Linkle didn't know how long she floated on her back, she was lost in the soothing heat of the spring, staring at the stars. Soggy boots aside, she was pretty happy with the way things turned out, she got rid of the dragon menace on Death Mountain and possibly kept the world from freezing.
Ohirume sat next to the spring, watching Linkle float aimlessly on the water, "You're home is completely safe, Linkle."
Linkle turned around in the water and stood to her feet, "Really?! That's great!"
"Ha, good to see our Hero smile." Ohirume mused, "Now I should...talk to you about what you did tonight...that energy you fired must have been raw spirit energy, magic by any other name."
"I used magic? I thought you had to focus for that." Linkle tilted her head to the side.
"You do have to have a certain level of awareness," Ohirume confirmed, "but that's not to say one must focus completely on the spell before casting it, you have to keep your eye on the target and your surroundings as well...remind you of then?"
"Actually...it does." Linkle stared at the water, "I...can't believe it...I'm a mage!"
"Well, not a practiced one, your magic could use some practice, your accessory and crossbows were somehow involved, I believe they are more lost Sheikah artifacts, they may have been enchanted to draw off your magic without command, making them especially useful if you run out of arrows...try not to overdo it...how did it feel to shoot raw magic, engaging?"
"Now that you mention it, I do remember something...pulling me in, like the solution to everything."
"I thought so...be careful not to do too much to fast, best to rely mostly on arrows, steadily increasing your usage of magic until you raise your resistance to it, you'll also become more powerful with it, and magic is mostly uniform across most elements, if you're powerful with fire, you'll be able to jump to the equally powerful water spells without becoming instantly corrupted, though you will still have to raise your affinity through diligent practice." Ohirume took a moment to let that information sink in, "There's another good thing about raising your overall magic affinity, it will directly affect your Heart by increasing your tolerance to magic, this behaves like your strength with magic, if you improved with fire magic you could take more hits from water attacks than you naturally could, but if you want to take even more hits, improve your natural affinity with water. Also, Heart is your presence beyond your physical form, it's an aura, you can sense it, can't you?"
"I do feel something...why does it feels so...thin?" Linkle wondered.
"Your Heart is weak, but someone like you...should improve a lot in little time." the bend between Ohirume's finger and thumb held a cloaked chin, "The stronger your Heart, the harder it is to become corrupted, just...be careful, like your muscles, you can end up hurting your soul with spells too powerful, and corrupt yourself...corruption is marked by...bad judgment, igniting wars for the Triforce, for instance...though Ganondorf doesn't appear to be corrupted. So, like with muscles, grow stronger before attempting something dangerous...that said, you were able to repel Volga...your artifacts were guided to you by the gods, no doubt there, that was too lucky to be pure luck."
"What's the best way to grow stronger?" Linkle inquired.
"It's different for everyone, but pushing limits like you did today is a good way...the relationship between Heart and body aren't well understood, but enduring trials is to be emphasized." Ohirume paused before continuing, "Anyways, for now I advise to get used to the power you have now, find a couple of staves, some tomes, potions...Syrup has everything for an aspiring mage...she's a scary old witch, but she has good stock."
"I know Syrup, lives back home." Linkle replied cheerily, "I bet she'll be surprised!"
"Well, then you already know where to find your one stop wizard supply store." Ohirume threw a deku seed down and vanished in a blast of light.
"That was abrupt! Hey, Ohirume, if you can hear me, that was abrupt!" Linkle was about to sit back down in the water when she patted her cloak and realized it had dried off, "A shame to get it all soggy again...maybe I'll go visit the Great Fairy? She seemed to like visitors."
Linkle ran back to the mountain and was met with a strangely appealing aroma, "The Gorons must be close to finishing dinner...smells good, whatever it is...but I should still see the Great Fairy."
Linkle entered the room where she and Volga first fought, and found that there were boulders all in the room, some were still glowing red from the heat of the eruption, "So...this is the result of my battle...that was too close."
