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    Shadows of the Future
    • oops i'm back no regrets

      A prequel fic to Shadows of Hyrule

      Rusl never knew what a home was. To him, home was a tiny, one bedroom apartment, empty bottles of alcohol and baggies of drugs strewn around the living room. It was sleeping in the back seat of a stolen car, broken down in some sketchy motel parking lot and being alone, waiting for his mother to return with enough money to buy him a gas station hot dog. And when they took his mother from him, home was a stranger’s house with other kids without families. Home was empty holidays, forgotten birthdays, and most of all, a reminder that wherever he went, he was not one of them. But he didn't care... there wasn't a future for him, anyway.

      And now we take a brief detour to bring you this prologue of sorts! A brief story about Rusl's life before (and during) The Shadows of Hyrule series. This should be significantly shorter than the other two books... but no promises ;)


      Warnings: Swear words, use of drugs and alcohol, violence and descriptions of fight scenes, gun and knife violence, magical violence, depression, sex talk and implications (but no sex scenes), and descriptions of murder and death. Also the use of completely made up, non-canon, derogatory slang.
      Please feel free to send me a message if you think another warning should be mentioned.


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


      On-Going | Updated: April 18, 2019 | Chapter 17
      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 1

      Display Spoiler


      Rusl was a long way from home. Or, he would have been, if he had a home. In truth, he didn’t really know what a home was, or what it should have been. Home, to him, was a tiny, one bedroom apartment, his mother passed out on the floor. It was empty bottles of alcohol and baggies of drugs strewn around the living room. It was a father who only came around between his time in jail. Home was sleeping in the back seat of a stolen car, broken down in some sketchy motel parking lot. It was being alone, waiting for his mother to return with enough money to buy him a gas station hot dog.

      And after a while, home was a stranger’s house with other kids like him. Home was the social worker’s car as she took him seemingly all around Hyrule, hoping to find someone to care for him. Home was empty holidays, forgotten birthdays, and most of all, a reminder that wherever he went, he was not one of them.

      He was nine years old when he took their car, hot wiring it just as his mother had shown him. Of course, he couldn’t get very far, barely able to reach the pedals and see over the dash, and when he crashed the car just a few miles away from his foster home, he decided to leave it as someone else’s problem and ran as far away as he could.

      He had no idea where in the world he was in the first place, but it didn’t matter. All he knew was that he wanted to get far away from it all. If he wasn’t going to belong anywhere, then he wanted to be nowhere. His nine year old imagination pictured him living in a fort in the woods, collecting thrown out blankets and pillows and other odds and ends. He imagined branches intertwined together as his ceiling where broken string lights hung, and somehow, he’d get a tv hooked up in the corner where he could settle in and watch cartoons.

      It all seemed so perfect, and even more, completely doable. He just had to find the perfect spot. Somewhere close enough to civilization where he could get by by stealing an occasional burger or use a public bathroom, but far enough away where no one would notice a lost, little boy living on his own in the woods.

      That was how he came upon the farmer’s market, somewhere in the world, wherever he was. In the hustle and bustle of the farmer’s market, Rusl should have been able to steal a few stray apples to satisfy his grumbling stomach. But unbeknownst to him, on the border of Hyrule, he stuck out like a sore thumb. He tried to ignore the stares as he wandered through the crowds, but it became apparent that he was being watched very closely, for a reason completely unknown to him. He never knew people to be as mean as they seemed right there, in that moment, and he couldn’t help but to feel like he did not belong there, wherever he was.

      He tried to step out of the crowd, moving along the edges and darting between stands. He slowed to inspect each stand, their contents, and the people that stood around them, searching for the busiest stand to allow him an opportunity to sneak in and steal a few items. But as he searched, a man stepped out in front of him, sneering down at him.

      “What’s a Hylik* like you doing here?”

      *Hylik - (non-canon) a derogatory slang used to refer to Hylians. Used to suggest that they perform sexual acts with the Goddess Hylia. Shik is also used in reference to Sheikah.

      Rusl’s brows furrowed, and he looked up angrily at the man, though he did not dare respond to him.
      This only seemed to anger the man further, however, and he stepped closer toward him, bending down to get in his face.

      “Maybe you didn’t hear me with those ears of yours,” he hissed. “I said, what are you doing here?”

      “Hey.” Another man stepped up, putting himself between Rusl and the angry man. “He’s just a kid. Leave him alone.”

      The man sneered at him. “He’s a kid that’s gonna turn into scum like the rest of ‘em.”

      “What are you going to do?” the second man said. He pressed in closer, driving the man off of Rusl. “Beat him?”

      The man grinned. “No one would stop me.” He straightened proudly. “In fact, no one would miss him if I killed him.”

      “Touch him,” the second man sneered, “and I’ll kill you.”

      The first man shoved his shoulder, taunting him. “Let’s see it, then.”

      The second man was clearly annoyed, but he took a step back, his hand moving down to brush against Rusl. He pushed at Rusl’s shoulder, and Rusl looked between them.

      “Get out of here,” the second man said to him. He glanced at him, though his expression seemed angry. “You shouldn’t be here.”

      Rusl took a hesitant step back, looking between them once more before turning away and running back through the crowd.

      He pushed his way through, running as fast as he could until the crowd finally thinned, and he dashed out of the fenced in area of the farmer’s market and across the parking lot. He didn’t stop until he reached the treeline on the other side of the packed lot, where he paused to catch his breath. He turned his gaze back toward the farmer’s market for a moment, but it was clear that no one bothered to follow him out. He kicked his shoe into the dirt, shoved his hands in his pockets, and disappeared into the woods.

      He spent the afternoon climbing boulders and hopping over logs as he searched out the perfect spot for him to set up his imagined home in the woods. From time to time, he stopped to chase a rabbit as it scurried away from him. Before long, it started to get dark, and he still had not eaten.
      Figuring the farmer’s market would be closed, he decided to try his luck once more, emerging from the woods in hopes of finding dinner. The parking lot, as he expected, was relatively empty, and except for a few nearby street lights, the fenced off area of the market was dark. There were still a few people milling about, packing up for the day and bringing the rest of their goods to their vehicles. Now was his chance.

      He stepped out of the treeline and neared the lot, but to his dismay, he immediately recognized one of the figures, standing alone by a vehicle. The figure looked up as Rusl approached, and he, too, recognized the Hylian boy. A wicked grin split his face. He looked around himself for a moment, them walked toward Rusl, causing Rusl to freeze in his tracks.

      “Look who’s back,” the man sneered. “Didn’t get the warning the first time? Too bad, ‘cuz it’s the only one you’re gettin’.” He pulled a knife from his back pocket; the blade flashed in the moonlight.

      Rusl turned to run, but the man was quicker. He lunged forward, grabbing Rusl’s arm and dragging him to the ground. Rusl yelped and kicked desperately at the man, but he was much larger and stronger, and easily pinned the boy to the ground. Rusl watched in terror as the man raised the blade, and he closed his eyes.

      He didn’t understand the sounds he heard next, but he felt sudden relief from the weight of the man. When he opened his eyes, the man was on his knees, his hand over his nose, blood seeping through his fingers.

      “You,” the man hissed sharply.

      “Guess I’m gonna have to kill you,” the second man said, standing in front of Rusl. “You couldn’t just leave him alone.”

      The man’s lips pulled into an inhumane snarl. He put a hand on the ground, using it to push himself up as he lunged at the man. He had the knife in his hand, and he threw himself against Rusl’s defender.

      Rusl tried to shout in warning - he didn’t want anyone to get hurt because of him - and reached out in an attempt to stop the fight. But at that moment, he felt a sensation he had never felt before. It was as if an imaginary wave was being pulled forcefully through his body. He could feel it running through his chest, his limbs, down his arm and into his palm, where the energy seemed to gather before bursting forth and knocking him backwards onto the ground.

      When he looked up, both men were lying on the ground, motionless. His heart began to race as he scrambled to his feet. He looked between the two men, hesitant, but neither of them bothered to get up. He stepped carefully toward the second man, bending down and poking him, but the man made no response. He noticed, then, in the light of the moon, that both men had blood coming out of their noses, eyes, and ears. Upon further inspection, their shirts were torn and bloodied, their chests seemingly seared.

      He stumbled backwards in horror, realizing then that they were both dead. He looked up again as the other people in the parking lot were alerted to what had happened. They hurried over toward them, and Rusl panicked. He pushed himself to his feet, and without looking back, he sprinted back into the safety of the woods.

      It was morning when the police found him huddled under an overhang of boulders. He tried to run from them, certain that he was going to die for what he had done, but when the police caught him, they simply guided him into one of the cruiser’s where he sat in the back seat.

      They drove for what felt like hours until Rusl began to recognize his surroundings. He was relieved that they weren’t going to kill him, though he really didn’t want to be forced to go back to his foster family. He knew too well that he didn’t have any other choice, but he was sure that they would find out about what happened, and he feared what would happen to him after that.
      He was instructed to go to his room as soon as they got to the house, but he only went around the corner and hurried up half the steps before stopping to listen in to the conversation.

      “Witnesses saw him in Eldin,” the officer explained. “He killed two men, then took off into the woods, where we found him this morning.”

      “He couldn’t have done it on purpose,” Maree said. “He doesn’t even know he’s capable of that power.”

      “It doesn’t matter,” Ty replied. “It could happen again. He’s dangerous. He could hurt the other kids.” There was a pause before he continued. “He’s Hylian; what did you expect?”

      “What are we supposed to do? He has no one.”

      “That’s not our problem,” Ty pressed. “The safety of these kids is our main concern. He doesn’t belong here with us, or with them. They will find somewhere else for him.”

      “Will they? No one will want to take him when they find out about him.”

      He sighed. “What do you want me to say? He can’t stay here. We have kids, too. What if they get hurt? Or killed?”

      There was another pause until the officer spoke. “It would be in your best interest. There are people that can take care of him and ensure he will not be a threat.”

      Maree sighed softly. “Alright. I’ll call them.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 2

      Display Spoiler


      Rusl didn’t know who they were, but he was sure it meant that the social worker would come back to take him away to some other place. Though, he had a feeling that this time, the place he would be brought to would not be like the others. All he could imagine was a jail, but something told him that it would be much, much worse than that. Either way, he didn’t want to wait to find out where they would take him. If he wanted to stay alive, he needed to escape before they could get him.

      It was after midnight when he climbed out of his bedroom window. As soon as his feet hit the ground, he ran. He ran out of the sleeping neighborhood, his sneakers hitting the pavement the only sound in the strangely silent night. He ran down back roads, doing his best to keep out of sight of any potential drivers, until he reached the woods behind the school. He darted between the trees, not stopping until he came through the other side a couple of hours later.

      Out of the treeline, he paused to take in his surroundings. The world opened up before him, stretching to his left down hill, and to his right uphill. At the bottom of the hill, he could just barely make out a quiet road. The power lines moved across the road and further down hill. Up the hill to his left, the power lines moved away toward the horizon. Another treeline marked the way straight across, and he decided to make for the trees once more.

      When morning came, his pace had slowed significantly, but he pressed onward, determined to get as far away as he could. By this point, he had long since left the forest and found the land to be relatively flat. The highway had come to life with the morning commute, but he kept to the fields beside it, hiding amongst the overgrown brush as he traveled. When the field came to an end, he followed the dirt road that seemed to start randomly within the trees, weaving away from the highway and deeper into the world.

      The road eventually brought him into a protected park, then opened up to reveal a recreation area that remained relatively empty with kids in school and adults at work. He hurried through the park towards the other end, where the road turned to pavement and made its way through the forest. He crossed the road, eager to be back in the protection of the trees, where he traveled for the remainder of the day.

      When evening crept over the horizon, Rusl found himself emerging out of the woods at an apparent rest stop. But all hopes of having some food to fill his stomach were immediately diminished when he saw a group of older teenagers laughing and drinking in the parking lot. To his dismay, their attention was drawn to him as he emerged, and they immediately recognized his Hylian features.

      They shouted to him first, threatening his life and yelling every slur they could think of. Rusl decided not to push his luck and turned back toward the forest, but the teens were not about to let up. They tossed their empty beer bottles at him, closing in around him as they continued to shout and laugh. He quickly found himself cornered by them, and when they neared, they grew more rowdy and violent. Rusl threw his arms in the air to protect himself, but he was powerless against them, and they beat him mercilessly.

      Fear of his power coming back kept him from defending himself further, and he could do nothing but wait as they punched and kicked him. He did his best to hold back his pained tears, but they came out all the same, only egging the boys on further. It was only when a police cruiser pulled into the lot when the group scattered. But by that point, Rusl could barely move. He was covered in blood and mud and purple bruises quickly began to mark his skin. Though he had never had a broken bone before, he was certain his arm was broken, and from the pain in his chest, perhaps some ribs as well.

      He dragged himself as quickly as he could manage back towards the forest, hoping to keep out of sight of any one else, especially the police officer, but by the time he had reached the trees, he had used every last bit of energy he had left and collapsed on the ground as the cold night settled in.
      Despite his exhaustion, he hardly slept through the night. He shivered violently from the chilly night. His stomach growled from not eating for an entire day. And every spot on his body screamed in pain. He didn’t stop himself from crying - it seemed the only thing left he could do. The only thing he could control. And for fuck’s sake, he wanted to cry.

      He turned his gaze to the sky. Through the trees, he could just barely make out the twinkle of the stars. He couldn’t help but to wonder what lay out there in the sky, beyond this hell of a world he found himself living in. There just had to be something more - something better. Everyone else - those who weren’t like him - had it so much better. He couldn’t understand why he was the way that he was, or why Hylians were so hated. He had never hurt anyone before. Though he had, it was an accident. Maybe then, that was why he was so hated. Maybe he was meant to be a bad person; a killer.

      He was so terrified it would happen again. He didn’t know why it happened, or how he could stop it. But that just had to be the reason why they hated him. Why they wanted him dead. And he didn’t blame them. It was clear he didn’t belong in that world. All he wanted to do was die.

      It was on the third day when he heard the voices. He had been unable to move much further from where he had collapsed, and he was too tired to move, anyway. There was nothing more for him to do except wait to die. However, he didn’t want to be beaten to death. He didn’t want to feel anymore pain.

      They found him quickly, however, though they seemed anxious to find him. Instead of rushing at him angrily, they called to one another. The one that found him first signaled to his comrades and they all quickly came through the trees.

      Rusl pressed himself as far back as he could until his back hit a tree, shaking in fear as the figure got down on his knees.

      “Hey, kid, it’s alright. Are you Rusl?”

      Rusl regarded the man with wide eyes. He nodded slowly.

      “Don’t be afraid,” he said. He pushed his hair behind his ears. “See? I’m like you.”

      Rusl turned his gaze to the man’s pointed ears, though he wasn’t sure if he should feel relieved or terrified. Though this man was like him, did that make him good or bad?

      “We’re gonna get you out of here, okay? We won’t let anyone hurt you. I promise.”

      Rusl was still hesitant. He wanted to trust the strange man; he wanted to go with them. He wanted to be far away from the people that were hurting him. But even so, his body was bruised and broken in so many places, he couldn’t move even if he wanted to. He was hungry and cold, and he was certain he was about to die.

      “I’m gonna fix you up, okay? It won’t hurt, but it might feel funny. Will you let me help you?”

      Rusl nodded.

      The man held his hands out slowly, turning them over until they hovered over his body. They moved over his arms first, and immediately, the pain disappeared. He watched with wide eyes as the bruises faded and the abrasions closed. He could practically feel the bones moving together in his broken arm, though it wasn’t a painful sensation. Within moments, his entire body had been healed, though he was still dirty from the dried blood and mud caked on his skin.

      “There.” The man sat back on his heels and smiled. “Better?”

      Rusl moved his arms and legs, wiggled his fingers, and nodded.

      “You must be starving,” he said as he got to his feet. He held a hand out to Rusl, and Rusl took it, letting the man pull him to his feet. “How about we get some food and get out of here?”

      Rusl hesitated. “Where are we going?”

      “Well,” the man started. “There’s a lot of people looking for you. They know you’re lost. You don’t belong out here. We want to bring you somewhere where you do belong. Where you will be safe. With people just like you. Is that okay?”

      “People like me?”

      “Well, sure,” the man said with a grin. “Did you think you were the only Hylian?”

      “Are you Hylian?”

      “Not exactly,” he said.

      “Sheikah?”

      The man raised a brow. “You’re smart. You know who the Sheikah are?”

      Rusl shrugged. “I hear stuff,” he said.

      The man grinned. He held out his hand. “My name’s Cado. Cado the Sheikah.”

      Rusl looked up at Cado. He did not return his smile, but took the man’s hand and offered him a short shake.

      “So, Rusl,” Cado said. “You ready to get outta here?”

      Rusl was still hesitant, but he felt like he could trust the Sheikah. He didn’t know where they were going to bring him, but he didn’t think anywhere could have been worse than the situation he was just in. He nodded slowly and followed Cado and the other Sheikah to the awaiting vehicles.

      He sat in the front seat beside Cado, watching the world pass by out his window as they drove down the interstate. Without the protection of the trees, he could see much more of the world. Behind them, a tall mountain loomed over them. It was unlike any of the mountains he had seen before. Where the others were often snow capped and full of greenery, this one was bare and desolate. The red rock that made up the mountain contrasted against the pale blue sky, and it seemed that clouds - or perhaps smoke - came up from the peak.

      Rusl watched curiously as the mountain seemed to shrink as they drove away, and soon the flat land turned hilly once more, losing the mountain behind the horizon.

      It was a couple of hours before they reached a city where Cado stopped at a drive through to get him a burger. Starving, Rusl inhaled his dinner, not even bothering to complain about the gross tomatoes hidden in his burger. He finished every french fry and slurped every last bit of his soda (which most adults never let him have). They were still driving as he ate, and when he finished, he watched as Cado took a bite of his own burger in one hand, the other on the wheel. With his stomach satisfied, he felt a new sense of energy wash through him, and feeling braver, he dared asked some of the questions on his mind.

      “Can’t Sheikah teleport and stuff?”

      Cado took a moment to chew and swallow his food. He kept his eyes on the road as he answered Rusl. “Sure.”

      “So, why are we driving?”

      “Well,” Cado started. “We can’t always go wherever we want.”

      “Why not?”

      “It takes a lot of energy to do that,” he explained. “Especially when there’s a great distance between where we are and where we want to go.” He sipped from his drink. “And sometimes we don’t want to because we are trying to be quiet.”

      “Quiet?”

      “When we do that, sometimes other Sheikah can sense us. And sometimes, we don’t want to be seen.”

      “Why would you want to hide from other Sheikah?”

      Cado glanced at Rusl. “Maybe some Sheikah have crazy ex girlfriends they want to avoid.”

      Rusl laughed, and Cado smiled. He turned his attention back to the road.

      “So, where are we really going?” Rusl asked.

      “There are some people who want to meet you,” Cado said. “Other Sheikah. Impa, being one. She’s our leader.”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “Why does she want to meet me?”

      “She’s, uh, heard a lot about you. About how you’ve been bounced around to a few foster homes. She wants to help you.”

      Rusl frowned. “I don’t want another place.”

      “This one will be different,” Cado said. “You’ll be with someone like you, somewhere better for you.”

      “Somewhere better?”

      “You’ve spent a lot of time in this area,” Cado tried to explain to him. “There aren’t a lot of Hylians up this way. We’re very close to the border of Hyrule. We’re going to Central Hyrule where you will be closer to other Hylians, and closer to us, the Sheikah, so we can make sure you stay safe.”

      “But why do you care about me?”

      Cado hesitated. His brows furrowed. “Well,” he started. “We care about all kids. We’re just part of the social workers that place you. And we just know where you will be better. You know?”

      Rusl seemed to believe him. “Alright,” he responded. He settled against the seat, feeling anxious to see where Cado was taken him. He didn’t know what the future had in store for him, but he felt confident that for once in his life, there was going to be something better.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 3

      Display Spoiler



      They eventually made it to the city where Rusl knew the king and queen lived. As Cado said, there were many more Hylians than he had ever seen in one place. He followed closely behind Cado as the Sheikah lead him through the city on foot until he found himself at an old shrine on a hill. There, he met the old leader of the Sheikah, Impa.

      She looked at him curiously for a moment, then offered him a smile.

      “Well, Rusl. I’m glad to be able to meet you.”

      Rusl frowned up at her. “Why?”

      “Oh, well,” Impa started. “I’ve just heard so much about you. And I’m glad you’re here safe.”

      Rusl shrugged a shoulder. “I guess.”

      “We’re going to put you in a good home,” she said in an attempt to reassure him. “There are other kids there, a couple around your age. You’ll meet Telma tomorrow. How does that sound?”

      “Whatever.”

      Impa’s lips pinched together. She sneered up at Cado. “He’s lovely.”

      Cado grinned. “I’m sure it only gets better.”

      “Lady Hylia,” Impa started. “You better give me someone useful out of this!”

      “I’m sure he’ll be completely adequate.”

      “I’m going to get the laziest hero yet.”

      Rusl looked between the two Sheikah. He met Cado’s gaze, but Cado offered him no explanation.
      As promised, the next morning, Rusl was whisked away once more, this time by a Sheikah woman, leaving Cado and Impa behind in the city. The woman offered no conversation, which relieved Rusl, as he did not want to have to answer more questions for more adults. Within the hour, they had pulled up to a large farmhouse set on an open ranch. He looked out the window as a woman came out of the house. She was plump and dark skinned, and though her features seemed hard, her eyes were kind and hopeful as the woman stepped out of the car.

      Rusl jumped out of the back seat of the car. He looked up at the woman that waited for him, a smile on her face, and he scowled at her. She put her hands on her legs as she bent down to greet him, and smiled.

      “Hey there, Rusl,” she said. “I’m Telma. How old are you?”

      His first instinct was to make a rude comment, but feeling the glare of the woman beside him, he chose to bite his tongue. “Ten,” he muttered.

      Telma hesitated as she looked him over, then straightened. “Alright, Rusl. Do you like animals? I’ve got tons.”

      Rusl only shrugged.

      “Why don’t you head to the barn there?” She pointed toward the building. “Check ‘em out for a little bit.”

      Rusl kicked at a small rock. “K.”

      Telma watched the boy disappear into the barn, then turned her attention to the woman in front of her. Her gaze narrowed. She knew all the social workers, but did not recognize this one.

      “Who are you?”

      The woman smiled. “Impa sent me,” she said simply.

      Telma’s eyes widened. “So,” she started. Her gaze moved back to the barn. “That’s him?”

      The woman nodded. She handed Telma a manilla folder, and Telma skimmed through its contents. “It took a long time for us to get him, but Impa said she didn’t want him in the care of anyone else.”

      “So, what’s his story?”

      “He’s been bounced around in foster care for a while,” she explained. “Parents have been in and out of jail most of his life. They both when in about two years ago, likely for the next five to ten years.”

      “Yeah, I know,” Telma said with slight annoyance. “You know what I want to know.”

      “It started almost a year ago,” she said. “He was sent to a therapist when he apparently started having nightmares. He started to get violent, and they tried to diagnose him with anything they could. He eventually took off. Ended up somewhere in Eldin, at the edge of Hyrule, where he killed two men.”

