Chapter 2.1
 
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Chapter 2.1: A fateful discovery

 

Confused, Sara looked at her brother. She had always thought, she knew him, but apparently all that was a lie.

 

“Link, does it hurt badly?” He in the meantime tried his best not to collapse or throw up. He felt miserable and said with a piteous voice: “So-so…”

“You liar. Alright, I know the question was just plain stupid.” Sara eyed the wounds more carefully, as Link sat on a chair. “Good god… who could have done this to you?” With a cotton-swab, she gingerly applied disinfectant on the lesions. Link shut his eyes, clenched his teeth and hissed through them pressed: “If I knew… he wouldn’t get to live another second.”

Sara was horrified. She had never heard her brother utter something like this. It sounded cruel and cold. Every emotion seemed to have vanished from his eyes as well. They were completely dominated by cold hate beyond imagination. Startled she dropped the cotton ball in her hand. Did he react that way to cope with the pain, or was there another reason? Sara felt, as if she treated a complete stranger all of a sudden. This person was not her brother. Maybe he never was, should this be his true face.

“Sara… I’m sorry…” Link whispered. “I am confused. It was… Just when I wanted to play… an irresistible tiredness befell me and in dream I was mauled like this by something. I am terrified… of falling asleep.” Sara smiled in relief, now knowing that she had not been wrong about Link all her life.  Delicately she said: “Maybe you shouldn’t play Zelda for now.”

Link immediately knew that Sara was right. Every time he tried to play with this particular game, something happened to him. Odd. Sara started to apply a giant bandage over Link’s chest and abdomen. “Sara, I thank you very much. But, I have to ask you not to tell Mom and Dad about… whatever it was that happened. They would just be worried sick. I have to deal with it myself. This concerns me and me alone. I am going to find out who did it and what goal he pursued.” Link’s face radiated tremendous courage and determination all of a sudden. Initially, she wanted to object, but upon seeing his face…

“Okay, if you promise not to touch that game for now.”

Link nodded. “Promise.”

Sara and her brother pondered on the recent events. Link knew, sooner or later, his body would have to rest. He couldn’t fight back his fatigue for much longer. He lay on his bed and dared not to move a single muscle. The painkiller he continuously swallowed didn’t seem to kick in. How could they, when these wounds clearly weren’t of any natural source. 

 

The sun sank behind the treetops and tinted the small city in soft pink and orange. Link was already asleep, but his dreams were harmless, compared to the main incident of the day. This hell, he was forced to go through, probably was somehow connected to the Zelda-game, which actually was nonsensical.

The night passed sluggishly. More than once Link awoke, the searing pain from his wounds returning to his consciousness, groaning loudly. More than once he couldn’t help crying out loudly. Heavens, he hadn’t known what wounds were capable of. They could drive a man out of their mind, they could disturb and they could kill…

Again he woke up, his heart racing, bathed in sweat, wishing he were still in the arms of Morpheus. His whole torso smarted, only with great mental effort he managed not to vomit. He was freezing, threw his head from one side to the other and felt his sweat run down continuously. He sat up, accompanied by mortifying agony and edged out of his bed. Every step ran him hard, every move hurt. He tumbled to a cupboard, supported himself with cramped shut eyes on the wooden board. Out of a glass bowl he grabbed three more painkillers, hoping they would finally make an impact. He gulped them down and reeled back to his bed. Right before it, he couldn’t support himself any longer and fell down on his knees. He felt too weak to crawl back up and let himself down on the floor, swearing violently. He shut his eyes, longing for it to be over. This pain… this torment… Why did he have to go through such things? Why did he of all people have to endure such anguish?

Link had always been stronger than others, both in strength and, even if you wouldn’t know it, mentally. Many tough strokes of fate had made a confident, courageous young man out of him. Believing in “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” he went his way through life. But lately he had lost a part of his former fortitude. It was too much… His life had never had many firm, logical boundaries, he knew that, but it worsened ever so quickly now. Life expected too much of him. He was a teenager, who wanted to live and to have fun. But every time he thinks that a change is at hand, the next surprising blow of fate disillusioned him. Much like these unexplainable injuries, that no one else had to endure.

Peeved and disgusted by himself for feeling so weak and helpless, he laid a hand on his glowing forehead and stared blankly at the now dead headlights. Just how he felt on the inside… exhausted… dead…

He wanted to fight, sure, but at the moment he only felt like forfeiting the battle. The pain got stronger, welled up on his inside. Link clenched his teeth, cramped up, ready to bear the next wave of agony. Inexorably, it came. A loud cry emerged Link’s throat, then he passed out.   

 

At nine o’clock in the morning the shrill noise of an alarm clock droned through Link’s room. No one was there to hear it or shut it off however. Nobody except Link was at home. His parents were at work and Sara was at school with her clique.

On shaky legs, Link stumbled down the stairs, staggering, followed by a bad case of vertigo. He didn’t perceive, didn’t hear or was interested in anything.

Normally he had had a free hour today, like every Friday, which probably was the reason for nobody waking him up. Not even Sara had checked up on him. But now, Link was about to miss the second lesson. He didn’t care. How utterly unimportant school was, when there were other things that troubled his young heart. Great things would happen, something major would be awoken. Somewhere deep in Oblivion it slumbered, talked in a whisper and not everybody should be able to hear, what did not want to be heard. Arduously he dragged his strained body towards the bathroom, supported himself on the sink, asking himself, who the young man was, who stared at him from behind the mirror. A curious face, youthful and yet worn out, if not old. Unfathomable eyes, as deep-blue as the sea martyred by storm. Irritated, he turned on the faucet and plunged his face into cold water. There it was again… the stinging, the searing. And no-one could understand, no-one would want to understand.

Pitying himself a little he hit the mirror glass with his left, didn’t shatter it however.

At last, he padded out of the bathroom, crossed the dark corridor and reached the big living room. He picked up the telephone receiver, dialed a number and heard the voice of the receptionist of the doctor, who had his office in Destinykeep. He didn’t answer. Without a single word he lowered the receiver back on the phone, knowing that no one but Sara could know of this.

He was crazy.

He had to have lost it completely.

A game could not inflict injuries, especially not one that only functioned in a game-console.

A dream could not physically harm anybody, because it was merely a fantasy.

And a doctor would surely question Link’s sanity, if he told him, where he got his wounds from.

Frustrated and disappointed in himself, the seventeen year old student leaned back, gazed into space. Shouldn’t he at least call his school? Sighing, he decided against it. It was irrelevant, as irrelevant as everything, useless like his whole existence…

He got up, walked into the kitchen to look for a bottle of water. When he had found it he gulped down two sips, but suddenly his hand let go of it.

“Link…” it echoed through his mind. Confused, he turned around, searched in every direction, but there wasn’t anyone. This voice was now so clear and close, as if the person who possessed, it stood right behind him.

“Link…” Again it called.

He shook his head, tried to suppress the voice. He had enough, wanted back what it had taken from him – an ordinary life. His true self.

He pressed his hands on his ears  and bellowed: “Leave me alone already. I don’t want you. Get lost, out of my head.”

