Chapter 3
 

Chapter 3

 

In his dream he saw Zelda, standing right before him. She smiled, in a way she hadn’t smiled ever before.

“Thank you, my hero.” she said. Link didn’t understand the meaning of it. “…for finding me.” She laid her hand on his cheek.

 

Just when Link enjoyed it most, when he thought that nothing could be more comforting than her soft skin on his, he woke up. He, once again, found himself spread-eagled on the floor, before forcing himself up. This time, he did not forget about the dream.

On the desk he spotted a letter. He carefully took it and had to read it twice, before his sleepy eyes conveyed the message to his brain. His parents and Sara had left already. They didn’t want to wake him, so they left this message. Was it Saturday already? Damn, Link had completely overslept.

 

“Zelda…” Was she still here? Funny, Link had the feeling that this name really was meant for her and for her alone. He stumbled out of his room. There was nobody around. Surely, Zelda had left. Had she even been here at all? In Link’s thoughts she was with him, he felt her presence. He had searched for her      , found her and brought her here… Link stood absentmindedly in the middle of the living room, when somebody opened the door. One bag dropped from her hand, when she looked at him, her gaze fixed on his T-shirt. Blood had poured out of his body.

 

“Link! For heaven’s sake!” her hands went in front of her mouth in shock when Link sank down on the floor. “What happened to you?”

“I’d sure like to know that…” she knelt down at his side, understood and asked nothing more. A dozen questions had probably poured out of Sara’s mouth by now. She however kept her calm and didn’t probe him on the matter, neither about what happened, nor if it hurt badly. Instead, she helped him stand up and assisted him on his way to the couch. Zelda flicked through a telephone book, wrote down one number and called somebody. Slowly but steadily, she got used to this world.

“Who did you call?”

“A medic, you need professional help immediately.

“What? Have you gone mad? Am I supposed to tell him that a game has inflicted these wounds on me?” Zelda didn’t appear to be surprised in the slightest, for some reason. Did she know about it? And if yes, how?

As if she had read his thoughts, she added: “No, I do not know about it. It doesn’t matter where you got these injuries from, or who caused them. The important thing is that… you feel better soon.” After a short pause she continued: “Your parents have departed for their longed for holydays and Sara came with them. She was still pretty angry at you…” timidly, she said: “You know, I dreamed about you.”

 

Not even that could surprise Link any more, he just smiled. She smiled back at him. There he recognized her smile from his dream. This was it. Silence ruled over the house’s living room. No sound, no noise, no voice. It was almost an uncomfortable quiet.

 

The bell ringing at the door came just at the right moment. Both of them hadn’t known, what more there was to say in that moment.  

 

Zelda hurried off to open the door. The voice he heard soon afterwards somehow seemed familiar. Oh no! Not him, please not Dr. Dar Gordon. This doctor positively relished being mildly cruel to his victims.

He entered the living room with a slightly puzzled expression on his round face. He was a short, muscular man with darkly tanned skin and light brown short hair.

“Well, who have we got here? Link, how are you?” No adequate answer came to mind, so he just cast a grim smile at Zelda. She simply laughed at him however. Gordon examined the wounds and, surprisingly, asked no questions either. Link almost jumped up to run away when Gordon told him, he definitely had to administer an injection. Upon seeing Zelda’s look however, he rather endured that, than having to justify an escape to her.

“Say, Mr. Gordon…”

“Oh, just call me Dar.”

“Okay, Dar, don’t you want to know what caused my injuries?”

“No, I don’t.” He bandaged his torso anew and ordered it to be changed every day. With a bow to Zelda he showed himself out.

“What was that?”

“I have no idea…”    

 

It was almost noon now. Link was currently in the kitchen, rummaging in several cupboards, in desperate search of something edible. He felt utterly stupid, having a guest but neither skill nor materials necessary for cooking anything worth eating. Zelda entered the room, he didn’t notice however. He proceeded to ransack the fridge, but all he found was a package of milk past its expiration date, a few cans of fish and conserved vegetables, butter, ketchup and other vital stuff. But nothing you could prepare a decent meal out of, unfortunately. He started swearing at nothing in particular.

“Damn it. And it is Sunday, of all days, so I can also forget about going grocery shopping.” Zelda smirked. Link finally noticed her presence, turned around in a flash and smiled innocently.

“Erm… looks like we have a problem.”

“A problem?” She smiled at him.

“Yeah, kind of a problem.”

“Indeed. A big problem?” Link played along now.

“Depending on what you would consider to be a big problem.”

“I would define the circumstance that you can’t find something edible a big problem.”

“Then I have to say that we indeed have a exceedingly big problem.” Now Link grinned as well. It was great fun talking to her. Never before in his life had he been able to talk to anybody so freely. Who on earth was she? A soul mate maybe?

Zelda opened the freezer. “Let me solve the problem. Your mother said there were a few things left in here, but we would have to go shopping tomorrow.” Link looked at Zelda. He didn’t fully understand, what this feeling was, but somehow she being here didn’t feel exceptional any more, as if she was part of the family for a long time. Link stood beside her, looking into the freezer to identify the various bags and packages in it.

“Say, can you remember anything by now? Maybe a little hint?”

“No, I’m afraid not.” She walked to the window and hung her head. “At times, everything, even little unimportant details feel so alien. I mean for example the fridge, the TV, this modern technology all together. I even feel certain that I never possessed any of these things…” Link didn’t know what he should answer, so he kept quiet.

“But… let’s forget about it, I probably worry about nothing.” Peeved, Link closed the freezer again.

“I know. Why don’t we just go to Burger King or McDonalds? My treat.”

“I know, you mean only well for me, but I am already costing you and your family so much. I just can’t accept your offer.” Link leaned back on the fridge’s door, crossed his arms and said: “Well, then you’ll have no other option than staying here.”

“Yes, you can go.”

“Don’t worry, I’m away in no time.”

“Okay.”

“Yep. See you later.”

Link couldn’t stand the situation any longer, grabbed her arm and pulled her with him. “I don’t want to eat alone, so!” And Zelda followed him without a trace of reluctance.

 

A little later that day they sat opposite of each other at a McDonald’s-table. Zelda was still pondering about what she should pick to eat.

“Say, what of all this stuff actually tastes good?” Her gaze jumped all over the board with the different offers.

“Well, that would depend on how strictly you watch your waistline.”

