Link wheezed, a choked sob leaving him as another shudder ran through his body. He lied on the clock tower's stone floor, trembling as footsteps approached him. Lifting his head, he tried to ignore the thick red ooze that dripped down his face as he glanced to where Tatl had fallen. There was no movement, no longer any soft yellow glow that lit up the room. He attempted to swallow back another sob and failed miserably. His only friend here, in this world, just a few mere feet away, had died with no one to hold her. No one to tell her what a good friend she had been. What a good sister she had been. A whimper left the boy as he pushed himself a little off the ground, telling himself that the pain wasn't as bad as his body told him it was as he drug himself towards the lifeless fairy. His arms quivered with each movement as pain wracked through his limbs. Barely able to keep himself up as he moved.
His arms suddenly gave out, only a sharp gasp and a echoing thud marking when he hit the ground. The hard stone added a new bruise to his already abused face but he ignored it. Link gritted his teeth as he extended his arm in an attempt to grab the fairy's body, to try to hold her one more time. His fingers brushed the stone floor in front of the body and he smiled weakly at the small triumph. Just a few more centimeters more and his friend would be with him.
A heavy weight suddenly slammed the boy's bloody hand into the ground, grinding it into the stone as he shrieked in pain. Link looked up through teary eyes to the smiling man who stood over him. He seemed to mock Link with that friendly face as he shifted his weight to apply more pressure to Link's hand. The boy screamed and rambled, switching between begging the man to just let him have his friend and crying for him to step off his hand. He watched in horror as the man's head cocked to one side in a grossly innocent manner as he forced all of his weight onto that one foot and Link screamed as the echoing sound of snapping bones filled his head. Even as he screamed he would have sworn that he heard a soft giggle leave the smiling man's lips at the sound. The pressure on his hand disappeared but he didn't move. Green eyes were open wide in a look of agony and shock as the torturous pain spread through his hand, seemingly in time with his own heartbeat.
"It is a shame, how some things turn out…" The mask salesman said softly as he loomed over the suffering child. "All of this-" He continued, emphasizing his point by digging the toe of his shoe into one of the deep gashes along the boy's side, making him shriek loudly once again. "Just because you could not retrieve my mask." Link whimpered, glancing up at the man once again. A hum left him and he reached down to Link, grabbing a fistful of his shirt and yanked him up. Link grimaced and slumped over in his grip, trying to hold himself up in fear of what the man might do to him if he didn't at least try to pay attention. "Seems a bit pitiful now, in hindsight, hm?"
Link spread his cracked lips, a drop of red running down his chin from his open mouth as tried to speak. The other man listened to the small boy sputter, small specks of blood flying from his lips as he tried to form words. His smile widened. "Of course, hindsight always has perfect vision, doesn't it?"
A new fire entered the boy's eyes and he grit his teeth, raising a gory hand towards the other man's face. His eyes narrowed and he suddenly shook the other, watching as Link's head snapped back and forth. "Perhaps you haven't learned your lesson just yet, have you?" He hissed, frowning as Link wretched loudly above him. He sighed and let the boy go.
The sound of Link's broken body hitting the stone floor reverberated around the room. He stared down at the sight and grimaced. Once jovial eyes now stared blankly at nothing. Hopefully, a happier nothing. "Although, sometimes a second chance is in order." He said as he stepped over his body, crouching down behind him. Grabbing hold of Link's shoulders he quickly lifted the boy into a sitting position. He ignored his sudden cry and the sound of bones grating against each other as he set him up. Letting go of him with a hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small blue instrument he had stolen from Link before this ordeal. He held it out in front of the boy, looking over his shoulder to make sure it had his attention. It did. He watched as Link took the Ocarina of Time from him with his good hand, studying it as if he had never seen it before.
The salesman reached around him, wrapping his thin hands around the boy's smaller ones. He moved Link's fingers with his own, seeming to not notice the way that he whimpered when he started moving his broken hand around. Finished with his finger placement he lifted the instrument up to Link's lips. He heard the sudden chiming of the clock tower, striking loud and echoing in the walls of the tower. A low rumble could be heard in the distance. "It begins," He muttered to himself, tightening his grip on the fingers he held. Slowly, he turned his head back towards Link. "Play." His voice was barely above a whisper but the command it held was evident.
Link grimaced and carefully slipped his lips around the mouthpiece of the instrument. With a shudder he blew into it and tried to ignore the specks of blood that flew past his lips. He coughed and sputtered suddenly, forcing the ocarina away from his face until the salesman nudged it back. "You are capable of so much if you would just try. You have to believe in your strengths. Believe..."
Link sobbed as the clock continued to chime, uncaring about the little boy's suffering as it counted down until the end of the world. Slowly he replaced his lips and tried to blow through the instrument again, this time getting a sound. The man sitting behind him allowed his smile to widen and he began moving the boy's fingers as he continued to blow air, blood, and spit into the small object. Low, broken notes filled the air, as if the small instrument was picking up on the horrid condition of its player. It was haunting and yet, it seemed to fit the moment with an eerily perfection. When the short song was finished, the man stood up from the other, letting him fall back to the ground. Link didn't even bother crying out. "Time is such a precious thing for most," the salesman said as the world began to turn white before Link's eyes. "Perhaps this go around you will not waste mine." The world went blank around Link as the twelfth chime finally sounded and he felt himself fall.
Link's eyes shot open as he jolted into existance, gasping. He was expecting pain but felt nothing as he moved and began examining himself. Finding himself in perfect condition he sighed.
"Link," he heard a voice call and he looked up see Tatl flying around his head. "You okay?" A smile burst onto his face and he nodded. The fairy bobbed in the air. "Good, now let's get going! We have plenty of things to go before the next three days end." Link nodded in agreement and Tatl flew off towards the middle of the town square. He smiled but it soon disappeared. He glanced over his shoulder to the clock tower doors and shuddered. Trying to ignore the sudden chill that ran through his body he started after Tatl, leaving the ticking clock behind him.