      Killed?

      “We’re certain it was out of self defense,” she said. “Hylian magic. I don’t think he knows about it, or has control over it.”

      Telma frowned, and the social worker continued.

      “Foster parents wanted nothing to do with him. Impa got word and had been trying to hunt him down ever since. When the Sheikah found him, he was a runaway. Pretty badly beaten.”

      Telma’s stomach knotted. “Fools,” she spat. “No child should be treated that way.”

      “Well, he’s here, now. Impa would have him no where else.”

      “So, it’s true then,” Telma said. She looked after him toward the barn. “His son will be the Chosen Hero.”

      After exchanging pleasantries with the woman, the Sheikah left the ranch, and Telma made her way into the barn. She found Rusl inside, standing on top of a hay bale that he had dragged in front of a stall door. He was peering inside at the baby goats that had gathered around the door to regard him with curiosity. She cleared her throat, and Rusl turned toward her. After a moment, he hopped off the hay bale, but made no motion to move closer to her.

      Telma put her hands on her hips. “So, what do you think?”

      Rusl shrugged. He had his hands in his pockets and he was kicking at a stray piece of hay.

      “Did you see all the animals?”

      Rusl nodded.

      “What’s your favorite?”

      He averted his gaze, suddenly turning very shy. He pointed sheepishly toward the horses in their paddock, and Telma smiled.

      “You like the horses, huh? Why?”

      Rusl shrugged again. “I dunno. They’re big and scary.”

      “Are you afraid of them?”

      “No!”

      Telma laughed. “Well, would you like to go over and pat them?”

      He shook his head quickly.

      “That’s alright,” she said. “Whenever you’re ready.”

      Rusl met her gaze, then took a moment to study her. “You look like me.”

      Telma looked at him, puzzled for a moment, then in realization, her hands moved to her ears. “Oh! Yes, yes I do.”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. Though Cado said he would be safe there, he still felt a sense of unease. “That means you’re bad.”

      Telma frowned. “Why am I bad?”

      He shrugged.

      “Do you think I’m bad?”

      “I dunno.”

      “Then why do you say I’m bad?”

      “Because.” His forehead creased deeply. “You’re like me, and I’m bad.”

      Her brows knit together. “Why are you bad?”

      He shrugged again.

      “Did you do something bad?”

      He met her gaze, his eyes sad. “Yes.”

      “Was it an accident?”

      His lip began to tremble. “Yes.”

      “Then I guess you aren’t bad, then, right?”

      Rusl gave no response. He stared at his feet.

      “I know bad things have happened to you, Hunnie. But I promise you, those bad things won’t happen to you here. I will protect you. Because me and you, we’re the same, right?”

      Rusl met her gaze.

      “Do you believe me?”

      He paused for a moment, then nodded.

      Telma smiled. “Good. I think we’ll make a good team.”

      “Why does everyone think we’re bad?” he asked.

      “Well,” Telma said softly. “I guess probably because we are so different. People don’t understand us and why we’re different, and sometimes, that makes them afraid. And when people are afraid, well, sometimes they do stupid things to try to make themselves feel better. It doesn’t make it right.”

      Rusl nodded, as if he understood. “I was afraid,” he said. “And mad. And I accidentally hurt people.” His eyes started to water. “But I didn’t mean to,” he said, choking up. He met Telma’s gaze. “Is that why I’m bad?”

      “Oh, Hunnie.” Her heart broke for the child standing alone before her. She got to her knees and pulled him into a tight hug. “No, no, Hunnie. You’re not bad at all. It was an accident. Accidents happen all the time.”

      “I don’t want it to happen again,” he sobbed.

      “Are you afraid it will?”

      He nodded against her.

      Telma pushed him away, keeping her hands on his shoulders, and met his gaze. “We’ll work on it together,” she said. She didn’t believe he would be able to use that power again, but she didn’t want to dismiss his fears. “We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. Okay? I’m on your side, now, Rus. I won’t let anything happen to you. I make that promise to you.”

      Rusl wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand and nodded.

      “Good.” She got back to her feet. “Now. How about we go see your room?”

      Rusl’s eyes lit up. “I get a room?”

      “Well, of course. Haven’t you had a room before?”

      He shrugged. “No. Not really. I mostly shared rooms.”

      “Well, this one is all yours,” she said with a grin. “No sharing.”

      Rusl followed Telma out of the barn. She spoke as they walked toward the house, explaining to him that he would have to help out with chores around the ranch. But Rusl wasn’t really listening. He was looking over his shoulder at the horses grazing in the paddock, and he smiled.


      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 4

      Display Spoiler


      Seven Years Later...
      He stared down at the body at his feet. He felt the panic start to rise in his chest, causing his heart to race and his stomach to twist sickeningly. He tried to speak, to yell, to cry, but when he opened his mouth, nothing came out. The world was silent; all he could hear was his pulse in his ears. He shook his head, stepping away from the body. He didn’t need confirmation from anyone, for he knew that he had killed that man. He was bad, just like they had said. He had proved that, to them, to himself. He didn’t mean to do it. He didn’t even know how he did it. But now, that man was dead, and he would be next. They would hunt him. They would find him. And they would kill him.

      He stumbled over his own feet in panic, falling backwards against the wall. He tore his gaze away from the body, then scrambled to his feet, hurrying out the door and into the cold, dark night. He ran as far from the house as he could, across the grass and into the nearby woods. But as soon as he stepped into the treeline, the darkness became too great, suffocating him. He could hear voices; their voices. Her voice. Voices he couldn’t possibly begin to explain, or even understand, for her voice was in a different language completely.

      Despite it all, her voice was soothing. He wanted to find her voice. He thought he would be safe with her. But just as every other time he found himself in the woods, he only got lost searching for her, and eventually, the darkness swallowed him completely until he heard nothing at all.

      That was when he was supposed to wake up. He had had the dream so often that he learned to recognize that he was, in fact, dreaming, though this never changed the terror he felt. But he was still there, dreaming, stuck in a dark, soundless void, and that only caused his terror to grow exponentially.

      But her voice came to him again, and this time, he understood her.

      “Have faith in me like I have faith in you. Your son will be the Chosen Hero, but you are destined for greatness, for he cannot succeed without you. Only you have the courage and strength to do what needs to be done. Do not run; let me guide you. Let me give you the life you deserve.”

      Rusl awoke with a start. His pillow was wet with sweat and his heart was racing. But he was used to this, now. He didn’t wait for his body to recover, but threw the blankets off of him and quickly jumped out of bed. He practically ran through the sleeping house until he was outside. He didn’t stop until he reached the paddock fence where he leaned against it to catch his breath.

      After a moment, he was able to steady himself, and still leaning on the fence, he moved his gaze to the horses standing quietly in the paddock. They were no longer sleeping, but had their curious eyes turned toward him, annoyed that he had disturbed them.

      “Psst. Hylik.”

      Rusl glanced over his shoulder. He watched as Regan stepped out of the barn. A cigarette hung from his mouth and he was pulling twine from around his arm.

      “Whadda ya doin’?”

      “Not having a good a time as you, apparently,” Rusl muttered.

      Regan grinned. When he reached Rusl’s side, he stumbled forward and used the paddock fence to steady himself. He offered the twine and a needle to Rusl, but Rusl shook his head.

      “Your loss,” he said with a shrug.

      Rusl turned his gaze back to the horses. Some had drifted back to sleep, while others opted for a midnight snack, grazing quietly on the grass.

      “So, whadda ya doin’?”

      “Nothing,” Rusl muttered. “Couldn’t sleep.”

      “Yanno what helps with that?” Regan didn’t wait for Rusl to answer. “A good blow job.”

      “I prefer women.”

      “Ha.” Regan brought his cigarette to his lips. “You’re a funny one. Real funny lookin’ with those stupid ears of yours.”

      Rusl sighed softly through his nose. He was too tired to deal with Regan’s shit. He turned and leaned his back against the fence. “What are you doing?”

      “Gettin’ fucked up,” he said with the cigarette in his mouth. “The fuck’s it look like?” He pulled the cigarette out and spit on the ground. “Hey. So, has she said anything to you? You know. ‘Cuz she talks to ya. That’s what’s with the ears, right?” He grinned and pressed closer in an attempt to taunt him. “She tellin’ ya to live ya best damn life, hm?”

      “Fuck off,” Rusl muttered, pushing at Regan’s shoulder.

      Regan snickered. “I mean, if you can’t hear her, then I guess it’s all a bunch of bullshit, in’it?”

      Rusl shrugged. “Probably.” He stepped around Regan.

      “Hey! Where ya goin’?”

      But Rusl didn’t respond. Though he wasn’t anxious to go back to sleep, anywhere was better than dealing with Regan’s Hylik shit.

      Rusl did manage to catch a few more hours of sleep before his alarm went off at the ass-crack of dawn. In his groggy state, he managed to dress and trudge downstairs to help himself to some toast before he made his way outside to begin the morning’s chores.

      Feeding the animals came first. He was so familiar with the routine, that he usually did it half asleep, not completely waking up until he was finished. His body moved automatically as he first tended to the horses, throwing them their hay for the morning and giving them their grain. As they ate in their stalls, he continued on to fill the cucuos feed and water, throwing them a few fresh flakes of straw, before moving on to the goats, sheep, and pigs, repeating the same process. When this was finished, he turned the horses back into their paddocks, and opened up the coops for the cucuos, allowing them to wander around the property and peck and the bugs in the dirt.

      By this point, it was mid-morning, and he helped himself to a stray apple in the feed room before making his way to the hay barn. Most of the hay had already been gathered and baled over the last couple of weeks, which meant it was ready to be stacked neatly inside, protected from the elements until it was ready to be used. To his surprise, Regan was already in the barn, tossing bales around without a care as to where they ended up. More often than not, Rusl was the first in the barn, Regan usually not showing up for an hour later.

      But Regan was not alone, a young boy at his side. They were arguing with one another until Karsen opted to end the shouting with his two middle fingers, and Regan laughed. Karsen stormed away, climbing up the hay bales and to the highest point he could.

      “Look what the cat dragged in,” Regan said as Rusl made his way over to him. “It’s about time you show up.”

      “And why are you here so early?” Rusl asked.

      “Got an early fix in,” Regan said simply

      “Is this where you hide your stash?” Karsen was climbing the hay bales, peeking between them with a grin. He reached his hand down, then frowned when he found nothing.

      “The porn stash or the drug stash?” Regan said casually. He threw a hay bale carelessly over his shoulder.

      Rusl glared at Regan, but Regan ignored him. Rusl placed the bale properly with the other bales as Regan continued to fling them behind him.

      “Get off of the bales,” Rusl growled at Karsen.

      “The fuck you gonna do about it?” Karsen sneered. He was high above them, but was beginning his climb down, jumping from bale to bale. As he neared the bottom, the bales were looser as the two older boys stacked them. They shifted under his weight, causing him to lose his balance. He stumbled forward, losing his footing, and promptly fell between the bales with a yelp.

      Rusl reached a hand between the bales and pulled the boy out from between them. He gasped and kicked and pulled himself out of Rusl’s grip.

      “Hey, fuck you, I didn’t need your help.”

      “You’re fucking eight years old,” Rusl hissed. “Stop talking like that, you little shit.”

      “I’m fucking twelve!” Karsen corrected him.

      “Don’t you have fucking shit to do?” Regan sneered. “Or do I have to tell Telma you’re fucking off?”

      Karsen fumed quietly, but without argument, he left them alone in the hay barn.

      Rusl turned back to his work as another hay bale came barreling towards him. He steadied himself on the pile as he caught the bale and put it into place. “Will you cut the shit?” he sneered at Regan.

      “What are you gonna do about it, Hylik?” Regan taunted. “Strike me down with your Hylia-voodoo?”

      Rusl leapt down from the hay bales and promptly shoved Regan against the barn wall, his hands around his friend’s neck. Regan choked, but grinned, and quickly snatched the knife that Rusl kept in his back pocket. The blade flipped out as Regan pressed it against Rusl’s neck, and Rusl’s grip loosened.

      “How the fuck you get this back?” Regan said, pressing it deeper into Rusl’s flesh until it started to bleed slightly.

      “I took it,” Rusl sneered. He did not pull away.

      After a moment, Regan removed the blade, folding it back into place. As he did so, Rusl stepped back, moving his hands from Regan’s neck. He snatched the blade out of Regan’s hand and slipped it back into his pocket. He turned back to the remaining hay bales and continued to stack them.

      “Telma’s gonna kick your ass,” Regan said with a tone of disinterest. He, too, resumed their work.

      “You gonna rat me?”

      “I’m not a bitch.”

      Rusl grinned. “That’s news to me.”

      “I’d rather be a bitch than a Hylik.”

      “Go back to Termina, prick.”

      “Why don’t you just go to the city where all your little friends are? You’re not wanted anywhere else.”

      “Look who’s talking,” Rusl grunted.

      Regan grinned. “I don’t need a fucking family to fit in with the rest of the world. You freaks are dying out.”

      “Then what do you care?” Rusl sneered.

      Regan shrugged. “Because it pisses you the fuck off, and I like it.”

      “You’re just mad because you don’t have Hylia-voodoo.”

      “Nice try. You don’t, either. Only the Shik do, and they’re just as bad as you Hyliks.”

      “Say that to a Sheikah’s face.”

      “I’d rather not even be within five miles of one.”

      “Scared?” Rusl grinned.

      Regan wiggled his fingers in the air before tossing another bale at Rusl. “I wouldn’t be so proud if I were you.”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. He picked up the bale and put it in place. “I’m not.”

      “We could fix that, you know.” Regan pointed to Rusl’s ears and made a sawing motion.

      “Fuck off.”

      Regan grinned and shrugged. “Fortunately, I don’t have to look at your stupid face for much longer.”

      Rusl snorted. “I’m sure I’ll see yours in jail soon enough.”

      “At least I won’t have to pay rent.”

      “That’s your plan?”

      “What’s yours?”

      Rusl hesitated. He turned and met Regan’s gaze.

      “Telma only owns your ass until you’re eighteen. Did you expect to stay here forever?”

      “What do you care what I do?”

      Regan put a hand on Rusl’s shoulder and grinned. When he spoke, he spoke with a slight twang, mocking Telma’s accent. “Because we’re troubled souls, and we gotta look out for each other, man. If we don’t learn how to be better people, what’s left for us?”

      “I’m a delight,” Rusl said with a tone of heavy sarcasm. “Compared to you, I’m the Queen of fucking Hyrule.”

      Regan shrugged. “At least I never killed a guy,” he said.

      Rusl pulled his shoulder out of Regan’s grip. He looked up, catching sight of Telma as she stood in the doorway of the barn. Her expression was serious, yet soft.

      “Rusl, can we talk?”

      Rusl hesitated, glancing over at Regan for a moment before leaving him alone in the barn. He followed Telma as she walked around the barn and toward the back paddocks where the horses were grazing quietly.

      “What?” Rusl asked simply when she stopped walking.

      Telma regarded him with sadness in her eyes. “Rusl. I got word early this morning that your father died.”

      Rusl stared blankly at her. He waited for her to say more, but when she didn’t, he responded in the only way he knew how. “Okay.”

      “Do you want to talk about it?” Telma asked carefully.

      Rusl considered her offer for a moment. “How?”

      Telma hesitated. She searched his eyes. “He overdosed.”

      Rusl grinned, then laughed. Telma’s frown deepened.

      “Rusl -”

      “Of course he fucking did,” Rusl said. “Did anyone really expect anything else? The guy’s a fucking straight up addict. He had it coming.”

      Telma opened her mouth to speak further, but Rusl cut her off once more.

      “I don’t fucking care, Telma. He’s been dead to me for years. They both have. My mother got out of jail years ago, but you don’t fucking see her reaching out. No one knows where the fuck she is. She’s probably dead, too. They got what they deserved.”

      Telma regarded him carefully. When she spoke again, her voice was serious. “What are you going to do when you turn eighteen? What do you want in life, Rusl?”

      Rusl blinked at her. “Nothing,” he said after a moment. “What’s there for a Hylian to do except die?” He shoved his hands in his pockets and left Telma standing alone.

      Rusl did not return to the hay barn to finish his work. Instead, he trudged around to the front of the property, stopping besides one of the farm trucks. He paused to peer through the window. As he expected, the keys were in the ignition, waiting for one of the older teens to take it across the ranch for the evening’s feeding. He looked around quickly and, once he determined there was no one around to see him, he slipped in behind the wheel, started the engine, and left the ranch.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 5

      Display Spoiler


      Rusl drove straight through the afternoon and well into the night, with no particular destination in mind. All he knew was that he needed to get away from the ranch. He needed to get away from Regan’s constant reminders that he was just another fucked up Hylian. He needed to get away from Telma’s constant watch and her pity glances. He needed to get away from the nightmares that haunted him and the voices that seemed to try to convince him he was something more. None of it made any sense, and he simply couldn’t take the war waging in his mind any longer.

      It was near midnight when he finally stopped driving, pulling over to the side of the highway. The land stretched away from the road, moving endlessly toward the horizon. The Gerudo Desert was the largest desert in their world, and for a moment, he contemplated setting forth, getting himself lost in the wasteland. He couldn’t help but to wonder what could be beyond the lifeless desert, or even what secrets were held in its sands. If the legends were true, there was a lot of history within the desert, waiting to be unburied.

      But he didn’t believe the legends. Hylia, Demise, princesses and Chosen Heroes; it was all bullshit. Dreams. Nightmares.

      He stepped out of the truck, leaning against its old, rotted frame as he looked out over the desert. How could he believe any of it? If it were all true, than that only meant that he was nothing more but a pawn in war. That his life was predetermined, and he had no control of any of it. For years, he had no control in what happened to him. And just when it seemed he could finally get out of that life, he was whisked away. Forced to live out some destiny, to live, to have a son that would be Hylia’s Chosen Hero. And then simply to die, like none of it mattered. Like he didn’t matter. Like his sacrifices were nothing more than a job that had to be done.

      Not only that, his son would be forced to face the same reality. That he, too, would be just a tool to be used in war. He would have no control over his own life, just as it seemed Rusl had no control over his. And he would be damned if he brought a child into that fate. No, he wouldn’t let his son suffer the same fate he had to. No son of his was going to put his life on the line for a world that despised the Hylian race. The Hylians would die out, and none of it would matter, anyway. So, what did it matter, then, if a hero came to save Hyrule? It would all be for nothing.

      Besides. What the hell did he know about being a father? It wasn’t like he had a good father in his own life, or any role models to even look up to. It was comical, really, to expect him to be a father and raise a hero. If she were real, Hylia sure did like a good laugh at his expense.

      A light breeze blew at his hair, and he looked up, then, noticing a dark figure walking down the road toward him. As a car passed, Rusl noticed the distinct shape of the figure’s ears, suggesting that the figure was Hylian. After a few more minutes, another car passed, and Rusl noticed then that the figure’s hair was much too light to be a Hylian. Sheikah, perhaps?

      His pulse quickened. What was a Sheikah doing way out there? And why was he coming toward him?

      The Sheikah had his eyes cast to the ground as he neared, pausing when he was just a few yards before Rusl. He looked up, meeting Rusl’s cautious gaze, and smiled. The Sheikah, he realized, was no Sheikah man, but a Sheikah woman, and she regarded him with tired eyes.

      “Lucky I ran into you,” she said. “My car broke down a mile or so back. Do you think you can help me out?”

      Rusl’s gaze narrowed on her. “Help you? With what?”

      She shrugged. “Drive me to get some oil or something? To be honest, I’m not even sure what’s wrong with it.”

      “Can’t you just poof yourself wherever you want to go?” he asked carefully.

      She grinned. “Ah. You know of Sheikahs, then?” Her grin faded, and she hesitated. “You’re not, like, going to kill me or something, are you?”

      Rusl raised a brow. “I wouldn’t stand a damn chance,” he said.

      Her smile returned. “Well, yeah, sure. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. We’re not very popular, you know.”

      “Neither am I.”

      “Seems we have a lot in common, then.” She sighed. “So? Damsel in distress. Aren’t you gonna help a gal out? I’d rather not draw any more attention to myself than necessary.”

      “Alright,” Rusl started. “Fine. Get in.” He watched as she moved to the side of the truck, slipping in to the passenger’s seat, before moving around to get in behind the wheel.

      “So,” she started as he started the ignition. “What’s your deal?”

      “My deal?” Rusl echoed. He pulled back out into the road.

      “Can I buy you a drink as my thanks, or would I get my ass arrested for that?” She studied him a moment. “You look too young to be guessing ages here.”

      “If you bought me a drink,” Rusl started, “I definitely wouldn’t be advertising it to anyone. I don’t need to get my ass arrested, either.”

      “Ah.” She looked disappointed. “Would I get my ass arrested if I thanked you… some other way?”

      “Again. I wouldn’t be advertising it to anyone.”

      “How fucking old are you?” she finally asked.

      Rusl grinned. “Don’t feel like taking any chances?”

      “Hmph.” She turned her gaze out the window.

      “So, where is this car of yours, anyway?” he asked. His eyes searched the side of the highway as they drove. They had already gone almost a mile, and there was no car in sight. When the woman didn’t answer, he slammed on the breaks and snarled at her.

      “Where is it?” he said between his teeth. He was starting to believe that there was no car at all. What the hell did she want with him?

      The woman turned to him and met his gaze with a grin. “Not much further.”

      At the corner of his eye, Rusl noticed then the glint of the moonlight reflecting off of a blade in her hand. He pushed the door of the truck open and stumbled out in a panic, but the woman was quick to follow suit, running around the car and stopping him in his tracks.

      “What the fuck?” he hissed. “What are you doing?”

      “You know you don’t stand a chance,” she said with a grin. “So stand down and don’t give me any trouble now.”

      Rusl pulled out his knife, though it was pathetic in comparison to the curved blade she wielded. It was almost archaic, really. Not that he ever suspected Sheikah of wielding any kind of blade when their own powers were so deadly.

      “What do you want?” Rusl growled. He couldn’t understand what a Sheikah would want with him, or why she would want him dead. “Who are you?”

      “Well, if you still think I’m a Sheikah, you’re stupider than you look.”

      “Who are you?” he sneered.

      “Just a woman with a job,” she said. “Let’s just say the Yiga Clan need some… new recruits.”

      “The Yiga Clan? The fuck is that?”

      “Oh, you’ll see soon enough,” she said. “Unfortunately for you, you’ll join the rest of our test subjects.” She shrugged. “You probably won’t survive. But I suppose I could have some fun with you until Kohga disposes of you.” Before Rusl could ask any more questions and prolong his apparent kidnapping - or death - the woman raised her arm to attack.

      Rusl threw his own arms up in defense, as if he could block her attack, but to his surprise, her attack seemed to bounce off of an imaginary force field that surrounded him. He looked around in shock before turning back to the woman. She seemed equally as surprised, but she quickly scowled at him.

      Before she could think to attack again, however, Rusl felt a familiar sensation pulling through him; one he hadn’t felt in eight years. It burst out of him violently, bringing him to his knees as the force of the attack shot forth, lighting the highway for a brief moment before the darkness of night consumed them once more. He was on his hands and knees in the middle of the road, heaving for a moment before he found the strength to look up, and his heart stopped.