“Sorry?”

“It’s easy: It tastes quite good, but it fattens just as well.” Zelda shrugged her shoulders, as if that matter didn’t interest her at all.

“Just pick something for me, would you?” she said finally. Link stood up and queued up. He found Zelda more and more likeable…

Yes, he had found her and felt a strong responsibility for her, but more than that, this girl had something to her that made her unique. The longer he studied her eyes, the stronger the feeling of knowing her got…

His gaze wandered back to her. Zelda looked out of the window, bearing a sad look in those warm eyes of hers. He knew this look… even if this knowledge could only be a figment.

When Link put the tablet on the table, Zelda looked at him in surprise. She had been deeply lost in thought, so his return completely evaded her notice.

“I know, we don’t really know each other, but to me, you seem so pensive. Is everything all right?” Link asked warily. He expected her to avoid answering his question. It was quite a personal question after all and he had no right to intrude in her life.

To his great surprise, she smiled softly at him. “No… not really.” He handed her one of the bags on the tablet.

“Is it because of your amnesia?” Now he had gotten far too curious to stop asking.

“No, it’s just so, that I have no clue, what I’m supposed to do. I feel so lost.” She looked away in abashment. “But why am I telling you, anyway? It’s not going to particularly interest you. After all, we don’t know us, right?”

“Erm… well… It does interest me nonetheless.”

“Really?”

“Sure.”

“Is that so? You appear to be one very helpful fellow, Link.”

“And you seem to be a very thoughtful girl, Zelda.” He grinned a little silly and slyly; Link’s typical form of grinning.

Thereupon, they ate their burgers, fries and salads and so on. More accurate in Link’s case, however, would be ‘he crammed all the food almost at once in his mouth’.

After their meal, they remained seated for a little longer.

“I am positive that I have never before eaten anything like this.” Zelda mumbled.

“Did you like it, at least?”

“Yes, it actually did taste pretty good. But I have to say, I’m completely full.”

“And you’re quite sure that this won’t harm your figure?” he grinned again.

“I don’t think, I ever minded it at all.” She said and sipped on her coke.

“No? Well, that’s a pity. You see, you look like you placed great value on your appearance.”

“What do you mean by that?” He looked sideways.

“Well, just look at you. There’s not a gram of flab on your entire body, your hair looks incredibly well tended, even at the time I found you in the forest. Your skin must feel, as if you put a special lotion on it every three hours, and and and… I’m certain, my sister is a tad jealous.”

She supported her chin on her right hand and let her blue eyes sparkle at him.

“You are watching me quite intently, don’t you think?”

“I happen to be a very exact observer.”

“A little too exact with some people, huh?”

He moved a little closer and retorted cheekily: “Indeed, there are persons I study very precisely…”

“I assume, one should be honored, being one of those chosen.”

“To be honest, there are only very few to have this privilege.”

“So, this would only increase the feeling honor I am supposed to have for being one of so few.” She smiled, waiting for an answer. Link considered his options very diligently. Normally, quick-witted answers came naturally to his mind, but with Zelda, his brain seemed to have ceased working properly.

“I am thrilled, to see how you want to express said honor.” he ended up saying.

Zelda sighed; he always got the last word. “You got me now.” But Link just laughed and within seconds, Zelda started laughing as well. They left the restaurant together and walked down the street leading to the marketplace.

“I will think of something…” Link said after a while.

“But don’t be too mean, you hear?” she countered.

“Mean? Who? Me?“

“…” She chewed on her lower lip.

“I may be a little bit deceitful, but never mean. I promise.”

“You always have to go one better, don’t you?”

“Yep, and I’m proud of it.”

 

They strolled around the middle age themed market that took place in Destinykeep this day. Link wasn’t all that interested in markets of any sort, but Zelda really seemed to enjoy the atmosphere greatly. She walked ahead, watching the whole scenery closely, eagerly taking in every impression. She practically ran from one stall to another, marveling the vast variety of objects.

Besides flower-, weapon- and costume stalls, there were many attractions fighting for attention. In the middle of the marketplace a group of traveling artists showed their juggling abilities on unicycles. Next to the well, there was even a knight’s tournament about to take place. Two actors in heavy suits of plate armor were facing each other. One wielded a two-handed sword, the other bore a battleaxe. They started dueling. That was a lot more to Link’s taste; he elbowed his way to the first row, to have a clear look at the fight.

A few moments later Zelda stood at his side.

“Tell me something about you. If I’m going to live at your place, I want to get to know you better. What do you do, whenever you are not occupied with finding strange girls in the woods?”

“Well, my life isn’t all that exciting. To be honest, most of my time I occupy with Zelda.” Again he grinned because of the ambiguity of his words.

“You must be really crazy about this game.”

“Yeah, but thank god I’m not alone with that. Apart from that I spend most of my time in nature. My friends and I often go fishing or riding or we do archery. So my life isn’t that boring.”

“I would have wondered would it be otherwise.”

“But sometimes… I had…” he started, but didn’t fully understand why he was about to confide this most delicate topic to her. Hardly anybody knew anything about his problems. He looked questioningly and with a glint of doubt into her eyes, smiled shyly and turned his head away bashfully.

“Link?”

“Oh… forget what I said. It’s of no importance.”

She gently placed her hand on his arm and smiled incisively. “It’s okay… you don’t need to tell me if you don’t wish to. “

He couldn’t help but smile in silence.

The combatants in the center of the plaza were getting serious now and started hitting each other with more force. Link studied their movements. Admittedly, they were only actors… but something about their technique seemed false in Link’s eyes. You could see in his sincere expression that he was intently examining the battle scenario. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, a voice in his head told him. But before he understood what he had just thought, the words had escaped his lips. Zelda watched him curiously.

“Wrong?” she asked.

“Yeah, somehow it is. I have the feeling that they are doing everything wrong they possibly can. Just watch their deficient footwork, their abysmal technique and the lack of expression in their style.”

“So you could do better?” He had to laugh at that.

“Are you joking? I’ve never held a weapon in my hands, apart from a bow. I have no idea how to fight.”

“But your act as if you were an expert, at least your criticism of their fighting style told me so.” Link was flabbergasted. She was absolutely right. But still, he just knew that you should handle these weapons differently. He simply knew, but he didn’t know wherefrom.

