"We're almost done," Amadeus stated with more than a hint of a triumphant flare in his voice, "We're almost there."

            "How many pieces do you think are left?" Miyu asked, looking over at the ever-filling pie chart that was the Heartstone.

            "It should only be two," he replied, glancing over that way as well. "One more 'sliver,' so to speak, and a central piece. When the stone was originally broken up, no one really cared about semantics." He stood up from his chair and walked to the door for a second.

            "No one ever does," she agreed, quickly moving in and taking over Ama's chair. "At least it's not as pointless as searching for seven mystical crystal balls."

            Amadeus shook his head and chuckled. "The ones that supposedly 'Grant your dearest wish?' That one was a laugh."

            "So many people believed in it, too," she added to his statement. "It just shows the power that stories have on people."

            "As long as they don't cast us as the 'villains,' I think we'll do fine," came Amadeus' answer as he opened the door leading out of his study. "I'm going to work now. I'll see you later in the evening."

            Miyu smiled and waved lightly as Amadeus left. She spent the remainder of the day resting.




            For Amadeus, the day went along smoothly. The night, however, was a completely different matter.

            Despite the fact that Galyer was a Wolfos, and thus incredibly large for a dog, he still considered himself to be a lap puppy. Grown dogs sleep at the foot of the bed along with their masters. Puppies, however, are allowed more leniency as to their exactl position on the owner's bed. This is fine, even adorable at times when a small, 8-pound puppy sneaks up to the pillows and licks its owner in the face. But when a rather large, three-and-a-half foot high dog does so, its master usually ends up falling out of the bed.

            Such was the fate of Lord Amadeus De Castillo that night. He was displaced by the dog.

            And so, lying on the floor beside his bed, still with a small sheet wrapped over his shoulder, and with the face of his pet leaning over the edge and looking curiously at its fallen master, Amadeus considered whether or not it was even worth going back to sleep again. He groaned and sat up, weighing his options. Usually, Galyer would have accidentally awakened Miyu by this point, and "Mommy" would have sent him elsewhere. Unfortunately, such was not the turn of events this time. The dog rolled over and proceeded to take up the rest of Amadeus' space in the bed, deciding everything for him.

            Muttering under his breath, the Lord De Castillo got up and left the room. Insomnia had firmly take hold, and sleep for the time being seemed impossible. He wrapped himself in a light robe and exited his room, searching out a small dining alcove that had earned the fond nickname of the "insomnia wing." He settled down and got himself some tea. It wasn't very long before he began hearing soft, ambient noises that told of another person's presence in the room. Amadeus didn't have to guess hard to figure out who it was.

            "Good morning, Zelda," he said in a tired monotone. "I suppose it is morning by this time, isn't it?"

            She walked into view, not looking much less tired. "Just remember what Impa said... I guess the gnomes are out for you too, eh?"

            Amadeus chuckled, and shook his head. "No, this time it was the dog. Again."

            Zelda laughed, and shook her head in return. "That animal's something else..." she commented, sitting down. "Want some tea?"

            He pointed to his own cup. "Are you sure that you're not tired enough to sleep, Zelda?"

            She chuckled. "I'm just not very observant."

            "It figures," he responded, "You are the Queen, after all."

            They sat in silence for a while; old friends who could not sleep. Finally, Amadeus broke the silence.

            "Is something wrong, Zelda?" he asked.

            Zelda shook her head. "Nothing," she said.

            "Are you sure?" Amadeus asked again, "You don't seem all right."

            Zelda lowered her head and didn't respond.

            "You miss your father, don't you?" He said. It was more a statement than a question. Zelda looked up at him silently.

            "You're not the only one who does," He said, closing his eyes for the second. "The King was a good man."

            "He was more than that," she answered in a weak voice. Amadeus nodded.

            "I was there at the end, Zelda." He said with a sigh. "The way that your father stood up to Ganon..." He shook his head. "...It was incredible. I miss him."

            "I don't know how I can follow in his footsteps!" Zelda exclaimed, now on the verge of tears. "I try, and I try... but I can't fix any of this! This whole world... it's falling apart, and I don't know how to stop it."

            He leaned over the table toward her. "You're doing just as well as your father would have, Zelda. In spite of your age, you're one of the best rulers in our history."

            "Don't give me that," she answered, visibly distressed, "You're just trying to make me feel better!"

            "I'm not." He answered. "I served under your father, and I am now serving under you. You have done so much in this kingdom of yours that nobody can believe it." He continued. "It's only been five years since Ganon was defeated, and already you've repaired most of the damage."

            "Then why?" she asked. "Why do I feel so empty? Why do I feel so overwhelmed? Why do I feel so alone in this?"

            Amadeus breathed in, filling the night air with silence, before he answered.

            "You don't reach out to anyone. I'm not your only friend, Zelda," He responded, "You need other people in your life."

            "Well, then, who?" she asked back. "Who here can I just talk to?"

            "You could try Miyu," he answered," or any one of your close attendants. They care for you a lot more than it seems. Or even that Shiekah who was here a little while ago- Rei, wasn't it? You two seemed to get along well."

            "He lives in Mankurosa, I live here in the castle."

            Amadeus leaned back. "Then write him a letter. Or invite him back up here. I'm sure the boy would be beyond excited to hear from his Queen."

            Zelda finished sipping her tea, and then left without saying another word. Amadeus went back to his room soon after, only to find Galyer still there, and beyond asleep. He stayed up the entire night, thinking.