      The woman lay lifeless on the ground, her eyes still open wide with shock. Rusl scrambled backwards against the road until he hit the truck. His pulse throbbed in his ears as images flashed back to him. Once again, out of his own control, he had killed someone.

      He didn’t have time to fret on this, however, as he noticed then red and blue flashes against the night sky. He scurried back to his feet, moving clumsily over to the truck and pulling himself inside. His body shook violently as he fought to start the engine. It took a moment before it turned over, but as soon as he did, he threw the vehicle into reverse and slammed on the gas. The truck spun around, teetering dangerously on two wheels before coming back to the pavement, where he threw it into drive.

      The police were in sight now, and if it wasn’t apparent that he was guilty of some crime, it would have been in that moment as he sped away from the woman he had killed. He knew the old truck could not possibly outrun the cops, but he wasn’t about to give up now. He pushed the pedal as far down as it would go, and the truck crept up in speed, faster and faster. He ignored the sounds of strain as the truck climbed closer toward the triple digits. But as it neared the nineties, it gave up completely, immediately overheating, the engine smoking. Rusl had no choice but to stop the vehicle, no longer able to see through the thick smoke. He slammed on the breaks, not bothering to throw it into park. He threw open the door and stumbled out, but by that point, the cops had him surrounded.

      He looked around, panicked, as the cops stepped out with their weapons drawn. They stayed behind the doors of their vehicles as they shouted at him. Rusl looked them over, a mixture of Hylians and Humans, but he didn’t think he had won any sympathy points from any of them. To them, he was a murderer.

      He raised his hands in the air slowly, then dropped to his knees. He let them rush him, let them pull his arms behind his back. He felt the cool metal of the cuffs clasp around his wrist, and he was jerked upward and pushed toward the vehicle.

      Telma was going to kill him.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 6

      Display Spoiler


      He waited on the hard bench of the cell. Telma had already been alerted, and despite the late hour, he knew she was on her way to try to bust his murderous ass out of jail. He was in there, alone, for nearly an hour, left to his own thoughts. He replayed the moment over and over in his head. Even though it was in self defense, he didn’t think a judge would see it that way. But none of it made any sense. Who the hell were the Yiga Clan? And what were they doing kidnapping innocent people and using them for test subjects? Was anyone else aware of this Yiga Clan? And if they were, why wasn’t someone doing something about them?

      His thoughts were interrupted, however, at the sound of low voices. He recognized Telma’s among them, but there were two other’s he didn’t know. He listened closely as they spoke.

      “He killed a woman,” the first voice said. “A Sheikah woman.”

      “How the hell do you think he could kill a Sheikah?” Telma hissed.

      “He’s Hylian, Telma,” the voice snapped at her. “He’s capable of more than you both realize.”

      “Hylian?” The second voice was deep, yet sounded younger. Inexperienced.

      “It’s not unheard of for Hylian’s to possess such power,” Telma reminded them.

      “Except it is,” the first voice said. “Not in today’s world.”

      “You know as well as I do who he is,” Telma hissed. “He’s important to Hyrule. Of course he would be able to call forth that power.”

      “It doesn’t excuse the fact that he murdered -”

      “Do not use that word with me,” Telma barked. Her voice raised angrily. “He was attacked! You know she was not a mere Sheikah.”

      The first voice lowered. “This needs to be handled delicately,” he said.

      “There were no witnesses,” Telma said. “I am not oblivious to the war that shadows our future. You do not need to protect me from the truth. He was attacked by a Yiga. He killed a Yiga. It’s as simple as that. Use whatever story you want to cover this up; I know that’s how the king works. But when it comes down to Rusl, he did you a damn favor.”

      “He’s dangerous,” the man said. “This is not the first time this has happened. He has no control of it.”

      “Oh, for fuck’s sake, piss off! You let him out of that cell right now, or the king loses my connections. You let me take care of this. He is my responsibility.”

      A forth voice spoke up, and Rusl was sure he had heard it before, though he couldn’t quite place it. The voice sounded old and tired, yet strong and authoritative.

      “Let him go,” she said sternly. Her voice softened as she spoke with Telma. “I’m sure he knows much more than he leads on. You cannot hide him from the truth anymore, Telma. He needs to be aware of his destiny.” Her voice hardened once more as she redirected her attention to the other two men. “Release him. Now.”

      “Of course, Impa,” the first voice said, though there was a hint of disdain in his voice. “Come, Dorian.”

      Rusl listened as footsteps rounded the corner. Two Sheikah men appeared first, and Telma followed closely behind them. Rusl looked to each of the Sheikah, studying them. The first man appeared much older, while the second couldn’t have been more than a few years older than him. Their gazes met as they studied one another.

      When the cell opened, Rusl got to his feet. He held his gaze on the Sheikah a moment longer before stepping passed them. He ignored Telma as he made his way outside without a word.

      He waited in the parking lot. It took Telma a few moments before she stepped out of the building. She stopped in the middle of the parking lot, her eyes on Rusl, the same, pitied look he had grown accustomed to seeing on her face.

      “What’s the Yiga Clan?” Rusl asked angrily.

      Telma averted her gaze. “Rus -”

      “Go head, then,” he snapped. “Tell me the truth.”

      “The Yiga Clan are rogue Sheikah,” Telma said, her voice strong. She met Rusl’s gaze, her expression fierce. “They are set on destroying the Chosen Hero and bringing Ganondorf back. They want to take the other two pieces of the Triforce for Ganondorf, and with it complete, they plan to resurrect Demise and bring him to power.”

      “The legends,” Rusl said.

      “It’s the truth of our world,” Telma hissed. “And you, Rusl, play a very important role in the future of our world. Your son will be the Chosen Hero. He will be necessary to stopping Ganondorf and keeping Hyrule at peace.”

      Rusl stared blankly at her. But to Telma’s surprise, he did not fight back.

      “It’s true,” he said. “I tried to tell myself they were just dreams.” His brows furrowed, and he met Telma’s gaze.

      “Yes,” she said softly. “Yes, it’s true.”

      “How do you know?”

      “The Sheikah,” she explained. “Their lives are dedicating to awaiting the rebirth of the hero and guiding him so that he may save Hyrule when the time comes. They have heard from Hylia herself.”

      Rusl pulled his gaze away. “Why me?” His brows furrowed. “I’m… I’m no one.”

      Telma smiled. “Ah, you have more going for ya than you give yourself credit for.” She shrugged. “You’re a good kid that ended up in a bad situation, is all.”

      “I’m Hylian,” Rusl said. “Has it occured to you that I’m just the way everyone expects me to be?”

      “I guess you don’t know anything about Hylians at all,” she said. “Hylian are the embodiment of Hylia. The Hylians, along with the Sheikah, are the very reason our world has been able to triumph time and time again.” Her voice softened. “It is true that the Hylians are dying out. With each generation, Hylia’s powers grow weaker. Hyrule has changed. It has grown and evolved. And people… they’ve become clueless. They lost their way. They’ve lost their faith. Hylia has been reduced to a mere legend. They fear the unknown. They fear the power of the Sheikah because they do not understand. They’ve grown to distrust Sheikah and Hylians. It will lead to their own demise.”

      “So, the only reason the Sheikah found me and took me off the streets is because they need me?” He started to grow angry. “If I were anyone else, I would have been left for dead.”

      Telma frowned. “Rusl -”

      “What’s your deal?” he snapped. “What are your connections to all of this?”

      Telma hesitated. She held her gaze on him. “I provide the king with intel on the Yiga Clan,” she started. “Before you came along, I raised an orphaned Sheikah boy. I told no one about him. But as he got older, I knew I could not provide him the training he needed to keep in control of his powers. So I went to Impa and she worked with him. When he was old enough, he joined the ranks of the Sheikah. For a time, he acted as a double agent, infiltrating the Yiga Clan. He could not move freely into the city to pass intel on to Impa, so he passed it to me, and I reported to Impa and the king. It’s been like that for a few years, now. We know the Yiga Clan want to give Ganondorf every advantage they can when he rises, which means getting their hands on the Master Sword. Without it, the hero will not be able to defeat Ganondorf and seal him away. Not only that, but there are several portals around Hyrule which open to the Twilight Realm. They plan to seek out the portals and open them in an attempt to weaken our own defenses before Ganondorf rises.”

      Rusl stared blankly at her. His brows furrowed. “You’re kidding.”

      Telma’s face softened. “I wish I were.”

      Rusl pulled his gaze away. “I’m just a pawn to you,” he hissed. “You need me. You need my son. That’s the only reason the Sheikah found me. That’s the only reason they brought me to you. That’s the only damn reason I’m alive right now.”

      “Rusl.” Telma’s throat tightened around her words. “You are not -”

      “Forget it, Telma,” he snapped. He turned away from her and walked away, leaving her alone in the parking lot.

      *****

      Rusl made his way out of the city on foot. He had planned on returning to the ranch, though he was in no hurry. He walked through the night, his mind replaying every moment of his life, from the first time his powers came to light and the two men he killed, to the Yiga women he killed just a few hours prior. He mulled over Telma’s words and the apparent future that was in store for himself. He couldn’t help but to wonder about his son. What kind of person would he be, besides a hero? And how dependant was the world, really, on a person that didn’t even exist yet?

      He hated the idea that he was not in control of his own life. He hated the idea that everyone else expected him to be something more than he was. For years, all he wanted was to be in control; to live the life he wanted to live. Life had dealt enough shitty cards to him. For once, he just wanted something to work out in his favor. And he suddenly realized that it was all within reach. In just a few short months, he would be eighteen. He would be free from Telma’s watchful eye. Free to live his own life. And he didn’t have a clue as to what he wanted to do with it. All he had ever know was a life dictated by everyone else; what was there for him to do with his freedom?

      And what better time to consider all the possibilities in life then on his long walk back to the ranch? He we certain he wouldn’t be able to go to college. He didn’t have the grades, the dedication, or the money. College was definitely something he did not want to deal with. But, aside from joining the army, what else was there for him to do?

      And why not the army? Clearly, he was used to being ordered around. He was used to being a pawn in war. Why not be someone else’s problem? At the very least, it gave him some kind of purpose. Discipline, sure. And maybe even a chance to turn his life around. A chance to do some good, despite all the bad that had befallen him over the years. Despite the stereotype that was thrust upon him, just because he was Hylian. It wasn’t a very good reason, but it seemed, in that moment, one of the few things he could control. And if he died in battle, then so what? It wasn’t like anyone would notice. And if that left Hyrule without a hero, well; if Hylia was more than a legend, surely she would find a way to save Hyrule. Perhaps, unbeknownst to the Sheikah, his death was just a much a part of his destiny. If he was destined to die, then so be it. It seemed better than being just a tool for some Goddesses twisted game.

      It was late in the morning by the time he did reach the ranch, and when he did, he opted to set to work on stacking more bales. To his relief, neither Regan nor Karsen were around, allowing him to work peacefully until noon. His stomach dutifully reminded him that it had been been awhile since he had eaten, and he decided to venture into the house.

      Telma was seated at the table by the window in the kitchen. She was sipping at her coffee quietly with a book in hand and didn’t regard Rusl when he stood in the doorway. He kept his gaze on her for a moment before making his way to the fridge to help himself to whatever he could find. He quietly made himself a sandwich, sitting on the counter to eat. Telma still did not acknowledge him, and he had finally had enough of her silence.

      “I know what I’m going to do,” Rusl said, referencing their conversation the previous day when she told him about his father’s death. “When I turn eighteen.”

      Telma calmly put her book down on the table, letting it close. She turned her attention to him, but said nothing as she waited for him to continue.

      “I’m going to join the army.” He studied her face for a moment in an attempt to read her, but she remained stark. After a moment, he finished his lunch and shrugged. “Thought you’d want to know.” He pushed himself off the counter and started to leave, but her voice stopped him at the doorway.

      “How long are you going to keep running?”

      Rusl stared ahead, not meeting her gaze. His brows furrowed. “I’m not running.”

      “Are you that determined to keep yourself from living your life?” She hesitated. “I know you, Rusl. You think this will be your way out.”

      “If everything is true,” Rusl started, turning his gaze to the floor. “Then don’t you think everything will work out as it should?”

      “I don’t believe in testing fate,” Telma hissed. “You, on the other hand, are all too happy to put your life on the line. I know you’re angry with me, Rus, but don’t you dare for a second think that I was just doing a job. I would have picked you up no matter who you were. I raised you, boy. I did everything for you. I gave you a second chance when no one else would. Whether you like it or not, I’m the best damn thing that has happened to you. And if you’re going to throw all that away, then I guess I know now how little I mean to you.”

      “Don’t pull this shit,” Rusl muttered.

      “Oh, I’ll pull all the shit I want,” Telma snapped, standing abruptly. “You may not like me, but I love you. And if you go and get yourself killed and think no one will care -”

      Rusl met her gaze. Her expression was hard and angry, but her eyes started to well.

      “For fuck’s sake, Rusl. This isn’t who you are. You are not selfish.”

      “You’re right,” he said. “I’m not. So, why not try to do some good while I can?” He shrugged. “Prove to myself that I’m not as bad as everyone wants me to be.”

      Her face softened as she regarded him. “Is this really what you want?”

      Rusl sighed. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “I’ve never thought about it.”

      “So, think about it.”

      He held his gaze on her. “I… want to see for myself,” he started softly. “If all of this is true… if this is what will happen in my life… I won’t stop it. But I’m not going to go out of my way to make it happen, either.” He hesitated. “I just want to live. Maybe try to redeem myself. Give myself something better. And see for myself what life has in store.”

      Telma smiled. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted for you,” she said.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 7

      Display Spoiler


      It was an unusually warm day for October, just days following Rusl’s eighteenth birthday, and just hours before he left to join the king’s army. As per usual, Telma was insistent on giving him an appropriate send off, though Rusl couldn’t have been bothered with all the fuss. Still, it gave them an extra day off, and the younger kids certainly weren’t going to complain about that. They busied themselves playing in the barns and chasing the cucos around while Telma served up burgers and dogs. Rusl, on the other hand, busied himself with packing his things into the cheap car he bought himself just a few days prior.

      As he packed the last of the things into the trunk, Karsen bounded up to him excitedly.

      “Are you gonna kill people?” Karsen asked, wide-eyed.

      Rusl closed the trunk of his car. His gaze narrowed on the boy at his side. “I… what? You’re twisted.”

      “Fuck you,” he barked at him. “That’s what you do in the army. Just like in the games!” He clasped his hands together in the shape of a gun, shooting at imaginary targets. “Oh, man, you get to play with all the cool guns and shit!”

      “They’re not toys,” Rusl sneered.

      “You’re gonna be so badass! Kill all the bad guys, Rusl! Kill ‘em dead!”

      Rusl sighed. “Sure, man. Whatever.”

      “Are you gonna come back after?”

      Rusl met Karsen’s gaze. “Do you want me to?”

      Karsen folded his arms over his chest and looked away. “No, fuck off, dude. You’re the fucking worst. I’m glad you’re finally leaving.”

      Rusl smiled. He rustled his messy hair with his hand. “You’re a fucked up kid. You’ll never land a chick with that attitude.”

      “Fuck chicks,” Karsen said. “They just tie you down. Not me. No way.”

      “You might change your mind.”

      Karsen rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. You go get married and be a pussy. I’ll live free and easy and have all my money to myself!”

      Rusl grinned and put a hand on Karsen’s head, promptly pushing him backwards as he stepped around the boy. But before he could slip into his car, he was pulled into one of Telma’s characteristic hugs. Her arms practically wrapped around his neck, pressing his head against her and nearly suffocating him.

      “You better come and visit,” she said. She pushed him away to examine him and wiped a hand across her eyes. “You were always my favorite troubled little soul.”

      “Goodbye, Telma,” Rusl said dryly.

      “That’s all I get?” Telma dropped her arms and sneered at him. “I raised you, boy! You lived here for eight years, and that’s all you’re gonna give me?” She turned her attention to the camera she had been carrying around with her and raised it up to him. He looked at the camera with an annoyed and exasperated expression.

      “Can you please stop with that thing?”

      “Never,” Telma said. “I’m gonna need something to show those kids of yours someday.”

      Rusl rolled his eyes and moved his hand to block the camera’s view. “Right,” he muttered.

      Telma lowered the camera and frowned. “Hey,” she started. “Don’t you keep running away. I know you’re scared, ‘unnie. But you are not just a pawn in a war that waits on our horizon. You are so much more, Rusl. And that boy - he’s gonna be the greatest thing in your life, hero or not. His future - his destiny - none of it will matter, because he will be your son, and I know you will do everything for him. But don’t think you’re doing him any favors by running from him. Don’t try to stop him from coming into your life. You need him. And he needs you. Understand? And when he comes around, you better let me meet him. You hear me?”

      Rusl was hesitant. “Yeah, Telma. I will.”

      She pulled him into another hug. “Go be a hero,” she said softly. “This world needs more people like you.”

      Rusl let her hug him until she pulled away. He offered her a smile before moving toward
      his car.

      Telma watched as he slipped in behind the wheel and started the engine. He waved out the window as he pulled out of the driveway. She stood alone, watching as he disappeared down the road to live his life.

      *****

      “I’m putting Rusl under your command,” Impa said.

      Dorian’s eyes skimmed the pages she had thrust upon him until he found Rusl. His brows furrowed and he regarded Impa over the page. “This guy?” he sneered. “He’s got a fucking criminal record. Joined nine months ago. Eighteen. No, thanks.”

      “Funny,” Impa started. “I don’t recall giving you a choice.”

      “What am I going to do with his guy?”

      “You’re going to protect him and teach him a damn thing or two so he can keep himself alive.” Impa thrust a finger at the page. “This guy is - will be - the father of the hero.”

      Dorian’s eyes widened. He blinked at Impa. “You’re kidding.”

      “Do I look like I’m kidding?” she sneered at him, pushing herself up on her tiptoes to get into his face. After a moment of staring him down, she backed down and moved back to her desk.

      Dorian turned his gaze back to the page. He bit his lower lip as he reviewed the information provided to him. He just couldn’t wait to get a look at the idiot that would be responsible for raising Hyrule’s Hero.

      “You’re slacking, Dorian,” Impa said. “You’ve seen him once before. Almost a year ago.”

      Dorian’s eyes darted to Impa.

      “You need to start seeing people better. Really seeing them. Listen to her. She won’t steer you wrong.” She sat behind her desk. “I want you to go to the Temple of Time,” she said, giving him his orders. “You’re after the Yiga Clan. It’s still unclear how big this clan is, or if they’re all made up of Sheikah, but it seems they’re set on stopping the hero and bringing Ganondorf back. We should not take them lightly. They know how to break the seal, and they are looking for the Master Sword.”

      “They won’t find it,” Dorian said.

      “They are capable of anything,” Impa reminded him. “We cannot give them any opportunities, here. Purah believes they are heading to the Temple of Time. I want you to take Special Ops out there and stop them before they can make any damages.”

      “What about Rusl?”

      “What about him?” Impa echoed, narrowing her gaze on him.

      His expression turned, looking annoyed with her. “If he dies, there’s no hero.”

      “I guess you can’t let him die, then,” she said frankly. “Rusl isn’t in your unit just to piss you off,” Impa sneered. “I made sure the best of the best are in that unit. They will be prepared to take on whatever the Yiga Clan throws at you.”

      “I’ve got enough on my plate,” Dorian hissed. “I can’t be worrying about keeping a damn Hylian alive, too.”

      “You are more than capable,” she said calmly, ignoring his outburst. “When the hero comes, you will be juggling much more. Get used to it.”

      Dorian held his gaze on her for a moment. Then, without another word, he left to fulfil his orders. As he navigated the barracks, his mind wandered to when he could have possibly met this guy. He supposed he would see for himself soon enough.

      Most of the men Impa put under his command had plenty enough experience to be in the Special Ops. Rusl, however, had only been around for nine months, three of those in basic training. The other six consisted of basic missions, some even bringing them out of Hyrule and into neighboring territories. In that time, Rusl had apparently proved his worth, earning him a place in Special Ops under Dorian’s command. Dorian was less than thrilled with Impa’s decision, especially if he was as important as she made him out to be. But she didn’t care about his opinions, no matter how much he argued with her.

      Dorian looked over the fresh, young faces that made up the newest ranks of King Roham’s special forces. He studied each one carefully, considering Impa’s words. She was right; he needed to do better when it came to reading people. But he couldn’t seem to get anything from anyone in the crowd.

      He sighed. He started to move his gaze back to his orders when something caught his attention. His eyes scanned the faces once more before finally finding a face he had indeed seen once before. It had to have been Rusl, the kid he had seen less than a year prior in a jail cell. He stared at the young man until Rusl’s gaze locked on his, his brows knit together. Rusl’s lips pulled into a slight sneer and Dorian pulled his gaze away.

      Impa was right, of course. He had finally seen for himself. If the hero would come from this guy, then Hylia help them all.

      He took a moment to introduce himself to them before diving into their orders, taking special care to avoid Rusl’s gaze. As soon as he finished, he dismissed them to prepare for their departure that evening. He quickly turned away from them, eager to be out of Rusl’s annoying presence. He didn’t get very far, however, before he almost quite literally bumped into Rusl. He sneered at Rusl, and Rusl narrowed his gaze on him.

      “Do we have a problem?” Rusl asked.

      “That depends,” Dorian said, pulling his shoulders back. “Are you going to give me a problem?”

      Rusl regarded him carefully. After a moment, his eyes widened as he recognized Dorian as the young Sheikah he had seen a year prior.

      “You,” Rusl hissed.

      “Surprise,” Dorian said dryly. He stepped around Rusl, but Rusl followed him.

      “Look,” Rusl started. “I don’t know what you think you know about me -”

      But Dorian cut him off. “Don’t worry,” he sneered. “I know enough.”

      “And what’s that supposed to mean?”

      “What do you think you’re doing here, anyway?” Dorian sneered at Rusl. “Do you think you can redeem yourself?”

      “Well, if I can’t, I can die right along with the rest of the Hylian race.”

      Dorian blinked at Rusl. It seemed Rusl knew a lot more than Dorian would have guessed. He supposed, then, there was a chance he knew of his own future.

      “What do you know?” Dorian asked carefully.

      Rusl’s gaze narrowed on his. “What do you know?”

      “I’m a Sheikah,” Dorian said frankly. “I know everything.”

      “Right,” Rusl said dryly. “Of course you do.”

      “Do you have a problem?” Dorian sneered.

      “Yes, actually, I do. I have a problem with being used. Don’t bother try to keep secrets with me, because I know everything. I know you people think I’m going to have some prodigy child that’s destined to save the world. But I hate to break it to ya; you’re not getting your hero.”

      Dorian stared at him for a moment, his gaze hard. “You don’t have a choice.”

      “Oh, really? Well, what if I just go get snipped right now?”

      Dorian’s gaze narrowed.

