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Into the Lair of the Beast

Chapter Text

Link found himself at the mercy of his fellow villagers. They dragged him down the well-trodden path, ignoring his squeaks of protest. He eventually accepted his fate, hanging his head and shielding his face with his blond hair. They dragged the Hylian towards the cave at the bottom of the hill, the plants almost shivering as they approached. He was shoved towards the entrance, someone following to chain his ankle to the metal post in the center. Dried blood was caked around it, leading off into a dark tunnel in the back. The villagers then left, leaving the boy alone to his fate. Link sighed, curling up and looking out into the forest.

A few minutes later he heard something shuffling from the tunnel behind him. He didn't turn to face it, didn't try and talk his way out of it. Instead, he simply waited, sighing as he resigned himself. At least the forest would be the last thing he saw. The shuffling paused, and he felt warm breath ghost over his shoulder. He shivered but didn't move. He held his breath, heart rate quickening as he squeezed his eyes shut.

"You're...different from the ones usually left here," a voice growled out, low and rough. Link swallowed, turning to look at the creature hovering over him. His gaze skimmed over the giant boar creature. Its dark skin was pulled tight over its musculature, large tusks glinting and dangerous. A red furred mane and tail covered parts of it, similar colored claws digging into the stone. Link swallowed, glancing away from its golden eyes as they bored into him. "Well? Do you not speak?"

"I can," he said, voice broken and cracked from lack of use. The creature gave an odd humming noise as if waiting for more explanation. Link's ears flattened as that hot breath ghosted over him again. "Did you want me to beg before you kill me?"

"How cynical," it rumbled, "why do you assume I'll kill you?" Link didn't reply, only waving a hand at the blood dried onto the stone. The creature chuckled. "In my defense, they did attack me first."

"I don't care either way," Link murmured, "I can't go back to the city anyway. They'd just kill me themselves for failing to satiate your hunger."

"How I hate Hylians," the beast growled, "always killing without need." Claws buried into the stone beside him, making Link flinch. Yet instead of killing him, the beast simply crushed the chain holding him, the busted metal clattering to the ground. "You are free to leave if you so please. I will not keep you here against your will." Link turned to look at the beast as it settled down in a corner of the cave.

"I have nowhere to go," he replied, looking back to the forest, "but a trip for food sounds like a plan. What would you like?" A startled snort sounded from the creature before it answered.

"Whatever is fine. Do not poison yourself small child." Link bristled at the statement, standing and dusting himself off.

"I am not a child," he muttered, settling his hands on his hips, "although, I suppose I've barely lived in comparison to something as ancient as you." The creature snorted, an amused smirk settling onto its face.

"Remind me to ask of how you were chosen to come here if you return," the creature said, shutting its eyes, "You're rather different from others I've encountered of your race." Link nodded, staring for a moment before a golden eye slid open again. "Well? You said you were hungry, so it'd be best if you moved along."

"What should I call you?" Link blurted out. The creature raised its head, seemingly startled. "Um...you have a name don't you?"

"Ganon," it said after a moment, "and yours little Hylian?"

"I'm Link," he said with a smile, "and I'll make sure to catch something delicious for us okay?" He took off into the trees before Ganon could change his mind, heart racing. Maybe he could satisfy the beast's hunger after all. He didn't have to die for it now did he? He giggled to himself before searching the forest, gathering a wide variety of fruits and herbs and mushrooms as he went. It was only on his way back that he began to wonder if Ganon needed meat instead. He frowned, tugging his shirt off and wrapping up his find to carry it easier before searching for a river. He paused to drink before settling onto the rocks. By the end of his trip, he was wet and aching but had four rather large basses for Ganon along with the rest of his forage. When he returned, Ganon snorted and looked at him.

"You were gone for a long time," the creature commented. Link held up the fish, catching the other's attention.

"I would've been back sooner but I didn't know what you'd eat," Link admitted, setting down his find, "but I figured fish would be a safe bet." Ganon rumbled appreciatively as he set them down. Link sat beside him, pausing. "Would you prefer them cooked?" he asked curiously.

"Like this is fine," The creature said, "Though you're not eating them?" Link shook his head.

"I don't eat a lot of meat," he admitted, opening his makeshift pouch and depositing it onto the rocky ground. He brushed his shirt off, checking to ensure it was mostly clean before pulling it on again. They ate in comfortable silence, Link slowly growing more and more exhausted as time went on.

"You should sleep," Ganon said after a while, "I'm sure you're quite tired."

"But you said you wanted to talk," Link said, stiffling a yawn. Ganon chuckled.

"In the morning then. For now, sleep is in order." The Hylian nodded, stretching a bit before he found a spot to settle in. After a few moments, Ganon's heavy form slumped beside him, startling him. "You'll catch cold at this rate," th creature musedd, "Now rest. We will speak in the morning." Link only nodded and shut his eyes, falling into a comfortable sleep. Ganon stayed awake a while longer, eying the small boy. "You remind me of someone I knew long ago," he mused, "someone I hurt quite deeply. Perhaps...perhaps this is my chance to atone."