“Well, I stupidly got carried away. Right. I shouldn’t pass judgment on that matter.

They continued watching the fight. Both warriors stroke at each other vehemently. Axe and sword crashed together repeatedly. Suddenly there was splintering of wood. The axe’s wooden shaft had broken off. The sharp projectile flew in a high arc towards the crowd. Screams of fright echoed through the air. The rotating metal flew with enormous speed in Link’s direction. Before he comprehended what was happening, the axe had reached him. Zelda cramped her eyes shut in shock. After a few seconds she dared to open them again.

Link had easily caught the speedy projectile. The two actors goggled at him, as thunderstruck as the surrounding crowd.

“Amazing, how did you do that?” Link blinked perplexedly and said: “Erm… must have had luck…” He handed the guy in the armor the damaged weapon.

Zelda eyed him warily. “For someone who has never before wielded a weapon, you are astonishingly good at handling them. My heart almost stopped there.”

“Oh? Were you worried?”

“Yes… a little.” They smiled at each other. No… impossible… They must have known each other for longer than two days…

“Well, in any case I seem to have a few yet unknown talents.”

“Yes, thankfully.”

They left the marketplace and strolled around town aimlessly. At one point, Link stayed behind and watched Zelda walking along the way. She remembered him of something. But what? Zelda also stopped, but didn’t turn around.

“You said, you were dreaming about me?” Link uttered at last. That had interested him the whole time. “If you tell me about it, you will have proven your honor.”

“Okay. I will tell you, I promise. When we are back at your place…”

“Good.”

“Good.”

 

 The sun was setting and an ordinary spring-day was nearing its end when Link and Zelda opened the door and entered the Bravery-house. For Link the whole situation became ever more bizarre, yet more familiar. More and more demanding the question arose in his head, if he really had never met the girl before. He had pondered about it for quite a time now. He tried to recollect his memories of long past childhood days, thought about different faces of children he had known. Could Zelda’s possibly be one among them? He couldn’t find an answer.

Zelda noticed his ruminative expression when they sat down at the brown kitchen table.

“What are you thinking about so grimly?” He eyed her, confused. She had caught him completely off guard. He had been so oblivious of his surroundings that it took a while before he had found his way back into reality.

“You know, I have been wondering the whole time now, if I have seen you before somewhere.”

“I feel the same. And although it is impossible for me to know you already, I seem to know perfectly what kind of person you are.” She flashed him a smile. “And I thank you for everything you have done for me so far. Thank you.” Link smiled as well. He is capable of smiling, without grinning in a silly way.

He then got up. “Shall we cook ourselves flummery?”

“What gave you that idea?”

“Well, I thought it would make for a nice dinner.”

“Okay.” They started preparing right away.

Link was standing at the stove while Zelda was occupied with setting the table in the living room. When she had finally found the plates and the cutlery – she had opened just about every single drawer of the wall unit and beyond – she turned the on the CD player. A, for her ears, unusual music sounded through the room. Many things felt very unusual to Zelda; the music, the radio itself…

She sat down at the table and indulged herself in nonsensical spheres of her mind.

Link took the pot from the stove and was about to carry it into the living room, when all of a sudden he broke into sweat and his vision narrowed and got blurry. He had almost forgotten his wounds and didn’t realize what caused this qualm at first. He put the pot back on the working surface. His left hand found it’s way to his stomach where he felt little stings of pain. He wobbled to the sink, turned on the faucet and splashed his face with chilly water. He slowly opened his eyes again and was relieved to have a clear vision again. From the lounge Irish music reached his ears. ‘Isn’t this Sara’s music?’, he thought. His little sister liked listening to mystical music. Sometimes so loud that she drove everyone else in the house, especially their parents, up the walls. Zelda must have discovered the radio…

Link gave it a second shot and took the pot. This time he just barely got to the living room before his vision blurred again. He immediately sat down on one of the chairs and placed the pot on the table. It took a few seconds before his thoughts got clear again. The injection he had gotten this morning must have ceased to have effect, because now the pain returned every few seconds, but it was bearable. He took a few deep breaths.

“Link?” Zelda asked. Only now she paid attention to his presence.

“What?”

“You are pale. Is it your wound?” Link looked at her, astonished. Apparently she really was a little worried about him.

“What’s it to you? As if you had a clue.” Link replied coldly. He had absolutely no inclination of telling her about the whereabouts of his injury. “Just leave me be.”

Immediately he regretted his words, which unintentionally sounded really scornful. She looked away for a few seconds, then got up and uttered lowly: “Pardon me, I had no intention of intruding myself into your business.”

Silence.

The strange girl strutted towards the stairs. “Zelda… wait. I didn’t mean it like that.” Link pleaded finally.

“I did understand it, however.” She retorted angrily.

“Please, sit down again.” He rued his words now immensely. She turned around and looked at him with serious eyes. So much insecurity was visible in them.

“I know it isn’t easy for you and I really want to help you. It’s just that…” he uttered.

“…that in spite of all, we are still strangers.“ she finished. Zelda was still staring emphatically at him with her crystal blue eyes. “You make the situation even more difficult for me, than it already is, Link. If you prompt it, I will leave at once. I do not know, if it was by accident that you found me. But I drew comfort in thinking that it had a purpose.” A pause ensued.  

“I meant what I said just now…”

Zelda’s look had changed. There was neither anger nor unease in it any longer, but honest concern. Come on, Link, make an effort!

He rested his head on his hand and sighed: “Yes, you are right. It is the wound… I shouldn’t have jumped at you that way. I didn’t mean to, it just…”

Finally she sat back down. “Looks like you’ll have to eat the flummery alone.” Link mumbled. “I have no stomach for it right now.”

The mystical music still played in the background, a reminder of long past times for both of them.

“Why don’t you have a nap?” she suggested, expecting another rough answer. Fortunately it didn’t come.

The young man stood up and lied down on the living room couch. Yes, she was right of course, all he needed was a few moments of resting. After a few minutes he was fast asleep.

 

Zelda tiptoed towards the door. It was quite late in the evening already. Link was still fast asleep. She took the dishes away as silently as possible and slowly closed the door behind her. Link should have as much sleep as he needed. She made her way to the kitchen and tossed the tableware into the dishwasher but she had to admit that she had absolutely no clue as how to operate it. That thing was apparently a tad more complicated than the radio.

