Categories > Games > Zelda > The Legend of Zelda: Real Courage

Chapter Twenty: A Fear Revealed

by LaxyakLovesLoZ 0 reviews

Chapter Twenty: A Fear Revealed

Category: Zelda - Rating: G - Genres: Fantasy - Characters: Link,Zelda - Published: 2024-03-26 - 1583 words - Complete

The next time Lila woke was to the rocking of a gentle horse under her. Her arms rested in Zale's lap while her head bounced on his shoulder. She felt so warm with him so close, even though the sun was nearly gone from the desert.

"How do you feel?" Zale asked softly.

She replied with, "What happened?"

"Skeldritch had you pretty beat up," he explained. "Mori and I let you rest for a while, then we packed up to go to Castle Town. I think he's asleep right now."

Zale's answer brought the memories back. Before she knew it, she began to long for that moment alone. Experimentally, she pressed her lips to the exposed part of his neck. She thought she could feel him smile.

"How long do we have to go?" she asked after a spell.

"At this pace, it will take all night."

Lila inhaled the night air. "We should probably make camp, then. Have you slept at all?"

"A bit." He stopped the horse. "But you're right. It's getting late."

He helped her down and put a hand on hers. She looked at him, confused. He wore a soft smile, causing her to relax.

"You were amazing back there," he said, leading her away from the horse. "I know few soldiers who would keep fighting as you do."

"I thought you said I needed to be more careful?"

"You do, but there's also something special about you."

Lila frowned slightly, worried about where his line of thought led.

His thumb stroked her hand. "You healed really fast. Even after getting rolled over by a rock bigger than you are tall, I didn't find a single broken bone."

That surprised her. "It felt like something broke. What about my head?"

"There was dried blood, but you were fine."

"Oh! Maybe that's what those hearts do," Lila realized. "I always felt refreshed after touching one of those. They only appeared after major battles like this one."

Zale's eyebrows went up. "That's remarkable. I've never heard of anything that could speed healing that quickly. Well, other than fairies."

Lila smiled playfully. "You seemed to know a lot of obscure things. Why not this one?"

He shrugged. "Maybe because they're rare. Maybe they only appear to fighters who show courage."

There it was again: the word that felt like a hot bath at the foot of a volcano. It was a happy word, a word of promise, but it brought her guilt and confusion. How could a simple word evoke such uncertainty?

"I can recall some stories of heroes like you," Zale said, sensing her hesitation. Lila took a small step back. "These heroes showed great courage. They fought many monsters like you have." She started shaking her head and pulling away, but he plowed on. "They went through challenges and trials to become stronger, so they could do what they were called to do!"

She could see the excitement in his eyes, but every word brought up fear she didn't know she had. What he was saying couldn't be applied to her. Shouldn't be applied to her. She took her hands away from his. The activity startled Mori awake.

"Hrnm, whatsa...?"

Zale gave him no attention. His eyes stayed locked on Lila. "These heroes were called to save Hyrule. Lila, you—"

"No!" she burst out. "I-I'm not who you think I am. I'm not... I just can't." Without letting Zale say more, she ran away, toward Gerudo Town.

"Wait!" Zale shouted after her. He hurried over to his horse and began the pursuit. He only paused to let Mori hitch a ride. However, his horse struggled to move in the sand, and couldn’t go much faster than Lila on foot.

"Lila, stop! Let's talk about this!" Instead, he saw her running faster. He pushed his own horse. Maybe the only way to stop her was to catch her.

Gerudo Town became visible in the night air. Lila knew if she could pass its borders, Zale wouldn't be able to follow. The all-women Gerudo tribe were born and bred warriors who didn't like outsiders – especially Lady Ganondra's enemies. She could already see a few sentries watching from their posts, all but one of which were hidden from untrained eyes.

Zale had gotten quite close to her when she crossed the threshold. In her wake, two Gerudo appeared from out of the shadows, halting him. His horse reared as he pulled on the reins. His mouth fell slightly open. Lila saw concentration in his eyes, almost as if he were calculating the reasons she could be safe in Gerudo Village. Then his gaze shifted to her.