Calm… silence…

 

The silence was promptly interrupted, however. The telephone started ringing in its maddening fashion. Link slowly ran towards it. Panting from the exertion, he arduously grabbed the receiver. It was his little sister, who called from her cell-phone, wondering, why her brother didn’t show up at school.

“Link?” her cheeky voice sounded on the other end.

A weak “Yeah?” emerged his throat.

“Why aren’t you at school?” How come Sara didn’t know? She had disinfected and bandaged his wounds herself, hadn’t she?

“I…” he started, but didn’t allow himself to confess that he was too plagued with his injuries. “… wasn’t in the mood.” he ended the sentence and had to support his whole weight on the table the phone laid on.

“Have you gone crazy? Are you playing Zelda again?”

“No, Sara, and now leave me alone. I haven’t got the nerves for your stupid advice, so just spare me.” he spat, surprised he could even muster enough energy to do so.

“Damn, I’m calling, because I worry about you and all I get is your meanness. I could have done a lot of better things with my time, thank you very much.” With that, she hung up. Link tapped around on the buttons, annoyed. What did it matter, Sara would calm down eventually.

With a few tablets and the ability to distract himself from the pain, he got through the morning. He sat in front of the TV, watching mindless talk shows, amused by their definition of ‘problems’. These people really knew a violent stroke of fate or an ordeal, for they have experienced plenty and a few hundred more. People with cheap, bad thought out views of the world. People who didn’t understand the meaning of words like destiny or purpose. From time to time, Link felt like the last man on earth, or the last man from another dimension, where life was seen and treated in a different way, where many still knew, where the significances of life lay…

For there clearly were things more important than the neighbor frequently spying through other people’s windows, more important than the best friend constantly checking on her lover and a thousand times more important than the stupid hussy who judged others basing on their corpulence.

But the essential things weren’t appreciated or even seen by most people in Link’s surrounding.

 

Around one o’clock a courier disturbed Link again and brought the sickly teenager a giant carton, filled with some kind of advertisement leaflets, he was supposed to distribute in Destinykeep’s streets during the next week. He had done this kind of job a few times already, but hadn’t planned for this one to come. Swearing, he simply dragged the box into the corridor and left it there. He presaged probably wouldn’t be quite capable of doing this mindless task.

While he was there, standing in the corridor of his parent’s house, he was overcome by another peculiar feeling, as if he didn’t know his identity, as if the heart in his chest beat for a reason, he had forgotten all too long. He opened the front door and stepped outside onto the front yard. Fresh air blew around his ears, a sensation that made him remember something…

He watched a horde of elementary school pupils, who happily stormed home, looking forward to the weekend. He saw so many smiling faces…

Lost in thought Link remained there and watched the sky’s fantastic blue.

All of a sudden he could hear a harp, its moving sounds came from somewhere very close. A sad melody… Link looked around, but couldn’t uncover the origin of the tones and just enjoyed it. Since when did someone of the neighbors play the harp? Or maybe someone moved in the empty building at the end of the street? Gotten curious, Link trod a few meters down the street, constantly looking at the vacant house, which seemed almost creepy with all the trees growing around it. No, the sounds didn’t get louder, but, strangely, neither did the get more quiet. Link listened intently, almost starting to feel a little better thanks to the melody and hobbled back home. But the tones simply didn’t cease to reach his ears, not even when Link was back in his room, and not when tiredness again crept into him.

When Sara came back on the late afternoon, Link lay asleep on his bed. He looked almost half dead, all pale and with dark rings under his eyes. She wanted to wake him up, but sleep didn’t let go of his mind, he kept mumbling something, but didn’t open his eyes. Of course Sara was worried, but what was she supposed to do? She saw Link’s point when he didn’t want to call a doctor, and understood that he wanted to overcome it by himself. She finally left the room and waited in her room for any sound from him.

 

Link wandered, without feeling any pain, in a strange world. Before him he saw a vast forest, tinted in every color autumn can muster. It looked incredibly beautiful. Attracted by nature’s pure beauty he walked into the wood. He went along a small path, always following the nostalgic sounds of a lonely harp. A shudder ran down Link’s back, he felt his heart ache a little, like the call of an ancient memory. He was unstoppably drawn in the direction of that gentle melody that touched his heart in this way. Who was it, who played this instrument so sensitive and affectionate? Link could not think of anything but finding this person. The way was crossed by a small stream. Its crystal-clear water softly caressing the earth and rocks… Link now followed the stream that, as Link went further, slowly turned into a small river.

On a tiny glade, framed by the water, there sat a wonderfully beautiful girl in the high, green grass and played. Sad and dreamy…  

 

Link approached her. He couldn’t do otherwise, his legs moved on their own. Her eyes still were closed, but somehow Link knew of the heavenly blue underneath. Her hair was long and of a golden color that sparkled brightly in sunlight; it flowed calmly in the wind.

She was clad in a graceful, elaborately adorned dress, out of velvet cloth. When she finally cast up her eyes, she beamed at him. Was she an angel, a voice in Link’s head asked, or another wonderful being from fairy tales?

Silently, she spoke to him: “Say, will you find me?” A lone tear rolled down her cheek. Link recognized her voice from his dreams. Time after time, this very voice had called him, and now, as he finally faced the girl it belonged to, he wished it would remain in his dreams eternally. Present minded, Link answered: “If you let yourself be found.” He walked up to her, knelt down, yearning to touch her cheek, if only for one time. But she backed away and replied: “Forgive, but you cannot touch me. I am merely a shadow, few more than an afterimage in your soul. Even if I now possess the gift of a voice, it will fade away and when the new day awakes, no memories of me will linger.”

“You know my name, so please tell me yours”

“You know my name, you always knew it, and never shall you forget it.”

Link knew the girl, yes, she had always been a part of him, but he had no remembrance of her. “I do know you, even though your name still is a mystery to me…” She nodded and looked deeply into his eyes. He felt his soul stir under her gaze.

“Say, can I even find you?” She smiled, walked towards him and suddenly they merged into one another. Link looked around him. She had vanished, though, he felt her being very close; she was in his soul. Again Link surveyed his surroundings, recognized the wood as being the one he used to wander around in, identified the stream as well…

 

He startled up, lying inside his bed for once. Unhinged he looked at the clock, it was only a little past nine. He frantically dressed himself, completely regardless of the resulting pain. There was just this one desire: to go into the woods. The dream from a few minutes before, he could hardly recall, but someone or something commanded him to make haste for the forest. On tiptoes he snuck past Sara’s room; she thought he was still asleep. At the very moment he wanted to step outside the front door, he saw his parent’s car drive up, so he turned around and rushed to the back door. This sudden strength that welled up in him, even though he was seriously injured, was more than uncanny. Presumably this mysterious urge to go into the wood was what drove him in such a way. Fog was about to rise and night steadily crept over the city. Without a pause, Link raced into the woods.