She snuck back into the living room and carefully dimmed up the light of the floor lamp just enough to be able to clearly see Link’s face.

He didn’t look good, even paler than before. Her worries about him grew every second. But why? She did not know him… did she?

From the radio a soothing harp music was playing. The gentle tones were comforting to her ears… so very familiar. She sat down in one of the armchairs, leaned back and closed her eyes to get away from it all, until she slowly drifted away, to a place where she could find the answers she desired.

 

Zelda opened her eyes and looked in awe upon a giant garden. How did she get here? She followed a narrow path, paved with white stone, towards a small pond. Wherever you looked there were noteworthy sculptures of graceful beings, which Zelda could identify as dragons, gods, angels or magical creatures of a different kind.

 

She continued to look around, noting dozens of little pathways that led through the garden. At the edges grew white roses, neatly planted at each side of the ways. She randomly picked a path and followed it until she reached a large tree, its old branches holding a worn swing.

Dreamily she sat down on it and swung a little back and forth. Now that she was in the air she experienced even more of this marvelous place. Her gaze fell upon the high walls of an enormous castle; its towers seemed to soar right into the sky. A person stood at one of the windows and waved at her.

She waved back, although she didn’t know the person. It was a elder man, with grey hair and blue eyes. She was not acquainted with the man, whose old face showed a pleasant smile, but she somehow felt a connection to him. She decided to look away…

 

Zelda opened her eyes once again. The song that had filled the air before had ended. She switched off the radio and went to look after still sleeping Link.

Yes, she was in genuine concern about him. How silly of me, she thought. He was simply a youth, possibly not quite as normal as most, but still… Why should she interfere in his life?

Surely he was better off without her being ever present, always causing worries for him. They didn’t know each other… not really…

She was about to leave the room, when she caught herself going back to him once again. Her gaze remained on his face for a few moments before she placed her hand on his forehead. He had quite a temperature now. She took a blanket from a basket standing at the wall and covered him carefully. He didn’t move a single time.

“Good night, Link”, she whispered and vanished from sight when the light in the living room went out.

 

On the following day Link was woken up by a low hum, coming from the kitchen. A high, beautiful voice sung and the song affected him deeply somehow. Dazed, he opened his blue eyes and glanced around. Oh yeah, right… he had fallen asleep on the couch. But what about the blanket? Where’d that come from? His attention focused back on the lovely voice. He tried to sit up, which he managed, but it cost him lots of his energy. He leaned back and closed his eyes again. The voice came closer… How enchanting the song was that this wonderful mouth brought forth.

When Zelda finally stood in front of him, he reopened his eyes. She had a glass of water in her hand and two pills in her other, which he identified as pain-killers.

“Good morning…” she said. He was a little shy to look at her directly.

“Good morning…”

She sat down beside him and handed him the pills and the water.

“I took the liberty of calling the doctor again while you were asleep. He gave me those for you.” He choked them down.

“Why are you doing all this for me?” he asked lowly.

“I owe you quite a lot, Link.” He still dared not look at her. Zelda got up and explained: “I also did the groceries already. Your mother left us a list with the stuff we should get. The money was in the white box in the cupboard, where I also put the change. I got the bill, so you can…”

He interrupted her with a weak voice: “You don’t have to do that, Zelda.”

“Yes, I think I do. And that’s at least something I can do.”

“But…”

“Just be quiet already.” He goggled at her in surprise. Zelda had things firmly under her control now. She wouldn’t put up with his moods from now on.

“By the way, since I have absolutely no idea about how to navigate in a shopping center, I got help.” Link looked at her curiously.

“Help?”

“Yes, there were two nice boys, who for some reason really wanted to carry my bags.”

“Oh…” Link uttered. He knew exactly why these guys had behave like this. Most probably two Zelda-freaks who just wanted to do her a favor. Apart from that, Zelda really was pretty like the most perfect piece of art.

“Say… who were these two guys?” Link tried to ask nonchalantly, attempting to keep his arising jealousy under control. He couldn’t contemplate the burning strength of this feeling.

“Their names were Josh and Hendrick, I think. Why would you ask?”

Link waved his hands around in the air, hoping that it didn’t make him even more suspicious than he already was.

“Just curious…” it blurted out of him. But he knew the two guys. Josh and Hendrick were twins, though not identical, and both attended high school. Link had a few classes a week with them and knew their nerve-stretching humor all too well. Still, they were both good people and Link was somehow under the impression, that Zelda could tell precisely who was trustworthy and who wasn’t. After just one glance, she knew about a being’s hidden intentions. Possibly, she didn’t even realize this remarkable ability…

She knelt down before him and sighed. “You really are masterful in making me worry, you know that, you little dummy?” He didn’t know, what he should answer.

“Are you hungry?” she asked, watching him with a warm smile.

“Yea, I guess.”

“We still got Raspberry-flummery.” She mused jokingly. The corner’s of his mouth finally went up again. She was about to go back into the kitchen when he held her back on her arm.

“About yesterday… I am sorry…”

“You don’t need to apologize. It’s okay. Stay here, I will get you something.” With a smile she vanished around the corner. Link sighed deeply, trying not to loose his grasp on reality. This girl sure was something. She already had the whole situation down pat. Not only had she managed the whole shopping, something he tried to avoid whenever he could, but she had also notified Dar Gordon again to help him. Apparently she really was an angel…

Link really felt like a jerk now. How could he ever have snapped at Zelda in the way he did the day before? What was he thinking? He was utterly furious with himself.

He took the remote control of the TV and zapped through the channels. How tedious Mondays can be! Only documented idiocy on every channel. After a few minutes, the pain-killers were astonishingly well working, Link stood up and stretched. Spending the night on the couch wasn’t the best of ideas. Still, he felt quite well, enough at least to play a little trick on Zelda. He should have considered that little pranks often have dire consequences…

He positioned himself right next to the door, dexterously and above all silently, so there was no way Zelda could see or hear him. There he waited patiently (more or less) for her return. A grin appeared on his face. If she brought the flummery, she would probably regret it soon after… heehee…

It came exactly as Link had foreseen it. Zelda carried a tablet with two bowls of flummery and a decent breakfast. She entered through the door, and…

Before she knew what was happening, Link had grabbed one of the bowls and ran into the faraway corner of the room. Zelda couldn’t grasp the sense behind this action and eyed him in a perturbed way. He took the spoon, shoveled up a good chunk of the pink mass and presented a silly grin in Zelda’s direction. Then he fired.

