, snatching the cup from Revali. He watched as Aryll shoved books in her bag.

      “Are you mad at me?”

      Aryll looked up at her brother. She bit her lower lip. “Mad? Why would I be mad? If you want to fuck Hyrule’s queen, go for it.”

      Revali spun on his heels to look at Link, his face a mixture of surprise and pride. “Dude!” He held a hand up, but Link brushed him off. “When did this happen?”

      “The other night,” Aryll said. “They came falling through the door drunk and practically banged on the table.”

      Link put a hand to his forehead. His head was throbbing. “Aryll -”

      “Right in front of me and Mipha,” she added coolly.

      Revali frowned. “Dude.”

      “I didn’t know she was there,” Link hissed. He turned to Aryll. “Why was she there?”

      “I invited her,” Aryll said, narrowing her gaze on her brother. She swung her bag on her shoulder and was moving toward the door.

      “You’re trying to force us together.”

      “Who isn’t?” Revali said. “I thought you were going to get back with her? You were all for it last night.”

      Link hesitated. He looked down at his coffee, then took a long sip. “I dunno.”

      “No. Uh-uh. I don’t think so. We’re not going down this road again.”

      “Revali,” Link warned.

      “I’m not pulling you out of that damn pit again.”

      “Revali.”

      “I mean, yeah, I will, but that’s emotionally exhausting. Can’t we just… skip to the part where you’re freaking happy again and not about to kill yourself?”

      “Revali!”

      Revali’s mouth snapped shut. He followed Link’s gaze to Aryll. She had her bag on one shoulder, standing by the door. Her face was pale as she regarded her brother, then pulled her gaze away.

      “Is that why you’re here?” she muttered.

      Revali hesitated. “No?”

      Aryll stared down at her feet. Without another word, she pushed the door open and stumbled outside.

      “Link -” Revali started, but Link was already chasing his sister out the door.

      Outside, Link pulled at Aryll’s wrist, and she turned to her brother immediately sobbing against him. He wrapped his arms around her.

      “It’s fine,” he said in a desperate attempt to calm her. “Aryll… I’m sorry. It’s fine. Okay?”

      “It’s not fine,” she sobbed. “You can’t do that, Link!”

      “I know!” He hesitated. “I promise, Ary. I won’t. Okay? It was just… It was stupid. I got drunk and it was stupid.”

      Aryll, however, was unconvinced, though her crying quieted for a moment. She pushed herself away and met Link’s gaze. “How can I believe you?” she asked softly. “How can I trust you won’t?”

      “I don’t know,” he admitted regretfully. “I’m sorry, Ary. What do you want me to do?”

      Aryll hesitated. She pulled her gaze away. “I just… I want things to be okay.” In truth, she wanted her brother to stop drinking. She wanted him to get back with Mipha. She wanted her father back. She wanted things to be just as they were ten years ago.

      “I’m trying,” Link said.

      “Yeah,” Aryll started. “Yeah, I know. I know it’s not easy for you. I know everything, Link. I know why you don’t sleep. I know drinking helps. I just… I wish things were different.”

      “Me too.”

      Aryll cleared her throat. “You should stay home today.”

      “Why? So Revali can babysit me some more?”

      “Yeah, maybe. And,” she shrugged, “just ‘cuz you need a day off.”

      “Are you going to be okay?”

      Aryll nodded. She wiped her hand across her eyes. “Yeah. As long as you’re here.”

      Link pulled her into another hug. “I promise.”

      “I believe you.” She pulled away and offered him a smile. “See ya.”

      Link watched her leave, walking down the road until she turned the corner. Revali stepped out behind him, his face ridden with guilt.

      “I’m so -”

      Link stepped passed him and towards the car.

      “Where are you going?”

      “Getting Mipha back.”

      Revali watched as Link peeled out of the driveway. “Alright, well, I’ll just, hang out here, then, I guess.”

      *****

      Link was leaning against his car in the parking lot behind the hospital when Mipha found him. She was in the middle of her rounds when he texted her. He waited almost an hour before she had a chance to break away from her work and meet him outside, still in her scrubs. She was hesitant when he texted and at first told him to leave her alone, but he was persistent, and despite all that had transpired, Link hadn’t seemed that eager to see her in a long time, and that gave her hope.

      Still, it didn’t make things any less awkward when she stood before him, meeting his gaze. Neither of them spoke for a moment. It was Mipha who finally broke the silence.

      “So?” she started, her voice soft. Her heart raced in her chest. “What’s so important?”

      Link frowned. “I wanted to apologize,” he started. “For everything.”

      Mipha held her gaze on him, quiet for a moment. “Why now?”

      “Because I almost gave up.” He broke her gaze. “I did give up. On so much. I thought… I thought I was doing the right thing.”

      Mipha’s brows furrowed. “I… why? How?”

      “I didn’t want to hold you back,” he explained. “After Dad died… you gave up so much for us. I didn’t want that. I wanted you to live your life. I wanted you to be happy. And I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do that for you.” He hesitated. “I couldn’t drag you down with me.”

      “Link…” She sighed in exasperation. “Goddesses, you are such an idiot. You don’t have to do anything for anyone. Not anymore, and especially not me. You don’t need to sacrifice what you want so other people will be happy. You need to get out of that mindset. You’re allowed to be happy. You’re not the hero anymore!”

      Link met her gaze. His brows furrowed. “You’re right. I’m not. I was nothing until I was a hero, and now that I’m not that anymore, I’m back to being nothing.”

      “That's not true,” Mipha said desperately. “You can be whatever you want to be. You can do whatever you want to do. You don't have to give that up for anyone.”

      “I do for Aryll,” he said. “As long as she's here, she needs me. I can't leave her alone. I'm all she has left. She needs to be here, and as long as she needs to be here, I need to be here.”

      “Then let me be here, too. Don't push me away. Don't make my decisions for me.” She paused. “The world may have needed a hero, but I don't. I don't need saving.” She emphasized the last part, her teeth gritting together. She held her gaze on him another moment before continuing, her jaw relaxing. “We’ve always been in each other’s lives. There was never a moment where you weren’t in my life. And I never want to think of a life without you.” She hesitated and broke her gaze, looking at the ground.

      “Can you… can you really live a life without me?”

      Link didn’t say anything for a long moment. Mipha glanced back up at him, meeting his gaze.

      “I don’t want to,” he finally said, his voice soft. “But -”

      Mipha put her hands on his chest and pressed her lips against his, cutting him off before he could continue to argue with her. After a moment, he relaxed against her and wrapped his arms around her.

      “Will you let me be here for you?” she asked softly after breaking apart slightly. “We can get through this together. You don’t have to be alone.”

      “I fucked up,” he said, lowering his gaze. “How can you forgive me for that?”

      Mipha hesitated. “You said it meant nothing. I believe you. I love you, Link. That has never changed, even for a moment.” She pulled his chin to her and kissed him once more.

      “I’m so sorry, Mipha,” he whispered against her. “I love you.” Despite years of trying to smother his feelings for her, they fire ignited within him once more. For the first time for as long as he could remember, he felt happy. Enthralled, even. Because despite all the bullshit he put her through, she was apparently just as stubborn as he was. For some reason, she wanted to be in his life, and in that moment, he vowed never to let her go again.

      She found it difficult to pull herself away from him when he seemed to need her so badly. She had briefly considered leaving work early, but thought better of it, not wanting him to feel as if he were a burden to her. After a few more moments in his arms, she worked up enough strength to pull herself away. After promising to call after her shift, she returned to work, and Link returned home.
      Revali was still at the house when Link got back, and he seemed relieved to see him.

      “For the love of Hylia,” he said, helping himself to a beer. “Kit would have killed me if he knew I let you out of my sight. Where the fuck did you go?”

      “I told you,” Link said simply.

      He raised a brow at Link. “Did she take you back?”

      “For all those years in school, she’s a complete idiot.”

      Revali’s shoulders relaxed and he grinned. “Son of a bitch. She is an idiot. She deserves way better than you.”

      Link glanced at the fridge for a moment, then opted to drop onto the couch instead. “That’s not news to me.”

      He finished his beer quickly, then tossed it before joining Link on the couch.

      “Don’t you have a business to run or something?”

      Revali shrugged. “It can wait until tomorrow.” He frowned. “Or are you sick of my presence?”

      “A little bit,” Link said, but he shrugged. “But only a little.”

      Revali smiled. “Good. It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t hate each other a little bit.”

      “Don’t worry,” Link said. “There’s plenty of hatred.”

      “And I was just thinking about how far our friendship has come,” Revali said.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 13

      Display Spoiler


      Revali didn’t leave until Aryll got home from school, and it wasn’t without him raiding Link’s fridge of most of his beer as ‘payment for babysitting.’ Link didn’t argue with him, and in fact, felt a sense of relief to know that there was less beer in there, which meant less of a temptation for him. Of course, nothing was stopping him from going out and restocking, but the idea didn’t really cross his mind as he was too anxious to see Mipha again.

      At some point during the day, Kit had called to check up on him, making Link vow to never show his ‘ugly mug’ in his bar again. He seemed satisfied with Link’s promise, even going so far to promise not to serve him if he ever stumbled in again.

      Aryll seemed genuinely relieved to see her brother when she got home, but otherwise, she said nothing about their interaction that morning. All in all, she appeared to be in a good mood, humming to herself in the kitchen as she made them both peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
      It was then when Mipha poked her head into the kitchen. She stepped in and rolled her eyes at them as they turned to her from the couch. There was a box in her hands.

      “Is this what your diet consists of?” she said with a frown. “Are you ten?”

      Aryll bit into her dinner with a grin. “And pizza,” she said as she chewed. She took a moment to swallow before speaking again, looking between her and Link. “What are you doing here?”

      She raised the box and sighed. “Pizza.”

      Aryll threw herself over the couch excitedly. “It’s a good diet,” she said. “I’ve got all my nutrients.” She took the pizza from Mipha, setting it on the table and taking a slice. “So,” she started slowly between bites. “Are you guys back together or something?”

      Mipha hesitated. She turned her gaze to Link, who was letting his arms dangle over the edge of the couch. He pointed at his sister.

      “Pizza.”

      “Get off your ass and get it yourself,” she sneered at him. She made a dramatic display of shoving her own pizza into her mouth before turning back to Mipha. “Yeah?”

      Link sighed and dragged his feet across the room, but before he could grab a slice, Mipha pulled the box away with a sly smile.

      “That depends,” she said.

      “Gimme,” Link said simply.

      Aryll looked between them, her brow raised. “Depends on what?”

      “How badly he wants pizza,” Mipha said, grinning.

      “An interesting ultimatum,” Aryll said, her hand on her chin. “But do you really want to force him to be with you for pizza?”

      “I’ll take what I can get.”

      “That’s a terrible relationship.” Link grabbed the box from her and yanked it out of her hands. He took a slice and immediately shoved it in his mouth. “But I accept your proposition.”

      “Congratulations,” Aryll said dryly. “You’re stuck with him, you know. He’s your problem now.”

      “It was much more romantic the first time,” Mipha said.

      “You conned me for pizza,” Link reminded her. “How is that romantic?”

