Arrow took the electrified object back in his hand. As the menace quivered on the ground, he turned around. He walked towards Albi, who looked back at him thankful, yet concerned.
· Thank you—said Albi.
· You don’t have to thank me. I’m glad to help. I have a question, though. Can you help me return?—asked Arrow as he pointed the slate’s screen at Albi’s face—It’s not working.
The screen gave no more than interference in return.
· I saw a signal in it and tried to warp in. It led me to the forest, where the Master Sword was. The pedestal brought me here, and I lost the blade. I climbed all the way to the top of the castle—he explained as the pointed at the building’s direction—There wasn’t much to see. I’m kind of lost.
· You… climbed the castle?—asked Albi in disbelief.
· Sure. I’ve gone up higher places.
· Well, I’m not sure how you could return, but…
· Albi! Marshall won’t be happy.
· But he’s one of us. He should be able to come, right?
As Engi and Albi discussed the situation, the newcomer, Arrow, could only stare and wait for their response.
· It’s settled—expressed Albi—come with us. Maybe someone else can help you understand why the slate you carry is not functioning properly. Just follow us to my place.
· Got it. Need any help carrying that?—offered Arrow glancing at the dress Albi carried.
· Oh, well.
Before he could reply, Arrow took the clothes off his hands.
· Don’t worry, I’m used to it. If you can help me go back, I can sure help you carry a little dress.
· Geez, but you’re already carrying a lot!—pointed out Engi as he became fixated at the items on his back.
· Nah, I’m fine, really. Besides, considering you appear to have some enemies, it’s good that you two are free. I can manage myself pretty well.
· Well, aren’t you a show off?—said Albi.
· I’m only helping. Not trying to come off that way, promise.
· Fine—concluded Albi—You are quite charming, honestly.
· Geez, Albi! Man, you just met him and you’re already flirting with him?
· I was not flirting—he rolled his eyes.
Arrow observed his new companions and burst in adorable laughter. Recalling the one house that brought thoughts of his, the young boy carried on. Once before the house, the teen hero could not help but ask.
· My house is similar to this one, Albi, but it’s also older. I got it for a couple of rupees after little deal with the constructor. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you pay for this one?
Engi looked away, shrank inside his shoulders, and contorted his lips in discomfort.
· Does it matter?—asked back Albi.
· It’s not that. I’m curious, that’s all.
Open- handed, the boy in the white dress swayed his hands onto his chest, signaling himself.
· I paid with this.
With a tilted head, slightly enclosed eyes, and lips apart, Arrow continued.
· Are you okay? People in that scenario are often unhealthy in one way or another.
Albi seemed to talk; he moved his lips, but words did not proceed. With his right hand, he covered the bottom part of his face and looked away.
Realizing perhaps he had gone too far, Arrow looked at Engi for a response. In return, he only saw the little engineer move his hands horizontally in a “no more” motion. Arrow approached Albi from behind, placed his hand on his shoulder and spoke.
· I’m sorry. Because we look so much alike, I felt a connection with you, as if I knew you. But clearly, if I had known you, I wouldn’t have questioned you, huh?
· Oh… I will be fine—he said and turned around—you see, once we go back, you’ll understand how I am reaching catharsis.
· You are trying to find release. I understand. If you need any help, I’m here.
· Why do you keep saying that?—he asked, yet smiled.
· I have a feeling I can offer something. I think I can be of use to you.
In moment of silence, they exchanged looks. Only the echo of the wind through branches and their deep breathing was heard. Albi rapidly realized the situation as inappropriate, shook his head with closed eyes, cleaned his throat, and headed up his home. The other boys followed, and as instructed by Cookie, Albi knocked on the door and became returned alongside his partners.
Insanity befell the other side of that door. Albi was soon on the ground. He tried to look up, but the Auroras kept moving and running through the room, shouting. Amongst the noise, screaming, the stomping on the wooden floor, Arrow and Engi helping him get up, his mind became completely congested.
From beside Ravio, as all else were, Cookie saw Albi holding his head tightly on the floor with Engi and a stranger offering comfort. He reached out to both Marshall and Chocolate, who then saw him pressing his index finger against his lips.
· Shh—he produced.
Their looks met at Albi’s. As the noise lifted, Albi’s mind became cleared, and then they could identify the source of chaos. Constant heaving was heard from the bedside. Instinctively, Albi directed his sight at Ravio, stood up, and ran to his side.
· Ravio!—he said in a broken voice—my bunny boy—he continued as his eyes watered.
· Link… I tried. I don’t think it’ll work. I believed that our exchange- with your heart safe inside me and my energy in your body- could save you. I was proven wrong. My energy is draining. My brothers have been struggling to keep me alive, hence the noise that welcomed you.
· Then return me.
· No!—he screamed, reviving a terrible cough-
The sick boy looked at the crowd.
· Could we be left alone, please?
Having listened, they were left alone.