She looked up at the ledge that she and Ohirume had watched from and noticed cracks in it's surface, "Did the heat from the eruption do this, or the earthquake? Whatever the case, I can use it to go up."
Linkle began her climb to the top and carefully stepped around the boulders that made the air even hotter than it had been. She could look up and see the stars where the boulders had fallen through the ceiling. She knew she was going the right way when she saw the split in the wall that the statue of Volga had been guarding. She slid into the narrow space and sidled along the wall.
"Great Fairy?" Linkle called out, approaching the pool, "Hello?"
The Great Fairy rose from the water and took a sip of tea, "Linkle, thank you for taking time to visit me again. Please, sit down, unless I'm keeping you, of course."
"Well, you seemed to like me visiting, and I don't have anywhere I need to go right now...should I visit more often when this is over?"
"Oh, it's fine...I can see the others, so it's never too lonely...but it is refreshing to see a hero in these darkening times, I want to watch you become more powerful on your quest to take on Ganondorf...do be careful out there, even now that my presence here is the dominating force between Volga or I, there is very little that I can do here, all that I can only say is that I sense something on the outskirts of my domain, nearing slowly, it reeks of despair, but nothing you can't handle."
"What should I do about this presence?" Linkle inquired.
"Well...perhaps take a stroll after dinner." the Great Fairy waved as she sunk into the water.
Linkle waved, turned around and started through the crack, wondering what the Great Fairy expected her to find on her after dinner excursion.
Malron sat across from her father, who had been watching her warily during dinner. She insisted she was fine, and constantly stole glances at her reflection in her spoon to see that her eyes were blue, not that she had to worry now that her father was asleep.
"I can't say I've ever felt better, really, with this power I have." Malron rose from the table and backed away to the door. The urge to stay was strong and a life of adventure seemed too grand to be true but it was her life, to float among the shadows. She opened the door and stared out at the cold night, she could feel the dark as though it was present in sound or color, but maybe that was her sense of magic.
She felt the spirits of shadow watching her, waiting for her. She nodded and darted through the trees, led by the spirits to Sheikah base.
"I've prepared your armor," Aya announced, "though it was a little more difficult considering my incorporeal state than it was when...well, when this place was more...alive...we're both thinking it, when I was alive."
"I don't know what to say...it must be strange being here again." Malron stared at the armor and rested her hand on the fabric, "This is arranged in the order I should put it on?"
"Yes, the white bodysuit first, then the dark impact pads for your arms and legs, followed by the Sheikah standard...the blue background, right? The red eye isn't optional." Aya patted the outfit, "Your cowl will be under here as well, and your bowl of hair dye in before the table, you'll have time to learn later, I left some papers in a stack, around where you were asleep, they are pages generally given to young warriors, learn what's on them in your spare time."
"Thank you...but if you were here, then why didn't you wake me up?"
"Well, more like my consciousness was here, it's hard to come back, it kind of hurts, to be honest, but reliving my memories of working here helps maintain presence...memories are what binds me," Aya smiled, "but if a transparent woman stirred you from your sleep, wouldn't you be mildly alarmed? Ghosts are generally the stuff of nightmares, I didn't want to startle you...besides, a jog is good for you. Now I must go back to where my chain of memories pulls me, and wait for the day I dreamed of."
"Whimsy, maybe...I can never remember which...perhaps I only wished...perhaps the day will never dawn." Aya shrugged, "For now I try to enjoy my borrowed time...I daily fail."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Malron breathed.
"It's fine...you should get ready now, the sooner you're comfortable in your new outfit, the better."
As the phantom vanished, Malron turned to the bowl of lavender dye on the floor, at the base of the marble bench where her outfit was laid out, "Thank you, Aya."
As Malron left the hideout in the early morning light, her Whisper Cube started glowing, "Ronran?"
"I'm on my way." she answered, nostalgia guiding her eyes to the cuccos in their coop, behind their pen for a brief moment before she turned to the villagers who were stirring from their homes, some with saws and others with hammers, they regarded her with silent suspicion as she headed for the path out of the village and into the fields. She didn't know how they got the cuccos back into their pen, but she imagined the villagers would be happy to have Linkle back.
