Legend Of Zelda Fan Fiction ❯ Comes to Light Pt. 04: Secrecy ( Chapter 49 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Chapter Forty-nine

Nocturna, as level-headed as she was, cringed at the sight before her: There were mortals packed together in almost every inch of the establishment, mostly males, all smelling of liquids of the body and of the brewer’s mill. They sat there muttering to themselves over bottles or glasses, occasionally bursting out with a loud nonsensical word or phrase: « Goddamn spoons! » or « Make a tit wink! » She’d observed mortals’ dreams for years, millennia in fact. Never had she seen such filth or heard such foul thoughts and thought of it as a real tangible to the creatures. What’s more, these mortals actually gave her pause and almost frightened her. Still, Link stood confident in the door, light from the outside world shining into the murky Ophelius’s Card House, « Where Everyone’s a Winner! » the sign so boldly exclaimed above the door and the mirror at the bar. When Link shut the door, the light seemingly disappeared as if trying to escape the squalor. The room was large, comprising two floors, the upper floor a large square that rode the walls, much like the lid of a toilet in her eyes, and barely enough light for mortal eyes to see without aid, the goddess thought.

« Two at the bar, » she heard Link say, before noting « four in the back, five at the right at the two tables. »

He was calculating the hidden henchmen’s numbers and scouting their positions, not with godly insight, but with his eyes, Nocturna realized. She knew he didn’t have to do it, but why was he doing it? In response to her thoughts, Link responded that he was simply « trying to see if I still have it. » And so the two gods walked through the boisterous drunks and their misty haze of sweat and bodily fluids that hung thickly in the air, reaching the stage near the rear of the establishment. On either side of the stage was a staircase that led to a second floor. For a place that claimed it was about cards, Nocturna noticed, she hadn’t seen a single playing card yet. As they ascended the staircase on the left, a man screamed as another laughed a haughty, almost piggish snort of a laugh. They reached the landing at the top of the stairs and looked across the floor up there.

« Looks like you lose again, » a slightly rotund and out of place gentleman announced to his sobbing competitor, who was obviously drunk off his ass to Link.

There were nineteen guard-types up there, mercenaries from the cut of them, most clad in patched together leather pieces and idly chatting amongst themselves, but alert enough to be acutely aware of the new spectators in their presence. They didn’t even bother to hide themselves like the ones below. Of course, there were an additional five across the room on the opposite floor, dressed in commoners’ clothes, pretending to be drunk-obviously those had escaped Cornelius’s knowledge, Link realized. The act would’ve been convincing had their eyes not been visibly clear and focused. Nonetheless, Link approached the table as the drunken man stated with triumphant voice, « I shall … be … back, Ophelius! And when I return … cheese will be … freeesh! » He stumbled past Link and Nocturna and Ophelius pocketed his money with a gap-toothed grin, twisting his thin, waxed beard beneath the lone chandelier in the establishment.

« And who do we have here? It’s not so often that I see a gentleman and his lady friend stop by my establishment, » the portly gentleman announced jovially, standing to acknowledge Link and Nocturna before snapping his fingers at one of his men to bring her a chair. He wore a velvet blue waist-length coat, a laughably flamboyant lavender undershirt, and cream colored leggings. The outfit made Nocturna’s stomach ache. « Forgive me for saying this, sir and madam, but you are the most exquisite example of femininity that I’ve ever laid eyes on. From which part of the globe do you come from, if I may ask? »

« It’s very … far away, » the goddess replied, taking her seat alongside Link, trying not to be visibly repulsed by the slight stink of his breath.

« Really? I’ve traveled the globe extensively before settling in Hyrule, so I may have passed through- »

« Believe me, you haven’t, » she said rather crossly, eyes flashing but for a second.

It was a new trick, but she was not unconquerable in his eyes. He’d get the pretty boy drunk and take her off his hands. No soon as the thought finished did Link smile, almost creepily so the man found.

