Categories > Games > Zelda > Four by Four

Glimpses part 3

by Kasan_Soulblade 0 reviews

Category: Zelda - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama - Characters: Ganondorf - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2012-11-01 - Updated: 2012-11-02 - 2677 words

Four by four: Prologue:
Glimpses on the Edge of Sight
Shad: A flash of Gold
Chapter 3

Book Tucked under his arm, its weary picture of an Oocca peeking out from the thick bar that was it's span, Shad braved the market place. Smiling a bright smile he'd practiced many a time in the mirror he braved the mid-day rush. Ignoring jostles and prods, and one particularly rude poke, and a few insults to his back, he strolled amongst the merchandise and merchants, untouched by it all. Where others hurried he was sedate, mulling over each purchase and pinching each green rupee as it was from the King's own coffers. Picking up one set of boots, he ran the flimsy, glossy, material in his hands. The texture was gummy, mushy, and intriguing. Some of his curiosity must have shown, for the merchant jumped in even as Shad's hands were tracing the boot's edge.

"Stuff's made from some pulverized tree mulch made in Kakariko." The well-traveled merchant grinned, showing one tooth to be missing with the gesture. "Gorons smush it real fine, than they toast the mush to sweat out the sap."

Shad raised one eyebrow, prompting the merchant to continue without having to say a word.

"Call it 'rubber'." The dark skinned man continued, raking a hand through his sun-belched hair. "Rarer than Kragorock teeth, but mighty useful."

"Useful?" Shad queered delicately.

"Waterproof, figure you'd need it after last time."

Last time, he didn't bother to ask, thought the question crowded his throat. He coughed then, brought the bright cheery facade front and center.

"I do try to keep my aquatic adventures to a minimum." Shad wrinkled his nose, as if from remembered distaste. Making his sally with part scientific deduction and with a minimalist touch that invited the other to make all the right conclusions.

To that the dark man laughed long and loud. No reserve that tone, no restraint. The scent of dust tweaked Shad's nostrils, he snorted to banish the memory. Dust and stones, a cemetery, such were the fragments that bore full recognition. Sweat had slicked and darkened his garments, made a black mess of his hair, and slicked his palms so he'd dropped the tools he labored with. He'd been bent over double, working with stone and steel. In remembrance of that memory his shoulders and back itched with recalled sensations a year and a half past. Smile widening, for he recalled at long last, and recalled during rather than after, the scrawny man chuckled.

"Ah yes, the water pump and the spectacular... aquatic end to the block." The merchant chortled, stuttering only slightly on the difficult, multisyllabic words more suited to a Hylian townsman than some dust town merchant. With his gap grin wide he swatted the scholar in a friendly matter, and with just enough force to almost tumble the book from it's iron grasp. "You were a true Goddess send my boy, let me tell you. Though never thought the Hero of the Three would look so much like a drowned rat!"

"Tell me." Shad straightened slowly, shifting his grip on the book even as he braced for the next friendly back slap that would likely send him to his knees. "Do Goddess-send's get a discount?"

"Course they do!"

As expected the next swat made him stagger, but since he braced he wasn't sprawled., The book however did tumble despite his perpetrations. He swooped to retrieve it, moving quick for the first time all day. Snatching it, snapping it closed, and holding it tight, he smiled weakly. Knowing how it must look, a grown man cuddling a book so tight his hands were pale. To the merchant's curiosity Shad softened the stiffness of his smile and loosened his grip a mite.

"My father's." He lied, than feeling guilty he balance he falsehood with a truth. "It's been with me a long time."

From between his fingers, cast in cloth, details stitched in, the Oocca peeked out it's red eye from between those clasping fingers. The details dulled due to the dust that had been ground in.


The other items, metal tools, lengths of fabric to wind about his hands, a slew of scarves, all were acquired without memorial incident. Well... all save one.

"Mind where you put your feet!" Agitha shrilled. "You almost squished Mr. Caterpillar."
More to the girl's octave than any fear that he'd "squished" anyone, Shad flinched. Wading through the grass carpet, minding and greeting all the bugs she encountered, she crossed the room. Those brittle, blue, eyes told him that he was in no way to set so much as one toe past the Bugs Welcome mat she'd laid at the foot of her door.

