Forever - Part 16

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The soldier felt sickened and dazed as he found himself shackled to the wall yet again after the day's beating. It was late, but he remained awake, occasionally scanning the room for any sign of the small green ember that signaled his lover's coming. He shivered, the bitter cold of the night seeming to pierce the dungeon's dark stone walls. He wiggled his fingers in boredom, looking over at them with a slight smile on his face. You see, lacking another place to put it, he had placed the diamond ring upon one of his own fingers for safekeeping. It barely fit, and it was comical to look at. So he stared at his silhouetted hand in the darkness, until suddenly he noticed what he had been waiting for through the corner of his eye. There it was, the tiny green speck that meant his princess was arriving.

The light grew into the form of the beautiful girl and then faded away, the soldier staring at it the entire time. “You're here, mesmeric…” He spoke hoarsely into the blackness.

“Y…yes.” She once again lit a small candle and approached him, her voice sounding shaky.
“Something is distressing you…” He turned to look at her worriedly as her well-practiced hands quickly began to snap open the shackles that bound him.

“I just…” She sniffled as she moved onto the next restraint, her voice breaking in the middle of her next words, “heard the news…it's been plastered all around the kingdom… the date that Father plans to~ oh, they're advertising it like some kind of petty performance! They won't even treat you with even the slightest amount of respect!” The moment the shackle snapped she fell into his arms.

The soldier winced as the princess's fingers met the tender skin upon his back, making her pull back. “Oh, I'm sorry! Please, are you all right? What have they done to you!?” She frantically tried to look behind him, but he backed closer to the wall, knowing that the sight of his injuries would only upset her. “Let me have a look, maybe I can help…”

“No, munificent…” He took her hands, “if you did something…there would be suspicion. But enough talk about such dark things, come here, I have something for you.”

She looked at him curiously as he pulled them both to the ground. “What have you for me?”
Her probing eyes made him form a slight smile. “Well…I uh…came across this today.” He released one of her hands and attempted to maneuver the ring from his finger behind his back.

“Close your eyes.”

She nodded, doing as he said, Link then taking the palm of her left hand into his own, and with his other hand gently sliding the diamond ring onto her finger. “Alright, you may look.”

Her eyes slowly opened, at first simply staring at her finger in pure awe and shock. “I knew how much it meant to you…” The soldier's voice spoke gently as he stared at her, waiting for his prize.

“How did you…where…” Her voice broke as she lifted her face to look at him, a smile soon forming at the corners of her mouth and then blooming into a radiant grin.

The soldier simply gazed at her tearstained face for a moment, trying to absorb every last rare bit of shining joy from it before he spoke.  “I haven't seen you smile like that in ages…” Link weakly laid his fingers to her cheek, caressing it lightly as he attempted a smile of his own. “You are…so beautiful…” He could see the tears in her eyes as she looked at him. “Please…don't cry, I'll be all right.” The soldier's eyes were too beginning to sparkle, but he suppressed them only in an attempt to be strong for her, and instead pressed his lips to her cheek, kissing away her tears.  

After a moment he stopped, realizing he had forgotten something. He moved his face toward her lips, which were still beaming with the smile he loved so much. “I love you, Zelda…and no matter what happens… I promise I'll be watching over you. Be it from the gates of Heaven or from right here next to you… “

His princess spoke through tears, “No, we'll…we'll find a way. You'll be ok…we'll get out of here, we'll flee this land together…”

“Yes,” He replied solemnly, “that we must believe.”

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