« So, may I interest you in a drink, sir? »

« No thanks; I don’t drink, » Link replied, smirking as the man seemed lost for a moment. « I came here to speak to you about Cornelius Carpenter, first son of the Carpenters of Kakariko Village. »

Ophelius mumbled the name several times before his eyes went wide with remembrance. « Ah, yes! He’s one of my finest customers! Comes in every day or so and drinks about half my stock. What about him? »

« Seems he lost his house to you in a game, and I’m here to get it back, » Link said solemnly.

Ophelius regarded him with a look of indignation for a moment, before one of his guards, a large muscular man armed with two broadswords and a crossbow, whispered something in his ear that made him smile.

« I suppose I can return it to him, » the portly gentleman reasoned. « Give me 120,000 rupees, and it’s his. »

This was the Hero of Time, the mercenary had told him, so surely he had that kind of money, the con thought. Of course, this was the Hero of Time on a bad day, so he wasn’t up for being extorted.

Link clarified his position, starting with a laugh. « Oh, I’m sorry, » he said with a sincere overture, causing the con to laugh with him. « You thought this was a negotiation. It isn’t, » he said sternly. « Give me the deed. »

Ophelius’s face turned hard with annoyance, as he replied coolly, « He lost it fair and square, Hero. »

« Taking a drunken man’s property and forcing his son to steal isn’t fair or square, Ophie, » replied Link, slanting his words with enough sting to remove all humor from the situation. « Forcing a mother to work all kinds of crazy hours to pay rent on something she half owned, under threat of her child’s life, and didn’t turn over to you isn’t fair. »

« Life isn’t always fair, » Ophelius reasoned, giving veiled messages for his men to stay back.

Link said he couldn’t agree more with that statement, which seemed to make the old card hound feel as though his menacing mercenaries were doing their job.

« No, life isn’t fair, » the hero responded after an awkward silence, « but I am. I’m the Great Equalizer, you could say. Either way, I’m not leaving without the house. »

« And what if I continue to refuse this little offer? » Ophelius wondered aloud, brazenly signaling his men to encompass the situation.

Link sat back in his seat and drummed his fingers on the table. « Let’s put it like this: Today has not been a good day for me, and I have no problems turning you over to the Hylian/Sermonian Court System. »

Ophelius laughed. « What makes you think you can reach the door to do this, Hero? There’s one way into my establishment and two ways out-the front door and … the other way. »

Nocturna laughed this time, deriving a bit of morose humor from the thoughts spinning from Link’s head into her own. It was something Charon would do (laugh at the thoughts of evisceration) or someone who was partially like him.

« I am shocked and appalled, sir, » Link said flatly, before growing serious. « I’ll tell you what: we’ll resolve all of this with a hand of cards. You win, and I walk out of here and won’t utter a word to the authorities. »

« And if you win? » Ophelius replied, his lips curling up into his fat cheeks like a worm wriggling into the flesh of a peach.

« I get this establishment, the house, and you leave Hyrule, » Link said in the same monotone.

« Come, come now, old man, » the card shark said, dropping his facetious mannerisms and letting the snake within show. « I need something more. How about if I win, I get the woman? I don’t give a damn about that house. It’s not like the wench pays me on time anyhow, and she’s utterly worthless to me beaten and bruised all the time. So to make it even more interesting, how about we play until one of us has won ten hands? That’s the only true way to decide a victor. »

« Fine, » Nocturna said, accepting the terms before Link even got a chance to ask her permission. « Don’t lose this, Link. »

« Please, I’ve got the magic touch, » Link replied, eyes flashing at her before he winked.