Why any would leave such a mat, with such a salutation, inside one's house was beyond Shad. But than growing grass inside's one house was another thing beyond him. With Agitha as such a shining example how insane a seemingly normal girl could be Shad mentally hugged his own normal, boring, lifestyle to his chest. Cradling his sanity to his chest, he mentally held it tight. Though it reeked of the mundane, was seeped in un-ambitious born tranquility, he held on to it despite what Telma would have called such a lifestyle's " tragic flaws" all the more. Agitha was always a welcome reminder as to why he took the more tranquil, normal path in life. As with all his visits to the bug fanatic's lair Shad resolved to make this quick, he'd endure her oddities to get what he needed than bolt, like always…

"What do you want? And don't say the pleasure of my company. I'm not Telma, I don't fall for the same trick."

Brittle and sharp were those blue eyes. He always marveled at how keen her observations were. Some side effect from training the eyes to spying ants creeping about on the underside of a grass in a field, he supposed. Smiling his sickly smile at her, Shad cut to the chase.

"I need some bugs, fireflies actually. I've got some subterranean work tonight and a candle isn't going to work."

She squinted up at him, considered him from her meager three feet of height. He shuffled his feet, minding that they stayed on the rug despite his acute discomfort. Looking to the window rather than her, her absently radiated how much he wanted "out". She didn't like him, he didn't like her, it was the staple of their relationship, and he was too much a gentleman to bring it out in the open. However, he was also too honest a soul to make pains to hide his distaste.

"I'll take care of them and bring them back as soon as I can." Shad promised, as he always did when he made the request.

She chewed on her lower lip, considered it, idly unaware of a butterfly that fluttered to rest on her blonde-brown hair. Shaking her head, setting the beast to a fluttering flight, she frowned up at him some more.

To that he widened his smile, tried to look charming and failed utterly when pitted against her healthy skepticism. Time trickled on, and for once in a long while -always in this girl's presence it seemed- he was touched with a special type of edginess. The mute frustrations that those in the market had been stricken with, those at the midpoint of a line that barely seemed to move. It was a powerful urge, to leave as quickly as possible. With every second that he denied that urge his soul writhed and he squirmed in response.

"It's to help someone else." When the silence and her scrutiny became too much he played his last card with an air of utter desperation, the eyes above his grin were darting, frantic even.

It was the eyes that decided her, that brought the horridly long -at least in Shad's mind- encounter to an end.

"Telma sent you?"

"Roundabout, but yes."

"Then." Picking up one curly lock she set it against his lips, nibbled idly on it while looking him up and down. Her decision made, she nodded. "We have a deal."

Turning on her heel, grass stained hem of her skirt chasing her knees, Agitha the bug lover slipped through grass grown indoors to find just the right bugs. Shad sighed with relief, consoled himself with the same words he'd used all the times before.
Almost out, just a little longer, it'll be over quick.

His reprieve just didn't come quick enough.

He flinched, feeling the feather light touch of something land on his shoulder. Refusing to look -least he scream- Shad gingerly angled his hand at the whatever it was that had just landed and flicked his finger at it. A buzz of wings and a sharp prick of something pointed piercing his tunic told him that whatever it was had a stinger.

Wonderful. The forced grin twisted into an uncharacteristic grimace, and though the wait was almost over he tapped his foot on the mat, wishing he was already gone.


There were terrors and trials. The old stories, the old legends, were chalk full of them. So much so that they became labeled, given names. A tale's pace was dubbed and segmented; their endings were either "climatic", "cathartic", or "cliché" depending on how the preceding fragments were put together. in short, literature, tall tales, and literacy had become something of a joke. Cobbled together, elements of "classic" literature and modern blended into a hodgepodge quilt work, picked down to the threads by critics, than hastily stitched together to be presented to the masses. It was a sad state, to be sure, but true all the same. With a sigh, Shad flipped through a book detailing the old sketches of Hyrule, its prominent streets and let it snap closed when the pages ran out. Tucking his book in the oiled satchel slung over his shoulder, the scholar wended through the nearly empty streets.

