Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Early Afternoon, July 28, 1989)-
True to Dumas's word, the Gerudo Serum caused headaches which only relinguished upon the oral intake of Gerudo Glucose. True to word, the work was hellish. And true to word, the Serum randomly enhanced certain traits.
One of the odd ones of Link's it decided to enhance was his ability to memorize music. And it wasn't even a natural ability... rather a forced ability from hours of forced music lessons (every kid in the known universe gets unwanted music lessons at one point or another in their lives). Like all mothers, his mother assured him that someday he would wish he had taken his music lessons more seriously. Yeah right, like when am I ever going to need to play an instrument?
Slave privlages worked on the basis of you earn it, you get it, you biff it, you loose it system. Link had managed to work his way up in the system to the point where Nabooru actually listened to what he had to say.
He was seated in a doorway, sunlight fully blasting him. Courtesy of the Serum, the blistering sunlight bothered him no more than a bird on a horse's back. His sunlight found itself blocked by red hair. "Kid," Nabooru said.
"Can't you call me something besides that?" Link asked.
"Only those who win their freedom can have names," Nabooru reminded him.
"Well, maybe it's about time I won my freedom," Link growled.
"I was wondering when it would occure to you," Nabooru said. She was a contradiction in terms. She was exactly what Link wanted to hate, though the work was grueling, she had been extreamly kind to him. If it wasn't for the fact that she was a Gerudo, he would have sworn she wasn't a Gerudo. "But are you sure you're up to it? You only get one shot."
Link stood. "I'll take that one shot. Why? What does it entail?"
"Two things," Nabooru held up two fingers. "First, navigating the wasteland successfully, second... assuming you still have strenght left over, passing the horseback archery."
"Doesn't sound too hard," Link said.
"Not when you're actually doing it," Nabooru said. "If you really want to do it, I'll let the others know." When Link nodded, Nabooru walked back in the dirrection she had come from. Not half an hour later, Nabooru was back, with a couple of other Gerudos with her. "Let's go. We will take you to the edge of the wasteland."
"NOW?" He had expected there to be a bit more time before the trial started... say... a day or two.
"Are you backing out?" the shortest Gerudo asked.
Link frowned and snarled. She was exactly the kind of Gerudo he hated and would have loved to strangle. "Absolutly not!"
Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Near Midnight)-
Nabooru stuck her head into the room. "Hurry! I've found them!"
Link glanced in Nabooru's dirrection. He looked back at where the woman with the blue hair had stood... no surprisingly that space was unoccupied. He gave no more thought to it, and followed Nabooru out the door. Dispite Nabooru's cry to hurry, they casually strode down the corridor out into the open.
Outside, in the sort of 'fortress square', their version of the village square, was a platform. On it stood three people. One Gerudo clad male (though he was obviously not a Gerudo), one dressed in blue, purple, and white, and the third dressed in black. Wrong color for the desert, Link thought. "What's going on?" Link leaned over and asked Nabooru.
"Shiek and Hiefie," Nabooru pointed out the two not clad in Gerudo wear. "They were visitors. The other is Resurgam. On his order, the two visitors were captured. He's auctioning them off to the best compeditor. That's not the Gerudo way."
"Who said slaves could come in on this?" one Gerudo woman with a scar and a sharp hooked nose demanded.
"That's Tekuiela," Nabooru said quickly. "Resurgam's second in command." Nabooru then took a step forward, her step every bit as defiant as she meant it to be. "You question Lusus Naturae?"
Resurgam held out a massive hand, holding Tekuiela back from saying something. He moved her aside, getting a better view of Link. "Ah! So this is the famous Lusus Naturae I've heard so much about? If you're only a tenth as good as the women say you are, you're twice as good as any man alive. Are you here to win my prisoners?"
Link glanced at the other two on the platform. He had no doubt who they were, Lana and Zelda... or Zelda and Lana... he did have trouble telling the two appart in whatever it was they were wearing. He nodded his responce.
Resurgam might have been smiling, but like Link, he wore a mask. "Good! Tekuiela, you've got some competition. Is there anyone else?" No one else responded. Either they didn't want the prisoners, didn't feel up to Tekuiela and Link's level... or was placing bets on who'd win. "Tomorrow, you two challenge each other, to the life, but not to the death."
The Gerudos milled away. Resurgam and his second dragged Shiek and Hiefie away. Link faced Nabooru. "He's nuttier than a squirel's heaven."
"That's why he may be the death of us," Nabooru said.
Link turned his head, he thought he saw the blue haired woman out of the corner of his eye...
Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Late Afternoon- July 28, 1989)-
Navigating the wasteland turned out harder than he thought... then it turned out easier than he thought. What they neglected to mention was that if he strayed from the proper path, he would wind up back where he started... with less energy than he started with. How was he expected to get through if he couldn't even see where he was going in the skin cutting wind and sand? Then he discovered the markers. Once he found and followed them, getting halfway was easy...
The second half proved more challenging. He reached a stone structure. Skeletons littered the sands around it, telling of how many got no further than here. You're going to die here too if you don't get moving, Link thought. Hey... is someone laughing at me?
It could have been his imagination, but it persisted. Srugging, Link said, "Heck, what have I got to loose?" He stepped away from the stone structure, following the laughing. Sometimes it came from another dirrection, to which Link would follow... it never seemed to get closer. Then... it stopped...
Great... I'm lost... I'm dead... What in the world is that?
Link stepped forward. He stepped into the shelter of bolders he hadn't even known were there through all the sand blown wind. And standing right there was that hateful short Gerudo. "Record time... lucky try," she sneared at him, like talking to a dog. "You won't make the horseback archery, though..."
He smiled... he had a slight trick up his sleeve to deal with that. "I'm ready when you are." He was shoved to a horse, which he mounted. A bow and a quiver were handed to him. The horse knew what was expected and took off at full speed. And the trick...
Bullseye... bullseye... bullseye... bullseye...
... is that the Serum enhanced my aim and trick shot...
...bullseye... bullseye... bullseye... bullseye...
... though I wish it did the same for reflexes...
...bullseye... bullseye... bullseye... bullseye...
The horse came to a halt. The short Gerudo shook her head. "I'll be damn!" Nabooru was standing behind her, smilling with pride.
Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Morning- August 4, 1989)-
He had been given the name Lusus Naturae, though he wasn't told exactly what it meant. It was good not to have to work as a slave anymore... but it wasn't good enough. Link still had not found the Zora's Saphire he had come here to find... surely those poor Zora must be dead by now.
"Eeek!" a high pitched voice screamed.
Link was in a seldom used room. There shouldn't have been anyone else in here. He pulled back a box and found a red haired...
"Fairy!" Link exclaimed.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to be here," the fairy said quickly. "I was going home from a stay in Calatia and I accidentally got caught in a saddlebag."
That was an unlikely story... about as unlikely as his own stories. "Why haven't you left then?" Link asked.
"Oh, I can't," the fairy said. "The desert is too hot."
Link knelt, getting a better view of the fairy. "I can help you, but I have to find something first."
The fairy frowned. "Is that bribery."
"No..!" He quickly glanced around, making sure that he was alone... as if anyone else would really come into this room. "I'm looking for something called Zora's Saphire. I can't leave this place until I find it. Once I find it, I'm outta here... with you if you wish."
The fairy walked over, flittered onto Link's knee. "I'm Spryte. Spryte Oberon."
"Link Chance, though everyone here's calling me Lusus Naturae. I have no clue what it means... Pleased to meet you." He looked at Spryte. "Are you... comfortable... staying here?"
"Behind a box? You've got to be kidding me."
"Then... would you care to come back to my chambers? That didn't sound like I meant it... Until I find Zora's Saphire?"
Spryte's smile made Link blush, even under the mask he had taken to wearing. "If you insist."
Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Morning, August 6, 1989)-
Link slowly walked over to the corral. He certainly knew that the Gerudos were stealing horses and bringing them in. If not all locations, he certainly knew where some of the horses were coming from. This was the first time he had actually seen the horses here.
One horse in particular was giving the Gerudos there a hard time. A warm blood horse Link had no problem recognizing. "Cathrine?"
Even as quiet as Link spoke it, Cathrine heard him. Even after four years, the horse still recognized him. She broke away from one of the Gerudos and trotted over to Link, standing on the other side of the fencing. "I don't believe it," the Gerudo who had been trying to subdue Cathrine mumbled. "You're either incredibly good with horses, unphenominally lucky... or..."
"You stole my horse," Link finished.
"Er... yeah... you want the horse back?"
Gerudo Valley, Border Between Calatia and Hyrule (Morning)-
"Dang it, she's good," Link frowned, watching Tekuiela make her run on the horseback archery circuit. She had racked up a sizeable number of points... all bullseyes as a matter of fact. If I'm going to beat that and save Lana and Zelda, I'm going to have to do better than get bullseyes. Now how am I going to do that?
