The Far Sea: Chapter 61

LINK dreamed...

...that he opened his eyes and was looking up at stars in a cloudless sky. The water slopped softly against the sides of the boat. It was chillingly cold. A silver moon, three-quarters full and waning, hung above him, its light thin and pale against the shadowed night.

The boat was rocking gently, back and forth, in a calm sea. Link watched the stars swing back and forth, turning slowly as the boat drifted in the grip of some current, until at last he closed his eyes

and woke, and looked up at the wooden rafters a few feet above his head. He knew not to sit up too quickly--he had clocked himself a good one last night on that overhanging beam. Why had he chosen the top bunk again? Very carefully, he sat up, ducking the low beam, and touched the sore place on the back of his head; yes, there was definitely a bruise.

Suddenly the dream came back to him, all in a rush. It had been very clear. He frowned a little as he rubbed at his head; he was not in the habit of dreaming often, and when he did they were usually, well... more dreamlike.

Sunlight was shining brightly through the window; he glanced over the raised edge of his bunk and saw that the beam fell full upon the Amulet of the Forest, which he had left lying on the table. The emerald jewel was aflame with viridian light and threw reflections back in all directions. Link leaned forward in bed, reaching out towards his toes as he stretched the muscles of his back, and then he swung his legs over the side and found the rather rickety wooden ladder. He climbed down quickly and jumped the last two rungs, landing on the boards with a soft hollow thump.

The coverlet of the lower bunk was rumpled up and mounded; he could see the top half of Dark's face and the fine tapered tip of one ear, that was all. The shadow's eyes were closed and his breathing came slow and steady. He was curled up on his side, facing Link, with the fingers of one slender hand loosely curled around a fold in the blanket. His hair, black and sleek, was spread out on the pillow around his head. Link stepped back, being as quiet as he could, and took up a light brown linen undershirt that lay folded on the table. There were brown trousers too, of the same material, and he was surprised--the green and brown was traditionally a Hero's garb. Marin had even laid out a long green hat; like the tunic, it was trimmed with yellow. He was not in the habit of wearing one himself, but the long Kokiri cap had been part of the Hero's outfit since Link First. It went with the name. Did these people know, or guess, who he was? Would it even mean anything to them if they did?

Link dressed himself quietly in the green and brown, and Dark did not stir. He slid his feet into his low boots and went to the door, then paused, looking back suspiciously; he half expected Dark to sit up and say that he had always been awake. But the slow, steady breathing did not change. He was asleep.

After a moment Link opened the door and slipped out into the hallway. Opposite him was another door: Marin's bedroom, he remembered. The hall stretched in two directions--to his left was a stair leading up to the long attic room where the children slept, and a door beside it that led out into a kind of back yard at the back of the house. It was not a yard as he knew it; it was no more than a wide patch of bare earth, unfenced, with a couple of poles for laundry, a chopping block and an old stone trough with a crack in it. Beyond that was woodland. He turned right instead and followed the hallway out into the big main room.

The first thing that struck him was the light. The front door was in two parts, like a stable door, and the top half stood open now to admit a soft perfumed breeze. A pool of brilliant sunlight lay on the floor before it, turning the pale pine boards to a blazing whiteness. He had to shield his eyes for a few moments as they adapted; when he could see again, he glanced round and saw that the big wooden table had been pulled out into the center of the room. It was laid round with plates and cups. Marin stood with her back to him, stirring something on the range. She had on a sleeveless yellow dress this time, embroidered with curling spring leaves around the hems.

"Um," he said. "Good morning."

"Good morning, Link." She rested the ladle against the edge of the pot and turned to face him, smiling in welcome. "Did you sleep well?"

"Very well. Except..." He frowned and rubbed at the back of his head again. "I had a strange dream."

"I suppose it's to be expected," Marin said. "You've been through a lot." She turned back to stir whatever it was that bubbled. "Would you like some breakfast? I usually make up a big batch of porridge in the mornings and let people help themselves. You're the first one up." Without waiting for his answer, she took a bowl from a stack by the sink, and ladled out a generous helping. Link sat down a little awkwardly and smiled his thanks as she set the bowl before him, along with a small pot of dark honey.

It was excellent. He said so, after swallowing several mouthfuls in quick succession, and she laughed and thanked him with a mock-courtly curtsey. She turned back to tend the cauldron again, and Link looked at her as he ate, thinking that she was a remarkably beautiful woman. He could see now that she was older than he had thought, perhaps in her mid-thirties, but she had aged little and her figure was slim and girlish. She moved with swift unconscious grace.