      “Should I get on one knee and offer you another slice?”

      Link grinned. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

      Mipha sighed. She took a slice, got on one knee, and shook her head. “This is what my life has come to, apparently.”

      “That’s so sweet,” Link said. He took the slice from her and pulled her back to her feet, planting a kiss on her lips. He pulled away quickly to devour his next slice.

      “Did you miss that?” Aryll said, rolling her eyes. “Did you really, honestly miss this idiot’s bullshit?”

      “Love makes you do weird shit,” Mipha said.

      “Well.” Aryll picked up her bag from the corner of the room and swung it on her shoulder. “You guys have fun being weird. I have finals to study for.”

      When she heard Aryll’s door close, Mipha pulled Link toward her, kissing him once more, but after a moment, he pulled away.

      “You know the rule,” he said. “Pizza first. Sex later.”

      Mipha rolled her eyes. “It’s like nothing ever changed,” she said with a dramatic sigh. “Honestly. Who puts pizza before sex?”

      “You’ve had pizza, right?”

      Mipha cocked a brow. “You’ve had sex, right?”

      Link paused to consider this for a moment. “They’re comparable.”

      “Well, see if I give you pizza or sex ever again.”

      Link frowned. “That’s cruel. You’re a monster.”

      “You know,” she started. “We’ve never had makeup sex.”

      Link’s eyes widened. “I’ve heard incredible stories about that,” he said. “I thought they were just fairytales.”

      Mipha smiled. “You sure you want to pass that up?”

      Link look towards the pizza, then back to her. “I guess I can have pizza any day.”

      Mipha grinned. “You’re an idiot.” She took his hand. “Come on,” she said. “I have a tiny apartment with a shared wall that doesn’t have your sister on the other side.”

      “Good plan.”

      *****

      The rest of the week went without further incident. Link fell back into his usual routine at work, and though he originally found it dull, he came to appreciate the normality of it all, especially considering the depression he had fallen into. For once, life felt almost normal again. Though he was still working two jobs and barely keeping up payments on the house, the world felt right again. The weight of his responsibilities didn’t feel so heavy. A part of him knew the feeling would likely not last long, but he wanted to enjoy his moment of happiness for as long as he could. He wanted to forget his worries for as long as life would allow him. Mipha was back in his life, his friends were coming back to the city, and everything felt the way it should.

      When Saturday finally came, he found himself in the company of his friends, standing around the firepit in the backyard as the first stars of twilight began to show themselves. Aryll was speaking excitedly with Mipha and Urbosa on one side, while on the other side, Revali passed out cigars to Link and Daruk.

      “Well, here we are,” he said with a sigh as he blew out smoke. “The boys are back in town.”


      “I heard you’re sticking around,” Daruk said. “I didn’t know you were so in love with Link.”

      “What can I say?” Revali said. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

      “He’s in the mafia or something,” Link said. “He’s here on business to bust some kneecaps.”

      Daruk raised a brow. “For real?”

      “He tried to drag me into it,” Link continued with a nod. “I think he might be considering blackmail.”

      “Why does everyone assume I’m doing something shady?” Revali whined.

      “Because you won’t tell anyone what you do for a damn living,” Daruk said.

      Revali grinned and brought his cigar to his mouth. “The less you know, the better.”

      “He’s working for the Yiga Clan,” Link said. “I’m sure of it.”

      “It makes sense,” Daruk said thoughtfully. “Getting some dirt on you. Trying to lure you into their trap.”

      “Please,” Revali said. “What would they want with that dirtbag?”

      “Oh, I don’t know,” Daruk said dryly. “Maybe the Triforce?”

      Revali considered this. “Wait. Let’s be real for a second.”

      “We weren’t?” Link muttered.

      “That’s a totally plausible explanation,” Revali continued.

      Daruk raised a brow. “That you’re working for the Yiga?”

      “No, no,” Revali said quickly, waving them off. “No, I mean. The Yiga were once Sheikah. They’re followers of Ganondorf. So, wouldn’t that be their main directive? Get the Triforce and bust Ganondorf out of his seal.”

      “This is true,” Daruk said. “But, we’ve also never encountered them, even when we were running around Hyrule closing portals.” He shrugged. “Maybe they’re really not a threat.”

      Revali shook his head. “I don’t buy it,” he said. “Dorian and Rusl had beef, remember? Dorian’s up to something. Maybe he’s keeping things quiet.”

      Link stared into the flames. “I thought we agreed not to worry about the Yiga Clan?” he muttered.

      “How about the Termina festival, then?” Revali pressed. “King Roham kept that real nice and quiet. Come on, Link, your father -”

      “Enough,” Link snapped at him. He hesitated as Revali fell silent. He turned his gaze back to the fire. “I told him I would stay out of it,” he said softly. “Zelda’s convinced Dorian is innocent. I promised her I would drop all of it.”

      “You sound like a conspiracy theorist,” Daruk said to Revali. “Link’s right. If they were an issue, they would be an issue by now. They wouldn’t be silent for ten years. They would actually be relevant.”

      Revali didn’t press the matter further, mainly due to the fact that he did not want to upset Link any further. While he had not originally meant it to be a serious accusation, the more he thought about it, the more uneasy it made him. Still, he pushed those thoughts aside and changed the topic.

      “So, are you gonna work for me or not?”

      “Not,” Link said.

      “Why not?” Revali whined.

      “I have absolutely no skills worthy of any job,” Link said. “The fuck do you want me for? I don’t need the pity party.”

      “Dude. I’m making you work for this money. There’s no pity party.”

      “All the money in the world -”

      “One hundred,” he said quickly. “One-double-oh.”

      “Dude,” Daruk said. “Take it and run.”

      “I’ll be running for my life,” Link said. “He won’t even tell me what the damn job is.”

      “Fine,” Revali said. “Look. All I need from you is your signature. Sign the papers I give you, and that’s it. Literally all you need to do. You can sit in a big fancy office all to yourself for eight hours a day, sign some papers, and go home to bed on your pile of cash.”

      Link stared at him for a moment, then narrowed his gaze. “Signing what?”

      “Documents,” Revali said. “You just sign them. Don’t read. Just sign.”

      “What the fuck…” Daruk murmured under his breath.

      “That’s shady as fuck, man,” Link said.

      “And that’s why we have lawyers,” Revali said with a grin. “To cover our asses.”

      “Hylia, I don’t even want to know,” Link said, shaking his head. “Leave me out of your shady ass business.”

      Revali shrugged. “You’ll come around sooner or later,” he said. He winked at him. “They always do.”

      “Don’t do it, Link,” Urbosa said, shaking her head as she caught the end of their conversation. “I won’t let you.”

      Mipha frowned. “Do what?”

      “Work for Revali,” Urbosa said, placing a hand on her hip. “I checked the contract you’d have to sign. You’d be lucky if you only had to give up your left nut.”

      “That’s my favorite one,” Link said with a playful pout.

      “Who really reads contracts, anyway?” Revali muttered.

      “I do,” Urbosa said. “That’s my job.”

      “Hey, you’re my lawyer, not Link’s.”

      “Free advice,” Urbosa said, turning her attention to Link. “Don’t do it.”

      “Why you gotta ruin everything for me, woman?” Revali barked at her.

      Urbosa grinned. “Why do you need to be working for such a shady company?”

      “Because they know how to pay.”

      “Revali, you could go to jail.”

      Revali waved her off. “They keep me protected.”

      “Come on,” Daruk pressed. “You gotta give us more than that.”

      “Alright, alright,” Revali said. His voice lowered and he looked between his friends as if he were about to reveal kingdom secrets. “My company is the largest company in the industry of producing energy, to put it simply. They do everything from oil to gas to solar and other various clean energies.” He air quoted this last part.

      The group was silent for a moment, staring at him.

      “That’s… that’s it?” Daruk raised an unconvinced brow.

      “That’s it,” Revali said simply.

      “That’s it on paper,” Urbosa said. “But what they do in the dark is a totally different story.”

      “So, what do you do, exactly?” Aryll asked.

      “I oversee all transactions,” Revali said. “Contracts come across my desk and I implement them. I send out jobs all over the world.”

      “So, why do you need Link?” Mipha asked.

      “To sign off on contracts I can’t.”

      “And why can’t you?” Daruk asked, narrowing his gaze.

      “Because I’m too closely involved in the company. Link would be acting as, say, an outside employee.”

      “To sign off on the shadier jobs,” Link said. “So that when your company gets sued, I’m the one going down.”

      “That’s why we have lawyers,” Revali reminded him. “To cover your ass.”

      “You’re insane.”

      “I am not representing you,” Urbosa snarled. “Link’s right. You are insane.”

      “You would slander the name of the hero?” Link said.

      “That’s exactly it,” Revali said. “There’s no way the hero would be involved in anything questionable. They see your signature and all their doubts and worries wash away.”

      “Right,” Link said dryly. “That’s exactly it. No problem at all.”

      “What I tell ya?”

      “Not happening.”

      “It’s not like it’s that big of a deal,” Revali said. “We have other people that do this. I just need someone in my new office.”

      “So take whoever you had before.”

      “Can’t,” Revali said. “He’s in jail.”

      Link just stared at him.

      “He’s in jail for trafficking drugs!” Revali said in a exasperated tone. “Goddesses!”

      “Did your company have him do that?” Daruk asked.

      “The point is,” Revali started, blatantly ignoring Daruk’s question. “It’s not as bad as ya’ll are making it out to be.”

      “No, I think it’s that bad,” Urbosa said.

      “Dude,” Daruk started. “How did you even get involved in that?”

      “Headhunters,” Revali said proudly. “They saw my skill and worth. I am a valuable asset.”

      “What skill?”

      “They had me doing the same shady ass job in my early days,” Revali said.

      “So you admit it’s shady?” Urbosa said.

      Revali ignored her. “I proved myself and I got promoted.” He crossed his arms. “If you don’t want the shit jobs, you gotta prove your worth.”

      “So, now I get the shit job?” Link said.

      “Don’t look at it that way,” Revali said. “See it as a stepping stone.”

      “To a future in jail.”

      “Whatever,” Revali said, crossing his arms. “I don’t want you to work for me, anyway.”

      “So, how’s the apartment?” Urbosa said to Mipha. “Glad to be back?”

      Mipha frowned. “My neighbors are either having an affair with the pizza delivery guy, or they really like to roleplay.”

      “Why don’t you just move in with Link?”

      Mipha’s cheeks reddened and Link made a sound of disgust.

      “Wow,” Daruk muttered. “Tense.”

      “I don’t need to live with two women,” Link said, narrowing his eyes at his sister.

      “Hey, fuck you, man,” Aryll said.

      “He’s right,” Revali said, coming to his defense. “That’s double the PMS. Nobody needs that shit.”

      “Move forward in your relationship!” Urbosa barked at them.

      “We’ve been together a week,” Link said. “At that rate, we’ll be married by next weekend.”

      Urbosa rolled her eyes. “You’ve been together forever. You might as well be.”

      “Don’t do it,” Revali said. “It’s a trap. Teba got married, had a kid, and I haven’t seen him since.”