Malron used her power to glance her home for a moment before leaving the village behind, "It's going to be a lonely path...if I had room to doubt that before, I don't now."
"I see you enjoyed dinner, we aren't used to serving Hylians, though, we had help." Dargun explained, "That Sheikah that was here left specific instructions on the noodles...not submerging the pot in lava was very puzzling, but if it's suitable-"
"Oh, it is," Linkle assured, "we usually just use hot water."
"Ah, I see...our people have very different cooking methods." Dargun grinned as Linkle was served seconds and began eating enthusiastically, "I guess the Sheikah was right."
"Ohirume must have used some secret Sheikah recipe or something!" Linkle speculated after a while, setting her bottle down and leaning back, "But I should really go and see what needs to be set right in the world, sorry to eat and run, though."
"Hmm, that mindset brought you here," Dargun rumbled, "to save me and my people...then how can I keep you away? Go, Hero, with our humblest thanks, keep the bottle, maybe fill it with water."
"No," one Goron cried, "Brother Linkle is leaving!"
"A hug before you go, Brother?" another Goron inquired, stepping towards her with large arms held wide open.
Linkle smiled and held up her arms, "Sure, just don't—yep, crushing me...I knew it."
"Now, now, there are many of us here," Dargun laughed, "we mustn't keep our brother away from her task! We must let her go and save the world to fulfill her destiny as the Hero!"
"B-but, Big Brother!" one Goron roared sadly.
"Come back soon, Big Brother!" a smaller Goron cried.
"Don't worry, I'll check up on things here once in a while to make sure no Lizalfos return while I'm gone," Linkle promised, "so next time you can teach me how to cook rocks, cooking with lava sounds cool!"
"Ha, forget cooking!" Dargun laughed, "Next time you must visit us in the spring during the day, you have the heart of a Goron, I'm sure a wrestling match between me and you would be spectacular beyond words!"
"Ah...and I'm not so sure." Linkle laughed nervously, "Maybe something that won't involved my arms being crushed."
"Oh, I'm sure we can think of something!" Dargun said reassuringly.
Linkle turned away and rested a hand on the back of her neck, "O-okay...I should go for a stroll now!"
"Have fun, Little Brother!" Dargun waved at her retreating back.
As Linkle exited the cave leading to the city, she thought about the word the Great Fairy used, "Stroll would suggest I'm coming back...but for what, so soon after leaving?"
Linkle started to the shores that were separated from Zora's Island by the Great Sea, when she a weak cry of anguish caught her attention, "H-help...please, someone-"
Linkle held her compass and a golden light shined at a point somewhere to her left, where it fell she saw a pale form in the grass. Linkle ran up to the fallen wanderer and found that it was a female Zora, "Why else would I need to go back? There's a spring there, the only thing a Zora could use!"
"P-please!" the Zora rasped, as Linkle lifted her.
"Hang on, I'll get you to the water!"
"N-not the sea!" the Zora cried, trying to roll out of Linkle's arms.
"Hang on, I won't take you there! Zora's River-"
"Okay," Linkle turned around and the Seeker's light pointed her back to Death Mountain, "is a hot spring good?"
"Y-yes...t-thank...you," the Zora wheezed, clutching her shoulder weakly, "Hero...my Hero."
"H-huh?" Linkle stepped swiftly back, but tried not to jostle the flushed Zora if she could help it.
"You've a soft voice...so gentle, you and your green clothes...to have quelled the volcano that was roaring earlier...but I wager you're pretty cute." the Zora sighed, face red against ghostly blue skin, "I am Princess Rutilah Zora, but please, you can call me Rutilah, Hero, ha, ha."
Linkle winced as the Zora continued tugging at her hair, "Uh, well, Rutilah, what can you tell me about yourself?"
"I like long swims around the archipelago, and stargazing on my back, just drift-" Rutilah began weakly.
"I mean like how you got here!" Linkle amended abruptly.