      “You freaks think you’re so damn special,” Rusl hissed. “But I have news for you; you’re just as useless as the rest of us. If the Hylian race dies out, so do you. So does your precious hero, and so does Hylia. And then there will be no heroes to save your precious world. So maybe you should just fucking accept your fate, because I’m not bringing you any damn heroes.”

      Dorian’s nostrils flared. He moved his arm up for a moment, then dropped it suddenly as footsteps rounded the corner. He held his gaze on Rusl, and Rusl glared angrily back at him. Their gazes didn’t break until a voice spoke behind them.

      “I had to see for myself if it was true.”

      Rusl turned to the Sheikah that approached him, immediately recognizing Cado.

      “You look better than you looked ten years ago.”

      “Good thing,” Rusl said, his eyes narrowing. “Wouldn’t want you to lose your precious hero.”

      Cado frowned, but offered no argument.

      “Don’t get a big head thinking you saved me,” Rusl hissed. “I’m just a pawn to you people.”

      “That’s not true.”

      “If I were anyone else, you wouldn’t have bothered to look for me. I would have died out there. I should have died out there.”

      “You were nine years old,” Cado said. “No nine year old should have to die like that.”

      “I don’t see you looking for other lost and fucked up nine year olds. Just the ones that you can use.”

      “Yes. We had orders to find you, Rusl. That’s the reality of the situation. But that doesn’t change the fact that you were a boy that needed to be saved. No one would have walked by you and left you to die, even if you weren’t the one we were looking for.”

      “Well, you got your way,” Rusl said. “I’m still alive. Should I just go fuck the next woman I see and get this hero business over with?”

      “Fuck all the women you’d like,” Cado said in an annoyed tone. “It won’t bring us any heroes. Like you, there is a woman out there who is destined to be the mother of the hero. Only the two of you can make that happen.”

      “Of course,” Rusl said dryly. “What if we never meet?”

      “You will meet.”

      Rusl narrowed his gaze on him. “What if I don’t like her?”

      “See, that’s the thing about destinies,” Cado said. “They usually have a way of working out the way they should. Call her your soulmate, if you’d like.”

      Rusl laughed sharply. “Sounds like a terrible RomCom.”

      “I don’t regret finding you, Rusl,” Cado said. “I guess the question is, are you going to spend the rest of your life regretting who you are? Or are you going to embrace it and make it something worth your time? Your destiny doesn’t have to be a life sentence if you don’t let it. The choice is yours. You were given a second chance; don’t let that go to waste.”

      Rusl pulled his gaze away from Cado. He turned to Dorian, but Dorian was still glaring angrily at him. He huffed in frustration, and without another word, he left the two Sheikah alone. Cado frowned as the door slammed behind him and met Dorian’s gaze.

      “I hate that guy,” Dorian muttered. “Why the hell would Impa put him under my command? He’s an arrogant, self-centered bastard.”

      “Are you questioning Impa’s choices?”

      “No,” Dorian sneered. “But why she’ll ever think we can be a team is beyond me.”

      “Give it time,” Cado said. “I think you’ll see you need each other more than you realize.” With that, he left Dorian alone to puzzle over his words.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 8

      Display Spoiler


      Rusl stood outside, looking over the city as he smoked a cigarette. He chewed over Cado’s words. He was still angry, mainly because he wanted to still be angry, though what Cado had said lingered in his mind. There was nothing he could do about the way his life turned out. There was no changing it; what had happened, happened. He didn’t like it, but he supposed he had to admit that Cado was right. He could bitch and complain for the rest of his life, or he could do something about it.

      His mind wandered to his future, more specifically, his future children; the hero son
      everyone was so sure he would have. The more he thought about him, the more deeply he wanted the part of his life to be true. Never had he ever considered the fact that he would be a father. Now, it seemed unavoidable, and though he hated feeling so out of control of his own life, he wanted it more than anything. He fell in love with the idea of his future children, and heroes or not, he vowed to himself that, should they come into his life, they would get the life they deserved. The life he never got to have.

      If there was no avoiding his future, the least he could do was embrace it and make it into something better. If a hero child was destined to come into his life, he would do everything in his power to keep him safe and give him a fighting chance.

      It was a purpose. He realized then that for the first time ever, his life had meaning. He wasn’t just a Hylian living only to die. He had a responsibility to fight and protect, not only his future son, but the world. The future of the world rested on his shoulders. He could not fuck up. Which meant he needed to figure out how to be a damn father.

      He flicked ash off of his cigarette and smiled.

      *****

      Rusl pressed his back against the tree. A cigarette hung from his lips, and he moved it to the corner of his mouth with his tongue. He shifted the AR in his arms, then peered around the tree. He scanned the area around him; other soldiers were scattered through the trees like him, waiting quietly for their ambush. A few more were further up, moving briskly forward toward the temple. He heard a rustling at his side but did not turn to Dorian as the Sheikah stepped to the tree beside him. He looked forward for a moment before turning his gaze to Rusl, his eyes narrowing disapprovingly.

      “Put that thing out,” he sneered.

      Rusl let a grin tug at his lips and flipped the cigarette to the other corner of his mouth. He kept his gaze forward, watching as the soldiers moved around the temple, their backs pressed against the outer wall.

      “Do you think I’m being funny?” Dorian hissed.

      Rusl turned his gaze to Dorian, his face serious as he pressed a finger against his lips. “You’ll blow our cover.”

      It took all of his energy to keep himself from snapping at Rusl. He took in a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself. This only made Rusl’s grin return, however, all too pleased to be getting under his skin. He opened his mouth to scold him further, but a crashing sound pulled both of their attention to the temple. The soldiers had entered but were no longer in sight.

      “Move,” Dorian hissed at his men, but Rusl was already rushing forward, his eye up to his sight. The soldiers hidden in the trees quickly moved to the outer walls of the temple, pressing their backs to the stone. But inside, the temple was quiet. Just as they were about to turn inside, the front soldiers stepped out, puzzled expressions on their faces.

      Dorian moved to them, his brows knit together. “What’s going on?”

      “There’s no one here,” one of the soldiers said to him.

      “There’s no activity of any Yiga nearby,” one of the other Sheikah said to him.

      “I want twenty-four hour watch on the perimeter,” Dorian ordered them. “We don’t leave without bodies.”

      The soldiers retreated into the woods, setting up their perimeter as instructed. By nightfall, they had settled in to their posts, each keeping watch for any suspicious activity. Rusl positioned himself behind the temple, keeping himself in the trees as he settled onto the ground, his weapon in his lap. When Dorian made his way to him, he looked up and met his gaze. He held his box of cigarettes to him in offering, but Dorian ignored him, pulling his gaze away. With a shrug, Rusl slipped them back into his vest pocket.

      “You must win all the ladies with that charm,” he said dryly. When Dorian did not respond, he continued. “Or men.” He checked Dorian at the corner of his eye, but his expression remained hard as he scanned the area. “Something else?”

      “Stop talking,” Dorian said simply.

      But Rusl didn’t seem to hear him. “Do Sheikah only get with other Sheikah? Is dating a Hylian taboo? What about kids? Can you have a half Sheikah, half Hylian kid?”

      Dorian finally turned his gaze to Rusl, sneering at him. He raised his palm threateningly. “Should I shut you up myself?”

      “Is this how you treat all your men? Or just the ones you hate for no damn reason?”

      “Oh, I have plenty of reason to hate you.”

      “Name them.”

      “You’re a criminal.”

      “I killed a Yiga in self defense,” Rusl pointed out.

      “So, what happened in Eldin?” Dorian said. “Was that self defense, too?”

      Rusl’s face paled. He was quiet for a moment as he studied Dorian. “Yes,” he said, his voice hardening. “For fuck’s sake, I was nine years old.”

      “It’s because of people like you that give Hylians such a bad reputation.”

      Rusl’s gaze hardened. “Excuse me?”

      “You’re out of control,” Dorian continued. “You’re dangerous. It’s no wonder no one wanted you.”

      Rusl got to his feet and got into Dorian’s face. “Fuck you,” he spat at him. “My life is none of your damn business.”

      “It is when you are in my command and you put the life of my men in danger.”

      “I’m not the enemy!” Rusl snapped. “In fact, I’m the only one that can save this damn world. Without me, you don’t get your hero.”

      Dorian’s nostrils flared. “You deserve no such honor,” he hissed.

      Rusl laughed. “Honor? Is that what it is? Because to me, it’s a burden I never signed up for.”

      “You’re a burden I never signed up for,” Dorian said simply.

      “Don’t worry,” Rusl started. “You won’t have to deal with me for much longer.”

      Dorian glanced at him at the corner of his eye. “Is that a promise?”

      “Why don’t I give you the honors and just let you shoot me? Would that make you feel better?”

      Dorian turned his attention back to the temple. His brows furrowed. To his relief, Rusl did not continue arguing with him. They stood in silence for a few moments, both with their gazes turned to the temple.

      “They should be here by now,” Rusl spoke. “Unless they’re not coming at all.” He sensed Dorian’s hard gaze and he turned his attention back to the Sheikah. “Now what?”

      “They’re not coming,” Dorian whispered. He turned his gaze to the ground, his eyes darting back and forth as he tried to piece something together in his mind.

      Rusl blinked at him. “What?”

      Dorian met his gaze, his expression hard. “It’s a set up,” he said.

      “A set up?” Rusl repeated dumbly.

      “The Temple of Time hasn’t housed the Master Sword in thousands of years,” Dorian said. “It can, however, open the door to the Sacred Realm, but only with a piece of the Triforce.” His brows furrowed. “The Yiga are well aware of that. There’s no way they could get in.”

      “Then why the fuck are we here?” Rusl sneered. “You said they were coming here.”

      “Purah told Impa they were.” His voice trailed off, and his face paled. “It wasn’t Purah.” He stepped away from Rusl suddenly, barking orders into his radio for the rest of his men to stay put. He moved his arms quickly, but Rusl was already expecting his next move. He let his rifle drop to the ground and lunged toward Dorian, and in a snap, they were gone.

      He felt as if he were being dragged forcefully through a narrow tunnel that was much too small for him. The sensation, however, only lasted a fraction of a second until the world seemed to snap back into place around them.

      “Fuck!” Rusl barked. He was on his hands and knees, and when he looked up, Dorian was glaring angrily at him.

      “The fuck did you do?” he snapped.

      “Not letting you run into shit without backup,” Rusl said as he got to his feet with a groan. He looked around them; they definitely weren’t at the temple anymore.

      “You’re my backup?” Dorian practically roared.

      When Rusl turned his attention back to Dorian, Dorian thrust a palm out, and Rusl leapt to the side.

      “I don’t think so,” Rusl sneered at him. “You’re not sending me back there.”

      But Dorian didn’t have time to argue, an explosion interrupting their arguments. They turned their attention to the shrine on the hill and sprinted toward it. But before they neared, several Yiga soldiers appeared before them, grinning wickedly with their blades drawn.

      Dorian thrust his palm out, but the Yiga were quick to dodge his attack, leaping in the air and disappearing in an instant. When they came to again, they had Dorian and Rusl surrounded.

      “Wanna teach me that?” Rusl muttered. He watched them carefully as they closed in around them.

      Dorian shoved Rusl toward the ground with one hand, and with the other, he pressed his palm to the dirt. The ground trembled and shot forward suddenly, knocking the Yiga soldiers off their feet. In the same instant, Dorian pulled two daggers out and sprung forward, thrusting a blade into each of the two closest Yiga. He yanked them out forcefully as they dropped to the ground, spinning around to face two more as they lunged at him. But as he swung his blades at them, they disappeared in a snap, only to appear behind him.

      But Dorian was expecting their maneuver, and he swiftly spun to face him once more, easily slicing his blades across their torsos. Their attack, however, proved to be just the distraction the next Yiga needed, and as Dorian regained his footing, the final Yiga pressed his blade against Dorian’s neck, freezing him in his tracks.

      Dorian felt the Yiga soldier’s hand twitch to pull the blade across his next, but instead, the blade dropped from his enemy’s fingers. His arm lingered around his neck for a moment before the Yiga soldier dropped to the ground, lifeless. Dorian spun around at that moment, his gaze meeting Rusl’s. Rusl’s shoulders heaved with each breath he took. In his hand was his own blade, dripping with fresh blood from the Yiga life he ended.

      Rusl pulled his gaze from Dorian’s to the body at his feet. He stared at the lifeless Yiga for a moment, swallowed, then proceeded to wipe the blade against his pants. He moved his gaze back to Dorian, the Sheikah staring dumbly at him, and he smiled.

      “You’re welcome,” Rusl said simply.

      Dorian sneered at him, but more movement caught their attention. They turned toward the shrine where Purah stood, her arms crossed over her chest. She shook her head disapprovingly.

      “Dorian, Dorian, Dorian,” she said. “Who is this hero you brought with you to save the day?”

      Dorian’s shoulders dropped and he frowned deeply as he regarded Purah. She stepped toward them with a grin.

      “Oh, and he’s nice to look at, too!”

      Rusl hesitated. He moved his gaze between Purah and Dorian. “Me?”

      “Strong, handsome, and a little dumb. The trifecta!”

      Rusl’s gaze narrowed on her. “Excuse me?”

      “Purah,” Dorian started in an exhausted tone.

      “It’s so good to see you,” Purah said, turning to Dorian. “And how are the babies?”

      “Babies?” Rusl echoed. He turned to Dorian. “You have kids?”

      “Two beautiful little girls!” Purah said cheerily.

      “Enough!”

      Purah frowned, but she didn’t speak further.

      “The Yiga,” Dorian said through clenched teeth. “Why were they here?”

      “Oh, that,” Purah started. She sighed. “They were looking for the Sheikah Slate.”

      “The Sheikah Slate?” Rusl repeated.

      Purah turned her attention to him. “The Sheikah Slate is an ancient device created by the Sheikah, naturally, thousands of years ago. It was used during the Great Calamity to pilot four Divine Beasts that were created to be used to stop Ganondorf.”

      “Divine Beasts?”

      Purah continued. “The Yiga Clan intend to weaken our defenses in any way they can. The Sheikah Slate and the Divine Beasts have been missing for years, possibly buried or destroyed in an attempt to keep history from repeating itself. During the Great Calamity, the machines were turned against Hyrule, causing utter destruction. With the Sheikah Slate in their possession, they can use the power of the Divine Beasts. Not only that, but there’s supposedly several other connections to the slate. Rumor has it, a healing shrine. And, if my research is accurate - which it usually is - it even has information on it to various portals throughout Hyrule which can be used to strengthen Ganondorf’s army.”

      Rusl stared dumbly at the Sheikah woman standing before him.

      “Where is the Sheikah Slate?” Dorian asked.

      “I don’t know,” Purah said simply. “I don’t have it. Robbie and I have been trying to find it for some time, now.”

      Rusl looked between Purah and Dorian. “Is this fucking for real?” he said, his voice raising to a higher tone. “For real?”

      Dorian sneered at him.

      “How did you know the Yiga would be here?” Purah asked. “Of course, I could have taken care of them myself, you know.”

      Dorian turned his attention back to Purah. “Impa said you called her and said the Yiga would be heading to the Temple of Time,” Dorian explained. He tore his gaze away and cursed himself under his breath. “I should have known it was a trap.”

      “Ah, well.” Purah waved him off. She put a hand on her chin, thoughtfully. “Still.” She shook her head. “Blame my own sister for not knowing when a Yiga is pretending to be me.”

      “She’s been… preoccupied.” Dorian’s gaze moved to Rusl briefly.

      “So, he’s the one, then?” Purah put her hands on her hips and studied Rusl. She grinned and nodded in approval. “The father of the hero, hm? My, Hylia sure picks the nice looking ones, doesn’t she?”

      “I’m uncomfortable,” Rusl muttered.

      “What?” Purah snapped. “An old lady like me can’t appreciate good looking men?” She stepped forward and patted his cheek. “I hope that boy is just like you! I like ‘em feisty!”

      “Get me outta here, D.”

      “Let’s go,” Dorian said with a grunt, turning away from them.

      “Oh, I’ll be fine, don’t you worry about me!” Purah called after him.

      Rusl hesitated, looking between the two Sheikah before jogging to catch up with Dorian. “That was really, really weird.”

      Dorian met Rusl’s gaze briefly. “Never save my life again,” he hissed. The air snapped, and they were gone.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 9

      Display Spoiler


      By morning, Rusl and his team had returned to their base in Faron, and Dorian found himself in the city, reporting back to Impa.

      “And how was Rusl?” Impa asked curiously.

      Dorian hesitated. “Fine.”

      Impa raised a brow. “Fine?”

      “Nothing to report,” he said simply.

      Impa smiled. “That’s not what Purah tells me.”

      “Are you sure it was Purah you were talking to?” Dorian muttered.

      Impa’s gaze turned to fury. “Watch it,” she hissed. “Or I’ll promote Rusl over you and force you to follow his orders.”

      Dorian’s eyes narrowed on her, but he said nothing further.

      Impa grinned. “It seems you are in his debt, now.”

      “I don’t owe him shit,” Dorian hissed.

      Impa’s brows raised in surprise. “For the love of Hylia, Dorian. Why does he bother you so much? He brings a whole new side out of you. This is unlike you.”

      Dorian sighed. “Are we finished?”

      Impa waved him off. “Go back to Faron,” she said. “Keep up patrols and keep an eye out for Yiga. Report all activity with me. When I get word from Purah and Robbie about the Sheikah Slate, I will let you know.”

      *****

      The following days were quiet as his men kept up their patrols around Faron. He didn’t see Rusl again until he returned to the base from his own shift on patrol. Dorian was sitting in his office when Rusl returned with the other soldiers. He had his nose buried in Rusl’s file when Rusl stopped in front of his door to peer at him. Dorian simply closed the folder and looked up to meet his gaze.

      “What?”

      Rusl shrugged. “Just reporting in.”

      “And?”

      “Nothing.”

      Dorian turned his gaze back down to the folder on his desk.

      “Oh.” Rusl grinned. “I talked to Carissa yesterday.”

      This brought Dorian’s attention back to him, but Rusl could not read his expression.

      “She said you ought to be nicer to me.” His grin widened. “How you ever got someone as sweet as her to marry you, I’ll never know.”

      Dorian tore his gaze away. “Don’t go near my family.”

      Rusl frowned. “Well, that’s rude.”

      Dorian sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re a damn cancer.”

      “Well, I’ve been called worse,” Rusl said. He grinned. “But like cancer, you can’t get rid of me.”

      “Right,” Dorian said. “You will be the death of me.”

      “Or I may just save your life again. It seems you’re in my debt.”

      “I haven’t killed you yet,” he muttered. “Consider us even.”

      “Doesn’t count,” Rusl said. “Besides. If I die, you’re in trouble. You know my son will be the hero someday, right?”

      “Oh, so now you’re on board the hero son train?”

      Rusl shrugged. “Do I have a choice?”

      Dorian said nothing.

      Rusl gestured toward the file with his chin. “Find anything good in there?”

      “You have a pretty extensive file,” he said simply. “I’ve found enough to know that you’re trouble,” Dorian said.

      “You Sheikah think you’re so damn smart,” Rusl said. “A few pieces of paper and you think you know a guy. Not everyone has had a nice, cozy life like you.”

      “Am I supposed to feel bad for you because no one wanted an orphan Hylian boy?”

      “Wow,” Rusl started. His gaze hardened. “So, you really are just like the rest of them. And here I thought being Sheikah, you’d be a little more understanding.”

      “We’re not the same,” Dorian said.

      “You’re right. We’re not.” Rusl’s gaze narrowed. “I grew up on the streets. I was damn near beaten to death for being Hylian. But, you wouldn’t understand that, would you? I’m sure you had it easy. Your skill as a Sheikah put you on the fast track to being number one in the king’s army. You were raised as a child should have been raised, given every opportunity to excel. So, how could you possibly understand scum like me?”

      Dorian shifted uncomfortably. He pushed the folder away from him. “Are you going to keep using that as an excuse for the rest of your life?” he muttered.

      “I think I’m allowed to be a little fucked up for that.”

      Dorian avoided his gaze. “Dismissed.”

      Rusl lingered in the doorway a moment longer, sneering at him before finally stepping away and out of his sight.

      Dorian stared at the folder on his desk a moment longer. It was the first time he had actually looked through Rusl’s file instead of just skimming through it when Impa gave it to him. The first time he skimmed through, all he noticed was the trouble he had gotten into. Stolen vehicles, underaged drinking, gambling, murder… to name a few. Of course he was bounced around in foster homes and in and out of jail; he was an out of control kid who would only continue to cause problems. But upon looking more deeply into the provided notes, it was clear that his crimes - both petty and serious - were not without reason. As a child, he had learned to steal because it was the only way he could survive. He gambled what little he had in hopes of making enough to get him through another day. Even the murders, he realized then, were just as Rusl had said; self defense. No nine year old could have killed two grown men. A Hylian, sure, but even Hylians weren’t necessarily capable of the power he wielded that night.

      Surely that kind of trauma was too much for a boy to handle, which explained the therapists, the apparent nightmares, and the violent streaks with the other boys he lived with. It was easy to look at those details and see him as only being a danger. He realized, then, that Impa put them together so that Dorian could teach him to control his own power to better himself and his future. It was similar to what he would soon be teaching his daughters when they discovered their own powers. Rusl was just a lost, broken boy without a damn clue as to who he truly was.

      It was almost a shame; Dorian had become content on hating the man he was forced to work with. It didn’t excuse his other annoying traits. He was arrogant, bitter, disrespectful, and the least disciplined person Dorian had ever met. He was infuriating. He tested Dorian’s patience. But there was no getting out of it. Impa would see Rusl with no one else as a commander. It was in his duty to train Rusl; to better him. To prepare him for his future.

      For the love of Hylia, that was not what he had signed up for.

      *****

      Dorian found Rusl at a nearby bar. The soldiers took up most of the seating around the bar in the back of the room, and they were being as obnoxious as twenty-something year olds could be. It took a moment before Rusl noticed Dorian. His demeanor immediately changed, his shoulders dropping and a hint of annoyance washed over his face. But he said a few more words to his friends before trudging over to Dorian. He looked at him expectantly, waiting.

      “What?” Dorian sneered.

      Rusl shrugged. “Figured you were here to give me more shit.”

      Dorian raised a brow. “Are you waiting for me to give you shit?”

      Rusl sighed. “Come on, get it over with.”

      “You never come when I call you.”

      “I’m turning over a new leaf.”

      “Right.” He stepped around Rusl and moved to the bar. “What are you drinking?”

      Rusl stared after him for a moment before following him. “Whisky. Neat.”

      Dorian put his money on the counter and when their order came, he handed Rusl his drink.

      “Um. Thanks.”

      Dorian finished his drink swiftly. “Alright.” He put his empty glass on the counter.

      Rusl grinned. “Alright,” he echoed. “Apology accepted.”

      Dorian stepped around him. “Goodbye.”

      “Just so I know when I write in my diary tonight,” Rusl started, turning to Dorian. “Would you consider us friends? Or BFFs?”

      Dorian sneered at him over his shoulder. Without another word, he left the bar.