"How's your friend?" Marin asked suddenly.

Link was surprised. "Dark? Still asleep." She made no answer to this. He turned his spoon over in the porridge left in his bowl and frowned slightly, curious. "He doesn't bother you," he said. "Why not? You must know he doesn't come from Sosaria. What about his eyes?"

She laughed again as she turned to him. "Do you think we're superstitious? We've had stranger looking folk than him wash up on Toronbo before."

He thought that over while he finished the porridge.

He wasn't buying it.

There was something strange about this island. Oh, it was beautiful indeed, and the people were wonderfully good and kind, and everything was so bright and lovely that it felt almost like a dream... His own dream last night had not matched up; his imagination could not equal the physical intensity of this place. He remembered how the stars had seemed muted, the moonlight faded by comparison with the gorgeous sky of Koholint. But something just didn't feel right. And it wasn't feeling any righter this morning, with the air smelling of spring flowers and even Marin's home-made porridge tasting like sunshine and honey.

Koholint was nothing more than a myth--or so he had always believed. Many others chose to believe otherwise. A great number of people throughout Hyrule's history had sailed in search of the Isle of the Wind Fish, and none had ever found it--or at least none had ever returned to tell the tale. Even his own ancestor, Link Third, had been lost in that fruitless search.

Lost? he thought now. Or had Link Third found the island? Was that why he had not come back?

Everything here was simply too good to be true. Perhaps that made him a cynic, but he distrusted it instinctively.

"My goodness," Marin said, smiling, "what a grave face! What's the matter?"

"Nothing," he said. He scraped his bowl and put the spoon down, then poured himself a glass of water from the earthenware jug. The liquid was clear and cold enough to hurt his teeth, and it tasted faintly of something--some sort of sweetness, a fruit or flower. He held the glass up to the light and looked at it closely. "Is this water?"

Marin laughed. "Of course it's water!"

"There's nothing in it?"

"Nothing. It's straight from the well."

He took another mouthful and held it, swilling it about in his mouth, chasing that faint floral undertone. It was there, indefinable but present nonetheless, adding a kind of fragile beauty. Water should taste like water, he thought; this tasted like a blessing. He swallowed the mouthful he had and put the glass down carefully.

In the hallway, the boards creaked. Link glanced round and saw Dark emerge into the kitchen, rubbing at one eye with the heel of his hand. He had put on the clothes set out for him: a light brown undershirt and pants, the dark red tunic he had worn yesterday, and a pair of low boots identical to Link's own. He looked half asleep still; his hair was disarrayed and the collar of his tunic was slightly askew, the cord untied. His long ears were laid back.

"Good morning," Link said, sitting back in his chair.

Dark looked at him for a few moments, seeming not to recognise him. "Mmm," he said vaguely.

"Are you all right?"

"What?" He blinked. "Yes. I am well." Link stared at him all the same as he came over to the table and sat down opposite. Marin put a bowl down before him and he began to eat without saying anything more.

Link waited until he had nearly finished. "We have to talk about this," he said, leaning close and pitching his voice low.


"As soon as we can. And alone."



Alone was difficult in Mabe. As soon as they stepped outside the door they were hailed by people wanting to wish them a good morning, asking how their night had passed, suggesting that they do this or that. The children followed them about, peeping out from behind the backs of houses and giggling. Finally they headed back up through the woods towards the shore, and climbed a long grassy hill that ended sharply in a low cliff. The terrain was exposed on all sides; they would see anybody approaching them. Link sat down in the long grass and after a moment Dark did the same. They looked at each other silently, surrounded by the zip and hum of bees; the grass was full of wildflowers. There was a golden shimmer to everything in the sunlight.

"It's beautiful here," Link said finally.

Dark looked at him gravely. "Yes." He paused. "But it is not home."

He sighed, unaccountably relieved. "I had wondered whether you would feel the same way. It's... this place is..." He waved a hand, gesturing vaguely to take in everything around them. "Seductive," he said at last. "That's the word I was looking for."

"You fear that we will grow enamored of this island?" Dark looked away, tilted his head to stare up into the endless sky. "I could," he said quietly. "I could be truly happy here." Then he looked back, and his eyes were cool and familiar, gleaming crimson light: he was still Dark Link. "But it would not be real," he said.

