Forever - Part 14

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The Hero was captured, being escorted to the castle. The blistering journey through the heat of Hyrule field was doing no good to the soldier's already battered body, but he did not care. His mind remained set on the safety of his beautiful lover… where was she? Was she alright?

The soldier coughed at the smell of hot blood that caked Hyrule Field as a small army of guards walked with his arms held tightly and his hands bound fiercely behind his back. He grunted as one of the guards yanked the rope holding his wrists, tightening it even more and sending a jolt of pain up his already painfully numb and sore fingers. “Shut up, you fool!” Link felt another sharp jabbing as one of the guards holding him elbowed him hard in the back, stopping his groaning by knocking him nearly out of breath.

They were nearing their destination now, he knew, as they walked along the path that he knew all too well, the path that led to his lover's castle. He closed his eyes as they walked; silently bracing himself for whatever awaited him.

They led him past the gates of Castle Town at about noon, Link looking around solemnly before entering. Once inside the eyes of millions seemed to pierce him curiously, but one pair struck him by surprise. There, amongst the crowd of people, slightly hidden behind the ruins of a building, was a girl who left her face hidden behind the hood of a blue bathrobe, only a small section of golden hair falling from it. The eyes caught his for only a moment, but he knew immediately who it was. He had gazed into those crystalline blue eyes oh so many times before…but…it couldn't be her…

“What are you looking at!” He felt a surge of pain in his head as a guard took a swing at it, “Forward, you urchin!” He obeyed, walking as best he could as the guards held him, feeling warm blood fall to his tunic.

The rest was a blur to him, he remembered pain…just pain…searing his skin with every lash of the accursed whip.

He awoke, breathing hard, with a throbbing sting all over his body. The room was dark, and could see only blackness, though he noticed he had been stripped of his tunic and was wearing only some type of brown rags fashioned into pants. The stone wall behind him felt cool against his aching back, but his arms hurt only worse as they supported his entire bodyweight. He wriggled in the restraints for a moment, maybe in some dazed reaction to try and free himself. Stopping in vain after a second, he shivered as the cold air that drafted through the room licked at his bare chest.

He froze and quieted when he saw a small spot of lime green light forming in the corner of the room, looking a bit like a cinder. He stared at it, motionless, watching it begin to slowly materialize into a person. A shock went through the soldier as he saw it form into the shape of a beautiful girl garbed in a bathrobe.

The light faded and she disappeared into the darkness. “Zelda?” His hoarse voice managed as he saw the light of a candle suddenly beginning to flicker. It had to be her. Every fiber in his body told him it was so.

“L…Link?” Her voice sounded near to breaking, though it gave him his answer. She stumbled around with only the light of the candle's small flame, following his voice. She froze when she saw him, tears glinting in her eyes as the orange light danced between them. “Link…” Her voice was shaking as she slowly approached him, her shoes echoing on the stone floor, and the shadowing the candle flame caused making her look even more terrified and desolate.

“What…what are you doing here?” He asked the first thing that popped into his head, trying to at least make her a bit less frightened. “I'm alright…” She said nothing, seeming too choked up for words. “Please…Zelda…”

“I'm sorry…” She whispered through tears, reaching out to him with one of her arms, but then pulling away before she could touch him, clutching the hand to her chest. Her eyes closed, and tears fell from them.

“I'm alright…” He said again, “now please, might you be able to free me from these shackles?

Please try…so that maybe I may hold you…please…I need…I need to touch you…”   
She nodded, saying nothing as she wiped her eyes and placed the candle on the ground. She reached for one of the cold metal restraints that held him, and touched it nervously for a moment. “I'm so sorry they did this to you…”

Her fingers glowed with magic as she worked the first one loose, Link slowly lowering his arm, never taking his eyes off of the princess' distraught face. His heart burned for her, yearning to hold her, to take her away from all of the terror of the world and flee to a far-away place…where they could be together forever… no one there but just the two of them... no one to harm them or object to their sweet love. He wanted to see her fair skin flush with pleasure at his touch, to see her radiant smile just before he stole it from her with a deep and passionate kiss…

The other shackle that bound him cracked opened, and he lowered himself to the floor, Zelda turning to face the other direction. “I'm sorry…” She said again, “I should have done something…I should have consulted Father…at the very least I should have gotten here with you sooner.”