It was night, late at night, and that was quite deliberate. The snickers and sneers that he was garnering from his costume were few and far between due to his prudence. And the jibs he was getting were bad enough, his dignity wouldn't allow for him to endure a full streets worth of sarcasm. Wrapped in scarves from head to toe, with slick rubber boots sheathing his traditional leather boots underneath, he waddled -and squeaked, for wet rubber did squeak as it shuffled over stone- his way down the final route. He'd started in the cellar, with a elderly man hovering fearfully above and beyond his wet labors, perched on the stair well. Wearing a doctor's black, flowing, robes, the man had seemed raven like, a squint eyes scavenger idly whiling the time while Shad worked. Gritting his teeth despite the aromas, the solidarity of some of the "water", he'd paced back and forth, methodical as always. Bottled fireflies held high to shed their meager illumination, he'd swept his light from cellars ceiling to the submerged base. After satisfying one curiosity -the seepage wasn't born from the upper seams of the room- he knelt in the muck and submerged the bottle to get a better look at the floor.

It was then he found the hole, and one thrust of his hand in the hole later and he found the jag, the steel, and knew the flooding cause.

Rust and wear, and the afternoon's sudden torrential downpour had finished off the efforts that time had started.

From there he'd given a stilted explanation, his reasons and causes laid bare to a man who was pointedly staying downwind.

"So what can I do?" The old medic shrilled.

"Appeal to the crown to get some workman down in the sewers." Shad recommended, shaking his hands and stomping his feet to better get off the filthy water.

"But that could take a week or more." The beak nosed man squealed, wringing his knobby hands and pacing about as if the flooding of his cellar was the end of the Goddess crafted world. "Isn't there anything you can do?"

No, not to something of this scale, or so went his first impulsive dismissal, sounding in the silence of his mind. Fixing a seam would be simplicity, drain the room, slap some plaster down and call it done. That would be the easy route, but the extent of that tear in the piping paralleling the house guaranteed that anything laid down would be washed away. Shad opened his mouth, closed his mouth, those simple truths lingering on his lips.
Finally, with a sigh, he smiled, seeing a way out of this tiresome labor at last.

"Tell them to hurry, structural damage might occur if they're lax. That alone would be enough to get the Castle Town Guard to help. Quicker than trying to appeal to the Throne and it's cluster of councilors that cluster about her Highness, Princess Zelda. If I were a wagering man I'd give it a day tops before the lowly patrols send someone down to fix it up.

Somewhat more satisfied, the old man nodded, and then squinted past Shad, considered some distant vista shrewdly.

"Could you seal her up? Not from the inside mind, but the outside, so no more water comes in until then?"

And the labor he'd thought he'd evaded found him in force.

"You know, go down into the sewer, and see if it can be patched short term? Telma said you're the best and all, and I figure one of her best could do just 'bout anything."
Shad was trapped, by words and definition. The gentleman had asked, was genuinely in need, and he'd asked. As a fellow gentleman, bound by chivalry, he could not refute the request... Checking a sigh, he widened his smile though he felt sick.

"Of course, sir. A pleasure."


Thus Shad found himself in the middle of the street, book of streets secreted away, steel plate dragged to the side, contemplating the round hole that lead below into Hyrule's sewers. There was no way to gracefully –or rather honestly- say "I don't know how it came to this". So he didn't bother wasting the breath and vocabulary to find any grace about it. Wrinkling his nose at the vile aromas that were slithering out of the black pit's maw, Shad knelt then swung his squeaking, rubber boots over the edge. Feeling more than seeing the latter, he gingerly eased himself down, twisting about to grip the hand rungs, and stare at the black, slimy, smear that was the wall before him. Teeth clamped lightly on the bottle's narrow top, the taste of cork and much worse filling his mouth, Shad tried not to breathe.

As he went down he was unaware of the visual irony of the moment. Unaware of the humor of the moment, the splash of light and symbolagy that he indulged. Mind focused on taking care with his descent, he went down, oblivious... Oblivious to how the gold light etched the angles of his face with a precious sheen, filled the spectacles that hung before his eyes with their illumination until overflowing. Squinting, trying to see past the glints of gold, Shad blinked back tears at the optical barrage stabbed into his eyes and left trails of water to slip down his cheeks.

Shrouded in a halo of his own making, and indifferent to it all, Shad screwed up the whole of his courage. Courage in hand he decided with unnatural candor and profanity to act. The hell with the slow, safe, route. Freeing one hand so he could pull the bottle out of his mouth, he closed the tortured organ with a "snap" and hugged his possessions close with the other hand. Tools secure, he last of all freed his legs with a short hop away from the ladder and into the dark. The law of "what goes up must come down" took hold than, and the remainder of his descent was a blur of gold chasing black.
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