"O-oh...still, it's rude to interrupt a lady!" Rutilah chided, tiredly patting Linkle's cheek, "I was here to find you, Hero...ha, ha, bet you're surprised a princess of the Zoras would seek you out, hmm? But not for romance, alas; I vow to return to that later! I was here because we're cursed. Meanie sea god or something must have done it, I need you to make the bad guy go away, okay...okay, he-he-he Hero?"
"I...did you hear about me?" Linkle was sure news didn't travel that fast.
"No...did you do something important of late? Oh, you're not married, are you?! That'd be horrible, give me a chance, O Hero!" Linkle felt annoyed, but somehow remained patient with the Zora jostling her shoulder.
"No, I'm not married! Just please tell me why you searched for me specifically!" Linkle replied calmly but urgently, "And my name's Linkle."
"I'm Rutilah, pleasure to make your acquaintance!" Rutilah stared at Linkle before laughing, "Oh, yes, that...um, I just knew someone had to be here able to help," Rutilah took a deep breath, "and I was raised on those old legends...that golden compass must be proof! Oh...I bet you could whack the teeth right out of a Goron's head!"
"That's what I thought...about the compass, I mean! Why would I ever hit a Goron?" Linkle wondered, struggling to carry Rutilah up the trail, "Nothing I can't handle...that Great Fairy must be prophetic or have tremendous faith in me!"
"Is that compass magical? I sense magic...but then, it could just be you...or maybe we're resonating? Maybe we have a natural connection...it's fate, isn't it? Me and you, written in the stars." Linkle grunted as Rutilah held her hand over Linkle's face and squeezed her cheeks with one hand.
"Oh, come on, you're as forceful as a Goron!" Linkle mumbled, her squeezed face making it hard to say all the words clearly.
"Oh, I'm insulted!" Rutilah whined, her arms meeting around Linkle's back, "I thought I was at least a little cuter than one of those boulders, at least elegant or regal, but no, just forceful!"
"I-I just meant...never mind...at least that's the only thing I compared you to a Goron for." Linkle sighed, nodding at Dargun, who gave them a curious glance, "I'm taking her to the spring."
"I feel better already!" Rutilah giggled, "You're so good at carrying me, I think I'll grant you that privilege as an office of honor."
"I get the feeling you mean you feel better because of the spring?" Linkle asked hopefully.
"Ha, ha, that's so cute! I feel better because the one I'm with is who I love, and who loves me back."
"U-um, I don't exactly...I-I mean, we just met!" Linkle winced at the hurt expression on the Zora's face, "Hey, don't make me feel guilty."
"We just met and you already want to break up?!" Rutilah cried, sobbing into Linkle's shoulder, "It's not fair, Linkle!"
"No, that's not it...it's complicated." Linkle sighed in relief as she turned the corner and found the springs just ahead.
"I'll bet so, I bet a thousands girls scatter rose petals at your feet, don't they?" Rutilah gave her a hurt smile, "But I'll win your heart, if it takes the rest of my life, you'll fall for me!"
"Okay, I'm not sure how hot is too hot for a Zora, so just dip a hand in real quick."
"Aw, how cute of you to be concerned!" Rutilah lowered her hand and sighed, "That's nice...been a while since I've felt pure water...too long."
Linkle lowered Rutilah and started filling the bottle, pouring water carrying food from the bottle into some bushes before filling it again, after determining there was no food in it, she put it away, "You feel better, then?"
"You can rest easy...I feel much better now." Rutilah opened her violet eyes and smiled at Linkle.
"That's good, my arms weren't ready for that." Linkle gasped when Rutilah closed her eyes. She dropped to her knees and patted Rutilah's face, "Hey, hey! Wake up, Rutilah, are you still with me?"
"Hmm, give me," Rutilah opened one eye and waved Linkle away, "my space, if you please!"
"Rutilah, you're not a lovesick, Hero crushing Zora anymore!" Linkle exclaimed happily, "I think you must have had some sort of fever!"