      “That must be so hard for you,” Urbosa said dryly.

      “Don’t worry,” Link started. “I won’t fall into that trap.”

      Mipha sighed and turned to Urbosa. “Do you have any single guy friends?”

      Urbosa grinned. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll get him to come around.”

      “That sounds like a threat,” Revali said, and Urbosa winked at Link.

      And under the stars muffled by city lights, the night went on.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 14

      Display Spoiler


      Link and Mipha spent every moment they could together in the following days. On Thursday, he came home to find Aryll and Mipha in the kitchen, both with a carton of ice cream in front of them.

      “I deserve this,” Aryll said, coming to her defense when her brother eyed her judgingly. “I survived my last final.”

      “Oh, yeah.” He let himself drop into one of the chairs at the table. He grabbed Mipha’s ice cream and helped himself, ignoring her glare. “How was that?”

      “A waste of time,” Aryll said. She sighed. “Guess I’m a senior now.”

      “Sucker.”

      “You’ll be fine,” Mipha said with a warm smile. Without turning to Link, she snatched her ice cream back, and grinned.

      Link sighed, then turned his attention to his phone as Aryll continued.

      “I was thinking,” she started. “We should take Mipha for a ride this weekend.”

      Mipha hesitated and looked to Link for answers. “Ride? Ride what?”

      “Horses, of course,” Aryll said.

      “You can ride horses?”

      “Well, I can. Link thinks he can ride, but he's not as good as me.”

      Mipha grinned and crossed her arms. “You're full of surprises.”

      Link didn’t look up from his phone, frowning down at his pathetic bank account. “I shovel shit all day. Is it really that unreasonable?”

      “I guess I never pictured you as much of a horse person.”

      “Ha,” Aryll barked, rolling her eyes. “You should see him dote on all the animals there. You'd think they were his kids.”

      “I like the dogs,” Link muttered. “So what?”

      “Mr. Tough Guy likes the fuzzy little animals,” Aryll teased, elbowing Mipha.

      “I don't like the cuccos,” Link said firmly. “They're evil.”

      “He thinks the cuccos are out to kill him.”

      Mipha raised a brow. “I'm sorry. You took down the great evil Ganondorf with only a sword, and you're afraid of a bunch of little feathery cuccos?”

      “They're evil and they want vengeance!”

      “Vengeance?” Mipha shouted. “For what?”

      “Link ran one over once,” Aryll continued to fill Mipha in.

      Link ran a finger across his neck in a slicing motion.

      Mipha batted her eyelashes playfully at him, getting up close. “Will you protect me from the cuccos, Mr. Hero?”

      “No way,” Link said, shaking his head. “You're on your own with that.”

      Aryll smirked at Mipha, then stood, returning her ice cream to the freezer.

      “Where you going?” Link asked.

      “To bed,” Aryll said with a yawn. “My brain is fried.” She stretched her arms over her head as she rounded the corner. “Time to sleep all summer!”

      “Sounds like you’re kinda summer,” Mipha said with a grin. But when she turned back to Link, he had his head in his hands and was back to staring at his phone, his brows furrowed. Mipha frowned as she watched Link scroll and tap on his phone. “What’s wrong?”

      Link sighed and turned off the screen before setting his phone on the table. “I need to win the lottery.” He rubbed his face tiredly with his palms.

      Mipha hesitated. “That bad?”

      Link stood and made his way to the fridge, grabbing himself a beer, though he cursed himself in the back of his mind for caving to the craving. He shrugged as he opened it. “I could always resort to selling my blood or something. Maybe a kidney. That’ll at least get Aryll through high school. She’s on her own for college, though.”

      Mipha didn’t find him amusing, however. “What are you going to do?”

      “Ignore my problems like I’ve been doing for the last five years.” He sat back down. “If I can stick it out another year, I can at least sell the house after.”

      “Well,” Mipha started. “I’m not exactly digging my tiny apartment.”

      Link’s brows furrowed. “You want to live here?”

      Mipha shrugged. “I can pay half the mortgage, and I’ll even throw in sex.”

      “A tempting offer,” Link started. “But I’m already getting sex.”

      Mipha smiled. “Then I’ll withhold sex until you let me move in.”

      Link frowned. “That’s unfair,” he said. He pulled his gaze away. “Besides. I’m not taking your money.”

      Mipha shrugged. “What’s mine is yours.”

      “That only applies in marriage.”

      “I’ve seen plenty of marriages where that doesn’t apply.”

      Link smiled. “Good thing I’m not a sucker.”

      “Come on,” Mipha whined. “Stop being so stubborn. I’m not doing it for you, alright?”

      Link’s lips twisted to the side. “Then, who’s it for?”

      “For me,” she said simply. “We’ve been dating for two weeks. It’s time we take this to the next level.”

      Link smiled. “Right,” he said. “But then I have to like, get a key made. And then you’ll be getting mail here.” He groaned. “I don’t want girly shit in my room.”

      “You have it so hard, don’t you?” Mipha said dryly. She frowned and pushed herself away from the table, getting to her feet. “Fine. I won’t move in. I’ll stay in my shitty apartment and spend my nights window shopping on EHarmony.”

      Link grinned, chasing after her as she moved to the door. He caught her wrist and pulled her into him, kissing her lightly.

      “I’m kidding, alright?” he said.

      Mipha’s gaze narrowed as she studied him. “I don’t think you are,” she said. “You don’t want me around.”

      “I want you around. I’ve always wanted you around. For as long as I’ve known you, alright? Move in here.” He grinned. “And then I won’t have to take that job with Revali.”

      Mipha smiled. “Well, we can’t have that.”

      *****

      Aryll frowned down at the box. She had arranged everything perfectly, optimizing the space to allow her to pack as many items as possible. What she hadn’t considered, however, was the weight of the box, tightly packed with Mipha’s items. Her lips twisted to the side.

      “Here’s another one for ya,” she said over her shoulder to her brother as he made his way back into the apartment.

      “Will you stop it?” he hissed at her. He moved to the box and peered inside. “Aryll, you can’t possibly fill every box like that. They’ll break.”

      Aryll tapped the box with the toe of her shoe. “These are sturdy boxes,” she said frankly. “They won’t break.”

      Link sighed and rolled his eyes. He lifted the box and headed back outside to pack it in his car. Mipha whistled playfully as she passed.

      “I knew it,” Link said. “You’re using me for my muscle.”

      Aryll snorted from behind, a much smaller box in her arms. “I’m way stronger than you.”

      “Then why are you making me carry all the heavy boxes?” Link sneered at her.

      “Because I figured you’d want to impress Mipha or whatever stupid guys do.”

      “He’s never tried to impress me,” Mipha said.

      “You mean he didn’t win you over with his lazy work ethic and carefree attitude?” Aryll grinned.

      “He was completely oblivious to every woman that ever looked at him,” Mipha said. “He was an absolute idiot.”

      “He still is,” Aryll confirmed.

      Link slammed the car door shut. “Alright, fine,” he snapped at them. “See if I help anymore.”

      “What a baby,” Aryll said, rolling her eyes.

      Mipha batted her eyelashes at him and kissed his cheek. “At least you were smart enough to finally kiss me.”

      “Smartest thing I ever did,” he said with a smile.

      Aryll stepped between them stubbornly to pack the box she held in her car. She straightened after and stretched her arms over her head. “Is that it?” she asked. “Are we done now?”

      “Now we get to move it all back in,” Mipha said.

      “Just don’t break up any time soon,” Aryll said. “I’m not doing this again.”

      “You’re so lazy,” Link muttered.

      “You would know,” she responded. “Besides. I’m allowed to be lazy. I deserve to be lazy. It’s summer break.”

      “Get a job.”

      Aryll frowned. “Can’t I just be lazy for one more summer?”

      “Not if you want to go to college,” Link said as he got into the car.

      Aryll sighed, but said nothing more as she slid into the passenger seat. She leaned over the car door, her arms dangling, as Mipha moved to get into her own car.

      “Don’t grow up,” Mipha said to a grin as she passed Aryll. “And whatever you do, don’t date heroes.”

      “Are you really sure about this moving in thing?” Aryll said, returning her grin. “It’s not too late.”

      “Someone’s gotta make you something besides peanut butter and banana sandwiches, since apparently you’re both incapable.”

      “I learned from the best,” Aryll said, smirking over at her brother as she settled back into her seat.

      “Maybe I’ll move in with Revali,” Link muttered to himself.

      Aryll ignored him and flipped through the stations on the radio as they pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. When she finally settled on a song, she sang along loudy, pausing only when her phone rang, and she quickly answered it.

      “Hey… No, I’m out… Nah, just helping my stupid brother.” She grinned over at link, then immediately frowned at the voice in her ear. “Ew. Shut the fuck up… No, we’re busy. Mipha’s moving her shit in.” She grinned as she listened. “Sucks to be you.” And the frown returned. “I hate you so much… I thought you were grounded for life?” She snickered after a moment. “Yeah, totally. I wouldn’t know… Hey, I can say it, you can’t… Because when I say it, everyone feels sorry for me. When you say it, you’re just a huge bitch… I get away with shit. Obviously I’m going to use that to my advantage.” She rolled her eyes. “I take what I can get.” Her cheeks reddened. “He did? Seriously?” She listened intently. “Why would you do that?... Goddesses, Cremia. You’re -... Fine. Maybe. I’ll think about it… Bye.” She ended the call rather abruptly and fumed in her seat for a moment.

      Link glanced at her quickly. “So, who was that?” He grinned.

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “Cremia. She says hi.”

      “Did she?”

      “In so many words,” she muttered.

      Link raised a brow. “What does that mean?”

      “It means she’s a horny slut bag,” Aryll snapped.

      “Okay,” Link said slowly. “I thought you guys were friends?”

      Aryll sighed. “Yeah. For some reason, we are.”

      “What did she do this time?”

      “She keeps trying to set me up with this football guy.”

      “He sounds out of your league.”

      “Fuck you, man,” Aryll hissed. “I don’t like him anymore, anyway.”

      “Anymore?”

      Aryll crossed her arms and turned away, her cheeks warming. “Boys are stupid.”

      “Atta girl,” Link said.

      “That means you, too,” Aryll sneered at him.

      “That’s alright,” he said with a shrug. “You’re stuck with me for another year, anyway.”

      “What does she see in you?” Aryll said, mostly to herself. She shook her head.

      “Who?”

      “Mipha,” she said. She paused for a moment. “And every other girl in the world.”

      “Where were all these girls in high school?”

      Aryll snorted in disgust. “You had one lucky moment as a hero. Why does that make you the most popular guy in the world?”

      “Are you jealous?”

      “I’m jealous of everyone who has a normal family. Do you know what I have to deal with at school? All your dumb fangirls asking me for your number!”

      “They do?”

      “Ugh! You’re such a stupid guy!”

      “You’re stupid.”

      “Real mature. Thank Hylia I’ll have Mipha around from now on. I don’t think I can take another year of your shit.”

      “My shit?” Link echoed. “Get through your senior year without getting expelled, and then we’ll talk about who has to deal with more shit.”

      Aryll shrugged. “That was just my rebellious junior phase. I’m over that, now.”