Zelda’s dazzled expression would have been a source of mirth for many hours, but the pudding flew fast and landed right in her face. Fury and indignation sparkled now in her eyes.

“You… just you wait!” she shouted. Zelda put the tray down, wiped the goo off her face, took the other bowl and joined the fight. She aimed directly at his face, but he dodged and the pudding hit his mother’s loved wall unit.

“Oh, oh…” Link thought, when he noticed the slimy substance slowly run down the glass front, leaving a pink trail. In the meantime, Zelda had hurled a large serving at him, and… it hit his throat! One-on-one!

Now the wall unit and any other piece of furniture were forgotten. This was one challenge he would certainly not let go unanswered. They continued throwing the flummery and in a matter of seconds the living room resembled a battlefield. Pudding everywhere! On the chandelier, the cupboard, the light colored couch, the ceiling, the floor, the walls.

It was Zelda’s turn and she aimed quickly. He dodged and jumped on the couch, looked back at Zelda, who had only feinted.

“Go on, you won’t hit me anyway.”

“We shall see about that.” she laughed. She now opened fire as quickly as possible until her bowl was empty. Still, it didn’t seem as if she had hit him once. He was too quick, even with his giant wound on his belly.

Link now stood at the door. “Do you admit defeat? I won.” he said defiantly. He had hit Zelda more often and knew about his triumph. Unthinkable for him to loose a challenge.

“Of course…” She ran up to him. “…Not! I never surrender.” Link saw it coming and dived out of the room. Apparently she tried to catch him. He ran up the stairs. But Zelda didn’t follow. Hm, this cheeky angel is trying to trick me, Link thought. Carefully, he snuck down again, one step… after another. He tiptoed towards the door of the living room and risked a glance inside.

Hm, where had she gone? Link went inside, but there was no Zelda to be found. He looked into every corner, still so silently, that not the faintest noise was audible. No clue to Zelda’s whereabouts. Link looked in the kitchen and in practically all the other rooms and even in the second floor.

Finally he went back into the kitchen and sat down with a sulky face.

“You can come out, you won.” he grunted. Zelda knew his own house better than he did, how utterly devastating. He had lost.

A few minutes passed but she didn’t show up.

“Zelda?” Nothing happened. There was nothing remotely funny about the situation now.

“Hey, you won!” he called, but no-one answered. Link, feeling a glimmer of worry, jumped up and looked through all the rooms again. He then ran into the cellar and turned on the light. She wasn’t there.

This can’t be! Where in the world was she?

“Zelda! This is not funny anymore, come out already.” his voice boomed through the cellar.

Suddenly he felt a warm hand on his shoulder, turned around and saw an devilishly grinning Zelda. “Your turn!” and hastened away. Link remained for a second and suppressed a strange feeling in his interior. He looked after her like in trance, his blue eyes replete with faint sensation of fear that Zelda might suddenly vanish into thin air. He had truly imagined that she was gone…

“Wait!” he shouted.

“For what? So that you can catch me?” She turned around and looked at him in the dusty light of the cellar-lamp. He successfully suppressed the feeling and grinned.

“No. Wait for the insight that you won’t get away from me anyway.”

“You would like that, wouldn’t you?” She sped away like crazy and back into the living room. That’s where she happened to leave the spilt pudding and her speed out of the equation. She could feel how the floor slipped away under her feet and the gooey substance eliminated friction perfectly.

She tried to catch herself but the gravitation was too powerful. Link was right behind her and was unable to stop and fell too. She shrieked in panic and then laughed when she bumped on her back and on the rug. Link also started laughing when he unfortunately landed on her. The cackled until their tummies hurt. Then they looked at each other sheepishly.

“I am still the winner.” He said and looked right into her eyes.

“Yes, I give up.”

Then there was silence. It was a peculiar feeling to be so close together, although they knew each other for only this short a time. The were still looking at each other. Link’s hands moved towards her shoulders, then towards her golden hair. His pulse rose and his gaze wandered instinctively towards her full, soft lips. Zelda’s right hand moved towards his neck where still a little flummery was sticking. His skin underneath was cozily warm. Her left hand touched his upper arm. She was astonished by the muscles under the cloth.

A wonderful smile appeared on her face, which Link would have done anything for. I would die for this girl and her smile, a voice in his head murmured, which he recognized as his own.

Then, possibly at the perfectly right moment, a little drop of pudding dropped from the ceiling and hit Link’s right ear. He felt the slimy substance and looked around before wiping it off.

They let go of each other, stood up and turned their back at each other.

“So… will you… grant me a chance to get even?”

“Yes… sure… sure.” He stuttered and felt like a complete imbecile. He asked himself, how far he had gone, if the flummery hadn’t intervened.

 

Two hours and a boatload of cleanser later they had managed to be more or less rid of the pudding. Zelda was just scrubbing the expensive wall unit when Link mopped the floor one last time. When everything was finally as clean as before, they silently sat down at the table and had breakfast, although it was almost lunchtime already.

“Erm, Zelda? About your amnesia…”

“Yes? What about it?” She took a sip of her coffee.

“Do you think we should go to the police and ask whether there are any missing person reports registered? It would be a start in the search of your identity.”

She put the coffee mug down on the table, looked away and clenched her hands. “I don’t know if that is truly a good idea…”

“What? Why not?” She stood up and walked towards the window. She pulled the curtain away a little and watched a few small children race down the street with skateboards. She encompassed the medallion around her neck with her right hand.

“I know, I can’t continue to be a burden on you forever, Link. And I give you my most profound thanks.”

“What are you getting at?” Link now stood at her side, trying to look in her eyes. She turned away and sat down again. She didn’t want to trouble him with her forebodings, which, in her opinion, were just stupid sentiments.

Something wasn’t right here. She could feel… it was everywhere… in the air, in the people, even in everyday objects.  Everything was so alien, so odd, even the sun’s light. Then she felt two warm hands on her shoulders.

Link said softly: “Tell me.”

He sat down besides her.

“What would you do, if you could feel, if you were absolutely convinced, that something about you is… wrong?” She looked at him empathically, hoping for a sincere answer.

“I would listen to myself, but try to find proof and then try to find out, what it is, that is wrong.”