      “Definitely BFFs,” Rusl said to himself. He quickly finished his drink, then returned to his friends.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 10

      Display Spoiler


      The days wore on, turning to weeks and months, still with no word of the Yiga Clan. But Dorian and his men kept up their patrols around Faron, and whether it was from simply working so closely with Rusl or the fact that he decided to make the best of a crappy situation, Dorian felt his presence not quite so annoying. When their patrols took them overnight, and often for several days, more often than not, they resorted to casual conversation to pass the time. Despite his earlier trepidations, Dorian found himself telling Rusl about Cottla and Koko and their latest misadventures as toddlers.
      Rusl found these antidotes amusing. He never knew what normal kids were like, when they weren’t running from the law, or getting passed from foster family to foster family. The kids he knew, well, were complete assholes. But Dorian’s kids - normal kids - they seemed rather entertaining. Fulfilling, either. And still, his mind wandered to his future. Could hero kids be just as normal? Could his children live normal lives?

      “What are you thinking so hard about?”

      Rusl turned his attention to Dorian. He felt his brows relax, not realizing how tightly they had furrowed together. He settled back against the old, rock wall and sighed through his nose. It had been a particularly long patrol and he was exhausted.

      “Nothing,” he said simply. He leaned his head back and peered at the stars between the branches. A light breeze blew, and his ears twitched. For a brief moment, he could have sworn he had heard her voice once more. It had been a long time since she spoke to him, though it was usually in his dreams.

      “What does she say?”

      Rusl turned his gaze to Dorian, but Dorian was looking at the ground.

      “What?”

      “Hylia,” he said as if it were obvious. “She speaks to you. What does she say?”

      Rusl’s nose wrinkled. “Have you been eating those shrooms?”

      Dorian regarded him with an annoyed look. “Why are you ignoring her?”

      Rusl hesitated, then pulled his gaze away. “I have no clue what you’re talking about.”

      “Give it a rest,” Dorian muttered. “I know when you hear her.” He was quiet for a moment. “What does she say?”

      “I don’t know,” Rusl said slowly. “It’s not words.”

      “Because you’re not listening.”

      Rusl glanced at him again.

      “How long have you heard her?”

      Rusl held his gaze on Dorian for a moment. “I dunno,” he said with a shrug. “As long as I can remember.” He paused to think back on his life for a moment. “More frequently after…”

      Dorian nodded. He understood that Rusl was referring to the time when he accidentally killed two men with his power. “She’s been trying to guide you,” he said. Rusl snorted, and Dorian turned a disapproving gaze to him.

      “What do you care?” Rusl muttered. “She doesn’t say anything.”

      “Because Impa stuck me with you,” he growled. “And whether I like it or not, I have to keep your damn ass alive so you can give Hyrule the hero it needs. And if you don’t start listening to her, you’ll never know how to protect your son.”

      Rusl chewed on his lower lip for a moment.

      “You hear her, but you still don’t believe it.” Dorian narrowed his gaze on Rusl.

      Rusl shrugged one shoulder and shifted himself on the ground, stretching his legs out. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

      “Killing three people; is that just a regular occurrence, then? Is that not proof enough?”

      “Look, D.” Rusl met his gaze and grinned. “Can I call you D? I’ve decided to call you D.”

      “No,” Dorian said simply.

      But Rusl ignored him. “You see, D; I’ve decided to just live my life. Whatever happens, happens. I won’t question it, but you won’t find my preaching to some Goddess, either. As far as I’m concerned, she’s just as shitty as everyone else in this world, using me for her own petty war games. I’m not going to sit here and make myself crazy wondering if it’s all true or not. For fuck’s sake, how could anyone live like that? There’s too much I don’t know. Too much I can’t possibly know. Not yet, anyway. And if I figure those things out, then so be it. But until then, why the fuck would I drive myself mad over it?”

      Dorian pulled his gaze away. He knew there was no getting through to him. Not yet, anyway. Still, it didn’t make his job any easier. The sooner Rusl saw the truth for himself, the better off they would all be. And perhaps, then, he wouldn’t be so damn careless all the time. He was good at his job, Dorian could give him that. But, despite it all, there was still carelessness behind his actions. In the end, it came down to how willing he was to throw his life away. For his friends, for his comrades. He didn’t particularly care about his future. In his mind, he was still convinced he had no future, simply assuming he was just cursed to be Hylian.

      “Stop it,” Rusl sneered. “Stop trying to analyze me.”

      A smile tugged at the corner of Dorian’s lips. But his attention was turned to something else. He peered through the trees where a single light bobbed up and down the dirt path. From the corner of his eye, Rusl leaned forward, taking his rifle in his arms.

      “Hold on,” Dorian warned him in a low voice. One Yiga was hardly a threat, but where there was one, he was sure there were more. And he and Rusl alone didn’t stand a chance if they were ambushed. But the rest of his men were resting further down the path, completely unaware of any potential danger. They had to analyze the situation quickly and then plan their move to either attack, or make their way back to camp to alert the soldiers.

      Rusl, however, was practically chomping on the bit. He was resting on the balls of his feet, his weapon up to his face as he looked down the sight.

      As Dorian suspected, there was a handful of Yiga soldiers walking through the forest, a single light between them. After a moment, they stopped about a few yards away. Though they spoke low, Dorian and Rusl could easily make out their conversation.

      “It’s only a matter of time before the hero manifests,” one of the soldiers said. “Kohga senses traces of the hero’s spirit here in Faron. Stay sharp. Report any traces to me right away and detain anyone who carries traces of the spirit. Do not kill anyone.” His voice growled at the last part. “We cannot raise suspicions and reveal who we are. Understand?”

      Rusl shifted, his heart racing. His foot moved back slightly, snapping a twig beneath his boot. He was sure Dorian would have been glaring angrily at him if his attention wasn’t focused on the Yiga, now alerted to their position within the trees.

      “Move,” Dorian snapped, but the Yiga were already on top of them, lunging at them with their blades.

      Dorian promptly blocked their attack, but his shield was shattered when they resorted to using their powers instead. They leapt into the air, disappearing in five simultaneous snaps, and when they appeared again, they were in the air above them, their palms thrust downwards.

      Dorian and Rusl threw themselves in opposite directions, avoiding the deadly blast that ripped up the ground where they stood, causing a deep crater. The Yiga had returned to their feet just as Dorian thrust his palm out towards three of them, and they were sent flying backwards with tremendous force. They each crashed into a tree, snapping not only their bones, but the trees themselves, which came crashing down around them.

      The other two Yiga, however, had their attention turned to Rusl, their lips twisted in angry snarls. Rusl pulled his blade from his hip as they lunged at him. He narrowly dodged the attack of one but only to find himself face to face with the second, a unified assault. Before he had a chance to react, however, the Yiga slashed his blad across his body, sending Rusl stumbling backwards and clutching at the wound in his gut.

      He fell to his knees as the two Yiga closed in, but before they had a chance to end his life, they were promptly thrust off their feet once more. They were quick to regain themselves, however, turning their attention to Dorian as he threw himself in front of Rusl. His arms crossed to block their next attack, and as soon as it shattered his defenses, he thrust his palm out again. The ground erupted at their feet, sending them back once more, and he lunged after them with a blade in each hand, promptly ending their lives.

      Rusl gasped and winced at the pain as Dorian quickly dropped to his knees beside him. His brows were furrowed together as he pulled Rusl’s hands away.

      “Let me fix it,” he hissed when Rusl groaned in complaint. His hands hovered over him for a moment, and Rusl could practically feel the wound closing. His skin pulled as if being stitched together, and within a few minutes, all that remained of the wound was the fresh blood that still coated his skin and fingers.

      “Fuck,” Rusl breathed out. He stared at his healed skin. “You have got to teach me that.”

      Dorian got up and looked around them quickly. “I guess we’re even, now,” he said.

      Rusl looked up at him and grinned. He wiped his hands against his pants in an attempt to clear them of his blood and stood. “Shit. I guess we are.”

      “Let’s go,” Dorian said simply, leading the way through the forest.

      Rusl followed closely behind, gathering his weapon when they passed it. “I feel like we had a moment there,” he said. “You saved my life, man. And don’t tell me it’s your job. I think you did it because you like me.”

      “I do not.”

      “I think we’re friends,” Rusl said. “This is the start of something beautiful. We should appreciate this moment.”

      “I will kill you.”

      “It’s okay, D. You don’t have to play the tough guy act with me.”

      Dorian spun on his heels, his arm thrust toward Rusl, and sneered at him.

      Rusl promptly stopped walking, stiffening as he regarded Dorian for a moment. His gaze narrowed, and he grinned. “You won’t.”

      Dorian held his gaze for a moment, then dropped his arm. “Don’t test me. You’re the damn reason they found us in the first place.”

      Rusl frowned, recalling the conversation they overheard. “They’re looking for me.” It wasn’t a question.

      Dorian hesitated. “Seems like it,” he said.

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. He looked down at the ground. After a moment, he shrugged and stepped passed Dorian, continuing back to their camp. “I guess you’ll have to work extra hard to keep my ass alive,” he said. “And here I thought we had something special.”

      Dorian followed Rusl through the forest. “You’re going to keep making this difficult for me.”

      “I’m just following orders, man,” Rusl said. “It’s not my fault the Yiga want my ass.” He glanced at Dorian over his shoulder. “You’re not gonna fire me or something, are you?”

      “Can’t exactly have you running around on patrols with the Yiga are hunting you.”

      Rusl stopped walking and frowned. “And you think sitting around in one place and waiting for them to find me is a better option?” He turned and started walking again.

      “Better than you being in the front lines every day.”

      “Nuh-uh,” Rusl started. “This is the only thing I’ve got going for me. You’re not taking that away.”

      “Doesn’t matter,” Dorian muttered. “It’s Impa’s call, not mine.”

      “Are you at least on my side?” Rusl asked. He glanced at Dorian and grinned. “Come on. We’re a team. Can’t break us up.”

      “Oh, we can break up,” Dorian said. “In fact, it’s better if we do.”

      “Fate brought us together, D,” Rusl continued on teasingly. “You can’t run from fate.”

      “Neither can you.”

      To his relief, this shut Rusl up, leaving him to ponder once more at his future. Dorian didn’t feel particularly good about it; he knew Rusl was still struggling to accept his destiny. But for the love of Hylia, he just wanted him to stop talking for five damn minutes.


      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 11

      Display Spoiler


      “I’ll pull him off your team,” Impa said to Dorian when he returned from his patrol. “You’re right. There’s no sense sending him out to search out the Yiga Clan when they’re also looking for him.” She met his gaze. “You won’t have to deal with him any longer.”

      Dorian hesitated. “He won’t be happy about that.”

      Impa sighed. She rubbed at her temple with two fingers. “I don’t care if he’s happy about it,” she hissed. “He needs protection.” She paused in thought. “I suppose we could ward him. It will keep the Yiga Clan from sensing the hero’s spirit and will keep him off their radar. And if he’s set in serving, we can find something else for him to do, away from the front lines.”

      “Keep him on my team,” Dorian said. “I will keep an eye on him.

      Impa met his gaze, his brows furrowed. After a moment, a smile tugged at her lips. “Ah. Alright, then.” She turned her gaze to the paperwork on her desk. “You’re right, of course. You are familiar with one another. It wouldn’t make sense to pawn him off on someone else. He’s your problem, then.”

      Dorian regarded her suspiciously. “Fine,” he said.

      “Perhaps you can talk some sense into him,” Impa continued. “The sooner he accepts his fate, the better prepared he will be. When you think he’s ready, I want you to help him control his power.” With that, she waved him off with her hand, dismissing him, and Dorian left her alone in her office.

      *****

      Activity from the Yiga Clan remained scarce over the next few months. Though the Sheikah were aware that there were some in Faron, hiding themselves as everyday citizens, there was no way they could pick out the Yiga from the civilians. Like the Sheikah, the Yiga could easily cover their tracks, cutting the Sheikah off from sensing their presence completely. But Impa took care to ward Rusl. Without the essence of the hero, the Yiga would have no choice but to assume he was no longer in Faron, and with a little luck, they would quietly leave Faron. Still, the Sheikah remained on careful guard, making sure not to raise any of their own suspicions with the people of Faron.

      They kept up their patrols, and Dorian and Rusl found themselves patrolling Faron Forest once more. Rusl was too busy chatting aimlessly to notice that they had drifted far from the road, deeper into the forest. By the time he did notice, he had lost track of their surroundings completely, and he quickly quieted as he looked around them.

      “Is this where you leave my body?” Rusl asked with a grin.

      “Perhaps you should have been paying more attention,” Dorian said. “You are on patrol.”

      Rusl frowned, but he chose to ignore Dorian’s lecture. It seemed every other day, he was being disciplined for something like he were a damn child.

      “Maybe if you stopped acting like a child,” Dorian would say, and they would begin to argue with one another as they usually did.

      “Come on,” Rusl started. “Where the fuck are we going?”

      But Dorian had already stopped walking. They stood in a shallow stream, the water moving calmly away from them, deeper into the forest. Rusl followed the stream with his eyes as it twisted between the trees. There was a strange sparkle to the water as it flowed toward what could have only been the mouth of a cave. Or, so Rusl assumed. He could feel a light breeze that suggested there was something hidden among the vines and brush.

      He watched as Dorian stepped forward, following the stream until he disappeared inside the cavern. Hesitant, Rusl followed slowly after him. He pushed the vines aside and stepped over the brush. To his surprise, however, he quickly found that they were not in a cave at all, but had simply passed through large boulders that had likely fallen from the mountain side over time. The spring that fed the stream opened up before him. Trees and boulders stretched high, completely surrounding the spring and keeping it hidden from any outside onlookers. In the center of the spring, a Goddess statue stood tall, worn with age.

      “What in the fuck…”

      Dorian stood in the center of the spring, looking up at the Goddess statue. “This is the Spring of Courage,” he said. “Home to the Goddess Farore.” He turned to meet Rusl’s gaze.

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “Are we hear to give me a history lesson?” he said in an annoyed tone.

      “Something like that,” Dorian said.

      “Look,” Rusl started. “Why did you bring me here?”

      “The Yiga are searching for you,” Dorian said, his voice hard. “And when your son is born, they will be looking for him.”

      “Right,” Rusl muttered. “I thought we were on the same page about this bullshit? I’m not going to worry about anything until something happens.”

      “It’s time you start worrying and take this seriously,” Dorian snapped. “You continue to act carelessly. You’re reckless, Rusl.”

      “Well, if I’m meant to have a hero son -”

      “You need to stop running and thinking of only yourself. You need to be prepared for the future, whether you like it or not.” He hesitated. “You need to start listening to her.” His voice lowered. “If you put your faith in her, she won’t steer you wrong. I know you’re scared, but she won’t let you do this alone. Let her help you.”

      “This is ridiculous,” Rusl muttered. He turned away from Dorian. “I’m sick of you pushing this shit on me.”

      He felt a snap in the air. Before he had a chance to turn to Dorian, Dorian was throwing himself against Rusl forcefully, pressing him back against the crumbling stone wall.

      “Listen, for once in your fucking life,” he hissed at him. “Just fucking listen!"

      Rusl searched Dorian’s eyes. But instead of fighting back, instead of shouting and arguing as they always did, he relaxed under his grip and held his gaze. Dorian’s grip loosened and he backed away slightly. His brows furrowed and he studied Rusl.

      “I don’t want to,” Rusl said softly. “I don’t want to know the truth.”

      Dorian hesitated, his gaze softening. But before he could say anything further, the Goddess statue burst into a warm, golden light, shooting forth and filling the temple, causing both men to shield their eyes with their arms. When the light subsided, they looked up to see a figure bathed in a soft glow. Though her figure appeared to be humanoid in shape, there were no humanoid features about her. No features marked her face, though this seemed likely due to the glow that enveloped her entire body. There was a strong aura around her, but they didn’t need anything like that to prove to them that the spirit that stood before them was none other than Hylia herself.

      “Holy fuck,” Rusl muttered.

      Hylia stepped toward them. Though they could not see her facial features, there was a seriousness to her. She regarded the men standing before her, then spoke.

      “I know you have your doubts, Rusl,” she started. “And I know you are terrified. But Dorian is correct; I would not trust the hero in anyone else’s care. I gave you this responsibility because I knew you would be capable of it. I knew you needed purpose in guidance. You are, in so many ways, just as much a hero in this world. I could not find the strength to appear before you as I should have. Even now, I am too weak. I will not be able to stay here long. So you must listen closely. My power is not what it once was. Each rebirth of the hero requires a great deal of power on my part, and two worthy souls to bear the spirit of the Chosen Hero. A bit of my power lies in you, and one other. This is essential for the Hero. But my power is draining. The more I pour into each generation, the weaker the heroes become. I’m afraid that the Hero will not be able to use the full power of the Triforce. Not as long as my power also resides elsewhere.”

      Rusl hesitated. “What… what does that mean?”

      “It means,” Hylia started. “That as long as the parents of the Hero remain, the full strength of the Triforce will not be accessible to the Hero. His power will be limited. I cannot say for sure how this will affect his battle with Ganondorf.”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “You’re saying I need to die.”

      “Rusl,” Dorian hissed. He met his gaze. “That’s not -”

      “I cannot see what the future holds,” Hylia said. “Your fate is not written by me, nor anyone else. I can only use my power to bring the heroes into the world before Ganondorf rises. What happens to them - to all who are involved - that is out of my control.”

      “Okay,” Rusl said after a moment. “I understand.”

      Dorian sneered at Rusl, but his attention was drawn back to the Goddess as the light around her began to fade, and she promptly disappeared. They stared at the empty space before them for a moment before Dorian turned back to Rusl.

      “Alright,” Rusl said with a sigh. “You win. I’m a believer.”

      “What do you think you’re going to do?” he hissed.

      Rusl shrugged. “Live my life. Have a hero kid. What everyone else does.”

      “And then what?”

      Rusl met his gaze. “It seems pretty clear,” he said. “Once he comes around, my life is done.”

      Dorian’s brows furrowed. “That’s not… you’re being -”

      “Watch it, D.” Rusl turned to make his way out of the spring. “You sound like you’re starting to care.”

      “My job is to protect the hero,” he sneered. “And to do that, I need to protect you.”

      Rusl waved a hand in the air. “Sure, sure. For now. But when my time comes, you’re also supposed to step aside and let that happen. How else will that kid save the world if I’m taking up all the Goddess voodoo?”

      Dorian followed Rusl back into the forest. “You knew.”

      “I had suspicions.” He hesitated. “Like you said. I never bothered to really listen.”

      Dorian frowned. “Look,” he started. “You can’t just throw your life away and think it will do anyone any good.”

      “I guess we’ll see what happens. But when that time comes, I’m prepared to do what’s necessary.” He glanced at Dorian over his shoulder. “After all the preaching you’ve done to me, are you really going to try to stop me?”

      Dorian met his gaze but said nothing. They stopped walking for a moment, staring at one another.

      “You’re reckless enough as it is,” Dorian said, his gaze turning hard. “I don’t need you running around thinking you’re meant to just die.”

      Rusl smiled. “I’ll stick around,” he said. “I’ve got a kid to raise, afterall.”

      Dorian watched as he started back through the woods, and he followed behind him. His lips pinched together. He just had a feeling that Rusl was not going to make things easy for him.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 12

      Display Spoiler


      They had returned from their patrol when Rusl’s phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, but he answered it, regardless. “Yeah?”

      “Rusl.”

      He didn’t quite recognize the voice, but there was a familiarity behind it. His brows furrowed as he searched his memories to place the voice. “Yeah? What?”

      “It’s Karsen.” His voice sounded hesitant; unsure.

      Rusl smiled, genuinely surprised that Karsen was calling him. “What’s up, Idiot?”

      “Rusl.” Karsen hesitated. “There’s, uh, something I gotta tell ya.”

      Rusl frowned and his heart raced. “What?”

      “It’s Telma,” he continued. “She died."

      Rusl’s heart dropped. “What? What do you mean? When?”

      “Really early this morning,” Karsen explained. “She didn’t really tell any of us, but we could tell something was wrong the last couple of months. I guess… she had cancer or somethin’. Diagnosed a little after you left, I guess.”

      “Shit,” Rusl spat. He pinched the bridge of his nose. “What… what’s going on there? With you?”

      “Camilla is here for now,” Karsen said. His voice sounded pained. “I guess they’ll split us up. Pawn us off on someone else. You know.”

      Rusl bit his lower lip. He did know all too well what would be in store for him and the other kids under Telma’s care. As Karsen so delicately put it, they would be sent to other foster homes, and who knew what would happen to them after that. They weren’t exactly an easy group of kids to handle. Rusl knew that first hand. “Karsen -”

      “Whatever, man,” Karsen said quickly. “I don’t care. We’re used to this shit. We’ve all been bounced around. It doesn’t matter. I’ve just got a few years left of this shit, anyway.”

      “Sure.” Rusl hesitated. “I’ll be there tomorrow, alright? Maybe… maybe there’s something I can do.”

      “Right,” Karsen said dryly. “Whatever.” He hesitated. “There’s like, a service at the end of the week. Camilla already has the ranch for sale. Packing up some shit. I’ve never seen the place so damn empty.”

      “Yeah,” Rusl said softly. “Look. I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

      “Whatever.” The call ended.

      Rusl looked at his phone for a moment before slipping it into his pocket. He stared at the ground, not even noticing when Dorian approached.

      “What’s got you?” Dorian asked with a teasing grin.

      Rusl hesitated, but did not regard Dorian. “I have to… go. Tomorrow.”

      Dorian’s brows furrowed. “Go where? You have a patrol to do.”

      “Telma died,” Rusl said quickly.

      Dorian was quiet, his face softening. “Oh.” He cleared his throat. “Alright. Take all the time you need.”

      *****

      It was early in the afternoon when Rusl pulled into the drive. He hadn’t seen Telma since he left to join the service, and now he regretted not finding the time to visit her. He couldn’t even remember the last time he spoke to her, and now she was gone.

      He stepped out of his car and looked around. Despite everything, he loved that place. But it wasn’t as he had remembered. The barn looked as if it had been falling apart. There were box trucks and trailers scattered around the property, and movers gathered up boxed items from the house and barn, either to ship to storage or to be sold off.

      Rusl spotted a few younger kids he did not recognize clustered together on the paddock fence. They were watching the movers with frowns on their faces. Their gazes turned to Rusl for a moment, but they blew him off, assuming him to be no one special. Rusl turned his attention to Camilla as she stood on the porch, barking at a few of the movers who were less than careful with one of the boxes. She noticed Rusl, then, and offered him a sad smile.

      “You came,” she said as Rusl approached her.

      “Karsen called me. I’m really sorry to hear.”

      “Yeah, I know. She was my Mum, but I swear she liked you more than me.”

      “I seriously doubt that,” Rusl said.

      Camilla sighed and put her hands on her hips. “I can’t keep everything. But you know how she was. She loved you kids and kept every damn thing she could. She made me promise I’d hang on to everything. But if you want anything, please take it off my hands.”

      “Hold on to it for me?”

      Camilla smiled. “Sure. Only if you promise to come back for it.”

      “Maybe my kids will.”

      “Telma did want to meet them.” She gestured with her chin toward the house. “Make yourself comfortable. Karsen’s around somewhere. He’ll be happy to see you.” She turned her attention back to the movers, scolding them for being careless.