      “Who knew it was that easy?”

      “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll get out of your hair the second I turn eighteen.”

      Link frowned. “Really?”

      “You have Mipha,” she said. “You won’t want me around.”

      Link shrugged. “As long as you don’t go far.”

      Aryll smiled. “Maybe. We’ll see.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 15

      Display Spoiler


      By the time Saturday came around, Mipha was officially moved in. She and Aryll both spent the majority of the day apparently rearranging the entire house, which seemed to include an unnecessary amount of pillows that seemed to come out of nowhere. When Aryll tried to explain it to him, she merely said “It makes our house look less like a bachelor pad and more like a place someone would live in.” The only difference Link noticed were the pillows. And throws. And somewhere a new area rug wound up there, too.

      For his own sanity, he opted to stay out of whatever it is they were doing. He was outnumbered by the women, now. Nothing he said would matter. This was his life now. Though, he supposed there were worse ways to live.

      Despite it all, he was still a little surprised to wake up Saturday morning to see Mipha beside him, and he couldn’t help the dumb smile that spread across his face. She rolled over to face hin. Her eyes opened, and she smiled.

      “Hey,” she said sleepily. She rubbed her eyes with a hand. “Um.” She yawned. “What’s wrong?”

      “I forgot you live here now.”

      Mipha frowned. “I’m… sorry?”

      Link grinned. He settled back into the bed and draped an arm over her. “It’s alright. I guess I can deal with it.”

      Mipha rolled her eyes, but smiled. But before she could speak further, there was an erratic knocking on the door. Aryll’s excited voice quickly followed.

      “Come on, get up! We’re burning daylight, here! Put your fucking clothes on and let’s go ride ponies!”

      Mipha groaned softly. She pulled the blankets over her shoulder. “We’re still doing that? I thought she forgot.”

      Link threw the blankets off of them, ignoring Mipha’s shouts, and proceeded to dress. “Aryll doesn’t forget anything.” He turned to her. “Come on, you’ll have fun. I owe it to Aryll.”

      Mipha sighed. “Yeah, alright. But if I die, I’m haunting the fuck out of you.”

      Link grinned. “Deal.”

      Within the hour, Mipha found herself in an old barn. Three horses stood patiently in the aisle way inside. They were saddled, but otherwise were not tied in any way, merely standing loose and ready to trample her at any moment. When she voiced her concerns, however, both Link and Aryll disregarded her and instead suggested she get to know the horse she would be riding.

      Mipha looked up at the large beast. It snorted and shook its head and she stepped back warily. “I don't know about this,” she said. She reached a hand out, then shied away when the horse turned to sniff it. She mouthed the words “You're so big” silently, then turned to Link. “I've never seen a horse before. I feel like a fish out of water. Can't we... do something else?”

      “Come on,” Link said. He took the reins to his horse and hers and lead both horses out of the barn confidently. Mipha watched in awe as the horses hung their heads and moseyed along beside him. “I got you a nice one,” he said over his shoulder.

      Mipha turned a nervous gaze to Aryll as she followed Link. “There are mean ones?”

      “Don't worry,” Aryll said with a grin. “They don't kick too hard.”

      She followed them outside, making sure to keep her distance behind the horses. She moved cautiously to Link’s side when he beckoned to her.

      “Put your foot here,” he directed her, holding the stirrup in place. “And swing your other leg over. Grab mane.”

      Mipha nodded and did as she was instructed. But pulling herself onto the horse’s back proved to be more difficult than she realized. Link, however, was quick to catch her and hoist her over. She was slumped forward for a moment, afraid to move. But when the horse did not budge, she worked up the courage to push herself off of the horse’s neck, straightening in the saddle.

      “Okay,” she said, steadying herself. “I’m alive.”

      Link grinned up at her, then left her alone to mount his own horse. The horse stepped forward under him, clearly anxious to go, but Link seemed able to rein him in with ease, never once showing fear for the creature.

      “For the love of Hylia,” Mipha muttered. “What do I do now?”

      “Sit back and enjoy the ride,” Link said simply. He took the reins in one hand, moved them across the horse’s neck, and kicked his heels into the horse, encouraging him forward. Mipha’s horse started to move suddenly, and she yelped and grabbed onto his mane. She sneered at Aryll, laughing beside her. She straightened once more as she balanced herself along with her horse’s slow pace.

      “How do I steer this thing?”

      “You don’t need to,” Aryll said. “He’s good. He’ll just follow us.”

      “Great,” Mipha muttered. “What about an emergency brake?”

      “Just pull back like this.” Aryll demonstrated and her horse stopped for a moment.

      “Sure,” Mipha said. “Easy enough.”

      Aryll moved ahead of them, and Link fell behind to ride beside Mipha as Aryll lead the way. They moved away from the barn, around the back paddocks, and down a worn path towards the treeline. When they reached the woods, the horses followed the paths, clearly knowing the area well.

      “So, this is what you guys do?” Mipha asked.

      “Sometimes,” Link said.

      Mipha smiled. “Oh.” She paused, looking ahead is Aryll cooed to her horse. There was a split in the path, and Aryll yelled to them before pushing her horse faster down the other path. They could see her through the trees as she looped around, jumping over a few fallen logs before meeting back up on the main path, much further ahead.

      “Aryll seems to enjoy it,” Mipha noted.

      “She’s always bugging me to come.”

      “Hm.”

      Link raised a brow. “What?”

      Mipha grinned and shook her head. “I thought I knew everything about you. Never in a million years would I have pictured you as some farm boy.”

      “I’m not a farm boy,” Link muttered.

      “Right,” Mipha said teasingly. “Just don’t start wearing overalls.”

      Link made a sound of disgust. “Not even if my life depended on it.”

      Up ahead, Aryll was turned around, waiting impatiently for them. “Come on,” she whined. “Pick up the pace! If I wanted to be slow, I would have walked myself.”

      After another twenty minutes of navigating the forest, they finally stepped out of the tree-line, and the world opened up before them. The land rolled away, up and down, seemingly endlessly towards the sunset. They paused for a moment to admire the view before Aryll interrupted.

      “Okay!” Aryll exclaimed. “Let's race!”

      “R-race?” Mipha stuttered out. “Like, go fast?”

      “You can stay behind,” Aryll said. “But Link and I always race out here, and I always win.”

      “I let you win,” Link commented.

      “Wait, I can't control this thing by myself.”

      “We told you how to make it go and stop,” Aryll said, rolling her eyes. “We'll be back!” And with that, she kicked and shouted at her horse and they took off into a full gallop.
      Link sighed and shook his head, his horse prancing anxiously under him. “Idiot,” he muttered under his breath.

      “Go,” Mipha said, doing her best to offer him a confident smile. “I'll catch up.”

      “You'll fall.”

      “No, I won't.” Mipha sucked in a breath. “I've got this. What do I do?”

      Link grinned. “Hang on for dear life.”

      Mipha hesitated. “Hang on? To what?”

      Link pushed his horse closer to her with his leg. “Look.” He moved her hand towards the horse's mane. “Don't hang on to the reins. Grab mane. It won't hurt him. But don't lean too far forward, okay? But don't try to sit in the saddle, either. It's too fast. Use your thighs to push yourself up.”

      Mipha's eyes darted around the horse anxiously. “Mane. Thighs. Okay, sure.”

      “Are you sure you want to do this?”

      Mipha kicked at the horse with her heels lightly and the horse moved forward slowly. “Yeah, come on!” But before she could think of how to make the horse go faster, Link and his horse were galloping passed them.

      Mipha, however, did not need to figure out how to make the horse go faster, as he seemed to be on auto-pilot, all too anxious to keep up with his two friends. The horse broke into a gallop, jolting Mipha backwards. She quickly grabbed onto the mane, apologizing frantically to the creature, but he seemed unfazed by her tugging. She tried to remember what Link had just said to her; she squeezed her thighs against the saddle, which she quickly found helped to balance her. She pushed herself out of the saddle just slightly, and immediately she found that she was bouncing much less. Not only that, but the horse seemed to appreciate it, too, his ears now perked forward, his neck outstretched as he moved faster still.

      The wind blew her hair back behind her and quickly stung at her eyes, causing them to moisten and her vision to blur. She tried to wipe her hand across her eyes in an attempt to clear her vision, but it didn’t seem to do her a lot of good. She clung to the horse, praying silently that they would not hit anything as they galloped. Just as she was starting to wonder when the race would be over, the horse slowed suddenly, throwing her off balance. She regained herself quickly, keeping in the saddle, and wiped at her eyes once more as the horse came to a stop. He immediately plunged his head down and began to graze.

      Mipha looked ahead as Link and Aryll turned their horses around, and Aryll cheered, standing in her stirrups.

      “You got a head start,” Link said stubbornly. “That hardly counts as a win.”

      “I’m sorry,” Aryll said. “All I hear is ‘Wah, wah, wah. I’m a little bitch.’”

      “You are such a sore winner.”

      Aryll grinned. “Eat my dust!”

      “I’m alright,” Mipha said loudly. “It’s cool. I survived.”

      Link winked at her. “I knew you would.”

      “Race back?” Aryll said excitedly.

      “How about no?” Mipha pleaded. “I’ve had enough adventure for today.”
      Link nodded. He nudged at his horse with his heels, and the three creatures mosied along the crest of the hill and back toward the treeline.

      “At least admit that it was fun,” Aryll said as they rode alongside each other.

      “It was… kinda scary.”

      Aryll frowned. “Really?”

      “I couldn’t see!”

      Aryll giggled. “But did you die?”

      “A little bit. Inside.”

      Aryll rolled her eyes. “You just need practice. Then you’ll love it and you can come out with us all the time.”

      Mipha smiled. “Yeah. Maybe.”

      “Now that it’s summer, we can come out every weekend,” Aryll continued excitedly. “I’ll teach you everything you need to know about horses.”

      Link rolled his eyes and sighed, but still, he smiled. He couldn’t remember the last time Aryll was this excited about something, and he felt relieved that she seemed to be back to her normal self. He felt more confident than he had in a long time that they could find some sense of normalcy in their lives again.

      His attention was caught, however, by sudden movement by the edge of the woods. His gaze moved quickly to the source, but just as soon as it appeared, it seemed to vanish. Neither Mipha nor Aryll had seemed to notice it, and Aryll continued to chat excitedly with Mipha. He watched as his horse’s ears flicked towards the woods, and he knew that he hadn’t imagined it. His pulse quickened, realizing then that they were in danger. He reached over and grabbed Mipha’s reins, then barked at his sister.

      “Move!”

      Aryll moved a questioning gaze to him, but it was too late.

      Several Yiga soldiers lunged out of the trees at that moment, spooking the horses and causing them to rear and bolt in panic. The three riders managed to stay on their steeds, and Link quickly regained control, turning his horse back around to face their enemies.

      “Link!” Aryll caught Mipha’s horse, and she pulled them both to a stop, turning around to shout once more at her brother, who was now pushing his horse back into a gallop towards the Yiga soldiers.