“And if you feared that doing so could cause harm to yourself and others?” She looked at her hands. They trembled.

“I would await and attempt to keep my head clear for the things that matter. Time can work wonders.” She looked at him. Once again, the blue of her eyes seemed to be concealed by shadow. Link feared that this shadow could engulf her as whole.

“That’s… exactly what I try to do at the moment.” Link understood. She wanted to wait.

“Maybe you’re right. But we could still be vigilant for clues, hm?”

She nodded. “I only feel that I would make a grave mistake, if I were to go to the police. The reason escapes me, but the feeling is strong, still. It is, as if I could actually endanger myself… I know that sounds obtuse, but…”

He gently put his index finger on her lips. “Shhh. It does not. It’s alright. There are other ways to find out who you are. But first you’ve got to stop calling your ideas stupid.”

She showed a thanking smile.

“And by the way, I wasn’t sure whether going to the police was a good idea myself. I only wanted to hear your opinion. Regardless there’s one thing I’d like to know.” Link announced.

“And that is?”

“Your dream. You promised you would tell me, right?” he smiled and the shadow that besieged her eyes vanished.

“Yes, I guess I did give my word.”  

 

Link and Zelda strolled outside to have a little fresh air. They got comfortable on a garden swing that stood in the Bravery’s garden. It was by no means a park, but it was still a place to relax.

Link crossed his arms behind his head and closed his eyes. The swing started to rock and Link had to yawn.

“So, tell me again about your dream. Was it interesting or exciting?” he asked and astonishingly enough he managed to reopen his eyes. It looked, as if it wasn’t easy for him.

“Well, actually it was rather confusing…”

“Confusing?”

“Yes, a little weird…”

He didn’t answer to that. This dream of hers became more interesting by the second. The swing rocked back and forth. A pause ensued.

“I was standing in the narrow passageway of an enormous city. Peculiar stores, selling the most unthinkable objects, were at my left and right. I can’t seem to remember anything they offered me, I’m afraid.”

“Did you, perchance, know this city?” She quickly turned to face him, apparently taken aback by his question.

“No, I don’t think so, although it seemed vaguely familiar.”

“Aha.”

“Anyway, I continued on my way, until I reached a tall stone wall that winded its way around the city. A vast number of soldiers were posted on and around it. I followed the wall until I left the city through an almost child-sized door.”

Link blinked at her. “So far your dream is harmless, yet interesting. How often do you get the opportunity to see a foreign city?”

“Mmh…” Zelda stood up and stared into a small pond in front of the swing, where a few goldfish were swimming. She knelt down and dipped her hand into the cool water, while the fish strangely sought the closeness to her skin. She relished even the smallest things this world could offer her, and should it be only a few goldfish. Life, in her eyes, had an unfathomable value, and nothing could ever call that into question.

She sat back onto the swing. Link had closed his eyes again and sighed softly. She looked at him for a long time, for the more she studied his face, the more certain and persistent got the feeling of knowing him for a long time.

“Link?”

“Huh? Erm… yes, what is it? Oh man, I was almost about to fall asleep.”

“Yes, one was under the impression that nothing and no-one could ever wake you again. “

“Well, I let myself be raised out of sleep by you, right?”

“That would depend on whether you believe that this is reality or not.”

Link tilted his head a little.

“I am fairly sure that this is in fact reality.”

Zelda returned his look in a very thoughtful way.

“What tells you that? Who tells you that?” Link blinked a few times and had to think twice on her words… finding a decent answer to that seemed quite a challenge.

“Let’s look at it this way: I just don’t want to constantly doubt that I truly am, because it would make my life miserable. As it is, it isn’t bad… I am the one who tells me that this is real, Zelda.”

“This is quite an optimistic point of view.”

“Sounds logical. I am an optimist.”

“Nothing can discompose you, can it?”

Link grinned at her. The look on his face was worth its weight in gold.

“There are a few feats required, before I lose my composure.”

“Maybe I will manage to pull off such a feat, if I tell you how my dream continues.”  

“Well, let’s hear it then.”

Zelda proceeded to tell him about her dream. She described ginormous grasslands she wandered through, a beaten track leading her to a large solitary tree. She knew that she was supposed to meet someone in this very spot, so she sat down under the wide canopy of leaves and leaned back against the rough tree trunk.

“I abided for a long time and watched eagles in the distance. They glided towards a dark valley and vanished out of sight in the remoteness. In the meantime evening had already conquered the sky and I marveled the sun, painting the clouds in red, warm colors as it set…”

“I have to say, your dreams are exceptionally extensive. And you really remember so many details?”

“Yes… crazy, isn’t it?”

“No, I’d rather say, extraordinary…” Link mused. She looked at him and smiled. Crossing her arms she continued, more silently than before.

“Eventually I get company. Someone I did not expect. I hear some kind of mumbling and suddenly someone jumps down from the tree. Said person sits down at my side we talk. That’s the moment I realize that I did wait all the time for this one person to appear.”

“How did this person look? Was it a man or a woman?”

“It was a young man.”

“Aha, and do you remember him? Someone from your past, someone you should know?”

Zelda leaned back and now closed her eyes as well. Link’s gaze remained on her, studying her intently, now that she wouldn’t notice his staring.

“I feel like I should, and still… no. It is not possible that he is part of my past.”

“Why not?”

She opened her eyes. Link’s view was still fixed on her features.

“Because it doesn’t make any sense… in any conceivable way. Anyway, he still sat beside me, grabbed a grass stalk and started chewing on it. I can even remember a few words of his. They were along the lines of: ‘Zelda, no matter what it is you want to believe, this is not a dream.’ Then he jumped up, grabbed my hand, yanked me up on my feet, not violently, just enthusiastically, and dragged me with him. We ran across the huge grasslands until I eventually woke up. It was a very delightful dream.”

Link looked at the small pond with stern eyes. Dream or not, but didn’t Zelda forget to tell him something? Didn’t she initially say that she dreamt about him?

Zelda got up and slowly strolled towards the back entrance.

“Erm, Zelda?”

“Yes?”

“This young man you spoke of… how did he look?” She looked away, tentativeness clearly visible in her eyes and said: “He had your face, Link…” With that said, she went inside.