« Not at this table, I’m afraid, » Ophelius said, stomping the floor once and activating a crystal wedged in the bottom of the chandelier above the table. An orange hue was cast upon them and he smiled: « This is a special gem I found on one of my journeys. It was used to moot the spells of witches and wizards. It seems that anyone with a mystical ability can’t summon it beneath its glow, which means no magic for you, Hero. See, I know how you divine hero types work-a lot of muscle, a little magic, and a pinch of brain. Well, not at this table, pal. Now, let us begin. »

Link sat unmoved. Testing himself, he attempted to make the cardsharp belch-and it succeeded. And so the game began with Ophelius dealing underhanded, holding the aces for himself and slinging Link whatever cards were below his marked favorites.

« I feel as though you’re setting me up, » Link said, as his opponent smirked and laid out what should’ve been four aces and a king.

Instead, it was a two, four, five, eight, and knave.

« I suppose I win, » the hero said, laying out the hand Ophelius had just given himself.

Perturbed, but still having faith in his crystal and his dealing style, the cardsharp laughed the peculiar event off.

The same thing happened seven more times-he’d deal himself the aces, actually stare at them to make sure they were aces, but as soon as he extended the cards away from his chest and laid them on the table, they were some randomly thrown together piss-bucket of a hand. What’s more, Link kept playing coy, saying things like this: « Right, I win again with the same hand. » Or « Look, I’m not going to be lulled into thinking you’ve given me this hand this many times accidentally. » Of course Link was cheating the cheater at his own game. Reality bent every time the cards were extended to be shown, always making Link’s hand the winning one. Ophelius shuffled the cards with fervor this time, almost deliberately showing off his blatant attempts to cheat, as he stuttered just long enough to give himself the aces.

« What do you have, Hero? » he asked, figuring if Link put his cards down first, there would be no cheat.

« Idiot, » Nocturna mumbled, having been in an extensive mental conversation with Link the whole while.

Link’s hand was comprised of four kings and a ten. Ophelius looked at his hand, aces all in a row with a red lady at the end, and smiled as he looked up into Link’s eyes as he placed them on the table.

« Looks like you lose, old man, » Ophelius said with a victorious snort.

« In what world do four queens beat four kings? »

The cardsharp looked down and saw the ladies looking back at him, almost as if they were mocking him. He grabbed the deck and shuffled through it. The aces were in their place, which would’ve meant he’d fucked up the shuffle if he hadn’t just been holding the damn cards in his hand! That was enough, though.

« Kill the both of them! » Ophelius shouted at his men.

The first man to charge was the mercenary with the two swords. He swung one of his swords for blood and it broke on Link’s neck, as he looked up at the confused heathen and put his fist through his chest. Link tilted his head as the man gasped for breath, organs trembling around his forearm, and then shrugged as he pushed him off. The encroaching horde took pause with that. Link didn’t mind, though. He needed to ease the tension.

« You know, I despise people that threaten kids, » Link said to Ophelius, as though he didn’t just put his arm through a man’s chest and have said man’s blood covering his arm up to the elbow.

Ophelius’s jaw just flapped soundlessly.

Again, Link shrugged, and then slapped the card table with such ferocity that it smashed and crushed almost the entire group of mercenaries to his left against the wall, crushing them all like so many grapes beneath a boot heel. Ophelius called for his remaining forces, but, alas, they were struck down, too. Most were broken, dead, or unconscious long before they touched the floor, bodies mangled in such ways that their boss nearly vomited on several occasions. Some screamed as limbs were ripped from their bodies. Others merely gasped their way into death, as Link carved a trench through one man’s chest using the arm of another.

And, as Ophelius watched the sheer brutality of Link going from man to man and crushing them like a raging boar would a baby rabbit, he shrank under a nearby table. Patrons ran from the bar, drunkenly screaming bloody murder into the town square, as men were bouncing off walls and screaming as they rained down from the floor above them in pieces. When all was said and done, Link approached the table that Ophelius sat beneath and swatted the large circular table, turning it into sawdust, and hoisted Ophelius to his feet by his fat neck. The mystical crystal, his supposed savior, floated down from the silver chandelier and rested in Link’s hand, before he snapped his bloody fist shut and crushed it.