      But he was not prepared for their ambush, simply charging blindly at them in hopes of scaring them off. Instead, they lunged at him again, knocking him off of his horse and surrounding him. He got to his feet quickly, looking around as they closed in, then turned his gaze to Mipha and Aryll, shouting to them, but it was too late. Yiga soldiers had enclosed around them, too, and soon, his vision of them was blocked completely. His eyes darted around the circle that had surrounded him. One of the soldiers raised a hand, and his world darkened.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 16

      Display Spoiler


      When he came to, it was not without a splitting headache. He couldn’t even bring himself to open his eyes, but as his mind slowly came into focus, he listened to the sounds around him. It was very quiet, but not silent. From above him, there was the distinct hum of a light fixture. The air on his skin was cool. Damp, even. He shivered slightly, then opened his eyes. He was staring down at his feet, and he noticed then how stiff his neck felt. He wiggled his fingers, and his wrists ached. His gaze moved to his arms and noticed then that they were strapped down, along with his ankles. He lifted his head, fighting against the vertigo for a moment, and looked around the room.

      It was dimly lit, very large, and very empty. He sat in one corner of the room, directly across from the door, but he was hardly centered in the room. He had half expected a single light bulb to be dangling above him in the center of the room. Wasn’t that how villains liked to torture their captives in the movies? Why should he be an exception to that cliche?

      He knew, without a doubt in his mind, that he was likely somewhere in the Yiga hideout, where ever that was. Unless, of course, they prefered to keep their captives in other locations, to keep the secret hidden, of course. Yes, that seemed very likely. But one thing was for sure; the Yiga Clan had him, Mipha, and Aryll in their clutches, and that was very, very bad news.

      He cursed silently. Damn it, Kit and Revali were right all along. He shouldn’t have doubted them for a second. He shouldn’t have listened to his father. Why didn’t he just take care of them ten years ago? There were so many thoughts rushing through his head, but the one that kept coming back was whether or not Dorian had anything to do with the situation he was in. He swore on Hylia he would kill the traitor himself as soon as he got the chance. And the entire Yiga Clan, too, while he was at it.

      The door opened then, bringing him out of his thoughts. His chin jolted up and his gaze fell on a man that could have only been Kohga himself, leader of the Yiga Clan. Kohga stood in the doorway, grinning stupidly as he met Link’s gaze.

      “My, my,” he said as he stepped into the room and toward Link. “It took longer than I planned, but I finally have Hyrule's Chosen Hero in my hideout. I'll try not to gush, but,” He leaned in close to Link's face, “I'm such a fan.” He grinned, then stepped away and crossed the room towards the table where various tools were laid out.

      “I should tell you,” he said as his fingers ran along the table and the tools. “A lot of people died to protect you. You'd have no way to know that, of course, so I felt it only right to tell you.” He turned to regard Link over his shoulder, but Link kept his eyes on the ground, though listening intently.
      “Your father included,” he continued. He selected a large, sharp looking knife and turned it in the light, inspecting it. “All the torturing in the world wouldn't get him to talk. But it didn't matter; I would find you one way or another, and low and behold, I did.” He turned with the knife in hand, smiling wickedly. “King Roham has a way with keeping those details a secret, though, doesn't he? Killed in action, I'm sure he said. How conveniently vague.” He laughed lightly. “And you were none the wiser. Seems interesting that all these secrets would be kept from you, doesn't it?” He rubbed his chin, then shook his head. “Makes me wonder; are they trying to protect you? Or perhaps there's... something else they're trying to protect?”

      Link continued to stare at his feet, avoiding his gaze. Surely he was just trying to get into his head, but it was working. His mind was racing, trying to decipher all the Yiga Clan leader was telling him. Had Impa and Roham really been keeping things from him? And for what purpose? It didn't matter in that moment, though. Mipha and Aryll were missing, and he was stuck in that damned chair, waiting for Kohga to choose his weapon.

      “I had such joy seeing your father come to his end, after all these years,” he continued. “And I will have even greater pleasure ending your life. I'll make it just as slow and painful as it was for your father. In fact.” He turned around, putting the knife down and instead picking up a long syringe. “Let's get right to it. I'm anxious to see how this will work with you, the boy with the spirit of the hero.”

      He approached Link, bending down to get into his face once more. He held the syringe before him, grinning. “A little something I've put together. Are you curious about it?” He didn't wait for Link to answer. “Of course you are. And I will tell you. I'm quite proud of this. And you'll be interested to know what is happening to you.” He straightened and moved to Link's side, prepping his equipment. “It has worked quite well on our other... subjects. In fact, we'll be using this on Ganondorf himself as well. A little dark magic, so to speak.” With the needle filled, he flicked the tip. “We've had great success using this in,” he raised his brows excitedly, “raising the dead, so to speak. We're preparing an entire army of undeads, pumped full of this little dark magic. With you, we suspect it will darken that little Triforce inside of you. This will allow us to not only raise Ganondorf from his seal, but once we get our hands on Zelda as well, the Triforce will become complete, and without the purity of its power, allow Ganondorf to use its full power without it shattering.”

      He pressed the needle into Link's arm. Link stiffened, but unable to move, he could do nothing to prevent anything from happening to him. He waited with clenched teeth until the needle was finally removed, and almost immediately, the room began to spin.

      “It will take a few doses of this before it really starts to take effect,” he continued, moving back towards the table. “You may even be feeling it right now as it flows through your body.” He looked over as Link slouched in the chair and smiled. “You will have a variety of reactions to it,” he said. “Sickness, nightmares, hallucinations. In high doses, it will kill you. But not to worry; I've perfected it for our purposes with you. You'll only want to die. But once you completely succumb to the power, Hyrule's Hero will be dead, and you will begin your new life, fighting for Ganondorf.”

      “You think this plan of yours will work?” Link muttered. He gasped as a sickening pain washed through him.

      Kohga laughed. “Don't be a fool,” he said. “The tough guy front will get you nowhere, now. You and your friends and all of Hyrule are finished.” He made his way towards the door. “I'll be back in a couple of hours for another dose.” He smiled. “We'll have such a good time together.” And with that, he closed the door behind him, leaving Link alone to his thoughts in the dark room.

      Link’s eyes darted around as they adjusted to the darkness, though he still couldn’t see worth a damn. He desperately replayed Kohga’s cliched monologue in his head. He had watched enough movies to know that Kohga - the villain of his own story - was likely fucking with him, but he couldn’t help but to believe every word of it. And the more he thought about it, the more it all made sense. Even his father had said so himself; the Yiga Clan had been, as he put it, ‘a thorn in their side for years.’ He didn’t doubt for a second that his father under exaggerated that a great deal. And then there was the speculation his friends had about Dorian and the beef between the Sheikah and his father. There were secrets between the two men who once called themselves close friends. Could it be that Dorian had something to do with the Yiga Clan? But Zelda was so quick to shut down that suspicion as well, after his father had apparently died in a tragic attack.

      Perhaps, then, it was so much more. It became clear to Link, now, how deep the war was. So deep, in fact, that even though Ganondorf had been defeated, the threat still remained. For years, Hyrule battled silently, behind his - the hero’s - back, without his knowledge, sending in their own soldiers to their deaths.

      Soldiers like his father. A man who was thrust so deep into the secrecy of war, that he died at the very hands of the people they were trying to defeat. He died to protect the only secret he held so dearly to him; the whereabouts of the man whom the Yiga could use against Hyrule. Link’s whereabouts.

      No. He didn’t merely die. He was murdered. Murdered by people who had once sworn to protect the royal family and all of Hyrule. Murdered by traitors.

      Link let the rage was through him as he shouted into the empty room. He struggled against the restraints, but unless he had Daruk’s strength, there was no way he would be able to break out. But then again, it was likely that they were well prepared for anything Hyrule’s Champions could throw at them. Perhaps even Daruk would have been rendered useless in the restraints. They didn’t stand a damn chance against the Yiga Clan.

      Still, Link continued to struggle desperately. He had to get out of there. He had to save Aryll and Mipha. He had to kill Kohga and destroy the Yiga Clan. He wanted nothing more than the taste of revenge for everything they had done. But as he struggled, he found himself growing unexplainably more and more exhausted by the second. His head felt clouded and darkness crept in at the corners of his vision, quickly disorienting him. Nausea moved through him as his head started to spin. His body shivered, yet sweat dripped off of him. And then, he lost consciousness all together.

      *****

      He blinked in the bright light, letting his eyes adjust. He stood in the doorway into the kitchen. The room seemed unexplainably bright for a moment, but then it settled to something more bearable. Link could hear the faint sound of a woman humming a familiar tune. His eyes moved to the blonde woman that stood at the counter, her back turned to him, and his breath caught in his throat. Sensing his presence, the woman turned, her piercing blue gaze meeting his, and she smiled.

      Her voice was kind and comforting when she spoke “Hey,” she said. “Are you just gonna stand there?” She let out a light giggle, her head cocking to the side slightly.

      Link ran to her. His mother wrapped her arms around him, then moved her fingers to brush through his hair as he buried his face against her.

      “You can’t stay here,” she said softly.

      He knew this all too well, but he did not move away from her. She hugged him tighter as he cried against her.

      “I’m sorry, Link,” she said. Her voice sound distant. “I never wanted this for you.”

      He wanted to tell her he understood. That he didn’t blame her. Or his father. There was so much he wanted to say to her, but he couldn’t find his voice. He pulled away and watched as his mother seemed to fade away right before his eyes.

      “I love you,” she said. “Don’t give up.”

      Link reached desperately for her, but as he did so, he felt a strange snap in his body, in his mind, as if shutting off his connection with her completely, plunging him in darkness.

      *****

      Link gasped for breath. The world was still dark, and it took him a moment before he realized he was still secured in the Yiga Clan hideout. He struggled against the restraints, but still, he could not break free of them. He ceased struggling for a moment, his breathing heavy as he fought to catch his breath. His lashes were wet and he quickly blinked away his leftover tears.

      At that moment, the door opened and light pooled through. Kohga stood in the doorway with a look of absolute pleasure on his face. He stepped into the room, watching Link with an eager grin, and the dim lights turned on with a faint buzzing sound. He stopped before Link and looked down at him.

      “It won’t be long before you can no longer discern your dreams from reality,” he said. “And both will only get worse with time. You will soon beg for death, and I will happily oblige.” He moved to the table to retrieve another syringe. “I guess that makes me rather kind, doesn’t it?” he said. “The Chosen Hero will die and begin his new life. It’s really quiet poetic.”

      The syringe plunged into his skin, but this time, Link hardly noticed it. He didn’t move as he accepted his fate. He could practically feel the dark energy pulsing through him, and once more, it caused his head to spin sickeningly. His fingers curled into his palms as the pain rushed through him, cutting deep into his skin and causing his hands to bleed.

      “This will be our routine for the next few days,” Kohga said as he stepped away. “Settle in. It’s gonna be a wild ride.” He dropped the empty syringe carelessly onto the table, and without another word, left Link alone.

      Once more, Link fell into unconsciousness, more quickly than he had the first time.

      When he came to, he seemed to still be within the walls of the Yiga Clan hideout. However, he was no longer restrained. He sat up on the cold, hard floor and looked around him. Several dark cloaked figures circled around him. He got to his feet cautiously, prepared to defend himself, but they did not move. From among them, only one man stepped forward and out of the unexplainable shadows.