 

The dawn of the next day was breaking. Link planned to show Zelda the spot where he discovered her. They walked along a narrow path deep into the forest. Zelda watched the water’s flow in the stream. She could not live with herself if she troubled these kind people much longer. She hoped to get her memory back soon.

“Link, I know you only mean well, but I can’t linger forever. That just would not be right. My conscience is already scolding me.”

Link knew, she was thinking that way. “Who knows what time might bless us with? Wait a few weeks, let the things come back. Maybe we find a point of reference. Could be sooner than you think. Come, this way.”

“You sure seem to know your way around these woods.”

“Like no other! They’re like my second home.”

It was a truly beautiful day. Warm rays of sunlight shimmered through the juicy-green tree crowns and glittered in the cool water of the stream. A few white veils of mist floated over the sky. Zelda started to run. With outstretched arms she enjoyed the wind caressing her skin.

“It is so wonderful here.” she called back at Link.

Link waved at her: “Look! That is precisely the place I found you.”

Zelda studied the area closely. “I dreamed about this place… but I never knew that I have actually been here before.”

“When did you dream about it?”

“Yesterday…”

Zelda cast a long glance at the creek and imagined how she must have looked in the eyes of a stranger, lying face down in the water. She asked him: “Did you only help me because of my resemblance to Zelda?”

Link turned around, looked at her face, smiled and then laughed.

“Hey, I was being serious!”

“Oh, forgive me. Every player of Zelda would have helped you, had he noticed your semblance. That, however, is quite impossible in a foggy night and in the position you were in. Now listen, do you honestly deem me so bad a person that you can picture me abandoning you, only because you are a stranger?” She shook her head. “And again, I wouldn’t even have found you, hadn’t the moon shone fortuitously, and if the fog hadn’t chosen to recede from this place. So there was no way I could even have made out your appearance.”

“Wait a minute, it was nighttime?” She sounded aghast. Only now she fully grasped the diminutive probability of her rescue, only now she fully realized that she would be dead, had he come only moments later.

“And the fact that it was this very night I chose to go out at night, was already more than normal luck. I don’t think anyone else had but the slightest chance of finding you.”

They remained silent and still for a while.

“I have to thank you once again.”

“It’s okay. Let’s go.”

For a long time she plodded behind him, only seeing the blonde strands of hair on the back of his head.

“You are a highly reputable person, do you know that?”

Link turned around and looked with ingenious eyes into hers.

“Of course I know I am the nicest, friendliest, smartest and best looking man far and wide.”

“Thank god you are not conceited in any way.”

“I? I wouldn’t dream of it!” He laughed, and she joined in.

For a few more hours Link showed off his woods, occasionally meeting some people who also went there for a stroll. When they reached a little lake, they sat down at its shore to have a little breather. A few men and women were scattered around the bank of the lake, relaxing, and sometimes casting wondering glances at them. Probably because no-one had seen Zelda’s face before. A few children at about primary school age were frolicking around. One boy, hardly ten years old, gaped wide-eyed at Zelda and whispered in his friends’ ears. “You see, I’m not the only one to notice that you and Princess Zelda look somewhat alike.”

“Well, look who’s in the position to compare my looks.” Link was going to get it now.

“What’s that?”

“Do you know what you look like?”

Link shrugged.

“You only lack the hat.” Link reached up unconsciously, the he got her meaning and yanked his hand back down, fist clenched. “Now, you’re going too far.”

Link marched off towards a patch of grass and sat down on it. Not far away a young woman was sitting, about 25 years of age. Link was positive that he had never seen this person before. She was tanned darkly, wore a white top, a matching pair of cloth trousers and had fiery red hair. For the people around her, she seemed just as much of an eye-catcher as Zelda was.

When Zelda walked past her, she quickly looked up, bearing a moderately shocked expression. She then placed her eyesight on Link, who was fascinated by the golden color of her eyes, which seemed to radiate like tiny stars. She smiled and gave him a wink. Link didn’t understand this reaction, looked away for a few seconds but then he cast another curious look. In the meantime she had started a telephone call and talked rapidly with someone. Link attempted to understand what she was saying.

“What’s wrong?” Zelda asked.

“Shush!” As much as he tried, trying to understand but one word proved to be impossible. She was talking in Italian, apparently. “Sì, è qui, nel bosco di Destinykeep. Anche lui; l’accompagna. Sì, sono bene entrambi.”

Link spoke a little bit Italian, but this lady kept talking much too rapidly. He probably was only being paranoid anyway…

Trying to get his mind off the redhead, he let himself drop down on his back and closed his eyes. Strange… from the moment of Zelda’s arrival he somehow felt better. He was less burdened by troubles and worries, just carefree and happy. Even the until then ever-present poring over his life seemed gone. Unimportant were his dreams and fears now. He would enjoy being here, would enjoy her presence, which already was very precious... crazy.

He opened his eyes and noticed Zelda squatted down and hugging herself on the grass, staring at the lake. She seemed to be miles away in her thoughts.

Link looked at her dreamily bewitched by her graceful silhouette. A thought jerked through his brain. Had her vital spirits been lost when he found her in the woods, he would never have forgiven himself. She seemed so far away, when her look appeared to leave this world for one made of dreams. She was so close and yet, so unreachable. This feeling was surreal. The fact that she was here, felt surreal. Her aura, which Link sensed… surreal.

He couldn’t resist any longer and moved towards her. If only he could hold her and feel assured that she won’t disappear…

Holy Deku! Why was he so drawn to her, he wondered.

He placed his hand on her shoulder and asked: “Are you alright?”

At first, Zelda was surprised but then she expressed her thoughts: “I am wondering, how long I am going to be here. As a matter of fact, I feel very comfortable here. I mean to say, this world is really beautiful.”

The answer he was about to say was burning in Link’s soul: “I don’t see any reason, why you should not be allowed to stay. It is your decision, you know?”

“No, it is not… I believe, there is a very important reason for me to be here. There exists something greater, more powerful in the world, and the fact that I tried to ignore this was a stupid and pathetic mistake. A mistake I won’t be able to atone for.”

Link found himself rendered speechless. He thought he saw a tear drop down from her cheek.

He slid even closer and whispered directly into her ear: “I think the name Zelda suits you perfectly.”

She smiled again, softer and more veiled by other emotions, but at least she smiled.

“Say, how’s your wound?”

“Nothing. I don’t notice it and I think it is really starting to heal now.”

“You got it even before you found me, didn’t you?”