It was pitch black, only a few scattered beams of light faintly shone through the treetops. “No, I won’t turn back just because of this darkness.” Link clenched his hands to fists. “Okay, whatever awaits me there, I will come through. Now I have to find out what the hell I’m doing here.” Link had no way of knowing that, with uttering these sentences, he had signed a momentous pact.

Lead by this powerful feeling he couldn’t describe or explain, he disappeared deeper and deeper into the forest. Something was waiting here, he could sense it. Suddenly he stepped into cold water. Ah, a stream must cross the way here, even if he couldn’t see it. The low hoot of an owl reached his ears as he continued running. Steadily, doubt infested his determination. What the heck was he doing out here? He heard himself mutter.

Pointless. Absurd. Silly.

Damn, now even the already weak light from his torch darkened. Curse it! The one time he really had a task to fulfill, he was haunted by bad luck. Link continued sprinting for a few steps, then looked around him and suddenly discovered a small clearing. The fog seemed to recede from it, allowing the moon’s gentle light to caress the grass. The trees all-round cast huge shadows…

Was this a dream, he asked himself. He couldn’t fathom why he was here. For the first time he saw no sense in his actions. His wounds hurt a little. Only now, Link understood the reason why he was summoned here.

The whole time, he must have been entranced. His deep-blue eyes glowed in the darkness, as the moon revealed a human shape, lying face down in the water.

Like a maniac Link rushed up to her… just dived down to her and held the person in his arms. Was this real? Who was this girl? Even if Link barely saw in the nightly forest’s blackness, it was clear that she desperately needed help. He searched for a pulse on her neck; hopefully the water had not entered her lungs. No, thank heavens, she breathed and her heart was beating. This was insane! Was she the one calling him to this place?

Unimportant, who she was or why she had lain there. Irrelevant, why Link had heard her cries for help. The only thing that mattered now was to aid her.

He lifted her up and carried her on his arms. Astonished, for she seemed to weigh close to nothing, and bewildered by his vast reserves of strength, Link left the woods and darted like a shadow through the night.

He stopped in front of his parent’s house, carefully set the girl down and threw a well-aimed stone at Sara’s window. She opened immediately. Aghast, she looked at her brother and then, getting her even more confused, she noticed the girl in his arms. “Sara, distract Mom and Dad, could you?”

“You idiot! Do you have any idea how worried I was about you?”

“Yeah, I get it. But this girl here needs help badly.”

“Alright. But you’d better hurry!”

 

A few moments later Link stepped inside his room. Sara had fooled their parents perfectly, they had no clue that he now had a guest.

The girl in his arms was completely drenched, her skin was deathly-cold and she looked wrecked. Still, the very moment he stepped into the light of his room, he was downright overwhelmed by her beauty.

A pretty, slender face, without any flaws and completely spotless, crowned by a perfect nose and refined by full, red lips, a shapely chin and a tender forehead. Her slim, immaculately proportioned body seemed almost fragile in Link’s eyes, and was clad in a long, wine-red dress, ornate with fine, golden patterns. Long, sleeves, but a rather inviting cleavage. It fit very tightly, so every last feature of her graceful body could be marveled.

He gingerly placed her down on his bed and took off her red sandals. She didn’t even wear socks, thus her dainty feet were cold as ice. Link quickly put a blanket over her. A few seconds passed in which Link found himself utterly unable to avert his eyes from this mesmerizing being. There was something… she made him remember things he seemed to have forgotten. But what things?

And another thing that drove him crazy with questions: The fact, that he was suddenly worried out of his mind about her. He cared so selflessly about someone, he did not know, he genuinely feared for her life, although he had only found her a few minutes ago by accident. Or, maybe fortuity had had no say in this… hadn’t it been destiny, perhaps?

He jumped at the little oil-furnace and heated it up maximally. Then he faced a seemingly insurmountable problem. Her clothes were completely soggy. She had to be freed of her dress, before she caught her death of cold. He sat down at the edge of his bed, distracted by an unexplainable desire to just embrace her, bewitched by this wonderful face of hers. He only wanted to see this face smile, for it had to be an enchanting experience.

Gently, he brushed the wet, golden strands of hair from her visage, when his gaze fell on her right hand. She clasped something in it. Carefully, Link tried open her clenched hand and retrieve the object. She moaned faintly, shook her head in her sleep and then lay quiet once again. Link tried it once more and succeeded. Amazed he examined the piece of jewelry he just acquired. It resembled a richly adorned and gemmed tiara. Link looked at it carefully, gently touching the ornaments, but then put it on the bedside table.

What did the jewel matter right now? She was so much more important to him… she seemed so intimate to him… and since her voice had called him to her, he was now responsible for her.

He bent over her a little, only wanting to know of she breathed regularly. Maybe it would be a good idea to call a doctor?

But what would Link tell him? “Help this girl please, I found her in the forest, because she called me…” What nonsense!

Link quickly discarded the thought. Apart from the difficulties of explaining how he came to find her, Link didn’t know her name. She had nothing with her, neither ID, nor any other document and especially no insurance-card. Moreover, his sixth sense strongly told him that it would be wrong letting anybody know about her existence.

She breathed only a few times per minute, but very periodically, which Link interpreted as a good sign. She eventually turned on her right side, making it impossible for Link to see her face. She started shivering. Link’s mind once again was on high alert. Damn, he thought, I really gotta help her out of this wet outfit.

 

Only a few seconds passed, before Sara fortunately entered his room. She cast strange glances at him, but most importantly, the girl was safe now.

“Link, now would you please tell me what happened?” Without ever letting the unknown beauty out of his sight, he told her the whole story.

Sara just found all of that egregious. First Link was chastised with these grave injuries and now all this business with this girl, allegedly calling his name… Slowly but steadily Sara knew she would soon go crazy with stuff like this happening. She was used to all kinds of strange occurrences revolving around Link, but this surpassed everything by far.

“Well then, what are we going to tell Mom and Dad, when they notice her presence?” Sara wrinkled her forehead.

“I know.” she said. “We just say she’s your girlfriend.”

Link’s face turned crimson. “But Sara,” Link sounded very sheepish. “You can’t simply announce something like that…”

Sara took him a little aside: “Other topic: Doesn’t her appearance strike you as odd?” “What should be odd about it, she’s just pretty.”

“Oh yeah, wonderful in every thinkable aspect, am I right? Blonde hair, certainly she has blue eyes, lips that seem to yearn to be kissed and the only thing you say is ‘she’s just pretty’…”

“Oh, come on, Sara, don’t get so upset about this.”

“Don’t get upset he tells me! Now listen to me for one time, please. You know it better than me that something is massively wrong here. This girl is everything but usual, even if you apparently like to see her that way.

“But I just wanted to help her. Should I have left her lying in the water? Should I have abandoned her to drown?”

“Of course not, but…”

Link agitatedly waved his hands about in the air. “Of course not, but she has no place in this house. Is that what you’d like to say?” He gradually got furious at his little sister.

“Sorry, Link, but somehow her appearance here scares me. I don’t know how to describe, but with today, I feel that something has changed…” Link thought about it, then eventually nodded and looked back at the stranger in his bed.