      Rusl watched the movers for a moment, then made his way to the barn in search of Karsen. He found Karsen in the hay barn with two other boys around his age. They were sitting on hay bales, smoking cigarettes, when Rusl entered.

      “You’re going to burn the whole damn place down,” Rusl scolded them.

      Karsen met his gaze and grinned. “Whatta twat,” he said. “I thought the army would make you cooler.”

      Rusl narrowed his gaze on Karsen. He made his way to him, then snatched the cigarette from his hand.

      “Wow,” Karsen said dryly. “Look who’s a cool, big adult, now. Fuckin’ Hylik’s gettin’ a big fuckin’ head.”

      Rusl pressed the burning end of the cigarette into Karsen’s arm. He yelped, jumped to his feet, and swung a fist toward Rusl. But Rusl blocked the blow, catching his fist in his palm and twisting his arm around violently, sending Karesen down on his knees.

      “What the fuck, man?”

      Rusl bent down to hiss in his ear. “Call me Hylik one more damn time.”

      Karsen grinned and pulled out of Rusl’s grip, though he knew Rusl had let him go. “Alright,” he said, raising his hands defensively in the air. “You’re not as lame as I thought.”

      Rusl held his gaze on him a moment before turning away. “You’re as pathetic as I remember,” he said over his shoulder.

      “Whatever.” He snapped his mouth shut before the slur slipped out of his mouth. He hesitated, but when Rusl stepped out of the barn, he called to him.

      Rusl paused and met his gaze over his shoulder.

      “We’re all leaving tonight.”

      Rusl held his gaze on Karsen for a moment. “Where you going?”

      Karsen shrugged. “I dunno,” he said. “Lanayru.” He perked up momentarily. “Maybe some place on the beach.”

      Rusl snorted. “Keep dreaming.”

      “Whatever,” Karsen said. “It’s just for a few more years. Then I can do whatever the fuck I want.”

      “Like what?”

      Karsen frowned and his brows furrowed. “I dunno, man, jeez. Who cares? Anything. Like. I dunno. Fucking wander around or something. I got time to think about it.”

      Rusl smiled. “It comes quicker than you think.”

      Karsen shrugged. “Well, if they took your ass into the army, maybe they’ll take me.”

      “I doubt it.”

      “I didn’t want to do that, anyway,” Karsen sneered. “Look what it made you.”

      Rusl nodded. “Yeah. Tell me about it.” He turned his back to Karsen. “Let me know whatever you decide.”

      Karsen rolled his eyes. He took another cigarette out of his pocket. “Whatever.”

      Without another word, Rusl left them alone in the barn and made his way into the house. He wandered the rooms aimlessly until he came upon the den. There were several boxes stacked in the center of the room, each one with a name on it. He found his and opened it curiously. He looked through the various pictures taken over the years and smiled. Despite her nagging, Telma always meant well. He found his mind wandering back to his future children, and in that moment, he came to a decision. He pulled out his phone, opened the camera, and started to record a video.

      “Hey, Kid,” he started. “You’re not around yet. Who knows when you’ll come around.” He grinned. “I don’t even have a girlfriend. So, you know, that’s going well.” His face turned serious. “Unless you’re like, really young when you’re watching this, then use protection and shit.” His face softened. “But hopefully you’re not young. Because you shouldn’t be seeing this until after I’m gone.” He hesitated, then cleared his throat. “Look, this is where I grew up.”

      He stepped outside, turning the camera to give them a view of Telma’s farm. “I promised Telma I’d let her meet you. I guess this is as close as it gets.” He turned it back to face him. “Anyway. Going through all her shit made me realize she wasn’t as crazy as she seemed, sometimes. And, I dunno. I felt like I should leave you with something. Because one thing’s for sure; there’s a lot you’re not gonna know. About me, about you. About this fucked up destiny that’s been thrust upon us.” He sighed. “I’m not telling you any of it. You don’t need to know. You have enough shit to deal with then to know the truth about me.” He shrugged. “But I guess I can’t leave you with nothing, either. Unanswered questions and shit. I know that would drive me crazy. But you need to understand that there’s a reason I couldn’t tell you this before, when I’m… was… alive. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ll try to stop it. You’ll try to save me. And that can’t happen.” He paused for a moment before continuing.

      “See… we all serve a purpose in this life, I guess. And mine is to bring you into this world… and leave. As long as I’m alive, you will never be able to access the full power of the Triforce.” He shook his head. “For reasons D tried to explain to me. Hylia’s power is weakening, blah blah blah. I’m sure you’ll learn some of this. I’ll tell you as much as I can, when I can. I won’t leave you in the dark about everything. But the point is, if you’re going to be able to save the world, I will need to die. I’ve known this for a while. Well, I’ve had my suspicions, anyway. I’ve accepted it. Because even though you don’t even exist yet, and I don’t even know when you will.” He hesitated. “I love the crap outta ya. I will do anything and everything for you, especially to give you as normal a life as possible. I never got that. Not that I was born a hero destined to save the world or anything. But you deserve better than the crap I went through. You know, a father who’s actually around. I’ll give you everything that I can. I just want you to understand why things will happen - or, happened - the way that they will, or did, or something. I’ll give my life for you, kid, hero or not. It doesn’t matter to me who you are. That’s why I can accept this, I guess. Because I’d do it in a heartbeat. Again and again and again. Anything to give you the life you deserve. Hopefully, a life of peace and happiness. And I know you won’t accept it. That’s why I can’t - couldn’t - tell you. I’m sorry that this is the way it has to be, but I know you’ll be fine. If I can survive this shit, you can, too. You’ve got a lot more going for you than I do, anyway.” His gaze moved beyond the camera as he looked over the farm.

      “I guess she was right. I need you. I just hope everything I do will be enough.” His gaze moved back to the camera, and he shrugged. “Alright, well, I guess that’s it, then. You know the truth. Don’t be mad at me. I did what I had to do. Just know that. Everything I’ll ever do in this life is for you.” He smiled. “And that’s all I’ve ever wanted, really, so it’s okay. Okay?” He paused. “I love you, kid. I’ll see you soon.”

      He stopped the recording and stared at his phone. After a moment, he slipped the card out of the device and dropped it into a bag with some of the photos. He placed the bag back into the box, then closed it back up.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 13

      Display Spoiler


      Two Years Later...
      Rusl slid onto the bar stool beside Dorian. He placed his empty glass down, tapped the counter with a finger, and offered a nod to the bartender.

      “Why do you gotta suck the fun out of everything?” he said to Dorian without looking at him.

      “Why do you feel the need to drag me out everywhere you go?”

      Rusl smiled and turned to his friend. “Because you’re so damn boring. Live a little.”

      Dorian only grunted in response.

      “You Sheikah are tight asses,” Rusl muttered, taking his drink from the bartender and giving him another nod in thanks.

      “Can you really blame us?” Dorian said. “We’re not generally received very well.”

      Rusl lit a cigar. He spoke with it in his mouth. “Probably because you’re such a tight ass.”

      “I’m right under Impa’s command,” he reminded Rusl. “I kind of have an image to uphold.”

      “Sucker,” Rusl said with a grin.

      “And you’re beneath me, remember.” Dorian narrowed his gaze on Rusl.

      “What’re you gonna do about it?” He blew out smoke. “‘Sides. I’m off duty tonight.” He looked up as the bell on the door rang, watching as four women entered. His gaze met with the young blonde that entered last, and she smiled before disappearing into the crowd. Rusl brought his drink to his lips, examining the crowd in an attempt to find her again. Dorian snapped in his face, and he turned his attention back to him. “Hm?”

      “It’s no wonder Telma kicked you out,” Dorian muttered.

      “She did not,” Rusl growled. “I was her favorite.”

      “I find that hard to believe.”

      “I was a saint compared to some of those other damn kids,” Rusl said. “Foster life is not for the weak.”

      “Your parents must be so proud.”

      “They were garbage,” Rusl said through his teeth.

      Dorian frowned.

      Rusl stretched his arms over his head. “The world is my oyster,” he said. “I’m sure as hell not gonna let some destiny dictate how I live my life.”

      “It’s pretty fucked up when you really think about it,” Dorian said. “The future of the world depends on you getting laid.”

      Rusl looked around the bar. “Let’s see if we can get a head start on that,” he said.

      Dorian looked down at the glass and smiled.

      “What?” Rusl caught his grin and narrowed his eyes. “What’s that?”

      “What’s what?”

      “You. You’re doing your Sheikah thing.”

      “Sheikah thing?”

      Rusl crossed his arms. “The ‘I see all’ thing. Stop that.”

      “There’s no such thing.”

      “There is,” Rusl insisted. “You can’t fool me. You know something.”

      “I know about as much as you do.”

      Rusl rolled his eyes. “Yes. The fate of Hyrule rests in my future son’s hands. But I want the real answers. Who’s the lucky lady?”

      Dorian snorted. “The unlucky lady.”

      “I’m a catch,” Rusl said.

      “You’re a twenty-two year old uneducated dirtbag,” Dorian said.

      “Love you, too,” Rusl muttered. He stood from the bar, drink in hand.

      “Where you going?”

      “Gonna see if I can get lucky,” he repeated before disappearing into the crowd.

      Rusl scanned the sea of bodies until he found a few of his comrades, laughing and chatting with a few women of their own. They beckoned to him and introduced him to the other women, but Rusl wasn’t really listening. He was still searching for the woman he had seen earlier. Something about her intrigued him.

      After spending some time with his friends, Rusl picked out her blond hair once more. She was standing with her friends around a table, each with a drink in hand. He quickly excused himself and slipped back into the crowd to make his way over to them.

      “Look who finally decided to come by,” one of her friends said, a smug grin on her face.

      “Me?” Rusl asked innocently.

      “No, the other guy checking Uli out.”

      “Well, by all means, don’t let me get in between anything,” he started. “I just came over to tell you my friend thinks you’re cute.”

      She raised an eyebrow and her lips pursed, unimpressed. “What is this, fifth grade?”

      “I wouldn’t know,” Rusl said. “I don’t think I even attended fifth grade.”

      “The guy at the bar?” the blonde asked. She turned her gaze to Rusl and smiled. “Which one of us?”

      Rusl hesitated, suddenly finding himself at a loss for words. “Uh. I don’t know.” He cleared his throat and drank from his glass. “One of you.”

      “Sure,” the friend said, rolling her eyes. “Are you sure it’s not you?”

      “Depends. Which one is Uli?”

      The blonde smiled. “That’s me.”

      “Ah.” He nodded. “Alright. I admit. I was checking you out.”

      “Couldn’t even buy her a drink?” the friend said.

      “Wow, she’s really trying to get rid of me, huh?” Rusl said.

      Uli grinned.

      “I’m guessing she’s single?”

      Uli laughed, despite the glare she received from her friend.

      “Why are you encouraging him?” her friend sneered.

      “Aw, come on,” Uli said. “I feel bad for him. He came over to talk, not to get shit from you.”

      “He came over to try to get lucky.”

      “That is usually what I do,” Rusl said in agreement. “But I wasn’t going to try that, this time.”

      “Ah.” Uli smiled. “So, what were you hoping to get out of this?”

      Rusl hesitated. “Um.” Lost, again. He used to be good at this. “How about we start with your number?”

      Uli looked him over for a moment. “I don’t even know your name.”

      “Rusl,” he said quickly.

      “Well, Rusl.” Uli smiled. “You don’t seem very good at this.”

      “I usually am.”

      “Alright,” Uli said. She pulled a pen from her bad and wrote delicately on a napkin. “I guess I’ll give you a chance.” She handed the napkin to him.

      He held it up between his fingers and smiled at her. “I can’t ask for anything more than that,” he said. He bowed his head to them. “Ladies. Thank you for letting me intrude.” He returned to the bar and sat beside Dorain a smug grin on his face. “Got it.”

      Dorian peered at the napkin when he set it on the counter. “That’s not a real number.”

      Rusl frowned. “Yes, it is,” he insisted.

      “Guarantee it’s not,” he said. “Why would she give you her number after all that? She just wanted you to leave her alone.”

      Rusl pulled out his phone and began to dial. “Yeah, right,” he said. He put this phone to his ears and listened as it rang. Once, twice, three times…

      He looked over at the booth where she sat. The phone was to her ear, and she met his gaze with a smile.

      “You know, you’re supposed to wait three days.”

      “I had to prove to my friend this wasn’t a fake number.”

      “That would have been a better way to go,” she said, still grinning.

      “Well, since I’ve got you on the phone, how about tomorrow night?”

      “Wow. You don’t mess around, do you?”

      “Well, actually, that’s usually exactly what I do.”

      “Thanks for the warning.” She sighed loudly. “I guess I could cancel my very important plans with the king, she says as if she has any plans at all.”

      “I would have believed it,” Rusl said.

      “Then you’re dumber than you look.”

      He smiled. “I’ve seen far crazier.”

      “Oh, yeah? You intrigue me, Rusl.”

      “I’m not so intriguing,” he said.

      “I don’t know,” she said. “I’ve got a good sense about these things. There’s more to you than meets the eye.”

      “Or you just know how to stroke an ego.”

      “You tried so hard. I figured it was the least I could do. Then your friend wouldn’t think you were such a sad, pathetic sack.”

      “How much did he pay you?”

      “Depends on how tomorrow goes.” She winked at him. “How about eight? I’ll meet you here.”

      “Eight it is.” He ended the call, letting his gaze linger on her’s a moment longer before turning back to his drink.

      “I can’t believe she gave you her number,” Dorian said.

      Rusl grinned. “I’m smooth like that.”

      “I don’t think you’re as smooth as you think you are.”

      “I’m going out with her, aren’t I?”

      He shrugged. “I guess she’ll see soon enough.”

      “How awesome I am?”

      “Why are you going out with her, anyway?”

      Rusl finished his drink. “Why not?”

      “You usually sleep with them and leave.” His nose scrunched in disapproval, and Rusl laughed.

      “I dunno,” he said after a moment. He hesitated. “Thought I’d try something new.” He glanced at Uli and her friends over his shoulder. “And I have a feeling she definitely would have shot me down if I tried to hook up with her.”

      “Because she knows you’re a scumbag.”

      “I’m perfectly decent,” Rusl sneered at him. “Why do you hate me so much? Damn. I have needs, man. And work doesn’t let me have a relationship. So here I am.”

      Dorian smiled. “But you’re going out with her?”

      Rusl shrugged. “It’s one damn date. Why am I getting the third degree? What do you know?”

      Dorian shook his head. He put his payment on the bar and stood. “No more than you,” he said.

      Rusl sneered at him, then watched as Dorian left the bar. His eyes moved back to Uli, catching her gaze for a moment, and his heart felt as if it jump started in his chest. She smiled at him, holding his gaze. There was almost a familiarity to her, as if he had known her his whole life. As if he had loved her his whole life. His heart seemed to react quite strongly to her, and he was caught in her gaze until she finally pulled away, turning her attention back to her friends and releasing her hold on him.

      He only knew one thing about his future; that his son would be destined to save the world. But in that moment, it felt as if he were seeing his entire life right in front of him in that bar.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 14

      Display Spoiler


      Uli was already at the bar when Rusl arrived. She was sitting alone at the corner of the bar, and Rusl took the seat beside her.

      “You came,” Rusl said.

      Uli looked at him with surprise. “Were you expecting me not to?”

      “Kind of.”

      “Why’s that?”

      Rusl shrugged. “Because I didn’t wait three days?”

      Uli laughed. “So, what’s the plan?”

      “The plan?”

      “You have dated before, right?”

      “Sure.”

      “So. Movies? Dinner? What?”

      “Dinners are too serious,” Rusl said. “And you can’t talk at the movies.”

      Uli raised a brow. “You want to talk?”

      “I’d like to know more than your name. Is that so strange?”

      “A little bit,” she admitted. “Most guys don’t want to talk.”

      “I’m not most guys.”

      “You sure about that?”

      “I might surprise you.”

      “Alright,” Uli started. “Let’s talk.”

      Rusl ordered a drink. “How much shit did you get for coming out with me?”

      Uli grinned. “A lot.”

      “Those friends of yours are pretty intimidating,” he said.

      “They’re harmless enough,” she said. “She was just being sour since our other friend just got out of a crappy relationship.”

      “Ah.” He took his drink from the bartender. “So. Uli. Dog person or cat person?”

      “Getting right down to business,” she said. “Dog person.”

      Rusl nodded. “Good. Favorite color?”

      “Uh. Green.”

      “Long walks on the beach?”

      “I actually prefer long walks through the woods,” she said. “I enjoy getting lost in a good book. A good cup of coffee. A rainy day. And from time to time, the occasional chick-flick.”

      Rusl nodded absentmindedly, and Uli snorted.

      “I’m kidding,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Goddesses.”

      “Are you though?”

      Uli’s shoulders slumped slightly. “Well, about the chick-flick part,” she said. She scrunched her nose, then turned back to her drink. “So I’m a cliche. Sue me.”

      Rusl grinned. “I like cliches.”

      Uli put her chin in her hand. “And what else?”

      Rusl sighed thoughtfully. “I like alcohol. But coffee is good, too. And I prefer long drives down the highway in an old car.”

      “I get it,” Uli said. “You’re a cool, carefree dude.” She put her hands in the air and grinned. “Don’t gotta tell me twice.”

      “Fine,” Rusl said. “I’m a sucker for my friend’s daughters. Happy?”

      “Aw,” she said. “For real?”

      Rusl sulked and drank.

      “Your secret is safe with me.”

      Rusl met her gaze and smiled. “Siblings?”

      “None. You?”

      Rusl shook his head.

      “Where did you grow up?”

      He hesitated. “Uh. Akkala.”

      Uli’s brows raised. “You’re a long way from home.”

      “Work takes me around,” he said. “What about you?”

      “Lived here in Faron my whole life,” she said. “Have you seen a lot of Hyrule?”

      “Too much.”

      Uli frowned. “Why’s that?”

      Rusl turned his glass over in his hand, watching as its contents swirled around. “I dunno,” he said. “I’m not exactly a welcomed presence too far north of Hyrule.”

      Uli pulled her gaze away and looked at her hands. “Yeah. Sure.” She let out a breath and tapped her fingers against the counter. “What else?”

      “What else?” Rusl echoed, meeting her gaze.

      “Pets?”

      He shook his head.

      “But definitely a dog person,” Uli added.

      “Right.”

      “No siblings,” Uli said thoughtfully. “What are your parents like?”

      “I… never met them.” It wasn’t a complete lie.

      “Oh.” Her voice softened. “Sorry.”

      Rusl smiled. “I was a foster kid,” he said. “I grew up in a foster home in Akkala, with a woman named Telma and some other kids.”

      “What was that like?”

      “Was alright,” he said with a shrug. “Telma… was a good person. She put up with a lot of shit, but she knew how to dish it right back.” He smiled at the memory.

      Uli frowned, and Rusl answered her unasked question.

      “She died a couple years back.”

      “Well, I am not doing so well, am I?”

      “I was just thinking I’m the one that looks like a tragic mess.”

      Uli laughed lightly. “Only a little bit.”

      You don’t know the half of it, he thought to himself. “Alright. What about your family?”

      Uli sipped from her drink. “Alright, here’s one,” she said. “I’m actually not an only child. Or, I wasn’t. I had a little brother.” Her voice softened. “He died when I was in high school.”

      Rusl frowned. “Sorry.”

      Uli offered him a smile. “Maybe that makes us even?” she asked hopefully. “No more awkward conversation.”

      “Alright. Consider us even.”

      “How about some food? I could go for a greasy burger.”

      They placed their food order before Rusl spoke again.

      “So, you’re a dog-loving hippie with bitchy friends, a fairly normal family, and you’ve lived here your whole life.”

      She tapped on her nose with a finger. “And you’re a tragic dog-loving man who has a soft side for kids.”

      “I’m not liking the way I look.”

      Uli laughed. “I knew you were intriguing.”

      “Hardly.”

      “So, should we move on to the next portion of our evening?” Uli asked. “Dreams? Goals? Accomplishments?”

      Rusl pondered this for a moment. “I don’t know,” he said slowly. “I guess I’ve never really thought about it.”

      “There’s nothing you want in life?”

      “Just what everyone else wants, I guess. Find my place in the world.” He met her gaze expectantly.

      “I always wanted to get out of Faron,” she said with a shrug. “Have some kind of an adventure, I guess. See what else is out there in the world.”

      “You should be careful what you wish for,” Rusl said, looking over his glass as he took a sip.

      Uli met his gaze, hesitant, then pulled away. “Maybe.” She sighed lightly and finished her drink. “Yeah, maybe you’re right.”

      “Hey, don’t listen to me,” he said quickly. “I’ve had my share of adventures.”

      Uli looked off across the bar, deep in thought. “Sometimes, I have these dreams…” She trailed off, then shook her head. “I don’t know,” she said with a heavy sigh. “You caught me at a weird point in my life, Rusl. I guess, like you, I’ve got some things to figure out, too.”

      Rusl nodded. “This seems like the part of the night where you say goodbye and I don’t see you again.”

      “It does seem like that,” she started. “But for what it’s worth, that wasn’t my plan.”

      “It wasn’t mine.”

      Uli met his gaze and smiled. “That’s kind of weird. I didn’t think I was looking too good, either.”

      “I like you,” Rusl said.

      Uli blushed and averted her gaze. “I would not say no if you wanted to ask me out again.”

      “That’s a relief.”

      “I’m glad I didn’t give you that fake number.”

      Their burgers arrived, and they continued to chat casually while they ate. It was nearing ten o’clock when they finally left the bar, standing outside under the stars, still deep in conversation as patrons began to fill the bar.

      To Rusl’s surprise, Dorian found them outside.

      “Don’t tell me you’re coming here to drink,” Rusl said with a grin.

      “No,” he said simply. “Figured you’d be here.”

      Rusl frowned. “Don’t look for me. I’m off duty. You don’t get to look for me.”

      Dorian turned his attention to Uli and offered him a smile. “Hi. I’m Dorian."

      She returned his greeting. “Uli.” She turned to Rusl. “Off duty? What do you do?”

      “You went on a date and didn’t even cover the basics?” Dorian raised a brow at Rusl.

      “I gave her my social,” Rusl said. “Ran a background check and everything.”

      Dorian yanked at the dog tags around his neck and shook them obnoxiously. Rusl pulled out of his grip and rolled his eyes.

      “Oh, so King Roham owns your ass, then,” she said with a smirk.

      “Rusl says ladies love a man in uniform,” Dorian said with a grin. “Is it true?”

      “I find them to be rather obnoxious, really,” she said.

      “Rusl is the epitome of obnoxious.”

      “Hm. I guess I’ll have to give it time. He’s hiding it.”

      Dorian turned to Rusl. “You? Trying to make a good impression?”

      “You know,” Rusl started, “You’re not helping me win any points here.”

      “I’ve had worse dates,” she said. “You don’t have me running off just yet.”

      Dorian grinned. “Oh, you will soon enough.”

      Rusl elbowed Dorian in the ribs. “You’re unusually chatty tonight.”