· Link, Marshall wants to return you to your body. He thinks it’s your fault that this is happening. Leave.
· Leave? Ravio, it is my fault—he emphasized.
· My body, I give it to you. Leave, and don’t let them find you.
Albi responded with his head in no more than neglect.
· Link, go.
· No, Ravio—he responded softly—it’s my responsibility.
· And I’m giving you an opportunity. Take it.
· I don’t want it.
· Link, if they return you, you’ll die in less than an hour. Keep my body and wield my powers, that way, you’ll always have a part of me with you.
· I don’t want just a part you. I want you!—he shouted on top of his lungs.
Ravio sighed and distanced his look.
· Link, don’t cry.
· I’m trying not to, but it’s too late, don’t you think?
· Calm down.
· The more we are changed, the more we are in possession of the body, huh? I feel more like me, and I can tell you are acting more like yourself.
· Mr. Hero, don’t change the subject. But you’re right. That’s what happens. The heart is stronger than anything else. And that’s why I want you to live.
· Link, I would never forgive myself knowing I let the only person I loved died. I’d rather take the toll knowing you lived—he expressed and held onto Albi’s hand—please, leave.
The tension was broken by a knock on the door.
· This conversation is over. Please, think about it. I love you, Link.
· I love you, too—he let go, walked toward the door and opened it—Arrow?
· Hey, cheer up.
· Uh… not now, new kid—he turned around and returned by Ravio’s side.
Thoughtful, Arrow closed the door and joined the other two.
· Forgive me. You shouted, and I kind of listened to a bit of what you said from there on.
· You should be a bit more respectful—advised Albi.
· I know. I’m sorry.
He looked at Ravio.
· So, you’re switched.
· Yes. I’m Ravio. Usually cheerful and annoying, but I’m too tired.
· Don’t worry. I’m Arrow.
· He saved me—added Albi—I almost got killed in Hyrule.
· What? By whom?
· Angry client.
· What if I live and then I just get killed?
· Stop overthinking.
· Guys—interrupted Arrow—listen. I can help.
· How? What magic do you have that can revive people?—asked Albi, defeated.
· Well, the kind that can revive people!
Ravio and Albi paid close attention.
· We already tried fairies, but I’m also ill. Nice try.
· Hey, at least let me explain. If you can help me fix the Sheikah Slate, I can take you with me, or take Ravio- I’m not sure. There’s a place there where you can take as much time as you need to heal. No worries about eating, feeling sick, not sleeping; It’ll be fine.
· Is that true?—asked Albi as the light returned into his eyes.
· I promise—responded Arrow.
· How do you know about that place?—asked Ravio.
· Because I was in it for 100 years.
Albi got close to him and stared at his face.
· You’re lying about that, right?
· No. I was 16 when I—he realized who he was speaking to—Uh, when I got in a fight with great, laser-shooting machines. I was close to fatally injured. But now, I’m here.
· So, technically, you are 116 now. But you’re still 16.
· Biologically, I didn’t age. Time passed without me. But enough about that! Do we have a deal? I wouldn’t like to keep such a lovely couple waiting.
· Sure, Link. Call Marshall.
They called Time’s twin into the room. Being able to read hearts, he knew the circumstances from the moment Arrow had walked in. He listened to Albi’s wish. Marshall did as Auroras can and pressed his fingers inside the boy’s chest. With a simple move of his hand, from inside, the Glow of his heart was guided back in the body it once belonged. He instructed to give the swap a brief moment. Before his and Arrows eyes, the change began to settle as their hair faded from blonde to dark, and dark to blonde.
· Mr. Hero.
· Ah—he gasped for air—Yes, I recall this feeling.
· Link, I won’t give up. Just resist a little more.
· I will—he said in his quiet, monotone voice—I trust you, and Arrow, too.
· Marshall, you and the others keep him alive. I’m going back to get my powers, and helping the New-Hero-guy here.
· Understood—replied Marshmallow—By the way, you look nice in that dress, hahaha!—he laughed loudly.
· Hey! You know, you’re right! Hey Mr. hero—
Although he wanted his favorite boy to see him, he stopped at the sight of his sleep.
· Aw… well. He lost the opportunity.
· Lost it?—asked Arrow—my map may be broken, but almost the rest of my slate is fine. Come ‘ere.
Arrow pulled the slate up, and joined by Ravio, the snapped a picture at the sound of “smile!”
· See?—he said as he showed the image—now he’ll be able to see it later.
· Amazing! You truly are a blessing!—he jumped up and down.
· Now, let’s go. Just help me fix my map, and I’ll be able to help your boyfriend.
· This object raised from the ground the moment thou set foot in our land—explained Chocolate—Perhaps it is related to thy marvelous artifact?
· It appears so—said Arrow as he cleaned the surface—it’s the Sheikah seal. Looks exactly like the ones scattered along with the shrines in Hyrule.
· Then use it as thou will. Beeth thankful that Marshall allowed for thy residence here, as well as thy free wandering.