« Give me the deed, » he said very precisely, before Ophelius was cursing wildly at his stubborn pocket buttons for refusing to release.

He handed the deed over to Cornelius’s house and everyone else’s that he’d taken in his two years there, bladder trembling free of liquid as he looked around at what was left of his forces. These were the strongest, most vile mercenaries he could hire! And … they were decimated, utterly destroyed and ripped apart by the hero’s bare hands! They said the Hero of Time was no joke in Old Kroatoa, but this wasn’t real. Over thirty men and only one of them laid a sword on him-and that didn’t even leave so much as a welt! There was blood and body pulp covering everything. It was horrible! Link released the old man and told him but one word as he leaned down and put his lips next to his ear: « Run. » The portly fellow did that and, with reckless abandon, dove right over the edge of the banister to the barroom below, caring naught that he landed on corpses and body parts, and hustled for the door as fast as he could. He didn’t try to pack or get his horse. He simply ran with the clothes on his back for the nearest path that led out of Hyrule.

He’d die two days later from exhaustion.

« Well, that was an interesting illusion, » Nocturna replied, smiling as she stood up and stepped over the sleeping mercenaries.

Link agreed, adding, « First few were real, but, after that, I decided to call it a wrap and spare lives here and there. »

« Well, color me shocked, » Nocturna said, eyes bulging a bit as there were a few mangled bodies that weren’t pulling themselves together. Oh, well, she thought, it wasn’t like they were nice people anyway.

« Suppose we should move these guys into opposite regions of the globe, so as not to set loose a ready made bandit party. »

« Indeed, » the goddess concurred, clearing half the men out with a thought, while Link did the others.

As the two gods exited the empty establishment, they were greeted by about twenty royal guards, headed up by two lieutenants, one Sermonian and the other Hylian. There were also a few drunkards who were obviously shaken and a gathering of citizens who’d followed the cluster of troops to eavesdrop on the commotion. Seeing Link, the Hylian sect of guards immediately sheathed their weapons and figured the danger had been subdued by him, and didn’t think twice to turn their attention to the drunks and crowd control. Meanwhile, the Sermonian half went immediately for Link.

« Halt! » the Sermonian lieutenant shouted. « These men claim that you killed a room full of men, covered the walls in blood, » he went on to say, even though the drunks claimed that someone who looked like Link did the killing. His voice was full of condescension and overt hostility, almost as though he were looking for a reason to give the order for his men to lock Link up.

To that, Link replied, « They saw an elaborate illusion. » Figuring that as enough, the Hylian guards and citizens were all but heading off, all completely satisfied with his answer. Still, the Sermonian pressed on and had his men block Link’s path as he attempted to go back to Cornelius’s. « Halt! I have further questions for you two. »

Link popped his neck and slammed his fist into the wall of Ophelius’s Card House, reducing it to rubble, exposing the interior to all the amazed spectators. There was no sign of blood, bodies, or that anything had been damaged beyond the wall. The Hylians lining the streets immediately whispered among themselves, talking of Link’s strength with a happy, almost euphoric air. The Hero of Time was getting up there in years, sure. His white hair was a testament to that in their eyes. But, still, he could knock a building down with one hand-and he was on their side! Ha! Who could mess with Hyrule? The ire was visible on the Sermonian faces, as even they had to admit that wasn’t a feat even their best could accomplish.

« Any questions? » Link asked impatiently.

The Sermonian lieutenant didn’t reply.

With that, Link raised his hand to the busted building front and the walls came back up to the awe of the crowd, who actually began to clap and shout about how great Link was. He smirked at the Sermonians, bowed to the crowd, and then materialized a sign and posted it on the door of the establishment: « For sale » it read. And with that done, Link acknowledged the crowd once more, before he and Nocturna parted the seething Sermonian ranks and went down the side street to Cornelius’s.

