*I do not own Legend of Zelda.*

Chapter 14

What Don had said had definitely bothered Alec so, as soon as the mage had disappeared, he went looking for the wind mage. "Vaati! Vaati, where are you?" he called.

No answer came. Growing irritated, he called again, "Vaati! You had better - " He suddenly stopped. In front of him stood a very battered Vaati. Frowning, he asked, "What happened?"

Vaati stretched, wincing as just about every moment sent pain coursing through his body. Still, he answered, "Don happened. You can't trust him."

Alec sighed. "I don't. Not really, anyway. But he is rumored to be the strongest mage alive."

Vaati scoffed. "It's just a rumor. He's more interested in that girl you've got locked up than anything else."

Alec raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really? What about what he did to you then?" Vaati gave no response so Alec continued, "As long as he helps me, I couldn't care less who he fancies."

"And if he frees her?" asked Vaati. "Wouldn't that create a flaw in your plan?"

"He won't free her. Not yet."

"What makes you so sure? He is unpredictable."

Alec shook his head, fairly confident. "No, he is actually quite predictable. He is prideful, boastful, arrogant, short-tempered and easily bored. It's fairly simple to guess where he'd go and what he'd do."

Vaati frowned. "That may be so, but it's in his best interest to free her and if the girl is free, she'll go after that Link person."

"Link is already on his way here," said Alec. "Don said he had the location of this place, so it's only a matter of time. However, the boy is nothing more than a herdsman. He won't get by my defenses."

"Then...why do you need the girl?"

"Why? Well, she's cute." Alec shrugged. "And I'm going to need a little leverage when I talk to the princess again. The girl is perfect." Then, as if remembering something, he added, "Speaking the of the princess, I think she's been left alone long enough."

"Why did you call me?" asked Vaati as he watched Alec start walking away.

Alec paused a moment and said, "Keep an eye on Don. Don't let him leave the kingdom...if you can even stop him, that is." With that Alec walked off to where Zelda was being kept.

***one of the caves***

Alec stopped in front of what he knew to be an entrance of a cave. With a motion of his hand, the earth moved and sunk down below, revealing the mouth of the cave."How are you today, Princess?" asked Alec as he took a few steps inside.

The cave was dark, so he waved his hand and conjured forth a bright ball of light. The light floated to the center of the cave and rose toward the roof of it, illuminating the small enclosure. The princess in question was kneeling in the back of the cave, her hands folded neatly on her lap. The only signs of her captivity were her now dirtied dress and semi-tangled hair.

Zelda kept her gaze fixed on the floor of the cave, the light painfully bright. Still, she asked in annoyance, "What do you want?"

"Straight to the point, I see." Alec made sure to raise the earth again to block the entrance of the cave before he did much else. He certainly didn't want her escaping. With that done, he said, "I want you."

Zelda visibly stiffened and her hands curled into fists. "What?" she questioned quietly.

"Let me rephrase that," Alec amended, "I want your kingdom. And you're going to give it to me."

"No," she said.

"Don't be so quick. Do you like staying in this cave? Hand over your kingdom and I'll let you out."

"That will not happen. Not ever," Zelda replied.

Alec sighed. "Alright. Here are your options, Princess. One, you behave and give me what I want. Then I'll set you free. Two, you marry me and I get what I want and you will forever remain my prisoner. Three, you stay here, watch your kingdom fall to ruin and I will still get what I want."

"You will not have Hyrule. And you are naive to think you can take this kingdom by force," she said.

"You underestimate me," Alec replied. Although, her stubbornness was becoming rather annoying.

"You underestimate Hyrule," Zelda countered.

Annoyed, Alec said, "Fine. You may be willing to spend the rest of your life here, but do you think she is?" As he spoke, he waved his hand and conjured a clear sphere. In the sphere, a young girl was reflected. She sitting with her back against a cave wall, hugging her knees to her chest.

"Melody…" Zelda whispered when she saw the image.

Alec smirked. "Think about it, Princess. It's not just your fate that you're deciding anymore." With those words, he left the cave, taking the light with him and making sure the entrance was sealed once more, leaving Zelda in darkness once more.

***Melody's Cave***

In the time she had been there, Melody had hardly moved. It was difficult to know just how long she had been there, but it had certainly been days. The sun did filter down into the cave, giving her some sense of time, just not much.

"Melody?" a voice said.

Melody looked up quickly, her eyes straining to see in such dim lighting. Still, she knew who it was and asked, "What do you want, Don?" Her voice shook slightly as she spoke.

"Have you been crying?" he asked, slightly puzzled.

"No," Melody answered simply, burying her face against her knees once more.

"It sounds like you have," said Don. When Melody didn't reply, he said, "How about I get you out of here?"

Melody looked up. "You can do that?" she asked.

Don nodded. "Of course I can. But," he said, "only on one condition."

"What condition?" Melody asked quietly.

"Who are you?" Don simply asked.

"What?"

"Who are you, Melody? You puzzle me and I want to know why," Don explained.

Melody stood and answered, "My life is none of your business."

He shrugged. "It's just a simple question."

"Simple?" she shouted. "You are nothing more than a stranger. I know nothing about you and there is absolutely no way that I am going to share my life with you."

Don raised an eyebrow. "You know, there are other things I could ask for. In comparison, you're not giving up much."

Shaking her head, Melody ignored the implications and asked, "Why do you even care? Why does any of this even matter to you?"

Don frowned. "That is a very good question." After a moment's thought, he shrugged and said, "I suppose it doesn't. But what else is there for me to do here?"

"You could do what's right," Melody said softly.

Don scoffed. "True, but that would hardly be any fun."

"Fun?" Voice rising again, Melody asked, "Is this all really just some sort of game to you? You just sit back and watch as people as people die?"

Don bit back a retort. She did have a point, he realized. But what did it matter? The lives of others never concerned him. Whether they lived or died - what did it matter to him? Of course, then there was her. She puzzled him and it was growing annoying. There were so many other things he could be doing, but instead he lingered around the mountain, puzzling over one girl.

With a sigh, he turned his back to her and said "I did offer you my help, but you turned me down. Remember that." With those words, he disappeared, leaving her once more alone in darkness.

*I'll end this chapter here, I think. And, from here on in, the focus will be more with Link and there will no doubt be some familiar faces popping in every now and again to help him. Feel free to leave a comment/review; it's always appreciated. Until next time.*