The Shrine of Resurrection was an empty and quiet place. The two boys stood in a circular platform of glowing blue patters intertwined by sepia-colored stone engraved in curved designs. Before them stood a small bridge aligned on the same form, leading to an opening on the wall. Together, they followed the path beyond to see the machine they expected would save their sleeping friend. The machine was sectioned in top and bottom, with the latter performing as a bed, and from the ceiling surged, once more, the blue light that accompanied the rest of the room. In the center floated, helped by a leaf, a small wooden creature whose face appeared covered by a leafy mask. Arrow took him in his hands and set him aside.
· Twee-hee!—expressed the creature—are they your friends?
· Yes—replied Arrow.
· Aw, the one with golden hair looks tired—he said in a saddened voice.
· He is. He will stay here for a little.
· For 100 years, like you?
· I said a little, heh-heh!—giggled Arrow—be quiet, okay?
Silent, Ravio proceeded to place Albi inside the machine. Arrow helped in taking off his clothes, leaving him bare. The machine then lowered itself alone, filling the bed-like tub in medicated liquid. Between both parts, a division was left, revealing more of that blue glow.
· So, this is it.
· I’m not sure how long he’ll be there, Ravio. Would you like me to go and ask?
· It would be nice. I’ll wait here while you do.
· It’ll be quick—said Arrow as he warped away from the shrine.
Ravio sat by the glowing cabin and melancholically peeked inside, losing himself at the view of Link’s sleeping profile. He gazed for a while, and a feeling of emptiness overcame him pushing him to speak beyond his understanding.
· Once you wake up, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell you everything I experienced while I was inside your body. I now understand why humans as yourself fear so many things—he expressed as he turned away—looking at you as of now makes me feel something I’ve never apprehended before: anguish. The pain you’ve been in for years in both your body and mind is something unbearable. I felt it for only a while, and it was enough for me to give up on everything. The moment when we first swapped, many of your thoughts were within me. I would have never guessed you wanted to die—he paused and looked back at Albi, as if he expected a reply— I wonder how someone in your situation finds the strength to keep trying. When Engi found you, you were leaving Hyrule; the plans you had were wrong, Link. Somehow, Twi and yourself are not so different, you know?—he paused once more—I’m glad Engi picked you up and gave you something else to think of for a moment, and that such moment came down to this one—he took a deep breath—Link—he called and sled his hand through the gap left in the machine, reaching Albi’s on the inside—Forgive me for leading you into this. It was me who should’ve taken down Yuga, not you. The bracelet’s powers, I should’ve been careful and told you to not overuse it. I should’ve kept an eye on you. But there’s no point in thinking about the past. I know that I don’t even need to ask for forgiveness; you don’t hold a single speck of hatred against me. Anyway, whatever happens, Link, know that I care—he pressed their hands tightly—and I love you.
As Ravio finished his speech, he heard steps coming from the front.
· I’m back.
The boy in purple managed to put himself together and stood up.
· Hey—Arrow approached him—Are you okay?
· I’m fine.
· You look so sad—he expressed as he leaned his head to take a better look of Ravio’s face—I understand that it’s hard to see the person you love in these conditions, but stay calm. You were about to throw everything away for him, and now, this is the opportunity that could allow you to be happy together for as long as time agrees. You should be happy—he comforted with a warm smile.
· You’re right. I’m just overthinking, and I feel guilty.
· You think it’s your fault that he’s like this?
· Now I do.
· Ravio, I’ve just known you for the past hour or so, but I don’t see how a person who cares so much about him could be at fault for this situation. Things will be fine.
· Thank you.
As Arrow spoke, Ravio felt relieved.
· Now, about the machine…
· I’m listening.
· I was told that in his conditions, he would need to stay here for about a month. He shouldn’t be missing memories as I did, but he could be a little confused once he wakes up, maybe for a few minutes. Oh, and he’ll be hungry.
· What would this heal?
· I thought you preferred reading my mind.
· It’ll take Link a month. I have no need to make this fast—he smirked.
