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Part 2
Rated: PG-13 for suggestive dialogue, violence and some themes.

Chapter One

“You’re going to be fine,” a maid tending to the princess assured. Zelda stood before the mirror in her room, looking at the healing welts running across her abdomen. She ran a finger over them and sighed.
“Just making sure,” she murmured and let her garments fall. The doctors had explained that she would heal up very nicely, providing she let her wounds alone. And with her always touching them they worried she might accidentally reopen them.
Misery clouded the princess’ mind. The scars were a constant reminder of the ordeal Nisih had put everyone through. An ordeal Zelda would always remember, always hate. But Link had the worse end of the stick. Still burdened with the cursed blood pulsing in his veins, he was constantly under the pressure of the people. The people were disgusted at what he had become, especially the majority who had been victims of his mistakes. They treated him like…dirt, yes it was most fitting. ‘It isn’t his fault,’ Zelda tried to believe. ‘At least I think it isn’t.’ It was hard enough for her not to simply side with them. Link had become…very aggressive and could hardly control his bestial instincts sometimes. How could one stick up for a being like that? Was she really being sincere with herself?
Zelda walked into the dining hall. Link’s chair was empty. ‘He’s not here again…he’s never here,’ she thought grimly. Xanath was at the table however, deep in thought. He looked pensive.
“Have you seen…?” Zelda questioned. The man looked at her for a moment, and then resumed staring into space.
“No I haven’t,” he said bluntly. “That doesn’t surprise me. He never tells us where he goes anymore…” His tone startled Zelda. She’d never heard him this way. Usually he spoke with a calm voice. ‘Looks like Link’s behavioural change is having an effect on everyone.’
“I worry about him day to day. He’s…becoming less of who he is, as if…he’s succumbing,” Xanath murmured when he got up. “It’s just a matter of time until he gives himself completely to the curse. And then what do we do?”

* * *

The House of Skulltula. He couldn’t remember the last time he stepped into its boundaries. The last time he’d been here was to rid them of their curse. This time, it wasn’t to help them. He needed their help. Link opened the wooden door and found them awaiting his arrival. Without speaking he sat down on a makeshift stool.
“How did you cope?” he asked in a glum tone. “How did you survive?” One of the sons cleared his throat, an indication that he was about to speak.
“Survive what?” he asked. Link averted his eyes.
“The curse, I just want to know that’s all,” he replied. The household shifted uncomfortably.
“Surely that is a question that causes us to recall hard times,” the father said. “We had each other’s support and company.” Link sighed heavily, resting his cheek on his right hand. “Why do you ask of such a thing?”
“I am cursed. And I have no idea how to break it…” Link answered. The father gave him a sceptical look.
“Cursed? How did this come about? I would think you would be the last person to be. You’re so kind hearted, so generous,” he pondered. The boy’s eyes narrowed. Now wasn’t the time for sympathy.
“It was forced. This girl gave it to me. I erratically change into a wolf, and I had kill.” The people were silent. He tightened his jaw, knowing that they were judging him.
“A wolf? I have never heard of curses that make people interchange forms like that,” the father explained, “unless it isn’t a curse but a given ability. I really don’t know how to help you. With us, you destroyed the source, have you?” The latter nodded.
“It’s…getting worst, especially as the full moon approaches. During that time, the need is almost excruciating when resisted,” he said. “Didn’t you have any cravings of any sort?” They gave each other weird looks; it was rather irritating.
“Apart from acting somewhat like skulltulas, no,” one boy replied. Link rose up. “Where are you going?”
“It’s obvious that you can’t help me…that you don’t have what I want to hear,” he muttered.
“It upsets us that you think that. We are sorry we didn’t have what you desired.” Link nodded and took hold of the doorknob.
“Don’t blame yourselves. It’s not your fault,” he whispered and was about to leave when one of the sons ran to him and took hold of his arm. Link looked down at him.
“Wait, don’t go. I can’t let you go without knowing this,” the boy wailed. “Paer, Princess Zelda’s advisor. He came up with a voting system to burn you. It was meant to be a secret.” The father rose up, fists clenched.
“Now why did you have to go and tell him that for? You know that we could get killed!” he shouted. Link growled at him and got the man to sit back down.
“Paer, that bastard. This time he’s gone too far…” he snarled quietly and left out the door.

* * *

Link exploded into the main hall, snarling frightfully. He was confronted with astonished stares; of course, Zelda was holding some council meeting or something like that.
“Where is he?” he demanded. “Where’s that bastard?” The council members exchanged worried looks and confused gestures. A low growl escaped Link’s throat, and no one dare move.
“What is the meaning of this?” Zelda asked, finally getting some temerity. “Who are you looking for?”
“Paer…” he answered, the syllable resembled a savage sound.
“Paer? What has he done?” the princess queried. The advisor, who stood at the rear of the hall, started retreating without notice. But Link, with his predator likeness, did. He bared his teeth and rushed towards the man. Paer cried in surprise as Link took a fistful of his top, pulled the man against him and growled furiously in his face.
“Damn you,” the man hissed. The boy slapped him across the face, leaving bloody marks on the skin.
“Don’t fuck with me Paer,” Link snarled, “my temper is short enough as it is…” The guards were moving in, but Xanath motioned them to stay back. If they intervened there was no telling what the unnerved boy might do. They couldn’t afford to bury another person.
“Boy, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but you better let go,” Paer warned, attempting to loosen the vice-like grip on his clothes. The boy hit his fist against the wall, just inches above the advisors head.
“You’re the one responsible for establishing that voting system weren’t you? The one about my demise?” Link demanded, his stare boring into the man’s grey ones. A nervous laugh cracked from Paer’s throat.
“So what? It’s already been passed; the villagers have opted for it. There’s nothing you can do,” the advisor said, fear in his voice. Too angry to even talk anymore Link threw him violently on the floor, and a crack resounded, followed by a cry. Paer’s arm looked stove. Link was about to ‘go in for the kill’ when a hand rested heavily on his shoulder.
“Let him be,” Xanath whispered. Link muffled the growling and clenched his teeth, glancing at him and then back at the cowering man on the floor. Nearly lost it…and in front of all these people as well. ‘Shame’.
“I shouldn’t have acted in such a manner,” he muttered and slid away from the council member’s hard looks.
“That bastard needs to be taught a lesson. How dare he attack a superior!” shouted a very pissed off Paer once Link had gone. “He’s an animal!” Xanath shot him a harsh stare but dare not say anything that might give him a bad impression in front of all the guests.
“Let me tend to that arm. It looks broken,” he said instead and left out the room with Paer shortly behind.

“Listen Paer,” Xanath said when they were alone in the medical room just some flight of stairs down. “Link is having a hard time with the people and his curse, you needn’t add to his problems.” The advisor snorted as he sat down on the wooden table situated in the corner.
“That kid deserves it. Why would anyone have sympathy over a mindless beast like him? He attacked me, a superior for goddesses’ sake!” he exclaimed.
“Right now he doesn’t give a damn about your status, and that’s how it has always been. If someone is giving him shit he won’t stand for it. I admire his temerity to set you straight in front of all those eyes. Any other person would have shied away,” Xanath explained. An angry muscle ticked in his jaw.
“I don’t need a lecturing from you. I’m capable of passing judgement,” Paer sneered, unafraid of the bearded man twice as large as he. “Now get to work. Didn’t you say you were going to tend to my arm?” Xanath threw the equipment onto the man’s lap and started out the door.
“Fix your own damn arm,” he muttered and slammed the door behind him.

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