Back at the fortress, Zelda had walked numbly through the halls of her home for quite some time. She’d gone into her father’s study and looked around for a time after he left, amazed by the sheer number of pictographs he possessed of her and her brother. Things she’d deemed trivial or ridiculous, Link had categorized and preserved like genuine treasures. It had made her feel low thumbing through those albums, seeing the care in which her father immortalized her life through pictures. « He’s a monster? » she kept asking herself. The man had kept every drawing, scrap of paper, ribbon, blade of grass and so on that she’d ever given him! And … she called him an evil monster.

The Gerudo princess slowly came out of her thoughtful haze and found herself standing in the Gerudo Meadow, formerly the Archery Track. She attempted to backtrack, but, by then, she was face to face with Queen Zelda, who seemingly faded in from nowhere. The truth was Hyrule’s queen couldn’t sleep and figured she’d train. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to encounter her friend’s daughter. And the two women stared at each other, one with a slightly bruised jaw and another with the guilt of her foolishness weighing her down.

« Um … hello, » the Gerudo was slow to say.

« Hello, Zelda, » the queen replied, nodding her head in acknowledgment before walking around the statuesque child. As she walked into the meadow, the queen was hard-pressed not to notice her pursuer. « You’re wondering why I didn’t hit you back, » she stated more than asked, stopping before the first and largest Deku Tree that Link had created there so long ago.

The Gerudo princess didn’t reply, but that was exactly what she wondered.

Zelda, Queen of Hyrule, extended her right hand to the tree as though offering a handshake. From Link’s daughter’s perspective, only the queen’s middle fingertip touched the trunk of the tree, but she didn’t understand why. In an instant, the queen twisted her torso suddenly, leaning her weight into her right hand while folding her fingers into a fist simultaneously. The entire tree cracked from the point of impact and the queen quite agilely flipped back, grabbing Zelda by the shoulders, and carrying her on the strength of that first leap, as though she weren’t a six-foot-tall woman but a child’s doll. They landed about twenty feet away and watched the tree fall, broken along a jagged crack in its trunk, and land about four feet to their left.

Zelda’s mouth hung slack for a moment before she asked, « If you can do that, why didn’t you hit me back? »

« As strong as you are, I’ve been hit harder, » Zelda, Queen of Hyrule, replied. Her younger companion was still visibly shaken by the display of power, and the queen smiled. « Plus, I’m not as frail as I appear. Besides, I was aiming for that reaction-and, if I had, I probably wouldn’t be standing here. » The queen laughed a little, confusing her friend’s daughter, but said with an eerie insight into how Zelda the younger was thinking: « It is a strange and strong urge that a woman possesses when her child is harmed. The line between friend and enemy blurs as rational thought recedes. Whatever happened between your mother and father made her stronger than I am, and she would’ve killed me long before I attacked you. » She walked back a ways, toward the tree at the opposite end of the meadow, past the horse stables, and sat on a crate of oats near the chicken coop. Again, her young counterpart didn’t reply, but conveyed her question with her expression. The queen elaborated once more: « It doesn’t upset me, if that’s what you’re wondering, because I’d do the same in her place. There are some things that are bigger than friendship. It’s one of those intangibles that you can’t possibly understand until you’re in the position to. »

« What’s the point of being that strong? » Zelda finally asked of her own mouth, hesitantly approaching a woman she thought to be a veritable softy for years. « You have so many soldiers- »

The queen chuckled. « Those are my husband’s men, despite how unified this whole thing appears to be. I’ve got roughly 300 soldiers, plus 40 Sheikah, and myself. It’s easy to question the necessity of my strength when you’re living among the strongest race and your father is the strongest being in all of existence. »

« I don’t think that’s the case anymore, » Zelda mumbled, crossing her legs and sitting down on the ground in front of the queen. « I think Dad kicked me out, » she went on to say, eyes downcast into the grass.