· Well, in that case: You should see most scaring disappear. His skin will regain color, his hair will be stronger, and it could also help with any damage he has within his body, in some organs. Does he have inner injuries?
· He was drunk most of his working hours.
· Was he? Then I suppose we can expect his liver to recover a little, as well for his stomach and esophagus.
· How about his weight?
· That’s interesting. Unlike me- and not to brag- he’s not in shape. We’ll need to wake him up three times a week and feed him.
· Oh, so 12 times for the month?
· Yes. And he needs to go out, walk, relax… you know, enjoy life.
· Is it possible that you could help me with that?
Arrow was surprised.
· Me? I would’ve assumed you wanted to be the one by his side.
· You mentioned he needs to relax. It’s better if he goes through this recovery with someone besides me. He feels pressured to be perfect when he’s with me, Arrow. He wants to look beautiful, to say the right things, to express what he feels, but as of now, he thinks that if he shares any of that with me, he’d ruin our relationship. He’s also ashamed of his looks, and my presence stresses him as much as it makes him happy.
· I see.
· I’ll be the one. Don’t worry.
· But those days when he wakes up, let him know that he can call me, and if he wants me here, I’ll come, however, whenever.
· Of course. Any tips on the food?
· He loves apples, and a good steak. Kind of like you.
· Heh, heh! It seems some things don’t change even when your spirit is reborn in another era.
· Oh, believe me. The Link part in all of you is strong.
· All of us?
· Engi, him, you… and the ones you are yet to meet.
· Okay, darlings—began Time—this time around, we need to get as much information about the Dark World as we can. We must figure out why the kniL have this sudden urge to steal and gain control of Glow. Any plans?
· I’m hopin’ you don’t become a little wood creature with a spit hole again—said Twi—that alone would be helpful. If you do, we’d have to come back and find a way to get you ready.
· Thou became an animal, Twi. How is that any better?
· I can bite.
· Sweeties, please. We are in this together—he said and placed his hands on his hips—I believe I shouldn’t go back to Scrub form. As for the wolf, your senses should help in the dim light. Sky…
· Whatever happens, stay put.
· Very well.
From tallest to shortest, the three men in green proceeded inside the mirror hung on Lin’s wall. On the other side, darkness came quickly, allowing for nothing to be seen. As before, Twi found himself looking through the eyes of a beast. He glanced as Sky. Taken by surprise, he jumped back, noticing how he had not changed: he remained human. Then, he took another step back flabbergasted by Time’s new shape. As his own, the man had become a beast, however of golden fur. Twi’s mouth remained open as he stared at his looks. Confused, Time stared back.
· Both of thee appear astonished. Shall we carry on?
Both animals looked at him and nodded.
· Thankfully, I can wield my sword. Will thy new forms be kind to thee?
Once more, they nodded. Although their powers were not the same as the human ones, they knew how to use whatever they had now to their advantage.
· Then, if I may be of assistance, perhaps thou can aid me by sniffing the track of Glow. Surely, by following its scent we can uncover this malevolent plan and perform our own advances.
Being the best plan they had had, Time and Twi accepted immediately. Both wolves lifted their snouts to the air, and began following a same path. Sky followed the two beats into the deep dark, where they noticed a rich light come from within Sky’s chest.
· What is that?—asked Time.
· Sky, what is it?—added Twi.
The one human could only look at both animals uncertain of what they were demanding.
· He doesn’t understand us, Time.
· I can see that—he said as he stood on his hind legs, got up, and pressed his nose against the light source.
· Oh—noticed Sky and pulled something from inside his tunic—it is this.
It was the pendant Pipit had given him days ago back in Skyloft.
· The symbol of our engagement—he expressed—it emits a bright light on this world.
· Well, hide it!—growled Twi.
· Sweetie, they’ll find us!
· Thou want me to hide it?
· Yes!—growled both.
· Very well—abided Sky and placed the handcraft deeper within his clothes—There. It is better now.