      “You left me alone to go play with girls,” Dorian said with a shrug. “I got stuck drinking with those other idiots.”

      Rusl raised a brow and grinned. “I’ve always wanted to see a drunk Sheikah.”

      Dorian snorted. “Keep dreaming.”

      “Sheikah, huh?”

      Dorian met her gaze carefully.

      “Does that make you a Sheikah, too?” she asked Rusl.

      “No, just his bitch,” Rusl said sourly.

      She smiled. “I gotta say, you two make a cute couple.”

      Their noses wrinkled in disdain, and Uli laughed.

      “He actually hates me,” Rusl said. “Hated my guts ever since the day we met.”

      “I’d love to hear the story there,” Uli said.

      Dorian scoffed. “There’s no -”

      Rusl waved a hand in the air, cutting him off. “It all started about four years ago when I joined the Hyrulean army,” Rusl began in a story-like voice. “I was a young, bright eyed, hopeful young man -” Dorian scoffed again, but Rusl ignored him - “looking to find my place in the world. After almost a year of grueling training and missions, I found myself in a top secret unit with the brave and loyal Sheikah called Dorian.”

      “That’s enough,” Dorian said.

      “There was never a moment when we were bickering with each other,” Rusl continued.

      “Bickering?” Dorian echoed. “Try disobeying orders.”

      “You see,” Rusl said, turning toward Uli with a grin. “I was a young lad who thought he knew everything.”

      “You still do.”

      “But then one day, we found our lives in jeopardy.”

      Uli reacted appropriately, her eyes widening as he continued his story, but still, she grinned and listened along.

      “And despite how poorly Dorian had treated me, I couldn’t stop myself from risking my own life to save his.”

      “Wait a second,” Dorian said. “That’s not -”

      But Rusl interrupted him once more, raising his voice. “I almost died for him, and ever since then, he’s been in my debt.”

      “That’s not true -”

      “Alright,” Rusl started. “That’s not entirely true. He has saved my own life on many occasions.” He grinned at Dorian. “I guess somewhere down the line, we just stopped hating each other and realized we couldn’t live without one another.” He batted his eyelashes playfully at Dorian.

      “For the love of Hylia,” Dorian muttered. “Why do you do this?”

      “Because you make it so easy, D. Loosen up, man. Live a little.” He turned back to Uli. “As you can see, his life would be very boring if I weren’t in it. I’m his fun half. I guess you could call us soulmates.”

      Uli laughed. “I’m not usually one for cliche love stories, but I have to admit, yours is pretty good. I only hope I can find my own Dorian someday."

      “Or maybe you need a pain in the ass Rusl,” Dorian said. “Then maybe you’ll feel bad for me.”

      “Aw, poor Rusl,” Uli said teasingly. “After all he’s done for you?”

      “Yeah, come on, man,” Rusl said. “I’m not as bad as you like to make me out to be.”

      “We’ll let Uli decide that for herself,” Dorian said.

      Rusl turned to her expectantly, and she laughed.

      “Well, you don’t seem so bad yet. But the night’s still young.”

      “Have fun,” Dorian said. “I’m going home.”

      “Already?” Uli asked. “You’re not going to stick around and watch Rusl fuck up?”

      Dorian grinned. “As fun as that sounds -”

      “He’s got a wife and kids to get home to,” Rusl said. “I’d call him a sucker, but then he won’t let me see the girls, and they’re way cooler than he is. In fact, they’re the only reason I’m still friends with him.”

      Dorian ignored him and offered a smile to Uli. “Nice meeting you, and best of luck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

      “Thanks. I’ll remember that.”

      “Bye, D.” He watched as Dorian simply waved a hand over his shoulder. “And that’s Dorian,” Rusl said with a grin.

      “Adorable,” Uli said.

      “I’m actually very macho, thank you very much."

      Uli laughed. “I should probably get going, too,” she said. She met his gaze. “But thanks for wearing me down until I said yes. Now that we got the twenty questions out of the way, we should do something that involves… less talking.”

      Rusl raised a brow. “Oh, yeah?”

      “I was thinking a chick-flick,” she said with a grin and a wink. “Thanks for dinner.”

      Rusl slid his hands into his pockets. “Thanks for saying yes.”

      She turned away from him, waving quickly over her shoulder. “Goodnight, Rusl.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 15

      Display Spoiler


      The months passed and winter quickly blanketed the region in snow. Somehow, Rusl and Uli had moved from seeing each other a few times a month for the casual date, to looking for any excuse to be with one another. They spent every moment they could together when Rusl wasn’t on patrols, and Uli even grew close quickly with Carissa. Rusl, Uli, Dorian, and Carissa had become inseparable, and for the first time in his life, Rusl felt the sense of normalcy he so desperately searched for. For the first time, it seemed, he had a family.

      It was a cold, snowy day, and Rusl and Uli found themselves with Dorian, Carissa, Cottla, and Koko, standing hesitantly on the frozen lake as the girls skated circles around them, laughing and taunting the adults who could barely stay on their two feet.

      “I used to be so good at this,” Uli whined. “When did I become such a lame adult?”

      Rusl caught Uli as she stumbled forward, and she laughed.

      “Come on,” she said, tugging at his arms.

      “I’m skating,” Rusl said dryly.

      “You’re standing on ice.” Uli rolled her eyes. “You’re not even wearing skates!”

      “I’m neither a hockey player, nor a figure skater,” Rusl said stubbornly.

      “Uncle Rusl is only good at annoying Daddy,” Cottla said as she skated around them. “That’s what Daddy says!”

      “Sounds about right,” Rusl muttered, glaring at Dorian, but Dorian grinned and offered no argument.

      Carissa scooped her youngest daughter up in her arms as Cottla skated over to her. She giggled and shouted.

      “Mommy! Put me down!”

      But Carissa handed her daughter off to her husband instead.

      Dorian whispered in her daughter’s ear and she giggled, causing Rusl to narrow his gaze on them.

      “What are you telling her?” he sneered as Dorian set his daughter back on the ice.

      “Can’t tell ya!” Cottla taunted. She skated to her sister, grabbing her wrists and shouting. “Go fast, Koko!”

      Rusl turned as Uli thudded on the ice once more. She sat with her legs stretched out and crossed her arms, sulking. Rusl made his way to her and sat on his heels.

      “I believe you,” he said with a grin. “You were an Olympic skater back in the day.”

      Uli grinned up at him, and when he offered his hand to her, she took it, allowing him to pull her back onto her feet. She held his gaze on him, then kissed his lips.

      “I’ll show you,” she said, turning determined. She used his chest to push off and let herself slide backwards across the ice. “I’ll show those girls!”

      Rusl admired her as she turned shakily, then stepped forward once more. She took long, sweeping motions as she skated around the lake. When she started to lose her balance, her arms went out quickly in an attempt to steady herself, and she laughed at herself before setting off again. She continued in this manner as the snow fell more heavily. Feeling a chill, she pulled her scarf around her neck and turned to face Rusl once more. She offered him a smile over her scarf as he stared at her, and her cheeks warmed slightly. She moved toward him and let herself slide into his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her. She looked up and met his gaze.

      “Stop staring at me,” she said. “You’re judging me!”

      “I…” Rusl started, but his voice trailed off. It wasn’t the first time he found himself at a loss for words when he was around her. His pulse quickened when her eyes met his.

      Uli frowned, her brows furrowed. “What? What’s wrong?”

      Rusl shook his head. “Nothing,” he said quickly. “I just… love you.”

      Uli’s eyes widened. “You… do?”

      “Um. Yes.”

      A smile tugged at her lips. “I love you, too.”

      *****

      Winter turned to spring and the Yiga Clan continued to lay dormant, giving all of Hyrule a moment of peace, which Rusl and Uli eagerly took advantage of, living blissfully as their relationship made it past the one year mark.

      It was one of the first warm days of spring when they both had the opportunity for a few rare days off and they ventured into the city because, as Rusl put it, he had a very important meeting with Cottla and Koko. A meeting which apparently consisted of whispering and giggling amongst the three of them, to Dorian’s annoyance. The girls had taken to showing off their newly learned Sheikah skills to Rusl, using their power to start a smile where they immediately set to work making and devouring s’mores.

      Uli watched Rusl interact with the two girls and smiled. He lifted Cottla onto his shoulders, and Cottla giggled.

      “Daddy, I’m taller, now!”

      Dorian turned his attention to his daughter and offered her a smile. “How did that happen?”

      “Come on, Daddy,” she said with a roll of her eyes. “I’m on Uncle Rus’s shoulders!”

      “Don’t spoil it,” Rusl said to her. “Now he knows our secret!”

      “No he doesn’t,” she said with a smirk. “Because now it’s two against one. We can kick his butt!”

      “Oh, yeah?” Dorian started. “Am I supposed to be scared?”

      “I am,” Rusl said quickly. He looked up at Cottla. “You know I’m not a Sheikah, right?”

      “Don’t worry,” Cottla said. “You let me do all the work!”

      “Right,” Rusl said with a nod. “Ready?”

      Cottla thrust her fist in the air. “Go!” She threw himself off of his shoulders and thrust her palm down against the ground as she landed. But instead of the impressive attack she was hoping for, the strength of her power simply bounced back against her, knocking her back against the ground.

      “Oh, shit,” Rusl started, scurrying to her side and picking her up. “You said that wouldn’t happen again!”

      Cottla groaned and rubbed her head. Then, as if suddenly realizing what had happened, she sprung to her feet, her hands out. “Don’t kill Uncle Rus!” she shouted to her father.

      Dorian frowned down at Cottla. “Why do you have to take the fun out of everything?”

      “You have my permission,” Uli said. “You know that was all his idea.”

      Dorian frowned at Rusl.

      “Was not!” Rusl said defensively. “Cottla said she mastered it! I’m the victim here.”

      Carissa turned to her husband. “You know he lets them manipulate him.”

      “When a Sheikah gives you orders, you do it,” Rusl said. “I don’t mess around with that shit.”

      “Good luck,” Dorian said dryly, turning to Uli. “He’s your problem once kids come into the picture.”

      Uli hesitated. “Kids?”

      “Dude,” Rusl snapped. “Don’t scare her away.”

      “She’s been with you a year,” Dorian said. “If she hasn’t run off by now, I think you’re safe.”

      “Yeah.” Rusl turned his gaze to Uli. “Why are you still here?”

      Uli grinned and shrugged. “I dunno,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll see soon enough.”

      “Uli and Rusl sitting in a tree,” Koko sang. “K-i-s-s-i-n-g!”

      “That’s so juvenile,” Rusl said. He bent down to whisper to Koko. “Do you think she likes me?”

      Koko nodded enthusiastically. “But just to be sure, we can give her a note and ask.”

      Rusl nodded. “Good plan.”

      “Say, do you like me, yes or no?”

      “You know just what to say,” Rusl said with a grin. “I’ll be sure to come to you whenever I need girl advice.”

      “Only me,” Koko said fiercely. “Not Cottla. She’s weird.”

      “Am not!” Cottla ran to Uli. “Do you like Rusl?”

      “Very much,” Uli said, grinning down at the girl. She got on her knees. “Tell him that, okay?”

      “Rusl! Uli likes you!” Cottla shouted over her shoulder.

      “Glad we settled that,” Rusl said.

      “First comes loves,” Koko sang. “Then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage!”

      “A hero baby!” Cottla said, throwing her arms triumphantly in the air.

      Rusl met Uli’s gaze, and her face immediately paled.

      “A what?” Uli whispered.

      “A what?” Rusl echoed dumbly.

      “Why did she say that?” Uli’s gaze narrowed.

      “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rusl said quickly.

      “You’re having a hero baby, too?”

      “Too? You ?”

      Rusl and Uli stared at each other.

      “Oh, look,” Dorian said quickly. “It’s past your bedtime.” He scooped up Koko in his arms. “You talk too much.”

      “But Daddy!”

      “Okay, bye Rusl,” Dorian said over his shoulder.

      Neither Rusl nor Uli spoke until they were alone.

      “You know about it?” Uli asked.

      “Yes.”

      “Me too.” She hesitated. Her eyes widened. “Wait. That means. You and I…”

      “No,” Rusl said quickly. “I mean. You know. Whatever. It’s not… a thing.”

      Her gaze narrowed. “Oh, it’s a thing.”

      “It’s not a thing!”

      “It’s not?”

      Rusl hesitated. “Is it? Do you… want it?”

      Uli averted her gaze. “I mean. Someday. Yeah, sure. Maybe. I just didn’t think… you know, you…”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “Oh, so, not with me? I’m not good enough to have hero babies with?”

      Uli’s cheeks reddened. “No. I mean. I didn’t think you would know, too.” She sighed. “I guess I just kind of hoped it was all in my head.”

      “Yeah,” he said slowly. “Me too.”

      “So, that means its not.”

      “I guess.”

      Uli met his gaze. “Are you… as terrified about that as I am?”

      “Yes.”

      Uli seemed comforted about this. “That’s an awful lot of responsibility to put on your child,” she said softly. “To put on us.” She hesitated. “I guess that means… you and I…”

      Rusl shrugged. “Whatever,” he said quickly. “You know. If you want. Someday. Maybe. No pressure.”

      “Well,” Uli started. “We should take all the other steps. Move in, get married. Or something like that.”

      “You want to get married?”

      “No,” she said quickly. “I mean. Whatever.”

      Rusl smiled. “Yeah. Alright. Whatever.”

      They looked up as Dorian made his way back over to them, alone. He met Rusl’s narrowed gaze. “What?”

      “Did you know?”

      “About you? Of course.”

      “D,” Rusl said in warning.

      “Does it matter?”

      “No,” Uli said. “I mean. It’s not like anyone was forcing us together.” She shrugged. “I dunno. I didn’t know, and I stuck around, anyway.”

      “See?” Dorian said with a grin. “Someone who likes you for you. Which can only mean there’s something wrong with her.”

      Rusl rolled his eyes.

      “I guess I was right about you,” Uli said, grinning at Rusl. “You are intriguing.”

      “I’m a sucker is what I am,” Rusl muttered.

      Uli turned her attention to Dorian. “How did you know?”

      “The Sheikah can sense the spirit of the hero,” Dorian explained. “Part of that spirit rests in the both of you.”

      “I was easy to find,” Rusl said, crossing his arms. “I was an orphaned little shit. They picked me up as quick as they could before the Yiga could get to me first.”

      Uli frowned. “The Yiga?”

      Dorian hesitated. “They’re a group of rogue Sheikah that are trying to take the Triforce for themselves. They’ll do anything to get their hands on the heroes, which is why you both need to be careful. They’ll kill you if given the opportunity.”

      “She should be warded,” Rusl said to Dorian.

      “Warded?”

      Rusl lifted the sleeve of his shirt, revealing to her a tattoo on his arm.

      Uli frowned. “My mother would kill me,” she muttered.

      “Better her than a Yiga,” Rusl said.

      Uli turned her gaze to the ground. “You said they’re rogue Sheikah?” Her brows furrowed. “They’re the ones who killed my brother.”

      “What do you mean they killed your brother?” Rusl’s gaze narrowed on her.

      Uli shifted uneasily on her feet. “When I was in highschool,” she explained. “I was sixteen. Just got my license. My parents let me take him to one of his baseball practices by myself.” She grew quiet for a moment. “I treated him to ice cream after. We weren’t far from home, but I still wasn’t used to driving the area. And it seemed like we were being followed. I was freaked out and got lost trying to throw him off. And then the headlights turned and he was gone. I kept driving until we got to this old bridge, and there were two cars on the other side, just stopped, facing us. I panicked and tried to back up, but there were two more vehicles behind us, blocking us.” She hesitated as she relived the memory. “They got out of the cars and walked closer to us. They raised their arms, but they had no weapons. I didn’t understand what they wanted. They started yelling at us to get out of the car. I told him to get down and hide and… I got out of the car.”

      She grew quiet for a moment. She turned her gaze to the ground, her brows furrowed. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I shouldn’t have gotten out. I should have just driven right through them or something. They didn’t even want me. They practically ignored me. I left him alone and defenseless, and they grabbed him. And when I tried to stop them, they grabbed me. I couldn’t get away from them. All I could do was watch as they dragged my brother out of the car. He was screaming for me. There was nothing I could do. And then… he stopped screaming. They dropped him on the ground. He… he didn’t move.” She paused and swallowed at the lump that had formed in her throat. She turned her gaze to Dorian, but she felt no resentment toward the Sheikah. No, her hatred was with the Yiga Clan. The ex members of the Sheikah tribe that chose to betray the Royal Family and all of Hyrule and join their enemies.

      “Everything went dark after that,” she continued. “I don’t remember what happened. I just… woke up in a hospital. I was forced to relive the moment when I explained it to the police, but I couldn’t describe the people that killed my brother. Or how they did it. I didn’t know much of the Sheikah then, never mind the Yiga Clan. All I knew was that some kind of magic was involved, and I hardly thought the police would believe me if I told them that. So I told them I didn’t know how it happened. All I knew was that my brother was dead. Murdered. And I never knew why we were targeted, or by who.” She hesitated. “Now I know… they killed the wrong person. They should have killed me.”

      A silence fell between them for a moment. Rusl didn’t know what to say to her. He had never really had anyone to lose before, nevermind a loved one who was murdered right in front of him. It was clear she felt at fault for what had happened; what could he possibly say to ease that grief?

      “Uli,” he started. She met his gaze, then spoke fiercely.

      “I know I’m not to blame for what happened,” she said. “But I won’t stand by and let him fight this alone. I won’t let the Yiga Clan get away with this.” Her gaze narrowed on Dorian. “If you want your Chosen Hero to survive,” she said, “I hope you have a damn good plan to keep him alive, or for the love of Hylia, I will kill you all myself.”

      “Don’t test her,” Rusl said. “She’ll do it.”

      “My promise to Rusl goes to you as well,” Dorian said. “I will do whatever I have to do to keep the three of you safe.”

      Uli’s shoulders relaxed slightly and a small smile pulled at the corner of her lips. “Thank you.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 16

      Display Spoiler


      She didn’t exactly know what to expect; it wasn’t like she had ever done it before. It didn’t particularly hurt, rather, it was an annoying sensation, just enough to irritate her skin. She wanted to swat it away like a pesky fly, but she could not. And in truth, it was boring. She lay on her stomach in just her jeans and bra, feeling exposed as she moved her arms closer to hide her chest. She let her chin rest on her arms for a moment, then turned her gaze to the two men that stood nearby as they chatted and laughed. Uli smiled as she watched Rusl and Dorian, and when Rusl met her gaze, his grin widened.

      “That’s hot.”

      Uli craned her neck in an attempt to see the tattoo in the mirror, but the Sheikah pushed her head back down in irritation.

      “Stop moving,” he grunted.

      Uli sighed and let her chin rest on her arms folded under her. She glanced at Rusl. “I feel like a hooligan.”

      “Did you really just say hooligan?” Rusl laughed. “Go tell those damn kids to get off your lawn.”

      Uli giggled. “My body is being defiled!”

      “You’re with Rusl,” Dorian reminded her. “You’ve already been defiled.”

      “Fuck you, man,” Rusl snapped at him, and Dorian grinned.

      Impa pulled at his sleeve and inspected Rusl’s tattoo. “Behave,” she said dryly. “I can take this away, you know.”

      “We can just throw him out to the wolves and watch them eat him alive,” Dorian said with a grin.
      Rusl flexed his fingers and cracked his knuckles, grinning smugly. “I’d like to see them try.”

      “Please don’t put any more ideas in his head,” Uli said. “It’s bad enough that he thinks he’s an honorary Sheikah.”

      “He’s not,” Dorian said dryly.

      “I’ve got the Sheikah ink,” Rusl said proudly.

      “You’re a fake.”

      Rusl frowned. “You never let me have any fun.”

      “Is this a game to you?”

      “It is,” Rusl said. “And I’m winning.”

      “How do you lose?” Dorian inquired.

      Rusl shrugged. “Either a Yiga kills me or you do.”

      “I’m betting on Dorian killing you first,” Uli said.

      “Ah,” Rusl said, waving her off. “He loves me too much.”

      “You think the world loves you,” Dorian said

      “Oh, I know for a fact that it does not,” Rusl said. “But I don’t let that get me down.”

      Uli smiled. She felt the Sheikah behind her lift his arms from resting on her back. He sighed, cracked his neck, and stood. Impa immediately stepped in, taking his place, and let her hand hover over the fresh tattoo on Uli’s back.

      A warm sensation moved over her skin first, then seemed to melt into her body, moving through to her limbs until it faded. When Impa was finished, she stepped back and gave her grunt of approval.

      “The Yiga Clan won’t be finding you unless you walk into their hands,” she said.

      Uli sat up and looked over her shoulder into the mirror, inspecting the finished tattoo. A smile tugged at her lips.

      “Wow,” she said. “It’s like I’m in a gang, now.”

      Rusl moved to her and wrapped his arms around her, kissing her neck. “That’s hot. Wanna go out back?”

      Impa slapped him on the arm as she stepped around them. “Knock it off.”

      Uli blushed, but giggled, and pulled away from him. She turned to face him, her arms covering her chest. “Shirt,” she instructed. “I’m practically naked here.”

      Rusl threw her shirt at her. “If that’s naked, what were you last night?”

      “Rusl!” Uli slapped his arm before shimming into her shirt, ignoring his laughter.

      “You picked him,” Dorian said dryly.

      “You can leave any time,” Rusl reminded her.

      Uli shrugged. “I dunno. I kinda like you.”

      “Kinda?” Rusl echoed.

      Uli winked at him. “Plus we have matching tattoos, now.”

      “A solid basis for a relationship,” Rusl confirmed with a nod.

      A ringing phone interrupted them, and Rusl turned to Dorian as he answered it. His gaze flashed to Rusl’s for a moment before he left them alone in the room, the door closing behind him. Rusl stared at the door until Uli spoke.

      “Now what?” Uli asked.

      Rusl turned his attention back to her. “Make hero babies?”

      Uli rolled her eyes at him. “Looks like you’ve got work to do.”

      Rusl frowned. He turned his attention back to the door. “Maybe.”

      Uli hesitated. “Do you think it’s the Yiga Clan?”

      “I dunno.”

      Uli sighed softly. “They warned me not to date a military guy,” she said.

      Rusl smiled. “If only that were the least of your problems.”

      “Yeah.” She frowned. “I guess you have a point, there.”

      Rusl and Uli made their way outside where they found Dorian and Impa in the midst of a serious discussion. They stopped, however, as Uli and Rusl approached, and their tone quickly changed.
      “That ward should last a long time,” Impa said to Uli. “But I’ll check on it now and then just to be sure.”

      Rusl, however, wasn’t listening. He was studying Dorian’s hard expression as his friend looked out over the city. After a moment, he met Rusl’s gaze, his brows furrowed.

      “Rusl?”

      Rusl turned his attention back to Uli. “What?”

      “I said are you coming over?” She rolled her eyes.

      “That depends,” Rusl said. “Can I have dessert?”

      Uli sighed. “Maybe if you’re good,” she said. She turned her attention to Dorian. “Tell the girls I said hi. I think I owe them ice cream this weekend.”

      “Sure,” Dorian said simply.