      Rusl approached his son, holding his gaze on him as he grabbed his left wrist and pulled Link towards him. He inspected his hand for a moment, and the Triforce began to pulse. However, it was not the same soft, golden light that it once emit. It was dark and wicked, and Link could feel the power of it pull through his body, as if threatening to leave him.

      Rusl smiled. He let go when Link pulled his wrist out of his father’s grip. Link sneered up at him, his heart racing.

      “Why are you doing this?”

      “The Triforce belongs to Demise,” his father said, his voice strong. “It has since the dawn of time. We’re here to return it to its rightful owner.”

      Link stared blankly at him for a moment, then narrowed his gaze. “What are you talking about?”
      “Hylia has covered this truth throughout the ages. That’s why Sheikah have abandoned the royal family. That’s why the Yiga Clan exists; to bring back the truths of this world.”

      Link searched his father’s gaze desperately. “You can’t be serious…”

      “The Goddesses thought they sensed evil intent in Demise, so they took the Triforce from him and entrusted it with Hylia instead. They wrongly accused him and sealed him away. That’s why Hyrule has fallen to his supposed curse. That’s why Hyrule belongs to Demise.”

      “You… you’re working with them. You have been all along.”

      “The Yiga Clan are not the enemy, Link. The sooner you realize that, the better.”

      “Then why are they intent on killing me?”

      “You possess a piece of it. That piece does not belong to you. You must give it up so Demise can return to power.”

      “And then?”

      “And then you will die.”

      “You knew this all along,” Link said softly as he came to the realization. His entire life was a lie. His family was a lie. He was a lie. “You’re lying!”

      Rusl turned his back on his son. He stepped back into the darkness, uttering his only command to the cloaked figures. “Take it and kill him.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 17

      Display Spoiler


      The injections came every few hours as Kohga had promised him, but Link could no longer differentiate the real world from his hallucinations. He had no idea how many injections he had received or how many days had passed. The world simply ceased to exist around him as he drifted in and out of hallucinations, each one blending into the next. He whimpered and gasped as his body reacted to each injection, until finally, he could start to feel a new life take form inside of him.

      And as the injections continued, he grew more and more infuriated. His anger seemed to temporarily ground him in those moments, and for the first time in what felt like years, he could recognize his surroundings once more. He felt more grounded in reality, more aware as Kohga approached him with each syringe. The anger grew inside of him until it became seemingly irrational. He was angry at King Roham and Impa for keeping his father's death a secret. At Dorian for betraying them all. He was angry at Mipha for abandoning him; at Aryll for falling into the same pit of despair he had; at his mother for dying. He was angry at all his friends for seemingly betraying him, moving on with their lives and leaving him alone, and angry with his father keeping secrets. But most of all, he was angry at himself for letting the Yiga Clan get their hands on Aryll and Mipha, and for allowing himself to succumb to Kohga's tortuous injections.

      When the next injection came, he couldn't contain his anger any longer. It bubbled through his body, flaring wildly as Kohga approached him. His anger clouded his mind as it grew to levels of rage he had never experienced before, and he quickly felt himself losing control until he seemed to only be a small figuring huddling in the corner of his mind as something else entirely took over.

      Link's body strained against the restraints, testing their strength as he threatened to break through. His fingers flexed, then curled into his palms, his nails suddenly long and sharp. His skin paled and darkened, as his eyes flashed vivid red. A low growl escaped his throat as his gaze landed on Kohga, his chest heaving with each breath he took.

      This seemed to please Kohga, and he grinned and laughed as Link twisted in the chair. Link threw himself forward, and the restraints groaned under the pressure, but otherwise held strong, holding him back despite his struggles. Kohga plunged the syringe into him once more and the fury raged further inside Link for another moment. But then his body calmed as soon as the syringe was withdrawn. The rage disappeared almost instantly and he fell back against the chair, his body falling limp as his awareness crawled forward, taking control once more.

      He was exhausted. So exhausted that he could barely move or open his eyes. But he forced his eyes to open. His eyes that had returned to their clear, pure blue, moved weakly to Kohga as his breathing slowed and steadied.

      “Thrilling, isn't it?” he said with a grin. “The more you fight it, the weaker you will become, and the quicker that darkness will consume you. Your rage feeds it. Soon, you will disappear completely. Hyrule's Hero will be gone forever.”

      Kohga moved back to the table, placing the empty syringe back on the table. “There won't be many more injections left,” he said as he moved to the door. “But don't worry; we won’t send you away without seeing your friends one last time. The two girls – we'll let you watch them die before we finish you ourselves.”

      If he wasn't so exhausted, the rage surely would have blown through him again, causing the darkness inside of him to gain control once more. But he simply could not think straight, or even really process the words Kohga had said to him, which may have been to his benefit. There was surely some truth to what Kohga had said; the more he fought against the darkness, the quicker it would consume him.

      He let his head hang for sometime, allowing himself to rest before he finally felt relatively normal. His mind was clear; or, clear enough to begin to process all that had just happen. And for the first time in what seemed to be a long time, he remembered that Aryll and Mipha were in trouble, and that the Yiga Clan had them.

      He cursed himself for succumbing to Kohga’s injections, for not being stronger, for not being able to break away and save Mipha and Aryll. He took advantage of his sudden clarity and looked around the room once more. He needed to find a way out of his restraints. He fought against them once more, but still, they held strong. Even the chair did not budge, and he could only assume it was bolted into the floor. There would be no way he could escape. At least, not on his own. He was not strong enough, but maybe there was someone who was.

      He tried desperately to will that other part of him to return. He reached into the deepest, darkest corners of his mind to will the darkness in him to surge forth once more. He tried to recall all he had seen, heard, and witnessed. He recalled some of his earlier hallucinations; the ones he was sure were hallucinations. Seeing his mother was surely one of them. But nothing more stood out to him. He thought back to his brief moment of consciousness - his father. He remembered seeing him. He ordered him killed. His own father… a traitor.

      No. That couldn’t be right. As strong as the memory was, he still couldn’t believe it, though as he played it over again, the pain struck his chest each time, as real as the last. But he refused to believe it nonetheless.

      Still; it had the effect he was hoping for. He could feel the darkness creep in around his mind, pushing aside his consciousness. And he let it - encouraged it - to take over. He opened himself to it, but it only seemed to shirk away. It quickly slipped away from him, causing his insides to pull sickeningly. His head spun once more, and he quickly lost consciousness.

      *****

      The door opened and light spilled into the room. Two dark figures, silhouetted by the light behind them, stood in the doorway. They said nothing as they stepped into the room, closing the door behind them. The dim lights flickered on and hummed as they warmed. Link was barely conscious, his head hanging low and his breathing shallow. He noticed the change in the lighting. He heard the footsteps of the two figures that entered. But everything else was indiscernible. He paid no mind to them, assuming them to be more Yiga soldiers. In truth, he didn’t care anymore. There was nothing he could do to stop them. He had given up.

      A strong hand pushed him back against the chair, seemingly annoyed that he had not regarded them. The hand gripped his shoulder hard while another hand slammed his head against the chair. A bright light shone in his eyes, and he groaned and turned away from the source. The light snapped off and the hand pulled his chin. His eyes moved tiredly to the figure that stood before him. He recognized Dorian immediately, but his expression remained unchanged. Dorian’s eyes narrowed fiercely on him as he spoke. Link couldn’t understand him at first, and it seemed his face had shown his confusion. Dorian’s gaze softened and he spoke again.

      There was another voice after Dorian’s. It came from the second figure, standing behind Dorian and off to the side. Link turned his gaze to this figure as he stepped forward into the light. He met the figure’s gaze, smiled, then laughed. He pulled his chin out of Dorian’s grip.

      “Nice try,” he muttered.

      Dorian straightened, keeping his gaze on Link. He spoke again, and Link’s mind slowly came into focus, now understanding the hallucinative conversation between the Sheikah and his dead father.

      “...to the city.”

      Rusl’s gaze hardened on Dorian. “They’ll find him,” he hissed.

      “If we don’t get him out,” Dorian said, “Zelda will look for him. I won’t let the Yiga get to her, too.”

      “Your job was to keep them out of the Yiga’s hands,” Rusl growled. “And yet here he is.”

      “Rusl,” Dorian warned. “I’m doing everything I can damn well do.”

      “My son’s on the brink of death because of you!”

      Dorian shook his head. “Nothing I do is good enough for you,” he said with a sigh. “I’ve managed to keep them safe for over twenty damn years. I got you out of this hell hole. What more do you want from me?”

      “I’m done hiding,” Rusl said. “You’ve had your way. I’m done. I want to go home.”

      “If you go -”

      “He knows, Dorian! He’s not an idiot!”

      “That’s debatable,” Dorian muttered. He turned his gaze back to Link. He got to his knees and peered at him curiously. He pushed his chest back with a finger and Link turned his gaze to him.
      “How’s it going, kid?”

      Link sighed heavily but did not respond.

      “So, we’re gonna get you outta here.”

      Link smiled, then laughed, but still, he did not respond. He knew better than to engage with the hallucinations. That’s all they were. Images of false hope. Images of broken promises and pain. Nothing was real anymore.

      “Okay,” Dorian said. “Let’s go.”

      “You’re a traitor,” Link muttered. “If I ever get out of here, I’ll kill you.”

      “You’re dense,” Dorian said. “A damn idiot.” He stood once more, stepping away as Rusl moved toward his son. He gripped his shirt, shaking him briefly.

      “Snap the fuck out of it.”

      Link smiled and pulled away. “You’re dead,” he spat. “Get the fuck out.”

      Rusl frowned and released his hold on his son. He turned to Dorian. “What’s your plan?” He didn’t wait for a response. “Whether you like it or not, he’s a part of this. He won’t stand down. Not until he’s destroyed the Yiga Clan.” His gaze narrowed. “If you had just told him the truth -”

      “What do you think would have happened?” Dorian snapped. “The same damn thing. He’d walk right into their hands with the stupid idea that he could end it. He’s powerless against him. And before you know it, he and Zelda are team Ganondorf, and everything they’ve done will have been for nothing.” His voice lowered. “If he knew you were alive, he would have gone after you. If he knew they were a threat, he would have gone after them. Either way, he would have been exactly where they wanted him.” Dorian hesitated. There was a tone of regret in his voice when he spoke again. “I kept my promise to you, Rusl. I can’t possibly plan for everything. They still got their hands on him. But he’s here. He’s alive. And I will get him out if you just let me do my job.”

      Rusl pulled his gaze away and turned back to his son. “I’m done,” he said softly. “I can help him. We can finish this.”

      “How do you expect to do that?”

      “The Champions,” Rusl said. “They have a lot more going for them than you like to think. Let them do this. Let them fight.”

      “You were the one that wanted them to have no part of this,” Dorian said.

      “I know,” Rusl hissed. “But they’re all we’ve got.”

      “Let me talk to Impa and Roham,” Dorian said. “I’ll keep Kohga away from him and Zelda as long as I can.”