Link clad in Gerudo garb, Cathrine clad in Gerudo... horse garb... Link rocked back and forth. If I don't figure out a way... screwball city...
"Perfect score," Resurgam gleamed. "You wanna try after that?" he asked.
Damned if I do... damned if I don't... Link nodded. Well... here goes... nothing? More like sanity. He leaned over and took the quiver of twenty arrows handed to him. "Give it your best shot, Cathrine," Link whispered. "I'll give mine."
Cathrine bust into a gallop. If ever I needed that Gerudo Serum... Link drew back the wooden bow. The arrow hit smack center. Arrow after arrow hit their mark. On the return stretch, Link reached back, finding an empty quiver... Oh great... I'm out. He started to bring his hand down, it nudged against his sword strapped to his back. In a flash of inspiration... or insanity... Link pulled it out aand chucked it at the last bullseye at the end of the circuit.
That should count for... something... Link thought, bringing Cathrine down to a trot, a walk, then a halt.
Resurgam was laughing, his large robust bulk quivering. "I think you've been bested, Tekuiela."
Tekuiela wreathed, clentching her fists. "You can keep your Arcades ambo, aut vincere aut mori. Credo quia absurdum est." She huffed and left the horseback archery fields.
Resurgam laughed even louder. "As I'm sure the women would say: You are the winner, ecce signum! The prize is yours. Treat them however you see fit. They are a fiesty lot, always trying to escape. Together more than enough for one Gerudo. I will keep one locked up until you finished with the other."
Finish with the other? What does he mean? Link pondered, making his way through the congratulatory group of Gerudos. He paused when, out of the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a red and white letterman jacket. When he turned his head, there was nothing there but boxes. He shook his head, continuing his way through the Gerudos. Get real, Link! he thought to himself. What would a member of the N Team be doing here? He looked back. Probably doing what I'm doing. Rescuing Lana and Zelda.
He entered the shelter of the building. "How am I going to explain this one?" Link wondered, navigating the halls to the chambers he was using. He stepped in.
"So you're Lusus Naturae," the blond in the blue and purple outfit said, definitly in Zelda's voice, the moment Link was through the door.
Huh? Oh! The mask...
"I've heard of you. Gerudo slave who won freedom... but you're still male. Tekuiela told me exactly what any male who wins a female prisoner really wants. You may order me around, you may have me as a slave... but not..."
Link found himself one moment standing on his feet... the next moment with his feet on the table... and the rest of him hanging off the side. A bruise the size of a fist made itself known on his face.
"...as a concubine!"
"Your welcome!" Link exclaimed. "Boy, that's graditute for you!"
Blink, blink. "Link?" Blink, blink.
Link picked himself up. "You should work on your left cross... trust me... your right cross doesn't need anymore work." He felt his jaw, making sure it was right where it was suppose to be. "Which on are you? Shiek or Hiefie?"
Zelda knelt by Link. "Shiek. Lana's Hiefie. What are you doing here?"
"Don't tell me you honestly can't figure it out."
"Well... I suppose it's a bit obvious." Zelda helped Link up. "Are you really Lusus?" When Link nodded, Zelda frowned. "I was under the impression that you didn't remember anything about Gerudo Valley."
Link removed the bone ribbed mask he was wearing. "I... uh..." He hesitated. Make mention of the blue haired woman, and the cat was out of the bag... Not to mention she's going to kill me when she finds out about the fire... "I... remembered... some of it after you left. It's been... coming back... to me."
"And... what exactly do you remember?"
Time to blow my cover... "Of my stay in Gerudo Valley? A lot of it."
"Okay then. Let's start with Lusus Naturae." Zelda seemed quite stern.
Link sighed. "Yeah... lets..." He took a deep breath. "Six months before I met you, I was captured by the Gerudos. They injected me with Gerudo Serum, which physically changed me, and in the end allowed me to win my freedom back."
"And, what were you doing here in the first place?" Zelda asked.
"Probably the worst job this hero for hire had ever accepted. I came here looking for Zora's Saphire. I never found it."
Zelda frowned, it really didn't look good on her. "I remembered hearing that it was taken from them... but I know for a fact that they do currently have it."
"Well... you see... just because I said I never found it doesn't mean that I didn't return it." Link paused. "Spryte found it."
"Spryte? You met Spryte while in Gerudo Valley?"
"Yeah... and don't as me how she got in a Gerudo's saddlebag. I didn't know it back then, I sure as heck don't know it now."
"A saddlebag?" Zelda sat back on her haunches. "Remind me to ask her about it at the absolute most embarissing time."