· I could sense he was not as happy to see me as Albi, Engi, or Ravio.
· Marshall believes our calm lifestyle is been threatened by the presence of thee and thy kind. Excuse his sudden apathy. It will surge as often.
· Don’t worry about it—comforted Arrow.
He took the slate in his hand, placed atop a tall, brown stone with the surface molded in perfect size for the slate. Receiving the tablet-like machine, the stone reacted. A blue light emerged from a sharp stone vertically aligned above the slate, and depicting the frame of the Sheikah eye, it cried down data into Arrow’s device.
· Is it done?
· Yes. Exactly like the ones in Hyrule—he said as the map of the land appeared within his hands—My map’s working now—he informed as he swung his fingers across the screen—I can warp now.
· Teleport. I’m sure I can take Albi with me and let him rest in the Shrine of Resurrection.
· How pleasing! We should head back. Ravio only left to recover his powers from the Bubble. He must be here by now.
Ravio was already waiting for Arrow back in his home. Outside the door, he talked to Engi, who briefly explained who the new boy was and his recent doings.
· Albi mentioned it. He said pony-tail boy saved him.
· There was this guy trying to shoot him, man! I noticed Arrow saw him, so he pushed Albi away onto me, and took care of the rest.
· I see you’re talking about me—interrupted Arrow—and I see you changed clothes. Purple is your color Ravio.
· As blue is yours.
· Gee, you sure know how to keep up with the compliments. Anyway, sorry about the talking behind your back. You’re pretty cool, that’s all—said Engi—and we’re glad you were there to help. I mean, we’ve fought monsters before, even people possessed by evil, but not just people who happen to be nasty.
· Let’s just say I come from place where you ought to be careful about everyone. Even common folk can turn out to be on the bad side.
· But aren’t you taking Albi there?—asked Engi, concerned.
· Yes, but not so far off into civilization. We’re heading to an abandoned plateau. It’ll be just us until he’s better—he said and turned the slate before Engi and Ravio—this is the plateau—he indicated with his finger—The place where we’re going is here—he signaled the Shrine of Resurrection—if you notice, there’s a vast land surrounding it. It’s empty for the most part. I could take him someplace else if you want me to later—he zoomed out on the map to reveal the immensity of it, then put the slate away.
· Hyrule’s huge where you’re from!—shouted Engi.
· It’s not that big once you get to know it, but it does give leg muscles a proper workout—responded Arrow.
Listening, Ravio did not lift his sight off Arrow for a second. His eyes froze over him in an almost menacing manner.
· Hey, man! Ravio, are you okay?—asked Engi.
· Yes, I am.
· It looks like you don’t trust me—concluded Arrow.
· No, no. It’s not that at all. I wanted to know you better, and I got the information I needed—he explained as he smiled—Your name is Link, biologically 16, no parents. You had friends from the different races of Hyrule, but they perished in the hands of Calamity Ganon. You, too, were a victim, being almost killed by something called a Guardian. You were put to sleep in this Shrine of Resurrection, and 100 years after you woke up with no memories—
· Okay, okay! Stop—said Arrow—How?
· He can read your mind, or heart—said Engi—in other words, you can’t keep secrets from him.
· So that’s why you were staring?
· It’s faster than talking. I know everything about you now. Let’s get my Link back to your land, yes?
· Sure, that was the plan all along.
· Great! As for you, Engi…
· Go back with the other guys, check your engine and get it moving. I want to make sure every source to move through lands is available.
· Marshall will help you warp back. Thanks for helping, Engi.
The short boy nodded with a stern look. Commencing the new mission, Ravio conducted Arrow, yet again, by Albi’s side. He instructed his brothers, who had aided the boy to stay alive, to walk out and be left alone.
· I know you can easily warp us from here—began Ravio.
· You’re right.
· But before we go, I need to tell you some things about him.
They both turned their heads at the boy who was fast asleep in a heavy breathing.
· He’s in need of love, Arrow. While he recovers, many things may happen. He’s complex. He can become saddened as quickly as aroused. He’s often confused. He will flirt with you, but you have to be careful while rejecting him.
· So you want be to be kind, caring, listen to him, and be tactful when I need to say “No”.
· In short, yes.
· I understand.
· He may also forget his ill with something contagious. He was just informed a little ago. I know for a fact that he’s still in denial.
· Does it have to do with his job?
· So his ill with that.
· Yes, the one.
· Wow—expressed Arrow crackling his muscles as he stretched—I’m glad you told me. It’ll be fine, promise.
Calmly, Ravio lifted Albi in his arms as if he were carrying the most fragile and luxurious antique, an invaluable gemstone yet to be polished. He stood by Arrow’s side, who consenting held Ravio by his shoulder, fragmenting into bright blue swaying beacons of light which would take them to the new land.
Continues in part 4
Scattered Heart Chain Chapter 17
Swift Arrow amongst the Dark
Written by Kim-SukLey