      Rusl met his gaze. He opened his mouth to speak, but Link’s voice interrupted him.

      “Dad.”

      Rusl turned to his son. His head still hung low. His body shuttered with each breath he took. Rusl moved to him, getting to his knees and putting a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll get you out of here, alright?”

      His head shook slowly. Tears fell onto his lap. Rusl frowned and moved his hand to his son’s head. He pressed his forehead against Link’s.

      “Just hang in there, kay?”

      Link did not respond to him. Rusl returned to his feet, his lips pinched together. He turned to Dorian. There was a bright flash of light and a loud crack split the air.

      Link gasped for breath. His eyes moved around the room, but he was alone. There was no evidence otherwise that there had been anyone else in the room with him. He bit his lip and sobbed softly.

      *****

      Though the space was small, Aryll still managed to pace back and forth, from wall to wall, almost dizzying herself in the process. She ignored Mipha’s plea to stop, unable to calm her anxiety. Her hands trembled as she wracked her brain, reviewing every detail of their plan.

      “Are you sure it will work?” Aryll said softly. Her pacing ceased and she gazed out the barred door.

      “No,” Mipha admitted. “And I can’t heal as long as we’re in here,” she continued. “So we can’t fuck up.”

      Aryll cursed softly. Already, they were both banged and bruised from the Yiga, virtually powerless against them. She was sure her bones weren’t broken, but they were definitely fractured in some places. Her wrist, being one. And it was likely they had both suffered concussions, but there was nothing either of them could do about it except pray there were no internal damages that would sneak up on them suddenly.

      From what they could recall, they had been Yiga captives for almost a week. It was enough time to quickly learn their routine, time their shift changes, and form a plan for themselves to break out and find Link. It wasn’t a good plan. Far from it. But it was a plan, nonetheless. And Aryll was impatient as they waited for their chance to execute it. It wouldn’t be long before their time was up, and they would all die. It was now or never.

      And their chance finally came. One of the Yiga soldiers returned to the room where they were being held. His mask was removed, and he was grinning stupidly at his phone held in one hand, while the other had a half peeled banana, which he took a large bite out of. He didn’t even glance in their direction as he made his way to sit on the other side of the room where he kicked his feet up on the table and finished his banana, still watching his phone.

      Aryll glanced at Mipha, hesitant, but found reassurance in Mipha’s confident gaze. She sucked in a quiet breath and moved her gaze back to the Yiga guard, then promptly fell to the floor. The guard glanced over at them as Mipha hurried to Aryll’s side in concern. He sighed and spoke into the radio on the table.

      “One of those girls just passed out,” he said in a bored tone.

      “What do you mean she passed out?” came the response on the radio.

      “I dunno,” he said. “She’s unconscious. What do you want me to do?”

      “Boss wants them alive. Fix it.”

      He frowned. “That’s more work than I agreed to.”

      “Stop being an idiot,” the voice hissed. “Do what you want afterwards, but keep them alive.”

      This seemed to be incentive enough for the guard. With another sigh on the edge of a groan, he got up and made his way to the cell.

      “Back against the wall,” he instructed Mipha. Mipha silently obeyed, pressing her back against the hard wall as the guard entered the cell. He got into a squatting position as he looked over Aryll for a moment.

      “What’s wrong with her?” he asked, though his tone suggested he did not care.

      Mipha’s gaze narrowed on him. “She probably has a brain bleed,” she snarled at him.

      “Hmph. What would you know?”

      “I am a nurse. I can fix her if you let me.”

      He shook his head. “Nothing I can’t handle,” he said arrogantly. “Don’t move.”

      Mipha watched as he continued to check over Aryll, then promptly set to work on healing her. As he worked, Mipha quietly slipped off her belt. She held the leather in her hands behind her back, waiting for her moment to strike. Aryll’s eyes fluttered open and the guard stopped working. As long as she was conscious, that was all the healing she needed.

      Aryll, however, thrust a fist towards him, but he was quick to catch her wrist, and she yelped in pain, the bone still fractured. He grinned down at her as he thrust her arm to the floor, pinning her.

      “Nice try, you little bitch,” he hissed at her.

      That was all the distraction Mipha needed. She lunged at him and brought the belt around his neck, pulling tightly against him and dragging him backwards on top of her. She grunted under his weight as they fell, but did not release her grip. He clawed at the belt in surprise for a moment, then thrust his arm aside, causing the ground to tremble in an attempt to weaken her hold.

      Aryll sprang on top of him and pinned his arms to the ground in hopes of preventing him from further attacking. He started to gasp and choke as his airway was cut short, which likely weakened him. She knew she was not strong enough to fight him off, but his weakened state came to her advantage, and within moments, the Yiga fell into unconsciousness.

      Mipha hesitated as Aryll stepped away from him. He was not moving, but she wasn’t completely convinced. She waited another moment before letting her hold loosen, then let the belt drop to the ground. Still, the guard did not move. Aryll kicked at his gut, but he gave no response, which was confirmation enough for Mipha. She let her fingers rest on his neck, searching for a pulse, but the Yiga guard was dead.

      Mipha pulled her hand away slowly, her face whitening. “I killed him,” she said softly.

      Aryll hesitated, her lips pressed together. “Let’s get out of here,” she said after a moment, reaching for Mipha’s hand and pulling her out of the cell.

      They moved to the table where they quickly grabbed anything the could use as a weapon, including the guard’s own blade.

      “This was the easy part, you know,” Aryll muttered. “We have no idea where Link is or how to find him.” She met Mipha’s gaze. “And we don’t stand a chance against a group of Yiga soldiers on the hunt for us.”

      “We’ll wing it,” Mipha said. “Link always did.”

      “And did that ever work out for you guys?” Aryll asked skeptically.

      “Not really,” Mipha mumbled. “Got him gutted once or twice. We won’t be so lucky.”

      Aryll pulled her gaze away. “You’re right.”

      Mipha hesitated, immediately regretting what she said. “We’ll figure this out,” she said in an attempt to reassure Aryll. She shrugged. “You’re with a Champion, after all. I’ve gotten through worse.”

      “Yeah,” Aryll said softly. She sucked in a breath, her expression hardening. “Well. I’m sure as fuck not dying here. So, let’s do this.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga

    • Chapter 18

      Display Spoiler


      Headstrong - Trapt
      Back off I'll take you on, headstrong to take on anyone. I know that you are wrong. Headstrong, we're headstrong. Back off I'll take you on, headstrong to take on anyone. I know that you are wrong, this is not where you belong. I can't give everything away. I won't give everything away.

      Aryll and Mipha moved quickly and quietly through the base, keeping close to the walls and quickly inspecting every empty room they passed. When they reached a split in the corridor, they listened closely for motion before peering around the corner. To their left, the corridor moved away slightly before ending at a door. There was a window beside the door where they could clearly see various monitors. A Yiga soldier was leaning back in a chair, his feet kicked up on the desk with a banana in one hand and a magazine in the other. After a moment, he moved to grab a radio and spoke into it. His gaze moved to the monitor, and his eyes narrowed.

      “Shit,” Mipha spat. She grabbed Aryll’s uninjured wrist and pulled her past the security room and further down the corridor. “We don’t have a lot of time.”

      From somewhere further down the corridor, they could hear a radio crackle to life. “The girls got out,” the voice hissed. “Find them!”

      Footsteps echoed off the walls as Yiga soldiers broke into a run. Mipha pulled Aryll hurriedly through a closed door, praying for the best, and they stumbled into a seemingly empty, dark room. They pressed themselves against the wall, listening as Yiga soldiers ran passed the room, unaware of their presence, and they let out a breath of relief.

      “They’ll find us,” Mipha said quickly. “We need to go.” She moved to open the door, but Aryll stopped her, grabbing her arm. When Mipha turned to question her, Aryll was jogging across the room.

      She hurried towards Link, dropping to her knees and immediately fumbling with the restraints around his wrists. She gave up quickly and instead grabbed at his face when she realized he hadn't acknowledged her.

      “Link? Link!” She pulled his chin up, and he blinked blankly at her. “Are you okay?”

      Link sighed and pulled his head out of her grip. He grunted weakly in response, but made no further effort to converse with his sister. He didn’t even look up when Mipha found her way to him.

      “You look like shit,” she muttered as she turned her attention back to the restraints. She inspected them for a moment before getting back to her feet and looking quickly around the room. “Hold on,” she said as she moved towards the table across the room. “I'll get you out of this.”

      Mipha pressed her hand against Link’s cheek. “I can’t heal you,” she said softly. “Can you move?” But Link still did not respond.

      Aryll inspected the items scattered across the table until her eyes landed on two, pick-like objects. She snatched them up quickly and moved to pick the locks of the restraints. Within a few minutes, all four clasps were opened and Link stumbled forward onto his knees, weak under his own weight. Aryll and Mipha quickly helped him to his feet, allowing him to lean on them slightly as he steadied himself.

      “Are you sure you're okay?” Aryll asked carefully.

      “I'm fine,” he finally muttered. He could feel the anger start to rise. He turned his attention to his sister, meeting her gaze in an attempt to calm himself. He still had his doubts on whether they were real or just part of another hallucination, but if he was going to die anyway, he could at least die thinking he was being saved. He could die seeing them both one last time. He would play into the dream and allow himself that one last bit of hope.

      “Are you okay?” he asked weakly.

      Aryll forced a smile. “I’ve definitely had better days,” she muttered.

      “Can you walk?” Mipha asked.

      Link hesitated as his gaze fell on her. He nodded silently. Feeling some of his strength return to him, he moved away from their support and towards the table, searching for anything he could use as a weapon. He selected a few of the sharper looking knives and pocketed them, handing one to Aryll. She took it hesitantly.

      “I hope you don't expect me to use this,” she muttered.

      “Hopefully you won't have to,” Link said simply. He turned his gaze to Mipha, who was still holding the guard’s blade. She was staring at it hesitantly, and Link took it from her.

      “I’ll do what I can,” Link continued in hopes of reassuring them.

      “Let’s just get out of here,” Mipha muttered.

      “Yeah, but how?” Aryll asked. “We have no idea where we are, and I doubt we’ll find any neon exit signs.” She rolled her eyes and blew her hair out of her face. “Plus, they’re kinda hunting us right now.”

      “Perfect,” Link muttered. But they didn’t have a chance to plan further as the door swung open. He pushed Mipha and Aryll behind him as Yiga soldiers quickly filled the room. They were armed with various weapons from guns to knives and other deadly looking blades, though they did not draw upon their pistols or rifles. Instead, they drew their blades and pressed in around the three escapees.

      If they didn’t resort to using their guns - which Link thought was a safe assumption, as they needed him alive - that left them with only their blades and their own Sheikah power. He supposed he’d have a fighting chance if they only used their weapons, but it seemed unlikely given their unique abilities that they would not resort to such tactics.

      Despite this, they didn’t seem willing to give themselves the advantage of using their power. Instead, they lunged at him with their blades drawn. Link was able to dodge the first couple with ease, using his strength to keep himself between the Yiga and Mipha and Aryll. When the next one lunged at him, he blocked the blow with Mipha’s stolen blade. He struggled under the weight of the Yiga for a moment before throwing himself forward and dislodging the attack. Two more lunged at him then, and with a weapon in each hand, he just barely managed to throw them off of him as well.