Indeed… It was the time for shifts and changes in Link’s life. The time to understand his destiny and his purpose anew had come. It had been inevitable to find this mysterious being, essential for both good and evil that he got to know her.

“And what about her looks is it that you find so peculiar?” Link couldn’t help asking testily.

“It’s okay. It was just a thought…” Sara cast a quick glance at the Gamecube in the middle of Link’s room.

He turned around and mumbled: “Anyway… she is totally hypothermic… I’d say, you give her some of your clothes… they could fit okay. I mean, she… she’s completely drenched… and then, you know…” Link got more nervous by the second, probably about the thought that somebody had to undress this graceful being.

But why? Why the hell did it affect him so badly?     

Sara chuckled almost pervertedly, before she broke into roaring laughter. “Haha… now you’re completely and utterly lost, aren’t you… haha…”

Link’s face turned into a frown and facing this humiliation from his sister, he clenched his fist menacingly.

“Link, I was just kidding you.”

“Yeah yeah, only kidding. This situation is decidedly not funny, though. This girl needs warm clothes at once, her whole body must warm up.” Sara nodded, Link was right, of course.

“Okay then, my dear brother. You run into the bathroom and get me a few towels and a bowl with hot water. Then we’ll free her from the dress and dry her, no matter how much you blush.”

“Got it, on my way.” and he already sprinted out of his room, following her instructions.

He looked at the white, round clock hanging in the bathroom, while he filled a big metal bowl with warm water. Just after midnight… And somehow, Link had a feeling that for him there will be even less sleep than the night before. He yawned, and gingerly lay one hand on his wounded belly. A few sharp stings of pain reminded him once again of the occurrence a few hours ago… he needed quiet and sleep, though. But Link would certainly not close even one eye, until he was sure that this girl was not only beyond danger, but also well. Once full, he grabbed the bowl, which now raised steam, threw a few bathing towels over his shoulder and rushed back into his room. Cozy warmth was radiated at him, when he closed the door. The stove had achieved it’s purpose.

Carefully, Link placed the bowl down on his bedside table, unconsciously knocking the precious jewel back behind it. With a little clatter neither Link nor Sara attached importance to, the tiara dropped between the table and the wall.

Again Sara called the shots.

“Now, my dear brother, you’ll help me to sit this pretty being up, so that I can open the zip of this costly dress on her back.” Link did as told. He sat down on the edge of his bed and pulled the girl towards him on her arms. He held her in his arms delicately while Sara fumbled around with the red zip. Shyly he studied the wooden planks of his attic room, hoping imploringly, Sara would hurry up already.

Only a few seconds passed and Sara had freed the girl’s tender upper body from the garment. The young lady was still leaned against Link, who dared not avert his gaze from the wall. He was a true gentleman and didn’t peek, he neither saw the cream-colored corset that covered very little of her body, nor the conspicuous birthmark in the shape of a triangle just below her breast. But Sara wasn’t done yet, the corset had to be removed as well.

“Okay, Link, now is the time were you courteously close your eyes.”

Of course he did it right away. “And don’t only act as if they’re shut.” shot at him. “Or I’m going to tell her when she wakes up.” He knew better than doing so. It was definitely not his intention to let the first impression be a bad or ignorant one… even though that’s what most people tend to think when meeting him the first time. Sara unknot the corset and wrapped the young lady in a big towel.

“Done, you can open your eyes now, Link. You really were a good boy. I wouldn’t have trusted you to be” Sara chirped grinning.

“You generally don’t give me a lot of credit.”

“And maybe it’s better this way, my dear brother.” she retorted and laughed. Link, too, finally managed to have a genuinely laugh, something he hadn’t had in a absurdly long time.

“Hey, what was that? You really can still laugh, Link!” He eschewed Sara’s look, who began to understand the origin of this unusually cheerful mood he had all of a sudden. This girl was the answer, her appearance alone had given Link back his ability to laugh.

“I wonder, why won’t she finally wake up? Maybe we should reconsider calling a doctor, or at least inform mom and dad.” Sara suggested, just about to bind the graceful girl’s hair together. Link thought about it, reflecting about the situation, finding only the latter idea to be wise. He still felt uneasy thinking about calling a doctor and having to give impossible answers to his questions. And what if he decided to call an ambulance immediately that took her away? What if she ended up somewhere unreachable and she didn’t even know where or why? No, apart from his parents no one must be aware of her existence…

He shook his head. “I’m afraid I can’t give you any proper reason, but I think it’s better not to involve a doctor.”

“Come on! Are you nuts? What if this girl is seriously ill and desperately needs medication?”

Link lay his hand on the girl’s forehead and mumbled: “Please believe me, but I know that she is well.”

Sara’s turn to shake her head. “You are mental. Sorry but today you really are.”

“Damn it, Sara.” Link started. His voice got loud and forceful. “You do not understand this. She has called me, not a doctor. If the faith you have in me is that minute, just go ahead and call whomever you like, better starting with the police. But I can promise you one thing: Before anyone arrives, I’m long gone, along with her. End of story!” Link jumped up and bellowed: “Stop acting all-knowing and important already, will you? She is in danger. She’s just…”

Hushed Sara dropped her gaze, a little sad that Link could snap at her to vigorously. “I see… I just hope you’re right…”

Link too lowered his head. With a reflective expression he uttered: “I didn’t want to treat you like that. Sorry.”

Sara nodded, but didn’t look in her brother’s eyes. Instead, she took the rest of the clothes of the girl and rubbed her drenched legs and back dry with soft towels.

Shrouded in bathing-towels she now lay peacefully on Link’s bed and again, she looked ever so fragile in the young man’s eyes.

He sat down on the mattress and watched her closed eyes. They were moving fast; she was dreaming…

“Sara, can you see that… she’s dreaming.”

“Yeah, maybe about you, you womanizer.” she said teasingly. Link stopped himself from cursing her and replied: “It shall be the first thing I ask once she is awake.”

“Yes, but don’t expect too much. Could be her character is exactly like her appearance. Conceited. Unapproachable and obstinate.”

“You don’t know that.”

“But neither do you. What is it you want from her? Be glad, if somebody comes for her. At least then we’ll be rid of her.”

Dismayed, Link stared at the gray-blue eyes of his little sister. “I can’t believe how heartless you are at the moment.”

“And I can’t understand why you’re so stupid, naïve and amiable.”

“Still, it’s better than being an unfeeling monster. Sara, please. Can’t we end this pointless discussion already?”

“These discussions aren’t pointless. You can’t just let this girl live here with us.”

“I can’t remember saying anything like that. When she awakes, she’ll surely know what to do.”

“When she awakes? What if she’s in coma?”

“And you accuse me of being out of my mind. You’re the one who’s nuts, Sara.” Offended, Sara stormed out and slammed the door. “Idiot!” it sounded from behind it. Link shook his head. Who had started all this trouble? Not him, that’s for sure!