"Not real?" Link frowned. "You said that on the beach yesterday. What do you mean?"

"I mean," Dark said, "that this island is not real. Nothing here is real." He nodded towards the sun, burning bright like a golden coin over the water. "If that were real," he said, "it would kill me. I could not sit here like this, in this light. No cloak could protect me; I would be trapped indoors until nightfall."

"I keep thinking that everything is too good to be true." Link plucked at a tuft of grass. Emerald. That was not a word that should be used to describe a simple little plant; but in this case it was true, the slender leaves had the brilliancy of a precious stone. "I noticed something earlier," he said, tossing his small handful away. "There are no boats. Not one. The shore is totally deserted. Now I know waterside communities. No people, ever, would live so close to a lake or the sea and not take advantage of it. There are uncounted riches in water. Why not fish? Why not trade? But Mabe looks inwards; the houses all face away from the sea, towards Tamaranch. Why is that?"

"They do not wish to leave," Dark said simply.

"They don't want us to leave either. Ulrira kept changing the subject yesterday whenever I spoke of boats."

"I do not think, anyway, that a boat is the way out of here." Dark drew his knees up to his chest. "We did not come here in a boat."

"We were on the beach," Link contradicted. "I was lying half in the water when I woke up. The boat was overturned somehow, or hit a rock, and we were washed up..."

"And do shipwreck survivors ever wake up on a beach, Link, hale and sound--just high enough above the water line that they are in no danger? Show me the boat. Show me the wreckage. Show me the salt in your hair, since you and I must have been swimming."

He was quiet for a while. He plucked a small flower and shredded it, then picked the scattered petals one by one off his pants and flicked them away. "All right," he said reluctantly. "You're right. I can see you are. But if we didn't come here in a boat, how did we get here?"

"I do not believe we are here," Dark said. His look became sharp suddenly. "Did you dream last night?"

Link lifted his head and pricked his ears. "Yes. Yes, I did. And I take it from that that you did, too?"

"I think that this is the dream, Link, and that last night was the waking."

Farore, Link thought, that could just be right. It fitted. It was insane, going against all common sense, but it fitted. "In that case," he said, "it's not a question of getting off the island. We have to wake up, or free ourselves from whatever magic is keeping us asleep." He was quiet for a moment more, thinking things through, and then said, "The library."

"The library?"

"Yes. Ulrira gave good advice. I think we should find out as much about Koholint as we can." He got up and brushed himself down. "Let's go to the library."



Mabe Library was empty, but they trod quietly anyway as they walked across the pinewood floor; there was a weight of silence here that neither of them felt like breaking. Link wandered away along the shelves, touching a book here or a book there; there were all kinds, from slim cloth-bound volumes to great fat leather tomes, heavy with gilt. Some of the books seemed very old. Even so the large white room did not smell musty like the castle library; the double doors stood open to admit a soft scented breeze.

The books seemed mostly to be practical: carpenter's manuals, descriptions of farming techniques, and so forth. Link could not help but note, now, the conspicuous absence of anything to do with sailing or the sea. These were of no interest to him; he went to the end of the row and turned along it, moving further towards the back of the building. He found storybooks then, and a few histories; when he opened one he found that the names and places it spoke of were unfamiliar. He sighed and slid it back into its niche. Was there nothing about Koholint itself? It did not seem so.

"Link?" Dark called softly from the other side of the row. "Over here." The young warrior reached out and pushed a few thick tomes aside; Dark held up a slender book to show him through the gap.

"'The Ballad of the Wind Fish'," Link read out, and frowned. "Koholint is called the Isle of the Wind Fish, isn't it? What is the Wind Fish?"

"Some manner of beast, according to this, that sleeps at the top of Mount Tamaranch." Dark opened the little book and flipped through yellowed pages, smiling slightly as he skimmed. "This is a collection of stories for children, but I think that it may be helpful even so. Fairy-tales spring from legends, which spring from real events."

They sat down together at one of the tables and took a closer look. The little book was undeniably intended for children; the language was simple, and there were images printed in woodcut on many of the pages. Link recognised the by now familiar silhouette of Mount Tamaranch in more than one of the illustrations. The text, however, was not terribly useful. The stories were evidently made-up tales, of children going on adventures in the woods and valleys of the island; of magical beasts and animals that could speak. One story was about a boy who met a flying rooster and was carried away on its back.

"This is just fairy-tales," Link said at last, sitting back in his chair. "Raccoons that turn into men? Mermaids? Magic castles? You cannot be taking this seriously."