"Of course I'm not, acting lovesick is all rather undignified. Wait, fever? I had...oh!" Rutilah gasped and brought her hand to her face, "I-I didn't...say or do anything deathly embarrassing, I hope?"
"Don't worry I've been mistaken for a man a lot today." Linkle assured, wondering if that fact was assuring at all.
"I swear, the last I remember I was burning up on the dry land, the volcano was on fire, the rest is a haze...and I went and embarrassed myself!" Rutilah covered her face with her hand and closed her eyes, "I swear, it must have been some sort of fever, I don't remember a thing! We Zoras get like that when we're dried out, and my forehead's still warm."
"I don't know much about Zoras...now I want to know more about you guys." Linkle mused, "But hey, don't worry about the fevered thing, I promise I'll keep it a secret to everybody!"
"W-would you do that?" Rutilah covered her face with her hands, "Oh, thank you!"
"It's alright." Linkle promised, "So, what else can you tell me about the curse?"
"A-ah, right! Um, well, only that...I don't know how much I explained...did I mention how weak the cursed water has left me? Water is very important, and...well, the Great Sea's poison to us now. It will be a while until I recover anymore than I have, but I must hurry! I'll explain on the way!" Rutilah sprang forward and promptly hit the ground before Linkle could react, "Ah! I-I'm fine...just tired."
"Are you okay?" Linkle asked, helping the Zora to her feet and holding her upright, "Is it normal for you to glow light blue?"
"Light blue? Typically when I practice healing it's a deep purple, right now I'm trying my hardest to heal, so it seems I'm crippled as far as healing is concerned...what an unhappy revelation...though my healing is perhaps the strongest out of all the Zoras." Rutilah stumbled forward, and almost pulled Linkle down with her. She slowly let herself to the ground and leaned back, "Especially since they were preserving my health, trying to keep me in the cleanest water...they stockpiled a lot when the seas first turned, but the cleanest water was at the bottom...but the dark purple spread, and now there is none...they swam through the filthy water for me. Could you carry me back home? I can freeze the water into a raft for you, and pull you back to Zora's Domain!"
Linkle lifted Rutilah, "As long as you don't grab my face, I won't mind carrying you."
"And I'll...try not to embarrass myself again." Rutilah promised solemnly.
Malron ran into the fields and looked around. The braziers were still burning, there were five Gerudo and three bells. She stayed in the trees and backed away, "Okay, Tsuki, I've got three bells, five girls patrolling...they're watching the village entrance, what does that say about them?"
"They're confident nothing's out there, just try not to get caught, maybe they'll leave soon after they've determined I'm gone." Tsuki replied.
"If they stay, I'll send them back." Malron slipped pass them, through the shadows to the plains around the mountain.
"Try not to get caught by her."
"I mean the Hero, hers is a separate task...don't let her see you frolicking with the monsters, you may be disguised, but if she finds you she may ask questions, I don't want you to have to deal with that."
"I see...just warn me if she gets close." Malron held the handle of the hammer as she approached some odd looking monsters that had a single red spot on their faces, with very pronounced legs, "These things are like crickets...or roaches."
"And what do we do with roaches?" Tsuki wondered mirthfully.
She stepped around a few of them, waiting for a reaction, but they only jumped at her, "Works for me!" she slid the ax out of its hooks and swung it down into the face of a monster, it's legs fell off instantly and she moved to the next one.
Author's Notes: Alright, this is Zoras come in! I wanted to call her Rutella, but Rutela is already TP's Zora...so, like with Dargun, I named her something new, hopefully Rutilah is a nice enough name for the Zoran princess! And yes...I was totally referencing the original Ruto the whole time, but hope I made her original enough!
Also, the reason Linebeck's been gone is because I needed to keep the time consistent, these last few chapters have been a night, and now it's morning in Hyrule. Cue that happy-go-lucky sun's song.
Also, Tales of Zestiria is probably going to have a few affects on this story, specifically on Great Fairies, the seraph and and the Great Rupee Fairy in ALBW is giving me some ideas...along with what I've learned of HW's Great Fairies, nothing too drastic.