More than once, Link had had such quarrels about such petty things with his little sister. They were siblings after all, so such arguments were all but uncommon. Sara would cool down eventually, because she too had to feel, that Link was more than right about his decision. In the end, she had always been convinced of his ideas, of his point of view. And it would be the same now… once this girl cast up her eyes. Still, it’s worrisome that she simply refused to wake up. Something terrible must have occurred to her. What normal girl lay face down in a stream in the middle of the night in the forest? As if she wanted to conceal it, not willing to admit her identity. That’s exactly how Link felt about this being… refusing to show her true self to anyone.

Pensive, Link went to a clothes hamper and pulled a bulky blanket out of it. He attentively placed it over her unconscious body, a frame that told him so many stories, even though he was positive he didn’t know her.

He looked into this pale, yet lovely face, secretly asking himself, why he was so troubled and worried again. Was it his natural compassion, his willingness to help and his empathy for the people in his surrounding? Or maybe, because her sight gently touched something, something that had yet to awake in his heart?

She mumbled unintelligibly and snapped her head from one side to the other twice. Link felt, she was having a nightmare. Something had happened to her. Despair, as well as fear seemed to enshroud her mind. He took her pale, right hand in his two and could feel her squeeze a little, as if she was going to say “Thank you”.

He started to smile. An honest, true smile. Another sight that had not been seen on him for the last weeks or even months. He never had had any genuine reason to. But now, since she was here… he felt, as if a beam of hopeful light warmed his cold, troubled, young soul.

He smiled, and it was a pleasant sensation.

Sara came back and saw the calm, heartwarming expression on Link’s face, which decidedly changed her mind. This girl, solely through her presence, had melted an iceberg…

“Link?”

“Got more arguments against her staying?” he said dryly, gently loosening his hand from hers, although her fingers had cramped around his.

“No… I wanted to tell you that I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have doubted your decisions.

“So you agree to let her stay for now?”

“Yes.” Sara said, concisely.

“Thank you, sis.” Sara, now a lot more calm and composed, left the room, announcing: “I’ll get her a few heat packs.”

“Thanks again!” Link said, sitting down beside her once again. Sara remained standing in the doorframe briefly, without her brother noticing. His face showed deepest grief; he whispered: “I’m so sorry… I am… so… sorry.” Link currently didn’t seem to be in his right mind. His eyes squinted for a second, and then closed.

Sara finally left, let the door click shut and leaned against it. She couldn’t understand what was going on, did no longer comprehend the world around her. “Link” she sighed, foreseeing that soon he would no longer be the likable young man, her brother. It were more than mere worries about this girl. His expression, his eyes had completely changed. It now contained so much sentiment and warmth, so much care and sympathy. When Sara came back, he still sat at her side, just looking at her.  

“Link” Sara spoke. He got startled a little, as if he had been somewhere completely different and had only now found back to his consciousness.

“I… I know it sounds crazy… but I know her…” Sara gaped, flabbergasted. But she had actually been expecting to hear something like that.

“Well then, Link, it’s late, and even though weekend starts tomorrow, I’m dog-tired.” Link agreed. It had been a long day, saturated with the craziest happenings that had cost him all his strength. After a little sigh he yawned, holding his hand in front of his mouth. Sara had left already.

He felt a mild desire to hold the girls hand… not because he felt somewhat drawn to her, but because…

Again the young beauty started trembling. Gently, Link placed his hand on her forehead, astonished by the soft, velvety sensation of her skin. No, there was no fever, but maybe something else? Was it fear?

“Hey…” he whispered, in an attempt to finally rouse her from her slumber. “Can you hear me?” he asked, a little louder than before. He touched her delicate pink cheek and almost against his will stroked her smooth skin with his fingertips. She sighed something, a word, however not comprehensible for Link.

“Please wake up…” he mumbled, wishing he could be bold enough to just take her into his arms. He was magically attracted to her and it slowly drove him crazy.

To distract himself, Link stepped in front of his window, watching the nightly scenery. Lone drops of rain fell from the dark sky. He was exhausted and felt the weight of his eyelids become increasingly heavy. Additionally, his injury made itself felt once again. The burning got stronger and relieved the relatively harmless sore feeling from before. A few moments ago he had spent a single thought for his wounds, for there had been things far more important. A wonderful being lay in his bed, someone he felt he had missed, someone with an unmatchable aura… But now lesions started hurting more fiercely again. Everything went black in front of his eyes. He dragged his battered body into the kitchen, heavily trying to support himself, toilsomely reaching for the light-switch. He missed it and collapsed in pure darkness.

 

For more than half an hour Link lay in said room, surrounded by dark. He slowly opened his eyes. He saw light, but could not make out its origin. Gentle little angels of light danced about the kitchen, which seemed to no longer contained any objects. The whole furnishing had vanished.

Link tried to rise, but he found it impossible. He had no strength; everything was so heavy… his arms and legs gone numb… A breeze blew through the now brightly lit room.

He turned his head towards the direction the draft seemed to arise from and saw a gateway, where normally the fridge would have stood. Light curtains flew in the wind, which appeared to be from a place that led to a faraway paradise. A new beam of light, like those rays, that delightfully fell through the morning mist in the forest. It blinded Link, but his gaze remained unwavering, and then…

Angelically, a pure being manifested in the light and stepped through the gateway. Link’s eyes closed, only to be reopened anew. The being gleamed in this light, that grazed so warm and tender, like the invisible warmth of fire.

She paced towards him, knelt down and smiled softly. A gesture of condolence, stunning the shadows in Link’s heart. Attentively, she placed one hand on the wound on his abdomen, healing with her mere touch, delivering him from part of his anguish.

Link looked into the angel’s face, recognized her beautiful face and took her hand into his. She yanked him back up on his feet in one swift movement. Link remained rooted to the spot, starting to feel his strength returning to him. He gazed at the mystifying being, yearning for her to reveal her identity.

“Wait…” he called after her.

As the dancing sparks of light died down, Link was certain that the angel before his eyes was the very same girl that had not yet regained consciousness in his room.

“Don’t return through that gateway again.” Link pleaded lowly, trying to establish eye-contact, longing to marvel these sky-blue eyes once again. He walked towards her.

“I can’t…” she mumbled, still not facing him but the portal.

“Why not?... the world I live in has many wonders for you to set eyes upon, and many pleasantness to offer you.”

“And what can I expect of yours, the other world?”

“Hope… trust… friendship…” Link muttered, not sure, whether he actually loved the world he lived, and if the things he mentioned really existed for him here.”

She remained standing, almost motionless, as Link made his way towards her. But he could run as fast and as long as he could, he would not be able to reach her.

“Please stay.” Link asked lowly. An honest plea, born from the desire for company and friendship.

“Is this truly your wish, Link? Will you show me hope? Will you be able to trust me and be my friend?”

“I will be to you whatever you wish for, and will assist you to understand whatever it might by you seek to conceive. But, I beg of you, don’t return to a place of emptiness…” She floated towards him, when slowly the light that had engulfed her faded, and her figure became alive and her body human. She fell into his embrace, kept her arms firmly around his shoulders, seeking shelter and warmth, which Link was willing to give.

A smile from two slightly sad faces…

“Call me Zelda…” she said, before Link dazedly opened his eyes.