"Do not be so quick to disregard it," Dark said.

"Oh, come on!" He stabbed at a page with his finger. "Look here, then. According to this book there is a hidden village in the south of Koholint where all the inhabitants are animals. Are you saying you believe that? It's nonsense!"

"What is the difficulty?"

Link stared at him.

Dark reached out and closed the book. "If you are going to say that animals cannot speak... I have heard an owl speak before. It came to me many times to guide me, and even carried me once in its talons, all the way from Lake Hylia to the gates of Hyrule Town."

"That's impossible," Link said flatly.

"I am telling you that it happened."

"But the owl would have to have been--"

"--As tall as a man, and with wings that stretched twelve or fourteen feet. Yes, Link. I am still saying that it happened."

To you or to Link First? Link wondered. "But that was back in the Age of Legends," he said aloud. "Such things don't happen now. The world has changed."

"Then consider something else. Koholint is a dream... are we agreed on that at least? And may not anything happen in a dream?"

He sighed and was quiet for a while, thinking. "All right," he said at last, running his hands through his hair; he felt tired all of a sudden. "It's a dream. Maybe there are flying roosters that can carry people on this island somewhere. Maybe there is a Wind Fish asleep on the summit of Tamaranch. But I am not going to believe that animals can talk unless I hear it for myself."

Dark lifted his head suddenly, and pricked his ears forward; Link turned in his chair to see what the matter was. A few seconds later the girl Ella peeked around one of the shelves. She saw them and smiled shyly, then padded out on small bare feet to greet them. Her straw-colored hair, cut around her shoulders, was so wild and free-flying that she looked a little like a dandelion flower: a slim stalk clad in green supporting a fluffy cloud of rich gold. She looked at them both, holding her hands clasped in front of her. "Mama says can you come and cut some wood for her because she wants to cook the chicken."

"Of course we will," Link said, getting to his feet.



That night he dreamed again.

It was cold. He lay on his back and watched the stars.



They began to settle into the daily life of Koholint, finding niches for themselves and learning the names of the villagers. Link chopped firewood for people, helped to mend a cracked cartwheel, rounded up Papahl's chickens when a stray goat knocked over the run and sent them clucking and scattering for freedom. When they could, they spent time in the library, looking for more books about the Wind Fish, but their search produced little of any real interest, and after a while it simply did not seem that urgent.

On the morning Popa and Ella lost their ball in the chestnut tree, he was sitting cross-legged on the veranda of Marin's house with a pile of unpeeled potatoes and a paring knife. He watched for ten minutes or so, quietly amused, as Popa threw sticks and pebbles at the ball in an attempt to dislodge it; it was wedged tight in a forked branch. Link swept muddy peel off his pants and tossed another denuded potato into the copper pan beside him. Give it a few more minutes, he thought, and he would get up to offer his help if they still had not got the ball down. But at that moment Dark came out of the library. Ella saw him and shouted, and the twins ran to him and grabbed him by both arms. Link stared as they pulled him to the tree; he saw the shadow look up, following Ella's pointing finger, and then bend his head to listen. He nodded slowly and reached out to touch the tree, splaying his slender fingers on the rough bark; then he gripped the trunk and went up it, quick and agile, scrambling like a squirrel. Ella jumped up and down and clapped her hands.

Dark clung to the trunk, ten or fifteen feet up, and turned his head to look to the branch where the ball had got stuck. He didn't see Link sitting on the veranda; his attention was too focused. Link watched as he reached out cautiously and grabbed the branch with his fingertips. He shook it hard; the leaves whipped back and forth. The ball did not come free. Dark reached over awkwardly with his other arm and locked both hands around the branch, then let go of the trunk with his knees; now he was hanging from the branch by his arms. He brought his legs up like a gymnast and hooked them over the branch, then hauled himself up and sat there, precariously balanced. The branch dipped and trembled. Carefully he edged his way along until he could just reach the ball; he leaned over and hit it with the palm of his hand. The ball popped free and Popa leaped up and caught it as it fell. The children shouted their thanks and ran off. Dark crawled back along the branch to the trunk of the tree, and slid down it in a shower of loose bark, landing lightly on his feet.

I wish the others could have seen that, Link thought with a smile. Sofia would probably have died of shock.