The Hylian queen was visibly shocked. « What? When did he do that? »

« Earlier, » the young Gerudo said, « he told me that maybe I should move on, because he’d do far worse if people kept coming after him through us. »

With that, the older Zelda laughed, and sighed. « That isn’t an eviction, child. He wants you to see the world as it is outside of the fortress to get a better appreciation for the world in which you live. »

Confusion marred the young woman’s face, as though she were told a complicated riddle. « But I don’t have anywhere else to go … »

« It’s not about going anywhere in particular; it’s about learning through exploration and travel, » Zelda told the Gerudo princess, who seemingly got it. « I have an idea: Why don’t you come to the castle tonight around midnight? We’re going to take a little trip, and show you what’s what. » There was something about the queen’s smile that altogether unnerved her counterpart. She was too happy, so happy it looked sinister.

Still, Zelda accepted the invitation…

The day seemed to move impossibly slow from that point on, especially for Nabooru and Sepaaru. They were shadowing each other in a way, almost as though they were trying to thwart the other’s potential to get Link alone. They knew it was futile. Something deep in their bones told them that. It was as if they should be angry – push-her-down-a-flight-of-steps-and-stab-her-in-the-face angry – but they just weren’t. But they weren’t friendly, either. They just sort of … existed.

Their parents wandered about, a bit surprised when they found themselves confined to Gerudo Valley when an attempt to cross the bridge was made. Junior slept throughout most of the day, only waking long enough to bring Saria to his side. Of course, she was disturbed and upset by the fact that he was injured in a fight-one he caused, no less-and she saw fit to chew him out about it. Still, the sage, now a fifteen-year-old girl in appearance, quietly went to work attending to the wounds the young demigod had yet to figure out how to repair. After the frown faded from his brow and she was sure that he was resting peacefully, Saria slid herself against his side and quietly dozed off again. Her last thought was, « How am I going to get my bed out of here? »

Even when warping people without him, Junior still seemed to take mementoes along for the journey.

Some odd hours later, Link and Nocturna were still walking in tandem with a visitor hot on their heels.

« How far away do you live? » Rampart asked under his breath, a tad bit frightened by the hero and the woman accompanying him. They walked the entire way, never uttering a word, but always burst out laughing every few feet. « Jeez, we been walking for, like, ever… »

« We’ve been walking or we have been walking, » Link replied, correcting the child’s broken grammar the way he had done for his own children. He’d opted to take Rampart sooner to allow the boy’s parents some privacy for later. « Besides, we’ll be halfway there by the time we reach the bottom of this hill. »

« Why do you torture the mortal, so? » Nocturna thought over to Link, smirking some as he winced with the use of the word torture. « We could easily warp. »

To that Link replied, « I’m not going to make it easy for someone who robbed me. Besides, he’s obviously not tired from the walking. »

« Tsk, tsk, tsk-the hero is holding a grudge, » the Goddess of Sleep admonished, laughing for no apparent reason to the child at her heels.

As they reached the foot of the hill behind Lon-Lon Ranch, Link rolled his eyes at the goddess. They went through the brownstone path in silence, both mental and verbal, as the sun seemed to disappear to the child. The path even seemed small to him, probably because Link and Nocturna were quite possibly the biggest people he’d ever seen. Still, there was that indescribable feeling of disconnection for the boy. This was the furthest he’d ever been from home and his mom. Rampart hesitantly looked behind him, almost to see if he could see home from the path. He couldn’t, of course, and that was only solidified as they walked up the plank and came to a bridge with no sides.

Rampart stopped as Link and Nocturna stepped onto the bridge.

« Problem? » asked Link, looking back at the child.

« He’s scared, » Nocturna stated, watching the kid inch his way to one side to see how far the drop was, before inching backwards even further.

« I’m not s-scared! » he attempted to refute her claim, almost whimpering as a stiff gust of wind from behind felt like a solid push that would throw him into the pit.