 

To his astonishment, he really was standing and the light in the kitchen was turned on. A little distraught, his mind raced with his mouth was half open. What had that been? A dream… no, definitely no dream.

Gingerly, he felt the skin on his belly, knowing that the wounds had not miraculously vanished, but they smarted considerably less than in the past few hours. Slowly, the glowing pain retreated…

The memories of the just experienced vision gradually sank into deeper spheres of his mind, but were not forgotten. Link couldn’t forget… this girl, her aura, her voice… her name…

 

All of a sudden, his mother entered the kitchen, eyeing her son sullenly, because of the advanced hour.

“Do you know how late it is? What are you doing here at a time like this?”

Link took a quick look at his watch and his eyes widened to a startled expression. It was past four already. Where had the blasted time gone to? Had he slept that long?

“Erm… I was just thirsty.”

“Oh, I see. That’s why you’re still wearing jeans and your T-shirt.” She eyed him very exactly. “You could at least inform your poor mother when you go out in the evening.” Go out?

“But I didn’t…” She interrupted: “Sara told me, you had something to take care of. When your father and I returned home, you weren’t here after all.

“Oh, well…” Sara really excelled herself in terms of imaginativeness and cunning. Link would congratulate and thank her later…

“Could I at least hear what on earth you were up to tonight?” Link’s eyes wandered towards the ceiling, hoping the desperately needed answer would be written there.

“Erm…” he stuttered.

“Another adventure with the opposite sex?” she asked. Actually, she couldn’t be more right. And the poor, good-looking, future hero had a few dicey stories behind him, that revolved around the subject ‘girls’.

“Mom, give me a break.”

She grinned and chirped curiously: “But you can always tell your mom.”

Link’s cheeks blushed a little out of anger and embarrassment: “It’s not what you think, mom.” He answered, annoyed.

“And I thought you’d finally introduce somebody.” she retorted boldly.

“Mom, enough already.” She laughed out loudly and her mouth and the dimples around joyously widened. She walked towards the window and closed it, for a cool breeze blew into the house. After a short pause she said: “But now it’s bedtime for you. Got it? You’ve got quite the rings under your eyes…”

Link nodded and hastened up the stairs towards his room, pondering, how by the holy Deku he could tell his mother about the girl that was still slumbered in his bed. 

 

He entered the in darkness enshrouded room, and crossed it until he stood right in front of the bed. Like before, the unique being slept deeply, still in the same position as when he left her side.

He fumbled for the light switch of a tiny lava lamp, standing on his desk, when he suddenly remembered the tiara. He bent over the bedside table and saw the precious piece in a corner, he could only hope to reach, if he climbed halfway over the bed. “Okay” he told himself.

 

Carefully he supported himself on the soft mattress, directly besides the pretty face of the young lady. It was not easy keeping balance… only with difficulty his arms reached behind the cupboard and grabbed the jewel.

Just as he attempted to stand back up, he lost his hold and crashed onto the mattress, right beside the slumbering, gracious girl’s body.

It squeaked loudly. She didn’t open her eyes though, only mumbled something and turned towards the wall. Once again Link felt very dumb, so awkward and clumsy. The tiara had landed in a gap again and wasn’t worth another thought.

Link forgot about the stupid piece of jewelry and pushed a big comfy chair at the side of the bed, leaned back in it and made himself comfortable in the true meaning of the word. He took off his shoes, lay his head on the armrest and let his legs dangle down on the other side. He was past the great exhaustion, but a bit more sleeping would surely do him good. A few minutes later he had fallen asleep in the chair.

 

It was well after five o’clock, when the strange sixteen or seventeen year old person finally opened her eyes. She had dreamt about something crucial…

Hadn’t she been at a different place only moments ago? She didn’t know where however.

She sat up, her head aching hellishly. Thanks to the faint shine of the lamp, she could take a look at the room, she presently occupied: A big, comfortable room, colored in green and, above all, brown shades. One desk, two cupboards, one couch…

Then, her gaze passed the person, who guarded her sleeping place. Oh? Who was the young man? He was asleep. She watched him for a little while, and couldn’t fathom, why she found it so dear of him, to stand guard for her slumber at her side, couldn’t understand, why the way he was sleeping, slumped inside the chair, cast a smile on her face.

Trembling, she raised a hand at her temple.

“My head…” he murmured. Anew, she examined the room and found every little detail both adorable and peculiar. She supported her head with the other hand as well, in the attempt to comprehend.

Something was not right… there was nothing in her thoughts, no picture, no people, no memories. Everything was so blurred… so empty.

Bewildered, her eyes sprang from one corner of the chamber to the other. She wanted to understand, recognize, remember... But nothing was all she found. Only ignorance. And nothingness. With every passing second, she got more nervous, her pulse racing with helplessness and tension.

The girl could not recall what happened, did not know, where, who, or what she was. Confused, “Where, by the gods, am I?” escaped her tongue. When she wanted to stand up, she noticed the lack of clothing around her body. With a fright she huddled back under the blankets. Her gaze wandered back to the young man at the side of the bed. Again, she studied him for a minute or two, realizing, that there was something…

A familiar, trusted and pleasant feeling soothed her, just by looking at his face.

He then sighed softly in sleep and squinted. Link yawned and lastly opened his eyes completely. He was looking directly into her countenance and was happy to have been proved right – these eyes verily were wonderfully blue.

The looked at each other for a long time, almost as if they knew each other, as if they had been forced to forget for the longest time, because it was fate’s will.

She recoiled a little, when reality forced itself upon them again. She leaned back at the wall.

“Where am I?” and Link recognized her voice, this sound from so many dreams of his. Was she, truly the one?

“You are in the Bravery’s house.” She frowned and looked fearfully in his eyes.

Link started: “In…” He understood; she was utterly confused, the diffidence in her eyes betrayed her. “You are safe here. You… don’t have to fear me.”

At first she showed no signs that she believed him in the slightest, but spoke again, anxious to remain calm. “Please, sir, have the kindness to tell me where this place is, you reside in.”

Link was baffled upon hearing, how she had addressed him. “I told you already.” he replied brusquely.

“I wanted to know…”

“…in which city? Well then: in Destinykeep.”

When she showed a dismayed face, he added: “Doesn’t ring a bell? We’re on earth.”

Instead of an “Aha”, which Link had anticipated, her trembling hand went up to hold her head and she looked, as if she had seen a ghost.

“Do you want to know the date as well? It’s the 21 century.”

Link had expected at least a little word of appreciation, but now he wanted to scold himself for his own words. Maybe he shouldn’t have interfered into… whatever this whole business really was.

He was about to stand up and just leave, when the girl held him back on his hand. Surprised, he faced her again and sat back down.

“I do not know, what incident brought me into your home, but I thank you, kind sir.”

This voice… could it really be? A smile snuck across Link’s face. “Why don’t we stick with a simple ‘you’, and leave the ‘sir’ alone?”

Not until now had Link noticed the deep sadness in her eyes, which seemed to be veiled by an enigmatic shadow. A very odd layer of darkness, attempting to obscure something behind her eyes, right in her soul.

She still clutched his hand… a sensation most familiar to him. Why was it that, though?

Link took a deep breath and said more calmly and sensitively than before: “I have found you deep in the woods a few hours ago. You lay face down in a stream of water. I couldn’t just abandon you lying there, of course, so took you with me and carried you to this place. Your dress and other belongings hang over there at the stove.”

She blushed heavily. “Don’t worry. My little sister undressed you. Your body was already frozen stiff…” All of a sudden the picture of her, lying so completely helpless in the creek, flashed up in his memory.

“By the way, who are you anyway?” Her eyes turned bleary and she looked away, while her hand daintily enfolded the pendent around her neck.

“I do… not…know.” She could not remember anything at all, neither her name, nor any incidence that led to her current situation, nor the smallest memory of her life before that. Link now understood the desperate crunch the girl experienced presently. He believed her; why he did and to what cause was unimportant for now.

“I have only just regained consciousness and as I was trying to remember, there… it was all gone… it…”

Link looked into her eyes for a little while. Never before had he seen such a clear cerulean color. He couldn’t help but smile softly and reassuringly.

He thought it wisest to confront her with the facts immediately. “It appears, that you have lost your memory. I am sorry to have to tell you that, but for now you must try to accept it… My name is Link.” He extended his hand. “Hey, we’ll find out who you are in no time, all right? Don’t you worry too much.” She nodded and looked him in his eyes thoughtfully. For the first time, there was a noticeable trace of a smile in her face. She took his hand.

A handshake.

A first touch.

A first smile.

And he was suddenly aware that he would do anything for this girl.

Only now he studied him closely, saw his deep-blue, serious eyes, the blond strands of hair, hanging into his face…

“Link it is, then.”

“Yep.”

“I wouldn’t want to cause inconveniences for you or your family… I will be gone at once.”

“And where would you go? With that outfit you’ll attract trouble faster than you think. For now, I think, you can stay, of course only, if you have no other solution.” She let herself sink back onto the bed.

All of a sudden, Link’s wounds made their presence felt anew. He felt drops of sweat forming on his forehead as the pain flared up once again. All that time he had managed to suppress it, but now…

His breath got more laborious. His field of vision narrowed quickly. He now truly was feverish.

“But…” she started and could hardly comprehend the unimaginable trust and kindness he showed her. But the streak of suspicion instantly dissipated upon a look into his eyes. She liked this inescapable color of them, their depth, as if he could reach every last thought of his opposite with but one glance.

Link touched his forehead; it was positively glowing. I really shouldn’t have taken these injuries so lightly, he told himself.

“You mean it? I can stay?”

“Only if you stop worrying about inconveniencing anybody that much. Or else I will carry you out of here myself, got it?” Link bared his most charming smile and glanced at the clock.

“It’s early in the morning. I’ll be right back, then I will explain a few more things.” he said and left the room to take another look at his unusual wounds in the bathroom.

The strange girl remained seated for a little while longer. She then noticed the clothes that lay beside the bed. It was a tight red pullover out of thin fabric and also pale blue jeans. Sara didn’t particularly like these pieces, they weren’t her style, not her colors and also a little too tight.

So, she had placed them here while the young lady and Link had slept, assuming they could fit her. The girl understood and tried them on. They were a perfect fit. The pullover looked superb on her and enhanced her graceful, feminine physique.

Outside it was dark still. In the light of the lamp she walked to the desk, where a black book lay right in the center. For unexplainable reasons she was ever so excited, as she read the golden letters on it: “The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time”

Gotten curious, she browsed in it, eventually found a picture that took the whole page and examined the people on it closely. On the left a castle, noble enough for a king towered up. On the right a dark and dangerous fortress dominated the land. In the middle, surrounded by purest light, there was a green-capped youth, one time as an adult with a sword in his hand, the other time as a child, playing an ocarina. Yes, she knew that instrument, yes… she was certain, she had played on it more than once. The book looked quite worn, as if it had been read hundreds of times.

Link stepped back into his room, freshly dressed with kempt hair and two cups of tea in his hands. The painkillers apparently did their job now, for he was almost free from pain. A little bashful he looked at the girl, attempting to find appropriate words for her beauty. A goddess, it spontaneously occurred to him… yes, like a goddess.

She was currently standing at his desk, her back turned towards him. She was smaller than Link by about one head. Her long, golden hair was now falling freely and was almost reaching her hip. Links gaze immediately wandered down to her long, slender legs and found that jeans suited her much better and emphasized her body much more than a long dress, where her legs were completely hidden. And what legs she had… It was a shame to cover them. A real waste of beauty and elegance, Link thought. This girl really didn’t need to hide any of her body parts…

He hesitated, but then said: “You really look good in these… erm, interesting book, isn’t it?” She turned around, surprised, but not disgruntled that he had intruded in her pondering.

“Did I give you a scare?” She shook her head and gave him an almost smiling expression on her noble face.

“Who is this girl on that graphic?”

“You mean the lady with the tiara?”

“Yes, she has such a composed look on her face.”

“That is… princess Zelda.”

“Aha.” A strong intuition crept over her.

And Link too understood, what Sara had apprehended from the very start. This girl had an uncanny resemblance to a game-character… uncanny indeed…

“She looks like you – strange, huh?”

“Yes.”

“And you really can’t remember anything?”

“No.” Link wanted to engage her in conversation, but she was noticeably irritated and answered indifferently: “This is not me… she is just a game character.”

“I never claimed it to be otherwise, but the likeness really is remarkable.” She didn’t deign to look at him.

“Okay, maybe you were on some kind of party, and people had to come dressed.” Link knew he talked complete nonsense, but these stupid ideas were typical for him.

“Would it be so shameful, being a princess?”

“No, it would be shameful to be a game character.”

“Be that as it may… we have to give you a name at one point, right?” Link said, handing her the cup.

She thanked him and took a sip, then answered: “True, maybe, but it would not be my real name.” She placed the cup on the desk and gingerly touched her aching head. What was happening to her? She felt so odd, so alien, especially about herself. She faltered a little, again holding her head. The pain hammered so terribly…

Immediately, a strong hand on her arm kept her from falling over. “Careful. You better sit down again.” Link said. She nodded and let herself sink down on the bed again.

“Thanks for your help. Are you always that friendly?”

“By and large, yeah.” he replied, sitting down beside her. “What are you planning to do, now that you’re here?”

She shrugged and the sad, lost expression on her face did not bode well. There shouldn’t be a frown… a smile should grace this wonderful face with porcelain skin.

“Everything here is so disconcerting. Perhaps I should still leave.” She sighed and looked out of the window. A foggy darkness, equal to a heavy shroud, obfuscated the night beyond regular. Link’s face turned into a frown now. He wanted her to stay. For reasons unknown he desired her presence, though he still didn’t know her name, nor her soul.

“I can not keep you from going.” a comforting and caring voice said. She liked its sound, its profound ring to it.

“No, you can not…”

After a while Link got up, after there gazes once again rested in each other’s eyes for minutes. She wouldn’t linger here. How could he have hoped, this girl had any reason to welcome his presence as much as he did.

This oppressive situation… so unbelievably familiar.

Memories of rejection and yearning…

She too stood up and walked up closely behind him.

“I would like it very much to stay…” she whispered. Surprised, Link turned around to face her. “Really?” he asked, relieved beyond measure and delighted to the core, almost as if his very life depended on her presence.

“Yes, if I don’t get on your nerves, Link.”

“I’d probably enjoy it if you get on them…” he said with a touch of subtlety. She smiled calmingly. She carefully took her cup back and had another sip. “Actually, what am I drinking?”

“Cherry tea with vanilla. Why?”

“I have the feeling as if I have never before tasted something like it… anyway, not important.”

“It’s not unimportant. Maybe it helps you remembering.”

“Mmh… I can hope…”

She walked to the window and stared out, lost in her thoughts, watched the finally rising, red morning sun. A warm shine grazed over the many rooftops of Destinykeep and over the small tarred streets. This also seemed alien to her, as if she had never seen streets of that sort, as if she called a centuries past time her home.

“You said, you found me in the woods…”

“Yes, in a small stream. That’s why you were so chilled to the bones…” he said slowly and silently and suppressed the rising pain in his stomach.

“I wonder how I ended up lying there.” She mumbled and turned towards him. With piercing pain in her head she sat down again and touched her temple with her right hand.

“Intriguing question.” He murmured. “It won’t take long and you will remember. Don’t be disheartened.” he added. She looked directly into his deep-blue eyes, tried to look away, but his gaze was just too attracting. For some reason he knelt in front of her and looked up to her eyes.

“Why are you doing all this for me? I mean, why do you help me in so many ways?”

“Well, I guess I’m kind of responsible for you. After all, it was me who found you.” She nodded and nearly lost herself in the irresistible glowing of his eyes. “Does your head hurt?”

“A little, yes.”

“How about an aspirin?”

“A what?” she asked artlessly. Link flinched a little upon hearing her question. Approaching surreptitiously, a peculiar notion crept into his mind.

This girl had never heard of many things that were absolutely common in his modern world; she, for example, did honestly not know what an aspirin was. Apparently, besides all her future efforts to regain her memory, she would have to learn to live modern people’s lives as well. She avoided his gaze and looked ashamedly away. “Do you think me dumb for not understanding all those things?”

Link shook his head in a reassuring way. “No. To be honest, I think you are everything but dumb…”

“Like what?”

“Erm…” Link stuttered. “… unique.” [ ich kann mich hier einfach nicht entscheiden ob ich ‘unique’ oder ‘exceptional’ haben will. Entscheide das bitte du!^^“ ]

Yeah, that would describe her best. He jumped up from his almost chivalrous kneeling in front of her and quickly got a box of aspirins out of the glass cupboard. She studied the tablets, as if she had never before seen an object such as this; there was even a very faint suggestion of suspicion in her eyes.

“Hey you really can trust me. It’s going to help you.” She nodded and swallowed it without further ado. A short pause ensued.

“This town is called Destinykeep, you said?” again she tried to have eye contact with him.

“Yep.”

“And this house? Do you live here alone, or…” Link burst out laughing almost screechy. What a thought that was.

“Heaven’s sake, no, you got a vivid imagination. Maybe I don’t look it, but I’m only seventeen, and…” - He sat back down on the chair on front of his bed and let his feet dangle – “… in this house I am constantly delighted with my parent’s and sister’s company. Those clothes you got came from her, by the way.”

“Oh, I really want to thank her for those…”

“Do that…” Link said smiling “…once she’s woken up. It’s still early in the morning and before ten you couldn’t pry them out of bed with a crowbar on weekends. You’ll have to be a little patient.

She played around with her necklace, a pretty, little ornate pendant was attached to it. Link took a closer look and thought it had great resemblance to an old knight’s crest. Some kind of falcon or eagle was illustrated on it, and small emeralds adorned it.

“Admittedly, my parent’s don’t already know about…” He didn’t finish the sentence. An insecure feeling imposed on him – what would his next action be, if his mom and dad decided to boot the girl out of their house as soon as they learned about her?

Maybe she would be allowed to stay, or possibly they initiated proceedings to keep her as far from him as possible straightforwardly. A thought that unsettled him a lot. But why? Why did it afflict him so badly, to merely think about her taking her leave? Who the heck was she? A soul mate?

“Your parents are going to send me away, aren’t they?” A sad and anxious expression in the already sorrow burdened eyes gave Link’s soul a stab. An unbearable pressure built up on his inside. Just as she had felt a little better, not so lost any more, no longer as helpless as in the beginning. And she knew, that the presence of this one selfless person could help her weather things she dreaded to remember…

Her voice became very shaky as she continued speaking. “I do not know… where I could go… Link.” She dug her fingers into the blanket. She suppressed with all force the urge to cry in despair and fought with herself and the indignity.

“I beg you, please, let me stay here. It’s incomprehensible, how I can dare to ask you for this… and even more incomprehensible, why I place so much trust into you... but…”

Link shook his head and interrupted her. Then, a smile showed itself on his face, a reassuring gesture of a caring being.

“If you want to stay, you will. I won’t allow anyone to order you off this house, okay?” She placed one hand on his left.

“Thank you…” she whispered, smiling.

Then, this crucial moment was interrupted by different noises. A stomach rumbling, but astonishingly enough, not from Link, who admittedly was quite a cormorant. The young lady blushed a little and then looked away in shame.

“I presume you are hungry.” Link said suavely, with a grin on his face that couldn’t have looked sillier. He helped her on her feet and told her to follow him.

“I hope you eat veggie soup.”

“Well… I think.” she answered. But politely enough, she wasn’t picky.

“That’s what we had yesterday. There’s a little something left. And as far as I know, my mother didn’t go to the grocery. Starting next week we have our school vacations and my parents wanted to go on a holiday. So, I am certain that they won’t have anything against me having a guest or not.” That sounded reassuring and decidedly encouraging. She didn’t want to inconvenience these people more than necessary.

She followed Link down the stairs, trying to make as little noise as humanly possible, and walked barefoot on the cold wood.

Should she trouble Link again for something? No, for some reason she felt uneasy asking for any more he had already done for her. It required quite a bit of courage to beg someone you have never met before, especially someone who is of the same age, for his permission to stay. The fact that she found Link rather handsome didn’t help either…

Surprisingly he turned around and looked at her feet. “Aren’t your feet freezing?”

“A little…” she said silently.

“Why don’t you tell me, then?” Link asked and opened a shoe cabinet in the corridor.

“What size do you have?” She only shrugged and sighed “I’m afraid I don’t know.” Link should have known that. He started to understand the girl, or hadn’t he already a lifetime ago?

After the two had chosen a pair of slippers for the young beauty, they walked to the kitchen without further delay.

Link put a little pot with the soup on the electric stove and told his guest to make herself comfortable on the corner bench, to which she complied at once.   

 

 
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