How many days had it been now? he wondered suddenly. Three? Four? It felt like a lifetime. He counted on his fingers, using events as markers: there had been that first day when they arrived, then the day when they found the book, then the day... Six days, Link thought, lifting his head. Six. And for much of that time he had not given a single thought to the quest. To their friends. To Zelda. Yesterday he had not even bothered to go into the library; and he knew well that Dark was no longer reading the histories or legends in search of information about the island; the shadow was working his way through the poetry section.

He reached up and touched his chest; the Amulet's familiar weight was not there. In another moment Link remembered that it was on the table where he had left it last night, discarded like a trinket. A treacherous little thought said, what's so important about it anyway? As long as the Amulet of the Forest was somewhere on Koholint, Sepultura could not assemble them all. Hyrule was safe, whether he returned or no.

But then he saw Zelda's face. She laughed at him, she wept for him; she cradled his head when he was sick, dying of the cobra's poison--so long ago now! He remembered her warm hand in his; he remembered the spill of her hair against his shoulder. He remembered her lovely face bright and pale in the darkness of Sepultura's prison cell. He remembered when he had danced with her at the Yule ball, and the way his heart had trembled as he held her in that black forest dell, trying to warm her with his own strength and life. Suddenly he missed her more than he had missed anything in his life--even his little sister, lost to the shivering sickness in her fourth winter. Where was Zelda? Was she all right? He had to know.

Dark was coming over to the veranda. He saw Link at the same time that Link noticed him; both of them stopped for a moment, evaluating each other. Link grinned. "I saw that," he said. "Where did you learn to climb trees like that?"

"Are you forgetting your history? The Kokiri raised me. They knew trees." He stepped up onto the veranda and stood looking down at him, a curious smile on his face. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like?" Link said, waving the peeler. "Go get another knife and give me a hand. Marin's in the kitchen."

"I am not helping you peel potatoes. Do it yourself."

"Don't peel, don't eat." He shrugged and bent his head to his task for a moment. Without looking up, he said, "How is it going?"

"How is what going?"

"You know what. The search for the Wind Fish."

"Oh." Dark was quiet for a moment.

Link put the knife down. "I thought so," was all he said.

They looked at each other again. Slowly, Dark sat down beside him, brushing bits of peel off the decking. "If we do not leave soon," he said softly, "I think that we will no longer want to."

"It's easy, isn't it, to forget?" Link asked. He picked peel off himself and tossed the slivers down into the long grass. The grass needed cutting; he supposed that he would be the one to do it later on. He rubbed bits of mud off his fingertips. "I had forgotten Zelda. Can you imagine? Forgotten her--like you might forget where you had put your comb in the morning! I was sitting here watching the twins play, and suddenly I realised that I hadn't thought of her in days. And now I miss her." He sighed. "The worst is not knowing. Not knowing why the ship left, or who was fighting. Not knowing what has happened, or whether they are all right, or even how to find them when we do get out of here."

"I have looked for information about the Wind Fish. Not all my time has been wasted. But all that is written is that the Wind Fish, whatever it is, sleeps atop Tamaranch."

Link looked towards the great peak, wreathed as ever in mists and shadows on the bright summer's day. "How far away is Tamaranch?" he asked.

"I am not sure. Ten, perhaps twelve miles to the base. I found Ulrira's book of maps but the scale was not clear." Dark frowned slightly as he stared at the mountain. "You think we should go up there," he said. It was not a question.

"I do. The library is a loss. If we climb the mountain, we will at least know if anything is up there. Do you have a better idea?"

"No, unfortunately." Dark stood up. "I shall take another look at Ulrira's maps. If we are going to Tamaranch, we should at least know what lies in the country between." Link nodded. The shadow jumped down off the veranda and walked quickly across the dirt square. Roost, the owner of the general store, was hauling along an old cart full of wrapped parcels; he called a greeting, and Dark turned and waved at him before vanishing into the library. Link sighed and reached for the potato he had been peeling.

He worked on alone for five minutes or so, and was on his second-to-last potato when he noticed someone coming down from the Kanalet road. The newcomer caught his attention at once; he thought he had met everyone in Mabe by now, but this figure was new to him. It was a young man with a wild headful of copper-colored hair, hacked short around the face and left long everywhere else. Tufts hung down before his ears, swinging with each long stride; he had a bulging leather pack strapped over his shoulders, and he walked with the easy gait of one used to the exercise. His boots were pale with dust right up to the knees. A short sword banged against his hip. He wore a light brown shirt and pants, and over that a green tunic trimmed with yellow. And he had on a long green hat with a buttercup-yellow band around the crown. A Hero's garb.