“Yep.”

“I meant to ask you some time now, how did you get it, actually? I’m just too curious, sorry.”

“At that time, I was playing Zelda. I dozed off somehow and had a really horrible dream. Only, id felt in no way like a dream, more like reality, or something even worse. I couldn’t move… if Sara hadn’t been there to force me to wake up, I’d probably… I wouldn’t have survived.”

Zelda looked aghast.

“I guess I really am a freak, huh?”

“We both are.”

 

At the rocky lakeshore a few meters away a little boy was hopping about happily. Suddenly he slipped and landed in the ice-cold water. He struggled in panic, sank down, came up one more time and then vanished in the dark green depth. The attendant crowd was shouting in exasperation.

Link jumped up and hesitated not a moment. Zelda was running behind him. “Link, your wound!” she just shouted. But he was already diving into the water.

The lake felt strange, not like normal water, but almost… dry. How was this possible? Actual swimming wasn’t possible. The way Link had to struggle along was more like wading through thick mud. He was going much too slow; already the air in his lungs was almost gone.

He saw the boy lying motionlessly on the ground and fought his way through to him. He managed to barely grab his collar and pushed himself off upwards. After a few strenuous strokes he breached through the surface and fresh, desperately needed air filled his lungs. Link swam towards the bank and saw a few people standing there. They immediately hauled the boy ashore.

“Link!” Zelda smiled and extended her hand for him. He took hold of it, surprised at how warm and soft it felt to the touch. With a groan Link stood back on dry land.

“Whew… pretty cold, that.”

The child’s parents came scuttling towards them and thanked him over and over.

“Don’t mention it.”

When Link saw the boy and wanted to make sure that he was well, his eyes seemed to change. He was positive, that he had seen green eyes before, but suddenly they were flashing in a vile yellow and he said almost inaudibly, only for Link to hear: “You will bitterly regret your life… little maggot…”

Link appalled and jerked back. A familiar, but odious feeling returned, remembering him of his convincement that something was happening. Something was afoot.

The young lady with her fire-red hair came up to Link and Zelda.

“You just can’t resist saving everyone in your surrounding, can you?” A faint Italian accent was audible in her articulation. She extended her hand.

“I am Naranda Comandante and I am new around here. I head the international antiquities exhibition program called ‘Another Folk’. We’re going to establish a little branch of our main museum here. I hope you two will find the time to stop by one of these days. By the way, your attempted rescue of the boy was both brave and unwise of you.”

“What do you mean by ‘attempted’? I did save him, or did I not?”

“Maybe… but his little cute children’s eyes betray the coldhearted wrath of a defeated demon.”

Link felt a shudder run down his spine upon hearing this. He took Zelda’s hand and said: “Come, we’re going.”

 

It was the sweetest of feelings, holding her hand, walking along the path through the woods. He was almost disappointed when they reached the front door of his house.

No word had been uttered since the strange scene at the lake. Link had to admit that what he had heard was quite unsettling. He had truly been under the impression that the child’s eyes had glowed. Bullshit! The important thing is that everything turned out well.

Link was still dripping wet when he entered the house. He immediately ran upstairs inside the bathroom to run himself a bath. He also turned up the heating and then ran up inside his room. The moment he opened the cabinet door, something came clattering down at him. Oh, there it is, he said to himself. He put it on the desk, grabbed a few pieces of clothing and fast as lightning he was back inside the bathroom.

Zelda was astounded by the energy he still had in him. Link was seriously hurt and still, day after day he displayed astonishing strength. Zelda would have never admitted it, but she was somewhat impressed.

She walked into his room and saw something glittery lying on the desk. It was a ornate, white ocarina. Was that possible? Link actually possessed an Ocarina.

“It’s so beautiful…” Without hesitation, Zelda took the musical instrument in her hand. It proved to be heavier than she had thought. She guided the piece of art to her lips and played a few notes. Its sound was high, tender and, above all, pure. Zelda sat down on the fluffy blanket on Link’s bed, closed her eyes and played again. She didn’t play anything comprehensible, nothing that made sense in any way, or formed a melody. She was just trying out tones…

When Link entered the room, she was still playing. She wasn’t disturbed by his presence. Zelda opened her eyes and noticed him sitting right beside her.

“Wow, you can really play the ocarina? Great!”

“Can’t you?”

“No, I’m unmusical.”

Zelda shook her head and handed it to him. Link had been right though, he already failed, as he took it into his hands. How do you hold it, like this or like that… Links brain was riddled with question marks.

Zelda giggled. “Very funny…” Link growled.

“I had been certain that you knew how to play.”

“Maybe you think me superhuman.”

“No, but someone special.”

Link had nothing to add to that. He took the ocarina back in his hands. But he almost let it drop again, so unexpected was, what followed next. Zelda positioned herself behind him, cross-legged, wrapped her arms around him and touched his hands that held the ocarina.

“Like this.” She said and helped him hold the musical instrument in the correct way. She placed her fingertips on his. Four hands played an instrument that was meant for two. Both closed their eyes in unison. The tones formed a soft, but sad melody… a melody of remembrance; it lived in memories and would do so for eternity…

After a few minutes Zelda’s hands released his and Link played alone. Indeed, he could play it. Very well so in fact.

The melody had shaken awake something ancient in Zelda. Ancient and long forgotten. She remembered how often she had heard these sounds and how often she had created them herself. This melody…

 

Outside, the street lamps were already alight and the moon was high up in the sky. Darkness was creeping about Link’s room. Link ended his playing, a little bewildered by his sudden talent in playing the ocarina, and a little flustered, because Zelda still sat behind him and had leaned against his back. Was she asleep? The feeling of being so close to Zelda, was so familiar; her body closely against his, so soothing. He remained sitting on his bed for a few minutes when he suddenly heard a low sobbing. Was she crying?

He slowly turned around. Link too had memories of this melody, even if he had no idea from where they might have come. Their sound was like a stab in his heart.

“Oh, Zelda…” In the darkness he could only sense her outline. Maybe that was the reason, why he could muster the courage to put his arms tightly around her. There had always been the will to be close, to protect her and now, he only did what he thought was right.

“You know, the only reason I was able to find you in the woods, was because you called me…” He touched her right cheek. He could feel the trail of her tears. “Cry no more.”

Zelda fell asleep in his arms.

 
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