Walking back to him, Rampart watched Link kneel before him. « I won’t let you fall, kid. » Link extended his left hand to the boy and smiled, nodding to his hand as if to say, « It doesn’t bite. » Hesitantly, Rampart placed his hand into Link’s, again feeling able to trust the giant god more than anyone else.

As they walked back toward Nocturna, Link finally breached a subject he’d long since pondered from the moment he heard it: « Are you related to Charon? »

Nocturna didn’t move, even as Link and Rampart stopped a few steps ahead of her. Her first reaction was to warp, but there was a slight impediment causing her to stay. It wasn’t a harsh, altogether forced thing, where Link confined her to the mortal realm. It was a more subtle, perhaps, reassuring hold on the fleeing woman’s wrist that he did. She responded through her mind that she was.

« Oh, » Link thought back to her, the voice of his mind sounding thoughtful. « Why didn’t you ever say anything? »

« Charon has his reasons, » Nocturna answered, a bit of petulant annoyance in her words.

Rampart turned with Link, growing slightly apprehensive as he was now on the outer edge closest to the gaping maw in the earth. He would’ve said something, but Link’s face was twisted in an odd expression, like he smelled something funny. The kid sniffed himself to make sure it wasn’t him.

« What do you mean ‘reasons’? » Link asked of Nocturna, their mental communication continuing above the mind of the mortal child in their presence. And, in that guarded manner that most gods regarded him with during his training when he eclipsed them or came close to some vain of knowledge they figured too vast for him to comprehend or even wanted him to comprehend, Nocturna’s eyes relaxed and she merely closed the door on him and refused to respond. « So, this is where it falls down, I suppose, » he continued in the wake of her silent reply, neither mad nor upset … visibly. « It’s been nice seeing you again, Nocturna, » said Link, speaking aloud as he and Rampart continued on across the bridge.

And though she should’ve respected her « brother’s » wishes, Nocturna’s chest seemed to be struck with a weight as Link reflected that same dismal, emotionally suppressed godly air unto her.

« Link! » she shouted, causing him to stop from the sheer emotional level present in her voice. « It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, it’s that I literally can’t. » Nocturna lifted her hand and tapped the air in front of her, bringing visibility to a thin, crimson and black aura that occupied the space immediately around her skin. Link frowned then, figuring her imprisoned and went at the barrier with his powers. Surprisingly, it wouldn’t budge. The Goddess of Sleep didn’t seem to mind, smiling as she said, « Don’t bother, Link. You can remove the barrier, but you’ll have to exert so much power that it’ll be lethal to this realm. »

« Then I’ll take you to another one, » he said, both gods too emotional now to speak through mental secrecy.

Again, Nocturna dismissed him with a gentle smile. « He fully intends to tell you, but, as with everything else, Charon has a scheduled time to do so. This- » she pointed at her mouth- « is just because I’m, as the mortals would say, a blabbermouth. » Link calmed down then, she knew-and she could only know it, because he didn’t visibly change one way or the other in expression.

« Fine, » the hero eventually said, shrugging off the tense moment, before asking one final question. « Does it bother you that he has that kind of control over you? »

Nocturna shrugged, saying: « I suppose if I had ever known of anything else, it might. But, alas, I’ve had quite a while to get used to this. Besides, it isn’t like he binds me every day. I figure he has something substantial planned for his little announcement, so much so that the fact that you even know there’s an announcement can’t ruin it. »

There was slight deception in her words, obviously. If she knew what it was, acted so cold about it before, how could there be a substantial surprise planned for it, let alone one to be spoken of so fondly? Then again, maybe what she knew could be taken either way-good or bad-dependent totally on his outlook. And so it was with great effort that Link chose to trust his friend instead of his paranoid instincts. After all, what could Charon possibly have to say that could upset him?

Comes to Light Pt. 03: Between Good and Evil
Comes to Light Pt. 05: Subterfuge