Link looked on, “There's nothing you could have done, please do not worry…” He looked at the floor for a moment, “and… it could not have been that long since I was locked away here…”

“Link,” She looked at him somberly, “it…it has been weeks.” She bit her lip as Link froze in shock. “I could not figure a way in here without being seen. I'm sorry…I knew there was a magical barrier surrounding this castle--so that you cannot use magic to get in or out of it-- and I was afraid to try to get through. The barrier seemed drastically weakened with age, but still I barely made it. Oh, I could feel myself slipping away…near death in the icy grip of that spell…I made it…but I…” She stopped for a moment, “I deserved to die…I've more-than-likely locked you away from your own time forever…I've stolen you away from your friends and family…and~” She buried her face in her hands, “on top of it all…I…I've lost the ring you gave me…I've betrayed your trust…I'd understand if you…if you…”

“Sweetheart…” He stepped forward in the candlelight, gently kissing her neck and making her jump as he slipped his arms around her from behind. His lips trailed up her neck as he turned her to face him, eventually meeting her mouth for a moment. She looked shocked and there were tears running down her cheeks as he pulled away, Link taking her into his arms and holding her firmly, looking straight into her eyes. “I will always love you. Do not think for a second that I could ever feel any differently…as long as you wish that I be by your side, I'll never leave you.”

“Link…” Her voice was still a teary whisper as the soldier motioned them to sit down against the wall of the dungeon. “Link…I…” She fell into his arms, burrowing her face into his shoulder and sliding her hands from his bare chest to around his neck.

“You do not deserve to die. None of this is your fault…” He gently assured her, stroking her hair and back in a comforting and loving rhythm. “None of it… and please, do not worry about that ring… I don't need to see you wearing a petty piece of jewelry just to prove to myself that you love me…”

“Th…thank you…but it was just…so meaningful to me…it was…it was my only token to remember you by…” He could feel her still sobbing as she pressed herself against him.
“Oh Zelda… come here… come here and I will kiss you so tenderly that it will stay with you forever…forever so that you may use it to remember me. He lifted her face to his, and with one long gaze into her eyes, began to pull her into a kiss.

“I love you, Link…” She whispered, stopping him for a moment.

“And I you…my princess.” With one fell swoop he met her lips powerfully, but yet somehow still with the gentleness of a breeze. She moaned softly as his tongue ventured far into her mouth and his fingers massaged her lovingly, the princess pulling herself closer to him, intensifying the kiss. The young soldier growled quietly in deep content, for the first time in quite awhile allowing his stress to completely melt away…  

The soldier soon pulled his lips away, reluctantly, both of them deeply out of breath. “Are you alright?” He looked on at the princess as she laid weakly in his arms, breathing deeply, her eyes closed.

“I'm… fine…that was just…it felt…so good…” He took her hand as she spoke.

“God, I know…” He smacked his lips, “You don't know how wonderful it is…to be shown at least the slightest bit of affection…when you're in a world where it seems that no one wants you alive. At any rate, I hope that that kiss will always stay with you… but I hope you know that it is also physically impossible, or at least I haven't figured out a way yet, to express to you the immense amount of love for you that I hold in my heart…no matter how many times I kiss you, not matter how many times I say ‘I love you', no matter what I do I don't see any way to show you just how much you mean to me.”

“Link…” Her voice was still a soft whisper as she slowly regained her composure. “I…I don't know what to say…thank you…”

“Then say nothing more.” He helped her to her feet as he spoke, “But,” He closed his eyes, holding both of her hands in his, “there's one more thing I need you to do for me.”

“What? Anything…” Her concerned face looked almost desolate as the light from the candle danced off of it.

“I need you…to re-shackle me to this wall.” He let out his breath, never opening his eyes but sensing her stunned reaction.

“What! Why!?”

 He squeezed her fingers gently, “You must leave here soon… before you are caught, and if they find me somehow freed of those chains there will be suspicion.” He slowly placed his hand to her cheek, looking her straight in the eyes. “You must understand that I only want you to be safe…I don't want anyone to hurt you…” He led her back toward the shackles, placing his hands to them for her.

The princess was still looking hysterical. “No! I can take you with me! We can escape!” She backed away.

“Listen to me!” Zelda jumped at the sudden loudness of his voice, Link even shocking himself and straightening. “Please…” His voice was softer now, returning to its normal gentle tone, “you do not have the strength left to take us both from this place. I don't want anything to happen to you…we will find a different way for me to escape this place in due time. For now, the best thing you can do for me is to protect yourself. Stay hidden, and don't let anyone harm you. Now, though, you need to leave this place.”

“All right…” She nodded tearfully, reaching for one of the shackles and moving to close it. The girl seemed frightened, “This won't hurt you, will it…?”

“No, I'll be ok.”

“All…alright.” With that she clasped the constraints, touching his fingers as she pulled away. He nodded to her lovingly after a moment, assuring her that it was time for her to go.      

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