With the light concealed, the three carried on. The path appeared silent and endless, but most importantly, empty. In this eternal void, Sky continued to follow his fellows, but any efforts came to no avail. After a long road, both beats lost any trace of Glow, almost as if it had been lifted onto nothingness. Time continued to sniff up and down, but there was, indeed, nothing left. As he looked back to seek comfort from Twi and Sky, he was surprised by the reflection of his human form.
· What?—he exclaimed as he touched his face—When?—he looked around—what happened?—he said as he found himself in his room back in Hyrule Castle—Oh, no…
Time ran outside his balcony. The view of Castle Town was welcoming. From below, a soldier greeted him. It was as if nothing had happened before. He ran back inside, downstairs, and came across Zelda.
· Hey, Link! Why are you so uneasy? Do you feel unwell?
· Zelda? Darling, have you seen Twi and Sky?
· My friends!—he shouted as he held the princess by her shoulders.
· Link, you’ve never introduced me to any friends of yours under those names. You are also still in your pajamas. Are you sure it wasn’t just a dream?
· A dream?—he considered—No. No—he realized—How did I end up here?—he looked back frustrated to the point of tears—I shouldn’t have taken my sight off them. Oh, no—he ran back upstairs.
In the room, he looked into the mirror. He pressed his hand against it, but nothing happened.
· Dim! Stop this balderdash right now!—he screamed as he punched the crystal—Stop it, please. Let me out from this illusion—he whispered in tears—they need me.
Time slowly sled before the mirror onto his knees.
· What will become of this world now? Have I failed?—he became hopeless—My darlings. Twi, please stay safe.
On a different side of dimensions, Sky had been woken by the sound of his Loftwing, Red. Unsettled, he walked outside the room, surprising his colleagues as the day was still early.
· Uh… Was I only dreaming?
· Link, you look troubled.
· Pipit. I don’t know what happened. Have you seen Time and Twi?
· So, you never met them.
· Blondie, it’s Skyloft. We know everybody, and no one new has come up here.
· Hm… Excuse me—he walked away.
Sky knew, just as Time, something had been done to set them apart and cast them away. He walked into Groose’s room, and there, he looked determined into the body-long mirror.
· I know thou are not more than toying with me. Cease this nonsense!—he shouted, but no response was given—I will find a way out!—he continued—Oh, dear. What a conundrum. I do hope Twi remains safe.
And so, the other Link left was awakened by the feeling of cold water over his face.
· Ow—he said—man, that hurts—he rubbed his head.
· Link, are you okay?
· The same one, boy. A goat tipped you over. I was afraid it might had been a bad one.
· A goat?—he looked around to find himself back in Ordon—Why am I here?
· You’ve always been here. You saved Hyrule, came back, got yerself a happy life herdin’ goats and deliverin’ our best cheese.
· What? You mean I’ve never worked at the bar in Castle Town?
· With ol’ Telma? No, boy. You declined, remember? Some folks from the castle gave you a funny look, you didn’t like it, and came back. Telma called them dangerous, so you settled back home.
· Did I?—he asked skeptical—Of course. I remember. My head got me a little confused there for a moment. By the way, does the name Time ring a bell?
· Time as a name? No, boy. The only time I know the time of the day—he said and laughed—why don’t you go get some rest?
· Yeah. Good idea. Thanks.
Twi went back to his tree house. Everything was as it was left the day before he decided to work in Telma’s bar. He climbed down to his basement, turned on his oil lamp, and looked at his reflection on the mirror.
· Gloom, if you can hear me, let me tell you that this reality y’all created is pretty nice, but the one person I loved is gone. I didn’t go through all of that just to see him lost. I know you would think I’d enjoy and prefer to stay here and start from a place where I was not abused and still have my self-love intact. But you know what? This is not real. If all of that was what needed to happen for me to meet my friends and meet Time, so be it. Let me out of here!
Continues in part 5
Scattered Heart Chain Chapter 17
Swift Arrow amongst the Dark
Written by Kim-SukLey