Link stood up, and the man saw him, and waved, and came towards him. "Hello!" he called cheerfully, breaking into a trot as he crossed the square. He jumped up onto the veranda and held out his hand. "You must be one of the castaways. I've heard all about it!"

"And you're Marin's husband," Link said quietly. He knew it from a very simple fact; the garments he had on were identical to this man's. Marin had said that she was lending them her husband's clothes. And then, too, there were the twins. He could see now where Ella's mad hair had come from, and Popa's sea-green eyes. "I'm sorry--I don't know your name yet," he began.

The stranger opened his mouth, and then Popa and Ella came running out from behind Papahl's house. They clattered up onto the veranda and threw themselves at him, screaming, "Papa! Papa!" He laughed and swept them into an embrace, directing a quick look of apology at Link.

Marin popped her head out of the door. "You're back!" she said in delight. "How are you? Did you get any?"

"Just a minute," he said, reaching up to loosen the straps of his pack. It slid off his shoulders and hit the wooden deck with a heavy clunk. Link winced in sympathy and wondered what was in there. The stranger screwed up his face as he stretched, rolling his shoulders back to crack the stiff joints, then he stood straight and felt in the pockets of his green tunic. He drew out a pair of small paper bags. "Don't eat it all at once," he said, passing one out to each twin. Popa and Ella screamed in joy and fled with their prizes clutched tight.

"You spoil those two," Marin said. "They won't eat their dinner if you fill them with Sale's toffee." But she didn't sound annoyed.

"I've got something for you," the stranger said with a smile. He crouched and undid the straps that held his pack closed. Link, hovering in the background, saw all kinds of things crushed in together: a folded blanket, a spare tunic, a short-handled metal shovel, three or four bottles and leather bags and other lumpier things beneath. The stranger rummaged through and came up with a small wrapped parcel. "There we are," he said, handing it over. "All the way from Martha's Bay."

"My hero..." She wrapped her arms around him.

Link chose this moment to retreat quietly; his hosts didn't look like they were in any need of company right now. He went down across the square and slipped into the library, leaving Marin to finish off the potatoes when she found the time. Dark was sitting at one of the side tables with a book open before him. Link slid into the chair opposite him and waited.

"What is it?" Dark asked, looking up curiously.

"Marin's husband is back."


"There is no and," Link said. "Marin's husband is back, that's all."

"Took him long enough," Dark muttered, and turned over a page.



They were one chair short that night; Popa was dispatched to Papahl's house to borrow one. Marin served up a casserole that was as gorgeous as anything they had tasted while on Koholint, and her husband talked lightly of the island. He was, it turned out, a traveler by profession, walking the long road--there were no horses on the island--between Mabe and Kanalet, and further down to Yarna, or even up to Tal Tal Heights; people entrusted him with messages or deliveries from all over Koholint. He knew everything there was to know about the island, its highways and byways, and when Link asked about the road to Tamaranch, he was only too pleased to talk of it. But on the subject of the mountain itself he was guarded.

"There's a path up to the mountaintop, certainly, but I've never gone all the way. The path is treacherous a lot of the time--it's not safe. And there's nothing up there anyway, not even a view, thanks to the clouds."

"If you have not been to the summit, how do you know?" Dark asked softly.

"Everyone knows. That's why we don't bother going up there." And he began to talk of other things.

In their room, preparing for bed, Link took up the Amulet where it had been lying abandoned on the table. He sat cross-legged on his bunk, turning the gem over between his fingers. The fine chain clinked. Was it his imagination or did the Amulet look less brilliant, somehow, than everything else? Duller, heavier, more real...

"Are you busy?" Dark asked. "May I blow out the candle?"

"Go ahead."

The room was plunged into blackness. Link heard a creak of springs from below, and the bed trembled a little. He sat quietly for a little while longer, then gripped the rail and leaned right over, hanging on with his head upside down. "Dark?" he whispered.

There was a rustle of blankets and the shadow's eyes appeared, gleaming faintly crimson in the darkness. "What?"

"Did you catch his name?"


"Marin's husband, you peahat."

"No," Dark said, slightly puzzled at the question. "I did not ask. He did not say."

"Don't you think that's odd?"

"No." The blankets rustled again as he turned over, closing his eyes. "Go to sleep. Ask him in the morning if it bothers you so."

"I will," Link muttered, withdrawing.


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