      He couldn’t defend them for much longer, however, and the Yiga knew this as his energy quickly drained. They continued to lunge at him, and as he slowed, they found their opening, taking both Aryll and Mipha in their clutches. The two Yiga soldiers that held them quickly backed off as more of their comrades closed in around Link. He fought them off desperately, only noticing then as a radio crackled to life.

      “The ward has been dropped!”

      That was why the Yiga weren’t using their powers; a ward was put up, either around the entire base, or just the room where they kept him. It took him only a split second to come to this realization, and he threw himself against the Yiga soldiers blocking his way, knocking them to the ground. In the same moment as they fell, he grabbed one of the guns from their holster and fired four quick shots at the two soldiers that held Aryll and Mipha. Though the shots weren’t fatal, they loosened their hold on the two girls as they stumbled back and fell to the ground, clutching at the wounds on their legs.

      Mipha and Aryll scrambled towards Link as he got up and fired several more times at the Yiga around them. A few of his shots were fatal, while the others merely wounded his enemy. Before he had a chance to empty the clip, however, the remaining live Yiga soldiers promptly disappeared with a crack in the air, leaving the three escapees alone to catch their breaths.

      Link cursed under his breath. He quickly grabbed another weapon from one of the lifeless bodies, then pushed Aryll and Mipha forward, escaping the room while they had a chance. He knew the Yiga soldiers would be back, and in greater numbers, but he wasn’t about to wait around and let them corner them again.

      It seemed as if a majority of the Yiga guards in the base had gone together to try to keep the escapees from freeing their captive, and with some of them temporarily disposed of, it left the base relatively empty, leaving Link, Mipha, and Aryll able to move freely about as they tried to navigate their way to an exit. They moved quickly, stepping lightly as they neared each break in a corridor or a room with an opened door.

      They were starting to feel good about their escape when they came to a large, round room. Sunlight streamed in through makeshift windows high up on the walls, and a hot breeze greeted them from an opening across the way. The exit, however, was heavily guarded by more Yiga soldiers, bringing their escape to an abrupt end.

      Link moved his gaze over the eagerly approaching soldiers. They were surrounded. To Link's dismay, each one was armed appropriately with some sort of gun in their clutches, ranging from handguns to automatic rifles, though he knew they wouldn’t rely on such simple weaponry when their own powers could do so much more. And he didn't think it likely they would kill them, given what Kohga had said to him before, but he was sure that they would do everything in their power to stop them. It didn't seem likely they would be getting any further.

      He felt the rage start to boil inside him once more. It built up quickly within him, taking over before he had a chance to try to stop it. The darkness took control in his mind, freely moving his body. The world seemed to move in slow motion around him as he stepped forward, grabbing two more knives from the table and plunging one into the closest soldier. He ducked as he did so, narrowly avoiding a counter attack and twisting around to plunge the second knife into the next soldier.

      He yanked each of the knives out, tossing one across the way where it struck between the eyes of another Yiga soldier, and plunging the other one into another nearby soldier. He spun around as they quickly enclosed him, grabbing at the gun of one of the fallen soldiers with one hand and yanking the knife out with the other. He slashed the knife across another body as they pressed in, then cocked the gun and fired at another. He ducked down when they lunged at him, swinging a leg around to knock one off his feet, and fired another shot into the group.

      Before he knew what was happening – and seemingly just as quickly as it began – the battle was over. Each of the Yiga Clan soldiers lay lifeless or unconscious around Link. He still gripped the gun in his hand as the darkness in him subsided and his awareness returned once more. Back to his normal self, he looked around him in shock at the damages he had caused. His eyes moved over the bodies before finally settling on Mipha and Aryll. Their mouths hung open in confusion and horror, stepping back slightly as Link regarded them.

      Link pocketed the gun he held and tore his gaze away. It occurred to him, then, that he was not hallucinating, and the world around him was very real. He stared at the bodies around him and his stomach knotted sickeningly. His gaze caught as one began to shift and moan.

      “Let's go,” he muttered, stepping over them and moving forward. He didn't look to see if Mipha or Aryll were following him, and though they hesitated, exchanging unsure glances, they hurried after him until they were safely away from the remaining Yiga Clan soldiers.

      To his surprise, when they stepped out of the Yiga hideout, they seemed to be somewhere deep within Gerudo Desert. The only thing he knew about the desert was that it was vast and uninhabited due to its harsh climates and unpredictable sandstorms. Getting out of the Yiga Clan hideout was child’s play in comparison to getting out of the desert alive, with even no clue which way to head.

      “You have got to be kidding me,” Aryll muttered. “We’re going to die out here.”

      Link was sure of one thing, though; they had to get as far away from the Yiga Clan hideout as they could before anyone else found them. He turned his gaze to the horizon. He had lost all sense of time while he was held captive, but now that they were outside, he could see that the sun was just starting to begin its descent, which meant that that particular direction would bring them east. And east would, eventually, bring them out of the desert.

      Without a word, he set forth in an eastern direction. They moved as quickly as they could away from the Yiga Clan hideout, keeping as close to the walls of the canyon as they could before making the hike over the small mountain range and into the heart of the desert. By the time they reached the flat, sandy landscape of the desert, the sun had almost completely set, and the bitter chill of the night had settled on the breeze.

      “It’s going to get cold,” Mipha said. “We can’t be out here all night.”

      It was the first time they had really spoken since their escape a few hours prior, and Mipha’s voice caused Link to jump.

      “Where do you expect us to go?” he snapped at her.

      Mipha hesitated. “I just mean… we need to figure something out.”

      “How big is this desert, anyway?” Aryll asked. “We could be out here for days.”

      “Try months,” Mipha muttered.

      Aryll turned and stared blankly at her. “ Months ?”

      “Well,” Mipha continued, hesitant. “I mean, if you walked like, end to end, the longest part of the desert, without stopping to rest… yeah. Like, two or three months, probably.”

      Aryll turned her gaze to her brother, who had stopped walking. “We’re going to die out here,” she said softly.

      “Shut up,” Link hissed at her over his shoulder. “Just let me fucking think.”

      “Don’t worry,” Aryll muttered. “You have three months to fucking think.”

      “Don’t test me, Aryll,” he warned her.

      “Or what? You’re going to turn all fucking Hulk and just kill us all now?”

      Link spun on his heels and sneered at her, and Aryll took a step back.

      His heart dropped as he watched the fear flash on his sister’s face. He quickly turned back to his anger, however, and his nails dug into the palms of his clenched hands. He turned back around and swore under his breath. He pinched the bridge of his nose in an attempt to calm himself. He needed to think. He needed a plan to get them out alive.

      “Link…” Aryll’s voice shook softly. “What -”

      “Let’s just keep moving,” he said quickly. He hesitated before moving forward again. “How cold are we talking?”

      “Well,” Mipha started slowly. “We’re not quite in the warmest months, but I don’t suspect it will get too cold. At least in the forties.”

      “I thought deserts were hot,” Aryll muttered.

      “Yeah, during the day,” Mipha said. “But because it’s so dry, there’s no moisture to retain the heat -”

      “Look, man, I don’t need the textbook answer. I’m not about that life anymore.”

      Mipha sighed. “You sound like your brother.”

      “My grades are way better,” Aryll said. “I’m just on summer vacation. I don’t want to think.”

      “How’s that working for you?” Link muttered.

      Aryll frowned. “I’ve done more thinking this week than I have all year.” She perked up momentarily, however. “But it was my thinking that came up with our awesome escape plan.”

      “Yeah,” Link said slowly. He was finding Aryll’s chattiness comforting in that moment. “How did you manage that one?”

      “Oh, you know,” she said with a shrug. “We pulled the classic ‘captive needs medical assistance’ trope. It helped that our guard was an idiot stuffing his face with a damn banana.” She skipped forward to catch up to Link as she animatedly told her tale. “I just dropped to the ground and pretended to be unconscious, yanno? And he came in all like, what the fuck, man. And when he was trying to heal me, I punched him in the face! And he thought he had outsmarted me and pinned me to the ground, but it was just a distraction, and Mipha choked him out with her belt and killed him!”

      Link glanced towards Mipha, but she was looking down at her feet. “You’re awfully enthused about it all considering you were their fucking captive.”

      Aryll fell quiet for a moment, then shrugged. “It’s the adrenaline,” she said. “I’m sure once we get home, if we ever do, it will hit me like a train and then I’ll go into shock or something.” She turned to Mipha. “Right? I learned about that in some stupid health class or something.”

      “Yeah,” Mipha said softly. “That happens in trauma victims.”

      “Hear that? We’re trauma victims, now.”

      Link sighed. “Please stop talking.”

      Aryll narrowed her gaze on him. “Why? So we can all wallow in silence, left alone to our thoughts, and go crazy out here in this forsaken desert where we’ll probably all die?”

      “Yes, please. I’d like to die in peace, without your annoying voice.”

      “How the hell did you save the world with that attitude?”

      “I had a different attitude back then,” Link said. “This one is what you get when all the trauma is over. You’ll be next. Welcome to my hell.”

      Aryll frowned, but said nothing more. The sun had officially set, blanketing the world in darkness. To their relief, the full moon was large and bright enough to shed some light on the empty desert. But the night did bring on a chill that was enough to cause them to shiver without any sort of outer clothing to protect them.

      Link pulled Aryll closer to him in an attempt to keep her warm. Mipha stayed close on his other side, and the three of them walked like that through most of the night, chatting quietly every now and then. They had no idea what time it was, but it seemed late, assuming they had been walking for several hours already. Aryll could barely keep her own eyes opened, and she tripped on her own feet from time to time, bumping into her brother. It wasn’t until Mipha finally insisted that they stop until morning that Link agreed, and they settled in for the remainder of the night on the desert sands.

      With her head in Mipha’s lap and Mipha softly running her hands through her hair, Aryll quickly fell asleep. Link sat closely beside her, wrapping his arms around his knees.

      “You should get some rest, too,” Mipha said softly.

      Link shook his head. “I’m fine.”

      Mipha’s brows furrowed. “When was the last time you slept?”

      Link shrugged. “I honestly couldn’t tell ya.”

      “You need sleep,” Mipha said sternly. “Sleep deprivation can kill you.”

      “I’m fine,” he said through his teeth. “Besides. For all we know, they’ve been following us. Someone needs to keep watch.”

      Mipha sighed softly, then patted her lap. “I can take first shift.”

      Link hesitated, meeting her gaze. In truth, he was terrified of sleeping, a part of him still convinced that it was all a hallucination and he would wake up back in the Yiga Clan hideout. And even if that weren’t the case, he was sure that the nightmares he seemed to be finally free of would make their way back to him, thanks to this new trauma that would surely renew his old and tired PTSD.

      Still, Mipha was right, and he knew there was no sense arguing with her. If he could at least get a couple hours of sleep, it would be better for him in the long run, especially if they found themselves confronted by the Yiga Clan again. He did his best to settle in for the night, and he closed his eyes.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga