Chapter 2.2
 
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Chapter 2.2:

 

Only a little later the young lady was eating soup with a plain spoon, enjoying the feeling of having something warm in the stomach. Link watched her the whole time. Everybody would have observed her like this; she ate with such grace and elegance that Link couldn’t help but wonder, if she really was a being from earth.

She handled the spoon carefully, attaching great importance on her manners. For others she may have appeared a little conceited.

Link asked himself, what family and friends thought of her, people who were with her all the time. What did her parents think, if she still had parents? Did they of a higher class? Maybe this elf-like face was even of royal birth? It surely wouldn’t surprise him.

He sat down at the table with her and smiled, when she asked for a second help of stew.

“You sure are hungry, huh?” She nodded.

“So why do you insist on your manners to such an extent? You’re free to wolf it down as fast as you wish.” Her mouth showed a timid smile. She still ate well-behaved.

After some time Link tried to start a conversation once again and started: “When I found you, I feared…” There it was again. This crushing feeling of concern for her well-being, as if he knew her and cared for her from the bottom of his heart.

“My sister and I thought you wouldn’t wake up. No matter what we tried, we couldn’t waken you.” She emptied her plate with a last mouthful, and answered lowly: “There was this way of light… in my dreams.”

“A way of light?” She got up and walked gracefully to the sink to place her plate inside.

Link could not look anywhere else. She was so bewitching, so beautiful. Strange. Link had never found a girl nearly as attractive as this one he had found in the woods in the darkness of the night. Her long golden hair was a little disheveled, but still he wished he could touch it. Just once…

“I dreamt of a way I walked along and then, suddenly, everything became real… and the colors returned. That was the moment I awaked.”

“Thank heavens you woke up!” he said, moving nearer to her.

Again they watched each other without saying a single word, dreaming in each others eyes. Having lost his restraint completely, Link touched some strands of her hair, that had such power over him. Damn, he knew her. She was real! For so long she had appeared in his dreams, had he heard her voice and now she was standing right before him. It gave him confirmation, evidence, that he was not crazy. Relief. She was real…

“Would you like a hairbrush?” he asked finally, in an attempt to conceal the fact that he only enjoyed touching her. A first approach…

“Yes, that would be nice.” she responded quietly. But none of them managed to take the first step out of the kitchen. As if they were frozen in place they stood in front of each other, looking for answers in the other one’s eyes. She supported herself with both hands on the kitchen-board, Link drew yet one step closer.

“I don’t know you…” she whispered

“Neither do I know you…”

“Does this make any difference?”

“No, I guess it never would.”

“Good.”

“Good.” Link concluded. There was no space left between them. He placed his hands besides her slim waist on the board. Maybe they were a little too close, considering how few they knew of each other…

 

At this very moment the kitchen-door was pushed open and Mera Bravery, her long white nightgown showing her slight chubbiness, walked in nonchalantly. Her eyes still half closed, she had to look two times to be sure that another person stood beside her son.

“Oh. Now what is going on here?” it emerged from her mouth a little too loudly. Her big protruding eyes told Link everything he didn’t want to hear. Of course she interpreted the situation according to her wishes and speeded up to the young girl, which stood right behind a praying Link. He hoped his mother would not adopt the wrong tone. Examining the young lady, she jumped around her, finishing her work with a broad smile.

“Mum, it’s not what you think it is.” Link said, for about the thousandth time, but she ignored him as best as she could.

She extended her hand and sang: “Good morning, young miss. I presume you have been here for quite a time, haven’t you?” Her all-saying, beaming gaze turned to look at Link.  The exceptional being answered softly: “Good morning… Yes, that is correct, I have been here for a little while.”

“Mom, I’ve gotta explain a few things. Would you please…” Link tried to inch his mother out of the kitchen.

Of course his attempts were futile and she interrupted him without shame: “I do understand quite well…” she cooed, remembering the view from when she entered the kitchen all too well. “Don’t let me bother you, but maybe you should continue your romantic intentions in Link’s room, instead of the uncomfortable kitchen.”

Link’s head started glowing in all thinkable shades of red. Cursing, he yelled: “Mom, I already told you, you’ve got it all wrong!”

Mera grin grew even larger and the girl behind Link couldn’t stop laughing heartily. The undeniable fact that said beautiful lady giggled as well rendered him utterly helpless. He turned around and only saw the sparkling amusement in her eyes. Frustrated, he shook his head, feeling more stupid than ever before in his young life.

Link stroked his fingers through his hair and muttered, without looking into her eyes: “Would you please wait in my room while I explain everything to my mother?” She nodded and walked out of the room in this fascinatingly graceful manner of hers. Just before she was out of sight he called after her: “Oh, yes… the hairbrush. Look for it in the top shelf of the shoe cupboard.”

“Thank you.” she breathed. Link knew, this expression of thanks was not meant for the explanation of were to find the brush, but because he tried to keep her out of the discussion he would have with his parents because of her.

“So, mom. There are some things that need to be explained. Let’s go into the lounge.” What Link didn’t know, was that the young lady did not go into his room, but remained just outside the room to eavesdrop.

 

A few moments later Mera sat on the couch with her son, listening to his request, after he had told the whole story. The only part he kept secret was the voice that had called for him. “I saw her lying in the woods all alone, I just couldn’t abandon her to her fate.” he said softly. “Mom, I ask for your allowance that she may stay. She feels helpless and doesn’t know where to go. Apart from that I…” he didn’t have the courage to finish the sentence that dominated his mind at the moment. Apart from that he… needed her…

“You really want to help her, to regain her memory, Link?”

“Yes, I really do.”

She got up and walked around the room for a few seconds. After a while, his father entered the room, asking himself, why his wife was already up.

“Good morning you two. What’s going on?” was his first question. Link told his story a second time: “Short version: I found an unconscious girl in the woods and I brought her here. When she finally woke up, she had no memory of who she was and what happened to her. And now she doesn’t know what to do…”

Mera and Link’s father, named Eric, exchanged glances, skeptic, but also confident. The chubby landlady went up to her son, with a serious expression on her face and wringing her hands. “Well…”

Link suspected strongly what would come next. Rejection. His parents would send her away. Immediately he imagined telling the girl that she was unwelcome and had to leave. It was over. He could clearly see this wonderful face in desperation. He had to shut his eyes, hoping it would stop this image from appearing. Why did the mere thought of sending her away hurt this much?

“Well…” Link repeated for his mother. “I know she doesn’t belong here and I anticipate what you’re going to say: Send her to the police. Or to the record station. And that begone with her. To hell with her!”

“Link, I did not say that” his mother said, “but she is a stranger. You don’t know her. Neither her name, nor her past, nothing. And possibly, there’s something wrong with her.”

The girl besides the living room door stared at the floor anxiously, suppressing the rising helplessness and this evil pressure that being all alone creates, especially when you’re alone in a strange and odd world.

“I don’t care.” Link uttered in a hushed voice. “And even if she was a monster, I’d want to help her.” Battling his inner self, Link took the few steps to the fireplace.

“Why? Why would your compassion for her be that huge?” his father asked, raising his voice for the first time.

“It is not compassion!” Link shot at him. “Sorry… it is more like sympathy.” he added more calmly.

Mera frowned and her husband walked to her side.

“Please, I beg of you. Let her stay. She won’t harm anyone.”

“Link… you are a intelligent young man. I respect your opinion. But you ask something impossible. We can’t just take her in our house and act as if everything was normal. What if her parents are missing her or others are looking for her?” his father asked. Link remained silent.

“We are sorry, son. But you will have to tell her, she has to leave.”

A little tear ran down the delicate-pink cheek of the graceful being when she turned around. She hastened upstairs, into Link’s room and huddled up in one of his chairs. What now, she asked herself. A final stroke. Where should she go, if she couldn’t trust anybody? She sensed danger… somewhere out there something restless looked for her, and it gave her the chills. Here she had felt secure and somehow homelike. But now it as ended. She had only remained a few hours in this place, but the fact that she had to leave afflicted her.

She tried to think. Pondered, what she could do… but there was nothing that could be done. Her situation was past hope. Why did Link find her? Maybe it would have been better, had he abandoned her. She wouldn’t be awake, only to feel so helpless, alone and cast away. She put her feet up and waited for Link and the inevitable good bye. The valediction came, without the getting to knowing had started.

 

Link stared in his father’s grey eyes and shook his head stubbornly. “I will not.”

“Link. Be sensible now.”

“I never was sensible” he retorted, “and I don’t plan to change my character.”

“Tell me one plausible reason, why you want her to stay.” his father emphasized. This sentence created an impish smile on Mera’s face. “You know, dear, if you saw the girl, you couldn’t send her away either. Our son has a crush on somebody.”

“That’s so not true.” Link said, peeved.

“But if I was a young man your age I sure would have.” She prodded her husband on his arm. “Come on, dear. Let’s let those youngsters have their fun.” she proposed.

Confused, but at the next moment with a little glimmer of hope in his handsome face Link looked into his mother’s eyes. She smiled, and with that she convinced even her austere husband.

“I will put fresh lines on the bed in the guestroom. Agreed?” She winked her eye and jogged out of the room. Link looked after her, slightly shocked. Did this actually mean ‘Yes’?

His father walked up to his side and put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Well Link, I do hope you appreciate your mother’s decision.”

“Yea, I sure do.” Link confirmed happily, smiling now as well.

“But as soon as she remembers, you will take her to where she belongs, understood?”

Link nodded, unable to express the thankfulness he felt right now.

“Well, even though your mother is having a fussy-fit, it’s still quite early in the morning and yesterday was tough, so I’m going to sleep again. I can get to know this miraculous girl later just as well. G’night.”

The young hero said nothing, but cut a caper when his father was gone.

With a loud “Yeeaah!” he sprinted up the stairs and wanted to tell the strange girl the outstanding news.

Smiling he opened the door to his room, wondering at first, where the young beauty had gone. A little worried he looked around the room and found the fragile being cuddled up in his chair. Her eyes were closed and crystal-colored tracks of tears were showing on her cheeks. Was she asleep?

Kneeing down before her he said softly: “I have good news for you. You can stay, Zelda.” The hell? What slipped his tongue there? Zelda? Oh yeah… of course Link. Going completely bananas now, are we? He slapped himself for this embarrassing slip and asked his common sense how this could have happened. Zelda? Holy smoke, thank heavens she was asleep and hadn’t heard this awkwardness.

But still, this name wasn’t as inappropriate for her as Link believed at the moment. And apart from that, the young lady would need a name. Now that she would stay here, he couldn’t always address her with ‘hey you’. And said name was without any doubt perfect for this girl, for even her soul seemed to bear it.

She was still asleep. And those tears? Had she really cried? Link cast this thought away as one of his strange imaginations and searched for a blanket. He covered her carefully. She mumbled something unintelligible and cuddled up even more. At this moment Link felt a mean sting of pain in his stomach. Right, the wounds… those still existed. He took another pain-killer and swallowed it with cooled down tea from his cup.  

He wiped a few drops from his lips and left the room. He walked into the living-room, to check on his maddening wounds. He carefully pried the bandages loose that seemed glued on his flesh, and beheld the appalling gashes. They still seemed very moist, so the healing-process had barely started. Link sank down on the floor, wandering how long he could bear such wounds without medical treatment. He had a hard time fixing new bandages on his body, but he managed, put his green shirt back on and returned to his room. Now he really would have to wake the girl, to tell her about his parents’ decision.

When he entered, he heard it rattling from the other side of the room. The girl had awoken from her brief slumber and now stood right in front of Link, a most sad look on her face. Her golden hair still was ruffled up.

She crossed her arms, looked out of the window with this troubled shine in her wonderful eyes.

“Don’t say it. I should have known it all along.” she uttered, her voice trembling terribly. What was she talking about? Link was speechless. She walked up to him, attempting to smile a little.

“You… You tried…” she whispered and took his hand between her two fine palms. “You are left handed…” she said weakly.

“Yea.” Was all he could muster.

“Erm… maybe we’ll… see each other again one day, Link.” She muttered, fighting the wish to fall on her knees before him, begging to let her stay. She would not do that, never, she was much to proud for that to happen.

“Farewell” she said running towards the door, when Link, to her surprise, held her back on her right wrist.

He tried to grin, to divert from his fear of loosing her.

“Now I’ve convinced my parents, threatened and befuddled them so you can stay and you still want to leave? Well… that’s a little… erm… unfavorable for me, because then I’m…”

Her face lightened up. “You convinced them?”

“I sure did, with some difficulties at first, true, but they have been dealt with.”

On the verge of tears she put her hand over her mouth. She didn’t want to appear weepy in front of him, but…

“Thank you, Link” she breathed, wiping away a few crystal tears from under her eyes. “I thought it was over. I wouldn’t know what to do, if I couldn’t stay here.

Link suddenly understood. “You were eavesdropping, weren’t you?”

Nodding, she said: “It sounded, as if…”

“Hey, no use thinking about it anymore, right? You can have the guest room.” She gave a serene laugh. “But next time you eavesdrop, you listen to the whole conversation, believe me, that’s more effective. Okay?”

“Okay.” she agreed, being angry with her overhasty conclusion. She really was positive she had to go. And now? She know, with the help of Link, the biggest part of what she had to endure was overcome.

“You are a precious, Link”

“Erm…” He erm-ed shyly scratching the back of his head. “Better don’t say that again, or I might be too smug about it” She smiled at him and together they want into the guest room. Link then showed her the whole house, from the cellar, where she could help herself with beverages whenever she wanted, up to the attic, where besides a lot of useless junk there was an old bow, and finally the garden.

“Would you like to have a bath? I’m sure it would do you some good to relax in nice hot water.”

“Yes, I’d like to.”

“Wait, I’ll get you fresh towels.” He already rushed out of the room. She turned up the heat and closed the window. Why did she get along with him this well? Was this normal? Sometimes it seemed, as if he could read every last wish right in her eyes. He really was a jewel, or, more like a guardian angel.

 

It hasn’t even been 24 hours since he had found her, but immediately, without even thinking about asking for something in return, he had taken care of her and spent every minute for her wellbeing. He had even argued with his parents for her sake. Why was he doing all that?

 

She then tried to turn on the faucet and a hot stream of water was flowing into the tub. In the very moment she tried to test its temperature, a strong hand held her arm back. “Don’t. The water is boiling hot. You would burn your fingers.” Link warned, who once again had acted quickly and with perfect timing.

“I am really starting to feel daft for knowing so little and having to thank you perpetually. It must aggravate you…”

“Nonsense. Don’t think about it. And so you don’t have to worry: you don’t have to thank me for every petty matter. It’s ok.” And again! For his kind and understanding words alone he deserved approval and thanks.

She took the towel he had brought for her and examined the different bottles of shower foam, odoriferous shampoos and other hygiene products.

Suddenly Link let out a little moan and held his stomach, hating the smarting wounds, but knowing that he couldn’t drug his body even more with pain-killers.

“Is everything alright?” she asked softly.

“Yeah.” Link stuttered. “It’s nothing.” But she knew that something was wrong. The young man was getting more and more enigmatic and she knew that he had troubles that he didn’t want to admit or share. But she promised herself, she would uncover his problem, just as she would get to know him better. One day she would look directly into his heart. But what she found there could scare frighten her as well…

Link turned the faucet on the coldest position and observed the girl, as she stood in front of the mirror, binding her hair together.

“With your long hair, tying them together won’t help a lot.” he mumbled, getting behind her and watching their reflection. He involuntarily thought about how well they would match up. Heavens, it’s getting serious, he thought. Pitifully, he begged his mind to stop thinking something like that. Wishing, he had better control over his feelings, he touched his forehead. He wondered if it was glowing because of his agonizing injury or because this gorgeous, graceful being was standing right before him.

“Erm, what I mean to say is, you can blow-dry your hair after your bath. Do you know what I mean?”

She shook her head. Apparently in her world there existed no electrical appliances. To everybody’s shame he had to explain that too, before retreating from the bathroom with a smile. But before he had vanished completely behind the door, his head remained in the door crack.

“Do you think, you will manage the rest, or do you need a little more help with things?” Perplexed she opened her mouth to chastise him for his bold behavior.

“So, you would like to watch?” Now it was Link’s turn to look abashed. The young lady could be just as good-naturedly devious as the future hero himself.

“I could of course scrub your back.” Link smirked, bringing the situation to the boil.

“Or you could share the bath with me altogether, hmm?” So much blatancy and cheekiness he hadn’t seen coming. It was over, she had rendered him speechless. Hell, nobody had ever managed that. With a crimson head he closed the door. Even in the corridor he could hear her pleasant, lovely laugh… A sound that really discomposed him. Again he recognized the voice from his dreams…

Certain that it was his purpose to find her, he followed the stairs to his room, laughing just as lustily. He planned on having a little rest.

In another room of the house, Sara jumped out of her bed happily and lively. Ready for a new day she opened the window to enjoy the sunshine and watch the thick, white clouds float around the horizon.

She ran out of her room, eyed her watch, which showed eight o’clock, and entered the kitchen to see, if her mother was already awake. However, no-one was presently there. So, to her parent’s and brother’s delight, she prepared coffee, warmed up the rest of the milk and started toasting a few toasts.

She then heard the loud, droning noise of the hairdryer from the bathroom. She was confused. So her mother was awake after all? That surely wasn’t usual for her. And nobody else dried his hair that way. Link for example always let it dry alfresco, even in deepest winter. And why not? It didn’t matter what he did. Her big brother had never had a real cold in his life, not even if he sat in a classroom filled to the maximum with viruses. He simply didn’t get sick. Something that made her brother even more unusual.

She followed the noise and soon she stood in front of the bathroom door. She knocked. “Mum, is this you in there?”

No answer. Instead, the door opened and a pair of glowing blue eyes looked at her. Sara immediately noticed, how beautiful her eyes’ color was – blue, just as clear and pure as her brothers’, only a few shades lighter and not that penetratingly deep.

“Erm… hi. You finally woke up.” Sara stated the obvious, eying up the young lady’s clothes. She nodded and gave a short and calm “Good morning.”

Sara smiled: “You should be glad that this stuff is too tall and too tight around the waist for me. Otherwise you would have to walk around naked.” She wanted to start a conversation, so what’s a better way to do so than start with something funny?

“Yes, thank you. You are Link’s sister?”

“Sure am, even though you wouldn’t think so by looking at the two of us. I’m Sara. What’s your name?”

The strange girl left the bathroom and walked towards the kitchen. Link’s sister had not yet learned about her prolonged stay and the fact that she had lost her memory. Her hands clenched to fists, she said: “It’s not that easy to answer I’m afraid. I wished, I could tell you who I am, but unfortunately I do not know.”

Sara sat down besides the young beauty at the kitchen table.

“Please explain.” Asked Sara and added: “Would you like some toast?” The nameless girl eyed Sara a little clueless, but understood what toast was when she passed her the plate with a ton of them on top.

“I woke up a few hours ago and remember absolutely nothing. Everything is gone, as if I had been in a completely different place before.”

Sara had a delightful bite of her toast with jam. She didn’t seem very surprised or aghast, but just looked encouragingly at the girl. “Well, can’t be helped right now. Now you’re here and that’s that. Would you like milk or coffee?”

Milk seemed a lot more familiar to her, so she decided for the first.

“With honey?”

“Yes, please.”

Sara smiled. “That’s exactly like Link drinks it. He doesn’t care for coffee. Hell if I know why, but he positively loves milk.” The strange girl smiled a little and examined Sara now very exactly. Link’s sister really had now resemblance to him, but… no, that wasn’t true. Sara appeared quite blunt to people of her surrounding. That was probably partly due to her cheeky blue-grey eyes, her short hair and her love for green clothes. You could mistake her for a kobold, not a greedy one, but very uncouth. Apart from her appearance she had a lot in common with Link, her quick-wittedness alone indicated that.

“Are my parents OK with you staying here?”

“Yes they are. Link explained the whole misery to them earlier.”

“That was very kind of him, wouldn’t you agree?”

“He is an extremely kind and caring person. I have learned that the moment I woke up.”

Sara grinned cheekily: “And good looking at that. But I’m sure I didn’t have to tell you, since you’ll have known that already…” After that remark the young beauty looked away.

“But his way of making an impression on others is enigmatic. He carries a lot of problems on his back, but he still acts, as if he was cheerful. Sometimes I wonder if I really know him… You should know that, since you’re obviously staying here.”

The girl noticed the little warning.

“Oh well… Where is our hero anyway?”

“Hero?” The young lady asked. Sara giggled a little and replied: “I’ll explain it later, when we’ve found a name for you.” She winked.

Right, there’s still the need for a name for the young woman.

“But we can guess your age right now.” Sara added. The girl with the short, brown hair got up, grabbed a few more plates and quickly prepared the table for the others. They then left the room together. “I’d say, you’re about the same age as Link.” The nameless girl seemed to agree.

“Can you think of a name that you particularly like?” Sara asked while they went along the corridor to Link’s room.

“No…”

“Any name at all?”

“Oh, I really don’t know. This is not an easy thing to think of…”

Sara turned around, eyeballed the strange girl from head to toe and grinned boldly. “I’ve got an idea, but Link will probably behead me if I say it aloud.”

The young woman opened her mouth to ask what Sara meant to achieve with her secrecy, but she just giggled and said: “The name would really fit you, but Link… he really won’t be delighted with it, I’m afraid.” The girl just shrugged her shoulders. “It doesn’t matter. I only need to have a name, no matter what it is.”

They reached Link’s room and knocked, but nobody came to open it.

“Hmm? Isn’t he in here?”

“I do not know.” the unknown girl replied. “He didn’t say if he planned on going out. I thought he was in his room” Sara knocked once again, but he apparently wasn’t in there.

Without further ado the two girls entered, finding him asleep on the floor. Sara shook his shoulder and patted him on his right cheek. “Link?”

Sleepily he opened his eyes, sat up and yawned. “How late is it?” The young lady stood behind him, so at first he didn’t notice her.

“It’s half past eight. You fell asleep.” Sara stated the obvious.

Link’s memory slowly awoke as well. Shaking his head he half-consciously mumbled: ”Now where is Ze…”

“What?” Sara asked loudly. Her face began to form a sardonic grin.

“Never mind” Link turned around and spotted the unknown beauty, who stood smiling at the door.

“Feeling like breakfast, bro?”

Link affirmed and jumped up from the floor. Like before he didn’t let anybody notice the pain he felt and play-acted. It would hurt his pride to appear weak before the young lady. So, he had to seem perfectly alright, ignoring the burning, suppressing the vertigo.

Link told Sara how he had convinced their parents in detail and talked to the strange girl as if he knew her for a lifetime. Like that, the time flew past.

His parents immediately took her into their heart; they were almost more enthusiastic about her than Link. 

 

After lunch the three teens pondered, how they were going to find a name for the mysterious girl.

“I know!” Sara yelled out and started searching the place for every kind of scraps of paper. “There, now let’s write names on these papers, then we throw them into a bag and you…” she pointed at the girl, “… you’ll pick one. The name that’s written on it shall be yours.”

Link and the young lady consented to Sara’s idea and they started writing every name that occurred to them on the scraps.

The young, future hero had left the room for a few minutes, when the strange girl asked Sara about their discussion, earlier that day: “Sara, which name did you have in mind before?”

“You will know, when you pick a certain piece of paper. If you choose it unconsciously, it has to be destiny… or coincidence.”

“You are secretive, Sara.”

“Naw, I’m just smart, which one can see not only by seeing my marks, AND I’m not self important.” The girl smiled. “I never thought of you that way. But something is hidden behind your appearance.” Sara looked at her with a serious expression. The lady’s gaze was also fixed in Sara’s eyes.

“You see many things, no one else has the gift to see. But you fear it.” The mood between the two girls changed from amicable to tense. It was as if the mysterious girl could perceive things behind a being’s eyes, things that the being itself didn’t want to reveal or had not yet realized. It seemed, as if this person knew more than anybody else.  

“You can see, before there is anything to see, but you have yet to learn to accept this gift.” The young lady, with the eyes of a wise and powerful person took Sara’s hand and said: “Don’t be afraid of yourself… Sara”

“But I…” she mumbled and looked aside, confused and a little fearful. The strange girl stood up, apparently wondering about herself.

“Forgive me, I didn’t want to…” Shocked, she touched her lips with her fingers. She didn’t understand, didn’t know what had gotten into her. There it had been again… something about her wasn’t right. She was decidedly different than other people and now, after this escapade with Sara she had another evidence for it.

“You’re just as crazy as Link, you know that?” Sara exclaimed, to finish this awkward moment.

“Speaking of Link… you wanted to know what I meant when I called him… hero, right?”

The girl turned around slowly and nodded sheepishly.

Sara hopped to Link’s desk, grabbed the play-guide of ‘Ocarina of Time’ and started browsing through it. “You see, his name is Link as well.” she said, pointing at the character in the green tunic.

“Really?”

“Yeah, it’s funny… but he doesn’t like being compared to a game character only because of their shared name. He positively hates it…”

“But I’d like to have a look at this game…” She gently stroke her fingertips over a depiction of the Hero of Time, touched his face as if he was real.”

“Of course, you should.” Sara replied.

Link returned a few seconds later. He immediately saw the two girls sitting over the guide, browsing through it grinning with amusement.

“It gets even better… Link looks quite similar to the hero. Stark, isn’t it?” Sara exclaimed, having not yet noticed her brother’s presence. The beauty didn’t answer. She thought of how humiliating it must be for him, to always be compared to something that didn’t even exist. This hero simply wasn’t real, Link however was. It had to be very burdening for him, for, apparently, The Legend of Zelda was known by almost everyone.

“Yeah, stark. Nice one, Sara. You really got nothing better to talk to her, than the resemblance of a fictional guy and me, topped by the sharing of the same name. Thank you. I used to think that you were different than most people. Apparently another one of my mistakes.” Link looked at her in such a scornful way, like never before.

“I’m sorry Link. That…”

“Oh, I can understand, you know, since I’m not so naïve and silent as a certain green-capped guy. Thanks for the ridiculing.” he snapped, cutting off her words. Fuming, he leapt between the two, grabbed the play-guide and tossed it into the cupboard, making sure it can’t be seen, as if it was some kind of rescue for himself, if no-one could ever study it again.

Sara looked away remorsefully and the strange girl observed both siblings carefully and understood a lot… too much. She saw things in someone’s heart, without wanting to.

A long and uncomfortable pause downed the general mood. The unknown beauty took the initiative and grabbed the bag with the name-tags in it. Instead of just letting everything take it’s destined course, the two youngsters had to do things the complicated way. But was all this necessary any more? Didn’t she already feel, what name was to be – and always was – hers?

“Would be best to pick one right now.” Link said. “There’s already enough tension for now.” She nodded and started rummaging in the bag.

She had made her choice and carefully unfolded the piece of paper. A little confused she looked into Link’s deep-blue eyes and anticipated his dislike for what she had picked.

She said nothing, but passed the slip to him. Staggered, but well-knowing, whose handwriting it was, he looked up to his sister. “You really are trying to finish my sanity off, aren’t you?” he exclaimed crossly.

Sara quickly eyed the piece of paper, but she had already been sure about the name the young lady would choose. “Well, we shall call you Zelda.”

She smirked. How nice it can be to see harmless (, but definitely interesting, mind you) forebodings come true. Sara always knew that she would only take this very one.

Peeved beyond all measure, Link let himself fall into his chair, and just shook his head. “Great job there Sara… well done, really…”

“Perfect, isn’t it? Zelda really fits well.” She said, pointing meaningfully to at the now silent girl.

“And what am I supposed to tell others when they ask what happened? How about: Link finds Zelda!” Marvelous. Only thing missing are the six sages and the king of Hyrule.” he snapped wryly. For some reason it really bugged him. It wasn’t as if the name didn’t fit the strange girl, for it did, but it simply didn’t feel right for reasons yet unknown.

“If other people ask, go ahead and tell the truth.” Link glared at Sara, as if saying: “The truth? Sure, I’ll tell them about my dreams, or that her voice had called me.”

He still was boundlessly furious with Sara and for the moment everything was too much. His wounds smarted as badly as ever and now that. He grumbled: “You really are out of your mind.”

“You’re the one who is out of his mind.” She said sulkily.

“Be that as it may, but I still refrain from humiliating people with senseless fantasies that nobody is interested in. This time you have screwed things up big time.” The young beauty tried to intervene. “Hey, calm down you two. There is no need getting so fired up about this, because…” But she was interrupted by the two irate siblings, who continued arguing over something as stupid as a name.

Their quarrel continued until Sara exasperatedly stormed out of the room and slammed the door behind her.

Embarrassed by this stupid demonstration of a redundant sibling-argument, Link tried to find a new topic to talk about. He wasted his time thinking, however.

“Do you two quarrel often like this?” the blonde-haired lady asked, sitting down on the swivel chair in front of the desk.

“Yeah… always about trifles like this, it seems. I feel so brainless. You know, I really didn’t want to yell at Sara, but this issue with the game…”

“You simply don’t want to be a character out of a game. Hey, who’d want that?” she said. She waited for him to look at her and smiled. “I’m sure she isn’t angry with you. I think even the biggest mistakes are quickly forgiven for someone like you…” she added. Link just watched her in a puzzled way. Did he just hear a compliment? How absurd. There he was, showing a disgraceful, late-pubertal bicker with his sister, and the strange girl paid him a compliment.

He put on a charming smile and nodded.

“But about the name…” he started “I think…”

“Yes?” the girl opposite skidded a few centimeters closer to him.

“It really does suit you perfectly… even if I don’t want to accept it.”

“Really?”

At this very moment, the piece of jewelry came back to Link’s mind. He hadn’t yet retrieved it from behind the bedside table. He stood up and bent over the little cupboard, his teeth clenched. His wounds didn’t agree with moves like this, but he would not show weakness in front of this beautiful face. Not today, not tomorrow…

This time, he grabbed the luxurious jewel and handed it to the perplexed looking beauty.

“You were holding this tiara in your right hand when I found you and you wouldn’t let go of it. At night it accidentally dropped behind there. It is yours, take it.” She eyed the noble piece as if she associated something repulsive with it. Something about it made her feel most uneasy, something unpredictable and cold.

“I don’t want to have that thing.” She exclaimed, marking it as something use- and worthless. Appalled she put it on the brown, round table in the middle of the room. “Somehow it sickens me. If you like, you can sell it somewhere.” she went to the window and, with her arms crossed, looked outside, which, Link assumed, was her favorite occupation.

Link fetched a box for the jewel and put it into the nearest cupboard. He walked up to her side and partook in watching the outside world.

“This is a strange world, out there…” Link stated, subdued, suppressing the upcoming pain.

“Yes… everyone lives without wanting to grasp the meaning behind it…”, she answered. “But why do you feel a stranger in your own world? You have a caring family and lead a normal life…” she said.

“My life isn’t so normal, mind you.” he replied. She looked at him from the side, fearing a little what she might see, were she to cast a glance behind his façade. He was so indescribably attracting, so enigmatic…Heavy secrets lay in his soul, burdening him. She could feel it…

He turned towards her and tried one of his soft, charming smiles.

“So… Zelda…” he murmured, surprised, how beautiful this name sounded if pronounced correctly.

“So, Link?” she asked.

“What would you like to do today? I would have shown you the spot I found you, but it’s quite foggy and it’s drizzling. It’s rather unpleasant in the woods during such slimy weather.

“I agree. Are you there often, in the woods?”

Link only nodded. “It is, as if there always was something calling me there.”

“As if you lived there once…”

“Yes, exactly.” She returned his thoughtful look. Impossible… she understood, knew his thoughts. It was the first time in Link’s life, that someone wanted to understand him this way: unconditionally. The first time, he could talk completely free with another human being.

“Thank you, Zelda.”

“For what?” Surprise was visible in her eyes.

“Oh, just because.”

For a long time, they just looked at each other, making the moment last as long as possible, none of them even dared to blink.

“You give me courage, even though I can’t fathom why…” she said. “Somehow I feel so safe here, secure and comfortable. How can I thank you for letting me stay?”

“I am sure, something will occur to me…” he said grinning, but the grin quickly vanished again when his injury smarted evilly. He inhaled deeply and had to support himself on the window sill.

Suddenly he felt a warm hand touching his forehead softly. His eyes met hers, which looked decidedly worried. “You don’t have to simulate an ideal world that exists for no-one. You neither help me or you with it…” she muttered, a little shaky. She knew, he didn’t feel well. She felt his fever almost as if it were hers.

He didn’t reply to her words, took her wrist in his hands and gently guided her palm away from his forehead, despite the definitely pleasurable feeling of her skin on his. Link walked a few rounds in his room, not minding Zelda’s serious expression. He directed his steps towards the door. Damn it, he still wanted to distract from his not-well-being, but didn’t know how. She had seen clearly through him, she knew too much.

“Wait Link. Could you show me this game, just for one time?”

He shook his head. “I promised to Sara not to touch it. You can ask her about that.” His hand had reached the door handle.

“Link…” she wanted to get through to him. It seemed to be quite a life task. He kept so many secrets, not only from others, but also from himself.

“Yes?” he asked without turning around.

“Please stay. Tell me more about this world, Link.”

He opened the door. “Later…” he murmured and left the room. She followed him, wanted to know what troubled him, wanted to help him, like he had helped her. She also stepped out of the room, immediately wondering, how Link could have vanished so quickly.

 

Zelda ran into the living-room and saw Link’s parents sit on the couch, watching TV, scooping chips into their mouths. They were laughing about some stupid recording.

“Are you looking for Link?” Mera asked, when she could stop her shrill laughter for a moment.

“Yes, I am.”

“He put on his jacket and rushed off without a word. Don’t think about following him, you wouldn’t catch up, I’m afraid.

“Why not?”

“Because he’s too fast and knows a lot of secret hideouts.”

“And were is Sara?”

“She is at Mike’s, a friend.” Zelda went to the couch were the married couple sat comfortably, following the happenings on a new flat-screen TV. Mera got up and eyed the girl. “Sara said, we should call you Zelda. Correct?” She nodded and smiled a little wryly. “A beautiful name. But anyway, you seem like you don’t know what you could do, right?”

“Yes, I think I just need something to occupy myself.”

“Completely understandable. Maybe you’d like to read? I’ve got a few fantasy-, horror-, or crime-novels, if you like something like that. Or you could always watch one of the DVDs of our collection.” Link’s father looked at the girl, smiling.

“Thanks, but I’d rather do something more useful…”

“Sorry, on weekends there is nothing worthwhile to be done, just relaxing stuff. Seems like my son should have found you earlier.”

Zelda smiled.

“About Link…” Zelda started. She sat down on a big, crème-colored stool with soft cushioning. “Is there nothing I could do for him, since I’m in his debt and all…”

“You want to make as much out of the situation as possible. I understand.” Link’s father said. Zelda now studied him properly for the first time. He had blue-grey eyes, just like Sara, wore a three-day-old-beard and was very slim, maybe a little too skinny. The most noticeable feature was a big scar on his right cheek and the glasses on his nose.

“I would certainly like to charge you with sorting out Link’s cupboards for trash, but you’d go crazy on all the junk he keeps there. Plus he doesn’t like it, if someone goes through his stuff.”

“Maybe reading a book isn’t such a bad idea.”

Mera then led her to her own little library – meaning one giant wall with bookshelves in their bedroom. “What shall it be? Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Dean Koontz could work too… or maybe Marion Zimmer Bradley?”

“Well I… To be honest, I don’t seem to recognize any of these names.”

“Tcha, must be due to your loss of memory.”

“No, there’s more behind it.” Zelda sighed, while browsing through the books. Mera looked slightly puzzled, then lay a gentle hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Be that as it may, why don’t you just try to enjoy your time here?” Zelda nodded and finally decided for a book of the Donovan-saga.

Mera smirked. “But I warn you: These books are always a little… well… romantic…” Zelda disregarded the warning, wanting to find out for herself. If it got too dreamy and it was no fun reading it, she could always shut the book.

Mera followed the girl to the guest-room. A beautiful chamber, with a double-bed which Zelda had for her alone a desk, a little couch, a radio and even a TV.

“Go ahead and make yourself at home.” an offer Zelda would surely accept. She sat down in front of the desk and had another spontaneous idea. “Erm, Mera, could you do me one final favor?”

“Certainly, what do you want?”

“I could need a few sheets of parchment and a quill.”

Mera started laughing heartily and was soon rolling in the aisles. Trying to control her breath, she leaned against the wall.

“Did I say something amiss?” Zelda asked silently and was once again embarrassed.

“In this world feathers are no longer used, at least not for everyday-life, poor child.”

“Oh…” she mumbled. “excuse me…”

Mera quickly went up to her. “Now, now, no need to be sorry for that. It just sounded so funny. It is me who should apologize for my laughter… Wait, I’ll get you writing things and a notebook.”

Ashamed, Zelda let herself fall backwards on the bed and held the book protecting in front of her glowing-red face. How awkward… how humiliating.

She just didn’t know anything, didn’t know the ropes in this world. She felt so inappropriate with her dated way. Everything was disconcerting… people and their manners, things…

Again she felt as if she should know something, she just didn’t; something forgotten, but still of great importance, not only for her, but for this whole modern world.

As she lay there, she turned her head to the window, saw rain, pouring from the nebulous sky almost in an enraged manner.

Something waited out there. Someone looked for her. She intuited it, sensed it. One of her wondrous abilities, she knew nothing about.

Something malicious, inhumanly dark lurked out there and waited, desired power, longed for revenge.

Mera happily stumbled into the room and put Zelda off her stride. That seemed to be her prevalent ability: to throw people, especially her son, for a loop.

She had an A4 note pad under her arm and a pencil case in her hand.

“Here you go. May I now ask what you need it for?” Zelda jumped up from the bed to take the items she was holding.

“I want to write down my thoughts, maybe make a note of some dreams, to capture what’s important…”

“Well, our boy seems to actually have found himself a princess.” Mera giggled and sat down in a chair at one side of the desk.

“I thank you a lot, Mera. I would be lost, had Link not found me, and if I weren’t allowed to stay.”

“Well he put up quite an argument, so you can remain here.” Zelda smiled.

“And I think he’s got quite a crush on you upon seeing you. You really are very pretty. Someone’s simply got to say that at one point.” Zelda sheepishly looked down and her cheeks turned slightly pinker. “Thanks for the compliment.”

“Don’t mention it.” After a short pause Mera added: “Before I forget it, Eric and I are going on a holiday tomorrow. Sara wants to join us. Which means, you and Link will be all alone in this big house. Next Sunday we’ll be back. Just so you know.” Zelda nodded. “Okay, now do whatever pleases you, Zelda.”

The girl spread herself out on the bed again, picked up the book and started to read. Merely 2 minutes later Mera entered again and added further: “And if you’re hungry or thirsty, just say so, ok?”

“Yes, thank you.”

How warm-hearted these people she ended up with were. Are many of this modern world’s inhabitants as pleasant and showed such understanding?

Zelda read attentively and admiringly read her book and upon reading she forgot how quickly time passed.

 

Late in the evening Zelda was distracted from her reading. The doorbell rang. She jumped up and ran out of the room. She heard it again when she was on the stairs. Strange. Why didn’t anybody open the door? Where were Mera and Eric? Again the ringing sound reached her ears. She hastened for the door and looked through the door-viewer. Link stood there, completely drenched with soggy hair.

Zelda opened up for him with a “Hey.”

He entered without a single word, but had to support himself on the doorframe, gasping quickly. At that moment the girl was certain that he was anything but well.

“I seem to have forgotten my key.” he whispered between his gasps, which forced Zelda to smile a little.

“Is everything alright?” she asked, but Link didn’t respond.

Slowly he stumbled up to his room, Zelda, determined not to let him alone, following him. He can keep silent all he wants, I will still find out what’s wrong with him, she thought. She wanted to thank him somehow for his help, his compassion and she had already come up with an idea.

When he had reached his big chamber, he at first wondered about the strange beauty that had just snuck after him without any sign of restraint. Didn’t she see that he wanted be left alone for now? He switched his desk-lamp on, pulled the wet baseball-cap from his head and placed it besides the oil-stove. It was dark outside, much too dark.

Exhausted from his little stroll, Link fell down on his couch. He was wet to the bone, but it didn’t interest him. Still, he acted as if Zelda wasn’t present, switched his TV on and watched the stupidity of Saturday afternoon shows.

“I… bother you, right?” she said faintly. She had hoped, Link would tell her a few things about this world. His eyes met hers for a short, meaningless moment, but still, Link could see sorrow, helplessness and even a hint of fear.

“If you like, just sit down…” he replied, already astounded by his own words. Didn’t he want to be left in peace just seconds ago?

He surely did. On the other hand he liked her presence and enjoyed it if she was with him.

“Do you know where my parents are?” Link asked to do the first step. Zelda’s eyes sparkled for a fraction of a second in a most unnatural light, then she sat down besides him on the couch. She too made herself comfortable and put her feet up. “They probably pack their bags for tomorrow. Sara is at a friend’s…”

“Aha, at Mike’s, I presume…” Link murmured and his gaze turned to her. Just before, she appeared so fragile, yet so unapproachable as if not of this world. But since Zelda wore the jeans and the blouse, she seemed changed, appeared to be a normal human being with an indescribable smile.

“Yes, Mike it is, if I recall correctly.”

“She always acts, as if he was just a friend, but I looked right through her…” Link said and smirked a little. He lay one hand on the bandages under his greed shirt, suppressed the burning pain. Zelda didn’t notice any of that…

“You mean, Mike’s her boyfriend?”

“Yep.” Link finished. Again he zapped through the channels, searching for something worthwhile.

“Actually I’m really not someone who likes to spend the whole day in front of the tube. But with this weather out there, there isn’t much else to do. “

“I wished, I knew what did during storms like this.” she said gloomily. Link shifted a little closer to her and mumbled softly: “Have a little confidence. It will take a little time, regaining your memories.” Zelda evaded his gaze and stiffened briefly due to his closeness.

“I’m just worried… who knows what I should be doing right now.”

He tried to smile, which was not an easy task, thanks to his pitiable condition. “True, who knows? So just enjoy your time here.”

At that Zelda walked to the window, looked up at the sky, where the rain clouds slowly started to retreat. What might be hidden in the world up there, behind the clouds, behind the everyday sundown? “Before you came I’ve been reading an interesting book.” She said and saw a buzzard fly over the woods in the south.

“One of my mother’s novels, I assume.”

“It contained so many things I just couldn’t understand, so many words I have never heard.” She supported her much too heavy head with one hand. Quite a number of stifling thoughts circled in there. Asking why, asking for the reason that everything was so unfamiliar to her, started to doubt her own existence. She wistfully marveled the wide firmament, knowing, there existed so much more than only this world, but she didn’t even fully conceive her own knowledge. The moon broke through the darkening veil of clouds that searched to seal away its light.

“I…” Zelda started, knowing what she wanted to say must sound very strange.

Link suddenly stood at her side and he, too, admired the heaven’s tent.

“You… love the sky…” he said, astonished, about how he could have known what she was going to say. She turned around to face him and smiled briefly. “You can read my mind. Have you learned that somewhere?”

“No, it only works with you…” he answered honestly.

“Then I have to be very careful from now on.”

“Are you afraid of thinking a wrong thing?” A trace of serenity was noticeable in his voice.

“No, I am more afraid to think the right thing…” and her head turned back towards the further darkening evening sky.

“Just so you know… I am steeled for every thought you can muster.”

“Before some thoughts even the strongest protection crumbles.” She said and then smiled.

“To say the truth, you look so innocent; I can hardly imagine your mind to be that dangerous and deadly.”

“Appearances can deceive you.” She replied and her little smile disappeared. “I believe, I am not as harmless as I seem to others, as I may appear to you…”

“You are scared of yourself, Zelda…” he mumbled. “You can believe me, I know this feeling only too well.” She nodded meaningfully.

And Link did know what he was talking about. On some days he felt capable of more than he should be. His semblance was that of a teenage boy, but concealed inside was a man who had seen more death and harm than anybody else.

“Occasionally, when I gaze upon the blue sky, the most… soothing sensation overcomes me.” She whispered. “But it’s as if…” she searched for the right words.

“As if it could not be everlasting…” he finished for her.

“If you continue to sneak into my head, it’ll come to a bad end.” she riposted giggling.

“Everything is going to end well.” he teased her and smirked.

After a while of pious marveling of the evening sky, Zelda asked: “Do you think, it is imperishable, do you think the blue of the sky will be forever?”

“I am certain, there will always be someone, who fights for its existence.”

“This is an assertive view of things.”

“Yeah, and if not, I’ll do the job.”

“Job?” she laughed about the thought. How could a seventeen-year-old make the sun shine and the world go round perpetually, especially one, who thought of the sky’s rescue as a ‘job’?

She shook her head after that promenade of her thoughts. Why did she worry about the end of the world all of a sudden? As if the devil had arisen straight from hell recently. How far the two youths had drifted off from their initial topic, the girl noticed, and wondered a little.

“Well, next week are holidays, so I’ve got time for one adventure or another.”

She grinned at him. “So, I’ve ended up with an adventurer?”

“First off, a bore wouldn’t have found you, and secondly you get to see a lot more if you’re with an adventurer.”

“I’m happy to hear that, Link” she said, smiling.

“Me even more so…” he mumbled, not sure, how exactly he meant that. He was happy that she was here, although he did not know her. Yes, indeed, but… was that wholly true?

Link padded towards his desk, at the same time turning the TV off. “I’ve got an idea. Sara unfortunately forbade me to touch the Gamecube, but I could show you a Gameboy-version of the game about Zelda. You wanted  to know about it, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did.” she said and too hopped towards the couch. Link started explaining a few important details about ‘Minish Cap’. Zelda showed enthusiasm and seemed to love the on the spot. It had something, she wanted to recall. Something jolted her, as she understood the meaning of the game…

After a while Link turned the handheld console off and let himself sink down on the bed. Almost immediately his eyes closed.

“Zelda” he started, anxious to keep his weak condition secret from her. She knelt down at his side, just as he had done, when she had woken up.

“Mmh?”

“I know, I wanted to explain a few things about this world, but…”

“…you’re not feeling well.” She finished for him. He looked at her again, saw something like certainty in her glimmering eyes, also a lot of sympathy.

He nodded. “Shall I leave you to yourself?”  

“Would you?” he conformed. Okay, she had to respect that. If he asked her to leave, he surely had understandable reasons. For just a moment, she laid her soft hand on his cheek and hummed: “Thank you again, Link, and sleep well, so that you’re soon better.”

Link gazed after her when she left the room and risked another look at him for two seconds. “Good night” Link said weakly. The next moment she was gone. Link was alone with his problems, as alone as he had always been. But maybe Zelda knew what troubled him all along… maybe she could one day filter down to him and help him like he helped her.

Link crawled wearily under his blanket and without any further movement or thought closed his eyes. Still fully dressed he fell asleep, wishing for a dreamless night… no monsters… no strange faces. No-one may ever have access to the Link he actually was, no-one was to behold what was concealed behind the youthful face of his. Not his parents. Not Sara or his friends. Not Zelda either…

They may never find out what happened inside him. All those things, the encounters with evil in his dreams, the sinister wounds… all that would let them forget that he was still Link, their son or friend. He didn’t want to admit how bad he felt. It wasn’t that hard to cope with the pain…yeah, it would work somehow.

 

From the time when he was but a small boy, Link convinced himself, he could only be strong if he denied his fears, his true emotions. He paid a bitter price for etching closer and closer to the limits of his strength. But why? What for did he go through hell all the time? He owed himself an explanation.

 
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