      Uli took Rusl’s hand, pulling him forward. “Let’s go, I’m starving.”

      Rusl’s gaze flashed to Dorian once more before he fell into step beside Uli, not bothering to say goodbye to Impa or Dorian.

      “What’s wrong with you?” Uli asked when they reached the car.

      Rusl started the engine, then pulled out onto the street, navigating through the city. “Huh?”

      “Exactly,” Uli said. Her voice lowered. “Is something wrong? Is it Dorian?”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed, but he kept his gaze out on the road. “I don’t know,” he said slowly.

      Uli hesitated. “What are you thinking?”

      Rusl sighed and shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said again. “It’s probably nothing.”

      “Probably nothing?”

      “I was thinking,” Rusl started. “Since we’re back in Faron, I should just move in with you, or something. Until I have to leave again.” When Uli didn’t speak, he glanced at her. “‘Cuz, you know, why pay for my own place and go through all that trouble. You know?” He turned his gaze back to the road. “I mean, whatever,” he said quickly. “I was just going off of your idea the other day. You know; taking all the steps or something.”

      Uli turned her gaze out the window. “Do you plan to stay in the army?” she asked.

      Rusl hesitated. “I… haven’t thought about it.” He glanced at Uli and she met his gaze. “Why?”

      “I was thinking,” Uli started. “About… us.”

      “There’s the first problem,” Rusl said with a grin. But Uli didn’t find him amusing.

      “Hero semantics aside,” she said. “What you do is dangerous enough, without even factoring in the fact that the Yiga Clan are hunting us. And when you get pulled around, I don’t get to see you. I could move around with you, sure. But then what if… when… we do have a child?” She sighed. “I just think if you’re going to commit yourself to someone, or people, that, you know, you should be around for them.”

      Rusl pinched his lips together. “Yeah. You’re right.”

      Uli glanced at him.

      “I only joined because I figured I had nothing else going for me,” Rusl said. His brows furrowed. “I guess that’s not really the case anymore.” He met her gaze. “I’d want to stick around for a life with you, even if a hero weren’t involved.”

      Uli smiled. “Really?”

      “Sure,” Rusl said with a grin. “I mean, no one else would put up with me.”

      “You have such a way with words,” Uli said, rolling her eyes. But still, she grinned.

      “So, you accept my humble proposition?”

      “I guess I can give you a drawer or two,” she said.

      “Truth be told,” Rusl started. “I think Dorian’s been trying to push me out, anyway. He’s always giving me the boring missions.”

      “How terrible for you,” Uli said dryly.

      “I’ll talk to him,” Rusl said. It wasn’t the only thing he wanted to talk to Dorian about. He knew Dorian was hiding something, and he wasn’t about to step down until he knew what was going on.

      *****

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. His gaze moved to the full moon as it rose over the horizon. He leaned against the railing of the balcony. Inside, Uli was sleeping peacefully, unaware that Rusl was not at her side, and had not been for the past half an hour. The phone continued to ring in his ear until he let his hand fall away. He ended the call. Dorian had not picked up a single one of his several phone calls. He knew he couldn’t keep calling like that, but something didn’t feel right. It was just a few hours ago that they were together. With a single phone call, his demeanor had completely changed, and that was the last he saw of Dorian.

      Rusl jumped as his phone began to vibrate in his hand. Dorian’s name flashed on the screen, and he quickly answered it.

      “What the hell, D?”

      “How many fucking times are you going to call me?” Dorian hissed. “What’s wrong with you?”

      “Me?” Rusl bellowed. “Wh-what’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you answer?”

      “Maybe I’m trying to get laid, too,” Dorian sneered.

      Rusl snorted. “You? Please.”

      “The fuck do you want?” Dorian growled.

      Rusl sighed. “Nothing,” he said. “I’m sorry I interrupted.”

      Dorian hesitated. “What’s wrong?”

      “Nothing,” Rusl said. “I just… thought something was wrong.”

      “Because I wouldn’t answer your call?” Dorian said in an annoyed tone.

      “Well… yeah. Sure. Sorry.”

      “Rusl.”

      “You were just… being weird earlier. I dunno. I was concerned.”

      But Dorian did not respond.

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “Should I be concerned?”

      “No,” Dorian said simply.

      Rusl was quiet for a moment. “Alright,” he finally said. “So, I was thinking about making this my last tour.”

      “Okay,” Dorian said.

      “Okay?”

      “For the love of Hylia,” Dorian muttered. “Can we talk about this later?”

      Rusl smiled. “Yeah, man. Tell Carissa I said hi.”

      “I will not.” The call promptly ended.

      Rusl stared at the screen until it went dark. He slipped the phone back into his pocket, then turned to see Uli standing in the doorway, her forehead creased in concern.

      “Is everything alright?” she asked.

      “Yeah,” Rusl said. “I guess so.”

      She frowned. “You guess?”

      “He’d tell me if something was wrong.”

      “Are you sure about that?”

      “Yes.”

      Uli sighed. “Okay,” she said. “I trust you both.”

      “A terrible decision, really.”

      “So far, it hasn’t been so bad.” She tried to scratch at her back. “But I did let you convince me to get this tattoo.”

      “It’s for your own safety.” He pulled her arm toward him. “Don’t scratch.”

      “Safety, sure.” Uli grinned at him. “I’m definitely not safe from you. It’s been nothing but a dick magnet.”

      Rusl shrugged. “What can I say? I think it’s hot.”

      Uli winked at him and turned away. She let her fingers drag across her palm as she stepped back into her apartment, then regarded him flirtatiously over her shoulder. “Coming, soldier?”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 17

      Display Spoiler


      Rusl stood in the doorway, his arms folded over his chest. His gaze narrowed on Dorian, but Dorian was clearly avoiding it. He sat behind his desk more casually than Rusl was used to seeing. His chin was in his palm, elbow on his desk, and he regarded his computer screen with disinterest.

      “Are you even listening?” Rusl asked in annoyance.

      Dorian’s gaze flashed to him for a moment. He sighed, then sat back in his chair. It rolled back slightly.

      “What’s wrong with you?”

      Dorian’s gaze dropped to his desk. “What brought you to that decision?”

      Rusl’s arms dropped to his side. “I dunno,” he started. “I did my time.” He sighed. “Besides. If you expect Uli and I to have hero babies… I’m going to be around for them. Can’t have you dragging my ass all over Hyrule. And isn’t that what you wanted, anyway? You’ve been slowly trying to push me out, giving me all the crap that you know is beneath me.”

      “Hm.”

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “But I have one condition.”

      Dorian met his gaze. “What’s that?”

      “I don’t know what you’re hiding from me, but if the Yiga have become a problem again, I’m not leaving.”

      Dorian pulled his gaze away. “There’s no problem.”

      Rusl stepped forward and pressed his palms against the desk, leaning down into Dorian’s face and catching his gaze once more. “I don’t buy it.”

      Dorian held his gaze and his brows knit together fiercely. “The Yiga have not resurfaced. You have my word.”

      Rusl held his position for a moment, searching Dorian’s gaze. He still didn’t really believe him, but he trusted his friend. His best friend. Dorian had never steered him wrong before. He straightened, then stepped away.

      “Fine,” he muttered. “But whatever your deal is, you better cut the shit. It’s freaking me out.”
      Dorian pulled his gaze away once more. “Dismissed.”

      Rusl hesitated, then turned and left him alone in his office. Dorian stared at his computer screen for a moment, jumping when his phone vibrated against his desk. He didn’t recognize the number that flashed on the screen, but that could have only meant it was one person. He answered it quickly.

      Kohga’s voice was furious. “The spirit of the hero has disappeared. You wouldn’t happen to know why that is, would you?”

      “No.” Dorian kept his voice steady. “Impa has not found the other one.”

      “I don’t think I need to remind you that you work for us,” Kohga sneered. “Test me, and I will take everything from you.”

      The call ended, but Dorian kept the phone pressed to his ear for a moment, his face turning white. After a moment, his hand slowly fell away and the phone dropped to his desk. His gaze moved to the framed picture of Carissa, Koko, and Cottla and he pinched his lips together. He was in too deep, and he couldn’t even tell the one person he relied on most. How could he? He had spent the last year pushing Rusl away. They no longer did missions together, and Rusl was completely unaware of the missions Dorian was going on. Not to mention his most recent failure that got his entire team killed, leaving him with no choice but to agree to work with Kohga.

      No one knew that he was against Hyrule, even if for the safety of his own family. No one knew that he was feeding Kohga intel. And yet, he was doing everything he could to keep the vital information a secret to his enemy. He was playing a dangerous game alone, and he was terrified.

      *****

      Rusl hardly saw Dorian in the months following their encounter in his office. It came as no surprise when his missions became fewer and fewer, though Dorian seemed busy as ever. It felt strange not to see Dorian as often as he did, but his time was occupied in other ways, more specifically with his new found engagement to Uli. And though they had found some time to celebrate together, his friend’s growing absence only made Rusl worry.

      “It’s happened,” Uli said. She sat across from Rusl. “I told you it would.”

      Rusl met her gaze. “Huh?”

      “Your face.” She pointed at him with her beer bottle. “It froze like that.”

      Rusl’s forehead relaxed. “Sorry.”

      Uli frowned. “Nothing from Dorian?”

      Rusl shook his head. He stood and moved to the fridge to grab another beer.

      Uli put her chin in her hand and watched him. “You should reconsider your options for best man,” she said. “He won’t even make it to the wedding.”

      Rusl sat at the table with a sigh. “Or, hear me out, we could just go right to city hall -”

      “You’re not taking this away from me,” Uli snapped at him. “I’m getting my white dress and my big party and you’re going to deal with it.”

      “You realize how depressing that will look for me, right? I’ve got one damn guest out of two hundred.”

      “Yeah,” Uli started. “And he probably won’t even show up.”

      Rusl sighed. He drank wordlessly from his bottle.

      Uli reached across the table and took his hand in hers. When he met her gaze, she offered him a soft smile. “You’re right,” she said. “We really don’t need them. We’re the only ones that need to be there.”

      “I know,” Rusl said. “But I’ll do it all for you.”

      “Aw, you’re such a big softie.”

      Rusl frowned. “Don’t tell people that.”

      “Wouldn’t want you to look less macho.”

      Rusl stood, moved to her side, and pulled her up, wrapping his arms around her. “I’ll show you macho.”

      Uli giggled as he pressed his lips against her neck. “You’re cheesy.”

      They glanced at Rusl’s phone as it vibrated loudly against the table. Dorian’s name flashed on the screen. Disinterested, Rusl resumed kissing Uli’s neck.

      “Aren’t you going to answer it?” she asked, pulling away slightly.

      “He never answers when I call,” Rusl pointed out.

      Uli frowned. “He also never calls you unless it’s important.”

      Rusl shrugged. The phone quieted, showing only a missed call. “If it’s important, he’ll call
      back.”

      No sooner did he say the words and move closer to Uli once more, the phone began to vibrate again. Uli pulled away, looking at him expectantly, and Rusl sighed. He picked the phone off the table and answered it.

      “Hey. Leave me alone. I’m off duty.”

      “Rusl,” Dorian started. His voice was hard and he sounded breathless.

      Rusl’s brows furrowed. “What’s wrong?”

      “I… I need you.” He hesitated. “I need your help.”

      “Where are you?”

      “Forget it,” he said quickly.

      “Where are you?” Rusl pressed. “What’s going on?”

      “I… I need you to take the girls. Bring them to the city. To Impa.”

      “Where are you?” Rusl repeated, his voice hardening. “Are you alright?”

      “For now,” Dorian muttered. “We’re in Faron. I’ll text you. How quickly can you get here?”

      “I’ll be right there.” Rusl ended the call. He turned his gaze to Uli. “I’m sorry,” he said
      quickly.

      Uli shook her head. “Go.” She offered him a smile. “I’ll be here.”

      Dorian’s text came in as a series of numbers. Coordinates. Rusl’s brows furrowed. What
      the hell had Dorian got himself into?

      “Don’t leave,” he instructed Uli.

      Uli frowned. “What if we’re under attack?”

      “Then don’t die,” Rusl muttered. “The fate of Hyrule kinda depends on your child, you know.”

      Uli pressed her lips against his. “Be careful.”

      “I’m always careful.”

      She raised a brow. “Are you, though?”

      “I’m still alive, aren’t I?”

      “Keep it that way,” she said. “You’re marrying me whether you like it or not.”

      Rusl smiled and saluted her. “Aye, aye.” He planted one last kiss on her lips before grabbing his keys and hurrying out the door.

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]

    • Chapter 18

      Display Spoiler


      It seemed, to Rusl, that they were quite literally in the middle of nowhere. The coordinates Dorian gave him brought him away from all civilization until the pavement turned to untraveled dirt roads, leading him to places that might have once been. It seemed unreal that such unpopulated areas could exist in Hyrule, making him very aware of just how big the kingdom truly was, and how little of it he had seen, despite how often he seemed to move from one location to the next.

      He found them just on the edge of a dense forest at the base of one of the mountains north of the city. He stepped out of the car and let his hand rest instinctively on the butt of his gun as he approached Dorian. Dorian moved away from his family, stepping out of the treeline and meeting Rusl.

      “What in the fuck -”

      “I’m working with the Yiga Clan.”

      Rusl’s mouth hung open, not only interrupted, but in complete shock at Dorian’s sudden confession. He stared at Dorian for a moment, then his expression hardened and fury pulsed through him. “You what?!”

      Dorian’s gaze fell, but he said nothing.

      Rusl hesitated, holding his gaze on the Sheikah. “Why? How long? Why are you telling me this?” He gripped the weapon on his hip, but did not pull it from the holster.

      “Almost a year,” Dorian said softly.

      “A year ?” Rusl bellowed angrily. “Are you fucking serious?”

      “Rusl,” Dorian started. He met his gaze, his eyes pleading with him. “Listen to me. You and Impa are the only ones who know.”

      “Impa knows?” Rusl was still shouting angrily.

      “Shut up!” Dorian snapped. “We don’t have a lot of time. They’re hunting us.”

      Rusl watched him carefully. “Tell me the truth,” he said through clenched teeth.

      “I was following a lead from Impa when I ran into them. My team was ambushed. We were heavily outnumbered. Everyone died but me.” He hesitated and pulled his gaze away. “They had been following me for a while. They knew I was working closely with Impa and King Roham. They wanted my intel. To act as a double agent.”

      “And you agreed?” Rusl hissed.

      “They were going to kill my family,” Dorian barked at him. They fell silent. After a moment, Dorian continued. “I did it. But I told Impa. And she agreed to help me. She would keep them safe, and in turn, I would continue to work with them. A triple agent.”

      Rusl stared blankly at him for a moment. He took a step back, his gaze turning cautious. He studied Dorian for a moment, then turned his gaze to Carissa. Koko and Cottla were clinging fearfully to their mother. Their wide eyes were watching Rusl and their father.

      “What have you told them?” Rusl asked, his voice steady. But his mind was racing as he recalled every secret phone call. Every broken gaze in an attempt to hide his secret.

      “Nothing,” Dorian said fiercely. “As you know, they’ve been trying to find you and Uli in an attempt to stop the hero from being born. They thought Uli’s brother was going to be the father. But they noticed when Uli got warded. Kohga thought I had something to do with the disappearance of the spirit. His orders were to find Uli and bring her to him.”

      Rusl pulled his gaze away. Deep lines creased his forehead. “What did you tell him?” he asked.

      “I lied,” he said. “I said nothing about you or Uli. And I told Impa everything. But word got to Kohga that I was trying to get out.” He paused. “They’re hunting us right now. They will find us, and they will kill us.”

      Rusl hesitated. He met Dorian’s gaze. “You won’t be able to get out,” he said. “Not as long as the Yiga Clan exists.”

      “I know,” Dorian said softly. “I fucked up. I thought I could do something. I put my family in danger.”

      “And what do you think I can do about it?” Rusl hissed. “I’m not a Sheikah. I don’t stand a damn chance against them.”

      “Just take them,” Dorian pleaded with him. “Take the girls.”

      Rusl felt the color drain from his face. “I can’t,” he said. “D… I can’t protect them like you can.”

      “Please,” Dorian begged. “I’ll hold them off. It’s me they want. Just get them back to the city. They’ll be protected under Impa’s ward.”

      “Why don’t you just do it?”

      “They’re tracking me,” he explained. “It won’t be long before they find us. I can’t lead them to the city.”

      “You can’t just do your Sheikah thing and poof them into the city?”

      “They will sense it,” he explained. “And no Sheikah magic can penetrate the ward.”

      Rusl frowned. “I don’t like this.” He looked passed Dorian. It was dark in the forest, but he could just make out Carissa, clutching her daughters against her.

      “You’re warded. They don’t know you,” Dorian said. “They don’t know the role you play. They’ll have no reason to suspect you at all. You’ll be able to slip right by. I’ll hold them back until you get them into the city.”

      “And then you’ll poof yourself out of there, right?”

      “Sure,” Dorian said, growing exasperated with him. “Just let me take care of this, alright?”

      “Fine,” Rusl muttered. “For fuck’s sake, D. I’m going to kill you.”

      Dorian stepped forward and pulled Rusl into a hug. Rusl opened his mouth to argue further with him, but instead sighed and hugged him back.

      “I hate you,” Rusl muttered.

      “Thank you.”

      Rusl pulled away and turned his attention to Dorian’s daughters. He offered them a reassuring smile. “Ladies,” he said. He gestured a hand toward his car and bowed. “Your chariot awaits.”

      Koko turned her gaze to her mother. Carissa nodded to her and pushed her daughter forward.
      “Go with Uncle Rusl,” she said, forcing a smile. “Do whatever he says, okay?”

      Koko nodded and took her younger sister’s hand, encouraging her to step out of the treeline. They hurried to their father’s side, checking his gaze before moving to Rusl’s side. Cottla clung to his arm and looked up at him.

      “Don’t worry,” Cottla said. “I’ll use my powers to help.”

      “How did that work out last time?” Rusl said with a grin.

      Cottla frowned. “I’ve been practicing!”

      Rusl picked her up. “Well,” he started. “You’ll have to show me when we get into the city.”

      Cottla nodded enthusiastically.

      Rusl turned his gaze back to Dorian. “Be careful, alright?”

      Dorian’s gaze narrowed on him. “Look who’s talking,” he said. “If anything happens to them -”

      “I will gladly let you end my life.” Rusl put Cottla back on her feet. He brushed his hand through her hair and smiled at her. “We’ll be fine, right?”

      Cottla grinned. “Yeah!”

      “Daddy,” Koko started. Her brows furrowed. Her eyes closed and her ears twitched.

      Rusl’s hand moved to the weapon on his hip once more as his eyes darted to the forest. In that same instant, Dorian and Carissa spun on their hands, each with a hand raised defensively.

      “Go,” Dorian hissed over his shoulder at Rusl.

      But Koko had already grabbed her sister’s arm, pulling her into a sprint. Rusl quickly followed after them. He felt a pull in the air, and when he glanced over his shoulder, Dorian and Carissa were gone.

      He quickly ushered the girls into the car, and when they were safe and secured in the back seat, he slid in behind the wheel, turning the key in the ignition. The car sputtered, but did not turn over. He cursed loudly and tried again, but to no avail. He punched the steering wheel angrily.

      “Uncle Rusl,” Cottla started warily. “Are we gonna die?” Her voice shook as she spoke.

      “Come on, now,” he muttered. He turned to regard them over his shoulder. “Do you have that little faith in me?”

      “I dunno,” Cottla said.

      “Do you trust me?”

      They shook their heads.

      “Let’s go,” he said, opening his door. “Out of the car.”

      “What are we doing?” Koko asked as she and her sister jumped out.

      “We’re running. Think you can do that?”

      They nodded.

      “That way,” Koko said, pointing into the woods.

      Rusl hesitated. He looked to where she directed him. “Can you sense them?”

      “Yes.”

      He sighed. “Alright, kid. I trust ya. Lead the way.”

      Koko took off into the woods, with Cottla following close behind and Rusl bringing up the rear. His gun was in his hands as they darted into the woods. To his surprise, Koko and Cottla were quick and nimble - more so than he expected them to be, even for young Sheikah. They wove in and out through the trees as the forest thickened around them, leaping and bounding over roots and rotted logs. He was not nearly so swift and elegant, but he kept up with them as they ran, his senses on high alert and ready to react in a moment’s notice.

      It didn’t take long before they heard the unmistakable sound of battle. Tremors moved through the forest in waves. There was the distinct sound of an explosion that was, though distant, still much too close for comfort. He could hear the sounds of trees cracking and snapping which suggested the battle was moving toward them.

      Koko and Cottla’s young, trained minds recognized these things, too, and Koko quickly altered her course in an attempt at staying clear from the battle. Even so, she yelped and cried at each sound, and without intending to, her pace slowed until she stopped. Cottla turned her gaze to her sister, her lip trembling as she watched the fear flash across Koko’s face. She sobbed and turned to the safety of Rusl’s arms.

      “It’s alright,” he assured her as best as he could. “Everything’s fine. We need to keep moving.”

      Koko nodded, though she was still frozen to the ground. Rusl pulled her toward him, and she met his gaze.

      “Hey. We’re in this together, right?” He kissed her forehead. “They’ll be fine. We need to get somewhere safe.”

      Koko nodded again, wordless, but her body trembled.

      At that moment, there was another explosion, much closer to them this time. Trees cracked and fell to the ground around them, and Rusl pulled the girls forward once more. They returned to a sprint through the woods as the battled moved closer still. They ran until they came across a high rock wall that marked the face of a cliff that stretched up toward the sky from the valley where the forest sat.

      Rusl pulled the girls with him as they ran along the rock wall, the battle much closer to them, now. To his relief, he spotted an opening in the wall, which he was sure was the den of some wild animal, but he took the chance as it neared, pushing the girls inside.

      It was bigger than he first thought, and they stumbled inside. He pulled the girls against him as he pressed himself against the inner wall, away from the opening and into a dark corner in hopes of remaining unseen. He hugged them tightly, but their bodies still shook. Rusl ran his fingers through their hair, keeping them calm and quiet as he listened. The battle in the forest had quieted and he could hear voices.

      “I should kill you both right now,” an unfamiliar voice hissed.

      The voices were not so distant that Rusl couldn’t make them out, but he felt confident that they were at a safe distance for the time being. He dared to peek around the corner. He recognized the distinct uniforms that marked the Yiga Clan. The rogue Sheikah that made up their army stood amongst the trees, some in the shadows, surrounding their victims in the center. Dorian and Carissa were both in their clutches, and the man Rusl only assumed to be their leader, Kohga, paced between them, his hands behind his back and a sneer on his face.

      “Did you really believe you could get out of this?” Kohga continued. “That I would make such a threat lightly?”

      Dorian’s gaze narrowed on Kohga.

      “Unfortunately,” Kohga started. “I still need you, Dorian. However, I do not need her.” Kohga turned to Carissa, and her face paled. “Kill her.”

      xox *~* MiSsKaTrInAlYnN3 *~* xox
      I write stuff sometimes
      Shadows of Hyrule | Shadows of the Yiga | Shadows of the Future [prequel]