The mix of emotions in Zale's expression stung Lila more than she thought possible. His brow was furrowed, but only a little, and his mouth remained agape. His eyes were no longer calculating, but searching, searching for the Lila he expected, the hero he longed for.

Lila felt her lower lip quiver and a heat sting her eyes. What was she doing? Why did Zale's words terrify her this way? Why couldn't she just sit down and listen to him and be happy and be the hero he wants?

Because of Ganondra. The Shadow Chieftess had too tight a grip on her heart. A stranglehold.

Zale must have seen the realization cross her face because he set his jaw, his own decision made. Another second passed. He nodded, ever so slightly. Then he turned his horse away.

The entire exchange took only a few seconds, but each second, each thud of her heart, felt like it lasted a lifetime. Once Zale was out of sight, the sentries looked up at Lila's still form. She closed her eyes for a moment and then gave them a watery smile. The women nodded before returning to their posts. Lila wasn't sure what each nod meant, but Zale's somehow gave her something new.


Lila slowly made her way to the palace. She could feel the watchful gaze of the Gerudo, ready to report any false move. No doubt Lady Ganondra was already aware of Lila's dramatic return. Much trouble waited for her at the castle.

Under her breath, Lila wondered, "Why am I feeling like this, Mori? Why does it all feel so strange?"

The reply took a while. In fact, it took longer than Lila expected. She looked around to see if he was asleep, but there was no sign of the keese. He wasn't even hiding in any of her bags.

He must be with Zale.

Lila grew worried over what Mori might tell Zale. He wasn't the best at keeping secrets. She knew, at least, he wouldn't say anything about Lady Ganondra. Anything else, even things Lila didn't know about herself, could come spilling out into the open. That could be disastrous for Lady Ganondra's plans.

Would that be so bad?

Lila shook her head, her eyes closed. Such thoughts were unsafe. Lady Ganondra could sense betrayal from many before they were even aware of the fault. Whatever Mori's fate, Lila's would be a thousand times worse.

At last, she reached the castle. A servant opened the door before Lila had time to prepare herself to enter. It was possible Lady Ganondra was waiting for her.

The door closing behind her felt more eerie than normal. The black stone walls flickered mockingly in what little light Lady Ganondra allowed. Her boots echoed loudly in her ears. She'd know. Lady Ganondra would know as soon as she saw Lila.

Just as Lila thought of her, Lady Ganondra appeared with Kotake and Koume at her sides. Six servants also lingered nearby. Glee shone on the witches' faces. Lady Ganondra's face was a darker red than normal.

Lila shrunk back, trying to make herself small. Of course, it was not enough. It was never enough. Lady Ganondra’s leather-covered hand collided with Lila’s face, whirling her around and to the ground. Before she could regain her breath, the chieftess hauled Lila up again by the back of her neck. She was so massive, her hand wrapped almost completely around Lila’s neck. Lady Ganondra’s dark face swirled in Lila’s vision.

"How dare you lead that trash prince to my kingdom!" seethed Lady Ganondra. "You may have ruined everything! Now I have to use more spies just to make sure he doesn't cause trouble. You can be so useless at times."

At that, she threw Lila aside and walked away. Through a haze, she saw Kotake and Koume approach her. She gathered her strength enough to sit against the wall.

Koume said, "You're lucky she needs you alive."

"Else the two of you would be long dead!" Kotake finished with giddy. They followed Lady Ganondra down the hall.

Lila closed her eyes and rested, breathing heavily. She should have died. That would have solved so many of her problems. But then Zale would be subject to Lady Ganondra's torment.

Something wet trickled down her unharmed cheek. She put her hand to her face, trying to fight the surge of heat rising from her chest. Before she knew it, unbefore-acknowledged emotions overwhelmed her, and the tears poured out. Lila gripped her hair and bit her lip, but the physical pain wasn't enough to block her thoughts.

What have I done? I wish I never met Zale. Things started going poorly only after I talked to him, and I've put him in danger, too. I wish this never happened...
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