            The world wasn't going to fall apart on His watch, that much was certain.




            The sun crested gently over Mankurosa as Rei Elanis staggered out of the training room. He was still waiting for the day when Damodred's training would include more information and less personal injury. That day seemed to be far off. However, she did seem to be growing more considerate of him- Just recently, Damodred had begun the habit of actually helping Rei get back to his feet without knocking him down again. For this he was eternally grateful.

            As far as his new horse went, Stupid appeared to have bonding with Rei almost immediately. The animal may have deserved its name, but it really wasn't that bad a horse. Although Aenslaed bossed him around some times, both steeds seemed to be getting along far better than their masters.

            Rei stumbled and fell as soon as he left the doorway, managing to catch himself before he would have spralwed on his face. Damodred came out of the room immediately after, and helped him up, supporting him.

            "You know," she commented, "Your problem is that you're too clumsy."

            "Clumsy?" Rei asked, bewildered. "Why?"

            "You kept hitting my fists with your head," she returned, helping him walk back over to the building where they both lived.

            "What?" He replied. "Ummm... Damodred... you were the one hitting me..."

            "That's just your perspective," she answered again, cracking a smile. "Either way, just take a hot bath or a nap and you'll be fine."

            "Right..." Rei agreed, mumbling. Damodred went on.

            "Or you could take both at once, and never have to train again!" She commented, reaching the doorstep. She then dropped Rei in one quick, unceremonious action.

            "I've carried you enough. You can make it back to your room from here." she said. Rei decided to stay down for the time being. It was rather comfortable.

            A few seconds later, Rei decided to get up and go back home. He nearly hit his head on a messenger who had just arrived, carrying an envelope.

            "Are you Reiman Elanis?" The man asked, looking down at the envelope.

            "Yes..." He responded, curious.

            The man nodded, and handed him the letter. "Then this is for you, Mr. Elanis. Enjoy." He said, quickly leaving Rei to examine the letter in his hands.

            Rei immediately recognized the wax seal on the envelope. It was a Triforce superimposed over a red bird. The seal of the Royal House of Hyrule.

            "What... could... this... be... for..." he said slowly and deliberately, somewhat in shock. Rei took the letter back into his room before he opened and read it.

            The decision to let the others know about it was not a difficult one.




To Rei Elanis,


            The Royal palace of Hyrule sends its greetings. Again, we extend our gratitude for your service to us a few weeks ago. Since then, the Gorons have received no more trouble from neither the King nor the Tyrant of the Wind.

            On a more personal note, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation that we had when you visited. You proved to be excellent company, and I look forward to meeting you again soon. Your friends are also very interesting, and seem to be a positive influence on you. Keep up the good work.


-Zelda De Amano, Queen of Hyrule



Rei folded the letter up and put it back into the envelope as he finished reading aloud. Damodred and Talien stood there for a few seconds, speechless. Finally, the silence was broken.

            "That was short, sweet, and... friendly," Talien commented, blinking.

            "Rei," Damodred asked in a rather evasive tone, "Just exactly what happened between you two when we were all at the palace?"

            Rei gathered his thoughts. "Well... I couldn't sleep, and I ran into the Queen, and we just... kinda... talked for a while?"

            Damodred nodded incredulously.

            "No, really!" Rei added. "Talked. Mouths moving. Sound coming out. That was it."

            "Was it, really?" She asked, now more sarcastic than anything else.

            "Well, we drank a little hot tea, too..."

            "...So that's what you northerners call it!" Damodred interjected, rolling her eyes. "Drinking a little tea? Of all the little euphemisms I've heard, that one's definitely the-"

            Rei made an unintentional squawking sound as he tried to interrupt.

            "Hey... Uh... no! We... Stop that!"

            She lightly patted him on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Rei. I was just messing with your mind. I believe you."

            Talien, who had remained silent through the exchange, quietly chuckled to himself.

            "You people are something else," he commented, shaking his head. "You know, we could always go back to the palace and ask her Highness personally what she meant by the letter."

            Rei opened his mouth, producing a hoarse noise of protest. Damodred elbowed him, and he regained his ability to speak.

            "We WHAT?!?" Rei shouted. "That's... that's... She's the Queen, not some random street girl... maybe all her thank-you notes are made to look personal? I don't know!"

            "You're getting way too excited about this, kid." was Damodred's response. Rei whirled over at her.


            "I'm not yelling." She yawned. Rei turned back toward Talien.

            "What the heck is going on?" He asked.

            Talien sighed. His sigh sounded mysteriously like a stifled laugh.

            "Come on, Rei. It's not that far to travel. The worst-case scenario is that it's a form letter, and at best you're going to end up marrying..."


            "...But that's not exactly likely," Talien went on. "And since you seem rather... opposed to that idea, you can always use Damodred as an excuse."

            This time the "Ack!" came from a decidedly female voice.

            "Or," Talien offered, raising a finger, "You could just take Talon up on his offer and marry his daughter."

            Rei glanced to Damodred, now very close to asking for one of her knives.

            "But let's be realistic," Talien added, "Telling from the letter, and everything, you've simply made a new friend. A friend in royalty, yes, but still a friend nonetheless."

            He looked Rei in the eyes. "And telling from what I've heard, unless you're Link, she's not interested, anyway."

            Rei shrugged. "So... what am I supposed to do?"

            Damodred grinned and leaned on his shoulder with her elbow. "We make a short trip to Hyrule Castle, that's what. I hope you have some nicer clothes than that."

            Away Rei dashed.